What We’ve Been Reading – April 2021

What We’ve Been Reading – April 2021

April showers bring May flowers…And a whole lot of good books! What are you reading this Spring? Don’t forget that The Nature of a Lady releases on Tuesday!

Roseanna’s Reads

With the Kids

The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum

This middle grade set in Holland during the closing days of World War II is one of my favorites from the school year! I love the view of the war from a young boy’s eyes, the adventure, the danger, and all I learned about Holland through this great novel.

On Audio

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Okay, I totally borrowed this one from my library solely because it was available, I’d heard people talking about it forever, and thought, “Sure, why not?” And I found it totally charming. I loved the brightness and innocence of the main character–and the audio narrator was FANTASTIC. I hear the other books in the series aren’t so bright-and-innocent so I’ll probably stop here, but I’m glad I listened!

For the Edit

The Rock by Cara Grandle
WhiteFire’s May release made it into my work schedule in April too! The Rock takes readers from Missouri to Oregon, though the Trail portion is skipped over…which is great, because we all REALLY just want to see heroine Rebecca actually meet hero Clark. 😉 This is a totally charming historical romance, reminiscent of the “sweet spot” Christian historicals I grew up on. So glad there are more in the series!

For Book Club

Echoes Among the Stones by Jaime Jo Wright
I’ve been wanting to read this one so finally plugged it into my book club’s lineup. 😉 And I’m glad I did! As usual, Jaime proves herself a master of the timeslip novel. In this one it’s a family mystery the heroine is trying to solve, and gracious, there were some twists I didn’t see coming!

For Fun

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
I’ve been slowly working my way through the Harry Potter series and finally broke down and bought the paperbacks after listening to several and then getting one from the library on Kindle. And good grief, this thing’s so big it hurts my wrist if I try to hold it one-handed! LOL. But I’m definitely loving the series more and more as I go along!

Rachel’s Reads

As the school year starts to wind down, I’m finding more time to read again, and I’m so excited! I have been all over the board this month from Magical Realism to Contemporary Romance to some Classics!

For Fun

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy
Escape to India in this lovely adventure! Although I’m not a huge fan of insects and other crawlers…I did find this story very interesting and engaging. I loved learning about India and entomology (specifically the butterflies). A new-to-me author who I can’t wait to read more from and you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful setting.

Buddy Read

Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano
While I’m not currently in an active Book Club, my bestie and I decided to read this one together. We both got it from The Bookish Box last year and finally got around to reading it. This is a General Market Young Adult (some language and kissing) book that combines elemental magic with a little sci-fi. Very intriguing and I read it in 3 days….that doesn’t usually happen to me anymore.

On Audio

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
I absolutely LOVE Jane Austen’s books. And it has been quite a while since I’ve read any of them, that I decided to listen to a couple this year as I drive back and forth from workout classes. I love Elinor Dashwood. She is definitely one of my favorites of Austen.

With the Kids

Om-Kas-Toe by Kenneth Thomasma
We read this book as part of school and I really enjoyed the (fictional) glimpse into the Blackeet experience with horses (Elkdogs) being introduced to their people.

Good Friday – Dayenu

Good Friday – Dayenu

Today is the Thursday before Resurrection Day. The day before Good Friday. A day I’ll be spending in part making unleavened bread and apple clay . . . we’re not having an official seder this year, but eating these familiar, symbolic foods will help me get my head out of “prepare for book launch!” mode and into “focus solely on Christ” mode. As I pondered what to post for these holiest of days, I decided that I’d actually share a portion of a post from 5 years ago. Originally, this was part of a Bible study I did on my blog during Lent. Which means the passage below was buried at the end of a very long post with a lot of scripture. I recently recorded it for my podcast, and I think it bears repeating here in general. I don’t know what you do or don’t do to observe Good Friday…but it’s always been an important day for me, in my own faith journey. Good Friday was the day I wrote the short story that inspired A Stray Drop of Blood. Good Friday was the day when it really hit me what my Jesus did for me. Good Friday stirs the depths of my heart each time I pause to really dwell in it. And so, here it is. My reflections on the day…and why “it is sufficient.”

~*~

I never understood, as a child, why this day was called Good Friday, when it seemed pretty darn bad to me. My Jesus was killed on this day. He was mocked, he was beaten, he was reviled. He was hung upon a cross. My Lord, my King suffered on this day like on no other. Why, if I love Him, would I call such a day Good?

There’s a very thorough look into the origins of it in this blog post. (German actually calls it “Sorrowful Friday,” just FYI.) But the one all linguistics experts agree on is that good used to mean holy. And we can certainly agree it’s a holy day without the more modern connotation of “happy” getting put on it.

Let’s dwell today on this sorrowful, holy day that we commemorate on this Friday before the Resurrection. Part of the Seder meal we observe the night before Good Friday has a traditional Jewish responsive reading called “Dayenu”–it would have been sufficient. In it, they go through the events of the Exodus, proclaiming after each one that if God had, for instance, led them out of Egypt but not parted the Red Sea, “It would have been sufficient.” Dayenu. It would have shown His glory still. The Messianic portion of the seder goes on to add Jesus into it in a way that I find so striking.

“If He had come but not died –
dayenu.

If He had died but not risen –
dayenu.”

He came. He came to earth for no reason other than his love for us. He came to live among us, to teach us how to approach the Father. He came, and when he walked this earth, it was sufficient. Those who believed him to be the Savior before his death, before his resurrection, tasted of the faith that leads to Heaven. If any of them died while he still walked the Earth, I’m confident that faith in him saved them.

But coming wasn’t all Jesus did. He didn’t only show us how to live, how to approach the throne. He died for us too. He died for our sins, like the passover lamb. That was enough to cleanse us. Just as the sin offering always did, but more. Once, for all. Forever. Had he only died, it would have washed us clean.

But He rose again to prove that death would not have the final victory even over our mortal bodies. He rose again because he wasn’t just a sin offering, he was the Passover Lamb. The lamb whose blood saves us from death.

Oh, my Jesus. Every year it strikes me anew. The things you suffered. The things you did. For me. And this year, like every year, I lack the words to thank you. So I walk that path with you in my mind. And I no doubt fail to picture it fully. But my eyes burn with tears for you. My heart aches. And my soul weeps out its thanks. Because your sacrifice on this day all those years ago saved me.

Dayenu.

What We’ve Been Reading – March 2021

What We’ve Been Reading – March 2021

Where has February gone? In my opinion, it’s just too short. 😉 Although I didn’t get very much reading done this month, there are some really good books I recommend on this list. 🙂 Happy Reading!

Roseanna’s Reads

With the Kids

A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by C. Coco De Young
A Depression-era set small novel, this one is set close to home in Johnstown, PA, and is based on the author’s family’s experience of nearly losing their family home in the 1920s…until a brave letter to the president’s wife changes everything.

For Bookclub

Everywhere to Hide by Siri Mitchell
SO GOOD. This one was packed with tension, little-known facts, danger, and just enough romance. I’m really loving Siri Mitchell’s contemporary suspense!

With the Kids

The Kitchen Madonna by Rumer Godden
This is a story with a really unique telling…that I really love. It’s about two siblings in London who go way out of their way to give their cook what she most desires: a small picture of Madonna and Child for the kitchen. So sweet and touching!

For Bookclub Too

To Dwell Among Cedars by Connilyn Cossette
I love all of Conni’s books, and this one was no exception! And intriguing view of what might have happened when the Ark was sent back into Hebrew territory by the plague-struck Philistines, this novel is thrilling, romantic, and deep.

Rachel’s Reads

For Fun

Beauty Among Ruins by J’nell Ciesielski
My turn to list this one. WOW! I loved this story. A brooding Scottish Laird, the middle of WWI, mysterious “accidents”…Oh and a Scottish war cry preceeding a kiss….Most definitely recommend!

Tackling the TBR

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Do you have any movies that you refuse to watch until you’ve read the book? This is one for me. I’m happy to say that I’m half way through this book and absolutely loving it! I was a bit hesitant on the format (all in letters), but it is really well done!

Also for Fun

A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen
Stories by Julie Klassen are my cozy go-to reads. Opening one of her books is like drinking a soothing cup of tea while wrapped in a cozy blanket. Don’t get me wrong…There is plenty of action and bad guys, as well as sweet romance. But I think because Julie’s books are what got me back into reading 7 years ago…They are comforting.

With the Kids

Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw (A Sam London Adventure)
I’ve had this one on my shelf for a while and we decided to give it a go. It is a fun adventure with magical creatures. We aren’t very far into it yet. I’d be grateful for book recommendations to read-aloud with my 7 and 8 year old boys.

What We’ve Been Reading – February 2021

What We’ve Been Reading – February 2021

Where has February gone? In my opinion, it’s just too short. 😉 Although I didn’t get very much reading done this month, there are some really good books I recommend on this list. 🙂 Happy Reading!

Roseanna’s Reads

For the Edit

The Secret Place by Camille Eide
Really enjoyed this deep contemporary. Though dealing with crucial topics like motherhood, sisterhood, honesty, and selfless love, it also has a narrator with a witty voice and some hilarious moments with a 4-year-old boy, for a total win.

With the Kids

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
I loved this book the first time I read it to the kids a few years ago, and I’m loving it even more this time after having done some independent research on the history of racism, especially in the 20th century. This book definitely deserves all its acclaim!

With the Kids

Little Britches by Ralph Moody
This autobiographical tale about a young boy who lived a few years as a rancher in Colorado with his family is an amazing slice-of-life story from the turn of the last century. Definitely a great read with the kids to show them how hard a homesteading life was…but also how worth it.

For Fun

Beauty Among Ruins by J’Nell Ciesielski
Okay, so I’ve only just started this one, but I couldn’t resist when the press release said it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling! And hello, Scottish castle! And the Great War, so of course right up my alley! I’ll have to let you know next month my final thoughts beyond “Oo, fun concept and setting!” You know, when I’m further than chapter three. 😉

Rachel’s Reads

For Fun

Veilded in Smoke by Jocelyn Green
I know book 2 JUST came out…but that’s how behind I am on my reading. Eeeep! But this story is absolutely FANTASTIC! Genuiniely in love with this story.

On Audio

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
It’s been quite some time since I’ve read The Lord of the Rings. And as I’ve made a decision to read/reread as many classics as I can this year, I decided to put this one on audio. I’m about 25% of the way through now. I only listen in the car as I go to and from my workout classes…But I do enjoy filling the drive with this story.

With the Kids

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh
We read this one as part of school and my 3rd grader really enjoyed it. The cadence, the suspense, the adventure…he was enthralled.

Also for Fun

Dreams of Savannah by Roseanna M. White
I mentioned being behind on reading right? I am only know finishing this remarkable story by our very own Roseanna White. I LOVE everything about this story! The characters have taken up residence in my heart and I just admire them and love them! Except the antagonist….ooooh he burns my biscuits.

With the Kids

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Continuing with our nightly reading as a family through this month has been so rewarding. It’s an excellent time for us to all come together and unwind for the evening.

What We’ve Been Reading – January 2021

What We’ve Been Reading – January 2021

Welcome to a New Year! We are kicking off this year with a book release! Dreams of Savannah released on January 5th and if you haven’t snagged a copy yet, you can order a SIGNED copy from my shop HERE! And…coming in May 2021 is the launch of a brand new series. You can preorder The Nature of a Lady HERE.

We’re sharing a few of our recent reads with you today, but we want to know…What books have you been reading as we kick off 2021?

Roseanna’s Reads

In the last few weeks, I’ve done plenty of reading…but none strictly for pleasure. Even so, I’ve added quite a few fabulous books to my list, including some of my favorites from this school year with the kids!

For the Edit

Delia and the Drifter by Melody Carlson
This one’s for an edit–book releases 2/15–and it’s very much a classic Western romance in some ways…and utterly surprising in others! I highly enjoyed my read!

On Audio

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
I listened to this one on audio, as I have the other 2, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, it took me until 3/4 of the way through to realize the narrator wasn’t saying “Serious Black” but rather “Sirius Black.” The quirks of audio, LOL. Looking forward to the next one!

With the Kids

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
I loved this pioneer story the first time we read it a few years ago, and I loved it just as much this time around. The titular character is adventurous, audacious, yet we see her grow from a wild tomboy to a loving sister and gracious young lady in the course of the year the book covers.

With the Kids

The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney
I absolutely love the premise of this book: a boy who thinks his town is so boring and wants to go see the world, and whose father promises him a trip to visit relatives if he can find seven Wonders of the World–er, town–in the next seven days. It’s full of delightful, homespun, miraculous stories, the likes of which are always surrounding us. Such a fun story!

For the Edit (too)

Heart of the Crown by Hannah Currie
The summation of the Daughters of Peverell princess books was soooooooo good! A satisfying end to the series and just a beautiful story in its own right!

Nonfiction

How to Fight Racism by Jemar Tisby
I’m not finished this one yet, but I’m excited to have a practical guide to understanding and fighting racism tendencies! I loved The Color of Compromise by the same author so snatched this helpful little book up as soon as I saw it.

With the Kids

The Great Wheel by Robert Lawson
This story of the original, massive Ferris Wheel for the Chicago World’s Fair is told from the point of view of an Irish lad who comes to America to seek his fortune and follow his aunt’s prophecy, that says he’ll follow a star westward and ride on the greatest wheel ever built. Such a fun slice of fictionalized history!

Rachel’s Reads

For Fun

I am a little obsessed with all things WWII right now. So when I received an ARC of Kristy Cambron’s new book, you’d better believe I tore into it immediately!

On Audio

My husband and I recently went on a road trip and decided to reread this one since the squeal just released. This is one of those books that is so drastically different from the movie that it feels like it’s a completely different story. (Some language)

With the Kids

We just finished this book as part of our school curriculum. My third grader read it all by himself, aloud to me…And he really loved learning about George Washington!

Because I'm Obsessed with WWII Reads...

I told you I was reading a lot of WWII right now….This story was INCREDIBLE!!! I highly recommend it. Takes place on US soil (mostly) during WWII and follows the incredible women who flew the planes all over the US for the military. (General Fiction)

With the Kids

Read-Aloud with the boys. My 8-year-old has discovered that he loves reading! We JUST started reading this one together as a family and will work on taking turns reading. We’ve read several books in the Narnia series to the boys when they were so young, they don’t rememeber them…Hence…starting over from the beginning.

Holiday History ~ Good King Wenceslas

Holiday History ~ Good King Wenceslas

I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy learning about the true story behind things like songs, poems, and stories…much like the one that goes along with the carol “Good King Wenceslas.”

This song is based on the famous life of a Bohemian duke, Wenceslaus I (known in Czech as Svatý Václav). Wenceslaus was renowned for his piety and Christian devotion, and nothing could stop him from doing good…even terrible weather. The event memorialized in the song took place on December 26, the feast day of St. Stephen, a day traditionally reserved for delivering alms to the poor. Wenceslaus was so determined to take these alms to his people that he trekked out in the middle of a blizzard to accomplish it. The song is from the perspective of one of his servants, who thought at one point during the journey that he’d surely die from the cold; the snow was so thick he couldn’t see what was ahead of him. But he made his way by literally following in the footsteps of the duke, which led him unerringly to the door of the people he was helping.

Wenceslaus lived from 907-935 and is famous for his midnight vigils and dedication to protecting and providing for his people, especially the poor. Upon his death, many biographies were written about him, and he was soon named a saint. So great was his popularity that the Holy Roman Emporer Otto even posthumously conferred on him the title of “king.” How fascinating is that? He has been held up for centuries as what a true, noble leader should be.

Wenceslaus has remained a popular figure in both Bohemia and England for centuries, resulting in the poem and Christmas carol we all know, written in 1853 by John Mason Neale. The variation in the spelling of his name has happened in the time since the song was written; it originally had that ‘u’ in there.