My Reads::2016(Jan-Jun)

Well.  Here are my top 15 books so far this year.  Ok…really this is just the total I’ve read since January.  Some I loved and hope that you read them if they fall into your “type” of book, some I didn’t love and can’t really even remember what it was about (thank goodness for goodreads).

So here’s the run-down.


1. For the Love by Jen Hatmaker::I borrowed this from a friend, read the ‘thank-you notes’ sections and then it sat by my bed for quite a few months.  And then I finally finished it.  If you’ve heard of Jen Hatmaker, you’ve probably already read this book.  If you haven’t heard of her, look her up and start with this book (if only for the thank-you notes).  She makes me laugh and think.  And I love to do both.

2.  I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had by Tony Danza:: And the award goes to the longest book title ever!  But Tony Danza is kind of known for having lots of words.  I loved this book so much that I wanted to give it to all of my children’s teachers.  (But then I read something about people going in and ‘rescuing’ kids in low-income schools, but I think that’s another discussion for another time.)  I really did enjoy this story.  He taught an English class for a year as part of a reality show, the cameras quit half way through the year, and he finished out the year.  That’s the basic premise.  His big take away–teaching is no joke.

3.  Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs::This is the first book that I’ve read by Annie Downs.  I’ve been listening to her podcast and she is such a joyful person that I had to read this and I wasn’t disappointed.  And I could almost hear her voice while I was reading.  Also, I’m a sucker for a great book cover!  If you like the non-fiction/self-improvement type of books, you’ll love this one.


1. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson::I loved this story.  It is definitely one of my favorite reads so far this year.  Brown Girl Dreaming is written in free verse which may be off-putting if you first see it and haven’t read any books like this before.  But give it a chance–I do not love poetry (not a fan of the rhyming and allegory), but this type of poetry I kind of love.  Once you get into the story, it just flows and you feel as if you are reading a traditional style book. Woodson tells her own story of growing up in the 60s and 70s in the south and then New York City.  She writes of the difficulties of that time and of how she became a writer and she paints a wonderful picture with her beautiful words.  I just loved this entire book.


1.  Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham::I like John Grisham’s books.  But don’t ask me to remember what this one is specifically about.  I think I read this way back in January but unless they make it into a movie, I doubt I’ll ever remember what it is about.  And I’m sure if you like his books, you have already read it.

2.  The Martian by Andy Weir::The only criticism that I’ve heard about this book is that it is a little too science-y.  Luckily for me, I enjoy science!  This story–it was So good!  And even the ‘it was too much science people’ seem to like it. It was an adventure and it was funny and it was a page turner that I couldn’t put down.  And after telling my husband how much I loved the book, he went and rented the movie for us to watch.  And I fell asleep. #storyofmylife

3.  Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache Series::I have read the first three books in this series.  They are murder mysteries that all revolve around the small town of Three Pines in Canada.  There are at least 12 books in this series and I sort of feel bad for all of the people who die in this town!  But at the same time, the characters are so interesting and unique and the more I read the more I want to visit this place (even though people tend to die there).  The only critique that I have is the same I have for any book series–please please please! put the numbers on the spine of the book so I know which one I’m supposed to read next without relying on google!

4.  A Stolen Childhood by Casey Watson::My brother gave me this book for Christmas and so it has been a few months since I finished it.  And I don’t remember a bit of what it is about and so I looked it up on goodreads and it all came back to me.  It is based on a true story.  The author is a school counselor and she works with at-risk students.  The girl in the story lashes out at other students, has a habit of pulling her hair out so much that she has a bald spot, and is clearly needing help.  That all happens in the first chapter of the book.  It is an interesting story (not enough that I remembered it 6 months later, clearly) even if the content is hard to read at times.

5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer::Oh my word.  I know.  How dumb is this book?  It is a dystopian young adult novel (what book isn’t these day?) and the first time I heard about it I rolled my eyes and said–I’ll pass.  And then I heard about it again from another source.  And then a third source.  And everyone kept saying how they judged it harshly and ended up enjoying the story.  Fine.  So I read it.  And I liked it!  So now I will be reading the rest of the series.  Because of course it is a series.  Basically it is the Cinderella story but the twist is that Cinderella is a cyborg.  I know.  But.  If you like the dystopian genre at all, I recommend you read this one.

6.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn::You either hate this book or you think it is a really great book (even though the content is horrid).  I heard online these two differing viewpoints, repeatedly.  And then I asked my real life friends and those that read it said it was awful.  And I’d hate it.  And the movie is horribly twisted.  And so where does my mind go?  Does it run away?  Nope.  Gotta find out for myself.  And–I’m not in the group that hated this book.  But it is a messed up messed up story.  If you need someone to root for to enjoy a story, this book is not for you.  I always try to find a redeeming quality in any story or person–not happening in these characters.

7.  The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson::This is a four book series and I’m in the middle of the fourth book and I can’t wait to see how it ends.  Each book in this series is better than the last.  Andrew Peterson has created another world that I’ve heard compared to the genius of Narnia, The Shire and Hogwarts.  I am not saying he is on par with any of those other authors but, I wouldn’t describe myself as someone who loves fantasy stories and yet, I’m loving loving loving these books.  I can’t wait to read them to my children.  If you have children who love fantasy stories and you want stories that have underlying Christian themes, these books are for you.

To Sum Up:: 

Need a non-fiction book?  Read Looking for Lovely.

Need a great series?  Read The Wingfeather Saga.

Need a summer page-turner?  Read The Martian.

Need an out of the box award winner?  Read Brown Girl Dreaming.

What have you read and loved lately?


penny for your thoughts...

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