Books of January

In the past, I posted book reviews on Mondays, but I think I might do something different this year.  I realized that there was pressure to post, at least for me, during the months I didn’t have as much reading time or I was in a reading slump.  For now, I’m just going to give a brief overview of the books I read in January.  I did pretty good for January, finishing five books.

The Self-Evolved Leader by Dave McKeown – This was given to me to review by the author.  I’m not sure why I was chosen since I don’t actually lead a team in this season of life, but I still managed to have a few takeaways to incorporate in my own life, particularly the interpersonal relationships.  It was a solid four stars for me.

The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali – Read this for book club.  Gave some Romeo and Juliet vibes, but is much more of a story than just that trope.  Set in Iran, mostly in the 1950s, but also some present-day scenes and everything in between.  Roya is a teenager in 1953 and falls in love with a political activist, Bahman.  They get engaged, but then he disappears with no real explanation.  She moves to the states and marries, which is revealed in the first chapter so no spoilers.  It covers so many topics, but specifically it touches on pregnancy and infant loss and mental health surrounding loss. 

When God Made the World by Matthew Paul Turner– This book came out on January 27th,  but I got to be part of the launch team which was super fun.  He is, hands down, my favorite children’s book author, and the artists he gets to illustrate his books are phenomenal.  This book is all about creation and seeing it as part of God’s divine story.

The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa Terkeurst – Changed my life.  I had come to grips with being a people pleaser at the end of last year, and I knew I wanted to listen to God more than others in the decisions I make in life.  But I had no real way to do that.  Enter this book.  It gives you permission to listen to God without the fear of looking selfish.  It made me see the choices I make in an entirely new light, and this will be a bedside re-read for many years to come, maybe at the beginning of each year but especially making any decisions!

The Toll by Neal Shusterman –  This was my only four-star read.  I really liked the trilogy, but I felt like the end wasn’t as strong as the rest of it, even though I got the special edition from Barnes and Noble that included notes on each chapter.  That really helped me understand just how much of the end was decided at the beginning.  I don’t think I can really get into the issues I had without spoiling it, but there were some characters that I really loved that seemed to just end abruptly (not necessarily died, just didn’t really finish).  Still, it was a good read.  I liked the approaches to power and death and grief that the entire story addressed.

What books did you read and enjoy in January?

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