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I set a big goal to read 75 books this year (and if I’m being honest, I hope to crush that goal!) so far I have read 33 books (Goodreads tells me I am at 44% of my goal and 3 books behind schedule to complete by the end of the year).
As mentioned in my first quarter reading update, I’m only going to publish these updates on what I’m reading, along with a short review, just 4 times a year this year as quarterly updates.
I have read a lot since March thanks in part to listening to audiobooks while I walk and do my meal prep. My husband and I also drove to the Destin Beach area for an anniversary vacation at the start of June (we traveled without children!) so needless to say, the drive both ways plus three days sitting on a beach allowed me to read A LOT!
I have also been very disciplined with how I spend my Sunday afternoons now which has allotted me time to pretty much read almost a whole book every Sunday afternoon (I’m a fast reader).
With all that in mind, I was able to read a lot of books which felt perfect to start my summertime reading!
So without further ado, here are the books I have read over the past three months, including what I’m currently reading, and what I hope to begin reading soon.
Below is the list of what I have completed. I’ll note if I listened to the audiobook, read it as Kindle or a traditional hardback or paperback copy. I’m also trying out the free 3-month Scribd subscription that was a bonus of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle back in the spring (it’s not currently available anymore) and am really enjoying it! I think I will be signing up once the free trial ends.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (audiobook/library)
- This one pulled at my heartstrings. Based on horrifying true events, children were taken from their families in the 1930’s to be “resold” at a southern orphanage. Wingate tackles a gritty and hard subject with warmth and there is a message of redemption at the end. I listened to the audio and the narrator had a southern accent which made it even more compelling. I listened to this in just a few days.
Staying Stylish by Candace Cameron Bure (library)
- I thought I had placed a hold on her other book, Kind Is the New Classy, but got this one instead. I skimmed through it in one hour but it’s not one I would normally pick up. Basically, it’s full her of her style and beauty tips, which I did learn a few new things. And I appreciate that with Candace being a Christian, there is a strong emphasis on where our true beauty comes from. It wasn’t a terrible pick but I could have done without it.
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald (paperback/own)
- I loved the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books when I was a kid so I thought it would be fun to read aloud to my kids and while they did enjoy it, it is definitely old-fashioned (in a good way). We were constantly have to stop and look up words and explain what certain things were (my kids didn’t know phones used to have cords!) 😉 Also, the chapters were LONG and I honestly don’t remember if I ever read the first book in the series because I truly felt like I was reading this one for the first time. All in all, it was a cute and fun read. We will probably read the other book in the series eventually.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (audiobook/library)
- I picked this one off the recommendation of the What Should I Read Next podcast and because I saw a few other online fellow bookworms read and enjoy it. This was not my favorite read. It tackles suicide, infidelity, and other consequences to bad choices. I listened to the audio (on my earbuds) and was almost ready to abandon it but I really wanted to solve the burning question of how did she die? (morbid, I know). This does not end all wrapped up in a pretty bow and just wasn’t my cup of tea. I do want to read her other book Little Fires Everywhere but I am cautious about starting that one too soon.
Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hagar and Barbara Bush (library)
- I laughed, I cried, I pretty much felt it all while reading this sweet memoir, which also happened to be the weekend after Mrs. Bush passed away. Not political in any way, this was a fun account of two twin sisters, and best friends, who pretty much grew up in the political public eye and in the White House. I am the same age as they are so I’m trying to imagine my late-teen/early adult years (good and bad choices) being scrutinized constantly in the public eye, including the injustice on one of the college TA’s questioning giving one of the sisters a passing grade unless they could convince her father to pull of Iraq. This book was fun and quick to read, I only wish my library had the audio version as it was narrated by the two Bush sisters!
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (audiobook/library)
- Another example of picking a book because “everyone” on my Instagram account was reading and recommending it, but turned out to be not a good pick for me. I listened to the audiobook from my library and enjoyed that it was the author herself that narrated it which I always enjoy. Each chapter was a lie she tells you to stop believing followed by her story of overcoming that lie. While there were good points of wisdom sprinkled throughout, I had a very hard time relating to her. Some of her tie-ends I felt were stretched or long-winded, Bible verses were sprinkled in to make it fit into the Christian mold but there was no real Biblical teaching. There were funny parts and I did enjoy listening to it but I can’t say that I would recommend it like everyone else.
The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman (audiobook/Scribd)
A fun, sweet, perfect for summer easy read. I love the theme of a family recipe box passed on for generations. It has a Hallmark movie feel if you like sweet, clean fiction. I listened to the audiobook in one weekend but I’m tempted to check out the hardback from the library because at the end of each chapter was one of the beloved family recipes and they all sounded so good!
The Read Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie (library)
- I LOVED this one and had been waiting for a while to read it! My library hold finally came up which resulted in me devouring it in the car on the way to Florida. I think I will be adding to my wishlist to purchase because the last half of the book was full of reading recommendations!
The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews (library)
- I’m honestly not sure how this one ended up on my reading list but it is one of the books I took with us and read on the beach which was perfect since it was a beach(y) read. It was entertaining and the story and developing mystery had me enthralled but there were two instances where I had to quickly skim and skip some pages due to mature content (ahem). Overall, it felt like summer reading but I don’t know if I have any interest in reading any more of Mary Kay Andrew’s books.
At Home In the Word by Tsh Oxenreider (library)
- This is the true account of one family, complete with three young children, who packed up their belongings and spent the next year traveling through Asia, Australia, Africa and then Europe before heading back home to the states. I am a homebody by nature who doesn’t have that great of a desire to travel, though it would be amazing to see some of these amazing sights, but the way Tsh recalls their travels and adventures (almost) makes me want to strap on a backpack and head out. It felt perfect to read in the car as we were driving home from our Florida trip.
Don’t Make Me Come Up There! Quiet Moments for Busy Moms by Kristen Welch (library)
I like short and easy daily reads to help encourage the hard days of motherhood and this fit the bill. Fifty-two short essays that filled my depleting mom tank during the busy days of May (thanks to the school year craziness), Kristen, the blogger behind WeAreTHATFamily.com, has a way with words. If you are a mom to young ones, I would recommend seeing if your library carries this to check out.
Glory In the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God by Courtney Reissig (own)
- If you struggle with your role in the home as a homemaker (and what that even means), this one is for you. It’s a small book but it’s deep, packed full of Gospel-truths for women. It’s not a hard read but it’s one to be read slowly and thoughtfully. Courtney does a great job of unpacking theology and discussing the eternal significance of homemaking — and no, she does not say or imply that our only roles as women are in the homes.
- This was such a fascinating novel! Nyna tells the story of her mother, a young model in New York during the 50’s and her friendship with Grace Kelly which resulted in being a bridesmaid in her royal wedding (Can you just imagine?!?!) Nyna does a fantastic job of piecing together historical facts with the memories she personally knew to tell the story of how her mother was ultimately destroyed by post-partum depression (something that was not accepted as it is today). It’s a biography but it reads like fast-paced fiction.
The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck (library)
- I really enjoyed this one! It did have a slow start in the first few chapters but once the story developed, I couldn’t put it down. Told through the accounts of four different women (two being the main focus) and the connection they all have to a wedding dress (this concept sort of reminded me of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – the dress fits each woman perfectly). It is Christian fiction without feeling like Christian fiction, it wasn’t cheesy or filled with dialogue that feels forced. There are other books in the series that I plan on reading, overall this was a winner!
Edenbrook by Julianne Donaldson (library)
- I can’t say how much I LOVED this story. I read it in one afternoon/evening and then re-read my favorite parts the next morning (similar to what I did with Dear Mr. Knightly a few summers ago). This was a debut novel so the writing wasn’t stellar but the story was sweet and intriguing, although a few times I did feel like the conflict was carried on longer than appropriate and it felt like a Hallmark movie… do conversations never get picked up after they are interrupted? If you are looking for a clean, quick-read romance, I would check this one out.
Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands Paperback by Shona Murray and David Murray (audiobook/Scribd)
- I listened to the audio but I am going to be purchasing the paperback because this had such a profound effect on me. I am currently on a healing journey and Shona’s account and steps towards healing was the breath of fresh air I needed. It’s packed full of Biblical truth as well as practical steps to help refresh, including a personal survey to evaluate the scale where you are currently at. There is also a version written for men by the author’s husband that I think I’m going to recommend to my husband.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch (library)
- I read this in one Sunday afternoon (it reads quickly in my opinion). This is a memoir of one women’s goal of reading one book a day from start to finish then writing a review about it on her blog. Her rules were that it couldn’t be a repeat read and that she could only read one book by an author (no getting stuck in a series). I thought it was a fascinating account of how Nina fought for time in the margins of her day to read (she had children and other responsibilities so she wasn’t just sitting around reading all day). Still, I can’t imagine the havoc this goal would have on a family. With that said, I did add some new titles to my to-read list because she highlights a lot of the books she read and includes a master list of all 365 books she read that year.
One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both by Jennifer Fulwiler (audiobook/library)
- I honestly still don’t know what to think about this one. It was much different than I expected. I chose this one because I kept seeing it pop up on my Instagram feed with captions of “this is a must-read if you are trying to balance work/dream and family!” I listened to the audio version which was narrated by the author. This was a memoir and while it definitely included plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, as well as nodding my head in “yes, I can totally relate” moments, I struggled to really make a connection with the author.
Heavenly Minded Mom: A 90 Day Journey to Embrace What Matters Most by Katie Bennet (own)
- This devotional book is sooooo good! Don’t be fooled by the title either, this is perfect for all women. I’m going to be sharing my thoughts more in a few weeks about this devotional, as well as a few others you need to add to your Bible book basket.
None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) by Jen Wilkin (own)
- Jen Wilkin is my favorite woman Bible teacher. Everything she shares is backed by Scripture (correctly) 100%. Unlike so many other popular woman writers today, she stays true to what God’s Word says and doesn’t get caught up in emotions. I’m loving this one so far.
Still Life by Lousie Penny (audiobook/Audible)
- I’ve heard so many great things about the Inspector Gamache series but have been warned that the first book in the series is slow and that Louise Penny’s writing really comes to life in the second, especially the third, book. So far I believe this to be true. It feels like this is such a slow read. I’m listening to it and not a fan of the narrator’s voice, so that may have something to do with it. But I’m deep enough in where I have to solve the mystery, so I’m sticking with it.
The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel (library)
- I recently picked this up on the recommendation of The Modern Mrs. Darcy. I’m only about 20 pages in so it’s too early to say much else.
Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake (own)
- The pressure cooker known as summer is not bringing out the best of me. 😉 I’ve heard amazing things about this book and it has sat on my shelf untouched for approximately 2 years. What I am loving so far is each chapter is actually a short devotion filled with Scriptural encouragement and a prayer. I’m only four chapters in but already my copy is pretty marked up.
Preview of What I Want to Read Next
I feel like this could accurately be described with the hashtag #VictoriaWantstoReadALLtheBooks 😉 And it’s also entirely dictated by my library holds becoming available.
Anyone else have hundreds of holds that usually all come up at once?
So with that in mind, these are the books I currently own that I plan on reading over the next few months in addition to what becomes available through the library.
Good News for Weary Women: Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps, and Bad Advice by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
What have you been reading that you love?
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