Sunday, March 15, 2009

February Reads in Review (2009)

I've been working on a review of Monkey Monkey Monkey, but I had to dig around to locate my poppets and then I had to dig around to find the right camera lens and then I didn't like the photos I took of page spreads. So, I'll do my monkey business tomorrow. Might as well toss in those February reads. I'm only half a month behind. Where applicable, I'll add links to my reviews.


NF = Non-Fiction
YA = Young Adult
Ch = Children's

February Reads in Review:

1. A Lovely Little War by Angus Lorenzen (NF) - A WWII memoir by a man who spent several years of his childhood in a Japanese internment camp in Manila. I loved the way he blended his own memories with research to describe the experience from his youthful perspective but within the general historical context of the Pacific War. One of my favorite reads of the year, so far.

2. Lessons from San Quentin by Bill Dallas (NF) - Another memoir, this time by a man who ignored the law as he became wealthy selling real estate and then not only lost his business but also ended up in San Quentin, where he rediscovered Christianity and found purpose. Excellent, if a little repetitive.

3. When God & Grief Meet by Lynn Eib (NF) - A Christian grief counselor describes what she's learned from leading a grief support group. There are some truly jaw-dropping stories of loss and this is an exceptional comfort read for those who are grieving.

4. Houston, We Have a Problema by Gwendolyn Zepeda - Tangled relationships, job angst, parents who appear to be headed for splitsville and a big sister who seems to have it all (but the heroine couldn't bear to live that way, herself). Chick lit with an Hispanic flavor. A fun change of pace.

5. The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle (Ch) - I love Roddy Doyle and laughed a lot, but this particular children's book is about . . . poo. Seriously. The "gigglers" punish adults who've mistreated children by making them step in fresh poo. It's hilarious, but you have to be a little tolerant of all those steaming poo references.

6. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson - My first Persephone book, a wildly over-the-top Cinderella-like tale of a woman whose sad life takes a happy turn. Originally published in 1938. You can't help but root for the down-and-out Miss Pettigrew. I followed this one up with the movie. The book wins, but the movie is fun in its own way. Absolutely wonderful escapist reading.

7. For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn (NF) - A look into the minds of men -- how they think, what they want and need. A surprisingly revealing book that generated some great chats with the hubby.

8. The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark - A young boy pulled off the street by a palace chef in medieval Venice and put to work in the kitchen becomes embroiled in the mystery of a missing book and plots of deception and murder. Loads of fun, full of the senses, light on mystery and predictable in a good way.

9. Out of Time by Paul McCusker (YA) - When King Arthur materializes in modern America, he is mistaken for a crazy person. It takes a few Latin experts and a young boy to get him back to his own time and place. My son and I both enjoyed this book immensely.

10. For Men Only by Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn (NF) - The counterpart to For Women Only, this time a look into how women think and what we want. More fun discussion with the husband, although I'm still waiting for a few things to sink in on his end.

11. Surviving Financial Meltdown by Ron Blue & Jeremy White (NF) - A quick and easy guide to getting yourself out of debt, setting aside emergency money and preparing for the future. Very similar to Dave Ramsey's approach, with a Christian bent.

12. Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech (YA) - A story about a boy who has lost his dog and is none too fond of the neighborhood cat, till he gets his own kitten and discovers the annoying cat might not be so bad after all. Told entirely in verse. Absolutely charming.

13. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick - A dark tale of plotting, poison and desire set during a harsh northern winter. Excellent writing and a gripping tale, although a bit too dark for my taste.

14. I Do Again by Cheryl & Jeff Scruggs (NF) - The true story of how one couple divorced for 7 years after she had an affair (but he didn't know it) and then reunited and began a ministry to help salvage marriages by putting Christ first. Mildly annoying authors; quick read.

15. Word Gets Around by Lisa Wingate - The second in a series of tales set in tiny Daily, TX. This time a screenwriter and a horse-whisperer work to overcome their past disasters and fall in love. Absolutely love this series like crazy. I hope Ms. Wingate keeps it going for a long time.

Not bad for such a short month! Tomorrow, we shall return to our regularly scheduled programming, which means . . . back to March. See you in the present.


  1. Holy Caloley! 15 books is so great! You definitely are a reading fool (or bookfool?). Hope March is just as great.

  2. Trish,

    Thank you. I'm pretty happy with that number. :) So far, March is going pretty well. I think I've read 7 books. It might possibly mean I have no life, but we won't go there.

  3. You got a lot of reading done in February! How funny is it that the only book on your list that I've read is "For Men Only!" Shhhh! Don't tell my husband I read his book! ;) Hahaha!

  4. Anonymous6:49 AM

    WOWza is right. That's a long list of lots of books.

  5. This is a fabulous list of books! I'm trying to squeeze a Wingate book into my reading, but haven't been successful yet. Hopefully, one of these days it'll happen. What's your favorite Wingate title? (I know, I know - there's no guarantee that I'll like it, just because you did. I'm just curious.) *grin*

  6. Ha! How do you have time to get those wonderful photo?!

  7. That's quite the load of books you made it through-awesome!

  8. Where did you find the time?!? How do you do it! I only read two or three in Feb...

  9. Alyce,

    That's hilarious! I won't tell, I promise. :)


    Some of them were very short. I call that "cheating".


    Talk of the Town was my personal favorite, but if you prefer a deeper read, go with Tending Roses. It's the book most Wingate fans love the most. I haven't yet read it, but I've read Good Hope Road (which is in the Tending Roses series) and that one grabbed me because of the setting and the tornado. It was like going home.


    I didn't actually take that photo, darn it. It's a great statue, isn't it?

  10. Dar,

    Thank you. Plenty of them were short, but I'm still happy. I really liked everything I read. A Reliable Wife was too dark for me, but it still held my interest.


    I'm really in an in-between phase of my life, so my reading is filling in a gap, here or there. I've got to figure out what to do next and then I'm sure it'll drop off, again. Job or school is next on the agenda.

  11. Anonymous7:37 PM

    All those lovely concise reviews and I am diverted utterly by 'steaming poo'. :)

  12. I'm a huge Roddy Doyle I would read anything he wrote...even stuff about steaming poo.

    Miss Pettigrew looks interesting. The movie played here, but I missed it.

  13. Carrie,

    Well, steaming poo is a rather diverting topic, isn't it?


    Same here; I adore Roddy Doyle and will follow him to the ends of the earth. He's one of those rare writers who can make you double over with laughter or sob. The Giggler Treatment is really cute -- probably not for everyone, but I loved it.

    Miss Pettigrew is an upper. I ordered the book and movie at the same time, not realizing my husband had seen the movie. He gave me the oddest look and said, "It's . . . bittersweet. You'll love it." He was right on both counts. The book has a more upbeat ending than the movie, but I enjoyed both.

  14. Not bad at all!! You read almost 4 times as many books as I did. However, I'm on a roll and just finished two in the past few days. I'm not spending quite as much time on the computer and that's paying off with my reading. Plus, my hours at work have been cut AGAIN, so I'll have a few more hours each day to add to my reading time.

    Now to catch up on my reviews. I have three to write!

  15. Les,

    I didn't know your hours had been cut. I'm behind on blog reading, once again, so I may have missed a post or two. I can't seem to keep up.

    Staying off the computer does help. I'm trying to avoid spending much time on the computer on the weekends. Marathon training helps force that a bit. Have fun catching up on your reviews!

  16. Tending Roses is the one that caught my eye, but I didn't know it was part of a series. I'll look into Talk of the Town, too. Thanks!

  17. Joy,

    I think you'd be happier with Tending Roses than Talk of the Town, but I could be wrong. It just depends on your mood, I suppose.

  18. I'm sorry, did you say you were behind on reading?!? Wow, my Feb. list looks positively pitiful next to yours and you were behind? Wow! Thanks for recommending When God & Grief Meet. My dad passed away in late January and I have been reading grief books and this looks like a good one. I am putting it on my Friday Finds post. Thanks again!

  19. Rebecca,

    I'm always convinced I'm behind, no matter how much I read and how fast, but yes . . . sort of really behind, here. I accepted a few too many ARCs, last month. Oopsy.

    I'm so sorry about your father. I lost my father when I was 27 and my mother last year. I'm officially orphaned and not even that old. Sucky. Another favorite grief book is Good Grief -- if you haven't happened across that one it's worth looking up. It's a classic that describes the steps of grief and I found it very reassuring. Hugs to you.


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