Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Book Reviews – the April Edition


Here we are almost finished with May, and I’m just now writing my April book review post. I read five books in April.    
A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewaledited by Sarah Bessey. ★★★★★ It's no secret that we are overworked, overpressured, and edging burnout. Unsurprisingly, this fact is as old as time--and that's why we see so many prayer circles within a multitude of church traditions. These gatherings are a trusted space where people seek help, hope, and peace, energized by God and one another.

This book, curated by acclaimed author Sarah Bessey, celebrates and honors that prayerful tradition in a literary form. A companion for daily inspiration, this collection gives women permission to recognize the weight of all they carry, while also offering a broadened imagination of hope--of what can be restored and made new. Each prayer is an original piece of writing, with a short introduction from Bessey sharing exactly why she loves and looks up to the writer.

This book is a literary hug, an invitation for respite, and a chance for readers to pause and celebrate who they are, beyond what they do.

The Bug Says: This book caused QUITE a furor because of a prayer written by Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, which contains these words: “
Dear God, Please help me to hate White people. Or at least to want to hate them. At least, I want to stop caring about them…” (You can read the full text here.) As a progressive white Christian lady, when I read that prayer I thought, “PREACH!” But there was some conservative outrage about this well-educated black woman who wanted to hate white people. It is a beautiful prayer, written in the style of lament, as a response to a "friend" using racist language, and she should not have been harassed because of it. Harrumph. Also, the other prayers were lovely too. If you’re a person of faith, or almost faith, or used to be, or just curious, I highly recommend this book!

2. Fractured (Will Trent #3), by Karin Slaughter. 
★★★★ When a tortured young woman enters the trauma center of an Atlanta hospital, Dr. Sara Linton is thrust into a desperate police investigation with Special Agent Will Trent and his partner, Faith Mitchell. Though guarding their own wounds and their own secrets, Sara, Will, and Faith find that they are all that stand between a madman and his next victim.
The Bug Says: I am really enjoying this series. Lots of moving parts, excellent twists that I don’t see coming, engaging characters… I’ve already finished book #4 and enjoyed it just as much.

3. Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum #26), by Janet Evanovich. 
★★★★ Grandma Mazur is a widow...again. This time her marriage lasted a whole 45 minutes. The unlucky groom was one Jimmy Rosolli, local gangster, lothario (senior division) and heart attack waiting to happen...well, the waiting's over. It's a sad day, but if she can't have Jimmy at least Grandma can have all the attention she wants as the dutiful widow. But some kinds of attention are not welcomed, particularly when Jimmy's former "business partners" are convinced that his widow is keeping the keys to their financial success for herself. As someone who has spent an entire career finding bad guys, a set of missing keys should be no challenge for Stephanie Plum. Problem is, the facts are as twisted as a boardwalk pretzel with mustard.

The Bug Says: While I was reading this book I kept thinking, did someone else write this? Grandma Mazur waxed philosophical, Ranger ate ice cream (!!!), and Stephanie seemed to be a much more deep thinker. I didn’t dislike the change, but I definitely noticed it. I went to check out the comments on Goodreads & lots of other folks noticed too. It will be interesting to see what the next one is like.

4. Next to Last Stand (Walt Longmire #16), by Craig Johnson. ★★★★ One of the most viewed paintings in American history, Custer's Last Fight, copied and distributed by Anheuser-Busch at a rate of over two million copies a year, was destroyed in a fire at the 7th Cavalry Headquarters in Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1946. Or was it? When Charley Lee Stillwater dies of an apparent heart attack at the Wyoming Home for Soldiers & Sailors, Walt Longmire is called in to try and make sense of a piece of a painting and a Florsheim shoebox containing a million dollars, sending the good sheriff on the trail of a dangerous art heist. 

The Bug Says: What I love most about these books is that Walt is “still waters run deep” personified. He spends a lot of time in his head, but there is still plenty of action. And a bonus in this one was hearing the Native American view of Custer.

5. Midnight at the Blackbird Café, by Heather Webber. ★★★★ Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café. It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about. As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.

The Bug Says: This book is almost too syrupy sweet, but I loved it. Maybe I needed something light after all the murder & mayhem. There is depth to it as well. It was very satisfactory to read!
I’ve only finished two books so far in May. I’d better get with it, or next month’s reviews will be slim pickins! What good things have you read lately?



  1. 5 books in one month?! I only managed f books the last three months. and yeah, I noticed the change in the change in Twisted 26 too.

  2. Interesting! I still haven't tried a Karin Slaughter and I keep meaning to. I'm impressed that you read so much!

  3. “Dear God, Please help me to hate White people.

    I'm already there and I'm white.

    It goes without saying that I almost daily see a huge disconnect between white folks words and their actions. I've got no problem with Ms. Bessey.


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