Book Club Review + Bonus Download! (Read for Entertainment + Improvement)


August 2020 – November 2020

Before we begin, look to the right. If that doesn’t say you’re following the blog make sure you put your email in and I’ll send you free downloads from here on out!

In 2017 I started a list of my goals and accountability tracking for the year. I reached and exceeded every goal.

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If you’re looking for more book or podcast recommendations you can read my other book reviews from this year you can catch up here.

The goal of this section of the blog is to share a glimpse into what inspires, motivates and teaches me. Out of the books I read, I only bring up the ones I would suggest taking a look at…there are still a few that get left out; entirely based on my own opinions.

So where do I find all these books to read? Lots of places. I follow the Book of the Month Club on Instagram and I get weekly suggestions from my daily news source, theSkimm. You can sign up for free here using my referral code!


Read For Entertainment

everyone brave Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This novel took place during the Blitz and walks you smoothly through the lives of four protagonists along with how their lives are changed by war. A socialite determined to undermine her family’s racial and judgmental tendencies by teaching in a local area, her tumultuous friendship with another female and their close calls with life and death as ambulance drivers. The author expertly ties in their mutual love interest while he is fighting, and injured, in war. Don’t worry if you usually don’t like historical, military or war-time novels. This has much more to offer than that. 

everything you want me to be Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

There was something about this book I loved listening to. I didn’t think it would surprise me (it didn’t so much but I did change my whodunnit guess a few times). A rural town urges a beautiful teenage girl to move out of town. Her dream twists and turns as she discovers she’s started an online love affair with a man in a chatroom…who turns out to be her new English teacher. She is killed and he eventually becomes suspect number one. Think he did it? Read on. 


I blew through this book- it was so entertaining to me! It’s been a reading list pick in several book clubs and referenced to be a great choice for those fans of striking and moving love stories….except for the cheesiness. An analytical and ambitious, numbers-keen lawyer has her entire life planned out and then wakes up in a completely different life that is, somehow, her own. For a few hours she lives vicariously through this premonition before being thrown in to her ‘original’ life and avoiding making the crazy, drastic changes that life still threw at her.  For anyone who has ever thought they had any kind of control over their life, give this a read. You will love it just as much as I did. 


As weird as this book could have been, and okay kind of was,  there was also something mesmerizing about the bluntness of the author’s words as narrated by her main character. Her character is a black woman in her twenties who gets involved with a white man in his forties who is in an open marriage. She ends up living with the family (did I forget to mention they have an adopted black daughter?) and becoming close with them. While I don’t feel there was any huge life lessons learned, the POV was interesting….and at times cringeworthy. 


I was OBSESSED with this and you will be, too! I know the cover looks girly but really anyone would enjoy reading this terrifically written novel. Imagine a world where the government decides what will be published on social media, an entire town is consistently live-streamed and it’s a mash of Black Mirror, The Circle and an influencer’s nightmare world come true. Yeah. Fantastic. It shows just how scary interaction, impact and sharing information online can be…as if we weren’t already creepily aware, right? Get this ASAP! 

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

“From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees and the forthcoming novel The Book of Longings, a novel about two unforgettable American women.” This novel is based in nineteenth century Charleston which I couldn’t help but picture while reading. It narrates the thoughts, struggles and stories of a the daughter of a wealthy household and a slave she is ‘gifted’ for her eleventh birthday. The daughter, Sarah, is well beyond her years with her anti-slavery beliefs. Out of many events, she teaches her slave turned friend, Handful, how to read. Through the years growing in to women the story shows both sides of their lives and how they evolve and change. The heart of this story shines through as well as the disparities and differences in their lives. Highly recommend, especially for a book club! 

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

And dark it was. This book is brutally honest about sexual abuse, child predators, manipulation and growing up as a young child to woman in a society that sexualizes women. The voices portray the confusion and questions we all face while growing up, the justifications placed on events and the aftermath that places in a survivor’s mind. It feels wrong to say this book was enthralling but it’s relatability reflects back to you what you might not be able to put in to words. I think it’s important for younger girls to be aware of the content and know what to look for but this would probably be better suited for a more mature audience. 

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

This mystery novel was another award-winning piece by the same author who wrote The Woman in Cabin 10 (which I talked about here).  I was surprised the same author wrote both of these books because this one had potential that is far from being seen. It was not gripping, scary and fairly predictable. If you wanted a light guessing game read, here you go! Otherwise, if you’re wondering if you should read this, you’re probably okay to pass. 


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Read For Improvement

big friendship Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

Our friendships are so important because they are the family and company we have chosen to keep near us. This explains not only letting friends go but how to mend strained relationships and the entirely normal ups and downs friendships experience over their own timeline. This book focuses on platonic relationships (versus how many over romantic relationships?) and the needed work and repair you may be experiencing. It’s hard to remember a time with some friends and it’s even harder to say goodbye to others but a book about how to make what’s important to us survive gives us an inside and informative look where we need it. 

happiness Happiness Is A Choice You Make by John Leland

If you have an interest in gerontology, mindset or getting advice and insight from lessons learned from an older generation, I think you’ll find this interesting. The author spent a year with the four to five ‘oldest of the old’ recounting memories, experiencing scares and struggles and learning how they handle the inevitable end of life. There was a consistent peace of mind from each and, while we always hear similar messages about how we should be enjoying the current day, this adds stories and reasoning from people who have lived it. “I’ve been your age but you’ve never been mine.” 


This is an instant classic I’m pretty sure everyone in business has heard of and every influential leader has read. I was hoping there would be some groundbreaking plans I could put in place, experiments to try or mock schedules but it was your basic psychology stories and case studies with ‘lessons learned’ in these studies. I was wanting to like it more than I did but came away indifferent. I’m glad I at least listened to the audiobook to stay in touch with what’s floating around in the business industry but can’t say I learned a ton of new information. This was still a helpful boost to re-approach my habits and identify what I’m currently doing. 


This isn’t a book or topic I would usually gravitate toward being interested in but after the last year or two that Alex Trebek has had I will say I was intrigued to hear what he had to say. I listened to the audiobook so I’m not sure if they were written as short snippets and paragraph stories but it sounded that way. These reflections are fun stories, memorable moments and fond memories he’s recalling instead of a start-to-finish memoir of his life. The audiobook was super short- about four hours- so anyone, anywhere can listen to the legend and reflect on what you would write about in your own life. We may not find them interesting but what would our thoughts be if we were faced with those stories or memories being gone forever? **This is updated the week after he passed away. It was nice to reflect on his stories once the news was released. Give it a read.** 

It Didn’t Start With You by Mark Wolynn

SUCH an interesting read! The author is a therapist who uses the Core Language Approach to help individuals find the language inside themselves that causes anxiety, depression, etc. The idea of inherited family trauma can be anything from a parent’s doubts and fears to an ancestor’s experience in the Holocaust. If they didn’t deal with it, it’s been passed down (ie: inherited) by you. I know it can sound a little ‘woo-woo’ but I encourage you to view it as making you think critically. It might just bring an awareness to your family history that wasn’t there before and a new way to cope in order to break the cycle. 



You’ve read through my opinions so you deserve some FREE STUFF! Make sure you are following the blog (upper right of this page) to get free downloads in the future. Once you’re following, go ahead and download this document: GOALS FOR 2020 from Local Collaborative I mentioned to track your goals and adventures for the rest of the year and into 2020.



PS: Are you enjoying these blogs? Have we worked together? I would love to get your short and honest review on my Facebook page. Thanks in advance!

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