You’re going to be okay

The Top 5 Books I Read This Year

This year I finally reached my goal of reading 50 books in a year. I’ve been trying since 2011, so it feels especially good to have surpassed my goal in 2015. With that said, it was pretty tough to pick the top five books I read this year. It was so hard that I decided to pick five and then add in a few honorable mentions.

Looking back through the books I read this year, I was surprised to see how much fiction I read. I’m usually a big fan of memoirs, self-help, and midwifery books, but I branched out more in 2015 and I’m so glad I did.

1. Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

Secrets of a Charmed Life begins in present day England with a young American student interviewing Isabel McFarland, an elderly woman who is finally ready to discuss lifelong secrets she has kept from World War II, starting with her identity. The author then weaves in the story of fifteen-year-old Emmy and her younger sister, Julia who live in England in the 1940s. As Hitler wages a war against London, children are forced to evacuate to foster homes in the countryside. While Emmy and Julia find security and peace in a lovely cottage with their foster mother, Emmy’s desire to return to London and work with a fashion designer battles with Julia’s need for her sister. Just as the Luftwaffe begins its destruction of London, the sisters are torn apart and their lives change forever.

This book. I was hooked once the story of Emmy and Julia picked up and couldn’t stop reading it. I loved it so much that I forced my mom to read it (who claims she’s not big into reading) and she said she adored it. We agreed that we liked the bond between the sisters and their mother and felt that it was very realistic. I highly recommend this book.

2. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans is the story of Tom Sherbourne, an Australian lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock. His lighthouse is so secluded that it’s half a day’s journey from the coast, and a supply boat only visits once a season. Tom meets and marries Isabel, and she lives with him on Janus Rock. Through the story, Isabel suffers two miscarriages and a stillbirth. One day, she hears a baby’s cry, and it turns out that a boat washed up on Janus Rock with a dead man and living baby on it. Tom wants to report the incident right away, but Isabel want to keep the baby. They end up keeping her and naming her Lucy. When Lucy is two, the family returns to the mainland and everything goes haywire.

At first, I wasn’t into this book. Once I became more invested in the plot, it was absolutely riveting. I have heard this it’s going to be turned into a movie this year as well. I’m very excited to see it!

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3. The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Anderson Brower

The Residence is a nonfiction book that gives an account of the service staff of the White House. The author discusses many of the first families that have lived in the White House as well as the dedicated professionals who maintain the 132 rooms in the six-floor mansion. What I loved about The Residence was that it covered so many different aspects of the White House, from President Nixon’s resignation and President Clinton’s impeachment battle to how the professionals get the White House ready for holidays and events. From the moment I began reading this book, I was absolutely fascinated. I’m also delighted to hear that the author has another (similar) book coming out in 2016!

4. The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

The Secrets of Midwives is about Neva Bradley, a young third-generation midwife who is pregnant, but keeping the details of who the father is under wraps. Neva’s secret mirrors her grandmother’s past in an eerily same way, and her grandmother must choose whether or not to share her past. I was fond of this book not only because it was about midwifery, but because the author totally nailed the mother-daughter relationships in a way that was very real to me. This book was a page-turner, but I wouldn’t read it if you’re squeamish about details concerning childbirth.

5. The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

The Boston Girl is about a young Jewish immigrant, Addie, who tells her life story to her granddaughter when asked how she became the woman she is. Addie’s story begins in 1915, and follows her through quite a few life changes. The book has a strong feminist theme, and proves that the author has a keen eye for history. When I first read about The Boston Girl online, I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy it but I was dead wrong. I couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to know what would happen next in Addie’s life. There are so many plot twists and turns, I was never bored with this book for a second.

Honorable Mentions

The Blue Cotton Gown: A Midwife’s Memoir – Patricia Harman

Astonish Me – Maggie Shipstead

You’re Going to be Okay: Encouraging Truth your Heart Needs to Hear, Especially on the Hard Days – Holley Gerth

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success – Amy Morin

Did you read any good books this year? Please share!


Current Reads

Hi! It’s 5:30 pm on Thursday and I’m at Jimmy’s place of work (aka his family’s welding shop) with him for the evening. He has to work late this evening, so I loaded Lola and dinner into my truck and hitailed it to the shop to be with my man.

Jimmy in action! He’s presently welding a beam.

I figured now would be a good opportunity to talk books, one of my favorite subjects! I’m currently reading four books right now. One is fiction and the other three are nonfiction. I’m enjoying all of them, so I decided I would share and hopefully hear what you’re reading. Sharing is caring, after all!

current reads

1. Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner
This book isn’t new, but I have been into all of Weiner’s books lately, so I picked it up from the library a week or two ago. The story follows three new moms and (one mom who has experienced a tragedy) through pregnancy and early parenthood as they try to navigate uncharted territory in their lives with juggling work, marriage, and babies. Each of the women have very different lives and personalities, yet are all friends. I am interested in all things pregnancy and motherhood, so this book is a win for me. I can’t wait to see how it ends.

2. You’re Going to Be Okay: Encouraging Truth your Heart Needs to Hear, Especially on the Hard Days by Holley Gerth
I read a few pages of this book every morning while I sip my coffee, journal, and read my Bible. I’m a big fan of Holley Gerth’s writing, as I think she has a wonderful talent for connecting God’s promises with women living the real world. The book is about how no matter what happens or what is going on in your life, God loves you and is for you. It’s a simple concept, but so hard to remember when you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed. The more I read of this book, the more I enjoy its truths.

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3. The Art of Raising a Puppy by The Monks of New Skete
As you probably know if you’ve ever read my blog, I’m into dogs. Probably too much ;). I always enjoy a good dog book–whether it’s on training, feeding, aggression, or puppyhood, I love it all. I’ve read quite a few books by Cesar Milan, but also heard this book by the Monks of New Skete is a great read. What I have enjoyed the most in this book (so far) is the inside look at the first eight weeks of a puppy’s life and how vital socialization is at that age. I would recommend this book not only for people who are looking to get a puppy, but also for anyone who wants to learn about how a dog’s personality begins to form at an early age.

4. Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain
I’m listening to this book as an audiobook, which is wonderful because it’s like Anthony Bourdain is talking to me. He’s quite the jokester–or maybe he’s just really blunt. Either way, any book written by Anthony Bourdain–especially Kitchen Confidential— is sure to make an impression on its reader. Medium Raw is no different. It reads a bit like a collection of essays about Bourdain’s take on the foodie world and all its parts. I like it (aside from all the swearing), but I don’t like it as much as I liked Kitchen Confidential.

So there you have it, my current reads. A random mix, as per usual!

What are you currently reading?