Mount TBR Challenge 2019

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My Mom and I were discussing book goals a couple of weeks ago. When she mentioned this reading challenge, I knew I needed to participate!

Thanks to the birth of the Navigator, I have read a LOT more in 2018 than I normally do.  Reading on my Kindle while nursing and rocking has given me a lot of reading time.  It was so great!  I definitely want to keep up my momentum with reading.  However, I also know I need to make serious headway on my (huge) To Be Read list.

In 2018, I checked quite a few books off my TBR list, including some books that had been on my shelf for literally years.  This challenge from My Reader’s Block is right up my alley!

So in 2019, I am excited to participate in my (first ever!) official reading challenge.  We have been traveling for the past couple months and I’ve been away from my bookshelves, so I haven’t created an official list.  But I am joining the Mount Blanc challenge to read 24 books on my To Be Read list.  Hopefully I will read much more than that, but I wanted to make sure I chose something realistic so I wouldn’t burn out or get discouraged.

I will update once I choose my book list, probably in early January!

Book List – July to September



Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Brownie Points by Jennifer Coburn

Unmoveable Witness by Marion Corley

Triggers: Exchanging Parent’s Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake

Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free from Churches that Abuse by Mary Alice Chrnalogar

The Wendy by Aaron Michelle Sky and Steven Brown



The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Mistletoe Match by Lindzee Armstrong

Almost a Mother: Love, Loss, and Finding Your People When Your Baby Dies by Christy Wopat

The Gender Game by Bella Forrest

The Puritans by Jack Cavanaugh

Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare

How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White



Flowers in the Snow by Danielle Stewart

Love in a Fix by Leah Atwood

Statistically Improbable by Jennifer Peel

The Gender Secret by Bella Forrest

The Overcoming Life by DL Moody

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

A Sip of Murder by Blythe Baker


Books Read to date/Min. Goal for Year: 48/48

Book List – April to June

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April –

The One by Kiera Cass

No Little Women by Aimee Byrd



The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Conversationally Speaking by Alan Garner

Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by JK Rowling

Hot, Holy, and Humorous by J Parker

The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns

Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans


June –

First Impressions by Debra White Smith (review posted here)

As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti

The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert

Untwisting Scriptures by Rebecca Davis

The Case of the Phantom Frog by E.W. Hildick


Books Read to date/Min. Goal for Year: 27/48

Book Review: First Impressions

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A modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions was a fun read.  Debra White Smith knows how to use words well, although I personally found the re-telling to be a bit too literal in many parts.

More concerning was an undertone of racism toward the end, with some pretty blatant stereotypes of African Americans.

As far as actual story, however, it was light and enjoyable.  The author has several other books that are re-telling Jane Austen stories.

Note: I was given this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.

(Short and sweet review courtesy of newborn + exhaustion)

Book List – January to March

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My reading goal this year is at least 4 books each month.  We will see how the new baby affects that. 😉  But I did get off to a strong start!

-January –

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering (review posted here)

A Tangled Web by L.M. Montgomery

Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic

How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich

Red by Ted Dekker

Open to the Spirit by Scot McKnight (review posted here)



The Love Knot by Karen Witemeyer

The Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason

Gospel-Centerd Mom by Brooke McGlothlin

Known Only to God by Martha Cummins Love



A Matter of Basic Principles by Don Veinot, Joy Veinot and Ron Henzel

Hearts Entwined novella collection (review posted here)

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Beautiful Fight by Gary Thomas

Book Review: Hearts Entwined

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Hearts Entwined is a historical romance novella collection.  There are four novellas included….

…The Love Knot by Karen Witemeyer
…The Tangled Ties that Bind by Mary Connealy
…Bound and Determined by Regina Jennings
…Tied and True by Melissa Jagears

I read it as I was looking for a change of pace in my reading, but overall I was disappointed.  It was not bad, per se, just not my cup of tea.  I will say that each novella got progressively better in my opinion, and the last one was probably my favorite.

For a light read, it was enjoyable, with the camel stories and doctor stories, and all sorts of things in between.  But if you are bothered by cliched plot “twists” or romance stereotypes, it’s probably not the book for you.

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.

Book Review: Open to the Spirit

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A quote toward the beginning of this book summed up why I am so excited to have read Open to the Spirit by Scot McKnight.

“To put all our nervous-about-the-Spirit rationalizations into one tight bundle, we reduced the Spirit by resorting to reason, to intellect, to the mind, to the Bible.  In doing so, we relegated the Spirit of God, the Third Person of the Trinity, to an idea that our superior logic and careful theology made irrelevant.”  – page 6-7

I have long noticed how the evangelical church tends to downplay the Holy Spirit. We talk a lot about God, a good amount about Jesus, but little about the Holy Spirit.

It is a rare thing for a nonfiction book to be a page-turner for me, but this book was definitely that.  McKnight starts out writing about the Holy Spirit as we see in Scripture.  I think most conservatives hear a phrase like “open to the Spirit” and immediately think of speaking in tongues, rolling in aisles, etc.  While he does address similar issues briefly, this is not a book about why one should embrace a “charismatic” lifestyle.  It is a book about the Holy Spirit of the Bible and how we can and should be allowing Him and seeing Him in our lives.

Being raised a Baptist, there were several parts where I said, “wait, really?  Does the Bible really say that?”  And when I looked up the references in context, sure enough….the Bible does say that!  I appreciated how this book drew me deeper into the Bible on such an important topic.

I loved how the author talked about walking in the Holy Spirit as just that….walking.  It is not adhering to any rules.  It is an active thing.

Another good quote…

“At the end of our frustrating conversation, he dropped the mic.  ‘If the Holy Spirit ever left planet Earth, you Baptists would never know because all you’ve got is the Bible.’  He had a point: our Holy Spirit was containd and confined by the Bible.  For us, the Holy Spirit’s role was limited to unleashing what was in the Bible.”  pg 28

All-in-all it was very thought-provoking, very convicting, and very inspiring.

Read more about the author here.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.



Book Review: Death at Thorburn Hall

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Death at Thorburn Hall is the latest book in the Drew Farthering series by Julianna Deering.

A few years ago I read another one of her mysteries, Murder at the Mikado, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I must say I did not love this one quite as much.  It was a bit hard for me to get into.  Once the plot started developing, I did enjoy it more, but was not at all surprised as to “who dun it” when I got to the end.  There was not much of a sense of a mystery for the reader, and some random plot inclusions that to me did not flow well.

There was also quite a bit of male and female caricaturing, which was hard to read.  A few dozen too many references to the frail female constitution and the emotional inability to cope with personal tragedy or even the crimes taking place around them.  I understand that a good deal of that was accurate perception during the era the story takes place in.  But it was still difficult and annoying to read.

If you want a light read, it’s not bad.  But definitely will not make my Top 10 list.

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.

Book List: October – December

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Here is my October-December book list.  Grand total for the year: 32 books.  Not as many as I originally planned, but at the same time I am pleased.  2017 was the first year in a while where I was able to intentionally read and work through a decent sized list.  Hoping to keep it up in 2018!  My goal for this year is 48 books.

October –

Forgotten God by  Francis Chan

Spirit of Loveliness, The by Emilie Barnes

November –

You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan

You Are Not Alone: Love Letters from Loss Mom to Loss Mom by Emily R. Long

Selection, The by Kiera Cass

December –

Celebrating Pregnancy Again: Restoring the Lost Joys of Pregnancy after the Loss of a Child by Franchesca Cox