Reading: Aug-Oct 2021

What are you reading? has to be one of my favorite questions both to ask and answer. I love books and I love talking about books.

Of the eleven books I’ve read since my kiddo resumed in-person school in mid-August, nine were written or co-written by women, three are non-fiction, two are YA, two qualify as rom com, and only one gets five stars from me. I’ll give you my reviews for the five star and four star books in alphabetical order by author’s last name; I’ll list the others at the bottom. You can catch all my reviews on Goodreads.

Book titles link to Amazon for more info + easy purchasing. Please note: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.

Image by ksyfffka07 from Pixabay

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started reading this on a Sunday afternoon and finished it Monday evening. It held surprises beyond the mysteries inherent to the plot as the characters grew in themselves and their relationships to one another. Now off to find more books by Laura Dave…

“How do you explain it when you find in someone what you’ve been waiting for your whole life? Do you call it fate? It feels hazy to call it fate. It’s more like finding your way home – where home is a place you secretly hoped for, a place you imagined, but where you’d never before been.” (185)

The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I rarely give more than 3 stars to what I call “chick lit,” however, this one stands out. It was fun, light, and held enough tension to keep me interested. I enjoyed watching Birdy’s transformation unfold.

“Perhaps you must find somewhere to put your roots into the earth? A little water, a little sunlight, a little time and space? Like the vine? You cannot hope to debut the perfect vintage if you do not take the time to grow and nurture and love.”

The Powerful Purpose of Introverts: Why the World Needs You to Be You by Holley Gerth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short (186 pages including the reading guide), readable, well-researched, and personally empowering book will be a valuable resource for years to come. While Gerth writes straight to the heart of introverts, extroverts will also learn something about themselves and those they love – more than half of the global population identifies as an introvert, so there are a lot of us! Also, while Gerth writes from her faith, the information on how introverted brains process remains the same. However, the chapter entitled “Sacred Confidence” will prove extremely helpful to church leaders who should seek to include all personality types in their services.

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“On vacation, you can be anyone you want.” (1)

This book is less about people the characters meet on vacation than it is about who the characters are – with each other – while on vacation. Such a fun book, taking us traveling to destinations near and far (during a pandemic when most of us can’t travel); it’s a love story, and a story of facing your fear and growing into your best self.

“…sometimes, when you lose your happiness, it’s best to look for it the same way you’d look for anything else … By retracing your steps.” (23)

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A refreshing retelling – yet equally dramatic and tragic – of several intertwined Greek myths thrusting women into the main roles. I intentionally didn’t refresh my memory on the myths in order to let Ariadne tell her own tale, and it was worth it.

“What I did not know was that I had hit upon a truth of womanhood: however blameless a life we led, the passions and the greed of men could bring us to ruin, and there was nothing we could do” (12).

“I would not let a man who knew the value of nothing make me doubt the value of myself” (179).

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“He was stardust and the smell of summer” (79).

“But that’s what happens when you grow up – you forget about the magic you’ve seen” (158).

I devoured this resetting of Peter Pan in the woods of contemporary Oregon. The author held close to the original while writing something altogether new. I couldn’t put it down, and neither did I want it to end.

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are a reader or writer, a poet or poetry lover, a young adult or an older one, or you know someone who fits in any of those categories, go get this book. Zentner’s use of language is so beautiful. Also, it’s a hopeful story, and we all need hope, all the hope we can get.

“Poetry makes arguments. It presents cases for better ways of living and seeing the world and those around us. It heals wounds. It opens our eyes to wonder and ugliness and beauty and brutality. Poetry can be the one light that lasts the night. The warmth that survives the winter. The harvest that survives the long drought. The love that survives death. The things poetry can do are far more important than the things it can’t” (160).

“This is what you remember of the people you love when they’re gone – the ways they knew you that no one else did – even you. In that way, their passing is a death of a piece of yourself” (331-332).

“I’ll tell you the truest thing I know: You are not a creature of grief. You are not a congregation of wounds. You are not the sum of your losses. Your skin is not your scars. Your life is yours, and it can be new and wondrous. Remember that” (401).

3 Stars:
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis
While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory
Six Ways to Pray from Six Great Saints by Gloria Hutchinson

2 Stars:
Getting Back to Happy by Marc & Angel Chernoff

View all my reviews

Cover image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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