In true Alycia fashion, I’ve been a bit MIA for the past couple weeks because, well– life, holidays, jobs, and a little more life. But I’m back, at least for this week, and I’m determined to make it up to you, and also stay just a little on track.
I did a little math- shocking right? If I review a few more each week, and don’t fall off the wagon any more and skip multiple weeks at a time, I can still finish this by the end of the year. Bear with me, guys!
Buckle up, and get ready for a long-winded list of a few “gems”, a few “mehs”, and a few “not for me’s.” Oh the beauty of books!
I’m also so thrilled that some of you are picking up these books that crossed my path this year! If you’re wanting to read, or have already read any of these books, send me a message, I’d love to discuss it with you!
One Day in December by Josie Silver
The perfect December read, or July read, because that’s when I read it, and it really isn’t a Christmas story, despite the Christmasy cover and title.
This is just a light read of a love story that expands over years of irony, friendship, more irony, missed opportunities, the wrong match, the right match for the time, the end of a wrong match and a right match, the feeling of “this can never possibly happen” right before it does– basically there is at least something or someone in this book you will relate to.
This is the perfect book to binge by the fire over the holiday break!
A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
This is a book way outside of my comfort zone, hence why I enjoyed it. I think we all, me included, tend to read too many books about people like us- the same ethnicity, same religion, same overall culture.
In a Woman is No Man, Rum shares the good, bad, and ugly of a culture she knows very well. This story expands multiple generations of a Muslim family struggling to make ends meet in New York. She explores the pain of cultural norms that oppress women, and the strength needed to overcome.
This is an impactful and eye-opening read.
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
Anyone who has ever heard Brene Brown speak knows that she is incredibly qualified to write a book on leadership.
In this book, Brown addresses that leadership is not about power over people, it’s about daring to recognize people, their gifts, and their working styles in order to get the most out of the people on your team.
She addresses that leadership is not an excuse to stop learning, and it especially doesn’t mean that the people you lead will not help you grow as well.
This is a great and bold read for anyone in a manager or leadership position.
Britt Marie Was Here by Frederick Backman
If you’ve followed any of my other blogs then you know I’m a big Backman fan. While this wasn’t my favorite novel by him, it was still a joy to read– he’s just that good.
This book follows the story of a quirky, OCD, woman who is trying to reestablish herself in her older age after walking out on her cheating husband. She finds herself in a deserted town working a job she is not qualified for, but no one else wanted, of managing a run-down recreation center.
The woman’s growth, experience, and relationships made throughout this story will warm your heart, and remind you just how darn endearing Backman’s unique characters and stories can be.
Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand
I had never read any Elin Hilderbrand before when this popped up on my Book of The Month Club options and peeked my attention. I got bit by the bug- as you will see in later reviews.
Elin is the master of the quick and enjoyable read, but unlike others of this nature, she rarely includes the typical cliches or awkward dialogue that tends to rip you out of books of this nature.
In this particular novel, Hilderbrand brings you to the Islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard to spend time in the lives and drama of Levin family during perhaps one of the most exciting summers in US history.
Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene
I have conflicting opinions of this book, as it started off incredibly strong, but tended to drag out about 100 pages longer than I thought necessary. Then again, who am I to judge someone’s true story of their tragedy.
That’s what this book was, the true story of how Greene and his wife dealt with the tragic and unexpected death of their toddler daughter.
In this memoir, Greene is raw with emotion, and incredibly vulnerable with the reader. I think for the right reader, it could be an impactful tale of grief, and possibly even a healing experience for other broken hearts.
Searching for Silvie Lee by Jene Kwok
This book was not for me. While I hate giving a book such a low rating, this one was very hard for me to get through.
When I started this book, I did not expect to give it such a low rating. It was highly recommended by influencers and the story line started out solid. The writing style just didn’t deliver, in my opinion.
First, the book was very SLOW and awkward. It took me on so many side roads, and I never knew what direction it was going in- but not in a good way.
Second, the characters seemed very two-dimensional to me. Everything about them was awkward and unnatural, and their out of context and preachy dialogue was so unauthentic that I found it cringe-worthy.
Lastly, the long-winded, multi-page, political rants took me miles away from the actual story line. I understand politics has been in literature for centuries, but this presentation of it lost all creativity. It just seemed like paragraphs of opinions in the middle of a story. There were many times that this book was no longer offering perspective, but instead using the platform to tell me how to think, and I don’t appreciate that. I believe that in good literature I should be able to get there myself without it forced down my throat.
I think this story had a lot of potential, but for me, it ultimately missed the mark.
The Islanders by Meg Mitchell More
I got this for a beach read, and I was not let down. If you are planning on a winter vacation to somewhere tropical, this is an easy and enjoyable read for the plane or the beach chair.
The Islanders follows the lives of three strangers on Block Island as their worlds meet and intertwine. It guarantees some secrets, lies, and lots of drama. It’s the perfect summer getaway book to escape the cold weather outside, set on a unique island with more unique characters. While this book followed a lot of cliches and the dialogue could be a bit cheesy, it is an enjoyable and light read.
Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens
I feel very conflicted about this book. To tell you the truth, it was a bit of a let down for me. I don’t know if I entered the book with unrealistic expectations after so many people RAVED about it, or if I just didn’t connect with it the way others did, but it didn’t quite meet the mark for me.
While the premise was very engaging, and there were some truly page turning chapters (I’m telling you, I’m CONFLICTED) it just didn’t pull me in or move me the way many other stories in a similar genre did. For me the first 100 pages were slow, the next 100 were better, and the last stretch was great. It just took me too long to get there for me to deem this more than a 3.5 star book.