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 do I do when I get stressed by, say, a global pandemic?
I check the news constantly. And I read.
Ever since things started to lockdown here in Utah, I’ve been struggling with my focus. I don’t have the energy to work on my blog or start a new project.
Instead, to force myself away from endlessly checking for news updates, I’ve been making my way through my TBR, finishing a book almost every day.
At this rate, I’ll probably finally finish my goal of reading every book I own.
If you are looking for suggestions on what to read (and not to read) while in isolation, here’s a look at all the books I’ve been reading lately. Hopefully, you’ll find something that your library has available in a digital format.
As always, I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading in March. Be sure to leave me a comment at the end of the post!
March Reading list
Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley
Successful YouTubers Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley to expand their #IMomSoHard brand with their recent 2019 book release. Giving honest details about the hilarious aspects of motherhood, Hensley and Smedley use lots of laughs and lots of wine to get them through the day. Speaking about what it’s like trying to figure out life post-kids, their biggest message is that it’s not only okay but normal for life to be a mess. While I thought some stories in the book were hilarious, I eventually got tired of the repetitiveness of the book. If you do pick this one up, I recommend the audiobook since they narrate it themselves.
A Debut Novel: If you are wanting a touching contemporary read, you’ve found the perfect choice in socially awkward Eleanor Oliphant. She has the habit of saying exactly what she thinks and much prefers to spend her time alone at home. When Eleanor and her slovenly coworker Raymond help an elderly gentleman after a fall, the three become friends and Eleanor learns that opening up isn’t always a bad thing.
At first, I was wondering if this beloved book club book would end up being an overrated bestseller. Eleanor’s abrupt style was rubbing me all the wrong ways. However, as you learn more about Eleanor’s history and her abusive mother, you realize how extraordinarily strong Eleanor is. You’ll fall in love with this girl who just needs a little love. A wonderful read that I can’t recommend enough.
During a tense murder trial, high school teacher Bobby Nock is accused of murdering a wealthy white student. Initially the lone “not guilty” vote, juror Maya Seale swings her fellow jurors to acquit. During a reunion of the jurors ten years later, a fellow juror turns up dead in Maya’s room. Now, Maya is the main suspect, and it’s her turn to prove her innocence.
The Holdout will keep you guessing whodunit, then and now. Graham Moore’s legal thriller reminded me of John Grisham’s early books, combining courtroom drama with insightful looks at the justice system. The action keeps the narrative moving along at a fast clip while the flashbacks help you understand how Maya was able to sway so many jurors. A quick read, The Holdout is a perfect beach read if you are looking for something to take with you for spring break.
A Book With Two Authors: With a book deal and a new show, home remodeling and design experts Melissa and Rusty Tripp are about to hit it big, if they don’t kill each other first. It’s up to their assistants Carey and James to keep things on track, and maybe find some love along the way. The writing duo Christina Lauren have developed a big following with their romance stories, so their newest book will be highly talked about this spring.
Having read it, it’s exactly what you’d expect – a quick light-hearted romance that’s ready to be made into a tv movie. Character development is kept at a minimum while romantic tension is kept at a maximum. Not exactly my usual fare (I will admit I skimmed over all the sex scenes), but sometimes it’s nice to read something that doesn’t make you think much.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Gallery Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
The ultimate bookworm, Anne Bogel, of the book blog Modern Mrs. Darcy and the podcast What Should I Read Next?, knows a thing or two about making big decisions. In her new book, she explains that indecision and negative thought patterns don’t have to be your life. You can stop overthinking it and start living the life you most want. At this stressful time, it’s more important than ever to try to calm our thoughts. Bogel’s advice is solid and a great place to start if you tend to overthink things.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
When I found out that school was out for three weeks, I stopped at Target to pick up some new video games (best mom ever) and I couldn’t resist also picking up Carrie Underwood’s new fitness book. Believing that fitness is a lifelong pursuit, Underwood shares her tips to becoming the strongest version of yourself. With meal plans, recipes, workout guides and plenty of tips, Carrie Underwood is giving you all the tips to get a body like hers.
I love that she is talking about lifestyle changes and not crash diets, because becoming healthy is a journey – and a hard one at that. I’ve been trying her workouts, and thus far, I’m hooked. Which is good, because with my local gym closed, I’m going to need some new workout routines.
Best known as the host of the tv show Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe charms with this collection of entertaining short stories. Each story showcases Rowe’s signature wit as he recalls anecdotes from his life and from interesting historical figures. Each tale is very short, just 3-5 pages generally, and leaves you guessing who the story is about until the very end. If you are looking for a lighthearted nonfiction pick, be sure to pick up this one.
DNF – Well-known restaurant critic and food writer Ruth Reichl’s latest memoir tells of her years as editor in chief of the magazine Gourmet. When first offered the position, Reichl had declined, worried about lacking the ability to manage and losing herself into a corporate world. Instead, Reichl reinvented a struggling magazine into a trendsetter, extending its life span – though not able to save it in the era of online media. I enjoyed the first two hours of the audiobook, and think this is probably an excellent read. However, now that I’m not going to the gym or driving anywhere, my audiobook opportunities have been limited and my library hold expired.
Everyone seems to have a side hustle nowadays, and Eric Ries’s advice is considered one of the top business books of the last decade. In The Lean Startup, Ries shows you why so many startups fail, and how you can avoid these same pitfalls by continuously adapting to changing customers’ needs. I was hoping this would be a great business book for blogging. It wasn’t. Ries topic is highly technical throughout the book, and I had a difficult time adapting it to my needs as a blogger. If you run a business that is creating a product, you’ll be better served by this book. Else, I would suggest avoiding it and finding something more applicable.
Book You Own But Haven’t Read. I have this insane goal of reading every classic book ever written, so I picked up a copy when I saw it at a thrift store. Set in a pre-industrial small Ohio town, Winesburg, Ohio is a collection of short stories about the people in the town. The closest thing to a main protagonist is 18-year-old George Willard, who has a bit part in every story. The characters have to deal with love, loneliness, mental illness, and the desire to escape small-town life. In all, it’s a good representation of that time period though it’s not exactly a gripping read. A rather forgettable classic that’s best suited for English majors.
Former Secret Service Agent Nick Averose now works as a security consultant. His job: to think like an assassin and test the vulnerabilities of the highest officials. When running a test on a former CIA director, he finds the man dead. Nick is obviously being used as a scapegoat. Can Nick prove his innocence and stop the conspiracy he has become tied up in? Book of the Month rarely runs thrillers of the political variety, so I expected this to be a knockout. Instead, it was just a forgettable mass-market thriller with strictly black and white characters.
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 April 2020 book releases are right around the corner. Here’s a peek at the April 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 April to see which ones I read.
What books did you read in March?