Friends, strangers, fellow readers! Welcome to 2021!
We’re taking these reviews in a different direction this year. I’m still not giving you a synopsis. That’s cheating, and also very redundant to everything else on the internet. But, since some of you don’t love going into a book blindly, I will give you a little sneak peak of what the book is about by providing what I found to be the, or at least one of the, best quotes in it.
I’m a big quote person, so this should be fun for the both of us.
Also, don’t forget, I love to know what you guys are reading too! Feel free to drop me a message if you have your own opinions on any of these books, or if you have a book that you think that I might like.
Thanks for reading with me!
by Christina Lauren
“She’s candy-sweet at the surface and probably terrible at communicating negative emotions. Meanwhile, I’m like a sour patch kid on the surface, but will happily detail all the ways I think the world is going to hell.”
This book is the chick-littiest chick lit you can find, and yet, me and my belly butterflies still ate it up.
I’m talking, everything you expect in a chick novel is right there for you. Beach vacation, nemesis fall in love, ex drama, twins, all of the above. If there’s a romance cliche, this book had it, but I’m not complaining.
This book, like a decent amount of my recent reads, falls under the “brain candy” sector. It’s is the perfect little life escape. A great vacation read!
Disclaimer- if you read this book while looking out your window at day 6 of snow on the ground like I did, you may also waste a decent amount of your day looking at island rentals that you really practically cannot travel to, and then be endlessly tortured by the ads that pop up every time you look at your phone. Just a warning.
By Kate Bowler
“What would it mean for Christians to give up that little piece of the American Dream that says, “You are limitless”? Everything is not possible. The mighty kingdom of God is not yet here. What if ‘rich’ did not have to mean ‘wealthy’, and ‘whole’ did not have to mean ‘healed’? What if being the people of “the gospel” meant that we are simply people with good news? God is here. We are loved. It is enough.”
When I first dived into this book, I didn’t expect to have to pull out and do a bit of research, but I did.
In all honesty, I chose this book because, in light of all recent events, I’m pretty bitter about the whole “everything happens for a reason” thought process, and considering this is the name of the book, I thought I would either love or hate what she had to say, but either way it would evoke something in me, which is always what I look for in my readings.
I was grabbed pretty quickly by both her witty banter and her train wreck of a life. I tend to be attracted to both of these qualities, once again, referencing back to my own circumstance.
This author has devoted her life and research to “the prosperity gospel” and this is referenced a lot. Despite growing up in pretty charismatic churches, I had never heard of this. I definitely recommend researching it just a little before diving into this book, just to add a little context, particular if you are newer to faith, or haven’t been exposed to too many charismatic ideologies.
Ultimately, this book was solid. I related to it in a variety of ways, and I really felt the magnitude of what this author went through, and continues to go through, even as much of the book was lightened in the way she shared heavy facts of life.
By Kristin Hannah
“That was what a best friend did: hold up a mirror and show you your heart.”
I like Kristin Hannah’s writing, I really do. This is the third book I’ve read of hers, and I have her new one on deck. Obviously, I’m a fan if I keep coming back.
With that said, I always feel like her books are about 100-150 pages longer than they really need to be. Her books typically push over the 400 page line, which is great, however, in her case, I think unnecessary. I think if she cut about 100 pages of this book it would have flowed much better, read much faster, and would not have really lost any important context.
However, I’m not her editor, and people keep buying her books, me included. So, I don’t have too much room to complain. Even at the higher page count, I flew through this book in three days, if that says anything.
It was really a sweet and complicated story about life and friendship. Both main characters were flawed and relatable, even in scenes where they were not particularly likable.
I’ve had this book unread on my shelf for over a year, and I honestly forgot about it. I decided to pick it up when I saw such good ratings for the new Netflix show based on it. So far, the show differs from the book a lot, but both are well made and well written. I’m glad I picked it up off my shelf and gave it a read.
by Anne Frank
“I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you.”
Yes I, like you, did read this in high school. Yes, I do recommend going back to read it again. The fact that this girl is only 14 at the time of writing this is baffling. This is something you don’t recognize when you are a teenager yourself, but as a 26-year-old reading these words, it is so evident how Anne was wise beyond her years.
It is also fun to recognize the areas where she does act like a teenager, and really think back to her age. It gets so easy to make her older in our mind, and also to make her an angel. The facts are, she was only fourteen, and she had the angst and sass to back this up.
Overall, it is a totally different experience to read this book after high school, and it was a pleasant and heart-breaking surprise to find how much insight I gathered from the pain and unbearable circumstance of a teenager.
by Charlie Mackesy
“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said? asked the boy.
‘Help,’ said the horse.
‘Asking for help isn’t giving up,’ said the horse. ‘It’s refusing to give up.”
This book was gifted to me, and it was exactly what this soul needed. It was sweet, gentle, and heart-warming, all while being insightful for those of all ages.
This is another book that you can read in a single sitting. You can even read it to a child, and I think the words are poignant enough that everyone can gather something out of it.
So yeah, just a sweet, easy, beautiful, and quick, read. Give it a chance. You really have nothing to lose. I hope it warms your heart and grants you as much grace as it provided me.
by Fredrik Backman
“The only thing of value on Earth is time. One second will always be a second, there’s no negotiating with that.”
I will say this every time I finish anything that Fredrik Backman writes- he is simply a genius.
If you have an hour- it literally ONLY TAKES AN HOUR- add this insightful, painful, beautiful read to your mind’s sweet library.
There is nothing more I can even say besides read it… so Instead, I’ll leave you with another quote. Brilliant. Backman is brilliant.
“You’re not scared. You’re just grieving. No one tells you humans that your sorrow feels like fear.”
by Leesa Cross-Smith
“I hope you’ve heard it plenty of times before, but it’s okay to not be okay.”
This book was a bit… uncomfortable, and not really in the “sometimes you need to be uncomfortable” kind of way.
Yes, it handled uncomfortable, but important, topics- depression, suicide, etc. but that wasn’t what made it uncomfortable. The characters were both just a little weird and their interactions were very cringy to witness.
There were multiple times during this book where I kind of felt like I was eaves dropping on an awkward conversation that I wasn’t supposed to hear.
I didn’t really love either character, and it was honestly a pretty difficult book for me to finish, even with the shock ending. Just not one of my favorites.
by Glennon Doyle
“The truest, most beautiful life never promises to be an easy one. We need to let go of the lie that it’s supposed to be.”
I’m honestly pretty conflicted about this book. I’m usually one to judge a book by the writing more than whether or not I agree with the message. The writing in this book is a solid 4-4.5/5 stars. It is just really hard for me to push this book too intensely because I feel like the message is a little dangerous, as well as borderline blasphemy.
Anytime someone can make an allusion to the garden, to the literal moment that everything bad happened to the earth, and make a comment that if you’re in the garden you should dare to eat the apple… I can’t help but feel a little skeptical of the message.
So writing… good.
But hey, if you’re feeling bold, check it out for yourself. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
by Sophie Cousens
“Life is full of times you have to turn toward the storm, and life brings many storms. Sick children, parents dying, cancer, just the challenge of building a life together and not driving each other completely nuts. You need a man who’ll turn in to the storm with you when it comes.”
Refreshing. That’s the best word I can think about for this book.
In a season of heavy life and heavy reads that reflect that, I think everyone needs a book like this one to just relax and refresh a bit. Unlike most chick-lit, this book actually had a bit of depth to keep you deeper thinkers engaged. It just wasn’t quite as overwhelming as some other novels tend to be.
This was a cute romance, but without a lot of the cringe of most romances. It was a pretty cliche scenario, but it worked out to be a fun, quick, and cute read.
If you feel like you’ve been a bit bogged down by life, or even the heavy reads that you have been diving into, I definitely recommend feeding your mind a little bit of candy with this fun and heart warming read.
It’s Not Supposed to Be this Way :Finding Unexpected Strength when disappointments leave you shattered
by Lisa Terkeurst
“Humans are very attached to outcomes. We say we trust God but behind the scenes we work our fingers to the bone and our emotions into a tangled fray trying to control our outcomes. We praise God when our normal looks like what we thought it would. We question God when it doesn’t. And walk away from Him when we have a sinking suspicion that God is the one who set fire to the hope that was holding us together.”
But… actually. I have recently learned how frustrated I get whenever life doesn’t go my way, and this book helped me to navigate that. It was a solid reminder that we aren’t in control, and though that is unbelievably frustrating, that’s actually a good thing.
Whether your life is a dumpster fire or a field of flowers right now, I guarantee that you will be able to get something positive from Lisa’s words and experiences. The fact is, we all hit these hard seasons eventually. Sometimes, it helps to spend a little time hearing about how someone navigated their losing season so that we might have a little more insight whenever we enter our own.