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Zero-Budget Christmas: The Almost Entirely True Story of Our Quest to Do Our Christmas Shopping Without Spending Any Money by Jason Anderson (2 stars)
I was intrigued by this short book when I saw it for a dollar on Amazon. It's exactly what the title says. Jason Anderson's writing is funny and Jon Acuff-esque, he and his wife sound like nice people, and their ideas are good. If saving money is new to you, this book will be helpful. But if you're already a bargain hunter (like me), you probably won't find any new information here.

The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass by Mandy Hale (3 stars)
After a bad breakup, Mandy Hale couldn't find any books or encouragement for single women. So she founded her own website/ministry, The Single Woman, and wrote this book. I like her for that, and am in FULL support of her overall message! But while the book had some good nuggets of wisdom, it was a little cutesy and Oprah-motivational for me (the many rhyming couplets made me feel like I was back in the Pentecostal church where I grew up). If that doesn't bother you, you will love this!

Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion by Sara Miles (4.5 stars)
Sara Miles was a very unlikely candidate to become a Christian. But one day, as she walked past a service at St. Gregory's Episcopal Church in San Francisco, she felt an inexplicable urge to go in. When she took the Eucharist, she knew her life had changed forever. Within a year, compelled by Jesus' command to "feed my sheep," she had started a food pantry at the church that provided groceries to hundreds weekly. I was fascinated, inspired, and convicted by this memoir. I haven't been part of a Eucharist-focused denomination, so I've never thought much about Jesus as nourishment. I hope these insights will stick with me.

PS - I later discovered that Sara is (I think) the daughter of Betty Miles, who wrote YA before it was YA, including a lesser-known favorite of mine, The Real Me. It was about a teenage girl in the 1960s or 70s who fought The Man for permission to deliver newspapers and play sports.

These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen (4 stars)
Cate and Renee are NYC roommates and co-workers at an InStyle-like women's magazine. Cate has just landed an editorship and has to prove herself, while Renee is vying for a beauty editor position and struggling to lose weight so she can look the part. They're just beginning to establish a real friendship when Abby, the troubled sister of a colleague, comes into their lives. Each woman is hiding a lot of trauma and at least one big secret. More than anything, this novel is about how they learn to trust each other. There is a love interest (a good one), but the women's friendship is definitely the focus of the story, and I love that.

Books for December: 4
2013 FINAL TOTAL: 68

Not my highest annual total, but I read a lot of quality books this year, and Quality Over Quantity is slowly becoming one of my rules for life.

See you in 2014! :)

December 2015

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