December is crazy busy for everyone. Add to it my daughter birthday and I’m the hot mess express. But of course I make time for reading. It relaxes me so I will not apologize! I am posting this before the end of the month because this is all I’ll be able to finish before the New Year.

Here’s what my month looked like.

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Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi Wow. Just was not expecting to like this book. Honestly it was a book club read for an online club that tends to be way too liberal for my tastes so I was hesitant to read it. But it was one of those titles I kept seeing and had read the description so many times but something about it finally caught my attention. I decided to listen on audio and liked the narrators voice a lot.

This is a story of a girl from Afghanistan who lost her family when she was around 7 years old when communist stage a coup. She was smuggled out of her home and into the arms of an American diplomat who ends up adopting her and raising her. She ends up a world renowned surgeon and above all else a survivor. I really thought this was going to be a political read and I was going to roll my eyes and give up listening. I didn’t. The story is amazing and I really enjoyed listening to her talk about her home and culture without feeling like it was huge bash on America. It was emotional and while I cried many times it left me feeling hopeful and grateful for my family.

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Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore ~ No. Just no. It started out so good and I’ve had a good run of great reads. This put an end to that killer run.

Oona turns 18 and wakes up in a much older body, in a giant house, where her friend explains to her that her adult life is lived out of order. Every New Year at midnight she will time travel and live that whole year a different age.

The first 1/4 of the book I enjoyed. I liked the time traveling aspect and thought Oona was a fun character (took it too far with a whole year of drugs but you know to each their own). But then it just got weird and the time travel didn’t make sense and I just wanted it to be over. There was a massive twist I did NOT see coming but it wasn’t a good one that makes everything make sense. It was all uncomfortable for me. I didn’t hate it but I wouldn’t recommend it.

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Everything Happens For A Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler ~ So this started out a little rough for me. I was unsure where it was going in regards to religion. I was born and raised Christian and have a pretty strong belief system. When the book starts out and talks about faith I was worried. But overall I enjoyed this book. I loved reading about her experience and the way she includes her mental responses made me giggle because I feel the same way. My husband has had thyroid cancer 3 times now. This book puts feelings and thoughts we’ve had into words so well I want to send a copy of it to everyone. I’m aware its very different being the wife of someone with cancer and being the patient with cancer. But it all sucks. Cancer sucks.

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Always In December by Emily Stone ~ I listened to this on audio while at work. Now if you’ve read or listened to that you know that means I ended this book a sobbing mess. Yes at my desk trying to pretend I’m not crying my eyes out. I don’t always read what the book is about before I start it. Sometimes I see what it was recommended with or the “because you read this…” section. I was not prepared.

It started out such a wonderful meet cute and then he ghosted her. Its got strong Serendipity vibes with heartwarming and gut wrenching twists. I laughed, I cried, I’m emotionally exhausted and need a cocktail. Excuse me while I go and watch How I Met Your Mother to recover from this book.

Oh, did I mention that I really liked the book? I did. All things considered I enjoyed it. I’d recommend it to a friend who likes romantic comedy but also is in the need for a good ugly face cry.

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The Family by Naomi Krupitsky ~ this was a Book Of The Month book that my mother in law picked and I took from her. I wasn’t sure what to expect but give me a story about two best friends and I’m in. Even better when it’s two best friends in an Italian Mafia family. These two have a bond so freaking strong I love it!

It started out so strong and then got a little slow for me. But I really enjoyed reading this. I loved the mafia Family and the loyalty that comes with it. I used about 8 book darts on it and I haven’t done that since I read Atomic Habits. I recommend this to anyone who like character driven stories. I think I need a fantasy action story next.

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I listened to his on audio and at first I had a really hard time with it. The grandmother and granddaughter relationship was hard to listen to because it made me think of Nana and I. Although this grandma seems to take more advice from her granddaughter than Nana ever did from me. But I’m glad I powered through.

This grandmother and granddaughter switch houses and its charming and adorable and exactly what you’d expect. I love the way both of them are finding themselves at such different ages and truly appreciated listening to a storyline of a 79 year old lady. I feel like I’m an old soul and really did enjoy her perspective. The old people of the town are my favorite and gave me Gilmore Girls/ Stars Hallow vibes. If this were a real place I’d live there. Both Starts Hallow and the town in the book. Great audio to round out my year.

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This is for the online book club Modern Mrs Darcy. I loved the What Should I Read Next Podcast for so long but I just can’t get behind so many of her guests recommending books because of an authors skin color or just because the author is a woman or of a certain sexuality. So while I don’t listen as much as I used to I do still like to see the book club forum on the website. Lots of good conversations on there too even though I don’t read a lot of the stuff they recommend.

I haven’t finished this one but I think its going to take me a while. Its the kind of book I like to read over coffee and only read in the morning as a motivation of sorts.