books worth reading

I love to read but I have to admit that I don’t get to do it as often as I would like. Most of my reading is done late at night to the light of my Kindle book light. I’m not a night owl so it doesn’t take long for my eyes to start to cross no matter how much I want to finish a chapter. The call of the deep pillow and dream land are just too enticing.

However, when I do get a chance to read I relish in it. I have several books going so that I can take my pick depending on my mood. This is a list of what I’ve got on my bed side table and my Kindle right now. You can find all of these titles by clicking through to Amazon. 

2017 List (under construction)


Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker

I would call Of Mess and Moxie a follow up to For The Love (link below). It is another essay style book exploring the ups and downs, beautiful and brutal bits of life that make up what it is to be a woman. Hilarious and poingent, Of Mess and Moxie invites the reader to love who she is and embrace the beautiful woman God created her to be.

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Neiquist

I ordered this book after I finished Cold Tangerines (link below) because I loved Shauna Niequist’s style of writing so much. She has a chapter in Cold Tangerines that eludes to the concept of this book…letting go of the pressure and need to create a perfect life, home, parenting style and instead embrace what you have and what you hold dear. Be present in the here an now instead of wishing for something unattainable.

Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist

Can you tell I kind of have a thing for Shauna Niequist? This book if for all the foodies and foodie wanna-bes out there. Shauna’s love lanuage if food and feeding the people she loves. She loves bringing people around the table and lingering over a long dinner, opening another bottle of wine and enjoying the company and converstation of her friends as the candles burn down low. This book inspired Dear Husband and I to host a big dinner party. We brought together old friends and new and served them like our home was our own little pop up restaurant. It was wonderful.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

I’ve only made it a few chapters into this book but so far it is absolutely facinating. It gives a glimpse into the cronically poor white in America and how that culture if effecting our current political climate as well as our inability to overcome racisim in the united States. Don’t quote me on that…like I said, I’m only a couple of chapters in so I don’t exactly know what turn this book will take. But, it should be required reading for every American.

Welcome Homeless: One Man’s Journey of Discovering the Meaning of Home by Alam Graham

This is another book that I have only made it a few chapters in but the reason I bought this book is because of the community the author has built in Austin, TX. He had a vision of taking the chronically homeless off the streets of Austin. The ones that everyone else thinks are too far gone or can’t be helped. He wanted to make a lasting impact in their lives, not just give them a place to sleep for the night. Rather, a thriving, sustainable community.

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst

To be honest, I haven’t even cracked this one open yet. It was given to me as a gift at the Of Mess and Moxie launch party. The description is intriguing, so I’m willing to give it a go. “In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences of rejection–from the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over to the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father. She leans in to honestly examine the roots of rejection, as well as rejection’s ability to poison relationships from the inside out, including our relationship with God.”

A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman

I loved this book. I would pick it up right and now and read it all the way through again if I had the time. In A Million Little Ways, Emily explores the idea that our desire to create is God speaking through us. Even if you don’t think of yourself as creative or artistic, she invites you to look at it from another angle. God is the original artist and in creating us, created something of beauty and poured that ability to create into us.

Remarkable Faith: When Jesus Marveled at the Faith of Unremarkable People by Shauna Letellier

I met Shauna Letellier last year at a writers conference and when I heard she was publishing her first book, I was so excited to help her get the word out. She is truly a dear and wonderful person. Remarkable Faith takes a look at the nameless characters in the New Testament who are at the end of their rope and seek Jesus out for a miracle. I loved the way she brought these characters to life and painted a picture of what life may have been like for them. She also examines how their stories can impact our life today. That part of the book was a little too Christianese for my taste but I could really appreciate what she was trying to say and how she poured her heart into her words.


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I’m half-way through this book (no, I have not watched the TV series) and yikes, this paints a bleak picture. As far as dystopian fiction gos, this is the first one I’ve read that really puts women’s rights under the microscope and in a box. It’s chilling to think about how quickly things can get out of hand when left unchecked or when a group of old white men decide, behind closed doors, what we can and can’t do because we have lady bits.

Young Adult
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

I bought this book for Addison but decided to read it myself first. It is a story of an eleven-year-old boy who finds himself on an adventure in his quest to send an iPod full of his thoughts into space. He is fascinated by astronomy and finding intelligent life beyond our world and is driven to make contact with extraterrestrial life. In his quest to find life in the cosmos, he makes curious connections here on earth, including finding out what really happened to his dead father.

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery

It’s no secret that I’m a huge AoGG fan. I haven’t read Rilla of Ingleside since I was a little girl. Now reading it as an adult and as a mother, it is easily my favorite Anne book. I would argue that Rilla’s character has the strongest arc and makes the biggest transformation out of all the characters throughout the series. I baled like a baby no less than three times while reading this. I could get choked up right now if I thought about it too much. This book also takes a look at a generation that is almost extinct and a war that is becoming forgotten. If you’re an Anne fan and it’s been decades since you’ve read this installment of Anne’s story, read it. Right now.

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The Spiderwick Chronicles are a really fun way of introducing the world of faries, elves, goblins, etc. to boys. The main characters are twin brothers and their older sister. They stumble upon this enchanted world and find themselves in adventures that aren’t for the faint of heart. Each book is really short and can be read in one sitting so it’s easy to plow through the entire series. My boys both enjoy this series and I think like them because the books and story telling method gives them permission to like enchanted fairy stories without feeling like they Tinkerbell books.

2016 list


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I heard a review on NPR about this book and was intrigued. It’s the story of a shepherd boy who knows he can discover great things; he just needs to follow his heart to find them. It’s a beautiful metaphor for real life to listen to our hearts and dreams and not be afraid to take a chance on what we really want in life.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Fiction is my reading material of choice. My neighbor turned my on to this book series and I am slowly making my way through all of the books.

Outlander is the story of a WWII era woman who stumbles back in time 200 years into the Scottish highlands. She gets stuck there and has to marry a Scottish Highlander out of survival and necessity. Well, he just so happens to be smoking hot and romance and adventure ensues. I just finished up book 4 and was very happy with how everything ended up. I would be satisfied if the series ended at book 4 but am told that many more adventures ensue for our star crossed lovers and all the characters who orbit around them. Part historical fiction, part romance, part adventure, this book has a little bit of something for everyone.

Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day

The Crossfire series is for the romance reader who wants a series that feels like Fifty Shades without the red room of pain. It has all the key elements of a lone-wolf, success-driven hot billionaire romance without the poor writing quality.

There are four books in the series and a fifth follow-up book to finish the story.

Anne of Green Gables

Somewhere in my girlhood years I was introduced to Anne and never looked back. I would go so far as to say that these books helped shape who I am today. She was my hero and I devoured every book that L.M. Montgomery wrote. A few years ago Amazon was having a flash sale on all of Montgomery’s titles for .99 for the Kindle. Ummm, yes. Recently, I decided to open up Rainbow Valley to see how it held up and I’m happy to report that it held up splendidly. I loved rediscovering all of Anne’s children and their unique personalities.

I’ve always wanted to visit Prince Edward Island but now after rereading these books it has turned into a passion. Someday soon, I will make it to P.E.I and pay homage to the author and girl who started it all for me.

Little Women

Little Women is a book that I could read over and over. There is something so comforting about the way the girls tackle the challenges life hands them. Sometimes I feel like I can find a little bit of each of their personalities inside of me. Responsible Meg, adventuresome and independent Joe, introverted yet kind Beth and silly and vain Amy. I love watching them mature and grow into strong young women.

Young Adult

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I had every intention of re-reading Mocking Jay before the 2nd installment of the movie came out. Sadly I never got around to it before I saw the movie. I loved all of the books but I think Mocking Jay may be my favorite because it was most heart breaking.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

I regularly read out loud to my oldest son and as long as he wants me to read to him I will happily oblige. As he gets older I know that tender moments with him are slipping away so I relish the quiet time we have together at bedtime when I can read to him. We have been through all of the more popular series; Harry Potter, Gregor the Overlander, Percy Jackson. When it was time for a new series I wasn’t sure what to do next. I stumbled on The Mysterious Benedict Society through an Amazon search. It is the story of four unusually gifted children, all orphaned or on their own, who are recruited to go on an adventurous yet dangerous mission. We finished the first book around the beginning of 2016 and were left with enough suspense that we want to read the next book in the series to see what happens to this motley crew.  I didn’t like this book as well as Harry Potter but more than Percy Jackson but Addison liked it and has been asking to get the next book so I’m willing to read the rest of the series.

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

After Addison and I finished The Mysterious Benedict Society I felt like I needed a little break in the series. The books are very long and there are four of them so I knew it would be a while before we could get to anything new. I found my old copy of Where The Red Fern Grows when visiting my parents and knew this was the perfect diversion.

The main character is just about Addison’s age when this book takes place. I felt like it is the perfect book for him to get a glimpse into the life of an Oklahoma boy who lives a very different life than he does but has similar hopes and dreams. We have not reached the part in the book where you bawl your eyes out, but it’s getting close and I’m getting a little nervous about it. Will it live up to my memory? Will it be just as heartbreaking? I’ll know any day now.

To be honest, I completely forgot that this book was set in Oklahoma and am looking forward to taking a little day trip to that part of the state this summer. 

Faith Non-Fiction

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker

If you know me at all or have been reading my blog off and on for at least the past 6 months you will know that I’m in love with this book. For the Love is an essay style book about raising families, women being kind to themselves and each other, the church taking a hard look at itself and fashion tragedies. I have made all my girlfriends read this book, it is that good.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband ‘Master’ by Rachel Held Evans

I’m a huge Rachel Held Evans fan. She grew up in the church but as an adult became disenfranchised. While she has never left the church she went through a rough patch of trying to reconcile her own faith with what the church had become. In 365 Days of Biblical Womanhood, Rachel explores how the bible portrays women, what the scriptures expected of them and how modern and Independent women fit into a “biblical” role.

Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life by Shauna Niequist

Currently, I have a huge girl crush for Shauna Neiquist. It started when I picked up her book Savor. It has 365 short meditations or devotions reflecting on life and being present in it. Soon, her name started popping up all over the place in the writer groups I’m in. Cold Tangerines is a memoir style book of her reflections on early married life and having a baby. There is nothing extraordinary or amazing about her personal story but the way she writes draws you in. She looks at life and all the ups and downs with an intention to savor it. The way she writes is very poetic and inspiring and gives you a feel that your ho-hum life may be a little more interesting and beautiful than you thought.

Writing and Blogging

How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup

I’m not ashamed to admit it…I want this blog to be my paycheck but I don’t want to compromise on what I want to write about to do it. I’ve read lots of how to books when it comes to blogging and making money. Ruth Soukup has come across as the most genuine and honest of all the books I’ve read on making this a business. Blogging is not a get-rich-quick venture. It takes a lot of time and work and often no monetary reward. Ruth helps break it down for you without making you feel discouraged or starry-eyed.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird is book for writers but is also full of general wisdom about life. I enjoy Anne Lamont’s writing style however, some chapters get technical regarding writing style, character development and plot. For someone who doesn’t write fiction and just prefers to read it I’ve had a hard time getting all the way through the book. However, I’m not giving up! I want to be a better writer and know that books like Bird by Bird are beneficial.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”