An Open Book: December 2019

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Copyright 2018 Carolyn Astfalk. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the MONTH YEAR edition of An Open Book, hosted both at My Scribbler’s Heart AND Catholicmom.com!

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.

My husband and I are going to be reading 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration by Michael E. Gaitley together. I did St. Louis de Montfort’s Marian consecration years ago, but I’ve been lax about renewing it, mainly because I found his book tedious and boring. (There, I’ve said it. Take back my Catholic card.) This looks like more of a user-friendly book including not only the words of St. Louis de Montfort, but also St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and Pope St. John Paul II.

I love a good Christmas novella, and Julie Lessman has been adding them to her popular series of novels each year. This year, she released A Gift Like No Other: An O’Connor Christmas Novella, which features the original couple from her Daughters of Boston series, Faith and Collin. (A Passion Most Pure). This book pertains largely to marital intimacy, and though there are scenes of married couples in some pretty passionate embraces, there is no explicit or lurid content. I appreciate that in keeping with her tagline “passion with a purpose,” Julie Lessman refuses to gloss over sensitive issues such as sexuality, temptation, and chastity. (Maybe we have a little in common.) In a world that wants to keep God out of the bedroom at all costs, she introduces Him through characters who welcome Him into every aspect of their lives. I grew a little jealous of the circle of O’Connor family women, who frankly share their most personal problems and are surrounded with prayer and support. On the other hand, I wanted to shake Collin since as a Catholic, he’d do well to avail himself of sacramental confession. I guess that proves his character has become real to me!

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl was a relatively short audiobook that moved at a good clip. FBI profiler Kaely Quinn is paired with a new agent, Noah, to apprehend a serial killer who may have them both in his sights. Going by the killer’s creepy elephant poem, they must stay a step ahead of the killer. I’m happy to say the killer wasn’t whom I expected. The best twist didn’t come from the resolution of the murder mystery but from revelations about Kaely herself. I’m looking forward to listening to the next book in the series.

I’m halfway through Her Stand-in Cowboy by Crystal Walton, and it’s a light-hearted romance that makes me smile. Ainsley is a single mom trying to care for her infant and run a farm. To appease meddling family, she’s claimed Connor Allen is her cowboy/veterinarian boyfriend. Only he’s really her chiropractor from New York City. Add some stinky farm animals and southern charm, and you’re got an enchanting story. And if you are or have been a nursing mom, there’s some extra humor in store for you!

My high school junior is reading The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. This is his second go-round with this classic, having read it in middle school as well. He enjoyed this Civil War novel the first time. This is another classic that somehow never made it into my hands. So much to read and so little time!

My sixth-grade daughter has been enjoying a book she selected for completing the local library’s summer reading program. At the Battle of Yorktown: An Interactive Battlefield Adventure by Eric Mark Braun is a choose-your-own-ending book, and I’ve had fun going through it as a French woman. You can be a French officer, a patriot woman, or a patriot slave as well. This girl loves the colonial era, so this was a perfect fit for her. She said it was a good book “because there were so many different ways to die!”

She’s also been reading Poetry for Young People: William Shakespeare to help fulfill her class reading goal that requires her to read in a variety of genres. While she’s not very familiar with poetry, she seems to be enjoying these poems and recognizing the origins of many popular phrases.

Judy MoodyMy second-grade daughter likes to keep about a half-dozen books going at once. I don’t get it, but at least she’s reading. In addition to the Puppy Place series she can’t get enough of, she’s reading Judy Moody Saves the World by Megan McDonald. This one is an environmentally-friendly themed story. I like to see her laughing at the illustrations, which are always such a treat in early chapter books.

Mary Engelbreit's NutcrackerAt bedtime, she’s been bringing out her sister’s Mary Engelbreit’s Nutcracker by Mary Engelbreit, obviously. The beloved Christmas ballet is close to my heart, and I love seeing my kids enjoy this story! The illustrations are colorful and inviting, and it’s the perfect book to bring out year after year.

Star Wars Character EncyclopediaWith The Mandalorian series being replayed frequently in our house, the Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded from DK Publishing has found its way out again. For Star Wars fans, this is a great reference for all of the unusual species spotted in cantinas and marketplaces. The book is from 2011 but still relevant, at least in our home, where Star Wars is timeless. I’m linking here to the most recent version, from 2019.

Junie B, First GraderJunie B., First Grader: Boo . . .  and I Mean It! by Barbara Park is the paperback my first grader is toting around the house. It’s such fun to see him reading “big books” now in addition to picture books. He likes all of the “scary secrets” in this book and was anxious to get to the candy corn part!

 

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Copyright 2019 Carolyn Astfalk
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About Author

Carolyn Astfalk is a wife, mother of four young children, and a writer. Her contemporary Catholic romances are available at Amazon.com. She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, a Catholic Teen Books author, and blogs at My Scribbler’s Heart. Visit CarolynAstfalk.com.

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