Book by Book: My September 2018 Reads

IMG_2323.JPG

Something about the anticipation of fall just puts me in the mood to curl up and read ALL THE BOOKS… which I clearly did this month! There were some really fun books in this bunch, some killer 5-star reads, some total duds, and a few that really have lingered with me. It was a solid month of reading!

HERE'S WHAT I READ IN SEPTEMBER:


Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary

MY RATING: 2/5

MY REVIEW: If you loved books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or Chasing Slow by @erinloechner or Simple Matters by @readmytealeaves, you’ll love this super practical book all about simple, slow living from @brookemcalary. It’s a super helpful tool to start simplifying and living more intentionally, and if you have no clue where to start living more meaningfully and minimally, it’s a great comprehensive guide to doing so! (If you've already read those books though, you might not find a ton of new information in this one, but it's helpful nonetheless.) Also isn’t this cover PERFECT?!


The Cranes Dance by Meg Howrey

MY RATING: 2/5

MY REVIEW: This was an old library book sale grab (aka a totally random one I had never heard about and forgot I even owned) but it caught my eye this week! If you’re a fan of character-focused fiction, dance, sister dynamics, and all the inner workings of one person’s life and mind, you’d enjoy this one. There’s a lot about mental illness and addiction here, and the characters aren’t exactly likable or people I would enjoy being around, but I wanted to see what happened to them... even though not much did. Overall, not a fave for me!


Seeing Green: Don't Let Envy Steal Your Joy by Tilly Dillehay

MY RATING: 3/5

MY REVIEW: I don’t usually say yes when authors reach out on Goodreads and ask if they can send me a copy of their new book, but I’m glad I did for this new one from @tilly_dillehay! It released this week and is a book I know will be so helpful and encouraging for anyone struggling with envy (so literally EVERYONE). It was so thorough, so Scripturally focused (loved how every chapter shared direct applications from and connections to passages of Scripture), and really relatable and honest. This book invites us into a more free and beautiful way of living when we step out of our well-worn patterns of comparison, judgment, bitterness, resentment (hello, Enneagram 1 fatal flaw!), and all other common kinds of envy... the invitation here is for all of us, and it’s life-changing

THANKS TO: Harvest House Publishers for sending me this one!


Fire Road: The Napalm Girl's Journey Through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace by Kim Phuc Phan Thi

MY RATING: 4/5

MY REVIEW: I have had this one from @tyndalehouse for FOREVER and finally got to it... blown away by this story. I knew this iconic photo of the girl fleeing the napalm attacks in Vietnam, but had no idea about her story, and it is POWERFUL. This memoir was beautifully written and an incredibly moving story of forgiveness, faith, family, and healing... I couldn’t put it down and am in awe of her bravery and graciousness toward her enemies. Phew, what a great read.

THANKS TO: Tyndale Blog Network for sending me this one to review!


9A833266-FB71-462B-8D9C-87DA9C3D044D.JPG

P.S. I Still Love You + Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

MY RATING: 4/5 for both

MY REVIEW: Loved finishing this trilogy — YA at its finest! Cute, charming, engaging, genuine, heartwarming. Loved these so much and just hope they make more movies now!


The Eternal Current: How a Practice-Based Faith Can Save Us from Drowning by Aaron Niequist

MY RATING: 5/5

MY REVIEW: I can’t quite put words around just how much I loved this book from @aaronieq — it spoke right to the heart of what’s been stirring in my heart lately about faith, church, spiritual discipline, and following Jesus wholeheartedly. It’s practical but beautiful, compelling and complex but also so simple and tangible, inspiring and informative. He has lead by example with what these practices look like, and he paints such a rich picture here of what it looks like to diversify our faith to truly become people who swim in the Eternal Current. It’s more than just showing up on a Sunday. It’s more than just a formula. We can instead build toolboxes with these disciplines (coming to the table, liturgies, prayer, service, etc) that equip us to build long-lasting and life-saving faith in God as we build his kingdom here on earth, and it’s a refreshing and real way to live as believers that I think we have lost sight of in our culture today. Gah, I could go on and on about how much this book helped shift my perspective on church culture and daily disciplines, and encouraged me to truly engage with this redemptive work well. An Instagram review doesn’t do it justice. Can’t recommend this one highly enough. Thanks for helping us see a new (yet old) and better (truer) way, @aaronieq.


All the Colors We Will See: Reflections on Barriers, Brokenness, and Finding Our Way by Patrice Gopo

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW: This essay collection from @patricegopo is beautifully crafted — all about identity, race, culture, labels and how to live well in a world where so much overlaps and isn’t clear. One of my favorite things about my #radreadswomenandpocgoal this year is how I’ve been able to step into the shoes of people whose life experiences have been vastly different from my own— I’ve learned so much, found myself empathizing and understanding better, and embraced a wider circle of stories and wisdom that has added so much to my own life. I’m grateful for honest and brave voices like Patrice’s.

THANKS TO:  BookLook Bloggers for sending this one in exchange for my review!


Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

MY RATING: 4/5

MY REVIEW: This one appeared in my library holds and I have no clue how I heard about it or why I reserved it, but it was so good. It started slow and just when I was about to give up, it threw me for a loop and kept me hooked until the very end. It did not play out like I expected at all, and I loved it. It’s slightly a thriller, slightly a mystery, slightly a love story, and overall such a win of a book.


I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

MY RATING: 5/5

MY REVIEW: This has jumped to the top of my “everyone in America needs to read this book ASAP” list and I cannot rave about it enough. @austinchanning has so powerfully and honestly told her story in a way that has opened my eyes even more and changed me in ways I won’t forget. This is just simply a must-read. It’s incredible and I’m grateful for her voice and work in a world that has so, so far to go.


The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

MY RATING: 5/5

MY REVIEW: I could NOT put this one down today. Thankfully I had a totally chill Saturday and could read it cover to cover... it’s SO DAMN GOOD. I absolutely loved The Nightingale and had super high hopes for this one, and it blew me away. If you’re looking for incredibly well written fiction, HERE YOU GO.


Marriage Vacation by Pauline Turner Brooks

MY RATING: 3/5

MY REVIEW: Anybody else watch and love @youngertv?! I think it’s SO fun that this book from the show is actually published in real life... it’s such an inception situation! (The author is a fictional character in the fictional show, who writes this book as a fictional take on her own marriage... 🤯) I found it to be such a fun read (and it would be even if you have zero knowledge of the show or anything!) and a great and breezy chick lit book with a strong Eat Pray Love vibe too.


A Mind of Your Own: The Truth about Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives by Kelly Brogan, MD

MY RATING: 3/5

MY REVIEW: I don’t hide that I’m currently in a roughhhhh season battling severe depression, and when this book was recommended to my by a friend, I dove in hoping to find help and hope. Overall, I’m glad I read it, but i definitely don’t agree with everything or want to follow all of her advice. She’s very anti-Big Pharma (with some solid reasoning, admittedly) and very camped out in the natural/holistic camp (which I can and do appreciate) and while I’m glad for all the new things she got me thinking about, I also found some of her advice condescending and not thoroughly backed up with evidence and research. Reading this has prompted me to get a full workup done with my doctor to see about any vitamin deficiencies or thyroid issues or hormone imbalances that might be a factor in my depression/anxiety (especially as a vegan) so I’m curious to see what results come from that. Definitely a helpful unique perspective, and thought-provoking in many ways, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t just want to pop pills for every problem! Lots to think about in this one, and lots to keep researching on my own to find the best course of action for myself personally.


Otherwise: New and Selected Poems by Jane Kenyon

MY RATING: 2/5

MY REVIEW: I wasn’t a huge fan of this poetry collection — it just didn’t resonate with me or particularly interest me in this season.


Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

MY RATING: 3/5

MY REVIEW: A seven-hour babysitting gig last night led to finishing this one, and it was perfect to read in one sitting! It’s a neighborhood-focused mystery/thriller, complete with scandal and secrets and drama and the like. It changes perspectives between a few women, with snippets inserted from the unreliable missing person narrator, too. It wasn’t terribly suspenseful and I wasn’t ever super hooked, but it wasn’t bad! The ending wasn’t my favorite (someone who has read it— let’s discuss!) and it didn’t ultimately seem too unique from many others in this genre, which was slightly disappointing.


Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love & Baking Biscuits by Reese Witherspoon

MY RATING: 2/5

MY REVIEW: I love Reese (her movies! her book club!) but this book was not my cup of tea... yes, I intended that pun. I’m by NO means a southern belle, I hate monograms, I think sweet tea is disgusting and I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing pink or gingham or seersucker... safe to say, this book was not written for me 😂 It would be a delightful read for you sweet Southern gals who want fried chicken recipes and plans for the perfect derby party and decorating ideas and classic country playlists and hostessing tips... but that’s just not me. 🤷🏼‍♀️ The writing didn’t really engage or impress me much either, and didn’t really seem as spunky and bright as I think Reese to be. It just fell flat for me, but I think so so SO many women will love it!

MY RECOMMENDATION: For Southern Belles and fans of all things Reese.


Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared by Jessica Honegger

MY RATING: I didn’t love this one. I love Noonday and all they stand for, but this book felt like it was forced just simply because it’s become such a big deal and Jessica has been behind that. It didn’t follow a clear train of thought and felt extremely scrambled and confusing, while also seeming pretentious. Overall, it really just didn’t resonate with me and I didn’t find it enjoyable.

MY REVIEW: 1/5

MY RECOMMENDATION: Don’t grab this one.


Book-by-Book-Linkup-Banner-2018-UPDATE.png

Add your links here if you blogged about books this month-- and be sure to browse around the other links and find new bookish friends! For bonus points, challenge yourself with one of the reading prompts below!

Book-by-Book-Reading-Topics-2018-UPDATE.png

Top