Book Review: Raising Good Humans by Hunter Clarke-Fields

Raising Good Humans by Hunter Clarke-Fields
Rating: ★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: December 1, 2019
Source: Borrowed
A kinder, more compassionate world starts with kind and compassionate kids. In Raising Good Humans, you’ll find powerful and practical strategies to break free from “reactive parenting” habits and raise kind, cooperative, and confident kids.

Whether you’re running late for school, trying to get your child to eat their vegetables, or dealing with an epic meltdown in the checkout line at a grocery store—being a parent is hard work! And, as parents, many of us react in times of stress without thinking—often by yelling. But what if, instead of always reacting on autopilot, you could respond thoughtfully in those moments, keep your cool, and get from A to B on time and in one piece?

With this book, you’ll find powerful mindfulness skills for calming your own stress response when difficult emotions arise. You’ll also discover strategies for cultivating respectful communication, effective conflict resolution, and reflective listening. In the process, you’ll learn to examine your own unhelpful patterns and ingrained reactions that reflect the generational habits shaped by your parents, so you can break the cycle and respond to your children in more skillful ways.

When children experience a parent reacting with kindness and patience, they learn to act with kindness as well—thereby altering generational patterns for a kinder, more compassionate future. With this essential guide, you’ll see how changing your own “autopilot reactions” can create a lasting positive impact, not just for your kids, but for generations to come.

An essential, must-read for all parents—now more than ever.

I’ve been a parent for all of two months, but I’m trying really hard to be the best mom I can be. Part of that means that I’m trying really, really hard to be an empathetic parent, not a reactive one. I don’t like being yelled at and I don’t like yelling, so I don’t want to do it to my kid. Sure, he’s only a couple months old at this point, so there’s not much yelling to be done, but I’m sure he’ll test my patience pretty frequently as he gets older. I’d seen Raising Good Humans recommended pretty frequently, so I figured I’d check it out from the library.

This isn’t a bad book. At times, it can be pretty enlightening. But unfortunately, anyone who’s taken more than a moment or two to think about how their actions might affect other people is unlikely to be surprised by a lot of the talking points. Is it really that surprising that we should treat children like we would want to be treated? Or that we should put our phones down and try to be more present for them? There’s some advice in here about stepping away until you’re calm enough to handle the situation, and, I mean… yes, that’s good advice. But it’s also exactly what the pediatrician tells you about your crying baby.

There were some parts that I liked. The advice on how to make your home more Montessori-like, and therefore more child-friendly, was interesting, and I hope that I’ll be able to implement some of the suggestions as my son grows up. Some of the suggestions of phrasing will also be helpful as time goes on, such as “First we do (responsibility), then we can do (fun thing).”  I also liked the author’s commentary on ways to compliment your child and ways to express negative emotions in a healthy way.

Overall, am I mad that I read this? No. I got a couple good pieces of advice. But would I recommend it? Probably not. You can get a lot of the same information from parenting blogs and magazine articles, and it won’t take nearly as long to get through it.

Have you read Raising Good Humans? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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ARC Review: Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Rating: ★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: July 14, 2020
Source: ARC via Netgalley
The Hating Game meets Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by way of Morgan Matson in this unforgettable romantic comedy about two rival overachievers whose relationship completely transforms over the course of twenty-four hours.

Today, she hates him.

It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time.

Tonight, she puts up with him.

When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other.

As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.

Tomorrow … maybe she’s already fallen for him.

My sincere apologies to the author, the publisher, and Netgalley for the fact that this review has taken me two years to write. I was approved for this ARC shortly before I took what was supposed to be a brief hiatus from blogging that ended up turning into a two-year break. I figured that I should knock this one out pretty quickly after resuming blogging, and I’m so glad that I did! It took me more than two years to pick up this book but less than 24 hours to finish it.

Today Tonight Tomorrow is everything I love in a YA contemporary. It’s everything I love in a romance novel. It’s everything I love in a book, really, and it’s the first fiction in a long time that I’ve genuinely enjoyed. It’s an enemies-to-lovers romance featuring high school rivals. Both Rowan, our main character, and Neil, our love interest, are fully developed characters that exist completely outside of their relationship to each other. Neil wants to study linguistics, which made me so happy because that’s what I studied in college, and you never see linguists in fiction! We also get a lot of scenes of Rowan not concerning herself with Neil, which is always nice to see in a romance.

My only critique of this book, really, is the fact that Rowan is so into romance novels and yet she falls into the same pitfalls the characters always do when it comes to misunderstandings and miscommunication. I get that she’s a teenager, but if she’s read as many romance novels as she says she has, you’d think there’d be some amount of “hmm, I wonder if this is really what’s going on here.”

Aside from that, though, this book was really fun. It was cute, it was a little steamy, and it was a lot of fun. I’ve already put We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This on hold and I can’t wait to read it.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the free ARC of Today Tonight Tomorrow in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Today Tonight Tomorrow? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Cribsheet by Emily Oster

Cribsheet by Emily Oster
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Source: Borrowed
From the author of EXPECTING BETTER, an economist’s guide to the early years of parenting

With EXPECTING BETTER, award-winning economist Emily Oster spotted a need in the pregnancy market for advice that gave women the information they needed to make the best decision for their own pregnancies. By digging into the data, Oster found that much of the conventional pregnancy wisdom was wrong. In CRIBSHEET, she now tackles an even great challenge: decision making in the early years of parenting.

As any new parent knows, there is an abundance of often-conflicting advice hurled at you from doctors, family, friends, and the internet. From the earliest days, parents get the message that they must make certain choices around feeding, sleep, and schedule or all will be lost. There’s a rule–or three–for everything. But the benefits of these choices can be overstated, and the tradeoffs can be profound. How do you make your own best decision?

It’s no surprise that being a new parent comes with a lot of new anxieties. After all, you’re responsible for this brand new life! Who thought it was a good idea to let you take this helpless baby home from the hospital? As my OB put it, it feels illegal that they just let you take a baby home from the hospital without even asking you if you know what you’re doing!

As an already very anxious person, I can’t say I was particularly surprised when I spent my son’s first six weeks worrying about literally everything. Was he gaining enough weight? Was he crying too much? Was he sleeping enough? It felt like everything was wrong all the time, and then I logged onto Twitter and saw another new mom tweet pretty much the same thing. One reply recommended this book, and so here we are.

The biggest thing I can say about this book is that it’s very easy to read. For a book that’s about breaking down data and research studies, I think that’s huge. This book doesn’t feel like nonfiction. It feels more like sitting down with your really knowledgeable friend and having them tell you, in a very non-biased way, all the pros and cons of a decision. It covers everything from rooming in at the hospital to sleep issues to potty training. About 75% of the book was relevant to me as a brand new mom, with a few chapters at the end that didn’t quite apply yet (but were nice to think about for the future).

This is not a book of parenting advice. It will not tell you whether you should sleep train or if you should breastfeed or formula feed. What it will tell you is whether the data says that sleep training works and whether it shows any long-lasting damage from letting your child cry it out while sleep training. It will tell you what the data says about the implications of formula vs. breast milk and if there’s any measurable difference in children over time. The author will also tell you about her personal experience with the decisions she made with her two children.

This book made me feel a lot better because, spoiler alert: turns out there’s not much you can accidentally do to screw up your kid. Every decision has its positives and negatives, and you can just do the best you can with the information you have. If you’re struggling with new parenthood, I’d recommend giving this book a try.

Have you read Cribsheet? What’s the best nonfiction book you’ve read recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Source: Borrowed

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Last year, I read Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I loved it, but Evelyn Hugo had gotten so much hype that I was too scared to read it. Well, enter the Great Reading Slump of 2020 and I figured I didn’t have much to lose. Nothing was holding my interest anyway, so if I hated it, that would obviously be why.

Well, let me just say… this held my interest. Evelyn was an absolutely fascinating character, and I found her life story so interesting. I liked that she never claimed to be a good person and never tried to excuse the bad things she’d done. She fully owned every decision and every mistake and I aspire to someday be that self-assured.

As with Daisy Jones, Evelyn Hugo is told mostly through a series of interviews. I love this style of storytelling and Reid is so good at it. This book spanned several decades (and seven husbands) and I felt like I was right there with Evelyn through all of it.

And that twist at the end? I did not see that coming.

I’m not sure which of Reid’s other books I should read next, but I’m definitely not stopping here.

Have you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Faith by Julie Murphy

Faith by Julie Murphy
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Source: Borrowed

From Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’, comes the first in a two-book origin story of Faith, a groundbreaking, plus-sized superhero from the Valiant Entertainment comics.

Faith Herbert is a pretty regular teen. When she’s not hanging out with her two best friends, Matt and Ches, she’s volunteering at the local animal shelter or obsessing over the long-running teen drama The Grove.

So far, her senior year has been spent trying to sort out her feelings for her maybe-crush Johnny and making plans to stay close to Grandma Lou after graduation. Of course, there’s also that small matter of recently discovering she can fly….

When the fictional world of The Grove crashes into Faith’s reality as the show relocates to her town, she can’t believe it when TV heroine Dakota Ash takes a romantic interest in her.

But her fandom-fueled daydreams aren’t enough to distract Faith from the fact that first animals, then people, have begun to vanish from the town. Only Faith seems able to connect the dots to a new designer drug infiltrating her high school.

But when her investigation puts the people she loves in danger, she will have to confront her hidden past and use her newfound gifts—risking everything to save her friends and beloved town.

I was surprised that after all of the hype that Julie Murphy’s previous books had gotten, I really heard nothing about Faith until it showed up at my library. I’ll read anything this woman writes, so of course I immediately placed a hold on it and waited for my copy to come in.

Like always, Murphy’s writing is really engaging and accessible. I always enjoy reading her books because they’re so comforting to read. I always like her characters and nothing happens in her books that stresses me out too much. Faith was no different.

There was a lot about this book that I really enjoyed, but there were also things that didn’t sit quite right with me. It almost seemed like Faith was deliberately sabotaging her relationships because she was so intent on not telling anyone what was going on in her life. So much drama would have been avoided!

But overall, I did really like this book and I’m curious to learn where this series is going.

Have you read Faith? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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