November 2023 Book Reviews

November is almost done & we're just about on to the sprint that is December! I'm trying to slow down & savor this Advent season, but I also want to squeeze in a few more reads.


The Whole and Healthy Family: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Mind, Body, and Spirit by Jodi Mockabee

As I mentioned in this post, we are trying to make some healthy changes in our family. This was a helpful look at what some of those changes could be. I'll be honest, some of Jodi's ideas can be a little radical. But she also talks about how she's grown in her understanding of health over the years & how to balance real-life with those lessons. I'm definitely taking her advice with a grain of salt, but this book has many parts that are very helpful in helping make healthy strides in taking care of yourself & your family.

Kit McBride Gets a Wife by Amy Barry

I was looking for something a little more light-hearted & decided on this one. It wasn't the worst romance I've read, but it wasn't the most believable! This one wasn't a close reading, however I did have to flip over a few pages. Not a huge favorite. Can't really recommend it.

The Christian Manifesto: Jesus' Life-Changing Words from the Sermon on the Plain by Alistair Begg

My son did a double take when he saw the title of this book, thinking that I was reading another, more famous manifesto. Despite the negative connotation of that word, I think this is an incredible book. Begg takes each phrase of Jesus' sermon on the plain (Luke 6) & thoughtfully expounds His words. What did God intend for the Christian life to look like? How can we be sure that our faith is authentic & not merely lip-service? This book helps the reader thoughtfully evaluate whether she is building her life on the rock or on sand.

Ripples in Time by Julie McElwain

This is the conclusion of the "Kendra Donovan" books that I've been reading for a little while. It's been a good series, but the plots have become fairly predictable. A murder happens. Kendra shocks everyone with her interest in this subject matter. The team of experts meet together over the decomposing body. They later meet in front of a chalkboard to analyze the facts. Kendra obsesses over what she's missing. A second murder occurs. She thinks she's figured it out, so she makes a rash decision that puts her in the clutches of the murderer. Everyone has to rush to save her. Throw in a few condescending, 20th-century remarks on 18th-century London society. It's not that I hate these books; I've read all 6 in the series. It just shows how difficult it is to break out of the standard expectations for these murder mysteries. I wouldn't be able to do it! This book also maintained the fairly clean writing of the previous volumes. Overall, maybe the predictability is actually not so bad!

On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books by Karen Swallow Prior

I've followed this author on Instagram for a bit. For most of her career, she was an English professor at various Christian institutions. She's been controversial at times when she's criticized the "evangelical establishment," especially in reference to the political endorsements they've made in recent election cycles. However, I appreciate her courage in doing so. It has cost her, but she continues to speak the truth we need to hear. This book is a reminder of just how much she loves the truths of the Bible. How much she longs to serve the God Who wrote it. Using beautiful literature as parallels to the virtues taught in the Bible, Prior encourages the use of literature to teach these values that we should all study & yearn to follow.

Christmas Uncut: What Really Happened and Why It Really Matters by Carl Laferton

A short & sweet booklet from The Good Book Company that gets to the very heart of the Christmas story. An unwed mother, angels visiting the least important variety of people, scholars from the East traveling to meet a baby born to peasants. So many things that just seem too strange to be true. And yet they are historical facts. It is a great reminder to those of us who have heard the story for years. And it could be an easy way to share the Gospel story with someone who has either never heard or may only know the "sanitized" version that our culture tells. (Carl Laferton also wrote one of the storybook Bibles that I featured in this post.)

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

It's been 20 years since I read this book in my high school America literature class. I decided to use it as the basis of our novel study in my co-op literary analysis class. I listened to this book since I was already familiar with it, and I enjoyed jumping back into this American classic. The themes, characters, settings, & plot are so multifaceted that you can learn something new with each reading. If you haven't had a chance to read this one, it's a nice short classic that won't take too much of your time. The language is a little lofty, but it's not too stuffy. If you get the edition that I'm linking in here, you will also get to have Karen Swallow Prior's insights to enrich your reading experience!


Fiction, non-fiction, a classic--just the usual variety!

I'm going to publish this a few days early because I don't see myself finishing anymore books over the next 5 days! We have family arriving & homeschooling & all the other things that fill our lives. I'm also trying to find ways to take things off my plate over the next few weeks, especially with Advent!

Cheering you on!


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