a few favorite reads.

Here are a few books that I loved recently. (The A list, if you will.)

What have you read lately that you enjoyed?

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[Thanks to @revellbooks for the review copy of this lovely novel!] . Oh man. This one was just so good. Annie's brother enlists in the Army to fight in the Vietnam War, and this story captures all the ripple effects on their family, and community. 18-year-old Annie was so easy to root for, and I felt all her feels with her. Her gentleness and kindness were so genuine, without feeling too much or sappy. I loved seeing sermons preached through the characters themselves (instead of in words) about courage, fighting for what is good, and hope. This story was hard & beautiful, and will stay with me for a while. A for me. PS. Bernie & David were special favorites of mine. I hope you read it to find out why. #idratherbereading #bookreviewswithalison

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“I’d tried to tell him that first day. I’d said I didn’t always tell the truth, that I didn’t handle conflict well, that anger scared me, that I was used to people just disappearing when they were mad.” (299) . If you want to know what it feels like to be an #enneagram9, this book gives a good glimpse into the inner world of a peacemaker. I'm convinced that the main character is a Nine and just loved what this book said about being vulnerable, showing up with courage and listening to our anger. While the cover may look like a light YA read, this book truly grapples with real things. I kept pausing my reading to tell my husband how well this book felt like it "got me" or to read him a paragraph or two. A- for me. PS. Trigger warning: attempted rape and eating disorders are both significant parts of the story.

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This one was absolutely lovely. Based on real historical accounts, this is the story of a newly married woman who impersonates a soldier to be with her husband during the Civil War. I have to admit that I went to read the author's notes at the end to see if there were any clues about whether or not she gets caught, if either her or her husband die, etc. (I won't put spoilers here, but you can message me if you want to know ahead of time. It helped me enjoy the book more to have a sense of what was coming.) . War is ugly and horrible, but the fierce commitment and love of this couple brought some light to this darkness. While her husband doesn't support her to the extent that some might like, I felt like he was pretty ahead of his time, considering the era. His love for his wife is clear, even as he's conflicted about what is best. Also, I thought sensitive issues and sexual content were handled very tastefully, while still being part of the story in a meaningful way. A for me. #idratherbereading #bookreviewswithalison

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"Like winter, the wilderness is always a promise. God leads us in and, one way or another, he leads out again. Or, if he doesn't lead us out, he does something almost more miraculous: he plants trees in the desert, and he causes rivers to flow there." (62) . I've been eagerly anticipating reading Christie Purifoy's newest book ever since I heard about it. Her first book, Roots and Sky met me in some beautiful ways, and I love reading about places that I'm at least a little familiar with, as a fellow Pennsylvanian. But I couldn't have guessed how timely Placemaker would be for me in this season. As my soul has been asking questions about home and belonging, what it means to live well and bring redemption to a place, this book came to me, with the same kinds of soul-deep questions. As Christie shares pieces of her own story, mixed with her love of beautiful things and flowers I too, know and love, I've come close to tears so many times. Her words have made me feel seen in the quiet work of planting bulbs or not knowing what I'm doing, but aching to bring some good here. I'm still sorting through all that this book has brought to the surface of my heart. But I'm so grateful for the ways it has already ministered to me. This book is a gift for everyone who aches for home and beauty and peace. And if you love flowers and being outside, it is especially a treat! A for me. PS. I asked my library to buy this book, and it felt like a bonus gift to read the copy I asked for. If you want to support an author, you can ask your library to buy their book! They just might do it. 😊

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