September has already come and gone, can you believe it? Thankfully I read Anne of Green Gables this month for the first time so I can quote all the Anne October lines without feeling like a fake – “I’m so glad we live in a world with Octobers!!” For most of the month I found myself in the 1800’s and I didn’t mind it one bit, in fact, those were all my favorite ones! The three more modern storylines were not my cup of tea this time around – maybe I should have stuck with a good thing 😉
A fun thing I did this month was read books from my shelves at home! Despite the many I still have to read here, I cannot seem to stop putting books on hold at the library, so it’s a rare month indeed! Normally, I just do a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.. and next month a lot a bit of Dune because I promised my husband I would read it before November! But enough about next month, here is my September list:
5 Stars: I cannot believe I’ve never read this before. I smiled the whole time. It is enchanting, adorable, hopeful, and so very interesting! I loved getting a peek into the lives and the minds of a young girl and her community in the late 1800’s. In so many ways, my life and my world is far removed from that of Anne’s but in remarkable ways, many things have stayed the same. There are a million quotable quotes and a million things my heart agreed with causing me to order the next book as soon as I finished the last line:
‘”God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world.’ Whispered Anne softly.”
5 Stars: Oh Anne! You make me look at the world through new eyes – seeing the poetic beauty of God’s grace all around me. I started this book as soon as I finished the first one and it is just as enchanting as Anne steps into a new season. Our clumsy orphan is now a beautiful young woman teaching, befriending neighbors, getting involved in her community, and ever so slowly, realizing that her friendship with Gilbert may be something more. But she still has that childlike faith that, in many ways, grounds her even though some see her as immature and too hopeful. I find that the Anne of Green Gables series are books about nothing and yet everything, which is so encouraging to this mama heart of mine!
“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
5 Stars: I loved it. I don’t know what else to say. I think I am caught a bit off guard that this book was so wonderful. I tend to read a lot of historical fiction in the WWII realm and don’t often give chick-lit five stars, but this regency novel was perfect. I was so caught up in the storyline, sympathized with the characters, enjoyed the banter, and needed the ending! It was clean, fun, and enjoyable – I love all that in a book.
4 Stars: Whew! I made it. There were several times over the last couple months that I wanted to throw in the towel. It’s just so dry and so slow at times. But I kept persevering because I still needed to figure out how it was going to end – which was also obvious but I still needed to read it. But here’s the crazy thing, when I finally finished it this month I thought to myself “well that was a great book!” And now I sit here (weeks after I finished) and I’m honestly confused as how I should rate this book. The me reading the book was not always a fan but the me after finishing the book was glad to have read it!
There is a lot more going on in the story than just a love story which I really appreciated. The love story takes a backseat to everything until it becomes everything, and, I found that charming and realistic in a way – especially in this time period and this situation. North and South is set in a time of great change in England where the industrial revolution changed the landscape and the people. Lots of opinions, world views, and prejudices to work though with insanely frustrating misunderstandings and perceptions causing conflict because of social standings and societal expectations in those days. Modern love story misconceptions are annoying because they need to just talk about it and COMMUNICATE, but in this time, they couldn’t just talk about it which was hard to read but not in the same way (i.e. I felt way more compassionate to their plight!) Also there was a lot of death making this read feel more like Dickens than Austen which caught me off guard, but again, not in a bad way. I might read it again one day!
“Oh, Bessy, God is just, and our lots are well portioned out by Him, although none but He knows the bitterness of our souls.” (p137)
3.5 Stars: What an enjoyable read! Loved all the characters! I was trying to guess at Cora’s family connections and the reason for her mother’s separation, but I didn’t quite figure it out (AKA it wasn’t super predictable or unrealistic.) The whole story was just a sweet love story of a twenty-something girl finding a family, building a life, experiencing love, and opening her heart to others. Plus a romance thrown in that was just as sweet and not terribly in your face.
I would have rated it higher, however, the fact that it is labeled a Christian Novel while being pretty new age-y and not at all Gospel based, brings it down a notch. Sure it’s clean but the True Gospel/ church community/ Biblical Truths are never mentioned while lots of new age beliefs are woven through the whole storyline. As a non-Christian book I liked it, but feels weird coming from a Christian Publisher. Would have rated it higher if it wasn’t marketed as a Christian book.
3 Stars: Despite the terrible cover art (wrong girl, wrong outfit, wrong castle) this book was on its was to a 4 or 5 star read for me, but then it fell apart at the end. The last chapters are so rushed trying to wrap things up and awkwardly a new unneeded plot point is thrown in the last chapter (another love story/ interest out of nowhere.) The book is short enough that more could have been included to round out the story instead of rushing it – giving it depth and perspective. I was team Anton from the beginning but the last chapters & it’s resolution? It just doesn’t make sense. No explanation for the backing off and no conversation about suddenly being very together? And really no conversation or questioning their relationship at all? No wrestling if they like each other or should they be together. Not even in a dramatic way, just a real and normal part of a relationship way. Just odd and not realistic. I’m filling in the blanks in my head because I enjoyed how the story started. As a fan of the princess diaries – this has that vibe but with 20s/30s somethings and Christmas and the Alps which was wonderful. 3 stars because I enjoyed reading it enough (aka didn’t regret it) but would have been fine if I never did. That poor ending really tanked it. Bummer.
2 Stars: Did not finish! Oh boy, I only have three books on my goodreads DNF shelf and typically if I am not loving a book, I can easily still finish it. I made it through four chapters and I was so bored. I knew it was about birding (I love birds so I thought that could be fun) but didn’t know it was an Amish book so that took me by surprise (I swear it’s not in the blurb anywhere!) The initial conflict is between the Old Order Amish and another Amish group – so like a denomination war. I don’t know the big differences between them besides the young kids like one denomination and that denomination wants to build a church on farmland. I just didn’t care and the conflict was meh – especially since I am not Amish and I don’t understand this nuance between the groups. Also the birding aspect was even more boring than the denominational conflict. The journals at the end of each chapter felt removed from the story and very awkward. It took me 3 days to read three chapters (which is SO SLOW) because I just didn’t want to pick up this book and found myself rereading chapters just to understand the Amish conversations and birding lingo. I told my husband I was so bored and he told me to just stop reading it. So I did and I feel great. I don’t even care how it ends – maybe the Amish groups will come together and build a pretty church in a new spot so the birds can live in the lake and people can go to church. Best of both worlds.
PS: I’ve never read an Amish novel so maybe that’s why I didn’t get it.
That’s all for now! As always, 4/5 stars are added to my Amazon lists here where you can look for even more recommendations. Follow me on Goodreads to see what I am reading, what I want to read, some of my favorite books, and every review I write! Any other books I should add to my list? Leave a comment and let me know!