March Book Club Pick!

My friend Kari and I started a book club in January 2021 so we could encourage each other to read more books this year.

In January we read American Dirt and it was GOOD!

Now for February … we read The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo.

I have to say, this book was NOT my favorite for a LOT of reasons. Without spoiling the book … it was frustrating! The main character in the book is Lucy who has fallen in love with Gabe, but later makes decisions that lead her in a different direction, but throughout the book she is constantly battling in her brain and comaparing two men. IT IS FRUSTRATING! The chapters are quick and easy to read, so that was nice, but it just seemed to go on and on and on. The ending, to me, was very predictable and a let down. I have questions and kind of want answers … but at the same time I don’t need them or, honestly, really don’t want them answered because I honestly don’t care and just want to move on. Haha!

If you loved this book, sorry for the bad review, but I just didn’t love it!

This was Reese Witherspoon’s comment on the book:

“This love story between Lucy & Gabe spans decades and continents as two star-crossed lovers try to return to each other…Will they ever meet again? This book kept me up at night, turning the pages to find out, and the ending did not disappoint.”

Sorry, Reese … it was a disappointment and I am sad you steered me in this direction with your raving review. I forgive you though and will give you another chance! 😉 Haha!

SOOOOO without further ado …

Our March book club pick is *hopefully* a good GOOD one!

We have chosen The Vanishing Half: A Novel by Brit Bennett

Named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by The New York TimesThe Washington PostTime, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, USA TodayGQVanity Fair, Harper’s BazaarGlamour, and Bustle

Praise for The Vanishing Half
“[Bennett’s] second [book], The Vanishing Half, more than lives up to her early promise. . . more expansive yet also deeper, a multi-generational family saga that tackles prickly issues of racial identity and bigotry and conveys the corrosive effects of secrets and dissembling. It’s also a great read that will transport you out of your current circumstances, whatever they are. . . Like The Mothers, this novel keeps you turning pages not just to find out what happens.” —NPR 

“Bennett’s gorgeously written second novel, an ambitious meditation on race and identity, considers the divergent fates of twin sisters, born in the Jim Crow South, after one decides to pass for white. Bennett balances the literary demands of dynamic characterization with the historical and social realities of her subject matter.”The New York Times

If you would like to read with us, head over to our Facebook Page and join the group! We just started reading it with our goal to finish by the end of the month.

Happy reading!

We Started a Book Club!!

I am thrilled to share with you that my dear friend, Kari, and I have decided to launch a virtual Facebook book club called Mothers in Minivans Reading Books!! If you’ve never watched Comedians in Cars…

READ MORE

February Book Club Pick!

My friend Kari and I started a book club in January so we could encourage each other to read more books this year and boy, was January’s book a good one! Kari and I will host…

READ MORE

*As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


February Book Club Pick!

My friend Kari and I started a book club in January so we could encourage each other to read more books this year and boy, was January’s book a good one!

Kari and I will host a Facebook Live Sunday, January 31st at 8pm to discuss our January book: American Dirt. Y’all! If you haven’t read American Dirt – DO IT!!! It is so, so good and we are going to have quite the discussion!!

And now for the February pick…we are THRILLED to read …

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

We wanted to pick a little more romantic book for February and we think you are going to love this book!

“This love story between Lucy & Gabe spans decades and continents as two star-crossed lovers try to return to each other…Will they ever meet again? This book kept me up at night, turning the pages to find out, and the ending did not disappoint.” – Reese Witherspoon

He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story–their story–at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated–perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

This devastatingly romantic debut novel about the enduring power of first love, with a shocking, unforgettable ending, is Love Story for a new generation.

Amazon

If you would like to read with us, head over to our Facebook Page and join the group! We will start reading February 1st with our goal to finish by the end of the month.

Happy reading!


We Started a Book Club!!

I am thrilled to share with you that my dear friend, Kari, and I have decided to launch a virtual Facebook book club called Mothers in Minivans Reading Books!!

If you’ve never watched Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, first, go watch it; second, our title is a spoof of that as we are two minivan-driving mommas that are squeezing in time to read more this year – and it may just happen while we are in our minivans!

Kari and Lauren are friends that connected in a MOPS groups many moons ago and are both working moms with a passion for reading.

Couple of things:

  1. You don’t have to be a mother to join but no boys are allowed (sorry fellas!)
  2. You don’t have to have a minivan and we won’t judge your lack of style for not having one 😉
  3. We will read a variety of books – goal is to read one a month (or two).

We’ll decide on a title, have a spot to discuss throughout reading and host a live at the end of the book to debrief on it together! We have few rules so everyone can get the most out of our book talks:

  1. NO SPOILERS! If you want to discuss spoilers, leave a comment asking to PM with someone else who has finished the book, etc.
  2. The Facebook group is for the discussion of books only. We will remove any non-pertinent comments/discussion, as we want this to be a space only for book club chat!
  3. Please be respectful and kind to one another. We will remove anyone from the group that doesn’t abide by these very simple rules. We want this to be fun and enjoyable for everyone!

We just announced our first book of the year and I am thrilled to share that we are going to read…drum roll please…

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

Goodreads

This book is an Oprah Book Club pick and is highly rated by many other readers, bloggers, newspapers and magazines and we cannot wait to read it with you! 2021 is starting off strong with an incredibly good book!

To purchase the book, click HERE or the image above, and don’t forget to join our Facebook group HERE.

Let’s pledge to read more in 2021!


Friday Favorites: Children’s Books

In a poll on IG stories I asked what you would rather see…some of my personal favorite chapter books or children’s books and 60% of you wanted to see my top picks for children’s books!

I have included an age-range, up to 6-8 years old, so here are some of my favorite children’s books (and note, these books are great for more than one age group):

Baby to 2 Years:

Ages 2 to 5 Years:

Ages 5 to 8 Years:


There are SO many books that I absolutely love and could seriously write many of blog posts about books. These are just SOME of the many that I love and again, these books are great for all ages and can span age groups.

What are your kiddos favorites? Comment below! Have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend!


Friday Favorites: Christian Reads

It’s another Friday Favorites post!!

I love getting a little creative and sharing a more focused favorites list than just a variety of items.

So today I am sharing some of my favorite Christian chapter books! All of these books I have personally read and LOVE them so much that I have them on my reread list! I included the Amazon link for each book (click the image) and the blurb from Goodreads.

Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People 

What happens when we give away love like we’re made of it? 

In his entertaining and inspiring follow-up to the New York Times bestselling phenomenon Love Does, Bob Goff takes readers on a journey into the secret of living without fear, constraint, or worry. The path toward the liberated existence we all long for is found in a truth as simple to say as it is hard to do: love people, even the difficult ones, without distinction and without limits.

Driven by Bob’s trademark storytelling, Everybody, Alwaysreveals the lessons Bob learned–often the hard way–about what it means to love without inhibition, insecurity, or restriction. From finding the right friends to discovering the upside of failure, Everybody, Always points the way to embodying love by doing the unexpected, the intimidating, the seemingly impossible. Whether losing his shoes while skydiving solo or befriending a Ugandan witch doctor, Bob steps into life with a no-limits embrace of others that is as infectious as it is extraordinarily ordinary. Everybody, Always reveals how we can do the same. 

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms

Grocery shopping. Soccer practice. Dirty dishes.

Motherhood is tough, and it often feels like the to-do list just gets longer and longer every day–making it hard to experience true joy in God, our children, and the gospel.

In this encouraging book for frazzled moms, Gloria Furman helps us reorient our vision of motherhood around what the Bible teaches. Showing how to pursue a vibrant relationship with God–even when discouragement sets in and the laundry still needs to be washed–this book will help you treasure Christ more deeply no matter how busy you are.

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family

Sometimes parents wish there was a guaranteed formula for raising good kids–a certain list of rules to follow to ensure they’d have obedient children. But if moms and dads view their role through the lens of God’s grace, they will see that the gospel must first shape how they parent before they can effectively shape their children. In this highly practical book, Paul David Tripp unfolds a more biblical perspective on parenting than merely adhering to a list of rules. He lays out fourteen gospel-centered principles that will radically change the way parents think about what it means to raise up a child, informing everything they do as a parent.

Fresh Air: Trading Stale Spiritual Obligation for a Life-Altering, Energizing, Experience-It-Everyday Relationship with God

We’ve all gone through times in our lives when we feel like we need a fresh breeze to breathe new life into us–in our work, in our marriages, with our kids, in our friendships, and maybe at church. We’ve all been drawn to people who exude a kind of positive, life-giving spirit. We’ve also seen the difference between environments that exude a fresh air-like atmosphere and those that don’t. But what is it? What is that energy-giving, life-breathing force that draws you, inspires you, and empowers you to be all God made you to be? And how do we get it? How do we put the wind in our sails again, so we can get unstuck, reclaim our compass, and redirect our course? In “Fresh Air,” Chris Hodges, founder and senior pastor of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama, reveals how breath–the breath of God–is the essence of life as it’s meant to be. Fueled by the breath of God, we are not only refreshed in spirit ourselves; we have the power to create a life-giving environment of freedom and joyful purpose around us. Both practical and inspiring, “Fresh Air” offers “breathing lessons” for those who long for a cool breeze to resuscitate their spirit, bring them closer to God, and move them toward becoming the people He made them to be. 

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus

All of us want to raise good kids. And we want to be good parents. But what exactly do we mean by “good?” And is “being good” really the point?

Mother-daughter team Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson contend that every way we try to make our kids “good” is simply an extension of Old Testament Law–a set of standards that is not only unable to save our children, but also powerless to change them.

No, rules are not the answer. What they need is GRACE.

We must tell our kids of the grace-giving God who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters. If this is not the message your children hear, if you are just telling them to “be good,” then the gospel needs to transform your parenting too.

Give Them Grace is a revolutionary perspective on parenting that shows us how to receive the gospel afresh and give grace in abundance, helping our children know the dazzling love of Jesus and respond with heartfelt obedience.

Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts

The visionary behind the million-strong IF:Gathering challenges Christian women to transform their outlook and their lives by interrupting their spiraling thoughts and realizing their God-given power to think differently.

Speaker and Bible teacher Jennie Allen hears all the time from women who feel stuck in patterns of frustration and defeat. In her search for a solution, she’s learned that the greatest spiritual battle of our generation is taking place between our ears. How we think shapes how we live. So it’s crucial that we learn how to stop our spinning thoughts and refuse to fall prey to toxic thinking patterns like victimhood, anxiety, and distraction. In this book Jennie draws on biblical truth and recent discoveries in neuroscience to show exactly how we can fight the enemies of the mind with the truth of who God is and who He calls us to be. 

Live in Grace, Walk in Love: A 365-Day Journey

Bob Goff’s first two books, Love Does and Everybody, Always, spent dozens of weeks each as New York Times bestsellers with their unique combination of entertaining, witty storytelling, and challenging, surprising perspectives. Now Bob is back with a year-long devotional made up of his distinctive, entertaining, deceptively profound reflections on what it means to live every day in light of the grace of God.

Built on Bob’s trademark storytelling and unique way of helping us to see things in a new way, Live in Grace, Walk in Love takes us through an entire calendar year of meditations on how we can step out in love and confidence in every aspect of our lives. More than a tweet, less than a blog post, these devotional readings–accompanied by Scripture–will inspire and galvanize you live a more liberated, love- and life-giving existence than you ever thought possible. 

Have More Fun: How to Be Remarkable, Stop Feeling Stuck, and Start Enjoying Life

When was the last time you had some good and serious fun? If your to-do list has become the boss of you, if you’re so exhausted and overwhelmed you can’t remember – all of that is about to change. Have More Fun is your crash course to getting unstuck, laughing freely, and enjoying the ride.

MOPS International CEO, Mandy Arioto, is known to thousands worldwide as a lively storyteller, a force of hope, and an audacious risk-taker. She brings it all in this rollicking adventure of a book bent on helping you do more of what makes you come alive.

Have More Fun is for anyone who has forgotten that fun is an option. In a world where political dramas and cultural uncertainties churn through our news feed every day, Mandy is here to suggest that the answer to many of the most pressing questions is fun.

How do I get more done? Fun.

How do I parent in meaningful ways? Fun

How do I make friends? Fun.

How can I find my purpose? Fun.

How do I spice up my sex life? Fun.

How do I adapt when things don’t go as planned? Fun.

How do I improve my marriage? Fun.

Not to mention that choosing fun can be a spiritual discipline – a place to experience the boundless love and joy of God in everyday, surprising ways. If you have ever waited until your to-do list is finished to have fun or you can’t remember the last time you really laughed, it is possible you might be taking life, work, or parenting too seriously. Weaving together science, historical trends, hilarious stories, practical ideas and spiritual truth, Mandy uncovers fresh ways to take fun seriously instead.

Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World

Anxiety is at an all time high, but there’s a prescription for dealing with it. Max Lucado invites readers into a study of Philippians 4:6-7 where the Apostle Paul admonishes the followers of Christ, “Do not be anxious about anything . . .”

Philippians 4:6 encourages the believer to “be anxious for nothing.” As Lucado states, the apostle Paul seems to leave little leeway here. “Be anxious for nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero.”

What’s he suggesting? That we should literally be anxious for absolutely nothing? Lucado says, “The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional. It’s the life of perpetual anxiety that Paul wants to address. Don’t let anything in life leave you perpetually in angst.”

Americans especially know about living in perpetual anxiety. According to one research program, anxiety-related issues are the number one mental health problem among women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men. Stress-related ailments cost the nation $300 billion every year in medical bills and lost productivity. And use of sedative drugs like Xanax and Valium have skyrocketed in the last 15 years. Even students are feeling it. One psychologist reports that the average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s.

“The news about our anxiety is enough to make us anxious,” says Lucado. But there’s a prescription for dealing with it. Lucado invites readers into a study of Philippians 4:6-7, the most highlighted passage of any book on the planet, according to Amazon:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“With His help you will learn to face the calamities of life. You’ll learn how to talk yourself off the ledge. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will learn to view bad news through the lens of sovereignty; to discern the lies of Satan and tell yourself the truth. You will manifest a gentleness that is evident to others. Anxiety comes with life. But it doesn’t have to dominate your life.”


What are your favorite Christian books?

Share below! I am always on the hunt for more!!

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Hope you all have a blessed weekend!