This was such a fun read (and i needed a solid fiction book after several duds!) and so strangely relevant to our political climate in America right now even though it was written before our election season. Amanda is a reporter and the book follows her career, love life, and just drama in general, and it’s so entertaining without just being fluff. I flew through this one and wanted to read more like it! This is 100% the kind of light fiction i love mixing into my reading life (and would love to watch as a movie too!). // Thanks, Blogging for Books, for sending me this one!
I gave The Genius of One by Greg Holder 3/5 stars -- There is a lot of goodness in this one, especially if you’re in any time of leadership role or have any influence in a group or community. The back cover describes it like this: "In a fractured and on-edge world, there are some who are called to unity. Unity is not always easy or intuitive. It is simply a better way. Unity is how God still gets things done on earth, tracing back to the prayer Jesus prayed on the worst night of his life: that we would be one. In The Genius of One, author and pastor Greg Holder takes his readers on a journey from that glorious prayer of Jesus, past the debates and divisions that isolate Christians, and into the reality of a church united under God for the sake of the world."
In a time that feels extremely divided, focusing on unity and treating one another in a godly way is essential. There are many helpful and engaging stories in this one, as well as thoughtfully worded questions to help you reflect and respond personally as you read. I enjoyed this one and found it encouraging and uplifting. (snag it here for $12!)
Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for sending this complimentary copy to me to review!
Goodness, I just love Nouwen. His words are always incredibly moving, powerful, and convicting, all with a gentleness and love. He speaks truth wonderfully, while telling stories beautifully. I've read many of his works, but still reading the selections compiled here into short daily readings felt fresh and new. I appreciated that the themes were varied from day to day, with the selections coming from different books and works of Nouwen instead of the same one for weeks on end. Each day had some thought-provoking concept, without being anything overcomplicated or time consuming. Most days were just one or two solid paragraphs, so this book would make a great accompaniment to a daily quiet time or a time of meditation. The inside flap says this book's goal is to "empower readers to claim their central identity as the Beloved of God and live out that truth in their daily lives" and I think it accomplishes that perfectly.
I have been a fan of Annie F. Downs for a LONG time and her newest book just confirms all the things I love about her. Her voice is so refreshing — honest, hilarious, heartfelt. This book of 100 short devotions is the perfect way to focus on courage and bravery, and it feels like you’re sitting down with a best friend over coffee and encouraging each other to be your very best selves. It’s a gift. It doesn’t feel cheesy or cliche or shallow, but just real and helpful and so uplifting. I read through more than a dozen days last night because I just couldn’t stop— I will definitely be sharing this one with friends! Love, love, love.
(Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for sending me this one to review!)
I could NOT get into this one. I tried, and gave it about 75 pages, but the characters didn't click with me at all and the writing style seemed forced and awkward to me. I was hoping this would be a post apocalyptic story similar to Station Eleven, but it didn't come close for me. I appreciated that it was set in 2020 so it was a little more believable than some that seem more abstractly placed in time, but I still just couldn't connect with the plot or the setting really. This might just be a wrong book, wrong time kind of thing, but I wasn't willing to keep going with this one to see if it would eventually grab me. It's off to the "abandoned" shelf for now!
First off-- isn't that cover awesome? Love the typography and imagery. This book was a solid read-- as someone who is in the thick of counseling and working to address the lies I tell myself, the fears I believe, and how I see myself, it was extremely relevant and applicable to my life. There were chapters focused on addictions, the monsters in our lives, our identity, temptations, resistance, and who the boss is in our lives. I found the tone to be helpful and not condescending, which I appreciated, and it was clear Lance himself has wrestled and worked through much of this in his own life. There were many very helpful and directly applicable thoughts and ideas in this one, and many nuggets of wisdom I wrote down to remember in the future.
I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my review.
This book was one that intrigued me because of the topic, but also intimidated me a little bit too. Evicted is all about "poverty and profit in the American city" -- not exactly a light, easy topic! But seeing that it was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of The New York Times Book Review 10 best books of 2016 as well as a NYT bestseller (and a winner of many more awards too!) sealed the deal for me and I knew I had to read this one. I'm on a mission this year to read more books that challenge me, open my eyes to the reality and experiences of others, and push me to get out of my comfort zone and start understanding so I can start working for change. This book did all of those things.
It's told through stories, in a way that makes it easy to read and very convicting and personal, too. There were times that the stories felt a little disjointed or lengthy, but overall, I appreciated that the story wasn't told through facts and stats, but instead through story and real people's experiences. I found myself empathizing and sympathizing with so many of the characters (real people!) and being shocked at how easy it is to fall on hard times and lose everything. My experience has been nothing like that, and my eyes were opened to even more of my own privilege as I read this book.
Many parts of this book were shocking, sickening, and sad. All in all, it was incredibly well-told, helpful, illuminating, and moving. It wasn't always fun to read, but I'm grateful to have read it, and know that it has helped change me and soften my heart toward people and circumstances I might otherwise have been quick to judge and turn away from.
Highly recommend this one.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review!
Mercy Never Sleeps gets 3/5 stars from me! This one is a unique, drama-packed memoir with many a crazy tale of being a psychiatric crisis guy on call 24/7, and I have to admit it's nothing like any other book or memoir I've ever read. Blaine's voice is one of a kind and his personality is evident on every page, which made for an entertaining and engaging read, especially because the stories he tells are wild, dramatic, and intense at times. You can feel the tension rise as he battles his own insomnia while helping others through their own breakdowns and meltdowns and crises, and the whole book feels like you're right on the edge of what could either be disaster or major drama. There were parts that felt repetitive about this one, and times where I feel like chapters or stories could have been shortened to pack more of a punch (it's not a short book!) but overall, the story kept me engaged, even though it didn't seem to really ever reach a definite climax or have any sort of satisfying resolution.
Overall, an interesting read, fascinating stories, dynamic characters, and enjoyable to read, but not one I particularly loved or would pick up again.
This book has been speaking right to my soul this week -- grateful for the words and wisdom of this one in this exact season of my life. This one talks so much about the hard yet precious gift of the unseen seasons and circumstances, the ones where we feel like nobody notices the hard work we are doing or sees how much we're trying or appreciates our efforts and our hearts, and it affirms that God sees us and values us despite how it might seem or feel. Sara -- thank you for speaking to the beauty that comes from the inner work we do that nobody sees and the hidden places where God moves in us to draw us closer to Himself and deeper in truth about who we are. This one was a gift to me.
This one was an unexpected read for me, and a little outside of my normal fiction preferences. It's offbeat, a little dark at times, has strong sexual themes and some twisted characters, a lot of art and acting and personality quirk themes... it's an interesting one for sure! It held my interest but the end didn't satisfy me like I hoped it would, but I am a big fan of character development so I appreciated that this focused on a few key characters and really painted interesting pictures of them throughout this book! (ps-- this one was sent to me by Blogging for Books to review!)
I loved this one from Hatmaker. Her signature snark and sass are strong, but it's tender too and hits some really beautiful and poignant notes to make it a really well-rounded collection of essays. While I'm not a wife or mother myself, the way Hatmaker talks about parenting and marriage is so enjoyable, humorous, and still relatable, and I really appreciate that. Her brand of humor admittedly isn't for everyone, but this one had me laughing out loud at more than a few points (and I hardly EVER laugh at books!). I was really impressed, though, by the essays that were more personal, more intimate, and more faith-focused-- they struck a tone that really resonated with me and showed a different depth and richness to Hatmaker than I tend to see from her.
I've enjoyed other things I've read from Hatmaker, but this one definitely takes the cake for me!
THE DEETS: I received this one from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my review!
I attended several Passion conferences as a college student and have heard Louie Giglio preach at Passion City Church on trips to Atlanta, and I was excited to grab his latest book, because he always brings a WORD. This one was no different-- bold, unapologetic, Bible-focused, powerful, and convicting. Centered on the story of David and Goliath, Giglio talks about how fear, rejection, addiction, anger, and comfort all must fall, and let me tell you, it will PREACH. The story isn't cliche (even if you've heard the Sunday School version a million times) and I walked away with so much more insight into this story and what it means for my life-- it's so good. Highly recommend this one.
The subject matter of this book is 150% up my alley, and I absolutely LOVE that cover, so I was super excited to snag this one and give it a read. I have known about Dillon and the work he does for a while, and it was so cool to hear more of his story and how he found his soul dream in the process. He weaves together his story with stories of slavery around the word really powerfully, drawing the reader in and really opening their eyes to what we can so easily miss in the world around us. This book is compelling, heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and necessary for our world today.
THE DEETS: I received this one from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my review!
This was one that I was both excited and nervous about -- I definitely battle anxiety in my life and while it can be helpful to read about it, it can also be triggering. This book wasn't triggering for me personally, but I'd be sure to read it carefully if that's a concern for you! I thought Petersen did a great job of weaving her own story of anxiety in with the research, information, and greater story of anxiety as a whole, but there were points where it felt dry, points it felt too dramatized, and points where I lost interest entirely (like the chapter on medication, as someone who tries to avoid that industry at all costs). Overall, I'm glad to have read it, feel grateful that people are writing books like this that talk openly about anxiety, and feel less alone in my own struggles with it.
This one was a little slow, but I was really intrigued the whole time, and locked into the story as it unraveled person by person through the different chapters. It surprised me (there are secrets and layers I didn't see coming), was interesting to me, felt really well-written and thorough, and was a really solid fiction read.
I've long had stomach issues, and even after finding out about food allergies and totally revamping my diet, found myself struggling to get things figured out. I grabbed this book to review because I was wondering if IBS was the root of my issues, and found it to be SO helpful in better understanding what IBS even is, what FODMAPs are, what foods tend to be triggers, and how to go about eliminating foods and finding solutions in a healthy way. I'm in the middle of experimenting with some changes, and know I'll come back to this book as such a well-researched and thorough guide and resource!
This was one of those books I didn't WANT to read... because I know money isn't my strong suit. I struggle to budget, hate managing my finances, and overspend like it's my job. It's bad, and I knew I needed to work on things... so, I got this book. And you guys, it was AWESOME. It wasn't shaming, it wasn't stuffy, and it was SUPER helpful. I had never heard money talked about like this -- the whole premise is giving you a Bible character whose personality explains your money style. There's an assessment to help you figure it out (big fan of things like that) and then the chapters that follow read SO much like a narrative instead of prescriptive advice or some "get rich quick" scheme. (I'm a Jacob -- the aspect of God's image I focus on is beauty, and my shadow side is indulgence. Like, YES.) It's just so good, so helpful. Can't recommend this one highly enough!
This one seemed like a fun summer read, but I could NOT get into the story. I think it takes skill to tell a story well when you're flashing back and forth in time between different characters, and I didn't think this one did it very well. I didn't find the main characters likable or very interesting, and I felt like by about 50+ pages in, I knew exactly how the story would play out. I could very well have been wrong... but it seemed predictable and just not super engaging or worth sticking with. This one fell flat for me!
If you know the name Eugene Peterson, chances are you know it because of his Bible paraphrase, The Message. It's a popular, modern-language take on the Bible, and it's awesome. I knew Peterson had written other books and that he was a pastor, but I had never read or heard anything from him until this book. It's a rich, meaty, beautifully-written, incredibly thought-provoking collection of his teachings, most built on specific Scriptures. They're shared without updates from when Peterson originally gave them, but I found them all to be incredibly relevant and timely. This book is one you'll want to savor and read intentionally, while poring over the verses and passages too -- he is brilliant and so grounded, and this book is just an incredible gem.
This book is a gem. I knew as soon as I heard Rebekah Lyons speak at IF:Gathering that I wanted to read her newest book, and it did not disappoint. I actually led a book club on this book, and our group of women LOVED discussing freedom every week as we made it through this one. It's rich, full of great personal experiences, not too daunting or overwhelming, and has great thoughtful questions at the end of each (pretty short) chapter. I really found this one to be such an incredible look at freedom and what it means to live like we ARE free -- it's a great, great read.