Monday, February 15, 2016

What I've been reading (February 2016)

It's double the fun today as I update the world wide web on just what exactly I've been reading since I posted in December.  Thank goodness for my Goodreads app, or I wouldn't know what I read.

Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist  I have fond memories of reading this book electronically as 3/5 of my family traipsed out to the Christmas tree farm fields to find a good one.  Little sis had fallen asleep en route to the farm; so, I stayed warm while I flicked my thumb on the iPhone, turning pages.  Niequist was warm-hearted, encouraging, and full of inspiration to let people in, both in heart and home.  Let your guard down, cook some food, ignore the dust bunnies, and enjoy your guests.

Coming Home for Christmas by Jenny Hale  I believe this was the first Christmas romance I found as we approached the big holiday and was certainly not the last.  I receive great joy from reading Christmas-themed books around the holidays, and this was a fun, easy read.  The protagonist finds work as a House Manager and more romance than she bargained for at such a job.  (I'd like to take this opportunity to clarify that when I read romance, it's not a bodice-ripper.  I have read those kinds of books here and there; so, please, don't read me as high and mighty or judgmental.  I just don't anymore.)

The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans  I have a feeling that admitting to reading one (okay, maybe three) of his books will cause some readers to roll their eyes in bookish superiority, but I was delighted to read this book.  The premise?  Hard to believe.  The writing?  Sometimes cheesy.  But I still loved it.  I love a story about grace, mercy, and forgiveness.  It was set at Christmas time!  It was romantic!  It was gentlemanly!  I couldn't help it!  And it had a pretty cover that sucked me right in at the library!

The Mistletoe Inn by Richard Paul Evans  This book's jacket caught my eye because it was about writers and a writer's conference in wintery, Christmasy New England, and that's a winner, right there!  I could see the ending coming a mile away, but I really enjoyed the writerly setting with dashes of glamour and romance.

Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans  This is where my Christmas romance run started to sputter.  I didn't like the plot twist in this one at all, and I nearly abandoned it.  The book was an easy read, though, and I saw it through.  If you like Christmas book candy, be sure to read the others, but I don't really recommend this one.  However, I would like to commend Mr. Evans on his heroic male leads.

Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand  I've seen Hilderbrand recommended many times at Modern Mrs Darcy; so, I thought I'd give her a whirl when I saw its lovely Christmas cover on the New Books shelves at the library (I really loaded up that day).  This book pulled me right in with all its talk about quaint inns and other fabulous places on Nantucket.  I loved the family drama, the national news anchorwoman character, and the actual idea of the Winter Stroll.  The Nantucket setting was so fabulously enchanting.  And come to find out, I accidentally read book two of a series!  Now, I need to interlibrary loan book one (Winter Street), but perhaps I should wait for Christmas 2016!  Or will the third book in the Winter series be out then?  And, hey, Hilderbrand fans: which summer book of hers should I try next?

A Very Nantucket Christmas: Two Holiday Novels by Nancy Thayer  I just could not quit the Christmas theme at this point.  Winter Stroll's Nantucket setting sent me searching for similarly themed books, and this one hit the spot (I was all over Google searching and reading about Nantucket at this point).  The stories were fine (middle aged newly married woman deals with selfish daughter-in-law and middle aged married couple sees their daughter get married on the island), not my favorites of all my Christmas themed books this year, and I found myself out of steam after this one.  Lost December by Richard Paul Evans went back to the library unread.  Maybe next Christmas, RPE.

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker   I happily received this for beautifully-covered book for Christmas, and it was a heartwarming, encouraging plea to be realistic about all the perceived pressures we ladies experience as daughters, mothers, wives, workers, church members, and just plain people.  I really appreciated that aspect of the book in particular.  We've gotten so out of hand with our expectations (or perhaps I should just speak for myself) with the advent of the internet and looking at everyone's lives on social media.  There was more to the book than this topic, but I recommend it mostly for that reason.  For the love, ladies, let's all dial it down, eh?  We are driving ourselves batty.

Abandoned:  I tossed aside all sorts of books in my post-Christmas letdown, such as Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (I really wanted to like that one), The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham (I couldn't even care enough to see what was going on with the angel sighting), Surprised by Truth 2 by Patrick Madrid (just wasn't in the mood for conversion stories, which I usually love), and Giants in the Earth by O.E. Rølvaag.  I just finally called that one quits.  It was haunting me like Jacob Marley, and I said enough!  Back to the library you go.  I might not be able to show my face at the Well Read Mom meeting (haha!), but I can move onto what I really want to read without that book giving me a guilty conscience.

What about you?  Tell me about what you've been reading in the comments.  Any of these?  Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit for the monthly chit chat about what we've been reading.

P.S. More bookish fun from December and November!  Check out my favorite book of 2015!


  1. I see those Richard Paul Evans books at the library all the time, but I've never read one. Sometimes a light, uplifting book is exactly what you need (esp at Christmastime!). The other one that interests me here is Jen Hatmaker's book; it sounds like maybe along the lines of Carry On Warrior by Glennon Melton (Momastery), which I really liked. I love these books about sisterhood.

    1. I hadn't read any Richard Paul Evans books either, Jeannie. They hit the spot though. Many of these were read post-Christmas Day. You know, I need to loan Carry On Warrior. I've read enough of her posts to know I'd like her book, I'm sure. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. You FLEW through Christmas books!!!! I usually read mostly only Christmas books starting the last week of November....This winter I struck out again and again. My favorite one ended up being Melody Carlson's "The Gift of Christmas Present".

    I think the fact that I had JUST finished "A Man Called Ove" and the collection of letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto played a big part in why I just couldn't get into my Christmas picks...I'm hoping for better luck this next winter! :)

    1. Hi, Victoria! I sure did fly through the Christmas books, but they were easy reads! Such a great time. :) I will put that Carlson book on my TBR for next Christmas. I looked her up and realized that I've read The Christmas Bus, which I liked. I hope your Christmas picks work out better next year. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Oh the Christmas Candy books, I've read a few of those too. Pretty fun in occasional small doses. For the Love was one of my favorite books last spring!

    1. I think it's safe to say I overdosed! ;-) Thanks for commenting!