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March 2019: Reading Challenge Reviews

Another month of books checked off!

For those following along with the challenge, we are just finishing up Week 13 — which means that we are already a quarter of the way through this challenge. Can you believe it?

I feel like I’ve barely had any time to read this month, but I did manage to write up a few reviews for these lovelies. So, without any further introduction, here are my March reads:

A Children’s Book
(Week 10: March 5 – 11, 2019) 
Awake and Dreaming – Kit Pearson

As a child, I loved Kit Pearson’s books. Her writing is comforting and familiar feeling, and her stories suck you in with their tales of family and growing-up woes. So when I stumbled across a collection of her books at my local library, I was excited to re-read one for this challenge.

Awake and Dreaming is the story of a young girl, Theo, who dreams of belonging. Trapped in a life of poverty, she spends her time daydreaming about families — until one day, her wish seems to come true. But as the magic fades, and Theo finds herself back with her mother, she wonders if she’ll ever be able to truly find a place to call home.

This is a super sweet story about family, loving, and belonging. Not only does it appeal to pre-teen readers, I think Kit Pearson’s books would make excellent reads for adults completing this challenge category. An all-around classic full of heart.

5 stars out of 5

Suggestions for a Children’s Book: **Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery** A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle ** James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl ** The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster ** Charlotte’s Web by E. B White ** Wonder by R. J. Palacio ** The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis ** Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder ** A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett **

A Book about True Crime
(Week 11: March 12 – 18, 2019) 
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark — Michelle McNamara

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark follows an author’s journey to unmask a sexual predator and murderer who haunted California in the mid 70’s-80’s: the Golden State Killer. Michelle dives into the clues left behind in hopes of bringing this man to long-awaited justice.

While the book itself is heavy and creepy, Michelle carefully weaves the case material together in a very personal way. As McNamara passed away before completing her manuscript, bits of the book are cobbled together from other articles she wrote or research she completed. The result is a brilliant bit of investigative journalism that had me utterly riveted from the first page.

This is the type of book that stirs up the armchair detective in all of us.

(Also, just FYI so you can sleep again at night, the Golden State Killer was captured just months after this book was published. The fact that the book concludes without knowing the identity, in no way detracts from the outstanding writing and compelling narrative.)

This book thoroughly deserves its 5 stars out of 5

Suggestions for True Crime books: **Missoula by Jon Krakauer ** Waiting To Be Heard by Amanda Knox ** A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard ** Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale ** Ruined by Ruth Everhart ** In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham ** A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout **

A Book Picked Out By Someone Else
(Week 12: March 19 – 25, 2019) 
Into the Abyss — Carol Shaben

Into the Abyss is the real-life story of a plane crash that occurred in Alberta, Canada in the 1980’s. Following the stories of each of the four survivors, this book is an intriguing look into some of the pressures put upon young bush pilots and explores the way that accidents shape the lives of those involved.

Having taken my own flight training in Alberta (and having participated in a “Wilderness Survival Course” in the off-chance we ever crash landed in an Albertan forest in the dead of winter) this book was interesting for me on many levels. Although it’s written in an investigative style, this is a quick and easy read without overly technical explanations or jargon. (Special thanks to one of my besties for picking this book out for me!)

Regardless of whether you’re an aviation buff or just love survival stories, this one is for you! 4 stars out of 5

Suggestions for books picked out by ME for YOU: ** The Broker by John Grisham ** The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg ** The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun ** The Lake House by Kate Morton ** Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst ** Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ** A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers ** Or, any book from my January reads **

Book with a Plant on the Cover
(Week 13: March 26 – April 2, 2019)
In His Image — Jen Wilkin

Instead of asking, “What is God’s will for my life?” Jenkins re-directs readers to instead ask, “Who should I be like?” The answer is clear: bear image of God. By studying ten characteristics of God — holy, loving, just, good, merciful, gracious, faithful, patient, truthful and wise — we can better understand who God intends us to be. As Jenkins says, “Fullness of joy results when we seek to reflect our Maker. It’s what we were created to do. It is the very will of God for our lives.” (Page 148)

I love Jen Wilkin’s teaching. Her words are concise and easily understood, but they pack a big theological punch. This short read is a great challenge and refresher for all of us as to how we should live.

Suggestions for books with plants on the cover: **The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton ** Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon ** The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley ** A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie ** Grace Like Scarlett by Adriel Booker ** In a Cottage In the Wood by Cass Green ** Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly **


What books did you cross off YOUR list in March?

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