3 Books I Finished Recently


In 2023, I set a goal to finish one book per week. I’m aiming to listen to 30 minutes of an audiobook per day (while cooking, cleaning, and/or driving) and read 10 minutes of a book. By doing this, I hope to fairly easily be able to finish one book per week.

You can follow along on GoodReads to see what I’m reading, what books I finish, and the star rating I give each of them.

Here are the three books I finished recently:

Salt to the Sea

I absolutely loved this book. It was well-written, super engaging, and I learned a lot about an event in history (that took place during WWII) that I’d never even heard of before. I also loved that it was the same story written from multiple perspectives… which made it really fascinating.

It’s a sad story, but the author handled it in a way that it would be appropriate even for younger readers. Our teens read it with me over the summer and we all really enjoyed it.

One thing I will say is that since it’s told from multiple perspectives, it may take a bit to get your bearings on who is who and what is what… but keep reading for the first 30-40 pages and you’ll probably then not want to stop reading

Also, as a result of loving it so much, I went on and listened to all three of the author’s other YA books!

Verdict: 5 stars

Don’t Hold Back

If you don’t like getting your toes stepped on, don’t read this book. Because no matter where you stand politically, there is a good chance this book is going to convict you — and possibly make you feel really unsettled. But ultimately, I hope it challenges you to look to Jesus and for us to stop looking to a man or a political figure or a political party to “save us” or to change our world.

I also loved the emphasis on loving others and reaching out to those who may believe very differently than us. And the call to unite around God and His Word instead of secondary beliefs and convictions.

This book has gotten a lot of pushback and critique (at least based upon the number of messages I got while I mentioned reading this book on Instagram) and I found that every single thing people told me why they wouldn’t read the book missed what the book was about. So I’ll just say if you’ve heard things and haven’t read it, read it first before jumping to conclusions about it aligning with a certain political party.

Verdict: 4 stars

Okay, so I struggled to figure out how to review this book. On the one hand, I thought it had a lot of really valuable thoughts on how to spot a dysfunctional friendship and the importance of finding our worth and value in Jesus instead of trying to find that in a relationship. If you have struggled in friendships and relationships in the past, especially when it comes to drama or misunderstandings and hurt in relationships, I think this book has a lot of insight into where some of that could be stemming from.

On the other hand, I felt like it left me wanting… as in, yes, you shared lots and lots of wise perspective on what unhealthy friendships look like and how to avoid and recognize that, but I didn’t feel empowered with ideas of practically what it looks like to pursue healthy, life-giving friends. It almost made me feel hesitant to pursue relationships lest I have wrong or unhealthy motives.

Also, it made it seem like healthy relationships will involve a lot of confrontation and hard conversations and calling out sin. Personally, I think this book could make people feel like they need to be confronting their friends a lot instead of loving and showing up and believing the best and then (very occasionally) needing to have a difficult conversation. I’m all about pointing our friends to Jesus and encouraging them to pursue holiness, but I think we need to be careful that we don’t feel like it’s our job to be their Holy Spirit.

I’d recommend reading this book in conjunction with Find Your People for some balance of overall — especially if you are wanting to build healthy, life-giving, deep relationships.

Verdict: 3 stars

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