Thursday, March 2, 2023

Read-at-Home Mom Report: February 2023 Wrap-Up

February was a weird reading month. I had several DNFs and lots more books that were just okay. At the start of the month I was unexpectedly asked to come back to my old library and give a workshop presentation and a lot of time and attention went to that. (It was nice to be back in the saddle.) I also made the decision to abandon most of the reading challenges I started in January because they were already getting too tedious. But I still finished a total of 17 books, which is definitely not bad. 

February Favorites 

This month I read aloud three old favorites to my girls: The Mitchells by Hilda Van Stockum, The Winged Watchman by Hilda van Stockum, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. They were all delightful and the girls absolutely loved them. I cried at the end of The Winged Watchman, but it was worth it. 

From my own reading, my favorites were:   

The Likeness by Tana French (5 stars)
This is every bit as good as the first Dublin Murder Squad book, In the Woods, and I lingered over it just as long, savoring every word. Absolutely no one writes like Tana French, and this was so suspenseful, and emotional, and intriguing on every level.  

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman (5 stars)
I really enjoyed this nostalgic nonfiction book about the 1990s. It was interesting to revisit world events I'd only heard about as a child with the benefit of adult understanding. It was also really fascinating to think about how much the Internet has changed our culture. 

The Netanyahus by Joshua Cohen (5 stars)
This was the book the Close Reads podcast read in February, and though I know I didn't get everything out of it, I found it hilarious as well as well-written. The audiobook is exceptionally well done. 

My Phony Valentine by Courtney Walsh (4 stars)
I loved the characters in this feel-good rom-com about a fake relationship between a hockey player and a restaurant owner. I especially loved the family members of the two protagonists. 

Love and a Little White Lie by Tammy L. Gray (4 stars)
This Christian novel is more of a conversion story than a romance, but I absolutely loved the writing and the characters. I'm looking forward to the other two titles in the series.

Tacos for Two by Betsy St. Amant (4 stars)
Spark Flash Fiction's book club read this You've Got Mail inspired rom-com this month. I loved all the details about food trucks and the surprising ways the story didn't quite match the original movie. 

Stand-Alone Books 

  • Bread-and-Butter Indian by Anne Colver (4 stars)
    A fun vintage read-aloud about frontier living based on a true story. 
  • London Transports by Maeve Binchy (3 stars)
    A largely forgettable short story collection bogged down a bit by its heavy emphasis on women's issues. 
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen [ABRIDGED] (3 stars)
    I'm so irritated that the Libby app didn't label this book as abridged. The sexual content was too much for me to ever want to read it again, but I don't feel I can count it as read either.  
  • The Valentine's Hate by Sidney Halston (2 stars)
    This was very boring. I only finished it because I didn't have anything else in mind to listen to. 
  • Maizy Chen's Last Chance by Lisa Yee (2 stars)
    Another predictably preachy and mediocre Newbery honor book. 

Series Books

  • Snowfall at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs (Lakeshore Chronicles Book 4)
  • Battleshipped by Savannah Scott (Getting Shipped! Book 2)
  • The Time Garden by Edward Eager (Tales of Magic Book 4)

Did Not Finish

2023 is shaping up to be the year of the DNF. I'm up to 15 after only two months. Here are the ones I abandoned in February: 

  • The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley
    Beautiful writing, but way too much about climate change.  
  • Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
    I almost stuck with this one, I just couldn't read descriptions of a teenage girl reading sex scenes alone in her bed at night. I did love this author's adult rom-com The Ex Talk so this was really disappointing.
  • Heartbreakers and Fakers by Cameron Lund (ARC)
    Too much teen drinking in the first chapter. 
  • I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski
    This was a new adult romance that started out cute but then devolved into a lot of description of characters smoking marijuana. I was so bored I gave up. 
  • Love, Comment, Subscribe by Cathy Yardley
    I got a little bit into the audiobook and it just wasn't grabbing me.
  • Reclaiming Motherhood by Samantha Stephenson
    The author made it sound like feeding babies formula and using pain medication during labor were against the teachings of the Catholic church, which of course they are not. This book would be so damaging to a vulnerable new mom.    
  • Not that Kind of Ever After by Luci Adams
    This has such a sexually suggestive first page I couldn't even get through it. 

Family Reading Lists

M. (girl, 9 years, 3 months) 

  • The Moved Outers by Florence Crannell Means
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • Twenty and Ten by Clare Huchet Bishop
  • Fairmount Avenue series by Tomie dePaola
  • All World War II titles in the You Choose series
  • The Battle of Britain by Quentin James Reynolds
  • Stella Batts: Broken Birthday by Courtney Sheinmel
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling 

C. (girl, 7 years, 5 months)

  • The Adventures of Marco Polo by Russell Freedman
  • The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela by Uri Shulevitz
  • Sindbad by Ludmila Zeman
  • Sindbad in the Land of Giants by Ludmila Zeman
  • Sindbad’s Secret by Ludmila Zeman
  • Arabian Nights: Three Tales by Deborah Norse Lattimore
  • Illustrated Junior Library edition of Arabian Nights
  • Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • The Wishing Chair Again by Enid Blyton
  • Stella Batts: A Case of the Meanies by Courtney Sheinmel
  • Stella Batts: Who's in Charge? by Courtney Sheinmel   

E. (girl, 5 years, 3 months)

  • Meet George Washington by Joan Heilbroner 
  • Annie Pat and Eddie by Carolyn Haywood
  • Nathan Hale by Virginia Frances Voight
  • John Billington, Friend of Squanto by Clyde Robert Bulla 


R. (boy, 2 years, 11 months)

  • I Wheelie Love You by Hannah Eliot and Denise Holmes 
  • Little Blue Truck's Valentine by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry 
  • Fire Truck by Peter Sis 
  • Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherry Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld 
  • Dinosnores by Sandra Boynton 
  • I Want That! by Hannah Eliot and Ana Sanfelippo 

A. (girl, 2 years, 11 months)

  • All Better, Baby! by Sara Gillingham 
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
  • The Three Bears by Byron Barton
  • A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton
  • Little Sleepyhead by Elizabeth McPike and Patrice Barton
  • All About Alfie by Shirley Hughes 

My husband 

  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  • The Time Garden by Edward Eager  
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl
  • Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria Whelan  
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry 

Up Next For Me

March is Middle Grade March, so I have lots of middle grade books ready to go. My local book club is reading The Silence of Mary by Ignacio LarraƱaga. I'm also planning to read Pygmalion and Diary of a Country Priest with Close Reads. 

I'm adding this post to the link-up for An Open Book at 

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