January kicked off a new year which means a new reading challenge from Goodreads! Last year I was able to read 100 books during the 366 days and this year, I am hoping to reach the same number.
1. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
I found this book in the clearance section of Books-A-Million and honestly, it was the cover that caught my attention. However, once I started reading this novel, I was sucked into the author's story. The Unexpected Everything is about the teenage daughter of a life-time politician named Andie. At the start of the book, Andie's life is being turned upside down due to a scandal that rock's her father's office. Throughout the story, Andie learns to face her dreams and grief while coming of age.
2. Courage to Soar by Simone Biles
I kicked January off with an inspirational audiobook by Simone Biles, the 2016 America Olympic gymnast. Simone's story of perseverance and trust in God was aw-inspiring. In the media, Simone is portrayed as a strong female athlete inspiring young gymnasts to follow her lead. In real life, she is a young woman trying to find her way in the world while balancing sport, family, school, and herself.
3. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
You know that old man in Up that is so grumpy you just have to love him? Ove is a grumpier version of Carl Fredricksen. Ove judges everyone by their cover and the car they drive including his new neighbors. However, as the months progress, Ove learns to open his heart and his home and we all learn that Ove is not as harsh and tough as he seems.
4. Beast by Brie Spangler
I have to admit something to you. When I first saw this cover and title on the library website, I assumed the book was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Nope. Instead, Beast tells the story of a "tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan" who feels out of place and uncomfortable in his own skin. After an accident that breaks his leg, Dylan meets Jamie, a beautiful down-to-earth girl that rocks Dylan's world. That is until Dylan learns that Jamie used to be a boy. This was not my favorite LGBT novel because while it included realistic treatment of the transgender character, I thought there should have been more than surface emotions. However, this was a cute story with a unique perspective.
5. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
In the final days of 2016, the world lost the amazing actor, author and mental health advocate, Carrie Fisher. Best known for her work in Star Wars, Carrie Fisher's book "The Princess Diarist" sheds light on male-dominated and world-changing franchise. She is entertaining and inspirational as she shares stories and advice about growing up and finding work under the watchful eye of millions.