Having a child changes you in so many ways. It has certainly prompted me to examine my life and see everything in a new light. Every day we’re making choices that impact her life and the world she’s growing up in. I feel a tremendous obligation to be informed and to make the best choices I can, for us.
“Minimalism” is a buzz word right now. People are pushing back against consumer culture and are opting for a simpler life. “Slow living” has also emerged as a movement—challenging society’s “norm” of living a busy, fast-paced, stressful life. In line with these two movements is sustainability: living our lives in a way that conserves resources and lessens our impact on the natural world.
After examining what I value and the dreams I have for Ellie and for our family, I’m making an conscious effort to live more slowly, simply, and sustainably. Many aspects of our lives already reflect these concepts, while others need some work. I’ll share my thoughts, experiences, and tips along the way, and I’d love to hear about yours as well!
Some days it seems to crawl at a snail’s pace, while others flies by in the blink of an eye. For me, living slowly is about taking time to be present in the moment, focusing on what brings me joy, and dedicating more time to what makes my heart full.
I’ve always gravitated towards a “slower” life. I’m an introvert and a “homebody.” I enjoy my quiet time at home—reading a book, crafting, playing board games, or cooking and enjoying a meal together. We’re also lucky to live in a rural area, removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, and surrounded by nature—a constant reminder to slow down and appreciate life.
Even though we live a fairly calm and “slow” life, I am a dreamer with a busy mind. I constantly find my mind wandering—reliving memories, making a mental to-do list, worrying, or planning for the future. If there’s anything we can learn from children, it is to be present in the moment. Countless times throughout the day, Ellie will reach her chubby, dimpled little hands up to my face. She loves to feel every part of it and just stare into my eyes. In these moments—as she’s pulling my cheeks, scratching my eyelid, or grabbing my nose—I am fully present. I’m not thinking of anything; I’m in that moment with her. I live for those little moments, and they remind me that whatever I had on my “to do” list really isn’t that important. We are her world, and the most important thing we can do is be fully present with her as she learns, develops, and explores her world.
Most of our homes are filled to the brim with it—hidden away in drawers, stuffed in overflowing closets. Even though we make an effort every few months to have a good “clear-out,” I know we still have too much stuff. I might need to re-watch some Tidying up with Marie Kondo for inspiration on this one.
His ideas about simplifying our lives certainly extend beyond just simplifying and de-cluttering our spaces; He also discusses things like slow living, creating rhythm in our daily lives, and limiting exposure to media. I’ve only read about half of the book so far, but I’m loving it. When I’m finished, I’ll definitely be discussing it more in depth on here.
There’s so much overlap between living slowly, simply, and sustainably. Embracing slow and simple living steers us away from simply relying on what is fastest, cheapest, or most convenient, and urges us to reflect on the impact of our choices.
This is an area I definitely need to work on. There are so many things we already do well (cooking healthy meals, eliminating chemicals, using cloth bags, using natural products, etc.), but I am definitely still working on a mindset shift—Amazon Prime is just way too convenient for me.
I’m looking forward to diving deeper into these topics as we try to apply them to our lives.
I’d love to hear from you: what are some ideas and tips you have for living more slowly, simply, and sustainably? Are there particular areas you do well/struggle with?
Oh, hello! This is my first post to my revamped blog that is not about books. To say I’m incredibly nervous is an understatement. I’ve decided to open up and share some of my thoughts and experiences surrounding pregnancy, labour, and birth. After Ellie’s birth, I found that so many friends and acquaintances opened up to me about their own experiences. It’s not often that we talk about these topics. Be gentle.
Ellie is two and a half months old now, so I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on labour, birth, and our first few months together. Okay, so she’s actually five months old now, but that’s how long ago I started writing this post… ohhh #momlife.
When I was pregnant I loved reading about other mama’s experiences. Writing is also therapeutic for me, so I’m sharing this with hopes that someone out there will find it helpful, mildly interesting, or regrettably relatable.
I have always wanted children, but have always been TERRIFIED of pregnancy and birth. I was also one of those people who scoffed at women posting photos of their baby bumps. Who would want to share a pregnant belly on social media!? HAH… that was me. I became that woman. And I feel no shame. I didn’t understand how pregnancy itself is such an experience. I mean… the morning all-day sickness is the WORST. Not to mention that near the end I was so uncomfortable that I resorted to waddling my way to the nearest lake or pool just to feel weightless for awhile.
I need to clarify here that I did NOT have a cute little baby bump. Every time I would see the Instagram ads of women and their adorable, tiny baby bumps and look to see how many weeks pregnant they were, I had to restrain myself from throwing my phone at the wall. My bump was MASSIVE. I had to restrain myself from whacking a stranger over the head every time I was asked, “are you sure it’s not twins!?” Yes, I am sure. I am also very aware of how large my belly is, BECAUSE IT IS ATTACHED TO ME! By the way, no judgment if you are/were one of those mamas with a cute little bump… I am just insanely jealous.
It’s more than just a belly though — there’s a TINY HUMAN in there, and that’s a freaking miracle! There is nothing like feeling your baby kick, move around, or hiccup inside of you. Before the rest of the world meets that little munchkin, you are already getting to know them, and that is special! Now I see pregnancy photos or #bumpies and smile. It’s pretty darn amazing what your body can do, so flaunt those baby bumps!
I’m a planner. An organizer. I like to know everything before jumping in. This is why I knew I needed to prepare myself for labour and birth. I couldn’t just show up at the hospital and “wing it.” Again… jealous if that’s your jam. I bought WAY too many books on pregnancy and childbirth, and they pretty much contained the same information. If I were to do it over again, I’d skip most of the pregnancy books and use an app to track my little bean’s development instead. You can pretty much look anything up online anyways. I downloaded three of those baby tracker apps… again, they all had pretty much the same information! I just realized that I am definitely a “Monica” *sigh* who always wished she was a “Rachel.”
The ONE book I would recommend is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. If you’re at all interested in natural birth, or just want to be awed by what the female body is capable of, it is an excellent read. It definitely helped me to develop more positive feelings towards labour and birth.
I desperately wanted a midwife, but I applied and wasn’t able to get one. I also didn’t have a family doctor, so we went to the maternity clinic at the nearest hospital. We saw different doctors each time we were in, and they rotated through the labour and delivery ward. While the doctors were excellent at caring for the medical side of things, I knew that I needed more than that. One of the best decisions we made was hiring a doula. Suvannah (from Stork to Cradle) is such a kind soul and is AMAZING at what she does. I don’t have many friends who have been through pregnancy, labour, and birth, so it was nice to have someone to chat with and who has an insane amount of experience and knowledge. We had two prenatal sessions with her, she was with us for the labour and birth, and she came to check up on us postpartum as well. There are so many choices you have regarding birth, and I didn’t even know about a lot of them until we discussed them with our doula. I know that my husband also really appreciated having her with us, as it took some of the pressure off of him.
The Importance of Mindset
There are so many options out there to help prepare for labour and birth. Because we live in a rural area it was a hassle to drive into the city for classes; however, even if I lived in the city now I would 100% recommend The Positive Birth Company. I am positive that my pregnancy, labour, birth, and recovery would have been a lot more challenging if I hadn’t completed their digital pack, which is a series of hypnobirthing videos. Even if you think “hypnobirthing” isn’t something you think you’d be interested in, the videos on the actual science behind labour are fascinating. It helps to actually know what happens to your body and to have strategies for staying calm and relaxed. After the video series and meetings with our doula, I actually felt excited about labour and birth. I made some positive affirmation cards (available here) and really worked to maintain a positive mindset right up to the end (as uncomfortable and “overdue” as I was).
Discussing Birth Preferences
Deciding our birth preferences together was SO valuable and empowering. Suvannah had a comprehensive worksheet for us to go through, which allowed us to research, discuss, and note our preferences. From that, we created a one-page document which went in my file. I don’t think our personal copy was even taken out of my hospital bag, but the value was in discussing everything beforehand so that when we had to make decisions during labour (when my mind was not functioning), it was a lot easier. If you want to see what our birth preference sheet looked like, let me know and I can send you a copy. Our preferences, based on the research we had done, were to have the most natural labour and birth possible. We didn’t want medication or intervention unless deemed necessary, which leads perfectly to…
Going with the Flow
Yeah, I know this one is easier said than done! Here’s where my “Monica” mind had to just let go.
While it’s valuable to know your birth preferences, there are so many things that are completely out of our control when it comes to labour and birth. I had to work hard (with many reminders from my husband) to remain calm and recognize that fact.
I tested positive for Group B Strep, which meant that I would need IV antibiotics every few hours after my waters broke. I was hoping that my labour would start and progress without my waters breaking so that I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital until I was in active labour. Of course, my waters breaking was the first thing to happen and we had to head to the hospital right away. There was also meconium in the fluid— EW, that little baby pooped inside me! My desire to labour mostly at home (well, my best friend’s home) flew out the window.
After I was admitted to the maternity ward, we went for hours with surges barely intensifying and no dilation. The doctors were worried about infection and recommended induction. I was so conflicted about what to do, but we discussed it and agreed that it was the best decision for us. So much for no intervention… haha.
Labour without any pain medication was the one thing that did go to “plan,” and I am still so proud of myself for sticking to my preferences. It honestly wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I managed to stay calm and relaxed by focusing on my breathing and visualizations. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like more of a warrior!
As a side note: I should mention that I am incredibly squeamish and have low pain tolerance. Allow me to illustrate: when I was eight, I passed out after getting my ears pierced; I can’t even watch the “surgical” parts in Grey’s Anatomy, and I’ve passed out on many occasions from seeing blood or getting my blood taken.
After three hours of pushing in every position imaginable, our little munchkin was not budging. Apparently, she was head down but facing my side — not surprising considering she had been sunny-side-up before I went into labour. I was exhausted at this point, and we were worried about infection or baby becoming distressed if we continued with no progress. At the doctor’s recommendation, we opted for a cesarean.
To be honest, the next few hours were a complete blur. I still don’t have very clear memories — only snippets. I was just relieved to have our baby earthside.
Acknowledging ALL the Thoughts & Emotions
My labour and birth ended up being entirely different from what I had anticipated, which is probably the case with many women’s experiences. For the first few days, I was so wrapped up in everything that I had little time to mentally or emotionally process it. I was in the hospital for three days after birth, and the recovery was brutal.
Breastfeeding was a huge challenge from the beginning. Ellie struggled to latch, and I was in pain. She would just scream inconsolably whenever we tried. I kept wondering: if we’d had immediate skin-to-skin after birth would that have made a difference? Was this my fault? If I had kept pushing, and not opted for a cesarean, would she have come on her own? I also felt incredibly guilty that I didn’t really feel “present” at her birth or for the hours following.
She lost more than 10% of her birth weight and we had to start feeding her formula with a syringe. This made me feel even more guilty. Wasn’t breastfeeding supposed to be natural and easy? Why wasn’t it working? What was I doing wrong? I felt incredibly discouraged, and I hadn’t anticipated it being so difficult to feed my baby.
It was a bittersweet feeling when we were finally able to leave the hospital. How could we take this precious and fragile little bundle out of this safety bubble and on the road!? I started tearing up as soon as we walked out of the hospital doors. How were we supposed to care for this small being on our own? How would we know what to do? The hour-and-a-half drive home was both painful and terrifying.
For weeks afterwards, I had flashbacks of birth and recovery and had to ask my husband to fill in a lot of the blank spots. I still felt so much guilt about not giving birth to my baby “naturally,” and not being successful with breastfeeding right away. I was feeling guilty, scared, disappointed, and overwhelmed. On top of that, I was recovering from major surgery. Along with those emotional lows were complete highs. I was awed and amazed that we created such a perfect little human. My heart fluttered when she opened her eyes, and I cried a river of happy tears with her in my arms. I constantly found myself thinking: I shouldn’t feel guilty, disappointed, or scared. I should just be happy and grateful that we’re both fine. But I soon realized and had to mentally remind myself on so many occasions, that I was completely justified in feeling guilty, disappointed, overwhelmed, etc. Yes, I tried to focus on the positive, but I also needed to acknowledge and work through the negative.
I honestly don’t know what I would have done without the huge amount of support that I had at home in those first few weeks. My husband is an absolute rock star! We were also lucky to have my parents staying with us. They helped to make meals, clean, do laundry, and be there for both physical and emotional support. This was crucial for me, as it was certainly not a quick or easy recovery, and caring for a newborn is incredibly demanding.
I also spent a lot of time on the Positive Birth Company Facebook Group, which you have access to with both the Hypnobirthing and Postpartum video courses. When I was up at night with a screaming newborn, I could interact with other women around the world who were going through the same struggles; we could share our experiences and knowledge with one another conveniently.
We took advantage of the free breastfeeding clinic offered nearby, and I’m so happy that we did, as we’re still going strong five months in! I had friends and relatives from near and far checking in on me and asking not only how Ellie was doing, but how I was doing. My mental and physical recovery was a lot easier thanks to an amazing support network — so thank you to all of you!
It’s hard to be vulnerable and open up about things that aren’t often talked about. I still feel pangs of guilt and jealousy when I see other mama’s “natural” birth photos or stories. I constantly have to remind myself that my experience and story isn’t something to be ashamed of. Looking into Ellie’s eyes reassures me that I’d go through it all over again if I had to. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but it’s our story.
I’d love to know your thoughts, questions, and comments below. Let me know if there is anything you’d like to hear more about.
Stay tuned for a creative “c-section” piece I’m working on—which is going to take a lot of courage to share with you…
It’s a cold, windy, and snowy Sunday here. That makes it a perfect day to cozy up with a blanket and hot beverage, and binge-watch some shows! I am a history nerd, and many of you already know that historical fiction is one of my favourite genres. The past just fascinates me; so, naturally—when it comes to tv series I love—historical dramas are at the top of my list.
Here are my top ten historical TV series (in no particular order):
Follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world in which her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.source
A woman torn between two eras and two men—one of whom is a handsome tartan-clad Scotsman. Need I say more? I adore the book series by Diana Gabaldon, and the TV adaptation does not disappoint. You should definitely read the books though. I will admit that the first season will always remain my favourite, because I just love Scotland as a setting.
A notorious gang in 1919 Birmingham, England, is led by the fierce Tommy Shelby, a crime boss set on moving up in the world no matter the cost. source
I kind of have a crush on Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby. We’ll just ignore the fact that he’s the ruthless leader of a Birmingham gang. This show is intense.
A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early twentieth century. source
There are so many memorable characters and moments from this series — not to mention the absolutely stunning setting of Highclere Castle and the marvelous costumes. I also recently watched the movie and loved it! I will never tire of watching Downton Abbey over and over again.
Vikings transports us to the brutal and mysterious world of Ragnar Lothbrok, a Viking warrior and farmer who yearns to explore – and raid – the distant shores across the ocean.source
I am utterly fascinated by the Vikings! I’ve visited (and revisited) countless “Viking” historical sites and museums throughout Europe. While sometimes a bit gory for my taste, I love the era, setting, and plot line enough to just cover my eyes for those bits.
Aidan Turner (The Hobbit) stars as Ross Poldark, a redcoat who returns to Cornwall after battle to discover that his father is dead, his lands are ruined, and his true love is engaged to another. Can Poldark change his destiny, restore his lost fortune, and reclaim his love? source
Another excellent TV series based on books. The setting is spectacular (I MUST visit the filming locations next time we’re in the UK), there is plenty of drama, and I sure don’t mind the scenes of shirtless Aidan Turner. Haha, this is the part where I have to admit that — yes — many of these shows happen to have very handsome men in them. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.
In 1909 London, an American retail tycoon arrives at the unfashionable end of Oxford Street to jettison fusty British tradition and open one of the finest department stores the world has ever seen. Three-time Emmy® winner Jeremy Piven (Entourage) stars as Harry Gordon Selfridge, the flamboyant—and troubled—entrepreneur and showman seeking to provide London’s shoppers with the ultimate merchandise and the ultimate thrill.source
This was such a unique take on this period of history! I love that it’s based on the life of the real founder of the department store. Such a fascinating time, and I just can’t get enough of the fashions during this time period.
Follow the lives, loves and highs and lows of four members of the Women’s Land Army who are working at the Hoxley Estate during World War II. source
I’m definitely a sucker for any books, shows or movies set during WWII. I love that this series focuses on the women’s lives. I’m not sure whether it’s still on Netflix, but I watched it several years ago and it might be time to rewatch it soon!
The Bletchley Circle
In post-war Britain of 1952, four former workers at the top secret Bletchley Park with an extraordinary flair for code breaking, have slipped back into the anonymity of civilian life. One of the four female friends summons the others to use their unusual skills to track down a serial sex killer. source
If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes, I think you’ll love this one! It’s another that I watched years ago and would like to revisit. It’s a suspenseful mystery that highlights how WWII transformed many women’s lives.
Medici: Masters of Florence
A political family drama set in Florence in the early fifteenth century. Cosimo de Medici finds himself at the helm of his banking dynasty when his father, Giovanni, dies suddenly. source
I haven’t come across many TV series set during this time period, and I am all for it! While it is definitely more of a soap-opera drama than a historically accurate look at the Medicis, I enjoyed the gorgeous setting and of course, the drama!
Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars in this original, history-based drama series as the young, vibrant King Henry VIII, a competitive and lustful monarch who navigates the intrigues of the English court and the human heart with equal vigor and justifiable suspicion. Natalie Dormer (“Anne Boleyn”), Jeremy Northam (“Thomas More”), Maria Doyle Kennedy (“Queen Katherine”), James Frain (“Thomas Cromwell”) and Peter O’Toole (“Pope Paul III”) round out the all-star cast of this lavish epic. source
I took an entire course on Tudor England, have read countless books, and have watched far too many documentaries about this time period — featuring the notorious King Henry VIII. It premiered in 2007, so it’s been around for awhile, and I think I’ve watched the series at least twice now. I just can’t get enough of it! Royalty, drama, battles, sex, scandal…
Today we’re watching Poldark — still on series 2, but making good progress! Vikings will be next on my list, since I still have a few to catch up on. Now I’m definitely in the mood to start rewatching some of these others though!
Have you watched any of these series? Do you have any other historical TV show recommendations?
I intentionally lowered my 2019 reading goal. My 2018 goal was 60, and I ended up reading 72. I knew that with a new baby coming in August there was no way I could set a similar goal, so I decided to go with 50. I’m honestly surprised – but very proud – that I accomplished it! I ended up reading 51 books in 2019.
It’s so much fun to look back on my year of reading! I read so many excellent books this year, but some definitely stood out more than others; here’s a look at my favourite reads from 2019:
Greenwood by Michael Christie
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
The Whisper Man by Alex North
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung
By Chance Alone by Max Eisen
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Meghan Cox Gurdon
Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
I’d definitely recommend all of these books if you haven’t read them yet!
Did any of your faves make the list? What were some of your top reads of 2019?
“Where there are bees there are flowers, and wherever there are flowers there is a new life and hope.”
Christy Lefteri, The Beekeeper of Aleppo
I finished The Beekeeper of Aleppo feeling speechless. My heart ached. It still aches. I feel the need to thrust this book into the hands of everyone I see. Maybe if more people read it, we’ll see more empathy and compassion. Maybe it would propel us closer to a remedy for the issues plaguing our era. It’s not very often that a story touches my heart as this one did. I’m still crying for Nuri and Afra. Images of burnt hives and lifeless bodies are still etched in my mind. I can still taste the sweetness of fresh honey, smell the smoke, feel the icy water, and hear the marble rolling across the floor. Books like this one remind me of the power that words truly have.
Nuri is a beekeeper, and his wife Afra is an artist. They live in Aleppo with their young son, Sami. Their idyllic life, filled with laughter, family and friends, starts crumbling as they witness the unimaginable horrors of the civil war. War hits their home with an unthinkable tragedy, leaving Afra without her sight. As their lives in Aleppo become increasingly unrecognizable, Nuri convinces Afra to leave their home behind. They embark on a journey to escape Syria, with hopes of claiming asylum in England.
The story flows seamlessly between the present and past. In the present, Nuri and Afra are living in limbo, as so many refugees are. They’ve left their home in Aleppo and survived the perilous journey to England. They’re living at a Bed & Breakfast, awaiting the results of their asylum claim. We’re transported back to their life in Syria and journey to the UK through Nuri’s memories, flashbacks, and dreams. While the novel follows their physical journey from Syria to England, it also follows the journey of their relationship, as they navigate seemingly insurmountable challenges while plagued by trauma and grief.
I found my heart aching for the memorable and complex characters in this novel. It is full of raw emotion, and had me in tears several times within the first 100 pages. Past and present are woven together skillfully, which is far more engaging than if it were presented chronologically. Despite already having the knowledge that Nuri and Afra make it to the UK safely, I still desperately needed to find out how their journey unfolded. My curiosity propelled me through the book at a speed that I didn’t think was possible with a 3-month-old baby.
Lefteri has drawn inspiration from her own experiences volunteering at a centre for refugee women and children in Athens. She is also the daughter of Cypriot refugees. Her experiences and research are evident in the vivid details and descriptions throughout the novel. I tend to gravitate towards books that tackle important social and political issues. While this book does that, it is so much more than that. It is a heart-wrenching, achingly beautiful story that touches your soul and reminds you of our shared humanity.
To sum up my feelings: READ THIS BOOK.
What is a book that you feel the need to thrust into the hands of everyone you meet? Tell me in the comments below!
After yet another few months away from my blog, I’m back! I don’t feel like the same person I was when I left you…
I began my journey as a new mama on August 16th, 2019 when our beautiful baby girl Ellie Rose was born. Now she is almost THREE months old !@?#$%*
It’s been a whirlwind since then! Caring for a newborn is exhausting and challenging, but also amazing. I swear she changes every single day, and it’s incredible to see her grow and develop her own little personality. With this new chapter of my life, I’m also taking a new direction with my blog. My main platform is Instagram, and when I became pregnant I chose to expand my account from solely focusing on books to also including other snippets of my life. Through doing so, I’ve been able to connect with so many more people and have meaningful conversations about books AND so many other topics! I’m going to take my blog in the same direction.
I’ll admit that it’s more difficult these days to transform my thoughts into sentences you can actually comprehend… but I’m going to try ♫ with a little help from my friends ♪ (coffee, coffee… and more coffee).
I plan to continue with monthly wrap-ups and the occasional longer book review, but I’ll also be writing about the rest of my life. I’m FINALLY crafting a post with photos and details from our vintage bookish wedding (umm, yeah that happened over a year ago…), and I’ve got some pregnancy, birth, and new mama life posts coming your way! Let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to write about.
I hope you’ll still continue to join me on this little journey of mine.
July has been a great reading month for me! Who knew that being 9 months pregnant could be so enjoyable 😉 I had THREE five-star reads this month, which is pretty good… although one is about childbirth and I can’t reveal one of the others.
Total Number of Books: 8 Total Number of Pages: 3,310 Average Pages per Book: 414 Average Rating: 4.06
Okay… so the best book I read this month, I actually can’t include or talk about! It’s slowly killing me to keep my mouth shut about it, because it’s a contender for my top reads of 2019. BUT we are likely including it in our debut book subscription box this October, so I don’t want to spoil the surprise for those of you who follow my bookstagram/blog and who will also be ordering the box. So you’ll have to be patient and wait a few months for me to gush about how much I loved it!
Storm: It’s a Curse to Remember by Gurpreet Kaur Sidhu ★★★
Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of her novel in exchange for an honest review! I loved the premise of this book and the plot was captivating. I got hung up on some of the wording, and sometimes the shifts in time and perspective had me a bit confused and having to flip back and re-read through sections. Having said that, there were many suspenseful parts where I could not put this book down. Overall I enjoyed it, and I’m interested in seeing where the author takes things with the second book in this series.
Home Front Girls by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan ★★★★
Written as a series of letters between two women during WWII, this book sheds light on the everyday experiences of women on the American home front.It was a delightful read, reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (although not quite as magical).I’ll disclose that I’m a history nerd, and I love most novels set during this era, so I am slightly biased.I adored witnessing the developing friendship between Rita and Glory. I love how the letters capture their inner and outer lives in such a personal and relatable way.I wouldn’t say it was an amazing novel, but it was definitely a quick, light, and enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who love historical fiction. Publication date September 3rd 2019. Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for this ARC.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert ★★★★
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Blair Brown, and I really enjoyed it! I loved the colourful array of characters at the Lily Playhouse, and was drawn in by the witty dialogue. I was fully captivated by the era and atmosphere, and I had fun exploring 1940s New York through the experiences of Vivian. My attention waned a bit towards the end of the novel, but I think that was just because I missed the entertainment and debauchery…
Gilbert has said that, “My goal was to write a book that would go down like a champagne cocktail- light and bright, crisp and fun.” In my opinion, she succeeded in meeting her goal!
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt ★★★★★
I am going to have to keep this short, because I have so many thoughts and feelings about this book! Eventually I’ll sit down and write a proper review of it. There are such mixed reviews for this book, and I completely understand why. Personally, I absolutely adored it! Tartt’s prose is beautiful and evocative. It is a deep, moody, and immersive book that needs to be read slowly and savored. It is not a carefree or easy read, but if you love literature, detailed, rich prose, and gravitate towards art and philosophy, then I would recommend it.
Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison ★★★.5
First of all, I loved the setting of this novel! An old, prestigious girls boarding school in a small town created the perfect atmosphere for intrigue and murder. I loved the gothic feels, secret societies, and overall creepiness. It was full of secrets and had a good twist that I didn’t expect. I did find some of the characters annoying, and feel like the story would have been more convincing set further in the past rather than the present. The story kept my interest and was enjoyable, but wasn’t amazing. Expected publication December 31, 2019. Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for this ARC.
Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy ★★★
A funny and entertaining look at all of the changes that you may experience during and after pregnancy. It was good for a laugh!
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth By Ina May Gaskin ★★★★★
Very informative and interesting. I was terrified of childbirth, but this book along with the Positive Birth Company’s hypnobirthing course and of course our amazing doula have completely changed my mindset and made me realize that it is a completely natural process that our bodies are made for! I’d definitely recommend this book to all pregnant women!
What was the best book you read this month!? Any recommendations? Thoughts about any of the books included here?