181: Live Big, Love Bigger

Live Big, Love Bigger by Kathryn Whitaker

I started following Kathryn a few months ago at the recommendation of my friend Stephanie so I was excited to read her new book. Life had been pretty great for Kathryn until her little Luke was born with a heart problem and their world was turned upside down.

There were so many great take-always even though I’m not dealing with a husband, children, or a NICU stay. She shares truths I’ve been saying for a while like “We don’t need to do all the things.”

Pick up the book, grab a tea, go for some BBQ, and love big!


180: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come

Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan

According to the MBTI free test I took 6 years ago, I’m 33% more extrovert than introvert. I don’t know that anyone is 100% either, but we do develop different tendencies and compensate differently depending on our jobs, lifestyles, and relationships. I loved the cover of this book and knew I wanted to read it when I saw it on Amazon in a search months back.

Jessica is a shintrovert (or a Shy Introvert) and realizes that she’s not a huge fan of her life and wants more friends. So she sets out “to extrovert” for a year to see what happens. Although I am more extrovert than introvert, I think I might be a bit shy (or just unsure of what people will think of me). Living alone has made me crave solitude and silence more than any other activity in my life. Also being an ‘extreme reader’ (Is that a thing? Well, it is now.) has me craving time alone so I can “just read my book already.”

I appreciated what she wrote about Deep Talk, being prepared for dinner parties, and improv. A great dive into the mind of an introvert and ideas for this “shy extrovert” to keep herself in the “let’s be friends with new people” mindset!


179: Life and Other Inconveniences

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

I got this from the library last month and returned it unread and then put it right back on my hold list – and I’m so glad I did. It was an excellent read!

Emma hears from her grandmother in the first few chapters that she needs to come home to Connecticut and stay with her for the summer because her grandmother is dying. Emma hasn’t seen or spoken to her grandmother in 17 years … she was kicked out of the house for getting pregnant and keeping the baby the summer after she graduated high school.

The best part of this book is that Emma is killing it at life … she’s a rock star therapist, amazing mom, and generous sister. Her family on her dad’s side is a HOT MESS though. She and her daughter spend the summer with Gigi at her request and Emma rocks it. She gets only insults and complaints from Gigi and everyone else in the house, but she rises above it all. She’s the shining star … and it’s not often we see stories of the single mom who kicks butt at life in such an amazing way.

There’s an element of a love story here, but it’s so incredibly minor that the story would be full and complete without it. Emma isn’t looking to be rescued. Loved this book!!!


178: Undeniably Yours

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

I love a good love story, family saga, and mystery – Becky Wade’s books are all three rolled into one delight! A friend recommended the Porter Family Series but none of them were on Kindle Unlimited … until I realized that 3 years ago I got this book in a Kindle Sale for free. So I set about reading it.

Meg’s father passed away a few months ago and she inherited 51 percent of the business, a big house on a lot of land in Texas, and a horse farm. WIth the horse farm came Bo. She tried to fire him once, succeeded a second time, and then the Lord took over.

People are always in the right place at the right time around her. The Lord is always taking care of his daughter. I loved how Becky wrote these two characters – full of flaws and love for each other. Quite a delightful story!


177: Perfectly Played

Perfectly Played by Holly Kerr

Since I was only about an hour into my flight after finishing my last book, I needed another. The one I really wanted wasn’t downloaded on my iPad yet, so I settled for this.

Both main characters are from Canada but in Las Vegas for their weddings that don’t happen. They meet, spend the night together, and never see each other again until he walks into her flower shop and they realize their practically neighbors.

It’s sweet, but with a lot of the friendship stuff skirted over. They spend more than half their time together getting to know one another and becoming great friends … but only about a chapter of the book is spent covering this. It was alright, but not amazing.


176: Accidentally Married

Accidentally Married by Victorians Lieske

I started this on my way to LAX yesterday because it was the only kindle book downloaded on my phone. It was alright, I guess. The two characters who fall in love after being accidentally engaged and then officially, but accidentally married weren’t all that like able.

She was a bit of a jerk to him for no reason. Well her reasons seemed valid to her, but she made a wrong assumption and then got angry when it was wrong. Well that’s why we don’t base our facts on what we overhear at the mall!

He seemed to be all messed up from a previous relationship but we didn’t really get into it. I read it in less than 4 hours, not a bad way to spend the first half of a travel day, but I don’t recommend it … and I won’t be reading the rest of the series.


175: Sweet on You

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

I started this on the flight in on Sunday and finished it between conference talks and early nights in my hotel room. I’ve really enjoyed Becky Wade’s work with the Bradford Sisters Series.

It’s a mix of sweet romance with mystery/detective work. I’m here for it. This also include a character study on what perfectionism does to relationships and friendships when it becomes the driving force of your life.

This is a thing I struggle with and have for a while. It all starts with things going well or being easy. When I was a kid I struggled in only one class: Literature in 5th grade. I tackled it and now I’m a voracious reader, as you know. Other than that school always came easy to me, didn’t need to do a lot of studying outside of class and study halls.

Then college came around and it wasn’t quite as easy. I learned I had to work hard, but I missed the Dean’s List that first semester. Made it the next 7, but am still a little upset I missed that first one. I couldn’t be part of the Academic Fraternity (the only group like that on my campus) like the rest of my friend group. I got one B and now 15 years later I’m still holding it against myself.

That’s the danger of perfectionism. I’m getting better letting go, like Britt in the book, but not perfect at it (a never ending battle). Here’s the thing: We don’t need to do all the things perfectly in order to be doing our best. We don’t even need to do one thing perfectly. We just need to do our best and then strive to continue to improve.

Even in the spiritual life, especially in the spiritual life. We can’t love God perfectly. We can’t pray the perfect amount. We can’t rely on our own strength to do all the things on our own. That’s why He wants us to rely on Him fully, to accept His love and salvation, His grace.

By ourselves we will never be perfect, only when we unite ourselves to the Father can we begin to live in His perfection of eternal life.