Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Books By Bloggers: My Reviews

I've mentioned before that I've been on a reading kick lately, and it seems my main "genre of choice" has been blogger memoirs and the like (go figure).  It is quite a blogging trend these days to make the move into the printed word; and, since I am nothing if not addicted to blogging - it is an obvious choice for me. (Yes, I read three of these during my "blog break."  Some may consider that cheating.  I call it creative.)

Below are my thoughts on the four I've read in the last couple of months.  I listed them in order of my preference; but, I genuinely enjoyed each one.  I thought all four were great, and I think each of their writer's are incredibly talented with words and storytelling. Their stories made me inspired to write my own book (one day), made me laugh, and - at times - made me cry.  I would (honestly) recommend any of them without a single bit of hesitancy.

*Also, just in case you care... No one paid me (or even asked me, for that matter) to read these books or write about them.  These are all my own opinions.  I did, however, recently sign up to be an Amazon Affiliate, so if you happen to buy something from one of these links (or the links in my sidebar) I get a teeny tiny portion of that sale.  Just keeping it real.

Here we go...

I'll be honest and say that this was the last book I read, and I read it more because there was so much hype than because I really thought it would be good.  Glennon can be a bit much for me at times, but her book surprised me (in a good way).  She is a superstar when it comes to "keeping it real," and - although it took me a while to get used to the essay format (as opposed to a story really), it ended up being my favorite of the blogger-genre so far.  It is the kind of book that made me laugh out loud and, as a result, end up reading big passages aloud to my husband.  She did a great job of moving seamlessly between hilarious stories and real, deep thoughts about major issues (like marriage, faith, homosexuality, parenting, and body image).  I like a book that makes me think while simultaneously making me relax a bit and be comfortable with me.   This is a book I would order twenty of and mail to all my best friends (if I was rich).

I've been following Stephanie's blog for a while now, but I admit that it isn't really one of my "regular reads."  Her book changed that.  I love Stephanie and her adorable family (especially Mr. Nielson) and found myself Googling everything I could about her incredible story and recovery. (She and her husband were in a terrible plane crash in 2008 that left her in a coma for four months and with more than 80% of her body burned. This book, which chronicles her immediately before and in the year following the accident, is an honest and vulnerable account of her experience overcoming hardship, accepting change, and remaining faithful.

I do have to say that she almost lost me at the very beginning --- She paints a picture of her life before the crash that seemed a little bit too full of "butterflies and rainbows," and it was hard for me to trust her.  BUT, once I got over that, I found that the book was a great reminder to look for the good in even the mundane things of motherhood like giving Sam a bath or simply being able to pick him up when he cries.  Stephanie has a powerful story and a unique perspective on life that I found very encouraging and inspiring.

3. Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle of Big Mama

Melanie is hilarious!  I love her storytelling voice and her ability to relate to her readers that is evident on her blog and in her book. This story, mostly about her personal journey into motherhood, is a quick & easy, light read - perfect for a new mom during those sleep-deprived first months.  I giggled my way through the whole thing in only a couple of days.  She doesn't sugar-coat things; but, she doesn't take anything too seriously either... This was a great "we are all in this together" book about being a first-time mother. (My only complaint?  I kept saying - "She stole my story!"  Seriously, it was like she took the words right out of my mouth... If I was every going to write a book, it would probably be almost plagiarism of this one. Consider yourself warned.)

Although I was not familiar with Claire's blog before, her memoir came very highly recommended to me by several of my blog-friends.  It is the VERY well written story of her life facing cancer diagnoses of both parents as a teenager, losing her mom is college, her father as a young adult, and the very hard road in between. She is one of the most honest and authentic writers I have ever read, and the story was actually suspenseful enough to keep me turning pages long past my bedtime.  

The only reason I didn't rank this one higher is because I couldn't really relate to most of it (which, obviously, doesn't make it bad).  I also tend to be one who wants things wrapped up neatly with a "happy ending" and that wasn't developed quite as much as I would have liked... However, since beginning to follow she and her precious daughters via her blog & Instagram,  - I see that the true happy ending is in the life full of hope and happiness and healing she is living today despite - and even because of - her hardship.

** I just realized that this list is also in reverse order of the way I read the books.  Maybe it isn't so much my preference, as much as just my memory?  Take the "rank" with a grain of salt please. :)

Have you read any of these? What did you think?  What's your favorite "blogger book"?

Up next... I'm going to take a break from blog-books and revisit Beth Moore's So Long Insecurity.  I started it when Sam was itty-bitty, and I've been thinking about some of her words a lot lately.  What are you reading?

P.S. Another Midweek Confessions linky tomorrow! Get your posts ready!


  1. I love Beth Moore's "So Long Insecurity" book--I read it several years ago, and like you-I think I need to re-visit it. Thanks for reminding me--that book changed my life!

    And I'm reading "Sparkly Green Earrings" right now and I love her! While I'm not a mom (but most of my friends are!), these type of books make me laugh and I love getting a glimpse into other's lives.

  2. I want to read all of these! Have you read Kelle Hampton's Bloom yet? I loved it! Angie Smith's books are really good too.

  3. Great recommendations! I will add them to my list! I am also reading through Beth's "So Long Insecurity". It is excellent - I need to pay heed to what she says more often!

  4. I've been wanting to read Glennon's book. Thanks for the review.

  5. Howabout this morning, I found out that Melanie Shankle is a good friend of a friend! That makes me like 1/4 famous, right? I wanted to read SGE before I found this out, but now I REALLY want to read it!

  6. I love love love Claire Bidwell Smith AND her book! I couldn't put it down either. After I was done reading, I kept thinking to myself how much different her life would be if she knew Jesus.
    And I have a hard time reading Glennon Melton because of her stance on Christians and homosexuality. I think it was the letter to her son that really rubbed me the wrong way.
    It's not a blogger book, but I am getting ready to read Heaven by Randy Alcorn - have you read that?

  7. I have been curious about Glennon's book. Haven't read the others! Have you read Bloom?

    I am stuck on fiction. I can't help it. Currently reading a series by Beverly Lewis. Annie's People. So good.

  8. I am about to start reading "Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay"... another first-time mom read. I enjoy your blog! (first time commenter)

  9. Thanks 4 the review. I loved Wild by Cheryll Strayed..Reese Witherspoon has bought movie rights for this one as well.


Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!

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