Book Gifts For A Galentine (or Valentine)

February 11, 2020

a collage of flowers and a book's pages opened in the shape of a heart and the words "Book Gifts For Your Galentines"

Books are wonderful last minute, thoughtful gifts for Galentines or Valentines!

If you need a bookish gift for a Galentine/Valentine or for yourself this week, here are ten of my most recent, favorite fiction reads (all by women authors) that I can confidently and wholeheartedly recommend for an enjoyable and appreciated reading experience for most readers. In fact, you could print out this list or send it to your significant other and say “surprise me!”

(no particular order, reviews linked)

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

Today I’m linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Valentine Freebie.

Titles are Amazon affiliate links and my reviews are linked.
(in no particular order)

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay (cover)

My new favorite book about books! Strong and heartfelt themes of friendship and forgiveness. 4.5 stars (5 rounded up)

Full Review Here


The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali (cover)

Heartfelt love story (diverse read). 4 Stars

Full Review Here


The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer (cover)

A poignant granddaughter/grandmother story and search for family history and lost love (WW11 histfic). 4.5 Stars

Full Review Here


Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain (cover)

Engaging light histfic and a little mystery. 4 Stars

Full Review Here


The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke (cover)

An unputdownable story of survival and sacrifice (WW11 histfic). 4 stars

Full Review Here


Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall (cover)

A compelling story of friendship and faith. 5 stars (a favorite of 2019)

Full Review Here


If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais (cover)

An unputdownable story of three strong women living in post-Apartheid South Africa (diverse read). 4 Stars

Full Review Here


Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (cover)

Perfume, romance, and celebrity sightings. 4 Stars

Full Review Here


Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (cover)

Engaging stories involving therapy experiences (nonfiction, memoir). 5 stars

Full Review Here


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson (cover)

My favorite histfic of 2019 (the heaviest of all the titles on this list). 5 Stars

Full Review Here



I "heart" books (books spelled out in book stacks)



More Valentine/Galentine Gift Reading Ideas

Last year’s Galentine Post for more book ideas.

The Caffeinated Bibliophile also has a list of Christian romantic reads in her post Ten Christian Romance Books to Read for Valentine’s Day.



QOTD:

Are you buying a gift for Galentine’s or Valentine’s this year?

If you have questions about any of the recommendations, or if you’d like a recommendation for a different genre, I’d be happy to answer in the comments or in email.



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

image of a girl reading with one hand while pulling a wagon piled high with books

“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



ICYMI:

Black History Month: 10 Memorable Reads

 Why getting lost in a book is so good for you according to science!

Winter TBR (update)



In Movie News….

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (cover)

I just read about a Netflix remake of the classic Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier



Let’s Get Social!

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

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***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 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



(more…)

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.


(more…)

Winter 2019 TBR

December 12, 2019

Winter Reading Season TBR (2019)

winter 2019.2020 TBR

Image Source: Esther Hanten on Unsplash

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

For winter, I have four out of ten nonfiction titles on my TBR because of the wonderful recommendations I noted during Nonfiction November! I’m not a seasonal reader, but I’m eager to hunker down with some great nonfiction selections this winter!

I never plan more than ten titles for my quarterly TBR lists because I need to leave time for mood reading and review commitments. These ten books are a priority on a much longer general TBR.

What is your most anticipated read this winter?

I’m linking up today with Girlxoxo and Traveling With T for Month of Faves: Winter Reading, and also with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Winter To Read List.

 


Winter 2019 TBR

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

Seven Fallen Feathers

***UPDATE: I’m DNFing this at 30%. Child abuse is too sad for me.

(more…)

Gift Ideas: Everyone Gets a Book!

December 11, 2019

Give a Book as a Holiday Gift!

book ideas for gift giving dec 2019

Background Image Source: Canva; Center Image Source:  Andreea Radu on Unsplash 

TTT That Arsy Reader Girl ChristmasI’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for a December Freebie. I decided to dedicate my Top Ten Tuesday Freebie to books you might give as GIFTS! And….ahem…there are a few more than ten! (You’ve been warned!)

As you plan your holiday gift giving, you might be looking for book recommendations. Check out a few of my FAVORITE suggestions below!

Some of these are fairly new releases while others are a few years older. All titles are Amazon affiliate links. Many of these books have been reviewed on the blog and my available reviews are linked.

Books Men Might Enjoy

(I’ve also read most of these!)

The River by Peter Heller (wilderness survival, thriller) My review.

The Boys in the Boat:Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

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

Grant; Washington: A Life; or Alexander Hamilton (all) by Ron Chernow (narrative nonfiction biographies) My husband recommends these.

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

News of the World by Paulette Jiles (histfic, western, movie coming in 2020) My brief review.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (sports, hockey, intense issues, competition, community, family) My brief review.

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


Books Women Might Enjoy

(my husband has enjoyed a few of these!)

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall (marriage and family, *a favorite of the year*) My review.

(more…)

TTT: Ten Reasons I’m Thankful For a Favorite Author

November 26, 2019

Thankful For a Favorite Author

***Book titles are Amazon affiliate links; my reviews are linked as available

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Thanksgiving Freebie.

Do you have a favorite auto-buy or auto-read author?

Do you need an auto-buy or auto-read author?!

Who is your favorite auto-buy or auto-read author?

What qualities are important to consider when deciding on an auto-buy or auto-read author?

Books from auto-buy or auto-read authors are ones I’m likely to preorder or request from the library before publication day. They are books that don’t require a great deal of research or contemplation. I know I’m going to want to read the new release to see for myself. These are authors that I’ve grown to trust. I have a mental list of several auto-buy or auto-read authors including Fredrik Backman, Kate Quinn, Ruta Sepetys, Stephanie Dray/Laura Kamoie, Louise Penney, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Mitch Albom, etc. etc.

This is not the only way I choose a book, but certain authors are irresistible! In today’s Thanksgiving-focused post, I’m listing 10 reasons I’m thankful for Fredrik Backman and his work.

Ten Reasons I’m Thankful For a Favorite Author, Fredrik Backman:

He is…..

  1. Creative
  2. Thoughtful
  3. Humorous
  4. Honest, Authentic, Truthful
  5. Poignant
  6. Risktaker (in content and genre)
  7. Masterful Story Teller
  8. Exquisite Writer
  9. Creator of Memorable and Often Quirky Characters
  10. Committed to Substantial Themes

 

Fredrik Backman Titles

*** My favorites are starred

(titles are Amazon affiliate links or links to my reviews if available)

*** A Man Called Ove

man called ove

*** Beartown

Beartown

*** And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer (novella)

And Every Morning

*** The Deal of a Lifetime (novella)

The Deal of a Lifetime

*** Britt Marie Was Here

Britt Marie Was Here

*** Things My Son Needs to Know About the World (NF)

Things My Son Need to Know About the World

Us Against You (sequel to Beartown)

Us Against You

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry

New fiction release coming in 2020 inspired by Backman”s real-life experience as a victim of a robbery in which he was shot in the leg and suffered resulting anxiety.



QOTD!

Have you read a Fredrik Backman title? Do you have a favorite?

Do you have an auto-buy author? 



Happy Thanksgiving if you are celebrating this week! I’m so thankful for all my followers and fellow readers and for each comment, like, and share! Book people are the best people!

thanksgiving1


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



Sharing is Caring

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

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***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.

 

 

 

 

TTT: Ten Irresistible Book Titles

October 15, 2019

Ten Irresistible Book Titles

TTT Irresistible Book Titles

***Book titles are Amazon affiliate links; my reviews are linked as available

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Extraordinary Book Titles.

Ten Irresistible Book Titles

Do titles influence your reading choices?

This is not the only way I choose a book, but sometimes titles are irresistible! I’ve listed examples of a few irresistible titles (all titles are also highly recommended). There are so many more! What are some of your favorite irresistible titles?  (listed in no particular order). 


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michele Richardson

My review here

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek


The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
by Nadia Hashimi

My review here

Pearl That Broke its Shell


How to Find Love in a Bookshop
by Veronica Henry

My review here

How to find love in a bookstore


Castle of Water
by Duane Hucklebridge

My review here

Castle of Water


The Lost for Words Bookshop
by Stephanie Butland

My review here

The Lost for Words Bookshop


If You Want to Make God Laugh
by Bianca Marais

My review here

(more…)

TTT: Traits That Help Me Fall in Love With Characters

October 7, 2019

Traits that Help Me Fall in Love With Characters

 

 

***Some book titles are Amazon affiliate links; my reviews are linked for other titles

top ten tuesday

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

My Favorite Character Traits

Do you have favorite character traits?

One of the greatest joys of reading is the characters we encounter! I admit that I have a difficult time appreciating stories with unlikeable characters unless there is significant character growth or a major redemption theme. When I look back at my favorite books, they all include memorable and unforgettable characters. I think my very favorite character traits are found in WW11 stories. But traits like courage, determination, sacrifice, and grit can be found in other genres as well. The following is only a sample of a few of my favorite character traits.  (listed in no particular order). 


Bravery

to Live Your Best Life

Examples: Eleanor (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine), Lovejoy ( The Lost For Words Bookshop), Harold (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry)
(find my post about quirky characters living their best lives here)

 


Actions

That Make a Difference For Others

Examples: Caroline (Lilac Girls), Cussy (The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek), Grimke Sisters (Invention of Wings)

 


Compassionate

(especially toward children)

Examples: the Captain (News of the World), Cussy (The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek)

 



Perseverance

in the Face of Dire Circumstances

Examples: Cilka (Cilka’s Journey), Zlatka and Fania Paper Hearts), Dita (The Librarian of Auschwitz), Ma (Room)

 


Loyalty

to Family

Examples: Kurc family (We Were the Lucky Ones),

we were the lucky ones

 


Courage, Determination, and Grit

Against the Odds

(more…)

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

(more…)

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

(more…)