What are you reading? My April reading list

Have you been keeping up with your reading? Thus far this year, I’ve had my nose in far more books than I read last year, and I’m starting to max out at 7 books a month. Now this means, I’ll read about 52 more books this year than I did last year, which is great!

One of my resolutions was to take more time developing myself and my expertise, SO with that being said here are a few of my reading list recommendations for April.

Cheryl Strayed‘s Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things are at the top of my reading list for April. I’ve been increasingly obsessed with her work and neither of these books have failed to hold my interest.

It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be by Paul Arden


After You by Jojo Moyes

I was rather pissed when I found out about this 2nd book being released. I can blame myself for not staying up to date on her writings, however, I was bombarded by the hardcover of this book in the book store and I was overwhelmed with feelings. A sequel to Me Before You (If you haven’t read it, what the hell are you thinking?) I can’t wait to cuddle up on the couch on a Saturday and read this book.

 

What’s on your reading list? 

Are We Waiting or Not?

My name is Shakira, and I like sex.

Who am I kidding? I love sex!

So it’s not a surprise that when I went on the journey to be celibate. I failed–more than once. That caused me to question my self worth and I asked myself “What is wrong with me”?

Then came “The Wait”, an informative book written by Devon Franklin and Meagan Good! This book was a must read for me because I had to know how in the hell did they do it.

Giving up sex until marriage can be a challenge. I learned that not having sex was extremely hard for them as well,but they fought the urge because they knew they had something special, something real with one another. Being obedient to this would help them see things clearly, help them make better decisions, and open their lives up to an abundance of blessings.

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While I read this book in one day, less than 12 hours to be exact and there were lots of parts that stood out to me… I’m not going to tell you all of them because you need to read the book yourself. However, there is a section titled “Who is your Husband?” They explain the difference in the man you want to be your husband verses the man that God has for you. And that man is  the man who is the better version of yourself and you’re that to him. The man that values and respects you for you is your husband. He brings out the best of everything in you. And if you decided today that you wanted to refrain from sex until marriage, he respects and understands that, so he will go on that journey with you. That is your husband. 

That is just so real to me! If I tell a guy I don’t want to have sex for whatever reason and he decides to give me push back, he should be automatically cut off!  So men and ladies, if you’re tired of failed relationships and broken hearts, I recommend reading this book, hell I’m going to read it again!  I’m not saying read it only because its intent is to get you to join #TheWait, but read it because it gives you pointers on relationships, it talks about God and what he can do for you with patience, and also tells you how you can have a clearer mind about your future based off decisions you make today.

[Review] The Shack

The Shack is a riveting, fictional, Christian novel, about a father meeting the Holy Trinity in person after suffering a traumatic loss, and losing all faith.

I’ve got to say, after personally being forced to read this book after my own personal trauma, this book makes you question trauma, spirituality, and the perception that we as people have with interpretation of the Bible across different viewpoints. While this is theological fiction, it’s interesting to see how a lot of the experiences of the main character are true elaborations of every day experiences of every day people and every day interpretations of people who are not wholly religious in the sense of reading scripture, and studying verses, etc.

I first read this book my junior year almost a year after my mother passed so I really was NOT trying to get into the whole “loss” thing in my religion course. So when we read it and dissected it as a class I was just not present ever, if at all.

But as time progressed I was decided to read it again, and recently I gave it another read through, and with each read I uncover something new.

The Shack is from the point of view of Mack, a father, who is living in a horrible dark space after his daughter, Missy, is abducted by a notorious serial killer during a family vacation. Mack feels guilty about the abduction because it happened as he is saving his other two children from drowning in the lake. Though her body was never found, police found evidence in an abandoned shack that proved she was brutally murdered. As he is living in his “Great Sadness” that many would see as depression, he receives a note from God inviting him to return to this shack for time together, and the story begins. The Shack

While William Young covers a wide variety of theological topics relevant to the characters suffering, the most courageous question I feel the book is asking and answering is, “Where is God, in the midst of all your trouble and your trauma and sadness?”.

It’s a question a lot of us struggle with on the daily and though this is a work of fiction, this book really was comforting in allowing my imagination to explore that. If you’re looking for a great read and to really challenge the way you look at how God is there for you in grief, trauma, and hard times, this is DEFINITELY a great book to read.

 

 

The Return of the Coloring Book: A new way adults unwind on weekends

Before you drop everything and head to the bar for the weekend, you should stop and explore new stress relieving and bonding alternatives! The new craze that’s sweeping the nation? Adult Coloring Books.

That’s right. Your favorite past time as a child has revamped and taken new form as adults and millennials explore the therapeutic and creative way to wind down after a hectic day or workweek.

More advanced than your normal $1 coloring books you give to your nieces and nephews, but not sure where to start your adult coloring book search?

This fall, Korean author, curator, and artist, Daria Song will be releasing two new coloring books that will surely whisk you away from your perils of your too real work days.

The Time Garden: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book, released 9/1,  takes readers through a dream-like escapade alongside a little girl whose father brings home an antique cuckoo clock from a faraway land.

The adventure continues with the October 13th release of the sequel The Time Chamber.

Whether on a road trip with your boos, or sitting around the table having cocktails with friends, this renewed therapeutic pastime is sure to satisfy your craving for a meditative experience.

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With coloring clubs popping up all over the country, why not take the initiative to start a group with your friends?

If you’re looking to relax and de-stress, grab a box of your favorite coloring utensils, some headphones and maybe even your favorite glass of wine and escape into your harmonious mind.

Photos courtesy of Penguin Random House 

#SummerReadingClub: 5 Reads to occupy the summer

It’s officially summer time, and for me that means reading poolside! (insert 1,000 darker shades here) Once I get organized, I typically free up so much of my time that I get to fall deeper into the fabulous world of books! Here’s my top 5 list of books I plan to read this summer:

1. Project Girl by Janet McDonald

via amazon.com

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

3. #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso

4. Not Your Mother’s Rules: The New Secrets of Dating by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider

5. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

I’ve been itching to crack open The Girl on the Train, so i’m sure that’ll be my starting point. What’s on your summer “to read list”? Leave some comments with recommendations of what you’ve read/are reading!

xx- Lo

[Review] :: Cameron Book set

I recently spent the weekend browsing the aisles of Barnes & Nobles looking for my next literary adventure. Being in the creative stages of developing the characters of my own future book, I like to draw inspiration on character development from many different sources. As I was traveling through the aisles I clicked the explore page on Instagram and stumbled across Author Jade Jones’ page. A 25 year old woman with over 20 novels under her belt, I decided to find one of her best sellers, Cameron.

I had never read an urban novel prior to nor had I ever had a desire to, after reading one Zane novel, I realized maybe that form of storytelling just wasn’t my cup of tea.

A novel set in Cleveland, OH revolving around a troubled orphan girl who took to being a dancer to survive her way through college at Cleveland State. From the beginning, I had the feeling that it would parallel The Player’s Club, as the main character Cameron was a stripper and a full time college student. (Kind of along the same background of Diamond from the Player’s Club, right?) Wrong. The conflict and drama throughout the novel took new form as Cameron, Pocha, X-Rated and fellow dancing colleague Juicy, narrated by Cameron, interacted on the day to day in the day and night streets of Cleveland.

Cameron’s love interest Silk, who was also a male entertainer, was dangerous, controlling and loving to Cameron. Although he paid Cameron’s college tuition, his overprotective, invasive and cheating ways only caused Cameron to distance herself further and further from him. It wasn’t until a relationship shattering secret about Pocha and Silk was revealed that allowed Cameron to move on past him to her new love interest Jude. The relationship between the three in the love triangle resulted in unforseen tragedy as well as a life changing family secret that would change Cameron’s life forever.

From the outside Jude seemed like a different kind of guy. He catered to Cameron, protected her, and gave her the world. He moved her out of the college dorms, took over her tuition, and moved the two of them into an expensive condo on the opposite side of town. A partner as an owner at a car dealership with his brother, he seemed to be the one that would have it all together after demanding Cameron stop stripping. But with a lingering and obsessed ex (Silk) things remained complicated and it seemed as if trouble followed them everywhere.

This book was a nonstop page turner and before I knew it, I had blew through the 5 book set in two days. A highly recommended series of books, I would recommend to anyone looking for an urban love story — filled with real life street experiences, plot twists, and perceptions.

Be sure to check back next week for the next review and let me know what’s on your Spring Reading list below!

[REVIEW]:: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

I can’t think of the last time I read a novel that crippled me; that stopped me in my tracks, that made me cancel everything I had to do for the day, because I had to know how the story ended. That’s how Me Before You by Jojo Moyes took over my day.

Set in Britain, the book is about Louisa, a 27-year old woman who was laid off from her long time café job, and started working as a caretaker for Will, who was injured in a motorcycle accident and now a quadriplegic. There are many twists and turns to the novel that with each chapter draws you deeper and deeper. An unexpected love story, Louisa and Will embark on an emotional ride together that changes each others’ life for the better. This page-turner sucks you into the life of Will Traynor and holds you to question the morality of quality of life, class distinctions, family dynamics and personal growth. Here are 3 things I took away from the novel.

1. Growth is a good thing, don’t fight it.

Louisa was apprehensive when she was first laid off from her job at the cafe. When the position to work as a caretaker was presented to her, she wasn’t quite up for it and had a large amount of reservations. As the book progressed, we were able to see Louisa open up in the position, and accept the advice of Will to explore the life she could have outside the small town she had come to be trapped in as she cared for her family financially. If she hadn’t accepted the position and opened herself up in it, she may have still been reserved to her crowded family home making a small amount of money in an undesired work field.

2. When you put the needs of others before yourself you tend to lose who you are.

Louisa’s fitness obsessed boyfriend, Patrick, really played a major factor in her losing sight of who she was. Always thinking of how she can help her family in their small home, the back and forth nature of Louisa’s sister Katrina with her youth son Thomas, made it difficult to have stability within the crowded home. As she continued to care for Will she confided in him and he pushed her to great lengths to explore things that she could be interested in outside of regular book reading and television. The shift in her perspective caused her to put herself and her needs at the forefront, which caused a new narrative prospective in the novel.

 3. There is no “too late” when it comes to finding your passion and purpose in life.

At the climax of the novel Louisa’s life took a different direction. By the end of the novel, the progression of her life was astronomically different and not what I expected in the first few chapters of the novel. The book allows you to walk away with the lesson that there is never a “too late” moment in your life to be able to find your true passion in life and live in your purpose.

If you’re looking for a book that can occupy your mind, and really make you think about your own life and apply the lessons then this novel is definitely for you! What are some of the reads on your spring reading list?