Halfway Done

Every year I choose to do the Tim Challies book challenge and if you want to know what I have been reading here is the list so far. I will put the challenge, the title and a quick note of what I thought about it.

A book published in 2020 or 2021 – Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
This book was weird. I somewhat enjoyed it, but probably will not read another book by this author. If you like fantasy with minimal characters and slow builders, then you may like this book.

A memoir or autobiography – Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
This book was full of quips and ways to live. It has a lot of wisdom in it, but it is worldly wisdom. There was some religious aspects to it, but like all self-help books, they fall short to the wisdom given in the Bible. It’s a good book for older teens.

A classic novel – The Curious Life of Benjamin Button by F. Scott FItzgerald
This was another weird novel. It was somewhat Kafkaish and I didn’t really like it. I liked the Great Gatsby, so I thought this would be a good novel, but I was left feeling confused and wondering why I even started it.

A book by a pastor – Something Needs to Change by David Platt
I recommend this book to all Christians! Phenomenal book about taking our faith seriously and shaking off the clutches of complacent Christianity.

A book about a book of the Bible – Colossians He is Enough by Asheritah Ciuciu
Great devotional book! I recommend reading her!

A book published by Zondervan – Case for Faith by Lee Strobel
The book was informative but I had forgotten that Ravi Zacharias was one of the men Lee interviewed, so the book didn’t sit well with. It also seemed a bit too permissive when it came to sin and grace. Case for Christ was better.

A book the word “gospel” in the title – Another Gospel by Alisa Childers
What a great book on the dangers of what is now called deconstruction. Every Christian needs to read this book. Alisa, also has a youTube channel that I enjoy watching. She is a great theologian.

A book with an image of a person on the cover – Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel
This is the second book to the Wolf Hall series. I love the way this woman writes and I love Tudor historical fiction! If you love this era and historical fiction, you will love this book, bur read Wolf Hall first.

A book about a current social issue – (A)typcial Woman by Abigail Dodds
This was a good book, the author did a good job in describing Biblical womanhood. She used Scripture well and I encourage you to read it if you are a Christian woman.

A book for children or teens – Wingfeather by Andrew Peterson
Loved this book. Adventrure, Pirates. Villans. My kids really enjoyed this book It is a series that we may continue. I read this book aloud to my kids.

A book about theology – Royal Deception: Exposing the KJV Only Conspiracies by Fred Butler
This book was lacking in what I really wanted to know. There is so much about KJV onlyist that I wanted to know about and this book did not provide it. I think James White does a better job.

A book about Christian living – Full by Asheritah Ciuciu
I loved this book! I got in on audio, but bought the actual book after I listened to the audio. I plan on re-reading it this year! If you struggle with food addiction, this is a wonderful book full of the Gospel and freedom!

A book of your choice – The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
I love the way this woman writes. This was a good thriller, mystery book.

A book written by a puritan – Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards
Puritans love their descriptions of hell. I am so glad I am saved and this motivates me to keep giving the Gospel to my loved ones.

A book recommended by a friend – Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This book is set in occupied France. Great book about the love between sisters and the courage of the people who suffered under the Nazis. This book is long, but it does submerge you into this time.

A book about social justice – Why Social Justice is Not Biblical Justice by Scott David Allen
Totally recommend if you are Christian wondering what to think about the culture in the US right now.

A novel that won a Pulitzer prize – The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami
This book was actually a runner up to the Pulitzer, but still it was beautifully written. It is about the Spanish conquest of the Americas and their exploits. It is harsh and sad. This book was about a slave of one of the Spaniards, one of only 4 survivors.

A book with 2 or more authors – Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie H. Perry and Nancy DeMoss
The book was good, but not my kind of taste. JHP is very artistic and was a bit too long winded about colors, fashion partying and her relationships. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. When it comes to this particular genre, I prefer Rosaria Butterfield.

A book with at least 400 pages – Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Tudor Historical Fiction again. This book was harder to read than Bring up the Bodies because HM uses the pronoun “he” quiet a bit and sometimes I forget what “he” she is talking about. She does better in her second book. I can’t wait to read the third and final book about Mr. Thomas Cromwell.

A book cy CS Lewis or JRR Tolkien – The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
Must read for all Christians. What a wonderful and smart man is Mr. Lewis. This book is about a “younger” demon learning the ropes from his uncle Screwtape on how to ruin the lives of Christians and people.

A book that has a fruit of the Spirit in the title – Sovereign Joy by John Piper
This book was about the lives of Augustine, Luther and Calvin. I loved reading about them and because of this book I have added Augustine’s “Confessions” to my reading list.

A book on the New York Times Bestseller list – Dream Big by Bob Goff
Like always, this man inspires. This is a good book to get you motivated to dream big and pursue your dreams.

A book about prayer – Dangerous Prayers by Craig Groeschel
This was a good book. I was pleasantly surprised though that I already pray dangerous prayers. If you want to grow in how you pray, this is a good book. I just need to pray more often!

A book about theology – Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Suffers by Dane C. Ortlund
This is by far the best book I have read so far this year. What a breath of restful air this was. This book made me cry and reminded me of what a gentle and loving Father I have in God. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

A book of your choice – Outsider by Stephen King
The book started off really good, but what a cop-out for an ending. I wasn’t too happy with the sci-fi cop out. SK does write well though, but the ending was so disappointing.

A book from a theological viewpoint you disagree with – Recovering from Biblical Womanhood by Aimee Byrd
She has a chip on her shoulder and her illustrations and allegories were awful. I also listened to this book on audio and the author reads it and she sounded a bit to “karen” for my taste. Maybe if I read it instead of listening to it, it may be better.

A book by someone whose ethnicity is different than yours – Fault Lines by Voddie Baucham Jr.
Great book. So needed for our times right now. It is a book about the dangers of critical race theory and social justice.

A book that won an award – Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman
This book won the Edgar Award. It is about a young detective solving a case in a small town. It was a great crime/suspense novel.

A book by Charles Dickens or one of his contemporaries – The Woman in the Black Veil by Charles Dickens
This is one of his first books ever written and what a plot twist. Good short book. It was only like 35 pages long.

A book about leadership – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
There was a lot of insight and great advice in this book. Highly recommend for all people who want to get their life together and do more.

A book based on a true story – Beneath Devil’s Bridge by Loreth Anne White
Good mystery book and great twist at the end.

A book with an illustration on the cover – A Court of Thorns by Sarah J. Maas
This book was a bit too romantic for me. So not my genre at all. If you the Twilight series you will like this. SJM writes extremely well and there were some scenes in the book that were outright scary and frightening, but just not into the romancy parts.

A book with one word in the title – Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Great book about the subject of Heaven. It makes me want to go there already. Death is hard for us to understand, but in the light of the Bible, physical death is what God uses to bring us to Him. Long book, but I definitely recommend.

A book whose title comes from a Bible verse – Filling up the afflictions of Christ by John Piper
Great book on suffering and why we suffer and how God uses our afflictions to make us more like Him. This book is short but very impactful. If you are struggling through a painful time in your life right now, this is a good read. Full of Scripture and grace.

A book by an author 30 years or younger – Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne
This book was great! Its about an FBI agent who happens to also be an ex-magician. The book was fun to read, but also mysterious. Great book for a summer read. Andrew Mayne is also a professional magician.

A book about theology – Knowledge of the Holy by AW Tozer
A good book about why we should not just feel our faith, but know why we believe. It also has a lot to say about the character of God and who He is. Why we should know about the God we worship.

A novel set in a country that is not your own – The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler and Ann Long
This book is set in Sweden and was annoying. The main characters were not very deep and the way they behaved was erratic and odd. I don’t recommend this book, and will not read any more of their novels.

37 books so far!! It is my hope to read 54 books this year and I think I will be able to make it. From now on, I hope to do book reviews on each of the books I read. Let me know what you think and tell me about some of the books you enjoy reading.

Blessings


Real life is better than fiction

History dramatized in historical fiction is so entertaining.  So many times it is better than fiction!

I love the era of the Tudors and the War of the Roses, it is full of intrigue, beauty and so much drama. The lives of these kings and queens is unbelievable sometimes. Some authors do so well in bringing us back to those times and immersing us into the lives of these extraordinary people. Two of my most favorite authors are Phillipa Gregory and Bernard Cornwell, but I have another favorite, Maurice Druon.

I have really enjoyed the first 2 books of the series of the Accursed Kings, and highly recommend the books to any lover of historical fiction.The iron king & The strangled queen This series follows the reign of Phillip the Fair, King of France. The king is ridding himself of the Knights Templar by way of torture and gruesome deaths through burning at the stake. Then a prophecy is proclaimed from the burnt mouth of the Grand Master of the Templar before he dies and everything changes for the worse for the Iron King of France. Soon, the kingdom is shaken by the treasonous lives of the King’s son’s wives and chaos presumes.

The second book speaks about the daughter of the Iron King and the adulterous wife of his son. If you remember the beautiful French queen in Braveheart, well that’s the daughter of Phillip the Fair. This book continues the line of the Iron King and is full of so much betrayal, death and torture!

Happy endings are nice and all, but in real life sometimes there are no happy endings.  Main characters die, beautiful princesses and queens don’t find true love, powerful kings fail and innocents are wrongly executed. This is probably why I enjoy historical fiction because I get an incredible story and I may not know how the story ends, or I may not like how it ends.  That’s totally okay with me.

To the Christian, this series gives us a glimpse of the history of the church. In the 1300’s the Catholic Church wielded a lot of political power. There was a lot of corruption and most of Europe was Christian. It was a dark time in Europe. Only a select few could read His Word and whatever a bishop or priest said became what the people believed. It is a very sad time in our history. There were voices, though, in that time, crying out in the wilderness. Very few voices, but God’s Church prevailed. These were the dark ages and soon the black plague would wipe out almost half of them.

I highly recommend these two books if you enjoy historical fiction. I am looking forward in reading the whole series and have them on my summer reading list. If you would like to buy the books, click here.

#historicalfiction #mauricedruon #books #read #bookreview

Hanna More – I love you!

Opie, John, 1761-1807; Hannah More

I remember her name vaguely. She was somebody important during the time when William Wilberforce was fighting for the abolition of the slave trade. That is all I knew of her and I wanted to know more. I help manage a crisis pregnancy clinic, and it is my belief that abortion doctors and clinics are our modern day slaver traders. The people affected by slavery were voiceless, abused, powerless and mistreated. They were seen as less than human and their dignity was not a God-given right, but one exploited by shameless people. The life of a slave was based on the convenience it brought, never on their potential or individuality. They were just hunks of flesh to be used at the pleasure of others and it was wrong. It was Christian abolitionist who lead the charge for the slaves’ freedom and their persistence and passion is admirable. I know that the  more I read on these abolitionists, the more I can learn about leading a cause now to end the murder of those who are also voiceless, powerless and mistreated. I too want to be an abolitionist.

Goodreads recommended this book to me. Oh, I love Goodreads, and if you don’t have it and are an avid reader, get it. The book I read is called Fierce Convictions and it is written by Karen Swallow Prior.

     Christianity in England during the 1700’s was a lot like it is now is the United States, it was nominal. Everyone was a Christian, and so was Hannah. It wasn’t until later in her life that she realized she had to experience her Christianity, in other words, she had to live out her faith, and when she decided to just do that, her actions and obedienced changed the world.
     Hannah More is known for not only being a slave abolitionist. She was also a writer and poet and she, along with her sisters helped cultivate a society that saw the importance in educating all children regardless of social status. Schools were not free then, and she helped champion the cause to teach all children mathematics, geography, reading and writing. Many of her contemporaries looked down on this because they saw no use in educating the poor. I was delightfully surprised also that she was so progressive that she even advocated against animal cruelty. She, along with William Wilberforce, help set up laws that made it against the law to abuse animals. She makes a great point on treating all life with dignity, including animals, the poor and slaves. These social stands were extremely liberal at the time. She made it clear in the tracts she distributed to be “religiously and politically conservative, but socially liberal.” Besides all these extraordinary causes for her time, she also believed that women should not focus so much on dainty hobbies that were done just to pass the time, but actual rigorous learning!  This is what Prior wrote:
           More argued for a rigorous education for women. One that would illicit truth,                          foster precision in thinking and cultivate an exact mind. Female education                      should bring the imagination under dominion and lead women to think, to compare,                        to combine, to methodize. It should confer such a power of discrimination                                 that the student shall learn to reject what was dazzling if it be not solid,                                      and to prefer not what is striking or bright or new, but what is just.

     More also saw the importance of mixing social inequalities with politics. Her and William Wilberforce – a member of parliament – became very close friends. Wilberforce treated her as an equal and many times they spent hours conversing about political and social matters. Wilberforce wrote to her saying: “That in parlimentary measures of importance more is to be done out of the house than in it. In other words, changing the minds of parliament would require changing the mind of the nation.” What true words!
More used her writing and social skills to help others see the sheer inhumanity of the slave trade. Wilberforce used his eloquence in speaking to help his peers to see and then vote his way. Both forces, united, as one is what changed their country for the better.

I read about these two pillars of our faith and tried to learn from them. They were extraordinary Christians that changed their world through media (newspapers, books, tracts, pamphlets, drawings) and politics (voting, town hall meetings, friends in parliament, law making). A lot of times, I want to move away from politics. I want to just live my little Christian life and leave to Ceasar what is his. But like 1700’s Britain had some atrocious laws, so does the present United States. And unlike Hannah, I can vote for these changes, not just speak about them. I want to type out a testimony of a witness that was taken to a slaver traders post. This testimony was given in parliament in 1790 for the abolition of the slave trade. Here it is:
“The witness was taken to a small gathering of slave traders about to put an infant to death. I asked him why they were murdering it, and they answered ‘Because it was of no value.’ I told them, ‘if that’s the case, I hope they made me a present of it.’ They answered that if I had any use for the child then it was worth money. I first offered them some knives, but that would not do. They however sold the child to me for a mug of brandy. It proved to be that of a woman whom the captain of our ship had purchased that very morning. We carried it on board and judged of the mother’s joy when she saw her own child put on board the same ship – her child, whom she concluded was murdered. She fell on her knees and kissed my feet.”

The words “because it was of no value” rung in my head. I stopped what I was doing and just repeated those words in my mind. What is the value of a “useless” infant? Unfortunately, in our society, the answer is relative if the baby happens to be in utero. Foster kids, orphans, babies born alive after a botched abortion, poor kids, don’t we all put a value on them. Some maybe worth more than others? Put action to your passion, don’t just let it fester and dissipate.

atrocious deeds should never be called by gentle names

I admire Hannah More, she never stopped using her God-given talents to bring about justice and kindness to those who bore God’s image. She says this: “It is part of Christianity to convert every natural talent to a religious use.” This is so true. What are your talents, and are you using those talents to glorify your Savior by beings His hands and feet here on earth? Read Matthew 25.

     Hannah More died an old lady with hands upraised to her Lord. She wrote 11 books after the age of 60 and three weeks before her death, the slave trade was abolished! There is much for us to do in our world and it is time that we move from the sidelines and experience our Christianity.

She is grounded in the Bible. She is no clamorous beggar for extortent alms of admiration. She lives on her own stock. She does not wait for the opinion of the world to know she is right, nor the applause of the wor

I recommend Fierce Convictions to all Christians, especially women. Stop reading those darn Amish romances and get into these kinds of books. You can buy the book here. I listened to this book on audible, and you can get that here.

#life #abolition #hannahmore #dosomething #experiencechristianity

 

 

 

Martyrs I didn’t know about

Book Review of:

Jan Hus Ulrich Swingli.jpg

Author: Charles River

I had heard a little of Jan Hus and much less of Ulrich Swingli and I needed to fix this in my life. This book was less than $3 on audible and I wish I would have spent more money on a  better book. The book was okay, but was a bit dry.

I was surprised to read about just how secular they both were. It’s funny how in my mind these men were always holy and didn’t struggle with the sins of “normal” men and women. Zwingli struggled with sexual temptations and had a mistress for a while and Hus wrestled with vanity and materialism. Both these men relied on the grace of God and both these men paid the ultimate price for their convictions. Hus paved the way with his burned flesh for voices like Luther, Knox and Calvin who came a century and a half later and Zwingli is considered the 3rd most important influencer of the Reformation.

It is important for us Believers to read about men like Hus and Zwingli. It helps us revere and appreciate the Bibles we have in our home. It helps us put into perspective the flightiness of my convictions. What am I willing to die for? What is so important to me that it changes the way I live? These books make us reflect on these serious questions.

I often wonder what would I do in the face of martyrdom. Would I stir or negotiate? Would I be betray my conscience and my God? I do not know. These men had their faults, just as I do. These men struggled and wrestled with their faith. Just as I do. But they finished strong, in the faith and trail blazed a path for all of us to comfortably walk in sound doctrine. They are an inspiration, and it is my hope that you read more of these men who changed the world.

The Best 3 Books I Read in 2019

 

books

This year I read a total of 52 books. That’s about a book a week! My goal was 40!

The shortest book I read was only 76 pages and was “Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce” by John Piper

The longest book I read was 659 pages and was “The Shining” by Stephen King.

And out of all those books I read in 2019 the top three I think would be, in no particular order:
1. “True Community” by Jerry Bridges
2. “Letters to the Church” by Francis Chan
3. “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness
These three books made me a better person, or gave me insight and words to emotions I couldn’t put into words. I highly recommend these books!

I look forward to 2020 and what wisdom and adventures it will bring.

The Forgotten Trinity – Book Review

I know that I know nothing!trinty

The Trinity – what a beautiful doctrine, but such a difficult concept! In my ignorance to try and comprehend such a complex truth, I have fallen in and out of heresy. This make me thankful for His grace and gives a deeper appreciation for the profound vastness and mystery of our Creator. I will never completely know Him, but I can know Him.

This book was magnificent and just revealed to me just how much I do not know. That is our God – knowable but also not. This book helped clear out a lot of questions that regularly pop up for me regarding the Trinity. It strengthened my trust in His Word. Mr. White gives plenty of verses in Scripture to make his points and explain as best as humanly possible who the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are. This book also elevated God to another level for me. It made Him bigger somehow. I couldn’t help but just marvel at how awesome (in the old definition of the word kinda way) God is. Full of awe!

All examples previously given to try to explain the Trinity like the egg, or the different states of water fall short of describing His true essence. Nothing on earth can describe Him and frankly, we lack the intelligence to fully understand it. And that is okay! He wouldn’t be God if we could completely understand him. God said in Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

The book is a bit academic, but what else would you expect from a book written by James White.  I truly appreciate men like him who devote themselves to reading and researching such deep truths and helping the layman discern such beautiful things. Mr. White has a YouTube channel where he discusses different Biblical topics. You can buy the book here. The book is 224.

The truths in this book bring the Believer to a deeper worship of such an intimidating God.  I leave you with this description of our Lord:

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,  and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.  Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today.  Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.  – Deut. 10:12-16

The Shining – Book Review

I’ve never seen the movie The Shining. Don’t judge me. I know it’s a classic, but I just never got around to it. Although, I have seen the forever-famous scene of Jack Nicholson baring his pearly whites all wild-eyed exclaiming “here’s Johnny”. That is all I know of the movie. Oh yeah, and the little boy riding his tricycle and staring down the twin girls in the hotel hallway. That’s about it. book3

This is the first time I have read Stephen King as an adult. I read “Pet Sematary” as a teenager and couldn’t finish it. I just couldn’t handle some of the scenes in the book. Little children coming back from the dead just isn’t my thing.

The Shining is a book about a remote hotel set in the Colorado mountains and our main character, Jack, not Johnny, gets a job as the caretaker during the off-season which spans from October until May. During the off season, Jack (also a recovering alcoholic) has to maintain the grounds and the hotel. He takes with him his wife and young son to wait out the winter and early spring months. During this off season, the family is closed off from all communication due to the extreme weather. As they are left on their own, soon the family starts seeing and hearing things. The different scenes are awful and I don’t know how he did it, but Mr. King makes the most mundane things scary! Things like clocks, hallways and topiary animals creep me out now!johnny

 

It was hard reading this book because of Jack’s alcoholism. Mr. King develops his characters very well. I hated Jack, I pined for Danny to be free of him. The hotel took on a character of its own, and I hated the hotel’s manipulation. Towards the end of the book, you are gripped with fear, almost unable to breathe until the horror finally ends.

The book is very well written. There is a reason why Mr. King is a famous author. This book just sucks you in and you are there to witness every moment of the terror this family experiences. But if you have struggled with an alcoholic and/or abusive parent or spouse in your past, this book will trigger you. It did me. To my core.

I recently found out that there is a sequel to the book called “Dr. Sleep”. I am not sure if I will read it. I think I need a break from Mr. King, but we will see.

If you like horror, I recommend this book.

I do plan on watching the movie with the hubby, just so I can compare the book and the movie. I have heard that Mr. King didn’t really like the movie. It will be good to see why. I did let my husband know that I would be forwarding the more intense scenes. Yes, I’m a wuss.

If you are interested in buying the book. Just click here.

The book is 659 pages long!

Reading Challenge 2019

For the past three years I have been attempting the reading challenge created by Tim Challies. In the challenge there are 4 sections to try out, depending on your desire of books to read. I usually don’t stick to one of the sections and just challenge myself with the number of books to read in a year. I use the Reading Challenge as a guide to read genres I would typically not read. Here is the challenge if you are interested in looking at it.

Usually, I fail every year. I challenge myself with 40 books and fall short, but I get closer every  year. This year, I will finally reached my goal and I am so excited! Here is the list and a short review of all the books I have read this year.

Reading Challenge = RC
Finished Reading = FR

1. RC – A Novel:  “The Word is Murder” by Anthony Horowitz. This is the second book I have read by him and I really like this author. He is the creator of Midsummer Mysteries and Foyle’s War.  His books are generally clean of cuss words and sex. I recommend this book to those who like British mystery, who-dun-it books. The books is 390 pages. FR -January 10

2.  RC – A Book by or about a missionary: “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret” by Howard and Geraldine Taylor. This book was about the life of Hudson Taylor. Christians should always challenge themselves to read books about missionaries. Hudson’s Taylors faith and life encouraged me to live out my faith more boldly and to stop complaining about things that happen around me that I have no control over. I recommend this book to all Christians or those specifically being called to mission work. This book is 256 pages long. FR – January 28

3. RC – A book about Christian living: “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Don Whitney. This book is about ways to bring order to your faith. It is also a book on freedom through discipline. I really enjoyed this book and took so much out of it. I recommend this book to any Christian needing some structure to their faith. This book is 272 pages.  FR – January 29

4. RC – A sad book: “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness. This book is one of the best books I have read! The life and pain of its main character, Connor is so very well written you feel like you are Connor yourself. There is also a magical context to the book that just is enough to make the book an instant classic. This is why I love these challenges, because I would have never picked up this book had it not been for this challenge and I am so grateful for it. I recommend this book to anyone who has felt the pain of loss or feels like life is out of control. The book has great pictures also that just add to its depth. It is 237 pages long.  FR – February 15

5. RC – A book over 400 pages long: “Scythe” by Neal Shusterman. This is a dystopian book about a world where all diseases and death have been cured. In this world, special people (Scythes) are chosen to do what no longer exists and that is to kill any who they choose. There is an order to it and there is a villain that is despicable. I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it any dystopian lover. This book is 435 long. FR – February 15.

6. RC – A book published in 2019: “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides. This book had a great twist at the end that I had no idea was coming. I literally gasped out loud! It’s about a patient who isn’t speaking and a psychiatrist’s attempt to get her to talk about a murder. I recommend this book for any who like psychological suspense. This book is 323 pages. FR – February 17

7. RC – A book targeted at the opposite gender: “Spartan Fit – 30 Days Transform Your Mind. Transform Your Body. Commit to Grit” by Joe DeSena. This book made me curl up into a ball and feel bad about myself. I found this book by looking up “books for men”. I didn’t want to read about becoming a better leader. I didn’t want to read about becoming rich and my own boss, so I picked this one. This book is for super athletes who don’t mind breaking their bones and then going up a mountain in the winter, carrying a bucket of rocks. I only recommend this book for the super-adrenaline junkies. Don’t read this book if you are just a mere mortal. This book is 256 pages and comes with illustrated training techniques. FR – February 23

8. RC – A biography: “The Butchering Art – Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine” by Lindsey Fitzharris. This book is about Joseph Lister and is not for the faint of heart. There is plenty of information about Victorian medical techniques that just shocked me and made me grateful that I live in a world where doctors wash their hands and patients are anesthetized before amputations!! If you are into biographies, you will like this book. This book is 304 pages. FR – February 27.

9. RC – A book more than 100 years old: “The Wonderful Wizard of OZ” by L. Frank Baum. This is another genre that I wouldn’t normally read, but I am usually grateful I do. This is a rare time when I think the movie was better than the book. Baum seem to be on drugs when he wrote this. But if you like fantasy and easy reads, you will like this book. The book is 154 pages. FR – March 4

10. RC – A book for children or teens: “Closed for the Season” by Mary Hahn. I read this book out loud for my kids. The plot was okay and the characters made my kids laugh, but I hated the attack on conservatives, the religious and republicans. Yes, it was that blatant. Let the kids enjoy your story, without the political brainwashing. Because of this, I don’t recommend this book or this author. This book is 192 pages. FR – March 8.

11. RC – A book a friend recommends: “Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People” by Bob Goff. This book is about loving people radically as Christians. I do warn that this book can easily becoming very humanitarian since Mr. Goff doesn’t use a lot of Scripture in his book. But this book encourages the Christian to get up and love people, even the difficult ones. I recommend this book for strong Christians who know their Scripture and want to be challenged into loving on people the way Christ did, fearlessly. This book is 240 pages. FR – March 9.

12. RC – A book of your choice: “The Chemistry of Death” by Simon Beckett. This book is a psychological thriller. It had a great ending. It is about a doctor helping authorities with a grisly death. If you like thrillers and don’t mind some smelly scenes, you will like this book. This book is 320 pages. FR – March 27

13. RC – A book by an author you have never read before: “Truly Devious” by Maureen Johnson. This book is in the Young Adult genre, a genre I usually don’t read. I think I would have enjoyed it more without the usual drama that comes with Young Adult books. But if you like Young Adult tomes, and don’t mind the mean-pretty girl, the conceited-hot boy, the shy-but-pretty-smart girl and the token lesbian/black person;  you will like this book. The mystery behind it is great. This book is 416 pages. FR – March 31

14. RC – A classic: “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck. I am so happy there is a challenge to read classics. I have really enjoyed reading or re-reading books I have long forgotten. There is a good reason these are classics! If you like books about the human condition, you will like this book. This book is only 103 pages. FR – April 3.

15. RC – A book by someone from a different continent than you: “The Dry” by Jane Harper. This book takes place in Australia and it made me thirsty. Like literally thirsty. The story is good, but it really wasn’t too impressive. The characters were a bit bland and underdeveloped and the past coming to haunt them made me get lost a couple of times about who was who. I don’t recommend this book, it was a bit boring. This book is 352 pages. FR – April 6.

16. RC – A book with a verb in the title: “Blindsighted” by Karin Slaughter. This book was dark and gripping. Slaughter is a superb stoty-teller. If you like Gillian Flynn, you will like this book or if you like thrillers. This book is about awful murders and trying to find a serial killer and is not for the faint of heart. This book is 418 pages. FR – April 14.

17. RC -A commentary: “God of Covenant – A Study of Genesis 12-50” by Jen Wilkin. Jen Wilkin is a great writer. I love it when women study God’s word like this. I recommend to any Christian wanting to know more about these chapters of the Bible. Great read! FR – April 21.

18. RC – A book of your choice: “Thunderhead” by Neal Shusterman. After reading “Scythe” I was so ready to continue the story. I believe the second book is better than the first one! I just wish I would have known that the third book hadn’t come out yet, now I have to wait. The cliffhanger it ends with is almost unbearable! The audio book for this is also stupendous! If you love dystopians, you will absolutely love this series! This book is 504 pages long. FR – April 22

19. RC – A book about science: “The Naturalist” by Andrew Mayne. This book is fictional but contained a lot scientific material. It is about a biologist who is seeking out a serial killer. I really enjoyed reading this book, so much so that I plan on reading all of the books Mr. Mayne writes. I loved following the awkward Dr. Theo Cray around as he solved very heinous crimes. If you love mystery thrillers, you will love this series! This book is 382 pages long. FR – April 29.

20. RC – A book that looks easy to read: “The Wild Robot” by Peter Brown. I read this book out loud to my kids and they absolutely loved it! We all fell in love with Roz and Brightbill. We loved this book so much so that we are currently reading the second book in the series! Definitely recommend as a read out loud book for your children. It has pictures and the kids will love this lovable robot’s adventures. This book is 279 pages. FR – April 29.

21. RC – A book of 240 pages or more: “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman. I really thought this book would be as good as Norse Mythology, but it wasn’t. I really couldn’t get into the book. It was a bit too fantastical for me. If you like fantasy this may a book for you. It was a bit too weird and I couldn’t get into it. This book is 304 pages. FR – April 30.

22. RC – A book by a female author: “The Butterfly Garden” by Dot Hutchison. This book was dark and sad. There is a lot of death and I hated the villain in it. This book was very violent towards women. I recommend it only if you have the stomach for an abuser of women. This book is 288 pages. FR – May  13

23. RC – A book of your choice: “The Looking Glass” by Andrew Mayne. I really liked the main character, Dr. Theo Cray. I had to read the second book in this series and I loved it. I can’t wait to get the third book! If you like mystery/scientific thrillers, you will love this series! This book is 312 pages. FR – May 20.

24. RC – A book about Christian Living: “The Prodigal God” by Timothy Keller. I still have problems with the title of this book. Regardless, the book is a great read about the tendencies of Christians to be hypocrites and the righteous “good” son. I recommend this book to any Christian. It’s also short and to the point at only 139 pages long. FR – May 29

25. RC – A book by an author you have always wanted to read: “The Line Between” by Tosca Lee. I’ve always wanted to read “Demon” by Tosca, but was unable to find it on audio and I had a credit and couldn’t wait to get something! So I settled for this one. It had some romance that was a bit eye-rolling for me, but the story was well written. She is a good writer, but I didn’t like the apocalyptic/plague genre. If you like those kinds of things then you would like this book. It is 384 pages. FR – June 6

26. RC – A book about an interest of yours: “Well Nourished – A Guide to Mindful Eating, Inner Nourishment and Feeding  Your Whole Self” by Andrea Liberstein. This book has a lot of pointers but I am a person who needs things simplified. Most of this book was making eating more difficult and time consuming. I really don’t recommend this book. It felt like a waste of time. This book is 208 pages long with illustrations. FR – June 18

27. RC – A book with a great cover: “Krampus” by Brom. This man is a great artist and writer. He is an excellent story teller and creates places that make me feel I am there. This book is about Santa Clause’s nemesis and makes you root for the anti-hero. If you like folk lore, you will love this book! It is 357 pages. FR – June 22

28.RC – A book of your choice: “Rosemary’s Baby” by Ira Levin. I really wished I had never seen this movie. I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more than I already did. It is very well written and did have a lot of tense moments. If you like suspenseful novels with a religious twist, you will love this book. It is 308 pages long. FR – July 2

29. RC – A book about Europe: “Night” by Elie Weisel. This book is also a classic and should be read by all. It is a book about the depravity of man. This book made me cry and shake my head at how awful we are to one another. I recommend this book to anyone who likes history, the holocaust and/or biographies. This book is 115 pages. FR – July 4.

30. RC – A book about animals: “Shadow Beast” by Luke Phillips. Again this is a genre I would not normally pick. This book was okay, but I just couldn’t get into it much. And it had some romance in it that was eye-rolling. If you like books about animals who hunt humans, you will like this book. This book is 380 pages long. FR – July 10

31. RC – A book about Canada, Set in Canada, or written by a Canadian: “Deja Dead” by Kathy Reichs. I am so happy I picked up this book, I really enjoyed it and was ecstatic to find out about the many books in this series. This is a medical thriller and if you like that genre, you will really like this series. If you like BONES, I have heard you may not like the book. This book is 532 pages long. FR – August 5

32. RC – A book by Jerry Bridges: “True Community – The Biblical Practice of Koinonia” by Jerry Bridges. This was a great book! I loved it and recommend it to all Christians wanting to expand their love to their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This book is 176 pages long. FR – August 12

33. RC – A book of your choice: “Gretchen” by Shannon Kirk. This book was good. If you are interested in the dark thrillers with twists or if you like Gillian Flynn, you really will like this book.  This book is 353 pages long.  FR – August 20

34. RC – A book about a Christian: “Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce” by John Piper. It is always good to read about people who fought the good fight in regards to our faith. It is always challenging and encouraging when I read about these giants of the faith. This book is for any Christian wanting to know more about this phenomenal man. He was busy for the Lord. This was a short book of 76 pages. FR – August 27

35. RC – A book on the EPCA bestseller list: “Letters to the Church”  by Francis Chan. This book blew my mind and came at the perfect time in my faith. Like always, Mr. Chan is challenging and exhorts us to step out of our comfort zone and seek a higher calling. I loved this book and I have changed several things in my spiritual life because of it. I recommend this book to any Christian ready to take the next step in their faith. This book was 224 pages long. FR – August 31

36. RC – A book based on a true story: “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer” by Michelle McNamara. This book scared the heck out of me. At night I made sure my doors were always locked. This book is about several serial killers and what they did. It was my first true crime book. I don’t think I can handle this genre. I recommend this book to anyone who likes true crime books. This book is 352 pages long. FR – September 9

37. RC – A book about Christian living: “A Hunger for God” by John Piper. I like to pick out books about things I know I am struggling with in my faith. Fasting is one of them. This book was a wonderful read and very informative on what God expects from His children. I recommend this book to all Christians, especially those who want to honor God more with fasting. This book is 240 pages long. FR – September 16

38. RC – A book by Francis Schaffer: “The God Who is There” by Francis Schaeffer. I have never read a book by this author, but I had heard of him and decided to give him a try. I honestly couldn’t stand the book. He drew too much spirituality out of mundane art pieces. Yes, some were really well done, but I couldn’t really care for the depth he seemed to be forcing out of some works of art. If you like philosophy in respects to your faith, then you may like this book. This is book is 226 pages long. FR – September 19

39. RC – A children’s book: “The Wild Robot Escapes” by Peter Brown. I read this book out loud to my children and they loved it. It is the last book of the 2 book series and we were sad that there are no more books to read about this lovable robot. There is also a tender adoption story in the plot that my children really connected with also. I recommend these books to all who are children at heart. The book is 279 pages long. FR – September 30

40. RC – A book about an interest of yours: “The Huntress” by Kate Quinn. I have always wanted to know more about the Night Witches – Russian women pilots that bombed Germans during WWII. This book is historical fiction and deals with the aftermaths of WWII. It is written from the perspectives of several people, so it was a little difficult to remember who was who in the book. There is a lesbian romance also that I found a little annoying, but that’s life. Thankfully it wasn’t so descriptive. I recommend this book to women who would like to know more about these Russian pilots and about other aspects of WWII.  This book is 560 pages long. FR – October 19

I look forward to next year’s challenge. I think I may try 45 books next year we will see. I am still reading my books, but only books of my choice right now. Currently, I am reading “The Shining” by Stephen King, “Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible” by Sandra Glahn and “The Toll” by Neal Shusterman