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TODAY I’M DISHING ON ALL THE BOOKS I READ LAST YEAR WITH MY 2019 BOOK REVIEW. I’M ALSO SHARING A SNEAK PEEK OF THE BOOKS I HOPE TO READ in 2020!
We may be well into January, but I’m finally sharing about all the books I read last year. To be honest, I debated about even writing this post, since I felt like I read so little in 2019.
You see, for a few years now, every January I have set a goal to read more in the new year. I am extremely passionate about reading and ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always had by nose in a book escaping to far away places and making new friends with make believe characters.
However, as an adult, I dedicated less time to reading, getting bogged down with work or choosing other things to occupy my limited free time, like watching TV or aimlessly scrolling through social media.
Ironically, following many book focused bloggers has inspired me and sparked my love of reading again. In an effort to not only hold myself accountable, but see my progress, for the past couple of years I’ve been sharing an end of the year book review and my “to be read” book list for the new year.
My goal in 2019 was to read one book a month, but I only managed half that (and that was with the help of audio books). BUT!!! I’m ok with that. Last year was about finding balance with work, day to day chores and life with a busy child. Some nights I barely make it to 9pm before passing out and reading is the last thing on my mind!
And, to my credit, let me not forget the hours upon hours of reading children’s books to my budding bookworm, which, I will happily trade my own personal reading time to do!
With that said, I feel like I am doing way better with time management and prioritizing things, as well as not wasting so much of my precious free time watching TV or scrolling through social media, so I hope this year to stick to my one book per month goal, since there are so many books I so desperately want to read!!
Without further ado, below are all the books I read last year, plus some of the books I hope to read this year. Since I love adding new books to my never ending “to read” list, what books have you read recently that I should add to my list??
2019 Book Review
1.You Are a Bada** at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero (skip) – This is the second book by Jen Sincero to compliment her first best selling book. In this book, Jen shares her personal “rags to riches” story, as well as those of others, and what she believes are ways to unlock your true earning potential and earn the money you desire.
While I found many helpful words of wisdom in this book, I felt that the book lacked substance. A lot of the book was reciting personal affirmations about “drawing money to you” and “visualizing the life you wish to live” – all things I believe in – but I firmly believe that you can’t just dream about the life you want and expect it to magically appear. You have to work hard at your goals to make your dreams come true, so I had hoped this book would have had more tangible tips about budgeting, asking for a raise, setting financial goals, etc.
The main things I took away from this book is to not to be afraid to ask to be paid your worth, to not devalue your services (ie: if you own your own business, don’t give away/discount your service/product for free because it’s your friend, neighbor, etc.) and to stop letting money, or lack thereof, control you.
FYI, the author does use quite a bit of profanity in the book, which is turn off for some, and something you should be aware of if you choose to listen to it as an audiobook and you have littles in the car.
2. Becoming by Michelle Obama (highly recommend) – I actually listened to this as an audio book, because it is a long book and because I love hearing people read their autobiographies (it’s like they are right there telling me about their life!), and I LOVED it!
I have always loved hearing people’s life stories, whether it’s my new neighbor, my cousin’s new boyfriend or a former first lady, and so this book fascinated me! Not only did Michelle share intimate details about growing up in Chicago, but she shared details about how her and Barack met and the behind the scene challenges she and her family faced as Barack ran for president, interesting facts about what life really is like living in the White House and how that experience changed them.
3. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (recommend) – This book came highly recommended by several of my fellow blogging friends as well as other friends I have who work in creative jobs. In it, best selling author Elizabeth Gilbert, encourages people to peruse any creative urge you may have, to paint, to take ice skating lessons at age 40, etc., and that you don’t have to “quit your day job” and be a struggling artist to feel fulfilled creatively.
But, Gilbert also shares in the book, if your desire is to make a living doing something creative, do it, just know that it may take time, sacrifice and that if you do work in your creative dream job, take time to express yourself creatively in other ways so that you don’t get burned out.
4. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani (recommend) – This was a random book I picked up at a used book store a few years ago and I was pleasantly surprised with it. Set in the late 1970’s in the murky Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Big Stone Gap follows Ave Maria Mulligan as she copes with the death of her mother and discovers secrets from her mother’s past.
I really liked this book because it was an easy read and because I love historical fiction. Also, the main character and her struggles to figure out her purpose in life, try to grow closer to her mother through memories after she passes and the connection Ava has with her friends is very relatable.
However, I couldn’t find my copy of The Christmas Box, so I settled on another Richard Paul Evans book, The Noel Diary.
The Noel Diary is about a man, Jacob Churcher, who’s estranged mother dies unexpectedly and he goes back home to clean out her house. In the process he finds a diary belonging to a young pregnant woman who supposedly stayed with his family when Jacob was a young boy, but he doesn’t remember this.
While trying to unlock the secrets of his past, Jacob meets a woman who is looking to find her biological mother. The two forge a friendship, while trying to search for answers to their past.
Since I remember really liking The Christmas Box, I had high hopes for The Noel Diary, but unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with this book. To me the dialogue seemed forced and predicable and bored me at times.
6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs(recommend) – This book follows Jacob as he travels to the coast of Whales after a family tragedy. Jacob is searching for answers and trying to grieve when he discovers Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – which is full of mystery and strangeness.
If you are a Harry Potter fan, then you will love this quirky book that keeps your interest page after page.
7. Jukebox Joyride by Jacob Stein and Jason Rabinowitz (highly recommend) – This was such a FUN audiobook! Jukebox Joyride is about two pre-teens (twins) who travel through time, via a special music box, looking for their uncle who is an ethnomusicologist and has gone missing. Through their adventure, the twins get to experience Mozart in Vienna, jazz in New Orleans and more while they track down their uncle and out run a sinister enemy.
This family friendly audiobook is an Audible Original that is dramatized, meaning it is packed with fun sound effects, original music, as well as music from popular artist like The Beatles.
And so far, my 2020 reading list includes the following books, but I’d love your recommendations!
- Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be– by Rachel Hollis
- The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness– by Dave Ramsey
- From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi Locke
- Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
- Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl
- Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Next Year in Havana– by Chanel Cleeton
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
- Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
- The Girls with No Names by Serena Burdick
- Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand
Sadly, I didn’t share any cookbook reviews in 2019. This is something I hope to bring back monthly in 2020, as I love not only cooking through new cookbooks, but I actually read them cover to cover and love sharing my cookbook reviews with all of you!
Here are a few new (to me) cookbooks that I hope to read, cook through and share with you in 2020:
- The Pretty Dish: More than 150 Everyday Recipes and 50 Beauty DIYs to Nourish Your Body Inside and Out-by Jessica Merchant
- Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering– by Joanna Gaines
- My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life: A Cookbook– by Ruth Reichl
- Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life: A Cookbook by Rachael Ray
- Two Peas & Their Pod Cookbook: Favorite Everyday Recipes from Our Family Kitchen by Maria Lichty