Most Memorable Reads of 2019

December 31, 2019

Most Memorable Reads of 2019

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Read in 2020 and Girlxoxo and Traveling With T for Month of Faves: Favorite Books Read This Year.

Top Ten Memorable Reads:
The List and The Categories

I mostly love the angst of creating top ten lists! It can be a daunting task! First, let me remind you that this list is subjective. It’s compiled of books I’ve read this year (there are always so many more great ones that I didn’t get to), and each one has made it onto this list because reading it was a memorable, emotional experience and gave me a “book hangover.” I’m presenting my list this year in two formats: in list form and in categories. the categories part is a bit more comprehensive because I provided some runners up. Titles are links to my reviews. Although most titles in this post were published this year, a couple were not.

Thanks for sharing great reads with me this year!

Top Ten Memorable Fiction Reads of 2019: The List

(see categories below for runners up and additional selections)

  1. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

2. The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

3. Ribbons of Scarlet by Kate Quin et al.

4. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

5. The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

6. The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

7. If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

8. This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

9. The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

10. The River by Peter Heller

Most Memorable Nonfiction

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom



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Ten Favorite Historical Fiction Reads of the Decade

December 27, 2019

Can you name your top ten favorite books in your favorite genre?

favorite histfic reads of the decade

Ten Favorite Historical Fiction Reads of the Decade

How many of these titles have you read and loved? Are you a histfic fan?

I have a lengthy list of hisfic favorites….these are especially memorable and ALL received a solid 5 Stars from me!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

(in no particular order)

my dear hamilton

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

I love the (less public) story of the determined, smart, influential, and driven woman who was Alexander Hamilton’s wife, partner, and best friend. America’s First Daughter by the same authors is also excellent.
My review here.


From Sand and Ash

we were the lucky ones

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
and We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

(I read these almost back to back and because of the themes I always think of them together….so this is my sneaky trick to include one more!)
Themes make these stories memorable: I love the theme of faith in Sand and Ash; in We Were the Lucky Ones, I love the themes of family and faith….especially the beautiful ending). Sand and Ash review here. We Were the Lucky Ones review here.


invention of wings

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I love this imagined story of two brave women who were early pioneers in the abolitionist movement. Review here.


News of the World

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

I love the theme of found family and the moral dilemma at the story’s end of doing the right thing versus doing things right. I also love the beautiful prose. Brief review in this post.


Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I love the compelling themes of determination and survival. Brief review in this post.


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Guest Post: My Top Reads of 2019

December 16, 2019

What book hooked you on reading?

Do you remember WHO hooked you on reading?

Guest Post Jake

Image Source: Canva

Today, I’m thrilled to bring you a guest post written by Jake Kneeland, blogging at It’s Just Jake: A site dedicated to shared experiences, conversations, laughter, growth, and day to day events in our lives.

You will discover that Jake is an engaging, reflective writer, but more important to me, he’s family! Jake is my cousin’s son and I’m thrilled to welcome him into the blogging community. Although this post is book related, Jake blogs about his life journey, his goals, and his dreams. Books are a part of his journey and he has the sweetest “hooked on reading” story to share with you today! Many of you will be able to relate!

You can find Jake at his blog, on Twitter @jakneeland, and on The Little Things Podcast.

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links. 


The Top 6 Books You Need To Read Yesterday

Originally posted on It’s Just Jake on December 12, 2019

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Seven Best Reads of Summer

September 20, 2019

Seven Best Reads of Summer

7 Best Reads of Summer

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Since summer is a prime reading season for most of us, I thought it would be fun to reflect on favorite reads of the summer before planning our Fall TBRs.

The following are my favorite books read from April 21-September 20, 2019. Titles are affiliate Amazon links, and full blog reviews are also linked. 


The first THREE are my top reads! 


The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

***also my favorite of the year (so far)
Full review here.


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

***favorite read of the year runner up!
Full review here.


Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Full review here.


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TTT: My Favorite Literary Tropes

August 20, 2019

 

***Book titles are Amazon affiliate links

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Literary Tropes.

My Favorite Literary Tropes

Do you have favorite tropes?

Part of successfully choosing your next read is knowing what tropes (themes or plot devices) you enjoy and which you don’t! I will almost always be happy with my reading experience when I choose to read a book with one of the following tropes (listed in no particular order). 


The Gruff Older Character Whose Life is Changed by a Precocious, Precious, or Extraordinary Child

Examples: The One-In-A-Million Boy, News of the World, A Man Called Ove


The Importance of Family, Complicated Family Drama

Examples: A Place For Us, We Were the Lucky Ones, Little Fires Everywhere, Ask Again Yes, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters


Found Family

Examples: Louisiana’s Way Home, News of the World, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words


Reconciliation

Examples: Ask Again Yes, A Place For Us, Invention of Wings


Faith

Examples: From Sand and Ash, Paper Hearts, A Fall of Marigolds, Unbroken


Adoption

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Book Characters That I’d Like as Best Friends

August 13, 2019

 

 

***Book titles are Amazon affiliate links

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Book Characters That I’d Like For Best Friends.

Book Characters That I’d Like For Best Friends

Oh my! This is a difficult topic! I admire so many characters!

Many characters I love are from the histfic genre, and I can’t imagine sharing their difficult lives. Also, some of the characters I’d like to be friends with are younger than I am……but maybe that’s OK because we are pretending, and I guess I can become their age if I’m their imaginary friend! So I won’t worry about those pesky details!

Here’s the list I created (tomorrow could be a different list)…..I don’t want to hurt any favorite character’s feelings by leaving them off this list…..just know that there are a hundred more! (listed in no particular order)


Inspector Gamache, Reine Marie, Myrna, Clara

I’d love to be friends with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his wife, Reine Marie (…..and Myrna the bookstore owner and Clara the artist)….. but prickly Ruth the poet kind of intimidates me!). I’d love to visit the Safe Haven of Three Pines and sit by the roaring fire in the Bistro for pastry and hot chocolate, or visit one of their homes for a comfort-food dinner and enjoy their cozy friendship.

A Better Man (Installment #15 in the Chief Inspector Gamache/Three Pines Series) by Louise Penny (counting the days until the 8/27 release!)
Genre: character-driven mystery
(My Kingdom of the Blind ReviewThe Series and Glass Houses Review)

A Better Man


Eliza

I’d love to be friends with the industrious, loyal, patriotic Eliza Hamilton (wife of Alexander Hamilton). Although she had eleven children and partnered closely with her husband in writing and drafting documents and probably wouldn’t have time to chit-chat, I still think it would be inspirational to have known her.

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
Genre: Historical Fiction, U.S. History and the Founding
(My Review)

my dear hamilton


Cussy

I would love to have had the opportunity to befriend Cussy Mary Carter who endured racism because of a rare medical condition that caused her skin to appear blue and suffered more than her share of hardships due to poverty and isolation. Cussy is courageous, committed to literacy, always chooses kindness, and cares deeply for others (especially children). It would be a privilege to call her “friend.” (no worries, she doesn’t cuss!)

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Genre: Historical Fiction, Racism, Prejudice, Book About Books
(Review coming this Friday)

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek


Precious

I would be honored to be best friends with Precious Ramotswe. She’s a gentle spirit, gracious in her hospitality, wise, thoughtful, and kind. I could learn to drink tea!

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith
Genre: Fiction, Gentle Mystery (Africa)
(a review of The House of Unexpected Sisters)

No 1 Ladies Detective Agency


Maggie

I can always be friends with a competent, caring, compassionate, creative teacher! I would love to be Maggie‘s teaching partner and her best friend! We would share middle grade lit recommendations and create engaging lesson plans!

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
(my review here)

The Secret of Clouds


Layla

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Summer’s One “Must Read” Book

July 16, 2019

Find Your One “Must Read” Book of the Summer!

One Great Summer Read

Are you pondering what book to pack for your vacation?

Are you in limbo trying to decide what ONE great book to read this summer?

Do you ever wish someone would just TELL you what book to read?

Are you looking for a list of trusted book review bloggers?

Do you spend more time thinking about which book to pack for your vacation than packing the clothes? (oh…just me?)

If you only have time to read ONE more book before summer’s end, what would you choose?

beach reads cartoon

This is the time of year when readers look for “beach reads.” This term is puzzling to me because I think any book you read at the beach is a beach read (similar to any body at the beach is a beach body!). Furthermore, “beach read” means different things to different readers: some want easy reading/light/fluffy, some want escapist, some want thrillers/suspense/mystery, while others are looking for heavier or longer reads that they might have more time for in the summer. During the summer, I look for the same types of reads I look for all year long: something substantial, engaging, memorable, unputdownable, and thought-provoking. What is your ideal beach read?

Reviewers Recommend:

Some things bring joy to a blogger’s heart and this post is definitely at the top of the list!

I am thrilled to publish this post today! I contacted twelve experienced reviewers from a variety of geographical locations to ask them what they would recommend as their ONE “not-to-be-missed  5 Star” summer recommendation. Today, I’m exceptionally excited to introduce you to twelve bloggers who chose ONE recommendation for YOU (listed in alphabetical order by blogger’s first name). Please take a look at their recommendation, check out their blog, and give them a follow!

I think you’ll enjoy the following “recent releases” recommendations that include some diversity and represent a variety of genres that will appeal to a variety of tastes (from hisfic to romance to nonfiction to family drama to southern fiction to time travel to young adult to slightly dark).

i love books

***Titles are Amazon affiliate links and full review links have been included.

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Favorite Quirky Literary Characters

June 9, 2019

My Favorite Quirky Literary Characters

Aren’t we all just a bit quirky?!

Favorite Quirky Characters

Quirky Defined

Definition of quirky: having many quirks : unusual in especially an interesting or appealing way (a quirky sense of humor, quirky ideas/behavior, a quirky and creative artist)

My personal definition also includes the word endearing. My favorite quirky characters have a story behind their quirkiness and often quirky is a survival strategy. Their quirkiness is understandable when a reader sees the entire picture and their quirkiness becomes endearing in light of the challenges they are bravely overcoming.

top ten tuesdayI’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Character Freebie.

Although I love characters of all types, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the recent abundance of stories with quirky characters. I love to hear their stories and celebrate their determination to live their best lives in spite of the circumstances. Even though my star ratings vary on the following books, I’ve loved all the quirky characters. My favorites are brave Eleanor and grumpy Ove. Do you love quirky? Who are your favorite quirky characters?

***Titles are Amazon affiliate links. Listed in order of Star ratings. And, yes, I realize I have eleven and not ten! I couldn’t leave any of them out! 



Quirky Favorites



Eleanor from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

5 Stars. My Brief Review.

Eleanor Oliphant


Ove from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

5 Stars. No Written Review.

man called ove


Frank from The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

5 Stars. My Review.

music shop


Loveday from The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

5 Stars. My Review.

The Lost for Words Bookshop

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Mid Year Reading Check In: Best Reads

June 5, 2019

Mid Year Reading Check In: Best Reads

I’m taking a break from my reading to reflect on my best reads so far in 2019.

According to my Goodreads Challenge, I’ve read 59/100 books so far this year. In this post I’m listing a few favorites. Some of these will make my final Best of 2019 list at year’s end. Ask Again, Yes is my favorite from this list because of the “wow” and “book hangover” factors. It also has a memorable redemption/reconciliation theme.

The remainder of the titles are enjoyable reads but may be bumped if something more exceptional comes along. Plus, it takes sitting with titles for a bit to see if they have staying power. Whether or not these titles make my end of the year list, they are all books I recommend without hesitation. Have you read any of them?

***Titles are Amazon affiliate links and review links are also provided.

(in no particular order)

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Review here

Ask Again, Yes


Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

Review here

Paper Hearts


Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

Review here

The Lost for Words Bookshop


A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

Review here

A Fall of Marigolds


The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

Review here

Beantown Girls


The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister

Review here

The Scent Keeper


The Gown by Jennifer Robson

Review here.

The Gown


Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

Review here

Lost Roses


Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

Review here

meet me at the museum


The River by Peter Heller

Review here

The River


Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini

Review here

Resistance Women


The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

Review here

The Secret of Clouds



QOTD!

What is your best read so far this year?

Have you read any of these titles?



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:

Coming soon….twelve bloggers each share their ONE must-read of the summer!

One Great Summer Read



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***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.

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 Books in My Favorite Genre: Historical Fiction

June 4, 2019

Do you love making lists?

Top Ten Tuesday:
10 Favorite Historical Fiction Reads

 

 

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books In My Favorite Genre. Last week, I made a list of my favorite historical fiction books for each of the last ten years. This week’s list is comprised of my absolute favorites in historical fiction! I actually didn’t think I could make this list! My initial list had several more titles and it was difficult to cut, so I’ve cheated a bit. How do I choose my favorites when I’ve read so many titles? The following titles are the stories that I connect with emotionally, the stories I still remember weeks and months and years later, and the stories I recommend over and over again! All are five-star reads and all have great themes. I recommend them without hesitation.

How many of these titles have you read and loved? Are you a histfic fan?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

(in no particular order)

my dear hamilton

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

I love the (less public) story of the determined, smart, influential, and driven woman who was Alexander Hamilton’s wife, partner, and best friend. America’s First Daughter by the same authors is also excellent.
My review here.


From Sand and Ash

we were the lucky ones

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
and We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

(I read these almost back to back and because of the themes I always think of them together….so this is my sneaky trick to include one more!)
Themes make these stories memorable: I love the theme of faith in Sand and Ash; in We Were the Lucky Ones, I love the themes of family and faith….especially the beautiful ending). Sand and Ash review here. We Were the Lucky Ones review here.


invention of wings

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I love this imagined story of two brave women who were actual pioneers in the abolitionist movement. Review here.


News of the World

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

I love the theme of found family and the moral dilemma at the story’s end of doing the right thing versus doing things right. I also love the beautiful prose. Brief review in this post.


Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I love the compelling themes of determination and survival. Brief review in this post.


(more…)