|| MARCH ||
April was a full month but despite the craziness of life I managed to read six more books. (I didn’t intentionally read 6, my goal is 3-5 and well, I ended up with 6 for the second month in a row.) This month I read Kisses for Katie, Code Name Verity, Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, Rapunzel Let Down, Fly Away, and Let the Fire Fall.
In case you’re sitting here wondering how on earth I have the time to read six books in a month let me tell you my secrets. First, I have always been a naturally fast reader. A couple of these books I literally finished in two or three days, so it just doesn’t take me very long to get through a book. Second, I spend most of my day at my desk staring at a screen working for my business so by the end of the day when it’s time to relax for bed I usually end up grabbing a book instead of turning on Netflix because my eyes are tired and I’m sick of staring at screens. Third, I very easily fall into the “I-just-can’t-put-the-book-down” trap at night so sometimes (ahem…maybe more than sometimes) I end up reading way too late into the night because I just have to finish whatever book I’m on. That didn’t actually happen this month, mostly because I was a little disappointed by several of the books this month…but read on to the mini book reviews to find out more about that.
Kisses for Katie
I first heard of Katie Davis years ago but only just decided to finally buy her book and wow. I was and still am blown away. Not only does she have an absolutely incredible story, but she writes in the most beautifully humble manor. A modern day Mother Teresa in our midst, if I’m being honest. In case you haven’t heard of Katie Davis, she was raised in a wealthy Christian family in Tennessee and decided to spend a gap year doing mission work in Uganda after high school. In that year at just 19 years old she ended up starting a nonprofit organization (Amazima Ministries) and adopting 14 daughters. She wrote this book a few years later telling the story of how God called her to Uganda and she shares some of the most incredible stories of God’s healing power and grace. She has now lived in Uganda for ten years and recently wrote another book which I will be reading soon! But really, everyone should read this book.
Code Name Verity
Someone recommended this book to me after I posted my March Reading Roundup and a few days later I was in a used bookstore and happened to see it on the shelf so naturally I bought it. This book was well written with a compelling narrative that kept me on the edge of my seat quite uncertain about how numerous things would turn out. It is another WWII book and although I enjoyed it, it definitely does not rank up there with other WWII books like The Nightinggale or The Book Thief. Something happens at the very end that I did not like at all and kind of soured the whole book for me. So, to be completely honest, I’m not sure if I would read this one again.
Mr. Darcy’s Daughter’s
I picked this book up at a used bookstore near the beginning of the month for $3 because the title and the excerpt on the back grabbed my attention. However, I have to be completely honest and tell you that this book was, without a doubt, the dud of the month. As a devout Jane Austen fan I was thoroughly disappointed by how far off the mark this book fell. The back described it as a “tale that would please Austen herself” but I really don’t think that could be farther from the truth. Set twenty years after Pride and Prejudice this book tells the story of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s five daughters as they spend the summer season in London for the first time. It is so ridiculously dramatic and shallow and I highly doubt Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy would have five daughters who behave the way these girls do. It really is just a poorly written fan fiction that strays pretty far from Jane Austen canon. I only finished reading it because once I start a book, I’m pretty determined to finish it, but really don’t waste your time on this one.
Rapunzel Let Down
Regina Doman has rewritten six classic fairy tales putting them into modern day settings and I loved each of her books when I read them in high school. I started rereading them this past December and got through the first four. I finally got around to “Rapunzel Let Down” this past month. It is the longest and heaviest as it takes the elements of the original Brother’s Grimm fairytale and puts it into a modern day setting. It is definitely no Disney Tangled storyline but in it’s mess and heart-wrenching pain, there is so much beauty and truth and redemption to be found. It is brilliantly written and is such a heart-wrenching and compelling story. This was my personal favorite of hers and reading it again simply confirmed that fact.
This is the sequel to Firefly Lane which I read last month, which is the main reason I read it. There’s no doubt that Kristen Hannah is a gifted writer, however the dissatisfaction I felt with Firefly Lane was even more pronounced in this one. The storyline is honestly just overall rather depressing and even though there is resolution in the end, there is so much pain and hurt and mistakes that are made and deep wounds that have crossed generations that it was more of a depressing book over all than a joyful read. Without any concept of a personal faith, the pain these characters live through has no redemption and no true healing. One of my “meh” books from the month.
Let the Fire Fall
This was my spiritual read for the month and a book I have been meaning to read for quite some time. The author, Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR, was the president of Franciscan University (my alma mater) for over 25 years and is the man responsible for not only saving the university from closing in 1974, but also completely revitalizing and changing the campus from what was known as one of the major party schools in the US in the 60s to what is now known today as one of the most authentically Catholic colleges in the world. This book is his own humble story of how he went from being a brilliant Harvard law student set on a political career to a simple Franciscan TOR friar. It would be an inspiring book for anyone to read, but it is extra special to all of us who have attended Franciscan University and have experienced the legacy that Fr. Mike Scanlan left us.