The Best of Me
by Nicolas Sparks
I may lose some of you in this critique since many women seem to love this guy's writing. Obviously since he comes out with a new novel every 6 months that is rolled into a movie within another 3. The last Sparks book I enjoyed was Three Weeks with My Brother (that was 7 years ago) but every say four or so years, I forget and pick up the latest. Around mid-April this was on the new bookshelf at the library and I guess I was desperate. Anywho, same old, same old. Melodramatic, sappy, unrealistic 300 pages of wasted time. Basically, if a man sat down and thought "I am going to put everything that I think might make a woman cry into a book", this would be the book. But I don't like Lifetime movies or Hallmark and if I am going to listen to a story about love or saving lives, I want it to be "Heroes" on CNN so this didn't do much for me. No more Sparks books--I'm serious this time!
The Three Stages of Amazement
by Carol Edgarian
I had seen this book on a Goodreads email or something and snatched it up when I saw it on the trade a bookshelf at my in-laws' beach house back in March. To be honest, it let me down a little only because I thought from the summary that it could be in the rankings with Marisa de los Santos. It wasn't. It was a pretty decent plot centered around a couple having a difficult time in their marriage. The part that made the book interesting is that it was set about four years ago during the beginning of the recession. The writing was good but at times confusing and a little too self absorbed. I don't feel like I wasted time reading it but it is not one I will remember a year from now or would take the time to recommend to a friend.
One Thousand Gifts
by Ann Voskamp
I feel a little ridiculous even trying to write about this book because words can't even describe how life changing its pages will be for you. I began reading it a year ago and it is meaty. It has taken a full year of picking it up and putting it back down, going back to reread paragraphs and highlighted pages, and having the pressure of seeing her speak in person to make me finish this book. Not driven by plot but by growth in Christ, this book completely flips our pattern of living on its head. I could go on and on but if you read one book I ever recommend, read this one.
One Thousand Gifts: finding joy in what really matters
by Ann Voskamp
This is a much shorter, gift book version that I had her sign for Loulie when I heard her speak back in March. Her photographs are incredible and hearing her speak in person challenged me in the way I want to be as a wife, mother and follower of Christ. If you think you can't get through the original version (and it is difficult at times), then pick this one up first. Plus it makes a good gift.
by Dr. Deanna Brann
I majored in communications in college so I have always loved studying how people communicate and relate to each other. I could talk for hours about birth order or how people are perceived in an office setting based on nonverbal behavior or how people communicate across generations, races, etc. You get the idea. So a friend gave me this book months ago thinking I would enjoy it. It is short so I picked it up after finishing the marathon that was Ann Voskamp. The author basically categorizes daughter in laws into four groups, mother in law into four different groups and sons/husbands into three groups. Then she goes on to say that there are only so many combinations you can make of these three family member types based on personalities, compatibility, etc. The author had a terrible relationship with her son and daughter in law and spent years doing research and wrote this book. The beginning is somewhat insightful buts he basically shoots out recommendations like "put yourself in the others' shoes." (Did she have to go to school to figure that one out?) Or if your mother in law is a "Wacky Wanda," she'll probably never change, just learn to temper her outbursts. By the the end of the 100 or so pages, I was hoping my friend hadn't dropped too much money on this one.