It is the week before Christmas and after several holiday gatherings this coffee cup pretty much sums up how I want to spend the day. A cup of hot chocolate and a good book sounds like the perfect way for this introvert to spend the afternoon.
This coffee cup is one of my favorites and always makes great conversation when we have people over. I bought it a few years ago and it is no longer available. I wish I had bought several of them because they would make great gifts!
I am currently seeing quite a few posts on social media and websites for favorite books and best of books for 2019. Everyone is trying to get them up before the holidays, but we aren’t quite ready to put ours up yet.
Grace and I always get a lot of reading done the week of Christmas, sometimes we find a favorite book during that week, so you won’t see our best of 2019 lists until closer to the New Year.
Today we do have a list of eighteen recent book reviews for you. It includes a range of fiction and nonfiction. It also includes books that we really enjoyed and books that weren’t really for us.
We currently have four hundred and eighty book reviews here on From Our Bookshelf. We are so close to hitting five hundred book reviews! We should make it to five hundred by the end of the year.
Decent into Darkness was a tough read because it was a slightly different World War II book. I am glad I read it as it taught me a lot about diving, Pearl Harbor, World War II, and Edward Raymer. I found this story amazing. I guess I never realized how important divers where in World War II. I knew they were used, especially at Pearl Harbor, but this book taught me that they were even more important. ~ Grace
Leaving the Witness by Amber Scorah is a book that I am glad I read but really wasn’t for me. Again I love memoirs, but this one was not one of my favorites. This book has been compared to the book Educated, which I loved. I don’t really see the comparison between that two books. I found this an interesting story because I knew very little about the this group of people, but the writing didn’t draw me into the story like Educated did. You can read my full review here.~ Lynn
I am not sure where I first heard about Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden, but after reading several fiction books with way too many graphic details, this book was just what I needed. It is considered a proper romance book, which is a category of books that I didn’t even know existed until recently. Well, I knew books like this existed, I just didn’t know that the category had a name. This book reminded me of the Jeanette Oke type books that were popular when I was a teenager. It is a clean, somewhat cheesy, predictable, romance. This is not the type of book I would read all the time, but it I enjoyed reading it for a mindless easy read. ~Lynn
The Lady of Bolton Hill is a clean easy to read Christian romance. I don’t read a lot of these types of books, but they are fun to read occasionally when I want to read something different. After reading several nonfiction books, this was an easy fun read while I recovered from surgery. ~Lynn
My husband read Through the Eyes of a Lion and told me that I had to read it. He really enjoyed it and thought I would too. Levi Lusko is a pastor that lost his five year old daughter due to an asthma attack. The book shares the journey that Levi and his family take in learning to thank and serve God through the pain. After reading this book, I agreed with my husband; it is an excellent book. ~Lynn
Island of the Damned is a memoir of R. V. Burgin and his memories of World War II in the Pacific. I have read better memoirs, but this one still touched me. Everyone lost friends and saw death so close, and Burgin was no exception. He describes it as he believes he saw it. He is real, but also tells the funny stories that made me laugh. Because when one thinks about it, they were young men who told jokes, did stupid things, wanted to have fun, and so like what young men do today. ~ Grace
Snow Angel Cove was a fun easy to read clean romance book. I would describe this as a Hallmark movie in book form. It was predictable but good. I liked the characters, and the story line was a little different than most books like this. ~ Lynn
The Walnut Tree is the first book by Charles Todd that I have read. I kept hearing that it was a good book for fans of Downton Abbey. After reading it, I agree. It is a good book for those that love Downton Abbey or books set during WWI. The fact that it was set in WWI is what finally got me to read it. I have read a lot of books set during or about WWII but have read very few about WWI. I enjoyed this book but did find it a bit unrealistic in places. ~Lynn
KooKooLand by Gloria Norris is one of those memoirs that once you read you won’t forget. I love reading memoirs especially dysfunctional family memoirs. KooKooLand is exactly that. It is the story of Gloria Norris’s childhood that shares an upbringing that involves poverty, drugs, alcohol, murder, and more. She writes in a compelling way that draws you into the story. Click here to read my full review. I do have some warnings on this one. ~Lynn
I read A Girl Named Zippy for my nonfiction books for every state challenge. It was a good book for the state of Indiana. I have seen this book on quite a few must read memoirs list. I enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t my favorite memoir. ~ Lynn
This House of Sky was the book I choose for the state of Montana for my books for every state challenge. This is another book that I really enjoyed, but never would have picked up if it had not been for this challenge. The challenge forced me outside of my normal reading, and this book is an example of that. The style of This House of Sky is slower paced but well done. ~Lynn
The Daily Coyote was the book I read for Wyoming for my nonfiction books for every state challenge. This book was great for Wyoming. It shares the story of a city girl who moved to rural Wyoming. She learns to adapt to life and the weather of Wyoming. In the process, she falls in love and took in an orphaned coyote pup. This book isn’t for everyone, but if you love animals or want to learn more about life in Wyoming, this is a good read. ~ Lynn
I love Louis L’amour and The Tall Stranger is one of my favorite books by him. I like the mystery behind the plot and characters, but also enjoy the action within the pages. If you haven’t read any Louis L’amour, this would probably be a good book of his to start with. ~ Grace
Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett is the third book in the Vintage National Park series and I have read all three. I really enjoyed this for a fun mindless read. Yes, it is a predictable somewhat cheesy romance, but it is clean, fun, and has a decent plot. One of the things I love about these books is the description of the parks they take place in. It makes you feel like you are there visiting. There are three books in this series, but they do not have to be read in order. ~ Lynn
Mud Season was a fun read. It was a little different than most of the memoirs that I have read. Not only is this book about Vermont it is a book about uprooting a family to a new place and learning to fit into a new community. The author mixes in a lot of humor, which makes this a lighter memoir to read. It was perfect for my nonfiction book from every state challenge. ~ Lynn
When you think of horse racing you almost always think of Kentucky, which is why I decided to read Wild Ride for my nonfiction books for every state challenge. I am sure there are other great books about Kentucky, but I am not a horse person and I knew very little about horse racing in Kentucky. This book was not a riveting, can’t put it down, read, but I really enjoyed it because I learned a lot. ~Lynn
The Last Camel Charge is an interesting read if you like unusual history facts. I read a thing in one of my history classes about how the US government once brought camels to the US to try and use in the army. I was interested, then I became even more interested once a western movie I was watching had a camel in it that was owned by the US government. This led me to pick up The Last Camel Charge at a used book store as it is the full story behind the camels brought the US. ~ Grace
I have had The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz on my amazon wish list since right after it came. A friend who I share books with let me borrow her copy. I am so glad she did. It was such a neat story, and it gave me a different view of World War II as it comes from a British Vet who was in the very beginning of World War II. That part of it reminded me a lot of The Dog Who Could Fly. The author goes into what happened to him as a prisoner of war. He says that he went in Auschwitz by trading places with a Jew. I know that some people doubt him, but I found the story fascinating. ~ Grace