Posted in Reading, reviews

What I’ve been Reading

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today as winter storm Xanto rains down on us here in the Midwest. I plan on getting a lot of writing done this weekend as I huddle beneath my blankey and wait out the storm. It’s supposed to be historic, and I’m praying for at least one snow day out of it.

But enough about the weather, I’m back to talk about one of my favorite things in the world. Books. I’ve just finished a couple of great ones, and I thought I’d share them with all of you.

The first one is a new to me author. I haven’t read any of her previous stories, but she has a great reputation so I thought I’d give her latest release a try. It’s a young adult story so if you have any teens looking for something to read, check her out.

The title is “Still Life with Tornado” and the cover and blurb are below.

 

Still Life with Tornado by [King, A.S.]

 

Sixteen-year-old Sarah can’t draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has “done the art.” She thinks she’s having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she wanders the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she’s finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can’t quite recall. After decades of staying together “for the kids” and building a family on a foundation of lies and domestic violence, Sarah’s parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original—and yet it still hurts.
 
Insightful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, this is a vivid portrait of abuse, survival, resurgence that will linger with readers long after the last page.

 

My thoughts: (spoiler alert)

I didn’t get the title until I’d finished reading the story.  Needless to say, it makes perfect sense. I loved the story. It’s about a family and how domestic violence affects everyone in the family. It’s told from two viewpoints and one of them is Sarah. The only person who hasn’t experienced her father’s fists. In the beginning of the story, she has lost the ability to create art. Her passion. She’s also no longer attending school and that has everyone worried. No one knows why and the story is intricately woven together as the author takes us through Sarah’s journey. We learn about her love for her brother who moved out and the incident that sent her into a spin and brought her world crashing down.

The second viewpoint is Helen, Sarah’s mother. She’s a nurse and she’s the person stitching the family back together when her husband’s rages tear it apart. She doesn’t know what caused Sarah to slump into a depression, but she’s got her own issues to deal with. She’s the one who tries to keep her husband on an even keel and avoid his punches at the same time. She’s walking a tightrope so she isn’t able to give Sarah the attention she needs, but she’s trying.

The one negative I have about this story is that I didn’t feel that the mother’s voice and Sarah’s voice were distinct enough. There were a few chapters where I was half way down the first page before I realized the narrator had switched. This pulled me from the story and created a. bit of confusion. We all know it’s a bad thing to frustrate our reader, but that’s the only negative I have. Otherwise, it’s a great read especially for teens.

 

The other book I read was an adult suspense written by the author of “Luckiest Girl Alive.” This second story did not disappoint Its title is “Into the Water” and the cover and blurb are below.

Into the Water: A Novel by [Hawkins, Paula]

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD WINNER FOR MYSTERY/THRILLER

An addictive new novel of psychological suspense from the author of #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train

“Hawkins is at the forefront of a group of female authors—think Gillian Flynn and Megan Abbott—who have reinvigorated the literary suspense novel by tapping a rich vein of psychological menace and social unease… there’s a certain solace to a dark escape, in the promise of submerged truths coming to light.” —Vogue

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

My Thoughts:

This one is written with a non-linear time line so you have to pay attention otherwise it gets confusing. It’s the heartbreaking story about a single mom who’s investigating some strange deaths in her town. She’s a photographer and she has become intrigued by the mysterious deaths surrounding the river winding it’s way through the tiny burg.

Her daughter’s best friend commits suicide and her daughter, Lena, is the only one who knows why. Katie, Lena’s best friend, does this by jumping off the cliff and into the river. Months later it appears as if Lena’s mother, Lorna, has done the same thing.  Lorna’s found dead in the river as well, and so the mystery begins. Did she commit suicide? Was she murdered? The story pulls you in and it goes deeper and deeper into the tragedies of this small town, revealing secrets and uncovering the ugly truth. It’s a great read and Paula Hawkins has just become one of my favorite authors.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my reviews. How about you? Do you have any great books you’d recommend? Leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

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Posted in Entertainment, Literacy, Reading, Teen, World War II

What I’ve been Reading

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I thought I’d share with you two books I’ve recently read. After a couple of serious posts, I thought I’d lighten things up with a fun one. Well, fun to us bookworms!

The first book is “The Girl in the Blue Coat.”  It’s the story about friendship and betrayal during WWII when everyone was living in fear.  One woman hides a Jewish girl in her back room and one day the girl disappears.  She seeks out the assistance of Hanneke to find this girl and so the story begins.  Hanneke is pulled into the situation and reluctantly does what she can to find the girl.

 

Girl in the Blue Coat by [Hesse, Monica]

The national bestseller and winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.
On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person-a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.
Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel about bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.
My Thoughts:

This story was well written and an accurate portrayal of what happened during WWII. I loved Hanneke, she was such a strong girl, even though she didn’t see herself that way. There’s a twist at the end that took me by surprise. A well written historical YA novel. I’d recommend this to both adults and young adults. It was a great read.

The next book I read is also a WWII novel and it’s based on a true story. The title is “Beneath a Scarlet Sky.” It’s the story of Pino and his family during WWII and how Pino helps the resistance by joining the Nazi army. It’s a depiction of the bravery of the Italian people who joined the resistance and helped Jewish families escape into Switzerland.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel by [Sullivan, Mark]

Soon to be a major television event from Pascal Pictures, starring Tom Holland.

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, the #1 Amazon Charts bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

Fans of All the Light We Cannot SeeThe Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.

 

My Thoughts:

While this is the story about the bravery of the Italians who joined the resistance, it’s also the story of love and loss. The story of Pino and Anna. Pino falls for her hard after he joins the Nazi party and begins spying for the resistance. The war ends and Pino believes he and Anna can now marry and start a family. However, Pino suffers the devastating loss of his love at the very end of the war. It’s incredibly sad and frustrating because he feels incredible guilt that he did not save her.  This is an incredible story and the bravery of the Italians involved in the resistance illustrates that good does triumph over evil. I’d recommend this book to both adults and young adults alike.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any books you’d recommend? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Reading, World War II

What I’ve been Reading…

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a wonderful Christmas season with my family. For some reason, I looked forward to Christmas this year more than I have in the past. I’m not sure why, maybe because I started shopping early and this season was less stressful. Or it could be because we were all healthy this Christmas and I was thankful for that.

 

Photo by mclcbooks on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Anyway, whatever the reason, I had a great Christmas and I hope you did, too.

This is my last blog post of 2017. It’s kind of anti-climactic because I don’t have the “I’ve figured out the meaning of life” post I thought I’d have at this juncture in the game, and I haven’t figured out my New Year’s resolutions yet or my One Little Word for 2018. So as I struggle for something to write, I fall back on one of my favorite hobbies and that is reading. I’ve finished a couple of excellent stories I haven’t shared with you yet so I thought this might be a good time to discuss them. One was recommended to me and the other one is one of my favorite authors. Both books were excellent. So without further ado, here they are.

 

THE CITY OF THIEVES:

 

City of Thieves: A Novel by [Benioff, David]

 

From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour and When the Nines Roll Over and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, the New York Times bestseller City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I love a good World War II story, especially the ones where good triumphs over evil. In this story, two unlikely men become friends in occupied Russia during the Nazi invasion when they are captured by the Nazis. Instead, of death, they are tasked with finding eggs for the Commander’s daughter’s wedding cake in a time when eggs are nowhere to be found. The two characters take us on their journey where we run into some dangerous characters and some heroic ones.  I absolutely loved the ending. It’s one of hope and shows that even in the most horrible of circumstances love triumphs over all.

 

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE

 

 

Little Fires Everywhere by [Ng, Celeste]

 

The runaway New York Times bestseller

Named a Best Book of the Year:
People, The Washington Post, Bustle, Esquire, Southern Living, The Daily Beast, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Kirkus ReviewsSt. Louis Post-Dispatch, Book of the Month, Paste, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Audible, Goodreads, Library Reads, and many more!

“I am loving Little Fires Everywhere. Maybe my favorite novel I’ve read this year.”—John Green

“I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting.” –Jodi Picoult

“Witty, wise, and tender. It’s a marvel.” – Paula Hawkins

“To say I love this book is an understatement. It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears.” – Reese Witherspoon

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Celeste Ng has become one of my favorite authors. I fell in love with her first book “Everything I Never Told You” and her second book is right up there with her first one.

“Little Fires Everywhere” is the story of the Richardson family and the quiet life of Shaker Heights and how one addition to this little town can turn everything upside down. The addition I’m talking about is Mia and Pearl. Mia is a photographer who’s been moving from town to town for quite some time, but she wants to stop and put down some roots for her daughter Pearl.

They rent a home from the Richardson’s and the Richardson children befriend Pearl and soon Mia begins working for the family to help pay the rent. Their lives become intertwined and fires start. It’s a great story of family dynamics and explores issues of adoption, abortion, and parenting. If you like human drama stories you’ll love this one.

 

So there you have it, my last post of 2017.  If you’re snowed in, these two books are a must read…even if you’re not snowed it. They’re great stories. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I’m putting together a reading list for 2018 do you have any recommendations for me? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Reading, reviews

What I’ve been Reading

 

Hello everyone I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a productive week. I’ve reached the 30,000 word mark on my latest WIP and I’m excited about it, especially since I started this one over twice. Oy!

I’ve got it back on track and I’m hoping to finish this WIP by the end of the month. I don’t know if I’ll make it or not, but I’m giving it my best shot.

I’ve also been doing a lot of reading because we all know the best writers are also avid readers. I’ve read two books recently that I thought I’d share with you because they were so good in different ways.

The first one is “The Poisonwood Bible.” The cover and blurb are below.

 

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

 

My Thoughts:

This book was an amazing story. It was so sad. I believe it’s an accurate depiction of what the people in Africa were going through at that time.

I did not like Nathan Price in this story at all. His zealotry put his family in danger, and it’s unfortunate that his wife, Orleanna was so beaten down by his fanaticism that she couldn’t see clearly before tragedy struck. I felt sorry for her and her girls. They were always hungry and dirty.

This was a tragic tale and there were times I had to put it down because I would get upset with Nathan’s zealotry or Orleanna’s passiveness. I’m a strong advocate for children so the parents’ inability to be good parents really hit home for me.

This was a long read as well. It took me a while to get through it, but I feel it’s an excellent depiction of what was going on in Africa at that time. Excellent historical fiction, but some of the characters were hard to take.

 

I also read Nicola Yoon’s, “The Sun is also a Star.” The cover and blurb are below.

 

The Sun Is Also a Star (Yoon, Nicola) by [Yoon, Nicola]

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

 

My Thoughts:

This was an amazing love story. I devoured this book and I’m looking forward to reading her other novel, “Everything, Every thing.” I loved both the main characters in this story. Natasha and Daniel. I loved how they fell in love. I loved how they dealt with their families and I loved how Daniel stood up to his father and followed his dreams. I also loved the ending and that’s all I’m going to say about that. If you’re looking for a great feel good story this one is for you.

 

So there you have it. What I’ve been reading lately. How about you, do you have any good book recommendations? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Reading

Reading: It’s Cheaper than Therapy

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the future of reading in our society. According to this article, reading is on the decline. Washington Post Article

Like the article states, we readers have many distractions pulling us away from our beloved books. There’s the internet, movies, and video games. Now, I’m not big on video games. In fact, the only time my boys want to challenge me to a game is when they need an ego boost because I suck at video games. However, I can attest to the fact there are more things demanding my attention so I don’t read as much as I’d like to.

Photo via VisualHunt

I’m sure you’ve heard many educators claim that reading teaches empathy, and with reading on the decline so is our ability to empathize with our peers. This is evident in the arguments I see on social media. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but it just seems like we have less tolerance for people who are different than us.

 

Photo credit: Bikes And Books via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Not only is reading linked with empathy but there are other benefits we need to pay attention to as well.

For example, reading is an incredible stress reliever. Did you know by picking up a book and reading for just six minutes you can reduce your stress level by sixty eight percent?  I don’t know about you, but I’m teaching this to my kids. Exercise and reading are better ways of handling stress than drinking alcohol or taking drugs, wouldn’t you agree?

As a parent, we need to teach our littles how to cope with everyday stress and one of the cheapest ways is to pick up a book and read. It sure beats the alternatives and is less expensive than therapy.

There are still more benefits to reading for pleasure. Like running is exercise for the body, reading is exercise for the mind. It improves focus, improves memory, and analytical skills. To read more about this check out this post: The Benefits of Reading

I don’t know about you, but I feel we can’t let this decline continue. If we do we’ll be seeing our young people resorting to other stress relievers that aren’t as beneficial.  We don’t want that to happen. You realize there’s an opioid epidemic happening don’t you?  I don’t want one of my kids to end up as part of that statistic, do you?

So teach them healthy coping mechanisms like reading for pleasure and exercising. They’ll be happier and healthier because of it.

Photo via Visualhunt

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Reading, reviews, Women, World War II

Winter Garden: A Review

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a short blogcation last week. I’m halfway done with my second WIP of the summer and I’m excited about this one just as much as I was excited about the first one I finished. I’m also back to work. Sob. Summer is over.

I didn’t get all three books done like I planned. Sigh. However, that can be summed up in one word. Kids. 🙂

So to ease myself back into the blogosphere. I thought I’d share my thoughts on one of the books I read over the summer. The title is “Winter Garden” by Kristen Hannah. The cover and blurb are below.

 

Winter Garden by [Hannah, Kristin]

Can a woman ever really know herself if she doesn’t know her mother? 

From the author of the smash-hit bestseller Firefly Lane and True Colors comes a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past 

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I loved this story. It was emotional and well written like all of Kristen Hannah’s books are. The first one of her books I read was “The Nightingale” and it was good, too. In “Winter Garden” the main characters are two sisters who are polar opposites. One who takes on all the responsibilities of her family orchard and one who runs away.  She does a great job of showing their two distinct personalities and the conflicts they incur because of them.

This is a tale of a complicated relationship between a mother and her two daughters. The mother is cold and unloving and her daughters resent this, but as the story unfolds, they learn the heartbreaking story of why their mother is so reserved. They come to understand her and understand the love their father had for her.  They also grow to love her.

I don’t want to give too much away so I won’t give away any more details, but I will say there is a surprise twist at the end so have your tissues handy!

If you’re looking to add something to your TBR pile for the long winter months. This would be a great addition. How about you? Have you read any good books this summer that you’d like to share? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Reading, Uncategorized

My Summer TBR Pile

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. My first week of my summer break has flown by. I finished my WIP and I’ve been through one phase of editing. I’m going to give it one more read through before I send it to my Beta reader.

 

I am so excited about this story!

 

But enough of that. 🙂 I’ve put together my TBR Pile for the summer. Squeee!

The downside of that is I won’t have time for housework. Sigh.

I’ll have to find a way to live with that. Somehow. (Places hand over heart and wears a sad expression…for about three seconds!)  😉

So here it is! Dun…dun…dun….

 

Lisa’s Summer TBR Pile

 

The Heretic’s Daughter

The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel by [Kent, Kathleen]

Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha’s courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.
Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family’s deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.

 

Winter Garden

 Winter Garden by [Hannah, Kristin]

 Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

 

The Tiger’s Wife

 The Tiger's Wife: A Novel by [Obreht, Téa]

In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Bookand the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.

 

Rush Home Road

Rush Home Road: A Novel by [Lansens, Lori]

 

When 5-year old Sharla Cody is dumped on the doorstep of Addy Shadd, a 70-year old woman living in a trailer park, Addy does not know how completely her life is about to change. She’s hardly used to company and the troubled Sharla is not the sweet, beautiful angel she had envisioned. Over time, Addy and Sharla form a bond that neither of them expected-and Sharla begins to undergo a transformation under Addy’s patient and loving care. But much to Addy’s surprise and dismay, Sharla’s presence brings back memories of her own tumultuous childhood. As she reminisces about her days growing up in Rusholme, a town settled by fugitive slaves in the mid 1800s, she remembers her family and her first love and confronts the painful experience that drove her away from home, never to return.Brillia ntly structured and achingly lyrical, this beautiful first novel by the award-winning author of The Girls tells the story of two unlikely people thrown together who transform each other’s lives forever.

 

The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by [Kingsolver, Barbara]

 

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband’s part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters—the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father’s intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.

Dancing between the dark comedy of human failings and the breathtaking possibilities of human hope, The Poisonwood Bible possesses all that has distinguished Barbara Kingsolver’s previous work, and extends this beloved writer’s vision to an entirely new level. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.

 

 

The Kitchen House

 The Kitchen House: A Novel by [Grissom, Kathleen]

In this gripping New York Times bestseller, Kathleen Grissom brings to life a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War, where a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate.

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.

The Rules of Magic

The Rules of Magic: A Novel by [Hoffman, Alice]

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

 

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

 

 

In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.

 

When Breath Becomes Air

 

When Breath Becomes Air by [Kalanithi, Paul]

 

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, this inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
THE WASHINGTON POST • THE NEW YORK TIMES • NPR

BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE AWARD FINALIST

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

 

Girl in Pieces

Girl in Pieces by [Glasgow, Kathleen]

Fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places will love the New York Times bestselling novel Girl in Pieces.

A haunting, beautiful, and necessary book that will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
A deeply moving portrait of a girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together. Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

 

Touching the Wire

 

TOUCHING THE WIRE: Auschwitz:1944 A Jewish nurse steps from a cattle wagon into the heart of a young doctor, but can he save her? 70yrs later, his granddaughter tries to keep the promise he made. by [Bryn, Rebecca]

 

“He had no way to tell her he had given her life: no right to tell her to abandon hope.”
A fictional story of every man and woman interred in Nazi death camps throughout the Second World War, this novel is based on real events.
Part One – In the Shadow of the Wolf
In a death camp in 1940’s Poland, a young doctor and one of his nurses struggle to save lives and relieve the suffering of hundreds of women. As their relationship blossoms, amid the death and deprivation, they join the camp resistance and, despite the danger of betrayal, he steals damning evidence of war-crimes. Afraid of repercussions, and for the sake of his post-war family, he hides the evidence but hard truths and terrible choices haunt him, as does an unkept promise to his lost love.

Part Two – Though the Heavens should Fall
In present-day England, his granddaughter seeks to answer the questions posed by her grandfather’s enigmatic carving. Her own relationship in tatters, she meets a modern historian who, intrigued by the carving, agrees to help her discover its purpose. As her grandfather’s past seeps into the present, she betrays the man she loves and is forced to confront her own guilt in order to be able to forgive the unforgivable and keep her grandfather’s promise.

 

So there you have it! My TBR Pile for this summer. I’m hoping between my writing and my family, I’ll be able to get them all read. I just finished one that’s not on this list because I’ve read it already. 😉  It was very good. 🙂 It’s titled “The Sugar Men.” If you like WWII stories, then this one’s for you! 🙂

 

How about you? Do you have any books you just can’t wait to read? Share them with me! I’m always looking for a good story! Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!