Looking for a book you can’t put down? Read some of my personal favorites in my January/February Book Review! I get excited because I love sharing must-read books and getting suggestions from friends and readers. So if you’re new to this, each month (or every few, like this post), I read a random assortment of books and share a few thoughts and recommendations along with a synopsis. Please leave your recent favorite reads in the comments so I can check them out!
It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell
I had been anticipating the release of this book for a while after being a long-time reader of Andie’s blog. I discovered her blog at a time in my life when I was struggling with finding balance after an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. Andie shares her weight loss journey along with recipes and inspiration for maintaining a balanced life after losing such an enormous amount of weight. Her book delves deeper into her personal experience. She lays it all out there – it’s real and raw – more than any other memoir I’ve encountered on the sensitive subject of weight loss.
Andie is an extremely gifted writer; she has a way with words that makes you want to keep reading well past your bedtime. Her writing style is simply perfection; she uses the most descriptive language and crafts the most beautiful sentences to illustrate the story of her life and hardships. If you’ve ever battled with emotional eating or have had a rocky relationship with body image (which let’s be real, most of us have), I highly recommend you put this at the top of your reading list.
All her life, Andie Mitchell had eaten lustily and mindlessly. Food was her babysitter, her best friend, her confidant, and it provided a refuge from her fractured family. But when she stepped on the scale on her twentieth birthday and it registered a shocking 268 pounds, she knew she had to change the way she thought about food and herself; that her life was at stake.
It Was Me All Along takes Andie from working class Boston to the romantic streets of Rome, from morbidly obese to half her size, from seeking comfort in anything that came cream-filled and two-to-a-pack to finding balance in exquisite (but modest) bowls of handmade pasta. This story is about much more than a woman who loves food and abhors her body. It is about someone who made changes when her situation seemed too far gone and how she discovered balance in an off-kilter world. More than anything, though, it is the story of her finding beauty in acceptance and learning to love all parts of herself.
For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker
If you’re a diehard Today Show fan like I am, there’s a good chance you may have read about or watched Jen Hatmaker, a contributor on their Parenting team. This article initially led me to Jen’s work and gave me ALL THE FEELS. Then when I attended Women of Faith last fall, Jen was there as a new addition to the WOF team, and once she spoke to the crowd, my girl crush officially began. Besides being a Christian author and speaker, she’s a pastor’s wife, mom to five, and stars in an HGTV series called “My Big Family Renovation.”
I love how Jen is leading this next generation of women in staying true to their faith. For the Love covers all of it, and it is truly the modern Christian woman’s guide for approaching all of the challenges that come along with being a woman in today’s society. Jen also shares tidbits on her Instagram and Facebook profiles of her everyday life sprinkled with humor, fun, and Bible-based wisdom to help us navigate this crazy ride. Every time I read something she posts, I find myself nodding my head, tearing up, or laughing out loud. She’s relatable, authentic, and using her talents to bring us all closer in our relationship with the Lord so we can make the world a better place. I basically want to be her bestie.
Best-selling author Jen Hatmaker is convinced life can be lovely and fun and courageous and kind. She reveals with humor and style how Jesus’ embarrassing grace is the key to dealing with life’s biggest challenge: people. The majority of our joys, struggles, thrills, and heartbreaks relate to people, beginning with ourselves and then the people we came from, married, birthed, live by, go to church with, don’t like, don’t understand, fear, compare ourselves to, and judge. Jen knows how the squeeze of this life can make us competitive and judgmental, how we can lose love for others and then for ourselves. She reveals how to:
- Break free of guilt and shame by dismantling the unattainable Pinterest life.
- Learn to engage our culture’s controversial issues with a grace-first approach.
- Be liberated to love and release the burden of always being right.
- Identify the tools you already have to develop real-life, all-in, know-my-junk-but-love-me-anyway friendships.
- Escape our impossible standards for parenting and marriage by accepting the standard of “mostly good.”
- Laugh your butt off.
In this raucous ride to freedom for modern women, Jen Hatmaker bares the refreshing wisdom, wry humor, no-nonsense faith, liberating insight, and fearless honesty that have made her beloved by women worldwide.
Happily Ali After by Ali Wentworth
Some of you may know Ali Wentworth as wife to George Stephanopoulos, but she’s forged a path of her own as a hilarious comedian, and now, author. This book is a memoir of sorts. It contains true, yet hyperbolic stories and antics about her life as a comedian/actress/mother/wife/funny lady. I was literally laughing so hard I was crying as I was reading this in bed at night after one particular part about a guest using her powder bath in her New York apartment. Witty, charming, delightful – this book is an excellent light read if you’re looking for some laughs and insight into a naturally funny woman’s life. She’s a celebrity, but her personal anecodotes about motherhood, work, and marriage make me feel like she’s a good friend who doesn’t take life or herself too seriously.
The actress, comedian, media darling, and New York Times bestselling author picks up where she left off in Ali in Wonderland, dissecting modern life—and this time, on a mission of self-improvement—in a series of laugh-out-loud comic vignettes.
Moved by a particularly inspirational tweet one day, Ali Wentworth resolves to live by the pithy maxims she discovers in her feeds. What begins as a sort of self-help project quickly turns into something far grander—and increasingly funnier—as the tweets she once viewed with irony become filled with increasing metaphysical importance. And thus begins her “Unhappiness Project.”
It’s not long before Ali expands her self-improvement quest to include parenting, relationship, fitness (or lack thereof), and dieting advice. The results are painfully (at times literally) clear: when it comes to self-help, sometimes you should leave it to the professionals.
At once endearing and hilarious, thoughtful and absurd, Happily Ali After is a thoroughly entertaining collection from “the girlfriend you want to have a glass of wine with, the one who makes you laugh because she sees the funny and the absurd in everything” (Huffington Post).
Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
I held off reading this book after finishing all of Moriarty’s other novels because several people mentioned it wasn’t nearly as good as the others. I decided to give it a shot anyway since I don’t always trust reviews. It definitely had a slow start, but once I got about 1/4 of the way through, the plot really took off and I was hooked. If you have a sister, you’ll appreciate the book even more, as it follows the lives of three triplets who deal with the traditional sibling dynamics compounded with a little more drama that pulls you in. If you like to read Emily Giffin’s books, you’ll probably like this one too. It’s cleverly written, easy to read, and perfect if you just want a little entertainment without too much depth.
Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle, beautiful thirty-three-year-old triplets, seem to attract attention everywhere they go. Together, laughter, drama, and mayhem seem to follow them. But apart, each is dealing with her own share of ups and downs. Lyn has organized her life into one big checklist, Cat has just learned a startling secret about her marriage, and Gemma, who bolts every time a relationship hits the six-month mark, holds out hope for lasting love. In this wise, witty, and hilarious novel, we follow the Kettle sisters through their tumultuous thirty-third year as they deal with sibling rivalry and secrets, revelations and relationships, unfaithful husbands and unthinkable decisions, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a trio.