Posted in book reviews

Born to Wander by Michelle Van Loon – BOOK REVIEW

38141069Title: Born to Wander: Recovering the Value of Our Pilgrim Identity
Author: Michelle Van Loon
Publication Date & Publisher: July 3, 2018, Moody Publishers
Genre(s): Christian Living/Practical Life/Personal Growth
Length: 192 pages
ISBN: 13:978-0-80241812-8
My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

Why are we so restless?
All of us have a little wanderlust—a desire for that next thing, that new place, but this competes with our longings for security, control, and safety. We don’t like how it feels to be unsettled and uprooted. Whether we’re navigating a season of transition, dealing with the fallout of broken relationships, or wrestling with a deep sense of restlessness, we are all experiencing some form of exile. And most of us do whatever we can to numb the feelings of unbelonging, powerlessness, and unsettledness that come with it. But the truth is that exile has a profound purpose if we can just learn to lean in.
Over and over again Scripture tells us that the people of God are exiles and wanderers. And this is good news because exile is what transforms us into pilgrims. In Christ, we are no longer directionless wanderers, but pilgrim followers who have a clear purpose and a secure identity. In Born to Wander, Michelle Van Loon weaves together personal stories and keen insights on the biblical themes of pilgrimage and exile. She will help you embrace your own pilgrim identity and reorient your heart toward the God who leads you home. Engaging and thoughtful, enhanced with practical suggestions, prayers, and questions, Born to Wander will teach how to trust God even when you don’t understand what’s happening around you and follow Him even when it hurts.
If you keep chasing security, you’ll never find it. Embrace the purpose behind the wandering and discover the freedom and safety of resting in God alone.
“Every one of us carries a restlessness that runs as deep as the marrow of our born-again bones. Our relationships shift like tectonic plates. We change jobs. We switch churches. And our culture tells us the cure for our restlessness is to buy a new mattress, a new car, or a new tube of toothpaste.”

My review:

I absolutely loved this book! I basically ended up reading each chapter at least twice because after finishing it the first time, I had to track down my husband so I could read it with him. And if my eldest child was home, then she got to hear it too. I just couldn’t keep it to myself!
I’m the the time of person that can’t seem to stay put for very long. I love road trips, I’ve had about a million different jobs, and although I’ve lived in the same city most of my life, I moved around a lot in my younger years. So, of course, a book titled “Born to Wander” was going to catch my attention!
There’s a major focus in this book on the fact that we aren’t called to be comfortable, to stand still, to settle… We’re called to live a pilgrim’s life. And there’s really only two paths we can take in life…are we wandering TO Jesus? Or AWAY from Him?

There was no fame-and-fortune bait on the hook when Jesus told Peter He’d make him a fisher of men. There was no promise of celebrity when God spoke to Abram and told him to leave the comfort of home and family. Both men’s lives – and the lives of most others highlighted in the Bible – became less comfortable and far more uncertain after God called them.
Lech lecha. Follow me. This is how we learn our true identity.

Every chapter in this book deals with a different topic regarding living in exile or pilgrimage. It caused me to take a step back and examine how whether I’m truly living for myself or if I’m following and living for Christ. As a person who takes pride in calling herself a disciple, the answers to the questions that came up in my reading of Born to Wander were truly important.
I loved the questions and prayers that followed each chapter and how, at times, I got to look at things from different perspective. I loved this excerpt on prayer:

Many of us think of prayer as something we do with heart and mind. We don’t always consider what it means to pray with our bodies, but discipleship always involves our physical selves as well as our inner lives.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone with a bit of Wanderlust… whether they consider themselves a Christian, or not. It’ll definitely cause you to take some time out and consider where your life is heading and where you want to be wandering to/for.

Thank you to Moody Publishers for providing me with a free review copy of this book. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think of Born to Wander? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!
Are you planning on purchasing Born to Wander? Please consider using one of these affiliate links: Amazon, Book Depository

Posted in Tackle TBR Read-a-thon

Day 3: 2018 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon

tackle2byour2btbr2breadathon2b2018I just finished up Day 3 of the 2018 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon hosted by Wishful Endings! Visit her site to learn more!
So here’s how Day 3 – September 19, 2018 went for me:

Books Read: A Home for the Redeemed


Pages Read:206

Total Books Read: 3
Total Pages Read: Unsure thanks to a glitch on my Kindle
Finished Books: Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard, Get Weird by CJ Casciotta, A Home for the Redeemed by Sue Behnke

I didn’t get as much read today as I hoped for, but I was able to finish up Get Weird!  Wish me luck for tomorrow!

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday -September 19, 2018

img_1384-0Hello everyone! It’s time once again for WWW Wednesday ! Since this week is also the 2018 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon over at Wishful Endings, I was super excited! But I’ve only finished two books so far so hopefully next week’s WWW Wednesday will make me look like a super productive reader even though this week doesn’t! (Check out my progress with the Read-a-thon… Day 1, Day 2)
WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.
Don’t know what WWW Wendesday is or how to participate??? All you need to do is answer the following three questions and link back to Taking on a World of Words, or you can put your answers in the comments on her blog! (You can also leave your link in my comments to be sure I don’t miss your post!)

The three WWW questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Here’s what I’m currently reading:


I recently finished:


What I’ll be reading next:

What’s your WWW? Any thoughts on the books above?  Leave a comment or send me a message through the Contact Me page.
Want to support my laziness??? Feel free to leave a link to your own WWW Wednesday post in case I miss it over on Taking on a World of Words. (The link list is long over there guys, and I’ve got a lot of books to read…)

Posted in book reviews

Day 2: 2018 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon

I just finished up Day 2 of the 2018 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon hosted by Wishful Endings! Visit her site to learn more!
So here’s how Day 2 went for me:


p style=”color:rgb(72,45,26);font-family:Raleway, sans-serif;font-size:15.4px;letter-spacing:1px;background-color:rgb(255,255,255);”>Books Read: Get Weird


p style=”color:rgb(72,45,26);font-family:Raleway, sans-serif;font-size:15.4px;letter-spacing:1px;background-color:rgb(255,255,255);”>Pages Read:162
Total Books Read: 2
Total Pages Read: Unsure
Finished Books: Hunting Annabelle, Get Weird
I didn’t get as much read today as I hoped for, but I was able to finish up Get Weird!  Wish me luck for tomorrow!

Posted in book reviews

Day 1 & Goals: 2018 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon

And so it begins…
The 2018 Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon hosted by Wishful Endings started today! If you want to learn more or participate, please visit her site!
My goal for the read-a-thon is to finish at least 6 books. Not sure how well that’ll work out since I still have a houseful of kids and a husband, so my alternative goal is to read at least 100 pages per day…
So without further ado, here’s how Day 1 went for me:

Books Read: Hunting Annabelle & Get Weird

Pages Read: Hunting Annabelle doesn’t show a page count on my kindle, but I went from 62% to 100% do that’s Book 1 checked off the TBR already!!! Yay!!!
I read 62 pages from Get Weird.
So I definitely hit my secondary goalof reading 100 pages for the day and I’m on track for my first goal already!

Total Books Read: 1
Total Pages Read: Unsure
Finished Books: Hunting Annabelle
I’m hoping to finish Get Weird tomorrow and start on A Home for the Redeemed. Wish me luck and Happy Reading!!!

Posted in book reviews

Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky – BOOK REVIEW

38769727Title: Mammoth
Author: Jill Baguchinsky
Publication Date & Publisher: November 6, 2018, Turner Publishing
Genre(s): Young Adult
Length: 340 pages
ISBN: 9781684421947
My Rating: 4.75/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

The summer before her junior year, paleontology geek Natalie Page lands a coveted internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin. Natalie, who’s also a plus-size fashion blogger, depends on the retro style she developed to shield herself from her former bullies, but vintage dresses and perfect lipstick aren’t compatible with prospecting for fossils in the Texas heat. But nothing is going to dampen Natalie’s spirit — she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she gets to work with her hero, a rock-star paleontologist who hosts the most popular paleo podcast in the world. And then there’s Chase the intern, who’s seriously cute, and Cody, a local boy who’d be even cuter if he were less of a grouch.
It’s a summer that promises to be about more than just mammoths.
Until it isn’t.
When Natalie’s hero turns out to be anything but, and steals the credit for one of her accomplishments, Nat has to unearth the confidence she needs to stand out in a field dominated by dudes. To do this, she’ll have to let her true self shine, even if that means defying all the rules for the sake of a major discovery.

My review: 

So I pretty much knew I was going to like this book before I even read it. Some other very trustworthy bloggers had given it high praise, and I was excited to get my hands on it! When it finally arrived, I made the mistake of letting my teen daughter read the blurb, and she offered to fight me over who got to read it first… (Don’t worry, I shut that down and no child abuse was exacted in my reading of this wonderful novel!)
I ended up loving Mammoth so much that I’m not even sure where to start… Guess I’ll just jump right in…
Natalie totally reinvented herself during the summer before she started high school. She doesn’t just dress differently, she’s got a whole different attitude that she wears as a shield to guard herself from her real feelings. “Be awesome” is the mantra she’s learned from her aunt and her awesomeness is obvious to everyone around her… including some of the kids that used to pick on her before she had the courage to “be awesome.”
While she’s putting on the front of awesomeness to the entire world, inside she’s all insecurity and self-loathing. And now that she’s going to be digging up bones for the summer, it’s a lot harder to put on that awesome clothing and makeup she’s been using to hide her true self away from the world.
While at the amazing internship she’s landed at the mammoth dig site, she gets to meet her hero, Dr. Thomas F. Carver. This should be a dream come true, but it turns out to be anything but… and not just because she’s become frenemies with Dr. Carver’s daughter, Quinn, who’s also interning at the site.
Dr. Carver, who Natalie has idolized both personally and publicly, steals credit for a huge find and Natalie and Quinn are expected to just roll over and take it. Another paleontologist, Dr. Gallaher, tries to cheer Natalie up and I just loved it…

“There are two lessons you can take from this,” he says. “First, understand that this kind of thing happens. It’s part of the game. Anyone who’s been in the field for a while knows how you feel. At least you got your first experience with it over with early. You’re way ahead of your peers – and with the way word travels among paleontologists, those of us who matter will know who really found that calf.”
At least it’s something. “What’s the second lesson?”
Dr. Gallagher gives his ample whiskers a casual stroke. “Never, ever trust a male paleontologist without a proper beard. They’ll screw you over every time.”

(Shortly before I started reading Mammoth, my husband had started having to shave his beard for work…I loved his beard and pouted fought him shaving it hard! I totally dropped the paleontologist part & used the above to win my argument that he shouldn’t shave if he’s not at work!)
I loved how real the characters seemed. Natalie reminded me so much of my younger self with her insecurities and body issues, but I also related to the other characters. I loved that she didn’t have a horrible relationship with her parents and that the adults weren’t portrayed as complete idiots. (A personal pet peeve of mine in YA lately.)
Being the mother of two daughters, I love that this book shows women in STEM!!!
I definitely recommend this book to… just about everyone that enjoys a good young adult read!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Turner Publishing. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think of Mammoth? Have you read it or are you planning on reading it in the future? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!
Planning on purchasing Mammoth? Please consider using one of these affiliate links: Amazon, Book Depository