Harry Sue by Sue Stauffacher Titles link to goodreads This is one of those books that just takes you through every possible em...

Titles link to goodreads

This is one of those books that just takes you through every possible emotion: an immediate love for this prickly, precious, compassionate little girl coupled with a desperate desire for her to make better life choices. Then, the glorious heart soaring as she begins to change and the terrible pain crashing as the climax strikes and a lot of things hit the fan. Then, there’s the overarching theme of renewal and redemption and possibility and hope, and these come through so powerfully at the end. The writing style spoke 100% to this individual, loving, sore and sad little girl, who desperately needed to know there was more to life than crime and injustice and horrible happenings suspended only by luck. One of my favorite things about the story, besides Harry’s personality, was her overwhelming resilience, the fact that even when Harry herself tried to snuff love out of her heart, something in that girl always managed to hope.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Content: mild language in some areas.

Honestly, I spent a lot of this book not knowing what to think. I was interested in discovering how it would all turn out and they hadn’t yet given me a reason to leave, but I didn’t really feel anything. Just a kind of “meh” curiosity, as I followed Alvie (the main character) following Stanley (the love interest), tried to figure out the backstory on the both of them, and wondered how they were going to work themselves and the story out.

Granted, there comes a point about midway through the book where the story just swept me away. I had been nibbling at it, a few chapters on Monday here, another few on Thursday there; but once this certain sequence begins and things started go downhill, I sat riveted for I-don’t-even-know-how-long, page after page after page, however long it took to finish; I had to see what would happen next to these poor charrries.

Even with that exciting time though, by the time I reached the end, the best feeling I could muster up was, “Eh, it was okay.” I understand the deep and emotional sentiment the author was going for and I’m sure others felt it while reading—but I didn’t quite experience the full dose. I liked the idea, the premise of the story, but at the end of the day the execution of the idea, and the characters themselves, just weren’t my favorite.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Content: language, repeated sexual references (not strictly vulgar, but definitely blunt), and probably a sex scene (I skipped a few pages when it looked like it was going in that direction).

This one, I read about a third of in little bits and pieces—and then devoured the rest in a single night. It... was.... magnificent. Deep and heartfelt, you feel SO HARD for these kids, watching them endure what was probably the hardest, most painful, most earthshattering week of their lives. They were both so brilliant, so adorable, so beautiful, so strong… and so much like kids, not knowing how to deal with something so big and not always taking the right path to get through getting through it. But, from the very first chapter, I wanted so badly for things to go well for them and, while I can’t give spoilers about how it all turns out, I will say that I loved it. It was beautiful, and the overall emotion at the end was just so dang encouraging. Middle school is HARD, and huge changes are even harder, but books like these, stories like these, friends like these, they can make it all the better.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

While that’s not everything I read in January, these three were among the most noteworthy and the easiest to write short reviews on. What have you been reading recently? Stepped outside of your normal genre at all? (both You Go First and Harry Sue were more towards middle grade instead of my normal YA). Can’t wait to hear from you all, and I will see you in the comment section!

In my “ W here is She Now ” post, I mentioned that I had been doing some reading in my absence—and not all of them were picture books. ju...

In my “Where is She Now” post, I mentioned that I had been doing some reading in my absence—and not all of them were picture books. just most of them. I probably will post only Goodreads reviews for quite a few of them, but here are two that I really wanted to talk about on the blog.
Titles link to goodreads
I read—and reread—this at a time when I desperately needed to be reminded that I could (and must!) fight for my dream. Reading it was like he’d pulled the need to write right out of my heart and showed me my dreams in stark detail: everything that I hoped for, everything I feared to achieve, everything I knew I could never reach.

And then, he reminded me to take the jump and go for it anyway.

It was just beautiful and I got chills and I loved it so much, especially the last two sections. Seriously, if you’re having trouble believing in your dream right now, find this book. At your library, a bookstore, somewhere, anywhere. Sit down and just read it, cover to cover, all at once. Remember your biggest dream. And then reach for it again.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Amber, the main character, her voice cracked me up! She had such a vibrant, guileless, honest personality; really, there was like no filter, but her character was crafted so perfectly that I didn’t mind some of the things, content-wise, I normally would have. Also, I adored her completely frank conversations with God, the way she saw Jesus as so close to her, ready to lean on, there to walk with and talk with at any moment. It made the book a really special experience, because it wasn’t that the story was necessarily “Christian,” just that Jesus was such an integral part of her life, that she couldn't not show Him openly, both in her thoughts and her interactions with others. So even with the terrible circumstances in her life and her lack of conversational filter, the open honesty of her character and her relationship with Christ kept me invested and hopeful about the turnout.

And what a turnout it was! This book does a fantastic job of taking you through all the emotions: daring to hope, losing yet again, struggling to hope, losing it all, falling into depression and anger and pain… and then finding that glimmering spark in what seems like utter darkness. Sorta Like a Rockstar is nothing if not honest, and despite the words and the references, I adored it for that. The ending was 100% expected and 1,000% beautiful; truly, it was beyond words. I got chills reading the climax, and the last couple of chapters, my mind was just blown at the magical way that everything came together. All-in-all, this book was fantastic, I would love to have a copy of my own, and it was exactly what I needed to read at the time to get me back into YA books again.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Content Warnings: cursing, intense circumstances (including reference to rape and murder), and sexual references.


So, what have you been reading lately? Have a favorite book from 2018? Have you ever read something that just showed you the heart and the power of hope right when you needed it most? Can't wait to hear from you all, and I'll see you in the comment section!

I gotta say, as pure worship songs go, this has got to be one of my favorites. This song, it just reminds me of all the wonderful, ...

I gotta say, as pure worship songs go, this has got to be one of my favorites.

This song, it just reminds me of all the wonderful, incredible, magnificent, beautiful, indescribable things about God’s love. It’s a light, a fire, a powerful force for my redemption--and so much more than I know how to write.

His love is serious; it’s real. It hangs on every Word He says, and when He speaks a word, you can bet everything that it’s 100% true. When He says He’ll restore you (1 Peter 5:10), He means it. When He says that He’s with you (Joshua 1:9), He means it. When He says He died for your salvation, He means it (1 Peter 2:24, 3:18). When He says you’re forgiven, He means it (Psalm 103:12, Romans 8:1).

When He says that He loves you (Ephesians 2:4-7), He means it.

Because this Jesus God, He doesn’t give His heart in pieces. His love is one hundred and nothing less, the fullness of everlasting, covering every broken part, every anxious heart, every depressed thought, every aching disappointment. His love, His great, incredible, and complete love, it is always more than enough.

Had you ever heard this version of “Pieces”? How about the original song? Have a favorite worship song you’d like to share with me? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section!

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