Books Lately

It’s no surprise I’m late to the game with reading technology, but have you guys ever used the Overdrive app? It sounds dramatic but that app has seriously changed my life!

Here’s my two cent plug about Overdrive before we get into what I’ve been reading lately. My mom introduced me to the app right after Greta was born. And by that I mean that she literally took my phone, downloaded Overdrive, got me logged in and even picked out a book for me to read. Since then, I’ve literally only checked out books through Overdrive. I still love regular ol’ paper books and we still absolutely go to the library. But reading books on my phone has all sorts of convenient aspects.

For one, holding a phone while nursing is about ten times easier than holding a book. Now, instead of just having social media to browse, I can be reading. I’ve pulled out my “book” pretty much anywhere and everywhere when I have an extra minute or two to be reading. Also, the fact that I can browse in the comfort of my own home is incredible. My browsing days vanished after I had Wendy, when entering a library with a baby became a game of Russian roulette.

The down side for me is that it’s just one more instance where I’m on my phone and I hate that that’s what my kids see. They don’t see that I’m reading a book. Oh well.

If you haven’t, you should really give the app a try (or whatever digital system your library uses) and see if you like it. I mostly check out eBooks, but we’ve downloaded audiobooks as well for road trips and stuff. I have absolutely loved using it.

***Steps off soapbox***

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

About: a mom who goes missing under peculiar albeit hilarious circumstances and Bee, her daughter, who searches high and low to find out exactly what happened to her mother.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5, rounded up) Out of 5 Stars: This is definitely a lighter read that’s not meant to be taken too seriously. There were parts that had me laughing out loud. I thought the characters were rather realistic but the storyline was far from boring. The format was a little hard to get used to on Overdrive

Dumplin‘ by Julie Murphy

About: Even though she’s overweight, Willowdean has always been comfortable in her own skin. That is, until her coworker Bo starts showing interest in her. Suddenly self-conscious, Willowdean pulls a stunt she hopes will help her regain her carefree attitude: she signs up for the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant.

⭐️⭐️⭐️3 out of 5 stars: I wasn’t completely head over heels for this book and I kind of felt like it didn’t take complete hold of the opportunity it had in sharing a love-yourself-regardless-of-how-you-look message but it was cute and fun and overall an enjoyable read. And it really made me want to see the movie.

This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

About: Five friends go out on a hunting trip. While all the boys are claiming that what happened was an accident, none of them are willing to come clean on the details of what happened that day. The only fact that is clear is that one boy died on that trip, and one of the remaining four pulled the trigger.

⭐️⭐️2 out of 5 stars: This story had a lot of potential which is probably the only reason I finished it. Unfortunately, I felt like the story was sloppy with many key points being explained in a really crappy, hard-to-follow way. It felt like the author’s first novel (even though it’s not). I also hate it when mysteries give you clues all along the way only to have the conclusion be something that you could never have figured out on your own. This was one of those stories.

Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

About: Rich gave up alcohol many years ago, but as he struggles to make his way up the stairs one night, he realizes he’s traded one addiction for another. Overnight he decides to overhaul his fast food diet for one entirely plant based as well as to get back into exercising. In a matter of months he’s testing his limits by completing an Ultraman race-which includes over 300 miles of swimming, biking and running.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️4 out of 5 stars: Ben and I listened to this one on audio while traveling during the summer and we both really enjoyed it. His story of being an alcoholic was riveting and his transformation from couch potato to Ultraman was interesting, if not inspiring. He’s a little bit preachy, but I didn’t think it was overbearing.

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

About: Popular comedian, Jim Gaffigan explores what it entails to be a father to five kids in the middle of New York City.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️4 out of 5 stars: This is another one we listened to and, again, both enjoyed. Some of it is amusing and some of it is laugh out loud material. If you have children, you are guaranteed to find something in here you can relate to and laugh at. It’s pretty clean although there were a couple jokes (in my opinion) that bordered on sacrilegious (although they’re just one liners). I’m sure the book is great but since he is a comedian, listening to the audiobook was great entertainment.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

About: Samantha’s mother is very clear about how much she disapproves of the large, rambunctious family who lives next door. But when her mother is busy with a new campaign, Samantha finds herself being pulled back to the Garrett’s house again and again. Just as she finds herself falling for Jase, something unthinkable happens. Samantha suspects she has the answers, but telling the truth could cost more than she can imagine.

⭐️⭐️ 2 Out of 5 Stars: To me the author wanted to write a romance but knew she needed some sort of “plot” and “climax” (I know! The very idea!) As a result, you’ve got an okay teenage romance (it’s a YA book but definitely geared for older teens) with an incredibly lousy plot progression. The big issue didn’t present itself until more than halfway through the book and it was probably the dumbest problem I’ve ever read about in a book. I kept reading because I thought surely something bigger and more worthwhile was coming (it didn’t). The redeeming quality of this book was that the Garrett’s family is big (like 8 kids) which is basically unheard of in the literary world and the author did a great job projecting a happy chaos.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

About: Tom and Isabel live a quiet and remote life alone on a small island where Tom does the important work of a lighthouse keeper. After years of infertility and miscarriage, a boat washes ashore their tiny island carrying a dead man and a wailing infant. Tom and Isabel must make choices and live with the consequences of those choices.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️5 out of 5 stars: Fraught with moral dilemmas and allegorical language, this book reminded me of literature I read in high school. I’d say this book is definitely love it or hate it in nature. I ended up loving it, as imperfect as the characters were. I should warn that the story could very well be a trigger for anxiety, so read with caution.

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