September Book Review

I love to read. I’ve loved to read since I was a child, and even in the business of motherhood I’ve tried my best to find time to read everyday. I do the majority of my reading at night. Jason tends to go to bed earlier than me, so I’ll often stay awake reading well into the night. It isn’t good for my complexion or my energy levels, but it sure is a stress reliever for me.

I always love when bloggers do book reviews, because I am always looking for something new to read. I thought I would share what has has been on my Kindle this month.

Back in May, I had lunch with my friend, Kim, and she talked about what a game changer this book had been in her life. I went home after our lunch and purchased both the book and the study guide, intending to complete the study on my own over the summer. Our church women’s ministry actually ended up deciding to use this book for our fall study, and I was approached about co-leading the bible study. This week is our final session, and I’m going to be really sad for the study to end. We have had such a great time of fellowship and really learned some light bulb lessons about how to love others well.

So, what is the book about?

Our culture is self-obsessed – in our schedules, relationships, and especially online. (Can you say selfie?) But in this near-narcissism, people are less content than in decades past. Why? Because we forgot the joy that comes from putting others first. Doing so requires us to live alert, listening for “heart drops,” hints from those in our lives who need a helping hand or a generous dose of encouragement. Living alert lifts our own spirits, showing us that blessing others blesses us even more.

Listen, Love, Repeat offers biblical teaching and suggests doable actions that are simple, heart-tugging, sentimental, even sneaky and hilarious. This message:

• Presents scriptural examples of those who lived alert, including Jesus, who noticed those who least expected to be seen.

• Explains the role of good works for followers of Christ. They aren’t our ticket to heaven but they are our marching orders on earth.

• Gives creative ideas for showing love to friends and family, and suggests practical ways to reach out to the lonely, the marginalized, the outcast, and the odd duck. Additionally, it helps you comfort the grieving, showing what you can do when you don’t know what to say.

• Provides inspiration for blessing the “necessary people” in your life, those often-overlooked souls who help you get life done every day, and teaches you how to hug a porcupine by genuinely loving the hard-to-love.

As we scatter love, we create a safe space where we can openly share the gospel. We get to see lives changed right before our eyes. Most importantly, Listen, Love, Repeat will enable you to live a life that is full of kind deeds, not to selfishly shout, “Hey! Look at me!” but to humbly implore, “Will you look at Him?”

The book delves into WHY it is important to show love to others and has lots of practical application tips and tricks on how to show love to your family, your friends, fellow church members, strangers, neighbors – really, anyone you come in contact with. The bible study really goes deep into the biblical truths that support why we should love others and how: because Jesus did, and we want to bring others to Him.

I highly, highly recommend this book. It’s been such an eye opener for me… I mean, prior to reading this book and completing the bible study I would have said that I am a thoughtful person and that I go out of my way to do nice things for others. But since I’ve read the book I truly find I am “living alert” and actively looking for how I can show love to everyone I come in contact with.

I’m not even sure how I stumbled upon this author – I think I was looking for authors that were similar to Mary Kay Andrews and Kristy Woodson Harvey popped up. This is such a great book! I definitely could not put it down and stayed up late to finish it. It is emotional material – but it has a positive ending.

One baby girl.
Two strong Southern women.
And the most difficult decision they’ll ever make.

Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan–everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby. But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki the ultimate favor…

Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us–and that families aren’t born, they’re made…

After I finished Dear Carolina, I immediately downloaded the author’s other books. Again, Slightly South of Simple has some heavy subject matter, and there is a bit of a sad ending. However, the ending sets the book up for future additions to the series.

Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in the small Southern town of Peachtree Bluff; she was a New York girl born and bred and the worst day of her life was when, in the wake of her father’s death, her mother selfishly forced her to move—during her senior year of high school, no less—back to that hick-infested rat trap where she’d spent her childhood summers. But now that her marriage to a New York high society heir has fallen apart in a very public, very embarrassing fashion, a pregnant Caroline decides to escape the gossipmongers with her nine-year-old daughter and head home to her mother, Ansley.

Ansley has always put her three daughters first, especially when she found out that her late husband, despite what he had always promised, left her with next to nothing. Now the proud owner of a charming waterfront design business and finally standing on her own two feet, Ansley welcomes Caroline and her brood back with open arms. But when her second daughter Sloane, whose military husband is overseas, and youngest daughter and successful actress Emerson join the fray, Ansley begins to feel like the piece of herself she had finally found might be slipping from her grasp. Even more discomfiting, when someone from her past reappears in Ansley’s life, the secret she’s harbored from her daughters their entire lives might finally be forced into the open.

Exploring the powerful bonds between sisters and mothers and daughters, this engaging novel is filled with Southern charm, emotional drama, and plenty of heart.

Yet another Kristy Woodson Harvey book, Lies and Other Acts of Love is a great story about how little white lies can either save us or damn us. The story is told from the point of view of a grandmother and a granddaughter. Warning: there is a death in this book. Be prepared; it’s emotional!

After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.

Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.

But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves . . .

Ashley Farley is another Southern author. I’ve read several of her books, but this book is the best of the bunch. The setting of this book is Charleston, which immediately drew me in because I used to live there. This has a bit of a heavy subject matter (emotional abuse and child neglect) but it still was a good read. I wouldn’t say it was a light or easy read, but it was compelling.

Ellie Pringle has spent endless hours and countless dollars working with a therapist to remember the lost years of her childhood. She’s baffled and more than a little intrigued when the grandmother she hasn’t seen in thirty-four years dies and leaves her a fortune. The time has come to face her past in person. Still reeling from a recent breakup of a long-term relationship, and with nothing to keep her in San Francisco, Ellie packs her meager belongings and boards a plane for the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Standing in the entryway of her grandmother’s antebellum home on South Battery Street in Charleston, Ellie faces the first of many ghosts who will soon haunt her. On her first night in the creepy, creaking mansion, as she’s perusing the titles in a dusty bookcase, she comes across her deceased mother’s leather-bound journal. Her mother’s words create more unanswered questions and send her on a quest to find more journals. As Hurricane Lorene bears down on the South Carolina coast, Ellie encounters Juan Hagood, a handsome architect who has the talent to restore her dilapidated mansion and the charm to mend her broken heart. But as Ellie reads her mother’s diaries, they dislodge a stone in the wall that safeguards her memories, causing her world to come crumbling down. Revelations about her childhood lead Ellie on a harrowing journey of discovery that will hold spellbound until the dramatic conclusion.

Click directly on the book pictures to be taken to the Amazon purchase page. Links are affiliate links.

What have you been reading lately?