A Snarky and Honest Mom Gives Book Reviews: Part 1


Consider this my resume for why I’m qualified to give book reviews . . .

I read a lot. Across many genres. I have plenty of time when I ignore dirty dishes, basic hygiene, and also my children to enjoy this wonderful pastime. I also start and quit books a lot when they don’t do it for me and feel totally fine about it. Additionally, I have lots of opinions about lots of things and love to share them — unsolicited, of course. Book recommendations are my jam.

When you need a little social distance from your family (and who doesn’t), I encourage you to pick up a book instead of a screen. You’ll feel better after and then you can be THAT GIRL saying, “Oh my gosh, the book was WAY better.”

Memoirs/Nonfiction Book Recommendations

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming Book Reviews

Frankly, if you haven’t read this book I don’t know what’s wrong with you. It’s a bestseller for a reason (even if MB doesn’t reveal her secret to toned arms). While I most often borrow ebooks from my local library, I actually purchased this one. She shares more than you think she’d share. And she’s so very interesting and smart — this was really easy to read.

Open Book by Jessica Simpson

Open Book Book Reviews

This feels like blasphemy but this book was EVEN BETTER than Michelle Obama’s. I know, right?! She is candid, smart, and shares ALL THE THINGS ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE. Take it from someone that watched Newlyweds with her college roommates — you should read this.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You should talk to someone book recommendations

One of my very favorite books in all the land. SERIOUSLY had me laughing, crying, and reflecting like someone that laughs, cries, and reflects a lot. Read this while on vacation with my husband in Barcelona and had to remind myself to stop reading so I could actually be on vacation with my husband in Barcelona. It’s a compilation of different stories based on the writer’s own therapy and her clients. A MUST READ.

Serious (ish) Literature/Fiction Book Reviews

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

City of Girls - Book Reviews

Love me some Liz Gilbert but this book was a “no for me, dawg.” She filled this book with wonderfully interesting supporting characters yet the protagonist was so very dull. Everything happens to her but she makes very little happen herself. Not what I was expecting from such a powerhouse female writer. So many people loved this book so not only do I feel like I’m letting Liz Gilbert down but also Glennon and Abby. I made a donation to Together Rising to make it right. SORRY.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone - Book Recommendations

Hannah is known more for The Nightingale but I actually preferred this book. Set in Alaska, the book both made me TERRIFIED of living there and also completely drawn to it as a setting. I loved moving with the protagonist through her life and experiencing her growth and shifting perspectives. I want this to be a movie so badly because it would be beautiful. Plus, The Proposal starring Hottie McHotterson Ryan Reynolds is the only movie set in Alaska I can think of right now. And that’s just not right.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Dutch House - Book Recommendations

Ann Patchett is a master writer. While I felt the protagonist was, again like in City of Girls, the least interesting character in the book, the story was so well crafted it didn’t matter as much. There are so many complicated family dynamics here. Patchett subtly shows so many perspectives that, as the reader, I felt myself identifying with each one at different times. While my favorite of hers remains Bel Canto, The Dutch House is worth a read.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones and the Six - Book Recommendations

This was like reading a VH1 Behind the Music episode. Loved it so much. It was easy to read and just a little serious but not so serious that it made me stare at the wall and think about my life choices. It’s not quite a beach read but it’s for sure not Tolstoy. Also really liked The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by the same author.

Beachy Reads (AKA Locked in Social Isolation Book Recommendations)

The Wedding Date (Part 1) by Jasmine Guillory

Wedding Date - Book Reviews

I’ve read all four of her books in this series and they are mostly very fun. I prefer this one and The Proposal (the first two) over the latter two. Guillory always features a diverse set of characters — strong women and men who aren’t threatened by them. It’s very refreshing and what the Hallmark channel needs right now. But like, seriously Hallmark can you call Jasmine? Because your “ambitious career woman Carol moves to small town and learns what’s really important thanks to the local shop owner hunk Evan” plot formula needs a makeover.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The Unhoneymooners - Book Recommendations

In the same vein as Guillory’s novels, this book is light and fun. The kind of book we need right now! Two people go on a honeymoon together that’s not theirs and they have to pretend to be newlyweds. I mean, WHAT COULD GO RIGHT?! Right? Just lock yourself in your room and read this already. The kids will be FINE.

Books I Quit

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before we were yours book review

I got the sneaking suspicion when I started this book that it was going to be SUPES depressing. But seriously everyone I know was like, “oh my gosh, read it! It’s so good” and it’s been on so many bestseller lists. And a good friend told me it was “not very sad” and to “press on”. Here’s what I did instead: I made a friend tell me what happened to each kid (bummer alert) and determined that everyone who ever told me about this book is a liar. Sorry, New York Times book reviews but, “no”. So, I stopped and feel really good about it, actually.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Evelyn Hardcastle - Book review

This book was not just confusing, it was boring. Basically, it’s Groundhog Day meets Downton Abbey meets something else that does not go together. I quit it and I’m not sorry about it.

Well, what do you think of my book reviews? Do you agree? Have any book recommendations for me?

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Allison’s mission in life is to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary. Her commitment to see beyond what’s in front of her was fostered by her degree in Philosophy and Theology from Boston College. Allison’s a book nerd and credits her parents and inspiring English teachers for her love of reading and writing. She went on to earn her Master in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College and then taught high school for several years, both in New England and San Francisco. After moving from San Francisco to Boston with her engineer husband, she began teaching yoga and working as a social media marketing consultant. Now a Portsmouth resident, she spends most of her days with her three daughters (she does not have enough arms) and does her best to find the bliss amidst the endless snacking, dance parties and tiaras. With all the beautiful chaos in her life, she’s grateful to have her partner-in-crime (husband Charlie) and fellow movie quote enthusiast alongside her. Her passion for writing first drew her to Seacoast Moms as a contributing writer, and her desire to connect moms of the Seacoast with businesses who serve and interest them led her to become SM’s owner. Being able to write about the ordinary grace present in motherhood, while interacting with incredible Seacoast business owners is a dream come true.


  1. LOVED the Great Alone. I’ve actually been up to where it was set, so that was cool. Before we were your’s was SO SO sad but I persevered. Obvy obsessed with Becoming.
    call me an old lady or a pearl clutcher but I couldn’t get into the wedding date because there was too much hanky panky…
    and buying Jessica’s simpson’s book now because someone has to support this economy these days…not that she needs any more money 🙂

    • You crack me up!! Great Alone was so beautiful to read — I can’t even imagine SEEING the places in real life.

  2. Allison, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this review: Very funny, but also SUPER helpful. I especially loved your “all my friend are liars” about “Before we were yours.” I have picked that up and put it down so many times … On your suggestion, I am gong to get THE GREAT ALONE and THE WEDDING DATE. Thanks!!

  3. I loved ‘Dutch House’ and disliked ‘City of Girls,’ so I am going to trust you on the rest and check some of them out.

    • My faves are The Martian and some classics: Like Perelandra and Lord of the Rings! I found The Magicians a little reductive of my beloved Harry Potter!

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