163: Crazy Stupid Bromance

Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

I needed another book to round out 2020 and this fun romance series was perfect as a book I could read in one day.

It’s the third installment in the Bromance Book Club series and it’s a delight. A little open door as a warning but the content is so good.

I hope there’s a forth planned in the series because I need to know the story of more of the guys in the club.

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162: Preparation for the Total Consecration

Preparation for the Total Consecration by Fr. Hugh Gillespie, SMM

I first made a total consecration to Our Lady on January 1, 2014 and have been renewing each Advent since with a variety of methods and books. This year I had to find a new one because I foolishly packed my regulars!

A co-worker who’s an editor and has “read them all” said this was a good one and she was right! I appreciated the daily formula, the reflection questions, and the ways the author pulls in quotes from St. Louis de Montfort into each day.

There were some hard things like on day 3 you choose a sacrifice for the rest of the preparation. I chose Instagram which has been hard not seeing Christmas posts, but good for not feeling like I need to know everything that someone does in a day or even that I need to share everything I’m doing. The world rotates without my social media post!

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161: The Book of Lost Friends

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

My book club read Before We Were Yours a few years ago and we all loved it. She told the true story of the Tennessee Children’s Home which none of us had ever heard of. So when I saw her new release I couldn’t wait to get started.

It was a little slow to start, and the good stuff didn’t really begin until over 50% of the way through the book because there was so much ground story to lay. But the good stuff is GOOD STUFF!

While the book is long I feel like I could have used another 100 pages to wrap up the story. Maybe a sequel is planned to share more of Benny’s story. There’s this thing hiding the entire book that is quickly revealed but never concluded in the final two paragraphs.

I’m fascinated by the real Book of Lost Friends and the families who were never reunited and those who were. I think I want more civil war era historical fiction in my life.

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160: The Mothers

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

I read Brit’s newest release earlier this summer, The Vanishing Half, and loved it, so I knew I needed to pull her debut off my shelves and read it. It’s been sitting on a pile in my bedroom for over six months. I brought it with me to New York and picked it up two nights ago.

I read it all day yesterday and couldn’t get enough, almost staying up way too late to finish the last few pages. It’s really good – and also the story isn’t my favorite. Does that make sense? The writing is excellent. The story progresses really well. But the main theme of the story isn’t one I love to read about.

“The Mothers” are the elder women in the Church, Upper Room, who take care of things. They’re telling the story of Nadia, Aubrey, and Luke – and what happens when lying, deceit, and coverups become your life. What happens when a girl’s mother abandons her either to cruel men and drink or by leaving this world by her own choice.

Nadia and Aubrey had no one to teach them how to be a mother, so they turned to “The Mothers” at Upper Room in a way others didn’t. But these “mothers” spread gossip, promoted rumors, and were more “busy body” then anything else.

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159: This Time Next Year

This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens

Such a cute story about how two people who were born within a minute from each other find one another again on New Year’s Eve (their Birthday Eve). I really enjoyed Minnie and Quinn’s story because it wasn’t just about them. Their mother’s both get beautiful conclusions as well as her best friend and the people who worked for her at “No Hard Fillings.”

There’s a bit of timeline hopping in this book as we relive previous New Year’s Eve’s of both Minnie and Quinn – seeing where their lives intertwined and they didn’t even realize it. It was such a delight – and a holiday read – but not a Christmas read! Can’t wait to see what Sophie Cousens writes next – this was a delightful debut.

Also – I learned something about London. In the first few chapters they talk about waking up at 7:45 am on New Year’s Day, just in time to see the first sunrise of the year. I didn’t realize the sun rose so late in London during the winter. This week (shortest day of the year) it rises at 8:04 am and sets at 3:53 pm. How depressing!

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158: Holidaze

Holidaze by Christina Lauren

This was just a delight. Maise is stuck in a time warp and keeps reliving Christmas week over again after a tragic series of accidents.

Once she stops caring what people think and speaks her mind her whole life changes. She falls in love and things work out for the best.

I appreciate the long epilogue and nice long wrap up to this story! Heads up it’s a little open door.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

157: Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand

Our book club selection this month was the first in this series, Winter Street. But who can read only part in a series of 4? Not me.

I really appreciated this ending to the family of the Winter Street saga. There’s another story that wraps up here too from Eddie which I have not read the first in that series – and I don’t think I’m going to.

Everyone gets a little further along in their storyline here which is quite delightful. Ava is the one that I’m really in love with throughout the series. Her story line is just so delightful – and filled with a lot of self-development as well as a romantic interest from a truly amazing guy.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

156: The Fifth Avenue Story Society

The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck

A sweet delightful read about books and writing and finding your voice and love. A friend wanted to buddy read and this was next on her TBR and I’d never heard of it … so I borrowed immediately.

Jett, Alexa, Coral, Chuck, and Ed are all invited to be part of a story society by a mysterious person. They’ve all been hiding behind their story for quite sometime, trying to believe a different reality. The weekly meeting develops these friends in a way that brings out their truth and changes their lives.

It’s quite delightful. There are a few conversion themes throughout that I felt were a little rushed. Some come to faith just by being asked “Want to know more about Jesus? I love Him and you should too.”

In my experience a little more is needed… but all in all a great book!!

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155: The Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

This is my favorite C.S. Lewis book. I’ve been a bit ashamed to say that in the past, but it’s the truth. Why ashamed? Because it’s so simple, but honestly it’s the most transformational book for my spiritual life that he’s written. More than explanations of what Christianity is or allegories about who Christ is – this book has helped me understand the sly ways that Satan works in our lives and we don’t even know it.

Lewis writes as Screwtape, a senior demon, to Wormwood, his nephew who is just learning how to turn humans into devil food (i.e. get souls to Hell). The ways he’s tells him to invade his human’s soul, to do things that sort of look like Christianity, to turn him against other Christians.

Oh, I can see it all working in our world and the Church. I’ve been reading survey results for weeks and the fighting attitudes that Catholics have for other Catholics is unreal – and straight from Satan’s playbook. We fight over which Mass is holier: English or Latin? Which music is the right stuff: Contemporary or Traditional hymns or Chant? Who’s succumbing to the fear the government is wielding by wearing a mask and not trusting that God will take care of us?

Can’t we see that when we fight over these things we miss the things that really matter? Like charity, helping the poor, striving for holiness, and general loving one another. We seem to be so busy figuring out who’s the most holy that we are missing the point of actually trying to be holy.

I’ve read this book a few times, and I don’t think this time is my last!

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154: Winter Storms

Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand

Finished the 3rd in this series and it’s the best one! Ava’s story is finally better – although the dating of two men that happens in the first half of the year of this story’s plot is quite ridiculous. She finds herself by the end though.

Kelly, the patriarch of this story, has a rough year – and seems like things going down sometime next year … too bad #4 has a waiting list at the library!

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