I’ve got some books sitting on my shelves that I’ve never finished. I’ve also got some books sitting on my shelves that I have read multiple times. The following books fall somewhere in that category of “I can’t get enough, and think YOU should feel the same way too!”
So huddle up on your porch early some morning or late some night. Bring these to the beach or the pool. Or save them for a long car ride. Because these books all have captivated me.
Self Help, Self Empowerment.
1) Girl, Wash Your Face
Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be.
By Rachel Hollis.
Let’s be real, WHAT reading list in 2019 can you NOT find Rachel Hollis on? I actually hope you’ve read this one, and Girl, Stop Apologizing (recommendation #2 below) but if you haven’t, here’s your cue to head to your nearest Target and purchase yourself a copy!
Girl, Wash Your Face is a self-love, self-empowering, total #girlboss motivational type of book. Rachel Hollis goes into detail of every lie she’s ever believed about herself and how she found the way and the courage to get past that lie. Both equally humorous and serious, you’ll find yourself pausing multiple times to jot down some brilliant line or self-help tip Rachel has relayed to her readers, yet again. Even if you don’t think you’re in need of a self-help journey, this book will find a way to reel you back down to Earth and give yourself a chance to assess your goals, your dreams, and your current reality.
“You and only you are responsible for how happy you are”
2) Girl, Stop Apologizing.
A shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals
By Rachel Hollis.
Trailing off of her first female empowerment book, Girl, Wash your Face, Rachel goes into everything she feels women feel the need to apologize for, and why we SHOULDN’T. This book has a more detailed “map” for you to follow, as she breaks it down into behaviors that we possess to make us feel apologetic, and skills we can develop to overcome that.
“You are beautiful and worthy of good things, and if you don’t believe that, nobody will”
A story of overcoming the impossible. A story to make you stop feeling bad about yourself because you don’t have it that bad.
3) Locked In
-By Victoria Arlen
Out of all books on this list, as much as I love Rachel Hollis or dogs, this book is hands down my favorite. It reels you in, it makes you sit there with your jaw hanging open that something like this could actually happen to someone. Better yet, your jaw will hit the floor when you read how Victoria rose above all expectations, surpassing miracles to be the inspiration she is today.
About the book (from Simon and Schuster )
ESPN personality and Paralympics champion Victoria Arlen shares her courageous and miraculous story of recovery after falling into a mysterious vegetative state at age eleven and how she broke free, overcoming the odds and never giving up hope, eventually living a full and inspiring life.
When Victoria Arlen was eleven years old, she contracted two rare diseases simultaneously and fell into a mysterious vegetative state. For two years her mind was dark, but in the third year, her mind broke free, and she was able to think clearly and to hear and feel everything—but no one knew.
When she was fifteen years old, against all odds and medical predictions, she was finally able to communicate through eye blinks, and she gradually regained her ability to speak and eat and move her upper body, but she faced the devastating reality of paralysis from the waist down because of damage to her spine. However, Victoria didn’t lose her strength or steadfast determination, and two years later, she won a gold medal for swimming at the London 2012 Paralympics.
In Locked In, Victoria shares her never-before-published story—the pain, the struggle, the fight to live and thrive, and most importantly, the faith that carried her through. Her journey was not easy, but by believing in God’s healing power and forgiveness, she is living proof that, despite seemingly insurmountable odds and challenges, the will to survive and resolve to live can be a force stronger than our worst deterrents.
Not many people get a second chance at life like Victoria has, and she made a promise to God that she would make every moment count.
“I learned early on that extraordinary challenges lead to extraordinary victories”
If you’re in need of a sappy book or a totally basic beach (or basic b*tch) book to take your mind away
4) The Real Deal
By Lauren Blakely
I don’t normally go into book stores and think “oohh I want a sappy romance book!” but I found myself in a Barnes and Noble stalling some extra time and for some reason, I kept getting drawn to those basic chick books. So I went for this one, and was pleasantly surprised! I finished in within a week, which is pretty darn fast for me.
About the book from Good Reads
“April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.
Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL.
Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau — the bad boy with the heart of gold.
Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.
She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.
He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.
They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.
But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?”
5) Firefly Lane
I got this gifted to me from my mother in law one Christmas, and to be honest this book never would have been on my radar but it was SO GOOD. In fact, it was so good that it is on my list of “to-read-agains”, once I get through my current list of “to-read-for-the-first-time”.
About the book from Good Reads
“From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness.
Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .
For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.
Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you—and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.”
For all Dog Lovers
6) Saving Sadie
How a Dog That No One Wanted Inspired the World
By Joal Derse Dauer
Another one gifted to me by my mother in law, she’s coming in clutch eh?! It’s dog book that ends happy! I figured this is a good one to start with. Not only does it end happily, Sadie, the star of the show, is still alive today! She is inspiring others, especially children to embrace your uniqueness and to not let others tell you what you can and cannot do. I’d recommend this book a hundred times over, a great book to read to or with your middle aged children as well!
“An uplifting story with tremendous heart. I couldn’t put it down.” ~ Helen Brown, NYT Bestselling Author of Cleo
“A triumphant tale of second chances that shows how patience, hope, compassion and love can truly transform lives.” ~ Modern Dog on Saving Sadie
7) The Art of Racing in The Rain
By Garth Stein
Clearly, I was even more drawn to this book by the sheer fact that the main character is a Golden Retriever. It hit home with me, growing up in a household that always had Goldens, and being a dog mom to two Golden’s now, I couldn’t not read this.
This might be #7 on this list, but if you are a dog lover, and a dog lover who watches each and every movie starring a dog, no matter how hard you know you’ll cry, then you need to put this on NUMBER ONE of your list! Because this is becoming a movie this summer!
About the book from GarthStein.com
“Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.”
8) Walking With Peety
The Dog Who Saved My Life
By Eric O’Grey
I first heard about this book on some segment of the Today Show. The author came on to tell his story of how one old, and overweight dog, helped him go from a severely unhealthy lifestyle, overweight with joints aching, to a healthy man with a newfound love.
A book great for both dog lovers and those on search for a new life path, a new healthy life path.
About the book from EricnandPeety.com
“Walking with Peety is an inspirational and informative story about recovery, redemption, hope and achieving dreams, made possible by a doctor who listened and cared, the unconditional love between a man who thought life was over and a shelter dog who wouldn’t let him quit, and the kindness of others who inspired him to become the person he always wanted to be. The book includes many surprises and subplots featuring stories of legendary man/dog road trips, animal kindness, overcoming chronic disease with plant based nutrition, how angels are not always human, and a fairy tale of love lost and found again 40 years later.
Eric was 150 pounds overweight, depressed, and sick. After a lifetime of failed diet attempts, and the onset of type-2 diabetes, Eric went to a new doctor, who surprisingly prescribed a shelter dog. And that’s when Eric met Peety: an overweight, middle-aged and forgotten dog who, like Eric, had seen better days. The two adopted each other and began an incredible journey together, forming a bond of brotherhood and unconditional love that forever changed their lives. Over the next year, just by going on walks, playing together, and eating plant-based food, Eric lost 150 pounds, and Peety lost 25. As a result, Eric reversed his diabetes, got off all medication, and became happy and healthy for the first time in his life, eventually reconnecting with and marrying his high school sweetheart. Walking with Peety is for anyone ready to make a change in their life, and for everyone who knows the joy, love, and hope that dogs can bring. This is more than a tale of mutual rescue. This is an epic comeback story of friendship and strength.”
And for a good freaking laugh
9) My Horizontal Life
A collection of one night stands
By Chelsea Handler
“In this raucous collection of true-life stories, Chelsea Handler recounts her time spent in the social trenches with that wild, strange, irresistible, and often gratifying beast: the one-night stand.”
As always, thanks for stopping by!
To hear more from Carly B or to get my emails
Subscribe to my email list here
You can also find me on Instagram @lifeofcarlyb_
Got questions? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In health, and good reading,