Book Review x 6

My heart is happy when I am all consumed by a great book.

Traveling for ten months automatically disconnects you from time sucking activities like television and reconnects you with exploring, whether it be a city, literature, or history. We have attempted to maintain our detachment from TV (aided by our lack of cable) and our attachment to reading and exploring by allowing ourselves full nights dedicated to playtime at the park with the girls, long walks, and time spent cuddled up in a mound of blankets engrossed in our current books. Last night was one of those nights (I finished this and immediately started this). Here are some of my latest reads that had me reflecting on the past, future and my morals, while others were the perfect lighthearted escape from life. Have you read anything great lately? I am in dire need of some great book recommendations!!

20140423-145343.jpg The New American Road Trip Mixtape: Post breakup, Brendan hits the open road searching for healing and the meaning of life. Recommended to me by Justin, this book made me want to pack everything back up again and hit the road searching for the greater purpose of my life. A great book to get you thinking about your heart’s deeper desires and the purpose and destination of the road you are traveling on.

Orange is the New Black: Piper’s past catches up to her and lands her fifteen months in jail where she shares her attempts at navigating her new world behind bars. An easy, quick read that made me want to stay on this side of that barbed wire fence.

The Husband’s Secret: Imagine stumbling upon a letter written to you by your husband in the case of his death confessing his deepest, darkest secret that will change everything in everyone’s lives. That’s what happens to Cecelia while her husband is still alive…I’ve said it before and I will say it again: I’m a sucker for books featuring chapters from multiple character perspectives, each giving you a little more detail into the past, present, and future. You will not regret picking up this book as it is incredibly well written, keeps you engaged, and makes you reflect on how you would handle similar situations. Read it NOW.

Unbroken: A World War II Story: This story has sat on my Kindle since it gained popularity but for some unknown reason I never chose to start it, however, once I finally did, I was hooked. The unfathomable story of survival Louis Zamperini endured during World War II was heartwrenching, unbelievable, and powerful. Although I wish I wouldn’t have read this during my five flights to/from Nashville, I’m so glad I finally sat down to learn this story of such an incredible man.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette: Bernadette, a wife and mother, suddenly disappears and her daughter, Bee, is determined to find out just where she went. Lighthearted, witty, and page turning.

Cartwheel: Based off the Amanda Knox trial, I was hoping this book would throw some curveballs and perhaps even end with the reader knowing for sure what happened, but in the end it was just like the real-life trial: no answers, lots of acquittals. At best I grudged through it, just trying to finish, hoping for something, anything. Definitely not one I would recommend.


Book Review // I’m Proud of You

ProudThis month’s book club choice, I’m Proud of You by Tim Madigan, reveals the unlikely friendship between newspaper writer, Tim Madigan, and Fred Rogers. Yes, Fred Rogers is thee Mister Rogers that we all know and love from our childhood and who resonates throughout this memoir as a compassionate, thoughtful, and wise friend, husband, and person. Although their relationship is the main focus of the story, I felt the amazing lessons Tim learned from Fred about friendship, love, and life were the real shining moments that anyone could take to heart and apply to their everyday life. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Never assume there is going to be more than this day. We must never take love for granted (146).

Anything mentionable is manageable (3).

Every second is sacred time, in one way or another…every day is a gift to each of one of us…no matter what our present prognosis happens to be (111).

“I am because we are”…I would be a very different person without you (7).

Your wounded heart is a very beautiful heart. In fact, it has probably allowed you to understand the hearts of all others who are ‘wounded’. And whose isn’t, in some way? Some are just a little more obvious than others (7).

Each and every act of kindness done by anyone anywhere resonates out into the world and somehow, mysteriously, and perfectly, touches us all (78).

These life lessons from Mister Rogers as well as his innate ability to focus the whole of his attention on the work, the person or the situation directly in front of him at that precise moment are words and actions I will continue to try to emulate in the future to be a better friend, partner, coworker, sibling, daughter, and citizen. That being said, I highly recommend reading this book, but be forewarned it is NOT appropriate for an airplane unless you like bawling at 30,000 feet in the air surrounded by complete strangers (I tried it – it isn’t pretty) – a definite tear jerker.

Now head over to {little lessons in a big city} and All Things E to read Chelsea and Erika’s thoughts on this month’s book! And join us next month for…

Next Month’s Book Club Pick: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
(Get your copy now and read along with us: paperback, Kindle)


Book Review // He’s Gone

he'sgoneHe’s Gone by Deb Caletti

You wake up Sunday morning, roll over, and realize your husband isn’t in bed.
You listen for sounds that verify he is somewhere in the house (coffee maker, tv, etc).
You hear none of these.
You figure he went to work or maybe to grab you breakfast from the bakery.
Night comes and still no word from or sight of your hubby.
You begin to panic.
You recall the events of the last 24 hours (his company party, one too many glasses of wine, an argument, muddy sheets, and falling asleep in bed).
You can’t remember seeing him in the house or coming to bed.
As the hours and days pass, you have to come to terms with the fact that your husband has vanished.
But where? How?

Personal Opinion:  When Chelsea suggested He’s Gone for this month’s read, I was downloading it to my Kindle and starting it before I even told her I was in. From the book description I was immediately hooked and brainstorming a million possibilities for her missing husband. Let’s be honest, as much as we hate to, we’ve all imagined this unfathomable situation and this book brings all those emotions/thoughts to the surface. I’m not going to lie though, I was HUGELY disappointed with the outcome. As a “Best Book of the Month” pick on Amazon, I expected more. Call it grim, but I wanted a juicier ending. I don’t want to give away too much in case you are reading or want to read this book, but I HAVE to know: If you’ve read this book what are your thoughts on the ending?

Now head over to {little lessons in a big city} to see what Chelsea thought!
And we would love to have you join us for next month’s book review of one of all of our friends, Mr. Rogers!

Next Month’s Book Club Pick:
(Get your copy now: paperback, Kindle)


Book Review // Love with a Chance of Drowning

Sailing2Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRouche

“City girl Torre DeRoche isn’t looking for love, but a chance encounter in a San Francisco bar sparks an instant connection with a soulful Argentinean man who unexpectedly sweeps her off her feet. The problem? He’s just about to cast the dock lines and voyage around the world on his small sailboat, and Torre is terrified of deep water. However, lovesick Torre determines that to keep the man of her dreams, she must embark on the voyage of her nightmares, so she waves good-bye to dry land and braces for a life-changing journey that’s as exhilarating as it is terrifying.” (summary via)

Doesn’t that simply sound like a dream? Getting whisked away by a man with an accent? To sail the Pacific Ocean? To see the most remote islands in the world? To overcome your fears? To find the love of your life? To rediscover yourself? Not just one of those, but all of them combined into two consecutive years. Where do I sign up? The best part about this fairytale is that it is her REAL LIFE. Yep, this book is a memoir (which I dumbly didn’t realize until I was over 70% through the book), which just proves that real life prince charmings do exist (if mine wasn’t proof enough ;))! Being one who’s generally up for an adventure, I found myself relating to Torre’s consistent need for a plan and a to-do list, rooting for her to overcome her fear of the deep blue sea, fully enchanted by their connections with the ocean, people, wildlife, and one another and their earning for new adventures. You can should read the book (paperback, Kindle) and follow Torre’s blog, The Fearful Adventurer, for more beautiful writing, inspiration, and hilarious tales.

…great feats are accomplished mile by mile and word by word…

Life now feels like a game without rules, one I can design to my liking within this enormous playground called earth.

You’ll never feel a hundred percent ready. You just have to go.

Now head over to {little lessons in a big city} to read Chelsea’s review HERE and check out Erika’s review HERE! And please join us for next month’s book club review! I read two sentences and am 100% hooked!

Next Month’s Book Club Pick: He’s Gone by Deb Caletti
(Get your copy now: paperback, Kindle)
(read my review here)

he'sgone**Quotes taken from Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRouche**

Book Review: Lean In

LeanInLean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

The criticism surrounding this “sort of feminist manifesto” is out of this world. From the claims she had a ghost writer to the scrutiny that Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, herself is too privileged to offer career advice to women struggling with the day-to-day realities to reviews that her entire process of leaning in to the workplace and out of the home is impractical. But as Sheryl says, women must start supporting women and I for one am a huge supporter of her and this book! From the moment I started reading it I have been guilty on more than one a hundred occasions of bringing up her ideas in conversation, to prove points, and to further my own ambitions. I’ve talked about it so much in fact that Justin, by his own freewill mind you, is now reading the book! Here are just a few of my favorite quotes that will probably become my subconscious motivators from here on out.

“Done is better than perfect.”

“There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”

“There’s a special place in hell for women who do not help other women”

“If I had to embrace a definition of success, it would be that success is making the best choices we can…and accepting them.”

“Owning one’s success is key to achieving more success.”

“Self-doubt becomes a form of self-defense”

“A feminist is someone who believes in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”

Crap, guess I’m a feminist now. 🙂

NOW…Go to {little lessons in a big city} and read Chelsea’s review HERE!
AND..leave me a comment below on your thoughts!

Next Month’s Book Club Pick: Love with a Chance of Drowning