What I Read: October & November

This monthly post has become one of my favorite to write. I get all geeked out and giddy about remembering the stories and adventures I’d been on over the past 2 months, and sharing them with others. 

This past month I traveling throughout India, Australia, Paris, and my own front yard. It was a fabulous month of reading, and I hope some of you will choose to adventure through these books too! [And if you do, let me know…I love hearing about what others are reading, and what they think! Especially if it’s something I’ve read! #nerdalert]

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly

If you’ve heard of the movie Lion [starring Nicole Kidman,] this is the book the movie is based off of. It’s an amazing story of a little Indian boy who gets stuck on a train and because he doesn’t know enough about his home village, he can’t get back from Calcutta. He lives on the streets for months before he ends up in a group home that eventually finds a couple from Tasmania to adopt him. 

Years later, he discovers Google Earth and begins a journey of searching for land marks he recognizes in hopes of figuring out where he’s from and reconnecting with his family he couldn’t return to. 

Wow. This book. It’s amazing! It’s obviously a true story, and when you realize all that this sweet, little 5 year old boy goes through, you’ll probably get your address and phone number tattooed on your kids’ arms, but after that…you’ll simply be amazed, and so thankful for the life you’ve been given. 

I read the book before seeing the movie, but the movie does a great job depicting pretty closely the story from the book. I tend to lean more towards fiction, but I highly recommend this book if you need a break from fiction!  

The Child by Fiona Barton

If you are looking for a suspenseful, adventure with a HUGE plot twist, this book is the one. I could NOT put this book down, and loved every minute of reading it! 

The Child begins with a baby’s skeleton being found when a dilapidated building was torn down, and Kate Waters, a investigative journalist who cannot rest until she finds out the truth behind who this baby is and who it belonged to. Kate unearths connections to a decades old crime of a baby that was stolen right out of the maternity ward of a hospital, and tries to figure out if that crime has anything to do with the baby that was found.

This book is a serious page-turner, and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, BAM! It surprises you! I know the whole dead baby thing could cause you to be skeptical, I felt the same way at first. But I promise it’s not as depressing as you think. Read it. It’s awesome.

The Space Between Words by Michèle Phoenix

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and I’d been putting it off because there were many other “popular” books I wanted to read first. But I’m SO glad I decided to give this book a try. 

I’ll admit something to you: I totally read this book because of the cover. I know, I know, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But in this case, the cover is what drew me to the book. I love to write, and aspire to be an actual author someday, so words are my jam. So obviously a book that has something about words in the title attracted me right away. But enough about the cover…what’s inside was equally as awesome. 

This book is about the after effects of the Paris attacks in 2015. You will fall in love with Jessica, who was at the Bataclan theater when the shootings occurred. She wakes up days later in the hospital, and on a whim, decides to join her best friend Patrick on a road trip to hunt for antiques. What follows is her journey of not just physical healing, but also mental, emotional and spiritual healing from something you’d never wish on your worst nightmare.

I really, really loved this book. You’ll find yourself feeling everything Jessica is feeling, and wanting to journey through Paris right alongside her…and possibly wanting to move to Paris and open a B&B like I do ;) 

The Turquoise Table by Kristin Schell

I’ve written before about my desire to build community in my neighborhood, so it wasn’t a surprise that this book leapt out at me! Kristin Schell shares about how an old picnic table, some bright turquoise paint, and a heart passionate about her neighbors began a “front yard people” movement that’s taken over many neighborhoods! 

Kristin decided instead of eating meals, reading her Bible and spending time as a family in their back yard or inside their house, they’d begin doing all those things in their front yard, around their turquoise table. All the while, inviting neighbors and passersby into whatever activity they were engaging in. It’s definitely an encouragement to think outside the box when it comes to engaging your neighbors and reaching out to your community. 

I love this idea, and enjoyed hearing how the whole thing came to be, and loved the layout of the book: tips for growing in your own hospitality, setting up your own turquoise table, and even listening tips and similar topics. If you have a heart for hospitality and building community in your neighborhood, this is a great book to read, and it’s another one that has a very pretty and inviting cover ;)

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

This book. Holy moly. Similar to The Space Between Words, it’s a fictional story based on a true event. It will break your heart, opening your eyes to some real and true evil that happened in our nations history…and an evil that you probably had no idea about. Reading this book was the first time I’d ever heard of Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. 

To a lot of people, Georgia Tann was the founder of modern adoption in America, however, what most people didn’t realize is the immense illegal ways Georgia acquired the children she sold for adoption. She and her “goons” would kidnap children from poor homes, and sell them to wealthy clients, some who knew what she was doing, some who didn’t. She had mob bosses and judges in her pocket, so if parents would try to get back their children, they’d be denied the right to take back their children. She even had nurses who worked for her who would tell single mothers their babies died, but then in reality give them to Georgia Tann.

I’m telling you, it’s horrific. But I’m also so glad I read it. It opened my eyes once more to what humankind is capable of, and the need for our wonderful Savior. Georgia Tann died of cancer before she faced charges for all the evil she did, but I rest in the fact that she is facing much worse judgement after death than she ever would on earth. 

But anyway, the story begins in 1939, following 12 year old Rill Foss and her 4 younger siblings, who get wrenched from their happy life aboard a house boat with their parents, when their father has to rush their mother to the hospital one night. Then it takes you to present time, and introduces Avery Stafford, a woman born into wealth and privilege, with a political family and a handsome fiancĂ©. A chance encounter with a woman in a nursing home changes everything in Avery’s life and sets her on a journey to find out the truth behind who the woman is and how she can possibly be connected to Avery. 

Real talk: I know I made this book seem super depressing, but I really honestly promise you I loved it. If you’re not up for an emotionally charged book, don’t read it, but if you want something that will move you, and impact your life in real ways, it’s the perfect book.  

The Wicked Good Ketogenic Diet Cookbook by Amanda C. Hughes

I don’t usually review cookbooks, but this one is amazing. My husband, Stuart, and I recently changed our diet around by “going Keto.” We cut out grains and sugar, and focused more on protein and good fats. It’s done amazing things for our everyday lives, helped us to not crash midday, have increased energy, and we’ve both lost weight. Eating Keto has helped me to realize losing weight really is more about what you put in your body than exercising. I’m still exercising to remain healthy and because I enjoy it, but changing my eating habits was the clincher for real weight loss. 

There are a ton of books on the Keto lifestyle out there, and tons of cookbooks, but so far, this one has been my absolute favorite. [I’m still on hold for a slow-cooker Keto recipe book from my library, so I’ll keep you updated on whether that one is as great as this one!] 

I’ve made numerous meals out of this book, including but not limited to: 

  • Buttery garlic bomb crispy chicken thighs
  • Slow cooker lemon-rosemary chicken [this is SO easy- it’s a whole chicken in the crockpot with spices and lemon.]
  • Lemon-rosemary bone broth [made with the leftovers from the chicken above, also super easy, even for someone like me, who’s always been intimidated by homemade bone broth!]
  • Philly cheesesteak meatloaf [gotta represent!] ;)

It’s fab. If you’re looking for a way to keep yourself healthy throughout the holidays, OR like most Americans, a way to get back on the wagon in the New Year after gorging yourself over the holidays ;) this is a great book to use. It explains the highlights of the Keto lifestyle in the beginning, including a list of foods to enjoy and foods to stay away from. It’s a winner!

That’s it for now! I’m currently reading The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney [which I’ve heard mixed reviews about, but I’m enjoying so far], and The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch, which is super insightful on how to balance screen time, technology and family. [A great one to read while on my No Phone November adventure!]

Next up on my fiction docket are: 

  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand [I LOVED the first three books in this series! Excited to head back to Nantucket to see what the Quinn family is up to this time!]

What books are you reading?? I’d love more suggestions! 

Read my past book reviews: 

August & September

Summer

March & April