52 Books In (A Little Less Than) 52 Weeks

This year I was super excited to introduce a new reading challenge on my blog! I called it “The 2018 Reading Challenge: 52 books in 52 weeks” and was blown away by the reaction. With hundreds of shares on Facebook and thousands of re-pins on Pinterest, the response to this challenge has been phenomenal and staggering at the same time. This was my most viewed post of 2018 (so far) and I’ve been super excited to see so many people passionately dive into reading!

A book a week sounds daunting to some people but the goal of this challenge was really to inspire people to read more and to read different. With fifty-two different categories, I hoped that participants would stretch out of their comfort zones and pick up books that they might not ordinarily read. Many of those who have been participating have excitedly shared new authors and new genres that they’ve discovered and were surprised by.

So far, my personal book tally for this year is hovering in the 120’s. Not all the books I read were for the challenge and I tried to limit myself to just one challenge book each week. However, with a new baby on the way, I knew that my reading time was going to be limited over the next few months and wanted to make sure I finished before October.

With that being said, I have completed my 52 challenge books for the year and wanted to share them you. There’s probably only two or three books on this list that I didn’t enjoy and wouldn’t necessarily recommend. (Cough, cough, Three Cups of Tea, cough…) But even so, this was a really fun challenge and I hope YOU ALL join me in the upcoming 2019 MommyMannegren reading challenging.

That’s right. A 2019 Reading Challenge is on it’s way! The full challenge and details will be released in NOVEMBER! So be sure to stay tuned!

I am also taking category suggestions for the new challenge. If you haven’t already joined the 2018 Reading Challenge Facebook Group, I encourage you to do so! If you have a brilliant idea for next year and want to see your category included in the 2019 challenge, the Facebook group is the place to share it!

Continue reading

Parenting & Pregnancy After Loss

“Mommy, what if baby doesn’t come out in October?”

We were in the car, on our way to a routine pregnancy check-up when I heard the little voice pipe up from the backseat. At nearly 35 weeks pregnant, we’d been talking a lot about the baby that was due to arrive in a month’s time. My son had accompanied me to each prenatal appointment, listening to the heartbeat and watching my belly grow. With his head pressed up tightly against my stomach, he’d talk and whisper to his little sister, kiss her good-night, and eagerly count down the time until her arrival. There was no doubt that our entire family was eagerly awaiting the birth of this little one.

From the driver’s seat of the car, I smiled. We’d had a conversation about birthdays earlier and I assumed that this was where his question was coming from. I snuck a glance at him through the rear-view mirror, noting the thoughtful expression on his face. “Baby will definitely come by October,” I replied cheerfully. “The doctors won’t let her stay in longer than that.”

“Unless she goes to be with Jesus first.”

My heart skipped a beat.

Continue reading

Grace Like Scarlett: Book Review

Book Review: Grace Like Scarlett by Adriel Booker
Grieving with Hope After Miscarriage and Loss

Four years ago, my son was stillborn. I was at such a loss as to how to process this sudden and unexpected death and wanted someone to tell me that what I was feeling was normal, healthy even. I found it challenging to find good, recently published books that taught about grief from a Christian perspective — books that taught and reinforced a theology of suffering and grief through a Christ-centered lens.

When we openly share our grief, we are reminded that we are never too broken or damaged for God. This is why I am so glad to finally start seeing these sorts of books on the market.

Grace Like Scarlett is a beautiful look at one mother’s journey with miscarriage, all the while centered around the transforming, redeeming, and healing power of Christ. Adriel shares her story with raw-hearted honesty and vulnerability. She doesn’t shy away from the gritty but instead invites us to look at it from a new perspective.

Continue reading

Book Review: A Light On The Hill

I’m not going to lie. When I was offered the opportunity to review this book, I did so because of the cover. “A Light On The Hill” by Connilyn Cossette is exactly the type of fictional book that filled my early-teen summers and I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic at the sight of it. (Yep, you caught me… I am hands down the type of person who picks books by their covers…) Warm and beautiful with a soft matte finish, this is my kind of book cover!

The novel is set in Israel in the time of Joshua, seven years after the fall of Jericho. After being branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, one young woman has hidden herself away on her father’s vineyard. Carrying the shameful reminder of her captivity in Jericho, Moriyah struggles to be content with a life lived behind a veil. After her father finds a match for her, a widower with two teenage sons, she begins to hope again. But soon it all goes horribly wrong and Moriyah is forced to flee for her life. Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, Moriyah’s travels bring her to the feet of danger, enemies, unexpected allies, and ultimately, God. 

The story is, in and of itself, well written. I don’t tend to read a lot of historical fiction nowadays but this book was a pleasant change from my usual fare. It’s a light and easy read with an interesting narrative. While the plot is fairly predictable, the characters are well rounded and likable and the scenes are well set.

Continue reading