In addition to Her Secret War, I read two more great fiction books this week! Have you read any of these? What did you think?
People We Meet on Vacation was everywhere last year and I finally got around to a listen/read. I loved the friendship between opposites Poppy and Alex. As someone who had a best friend of the opposite sex in college and beyond I loved the banter and the love.
As Poppy found herself having everything she wanted, but still not being happy she decided that making up with Alex was a good first step. The story hops from past to present so that we find out what happened to break their friendship.
A fun modern romance even if I wish more of that lightheartedness would have carried through to the end.
This was the Goodreads Award Winner for Best Romance.
What a great way to start my reading year! Inspired by part of a real conversation she heard at a restaurant in Atlanta. “Would you have waited seven years for me?” And the response “But it would not happen to you.” gets to the heart of this tested marriage.
From the very first pages I felt like I knew Roy and Cecilia. There was an exchange of letters explaining the current situation and then a look back at their upbringing and marriage. Their story was raw and poignant. It’s also the story of Atlanta and all that it means to them both.
If your spouse of 1 1/2 years was falsely imprisoned for 12 years how would you go on? If you like stories about marriage I highly recommend this book. I wish it had gone further in the end, but was still enraptured in their relationship and the secondary characters, especially Roy’s dad.
It’s been a great week for picture books! I read the 7 picture book finalists for this year’s Cybils Awards, but since I’m a judge I can’t give my thoughts until the winner is announced. Check them out here.
Obama writes about the traits of his daughters (and all Americans) based on those who have come before us. Qualities like the strength found in Helen Keller and the pride in America found in George Washington. He also featured ten others. Beautiful illustrations too. This is not a political book, but an American one.
In the 1700’s Benjamin Banneker built a clock with a bell (called a striking bell) to sit on a mantle using only his own drawings and a knife (the bell he purchased). Perfectly shows that ingenuity is just as important as good schooling and money.
How to mark the anniversary of January 6 in our homeschooling day? By spending over an hour studying fake news, who spreads it and the damage it causes, like January 6 when it almost derailed the foundation of our government.
This book was excellent. It’s short, but up to date with social media dangers and real examples of the harm it does to the world as a whole. A great current resource for worthwhile discussion.
This book tells the story of how the multicultural mambo came to be in New York City. It showcased each of the cultures in their parts of the city beautifully. Great for showing different cultures coming together to make something new.
Yikes! It’s the 18th and I haven’t posted any of my book a day reads this month! So, forgive me for this catch up post with lots of random books 🙂 I’m limping along with lots of kids books, but I will make it. What are you reading to finish up the year? For me it’s the shorter the better right now!
This story takes place on a road trip gone awry. Told from his and her perspectives and then and now time periods, this was a story that entertained. The last third of the book had a few revelations that moved the story in different directions all the while satisfying this romantic’s heart in the end.
I thought the audio was excellent.
Gage read me the first in the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series on Thursday. We’d read a later one in the series and liked it and Gage’s writing tutor gave him the first four for his birthday. The books are written by Andres, Desmond’s anxious friend. Desmond loves ghost hunting and Andres loves having a new best friend in his new town. A fun series with great illustrations for the older elementary set.
This is a new series by Dan Gutman about famous figures. I read the Muhammad Ali one earlier this year. Gage and I both loved this one. He loves random and interesting trivia and this fits the bill. It was told with humor that kept him entertained all the way through. And we both learned what happened to Einstein’s brain and eyeballs after his death. Gross!
We’ve been reading The People’s Award book to start our school day for about two months. It says right on the cover ‘Celebrate Equality with 50 People Who Changed the World’ and I appreciated the mix of people from around the world, both familiar and unknown to me. Each award winner ranging from Confucius to Pele had a fun two page spread. It also had a quote from each one which was a good reason for Gage to practice his cursive.
Notes on Teaching: A Short Guide to an Essential Skill was a quick read. It took me back to my college days and my English Education classes. Even as a homeschooling mom it still touched on many things that have already made a difference in our day and will continue to do so. It’s always nice to have a pep talk and a reminder of what’s important.
Have you ever been listening to a book and the narration is just so bad that you wonder if it’s a problem with the narrator or the book? Such was the case with this short winter romance. There were two narrators but one came up with voices for some of the characters that were so off-putting I think it must have been intentional.
A young woman goes to Alaska to work for the summer, receives a marriage proposal, goes back to Washington for a great job anyway only to discover dream job is a bust. Will there be a happy ending?
If considering, pick up the book and skip the ear buds.
I listened to The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley thanks to a recommendation from my friend Amy and what a good recommendation it was! This is the first in a series of eight books about six adopted sisters who are given hints about their births after their father has died. In this first book the oldest, Maia, travels from Lake Geneva to Rio de Janeiro in hopes of finding her roots. What she finds is a long lost love affair and ties to the famous Christ the Redeemer statue.
Perfect for historical fiction and romance fans. I look forward to learning more about the other sisters and the mystery that binds them. Great audio.
I read/listened to Well Matched, part of a series that’s set in the small town of Willow Creek. I haven’t read the first two but would consider this a stand alone. Single-mother April is about to become an empty nester and gym teacher Mitch is looking for a fake date to a family gathering. I loved easy going Mitch and outspoken and homebody April. Having it set around the local Renaissance Fair was fun and having family and friends invested in their relationship solidified the story. A cute read for this time of year.
Pete Souza was the official White House photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama and was self admittedly bitter after the 2016 election. He started his own IG account and began to react to Trump’s tweets with photos of Obama to directly respond. Throwing shade was a term he learned for what he was doing and these posts, with Trump’s tweets from the first two years are what make up this book. I wanted to like it more and there were serious comparisons and more humorous ones, but after 4+ years of hate (tweets) and snark I just couldn’t generate any excitement for it. But, hey, it was free!
The Royal Holiday introduced me to a new author AND a middle age romance! It was nice to have a heroine in her 50s and I enjoyed the American going across the pond to fall in love with an advisor to the queen. Can they make it work past her holiday? Keep calm and believe.
The Gifts of Imperfection is about living a wholehearted life. Wholehearted living is based on the process of continually cultivating courage, compassion, and connection in our lives. There are 10 main guideposts, including authenticity, resilient spirit, and intuition that she addresses. This book is based on her research and I loved how she shared it, but it was still just a bit too self-helpy for me to love. I did take away a lot of positive energy and am happy I read it.
Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots by Michael Rex should be required reading for adults and children, but really it’s a quick, fun book for kids. The definitions were spot on. Just because someone says something you agree with doesn’t make it a fact. It also addressed the need to wait for more information before making firm opinions.
Plants on the Move is detailed and visually pleasing. It breaks down the many different ways that seeds from plants and trees reproduce and what trees or flowers do each one. Must have for your young plant lovers.
Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a beautifully illustrated book told in first person by the first unknown soldier buried at Arlington National Cemetery 100 years ago.
A well put together kids biography of the creators of Curious George, who may have started with a much more French name than George. Margret and Hans were both from Germany, but didn’t meet and marry until they were both in Brazil where they became Brazilian citizens. They moved back to Paris just in time for the Germans invading the city with the couple barely escaping on homemade bicycles with drawings of a curious monkey in the bike basket.
They managed to escape and make their way to New York, hence my New Yorker magazine cover. The story the pictures and the whimsical drawings make this one I’m happy to have on my shelf to share with Gage.
A Day for Rememberin’: Inspired by the True Events of the First Memorial Day is a beautifully illustrated book about the freed men, women, and children in Charleston who paid homage to the dead Union soldiers who gave their lives so that slaves would be slaves no more.
Tigers & Tea with Poppy is about the inspiring life of wildlife artist Charles R. Knight.
I also read these kids books and one for a book tour
My Buckeyes lost to the the Wolverines for the first time in 10 years. The Game was a depressing one to watch for OSU fans. I’m an alum who bleeds scarlet & gray, but give props to The Team Up North, they showed up to play!
So, what better time to avoid the TV and all the upset excitement than to update you on my reading?
I read the first Persepolis a few months ago and loved the creative way Marjane told the story of the Irna revolution and aftermath. This second graphic memoir was about her 4 year abroad and what finally brought her back home. I liked this one a lot too!
I can feel the end of my book a day challenge coming. I’ve already read 375 books this year and still going strong.
My graphic novels reading month has been going well. In addition to the books below I also listened to 2 audiobooks in series I follow. The Fallen by David Baldacci is #4 of the Amos Decker series. Amos and Jamison are visiting her sister and Amos wastes no time in finding dead bodies. He does what he does and uncovers one conspiracy after another. Great listen, especially if you are familiar with run down towns suffering from the opioid crisis. Night School by Lee Child is #21 of the Jack Reacher series and takes place when he is still in the military. A nice diversion from the nomadic Reacher, but I could have done without the scene involving a woman and mule having relations on a stage for a group of cheering men. That was a real low point of the series for me.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. What if every choice you made led to a different life, a different you and it was happening simultaneously to your life right now. What if you were able to visit The Midnight Library and try on each of these lives to see if you preferred them to the one you’re currently living. So goes the story of Nora Seed.
Rosemary and Guy move into the Branford in NYC having heard of some of its more infamous past residents. They are befriended by an older neighbor couple and their relationship starts to change. When Rosemary becomes pregnant it’s not at all what she expects and she becomes even more isolated.
A perfect psychological horror story.
Life is Good by Trixie Belden. This book made my day. Any fan of Dean Koontz knows how much he loves dogs, especially his golden retriever Trixie. Trixie decided to write a book when she realized that some humans weren’t as happy as dogs were.
This book was so, so sweet. I loved it, even reading some passages out loud to Jason making him laugh too. If you have ever loved a dog, get your eyes in this book so you can feel the slobbery kisses as you read.
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager. Sager’s take on a haunted house, was a perfect listen as I worked on a puzzle late into the night. Maggie’s father had made their family famous with a memoir about them escaping their house after being attacked by ghosts. Now that he’s dead and the house is hers Maggie goes back to ready the place for sale and perhaps bring back memories from when she was 5. Is Baneberry Hall still haunted? Was it ever? I really liked this one!
The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright. This felt like a throwback to the stories I used to love as a kid, no surprise there since it was originally published in 1983. Twelve-year-old Amy is too often relied on to take of her special needs sister. She is able to escape to her aunt’s creepy house where she discovered a dollhouse in the attic. While she’s thrilled, her aunt is not and tensions rise between the two.
This middle school story gave me all of the good stuff. It was a book about growing up and learning to navigate friendships and family and to believe in yourself enough to believe in ghostly spirits. Yes, there are ghosts, but the ones that help set things right. A fun story for tweens. Loved it!
November intentions with today’s read. I had 5 books sent to me for review this month, but 2 of them had their publication dates pushed to next year. A sign of the times I guess. The rest of the month I’m reading GRAPHIC NOVELS! I went to the library and pulled most of these off their shelves, but if you have one that I just need to read let me know.
For today I read Thoreau: A Sublime Life. I mentioned when I read The Midnight Library that I loved Thoreau and it had been too long since I’d read him, so it’s no surprise this was my first choice. I loved this one. It’s not all encompassing, obviously, but the Foreword and the last section written by a professor with details and pictures, were perfectly done to make this feel like a book of importance.
The illustrations told the story, with some pages having no words at all. There were a few significant interactions that put his life into focus. As a freethinker and abolitionist his life in the 1800s still calls people to his readings today. He is more than just Walden and if you’re not familiar than this is a good place to start.
A sequel to Runaway Train, Grenade Bouquets picks up Nico’s story and runs with it. It’s the mid 90s and her idol, Kurt Cobain, is dead, but her love of grunge isn’t. Her parents are convinced to let their 17 year old daughter tour with her boyfriend’s band over the summer where she will sing a few songs on stage. She’s a hit.
Fame is like a drug and Nico is hooked. As the band travels around the country, it is angsty Nico that gets them their first song in the radio. Nico doesn’t have the maturity to handle it, and her band mates only make it worse.
She’s real, she’s flawed, and she’s unapologetically Nico. She’s a little like a train wreck, you know what’s coming but you don’t look away. She can be highly annoying, just like your typical teen, but also surprisingly vulnerable.
I see in an interview with the author that he’s trying to get this series (he’s writing the third now) on TV. I’d watch it 😁. Get a head start and give these YA books a chance.
This week the local school had Thursday off for Yom Kippur so, we were able to take Gage’s friend with us to his weekly nature camp. The boys had fun and I was lucky enough to spend 30 minutes on the way home with them talking about girl crushes, lol. Here’s the photo they let me take when we dropped off his friend…
So many things to juggle these past few weeks, so having a few minutes to stop and blog is a breath of fresh air. The glass of wine doesn’t hurt either! Gage has still not fully recovered from gastritis and that means extra doctors on board. We finally started full day school yesterday. And I’m planning a trip for us, which always stresses me out.
But I’m still on track with a book a day (barely ;)) Here are my daily updates from IG.