Welcome to my book update post where I share what books I finished recently + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted a book update — mostly because I’ve struggled to finish books recently! I have a lot of books I’ve started, but I went for almost 5 weeks without finishing a single book!!
I think that between multiple trips + lots of extra activities and responsibilities in our life + lots of emotional energy expended on praying about and processing the unexpected news about possibly adopting Baby D.
But this past week, I feel like I finally got make into my reading rhythm again and finished a few books! Let’s hope this is the start of a lot more reading — and finishing! — books!
Here are my honest reviews of the three books I finished recently:
A Life Intercepted
I’ve been slowly listening to Charles Martin’s novels. This one reminded me of a modern-day story of the Biblical story of Joseph, even though the author never said that was his intent.
If you enjoy sports stories, stories that kind of gritty and real, and have a beautiful redemption story interwoven throughout, I think you’ll enjoy this book. It’s also a clear picture of how much jealousy can ruin our lives — and others. And how forgiveness is the key to real joy and freedom.
Verdict: 4 stars
A Surrendered Yes
I don’t read a lot of devotionals, but this one caught my eye — especially because of the foster care and adoption journey we’re on and because the author, Rebekah Lyons, has two children with Down syndrome — one they adopted.
While many of the stories and points in this devotional were ones I’ve heard Rebekah talk about in her other books, it was a really fantastic refresher and an encouragement to me in this season of life. And if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve heard me share multiple quotes from this book as I’ve read through it the past two months.
(Stay tuned for a really raw and honest and inspirational podcast interview I did with Rebekah on this topic!)
Verdict: 3 stars
I don’t know what I think of this book. I have enjoyed reading other Roald Dahl books with the kids… but this one was just weird. And the whole premise could be very scary to some sensitive kids.
But I read it aloud to Kierstyn and we finished it, so that tells you it wasn’t awful. It just left me confused and shaking my head that something about the whole book just seemed a little on the creepy side. Anyone else? (A bunch of people on Amazon very much disagree with me in their glowing reviews!)
Verdict: 2 stars
My daughter and I (she’s 9) actually really enjoyed the BFG, and the movie as well. It was definitely very different, but so interesting to us. Maybe it’s a bit too different as a read aloud-I don’t know! On another note, have you heard of The Green Ember series by S.D. Smith, and The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson? My daughter and I have read them all this year, and would rate them all much higher than the BFG. I think all your older kids would enjoy both series, but especially the Wingfeather Saga. We even listened to them all on audio after reading them (the audio books are done so well). My husband listened with us and really liked them too. As for The Green Ember series, he is now reading them to our kids before bed each night. Happy reading!
Crystal Paine says
Yes! We’re very familiar with both series! I’m so glad you enjoyed them!
Emily M says
As far as Roald Dahl and BFG – I would say that his books are not for younger children. His books tend to be rather dark (think of Matilda). I think he had a very traumatic childhood and it is definitely found in his books. It’s wonderful that you’re reading your baby books, but I would say stick to lighter material. When my daughter was 2 she could barely sit still for a story but I read her Charlotte’s Web, and by the end she couldn’t wait to hear what was happening. Any of the EB White books are great and books like Winnie the Pooh are good to for littler ones. Speaking as a mom AND a librarian.
Crystal Paine says
Yes! We read three EB White books earlier this year! I’m trying to read through some of the books on our shelf that I haven’t read before. She’s not really into the stories yet, so it’s more just for the exercise of her listening to me and hearing my voice and practicing learning the routine of reading aloud and it gives me the opportunity to read some books that I haven’t before to see if they are ones we might re-read when she’s older. I have a whole long list of books I can’t wait to read to her (that I read to our older kids!) when she gets a little older. She LOVES picture books, though, so I’m excited to see her love of reading blossoming!
Brittany Vaske says
I agree with you on BFG! BFG was just…weird, as you said.
In the past year I’ve read a couple of Roald Dahl’s books (including BFG) and it seems like he creates weird dynamics between kids + adults, and it’s as if kids should be rude or disrespectful to adults. His writing doesn’t appear as kid-friendly as it first seems, and that’s surprised me in what I’ve read of his stuff.
Crystal Paine says
I’m glad it wasn’t just me!
Maggie Liechty says
I also dislike Dahl. BFG was okay with older kids, and we read James & the Giant Peach after seeing a play, but I’m done with him. Not interested in his style!