Book Reviews

January 2020 Book Reviews

Welcome to the first installment of Rachel Kemper’s Book Reviews! Funny how I’ve blogged for this long and have never shared my monthly reads with you. I’m a huge reader! How has this never come up?!

I’m the kind of reader that gets excited to go to bed solely because I want to lay there and read a few more…er, fifty more pages. I leave my phone in other rooms while I nurse Mya because I want zero distractions from an opportune time to sneak in a few more chapters while I sit quietly.

It’s a therapy for me. A chance to dive so fully into characters and plot lines. I absolutely love it!

And I love sharing my books with friends and family. If I have good ones, you better believe they aren’t staying with me long. I’m pawning those off to you so you can gobble up their goodness, too. So each month, I’d like to take you with me and share all the books, devotionals, and bible studies that I’ve read. The good, the bad, and the ugly. So settle in friends, these are my January 2020 Books in Review!

There hasn’t been a twist so shocking to me as the one in The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. All my friends that recommended this book couldn’t stop telling me I’d be so thrown. All the reviews in the inside flap just raved about it. So there I was, sucked into this book, bound and determined to figure out what this major twist was before it happened. Because that’s what we do, right? We become detectives, unraveling this case in front of us and sure we are going to figure it out before the author. Well, I didn’t. I didn’t even come close!

Alicia Berenson, an artist, is a wife to a famous fashion photographer and have a love story that seems perfect. Until her husband comes home one night and she shoots him five times in the face and then refuses to speak a word again (and that’s just the first chapter!). She’s shipped off to an institution called the Grove where a new psychotherapist, Theo, is bound and determined to get to the bottom of what happened and why she is no longer speaking. It’s quite possibly one of my favorite thrillers I’ve read since Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl with a twist that you just won’t see coming!

Are you the type of person that sticks with a book the whole way through, even when you aren’t enjoying it? Call me the eternal optimist. I so badly want a book to turn great with each chapter. It’s like I’m giving the author so many chances to make me fall in love with the story. But I didn’t get there with this one. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes is a story of the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky, a group of women that travel via horseback to deliver library books to the most rural areas of the state, as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s initiative towards literacy. Alice, a newlywed from England, who just moved to Kentucky with her American husband, enters the group and quickly becomes friends with the leader and fiercely independent, Margery. As they work to get this library off the ground and supply books to their neighbors who may not have ever had an education, or owned a book, or can simply read, the story follows their personal lives, as well. It’s really a story about sisterhood and women counting on one another through troubling times. It’s not a time to judge nor turn our backs, but a time to stand up for one another. Great message. Long and drawn out book.

I felt as if this story had no climatic point. It was simply a story. One stagnant line developing the characters. I was always getting to the next chapter hoping for something more exciting to happen. The characters developed and the story continued on, but it was not worth the 350+ pages. It was a long read and one that I’m very disappointed with, especially from an author I loved so much in Me Before You.

Ohhh, this story. ❤ Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is one of my very favorite books I have EVER read. The story follows two main characters, Rill and Avery. 12 year old Rill lives with her mother, father, and siblings on a shantyboat in the marshes of Mississippi. Avery comes from old money, about to marry a wonderful man, and holds a successful career as a prosecutor. This story weaves an amazing tale of how these two characters are related through the real-life horrific scandal of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of this Home Society, never heard of Georgia Tann, and certainly would never have believed something this jarring actually occurred in our history. Not only is this story so well done, but the afterword at the close of the book is just riveting. I highly recommend everyone read this book and then dive a little deeper into the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.

One area I want to devote more of my time is through Bible study. I want to be able to knowledgeably talk to my children about God. And on top of that, I want my children to see me following Christ and taking time during my day to devote myself to Him. So to start the year, I purchased Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood by Melissa B. Kruger. What I love about this devotional is that each week of the 11-week study has four days of study that is meant for mothers, followed by a day of reflection and devotion on the topic that week. It tackles the struggles we deal with each and every day. How do we overcome the idea of perfection? How do we understand our purpose as a mother? How do we instill God fully in our children? I’ve loved this Bible study because how it’s geared toward me and my season of life. I won’t always need this focus, but as I’m welcoming one more child into this world, and my “bigs” are getting bigger, I’m in the trenches. I love having this study to keep God with me each day as I figure out how to be the best mother I can be to my kids.

The last book is one that I started this month, but will actually be reading through the entire year. God Hears Her: 365 Devotions for Women by Women. This book is a collection of Our Daily Bread devotionals all written BY women FOR women. I start my day with this reading and it’s a quick 10-15 minutes of reading and reflection to start my day with God. So far, I love the scriptures chosen and the messages these women connect it to. It’s easy to read but also includes a lot of information from the Bible. So not only am I connecting with the passage, but I’m also learning. For me, that’s so important as I’m just not as knowledgeable about the Bible as I’d like to be. These stories are simple and are made to be easily digested to stay with you through your day. So far I’m really enjoying this little kick start each morning!

Every last Friday of the month I’ll be sharing my book review for the month. And to kick off the new month, I’ve started a story that reviewers have said is a “damn good book” and that they “haven’t cried this many tears reading a book in a very long time!” I’m so excited for a new month of books to share!


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