Sunday, August 8, 2021

Read-at-Home Mom Report: July 2021 Wrap-Up

My Month in Books

July has officially been my biggest reading month of 2021 so far! I finished 19 books total! Here is the full list: 

Eleven Kids One Summer by Ann M. Martin (5 stars)
My 5-star rating of this book is my original Goodreads rating based solely on feelings of chuldhood nostalgia. I had re-read this book as an adult and it seemed to hold up, but when I started reading it to my kids, I saw it in a different light. There was a lot more about dating in it than I realized and I ended up breaking my own policy of never editing what an author has written. I just couldn't bring myself to introduce my 7-year-old to the world of middle school dating, especially since there will be no middle school dating for her. 

The Sparrow
by Mary Doria Russell (5 stars)
This 5-star rating was 100% earned. This book is brutal in some parts, but it is a beautiful exploration of human suffering and hope. I listened to the audio and read along in the book at some points, and it was just a beautifully written story all the way through. This will be on my list of favorites at the end of the year.

Letters to Myself from the End of the World by Emily Stimpson Chapman (5 stars)
Another five-star book! Emily Stimpson Chapman is one of my favorite Catholic writers, and I absolutely had to own a copy of her new book. It is beautifully written and every time I thought one of the letters in it was my favorite, I'd turn the page and read one that I liked even more. I just love everything she writes. 

Church of Cowards by Matt Walsh (4 stars)
I opened this book on Scribd out of curiosity and I was so pleasantly surprised to discover that Matt Walsh's narrative voice in this book is much less acerbic than his social media voice. It was a quick read, but its reminders about our purpose on Earth as Catholics were valuable. 

Green River, Running Red by Ann Rule (5 stars)
I really enjoyed The Stranger Beside Me and decided to listen to this, the author's other major true crime book, on audio. It was really interesting and I liked that Rule had some personal connections to the events detailed in the book.

The Fox Hole by Ivan Southall (3 stars)
This is a vintage Australian children's novel about a young boy who falls in a fox hole while visiting relatives and makes a discovery that threatens his chances of being rescued. I read it because I needed a book set in Australia for a challenge and I was running out of time. I ended up really enjoying the writing style and I plan to read some of the other books by this author that we have on our shelves.

Bookshop by the Sea by Denise Hunter (3 stars)
This Christian romance novel was a bit of a palate cleanser amidst these other, more serious and intense titles. I really enjoy Denise Hunter's writing and plan to read more from her.

Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger (4 stars)
My sister lent me this book when we were in New York and I zipped right through it. It's not quite a thriller - more of a police procedural - but I loved it. I'm looking for more just like it. 

We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange (4 stars)
This is a debut novel which I received on Netgalley in audio format. I loved all of the characters and their family dynamics, and aside from a slightly over-written, overly neat ending it was a really enjoyable read. 

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (5 stars)
We listened to this on audio in the car. I have read this book twice before but never added it on Goodreads or reviewed it. I decided to count it this time since I paid attention to most of the audiobook and I needed to cross it off my Newbery TBR.

Well Played by Jen Deluca (2 stars)
In the first book of this series, I had to skip chapter 16 because of graphic sex, but the rest of the story was so well written it was worth it. This time I think it was chapters 17 and 18, but the surrounding chapters weren't that good. I think the main issue was the nature of the plot, which involved something of a catfishing scheme and prevented me from getting to know the characters well enough. I'm still planning to read book 3, but I will go in fully prepared to skip multiple chapters again.

Let Them Be Kids by Jessica Smartt (4 stars)
My husband suggested this parenting book, and I enjoyed it even if I didn't necessarily want to implement everything she suggests. (Every family needs a pet? Nope, not this family.) This would be good for a new mom to read. It helps you think about a lot of important aspects of family life.

This Time Around by Denise Hunter, Melissa Ferguson, and Kathleen Fuller (3 stars)
This collection of novellas was a quick and fun summer read. Hunter and Fuller are both new favorite Christian romance writers I have discovered this year. This was my first time reading Ferguson, but based on this experience I'd be interested in more. 

8 Notes to a Nobody by Cynthia Toney (4 stars)
Barb from Franciscan Mom suggested this book to me on Instagram and I snuck it in before my Kindle Unlimited trial expired. I kept thinking that it was like Catholic Judy Blume. The story deals with very serious issues that kids can face during adolescence, but the approach is very gentle and very Christian. I will probably buy the whole series for Kindle. 

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (5 stars)
I read this in 2019 but the edition I had was revised, whereas everyone else in my book club had the original. I bought a copy of the original and finally got around to reading it this month. It was even better the second time, and it's still my favorite book. 

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street
by Joanne Rocklin (5 stars)
This 5-star rating was also my original Goodreads rating from when I first read this book as a new release in 2011. Reading it aloud to my kids this time it seemed to lose some of its magic. They enjoyed it, and I didn't dislike it, but it did not wow me the way it did a decade ago. 

The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park (5 star)
This was a totally unexpected 5-star read! I chose it as a book set in Asia for a challenge on Instagram because the audio was only 3 hours. But what a great story! I want to buy a copy for my kids. 

Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field (4 stars)
I read this old Newbery winner aloud to my second daughter, just as I did to my oldest when she was 5 going on 6. It is difficult to read aloud because the chapters are long, but she really loved this story of 100 years of adventures in the life an antique doll. Four stars is my original rating from when I first read it, and I think it's still an accurate rating. 

Plymouth Undercover by Pamela Kelley (3 stars)
I read some of this author's Nantucket series in 2020, and jumped at the chance to request this new mystery title from Netgalley. It's not quite a cozy mystery and definitely not a thriller, but it hits a sweet spot somewhere in between. 

As for the rest of the family's reading...

My husband recently finished reading Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones and he gave it four stars. Now he's reading The White Twilight by Madeleine A. Polland. 

M. (7 years, 8 months) finished reading the second book in the Borrowers series, and she is now reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

C. (5 years, 10 months) was reading the first book in the Heartwood Hotel series by Kallie George, but she wasn't enjoying it, so she has moved on to The Folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. She is also on her third reading of my review copy of Ivy Lost and Found by Cynthia Lord which is the first book in a forthcoming chapter book series about the lives of stuffed animals and dolls who can be checked out of a public library. 

E. (3 years, 9 months) has started sounding out words! She has read three of our little Hooked on Phonics readers: Rag, Dad and Sam, and Pig Wig, and now she is working on Pig Wig Can Hit.

R. (16 months) has been very into books lately. He likes to point at different objects on the pages of books like First 100 Words by Roger Priddy.

A. (also 16 months) loves to read My First Prayers with Mary by Maite Roche during Mass. There is a particular illustration of the Madonna and child that she absolutely loves. She also loves Peekaboo by Taro Gomi.  

Up Next For Me 

I had high hopes of being able to read when we were at the beach all last week, but that didn't happen, so I have yet to finish a book in August. I'm currently reading The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher and listening to Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton. I'm also planning to read Fred Bowen's forthcoming new book (Soccer Trophy Mystery) and Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. 

Linking Up

No comments:

Post a Comment