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1st Quarter Book Reviews

Well folks, I had some grand goals for my reading life this year. Each month, I planned to read at least 4 books from different genres and document them here. In the last two years I’ve fallen in love with this pastime again and thanks to a combo of Amazon, Goodreads, and B&N reviews, I’ve been fortunate in 2017 to read some great stuff. Turns out, I’m a tad lazier than I wanted to be about recording it here and also in reading TONS of different genres. So alas, here you have it, what should have been my monthly but turned into quarterly book review at the end of April.

January Reads

1. Jane Steele-Lyndsey Faye


I got this book suggestion from a favorite reader of mine, Modern Mrs. Darcy. This period twist on Jane Eyre piqued my interest and honestly had me turning pages late into the night and early into the morning. The period language takes a couple of seconds to ease back into if you’re out of the habit. But its very well worth it. Spoiler: this Jane is a serial killer. Happy reading.

2. Scary Close- Donald Miller


I’ve had a writer crush on Donald Miller for almost a decade. This book, chronicling his choice to end the cycle of relationship sabotage, made me wish the copy I was reading belonged to me so I could highlight and underline the heck out of it. Instead, I just accidentally spilled coffee on it (sorry, Jody, and thanks for the lend). Pick it up. Mark it up. Reread it. It’s very likely his best book since Blue Like Jazz (maybe better).

3. The Couple Nextdoor-Shari Lapena


This book is a straight up beach read, ok. I definitely recommend it, but not for its literary genius or gorgeous writing. I read it in 24 hours, which is NOT my way. Every single chapter led directly to the next in typical thriller predictability. Is a child missing? Yes. Can you read it on a romantic beach trip sans your kids and not be freaked. Yes, yes you can. (I’ve already been asked this question two times).

4. The Praying Life-Paul E. Miller


Years ago, my life was rocked by an awesome little book called Loved Walked Among Us (which you should read right now). So, when a friend suggested this book on prayer, I dove in. And I liked it so much, I bought everyone in my family a copy for Christmas. Picture this, everyone opening modest little blue books on Christmas Day, followed by a chorus of half-hearted, “thanks…..” I LOVED this book. It will change you and challenge you and guide you to the feet of your Father in Heaven.

February Reads

1. The Road Back to You-Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile


I have always been obsessed with personality types, so much so, that I keep a list on my phone of family member’s Myers Briggs results. This is not weird, I promise? So, when my sister and sister in law turned me on to the Enneagram, I was intrigued. I read a few websites and checked out a couple of podcasts, but when I noticed one of my favorite podcasters was reading this book, I bought it up right away. The Road Back to You, explains all the types, but in such a way that kept me engaged past my own and my husband’s type. Here’s why I think you should read this book: grace. When we better understand how we and our loved ones are wired, we can extend grace and appreciate  our differences. Did you know there is not just one way of being and living?? (tongue in cheek, y’all!) Instead of judgment, we can lean on the truth that all of us have unique beauty to offer this world. Go buy this book now, and then tell me what type you are and I’ll save it in my phone, because that’s not at all abnormal(?).

2. A Monster Calls-Patrick Ness


Now a major motion picture, A Monster Calls which I’ve yet to see, is arguably one of the best things I have read all year (in years). In it we follow a little boy, Conor, over the span of a couple of weeks, while his mother dies. If you have walked through death with a loved one, this book will have you undone in quiet morning hours. If you know a child with a sick parent, this book may help you walk along side him or her. The most poignant thing I’ve ever read on loss, I want to sleep with this book I loved it so much. Buy it. Today. The paper copy and mark it up.

3. Why Not Me-Mindy Kaling


Just a funny little book of essays. Not a page turner by any means, but if you liked Mindy’s first book, you’ll also enjoy this little chuckle of a book.

March Reads

1. Stuart Little-E. B. White


When I take my kiddos to the library this happens every time: I go in and freak out and forget all things children’s lit, then grab the first author I recognize. This is why my girls and I just finished reading Stuart Little. After the first paragraph, where a human woman gives BIRTH TO A MOUSE, I knew this would be a weird little tale (even the kids were like, “Wait, she pushed out a mouse???”). We three were certainly able to suspend our disbelief as we read about this mouse-boy named Stuart, but I wouldn’t say I loved it. And we were all three like, “WHAT?” at the end.  Although, we did giggle along the journey, I’d probably pass on this one.  But you don’t have to take my word for it.

2. None Like Him-Jen Wilkin


Our women’s ministry at my church read this book for our Spring Bible Study. I loved it. I marked it up. Good morning read with coffee.

3. The One and a Million Boy-Monica Wood 


This is the story of an elderly woman, a young dad and mom, and a phenomenal boy, whose lives collide over the course of a Spring and Summer. The story line will coax you in before it wraps around your heart. Grief, joy, hope, reconciliation all mingle in uniquely beautiful writing. This book is gorgeous.

4. Northanger Abbey-Jane Austen


Northanger Abbey was my last Jane Austen hold out until this month. I’d read and/or watched the BBC versions of all of her stories but this one. Interestingly, Northanger Abbey along with Persuasion (my favorite story of hers’) were published together and posthumously in 1817 by her brother and also the only two books who bore her name upon publication. However, it was the first book she completed for publication (in 1803). Northanger is a satire on the Gothic novels of her time, its almost as though the intrigue of Dracula/Frankenstein/Jane Eyre (although all three published later), mixed with the happy ending of typical Jane Austen novels.  I enjoyed NA, however, I’d probably site it as my least favorite Austen book. Her writing seems a bit disjointed, which could be evidenced by the fact it was the first novel she wrote. Still, if you are an Austen fan, worth the read, and then the watch.

Please let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you think!!

2 thoughts on “1st Quarter Book Reviews

  1. I’ve not personally read the road back to you, but heard a lot about it!!

    Still anxiously awaiting Anna Spindler’s new book. Hear it’s destined to be a page turner… whenever it finally comes out. Rock on!


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