Thursday, June 9, 2016

Katie Reads {2}

Summer!  Summer is for reading! I am sooooo excited to have a bit more free time and reasons to dive in and finish the (ahem) stack of unread books that have collected through the school year.  But before I do that, I should probably post some books I've read over the last couple of months.  (And here's my last Katie Reads post.) Sorry, this list is fiction heavy, but at the end of the school year I just couldn't buckle down and wrap up the few non fiction books I'm currently in the middle of. :)

(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 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!

While You Were Mine , Ann Howard Creeel {B} (not pictured above- read through Kindle )
  • I read this book from Kindle First and it was exactly what I needed during a busy weekend- a light, simple story.  It's not deep, thought provoking literature, and that is ok.
  • Synopsis- New York during WW2, main character finds herself raising her roommate's abandoned baby.  Just as she seems to have everything sorted out, the war ends and the baby's soldier father shows up. Cue drama & love story.
  • After reading this, I discovered that the author also wrote  The Magic of Ordinary Days, which is one of my favorite Hallmark Gold Crown Movies (also about WW2, a baby, and a marriage of convenience, coincidentally).
  • If you like the WW2 era and are looking for a light, easy read, this book is for you.
The Moment is Now, Lisa Marie Hunt {B+} (not pictured above- read through Kindle)
  • I think the subtitle tells the story- Do More Than Just Survive Your Single Years, Practical Tips to Live Them for God's Glory
  • I don't blog much about the struggles of singleness (whomp, whomp), but this book is worth sharing.  It was floating around on social media one day for $.99, so I thought I'd give it a try and I'm glad I did.  It's a short read that was easy to get through, but will also be great to go back and reference as needed.
  • The author and I have had so many common experiences that it was uncanny.  It was good to read about the honest struggles and successes of someone else who has been there.  
  • Her practical tips for for thriving are actually just good, honest guidelines for the path to holiness.
  • The thing that stuck with me the most from her book was a point that I have often felt but have never articulated or read anywhere else.  She tells a story of a personal friend who struggles with infertility and how the "parallel lives" they lead allow them to support and challenge one another.  This kinship of longing between single women desiring marriage and married women desiring children can form strong bonds and intentional formation.
  • If you are a single Christian woman, or not a single Christian woman, this book is for you.  Seriously, it is about how the desires of our hearts can and should point us to Christ, so it is for anyone!
Ella, Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee {A-} (not pictured above- read through Kindle)
  • One great reason to teach middle school?  No excuses necessary for getting to read Young Adult Fiction. :) 
  • I loved this sweet, but original Cinderella retelling.  If you enjoyed the beauty of Disney's live action Cinderella or the unlikely heroine of Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted (the book, for goodness sake, NOT the movie!), then you will love this Ella too.
  • Definite Christian themes of forgiveness, truth, femininity, faithfulness, and charity that are prime for discussion with a preteen girl.
  • If you (or your daughter) like fairy tale retellings and stories about virtue shining in dark circumstances, this book is for you.
Emma, Jane Austen {A+}
  • I mean, it's Austen.  
  • Emma is my favorite Austen book, and it had been a couple of years (during my Jane Austen Book Club days) since I had read it.
  • Isn't Mr. Knightley enough of a reason to want to visit Highbury again?
  • But really, it was Haley's post about being an Emma that made me want to read and hate and love the characters all over again. 
  • If you are looking for a story of a flawed girl who is allowed to grow and change through the challenge and direction of someone who loves her, this book is for you.  And if you don't feel like picking up a giant book right now, at least go watch the amazing BBC miniseries version of the story.
Death Comes to Pemberley, P.D. James {A+}
  • On the subject of Austen, this spin off takes the cake.  I read it several years ago and enjoyed it well enough.  Then I watched the miniseries last summer (so good!) and it helped the book come alive when I reread it this spring.  One of the few times that the "movie" actually helped me enjoy the book :)
  • In this who-done-it murder mystery that picks up a few years after the end of P&P, one of my favorite parts is how the author gave insight into events from the novel (and before the novel) through different perspectives that help the characters' stories fit together in a tighter and more intricate web.
  • It ties up loose ends and solves unanswered questions at the end of P&P, and even makes a few subtle connections with characters from other Austen novels.
  • Again, don't feel like reading?  Go watch the BBC miniseries.  The style, casting, and costuming all fit in so well with the book.  The mini series adds in a little more drama at the conclusion compared to the book by slightly changing the timeline and characters to add suspense.  The ending of the book is more Austen, the ending of the miniseries is more entertaining to watch.
  • Also an interesting observation- while the book was definitely Darcy driven, the miniseries is Elizabeth driven. 
  • If you love Jane Austen or crime drama, and especially if you love Jane Austen AND crime drama, this book is for you.
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr {A+}
  • Considering that The Book Thief is one of my favorite books ever, this book has been on my reading list since it was first advertised.  
  • It lived up to the hype.  WW2, dynamic, one-of-a-kind characters, rich rich symbolism, redemption...I loved it.  Gotta be honest, it was a hard read.  And it does not tie up all the loose ends in a pretty little happy bow.  But the ultimate story, which was always about the contrast of light and darkness, shows that the light wins.
  • Either before or after you read (depending on if you like spoilers) watch the Word on Fire video and listen to the Fountains of Carrots episode about the book.  Love the conversation and details pulled out connected to the theme of grace.
  • If you like rich, complex & interwoven stories about complex characters that point to truth in profound ways, this book is for you.
So there we go!  What have you been reading?  What should I add to my summer reading list?

No comments:

Post a Comment