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What I'm Learning
Hi, I'm Chelsea! I’m on a mission to help you find joy and goodness in every day.
On this blog we talk about the big things (like chasing dreams) and the small things (like what books we're reading) because happiness comes in all sizes.
The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson
Plot: When Mary-Margaret Fischer met Jude Keller, the lighthouse keeper’s son, she was studying at a convent school on a small island off Chesapeake Bay. Destined for a life as a religious sister, she nevertheless felt a pull toward Jude–gorgeous, rebellious, promiscuous Jude. But Jude, driven by demons no one really understood, disappeared into Baltimore’s seamy red-light district. Mary-Margaret moved on with her life, preparing to serve God with her sisters as a teacher and artist.
Then Jude comes home–but now he’s bitter, dissolute, and diseased. And Mary-Margaret receives a divine call that shakes her to the core, a call to give up her dreams for the troubled man who befriended her so long ago. For Jesus’ sake, can she forsake the only life she ever wanted for a love that could literally cost her life?
My thoughts: This is a book about a nun who thinks she can see Jesus. If you would have told me that description, I wouldn’t have ranked it as something I thought I would enjoy. But I devoured this book. It was so good, so beautiful, and such a good reminder that no one is ever too far gone for love and grace, and that sometimes what we’ve always thought we wanted isn’t the best for our life.
It’s such a deep, funny, unique story with so many layers I want to tell you about, but I don’t want to spoil anything. So I’ll just say it’s a book about a nun who thinks she can see Jesus, and you really, really need to read it.
Should you read it?: YES.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Plot: Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.
My thoughts: Sometimes things are super mainstream and popular for a good reason. John Green books are some of those things.
Some people end up not liking these books for the very reason that I love them. They read The Fault in Our Stars first and fall in love with it (because it’s wonderful) and immediately after finishing that they buy another John Green book (a natural reaction), only they’re disappointed because they were expecting a grand story of tragedy and heartbreak like in TFiOS.
I love John Green’s books because while they are all magical and very obviously written by him, they are all so different. All of his books are filled with tragedy and heartbreak; only they’re different kinds. This one covers the tragedy of being someone who feels things deeply and the heartbreak of being alive.
I loved this book, and much like after I read Paper Towns, I wanted to run around and live life and experience everything, because being alive is just so great. Any book that reminds you of that is one worth reading.
Should you read it?: Yes. Immediately.
Water from my Heart by Charles Martin
Plot: Charlie Finn had to grow up fast, living alone by age sixteen. Highly intelligent, he earned a life-changing scholarship to Harvard, where he learned how to survive and thrive on the outskirts of privileged society. That skill served him well in the cutthroat business world, as it does in more lucrative but dangerous ventures he now operates off the coast of Miami. Charlie tries to separate relationships from work. But when his choices produce devastating consequences, he sets out to right wrongs, traveling to Central America where he will meet those who have paid for his actions, including a woman and her young daughter. Will their fated encounter present Charlie with a way to seek the redemption he thought was impossible–and free his heart to love one woman as he never knew he could?
My thoughts: This story has so many layers of different stories all intertwined and I don’t want to spoil them for you, so I’ll sum it up because I don’t think the Goodreads description does the book justice.
Charlie deals Cocaine (in the big leagues) with his best friend. Some things they do get his best friend’s son in trouble. When Charlie goes to rescue him, he stumbles upon a group of people whose lives he has inadvertently ruined, and he sets out on trying to make things right. And then an incredibly beautiful story unfolds.
Once again, Charles Martin blows me away.
Should you read it?: Absolutely.
The Good Girls by Sara Shepard
Plot: Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker have done some not-so-perfect things. Even though they all talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, they didn’t actually go through with it. It’s just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned . . . right? Except Nolan wasn’t the only one they fantasized about killing. When someone else they named dies, the girls wonder if they’re being framed. Or are they about to become the killer’s next targets?
My thoughts: I shamefully watched Pretty Little Liars every week because at this point, I just have to know how it all ends. I started reading the books, because I’m always interested when a tv show is based on a book series, but then I realized the tv show and the books have very different plots, and that was just too confusing.
So I read The Perfectionists, the first book in this series. It was just kind of ehhh. But since it’s a mystery, I had to finish it, so I read the second book, which ended up being much better.
It’s a juvenile read with incredible plot-twists and an end that I really didn’t see coming.
Should you read it?: Only if you’ve read the first one, or if you enjoy the Pretty Little Liars books. If not, I’d pass.
What have you read lately?
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