Castaway Books

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Castaway stories have always been intriguing like Swiss Family Robinson and Cast Away. The thought of having to survive on an island makes for a great story for the imagination. These books do that too for the imagination.

Castaway Cats by Lisa Wheeler is a cute picture book about a ship of 15 cats that becomes shipwrecked. They learn to live on the island and the text is fun and rhymes so it is delightful to read aloud.

Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge was unexpectedly wonderful. I was not too interested in a castaway storyline, but quickly become so intrigued and did not want to put it down. It brought tears to my eyes and consider it one of my favorite books I have read so far this year. A plane crashes with one pilot and three passengers. This is a story about survival on an island. I do not want to give away the story, except to say that I really did love this book. Have you read it? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

 

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April Reading Life

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Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest  by Leeanna Tankersley is a non-fiction book that I received from Revell Publishing in exchange for my honest review. Leeanna wrote in such an honest way about how when life is hard, we have to remember that we can begin again. She offers practical ideas at the end of the book to find true rest in your life. This book was encouraging as a mother, but would be great for any woman at any stage in life.

 “Always we begin again.”
–St. Benedict

You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac releases May 1st. I received this from First To Read in exchange for my honest review. I really enjoyed reading this book. A single mom spends the holiday in France with her son and his father. She goes so that her son would have quality time with his father that he only sees a couple times a year. Her friends join her for part of the trip. The book surprised me with more depth than just chick-lit by having her mom have medical issues and her dad being an alcoholic. It was well written and an enjoyable storyline. Also, I may want to travel to France now. If you enjoyed this, I would recommend Women In Sunlight by Frances Mayes.

Home Fire by Kamile Shamsie was not a favorite of mine. I had a hard time relating to the characters. I did enjoy the story being written into different parts based on each character’s perspective. It was also a different topic than I normally read about. The story takes place in Great Britain about a Muslim family and their Pakistani heritage. If you have read this, please leave a comment with your thoughts.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan is a YA fantasy book. It was more fantasy than I normally read about a teenage girl that is half Taiwanese and lost her mother to suicide. She travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents and sees her mom as a red bird. It was an enjoyable book and did a great job covering such heavy topics like suicide and family secrets.  If you enjoyed this book, I would also recommend I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi. Also, What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum is a YA book where a young girl loses her father.

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch is about a teenage girl who recently lost her mother due to cancer. Her mother wanted her to go visit Italy and possibly move there. The story was about Carolina reading her mother’s old journal about her time in Italy where she was studying photography. She learns about her mother’s life and about who her father is. She also makes a new friend, Lorenzo. I really enjoyed this on audio, the narrator did a fantastic job telling this sweet story.  Looking forward to her next book, Love and Luck, which releases in May 2018. Other YA books like this that I have enjoyed were What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum and Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum.

Promise by Minrose Gwin  is a historical fiction book about a tornado in 1936 in Mississippi. There were some parts that I really appreciated like the historical views of segregation during that time as a black woman is a laundress for a white family and this book is about how their lives intertwine. The book jumped around a little too much for me and I felt disappointed when I finished it.

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White was one that I listened to on audio read by the author. I had really enjoyed her first book, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your House’s Dirty Little SecretsThese books were so relatable and I could understand her struggles of cleaning and organization. Coming from a family of packrats, this book really hit home since I never get rid of anything. She shares her experiences and tips to declutter your house. Hopefully, I can implement some of her strategies and declutter my house.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt  was one I picked for my trip to Savannah, Georgia. I enjoyed reading this while I was in the town and reading about the same streets that I was travelling on. My husband was supportive as I told him about the book and we had lunch at Clary’s and drove by the Mercer House where the murder happened. We decided not to tour the house though. We went to Bonaventure Cemetery and saw Johnny Mercer’s grave. We went and found Danny Hansford’s grave in Greenwich Cemetery. Not only does this book tell the story of this murder, it talks about all of the unique people in Savannah and the characters that make Savannah so interesting. It was fun to see all of the real places mentioned in this book. It was also made into a movie.

The Healing Self: A Revolutionary New Plan To Supercharge Your Immunity and Stay Well For Life by Deepak Chopra M.D. and Rudolph E. Tanzi PhD. I received this book from Blogging for Books exchange for my honest review. This book focuses on health prevention of Alzheimer’s and cancer. There were plans in the back to recommend changes for people in diet and activity. The diet recommendations were the most interesting to me. Also, the studies which show predisposing factors to Alzheimer’s.

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin one that I had heard was good for fans of Grey’s Anatomy and I can see why. Since I was a nurse, the medical setting for this book was intriguing and even those not in the medical field can appreciate it. It made it a unique background for this story about doctors. The storyline goes back and forth between two different times in their present lives and when they were in medical school together. The story took place in Kentucky and North Carolina. Living in Kentucky, it was fun to read about this story taking place in the Louisville area and that the author who is also a doctor is from Kentucky. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to her future work.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. This non-fiction book was so intriguing and kept me reading like a fiction book. Tara Westover writes about growing up on a mountain in Idaho with her Mormon family. Her parents are survivalists and she never attends school until college. She attends college after studying for the ACT on her own. She goes on to study at Cambridge and receive her PhD. She returns to visit her family over the years and becomes estranged from her parents and some of her siblings. She shares her life growing up so vulnerably. The whole book is beautifully written. I did not want to put it down over the two days that I read it and then I watched interviews of the author. I would love to hear your thoughts on this book in the comment section. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend it. Tara’s father reminded me of the fictional dad in The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen was a historical fiction book that switched back and forth between the 1970’s and WWII. A young woman travels to Italy to learn more about her father that passed away recently. She discovers pieces of his past as an English pilot in the war that crashed in Italy. It was an enjoyable historical fiction read, but it had a few loose ends for me. If you have read it, I would love to hear your opinion of this book in the comment section.  I also enjoyed her other WWII historical fiction book, In Farleigh Field.

A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot is a Christian historical fiction book I received from Revell Books in exchange for my honest review. It is the second book in the series, Cimarron Creek, which I had not read the first book and was able to enjoy this book.  I was pleasantly surprised while reading this book.  A schoolteacher meets a new rancher in town and discovers that he and his daughter are hiding from a dangerous criminal. She learns the truth and there are several smaller stories that supported the main story. It had suspense and romance in it and I would highly recommend if you enjoy Christian fiction.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is popular due to it being Oprah’s book club pick. I appreciated that the book was well written and was curious how the book would finish. The book is about a newly married couple and their lives over the next few years as the husband is incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. It discusses racial issues since the premise is that he was arrested for being an African-American man in the wrong place at the wrong time.  If you enjoyed it, I would suggest Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

Kitchens Of The Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal  is one I listened to on audio. I enjoyed the different narrators and the descriptions of food. This foodie story focuses on Eva and the different people that come in and out of her lives. I enjoyed how the characters seemed different, but were all tied together by the main character.

Favorites this month:

Favorite non-fiction book was Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.

Favorite fiction book was The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin.

Favorite audiobook was Love and Gelato by Jenna Welch Evans.

 

Books Mentioned in this post:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best Nest

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The Best Nest was a childhood favorite of mine and my mom gave me this wonderful sign for my house. These books are great for Spring all about nests and eggs hatching. We have not seen any nests around our house yet. What signs of Spring are there around you?

Shake A Leg, Egg! by Kurt Cyrus is about a hatchling that takes longer to hatch than its siblings. The illustrations are great in this book, it looks like the newly hatched goose is still wet.

You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple has great descriptions of different types of birds. This rhyming text makes it a wonderful read aloud.

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman is a classic about a little bird hatching and looking for his mother. He asks around to the other animals to find his mother, “Are you my mother?” Then he finds his mother.

The Best Nest by P. D. Eastman is about Mr. and Mrs. Bird leaving their nest to find a better one. They search and search for the best place to make their nest. They sing a cute song about their nest and at the end, decide that their nest really is the best.

 

 

Another book about nests and hatching eggs:

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Fun Farm Books

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These fun books about farmers and their animals by Karma Wilson are favorites to read aloud at our house. They rhyme and are humorous. We also enjoy her books about a bear.

The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson is about a farmer and his cow. He feeds the other farm animals their usual food. The cow and the farmer have a special deal where they share milk and cookies together.

Horseplay! by Karma Wilson is about a farmer who has horses that are tired everyday. He investigates to find out that they play all night instead of sleeping. He tries to end their horseplay.

Hogwash! by Karma Wilson is about a farmer who wants to bathe his pigs. They do not want a bath and put up a fight. By the end, he concede and joins them in a mud bath.

Duddle Puck: The Puddle Duck by Karma Wilson is about a duck on a farm that says all the sounds of other animals except for a duck. The other animals get irritated and try to convince him to quack.

Here are some other farm themed books:

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Mother Bruce

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This series of books by Ryan T. Higgins is a favorite of my kids. The first book, Mother Bruce is humorous even to adults. Bruce the bear gets some eggs to eat and then they hatch and think he is their mother. He raises the geese and in the next book, Hotel Bruce, Bruce and the geese come back from vacation to find their house overtaken by some mice. The mice turned his house into a hotel. The next book, Bruce’s Big Move, is where he moves to get away from the mice. The geese miss the mice so much that they end up all living together again.  There is an upcoming Christmas book coming out in September that we cannot wait to read. It is called Santa Bruce (Mother Bruce). Another book in this series is:

 

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If the S in Moose Comes Loose

E47E2099-92E0-44AD-A002-22697C57F0F2If the S in Moose Comes Loose is a brand new picture book by Peter Hermann. My kids enjoyed it so much the first time we read it and they keep requesting to read it again and again. This clever book makes spelling fun and creative.

 

If the S in MOOSE comes loose
and the E breaks free . . . what’s left?
M-O-O!

Another fun book:

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Little Ree

00BBF463-A001-4FC5-ADCF-47C0D135C7ABLittle Ree: Best Friends Forever! by Ree Drummond is the newest book. Ree and her best friend, Hyacinth, enter a pie baking contest. The story shows how they learn to bake and what ingredients they will need. My kids enjoy these books and watching The Pioneer Woman on Food Network. In this book, there is a recipe for yummy pie.

Little Ree by Ree Drummond is the first book and tells the story of how Little Ree moves to the country. She learns the differences between country life and city life. In this book, there is a recipe for delicious pancakes.

 

We also love the Charlie the Ranch Dog series by Ree Drummond:

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Recent Reads

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen was a historical fiction book that switched back and forth between the 1970’s and WWII. A young woman travels to Italy to learn more about her father that passed away recently. She discovers pieces of his past as an English pilot in the war that crashed in Italy. It was an enjoyable historical fiction read, but it had a few loose ends for me. If you have read it, I would love to hear your opinion of this book in the comment section. I also enjoyed her other WWII historical fiction book, In Farleigh Field.

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin is one that I am currently reading and enjoying, This is the author’s first novel and she is a doctor from Kentucky. Since I live in Kentucky, I have been enjoying the references to the state. Also, coming from a nursing background this book centered around medicine and doctors has me intrigued.

 

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Educated: A Memoir

I could not wait until my monthly wrap up to share this book and how much I loved it. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. This non-fiction book was so intriguing and kept me reading like a fiction book. Tara Westover writes about growing up on a mountain in Idaho with her Mormon family. Her parents are survivalists and she never attends school until college. She attends college after studying for the ACT on her own. She goes on to study at Cambridge and receive her PhD. She returns to visit her family over the years and becomes estranged from her parents and some of her siblings. She shares her life growing up so vulnerably. The whole book is beautifully written.  I did not want to put it down over the two days that I read it and then I watched interviews of the author. I would love to hear your thoughts on this book in the comment section. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend it.

Tara’s father reminded me of the fictional dad in The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.  This was another book I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

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My Pet Wants A Pet

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My Pet Wants A Pet by Elise Broach is a new favorite picture book of ours. After reading it the first time, the kids and I all agreed how much we loved this book. A little boy asks his mom for a pet. She agrees and he gets a dog. Then the dog decides he needs a pet and gets a cat. This pattern continues and at the end the boy and his mom have a houseful of pets and learn how special it is to take care of someone. Thankfully our wonderful dog has not asked for a pet of her own. Hope you can read this adorable book and enjoy it as much as we do. We also enjoy Wet Dog by the same author.

Some other fun books about pets:

 

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