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    Book Reviews, Books I Read

    What I Read | February 2017

    Books I Read

    February somehow flew by (bless it being a short month), and here we are in March! This month the books I read were quiteĀ interesting and I hope you’ll enjoy learning about them! As always, let me know in the comments what you books you read so I can add them to books I read šŸ˜‰ And now, on to the reviews of the books I read in February!

    Eden Close by Anita Shreve

    3 stars. See full review here.

    Goodreads | Amazon

    Little Deaths by Emma Flint

    Synopsis: It’s 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and Ruth Malone–a single mother who works long hours as a cocktail waitress–wakes to discover her two small children, Frankie Jr. and Cindy, have gone missing. Later that day, Cindy’s body is found in a derelict lot a half mile from her home, strangled. Ten days later, Frankie Jr.’s decomposing body is found. Immediately, all fingers point to Ruth. As police investigate the murders, the detritus of Ruth’s life is exposed. Seen through the eyes of the cops, the empty bourbon bottles and provocative clothing which litter her apartment, the piles of letters from countless men and Ruth’s little black book of phone numbers, make her a drunk, a loose woman–and therefore a bad mother. The lead detective, a strict Catholic who believes women belong in the home, leaps to the obvious conclusion: facing divorce and a custody battle, Malone took her children’s lives. Pete Wonicke is a rookie tabloid reporter who finagles an assignment to cover the murders. Determined to make his name in the paper, he begins digging into the case. Pete’s interest in the story develops into an obsession with Ruth, and he comes to believe there’s something more to the woman whom prosecutors, the press, and the public have painted as a promiscuous femme fatale. Did Ruth Malone violently kill her own children, is she a victim of circumstance–or is there something more sinister at play?

    I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway, and I was really excited because this is a new and popular book. In spite of that, or maybe because of it, it fell flat to me. I wanted to know more about the characters, and because of that I never felt a real connection to any of them. There were also a few random sexual scenes that could have been left out. The subject matter is enthralling though, and I didn’t realize until after I had finished the book that it is based on a true story (which I promptly researched and spent hours reading about). I know a lot of people love this book, but for me, it was just “eh”.

    3 stars.

    Goodreads | Amazon

    *Choose Joy by Sara Frankl

    Synopsis: Sara Frankl knew she had a terminal disease, but she didn’t let it stop her from living. In the face of immeasurable pain, Sara chose joy–again and again. Her unforgettable message of hope and purpose lives on, even after her death, in her words.CHOOSE JOY is a compilation of the lessons Sara learned while she was dying, written in her own words and sewn together by her close friend Mary Carver. It is a reminder to see the beauty in life, even when it looks nothing like you hoped or planned.In a world full of tragedy, choosing joy is no small task–but, as Sara knew, the importance lies in the choosing. Once you learn to make that choice, every day, no matter what happens, joy will come.

    I wasn’t familiar with Sara’s story before I received this book, and so maybe this is what made it so underwhelming to me, I’m not sure. Sara’s story is definitely unique, and she absolutely is inspirational in the way she dealt with what life threw at her, but overall, to me, the writing wasn’t anything special, and I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over and over again. It was hard to push through. That said, there were a few things that stood out to me, that I’d like to share.

    “We find what we are meant to do when we stop focusing on what we are kept from doing.”

    “I think a big part of trust is walking ahead in faith and being okay with never knowing, never understanding. I think trust comes down to walking a path simply because He has asked us to.”

    “Sometimes I get overwhelmed … It’s easy to let the pain of today and the unknown of tomorrow take what energy there is and waste away. I wonder sometimes if, in some small way, that is how Jesus felt in that garden when He was sweating blood … If in the moment of hard it was easy for Him to be overwhelmed, too, despite knowing and believing in and loving His Father. And then I remember that even though He did asked or the cup to pass Him by … He did something else in the middle of it all that night. He took action. He gave thanks. … He took what He had left of His life and gave thanks. … Jesus took the pain that was to come for Him and, in the midst of what must have been overwhelming, acknowledged the Father. He acknowledged that was was going to be brutal for Him would be transformed into grace, because that is what the Father does. He didn’t let what would overwhelm Him in the garden overshadow the beauty He trusted would come: a beauty that only God can bring from the hard. God wants to transform our hard the same way. We all know how God turned the pain of Jesus’s journey into joy for each of us. And it all started with an action … Jesus giving thanks. And so, I take action as He did. I give thanks for the gifts that come from pain. … I give thanks even when I don’t easily see the gifts, because I trust that He is making beauty in places my eyes can’t see.”

    3 stars. (Really 2.5.)

    Goodreads | Amazon

    *AttendĀ  by Laura Davis Werezak

    Synopsis: Our world is full of distractions that do not promote the health of individual souls. What can people do when they feel they have no time or ways to find God? In her new book ATTEND, Laura Davis Werezak reminds readers to encounter God through 40 brief everyday activities that they have been taking for granted, from opening a window to jotting down a dream. Modern life and technology increasingly render these activities obsolete, and readers who struggle to connect with God through “typical” devotions will discover depth in their everyday lives through each beautifully written exercise. Like the wisdom Brother Lawrence provided in his 17th century spiritual classic The Practice of the Presence of God, these daily reminders guide readers to appreciate God in our midst today.

    I can so appreciate what Laura is trying to do with her book. She writes about different ways we can praise and find God throughout the mundane tasks of life, and it was a bit of fresh air. However, I wanted more. Most of the book fell flat to me. I did enjoy parts of it, and I’ll be sharing my own thoughts about it in an upcoming blog post. I do feel bad giving some books I read such low ratings but if they are hard for me to push through, well, they get a low rating.

    3 stars. (Really 2.5.)

    Goodreads | Amazon

    At The Pulpit by Jennifer Reeder and Kate Holbrook (editors)

    4 stars. See full review here. (And in the interest of full disclosure, I actually haven’t finished this yet, but I’m taking it slow and reading one or two discourses at a time, as time allows. However, I did need to post about it in February (and my review won’t change because of the nature of the book), so I’m counting it as a February read, but will probably finish in March or April.)

    Goodreads | Amazon

    The Change by Teyla Branton

    Synopsis:Ā There are only two ways to kill Unbounded, and fire isnā€™t one of themā€”as law school dropout Erin Radkey learns the hard way. By fluke of a recessive gene, she has become Unbounded, a nearly immortal being with paranormal abilities. Erinā€™s Change separates her from her loved ones and alters everything she believes to be true. A week earlier she was considering a marriage proposal; now she contemplates the best way to stay alive. Caught in a battle between two Unbounded groups, she is also hunted by a secret mortal society sworn to eradicate the Unbounded gene. Worse, a new identification software could mean death for all Unboundedā€”or enslavement for the entire mortal world. As Erin plunges into this dangerous new life, she must carve out her own place in the madness, protect her mortal family, and decide which group she should join. Her powerful attraction to Ritter Langton, whose family was massacred by opposing Unbounded two hundred and forty years ago, complicates her choices. There are no second chances. Death, life, or loveā€”Unbounded always play for keeps.

    This was another one of my random Kindle books, and I liked this one immensely more than the other ones I’ve read lately. The above synopsis makes it seem a bit, well, hokey, for lack of a better word, but it actually was better written and was more intriguing than most of the other vampire-esque books I’ve read. Is it my new favorite book? No. But I enjoyed it for what it was.

    3 stars.

    Goodreads | Amazon

    Currently Reading: Life After by Katie Ganshert. I’m loving this one and can’t wait to share it with you on my next books I read post!

    On My Bookshelf: Too many! But a few are: Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram (this is finally going to be read and shared in the next books I read post, yay!), Successful Leaders of the Bible by Katara Washington Patton, and Our Presidents and Their Prayers by Rand Paul.

    *I received free product from First Words in exchange for a review. All opinions of the books I read are my own.Ā