Welcome to my book update post where I share what books I finished recently + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.
My Reading Goals for 2021
For 2021, I set a goal of reading 3 books per week — 1 fiction book, 1 non-fiction book, and 1 audiobook each week. I know this is an audacious goal, but reading is something I love and it’s a way I learn, challenge my mind, improve as a writer and communicator, and am refreshed and encouraged through inspiring stories.
I have a few shelves full of books (mostly that I’ve gotten free), so I decided to choose 52 books from off my shelf to read this year (see my list of 52 books I plan to read in 2021 here). I’ll also read other books that I find/am sent that pique my interest. Plus, I plan to go through a lot of audiobooks (I get mine free from the Libby app).
Each week, I plan to give an update on what I read/listened to + my honest reviews. We’ll see how I do with my reading goals. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to hit them, but it will be fun to try!
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.
In the past, I finished three books and here are my reviews…
This is an engaging and beautifully written story of two sisters who are separated for years due to the Luftwaffe bombings on London during World War II. It is a story of how our choices can have life-long consequences, how secrets can impact us and others around us, and how chasing after our dreams without first counting the costs involved can be devastating.
It is a beautiful and heartrending story. There were parts that felt a little far-fetched, but I appreciated the rawness and realness of the characters in many places. I also loved that there was a lot of character development in parts in the story and it kept me guessing as to how it would end.
I gave it a four star rating because I would have loved a little more depth in places and some of what the author was wanting you to pull from the story wasn’t as obvious to me until I listened to the Q&A with the author at the end. That helped the book come more alive to me and I would highly recommend listening to/reading that after you finish the book.
One of my favorite quotes from the book: “A happy life is not made up of what you have dreamed of, chased after, and achieved, but rather whom you poured your life into, who poured their life into yours, and the difference you’ve made in the lives of others.”
Verdict: 4 stars
This book was written for women who are doers and movers and shakers… the Type A, Get Things Done Woman. The woman who rarely slows down, who usually has too many balls she is juggling, and a too long to do list. This book is a message of learning to reframe our perspective, change our focus, while also embracing the way we are wired.
One of my favorite quotes in the book is: “Worry is believing God won’t get it right. That sounds extreme, but isn’t that what I communicate when I allow worry to overshadow the promises and power of God? I abandon confidence in the Faithful One as I seek comfort from my familiar companion — Worry.”
She goes on to say, “May our ‘what if’ worry be changed to ‘even if’ worship as we remember Who is with us. Even if our what-if happens, the good news does not change. Jesus is enough, even in the dark, even in the battle…”
I gave this a 3-star verdict because I felt like the first three chapters were great… and then it felt like the rest of the book became pretty repetitive. It also didn’t feel like there was a strong story arc for the book and each chapter didn’t really build upon one another. That said, I felt like there was a lot of valuable info in it
Verdict: 3 stars
This book wasn’t at all what I expected and I almost didn’t keep listening after the first few chapters because it threw me off… but I’m so glad that I did because it ended up being such a beautiful story.
I loved getting to walk in the shoes of a mom who has a child on the autism spectrum and to feel more empathy for what she is experiencing and walking through. The book also made me think of how everyone is carrying heavy burdens and how many people are probably walking around with secrets and burdens and struggles that we don’t know anything about.
Note: This book contains a little crass language.
Verdict: 4 stars