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What’s on Your Nightstand February

NightstandI’ve had a number of things change since January 1, and I’ve found myself with a surprising amount of time on my hands. It’s both wonderful and incredibly odd. That being said, here’s what I read in February:

The Forgotten by David Baldacci

The Expats by Chris Pavone

Inside Afghanistan: The American Who Stayed behind after 9/11 and His Mission of Mercy to a War Torn People by John Weaver

Pocket Your Dollars

Pocket Your Dollars: 5 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, & Keep More of What You Make by Carrie Rocha

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal

Not too shabby, although I am no less behind on posting my reviews.

For February, here’s what I am reading and hoping to complete:

Tramp for the Lord

Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom- A sequel to her powerful story The Hiding Place

A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year:  A Life Changing Journey into the Heart of God by Diane Stortz- I think the title says it all on this one- its a practical guide for reading through the Bible in a year.

A Holy Passion: Holiness by Ronald Blake, Neil Wiseman, & Charles Zinkman- This is a collection of essays on the topic of holiness for pastors. I think its an incredibly helpful resource in understanding the Church of the Nazarenes position on the doctrine on holiness…but I’ll confess, some of the essays are pretty dry.

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini- This is the authors first stand alone, a historical fiction book based on Elizabeth Keckley, Mrs. Lincoln’s dressmaker. So far so good.

I could keep going, adding this week’s library books, and all the non-fiction I keep picking up and putting down, but let’s see how I do with these, shall we?

Check in a to see what others are reading.



Mailbox Madness

With my new membership on and two recent purchases on Amazon (something that is incredibly rare for me these days) I have found myself with a mailbox full of books which is, in my humble opinion, a happy problem. (Although I am not sure my roommates would agree, considering the incredibly large pile of books in our living room that are waiting for me to finish re-constructing my bookcase.)

In any case, I’ve had quite a few books come my way recently, and I thought I’d share. Here’s the madness:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See


I don’t remember exactly how I discovered Lisa See…but I think it was the suggestion of Shanghai Girls on Amazon that I subsequently purchased and then inhaled before buying the sequel Dreams of Joy. See is a fantastic writer, and reading those two made me want to work through a few more  all of her novels.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway


I honestly can’t explain my recent obsession with the Lost Generation writers. Maybe its my viewing of Midnight in Paris and the sheer number of literary references I missed. Maybe its my recent brush with World War I literature, and my interest in the way it subsequently shaped the thinking of those impacted by it. Either way, I found myself ordering a few of Hemingway’s novels, and that first that arrived was A Farewell to Arms. I also received a copy of The Sun Also Rises last week.

          Inescapable by Nancy Mehl


I read a review of Inescapable over at and found myself curious, however, it was not available at my local library, nor coming soon, so I took a risk and ordered a copy. The premise is interesting: the story is about Lizze Engel and her daughter Charity who return to Lizzie’s hometown of Kingdom after losing her job, hoping to escape a man stalking her. What awaits her in Kingdom is her incredibly strict father, an Old Order Mennonite resistant to change, and a flood of memories. In spite of Kingdom’s off the map status, Lizzie’s stalker manages to track her down.

I must confess: as soon I opened this one I knew I would end up reading it immediately, casting aside the six other books I am reading…and I did. So far, I feel sadly disappointed though. I am about a third of the way through, and it has not been nearly as gripping as I had hoped. I will continue on, however, and let you know what I think.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


In case you didn’t believe me about my obsession with writers from the Lost Generation, I present to you further evidence in the form of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I would be a little bit of a liar, however, if I didn’t admit that part of my reason for reading The Great Gatesby which I somehow managed to avoid all the way through middle school and clear through high school, is in anticipation of the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  I am curious to see how it would be adapted on screen.

The Elusive Mr. McCoy by Brenda Baker


This is another book I just couldn’t help but purchase after I found out it would not be at my local library any time soon. I was fascinated by the double life presented, and by the idea that the “offender” as Jennifer from 5 Minutes for Books refers to him, is decidedly absent from the story as it focuses on his families. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing this one.

As always, I have so much to read and so little time. 🙂

Library Loot July 11-17

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the link on Marg’s page any time during the week.

I keep promising myself that, really, this week is it, next week, I won’t request quite so many books from the library- I’ll just work on completing my to-be-read pile from last week’s library visit, as well as the to-be-read books from my Summer Reading Challenge list. And then I request a few more…sigh. Clearly, I have a problem.This week, to add insult to injury, not only did I pick up my reserve items, but I also had the audacity to choose a book off of the seven day express shelf. What was I thinking?!

But without any further whining, or justification for my reading (and borrowing) habit, this week’s loot:

How to Love An American Man: A True Story by Kristine Gasbarre

I read a review of this book at some point in the last couple of weeks, and as it is a memoir, and just looked interesting, I couldn’t help reserving it. (In case you haven’t noticed, I kind of have a thing for memoirs and biographies. I love stories of any variety, but I am particularly drawn to real life stories.)

Closing Time by Joe Queenan

Joe Queenan’s autobiography on growing up in Philadelphia in the 1960’s.

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

This is the first book in a series set in Rural Ohio Amish farm country. Kate Burkeholder returns to Painters Mill, OH to become the Chief of Police in the town she grew up in. The opportunity to brings her to her home and proves somewhat dangerous as parts of her past are revealed, and secrets long kept are unhidden.

I saw a review of  the third in the series on and was intrigued enough to pick up the first in the series.

My final pick in this week’s loot is my impulse borrow- Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. Last September I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and straight on its heels, discovered an intolerance to corn. For those unfamiliar Celiac is an autoimmune disorder whereby eating gluten, found in wheat, barley, and rye causes an immune system reaction in the small intestine. In me, it was also another factor that was aggravating my asthma.

Wheat Belly, however, is not about Celiac. It’s about the gluten-free diet that is fashionable these days in hip towns like mine, and big cities. Admittedly, the trend annoys me, even as it makes things more available for people like me who refrain from gluten for a good reason. I picked up the book not to make fun of the diet, but to see if I could find out why it is just so appealing. And hey, maybe there will be a fun recipe or two.

My plan tonight is to curl up with my loot for a few weeks ago- Death Comes to Pemberley, a nice cup of decaf earl grey, and some homemade leftover rice pudding. Enjoy this weeks reading, and be sure to check out the loot on other blogs!

Review: Arranged

After reading a review of Arranged at the blog 5 Minutes for Books (check it out at, I ordered it from my local library. It came in Friday, and much to my surprise, I had free time to read on Sunday night, so I picked up Arranged.

Arranged tells the story of Anne Blythe, who after yet another failed relationship followed quickly by the engagement announcement of her best friend Sarah, decides she needs help finding a relationship. She contacts Blythe & Co., whose business card she found, believing that they are a dating service only to discover that they specialize in arranged marriages. The concept is surprising to Anne, but not completely unwelcome, and we follow her as she explores arranged marriages and makes a decision whether or not to take the plunge.

McKenzie creates amazingly normal characters. One of the things I loved about her writing is that the characters were well developed and realistic. I can imagine my best friend and I have conversations that resemble Anne and Sarah’s. McKenzie’s writing is refreshingly light, but still makes you think about your own thoughts and feelings about romance, dating, marriage, and friendship.

It was a fun read, and I recommend it for beach reading.

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