“The incredible true story of a boy living in war-torn Somalia who escapes to America–first by way of the movies; years later, through a miraculous green card.
Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop artists like Michael Jackson and watching films starring action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these real Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies.
Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it suddenly became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches to NPR and the Internet, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. But as life in Somalia grew more dangerous, Abdi was left with no choice but to flee to Kenya as a refugee.
In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America–filled with twists and turns and a harrowing sequence of events that nearly stranded him in Nairobi–did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin’s dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why western democracies still beckon to those looking to make a better life.”
This was an amazing story. I listened to Abdi Nor Iftin’s book on Audible and it is one of the most amazing non-fiction books I have ever read. It was heartbreaking and also filled with hope, and his persistence was just so inspiring.
Call Me American is an amazing addition to the American immigrant literature genre and something I hope to read more of in 2019. Before reading this I did not know a lot about Somalia and so I learned so much not only about Iftin and his journey to America but also the modern history of Somalia. The war-torn country and his years-long journey to become an American citizen is something I will never forget.
It was such an important reminder for me about just how many people live in places like this and are fleeing their countries just for a chance at survival.
“My future was a mystery, but at least I was leaving hell forever.”
I think this should be required reading for everyone. Thank you to Abdi Iftin for sharing your incredible story.
Are you a fan of audio books? I listen to at least 1-2 books a month on Audible and it has made my daily commute, computer work, and random cleaning around the house so much more enjoyable! Above are some of my suggestions that are a part of this great deal.
And if you haven’t read any Brene Brown books yet, this is your chance! The Gifts Of Imperfection and I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) are two of my favorites and were life changing for me. <3
“From Barbara Delinsky, the New York Times bestselling author of Blueprints and Sweet Salt Air, a brand-new novel about a woman in hiding finding the courage to face the world again.
Mackenzie Cooper took her eyes off the road for just a moment but the resulting collision was enough to rob her not only of her beloved daughter but ultimately of her marriage, family, and friends—and thanks to the nonstop media coverage, even her privacy. Now she lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog. She’s thankful for the new friends she’s made—though she can’t risk telling them too much. And she takes satisfaction in working as a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa, helping clients hide the visible outward signs of their weariness, illnesses, and injuries. Covering up scars is a skill she has mastered.
Her only goal is to stay under the radar and make it through her remaining probation. But she isn’t the only one in this peaceful town with secrets. When a friend’s teenage son is thrust into the national spotlight, accused of hacking a powerful man’s Twitter account, Maggie is torn between pulling away and protecting herself—or stepping into the glare to be at their side. As the stunning truth behind their case is slowly revealed, Maggie’s own carefully constructed story begins to unravel as well. She knows all too well that what we need from each other in this difficult world is comfort. But to provide it, sometimes we need to travel far outside our comfort zones.
From a multimillion-selling master of women’s fiction, Before and Again is a story of the relationships we find ourselves in—mothers and daughters, spouses and siblings, true companions and fair-weather friends—and what kind of sacrifices we are or aren’t willing to make to sustain them through good times and bad.”
“From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes the instant New York Times bestseller (May 2018), an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.
Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.
How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best—a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.”
“A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial—like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.
Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.
When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.
Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.”
“The most twisty, addictive and gripping debut thriller you’ll read this year.
HE LOVES YOU: Adam adores Emily. Emily thinks Adam’s perfect, the man she thought she’d never meet. BUT SHE LOVES YOU NOT: Lurking in the shadows is a rival, a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves. AND SHE’LL STOP AT NOTHING: Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.
The Other Woman will have you questioning her on every page, in Sandie Jones’ chilling psychological suspense about a man, his new girlfriend, and the mother who will not let him go.”
“A battle of wills between mother and daughter reveals the frailty and falsehood of familial bonds in award-winning playwright and filmmaker Zoje Stage’s tense novel of psychological suspense, Baby Teeth.
Afflicted with a chronic debilitating condition, Suzette Jensen knew having children would wreak havoc on her already fragile body. Nevertheless, she brought Hanna into the world, pleased and proud to start a family with her husband Alex. Estranged from her own mother, Suzette is determined to raise her beautiful daughter with the love, care, and support she was denied.
But Hanna proves to be a difficult child. Now seven-years-old, she has yet to utter a word, despite being able to read and write. Defiant and anti-social, she refuses to behave in kindergarten classes, forcing Suzette to homeschool her. Resentful of her mother’s rules and attentions, Hanna lashes out in anger, becoming more aggressive every day. The only time Hanna is truly happy is when she’s with her father. To Alex, she’s willful and precocious but otherwise the perfect little girl, doing what she’s told.
Suzette knows her clever and manipulative daughter doesn’t love her. She can see the hatred and jealousy in her eyes. And as Hanna’s subtle acts of cruelty threaten to tear her and Alex apart, Suzette fears her very life may be in grave danger…”
“A provocative and unputdownable psychological suspense about two women locked in a desperate fight over a child each believes is rightfully hers
Libby needs a break. Three years ago her husband split, leaving her to raise their infant son Ethan alone as she struggled to launch her writing career. Now for the first time in years, things are looking up. She’s just sold her first novel, and she and Ethan are going on a much-needed vacation. Everything seems to be going their way, so why can’t she stop looking over her shoulder or panicking every time Ethan wanders out of view? Is it because of what happened when Ethan was born? Except Libby’s never told anyone the full story of what happened, and there’s no way anyone could find her and Ethan at a faraway resort . . . right?
But three days into their vacation, Libby’s fears prove justified. In a moment of inattention, Ethan wanders into an elevator before Libby can reach him. When the elevator stops and the doors open, Ethan is gone. Hotel security scours the building and finds no trace of him, but when CCTV footage is found of an adult finding the child wandering alone and leading him away by the hand, the police are called in. The search intensifies, a lost child case turning into a possible abduction. Hours later, a child is seen with a woman stepping through an emergency exit. Libby and the police track the woman down and corner her, but she refuses to release Ethan. Asked who she is, the woman replies:
“I’m his mother.”
What follows is one of the most shocking, twist-y, and provocative works of psychological suspense ever written. A story of stolen identity, of surrogacy gone horribly wrong, and of two women whose insistence that each is the “real” mother puts them at deadly cross-purposes, Lost You is sure to be one of 2019’s most buzzed-about novels.”
This was a solid 3 star read for me. I really enjoyed 3/4 of this book but I felt a little unsatisfied with the ending which just wrapped up very quickly and it wasn’t totally believable. The writing is not anything amazing but it was great “escape reading” and perfect for this busy time of year. I was very interested in the topic, which was the more “dark side” of paid surrogacy. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and their back stories and Beck (aka Stuart Neville) did a great job building up the suspense.
As the story went on each of the women became more desperate with their desire for the baby and this part was harder for me because I often felt most for the baby himself…. I enjoy domestic thrillers and think this would be a great beach read or one to discuss with friends because it has some very interesting talking points.
“In this singular and imaginative story collection, Cecelia Ahern illuminates the myriad ways in which women overcome adversity with wit, resourcefulness and compassion. Exploring dilemmas and aspirations that women everywhere will relate to, these unforgettable tales blend magical realism and familiar scenarios with startling and often hilarious results. In matters ranging from marriage and childrearing to politics and career, the heroines of these thought-provoking stories confront problems both mysterious and mundane: one woman is tortured by sinister bite marks that appear on her skin; another is swallowed up by the floor during a mortifying presentation; yet another resolves to return and exchange her boring husband at the store where she originally acquired him. As they wrestle with obstacles of all kinds, their reality is shaped by how others perceive them–and ultimately, how they perceive the power within themselves.
By turns sly, whimsical and affecting, these 30 short stories are an inspiring examination of what it means to be a woman today.”
I really had a hard time with this book. I get where she was going but it was just so over the top that it was hard to take seriously. I loved her idea of doing short stories about everyday challenges modern day women face. Unfortunately, the transformations were so whimsical that it was hard to really look at the issues she was trying to represent which were strong enough on their own.
I love Ahern’s writing but this just didn’t work for me. I appreciate what she was trying to do here but this just fell flat for me and seemed very superficial at best. Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for gifting me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
I am not a big New Year goal setter or resolution maker but I am big into reflecting on things. I think we can learn so much from what we go through and often the hardest situations can teach us the biggest and best lessons.
This year was a hard one and one that pushed me in ways I never expected. Mantras are a newer thing for me but something that have helped me so much in times where there was a lot of sadness and unknown. I struggle in times of transition and times when things are out of my control. Having mantra has helped ground me and have been great reminders when my worries and thoughts feel really heavy. I love Pinterest for inspiration for this stuff and that is where I found all of these…
Some things I have learned in 2018…
I would rather make mistakes than not put myself out there at all. I am not a perfectionist but I certainly struggle with worrying about what other people think of me and what I am doing. Letting go of this is a work in progress but staying true to myself and knowing that that is enough has been very powerful. When you make mistakes it means you are out there doing something. Some of my biggest “failures” and challenges have lead me to some of the most wonderful things in my life.
I have tried to let go of negativity. Putting my energy towards the people and things that are positive has helped create more of that. It sounds simple but you really can choose where your energy goes. It doesn’t mean that hard things won’t happen, but you do have control over how you react and move forward. I have SO many positive people and things in my life and focusing on these has really been a game changer.
As a people pleaser, not overthinking things does not come easily for me. I wish I didn’t care so much but I do. Sometimes when I overthink things I get so stuck in the “what ifs” that I don’t do anything at all…which was one of the reasons it took me so long to start this blog. I was thinking so much about it when I just needed to start! It is really freeing to just make a decision and move forward. If things don’t work out, you make another decision and you move forward again. I am a planner by nature and its hard for me to take things step by step but it makes such a huge difference.
You make time for what you want to fit in and everyone has different priorities for this. I can do a lot of things, but I can’t do everything. I have worked on feeling in control about what I choose to prioritize and not getting stuck in what I don’t. This has also helped me when I see someone else doing something and wonder how they fit it in. We all make choices about how we spend our time. Again, this has been such a empowering mindset and lets me feel like I have authority over my days and weeks instead of them controlling me.
Looking back really helps me realize how much we learn and grow every single day. I don’t know what 2019 will bring but I do know that when you know better you do better. I want to appreciate the wonderful people around me. I want to recognize the good because there really is so much. I want people to feel heard, when they are happy or excited and also when they are scared or worried. I want to say yes to the things that really matter to me and say NO to things that don’t feel good. I want to keep sharing about the things I love, and I also want to be honest about the things that are challenging. Life is so much better when we are all in this together. <3
This is my very favorite time of year to read. I love snuggling up on our couch and reading by our woodstove. Winter is long here in Vermont but I do love the slower pace of life during this time of the year…well at least after the holidays.
I get asked about book recommendations quite a bit and recently some friends have asked about books I would suggest for cozy winter reading. For me, books like that are easy and enjoyable to read and nothing too heavy or stressful. I love reading for all different reasons but sometimes I just like it as an escape and these books fit that bill.
How to Find Love in a Bookshop was a surprise hit for me. When I picked this one up at the library I was worried it could be cheesy because of the cover…I try not to judge a book by its cover in a negative way but it’s hard for me!
I was pleasantly surprised that not only was it not cheesy but it ended up being such a delightful and enjoyable read. There is a great mix of characters and a great balance of loss, hope, and love within the different storylines. This book was filled with charm and warmth but also some depth and I enjoyed how the ending wrapped up in the most perfect, non-perfect way.
“The enchanting story of a bookshop, its grieving owner, a supportive literary community, and the extraordinary power of books to heal the heart.
Nightingale Books, nestled on the main street in an idyllic little village, is a dream come true for book lovers–a cozy haven and welcoming getaway for the literary-minded locals. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open after her beloved father’s death, and the temptation to sell is getting stronger. The property developers are circling, yet Emilia’s loyal customers have become like family, and she can’t imagine breaking the promise she made to her father to keep the store alive.
There’s Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor, who has used the bookshop as an escape in the past few years, but it now seems there’s a very specific reason for all those frequent visits. Next is roguish Jackson, who, after making a complete mess of his marriage, now looks to Emilia for advice on books for the son he misses so much. And the forever shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant for two in her tiny cottage–she has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section, but can hardly dream of working up the courage to admit her true feelings.
Enter the world of Nightingale Books for a serving of romance, long-held secrets, and unexpected hopes for the future–and not just within the pages on the shelves. How to Find Love in a Bookshop is the delightful story of Emilia, the unforgettable cast of customers whose lives she has touched, and the books they all cherish.”
I wouldn’t say I am a huge fan of romance novels but this is definitely in that genre. It reminded me a lot of a Judy Blume book and had the perfect first romance and coming of age storyline that just got me and I was hooked.
I think the thing I think of with “romance” books is predictability. I found Love and Other Words to have a depth I was not expecting and it was just such an enjoyable and satisfying book.
“Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).
The story of the heart can never be unwritten.
Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.
But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.
Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.”
How to Walk Away was my first ever Book of The Month club pick and it was such an enjoyable read. The storyline is semi-predictable but it is the character development that Center just does so well and that makes her books so satisfying.
I enjoyed watching Margarets journey towards healing and she had the perfect mix of vulnerability and strength that kept me rooting for her while also being relatable. Katherine Center excels at infusing both humor and also resilience into her characters and I just enjoy her books so much.
“From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.
Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.
How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture the reader’s hearts with every page.”
I first found The Mother’s Promise when I was searching for a book to read in the middle of the night on my Libby app and it quickly got me hooked on her books in general. It is an easy and engaging story that also beautifully shows the power of connection and relationships. This story is heartbreaking but also gives you so much hope. Hepworth really excels at getting you so connected to her characters and I could relate to them so much while I was reading this.
“With every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families—and the things that test their bonds. In The Mother’s Promise, she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment.
Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.
Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.”
I found this to be the perfect escape reading. I loved the twist of family drama, mystery and suspense and I had a hard time putting this one down. For what it’s worth, I have never read Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca so I didn’t have that to compare this to, and maybe that helped me just read this for what it is. The creepiness factor with the characters made this super engaging and I just needed to know what was going to happen.
“Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, a spellbindingly suspenseful novel set in the moneyed world of the Hamptons, about secrets that refuse to remain buried and consequences that can’t be escaped
After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman—alive or dead—to interfere.
As the soon-to-be second Mrs. Winter grows more in love with Max, and more afraid of Dani, she is drawn deeper into the family’s dark secrets—the kind of secrets that could kill her, too. The Winters is a riveting story about what happens when a family’s ghosts resurface and threaten to upend everything.”
This was my first Liane Moriarty book I ever read and it made me into a big fan. This story is told from 3 separate points of view that become intertwined. I always love Moriarty’s character development and she does such a great job of showing the complexities in relationships. The Husband’s Secret has mystery along with incredible wit and I just found this one so satisfying.
“At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read.
My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…
Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.
Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.”
I chose this book expecting a lighter “rom-com” type feel. I was pleasantly surprised that there was a little more than that and enjoyed the story of love, loss, and friendship. The story is told over a period of 10 years and I enjoyed that even though I didn’t love the characters all the time I could relate to their challenges and enjoyed the concept of falling in love with someone vs staying in love and what that really means in the long term.
“Two people. Ten chances. One unforgettable love story.
Laurie is pretty sure love, at first sight, doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.
Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.
What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and an immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.”
Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand (Book #1 in the four-part Winter Series)
I don’t read a lot of book series but last year I was looking for a holiday-themed book and this came highly recommended. Winter Street is book #1 of a four-part Winter Series and is the introduction to the Quinn Family and takes place on Nantucket. Elin Hilderbrand is known for her “summer book” so this series was a departure from that and makes this the perfect cozy winter read.
I found this whole series to be light but not super fluffy and just a great escape. I loved getting to know this family and going through their ups and downs with them over the course of this series. It definitely has aspects of a Hallmark movie so it may not be for everyone but I found it thoroughly enjoyable and really missed the Quinn family when it was over.
“In bestseller Elin Hilderbrand’s first Christmas novel, a family gathers on Nantucket for a holiday filled with surprises.
Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can’t get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley’s second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.
As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who’s playing Santa at the inn’s annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.
Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.”
Do you have any cozy reading book suggestions? I would love to hear in the comments below. <3
I have read some amazing books this year, including some advanced reader copies of books that will be released in 2019. If these have any indication of what’s ahead, next year is going to be an awesome book year!
These six books are my favorite ARC that I have read this past year and you should definitely add them to your reading list. Do you know that if you add books to your Goodreads shelf, it notifies you on the publication day that they are available? It is my favorite way to make sure I don’t miss something I am looking forward to reading. <3
Below I have linked my book reviews to my top book recommendations:
Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.
Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.
Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this new novel by Graves but I read The Island a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I enjoyed that she was able to take a unique perspective and this book was completely engrossing from the start.
This story focused around the main character, Annika, who is on the Autism spectrum. Annika has previously struggled with relationships and friendships until she meets Jonathan in college in 1991.
I was very impressed by her ability to portray Annika’s perspective through the eyes of someone on the spectrum, and how just exhausting and confusing social situations can be. The book takes place in two different time periods (1991 and 2001) and the reader is aware something happened between Annika and Jonathan that initially pushed them apart but it isn’t clear at first what happened.
When they meet again, both have changed and learned about themselves and I loved seeing this progression over time. I love books about second chances and also loved seeing the transformation of not only this relationship but also the characters individually. This was not only a romance but also a book about self-love and acceptance and also hard work. This was a beautiful book and it will stick with me for a long time. Thank you to St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for gifting me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.
Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.
This book!! I really wasn’t sure what to expect with Daisy Jones & The Six and one of the things I love about Taylor Jenkins Reid and you never really do! Her last book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was surprising too and quickly got me hooked.
At first, I questioned the short interview-style narration but quickly got used to it and it actually is one of the things I love most about this book. There are always different perspectives to a story and I love being able to see that play out as you go.
The characters were detailed and flawed, and all had parts of this fictional story that really stood out to me. There was love, addiction, friendships, family drama, and it all played out with depth and without the stereotypical pull, you might have first expected.
The relationships were raw and Reid is skilled at portraying this and really connecting you to her characters, long after you finish her books. This one will stick with me for a long time!
Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for sharing an advanced copy with me. All opinions are my own.