Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What's On Your Nightstand - February

This month was a busy month with my kids getting ready to go to a competition. Our life has kind of been turned inside out. My final reading list ended up being a lot better than what it felt like it was going to be. We have another week and half before the competition begins and then maybe I can find my reading groove again. It has been a successful month though. My daughter is sewing the binding on her quilt and then it will be finished. I'm feeling quite accomplished! (All those nagging encouraging words I was giving!)

For March:

From February's Nightstand I read:

  • A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner - I really liked Meissner's Secret's of a Charmed Life and wanted to read more by her. I first picked up A Bridge Across the Ocean and realized it was a ghost story and so that was dropped immediately (personal preference). I can't say that A Fall of Marigold was a big hit either. Meissner did a good job telling two stories that happen in two different times, but I just couldn't relate with one of the main character so the book fell flat for me.
  • The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle - Another book from one of the hosts of The Big Boo Cast. I really enjoyed this read. Laugh out loud fun!
  • Women in the Word by Jen Wilkins - A good solid Christian book. I think the biggest thing I took away from from this book was her simple way of studying scripture. 

I also read:

  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford - I read this for book club. I can't believe I have never read this book. It was sooo good! 
  • Howard's End by E.M. Forester - I read this along with the Close Reads Podcast. Reading along with them helps me broaden my reading horizons. You have to read to the end to appreciate the story which was a good thing since it put me to sleep every time I read it.
  • The Vanderbeeker's of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser - This book has a lot going for it but I only liked it. I wanted to really, really like it but I just couldn't. I read it as an e-book so I don't know if that is why I just wasn't connecting with the story like I wanted to. It could be that the story moved too fast or the characters were undeveloped. Maybe it's because I'm not a 10 year old kid! I'm just not sure.Anyways, the story is very reminiscent of The Penderwicks, The Melendys, and All of a Kind Family but set in modern day time. I don't think a kid would be disappointed in the story. I will definitely read the next book in the series maybe the magic will happen in the next story. (Whew! There are a lot of maybes happening here!)

I listened to:

See more What's On Your Nightstand here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What's On Your Nightstand - December & January

Again, I missed the Nightstand from last month which I'm blaming on Bloglovin' which quit updating the blogs I read and forced me to switch to another blog reader. Between Christmas vacation and not getting the 5 Minutes for Books in my blog reader it passed by without my knowledge. But again it could be just old age creeping up on me, or maybe it's because my life is busy with teenagers,  homeschooling, and trying to keep my sanity that blogging isn't a priority right now. Anyways, I missed it so here it is!! (My Nightstand for February is a little slim since I can't figure out what I want to read so I'm going to keep it short and sweet.)

For February's Nightstand:


From November's Nightstand post I read:

  • Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miller by N.D. Wilson - N.D. Wilson comes up as a favorite for kids' books though my kids didn't care for 100 Cupboards. I was in the library and this book was sitting on the shelf so I grabbed it. I guess my kids didn't fall too far from the tree, because I didn't care for this story at all. I am not a fan of fantasy though I have read some that I've enjoyed, but this story was just too far out there for me.
  • Giant Pumpkin Suite by Melanie Heuiser Hill - This is another book that came highly recommended, but I felt it fell short of the mark. Why I finished is beyond me. I guess I was waiting for the book to get better.
  • The Life-Giving Table by Sally Clarkson - I need a lot of help when it comes to a life-giving table since cooking isn't my forte. I found this an encouraging read, but I probably need to have it on a perpetual reading schedule to keep me encouraged.
  • Reading In the Wild by Donalyn Miller - I really enjoyed The Book Whisperer by Mrs. Miller, but it is definitely written for the classroom teacher. I was hoping this book would be more user friendly for parents, but I found this book even more inclined for the classroom teacher which is too bad because she is so passionate about getting kids to read.

I also read:

In January I read:

  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles - I really, really enjoyed this slow paced story about a man who lives in a hotel for 30 years. Highly recommended! (Side note: This is not a story about Russia. This is a story about a man and the relationships he forges.)
  • The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen - I haven't picked up any Christian fiction for a while, but I found this sitting on the shelf at the library so I grabbed it. I have enjoyed other Julie Klassen books and thankfully this one didn't disappoint.
  • The Ladies of Ivy College by Julie Klassen - The sequel to the previous book. My only disappointment is that this book just came out and I have to wait a long for the next book in the series.
  • King Alfred's English by Laurie White - This was an interesting book about where we got our English language from. I really enjoyed it.
  • Hello Mornings: How to Build a Grace-Filled, Life-Giving Morning Routine by Kat Lee - Mornings are not my favorite. I appreciated the author's passion for encouraging women have successful mornings with a focus on prayer, health, and planning. I can see this being a great book to give to mom's with young kids--that's when you need to extend yourself all that grace. By the time the kids are teenagers you're an old pro at extending yourself grace (especially in certain areas).
  • A Mother's Heart: A Look at Values, Vision, and Character for the Christian Mother by Jean Fleming - This was a re-read. I remember really loving this book when I read it the first time. I can't say it was as meaningful this time, but again I am at a different place in life. That being said I still get a few jewels to apply right now.
  • Sparkling Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle - I have had this book on my Kindle for years. Last year I started listening to The Big Boo Cast Podcast and Melanie Shankle is one of the co-hosts. I decided to check out this book. When I opened the book I had at one point in my life read the first 10 chapters, but that had been all so I set out to finish it. An enjoyable and funny memoir. Not deep, but still fun.

I listened to:

  • At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon (December) - I love to buckle down and listen to audio books during the Christmas holidays so I picked a book I was already familiar with. I absolutely love these books. I have never been a fan John McDonough as a narrator, but I have to admit he does a great job with the Mitford books.
  • A Light in the Window by Jan Karon (December) - same as above
  • Who's Body? by Dorothy Sayers (January) - I ended up picking this book since I could download it immediately from the library. This is another re-read, but I did still very much enjoy it. Sayers mysteries have a more sophisticated feel to them compared to a Christie mystery.
  • Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt (January) - I'm always looking for ways to have my best year ever. Who knows?  Maybe this will be the year! Ha-ha! On a serious note though there are some very great points that I need to work implementing in my life.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

What's On Your Nightstand - October & November

I ran out of time last month to get my Nightstand posted so you get a two for one this month.
I did quite a bit of reading in October and a fair share in November. I did put four books on my Nightstand for December, whether I read them all or not will remain to be seen. Nevertheless, something will be read!

For December:

From September's Nightstand I read:

  • Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson - This was a great read and one that I probably need to re-read in a few months just to take everything in.
  • Reading People by Anne Bogel - I love to read about personalities and at first I thought this book was going to be redundant from things I knew, but she went into quite a few different personality finders and really piqued my curiosity to look into them more. 

Still reading:

  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - I am reading this with an online book club and they are reading it slower than I had anticipated so thus I'm still reading it.

I also read:

  • Audacity Jones to the Rescue by Kirby Larson - I dived into a little bit of kid's fiction this month. This was a cute read.
  • Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer - When I get into a reading slump I read a Heyer or Wodehouse. This time it was Heyer. This isn't probably one of her best books, but still enjoyable.
  • A Dangerous Engagement by Melanie Dickerson - Well, I found I was having a hard time believing in this story. I found myself laughing and it wasn't at the characters in the book, but rather the book itself.
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson - I read this along with the Close-Reads podcast. I read Robinson's Housekeeping years ago and HATED it, so I was quite hesitant to read Gilead. Thankfully, this was a very thought provoking read and a story I could like.
  • Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine by Caroline Starr Rose - I'm always on the look out for a good adventure story for my son. Unfortunately, I didn't pass this on. It was an okay read and that was about it.
  • The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer - Another Heyer book. Any story that she puts siblings is always a fun book. 
  • The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer  - Somehow I have never read this book and my daughter recommended it. This was an excellent read. It's like reading a comedy instead of watching it.

I listened to:

  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson - My co-op class is doing Reader's Theater this year and we are working on this story. Of course, that required some research. Such a fun Christmas story.
  • Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan - If you haven't read this book I highly recommend you add it to your list. It is kid's fiction, but such a great read. I do highly recommend the audio since it adds a lot to the story. 
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie - Another Close Reads book. I listened to the audio with David Suchet as the narrator. (He is Poirot, right?) Murder isn't one of my favorite Christie stories so I'm not sure if I'll watch the new film or not.

For November I read:

  • A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside by Susan Branch - Do you need a vacation but don't have time or money? I highly recommend you search out this book. It is a vacation in a book! Not only is the book beautiful on the inside and out, but I felt like I was traveling with the author and taking in the all sights and experiences. Highly recommended!
  • A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay - I have really enjoyed Katherine Reay books. I did find the end of this story left me hanging a bit. 
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - I have been reading this book with my kids over the last 12 weeks. It is my first time through and oh my, what a story! Dickens is a master story teller. (Yes, my kids had to hand me Kleenex as we finished the book.)
  • To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon - Karon is another master story teller. I was not disappointed in the latest Mitford book.
  • Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher - Another book that I read aloud with my youngest daughter for school. Such a great little story.
  • Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven - Can I just rave about this book? I absolutely loved it! Such great advice and given in short little blurbs with some great stories interspersed throughout. I may or may not have a couple of kids getting copies for Christmas.
  • Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church by Keith & Kristyn Getty - Such a great reminder about the importance of singing. As a song leader and a musician I found it a great reminder of why I do what I do.

Monday, September 25, 2017

What's On Your Nightstand - September

Well, I had to laugh when I saw my pitiful number of books I read this month. You can tell I was focused on other things like school planning, which I always put off to the last minute, and then getting our homeschool year off to a good start. So hopefully, this next month I will be able to find more time for more reading.

For October:

I also read:

  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - I read this for book club. I was aware of the movie but have never watched that or read the book before. I was pleasantly surprised by this story and ended up really enjoying it.
  • A Spy's Devotion by Melanie Dickerson - I read the second book in this series last month and finally got the first book from the library. This was a fluffy read which is sometimes necessary.

I listened to:

  • A Basic History of the United States, Vol 1: The Colonial Experience 1607-1774 by Clarence B. Carson - I listened to this while preparing for our school year. My highschoolers are delving into a year long study of American History which is quite thorough. I really, really enjoyed this book though it did have some dry moments. Now if I can find a way to squeeze it into our schedule--every homeschool mom's dilemma!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What's On Your Nightstand - July & August

Last month I was up in the air on a plane when I realized that I didn't write my What's On Your Nightstand post for July. Since I was heading on a short visit with my parents and then taking my kids to a big Youth Convention I decided to just wait until August and post it all at once. So here is my big reading list for July and August and my goals for the upcoming month.

In September I want to read:

July's Reading
From June's Nightstand I read:
I also read:
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - I finally got around to reading this book (A big thank-you to my book club.) I have read a lot of rave reviews, but I have to admit that I didn't love this book. I'm not sure exactly why. Maybe I read too many rave reviews? Who knows!
  • The Butler Did It by P.G. Wodehouse - A fun read. I was getting close to the end of the book when I had this strong feeling that I "knew" one of the characters of the book. I googled it and found that this story is slightly tied to Money in the Bank--a personal favorite of mine.
  • Fire and Ice by Mary Connealy - I stop every now and then and catch up on one of Mary Connealy's books. Pure fluff.
  • To Have and to Hold by Mary Johnston - This was a read-aloud book for my older kids, but with baseball and grandparents visiting it was pushed aside. We finally picked it up in July and finished it up. I really, really liked this story since it was very suspenseful and plus I learned a lot about the Jamestown settlement. Highly recommended!
  • Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin - Habits! I found this an intriguing read and it gave me a lot to ponder on. 
I listened to:
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh - I read this along with the Close Reads podcast. I would have never made it through this book without the podcast. I can't say I liked this book, but overall I'm glad I read it. (A funny note: Jeremy Irons is the narrator and it took me it bit before I could get the image of Scar [The Lion King] reading aloud this story.)
  • All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot - I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoy James Herriot's books. He is such a delightful storyteller. The audio's are fabulous.
August's Reading
I read:
  • The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey - Another book club book, though we never discussed it which was really too bad since I love this story. I think this is my third time through it and it is still as good as the first read.
  • The Lady of the Lakes: The True Love Story of Sir Walter Scott by Josi S. Kilpack - I'll have to admit I wasn't very excited by my reading so I just went in and browsed the new books at the library and came across this book. I enjoyed this story a lot more than I thought I would. Plus the author does a great job at the end of telling the real story and what was truth and what she added.
  • The Prince and Betty by P.G. Wodehouse - I read this on my trip. I don't think I got too much read since I was tired every night. Not the best Wodehouse, but Wodehouse makes me laugh no matter what.
  • Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke - Here is another story that pleasantly surprised me. The story goes back and forth between the daughter's life in present day and the mother's life from the past. If you like World War II fiction this may interest you. (This is Christian fiction, but I still found it a good read.)
  • A Viscount's Proposal by Melanie Dickerson - Another book I picked off of the library shelf. An okay read.
  • Different by Sally & Nathan Clarkson - Sally & Nathan Clarkson tell Nathan's story of his struggle with OCD and a few other diagnosis. They share the struggles and pain that they dealt through the years.  This is an uplifting read for mom's who are dealing with children who just don't fit in a normal box.
  • Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman - A book about books. There are some great essays in here. 
I listened to:
  • The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot - The last of the James Herriot series. He even makes his trip to Russia during the 60's interesting. I was quite sad when the book ended.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What's On Your Nightstand - June

What's On Your Nightstand 

As I predicted in my last post June was a very busy month for us. We had a month full of baseball, my parents and in-laws were here visiting, my husband and I had to attend a retreat for a couple of days, my son, Chantry, turned 15, plus our local homeschool convention happened this month. Needless to say I didn't get a lot of reading done, but that is okay. July should be a little lighter, but I'm not picking a huge reading list since my summer seems to passing by way too fast. I do have a pile of books to read and am hoping to get a lot read.  I know most people read more in summer, but for some reason that just doesn't seem to work for me.

For July:

From May's Nightstand I read:

I also read:

  • The Pilgrim of Hate by Ellis Peters - Another Brother Cadfael.
  • It Started with Goodbye by Christina June - A modern twist on the Cinderella story. I can't remember how I came across this book, but I found it a decent read for YA.
  • Ring for Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse - A Bertie & Jeeves story without Bertie and while a decent story, I did miss Bertie.

 See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What's On Your Nightstand - May

What's On Your Nightstand 
What a month! The day after I published my April Nightstand my oldest son was in a serious car accident that totaled our car and he was rushed off in an ambulance to OHSU in Portland. The Lord was watching out for him and he was able to go home that night with only a broken bone in his toe, a bruised abdomen, and a bad (read very nasty) cut on his arm which couldn't be stitched and had to heal on its own. Let's just say that this mama's heart was quite physically and spiritually weak for awhile. Jesus and reading is what helped this mama through this situation.

So that brings me to June. We are still trying to finish up school work and we also are looking forward to my parents coming for a long visit and my in-laws are also going to be visiting. I'm sure we will be pretty busy, since life never lets up even when you have visitors! I'm keeping my list short since I may not have much time for reading.

For June:

From April's Nightstand I read:

I also read:

I listened to:

 See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.


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