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…)

Spring TBR

March 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring 2019 TBR

spring TBR

Image Source: Canva

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books on My Spring 2019 TBR.

I have two books to finish from my Winter TBR, and they’ve been on  my TBR for so long that it’s too embarrassing to add them to yet another TBR. So 84, Charing Cross Road and its sequel will be my priority before any book on this list!
***UPDATE: finished these two reads…both 3 stars.

Keep in mind that I’m not yet recommending the books on this list…..check back often though because I will provide updates and links to reviews as I read them. In no particular order, here is my Spring 2019 TBR list.

*Titles are Amazon affiliate links.

(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.

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.

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.

Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me Authors in 2017

January 2, 2018

Do you have a few favorite authors?

I’m linking up today with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me Authors in 2017.

Top Ten Tuesday

Throughout 2017, I discovered a handful of authors who are new to me and whose work I would read automatically without checking out the reviews first. While a couple of these authors are well published (but new on my radar), the majority are new authors as well as being new to me. I’m adding these authors to recently discovered new authors such as Fredrik Backman whose work I trust and admire.

I would happily accept an ARC from any of these authors and promote their work. (*shameless hint)

In alphabetical order:

Jane Harper

The DryEven though detective/mystery is not my usual genre, I thoroughly enjoyed The Dry. I’m eager to read the sequel that releases in February, and I anticipate that it will be equally well written and highly engaging.

The Dry Review and Amazon Information

 

 



Nadia Hashimi

Pearl That Broke its ShellEven though I read this at the beginning of 2017, The Pearl That Broke its Shell is a story that I have continued to think about all year. The author gives the reader thoughtful insight into Afghan culture for women and challenges us to think about women’s rights. I always want to support women writing about strong, independent, and courageous women, and I hope she continues to write about her culture.

The Pearl That Broke its Shell Review and Amazon Information

 



Gail Honeyman

Eleanor OliphantIn her amazing debut novel Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, this author is definitely on my watch list! I’m certainly curious about her next work and I’m hoping for a sequel!

Eleanor Oliphant Review and Amazon Information 

 

 



Elise Hooper

The Other Alcott 2

Author of The Other Alcott, her extensive research and well written debut work depicting the lives of the Alcott sisters earned this new author a lot of credibility with me. I hope she’s working on something new for readers!

The Other Alcott Review and Amazon Information

 



Dane Hucklebridge

castle of water 2

 

Author of Castle of Water, I enjoy his beautiful, engaging, and creative writing and eagerly await his next release!

Castle of Water Review and Amazon Information

 

 



Paulette Jiles

News of the World

My husband and I both enjoyed this beautifully written western historical fiction novel. Even though she has other published works, this is the first I’ve read. I’d love to choose one of her other works to read this year. If you’ve read this author, do you have a recommendation for me?

News of the World Review and Amazon Information

 



Thanhha Lai

Inside Out and Back AgainInside Out and Back Again is a beautiful story told in free verse and an “authentic voice.” This author has my heart and I would enthusiastically check out her new releases. (By the way, this story is perfect for older elementary readers but thoroughly appreciated by adults).

Inside Out and Back Again review in this post as well as Amazon Information

 



Jennifer Latham

dreamland burningDreamland Burning is one of my most memorable reads and most recommended historical fiction selections of the year. This author’s engaging and thoughtful writing would definitely cause me to check out her next work.

Dreamland Burning Review and Amazon Information

 

 



Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea

Between Shades of Gray

Author of a couple of my favorite hisfic selections, Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray, I admire her careful research and beautiful writing.

Salt to the Sea Review and Amazon Information

Between Shades of Gray Amazon Information

 

 

 



 

 

Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

I appreciated reading about Starr and her experiences in The Hate U Give from an “authentic voice.” I’ll look forward to more from this author because I feel it’s so important to listen well.

The Hate U Give Review and Amazon Information

 



 

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



Looking Ahead:

I read a wonderful book between Christmas and New Years
and I can’t wait to review it on Friday!

last christmas in paris

Amazon Information Here

What are you reading this week?



Sharing is Caring!

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!

Did you discover any new authors in 2017?

Who are your favorite authors?

What are you reading this week?

 

 

2017 Really Recommendable Reads

gift stack of books

December 15, 2017

10 Categories of Really Recommendable Reads for 2017

Choosing the year’s best books is my most difficult reading task! I think that separating the books into categories might help me share with you which were the best reading experiences for me. I hope you had a great reading year, and that we share an appreciation for some of these selections. or that they will be ideas for your TBR. Most of the selections are fairly new releases (all except four were published in 2017).

*In no particular order

gift stack of books

Most Unforgettable Character

Eleanor Oliphant

 

I’m still thinking about brave, traumatized, quirky, and lonely Eleanor … and hoping for a sequel!

Brief review found here in this post.

Short listed for the COSTA Award (new authors)

Read it before seeing the movie!

More Information Here

 

 

 

 



gift stack of booksMost Poignant

 

Both of Backman’s novellas rank among my favorite reads of the year. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer deals with Alzheimer’s and a grandfather’s relationship with his young grandson. The deal of a Lifetime provides a reflection of a successful man as he faces the end of his life.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer review found here and more information found here.

The Deal of a Lifetime review found here and more information found here.



gift stack of booksMost Escapist

castle of water 2

 

Literary Fiction + Adventure!

I read this page turner in one day! Beautiful prose and a great selection for a vacation or travel read.

Full review here

More Information here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



gift stack of booksMost Controversial and Relevant Social Issues

 

I learned a great deal from both of these books and I consider them worthwhile and important reads, and both would be great for book club discussions. In addition to many important themes, they both involve the theme of racism. While Small Great Things is written for adult readers, The Hate U Give (often referred to as THUG) is appropriate for mature older high school and YA and all adults. (please note: both books contain possibly offensive language or situations.)

Small Great Things review included in this post here and more information here.

The Hate U Give review here and more information here.
The Hate U Give movie information here.
Do you think THUG should be banned in schools? See article involving a Texas school district here.



gift stack of booksMost Apt to Build Compassion and Understanding

 

Wonder has become a must read in many classrooms across America as it builds compassion for others who look different, and it is a great read and lesson in kindness for all ages. Full review here. Have you seen the well done movie adaptation? More information here.

Ginny Moon explores autism from a 14-year-old girl’s perspective. My full review here. More information here.



gift stack of booksMost Dramatic Themes

 

Beartown: themes of family, parenting, competition, loyalty, courage, community, belonging, friendship, small town struggles and values, hope, a girl’s “no,” etc.

Little Fires Everywhere: most interesting mix of characters and themes of mothers/children, secrets, privilege, teenage love, perfection, racism, friendship, suburban dysfunction, adoption vs. parental rights, etc.

Beartown: brief review included in this post here and more information here.

Little Fires Everywhere: full review here and more information here.

 



gift stack of booksMost Overlooked Genre (for me!)

News of the World

 

 

I highly recommend this beautifully written western! I don’t usually seek out westerns but the historical fiction aspect appealed to me. I highly recommend this for its beautifully written prose and sweet theme. My hubs also enjoyed this one.

There’s talk of a movie with Tom Hanks!

A brief review included in this post.

More information here. 

Movie information here.

 

 



gift stack of booksMost Personal Connection

Far From the Tree

 

If you remember last week’s post, Far From the Tree was on my TBR for 2018, but I was tempted to pick this up right away because of the themes of adoption/foster care and the meaning of family. In the past few years my hubs and I have established contact with his bio sister (he’s adopted) and they arranged to talk and meet for the first time; in addition, I searched out my bio cousin who had been placed for adoption as a baby. Both relationships have provided immeasurable joy and have enriched our family. #drawawidercircle  is how I would tag this in Instagram. Although this is a YA selection, it can be enjoyed by adults as well. If adoption has touched your life, this will wreck you in the best possible way!

My reservations are (1) the author’s use of quite a few f-bombs (I don’t understand why this language is so prevalent and almost mandatory in YA books….but I’m probably showing my age or highly sensitive nature here) and (2) the author throws too many themes in here in my opinion (divorce, alcoholism, sexual identity, racism, etc), and these themes (although important) are somewhat distracting from the adoption/unplanned pregnancy/foster care/meaning of family themes which are the focus of the book. Nevertheless, I highly enjoyed the overall read and found it exceptionally meaningful on a personal level and highly recommendable ….. Here’s a link to my full review. 

More information here.



gift stack of booksMost Courageous and Determined Fight for Women’s Rights

Pearl That Broke its Shell

 

Inspiring, with against-the-odds, bravery, and women’s rights themes, this historical fiction is a fast-paced page turner that provides great insight into the lives in which some women are born. Memorable and unforgettable. A must read on your TBR.

Brief review found in this post here.

More information here.

 

 

 

 

 

 



gift stack of booksMost Delightful Historical Fiction

I read extensively in the historical fiction genre and have many great recommendations for you (see note below) ! However, most of them are extremely heavy reading. Therefore, for this category, I’d like to focus on the lightest histfic I’ve read this year. (and then I’ll list the others as runners up).

Chilbury

 

Enjoyable read about a remarkable group of women working to serve their community during WW 11.

Full review here.

More information here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Runners Up in Historical fiction:

The following is a list of the other equally great historical fiction selections I’ve read this year:

Salt to the Sea; Between Shades of Gray; (not reviewed on the blog but it’s as well written as Salt to the Sea and its main character is connected with a character in Salt to the Sea); The Orphan’s Tale; The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane; Dreamland Burning (YA); The Alice Network; Before We Were Yours; America’s First Daughter; Refugee (YA); Gentleman in Moscow (not reviewed…and not a book I loved at first, but I grew to love and appreciate the beautiful prose and its intriguing premise! It’s been well reviewed on Amazon and Goodreads)



*Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday: Our favorite books of 2017 ,  Modern Mrs Darcy: Quick Lit: 9 Excellent Books for Gifting This Season and Traveling With T: #AMonthofFaves: Top Ten Books That Blew Your Mind This Year



Happy Reading Bookworms!

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

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

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



Extras:

Check out these other popular and favorite bloggers and their “best of” the year lists:

Modern Mrs. Darcy: Favorite Books 2017

Loud Library Lady: Most Memorable Reads of 2017

Loud Library Lady: My Friends’ Most Memorable 2017 Reads

Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Tuesday:
(bloggers link up to share their top ten reads of the year posts…my post this week is linked there…check out the others)

The Caffeinated Bibliophile: Christmas Book Guide: Christian Fiction Books

Making Here Home: Brilliant books for kids…recommended by kids

Top Shelf Text: A Very Bookish Holiday (follow the link in the post for bookish gift ideas)

Modern Mrs Darcy: Quick Lit: 9 Excellent Books for Gifting This Season

…and, last, something to consider as you set your own reading goals for 2018…

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2018 Reading Challenge

 



Looking Ahead!

Far From the Tree

Far From the Tree full review next week.



Sharing is Caring!

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!

Which books did you read that were best of the year for you? Do your best reads overlap at all with mine?
Are there any that you’ve read that you would highly recommend to me?



 

journey of a lifetime reading meme

2018: Here’s Looking at You!

December 8, 2017

How many books are on your TBR (to be read) list? Currently, I have 76 on my Goodreads “to read” shelf. It’s a bit unwieldy, and in this post I prioritize a few selections to read as I anticipate setting reading goals for the new year (I looked for the books on my list with the highest Goodreads ratings). Hopefully, some of these will be good candidates to review for future posts. Maybe Santa will bring me a few of these books! Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Hope Santa Brings and also The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2018.

I’m always intrigued by new books and inspired by reviews, so this list is subject to change (depending on reviews, library availability, or kindle sales)! However, at this moment in time, this list represents my reading priorities for winter (*listed in no particular order).



Believe it or not, I actually ADDED books to my TBR while writing this post! It’s hopeless!



Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
by David Grann

(runner up for the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards in the history & biography category and New York Times bestseller; Amazon rating: 4.6 Stars;
Genre: Native American History, biographies/memoirs)

Killers of the Flower Moon

Information Here


Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder
by Caroline Fraser 

(rated one of the top ten books of the year by the New York Times;
Amazon rating: 4.1 Stars; genre: biographies/memoirs)

Prairie Fires

Information Here


Force of Nature
by Jane Harper

(sequel to The Dry; early Amazon rating: 4.4 Stars; release date: 2/6/18;
genre: mystery/detective)

Force of Nature

Information Here


84, Charing Cross Road
by Helene Hanff

(an older, highly recommended best selling title that’s been on my TBR for years;
Amazon rating: 4.5 Stars;
genre: correspondence/letters)

84 Charing Cross Road

Information Here


Our Souls at Night
by Kent Haruf

(an older, highly recommended best selling title that’s been on my TBR for years;
Amazon rating: 4.3 Stars;
genre:  mystery/thriller/suspense, family life, literary fiction; movie trailer)

Our Souls at Night

Information Here


As Bright as Heaven
by Susan Meissner

(Philadelphia 1918; release date: 2/6/18; genre: historical fiction, mothers/children, Spanish flu epidemic)

As Bright as Heaven

Information Here


Far From the Tree
by Robin Benway

(YA fiction, National book award finalist; Early Amazon Rating: 4.7 Stars;
genre:  social & family issues, siblings, adoption)

Far From the Tree

Information Here


The Library at the Edge of the World
by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

(A book about books is my favorite! Set in Ireland; early Amazon Rating: 4.1;
genre: women’s fiction,  small town & rural living, mothers/children)

Library at the Edge of the World

Information Here


Eden
by  Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg

(Amazon Rating: 4.7 Stars; genre: fiction, multi generational family saga)Eden

Information Here


 The Kommandant’s Girl
by Pam Jenoff

(since reading The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff, I’ve wanted to read this earlier work; Amazon rating: 4.5 Stars; genre: historical fiction, Jewish)

Kommandant's Girl

Information Here


Beartown Sequel: Us Against You
by Fredrik Backman

Last but not least! I have to wait 6 months for the sequel to Beartown!
(sequel release date: 6/5/18)

Us Against You

Us Against You
by Fredrik Backman

(release date: 6/5/18; genre:  contemporary fiction, sports)

Beartown Information Here

Us Against You Information Here


Happy Reading Bookworms!

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

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

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


Updates:

Last week I mentioned I was deciding between Lincoln in the Bardo and The Bear and the Nightingale. Unfortunately, neither one worked out. I had wanted to buddy read Lincoln in the Bardo with my hubs but he was the first to download the audio version and wasn’t interested in the read, also my bookish friend indicated that it was “more depressing than memorable.” So I decided to go with the fairy tale/folk tale The Bear and the Nightingale, and I read 59% before abandoning it to the DNF (did not finish) stack. Both books have received rave reviews, so it’s not the books, it’s me. The Bear and the Nightingale is not one of my typical go to genres and this is the main reason that it was abandoned. Even though, it’s a well written Russian folk tale/fairy tale, it includes an abundance of fantasy and magical realism which are usually not elements I seek out in my reading. If it were a short story, I think it would’ve been an ok read for me, but it goes on and on and on, and after a while it became tedious. It’s also part of a trilogy which I knew I wouldn’t be continuing. However, if a Russian fairy tale/folk tale, fantasy, and magical realism appeal to you and you love skillful word building and exquisite imagery….this may be a great choice for you.


Extras:

A Wrinkle in Time

 

Will you be rereading (or first time reading) Wrinkle in Time before the movie comes out in March?!
Wrinkle in Time Trailer

 

 

 

Have you seen the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards list? How many titles have you read?

Also, my Bookstagram (Instagram for bookish posts) buddy, The Loud Library Lady  (@theloudlibrarylady) released her list of most memorable books of 2017 …. check out her blog! https://theloudlibrarylady.com/

Did you read that The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was banned by a Texas school district. What do you think? Have you read it? Here’s my review.
It will soon be a movie.


Looking Ahead

Next week, I’ll attempt to gather a list of my best and most memorable reads for 2017. This is a daunting task for me! I have so many favorites!


Sharing is Caring!

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!

I’d love to hear in comments what’s on your TBR or what you’re currently reading. Have you already read a book on my TBR list? Do you have any must read suggestions for me?