An Open Book: October 2016


An Open Book

Welcome to the October 2016 edition of An Open Book, now hosted both at My Scribbler’s Heart AND!

An Open Book is all about what my family is reading this month, from the adults down to the little kids. Share what you’re reading by linking up your blog post below. Simply write about what you’re reading. You can make it personal or, as I do, extend it to the whole family. Your post can be as simple as a few lines about the book or as in-depth as a 700-word review. That’s entirely up to you. You can even forego writing all together and record a video or simply post cover photos.

No blog? No problem. Please share what you’re reading in the comments.

Ornamental GracesI’m re-reading a book I’ve read at least half a dozen times. It’s one of mine, and it’s due out in less than a week! At present, it’s pushed everything else off the table as I scour the proof for any lingering typos. Ornamental Graces is a contemporary inspirational Christmas romance set in Pittsburgh, PA. Dan, still dealing with the fallout from a failed relationship, is selling Christmas trees at a roadside lot when he first meets Emily, a schoolteacher with a thing for France who can’t seem to discover what God’s will for her life is. Despite a nudge from his matchmaking grandma, Dan can’t escape his past and make things work with Emily, who keeps ending up back in her brother and sister-in-law’s basement with a passel of nieces and nephews on her lap and at her heels. I think it’s a pretty good story, but then again, it came from my imagination. Despite the fact it spans three Christmas seasons, it can be enjoyed year-round. It releases October 11.

NamelessAs soon as Ornamental Graces is ready for prime time, I have two more October releases to read. The first is Nameless by Erin McCole Cupp. This is Book 2 in The Memoirs of Jane_E, Friendless Orphan. (I wrote about Book 1, Unclaimed, in July.) I’m anxious to pick up where I left off as Jane assumes her duties for a mysterious employer. Jane Eyre is among my very favorite classics, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the author’s creative cyberpunk re-imagining. It releases October 8.

A Walk in Her SandalsA Walk in Her Sandalsedited by Kelly Wahlquist and written by twelve Catholic women writers (including a favorite of mine, Stephanie Landsem) sounds like an intriguing mixture of fiction and nonfiction designed to draw the reader to the heart of Christ’s Passion. From the description: “Looking at six universal gifts of women through the eyes of women in the gospels, the book guides you on a prayerful and creative journey through the days of Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost.” It releases October 10.

The GiverMy teenager is reading The Giver by Lois Lowry, a 1994 Newbery Medal winner, with his eighth grade class. Within a day of his mentioning this book to me last month, I saw it turn up in one of the posts linked to the September An Open Book! The class isn’t too far along because they typically read it aloud together. (Not being allowed to read ahead would probably drive me nuts!) So far, my son says it’s suspenseful.

Nancy Clancy Secret AdmirerMy daughter is STILL reading Trixie Belden. She’s on Book 3 now. In between, I caught her re-reading Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer by Jane O’Connor. This is the second book in a series of chapter books featuring Fancy Nancy from the picture books of the same name. This one is a Valentine’s Day mystery.

FScary Scary Halloweeninally, these are the books my little ones are asking for night after night. One of them pulled the books from the Halloween shelf at the library. The first is a favorite of mine that I’ve read to each of my children. The poetic verse and beautiful illustrations in Scary, Scary Halloween written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Jan Brett have made it somewhat of a Halloween tradition for us. It’s a simple story written from the clever perspective of the cats beneath the porch on trick-or-treat night.

A Woggle of WitchesI’m less thrilled with A Woggle of Witches by Adrienne Adams. Unlike Frankenstein monsters, werewolves, or vampires, I’m always a bit uncomfortable reading about witches with the kids. Witches are real. I know because I’ve seen their bumper stickers. These witches, however, are of the typical pointy-hatted, bat-stew eating variety. The four- and five-year-old both enjoy the simple story and illustrations which, like Scary, Scary Halloween, involve hiding from trick-or-treaters.

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Copyright 2016 Carolyn Astfalk


About Author

Carolyn Astfalk is a wife, mother of four young children, and a writer. Her debut novel Stay With Me, a contemporary Theology of the Body romance from Full Quiver Publishing, is available at She blogs at My Scribbler’s Heart. Visit

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