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Dec 20, 2022

Chantel of Chantel Reads All Day and Hey Reader runs an annual "Read Your Bookshelf Challenge." Simply put, she challenges you to read the unread (lonely, miserable, aching to come alive in your brain) books on your bookshelf.  To do so, she gives you twelve prompts, one for each month, and basically says, "Have at it!"  Okay, there are prizes, too, but... really, it's about reading those books. 

Well, this year I did it and had a BLAST. But more than helping me read the books I already owned, one particular prompt helped me find a new author and fabulous book. Listen in to see why you need to read The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix (or reread it if you already knew the brilliance of this book!


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How a Reading Challenge Helped Me Discover a Great Book

Like I said in the episode, there are lots of reasons to join reading challenges or read-a-thons. Aside from the sheer fun of it, the comaraderie of the community of folks going, "Hey, that's a cool one! I chose xyz for "cozy or nostalgic," but now I need to read that, too" is a huge one. Okay, so maybe it's a TBR builder as well as reducer, but seriously! Two of my favorite reads this year I found because of Chantel's challenges/read-a-thons. The first was Emily of Deep Valley (to fulfill the Maud Hart Lovelace prompt with the You've Got Mail Read-a-Thon). Seriously, I LOVED that book and want to read more by her now (I previously didn't like the books of hers I'd read). And then there was The Space Between Words.

I bought the book because I needed a white book. Seriously. That's why. Because "a mostly white cover" was the prompt, and I didn't have a book that was a mostly white cover. That's the reason.  I am ready to gush all over again, but first... Challenges.

I meant it when I said that challenges are great for helping you find new books and authors, but they're also wonderful for getting you out of reading slumps! And, for people like me, they're also great for helping me reduce the number of books in my home so I have room for more! EEEP!

A few reading challenges for you for 2023

The first two I think I'll be doing, but there are many more! Scout around and see if one tickles your fancy! The ones I've listed are either ones I've personally considered OR are ones mentioned by BookTubers that I follow and watch.

And if you're new to BookTube, here are a few of my favorite channels!

These are the ones I watch pretty much every video.

Do leave a comment and let me know if I'm missing out on any great BookTubers!

But the gush...

You know I love a good book rich in story and faith. Well, The Space Between Words definitely has that. This book had a twist I should have seen coming, but it is so well-written and engrossing that I missed it and got blown out of the water.  Fitting considering the plot. One of the best parts about this book is how it doesn't pretend that being a Christian and standing firm in your faith is easy. We weren't promised easy. Despite the easy yoke and light burden Jesus offers, this world is full of death, sorrow, sin, and decay. And it's hard. It hurts.  

The Space Between Words shows that pain for the ugliness that causes it and the beauty that God brings from it. If any book can beat out The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip as my most-recommended book of the year, this will be the one.

The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix

Award-winning author, Michèle Phoenix, weaves an unforgettable tale of hope and survival in The Space Between Words.

“Several scenes in The Space Between Words will leave readers without words, the ability of speech replaced by the need to absorb all the feels.” —RT Book Reviews, 4½ stars, TOP PICK!

“There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned.”

When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his loving insistence, she agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy.

“The pages found you,” Patrick whispered. “Now you need to figure out what they’re trying to say.”

During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.

“I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival.”

Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand.

Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?

“An unforgettable portrait of courage and reclaimed hope.” —Kristy Cambron, award-winning author of the Lost Castle series.

Find out more about Michele Phoenix on her WEBSITE.

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