what I've been reading | may

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 I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for What I've been Reading Lately - the new and the notable in which everyone shares where the literary world has taken them.

This has been a fun reading-filled month. I desperately needed a reading-plenty month if I hope to reach 100 New Books in 2017. Thus, five months down and I've read 40 of 100 books. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. I haven't lost hope I will reach my goal, now.

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Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck. Except for the first several chapters I actually enjoyed this book. It is no literary masterpiece but wholesome, clean and Rachel handled the Christian fiction aspect superbly. Some authors think they have to apologize within the novel for their characters 'saving themselves for marriage' but Hauck simply made it a non-issue, a given for her characters. I applaud this because she handled a budding relationship, upholding it well through their godly character. While the story line is somewhat overused and the ending anti-climatic it was a couple hours of enjoyment. 28/100

51UK3HRRyVLLoving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall. I understand the format used for the book was probably necessary for the 'experiment' the author was undergoing and the premise for the book and with another book it might have worked well but I labored through the book, grudgingly, and found it painfully slow and frustrating that I rarely find in 'Christian' non-fiction. From day to day I found no loving of her actual life, simply discontent. If it was her experiment to find contentment she failed. Or, maybe she found it but it definitely wasn't clear through her writing. Suffice it to say I got absolutely nothing out of the entire book. Any spiritual truths were drowned out by discontentment and it certainly doesn't seem like she 'loves' her life. 29/100

 

61dAlLVm3yLStories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe. As part of the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge Reading for Fun - a juicy memoir I read Lowe's autobiography and enjoyed every juicy minute of the book. It was an engaging memoir of Lowe's life before and during his life as an actor. I particularly enjoyed those times he encountered stars, and how he encountered them, and the lessons he learned from them - before they were stars; some truly big name entertainment people. He's done some pretty stupid stuff in his life but he really grew up and is someone his mom could be proud of. Because I know he is a  liberal and he is influenced heavily, by many I have little respect for, I was pleasantly surprised at his respect for bi-partisan politics and politicians, truly inspiring that he appreciates hearing the messages from both party sides. 30/100

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His Word in My Heart by Janet Pope. Amazing! I've memorized some scripture but Pope's book His Word in My Heart has spurred me on towards a more meaningful: "...a vantage point from which to view the world," "...a life centered on His kingdom, not mine," "if my soul thrived everything else would fall into place," "the keystone in memorizing is reviewing," "If our knowledge of God is shallow, can our love be deep?" Just to name a few quotes that struck at my heart and moved me back into the valued task of hiding His word in my heart. 31/100

 

51NYppzf+aLHave You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carolyn McCloud. I read this to Jarrod this weekend. He endured the torture of me reading a children's book aloud. Just kidding. Reminiscent of Gary Smalley's concept of filling your spouses and children's buckets, meeting their needs or their love languages, Have You Filled a Bucket Today, invites this concept to children, in the language of children. This is a precious book that I cannot wait to read to my grandchildren. 32/100

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The Escape by David Baldacci. Another in the John Puller series, The Escape was fantastic! After a misstep from his previous John Puller novel I was thrilled that this one turned out so good. There was plenty of uncertainty and misdirection and 'I did not see that one coming' that the book was thrilling and frustrating at the same time. Unbelievably, it also, fixed a wrong that has bothered me from the beginning of the series. 33/100

 

 

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Quiet by Susan Cain. A plethora of information in an easily readable communique. An intriguing bounty into the world, or rather - mind, of an introvert. I saw myself scattered throughout and even saw, without realizing it, how I 'overcame' some of my introvert-ness (I'm still fully introvert but I've adjusted my sails in order to navigate unchartered waters of extrovert living). 34/100 

 

 

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Saving Faith by David Baldacci. Parts of this I really loved. Baldacci seems a master of governmental conspirators and spies, counterintelligence, and suspense and intrigue and Saving Faith was exceptional when handling these areas of the book. But. But, he horribly fumbles when it involves the male-female relationship. If he had kept it 'budding' I would have liked it much better but where he took it and where those chapters went were unnecessary - to me. 35/100

 

 

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Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie. Chapters I related to immediately, took copious notes, underlined, annotated, - loved and that drew me in; and, chapters that seemed mindless, endless, ramblings and left me frustrated. 36/100

 

 

 

 

71yg3JyYa9LSteal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. I only recently picked up this little gem, and devoured it in just over an hour of uninterrupted reading pleasure. This book is for creative. I'd like to believe I am a creative and I walked away from this book inspired to - well - create. And, steal like an artist! I loved his pages on keeping a log book and a calendar, 'the slow accumulation of little bits of effort over time,' plus, many more great quotes- to- live- by. 37/100

 

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Legend by Marie Lu. Another in Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge Reading for Fun - a book in a genre you usually avoid. Not normally a YA fiction kinda' gal, although I have read both hit YA series trilogy's, The Hunger Games and The Divergent, out loud to my sons when they were in high school and I enjoyed them, probably more than they did (they prefer YA myths and fantasy over dystopian). But, I enjoyed this book immensely. So much so, I've already ordered the last two in the series, Prodigy and Champion. 38/100

 

 

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Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly. Superb. The detailed, historical research is unbelievably thorough, and impressive. It reads as an engaging story rather than a piece of historical non-fiction. This is my first of the 'killing' series by O'Reilly and I will definitely pick up other historical stories. 39/100 

 

 

 

 

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Portraits of Courage, a Commander-in-Chiefs Tribute to America's Warriors by George W. Bush. The portraits, the faces of the American warriors Bush chose to represent, are raw. But, many of them are still living in the raw. Yet, their stories, those Bush chose to tell, show indubitably a warriors spirit. A truthful, and inspiring collection or portraits and words that also shows Bush's heart, compassion, and genuine empathy for his warriors. 40/100


what I've been reading | april

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 Today, I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for her What I'm Reading Lately: the new and the notable. I cannot say enough how thankful I am that I found MMD's website, a site based almost entirely on reading, because she provides seriously useful insight on a host of potential good reads. I'm not sure how many I've found from her site, added them to my Amazon cart, have them on my bookshelf, or have already read. Scores of them I'm sure.

Now, I know what you're thinking. If I plan on meeting my reading goal I really need to up my reading game. This is true. But, I'm not worried in the least and comfortable I'll hit 100 New Books in 2017. Without further ado...

 
51ogx3ScyxLThe Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson
. I'm not sure I've ever read this sweet tale, but the illustrations are adorable, especially when the Emperor dresses in his new clothes and parades about his town. This is one of many books, hopefully, that I will add to my basket of books I'm putting together for when my grandkids come to visit. 21/100

 

 

 

51o5F8FpkRLThe Women of Easter by Liz Curtis Higgs. I read this beautifully written, conversational, - and lovely book as part of my Lenten reading. I'm so glad I picked it up at the last minute (I already had another book I was reading for Lent). Bring tissues. You'll want to let loose with fresh tears when you meet three women who are forever changed when they meet a loving, forgiving, and tender Savior. 22/100

 

 

 

 

81D1td7KPlL40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole. Because I'm also studying the book of John for Lent I kept my readings to the devotion, the reflection, and the coming-at-us-from-a-unique-perspective kind of fast: fasting from comparison, fasting from neutrality, from being an armchair Jesus follower, from stinginess, from spectatorship... this is a spirit-filled book and I love how reflecting on the liturgical season of Lent, and Christ, in this manner, through an intentional and disciplined study has been invigorating for my spiritual growth. 23/100 

 

 

 

51wG7x-S+0LAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Gorgeous! Exquisite! I adored every page from beginning to end of this skillfully written and truly believable literary masterpiece that primarily takes place in Nazi-occupied France during WWII. I loved the short chapters told in alternating character voices that swiftly moved the story through time rather than laboriously moving through the 500+ pages. As I read I kept saying to myself, "the words Doerr crafted together are so beautiful! Every word is perfectly placed, perfectly stated." I felt like I was experiencing first hand, walking beside the characters, drawn in to their experiences. Just beautiful! 24/100

 

 

51hIEmkYV7LGenerous Justice by Timothy Keller. It is a book that looks deeper into the Bibles call to justice. Statements such as, "Radical generosity," "One's heart attitude toward the poor reflects one's heart attitude toward Christ,"  "If people obey God as they should there should be no permanent poverty that exists." Keller reminds us that there is common grace given to all by God, thus non-Christians (and Christians, both) will make acts of kindness and self-sacrifices because of common values and God will display his glory and goodness through general revelation. And then there is the chapter on who is your neighbor... 25/100

 

 

51LYW5KGxSLLast Stop on Market Street by Matt de La Peña and Christian Robinson. This is the second children's book I read this month. This one was a little short but it did get its message across. I just wanted - more, I guess. Loved the colorful pages and I cannot wait to read this to my grandkids. I'm collecting books to read aloud to my grandkids, as three of the five will be moving close enough I'll probably get to see them a couple times a month. I want to have books on hand to read to them. It holds a Coretta Scott King Award and is a Caldecott Honor and Newberry Medal book - definitely worth of awards! 26/100

 

51H3wrGIkfLShe Reads Truth by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams. A spiritual memoir slash devotional in the spirit of their devotions on their website www.shereadstruth.com. I've always loved their writing voices so, honestly, I knew I would enjoy their book and I did. 27/100

 

 

 

 

Now, digitally speaking, I created a 12 x 12 digital pocket page filled with product from Ali Edwards' Story kit READ, and One Little Bird Designs High Street Stories. I'm not making a separate album this year as I've done in past years but I will include all of my What I've Been Reading Lately pages will go in my Stories 2017 album


2017 Reading Challenge | read three books by the same author

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For this challenge from Modern Mrs Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge I completed read three books by the same author.

I assumed for this challenge I would read three of Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series as I've been reading this series regularly, picking one up every couple of weeks, at least. Since I only have five left of the current selections I'm sure I will read three this year, but my first three books by the same author came from David Baldacci, the popular author, who I've only recently found, and enjoy.

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These are three books from three different series', Amos Decker, John Puller, and the Will Robie series'. The Amos Decker character, by Baldacci, is a fairly new series and it, and he - the character - is phenomenal. He is a former football player who took a hard hit in the head, woke up with a condition whereby he doesn't forget anything, became a police officer, had his wife and child murdered, left the police force because he lost it after the death of his family and entered into psuedo private investigation which has led him to being used by the FBI for special investigations.

Of the three series this one is my favorite.

I do like the John Puller series, an active duty Army Criminal Investigator, special division. The first in the series was good. In fact it was gripping, but the second one was just confusing, but okay, hopefully he'll redeem himself in the third, which I think is out on hardback so I'll be waiting on that one.

The Will Robie series...not sure yet if I like the character. He's an assassin for a governmental organization who goes off the grid, to help a teenage girl, and solve a mystery. He's a redeemable character, not at all someone I don't like, but I just haven't fallen for - yet. 

I think Baldacci has written enough books that I'll find plenty to enjoy in the future. 

Only 15 more books to go in this reading challenge. But, as I've only read 20 books thus far this year, I have 80 more books in my 100 New Books in 2017 challenge.


what I've been reading lately | february

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My reading goals for 2017: Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge and read 100 New Books in 2017. I'm also linking up, monthly with Modern Mrs. Darcy's What I've Been Reading Lately. The following list are the books I've been reading from 15 January - 15 February 2017.

41DNuJfahyLThe Martian by Andy Weir. I will admit I watched the movie first. And, I'm glad I did. Truly, I am not sure I would have made it through the fictional journals of fictional astronaut Mark Watney while stranded on Mars without having the visual representation the movie offered. Granted, this is a hugely entertaining novel, funny in fact in many places, gripping, on-the-edge-of-your-seat-what-is-he-going-to-have-to-deal-with-next suspenseful intensity, but the scientific lingo would have been tough to swallow without having 'seen' it for myself. This is one time I am so glad I watched the movie first. While I couldn't be certain, I believe it made the book better. Some of my favorite lines when I laughed out loud: "Everything went great right up to the explosion!" "Damn it Jim, I'm a botanist not a chemist!" This one was in the movie too, " It's awesome to have a bunch of dipsh*ts on Earth telling me, a botanist, how to grow plants. I mostly ignore them. I don't want to come off as arrogant here, but I'm the best botanist on the planet." The Martian also earned favorite of the month.

51TkHNogRMLBeautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren. Ah - no! I should have known by the title but I was sent to a blog raved about by another reading blogger I love. I went through the bloggers favorite books of 2016 and this one was on the list along with some really good books. There was way, way to much s*x. I suppose the writing was okay but honestly it was hard to tell from all the steamy scenes I had to skim by. There was little story and read like a steamy harlequin romance. Definitely will not be buying anymore of these types of books. Not my cup of tea.

 

 

 

51+fIKU-U2LZero Day by David Baldacci. This is the first in the John Puller series. I am a brand new reader of Baldacci and after reading The Memory Man I hoped I would like more of his books. I absolutely do! This was an intricately woven criminal-investigator suspense thriller. I love the main character, an Army Criminal Investigator who handles specialty cases, who has done multiple combat tours and is a Ranger. I'm positive I'll pick up many more of his books in this series and anything else he has written. Since this is my Mom's favorite author [I think] - all the better.

 

 

 

41vD932YKVLA Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman. I loved Emily's Simply Tuesday. One of my favorite books in 2016 even. I struggled to connect with this one though. I think books, even some non-fiction books, are meant for us for seasons, or at a particular time. I'm not sure this one is for me at this time. Although, I find myself desiring something more in my life. Hoping I'll find in me what it is God has designed - for this season. Yes, the book was somewhat endearing and yes, I took notes and marked up pages and dog-earred others. But, I didn't come away from it feeling like it meant something for me.

 

 

51UsUob-5ULVeronica Mars and The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham. Amazon says, "Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case. Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person’s case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined. In Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas has created a groundbreaking female detective who’s part Phillip Marlowe, part Nancy Drew, and all snark, with sharp plots and clever twists.  Yep, I agree. I like it! Extremely easy to read while at the same time cunning and piercing. It's not a literary masterpiece but lots of fun.

517I2RO8x+LWatership Down by Richard Adams. Wonderful! I listened to this after reading Modern Mrs. Darcy's post on Audible. My Kindle Fire already had the Audible app loaded so that is how I listened to the free gift. I loved this book (audio). The author used to make up stories for his daughters during long car rides in the English countryside and this tale is one of those stories. True, it is about rabbits but these rabbits have thoughts and can speak, yet their actions and behaviors, how they live are solely - rabbit. There is death, and fear, and love within the story, Watership Down.

 

 

 

51eYqSeYwdLIsaac's Storm by Erik Larson. I read this for the 2017 Reading Challenge: a book about a topic you already love. It's is meteorology at it's barest, earliest, and roughest forms. The investigative techniques and narrative in which Larson crafted from thousands of sources of the killing hurricane in 1900 that besieged the thriving, busting gulf city of Galveston, Texas, and translates them into a gripping story, is truly inspiring. It is a ripping account of the United States Weather Bureau in it's infancy, with a wondering, "how did we (meteorologists and me) finally gain ground?" But, the telling of the storm from the accounts of a ships log, to the description of the storm as it set its sights on Galveston was detailed and exciting reading. Although not my favorite book of the month it was definitely in the top five.

 

51GesqDmCBLThe Last Mile by David BaldacciConvicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution--for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier--when he's granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.
Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars's case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men's families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth.
The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars--guilty or not--a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now? But when a member of Decker's team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger--and more sinister--than just one convicted criminal's life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower [he has hyperthymesia] to stop an innocent man from being executed - Amazon. So, so good. When I can use the words, "I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!" at least once in a book - yes! Baldacci's books are rapidly becoming favorites and I can't wait to read more! 


41o7yXZPwfLCold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist.
I think this is Shauna's first book. It's, to me, a collection of stories, a spiritual memoir of sorts about everyday life, but, that everyday life and God woven in...and out...and in. I was most encouraged by Shauna's real life personal experience with God, not Shauna on a pedestal but the Shauna that makes mistakes, sometimes for a long time, and then gets it right. It is honesty and hope and redemption. It is really good reading.


2017 Reading Challenge | a book about a topic you already love

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My selection for the 2017 Reading Challenge, reading for fun category: a book about a topic you already love

51eYqSeYwdLIsaac's Storm by Erik Larson. As a meteorologist I was intrigued by the early understandings of meteorology, and even, what people considered, hoped for, of meteorologists. The meteorology, how Larson approached discussing in layman's terms, the raw meteorological side of the hurricane was superb. Interestingly, meteorologists determined accurately that storm surge was the most damaging and deadliest aspect of a hurricane. While there were some slow points of the historical account, I was most impressed by the compilation of the use of thousand's of sources into an avid, visual representation of the events before and after the 1900 Galveston hurricane that rocked the country.

If anything, this book made me, as a meteorologist, appreciate the advancements made withing the field of weather forecasting and prediction. But, and this is a hearty but, there is nothing compared to the the hardened skills, educated science, the personal application that comes from the person - the meteorologist. All the computer models, all the advancements of technology cannot replace what the meteorologist sees with the naked eye. A computer, not piece of equipment cannot tell you those early signs of advancing weather. Only the meteorologist can, who sees it for himself.

Very good book. 

 


7 books every couple should read

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I'm no expert. These are just a few books that my husband and I, at various seasons of our marriage, found to be helpful, or challenged our status quo for our marriage, or upped our 'game'. This is not-even-close to an exhaustive list of great books on marriage. But, these 7 - are GOOD!

51rV-3xwEJLThe Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. If only to understand what love languages are, what your own love languages are, and what your spouses love languages are, and what to do when you have that information, this is definitely a great book to read as a couple, either individually [together], or out loud together. But, definitely share your love language with each other and make a commitment to meet your spouses love language right where they are. 

 

 

 

51kYqKy+hvLFor Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. My husband and I read this one on the road, literally. While we were traveling, I was reading this book aloud to Jeff. If I read aloud my comprehension is better and if I read aloud Jeff's comprehension is better. Go figure! While the title says it's for women only, and it is in a way, it's okay to read this together because your man can say, Yes, that's me. Do you understand me now? This is a very enlightening book. 

 

 

 

41RQbQiGbiLFor Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. And the companion book, For Men Only helps the men get women. This is another book that is great read aloud while traveling. Again, for the same reason. I was able to clarify, enlighten, expound, or share my take on what we were reading - as the woman.

 

 

 

 

7176OMzUwhLSacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. This is not for the faint at heart. This is not for you if you are only hoping for a happier marriage. It is for you if you want a marriage that is holier. Holier, not happier (although, if a marriage is holier it WILL be happier - guaranteed). This one is on my bookshelf. Reading it soon.

 

 

 

 

 

81xOLrq1aYLHis Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley. This is some serious business. The book identifies a man and a woman's vital needs and then tells you how to meet your spouses needs. It's not about how your spouse is or isn't meeting your needs but how to meet your spouses needs. Folks, a holy marriage will always place your spouses needs above your own needs. My husband and I read this during a challenging time. It is a challenging book, too. Not for the faint at heart. Choose this day whom you will serve. Hopefully, it is your spouse.

 

 

712cLhVd7nLCommunication: Key to Your Marriage by H Norman Wright. This isn't as well known of a book as some of the others; it's quite a bit older, but still some really good stuff. Early in our marriage, and even before we were married we read this book, or at least pieces of it recommended to us by our counselor.

 

 

 

 

91H0vstAh+LNight Light: a devotional for couples by Dr. James and Shirley Dobson. What better way to ensure, you as a couple, are digging in the word than a devotional together. An older selection yet still a penetrating devotional.

 

 

 

 

 

In no way is this even close to an exhaustive selection of books for soon-to-be and married couples. If you think your marriage is okay and doesn't need a check-up then your marriage probably need to look harder, look more intently at your spouse, because it probably isn't okay because every marriage can be re-charged, re-vitalized, serviced, reminded how we can serve our spouses and communicate better because we all get complacent. 


2017 Reading Challenge | a book you were excited to buy but haven't read yet

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I believe I'm off to great beginnings on this 2017 Reading Challenge. I have only read a couple other books outside of the challenge. Realizing this, though, means I will need to get my reading butt in gear if I want to read 100 New Books in 2017along with completing this challenge.

41DNuJfahyLMy selection for the Reading For Fun category a book you were excited to buy but haven't read yet: The Martian by Andy Wier. I guess in a way this could have been many of the titles on my bookshelf as I'm usually very excited when I put a book in my Amazon cart and then receive it. Inevitably, it is within a stack of books purchased and if they all get me excited I just have to pick one, right?

But, having recently watched the movie...

I know, right? I watched the movie first. Highly taboo! A disgrace. Watching the movie before reading the movie.

But, you guys, the movie was really good.

I'd heard, through blog reviews of The Martian that many people actually enjoyed the book way more once they watched the movie. After flying through the book in a day and a half, because of the visuals the movie afforded me, I can totally see how they came to that conclusion. I loved this book!  I'm not sure I would have liked it half as much if I'd read the book first. The science, the chemistry, I think, would have become overwhelming and instead of plowing through the science I might have put the book down. But, the movie! The movie made the science so much more interesting - exciting even!

And the humor - I laughed out loud on a number of occasions. Worth it! As a Star Trek fan (the newer Star Trek's) a favorite line when Mark writes in his SOL journal, "Damn it Jim, I'm a botanist, not a chemist!" Laughed. Out. Loud! 

While I understand this was completely fiction, it made me wonder that if this were to happen in real life, an astronaut getting stranded on the moon and needing to survive, what type of person would they need to be - to survive. I mean, this guy Mark had a sense of humor. I'm curious if that would be helpful, a certain outlook on life. Just wondering.

Anyways, if you're wondering about the book. Read it. And, if you're wondering about the movie - fabulous, too.

Again, this is where I stand with the 2017 Reading Challenge:

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Moving right along in this challenge. I have several books in my bag for work, on my nightstand, in my purse: Zero Day by David Baldacci, Veronica Mars, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas, A Million Little Ways by Emily P Freeman, Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson, and More to Your Story by Max Lucado.

 


2017 Reading Challenge | a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner

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Following Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge my selection for the reading for growth category (and my 5th selection of the 24-book challenge): a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner is

510mwjJ6sELThe Penderwicks, a Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy.

I loved the magical ambiance of this heartwarming and charming modern children's classic of a summer vacation filled with adventure - and mayhem. I adore the children's brilliant and gentle widower father who is absentminded yet attentive, and aware of his daughters' ramblings and trampling's at the same time. He understands his children something awesome.

Although this might be considered a children's book it's appeal will reach all ages and gender. And, I kept thinking while I was reading, "I think Ella would love this book!" But, I also thought, my boys (my 19 year old sons) would love me to read this aloud. I definitely want to get the next books in the series.

The four sisters are delightful and endearing. The boy - I just wanted to reach in and pull him close, with his preening peacock mother Mrs. Tifton to contend with. Thank God for the precious and understanding housekeeper and the hardworking teenager and father-trained gardener.

I used to shy away from children's books believing they were beneath me, although beneath me is not really what I mean, maybe not literary enough. But, not any longer!

This is 6  |  100 New Books in 2017

P.S. I created a new 12 x 12 template for the remainder of this reading challenge. I will use it for updates to the challenge, as well.

And lastly, where I stand with the reading challenge:

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what I've been reading lately | january edition

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Crafting a page every month of what I've read for our family scrapbook album. Besides reading...and swimming... scrapbooking is my other love and keeping a record of everything I've been reading is inspiring me to read more.

Slim readings this month...only six books read...but almost all of them were winners. I would never have reckoned my heart around some of these titles if not for the countless other readers willing to share their reviews - well, and my desire to read new books.

81jQzNuvy4LA Man Called Ove by Fredrick Brackman. A beautiful book full of laughter and tears, love and friendship, and connections(ing). And leaving a legacy. This was my first book of the new year and a 2017 Reading Challenge selection reading for growth: a book in translation. You can see my thoughts on A Man Called Ove here.

 

 

 

 

51Q+CphZ7rLBread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. Shauna's collection of essays are intimately personal and inspiring. In the least, I can't wait to make some of the recipes she's shared. At the most I am looking forward to how my One Little Word for 2017, NOURISH, will work itself out in my life with Shauna's book as part of the backdrop of the story. I have no doubt this will be tucked into a favorite's list for the year and one I will revisit again - soon. This book is for my 2017 Reading Challenge also: a book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection.

 

 

 

71MT0ceUanLThe Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Um, not so much...I could probably count on both hands paragraphs - yes, paragraphs - I liked and the remainder of the book - um, not so much. This book, however, fulfilled a reading challenge (insert smiley face): a Newberry Award Winner or Honor Book for my 2017 Reading Challenge. We were talking at church, a couple of us ladies who serve together, all pretty heavy readers, plus homeschooling moms, when we had some downtown and I mentioned The Westing Game. Had anyone read it? Did they like it? When I shared my experience one mom said emphatically, "listen to the audio!!" I'm going to do just that and see how I like The Westing Game after listening to it read aloud.

 

51PTExXeL7LEndurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. Un-put-down-able! From the first page to the last this brilliant account of Sir Ernest Shackleton's incredible voyage to Antarctica where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent and how his plans failed and yet, Shackleton and his crew endured the unstoppable elements of nature to return home. This will surely be at the top of my list of favorite books in 2017. Beyond amazing!

 

 

 

81ghwLdY9LLThe Defector by Daniel Silva. I have enjoyed Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series immensely. This one is definitely not my favorite but the parts that held my attention (most attentively), far outweighed those that were ho-hum. As this is book 9 in the series of 16 I've come too far to allow minor ho-hum to stop my forward momentum. The main protagonist(s) have certainly evolved, with increasing depth and character through the series' progression.

 

 

 

 

 

510mwjJ6sELThe Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall. Superb! And I'm planning on buying a second copy to send to my granddaughter Ella who is in the 4th grade. I think she'll adore this book, too! This is also a 2017 Reading Challenge selection: a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award Winner and book 6  |  100 New Books in 2017.


2017 Reading Challenge | a book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able

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51PTExXeL7LFor Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge my selection for the reading for fun category: a book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able is Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing and is book 4 | 100 New Books in 2017.

Hitting my list hard this is my fourth selection of the 24 book challenge and it was fabulous! I genuinely attest to Endurance as an un-put-down-able book! Amazon perfectly describes this gripping testament, "In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men.
 
For ten months the ice-moored Endurance drifted northwest before it was finally crushed between two ice floes. With no options left, Shackleton and a skeleton crew attempted a near-impossible journey over 850 miles of the South Atlantic's heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization. Their survival, and the survival of the men they left behind, depended on their small lifeboat successfully finding the island of South Georgia—a tiny dot of land in a vast and hostile ocean.
 
In Endurance, the definitive account of Ernest Shackleton's fateful trip, Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the harrowing and miraculous voyage that has defined heroism for the modern age."

I derived great pleasure and appreciated every cleverly crafted narration Alfred Lansing wrote, leaving no stone unturned, leaving nothing for the imagination except what we must imagine Shackleton and his crew endured.

This is a novel I know my husband would enjoy...if he had time to read. The plethora of information Lansing affords his reader, in his brilliant prose and nail-biting scenes and sequences - this is a great adventure!