Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What I Read in May

It's summer which is my favorite time for reading! May weather in South Carolina is HOT, so it feels like summer has been hanging around for the past month or so. The number of books I read each month increases dramatically in the summer; I just love taking extra time to read in the summer months. Here are the 12 books I read in May! Tell me what you've been reading lately!

Dark Matter // I loved this book! I couldn't put it down, and it was one of those books that I had to talk to Caleb about (there's not very many books that I do that with!). It was outside of my normal reading realm, with a mixture of science fiction, suspense, and even a tiny bit of romance. As the author's note says in the back, this book is the "manifestation of everyone's existential question: Am I who I was supposed to be? Is this the life I was meant to be living?" He explores this through a story that involves quantum mechanics, but don't let that scare you away! It was absolutely fascinating, and I highly recommend it! I did receive this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review. 5 stars

None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That's a Good Thing) I really enjoyed working through this book and studying different characteristics of God. Jen Wilkin's style of writing is very straightforward and no-frills, which I love. Each chapter was filled with Scripture passages and also questions to work through (that weren't lame), and I really enjoyed studying through this book. I found myself thinking things about God that I've not thought of before, and I loved what I learned. This is a great book for individual or group study! // 5 stars

Threads of Suspicion // This is the second book in a series about a lieutenant in the police force who works cold cases in various counties across Illinois. I've said this before, but I love Dee Henderson's books because they're suspenseful but never gruesome or terrifying. I'm not one for a true horror or intense mystery, so this is the perfect amount of suspense for me in a mystery book! I find Dee Henderson's books to have almost perfect pacing, so that I never want to put the book down. The plot and the cases are always interesting, and I appreciate her character development as well. Worth reading if you enjoy a more mild mystery/suspense book! I did receive this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 4 stars

The Hopefuls // This book fell a little flat for me. The characters were annoying and the story was a little predictable for my taste. Others really enjoyed this book, so this is probably one of those books that just comes down to personal taste. 3 stars

Secrets of a Charmed Life // This is the first book I've read by this author, and I really enjoyed it. It's a WWII fiction, specifically revolving around two sisters during the evacuation of children from London and the blitz on London. I thought it was a great story, it was well written, and I flew through it. 4 stars

Ginny Moon // This was a debut novel, which I always enjoy reading and spreading the news about. Ginny Moon is a young adopted teenager with autism, and Ginny is also our narrator. I loved reading through her perspective. The story moved quickly (I finished it in a couple of settings), but I did find it sad. Ginny doesn't completely understand why she can't live with her biological mother anymore, and she's struggling to identify family and home. It's a great story and one worth reading this summer! 4 stars

Messy Beautiful Friendship: Finding and Nurturing Deep and Lasting Relationships // This was an excellent book! If you've ever thought that adult friendships are difficult to make and/or maintain, or if you've ever been hurt (or have hurt) a friend, or if you've ever felt like you don't know who your true friends are, read this book! I found myself underlining so many passages, which is always a good thing! Christine Hoover has so much wisdom to offer in the area of friendships, and I really thought she offered a great perspective on the topic. I was challenged by ways that I can be a better friend, and I was encouraged by the friendship that I have in Jesus and the friendships I have with other women. Highly recommend! 5 stars

The Nightingale // Everyone has raved about this book for a couple of years now, but I have hesitated to read it. I started another Kristin Hannah book years and years ago, and I didn't finish it. Something about her writing turned me off, so I've put off reading this title as well. Finally enough of my friends said it was excellent, so I gave it a try. It was so good! The writing style/content didn't seem anything like what I remembered from her other book, which was a pleasant surprise. If you enjoy reading historical fiction, you will like this book! I've read a lot of WWII historical fiction, but this story was unlike any of the ones I've read, which was refreshing. If you haven't read this one yet, it's now out in paperback, which would be perfect to throw in your beach or pool bag! 4 stars

A Family Shaped by Grace: How to Get Along with the People Who Matter Most // I heard about this book through Emily P. Freeman & The Nester, because their father is the author! I was able to be a part of the book launch team, so I got to read this book before it was out. Whether you have great family relationships or very strained family relationships, this is a great book to read, and I highly recommend it. He gives some very practical advice about how to create a culture of grace in your family (hint: it starts with you!), whether your immediate family or extended family. As we remember who we are in Jesus, we are free to accept our family members as we've been accepted in Jesus, and we are freed from the need to criticize, compare, and find fault with our family members. A great book that I think all families should read! 4 stars

This Is How It Always Is // I heard great reviews of this book from a couple of my trusted book recommendation sources, so I had high hopes for the book. I don't tend to know a lot about a book's plot before I jump in, and this one caught me a little off guard. It's about a family whose youngest son (age 4) wants to be, and thinks he is, a girl. This is what I would call a sensitive subject, which made for really surprising subject matter in a fiction book. I didn't particularly love that central theme of the book, but I did enjoy the other themes throughout - parenting, childhood, lies, secrets. Worth reading if you enjoy reading about dysfunctional families and are okay with reading about perhaps a more sensitive topic. 3 stars

Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom // This book was such a treat to read. Lisa-Jo always swore she never wanted to be a mom, but her heart changed some years into marriage and she and her husband had several kids. This is not a how-to parenting book by any means; it's Lisa-Jo's story, reflections, and lessons through the early years of motherhood. I laughed, I cried, and really enjoyed this book. I think any young mom would really enjoy it, or if you are also a woman who does not want kids, this book brings an interesting perspective that I haven't read elsewhere. 4 stars

Still Life // I heard about this book through the What Should I Read Next podcast. It seems like there's quite a Louise Penny following, so I picked up this first book in the Chief Inspector Garmache series.  It started off pretty slow but the story grew on me as the book progressed. Not the best book I've read, but I also heard that her books get better and better. I'm going to keep working my way through the series with that in mind! This is a great book for people who like a mystery but do not enjoy horrific, gruesome mysteries; this one is pretty tame! 3 stars