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In January, I said that my reading year started off with a bang. Well, February continued to be an excellent reading month.

Out of the seven books on this list, there is only one I could have done without. The rest were thoroughly enjoyable. There are a few that are brand new this year and two that have yet to be released.

If there is one genre that dominated this month, it was definitely historical fiction with a little romance thrown in. I also read one Christian theology book. If you’ve ever had an interest in Christian theology and doctrine, this is the perfect book to pick up.

The Evolution of Annabel Craig by Lisa Grunwald

The Evolution of Annabel Craig by Lisa Grunwald (April 2024)

I predict that this book will be one of my top books for the year. To say this book is a historical fiction book about the Scopes Monkey Trial doesn’t do it justice. Yes, it is definitely about that, and I loved getting this on-the-ground view of that pivotal trial, but it’s really a story about a young woman named Annabel Craig. Annabel has to navigate living on her own after both her parents died when she was a young teenager, a marriage with an up-and-coming local lawyer, the biggest event to ever happen in Dayton, Tennessee, and her faith in God in the face of it all. I thought it was all beautifully told in this book by Lisa Grunwald. Also, Grunwald can write! I will definitely try to get ahold of her backlist titles.

  • Publish Date: April 16, 2024
  • Length: 320 pages / 12 hours
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Content Notes: Miscarriage

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for sharing this advanced reader’s copy in exchange for my honest review.

Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle

Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle (March 2024)

Daphne is a Jewish girl who grew up in the LA area who is normal in every way except one . . . whenever she meets a new man that she is going to date, a piece of paper appears with the man’s name and how long the relationship is going to last. But when the story opens, she gets a paper with a man’s name on it with no expiration date, which leads her to believe he’s the one. The story progresses from there as it alternates between the past and the present. What starts out as a bit of a whimsical love story starts to take shape as it slowly reveals that there’s a lot more going on in Daphne’s life than what meets the eye. Expect to see this one on a lot of summer reading lists this year. I think this would make a perfect book to take to the beach.

  • Publish Date: March 19, 2024
  • Length: 272 pages / 6 hours 54 minutes
  • Genre: Magical Realism, Women’s Fiction
  • Content Notes: Open Door, but sex scenes are minimal.

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for sharing this advanced reader’s copy in exchange for my honest review.

All My Secrets by Lynn Austin

All My Secrets by Lynn Austin (2024)

Years ago, I worked as a church biographer. Every month, I would pick a person or family in the church, interview them, and then write a human-interest-type article about them that would get published in the monthly church newsletter. The thing I grew to really like about it is how someone would go from being 2D to 3D. I came to learn that most people are a lot more interesting than they may seem on the surface. This book reminded me of that. This is a book about three women living in New York City around the turn of the century: Sylvia, Adelaide, and Junnie. When the book begins, A. B. Stanhope just died unexpectedly. A. B. was Sylvia’s husband, Adelaide’s father, and Junnie’s son. They all live together in a large mansion. As a result of A. B.’s death, they no longer have access to the money they once had, but the problem is that Adelaide, who is 19, is at the age where she should start looking at marriage. Her mother, Sylvia, is determined to find her a wealthy husband so they are able to stay in their home and maintain their social status. But Junnie has a different idea. She cares more about Adelaide’s character and happiness than she does about social status and trying to stay in a house that she didn’t like from the day she first moved in decades ago. As the story unfolds, these 2D characters come to life, and we start to learn that there is much more to these women than meets the eye. I loved this book! Great for fans of Downton Abbey.

I listened to the audio ARC of this book read by Sarah Zimmerman, and I thought her narration was excellent. She has the perfect voice for this time period.

  • Publish Date: Feb. 6, 2024
  • Length: 400 pages / 12 hours 37 minutes
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Content Notes: death

Thank you to NetGalley, Tyndale House Publishers, and RB Media/Recorded Books for sharing this advanced reader’s copy in exchange for my honest review.

Memory Lane by Becky Wade

Memory Lane by Beck Wade (2023)

I really enjoyed this mystery romance novel. This is a book about redemption, starting over, and facing fears. I liked that it was more than a romance but also had an interesting mystery to unravel. It definitely kept my attention until the end, and I’m looking forward to reading more books in the Sons of Scandal series. I listened to this one on audio and thought it was very well done.

  • Publish Date: Feb. 14, 2023
  • Length: 430 pages /12 hours 27 minutes
  • Genres: Romance, Clean Romance, Mystery, Women’s Fiction
  • Content Notes: sexual assault
the little village of book lovers by nina george

The Little Village of Book Lovers by Nina George (2023)

This was a whimsical story primarily told by Love personified. This book focuses on romantic love, and I think there’s a lot more to love than that. My favorite part was the commentary on the place of books and literature in people’s lives. And I loved how books became a way to bring people together and pull them out of the ruts they were in. While this book is not technically a sequel to The Little Paris Bookshop, it is definitely a spin-off from it. Based on the reviews I’ve read, that book is even better.

I feel I must warn you NOT to listen to the audiobook of this one. The book takes place in France, and the narrator seems to be trying to emulate that by using a really thick French accent. The problem is that the narrator’s French accent was so thick several times during the novel that I couldn’t understand what she was saying. It definitely detracted from the story. It almost made me not want to DNF it.

  • Publish Date: July 25, 2023
  • Length: 272 pages / 7 hours 12 minutes
  • Genre: Magical Realism, Romance
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (1913)

This was my pick for the Reading Through the Decades Reading Challenge for the category of books published in the 1910s. And I loved it! This is actually the play behind the movie My Fair Lady, and because it’s a play, I decided an audio version would probably be a good medium for this one. (Audible has several versions available in its Audible Plus catalog, which means I didn’t even have to use a credit for it.) I was not disappointed, and I was able to finish it in one day. The play tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, who is an uneducated lower-class woman selling flowers in London. When she meets phonetics professor Henry Higgins, he makes a bet that he can get her to pass for a high-class lady by improving her speech. In my opinion, this play is worth reading for the last act alone. In Roman mythology (as told by Ovid), Pygmalion is a king and sculptor who creates a statue of a woman who is so beautiful that he falls in love with it. The goddess Venus decides to make the statue come alive.

  • Publish Date: 1912
  • Length: 122 pages / 2 hours 38 minutes
  • Genre: Dramas & Plays
Core Christianity by Michael Horton

Core Christianity by Michael Horton (2016)

As soon as I finished reading this book, I started it over again. That’s how much I liked it. This is the perfect book to give to a new Christian or to anyone who feels like they need a refresher course on Christian doctrine. While Horton is a theologian and seminary professor, he writes in a very approachable way without dumbing down the content. This book explores topics such as the Trinity, the atonement, the gospel, end times, and who God is. One part I found especially helpful is when he summarizes the Bible. Sometimes, figuring out exactly how the Bible all fits together can be confusing. He makes it very understandable.

  • Publish Date: 2016
  • Length: 192 pages / 5 hours 4 minutes
  • Genre: Christian theology

What did you read in February? I would love to hear about it!

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  1. What a good idea to listen to Pygmilion on audiobook since it was made into a play. I love the Audrey Hepburn version of My Fair Lady, so I have had this book on my TBR but haven’t gotten to it. I definitely need to soon. I didn’t know about the Greek mythology link, so I am intrigued even more! Linking my recent reads, if interested!

    1. Thank you so much! I read and enjoyed The Christmas Bookshop. I’ve read one book by Gene Stratton-Porter (The Secret Life of Bees) that I loved, and I definitely need to read more!

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