January Book List


Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces That Keep Us Apart by Christena Cleveland (4.5 stars)
I read this for the Red Couch Book Club, although too slowly/late to participate in discussions (as usual). If you’re at all interested in creating real unity within and across the Church, this is a must-read. There is a LOT of academic social psychology in this book, but it’s tempered by Christena’s great wit and earthiness. I applaud her for addressing important truths that many Christians are too uncomfortable to talk about, and providing practical solutions.

Magnolia by Kristi Cook (4 stars)
An impulse buy/Kindle Daily Deal that I ended up reading in one sitting. Jemma and Ryder have grown up together, the perfectly-matched progeny of two Southern families desperate to unite in marriage. Unfortunately, for all of high school, they’ve hated each other. As Jemma secretly considers a future away from small-town Mississippi, family crises and a hurricane force her and Ryder to confront their past, and their feelings. This novel is set about an hour away from here, and I’m no country girl, but nothing seemed out of place to me. I liked it a lot. Would make a great ABC Family movie.

Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster by Kristen Johnston (4 stars)
After I heard Kristen Johnston on Aisha Tyler’s Girl on Guy podcast, I decided to look up her memoir. Brought up in the public eye in a very proper family, Kristen is now brutally honest about the extent of her drug and alcohol addiction and what led her there. In 2007, she was hospitalized in London and nearly died after her stomach literally exploded. It took an infection and rehospitalization for her to realize she was killing herself and decide to change her life. She is insightful, funny, and has the special wisdom of someone who’s well acquainted with rock bottom. Guts is not for the faint of heart, but I couldn’t put it down.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (4 stars)
When Lilac and Tarver meet aboard a luxury spaceship, they don’t expect their acquaintance to last long. Tarver is a decorated soldier and Lilac is the protected daughter of a powerful businessman. Then the ship crashes into a mysteriously abandoned planet, and they’re the only survivors. I see why people call this book “Titanic in space”, but it has some Firefly elements too. The characters and worldbuilding are solid.

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt (5 stars)
After discovering her boyfriend’s secret online life and online wife, Mallory decides to ditch technology and build a new life around a to-do list that her accomplished grandma wrote in 1962: Join pep club. Sew a homecoming dress. Throw a soiree. Find a steady. With the help of her sister Ginnie, she pursues these goals while avoiding anything not 1962-authentic. In the process, she digs up shocking family secrets, finds love in unexpected places, and learns that life in any decade has its pitfalls. This story rang so true and made me happy. When deciding how to rate it, I asked myself, “Did I enjoy this as much as a Rainbow Rowell book?” I did. So, five stars.

Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger* (3 stars)
Audra is a sylph, with power over the wind. For years she’s been in hiding, secretly watching over Vane, the orphaned heir of the lost Westerly line. When she accidentally reveals herself, she’s forced to tell Vane what he is and train him for the battle that’s now coming. I mainly picked this up because weather, but overall I’m a little weary of the whole secret-cosmic-powers storyline. I did like the genderswapping here, though.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales* (4 stars)
Elise has always failed at everything she tries, and now she’s even failed at killing herself. In the aftermath, she takes to wandering the neighborhood at night and discovers an underground club, with friendly regulars who welcome her in no questions asked. Drawn in by the charismatic DJ, Char, she falls in love not with him, but with the music. This is a real, solid story of a girl coming into her own. Good stuff.

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith (4 stars)
An enjoyable retrospective on The Nester’s 13 different homes and what each of them taught her, along with general philosophical thoughts about the concept of home. I haven’t kept up with her blog in a while, but I still love how warm and encouraging she is. This book was a good reminder to let myself think outside the box decor-wise and be willing to make some mistakes.

The Shelter of God’s Promises by Sheila Walsh (4 stars)
I love Sheila Walsh and am encouraged by everything she writes. This book focuses on God’s promises, each chapter focusing on a specific fear or concern. I read it slowly, usually right before bed so I’d have some quiet time to think about it. It’s a good one to have around for future reference.

Books for January/2015 year to date: 9

* = These two books were actually read in December, but got lost on Goodreads because I didn’t add a finish date. So I’m counting them now!

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
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2 Responses to January Book List

  1. Kristen’s book sounds interesting and really sad. I want to read it.

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