Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Reading, Watching, Listening {May} & {June 2015}

I have read so many books in the last couple of minutes and I have had so little time to blog. However, so many of these books were completely fabulous that I have to share them. So here is my update in one sentence reviews.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton: Fun mystery with some depth and romance to it. 4 stars

Clariel by Garth Nix: The fourth Abhorsen book, it was not easy to read. Interesting to revisit a fantasy world I like, but not utterly satisfying. 3 stars

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain: A dense but eye-opening book, both about myself and my son. 4 stars

A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound in Your Birth Experience by Anne Drapkin Lyerly: Possibly the most important book I've read this year in preparing to repeat an experience that was very traumatic for me. Very healing, very unbiased -- every woman who has a child or is planning on having a child should read this one. 4.5 stars

The VBAC Handbook by Helen Churchill: Not always relevant to me because it was written in the UK and much of the information is specific to the UK's health care system. Still, encouraging with some illuminating statistics and facts. 3 stars

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae: Lovely ideas in this book about coping with the demands of motherhood through the lens of faith and Christianity. At times a bit narrow-focused on stay-at-home moms, which sometimes left me feeling inferior as one who works outside the home. 3.5 stars

City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare: I finished the last three books in the Mortal Instruments series, and they were fun, although I found the 4th book a bit lacking. In order, 3 stars, 4 stars, and 5 stars.

Sorcery & Cecilia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer: Jane Austen meets Harry Potter. It was as fun as it sounds, although occasionally long-winded. 3.5 stars

After Birth by Elisa Gilbert: Brash, offensive, and often inappropriate. But. At the same time, this author wrote things about postpartum depression and traumatic birth that I have thought in my own head and never heard voiced before. Not a book I recommend to others per se, but a very important book for me to read. Also, spends a lot of time on the importance of friendship and support postpartum in our modern, disconnected world, which is a pet cause of mine.

We Were Liars by e. lockhart: So addictive and devastating. I read it in a matter of hours and was shocked by the ending. 4 stars

My Other Ex: Women's True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends by Jessica Smock, (ed.): Kind of depressing. Some of the stories were powerful but some of them made me think the women "losing and leaving" their friends were immature jerks. 3 stars

The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year by Louise Erdrich: Definitely some powerful and beautiful images in this birth memoir, but the lack of cohesive narrative made this one a bit hit or miss for me. 3 stars

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish: Best. Parenting book. Ever. I'm definitely still working on these techniques but I have already felt a positive influence from learning them with Cal, working as a pediatric nurse, and in my relationships with adults. 4 stars

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera: I liked the setting and the philosophical questions raised by this book, but it was a bit meandering and sometimes farfetched for me. 3 stars

To All the Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han: Contemporary, fun YA at its absolute finest. I devoured these romantic books. What's better is that they were not formulaic and had plenty of surprises and a unique character that isn't the stock unique character if you know what I mean. 4 stars

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot: I am forever a Princess Diaries fangirl. This adult installment was fun. Everything was a little too tidy at the end but it's Princess Mia, and I wouldn't be happy if it wasn't a feel-good ending. :) 4 stars

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: This one was much heavier than I had imagined. I honestly had no idea how it would end until the last chapter. Definitely a lot to discuss from a bioethics standpoint, and lovable characters. 4 stars

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo: Girlfriend is a little bit psycho. But her total dedication to her craft has led her to be excellent in it, and I am itching to dump the contents of my closet on my floor and have a tidying marathon (and to refold everything in my drawers). 4 stars

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin: I think this is a great read, albeit a biased one. As someone who adamantly wanted an epidural with my first birth and who adamantly doesn't want one with my second, it was a good education and I found myself frequently pointing things out to Scott as I read it on the airplane (to his chagrin, I think). Worth a perusal even if natural childbirth isn't your thing. 4 stars


:: Friends! (Of course)

:: I finished the most recent season of Call the Midwife. I have watched far too much of that show while pregnant and it isn't always the most comfortable thing. 


:: Lots of podcasts these days (it's probably going to get its own separate post)

:: Digging the Acoustic Summer playlist on Spotify. Usually I just listen to their seasonal acoustic playlists once or twice to pull out the songs I like best, but this one has been on repeat. Even though I haven't been familiar with most of the songs they come together really well and I love most of them. 

:: Hypnobabies, to be honest. 


  1. I'll have to check out 'A Good Birth.' Hugh's birth left me reeling a bit- much more difficult than Will, and I really want to feel like I've processed it and come to terms with it. I'd love to talk to you about your birth experience(s)- my feelings and opinions on epidurals and other interventions is evolving with my experiences as well. Love you and love to read your blog-- Kels

  2. Yeah! I would love if you did a post about your podcasts. I'm big on those too. And I love these posts! They provide a very good reference.

  3. I did Hypnobabies and had a really great experience!
    The pregnancy/birth affirmations were actually really helpful in reminding me that birth is natural, normal, and not something to be feared (even though the affirmations felt silly at first :) )
    I hope you have a better experience this time around! :)
    - Emma Jo Yeager


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