Quarterly Book Report

My goal for the year was 15 books, but based on the way I’m powering through them this year, I’m going to have to up that for 2018. I’m sharing more about what I’m reading because it’s one of my favorite posts on other blogs. I’ve found the best way to keep my nose in a book is to join group book clubs at work, they sure are keeping me busy.

★★★★★ – All time favorite, there aren’t many of these in the world.

★★★★☆ – Loved this book, held my attention and made me want to keep reading.

★★★☆☆ – Good book, I liked it.

★★☆☆☆ – It was fine, definitely won’t be recommending it to my friends.

★☆☆☆☆ – I finished it, but it wasn’t that great.

☆☆☆☆☆ – Didn’t bother finishing it. There are too many books on the shelf to finish one that isn’t grabbing my attention.

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2) + Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)

by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym J.K. Rowling)

Fiction – Mystery | ★★★★☆

I read the first book in the series after I found out that this novel was written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and was hoping to get my fill from the first one in the series. Unfortunately, it’s very different from the HP series, but fortunately, it was a really great read. It’s been about 3 years or so since I read the first in the series, but that didn’t affect the reading of these books, which I appreciated. Similar to the first, these two feature private detective Cormoran Stike and his assistant Robin Ellacott who spend both books searching for pieces of the puzzle that hopefully lead to solving the mystery.

You might like this if: your a J.K. Rowling fan and enjoyed the first book in the series.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

by Greg McKeown

Non-Fiction – Self Help | ★★★★☆

I grabbed this book up after seeing so many of my Good Reads friends rate it highly and while I don’t disagree with their rating, it could have been about 100 pages shorter and still covered all major points. I think my main takeaways included not being afraid to be unavailable, choosing priorities that get you where you want to end up, and allowing things the time they need to be completed. Overall a good read, especially for someone like me who tends to overplan and set high expectations for myself.

You might like this if: you want to learn how to be more productive while doing less.

Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race and Getting Free From the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us

by Benjamin Watson

Nonfiction | ★★★★★

Benjamin Watson is a tight end for the New Orlean Saints and on the day after the grand jury decision was announced that there was no probable cause to indict officer Darren Wilson of the shooting of Michael Brown, Benjamin wrote a heart felt facebook post which quickly went viral. This book is his expanded thoughts on each of the topics he touched on in the post. Not only was this a thought provoking read for me, a group of us at work got to get together to talk about about it. I think everyone would benefit from reading this book.

Favorite Quote: “The solution to the problem of race in America will be found only by ordinary people, “good” people, looking inside themselves, being honest about the assumptions and biases that have formed, and beginning to change what’s in their hearts.”

You might like this if: you’re hoping to understand a clearer picture of the ongoing race issues in America.

Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live on Purpose.

by Lara Casey

Nonfiction – Self Help/Christian | ★★★★☆

I just love Lara and have been following her blog for quite some time. I began using her PowerSheets this year and found this book to be a great companion to that. She talks a lot about letting go of the “do it all” mentality in order to move forward on purpose. It’s thought provoking and includes sections to stop and think about implementing the things she talks about in your own life. Not really a leisurely read, but so worth it.

You might like this if: you like goal setting or feel like you are constantly striving for perfection.

All the Words are Yours: Haiku on Love

by Tyler Knott Gregson

Poetry | ★☆☆☆☆

I picked this book up because I saw another book by this author at Anthropology and figured it had to be good. I was wrong, this is one of those pretty books that looks nice on a book shelf but takes two seconds to read. I actually feel pretty bad giving it this low of a rating, because he probably put lots of emotion into these poems but there’s just too much lovey dovey and bad photos for me to rate it any better.

This sums it up nicely.

You might like this if: you’re a writer and want to get inspiration or want short bits of lovey poems.

Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace

Nonfiction – Business/Leadership | ★★★★☆

This book has been recommended to me multiple times since I became a leader at work, so I just knew it had to be on my reading list this year. From the get-go, this book kept me more interested than maybe any other nonfiction book has. I was so interested to hear about starting a company from the ground up and hearing about how big name people like Steve Jobs have made an impact not on the world but on the people who worked with him as well. I think what I related to this in particular was how leadership style and creativity go hand in hand. There were times I felt myself nodding along and there were times I scribbled down lots of notes. All I have to say is that I love books like these because they help make me a better leader.

Favorite Quote: “I believe the best managers acknowledge and make room for what they do not know—not just because humility is a virtue but because until one adopts that mindset, the most striking breakthroughs cannot occur. I believe that managers must loosen the controls, not tighten them. They must accept risk; they must trust the people they work with and strive to clear the path for them; and always, they must pay attention to and engage with anything that creates fear. Moreover, successful leaders embrace the reality that their models may be wrong or incomplete. Only when we admit what we don’t know can we ever hope to learn it.”

You might like this if: you’re a leader or like learning about business in general.

Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want

by Maria Goff

Nonfiction – Christian | ★★★☆☆

I still don’t know what to think of this book. I’ve read a couple books in the last year or so that have been heavily marketed towards women that are faith based but aren’t necessarily a bible study and, in general, I just haven’t had great experiences. I read this with a group at work and I was one of the few women who don’t have children. Although it prompted great discussion about craving the things in life that matter, it’s was very clear to me that I wasn’t the target audience of this book. I found it particularly hard to connect with her examples and often felt indifferent to her woes. Her husband, Bob Goff, who wrote Love Does, is a missionary lawyer who does mission in other countries so Maria talks a lot about her experiences doing mission in her home and community. Overall, not awful, just not for me.

You might like this if: you want a quick read that will encourage you right where you’re at.

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

by Alfred Lansing

Nonfiction – History/Leadership | ☆☆☆☆☆

This year, I joined a leadership team at work and we were given a list of books to pick from that we would meet to discuss on a monthly basis. This was not my choice, but it won the majority so we went with it. It was encouraged as a leadership related book and while I’d love to say that it really opened my eyes to something, it really didn’t and I ended up not finishing it. Thank goodness for the internet and summaries that have gotten me through the discussions.

You might like this if: you’re really into history and LOTS of details about ice floes/ships.


What books are you loving right now? Let me know in the comments so I can give more five star reviews!

Quarterly Book Report

Book reports are always some of my favorite posts of other bloggers. It’s been a while since I took some extra time for reading, but when I started being more intentional about my screen time in January, more books happily fell into my lap. That being said, I originally set a goal for myself to read 15 books in 2017 and since I’m on track to hit that in March, I thought it might be fun to try got myself, since I have plenty of books to write about.

After having a couple friends on goodreads point out that I grade pretty tough, I thought it might be helpful to include my rating codes first, just to make sure we’re on the same page.

★★★★★ – All time favorite, there aren’t many of these in the world.

★★★★☆ – Loved this book, held my attention and made me want to keep reading.

★★★☆☆ – Good book, I liked it.

★★☆☆☆ – It was fine, definitely won’t be recommending it to my friends.

★☆☆☆☆ – I finished it, but it wasn’t that great.

☆☆☆☆☆ – Didn’t bother finishing it. There are too many books on the shelf to finish one that isn’t grabbing my attention.

The Magnolia Story

by Chip and Joanna Gaines

Nonfiction – Biography | ★★★★☆

Honestly, I think I may be a little biased on this one because I’m under the impression that this duo can do no wrong. I just LOVED their story and I appreciate that they are using their platform to share their faith. This biography is basically just their sweet life story that’s almost so sweet it’s a little puke worthy (haha, only kidding). I loved that this book is told from Joanna’s perspective and gives Chip’s two cents in a different font – their banter in this book is very similar to the show. I’m looking forward to sharing this one with other Fixer Upper fans in my life.

You might like this if: you watch Fixer Upper or uplifting life stories.

None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different From Us

by Jen Wilkin

Nonfiction – Religion and Spirituality | ★★☆☆☆

I picked up this book for a one read my church was hosting. I unfortunately was unable to go to the event when the date was released, but I still wanted to finish the book because I figured if my church was recommending it, it would be good. I liked where she was going with the content and thought that it was a good regurgitation of some very key characteristics of God, but I was rubbed the wrong way of how the information was presented and by some of her examples, which seemed to be quite negative.

Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy #1)

by C.S. Lewis

Science Fiction | ★★★★☆

This was the first novel in C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy and was recommended to me by a friend after I was gushing about Chronicles of Narnia. The main character, Dr. Ransom, is abducted and taken to another planet, Malacandra, where his captors are trying to take the planets treasures and kill Dr. Ransom as a sacrifice. Since I don’t read a lot of science fiction, this was a very interesting read for me. I don’t quite have the imagination to even think about some of these things, let alone create a story around them – so my hats off.

You might like this if: you can get on board with a classic and like to dig into themes.

Perelandra (Space Trilogy #2)

by C.S. Lewis

Science Fiction | ★★★☆☆

The second installment of the Space Trilogy the main character ends up on a different planet, Perelandra. To me, this book presented a lot of good and evil situations with the enemy of the story. My struggle with this one, was that while I didn’t want to put the book down, I almost felt as though I would never get out of the slower sections. At one point I just skimmed to get to the more fast-paced part.

That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy #3)

by C.S. Lewis

Science Fiction | ★★★★☆

This was my favorite of the three and was definitely the most different. It took me quite some time to realize how this book was related to the last two and I think that’s what made me enjoy it. It was like a puzzle trying to clue together pieces that didn’t seem to make sense. I’ve tried to summarize this book, but it’s just too complicated without giving the whole thing away. I guess you’ll have to read to trilogy to find out.

You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity

by Francis Chan

Nonfiction – Religion and Spirituality | ★★★★☆

I just loved this book. I don’t know if it is the season I’m in or what, but I felt like this really helped bring my focus back on my purpose. Even though this book is portrayed as a book on marriage, I don’t think it’s directly about marriage at all, but more about putting first the Kingdom of God and letting everything else fall into place. I’ve read another of Francis Chan’s books and wasn’t a huge fan, so I was happy that I was able to let that go because this was truly a winner!

You might like this if: you want to grow spiritually and want to work through the purpose of marriage (and life).

Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lews

by Michael Ward

Nonfiction – History and Criticism | ★★★★☆

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. After reading the Chronicles of Narnia last summer and the Space Trilogy in January, I was encouraged by a friend to read Ward’s take on Lewis’ writings. It was so well examined and really helped bring the pieces together, although being a criticism, this is not light reading by any stretch of the imagination. While there were tough patches to get through, I think on a whole it made me appreciate C.S. Lewis even more as an author.

You might like this if: (and only if) you’re a huge C.S. Lewis fan and/or have read the Space Trilogy AND Chronicles of Narnia.

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your House Some Love

by Sherry and John Petersik

Nonfiction – Interior Design/DIY | ★★☆☆☆

I grabbed this book after hearing about it on Sherry and John’s podcast, Young House Love Has A Podcast. Again, these two have a FANTASTIC blog that I subscribe to, so I had really high hopes but I ended up skimming through this in just a couple nights. I really struggled with the projects because they felt more like corner cutting placeholders as opposed to long lasting DIYs. The upside is that it has some really great photos, which were visually inspiring for my next projects.

You might like this if: you are looking to do some cheap and easy DIY projects or want to be visually inspired.

The Broken Way: A Daring Path to Abundant Life

by Ann Voskamp

Nonfiction – Religion and Spirituality | ★★★★★

I knew this would be an all time favorite because I absolutely fell in love with One Thousand Gifts, Ann’s first book. When I saw this come out, I just knew that I had to purchase the hardback edition because it will be on my shelf for years to come. Ann has a way of writing that captures my heart and makes me feel every emotion. Her writing style is unlike any I’ve ever encountered – it’s more like a conversation that coaches me without making me feel like I’m alone in my brokenness.

You might like this if: you are a human. Just kidding. You’d like this if you want to experience spiritual growth (and emotions).

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful 

by Myquillyn Smith

Nonfiction – Interior Design | ★★★☆☆

I had bad feelings toward this from the get-go because when I pulled it off the shelf, it was a funky size – in between a novel and a picture book. I wanted to give if the benefit of a doubt because I love reading the author’s blog, thenester.com. This is one of those books that’s been going around the blogging community for quite some time. I’ve seen lots of people absolutely RAVE about it, so I had to see what it was all about. The author talks about the importance of making a house (even a rental) into a home and how to do that. She’s had plenty of experience since she had moved 13 times in about 18 years. There were plenty of good tips and tricks and I think the biggest take away for me was not being too afraid to start a project, especially with something you don’t like to begin with. While she provides great tips and tricks for home makeovers on a budget, my struggle with this particular book is that it could have been just as enjoyable if it were written in a blog series format.

You might like this if: you like quick, easy reads about home decor.


Have you read any books in the last couple months that I need to add to my list? Let me know in the comments.


Hi, I'm Jacqueline - believer, learner, and all around hobby enthusiast. I'm married to my highschool sweetheart, Kevin, and we live in the midwest with our sweet pup.

On this blog I share all kinds of things about my life - from my faith journey to the garden in my neighbors backyard. I've been blogging for almost eight years and use this space as a way to document my daily life.

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet.