2018 Book Review – Part 1

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review, in fact a REALLY long while, and maybe I only read one book in 2017?!  Just kidding, I’ll have to go back and look at what I read in 2017, I know I did some summer reading.  But, it’s 2018, so let’s start there! And, this might turn out to be a little bit of a novel too….

The holiday break gave me a break for a few weeks from MBA reading and I flew through a 4 book Winter series by Elin Hilderbrand, which included Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms and Winter Solstice.  These books followed a Nantucket family who owned an Inn and the ebbs and flows of changing family dynamics mixed in with friends and guests of the inn.  If you love family traditions, a little bit of romance, some light drama and holidays you’ll love these. They are the holiday equivalent to summer beach reads. Status: Loved them.

High-five to the library holds shelf!

During the holidays I also read Kristan Higgins If You Only Knew. This book alternates chapters in story telling between two sisters and I love stories written like that.  To be real, I don’t really even remember this book, in too many details, but it was a good one, follows the sisters through life changes and their sorting out of how they deal with what they find out.  Status: Good read.

I also read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. SOOO many people recommended this book and I knew I needed a window of time to read it.  And, it was a great historical fiction read, which is a favorite for me.  The Nightingale follows a young girl in WWII and her assistance with rescuing airmen who were shot down.  Honestly? This story is a little long for me, a good book, but think it could have probably easily cut 75ish pages and still told the story just as well. I know that might be controversial to lots of Nightingale book lovers.  😐 Status:  Definitely Read

Quite possibly my favorite book so far in 2018?  Still Me by JoJo Moyes! It’s no secret that I LOVED Me Before You (again, most either loved or hated it…but that book STILL makes me think about decisions and outcomes) and this is the 3rd book following Louisa’s life. If you read After You and were disappointed, Still Me will definitely redeem it.  You don’t have to read After You, but I think it makes Still Me that much better to have seen what Louisa goes through in After You, and then how her life goes on in Still Me.  She could still write a fourth to follow, maybe we’ll get lucky!  Status: MUST read.  🙂


The weekend before Barbara Bush died I finished reading Sisters First, by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush. This was such a sweet story of their family; growing up, both sets of grandparents, tender moments, hard times and background of some media moments.  Remember when the media went nuts about Jenna sticking her tongue out?  Stories like that.  I also loved reading about twins and their differences because of my twinkie nieces. Status: Definitely read!

The book I was determined to finish and paid a library fine for?  The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.  The story is set in Alaska in the 70’s, a family who moves to reset their lives and find stability and home in simplicity of Alaskan life.  However, nothing is as simple as it seems and personalities don’t change with a location change.  The book follows several years of their family life and changes in the community including dynamics of the neighbors.  No matter where you are, everyone needs people strong enough to help hold them up when you can’t and growing up will always come with challenges and victories.  Same with The Nightingale, this could have been 75 pages shorter, but again, it’s a great read and one I’ve thought about after reading it.  Status: Do read.

Pause:  I read the last of my MBA notes by the pool and GRADUATED, then it was truly onto summer reading!

Shortly after I finished school I headed to Orlando for a Plexus Convention and packed a couple of books with me.  I have long had Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly on my list to read and I finally got around to it showing up from my library holds list. This was another historical fiction that is inspired by a real life story of three girls, in three separate places during WWII and how their lives are connected despite distance and circumstance. I loved their stories, though at times heartbreaking to read, and the chapters switched back and forth between the girls so took a bit to get into the book and follow the rhythm of the writing and characters. Status: Must read!

Next up, a book way out of my normal read, The last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine. I saw this as a recommendation from several blogs I read and others, so thought it was worth a library check out.  Here’s my take. I’m not sure I’d recommend it, it’s got an affair that’s pretty detailed and I don’t love reading that, however, it also tells two sides to a story and you know there’s always two sides to a story and once I got to Part II I really wanted to know the other side.  Always remember, everything isn’t as it seems.  Status: Eh, a decent read.

Change of typical reading scenery, post run, breakfast and a book!

I’ve had a couple of Laine Moriarty books on my library holds list and The Husband’s Secret came up in my queue. This is another one written chapter by chapter from each character’s perspective and I didn’t know what the secret was for a long time and then I wanted to know how it all worked out. This was a pretty quick read and had a lot of twists amongst a town village of characters to keep it moving through the story.  Status: Easy breezy read.

I also recommend reading poolside with a White Claw and some snacks!

It seems I took a chic lit turn in my books…next up: Island Girls by Nancy Thayer. Three daughters must live together for the summer according to their father’s will to inherit his Nantucket house and of course there’s some sibling drama, some summer love and some growing up for three women who weren’t close as kids.  I love how a writer can intertwine multiple characters and stories, some don’t develop all of them well, but all three of these girls were “main characters” and good story lines. A great summer read and I like her writing; I think I’ll add a few of her books to my library queue – she’s another one I’ve heard about from other readers.  Status: good read.

If you’ve not been on the internet, Instagram or blogs you might not have heard of Rachel Hollis’ Girl Wash Your Face. Otherwise, you probably have and maybe wondered about why someone wrote a book about washing your face!? Someone told me they listened to this on audio book and it almost made me want to go back and get it on audio to hear her read this book to me.  I’m not a mom and there were a few super mom focused chapters, so I skipped/skimmed a couple chapters. But, the whole book is filled with so many good reminders; simple truths to combat the lies we allow ourselves to believe. My favorite page: 96 “you have to choose not to compare”.  Status: Girl. Read. This. Book. (Or guy – it might give you some insight to the women in your life.)

Speaking of audio books, I’ve never “read” one.  I’m always interested to hear audiobook lovers talk about reading books. That’s listening to books, right? I get distracted enough with the book in my hand, must less listening to it and my mind wondering off and completely tuning out. I downloaded Audible trying to get a book from my Kindle to read aloud in the car on a road trip, but it wouldn’t work. Then I got an instant email from Audible for a free book, so, I’ve had several friends recommend The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile via audio book about the Enneagram and I got it.  Enneagram is a personality profiling test and results in 9 types, a “wing” that is your secondary type and types you typically go to for better or for worse depending on circumstance. I always love to do these surveys and find out more insight to myself, and how I am reactive to and affected by others.  As with any of them, this isn’t gospel of who I am (or you), but interesting none the less. In case you’re wondering, I’m a 2 with 1 wing, affectionately written as “2w1” by the ‘grammers.  Status: tbd, I have a few hours to go and am only on the 3rd type.

Castle Of Water by Dane Huckelbridge was another book I added from a few bloggers recommendations and probably not a book I would have found otherwise. Fascinating about this, a guy wrote it, but not like a Nicolas Sparks book. However, it is maybe the lighter with a touch of love version of the movie Castaway?  I never saw that movie, but the general premise. And, this one will not bore you. It is maybe a little bit unrealistic at times but a story to make you think about “what if” and to see the human spirit. The author also bounces between past and future and blends the two stories, which I like. Status: Recommended.

Pedi + Book = Good combination!

Last book for this novel of review is another one that is out of my box, but has been all over the “must read lists”, The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.  The front of the book jacket says “When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume…. Assume nothing.”. And, they are right.  It is a story of several wives and until the very end you’ll not know how they are connected. Also, fascinating to me is that this is written by two authors. I’d like to know more; did one write one story line, one another, how did they connect them!?  Maybe I need to read up on the authors!  Status:  Good read.

Next up:

And, I’m 7 months complete and heading into August of my One Year Bible, this is the 2nd, or maybe 3rd time, I’ve read through Bible in a Year.

Whew! Here’s to a 2018 What I’m Reading – Part 2 post sooner than December, that will maybe be a little shorter! 🙂  Thanks for reading along, and as always, I love to know what others are reading and what you recommend!! My library queue is always on the ready for more titles!




  1. Cassi on August 2, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    I love this! Thank you for sharing all of this. I now have several books to read.

  2. Kasey Holloway on August 6, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Thanks for sharing! I loved a lot of the books you read, especially the Winter Street Series! Those books have my heart! Lol I’m currently reading the Road Back to You, but I got it in print form (although I’m a big audiobook fan) so that I could highlight and refer back to it as needed! I’m a 3, and I love hearing what others numbers are. You’re right this isn’t gospel, but I have found understanding the enneagram super helpful, especially in ministry (my husband works at a church). It helps me understand why people do what they do, and helps me not think, “why don’t they just get it!?” haha 🙂

  3. Cami on August 24, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you for the thorough review! I have added several of these to me “to read” list.

  4. […] you remember the Winter Street Series, which I loved, the Peachtree Bluff series is the summer equivalent.  The series is three books by […]

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