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2015 Bookshelf

Meg Chaney

I have now finished 8 of the 12 categories on Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2015 Book Challenge. I'm really having fun with this! It's a great way to prioritize, and read a bunch of books I've been wanting to read anyway! This challenge has also encouraged me to start using my local library a lot more. I got out of practice, with little ones at home, so it's been fun frequenting our local library on a weekly basis. If you'd like to see my reading list, visit my Pinterest board here.

A Book My Mom Loves: Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

I have to admit, I'm hooked on this series. It's fiction, but I love how much history is woven right into the story.  This is book 1 in the Maggie Hope series. Maggie is Prime Minister Winston Churchill's newest typist. While working in his office, she's quickly pulled into a mystery, one she must help resolve with her code-breaking skills, before it's too late.  Maggie is such a smart, independent character, but you still feel her frustrations as a single woman during WWII. She wants to be taken seriously, but that's not always easy. The mystery may be slightly farfetched, but it was enjoyable, and kept me reading until the last page!

Downside: Some swearing, references to Maggie's best friend being gay,  and some inferred intimate scenes between characters.  I honestly don't see the point of these things. The story would be perfectly find without it. 

Recommended For: someone who loves historical fiction, and a good mystery. Even with the drawbacks, I couldn't wait to see what happened next in Maggie's story. I've already read book two (Princess Elizabeth's Spy)!

 

A Book In A Genre I Wouldn't Typically Read:  Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein.
 

I have to admit, this book was quite the departure for me. When I looked at this category, I quickly turned to my husband for help. He's a sci-fi guy, so I knew he could recommend something good for me. Overall, I wasn't disappointed. I was fascinated by the world Heinlein created in this novel. Published in 1959, it gives a futuristic look at what life will look like, if we all inhabit outer space someday. There's a lot of social commentary, which I often found dry and longwinded, but I loved all of the descriptions of the starship and the troopers uniforms. I also enjoyed the actual missions Johnnie Rico went on. There's much that can be applied, even to our society today. It's fascinating to think that Heinlein's futuristic world was probably taking place in the 21st century. We definitely don't have some of the technology he dreamed we'd have by now, which makes the book even more intriguing. 

Recommend For:  anyone who is interested into an late 1950s look at sci-fi. Or for anyone with a sci-fi fanatic spouse :) It's definitely a good conversation starter type book.

 

A Book Published This Year: Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

I have been an avid Janette Oke fan since I started reading her books in Junior High (more than 15 years ago, what?). I also have to admit to being a Heartie (Hallmark's When Calls the Heart).  The Hallmark television series was a big hit when the first season aired last year! It takes a large departure from Janette Oke's original series by the same name, so Oke, along with her daughter Oke-Logan, chose to write a companion series to follow along. These books follows Beth, the niece of Elizabeth in the original book series. When Courage Calls was the first book. Where Trust Lies picks up where the first book ended. Beth travels back home from her teaching post in Coal Valley to visit with her family for the summer. While home, the women in Beth's family surprise her with a cruise. Most of the story, along with the mystery, take place on the cruise ship. 

I have to say I loved the mystery aspect of this story. It was definitely different from past stories I've read by Oke. I also love that it's a companion to the Hallmark show, although Oke & Logan  take  creative liberties with the story (it doesn't necessarily follow the plot of the Hallmark show). 

I also enjoyed the look into propriety, honoring your father and mother, and the general etiquette of the time-period. Beth's younger sister, Julie, definitely pushes the boundaries on this. 

Downside: It doesn't quite feel like Oke's books of old. The writing style is definitely different now that she's older and her daughter is writing along side her. I can't explain the difference exactly, but it's definitely there. I'm just not quite as in love with this book as I have been with past ones. Maybe it was the setting change? I'd rather see Beth at her teaching post, then on a fancy cruise boat. Even with the downsides, I will definitely still be reading the next book in the series. 

Recommended For: someone who wants a nice, Christian, wholesome book to read.  

A Book I've Been Meaning to Read: Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

This book has been on all kinds of "must read lists" since it was published 2 years ago. Overall, I found it to be quirky, interesting, and a bit mysterious. I also loved the format, a mixture of letters, emails, memos, and the like. It definitely makes for a light-hearted read. 

Downside: Some swearing and sexual language. 

Overall: It's mixed for me. Once again, there's a little bit of content that makes me give a cautionary review :/ Just the same, it was a really quick read for me. Nice and easy, compared to some other books I have on my bedside table!

Recommend For: someone with the travel bug who wants a different, light-hearted, easy to read book.