15 books in one month is a new record for me. I was so set on finishing the books I wrote during the first part of the year that I ended up getting crazy behind on my Goodreads challenge. If you know anything about me, once I set a goal, I HAVE to reach it. For some reason, at the start of 2019, I thought I could write 5 books, read 50 books, and still keep up with 2 toddlers, a business, and daily life.

What was I thinking?!?!

But I’m doing it. Now I’m only 10 books away from completing that Goodreads challenge which I’m pretty sure I can knock out in December. A nice relaxing trip to Hawaii definitely helped this month since I read 6 books just while I was on vacation.

It’s also been fun this year because I’ve been intentional in mixing up the types of books I read. It’s easy to fall prey to redundancy in the main genres that you enjoy. I’ve discovered some new authors that I love in the process.

Once I complete my 2019 challenge, I’ll recap all the books I’ve read. For now, let’s focus on my favorites of the 15 that I read in November:

All titles below are linked to Amazon.

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5 Stars:

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

I loved this book because it was such an interesting, layered story that showcases the strength in people’s perspectives in guiding their actions and how challenging it is for them to view situations through the lens of others, especially when they are personally affected. It also displayed the struggles of a mother’s love from multiple different angles and what that fierce mama bear love looks like in ways that may even be viewed as anything other than love.

Brain on Fire – Susannah Cahalan

This book chilled my bones and stuck with me long after the last page. This is Susannah’s real-life story of the scary, unknown medical condition that happened to her– once a “normal,” young woman– that completely changed her into one that could barely function and her journey throughout– and the amazing difference she’s made after. It forces you to view mental and physical medical conditions in a brand new light and leaves you wondering how much goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle

This has become my favorite book that I’ve ever read and I plan on putting it on an annual rotation and gifting it to many people. It’s really helped me understand more of the role of the ego and how it affects me on a daily basis– even in parenting. The thing is, even if you’ve read some of the same new age concepts in other books, the way he presents the information is a great challenge as to whether you’re applying what you may already know and putting it into practice or not. I can honestly say this book completely changed me.

You are a Badass at Making Money – Jen Sincero

Jen Sincero is hilarious. I would hands down recommend this book and her other, You are a Badass, for anyone looking to elevate their life and take it to the next level. She breaks down the importance of believing in yourself and your abilities to be your own determiner of the amount of money coming into your life in an enjoyable, relatable way.

4 Stars:

My Favorite Half-Night Stand – Christina Lauren

This was an enjoyable beach read while in Hawaii, even if slightly predictable. Two best friends learn that they may have feelings for each other, but fight against it initially until a series of situations unfold and prove there’s a lot more they need to work through individually before they can come together. I loved the true friendships throughout and the pace.

Ask Again, Yes – Mary Beth Keane

My family is doing an anonymous gift exchange and the goal is to bring gifts that any adult could enjoy. The gift I’m contributing will include a couple of books (shocker) and this is one of them because it’s truly a novel that I feel like any adult man or woman could enjoy. It takes place over the course of a few decades with one specific period of terrible tragedy and focuses on the power of love and forgiveness over time and the development of people throughout.

The Gifted School – Bruce Holsinger

This was a book that I wouldn’t have picked up if it wasn’t dropped off by my MIL, but I’m so glad she shared it with me because I enjoyed it. A fictional story about a new school that opens that’s strictly for “gifted kids” and the crazy things people do for their kids to elevate them and make them stand out so that they can attend. Definitely makes you wonder how much of what we do for our kids are to boost our own egos vs. actions that are focused on their true best interests.

The Other Books & Ratings (see ratings chart below)

3 Stars:
Sometimes I Lie, Lock Every Door, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, Summer of ’69, Things You Save in a Fire, The Catcher in the Rye, Mrs. Everything

2 Stars:
On Dublin Street


Just a note on my ratings since everyone rates differently:

5 stars – books that have significantly changed me in some way or that I’ve resonated with on a deep level and I’ll read again

4 stars – books that I was captivated by and could easily read again

3 stars – perfectly good books that I might still recommend to others but I wouldn’t read a second time

2 stars – books that I enjoyed parts of but otherwise found myself questioning way too much and/or negatively affected by to fully enjoy it

1 star – books that I had to force myself to complete