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A Book A Month: 2019 In Review

One of my goals for this past year was to read a minimum of one book per month, and I'm so proud that I accomplished this goal! I am an avid reader but in the past I have often only read a few books a season. For example in the summer months I might read 2 to 3 books then I wouldn't pick up another book until Christmas holidays. I wanted to be more mindful of how I spent my time, instead of scrolling my phone or zoning out with Netflix (which by the way I still do!) I wanted to spend some quality time on an activity I love and I know it enriches my life.

I wanted to share the twelve books that I read and what I learnt from each of them. As I've mentioned in the past I am a self-help junkie but I do also love a good fiction book, so you will find a random assortment of books below. Hopefully you will find one that you'd like to add to your reading list for 2020.

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand is one of my Mom's favourite authors. I developed my love of reading from my Mom, who honestly reads more than anyone I've ever met. She goes through a novel a week on average and now that she's retired she often finishes two books a week. She had just finished this book so it was an easy one for me to start with last January. It's a romance novel mixed with some suspense and it has a lot of plot twists. It was an easy read and I really enjoyed it as a escaped from my everyday life. After I finished reading this book I learnt that it is the first in a trilogy. I would recommend it as it was easy to get lost in the story and disconnect for a while. She keeps you entertained and wanting to continue to the next chapter. I've added the second book in the trilogy, What Happen's in Paradise to my list for 2020.

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

My husband helps my addiction to books by purchasing half a dozen or more each Christmas. I love that he picks out some books he knows I'll love and he also chooses some that are a little out of my "comfort zone". This book he knew I would like based on the fact that I love a good thriller. Think Gone Girl by Jillian Flynn. If you read Gone Girl and enjoyed it, I think you will really enjoy Lisa Jewell's novels, especially this one. It is a psychological thriller that I truthfully could not predict the ending. It is about the disappearance of a young teenager and her mother's never ending search for her. I love a book that you think about the characters long after you have finished reading it and this book did that for me.

Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

I actually read this book twice! This is the book that fundamentally changed my life this year. I can not recommend it enough. If you read only one of the twelve books I write about here, read this one. I love Rachel's no bullshit writing style. Her goal with this book is to get you motivated, to get you up off your ass and chasing down your dreams and goals. After I read this book, I had to put it down and I reread it again a few months later. That second read through, I finally got up and started to implement small changes in my life. I started a gratitude journal. I opened a new Instagram account dedicated to sharing my everyday while motivating other woman and moms. I began working out again for the first time in forever. I ran my best 5KM race after training for it for a few months. And finally I started writing again consistently and actually putting my "work" out there with this blog. As you can see, this book changed my life. It got me motivated again!

This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Phillips

I checked this book out from the local library, but the audio version. If you love audible, you need to look into this free resource from your local library called OverDrive. I have the app on my phone and you can check out audio and e book versions from your library, all for free!

I have followed Busy Phillips on her Instagram for a while, I love her Instagram stories and I just find her so funny. When she announced the launch of her new autobiography, I made sure to add it to my reading list last year. This book was what I would consider a light or easy read but it did have elements of heavy content. I really enjoyed hearing about her hustle in Hollywood, she had to work hard to get where she is and it wasn't easy. I was also a hardcore Dawson's Creek fan and hearing her take on the cast was really interesting. Overall it's a great read and I would recommend it if you are are Busy fan.

Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent

This was a physiological thriller with so many twists and turns it was hard to keep up! I really enjoyed Liz Nugent's writing style. The book itself is set in Dublin, Ireland. Summarizing the plot in one sentence, a young women has gone missing and her sister never gave up hope finding her. The characters that Nugent created in this novel are so complex and you can't seem to quite grasp who they are until the very end. I really enjoyed this book and if you are into novels with many plot twists you will like this book.

The Latte Factor by David Bach

I read Smart Women Finish Rich nearly a decade ago and it was truly life changing for me. David Bach is one of the best financial guru's and I love his simple yet profound advice on all things related to money. The Late Factor is his newest book and it was a very short yet unbelievably helpful book. I recommend it to everyone! If you aren't interested in a the deep dive into finances, this simple short story summarizes his financial advice is a few hundred pages. Bach is all about compounded interest and how saving a dollar today can lead to millions down the road. I reread parts of Smart Women Finish Rich after this book and it led Chauncey and I to making some changes to our retirement plans. We also finally have a Will. If you do not have a Will please listen to me, if you only do one thing in 2020 go see a lawyer and get your Will in order. We have David Bach to thank for kicking our asses into gear on that one.

Love Letter Life by Jeremy and Audrey Rolloff

We haven't had cable in years, so I no longer watch any cable shows but I did like Little People Big World on TLC when we did have cable. From that show I knew of Jeremy and Audrey Rolloff. I also follow them both on Instagram. Similar to when Busy Phillips announced her book I was intrigued when Jeremy and Audrey announced their new book so I went to Amazon and it was on my doorstep the next day (Yay online shopping!) This was a novel about their love story and their courtship. They are a Christian couple so there was some religious component to the book which I enjoyed seeing their perspective on how God played a role in their love story. Overall I found their advice pretty helpful even coming from young newlyweds. One chapter they spoke about how you need to take an interest in your partner's interests. The idea seems simple enough but it was a good reminder for me. I enjoyed reading about their early years as a couple and how the show impacted them. It was a good read and I good debut book for them.

City Of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

This was Elizabeth Gilbert's first fiction novel and it was amazing! I really enjoyed Eat Pray Love and I love her writing style, so I was very excited to hear she had entered the fiction world. The book was about New York City showgirls in the 1920's and female empowerment. The way that she paints the picture of the city and the atmosphere is like a movie in your mind. The character development was phenomenal. I would recommend this book to any woman looking for a fun, read that has depth.

Educated by Tara Westover

The was our first book that I read for my new book club. An autobiography of a young women who didn't set foot in a classroom until she was 17 years old but managed to get her masters at University of Cambridge at Trinity College. It was actually unbelievable reading her life story, I kept thinking "is this really a true story?" I actually googled a couple times to see if it was based on her life, and it is! She grew up in rural Idaho in a family of Mormon survivalist and her childhood was really unimaginable. The take away from this book for me, was that it doesn't matter your upbringing if you truly want something you can achieve it. She is a very inspiring woman and I'm grateful she shared her story with the world. With all of that stated, I wouldn't say I loved the book though. It felt like it did get a bit too detailed and dragged on in some parts, so keep that in mind when picking up this

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

This was the second book chosen for the book club, and I was really happy. I had already read a Lisa Jewell novel earlier in the year (see above!) and I loved it. Once again this thriller/mystery type novel had so many twists and turns. It definitely kept you engaged and wanting to get to the next chapter to see what would happen. The ending left me thinking and going back to other parts of the story trying to make sense of it all. If you enjoy suspense type fiction novels, I once again recommend this one.

Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

Of course after reading Girl Wash Your Face I had to read Rachel's second book that launched in 2019. The beginning of her second personal growth book did have similarities to Girl Wash Your Face, but this book was more of a road map with tangible steps to take to reach your goals. She breaks down step by step what she does to reach each and every goal. I really liked how this book complimented Girl Wash Your Face. I am a big fan of personal development or self help books and I think this is worth the read!

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyers

The final book for me in 2019 was by Jojo Moyers. It was once again a book club pick. I had read Me Before You and really enjoyed it. I mean who doesn't love a good love story; I had tears streaming down my face when I got to the end of that book. This book was set in the Kentucky mountains during the Great Depression. It describes the lives of a group of women who travel by horseback to delivery books to those in the rural mountain areas. I didn't realize until the end of the book that this was based on true events. These women risked their lives daily trying to help educate people living in the most rustic and rugged landscape. It was a great book to end 2019 with and I highly recommend it!

There you have it the 12 books I read in 2019! It was a very mishmash line up but I like reading a variety of books. For 2020 I have a lot more personal development on my list and less fiction. I'm always looking to add to my reading list, so please feel free to reach out with your recommendations.

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