Wednesday, February 3, 2016

January Books Wednesday

I read five great books this January.  One is by a local Clovis author with her debut book, one was a book I read for my Academic Decathlon team, one is a book about retirement, and the last two were by an author recommended from blog posts on books.  I'm hoping my February reading is just as engaging!

First up is Finding Pony.  The author, Kara Lucas, is someone I know in real life!  It is so very cool to know an author!  In fact, I taught Kara's son when he was in third grade, and now he's a freshman at West Point!  Kara has worked for years in Social Work and focuses on adoptions, and this book is a reflection of her deep knowledge of the subject.

Finding Pony is about a teenage boy who is thrown into the social services/foster care system.  The story is about his desire to find and be reunited with his little sister, Pony.  The book was very realistic, and at times heartbreaking, because of the insight into this world.  There is a bit of language in the book, but I feel it was necessary to add realism to the story.  Teenage boys in a group center would probably not always use proper language.  I really loved the story and am excited for other people to learn of Kara's debut book.

The second book I read was The Mark of a Giant - Seven People Who Changed the World.  This book is one of the books we are reading for the Catholic Schools Academic Decathlon Competition.  I don't always like the books that they choose for the competition, but I thought this one was great!  It is thought provoking, interesting, and informative.  It talks about seven different people who literally changed the world through their actions. My favorites were Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr, and Madame Marie Curie.  I learned a lot about each character and want to learn more, especially about Mother Teresa.

*I liked this book so much that I bought another book by the same author called Seven Miracles That Saved America.   I'm reading the book right now, and I'll talk about it in my February book review.

Eight Hundred Grapes was a book that I learned about after reading blogs through THIS linkup.  I don't remember which blog exactly reviewed this book, but I thought it sounded like a cute little book...and it was!  It's about a girl who grows up with a father who makes wine. She leaves small town life as an adult to become a lawyer in Los Angeles.  Circumstances bring her back home and has to decided if her life is going the way she planned.  Heh, does life ever really go as we plan?!

I borrowed the book using my library app on my cell phone and iPad.  As a general rule, I borrow my fiction books from the library but like to buy my self improvement and non-fiction books. Also, because I teach off of an iPad all day long, I long to hold an actual book in my hands.  It's been nice switching back to real live books rather than ebooks.  All of my February books I plan to read are books I can hold in my hand.

Since I enjoyed Laura Dave's Eight Hundred Grapes, I borrowed another book from the library written by her.  The First Husband was also a book I enjoyed.  It was a cute easy-to-read romance that turned out the way I wanted.  It's all about finding love, keeping love, and appreciating the love that someone gives to you.

The last book I read was Retire Inspired by Chris Hogan.  Loved it!  My husband and I got to see Chris Hogan speak live when we attended a Dave Ramsey Smart Conference a year and a half ago in Los Angeles.  I can't wait for May because we are going again!  It was one of the most inspiring conferences I have ever been to!  You know that feeling when you are so excited about something that you can't stop chattering about it all the way home?  That was Eric and me after going to the Smart Conference.

Chris Hogan's specialty in finance is dealing with retirement.  The big theme of the book is that retirement is not an age or a number but an attitude.  The other message is that it is never too late (or early) to plan for the future.  We are ALL going to get to a point in life where we want to or have to stop working.  We have to prepare for that time.  I want my retirement to be inspired rather than scary.  The book was practical and yet very encouraging about planning for the great years ahead!  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this topic.

Books on tap for February include another history type book, one on Mother Teresa, two faith books, and a romance.  I better get to reading!

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