5 books I’ve read lately and loved

Hi hi friends! How’s the day going? I hope you’re having a lovely morning so far. I’m hopping on the Peloton and recording a podcast interview. The podcast will be back tomorrow! (Be sure you’re subscribed so you can see when I update. One of my new year’s goals is to be more consistent with the podcast.) 

For today’s post, I thought I’d share a handful of books I’ve read recently (some I read this month and others are from last summer/fall) that I genuinely enjoyed. I always love your book suggestions, so please let me know if you have any favorites from the past year!

5 books ive read lately and loved

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1) Matchmaking for Beginners. This book was in my Kindle app forever, and I finally decided to give it a go. I’ve ended up flying through the pages and really enjoyed it for a lighthearted, captivating read before bed. My friend Danielle describes books like this as “cupcake books” : perfect, sweet, and meant to be indulged. 

Here’s the synopsis:

 Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.

This is a great story about how the unexpected can turn out in the most positive way, and that those who turn away love are often the ones who need it most.


2) Everything is Figureoutable. I’m only halfway through this one, but can already tell that it’s going to stick with me. Marie Forleo is one of my very favorites, and I always appreciate how generous she is with her knowledge while keeping it real. I did B-school many years ago and dramatically changed my online business. Her background is fascinating – she led hip hop DVDs after learning to dance in her 30s and worked with Tony Robbins – and I’m always happy to support her and spread the word. It’s a powerful read with inspiration to follow your dreams and take action.

Here’s what her book is about:

While most self-help books offer quick fixes, Everything is Figureoutable will retrain your brain to think more creatively and positively in the face of setbacks. In the words of Cheryl Strayed, it’s “a must-read for anyone who wants to face their fears, fulfill their dreams, and find a better way forward.”

If you’re having trouble solving a problem or reaching a dream, the problem isn’t you. It’s that you haven’t yet installed the one belief that changes everything.

Marie’s mom once told her, “Nothing in life is that complicated. You can do whatever you set your mind to if you roll up your sleeves. Everything is figureoutable.” 

Whether you want to leave a dead end job, break an addiction, learn to dance, heal a relationship, or grow a business, Everything is Figureoutable will show you how.

You’ll learn:

•  The habit that makes it 42% more likely you’ll achieve your goals. 

•  How to overcome a lack of time and money. 

•  How to deal with criticism and imposter syndrome.

It’s more than just a fun phrase to say. It’s a philosophy of relentless optimism. A mindset. A mantra. A conviction.  


3) Little Fires Everywhere. I lurk reviews before I decide to commit to a book and the most recent reviews for this book are horrible. There wasn’t really anything else I wanted to read so I decided to go for it. By the end of the first chapter, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened. I’m not a big crime or who-done-it type fan – I like to read before bed so if it surges my adrenaline, I can’t fall asleep – but this had just the right amount of mystery without being too intense. 

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.


4) The Great Alone

I’m a huge fan of Kristin Hannah – The Nightingale is likely in the top five of the best books I’ve ever read – and while I didn’t love Firefly Lane, the synopsis for this one caught my eye. The story itself is riveting and I found myself emotional throughout a lot of it. Within her vivid descriptions of Alaska, it’s a beautiful story about resilience and the will to survive.

Here’s what it’s about:

Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.
In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.


5) The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

The book alternated wrapping my heart in a warm embrace and smashing it into a thousand pieces. I rarely finish books quickly because life – I often pluck through them throughout the week- but finished this one in two days. I couldn’t finish it fast enough. It’s hard to believe that amidst the horrors of Auschwitz there was such a beautiful love story. This novel is based on true events and many of the characters are based on real people. 

Here’s the synopsis:

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

So, tell me friends: what’s the last incredible book you read? Favorite book of 2019? What are you reading right now?



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  1. Charlotte on January 14, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Love posts like these! Added Little Fires Everywhere to my list of books to read. 🙂 A favourite book of 2019 = The Farm by Joanne Ramos (which I read thanks to a recommendation on another blog).

    • Fitnessista on January 15, 2020 at 1:41 pm

      ohhh i’ll download that one. thank you!

  2. Amy on January 14, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Little Fires Everywhere is coming out as a mini series on Hulu this spring, and I am so excited! It was a great book 🙂 My favorite read of 2019 was probably Where the Crawdads Sing.

    • Jill on January 14, 2020 at 1:32 pm

      I also loved “Where the Crawdads Sing.” it was such an engrossing story with excellent character development. I was so caught off guard by the ending, which doesn’t happen often.

      • Fitnessista on January 15, 2020 at 1:40 pm

        that book was fantastic. the ending was crazy!

    • Fitnessista on January 15, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      no way!! that’s so exciting
      yes, i loved that one, too

  3. Alex on January 14, 2020 at 11:23 am

    I just picked up “Everything Is Figureoutable” from the library last night – so excited to start it now!

    • Fitnessista on January 15, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      hope you love it, too!

  4. Jessie R on January 14, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    I read 3 & 4 and liked them both! Two of my favorites from 2019 were The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri and The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. I narrowed down my other favorites here: https://jessiespeace.com/favorite-books-of-2019/ for any other voracious readers out there :).

    • Fitnessista on January 15, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      amazing- thank you for sharing!!

  5. Stacey on January 14, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    I’m curious why you didn’t like Firefly Lane???

    • Fitnessista on January 15, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      it was just very slow moving for me. i made it through about half and decided to quit

  6. Brianne on January 14, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    I’m a true crime fanatic and I’m currently reading I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara about the Golden State Killer. I also got Daring Greatly by Berne Brown for Christmas and I’m looking forward to reading that.

    • Fitnessista on January 15, 2020 at 1:39 pm

      loooooove brene brown

  7. Tracy on January 14, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    I read & loved 4 out of the 5. I just finished Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. HIGHLY recommend! So So good. Another one to add is Cilka’s Journey, the follow up story to The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It was an excellent book also!

    • Fitnessista on January 15, 2020 at 1:39 pm

      i heard mixed reviews about that one, so it’s good to know you liked it!

  8. Katie on January 14, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    Little Fires Everywhere was so good! The last book I could not put down was Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House, and now you’ve given me a few more to add the proverbial nightstand pile. Who am I kidding, it’s also a literal pile, and it’s growing by the day, but there are way worse problems to have than too many good books to read 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 15, 2020 at 1:39 pm

      i haven’t heard of that one! i’m the same way.. so many untouched books on my kindle and for some reason, i keep checking out books from the library

  9. Stacey on January 15, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    I really enjoyed The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger – It goes back and forth each chapter between characters (which I enjoy) and I could not predict the end (which I LOVE).

    • Fitnessista on January 15, 2020 at 1:38 pm

      ohh i’ll check it out – thank you!

  10. Jennifer on January 15, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    I just finished “The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth” and it is all about interesting medical reports pre-1900. I don’t think it is something you would love, it even made me a little squimish. BUT I think it was really interesting that pretty much all those crazy stories you hear from Emergency Rooms about people doing stupid stuff when they were drunk, well, it isn’t anything new. Drunk Bros are going to do stupid things.

    Also, I didn’t know Little Fires Everywhere got poor reviews! I just happen to see it got a pretty good review so I just assumed it was well received.

  11. Nicole on January 16, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    I just finished “Eligible” by Curtis Sittenfeld and I loved it! A modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I couldn’t put it down – just a really fun read! And “The Nightingale” is one of my favorites as well! Also loved both Rachel Hollis books for personal development – “Girl, Wash Your Face” and “Girl, Stop Apologizing”. Next one is “Everything is Figureoutable”!

    • Fitnessista on January 19, 2020 at 11:10 pm

      ohhhh i think i’ll read that one next!

  12. Emily on January 18, 2020 at 9:08 am

    i LOVED the great alone too!! i was so intimidated by its length, but i breezed through it haha

  13. Kariann on January 19, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    I’m currently reading “Atomic Habits” ! It might be similar to “Everything is Figureoutable.” “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” sounds really good!

    • Fitnessista on January 19, 2020 at 11:10 pm

      i’ll check that out- thank you!

  14. Jenny Share on January 21, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Gina!
    I write a book review blog. Here is a link to my favorite books I read in 2019! Enjoy 🙂


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