Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Report [ #thecirclelinkup ]

Can you believe that it’s almost November?  I definitely can’t.  Time is flying by, and Baby Harrell will be here before we know it!

I know that my blogging has fallen by the wayside since being pregnant, but I have so many things that I’m hoping to put into posts soon… I have nothing but good intentions. :)

First up on that list is a little report of what I’ve been reading lately.  I haven’t done an update on any books I’ve read since July, but not a full post since February… So today I want to link-up again with Kiki at In Its Time for a little twist on this month’s #thecirclelinkup.

Instead of answering the lovely questions that Kiki provided, I wanted to kind of just go through the books that I’ve read lately and give my own little review.  Some good, some not so good… but I’ll be honest. :)

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

“When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened? In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.”

Zack’s mom lent this book to me and it did not disappoint.  This true account of Susannah Cahalan’s experience was equally intriguing and terrifying to read.  I had to constantly remind myself throughout that this was a real story happening to a real person, it was just insane.  I think it would be a good read if you’re interested in psychology but also if you’re in the medical field of any kind.  It’s a good lesson on empathy and truly listening to your patient’s needs and concerns.

Thumbs Up!

Save the Date by Jenn Doll

“In Save the Date, Jen Doll charts the course of her own perennial wedding guesthood, from the ceremony of distant family members when she was eight to the recent nuptials of a new boyfriend’s friends.”

I wanted to like this book, I really did.  I LOVE going to weddings, and I thought this book would be an interesting one for me… Sadly, it was not my favorite.  I felt like the whole book she was trying to make some profound connection between all these weddings and life… but never fully got there.  

Thumbs Down!

The One by Kiera Cass

“The Selection changed America Singer's life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of IllĂ©a, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen—and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she's made her choice . . . and she's prepared to fight for the future she wants.”

This is the third book in “The Selection” series.  I was a fan of the series in general, but I’m really into the YA dystopian genre.  It was a mindless read that entertained, kind of the Bachelor meets YA dystopian society?  Sounds pretty lame, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to people, but I wouldn’t advise against reading it also.  I just read somewhere today that Kiera Cass will be writing 2 more books to this series.

Thumbs up!

The One & Only by Emily Giffin

“Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.
But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her.”

That description up there is extremely misleading.  Let me preface by saying I’m normally a huge fan of Emily Giffin’s books… but this one was not my favorite.  I always finish a book no matter how bad it is… but I seriously contemplated not finishing this one.  It was just too weird for me.  Of course I still finished it, but only with the hopes that Giffin could somehow turn it around, but that was not the case.

(big) Thumbs Down!

Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple

“Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.  Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.  To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.”

I had been meaning to read this book for a long time, I had heard great things.  Luckily it lived up to all the hype and I really enjoyed it!  It was a breath of fresh air after that last read up there. :)  This was my favorite read of the bunch.

Thumbs Up!

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

“Eleanor, 15, is the new girl at school and bullied because she's overweight and dresses in a flamboyant manner. Park is a half-Korean boy who has lived in Omaha, Nebraska, all his life but still feels like an outsider. This is a story of first love, which very slowly builds from the first day Eleanor sits next to Park on the school bus. First they ignore each other, and then they slowly become friends through their love of comic books and 1980s alternative music. Park is the only good thing in Eleanor's life. Her home life is a miserable exercise in trying to stay out of her abusive stepfather's way, and finding new ways to wear the same clothes repeatedly since there is no money for anything extra. Park adores everything about Eleanor, and she finds refuge at his house after school with his understanding parents. Things finally explode at Eleanor's house and Eleanor and Park's relationship is truly tested.”

This was another book that I had been wanting to read for awhile and finally got around to it.  The story was heartfelt and it was a good read overall… I was just not a huge fan of the ending.

Thumbs Up!


What’s next on my reading list?  Someday, Someday, Maybe and Beautiful Ruins… not to mention a couple childbirth books that were recommended to us!

What was the best book you’ve read this year?!


  1. Oh, I loved Where'd You Go Bernadette! Such a fun and cleverly written book. I finally got around to Eleanor & Park fairly recently too and enjoyed it, especially because it got me onto some of Rainbow Rowell's other books - I really liked Attachments too.

    Also enjoyed Beautiful Ruins, and won't say I exactly enjoyed Ina May, but I did find her information very useful for delivery! Thanks for sharing and linking :)

  2. I looooooooove The One! The whole trilogy was excellent! I want there to be more!

  3. Ooh, I'm glad you did a review of sorts! I've been wanting to read Where'd You Go Bernadette? AND Eleanor and Park because I've heard so many great things about both. It sounds like they must be really great reads and I'm glad you reviewed them, too. :)

    Thanks for linking up!

  4. looks like we have some similar reading habits :) i read one and only, and, let me tell you - it was a rough go. i've read all of emily's books, but this one.. ahh.. didn't some too realistic (and the main lady, shea, got herself into such horrid situations). as for where'd you go bernadette? finished it in 3 days. and i thought eleanor and park was sweet!

  5. Oh....Brain on Fire sounds intriguing!! I'm aso dying to read "The Selection" series soon. :)


Thanks for your sweet words! I value each and every comment and do my best to respond to them all via email--so be sure to leave your email address. Hope you have an amazing day! :)