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I haven’t been great at sticking my head in a book since this summer. I never intentionally stop reading, but when I start up again, I am always quickly reminded how much I miss deliberately learning and connecting to different worlds and characters. I read some great books this month and I’m excited to keep it up in December!
This is the rating system I am going to use from Goodreads; you’re welcome to add me by clicking here.
*One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly: The Art of Seeking God by Ashley Mae Hoiland // 5 stars
“I’ve both found and lost God a hundred times over.” This was one of the quotes from the book that I saw in a previous review before I picked it up. I wasn’t sure what the actual book would be like in my hands, but I absolutely loved how Hoiland wrote about her faith and doubts in one book that was both uplifting as it was constructive. Hoiland really appeals to LDS/Mormon women with her memoir about life and her journey; my mother-in-law read a few pages and felt a little lost so I do think it would be best kept in this audience. Hoiland’s writing is emotional without being draining and I enjoyed her unique way of storytelling things that were so easy to relate to. I found myself marking several pages to read and think about later and I made a pretty long list of people I would recommend this book to while reading. Hoiland does a wonderful job weaving themes throughout her chapters on topics of childhood, motherhood, and people who show up in church history and scriptures. Beyond writing, I enjoyed the illustrations also by the author throughout the book. I know that I’ll be picking this book up again to read on a future date and I look forward to seeing more books published by Hoiland.
*This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick //3 stars
As someone who definitely struggled finding “home” after our move to Atlanta, this book sounded right up my alley. This Is Where You Belong is half memoir and half researched based self-help to help you to understand the science of really enjoying where you live. The author’s life is enjoyable and down to earth and the book is very well written. Something I really enjoyed about the book was how relevant I found it to be in conversations I have. However, the downside was that the book wasn’t the page turner I hoped it would be either. It took me a long time to actually get through the book because the topics were very circular and the chapters were pretty long. Even if you love where you live, I would recommend this book because the studies presented are really interesting and you learn a lot about American migration patterns. Have a blank space in a conversation? This big has plenty of neutral topics and studies you could fit into most conversations. I also really enjoyed the questions to work through and apply to your own life at the end of every chapter.
*The Beautiful Pretender (A Medieval Fairy Tale) by Melanie Dickerson // 3 stars
It has been a long time since I have read a fairy tale and reading this book made me realize this has definitely been missed! After inheriting a title, the anti-social Margrave of Thornbeck is ordered by the King to find a noble bride quickly. At the encouragement of his servants, the Margrave has a ball to meet his perfect match. The female protagonist, Avelina, has been given other instructions: to keep her identity secret and to make sure the Margrave doesn’t fall in love with her. Of course, the plot becomes more complex than just that 😉 and you definitely root for the main characters. The book was an easy to read, the plot was easy to follow (and guess), and the book was very family friendly. It was nice to read this after a few heavier reads because I enjoyed the characters a lot, had a good time laughing at some of the adjectives describing the Margrave’s jaw line and broad chest, and I would happily recommend this book as an easy page turner. I will admit that I thought it would end faster than it would and couldn’t figure out what the author would write about for the rest of it, but I was still a fan as I am already planning on reading more of the author’s books in the future.
The Actor and the Housewife: A Novel by Shannon Hale// 4 stars
Wow. I love this author and I read the book in 24 hours, but I have SO MANY MIXED FEELINGS. I read the reviews midway through reading the book when I realized I kept raising my eyebrow and realized many other reviewers (that didn’t include spoilers) felt the same exact way. This book aims to answer the question “can men and women just be friends?” and you find yourself asking that question many, many times as you read. Felix Calahan, a famous actor, meets Becky who is a new and upcoming screen writer; both are married. They develop an instant bond much to looming questions of what boundaries and moral behavior looks like. I found myself cheering for them half of the book and them uncomfortably squirming when I realized the implications of what that would mean. The plot development is very good, but characters like spouses are put in the background as you evaluate your own thoughts about the friendship that Felix and Becky have. I felt like a piano was dropped on me at the ending and found myself so surprised that I actually read the last 20% of the book TWO TIMES. Shannon Hale is a great author and I love that I can read her books from different categories back to back without feeling like it is the same author, but this one really has me stumped.