Book Reviews xii: The Best Books of September 2017

Oct 6

Did you guys know that Amazon Prime members gets one free new release book for their Kindles every month??  I mean, that alone pays for the Prime membership!  Plus, my first Prime free e-book, The Designer, was delightful.  🙂

That brilliant discovery aside, I’m bringing you my reads from the whole month of September!  From now on, I’ll be doing one Book Reviews at the beginning of every month with ALL the books from the month behind us.  That way, you’ll always know when the new reviews are coming, and I’ll update Instagram with what I’m reading and how it’s going!  Sound like a plan?

**Note: The links you see here are affiliate links.  If you feel like one of my September faves is for you & order using one of these links, the blog will make a little money!

The Designer by Marius GabrielThe Designer swept me up into the age of WWII Paris when couture was trying to make its comeback. It follows Copper, an American in Paris with her husband who is covering the war as a journalist.  Copper’s life takes some scary, unexpected, beautiful turns as soon as she meets Christian Dior.  She accidentally becomes immersed in the haute couture world, but even more so in the lives of Parisians as they rebuild after Nazi occupation.

While it may not be 100% historically accurate, Gabriel brings WWII Paris to life while dropping names like Balmain, Dior, and Balenciaga.  It’s a perfect read for fashion lovers!  Toward the end of the book, he perfectly captures the electric thrill of a fashion show as well as the nerve-wracking pressure cooker that precedes great success.  It left me ready to read more accounts of Dior’s life, and Gabriel conveniently leaves a note of books to read further in his author’s note!  Definitely a smart, easy read.

3.5/5 stars

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks by Kathleen Flinn — I really struggle with any kind of kitchen confidence, so when a reader on Anne’s podcast listed this as one of her top 3 favorite books EVER, I knew I had to order it.  Guys, this book is a game changer!!  I mean, it made me YouTube proper knife holding and chopping techniques.  Then I bought everything I need to make HOMEMADE BREAD.  I also plan to roast a whole chicken and use the bones and leftovers to make my own chicken stock.  Who am I?  Well, after reading this book, I felt like I was a student of a Le Cordon Bleu educated chef.

I was fascinated by this book.  The theories on how America became a boxed food nation, how easy it is to make the REAL version of the boxed/bagged foods, etc. kept me up reading into the wee hours.  I was tagging the recipes I wanted to try in a book that was reading like a novel/memoir.  It’s SO GOOD.  I think it should be required reading for students who are about to embark on the real world.  Also, for the love of God, our country needs to bring home education back to high schools.  Robert and I were debating on this (he thinks a shop class would be more important, of course, because he’s a boy!), so I want to hear that you think!

4.5/5 stars

kitchen counter cooking school review

Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba —  I LOVE Cara’s Style Your Mind podcast, so I read this entire book in her voice.  That makes it so much more fun, I’m telling you.  Girl Code took me awhile to read and absorb because there are so many great tips in here.  It was Cara who inspired me to DRESS UP for work, even when I wasn’t really seeing anyone or doing anything glamorous.  I swear, it made the biggest in how I was feeling about my work and myself to raise my “glam vibration.”  SO worth the read just to get that nugget of wisdom, and there are so many more in this book!

3.5/5 stars

Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel — Being a big fan of Anne’s What Should I Read Next podcast, I had to preorder her first book!  Reading People is a LOT to take in, especially if you haven’t delved much into personality types like I hadn’t.  Honestly, before reading this book, I felt like worrying too much about what Enneagram number you were or what INFJ whatever you identify with put you in a box too much.  Now, however, I can see how much those identifiers can help you understand yourself and those around you.  The only thing I WISH it had was more practical application tips!

4/5 stars

reading people review

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls — TEN OUT OF FIVE STARS.  This memoir of Walls’s childhood BLEW my mind.  I think I read every single chapter with my eyes wide.  The things that the author experiences alongside her three siblings are just . . . devastatingly sad.  It’s hard to even describe, and it gets worse as the book goes on.  Her father is a mean drunk and a brilliant bullshitter with big dreams and plans.  Then there’s her mother, an artist who believes in freedom and laissez faire child-rearing.  She puts a “positive” spin on every horrible thing that happens, and it will BREAK YOUR HEART.

The Glass Castle reminds me a lot of a book I loved when I was younger, Flower Children, that details the lives of three siblings raised by their hippie parents.  This book, however, hits even closer to home because a lot of it takes place in West Virginia, a state I’m pretty familiar with.  I can really, really picture all of the things Walls writes about.

I don’t want to give a ton away about the book because I think you HAVE to read.  But first I want to say how amazing it is to read a book where the author’s writing style and subject matter is just awe-inspiring.  I now have to read anything and everything Jeanette Walls writes or has written.  I’m super curious about how she recalled so many details about her childhood.  I need to know EVERYTHING!

Also, because I’m sure you’re wondering, I have NOT seen the movie.  I don’t think I want to see the things that happen to these children play out on a screen.  It’s sad enough to read it.

10/5 stars

Also, be sure to read my Collaboreads post to hear about my OTHER new favorite book, Something Like Happy. Looking back at all of these, I can see that September was a pretty great reading month!  Let’s see how much we can get done in October between my last TWO weddings of 2017 and lots of events at the Mill!  🙂

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comments +

  1. Yvonne Holstine

    October 6th, 2017 at 10:16 PM

    I loved the Glass Castle. Talk about free range parenting on steroids with mental illness and alcoholism thrown in as a side dish! Look forward to reading your reviews each month 😊

  2. Shalese Danielle

    October 7th, 2017 at 10:37 AM

    Absolutely! I’m hesitant to see the movie because . . . I don’t want to ruin it!

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