Quick Lit for April 2015

Playing catch-up with reviews because as my reading pace picks up post-baby I’m getting backlogged on sharing:

April 2015 Quick Lit
Once Upon an AlphabetOnce Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the LettersOnce Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters by Oliver Jeffers by Oliver Jeffers

I grabbed this for the cover, and thought it was truly a kid’s alphabet book. Yeah, not exactly. Some of the entries for various letters are NOT ones I’d want to read to my kids as they’re surprisingly dark and even creepily morbid at times. I’m not really sure who the intended audience is for this one, but I’m glad it was a library book and I wasn’t out much more than a small amount of time, and because I pre-read it before starting it with my kids, they never knew what they were missing.

Saturday the Rabbi Went HungrySaturday the Rabbi Went HungrySaturday the Rabbi Went Hungry by Harry Kemelman by Harry Kemelman

The second in the series begun with Friday the Rabbi Slept Late. You could easily pick this one up without having read the first, and while there is a bit of backstory you won’t know, it’s not at all essential to the plot of this one. It still feels so dated at times, but I liked it well enough I’ve checked out the third third in the series – Sunday the Rabbi Stayed HomeSunday the Rabbi Stayed Home by Harry Kemelman.

Betrayal of TrustBetrayal of TrustBetrayal of Trust (J. P. Beaumont #19) (J. P. Beaumont Novel) by J. A. Jance by J. A. Jance

This one wasn’t my favorite – maybe I need to save Jance’s books for vacation, because I really preferred the one I read last year while traveling. Or maybe I just didn’t enjoy the teenage bullying plot line. Either way, I’ll read the next, because it’s so far into the series and I am invested in the characters, but it’s not a priority.

Lost in a Good BookLost in a Good BookLost in a Good Book (A Thursday Next Novel) by Jasper Fforde by Jasper Fforde

Second in the Thursday Next series, and it continues the craziness of the series begun in The Eyre Affair. I’m already in the middle of book #3, The Well of Lost PlotsThe Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next Series) by Jasper Fforde, as I do like Thursday as a character, and this book ends leaving me desperate to know what happens next.

Ever After High The Storybook of LegendsEver After High: The Storybook of LegendsEver After High: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale and Ever After High: The Unfairest of Them AllEver After High: The Unfairest of Them All by Shannon Hale by Shannon Hale

While I love fractured fairy tales, and I love Shannon Hale as an author, this combo of the two didn’t work for me at all. There are lots of pop-culture references/silliness in this story that grated on me, and the puns were NONSTOP. I think maybe you need to be a tween girl to fully appreciate this series, and I’m not tempted to read any more in it.

Ever After High Unfairest of Them AllApparently I’m alone in that though, because it seems like it’s a HUGE hit, and there is tons of merchandise for it. I had no idea until I was at the store looking for baseball cards for my husband’s birthday and there was a big display of Ever After High dolls and other items. (Turns out baseball cards are in the toy section. Who knew?)

Instead, read Book of a Thousand Days or The Princess Academy for better books by Hale.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Quick Lit for March 2015: Recent Re-Reads

I seem to go on re-reading kicks, and lately I’ve been on another one. Happily, they’ve all been great books to read again:

The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker ConwayThe Road from CoorainThe Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway by Jill Ker Conway

Rereading this one because it was book club’s March pick. I picked it up with some trepidation, because I was the one who pushed for it to be the month’s pick – what if I ended up thinking that I shouldn’t have recommended it? Instead, while the very beginning was a bit slower than I remembered, the rest of it was as strong as I’d recalled. It’s a very thoughtful book, but so worth reading (just be warned that it can be a tough one too – there are difficult events recounted). It also made for a *fabulous* discussion book – I was supposed to facilitate the discussion, but most of it ended up being organic as there is just so much to talk about in the book. (Read my original review on it)

The Eyre AffairThe Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next NovelThe Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde by Jasper Fforde

Reread to prepare myself for reading additional titles in the series (and because it’s an easy read, so reading it again wouldn’t take long.) It’s such an odd book and premise, but lots of fun. It also makes it very hard to ever read Jane Eyre again without imagining agent Thursday Next’s behind the scenes role in that story. 🙂

Princess BrideThe Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High AdventureThe Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman by William Goldman

Reread after reading As You Wish, and because it’s August’s book club pick. Super fun, especially after having just finished Elwes’ memoir.

The ThiefThe Thief The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner by Megan Whalen Turner

Reread as I get ready to finally read the last in the series – A Conspiracy of KingsA Conspiracy of Kings (Thief of Eddis). Or at least the last one so far – there’s still supposed to be more books, but there’s no indication on a publication date. I adore this series and almost don’t want to read the last one, as it’ll mean I no longer have it to look forward to reading eventually. (Read my original reviews on The Thief, and the second and third in the series – The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia).

CinderCinderBook Review: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer by Marissa Meyer

Reread as I waited my turn at FairestFairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana's Story by Marissa Meyer. I love this series too, and it was maybe even more fun the second time through it. Will I reread them all before WinterWinter (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer is published? Perhaps… (Read my original reviews on Cinder, and also Scarlet, Cress)

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Quick Lit February 2015

We’ll just call this a clear-out of some books from 2014 that never got mentioned. Plus some more recent reads. 🙂

Tasting the SeasonsTasting the Seasons: Inspired, In-Season Cuisine Thats Easy, Healthy, Fresh and FunTasting the Seasons: Inspired, In-Season Cuisine Thats Easy, Healthy, Fresh and Fun by Kerry Dunnington by Kerry Dunnington

Has some very intriguing recipes, but the book is crying out for photographs. There are a few recipes that call for specialty ingredients, but there is a source list in the back. I hope to do a “Cooking the Book” feature with this one soon.

Everythign I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden BookEverything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden BookEverything I Need To Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow by Diane Muldrow

This was a gift, and it’s very cute. If you’ve read many Little Golden books, it’s more fun than if you’re looking at it and are unfamiliar with the source material.

The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the PlanetThe Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet: Make Lunches Your Kids Will Love with More Than 200 Deliciously Nutritious Meal IdeasThe Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet: Make Lunches Your Kids Will Love with More Than 200 Deliciously Nutritious Meal Ideas by Laura Fuentes by Laura Fuentes

Was hoping for some ideas to get out of the lunch rut we’ve fallen into, and I’ll be trying some of these with my kids. Fingers crossed that they’re a hit!

Signs of Life New TestamentSigns of Life New TestamentSigns of Life New Testament by David Jeremiah by David Jeremiah

Liked this except for some text issues – bad color choices make some parts of it almost impossible to read, at least in the copy I have. Boo.

Encounters with JesusEncounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life’s Biggest QuestionsEncounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions by Timothy Keller by Timothy Keller

Liked it but didn’t LOVE it like I expect to do with all Keller books. My expectations might be a tad bit high for him though.

WorshipWorship: The Ultimate PriorityWorship: The Ultimate Priority by John MacArthur by John MacArthur

The most in-depth look at worship I’ve ever read, and I found it fascinating. Not a quick read, but one that required focus and attention. Highly recommended.

DIY CookbookThe America’s Test Kitchen DIY CookbookThe America's Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook

It’s fine, but there weren’t as many things I was tempted to try in this one. I’m sure a homemade version would be tastier, but right now with three young children? It’s not happening. Priorities push my time elsewhere. Someday though, I think it’d be fun to try making my own ketchup, hot sauce, candied ginger, pickles, cheese, and more. The only thing in the book I’m currently making on my own? Granola.

Slow Cooker RevolutionSlow Cooker Revolution Volume 2Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition by America's Test Kitchen by America’s Test Kitchen

Not sure if it was me or the book, but I wasn’t inspired to try many of these – a first for an ATK book (excluding the one above, which was a very different sort of book). Maybe I’ve just looked at too many slow cooker books, and feel like I already have recipes for most of the types of meals I’m likely to make?

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Disclosure: I received a copy of Tasting the Seasons from the author for review, but was not required to post a positive review (all opinions are my own!) This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading in 2015

I love daydreaming about future books I want to read. My to-be-read list is crazy long, but there are still certain books that I *know* I’ll get to. Some of those can’t-wait-to-get-them books that are releasing in 2015 (or late enough in 2014 that I haven’t gotten to them) include:

Nonfiction

SavorSavor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You AreSavor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist by Shauna Niequist

I don’t really like devotionals generally, but I love her books Bread & Wine and Bittersweet so much that I think I’m going to have to give this one a try.

Pioneer GirlPioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Pamela Smith Hill

I love the Little House series, and am looking forward to this look at Wilder’s life beyond the sculpted-into-a-story aspects of her novels.

As You WishAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess BrideAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes by Cary Elwes

I love the book, and the movie, so a book about the movie? Plus book club is reading The Princess BrideThe Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman this year, and this will be a fun supplement as I reread the novel. And perhaps watch the movie too. Again. For the umpteenth time.

Searching for SundaySearching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the ChurchSearching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans by Rachel Held Evans

I’ve enjoyed her previous books quite a bit, so I expect that I’ll like this one as much. She’s always thought-provoking, in a very good way, and this topic hits close to home for me.

The Story of ScienceThe Story of Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang TheoryThe Story of Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory by Susan Wise Bauer by Susan Wise Bauer

Put this in the “tentatively planning on reading” category. If it’s too dry or technical I’ll pass, but I’m going on the assumption it’ll be like her history books in which case I expect to enjoy it.

Fiction

historical fiction

The War that Saved My LifeThe War that Saved My LifeThe War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I’ve enjoyed some of her books in the past, and this sounds like a fascinating take on the evacuation of children from London during WWII. My only hesitation with it is it may be a bit too tear-jerking for me right now, but I’ll give it a try.

Blue BirdsBlue BirdsBlue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose by Caroline Starr Rose

I loved her book May B, so I’m excited to read this one, set on Roanoke Island in the 16th century. (She also has a picture book coming out that I’ll look for: Over in the Wetlands: A Hurricane-on-the-Bayou Story)

Fun Fantasy

FairestFairest: Levana’s StoryFairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana's Story by Marissa Meyer (#3.5 in the Lunar Chronicles series) & Winter (#4 in the series) by Marissa Meyer

I have loved this series so much. Start with the first, Cinder, and then read Scarlet and Cress – this isn’t a series to jump into mid-stream.

Another one not to start mid-series is Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School #4) by Gail Carriger. Begin with the first, Etiquette & Espionage, and see if you like Steampunk. There’s no cover yet to share on it, but it’s supposed to release late in the year. I do hope it’s not delayed…

Mysteries

As Chimeny Sweepers Come to DustThe Flavia de Luce / Buckshaw series by Alan Bradley

I’m behind on the series, so in addition to the new title releasing in 2014 I have earlier books too to finish – I’ve got #4, I Am Half-Sick of ShadowsI Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia de Luce Mystery, Book 4) by Alan Bradley, #5, Speaking from Among the BonesSpeaking from Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel (Flavia de Luce Mystery, Book 5) by Alan Bradley, #6, The Dead in Their Vaulted ArchesThe Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel (Flavia de Luce Mystery, Book 6) by Alan Bradley, and the upcoming #7 As Chimney Sweepers Come to DustAs Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Novel (Flavia de Luce Mystery, Book 7) by Alan Bradley. There’s also The Curious Case of the Copper CorpseThe Curious Case of the Copper Corpse: A Flavia de Luce Story by Alan Bradley, a short story that just released. I may grab it if I end up needing still more Flavia.

The Witch Hunter’s TaleThe Witch Hunter’s Tale: A Midwife MysteryThe Witch Hunter's Tale: A Midwife Mystery (The Midwife's Tale) by Sam Thomas by Sam Thomas

I’ve liked his books The Midwife’s Tale and The Harlot’s Tale, and I love the setting for this series.

A new Kate Morton!

No cover to reveal, or plot to share, but the as-yet-untitled novelUntitled #5 by Kate Morton to be published in September. At least I assume it’s on track to be published then even if it is untitled – it’s already listed for pre-order, so I guess they’re confident it’ll be releasing on time! Something tells me it might turn into a book club pick for 2016, so I may hold off on reading it until we make our picks for then.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit link-up!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Twitterature: Recent Reads about Homeschooling

recent reads, twitterature-style

The Everything Homeschooling Book: All You Need To Create the Best Curriculum and Learning Environment for Your Child by Sherri Linsenbach
I liked this one – the best general homeschooling book I’ve seen. If you’re new to it, or considering it, this has a good overview of it and some brief information about homeschooling for different ages and stages. The best part is probably the resource lists it includes – there are a ton.

Homeschooling For DummiesHomeschooling For Dummies by Jennifer Kaufeld by Jennifer Kaufeld
Not bad, but so outdated. Really surprised there hasn’t been an update published for it.

A Biblical Home Education: Building Your Homeschool on the Foundation of God’s WordA Biblical Home Education: Building Your Homeschool on the Foundation of God's Word by Ruth Beechick by Ruth Beechick
Didn’t care for it much, which surprised me as I liked her Three R’s book. This one had a very dogmatic tone.

How to Homeschool Your Child From Preschool Through High SchoolHow to Homeschool Your Child From Preschool Through High School by Rosanne Muncy by Rosanne Muncy
I almost didn’t link to this on Amazon, because it’s $9.99 for Kindle and it is so not worth that price. Not recommended at all – don’t waste your time or money.

Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory SchoolingWeapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto by John Taylor Gatto
Mixed feelings on this one – compelling stories, and lots of reinforcement if you’re on the fence about why you should homeschool. But it’s meandering in structure and repetitive and his tone was off-putting. And I’m a fan of homeschooling – I can’t imagine how I’d have liked the overall tone of the book if I weren’t already on his side if you will.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Twitterature: Recent Re-reads

recent reads, twitterature-style

For various reasons, I’ve reread several books recently. I wrote full reviews of two of those re-reads (Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate PotSorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (The Cecelia and Kate Novels, 1) by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer and The Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation RegaliaThe Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation Regalia (The Cecelia and Kate Novels, 2) by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer), but the others are getting highlighted here:

Garlic and SapphiresGarlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in DisguiseGarlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl. Day 31 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by Ruth Reichl

Why did I reread it? It was book club pick’s for October, and I wanted to refresh my memory on the specifics.

How was it as a reread? Excellent.

Our Only May AmeliaOur Only May AmeliaOur Only May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm by Jennifer L. Holm

Why did I reread it? Trying it as an audio book.

How was it as a reread? Terrific – and it worked really well as an audio book. Highly recommended! Although I have some cautions if you’re considering it for your children – sensitive readers beware. (It’s still a great book, and I’ll spoil events if I explain more.)

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the PieThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce NovelThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley by Alan Bradley

Why did I reread it? Book club’s December pick, and I read it so long ago that I’m a bit shaky on the details.

How was it as a reread? Great, and I listened to the first quarter or so, before having to return the audio book. It was a wonderful audio book with a fantastic reader!

Murder in the MaraisMurder in the Marais: An Aimee Leduc Investigation, Vol. 1Murder in the Marais: An Aimee Leduc Investigation, Vol. 1 by Cara Black by Cara Black

Why did I reread it? Trying again for a novel set in Paris. Not a fan.

How was it as a reread? I shouldn’t have bothered, or stuck with it.

Simple Scrubs to Make and GiveSimple Scrubs to Make and and Give by Stacy Karen

Why did I reread it? Skimmed it as I got ready to write about a package deal of which it’s part.

How was it as a reread? Fine – it’s hard to get as excited about a nonfiction book like this one, but I do like it and think it’s got good information.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Quick Lit – Recent Christian Reads

The Message of the New TestamentThe Message of the New Testament: Promises KeptThe Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept by Mark Dever | Recent Christian reads reviewed by @SheilaRCraig by Mark Dever

Didn’t like this one quite as much as the companion book on the Old Testament, but that may just be because of my comparative unfamiliarity with some of the Old Testament books, which made me absolutely LOVE that one. This one is still a fantastic look at each book in the New Testament, in addition to one overview of the entire New Testament. Definitely recommended.

Prayer the Great AdventurePrayer, the Great AdventurePrayer, the Great Adventure by David Jeremiah by David Jeremiah

Enjoyed the structure to this one, as the second and third sections of the book focus on prayer lessons gleaned from Matthew 6 and John 17. Matthew 6 as an organizational framework for a book on prayer is familiar to me, but John 17 isn’t one I’ve seen before, and I really appreciated it.

The Heart of the BibleThe Heart of the Bible: Explore the Power of Key Bible PassagesThe Heart of the Bible: Explore the Power of Key Bible Passages by John MacArthur by John MacArthur

A great collection of verses, arranged thematically, with commentary by MacArthur following each verse. It would work well as a yearly devotional, as there are 52 verses featured.

30 Days to Understanding the Christian Life30 Days to Understanding the Christian Life in 15 Minutes a Day!30 Days to Understanding the Christian Life in 15 Minutes a Day!: Expanded Edition by Max Anders by Max Anders

A bit uneven, but still worth reading, especially as some of the sections were very good. Overall I preferred his book 30 Days to Understanding the Bible30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders, but either could make a good group study.

AngelsAngels: Who They Are and How They Help–What the Bible RevealsAngels: Who They Are and How They Help--What the Bible Reveals by David Jeremiah by David Jeremiah

An informative look at what the Bible says about angels, vs. what we are exposed to through popular culture, folklore, and other stories. I appreciated the section about what angels do, and why it matters.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Recent Cookbook Reads – Twitterature-Style

recent cookbook reads, twitterature-style

It’s been a good couple of months as far as reading cookbooks goes, even if my timing on two of them wasn’t the best.
My Paris KitchenMy Paris Kitchen: Recipes and StoriesMy Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz by David Lebovitz
I’ve loved his other books, both his memoir (The Sweet Life in ParisThe Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City by David Lebovitz) and cookbooks (especially The Perfect ScoopThe Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz and Ready for DessertReady for Dessert: My Best Recipes by David Lebovitz), and his latest bridges the gap between the two formats. It’s still clearly a cookbook, but it is filled with stories about his experiences in Paris since moving there a decade ago. I had to return it to the library before I was able to try any of the recipes, but there were lots that sounded (and looked) delicious.

Barefoot Contessa FoolproofBarefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can TrustBarefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust by Ina Garten by Ina Garten
Beautiful photographs, and lots of suggestions for menus (not just individual dishes) and tips that work for entertaining. She likes seafood a lot more than I do, and some of her other ingredients aren’t ones that I buy because of their cost, but I still found several recipes I’d like to try.

Cooking with LoveCooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs YouCooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko by Carla Hall
If you’re familiar with her at all, the personality that came through on Top Chef shines throughout her first cookbook. She may be a chef with the ability to design and execute complicated dishes, but the focus here is on comfort food, and everything seemed very do-able for a home cook without extensive experience. I loved the tips she includes on some of the recipes for how to turn them into a fancier presentation if you’re wanting to use them for entertaining.

Fresh from the FarmFresh from the Farm: A Year of Recipes and StoriesFresh from the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories by Susie Middleton by Susie Middleton
Gorgeous photographs and some tempting-sounding recipes for late spring/early summer, high summer, and late summer/early fall dishes, but the formatting and organization was terrible. The stories that flow throughout the text are appealing, but laid out in these small sidebars that carry over page after page. It’s very strange, and makes for a very disjointed reading experience. It also makes the recipes themselves sometimes not fit on a page as well, and results in lots of additional flipping back and forth.

Fresh from the Vegan Slow CookerFresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker: 200 Ultra-Convenient, Super-Tasty, Completely Animal-Free Recipes by Robin Robertson by Robin Robertson
One of the ones that my timing was bad – the weather is too warm for me to want most of the soups, stews, chilis, and casseroles where slow cooking shines. However, that’s not the fault of the book, and I may check it out again once fall arrives. I tried the chili potato gratin recipe (subbing lentils for the seitan according to her suggestion) and thought it was really tasty. I’d happily make it again, especially as it was just as good reheated the next day. My husband even liked it. We did use real cheese on it though, as we’re not actually vegan. 🙂

Pies and Tarts with Heart
Pies and Tarts with HeartPies and Tarts with Heart: Expert Pie-Building Techniques for 60+ Sweet and Savory Vegan Pies by Dynise Balcavage by Dynise Balcavage
The other one where my timing was poor, but it also wasn’t the best fit, so I doubt I’ll try it again. Although pies may be popular in the summer for most people, I generally try to avoid turning my oven on once temperatures approach 90, so I wasn’t trying any of them right now. Since I’m not vegan, pie crust with butter isn’t an issue for me, and that’s one of the benefits of this book – no butter in the crust, or other dairy products in the pies themselves (or meat products in the savory pies). However, if you are vegan or trying to cut down on dairy or meat products, there were lots of ideas in here that sounded tasty.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Favorite Books from the First Half of 2014 – Twitterature-Style

The year is more than half over, so it’s a perfect time to look back at the best books of 2014. Links go to my reviews if I’ve published one, or to Amazon if I haven’t.

Nonfiction

Women Heroes of World War IIWomen Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J. Atwood

Fascinating look at women who worked to defeat the Nazis in various ways. I’m about to start her similar book focusing on World War IWomen Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics (Women of Action) by Kathryn Atwood, and I’ve got high hopes for it.

Buried in the SkyBuried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan

Gripping account, and I loved the emphasis this account gives to the Sherpa climbers.

Frozen in TimeFrozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff

Compelling look at both the historical events, and the modern search. If you don’t already know the outcome, try not to spoil yourself by searching online for details.

Mastering the Art of French EatingMastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah

If you love food memoirs, this is a phenomenal one. And if you think you don’t like food memoirs, this one might change your mind.

The Professor and the MadmanThe Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English DictionaryThe Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester by Simon Winchester

Yes, it’s an account about the writing of the dictionary, but don’t let that stop you from trying this fascinating tale. A great book club pick too!

And a Runner-Up:
Courage Has No ColorCourage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone

Written for kids, this is still worth reading by adults, and missed being one of my absolute favorites only because the lack of depth kept me wanting a bit more.

Fiction

Velma Still Cooks in LeewayVelma Still Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright

Loved the story-telling, loved Velma, loved it all, even though it made me cry.

The Secret KeeperThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Follows Morton’s typical pattern for her novels – alternating story lines between historic and contemporary events; a mystery; strong, well-developed female characters. Just because it’s her sort of book doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading – it was terrific.

Crossing to SafetyCrossing to SafetyCrossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner by Wallace Stegner

Another great book club pick, with my full review publishing tomorrow (it’s now published!). Slow start but oh so worth reading.

The Paradox Series by Rachel Bach – œFortune's Pawn (Paradox Book 1) by Rachel BachFortune’s Pawn, Honor’s Knight, and Heaven’s QueenHeaven's Queen (Paradox Book 3) by Rachel Bach

The series that convinced me I might like science fiction.

And a Runner-Up:
The Divorce PapersThe Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

Not at all what I was expecting, but oddly fascinating. I read it in one night, staying up way past bedtime because I couldn’t put it down.

Young Adult/Juvenile Titles

CressCressCress (Lunar Chronicles book 3) by Marissa Meyer reviewed by @SheilaRCraig by Marissa Meyer

Love this fantasy series so much – the fairy-tale retellings are well done, and she’s got me so hooked on the story I can hardly wait for the final book to come out next year.

Princess AcademyPrincess AcademyPrincess Academy by Shannon Hale by Shannon Hale

Fun fantasy story, and one of these days I will finish the sequel.

The Queen of AttoliaQueen of AttoliaThe Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, Book 2) by Megan Whalen Turner and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Books 2 and 3 in a series, and it has been so enjoyable. I’m intentionally waiting to read book 4, because I want to savor the anticipation a little bit longer. Another one for fantasy fans.

The Impossible Knife of MemoryThe Impossible Knife of MemoryThe Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson by Laurie Halse Anderson

Hard to read because of the subject matter, but she is such a wonderful writer.

And a Runner-Up:
Jenny of the TetonsJenny of the TetonsJenny of the Tetons (Great Episodes) by Kristiana Gregory by Kristiana Gregory

Based on a true story, I wanted more from this account, but what is there is compelling historical fiction.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

recent cookbook reads, twitterature-style

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Twitterature: Recent Christian Reads (June 2014)

Understanding the 66 Books of the BibleUnderstanding the 66 Books of the Bible by David Jeremiah
Liked this one quite a bit – it included a brief overview of the books, as well as a key thought, scripture, prayer, and action. Super brief, but it worked well at what it was – a cursory sketch of each book.

Insight's Archaeology Handbook
Insight’s Archaeology HandbookInsight's Archaeology Handbook by Insight for Living
By “handbook” this one means “overview” as well – this is not an in-depth look at things by any means. It focuses on 10 key archaeological findings, and how they connect to the Bible. I enjoyed it, and it was just the amount of depth I wanted right now.

Praying God's Word for Your HusbandPraying God’s Word for Your HusbandPraying God's Word for Your Husband by Kathi Lipp by Kathi Lipp
Liked the structure for this – she’s pulled together scriptures relating to specific topics, so you can pray for your husband directly from the Bible. Topics include things like his relationships (with God and others), safety, work, etc.

Strange GodsStrange GodsStrange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life by Elizabeth Scalia by Elizabeth Scalia
I think it’s easy to believe that we don’t have idols any more (at least not the same way they did back in Old Testament times), but Scalia explains how easy it is to have modern idols: idols of self, of plans, of technology, of sex. Everything in our lives has the potential to become an idol. Some of the specifics she details I skimmed as they seemed to relate more for Catholics, but even as a Protestant I found most of the book eye-opening and worth reading.

Stop Dating the ChurchStop Dating the Church!: Fall in Love with the Family of GodStop Dating the Church!: Fall in Love with the Family of God by Joshua Harris by Joshua Harris
Perfectly timed read as far as our church search goes – it was more motivation to find one and get settled into it, truly making it our home. (Link goes to the revised version, which has a new title.)

recent reads, twitterature-style

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!