Kelsi’s September Book Picks


“The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong” by: Karen Gonzalez

A profound read, seamlessly weaving theological perspective with personal narrative all surrounding issues of immigration, compassion, and what we do with “foreigners.” This book is accessible, moving, intelligent, and inspiring. My husband and I read this book aloud during the many road trips we take, and loved having SO MUCH to talk about after each chapter. This is a life-changing read, necessary in our current political climate. Five Stars from this book lover!

“All Shall Be Well” by: Catherine McNeil

I have long been a fan of Catherine’s work, having LOVED “Long Days of Small Things.” She has the ability to communicate challenging perspectives in a way that is so poetic and beautiful that striving for a better motherhood feels like the most natural, life-giving thing on the planet. Her’s is a way of invitation and grace, which she continues in her latest offering. Centered around the seasons we experience in the natural realm, she draws parallels between our spiritual lives and what the earth is doing. I found this book to be one that relieved burdens, not added to them, which is so common in what could be considered “Christian Self-Help Books” (more often “self-condemnation books”). There is an ebb and flow to life–it can’t all be springtime, otherwise nothing would grow. Wise and beautiful, this book would make a great addition to the “Soul Care” shelf.


“My Dear Hamilton” by: Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

I first began this book on loan from the library and quickly ordered it because I knew it was one I would be coming back to multiple times for the rest of my life. What an incredible novel! The prose is gorgeous, the historical research is seamless and fascinating, and the insight gained into one of America’s most interesting and important couples is unparalleled. I felt honored as a reader, to move through the pages of this novel, falling in love with Eliza and feeling every emotion, travail, and triumph with her. I feel like I know her, and I feel like I have been gifted with an intimate look into early American life and politics. This is not an easy read. It is equally beautiful, inspiring, and heartbreaking. I had to put the book down multiple times to let my heart process all that was happening. It is a book to be savored and revisited. I HIGHLY recommend this timely, beautifully written, American novel!

“Meet Me in Monaco” by: Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

I placed a hold on this book from the library as soon as I found out about it. I knew I would be in the midst of rehearsals with Opera San Antonio for their September production of “Tosca,” and needed some backstage reading. I thought this novel would get me through the show, but I ate it up in three days. I am new to Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, and am now a huge fan. This story centers around an artisan perfumer on the famed Cote d’Azur named Sophie Duval, her chance encounter with Grace Kelly during the Cannes Film Festival and their ensuing friendship, and her atmospheric romance with a British press photographer named James Henderson. Their stories intertwine quite deliciously and make for an interesting, upbeat, historical fiction romance. This book did not draw me in as much as I anticipated (although I couldn’t put it down…confusing, I know haha), meaning the characters and their stories did not linger with me afterwards as much as other works of fiction have. I wouldn’t call this an “emotionally gripping” tale, but I don’t think it was meant to be. I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and found myself scouring the internet for more info about Monaco, French perfume houses, and Princess Grace, not to mention wanting to re-watch one of my favorite movies of all time–High Society!


“The Heart Room” by: Libby Kurz

I cannot stop poring over these stunning poems! My nightstand has received a serious upgrade with the arrival of “The Heart Room” by Libby Kurz. As a surgical nurse, and a gifted writer, she extricates such beauty and wisdom from the emergent and the mundane. One poem has us holding a beating heart with her at the operating table, and the next has us making sandwiches with her at her kitchen table, observing the moments of family, work, and marriage around her. This collection pulsates with life and stirring imagery–grab a copy for yourself and a friend, you will be glad you entered the world of #libbykurz and #theheartroom

“Becoming Coztototl” by: Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros

This collection of poetry is a spiritual necessity. It is like sharing a meal at the border with the past, present, and future. My mothering soul cried alongside of her’s as she wrestled with the disparity between the world we dream of for ourselves and our children, and the one we currently face. But there is so much hope amidst the sorrow and struggle, for the truth pounding in our hearts will not be silenced. Brava Carolina for a profound collection, full of beauty, heart, and brave observation. Her poem “Blessed be the Mother” is worth the price of the collection alone.