It’s high time I did a new book review post, friends! I’ve been blessed with the ability to read fast and amid distraction, which is why somehow I’m still getting a lot of books done despite having a new baby, a book release and a full-time job. What can I say? I love books! I’ve done a ton of book reviews, many of which can be found in this link if you need more!

And also…I wrote a book! So check it out if you are looking for an inspiring memoir 🙂

Here is a new list I’ve read recently and hope it will help you make your next selection!

1. Lilac Girls
There is an endless supply of World War II novels and for good reason. So many of them are based on incredible, true stories that need to be written. Lilac Girls is no exception! It is a layered story about a group of women at the Ravensbruck concentration camp (the only all-women’s camp in the Holocaust) and the horrific operations and medical “experiments” performed on them during their time there. The characters are rich and the stories pieced together beautifully. If you like personal WWII fiction (like The Nightingale) — this book is for you.

2. Sing, Unburied, Sing
A beautifully written, poetic novel about the the life of an African-American family struggling with modern day racism, poverty and addiction. The book ties in elements of the past, haunting memories and unique voices from various narrators, bringing past and present together in a chilling way. If you appreciate elegant prose and artful writing, as well as a story that will break your heart in the process, grab it.

3. The Other Wes Moore
I have seen this sitting on bookshelves for years but didn’t get it until I heard it recommended on several podcasts. Glad I did, as it is such a thoughtful look at how two lives that began the same went in completely opposite directions. Two men named Wes Moore both grew up on poverty with single mothers, but one ended up a Rhodes scholar, the other in prison for life. One of them thought to write the fascinating story of what makes a man — and reminds us that nothing is for sure, or black and white.

4. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis
If you are curious about the extent to which class warfare is affecting our children and our nation, this is the book to read. It’s an in-depth analysis full of case studies about how things have changed — how lower class and upper class are deepening divides leaving so many children and families without opportunity. It will inspire you to do something about a shifting culture that is hurting children in poverty in drastic ways. We must do something about this.

5. Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World of Setbacks and Difficult People
If you don’t know Bob Goff, get to know him. He writes simply with little stories and anecdotes that ring true in very big ways. At at time when people are so incredibly divided by politics in particular, Bob reminds us that as Christians, there is no excuse not to love someone. When in doubt, you head back to the title of this book. Love everybody — ALWAYS. People are not monolithic and one thing does not define them. Even if it did, we are still called to love. And when you do that, BIG things can happen to make the world better. Read it.

6. The Alice Network
Yet another true-to-life WWII story worth your time. This one is about a different set of women, specifically one, who risked her life to be a spy on the Nazis during the war. Without brave people like these (and so many countless others), who knows how things might have ended? I didn’t like this one as much as Lilac Girls, but it’s very much in the same vein and will make you raising your hands with “girl power” vibes from so many years ago.

7. We are Called to Rise
Another beautifully written book that intertwines a number of different stories in a way that comes together wonderfully in the end. It’s a heartbreaking look centered on the life one little boy, whose life is tragically upended in an all-too familiar way. The relationships he forms, those who care for and about him — and the complexities involved in the situation that arises will feel difficult, familiar and leaving you grasping for hope. You will fall in love with Bashkim and find empathy for the many adults in his life.

8. Girl, Wash Your Face
Of the many girl power, self-help books I’ve read, this ranks among one of the best. I put off reading it for months because it just seemed to “trendy” to pick up. But after so many rave reviews, I caved! I really enjoyed the wide range of topics covered by Rachel Hollis — and the way she came at them from just a little bit of a fresh perspective than you normally see. There is nothing groudbreaking here, but if you need a pick-me-up — the title says it all. Girl, wash your face! It will do wonders for ya — and reading this book may light a fire under you too!

9. From the Inside Out: Re-imagining Mission, Recreating the World
The author has served as a missionary in many foreign countries so his view on mission and why we do what we do as American Christians is super interesting, reminding that we are the outsiders and aren’t there to “save” anyone. You must be VERY humble as missionary and this book asks the hard questions about service, justice and mission as a whole. There may be some controversial ideas here, but all well-worth considering if you are at all interested in this sphere. It reminded me of “When Helping Hurts.”

10. Leaving Cloud 9: The True Story of a Life Resurrected From the Ashes of Poverty, Trauma and Mental Illness
In “Leaving Cloud 9,” I document the story of my husband Rick’s traumatic childhood, being raised in poverty by a single mother who was an addict, alcoholic and in a neverending series of relationships with men who were generally not good for her children. She was in and out of jail, Rick and his sister being constantly moved to his grandparents and back, witnessing things no children should ever see. Drug deals, suicide attempts, prostitution, domestic violence and more. Rick was destined to repeat the cycle of abuse, addiction and violence, but he didn’t. This book chronicles his horrific but redemptive journey from abused & neglected child to saved and joyful husband and father.

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