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Friday, March 25, 2022

Books I Read in February and March

Well hi there! I hope you all had a nice week. I realized that I never got around to posting the books I read in the month of February, so today I am here to share the books I read in both February AND March. Don't get too excited, there aren't that many. ­čśë It turns out I read a lot of physical books these past few months as opposed to audiobooks, which always goes much slower for me. If you read this post a few weeks ago then you know that most of the time I try to listen to audiobooks because I can listen while I do chores around the house. There is just something about reading a paper version of a book that immediately puts me to sleep-- anyone else? Even if it's only 8 o'clock-- hah!

I have yet to read a bad book this year. Some have been better than others, as we will see with today's review, but honestly they've all been decent!  

"When a young man is found gruesomely murdered in a London houseboat, it triggers questions about three women who knew him. Laura is the troubled one-night-stand last seen in the victim’s home. Carla is his grief-stricken aunt, already mourning the recent death of yet another family member. And Miriam is the nosy neighbor clearly keeping secrets from the police. Three women with separate connections to the victim. Three women who are – for different reasons – simmering with resentment. Who are, whether they know it or not, burning to right the wrongs done to them. When it comes to revenge, even good people might be capable of terrible deeds. How far might any one of them go to find peace? How long can secrets smolder before they explode into flame?"

I really liked this book! I couldn't wait to find out "whodunnit". Just a heads up, some parts of this book were very dark, like make-your-skin-crawl dark. If you're familiar with the author Gillian Flynn, it reminded me of her style of writing. I give this book an A+.

"A forgotten manuscript that threatens to unravel the past…

Fresne Prison, 1940: A former maid at a luxury villa on the Riviera, Margot Bisset finds herself in a prison cell with writer and French Resistance fighter Jos├ęphine Murant. Together, they are transferred to a work camp in Germany for four years, where the secrets they share will bind them for generations to come.

Paris, around about now: Evie Black lives in Paris with her teenage son, Hugo, above her botanical bookshop, La Maison Rustique. Life would be so sweet if only Evie were not mourning the great love of her life.

When a letter arrives regarding the legacy of her husband’s great-aunt, Jos├ęphine Murant, Evie clutches at an opportunity to spend one last magical summer with her son. They travel together to Jos├ęphine’s house, now theirs, on the C├┤te d’Azur. Here, Evie unravels the official story of this famous novelist, and the truth of a murder a lifetime ago. Along the way, she will discover the little-known true story of the women who were enslaved by German forces in WWII."


Another knockout book. I absolutely loved this story and that it shed light on some parts of the Holocaust that are rarely talked about. If you love historical fiction, add it to your list! Another A+

"For more than forty years, Katie Couric has been an iconic presence in the media world. In her brutally honest, hilarious, heartbreaking memoir, she reveals what was going on behind the scenes of her sometimes tumultuous personal and professional life - a story she’s never shared, until now. Of the medium she loves, the one that made her a household name, she says, “Television can put you in a box; the flat-screen can flatten. On TV, you are larger than life but smaller, too. It is not the whole story, and it is not the whole me. This book is.”

Beginning in early childhood, Couric was inspired by her journalist father to pursue the career he loved but couldn’t afford to stay in. Balancing her vivacious, outgoing personality with her desire to be taken seriously, she overcame every obstacle in her way: insecurity, an eating disorder, being typecast, sexism . . . challenges, and how she dealt with them, setting the tone for the rest of her career. Couric talks candidly about adjusting to sudden fame after her astonishing rise to co-anchor of the TODAY show, and guides us through the most momentous events and news stories of the era, to which she had a front-row seat:  Rodney King, Anita Hill, Columbine, the death of Princess Diana, 9/11, the Iraq War . . . In every instance, she relentlessly pursued the facts, ruffling more than a few feathers along the way.  She also recalls in vivid and sometimes lurid detail the intense pressure on female anchors to snag the latest “get”—often sensational tabloid stories like Jon Benet Ramsey, Tonya Harding, and OJ Simpson.

Couric’s position as one of the leading lights of her profession was  shadowed by the shock and trauma of losing her husband to stage 4 colon cancer when he was just 42, leaving her a widow and single mom to two daughters, 6 and 2. The death of her sister Emily, just three years later, brought yet more trauma—and an unwavering commitment to cancer awareness and research, one of her proudest accomplishments.

 Couric is unsparing in the details of her historic move to the anchor chair at the CBS Evening News—a world rife with sexism and misogyny.  Her “welcome” was even more hostile at 60 Minutes, an unrepentant boys club that engaged in outright hazing of even the most established women.  In the wake of the MeToo movement, Couric shares her clear-eyed reckoning with gender inequality and predatory behavior in the workplace, and downfall of Matt Lauer—a colleague she had trusted and respected for more than a decade.

Couric also talks about the challenge of finding love again, with all the hilarity, false-starts, and drama that search entailed, before finding her midlife Mr. Right.  Something she has never discussed publicly—why her second marriage almost didn’t happen. 

If you thought you knew Katie Couric, think again. Going There is the fast-paced, emotional, riveting story of a thoroughly modern woman, whose journey took her from humble origins to superstardom. In these pages, you will find a friend, a confidante, a role model, a survivor whose lessons about life will enrich your own."

Phew--- that's a long summary! Okay, don't hate me... but I had quite the love/hate relationship with this one. To be fair, any time I read a "tell all" book where the author spills secrets about the people they know, I always come away from them feeling a little uncomfortable. I guess the thought of making money by selling out the people who trusted you just kinda rubs me the wrong way. Am I the only one? By no means am I defending Matt Lauer here, I think he is a total creep.. but the thought of Katie capitalizing off the situation just gave me a bad vibe. It wasn't just Matt though, Katie Couric most definitely went there, and she names a lot of people and says some not-so-nice things about them. Was it fascinating? Yes. Did it keep my interest? Most of the time. But do I feel a little weird about her making money by more or less gossiping about people in book format? Yes. Again, I feel that way any time I read a "tell all" that talks trash about other people... so this isn't anything specific to Katie Couric. Overall I give it a B+. 

"After too many years of unfulfilling work, Bronnie Ware began searching for a job with heart. Despite having no formal qualifications or previous experience in the field, she found herself working in palliative care. During the time she spent tending to those who were dying, Bronnie's life was transformed. Later, she wrote an Internet blog post, outlining the most common regrets that the people she had cared for had expressed. The post gained so much momentum that it was viewed by more than three million readers worldwide in its first year. At the request of many, Bronnie subsequently wrote a book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, to share her story.

Bronnie has had a colourful and diverse life. By applying the lessons of those nearing their death to her own life, she developed an understanding that it is possible for everyone, if we make the right choices, to die with peace of mind.

In this revised edition of the best-selling memoir that has been read by over a million people worldwide, with translations in 29 languages, Bronnie expresses how significant these regrets are and how we can positively address these issues while we still have the time. The Top Five Regrets of the Dying gives hope for a better world. It is a courageous, life-changing book that will leave you feeling more compassionate and inspired to live the life you are truly here to live."

I read about this book on someone's blog, but I cannot remember whose blog-- sorry if it was yours and I'm forgetting! Some parts of this book were great. It really made you look at your life from another perspective and wonder if there were any positive changes you could make. That being said, it was often filled with a lot of "fluff" and I think the book could've been much shorter. I honestly started skimming through it by the end because I thought "alright, alright I get it". It started as a blog post, which was then turned into a book... honestly the blog post is probably sufficient enough and would take a lot less time to read. I give it a B-

“My life was a complete mess, and God bless all of it. Because it’s in the messes where we learn the most—as long as we slow down enough to realize what God is trying to show us.”

Suddenly in the spotlight, twenty-four-year-old Hannah Brown realized that she wasn’t sure what she wanted. After years of competing in beauty pageants, and then starring on The Bachelorette and Dancing with the Stars, she had become incredibly visible. There she was, in her early twenties, with millions around the world examining and weighing in on her every decision. She found herself wondering what it would mean to live on her terms. What it would mean to stop seeking approval from others and decide—for the first time—what it was she wanted from her own life.

An honest and earnest examination of her own mid-twenties, God Bless This Mess is a memoir that doesn’t claim to have all the answers. Hannah knows she doesn’t have all the answers. What she does have is the insight of someone who has spent critical years of her youth under public scrutiny. Thus what emerges is a quarter-life memoir that speaks to the set of difficulties young women face, and how to move through them with grace. By pushing against her engrained need to seek approval, and learning how to think critically about her own goals and desires, Hannah inspires others to do the same—and to embrace the messiness that comes hand-in-hand with self-discovery (even if that sometimes means falling flat on your face).

Using her time on The Bachelorette as a launching pad, Hannah doesn’t shy away from the most painful experiences of her life: moments when her faith was tested, when she feared it was lost, and the moments when she reclaimed it on national television. “And Jesus still loves me.” Fans will be inspired by the never-before-told stories: the ones about facing depression and anxiety during her pageant years, the ways in which therapy and journaling have proven to be a saving grace, and the previously private moments—both at home and on television—that have shaped the star’s outlook.

Honest and emotionally urgent, God Bless This Mess is a reminder that true growth doesn’t come without strife—and it’s through those dark, messy moments that self-acceptance and love can bloom.


I came into this book without any expectations and was pleasantly surprised. I used to love the Bachelor/Bachelorette series, but I haven't watched since Clare Crawley's season (them being stuck in a hotel the whole time due to COVID was both boring and depressing to me, and I never really got back into the show). Anyway, I really liked Hannah Brown on her season and was so captivated/fascinated by that horrible breakup. I thought the book had potential and it honestly was very cute. Where Katie Couric's book talked about other people, this book talked about the author and her growth from being in the spotlight and struggling. If you are looking for a cute, quick read and like the Bachelor/Bachelorette series, this one's for you! I give it a solid A.

Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika-- I hope you all have a nice weekend!


6 comments :

  1. Great book suggestions! I had been thinking of reading Katie and Hannah's books, but wasn't sure if I would like them. I definitely want to read the French Gift! I love historical fiction books! Have a great weekend!

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  2. It sounds like you read some great books this month; I've been on the fence about reading Katie's book only because I don't really know her or her story at all and I tend to prefer memoirs where I at least feel like I somewhat know that person and a general basis for their story. I do love a good historical fiction though so I'll definitely be on the lookout for The French Gift.

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  3. I have Katie's book on request for an audio book. I enjoyed Hannah's book too.

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  4. I liked God Bless this Mess. It was cute

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  5. I just finished Going There this week and I agree with you. I am curious (nosy) about other people’s lives but it is interesting that she is in part capitalizing on the secrets of others. I listened to it and loved hearing her inflections and expressions. They also used actual audio from interviews and excerpts from TV. I give it 4+/5 sunshines. I haven’t read any of the others on your list. I’ll have to check them out. Have a great weekend!

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