Reading What I Have Challenge – April 2016

I could read for years from the books that are already on my shelf or saved on my Kindle app. Literally hundreds of books, mostly fiction, a few self-help types. Inspired by Heather at Simply Save, each month I will be posting an update of which books I’ve read and what I thought of them. The goal is to work through everything I already have before spending money on any new reading material.

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Some months I read a lot, other months I’m so busy reading other stuff that I barely get into a real book. April was one of those months when I did not read as many regular books. Instead, I was reading articles, writing, and posting on the blog.

Here are the books I read during April and my thoughts:


Wake the Dawn – Lauraine Snelling

Amazon description:

National bestselling author Lauraine Snelling brings a small mountain town to thrilling life when a natural disaster threatens to destroy lives.

U.S. Border Patrol agent Ben James’ life is in tatters. A tragic accident stole the love of his life and he never finished grieving. Turning to the bottle for support, he lost sight of what was important. While making his last patrol run before a storm rolls in, Ben’s canine partner Bo finds an abandoned baby hidden in the woods. As Ben rushes the child to the only clinic in the area, the storm strikes with unexpected fury.
Esther Hanson runs a second-rate clinic in the small community of Pineville, Minnesota, on the Canadian border. Though she has fought for years to get the equipment she needs, the town refuses to approve the funding. When the unprecedented storm ravishes the area, cutting them off from all outside help, Esther struggles to help her patients without giving in to overwhelming emotions. The event triggers a long-suppressed memory, and Esther must come face to face with the reality of her past and learn to forgive herself.
Brought together by the life of a child, Ben and Esther become each other’s reason to change.

My thoughts:

This book started out well, with a bit of mystery and plenty of action from the storm. But, there were signals that I should have listened to, things that whispered, “Move along. This one is not for you.” (Love that phrase… from Mary at Giving Up On Perfect.) I spent far too long trying to get into this book, and it just never really happened. Probably my biggest pet peeve was how everyone called Esther “doctor” most of the time, although she was actually a physician’s assistant. She even called herself “doctor.” No… just, no. Also, Ben had a diesel-powered generator in his basement. Really?! I know — picky, picky, but the entire book was like that for me.

This may be an uplifting and happy book to some. Bo the dog was awesome. But honestly, this just wasn’t my style.


The Penny Pinchers Club – Sarah Strohmeyer

From Publishers Weekly

Strohmeyer’s bubbly farce finds a shopaholic New Jersey wife worried about hanging on to her husband and trying to curb her lavish lifestyle. Katarina Kat Griffiths, a 40-something interior designer, joins the eccentric supersavers of the Rocky River Penny Pinchers Club to get out of debt, put her daughter, Laura, through college and save her marriage to Emerly College economics professor Griff Griffiths. Suspecting that Griff is having an affair with the more economically sound Bree, his sexy assistant, Kat vows to save her marriage, even if it means giving up her Lexus and her Starbucks triple venti lattes. Hilarity ensues as Kat discovers, among other things, two Mint Tingle condoms in the pocket of her husband’s khakis right before their 20th anniversary as well as his secret $10,000 bank account. When newly divorced Liam Novak, Kat’s first love, returns to town, complications ensue. While Strohmeyer’s plot may appear overly cutesy, she (The Cinderella Pact) finds ample humor in her family-centric story, and the list of Top 15 Dos and Don’ts from the Penny Pinchers Club is spot-on. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

My thoughts:

This was a book with characters that fed my sense of humor. I had read a couple of the “Bubbles” series books by the same author and loved them, so I was happy when I realized who the author was. The characters made me laugh. I loved how much Kat loved her husband — although he was a little bit of a jerk to not consider how his actions appeared to her.

As usual with this type of book, a few real conversations between the main characters would have cleared up pretty much everything. Even though the book description said Kat was saving her money secretly, she wasn’t secret at all about most of the things she was doing. Except, of course, meeting with her old flame — probably my least-favorite part and when I wanted to biff Kat on the head.

Overall, it was an enjoyable book if you’re not expecting any real-life penny pinching tips. (Or maybe I’m already so used to doing those things that they seem normal.)


The Secret of Joy – Melissa Senate

Amazon description:


Rebecca is about to find out. The New York City paralegal thought nothing could shake her life off its fast track — which includes her handsome lawyer boyfriend and their extravagant condo. The shocking revelation that she even has a half sister comes from her dying father, in a hospital bed confession of a long-past summer affair…and now the dad she adores has one last wish: would Rebecca deliver a cache of letters he never sent to his other daughter, Joy Jayhawk, in a tiny coastal Maine town?

But when Rebecca arrives in Wiscasset, with the life-changing letters stashed in a leather box, nothing goes as she imagined — and Joy Jayhawk is less than thrilled to meet her. Joy already has her own life, her own family, and her own business: she runs a bus tour for singles, a matchmaking excursion that’s brought lovers together, healed broken hearts, and changed lives. Rebecca joins the singles tour in the hopes of unlocking a door into Joy’s life and forming a relationship with the only family she has left. But as she spends more and more time with Joy and the women who dub themselves The Divorced Ladies Club of Wiscasset — and starts a flirtation with a seriously hunky local carpenter — Rebecca realizes it’s her life and heart that are ready for healing and change…and that sometimes, you just have to go along for the ride.

My thoughts:

This was my favorite book of the month, mostly because of the great characters in the small town of Wiscasset. I did have a tough time trying to wrap my head around how someone “good” like Rebecca’s father could completely turn his back on something as life-changing as a baby. Is it a man thing? I understand that it was really just the springboard idea for the novel, but it’s still thought-provoking on a separate level.

I liked the characters, I liked the town, I liked that Rebecca (finally) made a decision to let her old life go and pursue what she really wanted to do. And while eventually I’m sure Theo would turn out to not be as perfect as initially portrayed, it was great to read a book with a really NICE male character!


Last month I said that I was going to remove some of the “to be read” titles from my bookshelf and kindle library, although it made me a little sad since I’m the type of person who really wants to read #allthebooks.

Total honesty: I did not remove anything, although I did arrange my kindle library into collections by type, series, and author. I did, however, stop downloading all of the free books available daily through BookBub. Trust me, that’s some major progress.

If you get most of your books free, do you feel guilty if you don’t read them?

What are you reading right now? Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

15 thoughts on “Reading What I Have Challenge – April 2016”

  1. Congrats on the affiliate links! 🙂 And please keep up the reviews, I love good book recommendations 🙂

    1. Hi Alexis! I hope you enjoy The Penny Pinchers Club! Thanks for stopping by! (My older son is studying Chemical Engineering, so your blog name caught my eye & I had to click through to visit. Your dog Ruger sounds adorable!)

  2. I too have way too many books that I want to read. I need to stop buying more. I am interested in the book about Wicasset- it is a lovely small town! #Bloggers Pit Stop

    1. Hi Michele! I keep thinking that maybe this is the month I will remove some unread books from my To Be Read list, but it just seems so wrong. I’ve never been to Wicasset, but reading the book definitely made me want to visit. Thank you for stopping by!

    1. Hi Kathleen! Your blog posts make me think you are already a very busy lady! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be speed readers? Or if all books were only 300 pages? 😉 Oh, well… making time to read when it’s enjoyable to you is the main thing! Thanks for visiting!

  3. Thanks for all the reviews. 🙂
    I’ve been sort of ignoring my BookBub emails because I have plenty of books to catch up on, but I’m still subscribed because you never know. 😀

    1. “…you never know.” That made me laugh because… yes! 🙂 I miss the emails a little, and I worry that I might miss something great, but I keep telling myself that it’s for my own good. 😉

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