Cheers to 2019!!!!
It’s time for this month’s reading list. After a couple months of being just “meh” on a lot of books I read, this was a pretty good month of reading. Since I’m always very honest, The Other Woman was a little bit disappointing to me. It was good but not great and it got SO much buzz which makes me hold it to a higher standard. I still enjoyed it but it wasn’t as amazing as everyone says it was. I read a great book about writing, and two really fun brain candy sort of books and a super fun YA thriller.
So all in all, it was an awesome month of books and I would recommend everything I read (yes even The Other Woman, it just didn’t live up to all the hype!) Also! If you haven’t read it yet, definitely stop by my recap of everything I read in 2018. It’s a long post (I read 82 books, JFC!) but I spent a really long time working on it and ranking everything I read. I also share my top 3 books from the year.
If you’re new here and are looking for a book, don’t forget that you can always check out my Book Club Page.
Every month I update it, so it includes every.single.book I’ve read in the past few years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for. I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading in real time to my Amazon Shop.
Last order of business before my reviews! Please comment and tell me what you are reading… your suggestions are my THE BEST… I always shop off of your suggestions – you always have such good recommendations for me, which I really appreciate! (You guys convinced me to read One Day in December which was probably my favorite book from the whole month!)
If you want to be a better writer…
Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit, by Steven Pressfield.
As I’ve mentioned before one of my goals this year is to read more books that will make me better at my job. And I really want to become a better writer. I love Steven Pressfield’s style of writing. His books are always incredibly helpful and smartly written (he also wrote The War of Art), delivered in short, punchy “chapters.” I put chapters in parentheses as each chapter is only a few pages long… this book is just under 200 pages and contains 119 chapters.
Taking us through the different stages of his career (advertising, writing fiction, screenwriting, back to fiction, and self-help) he teaches us how to be a better writer: putting yourself in your reader’s shoes to create content that is interesting and inventive. This is described as developing empathy for your readers… switching back and forth as you write to put yourself in the shoes of the reader. For a business-y book this is a pretty short read but a valuable one and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone looking to become a better writer.
- Score: A
The Perfect Amount of Brain Candy
My Favorite Half-Night Stand, by Christina Lauren.
I became an instant super fan of Christina Lauren after reading Love and Other Words (see my review of it in October’s reading list– it’s an absolute must read and one of my favorite books from this past year). Christina just does a rom-com/brain candy type of book so well. Was it a little bit predictable? Yeah. Did it keep me up all night anyway? Absolutely.
It was the best kind of predictable, in that really satisfying sort of way where you know what’s coming but it takes a while to get there. Millie Morris has been one of the guys forever. She’s a little bit emotionally stunted and her and her four guy pals all work a lot. One night, her and her best friend Reid hook up. They immediately decide this was a bad idea, something that can never happen again. Meanwhile, with a big banquet coming up at work, the group decides they need to get dates so they all give online dating a try.
And of COURSE (true to real life) the guys are met with quality matches whereas Millie gets dick pics and asked for her weight and cup size. Frustrated, Millie creates a new persona under a different name ands up matching with Reid. You an only imagine what happens from there. I really enjoyed it. Though it was fluffy, it was the perfect kind of fluff where the character development is great and you can really identify with the characters. Oh BTW, in case you were curious (I was!), a “half-night stand” is when you have sex with someone and they only stay half the night/don’t sleep over.
- Score: A-
One Day in December, by Josie Silver.
I couldn’t wait to read this! There was a lot of hype about it over in the private Facebook group. I’m happy to report that it lives up to the hype and I absolutely LOVED it. I read it in a single day. I woke up and read for a bit and then spent an entire evening at home curled up with it. It was one of the sweetest love stories I’ve read in a while and I truly could not put it down. It’s such a realistic, relatable look at friendships, love, and loss. Laurie isn’t one to believe in love at first sight but spots Jack from the bus. They lock eyes and it’s that instant magical attraction – love at first sight.
She spends the next year looking for him until they accidentally reconnect – her best friend brings him to their Christmas party and is already head over heels in love with him. The novel spans about ten years. All of the characters endure dramatic heartbreaks and a lot transpires between each of them. I loved the friendship between Laurie and Sarah but the male characters were really wonderful too. Can’t recommend this one enough!
- Score: A
This month’s YA Pick (for the podcast!)
Little White Lies, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
I have made no secret about not always loving the YA books we pick for the pod, but that makes for good discussion. That’s not the case with this one, which I really loved. It’s totally my genre although it’s set in the South and not a dystopian society. Sawyer Taft grew up on the wrong side of the tracks when her estranged grandmother turns up out of nowhere offering her half a million dollars to participate in debutante season. I don’t want to give too much away (and we are talking about it on the podcast later this month so read it before 1/30!) but it is such a fun read.
There’s a big mystery with a juicy set-up, there’s the friendship between four debutantes, and there’s Sawyer’s quest to find her father. I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t recommend it enough if you are looking for a fun YA read that you can’t stop reading.
- Score: A-
A Creepy Thriller (Though I guessed the Ending)
The Other Woman, by Sandie Jones.
This one has gotten so much buzz. And while it definitely kept me up at night (I read it in under 24 hours while I was sick), I was kinda just meh on it!!! Being so meh is making me question everything. Have I read too many creepy thrillers? Am I just conditioned now to guess the endings? Emily thinks she’s met the perfect man in Adam, until she meets his mother Pammie. Pammie will do everything – absolutely everything – to ensure Emily and Adam don’t wind up together.
The book takes us through Adam and Emily meeting, through engagement and a baby, all while Pammie does everything she can to ruin their relationship. Meanwhile Adam is totally oblivious to his mother’s bad behavior. There’s a big juicy twist at the end (and while it was totally satisfying, I did guess it). I can’t give this one a great rating as it was a bit predictable and implausible all at once BUT I didn’t dislike it and wouldn’t tell you to not read it if you’re in the mood for a fun thriller that will keep you up all night reading to find out what happens.
- Score: B-
That’s it! What did you read this month? Tell me what you loved (or didn’t love) in the comments.
I just started Family Trust by Kathy Wang. It’s good so far. I read Winter in Paradise by Elin Hildebrand over the holidays. She’s my guilty pleasure!
mine too!!! I love her books!
Thanks for the suggestions!!!
Just finished the Glitch which I enjoyed and Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home. Neither were a new top favorite but no regrets. Happy New Year, Grace!
Thanks so much for the recs, Janice! Happy New Year!!!
Always looking forward to your reading lists! I can’t wait to check some of these books out. I hope to get through at least a few of them this year! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
aw thanks Charmaine! I love putting them together!
Just finished “Where the Crawdads Sing”. I enjoyed it. Appreciate your suggestions for good books. Thankyou.
I’m planning to read that this month! Have heard SUCH good things!
Thanks for the recommendations! I just started Bel Canto and am determined to read the Hamilton biography after that as part of my resolution to read more non-fiction this year. Wish me luck!
Ahhhh that’s so ambitious but awesome! Enjoy!!!
I just sent this list to my whole office since we all read a ton over the holidays and needed new ideas.
I just finished Defending Jacob and really enjoyed it, the end was such a shock! Currently flying through Educated and have One Day in December up next.
1 – THANK YOU SO MUCH for spreading the word! Really appreciate it!!!!
2 – I haven’t read Defending Jacob – will check it out! Educated was the besssst!
One Day in Decemeber was SO good. It kind of reminded me of Love Actually. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!
yes! that’s such a good comparison!!!
Just started Lilac Girls last night per your recommendation…. already in love!!
OMG YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT (but also cry so hard) one of my all time favorite books! xo
Hey Grace! I’m a rabid follower of your reading/book club posts but a rare commenter. I read like crazy and I love your recommendations. I devoured “The Hating Game” after you wrote about it and it was seriously one of the only books I where I went back and reread sections after I was finished. Rom com-type fiction is not usually my go-to genre (I’m psychological thriller all the way) but I went and added about 20 similar titles to my to-read list (based on many of your recommendations!) after I finished that one.
Anyway, just stopping by to say that I’m reading “The Ruin” by Dervla McTiernan right now (heard of it? Read it?) and so far, it’s one I’d recommend to others! It’s not as dark and twisted as some of my favorites, but it’s well-paced with interesting characters. I also write about the books I read on my website, http://www.meganpareja.com. You can find my review of “The Hating Game” here: https://meganpareja.com/book-review-the-hating-game/
Happy reading in 2019!
Aw thank you so much for taking the time to comment! SO happy to hear you are enjoying the blog.
Sounds like I need to check out The Ruin and your site!!! The Hating Game was SO GOOD!!!
I’ve got Little White Lies on hold at the library! Can’t wait to read and sooo glad the podcast is back! I had a baby in October, so the podcast was a lifesaver to listen to during feedings and now that I’m back at work, I need the books and your podcast to look forward to as something to do for me amidst all the chaos and new normal-izing! Always love your book recs (you’re pretty much my sole source for new reads), and I’m setting the intention to make reading my self-care for 2019. It’s so easy to get lost in work, keeping the house clean, groceries, cooking, laundry, etc. and I’m realized how important it is for my own mental health to make sure I’m taking care of me even if the other stuff doesn’t always get checked off. Your blog has taught me that. Looking forward to another year of The Stripe : )
Aw thank you so so much for the kind words. I am so glad we’re back too!!!! Happy 2019!
I just finished “Where the Crawdads Sing” and was blown away by the writing. It’s a Reese Witherspoon book club book and I wish the book never ended. My next book on deck is “Becoming” by Michelle Obama and can’t wait to dive it.
I am reading Becoming right now and Where the Crawdads Sing is next on my list!!!!
I just finished Becoming! It was amazing, it almost felt like I was talking to a friend rather than reading the memoir of a former First Lady!
(that’s how I feel as I read it right now!!!)
OMG I LOVED My Favorite Half Night Stand and One Day in December too! Nobody Wants to Read your Sh** is being delivered tonight, and Little White Lies is on its way to my local library! So ready to dig in!
Yay! Sounds like we have the exact same taste in books!!!
I liked One Day in December too! It was super cute and a feel-good holiday read, so I am glad I read it during holiday downtime.
Without a doubt I recommend Where the Crawdads Sing. It was the most well-written, moving, thought provoking book I have read in years (maybe ever? Definitely since I read the Nightingale, which was a few years ago). I truly can’t think of anything like it. It was amazing. I don’t want to hype it up too much but seriously read it! I couldn’t put it down and was SO sad when I finished it, as I just wanted it to continue forever!
I feel the same exact way about Where the Crawdads Sing. I seriously did not want it to end and visual picture this book created in my head is magically. I agree that it was so well-written and probably the best book I too have read since The Nightingale!
I am so, so excited to read this! I am reading Becoming right now but think this one might be next on the list!!!!
Always enjoy this monthly post! Excited to dig into One Day in December starting tonight.
I read What was Mine by Helen Klein Ross and really liked it – totally up your alley with twisty thriller (though also pretty predictable!) Also really enjoyed Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand and just finished The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory.
Thank you for the recs and enjoy One Day in December!!! Such a fun book. XO
I am currently reading A Sky Painted Gold thanks to Becca’s glowing recommendation on this week’s BOP episode. I just bought it yesterday and am already almost 80% through, which should tell you how much I am enjoying it. After that, I am going to read Becoming by our Forever First Lady. I am really looking forward to that one!
Over the break, I read Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. This was a recommendation from my teenage daughter and, man, was it it a good one. I think anyone who loved The Hate U Give will enjoy this one too.
I can’t wait to read it!!!!
Just finished The Dazzling Heights! Read all three Thousandth Floor books on your recommendation and LOVED.THEM.
Thinking Lilac Girls and Educated next to make my brain do a teeny bit more work after all of that “junk food” — your recommendations are the BEST, Grace!
Sooooo many of my favorites! Thanks Elly!
I just started What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding – I’m not a memoir fan but my friend loaned it to me so we shall see. I have a ton of BOTM to catch up on – The Chalk Man and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo to name a few. The last book in the Throne of Glass series will be my Kindle read.
One of my recent reads by Jodi Piccoult – Small Great Things was fantastic, highly recommend!
Please keep me posted on how you like What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding – I put it down! Might pick it back up but found the author so annoying!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was one of the best books I read in 2017!!! (And loved Small Great Things too!!)
I just finished reading The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman. It’s about the son of a famous artist – it’s kind of a tragic story but it’s very well written and I really loved the ending!
Ooooh thank you for the rec!!!
Love these picks – just downloaded My Favorite Half Night Stand! I also read One Day in December in one day / night …. always brings me back to middle school / high school when I stay up far too late / wake up early just to finish reading a book. Such a satisfying and fulfilling feeling – weird? lol
I’m currently reading The Heart’s Invisible Furies. It’s been super interesting so far and I’m only about a third of the way in. I’m usually don’t keep track of how many books I read during a year but definitely want a long list by the end of 2019 so TY for being such an inspiration!
I feel the same way!!! It really is so satisfying.
Also I loved The Heart’s Invisible Furies – really great book.
Just finished Educated, it was soo good! I have been going back and reading through your recommendations. So glad I stumbled upon your site!
Suchhhhhhhh a good book!!!
I’m reading Pope Joan right now, and I am listening to One Day in December on Audible (loving it)!.
Love your reading lists 🙂
Thank you, and thank you for the suggestion!!!
I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and want to thank you for all the book recommendations. I usually only manage a book a month. So, I’ll probably never read everything you do but it’s so nice to have a succinct list to choose from when I get ready for something new.
I finished “Our House” in December but I can’t remember if I got that from you or somewhere else. I also just finished “Love and Ruin” by Paula McClain. I can’t get enough of her historical fiction! She had me so interested in Hemingway that I read “The Sun Also Rises” as soon as I finished “The Paris Wife”.
Aw thank you so much for the comment and the recommendations!!!
I’m finishing up Today Will be Different by Maria Semple now, and am in progress with The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, with Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira Lee on deck! I also FLEW through One Day in December – such a good one!
Those are quotation marks, not parentheses.
While I’m glad I read One Day in December during Christmastime as well, I thought it was a bit underwhelming overall. It kind of reminded me of Something Borrowed, which I enjoyed much more.
It is a lot like Something Borrowed!!!! I still loved it though!
Just finished The Nix by Nathan Hill, which I loved. It’s long (640 pages!) but a phenomenal multigenerational story. I did the audiobook, which I recommend — I am very picky about audiobooks but the narrator is so good.
I am also reading We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union, I love her frank, brutally honest writing style and how she ties her personal stories into larger societal commentary.
thank you so much for the suggestions – both sound right up my alley!
I’m on a nonfiction kick at the moment. I just finished Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, which was really interesting. Now I’m listening to It Will Only Hurt a Little Bit by Busy Philipps. She reads it herself,with so much emotion, and she’s had me in tears as she digs deep and shares the good, bad, and ugly. Love your monthly book reviews!!
I have heard so much about Bad Blood and have Busy Phillips’ book on my shelf – can’t wait to read! Thank you so much for the recs and for chiming in!
I listened to ‘The Other Woman’ on Audible, and I imagine it was more satisfying in audio than print. For some reason, I find those mass-marketed thrillers more enjoyable when I listen to them; maybe because I usually listen while driving or doing chores so it makes those activities a little more interesting. Other hyped-up thrillers that I went the audio-route on: ‘The Last Mrs. Parrish’, ‘The Wife Between Us’, ‘Something In the Water’, and ‘Emma in the Night’.
I love your book reviews, Grace, and can’t wait to follow your reading adventures (and snag some great recommendations!) in the new year!
Oh that is so interesting!!! Thanks Keira – have a great weekend!
Little White Lies sounds so good! I want to read more in 2019 so thanks for giving me some inspiration!
Oh good!! HOpe you read it – it’s a fun one!
In December I read:
– Joyland by Stephen King – I really enjoyed this as it’s a break from the horror genre he is known for.
– The Handmaid’s Tale – too much hype, I didn’t enjoy this book
– Fahrenheit 451 – same as above, but I did like it better than the one above
– For Better and Worse – a fun, quick thriller that I enjoyed
– Behold the Dreamers – very good, highly recommend if you haven’t read it
– Becoming – ah, what a breath of fresh air, miss them both
– And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie – my first by her, but definitely not my list. Traditional, ‘whodunit’ mystery novel. Loved.
I can’t wait to see what you read this year as I love your book round-ups. It’s my favorite blog feature.
Such a good list and so many of my favorites. I’m reading Becoming right now and savoring every page!!!
I LOVED One Day in December! I also read it in one day, completely incapable of putting it down. I have The Other Woman in my TBR pile but haven’t wanted to pick it up, and your review almost guarantees I won’t. But I can’t wait to pick up Half Night Stand as I also adored Love and Other Words.
I just finished The Silent Sister, which isn’t the type of book I typically read but it had me hooked! Also if you haven’t read The Light We Lost, HIGHLY recommend.
Thanks for the recos! This is always my favorite post each month of yours 🙂
It was sooooooo good!!!!
Silent Sister is on my list and I absolutely loved + devoured The Light We Lost! Thanks for commenting, Stephanie – have a great weekend!
Have you read the YA book Even The Darkness Stars by Heather Fawsett? So good! The characters are complex and complicated. it’s a fantasy set an a world where the characters are the first to climb a mountain Everest type of mountain. There are marauding witches, soul stealing stealing ghosts and good magic with interesting animals and familiars. The book is a total surprise.
I haven’t, but I will check it out! Thank you for the suggestion!
I already finished “ the great alone” whuch I loved and cried to, and Now I’m halfway through “the inmortalist”, which so far has me captivated. Itching to start reading “where the crawdads sing” soon
Loved The Great Alone! Thanks for the suggestion on the Immortalist – I actually just started Where The Crawdads Sing and love it so far!
Love these recommendations and I will be sure to add them to my list!
During January, I read ‘The Sun Does Shine’ by Anthony Ray Hinton and it is one of the best books! I highly recommend reading it if you have any interest in wrongful convictions or memoirs.
Oooh thank you so much!