Happy Book Review Day! This month I read three books…two fiction and one non-fiction that tugs at allll the heart strings. Plus I’m sharing a simple Lenten Bible Reading Guide if you’re still looking at something to bring you a little closer to God this season.
This month, I kicked things off with Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone. The Nightingale is my all-time favorite stories, so you better believe I was all over this book when I heard she had another one come out!
So this one is a long one, clocking in just under 550 pages, but it’s worth every bit of it. Hannah describes this story as her love letter to Alaska. And she writes a la ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ with her beautiful descriptions of the landscape and life in the wilderness there. I truly had moments where I thought, “Maybe I could live off the grid!” We all know that’s the furthest from the truth, but boy, does Hannah make you really want to go there!
The story starts in 1974 with a teenage Leni and her parents, Cora and Ernt. Ernt has recently come back from Vietnam and had become very anti-government, believing the United States has turned and that the end was very much near. A little doomsday prepper. A little anarchist. Cora, a bit of a beautiful hippie, was madly in love with her husband and believed that his nightmares, his rages, and his abuse would stop if they could just get him somewhere where he could be happy. Then a letter comes from the father of one of Ernt’s war buddies who was killed in Vietnam. He has left their family his cabin in Alaska.
This starts the family on an adventure of survival in the wilderness of Alaska, searching for happiness in a new land that promises a better future for the family. When they face the 18 hour nights of Alaska, Ernt’s mentality begins to deteriorate again, and Cora and Leni are faced with not only how to survive the outdoors, but also how to survive on their own. No one can save them but themselves.
10/10, guys. It’s beautifully written with it’s descriptions and in it’s storytelling. And I’m always a big sucker for stories that fast forward 30 years and we get to find out what happens to the characters later. Good the whole way to the end, super satisfying, and will 100% be made into a movie sometime soon. Mark my words on that one!!
After that long one, I wanted to get a story that was quick and easy, so I picked up Mitch Albom’s new book, Finding Chika. I saw him talking about this story with Hoda Kotb on the Today show recently and I cried even during the interview. What a story. What a family!
Mitch and his wife Janine married a little later in life, and what he describes as his own selfishness, decided to wait to try to have children. When he was finally ready, they weren’t able to get pregnant. He saw how it devastated his wife and knew that a piece was always missing for her.
Fast forward to the horrific hurricane in Haiti years ago. Mitch was listening to a radio show in his home outside Detroit and heard a story about the orphanges in Haiti that were destroyed in the disaster, leaving many children missing or struggling to survive all on their own. The story radiated through him and he knew that this was a calling for him. So he started to fly down to help rebuild. Then went again. And again. And again. Until he and his wife were running an orphanage of their own. That’s where he meets Chika. A sweet little spitfire that found her own special place in his heart.
One day, he gets word that Chika’s face is beginning to droop and she’s stumbling when she walks. They take her for tests in Haiti but the hospital is the first one to admit that they are not able to adequetly help her. Off to America they go.
This begins the story of Chika’s fight against a brain tumor, outliving and out-thriving her four-month death sentence, and the making of a family with Mitch, Janine, and their beautiful “daughter,” Chika.
It’s heart-wrenching and it’s terrifying for a mother, but it’s also full of so much hope and so many beautiful thought-provoking lines. Chika taught Mitch life lessons that he passes on through his writing and I found myself reading and re-reading so many passages because of how inspirational and uplifting they were. I loved this story and I know you’ll love it, too. Read it for the inspiration and for how it can bring us back to the little things in life that are so important not to miss. Such a great read!
The last book I read this month I teased a little bit on my What’s Up Wednesday post this week. It’s the book Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman. If you’re headed to a beach this spring break and are looking for the perfect beach read…THIS.IS.IT! I was hooked from the very first paragraph and I was not disappointed. I even had a major, “What would you do?” conversation with Jerod after reading this book. An easy, fast read that had me dying to find out what happens!
It’s the story of Mark and Erin, a young engaged couple that just seems to be winning at life. He’s wildly successful in finance and she’s just caught her big break making a documentary. They are months away from getting married and are deep in planning a beautiful, elegant wedding.
Then, Mark loses his job. The gorgeous, charming, loving Mark begins to turn. He’s stressed and scared. He pares down the wedding and he cancels a full week of their 3-week honeymoon in Bora Bora (yeah, they’ve got money).
When on their honeymoon, they take a boat out to another island to deep sea dive. While on their way back, they find a bag floating in the water. What’s inside completely changes their lives. Now it’s a decision on what to do with it, who to tell, and just what choices they’re going to make that could change their lives for the good and for the bad.
I LOVED it! Pack it in your suitcase and thank me later. 🙂
I’ve still been reading my devotional, but since it’s the Lenten season, I wanted to also share with you a Bible Reading Guide I’ve been using.
I found it on the website Shelemah.com, and I really love how it guides you through the story and chooses small scriptures to read each day to bring you closer to God. 40 days of reading your Bible and reflecting on God’s work. A wonderful way to start your day and to bring Him a little closer this season.
That’s it for February! If you missed my January book review, check it out to see what I read last month. Now what should I read next?