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GOAL: Read 100 books in 2017

I didn’t think that this was that ambitious until my son pointed out that I need to read a book every 3.5 days! He’s a bit of a math whiz!Panic set in – so many books, so little time. So I sat down to write out how many I have already read. Ten books in January, so I’m off to a good start! I will attempt to share my reading material with you and perhaps you will be inspired to pick something up.

I’m trying to read and/or listen to a variety of things. (I spend a lot of time in my van so Audible is my new, ‘this is awesome’ kind of friend.) How-to’s, fiction of various kinds, books on Audible, Christian, non-christian….broadening my horizons!

The Quilt Block Cookbook (Amy Gibson)

Not so much reading as inspiration and patterns, but I’m excited to get in there and try out some of Amy Gibson’s blocks. I love her stuff – so for my quilt-y friends, you may want to check that one out! Elizabeth’s 12-year old quilt is going to employ some of the blocks in the book and we’ve chosen to use the Bounce quilt design to put it all together!

An Uncommon Courtship (Kristi Ann Hunter)

I mostly liked this one. It was a bit snappy and it was set in London in a time period I love, the late 1700s. There were social conventions of the time period that needed to be adherred to should you wish your moral integrity to be maintained. In that vein, two unlikely souls find themselves married after an unfortunate accident strands them overnight unchaperoned.

Lord Trent decides that the best way to get to know his new wife is to court her, so he moves out of their newlywed non-bliss and tries to do just that. In the meantime Lady Adelaide needs to try to navigate the waters of London society to which she has never been introduced. A meddling, over-bearing, social-climbing mother doesn’t help matters.

I love this time period. If I could have a week of living in another century I’d pick this one. I love the chivalry, the fashion and the ridiculousness of high society. Hunter spins a sweet story with characters you love and those you love to hate. The only downfall was that it was somewhat predictable. It is a romance after all, however, the redeeming fact is that the author weaves in excellent advice on love and relationship that transcends time and convention.

  • An Uncommon Courtship was provided by Bethany House Publishers, a divison of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my review. It is available at your favourite bookseller.

Rich in Love (Irene Garcia)

Talk about unconventional love stories, Domingo and Irene Garcia are definitely that! Married at 16, parents shortly thereafter, alcohol, abuse, a disaster in the making…but God.  This is such a ‘but God’ story. I was privileged to hear them speak at the Belong Summit in November. Reading this story about ‘two dummies and a Bible’ is so inspiring. Together they have rebuilt their lives, their love, their marriage, their faith and their ministry to orphans. They have parented thirty-two children, many of them coming from very hard places. So encouraging, you’ll want to read this one.

The Mark of the King (Jocelyn Green)

This was an unexpected read. I have never read a story set in the founding days of Louisiana. France was trying to settle this swampy mess of ground with convicts and a ragtag bit of disillusioned military personnel. They sold lies and forced marriage. Once there the conditions were deplorable and many died or deserted.

Conflict among the natives of the land were stirred up by Britain and France alike – letting the native peoples take the fall for the bad blood between the two countries trying to take over the land. Green weaves a fascinating, though haunting and sad tale of midwife Julianne Chevalier, wrongly convicted and one of those who ended up on Louisianna’s shores.

While this was not exactly a happy tale, it is one of perseverance, learning honesty and the importance of faith and truth. Well worth the read.

  • The Mark of the King was provided by Bethany House publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Assault and Pepper (Leslie Budewitz – on Audible)

I have learned that I need to stick to novels when I listen to a book! Assault and Pepper is a murder mystery set in a Seattle spice shop owned by Pepper Reece. I have totally enjoyed Budewitz’s writing and the performance of the book by Dara Rosenberg. While not a ‘christian’ novel, it’s a clean, fast-moving, keep-ya-guessing mystery. Great characterization by Rosenberg lends to the experience.

Pepper Reece is a recently divorced, displaced, brand new owner of a spice shop in Seattle’s famous market disctrict. One day she finds a dead body on her doorstep and one of her staff is charged with the crime. Her instincts tell her this isn’t so and her spice shop staff and buddies encourage her to sniff out the truth much to the chagrin of her cop ex-husband and the local detectives, Spencer and Tracey.

Really delightful and while you might guess who the murderer is, you won’t have a clue as to why until all is revealed! I’ve listened to two more in the series but those will have to wait for February book reviews!

Finding God in the Hard Times (Matt and Beth Redman)

Choosing to Trust and Hope when you can’t see the way is the tag line for this little gem. Matt and Beth Redman are famous for many of our worship songs that are currently being sung in churches around the world. Perhaps one of the most famous is, “Blessed Be Your Name”, a song that allows the worshiper to cry out to God in both the good and bad moments of life.

Matt and Beth share some of their journey through the hard places of life, using the words of the song that they penned together to share the hope that they’ve encountered along the way.

“It’s possible to talk your soul to a place of hope.” -Matt Redman

The Redmans talk about the need for lament and thanksgiving. Owning our emotions and giving those hard thoughts and places over to God. Even in the places of hardship and pain we can offer up praise.

  • Finding God in the Hard Places was provided to me by Bethany House publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

40 Days in the Man Cave (Todd Stahl)

Disclaimer: I am not a man!

Yeah, so I haven’t actually really read this one because it is meant for the men in my life. 40 Days is a devotional written specifically for men. Men are encouraged to take the 40-Day Challenge (available online) and head into their man-cave and spend time with God. The book contains forty short devotionals along with scripture reading and challenges to flesh out your manly walk with God. Great for a gift (why I got it) to pass along to your man to encourage him in his walk!

  • 40 Days in the Man Cave was provided to me by Word Alive Press in exchange for my honest review.

Northanger Abby (Jane Austen – on Audible)

There is something quite magical about listening to someone with a British accent read Jane Austen while you’re cooking dinner. I have never read Northanger and it might just be my favourite now. I love how Jane puts in all this sarcasm and wit that you might just miss if you’re not paying attention. I love how she made fun of social conventions and some pompous person gets taken down through an unlikely heroine who gets her happily ever after. That’s all I’m saying about Northanger! You have to go read it yourself, or better yet, LISTEN to it!

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo)

I actually bought this book as a little joke present for Kelly. I opened it up in Michaels to a page that said: The Rule for Paper – GET RID OF EVERYTHING! Paper is a self-employed person’s nemesis. I laughed outloud, bought the book and gave it to Kelly for Christmas after highlighting, starring and dog-earing the page!

Then we both actually read it and hope to apply some of the principles, though I don’t imagine either of us will start talking to our belongings and thanking them for serving us! The folding method is brilliant and I have employed that already. I am hoping that in our moving back to the farm we will have the opportunity to divest ourselves of many things that are no longer necessary to our life and happiness.

The Edge of Recall (Kristen Heitzman)

I got this thriller/suspense novel for Christmas. It’s a great weekend/holiday read. Nothing earth-shattering here. A little predictable but a good story.

Phew!! I don’t think I’ve ever done that many reviews at once!! I hope you find something to tickle your reading bone. Anyone want to join me in this little challenge? Warning: it will require putting down your phone (unless you read on it – I prefer paper myself) and turning off the TV!