What I’ve Been Reading – May 2018

I’ve been rather lame in the book/writing department. There’s been a lot of things brewing and bubbling in my mind, and sometimes, sitting down at the computer is the last thing I want to do. That said, I also know how much I truly enjoy being able to look back at the books I’ve read. Thus why I’m forcing myself to sit down and do this.

I finished 8 books the past few months…yea, 8. Admittedly, a few of them were lengthy and a bit heady. I can’t fly through those books the way I can through fluffier fiction.

FAVORITE FICTION BOOK

The one that moved the fastest for me was Barefoot. It was pure fluff, but so much of it I just loved. It was the first book of her’s that I’ve read, and I’ve always seen her books and had them pique my interest. I liked the characters, I liked the story line, I liked that it was a bit of romance without seeming smarmy, but it was real and had heart. I just started The Matchmaker by her.

Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club selection was my close second favorite, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows. Since Bend it Like Beckham, I have been interested in the Indian-London community. This book fits perfectly within that. It was a fun read, but also addressed a lot of deeper, and some darker, issues within not only the Indian community, but for women in general.

FAVORITE NON-FICTION BOOK

Seeing as I only read one non-fiction book, it would have to be Shauna Niequist’s Present Over Perfect. This was a book that I pre-ordered on Amazon in August 2016…yea, it took me almost two years to ACTUALLY READ the book *face palm*. I really enjoyed it though and so much of Shauna’s struggles have mirrored my own, of allowing other people’s expectations and requests to dictate my life and who I am. I ended up with quite a few dog-eared pages on this one.

THE BOOK I DIDN’T LIKE

The Forty Rules of Love: I REALLY wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t. I don’t know if I just didn’t want to put the time into reading it or if it was that the story wasn’t what I expected or the bouncing around. I read to about page 100, then scanned the rest of the pages. I don’t think it ever got better, and I honestly don’t remember the ending.

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I’ve been struggling with books. I really WANT to read the heavier books (non-fiction), but they take me so long to get through. I feel like they’re keeping me from actually reading, because I dread picking them up, no matter how much I’m enjoying them. My brain doesn’t seem to have much time or energy to read. It’s not even a slump, it’s just too much.

Fluffier books are fun and I get through them faster, but I really don’t feel like they’re bringing much to my mental table. They’re the equivalent of cotton candy for dinner, it sounds like a good idea at the time, until about 20 minutes later and you’re thinking, “Why on earth did I do that?!”

What have you been reading?

Keep up with what I’ve been reading on GoodReads or Instagram 

(I’ve notated books I’ve read for my book club * and F for Fiction, NF for Non-Fiction, and A if it was an audiobook).

*This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

 

What I’ve Been Reading – February 2018

It’s a new year for books! Last year I set myself a reading goal of 35 books on goodreads, and I managed to beat it. Ha! I’m not going to lie, it felt good. I honestly thought 35 was too high and I wouldn’t meet it. I decided to stick with 35 books for this year too.

I’ve completed 4 books for 2018, but 2 of them were poetry books, which always seem to read faster. I didn’t read anywhere near the number of Christmas books that I usually do. I just wasn’t into it; I don’t know what that was about.

FAVORITE FICTION BOOK

I’m only half way through No Man’s Land, and while it took a while to get into it, it’s VERY good. I have to admit the only reason why I picked this one up was Tolkien. The author is the grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien, and the book is a fictional writing of some of his experiences during WW1. Two things for me want to read it, WW1 and Tolkien.

I can already tell that, while the first half of the book was a bit slow, the second half is going to fly. I’m curious to know more about Tolkien’s story, as well as his coming to faith.

FAVORITE NON-FICTION BOOK

Capital Gaines…obviously, since it was the only one that I read, but I did love it! I so enjoy his humor and stories. As someone who has been saddled with entrepreneurs all of her life (my parents, my husband) I really enjoyed his insights into creating and running a business, particularly one that grew to be so successful.

I really appreciated how often Gaines FAILED, that’s right FAILED, in businesses, but always walked away with something and had a good mindset about it; glad for what he learned from the experience. I love how he turns it all back around to his family and God too. Such wisdom and humility in his words, even when he’s not being so humble.

THE BOOK I DIDN’T LIKE

I hate that I don’t like it, but Clash of Kings….it’s still sitting on my night stand, stalled at page 237 and haven’t picked it up in 2 months. I still REALLY want to like the Game of Thrones books, but I just cannot get into them. I hate it. I know I will finish the books. I’ll force myself to do it, but it’s going to take a while.

What have you been reading? What reading goals have you set for yourself this year? Remember, you can follow along on what I’m reading on Instagram, just check out my hashtag #Books2018JMW

Capital Gaines {a Review}

Capital Gaines a review

Capital Gaines a review

For those who may not know it, Matthew and I own a handful of small businesses. Neither of us have a degree in business, or any business know how. It’s just something we’ve always grown up in (both of our parents’ own their own businesses). If we were smart we would have taken at least a couple of business classes in college, but we didn’t, so we’re always learning by trial-by-fire.

When Chip Gaines’ new book, Capital Gaines, popped up as being available for review I didn’t even hesitate. We need all the help we can get, plus he’s really funny, AND he and Joanna have managed to create quite the empire. While we have no aspirations to create a business that has over 500 employees (I’d be happy with 5 employees), they must be doing something right.

I read Magnolia Story last summer and flew through it, this was the same. It’s just entertaining listening to Chip go on about the things he’s messed up. I can truly appreciate his humor and stories. This was the same, I finished the book in 2 days. Entertaining and informative.

I wrote last month about doing things scared, and not letting fear keep you from living. Chapter after chapter these were the things that Chip was telling me over and over. Don’t let fear keep you from doing what you’ve been called to do. God has got it.

Whether you own a business, want to start a business, or just love the Gaines family…READ THIS BOOK! And FYI, if you have the chance to take some business classes, do it, don’t even think twice.

*I received this book for free from the BookLookBloggers program. However, the opinions are my own. Read my disclosure policy here.

 

Wonder Woman: Warbringer {a Review}

Wonder Woman Warbringer Review

I love Wonder Woman…more specifically, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. When I had the opportunity to review Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer, I jumped at it. After Christmas I finally was able to sit down and read it.
Wonder Woman Warbringer Review
I was disappointed. The first 140 pages were interesting, but weren’t gripping me. I seriously was debating not finishing the book (too many other books to read), but powered through. I’m GLAD that I did! It picked up and flew through the last 160 pages.

The story follows a young Diana (pre-Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman movies), who saves the life of a teenage girl from our time. Having done so results in a series of cataclysmic events occurring that Diana and the young girl must prevent.

I really enjoyed the overall story line; how the characters and plot were developed over the course of the book. There were some plot twists that I wasn’t expecting, which were a nice surprise. By the end of the book I was cheering for the characters and fully invested in their survival.

Don’t get me wrong. This was not a life changing work of fiction, but it was an enjoyable read, that I wanted to pick back up.

**I received this book for free from the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review. You can read my disclosure policy here.

Do it Scared: Choosing to Not Live Life in Fear

This past summer I claimed the saying, “Do it scared!” because I realized I have allowed myself to NOT do many things, because I was scared. Scared of what people would say or think, scared of whether I would succeed or fail.

It is infinitely easier to live in the dream of “someday” than it is to step out and do the thing you fear.

I turned 35 this past summer. I’ve realized something over the last few years…that I’ve lived most of my life in fear, or should I say I’ve existed in fear, because not doing things you want to do because you’re afraid isn’t living. The biggest thing I did was I finally got a tattoo.

For the past 20 years I’ve talked about it, but I finally did it. Believe me, all that day, waiting for my appointment, I kept telling myself this was the stupidest thing to do and more than once I picked up my phone to cancel the appointment, but I didn’t. I did it scared.

I did it knowing that I may regret it or that people may look down on me for it, but I did it. I didn’t let all my fears of “if” and “maybe” keep me from doing something.

You see, the thing about our fears are that they’re usually unfounded. Of course, there are those fears that are healthy fears, that keep us safe, but by and large they’re non-existent.

Fears are things we’ve put in place to keep ourselves in our comfort zone.  It’s an excuse we use to give ourselves permission to not even try.

This fall, I brandished my perfectionism as an excuse to not do something. I realized it was actually my fear of failing, of not meeting expectations (mine and other’s). It’s ridiculous! I had a vision in my head of what I wanted my Halloween costume to look like, but I was scared of messing it up.

I’ve never considered myself much of a perfectionist. Yes, I like things to be just-so, but for the most part I can let things slide, but I’ve realized something, my perfectionism manifests itself in fear. I let me fear of things not being just-so, keep me from even trying.  After 6 weeks of procrastinating I did it scared.  I made the first cut, stitched the first seam, and it came out awesome!

Fear is not from God. We are not meant to live in a constant state of fear. We are meant to live in the knowledge that we are marked as Christ’s own, that we are to live our lives to His glory, and if we are living in fear, we’re not doing that.

When I was younger I would always tell myself, “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who gives me strength”, and it always helped me to move forward in spite of fear. Did I always use it the way the verse was meant to be used, no probably not, but it certainly helped me to act even when I was afraid.

Do not let fear keep you from living your life to it’s fullest. You will mess up. You will be disappointed at how things turn out.  But those mess ups and disappointments will be nothing compared to the regret you will feel when you have lived your life and, at the end, think of all the “I should haves…” that you never did.

Live the life God has given you. Trust in Him and who He created you to be, the life He planned for you to live. Don’t let fear keep you from being who you are. Don’t let what other people might think or say keep you from living your one and only life. Be BRAVE (my word for 2018).

***And FYI getting my tattoo was awesome, and yes I will be getting another ;-)