Books I Wanted to Love, But Didn’t

Books I Wanted to Love, But Didn’t

I’ve been trying to find more time to read over the last year or so. It helps me keep my sanity and I love getting lost in a book. I also really love recommending books to friends and fellow love-to-readers. These three just didn’t do anything special for me. You may love them, but they weren’t at the top of my list.


The Woman in Cabin 10 was one of those books that I saw all over the place. People were talking about it and loved it. I was deep into my most recent painting spree and decided I’d give it a listen. Here’s what the book is about.

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.

Lo wasn’t an overly likeable character in my mind. I thought the writing was ok (and I might look into her other book(s) one day, but this book felt like it just dragged on and on. There were a lot of twists and turns and I honestly can’t pinpoint why I didn’t like this book. There just wasn’t anything overly compelling about it to me. Maybe the whole set at sea thing was unique or a big draw for people. I just didn’t feel like there was anything overly remarkable or worthy of recommending it to everyone I see like I have done with other books.


Present Over Perfect is a book I have heard so many people posting about and have loved every page of it. This was not the case for me. I have a few ideas why, but here’s what the book is about.

A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy.

I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, writer, and I know all too well that settling feeling. But over the course of the last few years, I’ve learned a way to live, marked by grace, love, rest, and play. And it’s changing everything.

Present Over Perfect is an invitation to this journey that changed my life. I’ll walk this path with you, a path away from frantic pushing and proving, and toward your essential self, the one you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth.

Written in Shauna’s warm and vulnerable style, this collection of essays focuses on the most important transformation in her life, and maybe yours too: leaving behind busyness and frantic living and rediscovering the person you were made to be. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out, pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder, and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection.

Shauna offers an honest account of what led her to begin this journey, and a compelling vision for an entirely new way to live: soaked in grace, rest, silence, simplicity, prayer, and connection with the people that matter most to us.

In these pages, you’ll be invited to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.

I read another book by Shauna called Bread & Wine. I remember that I liked the book, so I was hopeful I would like other books by her. She is a Christian/religious author and I was a bit hesitant going into this because I wanted to love it, but not being religious myself, I wasn’t sure if it would be too preachy for my liking.

It was just ok. I felt like I “got it” after the first couple chapters. Be present over trying to make your life perfect. Seems obvious to me. After I understood the premise and where she was coming from, I just didn’t connect with the religious aspects of the book. I have many friends who LOVE this book and we are reading/studying it in a mom’s group that I am in (which I am the only non-religious person in the group that attends; I go for the friends and socialization for myself and Alex).

All I can say is that it didn’t resonate with me. I don’t feel like I’m the target market for this book. But I think the idea was a good one. Too many of us focus on being perfect in life or making sure everyone sees that you are perfect on the outside even if you are falling apart on the inside. Social media is a beast sometimes. But you may love it and if the description sounds good to you, read it!


Next up is Love Warrior. I liked Glennon’s other book, Carry On, Warrior and I was so excited to read this. She’s so real in the way she writes that makes you just want to be open and honest with everyone you come into contact with. Here’s a bit about this book.

Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out―three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list―her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, Glennon found that rock bottom was a familiar place. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life.

Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on. This astonishing memoir reveals how our ideals of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for a man and a woman to truly know one another—and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they’ve been taught so that they can finally, after thirteen years of marriage, commit to living true—true to themselves and to each other.

Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.

I wanted to love this. And I don’t know why I didn’t. She was a strong female, she found herself during this book, but she just seemed kind of whiny about everything throughout the book. She struggled with being happy in her marriage and I just felt like she had given up at times and didn’t really fight for her kids and family. I think it had a good ending. It wasn’t fixed (which things aren’t always “fixed” by the end of a book, but there were things in place to help them through. Knowing now what I found out about her life shortly after I finished this book (she fell in love with soccer player Abby Wambach), many of the steps they took and issues she had in the book made more sense. I felt myself saying “duh” or “of course…this all makes sense now” after the news came out.

I am happy that she is happy and it seems that her family is happy as well. They have found a way to exist together. I would definitely read her next book if it was about how all of this transpired and how her family found a new normal. If you like Glennon, you’ll probably enjoy this book.

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Finally, we have The Grownup. I’ve enjoyed Gillian’s other books and when I saw this was free at the library kindle at the time, I read it. It is a short story and it was different than the other things she wrote. Here’s a bit about it.

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

I believe the reason I didn’t love this is because I thought it ended much too soon. I wanted to know more about the characters and what happened after the ending. It was a bit abrupt (“I only have this many words and must finish this book NOW” feeling) and I felt like it ended strangely. Maybe it was supposed to be that way. I just wasn’t sure if it was actually the end. I felt like there had to be more to it. It was a bit creepy and weird, just her style. If you like Flynn’s books, you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s a really quick read.

So there you have it friends. A bunch of so-so books in my mind. I didn’t feel like I wanted to write individual posts for any of them. This seemed like a good compromise.

Happy reading.


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