Recent Reads


What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami // 5 stars

This is a memoir, so to speak, specifically on the topic of the author's relationship with running. If you don't like running, you will definitely not like this book. I, however, loved it. I must have just been in the right mood, because I devoured this one and found it so interesting and inspiring. Being a writer and a runner, I could relate to so much of this and found it a quick, very enjoyable read. I read it start to finish  in about 2 hours while sitting in an airport.

For fans of: running marathons, being inspired to run every single day while knowing that's not actually going to happen
Should you read it? If you are a runner, yes.

How to be the Perfect Christian by The Babylon Bee // 5 stars

If you are a Christian and appreciate satire, this is a fun, quick book that has a lot of clever lines and quips. I enjoyed it immensely. It's written by the authors of The Babylon Bee, which is basically The Onion for Christians. It's supposed to be funnyHere's one of my favorite lines. It's a quote from CS Lewis that I had never heard before! "If you've ever felt a modicum of displeasure at your church, even if just for a fleeting second, get out of there immediately and find a new one." He's so wise, that Lewis.

For fans of: Life Church, Democrats, church billboards, being offended
Should you read it? Yes, if you can take a joke

Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt // 4 stars

This book details the lives of women primarily in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s who worked as human "computers" for space and rocket exploration. This book is not going to be for everyone. There was a lot of sciency/math stuff that went over my head, and sometimes I got a little bored with it, but once I started to get into the heart of the book where they are starting to send probes and satellites to explore other planets, it got super interesting. I am amazed by these women and all they did, especially juggling children and families in a period of time where fewer than 25% of mothers worked. The author has clearly done a done of research (although the actual timeline felt a bit jumpy in places), and I'm glad this story is being told and glad to have read this! Thinking about women being some of the major brains behind the calculations used for these projects is pretty cool.

For fans of: girl power, math, space, working moms, people who are super duper smart
Should you read it? If the subject interests you and you're okay with the occasional boring science stuff, yes!

Not that I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser // 3.75 stars

A group of neighborhood women gather one night for a friendly bonfire. In the morning, one of them is missing. This book is very well written and was fun to read. I enjoyed all the characters and the suspense throughout. I'm rating it slightly lower because I did feel like the middle dragged a bit, and also I felt like the story that was revealed at the end was not quite as interesting as the beginning suggested. If you go into it expecting a slow burn and not a Gone Girl-type thriller, I think you will like it. There was not any language or graphic scenes.

For fans of: missing persons, domestic intrigue, plot twists, a cast of female characters
Should you read it? Yes

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus // 3.5 stars

This was a quick read that would be absolutely perfect for a vacation or day by the pool. I call this book "the breakfast club murder mystery." I liked the relationship between all the characters and felt like there was enough backstory to provide character development while not bogging down the pace of the story. I did guess the twist, but it wasn't until closer to the end. The reason this isn't a higher rating for me is because of a few of the more serious plot aspects, which felt either kind of cliche or just too sad. I was wanting it to be more lighthearted than it was when the plot was revealed. The characterization was cliche (the jock, the brain, etc.), but each of the characters have more to offer than it seems at first, and I liked all the POVs from everyone!

For fans of: the breakfast club, plot twists, high school drama, gossip girl
Should you read it? Yes, on vacation

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser // 3.5 stars
A case of "missed connection," Violet and Finn have the perfect love story. But when he suddenly vanishes, taking their son with him, she questions their entire relationship. For those paying attention, this is the second Jessica Strawser book in this current roundup. I read another of hers because I enjoyed the first one! I felt similarly to the author's previous book I read--really well written, liked the characters, creative plot, but ultimately I wanted a quicker pace. It started out strong and then slowed down. A good book for a plane ride, probably!

For fans of: missing persons, domestic intrigue, fate
Should you read it? I personally liked Not that I Could Tell better

Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love by Katherine and Jay Wolf // 3.5 stars

In April I went on a women's retreat and this author was a speaker, so I wanted to read her book before I went. It was a quick read, and I'm glad I had background on her story before hearing her speak. She is a fantastic speaker! In the book, however, I felt like sometimes the timeline was confusing, and it felt like the emotions were brushed over in places. In my time as an editor, I've edited a lot of memoir-type books like this, and this was pretty well written comparatively. This genre is difficult to do well. The book goes back and forth between the point of view of Katherine and her husband, Jay, and I liked seeing the perspective from both of them.

For fans of: inspiration, miracles, husband-and-wife teams, being thankful for your health
Should you read it? You could skip this probably. But if you ever have the chance to see her live, definitely do it!

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware // 2.75 stars

This story follows four teenagers who met at a private boarding school and become inseparable for one summer. They haven't seen each other in years, but one night they call get the same text from one of the girls, one they never hoped would come: "I need you." 

This is the same author who wrote The Woman in Cabin 10 if you've read that one. I liked this book okay, but I don't know that I would recommend it over a different book from this murder/mystery genre. The beginning and ending were good, the middle felt a little slow. I guessed a few things but not everything. Overall I liked this, but it won't be anything that sticks out as a must read.

For fans of: teenage drama, liars, best friends, murder mystery, true love, main characters who have six-month-old babies they take with them everywhere

Should you read it? Eh. I don't know. You might have better luck with something else, just my opinion!

What are you reading right now? Anything good?
Rachel Emily said...

I totally agree with your opinion of The Lying Game! The Woman in Cabin 10 is my favorite of that author's but In a Dark, Dark Wood is really good, too. I've heard not so great things about the one she put out this summer either. Oh well! So many good books out there. I added Not That I Could Tell to my library holds - sounds like something I would really enjoy!

Audrey Louise said...

Rise of the Rocket Girls is on my tbr list. Right now I'm reading The Astronauts Wives Club which is kind of on the opposite end of that 1950s/60s spectrum. Lol
I enjoyed One of Us Is Lying :) The Lying Game sounds interesting but I HATED The Woman in Cabin 10 so I dunno...

Laura J said...

I love Ruth Ware, but Lying Game doesn't sound like something I would enjoy. I am definitely adding that running book to my list - I like to pretend that one day I'll run marathons!

Leslie @ A Side of Chocolate said...

I just finished One of Us is Lying last night and my feelings are very similar to yours! I also guessed the twist but I still liked it!

Unknown said...

I just finished No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert. It is a fictional story based on the true story of when Riverview Gardens schools lost their accredidation and were able to bus its students to the Francis Howell district. It was really good!

Tressa Rosone said...

^^^^ oops. Forgot my name.

Jenny Evans said...

Do you think the Rocket Girls one would be appropriate for my 14yo?

Unknown said...

I just added that running book to my list! It sounds great, though I have no idea when I'll get to it. The other day, I decided that I should start reading more of the books that are saved on my library online account, so I requested a bunch and naturally (even though I was behind other people for some books) A LOT of them came in at once. I think I have 10 books or something and I just got an e-mail that more came in. I started reading Wives and Daughters, by Elizabeth Gaskell, a few weeks ago and I really like it, but it's 600 or so pages, so it's taking me a while to get through-so I've been reading some of these other books on the side. I read the memoir by the Bush twins and enjoyed it, and I read Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam and loved it! That book is about time management, but I think the book was more about how to live a fulfilling life, and ways to make the most of the time you've been given.

Carolann @ Finding Ithaka said...

Now I want to read Rocket Girls! I have The Lying Game but now I'm going to put it on the backburner. I also have Not That I Could Tell and now I want to read it! So thank you for helping me decide what to read!!!

Michelle said...

Completely agree with your reviews of Rocket Girls and One of Us Is Lying! I’m dying to get my hands on the Bee’s book. I love everything they write.

Rach said...

How to be a Perfect Christian sounds hilarious! And The Rise of the Rocket Girls sounds like it would be a really interesting read when I'm in the mood for something a little denser to read. Thanks for the recommendations! :)

Sarah said...

I really want to read What I Talk about When I Talk about Running! Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I agree with your review of The Lying Game. I recently finished The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks... highly recommend it. I could not put it down. Lots of twists, some predictable and others not so much.