book review / what i read this summer

one of my goals for 2014 was to read a book every month. this is pretty much a goal i give myself every year, but generally i never quite make it. this summer i started reading and can't stop. i'm so happy to have a hobby i can do by myself that isn't watching netflix (you can only watch grey's anatomy so many times, right?). here is what i read this summer:

so i know, this is a cookbook and doesn't really count as reading. but i have to include it because this is the book that really got me started. i received and early edition of the cook book in june (the full edition was just released this week), and read it cover to cover immediately. this cookbook is more of a plan of action for getting your family fed on a daily basis. i know my family is still really small- but we spend way too much money eating out when i should cook way more than i do. this book got me so excited to move out of the in-laws and back into my own place to get a routine of cooking dinner nightly. since then i have been cataloguing recipes to prepare myself to take on the 30-day challenge. we have lived in our new place for 2 weeks and i am happy to report i have cooked the bulk of our meals. yes, we still eat out sometimes (we have to try the 10 best california burritos in san diego right?), but i have been using what i learned and staying on top of the cooking. (ps. stay tuned because next week we will be doing a giveaway of this very cookbook!)

My friends have been telling me about this book for years and I'm so glad I finally read it. It was the most charming story of a post-WWII English Isle and the happenings thereupon. The book is written in letters between an author and the inhabitants of the island. The story took me back to my trip to the lake district in northern england (which i know is totally different than the island of guernsey). we visited writers like beatrix potter and william wordsworth's homes and got a feel for the quiet english countryside life. in the book, the people of guernsey form a literary society during their time of occupation creating an escape from the trying times they were living. the book itself is an escape with witty incidents and clever mishaps. it is a definite must read.

Belong to Me, by Marisa de los Santos

I read the first book, Love Walked In, in this series years ago and remember loving the author's style of writing. When I started this book I immediately remembered why. Santos writes smart characters- each very intellectual in his or her own way. the story weaves together the lives of three individuals whose lives get entangled in ways they would have never foreseen. (ps. the surprise at the ending totally caught me off guard in the best way possible).

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler

When I saw this book I knew I had to read it because a- I am obsessed with F. Scott Fitzgerald, and b- Zelda is my favorite girl name of all time (although I have been banned by my husband and everyone I know from ever using it on my future daughter- but we'll see who gets their way in the end). The book is a faux-autobiography about Zelda's relationship with Scott and the consequent undoing. It was a little frustrating not knowing which incidents were real, though I think the author had done her fair share of research. She puts thoughts into the mystery woman who has been blamed for the downward spiral of her famous author husband (and vice-versa, their relationship was toxic in every way). Though it is a bit depressing (as all true stories are), I loved learning more about Scott and Zelda and their time together.


next on my list:

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon (which i started this week and can't get enough of. i didn't realize that i was committing to a 7 or 8 novel series, this might take a while!)
And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini
Pope Joan, by Donna Woolfolk Cross
The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain

let me know if you have any other suggestions!!