Full disclosure: I read a TON in March. I actually thought about splitting this post into 2 parts because I read so many books! I didn’t though, so here is what might be my longest book review post ever! All in all, I read 22 books in March, which puts me at nearly 25% of the way towards my goal of reading 100 books in 2017!
Another book-reading goal of mine is to read all the books on my bookshelf. We’ll have to downsize considerably when we move, so I want to keep only the books that will be part of my “resource library.” I’m also looking forward to the move because I will be able to utilize a civilian town’s library in addition to the Army MWR e-library!
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
It seems like a lot of bloggers are raving about this book, so I checked it out from MWR’s e-book library. I really like this book, and it felt like a push to me to just embrace being alive and myself than to meet some standard that others set for me.
Grace, Not Perfection by Emily Ley
Like the book above, this book also deals with the theme of perfection. This book reminded me to embrace simplicity, so I’ve been looking for ways to simplify my life. I do think it’s a little… ironic… that while her book is about simplicity, yet her Simplified Planners® cost over $50 and her blog/Instagram have the “perfect” images. Meanwhile, over here on Becoming Bailey, I’ll be sharing my messy house.
The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck
I absolutely loved loved loved this book! It tells the story of an engaged woman who finds a 100 year-old wedding dress and begins to research the history of the women who wore it long ago. I was so captivated in reading it, because it combines historical fiction with Christian fiction and a touch of a military love story. There’s one quote from the book that I loved so much that I had to listen to multiple times with tears in my eyes (I was listening to the audiobook). Naturally, I wrote the quote down to share as I find it so relevant to my life as an Army wife:
What if marrying (him) was about sending a young man off to war loved, happy, comforted by the idea of warm fires and a beautiful wife waiting for him at home? What if thinking of you, remembering your wedding, making love, your friendship and laughter, were the only things that kept him going on those nights he was scared and lonely, cold and hungry, miserable as I’m sure only a man a war can be. What if your letters were the only grounding to sanity he had in the midst of battle? What if marrying (him) wasn’t about you? What if it was all about him? Only for (him)? What if God loved him so much be gave him a bride before he died?”
Wow. Just wow. Anyways, I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a sweet love story that isn’t full of smut!
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
This is one book that Dave Ramsey recommends and surprisingly, I hadn’t read it yet! I really enjoyed this book because, after doing super scientific, in-depth research, the authors learned that the average millionaire lives more of a middle-class lifestyle, rather than what you would expect from someone who is “rich.” It was really encouraging to me to know that Andy and I could potentially be “rich” if we continue to invest our money and be wise with it.
Where We Belong by Catherine Ryan Hyde
I got this audiobook for free through Amazon Prime (before I canceled my subscription), and honestly, I just didn’t enjoy this book at all. Honestly, I hated it so much but finished it only so I could say I finished it. I didn’t like the plot of the book– a 14 year old girl befriends a 50 something man, which I just find weird– and was relieved to have finished it.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Y’all may notice a trend of self-help/productivity books in my book reviews lately. I am totally enjoying them lately! I found this book fascinating. The author was inspired to write it after hearing about an Army major who stopped riots in a small town named Kufa simply by keeping the food vendors out of the town plaza; when asked why the food vendors, the major stated that the military is all about the study of habits. Just think of the indoctrination in the military. This book talks about “habits” in all sorts of industries– from the NFL Super Bowl coach Tony Dungy’s techniques to Target’s scary-accurate way of telling if female shoppers are pregnant, and if so, how far along they are.
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
Oh, I just love Fixer Upper and was so sad when Netflix removed all the HGTV channels. As soon as I heard Chip and JoJo were writing a book I knew I would love it– and I did!!!! I loved hearing all about their love story, how they came into the home-flipping and realty businesses, and was shocked to learn about some of their financial mistakes in the business. If I’m ever in Texas, I plan to visit Magnolia Market at the Silos!
First Women by Kate Andersen Brower
This was a really interesting look at the lives of modern First Ladies, from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama. It’s obvious that the book was written prior to the 2016 Election, because it talks about Hillary Clinton’s attempt to become the first female President. (I wonder what the author’s thoughts on Melania Trump would be. She is so unlike any other First Lady we’ve had.) My only complaint is the book was divided by topic, instead of lady, so one chapter would include stories about multiple First Ladies. I found that to be a bit confusing, especially when it referenced “the President.” I often had to re-read to see which President was being mentioned.
Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America’s Canine Heroes by Maria Goodavage
Andy and I listened to this on our trips to and from Paducah and to and from the Scotty McCreery concert, and I finally finished the remainder of the book on my own. We really enjoyed this book! It was such a fascinating look at MWD’s– military working dogs. Through the entire audiobook we would make comments about “Lily would never do this” and “Lily’s so lazy.” We then decided if our pup Lily were in the Army, she would be a CW5 because she is like a ghost– disappears when you’re trying to find her 😉
The Crown by Kiera Cass
This is the last book in The Selection series and I was so excited to read it! It has been well over a year since I read the previous book in the series, so I struggled a bit to remember what happened because this book picks up right where the previous one left off. That being said, I absolutely adored this book and was sad to see it end! It ended in a way I didn’t expect, so that was a bit of a surprise. I heard that Warner Brothers bought the rights to make this book series into a movie, so I’m super excited!
A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury
I previously read all 25 books of the “Baxter Family” series by Christian author Karen Kingsbury and I absolutely loved them! So I was excited to read about my favorite family again. This was a quick read, but heartbreaking– I found myself crying at work as I read!
The Last Rescue: How Faith and Love Saved a Navy SEAL Sniper by Howard Wasdin
Thanks to the bin Laden mission, most Americans have heard of the infamous SEAL Team Six. Howard Wasdin was on that elite team of special warriors during the Battle of Mogadishu (the battle made famous by Black Hawk Down) and was seriously injured, forcing him to leave the Navy. He returned home, his marriage to his then-wife fell apart and, without his Navy SEAL career, his identity and world had crumbled. Then, he meets Debbie and thanks to her and a newfound trust in God, his life takes a turn for the best. I absolutely loved this book, for its focus on brokenness, redemption, love, and faith in God. I know my soldier husband would love this book and it was honestly one of the most refreshing and relatable memoirs I have read in a long time.
Songbird Under a German Moon by Tricia Goyer
This was one of the books I had on my bookshelf, bought while I worked at LifeWay. It tells the story of a USO singer in Germany after the end of WWII. Betty, the main character, meets a handsome soldier named Frank and begins to fall for him… and then, a fellow USO singer is murdered. Betty and Frank work together to solve the murder. This was a quick read but very enjoyable. I love romantic historical fiction books and this one did not disappoint! There’s just something so romantic about a handsome soldier in uniform 😉
Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman
Steven Curtis Chapman is the first Christian singer I was introduced to. He’s actually from Paducah, KY and is a graduate of the now-closed Heath High School– where a school shooting took place in 1997. This book, by his wife, tells their love and life stories… and the story of the tragedy that rocked their world: when their daughter Maria died after being accidentally hit by a car driven by their older son. This book is a wonderful reminder that God is with us in every step of life.
Do Over by Jon Acuff
I asked my husband to surprise me by picking a book from my bookshelf for me to read one night, and this was his choice. At first I felt discouraged reading it because I will have to start my career all over again when we move soon, but then I felt inspired by having a fresh start at a career.
Where the Light Gets In by Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Brad Paisley is one of my favorite country singers, so I couldn’t wait to read his wife’s biography. I loved hearing about how they met– he saw her in Father of the Bride and decided he would marry her– but more importantly I loved hearing about her relationship with her mom. Kimberly’s story about her mom’s dementia-like illness broke my heart, and made me dread the day my mom or Mamaw experience something like this. It made me hug them a little tighter the next time I saw them.
Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, PhD
My sister Brandi sent me this book when she heard about our move, and I am so grateful she did. It was a cute, yet inspiring, allegory about mice and “littlepeople” and how they adjust to change.
Nearing Home by Billy Graham
Billy Graham is one of my favorite Christian evangelists, and I so wish I had the opportunity to see him preach in person before he retired. He recently published this book about his faith in Christ and how he is approaching meeting the Lord face-to-face. I loved reading this book, and gave it to my Mamaw because I think she will too.
Money 101: Bible Guides for Life
I bought this book at LifeWay and it was a pretty basic look at finances according to the Bible. That being said, it’s one I’m keeping for future reference.
Crazy Good Sex by Dr. Les Parrott
I found this book at LifeWay and always wanted to buy it, but was embarrassed to have my coworkers see me purchase it. So, I was thrilled when I found this book on the Army MWR Library website– and for free! It was a really interesting look at sex from a man’s perspective, and taught me things about my husband’s perspective that I had never thought to ask.
Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan
Luis is an Army veteran who was injured in Iraq and struggled to life after his deployment, until he got a Golden Retriever named Tuesday. I am so amazed at service animals and their capabilities to help their owners, both emotionally and physically.
Be Safe, Love Mom by Elaine Lowry Brye
Mrs. Brye has four children, and all four of them are in the military– each in a different branch of service. This book tells about her experience as a military mom as well as wife of a military veteran. I honestly never thought about Andy’s family’s experiences when he was deployed, but this book made me appreciate them, even if sometimes I feel like they don’t “get” it.
Feeling Good Together by Dr. David D. Burns
My love of self-help books brought me to this audiobook. It teaches Cognitive Interpersonal Therapy (similar to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but includes more than one person). Although I don’t feel like I am struggling with any relationships, this was a good brush-up of how to keep communication and my relationships with others strong. I wouldn’t mind keeping this on my bookshelf for the future.
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman
A fellow blogger recommended this book, and I read it…. and did not enjoy it at all. It’s the author’s memoir about her wild and crazy stories about hooking up with random strangers and doing drugs in foreign countries. I’m sorry if it’s offensive to say, but that’s just not my idea of a good time. However, by the end of the book I was captivated to find out what happened to Kristin– did she ever fall in love and “settle down”?
A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz
After reading Until Tuesday, I wanted to read another book about a dog. Enter: A Big Little Life. This book is a memoir about author Dean Koontz’ Golden Retriever named Trixie. It made me miss my sweet Lily and cuddle her a little bit more.
Phew! So much reading, so little time!
What did you read in March?