I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

What We're Reading in August 2021

Reading in a hammock

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All month, I've been sorting through and vetting titles for the tween/teen book club I host. I was especially focused on one title, A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban. It was a new-to-me book from a new-to-me author. But I'd heard good things and wanted to give it a quick once-over to see if it might make a good selection for our group. 

While it is quite clean, funny, and relatively engaging, I have decided not to add it to our book club line-up. Our group is a mix of boys and girls, ages 11 to 14. The book, however, lacks the universal themes that would fit both genders, and with its 10-year-old protagonist, it's probably best suited for girls ages 8 to 11.

That said, I'm continuing my search, adding new titles to my list every day. In the meantime, I'm reading a lot. So are my kids. 

Here are the books we've been enjoying lately.

What We're Reading in August 2021 #readaloud #kidlit #booklist

Read aloud- everybody

Rifles for Watie- In this sweeping epic of the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Jeff Bussey finds himself on both sides of the fighting lines. His naive bravado will be tested as he comes face to face with the real cost of war.

This was one of my husband's favorite books from his homeschooling days. Please note: It includes war scenes that may not be suitable for young readers. 

Jamie- that's me!

Becoming Mrs. Lewis- This is a first-person, fictional account of the love story between Joy Davidman (a recent Christian convert, writer, divorced mother of two) and famed English writer C.S. Lewis. It paints a very human side of Lewis and gives historical context to his life and work by intertwining real-world events into the storyline. 

I started reading this book a couple of months ago and then learned that it was to be the August pick for my book club. I reluctantly set it aside only to return to its audio version a few months later. That's where things took a downward turn. I really enjoyed the five chapters that I read in print. But the audiobook, or rather the underwhelming performance by its narrator, really soured the entire story for me. And if I'm being brutally honest, I liked the story but slowly grew to dislike the portrayal of Joy Davidman. It cheapened my view of both her and Lewis. 

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry- I just turned the last page of this one and to be honest, I'm not sure how to rate it. The theme and general points of the books are excellent. The author writes with candor and conviction about the effects of a hurried life and puts forth some actionable steps to help a reader slow down. However, his short tweet-like paragraphs feel rather disingenuous. On the one hand, he's encouraging people toward a more mindful, unrushed life, and yet on the other, he's pandering to their inability to read more than two sentences at a time. All in all, however, I highly recommend this one!

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck- When best-selling erotic novelist Sarah Hollenbeck becomes a Christian, she's faced with a drastic career pivot. She no longer feels comfortable writing graphic romance titles but has to fulfill her last publishing contract. To make matters more complicated, she's falling in love with the pastor of her new church who hasn't dated anyone since the death of his wife five years earlier. Since they both have a sexual history with others but are determined to remain chaste until marriage, their real-life sexual tension becomes fodder for Sarah's budding Christian Romance career. 

This light, weekend read was another question mark for me. The contemporary writing and plot lines were interesting. The characters were relatable. The pacing of the story arc was spot on. But the no-sex obsession throughout the entire book was a bit off-putting at times. The author's commitment to not include sex scenes between the two main characters inadvertently found her including sex on nearly every page. How is it even possible to talk all about sex without actually talking about it?

Super Boy- 10th grade

The Hero Code- This short inspirational book is a collection of stories compiled by retired Navy Admiral William H. McRaven. Each one tells of the heroism of a man or woman in the Armed Forces. 

Blonde Warrior- 8th grade

Lord Brocktree- In this 13th installment of the Redwall Saga, the badger-warrior Lord Brocktree and his maid Dotti discover that their mountain has been overtaken by the enemy. They must gather an army that can outwit the brawn of the opposing forces. 

Greased Lightning- 7th grade

I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916- Whenever my son is between novels, he always returns to his favorite collection, the I Survived series which are fictional accounts of real-life events in history. He's currently working on a homemade shark field guide and began rereading this particular title in the collection for inspiration. 

The Dude- 4th grade

Tippy Lemmey- This short illustrated fiction will help my son kick off the school year. His reading has slipped a bit in these waning days of summer as he's attempted to drink in as much sun and outdoor play as possible. Admittedly, this book is a bit below his reading level. But, I thought this fun story about a dog who seems to be terrorizing the neighborhood might be a great way to ease back into a regular homeschool reading routine. (Spoiler alert: The dog actually saves the day. But don't tell my son that. He'll have to read all the way to the end to find out!)

That's what we've been reading in August. How about you?


  1. Thanks for your thoughts on your recently finished titles! This month I'm reading Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes. I really enjoyed her newest book and this one is not letting me down! My 6th grader is reading Adara by Beatrice Gormley. It's a historical fiction about Naaman's slave girl who tells him about Elisha. My 4th grader is reading Ali and the Golden Eagle by Wayne Grover. It's about his experience in Saudi Arabia in a remote area. My son is really enjoying it. My 3rd grader is reading Ramona the Brave and working her way thru the series. She's also loving the Cobble Street Cousins series by Cynthia Rylant. Plus lots of pictures books for my 1st grader and preschooler! We're about to begin The Golden Goblet as a read aloud along with our ancient Egypt unit study.

    1. Have you read the Golden Goblet before? If not, it is great! Kind of a slow start, but then it is so good!! We read it last year and we all absolutely loved it.

    2. I really liked Whose Waves These Are when I read it. I hope you enjoy it! You've mentioned quite a few titles that I'm not familiar with. I'll have to check them out. Although it sounds very familiar for some reason, I don't think I've read The Golden Goblet before.