Carolyn Astfalk hosts the Open Book linkup: Share what you're reading and get recommendations from other readers.
Welcome to the April 2021 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 has just begun reading Immortal Combat: Confronting the Heart of Darkness by Fr. Dwight Longenecker. Books on spiritual warfare seem to have risen in popularity lately, and this book is part of that trend. It calls on Christians to show heroic virtue in the face of evil while rejecting a feel-good, nonconfrontational gospel.
All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese is superb! Deese, whose work I have always enjoyed, has become one of the best in her genre (contemporary Christian romance/women’s fiction), in my opinion. All that Really Matters is a timely tale that examines the superficiality of life lived behind a screen. There is so much to reflect on in Molly’s journey from YouTube beauty influencer to, well, you should read it and find out. While Molly is the force behind the novel, Silas, the director of a transitional home for young adults, has his own engrossing story.
Courtney Walsh’s latest novel, Is It Any Wonder, pairs Coast Guard office Cody Boggs with his teenage love, Louisa Chambers, as they uncover the secrets surrounding the death of Cody’s beloved father. Both are carrying a heap of guilt related to his death, and ultimately Is It Any Wonder is a story of forgiveness and letting go of the residual anger that can keep us from truly living. A well-written Christian romance.
Be Bold in the Broken: How I Found My Courage and Purpose in God’s Unconditional Love is Mary Lenaburg’s follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Be Brave in the Scared. Her author voice is characterized by humor and authenticity, which make her books so easy to read and relate to. This book pairs stories from her childhood and adulthood that show how pinning her worth on others’ opinions and expectations ultimately failed her.
If you like witty cozy mysteries, look no further. Georgiana Daniel’s Crumbs of Passion is the first in a series. I enjoyed this mystery and its cast of sometimes-kooky characters. It kept me guessing and laughing. I’m looking forward to the next installment.
The Circus of Stolen Dreams by Lorelei Savaryn is a well-written, imaginative middle grade novel that veers occasionally into the creepy. Twelve-year-old Andrea must unravel the lies and secrets keeping kids trapped in both dreams and nightmares under the guise of a “one-night” circus. It examines the perils of trying to escape suffering indefinitely rather than facing it head-on.
Amy Matayo’s Before Time Runs Out is a fun, clever, time travel romance/adventure. This Dickensian time hop is the first in a series and features modern-day Bree and 20th-century war veteran Theodore as they try to discover a way back to their respective eras. As you might guess, that decision is complicated by their growing affection for each other.
Candide by Voltaire is my oldest son’s selection for independent reading in his literature class. His description: a naïve young man gets mixed up in crazy adventures in 18th-century Europe and the Americas. The humor holds up better than he thought it would in the 21st century.
My daughter is reading Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades by Susan Peek in tandem with her history studies. This is the only little-known saint novel of Susan Peek’s that I’ve yet to read. Baldwin IV suffers from leprosy, and I’ve been peppered with a dozen or so questions about the disease. Apparently, it’s the most striking element of the book so far, and I’m anxious to see what my daughter thinks of the entire story and to read it myself.
After seeing it recommended elsewhere, I read Harriet Tubman: Freedombound by Janet Benge and Geoff Benge aloud to my children. I realized rather quickly that I knew shockingly little about this revered woman. The biography covers Harriet Tubman’s childhood through her escape from slavery and travels on the Underground Railroad through to her death. It’s appropriate for children without minimizing the brutality and inhumanity of slavery or the complicated nature of politics.
We’re Sailing Down the Nile: A Journey Through Egypt by Laurie Krebs is a rhyming picture book about both ancient and modern Egypt. The simple story is followed by several appendices with more information about geographic and historical locations, ancient scripts, and various gods and goddesses. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and fun.
Copyright 2021 Carolyn Astfalk
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