I made a lot of plans for the blog and the 2017 reading challenge last fall. Turns out, I spent winter and through the summer growing a new addition to our family instead.
Hyperemesis gravidarum might sound like just a fancy way to say “morning sickness”, but if you’ve experienced it you will know it is much more than that. Working and trying to maintain some level of stability while experiencing sickness was tough. It took its toll and I had to pare back to just the basics.
My blogging plans were out the window, but I did actually read quite a bit and I can’t imagine a better exchange for my plans than our much-wanted bebe. Our little Rainbow, Landon Scott, arrived in August. He’s healthy, and I am recovering. All is well!
There are dozens of things to update you all on, however, as summer fades ( it was 55 here this morning! Not our normal for the first of September, for sure.) I wanted to recap some of the great or not great things I read this year. With sickness and pain that kept me up much of the nights, I wasn’t up for a lot of heavy reading, so I’ve been checking off the free eBooks I’ve snagged up (Thanks to the Free eBook Alerts group on Facebook!) over the past few years. That means my list is fiction heavy. This list isn’t complete, so if you want to see all the books I have been reading, you can check out my goodreads challenge page. Are you ready for that list now?
My Summer 2017 Reading List
The Illustrated Book of Sayings by Ella Frances Sanders
I have a weakness for words. Words and sayings are a type of cultural DNA that leaves its traces through regions and generations. This little book is filled with gorgeous full-color pages that show the saying in its mother tongue, and then in English. The facing page gives a brief history of the phrase and what it means and throws in interesting tidbits that make it not only pretty to look at but an educational and fascinating read. Featuring common sayings from around the world, it is a great way to broaden your horizons and get a glimpse into a wide variety of cultures.
If you enjoy colloquialism, you’ll love having this on your coffee table as a conversation piece or as a resource for adding new sayings to your repertoire.
Befriend by Scott Sauls
I reviewed this book earlier in the year as one in a series of books I’ve been reading that deal with modern day friendships and relationships. It may seem silly, but I think a lot of us aren’t exactly sure as adults how to create, cultivate and maintain healthy, vibrant and much-needed friendships. I know I feel daunted by cracking the friendship code and I don’t think I’m alone.
I appreciated the way that Sauls headed straight for the heart of relationship issues: you can’t really be a true friend until you get to know THE ultimate friend. Because friendship, like any relationship, is based on love. And love is the one thing we don’t have on our own.
While the book was geared more specifically toward ministry-type relationships, there really is so much that applies to all our friendships and makes this book a good, challenging read for anyone interested in authentic relationships.
Long Days of Small Things by Catherine McNiel
Does anyone become a mother fully prepared for the chaos of motherhood or for the incredible responsibility in brings? I think I knew that there is not much in the early years of motherhood (or ever?) that sound like “quiet” or “time” or “uninterrupted”. But after nights of little to no sleep, work deadlines that don’t care if you are tired or how much laundry you need to fold, and days of never ending busy, it’s hard to figure out how to practically refill your own heart and soul so you can adequately mother and train your children. I read the pages of this book with tears in my eyes because it really did hit so close to home. It was so practical, and simple, and filled with hope that even though “quiet time” might not look the same as it did before children, it is possible to find a way to reconnect, be refreshed, and refocus on the important things.
It was a refreshing perspective on the little years when you know they go quickly, but they don’t really feel like it when you’re in the middle of sleepless days and sickness and perpetual messes. Definitely a book I will share with other mamas!
Dear Mr, Knightly & The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay
After much prompting from at least half a dozen friends, I finally snagged The Bronte Plot when it came up on amazon for free last year. I finally read it this spring and while I was skeptical, by the end it won me over. The stories are modern but they give a nod to some of our beloved literary classics in Jane Austen’s collection. The Bronte Plot was interesting, but Dear Mr. Knightly I was definitely my favorite of the two.
Written in letter form, it is real, raw and yet sweet and romantic at the same time. I loved how she tied in so many important things and made the romance clean, realistic and yet intriguing at the same time. I’m looking forward to reading the others by Katherine as soon as I get a chance.
The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer
I can’t believe I’ve never read any of Tricia’s books. This is another one I snagged for free ages ago and finally picked up. It was a delightful mix of history, suspense and it had such a fun unexpected twist at the end that I loved!
I don’t often read WWII era books simply because they are often so heavy and devastating and I can’t emotionally handle it very often. It was a great balance of realistic and yet not so heavy that I couldn’t really get into the story and the characters who were a part of it.
I’m already looking forward to my next read (which I was so thrilled to win in a facebook challenge a few weeks ago!), Night Song. I’m sure it’ll be fantastic, too!
Captive of Raven Castle by Jessica Greyson
This is another one of my freebies. I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it because romance is so predictable and sometimes princesses get on my nerves. But the story of the Princess discovering her real identity, her real family, her faith and eventually her love was maybe not unexpected but sweet, tasteful and the story line was fun and interesting as well. Definitely worth picking up, if you are looking for some medieval fiction!
All My Love, Deitrick by Roberta Kagen
This is the one book I wish I hadn’t read. Not because it wasn’t well written. It was absolutely intriguing. It is another WWII era story, and it was so incredibly real and devastating. The whole story was perfect, but the ending was terribly sad and it has haunted me emotionally ever since.
But if you enjoy realistic historical fiction based on fact, don’t mind intense, emotional stories with sad endings, this one is a good one.
The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
I participate in monthly mail swaps, and this was the book my partner sent me for our “book month”. Right away, it was clear that it was a spin on a classic fairytale. While this made the outcome somewhat predictable, it was delightfully written and I thoroughly enjoyed this version of “Aurora’s” story.
A few places felt a bit forced to fit the theme, but overall, it was good enough that I added all the rest of the books in the series to my amazon wishlist.
Lastly, not a “read” per-say, but another gorgeous book I got my hands on this year:
Tranquility, a coloring journal
You probably remember that last year I went on a coloring book and journal spree trying to find one I actually enjoyed using. Well, Tyndale definitely came up with the winners. The gorgeous coloring journal that focuses on Gratitude was an instant hit for me. And the coloring book for Christmas is perfect for long winter evenings.
Tranquility lives up to its predecessors with just enough creativity to be interesting but enough structure for it not to be overwhelming when I really want to focus on unwinding and reconnecting. The pages are beautiful, the prompts are perfect, and it’s small enough it easily fits into a bag to take with me on hikes or into town for appointments. It feels peaceful and refreshing and I loved it!
With the holidays coming up, I already have it on my gift list for the person I’m shopping for this year!
So there you have it… a sneak peak at a few of the things I’ve read this year. Stay tuned for a couple more bookish posts in the near future, but for now…
Drop me a comment and talk to me about what you’d like to see in next year’s reading challenge!
Congratulations on your new little blessing! So happy for you.