The first Wednesday of each month, Carolyn Astfalk hosts #OpenBook, where bloggers link posts about books they’ve read recently. Here’s a taste of what I’ve been reading. We went on vacation during August, so I had plenty of time to savor some good novels!
Pretty Lies and Other Stories by Olivia Folmar Ard. Short stories and poetry, all first-person and nearly all anonymous. Ard’s short fiction is very short indeed–the longest selections are a few pages long, but she wastes no words in telling very detailed slice-of-life tales.
Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery. Not just for middle-schoolers; I found more to like in Marilla this time around. When I was a tween/teen, she was the villain in the novels! Anne is captivating and wise beyond her years. The second book is less compelling than the first, but still worthwhile. I wasn’t motivated to read more in the series, though.
Saving Abby by Steena Holmes. Steena Holmes gets you hooked on a character and then turns your expectations and emotions inside-out in this novel about a husband and wife who want nothing more than to become parents. A devastating diagnosis threatens the life of both the unborn baby and the mother-to-be.
Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale. She should be dressed in a bridal gown instead of attending her fiance’s funeral. Aimee never saw the body, either. So when a psychic approaches her after the service with claims that her fiance is still alive, she HAS to follow up. This is a novel of grief, the power of love, and letting go.
The Pug List by Alison Hodgson. Read after I heard part of an author interview on the Jennifer Fulwiler Show (Sirius/XM’s The Catholic Channel.) I just didn’t know what to make of this book sometimes. I’m aware that it was written after the trauma of a house fire (everyone was fine, but the home was a total loss) and the family was at loose ends as a result, but sometimes I felt that the emotion, expressed after the fact, seemed forced and overpowered the story the author was trying to tell.
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson. YA novel about a politician’s daughter who loses an internship after her father’s political fall from grace. A dog-walking job introduces her to a young novelist and forces her to consider what really matters in terms of relationships and honesty. Good story of resilience and friendship.
The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman. Brett’s mother is a high-powered cosmetics executive. After her death, 34-year-old Brett receives her life-goal list–written when she was only 14. Brett has 12 months to achieve those goals in order to receive her inheritance. An enjoyable, if predictable, read. There really weren’t too many plot twists, but I did like the characters and wanted to see how it all turned out.
The Recipe by Candace Calvert. Short, sweet romance about a young woman seeking her way in the world, aided by a little blackmail, a stroke victim, an organic farmstand and a well-intentioned grandson. Good story with great characters!
Works of Love are Works of Peace by Michael Collopy. While biographies are a wonderful way to get to know a person, they don’t always tell the whole story. Photographer Michael Collopy proves that images can say much more than words in this newly-reissued photobook from Ignatius Press, which documents the work of St. Teresa of Calcutta and her Missionaries of Charity. Originally published in 1996, the large-format book has been updated with an appendix containing the contents of the Missionaries of Charity daily prayer book as well as a most personal and profound letter on the interior life written by Mother Teresa during Holy Week of 1993 and addressed to her entire order. Described by the publisher as an “illustrated prayer book,” this book is an extended photo essay that brings home the radical life of service modeled by Blessed Mother Teresa and the Sisters. Full review here.
Mary’s Way: The Power of Entrusting Your Child to God by Judy Klein. This is both a testament to perseverance and a guide to surrender. Judy Klein shares her own heartbreaks as a mother, tracing her journey as a parent and a Catholic. But this book is more than a memoir: it’s a call to a very specific kind of prayer by mothers for their own children. Full review here.
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I received review copies of both nonfiction books from the publishers in exchange for my honest review. I purchased all the fiction books myself or borrowed them from the library. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.
Follow my Goodreads reviews for the full list of what I’ve read recently (even the duds!)