Booking It is Back! Here are My January Reads

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Booking It in January | Life as Mom - Great book recommendations for moms.

For those of you who’ve been around here awhile, you might remember the monthly feature, Booking It. For years on a monthly basis, I shared books I had read while readers got a chance to share which books they’d read and loved — or hated. It was a great opportunity to get ideas about what to add to the night stand.

I took 2015 off from “booking it”, basically because it didn’t seem that Life as Mom readers were all that interested in Booking It with me. However, when I asked you a few weeks ago what you wanted, there was a resounding chorus that book reviews and discussions needed to get back on the table. In fact, in yesterday’s scope, folks said the very same thing.


Booking It is Back!

Booking It in January | Life as Mom - Great book recommendations for moms.

Once a month I’ll round up my reads of the previous four weeks to share with you. I hope you will do the same. It’s my hope we’ll all be reading more intentionally, enjoying good books together, and learning and growing through the written word.

Here’s what I read in January:

Booking It in January | Life as Mom - Great book recommendations for moms.

The Scoop on Scope

by Kristi Clover

The Scoop on Scope is a basic primer for anyone who wants to learn how to use the Periscope app. While I’m not one to read directions for anything, I decided to cut to the chase when I saw that this book was on sale awhile back. I snatched it up and got a crash course on Periscope.

Since then I’ve really come to love the morning broadcasts I do, so I’m really glad I jumped right in with a little know-how. This book is a great resource if you want to get the basics on how to use Periscope for fun as well as for business.

(Kristi is a real life friend, now, but when I first started this book about a month ago, we hadn’t yet met. She and her family live only a short drive from our house, so we met earlier this month for a play day. Super fun!)

Booking It in January | Life as Mom - Great book recommendations for moms.

A Fatal Grace

by Louise Penny

A Fatal Grace is part of the Chief Inspector Gamache series, a mystery series set in French-speaking Canada. Right up my alley, mes amis! Don’t worry, the book’s in English. Readers recommended this series late last summer, but I’m slow getting my library holds in line. I just checked out #3 via the Overdrive system, so you know what I’ll be doing this weekend!

This is the second in the series that I’ve read, and I enjoyed both of them. My oldest son has read them as well. There are definitely some mature issues. This second one was a little racier than the first. I was a little taken aback, honestly, so I won’t be recommending it to my other kids which is a bummer. We like mysteries!

Like my dear DCS Foyle, Inspector Gamache is a good guy, through and through. You want him to win, solve the case, and go home safely to his wife with a baguette under his arm. Highly recommend!

Booking It in January | Life as Mom - Great book recommendations for moms.

Hands Free Life

by Rachel Macy Stafford

I’d heard about Stafford’s first book, Hands Free Mama when it was all the rage, but I never read it. Because it was all the rage. Sometimes I get stubborn like that.

Anyway, I picked up Hands Free Life when it was just a buck ninety-nine, based on Crystal’s glowing recommendation. I’m glad I did. While I glossed over the poetry a bit — I’m not a poetry fan — I loved the message and the reminders to focus on my family in the here and now and not to get distracted by my to-do’s.

It’s probably no coincidence that I was reading it while I was tweaking my time budget, and it’s very possible that it has influenced the institution of coffee walks. It’s not a book I could digest in one sitting, but with it on the Kindle app on my phone, I was able to click there while I was waiting at the lab, walking the treadmill at the gym, or sitting around with a few minutes.

(This is my new favorite way to avoid social media apps and still have something to occupy my mind.)

While this book wasn’t life-changing in a dramatic way, I’d say it was super encouraging.

Now, I’ve got some books on my stack to read, but I’m definitely on the lookout for some great books. And I bet YOU have got some good ideas. Tell us!

What have YOU read lately?

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  1. I’m previewing books for my 2nd grader to read during the next academic year. I found some hits, and some misses. I will confess to being surprised by both misses. I assumed I would like them both, even if I didn’t like them for her.
    Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen – I’m pretty sure that all the real themes of this book would go over my child’s head, now maybe I’m wrong, but…I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t understand stock market manipulations, the intricacies of illegal workers, all that is involved in a boxing match! I love paulsen, but…not yet.
    Matchlock Gun- this was another miss for me. :(. I’m pretty sure it would terrify my child, and their wasn’t a great conclusion.
    The bears on hemlock mountain- FINALLY a hit! I liked it, and I’m sure my daughter will love it. We can relate to the large family dinners and the need for a bigger pot. 🙂
    The Nancy Clancy chapter books – my 7 year old LOVES these. Are they phenomenal specimens of literature? No, but they are fun.
    As for me, once I finish her stuff, I’m getting back to “The Bronte Plot”. I’m having a harder time getting into this one than I have the others by this author, but I’m hoping for a good read.

      1. I don’t always pre read, and I only have one to pre read for. 🙂 you hands are (blessedly) filled. 🙂

        1. Just noticed all of my spelling and grammatical errors. I should probably proof before I hit send!!!

  2. I am half way through the book Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood and it’s AMAZING. I’m finding that I”m recommending it to anyone who will listen 🙂 The scripture references are all written out in the book so it’s easy to take with me to the doctor’s office, etc and it’s so biblical and encouraging and convicting. A great read!

  3. My 10 year old and I both just finished The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon. It was recommended to us by our local bookstore owner. We both enjoyed this book and the illustrations, and I look forward to seeing future books by this author.

    1. I would love to hear a little bit more about this book. I have a soon to be nine year old girl and we are looking for something to read together.

      1. The book is the story of a boy named Archer, he is a dreamer and longing for adventure, but lives a very overprotected life at home. His grandparents are world travelers and adventurers who are lost. He and his two friends work together to come up with a plan to find his grandparents. I don’t want to give too much away. The characters are quirky and the friendship of Archer and his friends would seem a bit unlikely but their quirkiness draws them together, I think. I have seen many comparisons to Roald Dahl books. I will say that Roald Dahl is my daughters favorite author (well it’s probably a tie with JK Rowling), but I am not a fan of Dahl ( I grew up as a big fan of Little House books and found Dahl slightly creepy). So since we both liked it, perhaps is it Dahl-like without being too odd?

  4. My favorite read this month was Recipe For Love and Murder: a Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew. Full of quirky characters, exotic locale and some great recipes. I also read The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose. Great nonfiction for kids and adults. I also love Louise Penny. Reading #6 right now.

    1. Is that the first in the Tannie Maria series? Our library doesn’t have it, so I’m just finding it on Amazon. Love No 1 Ladies Detective, and the description says they are similar.

  5. I read Becoming Marta because the description sounded good, but I didn’t like it. It was a Kindle First option, so at least it didn’t cost anything. I haven’t read for fun for a long time and thought it’d be a good reentry title. I did enjoy the Mexican culture, but not the racy sex.

    I’m currently reading A Paris Apartment and I thought it was based on a true story, but it’s not. I’m enjoying it though.

    My husband and I drove to Anaheim last week and listened to Suspect, by Robert Crais. That one was good.

    There are a few more in my Goodreads account, but I can’t remember them.

    I thought about starting the Fatal Grace series, and didn’t, but I don’t know what made me decide not to. Do you recommend it?

    1. I have enjoyed the Louise Penny books I’ve read, however, there are some character issues and language that I’m not completely comfortable with. So, mine is a guarded recommendation.

      1. I think that’s why I hesitated to start.

        I added a reply to my comment yesterday and now I don’t see it. I wanted to clarify that A Paris Apartment is based on a true story.

        1. There are plenty of good mysteries out there. I love Lord Peter more. And I really enjoyed And Then There Were None (Agatha Cristie) so I think it’s not a big deal if you don’t read these.

  6. I just finished the Wingfeather Saga – loved it! Also finished Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson and Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, which I’d recommend too. Now I’m starting up All the Light we Cannot See, Amy Carmichael by Iain Murray, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney. I’m going through the Challies Reading Challenge at the obsessed level (104 books) so am reading a lot this year.

    1. I am so glad you liked the Wingfeathers! I have read Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry and liked it. I was surprised how well a man was able to understand the female perspective. Curious to read Jayber Crow.

  7. I loved the Andrew Petersen books you and your kids read a couple years ago – what is the family reading?

    1. The girls and I have been jumping around between Narnia, Trixie Belden, and Harry Potter since they missed reading those the first time when I read them with the boys. Well, the boys haven’t read Trixie Belden. 😉

  8. So glad you have brought this back, your reviews have helped me find some really great reads.

  9. I’m trying to finish “The Brothers Karamazov” right now. I’ve been reading it since November and have about 150 pages to go. It’s good, but often slooooooow and I kept getting distracted by other things I was more interested in reading. I also read the latest Flavia de Luce novel (love these!) in January, and the first two or maybe three books of “Middlemarch,” out of a total of eight I think.

    I’m not “allowed” (by me) to read anything until I’m done with The Brothers Karamazov, because I know if I put it down again it’ll be months before I come back to it! The Louise Penny novels you’re reading are some of my very favorite books I’ve read in the last three or four years. I always get so hungry reading them, though! 🙂

    1. Dostoyevsky? Oy! More power to you. Those Russian authors do take their time getting to the point, don’t they?

      I have never read those Flavia mysteries, but I’m intrigued now. Thanks!

  10. Love love love Inspector Gamache series! I also have on my “to-read” the Rachel May Stafford book~ She is quite inspiring reading, and I need that with all the crazy that happens each day! I love reading what others read, so thanks for sharing!

  11. I just read Nobody’s Cuter then You. Love it. It’s a quick read and is about female friendships. I really appreciate my friends even more now.

  12. I didn’t get as much read as would have liked. I’ve been in one of those “ruts” but here is what I did finish and I would highly recommend them all:

    Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
    Moment of Truth by Lisa Scottoline
    The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
    The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
    One Bitter Season by Tami Hoag

  13. Yay! So glad “Booking It” is back. I’m having a hard time finding books that capture my attention this year. I’ve started and abandoned several books already. That’s unusual for me (I generally love to read).

    By the way, Jessica, when do you find the time to read when you have so much on your plate?

    1. My newest trick is to get the book on Kindle via Overdrive digital library and then to read when I have snippets of time while I’m waiting somewhere or when I’m bored and tempted to waste time on facebook. 😉

      1. I love library books on the Kindle (and Kindle app!) as well! Right now I’m trying to read through my physical “to read” shelf since we’re moving in five mo tha and need to eliminate some of our piles of stuff, but I’m finding it difficult. I’ve been spoiled by always having my book with me on my phone and Kindle, and being able to read while I nurse the baby or have a small snippet of time but haven’t brought a book with me.

  14. I’m about halfway through Big Stone Gap. January started off as a very slow reading month for me, hoping to change that for February! I also just started Introverts in the Church.

  15. The Inspector Gamache series is on my to-read list. I’m hoping to read the first one in the next couple of months!

    I’ve read several books this month.

    Persuasion by Jane Austen – this was a reread for me. My favorite Austen book

    Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon – also a reread for me. First time listening to the audio version though.

    Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – classic example that having seen the movie first makes it hard to read the book.

    Ghostwritten by Isabel Wolff – not my favorite book by this author, but it was still pretty good

    Thorn by Intisar Khanani – based on a Grimm’s fairy tale

    The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Just finished yesterday. I enjoyed it but not enough to pick up the next book in the series.

  16. Just finished reading “Dead Wake” by Eric Larson. It is about the sinking of the ship Lusitania. Very good non-fiction. I do not usually read non-fiction but enjoy Eric Larson’s books and feel like I know a little more history after reading them.

  17. Yea! So glad this is back. I have read many of your recommendations over the years and really enjoyed them. I will check out Hands Free Life.

  18. I had to chuckle when you said you weren’t into the Magic Tree House book in your scope. My oldest is 5 so we’re almost there, but not quite yet, but another mom I know was recently complaining about the sentence fragments and I thought, “Oh, that’s odd. I know Fishmama reads them with her kids. I wouldn’t expect her to be into sentence fragments.” Now it all makes sense!

    I’m going to be a big Booking It fan. Thanks for bringing it back! I made a goal to read one non-fiction and one fiction book each month this year. Wish I could read more, but two is ambitious enough in the season of life I’m in. In January I read Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson – really GREAT book! Love Sally Clarkson & family. I also read Crystal Paine’s ebook 21 Days to a Disciplined Life because DISCIPLINE is my word for the year. Got a few good tips from that. My fiction book was Butterflies by Susanne Gervay. I read that one to increase my product knowledge since I’m a consultant for the company that sells it. It was just okay. Also reading the book of John during my Bible time right now.

    My “to read” list is so long, but I’m excited to read through everyone’s recommendations each month and find some good ones!

    1. Yes, this was the first MTH I ever read. My kids were into them. And like I mentioned here in the thread, at some point I could no longer keep up with my kids to preread everything they touched. Unfortunately. :/

      1. No judgement here! We started a read aloud with my son that he loves, but we’re not particularly fond of and my hubby commented that we should pre-read everything. While I would love to be able to do that, it’s just not realistic!

  19. Love seeing what everyone is reading! I just finished a good non-fiction book called Into Thin Air about the Mt Everest disaster in 1996. Now I’m rereading To Kill a Mockingbird since it’s on my daughter’s reading list this year. I am Planning to follow it up with Go Set a Watchman.

  20. Love the Inspector Gamache series. I first heard of her a few years ago when she was interviewed on CBC radio. – definitely an adult read.

    Thanks for the recommendation for Sally Andrew. I have just reserved it on my tablet via overdrive from my local library.

    I recently discovered Denise Swanson’s murder mysteries and have read a couple oh er Scumble River stories and 3 of the
    Devereux Dime store mysteries – all good easy reads.

  21. I read “To Do List Makeover A Simple Guide To Getting The Important Things Done” By S.J. Scott. It’s on unlimited Kindle on Amazon

    I will try to remember HA HA to post my booking it on my blog and share with you. I used to cruise your list but had quit reading for awhile. Got new glasses so I am not longer straining to see.

    Blessed Be

  22. I’ve recently read I am Malala, Ella Minnow Pea, and The Last Unicorn. Malala is worth reading. It’s a good peek into the culture, history, and the thinking of the people of Pakistan. All 3 books were for book club, but at least I’m reading again!