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  • BSideBecca

{TryDay} Favorite Reads of 2023 So Far - End of June Book Review

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Since we're halfway through the year, here are the best books of 2023 SO FAR, not in any particular order, but all at least an 8/10 in my ratings. So far, I'm at 39 books read this year, with only a few disappointments, and lots of great recommendations {titles are clickable and link to Amazon}


wrong place wrong time mcallister

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by GIllian McAllister

Jen sees her son killing a man, but knows something is off about the scene and wants to help her son who is now in custody. She wakes up the next morning and discovers it's the day before the murder and she has a chance to stop it from happening. Each day, she moves further back in time as she solves the mystery. Rated PG-13 for some language. 8 out of 10 stars for this interesting time travel book tied with a mystery. Great beach read!

Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice Sutanto

Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q Sutanto

Ha! This book will make you laugh as you follow Vera Wong and her attempts to help the police solve the murder of the man who died in her tea shop. While solving, she collects a little community around her and, of course, fun ensues! (I've always wanted to say fun ensues in a book review.) Rated PG-13 for some language. 8 out of 10 for a fun, light read. Great for passing time whilst sitting in an airport waiting for your delayed flight.


The Tiger: Vengeance and Survival John Vaillant

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival John Vaillant

Out of this list, this is the one I keep bringing up in conversation. The story is of a tiger who attacks in eastern Siberia and the tiger hunters who go after it. I found the historical chapters interesting and learned a lot about and area of the world I knew little about, but found these informational chapters slower reading than the alternating chapters covering the actual hunt of the tiger. (Read closely for an interesting comment on the faith of the leader of the tiger hunt.) Overall, great read, with a couple particularly great chapters on the tiger. Rated PG-13 for some language, and graphic details of the tiger's hunt. 8 out of 10 for a unique story! Great for a car trip - audiobook would probably be great, as long as there are no kids in the car. And you're not on safari.

Faith Related Non-Fiction:

Live Your Truth Alisa Childers book

Live Your Truth and Other Lies: Exposing Popular Deceptions That Make Us Anxious, Exhausted, and Self-Obsessed by Alisa Childers

I'm a fan of Alisa's podcast and YouTube channel and truly appreciate her work, so I enjoyed this book as it continued her message of seeking biblical truth and biblical answers to today's society. "Everyday messages of peace, fulfillment, and empowerment swirl around social media. On the surface, they seem like sentiments of freedom and hope, but in reality they are deeply deceptive." Childers takes phrases and discusses how they don't match up with biblical teaching. Phrases such as, "Live your truth, you are enough, you should put yourself first and authenticity is everything." My one critique is on the section of men and women, as I felt she was too light on the discussion, and her foundation to her argument was too based on her experience, as opposed to digging a bit deeper into the topic. I'm not disagreeing with her points, just how she goes about making the point. I came away from that chapter wanting more of an in-depth conversation (which I guess wouldn't fit into one I can see the difficulty here!) Great quote: "When we see the self as our foundation...we are building on a shifting surface, vulnerable to whatever current positive affirmation sounds right to our most 'authentic' selves in the moment."

Rating 8 out of 10, because overall her teaching is an important message that goes against the lies infiltrating our society and Christianity as a whole. Read when you can concentrate, like maybe on your front porch while a summer rain sweeps through.

Becoming Free Indeed Jinger Vuolo book

Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear by Jinger Vuolo

Jinger is one of the Duggars you'd be familiar with if you watched the popular TLC show 19 Kids and Counting. Jinger thoughtfully expresses how she disentangled from the way she was raised in the IBLP movement led by Bill Gothard. The IBLP movement is extremely legalistic and based on Gothard pulling verses to back up his principles, instead of learning to read the Bible as a whole and in context. There is also an overarching principle of staying under the umbrella of authority (your father) as a daughter and if you come out from under that, you will be punished by God. Jinger's book is a good introduction to this belief system and why it is wrong and not the true gospel. I appreciated her use of the word disentangling as opposed to deconstructing and her explanation as to what she means by that. Rating: 8 out of 10, easier read, but a heavy topic that makes my heart hurt for those who have been damaged by these lies.

passport to heaven mormon missionary micah wilder

Passport to Heaven The True Story of a Zealous Mormon Missionary Who Discovers the Jesus He Never Knew by Micah Wilder

Okay, this one - if I'm honest - drove me nuts with the way he wrote (talked?), and I would have eliminated about 2,589 of his metaphorical language use, HOWEVER, I also really loved his attitude, his enthusiasm and his thoughtful explanation of how he was reached with the gospel while on his Mormon missionary assignment. I've been doing a lot of reading and listening to what Mormonism is, and this was a great, personal story of coming to know the true gospel and coming out of Mormonism. Rating: 8 out of 10, if you excuse the proliferation of metaphors. This is an easy read, perfect for a summer lunch break.

Those are my top books of 2023 so far!

Let me know in the comments what book you've enjoyed this year! I'd love to have some suggestions!

{My list of books on prayer I've read and recommend are at the bottom of this post if you're interested: Prayer: Until We're Face to Face

And my list of books I read in May: May: A Review


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