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…)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Historical Fiction Books I Read During Each of the Last 10 Years

May 28, 2019

Do you love making lists?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Historical Fiction Books I Read During Each of the Last 10 Years

 

 

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I Read in Each of the Last Ten Years. Once I started curating my list, I realized that the majority of titles were historical fiction (no surprise!), so I’m tweaking the prompt to list my favorite historical fiction reads in each of the last ten years. This is a difficult task, but it’s fun to reminisce. Some years it was too difficult to choose only one. Many years I have favorites that are not historical fiction and I decided to save those for another list.

For this list, I have simply chosen a memorable book for each year. This list doesn’t represent the best of all the books I’ve read in the last ten years.

Most of these titles were read in the year they were published, but some are back list titles.

How many of these titles have you read and loved?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

2019 (to date)

The Gown, Paper Hearts

2018

My Dear Hamilton, Last Christmas in Paris

2017

From Sand and Ash, Refugee

2016

News of the World, Homegoing, America’s First Daughter, Salt to the Sea

2015

The Nightingale

(more…)

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books That Need A Sequel

March 12, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday:
10 Books That Need a Sequel

Books That Need a Sequel.png

Image Source: Canva

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books That Need a Sequel. *This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Have you read a book and thought “I wish there had been a little bit more closure?” Then do you think about the book and the ending for a few days as you mull over various ways it could have ended or do the characters linger in your mind for days and you worry about them? It’s not that you were unhappy with the ending, but you were simply left wanting more. I have listed a few books below that made me wish for a sequel. Do you agree with any of my picks? What books would you put on your list?

(listed in no particular order…..titles are Amazon affiliate links)


Books That Need a Sequel


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park

What were the three words?!
(not reviewed because it was read before I was active on Goodreads and before my blog)
(more…)

8 Ways I Choose My Next Read

February 24, 2019

How Do I Choose My Next Read?

8 Ways to Choose Your Next Read

Image Source: Canva

Modern Mrs Darcy  inspired my thoughts about how I choose my next read during a recent webinar (paid content so I can’t provide a link). Thanks to Modern Mrs Darcy for causing me to stop and consider my strategies. This not a summary of her webinar, but its my response in exploring this topic. *This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

top ten tuesdayI’m also linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things That Make Me Immediately Want to Read a Book (even though I’ve listed 8 and not 10)

8 Ways I Choose My Next Read

1. Genres & Covers

As tempting as a great cover can be, the genre and diversity aspects are more important considerations for me. I have set a goal to read more nonfiction as well. When choosing books, I’m intentionally looking for authors of color and authors who are women. I actively look for more “own voices” literature. In addition, I like to balance my reading with some Middle Grade and Young Adult selections.

Covers are not that important to me. Since I read ebooks almost exclusively, it’s not as easy for me to fall back on the tried and true strategies most commonly used if you were browsing physical copies in a book store. For example with an ebook, it’s more difficult to select a book by a cover because it doesn’t jump out at me the same as when I’m comparing it with fifty titles before me on a shelf at Target. When purchasing ebooks, I’m usually more focused on the kindle price! However, when I see a book reviewed, I definitely make a mental note about the appeal of a cover. Sometimes I can’t even remember what the title of my book looks like when I’m reading it because it’s not sitting around on an end table…..once I open it on my kindle and start reading, I never see the cover. Some of the covers I’ve recently loved include Amal Unbound, The Ensemble, How to Find Love in a Bookshop, Refugee, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls. One cover I don’t love and it almost caused me to miss a great read is Eden. Choosing a book by a cover is one of the disadvantages of reading ebooks, but it’s one of the most popular ways of choosing physical books. How many of you choose a book by the cover? What’s the last book you chose exclusively for the cover?

2. Trusted Reviewers

Because I’m part of the Bookstagram community (Instagram for accounts devoted to books and reviews) and follow many review blogs, I have identified several reviewers whom I trust in choosing books for my TBR. Find a blogger who focuses on the genres you love, and then also follow their reviews on the blog, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. One of my most trusted sources for summer reading ideas is the Summer Reading Guide from the Modern Mrs Darcy website. How many of you choose books based on trusted reviewers?

3. Amazon and Goodreads Reviews

I pour over Amazon and Goodreads reviews in the following ways. First I check the 3 star reviews and then the 2s and 1s. I really want to know what issues other readers have with the book. I balance these out with a few 4 and 5 star reviews which are always glowing but are useful for identifying some strengths. I spend more time in the 3, 2, and 1 star range trying to identify any triggers (such as graphic violence, explicit sexual content, profane language, abuse, etc.) or possible pace, plot, structure, and/or writing problems. Then I evaluate the importance of these issues (balanced by the strengths) and if I can live with them during the reading experience. The danger with perusing reviews is that you might come across spoilers. Do you check out Amazon and/or Goodreviews before making a reading decision?

4. Pre Reading

If I were in a bookstore or library, I might do some pre reading: the first page, a random page from the middle, the introduction/preface and acknowledgments (this will sometimes give interesting information about the author’s purpose or reasons for writing the book), and the publisher’s summary on the back cover or flap. I’m careful and skeptical about the publisher’s sales pitch. Sometimes it doesn’t truly represent the content of the story or is misleading. With an ebook, I depend on the Amazon feature which allows me to download a sample. This gives me an idea of the writing style and tone. One more idea if you have multiple books in your hand that you want to read, is to “speed read” (I first heard this term and concept from Kate Olson Reads) each book for a certain amount of time (for example, three minutes). Do you scope out potential reads using any of these strategies?

5. Blurbs

One area that I honestly give very little weight to are blurbs by other authors found on the cover or inside pages. It’s my opinion that these blurbs have been carefully curated and cultivated…….perhaps these authors are friends or neighbors or in the same writing group. I’m a bit skeptical and usually don’t let them sway me. This is a personal opinion……do any of you feel the same way?

6. Buzz

I don’t read a book simply because it’s receiving a lot of hype…..I make sure it’s the right read for me. Sometimes if I’m not sure, I allow some time for the hype to die down. I can usually tell if it’s for me because multiple reviewers whom I trust will review and recommend. This is a little tricky because I have a great deal of FOMO and I love to read new releases and be a part of the initial buzz! Although sometimes a great deal of buzz sets the reader up with expectations that are too high and it ends up a disappointing read. Even a favorite author’s new book might not meet your expectations. The last book I read with a lot of buzz was Where the Crawdads Sing and, for me, it lived up to the buzz. What’s the last book you chose based on the buzz? Did you enjoy the read?

7. Best Friends

If you are lucky to be surrounded by readers in your life, you might depend upon a recommendation from a best friend. Before I started closely following reviews, I interrogated my friends that I  met for lunch. My first question was always, “What are you reading?” because I knew that we enjoyed the same genres and quality of literature. Friends were always good for a few recommendations and I had reads for the next few months. My mom shares a Kindle account with me, so her next reads come from my ebook library. Luckily, we have similar bookish tastes. Do you have a friend you can ask for a recommendation? Sometimes I “push” books on my friends by buying them my favorite read of the year for a Christmas gift. Do you receive books or titles from your best friends?

8. Commitments

When choosing my next read, I always have to consider my book club and NetGalley commitments. I’m a part of three book clubs: Modern Mrs. Darcy (online club, $10/month fee, title/discussion threads provided), Postal Book Club (a mailing group of 6 people who share/rotate books and a mailing deadline every two months), and an IRL (in real life) book club (monthly commitment). In addition, I’m under obligation to read and review free books that I receive from publishers via NetGalley (so I monitor pub dates to determine my reading priorities). When I think about my next read, I must take these commitments into consideration first. Do you have a commitment to a book club? If you’re a mood reader (like me) sometimes it can be difficult to read a book you feel like you “have” to read (especially if you have to forgo reading the latest release that’s receiving all the buzz!….or is that just me?).

Do any of these methods for choosing your next read resonate with you? How do you most often choose your next read?

Even though I read about 100 books per year and I’ve done my best to check them each out, not every read meets my expectations. Reading is still a personal experience and no two readers read the same book. One that I love might not resonate with you at all. Only the books I’ve rated 4 and 5 stars will be reviewed on the blog. I want to be a blogger you can trust.  You can always find all my reviews on Goodreads.



Let’s Discuss!

Share with me! How do you choose your next read? What methods have been the most successful for you? Do you have tips/strategies you can add? Is there a book you’ve picked up because of reading a review here?

*This weekend while blog hopping, I came across a post with the same topic…..so enjoy this perspective from bookidote blog



Feedback

I’m curious how my reviews are resonating with all of my followers. If you are a regular reader, would you consider taking one or two minutes to comment about a book you read based on reading a review here? I’d love to hear.



A Few Trusted Reviewers

I follow a lot of blogs…..listed below are a few of the blogs/podcasts that I check most frequently. There are too many to list here…..these are a sample of a few recent posts that I’ve read.

Modern Mrs Darcy Blog & What Should I Read Next Podcast

Jennifer~Tar Heel Reader Blog

The Lexington Bookie Blog

The Secret Library Book Blog

Fictionophile Blog

My newest discovery is Orange County Readers

From the Front Porch Podcast (books reviews/book talk with a side of southern charm)

Reading Women Podcast (reviewing books about women written by women….lots of literary fiction, interviews, and thoughtful book talk)



***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.

Most Memorable Reads of 2018

December 31, 2018

Top Ten Memorable Reads: The List and The Categories

I love top ten lists! Making them, however, is 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.

Memorable Reads of 2018

Top Ten Memorable Reads of 2018: The List

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

From Sand and Ash by Any Harmon

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Educated by Tara Westover

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens



Top Ten List: The Categories

It’s difficult to rank books in order from 1-10 because they are each special in their own way, so I’ve sorted them into categories (similar to last year) and included some runners up (because who can choose just ten?). Even though not all of them are 5 star reads, these are the books that were the most memorable for me….the ones that I still think about….the ones I recommend the most often.

Most Memorable Overall (and my BEST read of the year)

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
5 Emotional Stars
Genre: Family Drama


Most Memorable WW11 Historical Fiction

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
5 Stars
Genre: HistFic (WW11)
We Were the Lucky Ones author interview podcast link

Runner Up: From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon


Most Memorable Non WW Historical Fiction

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
4.5 Stars
Genre: HistFic

Runner Up: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor


Most Memorable Light Historical Fiction

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
5 Stars
Genre: HistFic (WW1)


Most Memorable Biographical Historical Fiction

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
5 Stars
Genre: Histfic (biographical)


Most Memorable Middle Grade

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
4.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Middle Grade Fiction

Runners Up: Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo (2nd review on page) and The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker


Most Memorable Dysfunctional Family

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
5 Stars
Genre: Women’s Fiction (also coming of age), Southern, Nature

Runner Up: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah


Most Memorable Quirky Character

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
4.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction (Allegorical)

Runners Up: Harold from The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce, Virgil from Virgil Wander by Leif Enger, and Keiko from Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata


Most Memorable Light Reading for Women

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
4..5 Stars
Genre: Light Women’s Fiction


Most Memorable in Contemporary Issues (Nonfiction and Fiction)

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
4 Stars
Genre: NON FICTION (memoir, true crime, social justice)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
4.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary FICTION


Most Memorable Memoir

Educated by Tara Westover
4 Stars
Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir


Most Memorable True Crime

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
4 Stars
Genre: Non Fiction, True Crime


Most Memorable Young Adult

The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
4.5 Stars
Genre: Historical Fiction (contains Myth), Coming of Age
Although not marketed specifically for YA, this could fit the genre nicely and is the closest to YA I read this year.



***This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info.



Link to last year’s post…most recommended reads of 2017



journey of a lifetime reading meme



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 be back with a review of The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner (author of As Bright as Heaven). This is an ARC and won’t be available until March.

Last Year of the War



Links

A treat for you in 2019: If you’re looking for an inspiring lifestyle blog, check out my new (in 2018) blogging friend Kendra Nicole for honest, inspirational, and reflective posts about motherhood, reading, self care, and living intentionally.

kendra nicole

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books Read in 2018.

top ten tuesday

I’m also linking up today with Traveling With T, Estella’s Revenge and Girlxoxo for A Month of Favorites:  Fave Books of 2018.

If you’re stopping in from these links, welcome! I hope you enjoy looking around!

A Month of Favorites TwithT



In Movie News….

Reese Witherspoon to produce “Where the Crawdads Sing” and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

And….here’s the trailer for Where’d You Go Bernadette starring Cate Blanchette.

(You might want to put these three books on your winter to read list in preparation!)



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 your best read of the year in comments! Please?! I’d love to hear!



***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.

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
***UPDATE. 4 Stars. Full Review Here

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
***UPDATE: Charing Cross Road: 3 Stars. Goodreads Review Here.
***UPDATE: The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. 3 Stars (not reviewed)
Bottom line: after years of anticipation, these classic reads didn’t quite measure up to my expectations. I liked them but didn’t love them.

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
***UPDATE: 3.5 Stars. GoodReads Review Here.

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
***UPDATE: 3 Stars. I am disappointed in this because it’s a little dark (although still very well written). See my Goodreads review here.

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
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars. Full Review Here.

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
***UPDATE: Full Review Here.

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
***UPDATE: 4 Stars. Full Review Here.

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
***UPDATE: 5 Stars. Full Review Here.

snowmen

Things You Save In a Fire

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center (author of How to Walk Away)
ARC: Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Genre: Fiction, Chick Lit (we’ll see how this goes!), Romance
***UPDATE: 3 Stars. Not my usual genre but it was engaging and features some snappy writing even though it was predictable with instalove and beautiful people. Goodreads Review Here.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Reading Season

September 18, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

top ten tuesday

Today I’m linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR. and Top Ten Books By My Favorite Authors I Intend To Read (eight of the authors on my Fall TBR fit this category of authors whose new books I intend to read). If you’ve clicked over from That Artsy Reader Girl, Welcome!

Fall Reading Season

***As the fall reason season progresses. I’ll add updates here as I read the books***

Welcome to my ambitious list for fall reading! (as usual I couldn’t narrow it to 10!)
*Listed in no particular order*

pumpkins

*Pumpkin images from Pottery Barn*

Maple-leaf1

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (release date: 10/9)
I’ve read some mixed review on this, but I’m a loyal Kate Morton fan so I’m eager to give it a try.
***UPDATE: 4 Stars. Full Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (release date: 10/2)
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars. Full Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

The Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny (installment #14 in The Inspector Gamache Three Pines series…they get better and better) (release date: 11/27)
You know what I’ll be doing in lieu of on-line Christmas shopping!
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars. Full Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

The Color of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith (installment #19 of No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series) (release date: 11/6)
***UPDATE: 3.5 Stars. A comfortable read with old friends! Full Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak (author of The Book Thief) (release date: 10/9)
***UPDATE: 2 Stars. A disappointing read. I’m not recommending this. Brief Goodreads Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (debut author) (pub date: 8/14)
I’ve read almost all glowing reviews of this one! It’s my most anticipated fall read which I’ll be reading and reviewing soon because my library hold just became available!
***Update: 5 Stars. Unforgettable character. (Full Review Here)

Maple-leaf1

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger (author of Peace Like a River) (release date: 10/2)
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars A memorable read. Brief Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor  (co author of Last Christmas in Paris…one of my favorites this year) (release date: 10/9)
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 stars on Goodreads). Hazel Gaylor does it again! I loved this story. Full Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce
(pub date 7/3)
***UPDATE: 3.5 Stars. A light hearted read. Full Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
(I’ve read some mixed reviews on this one….histfic is my fav genre so I’ll see for myself) (pub date: 9/4)
***UPDATE: 4 Stars. Memorable and compelling. Full Review Here.

Maple-leaf1

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo  (Newbery Award author) (release date 10/2)
Occasionally, I enjoy a great Middle Grade read! Looking forward to this one!
***UPDATE: 4.5 Stars. Memorable and unforgettable. Brief Review Here (scroll down page).

Maple-leaf1

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (author of The Orphan’s Tale) (release date 2/5/19)
This should be on my winter TBR except that I recently received an ARC (advanced reader copy from NetGalley/Park Row Books), so I’ll be reading and reviewing this in the fall.
***UPDATE: 4 Stars. Goodreads Review Here.

Maple-leaf1



I have three unread books from my Summer TBR …. I’m not sure if I’ll add them to my Fall TBR list or put them back on my general Goodreads To Be Read  (at some time) shelf.



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

Maple-leaf1



Looking Ahead:

I’ve recently finished reading three ARCs (advanced reader copies) of The Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman and Virgil Wander by Leif Enger (author of Peace Like a River) and Hard Cider by Barbara Stark-Nemon. Look for my reviews of all three on Friday’s blog post.

lieutenant's nurse

virgil wander

hard cider



A Link I Love

Compassion for children with disabilities and their families.
Check out this opportunity to be a blessing to others: The Lucas Project (respite care for caregivers and siblings).

The back story of the Lucas Project. Follow Jess Ronne on Instagram @jessplusthemess



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.

Maple-leaf1



 Let’s Discuss

Which book are you looking forward to reading most in fall? Do you plan your fall reading? Which books are on your list?

Maple-leaf1



***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.

10 Favorite Books So Far in 2018

July 10, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Favorite Books So Far in 2018

top ten tuesday

Linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday.

It’s the midway point of the year and time for me to start evaluating my most loved reads of the year so far. For me, these are the books that give me a “book hangover” …. meaning I think about them long after I’ve read the last page. Not all these books will make it onto my 2018 Top Ten Reads of the Year List, but I’ll definitely pull from this list.

If you find yourself looking for a great summer read, consider one of these titles.

fav reads so far 2018

The first book in the list below is my favorite read of the year so far with the others arranged in descending order. Titles are Amazon affiliate links, and I’ve included links to my full reviews.


A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

(contemporary fiction)
This shattered my 5 star meter and is my favorite read of the year. I became totally immersed in this family story of faith, parenthood, and sibling relationships. Full Review Here  5+ Stars.


My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

(historical fiction, fictionalized biography)
For fans of Alexander Hamilton: The Musical, a comprehensive and fictionalized biography of his wife, Eliza. 5 Stars. This was my favorite read of the year until I read A Place For Us. Full Review Here.


From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

(historical fiction, WW11)
Ranking near the top of my favorite list is this memorable and intriguing story of WW11, a Catholic priest, and a Jewish girl. 5 Stars. Full Review Here.


We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

(historical fiction, WW11)
What makes this story extra compelling is that it’s based on the real WW11 experiences of the author’s family and I appreciated its strong themes of faith and family. 5 Stars. Full Review Here.


The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

(YA historical fiction, WW11)
This is an engaging, page turning, and unique story of a brave teenage girl’s daring determination to help run a secret school and underground library in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. 4.5 Stars. Full Review Here.


The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

(fiction…with qualities of fable)
A touch of magical realism and romance as readers learn about the life of Frankie Presto and his special music gift. 5 Stars. Full Review Here.


The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

(contemporary fiction, London)
Readers who adore quirky characters will enjoy meeting Frank, owner of an eccentric music shop in a run down suburb of London, as he faces his relationship fears and does his part to preserve the vinyl record industry. 5 Stars. Full Review Here.


Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor

(light historical fiction, WW1, England)
Readers who love the epistolary format and the easy reading quality of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, will adore this WW1 story which also includes a bit of romance through letter writing. 5 Stars. Full Review Here.


The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio

(light historical fiction, New York City)
New York City lovers will especially appreciate this story set in NYC with its themes of the Suffragette Movement and historic Penn Station. 4.5 Stars. Full Review Here.


As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

(light historical fiction, Spanish Flu, Philadelphia)
Readers who are looking for an interesting and easy reading light histfic story about the Spanish Flu in Philadelphia might enjoy this heartfelt family story. 4 Stars. Full Review Here.



Happy Reading Bookworms!

“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



My Summer TBR

I’ll be updating my Summer TBR list as I complete each read, so check this link often!
(So far I’ve read a handful, and I’ve only abandoned one)



 Links I Love:

Save the date: August 10! Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie is coming to Netflix! (trailer here)

Tips for parents about reading with children: Read Brightly: 15 Tips For Starting a Lifelong Conversation About Books

If you love to entertain or love cheese or love to present food beautifully on boards and trays, check out this new food blog! A Study In Cheese: The Art of Entertaining With Cheese



Looking Ahead:

 Friday I’m excited to bring you a review of the best book I’ve read so far this year: A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza.

a place for us 2.

Amazon Information Here



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!

Have you read any of these titles? What are your favorite reads of the year so far?

What are you reading this week?



***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 photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s website.