They Never Learn

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This was one of the favorites of a recent guest on What Should I Read Next and I couldn’t put it on hold fast enough after she described it. It’s the story of a serial killer. And you’re on her side.

I can’t even believe I wrote that … but I really am. There are two interweaving timelines of Scarlett and Carly. The story opens with a kill, so that’s not a spoiler – but the way it ends is surprising. And satisfying.

Except for all the hunting and killing of people … something I’m only okay reading about in fiction.

“It’s risky for me to be here. I know that. I could’ve left the tainted drink in the fridge for him and slipped away while he was still out running. But the truth is, I enjoy this too much to miss it. It’s my reward for all the hard work.”


Strike Me Down

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Mindy Mejia was on What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel this week. Her book and one of her favorites when right on my TBR at the top!

I love mysteries but don’t read enough of them … this one is good. About a gym and an accountant, which I didn’t realize was such a dangerous job!

It’s witty, smart, twisty, and full of angst – the best kind of thriller!

“I’m done putting up walls. I’m done hiding behind my job. I’m not letting anyone cast me aside and make me believe I deserve it.”


Mother, May I

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This book is just might be full of triggers if you’ve got a young child – so beware. One moment she’s watching her teenage daughter’s rehearsal with her baby son in the carrier next to her on the floor, the next she looks down and he’s replaced with a note. Her whole work shifts off the axis. The following few days Bree moves between being “Bree” and “Elizabeth” as she begins the fight for her son’s life.

There are so many things to talk about with this book. Consent, consequences, family, and whatnot all means 30 years later when only one party has paid the price.

I listened to this on audio because I almost exclusively listen to Joshilyn’s books because she reads them herself and she’s an amazing vocal performance.

Note: “If you ever want to see your baby again, you’ll do as I say.”


Is It Any Wonder

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This is the second in Courtney Walsh’s “Nantucket” series that’s not really a series – the characters in the previous book make two small appearances that if they’d been left out the book would be just the same. These just take place in the same place. Still a delightful book though!

I was a little skeptical when they kissed only 60% of the way through and seemed so happy for the next 25% of the book! Cody and Louisa have known each other since they were babies – and even share the same birth day (wrote it out like that since they have the same birth day and year) – their parents were best friends until they were 18 and their whole world changed.

The story is about love and redemption and forgiveness. At first they all forgive too slowly – and then in the end one person is forgiven so quickly. I think that’s how the Lord wants it to be, but it unsettled me a bit. Probably good that it did – it means I’ve still got room to grow in the way I forgive others.

“It was as if Louisa needed to be successful on behalf of all women who weren’t being taken seriously in the professional world. Women who were deemed too funny or cute or quirky or whimsical. Women with their heads in the clouds, who loved adventure. Women with boyfriends who didn’t believe in them.”


All That Really Matters

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What a delight!! An author I love reviewed this last week and then I got it from the library when it came out on Tuesday.

It was a delight. A Social Media Influencer seeks out a “mission” to expand her platform. What she gets is more than she ever imagined. The young adults change her in ways she couldn’t have predicted and she changes them too.

Her ideas for classes are fun. Her relationship with the director starts off a bit rocky but is a delightful Christian love story in the end.

After starting it I realized this author wrote one of my top books from 2020 … and she’s done it again. The way she brings in fostering and adoption are quite moving.

“Because no matter how I try to spin it or pretty it up, the truth is getting more and more difficult to disguise: Though I was one of the most liked personas on the internet, I was likely one of the most lonely, too.”


The Heart of the Mission

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I’d like to say that the author is a good friend of mine – a long time work friend of mine anyway. This book is the best primer in evangelization that I’ve read, ever! Cande lays out a plan that is simple, not quite easy – but simple enough. Be in relationship with the Lord. Be in relationship with people. Listen to their story, share your own story.

It’s simple – not quite easy. It’s so hard actually. The hardest – and something I feel like I’m failing at every day. How do I share the thing that is the most fundamental to who I am in a way that invites others in? Practice and humility while also not using a script or being overly confident that I know what’s best for everyone.

I can’t wait to have Cande speak at an event I’m hosting in a few months – praying it will be convicting for everyone who attends so we can spread the beauty of the Lord’s story.

“Evangelization isn’t about memorizing all the right Bible verses or knowing all the right theological answers. At its heart, evangelization is just sharing the story of Jesus and how His story gave your life hope.”


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

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Anne Bogel recommended this on her podcast months before it was published. Then it was a Book of the Month selection in October and I had to get it. I chose it for my next book club read because I knew it was going to be worth a discussion.

Addie has sold her soul to the devil in exchange for immortality and freedom. She doesn’t know what she’s asking for – as most of us don’t when we pray to God or anyone other spirit. She gets freedoms and also invisibility. She belongs to no one except herself.

The book brings up two big questions to me. First, what does it mean to love? Second, how does one love if they aren’t free? I used about a hundred book darts, and I can’t wait to discuss this!

“By the time the clerk find the cloths, a ghost of a girl on the changing room floor, she won’t remember whose they are, and Addie will be gone, from sign and mind and memory.”


If For Any Reason

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I saw someone recommend the second in this series the other day, and since we know I can’t start a series in the middle I found the first one on Hoopla. Started last night when I arrived an hour early for Mass (read the calendar wrong) and the Church wasn’t open yet. Finished today.

She’s been living her life based on these letters from her mom who never knew the whole story. As she discovers it, everything changes.

It’s a delightful story!

“Emily walked out of the theatre and exhaled a long, hot stream. Being assertive sent adrenaline rushing through her veins. It wasn’t like her. She liked to go with the flow, not cause waves. And while she felt confident most of the time, she also avoided conflict the way she avoided long-term relationships – with great fervor.”


Of Literature and Lattes

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Well that was a delight. Another book about Winsome that had all my favorite characters but written in a completely different structure. The first in the series is from three perspectives. Each written in the voice the woman narrates her own story. Some positive first person, some critical third person.

This book is omniscient narration. I think that’s a thing. We see the world from everyone’s perspective. The narrator isn’t one of the characters and it’s lovely. So many stories were shared and perspectives. I feel like I moved in.

I found myself a bit in the stories too. A bit of Janet’s history, some of Alyssa’s resentment, a portion of Becca’s life story. So many wonderful pieces that really felt like real life.

Also it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger so I hope that means a 3rd is in the works!!

“Looking to the past, especially when you don’t know the whole story, won’t get you anywhere. Take it from me—and I don’t mean just about work. I mean life. You’ll make assumptions.”


The Printed Letter Bookshop

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Well this was a delight. There’s a little love story but mostly it’s about a woman finding her way in the world. She inherits a bookshop and it changes everything as books usually do!

She didn’t really know her aunt, but her aunt knew just what she needed. Lessons about how sharing everything honestly with those around us are weaved throughout. As an author I just love said recently “ask more questions, read less minds.”

I loved every page of it and can’t wait to dive into the second one in the series immediately!!

Crazy meant bold, daring, fearless. It was a radiant word, endowed with virtue and supernatural strength. For years, I wanted to be called crazy too.”