May Reading Life

IMG_1965May was filled with some great books. Too hard to name a favorite. This was the most amount of books I have read in a month. Looking forward to more great summer reading in June. Hope you are enjoying some good books and hope you can find some new summer reading from these recommendations:

The Road Home by Beverly Lewis a book that I received from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.  In this historical fiction book, a young woman in an Amish family, has to move away after her parents pass away. She has to leave her siblings to go where she can make money to support them.  She yearns to return home to be with her siblings, but she learns to be content and makes new friends. The book was an easy read and  I would recommend this book for those that enjoy Christian fiction.  Also, you may enjoy A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot.

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer was wonderful. This story was so moving and honest. Two sisters have a special bond after the oldest sister takes on a parental role after their father dies. The mother has trouble coping and moves the girls to a sect. The girls are miserable there and after leaving they go to college and start their careers. Over the years, the younger sister develops a drug addiction. After getting pregnant, she calls her older sister. The story shares the hardships of drug addiction and how it affects everyone in the family. I have added her other books to my TBR. If you enjoyed this, I would recommend The Queen of Hearts, Educated, and The Great Alone.

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon is a historical fiction book about Anastasia Romanov. I had trouble getting into the story at times because it jumps around in so many different time periods. I was glad I finished though because the ending was really good. Do not read any spoilers about this book before you read it. If you have read it, please leave a comment about your opinion of this book.

The Optimist’s Guide To Letting Go by Amy E. Reichert was one that I thoroughly enjoyed and surpassed my expectations. This story is about three generations of women. The grandmother has a secret that she finally shares with her family. The mother lost her husband a few years ago and runs a food truck. The daughter is learning about being a teenager without her dad.  The three come together and find the family that they need. I really recommend this book. I listened to it on audio.

Raising World Changers In A Changing World by Kristen Welch was a book I received from Baker Publishing in exchange for my honest review. Kristen does a wonderful job sharing experiences from her own family as they strive to help others. Working in ministry, her family focuses on giving to others. It is a whole family effort where the kids and parents work together to give to others and to think about those that are less fortunate. Each chapter, offers practical ways to make changes in your own family. Also, she asks her children some questions to get a child’s perspective.  I would also recommend her other book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled  World.

Love And Luck by Jenna Evans Welch is the new follow up to Love and Gelato. This YA book was a great lighter read. Addie and her family are vacationing in Ireland and she plans to visit Lina (from Love and Gelato) in Italy. Her plans change as her brother made different plans to travel around Ireland visiting places that a band had been to and end up at a music festival. I think I enjoyed Love and Gelato more, but this was an enjoyable read.

Having A Martha Home The Mary Way by Sarah Mae was better than I expected. The cleaning tips and schedule suggestions were helpful, but I really enjoyed the encouraging words about our hearts and changing ourselves. I listened to this on audio.

Breaking The Fear Cycle by Maria Furlough was one I received from Revell in exchange for my honest review. The book was written to give advice on overcoming anxiety. She gave examples from her own life and her experience in giving birth to a child with health issues that only survived a few hours  after birth. The book is set up that it can be used for a group discussion. Each chapter has questions at the end for reflection.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell was such a great book that I read it in one day. This YA historical fiction book was less than 300 pages and the story was fast paced. Set after WWII, Evie and her family vacation in Florida. She meets an older man and falls in love and is thrust into a mystery involving her parents. She never learns the truth and it was very enjoyable.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert was a book club pick. Fair warning, there is some language. This YA fantasy novel was creative since it was about a fairy tale world in the real world. I could appreciate the good fantasy story, but did not love it.

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis was a good audiobook. I really enjoy books told in two different time periods. The story is told in the present and in the 1950’s as a reporter is looking into the past at what happened at the Barbizon in New York. There was mystery involved in this historical fiction book and really enjoyed it.  Fair warning, there are some racy parts. A similar recommendation would be The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.

The Lifegiving Parent: Giving Your Child a Life Worth Living for Christ by Clay and Sally Clarkson is one I received from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review. I really enjoyed Sally’s other books and her podcast always is encouraging. This book offers practical steps to implement into being a lifegiving parent. At the end of the book, is their list of 24 Family Ways that are something I would like to add to our family. I really enjoyed this book and felt encouraged and motivated to make some positive changes in our family life. There is also a companion resource available here.  I would recommend Desperate by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae.

The Dry by Jane Harper was a great mystery and suspense novel. When Aaron Falk returns to his hometown for a funeral he becomes involved in solving their murder. While working on the case, it causes him to look at the unsolved case of  how his other friend from high school really died. It was a great suspenseful read and the setting in Australia was a bonus and  I am going to read her next book in this series, The Force of Nature.  I would recommend All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda if you enjoyed this.

Tangerine by Christine Mangan has been getting some buzz since it has been picked up for a movie starring Scarlett Johannsen. It took me awhile to get into the story and without spoiling it, my prediction of the twists were wrong. The setting in the 1950’s in Tangier was unique and added to the story. It was one that I felt unsettled after reading and that is not  a bad thing. If you enjoy twisty psychological thrillers you would enjoy this story.

Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee is one that I listened to on audio. The narrators did a great job with the various accents and telling the story. The story is about two Chinese American sisters and their relationship. One sister had a mental illness that affected them both.

Circe by Madeline Miller is a popular book right now and not a favorite of mine. It took at least 200 pages into it to keep me interested in the story. This story is based on Greek mythology and about Circe the goddess. There was a lot of fantasy in it and if you enjoy mythology, I would recommend it for you. If you have read it, what is your opinion?

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis was such a refreshing book to listen to on audio. Rachel offers encouraging and practical advice for women and mothers. For similar books, see this post for books for moms.

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center. I received it from The Girlfriend in exchange for my honest review. There has been a lot of buzz for this book and I was a little disappointed when I read it. The characters just did not do it for me. A woman goes on an airplane ride with her boyfriend and crashes. The story takes place mostly during her recovery in the hospital. It was a nice lighter read for more of a romance genre. If you enjoy medical settings, I would recommend The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin. Another similar book I would recommend is You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac.

 

Books Mentioned In This Post:

 

 

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Gardening Books

12817EB5-5B85-4386-A3E2-5A7FEBAF3FC3

It is gardening season and we have experimented with planting apple seeds and red pepper seeds. Here are two books to read about gardening and planting seeds.

How To Grow Happiness by Kelly DiPucchio is a new book about Jerome the Gnome. He receives a seed that is supposed to bring happiness. He getasfrustrated about it not bringing immediate happiness and his friends become involved. After learning how to plant the seed, he learns about true happiness.

My First Garden by Wendy Cheyette Lewison is one I bought years ago when my oldest was a toddler. It is a favorite read aloud about planting a garden. It teaches colors by naming the colorful vegetables.

If you plant a garden, what are you planting this year?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

 

Raising World Changers in a Changing World Review

D8AD92C6-3CA6-48B9-A3DA-B9AABB029D47

Raising World Changers In A Changing World by Kristen Welch was a book I received from Baker Publishing in exchange for my honest review. Kristen does a wonderful job sharing experiences from her own family as they strive to help others. Working in ministry, her family focuses on giving to others. It is a whole family effort where the kids and parents work together to give to others and to think about those that are less fortunate. Each chapter, offers practical ways to make changes in your own family. Also, she asks her children some questions to get a child’s perspective. I would also recommend her other book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Llama Llama

0644CF2F-3314-449D-B2E2-DBE25BFFC081

A Couch For Llama by Leah Gilbert is such a cute book where a family goes couch shopping. On their way home with the new couch, it falls off the car and lands in the llama’s field. The llama is curious and ends up loving the couch. The family returns for the couch and then have a surprise for Llama.

llama llama loses a tooth by Anna Dewdney is a leveled reader based on the new Netflix series.Llama loses his first tooth.

Llama Llama Loves To Read by Anna  Dewdney may be my favorite of this series. Llama goes to school and learns to read. It covers the alphabet and would be cute for kids going to school for the first time.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summer Reading Programs

6A5BDECA-4DC8-480E-817D-570D25AA0C94

Summer Reading Programs are already beginning. Here are a few of our favorites that we participate in during the summer months.

  • Kids in grades 1-6 can sign up for Barnes and Noble’s Summer Reading Program here. Kids can read 8 books and tell in their journal what their favorite part is and why. Turn it in between May 15 and September 3rd to choose a book from their list for free.
  • Kids 14 and under can sign up here for Half Price Book’s Summer Reading program. This program is for June and July and booklogs must be turned in by August 30th. Kids read or can be read to for 15 minutes a day for a total of 300 minutes a month.
  • Check with your local library for information on their summer reading program. We always enjoy getting a free book and a t-shirt for completing  their reading challenges.

 

Summer Reading Books

581A9C8C-A9D6-4041-B96C-9EFAC8CB6460

Summer reading time is approaching as school gets out and summer vacation begins. Here is a list of some favorite books that I hope you will enjoy reading this summer. I am looking forward to some enjoyable time reading outside. Let me know in the comments what your summer reading plans are.

Books to read at the pool or at the beach:

This series is a light YA read for summertime. I enjoyed the first and third book more than the second, but it helped with the storyline. Lara Jean is such a relatable character. She reminds me of an old soul in a teenage girl body. The series is about her experiences in high school with friends, boys, and her family. Looking forward to the Netflix movie in August.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lighter read:

Some other great fiction books:

Mystery/Suspense:

The entire series by Louise Penny is great. Also wonderful on audio.

Travel:

Especially travelling to Italy, I would recommend Women In Sunlight by Frances Mayes. Three older women decide to live in Italy for a year instead of moving into a retirement home. The book shares their experiences with Italian cooking and travelling.

 

Non-fiction:

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Motherhood

66DFE92C-852F-4B7C-98EB-D6B13B3EEB04With Mother’s Day this month, I wanted to focus on books about motherhood that can be encouraging and helpful in our everyday lives. Mom life is the best life, but it is not an easy one. Hope these books encourage you and help you feel refreshed this Mother’s Day.

Gospel Centered Mom: The Freeing Truth About What Your Kids Really Need by Brooke McGlothlin. This book was encouraging to read as a mom. Brooke shares honestly from her own experiences as a mother. Each chapter has truths at the end that summarize the lesson from that chapter. There are discussion questions at the end of the book that would make this a great book for a women’s group to read together in a Bible Study. I felt like it was better to read about one to two chapters a day to focus on what I was reading. There was scripture throughout the book to support what she was talking about. She talks a lot about life as a mom to boys and typical high energy characteristics of boys. She is the cofounder and president of Raising Boys Ministries and The MOB (Mothers of Boys) Society, an online community for Boy Moms. Chapter 9 was my favorite about learning to fight for my kids rather than against them. It is definitely a book I would recommend to mothers with young kids.

Raising World Changers In A Changing World: How One Family Discovered the Beauty of Sacrifice and the Joy of Giving by Kristen Welch is a new release. Kristen shares personal stories from her own family’s journey to find true joy. I also enjoyed her other book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World.

The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie has great book recommendations in it for the whole family. She also offers ways to get more reading time in with your kids. You can get it on Kindle for only $2.99 today here.  Her other book is a wonderful encouragement for homeschool moms called Teaching From Rest.

The Lifegiving Parent by Clay and Sally Clarkson is one I received from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review. I really enjoyed Sally’s other books and her podcast always is encouraging. This book offers practical steps to implement into being a lifegiving parent. At the end of the book, is their list of 24 Family Ways that are something I would like to add to our family. I really enjoyed this book and felt encouraged and motivated to make some positive changes in our family life. There is also a companion resource available here.

Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson is one I would recommend especially for moms with young kids. This book is really encouraging for mothers.

Becoming Mom Strong by Heidi St. John was a great book for moms for encouragement. Her podcast is great as well and encouraging to moms in the trenches.

Girl, Wash Your Face  by Rachel Hollis was so refreshing to listen to on audio. I really enjoyed it and felt very encouraged as a woman and mother.

You Can Stay Home with Your Kids!: 100 Tips, Tricks, and Ways to Make It Work on a Budget by Erin Odom was a book I was able to read it as part of the launch team. It was a timely read for me since I am a new stay at home mom and living on one income. It was written in small chapters with practical advice to save money. I personally already used most of her tips. I would recommend it for anyone that is interested in ways to cut costs or to save money, not just couples with kids. She had recipes for DIY household cleaners and links for sites to help you.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

The Read-Aloud Family Kindle Deal

The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie released in March 2018.Sarah hosts one of my favorite podcasts called the Read-Aloud Revival. She encourages parents to read aloud to their kids. This book has great book recommendations in it for the whole family. She also offers ways to get more reading time in with your kids. You can get the Kindle version here for only $2.99 until May 13th. Please check prices before purchasing since Amazon prices can fluctuate. If you need a Kindle app for your device, you can get one here.  She also wrote one of my favorite homeschool books called Teaching From Rest.

 

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Tangerine Kindle Deal

7E8E5A5C-83D7-4317-BDFA-D854A165D0B4Tangerine by Christine Mangan has been getting some buzz since it has been picked up for a movie starring Scarlett Johannsen. It took me awhile to get into the story and without spoiling it, my prediction of the twists were wrong. The setting in the 1950’s in Tangier was unique and added to the story. It was one that I felt unsettled after reading and that is not necessarily a bad thing. If you enjoy twisty psychological thrillers you would enjoy this story. Would make a great book for a summer reading.  It is only $2.99 on Kindle right now. You can purchase it here and please check the price before purchasing since prices fluctuate. If you need a FREE Kindle app for your device, you can get one here.

 

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

A House That Once Was

15285CF7-FB13-423F-9347-AD9EC1CC8C2E

The kids and I had the opportunity to meet Julie Fogliano, the author of these wonderful books. She has also written several others and has a new one releasing hopefully in 2019. We were able to listen to her read all of her picture books and learn that she writes a lot about stuff happening in her own life with her own family.

Her newest book, A House That Once Was, is about two kids that discover an abandoned house in the woods. They venture in and imagine who lived there and what happened to them.

If You Want To See A Whale is another of our favorites where a child is looking for a whale. The illustrations are great in this too. The author and illustrator worked together on And Then It’s Spring too. Her other picture books are wonderful as well:

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.