Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Reading in February...

This month I managed to get a fair amount of books read despite a heavy school month and no snow days!

The Baker's Secret
by Stephen P. Kiernan
This is a story of life in a small village in Normandy during WWII. Very engaging book and an insightful look of the hardships they faced.

An Echo of Murder
by Anne Perry
This is book #23 of the William and Hester series.  While I always enjoy another glimpse into their lives this was not one of my favorites. 

The Girl She Used to Be
by David Cristofano
When I was rating this book on Goodreads I was very tempted to give this book 2 stars but it is a page turner, I had a hard time putting it down so that makes it a 3 star for me.  The premise of the book was intriguing but there are so many parts that didn't work for me.  Perhaps it is the cheesiness of the "romance" or lust between the main characters, it felt very adolescent to me. I do like the story line and would love to read another book that is similar but more believable for me. 

All Dressed in White
by Mary Higgins Clark
Classic MHC, fast, easy read, kind of like reading a Murder She Wrote episode.

The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm
by Juliet Nicolson
This book is about what was happening in England during the summer of 1911. It is a chronological account of the summer so it tends to be a choppy read.  Some people are mentioned numerous times, other people/events seem rather random..I enjoyed this book because I like reading about this era and this book gives you a "behind the scenes" look at that summer.  If you do not read about this era then I don't believe this book would hold any interest for you. 

The Sea Garden
by Deborah Lawrenson
This book is a little difficult for me to review. It is written as three novellas that all tie together by that end of the third section. I found the first part very difficult to get thought and was very tempted to set the book aside, but as it had been highly recommended to me I decided to plow through it. The second and third novellas were much more intriguing and I really enjoyed those sections. I should also note that I have not read "The Lantern". I think I may have enjoyed this book even more had I read "The Lantern" first. 

Detective Cross
by James Patterson
This is one of James Patterson's bookshots, so only 131 pages long. If you are a fan of Alex Cross you will want to read this as it is another glimpse into his life.

French Twist
by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
This is one of James Patterson's bookshots, a very short novel. I typically do not enjoy short stories but I much admit these are enjoyable. They still feel like a James Patterson book despite how short they are.

'til next time...

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Reading in January...

This was a heavy school month but I still found some time for reading.  Much of it late at night, which doesn't help my goal for getting more be it. 

Christmas Pudding
by Nancy Mitford
I reserved these Nancy Mitford books for some Christmas reading but then had to wait a while for them to be available at the library.  This was an enjoyable, holiday read.

Pigeon Pie
by Nancy Mitford
I liked this book but not as well as Christmas Pudding.  Amazon sells them together in one volume, you can find it here

by Juliet Nicolson
I enjoyed this book but it wasn't as much about Edward and Wallis as I had hoped. 

Faithful Place
by Tana French
This is the 3rd book in the Dublin Murder Squad.  I figured this one out early on but the story was still intriguing. Not my favorite in the series but I still really liked it. 

a long way gone Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmeal Beah
This book is a fairly quick read, a heartbreaking story but yet so full of hope. It is exciting to see how Ishmael Beah has devoted his life to helping others. 

Anne of Green Gables
by L. M. Montgomery
I don't know how many times I have read this book and yet it is always a joy to read.  This time I read the book in an online book club, reading two chapters a week.  I enjoyed the slow pace, having time to mull over what I had read. I also enjoyed the observations and comments of the other ladies reading the book. 

City of Women
by David R. Gillham
I liked this book but didn't love it.  The book takes place in Berlin during WWII, so the tone of the book is going to be rather gloomy and depressing.  Parts of the book were intriguing but parts of the book didn't work for me.  I think the author is hoping you ask yourself 'what would I have done as a German woman during WWII?'  Would I had supported the Nazi agenda?  Helped hide Jewish people?  That part of the book I enjoyed.  But, I didn't find the sex scenes/theme believable.  They were starving, they were exhausted, just trying to survive another day,  it seems unlikely she would have had the time/energy/desire to have love affairs. 

'til next time...

Lots of reading, school, yule log hunts, and more books...

January.  The fun and festivities of the holiday are wrapping up, the days are cold, the nights are long...perfect for embracing hygge in your life.  For curling up with books in the evening, for buckling down and getting caught up on lots of school work, for hot drinks and evenings playing games by the fire. 

This month the kids are participating in a reading challenge from Read Aloud Revival where they have to read aloud each day.  They both enjoy reading to Bunny and Puppy in front of the Christmas tree. 

Ainlsey surprised me one morning with breakfast in bed!  She had made hot tea for me but was afraid I would get up before she could finish making toast so she brought me some cookies instead.  Once I got over my shock that she had managed to carry hot tea up the stairs without burning herself, I was delighted.  

January always seems to be a heavy reading and school month for us. Since we use a lot of books from the library for our homeschooling our book hauls tend to look like this!  When the library tells you that "your hold shelf is full" you know you are making the most out of this resource!     

We celebrated Epiphany this year by attending our church's annual Epiphany Yule Log Hunt.  I volunteered to make a few crowns for the event but as I didn't know what they were supposed to look like I made a variety.  My favorite was the Epiphany crown. 

The Yule Log Hunt and Christmas tree bonfire was held at Highland, the home of James Monroe.  We began with the hunt for the Yule logs. There were a few smaller logs and one big one, those finding the smaller yule logs would be crowned prince or princess of the hunt. The person that found the large yule log would be crowned king or queen of the hunt, and would be pulled to the top of the hill on the sled. 
Ainsley, off to a running start...
searching through the woods...

and she finds a yule log!

 I'm not sure what these are but they looked really neat. 

bringing back the big yule log
Pulling the "Queen of the Yule" up the hill

"Princess of the Yule"
the finders of the yule logs

Bestowing a piece of the yule log to the Queen of the Yule - this piece will be kept to to ward off mildew, house fires, toothaches, and other minor mishaps.

 The arrival of the three kings... 

The lighting of the Christmas trees... 

a rather terrifying inferno...
He was happy to find the baby Jesus in the King Cake!
It was a fantastic day, we are already looking forward to next year!

My lemon tree is finally producing enough lemons at a time to really use!    

 We use a lot of books in our homeschooling.  While we do use some text books most of our work is literature based.  This means we bring home armloads of books from the library, it means I drink copious amounts of hot tea to keep my voice after all this reading out loud! I love that we have so much time to spend on books and yet, there will never be enough time for all the books we would like to read!  

trying to read aloud at the same time...not as peaceful as it looks!

Once again all the snow seems to be missing our town.  This is the only snow day we have had this year and it is a pitiful amount of snow.  But, enough white on the ground for the kids to attempt to sled and snow board.  

When almost all your holds become available at the library....not even I can read this many books in two weeks.  Especially considering that we are working through a heavy school load right now.  I guess I will sort in order of which books I would like to read the most and see how far I get!  

 The kids completed their reading challenge of reading aloud each day for the month of January.  I always feel a bit silly doing reading challenges because we do read a lot of books in our house.  But I like this challenge particularly because they have to read out loud.  It gives me a change to hear what words they may be mispronouncing and also to help them on their reading rhythms.  They earned a few treats throughout the month for completing their reading without complaining and without me having to nag them.    

'til next time...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reading in December...

December is such a busy month that I feel I get less reading done, even though I do have a few relaxing days before the end of the year.  Here is what I read this month. 

A Christmas Message
by Anne Perry
This book was only OK for me.  I normally enjoy Anne Perry's Christmas novellas but this one was a little far fetched for me. 

Fever 1793
by Lauris Halse Anderson
I don't normally read a lot of young adult books but I really enjoyed this book.  This book is based on the yellow fever epidemic that took place in Philadelphia in 1793.  This is not an event that I am very familiar with so I really enjoyed this book. 

Winter Solstice
by Rosamunde Pilcher
I really enjoyed this book, I'm a little sad I let it stay on my to-read list for so long.   The book has heartbreaking moments but also has hope, it was a very moving read. 

by Dan Brown
I always enjoy reading this series.  This was not my favorite Robert Langdon book but I did enjoy it.  This book also takes place in Spain which is an area I am currently interested in so that added to the enjoyment for me. 

Murder Under Christmas Tree
by Cecily Gayford 
This book is a compilation of short stories that are Christmas themed mysteries.  The authors include Ian Rankin, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers and G. K. Chesterton, among others.  I enjoyed this book because it was easy to pick up and read the short story without getting sucked into a long story-perfect for the busy Christmas season. 

The Cozy-Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge
by Pia Edberg
I had had this book for awhile now but it kept getting shuffled around and I hadn't picked it up yet.  If you enjoy learning more about the concept of hygge then you may enjoy this book.  It is a short, easy read,  I enjoyed it but don't think I learned any thing new about hygge. 

'til next time...