Friday, April 15, 2016

Katie Reads {1}

Oh, books, how I love thee.

As a teacher, I have found that personal reading during the school year gets pushed to the wayside (unless of course we are talking about our 5th grade novels or PD books of course.)  So during summer and on breaks, I eat up books.  Spring break was a couple of weeks ago, and I'm just getting around to bringing these suggestions to you.  Maybe there will be something that looks like the perfect book for your next free weekend!

(FYI- the links for the books are Amazon Affiliate links.  That means that if you click through and purchase something, I will receive a small percentage at no cost to you.  I will gratefully use it, probably to stock up on more books! :) )

Since I would rather be reading than writing long book reviews, I'll give you a grade (once a teacher...) and a quick run down.  Totally just my opinion based on what I like to read.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on these books or suggestions of what I should read next in the comments!

The Warrior: Caleb , Francine Rivers {B+}
  • Gotta admit, I'm typically skeptical (and critical) of Biblical fiction, but Tessa Afshar's In the Field of Grace changed my mind for the better
  • And I love Francine River's Redeeming Love, so when I saw The Warrior (and The Priest- book one in the series) at the thrift store, I had to pick them up
  • I happened to be finishing up the Book of Numbers in my Bible reading plan over break, so this novel about the life of Caleb was perfectly timed
  • Loved the insight into Caleb's warrior heart and why he was chosen as one of only two men from his generation to enter the promised land
  • But it almost tried to cram too many large events (covering all of the wandering in the desert and the conquest of the promised land...) into one little novella
  • I'm working on reading the first book in the series about Aaron, and will keep my eye out for the other three as I'm thrift shopping
  • If you would like to dive deeper into the lives of Old Testament key players through your imagination, this book is for you.
The Brontë Plot, Katherine Reay {A-}
  • This was a must read for me because Reay's Dear Mr. Knightley is one of my absolute favorites
  • I love Reay's flawed characters, heavy English lit references, recreated stories, and unpredictable (but yet predictable) plots
  • The Brontes don't hold a super dear place in my heart, knocking this book down a little bit for me, and really, its going to take a lot to outshine Dear. Mr. Knightley
  • If you like Austen & the Brontes, old stories made new, and happy endings, this book is for you.
Brooklyn, Colm Toibin {A-}

  • After all the award hype, I knew I wanted to see Brooklyn (the clothes! the era! the accents! and again, the clothes!) but after discovering it was originally a book, I am under strict self-imposed guidelines to
  • So I read the book first.
  • And I liked it- but I am a little surprised by the hype 
  • Well written? Yes.  Story that should be told? Yes.  
  • However, I thought it was a tad slow, but in a kind of beautiful simplicity 
  • Overall, I really enjoyed it and now definitely want to see the movie...for the clothes of course
  • If you like coming-of-age tales and period pieces from the post war era, this book is for you.

A Man of the Beatitudes: Pier Giorgio Frassati, Luciana Frassati {A-}

  • Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati is our CCD patron Saint for this Year of Mercy, so I ordered this book over the summer to do my research
  • And it sat on my bedside table until two weeks ago
  • But it was worth the wait.  Written by Pier Giorgio's own sister, it gives a unique view of his growing up, family life, desires, and hopes for the future as only his sister could tell
  • I loved the snippets of notes and letters written by Pier Giorgio himself, as well as the evidence that only at the end of his life did his family truly understand who he was
  • I also discovered that I apparently don't know enough about politics and social class in Italy in the 1920s, but I was able to figure out the gist at least
  • If you are looking to be inspired about the combination of youth, service, and holiness, this book is for you.

If I Run ,Terri Blackstock {B-}

  • This book way my biggest impulse buy on this list and also my biggest disappointment
  • I have enjoyed Terri Blackstock's crime thrillers for years as easy but interesting reads
  • So when I saw she had a brand new book with a seemingly different story line I was intrigued
  • The first person point of view...I'm not sure I liked it or if it added to the understanding of the characters.  I think it was supposed to make it more suspenseful, but instead maybe made it more annoying
  • But really, I was disappointed because I didn't know that this brand new book is the beginning of a series.  What seemed like an interesting story line stretched out way too long, introduced and solved an entirely different problem, and led the two main characters to not even meet until the last chapter of the book
  • I'm annoyed enough to not even want to finish the series
  • If you are patient and wait until this whole series is written and then can check it out from the library all at once, this book is for you.
Well, there you have it- what do you think?  Of the five books I read, which are you most tempted to pick up?

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Go see what she recommends!


  1. I hadn't heard of any of these, and I will definitely be looking at Brooklyn. Thanks for sharing! I've been dipping into some light reading, with the end of the school year in sight, and just finished the first Brother Cadfael mystery. I'm not much of a mystery fan, but I really enjoyed this one. Also, I wonder if you've read Francine Rivers novellas about the women in Jesus' family tree? I loved the one about Tamar, which I thought brought a really unique perspective to a lesser-known story, but didn't find the others very compelling.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! I am glad you are making some time for reading! I know that I sometimes put it off, and then when I make the time I question while I put it off :). I have not heard of the Brother Cadfael Mysteries, so I'll have to look them up! And I don't think I have ready those novels of Francine Rivers... and if I did it would have been back in college. Like I mentioned above, I do really like Redeeming Love, and I also like The Atonement Child, The Scarlet Thread, and I have read some of the Mark of the Lion series. I'll have to look at her novellas about the women in Christ's lineage again! :)