April 2024 Book Reviews

April started off with snow here in NH, but we are finally feeling more "spring-ish" as the month ends!

Here's what I've been reading this month...


Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I was interested in this book because we had watched the show & thought it was a compelling story. The book pretty much followed the same path with a few adjustments here & there. The author makes you feel like this was an actual band with all of the details she includes. It makes you want to run out & buy an album with how she describes their voices & songs. Themes like sobriety, loneliness, fame, unrequited love all find their way into this narrative that is told in an interview format.

Heavens to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace

My daughter & I have been reading this series for probably over a year. In this one, the main characters have made it to high school. Fair warning, this one has a lot more discussion of boys than previous books in this series. (Oh & there's a Ouija board, which I found bizarre that it was included.) But it also shows Betsy making mistakes as usual & learning from them. We so the beauty & fun that good friendships can be. It also shows Betsy & Julia exhibiting independence from their parents in choosing a different church. And we also get to see the idyllic Deep Valley setting in all its glory.

The Understory: An Invitation to Rootedness and Resilience from the Forest Floor by Lore Ferguson Wilbert

The first thing that struck me about this book is the lovely poetic style. The author uses this & weaves her naturalist observations with her spiritual struggles & growth. The next thing that I realized as I was reading was she was quoting a lot. While that's all good to show that these ideas aren't original with her, it did get a little clunky at times to have all of these inserted so often throughout the book. Maybe just some footnotes at the end instead of so many interruptions would have made for a smoother reading experience. Beside all of that, the book itself has merit. Somewhere in the early chapters, I was worried it was going to be a deconstructionist, navel-gazing complaint. I almost quit. But around the middle, there was a change toward the hopeful, upward look that Christians should have. She looked down again, but it was to look at the foundation she was building her life on, the roots that were connecting her to something bigger. Christian books can tend toward this very meditative attitude, but it is important for it not to be all inward. It's important for us to remember that our hope isn't found inside ourselves. It is found in Christ alone!

Now and Not Yet: Pressing in When You're Waiting, Wanting, and Restless for More by Ruth Chou Simons

Ruth Chou Simons is one of those Christian authors that I have so enjoyed over the years. Her years of ministry in a variety of roles, her commitment to her husband & sons, her creativity in adorning the Gospel with her art, her candid takes on life--her ministry has been a blessing to me. This book is no different. Ruth's encouragement to us as we are all in a "not yet" time of waiting. Whether it's waiting for the things we want or for Jesus to return, we all know the feeling of longing to see things come to their complete & desired end. This book had some ideas that were similar to Peace over Perfection by Faith Chang (see my review here). The idea of striving over patiently trusting & resting in what God has already done.

The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins

I'm not sure why I decided to pick up this novel, but I'm glad I did. It's nice to get a little different flavor in the reading pile sometimes! A wealthy woman has died & her adopted son has been called back to take care of making sure her wishes are carried out by the other family members. Everyone is scheming. Interspersed are letters from the woman herself, Ruby McTavish. She reveals long-buried secrets in these notes & eventually takes you on a final twist of the story that you might or might not see coming. There is some language & references to intimate situations, but I didn't feel like anything was over the top. Overall, a decent fiction break for me!

Together Is a Beautiful Place: Finding, Keeping, and Loving Our Friends by Bailey T. Hurley

I've see this book all over the Instagram accounts that I follow & the author herself always seems so bubbly & earnest on there. So, I gave this book a chance. It's super short, so I appreciated that. I love the idea of encouraging women to reach out & make Gospel-centered friendships. And I think there are some really good ideas & thoughts behind this book. The thing I didn't necessarily like was the over-thinking side of making new friends & the strategic, calculated methods of finding people to form friendships with. It seemed like these friendships had to serve the specific needs of the author at that specific time or they were seen as "ghosting" or some other negative. I guess I've never had that many ladies to choose from for friends, so I just tend to be really happy to have the ones that come along! I think we need to stop focusing on these elusive "BFFs" that we thought we needed in Junior High & instead focus on discipleship. Who needs us instead of who do I need? I think God will honor that obedience in ways we can't even imagine.

Ten Thousand Tries by Amy Makechnie

This was a juvenile book that I grabbed from the local library for my son, but he didn't seem interested. It's set in NH, so that was an unexpected bonus. It features a boy, Golden, who is on a quest to get 10,000 hours of soccer practice in order to be like his hero, Messi. His whole family is into soccer, including his father who has recently been diagnosed with ALS. Golden struggles to come to terms with that other obstacles & makes mistakes along the way. But he's always loyal to his family & friends. He learns from his mistakes & changes for the better. It's a really sweet book with truly emotional rollercoaster moments.

Well Said: Choosing Words that Speak Life, Give Grace, and Strengthen Your Faith and Family by Sarah Molitor

A thought-provoking, challenging book that brings the wisdom of God's Word into the way we use our words. Whether it's in our home or on social media, we all are called to be thoughtful with how we communicate. With many examples from her own life (funny & painful), the author shares the many lessons she's been learning with how to manage her speech in a more Christ-like way. If you are looking for a practical, Gospel-based approach to speaking with more discernment & grace, this is a very helpful guide.

How to Tell the Truth: The Story of How God Saved Me to Win Hearts--Not Just Arguments by Preston Perry

Highly recommend this book! Preston's passion for souls is so encouraging. He tells his story & how he honed his evangelistic skills. At first, he was just consumed with winning an argument with a Jehovah's Witness. But he quickly realized that witnessing about Christ isn't about being right, it's about reaching a person's heart & soul with the Good News. Perry brings practical instruction based in Bible principles. It's a really important book!

Raising Mentally Strong Kids: How to Combine the Power of Neuroscience with Love and Logic to Grow Confident, Kind, Resilient Children and Young Adults By Daniel G. Amen, MD & Charles Fay, PHD

This is one of those books that I can see keeping handy over the years. Parenting books can be pretty heavy sometimes, especially ones that get into brain health & scientific research. This one combines years of research & study with Biblical principles. The amount of information is slightly overwhelming, so thus I think it might be a good one to refer back to over time. As with any book there were elements of the authors' suggestions that I found hard to apply to my own mothering, but the vast majority of the book is very practical & encouraging.

Do the Thing: Gospel-Centered Goals, Gumption, and Grace for the Go-Getter Girl by Rebecca George

I bought this because it was on sale (when I grabbed this affiliate link a day or 2 ago, it was less than $5) & I've followed the author for a bit on Instagram. It's full of advice for those who are just starting out on what they feel called to do. She's been there, done that, & is happy to share the lessons she's learned along the way.


A few more fiction than I've read in recent months! I love a good mixture of books in a month, but I still feel like I'm not quite getting ahead of my TBR list. Maybe next month will be the one that I get a few more off of that pile... Maybe!

Cheering you on!


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