Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Book Review: Because of You by Hannah Currie (2024)

It's been a long time since I read a YA novel that wasn't a omance, but Because of You is like a breath of fresh air.

From the publisher: Sixteen-year-old Chloe Gabriels has dreamed of going on an overseas mission trip for as long as she can remember, so when the opportunity arises for her to go to Thailand with Teen Missions International she jumps at the chance. Working at an orphanage, learning new skills, experiencing a different culture, making lifelong friends—what better way could there be to spend her summer vacation?

Of course, the trip will have its challenges—living in close quarters with seventeen other teens out of their comfort zones has a way of doing that—but it will be worth it. She’ll finally be serving God in a practical way.

But while the orphans and their stories break her heart, it’s someone unexpected who has the biggest impact on Chloe’s summer and leaves her wondering if maybe there are just as many people who need her love back home as there are overseas.

Chloe is such a believable protagonist, with flaws that many teen girls have and can relate to. It was really rewarding to be inside her head as she took in aspects of a new culture and also came to new understandings of the other teens on the trip alongside her. I loved learning all the missionary lingo, including the many acronyms, and it was so interesting to take an armchair trip to Thailand. I also really loved getting to know all the supporting characters through Chloe's eyes, especially the young orphans.

A summer read with substance, this is the perfect book to give to teens going on mission trips, or to those who one day plan to go. It's also a great opportunity for any Christian teen to understand missionary work and to think about how he or she might better serve others.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to provide a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.


About the Author, Hannah Currie


Hannah Currie has loved royals—both real and fictional—for as long as she can remember and has always been fascinated by their lives. They started making their way into her writing somewhere around first grade and never stopped.
Hannah Currie has loved royals—both real and fictional—for as long as she can remember and has always been fascinated by their lives. They started making their way into her writing somewhere around first grade and never stopped.

While she never dreamed of being a princess for real (way too many expectations and people watching), she certainly wouldn’t say no to the gorgeous gowns, endless wardrobes, chefs, and cleaners that come with the job. A crown or two wouldn’t go astray either. Or Belle’s library. Where she’d just sit and stare at the books with a giddy smile on her face for hours.

Hannah lives with her husband and three kids in Australia, where they proudly claim Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family as their own. She is very honored to be one of the launching authors for the new WhiteCrown Publishing line with her Crown of Promise series full of faith, romance, and—of course—royals.


Follow Hannah online


Book Review: To Crown with Liberty by Karen Ullo (2024)

If you're looking for authentically Catholic historical fiction, To Crown with Liberty is the book you need to have on your bookshelf. This well-researched, beautifully written tale by Karen Ullo follows Alix de Morainville Carpentier, a former lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette, across two timelines. 

From the publisher: New Orleans, 1795. In the wake of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, Alix de Morainville Carpentier—a former lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette, now married to her gardener—seeks peace and security in the Spanish colony of Louisiana. But her journey into the man-eating swamp called Attakapas reopens the wounds of her old life in France. Alix is forced to reckon with the choices that saved her life at the cost of her honor—and perhaps her soul.

In revolutionary France, the Old World is dying; the quest for liberty, fraternity, and equality has become a nightmare where the price of dissent is blood. In the wilderness of Spanish Louisiana, a new civilization is beginning to emerge—but in this budding New World, the slave trade perpetuates the systems of oppression that sparked the revolution. Caught between old and new, scarred by trauma and grief, will Alix ever find a home where she can truly be free?

To Crown with Liberty is a historical novel based on riveting legends from George Washington Cable’s Strange True Stories of Louisiana (1888).

Not only does this book deal with historical realities, it confronts spiritual ones as well, raising questions of the impact of violence and darkness on the soul as well as the body. There are also lots of wonderful period details, and beautiful descriptions of Alix's emotions and innermost thoughts. I loved getting to know her and unraveling the details of her painful and mysterious past. 

Another wonderful thing about this book is the substantial back matter that helps separate fact from legend in the source material that inspired the book and identifies all the historical figures that appear in the book for easy reference. 

I truly can't recommend this novel highly enough. I'm very picky about historical fiction, but could not put this one down. Alix is a character who will stick with me for a long time. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to provide a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.


About the Author, Karen Ullo 

I’m a classically trained soprano, I have a MFA in Screenwriting, and I’m a suburban housewife mother of two. I’m a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I still swelter and sit in carpool lines. I write novels and screenplays, and I’m the editorial director of Chrism Press. Before that, I was the managing editor of Dappled Things Magazine. I’m an LSU Tiger and a USC Trojan. I’m a Cajun who married a Sicilian, so I cook pretty well, and write recipes for Catholicmom.com. I love college baseball. I went to boarding school. I can wiggle my nose like a rabbit. And if I ever tried to stop writing, the voices in my head would keep me awake at night. I’m also very glad you’re here.


Follow Karen online


Order To Crown with Liberty

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Read-at-Home Mom Report: April 2024 Wrap-Up

April Favorites

Only a few books really stood out as excellent this month, and they are an interesting mix. 


Characters of the Passion
by Fulton J. Sheen
This was my book club's pick for April. The idea was to read it during Holy Week. I did start it on Tuesday of that week (in the Confession line, which we were in for an hour), but ended up finishing it during Easter Week. As always, it was great. Bishop Sheen always makes me consider familiar things in new ways.

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
I have really been enjoying this author, but I was a little wary of this book because it involved nuns, and I know the author is a lapsed Catholic. I need not have worried. I know from Patchett's nonfiction that she has some friends who are nuns, and that is probably why the characters in this book felt real and why the narrative surrounding them was respectful. There was also not a hint of discussion about abortion in the story, which I found shocking given the subject matter.

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh 
This was my fifth time reading this book, and it's still the best. As usual, I immediately wanted to go back to the beginning and read it again, but I resisted. 

Made Glorious by Lindsay Eagar 
I had an ARC of this theater-based YA psychological thriller from Candlewick. I picked it up to read a few pages and ended up reading half the book, the finished it on audio. I wouldn't let a kid read it because there is some adult content, but the writing is excellent, and I loved all the interesting structural and point of view choices the author made. 

Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street by Herman Melville 
I had never read this, and my husband told me I must read it immediately. He was not wrong. Such a great story.



A Single Spark (The Spark Brothers Book 1) by Liwen Y. Ho 
A Sudden Spark (The Spark Brothers, Book 2) by Liwen Y. Ho 
The Sweetest Spark (The Spark Brothers Book 3) by Liwen Y. Ho 

I am enjoying this clean romance series about a family of brothers. The audiobooks on Hoopla are short and sweet and perfect afternoon walk companions. 


Read-Aloud and Homeschool Books

  • The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (5 stars)
  • Mystery of the Roman Ransom by Henry Winterfeld (4 stars)


Audiobooks in the Car
  • Ronia, the Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren


Sequels and Series Books

  • Murder at Penwood Manor (The Harwood Mysteries Book 5) by Antony Barone Kolenc (3 stars)
  • Only the Good Die Young (Country Club Murders Book 1.5) by Julie Mulhern (3 stars)
  • Beany Malone (Beany Malone Book 2) by Lenore Mattingly Weber (4 stars)
  • Three Men in a Boat (Three Men Book 1) by Jerome K. Jerome (2 stars)
  • Skyward  (Skyward Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson (4 stars)
  • The Grey King (The Dark is Rising Book 4) by Susan Cooper (3 stars)
  • Loyally, Luke (Skymar Book 3) by Pepper Basham (ARC) (4 stars)


Stand-Alone Books

  • Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren't Growing Up by Abigail Shrier (5 stars)
  • When Love Strikes: Reading and Writing Romance by Laurelin Page (3 stars)
  • Amelia's Shadow by Marie Benedict (2 stars)
  • Fancy Free by Betty Cavanana (3 stars)
  • The Swayze Year: You're Not Old, You're Just Getting Started! by Colleen A.F. Venable (3 stars)
  • And Yet: Poems by Kate Baer (5 stars)
  • I Hope This Finds You Well: Poems by Kate Baer (2 stars)
  • Moby-Dick or, The Whale by Herman Melville (4 stars)
  • Have Space Suit—Will Travel by Robert Heinlein (4 stars) 
  • Whale Day: And Other Poems by Billy Collins (4 stars)
  • Hell, I Love Everybody: The Essential James Tate: Poems by James Tate (4 stars)
  • The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center (3 stars)

DNF

  • Redemption (Redemption Book 1) by Karen Kingsbury 
    I liked the writing, but I had too many books going and had to let one go. 
  • Beach Cute by Beth Reekles
    There were too many references to TikTok. There's nothing wrong with the book, I'm just not the intended audience. 
  • Trust by Hernan Diaz 
    I could only get this on audio, and that doesn't seem to be the best format. I may try again at a later time.

Family Reading Lists

M. (girl, 10 years, 5 months)

  • Niko: Sculptor's Apprentice by Isabelle Lawrence

C. (girl, 8 years, 7 months)

  • Marie Antoinette, Daughter of an Empress by Marguerite Vance 
  • Amy Moves In by Marilyn Sachs 
  • Robert Fulton and the Steamboat by Ralph Nading Hill 
  • Laura's Luck by Marilyn Sachs 
  • The Slave who Freed Haiti by Katharine Scherman 

E. (girl, 6 years, 6 months)

  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren 

R. (boy, 4 years, 1 month) 

  • Reading practice: 
    • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
    • Snow by Roy McKee and P.D. Eastman 
    • Cat and Dog by Else Holmelund Minarik 
    • Come and Have Fun by Edith Thacher Hurd 
    • Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss 
    • Mine's the Best by Crosby Bonsall 
  • Read alouds: 
    • Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant 
    • Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
    • Little Miss and Mr. Men series by Roger Hargreaves 

A. (girl, 4 years, 1 month)

  • Read alouds: 
    • Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton, illustrated by Tibor Gergely 
    • Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant 

My husband 

  • Mystery of the Roman Ransom by Henry Winterfeld
  • All Sail Set: A Romance of the Flying Cloud by Armstrong Sperry
  • Ronia, the Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren
  • The Shinty Boys by Margaret Macpherson
  • The Eagles Have Flown by Joanne Williamson 
  • Hostage to Alexander by Mary Evans Andrews

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Read-at-Home Mom Report: March 2024 Wrap-Up

March Favorites

I had quite a few five-star favorites in March. 



This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
This wasn't a memoir as the title suggests, but a retrospective collection of the author's essays, along with a couple of new ones. I disagreed with some of her thoughts on Catholicism (I bristled when she suggested divorce could be a sacrament), but I really admire Patchett's writing and there were quite a few pieces in this collection I would want to read again. 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
I completely understand the hype for this book, and for the audio version narrated by Tom Hanks. I could not put it down. 

The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion Vol. 2 by Bethany Brower
I am trying to take this series slowly because I don't want it to end! I love the unique setting and characters and the diary format. 



The Confessions of St. Augustine
by Augustine of Hippo
I listened to the Catholic Classics podcast episodes which included readings from the Ascension edition of the book. I know I will get more out of it on a re-read, and I have another translation that I will try next time.

Betting on You by Lynn Painter
I had been meaning to try this YA romance author for a while, and this did not disappoint at all. This is an homage to When Harry Met Sally, and it works so well. The audiobook was also very well done.  

One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty
I was reading the physical book along with the audio of the original speeches that make up this book and I realized they were markedly different! I ended up counting them as two separate books and gave both 5 stars. 



The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of Flannery O'Connor by Jonathan Rogers
This is my new recommendation for anyone wanting an excellent introduction to Flannery and her work. 

I, Julian by Claire Gilbert 
This well-researched fictional biography of St. Julian of Norwich is beautifully written and it has a gorgeous cover, too.  

Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler
This is another hit from one of my favorite authors. The family at the center of the story is one of the most memorable from any other Tyler's books. 



The Hero and the Girl Next Door by Sophie Hannah 
Hotels like Houses by Sophie Hannah
I discovered this poet through an Instagram post and looked up some of her books. She's my new favorite!


Read-Aloud and Homeschool Books

  • The Cottage at Bantry Bay by Hilda van Stockum (4 stars)
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (5 stars)
  • Getting Started with Latin: Beginning Latin for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age by William E. Linney (5 stars)

Middle Grade March

  • The Kate in Between by Claire Swinarski (4 stars) 
  • Annie's Life in Lists by Kristin Mahoney (5 stars)
  • Ferris by Kate DiCamillo (4 stars)
  • Smoky the Cowhorse by Will James (4 stars)
  • Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith (4 stars)
  • Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan ( 3 stars)
  • My Own Lightning (Wolf Hollow Book 2) by Lauren Wolk (3 stars)
  • Greenwitch (The Dark is Rising Book 3) by Susan Cooper (4 stars)


Sequels and Series Books

  • Meet the Malones (Beany Malone Book 1) by Lenore Mattingley Weber (4 stars)

Stand-Alone Books

  • Ashes by Anthony Mancini (4 stars)
  • Elodie's Library of Second Chances by Rebecca Raisin (4 stars)
  • Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (3 stars)
  • What Now? by Ann Patchett (5 stars)
  • I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections by Nora Ephron (4 stars)
  • Prayer Primer: Igniting a Fire Within by Thomas Dubay, S.M. (2 stars)
  • Love in Tandem by Becca Kinzer (4 stars)
  • Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett (4 stars)
  • I Feel Bad About My Neck, And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron (4 stars)
  • Poetry Comics by Grant Snider (5 stars)


DNF

  • Just for the Summer by Melody Carlson 
  • How to Plot a Payback by Melissa Ferguson 


Family Reading Lists 


M. (girl, 10 years, 4 months old)

  • Yesterday's Daughter by Helen Fern Deringer
  • The Exploits of Xenophon by Geoffrey Household
  • The Spartan's March by Benjamin Hulme-Cross

C. (girl, 8 years, 6 months old) 

  • The Marquis de Lafayette: Bright Sword for Freedom by Hodding Carter
  • The Story of Thomas Jefferson by Earl Schenck Miers
  • The Story of Benjamin Franklin by Enid La Monte Meadowcroft
  • The Story of Martha Washington by Jeannette C. Nolan

E. (6 years, 5 months old)

  • Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace
  • Muggie Maggie by Beverly Cleary
  • Our Little Macedonian Cousin of Long Ago by Julia Darrow Cowles

R. (boy, 4 years old) and A. (girl, 4 years old)

  • One Lighthouse, One Moon by Anita Lobel 
  • The Greedy Sparrow by Lucine Kasbarian
  • Time for School, Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
  • That's Good, That's Bad by Joan Lexau (especially A.)
  • Curious George series by H.A. Rey
  • Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site series by Sherri Duskey Rinker (especially R.)
  • Sam and the Mitt by Leslie McGuire (R. only)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (R. only, select pages)


My husband 

  • Sailing to Cythera, and Other Anatole Stories by Nancy Willard
  • The Island of the Grass King: The Further Adventures of Anatole by Nancy Willard 
  • George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster 
  • Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace
  • Greenwitch by Susan Cooper 

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Homeschool Update: January & February 2024

Group Activities 


Geography/Art 

From The Complete Book of Marvels by Richard Halliburton, Dad read these sections, and the girls watched accompanying videos: 

  • Carcassonne, City of Romance [video]
  • Mount St. Michael [video]
  • Reims Cathedral, Holy Monument [video]
  • Matterhorn, Tiger of the Alps [video]
  • St. Bernard Monastery [video]
  • St. Peter's, Church Supreme [video]
  • Vesuvius, Famous Volcano [video]
  • Pompeii, City of the Past [video]
  • Blue Grotto, Cavern of Loveliness [video]

C. also learned the locations of the continents using this game


Latin 

We continued our lessons in Getting Started with Latin: Beginning Latin for Homeschoolers and Self-Taught Students of Any Age by William E. Linney, which introduced the second declension. 


Shakespeare

We read the children's versions of Richard III and Othello from Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield and the girls watched the animated adaptations. For Richard III, the girls acted out part of Act 2 Scene 2 as a group, and then watched the film adaptation starring Laurence Olivier. For Othello, M. memorized Iago's speech from Act 1 Scene 1, lines 57-65, C memorized Othello's speech from Act 3 Scene 3, lines 267-279, and E. memorized Desdemona's speech from Act 1 Scene 3, lines 179-188. At the end of February, they were still working on finalizing those.


Read-Alouds

Dad read aloud this historical fiction title:
  • At the Hot Gates: An Account of the Battle of Thermopylae by Donald Sampson  

I read aloud these titles: 

  • The Animals' Christmas by Anne Thaxter Eaton
  • The Tough Winter by Robert Lawson
  • Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  • Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce  


Catechism 

We did a little bit of work in our Catechism books, and then got ready for Lent with Ash Wednesday  coloring pages, Lenten paths to color in, and Mardi Gras masks (with hearts for Valentine's Day!), and we  colored and "buried" the Alleluia in a bookshelf. We attended the Latin Mass once in January once in February. 


Poetry

We finished reading Poem Making by Myra Cohn Livingston and then analyzed "The Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee" and "Barbara Frietchie" using what we learned.   


Science 

C. worked as far as I wanted her to go in the Classic Science student book by Scott McQuerry. Then she read Lili: A Giant Panda of Sichuan by Robert McClung. E. and I read The First Book of Bugs by Margaret Williamson together. 

Both girls started listening to me read The First Book of Plants by Margaret Wiliamson. They also watched Life on Earth: Plants and wrote narrations on the Venus fly trap.  

M. and I continued reading Secrets of the Universe, covering these chapters: 

  • The Law of Conservation of Matter
  • Pascal's Law - How Liquids Behave
  • Boyle's and Charles's Laws - How Gases Behave
  • Bernoulli's Principle
  • How the Elements Combine - The Law of Definite Proportions and Gay-Lussac's Law
From Physics for Every Kid by Janice Van Cleave, she did experiments 55 (Crash), 61 (Bonk), 79 (See Through), 89 (Hot Band), and 97 (Twang) and wrote reports. 


Health

C. had two visits to the orthodontist and read about puberty in The Body Book for Girls


History 

C. read with Dad from The World of George Washington by Genevieve Foster. She wrote narrations on  the Declaration of Independence and Benjamin Franklin.  

M. read The Ancient South Asian World, and watched episodes of the History of India from Great Courses, as well as The Story of India and What the Ancients Knew: India. She took notes on the Great Courses videos. Then she read The Ancient Chinese, and did a worksheet for each chapter, focusing on the Word Bank, What Happened When, Cast of Characters, and All Over the Map exercises. She did narrations on the Ramayana and Mahabarata and on Confucius. 

M. and E. read Virginia Schomp's collections of Indian and Chinese myths together. 

E. continued reading A Child's History of the World by V.M. Hillyer.  She also The First Marathon: the Legend of Pheidippides by Susan Reynolds and A Gift for the King by Christopher Manson. 


English

 M. switched from from Rex Barks, which was becoming tedious to Sentence Diagramming. She completed the Beginner level quickly and moved on to Level 1. She finished Vocabulary from Classical Roots A, but we realized there were earlier levels she would benefit from doing and gave her Level 6 next. 

C. continued working on the Beginner level of Sentence Diagramming

E. did several worksheets to practice identifying verbs. 

R. worked with me in The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading and practiced reading these Hooked on Phonics readers: Pig Wig, Pig Wig Can Hit, Tag, and Ann's Hat.  

A. practiced identifying her letters and started learning the sounds for short A and short E from The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading. 


Math 

M. continued working on Challenging Word Problems 3 and Singapore Primary Mathematics 6B. She needed extra work on fractions and area. In Life of Fred, she continued with Decimals and Percents and she worked on 7th grade math and Algebra 1 on Khan Academy.

C. -finished Singapore Primary Mathematics 3B and moved on to 4A. She finished Life of Fred: Farming and moved on to Goldfish. In Khan Academy, she is still in fourth grade math. 

E. continued working on Singapore Primary Mathematics1B, and she is 80% finished with early math on Khan Academy.


Music 

M. and C. have been working on the music theory exercises in Practical Theory by Sandy Felstein. All three girls did note identification and ear training on the computer and practiced piano and recorder daily.  M. and C. played recorder duets of "Rondo" and "O Come All Ye Faithful"; C. and E. are doing a recorder duets of "Rigaudon."  Occasionally, they watched episodes of How to Play the Piano with Pamela Pike from Great Courses.


Physical Education 

This winter, they ran outside when the weather was nice and played with a sled on the hill with neighbor kids in the snow.


Typing and Handwriting 

All three girls practiced typing on Typing.com. M and C. also did Ten Fast Fingers and C. also did some typing on Keybr.com. E. practiced cursive daily; the other girls wrote their narrations in cursive. 

Read-at-Home Mom Report: February 2024 Wrap-Up

February Favorites

These were some of my five-star reads in February: 



Silas Marner by George Eliot
I read this with the episodes from the Literary Life podcast, and they were very illuminating. I never would have recognized the Rumpelstiltskin references without help. I also loved the writing and found the story very satisfying. 

Lunar New Year Love Story by Gene Luen Yang and LeUyen Pham
I don't read many graphic novels, but I love this author and illustrator, and I couldn't pass up a graphic novel YA romance! There are some wonderfully authentic Catholic details in this book (which I expected, since Yang taught at a Catholic school) as well as lots of fun information about the lion dance and really interesting, layered characters, including adults. This will probably make my favorites list at the end of the year.

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
This is a delight for anyone who loves books. I enjoyed the humor and love story as well as all the bookish commentary.



The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I expected this to be brutal, but it was actually quite hopeful despite the bleak setting and circumstances. The writing is also beautiful. 

The Funeral Ladies of Ellerie County by Claire Swinarski
This is a novel immersed in Catholicism, and I absolutely loved it. There is a little bit of language I wouldn't have included if I were the author, but otherwise great writing and wonderful characters.

A Swarm in May by William Mayne
This vintage UK middle grade book about a boys' choir school was an excellent read-aloud. I loved all the details about beekeeping and the way the boys teased each other and their teachers.

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis 
I know I missed a lot in this book because it makes so many literary references, and it felt a bit slow for  me, but it was so clever and such a fun concept. I know I'll want to read it again someday.

Read-Aloud and Homeschool Books

  • Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper (5 stars)
  • Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry by Myra Cohn Livingston (4 stars)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (5 stars)
  • Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (5 stars)


Sequels and Series Books

  • Date with Malice (The Dales Detective Series Book 2) by Julia Chapman (5 stars)
  • The Crow Trap (Vera Stanhope Book 1) by Ann Cleeves (3 stars)
  • Kissing for Keeps (Sheppards in Love Book 1) by Martha Keyes (3 stars)
  • Per My Last Email (Wells Family Book 1) by Juliana Smith (4 stars)
  • The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising Book 2) by Susan Cooper (5 stars)
  • Holmes, Marple & Poe (Holmes, Margaret & Poe Book 1) by James Patterson (4 stars) 


Stand-Alone Books

  • The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers (5 stars)
  • Elf Dog and Owl Head by M.T.Anderson (5 stars)
  • A Saint Squad for Teachers: 45 Heavenly Friends to Carry You through the School Year by Amy J. Cattapan (4 stars)
  • Do You Mind If I Cancel? by Gary Janetti (4 stars)
  • Start Without Me by Gary Janetti (4 stars)
  • 1000 Words: A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round by Jami Attenberg (5 stars)
  • If Morning Ever Comes by Anne Tyler (3 stars)
  • Little Moments of Love by Catana Chetwynd (4 stars)
  • 1776 by David McCullough (4 stars)
  • Love, Unscripted by Denise Hunter (4 stars)

DNF

  • The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett


Family Reading Lists 


M. (girl, 10 years, 3 months)

  • The Five Brothers: The Story of the Mahabharata by Elizabeth Seeger 
  • Tales of the Chinese Grandmother by Frances Carpenter 
  • The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs
  • The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
  • The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring by John Bellairs


C. (girl, 8 years, 5 months)

  • Catherine the Great by Katharine Scherman
  • The Secret Diary of Jeb & Abigail by Jean Fritz


E. (girl, 6 years, 4 months)

  • Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Moray Williams
  • Jason and the Bees by Brom Hoban


R. (boy, 3 years, 11 months)
A. (girl, 3 years, 11 months) 

  • Eloise Wilkin Treasury (A.)
  • More More More said the Baby by Vera Williams (A.)
  • Hope is a Hop by Katrina Moore (A.)
  • Sleepy Time Tales (R. and A.)
  • Animal Tales (R. and A.)
  • Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant (R. and A.)
  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (R. and A.)
  • My Big Book of Outdoors by Tim Hopgood (A.) 
  • Sheep in a Jeep series by Nancy Shaw (R.)
  • Sweet Dreams: 5-Minute Bedtime Stories (R. and A.)
  • Nini Lost and Found by Anita Lobel(A.)
  • Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (R.)


My husband 

  • The Ramayana by Elizabeth Seeger (with M.)
  • Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley 
  • Fancy Free by Betty Cavanna
  • At the Hot Gates: An Account of the Battle of Thermopylae by Donald Sampson (read aloud)

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Read-at-Home Mom Report: January 2024 Wrap-Up

January Favorites



In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
My book club picked this for January, and I re-read it and took notes and everything only for book club to be canceled due to illnesses among the members. So now it's the book for our February meeting. I loved it the first time I read it, but I loved it even more the second time. 

Rosie and the Dreamboat by Sally Thorne
The Exception to the Rule by Christina Lauren 
These two short stories from the Improbable Meet Cute series were the best of the bunch by far. I have never been able to get into any of Sally Thorne's books, but this story was adorable. The Christina Lauren story wasn't 100% clean, but I loved the epistolary format and slow burn trope. 

Designed to Fail: Catholic Education in America by Steven L. Kellmeyer 
I loved this not so much for its indictment of the failures of many Catholic schools, but for its unapologetic statement that parents are the primary educators of their children, and that religious ed. programs and similar roadblocks rob parents of the task that only they can properly accomplish by virtue of the graces of the sacrament of marriage. 



Dungeons and Drama by Kristy Boyce
This is exactly what a YA romance should be. I loved all the characters, even the parents, and the gaming store setting. 

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
This introduction to the Lord Peter Wimsey series was delightful. I especially loved the dialogue. I can't wait to read more from this series.   

Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
The Poems of T. S. Eliot: Read by Jeremy Irons
I read Four Quartets aloud to myself and then listened to Jeremy Irons read all of Eliot's poetry. I didn't understand a lot of it, but I loved it anyway. 


Read-Aloud and Homeschool Books

  • The Animals' Christmas by Anne Thaxter Eaton (4 stars)
  • The Tough Winter by Robert Lawson (4 stars)


Sequels and Series Books

  • Summer Lightning (Blandings Castle Book 4) by P.G. Wodehouse (4 stars)
  • Mercy Watson is Missing! (Tales from Deckawoo Drive Book 7) by Kate DiCamillo (4 stars)
  • Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1) by Robert Galbraith (4 stars)
  • The Civil Prisoners (Warstowe Saga Book 2) by Meriol Trevor (4 stars)
  • Worst Wingman Ever (The Improbable Meet-Cute Book 2) by Abby Jimenez (3 stars)
  • Drop, Cover, and Hold On (The Improbable Meet-Cute Book 4) by Jasmine Guillory (4 stars)
  • With Any Luck (The Improbable Meet-Cute Book 5) by Ashley Poston (2 stars)
  • Royal Valentine (The Improbable Meet-Cute Book 6) by Sariah Wilson (3 stars)
  • Retying the Knot (The Fab Forties Book 1) by Liwen Ho (4 stars)
  • Head Over Stilettos (The Fab Forties Book 2) by Liwen Ho (4 stars)
  • Death in the Spotlight (Murder Most Unladylike Book 7) by Robin Stevens (3 stars)


Stand-alone Books

  • A Christmas Resolution by Anne Perry (3 stars)
  • The Getaway List by Emma Lord (4 stars)
  • That Wintry Feeling by Debbie Macomber (2 stars)
  • Courting Mr. Emerson by Melody Carlson (3 stars)
  • The Relaxed Home School: A Family Production by Mary Hood (3 stars)
  • A Winter in New York by Josie Silver (4 stars)
  • Antigone by Sophocles (5 stars)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (5 stars)
  • The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg (2 stars)
  • Daniel Boone by James Daughtery (5 stars)


DNF

  • A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy 
  • The Warden by Anthony Trollope 


Family Reading Lists


M. (girl, 10 years, 2 months)

  • The Five Sons of King Pandu: The Story of the Mahabh├írata by Elizabeth Seeger
  • The Ramayana, adapted from the English translation of Hari Prasad Shastri by Elizabeth Seeger 


C. (girl, 8 years, 4 months) 

  • Isaac Newton by John Hudson Tyler
  • The Courage of Sarah Noble, by Alice Dalgliesh
  • The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds
  • The Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson 
  • Daniel Boone by John Mason Brown. 
  • Benjamin West and his Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry 


E. (girl, 6 years, 3 months)

  • In the Grip of Winter by Colin Dann


R. and A. (boy and girl, 3 years, 10 months)

  • Mercy Watson series (mostly R., on audio)
  • Bink and Gollie series (mostly R., on audio)
  • Frances series (both)
  • Rag (R., for reading practice)
  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (both)


My husband 

  • Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Benson Boy by Ivan Southall 
  • Foster by Claire Keegan