Tag Archives: Book Review

Taming the To-Do List by Glynnis Whitwer

tamingtodolistThis book is going to change my life. 

That’s what I was thinking just a few chapters into Glynnis Whitwer’s Taming the To-Do List. It was like she was in my head. It went way beyond quick tips for checking more items off your list. It’s actually a book about procrastination—what it is, why we do it, and how to stop. Whitwer didn’t just attribute it to busyness and leave it at that. She dove right into the heart issues, covering things like fear, perfectionism, and willpower.

Each  chapter ended with a practical application section that asks tough questions and provides a framework for tackling some of those tasks you just never seem to cross off your list. By the time I finished reading, I had identified action steps to accomplish two things that have been on my list forever—maintaining a regular blogging schedule and making a dentist appointment.

I chose to review this book because, well, what woman doesn’t think she’s too busy and unorganized at some point in her life? It was so much more than I was expecting. I didn’t even know I had a procrastination issue, but I’ve already made dozens of changes that have improved my day-to-day life. It hasn’t even been two weeks since I finished the book!

I can easily say this is one of the most important books I’ve read this year—and maybe even in my life so far. If you struggle with people-pleasing, perfectionism, self-confidence, or laziness, or even if you KNOW you’re a procrastinator, please read this book. It’s written for women, but I know men who can get past that will benefit from it as well. My husband suggested he’d be interested in reading it after hearing me rave about it.

FIVE STARS
(Learn about my star system here.)

Buy it on Amazon.

I received a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are my own and were not influenced by the publisher or author.

Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong

I was so, so excited to review this book. I’m in the middle of a hectic season of change at work (our lead pastor just retired in August and I’m switching positions), and I was looking for something that would shine some light onto what feels like a hopeless and overwhelming situation. Just a few weeks ago, I broke down in sobs in the middle of a pretty important meeting. I’ve never lost it like that at work before. But I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. I needed this book to meet me where I was and help me dig through all the gunk to get to the root of the issue.

Unfortunately, Girl Meets Change just didn’t do that for me. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I needed practical ways to cope and assurance that I’d come out stronger on the other side. I needed a book that would force me to face the real issue, not just say “Yes, change is hard, but God has a plan and you’re going to be okay.” That’s what my husband is for. I needed someone to problem solve with me. Someone to gently probe and figure out what heart issues I need to be working through right now.

The author, Kristen Strong, did offer a few strategies (I can’t find my copy of the book to give examples), but they weren’t anything new, and they just weren’t enough. I felt like the book just barely skimmed the surface of change and how to grow through it instead of going deep into the things you wrestle with when you’re in the thick of it. Maybe it’s a good read for people who aren’t in a season of change right now, but not for people in the thick of it?

All that said, the book has gotten some pretty positive reviews from other people, so maybe I’m crazy. Every once in a while I come down so hard on a book that I wonder if I missed something while I was reading, like maybe the author did something brilliant and I was too stupid to catch it. That’s how I’ve been feeling about this one. So read it for yourself, I guess, and let me know if you think I’m crazy.

(And in case you’re wondering, God is faithful. He’s helped me dig through all of the stuff that has surfaced in my heart in the midst of this season of change. I’m not out yet, but I’m headed in the right direction.)

One Star
(Learn about my star system here.)

I received a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are my own and were not influenced by the publisher or author.

Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Sarah Loudin ThomasUntil the Harvest tells the story of Henry Phillips and Margaret Hoffman. Henry is home from college after the death of his father and is struggling through his grief. Poor judgement and the wrong crowd and lead him to regret choices he can’t even remember making.

Margaret spends her time taking care of her younger sister, Mayfair, who has diabetes and an unusual gift for healing people, and doing housework for Henry’s grandmother. But when Margaret’s mother gives her an ultimatum, she has to choose between her hopes and plans and her parents’ expectations.

Until the Harvest is Sarah Loudin Thomas’s second book in the Appalachian Blessings series. I reviewed her first book, Miracle in a Dry Season, last year.

Like Jody Hedlund, Elizabeth Ludwig, and Julie Klassen, Thomas isn’t afraid to let her characters get messy. They make bad decisions and have to deal with the consequences. Their journey out of those tight spots makes them strong and memorable characters. Their lives are a more accurate picture of what following Jesus looks like than you find in a lot of Christian fiction.

Mysterious gifts seem to be Thomas’ thing (Perla has an unusual gift in Miracle in a Dry Season), which I love because legitimate miracles aren’t very common in historical fiction, especially in the lives of ordinary people. That said, I would have liked to see a bit more solid discussion or explanation of Mayfair Hoffman’s healing gift. It plays a significant role in the story, but everyone’s understanding of it is fuzzy. Miracles are mysterious things to begin with, but there are a lot of questions surrounding her gift that go not only unanswered, but unaddressed.

Unfortunately, as with Thomas’s first book, the historical setting really tripped me up. The story takes place in West Virginia in the 70s, but with the prominent role of moonshine and illegal activities, it felt like prohibition-era fiction. But maybe that’s because I’m a Midwestern girl and don’t know much about moonshine or its history ;)

I enjoyed Until the Harvest, but not as much as Thomas’s debut novel. If you liked that one, read this one to learn about the legacy of the characters. If you haven’t read it yet, go do that first!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are my own and were not influenced by the publisher or author.