Hello, friends and fellow beauty chasers! ♥️☺️🌿 I’m finally getting a chance to list my favorite reads from the first quarter of this year! Hopefully, you find a delicious new read among these!
Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson- 5 stars 🌟 This is a children’s WWII historical fiction with a classic feel to it! We follow Tally as her widowed father sends her out of the city to an alternative, unschooling-type boarding school. This felt so cozy and it reminded me of our Charlotte Mason homeschool. Matthias was such an interesting character and there was an assignation plot with a Nazi angle.
The Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede- 4.5 stars 🌟this was a slow, introspective clean YA fantasy! It is an alternative history of the westward expansion in America’s frontier. Magical beasts threaten the pioneers and magicians help set protective barriers. Eff is the 13th child of a family of 14 children and seeing the world through her eyes was interesting! I love stories with big families! The 2nd in this series is a bit slow, love the 3rd.
Live No Lies by John Mark Comer – 5 stars 🌟 This reads like a classic nonfiction on the Christian faith. This was super challenging and a high calling while being “relevant”, in which Comer shared his thoughts on today’s cultural and spiritual landscape. He really dove into the resistance of the world, the flesh, and the devil with Scriptures and practicing spiritual disciplines. It will be interesting to see if the specific topics he addressed will make this book feel dated, but I really was challenged!
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien – 5 stars 🌟 (reread) What can I say?! My reread of this was only made more wonderful by discussing this via Zoom with some Booktuber friends. 😄♥️
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arim – 5 stars 🌟(reread) This was sooo what I needed to read at the time I picked it up! Beauty and nature as a healing agent, the intricacies of marriage, being fully human, religion vs. relationships, and so much more! This follows the lives of four women who spend April together in an Italian villa. I also rewatched the film and it was just as good as I remembered!
Sinking City by Christine Cohen – 4 stars 🌟 wonderful, clean YA fantasy set in a dreamy Italian setting. Creepy sea creatures have a mysterious pack with the Italian nobles. We follow the daughter of one of these nobles who has to take matters into her own hands and teems with a powerful, unstable magician!
Dragon & Thief by Timothy Zahn – 5 stars 🌟 This is the 1st in the Dragonback series, a children’s sci-fi fantasy story! This surrounds a symbiotic relationship between dragon-like alien and a orphaned boy! The dragon becomes a tattoo on the boy’s back. They work together to try and find out who betrayed the dragon’s kinsfolk and to clear the boy’s name.
Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan Morrison – 4.5 stars🌟 The plight of the working class weighs on Ella’s shoulders and Prince Dash is lost without the curse that has plagued their family for generations. Fairy-Godfather Serge is struggling to return to his roots of caring for people in a meaningful way. These three characters as well as many others, converge into a WONDERFUL adventure story with a surprising deeper message. One caveat, I wouldn’t give this to younger children, due to some content.
Above Suspicion by Helen MacInnes – 4.5 stars 🌟 This 1940’s thriller/ mystery follows a married couple who find themselves falling into an espionage plot right before Britain entered WWII! This was a psychological, slower, introspective story and I loved the married couple’s relationship. Slight humor and the last third of the novel picks up the pace.
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park – 5 stars 🌟 Tree-Ear and Crane- Man are lovely characters in this story set in 12th century Korea. Tree-Ear admires and befriends a celadon potter. Beautiful lessons about found family, hard work, and love.
The Doll’s House by Rumer Godden – 5 stars 🌟 This follows two girls and their doll family, with interwoven reality and “unreality”. So poignant , deep, thoughtful, and full of longing. About family, love, and what does it mean to be alive. This is very sad and maybe a bit scary for a sensitive child. The Tasha Tudor illustrations make it shine. I read this with a friend via Voxer.
Gods, Graves, and Scholars by C.W. Mercam – 4 stars 🌟 I believe I got this recommendation from Carol years ago and I’m so happy I finally tackled it! This was a fascinating nonfiction look at archeological discoveries up to about the 1950’s and the people that broke the codes, made the discoveries, or dug up the ruins. Egyptian, Greek, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Central America/Mexico finds were all touched on. I think what I loved most about this is how much this tied into my Bible reading especially in the beginning Old Testament books, because this made the Bible come alive.
Evelina by Francis Burney – 4 stars 🌟 This long novel is said to be Jane Austen’s favorite! This was set in the 1700’s and is full of subtle, snarky British humor and a lot of class dynamics. I can definitely see Burnley’s influence on Austen’s writing. I found the excessive formality hilarious and there was a large cast of quirky characters. This has very little plot, but it was interesting to follow the young woman, Evelina, as she navigates growing older and finding her way in society. I listened an audiobook of this and really enjoyed the reader.
How about you? What have you read this year that you REALLY enjoyed? I’d love to chat below! ♥️🌿