Let’s Chat! What are you reading?

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in Rag Bag | 44 comments

Today I thought I would share some of the books I’ve read lately and also, I’d love to hear what books you’ve been reading! Feel free to share in the comments below!

P.S. Sorry for the scowl here! It was the best choice YouTube gave me. TRUST ME, I’m sparing you some very odd expressions. :D

If you’re reading this via email and the video doesn’t load, you can access it here: http://www.joannebischof.com/lets-chat-what-are-you-reading/


  1. I will take this one question at a time ;) I recently just read No One To Trust by Lynette Eason and it was one of the best books I have ever read! I usually prefer historical fiction, but this contemporary mystery is amazing!

    • Katie, I will have to check that one out. Thank you! I don’t read a lot of contemporary mystery, which is why it’s so intriguing. I love the chance to branch out of my usual. :)

  2. I am currently reading Sadie’s Secret by Kathleen Y’Barbo the third book in the Secret Lives of Will Tucker series. Great series.

    I agree with Katie – No One to Trust is excellent!

    • Pam,

      The fact that you second it REALLY has me wanting to read it now. Thanks! I had the pleasure of sitting with Kathleen at the Christy awards. Lovely lady and I’ll be looking forward to checking out her books!

  3. Oh, Children’s Classics! *Rubs hands with glee* Well. You mustn’t miss Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. Our house is affectionately named “The Little Brown House” because of that book. The Secret Garden, as you mentioned, is great. Little Women, of course. Mandy by Julie Edwards (Julie Andrews’s pen name) is one of my all time favorites. Definitely the Five Little Peppers (and if they like that one, there are about 10 more in the series!)– because it’s a great mixture of boy and girl characters, adventures, sweet tales, great values… you’d adore it. And so would your littles. :)

    • Oooh! I have not heard of the Five Little Peppers! I will ask my librarian for it. I love that it has a mix of girl and boy characters. I think my kids will really like that. I also want to read, at some point, Betsy Tacey and also the Borrowers and also… The Indian in the Cupboard books (which aren’t classics, but were fav’s of mine) Thank you for reminding me of Little Women. I have that one!

    • Five Little Peppers! That was one of my mom’s books as a child. I hadn’t thought of them in years.

    • Lori so neat to know they’re familiar to you too! I’m looking forward to hunting some down.

  4. Hi Joanne, I loved hearing what you are reading! I just finished The Pursuit of Tamsen LIttlejohn. Oh my goodness! I LOVED that story! I also read Carla’s The Hatmaker’s Heart and enjoyed that one too.

    Reading aloud with my kids is one of my happiest memories. Have you read Heid> It has strong Christian themes and is a lovely story. Charlotte’s Web is wonderful too. The Winged Watchman, is a WW 2 story, maybe when the kids are a little older. You might like to order a Sonlight Homeschool Catalog, or just look online at their read aloud recommendations for the ages of your kids. Great books!!

    • Carrie,

      I’m so glad you’ve read it to. It’s just lovely. Fun that you just read Lori’s book and she is soon to read yours! :) Carla’s was really enjoyable, too. Such fun to get to visit all these different eras and locations and characters.

      I have not read the kids Heidi yet, but they recently watched (and love) the old movie. I’ll have to get my hands on that one. Thank you for all these recommendations. I look forward to perusing them at the library.

    • I am feeling so left out. Didn’t get to read The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn yet.

      So going to find Five Little Peppers for my grands (and myself).

    • Mona – you are in for a treat!

  5. Ten pages! So thrilled to think of you reading Tamsen’s story. I’m getting excited now that I’ve heard I should be holding it in my hands before too long.

    I recently read Blackmoore by Julianna Donaldson. I’m thrilled to have “discovered” her. I’ll be getting her Edenbrook soon.

    Reading now: the third in a supernatural/angel/demon trilogy, Dark Halo by Shannon Dittimore. It’s YA, and I’ve enjoyed it.

    Looking forward to Allegiant with you. Also I’ve just discovered that the daughter of an old favorite writer, Tony Hillerman, is continuing her father’s Navajo Tribal Polices stories. I’m #50 on the library reserve list for the first novel from Anne Hillerman, but looking forward to it. Also Carrie Turansky’s The Governess of Highland Hall. That’s next on my TBR stack. Many, many more.

    I sometimes reread books, but whenever I can do so I choose the audio version the second time. There’s a series I listen to repeatedly because I love the writing so much. The Brother Cadfael mysteries (medieval England and Wales) by Ellis Peters. I reread the one you mentioned, The Shape of Mercy, on audio the second time through.

    • Yay! I can’t wait to see how it all wraps up. And just in the nick of time, too, eh? I love seeing the books you’ve read and want to read. I am AMAZED by how much you read. Your 2013 log just boggled my mind. I love reading and wished I had more time to do it.

      Neat to hear how you go through things a second time via audio. One of the reasons I’m so fond of books on CD. Right now, the kids and I are going through Little House on the Prairie in the car. Before that we did Anne of Green Gables. A fun way to “read” a story and a great way to pass the time for all of us!

      • I would also think it helps build focus and concentration for kids to simply sit and listen and pay attention to a book.

  6. You are so cute! Love the vlog. OOH children’s classics! Have you read the Mrs. Piggy Wiggle books? They are SO GOOD–all about kids who behave badly and how Mrs. Piggy Wiggle has these magical (or funny) cures for them. Brought lots of laughs to me and the kiddos!

    And reading now–I’m reading quite a few books. Agatha Christie, Insurgent, Sparrow House by Karin Kaufman (love her mysteries, though she only has 2!), The Well by Stephanie Landsem…and quite a few others.

    Re-reads. Hm…I think I want to re-read some Sibella Giorello books, or just buy the rest in HER series. I love Raleigh Harmon, her main character.

    Great vlog and great questions! I have lots more kids book suggestions (Sonlight homeschooler, off and on), but I’ll share those with you some other time!

    • Hehe, thanks! I rambled a bit and I NEVER talk loud enough. ;) Thank you for these suggestions. They all sound so good… I’ll look that one up, tank you! Ooh, Insurgent. Loved it. Can’t wait to read #3. Sometimes just soaking up a good YA is such a great way to relax, isn’t it?

      I’d say we could get a book on audio for our driving around in WV, but I think we’ll have much more fun filling the time in with chatting. :)

      • I know we will, girl! No books on audio for us! And yes–YA is usually a really relaxing read.

  7. How fun this is! Have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments! Recently finished The Governess of Highland Hall and can’t wait to get my hands on the Pursuit of Tamsen Little John as soon as possible and Carla’s newest offering. It was great seeing these are the threads binding your readers together right now.

    I just finished reading “Beloved Daughter” and after seeing “Saving Mr. Banks”, which I thoroughly adored, decided to read the Mary Poppins series. Also reading “Dear Mr. Knightly”

    A book or two are forever in progress at this house. Love the tales my favorite authors spin for us hungry readers. THANK YOU!

    • Oh, You’re going to love both Lori’s and Carla’s! And I love that you just read Carrie’s. So many great reads out there. :)

      I’ve been wanting to read “Dear Mr. Knightly” as I keep hearing good things about it. I’ll need to scrounge up a copy! Thank YOU for the tip on Mary Poppins. I need to make one great big list for my next visit to the library, I think!

  8. So glad to see you were doing this today! I just asked for book recommendations last night on my fb page and was surprised by what some of my friends are reading!

    Recently finished Heather’s, God’s Daughter and loved it! :-) It sort of put me in a Viking kind of mood, so I’ve started Undercurrent by Michelle Griep. (While I’m patiently waiting for Forest Child!) Last night, a friend commented that she just finished reading the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes and I don’t think I’ve ever read any of those. Since my kids have me hooked on the BBC Sherlock series, I thought I’d get started on those too.

    We loved most of the books from Sonlight and have kept many as favorites. We stopped using Sonlight formally, but I have referred often to their book lists. I’ve also heard there is a book called Honey for a Child’s Heart (not sure of the author), which has lots of book recommendations for kids under 12. A few of the kids’ favorites were Island of the Blue Dolphins, Cricket in Times Square, By the Great Horn Spoon, and Pippi Longstocking.

    Thinking about re-reading Divergent before the movie comes out since it’s been awhile, but with so many books and so little time….you know :-)

    Thanks for doing this Joanne! I love seeing what my new favorite writers are reading!

    • Julie,

      I was so happy to hear that you read God’s Daughter! It was one of my favorites that I’ve read recently. Such a great story. That’s funny because it put me in a Viking mood too!!

      I have never heard of Sonlight bit with you and so many others mentioning it, I do believe I need to look into that. Thank you for all the book recommendations as well! OH, The Island of the Blue Dolphins is one of my ALL TIME favorites. I can’t wait to read that one to the kids, but may wait until they are a touch older. It’s amazing how books can open up the world to children both with history and other cultures. I absolutely love that about books.

      • I was never actually a big reader until we started homeschooling the kids. We started reading historical fiction with Sonlight and I’ve loved it ever since! It really does open up new worlds!

  9. Just finished reading The Lawman finds his bride by Renee Ryan. Ready to start Love finds you in Miracle, Kentucky by Andrea Boeshaar. I like re-reading books. Lost count of the number of times I’ve read Christy by Catherine Marshall.

    Heidi is one my favorite classics. Did you ever read Heidi Grows Up and Heidi’s Children? My sixth grade teacher read those to us and I looked for years before finally them on ebay and bought them.

    • Ola, I do love hearing how you’ve re-read Christy so many times. It’s been on my must-read list for a while now and I really need to get to it soon. I never read Heidi, but always loved the movie. Your comment and a few others have inspired me to get a copy!

  10. Last night I finished reading A Light in the Window by Julie Lessman (loved it!!) I am now reading A Love of Her Own by Maggie Brendan. Soon to read books include What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer, A Chance to Die: the life and times of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot, and Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot. Books I would/have re-read? Anything by Janette Oke!
    As for children’s classics? My favorites as a kid were the Anne of Green Gables books and the Chronicles of Narnia, though those may be older (ages 9 and up). Pollyanna is a good one as well, and about the same level as the Little House books. :)

    • Oh, and Saved at Sea by Mrs. O.F. Walton is also a really good one for kids! :)

    • ooh, so many great reads on your soon-to-read list, Micaela! And I love hearing how you enjoy re-reading Janette Oke. They truly are so treasured. :)

      Such great suggestions. Anne of Green Gables is such a great one. We did that on audio and it was a gem! Narnia, too. I’ll be looking forward to reading all of those in the coming years. Thank you!

  11. Loved getting to see AND hear you on the video, Joanne!

    I’ve been in a reading marathon of ALL of Julie Lessman’s books for a couple of months now (re: a contest she is running), and have a couple of more months to go. When finished – I will be finishing your books, and starting on those of Laura Frantz, and MaryLu Tyndall. I have such a huge TBR list – wish I could read faster, but then, the enjoyment time of each would be reduced, also.

    I would definitely, re-read Julie’s books, your books, and any of Liz Curtis Higgs’.

    You might, also, check the list of children’s books that Focus on the Family has. If you like audio – they had a radio program, Adventures in Odyssey, that is very highly rated. The episodes are on CD, don’t know if they have books of the series? They are for children 8 to 12 years old, but your children might still enjoy LISTENING to them – sound effects!!


    • Why thank you, Bonnie! So glad you enjoyed it. :) Julie Lessman is such a keeper, isn’t she? A real gem, that gal. Oh, happy to hear that you’ll be finishing my books! Honored that you would re-read them!! I agree, Liz is definitely on my re-read list. I’ve got MaryLu on my TBR and you can’t go wrong with a Laura Frantz book. All delightful.

      Thank you for the Focus on the Family recommendation. That’s a great idea!

  12. I’ve simply got to meet you in person one day, Joanne. You come across as so warm and friendly in your vlogs. I’m sure you’re every bit as charming in person.

    I just finished Finally a Bride, a Love Inspired Historical by Renee Ryan. Loved it. Great story setup. Great characters. Great emotion.

    I have several more LIH stories on my TBR pile, along with oodles of other books. All I need are more hours in my day or to find a way to get by on two hours of sleep a night. :-)

    • Why thank you, Keli. That’s so sweet of you. :) Both of those books sound lovely and I’ve actually got a LIH on my TBR right now!

      I’ve been wanting to pop into your blog and give you a BIG congratulations on your special news! What an achievement!! No book contract is easy and each one is precious, so I’m celebrating your accomplishment right along with you. :)

  13. Forgot to mention the kids’ books. You might want to check out the Bobbsey twins books. They go way back to when I was a girl in the 60s. I loved the Ramona and Beezus books by Beverly Cleary, too. Oh, and Harriet the Spy, a geeky but clever girl who dreamed of being a writer. And let’s not forget Little Women, if not now, down the road.

    • Oh Keli! I had forgotten about those. My daughter loved the Beverly Cleary books when she was younger. My son was always a Magic Tree House kind of kid when he was elementary age.

    • And THANK YOU for the children’s books recommendations. I remember reading and loving Harriet the Spy!

  14. Loved this, Joanne! You are so cute and I like how your mind works. Thanks for the sweet words about Hatmaker’s Heart. And you are absolutely right – just finished A Table by the Window a couple of weeks ago, and it made me sooooo hungry. Most recently finished The Midwife by Jolina Petersheim. You need to read her debut, The Outcast, if you haven’t already! I’m thinking that I’ll read Jamie Ford’s The Songs of Willow Frost next.

    Thanks again!

    • aw, that’s sweet, Carla, thanks! Absolutely loved the Hatmaker’s Heart. So excited about this upcoming release of yours! And YES! ATBTW was soooo good! I’ve heard great things about The Outcast. Than you for recommending it and others!

  15. Absolutely loved Lady in Waiting too with the two Janes! And Lucy… she deserves a book of her own.

    The children’s book that comes to mind is Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater, illustrated by Robert Lawson; Newbery Honor Book, ©1938, renewed ©1966. ~ Chapter Book. My very favorite picture books I loved reading to our youngest daughter when she was little were Elaine Moore’s stories Grandma House,and Grandma’s Promise about her visits from Granddaughter Kim; illustrated by Elise Primavera. And… absolutely love this one! Mrs. Huggins and Her Hen Hannah, illustrator Lydia Dabcovich (we always said the “illustrated by…” with her name being so lyrical!). My childhood favorite was Heidi.

    What I have been reading lately ~ The Painted Table by Suzanne Field; The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen; and The Quilted Heart Omnibus: Three Novellas in One ~ Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore ~ by Mona Hodgson. So many good ones coming up ~ Cara Putman’s Shadowed by Grace; The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah Ladd; and A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher. Two I am looking forward to reading are Sandra Byrd’s The Secret Keeper, and To Die For. I love historicals.
    Lock me in and slide dark chocolate with pecans under the door!
    Enjoy your newsy videos, but noticed one thing ~ your house was sooo quiet! <3 Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House :D

    • Kathleen,

      It makes me so happy to hear how you enjoyed Susan’s book. Isn’t it lovely! So very heartwrenching and beautiful.

      Thank you, thank you for all these great book recommendations. I always love seeing what everyone is up to and to get new titles form my TBR pile. Sounds like some great ones!

  16. ~ OK now I feel left out too, wanted to read your book Lori Benton ! so loved Burning Sky ! Right now due to Blog Tour I am reading Headmistress of Rosemere too ! Just finished Mona’s book The Quilted Heart Omnibus, Awesome story , these girls keep me so busy at times I never get time to finish Your books Joanne. Well perhaps they are not homeschooling three kids and doing the things I am doing so they have more time to read then I…. I am also reading The Civil War Sewing Circle by Kathleen Tracy , Excellent book filled with history and lots of pictures, great book. Tomorrow is Mona on my blog and friday is Kathleen Tracy Quilting book author and she makes jewelry too… hope you will all stop on over. I am giving away quilt e-patterns daily…surprize giveaway at the end of the week… 5 hours to enter todays giveaway !!! Love ya Joanne !
    Linda Finn

    • Linda,

      As a lover of Burning Sky, you are sure to be pleased with her second. It’s just fantastic. So neat to see some repeat titles. All the more reason for me to check them out! I Honored that your working on finishing my series. I hope you enjoy it!! Thanks for sharing the books you’ve been reading. I’ve got some list making to do now! ;)

  17. I just got done reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Have you read it? It’s a rather crazy story if I may say so!

    • Have not read it, but am very intrigued! I’d love to get more of the classics worked in, so I’m tempted by the Bronte sisters ;)

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