Reading | Week 21 in 2021

On Wednesdays I share the books I’ve finished over the week. I have a nice variety to talk about today!

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw
“And you realize that if God were to welcome everyone into heaven, your mother would abandon Christianity immediately.”

This was an Audible Daily Deal a few months ago and I eagerly purchased it. I’m trying to read more short stories and had heard good things about this one. It was an engaging collection, for sure! Philyaw did an amazing job of writing about the lives of many different kinds of women and tapping into their secret desires. And nearly every story was quite steamy, which you may want to know before you fire up this audiobook in front of your children (like I did. Oops).

Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali
“The whole world is medicine’. We can learn from everything that happens to us.”

I abandoned this book several years ago and decided to begin again for my morning contemplative reading. It was perfect to read in 10 minute intervals and exactly the message I was looking for. This book covers many topics, all of which felt relevant and useful in my life right now.

One of the most interesting ideas introduced to me through this book is the “spaciousness of the brain.” Sometimes, in real life, it seems as though just one tiny thing can send me over the edge. This idea – that our brains are vast spaces that can contain almost everything – has already helped me see challenges as a single drop of water in an ocean, not something to totally derail my day. Progress!

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
“That’s all magic is, really: the space between what you have and what you need.”

I started this just after it was published but had to step away from it because I was in a reading rut at the time. But I grabbed it when it was an Audible Daily Deal a few months ago because I knew I’d love it when the time was right for me. And I did!

Set in the late 1800s, three sisters are reunited in New Salem. They join up with the local suffragette movement and use their witchy ways to fight for women’s rights. They learn that witches throughout the centuries have been passing on their spells to their children through the nursery rhymes and lullabies that we all know so well, so the words are accessible to all of us but the magic only appears when we desperately need it.

Her Dark Lies by JT Ellison
“I don’t remember. Three words, so simple, yet so duplicitous. What is memory anyways? Echoes of reality, twisted and molded into what we want to believe. What we want to remember. Our brains allow us grace to cope with trauma. They give us space to heal, to come to terms with our actions, our fears.”

I love to hate thrillers and really wanted to hate this one, but I couldn’t stop listening to it. I was certain I’d dislike it when I realized what was happening: an exclusive wedding on a secluded island (how many times has that been done lately?) and a young artist marrying into one of America’s wealthiest families (extreme wealth makes me want to gag). This was prime for me to disdainfully push aside and say, thrillers aren’t thrilling.

Well, I was wrong. I loved how this was structured and Ellison’s propulsive plot. This story was told from many perspectives, including the groom’s dead first wife. We start in Nashville, where Claire Hunter is preparing to marry Jack Compton, one of America’s wealthiest bachelors. They’re marrying on his family’s island in Italy, which just happened to be one of Cesar’s old stomping grounds.

The villa is opulent and full of history, including the mysterious deaths of women over the centuries. The island, the Comptons, and even Claire are full of secrets that slowly unfold throughout this novel. I’m calling it a perfect summer read!

Friends, I’m going to take a break from blogging for the rest of the week and spend my morning time catching up with your blogs and comments. My Tuesday posts tend to be more intense and I’ve published two Tuesdays in a row – that spells disaster for my blogging balance. I plan to be back on Monday with a look into my notebook, as usual. Talk soon!


5 thoughts on “Reading | Week 21 in 2021

Add yours

  1. So glad you enjoyed two of the books that have been favorites of mine recently! I also listened to The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, but it’s a collection I think I want to own a copy of (I’m planning to pick a copy up the next time I’m at my local bookstore).

    Enjoy your break — you’re absolutely entitled to it!


  2. I said an OH MY out loud … Church Ladies is definitely not one for little ears 🙂 (and it was very much fun for these older ones!) enjoy your blogging break and the long weekend!


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