March/April Book Review

Looking for a book you can’t put down? Read some of my personal favorites in my March/April Book Review! I read more than three books reviewed below in the last two months, but my reviews got a little lengthy and I didn’t want to overwhelm the post with too much content all at once. I’m going to get caught up and try to do a monthly or bi-weekly review from now on so I can share everything. Please leave your recent favorite reads in the comments so I can check them out!

Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart
 by Becky Thompson

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Becky Thompson’s Scissortail Silk blog, so when she announced she was writing a book to share even more of her encouragement for moms during a season of life with littles, I was pretty excited. I admit that some chapters may not resonate with every reader, but she accomplishes what the title promises – bringing much more hope to your life after you finish the last page. There is absolutely no shortage of God-given hope in this book.

If you’re feeling defeated, like all the work you do with your home life and kids go unnoticed, you need this book. If you feel like motherhood is holding you back from hopes and dreams you had for yourself before you had kids, you need this book. She covers the good, the bad, and the ugly moments of motherhood, and shares several personal stories that make her so very relatable. She describes thoughts and feelings that all mothers feel but almost never share, and that vulnerability is what’s so refreshing about Hope Unfolding.

I also liked the reflection and prayer moments that appear at the end of each chapter. It’s an easy read and full to the brim with reminders of God’s love and truth that are applicable to this chaotic stage of life. I would definitely recommend this book to any stressed out mom who needs to know “It’s not just me?” along with a big dose of godly wisdom from a woman who is full of hope.

Via Amazon:

God’s love, plans, and promises for you are forever unfolding.

I get it, Momma. I totally get it.

 Every day you wake up and try your very best. You love, give, and pour out your life for the ones who call you Momma. But no matter how much you offer, there are still days you feel as though you come up short. You worry, Am I loving these babies enough? Is this ever going to get easier? Why does it seem like I am the only one who cannot balance it all?

Sometimes, we just need hope (and maybe a long uninterrupted nap). We need someone to help tune our hearts to the voice of the Father and to remind us that He has not forgotten about us. In Hope Unfolding, Becky Thompson is a friend who reminds you that you aren’t alone, and that God is still writing your story. She guides you to encounter the Truth of God’s presence that not only fuels you with strength, but also a fresh confidence. And beyond gaining faith that tomorrow could be different, you find hope and purpose where you are standing today.

Blue Bistro

The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand

I’ve heard great things about Elin Hilderbrand’s books that are described as wonderful “summer reads” for their easy readability and fun plot lines, so I picked this one to start. It definitely makes me want to visit the Nantucket area someday since she gave such a vivid depiction of what it’s like to live there. The Blue BIstro centers around a restaurant culture with intermingling love stories and relationships. My favorite part was getting a glimpse inside the goings-on of a beachside five-star restaurant.

The characters are engaging and funny, as well as heartwarming and real. However, I feel like this book could’ve been complete about 100 pages sooner than it was – it was a bit tedious in spots – but that’s what I think about most novels, so you can take my word with a grain of salt. I was also pretty disappointed by the ending after the twists and turns the book took. Overall, I’d say I enjoyed the setting details more than the storyline itself. From what I’ve heard from other Hilderbrand fans, this wasn’t her best work, so I’m willing to give it another shot with a different book. Anyone out there have suggestions for me?

Via Amazon:

Elin Hilderbrand, author of the enchanting Summer People and The Beach Club, invites you to experience the perfect getaway with her sparkling new novel.

Adrienne Dealey has spent the past six years working for hotels in exotic resort towns. This summer she has decided to make Nantucket home. Left flat broke by her ex-boyfriend, she is desperate to earn some fast money. When the desirable Thatcher Smith, owner of Nantucket’s hottest restaurant, is the only one to offer her a job, she wonders if she can get by with no restaurant experience. Thatcher gives Adrienne a crash course in the business…and they share an instant attraction. But there is a mystery about their situation: what is it about Fiona, the Blue Bistro’s chef, that captures Thatcher’s attention again and again? And why does such a successful restaurant seem to be in its final season before closing its doors for good? Despite her uncertainty, Adrienne must decide whether to open her heart for the first time, or move on, as she always does.

Infused with intimate Nantucket detail and filled with the warmth of passion and the breeze of doubt, The Blue Bistro is perfect summer reading.

Big Magic

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

I was pretty jazzed when I heard that Elizabeth Gilbert, who found great success in her bestseller Eat Pray Love, was deciding to pay forward her creative genius and perspective to the rest of us in a new book. I listened to the audiobook version of this which was narrated and read by Liz Gilbert herself. Talk about powerful stuff. I highly recommend “reading” the book this way! In one of the most honest discussions about the creative process I’ve ever read, she walks you through breaking out of your creative ruts, finding fulfillment in your work, approaching creativity with a playful curiosity instead of pressure to produce, and getting past your fear of starting.

I love how she intertwines her real-life experience with her challenges in the generative process, all with a very empathetic and generous attitude (and her credibility as a bestselling author allows her to speak with such authority!). Big Magic really struck a chord with me because I often feel like I’m not good enough to be in the creative genre, simply for the fact that it doesn’t always come easily for me. When Liz opens up about her personal challenges with creativity, stating it would just disappear at random points in her life, it made me feel less alone.

I will say that some aspects of this book are a bit “out there” (she refers to the need to think of creativity as a spiritual entity, to believe that ideas can leave us and jump into other people, etc.), but that’s also what makes this book so authentic – because Liz brings so much of her soulful spirituality we all came to know and appreciate from Eat Pray Love. If you’re in the creative field or you have a day job and want to make a creative career a reality, this is a must-read!

Via Amazon:

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Molly Hofker

Molly Hofker