Writing comes second only to my love for reading. Books are enchanting in their ability to transport us through time and space; there are worlds waiting within the pages of words written if we would only take the time to read them. 

One of my favorite things to do is snuggle up on the couch or in my bed and get lost in a good book. I’m extending the invitation to you to fall in love with the art of reading by featuring one book each month that I have personally read and very much enjoyed. 

If you see one that you want to add to your reading list… yay! There will be Amazon links attached where you can go straight to the source and purchase the book! These are not affiliate links, I just want to give you easy access to some great reading. 

So snuggle up in your favorite reading spot, and enjoy!

PS… you may have noticed that there isn’t a Book of the Month for January. That wasn’t on accident, friend! Every January, I share with my readers my top 5 favorite books from the year before. Check out my 2020 top 5 reading list here!

Xoxo,

Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons

Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose

Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose [Lyons, Rebekah] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose

You can check out the full description of the book on Goodreads.

This was the perfect book to read at the start of the new year. I went into 2021 wanting to set new rhythms, rather than striving after new resolutions, and this book helped me slow down long enough to do just that! Rebekah does an excellent job of delivering sound truth followed by direct and easy application steps. As someone who has struggled with stress and anxiety herself, Rebekah gives you four life-giving rhythms to set your pace to: Rest, Restore, Connect and Create. ‘Rhythms of Renewal’ is all about creating a purposeful life through practicing new rhythms that replace stress and anxiety with peace, joy, and contentment. If you are someone struggling with stress and feeling worn out and weary from life, this book is for you! It is such a refreshing and life-giving read!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander

Outlander [Gabaldon, Diana] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Outlander

You can check out the full description of the book on Goodreads.

This historical fiction is a work of pure art! The journey that author, Diana Gabaldon, takes you on throughout this book is one you will wish has no end. It’s 1945, and former combat nurse, Claire Randall, is sojourning through the Highlands of Scotland with her historian of a husband, Frank Randall. While there, thanks to some mysterious standing stones, Claire finds herself thrown back in time to the Highlands of Scotland circa 1743. Outspoken, bold, and courageous, Claire is faced with the challenge of learning to blend in while also desperately trying to make it back to 1945 and into the arms of her husband. But Claire’s loyalties and heart will be tested as she’s introduced to Jamie Fraser, a fierce Scot’s warrior. Due to circumstances out of her control, Claire is forced to choose between the man she loved first and the Scot who slowly begins to win her heart. Outlander has made it to the top of my ‘favorites’ list and for anyone looking for a thrilling, romantic historical fiction book with a time traveler twist, this one is for you!

*Please note that there are adult themes in this book and for those who have suffered sexual assault, this may be triggering, so please tread lightly!

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation [Morrison, Latasha, Allen, Jennie, Hill, Daniel] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation

You can check out the full description of the book on Goodreads.

“It’s time we stop pretending that the past doesn’t shape our present and start making reparations for this abuse and marginalization. After all, reparations aren’t a modern construct. Repairing what’s broken is a distinctly biblical concept, which is why as people of faith we should be leading the way into redemption, restoration, and reconciliation.”

Latasha Morrison in her book, Be the Bridge, invites you to pursue God’s heart for racial reconciliation by walking you through the step by step process of becoming a bridge builder: “acknowledging the past, lamenting it, confronting shame and guilt, confessing our collective sin, extending forgiveness, committing to repentance, making reparations, and ultimately moving into complete restoration”. 

As a White woman who was raised and now currently lives in a predominantly white community, this book was extremely eye-opening, uncomfortable, and humbling to read. It highlighted my blindspots regarding racial discrimination in my own life and made me aware of America’s history with systemic racism that I was so ignorant to before. It brought me to my own place of repentance and lamenting and it gave me a sense of understanding and fresh perspective for my Black brothers and sisters that I didn’t have before. I have been timid and paralyzed in the past when pursuing racial reconciliation because I simply didn’t want to do or say anything that would offend someone else. But “Be the Bridge” is a powerful testimony that teaches us that doing the hard work of racial reconciliation is never going to look perfect, comfortable, or easy. It’s a difficult, raw, ongoing process that requires honesty, facing the known past and unknown future while pushing past the ignorance, pain, and awkwardness so that reconciliation and healing can begin in Jesus’ name. 

If you feel the Lord tugging on your heart to begin your own journey towards racial reconciliation, I would highly recommend gleaning wisdom and truth from Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison. 

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network: A Novel

Amazon.com: The Alice Network: A Novel: 9780062654199: Quinn, Kate: Books

You can check out the full description of the book on Goodreads.

It’s 1947 and young American socialite, Charlie St. Clair, has found herself pregnant, unwed, and with parents who are less than thrilled with her current circumstance. In the aftermath of World War II, Charlie is clinging to hope that her beloved cousin, Rose, is still alive after losing all communication with her in Nazi-occupied France. Headstrong and determined, Charlie risks everything and sets out alone on a journey to find her. Charlie’s first clue to where Rose may be leads her to ex-World War I British spy, Eve Gardiner. When Charlie arrives, she finds a broken, smart-mouthed woman with mangled hands and an unbelievable, heroic tale to tell. The two of them, and Eve’s Scottish driver, Finn, set off for France to search for Charlie’s cousin on an adventure of a lifetime.

I am such a huge fan of World War II novels, and with two strong female leads like Charlie and Eve, I couldn’t put this book down! The story begins in Charlie’s world, but soon, Eve’s story unfolds and you’re transported back in time to World War I when Eve was recruited to be a part of a group of woman spies, The Alice Network, in France. The Alice Network was led by “the queen of spies” herself, and a woman that Eve grew to dearly love like a sister, Lili. Eve’s job is to infiltrate German secrets by working undercover in a French restaurant. Things get heated and go south quickly once Eve starts attracting the attention of the traitor and restaurant owner, René Bordelon.

The tale is full of heartbreak, revenge, redemption, humor, and pure magic as these two strong, outcast, broken women come together to find healing and resolution.

*Please note that there are adult themes in this book and for those who have suffered sexual assault, this may be triggering, so please tread lightly!

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

A Woman Is No Man: A Novel

Amazon.com: A Woman Is No Man: A Novel: 9780062699763: Rum, Etaf: Books

You can check out the full review on Goodreads.

This has been one of my favorite reads so far this year! ‘A Woman is No Man’ follows a young, Arab girl named Isra who is uprooted from her home in Palestine to join her new husband, Adam, in Brooklyn, New York. Young women in the Arab culture are told to marry who their parents approve of, cook, clean and stay home to raise the children. Her whole life, she was told that her place and her worth were at home, but sweet, quiet Isra longs for more. But rather than chase those dreams, Isra learns quickly the realities of being a teenage wife to a man she barely knows in a culture that diminishes the voices of its women.

Fast forward eighteen years later, and Deya, Isra’s eighteen-year-old daughter begins meeting with suitors. Deya was told that her parents died in a car accident, but as time goes on, Deya learns the tragic truth of what happened to Isra and Adam. Not wanting history to repeat itself, Deya tries desperately to forge her own path, but will she be able to break the generational chains that threaten to steal her future?

This is an inspirational, cutting-edge story about finding one’s voice amidst a world that would rather you stay silent. I learned so much about a culture I knew nothing about, all while getting lost in the lives of these intricate characters. I would highly recommend you put this one on your summer reading list!

*Please note that there are adult themes in this book and for those who have suffered sexual assault, this may be triggering, so please tread lightly!

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman

A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live

A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live [Freeman, Emily P.] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live

You can check out the full review here on Goodreads.

“I don’t believe there is one great thing I was made to do in this world. I believe there is one great God I was made to glorify. And there will be many ways, even a million little ways, I will declare his glory with my life.” 

This book isn’t just for those in life that call themselves ‘artists’. It’s not just for the writers, the painters, the actors, or the sculptors. This book is for anyone who is wanting to uncover the beauty of Christ that lives within. We serve a creative God, and He has a purpose and a destiny for each of us. As parents, teachers, doctors, accountants, zoologists, and violinists — God has purposed each of us to reflect His glory out loud into the world in whatever we are doing. That is our purpose, and this is what makes every single one of us artists.

Emily P. Freeman describes us as God’s poetry, written into the world to reflect His creative and good heart. This book is an invitation to stop searching for purpose and to start uncovering our God-given identities right where we are, as we are. This might just be my favorite nonfiction read of the year to date!

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Corner: A Novel

The Bookshop on the Corner: A Novel – Kindle edition by Colgan, Jenny. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Bookshop on the Corner: A Novel.

You can read the official description of the book on Goodreads.

The Bookshop on the Corner follows Nina Redmond: a quiet, careful young woman who has a deep love and adoration for books. She believes that there is a book out there for everyone, and she has made it her life’s mission to be the ultimate literary matchmaker. Nina has spent most of her life hiding behind the stories that other people have written, but when she unexpectedly loses her job at the local library in Birmingham, England, she decides it’s time to write her own story. Courageously, she leaves behind her old life in Birmingham and travels to the Highlands of Scotland to pursue her dream of running a mobile bookshop. The people of the little Highland town of Kirrinfief are hungry for books and Nina soon realizes that the sleepy, quiet farm town nestled in the hills of Scotland is exactly where she’s supposed to be.

This is a warm, light-hearted, romantic, lovely little tale of a woman who pushes past her fears and comforts to reach for something authentic, terrifying, and real. This is the perfect book to curl up with under a blanket on a rainy day, with a cup of something hot and soothing. Now that I’ve discovered Jenny Colgan, I can’t wait to read more!

To Write a Wrong by Jen Turano

To Write a Wrong (The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency)

To Write a Wrong (The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency) [Turano] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. To Write a Wrong (The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency)

You can read the official description of the book on Goodreads.

Daphne Beekman is a writer, but no one really knows that. She’s written mystery thrillers that thousands adore, but because the story is set in 1887 New York, she goes by a pen name — a man’s name — because editors and publishers don’t believe women should be writing such stories. When she’s not writing, she works as an inquiry agent for the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency. It’s a women-ran agency whose mission is to right the wrongs of native New Yorkers. We find Daphne at the beginning of her story suffering from a case of writer’s block, only to be met with an Inquiry case from Mr. Herman Anderson himself — a mystery writer that Daphne secretly adores! When Herman comes to the Agency stating that someone is trying to kill him, Daphne and her team go undercover to try and uncover the assailant behind the attacks. This story has rich dialogue, just the right amount of humor, adventure, and unexpected love. This is a light-hearted mystery that anyone is sure to love! I wasn’t aware that it was a sequel in the Bleecker Street series, and I had no trouble at all following the characters and stories when I jumped in in the middle! I so look forward to checking out the rest of this book series and highly recommend it! 

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Firefly Lane: A Novel

Firefly Lane: A Novel [Hannah, Kristin, Ericksen, Susan] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Firefly Lane: A Novel

If you’ve hung around here for a while, you already know that Kristin Hannah is one of my absolute favorite fiction writers. She has been gifted the wondrous ability to tell a story and tell it remarkably. This is the fifth Kristin Hannah novel I’ve read to date and just like all the rest, this one did not disappoint. Firefly Lane follows two best friends, Kate and Tully, who are inseparable from the age of 14. There’s Kate: the quiet, caring bookworm who comes from a loving family. And then there’s Tully: popular, beautiful, and ambitious with a drug-addict mother who never stuck around. Each of them carries their own insecurities and scars but when they’re together, they have all that they need. Firefly Lane follows these two strong women over three decades of friendship, love, heartbreak, disappointment, and everything else in between. It had me laughing one moment and sobbing the next! This is a raw, authentic story that will remind you of what truly matters most in life: your people. 

And, as an added bonus, there’s a second book, Fly Away, that you can dive into to keep up with these lovely characters and soak in more of the story! There’s also a Netflix original series based on Firefly Lane, but I got two episodes in and called it quits. My reasons should be very obvious for those who read the book and then watched episode one. You know what they say, the book is always better than the movie or tv show! We’ll just leave it at that 😉