I love to read. In the years before kids, I easily read 100 books a year. Since Nathan and Emma came, that number was cut in half. I read lots to them, but I got out of the habit of reading for myself. This year, I’m determined to make reading a priority again. I’m doing that in a couple ways.

I am reading every day. Period. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes before bed, I’m picking up a book and reading. That 5 minutes always turns into something longer once I made reading a daily priority again.

I joined the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge (MMD). I’m being ambitious and tackling both lists (24 books) in a choose your own reading style. I loved choosing the books and it is very motivating! I’ve actually already completed 7 reads from my list.

I’m reading more on my phone, thanks to the free Kindle app. Since my phone is always nearby, I try to pick that up and read whenever I am waiting or have a spare moment.

I am listening to audio books as the kids and I drive around town. It takes me awhile to get through a book because Nathan still likes to listen to his music but it’s a good way to get an extra book or two read. Here’s the surprisingly easy way I get my Audible books for free or cheap.

It’s been good to unwind with a book every day – just for me and just because. Already for 2017, my reading count stands at 17 books read. As you will notice, I read from a variety of genres – although historical fiction will always be my favorite. I’ve attempted to broaden my reading horizons in the last couple years and am glad I have.

Since I enjoy seeing what other readers are reading, I thought I’d share my reading lists with you.  I thought it was easier to give you one big book post for those of you who are interested!

This post contains affiliate links. You can read more in my disclosure policy.

January found me starting the year with these books.

Polyanna by Eleanor H. Porter – Why isn’t this still required reading? A good classic read.

The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines – Counted as my “juicy” memoir for the MMD Challenge. A book that was as delightful as the show, and now I love the Gaines even more for sharing their honest story!

The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff – Counted as a book on a topic (WWII) I alread love for MMD. A very unique perspective on WWII. Made me add more Pam Jenoff books to my list.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burrett – Counted as a reread of a book I’ve already read for MMD. Still worthy of being a classic.

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff – Counted as book in backlist of new favorite author for MMD. Okay, but not as good as other books I’ve read by this author.

Anchored by Kayla Aimee – A revealing look at life with a 24 week old premie by a Christian blogger. Made me thankful Nathan’s NICU stay was only for 4 days.

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier – Counted as book in translation for MMD. A German time traveling book of fairy tales. Interesting and I had to finish the trilogy after this book to see what happened.

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier – The second book pulled me in deeper to this teen series.

I continued by February reading with the following books.

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier – A good conclusion to the triology. I can see what it’s an international bestseller. All three books were fun and easy reads.

A Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon – Not my favorite but did give a fascinating look inside the Hindenburg Disaster, of which I knew nothing. Sent me to do some historical research after reading.

The Princess by Lori Wick – I love Lori Wick! A good reread by one of my favorite Christian authors.

The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley – Counted as a Newberry Award book for MMD. I really enjoyed it, except for the fact that they had to add in a gay character. Otherwise, I would have recommended it for my husband to read to his junior high history class.

The French Chef in America by Alex Prud’Homme – A fun audio listen about Julia Child.

Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington – Counted as a book I had previously purchased and been meaning to read for MMD. A book with lots of food for thought about how to live focused lives that aren’t busy being busy.

John Adams by David McCullough – Counted as my 650 page book for MMD. Whew! It was a slow but excellent read. I learned so much about John Adams and our founding fathers. I loved that this non-fiction book read more like fiction, thanks to the skill of David McCullough. Highly recommend.

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander – I stayed up late one night finishing this delightful book. More below.

The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron – A fascinating memoir of life as the daughter of a controlling, polygamist. More below.

I also received three books for review that I quickly read, so here’s a bit more information about those.

A Note Yet Unsung is the latest book by Tamera Alexander. I enjoyed many of her early works of Christian historical fiction so was eager to read her latest. While this book took me a little bit to capture my interest, once it did, I was hooked! I read the last 300 pages in one sitting one night. Yes, I’m a fast reader!

A Note Yet Unsung tells the story of Rebekah Carrington, a master violinist, trained in Vienna. However, due to the fact that it is the 19th century, women are thought to be too fragile to play in public. She is denied a chance to play for the Nashville orchestra under the talented leadership of the new conductor, Nathaniel Whitcomb. Rebekah ends up teaching violin and (after some conflict) assisting Nate as he composes his new symphony. Rebekah and Nate both have hard realities in their lives and music is what heals them – and draws them together.

My love of music plus Tamera’s well written story, made for a book that completely drew me in. This was a story unlike any I have read before and I absolutely loved it. I’ve read the others in this series, but this was definitely my favorite of the trilogy.

I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron was an honest look into the life as a child of polygamist, fundamentalist Mormon Ervil LeBaron who ordered the killings of anyone who disagreed with him. Anna’s openly honest recount of her difficult childhood made for a compelling read.

Anna’s father was the controlling leader of their cult, married 13 times and had more than 50 children with his wives. Anna was one of those children. She tells her story in this book. Anna tells of leaving homes in the middle of the night, spending years away from her mother, the 4 times she met her father, and a life of poverty and fear. Anna did eventually run away and leave that life before she could be given in an under age marriage.

What I found most fascinating is that Anna could have held a lot of bitterness about her lost childhood, but she came to faith in Christ (who was missing from her Mormon teachings). That faith (and several years of intense counseling after leaving the cult), allowed her to heal and live the life that God has given her. The Polygamist’s Daughter was a fascinating memoir to read.

I received an advanced copy of this book for free from Tyndale / Net Gallery in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner is a new Christian children’s book about how God made each of us unique. It was beautifully told in rhyming verse. With poignant reminders like “An exclusive design, one God refined, you’re a perfectly crafted one of a kind. ‘Cause when God made you, somehow God knew that the world needed someone exactly like you.”

I enjoyed reading this book with Nathan because it has all the lessons I want him to learn. God made each and every one of us, and He made us all with different gifts and abilities. It is a lengthier read but the rhyming helps the story move along.

My only complaint? I didn’t care for the pictures at all. The style was simply too busy and cluttered and not my cup of tea. Yes, it was unique, but other than that, I simply didn’t like them. I rarely feel that way with children’s books but it’s worth mentioning for if you decide to check it out. When God Made You is a beautiful children’s story. Interesting illustrations.

I received an advanced copy of this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

So there you have it. Those are all the books I’ve read (so far) in 2017. Have you read any good books this year? My reading list is always open to new suggestions!

The post What I’ve Been Reading in January & February appeared first on Joyfully Thriving.

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