Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What I’m Reading - the January Edition

One of the things I’ve wanted to do more of with this blog are book reviews. I am a book worm by nature and read a lot but I don’t want this blog to become a book review blog. Instead, I’m testing out a different style of reviewing books. Three at a time, short snippets of what the books are about and my overall thoughts. We’ll see how this goes!


Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
5 of 5 stars
Genre: YA lit

I loved this book. It has a silly title and maybe it has a silly premise, but this was one of my favorite books I’ve read in a really long time. Anna was a character I could connect with, even if she was 17. The plot completely drew me in and had me hooked from the get-go. It was about 17-year-old Anna whose father decided she needed to spend her senior year at a boarding school in Paris. She had to leave her entire life, including her “almost boyfriend”, best friend, and job at the movie theater. She arrived knowing nobody, not understanding French, and a complete stranger to Paris. But in the way books do, she immediately found a great group of friends to help her understand the country and have a home in a foreign place. And, of course, there was a boy. His name was St. Clair and what I enjoyed most about his character was that he was not a perfect male specimen. Romance novels have a tendency to place the male hero on a pedestel, perfect and faultless. It’s not reality and always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. St. Clair had an exuberence to life but also a long list of faults that made him even more adorable and most importantly, human. He also had a girlfriend. Throughout the book, you witness the love story between two teenagers who so badly want to be together but circumstances keep that from happening. As Anna begins to fall in love with St. Clair, she also begins to grow up - a lot. She has to discover how to be independent in a strange country and most importantly, true to herself, her beliefs, and her desires. As many of you are aware, I have mad love for romance novels. This one? It is the perfect teenage romance novel. It was witty and heartbreaking and while I expected to enjoy the story, I never expected for it to be such a page turner, something I couldn’t put down and couldn’t stop thinking about when I did. I was happy for the characters when it ended but also so very sad that their story was over and they wouldn’t be a huge part of my everyday life anymore. Completely, wholeheartedly recommend.


What Women Fear: Living in a Faith that Transforms
Author: Angie Smith
4 of 5 stars
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction

I’ll admit I have never read a single blog post that Angie has written, nor knew all too much about her before hearing about this book. But when I heard the title and read the description, I knew I had to read it. Fear and anxiety are something I struggle with on a daily basis and sometimes, it feels like I’m not fully trusting in God or fully a Christian because of this. This book was divided into chapters that delved into different fears we may have: fear of rejection, abandonment, and betrayel, fear of failure, fear of not being significant, fear of God’s plan for my life, fear that God isn’t real, to name a few that really struck a chord with me. Angie Smith has a powerful testimony and she hasn’t lived an easy, blameless life. She has struggled and has dealt with many of the issues talked about in this book. This made her words seem so much more meaningful and not idle chat. She didn’t seem to think any of these fears were silly or that doubting God’s existence made us less Christian. These are legitimate fears that the enemy is hard at work in our lives to make us believe. This book is something I can see myself re-reading, especially certain chapters, because it spoke directly to my heart and made me take a long, hard look at my fear and exactly who is the mastermind behind it all.

Favorite quote: “Here’s the part we need to cling to: If what we are being called to do is in God’s will for us, we truly can’t fail. I know it sounds like I’m making a flippant statement that should be on a poster with a guy hitting a golf ball, but what I mean is that we simply may not have the same meaning as God for the word “failure.” To me, failure means it doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. To God, it means I didn’t pick up the brush.” (pg. 68)


Summer of the Midnight Sun
Author: Tracie Peterson
4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

I used to devour Tracie Peterson’s books when I was younger. Once I “graduated” from the YA section, these were the books I tended to stray to the most. She writes historical Christian novels, full of intrigue and excitement. This book was no different. I remembered reading about Jacob and Leah in previous books by the author but they were secondary characters. This books focused mainly on Leah and her estranged relationship with the love of her life, Jayce. After a ten-year separation, they find themselves together again and soon find themselves defending Jayce after he is accused of murder. They also have to contend with Pinkerton agent, Helaina, who is hellbent on getting Jayce to Seattle and seeking justice for his charges. Helaina was one character I didn’t care for in the least and I think the author intended it that way. I was so enamored with Jayce and the blossoming relationship between Leah and Jayce that her intrusion made me quite upset! I was hooked from the first page until the last, which left me hanging and hungry for the second in the series. There’s something about the way Peterson creates characters and plots that draws me in and I’m not sure why I took such a long break from her books.

Have you read any of the above books? If so, what were your thoughts? What is your idea of failure?

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