Spell the Month in Books is a linkup hosted here on Reviews From the Stacks on the second Saturday of each month. The goal, inspired by a hashtag I first encountered on Instagram, is to spell the current month with the first letter of book titles, excluding articles such as ‘the’ and ‘a’ as needed. That’s all there is to it! Some months there are optional theme challenges, such as “books with an orange cover” or books of a particular genre, but for the most part, any book you want to use is fair game!
To participate, simply make a post, comment, or picture of the books you choose. They can be books you physically own or simply titles you have come across. Most of the time I create a virtual bookstack from titles on my Goodreads shelves. If you make a list, please share a link to your post in the comments so that I and other participants can see! There is also a Spell the Month in Books button which you can use in your posts. To use it, copy the code from the box below my list and paste it into your blog editor in HTML mode (for WordPress users, insert a “Custom HTML” block and paste the code there).
No theme this month.
A – All These Lives by Sarah Wylie
YA Light Fantasy Fiction; Published 2012
Sixteen-year-old Dani is convinced she has nine lives. As a child she twice walked away from situations where she should have died. But Dani’s twin, Jena, isn’t so lucky. She has cancer and might not even be able to keep her one life. Dani’s father is in denial. Her mother is trying to hold it together and prove everything’s normal. And Jena is wasting away. To cope, Dani sets out to rid herself of all her extra lives. Maybe they’ll be released into the universe and someone who wants to live more than she does will get one. Someone like Jena. But just when Dani finds herself at the breaking point, she’s faced with a startling realization. Maybe she doesn’t have nine lives after all. Maybe she really only ever had one.
I wrote a review of this book years ago on my previous book blog; you can read it here!
U – Uncomfortable by Brett McCracken
Nonfiction; Published 2017
It’s easy to dream about the “perfect” church–a church that sings just the right songs set to just the right music before the pastor preaches just the right sermon to a room filled with just the right mix of people who happen to agree with you on just about everything. Chances are your church doesn’t quite look like that. But what if instead of searching for a church that makes us comfortable, we learned to love our church, even when it’s challenging? What if some of the discomfort that we often experience is actually good for us?
This book is a call to embrace the uncomfortable aspects of Christian community, whether that means believing difficult truths, pursuing difficult holiness, or loving difficult people–all for the sake of the gospel, God’s glory, and our joy.
I don’t agree with everything in this book, but it was good to read and engage with it.
G – Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Magical Realism; Published 2007
The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.
A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants—from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys—except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.
When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down—along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy—if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom—or with each other.
Usually, I do not enjoy books involving magic. Sarah Addison Allen’s books are the exception. This was her debut, and with her tenth book coming out late this month, this is a perfect time to highlight it!
U – Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
YA Science Fiction; Published 2005
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. In just a few weeks she’ll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she’ll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.
But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world—and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally’s choice will change her world forever….
S – Summer According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney
Contemporary Juvenile Fiction; Published 2009
In his sixth adventure, Humphrey heads off for the great outdoors. When Humphrey hears that school is ending, he panics. School ends? What’s a classroom hamster to do if he’s not in school? But as it turns out, there’s something thrilling in store for Humphrey and Og the frog: going to Camp Happy Hollow with Ms. Mac and lots of the kids from Room 26! Camper Humphrey meets a friendly wild mouse, tracks down Og when he gets lost by the lake, and uses his wily charm to help kids adjust to cabin life and make new friends.
T – There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones
YA Contemporary Fiction; Published 2011
Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen year old. She’s witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming interview at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother, Will. She decides to study abroad in Ireland so she can follow Will’s travel journal. It’s the place he felt closest to God, and she’s hopeful being there will help her make peace over losing him. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane.
Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She’s the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help as a tour guide. Once in Ireland, Finley starts to break down. The loss of her brother and the pressure of school, her audition, and whatever it is that is happening between her and Beckett, leads her to a new and dangerous vice. When is God going to show up for her in this emerald paradise?
Then she experiences something that radically changes her perspective on life. Could it be God convincing her that everything she’s been looking for has been with her all along?
Grab the Spell the Month in Books Button for Your Post
<div style='width:100%;text-align:center;'><span style='margin:5px;padding:5px;border-radius: 5px;border:1px solid lightgrey;display:inline-block;'><a rel=_nofollow href='https://reviewsfromthestacks.wordpress.com/tag/spellthemonthinbooks/'> <img style='border: 1px solid gray;width:250px;height:250px;' src='https://reviewsfromthestacks.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/spell-the-month-in-books.jpg'> <p style='align: center;'>Reviews From the Stacks</p></a></span>Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML
Upcoming Theme Challenges:
September 10: Space; books about exploring outer space, stars, science fiction set on different planets, etc. Anything that connects to space in any way.
October: Reformation Day; books that changed or solidified how you thought about something (anything) or that reflect your theology. Or, books about second chances, rebuilding, reconciliation, anything of that nature.
November: Nonfiction; books that are true
I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Reader! I’m off to change the oil in my car, and tonight I am going to a luau-themed mystery dinner with my church ladies group. I’ve never been to anything like this before, but it sounds like fun! Have you ever attended (or hosted!) a mystery dinner? If so, what was your theme, and how did it go?
Thank you for joining in this month’s Spell the Month in Books! The next linkup is set for September 10, 2022.
Until the next chapter,