January 2, 2014

Books I'm Loving

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Today is going to be a little different. We're going to celebrate a hobby I've loved since I was five or six years old. Books are amazing. They take you places and open up ideas you couldn't have dreamed of. They inspire, create, and prod. Words become pictures and stories that are powerful. The last couple years, I've found it so hard to find good books. But recently, I came across a couple that were worth every second.

The Wingfeather Saga. Now, if you've  been reading my blog, you know I've already write an entire post on itbut I had to tell you again what a talented write A.S. Peterson is. The Igiby family, with Janner ad the oldest, have escaped the tyranny if their country for years. But now, family secrets and elusive jewels shatter that peace and send them on an unrivaled adventure of wit, humor, intrigue, and family sacrifice.  It's akin to a newer version of Narnia. It takes fantasy to a whole new level.  I enjoy the fact that there is no magic, but full of creatures, history, and action that genre is known for. It has taken me several reads to figure out what makes these so incredibly fantastic. Like, this is my favorite fantasy adventure series.

This is not a series you can read without having to think. Deeply. And yet I still get absorbed into the constant action. What I appreciate about the problems the Igiby's face is that they are a result of some one's bad choice. It isn't just a random busing exploding, it is a consequence for rebellion, deceit, or hate.  But I will say, there is never a moment where the reader can sigh with relief.  There is always something needing to be resolved.  But that is why we have characters like Oskar N. Reteep, who add such humor and ridiculousness.  Somehow, Peterson balances evil and silliness to create an unforgettable tale.  I don't know how he does it. 

I come to love Janner because he has natural reactions that I can completely relate with. He had to sacrifice because of his family tree and his sibling's choices. His character growth is so well written, I felt as if I was there with him, taking steps up physical and mental mountains.  Every time I read these, I am blown away by how talented Peterson is and what an adventure these books take me on.

Love Story by Nichole Nordeman. I was skeptical if this book. I opened it, expecting to be, well, bored.

Biggest lie ever. 

This book takes the Bible and it's heroes and lets me meet them in totally new lights. She always opens with a story of her life and transitions into incredibly insightful looks at people like Moses, Naomi, Jesus, and Mary Magdalene to name a few. She captured my imagination and she definitely challenged me. She painted pictures of God's grace that made me realize how truly awesome it is. Here is an excerpt from the chapter on Adam and Eve. I wish I could share the while thing with you, but it is seven whole pages. 

"The danger is, for me, that I get so caught up in the bigger, better, deeper, fuller, more, that I can become deaf to God's voice begging me not to be dazzled by the promise if what I could become, but to find value and security in just being who I am and where I am. I wish Adam and Eve could've rested in that. I wish I could."

She has so many of these thought bombs, it's amazing. And yet, don't think it is only deep theological thoughts. There's more passages like this one: "I almost never travel anymore…I used to be able to pull off that whole security drill blindfolded. Now I'm the mouthy genius who can evacuate an entire terminal in five  seconds: "Riiiiight, like I'm hiding a PIPE BOMB in my lip gloss, people …"

Listen in on anyone reading this book and you'll basically hear "hahahaha, that is so funny - ohhhh." I cannot recommend this one enough.  Nichole Nordeman makes you feel like you are at coffee with her.  She shares her relatable and funny narratives and also convicts you and challenges you through loving insights. 

Family Celebrations with the Cake Boss Cookbook.  This cookbook is one of the best I've read. Reasons why: the recipes are varied and exciting, the photography is just stunning, and he makes it personal with all his stories. It's decided into celebratory meals, like an Easter menu, a mothers day menu, Christmas Eve dinner, etc. We've tried the ham and goat cheese orzo (yum!) and I am waiting to try the mini cheese and cauliflower quiches and chocolate macaroons next. There are so many fun and beautiful recipes in this cookbook!  Truly, edible art suited for family's at its finest.

Up next on my reading list:

I'm almost done with Sense and Sensibility.

Then I'm going to tackle The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.  I started this one a couple years ago, got creeped out, and was done with it ... but I think I'm going to try again.  According to Publisher's Weekly, "In The Westing Game, the author shows once more that no one can beat her at intrigue, at concocting marvelous absurdities."

Finally, I'm going to re read some of the Redwall Series by Brian Jacques.  This is more geared towards the 10-14 age range , but I love them nonetheless and they will always be some of my favorites. 

Tell me what books you have been reading an enjoying recently!  I'd love to hear about them!


  1. Wow!! Looks like some great books!! Especially the one called Love Story! I'd totally love to check that out!!

  2. So many great books. I need to read more. I used to love reading and I can distinctly remember my mom chasing me when I was 5 to put my books down. This passion continued until I came to college and it slowly became one book a summer and now it's one a year if I am lucky. I need to get back into reading!! Thanks for the great suggestions. Buddy's cookbook has been on my list for a while now, your personal recommendation just bumped it up.

    1. Haha, I used to take a book everywhere, even if it was just five minutes away. But I've slowed down, simply because there aren't that many good books. I hope you get the cookbook, it is fantastic!

  3. Whohoo, new book recommendations! Out of the ones you've listed I've only read the Wingfeather saga, so I'm glad for some ideas.
    As to books I'm reading now, I'm finally getting around to reading North and South, although I have slightly less motivation to read it since I've already watched the movie and know how it ends:) :) Other then that my well has run dry. Are all the books you mentioned at the Manhattan library?

    1. Haha, well, I never made it through Jane Eyre ;) The ending in North and South the book, is a little different than the movie. Um, I know the cookbook is at the library, but I don't know about Love Story. You can always borrow it if you like! And I'll let you know what I think about the Westing Game (we own that one, too)

  4. Yay, I love book recommendations and I can't wait to read some of these. They all sound great!
    I just finished the last book of Marian Keyes (my favorite writer ever, oh I love that woman) and now I'm looking for more stuff to read, so your list is definitely super helpful!
    Have a nice Sunday!! xxx


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