Interrupted. I read a huge amount of Christian books this year, and this was one of my favorites. Powerful and relatable.
The Septimus Heap series. The more I think about this series, the more I love it! I can’t believe it took me this long to finish reading it. Now I just need to acquire my own copies of these books so I can re-read them.
Although it never really gets cold here in southwest Florida, I still find my reading habits changing as the holidays approach. I don’t want heavy novels or important nonfiction; give me dystopias and lighthearted mysteries! Here are ten of the books on my TBR list this winter.
On the Edge of Gone. A dystopian novel starring an autistic character? Yes please!
The rest of the Aunty Lee series. I really enjoyed the first book in this mystery series set in Singapore, and I’m excited to read the next books.
The rest of the Junior Bender series. There’s even a Christmas-themed book, so this read is right on time!
Death by Darjeeling. Why not spend the winter months getting into a new mystery series?
Shadows on the Moon. This is one of the books that has been on my TBR list for so long that I can barely remember why I put it on there in the first place. I need to read this soon.
Howl’s Moving Castle. I have still never read a Diana Wynne Jones book (I know, I know!), and this one seems like a good one to start with.
A Tale Dark and Grimm. What fits these short winter days better than some dark fairy tales?
Neverwhere. I don’t always enjoy Neil Gaiman’s work, but his creepy, surreal worlds also seem fitting for winter.
The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries. This anthology of Christmas mysteries kept me happily occupied during Christmas break last year, and I think this anthology might do the trick this time.
What books are on your winter TBR list? Leave your links in the comments!
Pictures of Hollis Woods. This Newbery book, about a girl in foster care who wonders if she’s blown her only chance at having a true family, is one of my all-time favorites. It made an impression on me as a child, and I’d love my children to have that experience too.
Hope Was Here. A 16-year-old girl with a history of leaving the people and places she loves makes the move to small-town Wisconsin, where she and her aunt have been hired to turn a small diner into a bustling restaurant. Hope is a strong character and she knows how to fend for herself, but she also learns to rely on the family that she has built.
Code Name Verity. The unbreakable friendship between two girls during their military work in WWII England is powerful and heart wrenching. A focus on the importance of female friendships and the actions of women working dangerous and important jobs makes this tear-jerking YA book a must-read.
Hattie Big Sky. 16-year-old Hattie gets a chance to create a new life for herself when her dying uncle leaves his Montana homestead for her to prove up. Hattie experiences and learns from hard work, cold winter days, new friendships, failure, and even death. This Newbery book is a powerful look at what young women can do, and a reminder that failure doesn’t mean the end.
Walk Two Moons. This Newbery book by Sharon Creech is one of my favorite books, period (but you guys probably already knew that!). 13-year-old Sal and her grandparents are going on a cross-country trek to find Sal’s mother. Sal passes the time by telling her friend Phoebe’s story, and in doing so, Sal reveals her own struggles of life without her mother.
A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. The grandmother in these two Depression-era books is the star–she’s larger than life and seems a little crazy, but she isn’t afraid to stand up to anyone or to flout social norms for what women should wear, or do, or say. She ignores social niceties in order to take care of those who need her help, and her two grandkids get dragged along with her schemes. Hilarious and heartwarming at the same time.
Ella Enchanted. This book is way better than the movie version (of course). Ella is unable to ignore any direct command given to her–her curse means that she must obey every order. However, she is strong willed and struggles against her curse for years, until (*spoiler alert!*) she learns how to break it herself. There is a prince involved (what Cinderella retelling doesn’t have a prince?), but Ella doesn’t need his help to free herself.
The Penderwicks series. These books offer the classic childhood adventures that many of my favorite books from childhood did, but without the problems that come from reading books published in the 1930s. The Penderwick family is warm and loving but isn’t afraid to get into mischief.
El Deafo. This graphic novel about a girl growing up deaf is funny but also thought provoking. Kids can enjoy the art while still learning about being deaf and about inclusion of others.
The Casson family series. The Casson family is flawed, more so than the Penderwicks, but they share a sense of fun and adventure, even in the midst of family difficulties. Each of the very different children gets a book focused on them.
What books do you want your children to read? Share your thoughts or links in the comments!
I’m taking today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme in several different directions. Some of these books are actual cookbooks. Others are novels that feature food, or even books with foodie covers. A couple are even books about food that I haven’t actually read yet but reeeeeally want to. I hope you’ll share with me your favorite cookbooks or your TTT lists in the comments!
(P.S. Several of these books are ARCs which I have already reviewed, but as always, all opinions are my own. These books made the list not because I received a free copy of them, but because I truly enjoyed them.)
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake [ARC]. I didn’t actually enjoy this book that much (please click through if you want to read one of my more rambling, off-topic reviews), but the cover is amazing.
Redwall. This suggestion comes straight from my husband. He has fond memories of reading this series as a child and drooling over the feast descriptions.
The Pho Cookbook [ARC]. Andrea Nguyen is my go-to source for all things Vietnamese food-related, so I was super excited to read this ARC when it came out earlier this year. (And, of course, to ask my husband and resident chef to make me some pho!)
Hope Was Here. This book, a childhood favorite and one of the few books I’ve re-read more than once, is set in a diner where Hope is a waitress. She sprinkles her viewpoints on being a waitress and loving food throughout the book, and every major event centers around the diner and the people Hope meets there.
A Scone to Die For [ARC]. You guys know I love this cozy mystery series about a tearoom in Oxford (I’m even on the author’s review team!), and the first in the series is packed with food references and even a recipe.
Around the World in 80 Purees [ARC]. I loved this book. It offers so many good ideas for helping even your little ones enjoy different flavors. As an adventurous eater myself, I’ll try anything to help my future kids start to love food and avoid becoming picky eaters!
Pretty Good Number One [review copy]. This is the book that made me want to explore Japan and basically eat everything. The book isn’t all about food (but it kind of was for me!).
The Little Library Cookbook. I haven’t read this cookbook yet, but I love this food blogger also. She takes inspiration from books (both childhood favorites and adult fiction) to create her recipes.
The Cardamom Trail. This is another cookbook I haven’t read yet, but as a big fan of the Great British Baking Show, I really want to! I loved Chetna’s unique flavors on the show, and I’d love to try them for myself.
Today I’m linking up with the Broke and the Bookish to share my top ten quirky characters! Nothing makes the reading experience even more fun than some unusual, eccentric, or even strange characters, and below are some of my favorites.
Come Thou Tortoise. The whole book is quirky (yes, this is one of those that has no punctuation), which fits perfectly with the main character whom no one can figure out.
The Thursday Next series. Thursday herself isn’t that strange, but all of her companions in the book world (and in the real world) are a bit out there.
The Series of Unfortunate Events. Everything Lemony Snicket writes is quirky and unusual, and everyone from the three siblings to Count Olaf to the countless strange people the family meets fit into this category.
Like most of you (probably? Tell me I’m not alone in this issue!), I have a huge, towering TBR list to which I’ve been adding books for so long that sometimes I forget why I put a book on the list. So for my fall TBR list, I decided to go back and select ten of the oldest books on the list, ones which I don’t even remember why they originally appealed to me. The books range from adult fiction to YA, from mysteries to nonfiction. I may not tackle all of them this fall, but I hope to cross off at least a few of these old TBRs off my list!
A Grown Up Kind of Pretty
While Beauty Slept
There is No Dog
Where Things Come Back
The Broken Teaglass
Death by Darjeeling
The Godmother Tree
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Around the Bloc
You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know
What books are on your fall TBR list? Leave your links in the comments!
Friends, I have to say I did terribly on my small goals from last month. But here we go!
Relax! Yes, kind of, but even our relaxing plans (see the Harry Potter World picture above!) turned out to be a lot more complicated than we anticipated. (The month started with us having to rent a car and ended with us buying new cars. Not really our plan for our summer vacation…)
WatchA Very Potter Musical. No, I still, still haven’t seen it.
Get my pants hemmed. Yeah, no.
Finish reading my stack of books. I did make a dent in the stack… but it has also grown quite a bit this month.
Okay, so July turned out a bit differently than anticipated. Here’s hoping August will go a little more smoothly!
Get paperwork in order. This is my boring goal for the month. We’ve got car information, payment paperwork, and a thousand other papers waiting to be dealt with or filed.
Go to the beach. And this is the fun goal! I live close to the beach, but we rarely go because it’s a bit of a hassle. Still, it’s always a fun time, and I want to make an effort to go at least once this month.
Gear up for the busy season at work. Back to school time always brings an influx of students, and this year has me particularly booked up. I want to spend some time getting new games, activities, and plans organized before school officially starts.
What I’m Into
Books I’m looking forward to reading: I’ve been on a Jasper Fforde kick recently, and I’m on the hunt for the later installments in the Thursday Next series.
TV shows I’ve watched: I found out that the Great British Baking Show has a Masterworks spinoff in which Mary and Paul demonstrate how to make the bakes from the show. So lovely!
Music I’m loving: It has been Bastille all day every day for a while over here.
My favorite Instagram:
You know it had to be this one from our recent Universal trip!
If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and the occasional selfie), you can do so here.
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What are you all up to this month? Let me know in the comments!
It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through the year! It seems like only a few weeks ago that I was writing my 2017 goals for the blog. But here we are! Today I’m sharing the best books I’ve read this year so far.
The Mysterious Howling (review to come soon). It’s a fun beginning to a MG series in which a 15-year-old girl becomes the governess for a trio of children with a peculiar problem.
The Septimus Heap series (review to come soon). I loved this series soooo much! It’s like a lighthearted version of Harry Potter for younger readers. Fun, heartwarming, great characters and setting and plot, and magic. What more could you want?
Misreading Scripture through Western Eyes (review to come soon). If you’re interested in interpreting the Bible, I highly recommend this eye-opening book.
Interrupted. The first Jen Hatmaker book I ever read, and my favorite. She offers an intimate look at her own journey with her faith and her church, and I found it very encouraging.
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. A beautiful, simple (but not simplistic) writing style paired with an unusual setting (at least for me–this series is the only one I’ve ever read that’s set in Botswana) and lovely characters. Oh yes, and there are mysteries, too.
Frog and Toad Together. I know I read this at some point as a child, but there’s something so wonderful about the Frog and Toad books.
I’ve noticed lately that I’m really bad about reading the first book of a series, enjoying it, and then never getting around to reading the rest of the series. This year I’ve done my best to finish series, even ones I started years ago–which is why I just finished reading the wonderful Septimus Heap series. I would have missed so much by never reading anything beyond Magyk, so I’m taking this chance to list all of the series I still need to finish in the hopes that it will prompt me to read them soon!
I’m linking up with the Broke & Bookish for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme.
Today’s TTT prompt revolves around the things I’d like to see more books include. There are definitely some things that consistently trigger my “must read now” impulse, and I’m happy to share them here!
Time travel historical fiction. This is why Connie Willis in particular is like candy for me. (See also here and here.) I love historical fiction in general, and the time travel aspect tends to keep things from getting too serious.
MG books about quirky kids. No matter what time period, setting, or quirk the story has, I’m always up for a good middle grade novel with unusual characters.
Books with a prominent narrator. I love books that have a narrator who inserts herself/himself into the story. Humorous asides are always welcome. (Lemony Snicket is a master of this.)
Books that explore other countries. My reading on lesser-known countries in Africa, Asia, and South America is sadly lacking. I’d love an influx of books in translation or books by authors from these countries.
Diversity! You guys know that reading diversely is important to me, and we still have a lack of characters who are POC, have a disability or mental illness, and so on. I always learn a lot by reading about people who are different from me, so more of that, please!
Books about Millennials that don’t hate on Millennials. This may be a kind of book that only I want, but as a Millennial myself, I’m tired of reading books and articles that either bash my generation for our stereotypical flaws or are written as “how to be a real adult” how-to guides (although I admit there are some books in that vein that I have read and enjoyed). I really want to see some books that describe my generation without being hateful or patronizing.
Hate to love romances. Why does this always get me? It must be because of my formative experience with You’ve Got Mail.