What's on My Nightstand {February 2014}

It's been a good month of reading for me, not because I read a lot of books, but because I have enjoyed reading my book selections.  I have pretty much stopped requesting review copies.  Instead, I'm reading books that have been sitting on my shelf for too long or are worthy of my time, though I just didn't make time for them.  What freedom!  This looks like a lot of books, but overall, they were short books.  They were also great books, and I didn't want to put them down.  So here is what's on my nightstand.

Hands Free Mama, by Rachel Macy Stafford.  This is a book I was eager to read.  Linked to my complete review.

Heaven Is for Real, by Todd Burpo.  When people write books about their account in heaven, I tend to ignore them since it doesn't seem real and just a way to sell books.  This book was given to me, so I wanted to read it.  However, other books demanded my attention for months (year?) prior to this, and I had forgotten it.  (I've drastically cut the number of books I am willing to review.)  Recently I was at a friend's home and noticed it on her bookshelf, so we engaged in a bit of conversation about it.  Like me, she was a skeptic prior to reading, but our conversation left me encouraged, so I placed my copy in my priority book pile.  The author, Todd Burpo tells of his son's account of heaven.  Burpo is humble and makes me want to believe him.  I'm not certain I believe the account, but as my friend said, Burpo believes his son was in heaven.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Interrupted Tale, by Maryrose Wood.  This book continues the fun middle grade series as book four.  Penelope is asked to return to the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females to give a speech of encouragement to the students.  As fans can expect, things are not as they seem, but Penelope saves the day.  I have a Chapter Books for Boys post; if I had a sister-post devoted to girls, this series would be in it.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne.  Highly recommend this book that takes place during World War II.  I wrote more about it and a kitchen tip I learned from the book at the link.

The Giver, by Lois Lowry.  Wow.  This may be a children's book, but it will make you think like some of the best.  The what ifs of dystopian fiction might be more interesting than I thought.  I was talking to a book-minded (and former librarian) friend about it, and she suggested that I may want to try The Hunger Games.  I have not done so yet, but I have begun Divergent.  Though I am only a chapter or two into it, I can already see the parallels.

On Audio
The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien.  I had seen the movie; now I have listened to the book.  Next, I think I need to read it.  It's too intense for our children, but I look forward to sharing it in a few years with them.  (FYI, even the Narnia series is a bit intense for them.)

The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton.  Apparently this is a popular author, though I was not familiar with her.  One of my fellow Nightstand bloggers made this sound good.  My library had it on audio, so I grabbed it.  This was a long book, but well-written.  I was eager to learn more about Nell and Cassandra's pasts and how the book would unfold.  Nell was found in a shipyard in Australia with a simple suitcase and no traces of a heritage or name.  Her granddaughter, Cassandra tries to solve the mystery her grandmother left to her.  I really appreciated the twists and turns in this book.   For a NYTimes bestseller, this was surprisingly clean.  If there was language in it, I don't recall.

Next Up
I continue to read the Father Brown series.  Being short mysteries, I don't read a lot at once; when I do read it, I do enjoy.

I'm reading The Secret Garden.  I was reminded and inspired to read it from reading The Forgotten Garden discussed above.

I just began listening to Divergent.  Another gem.

I also read two books to see what the content might be like for my seven year old daughter.  Pony Pals: Give Me Back My Pony and Mandie and the Secret Tunnel.  Pony Pals is a series probably ideal for 8-11 year olds.  I think it would be fine for Big Sister.  The Mandie series is Christian series that takes place in the early 1900's.  We'll wait a few more years before Big Sister reads it.  It had some content that would be confusing for Big Sister.  Mandie thinks God doesn't love her when her father dies, and the mother did not love Mandie.  Of course, both problems were basically resolved by the end of the book, but it doesn't mean that it's appropriate for her.

What are you recommending this month?

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through a link, I will earn a small percentage. Thank you!
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  1. I enjoyed (maybe that's not the right word...) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as well - so poignant to view the prison camps through the eyes of a child. Love the Incorrigible books and the Hobbit as well.

    I'm glad that Kate Morton book was good. I read a different one by her and just loved her writing, but a very bad instance of language and the soap-opera-ishness of one part of the plotline turned me off, so I haven't read her since. I might give this one a try.

  2. I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

    I haven't requested many review titles and yet it seems like I'm STILL reading a lot of them! (This week anyway.) I just haven't gotten around to reviewing the ones I read for my own reading pleasure.

    I'm hoping to finish off The Father Brown series this month. Fingers crossed!

  3. I'm another who still hasn't read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas... must read it I suppose! I'm loving the Incorrigible Children series. Discovered the audio books at the library so my daughter (age 10) is enjoying them now too though I'm not sure she gets some of the humor.

  4. I read The Giver just before I started blogging. I remember not overly liking it, BUT I think I'd appreciate it more if I read it now. The "Matched" series is similar(except more romance than I think you'd prefer). It made me think, though, which I appreciated.

    I started reading The Secret Garden last year, and never finished it. I need to fix that!

  5. I read one Kate Morton book and thought it was suspenseful and well-written, but ultimately I didn't like it. http://www.hopeisthewordblog.com/2013/02/19/the-distant-hours-by-kate-morton/

    I need to read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas!

    1. This one also goes back and forth between present, past, and more in the past. :(


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