What I Read – June 2019

Did someone hit a time warp button? I’m fairly confident that the end of June and the beginning of July went at lightning speed. Am I alone in this?

So…here is a quick look at what I read in June.

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey (Bethany Turner) – Christian Fiction. I appreciated the author tackling a challenging topic. She gave an interesting look at the consequences and reaction could happen in this situation. For me, the reaction of Cadie became a bit overly dramatic and overly done. Despite that I enjoyed the book overall.

Sweet on You (Becky Wade) – This was the third book in her Bradford Sisters Series. An enjoyable read; perfect for summer. If you haven’t read the first two, you can still read this one. I recommend the full series.

Tell Me Three Things (Julie Buxbaum) – YA Fiction can be a tricky category to wade through. Last month I read What to Say Next by this author and was eager to read more of her works. Sadly, Tell Me Three Things disappointed. I did not agree with the stance taken on teens and intimacy.

Field Notes on Love (Jennifer E. Smith)- Another YA Fiction that definitely had a RomCom vibe to it. I found it fun and entertaining with enough substance to make it a great summer read.

Valencia and Valentine (Suzy Krause) – This was a complete impulse read. It was available for free through Prime Reading and the cover looked familiar. An interesting story line, indeed. It was a bit odd at first until you realize what is happening. If you liked Elinor Oliphant, you would likely enjoy this one.  A similar feel but without the intense trauma.

The River – A page turning suspense story for sure. If you like suspense, outdoors, adventure…this is a great choice. I did find the ending a bit of a let down and the language was a bit wearying at times.

My Name is Lucy Barton (Elizabeth Strout) – Read this because I had heard so many great things about it. I found it “meh”. I think I took too long to read it, perhaps?

Bel Canto (Ann Patchett) – I finally remembered to grab a book by Ann Patchett. A simple plan to kidnap a president turns into an unexpected hostage situation. All because of a soap opera. I enjoyed looking at the at different personalities and how they handled the hostage situation. Our ability to adapt can be amazing at time. I was disappointed in a few characters choices toward the end of the book. Again, another ending that I felt was disappointing.

The next three books are by Katherine Reay:

The Printed Letter Bookshop – Her newest release. If you enjoy literature, you will find the setting of this book charming. Three women all dealing with various issues and the Bookshop is what brings them together. I think the picture of forgiveness in this story makes it a worthy read for sure.

A Portrait of Emily Price – At first glance I thought this was just going to be a fun, light-hearted read. It took me a bit by surprise. It was a nice balance of fun/sweet and redemption/family.


Lizzy and Jane – By far my favorite of Katherine Reay’s books (that I’ve read). Two sisters, cancer, strained relationship. This just really hit me deeply for various reasons. It was lovely, so lovely. I highly recommended.

The Mother-in-Law (Sally Hepworth) – Another book that I highly recommend. This was my first encounter with this author, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was not disappointed! Loved how she explored family dynamics with the unexpected death of the mother-in-law. Books that use flashbacks for character development and story line are loved by me. If they are done right. And this was done so very well. I was comfortable handing this over to my teen to read as well. Go put it on hold now.

Happy to discuss more details about any of the books listed about. Just post in the comments below. Hopefully I can find time to do more fleshed out reviews in July! Happy Reading!

 

 

What I Read in Three Months (March – May)

What I read in three months or a quarter of a year. I knew I was behind, but I didn’t realize I was quite that far behind! Mercy! To say time is flying is a bit of an understatement.

I thought of just letting the past three months of my reading history slide here at Life with the Tribe (and Books). My reading is tracked in a journal, because at my heart I am a pen and paper kind of gal. There is my GoodReads account that I try to remember to update once or twice a month. But I do love my blog. And so here I am prepping to do a Blitz Book Blog Post. A quick and fast list of what I read in March, April, and May. Hopefully short and just highlighting a few favs.

Let’s get to it! (RA = read aloud)

***** – Excellent book. Loved it and highly recommend.

**** – Great book. Loved it and would recommend.

*** – Good book; ok read. Recommend to right audience.

** – Book was meh. Would not read again or recommend.

* – Why did I read this book?

March 2019:

Pay Attention, Carter Jones (Gary D Schmidt) – Read this! But read The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now first.  RA *****

Swallows and Amazons (Arthur Ransome) – RA ****

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town (Kimberly Willis Holt) ***

The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris) ***

Clouds of Witness (Dorothy Sayers) Lord Peter Wimsey series. So good!  ****

We Must Be Brave (Frances Liardet) ****

My Louisiana Sky (Kimberly Willis Holt) ***

The Language of Flowers (Vanessa Diffenbaugh) ***

Still Life (Louise Penny) Mystery series set in Canada. ****

Fatal Grace (Louise Penny) The foul language in this one was a bit much. I do enjoy the character of Inspector Gamache.  ***

April 2019:

Nyxia (Scott Reintgen) – YA fiction. First of trilogy. No issue with language. There is an intimate relationship mentioned between two characters but no details. ***

Rules of Civility (Amor Towles) *** There is some content I skimmed quickly.

The Age of Miracles (Karen Walker) *** Adult fiction but could be shelved YA. Interesting concept.

All Summer in a Day (Ray Bradbury) **** Short story. Read before The Age of Miracles.

The Wreck and Rise of  Winston Mariner (S.D. Smith)  **** RA This is a favorite author in our home.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (Maria Semple) *** This made me think of Gilmore Girls in book form. Mom and daughter, sarcastic, witty, and definitely weird. There is language. Most of the book is written in the form of emails, letters, etc. But I did enjoy it but would cautiously recommend to select people. It isn’t for everyone.

Courting, Mr. Emerson (Melody Carlson) ** Christian fiction

May 2019

The Red Pony (John Steinbeck) **

Unnatural Death (Dorothy Sayers) **** Lord Peter Wimsey.

Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens) **** I initially had this as a five star. But the more I thought of it, the more some inconsistencies bothered me. But it was a powerful story about our need for human contact, the power of friendship and love, the beauty of nature and survival. There are a few scenes I skimmed and skipped.

Nyxia Unleashed (Scott Reintgen) ***1/2 This is the second of the Nyxia Trilogy. YA fiction

The Artful Match (Jennifer Delamare) *** Christian fiction

The Kite Runner (Khaled Hossecni) **** This has very difficult subject matter. Forgiveness, friendship, redemption.

The Governess of Penwythe Hall (Sarah Ladd) – **1/2 Christian fiction The story line was predictable. I really enjoy Christian Fiction; however, it seems so many are telling the same story with no new twist.

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck (Bethany Turner) *** Christian Fiction. While this wasn’t a page turner, I did appreciate the author addressing real struggles in relationships.

Only Ever Her (Marybeth Whalen) **** Maybe more than 3.5 but not quiet 4? I found the ending a bit of a let down. But it was a great afternoon read in the hammock!

What to Say Next (Julie Buxbaum) YA Fiction **** I have teens who are always in need of books. Since they have no interest in intimate content, I try to read as many as I can. My fifteen year old and I both enjoyed this one.

The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins (Gail Shepherd) *** Middle Grade Fiction Set in 80s and addresses PTSD from Vietnam War.

The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding (Jennifer Robson) **1/2 I know this book has great reviews, but I found it predictable. Perhaps lacking in depth? Sigh.

And we are done! I can’t complain that I didn’t read enough over those three months. Hopefully you found a book or two to add to your TBR.

 

 

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What I Read – February 2019

Since it is almost mid-March, I suppose I should get my list of books from February jotted down. To say that I am running a bit behind is, well, clearly obvious. In no particular order, here we go!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Gail Honeyman) – Let me get the disclaimer out of the way from the first. There is language in this book; sprinkled through out in conversation and thought. If you are sensitive to that, please take that into consideration. There were also two scenes that took me by surprised and that I quickly skimmed through. However, this book, this journey with Eleanor was worth it. I did not know much about this book when I began. I had seen it several times on Instagram and decided to give it a go. It is a beautiful story that shows the power of the simple act of friendship and that we should love the unlovely. Is about forgiveness and healing and love. I’m so glad I got to know Eleanor.

Greetings from the Flipside (Rene Gutteridge) – A Christian Fiction story that had an intriguing story line but lacked in a bit of back story development. I think if the back story of the two characters, their connection, has been better fleshed out that this would have been super fun! I enjoyed it and a relaxing  weekend read but felt a bit cheated when I was done.

Who I Am With You (Robin Lee Hatcher) – This was a new release from an author that I typically enjoy. Humph. What is up with me? Again, I felt that there was something lacking in the connection of the two main characters, Jessica and Ridley. Hatcher is actually telling two stories at once. The book flips between the story of Jessica and her great-grandfather. I was disappointed and felt Jessica’s and Ridley’s relationship wasn’t realistic.

The Interrupted Tale: Book Four of the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (Maryrose Wood) – This was, of course, a read aloud with my younger children (and husband). We continue to enjoy Miss Lumley and the Incorrigibles. Not only is it an engaging story line but Ms. Wood understands that children are smart and witty and funny. I will confess that Book Four has not been my favorite but still excellent! I have Book Five on my shelf for us to read this month. We definitely recommend this series!

A Brief Note: When I’m reading a book or have a book I want to read, I dislike when someone tells me all the details. I often think, ” well, now I don’t have to read it.” So this post isn’t a review of the books I’ve read; just a list to share. If you would like more details, let me know in the comments. I will always try to mention questionable content and other important tidbits.

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) – We finally finished! This was our Wednesday with Austen selection and since we only read it on Wednesdays, it took a few months to finish. However, it was absolutely wonderful and I loved it! My older children had read it on their own but it is a classic worthy of being re-read. Confession: It was my first time reading Pride and Prejudice. Why, why, why did I wait so long? I loved it. Of the Austen books I have read so far, it is my favorite. I did read this aloud to all of my children that are home during the day (17 down to 2). Do not doubt the ability for younger ones to not only follow the basic story line but to enjoy it. Ok, the two year old didn’t really care but that is okay.

The Austen Escape (Katherine Reay) – I happened to see this on the shelf and grabbed it. I had heard good things about this author and her books. The Austen Escape was an enjoyable weekend read. I think you definitely have to appreciate Austen to enjoy a book like this. It was fun, enjoyable, and interesting. If you are in need of some weekend reading or a book to have tossed in your bag for the waiting room, The Austen Escape is a great choice!

 

Blue Ridge Billy (Lois Lenski) – I love Strawberry Girl and decided I wanted to incorporate Lenski’s other regional books into our school readings. Since Blue Ridge Billy is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina it was an easy choice. So, I didn’t enjoy it as much as Strawberry Girl. However, I made this mistake of dragging out the reading of this book. I was suppose to read it weekly but I skipped more than a few weeks. Despite that my children, 11, 9, and 7, enjoyed Blue Ridge Billy. They always wanted me to read more. They wanted to know if Billy was going to get his banjo and what was going to happen to his dad (they were not fans of the dad). If you were to choose to read this, be consistent. I read the last few chapters in a week or so. It made a huge difference.

The Way of the Wilderking (Jonathan Rogers) – This is Book Three of The Wilderking Trilogy. If you have not read this trilogy, read it. Read it aloud to your children. Read it for yourself. It is excellent and funny and exciting and heartbreaking and adventurous. You want to see Aidan’s journey unfold. You want to travel into the Feechiefen and meet the feechies. Trust me. This was my second time reading this trilogy aloud. I read aloud about seven or eight years ago. I decided that my son, 9, would love this trilogy. So I read it aloud again. The boys in your life will love it. So will your girls. Your husband might laugh the loudest. Can you tell that we highly recommend this trilogy?

Whose Body? (Dorothy Sayers) – I was never a fan of mysteries until two of my children developed a love of mysteries. In reading books to preview them and in reading books to join in conversation with them, I have come to love certain murder mysteries. I have had Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries on my TBR for some time. I finally decided to just read it and stop putting it off. Oh, I love Wimsey! Absolutely delightful all the way around. Highly recommend.

Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier) – This was as impulse selection. One of my older daughters read this and made a comment or two that had me so eager to read this book. I grabbed a copy from the library. And like so many older books, they give you no book summary or synopsis. I did not ask my daughter for details. I didn’t look it up online. I opened the book, started reading, and let the story unfold before me. Oh my. From the first page, I was hooked. My two daughters that had read it and I had the same exact reaction to the plot twist and resulting outcome.There may have been a character that I wanted to just ask “What?!?!?!?”  Highly recommend. I am eager to read more of du Maurier’s work.

That was a super quick look at what I read or finished reading in February. I will try to post soon about how my reading for the Back to the Classics challenge is going. Hopefully my March reading will be just as delightful as February.

Please share what you are reading!!

 

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