Do you remember “Book It?”
Oh goodness I loved Book It. Reading books for free pizza? Sign me up. (Is there an adult version of this??) I’ve always been a big reader, and as I’ve gotten older and entered the blogging world, some of my favorite blog posts to read are book reviews. Even though I have a 42 million unread books on my book shelf, I’m such a sucker for a good book recommendation.
Being a mom has definitely put a damper on the amount of books I read per month, but I found that if I make it a priority, (less TV, being more productive during the day so I can relax and read after my kids’ bedtime) I can actually read a good amount! I’ve been on a huge kick lately, and have loved being able to dive into some really great books. Like I said, I’m a big fan of getting recommendations from friends and family, and I’ve recently found a love of “live texting” my way through a book with a friend who is either reading it at the same time, or had previously read it.
Anyway, onto the books…here are the books I read in March and April!
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
This was a great, but emotionally difficult read. As a mom, it was gut wrenching to put myself in the shoes of Isabel, a woman who heartbreakingly suffered miscarriage after miscarriage. Then one day, literally out of nowhere, a baby miraculously washing up on the shore of the island where she lived with her husband, Tom. Isabel and Tom decide to keep the baby, and the rest of the book is all about the result of that decision, and how it affects more than simply their lives. It doesn’t end happy-go-lucky, so if you’re someone who likes, “and they all lived happily ever after” type books, the ending might frustrate you, but I loved it.
Small Great Things by Jody Picoult
[6 stars…because it’s my blog post, so I make the rules.]
You guys, this book. Get it RIGHT NOW. This book is amazing. Like, favorite book of the year, top 10 books ever amazing. It’s told from a few different points of view, Ruth, an African-American labor and delivery nurse, Turk, a white supremacist, and Kennedy, a lawyer. Ruth gets assigned to take care of Turk and his wife’s newborn baby, but upon seeing that she is African-American, Turk rudely requests that she be taken off their case. An event happens with Ruth and the baby, and the book follows the complicated consequences of all parties involved.
This book will open your eyes to your own prejudice where you didn’t think you had any. This book will show you where there is injustice in places you never realized. More than anything, this book will make you aware of the fact that other people are living lives that you can’t possibly understand. You don’t know what it’s like to live in their shoes, and a lot of times you can’t, because you can’t change the color of your skin. This book will give you empathy, and in a world where empathy is greatly lacking, that’s one of the best outcomes you could wish from reading a book like this.
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
Along with most of America, I would do anything to meet (let’s be real- be BFFs with) Chip and Jo. They have taken the country by storm, and basically put Waco on the map. Magnolia is the place to be, and clearly their realness, humility and honesty is adored by fans, young and old alike. This book was like sitting down for coffee with both of them and simply hearing about their lives. It’s a super fast read, I think I read it in 3 days, and you’ll love every minute of reading it.
My husband kept asking me what I was reading because I would literally laugh out loud as I read. Mostly at Chips comments, because his additions were hilarious, just like he is on camera and in real life. This book is a peek inside their lives, the good the bad and the big boats. It’s a refreshing read that I think every single person would really enjoy, even fictionaholics like me ;)
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Patricia Castelao
My mom recommended this book to me after flying through it herself. It’s actually written for grade school kids, so it’s a super fast read for an adult. I think I read it in 2 days. But, even though it’s meant for kids, it was an unforgettable story. Ivan is a gorilla who’s been in captivity for 27 years, so his life in the jungle is nothing but a distant memory. But as opposed to living in a zoo, Ivan lives in the middle of a shopping mall. But he’s not totally along, he lives there alongside his friends Stella and Bob, an elephant and dog, respectively. Then, when a baby elephant named Ruby joins their unconventional family, Ivan’s life is forever changed.
This is the type of book that stays with you, even after you finish reading (and makes you wish you could have real conversations with animals). I never knew I could learn so much from a fictional gorilla, but here I am…suggesting adults read a book about talking animals written for 5th graders :) But I promise you, you’ll love it just like I did!
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
You know how I mentioned “live texting” through a book? Well I did that with my cousin, Katie, who recommended it to me, and it was the most fun (we actually decided to do a texting book club type thing while reading the same book and I’m pretty excited. I know, I’m a nerd).
This book is about a somewhat love triangle between Lily Bloom and her first love, Atlas and her new steamy crush, Ryle. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions deciding if you’re on Team Atlas or Team Ryle, all the while wanting to be Lily’s best friend.
[Side note: I do feel the need to mention that this book has some of sex in it, (I wouldn’t call it a romance novel by any means, but it’s in there for sure) so if that’s not your cup of tea, I’d skip this one.]
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
This book is definitely life changing. The author starts off by sharing two very honest and humbling moments in his life that caused him to reevaluate how he was living his life. One was when, because he was more focused on pleasing people than caring for his family, his daughter almost drowned. And the second was when his wife told him, “Pete, I’d be happier single than married to you…and by the way, that church you pastor? I quit. Your leadership isn’t worth following.” She couldn’t live the life he with him that he was pretending to live and finally confessed that something needed to change if he wanted her continued partnership in life and ministry.
Woah. A pastor’s wife leaving his own church? Talk about awkward. But what came from that difficult conversation was the transformation of a lifetime. Peter Scazzero realized that he was incredibly unhealthy emotionally, and that was seeping into every other aspect of his life, causing everyone pain, hurt and bitterness.
This book will lead you on a journey of discovering how emotionally unhealthy you actually are, and the practical steps you can take to heal your heart and mature into an emotionally healthy adult. My journey has just begun, and I plan on reading this book at least one more time along the way!
If you have any favorite book recommendations, please share below in the comments!!