Ella’s Book Nook #1

Hey, Quirky Bookworm readers! I’m so excited about Ella’s Book Nook on the blog! We have been working together the past few weeks to read and select books to review, including titles read in class. I had Ella write answers to a few questions so you get to know a little more about her.

Ella, 3rd grade

Question 1: What is your favorite subject in school? My Favorite Subject Is Science
Question 2: What is your favorite food to eat? Chicken Nuggets
Question 3: What are your favorite genres to read? Adventure Books
Question 4: What hobbies do you have? I like to play and talk to my friends
Question 5: What games do you like to play? Genshin Impact
Question 6: What is one of your favorite books? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Audiobook Review

Title: Mary Poppins
Author: P.L. Travers
Narrator: Sophie Thompson

It was okay, a bit lagging, I guess from the hand prints on the CD. (Copy was borrowed from local library.) It got annoying when it lagged, but I’m gonna be honest, it was a good audiobook. I’d give it a 5/5. I liked the story. The narrator was really good at reading the story. I COMPLETLY understood the story. DEFINITELY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK.

Parent note: I will be buying her own copy. She loved it. Sophie Thompson does an excellent job with the narration. When I had difficulty getting Ella to lay down at night, I would use this CD to get her to sleep. Her voice is very soothing.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (Ages 8-12)

It was a great book. My class had Chocolate Fever day on Friday. Wish I could do it again. We watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It’s the old version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’d give this book a 1000000000000/10. It’s so good. I wish I could read it again at my school. I will definitely read it again. My favorite part was when Violet chewed the gum and became a blueberry (a fat one). It made me laugh. I would recommend this book as well.

Parent note: Ella read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in class during quarter 1 of school, and didn’t just watch the movie. 😉

Ella is listening to…

Title: Endling #1: The Last
Author: Katherine Applegate
Ages 8-12

Endlings are a mythical doglike species that are being hunted to near extinction in the war-torn kingdom of Nedarra. Byx, the youngest member of her pack, believes it is up to her to save the Endlings.

Ella is reading…

Title: Meet Samantha (American Girl series)
Author: Susan Adler
Ages 8-10

From the publisher:

Samantha Parkington is an orphan who lives with her rich grandmother in 1904. There are many servants in Grandmary’s busy, bustling household, but there is no one for Samantha to play with. That’s why she’s so excited when Nellie moves in next door. Nellie has come to work so that she can send money back to her family in the city. Even though their lives are different, the two girls become good friends. One day Samantha discovers that Jessie, the seamstress, is leaving. No one will tell her why. So she and Nellie plan a secret midnight adventure to find out.

Title: Ramona’s World
Author: Beverly Clearly
Ages 8-12

From the publisher:

Ramona Quimby can’t wait to start fourth grade. With a new baby sister to brag about, new calluses to show off, and a new best friend to get to know, everything’s going to be great!

Or is it? When Ramona’s spelling is atrocious, her teacher, Mrs. Meacham, is firm about her needing to improve. Then a scary incident at a friend’s house leaves Ramona feeling at fault. Who knew growing up could be filled with such complicated situations?

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” L.M. Montgomery

My blog header today is one of my favorite quotes from L.M. Montgomery, writer of the famous Anne of Green Gables series. October is my anniversary month (11 years on the 1st!), and my birthday month. No, I’m not sharing my age, ha! I will say that I’m old enough to remember using the card catalog in the library, so there’s that.

If I could be anything other than a librarian, I would be a journalist. I have always had a fascination with journalism. I was senior editor of my high school yearbook and I love to write! Writing is very therapeutic to me, and also a way to connect with other people. I love to read crime blogs and posts. I will occasionally read news reports online, however, my absolute personal favorite is when reporters write memoirs or investigative journalism books. They are some of the BEST. I’ve very picky when it comes to writing at times, and these books just speak to my soul. I am providing lists from websites below of some that look amazing!

Right now, there are probably 40 books in a stack next to my bed, some I just glance through, others I read. I just read the latest one by Sally Hepworth, and I will write a blog post, once I get over the depression that was that book, SMH. One of my favorite authors crushed my high hopes.

Some of you saw my bookstack on Labor Day. I’m halfway through some of them. The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr is a must! I just love her! I haven’t finished it yet, so I can’t write a fair review, but I will once I’m done. Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan is a most entertaining read that I’m making progress on. This was a Jenna Bush Hager Book Club Pick. It’s a perfect read for moms of any age. I also started Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates. Oh goodness, this is going to take awhile to read. Joyce Carol Oates is one of those that writes creatively, and I have to be focused, in other words, not ready to fall asleep. I love her, I would just not count her a beach or light read. A beach read I would recommend, that I’m halfway through on as well, is The Turnout by Megan Abbott, who is an author I LOVE. Her psychological thrillers are always so sharp. This was also a Jenna Bush Hager Book Club Pick.

I’m also reading the Pulitzer Prize winner by Katharine Graham, Personal History, which is turning out to be all I expected, and more. Katharine Graham was the owner of The Washington Post for years, and so she has some good stories about all kinds of real life characters.

Eleni by Nicholas Gage. I just started this one today and it brings out all the feels. A mother sacrificed her own life during the Greek civil war in the 1940’s so her children could be saved and start a new life with their father in America. Gage was a top investigative reporter for The New York Times, and left his job in 1980 to investigate his mother’s story in Greece. If you are stuck with what to read next, and want a book based on a true story, I recommend beginning with this.

The Quirky Bookworm Recommends…

I wrote earlier about my love for books written by reporters, and even mentioned a few that I’m currently reading, so now I’m going to share a few lists I found online. I love to add books to my TBR, and lists are a great way to do that.

Penguin Random House selects their favorites. Click here for the list.

Are you a fan of Goodreads, and like book reviews from them like I do? Click here for a list of recommendations from fellow bookworms. The first on the list is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and yes, it is very well worth the read.

BookAuthority, a website that recommends top books based on leaders and celebs of our day, list some of their favorites here. Create an account to receive personalized lists to your inbox.

Celadon Books lists their recommendations. Click here.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo pt. 2

This week is my daughter’s last week of school and even though she isn’t ready for summer, I think I speak for all her teachers and myself when I say we are ready for a break. Two more half-days and she will be in 3rd grade. Crazy to believe. This past weekend we went to a Mary Poppins Tea. Mary Poppins sang and was practically perfect in every way, while Bert tried, but didn’t have the lyrics memorized, so I don’t believe this Mary Poppins had a jolly holiday with Bert. What would have been most entertaining for adults is to see how that played out behind stage afterwards.

My daughter is 8 so she is starting to get more into the preteen Disney selection (see Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo part 1), but still is young enough for the children’s books and movies if there is something that catches her interest. She loves Disney graphic novels and so if I want her to read, that’s what I choose from the library. You can also order copies from Amazon by searching “Disney Comics.” Click here for the selection.

In my previous Disney blog post, I discussed the Disney book website for teens. They do have several books to choose from for infants to adult. The website is organized by age and a search bar is available as well. Readers can also sign up to receive new Disney book alerts via e-mail. Click here to visit site.

Disney Products Our Family Loves

I love the Disney collection for newborns and toddlers. If you are looking for a perfect gift, this is a great place to start. I used to buy Ella the stuffed animals and bath toys, which was always a hit. I bought Mickey and Minnie large plush dolls and that is the two she kept after donating many of her stuffed animals. She also liked the Disney Baby series “Plush in Pouch” and kept Mickey Mouse. Click here to browse the infant and toddler Disney selection.

Mickey Mouse Plush in Pouch – Disney Babies – Small
Minnie Mouse Cuddleez Plush – Large – 23''

Ella always loved the swimwear and coverups. She has outgrown them starting this year, which makes this mama’s heart a little sad. The coverups have the option for name personalization, which is perfect for water park outings and school field trips. Disney swimwear is typically on sale. Click here for girls and click here for boys.

The Little Mermaid Cover-Up for Girls

Disney drinkware and mugs are a fun way to get your child to drink more water. Click here to purchase. Disney had a very nice set of Tsum Tsum dishes I bought when Ella was a toddler to encourage eating of healthy foods. They were her favorites. Disney now has a new collection, Disney Parks by Jerrod Maruyama, so if you splurge on anything for birthdays and holidays, this is a good choice. Click here to purchase.

Disney Parks Plate Set by Jerrod Maruyama

I love Hanna Andersson, which includes their adorable Disney collection. Note to moms: Hanna Andersson underwear is perfect for children with sensory issues. Mine did for a long time and she would only wear these. Click here to shop Hanna.

Hanna Andersson (@happyhannas) | Twitter

Kohl’s has a fabulous Disney line that includes clothing and toys for all ages. Click here to purchase.

Luca on Disney+

Luca was set to be released in theaters, but due to COVID will now be available on Disney+. I’m so looking forward to seeing this adorable movie for all ages about Luca and his best friend, Alberto, that takes place on the Italian Riviera.

Disney Story Realms

Disney has a new app out to encourage reading and Ella loves it. There is a subscription fee to access all the books and games in Disney Story Realms ($4.99monthly/$39.99 yearly). We did a trial and then subscribed. New books are added daily. App for ages 4-9. Click here for more information.

Cover art

Traveling to Disney soon? Click here for a Disney guide on visiting parks with your little ones.

Strong, Courageous Women

Good morning, readers! Happy Mother’s Day weekend! Today on the blog I am writing about strong women. I have always loved the quote, “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” I am hoping to raise my daughter to become a strong woman and I know several of you wish the same for your daughters as well. I love to read books about women that have fought hard for where they are in life and haven’t taken no as an answer because in the midst of raising a strong woman, I’m still figuring out how to fully be one myself. I’m hoping these books are an encouragement to you just as much as they are to me.

Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains: Chambers, Cassie

Title: Hill Women: Finding family and a way forward in the Appalachian Mountains
Author: Cassie Chambers
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: January 2020
Page Length: 304 pages

Cassie Chamber’s mother grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. Her mother, Wilma, was the first woman in their family to leave the farm to attend college, which was always encouraged by Cassie’s grandmother. One of my favorite people in the book is her maternal Aunt Ruth. She wanted to attend college, but due to health reasons combined with needing to be on the farm, it was impossible for her to finish high school. Ruth could produce more on the farm than her brothers. She’s physically and mentally tough. Ruth worked odd jobs outside the farm in the community and took the money she saved to help send her sister to college. Cassie writes in the book that Ruth always remained strong outwardly, but wonders if she had difficulty coping internally with the fact that Wilma was able to receive an education to pursue a different job. Wilma attended Berea College, married a teacher’s assistant and they remained in Berea after graduation. I don’t want to spoil the book if you haven’t read it, however, I think the story of Ruth makes a lot of the book. Her grandmother also surprised me with how modern her thinking was for the time period by encouraging her daughters to attend school and work hard. She didn’t want them to be stuck in the mountains with lack of opportunities. She was a very smart women in that she knew not only how to manage a household, but also could take apart TVs and radios to fix them when needed. She didn’t read often because there was no time, but she listened to the radio frequently while doing household chores.

As a reader, I can tell that Cassie is still struggling about which world to belong in-the Appalachian mountains where opportunities are fewer due to location and way of life, and the Ivy League college she graduated from, that although full of possibilities, can seem intimidating when you are a second generation college student whose ancestors have primarily known life in the mountains. She writes about the close knit community she is from and that the people remain tough, hardworking and proud. She writes about attending an Ivy League college and adjusting to new social norms and how to dress for formal events. It seems that Cassie is coming to appreciate her family history more as she grows older and acknowledges how difficult it must have been for previous generations of women in her family to sacrifice their own dreams to earn a living. Cassie is an attorney who worked as woman’s advocate in the area for several years before turning to politics. She learned, as most of us do as we age, that people are afraid to leave the familiar and cross into the unknown, which means they can’t be forced to change. Leaving the mountains is leaving behind a whole way of life, family and community, that while may have its issues, is still in the realm of the familiar. Cassie decided to remain in Kentucky and currently lives in Louisville with her husband and son. She visits the Appalachian mountains often to see family. Hill Women is an encouraging read written by a strong woman about generations of strong women.

Author Interview - Cassie Chambers, author of Hill Women | BookPage
 Nathan Cornetet, Fusion Photography

From the author’s website:

Cassie Chambers grew up in Eastern Kentucky. Her earliest memories are of playing on her grandparents’ farm in Owsley County, Kentucky and exploring the campus of Berea College with her mother and father.

Cassie graduated from Yale College, the Yale School of Public Health, the London School of Economics, and Harvard Law School, where she was president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, a student-run law firm that represents low-income clients. Chambers then received a Skadden Fellowship to return to Kentucky to do legal work with domestic violence survivors in rural communities. In 2018, she helped pass Jeanette’s Law, which eliminated the requirement that domestic violence survivors pay an incarcerated spouse’s legal fees in order to get a divorce.

She is a lawyer and the current vice chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. She lives in Louisville with her husband, Bryan, their dog, Brixton, and their cat, Spaghetti.
https://www.cassiechambers.com/

Further Reading:

Cassie Chambers on Hill Women and Finding Strength in Her Background
https://southernreviewofbooks.com/2021/02/04/hill-women-cassie-chambers-interview/

Cassie Chambers: Creativity, intelligence and grit in the Appalachian Mountains
https://bookpage.com/interviews/24755-cassie-chambers-biography-memoir#.YJVsrLVKgdU

Beyond Bootstraps: An Appalachian memoir that rejects the narrative of Hillbilly Elegy in favor of something more complicated
https://slate.com/culture/2020/03/cassie-chambers-hill-women-interview-hillbilly-elegy.html

Quirky Bookworm is reading:

Title: Maid: Hard work. low pay and a mother’s will to survive
Author: Stephanie Land
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: January 2019
Page Length: 288 pages

I am halfway finished with Maid by Stephanie Land. I love her insight into the world of domestic housekeeping. Stephanie dated a man during the summer and became unexpectedly pregnant with her daughter. Shortly after, she and the man broke up and Stephanie found herself as a single mom with no formal education and in need of making a decent income. She writes about the brutal truth of being on government aid and the vulnerability and shame it brings. She shares the stories houses can tell about the people that live inside them based on messes left behind and objects scattered about. Stephanie had always wanted to be writer and how that dream was left behind for awhile. She, however, overcame the odds her writings are now published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Atlantic. Maid was on President Obama’s 2019 Summer Reading List and Amazon’s and The New York Time’s Top 100 Books of the Year. Maid is set to premiere on Netflix later this year and will star Andie MacDowell and her daughter, Margaret Qualley. Click here to purchase.

Title: All The Single Ladies: Unmarried women and the rise of an independent nation
Author: Rebecca Traister
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: October 2016
Page Length: 368 pages

I am really looking forward to reading All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister, who discovered that singlehood for women is not new and has been a growing trend for decades. Statistics show that only 20 percent of women marry by 29 in today’s society, compared to 60 percent in 1960. Traister looks at the history, economics, friendships and lifestyle of single women. Single Ladies is a New York Times Notable Book of 2016, Best Books of 2016 selection by The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, NPR and Chicago Public Library. Rebecca lives in New York with her family and is also the award winning author of Big Girls Don’t Cry. She has been a contributor for The New Republic, Salon, The Nation, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Vogue, Glamour and Marie Claire. Click here to purchase.

Title: Memorial Drive: A daughter’s memoir
Author: Natasha Trethewey
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: July 2020

Page Length: 224 pages
Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey has been on my TBR list for a few months. I discovered the book when I was compiling a list for Black History Month. Natasha writes about tragically losing her mother at the age of 19 in this intimate memoir. She writes of grief, love and loss and also how her mother’s legacy of resilience shaped her to be the prize winning author she is today. Natasha is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Grolier Poetry Prize, and Pushcart Prize. She teaches creative writing at Emory University. Click here to purchase.

Title: The Right Kind of Strong: Surprisingly simple habits of a spiritually strong woman
Author: Mary A. Kassian
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: July 2019
Page Length: 224 pages

I discovered The Right Kind of Strong at the public library over this past week. I’m always wondering what does it mean to be a strong woman according to the Bible. Does this mean I have a “I can do it all by myself with no support, thank you very much” or does it mean maybe seeking advice from wise family members and friends? How much is asking too much? Award winning author Mary A. Kassian answers these questions based on Paul’s writings in 2 Timothy to the women in the church of Ephesus. Mary writes about how to develop healthy friendships, managing our emotions, confessing our sins, controlling our minds by taking every thought captive, embracing our human weaknesses, live out what we are learning, developing confident convictions and rely on the Lord. Mary Kassian was a professor at Southern Baptist Seminary for several years, and is now a women’s speaker and award winning author of Girls Gone Wise. Click here to purchase.

Title: The Women of the Bible Speak: The wisdom of 16 women and their lessons for today
Author: Shannon Bream
Publisher: Broadside Books
Publication Date: March 2021
Page Length: 256 pages

The Women of the Bible Speak caught my attention on NetGalley a few weeks ago. I was looking for a Christian book that would speak about the lives of women and I looked up reviews, which were positive. Shannon writes about 16 women of the Bible and how their lives are able to inspire us today. The Women of the Bible Speak by Shannon Bream is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a Fox News Book selection. Shannon is currently host of Fox News @ Night and the network’s Chief Legal Correspondent. Click here to purchase.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo

Our family loves Disney and I’m willing to bet yours does too! We’ve taken Ella, my 8 year old daughter, to The Magic Kingdom for the day a few times. She loves the characters, parades, and a few of the rides. Her favorite part of the experience one year was dressing up as a princess at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. If you haven’t done so with your little one, it’s worth it and the Disney staff work so hard to make it a special day. We aren’t going to be visiting Disney Parks this year, instead, we are bringing the magic to our house! The Quirky Bookworm invites you, dear reader, to come along as I share new Disney entertainment and products that will help bring Disney magic to your home as well.

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She’s so little! Why can’t it last?

When Will My Life Begin?

If you are a mom of a preteen/teenager, they have more than likely outgrown the Disney magic specially curated for children 6 and under. A Twisted Tale Series is here to help with that in between slump. Each book asks a question about the Disney fairytales we all know and love. For example, what if Rapunzel’s mother drank a potion from the wrong flower, or what if Meg had to become a Greek god? Authors take these classic tales and do a twist (ha!) so each story receives a more grownup ending. Click here to order a copy for the teen in your life, and you may even want a copy yourself! Would you like to browse additional Disney YA novels? Click here. Collection includes Marvel and Star Wars.

Unbirthday A Disney Twisted Tale Alice in Wonderland Review

Click here to visit the Planning for Teens, Tweens and Older Kids Disney Parks website for resources on creating an itinerary that is special for them!

My daughter will be 9 this summer so she’s turning into a preteen herself. We have movie nights where we watch favorites on Disney+. She still loves Mary Poppins and 101 Dalmatians, which reminds me that THE Emma Stone will be starring as Cruella de Vil this summer. We. can’t. wait. Our newest mother/daughter tradition is to make a trip to the Dollar Store, where I buy popcorn and candy, then we sit at home on our huge L shaped couch and watch a favorite movie. Cruella will be available in theaters or at home on your Disney+ app starting May 28, 2021.

Ella has never been on the Jungle Cruise at Disney World, but I have as a kid growing up in Orlando. This was always one of my favorite rides. Dwayne Rock and Emily Blunt star in this live action film based on the classic Disney ride. Jungle Cruise is set to debut in theaters on July 30, 2021.

Do you have teens that are into Marvel? Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour and Rachel Weisz star in Black Widow, set to debut in theaters on July 9, 2021.

Click here for more Marvel series and movie release dates!

Click here for Star Wars movies and TV upcoming release dates!

Ryan Reynolds stars in Free Guy as a bank teller who finds out that he is a character in a video game. The film is directed by Night of the Museum’s Levy.

Part of Your World: Disney Accessories for the Teen(s) In Your Life

Need cool Disney shirts for a trip or just because? Click here to browse The Family Shop and click here to follow them on FB.

Photo: The Family Store Website

What girl doesn’t love purses? Snatch one of these cute crossbody passport bags from Hot Topic for her summer vacations and outings. Click here for additional bag designs, starting at $14.90.

Loungefly Disney Mickey Mouse Sweets Passport Crossbody Bag

Calling all Disney Chefs! The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook by Ashley Craft is a must have for your collection! Her cookbook has received over 6,000 rave reviews on Amazon! Click here to purchase.

Box Lunch features Loungefly Disney Cats mini backpack. Click here to purchase.

Loungefly Disney Cats Yarn Allover Print Mini Backpack

Disney bracelets by Lokai are available with designs including our favorite characters- Lilo & Stitch, Mickey & Minnie, Woody & Buzz, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Click here to purchase.

Silicone beaded bracelet with Lilo and Stitch pattern

Kohls Disney Line has hundreds of products for kids, teens and adults! Click here to visit the website.

Junior teen in fall outfit
Kohls Website

Visit Vera Bradley for exclusive Disney designs and merchandise. Choose from bags, purses, wallets, blankets and more. Perfect for your teen that would like their Disney collection to look older. Click here to shop.

Disney Collection-Vera Bradley
Vera Bradley website

These are a steal at just $10 each. Cute nickel-free Mouse earrings. Click here to purchase.

PYC Pick Your Color  Nickle-Free Mouse Ear Earrings image 0

Disney has a Star Wars collection that may be a hit with your teen. Click here to shop t-shirts, swimsuits, pajamas and more!

Galactic Snackin' Grogu – Star Wars: The Mandalorian – Pre-Order

Visit Amazon to purchase Disney coloring books for your family. Many designs are for teens and adults. Click here to shop.

My daughter LOVES makeup. These ColourPop Disney collections are a perfect buy for your makeup obsessed preteen/teen! Click here to shop.

Elsa

Thank you for reading my blog today! I will have a part 2 in the Disney series later this week for the little ones in your life! Happy reading and shopping!

Spring Fever

Hello, Dear Readers!! Happy Spring! I am so glad the sun is shining and we FINALLY have warmer weather. We are now getting ready for summer vacations and arranging schedules with activities so our sweet children won’t drive us to tears by asking every five minutes, “What is there to do? What is there to eat? Can we go somewhere?” While I can’t help with summer scheduling, what I CAN help with is summer reading lists for the whole family. Oh yes, my friends, I am making my child read an hour a day this summer. It is happening. This isn’t one of those, “I will think it, but won’t actually do it.” I refuse to let her brain melt by allowing her to stare at screens 12 plus hours a day. I’ve picked out books, podcasts, audio books and the list keeps on going. I am here to help and you can always e-mail me your suggestions and/or questions @ brittanyschick23@gmail.com. I would love to hear your ideas on books for summer!

One idea is to check your local library for summer reading programs by visiting their website or calling. Librarians are there to answer your questions, so never be afraid to ask! Sometimes public libraries will have reading programs where your child is able to earn prizes based on the amount they have read over the summer. Ella and I are joining Colleyville Public Library’s reading program for adults, teens and children. Yes, all ages are eligible to earn prizes, even you Mom! The program begins May 24th. For Quirky Bookworm readers that live in my area of FW and would like to participate, click here.
Please note: Books read for the Colleyville Public Library Summer Program must be checked out at CPL. Keep copies of your library receipt to show proof when claiming a prize. You are able to participate even if you are not a resident. Register your home library card at the CPL front desk.

Need lists of books based on age for summer 2021? Visit Imagination Soup, a blog created by Melissa Taylor, a former elementary school teacher, literacy trainer and award winning writer. Book lists are arranged by age and genre.

I will also be posting kids podcasts to my FB page. I recently posted Julie Andrew’s Library and my daughter has been listening on the way to school. Download these selections wherever you listen to podcasts.

Ladies, when you get a chance, scroll down to the end of this blog post for one of my most favorite book lists to date that is just for you!!!! I’ve got new book information on some of your favorites-Riley Sager, Grady Hendrix, Megan Miranda, Mary Kubica and more!!! Yay for summer reading!!! Quirky Bookworm tip-visit your local online library catalog and if a book has not yet been released, but already ordered by the library, you can sometimes place a hold in advance. Call your local library for additional details.

Quirky Bookworm Has Been Reading…

I have been hearing about Jenny Lawson for the past several years now via friends, college students, TV, etc. and so, I was very fortunate and thankful to receive a free copy of Lawson’s most recent book release, Broken (in the best possible way), through NetGalley. Many of you may know Jenny as The Bloggess.

Title: Broken (in the best possible way)
Author: Jenny Lawson
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Publication Date: April 6, 2021

Length: 304 pages
I didn’t know what to expect when reading Broken. Would I like her sense of humor? Would it be too harsh? Not only was I surprised by how much I loved her, but also surprised at how much I learned about her life and her struggle with anxiety. Lawson’s anxiety is so intense that there are many times where she is unable to leave her home. She hides in bed unable to face the world around her. She writes of hosting her book signing in NYC, and unable to leave the hotel after her engagement due to being overwhelmed. She watched people go by outside the window. Lawson writes “Becoming my own friend is hard and a struggle, but it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself,” (Lawson, 2021, Broken).
I found her writing to be relatable for those that struggle with anxiety and depression, which I myself do. I know what it is like to want to hide away and not leave a room, to practically pass out before needing to speak before a large group of people and the anxiety of having to talk to a stranger on the phone. This is a must read if you struggle yourself with anxiety and/or depression, or know a loved a loved one who does. Purchase a copy here. Want to hear more about Jenny Lawson? Click here to read her blog and for additional book titles.

How May I Offend You Today?: Rants and Revelations from a Not-So-Proper Southern Lady by [Susannah B. Lewis]

Title: How May I Offend You Today: Rants and Revelations from a Not-So-Proper Southern Lady
Author: Susannah B. Lewis
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: October 2020
Length: 224 pages

Oh Susannah, you’ve done it again! I love her writing and have been following her FB page for years. She talks so openly and honestly about her life. Her writings do include Biblical passages and she is honest about her faith, but not from a judgmental, preachy way that is off putting. I started following her shortly after having Ella. I saw a funny video on FB and clicked over to her page. I really liked how she not only saw humor in everyday life and situations, but also at her ability to laugh at herself. In her most recent book release, How May I Offend You Today, she writes about how we take ourselves too seriously at times. Reading her books is like chatting with a close friend. Click here to visit Susannah Lewis’ website.

HOT AUTHORS, HOT SUMMER: QUIRKY BOOKWORM PICKS FOR SUMMER 2021

HOT, NEW THRILLERS FROM YOUR FAVORITES!

Hostage: A Locked-Room Thriller by [Clare Mackintosh]

The Hostage by Clare Mackintosh will be available June 22, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

A Slow Fire Burning: A Novel by [Paula Hawkins]

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins will be available August 31, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

Such a Quiet Place: A Novel by [Megan Miranda]

Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda will be available July 13, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

Local Woman Missing: A Novel by [Mary Kubica]

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica will be available May 18, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

Not a Happy Family: A Novel by [Shari Lapena]

Not A Happy Family by Shari Lapena will be available July 27, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

The Guilt Trip: A Novel by [Sandie Jones]

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones will be available August 17, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

Survive the Night: A Novel by [Riley Sager]

Survive the Night by Riley Sager will be available June 29, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

The Final Girl Support Group by [Grady Hendrix]

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix (The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires) will be available July 13, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

The Drowning Kind by [Jennifer McMahon]

The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon is out now and is an Amazon Editor’s Choice for Best Mystery, Thriller and Suspense! Click here to purchase and read a summary.

The Therapist: A Novel by [B. A. Paris]

The Therapist by B.A. Paris will be available July 13, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

For Your Own Good by [Samantha Downing]

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing will be available July 20, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth is available now and an Amazon’s Editor Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller and Suspense! Click here to order and read a summary.

The Turnout by [Megan Abbott]

The Turnout by Megan Abbott will be available August 3, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

The Maidens: A Novel by [Alex Michaelides]

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides (The Silent Patient) will be available June 15, 2021. Click here to pre-order and to read a summary.

Dark Roads: A Novel by [Chevy Stevens]

Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens will be available August 3, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

The Stranger in the Mirror: A Novel by [Liv Constantine]

The Stranger in the Mirror by Liv Constantine will be available July 6, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

Malibu Rising: A Novel by [Taylor Jenkins Reid]

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid will be available June 1, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

The Lost Apothecary: A Novel by [Sarah Penner]

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner was named #1 Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Oprah, Bustle, PopSugar, Betches, Sweet July, Good Housekeeping, HELLO! Magazine and Newsweek. It was a #1 Indie Next Pick and #1 Library ReadsPick. Click here to purchase and read a summary.

OUR ALL TIME FAVORITE CLASSIC BEACH AUTHORS

Where the Grass Is Green and the Girls Are Pretty: A Novel by [Lauren Weisberger]

Where the Grass is Green and the Girls Are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger (The Devil Wears Prada) will be available May 18, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

That Summer: A Novel by [Jennifer Weiner]

That Summer by Jennifer Weiner will be available May 11, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

The Newcomer: A Novel by [Mary Kay Andrews]

The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews will be available May 4, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

Golden Girl by [Elin Hilderbrand]

Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand will be available June 1, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

Family Reunion: A Novel by [Nancy Thayer]

Family Reunion by Nancy Thayer will be available May 4, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

The Summer of Lost and Found (The Beach House Book 7) by [Mary Alice Monroe]

The Summer of Lost and Found (The Beach House Book 7) by Mary Alice Monroe will be available May 11, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

The Stepsisters: A Novel by [Susan Mallery]

The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery will be available May 25, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

No Way Out: A Gripping Novel of Suspense by [Fern Michaels]

No Way Out by Fern Michaels is available now! Click here to order and read a summary.

Meant to Be: A Novel by [Jude Deveraux]

Meant to Be by Jude Deveraux is available now! Click here to order and read a summary.

The Path to Sunshine Cove: A Novel by [RaeAnne Thayne]

The Path to Sunshine Cove by RaeAnne Thayne is available now! Click here to order and read a summary.

Blush by [Jamie Brenner]

Blush by Jamie Brenner will be available June 22, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

The Break-Up Book Club by [Wendy Wax]

The Break-Up Book Club by Wendy Wax will be available May 18, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

If you liked Where The Crawdads Sing…

The Girls in the Stilt House: A Novel by [Kelly Mustian ]

The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian is available now! Click here to order and read a summary.

Learning to Speak Southern: A Novel by [Lindsey Rogers Cook]

Learning to Speak Southern by Lindsey Rogers Cook is available June 1, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

All the Little Hopes: A Novel by [Leah Weiss]

All The Little Hopes is Leah Weiss’s second novel, which debuts July 27, 2021. Click here to pre-order and read a summary.

Call Your Daughter Home: A Novel by [Deb Spera]

Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera is available now and was featured on Oprah’s Summer Reading List for 2019. Click here to order and read a summary.

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger was published in May 2020. Click here to order and read a summary.

The Quirky Bookworm Celebrates Black History Month 2021

Happy February, readers! I am so excited to share books with you today that celebrate Black History month. This week is going to be cold, especially for us Texans, so it will be a perfect time to curl up with a good book. If you would like to read additional books to celebrate Black History Month, view a list of websites at the end of this blog post. Happy reading and stay warm, dear readers!

President Barack Obama and the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, each have their own memoirs, giving an inside look at their life behind the public eye. Fans of audiobooks will be pleased to know that the memoirs are narrated by the famous authors themselves.

Title: A Promised Land
Author: Barack Obama
Publication Date: January 2020

A Promised Land is President Barack Obama’s first volume about his life and time in The White House as President of the United States. A Promised Land is an NAACP Image Award Finalist, a #1 New York Times Bestseller and named one of the Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, Marie Claire, The Guardian and NPR. Purchase a copy here.

Title: Becoming
Author: Michelle Obama
Publication Date: November 2018

Becoming is an Oprah’s Book Club selection, an NAACP Image Award Winner and a #1 New York Times Bestseller. The Netflix documentary based on the book was nominated for an Emmy. Michelle Obama’s memoir is simply stunning.
Click here to purchase a copy. To read about her new, upcoming Netflix series, Waffles+Mochi (March 16), that encourages healthy eating for children, click here.

I have been selecting books during the past few months for college students by reading lists from Buzzfeed, PopSugar, and Publishers Weekly. I have scrolled through hundreds of blogs and various publication websites. The next book on the list is what I believe to be a treasure and a must read for any American history class.

Title: The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song
Author: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Publication Date: February 16, 2021

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. tells his personal story of the safe haven the Black Church has provided for him. Gates covers five centuries of the Black Church and its impact on the Black community, beginning with the time of slavery to present day.
Click here to visit the PBS site and to purchase a copy of the book. The Black Church documentary is hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and airs on PBS Tuesday, February 16th and Wednesday, February 17th.

I love Jenna Bush Hager’s Book Club. One of her most popular picks to date is The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

Title: The Vanishing Half
Author: Brit Bennett
Publication Date: June 2020

The Vanishing Half is a novel about twin sisters who grew up a small, southern Black community. One sister stays in the same small town raising her daughter. The other sister secretly passes for white, marries and keeps her past hidden from her white husband. The story takes place from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. The Vanishing Half is a #1 New York Times Bestseller, chosen as one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of the year and named a Best Book of 2020 by TIME Magazine, Vanity Fair, People, Glamour, NPR and The Washington Post.

Click here to purchase a copy and click here to read author Brit Bennett’s Black History Month book selections for 2021. For additional Jenna Bush Hager’s Book Club selections, click here. The Vanishing Half is set to be adapted into a HBO miniseries. No release date has been announced at this point, as it is still in production.

Angie Smith has made herself a household name with her book, The Hate U Give. The author has a new book debut, Concrete Rose, which is the prequel to The Hate U Give. Her books are perfect for teens and adults.

Title: Concrete Rose
Author: Angie Thomas
Publication Date: January 2021

Maverick Carter is responsible for taking care of his mom while his dad is in prison. He follows in his dad’s footsteps by dealing for the gang, King of Lords, which is the only way he knows how to provide for his family. His life becomes more complicated when he becomes a dad at the age of 17. Purchase a copy here.

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Smith
Publication Date: February 2017

Starr is torn between two worlds-her fancy prep school and the poor neighborhood where she lives. She experiences tragedy when she witnesses her best friend, Khalil, being fatally shot by a police officer. Protests begin and everyone in Starr’s life has questions as to what really happened that night.
The Hate U Give was chosen as a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, a William C. Morris Award Winner, a National Book Award Longlist, a Printz Honor Book and a Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best. Purchase a copy here. Click here to rent the movie on Amazon Prime or watch with a Hulu subscription.

My next book selection for the blog post is a collection of essays written by some of the most popular authors for youth that address the challenges of being young and Black in America today.

Title: Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America
Editor: Ibi Zoboi
Contributors: Rita Williams-Garcia, Justina Ireland, Nic Stone, Jason Reynolds, Leah Henderson, Lamar Giles, Tracey Baptisite, Brandy Colbert, Ibi Zoboi, Liara Tamani, Tochi Onyebuchi, Kekla Magoon, Dhonielle Clayton and Varian Johnson

Title: Between the World and Me
Author Ta-Nehisi Coates
Publication Date: 2015

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is an intimate, powerful letter from a father to his teenage son about what it means to be Black in America. He writes from his own experience and others. Between the World and Me is a National Book Award Winner, named a must read by Toni Morrison, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, a National Book Critics Award Finalist and named One of the Best Books of the Decade by CNN.

Click here to purchase a copy and click here to listen to the podcast based on the book. A documentary special is available on HBO for current subscribers.

Title: The Coming Race Wars: A Cry for Justice, from Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter
Author: William Pannell
Publication Date: June 2021

The Coming Race Wars was a controversial book when it was originally published in 1993 after the Los Angeles riots. Many critics regarded William Pannell, author and Fuller Seminary theologian, as an “alarmist.” Pannell updates his 1993 publication to tie in with current events and speaks openly about his love for the church, which he believes need to take a deeper look at institutional racism and unjust systems still going on today. Click here to pre-order.

Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club has become increasingly popular the past few years. My next book is one of her selections.

Title: I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
Author: Austin Channing Brown
Publication Date: May 2018

Austin Channing Brown writes about her experience as a young, Black female in America during a time when nearly all institutions claim to be diverse, but are failing. Brown found out at the tender age of 7 that her parents named her Austin so employers would think she was a white man. Her stunning and intimate memoir details her experience navigating racial divide and assisting organizations to practice genuine inclusion. I’m Still Here is a New York Times Bestseller and a Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection. Click here to purchase a copy and click here to view additional selections from Reese Witherspoon.

My next book is a selection from the Book Club Queen, Oprah Winfrey. I have read so many books from her list and have never been disappointed. I can’t wait to read Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, the Pulitizer-Prize winning author of Warmth and Other Suns.

Title: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent
Author: Isabel Wilkerson
Publication Date: August 2020

Wilkerson writes about the unspoken, powerful caste system that has always existed in history by linking America, India and Nazi Germany. Caste is a look at how hierarchy influences human lives and the nation today.
Caste is a #1 New York Times Bestseller, an Oprah’s Book Club selection, a #1 Nonfiction Book by TIME Magazine and chosen as One of the Best Books of the Year Award by People, NPR, The Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly, Smithsonian Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Slate and several others. Click here to purchase copy and click here to read about the upcoming special on Netflix. To learn more about Caste, view the Oprah’s Book Club special on Apple TV.

I enjoy choosing fiction books for our students to encourage the love of reading. This next book is based on the true story of one of the first Black female doctors in America.

Title: Libertie
Author: Kaitlyn Greenidge
Publication Date: March 30, 2021

Libertie Sampson is born during the Reconstruction-era in America. Her mother encourages Libertie to become a practicing physician so they can run a joint practice in the future. Instead of listening to her mother, she marries and moves to Haiti, with the promise that she will be her spouse’s equal. Libertie arrives on the island only to find out that she is considered an insubordinate to her husband and the men in Haiti. Libertie is a story of one young women’s journey to find freedom for herself.
Libertie is named one of the most anticipated books of the year by: Refinery29, O Magazine, Buzzfeed, The Rumpus, Harper’s Bazaar, Publishers Lunch and more. Click here to pre-order.

Title: Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice
Author: Bryan Stevenson
Publication Date: September 2018

Lawyer and social advocate, Bryan Stevenson, writes about the wrongfully imprisoned and his fight for their freedom. Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults) is perfect for teens.

Just Mercy: A True Story of the Fight For Justice (Young Adult Adaptation) is a Kirkus Review Best Book of the Year, was a feature on CBS This Morning and selected as a New York Public Library Best Book of the Year. Click here to purchase a copy. Just Mercy was adapted into a movie starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. Click here to learn more and to watch the movie via Amazon Prime. Stream for free with a HBO subscription. To visit the Equal Justice Initiative website, click here, and to view Stevenson’s TED Talk, click here.

Title: She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman
Author: Erica Armstrong Dunbar
Publication Date: November 2019

My first presentation as a student was in the 4th grade. I was assigned to research Harriet Tubman and I loved it, so when I read about She Came to Slay on a blog list, I had to order a print copy for the college students. She Came to Slay includes photos, commissioned illustrations, an expansive timeline of Harriet Tubman’s life, and details about her impact on the Underground Railroad. Critics refer to She Came to Slay as “a powerful mix of pop culture and scholarship.” Click here to purchase a copy and click here to watch an interview with the author, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, provided by the 20th annual National Book Festival, which is hosted by the Library of Congress.

Title: Somebody’s Daughter
Author: Ashley C. Ford
Publication Date: June 1, 2021

Ashley C. Ford, co-host of HBO’s Lovecraft Country Radio and a TIME 100 Talks correspondent, writes the story of her childhood in her upcoming memoir, Somebody’s Daughter. Ford would like a healthy relationship with her father, who spent most of her childhood in prison for a crime she didn’t know about as a young girl. In her memoir, Ford writes about living in poverty, the complicated relationship with her mother and a personal, traumatic life event that changed how she viewed the world around her, including the relationship with her father.
Somebody’s Daughter is named by journalists as One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2021 and is an Oprah’s Book Club selection. Ford is one of the most important voices in the Black community for her generation. Her works have appeared in The Guardian, ELLE magazine, Buzzfeed, Slate, I-D, Matter Magazine, Ladies Home Journal and several other publications. She is currently the host of PROFILE by Buzzfeed News. Click here to purchase a copy.

Title: Just As I Am: A Memoir
Author: Cicely Tyson
Publication Date: January 2021

Cicely Tyson was one of the most legendary actresses in the world. She described what her memoir meant to her:
Just As I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and mother, a sister, and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by His hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.” –Cicely Tyson

Ms. Tyson, you will be dearly missed.

Click here to purchase copy of her bestselling memoir.

Click the following links below for additional lists of books to read in celebration of Black History Month and, of course, year round. Happy reading!

What to read during a pandemic and a crazy election?

Hello, dear readers! It has been a long time since I’ve posted on my blog. I’ve made a few posts on my FB page, if you follow me there. Thanks to COVID, this past summer was one of the longest summers my family has ever experienced. I am relieved to say that our lives are somewhat back to normal, or should I say a new normal for living in a pandemic. My daughter is back to school and she was thrilled to go. I was at home several months with her working from home, which was an unexpected blessing. She is back to church activities twice a week and I am now back to work on campus every other week. The family member most excited about all of us being home together was our dog, Sophie. She is now completely spoiled. I took her to the groomer a few months ago and she had a separation anxiety attack because she wasn’t used to being away from all 3 of us for more than 5 minutes. I got a call from them soon after dropping her off that she was done and ready to be picked up.

I, like so many other dear readers, had a difficult time focusing on reading during the height of the pandemic. I was busy with helping my daughter do school from home and had my own anxiety from feeling trapped inside. Once I felt less trapped, I could read more with ease. I did have a difficult time writing. It felt like temporary writers block. However, the good news is that I am back and ready to share some of my favorite reads with you. I have been keeping track still on my Goodreads page.

Title: The Kitchen House
Author: Kathleen Grissom
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: February 2010
Format: Paperback
Length: 369 pages

The Kitchen House is one of my favorite novels I’ve read this year. I had this book on my shelf for several months because I was not sure I would like it, but I’m so glad I gave the book a chance. Lavinia, the main character, arrives as a young Irish orphan to work on a tobacco plantation in the kitchen house. Lavinia eventually finds herself torn between the family of the plantation and the slaves she works with.

The Kitchen House gave me, the reader, an idea of what it would have been like to be working on the plantation and the pressures faced from the master’s family. I could sense the awkwardness and strain Lavinia felt being in the two very separate worlds. She doesn’t want to abandon the slaves that raised and cared for her. Her love for the slaves on the plantation is palpable in the novel.

Kathleen Grissom does an excellent job in writing historical fiction. Fans of southern fiction will enjoy this novel. Her inspiration for her work came from the plantation her family purchased and restored in Virginia. For more information on the author, visit her website here.

Title: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: September 2013
Format: Hardcover
Length: 372 pages

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is Fredrik Backman’s second novel, after A Man Called Ove. The novel is not fast paced or full of action. Instead, it is a beautiful story of a young girl dealing with grief for the first time. Elsa feels different from her friends and is tormented by bullies at her school on a regular basis. Elsa’s grandmother is her whole word and is to Elsa, a superhero that tells her magical stories and takes her on crazy adventures. When Elsa’s grandmother dies, Elsa goes on a treasure hunt that reveals to her the true magic of her grandmother, and the power of healing and forgiveness.

Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is a perfect read during this time in our country. Many of us feel grief as we are losing our old way of life and for some of us, people that we love due to COVID. Our children are experiencing grief as some of their normal childhood is lost, and I think Backman expertly depicts what that is like in the novel.

For more information about Fredrik Backman, click here.

Missing Daughter by Rick Mofina

Title: Missing Daughter
Author: Rick Mofina
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: 2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 512 pages

I LOVE this psychological thriller. This book stayed with me for days after reading it. The Lane’s daughter goes missing and the family does everything they can to find her. They reach out to family members and friends. Phone records are searched, every person involved in their daughter’s life is interviewed by detectives, polygraphs are given and tracking dogs are brought out to the woods behind the family’s home. Years pass with no leads and no sign of their daughter. This novel has so many twists and turns. I slowly read because I wanted to savor every word, and towards the end I had to put the book down a few times because it was so much. Missing Daughter is a must read for those that love psychological thrillers.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:

Rick Mofina is a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row, flown over Los Angeles with the LAPD and patrolled with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic. He’s also reported from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, the Caribbean, and Kuwait’s border with Iraq. His true-crime freelance work has appeared in The New York Times, The Telegraph (London, U.K.), Reader’s Digest, Penthouse, Marie Claire, The Moscow Times and The South China Morning Post, (Hong Kong). He has written more than 20 crime fiction thrillers that have been published in nearly 30 countries, including an illegal translation produced in Iran.

His work has been praised by James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Louise Penny, Tess Gerritsen, Jeffery Deaver, Sandra Brown, James Rollins, Brad Thor, Nick Stone, David Morrell, Allison Brennan, Heather Graham, Linwood Barclay, Peter Robinson, Håkan Nesser and Kay Hooper.

As a two-time winner of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award, a four-time Thriller Award finalist and a two-time Shamus Award finalist, the Library Journal calls him, “One of the best thriller writers in the business.” 

Rick Mofina lives in Ottawa, Canada.
Read more at his website, www.rickmofina.com

Mended hearts and fun reads for spring

Happy Monday! Today on the blog I have four books written by strong women. They have faced challenges and have come out on the other side willing to share their story to help other women. I hope you find encouragement from them just as much as I did. You can check out my additional reads on my Goodreads page by clicking on the link located on my blog homepage or click here.

Title: The Beauty of Broken: My Story and Likely Yours Too
Author: Elisa Morgan
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
Format: Paperback
Length: 256 pages

Elisa Morgan, the previous CEO of MOPS International for 20 years, shares her personal story. Morgan writes how we have bought into the myth of the perfect family, when in reality there is no family that is perfect. She writes “We all come from a broken family because God’s family is broken. The thing is, this isn’t the tragedy we assume. Broken is right where God wants us-and right where he can powerfully reassemble us,” (p. 30). She writes about her family’s struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction, infertility ,adoption, teen pregnancy, abortion, divorce, homosexuality and death. Morgan is relate-able in her writing and I found encouragement as a mom.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:

Elisa Morgan was named by Christianity Today as one of the top fifty women influencing today’s church and culture and is one of today’s most sought-after authors, speakers, and leaders. She has authored more than twenty-five books on mothering, spiritual formation, and evangelism, including The Beauty of BrokenHello, Beauty FullShe Did What She Could: Five Words of Jesus That Will Change Your Life, the NIV Mom’s Devotional Bible. Her newest release is The Prayer Coin: Daring to Pray with Honest Abandon

Her blog, Reallyplatforms both Elisa’s voice and the voices of a myriad of women who are committed to living out their influence in real life.

For twenty years, Elisa Morgan served as CEO of MOPS International (www.mops.org). Under her leadership MOPS grew from 350 to over 4,000 groups throughout the United States and in thirty other countries, influencing over 100,000 moms every year. Elisa now serves as President Emerita.

Elisa received a BS from the University of Texas and an MDiv from Denver Seminary where she now serves on the board. As a co-host of the syndicated radio program Discover the Word Elisa offers a daily fifteen-minute real-time conversation around the written and living Word of God. She also writes regularly for the Our Daily Bread Devotional. She is married to Evan (Founder and President of christianuniversity.org) and has two grown children and two grandchildren who live near her in Denver, Colorado. Wilson and Coach, her Rottie-wannabes, take her on walks in the open space behind her house.

Connect with Elisa on Instagram (elisamorganauthor), Facebook and Twitter (@elisa_morgan).

Title: Beautifully Broken
Author: Kimberly Jones-Pothier
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication Date: 2015
Format: Paperback
Length: 136 pages

Kimberly Jones-Pothier, a pastor and speaker, shares her testimony in Beautifully Broken. God called Jones-Pothier to be a pastor from a young age. She was raised in an evangelical family that was legalistic. Women were not allowed to sing, preach, wear jewelry, or slacks. She rebelled and didn’t want to be part of religion. God allowed healing in her life that eventually allowed Jones-Pothier to fulfill her dream of becoming a pastor. She shares how the broken pieces of our life and our trauma can be used to fulfill God’s will in our life. She has experienced rejection, abandonment, and divorce. She tells her story in a way that provides the opportunity for the reader to experience her own sense of healing. I have been following her FB page and have found encouragement as a believer.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:
Kimberly Jones‐Pothier, known as Real Talk Kim, travels the world fulfilling her passion and purpose of loving people back to life. 

She is a wife, mother, pastor, entrepreneur, best-selling author, entertainer and most importantly a worshiper after God’s own heart. Pastor Kim and her husband Mark Pothier are the Senior Pastors at Limitless Church in Fayetteville, Georgia and together have four sons.

She is a human rights advocate with a passion for giving back and believes in the compassion of the Holy Spirit, delivering it to those who need it most. Pastor Kim is an advocate partner with Rock Paper Scissors Foundation, a Non-profit Organization, which exists to foster healing and give a voice to those who have been silenced from all forms of abuse and human trafficking.

Pastor Kim has been featured on The Doctor Oz Show, Oxygen’s Network Series’ Preachers of Atlanta, Your World with Creflo Dollar on BET, ABC’s Nightline, The Word Network, CNN, Praise in the Park’ Atlanta and numerous magazines and radios shows. She is truly a living and walking testimony of God’s redemption plan in action. Follow her on FB and visit her website, RealTalkKim.com

Title: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeannette Walls
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: 2006
Format: Paperback
Length: 288 pages

Jeannette Walls shares her story of growing up in extreme poverty with parents that were eccentric. Her father was incredibly smart and well read on various academic subjects, but could not keep a job for long periods of time. The family was constantly moving and at times were homeless. Her mother had a degree in education and was a skilled artist, but refused to get or keep a job. She would rather spend all day working on her art. Walls and her three siblings were forced to take care of each other. Her years of growing up with an eccentric family was both a blessing and a tragedy. The Glass Castle is an amazing story of determination. Walls shares her family story in a beautiful way-not out of anger or bitterness, but of forgiveness and learning to understand what made her parents the way they were.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:
Jeannette Walls graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for more than six years. She is also the author of the instant New York Times bestsellers The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses, which was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. Walls lives in rural Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.

Title: Girl Meets Change
Author: Kristen Strong
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company
Publication Date: 2015
Format: Paperback
Length: 224 pages

Kristen Strong writes about the stresses of expected and unexpected change in her book, Girl Meets Change. She writes about the several seasons of change that have been part of her life. The three stages of change according to Strong are acknowledgement, acceptance and adapting. Change can be a way for us to draw closer to God and allow Him to grow us an individual. Her book is filled with practical advice for women in how to deal with the changes life brings. She doesn’t preach or write in a condescending way-just as an encouragement for women that find themselves in difficult seasons life and are experiencing loneliness and heartache.

Five out of five bookworms. Excellent read!

About the author…

From the author’s website:

I’m Kristen, and I’m so happy to meet you. I’m wife to a U.S. Air Force Veteran, mama to three delightful teens, and your change mentor, belonging helper, and all around listening friend. I write to offer you fresh air encouragement for every season of your life by helping you see your specific season through the filter of God’s care and provision. I love to write stories that help you make sense of your own and help you see your season with more hope and less worry.  Visit Kristen’s website, Chasing Blue Skies.

Spring is around the corner…

Y’all, I am ready for spring. I want warmer weather and days where the sun is out longer. While the weather may not be our best friend right now, I have some authors that write lighthearted novels that will help chase away with winter blues.

Mary Kay Andrews
Robyn Carr
Dorothea Benton Frank
Jane Green
Elin Hildebrand
Debbie Macomber
Hannah McKinnon
Mary Alice Monroe
Wendy Wax