What I’m Reading – July 7th

What I’m Reading Now:

Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You by Jen Hatmaker – I’m not sure what to expect from this book. It makes me a bit nervous, to be honest, but I’m going to read it with an open mind and evaluate what she has to say as objectively as possible.

To See the Moon Again by Jamie Langston Turner – Still in pending mode, but I will read it once the library books slow down.

What I Recently Finished:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins – The story of Coriolanus Snow from The Hunger Games. I loved this book! Highly recommended!!

Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein – This was a good book, but nothing earth shattering. My job is pretty routine, and I am pretty organized already, so there wasn’t much here that I found helpful. The only area I think I need to work on is going through my files and purging excess paper. But my files fit comfortably in two drawers, so I’m not really motivated right now to do it.

The Sorcerer of the North by John Flanagan – Book Five in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. This was one of my favorites so far. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next book.

What I’ve Added to my TBR list:

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer – the story of Twilight told from Edward’s point of view

The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan – Book Six in the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

Did Not Finish:

The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel – My foray back into the world of WWII novels. I had to stop reading this one. I didn’t enjoy the characters or the story, and I just didn’t want to read anymore.

If you’re on Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend. I’m always looking for new recommendations!

What I’m Reading – June 30th

What I’m Reading Now:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins – The story of Coriolanus Snow from The Hunger Games. I’m about a third of the way through and I am loving it!

Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein – I enjoyed Kondo’s books on decluttering and used them to go through my whole house and get it organized. I need to do some touch ups here and there, but I am interested in what she has to say about work. I feel pretty organized there, but she may have some good ideas that will make it even better.

The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel – My foray back into the world of WWII novels.

To See the Moon Again by Jamie Langston Turner – This is her eighth book and the last one she has published so far. It has gotten pushed to the side by the influx of library books coming off hold.

What I Recently Finished:

A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky – I have always enjoyed this author’s books, and this one was pretty good.

The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan – Book Four in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. It was action-packed and very satisfying to read.

Spy, Spy Again by Mercedes Lackey – Book Three in the Family Spies series and who knows how many in the entire Valdemaran world. I have read her books since I was a teenager and still enjoy them. I loved this one!

What I’ve Added to my TBR list:

The Sorcerer of the North by John Flanagan – Book Five in the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

If you’re on Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend. I’m always looking for new recommendations!

What I’m Reading – June 16th

What I’m Reading Now:

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner – My library only has this in audiobook, so I’m trying to listen to it. I’m not very far into it. I have trouble finding time when I can really focus on listening to the story. I may have to put this back on my TBR list until I can find a print copy.

Sometimes a Light Surprises by Jamie Langston Turner – I’m rereading her books in the order they were published, and this is the seventh one.

When We Were Young by Karen Kingsbury – One of the Baxter Family books that I missed somehow.

What I Recently Finished:

No Dark Valley by Jamie Langston Turner – I’m rereading her books in the order they were published, and this is number five.

Winter Birds by Jamie Langston Turner – Her sixth book. It actually is set in Mississippi instead of South Carolina, although there are a few characters from her other books who show up in this one a little bit.

What I’ve Added to my TBR list:

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh Howey – I absolutely loved his Wool series and am going to give the Bern Saga a try – this is book one.

If you’re on Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend. I’m always looking for new recommendations!

What I’m Reading – June 2nd

What I’m Reading Now:

A Garden to Keep by Jamie Langston Turner – I’m rereading her books in the order they were published, and this is book four.

What I Recently Finished:

The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan – Book 2 in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. I am enjoying this series. It’s not totally realistic because the 15 year olds save the day on more than one occasion, but they are still a lot of fun to read.

The Icebound Land by John Flanagan – Book 3 in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. Another good book, although the way it shifted between the two storylines every other chapter was disconcerting. I would just be getting into it and the chapter would end, and I would have to switch gears to the other characters.

Someone Like You by Karen Kingsbury – This novel is part of her Baxter Family series. It was a sweet story and a quick afternoon read.

By the Light of a Thousand Stars by Jamie Langston Turner – I’m rereading her books in the order they were published, and this is her third one. I got so engrossed in it that I finished it in one day.

What I’ve Added to my TBR list:

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner – A few weeks ago, I shared a blog post about things that make me not want to read a book, and one of those things was a WWII setting. Well, this book is set just after WWII plus it’s about one of my favorite authors, so I am going to take a chance on it. My library only has it available as an audiobook. I have enjoyed audiobooks in the past, so I think that will be okay.

The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan – Book 4 in the Ranger’s Apprentice series

Truly, Madly, Deeply by Karen Kingsbury – the next book in the Baxter Family series due out in October (no image available yet)

If you’re on Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend. I’m always looking for new recommendations!

What I’m Reading – May 26th

What I’m Reading Now:

The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan – Book 2 in the Ranger’s Apprentice series I started a couple of weeks ago.

What I Recently Finished:

Some Wildflower in My Heart by Jamie Langston Turner – I’m rereading her books in the order they were published, and this is her second book. I have read this one several times, so I knew the story details pretty well, but I still enjoyed the writing and the characters.

What I’ve Added to my TBR list:

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott – A memoir in essay form, this was recommended by Nick & Hanna True from Mapped Out Money.  They read sections from the book on a recent podcast, and I was intrigued to read more of it.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins – Just released prequel to The Hunger Games series. The wait on my library app is more than 6 months, so it will be a while before I get to read this one!

Added to DNF list:

The Truth About Us by Brant Hansen – Fairly recent arrival by the author of Blessed Are the Misfits, which I enjoyed. The book has a good message and prompted me to recognize times I think I am better than other people in some way. I enjoyed the social science aspect of it as well as how he integrates Biblical wisdom on the topic of self-righteousness, but I just felt like he made his point pretty early on and was just restating it in different ways, so I didn’t finish this one.

If you’re on Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend. I’m always looking for new recommendations!

What I’m Reading – May 12th

What I’m Reading Now:

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Star of Persia by Jill Eileen Smith – I have read many fictionalized accounts of Esther but am still drawn to them.  It’s such a fascinating story.

What I Recently Finished:

Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar – This was such a good book. I have enjoyed everything I have read by this author. This one is the fictional account of Priscilla and Aquila from the New Testament. I usually like stories like this, so it wasn’t a big stretch for me to pick this one up, and I’m glad I did.

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan – Recommended by my DM, this is a YA fantasy book that is first in a series called Ranger’s Apprentice. The writing was engaging and the characters were well-developed. I am looking forward to reading more of the series.

If You Must Know by Jamie Beck – This was my pick from the Amazon Prime First Reads list for May. It was a good book with a satisfying ending. I would recommend it.

What I’ve Added to my TBR list:

The Truth About Us by Brant Hansen – I have previously read his Blessed Are the Misfits, which was a great book about following God when you don’t fit in with the norm. This book is about embracing humility rather than self-righteousness.

The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan – Book 2 in the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

If you’re on Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend. I’m always looking for new recommendations!

Gabrielle Zevin (3 Great YA Reads)

I have been reading up a storm in the last couple of months, including trying to catch up on some series that I had started previously but lost track of.  One of those was the Birthright series by Gabrielle Zevin, about the daughter of a crime boss dealing in illegal chocolate in the year 2083.

I had read the first two books quite a while ago but still wanted to find out what happened in the third book, In the Age of Love and Chocolate.  It wasn’t on the library shelf the first time I went, but I picked up two other books by the same author that looked interesting: Elsewhere and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac.

I practically inhaled Elsewhere, starting and finishing it in the same afternoon that I checked it out of the library.  It was a charming and thought-provoking tale set in a world where, when you die, you go to Elsewhere and live your life again – backwards. Not so much fun when you die at age 15, like our main character Liz Hall, but at least she gets to meet her grandmother and learn how to drive, along with discovering a whole lot about the meaning of life…and death.  It’s a fun and clever book that also draws you in and makes you care about the characters.  I definitely give it 5 stars for its all-ages appeal.

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac is the perfect example of a book I would have loved when I was 16 and still enjoyed at 46.  It centers on Naomi, who has lost her memories from the last several years as the result of a fall, following her as she slowly regains them.  Along the way, she has to figure out how she feels about the boys in her life – her boyfriend, her best friend, and the new guy in town – and deal with their reactions when her current feelings don’t always match up with the past they remember. A solid 4 stars.

Imagine a world where chocolate is illegal?  That’s the case in the Birthright series, and the main character Anya Balanchine is the daughter of a powerful crime boss, i.e. illegal importer and distributor of chocolate.  To me, In the Age of Love and Chocolate is like the third season of a nighttime drama, when the characters’ stories have crossed and re-crossed each other until they resemble a spider’s web.  I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first two books, although it did provide a satisfying wrap-up at the end.  3 stars.

Although I don’t read much Young Adult these days, it is nice to occasionally dip my toe in the water and see what is out there.  I’m always open to suggestions, so feel free to leave a comment with your recommendations!