Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

Moms have precious little time for reading, so when we select something to read, it should be worth our time. If you’re looking for a few suggestions, Mumbling Mommy can help. Here’s what we’ve read recently.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I spotted this novel on a reading list in the periodical, The Week, and decided to give it a read. Dodie Smith also penned One Hundred and One Dalmations, but you’d never guess it because the story genres are so different. Smith does a fantastic job of creating the setting, introducing readers to an impoverished, quirky family living in 1930s England in a rundown castle. The story focuses on two sisters and their blossoming love lives, and it starts beautifully with colorful, witty characters. Halfway through, the story unfortunately devolves into an angsty love triangle (or rectangle?). The book had great potential but left me feeling a little disappointed. It’s still worth a read if you’re a fan of anything British.

Abigail Adams: A Life by Woody Holton. I’ve been slowly reading through this lengthy biography for more than a year now, after receiving it as a Christmas gift from my history teacher husband. Not only was Abigail Adams the wife of the second president of the United States; she also advocated for education and more opportunities for women. She was a bright woman who took an active role with her family and managed domestic matters well, which is why my husband has fondly compared me to her. Our second daughter also shares Abigail’s name.

Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices by Leonard S. Marcus. This biography came recommended by fellow blogger Elizabeth. It’s a collection of interviews with people who knew the late children’s author Madeleine L’Engle, most famous for her book A Wrinkle in Time. We hear from Madeleine’s relatives, colleagues in the publishing world, and friends, and they all paint a complex and very human portrait of a highly esteemed writer.

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. I’m a huge fan of the Disney movie Mary Poppins, and so is my 5-year-old daughter, so I decided to read the book. It’s the first of several Mary Poppins books published over a wide span of years. It’s eccentric and charming but very different from the movie, and this is one of the few instances where I believe the movie is actually better than the book.

God’s Politics: What the Right Gets Wrong and What the Left Doesn’t Get by Jim Wallis. I’ve started following Sojourners magazine and enjoy their fresh take on what it means to be an evangelical Christian in today’s world. This book examines how faith is incorporated into politics and addresses some of my concerns. It’s outdated, as it talks a lot about the 2004 presidential election. Wallis’ latest book was released this month and is titled On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good. I just requested it from our public library and look forward to reading his updated perspective.

Heather C.

Getting the Sex You Want: Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together by Tammy Nelson. I blogged about this one on Mumbling Mommy a while back. It’s a favorite and really helps to have a weekly date with hubby to go over and re visit exercises.

Have a New Husband by Friday: How to Change His Attitude, Behavior and Communication in 5 Days by Dr. Kevin Leman. The title does not paint a pretty picture. I do not want a new husband, but I love Kevin Leman’s work. The book discusses the differences in how men’s minds works versus women’s. It focuses on how WE should approach things differently to get loved in return the way we desire.It’s a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths About Life in Your Twenties by Emily Franklin. I just started this one at the recommendation of Mommy in training over at amateurparenting.com. I haven’t gotten far enough in to give a good review, but since I’m right at my own “quarter life crisis” it seems like a fitting read.


Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge. During my training as a CASA volunteer (Court Appointed Special Advocate), this book was recommended. The personal memoir of Andrew Bridge’s  journey through the foster child system was one of the catalysts for more oversight into the system, as well as a “wake-up call” regarding these children “lost” in the system … sometimes for years. Mr. Bridge shares some of the dark moments of his youth without malice…he simply tells his story. Be prepared to shed some tears here and there. Mr. Bridge always hoped for his mother’s return.  Even as a child, he realized that mom loved him, but had some issues.  Andrew’s salvation came via the public school system. He had been labeled with possible learning issues.  He wore hand me down clothes, and often came to school hungry. He notes a specific teacher who had compassion on him. Due to a couple of “mentors” in his life, he saw his potential. The book is inspirational in regards to seeing a true story of someone come from nothing to accomplish great things. And, is an inspirational reminder to each reader that we may be able to change a life simply by validating a child.


The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. This philosophical novel takes place during the Prague Spring of 1968. Now I am no history buff, but I very much enjoyed this story that explores the meaning of life, sexual versus non-sexual love and historical events through the lives of four characters. The title makes it sound very deep and convoluted, but the story is very easy to read.News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel García Márquez. Written by the Pulitzer-prize winning author of Love in the Time of Cholera (also an amazing read), this real-life story retold by Márquez covers several kidnappings in the early 1990s by Colombian drug cartel led by Pablo Escobar. The kidnappings are intended to send a message to politicians in support of anti-drug legislation, though the people kidnapped are not necessarily related to the topic in any way. There is some mild violence, but Márquez gently pays tribute to those events in a non-gratuitous way.

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. I read this young adult book as part of a study-guide assignment and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The 1999 book is already considered a classic piece of Chicano literature and discusses spirituality, good versus evil and coming-of-age issues. If you have preteens or young teens, I highly recommend this as a book to read together.


Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust: True Stories of Survival From Men, Women, and Children Who Were There by Lyn Smith.  It is a very powerful, moving heart-wrenching story that spans the time from pre-invasion to post liberation.  This is a heavy read, and you will need a box of tissues, but the impact is well worth the tears.

Heather Novak:

Cheat on Your Husband (with Your Husband): How to Date Your Spouse by Andrea Syrtash. Marriage to even the best of mates ebbs and flows in its wonder and challenges. I jumped at the chance (actually requested) this book to review on my blog. I have no desire to cheat on my husband, but as a formerly wanton woman in my younger days, I would like to recapture some of that and bring it along into my marriage. Being a mother is so great and so draining at the same time. This book reminded me that I am a wife too — and a sexy one at that.

Vegan Indian Cooking by Anupy Singla. If you love eating and cooking or haven’t eaten or cooked Indian food before, this is your cookbook! It was well explained from history to process to final recipes. The food is delicious in the way a restaurant cannot touch. As my husband said, “This is good. It is REALLY good. And it isn’t overpowering like some Indian food we’ve eaten.” For those of you who know my hubs isn’t exactly a rah rah kind of fellow, this is HIGH praise. I recommend Baked, Spiced Tofu, Spiced Crumbles with Peas (Mock Keema) and Mushrooms in Cream Sauce.

Have you read anything good lately? Comment and let us know!

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Category: Book Reviews

Tags: Andrew Bridge