20: Undercover Bromance

Undercover Bromance by Lysa Kay Adams

For the first time in 3 years I have no books checked out from the library. A combination of when holds came in and the list I have suspended until after I get back from my trip in three weeks. (Oh, I leave for Europe soon!!)

So I picked up book two in this series (which I got for free from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for this review) this morning and set about reading it today. My Super Bowl plans got cancelled in an effort to stay away from friends who have a cold so I don’t have a cold in Italy next week!

Although I wanted to see friends, I couldn’t care less about the Super Bowl. This book is more of the same from the first one. Men are “super woke” about feminism and #metoo, ladies buried in the crap their fathers put them through as children. I don’t disagree with anything in it, but it felt pretty heavy handed. Also the typos. Goodness the publisher need to do some edits still … since it’s not being released until March 10th and this was an ARC, hopefully they will be.

I give it a solid ⭐️⭐️⭐️. It did what I needed … a weekend distraction after a heavy read (just like book #1). It’s an open-door romance, so just be prepared to skip through some stuff if that’s not your thing.

19: The World That We Knew

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

After about ten pages, I almost put this book down. I thought it was an exploration of Jewish magic, and I wasn’t really here for that. So I went to Goodreads to look at some reviews and everyone loves it. They love everything by Alice Hoffman. After reading my friend Beth’s review about the beautiful language and that it was magical realism, I decided to pursue.

I’m really glad I did. It’s not often I read a book with an omniscient narrator. I read a lot of books where the perspective changes with each chapter, but it’s mostly from the perspective of the character. This was a nice change, although sometimes hard to follow because it does take place in many locations.

Each time I read a book set during World War II I’m amazed at the courage of the people. While this book is a work of fiction, the situations the characters are in were real. Every time I can’t help but think, “How did we let this happen?” While also hoping and praying we never let it happen again.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

18: Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Still active in my quest to acquire knowledge for the project I’m doing for work next year. A year of leadership training workshops for almost 200 people, what?! As I’m reading through this book today I can’t help but think,” Really Lord, me? Are you sure?”

He seems to be.

This was another book I’ve been reading to ground my knowledge in all things leadership, team, and self-development for the sake of great work! I appreciated this field guide of how to implement Lencioni’s previous work on the same subject, which I read a few years ago. He has so much experience working with all kinds of teams, which while insightful is also intimidating for this young coach just starting out.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

17: Find Your Why

Find Your Why by Simon Sinek with David Mead & Peter Docker

I read this to prepare for a presentation I’m giving the first week of March at a Diocesan Stewardship Day. I’m the keynote speaker, if you can believe that.

I was introduced to the concept of starting, finding, and working from WHY in Made for Mission a few weeks ago. I’m intrigued by the concept and needed to know more in order to talk about it in my keynote so I picked up this book because it was available faster than Simon’s first book Start With Why via overdrive.

I didn’t find it life changing or ground breaking, maybe the first one is. I appreciated the first couple chapters as a summary of the first book, but the middle chapters about the workshops for individuals and tribes (a word I don’t love) were fine. Overall, this was just fine … needed to read it, glad I did, happy I’m done. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

16: Church Money

Church Money by (Fr) Michael White & Tom Corcoran

I requested this book to review because it directly relates to my work. I was hoping the authors would change my mind about their parish. I believe there is a lot of good work being done at this parish in Baltimore; I’m just afraid they’re losing the things that are uniquely Catholic as they look to Protestant Mega Churches for their advice and wisdom.

The book is filled with a lot of inferences I wouldn’t make about Scripture; focusing practically every passage in the New Testament to be about money and giving. I think the Lord used giving as an example to teach higher truths because everyone (rich and poor alike) can relate to it. Every has to do something with money everyday. Given that this book is all about money (it’s in the title) that makes sense.

There are some nuggets of truth. There’s no doubt the Lord is working at this parish. I’m only afraid that people are being formed in a way that makes the Church less universal. One of the beautiful things about the Mass is that it’s the Mass everywhere. No matter if the building isn’t quite so lovely or the music isn’t quite so on key or the homily isn’t quite so inspiring. We can be disciples everywhere. Our Churches are a place where we can gather together and worship the Lord, but only when they form us in the image of God, not the image of our pastor.

I have a fantastic pastor. I’ve been blessed for all of my time in Charlotte to only have one priest (he was the associate) who I felt was unfit for ministry. I’ve been guided by holy men … who have all moved on to new parishes while I’ve stayed behind. I’ve been sad at their leaving, but my parishes have persevered because they were not created in the image of my pastor, but the Savior. Time will tell if this is replicated across the country … a focus on discipleship sure needs to be … I’m jut not sure this is the path we should all take.

This was not my favorite book about the church … one I finished last week, Made for Mission, is a much better example of what parishes can grow into. If you’re going to choose just one to read, choose that one. If you must choose another, I’d recommend steering clear of this series and its authors. ⭐️⭐️

P.S. Another thing, not using Father to refer to priests drives me nuts. It’s possible I wrote it in every time it was missing from Tom’s journal entries.

15: The Bromance Book Club

The Bromance Book Club by Lysa Kay Adams

This book had a lot of great qualities, first and foremost it was not about WWII. I’m listening to Cilka’s Journey and just finished The Beekeeper’s Promise, so when the next book in my library stack was also set during the war, I had to take a break. I think remembering is the best way to prevent it from ever happening again, but three books in a row was more than my limit.

So I grabbed quick romance read from my bookshelf. I received the 2nd as a free giveaway from GoodReads, so purchased the first because who can own only the 2nd book in a series? Not me.

So the story is boy meets girl, girl finds herself pregnant with twins, boy and girl get married … then three or so years later the book begins because things have gone down hill. There were some overall themes that I appreciated. I liked that it was about a married couple reigniting their marriage and getting to know each other in a real way, probably for the first time. I appreciated that the men in this book were treated well. I was intrigued by the use of regency romance novels in the kindling of their marriages.

But there were a lot of weird feminist and you need really need a therapist, but this 1800s romance novel will do the trick in a pinch. And it was a tad too steamy for me in a couple of places. It did fill my need to read a book not set in Europe in the 1940s though, which is exactly what I was looking for. So if that’s what you need and language doesn’t bother you, this might be a book for you right now. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

14: The Beekeeper’s Promise

The Beekeeper’s Promise by Fiona Valpy

My reading life has been filled with WWII stories this week as I also began listening to Cilka’s Journey, the follow up from The Tatooist of Auschwitz. It’s important to remember what happened so history doesn’t repeat itself. We can get caught up in justifying horrific actions because of some greater purpose we’ve convinced ourselves of or even because we’re too scared to stand in opposition.

Eliane in this story stood up in opposition in whatever way she could. She did so by playing a small part as asked by her employer in the resistance. From reading both this and the other two books I mentioned, I’m realizing even more so that we don’t know the whole story behind why people do what they do. That’s not to excuse anything … only that we need to listen more, understand better, and do what we can to prevent ourselves from jumping to conclusions.

This book alternates being Eliane’s story in the 1940s and Abi’s story in 2017. Eliane’s story heals Abi and reminds her that she’s stronger and braver than she thinks. Also that just because someone else doesn’t see it, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. This book weaves together a beautiful story from WWII with a woman in 2017 leaving an abusive marriage. Two women who are sorely misunderstood by those around them and yet, have found the bravery needed to persevere.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️