January Reads

I love knowing what others are reading. It helps me find books and authors to add to my own “To Read” list. So I thought I’d try to do a post at the end of each month to tell you about the books I’ve read. I hope you find it helpful in discovering a new-to-you book or author. 

I’ll start with non-fiction. I don’t usually read a ton of non-fiction, but I started the year with two helpful ones:

The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everyday by Rob Walker 

Rob was on a panel I attended at the Texas Book Festival last fall. I was intrigued by this book of noticing assignments, because I feel in this age of technology I’ve lost some of my noticing skills, the ones that helped make me a writer. This is a book of exercises on noticing, and reading them has helped me elevate my noticing skills again. Not only did it heighten my notice of noticing, but it gives me a resource to go back to if I want to challenge myself with a specific noticing exercise.

The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose in an Age of Distraction by Justin Whitmel Earely

Another book trying to help the reader live beyond our current tech age, but this one advocates a few specific habits in relation to loving God and loving others. Four daily habits. Four weekly habits. And while I won’t pretend to follow all of them, I did try them all, and I have incorporated several of them into my day/week. Some of them I already did in some form anyway. The most helpful part for me (and my husband, who also read the book) was simply the call to be more intentional about when phones and streaming media of any kind detract our attention from God and from people. Highly recommended.

Now on to the fun stuff—fiction!

The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia

This was my least favorite of my January reads. Not that it wasn’t a good book. It was a good story beautifully written; it was just a slower story than my usual tastes. And while it was a satisfying ending, it wasn’t necessarily a happy one.

 

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

I loved Hunter’s Hawthorne House series, so I was excited to discover this one, which is the first book in the Haven Manor series as a free read on Prime Reading. (BTW, I just discovered Prime Reading. It is free with your Amazon Prime membership and allows you to “borrow” certain title for free! It’s awesome!) Anyway, I loved the unusual premise of this story. And, as usual, Hunter’s characters are great. I’m looking forward to finding time to get to the other titles in this series!

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

This was another Prime Reading title and I knew I had heard good things about it, but I honestly had no idea what this book was about before I dove into it. A beautifully written, deeply emotional story that weaves a WWII story with a contemporary one. It held me absolutely spellbound through the end. This is the first book in a long while that has brought me to actual tears! Highly recommended.

 

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

First I must say that while I love so many of Karen’s books—she truly is one of the master storytellers—her first book in the Patchwork Family series, More Than Meets the Eye, quickly rose to the top of her long list of books as my favorite, tying Short Straw Bride. So when I finally got to book 2 of the Patchwork Family series, I was both excited and scared that it wouldn’t live up to my enjoyment of book 1. I needn’t have worried. This one was great. I loved Karen’s characters and she truly knows how to keep you guessing at what will happen next even if you know for sure the hero and heroine will be together in the HEA ending. Highly recommended.

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

Oh, how I love Elizabeth Camden’s books! Her characters are completely fascinating. Her situations so complex and unusual. This first in a new series was no exception. I learned so much about spices and the prepared food industry and regulation history I raced through this amazing, compelling story. I finished the book antsy to know what would happen in the next book, the sister’s story! And besides all the good stuff between the covers of this book, I found the actual cover to be one of my favorites out there! Highly recommended.

As I look back over my reading, I realize almost all my fiction this month was from Bethany House Publishers! Not planned at all, but all great reads!