October 2023 Book Reviews

I can't believe we're already so close to the end of 2023. It has been a slower year for reading, but that isn't a bad thing!

If you happen to want a peek at other short little book reviews, links to all of these monthly posts are here.


Reach Out, Gather In: 40 Days to Opening Your Heart & Home by Karen Ehman

Karen has been encouraging Christian women through her writing for many years. This book was a thoughtful & practical approach to becoming more welcoming & hospitable. Hospitality has been on my mind for a while, so I thought this book would be helpful. Karen shares lots of stories from how hospitality was what helped bring her to Jesus & how she has tried to do the same for those who walk through her own door. I didn't care for the narrator of the audiobook & the recipes included were a little superfluous. But I'm sure some would appreciate having those things so readily available. I have a few of Karen's books on my TBR pile, & I'm sure they will be just as practical as this one.

Faithfully Present: Embracing the Limits of Where and When God Has You by Adam Ramsey

This thoughtful book leads us through a meditation on time & place & the significance of both in the Christian life. He points to the way we fill & overfill our schedules with activities & tasks, but we don't allow margins for those moments of wonder & awe over what God has done. We don't allow for "interruptions" in our day because they throw us off trying to check off that ever-present to-do list. "Jesus doesn't want your busyness. He wants your fruitfulness. And fruit can't be hurried. Fruit happens slowly, as we abide in Him." He calls us to repentance for idolizing our busy lives & to acknowledge our inability to control time or be everywhere at once. The author also encourages us to celebrate the Sabbath with our local church community as a "foretaste of the new creation--a weekly sip of the world to come." Sabbath is a weekly time to pause & remember that God is God & we are not. Such a helpful book!

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

It's been a while since I read this kind of book! Ruth Ware has so many bestsellers, but somehow this is the first time I've read any of her books. The main character finds her college roommate dead & gives the pivotal evidence that causes a jury to find a man guilty of the murder. Multiple events come into her life to bring doubts into her mind. Was she mistaken? Did she put an innocent man behind bars? Overall, it's a well-written book full of twists & turns & distractions from the truth. I do get tired of these "manic pixie" type female characters like the roommate. She's so mean to everyone, so how am I supposed to believe that she is so irresistible to everyone she meets? Other than that, I think I'd give this author another try!

Make Their Day: 101 Simple, Powerful Ways to Love Others Well by Karen Ehman

I love the heart behind this book - be an intentionally thoughtful member of your community. Karen shares lots of simple yet profound ways to make someone's day. From the mail carrier to your best friend to your pastor to a family in need. Some of her ideas are so easy. Others are a little more involved. It's a super short book & worth your time if you're looking for a way to encourage the people around you. And in these tense, turbulent times, who doesn't need a little more encouragement, am I right?

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

My oldest has been going through 20th century history in school this term, so we picked this novel from our list of free reads to correlate. This is a re-read for me. I got to read this back in a college class (might've been teaching English or Adolescent literature). It's still as powerful as it was the first time. It tells the story of 2 girls in Copenhagen during WWII. One girl is Danish. The other a Danish Jew. The courage of the Danish people shines brightly in this story of near escapes, danger, & coming-of-age. If you're looking for an easy introduction to the subject of the Holocaust & Hitler's Nazi regime, this might be a great read aloud to share with your kids. (For more about nurturing your child's love of reading, here's a post I wrote about just that!)


How has your reading been going this year? Do you still have lots of books on your TBR for the year? Is there a new release that you're really excited about?

Let me know in the comments!

Cheering you on!


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