Recent Reads


I’ve been trying to make “pleasure reading” a big priority lately. Mainly because I don’t know how much of it I’ll get in after the baby is born…at least for awhile. I’ve always taken for granted the luxurious opportunity to read for an hour before going to bed. I just have a hunch that’s all about to change.

So I’ve made it a little goal to read at least two {preferably three} novels a month until the baby comes in May. I’m also reading my hypnobirthing book as well as a book on breastfeeding, but I can hardly call that pleasure reading.

First up — The Goldfinch. Woah. Just woah. It took me awhile to decompress after this book. It was HEAVY. At points, I really just wanted to be done with it {the whole bit in Vegas? sooooo loooooong} but I ended up really enjoying it and glad that I stuck to it. It’s definitely a book that leaves a lasting impression on you. I finished this almost a month ago and find myself still thinking about it sometimes. The characters bothered me but I also loved how flawed and jaded they were. Everyone seemed to have so.much.baggage but isn’t that real life? If you’re on the fence, I say read it. It wasn’t my favorite book ever but I’m glad I took the time. The writing was excellent, in my opinion.


My dad bought me Unbroken when him and my mom were out here visiting last month and I promised to read it at my earliest convenience! It’s practically his favorite book ever and he’s been dying to get me to read it for the past two years. This is another super heavy and intense book. I brought it on our babymoon a few weeks ago not really realizing just how intense it actually was. Not really ideal poolside reading but I was totally hooked and finished this in just two days. What happened to this man was just so horrific and terrifying that you can’t help but keep flipping the pages. I read the book with a look of horror on my face at what he went through and utter amazement that he survived! Seriously, the best survival story I have ever read in my life. Keeping my fingers crossed that the movie does the book justice.


I read The Pieces We Keep in one day, if that tells you anything. Last Sunday, Adam was working on building some patio furniture all day and I just curled up and read. It was glorious. This book is definitely lighter than the previous two, but keeps you on the edge of your seat. The book interweaves two stories – one set in WW2 and one in present day. I loved both and eagerly read chapter to chapter to find out what happened next. This is a great book to take on a trip or for just some fun weekend reading material. I highly recommend it!

photo-24And lastly — Love Does. I had been meaning to read this forever and felt like I needed something a little more, well, happy, after finishing The Goldfinch and Unbroken. It did the trick. I practically read the whole book with a grin on my face. It’s a collection of stories from Bob’s life on the meaning of love and friendship. Love doesn’t just say you’ll do something one day…love DOES something right now. Wonderful message that I think we all could use right about now. If you like Donald Miller’s books, you’ll love this one!

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  • Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness
    March 19, 2014 at 3:45 am

    I’m always looking for some great reads, but I never know where to start! I’ve heard of “unbroken” and have been meaning to get going on it…thanks for the recommendations!

  • sarah
    March 19, 2014 at 4:04 am

    As a first time mom of a two month old, you have no idea how your life is about to change. For the better!! But read while you can, freeze some meals and sleeeeep haha. It’s hard but so amazing and so rewarding!

  • Danielle
    March 19, 2014 at 4:22 am

    I’ve been hearing so, so much about The Goldfinch and I’m so intrigued. Perhaps the deepness of it will be distracting in a good way? I guess I’ll find out soon 🙂 the others sound great as well. Enjoy your nightly pleasure reading! xo

  • Jojo @ RunFastEatLots
    March 19, 2014 at 4:52 am

    The Pieces We Keep sounds like a good read! I will look for it next time I’m in the library. I am trying to read more for pleasure, too.

  • Chicago Jogger
    March 19, 2014 at 4:58 am

    I’m close to halfway through The Goldfinch right now, and you are right, what is up with the Vegas bit? I keep waiting for something to happen… given that there are so many pages left, I’m sure something will. By the way, I loved Unbroken – it’s a powerful book.

  • Barbara
    March 19, 2014 at 5:18 am

    I also just finished the goldfinch and lovedd it! I read unbroken when it came out a couple of years ago and even though i already knew the gist of the story (being a huge track fan), i was amazed and awed by the story. I agree, i hope the movie does it justice. Do you think the goldfinch will be made into a film some day? I wouldnt be surprised.

  • Rebekah {aCricketSang}
    March 19, 2014 at 5:24 am

    I’m always looking for good book to read!

  • Kelly
    March 19, 2014 at 5:27 am

    I love when you do these posts!
    I just had a baby in January and I was also afraid I would never read again. But I have some good news- since I am nursing at least 8 hours a day/night, I get a lot of reading done more than I ever did when I had to actually work ha ha. I’m sure it will slow down a bit when I go back to work but since I’ll still be nursing him when I’m home I’m hoping I’ll get some reading in. The Kindle has been very helpful for this!

    • Ashley
      March 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Yep! Nursing gives you a lot of time to read! Once you get that latch perfected you’ll be hammering out books, sucking down gallons of water, and napping in your rocker! Eat it up! Give it a couple of months and then picking up a book will be tough. My little one likes to unlatch and tries to take my books away now! Good luck, Jenna!

  • Kelly J. R.
    March 19, 2014 at 5:34 am

    Unbroken is one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. I finished that one shorty before we went on our honeymoon which was 2 weeks of hiking in the Canadian Rockies. On one particular grueling 14-mile hike with a 30 lb. pack on (all uphill, of course) I kept thinking about Louie. I kept telling myself that if Louie survived everything that he went through, surely I could survive a 14-mile hike. I think about him a lot and how the mind is oftentimes what makes us weak.

  • Katie
    March 19, 2014 at 5:43 am

    I loved Unbroken! One of my favorites. I wrote a review on the Goldfinch earlier this year on my blog, but felt similarly. Lots of baggage for everyone! I loved young Theo but wasn’t crazy about the grown up version.

    Have you read Burial Rites by Hannah Kent? I think you might like that one. I posted a review for that one as well.

  • Lori @ RecipeGirl
    March 19, 2014 at 6:00 am

    I’m getting so excited for your baby (um, I bet you guys are too!) I’ve been following along, and it looks like all is going great for you. So happy for you! Donna Tartt’s book “The Secret History” is one of my favorite novels of all time, so I’m gonna give this book of hers a try!

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun
    March 19, 2014 at 6:09 am

    I actually haven’t read any of these! Thank you for sharing. I am going to have to update my pleasure reading list. Like you I have to actually plan the time to read or I don’t end up finding the time to do it!

  • Daisy
    March 19, 2014 at 6:34 am

    Hi!! longtime reader here, I haven’t commented in awhile, but I am so excited for this post today! (I have been waiting for one, literally thinking, i need some new books for download, i wonder when jenna’s next book post will be……)

  • Brindi
    March 19, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Jenna, I enjoy these posts so, so much. I think our reading preferences are very similar and I read or have read or marked as to read pretty much all of your book reviews, often with the same thoughts. Thank you for these posts, and yes, time reading is something we take for granted! I fear the same thing when/if I have kids in the near future. This reminds me…I need to update my blog with my recent reads!

  • Kelly
    March 19, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I just finished Love Does last week. So good! It’s full of sticky notes of passages that stood out to me. Unbroken has been on my list to read for a while. I might go pick it up today and read it 🙂

  • Emily
    March 19, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Unbroken is AMAZING. One of my all-time favorites. Truly amazing.

  • Reesa
    March 19, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I’m glad you liked the Goldfinch! I am reading it now and, while I am really enjoying it, I agree that it’s long and a bit depressing at times. Love the protagonist though. My next pick is going to be George Saunders’ short story collection Tenth of December. A friend in the publishing industry recommended it to me and said it was the best book she read in a long time. Funny, moving, interesting…so I’d recommend putting that one on your list 🙂

  • Danielle
    March 19, 2014 at 9:59 am

    I loved the Goldfinch! I heard mixed reviews on it, but I agree it was heavy. I loved how the story followed him through most of his life. It really made the characters come alive. I listened to the audio version of it, which made it even more interesting.

    I also see you have “The Fault in Our Stars” in a past post. John Green is my favorite author! Pick up “Looking for Alaska” if you haven’t already.

    Thanks for sharing these reviews. I’ll be looking into these books now!

  • Karen
    March 19, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Thank you so much for the recommendations! I love the books you recommend and am itching for some to add to my list. The reason I’m commenting is because I just had my second child and find myself reading A LOT – while breastfeeding. While nursing my first child I surfed the web on my phone, checked facebook… But – this time around I wanted to slow down and focus on my baby and me. I read on the kindle app on my phone or ipad. The phone is easier to hold with one hand and I can’t believe that I am actually reading on my phone – so small but so nice that it illuminates in the night when I don’t want to turn on a light. Good luck with the remainder of your pregnancy!

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork
    March 19, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I LOVE Unbroken! One of the best books I read in the past year. I’m not a huge nonfiction reader, but this one had me from the beginning. After I read it I thought what a great movie it would make and lo and behold, it’s coming out soon!

    I have heard so much about The Goldfinch, so it’s good to hear it’s held up to the hype. I have so many books on my to-read list now!

  • Joanna
    March 19, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I have always read the most in the first few months of my babies’ lives then at any other time! If you’re planning on breastfeeding you will have lots of time where you can do nothing but sit and nurse….perfect reading opportunity! Getting into a good book really helps when your baby wakes up every few hours to eat through the night, it’s something to look forward to and helps keep you awake! 🙂

  • Judith Scott
    March 19, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Unbroken, truly a testament to man’s will to survive, as well as an awful portrayal of man’s inhumanity to man.
    Wonder if you have read Labor Day by Joyce Maynard? A movie now with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. A somewhat easy read, but great story. My book club is meeting to night to discuss it, and since it was my choice I’m hosting. 1 fun thing we do is try to theme food to the book, which in this case includes a peach pie, 1 of the pivotal scenes in the story. So, it combines 2 of my fav things, reading and cooking!

  • Amber Shannon
    March 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I’ve been meaning to take a look at Goldfinch, and now I’ve confirmed that I will wait for some time to read it in order to be ready. Unbroken was heavy, but a truly remarkable story. I cannot WAIT for the movie! Thanks again for the book recommendations!

  • ashley
    March 19, 2014 at 11:47 am

    thank you for all the wonderful book reviews and recommendations! I always check out your recent reads posts and have read many of the books you suggest. =)

  • jenb
    March 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Yes, life with change! However, if you plan to breastfeed then you’ll find you have plenty of quiet, sedentary times on your hands. Call it mandatory rest time for mama! Reading with a kindle while breastfeeding was a great way to quietly fill the time while my little one ate. Books work too but holding a book and turning the pages feels tricky until you’ve gotten into the groove of breastfeeding. It takes a little time to get used to it and to feel comfortable while the baby eats.

  • bethanyf
    March 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Yes to the Kindle suggestion! If you have a Kindle, you’ll have more time to read than ever during the loooong breastfeeding sessions of the early months! When you’re sitting for an hour out of every 2-3, having something lightweight that you can hold in one hand makes reading an easy way to occupy your mind.

  • Leslie
    March 19, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Great recommendations! I am due in June and am trying to “pack in” some good reading, too. I’m glad I read the above comments–I never thought of reading on the Kindle while breastfeeding! I guess, what else are you going to do?

  • Emily @ Life on Food
    March 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I have totally been on the fence about Goldfinch. Now I will have to check it out for sure.

  • Lora
    March 19, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I am so glad you liked “Unbroken”. It is one of my favorite books and I recommend it to anyone who will listen!

  • Emily
    March 19, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    I am never able to read when I’m at home. I’m lucky to get one book down in a month! But I’m always looking for good reads for my plane trips. Plenty of time for reading when momma’s out of town! 🙂

  • meghan
    March 19, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I started reading tons at the end of my pregnancy as I was worried I wouldn’t have the time with a newborn. But I read even more when my little guy was just little – he would nurse for 1-1.5 hours at sitting, so lots of time! I used to complain about his leisurely feeds, but then when he started to get more efficient, I started to complain that I hardly had time to get through more than a few pages! Now he is 10 months and wiggles all over while feeding, and I have much less time for reading.

  • Eliza
    March 20, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Yessssss! I love your book posts! I always come back to them once my kindle is empty and I’m suddenly in a panic for something new!

    I just started a healthy lifestyle blog focused putting action to our thoughts and making our own positive changes & choices to create our own happiness, rather than wait around for something to just magically shift. I spoke about the Little House on the Prairie book series in my welcome post and it made me think you! I’m thinking I may need to re-read those classics. 🙂

    If anyone is interested in a fun healthy lifestyle blog, please check it out! I’ll be tackling a lot of interesting issues! 🙂

  • Cynthia
    March 20, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I read Donna Tartt’s The Secret History several years ago .. I was determined to finish it as many friends of mine recommended it. I hated every minute of it!

    I trudged through it all wondering why I didn’t “get it”. … I kept going

    I just wanted it to be over. I didn’t like any of the characters.

    Once it was finished, I felt so FREE!!!

  • joey @ 80 breakfasts
    March 28, 2014 at 1:23 am

    I’ve got Goldfinch on my Kobo now and I am enjoying the intensity…the writing does draw you in doesn’t it? Will check out the other books! Especially Love Does which sounds like a great way to “decompress” (as you put it) after the Goldfinch! 🙂

  • Liz Nielsen
    March 31, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you for your book suggestions! I too love a good book and I’m always looking for the next book (or 5 or 10) to read! My favorite of your suggestions so far has been the Diane Chamberlain book ‘Necessary Lies’. Talk about having a lasting impression!

  • Svetlana
    April 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Thank you for the suggestions!!! Do you buy hardcovers of all your books?

  • paula
    April 27, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    read The invention of wings.. just fabulous..nuff said. stopping running and R E A D