What We’ve Been Reading – September 2021

What We’ve Been Reading – September 2021

Happy Fall! Whether you are settling into a new school year like we are, or simply enjoying the changes taking place outside, I hope this Autumn you can curl up with a good book and a cozy blanket. Here are a few of our reads.

Roseanna’s Reads

Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette
I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second book in this biblical fiction duology, and it was even better than I hoped! This was my first vacation read, and it keep me good company at the beach indeed! The story of Lukio had absolutely everything–excitement, danger, intrigue…and of course a heart-moving romance. Another fantastic book from Conni!
A Lady Unrivaled by Yours Truly
Yes, I’m rereading my own book. I have to! Tea Party Book Club, you know–and it’s been waaaay too long for me to remember all the little details. But I’m happy to report that I still adore Ella and Cayton. 😉
Isaac & Izzy’s Magical Maples by Angela Henderson
This final book in the Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree trilogy is just as enchanting and sweet as the other two! Angela Henderson has written a whimsical tale of friendship and giving, and Rachael Koppendrayer’s illustrations are so beautiful and fun! If you have a little one in your life, you need to check out all three of these! This one is especially great for autumn.
Leviathan Wakes by James S. E. Corey
I’ve been waiting quite a while for time to sit down with this first book in The Expanse series. First my best friend read them and raved, then we watched the show, then my husband read the first three books…I was behind! Though definitely different than my usual (and definitely NOT Christian books, so beware, if you’re bothered by foul language, violence, and very male humor, LOL), I have to say I was completely enthralled with this complex and amazing science fiction. I don’t know how quickly I’ll be able to read them, but I’m looking forward to the rest! The world building is just ASTOUNDING!
Grace & Gravity by S.E. Clancy
This is actually a film-to-book adaptation just released from WhiteFire, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read! Based on the film and then deepened, this story takes place mostly over the course of a couple hours and follows two men–an English atheist trying to end it all by jumping off a bridge, and an American Christian who hopes to save him with a tract and some pat phrases. They end up changing each other’s lives forever. Don’t miss it!

Rachel’s Reads

Autumn is here and I’m full steam ahead with my “creepy” reads TBR. We’ve also kicked off our school year strong with several good books with the kids!

Creepy Fall Book

Capturing the Devil by Keri Maniscalco

After sitting on my TBR shelf/cart for almost TWO years…I’m finally finishing off this series! I’ve enjoyed this series a lot! Please be warned, the series IS about serial killers and can be quite graphic. It is general market Young Adult Fiction.

With the Kids

By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman

We kicked off the school year with this fabulous book! My 4th grader really enjoyed it and we loved the adventure and twists thrown in. We stumbled upon the movie adaption on Disney+ (it’s titled The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin) and plan on watching it for our family movie night this week.

Classic on Audio

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This is one of my best friend’s absolute favorite book. And as I had never read it, I figured I’d better. While the writing IS beautiful…Heathcliff is frightful. I truly enjoyed Nelly Dean’s narrative though and look forward to watching the movie again now.

With the Kids

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

I’ve read this one, several times now, and each time, I just love it. This year it’s my 1st grader’s turn to read it for school. He is fascinated by animals and just loves hearing about the adventures of Wilbur and Charlotte.

What We’ve Been Reading – September 2021

What We’ve Been Reading – July 2021

I don’t know where July went! But I suppose I have the books to prove it happened… 😉

Roseanna’s Reads

With the Kids/On Audio

The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey
Xoe went with me to a writers conference last week, which involved a 5-hour drive in each direction. We decided to pass the time with an audiobook so went hunting for a YA to enjoy together. We settled on this one largely because its run time fit our drive time, and it was SO GOOD! There was some minor language, but it detract from the otherwise-clean story for us, and we so enjoyed this beautifully-written, sweet romance story about a girl who loses herself in literature to escape from real life, in which her mother is a hoarder…and the boy who inspires her to truly live. Now we both want to read Peter Pan, which is quoted often in the book!

For the Edit

Miranda and the Miner by Melody Carlson
Melody’s Westward to Home series continues with this second book, and it’s just as fun as the first! I wasn’t sure if it would shift its focus entirely to the title character or what, but I’ve enjoyed having a continued look into the life of the heroine from book 1 as well following her stepsister on her own adventure. Melody Carlson fans, or anyone who loves western romances, will love this series!

For Fun

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Yes, I’m still working my way through the HP series. =) Almost finished, too! Book 6 was certainly enthralling…and horrifying…and thrilling…and I expect I’ll be picking up book 7 very soon so I can see how this whole adventure resolves! I definitely didn’t see some of the twists in this one coming!

For Book Club

On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright
We can just assume that if it’s by Jaime, it’s good, right? Yep. This one was no exception. One of her signature time-slips, this one had a hunt for Confederate gold, a creepy old mansion, an autistic-savant brother, and a heroine with a fascinating (and terrifying) past that no one would believe. I loved both story lines and, of course, how they wove together so brilliantly! Once again, Jaime Jo Wright has written a winner!

For Fun

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
We’ve been watching the Netflix series and enjoying it, but I felt like I didn’t fully grasp the world from the show (and had heard good things about the books) so bought the trilogy. I dove into the first book and devoured it in just a few sittings. So good, and it definitely gave me a better understanding of the GrishaVerse! Though I have to say, I found the Darkling more compelling in the show, when we could see more of him than the book’s first-person POV allowed. Just goes to show how each medium can shine. =)

For Fun

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Yep, read the second book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy too! Just as good as the first, and since Season 2 of the show isn’t out yet, it was all new storyline for me, which was fun. There were some twists I really hadn’t expected there at the end! I finished it while I was away at Montrose Christian Writers Conference and hadn’t brought book 3 with me, otherwise I would have immediately picked the final book up to see where Alina went next!

Rachel’s Reads

Well, my plan to knock off a bunch of books from my TBR this summer fell by the wayside. So today I’m going to share some favortie reads of the year, so far, from myself, Carrie from Reading is my SuperPower, and Beth from Faithfully Bookish.

From Carrie

The Woman With the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff

1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents in the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous tunnels beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.

From Rachel

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. . . .

From Beth

Gentleman Jim by Mimi Matthews

She Couldn’t Forget…
Wealthy squire’s daughter Margaret Honeywell was always meant to marry her neighbor, Frederick Burton-Smythe, but it’s bastard-born Nicholas Seaton who has her heart. Raised alongside her on her father’s estate, Nicholas is the rumored son of notorious highwayman Gentleman Jim. When Fred frames him for theft, Nicholas escapes into the night, vowing to find his legendary sire. But Nicholas never returns. A decade later, he’s long been presumed dead.

From Beth

The Indebted Earl by Erica Vetsch

Can Captain Wyvern keep his new marriage of convenience all business–or will it turn into something more?
Captain Charles Wyvern owes a great debt to the man who saved his life–especially since Major Richardson lost his own life in the process. The best way to honor that hero’s dying wish is for Wyvern to escort the man’s grieving fiancée and mother safely to a new cottage home by the sea. But along the way, he learns of another obligation that has fallen on his shoulders: his uncle has died and the captain is now the Earl of Rothwell.

From Carrie

Someone Found by Teresa Tysinger

Life’s detours can be the most important steps we’re meant to make.

Injured and stranded, hiker Quinn McAlister is stuck recovering in Laurel Cove, North Carolina. The quiet mountain town and its polite residents are a far cry from the stifling home and painful disappointments back in Maine. When her handsome rescuer offers her a place to stay, she’s faced with coming to terms with her past and putting faith, for once, in a hopeful future.

 

From Rachel

Beauty Among the Ruins by J’nell Ciesielski

American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming.

What We’ve Been Reading – September 2021

What We’ve Been Reading – June 2021

School’s out! Summer is officially here! And there are so many great books out there…Where should you start? We have a couple of recommendations for you today. 🙂

Roseanna’s Reads

With the Kids

Half Magic by Edward Eager

We all dream of finding a magic charm to bring adventure into our lives when we’re kids right? Well it happens one summer to four siblings…but not exactly as they would have hoped. Their charm only grants a wish halfway…which leads to very complete fun in this story. It was another reread, but I enjoyed it just as much the second time through! And it was the last book I’ll ever have to read to my son for school, so bittersweet…

On Audio

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
We’ve had this book since it came out, but I’d yet to snatch it from my daughter’s shelves, so when I saw it was available in Overdrive, I thought, “Eh, why not?” And oh my gracious! I adored the Hunger Games books so figured this would be good, but it went beyond good. Collins does a remarkable job at that very hardest of characterizations–she made me both root for the kid I knew would grow into a villain (President Snow), want him to win, and yet also see exactly what would make him a villain. Brilliantly done!!

For the Edit

Home Sweet Tiny Home by Melody Carlson
Most of what we publish of Melody’s is historical, but she wanted to squeeze a contemporary in this summer, and it was a real treat for me to read! In the style of her wildly popular Happy Camper, this is story about downsizing and second chances that will appeal to anyone who ever looks around and thinks, “Where did all this stuff come from??” I loved the glimpse into the ingenuity of tiny homes…but mostly I loved how the main character embarked on a fresh start and a big adventure.

Real Life Research

Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner
Yeah, so…this probably won’t make it onto any of your reading stacks, unless you are or live with a diabetic, LOL. But I’d been hearing great things about this book so figured it was time I give it a read. It’s all about truly understanding diabetes and how to live with and manage it with insulin, so I honestly was expecting it to be educational but boring–on the contrary! Scheiner is hilarious, and I’ve been loving his voice and sense of humor as I read. Plus, I’m learning a ton. I still have a few chapters to go, but I’m really loving this book!

For With the Kids

In Search of the Source by Neil Anderson and Hyatt Moore

Our second-to-last book of the school year was a non-fiction about a missionary and his family, and an amazing book for a word-nerd! All about the miracles of translating the Bible into an obscure New Guinean dialect and how God had prepared this remote tribe to receive it…amazing stuff!

On Audio

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

I’ve never read anything by John Green, but this was another one I saw was available in Overdrive, so I grabbed it just to give it a try…and I ended up listening to the whole thing in about 24 hours. This book did something I’d never personally read before and showed us the very broken mind of someone with mental illness in a way that was approaching, captivating, heartbreaking, and also victorious. I was riveted, thoroughly engrossed in the world of this teen girl, and love the story Green chose to tell. There’s some language (this isn’t a Christian book, after all), but I deem this one definitely worth it!

 

For the Edit

Hearing Lies by Olivia Smit

Olivia’s sophomore novel takes us back to Golden Sound and into the world of Skylar Brady, a teenager who lost her hearing in a car accident the year before. This time we also get her brother’s perspective as they work not only to save the town library…but to undo past mistakes and try to find healing for the places still broken inside. A really great read!

 

Rachel’s Reads

The start of summer vacation has thrown our whole house into chaos! Ok, that isn’t entirely true. But I DO need to get our summer schedule organized. The boys are loving the longer days and playing in the pool. We’re supposed to be hitting 109°F by Tuesday…That is quite warm for us. Especially this early in the season. I anticipate a lot of quiet reading time in front of the A/C!

The Husband's Read

The Druid of Shannara (Heritage of Shannara #2) by Terry Brooks

I got lucky y’all…The husband reads…A LOT. We spend most of our evenings quietly reading. His current read is part of the Shannara saga by Terry Brooks. Magic, dwarves, gnomes, and adventure can be found in this epic fantasy. *This is a general market book.

For Fun

Fable by Adrienne Young

Oh this book! I had been looking forward to this read for months. (And the husband surprised me with Namesake this week! Eeep) It was the perfect quick and easy read. Fantasy with a slow burn romance (there is brief mature content), adventure, peril, and a pretty compelling cliffhanger! *This is a general market book. 

With the Kids

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

This was our last school read this year. I’ve enjoyed the movie, but never realized that the book was so short. Seventy-six pages. I’m looking forward to introducing my kiddos to the movie this week for movie night.

On Audio

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

It had been YEARS since I read Darcy and Elizabeth’s story. I absolutely adore it. The wit. The sweet romance. The wild sisters lol! If you’re a fan of the Colin Firth movie version (the only one worth watching in my opinion) you will be pleased to know that the movie is almost word-for-word from the pages of the book. 🙂 While I did listen to this on audio, I included the cover of one of the editions I own. From the Seasons Editions from Thomas Nelson.

With the Kids

Robert Fulton, Boy Craftsman by Marguerite Henry

One of our final reads for the school year. It was very interesting to learn about the early life and inventions of Robert Fulton. My son was truly invested in this story.

What We’ve Been Reading – May 2021

What We’ve Been Reading – May 2021

I don’t know about you, but where did this month go?! The end of the school year is upon us, summer is just around the corner (or has arrived for some of you), and my TBR is growing by the minute! My next read is On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright. I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you! If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can do so HERE.

Roseanna’s Reads

With the Kids

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord

This little book, telling the story of a young girl who moves from China to New York, is utterly charming. It captures the beauty of the ancient society from which she came, but also the hope and community of immigrants…and what it’s like for a kid to be tossed head-first into a new school whose language she doesn’t even speak. I loved rereading this one!

For Fun

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate
This is by no means a new release, but it was featured prominently in the awesome little bookstore in Ocracoke, since it’s set on nearby Hatteras Island, and I couldn’t resist. Glad I didn’t! This is a beautiful story of second chances and finding family and community in the most unexpected of places. I love that the main character, Tandi, was a total, realistic mess…with an ugly past and plenty of screw-ups. She had no huge, enormous, split-second epiphany–instead, her life was quietly changed by the legacy a faithful woman of God left behind. If you haven’t read this one yet, GO GET IT NOW!

For Fun

Stay with Me by Becky Wade

Somehow I’ve managed to go all this time without having read anything by Becky Wade! GASP! I don’t know how I managed that, but I’m glad I finally remedied the situation. This first book in her Misty River Romance series was beautifully done and did a great job handling not only the main theme of addiction recovery, but also teased out a theme that’s even bigger–the American church’s tendency to never reveal our faults until we’re either discovered or victorious over the struggle. Which means we never actually have the chance to support each other. Wonderful romance, and I can’t wait to read more from Becky!

On Audio

To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden
Okay, I’ll confess: I didn’t finish this one, but it’s not because I wasn’t absolutely enjoying the story–I very much was! I’d borrowed it from the library, though, and my loan ran out…and I decided I’d rather read it in paper or even ebook, because (ahem…sorry!) the narrator was driving me nuts. 😉 I listened to enough to know I definitely want to finish the story though. Such an interesting premise and setting! We don’t have much set during (or around) the Spanish-American war, so it’s been fascinating to learn more about that time.

Rachel’s Reads

I’ve managed to fit in quite a few reads this month! Yay! I’m highlighting only a couple of my favorites. My Spring TBR theme has been Young Adult/Fantasy/Magical Realism…But I managed to sneak in one of my ALL-TIME favorite Historical Romances!

For Fun

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
*This is a general market, adult, magical realism book. There is some language and hard topics addressed* That being said, I absolutely loved this book! Strong female roles. Mystery. Murder. Revenge. This was a quick read and very engaging. Timeslip between modern day and eighteenth-century London, you will find yourself swept away to another world in this story.

My Kiddo's Favorite

The Missing Ace by Cosentino and Jack Heath

It was a happy day when I realized that my son (8) LOVED reading. He’s been going through books like crazy. So thankful that our library is open again and we can browse the shelves. His current favorite book is The Missing Ace book 1 of the Cosentino series. We found ours through Usborne, but they are available on Amazon as well. 🙂 Cosentino is real escape artist/illusionist that performed on Australia’s Got Talent. We’ve enjoyed watching a few of his videos as well.

On Audio

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof
If you haven’t read this book….Go.read.it.now! Carrie (Reading is my SuperPower) told me this, and I kept putting it off until I finally caved to her badgering…Y’ALL….This is my most reread fiction book….EVER. I love the audio version as well. I was in the mood for it this month and so I’ve been listening to it on the way to my workout classes.

With the Kids

The Lewis and Clark Expedition by Richard L. Neuberger

I’ve always loved learning about the Lewis and Clark Expedition! Maybe because I was born and raised close to where their path went and have seen some of the amazing places they saw. I’m a sucker for historical locations. I love to soak up the history and the emotions of the place. So reading this book with the kids was a really fun way to explore their path once again.

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.

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.