WHAT I READ: September-October

One of my favorite things about the little community I've found through this embarrassing hobby of mine, is the common thread of bookworminess. I've discovered so many fellow readers through blogging. Readers who, like me, love nothing more than to discuss and share their literary conquests.

In the last year, two under two has left little time nor energy to devote to my beloved books. However, after Crosby turned one in September, I started to feel the shift. The shift that happens when your baby slowly starts sleeping through the night and becoming an actual little person. This shift is one of the most beautiful parts of motherhood, because it's during this shift, that you change too. Instead of being a sleep-deprived Mombie, you slowly start to gain pieces of your pre-baby self back.

For me, this was my reading habit. In the 8-month span of January-August, I averaged 2.25 books read per month. In the 2-month span of September-October, I averaged four books read. I'm back, bitches! (Come find me on GoodReads!)

Here's what I read in September and October 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (★★)
Description: "Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed."

There is a reason this book consistently gets five-star reviews. It is timely, poignant, and heartbreaking. Although, it's technically YA, it is such an important read for all Americans. 

Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker (★★)
Description: "In this highly anticipated new book, beloved author Jen Hatmaker parlays her own triumphs and tragedies into a sigh of relief for all normal, fierce women everywhere. Whether it’s the time she drove to the wrong city for a fourth-grade field trip (“Why are we in San Antonio?”) or the way she learned to forgive (God was super clear: Pray for this person every day, which was the meanest thing He ever said to me. I was furious.), she offers a reminder to those of us who sometimes hide in the car eating crackers that we do have the moxie to get back up and get back out. We can choose to live undaunted “in the moment” no matter what the moments hold, and lead vibrant, courageous, grace-filled lives."

I mean, who doesn't love Jen Hatmaker? I found myself copying and pasting her little nuggets of truth in the "Notes" app on my phone. I loved the way she talked about creating a home and not feeling guilty for wanting to make your house a beautiful place to live in. I love the way she talked about the seasons of parenting. The way she writes make you feel like a dear friend, and this book was no exception.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (
Description: "On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media mogul's family."

This is not a book I would normally read. I started it months ago for a reading challenge and was just determined to find out "who dunnit." Unfortunately, the ending stunk and I felt so angry that I wasted my time on it. There was so much build-up for a ridiculous conclusion.

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig (★★★★) 
Description: "It Starts With Food outlines a clear, balanced, sustainable plan to change the way you eat forever—and transform your life in unexpected ways. Your success story begins with "The Whole30," Dallas and Melissa Hartwig's powerful 30-day nutritional reset."

A friend lent this book to me to read while I did my Whole30 in October. I wanted to know the science and theory behind it. Mostly, I wanted to know why I was doing it. I wanted to be able to tell people why I needed to reset my eating and create healthier habits. This book totally did that and I would recommend it as the first place to start if you're considering trying the Whole30 out for yourself.

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel (★★★) | Description: "If the viral Buzzfeed-style personality quizzes are any indication, we are collectively obsessed with the idea of defining and knowing ourselves and our unique place in the world. But what we're finding is this: knowing which Harry Potter character you are is easy, but actually knowing yourself isn't as simple as just checking a few boxes on an online quiz."

I follow Anne's blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy religiously and listen to her podcast, What Should I Read Next on long drives. I've been a fan for awhile, so I was excited to see she had written a book of her own. I have a feeling this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I was kind of disappointed. Although the subject matter was interesting, I didn't feel like it was anything I couldn't get from reading an Introduction to Psychology textbook. If you're someone who's obsessed with personality assessments, by all means, have at it. Otherwise, meh.

This Undeserved Life: Uncovering the gifts of grief and the fullness of life by Natalie Brenner (★★)
Description: "In THIS UNDESERVED LIFE, you will not only find permission, you will encounter the invitation to grieve loss. You will uncover loss and brokenness are not a part of God's plan, you are not faithless if you choose to give loss the space it demands, and you are not petty if you offer sadness a voice."

This was another example of a blogger-turned-author that I was just too curious to pass up. Natalie's blog has evolved over time and I've loved following her journey into motherhood, but this book was also a little disappointing to me. I don't mean to sound harsh, but there was one major bone I had to pick. I loved her honesty and the authenticity with which she shared her family's journey. She suffered some serious heartache and spiritual abuse by a former Church which was a prominent theme throughout the book. However, she clung to her faith and repeatedly espoused how much she wanted to model the example of Jesus. This was all well and good except I felt that after experiencing a "breakup" with the Church, it would have made sense to me to know why she still maintained faith and why she would want anything to do with Christianity after what she endured. I felt as though it was a crucial piece that was missing from her memoir. 

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz (★★)
Description: "Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother."

I received this ARC from NetGalley. It was another modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice set during Christmastime which I loved, of course. The main difference, was that the author reversed the roles so that Darcy was an affluent, ambitious woman. This was cutesy, holiday fluff. I'm not sure the gender-reversal of Darcy worked, but I appreciated the attempt. It was a little too cheesy for my taste, but I enjoyed the happy ending.

Toddlers Are A**holes: It's Not Your Fault by Bunmi Laditan  (★★)
Description: "Bunmi Laditan's hilarious, satirical guide to toddlerhood offers parents instant (and very welcome) comic relief—along with the very good news that "It's Not Your Fault." Chapters cover the cost of raising a toddler, feeding your toddler, potty-training, tantrums, how to manage the holidays, and "how not to die inside." Parents will see themselves in the very funny sections on taking your toddler to restaurants ("One parent will spend their time walking your toddler around the restaurant and outside like a cocker spaniel, while the other, luckier parent will eat alone."), Things You Thought You'd Never Say That You Now Say As a Parent of a Toddler ("I can tell you're pooping because your eyes are watering."), and how to order pizza ("Spend $40 on pizza delivery. Listen to your toddler cry for 30 minutes about how the pizza is all wrong. Watch your toddler take a small bite of crust. Google 'can anger give you a heart attack?' Start the bedtime routine.")."

Boy, oh boy, did I need this book in my life. It was a super quick read, but was so timely. I was dealing with some serious toddler assholery so this book came at the perfect time. For parents of toddlers, read this book. I beg of you. It will make you laugh until you cry. You aren't alone in parenting your asshole toddler and this book will give you hope, and a whole lot of laughter.

Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America's Gutsiest Troublemakers by Nick Offerman (★)
Description: "The star of Parks and Recreation and author of the New York Times bestseller Paddle Your Own Canoe returns with a second book that humorously highlights twenty-one figures from our nation’s history, from her inception to present day—Nick’s personal pantheon of “great Americans.”"

You probably know Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation. Not only does this guy nail his character of Ron Swanson, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that he can actually write. His writing style has a rambling, whimsical flavor to it that I really enjoyed. It also didn't hurt that I loved his choices for great Americans with "gumption" and the reasons he chose them. If you like his brand of humor, I'd highly recommend this book.

I had a pretty good crop in September and October and I'm currently working my way through Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms by Amanda Steinberg after Glennon Doyle mentioned it in one of her "family meetings."

Have you read any of these? Did you agree with my review?

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