Happy Mother’s Day!

Hi dear readers,

Mother’s Day is approaching and I wanted to post a blog in honor of mothers. Whether you are anxiously awaiting to be a mom, new to the season of motherhood, or have been traveling this journey for a long time, this blog is for you. I mentioned in my previous post that The Quirky Bookworm blog was my mother’s idea. My mom always encouraged my love of reading and she is one of the reason’s I’m a librarian today. For those that are new to the blog and don’t know me personally, I worked as an academic librarian at a community college located in Dallas County until 2021. I’m now working as a law librarian for Tarrant County.

I always had a book in my hands wherever I went, and in my mom’s jewelry box after her passing I found a miniature copy of this photo. It was her favorite of me. My mom was a stunning woman, inside and out. I’m so honored to share some of her favorite authors with you, as well as a few of her favorite things. Happy Mother’s Day, dear readers, and as always, happy reading.

I insisted on holding a book for the picture.
My mom and me. Isn’t she beautiful?

My mother’s favorite authors
Click on the author’s name below to visit their website and to purchase their books.

Devotionals
My mom loved devotionals and would always give them as gifts to family members and friends.

Sara Young, author of the best-selling devotionals Jesus Calling and Jesus Always. Sign up on the website for a free subscription of the Jesus Calling magazine to be delivered to your home, listen to the podcast and watch inspirational videos.

My mom always attended Women of Faith conferences when I was growing up. Her favorite speakers were Patsy Clairmont, Luci Swindoll and Thelma Wells. Click HERE to visit the Women of Faith website. Attend classes online for a monthly subscription and purchase electronic resources on over 100 topics regarding women’s spiritual, emotional and mental health.

My mom owned the Women of Faith Daily Devotional. Click HERE to purchase. Books that were popular (and some of her favorites) when my mom attended the Women of Faith conferences in the 90’s are available on Amazon to purchase as an audiobook (available through the Audible app), or to be delivered to your home in print: Outrageous Joy, We Brake for Joy, The Joyful Journey, and Extravagant Grace.

Christian Fiction
My mom loved to read Christian fiction that provided hope for everyday life. Click on the author’s name to visit their website and for links to purchase their books.

Mitch Albom
One of my mom’s favorite books was Tuesdays with Morrie, which is a non-fiction work written by Albom that chronicled his time with his college professor whom also served as a personal mentor. He found Morrie, the professor, twenty years after graduation and spent time with him weekly in his study. Tuesdays with Morrie describes the profound impact Morrie had on Albom’s life. Albom primarily writes Christian fiction. He’s a #1 NYT best-selling author. Tuesdays with Morrie is the #1 best-selling memoir of all time.

Melody Carlson
My mom introduced me to Melody Carlson when I was a teenager and then she started reading Carlson’s adult series. She writes chick-lit, romance and historical fiction. Carlson received the Romantic Times Career Achievement award and has sold over 7 million copies of her novels. Her novel, All Summer Long, was adapted into a Hallmark film in 2019. Additional works are currently being developed for TV and film.

Robin Jones Gunn

Robin Jones Gunn is famous for her Christy Miller series (inspired by teenage girls she was mentoring in the church youth group), Sisterchicks series for adult women and The Father Christmas novellas that were adapted into the widely acclaimed Hallmark movie trilogy. During a difficult time in my life I read her non-fiction book, Victim of Grace, and her writing really spoke to me. She has blessed millions of women around the world with her honesty and transparency. Visit her website to purchase books, learn more about her inspiration for writing and to read her blog.

Karen Kingsbury

I know many of you that are reading this are familiar with Karen Kingsbury as the #1 NYT best-selling author of the Baxter series, which will be airing as a TV series soon. (Fun fact: Roma Downey of Touched by an Angel fame is the producer.) My mom loved her books and was an avid reader of series, as you can tell by now, more so than I am. She loved family series, including the famous Baxter series.

Kingsbury wanted to give up on writing to become a prosecutor, until a college professor told her to stick with journalism, and hired her to work for the newspaper. Kingsbury’s husband came into her life after graduation and led her to the Lord. He encouraged her to write while staying home with their newborn son. She wrote true crime for awhile until she read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, which changed her life. She just knew God placed the same calling on her heart for ministry and writing. She submitted her first Christian novel, Where Yesterday Lives, to Multnomah Publishers in 1996 and has been writing inspirational fiction ever since. Visit the author’s website to learn more about Kingsbury, her best-selling novels and TV movies/series.

My mom on her wedding day.

Christian Non-Fiction
My mom was an avid reader of Christian/inspirational non-fiction. She found peace in reading works that provided encouragement and wisdom. Some of her favorite authors were also speakers and she would watch them on TV or listen on the radio. My mom had a genuine love for the Lord, and this is shown by how she loved her family, friends, and what she spent time studying.

Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn is the author of the bestselling book and study guide, Heaven, and the founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries. His ministry focuses on teaching biblical truths and reaching out to people that need assistance the most. He is the author of over 50 books that teach biblical wisdom. Visit the author’s website to read the blog, purchase materials from the online bookstore and to learn more about Eternal Perspective Ministries.

Brene Brown

My mom loved Brene Brown, the internationally famous speaker, researcher and writer of Daring Greatly fame. She would call me and ask if I had read her latest book or watched the streaming TV specials. She found all of her works so encouraging, especially during the last few years of her life. Brown has spent two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. She lives in Houston, Texas with her family and is a research professor at the University of Houston. Her latest work is Atlas of the Heart, which is also now streaming as a limited series on HBO. Visit the author’s website to learn more about her works, research, links to her podcasts, articles, news, and much more.

Linda Dillow

Linda Dillow wrote Calm my Anxious Heart and it was one of my mom’s favorites. She gave me her copy which I dearly cherish. Dillow is a talented writer who has helped millions of women through writing and speaking at women’s conferences around the globe. She now resides in Colorado after spending 17 years overseas.

Tony Dungy

I don’t think this blog post would be complete without mentioning Tony Dungy, America’s beloved coach that led the Indianapolis Colts to win the Super Bowl in February 2007. For those that don’t know, my mom was originally from Indianapolis and was a fan of the Colts. She loved watching Dungy speak on TV and read several of his books. Dungy is retired from coaching and is currently an analyst for NBC’s Football Night in America. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Visit the author’s website to read the blog, purchase books and to listen to the podcast.

Elisabeth Elliot

My mom loved Elisabeth Elliot. She was a missionary and critically acclaimed author and speaker. She ministered to the Amazonian jungle of Ecuador tribe, Auca, even after they killed her husband in 1956 while he was attempting to make contact with the members. For more information on Elliot, click here to visit the official website.

Tony Evans

From the publisher: Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative, chaplain of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and author of over 100 books, booklets and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University.

Dr. Evans holds the honor of writing and publishing the first full-Bible commentary and study Bible by an African American.

His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on more than 1,400 US outlets daily and in more than 130 countries.

Click here to learn more information about the pastor and author.

Liz Curtis Higgs

Liz Curtis Higgs, author of the best-selling series, Bad Girls of the Bible, is known for her storytelling, speaking and writing. She was an award-winning contributor for Today’s Christian Woman magazine, has spoken at over 1,500 women’s conferences around the globe and spent a decade as a popular radio personality. Her heart is women’s ministry. She spoke at Women of Faith for years, which is where my mom first heard of her. She followed her writings and teachings for decades. Visit the author’s website to purchase books, read her blog, listen to her podcast and read about upcoming events.

Max Lucado

From the publisher: In just under two decades of writing, Max Lucado has accomplished more than most writers hope for in a lifetime. Most of his books have appeared on one or more best seller lists, including those published by the “New York Times,” “USA Today,” “Publishers Weekly,” and the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA). Aside from hardcover books, Lucado’s writings have also been published as children’s books, videos, CD-ROMs, DVDs, music CDs, mass paperback booklets, apparel, giftware, bookmarks, calendars, study Bibles, workbooks, curricula, and plush products. In spring 2003, Hallmark/Dayspring Cards launched a new gift card line featuring excerpts from Lucado’s writings–and has already sold more than one million cards.

Priscilla Shirer

From the publisher: Priscilla Shirer is a wife and mom first, but put a Bible in her hand and a message in her heart, and you’ll see why thousands meet God in powerful, personal ways at her conferences and through her books and Bible studies.

She and her husband, Jerry, lead Going Beyond Ministries through which they provide spiritual support and resources to the body of Christ. They count it as their greatest privilege to serve every denomination and culture across the spectrum of the church.

Click here to learn more about Priscilla Shirer, speaker and author.

Dr. Charles Stanley

From the publisher: Dr. Charles Stanley is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the author of numerous books, including The Blessings of Brokenness and other titles in the popular A Touch of His… devotional series. His popular radio and TV program In Touch is heard and seen worldwide.

Charles Swindoll

From the publisher: Charles R. Swindoll is the founder and senior pastor–teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. But Chuck’s listening audience extends far beyond a local church body, as Insight for Living airs on major Christian radio markets around the world. Chuck’s extensive writing ministry has also served the body of Christ worldwide, and his leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation of men and women for ministry. Chuck and his wife, Cynthia, his partner in life and ministry, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. To visit the official website, click here.

Joni Eareckson Tada

From the publisher: On a hot July afternoon, Joni Eareckson Tada’s life was dramatically altered in a split second. A reckless dive into shallow water took an athletic young woman from health and success to life as a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. In the forty-five years since the release of this book–which has more than five million copies in print in over forty languages–Joni’s earnest struggle to find hope has resonated with millions of readers around the world. The hard-earned truths she shares in this special edition reveal the power of God’s love to transform, as well as the triumph of faith over pain and suffering.

Joni’s message has inspired people facing all types of challenges, helping them overcome their own limitations with a determined smile. In this updated edition, you will discover how to stay satisfied in God through disappointment and affliction. Filled with practical insights, Joni will help you find hope in every hardship.

This commemorative 45th anniversary edition features updated photos, as well as an all-new afterword in which Joni describes her current battle against two different cancers, her daily struggle with chronic pain, and the joys of leading a global outreach to people living with disability.

Click here to purchase Joni’s book and click here to visit the official website of Joni and Friends.

Lysa TerKeurst
From the publisher: Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the author of more than twenty-five books, including It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way and the #1 New York Times bestsellers Forgiving What You Can’t Forget and Uninvited. She writes from her family’s farm table and lives in North Carolina. Connect with her at www.LysaTerKeurst.com or on social media @LysaTerKeurst.

Ann Voskamp

From the publisher:

Ann Voskamp is wife of one good farmer, mama to a seven exuberant kids, and author of the four New York Times Bestsellers,  The Broken Way, The Greatest Gift, Unwrapping The Greatest Gift, and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, a New York Times 67 week bestseller which has sold more than 1.5 million copies, and is translated into more than 20 languages.

Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the church today, and a partner with Compassion International as a global advocate for needy children, Ann’s a regular loser of library books, usually has a sink full of soaking pots, sees empty laundry baskets rarer than a blue moon, and believes that the sky and fresh mercy over the farm is large and all is grace. Her blog, one of the Top 10 Christian blogs on the web, has become a daily well for the weary and soul-thirsty: www.annvoskamp.com.

Philip Yancey

Philip Yancey is the author of over 30 books, including his bestseller, What’s So Amazing About Grace? Click here to purchase and click here to visit the author’s website.

Children’s Literature

My mom with Ella and me, our last Christmas together

In the process of writing and editing this blog, I decided it just couldn’t be complete without sharing books that my mom introduced me to as a child. My mom would take me to the public library and I would spend hours reading, especially in my later years of elementary school. I always found comfort in a book. I think many authors do, which is why I love reading about them so much. There is something wonderful about quieting your mind from worries of life and getting lost in a book. I spent hours reading children’s series: Nancy Drew, Boxcar Children, Trixie Belden, Little House on the Prairie and Ramona are amongst my favorites.

I remember being in 4th grade and asking the teacher if I could borrow her copy of Harriet the Spy to take home and read. It’s still one of my favorites. I just loved the quirky character of Harriet. I would bring home my literature textbook from grades 4-12 (yes, even in HS) and read all of the short stories and excerpts from novels. I would read about the authors and their bibliography, which were always included before the author’s written works. I love authors and am ever so thankful for their ability to tell a good story.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery-click here to visit the official website.
Anne with an “E”-available to watch on Netflix-click here for more information.

Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter-click here to visit the official website.
This is one of my favorites. I still have the copy from childhood.

The Berenstain Bears’ by Stan and Jan Berenstain-click here to visit the official website.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell-click here to purchase.

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner-click here to visit the official website.

The Borrowers by Mary Norton-click here to purchase.

The Diary of Anne Frank-click here to visit the official website.

Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel-click here to purchase.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri-click here to purchase.

Helen Keller: A Light for the Blind by Kathleen Kudlinski-click here to purchase.

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom-click here to purchase.

Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik-click here to purchase.

The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey-click here to purchase.

Ramona by Beverly Cleary-click here to purchase.

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting-click here to purchase.

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan-click here to purchase.

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss-click here to purchase.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame-click here to purchase.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott-click here to visit the official site and click here to purchase.
Little Women was a favorite of my mom’s. My mom and I saw the Little Women movie starring Emma Watson at the theater. It’s one of my favorite memories with her. If you live in Texas and haven’t been to the Alamo Theater and Draft House, you should! The food is amazing! My mom loved the whole experience and I’m glad I have that memory of her.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder-click here to visit the official website to purchase books, read more about Laura, keep up to date with the TV cast, and sign up for the newsletter.
I used to watch Little House on the Prairie with my mom. It was one of her favorite TV shows.

The Annotated Secret by Frances Hodgson Burnett-click here to purchase.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams-click here to purchase.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin-click here to purchase.

My Mom’s Favorite Things

Favorite Scent: Amazing Grace by Philosophy-click HERE to visit the official website.

Favorite Leggings: Lauren Conrad @ Kohl’s-click HERE to purchase.

Favorite Teddy Bears: Bearington Bears- click HERE to visit the official website.

Favorite Makeup: Clinique-click HERE to visit the official website.

Favorite Dresses: Amazon maxi dresses (I love them too and always get compliments)-click HERE to purchase.

Favorite Nail Polish: OPI red shades-click HERE to visit and purchase.

Beach reads for your summer getaways 2022 (MEGA LIST)

Hi dear readers,

I’ve taken a long break from writing due to the thought of logging into my online book blog since my mom’s passing in November 2021. My mom’s comments were waiting for me, ones that I’ve already read countless times, but now bittersweet to read. The Quirky Bookworm blog was my mom’s idea originally and now I am continuing my blog in honor of her. I’ve struggled not only with writing, but also with reading. I’ve read only two books from start to finish since my mom passed away. I’ve decided to ease my way back into reading by focusing on beach reads, so this is a list I’ve created. I hope this helps you just as much as it’s helped me.

For those that knew my mom, you know that the beach was one of her favorite places to visit. Sunshine, sand, waves and a cold drink are always a good combination, along with an entertaining escape read.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com


Don’t miss the lists of soon-to-be-published summer reads for 2022 and a list of websites from readers across the web of their favorite beach reads. HAPPY READING!

Title: The Getaway Girls
Author: Dee MacDonald
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: July 2018
Page Length: 342 pages

Publisher summary:
Connie McColl is finally free to make her own decisions for the first time in decades. And when she meets glamorous Gill and downtrodden Maggie, at a rather dull flower arranging class, it seems that she’s not the only one dreaming of adventure. The three very different women all agree it’s about time they had a holiday to remember. So they make a pact for this summer to be their best yet – and drive off into the sunset together. As they meander their way along the beautiful beaches of France and onto the glorious delights of Italy in their luxury campervan, the new friends have plenty of fun and frolics in the sunshine. But the vacation isn’t quite what they expected…

In the end, all three women discover that the journey they thought would be their last really is just the beginning…

Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.


Title: The Mini-Break
Author: Maddie Please
Publisher: One More Chapter
Publication Date: March 2019
Page Length: 385 pages

Publisher summary:
Lulu has it all; a romance writer at the height of her career, she can often be found attending glittery parties or spending time with her good-looking, health-fanatic boyfriend, Benedict.
When writer’s block strikes she goes on a mini-break to Devon, which proves just the tonic she needs. But upon her return to London, she finds her usual perfect life in chaos. 
Will escaping back to the countryside be the answer? And will life become even more complicated when Lulu runs into handsome, brooding farmer Joe?
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: Chasing the Sun
Author: Judy Leigh
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: April 2021
Page Length: 364 pages

Publisher summary:
Molly’s seventieth birthday comes as a shock. The woman in the mirror looks every day of those seventy years, but inside Molly feels she still has so much more living left to do. Widowed and living alone with her cat, Molly fears she is slipping into a cliché of old age. When Molly’s sister Nell appears on her doorstep, distraught that her husband of more than forty years, Phil, has left her for a younger lover, the women decide to seize the day. By the morning, flights are booked, bags are packed, and they’re off to Spain.The sun, the sea, the new friends and the freedom are just the tonic for broken hearts and flagging souls. But even Spain isn’t enough to revive Molly’s spirit so she decides to head off for a solo journey to continue to chase the sun and to chase happiness. Will she find what she’s looking for in a new country, or will she discover that true contentment can’t be found on a map? But it might just be found in a new flame…
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: One Summer Sunrise
Author: Shari Low
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: June 2021
Page Length: 336 pages

Publisher summary:
Today, Maisie McTeer decides to track down the ex who jilted her at the altar. Today, she’ll find out that revisiting the past can also rewrite her future. After losing her husband, Harriet Bassett can no longer bear her lonely life. Today, a familiar face in a crowd will spark a quest to discover if there’s something and someone worth living for. Scott and Kelly Bassett’s daughter is leaving home. Today, Scott plans to tell Kelly that he’s ending their marriage to pursue his rock and roll dreams. However, Kelly, has a bombshell of her own. Between sunrise and sunset, there’s love, heartbreak, laughter and tears, but who will find happiness at the end of the day?
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: Secrets in the Sand
Author: Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: July 2021
Page Length: 338 pages

Publisher summary:
He left her alone in the sand that night
And has regretted it ever since
But maybe he can mend it
If only she’ll let him

Time doesn’t heal all wounds… Not when they are deep within the heart like Angela Conrad’s. Ten years ago, Clancy Morgan broke her heart and even though she’s made a successful life as a musician, she’s never gotten over that pain. Angel didn’t intend to ever go back home, but when she’s invited to return to her hometown to play for the high school reunion dance, she agrees, knowing full well that if Clancy sees her up on that stage, he’ll regret the day he ever said goodbye.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Bookstore on the Beach
Author: Brenda Novak
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: April 2021
Page Length: 465 pages

Publisher summary:
Eighteen months ago, Autumn Divac’s husband went missing. Her desperate search has yielded no answers, and she can’t imagine moving forward without him. But for the sake of their two teenage children, she has to try. Autumn takes her kids home for the summer to the charming beachside town where she was raised. She seeks comfort working alongside her mother and aunt at their bookshop, only to learn that her daughter is facing a huge life change and her mother has been hiding a terrible secret for years. And when she runs into the boy who stole her heart in high school, old feelings start to bubble up again. Is she free to love him, or should she hold out hope for her husband’s return? She can only trust her heart…and hope it won’t lead her astray.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Beach House
Author: Jenny Hale
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: June 2021
Page Length: 318 pages

Publisher summary:
When her gram passes away, Melanie Simpson feels utterly lost. But her grandmother’s will gives her a purpose: an inheritance to buy a crumbling house in Rosemary Bay. They used to visit the village every summer, sit by the sparkling water on a beach the color of pearl, and daydream about turning the place on the corner into a bed and breakfast. On her first night in her new hometown, Melanie meets local contractor and landowner Josh Claiborne, whose eyes match the dazzling sea. Melanie plans to restore the beach house to its original glory, and Josh is the perfect person to help renovate the wrap-around porch weathered by the coastal breeze and the peeling white paint faded by the sun. But hiding in a closet is a yellowing stack of letters that could change everything. The looping handwriting reveals the mystery of the rickety house—a buried history that touches everyone in Rosemary Bay. Will its secrets bring Melanie and Josh together or tear them apart?
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: A Secret in the Keys
Author: Hope Holloway
Publication Date: February 2021
Page Length: 278 pages

Publisher summary:
The last thing Beck Foster wants to do is attend a party for her estranged aunt in the Florida Keys. One month earlier, Beck’s seemingly ideal existence imploded when her husband of thirty-four years announced he was leaving her. Now, so she has to sell her house, get a job, and somehow put her broken heart and life back together. She can’t do all that if she runs off to visit a woman she barely remembers. Or can she? Accompanied by her grown daughter who also longs for an escape, Beck heads to Coconut Key, where she’d lived the earliest years of her life. There, she forges a life-changing relationship with a woman she never really understood, dips her toes into the waters of a new romance, and begins the process of starting over. But when a secret kept for nearly fifty years comes crashing down on them, all of Beck’s dreams are once again threatened. Can she forgive the lies that have shaped her life, or will the past ruin her chance at a new beginning in Coconut Key?
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Un-honeymooners
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: May 2019
Page Length: 429 pages

Publisher summary:
Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion…she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas. Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo. Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is…Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: Coral Cottage
Author: Jan Morgan
Publisher: Sunny Palms Press
Publication Date: July 2020
Page Length: 290 pages

Publisher summary:
When Marina Moore’s life blows up on national television, she seeks refuge at her grandmother’s beach house called the Coral Cottage. Now in her mid-forties with children in college, Marina is in dire need of her grandmother’s gutsy advice to a well-lived life. Marina meets an old friend, Ivy Bay, proprietor of the Seabreeze Inn, who encourages her to share her love of food at the local farmer’s market. Soon Marina’s sister Kai arrives on a summer break from her musical theater troupe. Together, the sisters discover that life might hold a second chance for each of them. Jack Ventana is on a six-month sabbatical to write his first book. The only company he wants is his inquisitive Labrador Retriever puppy, but when he receives a call from an old colleague, he finds his life altered in ways he never imagined—including the prospect of romance. What began as a short, reclusive holiday is destined to change Marina’s life, especially when Jack’s research uncovers her grandmother Ginger’s hidden past. Join the fun in Summer Beach, where the bonds of friendship and love prove unbreakable.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Younger Wife
Author: Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: April 2022
Page Length: 348 pages

Publisher summary:
THE HUSBAND
A heart surgeon at the top of his field, Stephen Aston is getting married again. But first he must divorce his current wife, even though she can no longer speak for herself.

THE DAUGHTERS
Tully and Rachel Aston look upon their father’s fiancée, Heather, as nothing but an interloper. Heather is younger than both of them. Clearly, she’s after their father’s money.

THE FORMER WIFE
With their mother in a precarious position, Tully and Rachel are determined to get to the
truth about their family’s secrets, the new wife closing in, and who their father really is.

THE YOUNGER WIFE
Heather has secrets of her own. Will getting to the truth unleash the most dangerous impulses
in all of them?

Click HERE to view additional details and to pay via Amazon.

Title: Blue Midnight
Author: Tess Thompson
Publication Date: November 2016
Page Length: 284 pages

Publisher summary:
A romantic small-town family saga…

A recent divorcee finally faces the consequences of having denied her destiny, following her heart to her blissful second chance in this mature standalone love story by USA Today bestselling author Tess Thompson. When Blythe Heywood left Finn Lanigan behind thirteen years ago, she was choosing a life of safety and security over true love. Little did she know how unfulfilled she’d be by the things she’d yearned for since she was a child.
Now, in the wake of her husband’s betrayal, Blythe will begin again — this time in the foothills of Blue Mountain, where her memories of the only man who ever weakened her knees will lead her — and finally take to heart that sometimes the road not taken is actually the path that is meant to be.
The first book in the Blue Mountain Series will have readers cheering for a set of lovable, complex characters as they explore the painful truths involved in accepting second chances and learning to love after loss.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: An Invincible Summer
Author: Mariah Stewart
Publisher: Montlake
Publication Date: May 2021
Page Length: 373 pages

Publisher summary:
It was a lifetime ago that recently widowed Maggie Flynn was in Wyndham Beach. Now, on the occasion of her fortieth high school reunion, she returns to her hometown on the Massachusetts coast, picking up right where she left off with dear friends Lydia and Emma. But seeing Brett Crawford again stirs other emotions. Once, they were the town’s golden couple destined for one another. He shared Maggie’s dreams—and eventually, a shattering secret that drove them apart. Buying her old family home and resettling in Wyndham Beach means a chance to start over for Maggie and her two daughters, but it also means facing her rekindled feelings for her first love and finally confronting—and embracing—the past in ways she never thought possible. Maggie won’t be alone. With her family and friends around her, she can weather this stormy turning point in her life and open her heart to the future. As for that dream shared and lost years ago? If Maggie can forgive herself, it still might come true.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Tanglewood Tea Shop
Author: Lilac Mills
Publisher: Canelo Escape
Publication Date: January 2019
Page Length: 295 pages

Publisher summary:
Patisserie-Chef Stevie is stuck in a rut. Her beloved Great Aunt Peggy has passed away and she’s lost both her job and the love of her life. Then she gets the call from the solicitor’s office about Peggy’s will, and everything changes. When Stevie sees a quirky tea shop up for sale in the beautiful village of Tanglewood, she decides to take Peggy’s advice and turn her life around. But the village isn’t as idyllic as it may at first have seemed, and when the gorgeous but grouchy local stable-owner, Nick, shows up he seems like just another fly in the pastry batter…
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Lost Girls of Ireland
Author: Susanne O’Leary
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: May 2021
Page Length: 286 pages

Publisher summary:
The picturesque beach of Wild Rose Bay is the last place Lydia Butler thought she’d be. But having just lost everything, the run-down cottage she inherited from her Great Aunt Nellie is the only place she can take her daughter, Sunny. Hidden away in a tiny Irish village, she can protect Sunny from the gossip in Dublin, and the real reason they have nowhere else to live…
The cottage is part of the old coastguard station and other eccentric residents are quick to introduce themselves when Lydia arrives. Lydia instantly feels less alone, fascinated by the stories they have about Nellie, and she’s charmed by American artist, Jason O’Callaghan, the mysterious man who lives next door.
But the longer Lydia relaxes under the moonlit sky, the more the secret she’s keeping from Sunny threatens to come out. And as she finds herself running into Jason’s arms, she knows she must be honest and face up to the past she has tried to forget. Has she finally found people who will truly accept her, or will the truth force her to leave the cottage for good?

Title: Deconstructed: A Novel
Author: Liz Talley
Publisher: Montlake
Publication Date: February 2022
Page Length: 331 pages

Publisher summary:
Antique-store owner Cricket Crosby’s life is turned upside down when she discovers that the rumors of her husband’s affair aren’t just leisurely southern gossip. Her plan: hire an investigator; find an attorney; enlist the help of her new assistant, Ruby; and make her husband pay. Ruby knows how quickly everything changes. After a dicey past, she’s determined to forge a new future by working for Cricket and reinventing herself as a designer, deconstructing vintage haute couture. If anybody can help mend a few tears in Cricket’s life, she can. But turns out Cricket’s life isn’t just a little torn. It’s wrinkled, stained, and falling apart at the seams. With Ruby and her ragtag relatives—a soused PI and a hunky tow truck driver—Cricket is sleuthing her way to the truth, no matter how dangerous it gets. Sure, Cricket’s life isn’t what she imagined. But she’s embracing change and figuring out what she really wants. And that’s kind of fabulous.
*Click HERE for additional details.

Title: The Hideaway
Author: Lauren K. Denton
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: April 2017
Page Length: 352 pages

Publisher summary:
After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering her grandmother’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there. Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid drywall dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected. Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed her grandmother’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.
When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Little Shop in Cornwall
Author: Helen Pollard
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: June 2020
Page Length: 315 pages

Publisher summary:
It’s been two years since Claudia arrived on the beautifully rugged Cornish coast with nothing but a suitcase to her name. She’d walked out on the husband who had never loved her, ditched the corporate job she’d never wanted and vowed that no gym membership card would come within ten feet of her ever again.
Swapping boardrooms and cocktails for a little shop right at the end of the beach road should have been a bit of a shock. But from the moment she first laid eyes on the empty, run-down store, Claudia knew this was where she was meant to be all along.
After all that upheaval, Claudia was looking forward to a quiet summer, full of the usual holiday makers and long walks along the clifftops. But life in her patch of paradise is about to change in more ways than one.
Enter recently widowed Jason, dragging his sullen teenage daughter Millie in tow. Millie and Claudia immediately hit it off. And while Millie loves everything about Claudia’s free-spirited way of life, practical architect Jason is less than thrilled about his daughter’s new interests. He doesn’t shy away from telling Claudia exactly what he thinks and sparks fly every time they meet.
But as circumstances throw Claudia into Jason’s path in increasingly unexpected ways, she begins to glimpse what lies beneath his fiery temper and sharp tongue. Claudia was sure her new life was perfect in every way. But was there something missing after all?
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: Slightly South of Simple
Author: Kristin Woodson Harvey
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: April 2017
Page Length: 402 pages

Publisher summary:
Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in the small Southern town of Peachtree Bluff; she was a New York girl born and bred and the worst day of her life was when, in the wake of her father’s death, her mother selfishly forced her to move—during her senior year of high school, no less—back to that hick-infested rat trap where she’d spent her childhood summers. But now that her marriage to a New York high society heir has fallen apart in a very public, very embarrassing fashion, a pregnant Caroline decides to escape the gossipmongers with her nine-year-old daughter and head home to her mother, Ansley. Ansley has always put her three daughters first, especially when she found out that her late husband, despite what he had always promised, left her with next to nothing. Now the proud owner of a charming waterfront design business and finally standing on her own two feet, Ansley welcomes Caroline and her brood back with open arms. But when her second daughter Sloane, whose military husband is overseas, and youngest daughter and successful actress Emerson join the fray, Ansley begins to feel like the piece of herself she had finally found might be slipping from her grasp. Even more discomfiting, when someone from her past reappears in Ansley’s life, the secret she’s harbored from her daughters their entire lives might finally be forced into the open. Exploring the powerful bonds between sisters and mothers and daughters, this engaging novel is filled with Southern charm, emotional drama, and plenty of heart.
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Summer Getaway
Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: March 2022
Page Length: 418 pages

Publisher summary:
Single mom Robyn Caldwell needs a new plan for her future.  She has always put her family first.  Now, with her kids grown, she yearns for a change. But what can she do when her daughter has become the most demanding bride ever, her son won’t even consider college, her best friend is on the brink of marital disaster and her ex is making a monumentally bad decision that could ruin everything? Take a vacation, of course. Press reset. When her great-aunt Lillian invites her to Santa Barbara for the summer, Robyn hops on the first plane to sunny California. But it’s hard to get away when you’re the heart of the family. One by one, everyone she loves follows her across the country. Somehow, their baggage doesn’t feel as heavy in the sun-drenched, mishmash mansion. The more time Robyn spends with free-spirited Lillian, the more possibilities she sees—for dreams, love, family. She can have everything she ever wanted, if only she can muster the courage to take a chance on herself.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.


Title: The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
Author: Kelly Harms
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: May 2019
Page Length: 328 pages

Publisher summary:
Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City. Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind. But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Midnight Library
Author: Matt Haig
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: September 2020
Page Length: 299 pages

Publisher summary:
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting blockbuster novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: Run, Rose, Run
Author: Dolly Parton and James Patterson
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publication Date: March 2022
Page Length: 425 pages

Publisher summary:
Every song tells a story. 

She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her. 
She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past. 
Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny.  It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her.  And destroy her. 
Run, Rose, Run is a novel glittering with danger and desire—a story that only America’s #1 beloved entertainer and its #1 bestselling author could have created.
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Chance (A Novel)
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication Date: March 2013
Page Length: 354 pages

Publisher summary:
The day before a teenage Ellie moved from Georgia to California, she and her best friend Nolan sat beneath the Spanish moss of an ancient oak tree where they wrote letters to each other and buried them in a rusty old metal box. The plan was to return eleven years later, dig the box up, and read the letters. But now, as that date approaches, much has changed. Ellie has abandoned the faith she grew up with, her days consumed with loving her little girl and trying to make ends meet. Sometimes she watches TV to catch a glimpse of her old friend Nolan, now an NBA star, whose faith is known by the entire nation. But few know that Nolan’s own personal tragedies have fueled both his faith and athletic drive. Despite his success, Nolan is isolated and lonely, plagued by a void in his heart that has remained since that night beneath the old oak tree with Ellie. For both Ellie and Nolan, the coming date is more than just a childhood promise. It’s the chance to make sense of it all—the chance to find out if it’s ever too late to find love again. Karen Kingsbury weaves a moving tale of heart-wrenching loss, the power of faith, and the wounds that only a forever kind of love can heal. She delves deeply into a theme that resonates within us all: Hope lives for those willing to take a chance.
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Family
Author: Naomi Krupitsky
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: November 2021
Page Length: 368 pages

Publication summary:
Two daughters. Two families. One inescapable fate.
Sofia Colicchio is a free spirit, loud and untamed. Antonia Russo is thoughtful, ever observing the world around her. Best friends since birth, they live in the shadow of their fathers’ unspoken community: the Family. Sunday dinners gather them each week to feast, discuss business, and renew the intoxicating bond borne of blood and love.
 But the disappearance of Antonia’s father drives a whisper-thin wedge between the girls as they grow into women, wives, mothers, and leaders. Their hearts expand in tandem with Red Hook and Brooklyn around them, as they push against the boundaries of society’s expectations and fight to preserve their complex but life-sustaining friendship. One fateful night their loyalty to each other and the Family will be tested. Only one of them can pull the trigger before it’s too late.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Lowland
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: September 2013
Page Length: 354 pages

Publisher summary:
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of The Namesake comes an extraordinary new novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: a tale of two brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn by revolution, and a love that lasts long past death.
 Born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up.  But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960s, and Udayan—charismatic and impulsive—finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty; he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.
But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family’s home, he goes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind—including those seared in the heart of his brother’s wife.
Masterly suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga and a story steeped in history that spans generations and geographies with seamless authenticity. It is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Farm
Author: Joanne Ramos
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: May 2019
Page Length: 354 pages

Publisher summary:
Nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley is a luxury retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, personal fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you’re paid big money to stay here—more than you’ve ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to the task of producing the perfect baby. For someone else.
Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in desperate search of a better future when she commits to being a “Host” at Golden Oaks—or the Farm, as residents call it. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her family, Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on the delivery of her child.
Gripping, provocative, heartbreaking, The Farm pushes to the extremes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: You Were There Too
Author: Colleen Oakley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 2020
Page Length: 345 pages

Publisher summary:
Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too—unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of it, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too. 
Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: These Tangled Vines
Author: Julianne Maclean
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: June 2021
Page Length: 302 pages

Publisher summary:
If Fiona has learned anything in life, it’s how to keep a secret—even from the father who raised her. She is the only person who knows about her late mother’s affair in Tuscany thirty years earlier, and she intends to keep it that way…until a lawyer calls with shocking news: her biological father has died and left her an incredible inheritance—along with two half siblings. Fiona travels to Italy, where the family is shocked to learn of her existence and desperate to contest her share of the will. While the mystery of her mother’s affair is slowly unraveled, Fiona must navigate through tricky family relationships and tense sibling rivalries. Fiona both fears and embraces her new destiny as she searches for the truth about the fateful summer her mother spent in Italy and the father she never knew. Spilling over with the sumptuous flavors and romance of Tuscany, These Tangled Vines takes readers on a breathtaking journey of love, secrets, sacrifice, courage—and most importantly, the true meaning of family.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: Heirloom Island Series
Author: Elizabeth Bromke

Publisher summary:
Head to Heirloom Island in this heartwarming series about three sisters and the charming small town they come to call home. With a dash of romance and a touch of mystery, The Boardwalk House is a sweet beach read by the author of the Birch Harbor series. 
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: South Carolina Sunsets (9 book series)
Author: Rachel Hanna
Publisher summary:

She’s 43 years old…

…and starting over from scratch.

How did this happen? She had it all together. A stable marriage of two decades. Two grown daughters. And now she and her husband, empty nesters, were moving to a beach house.

Until he showed up late one night and tore their marriage apart.

A secret life.

A different woman.

Another family.

Left alone, she has to begin again. 

And then her estranged sister and mother get thrown into the mix.

When she buys a house on a small South Carolina island, will she learn what life is really about?

Or will she find out that some relationships can never be mended?

Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Year of Our Love
Author: Caterina Bonvicini

Publisher: Other Press
Publication Date: June 2021
Page Length: 400 pages
Publisher summary:
An extraordinary story of friendship and love across class lines, this rich, evocative novel traces the history of modern Italy, from 1975 to 2013, through the fate of one couple.
 Valerio and Olivia grow up together in the Morganti family’s opulent villa in Bologna, inseparable friends even though they come from vastly different worlds: Olivia, the Morgantis’ daughter, is the heir to a large industrial fortune, while Valerio is the son of their gardener and maid. Largely sheltered from the dangers rampant in the unstable Italy of the 1970s, the two share their first innocent kiss at five years old, which heralds the start of a decades-long relationship.
 From Valerio having to move to a poor neighborhood in Rome and Olivia making her entrance in high society, life tries to separate them at every turn, but without success, so strong is the bond between them. Year after year they meet only for a few moments, which feel like they’re eternal, and their friendship turns into something more intense, and scary. They take different paths: Olivia travels the world looking for herself, while Valerio devotes himself to a prestigious career that doesn’t satisfy him, in a country that is quickly losing its identity in the political crises of the Berlusconi era. Still, they keep meeting again and again at crossroads in life.
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: It Had To Be You
Author: Georgia Clark
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication Date: May 2021

Page Length: 381 pages
Publisher summary:
For the past twenty years, Liv and Eliot Goldenhorn have run In Love in New York, Brooklyn’s beloved wedding-planning business. When Eliot dies unexpectedly, he even more unexpectedly leaves half of the business to his younger, blonder girlfriend, Savannah. Liv and Savannah are not a match made in heaven, to say the least. But what starts as a personal and professional nightmare transforms into something even savvy, cynical Liv Goldenhorn couldn’t begin to imagine.
It Had to Be You cleverly unites Liv, Savannah, and couples as diverse and unique as New York City itself, in a joyous Love-Actually-style braided narrative. The result is a smart, modern love story that truly speaks to our times. Second chances, secret romance, and steamy soul mates are front and center in this sexy, tender, and utterly charming rom-com that is “so much fun” (Casey McQuiston, New York Times bestselling author).
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Grace Kelly Dress
Author: Brenda Janowitz
Publisher: Graydon House
Publication Date: March 2020
Page Length: 336 pages

Publisher summary:
Two years after Grace Kelly’s royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris—and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love.
Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly—look-alike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride’s handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice, one that could put all she’s worked for at risk: love, security and of course, the dress.
Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname “Rocky,” has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there’s just one problem: Rocky doesn’t want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn’t her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan’s heart. But what she doesn’t know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother’s life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.
As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress’s history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky’s wedding, they’ll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Author: Talia Hibbert
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: November 2019

Publisher summary:
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

  • Enjoy a drunken night out.
  • Ride a motorcycle.
  • Go camping.
  • Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
  • Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
  • And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job. Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit. But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: It Happened One Summer
Author: Tessa Bailey
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 2021

Publisher summary:
Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington. Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face. Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart. 
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Hunting Wives
Author: May Cobb
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 2021
Page Length: 362 pages

Publisher summary:
The Hunting Wives share more than target practice, martinis, and bad behavior in this novel of obsession, seduction, and murder.
Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.
Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.
When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Guncle
Author: Steven Rowley
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: May 2021
Page Length: 336 pages
Publisher summary:
From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor comes a warm and deeply funny novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star whose unexpected family tragedy leaves him with his niece and nephew for the summer.
Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is, honestly, overwhelmed.
So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled acting career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting–even if temporary–isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.
With the humor and heart we’ve come to expect from bestselling author Steven Rowley, The Guncle is a moving tribute to the power of love, patience, and family in even the most trying of times.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: My Lemon Grove Summer
Author: Jo Thomas
Publisher: Headline Review
Publication Date: July 2019
Page Length: 352 pages

Publisher summary:
Could the lemon groves of Sicily be the perfect place to start over? The irresistible new novel from Jo Thomas, the author of Sunset Over the Cherry Orchard, will transport you to the island of mountains and sparkling blue seas. When life hands you lemons … is it ever too late for a second chance? Zelda’s impulsive nature has got her precisely nowhere up until now. A fresh start in a beautiful hilltop town in Sicily looking for new residents, together with her best friend Lennie, could be just what she needs. And who better to settle down with than the person who knows her best? But the sun-filled skies and sparkling seas can’t hide the shadow hanging over Citta d’Ora, which means not everyone is pleased to see their arrival. The dreams Zelda and her fellow new residents had of setting up a new life might be slipping away. But a friendship with restauranteur Luca could be about to unlock the possibilities that lie in the local lemon groves. And there’s a wedding on the horizon that might be just what the town needs to turn it around…
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Summer of Broken Rules
Author: K.L. Walther
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 2021

Publisher summary:
When Meredith Fox lost her sister, Claire, eighteen months ago, she shut everyone out. But this summer she’s determined to join the world again. The annual family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard seems like the perfect place to reconnect. Her entire extended family is gathering for a big summer wedding, and although Meredith is dateless after being unexpectedly dumped, she’s excited to participate in the traditional Fox family game of assassin that will take place during the week of wedding festivities. Claire always loved the game, and Meredith is determined to honor her legacy. But when Meredith forms an assassin alliance with a cute groomsman, she finds herself getting distracted. Meredith tries to focus on the game and win it for her sister, but she can’t help falling for him. And as the week progresses, she realizes she’s not only at risk of losing the game, but also her heart.
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Photo by Alexey Demidov on Pexels.com

UPCOMING BEACH READS 2022

Title: Book Lovers
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2022

Publisher summary:
An insightful, delightful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation
One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming…

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby. Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute. If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: Something Wilder
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2022

Publisher Summary:
Growing up the daughter of notorious treasure hunter and absentee father Duke Wilder left Lily without much patience for the profession…or much money in the bank. But Lily is nothing if not resourceful, and now uses Duke’s coveted hand-drawn maps to guide tourists on fake treasure hunts through the red rock canyons of Utah. It pays the bills but doesn’t leave enough to fulfill her dream of buying back the beloved ranch her father sold years ago, and definitely not enough to deal with the sight of the man she once loved walking back into her life with a motley crew of friends ready to hit the trails. Frankly, Lily would like to take him out into the wilderness—and leave him there.
Leo Grady knew mirages were a thing in the desert, but they’d barely left civilization when the silhouette of his greatest regret comes into focus in the flickering light of the campfire. Ready to leave the past behind him, Leo wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. Unfortunately, Lily Wilder is all business, drawing a clear line in the sand: it’s never going to happen.
But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group wonders if maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a gimmick after all. There’s a chance to right the wrongs—of Duke’s past and their own—but only if Leo and Lily can confront their history and work together. Alone under the stars in the isolated and dangerous mazes of the Canyonlands, Leo and Lily must decide whether they’ll risk their lives and hearts on the adventure of a lifetime. 
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The It Girl
Author: Ruth Ware
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Publication Date: July 12th, 2022

Publisher summary:
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of One by One returns with an unputdownable mystery following a woman on the search for answers a decade after her friend’s murder. April Coutts-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford. Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the second, April was dead. Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: Meant to Be Mine
Author: Hannah Orenstein
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Publisher summary:
What if you knew exactly when you’d meet the love of your life? Edie Meyer knows. When her Grandma Gloria was a young woman, she had a vision of the exact day she would meet her soul mate—and then Grandpa Ray showed up. Since then, Gloria has accurately predicted the day every single member of the family has met their match. Edie’s day arrives on June 24, 2022, when she’s twenty-nine years old. She has been waiting for it half her life. That morning, she boards an airplane to her twin sister’s surprise engagement, and when a handsome musician sits beside her, she knows it’s meant to be. But fate comes with more complications than Edie expected and she can’t fight the nagging suspicion that her perfect guy doesn’t have perfect timing. After a tragedy and a shocking revelation rock Edie’s carefully constructed world, she’s forced to consider whether love chooses us, as simple as destiny, or if we choose it ourselves.
*Click HERE to view additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: The Boardwalk Bookshop
Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: May 31, 2022
Page Length: 448 pages

Publisher summary:
When fate brings three strangers to a charming space for lease on the California coast, the Boardwalk Bookshop is born. Part bookstore, part gift shop, part bakery, it’s a dream come true for Bree, Mikki and Ashley. But while their business is thriving, their personal lives are…not. Bree, wounded by brilliant but cold parents and her late husband’s ultimate betrayal, has sworn to protect her heart at all costs. Even from Ashley’s brother, a writer and adventurer who has inspired millions. He’s the first man to see past Bree’s barricades to her true self, which terrifies her. Mikki has this divorce thing all figured out—somehow, she’s stayed friends with her ex and her in-laws…until a new man changes how everyone looks at her, and how she sees herself. Meanwhile, Ashley discovers that the love of her life never intends to marry. Can she live without being a wife if it means she can have everything else she’s ever wanted? At sunset every Friday on the beach in front of the Boardwalk Bookshop, the three friends share a champagne toast. As their bond grows closer, they challenge one another to become the best versions of themselves in this heartachingly beautiful story of friendship, sisterhood and the transformative power of love.
*Click HERE for additional details and to purchase via Amazon.

Title: My Summer Darlings
Author: May Cobb
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
Page Length: 368 pages

Publisher summary:
A woman in the forest thinks she’s going to die.
                          I know he’s coming back for me.
 Jen Hansen, Kittie Spears, and Cynthia Nichols have been friends since childhood. They are now approaching forty and their lives have changed, but their insular East Texas town has not. They stay sane by drinking wine in the afternoons, dishing about other women in the neighborhood, and bonding over the heartache of their own encroaching middle age and raising ungrateful teens. 
Then Will Harding comes to town, moving into one of the neighborhood’s grandest homes. Mysterious and charming, he seems like the answer to each woman’s prayers. He’s a source of fascination for Jen, Kittie, and Cynthia, but none of them are ready for the way Will disrupts their lives. As Will grows closer with each of the women, their fascination twists into obsession, threatening their friendships and their families. When he abruptly pulls away, each woman scrambles to discover the source of his affection. But what they’ll uncover is far more sinister and deadly than any of them could have ever imagined.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Pexels.com

LOOKING FOR ADDITIONAL BEACH READS? VIEW THE LINKS BELOW.

BEYOND THE BOOKENDS: ULTIMATE BEACH READS 2022
https://www.beyondthebookends.com/ultimate-beach-reads-2022-the-hottest-summer-reads/
READER’S DIGEST: 20 BEST BEACH READS FOR THE PERFECT ESCAPE
https://www.rd.com/list/beach-reads/
THE BOOK GIRLS’ GUIDE: BEST 22 SUMMER BOOKS
https://bookgirlsguide.com/beach-reads/
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: 20 BEST SUMMER BOOKS 2022
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/g3585/summer-reading/
SHE READS: BEST BEACH READS OF SUMMER 2022
https://shereads.com/best-beach-reads-of-summer-2022/
THE UNCORKED LIBRARIAN: 22 BEST BEACH READS OF ALL TIME TO CHILL OUT WITH
https://www.theuncorkedlibrarian.com/top-beach-reads/
REAL SIMPLE MAGAZINE: THE BEST BOOKS OF 2022 SO FAR
https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/entertainment/books/best-books-2022
THE QUIRKY BOOKWORM: BEACH READS 2019
https://thequirkybookworm.com/2019/05/10/beach-reads/

HAPPY READING!

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.

No photo description available.
May be an image of 1 person and smiling
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.