Books I Read:
Honestly, I don’t know how I got this much reading accomplished when April has been one of the busiest months on record! You can read my Quick Lit book reviews from the first half of the month here. These are the books I’ve read since then:
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Written by a young neurosurgeon after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, this memoir is a beautiful, heartbreaking memoir about what truly matters. This was an Audible listen for me, and I devoured it. 4/5 stars
Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
First off, let me say this: I adored Little Beach Street Bakery so much that I gushed about it in my Island Getaway Novels post. The sequel was still fun, but not near as much as the first. There was no new and exciting romance in this one, although many of the same lovable characters — and a few new and nasty ones — kept me reading. A light, breezy beach read that I liked but didn’t love. 3/5 stars
Enns is a scholar and theology professor who, according to his blog, writes about “the Bible for normal people.” I’d say that sums it up perfectly. He discusses the truth of scripture while also using a common sense approach — something that’s sadly lacking in evangelical theology these days. This book is refreshing, intelligent, and witty. Upon finishing it, I promptly ordered Enns’ newest book, The Sin of Certainty and can’t wait to read it.
A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern
An excellent read about young adults, high school social structures, and disability. McGovern’s a good writer, and she fleshes out her characters so well — giving such heart and voice and authenticity — especially to her disabled characters. I liked her previous book, Say What You Will, but this one’s even better. A must-read for fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder. 4/5 stars
This is the kind of self-help book I adore. It’s research based, smart, and practical. Presence expounds on Cuddy’s popular 2012 TED talk “Your Body Shapes Who You Are.” I came away with some great ideas for combating anxiety that I can’t wait to try out–all backed by solid science. I’m geeking out over this one. 4/5 stars
No One Knows by J.T. Ellison
This plot-driven psychological thriller is one of the spring book club picks for She Reads. As a new member of the She Reads blog network, I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review. If you’re a fan of twisted and suspenseful novels like Gone Girl, this’ll be right up your alley. Warning, though: it’s got some graphic sex scenes, so it’s not for everyone. It’s a story of young love, family secrets, money, and deceit — complete with an unexpected twist at the end. Similar to Sabine Durrant’s Remember Me This Way, which I reviewed in this post. 4/5 stars
The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson
This is the story of a bitter, sharp-tongued divorce lawyer who discovers love in the most unlikely circumstances. Jackson’s writing is clever, witty, and well-crafted and the novel was good, but predictable. For a better read with a similar story, try Marisa de los Santos’ The Precious One. 3/5 stars
Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth
This one took me completely by surprise. I’d never heard of it until reading this blog post by Elizabeth Esther, but the title intrigued me so I checked it out at the library. I am not exaggerating when I say this book cracked me open and left me sobbing on the floor. There’s so much truth here about life and how we view ourselves and our bodies — NOT what I was expecting at all. Plus, brownie points: Roth is a fantastic writer.
Oh, and if you are like me — and think you don’t have a problem with food — Roth makes it clear: if you’ve ever eaten when you weren’t hungry, then you’ve used food as a drug. Which means there’s a problem. So yeah. Guilty.
Heads up on this one, Roth does NOT write from a Christian perspective, so her idea of “God” doesn’t mesh with my views. It doesn’t really matter, though. The book lines up beautifully with the Gospel message and how God created us to live. This one profoundly impacted me and I can’t stop gushing about it! 5/5 stars
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
This latest offering by Strout (and the first book of hers I’ve read) is short and poignant. It’s not a plot-driven novel, but is more of an inward journey, as Lucy narrates her way through connecting the dots of her life story. After reading this, I had an ache in my soul that made me want to weep — the way a good poem does. 5/5 stars
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
The writing style here is different, more like random journaling and thoughts that ramble through the narrator’s head. It only took me about five pages to get into it and halfway through I realized why: this is how my brain thinks.
The “wife” tells the story of her marriage, her career, and motherhood, and delves into all of the questioning and second-guessing that go along with choosing one path over the other. As a mom and a musician/writer, I could relate. A short read that will leave you pondering the roads not taken. 4/5 stars
Christians Need to Stop Boycotting Stuff by Jesse Carey for Relevant Magazine
The Grief Police by John Pavlovitz
When You’re Finding it Hard to Keep Up by Ann Voskamp
My own most-read post:
What I Watched:
Well, we broke down and got a subscription to Netflix last month so we could watch House of Cards. And now I’ve discovered The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and I’m dying over it. So much fun!! It’s a nice contrast to House of Cards for sure!
Other Stuff I’m Into:
I know, I know, I keep talking about this company. It’s so fantastic, though. Their cleaning products — and their candles, how I love the candles!! — are amazing and they’re delivered right to your doorstep. The prices are a little more than you might pay for stuff at Walmart, sure, but I spend so much less when I stay home and don’t darken the doors of my local super center!
The set includes a Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap and dish-soap, a Mrs. Meyer’s candle, and a pair of walnut scrubber sponges. I use all these products personally and highly recommend them.
To get your free set, sign up with Grove Collaborative and place an order totaling at least $20. You’ll get free shipping and your FREE Mrs. Meyer’s Everyday Luxury set delivered right to your home along with your order!
This deal ends on Sunday, so make sure you take advantage of it before it’s gone!
Have y’all tried this stuff? Because, man is it good. It’s made out of Greek yogurt, and I just polished another container off with some baby carrots. The chipotle ranch flavor is to die for.
Look for it in the produce section of your grocery store, near the veggie trays and refrigerated dressings.
3. Playing piano like a mad woman
I finished up choir contest season last week, followed up by a big music program at church on Sunday. Now I’ve just got spring concerts and a few choir festivals left to play for. I won’t know what to do with myself this summer!
Composer Mary McDonald visited our church and performed/directed our program, so I got to play for her which was an absolute joy. She’s a gifted musician and a delightful person, and the whole family enjoyed meeting her.
4. Working in my garden
I finally had a day off and got to work outside planting some flowers in my neglected flowerbeds. The garden is one of my happy places and I love to get out and get my hands dirty in the spring before it gets too hot. We’ve had beautiful weather and I use gardening all day as an excuse to cure my vitamin D deficiency. And then have a Whataburger.
Back by popular demand, this bundle of digital books, e-courses, discounts, and printable packs is on sale now through May 2nd for $29.97. This bundle isn’t just about cleaning and cooking — although there are plenty of resources to help you in those areas.
My favorite part of this year’s bundle is the “Work from Home” category, which includes some products I’ve had my eye on for a while, so I was glad to get them at such a great discount.
To see everything that’s included in the bundle, click here to go to the info page.
Aaaaaand. . . I think I’m done. For now.
So it’s your turn!! What are you into and up to right now? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!
Also, don’t forget! Mother’s Day is just nine days away! If you stumped on what to get for Mom, check out my Mother’s Day gift guide. It’s chock full of options for every budget!