Recent Reads: 21 Books from 2017-2018

Ever since I was a young girl, I have always loved to read. In early elementary school, I can remember reading Ramona books and the Boxcar Children before upgrading to Nancy Drew. And I also remember loving more classic books, such as Little House on the Prairie, Hatchet, Number the Stars and more.

By college, I had amassed quite a collection of beloved books—enough to fill two six-foot-high bookshelves. So from my first college days to my first few years in the world working, I was reminded of just how many books I owned when boxing and unboxing my stash with every yearly apartment move.

Then fast forward to 2011, when I got my first Kindle electronic reader. It felt a bit strange at first to not flip pages and insert bookmarks, but I quickly realized there was no going back to paper-printed books. I was hooked.

It was hard giving away my book collection, but life goes on and we adapt as technology advances. Though it’s scary to think about the amount of things now at our fingertips because of technology, I will say that digital books seem more like a blessing than a curse.

You’re welcome for all of that reading background as a segue into my most recent reads. And by recent, I mean the past 18 or so months, since I failed to post what I read in 2017. Before 2017, I posted some recent reads in 2016 and recent reads in 2015.

recent reads

Though I read daily, the amount I read per day varies—often depending on whether I have first-trimester fatigue or am in the newborn trenches. Subsequently, sometimes I fly through books quickly (quickly for me is a week) while other times, it may take me a month.

But without further ado, here are my recent reads from 2017 and the first few months of 2018:

Currently Reading

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah [kindle // paperback]
I was reading The Radium Girls, but about a third of the way in, I just needed something lighter—aka fiction. I’m only 30% into this book, but I love the concept of a family homesteading in Alaska. And I loved Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, which spurred me to try this book.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore [kindle // paperback]
The first 20% of this book had me hooked, which is a big deal considering it’s non-fiction. I was aghast at what happened back in the earlier part of the 19th century, especially the great cover ups. But after a while, it became a bit heavy as I was waiting for some kind of glimmer of home. I’m sure it’s coming, but I just had to take a break and mix things up with some fiction.

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp [kindle // hardcover]
I have seen some great recommendations for this book, and what parent couldn’t use a little advice? Because this book is meaty and thought-provoking, I don’t read it at night before bed. Instead, I read about a chapter at a time while I’m doing the elliptical machine a couple days a week at the gym. There is a lot of good substance in each chapter, so I find myself highlighting a lot in my Kindle (while trying not to fall off the elliptical pregnant). This is one of those books where I can see the benefit of having a hardback copy versus a digital copy so you can highlight easier and jot down notes.

Recent Reads

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah [kindle // paperback]
This was the first book I read by Kristin Hannah, and I absolutely loved it. IT’s about the Nazi invasion, but set in France, which gives it a unique perspective. And who doesn’t love a female heroine?

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica [kindle // paperback]
This is a thriller—and of the handful of thrillers I’ve read in my life, they’ve all been a bit disturbing. I chose it after it was compared to Gone Girl, which I read in 2014. It was a good read and a nice change up from my typical fiction choices. It does switch between narrators quite often, but I didn’t find that to be confusing.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate [kindle // hardcover]
This was another great book—though heart wrenching at times. It alternates between narrators set in the late 1930s and present day. And even though this book is a fictional work, it’s based upon events that happened to poor families and those in orphanages before the 1950s. It covers some really hard topics, but thankfully there is some resolve at the end.

recent reads

I will preface these next few sections by saying that once I find an author I like, I tend to read a lot of his/her books. I’ve done this with Veronica Roth, Rainbow Rowell, Jandy Nelson and I’m sure other authors I can’t think of at the moment.

Now, I’ve added Charles Martin and Beatriz Williams to that list.

Water from My Heart by Charles Martin [kindle // paperback]
Many of Charles Martin’s books are set in the south, but this one is unique in that it’s set between Miami and Central America. I really enjoyed this book because of the change of scenery and the change in the type of characters. And, quite honestly, I’ve never read a Charles Martin book I didn’t like, and I think I’ve read seven at this point.

Unwritten by Charles Martin [kindle // paperback]
Many of Charles Martin’s books seem to center around love stories, but not in the traditional way. I consider most of his books light reads, and this was no exception. It centers around two seemingly opposite personalities, who have been meshed together by a priest.

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin [kindle // paperback]
I read this book right about the time the movie rendition was released. Though I still haven’t seen the movie, the book was very good and unique, and I can definitely see why it was made into a movie. Being stranded in the freezing cold wildness is now at the absolute bottom of my to-do list.

recent reads

The Dead Don’t Dance by Charles Martin [kindle // paperback] and Maggie (sequel) by Charles Martin [kindle // paperback]
I am so glad I read this long before baby #4 was on the way, otherwise it would have sent me into paranoia. These two books are set in South Carolina, and the storyline begins with unthinkable tragedy but by the end of the sequel, there is amazing redemption.

When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin [kindle // paperback]
I loved that this book was set in Lake Burton in Georgia, a nearby lake that I have visited with family in the past. I love how Martin vividly depicts the slower pace of life in this more remote area of Georgia. The main character is a surgeon, who has left the big city to seek a simpler life—until a very special case calls him back into practicing.

recent reads

Before 2017, I’ve also read Beatriz Williams’ A Hundred Summers and I highly recommend it. And I recently pre-ordered The Summer Wives, releasing in July.

The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams [kindle // paperback]
This book weaves together a present-day storyline with one from the 1920s. Though it was good, I prefer her books that aren’t set in the modern era. One of the main reasons I like reading Williams’ books is because they are set in the past.

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams [kindle // paperback]
I really enjoyed this book, which is set in the mid-1960s in Cape Cod. It’s a glimpse into what life could be life in a well-off political family, such as The Kennedys.

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams [kindle // paperback]
This book is set New York City and is a great window into life in the roaring twenties. It juxtaposes the life of a rich, unhappy housewife in the middle of an affair with a young sheltered woman ready to start her adult newly wealthy life.

recent reads

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams [kindle // paperback]
Another great book, set in a great time period of the mid 1960s with references back to Nazi Germany, and has great character development and plot twists.

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams [kindle // paperback]
Despite the glowing reviews online, this has been my least favorite book of Beatriz Williams. It took me a while to get into this book; I think I started it twice. And it’s not that the writing wasn’t good, but the relationship itself—though fiction—just didn’t sit well with me.

Overseas by Beatriz Williams [kindle // paperback]
Though this book was much more of a love story than Williams’ other books, I still really enjoyed it. The storyline is about time traveling between present day and France during World War I. Even though The Wicked City lost points with me because of it’s partial modern-day setting, this book is different because the main character travels to present day while still retaining the mannerisms of the past.

recent reads

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman  [kindle // paperback]
This was a wonderful yet heart-wrenching book that I would recommend to anyone. It’s mostly set at a lighthouse in Australia, which was enough right there to originally pique my interest. Much of the storyline focuses on right and wrong and all the grayness in between, to which every human can relate.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel [kindle // paperback]
This was one of the few science fiction books I’ve read. Being so, it was weird and a bit strange, but good. The plot jumps before and after a pandemic that basically collapses civilization. Instead of focusing on the horrors of the collapse, this story has a more positive focus and looks more to the future.

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty [kindle // paperback]
I have read several of Liane Moriarty’s books: The Hypnotist’s Love Story, Big Little Lies, The Husband’s Secret and Three Wishes. I will say that most of Moriarty’s books I’ve read are a bit dramatic. But they are quick and easy beach reads when you just want to escape for a bit. The Last Anniversary is still a light read, but I really enjoyed setting and the idea of the Baby Munro Mystery.

 

What are you currently reading? What recent reads have been your favorite?

 

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