This year I challenged myself to read 40 books and as of today I’ve read 24. Now that we’re halfway through the year I thought I would share what I’ve read, my thoughts, and Goodreads rating on each book. I would love to hear if you’ve read any great books this year or any of the ones mentioned.
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Far From the Tree
The author covers a wide range of topics and I was captivated from the very beginning. This YA novel follows the lives of three teenagers and all their imperfections. The author talks about adoption, teen pregnancy and navigating the foster system. It’s about love, friendship and most of all family. 5 stars
That Kind Of Mother
I had heard good things about this book and I wanted to like it but sadly, it just wasn’t for me. The writing is beautiful and the story line has promise but overall I found the book to be boring. If it wasn’t a book I was reading for my book club I would have given up on it. I gave it a generous 2 stars.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
I haven’t read one novel by this author that I didn’t love but I have to say this one is my favorite. I was hooked to the story from the very beginning. Like many of her books this one takes a surprising twist and I found it to be a very entertaining work of fiction. 5 stars.
The Queen of Hearts
This is another book I wanted to love, since it takes place here in Charlotte, but I found it to be just OK. This book is much like Greys Anatomy, which I loved at one time, a medical drama with romance, friendship and secrets weaved in. It was an easy book to read but truthfully I just didn’t find the writing to be very good. I feel like I would love a book with the same idea in mind, but unfortunately this one wasn’t it. 2 stars
Three Little Words
I listened to this book on audible, which was read by the author herself. This memior gives the reader a look inside the foster care and child welfare system. For the author, her situation wasn’t good, and her story brought up a lot of sadness and anger in me. This is a well written book and, even though it’s a difficult topic, it touched my heart in a big way. 4 stars
This sweet book has been around for a while but I just now got around to reading it. It’s a quick read and one I would like to read again one day with my kids. This is a middle grade fiction book but it’s a really great read for both kids and adults. It’s a heartwarming story about one boys struggles of being different and kindness and acceptance of others. 5 stars
Adopted For Life
I haven’t mentioned this yet on the blog and this doesn’t exactly seem like the best announcement but it will make sense as to why I read this book and others like it. We are in the process of adopting from China and this is a book that was recommended to me as we go through this journey. I highly recommend this for anyone considering adoption, or just interested in the Bible’s teaching on adoption. The author includes his own personal anecdotes throughout and backs up his thoughts with lots of scripture and Jesus’ teaching. 4 stars
Message From an Unknown Chinese Mother
This book lays out the laws of adoption in China (or at least what they used to be), and it gives cultural perspective for the many Chinese women who were forced to abandon or place their children in orphanages. Messages from an Unknown Chinese Mother will pull at your heart strings as you gain perspective for these mothers and some adoptive mothers from different parts of the world.
He Spends, She Spends
We read this with our life group at church for a study we were doing earlier this year. It examines why we make the decisions we make regarding money, what thinking is behind those decisions, and why money is such a strong influence in how we build and live our lives.The author makes it easy to read and relatable as he shares his own personal experiences and mistakes.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
As someone who loves to run I thought I would like this book more than I did but I found it hard to hold my interest. It’s a book about running, writing novels, aging and basically about living a life from the authors perspective.
Oh how I loved this book. The writing is beautiful and the story will captivate you till the very end. The book takes place in a small town built around a love for hockey, yet the characters and plot could take place in any small town America. It’s about knowing the difference between right and wrong and good versus evil. I’m currently reading the newly released sequel and so far it’s everything I hoped it would be.
This Must be The Place
Although it took me a while to get in to this one, once I did I couldn’t put it down. I liked how each chapter was told from a different characters voice and I found myself completely immersed in the story line. The writing is beautiful and since this is the first book I’ve read by this author I’m interested in checking out more of her work.
Salt, Sugar, Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us
Michael Moss researches big name companies to bring us insight on how they market and make business decisions. I found a lot of the information disturbing and it will make one really think about the kinds of foods we put in our bodies. Moss discusses how processed food would not exist without salt, sugar and fat and how each company goes about finding the perfect “bliss point” in its products. Spoiler Alert: It’s not a good thing. I thought this book was interesting, easy to read, and full of insight. 4 stars
An American Marriage
This is a complex and moving story about a young African-American couple with a bright future ahead of them. One night that all went away after an unfortunate crime happens and a finger is pointed, inaccurately, at the husband. I found this to be a thought provoking book about marriage written in a beautiful and insightful way.
The Great Alone
This is one of, if not, the best book I’ve read this year. I haven’t read many books that take place in Alaska and the author does such an incredible job of giving the readers a vivid description to it’s harshness and beauty. This book is a beautiful, and engaging story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature. 5 stars
The Hearts Invisible Furies
This is a beast of a book and definitely not one you can fly through but don’t let that stop you from picking it up. It’s very well written and it will have you feeling all the feels. The novel covers a span of 70 years about coming of age as a gay man in 1960’s Ireland.5 stars
If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free
I’m a huge fan of Jamie Ivey so I was excited to finally read her book. We can all learn a thing or two about vulnerability from Jamie and this is her story of how she’s found freedom from her past. The past doesn’t define who we are and this book is a testament of that as Jamie shares her heart on every page. The book is written in a very casual manner, just like her podcast, The Happy Hour. 4 stars
This is my favorite memior so far this year. It’s an incredibly well written book and like my friend quoted, “it’s difficult to read, impossible to put down.” Tara’s writing is very formal and the stories are so hard to imagine. The author grew up in a survivalist family in Idaho. She had no education due to her father’s mistrust of public schools and her family didn’t believe in modern medicine. Instead, her mother was an herbalist and midwife and several very serious injuries were left untreated. This book made for a very interesting book club conversation and it’s receiving major buzz for good reason. 4 stars
Little Fires Everywhere
This book starts off slow but hang in there because it really develops into a great story. The author does an incredible job creating each character and giving the reader a very vivid picture of what they’re like. 4 stars
A Wrinkle In Time.
I can’t believe I’ve never read this classic until now, and I plan to reread it again with my kids one day. This is a timeless novel that offers enjoyment to both children and adults and there are many valuable lessons to be taken from it. 4 stars
Sing, Unburied, Sing.
Based off the reviews I realize I’m probably in the minority when I say, I really didn’t care for this book. I can’t deny that the writing is beautiful but I didn’t feel there was much of a plot to drive this book along. The book is told from different characters perspectives, including ghosts, and sadly that’s when the book really lost me. 2 stars
Of Mess and Moxie
I love Jen Hatmaker and her latest book is so good. It’s funny, raw and honest and one so many of us can relate to. It’s for moms, grandmothers, sisters and daughters who’ve struggled with fear, anxiety or any other curve ball life throws our way. It’s laugh out loud funny and I found myself shaking my head yes so many times. 4 stars
The Light We Lost
This was a quick read and I finished it in no time at all. I would consider this to be the perfect beach read with its fast pace and engaging love story. As much as I loved the book I can’t say I cared for the characters all that much. That obviously didn’t change the way I felt about the story but consider this a heads up if you like characters you can root for. 5 stars
Tana French writes crime novels like no other and I seriously love her work. I started reading the Dublin Murder Squad books last year and they’ve hooked me from the beginning. These novels do not need to be read in order so if you have any interest in suspense I highly encourage you to give one of her books a shot. 4 Stars