Sunday, January 31, 2016

ABC Reads: January Review

Today is the day!  Our first ABC Reads Challenge Link-Up.  Here's a refresher on the terms of the challenge in case you missed it previously:

What does the challenge entail?  Well, I'm glad you asked.  There are 26 letters of the alphabet and Mia and I challenge you, during the course of 2016, to read a book that starts with each letter.  For example, Atonement (A), The Bell Jar (B), Catching Fire (C), and so on.  Makes sense, right? You don't need to go in order - if you want to start with S, go for it.  On the last day of each month, we'll host a link-up for you to share your ABC Reads.  We will award one point for each letter you review AND a bonus point for linking up with us!  At the end of the year (or when the first participant reviews a book beginning with each of the 26 letters), the winner will be awarded a $30 Amazon gift card.  So, what do you say?  Do you accept our ABC Reads challenge?

I read SO much this month!  I certainly expect to taper off as the year continues, but I was really on top of my reading game in January!  I completed the following letters: O, F, V, and P.  And truly enjoyed each book along the way!

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Mia actually selected this book for our Literary Trio book club...and all three of us absolutely loved the story.  The book jumps back and forth between current day Maine and Depression-era Minnesota to tell two stories - Vivian's and Molly's.  It was a real page-turner!  Ninety-two year old Vivian's journey proved lonesome and horrifying.  Several times throughout this historical fiction piece, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to discover the next twist ahead for Vivian.  The book even inspired me to book a tour at the NYC Tenement Museum and learn more about the life of immigrants during this time period.

Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende

Brooke from the #collaboreads monthly link-up that I participate in suggested this book when our topic was non-fiction a few months ago.  I immediately flagged it on Goodreads.  The title itself was enough to pull me in.  Honestly, it sounds like my dream job - small-town obituary writer.  She told many stories about lessons she learned during times of sadness as well as during celebrations of life.  I loved this quick read because it was full of wisdom!  This book would be a great gift to a college graduate...particularly if they studied English or journalism. 

The Vow: The Kim and Krickett Carpenter Story by Kim Carpenter

Finding a "V" book proved a bit of a challenge.  I eventually found myself on google.  When The Vow popped up, I thought it sounded familiar...and then I saw that a movie had been made in 2012 based on this story.  Sounded like a winner to me.  I love a good book and movie combo!  As usual, the book was much better than the movie though I'm sure Kim and Krickett were flattered to be portrayed by Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams!  In all seriousness, this book is a true testament to the strength of faith - a strength that is inspiring and amazing.  Roughly three months into their marriage, a near fatal car accident leaves Krickett with no memory of Kim.  Not only does she have to re-learn many basic skills due to her brain damage, but she has to fall in love with a man (her husband) that she doesn't even recognize.  I simply can't fathom...and it was not portrayed to be an easy process, but in the end those vows they took before God were powerful enough to prevail.  As a newlywed myself, I really enjoyed this book.  It was a very straight-forward and honest account by Kim - a touching and powerful read.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

As I mentioned in my recent #collaboreads review (check it out here), this book had been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years.  Mom had given it to me as a Christmas gift.  I picked it up a few times over the years, but never devoted myself to giving it a shot.  After reading it, I am totally kicking myself because I loved it!  The psychology behind the habit loop is simply fascinating to me.  The book is divided into three sections focusing on habits of individuals, successful organizations, and society at large.  With New Year resolutions beginning to wane, I definitely suggest giving this book a read to learn more about why this happens and how you can help yourself maintain change over the long haul!

I absolutely can't wait to see the ABC Reads each of you selected this month!!

Andrea :)


  1. I've seen the movie The Vow, but I haven't read the book. I'm definitely adding it to my list. :) Lol, my list is getting so long. Hugs, my awesome book partner! xo

  2. I loved the Orphan Train! My book club liked it as well. We may be a little biased since it was set in MN; but a few of us also met a gentleman that had actually been one of the orphans on the train. He was adopted by a family and it sounds like he had a decent experience, which seems quite rare for most of those children.

  3. Need to add Orphan Train to my list. Love historical fiction so that seems right up my alley!