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)


  • 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

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