Winter Reading Season

December 18, 2018

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR and…

A Month of Favorites TwithTand with Traveling With T (and Girlxoxo and Estella’s Revenge) for A Month Of Faves: Winter Reading.  If you’ve clicked over from Artsy Reader Girl or Traveling With T, Welcome! I hope you enjoy your visit.

winter reading 2

Winter TBR

snowmen

(The last five are ARCs)

leadership in turbulent times

Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It’s the selection for my IRL book club and my hubs wants to read it too.
Genre: Non Fiction, Biography, History, U.S. Presidents

snowmen

84 Charing Cross Road

Duchess of Bloomsbury Street

84, Charing Cross Road and its sequel The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff (I’m committed to following through with 84, Charing Cross Road so I don’t embarrass myself by putting it on yet another TBR).
Genre: Non Fiction, Books About Books, Memoir

snowmen

Front Desk

Front Desk by Kelly Yang is a Middle Grade Selection and is a diverse read. (I love great MG fiction for a nice change of pace!)
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Middle Grade

snowmen

Lost Man

The Lost Man by Jane Harper (author of The Dry and Force of Nature. I’m counting on this being a solid mystery read.
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery

snowmen

The following are all ARCS (advanced readers copies) that I’ll be reading during the winter….listed in order of release date…..only one releases in winter….three release in spring and one in the summer. Reviews will be written close to publication dates. Titles are affiliate Amazon links where you can find more information.

Learning to See

Learning to See by Elise Hooper (author of The Other Alcott)
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical, Photography

snowmen

The Beautiful Strangers

The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio (author of The Way of Beauty)
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction

snowmen

Last Year of the War

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner (author of As Bright as Heaven)
Publication Date: March 19, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction

snowmen

Lost Roses

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly (author of Lilac Girls) …. prequel to the Lilac Girls and is the story of Caroline’s mother
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction

snowmen

Things You Save In a Fire

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center (author of How to Walk Away)
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Genre: Fiction, Chick Lit (we’ll see how this goes!), Romance

winter reading
That’s TEN. Of course I’ll get distracted by other reads, too!


Happy Reading Book Worms

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

Friday, I’ll post my review of Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed. Isn’t the cover striking?! This is a Middle Grade historical fiction selection and a diverse read.



Links

Check Out My Gift Ideas For the Readers on Your Holiday Shopping List!

“Everyone Gets a Book!”

gift stack of books

In movie news….

Reese Witherspoon to produce “Where the Crawdads Sing”!



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



Reading Challenges: Thinking Ahead to 2019

Have you ever considered a reading challenge? Here are the reading challenges I’m considering for the 2019 reading year. The first three are wonderful challenges for any reader. The last one is geared toward reviewers who are members of NetGalley or Edelweiss.

Modern Mrs Darcy 2019 Reading Challenge (very broad, doable categories that might provide some stretch in your reading life)

Goodreads Reading Challenge (determine how many books you’d like to read and track them through the Goodreads app)….the 2019 challenge will be available at the first of the year. Are we friends on Goodreads?

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge (especially great for bloggers and reviewers who want monthly link up opportunities)

NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge (link up opportunities for members of NetGalley and Edelweiss)



 Let’s Discuss

Please share what’s at the top of your winter TBR in comments!

Are you finding time to read in December?!

It’s time to start thinking about your best read of the year!



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

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Review: The Dreamers

December 14, 2018

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

the Dreamers 2

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian, YA

The Dreamers Summary:

Virus. A remote college town in the hills of drought stricken California sets the scene for this story and a strange illness/virus that causes its victims to fall asleep and experience vivid dreams. No one can wake the first college age victims and soon the virus spreads throughout the town, randomly affecting young and old alike. The town is quarantined and the National Guard is called in to enforce the quarantine and monitor supplies. The Dreamers is a story about the people affected and their reactions and actions.

My Thoughts:

Thanks #netgalley and #randomhouse for my free copy of #thedreamers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Dreams. Have you ever had a dream that was so real that you had difficulty orienting yourself to a wakeful state? Have you ever pondered the meaning of your dreams? Have you attempted to make sense of your dreams? Do you think dreams can predict the future? Or have you wondered about the passage of time while you sleep? Have you even been asleep briefly but had a dream that seemed to last a long time? Have you experienced dreams about people who are no longer alive?

Unique. The Dreamers came to me at exactly the right time. Usually science fiction is a genre I’m tempted to pass over. Yet, I’m thrilled I took a chance on reading The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker. Even though I don’t read a lot of science fiction, I became intrigued by several reviews of The Dreamers from respected reviewers on Instagram, Goodreads, and in blog posts and I was very much in the mood for something different. Once I noticed this title, I knew I had to see for myself! I hope you, too, will give this unique story a chance.

Not Too Weird. Because I don’t typically read science fiction, I truly appreciate the mild nature of this character driven story. There’s nothing too weird, grotesque, or frightening. The strange illness that causes victims to suddenly fall into a deep sleep from which they cannot be awakened strikes young and old alike and at random. Some victims sleep longer than others and as the epidemic spreads from the college students and throughout the town, it’s a challenge to keep all the patients alive under quarantine conditions. As victims wake up, they report having vivid and realistic dreams and a few struggle with the meaning of the dreams and have difficulty adjusting to life outside of the dream state. The virus disappears as mysteriously as it appears. the prose is lovely, and the story told from multiple points of view is a quick read, engaging, bittersweet, and thought provoking.

Sleep. The Dreamers causes you to think about your own crazy dreams and about how you and your city would react in any crisis. Considering the dire circumstances, it’s a fairly gentle read as the college students and the town’s residents succumb to the most routine and ordinary part of a typical day….falling asleep. The eerie part is that they might fall asleep while mowing the lawn, making dinner, or walking the dog. For a few nights after finishing the story, I certainly thought about closing my eyes as I lay on the sofa or as I fell asleep for the night. If you have difficulty sleeping or experience troubling dreams, this might need a trigger warning. The story is like an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Recommended. The Dreamers is a heartwarming story of community, individual survival, and neighbor helping neighbor. I highly recommend this story for readers who are looking for something a little different, for those who enjoy a mild science fiction selection with a touch of psychology and philosophy, and for fans of beautiful writing and a compelling story line. It would make a great vacation read, buddy read, or book club selection. I was left with a few unanswered questions though as the cause of the virus and the recovery are never fully explained.

Pub Date: 1/15/2019

My Rating: 4 Stars

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The Dreamers

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Karen Thompson Walker

Karen Thompson WalkerKaren Thompson Walker is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Age of Miracles, which has been translated into twenty-seven languages and named one of the best books of the year by Amazon, People, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Financial Times, among others. Born and raised in San Diego, Walker is a graduate of UCLA and the Columbia MFA program. She lives with her husband, the novelist Casey Walker, and their two daughters in Portland. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Oregon. Her second novel, The Dreamers, will be published in January 2019.



Happy Reading Book Worms

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

Next week, I’ll post my review of Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed. Isn’t the cover striking?! This is a Middle Grade historical fiction selection and a diverse read.



My Fall TBR

I FINISHED ALL the books on my Fall TBR list! Usually I can’t get to every book on my list, so I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment. My winter TBR will post on December 21.



Links

Check Out My Gift Ideas For the Readers on Your Holiday Shopping List!

“Everyone Gets a Book!”

gift stack of books

In movie news….

Reese Witherspoon to produce “Where the Crawdads Sing”!



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



Reading Challenges: Thinking Ahead to 2019

Have you ever considered a reading challenge? Here are the reading challenges I’m considering for the 2019 reading year. The first three are wonderful challenges for any reader. The last one is geared toward reviewers who are members of NetGalley or Edelweiss.

Modern Mrs Darcy 2019 Reading Challenge (very broad, doable categories that might provide some stretch in your reading life)

Goodreads Reading Challenge (determine how many books you’d like to read and track them through the Goodreads app)….the link is to my 2018 challenge….the 2019 challenge will be available at the first of the year.

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge (especially great for bloggers and reviewers who want monthly link up opportunities)

NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge (link up opportunities for members of NetGalley and Edelweiss)



 Let’s Discuss

Do you like books that are outside your typical genres? Do you enjoy science fiction?

Are you finding time to read in December?!

It’s time to start thinking about your best read of the year!



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Review: Dear Mrs. Bird

December 8, 2018

Dear Mrs. Bird by A J Pearce

Dear Mrs Bird 2

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11

Summary:

Emmy Lake has two goals: to be useful in the war and to become a war correspondent.

Quite a Character. Emmy Lake is an adventurous and highly spirited young woman who accidentally becomes an assistant to Mrs. Bird, a well-known advice columnist for a women’s magazine. Emmy is also helping the war effort by volunteering three evenings a week as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. Her greatest dream is to become a war correspondent, and she hopes that her day job at the magazine will lead to an opportunity with the newspaper. As she devotes all her effort to writing and answering phones and helping to plan her best friend’s wedding, the bombs continue to fall and cause damage in their neighborhood. Emmy faces ethical dilemmas at work and after one especially devastating bomb drop, her friendship with her dear best friend, Bunty, also seems beyond repair. Will Emmy’s strengths and her impulsiveness be the cause of her greatest failures?

Early Amazon rating (December): 4.2 Stars

My Thoughts:

Light Hearted. Dear Mrs. Bird is a quick read and has quite a lighthearted tone for WW11 historical fiction. It has an old-fashioned vibe and uses the language of the time period effectively to enhance sense of place. Even though the tone is light, the realities of war are not avoided. Emmy is a delightful and capable young woman filled with spunk and an enthusiastic spirit. She approaches every problem and dilemma with a great deal of optimism and impulsiveness. In fact, she comes across as too cavalier sometimes and it kept me from forming a strong connection with the character. Emmy, though, has the best intentions, is willing to take risks to do the right thing, is a hard worker, idealistic, and a loyal, encouraging, and supportive friend.

Editing Choices. This falls under personal preference….one aspect of the book that is bothersome to me is the frequent use of capitalization to emphasize Certain Words or Phrases and inconsistent punctuation of dialogue. Once I notice strong stylistic elements like this, I can’t overlook it and it begins to affect my reading experience. It’s not necessarily negative, just distracting.

Plot. Dear Mrs. Bird is a page turner, and I was engaged by wondering what Emmy would do next, if they would be safe, how her actions at work would play out, and if the friendship could be saved. Although not necessarily a HEA (happily ever after) which for me saves it from the chick lit category, problems are neatly resolved and it’s inferred that the future might be bright.

Recommended for historical fiction fans that are looking for a ‘lighter’ read featuring a spunky, persistent, and independent woman. This would be an interesting book club selection and could be an appropriate gift for a woman on your holiday shopping list: a mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, or best friend. I think it’s an overall enjoyable and solid read.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

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Dear Mrs Bird

Buy Here

Meet the Author, A J Pearce

A J Pearce

 

AJ Pearce grew up in Hampshire and studied at the University of Sussex. A chance discovery of a 1939 woman’s magazine became the inspiration for her ever-growing collection and her first novel Dear Mrs Bird. She now lives in the south of England.

 



Happy Reading Book Worms

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

Next week, I’ll post my review of The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (releasing in January). Very different from my usual reads!



My Fall TBR

I FINISHED ALL the books on my Fall TBR list! Usually I can’t get to every book on my list, so I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment. My winter TBR will post on December 21.



Links

Check Out My Gift Ideas For the Readers on Your Holiday Shopping List!

“Everyone Gets a Book!”

gift stack of books

In movie news….

Reese Witherspoon to produce “Where the Crawdads Sing”!



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



 Let’s Discuss

Do you like books that are written with a lighter tone for a change of pace?

Are you finding time to read in December?!



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Blogs and Podcasts

December 11, 2018

For this post, I’m linking up with two great memes. One is That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday

…and the second is with Traveling With T: A Month of Faves: The Blogger Love Edition. I have a huge list of favorite bloggers, but for this post I couldn’t possibly mention everyone. I’ve decided to divide the list into bloggers and podcasters.

If you’ve popped over from Traveling With T or That Artsy Reader Girl, Welcome!

A Month of Favorites TwithT

 

My Favorite Blogs and Podcasts

Blogs-Podcasts

Blogs

The Thankful Heart

Visiting The Thankful Heart is always a lovely treat that’s filled with reflection, love of family, books, and recipes. Rhonda at The Thankful Heart embraces a spirit of thankfulness all year long.

Modern Mrs. Darcy

Always high quality and consistent bookish recommendation, this is one of my major resources for my best reads. MMD AKA Anne Bogel has also created an online Book Club ($10/month) and it’s a wonderful bookish community.

The Ardent Biblio

A lovely literary lifestyle blog filled with great book recommendations, links, and inspiring ideas for literary dinner parties. Michaela and Rikki offer excellence in content, blog design, and photography. I love to stop in and “look.”

The Lexington Bookie and Jennifer Tar Heel Reader

Amanda and Jennifer always writes quality and comprehensive book reviews and we share many of the same favorites.  I’ve listed them together here because they are both also super encouraging and supportive which has been important in my journey as a fairly new blogger. They represents a younger generation of readers than mine and it’s encouraging to know that the love of reading will continue for generations to come.

Traveling With T and That Artsy Reader Girl

Of course, I am pleased to include the hosts of  today’s memes where you will find an abundance of book reviews. Also, I greatly appreciate their support of the blogging community in providing opportunities like this for link ups.

Podcasts

I find that I need to limit my podcast intake or it seriously cuts into my reading time! Out of the many great podcasts, these are the ones that I’ve recently been listening to the most often (the first two are my “must listens”):

Fron the Front Porch Logo

From the Front Porch

I never miss an episode of From the Front Porch which features southern charm and the delightful bookish and lifestyle chatter of Annie and Chris. In fact, sometimes if I want to relax and not read, I will listen to a back episode. It’s a must listen every Thursday.

What Should I Read Next Logo

What Should I Read Next

This is a podcast from Modern Mrs. Darcy in which the guests tell her three books they love and one book they hate and she suggests three new reads for them. I always gain great reading ideas from this podcast and it’s a must listen every Tuesday.

Reading Women Logo

Reading Women

This podcast focuses on literary fiction and stretches my horizon as I hear about books that are not always making the best seller lists but might be winning other literary awards. I listen often and enjoy the hosts.

Popcast Logo

The Popcast

OK….. this podcast isn’t often literary but it’s my attempt to keep up with pop culture as explained by Jamie and Knox. It’s always entertaining! I listen to selected episodes based on the episode descriptions that sound appealing.

Sorta Awesome Logo

Sorta Awesome

This is another podcast that helps me keep up to date with pop culture, especially related to women’s issues. Some episodes are more interesting to me than others, so I pick and choose. The hosts also include occasional book reviews.



What are your favorite blogs and podcasts?


Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

This weekend, I’ll post my regular weekly review. I’ve read two books this week: Dear Mrs. Bird by A J Pearce and  The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (releasing in January). Both are interesting and very different from my usual reads. Dear Mrs. Bird will be reviewed on Friday 12/7, then The Dreamers on Friday 12/14.

 



My Fall TBR

I FINISHED ALL the books on my Fall TBR list! Usually I can’t get to every book on my list, so I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment. My winter TBR will post on December 21.



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



 Let’s Discuss

Please share some of your favorite blogs and podcasts in comments.



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Goodreads Monday

December 3, 2018

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners and highlights a book from your Goodreads TBR that you’re looking forward to reading. I think this will be an excellent opportunity to motivate myself to read something that’s been on my Goodreads shelf for a long time. I currently have 105 books on my To Read shelf!

For Goodreads Monday, I’m chosing 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff from my TBR shelf. I placed it on my Goodreads shelf in August of 2017 (although it has been on my mental TBR list for years before that). I also placed it on my 2017 Spring TBR list, so it’s not like I’ve forgotten about it.

84 Charing Cross Road

Summary:

Published in 1970, 84, Charing Cross Road is a charming, classic love story. The book consists of correspondence between Helene Hanff, a freelance writer living in New York City, and a used book dealer in London. Although they never meet, they develop a warm friendship based on their common love for books. For many readers who love books about books, this story is a sentimental favorite.

Why did I put this book on my TBR shelf?

Why haven’t I read it yet?

  • Last spring I tried to obtain the e book online through Amazon. I guess because it’s an older title, it’s not available for Kindle. Since I am in the process of minimizing the amount of physical books I own, I didn’t want to purchase a hard copy and planned to get it through the library.
  • I went to the library and they didn’t have it in circulation. I knew I could probably have it sent to the branch but I was in a hurry that day and decided to come back (That didn’t work out so well because I obtain all my library books digitally through Overdrive/Libby and don’t actually visit the physical library.)
  • I went to Barnes and Noble to purchase a gift for someone and remembered that I wanted to look for this book, but they didn’t have it in stock. They offered to get it in but I hesitated because I still feel conflicted about buying physical books since I’ve converted exclusively to Kindle.
  • I am greatly distracted by new releases!
  • That’s my sad story of why this book is languishing on my TBR shelf!

Action Plan

  • Go back to the library and wait for it to be sent to my branch.
  • Break down and buy a physical copy. I think that if I buy a copy I could do a giveaway here!


So, now I’m accountable to YOU, dear reader!

By the way, are we friends on Goodreads ?



Looking Ahead:

My library hold of Dear Mrs. Bird came in, so I hope to have that review ready Friday.



Let’s Discuss:

Please let me know in comments if you’ve read 84, Charing Cross Road.

Which book have you had on your TBR list for the longest?



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Everyone Gets a Book!

December 1, 2018

Give a Book as a Holiday Gift!

gift stack of books

As you plan your holiday gift giving, you might be looking for book recommendations. Check out some suggestions below!

All of these are recent releases (most this year, some last year). All titles are Amazon affiliate links. Many of these books have been reviewed on the blog and can be found by checking the A-Z Index.

For Dad or Grandpa

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin (baseball memoir, Boston Red Sox fan)

Grant; Washington: A Life; or Alexander Hamilton (all) by Ron Chernow (narrative nonfiction biographies)

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (social justice)

News of the World by Paulette Jiles (histfic, western)

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (sports, hockey, intense issues, community, family)

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman (poignant, reflective, meaning of life, novella)

For Mom or Grandma

(also see recommendations in the Girlfriend’s category below)

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (family dynamics, *my favorite read of the year*)

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (WW1 histfic, epistolary format, *a favorite of the year*)

Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbably Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis by Patti Callahan (histfic, biographical, romance)

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (WW11, histfic, themes of survival, family, and faith, *a favorite of the year*)

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon (WW11, histfic, survival, romance, *a favorite of the year*)

Force of Nature by Jane Harper (detective, mystery, Australia, #2 in a series but can be read as a stand alone)

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (histfic, biographical, *a favorite of the year*)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (fable)

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner (histfic, Spanish Flu)

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (histfic, 1920s India)

The Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (contemporary fiction, Japan)

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom (magical realism, music, a favorite author)

For a Bookworm

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Ann Bogel (essays on the reading life)

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry ( beach read, romance, chick lit)

For Middle Grade Children

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo (found family)

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (homelessness, imaginary friend)

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate (tolerance)

The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won (both) by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (histfic)

Refugee by Alan Gratz (mature Middle Grade histfic, refugees, adults will enjoy too)

Wild Robot (series) by Peter Brown (younger Middle Grade science fiction)

Edited to add: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (as highly recommended by Aimee in coments!)

See this post for more ideas

For Young Adult (or adult)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (racial injustice, black lives matter)

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe (histfic, WW11)

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (histfic, magical realism, mythology, folk tales, coming of age)

House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Liz Rosenberg (narrative nonfiction, biography, targeted for MG but I recommend for YA 14+ and adults)

See more Middle Grade and Young Adult suggestions in this post.

For a Girl Friend

(also see suggestions in the Mom or Grandma category above)

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (contemporary fiction, against the odds, *trigger: child abandonment)

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (science fiction, time travel, *trigger: high risk birth, adoption)

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor (histfic, brave and independent women)

Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Leaning to Say by Kelly Corrigan (humor, memoir,*trigger: cancer)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (contemporary fiction, African American)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (histfic, WW11, romance)

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (histfic, magical realism, mythology, folk tales, coming of age)

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos (beach read, chick lit, #3 in a series but can be read as a stand alone)

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (histfic, Alaska, family dynamics *trigger: domestic violence)

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry ( beach read, romance, chick lit)

The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (adoption)

House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Liz Rosenberg (narrative nonfiction, biography, targeted for mature middle grade but recommended for 14+ and easily enjoyed by adults)

Spiritual

The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You by Shannan Martin (reflection, hospitality, Christian issues, family, social justice, memoir)

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist (Christian living, spiritual growth, women’s issues, for fans of Bread and Wine and Savor)



I hope you have found some useful suggestions. These are some of the books that I can personally and wholeheartedly recommend. Please share in comments if you found a gift on this list or have a recommendation or question.




Tech Support for Your Book Worm!

Kindle Paper White $79.99

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Newest Version of Kindle Paper White $129.99


gift stack of books



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

I think I’ll review an ARC (advanced reader copy) of a book I’m reading this week. It’s interesting and different, and I think it’s one that you might consider for your Winter TBR (releasing in January).

The Dreamers



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often! I have only one more book to read and review, and my library hold of the book is due to come in any day. So I’ll be finished with my Fall TBR soon!



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



 Let’s Discuss

Are books on your holiday shopping list?

Do you have any favorite books that you like to give as gifts?



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Review: Kingdom of the Blind

November 30, 2018

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

Kingdom of the Blind 2

Genre/Categories: Mystery, Detective, Crime Fiction, Canada

Summary:

In this recent installment of the Chief Inspector Gamache series, Armand Gamache remains suspended from the Surete du Quebec, but this doesn’t stop him from searching for a murderer, serving as liquidator for a mysterious woman’s will, and hunting for missing drugs (an unresolved story line from the previous book). All the usual characters return and a few new ones are introduced. Three Pines retains its reputation and status as a safe sanctuary and caring community.

My Thoughts

First Thoughts. I’ve waited all year for this highly anticipated release. At first, we were not sure there would be a new installment as Louise Penny suffered the loss of her dear husband. However she surprised publishers and fans by writing in spite of her grief and found joy in the process. Part of the reason writing this installment was difficult is because she based the Chief Inspector Gamache character on her husband. In fact, she was quoted as saying that she created Armand Gamache as someone she could be married to because she knew she’d be spending many years with him.

Even though the plot is complex and the characters well drawn and the sense of place vividly described, this will not rank as among my favorites of the series. Last year’s was a stand out and I rounded up my 4.5 rating to 5 Stars on Goodreads. This story didn’t quite hit that high mark. For me, the difference between a four and a five is the emotional engagement factor. Last year’s had that for me and this year’s did not. Although, it is a solid and recommendable read…especially for fans of the series.

compelling character

For November’s Most Compelling Character, I’ve chosen Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. He’s one of my favorite characters from all my reading in the past several years and certainly a favorite from this month.

“Chief Inspector Lacoste regarded the steady man [Gamache] in front of her, who believed everyone could be saved. Believed he could save them. It was both his saving grace and his blind spot.”

Above all, he’s a kind and compassionate person, always looking out for the vulnerable and watching out for the innocent and unprotected. We empathize with Gamache and his desperation to find the lethal drugs that went missing at the end of the last story. We realize that he is tortured with the thoughts of the damage it will inflict on the community and will take desperate measures to secure the drugs. In addition, we appreciate his frustration and disappointment as he lives with his suspension. As we read the story, we admire Gamache for his brilliance and courage.

Symbolism. In addition to the memorable and honorable Chief Inspector Gamache character, I love the community of Three Pines and the symbolism as a place of safety, solace, and comfort. A place where vulnerable, troubled, and hurting souls are cared for, comforted, kept warm, and fed.

Observation. What intrigued me in the story was the clear juxtaposition of the two streets: the street that housed the financial institutions and the indirect comparison with the street where the poverty stricken, prostitutes, and drug dealers lived. So close to one another but worlds apart.

Plot. Louise Penny is a masterful story teller and pulls readers quickly into the story. Although the middle bogged down a bit, the ending was tension filled and contained a couple of plot twists (one of which I predicted). What I admire the most about the author is her ability to balance a character driven story with a plot driven story. Whereas most stories can be defined as either character driven or plot drive, this series is both. To me, these are the best reads and explains why the series has enjoyed overall popularity and success. There’s a plot twist at the end that left me speculating about the continuation of the series (although the author has given no reason to suspect that this will conclude the series).

For an overview of the series and a review of last year’s release, see this post.

Rating. What kept me from awarding Kingdom of the Blind a full five stars? Partly this is personal preference as I was less than fully engaged with the financial story line. I found myself skimming through the sections that involved detailed discussions of tracking the money. Also, I thought the dialogue was a bit stiff in places and the interactions and conversations seemed a bit repetitive or rehashed from past stories. Finally, I didn’t think the two story lines meshed together well because they were very different with little connections between them. It was almost like two separate books.

Recommended. Kingdom of the Blind is definitely recommended for fans of the series, and for readers who enjoy stories with a moral and kind main character, and for those who appreciate mostly gentle mysteries and detective stories (minimal profanity, some tension but usually no graphic violence). *I recommend reading the series in order starting with Still Life. It is possible to read them as stand alones but richer when you have the full context and background. In my opinion, some stories are stronger than others and you can see my star ratings for each one on my goodreads account (books read shelf). Overall, the series is popular with many readers.

My Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

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Kingdom of the Blind

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Louise Penny

Click Here: CBS This Morning Interview With Louise Penny

Louise Penny LOUISE PENNY is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times) and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in a small village south of Montréal.

 



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

I’m working on a bookish Holiday Gift Guide….Coming soon!



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often! I have only one more book to read and I’m waiting for the library hold to come in. So I’ll be finished with my Fall TBR soon!



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



 Let’s Discuss

Are you a fan of the Chief Inspector Gamache series? If you’ve read some of the installments, which have been your favorites?



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

November Wrap Up

November 29, 2018

November Wrap Up

November Wrap Up

I read eight books this month, and there were some hits and misses. In these Wrap Up posts, it’s important to know that I’m not recommending all these books.

All titles are Amazon affiliate links and my reviews have been linked if available. My November reads are listed below in the order of my Star ratings:

* * * * * * * * * *

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny (#14)
4.5 Stars
Review available on the blog tomorrow.
For fans of cozy mystery/detective stories with good character development.

* * * * * * * * * *

House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Liz Rosenberg
(biography, my November Nonfiction read)
4 Stars
Full Review Here.
For fans of Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon.

* * * * * * * * * *

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman
ARC: Pub Date: 1/22/19
3 Stars
Goodreads Review Here.
For fans of WW11 Historical Fiction.

* * * * * * * * * *

The Colors of All the Cattle (#19 in the #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series)
by Alexander McCall Smith

3 Stars
Full Review Here.
For long time fans and for readers looking for a gentle, character driven, diverse read.

* * * * * * * * * *

Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen
3 Stars
Goodreads Review Here.
For fans of contemporary fiction with a bit of magical realism.

* * * * * * * * * *

The Children Act by Ian McEwan
3 Stars
Not Reviewed.
For fans of a character driven story (you may know Ian McEwan for Atonement).

* * * * * * * * * *

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir
2 Stars
Goodreads Review Here.
I almost didn’t finish this….but pressed on to see how the plot resolved. (others have loved it, but it wasn’t the right book for me)

* * * * * * * * * *

Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak
2 Stars
Goodreads Review Here.
This was close to a DNF for me. I ended up skimming a lot to see if it would get better and to give Zusak the benefit of the doubt. Not recommended. (too much profanity, obscure writing) Please read more reviews before making your reading choice.



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Links I Love

If you’ve read My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie and provide a review on social media or Amazon, you can fill out this form to receive FREE bonus content!

Have you seen The Hate U Give movie? Here’s the THUG trailer. 
I’ve read positive reviews with some saying it could be one of the best movies of the year. Of course, the movie is never as good as the book so don’t miss this important read.



Looking Ahead:

Tomorrow I’ll be back with my regular Friday review. This week’s review will be Louise Penny’s new release, Kingdom of the Blind.

Kingdom of the Blind



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often! I have only one more book to read and review after tomorrow’s post, and my library hold of the book is due to come in any day. So I’ll be finished with my Fall TBR soon!



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Today’s post represents my 100th post! I’m grateful for all the support! Thank you so much!


 Let’s Discuss

What did you read in November?

See any favorites?



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Review: House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery

November 23, 2018

“Words were her salvation, her business, and her hope.”

House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Liz Rosenberg

House of Dreams 2

Genre/Categories: Narrative Nonfiction, Biography, Middle Grade, Canada

Summary:

House of Dreams is the biography of L.M. Montgomery. Told in narrative style with a few illustrations, the story reveals the complex and troubled life of the well-known author of Anne of Green Gables. As well as exploring her lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression, the biography also details her childhood years and her love for books and writing. Through L.M. Montgomery’s own words, we are struck by her talent, perseverance, and hope.

Amazon (Early) Rating (November): 4.3 Stars

My Thoughts:

Target Audience. This is tricky discussion. Although House of Dreams is categorized as Middle Grade, I think that because of mature themes that it’s more suitable for YA and adults than children. I’m not suggesting that children should be shielded from the harsh realities of real life or the actual life of L.M. Montgomery, but I think the book might not appeal to children. Even though there’s a great deal to admire about L.M. Montgomery, it seems that middle grade readers might be bored with or even disturbed by discussions of an unhappy marriage, mental illness, feelings of despair, drug dependencies, and law suits. In my opinion, there seems to be a great deal of adult talk about adult issues in a children’s book. It’s a sad story and may discourage children (8-12) from reading Montgomery’s work.

I need to inject here that I appreciate today’s trend of writing about difficult topics that children might face within the context of children’s or young adult literature. A few examples are: Far From the Tree (adoption, foster care), Crenshaw (homelessness), The Hate U Give (racism, black lives matter), Stella by Starlight (racism, prejudice), Louisana’s Way Home (found family), Wishtree (diversity and tolerance), El Deafo (hearing challenged), Inside Out and Back Again (immigrant experience, bullying), Wonder (disabilities, acceptance, bullying), etc. Do you have titles to add to this list?

Realism or Happiness? For mature readers, there’s a great deal of inspiration to gain from the life of L.M. Montgomery and the double life she led. One life was the harsh reality of losing her mom as a toddler and having a loving father abandon her as a young girl. Even though she was placed with grandparents, they were strict and stern.  Her other life consisted of her passion for writing and her imagination, a happy place of escape and inspiration. Laura Ingalls Wilder also wrote happy stories for children which didn’t always reflect the reality of her life. Even Louisa May Alcott was pressured by publishers to write happy stories for children. It appears that this was the expectation of the time. Thus, the unhappiness of Montgomery’s actual life was treated with lightness and hope in her stories for children:

“Thank God, I can keep the shadows of my life out of my work,” she wrote. “I would not wish to darken any other life–I want instead to be a messenger of optimism and sunshine.”

Inspirational. The author often refers to Montgomery as “heart-hungry,” always searching for family, friendship, love, and belonging. The author notes: “Maud was honing her special genius–to make the most of any situation, and to find humor under the most trying circumstances. It was a gift she would pass along to her own young fictional heroines, and a resource that upheld her for years to come. She transformed her own history of abandonment into a story of love and rescue. Ann of Green Gables is a book about creating lasting family. It is a celebration of place, a story about belonging. No one but Maud Montgomery, with all her checkered history and heart-hungry longing, could have created it.”

Not only was her ability to rise above her childhood circumstances inspirational, her ability to navigate a man’s world is noteworthy. In dealing with her publisher, she stated, “They cannot bluff, bully, or cajole.” Even though she wasn’t given a fair contract, she ended up making quite a substantial amount of money for a woman at that time. This money gave her some power and resources to sue the publishing company and to support her family as her husband’s mental health declined. Despite suffering from depression herself, Montgomery was able to take charge of her family, make important decisions, and write prolifically until the very end. She rose above her suffering for a very long time and accomplished so much in the face of it.

In addition, I think her loyalty and unwavering commitment to her grandmother is noteworthy. Her grandmother made many sacrifices for L.M. Montgomery and took care of her the best she could. Montgomery, in turn, sacrificed some things to make sure her grandmother was taken care of at the end of her life. Even though Montgomery never received the love she craved as a child and was even abandoned by her own father, she didn’t use this as an excuse to abandon her grandmother. Her sense of duty and responsibility is admirable and inspiring. In the most difficult of circumstances, she always strived to do the right thing for her family.

Favorite Quote. “She kept a notebook and pen in her apron pocket for small literary ’emergencies.’ ”

I Wish. Throughout the story, I wished the author had included real life pictures of people and places. It would have enhanced the reading in my opinion.

Recommended. As indicated above, I recommend this well written biography for YA (14+) and Adult fans of L.M. Montgomery, for readers who appreciate narrative biographies, and for all who are looking for a story about a strong, independent woman facing difficult circumstances and creating her best life. I would recommend this for mature middle grade readers with some parent or teacher support.

Although well written, I’m giving this 3.5 stars because I feel like it missed its target audience.

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House of Dreams

Buy Here

Meet the Author, Liz Rosenberg

Liz RosenbergLiz Rosenberg is the author of 5 novels, 4 books of poems and more than 20 award winning books for children. She has edited five prize winning poetry anthologies (including THE INVISIBLE LADDER and LIGHT GATHERING POEMS) and her picture book, THE CAROUSEL was featured on PBS’ Reading Rainbow. TYRANNOSAURUS DAD (illustrated by Matthew Myers) is a Children’s Book of the Month Club bestseller and has garnered praise from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal and elsewhere, and was an Amazon top 10 children’s book. WHAT JAMES SAID, her newest children’s book, (ALSO ill. by Matthew Myers) is a Best Book for Social Studies. Her children’s book, MONSTER MAMA, is currently under option as a feature movie.

Her long-awaited first non-fiction book, HOUSE OF DREAMS, a biography of author L.M. Montgomery, (Anne of Green Gables) will be published June 2018. It is a Junior Library Guild Selection.

Her first novel for adults, HOME REPAIR was a Target Breakout book, a BookBub pick, and voted top ten for Book Clubs and Most Likely to be Next Oprah Pick on Goodreads. Her second, THE LAWS OF GRAVITY, has been a best-seller in the United States, Canada, Germany and the UK. and was a Jewish Book Network selection for 2013. The Boston Globe hailed it as “a thoughtful story about morality, personal responsibility, the law, and above all, the complicated, sometimes incomprehensible ties of family.”

THE MOONLIGHT PALACE was the #1 best-selling Kindle book on Amazon. It was chosen to be a Kindle First, and was a #1 best-seller in the US and UK. BEAUTY AND ATTENTION, published in fall, 2016, is an updated re-telling of Henry James’ classic, PORTRAIT OF A LADY.

Her newest novel is INDIGO HILL, due out in November, 2018. About INDIGO HILL, author John Dufresne writes, “Liz Rosenberg loves her characters and makes us love them, too. She knows what Faulkner knew, that the past isn’t dead; it isn’t even past. She knows, as well, that every story is many stories, and she handles the complex intersecting tales of unspeakable loss, astonishing secrets, familial chaos, and heartbreak, with intelligence, poise, and tenderness.”

She is a full professor at Binghamton University’s English Department and has guest taught all over the world, from Russia to Austria to Singapore, and throughout the United States. Ms. Rosenberg spends her time reading and writing. Her hobbies and passions are reading and writing.



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Links I Love

Kingdom of the Blind will be released next Tuesday! This is an enticing promo!

If you’ve read My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie and provide a review on social media or Amazon, you can fill out this form to receive FREE bonus content!

Have you voted in the 2018 Goodreads Awards?  Final voting is Nov 13-26. To vote, follow this link. Honestly, I’m discouraged with this year’s voting because my favorites of the year didn’t make it to the final cut in most categories. Did yours?

Have you seen The Hate U Give movie? Here’s the THUG trailer. 
I’ve read positive reviews with some saying it could be one of the best movies of the year. Of course, the movie is never as good as the book so don’t miss this important read.



Looking Ahead to December

Of course I’ll be reviewing Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny next Friday, and then I’m planning posts that will include a November Wrap Up, a bookish gift guide, a Winter TBR, and end of the year recap. After that, I’ll see what library holds come in and watch for kindle deals. I’m definitely looking for some lighter reads in December.



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often! Only one more read after Kingdom of the Blind until I complete my Fall TBR. Did you make a fall reading list?



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



 Let’s Discuss

What do you think about including harsh realities in children’s literature? Do you have some examples of this being done well?

I’d love to hear updates on your November reading! What are you looking forward to reading in December?



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Top Ten Tuesday: Thankful for Ten Favorite Contemporary Authors

November 20, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Thankful For Ten Favorite Contemporary Authors

Today I’m linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Thanksgiving Freebie. Of course, I’m filled with gratitude for family, friends, faith, good health, God, and all my wonderful blessings; however, I’d like to include wonderful contemporary authors to that list! Reading brings me great joy and I spend countless, delightful hours immersed in the worlds that authors create.

The following list of authors is only a partial list of contemporary authors I enjoy. In part, I’ve chosen these authors to spotlight because I have likely read more than one of their titles and these titles are among my top reads of the year. Certainly, these authors fall into the “auto buy” category for me in that I would order or check out the book based solely on author’s reputation.

You can find reviews for some of the books mentioned in this post in the A-Z index. Titles are Amazon affiliate links.

authors spotlight

In no particular order, these are ten contemporary authors that are among my favorites:

Frederick Backman

Fredrik Backman

My favorites include Beartown, The Deal of a Lifetime, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, and Britt-Marie Was Here.

Louise Penny

Louise Penny

I love Penny’s entire Inspector Gamache series, but How the Light Gets In, A Great Reckoning, and Glass Houses are three examples of the stories to which I’ve awarded four stars. (it’s best to read the series in order starting with Still Life) The newest installment (#14) will be released next week!

Stephanie Dray

Stephanie Dray
Laura Kamoie
 Laura Kamoie

For the purpose of this top ten list, I’m counting Dray and Kamoie as one author because they coauthored America’s First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton, two favorite reads.

Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce

I loved The Music Shop and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom

Two favorites include Tuesdays With Morrie and The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.

Kate Morton

Kate Morton

Always a solid women’s fiction read, my favorites include The Lake House, The Forgotten Garden, and The Secret Keeper (her newest The Clockmaker’s Daughter was OK but not a favorite and The Distant Hours has been on my TBR for a long time.)

Hazel Gaynor

Hazel Gaynor

I first discovered Hazel Gaynor when I read The Last Christmas in Paris (coauthored with Heather Webb) and I immensely enjoyed her recent release The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter. I look forward to more from this author.

Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi
fatima farheen mirza
Fatima Farheen Mirza

Two debut authors that have earned a spot on this list are Yaa Gyasi author of Homegoing, and Fatima Farheen Mirza author of A Place For Us. Both authors were in their late twenties when they wrote their debut novels, and I anticipate years of more wonderful books from them.

Ron Cherow

Ron Chernow

I’m going to include one of my husband’s favorite contemporary authors to round out this list because I often hear him raving about Ron Chernow’s work. My husband’s favorites by Chernow are Grant, Washington: A Life, and Alexander Hamilton.



Please share in comments your favorite contemporary authors.



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Links I Love

Are you missing loved ones during the holidays? Enjoy this reflection from Mitch Albom: “Empty Chairs, Empty Table, Still Thanksgiving.”

My blogging buddy, Rhonda, at The Thankful Heart focuses on gratitude and the spirit of Thanksgiving all year long.

This is an excellent and enticing promo for Kingdom of the Blind!

If you’ve read My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie and provide a review on social media or Amazon, you can fill out this form to receive FREE bonus content!

Have you voted in the 2018 Goodreads Awards?  Final voting is Nov 13-26. To vote, follow this link. Honestly, I’m discouraged with this year’s voting because my favorites of the year didn’t make it to the final cut in most categories. Did yours?

Have you seen The Hate U Give movie? Here’s the THUG trailer. 
I’ve read positive reviews with some saying it could be one of the best movies of the year. Of course, the movie is never as good as the book so don’t miss this important read.



Looking Ahead in “Nonfiction November”

What do you have on your TBR for “Nonfiction November”?

After some deliberation and indecision, I settled on House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery by Liz Rosenberg for my Nonfiction November read. Review will be posted Friday.

In addition to nonfiction, I’m certainly looking forward to the new Louise Penny release on November 27! So many books, so little time!



My Fall TBR

I’ll be updating my Fall TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.



 Let’s Discuss

Who are your favorite authors?

I’d love to hear updates on your November reading! Do you plan to read a nonfiction selection?



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.