Tag Archives: The War That Saved My Life

2016 Reading Challenge: My 5 Star Reviews, Part 1

This year I read 168 new books – here are some of the best! See any favorites? 

Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy by Alli Worthington 

Alli Worthington is a woman who knows about busy…something that becomes evidently clear as she tells her story as an entrepreneur and mother of 5 boys. However, she also knows about finding peace in God and the joy of doing what you are designed to do. In this quick but deep read, she talks about the importance of stepping away from cluttered schedules and maximizing your time doing what you were designed to do. Very inspiring and worth the time to read.

7 Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas 

In this companion book to 7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness,  Metaxas provides the biographies for seven, Godly women who impacted the world: Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Maria Skobtsova, Corrie ten Boom, Mother Teresa, and Rosa Parks. I found 7 Men somewhat dull, but I really liked these biographies. I especially appreciated what a diverse group they were. 

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

A sweet, wonderful book set in WW2 England. 9-year-old Ada has a club foot and is emotionally and physically abused by her mother, so when her brother is sent to the country for protection from the bombing, she decides to sneak along. They end up in the home of a depressed woman who needs them as much as they need her. I really enjoyed the realism and pace of this book. The character change was well done. Really good historical fiction. 

Overrated: Are We More In Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World? by Eugene Cho

This book was seriously convicting. Are we more in love with the idea changing the world than the reality? Cho is very open and vulnerable about his struggles in this area. He calls out his own motivation first and foremost. In doing so, he calls out me. He calls out Millennials. He calls out all of us who genuinely want to make a difference…but often by being in the spotlight instead of doing the work. I particularly appreciate how firm Cho is. He calls it how he sees it and seriously challenges the way we view what making a difference really means. I highly recommend this one. 

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

When their headmistress and her odious brother are suddenly poisoned, the students of St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls have a decision to make. Do they alert the police and return to their respective homes, or carry on as if nothing happened? They opt to bury the bodies. Unfortunately, hiding murder is not easy, especially when the murderer is still at large! This is a fun, Victorian tale of murder, mayhem, and most inconvenient situations. A great part of the book’s charm comes from the 7 main characters who have very distinct personalities. Good for middle school on up! (And especially good for adults like me who just love a fun, farcical story.) 

Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan 

In this book, comedian Jim Gaffigan writes about being a Dad, raising 5 kids in a 2 bedroom apartment, and dealing with the stigma of having a “big” family. As the eldest of 5 kids, I found this book HILARIOUS. I was in public when I read it and people kept staring because I was laughing so hard. Gaffigan may come across panic stricken half the time, but he clearly loves his family. A very funny, clean, and enjoyable read. 

Valiant by Sarah McGuire 

A re-telling of the Brave Little Tailor, Valiant is the story of Saville, a girl who dresses as a boy and takes her Father’s place as tailor to the King. When she learns that an army of giants are about to attack the city, she goes out and manages to trick them into leaving. Suddenly everyone things she is a hero! But can the courageous tailor save the kingdom from an even greater threat, the Duke and his larger than life army? I loved Valiant! It had a developed heroine, satisfying relationships, and lovely writing. Definitely one I plan to re-read and recommend. 


Whatcha Reading…? 5/29/16 Book Update

Not only did I finish all the books I recorded in my May 27th post (except for Eligible, which I gave up on), I’ve started a whole new set! I am not very far into them, so this post might be a tad precipitous, but I have started so many good ones I have decided to share them early. They are:

Lincoln’s Sword by Douglas L. Wilson, Wayfarer by Lili St. Crow, The Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy, Destiny of a Republic by Candice Millard, The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradely, and on audio, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. I started reading Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis, but the ridiculous plot and goody-two-shoes hero quickly lost my interest. 

Lincoln’s Sword has been on my to-read list for a while, specifically, since March 8th, 2010. While there are plenty of Lincoln biographies out there already, this one provides the intriguing premise of focusing solely on Lincoln as a writer. The author looks at 9 different passages  (ranging from the famous Gettysburg Address to his less famous Message of July 4th, 1861) and analyzes how the words shaped the vocabulary of a nation. Highly readable and with a unique premise, this book promises to be an engaging read all the way through.

Wayfarer is the sequel/companion book to Nameless. Nameless was intriguing but didn’t live up to its potential. I don’t have high hopes for Wayfarer, a Cinderella retelling, but at the same time, I enjoy the originality of the dystopian setting and hoping the author improves in this story. 

The Mentor Leader is another long time to-read. The name says it all. I am excited to read something by Tony Dungy and I think this book will have good personal and professional application. I’m not far into the book, but it seems like Dungy’s philosophy fits right along with the Market Based Management culture adopted by AFP.

Destiny of a Republic came highly recommended from two people I know. It is a biography about President Arthur and the man who tried to assassinate him. I don’t know much about Arthur and I am looking forward to learning something new! He seems to have been a very remarkable man. 

The War That Saved My Life is another recommendation, this one from my friend Ginnie. When I first read the synopsis, I thought it would be a picture book. However, it is a full 316 pages! This is the story of Ada, a young girl with a twisted foot who has never been outside of her house. However, when her brother is evacuated to the country during WW2, Ada sneaks along with him. This is a chance for a new life…until her abusive Mom tries to get her back. So far a light, yet emotional, read that I am excited to get further into. 

Finally, Gulliver’s Travels. I’ve tried reading this one at least 3 times already. After finishing Robinson Crusoe, I’m inspired to just finish it!