4 Books Down

It is always my goal to read more — whether it’s a new year, new month, or just a random Tuesday: read more books. So far in 2023 I’ve read 4 books and would like to start sharing the titles I’ve read here on my blog.

Everything Happens for a Reason

And other lies i’ve loved

by Kate Bowler
published by Random House in 2018
rating 4/5

This book came recommended to me by a friend and I’d actually purchased another book by Bowler recently. When I saw it at the library I picked it up and the impending due date had me reading it quickly.

I appreciated very much how Kate wove her knowledge of the Prosperity Gospel into her story to both teach us about this movement within Christianity but also to provide context about how she was feeling about her diagnosis.

I’m personally interested in exploring how Christianity has deviated from the message Christ supposedly came here to proclaim. Kate’s insight was very eye-opening into a different side of Christianity as a born-and-raised Roman Catholic.

What would it mean for Christians to give up that little piece of the American Dream that says, “you are limitless”? Everything is not possible. The mighty Kingdom of God is not yet here. What if rich did not have to mean wealthy, and whole did not have to mean healed?

page 21

But she also dealt with some topics I’d been thinking about. Ever since my depression over the summer, my mind always comes back to the topic of death and mortality despite the fact I’m (as far as I know) a perfectly healthy 30-something. This quote definitely caught my attention:

I keep having the same unkind thought — I am preparing for death and everyone else is on Instagram. I know that’s not fair — that life is hard for everyone — but I sometimes feel like I’m the only one in the world who is dying.

In the midst of all of the dire things going on in the world, from climate change to racism and homophobia, from war to fascism, and knowing we only have a limited time to personally do anything about any of it, social media and entertainment still seem to take priority.

Kate had much more to say about Christianity, her cancer diagnosis, and how to speak to someone in crisis. If you’re looking for a quick, witty non-fiction read, check this book out.

Nona the Ninth

by Tamsyn Muir
published by Tor in 2022
rating 4/5

This is book 3 in the Locked Tomb series and it says something about Muir’s writing I even wanted to pick up this book in the first place. Without a doubt, I loved Gideon the Ninth, the first book in the Locked Tomb series. So much so, I really had to force myself through book two, Harrow the Ninth.

In both books two and three, I’ve felt like I’m reading through a fever dream. The characters, the world, the plot — they all seem to change without any warning.

However, I love the characters enough to push through both and Muir does eventually bring things back around and tie them together to a central plot. If you’re looking for a sci-fi whirlwind filled with skeletons, lesbians, and post-apocalyptic amnesia, check out the Locked Tomb series. The next book, Alecto the Ninth, is set to be published in 2024.

Kingdom of Bones

by James Rollins
published by William Morrow in 2022
rating 4/5

The SIGMA Force novels are an old friend to me. I’ve enjoyed reading Rollins’ work for a long time and I look forward to any addition to this series.

While the writing style and flow of the plot are formulaic in my opinion, I always appreciate Rollins’ ability to blend science and fiction while keeping the pace of the plot moving in a way that makes you want to turn the page. Kingdom of Bones was no exception. Tucker and Kane, two characters that have had their own spinoff novels and have made appearances in a couple SIGMA Force books, made a comeback in this book.

Without spoiling anything, I was definitely drawn into the plot surrounding Kane later in the book. It had me on the edge of my seat and I stayed up way later than I should have to find out how things ended. Book 17 in this series is slated to come out in August 2023 from William Morrow and I’ll definitely be picking up a copy.

Hill Women

by Cassie Chambers
published by Ballantine Books in 2020
rating 5/5

Memoirs are not typically something I read, but I saw this book at the library and picked it up on a whim. Once it got home, it sat in a stack of books and I kept peering at the cover and picked it up. Appalachia has always been a bit mysterious to me and so I was curious to get some insight into the region that both seems near and far.

Chambers’ has an ease in her writing that allowed me to read this book in only a few days. The first half of the book draws you in with stories about the women in her family throughout the 20th century.

Cassie then utilizes the second half of the book to detail her own life and how she’s taken the lessons learned from these strong Appalachian women and implemented them in her own life. She goes on to tell several impactful stories of women she’s helped navigate the court system with divorce, child custody, and domestic violence with lead to the creation of Jeanette’s Law in Kentucky.

One thought she had stuck out to me and I made note of it:

I slowly understood that instead of focusing on becoming someone, I needed to figure out who I already was.

We are all products of the place and people who raised us and I am no exception. I’ve recently been exploring who I am, my sense of self, and how I interact with the world around me. Instead of trying to evolve and change, I’ve been working on diving deeper into my self through meditation, therapy, and journaling to discover more fully who I already am.

If you’re headed on vacation and need a not-too-heavy read, I would definitely recommend this book.