good reads: volume 3

1 // The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans
Elise Dutton dreads the arrival of another holiday season. Three years earlier, her husband cheated on her with her best friend, resulting in a bitter divorce that left her alone, broken, and distrustful. 

Then, one November day, a stranger approaches Elise in the mall food court. Though she recognizes the man from her building, Elise has never formally met him. Tired of spending the holidays alone, the man offers her a proposition. For the next eight weeks—until the evening of December 24—he suggests that they pretend to be a couple. He draws up a contract with four rules:

1. No deep, probing personal questions
2. No drama
3. No telling anyone the truth about the relationship
4. The contract is void on Christmas Day

The lonely Elise surprises herself by agreeing to the idea. As the charade progresses, the safety of her fake relationship begins to mend her badly broken heart. But just as she begins to find joy again, her long-held secret threatens to unravel the emerging relationship. But she might not be the only one with secrets.

Synopsis from here.

This clean chick lit book is perfect for anytime of year and a great read if you're looking for something light and fluffy. I actually listened to the audiobook and didn't mind the narrator's voice.

2 // Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Quite the opposite of The Mistletoe Promise, this book goes much deeper than surface level topics. Everyone I know has been raving about this book so I decided I'd take some time to see what it was all about and found myself mulling over specific quotes from the book for days. I enjoyed reading 50 or so pages at a time and thinking about it in sections instead of reading it straight through.

Outliers delves into the question "what makes high-achievers different?" and focuses primarily on where successful people come from instead of on their habits. Gladwell touches on influences like family, culture, upbringing, etc. and explains the secrets of certain stereotypes.  

3 // Wonder by R.J. Palacio
August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

Synopsis from here

Personally, I think this is a great read for any age!

4 // 13 Gifts by Wendy Mass
I didn't realize until I had finished the book that this was book #3 in a series, but I didn't think that reading this one out of order was confusing. Another quick, light read, this cute YA book has a few twists that will keep you on your toes.

After getting into trouble at school, Tara is shipped off to live with extended family in a small town for the summer instead of traveling with her parents to Madagascar for a research project. Tara feels like it's a chance to start over and finally make some friends, but gets into trouble and finds herself working for an old lady in town by collecting unique items from other townspeople. With a series of unexpected events, you won't be able to predict how Tara's 13th birthday plays out!

Read any good books lately?

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