Read: July 2018

OnlyHuman

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

The Optometrist and I read aloud the first two books of the Themis Files last Spring, Sleeping Giants in April and Waking Gods in May, so we were very excited to wrap up this interview/epistolary-style trilogy this summer.

Picking up where Sleeping Giants left off, we enjoyed the journey Rose, Vincent, Eva, and Eugene took to Ekt, their struggles to adapt there, their (mostly) desire to return to Earth, and their plans to help restore needed peace on Earth upon their re-arrival.

My thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine and NetGalley for access to both the print and digital ARC.

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Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

I had been waiting for summer to arrive in order for this to be a seasonal read, after having read Little Beach Street Bakery in May. What a delight it was to return to the lighthouse in Mount Polbearne to revisit Polly, Huckle, and Neil the puffin, and to root for her bakery career and their relationship. Now I just have to wait for the final Christmas installment in this sweet (all puns intended) series.

Read via: academic library InterLibrary Loan

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The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

For a while now, I’ve been hearing a lot about the Enneagram (especially from No Thanks We’re Booked and Anne Bogel) and was curious to learn more about this ancient method of better understanding not only your strengths, but your weaknesses, and how this knowledge better allows you to live a healthy, Christian life. Enneagram teachers Cron and Stabile outline each of the 9 types/numbers with practical examples of what each number looks like in healthy and not so healthy situations, providing great encouragement to embrace who God has made you to be. (And I’m pretty sure I’m an Enneagram 1, The Perfectionist or The Reformer, which really wasn’t a surprise at all.)

Read via: Hoopla audio

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The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

I forget where I heard about this post-apocalyptic story, but after having loved The Road by Cormac McCarthy and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, the premise immediately appealed to me.

Around the world people are beginning to lose their shadow and when they do, their memories soon follow suit, which has upended civilization. Told through a series of perspectives of interconnected “shadowed” vs. “shadowless” people in search of an illusive man in New Orleans, this is a story of clinging to memories, hope, and love even in the worst of circumstances.

Read via: public library

InConclusion

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham

These words of wisdom were originally given as a commencement address at Langley High, actress Lauren Graham’s alma mater (I loved her memoir Talking As Fast As I Can). The audio book is narrated by her and is less than 30 minutes in length – perfect for a short car trip (like when I listened to it).

“Love yourself and what you’re doing, even if you’re not yet at the place you hope to land. Let joy be the thing that drives you and I bet you’ll get there faster. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. … Your job doesn’t define you – your bravery and kindness and gratitude do…you are enough just as you are.”

Read via: Libby audio

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The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Former President Bill Clinton teams up with writing juggernaut James Patterson to create a fictitious, but not unlikely scenario of how the president would deal with a cyber attack – its impact, the terrorists at its inception, potential fallout in the United States and around the world, and how it can be prevented. Written in Patterson’s distinctive short-chapter style, Clinton’s influence is apparent with true insider knowledge and a positive perspective of how we are always stronger together.

Read via: public library

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Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages

This children’s historical fiction story is set in 1950s San Francisco, centering around Katy Gordon, the best baseball pitcher in her neighborhood and school. The fact that she’s a girl and restricted from playing Little League, as per their rules, inspires her to fight back through research, leading her to learn more about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. While her story is fictitious, the female baseball pioneers she discovers are not, making this a great story to be used in an elementary classroom for American history and sports history alike. (And watching A League of Their Own with older kids would be a fun tie-in, too!)

My thanks to Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House, for the ARC.

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Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

This novella explores the ordinary life of Keiko, whose job at a Japanese convenience store gives her not only an income, but deeper purpose and identity. (As an educator, I would hazard a guess she would likely be classified somewhere on the Autism spectrum.) While she lacks understanding of how society functions, she possesses keen insight into human observation, making her a valued employee, until a male worker begins to disrupt the status quo with her job and life. Overall, this is a story of belonging and remaining true to yourself, quirks and all.

Read via: Libby e-book

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Kind is the New Classy by Candace Cameron Bure

So much of what comes out of Hollywood seems to be trivial, negative, or shallow, but this call to kindness and living a life of intention from actress Candace Cameron Bure is filled with Biblical truth, positivity, and depth. She shares first-hand examples of how she has stood up for her faith and values with conviction, covered in grace, which serves as a friendly and approachable reminder that we can all show ourselves and others kindness and respect.

Read via: public library

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Whiskey in a Teacup by Resse Witherspoon

In this lifestyle guide, actress Reese Witherspoon shares with fans and readers insights, photos, and recipes into what it means to be a Southern woman – well put-together on the outside with a fiery spirit inside, hence the title of her book. Releasing September 18, look for a full review on my blog then!

My thanks to Edelweiss for access to the digital ARC.


August means the start of “fall” for me, since our academic year begins soon. What are you excited about reading in the upcoming season?

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Read: June 2018

TheDry

The Dry by Jane Harper

Included in the 2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide under Twisty Novels, I finally got around to reading this a year later, and am now ready to read Harper’s newest novel, Force of Nature, with the same protagonist, which is featured in her 2018 Summer Reading Guide.

Set in Australia in the midst of a severe drought, Aaron Falk has traveled from his federal police job in Melbourne to his rural hometown after his childhood friend Luke is suspected of committing a family murder/suicide. Now that Falk has returned as a mourner, Luke’s parents think his training might lend assistance into these murders to find out if Luke really was responsible and for Aaron to get to the bottom of unresolved secrets shared by he and Luke from their teenage years.

Read via: public library

Ghost

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

I’m just now diving into some of Reynolds’ ground-breaking middle-grade novels, with Ghost included in The Great American Read list from PBS, and having read Long Way Down in February after winning several ALA Youth Media awards.

In Ghost we meet Castle Cranshaw, a.k.a. Ghost, who knows he’s a fast runner even though he’s never been on a track team before. Opportunity, coincidence, and a supportive, Olympic-winning mentor enter at the perfect time for Ghost, but he must first learn some hard lessons about reconciling his past as he deals with anger and self control.

Read via: public library Overdrive

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The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond

While this was a re-read for me (2011), I bought a copy during our visit to The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, and thought The Optometrist might enjoy this as our next read-aloud together. Not only was it a read-aloud, it was a laugh-aloud as we journeyed through her hilarious and self-deprecating perspective of how she and her husband the “Marlboro Man” met and fell in love.

If you are a fan of The Pioneer Woman and haven’t ever read this autobiographic story, you will love it, I’m sure!

Read via: home library

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A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien And C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, And Heroism In The Cataclysm Of 1914-1918 by Joseph Laconte

After finishing the Lord of the Rings series in May and a re-read of Narnia in April, the time was right to listen to this historical account of World War I, its impact on the culture of faith in post-war Europe, and its indelible influences on the writings and friendship of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

Read via: Hoopla audio

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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Many readers have shared how of all Liane (pronounced Lee-on) Moriarty’s works of women’s fiction, this is their favorite. And while this was my first time to read any of her books, I’m glad I began with Alice. This novel surrounds 39 year old Alice Love, Australian wife and mother who, after a bump on the noggin while exercising at the gym, believes she’s 29 and pregnant for the first time, not remembering a thing about all that’s transpired over the past 10 years of her life.

Filled with humor and heart, Alice’s journey to remember again is a call to live in the moment and focus on what truly matters – love, family, forgiveness, inevitable growth and change, and kindness to others and yourself.

Read via: home library (purchased at Magic City Books)

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Also featured in the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2018 Summer Reading Guide, this is one I would call an uncomfortable, yet compelling read. Uncomfortable in that it deals with abuse, but compelling due to the complex and broken characters, along with a heavy sense of Alaskan atmosphere. Hannah’s descriptions of the oppressive winter darkness and buoyant summer days are bookends for very memorable characters in a lingering story of generational and romantic love.

Read via: public library

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Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

Last October I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time (technically, listened to, and wonderfully preformed by actor Rachel McAdams) and I longed to continue Anne’s story. This sequel was narrated by Tara Ward, who helped bring the maturing Anne, softening Marilla, loyal Diana, whimsical Miss Lavender, ornery Davey (and more) vividly to my imagination and deeper into my heart. On to Anne of the Island!

Read via: Hoopla audio

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Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

Of all the Christian authors actively writing right now, Shauna Niequist is one of my absolute favorites. And summer is the perfect time for me to slow down and savor her writings, and in this case, her recipes, too. All of the essays in Bread and Wine center around how food connects us to one another, and many of the stories have an accompanying recipe included. Reading this will make you want to bake/cook/serve your people in a meaningful way, where you can leave perfection at the door.

Read via: home library

Dumplin

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Life isn’t easy for 16 year old Willowdean Dixon, who lives in a small Texas town with her former beauty queen momma, especially since Will’s body type isn’t typically seen as beauty pageant-worthy. And yet, Willowdean finds herself choosing between two boys who like her and who just might even be brave enough to enter the historic Teen Miss Blue Bonnet Pageant.

This coming of age story is filled with loads of Dolly Parton references and meaningful statements about body image and overall self-confidence.

Read via: Overdrive audio

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Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

When I received an ARC of this young adult book, I expected it to be a historical fiction novel surrounding the relationship between brothers Vincent and Theo Van Gogh. However, this was a well-researched and aggregated look at their upbringing, artistic endeavors, and later relationship, based on letters written to each other and to their family members, during their adult years in the 1870s and 1880s.

I learned so many new facts about both brothers, including how they were Dutch, their father was a minister, and Vincent also studied to be a minister for a while. Theo was an accomplished art dealer in Paris, including representing Claude Monet, and died at the age of 34. Vincent likely suffered from manic depression, was a diligent student of improving his craft, and sadly died at the young age of 37.

For fans of Van Gogh, this book explores his life beyond the canvas and would be a great introduction to art history for younger readers or to dive deeper into a historical aspect of a well-known painter for more experienced art lovers.

(Side note: I’m fortunate to have seen one of his Sunflowers paintings at the National Gallery in London in 2005 and a Self Portrait at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008.)

My thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and NetGalley for access to this digital ARC.


As I look ahead to July, I already have a big list of books I endeavor to tackle: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (read along with Jimmy Fallon!), My Life in France by Julia Child, Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan, and more!

What titles await your summer reading? Feel free to comment below!

Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

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Artemis by Andy Weir

For fans of The Martian, you will be excited to see Andy Weir revisit a space theme with his sophomore release. Set decades into the future, Artemis is a thriving industrial and tourist city on the Moon.

However, this sophomore release is a departure from The Martian in a few notable ways: we are greeted by lead female character Jazz Bashara and there is far less technical language in comparison to The Martian. Because of these two components I personally found this novel to be a more engaging read with the snarky, take-no-prisoners, owns her own mistakes heroine, along with a more understandable and approachable level of futuristic, scientific technology.

Through Jazz’s first-person perspective we get to know the history of this lunar city, her love for it, her loyalties to her job and her people in Artemis, her longings for a better way of life, and just how smart she is. The plot thickens when her (somewhat self- serving) business savvy leads to a domino effect of consequences when she discovers interconnected Artemisian secrets, industrial monopolies, and the role she will have to play in order to preserve the way of life for the people living in the Moon’s only habitable location.

I would have liked to have had a few more details explained in regards to her connections with friends and family back on Earth, but overall, I found this to be a fast-paced read that takes place in a very believable celestial city.

My thanks to NetGalley for access to the digital ARC. https://www.netgalley.com/ 

Read: October 2017

Jane

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

This new release from the author of Graceling was one I had been anticipating for the fall, but it did not live up to the fondness I had in reading her debut novel many years ago.

The basic premise is that Jane, a young woman mourning over the death of her explorer aunt, fulfills a promise made to her aunt and accepts an invitation to a gala at Tu Reviens, a castle on a secluded island owned by a wealthy friend’s family. I enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book as Jane gets to know the other gala guests and residents of the house and begins to suspect things aren’t as they seem.

But then, the plot intentionally starts to shift and Jane is able to choose her own adventure. Once this happens, as a reader, I found it hard to remember details of plot lines, especially before things shift at the start of the next chapter. I would have also liked a bit more connection between these scenarios and an overall sense of closure at the end of the book, which didn’t happen.

My thanks to NetGalley for access to the digital ARC. https://www.netgalley.com/ 

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Artemis by Andy Weir

Andy Weir’s sophomore release with a female lead character (huzzah!), set on the moon, is available November 14. Look for my book review in just a couple of weeks!

My thanks to NetGalley for access to the digital ARC. https://www.netgalley.com/ 

WednesdayWars

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

My original inspiration to read this came from Everyday Reading at Janssen’s high recommendation. Then I read about Madeleine’s Newbery project on Top Shelf Text, so I have revisited my goal of diligently reading more Newbery award-winners and am excited about this project!

Set in the late 1960s during the Vietnam War, 7th grader Holling Hoodhood is convinced his teacher hates him. As the school year progresses, he begins to better understand himself, his teacher, his believably quirky family members, the impact of war in his school and community, along with an unexpected appreciation for Shakespeare.

A great, more contemporary partner book would be Summerlost by Ally Condie.

This is a terrific coming-of-age middle grade novel, very deserving of its Newbery honor.

Book read via: public library

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Coraline was my first Gaiman book and The Ocean at the End of the Lane was one I thoroughly enjoyed a few years ago. I would also say I’ve read about 30% of American Gods and would still like to finish it, maybe as an audio book.

Knowing Gaiman is a masterfully spooky storyteller, I was a bit hesitant to read this 2009 Newbery-award winner. While there definitely were some moments I felt nervous for how things were going to turn out for protagonist Nobody “Bod” Owens, and while steeped with murder and death, there were many moments filled with gentleness, kindness, and caring.

While reading, I felt like these were a continuation of stories with some chapters containing a mini-adventure as Bod grows and learns about the dead and the living. In the post script, Gaiman shares how portions of the book were pieced together over time (the sensation I experienced), but there is still great continuity in the writing and execution of this middle grade novel, perfect for Halloween.

Book read via: youth collection from my academic library
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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I first heard about this YA debut via the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide in the Thought-Provoking Stories category. Since then I have heard it mentioned many times as a tour de force centered around the topic of police brutality in an African American community.

In my quest to read more diverse books as of late, this has probably stretched me the most as I’ve begun to better understand the injustices many African Americans face in low-income areas. Although this is a work of fiction, the killing of innocent young people and the cyclical reality of drugs and gangs in so many neighborhoods was brutally honest and eye-opening.

Book read via: public library

Anne

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

I have owned a paperback copy of Anne of Green Gables for probably two decades and have meant, year after year, to read this childhood classic. I also have a framed Litograph of the text of Anne in my library office. Yet, when I discovered Rachel McAdams’ narration, I bought the corresponding e-book just to take advantage of the Audible deal. After finishing Echo last month, I was ready to dive into another great audio book and this one did not disappoint!

Now I can say I finally understand the hype for Anne (my husband was astonished I had never read this beloved series, while he was very familiar with the miniseries) and, as Anne would say, I would now consider her a “kindred spirit.” I have absolutely fallen in love with this smart and spunky heroine and her fantastic “scope of imagination.”

Thankfully my public library has other audio books in the Anne series available via Overdrive, so I’m excited I can continue to listen to Anne’s subsequent adventures.

Book read via: Audible

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Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Looking back on previous blog posts, about every couple of months I pick up the next installment of the Chief Inspector Gamache series, with this being the 6th. I love how Penny often sets her stores in real places, with this story centering around the Winter Carnival in Québec City. To help give my imagination a boost, I often performed image searches online to see what locations like the Literary and Historical Society (Lit and His) and the Château Frontenac look like in real life.

I was also able to learn a little Canadian history, particularly about Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Québec City and the historical figure around whom this mystery centers.

When a prominent Champlain scholar is found dead while the Chief Inspector is visiting Québec, grieving the loss of one of his recently deceased agents, he can’t help but get involved to catch the murderer. All the while the Chief Inspector has tasked his 2nd in command, Agent Beauvior, to oversee a secret investigation in Three Pines; re-interviewing and re-examining evidence from the previous book in the series The Brutal Telling.

There were so many intriguing plot lines and cozy settings, I didn’t want to see this one end!

Book read via: public library


Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading, so please share what you’re enjoying or anticipating reading during this season!

Read: May 2017

All of my April reading projections were upended with access to new books in May: two memoirs, a sci-fi sequel, and a YA mystery!

Alyssa

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco with Lauren Oyler

After hearing Alyssa Mastromonaco’s interview on a recent episode of Fresh Air, I was curious to pick up her autobiography.  Filled with wit, candor, and gumption, she recounts honest, some humorous, and many less-than-glamorous stories about the hard work it took to coordinate, plan, and serve as President Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (among many political jobs and positions held for a variety of politicians).

She significantly downplays her own abilities, but it’s evident that she just didn’t “arrive” or “happen onto” a position working alongside the leader of the free world. So if you’re remotely interested in political autobiographies, this is a refreshing and inspiring read.

Book read via: my academic library InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

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Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

As soon as The Optometrist and I finished reading book 1 of the Themis Files, Sleeping Giants, in April, we quickly segued into reading aloud book two together, Waking Gods.

The cast of characters from Sleeping Giants returns, allowing the reader to gain more backstory and details of these individuals’ lives. We also learn more about the history of Themis, the other alien robots, and their descendants populating much of the Earth, while the Earth Defense Corps (EDC) tries to stay one step ahead of the robots to preserve as much of humanity as is possible. The story ends with a very obvious cliff-hanger, so The Optometrist and I are anxious to continue the series as soon as the third book is published (TBD)!

My thanks to Edelweiss for this digital ARC!

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Between Heaven and the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman with Ken Abraham

My adolescent, teenage, and college years were punctuated with a soundtrack revolving heavily around Steven Curtis Chapman’s music (some of which was on cassette tape, ahem). Thus, when I heard about the release date for his long-awaited memoir, I immediately added it to my InterLibrary Loan requests.

This autobiography is filled with stories and personal photos of early influences growing up in a musical family, his initial launch into Contemporary Christian music as a songwriter, how he met and fell in love with his wife Mary Beth, his numerous successes and awards in the music industry, the birth of their three children, the adoption of their three daughters from China, the grief and heartache of the death of one of their daughters, and the faithfulness of God carrying him through each “great adventure” he and his family have encountered personally and professionally.

Themes of God’s love and the hope we have in Him alone make this a must-read for any fan of Steven Curtis Chapman!

Book read via: my academic library InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

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Zero Day by Jan Gangsei

Addie, a politician’s daughter, was kidnapped from the governor’s mansion as an 8 year old girl and has suddenly reappeared at the age of 16 with her father now elected as President of the United States. Simultaneously, a series of public events in Washington, D.C., some political and some not, have been hacked or hijacked by a group calling themselves Cerberus, striking fear into innocent people. Always a brilliant computer whiz, the question remains, is Addie’s reappearance tied to these acts of political anarchy?

This was a great YA page turning mystery, perfect since May is National Mystery Month!

Book read via: home library (bought from our Scholastic book fair fundraiser)

 

Currently reading/soon to be finished in June: Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, and Countdown City by Ben H. Winters.

Read: April 2017

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Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

For fans of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood (but especially Gilmore Girls), Graham’s autobiography provides readers with stories of her childhood, education in becoming an actor, and personal insights and memories of filming  such beloved TV roles. This was a very quick read for me (<48 hours) since her writing style follows a “stream of consciousness” dialogue. If you’re a fan of GG, as I’ve been for years, this is a fun, lighthearted, pop-culture read!

Book read via: public library

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Love Story by Karen Kingsbury

This continuation of the Baxter family series features a love story of more recent characters Cody Coleman & Andi Ellison, plus takes a look back at how it all began with John and Elizabeth Baxter. Love Story will be released on June 6, so look for an in-depth book review closer to that time. (Update: my book review is now available!)

My thanks to Edelweiss for this digital ARC!

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The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny

Reading The Cruelest Month, third in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, the week of Easter was fortuitous since the book takes place at the exact same time! However, there’s nothing holy about the murder that takes place in Three Pines after someone is literally scared-to-death after a seance. Or is there more to this death than meets the eye?

It took me a while to personally connect with this story compared to the first two books in the series, but once the characters are established and Gamache returns to Three Pines to investigate, my interest was definitely piqued!

For new readers of Penny’s “Gamache” series, I recommend reading these in order for ease of recurring character and plot development continuity.

Book read via: public library

Cover of The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
The Crossover
by Kwame Alexander

This award-winning middle grade story is told in free verse poetry and was a lightning fast read (literally a few hours at the most on a Friday afternoon). Yes, this is a book about a young man who loves playing basketball, but interwoven is a beautifully supportive family dynamic where the words “crossover” come to mean more than just a way of handling the ball.

A well-deserved recipient of the 2015 Newbery Medal and a 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award that I should have read two years ago!

Book read via: youth collection from my academic library

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams

The Optometrist and I picked up a hardback copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle several summers ago, which is a fun memory! It’s not very lengthy and we enjoyed reading it aloud together, along with a little help from the audio version checked out from the public library, excellently narrated by Stephen Fry.

It’s funny, I’ve knit three Hitchhiker shawls over the past few years and watched the movie years ago, but honestly couldn’t remember anything substantial about the plot, so reading the original inspiration was a fun experience to tie everything together!

Book read via: home library

The Silver Chair
The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

Narnia is always a magical and inviting place to visit, no matter how old you are. My parents gifted me with a paperback set (exact copy of the cover above) for Christmas when I was ~8 years old and I would unequivocally say The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is probably one of my all-time favorite books.

And yet, I haven’t ever finished reading the entire Narnia series. Well, I can’t say that’s entirely true because my 5th grade teacher read the entire series aloud to us throughout that school year upon returning to our classroom after recess each afternoon. And I also remember loving the BBC movie version as a young girl – especially marveling at how they made Puddleglum’s hands and feet webbed!

I’m now just one book away (The Last Battle) from finally reading all seven Narnia books!

Book read via: home library

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Hope Heals 
by Jay and Katherine Wolf

If you haven’t heard the testimony of Jay and Katherine Wolf before, it’s one that will forever leave an impression on your heart of what God’s faithfulness looks like in the midst of unknowable human suffering. Their autobiography centers around the event that forever changed their lives: Katherine having a massive stroke at the age of 26. Their marriage is one that is covered with God’s grace and a real-life inspirational example of “loving one another in sickness and in health.”

Or if you’re interested in watching and hearing more about their story, check out this 20 minute documentary on YouTube.

Book read via: my academic library InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

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Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Nuevel

Last summer I signed up for a 3 month subscription to the Book of the Month club and this was my personal selection for July.  The opening premise of “a little girl is riding her bike and inadvertently falls into a pit that contains a giant metal hand” might sound a little bizarre – it did to me – but I’m glad I gave it a chance! This sci-fi scenario is grounded in believable ensuing possibilities: research motivations, military involvement, linguistic breakthroughs, and developing love interests.

After finishing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with The Optometrist I was excited to start another sci-fi adventure with him. And now we can look forward to reading book two of the Themis files, Waking Gods, which was released at the beginning of April and the digital ARC awaits us on my Kindle!

What I’m learning, as a relative new comer to sci-fi, is that the genre is much more approachable than I once believed. Like a lot of other genres: this book was fun, well written, kept me wanting to know what would happen next, and contained characters for whom I developed affection.

Book read via: home library

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The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

John Green’s (The Fault in Our Stars) endorsement of this series immediately piqued my interest, “[The] weird, beautiful, unapologetically apocalyptic Last Policeman trilogy is one of my favorite mystery series.”

A brief scenario of this apocalyptic mystery: an asteroid is headed for Earth and will make impact in the next 6 months, so what should Detective Hank Palace do when he discovers a suicide is actually murder?

As a reader, I’m excited all three books in the trilogy have been published so I don’t have to wait to read books 2 and 3!

Book read via: public library

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May brings the end of the school year and the kick-off for summer reading! Books from series like the Dresden Files, Narnia, The Penderwicks, Gamache, and Alaskan Courage are on my short list for right now!