Since converting to the Catholic faith, I’ve found myself splitting my reading time between entertainment and faith-based books. I find it’s a good balance between growing in my faith but also allowing myself time to relax and indulge in my favorite pastime. Lately I can’t seem to get enough apologetics! Catholic Answers and Dynamic Catholic are at the top of my list. I do have some fiction reads coming soon, including another new picture book. But today, I’d like to talk about a new faith-based favorite of mine, a book I think everyone should read: Why We’re Catholic, Our reasons for faith, hope, and love by Trent Horn.
I’ve been enjoying a variety of new books lately covering everything from children’s picture books to teen and YA to Catholic apologetics. I spent most of August checking out new releases in the YA genre. Some were hits, others were misses. But overall, summer YA releases were strong in my opinion. I loved Parachutes by Kelly Yang. It’s Ms. Yang’s debut YA novel, and I only hope she writes more. On the other hand, My Summer of Love and Misfortune by Lindsay Wong fell way short for me. I couldn’t connect with the main character or get into the story. It actually ended up being the rare DNF (did not finish) for me.
Fortunately, I finished the month strong with Girl, Unframed by Deb Caletti. This was my first read from Caletti, but I’m excited to see that she has many more books available. Girl, Unframed was a typical yet unique YA novel. All the elements were there – teens, first loves, relationships, drama. But the setting and the dynamic of the parent/ child relationship is different from most, which created an intriguing background for the story.
In June, I highlighted a phenomenal new picture book, Taste Your Words. It was the debut picture book from author Bonnie Clark. This month I am thrilled to recommend her new picture book, Catching Thoughts.
Catching Thoughts is an equally touching story about a young girl who learns an important lesson in self-care. Mental health and well-being is crucial, especially now as we all deal with the stresses and anxieties of this pandemic. Catching Thoughts is ideal for any kiddos who struggle with anxiety. I honestly think this book could help anxious youth and adults as well.
Real life scandals can provide some of the best inspiration for novels. Admission by Julie Buxbaum draws from the real-life college admissions scandal in which several wealthy celebrities paid to have their kids’ SAT scores changed and fabricated a web of lies to gain entry into top colleges. Admission was intriguing because we’ve all heard about this scandal and can’t help wondering, “What were they thinking?” Well, Buxbaum attempts to reveal what they might have been thinking as she takes a peek behind the curtain of privilege to examine the lives of the rich and famous.
The last couple of weeks have held a lot of uncertainty and I, like everyone, have been adjusting to this new normal. Since I work from home all the time, my day-to-day Monday through Friday routine wasn’t interrupted too much. I do miss going to the gym though as it provides not only a physical outlet for my stress but also gets me out of the house. Social distancing is getting to me, like it is for many, and I’m just so thankful that I have my hubby home with me. I can’t imagine how difficult this time is for those who live alone. One suggestion I can offer for anyone who is struggling with staying in and staying alone is to read.
As Mason Cooley once so wisely said, “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” I’ve never felt the truth of this sentence more deeply than during this time of quarantine, isolation, and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of us in the bookish community have taken Mr. Cooley’s words to heart these last couple of weeks and have engaged in binge reading. I read two celebrity memoirs last weekend (see my Instagram for details and mini-reviews!) and read two YA novels last week by Katey Taylor, Inebriated and Neon Nights. These two books were great examples of why I love YA, and I’m excited to share my reviews with you!
I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me want to read a book more than someone telling me I can’t or shouldn’t read it. Maybe this is why I love banned books so much. I just have to know what all the fuss is about! Today’s review is of the newly released Don’t Check Out This Book! by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise from Algonquin Young Readers. The book is an illustrated novel for young readers in grades 3 through 7. As the title suggests, it’s all about fighting censorship and corruption.
After enjoying a couple of books for young readers, I decided to change things up a bit and dive into some adult fiction. If you’ve followed the blog or my social media accounts for a while, you’re familiar with my love of mysteries and thrillers, particularly psychological suspense.
My first thriller of 2020 was the upcoming release You Are Not Alone from the dynamic writing duo of Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. These two make such an amazing suspenseful storytelling team that their novels have become an automatic read for me. The downside of their efforts is that providing a review for one of their books without giving away any spoilers is always especially challenging; however, I’m up for the challenge!
A new year means new books, and I’m kicking off 2020 with a stack that I can’t wait to tackle. I have a combination of middle grade reads, picture books, and memoirs. So far, 2020 reading has gotten off to a great start with Cynthia L. Copeland’s first graphic novel for kids, Cub.
Well it’s officially October and time for all things spooky and magical! I started my month off with a new book from Algonquin Young Readers, The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz. As the cover art and title suggest, this is a fantasy book for young readers filled with magic and adventure with a storybook feel to it. It is a great pick if your kiddos want something to suit the season or for any kids who enjoy adventure stories. Additionally, this book features a strong female lead with strong female supporting characters. Definitely a plus in my book, as I feel that adventure stories still tend to lean toward male protagonists. But not in this book. This book is all about Lady Clementine, daughter to the Dark Lord Elithor and heir to Castle Brack, where hundreds of years of Dark Lords have ruled before her. But…what if Clementine doesn’t want to be a Dark Lord? What if she doesn’t want to be a Dark anything?
This month I am thrilled to be a part of the Revell Reads blog tour for Erin Bartels’s newest release, The Words Between Us. I was drawn to this book right away by – you guessed it – the cover art! I have often admitted to not necessarily judging books by their covers but being drawn to books by their covers. I mean, that’s what cover art is supposed to do, right? The cover of this new novel is books – stacks of books upon stacks of books. We see the pages but never the covers or spines. I liked that. It made the cover intriguing. Between the cover art and the title, it was clear that books and writing play a big role in this story, and that is always a plus for me. There is also a grey feather loosely placed among the books, which I found out is attributed to a certain feathered character who ended up becoming a favorite of mine.
While the cover art drew my eye, the summary really made me want to read this book. It’s about a woman named Robin whose past catches up to her after she’s spent years running from it – from a disgraced, tainted family name. The story opens on the day of Robin’s father’s scheduled execution. Yes, execution. Robin was just fourteen when her father was accused of murder and her parents ended up behind bars. Years later, she runs a used bookstore (yay for second-hand books!). On execution day, a vintage book shows up sent by someone from her past. She begins receiving regular packages of old books. She knows right away who they’re from – Peter, the boy who changed everything for her, who ruined everything for her. But why is he contacting her after all these years?