Tuesday, January 2, 2018

what I'm reading lately: November & December!

I didn't read a lot in November... but I more than made up for it in December (not sure where I found the time!) so I thought I would just combine my recent reads together into one post.  Even with the busy holidays I found plenty of time to read and read quite a few great books! This is such a great time of year to read... with the short days, cold and snowy weather and a serious case of cabin fever - it's the perfect time to get a big stack of books from the library and dig in!

The Thousandth Floor & The Dazzling Heights... Part one and two of this YA trilogy were SUPER fun to read.  Think Gossip Girl meets the future and you get an idea of what this series is like.  The book follows 5 high schoolers living in a 1,000 floor super tower in New York City.  Drama, death, new age drugs, lots of futuristic technology and first loves take center stage without being overly cheesy.  These two books are super light and fun page turners.  I can't wait for the third book to come out!

The Immortalists... Four siblings visit a fortune teller when they are young to find out the day of their death in the future. What follows is one of the most unforgettable books I've read in a long time. I can't really do justice to this book I'm afraid! Half way through I didn't know if I could continue reading this book - it's raw and sad and at times just very difficult to read that I was getting discouraged. But then I realized that I was so sucked into the characters that even their sad stories couldn't keep me away. I'm so glad I kept with it, this a super thought provoking book that I won't soon forget. This book is released next week so be sure to put it on reserve at the library or pre-order it from Amazon. (*please note, an Advanced Reader Copy of this book was given to me for free, all opinions are my own)

Braving the Wilderness... I love everything Brene Brown writes, but this book was a disappointment to me.  It was super political and to "of the moment" for me. I loved the premise of the book, but I would have appreciated some more longevity to the issues she dug into. With that being said I love her other books and highly recommend Daring Greatly if you haven't ever read anything by her.

A Dangerous Crossing... Set of the late summer of 1939 - this historical fiction master follows the story of Lily Shepard, a young British woman taking advantages of England's free program to move to Australia to fill a void in domestic service personnel.  On the five and a half week trip aboard the ocean liner her life will be altered forever. Everyone on board seem to be escaping from something and when two people are dead by the time the boat lands in Australia - there are many mysteries to be solved.  This is also a coming of age story as well.  And while the storyline may sound cliche I thoroughly loved the characters and enjoyed this book.  This book is released next week so be sure to put it on reserve at the library or pre-order it from Amazon. (*please note, an Advanced Reader Copy of this book was given to me for free, all opinions are my own)

The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation's Largest Home... A fantastic history of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.  While at times this book was a little slow moving and overwhelming - 350 solid pages of non-fiction - the narrative and history was well told and super interesting to read. I can't WAIT to plan trip to Asheville soon!

The Four Tendencies... I love a good non-fiction/self-help book from time to time.  Gretchen Rubin lays out four personality tendencies based on her research in this super intriguing book.  Based on whether you are internally or externally motivated she has four tendencies built out and then analyzes them.  I found this to be ultra helpful for myself and while I skimmed a lot of the book, I learned a ton.  I highly recommend this book to find out more about yourself and your loved ones.

The Gilded Years... Based on the true story of Anita Hemmings, an African American woman that "passed" as white in order to attend Vassar College in the late 1800's, this book was fascinating. The idea of "passing" was a foreign one to me, but I learned from the book that children that were born of a slave owner and their slave mother often had light enough skin to live as white people after the Civil War made slaves free but before segregation ended and equal rights came about many years later. This book was an absolute page turner for me with an extremely lovable main character, Anita.  I did find some of the writing to be a little sophomoric and the dialogue writing seemed forced at times, which was kind of distracting for such a great story.  But this book is definitely worth a read. Anita Hemmings was a trailblazer in her time and an incredibly brave woman that never took "no" for an answer.

What have you been reading lately? Any of these books? I would love to know!

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