Day Five: A Book Review

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I LOVE to read. Love to, love to. In December when we got snowed in, I read two books in a day and a half. I love nothing more than a good book, yet life has recently gotten in the way. Over the past year, I've read the smallest amount since actually learning to read independently. Seriously, I remember in first grade I'd read a chapter book a day. (Magic Tree House and American Girl were my treats of choice) I credit this change not only to life, but my lack of having a next book that I want to read in mind. I think knowing there is a book on my nightstand or loaded onto my kindle app makes me more likely to start reading, as opposed to thinking "I really need to find a good book to read"....
Any who... more about that in a minute. Today, instead of reviewing one book I've read recently, I'm going to mention a few that I just LOVE that I've read over the past few years!

Anything by Shauna Niequest

This lady's words have spoken to my soul over the past few years. Her three books are very different from each other, but laid out in the same format of where each chapter is a stand alone story. She just writes about life and faith in a really beautiful way. I would really recommend her books to someone who isn't much of a reader but desires to read a book about faith, since you can read one chapter at a time. Although, I bet her strong voice could make anyone change their reading habits! I'm blessed to be able to hear her speak at Hope Spoken next month! For mother's day this past year, I got my mother in law her most recent book "Bread and Wine". It was so fun to see her love the book, then teach from it during a bible study on hospitality, and pick up the other two books to read too. LOVE! Grab them, even if you've heard them talked about a lot and don't desire to be on a bandwagon. I promise they're amazing!

I wrote a more detailed review of Cold Tangerines here. In 2011.

Love Does by Bob Goff 
Okay. Another book that everyone talks about. Forgive me for that. But this book is SO worth your time. It's uplifting and encouraging and fun to read. I read it all in two sittings because it just hooks you and puts you in the best mood. The book gives you a really great picture of what it looks like to live a joyful, loving life with your identity in Christ. Sometimes spiritual books can seem long and boring but this one is just so stinking easy to read. It'd be great for a new believer or someone who is wanting to make changes in their life to start living more for God. I made a lot of notes about future parenting things from this book, too!

I wrote more about this book here.

Seven by Jen Hatmaker
Again, an easy to read book about living a life of faith. I'm noticing a pattern here. I'll learn all about the complicated books from my hubby. First, reading this book will make you think Jen Hatmaker is your best friend. It's a real life situation. Second, the book is about the excess we have in our lives, and how to simplify that. It's just so good and is written like a journal or a blog. It was really eye opening for me but I would encourage you to read it even if you don't think excess is something you struggle with. I'd bet you'd be able to glean a lot of wisdom from it anyways.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 
This book is about to become a movie, but I think seeing it might make me too emotional in a theater. This book... let me just paste in the description from Amazon.

At 16, Hazel Grace Lancaster, a three-year stage IV–cancer survivor, is clinically depressed. To help her deal with this, her doctor sends her to a weekly support group where she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer survivor, and the two fall in love. Both kids are preternaturally intelligent, and Hazel is fascinated with a novel about cancer called An Imperial Affliction. Most particularly, she longs to know what happened to its characters after an ambiguous ending. To find out, the enterprising Augustus makes it possible for them to travel to Amsterdam, where Imperial’s author, an expatriate American, lives. What happens when they meet him must be left to readers to discover. Suffice it to say, it is significant. Writing about kids with cancer is an invitation to sentimentality and pathos—or worse, in unskilled hands, bathos. Happily, Green is able to transcend such pitfalls in his best and most ambitious novel to date. Beautifully conceived and executed, this story artfully examines the largest possible considerations—life, love, and death—with sensitivity, intelligence, honesty, and integrity. In the process, Green shows his readers what it is like to live with cancer, sometimes no more than a breath or a heartbeat away from death. But it is life that Green spiritedly celebrates here, even while acknowledging its pain. In its every aspect, this novel is a triumph. 

Let's just say that I read it while we were on vacation in California and Ben walked in and I was crying my eyes out while reading and he just really didn't understand what was happening and why I was so emotionally attached to a book. That was a fun first in our marriage! Haha! Steer clear of your wife during Grey's Anatomy, Benjamin Luke!!! Anyways... I loved this book. The characters were so well developed and I just adored it. 

Note: From what I remember, there is some language and some sexuality in this book.

And this is where my list stops. Depression, right? I've just read so many books I haven't liked in the past year.  Ugh. Hate that. I went through all of my Amazon history from the past two years and these are the only books I felt were worth mentioning. Excluding The Hunger Games. (no one wants to read my own personal review of The Hunger Games)

I've compiled this list of books I'd like to read this year, and I plan on working my way through them. I'd like to get the list up to at least 12... so help me out! If you've read any of these, or have any other suggestions or comments, I'd love to hear about them!

A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study by Jen Hatmaker (currently reading with Blogger Bible Study!)
Start by Jon Acuff
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Allegiant  by Veronica Roth
Margin by Richard Swenson
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
Love Story by Nichole Nordeman
Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Please send me book suggestions, PLEASE! PLEASE!! :)


  1. The Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth was AMAZING. I loved it! I definitely recommend reading it-- at least the first book-- before the movie comes out in March. The first book is my favorite, but the third has a good and unexpected ending. I can't wait to hear what you think of them!

  2. Hi, I enjoy reading your blog (I just recently found it) and thought I'd make a few suggestions. I love to read but have found it harder with marriage and a new baby. Have you read "One Thousand Gifts: a dare to live fully right where you are" by Ann Voskamp? It's wonderful and encourages you in living a life of thankfulness. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)
    My husband and I are currently reading "Crazy Love" by Franchis Chan. It's my second time reading it, this book will challenge you to say the least. It's awesome.
    I'm also reading "The Power of a Praying Wife" by Stormie O'Martin which is another book that will exhort as a wife.
    I hope these suggestions are a blessing to you as they have been to me.

  3. Coltin got to experience a book cry with me for the first time a couple months ago as well. I think he was nothing short of terrified. "The Book Thief" started that cry...that's a great one if you haven't read it. I am in the middle of Insurgent right now and it is a great series! Also, I have "Start" by Jon Acuff if you would like to borrow! And for a faith-based book, "The Circle Maker" has completely changed our prayer life as a married couple.

  4. All time favorite is Redeeming Love! Have you read it? Anything by Francine Rivers is wonderful, but nothing seems to top that book!

  5. Thanks so much for the recommendations! Looking these all up now, I have a feeling a large Amazon order coming on!

  6. When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin. Hands-down my favorite fiction book. ((as an aside....recommended to me by a friend years ago who is/was an Aggie. ;))

  7. We have the same problem: choosing what to read next! Are you on Goodreads? It's a great website where you can keep track of books you've read and then find books either similar or completely different to what you've already read.
    Have you read anything else by John Green? I read "Paper Towns" and didn't love it like I loved TFIOS.
    If you liked the Divergent trilogy, you may like "Delirium" by Lauren Oliver. I'm almost done with the 3rd in her trilogy and it's got a similar feel {I've been told - haven't read Divergent yet}.

  8. I'm about to start reading Seven with my cousin! I cannot wait to start! Have you read Boy Meets Girl? I know you're married, but it was so helpful for my relationship and guiding others to respecting their significant others.

  9. I'm reading Love Does now and I never want to put it down! Read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, the mystery will hook you!

  10. Are we twins? I've either read, am in the process of reading, or want to read everything you've mentioned! I totally recommend the Divergent trilogy...I read all three books in a week! I'm in the middle of Love Does, and if this pesky thing known as college wasn't in the way, I'm sure I'd already be done! So so so good! I've been meaning to pick up one of Shauna Niequest's books, and you've convinced me to move her to the top of my "to read" list!

  11. Love book recommendations! Interestingly, I actually just finished Allegiant (I didn't think it was as well-written as the first two) and Love Does is next on my list! Very much looking forward to it :) I read 7 last year and loved it, but feel like I need to read it again! As for other recommendations... The Glass Castle was the best novel I read last year (based on the author's childhood - REALLY well written and a fascinating story). You might also like Blue Like Jazz. Takes a bit to get into his writing style but I thought there were some really thought-provoking parts!

  12. Love book recommendations! Interestingly, I actually just finished Allegiant (I didn't think it was as well-written as the first two) and Love Does is next on my list! Very much looking forward to it :) I read 7 last year and loved it, but feel like I need to read it again! As for other recommendations... The Glass Castle was the best novel I read last year (based on the author's childhood - REALLY well written and a fascinating story). You might also like Blue Like Jazz. Takes a bit to get into his writing style but I thought there were some really thought-provoking parts!

  13. I'm actually curious if you liked The Hunger Games. I've seen the first movie and liked it but also found it disturbing. I get emotionally involved in books way more than I do movies so I don't know if I could handle reading the books.

  14. I love those books! I will be doing a blogging book club link up and read along in a couple months if you would like to host with my friend shayla and I! It is going to be so much fun!

  15. I definitely second the idea to get on GoodReads! It has helped me find some great books lately. If you ever read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in middle/high school, you've got to check out the final book, Sisterhood Everlasting. I just found out about it last week and finished it in a day. So good! Also, The Giver is coming out later this year in theaters and would be worth rereading if you read it when you were in school. Gone Girl definitely keeps your attention but wasn't my favorite book as a whole. I hope you get to reading soon! I've just started getting back to reading a bit more and it's such a wonderful, full feeling (especially if you have someone to talk to about them!)

  16. Something I am trying to do more of now is read the books before movies come out! I know "Labor Day" is already in theaters but I heard it was a great book. Maybe look towards movies to find books!! (Currently reading the Divergent series and love i!) Also, I'm sure you will never go wrong with a Beth Moore study!

  17. I'm pretty excited to finally be able to read fun books again! I liked the Divergent series. Not very well written in my opinion (I liked Hunger Games better), but interesting storylines.

    Also-- The Book Thief was very good and I am currently working on Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I also enjoy historical fiction and Kate Morton's book are all quite good!


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