Braving the Wilderness By Brene’ Brown
A friend told me about this book and I am so glad I read it. As a special needs mom I often feel like I’m all alone – in the wilderness – where nobody really understands what I deal with on a day-to-day basis. It’s a lonely journey. This book gave me permission to just be me. To stop caring so much about what other people think and to be courageous enough to be me even if I’m standing alone. I also loved how Brown made it a point to say we all have stories that matter.
The Winter Wedding Plan By Olivia Miles
This was the second book in a series by Olivia Miles. I enjoyed this books just as much as I did the first one. This book is all about Charlotte – a single mom who is trying to get her life in order. She’s trying to prove herself to her sister, friends and the man who has hired her to pull off a really important holiday party. It was a fun read, especially during Christmas break.
When We Were Worthy By Marybeth Whalen
I have always enjoyed Whalen’s books, although her writing style has definitely changed compared to her first novels. Her newest book was a good one. Three cheerleaders are tragically killed after a Friday night football game. The book is all about a small town that revolves around the football team, rumors and a whole lot of secrets.
Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life By Melanie Shankle
I have to be honest. I didn’t love this one! I wanted to love it because I had heard some really great things about it, but I just didn’t. I found myself reading a few pages and setting it aside. I’d pick it back up again and with the turn of each page hope that it was going to get better. It’s not horrible, I did finish it (although I almost didn’t more than once). This is the first book of Melanie’s that I’ve read. I guess it’s just not my style. She’s a great storyteller and definitely funny, but it just felt like it was missing something.
Winter Solstice By Elin Hilderbrand
This is the fourth and final book in the Winter Street series. Elin wrote a great ending to the Quinn Family’s story and added a pretty red bow for a little Christmas cheer. I honestly teared up reading the final pages of this book. I loved this series and eagerly awaited the release of each book every October. Elin writes in a way that you become part of the story and feel as if you know each member of the Quinn Family. It’s a great read for the holiday season!
Born Broken: An Adoption Journey By Kristin Berry
I had seen several adoptive mamas talk about this book and it intrigued me. Kristin writes about life with her adopted son who has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The book is raw, very transparent and at times very hard to read. I had hoped the book would go into a little more detail about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, but it focuses mainly on the very challenging situations she and her family found themselves in as her son was growing up. At times it also felt very repetitive. I finished the book having more questions and an unsettled feeling. This book wasn’t what I was expecting it to be, but I applaud Kristin and her son for being brave enough to share their very difficult story.
One Week to the Wedding By Olivia Miles
I really needed a good girly book to make reading fun again! I downloaded this one to my Kindle and really enjoyed the story about a wedding planner who’s own wedding had been canceled because her sister was having a little fling with her finance. It was light-hearted, romantic and an all around good book to get lost in. It’s the first book of a series and the second one is just as fun!
Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path By Erin Loechner
The title intrigued me and I had heard great things about this book. The words met me where I was and challenged many areas of my life that I wanted to change. I didn’t want to strive anymore. I wanted to stay away from social media and stare deeply at this wonderful life I’ve been given. Erin is real with her words. I found myself shaking my head in agreement and underlining many parts of this book. She writes, Sometimes the most holy thing we can do is to be still. To sit down, twirl the fork and eat the pasta we’re given. I don’t want my life to be so busy that I miss out on the delicious pasta right in front of me. Because I’m a girl who loves pasta!
Why Motherhood Matters By September McCarthy
I ordered this book because I’m in a season where God continues to remind me that motherhood is my ministry. What matters most is not reaching the masses but the little boy right in front of me. Instead of building a platform I’m to be a present and praying parent. This book is a great reminder to embrace motherhood because it really, really matters.
Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and Beautiful By Katie Davis Majors
I was honored to get to read an advanced copy of this book. Katie’s first book, Kisses from Katie encouraged and challenged me during our adoption journey. I just happened to see a sign up for her book launch team and was thrilled when I got the email saying I had made the cut! You can read more about my thoughts on her book here.
Fierce Hearted By Holley Gerth
Holley’s newest book is vulnerable and real and raw. I’ve read all of her books, but there is something about this one that just left me breathless. Maybe it’s because she’s so brave with her words. Maybe it’s the splendid storytelling. Maybe it’s the delicious writing that makes me want to reread sentences over and over again. The words dance on the page.
We Saved You a Seat (Bible Study) By Lisa Jo Baker
I included this Bible study because it is SO good! Listen, I read Lisa Jo’s book Never Unfriended and loved it, but I didn’t think I really needed to do the study. I thought it would just be repetitive. Well, I signed up to the free study and I am SO glad I did! This study will heal the friendship hurts of your past and make you brave enough to do the hard work of finding and keeping friendships in the future!
Close To Home (Tracy Crosswhite Series) By Robert Dugoni
Seattle homicide detective, Tracy Crosswhite, and her partner are investigating a hit and run accident, which left an African American boy dead. This book has several story lines going at once and dives deeper into the lives of few of the other characters, including Tracy’s personal life. It’s just as good as the previous books in the series!
If You Only Knew By Kristan Higgins
Jenny Tate is trying to let go of her ex-husband and the life they shared, but his new wife is making it really difficult! Jenny moves back to her hometown to start a new business and wish for a life as blissful as her sister’s. Her world is turned upside down when she meets mysterious Leo, her handsome neighbor who is irresistible, yet not really up for grabs.
The Things We Wish Were True By Marybeth Whalen
One neighborhood in Sycamore Glen, North Carolina holds a lot of secrets. A woman returns to her home town years after leaving her family and friends behind. Her closest friends have never known why she disappeared so suddenly. An accident at the neighborhood pool starts a ripple effect and old secrets are brought to light. Friendships are tested and it’s uncertain who can be trusted.
A Million Little Things By Susan Mallery
Zoe is alone. She broke up with her boyfriend and her best friend is obsessed with her toddler who isn’t talking. The day she finds herself stuck in her attic she knows she has to do something to change her circumstances. She’s pathetic. As she sets out to make changes she finds her life just gets complicated – her first new friend is her best friend’s mom and the latest guy to give her butterflies is her best friend’s brother.
Wonder By R.J. Palacio
The book is based on a boy named Auggie, who was born with facial deformities. It’s a sweet story about being different, friendship, bravery and the power of kindness. It’s a story that will definitely tug at your heartstrings. I read the book before I saw the movie, but I must admit the movie was splendid! So, so good! Probably because the story is so powerful and I love Julia Roberts.
Faultlines By Barbara Taylor Sissel
This book was recommended by a friend who’s never steered me wrong in the book department. Three teenagers are involved in a drunk driving accident, leaving one dead, one in a coma and one to face the life-shattering consequences of that fateful night. The accident divides a family as secrets are revealed and family ties unravel.
The Identicals By Elin Hilderbrand
I love summer because it means Elin Hilderbrand will release her latest beach read. Her newest novel did not disappoint. Tabitha and Harper are estranged sisters living separate lives on islands only 11 miles apart. They haven’t seen each other in fourteen years; but the death of their father brings them face-to-face. The twins are each facing their own personal problems and decide to switch places like old times. Tabitha stays in Martha’s Vineyard to sale her father’s house and Tabitha heads to Nantucket to look after her niece. The switch is just what they need to get over their fourteen year estrangement.
The Trapped Girl By Robert Dugoni
This was the fourth book in the Tracy Crosswhite series and I think it’s safe to say it was my favorite of the four. I’ve really enjoyed these murder mysteries based around a female homicide detective. In this book, a body is discovered in a crab pot off the harbor in Seattle. There are many twists and turns as Tracy and her team work to identify the body and catch the killer. This book will leave you guessing until the end.
Never Unfriended By Lisa Jo Baker
Lisa Jo bravely writes about the hard topics of comparison, jealousy, loneliness and betrayal. She tackles all the hard stuff while pointing her readers back to Jesus and how He views friendship. She’s vulnerable and courageous with her words. If you’ve ever been betrayed by a friend, hurt a friend, felt lonely or desired deeper friendships, then this book is for you.
The Happiness Dare By Jennifer Dukes Lee
I heard a lot of good things about this book and finally decided to read it. While it was good; it hasn’t been my favorite book of 2017. However, I will say these words caused me to stop and underline: The source of your happiness is already inside you – and it won’t demand that you try harder or pretend you’re someone else.
In the Clearing By Robert Dugoni
Tracy Crosswhite agrees to help Jenny, a former police academy classmate and friend, look into a suspicious suicide from forty years ago. After digging deeper into her detective fathers files, Jenny realizes her father believed murder was more likely the cause of death for the Native American high school girl. Tracy finds herself in a small town preparing to celebrate the anniversary of a huge football victory. Her investigation quickly reveals the devastating events leading up to the night of the winning game.
This was the third book in the Tracy Crosswhite series.
The Idea of Love By Patti Callahan Henry
Ella is devastated after her husband leaves her for another woman and decides she’ll make people believe he died in a sailing accident. Hunter (although that’s not his real name) is captivated by Ella and wants to use her story for a screenplay. The two quickly get tangled up in each other’s lies, but the harder they try to be honest and untangle the mess, the more they are drawn together.
Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses By Amber Lia and Wendy Speake
I never knew I had an anger problem until I became a mom. Ouch! That’s a hard thing to admit. I often react in anger because I’m impatient, stressed, placing too high of expectations on my kid or feeling like the situation is completely out of my control. When I came across this book I knew I had to read it! It’s broken into 31 sections – different areas that might trigger angry responses from mothers. I used this book as a Bible Study/Daily Devotion.
Present Over Perfect By Shauna Niequist
This book was just what my heart needed at the start of a new year. I have no doubt I’ll go back and reread it. I scribbled a thousand notes upon the pages. Shauna’s words were good for my soul; I could have written them myself. They opened my eyes to what I want my life to look like in 2017. I saw my heart on the pages of this book. It was a reminder that my worth and value are not found in the words I write. It gave me permission to stop striving and simply be still.
A Sugar Creek Christmas By Jenny B. Jones
I had never read anything by Jenny B. Jones and this was definitely a fun read. A romance set at Christmas. Does it get any better? Emma Sutton left her hometown and the love of her life to pursue a career in television news. After declaring she hated Christmas on national television, she’s forced to return to Sugar Creek to find a heart-felt Christmas story worthy of saving her job. She takes a job as the city event planner, only to discover her boss is the man she walked out on. As she tries to find her Christmas spirit, Emma realizes her feelings for Noah are far from gone.
My Sister’s Grave By Robert Dugoni
Seattle homicide detective, Tracy Crosswhite, has spent twenty years questioning what happened the night her sister disappeared. Something about the investigation of her murder has never added up. When Tracy learns her sisters remains have been discovered, she returns to her hometown and the questions resurface. As she sets out to find justice for her sister, Tracy ends up facing a very dangerous situation of her own.
The Blue Bistro By Elin Hiderbrand
I’m a huge Elin Hilderbrand fan, so I was shocked when I realized I hadn’t read The Blue Bistro. Since I’ve read all her other books I thought I better mark this one off my list. I’m so glad I did! This book ranks as one of my favorites.
Adrienne is flat broke and decides to make Nantucket her summer home. Without any restaurant experience, she lands a job at the Blue Bistro, which will close at the end of summer. Adrienne is intrigued by owners, Thatcher and Fiona, and can’t quite figure out their complex relationship. She’s also doesn’t understand why they would shut down the island’s hottest and swankiest restaurant. As the summer heats up, Adrienne finds herself falling in love with the face-paced restaurant life and Thatcher, too.
Her Final Breath By Robert Dugoni
Tracy Crosswhite is back in Seattle doing what she loves; solving murders. A serial killer is on the loose and she’s determined to stop him before another exotic dancer looses her life. As she investigates, she discovers both her career and life are in jeopardy.
Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement By the (in)courage community
In a world where we are instantly connected via social media; we can find our hearts longing for real-life connection. This book is full of real-life stories, challenges for real-life connection and reminders to connect daily with God. I’m using it as a daily devotion.
Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him By Sally and Nathan Clarkson
I read this book in two days! As I read Sally’s words, I was reminded that I’m not the only mama who has questioned if she’s equipped to raise a child with special needs. I soaked in every word of wisdom Sally wrote. Nathan’s words gave me a better understanding of Jackson’s struggles, which I hope will make me a more understanding, compassionate and equipped mama. I highly recommend this book to all special needs mamas!