I have received so much great advice in relation to my reading life. From bloggers to friends to business experts the tips and suggestions have truly been helpful. I appreciate every piece of it and am really taking them all to heart. I’ve implemented some changes already. But with the holiday season, I’m truly going to not stress during the month of December and focus my new plan in 2017. I’m determined to not get so far behind and tackle that ever-growing to-read list!
I’ve got a lot of books this month from authors I’ve already read and loved. So, that should mean I have some awesome reading ahead!
December is the month of giving and I plan to give several books as gifts this year. I’m also getting back to a regular book club which gets me excited about reading again. Just talking about books and being around fellow readers makes me want to read.
There are some really neat books for adults and kids that I’ll be sharing this month. Many of them would make great gifts. I hope you will find a way to get books in the hands of at least one of your gift recipients this holiday season!
What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed?
Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions.
In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered.
A stunning decades-spanning debut novel, about a man, forced to confront his moral culpability, the legacy of impossible loss, and the claims of his Jewish identity.
Paul Hartman, coming of age in postwar Rockaway, grows up haunted by the specter of his cousin Max, an Auschwitz survivor, and his mysterious cache of diamonds, which fund Paul’s Harvard Law education and even sparkle in his fiancée’s engagement ring. When a stranger from his past confronts him with an impossible demand, one that could destroy his law career, his marriage and his sense of self, Paul must make choices that will change his fate forever.
Freya Braithwaite knows she is lucky. Nineteen years of marriage to a man who still warms her soul and two beautiful teenage daughters to show for it: confident Charlotte and thoughtful Lexi. Her home is filled with love and laughter.
But when Lexi’s struggles with weight take control of her life, everything Freya once took for granted falls apart, leaving the whole family with a sense of helplessness that can only be confronted with understanding, unity and, above all, love.
In this compelling and heart-wrenching new work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse, one ordinary family tackles unexpected difficulties and discovers that love can find its way through life’s darkest moments.
Brilliant heart surgeon Suzette Kendall is stunned when Hyland, her husband of fifteen years, admits his yearning for a child. From the beginning, they’d decided that having children was not an option, as Suzette feared passing along the genes that landed her mother in a mental institution. But Hyland proposes a different idea: a baby via surrogate.
Suzette agrees, and what follows is a whirlwind of candidate selections, hospital visits, and Suzette’s doubts over whether she’s made the right decision. A young woman named Dorothy Muscarello is chosen as the one who will help make this family complete. For Dorrie, surrogacy (and the money that comes with it) are her opportunity to leave behind a troubled past and create a future for herself—one full of possibility. But this situation also forces all three of them—Dorrie, Suzette, and Hyland—to face a devastating uncertainty that will reverberate in the years to come.
Beautifully shifting between perspectives, THE NEARNESS OF YOU deftly explores the connections we form, the families we create, and the love we hold most dear.
By: Kimberly Stuart
Published: October 31, 2016
Publisher: Blom Books
Stuart is an Iowa author and one I’ve been wanting to read for awhile. In fact, I have her books on my Kindle just waiting to be read. Since she has a new book to promote, I decided now would be a great time. I’ve followed her blog for quite awhile and love her writing.
Heidi Elliott is busy, busy, busy.
Now that she and Jake are parents of a kindergartner, Heidi has a to-do list a mile long. Like deep clean the kitchen cabinets. Volunteer in Nora’s classroom. Create sparkly USA ninja warrior Halloween costumes for two. Repaint several pieces of household furniture. Meddle in her best friends’ relationships.
Grieve her most recent failed pregnancy.
Find her misplaced hope.
Jake wants to adopt. Nora plans to pray a sibling into existence. And Heidi keeps moving to avoid thinking about anything other than paint colors.
Thoughtlessness, of course, leads to mistakes and misunderstandings, and in the space of a month, Heidi manages to lose control of a group of kindergartners, make a terrible impression on the social worker, and damage—possibly irreparably—her closest friendships.
And then she remembers. She doesn’t have to go it alone. Sometimes we really are better together.
Driving from North Carolina to New Mexico with her three-legged dog, a strange man’s ashes, and a waitress named Blossom riding shotgun isn’t exactly what Alissa Wells ever wanted to be doing. But it’s exactly what she needs…
It all starts when Alissa impulsively puts a bid on an abandoned storage unit, only to become the proud new owner of Roger Hart s remains. Two weeks later, she jumps in her car and heads west, thinking that returning the ashes of a dead man might be the first step on her way to a new life.
She isn’t wrong.
Especially when Blossom, who just graduated from high school, hitches a ride with her to Texas and Alissa has to get used to letting someone else take the wheel. Posting about their road trip on Facebook, complete with photos of Roger at every stop, Blossom opens Alissa s eyes to the road in front of her and to how sometimes the best things in life are the ones you never see coming
Award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes tells a powerful story about young people who weren’t alive to witness this defining moment in history, but begin to realize how much it colors their every day.
Ever wanted to take apart the microwave to see how it works? Crack open your computer and peek inside? Intrigued by how things work? So are we! That’s why we’re dissecting all kinds of things from rubber erasers to tractor beams! Read along as National Geographic Kids unplugs, unravels, and reveals how things do what they do. Complete with “Tales from the Lab,” true stories, biographies of real scientists and engineers, exciting diagrams and illustrations, accessible explanations, trivia, and fun features, this cool book explains it all!
By: National Geographic Kids
Food chemistry, atom crashing, wave power, food chemistry, and robots! These are just a few of the topics covered in this fantastic new science encyclopedia, which presents a comprehensive overview of physical and life sciences from A to Z. Super smart and kid-friendly, it’s packed with full-color photographs, weird but true facts, amazing statistics, do-it-yourself experiments, plus profiles of scientists and National Geographic’s explorers who rock the world of science. Keep up with the changes happening all around us with this stellar science reference book.
A Middle School Story
I FUNNY: Jamie Grimm is a middle schooler on a mission: he wants to become the world’s greatest standup comedian–even if he doesn’t have a lot to laugh about these days. He’s new in town and stuck living with his aunt, uncle, and their evil son Stevie, a bully who doesn’t let Jamie’s wheelchair stop him from messing with Jamie as much as possible. But Jamie doesn’t let his situation get him down. When his Uncle Frankie mentions a contest called The Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic, Jamie knows he has to enter. But are the judges only rewarding him out of pity because of his wheelchair, like Stevie suggests? Will Jamie ever share the secret of his troubled past instead of hiding behind his comedy act?
I EVEN FUNNIER: Middle schooler Jamie Grimm has big dreams of being the best stand-up comic in the world – and he won’t let the fact that he’s in a wheelchair get in his way.
After winning the New York state finals in the Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic Contest, Jamie’s off to Boston to compete in the national semi-finals. But when one of his best buddies runs into trouble at school and a sudden family health scare rears its head, Jamie has to put his comedic ambitions on hold and stand by the people he cares about.
Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs
Gary Paulsen is an adventurer who competed in two Iditarods, survived the Minnesota wilderness, and climbed the Bighorns. None of this would have been possible without his truest companion: his animals. Sled dogs rescued him in Alaska, a sickened poodle guarded his well-being, and a horse led him across a desert. Through his interactions with dogs, horses, birds, and more, Gary has been struck with the belief that animals know more than we may fathom.
His understanding and admiration of animals is well known, and in THIS SIDE OF WILD, which has taken a lifetime to write, he proves the ways in which they have taught him to be a better person.
Yet even Tommy isn’t strong enough for what happens when the sirens ring and, for the first time, they’re racing away from the fire. “First man in; last man out” had always been his dad’s motto . . . yet he never said anything about leaving in an ambulance. Now Tommy’s biggest battle has nothing to do with a football field.
Set in New England, home of the Patriots’ football dynasty, Mike Lupica shows off his trademark knack for spinning a tale that’s equal parts sports action and heart. LAST MAN OUT is a thoughtful tribute to the bravery of firefighters and the need we all have to live up to the level of our heroes.
While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning.
How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life
One recent December, at age 53, John Kralik found his life at a terrible, frightening low: his small law firm was failing; he was struggling through a painful second divorce; he had grown distant from his two older children and was afraid he might lose contact with his young daughter; he was living in a tiny apartment where he froze in the winter and baked in the summer; he was 40 pounds overweight; his girlfriend had just broken up with him; and overall, his dearest life dreams–including hopes of upholding idealistic legal principles and of becoming a judge–seemed to have slipped beyond his reach.
Then, during a desperate walk in the hills on New Year’s Day, John was struck by the belief that his life might become at least tolerable if, instead of focusing on what he didn’t have, he could find some way to be grateful for what he had.
Inspired by a beautiful, simple note his ex-girlfriend had sent to thank him for his Christmas gift, John imagined that he might find a way to feel grateful by writing thank-you notes. To keep himself going, he set himself a goal–come what may–of writing 365 thank-you notes in the coming year.
One by one, day after day, he began to handwrite thank yous–for gifts or kindnesses he’d received from loved ones and coworkers, from past business associates and current foes, from college friends and doctors and store clerks and handymen and neighbors, and anyone, really, absolutely anyone, who’d done him a good turn, however large or small. Immediately after he’d sent his very first notes, significant and surprising benefits began to come John’s way–from financial gain to true friendship, from weight loss to inner peace. While John wrote his notes, the economy collapsed, the bank across the street from his office failed, but thank-you note by thank-you note, John’s whole life turned around.
I also purchased this at the Scholastic Book Fair. I’ve been seeing this book all over and wanted to check it out for myself.
When Ruth Ann (Roo) McCabe responds to a text message while she’s driving, her life as she knows it ends. The car flips and Roo winds up in a hospital bed, paralyzed. Silent. Everyone thinks she’s in a coma, but Roo has locked-in syndrome—she can see and hear and understand everything around her, but no one knows it. She’s trapped inside her own body, screaming to be heard.
Mathilda (Tilly) is Roo’s sister and best friend. She was the one who texted Roo and inadvertently caused the accident. Now, Tilly must grapple with her overwhelming guilt and her growing feelings for Roo’s boyfriend, Newton—the only other person who seems to get what Tilly is going through.
But Tilly might be the only person who can solve the mystery of her sister’s condition—who can see through Roo’s silence to the truth underneath.
Somehow, through medicine or miracles, will both sisters find a way to heal?
Told from alternating perspectives, this gorgeous, unputdownable story of love, hope, and redemption marks bestselling author Luanne Rice’s dazzling entry into the world of YA.
THE TWO FAMILY HOUSE
By: Lynda Cohen Loigman
Published: March 8, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
I snagged this on the Cyber Monday Kindle Deals. I don’t remember where I heard about this book, but it was already on my list. It sounds like a perfect book to get lost in.
Brooklyn, 1947: in the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women. They are sisters by marriage with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins.
As you are considering your gift giving this year, ask yourself if you could give a book. If you have a local, independent bookstore, please support them. In fact, anytime you can support a small, local business for your gift purchasing, I hope you do. Obviously, online shopping is easier, mostly hassle free, and saves time and money, so feel free to use the above links as well.
Thanks for sharing in my reading enjoyment this year and as always, let me know if you choose to read any of these great books. Happy reading!