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What We’re Reading – March 2019

February seems to have flown by (don’t the months always seem to lately?), but this upcoming weekend there should be some PRIME reading time as we will be headed to the boys’ state swim meet. I will be parked in the stands all day long, so I plan to have some good material with me. 

A few of the books in my pile have been sitting there for a bit, which is making me a little antsy. I really do love having a physical book to read, but paperback fiction is a little harder for me to read while trying to fall asleep at night since I need to wear my glasses. Using my Kindle makes it a little easier because I can increase the font size (cough) and also I don’t have to hold the book “just so” – or worry about dropping it. 

After February’s reading, I put a sizable dent into my 2019 Reading List.  The list started off a little smaller with twelve books (and has grown a bit as I’ve added some new releases), but that was to be expected. I often get distracted by the new stuff. :) At the moment though, seven of the now 14 books on the list have been marked off – so YAY for progress! This month NONE of the books in my pile are from my core list – they are from my “if there’s time” pile, but they look so very good. 

*all links are referral links

What the Kids are Reading


We’re switching things up a bit for Kaleb for the remainder of the year and really hitting reading fluency hard. In addition to using All About Reading 4, we are working through some Before Five in a Row titles with a friend (so his pain can be shared and commiserated – grins), but also so we can work on some FUN tie-ins with the books we read together. For example, in reading Homer Price, we are building an AM and FM radio because that is something Homer does in the story. 

What I Read Last Month (and Quick Thoughts)

Here are the books I read in February along with a more detailed look at four of them – three that I absolutely loved for very different reasons and one that I don’t think you should waste your time on. 

 

Walking With Henry by Rachel Anne Ridge – Reading this book is like sitting down with a friend over a cup of coffee and having a heart-to-heart talk together. Rachel’s writing style is not only relatable, it is one you will quickly fall in love with – along with her sweet donkey. Through the antics of her second donkey, Henderson (or Henry, for short), Ridge shares her grapplings with a new season of life and the searching it opens in her spiritual walk. As she coaxes this little donkey to understand his worth and value, spiritual truths are gently spoken to her heart. Their walks become a time of developing a new prayer life and her intimacy with God is deepened.

This book spoke to my heart on so many different levels. I appreciate Rachel’s candor and honesty in the things she questions and begins searching for deeper understanding and meaning. She is gentle and open – and incredibly relatable.On a side note, it is so sweet to read this story, having met Rachel and both Flash and Henry (and Tom!) in person as well as walking with them through the fields where she pondered so much. For me that added an extra special touch since I can envision their faces and personalities. ❤️  Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone. (5/5 rating)

The Road Back to You by Ian Moran Cron – it seems like everyone is reading and learning all about the enneagram types. After a weekend with friends where we discussed so many various things together, along with this specific book, I bought it and read it in a few days. It’s really rather fascinating. While I haven’t pinpointed my specific “type” quite yet, this specific book offers some valuable insight into how individuals function in their types when they are “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” – where they tend to divert their focus in either direction. Definitely worth the read. (5/5 rating)

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst – this is one of those books that you want to keep on your shelf to refer to when you are going through a season of difficult. Reading through the various circumstances happening with Lysa and her family – just crazy. But God. Well worth the read if you are in the midst of trying situations and need encouragement or if you want to store some information for the future. 5/5 rating

The Light We Lost by Jill Sanopolo – I had such high hopes for this book. It started out great (minus one scene at the start of an earlier chapter 🙄), but as the book progressed it began to unravel. The premise of a love lost/the road not taken is understandable, but at some point along the way this derailed into nothing more than a girl who never grew up emotionally and cannot make up her mind and see what is right in front of her face because she is too busy pining away for what could have been. 2/5 rating

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 

 

What We’re Reading February 2019

January felt like such a fresh slate in so many areas for me, especially reading. No matter if I felt behind on my reading pile in December, the new year offered a chance to catch up and jump right back in. Last month I attacked my reading pile with a vengeance. Maybe it’s the fresh stack of books – who knows!

And February – well, I’m feeling like I’m on a roll and need to keep the momentum going. I’ve already started on several books and am hoping to take another big chunk out of my 2019 Reading List. Already I am hearing of more and more new books releasing that I had no idea about, so I’m just going to have to squeeze them in somewhere!

If you have any suggestions to add to my list for this year, I’d love to hear! (or maybe I shouldn’t listen…)

Feed readers can click here to see my books for February

*all links are referral links


What the Kids are Reading


Kaleb has been continuing his reading of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. He took a brief pause to read Who Is Bill Gates and will be working on another Who Was book this month as well. Zachary has been reading through the Harry Potter series (and says they are the best books ever), sometimes staying up late into the night to read (and I won’t complain about that!). 

What I Read Last Month (and Quick Thoughts)

One thing that seems to be happening lately – there’s a lot of WW2 fiction floating around and somehow it’s all getting thrown into my reading pile. It isn’t necessarily a problem, unless I really love one book and then another has trouble measuring up. Late at night too it does get a little hard to remember which book I’m reading (because I like to read multiple books at once!). 

Here are the books I read in January along with a more detailed look at two of them – one that I loved and one that I wanted to love, but really struggled.

Grace is Greaterby Kyle Idleman – one of my favorite things about Idleman is the natural humor he interjects into his writing via little footnotes throughout the book and just telling it like it is. He has such a practical way of explaining principles that help the reader better understand. This book definitely offered some great food for thought, review, and application. (5/5 rating)

Lilac Girls by Martha Kelly – I truly wanted to give this book a higher rating and will try to explain a bit more as to why I couldn’t. Overall, I loved the story since it gave me some great insight into various aspects of WW2 I hadn’t fully been aware of and made me dig deeper (the experiments on some prisoners at Ravensbruk, etc).  Here’s where I struggled. Two of the characters in the story are REAL people and yet both characters didn’t line up with the person in real life (Caroline had a married boyfriend?) and then the characters essentially fell flat. So much more could have been developed in each of them. At times you catch the start of some growth…and then nothing. This could have been a PHENOMENAL book, and yet it just barely skimmed the surface and in the process, failed greatly. (3/5 rating)

 

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 

 

My 2019 Reading List

Each year I like to make a list of books that will not only be fun reading, but also focus on a few areas: personal growth, spiritual growth, family, and marriage. The bulk of my choices this year have come from either personal recommendations of friends or Good Reads finds when following others (I’m LOVING using the app to track my reading and see what friends are up to as well). 

Because non-fiction books are a little more difficult for me to get through (at times), I try to limit my “to read” pile to around twelve – and then feel wonderful if/when I finish more than that. It’s the little things that keep me motivated. 

Also – I know that inevitably more books will pop up over the year that I’ll want to grab and read as well. New books are published and I have a hard time waiting to read 

Fiction is never a problem. I read it quickly and typically fall asleep each night reading with my Kindle in hand. I am ever so thankful for the book light cover that shuts off when I fall asleep and often wake up still holding my Kindle hours later. 

I also happen to know that my eyes (and desire) are bigger than my actual time to read. But they still let me check out books from the library, and for that I am thankful. 

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to track my reading over the last few years has been via the GoodReads app.   Following friends, seeing what others are reading, and being able to quickly rate a book I’m reading – love that (because my memory isn’t what it used to be!). Join me there and let’s read along together!

All that said, here’s a peek at what books are in each of my piles for the upcoming year. 

My Main Reading Pile

 

Fiction Books & Series to Read


 

“If There’s Time” Pile


 

If you’re interested, here are my 10 favorite books I read last year (a mix of fiction and non-fiction). I’d love to hear what books you have on your shelf for the 2019 year and and recommendations for me to add to my list! 

Don’t forget to join me on Good Reads so we can keep up on each other’s reviews! 

My Top 10 Favorite Books from 2018

This past year I set a goal of only 15 specific books for the 2018 year. Overall my reading goal for 2018 was 75 books, specifically 15 non-fiction (since those are hardest for me) and then a whole lot of fiction. Out of those 15, I completed 14 of them – and then (as typical for me), added in a few that weren’t on the original list. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I was cramming in the books the last few days of the year since we have some downtime without school and it’s rare that I can just curl up and do nothing.

My book count total for 2018 was 85: non-fiction – 17 and fiction – 68. You can see the full list of books I read here on Good Reads. 

Many of you have asked how I manage to read so much. My goal is one non-fiction a month and I try to set aside 20-30 minutes each afternoon to rest and read. At night, I literally fall asleep with a book (or Kindle) in hand. I’ve been like that since I was a little girl and don’t see it changing anytime soon. :) 

Top 10 Favorite Books from 2018

There are ten books that I especially enjoyed reading this past year and would highly recommend. The list is a mix of both non-fiction, fun reading, and even a book I found hilariously delightful as a read-aloud with the boys. 

1. Raising World Changers in a Changing World

One of the things I love most about Kristen’s writing is she doesn’t shy away from sharing about the struggles that exist in situations – she is real. Authentic.

Something I struggle with (and many other families do as well) is finding that balance in protecting/sheltering our kids and preparing our kids to do GREAT things – and be in situations that are tough. At times that means going against the “norm” in making a difference.

Throughout the book, Welch offers practical advice and activities for family members to get started serving (and get out of your comfort zone) to make changes in the world around you. The books doesn’t leave you with an overwhelming feeling of judgement, but rather inspiration.

Raising World Changers is a book that will leave you mulling thoughts, revisiting passages, underlining a lot, but most importantly – raising world changers.

2. Just Open the Door

So many words of encouragement and gentle nudges to help us get over our fears of inviting others into our spaces and sharing the gift of hospitality. It doesn’t have to be a scary and overwhelming thing!

Jen shares practical insights, each chapter is full of heartfelt advice and ways to “elevate the ordinary” in our hosting adventures. I love that it is chocked full of honest looks into their family (mistakes and laughter), making it relatable and do-able. So many great ideas and ear-marked pages and inspiration to invite others in.

3. Before We Were Yours

Oh my heart, you all. This book was both heartbreaking and engrossing. Having never heard of Georgia Tann and the scandal with the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, this was so saddening to read at times.

The overall story is fictional but based on real-life happening of children that are essentially stolen from their families and then adopted/sold to other families in the late 1930s-1940s. It is unbelievable to realize how many lives were impacted by one woman and her reach, and even more that it went undetected for so long. (5/5 rating)

4. Fierce Hearted

I’ll confess – when I started, it really took me about eight or nine chapters to get into the book. For a few weeks I had picked it up, read a chapter or two, and put it back down again. 

I finally picked it back up, flipped forward a few chapters, and decided to just get it over with. And then I went back and read the chapters I skipped. Underlined and dog-eared pages. 

While it isn’t a sequential writing, per se, it’s written in short snippets with various life lessons focused on in each chapter. Gerth shares life stories and weaves in lessons of faith into each one, encouraging women to embrace who we are each created to be, as we already are. Hugely encouraging.

 

 

5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Oh MY WORD. Written with so much humor, description, and at times sobering views, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society gives readers a glimpse into a post WW2 community after a German-occupied English island shares their stories with Juliet, a writer contemplating her next book topic. As the letters travel back and forth between the members of the society and Juliet, readers are drawn into life on the island as well as the back stories of the various characters. 

I honestly had no idea what to expect reading this book, but as I finished it I found myself wishing the story would continue. Literal laugh-out-loud moments while reading. Also, Netflix has a movie now based on this book which is worth the watch. 

6. Godspeed

This book still has me mulling over so many things. The overarching theme is that we are called to “mission” in our lives – and it doesn’t necessarily involve a going out all over the world, but can mean little things (mission vs. missions). It isn’t that it is super earth shattering, but it is practical and presents topics in a way that you really stop and re-think the why behind some of your beliefs. Honestly one of my favorite books read to date. This book has been the basis of several of our small group discussions and given so much food for thought. 

7. The Wednesday Wars

There are read-aloud books we enjoy and then there are ones we LOVE. This is one that I absolutely adored as a mom. Set in the Vietnam war era, the book follows a 7th grade boy as he has to stay behind every Wednesday with a teacher in his school while the rest of the class heads to their various religious instruction (he is the only Protestant). 

His teacher focuses on reading Shakespeare with him and studying the themes – and meanwhile we get a peek into the lives of his family, life at the time, and are subjected to all out hilarity. It literally had me both laughing and crying. Such a great read!

8. A Family Shaped by Grace

This was one that came up on Amazon and grabbed my attention. I had no idea it was written by the dad of someone I know personally, which made it so much better once I realized that. 

The beginning years of this family’s life was truly rough. The dad grew up in a very dysfunctional family and their family legacy was only changed by the grace of God. This isn’t a step-by-step solution to a peaceful home, but gentle leading/nudging and encouragement that is well-worth re-reading and keeping on hand. 

9. Love Unending

Absolutely loved this 21 day challenge – it’s one I would highly recommend to moms (targeted more toward that group) – either young or married for quite some time. 

10. Blessed Are the Misfits

Hansen writes in such an approachable way that his books are easy to read, digest, and apply practically. So much food for thought in this book – and even if you aren’t sure you are a “misfit” – it’s likely you are. So many dog-eared pages in the book I need to go back to and re-read.

 

Honorable Mention: Shadows Over England series

I’d be remiss not to mention another series by Roseanna White that I absolutely loved. The first two books had already been released and I finally got around to reading them at the start of the year and couldn’t wait for the last one to release. 

The series follows a family of thieves who help England during the war by putting their “skills” to the benefit of their country – but along the way each is reformed and finds love. White is not a “fluff” writer and the facts and details she injects into her stories are truly interesting. The three books are A Name Unknown, A Song Unheard, and An Hour Unspent

That’s it for 2018! What have you read this year that you would recommend for others to read? I’d love to hear from you and add a few more books to my 2019 pile! 

 

Need a Few More Suggestions? 

In case you’re interested, check out My Favorite Books of 2017 in the post below: 

What We’re Reading December 2018

I’ll admit that I’ve gotten a little distracted from my reading pile the last bit – ever since all the new Hallmark movies started airing. (cough) And this month with baking and getting ready for Christmas, it’s definitely easier to have a movie playing in the background than to sit down and read (and rest). 

The week of Christmas I’m hoping to have some time to just sit, put my feet up, and do NOTHING at all – other than read. 

Right now my 2018 Reading List is close to wrapping up, which I’m excited about! I’m also getting a bit distracted and have far too many Amazon tabs open as I am looking forward to my 2019 list and keeping it diverse (personal growth, family, marriage, and other learning). 

If you have any suggestions to add to my list for next year, I’d love to hear! 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for December

*all links are referral links


What the Kids are Reading


One of the best things happened this past month: Kaleb saw the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book at Costco, picked it up, immediately started reading it, and has been busy reading the rest of the series since then. Meanwhile, Zachary started reading one of the Harry Potter books and has been pulled into that series as well, reading well past his bedtime several nights now (WIN!). 

What I Read Last Month (and Quick Thoughts)

Overall I didn’t read too much last month (five books), managed to shelf a few (they just didn’t “click” with me and one was a little too much for me), but there was one that I did get to read and love. 

Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely by Holly Gerth (finishing up from October) – I’ll confess – when I started, it really took me about eight or nine chapters to get into the book. For a few weeks I had picked it up, read a chapter or two, and put it back down again. Then I picked it back up, flipped forward a few chapters, and decided to just get it over with. I later went back and read the chapters I skipped. Underlined and dog-eared pages. While it isn’t a sequential writing, per se, it’s written in short snippets with various life lessons focused on in each chapter. Gerth shares life stories and weaves in lessons of faith into each one, encouraging women to embrace who we are each created to be, as we already are. Hugely encouraging. (5/5 rating)

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 

 

What We’re Reading November 2018

 

Is there a book you’ve read recently that you couldn’t put down and have been telling everyone about? I’ve had a few this past month that I absolutely loved – please leave a comment below and let me know your suggestions too!

When I flipped the calendar page this past week and realized we are so very close to the end of the year, it makes me wonder where all the time has gone this year. In some ways I am amazed at how quickly the time seems to have gone, but then another part of me wonders how wisely I’ve spent all those hours. I suppose that is a never ending cycle, isn’t it? I know there is always more I can do, but it’s finding that balance that is tricky!

There are only a few key books remaining on my 2018 Reading List  and I’m not sure that I will finish them all, but I am definitely going to try hard! Our boys have a swim meet coming up this next weekend and I’ll be the parent on deck, so that means I will definitely have a book in hand while watching between heats. Meanwhile I’m already working on my 2019 list. :) 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for November

*all links are referral links

While I had hoped to finish Fiercehearted last monthI honestly came to a bit of a standstill on that one. It’s had great reviews, but somehow hasn’t quite clicked at this point. I’m going to give it another go though before I decide to put it aside permanently. 

What the Kids are Reading

The boys and I are still working through The House With a Clock in Its Walls by Bellairs. While it’s one that we should have finished rather easily, we had quite a few afternoons that involved company, LEGO League, or games, and that’s okay too. So we continue and add on a new book as we do finish it. 


What I Read Last Month (and Quick Thoughts)

I Want God: Forever Changed by the Revival of Your Soul by Lisa Whittle – This is one book that I’m still mulling over. It’s a fairly short/sweet book, but has left me with some questions and thoughts that our small group has been discussing, which I love. (5/5 rating)

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – This is one that I borrowed randomly from the library via Kindle because it was available and I wanted something to read. It ended up being a fairly interesting read, following the life of a girl who grew up in the foster system and learned about the meaning behind various flowers. (4/5 rating)

Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah – After reading The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah I didn’t think I’d find another book by her that I liked (I’ve read several others as well). This one started off a bit slower and took me a bit to get into, but once the story began unfolding, I LOVED it. Anything that ties in history and has me look at an era in a different light is one I really enjoy.  (5/5 rating)

Below are a few others read: 

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month?