KatieOlthoff.com participates in affiliate marketing and other forms of advertising. We only recommend products and services we believe in and think they will be of use to you. As such, posts on this website may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my disclosure policy. Thank you for your support of this website and our family.

Blogger Book Club: 2 Months worth and 7 extra book reviews!


bloggerbookclubI missed posting about Blogger Book Club last month, so this is a two-fer!  I also read a few other books this month, so you get a review of them, too!

Check out my fellow Book Clubbers for their reviews:

Carmel at Our Fifth House

Cassie at Primitive and Proper

Kirby at Kirb Appeal

Brenda at Cozy Little House

Our next book choice is *Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart by Carol Wall.

(*This blog post contains affiliate links.  If you order something after clicking the link, I earn a small referral fee at no cost to you. Although there are a few books in today’s list that you probably won’t be ordering after reading my review. Thanks for supporting On the Banks of Squaw Creek, anyway.)

Now, for this month’s reviews:

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

(This was November’s book club pick.) The Good Girl tells the story of the daughter of a prominent judge, kidnapped for ransom.  Except the kidnapping doesn’t exactly go as planned, taking the victim and her captor on an adventure neither of them expected.

I just finished this book yesterday and I really liked it.  It was full of surprises that I didn’t see coming, and I enjoyed the back-and-forth, before-and-after, from different characters’ point of view.  You really get to know the villain and the victim and in the end, have a deep understanding of why both of them made the decisions that they did.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel

by Gabrielle Zevin

What a delightful read!  A. J. Fikry owns a small bookstore, and it’s safe to say that his life doesn’t end up as expected.  One of my fellow “Blogger Book Club” members said it was predictable, but I didn’t think so. I found it to be heartwarming and yes, surprising.  Compared to some of the mysteries I’ve read recently, it was nice to read something not-quite-so suspenseful.  But a warning: I cried at the end.  Big, fat sobbing tears.

Water for Elephants: A Novel

by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants: A Novel is the story of a young Polish-American man who, out of options and money, jumps aboard a circus train.  While working for the circus, the falls deeply in love with an elephant (and a performer – the wife of one of the circus’s leaders.) 

The book was a fast and fascinating read.  The circus world of The Great Depression was so new and interesting to me, and the characters were complex and real.  I watched the movie after reading the book, and as usual, the book was better.  I’m not sure I would have understood everything in the movie if I hadn’t read the book.  That said, it was nice to have a visual of some elements of the circus that I couldn’t imagine.

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One)

by Jeff Goins

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) is an inspirational book about what it means to be a writer in this day and age.  It is motivating and insightful, written by a popular blogger and highlighting his journey towards living up to the title of “writer.”  When I finished the book, I was excited, inspired, and confident. I was stealing away to write whenever I found a moment, and the book changed the way I think about myself and my talents.

Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm, and Connected

by Susan Stiffelman

This is, by far, one of the best parenting books that I have read.  I actually listened to it on tape while driving, and I liked hearing the author vocalize her suggested reactions to different situations.  The book had examples featuring young kids and older kids, and a lot of ideas for parenting teenagers.  There were concrete ideas to implement, sort of like a checklist for dealing with power struggles, and although the strategies took some practice, they were effective.  However, as is the case with many parenting books or tips, a couple weeks after finishing the book, I’ve forgotten the strategies and need to review them.  Old habits are hard to break, but I think Stiffelman’s new habits would be helpful for parents of kids of any age.


Beezus and Ramona (Ramona Quimby Book 1)

by Beverly cleary

Beezus is the older, wiser sister, and Ramona is the little troublemaker.  I read the book aloud to Adam (my oldest) and we both saw similarities between Ramona and little Isaac.  The story deals with Beezus’s frustration with her sister, and her guilt over feeling that way.

The majority of the book is great: funny and relatable.  But I was sort of surprised by the ending.  At the end of the book, Beezus discovers that it’s okay NOT to love her sister all the time.

But that doesn’t fly in our house.  We love each other unconditionally, even when we’re annoyed or upset.  We don’t always like each other, but we always love one another.

Fly Guy: There's a Fly Guy in My Soup

by Tedd Arnold

I’m including these books in this month’s review because my 6-year-old son, Adam, has been obsessed with them lately.  They are written and illustrated by one of my favorite children’s authors, Tedd Arnold, and perfect for little boys learning to read.  They are funny and clever, have “chapters,” great picture clues, and easy to read text.  We bought a set of 11 paperbacks from Scholastic for $11, and they’ve been a huge hit at bedtime.  (Adam’s favorite is There’s a Fly Guy in my Soup.)

Rockettes, Rockstars and Rockbottom

by Keltie Colleen

I started reading (listening to) this book before my mom and I went to New York City, because it tells the story of a young girl who moves to New York to follow her dream of becoming a professional dancer. The true memoir of Keltie Colleen, former Rockette and bachelorette contestant (is that really a job title?) the book was interesting, but full of self-indulgent drivel. I found Colleen contradicting her description of herself and her feelings, and quit reading (listening) half way through.


New York: The Novel

by Edward Rutherfurd

New York is another book I read in preparation for my trip (and another book that I abandoned.)  I thoroughly enjoyed the first part, about New Amsterdam’s early days.  I learned the early history of the island of Manhattan and the settlers’ relationship with the natives.  It helped me understand how and why New York was developed.  But once the saga reached the Revolutionary War period, I lost interest.  The first part of the book was “new” information to me, but I don’t particularly enjoy reading war novels (even if the war occurred more than 200 years ago.)


Shared at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Want more book reviews? Every month, I share the Blogger Book Club pick and more!  Sign up to get these book reviews (and my other posts) in your email!

Would you like to comment?

  1. i loved this book and can't wait to read mr owita! and sawyer LOVES fly guy. he read them all a couple years ago! every week he went to library and came home with a new one!

  2. What I great idea!!! I love that you have a Blogger Book club!!! Great idea and as an avid reader I would be all over being in a group like this. Thanks for the honest reviews---I now have a couple new books to add to my list!!!