It is that time of the month - the beginning - when I share what I read the previous month. Thank you, beautiful weather! Inevitably when the weather is nice or unchanging I am able to devour books and April was one of those months. It was a great month for getting in lots of reading time but it was also a month of amazing books. I didn't read one book this month that I did not like and several, many, books that I completely adored, and at least one - if not two - that will be going on my top-rated books, my most favorites for the year or even of all time.
Like always I have created a scrapbook page to document what I've been reading lately. This year, all of my 'reading' pages are either a 1- or 2-page 6 x 8 and are going into my All About Me album. In 2017 I created 12 x 12 pages to document the 100 New Books I read. I love flipping through my scrapbook albums and seeing all the pages of what I've already read. This year I am well on my way toward another 100 Books in 2018 (rather than 100 new books because I am re-reading J.D. Robb's In Death series this year, sooo - not new, although almost every other read is new).
Joseph, Exalted through Trials by F. B. Meyer. This little nugget, written by renowned theologian, F.B. Meyer, sketches a biographical portrait of Joseph, the eleventh son of the Patriarch Jacob (Israel) and whose life is reminiscent of the story or Jesus Christ. If you are going through testing and trials and wondering why, or where is God read this along with the story of Joseph which is found in the book of Genesis and be blessed. I was studying the Patriarchs by Beth Moore with my daughter Ashley, and I read this as a commentary to enhance my studies. 24/100 books read in 2018.
If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey. One of the best Christian non-fiction books I have ever read!!!! Vulnerable and authentic truth right here! Ivey speaks of how she found freedom in Christ. Literally, how! I am still blown away by this book. I can't even say how much I needed this book. For someone to tell the truth like this. To be vulnerable and authentic and real - I am blown away! I hope those who read this book will then go into your groups of womanhood and encourage authentic conversation and create an atmosphere for women to be real and truthful without being judged or shamed or condescended upon. 25/100 books read in 2018.
Seduction in Death by J.D. Robb. This is a really good murder investigation. Robb takes you into the minds of two young killers working in tandem. Interesting plot and more deeply vulnerable character development kept the book moving nicely. Really enjoying making my way, slowly, through this series again. 26/100 books read in 2018.
The Dry by Jane Harper. I have read some really good books this month and this is but another - amazing read. Not a fast-paced book but rather a book that moves unencumbered by meaningless words or words that contribute nothing to the story. It was, as if, every word was in its place so I flew through the book. I read this in a day! Hooked from the first page to the last, Harper reveals something new with each passing page. It is a brilliant murder mystery within another murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing until the very end. 27/100 books read in 2018.
The Reason I Jump, The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-year-old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida. Always on the look out for cutting-edge reading, anything to help me get into the mind of, and potentially see more clearly, my grandson Ian who has autism. While I think the author is deeper on the spectrum than my grandson, this is still a worthy read for any parent, advocate, or teacher who regularly lives with someone with autism because it may answer a ton of your why questions and, maybe, just maybe you'll be more patient and understanding, and gracious, to the child or adult with autism who, sometimes, have no way to express themselves in the way that we'll understand. 28/100 books read in 2018.
Reunion in Death by J.D. Robb. Another In Death re-read. I'd forgotten much of the book and loved how more of the series' protagonist, Eve Dallas, is continuing to be unfettered and she is breaking away from the hardened, staunch, and rigid and her vulnerability and feminine side is showing. This was a good read bidding good female versus bad female. Very interesting psychological thriller. 29/100 books read in 2018.
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Although I have never heard of Rachel Hollis and have never read her blog, this has received rave reviews and came highly recommended. I was not disappointed. She said some words early in the book that I've been struggling how to say for myself, "I don't know the central tenet of your faith, but the central tenet of mine is 'love thy neighbor.' Not 'love thy neighbor if they look and act and think like you.' Not 'love thy neighbor so long as they wear the right clothes and say the right things.' Just love them. Yes, I also believe in holding each other accountable; but holding each other accountable takes place inside community and relationships. Holding each other accountable comes from a beautiful place in the heart of friendship that makes you sit down with your friend and ask with love if they've looked at their own actions in a particular light. Holding each other accountable comes from a place of love." If only reading those words of hers be words I've been trying to articulate myself were the only worthy words in the book I'd say, read it! But, there is so much more good stuff! 30/100 books read in 2018.
A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa. A difficult and heart-wrenching memoir of one man's early life through his escape from North Korea. The book is well-written and not in any way flowery, or over-exaggerated, but a truthful essay of his plight from living poor in Japan as a Japanese-Korean to the hope of a good life propagandized in North Korean to living proof of the countries lies. It was, in many ways, frustrating to read because I just wanted to climb into the book and beat to a pulp those who are systemically enslaving a people. If you take anything away from reading this book it is, I imagine, an unintentional lesson in gratitude. The plight of North Koreans is unbelievable and unfortunately is the worst socialism has to offer. Can anyone in our country really want socialism? 31/100 books read in 2018.
The Fallen by David Baldacci. My favorite Baldacci character, memory man Amos Decker, returns in this can't-put-down-until-I-finish-it, murder mystery. The police officer turned consulting agent for the FBI who never forgets and his partner Alex are on vacation and get involved in a small town multiple murder mystery that twists and turns crazy fast and I enjoyed every minute trying to pin down the guilty party - or should I say parties. Baldacci grew his Decker character by leaps and bounds with this book and opened up the potential for inevitable growth in future books. 32/100 books read in 2018.
Need to Know by Karen Cleveland. Recommended by a Modern Mrs. Darcy follower who gave it 5 Stars. I would have to agree with her! Vivian works in a special office within the CIA. She's a wife and mother of four young children and when she stumbles on something at work her life gets turned upside down. On the edge of my seat spy thriller that will make your head spin. 33/100 books read in 2018.
A Share in Death, the First Kincaid and James mystery by Deborah Crombie. For such a short book - well it seemed short anyway - it was packed full of mystery. My first introduction to the main character, Kincaid, and I already love him and really like Gemma James his partner/sidekick, even though she had quite the smaller part. This was a good first book [for me] by Deborah Crombie, who I've never read before. However, A Share in Death was quite heavy on the characters which I struggled to keep up who they were, so much so, that I just moved on hoping I'd figure it out in the next scene. I finally grasped who all the characters were, but not until the end. Besides that though I really enjoyed the book and will definitely read the next in the series. 34/100 books read in 2018.
Everybody Always by Bob Goff. I read Love Does, Goff's first book when it came out and it quickly went onto my favorites list. I have a sneaky suspicion that Everybody Always will do the same. Can I say upfront? Bring tissues. I'm serious. Goff writes through personal, individual stories with such joy and life and intricately weaves in his message that our greatest responsibility here on earth is to love everybody - always. Applying what I learned, this book made me repent, pick the hardest person to love, stop the strong-arming because I didn't want to get hurt again or betrayed again, and simply have normal conversation - without filters. It was a huge step for me in loving everybody - always. 35/100 books read in 2018.