Tag Archive | Fiction Books

Reading List 2015

Here is my list for 2015. I did not do so well on my list in 2014 and much had to do with working full time for the first 5 months followed by my 4th pregnancy and a move to a new city! We had a lot of changes in 2014 and I fell greatly behind in blogging as well as reading. I have high hopes for 2015 although it’s almost the end of February and I am only just now putting up my list! This time I put the blame on having a newborn on January 8th : ) it’s always something right! Well… here goes!

I should also preface by saying that God has really brought to my attention my need to focus on my marriage. I have spent the last few years reading a lot of parenting books which have been significantly helpful but there are some areas in my marriage that need some real work and I am making 2015 a focus on that as far as my reading goes.

Fiction:

Marriage:

Bible Study:

Reading List 2013

I have been so excited to get this list out. I actually made it in November and have been anxious to get started but have had to wait due to holiday travel and moving. I feel so blessed to have each one of these books (except the fiction) in hand. God really provided over the past year with thrift store and used book store and cheap amazon sales. I had been developing this list as I read book recommendations from my favorite blogs or books that were recommended at the end of some of the books I read last year and I would literally walk into a thrift store and browse the shelf and one of them would be sitting there for a buck or two! I really spent pennies on this collection and while there were a few books I wanted to add or replace with one on the list here I feel confident that God gave me these books to add to my library over this past year to be the ones for me to read currently. I don’t need to spend a penny this next year on books. Praise God for His provisions! Here goes!

Fiction:

  • The Sword by Bryan Litfin
  • The Gift by Bryan Litfin
  • The Kingdom by Bryan Litfin – These 3 books are called the Chiveis Trilogy. Adam and I happened upon them by fluke as I quickly ran into the library before our last drive from AZ back to CO and back to AZ the next week. We wanted something to listen to during the boring NM stretches. This was on the new release shelf for audio cd’s and I read the back and was so interested. I didn’t even realize it was the third book of a trilogy and that it was a Christian author and publisher! We listened to a little less than half during the drive (kiddos didn’t sleep much!) so now I want to start from the beginning and read them. They are very interesting! Similar to a LOTR type sci-fi book with a wonderful Christian undertone.

Marriage:

Parenting:

Christian Discipleship:

Other:

Book Review: Mockingjay

 Again as with Catching Fire… I really cannot give a full account of my review because I would hate to spoil this series for any of you thinking about reading it. I thought this book was a good finale to the trilogy but I was however a little disappointed with some of the authors choice on the final destination of certain characters. It seemed like she was just trying to wrap things up and not drag it on but I feel like the book suffered some depth because of it. Oh well… overall I loved this trilogy and cannot wait until the next movie comes out in 2013!!!

Reading List 2012

Book Review: Catching Fire

 I just recently finished the second book of The Hunger Games series… Catching Fire. It was really good! I really cannot give a good book review without ruining the book/future movie for anyone who wants to read/watch it so I’m really not going to say much but … read/watch it!!! As usual I would recommend reading it first because in my opinion The Hunger Games movie was really good but could not even come close to the book. There are so many emotions captured in the books that are just impossible to capture in a movie and you become attached easier to the characters and understand where they’re coming from a lot better. I thought this book was just as good as the first one and I just started reading the third and cannot wait to see how it all ends!

Reading List 2012

Updated: 10/7/12

 I have spent the last few weeks working on my Home Management Binder as I described in my post here. Well, I sort of described… it is such a work in progress that I’m not quite sure when I will post pictures and a full description of what is in the binder (I get giddy even thinking about sharing it!!!). But I have been spending time praying and seeking God’s wisdom in how to live my life more intentionally and making the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:17) and it has resulted in making a list of personal goals for the year, encouraging scripture to memorize, practical lists like a meal planner and to-do list, etc., and a book reading list for the year with a goal to read 12 books this year. So… here is my list:

To see any book reviews on these books please go to the Book Review tab at the top of the blog.

 Fiction:

 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins  I just finished this 2 nights ago! My first finished book in 2012!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Parting by Beverly Lewis

Marriage:

 The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson My new favorite book!

The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian

 The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace (I added this book in May after seeing it on a woman’s bookshelf who I someday aspire to be like… she has all the qualities of a Proverbs 31 woman and is an amazing Christian woman following God hard for her life. So I figured if she read it then I should read it!)

Parenting:

 The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot 

Instructing a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp I have changed my mind about reading this book this year and I am going to cross it off and save it for another year.

 Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp – This is a re-read as this book was so fundamental to me understanding discipline based on God’s desires and what the Bible says but we read it right after Amelia was born and her temperament now is much different than then!!!

 The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian

 Standing on the Promises by Douglas Wilson

Dare to Discipline by James Dobson

Christian Discipleship:

 The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

 Biblical Womanhood in the Home by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges – I added this one in August after finding it again at a local thrift store for 50 cents! This morning I felt God telling me that He wanted me to do some more studying on the fruit of the spirits and I was wishing for my Beth Moore study on the fruit of the spirits which is in Arizona in our storage boxes! Well, I checked my bookshelf and looked at the Table of Contents in this book and it was perfect! I am excited to read this as the most important way to improve and grow in my roles as a wife and mother is to improve and grow in my relationship with the Lord and His character and there’s no better way than to grow in the fruit of the spirits!

 Other:

 Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck 

Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson – I decided to add this book in March since Joshua is underweight and our Dr. has encouraged us to find some way to supplement and increase calories to speed up his weight gain. The subtitle for this book is “A Breastfeeding Diet Guide with Lactogenic Foods and Herbs – Build Milk Supply, Boost Immunity, Lift Depression, Detox, Lose Weight, Optimize a Baby’s IQ, and Reduce Colic and Alergies”. My little growing man is in need of my increase in milk supply as I am determined to continue feeding him only from the breast and without adding formula for weight gain.

Natural Childbirth after Cesearean by Karis Crawford – I added this book in September once we found out we were pregnant with our third baby. After my trial visit to a midwives office they had this book for loan and I borrowed it since I am going to have a VBAC with this baby (Joshua was breech requiring a c-section).

Book Review: The Hunger Games

This was such a good book. I started it slowly more due to a lack of free reading time but I sat down to read a few pages and finished the second half of the book in one sitting because I was hooked! This book is a movie that will be out in theatres on March 23rd… my recommendation is to read the book before the movie because that’s always more fun!

 This is the first of three books in this series. The setting is in a new world called Panem where there are 12 different districts of people. Every year they have the Hunger Games which is essentially a Gladiator competition where a boy and a girl are randomly selected from each district and placed in a controlled environment to fight to the death. Only 1 person lives.

 There is so much action in this book and it is filled with suspense I could not put it down. In the midst of all the action I thought Collins drew you in even more with an emotional attachment to the characters. Even though I have never experienced any of the things the main character Katniss experiences I felt like I could relate to her because of the emotional draw that Collins used. The type of life that is lived in Panem makes you very thankful for the abundance of needs that are filled in your normal daily life (i.e. food, water, hot water, etc.).

 I really want to write so much more about this book but I don’t want to give away a single thing and please do not read the blurb on the back of Book 2 or Book 3 as it will give away what happens at the end of this book. Enjoy!

Book Review: This Present Darkness

 I have been so slow on reading books now that Amelia is so active and taking less naps and now that I have another little kiddo! So it took me nearly 6 months to read this book but it definitely wasn’t due to a lack of interest in the material.

 This book was written by Frank E. Peretti in 1986 and is centered around a battle between Angels and Demons. It is set in a small town called Ashton where there are some strange things happening. A local reporter starts to notice that multiple people are being fired and replaced by a certain personality of people that is also showing up in different businesses and the local college. He starts investigating to find out these people are all linked together. In the meantime there is a new pastor at the local church who begins noticing strange things and people in the town and he begins praying intensively over the people and the town. In the background of the plot Peretti shows the angels and demons who are behind all of these strange happenings that the people are noticing. A set of demons are trying to take over the town through these people while in the meantime a set of angels are trying to use the Pastor and any other praying believers to ward off the attacks of the demons.

 I found this book very interesting. I am not knowledgeable enough in spiritual warfare to know the accuracy of which Peretti portrays the angels and demons (i.e. fighting each other with swords, the physical appearance he describes, etc.). But there is one message Peretti sends that cannot be fictionalized… the power of prayer. He really emphasizes how much power God has given us as believers through prayer. There are times when the situation is enough out of our control and cannot be influenced by the physical that the only means it can be touched is through our praying and stirring up God to act.

 I find this to be true in my own life especially with my children. I haven’t had too many experiences at this point but I know that they are their own little individual people who can make their own choices and as much as I would like to control every aspect of their lives I cannot and will not be able to BUT I certainly can pray on their behalf to God for their protection and to make good decisions and to enter into their own relationship with Jesus, etc.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

 Jesus referring to a young boy possessed by an impure spirit: “This kind can only come out by prayer.” Mark 9:29

I would definitely recommend this book for some fun reading that can definitely spark your prayer life and to remind you that there is a spiritual battle out there that we are fighting with.

Book Review: Abram’s Daughters Series

I have seen Beverly Lewis’s books all over the Christian bookstore (she’s written somewhere around 50 books) and I’ve always been interested in picking one up to explore Christian fiction but there just always seemed to be a different book on my reading list that looked a bit more appealing. Well, for only $1 on one of my frequent Goodwill runs I picked up the first book of her Abram’s Daughters series… I had no idea what that put me in for! I quickly became hooked and got the rest of the series at our half-price bookstore down the street! Beverly Lewis writes fiction novels about the Amish. Her grandmother grew up Amish and married a Christian man and left the Amish culture behind her but carried on much of the lifestyle to her children and grandchildren. Beverly took her knowledge of the Amish culture from her family background as well as extensive research to ensure accuracy and has created multiple novels that throw a Christian twist into the mix.

 Abram’s Daughters series begins with 2 teenage Amish girls in the middle of rumschpringe (this is the few years when the teenagers are allowed to explore life to determine if they want to join the Amish church or not). Without giving any of the book away I’ll just summarize to say that some decisions were made during that period that resulted in some enormous consequences to this Amish family… one such consequence centered around one of the daughters being “shunned” from the community. This means they have to leave the community and are not allowed to have any contact with the community and their family essentially forever unless there is a repentance that occurs. The series spans throughout the next 20 years of this family’s life and shows from a long-term perspective the results of decisions we make in life.

 Homecooked Meals. I absolutely loved learning about the Amish culture! I would have never thought I’d have any interest in this whatsoever but it really sparked in me an appreciation for their culture. They work so incredibly hard getting up every day before the sun rises to begin their “chores” with the men working the fields and with the animals and the women cooking and cleaning and selling their homegrown goods on their roadside stands. To think I complain sometimes of cooking a dinner that takes 20 mins. when I didn’t cook either of the 2 nights before while these women cook 3 meals a day EVERY day and usually for a table full of 10 or more people, as well as all sorts of baked and canned goods. It really put me to shame and sparked in me a desire to start spending more time preparing fresh and healthy meals and snacks for my family. It is amazing how decadent their Amish feasts are considering most of what they cook they’ve grown there on their own land!

 Family Fellowship. I also appreciate that the whole family does come in and sit down for 3 meals a day. It seems hard enough today to get everyone together for dinner but there is so much fellowship that occurs when you sit down and enjoy a good hearty homecooked meal together. I loved how each evening in the Amish culture after dinner and dessert is served and the dishes are washed, dried and put away they all sit down in their various “spots” and the husband of the family reads from the Bible. Now they read from the old Dutch Bible and in the old order Amish ordnungs there are only certain Scriptures they’re allowed to read so I wouldn’t say it is necessarily a time of “digging into the Word” and discussing Scripture but rather more of a tradition. I do like this concept however and in our lives we could incorporate this by instead of sitting down to watch NBC or whichever station you prefer we could read through the Bible book by book. Just the idea of coming together and relaxing in a way that does create intimacy and fellowship instead of just tuning out to the TV sounds appealing.

 Community. That to me was what stood out the most in the Amish lifestyle. The Amish have thier own little communities. There is always someone right next door or in the upstairs room to lend a helping hand. I love how the adults would gather together while their children were out playing volleyball or at the barn for a time of singing. The only thing in my life today I can think of to relate is when Adam and I went on our summer projects to Serbia and 40 of us lived in a hotel together where we spent most of our time together in community. That community doesn’t exist on a natural basis here. We’ve lived in our house for 1 year now and have just barely met a handful of our neighbors. I am probably the worse than most at closing up my blinds and choosing to be inside all day because I just feel like being introverted. But in my heart I often desire this type of community. Come over when you want and I’ll serve you freshly baked bread and tea. The Amish communities have frequent “canning bees” and “quilting bees” where all the women get together to can and quilt while their children run around with each other… and sometimes there’s as many as 20 women! This would be a huge event requiring lots of planning and most likely lots of declines on the RSVPs if we tried this today.

 Not Worldly. I’m sure one of the first things that came to your mind when you heard the word Amish was the good ol’ horse n buggy and no electricity! It’s true in the setting of this book the family lived in a very old fashioned community without these fancy ammenities. But as I read this book I began to see more of the reasoning behind their decision and I came to respect it. Our society today as so much of an influence on the way we think and act. TV, magazines, books and billboards are plastered with sex and concepts of living that pierce and crush the very heart of God. Our society is creating an environment of destruction filled with lust, greed, envy, insecurity, and everything negative under the sun. Everything that is against God’s desires for us and the peaceful fulfilled life He desires to bless on us. When I cut out TV and I listen to the Christian radio stations and I read my Bible instead of the latest best-seller I find my soul fulfilled, I find myself desiring a life of holiness and real depth and I find all the sexual exploits and trashy language and empty promises more and more repulsive. I appreciate the Amish community and their desire to rid their lives of the influence of the negative aspects of the world to maintain their purity as a community. It is a very interesting line that is drawn on how far is too far but I am thankful to have some insight into the rationale behind this.

 There are of course a lot of negative things about the Amish culture. One such example being the concept of shunning a family member. Their concept of salvation is not accurate leaving them unsure of their salvation until they die and leaving their prayer life filled with pre-scripted prayers instead of praying from the heart. Their are some more Christian-Amish people out there… one such community being the Mennonites who follow accurate biblical truth on salvation. Good and bad… my life will be changed from reading this series and I am so thankful I have read it! I highly highly recommend it to anyone and everyone! Happy reading!

Book Review: Table for Five

I don’t know what has gotten into me lately but I have been all about reading books… and eating mint chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate syrup : ) I picked up this book at Goodwill for $2 not knowing what to expect… it sounded interesting so I took a risk. The book is about this divorced couple who have 3 young children and the couple die in a tragic car accident. The husband’s brother (who ironically is an ex-pro golfer and single bachelor) is granted custody of their children. The wife’s best friend is an uptight traditional schoolteacher who fights with the brother to help raise the children as this was her friend’s wishes although it was never legally written. It is a lighthearted book about these two opposite adults joining together with one purpose: to raise these children and help them cope with the loss of their parents. It is a very well written book as Susan Wiggs brings the perspective of this tragedy into light from each person’s point of view. It invites you to feel and sympathize with the different characters even though you may have never walked in any of their footsteps before. I found it sort of puzzling that the main male character was pursuing professional golf (like Adam) and the book takes place in Oregon (where I was born)! I found myself smiling throughout the book as it is heartwarming towards the end and like any good book I felt a twinge of sadness as I turned the last page saying good-bye to the characters. This book gave me hopes for Adam and I to get a wonderbread golf sponsorship as the main character got one and traveled in an RV during the summertime with the schoolteacher and the 3 children while he played in different golf tournaments : ) I would LOVE to do this with Adam!

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

 I finished this book a little while ago, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I had read Kite Runner a couple of years ago which was a phenomenol book. Both books are written about kids growing up in Afghanistan during the years before the Taliban and during the Taliban reign. It is definitely a moving experience to watch how the lives of the people in Afghanistan are completely transformed… and usually for the worse. Kite Runner was written from the perspective of a boy growing up and some pieces of him living as an adult in the United States reflecting on his past in Afghanistan. A Thousand Splendid Suns is written from the perspective of a girl growing up during the Taliban reign. It is heartbreaking to say the least to learn about the treatment of women during this time. At one point the women were not able to even walk the streets by themselves. They had to be escorted by a male and if they were found by themselves they would often be beaten. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not have a choice in who your husband is going to be… the only choice being a) to live on the streets with no means of survival or b) marry a man 20 years older than you simply so you can have a roof over your head – leaving you subjected to his needs and his desires without a say in it. I have to say it was a very difficult read, emotionally. And I do wish I had read this before I had Amelia as some of the relational parts between a child in the book and their parent was much more difficult to read now that I have a baby than when I didn’t. I also learned a little insight on why the women where the Hijab (headcovers). In the book the main character was forced to wear it by her husband because he said he wanted her beauty and purity to stay hidden and be revealed only to himself. He didn’t want her to be on display and be a temptation for the other men when they’re out in public. The woman also mentioned many times that she grew a fondness to wearing it as she felt like she was hiding her shame and her insecurities and while walking in public noone would recognize her and place her with her new life. I definitely felt I could sympathize with this. I would want to hide my face and just feel like I was escaping somewhere when facing the public after some of the things she had seen and been through. I had never seen the Hijab in this way. It reminded me of the little boy in Big Daddy who needed to wear his sunglasses when around people because he was shy and nervous and when he wore the glasses he felt invisible : ) I highly recommend this book to give you a perspective of the Taliban and Afghanistan and to also help you be thankful for the freedom we have here in America… freedom as individuals, freedom as women, freedom in Christianity, freedom in my 3 bedroom/2 story house… free to just live a beautiful life.