159: It Had to be You

It Had to be You by Susan May Warren

This is the second in the series, but you could read it as a stand alone if you wanted. It also has a series prequel at the end, which I didn’t realize when I put it down with about 75 pages to go while I went on a walk tonight. I came home, made my dinner, opened my book and noticed I was reading the Epilogue. I can’t believe I had the will power to leave the house with one chapter to go in a book.

Eden has lived on the sidelines her entire life. She wasn’t the best at anything (or so she thought) so she took on the role of family cheerleader. All of that falls apart when Owen gets hurt and she is noticed by Jace.

I appreciate that the family featured in the book are strong Christians and also that the author writes epic love stories. I read the first one a while back, but I’m putting the next one on hold right now!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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158: Meet Cute

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

A love story with a look into tragedy, child custody battles, trust law, and entertainment law. While the story is mostly love story, I loved this setting as well. Kailyn stumbles, literally, upon her teenage crush the first day of law school – and as they say, “the rest of history.”

Although an interesting history, that’s for sure. While I love a good love story, I love a family story even more. In real life everything doesn’t always go according to plan, but in a romance novel it does – which is why I like to indulge. This one was sweet, a little racy at times, but overall excellent. It wraps up pretty quickly, but the conclusion the author came to is the only one.

It was so delightful I may have sneaked in a chapter or two between work meetings so I could finish it today!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

157: I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics

I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics by Jeanne Safer, Ph.D.

I read an article a few weeks ago by Kathryn Jean Lopez after her reading of this book. The title made me chuckle, so I headed off to the library to pick up a copy. The night I started it I had dinner with a friend and I was telling her about the author’s situation. She’s a strong left-leaning liberal, and he’s a strong right-leaning conservative. They’ve been married for 42 years.

As I was reading through the book I was trying to find her bias (she laid out her position from the beginning). Was she trying to get all Democrats to do things to manipulate their Republican partners to vote differently in the next election? Was she trying to illustrate how the right isn’t right?

Reading through it I didn’t get that sense. She brings up some good points regarding relationships, stereotyping based on one thing (like who you voted for in 2016), when it’s appropriate to share political articles, how to have politically charged conversations (even with people who you agree with), and more. The real life examples were excellent. Not everyone figures it out. Not ever woman is a liberal and every man a Trump supporter.

No matter where we fall on the issues (important ones or not), we need to change the way we talk about them. Assuming that we’re always right and the other side is always wrong will not help us fix anything. The answer to every issue is much more nuanced than how the left or the right is proposing to fix it. The answer is closer to the middle than anyone seems willing to admit.

When we refuse to speak to people with differing opinions, we miss out. When we’ve decided that because they voted for Trump they are a monster or because they aren’t pro-life they have nothing to say that’s worth hearing, we feed into the worst parts of ourselves and our political system. We can disagree and also get along.

We need to figure this out as a society. We can’t just keep slinging vitriol and hatred out to our neighbors because they disagree with us – even when they’re big issues that we’re super passionate about. Relationships are more than that. Love and kindness to our neighbor is bigger than that. Respecting the dignity of another person requires more of us.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

156: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

This month’s book club book was amazing. It almost feels like complete fiction because it’s such an unbelievable story set in a concentration camp. When I was at my aunt’s last week a friend had dropped it off for her to read and commented that “it’s a beautiful love story.” We both said “A love story? Set in Auschwitz? Really?”

Y’all, it is a beautiful love story about good triumphing in the midst of horrid evil. Also, based on a true story. It would have to be because no author would dare to make up this amount of luck and blessing in the midst of that tragedy.

I told myself I would go to bed at 10pm last night and just finish in the morning, but as has become my habit about 30 minutes after lying down I started coughing like crazy. This started two weeks ago, but didn’t happen at all while I was in Texas. So I turned on the light, took some medicine, and determined I am allergic to the eucalyptus I have sitting on the bookshelf in my room. It’s been there for about two weeks.

So this morning washing everything from the bed (hence the naked mattress in my picture) & curtains and going to vacuum up all the smells that eucalyptus left to hopefully not have the same issue again tonight. Who knew? Anyway, just some ‘life happenings’ during this book review.

Go read this book! Also get yourself some flowers from Trader Joe’s! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

155: A Beautiful Blue Death

A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch

A friend recommended this book so I immediately got it from the library and started reading because I love a good mystery. It seemed fun in the beginning, but it was really just a drag. I won’t be reading further along in the series.

I appreciated how the author wrapped up a lot of loose ends, sharing what happens to the murderer over the next 40 years. However, I couldn’t solve the mystery because we weren’t given enough clues. The ‘cinching clue’ happens when he reads some ledgers, but we never know what those ledgers say, so we can’t even follow along.

I love a good mystery, but not when the narrator withholds information. Part of the fun of it is determining “who dun’ it” along with the characters.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

154: No One Tells You This

No One Tells You This by Glynis MacNicol

Shani from A Single Serving Podcast recommended this book a while back. My library only had it as an eBook so I set out to read it in the two days before it automatically returns tomorrow while riding a lot in the car this weekend. That’s Texas countryside out there y’all.

This book stirred up lots of feelings, lots of things about this single life. Will I always be un-partnered? Am I choosing this life or is it choosing me? Am I okay with it? Are others, or does me being alone make them uncomfortable, feeling like they always have to figure out how to fix this for me?

How do you fix it? I don’t think you can, unless you’re a single, mid-30s, Catholic guy who’s interested in dating, proposing to, and marrying me. If you are, great – send me a message. If not, then just be a friend and sit with me when it’s hard and celebrate with me when it’s not.

One of the hardest things that came up when reading this was quote:

The last time someone threw a party for me that everyone was invited to, my family from far away, friends, neighbors, church people, etc. was at least 15 years ago. I’ve never created a list of what I needed or wanted to have “fully stocked home and new start to life” for a party where people came to celebrate my next life milestone.

I’ve purchased a house, crafted a job that’s mine, launched a new product in the world, completed a 2 year coaching certification, and paid off my student loans, all without fanfare, excitement, or a party. The point isn’t that I need gifts (although some of the things in my kitchen could use an upgrade). The point is will there ever be a milestone in my life that my entire family and friend group feels the need to throw me a celebration for?

This book was excellent. While I appreciated feeling heard in my state of aloneness (not always loneliness), I also found myself crying a lot too. Mourning the loss of things I might not ever have. There’s nothing to do but recognize it, mourn the loss, and move on with the next thing in my life.

This book is a must read for single women. Call me if you need to talk when you’re done! I’m here for you! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

153: Marketing God

Marketing God by Donna A. Heckler

I received an advance copy of this since I work for the publisher! I LOVED it. There were so many great nuggets of information that I want to share with my parishes for work.

Marketing isn’t just for big companies trying to make a million dollars a year. It’s for all of us. The ways in which we market our parishes, the Gospel, and the Love of God are important and significant.

This book should be required reading for anyone who does a parish bulletin, updates a website, or thinks about promoting a parish event. Donna does a great job outlining the importance not only of the digital and print pieces an organization produces, but how they stay “on brand” otherwise as well. Like, answering the phone!!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️