Winter: What to Read

It gets dark early and cold often. Winter is the time for cozy, warm books paired with a hot tea/coffee. Here are my favorite books to read in winter. 

“Some mistakes… Just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let the result of one mistake be the thing that defines you.”
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance
Number of Pages: 369
Perspective: First (A few alternating chapters)
Location: England
Me Before You is about Lou, a woman desperately looking for a job so she can help provide for her parents and sister. She ends up becoming the caregiver for a quadriplegic, Will. It becomes Lou’s goal to teach Will how to love life again. For a complete summary, you can go here.
Let me just say, I NEEDED THIS BOOK. I have recently been in a book rut. I couldn’t seem to find an amazing book. I’ve read a lot of pretty good books lately, but I haven’t found one that completely and utterly engrossed me. Until now. This has been a crazy week for me, but I was impatiently waiting each day for a few free moments to engulf myself in this book. Once I finally got a few solid hours of free time, I couldn’t put the book down until I was finished. That alone is the sign of a great book. But overall, this book was one my favorite books, so I gave it my Best Book Award
I will admit, I am a sap. I have cried during commercials, and I have definitely cried during movies. But there are only two books that have ever made me cry actual tears: The Time Traveler’s Wife, and now, Me Before You. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but some people hated this book because of the controversial ending. Yes, I think a bad ending can ruin a good book, but I can’t dislike the ending just because I don’t morally agree with it. I may not like all the actions and decisions of the main characters, but I accepted them. 
This book tells a beautiful and heartbreaking story. Some people call it a love story, but it is so much more than that. It is more so an eye-opening life story. It makes you think about people with disabilities in a whole new way. It gives us a glimpse into daily challenges and interactions. 
I want to also add that I appreciated that it wasn’t a back and forth perspective between Lou and Will. I think that dual-perspective books are way overdone right now. There were a few random chapters that were in the perspective of the secondary characters, which was okay, but not necessary. 
I recommend this book to everyone—well, probably just women. I can’t wait to go see the movie now. I’ll try not to judge it too much… If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 
“You can only actually help someone who wants to be helped.” 
5/5 Stars

“For years, she had been in mourning for the way she had let her life slip through her fingers. Given another chance, she’d told herself, she would take more care to experience it. But lately, she was finding that she had experienced it after all and just forgotten, and now it was returning to her.”
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Number of Pages: 368
Perspective: Third Person
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
A Spool of Blue Thread is a novel about three generations of one family. They fight, laugh, and cry together, but they embrace the unpredictable journey of life as a family. For a complete summary and to read an excerpt, you can go here.
This book is about nothing, and yet it is about everything. There is a loose plot, but the story bounces through three generations of one family. It’s not a happy book. It’s not a sad book. It’s just real. It is about family, love, and life.
I am always leery of books that are hyped up, but I was drawn into this book from the first page. The characters are all extremely different from one another. Some are stoic, some are quirky, some are dependable, some are flaky—but I grew to love each of them in their own way. Tyler really explores the relationships within a family and how they are ever evolving. She develops her characters beautifully. 
The story moved at a very slow pace, compared to all the popular action-packed novels and TV shows that we have grown accustomed to. That doesn’t really matter, though. She needed that time to make you understand and love this family. I think that everyone will see themselves in at least one of these characters. The characters all just felt very real. Which means that you may love to hate and hate to love some of them (perhaps like you would with your own family). 
I want to find something bad to say about this book, but the only thing I can think of is that two of the daughters were both married to men named Hugh. So that got to be a bit annoying and confusing. 
At first I really didn’t like how it bounced around in time, but by the end it all made sense. I think it was an intelligent decision by the author to reveal things in the order that she did. If she had gone in chronological order, I don’t think that I would have appreciated the present day family as much. You really have to understand where it all started. 
Immediately after reading this book, I felt at peace and content with the book. I planned on giving this book four out of five stars, but after reflecting on it, I really loved this book. I think it is a book that everyone should take the time to read, that is why I decided to give it my Best Book Award. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 
“But it has occurred to me, on occasion, that our memories of our loved ones might not be the point. Maybe the point is their memories—all that they take away with them.” 
  5/5 Stars

“But I have learned that you make your own happiness, that part of going for what you want means losing something else. And when the stakes are high, the losses can be that much greater.”
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Number of Pages: 322
Perspective: First Person
Location: New York City, New York
Something Borrowed is a love story about Rachel, who falls in love with her best friend’s fiancé, Dex. They begin a complicated (and secret) love affair. Which woman will Dex choose? For a more complete summary, you can go here.
I think we’ve all had a friend like Darcy at some point in our lives. She’s the friend that we love to hate—or perhaps we hate that we love her? She’s the friend who is super outgoing and everyone seems to love, but you end up being the dirty rag that she uses and throws away when it’s convenient. She’s the friend that you try to pull away from, but your history together keeps pulling you back in. While  reading this, I kept rolling my eyes at Darcy, but I realized that I have had friends like that too, and sometimes it is easier to just put up with them than to be on their hit-list. Then it gets complicated because Rachel falls for Darcy’s fiancé. She’s in a love-hate relationship with Darcy, so maybe this is the excuse she needs to get out of a toxic friendship? In this story, I was torn because I was partly hoping that it would be about how friendship should always come before a man, but I also hated Darcy, so I was kind of hoping for her to get a little bit of karma. 
I also have issues with books abut affairs. I wanted to shake Rachel because her new relationship with Dex seems all perfect and wonderful because it’s new. She’s naive if she thinks that they will never have any problems. 
Overall, this is a good, light read. I read it while on vacation on the beach, and it is perfect for that exact setting. Nobody wants to read a depressing or deep book while relaxing on the beach! 
If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 
“When you’re in love, sometimes you have to swallow your pride, and sometimes you have to keep your pride. It’s a balance. But when the relationship is right, you find the balance.”
4/5 Stars

“But why, why, why can’t people just say what they mean?”
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Number of Pages: 322
Perspective: First Person
Location: New York City, New York
The Rosie Project is about a guy, Don, that decides to create an extensive questionnaire in order to find his perfect wife. Don is no ordinary man. He has every minute of every day planned out and he has only two friends. He is a geneticist and believes that science can help him find his true match. Until he meets Rosie. For a more complete summary, you can go here.
This book was charming and fun! I didn’t want to put it down! I also enjoyed the quirkiness of all of the main characters. A lot of reviewers have compared Don to Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, but I wasn’t picturing that at all while I was reading. However, I can see the comparisons. They are both very intellectually minded and socially inept, have particular routines, and don’t know how to act in a relationship. Rosie is the exact opposite in every way. I also enjoyed her side of the story and seeing her come to terms with some family issues. 
It seems like a lot of books now are highlighting Asperger’s Syndrome. Don is never officially diagnosed with it, but it is definitely hinted at. I think it is great that this is getting more publicity, but at the same time I worry about readers (and writers) starting to stereotype how a person with Asperger’s behaves. 
I only had a few small issues with this book. First of all, Don gets a lot of advice from his friend Gene and Gene’s wife, Claudia. Gene is a serial cheater that is trying to hookup with a woman from every country. I had a problem with how often Don took their advice on relationships, considering how messed up their marriage is. At some point Don begins to realize that is a problem too, so I felt better after he resolved that. I also hate when (SPOILER ALERT) a relationship is slow to start, then all of a sudden there’s marriage. I just feel like that’s not realistic, and yet a lot of novels make that happen. 
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It really makes you think about our every day actions and how we behave in relationships. I recommend this book to men or women that are looking for a humorous love story. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here, and look through the discussion questions here. After you have read it let me know what you think! 
“I asked you here tonight because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
4/5 Stars

“Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do. Sometimes it works.”
Genre: Autobiography/Humor.
Number of Pages: 329.
Perspective: First. 
Location: New York/Chicago/Massachusetts.
Yes, Please is a humorous memoir from the star of Parks and Recreation and SNL. For a complete summary, you can go here.
I don’t know why I keep reading memoirs by celebrities. I usually hate them, despite the fact that they are typically New York Times Best Sellers. I am really glad I decided to try one more and read this one. Amy is naturally funny, so a few laughs are expected, but she also offered some great life advice. 
A weird side note about this book: the pages are very thick and shiny. This leads to glare if you are reading outside, and it also caused the book to be very heavy. I hated carrying it around with me. This is not a good travel book for that reason. But the photos and graphics make it ideal to read this as a physical copy versus an ebook. 
If you don’t like or watch SNL or Parks and Recreation, you may not enjoy this book. There were a lot of references to both, and it helps to have a little bit of an understanding of the shows and the other actors involved. However, if you don’t watch either of those shows and don’t really know Amy Poehler, I’m not sure why you would read a book about her life…
Overall, this book was entertaining and worth a read, and it doesn’t take too long to get through. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 
“Everybody wants you to share your MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT all the time, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to. You don’t have to tell it or tweet it or Instagram it. “
 4/5 Stars
Others to Read:

Do you agree? Disagree?