What We’ve Been Reading – August 2020

What We’ve Been Reading – August 2020

It’s been a great summer for reading for me! This isn’t always the case, so that’s been a real treat. Of course, it means other things haven’t been getting done, but let’s not focus on that, LOL. For now, here are a few highlights, though not my exhaustive list!

For Book Club

Can you believe it…This was my first book by Karen Witemeyer that I’ve read! I know, I know…What took me so long? This will be my October book club selection, but I got a head start, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. =) I can definitely see why Karen Witemeyer is a reader favorite!

For Edits

A Voice Within the Flames by Henry O. Arnold

This biblical fiction from WhiteFire will release in December! It’s about the prophet Samuel and a bit about Saul, the first in a series that will take readers inside the prophets and kings. It’s a deep and compelling glimpse into these Old Testament stories!

Should Have Read it Long Ago

The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide

I know Camille is an AMAZING author, and I’ve been meaning to read this one for ages…finally picked it up this month and sailed through it in two breathtakingly-beautiful evenings. Such a deep, richly drawn story! This one’s highly deserving of all the acclaim it received with it released!!!

On Audio

Dream Big by Bob Goff

I knew I’d like this one simply because it’s by Bob Goff. What I didn’t realize was this would TOTALLY be talking my language! His focus in this book is all about our dreams and ambitions and how to know which ones to chase–and then chase them well. I’m so in love that I’ve already bought both audio and hardback and the journal and we’re hoping to do it with a group at church with the DVD sessions too!

For Fun

Until the Dawn by Elizabeth Camden

Another author I can’t believe I hadn’t read! I needed to remedy that while I was on a reading-roll, so I grabbed the only book of hers I could put my hands on (I have others, but I must have loaned them out to my grandmother…I’ve been her library during quarantine, LOL). Though a few years old, Until the Dawn was a wonderful book! Thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to find some more Elizabeth Camden to read!

On Audio - NOT with the kids...

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

You’d think I’d be reading this with my kiddos…but nope, LOL. I put myself on the waiting list for this one months ago, and it finally came available, so I listened while I could! I think I enjoyed this one even more than the first, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. I think I might switch up and read book 3 in paper though…

Rachel Dixon here…You might know me as Bookworm Mama…I am also Roseanna’s Virtual Assistant. As the end of Summer draws near, I am looking forward to establishing a new routine with school and curling up with a cup of coffee, a blanket, and a cozy Fall read. Here is what I’ve been reading this month.

For Book Club

Heartless by Marissa Meyer is our book this month and this is my third time reading it. I ADORE this book so much! If you love a good retelling, you’ll be captivated by this re-imagining of the Queen of Hearts. It is brilliant! (SIDE NOTE: This is the UK version that I own.)

For Fun

It has been YEARS since I read The Secret Garden. And like with Little Women I was blown away by my perspective this time around. Mary Lennox isn’t the spoiled little child that annoyed me to pieces. My Mama’s heart had so much compassion for her. If you haven’t read it recently, I definitely recommend reading it. It is a quick read and would be perfect to read aloud with the family as well.

For Review

This book made my soul and heart happy! A split-time romance with adventure and mystery. So good! And I highly recommend it!

With the Kids

With Summer comes the discovery of new-to-us books. Our school curriculum is so packed with reading material that I have a hard time squeezing in extra “fun” reads. I’m going to try and amend that this year, and with us going fewer places during the week, I’m hoping that will help. Judah (3rd Grade this year) is reading really well, but we’ve been reading this one aloud because there are a few BIG words in there.

What We’ve Been Reading – July 2020

What We’ve Been Reading – July 2020

It’s been a great summer for reading for me! This isn’t always the case, so that’s been a real treat. Of course, it means other things haven’t been getting done, but let’s not focus on that, LOL. For now, here are a few highlights, though not my exhaustive list!

For Book Club

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by Siri Mitchell, but OH MY WORD. This one…seriously the first book in ages that I literally couldn’t put down and read way too late into the night. Usually, even fantastic books don’t inspire me to miss my bedtime. (Because hello, when you’re as busy as I am, sleep is sacred! LOL) But I devoured this book in just a couple evenings. So, so good! It’s pure suspense and will keep you guessing throughout.

For Edits

I adore princess books!!!! And Hannah Currie is AMAZING. She took a character I was annoyed with in book 1 and made me totally fall in love with her as she delved deep into Princess Alina’s vulnerabilities. The spiritual growth is just breathtaking. By the end, I was sitting there with sticky notes, frantically writing down all the great lines so I could quote them, LOL. For instance, “In God I’d finally found the strength to stand, and all I wanted to do was kneel.” *Sniff, sniff

New-to-Me

I’ve been meaning to read something by Toni Shiloh for years–I know how awesome she is as a person, so I figured her books had to be fabulous too. I just hadn’t found the time to read one. But I adored the cover of The Trouble with Love so tossed it to the top of my TBR stack, and I’m so glad I did! This book was fun, insightful, had great characters, a fabulous faith journey, and overall left me eager for the sequel. My first Toni Shiloh, but it won’t be my last!

On Audio

I picked Black by Ted Dekker solely because I hadn’t read anything by him in ages and it was available, LOL. I have to say, this one was…strange. Interesting. Fascinating. I was alternately thrilled and frustrated with the dual timelines, but the sheer creativity of it kept me coming back morning after morning to listen to more. It ends on a TOTAL cliff-hanger, and my library didn’t have the second volume in the same format, so I started the sequel in an ebook instead and (I confess) haven’t yet finished. Definitely a fascinating idea for a series!

With the Kids

Or with my teen daughter, anyway. And by “with,” I mean we took turns with the book. πŸ˜‰ Because, you know…princess books, LOL. So I had mixed feelings on The Betrothed. It was great–great writing, really nicely drawn characters, very well done. But it took me a while to be on board with where I saw she was taking it. And just when I finally got on board, she threw this ENORMOUS twist at me! The ending…well, let’s just say book 2 had better come soon, because I am NOT satisfied with how this one left me, LOL.

Also for Book Club

Jocelyn Green always writes amazing books, and Veiled in Smoke was no exception! I loved the journeys of each member of this family as they battled their own demons and were caught up in a mystery, all against the backdrop of the Great Chicago Fire. I learned so much about the event and the reconstruction afterward, and there were some amazing plot twists too! Hilariously, days after finishing this one, Jocelyn contacted me about endorsing the sequel, so I’ve also just finished that–it’s amazing too, but I’ll talk more about it closer to its release, LOL. GREAT SERIES!!

Rachel here! This summer, I haven’t done AS much reading as I’d like. Thankfully, the books I have read, have been really good! We’ve been in transition with selling our house and moving in with family until our new home is ready. <3 I've been on a pretty serious Young Adult kick right now![/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row column_structure="1_2,1_2" _builder_version="4.5.1" _module_preset="default"][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.5.1" _module_preset="default"][et_pb_blurb title="For Book Club" image="https://www.roseannamwhite.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/The-Wind-in-the-Willows.jpg" _builder_version="4.5.1" _module_preset="default"]

We’ve picked up Book Club this month after a few months off. While we may be meeting virtually…We are just happy to be reading together again!

[/et_pb_blurb]

For Fun

It’s amazing how your view of books and characters change. I’ve always adored this book…and the last time I read it I was still in High School. This time around…I actually liked Amy *gasp* I know…Revolutionary! But I saw her through different eyes this time. And she definitely grew on me. There are other aspects of Little Women that stood out to me this time around too.

For Review

Oh.My.Word! I had the privilege of reading Dust for review. Such an amazing Peter Pan retelling!

With the Kids

I love.Love.LOVE our curriculum. We read so many books together! Next year, I’ll be homeschooling 2 kiddos. Kindergarten and third grade. I’m a little nervous…but super excited! Since my Kinder already sat through most of the read-alouds when his brother was in Kindergarten, I might be changing up the reading list this year.This story was an interesting look into the culture of the Florida backwoods.

Holiday Book Buying Guide – Non-Fiction

Holiday Book Buying Guide – Non-Fiction

Time to wrap up this series! I’m not traditionally a big non-fiction reader, but thanks to listening to a lot of audiobooks as I exercise, I’ve broadened my horizons quite a bit in the last year. πŸ˜€ And since we all know those people who only read non-fiction–or just those who enjoy it in addition to fiction–of course we need some ideas on books to buy for them too!

Love Does and Everybody Always
by Bob Goff
and
Love Lives Here
by Maria Goff

I’m listing all three of these together because I love the full picture they give you together. I read the first two of these last year, but I didn’t get around to listening to Love Lives Here until this year. All three are high on my list of recommended reading! The Goffs have done some amazing work, and more, they have an amazing outlook on what it really means to walk in Christ’s love. I’d call them life-changing for sure. They’re all written with wit and humor, but they convey some of the most series messages we’ll ever hear–that loving others as Christ loves us isn’t optional, and when we do it, we change the world…one life at a time. READ THESE BOOKS. And they make fabulous gifts!
Love Does
Everybody Always
 Big Magic
by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is not a Christian book. Just stating that upfront. There’s some language in it, and some of the ideas are decided not Christian. That said–it’s an amazing look at creativity, and one I’d recommend for artists of any sort. The title comes from the idea that there’s something she calls literally-magical about ideas–the way they move from person to person, insisting on finding an outlet at a given time. Ever notice how people have similar book ideas, even though they’ve never talked? Or movies? Yeah, that’s the “big magic” she’s talking about. I left this book with some new takes on the creative process and its place in the world that I know are going to stick with me. Really great read (or listen).

All these^ non-fiction books by C. S. Lewis

How’s that for a title? LOL. Seriously, we bought this box set of C. S. Lewis’s non-fiction that includes The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, A Grief Observed, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, Abolition of Man, and The Four Loves. I’ve read about half of them thus far and am fully convinced that Lewis was one of the most brilliant thinkers of the last century (not that this is news to anyone, of course…). This box set, available from various retailers in the $25-40 range, would make a fabulous gift for anyone who enjoys theology/philosophy books in general, but they’re also super approachable for people like me who usually prefer fiction! Lewis has a very accessible writing style and is clearly talking to everyday people, not seminary students. Highly, highly, highly recommended.


A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War
by Joseph Loconte

Fans of J. R. R. Tolkein, C. S. Lewis, and history in general will enjoy this look at how these two men were not only shaped by their experiences in World War One, but how they, unlike most of their contemporaries, took those experiences and let God use them to draw them closer to Him and end up shaping generations of people through their books. I loved learning more about how these two became friends and encouraged one another, and also to see how faith played a role in their lives. I’d never really examined the backdrop of their writing–a world that had gone cold to religion after the horrors of the Great War–but this book painted it for me in vivid light. I read it primarily as research for the world in which my books are set, and also because I admire both men as writers. It was a fascinating read.

Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science 
of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life
by Rory Sutherland 


My husband had heard about this book as a great one for studying marketing, and he enjoyed it so much that I listened to our audio version too–and loved it. If you’re involved in any sort of business, this is a fantastic read about thinking outside the box when it comes to marketing and promotion. It’s full of practical advice and tons of real-world examples and, best of all, filled me with ideas as I was listening to it. And that’s the sure sign of a good book on this subject! I really enjoyed listening to the audio version, read by the author, as his personality and dry English humor come shining through. I am SO a fan of that, LOL. Definitely a fun one for anyone looking for some fresh ways to bridge the gap between consumer and seller!


How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie

This is my most recent read (or listen, as the case may be) in non-fiction, and I find myself thinking of its precepts ALL THE TIME. The idea of this book is to revolutionize the way we interact–specifically in the workplace, but it applies to family life, church life, and pretty much every other place we find ourselves dealing with other people too. This is an old book, originally published in the 1920s, but it’s been updated a bit here and there with some added modern examples. I absolutely loved every minute of it and plan to read it out loud to my kids in the next year, because it’s full of life-lessons that just can’t be beat. I find myself thinking constantly now about how I can change my approach to people to better communicate with them. This is really a must-read for everyone!
Amazon


Rachel’s Picks


The Brave Art of Motherhood: Fight Fear, Gain Confidence, and Find Yourself Again

by Rachel Marie Martin


I am not a huge fan of nonfiction typically. But this book really got me. SO many important and incredible insights, encouragement, and truths. Definitely recommend it to all moms!


Memory Making Mom
by Jessica Smartt
This book is INCREDIBLE! I love LOVE traditions and making my home and family come together and make memories together. And I really appreciate that Jessica emphasizes that we don’t need to do EVERYTHING suggested…but to try 1 or 2 things and go from there. check it out! Because it’s incredible!
Holiday Book Buying Guide – Contemporary Fiction

Holiday Book Buying Guide – Contemporary Fiction

Time to get back to book recommendations! This week I want to focus on contemporary fiction, and then I’ll wrap up the series on Friday with non-fiction.

Contemporary Fiction

Hold the Light and Shine the Light
by April McGowan

The second of these books released last spring, and while you could read them independently, they’re related, with best friends for heroines. Each book tackles hard subjects, but in a way that shows how God really shines through them. In Hold the Light, Amber is an artist who learns she’s losing her eyesight. What do we do when everything we thought was important is stripped away? Paired with a beautiful love story, this one was one of my favorites–so when April said she was writing best-friend Shannon’s story too, I couldn’t wait! And was totally blown away. Shine the Light highlights the homeless problem that Portland faces in a way that shows love along with reality, and also touches on PTSD and mental health issues. Most of all, though, they’re just fabulous stories with characters so real you’ll think of them at odd times forever after!
Hold the Light
Shine the Light
Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations
by V. Joy Palmer

Oh. My. Gracious. If you need a good laugh, look no further than these books! Gilmore Girls meets Say Yes to the Dress in these wedding-themed, snarky-voiced contemporary romances full of coffee addicts and potato-chip-obsessed heroines, and the men lucky enough to snag their hearts. The heroines are all best friends and roommates, so it’s super fun to follow them into “their stories”–In book 1, Izzy is a bridal consultant in her aunt’s bridal salon; in book 2, we actually get two romances as twin sisters Apryl and Courtney (reluctantly) accept the challenge of reviving their beloved grandmother’s antique shop, giving it a wedding-venue focus. So. Much. Fun!

Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations
Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | READ

The If I Run series
by Terri Blackstock

This series actually finished up in 2018, but they remain some of my absolute favorite romantic suspense novels EVER, and the fact that you can buy the whole set makes them perfect for gifting. =) The storytelling is stunning, action-packed and thrilling, and the character development just left me thoroughly impressed. It’s hard to make the “romance” element as strong as I’d like it to be in romantic suspense novels because of how much action there is, but Terri Blackstock did a stellar job, building it over three books. Love these stories!!
Mind Games
by Nancy Mehl

This has to be one of the most unique reads of my 2019. The premise is that our heroine, a young FBI profiler, is the daughter a serial killer who was caught when she was a child. Needless to say, she has a few issues–and a burning need to catch others like her father. She’s legally changed her name, but her family’s past seems to be catching up to her when a new serial killer emerges and is pointed directly at her. A serial killer who clearly knows who her father was. Definitely a must-read!! The next book in the series just came out, and it’s my January book club read. I’m so looking forward to it!

A Secret to Die For
by Lisa Harris

This was another romantic suspense that left me thoroughly impressed. Lisa Harris writes a savvy heroine who holds her own against the bad guys she kind of inherits–she’s a psychologist, and one of her patients turns up dead…and has left her in possession of what the bad dudes are after. In addition to great characters, the plot of this one seriously makes you think.

Rachel’s Pick

Bradford Sisters Series
by Becky Wade

Sisters! Each with a challenge to overcome, a charming (and swoony) hero, hidden secrets, faith, redemption, and LOVE! Becky Wade’s series swept me off my feet and I am so in love with this family! There is even an accompanying Christmas story!
Holiday Book Buying Guide – Historicals

Holiday Book Buying Guide – Historicals

Last week I shared some fun book gift-ideas for the kids in your life (or the adults who still enjoy kid books!). Next week I’ll cover contemporary fiction, the following week will be non-fiction. But for now, the genre nearest and dearest: Historical!

Wings Like a Dove
by Camille Eide

I have to list this one first because (a) I just re-read it, (b) it’s one of the best books I’ve read all year, and (c) it releases on Dec 1 from the WhiteFire Group, so I’m really excited about it. This one comes with endorsements from people way more popular than I (like Jane Kirkpatrick, Publisher’s Weekly, and Brian Bird, co-creator and producer of When Calls the Heart), but hey, you’re reading my post right now, not theirs, so you have to listen to my opinion, mwa ha ha ha. πŸ˜‰ This story–a beautiful love story about a Jewish immigrant who faces down prejudice and malice from the KKK in a small Indiana town in the 1930s, where she ends up meeting the real, unconditional love of our Lord–is AMAZING. It tackles hard things, timely things, but in such a gorgeous, skillful way that you’ll find yourself thinking of it for months after you’ve finished. I deem this one a must-read!!

The Cities of Refuge Series
by Connilyn Cossette

At the moment of writing this, I’m reading Until the Mountains Fall, book three in the series. And, as I’ve come to expect from anything with Conni’s name on the cover, it’s PHENOMENAL. I adore this whole series (which is a spin-off of the Out from Egypt series, though you’ll be fine to pick up these without having read those). If the historical lover on your list likes–or even just wants to try–biblical fiction, these are so great!

The Haven Manor Series
by Kristi Ann Hunter

I love both the concept and execution of these Regencies! They have everything you want from the era-genre, but some extra stuff too, delving into the less known side of things…with a bit of imagination that adds a slice of danger and adventure. Which, of course, equals LOVE. And of course, it’s worth noting that if your or your gift-recipients read book 3 in good time, you could join me and Kristi for a tea party in January! (How cool would it be to get both a book and a tea party book club seat? Just sayin’…)

Before We Were Yours
by Lisa Wingate

I don’t say this lightly–this book is FLAWLESS. Lisa is a Christian author, but this book was published in the general market, and it immediately scorched its way onto all the bestseller lists–for good reason. I’d been hearing about it for a while and finally got the audio version, which was SO well done. One of the few books that made me look for excuses to go exercise or take a drive or do the dishes so I could listen to more. πŸ˜‰ I have several friends who also listened but then requested the paper version for Christmas this year–which I totally get. This story, about a family of children sucked into the horrors of Georgia Tan’s “orphanages,” is a time-slip between the 1930s kids and a modern day woman determined to figure out what really happened…and what it has to do with her family. SO. GOOD.

Memories of Glass
by Melanie Dobson

I had the honor of reading this one for endorsement, and oh my gracious. I could endorse it heartily! I love Melanie’s time-slip novels, and this one yet again sucked me right into both the modern timeline where I followed a young woman as she tried to unravel the mysteries of her family while also approving funding for a deserving mission school in Africa (which might be run by a handsome guy…) and the WW2 timeline that fictionalizes real events–how those charged with registering the Jews in Holland actually managed to save hundreds of children from being sent to the camps. Perfect for any lover of WW2 or time-slip in general!

A Bound Heart
by Laura Frantz

I love Laura’s books, so when I saw this one coming out this year, I quickly gobbled it up and chose it for my book club, too. We all thoroughly enjoyed it! It combines the drama of Scotland during the Jacobite rebellion with the early colonial-American charm I usually think of when I think of Laura Frantz’s books. Definitely a winner!!

The King’s Mercy
by Lori Benton

All of Lori’s books also make my must-read list. I read this one and Laura’s above back to back, so I was a bit amused at the similar themes of Scottish rebels sentenced to indentured servitude in America as their punishment…but that’s where the similarities end. The King’s Mercy also includes the Native American aspect I always look for in Lori’s books, as well as a love story to make you sigh and some danger to keep you on the edge of your seat. Loved it!

My Dearest Dietrich
by Amanda Barratt

I love Amanda Barratt. And I’m so inspired by the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. So the fact that she wrote a novelization of his bittersweet love story–SO COOL. This one is definitely a hurry-and-buy for any lover of WW2 fiction!

And that’s probably enough for one list, LOL. Though of course, always remember that if you’re looking for SIGNED book options for those historical-fiction lovers, I’m your girl. πŸ˜‰ Just check out www.RoseannaMWhite.com/shop

Holiday Book Buying Guide – For the Kids

Holiday Book Buying Guide – For the Kids

I’m departing from my usual thoughtful post this week to share some books I’m excited about that I think would make fabulous gifts this year. Some of these are from my company (there will be a coupon code coming on Black Friday for those!), some are just ones I’ve read this year.

This week we’re going to focus on those…

FOR THE KIDS

Picture Books

When God Made Color


This is a really interesting perspective on the creation story, focusing on the colors that came into existence as God went through each day–and ending with the variety of hues He used when He made us. The artwork is GORGEOUS (done by a professional fine artist), the message is fabulous, and I really loved looking at creation through a new lens. This is a great book to read aloud with the little ones in your life!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | READ

Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree


This one is pure fun. πŸ˜€ There’s no overt spiritual thread, just a really cute story that enforces how important it is to give rather than receive, and the value of believing in the impossible. In this case, “the impossible” is a sugar maple that, when it snows, turns a little boy’s gift of treats to the tree into giant balls of ice cream. Reinforces colors and days of the week and is sure to delight one and all!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | READ

Middle Grade

Benjy and the Belsnickel


I know I mentioned this one last year, since my daughter did the illustrations. πŸ˜€ It’s a really fun story (boys will enjoy it!) that’s great for the holidays especially, about the Pennsylvania-Dutch tradition of the Belsnickel (think Santa, but who punishes wrongdoing instead of rewarding good behavior). Book 2 will be coming out next spring!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | READ

Being Zoey series (for girls)

Melody Carlson is an expert, no question. And this series for middle school girls is fabulous. Written in a fun voice, these stories are relevant and timely while still being entirely entertaining for girls aged 8-12.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | READ

Keeper of the Lost Cities series

My friend Stephanie recommended these, and I got the first few for my niece for Christmas last year–and she LOVED them. I haven’t read them myself, but I love it when a series is a big hit!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Young Adult

Heart of a Royal


PRINCESS BOOK!!!! Need I say more? πŸ˜‰ This one is from our company and is SO much fun. A great story, fabulous characters, and the voice is amazing.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | READ

Within These Lines


Yes, okay, it’s by my best friend. But it’s also AMAZING. Every teen (and adult) should read it! It’s set during WWII, focusing on the internment camps in California where Japanese-Americans were sent.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Signed from Stephanie


The Thing with Feathers and Meet the Sky


McCall Hoyle’s books leaped to the top of my daughter’s loved-it list this year. She read them at the beginning of the year, but she still talks about them–and when she spotted a hardback of Meet the Sky on sale the other day, she grabbed it, even though she already had an advance reader copy.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Amazon | Barnes and Noble


The Charmed Life Series

    

Jenny B. Jones is another sure-win author with my daughter. πŸ˜€ Can’t go wrong with any of them, but this omnibus collection has kept her busy for quite a while, and happily so!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

The Lunar Chronicles

I listened to these on audio at the same time that Xoe was reading them in paper, and they were so fun! They’re not inspirational, but they’re clean, and thoroughly engrossing. I thoroughly enjoyed me, so did she, and we loved chatting about them together too.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble