Sunday, February 18, 2018

On the Bookshelf: Beating the Winter Blues

Hi, friends! I don't know about y'all, but I am so done with winter. I guess it's because the recent winters we've had in Oklahoma were very mild/warm/awesome-the days of bleak cold are kind of dragging along. When the weather's cold (sadly with no magical snow), books are one of the ways I stay sane and entertain myself. So let's take a look at what I've been reading lately! 

Edenbrooke: a proper romance, by Julianne Donaldson. This was a cute historical romance novel about a teenager, Marianne, who has a love of twirling and gets into lots of scrapes. After Marianne's mother died, her father abandons her sister (Cecily) and Marianne. Marianne doesn't like being stuck in Bath and has a repulsive suitor, so she jumps at the chance to visit Edenbrooke, a country farm, with Cecily (Cecily has been plotting to snag the affections of the heir of Edenbrooke, Philip). This was a clean, sappy, fairly predictable romance novel where everything works out a little too perfectly, but Marianne's character was quite delightful, I still enjoyed reading this :) 

Natural Disaster: I cover them. I am one, by Ginger Zee. I had never heard of Ginger Zee until I saw Michelle highly recommend this book, so I naturally had to read it. I flew through the pages, and wholeheartedly enjoyed this memoir about Ginger's journey to become a meteorologist. I knew pretty much nothing about this profession, and I've got to say that after this book, I have a newfound respect for all of the work, travel, and sleep deprivation that meteorologists go through to help inform the public. Also, after reading this book I was compelled to watch the videos of Ginger from DWTS, and I was incredibly inspired to see what she was doing a mere couple months after giving birth. I'd actually love to read more of Ginger's thoughts and insights on motherhood and what she's learned and how she balances it all. 

The Wellness Mama Cookbook, by Katie Wells. What I loved about this cookbook was the wealth of healthy, easy, and delicious-looking recipes that don't fit in with one particular "diet." As in, these aren't Paleo, so the recipes use things like milk and butter, and while all of the recipes are gluten-free, Wells notes that you can certainly add ingredients with gluten if your family can tolerate it. My favorite part about this cookbook, though, was that my toddler LOVED IT. As in, if I gave him this book to look at, I could go to the bathroom in peace and quiet <----magical!! Since Wells has a bunch of kids, I did think it was odd that most of the meals were designed to only serve 4 people (growing up, I'd always have to multiply every recipe I made for my family, so I'd love not having to do that sometimes). Also, I get that Wells is passionate about health, and I thought it was interesting that she discussed different topics like how we get oils and about grains and whatnot...but a week or so after reading this book, I was definitely fighting some major guilt as my husband and I bought pre-made frozen chicken nuggets from the store for our son. So I guess if you read this book and you aren't a health nut, be forewarned that you may need to continually remind yourself that it really won't be the end of the world if you buy your son those chicken nuggets...and then eat some of them yourself ;) 

A Light in the Window (Mitford book 2) by Jan Karon. The adventures of Father Tim in small-town Mitford continue,and were thoroughly enjoyable as Tim tried to figure out his attractive neighbor, Cynthia. A distant cousin, Meg, came uninvited to stay with Father Tim in his rectory, and a local widow is trying to woo Father Tim with her casseroles. This was a charming installment to the Mitford series, and I was quite happy with it :) 

These High, Green Hills (Mitford book 3), by Jan Karon. This book tells the story of Father Tim as he discovers the struggles and joys of beginning married life. The exchanges between him and his new wife were precious, and it was entertaining and sweet to see two people in their 50s/60s learning how to live with each other in a loving unity. That being said, for some weird reason, this wasn't my favorite Mitford book so far, though it was still enjoyable. 

Out to Canaan (Mitford book 4), by Jan Karon. After trying to ignore the need to retire, Father Timothy finally decided to announce his retirement as rector, which was naturally big news for a small town that resisted change. There was also the fun plot in this book of "small town vs. big corporation," as various businesses fought to buy their way into developing Mitford. This book has a very old-fashioned type charm to it, and I quite liked it. I did skim over a couple parts where characters just talked and talked and I wanted to get to the action, but this was a nice cozy read for winter days. 

The Grass is Greener Over the Septic Tank, by Erma Bombeck. This was a hilarious discussion of the development of American suburbs. Bombeck covers everything from the process of buying a house in the suburbs to trying to maintain the perfect lawn to the Super Mom. I didn't appreciate all of her jokes and humor, but I liked a lot of it and this book was a cheery and entertaining addition to my winter lineup. 

Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson. In the world that Sanderson crafts so well, a mysterious force-the Shaod-catches people unawares and transforms them into god-like beings. Once these people are transformed, they are sent to live in Elantris, a magical, glowing city of goodness. But one day, everything changes, and instead of glowing and having mystical abilities, the Elantrians were decrepit and dying. It is to a nearby city that Princess Sarene travels, so that she may become married to Prince Raoden. But, Prince Raoden is cursed and secretly sent to live in Elantris, leaving Sarene a widow (according to their marriage contract) and stuck in the middle of political and religious intrigues. This is a really thick book, but I sped through it in a little over a day. The world is so detailed and intriguing that I wanted to learn more, and all of the political and religious tensions among factions kept the story really engaging. I particularly loved the character of Sarene; she was a strong female who grew and changed throughout the story. I also loved seeing the themes of hope and redemption play out as Raoden sought to transform the way that Elantrians viewed their fate. This was an excellent novel that I really, really enjoyed, and I highly recommend it. 

Thanks for joining me as I ramble about my reading list! 


  1. Just ordered The Wellness Mama Cookbook from our library after your recommendation! Glad to have your disclaimer though-- we buy frozen chix nuggets too ;) Can't do it all!

  2. Many interesting titles as usual! Love seeing what you're reading.