Looking for a good read? How about a quality novel? Or some peace? Find out what Sarah Reinhard has been reading and what she has to share in this week's book talk.

Book Notes 720 x 340 medium blue outline and medium blue pen _ Notes light blue (2)

Well hellllloooooooooo! I've missed you! There's been a bit of adventure in my life since last we talked books, and I can't report that I've read much, but I'm excited to share what I have read, and what I'm looking forward to reading, and to hearing about what YOU are reading! :)

081815 Weekly Book Talk

Recent Reads

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, by Chris Grabenstein (MG fiction, Yearling, 2014)

I picked this book up because my pile of review books will. never. end. (This is a WONDERFUL problem! Don't get me wrong!) However, my 10yo has been waiting patiently for SIX MONTHS for me to read this book. I told her she had the next pick of what I would read, and this is what she put in my hands.

I'm STILL thanking her: this book was grrrreat! Go. Read it!

In fact, I saw that Grabenstein has a sequel coming out, and I will be there, at my bookstore, to buy a copy for myself my daughter.

This book has: characters to love, characters to hate, a conflict to root for, and, best of all, little nods for the moms and dads reading along. It's the reading equivalent of watching a great Pixar movie. I laughed out loud more than once (to my daughter's delight) and I'm going to make sure this book doesn't slip away into the giveaway piles people sometimes try to talk us into making. Because I want to reread it. I get the sense that, the first time through, I probably missed a whole other layer to the book.

What I really need to do is check out Grabenstein's other books...

Soulless Creatures, by Katharine Grubb (fiction, Plume of Doom Publishing, 2015)

Confession: I'm a Katharine Grubb fangirl. This is the third novel of hers I've read, and it may be my favorite yet. (The fact that she has all kinds of great 80s music references in it does. not. hurt.)

I hesitate to call this a love story, because if you had told me that's what it was, I wouldn't have wanted to read it.

And yet, that's part of what makes it so darned interesting to me. It's romance done well. It's story done right.

Grubb has a particular talent for driving into both dialogue and inner motives of people. You feel like her characters are maybe a bit of yourself, like somehow she's gotten into your head and put you onto that page. (Or is that just me?)

She also has a way of making Christianity both not dorky and approachable. She pokes fun at it for those who have maybe caught themselves taking things a bit toooooo seriously, and yet in doing that, she also brings out the little critters under the rug and those things you haven't thought about thinking about in a while. (Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.)

I say this as someone who still has sort of an apologetic "Yeah, I'm a Christian" way of walking around (even when I'm wearing my bright orange Catholic shirt). I wouldn't call this "Christian fiction," because I would share it with anyone. And yet, if you're a Christian, there's some stuff in this novel that you'll appreciate double-much.

Definitely worth a read. Probably worth a book club. For sure worthy of a good cup of coffee while you read. :)

Finding God’s Peace in Everyday Challenges: 100 Meditations for Women, by Heidi Bratton (Word Among Us Press, expected release Fall 2015)

Over five years ago, there was this thing around New Year's, where people started talking about picking a one-word resolution. That year, my brother-in-law had just died unexpectedly and my family life was upside down. I was also pregnant with Kid #3, facing some hurdles I didn't even see, and in a whirl.

At the time, I thought I was picking the word peace. Looking back, I think peace picked me.

Five years later, this book by Heidi Bratton, lands in my e-reader for review. Due to God's wielding a two-by-four approximately the size of an MRI machine, I read it in a timely fashion.

And, you guys, this book is nothing short of a pure gift. Yeah, you should read it, but I'm telling you this: God had Heidi Bratton write it for me. Every. Single. Reflection.

I didn't read this book as it was intended, but I do intend to tuck it in by my morning devotions pile and use it to inspire my prayer time. The final book (I've only seen the electronic version) will be beautiful: it has Bratton's trademark photography to go with her poetic wordsmithing.

Each day's reflection is a two-page spread, just enough to whet your imagination and get your wheels turning. Bratton wraps each day up with a prayer. Each prayer starts with, "Lord Jesus, you are my peace." (I may or may not have been halfway through the book before I realized that.)

When my hard copy arrives in the mail, I plan to write my name in INK, too, because I know myself. I already want to share this book with at least three special women. (And what I need to do is buy them their own copies...)

This book gets some of my highest and heartiest praise. Not only is it exactly what I needed to read right now, but it's full of wisdom that comes from the saints, everyday Catholic women, and scripture. I'll be tasking my in-house crafter with making me a permanent bookmark for it.

Current Reads

Near Occasions (John Paul 2 High Book #5), by Christian M. Frank (YA fiction, Chesterton Press, 2015)

I hesitated to start this, tis true. I know it will be a matter of two or three chapters before I'm OWNED and unable to put it down. As I type this, I'm less than one chapter in. There's hope for my week...

The Enchantress Returns (The Land of Stories #2), by Chris Colfer (MG fiction, 2013, Little, Brown and Company)

This is another book my ten-year-old has been wanting me to read. We both loved the first book and I've just passed the point at which I know I'm going to have to commit and just readreadread...

Confessions, by St. Augustine (with the Catholic Spiritual Direction Book Club)

I am allllmost done with this. I'm glad I read it, but I must admit, it's been FAR different than what I expected.

Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen (fiction, CraftLit)

Sometimes, I just chuck the podcasts I used to listen to all the time and tune in to some CraftLit. I have to be careful with this, though, because I'm the notorious Anti-Crafter... :) Hearing the classics not just read, but discussed, makes it all worthwhile. It also gives me something to share with my up-and-coming crafty ten-year-old.

Up Next


The Letter to the Hebrews and the Seven Core Beliefs, by Shane Kaplar (Angelico Press, expected release late Fall 2015)

I have to be honest: I'm sorta excited. I've been reading lots of great fiction and fun reading (aside from Confessions, that is), and something with some meat on it has appeal to me.

What have YOU been reading lately?

*Are you on Goodreads? I'll see you there!

Curious about what my ratings mean? Here's an explanation of what the stars mean to me.

Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2015, Sarah Reinhard