Wednesday, May 18, 2016

In My Library Tote: May's Mom and Toddler Book Picks

This is a busy season of life, but lately I've felt the need to slow down where I can. One way I do that is by reading. I've always made reading time a priority, but over the past month or so, I've really turned to reading for comfort and relaxation as much as possible. I have a future post planned about how I fit reading into my busy life, but for now I thought I'd share this month's edition of what we've been reading lately.

{recent reads: mama needs a break edition} 





If you're in the mood... 

{to feed your inner book nerd} The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. Juliet Ashton, a writer living in post-World War II London, is looking for inspiration for her next book, and ends up finding it in a random letter from a resident of the island of Guernsey. He found her name in a book he owns, and eventually their correspondence leads Juliet to befriend him and several of his neighbors who make up the title's unconventional literary society.
     Worth the read? Oh, yes. For me, it took me a bit to get into the story, but once I did I fell in love with all the quirky characters and was sad to get to the end (although not because of the ending). This turned out to be my favorite this month.

{to feel better about your family drama} The Lake House by Kate Morton. If you've read Kate Morton before, you've come to expect her parallel storylines that jump from past to present and unearth family secrets and mysteries. In The Lake House, a family's lives are upended when the youngest child, barely a toddler, disappears without a trace. Alice, now a successful writer living in London, was just a teenager when her brother vanished, but she's been carrying around a secret since then. When detective Sadie Sparrow stumbles upon the Lake House and learns about its history, her searching leads her to Alice's door, but Alice is reluctant to let her in, physically or emotionally.
     Worth the read? Yes, like others of Morton's I've read, I had a hard time putting this down. However, I remember Anne Bogel mentioning on her podcast that she likes her endings tidy, and this one was a little too tidy for my taste. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've read it.

{for a sad, yet feel-good, story} The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce. I failed to realize that this novel is a companion to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which, although it isn't necessary, I wish I would have read first. Queenie writes Harold from a hospice to say goodbye, and Harold Fry begins his journey across England, on foot, to go see her. As Harold walks, Queenie writes, and confesses to Harold all the things she wished she had told him when they worked closely together in their younger days.
     Worth the read? Yes, although like I said I wish I would have read Harold Fry's story first.

{for a story with characters you could see yourself befriending} All of Us and Everything by Bridget Asher. Augusta Rockwell told her three daughters that their father's career as an international spy kept him out of their lives, and discouraged any further discussion of the matter. Not surprisingly, this explanation was not enough to satisfy the girls, who, although grown, are still trying to fill in the holes of their past. When a hurricane reunites the sisters to their childhood home on the Jersey Shore, a long-buried box leads their mother to finally open up about their father and his role in their lives.
     Worth the read? Yes, definitely. I wouldn't define this as a page-turner, but this book really sucked me in. Despite the deeply flawed, sometimes unlikeable characters, I found that in the end I was really rooting for them.

{for a crime novel told from a unique perspective} The Widow by Fiona Barton. As I mentioned in my Currently post earlier this month, this story is about a woman whose husband dies after being hit by a bus. She's not the traditional grieving widow, because before he died, her husband had been accused of kidnapping a little girl. She stood by him when he was alive, but upon his death she's no longer sure where she stands. 
     Worth the read? Yes, it was a quick read and certainly held my interest. Maybe I've been reading too much Kate Morton, but I was expecting a bit more drama at the end, and felt a little disappointed when Barton didn't deliver. However, I still think it was worth the read.

{recent reads: toddler picks} 




Dylan the Villian by K. G. Campbell. Dylan’s parents are pleasantly surprised when they happen to have a baby, and even more so when that baby turns out to be an adorable little super villain. They think he’s the best, scariest super villain around, but when Dylan goes to school, it turns out he has some evil competition to deal with.
     Toddler approved? Yes, enthusiastically. We read this one several times, and Jona especially liked the part when Dylan says “Mine, all mine!” and has an evil laugh. One thing I’m learning… voices are everything.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin. You have to remember a few things if you’re going to host a party for dragons. One, they love tacos. Two, they hate spicy salsa. Three, if you accidentally give them spicy salsa, watch out!
     Toddler approved? Yes, this one was the favorite this month. I can’t tell you how many times we read it, and how often Jona talked about it and said “Don’t eat those tacos!!” This was a fun one.

I Will Chomp You by Jory John. A monster is guarding this book and warns you not to turn the page. Finally, he admits that he doesn’t want you to get to the end of the book because that’s where he hides all his cake, and he doesn’t like to share.
     Toddler approved? Yes, although it wasn’t his favorite. He loved saying “I will chomp you!” but ultimately this one would get passed up for Dylan or Dragons. We still enjoyed it though.

Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in this Book) by Julie Falatko. Snappsy is just going about his business when a narrator comes along and tries to turn his ordinary day into a story. Feeling the pressure to make his life story-worthy, he throws a party, and even invites that irritating, pushy narrator.
     Toddler approved? Yes, Jona was a fan of this one. It reminded me a little of This is a Moose, which was quite a hit when we read it a few months ago. 

Have you (or your kiddos) read anything good lately? 


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