Book by Book: My August 2018 Reads


August is quite possibly my least favorite month of the year, and it has everything to do with the fact that it's the hottest and most humid month of the year, too. It's just GROSS outside. Whiiiiiich explains this massive stack of books read this month... because it's been too miserable to be doing literally anything else but reading inside where there is AC. Ya feel?!


Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott


MY REVIEW: Trying to make my way through all of my girl Anne Lamott’s books, and it’s a blast. Her wisdom, sass, totally unfiltered honesty, realness, and faith are so incredibly inspiring to me. She’s my spirit animal, for SURE.

Unified: How Our Unlikely Friendship Gives Us Hope for a Divided Country by Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy


MY REVIEW: In these divided, heated, tense political times, this book from @tgowdysc and @senatortimscott was a refreshing reminder that love is truly over all. I was encouraged by their story of unlikely friendship in politics, their thoughts on racial reconciliation, and the way they emphasized one on one interactions as a powerful tool for empathy and progress. This one reminded me that there are still good, wholesome, influential people in politics worth admiring, and that people are working for the glory of God and the good of all people in every sphere.

THANKS TO: Tyndale Blog Network

Home By Another Way by Barbara Brown Taylor


MY REVIEW: I originally started reading it alongside the church calendar, as it’s a collection of writings (her sermons!) following the church holidays, but I eventually just kept reading since it’s so good! I love all things BBT and even though I don’t belong to a liturgical church, I love the rhythms of the calendar and found these sermons deeply insightful, moving, inspiring, and beautiful. I’ll come back to this one during Advent and Lent especially!

A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Sarah Arthur


MY REVIEW: Confession: I never really understood all the hype around A Wrinkle in Time. It just never grabbed me, as a kid or as an adult. Walking on Water, though, I resonated with and loved. I was curious to know more about the author of them both, and was excited to see this book come on my radar! Madeleine is a fascinating woman with remarkable talent and beautiful faith, and I loved reading more about her story, her influences, her decisions, her family life, and more. If you like author biographies, this would be a great one to grab next! I especially loved the parallels (and the highlighted differences) to C.S. Lewis (my fave!). Can’t wait to keep reading L’Engle books and learning from her lasting legacy!

THANKS TO: BookLook Bloggers

All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth


MY REVIEW: This weekend’s read — couldn’t put this one down! It felt like a blend of Gossip Girl, How to Get Away with Murder, and the book S.T.A.G.S. I read earlier this year, and I was super into it. Missing mothers, secret societies, private school drama, switching storylines and flashbacks, suspense and mystery... it made for the perfect summer young adult mystery read. The ending fell a bit flat for me (i wanted so much more!) but overall, I enjoyed this one!

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence


MY REVIEW: This book is tiny (38 pages!) but SO MIGHTY. Wow wow wow. (When @Hannahbrencher recommends a book and then your pastor references it the next Sunday, you grab it and devour it ASAP.) I want to read this one weekly (especially the second half of letters from Brother Lawrence) — such rich and meaningful thoughts about how to truly, deeply, and consistently seek and find God. I could have underlined this whole book, it’s just that good.

A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern


MY REVIEW:A friend sent me this one and if she hadn’t, I don’t think I ever would have grabbed it! It’s about things (and people) that go missing, and where they go when they do, and I think I was expecting more of a thriller when instead it’s more fantastical. It’s an interesting premise but it fell flat for me overall. I wasn’t super hooked by it and found it to be much longer than it needed to be and slower than I had hoped, and I also didn’t find a single character likable. It took me a while to get into it (probably since I was expecting something very different) and the ending totally didn’t work for me... all in all, cool premise but not a great read sadly! 

The Struggle Is Real: Getting Better at Life, Stronger in Faith, and Free from the Stuff Keeping You Stuck by Nicole Unice


MY REVIEW: Nicole is a real life friend, a pastor at my church, a fearless leader of the women’s gathering I’m part of planning, a talented writer and speaker and communicator... basically, she’s one of the coolest people I know. It’s such a joy to celebrate and champion both Nicole and this book. It’s honest, it’s relatable, it’s so encouraging, and I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t be able to relate and feel motivated by the power and truth of this book’s message. Yes, #thestruggleisreal, but that’s not the end of our story. “When we choose Christ, we choose life. When we choose His life, we choose freedom. And with that freedom comes the new story, a story of depth, of purpose, of redemption.” Grab this one ASAP, friends!

THANKS TO: Nicole for sharing this one with me!

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover


MY REVIEW: I DEVOURED this one... could not put it down. Her story of escaping a craaaaaaazy and painful life in a Mormon survivalist family and making a life for herself beyond their home mountain is WILD and gripping. Parts were hard to read (intense abuse, injuries, etc) but overall, this was fascinating and mind-blowing. It reads almost like fiction (in the best way) and reminded me of The Sound of Gravel which I also loved... more memoirs of this caliber, please!

Reunion: The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners by Bruxy Cavey


MY REVIEW: Grabbed this one from work (perks of working for a Christian media company where publishers send us all the things!) because a friend was reading it, and found it such a solid and comprehensive look at Christian faith and life as a believer. It was more a refresher for me than anything, but a really thorough and encouraging one that will absolutely be a recommendation i share freely with newer believers! Loved his voice— honest, down to earth, gracious and loving, friendly, fresh. Nothing here is condemning or critical or crazy (as Christians and the church can often be...), but it instead made me fall in love with Jesus and Christianity all over again and remember why I first chose this wild and beautiful life of faith in the first place.

I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel


MY REVIEW: Being on the launch team for #IdRatherBeReading has been SO FUN. I’m the biggest @annebogel fan (and @whatshouldireadnext too!) and loved getting to dive into this one early. It’s such a spot on book for bibliophiles and would make an excellent gift for your bookish buds! It’s short and sweet, lovely in every way, and will have you thinking I HAVE FOUND MY BOOK-LOVING PEOPLE AT LAST. My favorite parts? Confessing your literary sins and how to arrange your bookshelves! I’m a sucker for rearranging mine constantly... just dreaming of the day I have a library room with a sliding latter like Anne (and Belle, of course.)

THANKS TO: Anne's launch team and publisher for sending me this one!

Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin


MY REVIEW: Babysitting all weekend, but thankfully could fly through this one while the boys were all busy playing! Loving making my way through the stack of Emily Giffin books my friend gave me— such fun and light books to mix in among my more thoughtful and serious reads.

The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God's Goodness Around You by Shannan Martin


MY REVIEW: I’m not quite sure how to put into words just HOW MUCH I loved this new book from Shannan. I mean, I have two whole pages in my journal of quotes I just HAD to copy down so I wouldn’t forget them. It’s convicting in all of the best (and most blessedly uncomfortable) ways. It has stirred me to actually look around my ordinary places and see the beauty there, and has invited me to a deeper, truer, richer way of life that looks a whole lot more simple than I tend to make it, but is a lot more meaningful than shallow living ever could be. Goodness, I’m challenged and changed by this one, and so grateful Shannan has let us in on this glorious truth we so easily miss, that the best place for us to be and love and serve is right where we are, right in our ordinary places, right now. You’ll want to RUN and preorder this one before it releases on October 9, and snag your preorder freebies from! You’ll be so glad you did.

THANKS TO: Harper Collins Christian Publishers for sending me this one as part of the launch team!

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan


MY REVIEW: Saw the Crazy Rich Asians movie this week so I’m diving into books #2 and 3... but honestly, I’m not loving them! I never EVER think movies are better than books but I definitely liked the CRA movie better... these books just feel super long and all over the place without a ton of real action. I’m invested into Nick and Rachel now and will definitely read the next book to see where they end up, but i wish these books were half as long and twice as action-packed!

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han


MY REVIEW: I did this backwards and saw the new Netflix movie first (I never ever do that!) but knew i wanted to go back and read this one and the two that follow— they are the perfect light, cute, fun, quirky, and charming YA stories. Need book #2 to come in ASAP so I can spend my long weekend reading! Anybody else love this one and love the movie too?!

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan 


MY REVIEW: Okay, this one redeemed the trilogy for me after the second one almost lost me! I still think these books could lose 50-100 pages and be even better, but this one had a lot more action, drama, and interesting character development that kept me hooked. Overall, a fun series, but I stand by my belief that the movie was better than the books! Now let’s hope they make more movies!


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