February and March 2017 Reads

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

For today's post, I'm combining both February and March since I didn't read too much in February.  Don't we all just go through reading slumps sometimes?  

BUT I've got some really great books to share with y'all today!  And one of them I'm calling My Favorite Book of 2017, so it's going to take a really spectacular book to beat this one!

To see what I've read previously, click here!

If you remember from past posts, remember that I like to share the Amazon synopsis first and then my thoughts below in italics.

In January 1961, as the Cold War escalates, John F. Kennedy struggles to contain the growth of Communism while he learns the hardships, solitude, and temptations of what it means to be president of the United States. Along the way he acquires a number of formidable enemies, among them Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and Alan Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In addition, powerful elements of organized crime have begun to talk about targeting the president and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
In the midst of a 1963 campaign trip to Texas, Kennedy is gunned down by an erratic young drifter named Lee Harvey Oswald. The former Marine Corps sharpshooter escapes the scene, only to be caught and shot dead while in police custody.
The events leading up to the most notorious crime of the twentieth century are almost as shocking as the assassination itself. Killing Kennedy chronicles both the heroism and deceit of Camelot, bringing history to life in ways that will profoundly move the reader. This may well be the most talked about book of the year

I really enjoyed reading this book.  I learned a lot of information about JFK that I didn't already know--especially about the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Sadly, I learned some not-so-good info about Martin Luther King, Jr. that I didn't know either.  The authors of this book did an excellent job interweaving historical fact in a way that interests the reader.  If you haven't read any of the Killing books yet, I would recommend picking up this one!  I also want to read Killing Lincoln at some point, too.

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

This was the February book for my book club, and I'll be honest, I was the only one who didn't really enjoy the book.  I actually never even got halfway before I quit reading the book to move onto something else.  I think if I would have understood the culture better (i.e. been a little older) then I would have appreciated the book better.  Don't let this deter you from reading it since it's a popular book!

Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch...until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How they can possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths.
Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge...but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?

This book hooked me from the start!  It's told from the POVs of Maddy, her husband, and her daughter.  The best part?  The ending!  It was very feel-good!  This book is also pretty short, so it won't take you very long to read.

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

     In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK OF 2017!!!  I loved it so much that I literally couldn't sleep because I kept trying to stay up later each night and read.  And I even skipped a workout one afternoon to go home and read.  This book is told in multiple POVs, and there are lots of characters who have a chapter from their POV....some are slaves like Cora, conductors on the Underground Railroad, and even slave catchers.  Also, this book is so well-written, and the syntax (sentence structure) is unforgettable.  If you pick one book from this post to read, I hope this is the book you choose!

At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear...and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding-one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.

I don't know what took me so long to pick up this book because my sister even read it before I did--and she never reads.  It's a thick book so it took me about a week to get through it, and I was angry the entire time I was reading.  If you don't know, Nicholas Sparks and his wife divorced maybe 2 years ago.  I feel like this book has a little of that sentiment.  Like any Nicholas Sparks book, I cried at the end, but not from what I was ever expecting to cry from.  Not my favorite Sparks book, but I'm still glad I read it.

I'm excited to get started reading books for April!  I've got three on my list to read, and one of them should be delivered to my house today!

Linking up with Whitney and Lindsay


  1. I am so sad you didn't like Two by Two as much - I just loved it! Adding The Underground Railroad and I Liked My Life to my lists. I read Killing Reagan last night - of the killing books I have read thus far, it was my least favorite. Lincoln was good, though!

  2. I was in a reading slump in February too. Killing Kennedy has been my favorite so far but I gasp at some of the revelations and it made me a lil sad but a really good read. Have a terrific Tuesday girl!

  3. My friend at work was reading Hillbilly Elegy and her description didn't intrigue me at all. This review kind of keeps my thoughts in that same spot and I'm definitely not in a rush to read it. The Underground Railroad though--that sounds like a winner!

  4. Underground Railroad is on my bookshelf. I may get to it this month. I have 2 books ahead of it.

  5. Thanks for the recs! I needed to add a few more to my reading list.

  6. I was thinking the exact same thing about the Nicholas Sparks book! I bet the whole thing came out of the fact that he and his wife divorced. I can't help but think he's taking out some things on her through this book.

  7. I love these... I just finished Love Lives Here by Maria Goff and HIGHLY recommend it :) I listen to audio books most of the time and hers is a new favorite.

  8. I've heard great things about Killing Kennedy! It's on my list for sure.

  9. Great recommendations! I read Killing Kennedy a while back and really enjoyed it. I will have to give Underground Railroad a try. I had it checked out but never got around to reading it! I agree about Hillbilly Elegy. I didn't finish it, and really don't see what all the hype is about. I just wrote my monthly book reviews too!

  10. I could hardly put my iPad down while reading Two by Two. I loved it. It kept me guessing the whole way through because I know someone always dies in his books and I usually can figure out which character it will be pretty early on. This time, I had no inclination at all.

  11. Thanks for these great suggestions!

  12. I just added The Underground Railroad to my list, it sounds so good! My husband bought me Two by Two for Valentine's Day and I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but now I want to!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style

  13. I started the year off with a bang but hit a slump in March. I'm hoping to do a little reading this weekend and adding some of these to my want to read list.


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