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If you’re new around these parts, Recent Reads is a monthly blog series where I recap the books that I read the previous month. I’ve been an avid reader since I was 6 years old and I’ve read thousands of books since then…. but reading so many books can be a problem because I tend to forget what I’ve previously read! I believe that life is too short and there are too many good books to spend time re-reading books, so I created this blog series as a way of recording which books I’ve read and to inspire others in finding new books to read as well.
I used to read anywhere from 5-20 books per month, depending on my life situation at the time. Right now, my goal is to read 3 books per month. As a reminder, I provided a summary of the books (either from Amazon or GoodReads) in italics with my review beneath that.
Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
At a recent event with some friends from our church’s small group, some of the girls were raving about this book. I casually mentioned that it was on my reading list and before I knew it, a friend loaned me her copy of Red Queen because it was “soooo good.” Honestly, the first quarter of the book was an excruciatingly slow pace, but once the pace picked up, I was captivated. I could not put this book down! There were so many plot twists that I didn’t see coming. I can’t wait to read the second book in the series!
Matt and Liz Logelin were high school sweethearts. After years of long-distance dating, the pair finally settled together in Los Angeles, and they had it all: a perfect marriage, a gorgeous new home, and a baby girl on the way. Liz’s pregnancy was rocky, but they welcomed Madeline, beautiful and healthy, into the world. Just twenty-seven hours later, Liz suffered a pulmonary embolism and died instantly, without ever holding the daughter whose arrival she had so eagerly awaited. Though confronted with devastating grief and the responsibilities of a new and single father, Matt did not surrender to devastation; he chose to keep moving forward–to make a life for Maddy. In this memoir, Matt shares bittersweet and often humorous anecdotes of his courtship and marriage to Liz; of relying on his newborn daughter for the support that she unknowingly provided; and of the extraordinary online community of strangers who have become his friends. In honoring Liz’s legacy, heartache has become solace.
I have had this book on my Amazon wishlist since it was first published in 2012 and was excited to read it. (Thank you, Paperback Swap!) This book continues in last month’s trend of reading heartbreakingly beautiful memoirs. I will warn you, there are quite a few curse words in this book, but the strong language adds to the emotions conveyed in Matt’s writing. I’d read 30 minutes of this book before bed every night but found myself so overwhelmed with emotion that I’d sneak downstairs “to potty” — aka have an excuse to hug and kiss my husband one more time.
Working mothers constantly battle the pull to do all the things well. From managing work and home responsibilities to being impacted by a lack of self-care and time for deep friendships, the struggle is real. At the end of each day, many working moms are exhausted and stretched too thin. But this does not have to be the norm. In her latest practical and inspiring book, Jessica Turner shows the working mom how to work and parent guilt-free, establish clear work boundaries, set achievable goals, discover more flexibility, develop home management solutions, prioritize self-care, invest in her marriage, cultivate deeper friendships, and feel like a good mom, even while working.
Although I don’t have kids, I struggle with feeling overwhelmed by everything in my life: working full-time, pursuing a college degree, maintaining my blog, taking care of my pets, nourishing my marriage, making friends, staying healthy, and focusing on my faith. I hoped this book would be encouraging to me even though I don’t fit the target audience, and thankfully, I was right. One of the biggest lessons Stretched Too Thin taught me is that I can’t do it all! Naturally, there are some things that only I can do (such as my college classes or being a wife to my husband) but for other tasks, I can and should ask for help. For example, last week I really wanted to wash the dishes but needed to do homework. Since it would be “nice” to do the dishes but I needed to study, I let the dishes sit in the sink until my husband was able to wash them. It was challenging to delegate that chore to someone else, but in the end, I know it was the right choice. I am so glad I bought this book; it’s one I’ll reference time and time again.
What books did you read in September?
Do you have any book recommendations for me?