2017 Book Review Roundup Part 1

FullSizeRender 3When it comes to books and reading, I have started 2017 off with a BANG!  My goal this year is to read 20 books, which to some seems like a drop in the bucket but for me, this will be a huge accomplishment seeing as how I have three littles all under the age of 5.  Let me stop right there, I have people ask me quite often how in the world do I have time to read.  Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret…I have found that reading in 10 minute intervals works best for me.  And since I have a serious problem where I like to read multiple books at one time, I will often read one book for 10 minutes, put it down and then pick up a different book and read it for another 10 minutes.  Most of my reading is done in the wee hours of the morning or during my kids’ quiet/nap time.  Reading is how I recharge and I love to share with others what I am reading as well as my thoughts/opinions on the books I’ve read.  Without further ado, here is the first set of books and their reviews that I have finished in 2017.

  1. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines:  Y’all, let’s be honest, what is there not to love about Chip and JoJo??  There are about a million women out there who wish they looked like Joanna (come on, she’s had 4 babies!) as well as have the type of vision and creativity when it comes to designing  and decorating a home.  Her and Chip both seem so down to earth and genuine that you can’t help but like them.  I actually asked for this book for Christmas and wound up being gifted not just one but two copies so I gave the other away to a friend.  This was a light read but I found myself getting teary eyed while reading it (what?? Who am I??).  I love their story of starting from nothing, how they met, and of course all their set backs that then led to breakthroughs.  The two most evident themes throughout the entire book is 1)their love and admiration for each other and 2) their trust in God and His hand of faithfulness in their life.  Overall, a great read!
  2. Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey:  I’m still trying to remember how and when I came across Sarah Bessey.  I first started reading her blog and really liked her.  Then I realized she had written a couple of books with this one being her newest.  The foreword was written by my girl Jen Hatmaker, so I knew that more than likely I would like Sarah’s writing.  It’s refreshing when you find an author who your values and theology aline so closely.  I found myself reading this book, nodding my head, and highlighting like a fool.  She quotes a ton of great thinkers like Richard Rohr, Greg Boyd, Brennan Manning, Shane Claiborne, Brene Brown and the list goes on and on.  The following is an excerpt from the book:  “There are a lot of Jesuses running around these days.  There is the Jesus who wants you to find a good parking spot at the mall.  There is the Jesus invoked at music awards and the one raised like a flag to celebrate capitalism and affluence.  There is the Jesus drawing lines about who is “in” and who is “out,” and there is the Jesus on both sides of the picket lines.  There is the one in the slums and the one in suburbia and the one in Africa and the one in America and the one in Calgary.  There is the Jesus who told Mother Teresa to touch the lepers and love with her hands,the one who led the bravest and kindest of men and women all the way to the end, and then there is the Jesus who supposedly inspired manifestos of hate, crusades, murder, and wars.  And then there is the Jesus who likes everything you like and hates everything (or everyone) you hate and is quite pleased with everything about you (I like that Jesus best sometimes).  We create Jesus in our own image, don’t we? ‘Its always true to some extent that we make our images of God,’ wrote Brennan Manning.  ‘It is even truer that our image of God makes us.  Eventually we become like the God we create.'”  Wow! I plan on reading more of Sarah Bessey in the future!
  3. Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst:  I have to admit, this is my first book of hers that I have read.  For whatever reason, I have never really been drawn to any of her books, but this title and the description jumped out at me.  She was also one of the speakers at IF:Gathering this year and I really enjoyed her.  Overall, I liked the book.  It personally, felt a little long to me; instead of 16 chapters, she could have easily narrowed it down to 10 chapters and still gotten across the truths she wanted to share.  I noticed that she is a master of powerful little one-liners that I would highlight verses whole paragraphs.  For example:  “Proximity and activity don’t always equal connectivity.” TRUTH.  Overall, it’s a good book.  Can’t say that it will ever be in my top 10 but I can confidently say moving forward that I will be more apt to pick up her books and read through them in the future.
  4. Heart Made Whole by Christa Black Gifford:  Confession, I am still trudging through this one.  I have one chapter left, so I am basically done.  I listened to one of the Happy Hour’s podcasts where Christa was a guest.  I really enjoyed listening to her interview with Jamie Ivey and liked a lot of what she had to say, so I put her book down on my list of books to read.  However, I cannot get into this book.  In fact, I just flipped through the book and realized I only highlighted one small paragraph in the entire book.  Y’all, that’s saying something because when an author starts speaking to my heart, my highlighter starts flying and the whole dang book will be marked up by the end of it.  The perfectionist part of me wants to finish the book, because that’s what you are supposed to do, but my heart just isn’t into it.
  5. Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner:  I seriously saved the best for last!  I had never heard of Erin before and had no idea she previously had her own show on HGTV.  Like Christa, I heard her as well on the Happy Hour podcast with Jamie Ivey and I really liked her.  When I first got the book, I was a little confused because it was written and designed for more of like a coffee table book with short chapters, pretty pictures and little tid bits here of there of different things like recipes and what she refers to as “math lessons.”  However, I LOVED THIS BOOK!  It was so different from what I am normally used to reading, mainly the format, but I loved how she would tell you a story about her life and then tie it all together at the end of the chapter in a way that made you think.  Not only did it make me think but it also made me want to be a better person and to live differently, which I know sounds so vague, but it’s hard to explain.  You really just need to go buy it and read it for yourself.  A quote from her book: “Here is the secret to subtraction.  It doesn’t matter what you remove.  What matters is that you stop adding it back.”
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