December 15, 2020

Kitty’s Year End Wrap Up

2020 was a difficult year for all of us. One we won’t soon forget!! I hope that 2021 brings us much more peace and happiness. One thing that was a positive for book lovers in 2020 was all the great book releases!! One blessing of staying home more for me was extra reading time!!!!!

I’m usually a thriller or historical fiction reader, but this year I branched out to other genres, below are several of my favorites from 2020.

Happy Holidays to everyone and much love to you all in 2021.

Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix up their own marriage. There’s a wealthy banker who has been too busy making money to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world.

Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them—the bank robber included—desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises, these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in a motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

Humorous, compassionate, and wise, Anxious People is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope—the things that save us, even in the most anxious of times.

Within a few minutes of starting this book, I was laughing out loud and a few chapters later, I had tears streaming down my face! That’s how Fredrik Backman’s writing style always affects me and that’s what keeps bringing me back!!

From Katie Vaz, author of Don’t Worry, Eat Cake, the beloved Make Yourself Cozy, and The Escape Manual for Introverts, comes My Life in Plants. Her newest book tells the story of her life through the thirty-nine plants that have played both leading and supporting roles, from her childhood to her wedding day. Plants include a homegrown wildflower bouquet wrapped in duct tape that she carried on stage at age three, to a fragrant basil plant that brought her and her kitchen back to life after grief.

The stories are personal, poignant, heartwarming, and relatable, and will prompt readers to recall plants of their own that have been witness to both the amazing moments of life and the ordinary ones. This illustrated memoir covers the simplicity of home, the sharpness of loss, the lesson of learning to be present, and the journey of finding your way.

This was a audio book and it was so much fun to hear the author read it to me! It was like having a conversation with a dear friend. It was the most creative book I read this year. Katie tells her memoir through plants that played an important role in each event! Very clever and delightful read.

Edith Eger’s powerful first book The Choice told the story of her survival in the concentration camps, her escape, healing, and journey to freedom. Oprah Winfrey says, “I will be forever changed by Dr. Eger’s story.” Thousands of people around the world have written to Eger to tell her how The Choice moved them and inspired them to confront their own past and try to heal their pain; and to ask her to write another, more “how-to” book. Now, in The Gift, Eger expands on her message of healing and provides a hands-on guide that gently encourages us to change the thoughts and behaviors that may be keeping us imprisoned in the past.

Eger explains that the worst prison she experienced is not the prison that Nazis put her in but the one she created for herself, the prison within her own mind. She describes the twelve most pervasive imprisoning beliefs she has known—including fear, grief, anger, secrets, stress, guilt, shame, and avoidance—and the tools she has discovered to deal with these universal challenges. Accompanied by stories from Eger’s own life and the lives of her patients each chapter includes thought-provoking questions and takeaways, such as:

-Would you like to be married to you?
-Are you evolving or revolving?
-You can’t heal what you can’t feel.

Filled with empathy, insight, and humor, The Gift captures the vulnerability and common challenges we all face and provides encouragement and advice for breaking out of our personal prisons to find healing and enjoy life. 

This is one of those books that you will buy as a gift for very special people in your life. It’s a true life changing book!! I think everyone should read this book! It’s a great reminder to truly live life to the fullest, but it also provides you with ways of being able to do that. I will be buying copies to give out to friends this Christmas!

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

This is an older book, but one I finally got around to reading this year. All I can say is Michelle Obama is grace personified!! I don’t read a lot of memoirs and was afraid this was going to be full of politics, but I was pleasantly surprised that I felt like I got to know the first lady personally through her stories of life, love, struggles and hope. It is a very uplifting book and a great read for all women AND MEN!

When eighteen-year-old Tommy Baxter declares to his family that he wants to be a police officer after graduation, his mother, Reagan, won’t hear of it. After all, she’s still mourning the death of her own father on September 11 and she’s determined to keep her son safe from danger. But Tommy’s father, Luke, is proud of Tommy’s decision. He would make a kind and compassionate cop.

Meanwhile, Tommy is in love for the first time. His sweet relationship with Annalee Miller is almost too good to be true. Tommy begins seriously thinking about the far off day when he can ask her to marry him but she hasn’t been feeling well. Tests reveal the unthinkable.

While his girlfriend begins the fight of her life, Tommy is driven to learn more about the circumstances surrounding his birth and the grandfather he never knew. Secrets come to light that rock Tommy’s world, and he becomes determined to spend his future fighting crime and bringing peace to the streets. Or is this just his way to fight a battle he cannot win—the one facing Annalee?

Blending romance and family drama, Truly, Madly,Deeply shows us that, in the shadow of great loss, the only way to live with passion is truly, madly, deeply.

Karen Kingsbury is an auto-buy author for me! I love all her work because each story seems to give you just a little bit more hope in humankind and trust in God. If you like inspirational stories with feel good endings, you will love this book and all of Kingsbury’s books.

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