2019 Reading List

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
While I'm a big fan of researching and filling out reading challenges, I don't think I've ever actually completed one. I skipped over doing any last year, but I really liked the categories this year for the MMD Challenge, so I thought I'd put a preliminary list together for some books I'm hoping to read this year.

a book you've been meaning to read// There are so many I could choose but I'm going to pick Us Against You because I'm excited to finally read that this year. Beartown is one of my favorite books and I started Us Against You last year but didn't get very far because I was too distracted and wanted to be able to really savour it when reading it.

a book about a topic that fascinates you// The Path Between Us: An Ennegram Journey to Healthy Relationships I'm a sucker for personality typing and know very little about ennegrams, and have seen this book recommended a few times.

a book in the backlist of a favorite author// The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes. Historical fiction usually isn't my first choice, but this was the only book left by Moyes on my TBR and it is highly reviewed by friends on Goodreads.

a book recommended by someone with great taste// A Place For Us from megan (I usually really love all of her recommendations)

three books by the same author// This is a tricky one for me-- I'm tempted to say Louise Penny or Tana French, but knowing how slow I've read previous books by both authors, I don't think it's likely I'll read 3 this year, but we'll see!

a book you chose for the cover// I'm going to keep this one spontaneous!

a book by an author who is new to you// I'm hopeful there will be many this year, but Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is on my library holds list currently.

a book in translation// I don't know why I feel like it's cheating a little bit to pick another Backman novel but My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry

a book outside your genre/comfort zone// Artemis because science fiction is definitely not my preferred genre, but like most, I loved The Martian (even though I've heard this is not nearly as good).

a book published before you were born// A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or The Grapes of Wrath were the first 2 books that come to mind!

Let me know any of your suggestions or what you would choose for a few of the categories.

linking up with steph & jana for SUYB

Favorite Books of the Year (2018)

Thursday, January 3, 2019
Happy New Year! Even though books didn't hold quite as big of a role in my life last year, I'm still so excited to share my favorite books. My top 3 easily stood out, but there were definitely some others I really enjoyed. When I really thought about it, if I could only read one book from last year I would choose There There.

There There | This surprised me so much-- which I think definitely contributed to it being a favorite. I really wasn't expecting all of the different narratives to be so connected throughout the story and it almost felt like a puzzle as I was reading and seeing all of the little connections to characters and storylines. It was hopeful, yet devastating, and explores such an important topic of the history and current lives of Native Americans.
We’ve been defined by everyone else and continue to be slandered despite easy-to-look-up-on-the-internet facts about the realities of our histories and current state as a people.

The Great Alone | While this wasn't always easy to read, the writing was stunningly beautiful and you quickly fell into the Alaskan landscape-- it was hard to believe I could so vividly picture somewhere I've never been. My heart broke for Leni, but I was so proud of her and I loved her relationship with her mother, even though it was also heartbreaking at times.
A girl was like a kite; without her mother's strong, steady hold on the string, she might just float away, be lost somewhere among the clouds.
An American Marriage |  Before I started this I had a feeling I was really going to like it, and then the first sentence pulled me in-- which is often a good determining factor for how much I'll like a book. There were so many layers as Jones really explores love and family and heartbreak and injustice. Roy's sentencing was devastating, and I found myself so angry with Celestial for some of her choices, but I still always wanted the best for her. I wanted her to be happy and successful.
Up until now, I thought I knew what was and wasn't possible. Maybe that's what innocence is, having no way to predict the pain of the future. When something happens that eclipses the imaginable, it changes a person. It's like the difference between a raw egg and a scrambled egg. It's the same thing, but it's not the same at all.

I also loved The Dinner List, Still Me, The Immortalists, and American Street

What was your favorite book from last year?

Linking up with Kristen & Steph.

December 2018 Book Reviews

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Somehow this has felt like the shortest and longest year at the same time. I feel like the books I read in January and February were years ago, but somehow I can't believe it's already December. Linking up with Steph and Jana today for Show Us Your Books to share the last few books I've read-- including 2 books that were 5 stars.

Watching You | I've read very few thrillers this year, and this probably would have sat unread a little bit longer, but after Steph's post a few months back I decided to pick it up after finishing my last book. This is the only book I've read by Lisa Jewell and I really enjoyed it. It was suspenseful, and there was a lot going on, but not in a bad way. It was just enough to keep you interested without being confusing or hard to follow. Definitely recommend if you're into domestic thrillers! c/o netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Little Fires Everywhere | I feel like this is one of those books that most people read last year? It wasn't what I was expecting, even though I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but I did really enjoy it. I slowly read and savored this book-- the plot felt fast, yet slow at times. I would feel like I was going to put it down for the night, but then something exciting would happen and I'd read another chapter. Now that I'm thinking back on it, it wasn't overly memorable, but it was definitely enjoyable while I was reading it.

American Marriage | This was probably my most anticipated book of the year and I was not disappointed. I really think my only complaint was that it took me so long to read and I would have rather read it all in one (or two, or three) sittings. The writing, the story, the characters... it was so easy to feel a connection and completely invested. It was heartbreaking at times, and emotional and hard to read, but easy to read at the same time. Highly recommend!

There There | For some reason this skipped my TBR the first few times I heard about it, and it wasn't until the NBA longlist was released that I finally added it and I'm sooo glad I made it a priority this year because it was everything I didn't know I needed to read. From the synopsis I knew it was going to be told through different Native Americans who all end up together at a powwow in Oakland, but I didn't know the stories were going to be intertwined throughout the entire book. Without that aspect, the story itself was really interesting and I think entire books could be written about each character, but seeing how the people were connected through past and present was really clever. I was so sad when it was over, partly because it isn't the happiest ending, but also because I didn't want the book to be over.

What books have you read lately?

Recently Read | october 2018

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Merry October! I got back on a bit of a reading roll (finally!!) and I really liked almost all of these books! Linking up with Steph & Jana for show us your books.

American Street | This was a NBA finalist for young people's literature last year and I'm so happy I finally got around to reading it. It's about a teenager from Haiti who comes to the United States with her mom to meet up with her Aunt and cousins in Detroit. Her mom gets detained once they land in New York so the story follows Fabiola and her life in Detroit with her cousins as she tries to figure out if/when she'll be reunited with her mom & just life in general in a new country.

I would definitely give this 5 stars for giving me all the feels-- first the relationship with her mother, then her relationship with Kasim even though I feel like it was rushed and I would have loved to read more about the buildup. I definitely felt like certain things were breezed over and at times it felt less character driven and more about trying to squeeze in plot details. It got unexpectedly intense during the last 20% or so, and it wasn't the ending I was expecting or hoping for, but I understood it for what it was.

The Dinner List | I really, really enjoyed this. I don't know if it's because I haven't read very much this year, but as I was reading it I kept thinking it was such an interesting concept and probably one of the best books I've read in having a pretty flawless transition switching chapters from the present to the past. I daresay it reminded me a little bit of Swear on This Life. While the book focuses on Sabrina's relationship with everyone at the dinner, the main focus of the book is her love story with Tobias, I kind of hated Tobias from the very beginning so it was hard for me to want to root for their relationships at times.

Girl Against the Universe | This is a contemporary YA with a protagonist who has PTSD and anxiety. It's a romance, so there's that whole holding your breath moment where you're praying it isn't going to be a boy fixes girl situation. Admittedly when I first started this I thought it was cute, but seemed kind of predictable-- then about halfway through I was hooked and enjoying the writing-- I laughed out loud a few times. Overall, I loved that this focused on the importance of therapy and working on something... it felt like the cute love story and friendship stories on the side were a nice bonus.

All We Ever Wanted | I couldn't decide what to read after Girl Against the Universe, so after starting a few things I wasn't feeling I decided to go with a Netgalley pick that I knew would be a quick read to avoid another slump. I had read quite a few reviews mentioning this isn't a typical Giffin novel so I knew to expect it to be a more serious read. Initially it reminded me a lot of season 2 of American Crime, and then it just reminded me of a book that was trying to do WAY too much.

A privileged teenager posts an explicit photo with a racist caption of one of his classmates. You get the viewpoints of Lyla, her dad, and Finch's mom-- I didn't really see the value in the POVs that were chosen because Finch made no sense as someone you can't see inside his thoughts. What he did absolutely has nothing to do with whether or not he's a "good" kid, but that gets brushed over pretty quickly (which was really weird to me), and I felt like I needed to know more about his motivations for the rest of the story to make sense. I think that was a big part of the problem for me, everyone felt like a stereotype more than an actual character that you feel for, even with an important and timely topic. c/o netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I'm not sure what I'll read next. I have the hardback of Little Fires Everywhere from the library, but we'll see since I tend to favor ebooks. What are you reading?

Carly Reads Here | Summer 2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
I had every intention of posting this last month because August really feels like the end of summer despite it still feeling like 100 degrees outside, but we were 5 or 6 weeks deep in the four month sleep regression, so I pushed it back another month so I could finish a few more books. I kept starting things that I was enjoying, but then I'd be too tired to read and they would need to go back to the library before I had a chance to finish them. Also, if you read my post from last week you'll know I started watching Parks & Rec, which consumed most of my free time. As always, excited to linkup with Steph & Jana and see what everyone has been reading!

What's New | sept 2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018
Nap time around here is finally lasting more than 20 minutes most of the time, so I took some time to write a quick post to linkup with Kristen and share a few random things. affiliate links are used in this post, earning me a small commission for clicks & purchases. TY♥

The One With All the Target Finds

Friday, June 8, 2018
Happy Friday! I don't think I have ever been so happy to see the weekend. I'm hoping we'll finally get two days of nice weather because it feels like that hasn't happened at all this year, but rain is in the forecast once again. In my last post I mentioned the Target sandals I've been loving, but I've had really good luck with everything at Target lately-- specifically their Universal Thread line. I haven't really shopped for clothes in over a year and post-pregnancy I'm not used to things fitting, so it was a nice treat to really like everything I'm sharing in this post. affiliate links are used in this post, earning me a small commission for clicks & purchases. TY♥
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