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Tag Archive: 2020 Books

Two books I finished the past few weeks

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

The last three weeks, I finished two books and here are my reviews…

Get Out Of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts

Y’all! Do you know how much our thoughts can impact our life — for good or for bad? If we dwell on toxic thoughts, it can ruin so many things in our life — from our perspective to our relationships to our marriage and so much more.

If you struggle with insecurity, stress, frustration, or feeling like you are failing, this book is for you. If you find yourself doubting whether God is good or if He really cares about you, this book is a must read. If you feel like you are stuck, overwhelmed, or constantly frazzled, read this book.

I thought that the first few chapters were especially beneficial. Jennie Allen shares honestly about her own journey with getting stuck in unhealthy beliefs and thought patterns and then shares how she found a way out.

While some of the book seemed a little redundant and like there was some filler information (especially the second half of the book), I found her insights to be very valuable. My favorite part was the illustrations that gave tangible ways to change your thinking.

Verdict: 4 stars

Thriving in Love and Money: 5 Game-Changing Insights About Your Relationship, Your Money, and Yourself

Ever feel like it’s just impossible to get on the same page with your spouse when it comes to money? This book delves into why there are so many tensions and arguments around money and what we can do to change the conversation from conflict to true communication.

If you feel like you’re hitting a brick wall when trying to talk about money with your spouse or if you feel so frustrated by how they approach budgeting, spending, or saving, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s based on three years of research and surveying/talking to over three thousand couples.

Instead of being another book about how to set up a budget, it digs deep into why we struggle to understand each other, what our fears are when it comes to money, and how we can better understand those who have different perspectives and mindsets than us (and why it might not be an, “I’m right; she’s wrong!” sort of thing!)

I loved this book so much that I asked Shaunti to join me on the podcast this past week. You can listen to that episode here.

Verdict: 4 stars

What have you read recently? I’d love to hear! Tell us in the comments!

2 Books on World War II That I Finished Recently

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

The last two weeks, I finished two books and here are my reviews…

The Librarian of Auschwitz

This book has been recommended to me many times when people hear I read a lot of World War II books and novels. It is the true story of Dita Kraus — a girl who risked her life to protect the few books that had been smuggled into the concentration camp.

While Dita was the main character for much of this book, it also tells many other stories of others throughout. And it paints a very heart-wrenching picture of what it was like to be both a child and a parent in a concentration camp.

Overall, I though the book was a worthwhile read. However, it felt disjointed and a little bland at times. I also found that the passages of different books that were included seemed kind of hard to follow and I would have been fine without them (in fact, I found myself skipping over them).

Also note: There is some crass language and a few sections that delve into things that are more on the PG-13 level.

I would give this a 3.5 star rating. Because it was good, but not quite as good as a 4-star book.

Verdict: 3.5 stars

The Boy on the Wooden Box

We read this aloud as a family and it was a winner book — meaning, all of us enjoyed it and found it engaging. It is the true autobiographical story of Leon Leyson, a boy who survived the holocaust as a result of being on Schindler’s List.

While I’ve read a lot of books about World War II, this one brought insight and perspective on some things that I hadn’t heard before. I thought it was an especially good read for our current times as it reminds you of how much we still have, even though it can feel like there is a lot of unrest, unknowns, and upheaval in our lives.

It sparked a lot of great conversation and discussion around the dinner table. Do note that some of the material it covers might be scary or unsettling for kids who are especially sensitive. While it didn’t delve into the atrocities of war and concentration camps in really graphic terms, it did cover some of the hardships and brutality that the Jews suffered.

Verdict: 4 stars

What have you read recently? I’d love to hear! Tell us in the comments!

The One Book I Finished Last Week

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

Last week, I finished one book and here’s my review…

Heartfelt Discipline

This book has been on my radar and one I’ve heard about for a number of years. While I’ve been a fan of Sally Clarkson’s books and have read almost all of them, for some reason, I had never read this one by her husband.

I think this quote from the book, sums up the heart of its message: “We often aim our disciplinary efforts at the wrong target. We set our sights on stopping and changing a child’s wrong behavior and we miss the real target of shaping and influencing the heart, which is the source of the wrong behavior.”

A big portion of this book centers on the topic of physical discipline and whether it is Biblical or not. I appreciated the way that the author brought in a lot of different verses and cultural context to explain his position. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, it will make you think and examine the way that you approach discipline in your parenting.

Overall, I felt there were a lot of worthwhile sections in the book. However, while the book promises to not be prescriptive, I felt that the section on media and entertainment was pretty black and white and bordering on prescriptive.

While I definitely think we should be careful and prayerful about what influences we allow in our home and in our kids’ lives, I don’t think we can make hard and fast rules about what all families should do when it comes to media. I believe it really depends upon the family, the child, the situation, and the form of media. I also feel that if we set up hard and fast rules for what is right and wrong in this area, we can become very critical and judgmental of other families who don’t adhere to our personal convictions.

Note: The book I read was an older edition. Some of these things could have been changed in the newer additions.

Verdict: 3 stars

What have you read recently? I’d love to hear! Tell us in the comments!

The One Book I Finished Last Week (well, actually all of last month!)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

I took a hiatus from doing much of any book-reading and audiobook-listening while adjusting to life with two babies. And boy did I miss it! I’m excited to slowly be adding it back into my life… even if it’s just 10-15 minutes/day most days right now. I’m taking the, “Something is better than nothing” approach. 🙂

Last week, I did finish one book — and that felt like such a victory! Here’s my review…

Stay by Anjuli Paschall

I savored this book in bits and pieces over the last two months. It is a beautifully written memoir-like read. Each chapter can mostly stand alone and is more like individual essays.

In this period in our country with so much unrest, upheaval, and unknown, I thought it couldn’t be a more fitting read. The subtitle is Discovering Grace, Freedom, and Wholeness Where You Never Imagined Looking and the author encourages you to not only stay where you are planted and see the beauty there, but also to stay rooted in the truth of how much you are loved by God.

It is an engaging read and the author makes you feel like she’s walking alongside you and in the trenches, learning and growing with you. She’s honest, real, and raw.

Overall, I really loved the book and would recommend it. The only thing I think I would have loved is if the author would have fleshed out some of her stories more. I would have loved to hear even more details and more depth in many places. 🙂

The one other reservation I had with the book was her statement that her only purpose in life is be loved by God. I’m still mulling over that one, but I’m not sure that I fully agree. Although when I try to explain why I disagree, I struggle to put it into words. I’ve so long held to the catechism answer that says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Maybe the fruit of being loved by God is that we will dedicate our life to glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever? I’m not sure… like I said, this is something I’m still pondering. But I did want to mention it.

Verdict: 4 stars

What have you read recently? I’d love to hear! Tell us in the comments!

Two Books I Finished Last Week

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

Home Court Advantage

This book, by Kevin Leman, makes the case for the importance of families to really prioritize home and time spent together. I think it’s an important message that we parents need to hear re-iterated over and over again.

I really loved parts of this book and they resonated with me and with our family values. For instance, we’ve chosen to only have our kids do one sport/activity per season. And as much as is possible, we try to all show up as a whole family for the games. That way, it becomes something that unifies our family rather than splitting us up in different directions.

In addition, I found his insights and encouragement on why you shouldn’t do your kids’ school projects for them or make good grades the big goal to be very refreshing. And I was intrigued with his thoughts on why teenagers shouldn’t get jobs. I don’t know that I agree with it, but it definitely did make me think.

That said, I felt like some of the parts of the book could come across a little more guilt-inducing rather than grace-filled and I think some parents could read it and feel discouraged rather than encouraged. Thus, the 3-star rating rather than a 4-star rating.

Verdict: 3 stars

Your New Name

I wanted to love this book. I had really been blessed by the author’s other book (No More Faking Fine) and the topic of this book is something I’m very passionate about. Unfortunately, I just didn’t find myself connecting with the author like I had hoped.

As I analyzed why this book fell flat for me, I think it was because it felt like a lot of the stories weren’t fully fleshed out and developed, the timeline of some of what she shared felt like it jumped around, and I just felt like it seemed choppy and not very. engaging. I found myself slogging through a lot of it.

That said, the topic is so important and if you struggle with feeling like you are not enough or don’t measure up or you’ve been carrying around lies and labels that are limiting you, maybe it will resonate with you differently. (And if you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!)

Note: A book on a similar topic that I really found invaluable and also very engaging is Love Idol. I’d recommend that if you struggle with feeling loved, seen, valuable, and good enough.

Verdict: 2 stars

What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??

The 2 Books I Read This Past Week

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

Zachariah’s Story

This is the story of a father grieving his son’s death. The author sent the book to me and I started reading it, not realizing that this family was a foster family and that Zachariah first came into their home through foster care.

He had been neglected and abused and their family fell in love with him, nursed him back to life and wholeness, and adopted him. He was with their family for 22 years and this is his story and the father’s grieving of his son’s death.

I really loved the first few chapters, but felt like the book overall wasn’t very well organized. It could have had a truly powerful message of hope and healing, but most of the chapters felt like they were sort of disorganized and could have used a good story arc and editor.

Verdict: 2 stars

Carry a Big Stick

I read this book back when I was a teenager and it really impacted me. I was excited to read it aloud to the kids.

Unfortunately, I realized that my book standards have changed quite a bit since my teenage years. The book wasn’t as well-written or interesting as I remember at all. I felt like we slogged through most of it. (The kids remarked, “It seems like the author just likes to use big words.”)

There were still some inspiring parts in it, but I had told the kids how much I enjoyed the book and felt like I had hyped it up and it didn’t live up to my hype. Here’s to hoping that the next book I pick to read aloud is more enjoyable to everyone!

Verdict: 2 stars

What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??