February Reads

Here’s the books I read in February [and if you missed my January reads, you can see those right here.] As always, you can follow along book by book on Instagram- #SamaraReads2018

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

I learned about this book on the Smartest Person in the Room podcast- coined as one of the best books of 2017, I knew I had to read it. It was a really hard, devastating read but also important. When the author was just 12 years old, her mother was brutally attacked and ultimately murdered while she slept in the room next door. Now in adult hood she writes about waking up, what she heard, what she saw and the aftermath of living without a mother. This book took me longer than normal because it was hard to read, it’s hard to think of a 12 year old going through such trauma and the aftermath of being shipped back and forth between family members.

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

This was my January Book of the Month* book. A mother’s worst nightmare, her two daughters are taken during broad daylight from a strip mall parking lot. A former bounty hunter and ex-cop team up to find the sisters and put the pieces of the puzzle together. It was an intense, somewhat scary read but really well written.

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

Once I started this one I didn’t want to put it down. Such a thriller. This was a Book of the Month* book and while it’s 400+ pages, it’s a quick read. A homebound woman suffering from agoraphobia [fear of going outside] sees something from her window with grave consequences. It’s being made into a movie by Fox. Really good read.

The Tech Wise Family by Andy Crouch

If you’re looking for ways to create healthy boundaries for yourself and your family, this is a good book to start with. Written in a Christian perspective, some of it I didn’t relate with it but still other pieces of it were quite apropos. Raising kids in an iPhone generation is hard.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

This was my February Book of the Month* club book and it did NOT disappoint. [It’s also Oprah’s book club book right now, so I expect you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot about this one.] Just a year into their marriage, Roy is wrongly convicted and sent to serve a 12 year sentence in jail. Can their marriage survive while he’s behind bars just a year into their marriage? When the conviction gets overturned five years in, he is ready to return to his life again but is his wife? This was a really bittersweet read. I really enjoyed it.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Full disclosure: When I kept hearing about this book I assumed it was about make up and had NO interest in reading it. I was wrong. After hearing Rachel Hollis on a podcast about a month ago, I was intrigued and started following her on Instagram [one of my favorite follows] and knew I had to read her book. She goes through all the lies she once believed and had to overcome to become who she was meant to be. She writes from a Christian perspective but is so real and so raw. I have a feeling this will be one of my top books at the end of the year.

*Book of the Month Club was one of my favorite 2017 discoveries. Each month you’re given the option of five books, you choose one on the 1st and it’s shipped directly to you. Join now with code: YESPLZ for a free book.

*Affiliate links were used in this post. That means, if you use my links and purchase a book, I get a small percentage back. Purchases won’t cost you more or less, but it will help fund my book habit which I in turn share with you.

January Reads

At the request of several I decided that this year I’d recap my books each month [likely with a top ten post to still come at the end of the year] but this way you can get an idea of the books I’m reading throughout the year.

In January, I read:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This was on all sorts of top ten lists for 2017 and was a September 2017 Book of the Month* Club book.

The story follows Mia and her daughter, Pearl, who are living a nontraditional life in a very traditional neighborhood.The story delves into transracial adoption, surrogacy and abortion. It was really good- I could hardly put it down.

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

The story goes between 1986 and 2016 as the main character, Eddie, looks back on some mysterious happenings in 1986. Now an adult looking back, strange things start happening again that include some of the same chalk drawings from his childhood and he slowly tries to put the pieces of his memory and what really happened together. This was my December Book of the Month* book.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This is a classic book that I had never read and Henry was gifted for Christmas. With the movie coming out this spring I knew I wanted to read it and am so glad I did. The book mostly follows Meg and her adventure to find her father and ultimately keep herself, her brother and her friend Calvin, out of harms way. I wouldn’t call it science fiction but it’s along that line. The story has so many messages and an ending that will make you want more [there are four more books following this one]. It’s a Newberry Medal Award winning book and aimed at young readers – I would say late elementary and middle school would be best. This would be a great book to read aloud to kids.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

This was another December Book of the Month Club* book. This book was a thriller and once you start you won’t want to stop reading. It follows “Nellie” and her relationship with Richard. The beginning of the book is a lot of back and forth between the past and the present but by the time you start Part Two, you’ll be fully invested in finding out where the story will go. It’s hard to say much without giving a lot of the story away. The book definitely went in directions I was not expecting. 

Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan

I’ve long been a fan of Kelly Corrigan and this book did not disappoint. It’s written in the style of a memoir going through 12 important things we need to say like: I’m Sorry, I Was Wrong, Tell Me More, I Don’t Know, I Know and more. She writes in a conversational and real way about her life, her marriage, her family of origin and raising her daughters. I’ll likely go back to this one many times over.

Currently Reading:

Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional 

Dance Stand Run by Jess Connolly

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry 


*Book of the Month Club is a monthly subscription service. Each month, you choose one of five books and it is shipped directly to you. You can get your first month free by using code: MYBOTM


Things to Know Before You Go to The Wiz at Children’s Theatre Company

This past weekend, I was able to attend one of the opening weekend shows for Children’s Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre’s production of The Wiz. The modern day twist of the classic story was very well done by a star studded cast and deserved the standing ovation it received at the end. Here’s a few […]

[Continue reading...]

My Favorite Podcasts

If 2016 was the year I [re]-discovered reading, 2017 was the year I discovered podcasts. Call me late to the party but I really, really didn’t understand the whole podcast thing for a long time. But it’s actually super easy [especially on iPhone] and there are quite a few podcasts I enjoyed or ended up […]

[Continue reading...]

Books I’m Gifting This Season

Several people I know have been looking for book suggestions for Christmas. I love gifting good books. And if they are pretty to look at, even better. Here’s a few of my favorites this season for gifting: [You can click on the images to go directly to Amazon for more information or to order.] Little People […]

[Continue reading...]

Ten Years Gone

On Thursday, December 13th, 2007 at 1:05 a.m. my mother, my mumsy, passed away. She left the pain and the illness she’d been living with and fighting seven months and went home to her heavenly home. Ten years ago today my mom left us and in so many ways she left us prepared for her death. Details […]

[Continue reading...]

My Best Reads of 2017

At the end of 2016, I decided to challenge myself to read 52 books in 2017. It had seemed that throughout 2016 I had fallen back in love with reading and really wanted to spend more time discovering great books and new authors and just find time doing something I loved. [This meant for most […]

[Continue reading...]

The Allstate Foundation and WE Day Remind Us That Good Starts Young

This post was sponsored by The Allstate Foundation. All opinions are mine. When it seems as though every day news headlines are more and more depressing, it can be easy to become frustrated with the status of this world in which we live and many of us are raising children. But I am finding that […]

[Continue reading...]

How The Grinch Stole Christmas Now Open at Children’s Theatre Company

This past weekend, Miss F and I went on a date to the Children’s Theatre Company to see this year’s holiday productions- How the Grinch Stole Christmas. How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of Children’s Theatre Company’s [CTC] trademark shows. It premiered at CTC in 1994 and is the only Minnesota theatre that can […]

[Continue reading...]

Cars.com Helps Choose the Right Vehicle for your Carseat

This is a sponsored post. Car seats have always been very important to me because we drive a lot. We live in an area that to get most anywhere we have to get in the car so from the time my kids were infants to now, rarely a day goes by that they don’t get […]

[Continue reading...]