. . . book reviews. . .

9:42 PM

i've been reading a bunch this summer! it's pretty awesome. i'm realizing how many books i want to read. after seven years of not really being able to read for leisure, it's great to finally do that. i try to mix up the books so i've got some pleasure and some informative/ non-fiction reading.

Matched and Crossed by Allie Condie

this is your typical dystopian novel- a controlling society, a heroine who realizes that she needs to fight against the society, and of course, a love triangle. what is it with people writing about love triangles? like, come on. to be honest, i mostly just read these because they were easy, fun reads. there were moments as i read that i was like, "this is really dumb." but i finished both books, and i'll probably read the last book. just to finish the series. sometimes, though, all that lovey stuff makes me want to vomit. it's obvious that the intended audience for these books is teenagers, not young adults who actually have some experience in love and heart break. but, if you are looking for a fun and easy read, go for it!

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
i first heard of this book while at a work meeting on compassion and empathy. and then i realized that i'd seen Brene Brown's TED talk on vulnerability. Daring Greatly is based on Brene's research on vulnerability, shame, empathy and self-compassion. and i knew that i needed help with these things. i've put up a lot of armor that i thought would protect me from getting hurt. like most people, i experience shame, but i don't really know how to deal with it. i am my own worst critic, i often care too much what other think, and all these things limit me from daring greatly in my life. i loved this book so much that i had to buy my own copy so that i could highlight and write notes to myself in the margin. i'm going to write another post or two about what i've learned from this book, and how it's helped me to change my behavior, but i'll leave you with a quote by Theodore Rooselvelt- the quote that serves as the premise for Brene's research and this book.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails while daring greatly."

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
i've been thinking about happiness a lot this year- partly because i've had to relearn what happiness is for me, partly because i was very unhappy for the first three months of the year, and partly because happiness is one of my greatest pursuits. i've even been focusing on happiness in my daily scripture study of The Book of Mormon. in this book, Gretchen Rubin takes you on a journey through her year in which she pursued happiness through resolutions set in specific areas like money, parenting, energy, relationships, etc. i looooove setting goals (i kind of see myself as a goal-setting guru) and so i knew this was going to be a good read. it was another book that i liked so much that i needed to go ahead and buy it for myself! i'm considering doing my own happiness project next year (2016)! i think though that i loved this book because Gretchen is so relatable and hilarious. she is honest about her shortcomings but also allows you to see her successes in her Happiness Project. this book is a terrific read and i suggest it for any adult.

The Elite by Kiera Cass
this is the second book in Kiera's The Selection series. i read the first book before my mission and had to wait two years to read the second book! it's another easy, fun read. like your typical teenage/young-adult novel, it includes a poor girl taken out of her low station, who becomes a national hero, and is involved in a tragic love triangle. again with the love triangles! but i like this more than the Matched series- because the main character's name is America (pretty cool) and the plot is a little more complex. the book is also fun because it includes a "Bachelor-type" competition and a prince. [but k, side note- and maybe i'm just a really jaded 25 year old which is why i needed to read Daring Greatly- but these novels have 17 year old girls falling in love and knowing exactly what they want and blah blah blah. when i was 17 i liked a guy who turned out not to be super healthy for me. so i'm just sayin.... maybe we could get a book about a 20-something year old who has some life experience falling in love.] despite my cynicism i did love this book! i mean i read it in like 2 days whilst driving around British Columbia.

i'm in need of more book selections-- 
non-fiction, religious, fiction, historical, anything! 
what are your favorite books? what should i read next??

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  1. I just finished "Peaks and Valleys: Making Good and Bad Times Work For You- At Work and in Life" by Spencer Johnson and it is a MUST read. I loved it. Now, I'm in the middle of "The Boys in the Boat" by Daniel James Brown. So far, so good. I think I'll put Daring Greatly on my list. :)