Which books are worth the read and which should you skip? Find out what books I’ve been reading lately and whether I recommend them.
What are you reading right now?
That’s the question I wish people would ask me, knowing how much I love books. But they never do. They like to stick to How are you? (The answer is always fine no matter how I feel) and How are the kids? (Standard reply: Good. They are getting so big.)
Hence, the joy of being a book blogger. No one has asked me what I’m reading lately, but I’m going to tell them anyway.
Since my January reading update, I have ten more books to review for you. I’ve read more than that, but I save my reviews of advanced copies until closer to publication date.
Nonfiction has been dominating my reading lately. My new year’s resolutions seem to have carried over into February – reading about ways to improve my blog and ways to improve myself.
Scroll on down to read my reviews of my recent reads. Find out which I recommend you read and which I recommend you skip.
February Reading List
For Christmas, I bought myself several business books to help take my blog to the next level. I decided to try Ruth Soukup’s classic blogging book, How to Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul. What a mistake. I wish I had just waited a few weeks before purchasing it because in January she came out with a revised edition. The Second Edition, which I read, was severely outdated. Most of the book was too basic for my current level of blogging, though she did have some excellent advice on sponsored content. All in all, she inspired me to fix several things on my site, but I would only recommend it if you are just starting out. Now the debate is whether I shell out some cash to check out the updated version.
Reading Challenge: Nonfiction Topic You Love. Greg McKeown encourages you to the pursuit of less into all aspects of your life. Described as essentialism, McKeown urges you to learn how to decide what is most essential and then cut out anything else. All about reclaiming your life through powerful choices, McKeown will make you realize it’s not about having more time, it’s about doing the right things with the time you have.
It’s not a secret that most modern moms feel overwhelmed. In her new book, Tonya Dalton explains that this feeling of overwhelm comes more from not having your priorities in order than from having too much to do. Dalton focuses on finding your motivations and be more productive by doing less. If you like a down-to-earth style writing style with relatable examples, this is a great alternative to Greg McKeown’s Essentialism.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
If you’ve ever had dreams of being a social media influencer, Brittany Hennessy’s book will make them all disappear. Having worked with thousands of influencers at Hearst Magazines Digital Media, Hennessey knows exactly what brands are looking for an influencer, and you’ll realize just how much work it entails. Hennessey’s book is geared toward hugely successful Instagram accounts, generally in the fashion and beauty niches. However, even as a small blogger, I learned a few good tips to understand how influencer marketing works and what I can do to improve my strategy.
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Reading Challenge: A Love Story. At 87 years old, Hollywood bombshell Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to reveal her story – all the salacious details of her unapologetic life rising to stardom and about her seven husbands. After all the hype this book has received I expected a sure-fire five-star read. I loved Daisy Jones & The Six, so of course, I would love this one, right?
Unfortunately, I just didn’t. Reid’s writing is just as clever and the story keeps you engaged through all seven husbands. I think I just expected too much. Evelyn Hugo was a more modern-day Scarlett O’Hara whom I just never fully connected with. However, don’t let me put you off from reading the book. I seem to be in the minority here, and if you read it, you’ll likely love it.
Reading Challenge: Make You Laugh. Bestselling Christian author Jen Hatmaker’s eighth book is a tribute to women. I’d only ever read an article she wrote about the end of school (which was hilarious), so I had no idea what to expect. Her book relies more on her personality than its substance, so I highly suggest you pick up the audiobook. If you don’t like her down-to-earth “Heaven help us” attitude, you won’t like her book. It is a Christian book, so certain chapters are preachy. However, I can see where many Christians will complain: she takes less than conservative stances in positions and language and frequently mentions alcohol. Overall, I took away nothing from this book, but I did laugh a ton.
Palestinian Bassam Aramin and Israeli Rami Elhanan find a connection through grief when both have daughters killed by the ongoing conflict. United through tragedy, both hope to find a way towards peace. Based on a true story, McCann’s novel pieces together stories, literary quotes, biblical references and even art to convey the depth of grief felt by these two families. Different than my usual fare, I ended up giving up at about 15%. The story is told in disjointed little segments that were extraordinarily boring and dry.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Random House through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
You’d think I’d have already read every minimalism book out there, but no. I just can’t seem to stop myself from picking up any ones I can get my hands on. In When Less Becomes More, Emily Ley preaches the benefits of slow living. The book itself is gorgeous – with thick pages, dreamy full-page color photos, and even a ribbon to use as a bookmark. The content itself was nothing special. Ley delves into why you should slow down, but doesn’t give many practical tips on how to slow down. If you’re interested in reading about the slow living lifestyle, I would suggest Brooke McAlary’s Slow instead.
Reading Challenge: Less Than 200 Pages. Finances and accounting can seem overwhelming if you have no first-hand experience, so that’s where good business books come in. Mike Michalowicz takes an easily managed profit-first approach to Accounting – ensuring that you don’t let your business become a “cash-eating monster.” I devoured this book in one evening, and I am so excited to start implementing his strategy. One of my 2020 blogging goals is to finally pay myself a salary, and Michalowicz has inspired me to pay myself what I’m worth and still run a profitable business.
In Philippians 4:6, the Apostle Paul tells us we should be “anxious for nothing.” Americans today are more anxious than ever before, and Lucado uses insights and scripture to help you find inner peace despite the turbulence in the world today. Apparently, I didn’t read the description for this book before I started listening to the audiobook. I don’t mind when authors mention scriptures or their faith, but I can only tolerate a certain level of preachiness. The publisher’s description would have clearly shown me that Lucado’s book was way above my threshold. About 15 minutes in when Lucado said, “Let me introduce you to my friend” and his friend is a scripture verse, I immediately DNF’d.
Timothy Ballard is the founder of the nonprofit Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that works to stop global sex trafficking and rescue the victims of those heinous crimes. While I have the utmost respect for his incredible organization, this book was terrible. Ballard should have hired a better editor or a ghostwriter because his writing is stilted, his transitions are atrocious and he has no grasp of narrative drive.
The first half of the book is a rehash of Harriet Jacobs’s autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, but it loses all force in his retelling. The remaining portions are dedicated to stories of Operation Underground Railroad’s work in Haiti and historical stories of famous abolitionists, neither of which are told well. My suggestion, skip the book but donate to the cause because it’s worth it.
One of the best perks of being a book blogger is receiving advance review copies (ARCs) of upcoming book releases from publishers.
At the beginning of each month, I cover all the new book releases coming out, and the March 2020 book releases are right around the corner. Here’s a peek at the March releases I’ve already read.
My To-Read List
What’s up next for me? Before I let you go, here are a few of the titles I’m hoping to get through this upcoming month.
Be sure to come back in March to see which ones I read.
What books have you read in February?