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What I Read: December & January Edition

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I took some time off in December…and then got sick in January. So I spent a lot of time reading. Here is a roundup of some of what I read!

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Organizing for the Rest of Us: 100 Realistic Strategies to Keep Any House Under Control by Dana K. White

Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff by Dana K. White

Maybe because January is symbolic with fresh starts, but I have been reading a lot about decluttering lately. Recently, I read two by Dana K White: Decluttering at the Speed Of Life and Organizing for the Rest of Us. Both talk about the idea of containers being your limit. Your house is also a container. You can’t add more than the container can fit. Some tips I have implemented already are running a load of dishes every night rather than waiting for the washer to be full. I also am doing smaller loads of laundry rather than waiting until one specific day in the week. It is working so far. I also did a closet purge for some items to go to ThredUp Consignment. Still a ways to go, but getting there.

The Awesome Human Project: Break Free from Daily Burnout, Struggle Less, and Thrive More in Work and Life by Nataly Kogan

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I have actually read this one twice and will be perusing it a third time in preparation for a keynote she is giving this week. I loved Nataly’s first book and this new one is even better. It discusses concepts like selfcare, mindsets, treating yourself like a friend, setting boundaries, and so much more. I highly recommend everyone read it. I even ordered a copy for my sister because I loved it so much. Nataly has been holding a Wednesday Zoom session every week since the pandemic began and this book is the product of all those discussions. If you preorder before the book comes out (Feb 8th!), you are also eligible for additional perks from her website like an invite to the book launch with guest speakers like Apolo Ohno and access to the 21day Happiness Challenge. I have already completed week one of the challenge and love it. Go here after you preorder to get the bonus invites https://natalykogan.com/ahp/

The Silhouette Solution: Using What You Have to Get the Look You Want by Brenda Cooper

The author of The Silhouette Solution was the stylist behind the hit show The Nanny. Okay, so I never wanted to copy Fran Fine’s style, but I thought it was really interesting to read about what went into the show’s style. The heart of the book though was all about creating your own style, even using items you already own. Who knew I would be so fascinated with fashion books? #NetGalley #Feb2022

Essential Art Therapy Exercises: Effective Techniques to Manage Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD by Leah Guzman MA

I recently used Essential Art Therapy Exercises by Leah Guzman as part of a staff day training session I did on using creativity for stress relief. The exercises in the book are very comprehensive. The history and theory of art therapy are explained but it also addresses that for true healing if you have experienced trauma, then you need to work with a professional. Some of the activities are ones I already do, like sketching to music. So it was nice to read about the theory of why those activities are beneficial. After reading, I think I am going to try more art journaling.

The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon

There is an awesome trend right now of STEM female focused romance novels. The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon was awesome! Lyric has a hippie mother, believes in the power of crystals, oh and is also researching the psychology of lasting relationships via sexual chemistry. She lives with her best friend, Kian, who is also a doctoral student completing his final year of his study. In an attempt to show Lyric what she is doing to sabotage her dates, Kian “tutors” Lyric on dating by going on fake dates. Fake of course leads to real feelings and complications. It reminded me of a web comic I am reading called Love Algorithm. A very smart female who is just clueless when it comes to dating who finds love right in front of her. Very diverse characters and lots of talk about STEM related topics. Lots of sizzle! #NetGalley #June2022

Lucie Yi Is Not a Romantic by Lauren Ho

Last week, I finished reading Lucie Yi is Not a Romantic by Lauren Ho. It takes place between NYC and Singapore and features two Asian main characters trying to make a baby. There are fertility issues and failed relationships which lead to the idea of coparenting where strangers agree to have a child together. Even though the concept is a little similar to the last book I read that featured IVF, this one was not as scientific. I felt a little like it was an Asian version of Sex and the City. There is a toxic ex that she just can’t quit. Sassy best friends. Then there is the family drama. I actually really loved the book and the diverse range of characters. It felt like watching a very progressive Thai Lakorn. #NetGalley #June2022

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang is the third book in the Kiss Quotient series and features Quan’s romance. Why did it take me so long to read these books? I think Hoang may be my new favorite author. Anna’s reactions to the world around her are a little extreme and I think Quan was a little too forgiving, but I can relate to the burnout Anna experiences. I still think The Bride Test is my favorite of the three, but this may be my runner up.

Josh and Gemma Make a Baby by Sarah Ready

On New Year’s Eve, I read a rom-com featuring New Year’s Resolutions. Josh and Gemma Make a Baby by Sarah Ready was the perfect slow burn romance to welcome in the new year. Gemma wants a baby, but she is divorced, single, and has stage four endometriosis. But she is an avid self improvement believer. She even works for a self-help guru and as her boss would say, “anything is possible if you put your mind to it”. So she makes an appointment with a fertility clinic and decides that the perfect sperm donor is her brother’s best friend Josh. He has been a part of her family since forever, so it make sense. She plans to ask him at her family’s annual New Year’s Winers and Wine party. Lots of talk about IVF, infertility, and baby making. Could be triggering for some. But I loved the story of Gemma and Josh. I want this to be the next Netflix Rom-Com book adaption and I want Mindy Kaling to be involved somehow. Honestly, I kinda pictured her as Gemma even though the characters are not South Asian. The story could easily translate to a modern Desi romance. #NetGalley #Jan2022

Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn’t Designed for You by Jenna Nerenberg

Divergent Mind by Jenara Nerenberg has been on my radar for a while. I think I even put in the request for the library to buy it. Even so, I checked it out three times and never got around to reading it. Finally, I bought a kindle copy since I seem to be doing better with ebooks lately. I finished it on the car trip to my in-laws for Christmas. It was fascinating. So many boxes checked. I am now going down the rabbit hole of HSP and Asperger’s. I always thought my jumpiness was my anxiety, but after reading the book and learning about women and sensitivity disorders…let’s just say I am glad I brought noise cancelling headphones to my in-laws this week. This was a fascinating read on how neurodivergency manifests in women. Highly recommend!

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma

Taming of the Shrew is one of my favorites of Shakespeare’s plays. So I jumped at the chance to read Dating Dr.Dil by Nisha Sharma. This modern take on the play features a group of Desi living in the North Jersey area. Kareena’s family is a little frantic over her unmarried state in the face of her younger sister Bindu’s upcoming wedding. It just doesn’t look right for the younger sister to get married before the older. Miscommunication, romance, and strong personalities clash in the form Kareena meeting Prem, a TV doctor trying to open a clinic for the South Asian community in the tristate area. After accidentally having an argument go viral, they both need some reputation improvement. So just like in the play, Prem decides to pursue Kareena. This was a great modern retelling. Fake romance turned real is one trope I never get tired of. #netgalley #March22

How to Be the Best Third Wheel by Loridee De Villa

I have never wanted to throw a book across the room before, but I seriously felt the urge while reading this one…which is bad because I was reading it as a digital galley on my iPad. The author delivers as promised with her warning on the first page that she cannot be held responsible for damage from face palms and book throwing. This story has all the angst of a kDrama. Just when you think it is done, you get pulled in again. I really hope there is a book two in the works. #Netgalley #May2022

Safety in Numbers by Sophie Penhaligon

Safety in Numbers by Sophie Penhaligon was not quite what I expected. It was like Love Hypothesis and The Kiss Quotient in that it featured a very smart woman who is a bit awkward because of how her brain works. I thought it would be another title in the trend of STEM focused romcoms. I think that was the intent at least…It was very cute at times, but parts just didn’t seem to fit at others. The women are portrayed a little stereotypically too. There are mean girl blondes and the female lead is like the stereotypical male-fantasy librarian except that she is a mathematician…I honestly wasn’t sure if I would finish reading. The male lead is very foul mouthed and grouchy, but only the heroine sees his good side because reasons and everything is okay because he is smart, handsome, rich, and broken. Oh, he is also the boss and would have a lot of lawsuits if this was the real world because of how he treats people. If anyone else reads it, I would like to know your thoughts because even though I think the attempt was made to show that even with a brain injury the FL was just a normal female like everyone else, she went from her mother guiding her to a therapist to her boyfriend…just seemed too much like grooming, plus with him being the boss… the power dynamic is just a little icky.

What have you read this month that you really enjoyed and would recommend?

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