In My Library Tote: March Book Reviews and Recommendations

Jona is starting to read, but I can't wait for the day when he's able to sit with a stack of books to read himself. Yesterday, a cold, drizzly day, thinking he was preoccupied with some toys while Violet napped, I snuggled up on the couch with a blanket, ready to dive into a new book. Along comes Jona with a million questions about my book, what it's about, if he could sit with me... I appeased him by reading a chapter in Matilda before I had some "quiet mommy reading time". I love my kids, but I'm a much better mom when I have my reading time. Here's what I read in March.

{what I read in march}

{Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery} As I mentioned in my favorites post, I believe I read this as a child but I don't remember for sure. Either way, I'm so glad I read it as an adult because I loved every minute of it. Seeing the world through Anne's eyes was such a pleasant experience. I love literary fiction and am often drawn to books about heavy, news-worthy topics; however, every once in a while it's nice to escape in a book that makes you feel good and this one is perfect for that. If you're in the mood to rediscover a childhood classic I can't recommend this one enough! My rating: 5/5 stars.

{Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett} When Elvis's mother drowns during a sleepwalking accident, young Elvis applies her scientific way of thinking to dealing with grief. When the school counselor mentions the grieving process takes eighteen months, Elvis takes her literally and counts down the days on a calendar. She finds comfort in animals and science, and also in her close, quirky family; her father who wears his late wife's bathrobe around the house and her sister who has sleepwalking (and sleep eating) issues of her own. Despite its themes of grief and loss, Rabbit Cake was enjoyable, sweet, and even funny at times, and Elvis's honesty and youthful innocence made her such an endearing, likable character. My rating: 4/5 stars. 

{Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg} While I'm willing to expand my horizons, I think I've hit my audiobook stride with memoirs. I just find them so pleasant to listen to as I go about mundane, everyday tasks at home. In Delancey, Wizenberg shares the journey of opening a pizza restaurant with her husband, from her initial disbelief in her husband's follow-through, to Delancey's public debut. While this story assured for me that I definitely do not have what it takes to open a restaurant, I loved every minute of being immersed in Delancey's birth story. The only downside of listening on audio was that each chapter ended with a recipe, and I'd much rather see the printed version of those. I recommend this for anyone who has ever daydreamed about opening a restaurant or really anyone who loves to eat! My rating: 4/5 stars. 

{Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo} In Nigeria, where Akin and Yejide live, polygamy is a cultural norm. However, when they got married they agreed that it was not for them. Years go by and Yejide is unable to get pregnant, and one day Akin's family stops by for a visit, bringing a young woman and life-altering news. The woman is Akin's second wife, whom he married without Yejide's knowledge. If you like a book with secrets, lies, and dysfunctional families, this one has a hearty helping of all three. Be prepared though, this is definitely not a lighthearted family drama; it is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching at times. I loved it though and recommend it if you're in the mood for something on the heavy side. My rating: 4/5 stars.  

{The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs} This is another one I listened to on audio this month. Nina Riggs was 37 years old when she found out she had breast cancer, and it wasn't a year later when she learned that her cancer was terminal. Her memoir is just as the subtitle states, one of living and dying. She shares frankly about her illness, her marriage, and her relationship with her seven- and nine-year-old sons. It was touching, sad, and funny at once, and all in all a good listen. However, I don't know if it was the digital copy I borrowed, or something that went wrong in the download process on my phone, but when I listened the epilogue played toward the beginning of the book. I listened and was so confused as to why the book was so short! Then I saw that I was only a few chapters in... I think I would have been more moved had I listened in the correct order, so that was a bit of a bummer. My rating: 3.5/5 stars. 

{The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin} If you've read Better Than Before or listen to Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast, you are likely familiar with Rubin's Four Tendencies framework. It is a personality type framework based on how one responds to expectations: Upholders meet both outer and inner expectations, Obligers meet outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations, Questioners meet inner expectations but resist outer expectations, and Rebels resist both outer and inner expectations. In this book Rubin goes into detail about each tendency and also explores ways that various tendencies can work better together. This is my friend Becky and my book club pick this month, and while we haven't yet had our meeting, we've already had a lot to say about it over text. I'm an Upholder and she's an Obliger, and it's been fun to talk about the insights we have about our own tendencies. When I first read about this framework in Better Than Before it blew my mind, because everything she wrote about being an Upholder described me perfectly, and it answered so many questions about why I am the way I am and why my husband (an Obliger) does things differently than I do. For me, I've learned more from that book and from her podcast than I did from this book. I liked reading the chapter about my own tendency and about Aaron's tendency, but I didn't get as much out of it as I thought I would, especially compared to the other books I've read by her. I do think if you don't know much about the framework, but have taken her online quiz and want to know more, this is worth the read. My rating: 3/5 stars. 

{Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory} Margaret Tudor is the sister of Henry VIII of England, but a character in history that I knew little about before reading this. Of course, this is a work of fiction, but like much historical fiction, there's a lot of truth in the story's details. Three Sisters, Three Queens is about Margaret's life, her marriage to James, King of Scotland, and her struggle to keep the Scottish throne. At the center of her story though is her relationship with her sisters: her younger sister Mary and her sister in law, Katherine of Aragon, Queen of England, and the rivalry, love, and jealousy between them. Historical fiction is a fun escape for me, and I ended up enjoying this one. It took me a bit to get into, and I had trouble at first empathizing with Margaret. She was pretty hard to like; the words spoiled, entitled brat came to mind a few times. Eventually though, she grew up and grew on me and I found myself wrapped up in her story. My rating: 3/5 stars. 

{Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson} In this memoir, Jenny Lawson speaks frankly about her life and how it is affected by mental illness. I appreciated her honesty and ability to bring humor to a subject that many people find difficult to talk about, let alone to laugh about. I appreciated it, yet I have to say that it was just not for me. I listened to it on audio, which she reads herself. It's possible that I may have liked it more if I had read it instead, I'm not sure. There were parts that made me laugh, but overall I didn't enjoy listening to it. I read Let's Pretend This Never Happened a few years ago and did enjoy that one, so I don't know what it was about this one that didn't do it for me. I realize I'm in the minority here as most people I know loved this one. My rating: 2.5/5 stars. 

Have you read anything good lately? 

Linking with Show Us Your Books and Modern Mrs. Darcy


  1. Hi! I'm hopping over from Carrie's blog to say that I love reading, too! My favorite books for 2018 are A Month In Tuscany and The Lady Mrs. Parrish. Hope you are enjoying your Monday!


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