Reading People by Anne Bogel: A Review

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a big personality assessment nerd, so when I found out that one of my favorite podcasters wrote about book about personality assessments, I had to read it. Anne Bogel takes us through her own journey of eight different personality classifications. It was really interesting because I hadn’t heard of some of these tests (which I will definitely remedy in the near future).
She doesn’t just talk about her own outcome with each of the assessments but also gives a brief overview of the other types in each assessment. She also gives suggestions, whether the free tests you find online will give you an accurate assessment or if you will need to go on a more professional route. She also suggests books that can be helpful for a more in-depth look into your particular type.
I really enjoyed the book, overall. It was like sitting down over coffee with a friend, discussing personalities. It’s not by any means an exhaustive look into personality, but it is a fun jumping off point for several different ways you can look into yourself. Also, I really liked what she said about why we should look into these different perspectives of personality. “When I understand myself, I can get out of my own way.”

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: A Review

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very popular book last year, which came out as a movie in October, so I thought it was appropriate to read it now.
The book is so good. It’s pretty fast-paced, and I felt totally immersed in this world throughout the entire story. The content of the book is pretty heavy, dealing with racism, grief, and injustice, but it’s really appropriate for today’s culture.
The story is about a girl named Starr who witnesses her friend get shot by a police officer. She and her friend are black and the officer was white. In her everyday life, Starr straddles two worlds – one in the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the other in a predominantly white private school where most of her friends and life are. When this shooting happens, her worlds start to come apart and she has to find out who she really is.
The character transformation is honest and beautiful. I don’t really want to go into any spoilers but she really is stretched through the whole story and by the end finds out what it means to be her authentic self. There are also some minor characters who go through transformations as well – facing their own prejudices and realities.
There is profanity in the book. In fact, Starr’s younger brother has a thing going with their dad that when he cusses, the brother gets a dollar. The brother gets a lot of money in this book.
There is also sexual content as well. While there are no real sex scenes, there is talk about it and heavy makeout scenes. I did find that the sexual content was approached well and handled responsibly.
There is also violence in this book. Of course, there is the shooting, but there are also riots, fighting, and other violence that happens throughout the book. I felt that it was also appropriate considering the story.
Overall, this is a great book, perfect for this generation. I felt like it was written well and gave a lot of really good perspective. Highly recommend!

Fields of Glory by Gilbert Morris: A Review

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The Fields of Glory
by Gilbert Morris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m trying to finish this series by the end of the year. I read the first few books when I was a teenager and I held a bit of nostalgia for the series. Up to this point, I don’t really feel like the series has held up over time, but it’s still a good series. It’s Christian historical fiction set during the rise of Protestantism in England. In this particular book, it’s set during the reign of King Charles II, after the death of Oliver Cromwell. This was a point in history when the Royalists (who lost the Civil War to the Parliamentarians) return to England and come into power.
As far as the fictional family, the Wakefields, the author seems to be moving away from the steady father to son legacy that is found in the first three books. In the last book, the Morgan family (distant relative from Wales) made their first appearance, and they take up a good amount of the plot in this book. In addition to that, we are introduced to Jenny Clairmont, another person from Wales and follow her story which intertwines with the Wakefields and Morgans. Also, Morris includes whole chapters on the actual historical figure John Bunyan.
The author seemed to really be a fan of John Bunyan. He even includes some excerpts of Bunyan’s writing in his own story (although to be fair, he also includes some poetry and Shakespearean excerpts as well). This book, however, focused a lot on Bunyan, and with the addition of Jenny’s story and the Morgans, the Wakefields took a bit of a backseat.
The writing, like in the previous books, was flowery and a bit convoluted. We had to hear about everything they ate or wore, what every person looked like and whether they were attractive or not. I found myself skimming those parts, really just wanting to get on with the story. I understand he was building the world, but I just wasn’t interested in every beef broth they ate.
Still, the plot was interesting. Following the independent preachers as they were thrown in jail and then how they overcame was really interesting. I don’t know how much fiction was added to it, but it will give me new perspective when I read a Pilgrim’s Progress again.
Overall, it’s okay. I do enjoy the history, but the writing is only so-so. Nostalgically, it’s been a good ride so far.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab: A Review

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City of Ghosts
by Victoria Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my third book written by Victoria Schwab that I’ve read (which I’m trying to slowly remedy) and I absolutely loved it. It made me want to visit Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s the first middle-grade novel that I have read in a long time, but since I have enjoyed everything she has written so far, I was happy to add this to my read list.
The story is about a girl, Cass, who had a near-death experience and now sees ghosts, namely her best friend Jacob who is a ghost. And her parents also happen to be writers of the paranormal (though they do not see ghosts). So, when they get an opportunity to travel to Scotland for a documentary, they do. And her adventure begins.
The plot moves along quite fast, and it is a very easy read (I read it in less than 24 hours which is big since I have a baby). And there are questions that aren’t answered in this book that I hope will be answered in later books. I’m looking forward to the next one.
There is no profanity in the book. And there are no sexually explicit scenes, in fact, there really isn’t any romance at all which I found refreshing and appropriate for the target audience. There is violence, namely ways that people die. Cass is able to enter the veil and see ghosts playing out their deaths over and over again on a loop. It’s not explicit, but it definitely was sad.
If you want a good mystery wrapped up in a beautifully descriptive city, with a little spooky thrown in, then I would highly recommend this book.

I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel: A Review

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I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life
by Anne Bogel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The very definition of an absolute delight, Bogel’s short collection of essays on reading will call you to the big, comfy reading chair with a cup of tea in hand.
I have been a listener of her podcast for quite a while now. She is kind, welcoming, and completely relatable to me as a reader. This book is just an extension of that. She writes about her love of books, trips to the library and the bookstore, and confessions that kept me chuckling with a knowing “Amen.”
It was quite meta to read a book about reading. Still, I loved following her through her journey into reading. I now want to live right next door to a library (very envious of this fact!). And somehow have the inclination to, again, reorganize my bookshelves.
If you love to read, or even if you used to love to read and have lost that feeling somewhere along the way, I would highly recommend diving into this book. It will motivate you to read more and read often.

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Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman: A Review

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Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
by Pamela Druckerman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been curious about this book for a while, so since I’ve been reading parenting philosophy books lately, I thought this was the perfect time to read this one.
This book is parts memoir and French history with a bit of practicum added to it. Overall, it was quite interesting, however, there were parts of it (especially the first two chapters) that I found myself constantly rolling my eyes. I can definitely see where some readers would come to the conclusion that she is berating American mothers while putting French mothers on a pedestal.
But I do think there were also some good takeaways from the book as well. I really liked taking on the perspective of educating your child on social norms instead of trying to make them behave. Of course, encouraging individual play and allowing them to discover the world instead of obsessing about milestones was something I want to incorporate into my own parenting as well. I also enjoyed the recipes and play ideas, as well as some of the discipline perspectives.
It’s not a bad book that berates Americans. I read it as a woman’s journey having and raising kids in a foreign country, and how that affected her parenting and her children. Reading it as more of a memoir than a parenting book helps adjust to a more curious perspective. Good, interesting read!

The Unbound by Victoria Schwab: A Review

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The Unbound
by Victoria Schwab

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this sequel to The Archived by Victoria Schwab. I’m going to try to do this spoiler free, but it’s important to read the first book before this one. The two plots are very connected.
Speaking of plot, this book was really well paced for me. I enjoy a pretty fast-paced read. While the first book really explored the Narrows and the Archive, this one was more about how much being a Keeper affected Mckenzie’s life. The last book was over the summer, and this one was during the school year. So, we have a new cast of characters that she meets as she starts at her new school.
Like the last book, this one also has a mystery to solve, and Mac has to learn, again, to believe in herself and out-strategize the enemy. There are some triggers to self-harm to be noted. There is also an almost assault as well.
There isn’t any profanity in the book that I can recall. There is some sexual content with kissing and touching, like the face, hair or arms, nothing graphic. Also, there is violence in this book, lots of fighting and attacks. There is mention of blood, cuts, and the aforementioned cutting, but nothing completely graphic or detailed.
Overall, it’s a great series. I really like the world that was created and the characters. I would have liked to see more of the Archive characters play a role, but I understood that this was a focus more on the Outer world. Another recommend!