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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 11

It’s summer. And that means more reading time for most people. To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me.

On the Noodle Road by Jen Lin-Liu (Riverhead Books, 2013)

My blurb: I’ve really been on a foodie memoir kick lately. This one takes me into a journey through Asia and Europe and combines it with my love of pasta. After reading this, be prepared to eat a bowl of noodles. Doesn’t matter how. You’ll start craving noodles.

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (Ecco/Harper Perrenial, 2007)

My blurb: If you’ve ever watched No Reservations or that new show he has on CNN, then you can pretty much know what you can expect from Bourdain. It’s written exactly how he talks. It really gives a great insight to what goes on inside a restaurant and includes many things that you wouldn’t even think about. You’ll still want to go out and eat after reading this one too.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore (Knopf, 2014)

My blurb: This book is more of a history book than a book about the comics. That wasn’t what I was expecting when I picked this up but I was still quite delighted by it. I learned a ton of things that I never knew was connected to Wonder Woman such as the creator was a bigamist and was closely connected to Margaret Sanger, the famous birth control activist. It’s a fascinating read and you won’t look at Wonder Woman in the same way again. It’ll make you look forward to her movie (more so than you did for that Batman V Superman mess of a movie.)

The Pug List by Alison Hodgson (Zondervan, 2016)

My blurb: IT’S A BOOK ABOUT A PUG. So of course I had to read this. Pugs are the best. This is actually a nice memoir about a family and how pugs had a huge impact in their life and what they did for the morale of their family during a very tough time. The only thing I wished was there had been pictures of pugs. You can never have enough pictures of pugs.


Raising the Barre by Laruen Kessler (Da Copo Press, 2015)

My blurb: The premise of this book is that a middle-aged woman decides to try out for the Nutcracker ballet. The Nutcracker is my favorite ballet of all time and based on her findings, so is almost everyone else’s. Reading this book definitely makes me want to see the ballet live again one day. But not this version which still gives me nightmares.

Close to You by Kara Isaac (Howard Books, 2016)

My blurb: Hobbits! Lord of the Rings cosplay! New Zealand! This book appeals to my geeky side as it is a contemporary romance that goes on a tour of Middle Earth. Plus the female lead has a PhD! It’s one of the VERY few romances I’ve read that the story ends and I’m 100% satisfied with how everything turned out. My only complaint is the cover does absolutely nothing for the story. I suppose it’s licensing issues but with such a LOTR heavy plot, couldn’t there be a hobbit door or someone having hairy feet on the cover?

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick Press, 2015)

My blurb: Finally! A YA historical fiction read that doesn’t involve girls in fancy dresses who basically are modern girls disguised in a “historical” setting. This book follows the story of a girl who runs away from a horrible home life to become a house maid. There was a bit of controversy of how there might be some disparaging views of religion in the book but personally I feel that they represent the time period. It may be uncomfortable to read now in modern age but in a historical context, I believe they were accurate. Overall if you like books like Little House or Anne of Green Gables, you’ll like this one too.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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Reading in 2016

This year in 2016 my goal this year is to once again read 200 books. I figured, it’s a safe number that over the past few years, I’ve been right on target with meeting. Well….it’s just now April and I’ve already read 105 books. Perhaps I should increase my goal. At this rate, I’m almost at my 2010 reading level. This is what happens when you work in a library and are surrounded by books 5 days a week.

In addition to reading a certain number of books, my goal is to read at least 50 books by POC authors. I was very dismayed that despite reading over 200 books last year, I read only 8 books by non white authors. I didn’t change my reading habits at all last year so that means that without reading intentionally, I gravitate towards white authors, particularly white female authors. This year I’m being more aware of what I read. I’m not trying to fulfill a quota and just check off a box. But I want to diversify my reading and by reading at least 50 books by POC authors will help me see what else is out there.

I’m trying to read more non fiction this year as well as, oddly, more male authors. Really anything out of my normal reading habits is fair game.

I think I’d like to try to do a weekly post on what I’ve read this week. Not necessarily posting about EVERYTHING I’ve read but the top books of the week. I find that I personally like reading what others have been reading (especially if they post the covers) so I figure maybe other people would like to read that about me too.

I’ll start off by posting the books I’ve liked best over the past 3 months.

Armada by Ernest Cline (Crown, 2015)

My blurb: I’ll start off by admitting that it’s not as good as Ready Player One and the ending comes REALLY fast in a slightly unsatisfying way. And there’s a bunch of namedropping of everything nostaglically pop culture. But it was still really fun to read and I couldn’t stop turning pages. If Cline writes another book, I do hope he veers away from this formula but I’ll be glad to read it as well.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert (Gallery, 2015)

My blurb: Foodie fiction is my favorite kind of fiction. And look at that cover. It’s a chick lit book, about a restaurant owner and a food critic, and miscommunication. And a lot of food.

You’re Never Weird On The Internet (almost) by Felicia Day (Touchstone, 2015)

My blurb: Truth, I didn’t know much about Felicia Day before reading this book. I knew her name but I couldn’t figure out why she was so internet famous because I hadn’t really seen/heard much about her outside of the internet. But her book is delightfully geeky and even though I still don’t actually interact with things she’s in, it’s a great funny read.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (Grand Central, 2015)

My blurb: I’m just going to say this is basically Prince William and Kate Middleton fan fiction with Kate being an American. I mean look at that cover. If you like the royals and you’re a Will and Kate fan, you’ll love this book.

Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

My blurb: I’ve loved everything Rachel Held Evans has written. While I don’t necessarily agree with EVERYTHING she says, I do think that her thoughts challenge what most Christians blindly believe and makes one take a deeper look at their faith. Some people never really think about leaving the church but for those who have, this is a fantastic read.

Every Crooked Path by Steven James (Signet, 2015)

My blurb: Ever since I discovered Steven James about 8 years ago, I look forward to every Patrick Bowers book. I don’t care that this is as prequel to the main series and that I technically know what happens to Patrick, Christie, Tessa in future books. The story deals with child predators and child molestation so it can be an uncomfortable read at times. But it’s so gosh darn written well that you CANNOT put the book down. James is one of my favorite authors ever so I HIGHLY recommend these books. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

The Distance From Me to You by Marina Gessner (GP Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2015)

My blurb: This is a novel about a teenage girl hiking the Appalachian Trail by herself. I’ve had a friend hike it so it was really cool to know the lingo and recognize landmarks mentioned. I don’t have plans on hiking the trail myself but it was fun to live vicariously in this story.

My Brother’s Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould (Harvest House, 2015)

My blurb: This is glorious historical fiction that I love combined with a modern story that goes back and forth weaving the two together. I’ve never read a Mindy Starns Clark book that I haven’t loved (even her Amish fiction is SUPER good because it really isn’t Amish-y) and I couldn’t put this one down. If you enjoy French history or just a darn good story, read this one. And then be left dying for book 2.

Reservations for Two by Hillary Manton Lodge (Waterbrook, 2015)

My blurb: More foodie fiction. And traveling overseas. And mentions of Doctor Who and Josh Groban. When does book 3 come out?

The Annotated Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and John Matteson, editor (WW Norton & Company, 2015)

My blurb: This is one of my favorite classics of all time. This version includes annotations throughout the story that add more insight to Alcott’s life and her writing. There are also colored pictures throughout the story including drawings from Alcott’s sister, pictures of historical artifact’s from Alcott’s life, as well as images from all the movies and Broadway show based on the book. If you haven’t read the book or it’s a been a while, this is a great way to experience it. Warning it’s a HUGE and heavy book, not for toting around everywhere.

The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn (Viking Adult, 2007)

My blurb: I love to cook but there’s not way I could study to be a chef. Especially not at the hardest culinary school in the world. But it’s so fun to read and live vicariously through Flinn about living in Paris and training to be a chef. Plus there are recipes! Foodie memoirs are a delicious read.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (Crown Archetype, 2011)

My blurb: Based on my Goodreads, I think I am the last of my friends to read this book. I’m honestly not quite sure why it took so long for me to read it. It’s really hilarious and I want to be Mindy Kaling’s best friend after reading it. I’ve already go her next book on hold for me at the library.

Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke (Bethany House, 2003)

My blurb: This is a reread of a Christian fiction classic and despite the fact that it was originally written in 1979, it’s still held up quite well today. It’s not groundbreaking or edgy by any means, but it’s a sweet read that’s very comforting. Better than those hacked up TV movies that are supposedly based on the books any day.

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol. 10

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. My spreadsheet is getting a workout!

The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller (Atheneum, 2011)

My blurb: So confession, despite the fact that my degrees are focused on American history and my personal interest is in British history, I am also very interested in Russian history. Specifically that of the last czar Nicholas II and his family. This is a book told from the different perspectives of his four daughters and it’s so incredibly sad because they were all so very young when they were killed.

Popular by Maya Van Wagenen (Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2014)

My blurb: I was drawn to this book because of the cover and I never would have expected it to be written by a 15 year old because it’s so very well done. It’s non fiction first of all and Maya writes about her experiences going from not noticed at all in school to becoming one of the friendliest and popular girls in school simply by following rules from a 1950s teen self help book. Each chapter is based on a chapter in that 50s book from skin care to posture to clothing. It’s a great read for any age.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2015)

My blog: First off my attempts at reading POC authors this year has gone horrible. I’m not really sure if I’m unconsciously choosing white authors or if that’s just what is really dominating the shelves but this book was only the 4th by a POC author for me this year. That being so it’s absolutely fantastic. A historical YA about two POC characters (an Asian girl and an African-American girl) out in the wild west? Yes please.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Random House, 2011)

My blurb: I talked a bit about this already on the blog but I had a BLAST reading this book. My “book club” decided to read it and I’m really glad because it’s been recommended me for a while and I kept putting it aside. Basically if you grew up in the 80s and know a lot about pop culture this is the book for you. It was so fun reading it too! Granted some of it seems a bit like name dropping at times and how many references can the author cram in a passage. But overall it’s really fun and I’m looking forward to the movie directed by Spielberg in a few years.

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd (Howard Books, 2015)

My blurb: Here’s a good gothic mystery where I refused to flip to the end to figure out everything. Do you know how hard that was for me? Which served me well because I honestly had no idea how everything was going to work itself out and was pleasantly pleased with how it all did. Byrd’s books are always enjoying to read and this one is no exception.

Recipe for Disaster by Stacey Ballis (Berkely, 2015)

My blurb: I love books about food. Seriously, there is nothing better than eating food and reading a story about food at the same time. And Stacey Ballis’ books always have so much of it in there PLUS a good story to boot. This one even throws in some HGTV home remodeling as well. I learned how to make good roasted chicken thanks to this book. And there are recipes. It’s a winner.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol. 9

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. My spreadsheet is getting a workout!

Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle (Jonathan Cape, 2009)

My blurb: This book is fantastic for so many reasons. 1) I’m half Burmese so WOOT. 2) It’s a graphic novel. 3) The author is French so it’s not from an American POV. 4) It’s like a travelogue and a memoir in one. 5) It’s a very enjoyable read. Once you get started you don’t want to stop. 5) Also parents, especially dads will like it. I borrowed Delisle’s other books about living in China and North Korea because this one was just so darn good.

Bon Appetempt by Amelia Morris (Grand Central Publishing, 2015)

My blurb: The reason why I put this book on hold at the library was because I was drawn to the cover. I mean look at that work of art. Plus there was the promise of recipes. I didn’t know who the author was but I like recipes when I read so this seem like a good gamble. AND IT WAS. Morris’ story about growing up and then going off to Hollywood was engaging and highly readable and the recipes make me want to cook. I even bought some brie to do the pasta recipe. Nom nom nom.

The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki (Howard Books, 2015)

My blurb: I didn’t know anything about Elisabeth or Sissi, the Austrian empress before this book but after reading it, I’m now like MUST FIND OUT EVERYTHING. This is a wonderfully written historical fiction. It’s lush with detail and I really felt transported into the story. I’m really not sure why this book is published with a Christian publisher as there’s nothing that stands out as being really Christian (which is fine for me but I know problematic for others). Pataki’s last book (The Traitor’s Wife) was outstanding as well and I cannot wait for her next one.

Jay J. Armes, Investigator by Jay J. Armes, Frederick Nolan (Macmillan, 1976)

My Blurb: This book was initially going to be an inside joke read between me and a friend. It’s about a guy with hooks for hands! But then it turned out to be actually pretty good. It’s written in the 70s so it has that campy type of flair about it. And I feel like some things are possibly embellished. But it’s also a really fun story to read and Armes is still around doing his thing to this day. It really is like reading a book about James Bond but also how Armes refused to let his handicap overtake his life. Seriously, why was a movie never made about this guy? On a slightly sadder note, this was my first book of 2014 written by a POC author. I am NOT doing well diversely wise.

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner (NAL, 2015)

My blurb: This book takes place during WWII England. I think that’s enough to say. No? You need more? Well, as Meissner is one of my favorite authors EVER, then you should know this is a very good book. That I couldn’t put down. And it reminded me of Atonement by Ian McEwan. Really, it’s such a lovely book. You should read it.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty (W.W. Norton & Company, 2014)

My blurb: This goes outside my normal reading but I’m really glad that I did. Because now I know what goes on inside a crematory and it’s really quite fascinating. I didn’t know much about what happens after a body is sent to the funeral home and this book explains the entire process. Death is a subject that a lot of people don’t really like talking about or even thinking about what physically happens afterwards. Doughty’s adventures are quite humorous and very eye opening. Lots to think about.

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel (Gallery Books, 2014)

My blurb: So the funny thing about this book is that it’s really not one of my favorite books from this author. I felt the main character to be a bit whiny and I really wish she would have just TOLD her feelings instead of hiding them or assuming that people would just understand them. But what made this book stand out is that the overall plot is something I’ve always imagined “what if” to myself and it filled out the technical holes I always wondered in that situation. If you got transported into another version of yourself, how would you know everything in that life and still be aware of your real life?

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor (Basic Books, 2014)

My blurb: The cover isn’t amazing but if you’re a huge Star Wars fan, then this book is going to be one of the most fun reads you’ll have this year. It gives a history of the franchise but not in a chronological order. Taylor focuses on different aspects of the movie making process as well as reactions and opinions. You can tell he’s a fan but he’s doesn’t shy on criticizing when it needs it. Almost every little thing I personally like that deals with the franchise (both good and bad) gets a shout out. To be honest, it makes me really want to go back and watch all the movies and TV shows and read some of the books to prepare for The Force Awakens in December. I highly recommend this one.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol. 8

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. My spreadsheet is getting a workout!

So…I read a lot since the last time I did this…

Stephen Biesty’s Cross-Sections Castle by Stephen Biesty and Richard Platt (DK Pub, 1994)

My blurb: This has been one of my favorite books since I was a kid. It’ one of those books that explains every single feature of the castle. Kind of like a where’s waldo with historical facts. You can usually find someone pooping. There’s a spy to find in every page as well as a couple making out in weird places. Incredible detail to keep you occupied for hours.

Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt (Bethany House, 2015)

My blurb: In all honesty, I feel that Esther is an extremely played out story from the Bible. There’s only so many different ways you can tell this story without a been there, done that feeling. But I have always loved Angela Hunt’s books and I know she does her research very well. It’s a good and not safe adaptation (spoilers: they have sex! there are eunuchs!) that is both consistent with Scripture, historical fact, and breathes life into a very old familiar story.

Home of the Braised by Julie Hyzy (Berkley, 2014)

My blurb: I haven’t been reading cozy mysteries in a long time but I picked this one up and it made me question why I stopped. SO MUCH FOOD in this one plus it’s set in the DC area so I knew exactly where everything was taking place. It’s a fun mystery and even though it’s right in the middle of the series, I didn’t feel lost at all. Did I mention food?

Absolutely truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014)

My blurb: I felt absolutely cozy after reading this. I’m a big fan of the author’s previous book series (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) so I was delighted to find out she had a new one. It takes place in a small town, with a big family, and there are BOOKS and a mystery. The main character is a delightful young teen girl who I feel is a good role model for that age group. Very fun and I look forward to more books.

Unfriending My Ex by Kim Stolz (Scribner, 2014)

My blurb: I got this from the library on a whim and it turned out to be a really good read. Kim Stolz was on America’s Next Top Model and she wrote a pretty darn good book about social media usage. Despite the fact that she uses an iPhone and not an Android, I could very much relate to her stories about being glued to her phone, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Not that I feel any need to cut myself off cold turkey after reading this but it’s a very amusing, engaging and informative read. I laughed a lot.

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House, 2015)

My blurb: This book takes place in the Library of Congress and it’s about a female librarian. HELLO YOU HAD ME AT LIBRARY. There’s also a mystery and slight romance. It’s actually the best book I think the author has written.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Pamela Smith Hill (editor)

My blurb: Well this book just destroyed my childhood. So it’s Wilder’s REAL autobiography as the Little House series was a) mainly written by her daughter Rose and b) heavily fictionalized plus the editor’s commentary on the sides chock full of facts and trivia. Like I said, my childhood is now ruined because I found out things like (SPOILERS) Jack, the brindle bulldog, never went to Plum Creek and onward with the family or the fact there was an extra family who lived with the Ingalls family during The Long Winter and she just chose not to add them in. It’s a great long read but be prepared to be like WTH.

I Never Knew That About New York by Christopher Winn (Plume, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been to NYC three times and after reading this book, I want to go again. TONS of interesting facts about all the places and buildings that I’m sure even locals don’t know. Also a great walking tour book.

We Can Work It Out by Elizabeth Eulberg (Point, 2015)

My blurb: It’s a YA book where all the characters love the Beatles? It’s the best book ever! So much Beatles in this book! But also a lot about friendship and dating and priorities. It’s actually a really good book for teen girls about how to put things in perspective during the high school years as well as even when you’re a 30-something adult. And did I mention Beatles?

Ms. Marvel Vol 1.: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson (Marvel, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been hearing lots of good things about this new comic series and I’m glad I finally decided to read the first one. It’s different as the main character is a teenage Pakistani American who is also Muslim. Quite different from your normal comic book heroine. But she now has the powers of Ms. Marvel and it’s a really good look at her trying to fit in, trying to get her parents to understand her, and trying to use her powers for good. Really good artwork too.

Unrequited by Lisa A. Phillips (Harper, 2015)

My blurb: Ah this book was the story of my life. It was actually quite sad, scary, and refreshing all at the same time to know that it wasn’t just me that went through a lot of this stuff. And the fact that society looks differently at when it happens to men vs women. Also, I felt this to be much more relatable than a lot of Christian advice given on the same subject. Highly recommended.

The Beatles Lyrics by Hunter Davies,editor  (Little, Brown & Company, 2014)

My blurb: This is all about the stories behind all the songs the Beatles wrote by their only official autobiographer. When you think about it, they were only in their 20s when they wrote all these songs. Lots of people try to over analyze them for hidden meanings but this book just tells the stories of what caused the inspirations for them. You can also see the handwritten lyrics for some of the songs, many of which the original copies will sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars or even more. The author and I seem to disagree on what makes a good song but oh well. Plus it ties in to my next Beatles album post which will be next week.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol. 7

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. My spreadsheet is getting a workout!

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan (Adams Media Corporation, 2014)

My blurb: This book is HILARIOUS. Though you will probably appreciate it more if you work/worked in a public library (obvs). Which I do. If you do read it, please don’t be those people.

Checkmate by Steven James (Signet Select, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been reading this series from Steven James for about 6 years. It is one of the best thriller series I’ve ever read. It’s also one of the few series that my mom and I both read. This was the conclusion and it was very satisfying. Also gory. Which is fantastic. Also elements of faith. Also fantastic. Also set near DC, woo! Sad to see end but so worth it.

Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle Books, 2014)

My blurb: These are just the cutest books ever. Seriously if you’re a Star Wars fan and you don’t like these, then you are not one with the Force. While you can read this to your kids, adults will enjoy them even more. SO CUTE.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick (Touchstone, 2014)

My blurb: As you already know, I’m a huge fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. One might think that this book was redundant, because The LBD is already a retelling of Pride and Prejudice so wouldn’t this book be more so? Nope. It gives more insight into the story, plus the writers had to make sure everything matched up with the videos. That meant if they mentioned a date they had to go back to the timeline they had  created already to make sure that all characters were actually available on that date. Talk about fact checking! It’s a wonderful addition to the series.

Yes Please by Amy Poeher (It Books, 2014)

My blurb: This book is awesome. First off, it’s a beautiful book. The pages are not your normal book pages, they’re more glossy and heavy. Second, if you’re a fan of Amy’s you’ll love this book. It’s hilarious just like her as well as insightful. It’s not all deep and heavy full of secrets like other celeb memoirs. It’s just Amy. If you’ve read her BFF Tina Fey’s book Bossypants, you’ll enjoy this one too.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 6

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. I’m now standing at 211 out of 225 books read for my 2014 goal with about 3 weeks left to go!

The Regal Rules for Girls by Jerramy Fine (Berkley Trade, 2012)

My blurb: Prince Harry is still up for grabs and this book showed me how to get him. No, but seriously as an Anglophile and very interested in the Royals, this book gave a great insight to what it’s like to learn to BE British. It’s sort of like an etiquette book but not as proper or formal. I highly doubt it will happen to be but still very fun to read.

Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen (Viking Adult, 2014)

My blurb: It’s like the story of my life! Being the daughter of Asian immigrants and reading Little House on the Prairie! This story gives a “what if” to the story of Rose, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter as well as the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants. It really was like reading a story about me.

The Walking Dead: Volume 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (Image Comics, 2006)

My blurb: I’ve been watching the show for several years and finally decided to cave and read the comics since we have all of them at the library. I’ve been reading one a week. And they are quite different from the TV show. I keep expecting Daryl to show up even though I know he never will. Characters are totally different and there are some changes in the plot. But otherwise it’s still really good and I’m enjoying it.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, 2014)

My blurb: I’m a huge Julie Klassen fan. (I was even published as a blurb in one of her books!) Her stories are set in the Austen time period. This is her best. It’s like Northanger Abbey, the gothic mystery romance. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen until the end. It’s rich and descriptive as well as a darn good story.

Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

My blurb: Food and Jane Austen references and a sister story? Yes please. LOTS of food. Two sisters who have grown apart reunite due to cancer. It’s not a retelling of Pride and Prejudice which I had been a little worried about but instead it just talks about Austen a lot. It is a cancer story, so there’s that in here but I thought it was portrayed very realistically. I really loved all the characters as they are flawed and not perfect and never become so. Also interracial marriages. FTW.

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose You Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris (Crown Archetype, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. I mean it’s NPH and a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I however did the thing where I just read it straight through. I know. But you really can flip around and choose NPH’s destiny. It’s an extremely funny book as well as very enlightening as to what went into the real Doogie Howser/Barney Stinson’s life. I don’t normally read celeb memoirs but this one was extremely well done.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 5

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. I’m now standing at 181 out of 225 books read for my 2014 goal with about 1.5 months left to go!

Wildlife by Fiona Wood (Poppy, 2014)

My blurb: It’s a story set in a wilderness high school experience in Australia. So it’s pretty much like a story about camp. And I love camp stories. I feel the US cover is a bit deceiving because it looks like it’s all about a girl and a guy but it’s really more about two girls and told from their points of view.

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae (Bloomsbury, 2014)

My blurb: I love stories that take place in other countries because if I can’t go there yet, I love reading about it. At first I was super annoyed with the main character because she was complaining about how she was being sent away to Italy to study and all she wanted to do was stay at home. But her adventures in the country really made me want to go travel there myself one day. If you liked Roman Holiday, you’ll enjoy this.

A Cry From the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

My blurb: I didn’t know what to expect when I read this because the cover seems very non descript and not at all like your typical Christian fiction cover. Well basically, it’s about historical Mormons that massacred innocent travelers and then in the modern day, a cancer recovery woman who tries to stop it from happening again. That on the cover my friends is a death mask.

The Well by Stephanie Landsem (Howard, 2013)

My blurb: I’ve always be fascinated by how many different interpretations there are of the woman at the well from the Bible. A lot of stories portray her in a horrible light because she had 5 husbands. But they never seem to consider the circumstances of why she did, they just automatically assume she’s a skank. This book however doesn’t immediately assume this. Also, the ending wasn’t what I was expecting. That’s all I will say.

Camp FoxTrot by Bill Amend (Andrews McNeel Publishing, 1998)

My blurb: FoxTrot to this day is my favorite comic of all time. I love the adventures the family has, the fact that they tied in pop/geek culture references all the time, and just how good the story is. I’ve read this collection many times but it always brings a chuckle and I love all the tiny details you don’t notice at first go round.

Cake Wrecks by Jen Yates (Andrews McNeel Publishing, 2009)

My blurb: If you’re familiar with the blog of the same name then you know what to expect. I’ve actually been waiting for 5 years to read this book! Long story short, it was everything I hoped for. There’s stuff in there that (as far as I know) wasn’t on the blog and it really makes you wonder what on earth these bakers and cake decorators were thinking. It’s always good for a laugh and then it makes you just want to eat cake.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 4

To new comers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. I’m now standing at 159 out of 225 books read for my 2014 goal with about 2.5 months left to go!

The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen by Tosca Lee (Howard, 2014)

My blurb: As far as I can remember, the Queen of Sheba gets a blip of a mention in Sunday School but I don’t know that much about her other than she came to visit King Solomon and they had a lot of wise talks. This book takes her character and creates a whole story for her that is incredible. You can tell there was a lot of historical research that went into the book. Tired of safe fiction coming from the Christian fiction publishers? This one has lots of sex. Good stuff. Heh.

An Accidental Life by Pamela Binnings Ewen (B&H, 2013)

My blurb: This book is about woman lawyers and abortion. But lest you think it’s a preachy pro-life book, it actually isn’t. It’s more about the legal issues surrounding the pro-life/choice debate and makes for a very compelling read.

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas (Bethany House, 2014)

My blurb: To sum up this word in just a few words: West Virginia and food. Seriously there is a ton of food in this book. And the best part is that one of the characters has the gift of making more food come. But people think she’s a witch! Like I said…..West Virginia.

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon (Putnam Adult, 2014)

My blurb: I LOVED this book. I’ve read all the Mitford books and this one was just like going home again. You know how when some authors go back to their most popular books and they just cannot recreate the magic? Not this time. Everything and everyone was there. I also haven’t laughed so much while reading a story in a long time. This is wonderful comfort reading. I don’t know if there will be more books but even if there isn’t, this was a joy to read

Blur by Steven James (Skyscape, 2014)

My blurb: Confession: Even though I LOVE Steven James’s books, I nearly avoided this one because it wasn’t published by a mainstream publisher. (I’m snobby about that.) I’m glad that I went against my normal way of thinking because this was a really great read. It’s a YA suspense with some paranormal elements and it is GOOD. James writes the story from a first person teenage boy’s POV and I believed it.

The Miracle Thief by Iris Anthony (Sourcebooks Landmark, 2014)

My blurb: This book is an amazing historical fiction read set during France during the 900s which is a time period you don’t see a lot of these days in books. Stuff about miracles and witches and nuns and royalty. All good stuff. Also even though I know what the word means, this was the first time I’ve actually seen the word “palfrey” used in a book and multiples times at that.

Sing for Me by Karen Halvorsen Schreck (Howard, 2014)

My blurb: Interracial relationships! Jazz music! Immigrants! The 1930s during the Depression! This book was fantastic. There is a serious lack of interracial couples in Christian fiction so I’m really glad that this book happened. Lots of soul in this one.

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

My blurb: Not your typical WWII Christian fiction book. It doesn’t romanticize the time period at all. But if you have a love of music and European history, you will definitely enjoy this book. Out of the box.


Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry by Perry Noble (Tyndale, 2014)

My blurb: We all know I worry a lot. And how I’m really trying not to. I’ve watched sermons from Noble’s teachings online and I’ve read excerpts from this book in an online devotional and really liked his style of teaching. I basically devoured this book in a day. There’s a lot of what goes through my mind in this book and he really touches at the heart of the manner. I don’t read a ton of non fiction normally but this is one that I needed and definitely recommend.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 3.

Despite the fact that it’s been my birthday week, I’ve been reading a lot more lately. Most of that is because I have library books that are due next week and I cannot renew them anymore. Also, while there will most likely be a blog post about this in the future, I was called out more than once this week for reading Amish YA books. It’s actually not a preferred genre choice despite the fact that I’ve read more than one.

There are four more months left in the year and I have read 131 out of 225 books from my Goodreads reading challenge. I’m 21 books behind schedule. It’s going to a big push.

Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner (Howard Books, 2013)

My blurb: This book came out before the Noah movie so part of me wanted to read it for that reason. The other part was because most of the reviews came from Christian reviewers who were so horribly offended by it. And to be honest, that just makes me want to read it more. I really liked this story. Biblical fiction that is not horribly “Christian fiction slanted” is very awesome. Though my favorite Noah novel of all time still goes to Many Waters by Madeleine L’engle.

I’ve Never Been to Vegas But My Luggage Has by Mandy Hale (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been a fan of Mandy Hale after reading her book The Single Woman and following her on Twitter. I got to meet her at a book signing earlier in the year. This book was not what I was expecting but in a good way. I thought it was going to be more of a self help type of book but it’s really more of a memoir. It’s a very personal and hard to read at times but I can relate to so much of it.

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki (Howard Books, 2014)

My blurb: Despite the fact that this is published by the Christian imprint of Simon and Schuster, this is not a Christian fiction book at all. It’s just a wonderfully written historical fiction. I loved it. It’s exactly what I want when I want to read historical fiction, none of that historical romance. I felt it was extremely well researched, well written narrative, and a section of US history we are aware of but don’t really know too much. There needs to be more books like this.

Passing Strangers by Angela Hunt (Christian Writers Guild, 2014)

My blurb: There hasn’t been an Angela Hunt book I haven’t liked and this one can be added to the list. Most of the story takes place on a train. I LOVE stories set trains despite the fact that I’ve only ridden on one twice and that was just to and from Baltimore. It was just a very comforting read AND there a brief mention of Reston, VA which got me super happy. Also. Food.

Swimming to the Surface by Kristin Billerbeck (Createspace, 2012)

My blurb: I normally stay away when authors self publish even if I love their work. I’m kind of snobbish in that I will usually only read publishers I know. But I do enjoy Kristin Billerbeck’s books and I read her blog and knew that the whole reason why she self pubbed this one was because none of the Christian publishers would take it due to the subject matter. So again, that was the  main reason why I wanted to read this one. It’s a hard read. It shows the weakness and failures of the church and Christians who overabuse their power. MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Press, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve enjoyed all of Rainbow Rowell’s books and again, this one was no exception. I enjoyed it so much I read it in just a few hours. Time travel? Yes please. It’s hard to explain without giving away the plot but it kind of reminded me of that Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie The Love Letter or that Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock movie The Lake House. There were a few things I did have faults with (who doesn’t charge their phone or pick up their phone?) but otherwise a very satisfying read.