March Bookshelf Updates

This post includes affiliate links which help support The Spirited Violet.  An * before the book title shows that I chose this book from a reviewing program to offer my honest opinion on the book.

With all that I did this month, I am pretty impressed with myself for reading 3 books. It turns out that Netflix probably won’t be making a return to my daily routine anytime soon :).  I just discovered the Ebook checkout at my local library which means no late fees ever and I’m convinced it is the best thing I have discovered in life since being able to deposit checks through my smart phone!

March bookshelf updates// what did I read this month? Reviews on: The Secret to Hummingbird Cake; Without You, There is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite; Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). | Stay gold Autumn

This is the rating system I am going to use from Goodreads; you’re welcome to add me by clicking here.


*The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale // 5 stars

This book made me laugh and it made me cry; often times, it was within 5 minutes of each other.  Devin asked me a few times if I was reading the same book just because he was surprised at how quickly my emotions changed.  I read the book in about 2 days and it will likely one that I will read again in a few years.  The book centers around three best friends since childhood: Carrigan, Ella Rae, and Laine.  Carrigan is the main character and is struggling with the emotional distance in her marriage and begins having an affair; this book talks about the ups and downs with their decisions and how they support each other through hard life situations.  I can’t say much about the book without giving anything away, but I love how this book made me live in the small southern town that I grew up again.  I felt the author’s description of southern characters was on point without making them look dumb or marginalized.  I felt close to the characters and very immersed in their world.  I do not classify this as a Christian book and it definitely has adult topics, but topics were tastefully and discretely done; I would gladly recommend this to friends or ladies at church.


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling // 1.5 stars

I know I’m a million years behind reviewing this, but here I go.  Mindy Kaling has a great way of talking about her life in a humorous way, but about halfway through the book I became really bored… and I stopped reading it.  I was told by some friends who had also read the book that I made a good choice because apparently the content gets pretty risque after that point.  She made several observations that really made me laugh like the correlation between ultimate Frisbee players and Teach for America candidates.  The book is a collection of essays that she writes related to certain phases of her life.  I realized after reading that I need to be a bigger fan of pop culture to fully love this book.  Would I want to sit down and have lunch with Mindy?  Absolutely.  Would I want to watch a show that she has written?  Of course!  Would I want to read another book written by her?  Maybe not.  What I do know?  I really want to re-watch a lot of episodes of the The Office again because she is a really humorous actress.


Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite by Suki Kim // 4 stars

This is the real memoir of Suki Kim, a south Korean, who immigrated to the US as a child.  Kim becomes a journalist and is fascinated with North Korea because of her family experiences with the war.  She ends up going under cover to teach ESL at a North Korean University to be able to observe conditions and then write this book.  Because of the level of control she experiences, she ends up doing a lot of things to try to expose her students to the world beyond what they know in North Korea.  There were many shocking things like Kim working with technology majors, but the students were having to be trained on how to use the internet.  My concerns about the book is the danger that it could have put her students in by publishing it, but I do also find the information about North Korea very compelling because this is a culture that we truly don’t have much information or insight into.  I think Kim does a great job discussing hardships she had while really loving her students a lot.


 What is a bookshelf update you have made recently?

  • Paige Cassandra Flamm

    I have Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me on hold at the library right now, but after talking to Jenna about it… there might be some things in her life that I didn’t want to know about haha. But Jenna said the first third of it was pretty good!

    • This makes me feel a ton better. I stopped reading it at halfway and I just kind of got bored. I didn’t get any of the TMI stuff so it must be in the second half.

  • Paige Cassandra Flamm

    I have Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me on hold at the library right now, but after talking to Jenna about it… there might be some things in her life that I didn’t want to know about haha. But Jenna said the first third of it was pretty good!

    • This makes me feel a ton better. I stopped reading it at halfway and I just kind of got bored. I didn’t get any of the TMI stuff so it must be in the second half.

  • I’m interested in the Hummingbird Cake one, it sounds like a nice sort of story to read.

  • I’m interested in the Hummingbird Cake one, it sounds like a nice sort of story to read.

  • Book review posts might be my favorite thing ever. I really wanted to read Mindy Kaling’s book, but this isn’t the first time I’ve read that it wasn’t great…

    • I thought it got boring after her Office stuff and I struggled. Some people mentioned it got pretty TMI and kind of raunchy after that so it is probably good I got bored and just stopped.

  • Book review posts might be my favorite thing ever. I really wanted to read Mindy Kaling’s book, but this isn’t the first time I’ve read that it wasn’t great…

    • I thought it got boring after her Office stuff and I struggled. Some people mentioned it got pretty TMI and kind of raunchy after that so it is probably good I got bored and just stopped.

  • I loved reading this post – thank you! The Secret to Hummingbird Cake sounds very intruiging…I’m adding it to my (very lengthy) list of books to read before I die!

    Emma | http://www.creativexplorations.com

  • I loved reading this post – thank you! The Secret to Hummingbird Cake sounds very intruiging…I’m adding it to my (very lengthy) list of books to read before I die!

    Emma | http://www.creativexplorations.com

  • Mercedes Anderson

    Ohhh, try listening to Mindy’s book! I loved the audio-book, because she read the essays herself, and they were all hilarious while I was accomplishing menial tasks (like dishes and laundry.)

  • Mercedes Anderson

    Ohhh, try listening to Mindy’s book! I loved the audio-book, because she read the essays herself, and they were all hilarious while I was accomplishing menial tasks (like dishes and laundry.)

  • I loved Mindy’s book! You should link up with my Reading Roundup!

  • I loved Mindy’s book! You should link up with my Reading Roundup!

  • I’m so glad I found you through Peony! I am definitely hitting up the library for the Hummingbird Cake! And I quit reading Mindy’s book too! I LOVE her show, so I was disappointed. But looking at the comments I might have to check out the audio book!

  • I’m so glad I found you through Peony! I am definitely hitting up the library for the Hummingbird Cake! And I quit reading Mindy’s book too! I LOVE her show, so I was disappointed. But looking at the comments I might have to check out the audio book!

  • These look like interesting reads! I keep seeing the first one pop up on BookLook bloggers and might have to order it now that I know what it’s about. And I just recently had hummingbird cake for the first time do I likely would be staring at the cover constantly to remind me of that delicious cake!

    “The Porcelain Thief” is a book that sounds a bit like your last book, except it’s focused on China. Its about an American-Chinese young journalist who travels to China to uncover the history behind precious family heirlooms that were stolen during war with Japan. There’s a lot of great history of China as a nation as well as a lot of interesting things about their culture. It was a good read!

    • I just read a book researching her grandparent’s past that I will be putting in April’s book post- you would like that one a lot too. It is called “A Fifty-Year Silence.” I’ve enjoyed both of these books A LOT and I am putting “The Porcelain Thief” on my list now too because it sounds right up my alley!! Thank you for the book recommendation πŸ™‚