Two novels I completed within the final two weeks…


Welcome to my book update post where I share what books I finished recently + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

My Reading Goals for 2021

For 2021, I set a goal of reading 3 books per week —  1 fiction book, 1 non-fiction book, and 1 audiobook each week. I know this is an audacious goal, but reading is something I love and it’s a way I learn, challenge my mind, improve as a writer and communicator, and am refreshed and encouraged through inspiring stories.

I have a few shelves full of books (mostly that I’ve gotten free), so I decided to choose 52 books from off my shelf to read this year (see my list of 52 books I plan to read in 2021 here). I’ll also read other books that I find/am sent that pique my interest. Plus, I plan to go through a lot of audiobooks (I get mine free from the Libby app).

Each week, I plan to give an update on what I read/listened to + my honest reviews. We’ll see how I do with my reading goals. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to hit them, but it will be fun to try!

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

 

In the past two weeks, I finished two books and here are my reviews…

One of my hopes for 2021 was to read more fiction, because I usually find it easier to pick up non-fiction. Well, I’m happy to report that I actually finished two more fiction titles the last two weeks!

The War That Saved My Life

I had planned to read this book aloud to Kierstyn (mostly just because I wanted to read it because I’d heard a lot about it), but it became available to listen to on the Libby app, so I went ahead and downloaded it.

I’m struggling to review this book because I really enjoyed parts of it and found it to be an engaging story that I didn’t know exactly how it would end. It made me want to keep listening!

At the same time, though, I don’t know how I feel about it being a children’s book. It delves into topics of abuse and abandonment, there is a lot of bullying/abuse based one of the character’s disabilities, and there are a number of other topics that could be triggering to sensitive kids.

But I did love the foster care element of it and how it portrayed the need for people to come alongside and show compassion and care and kindness. I thought it also beautifully illustrated how deeply grief and loss can affect us.

Verdict: 3 stars

As Bright as Heaven

I don’t know what to think about this book, either. On the one hand, the story of Spanish Flu was fascinating in light of the current pandemic. The author talked about how it killed 50 million people worldwide and yet it’s not something that a lot of people are super familiar with. In addition, I appreciated the rawness of how grief and trauma impacts people… and how the loss of life from the Spanish Flu affected people for years and years to come.

At the same time, I felt like the middle section of the book seemed kind of to really sputter and struggle. I also thought there were some side plots that never seemed to develop enough and that the romances were kind of weird and I found myself really questioning the author’s decision to include one of the love stories in the book — especially with how it turned out. (Just because you love someone does not always mean that it’s the right thing to marry them… but I felt like the author kind of was saying that was the “happily ever after” road.)

Verdict: 3 stars

What have you been reading? I’d love to hear!

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