Welcome to my Good Reads page! I will be posting about what I’m currently reading and what I recommend reading. I’ll also be making noise about my favorite authors.
May 27th, 2017
When I go to our local library’s annual book sale, I bring a shopping bag. A BIG one. Where else would I be able to find paperbacks for .50 cents and hardbacks for $1.00? That’s right, nowhere, and I look forward to this event like a child attending the circus without the scary clowns.
My kids are avid readers, and we swoop in on the classics like Wuthering Heights, Hamlet, Lord of the Flies, snatching up sets of Harry Potter books even though we already have two. We bob and weave through other greedy book-gatherers, eye-balling the titles, blurbs, and intriguing book covers in hopes of getting them in our hot little hands before they do. Sometimes I never get around to reading the James Patterson or Nicolas Sparks, or the other surprises I have collecting dust on my book shelf, but just knowing they’re there comforts me in some sort of OCD crazy-book-lady way. Sometimes if I start one and am not immediately titillated, I throw it aside. But this time, the first one I dove into was indeed a gem worth blogging about.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a deftly powerful story about a young girl named Victoria who’s grown up in the foster care system of San Francisco. The only mother she’s ever known, Elizabeth, taught her everything there is to know about the language of flowers, about the messages they bring, how they speak without words and tell stories without rhyme.
Victoria doesn’t stay with Elizabeth—something goes terribly wrong. You’ll have to find this out for yourself, but it’s typical of the way Victoria’s life has gone. She’s angry, defiant, dismissive of authority and rules. Her pain runs deeper than the soil she prefers over people. People have always abandoned her. Roots mean everything and nothing at all.
Finally emancipated from the system, she sets out on her own. Preferring to live in the park over a transitional home, she nurtures the garden she’s created by stealing plants from other people’s front yards, but she soon learns she’ll need to find work so she can eat. She happens upon Bloom, a flower shop, where the owner, Renata, offers her a job. She soon finds her calling, but again, she struggles with a normal life, being loved is not something she’s accustomed to and finds herself backsliding into her old ways. Until love finds her in the only place she feels at home—the wholesale flower market. Grant has connections to her like no other. And you must read this book to find out what they are.
Go find a copy of The Language of Flowers and lose yourself in the beautiful world of romantic expression.
March 9th, 2017
Holy cow, is it March already? I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about any books since September! I’ve been reading, believe me, but I’ve also been writing too, which explains my absence. And yay to the fact that that book has been published so I can now take a breather! (whew, I love to write, but it does take me away from my family) So, here goes. I just finished Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. What an amazing book! At first I was taken aback by the way the main character acted. She was a brat, snotty, popular and knew it, and a bit of a mean girl. Samantha Kingston wakes up to a regular day–annoying little sister nudging her out of bed, breakfast, riding with her friends to school. They talk about it being Cupid Day and guess how many roses they’ll get. You see, the more you get, the more you’ll be the envy of all your peers. Seems shallow, right? It is. Then there’s a house party in the evening, and this is where everything goes sideways. The boyfriend Samantha is supposed to have sex with for the first time is drunk, a classmate who’s been the target of their bullying shows up with some things to say, and it’s raining cats and dogs on a night when they’ll be driving themselves home. Can you guess what happens? (if you’ve seen the movie trailer, you already know)
Something in the road causes them to swerve and flip the car. Samantha dies. But the funny thing is, she wakes up in bed ON THE SAME DAY, to start the day over again. A second chance! So of course she must make some adjustments so that the wreck doesn’t happen, but those adjustments change other outcomes. And I can’t say much more, but I must say this–she gets more than one chance to right her wrongs…I absolutely LOVED this book. Want to know the real reason? I hated Samantha at first. But as the story moved forward (and backward) she evolved. She grew. I began to like her, then love her. She became a brand new person. This story was one of my favorites so far. Please check it out, it’s exactly the type of book I love to read and write.
September 19, 2016:
Happy Fall everyone! Yay to cooler weather, Halloween, and everything pumpkin spiced. I can’t wait to wander the Spirit Store wearing ridiculous wigs and snuggling rubber zombie babies.
I just finished Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. If you haven’t already heard, the movie’s coming out soon, and it will be starring a couple of my favorite actors. I really liked the book, but had a few moments of confusion in the beginning. The POV’s (points of view) switched from one girl to another quite a bit. If you don’t pay attention to the header of the chapter, you might get a little lost. Once I got that part down, I was in the game.
Rachel rides the train every day. Her life is sad, she’s a divorcee, a bit of a drunk, and is pretending to go to work so her roommate doesn’t kick her out of the apartment. She sees a couple on the porch as the train passes their home, and she gives them fictitious names, imagining their perfect life. Then she sees something suspicious—“Jess” is kissing another man. Then there’s a missing person. “Jess” is really Megan, and she is nowhere to be found. Rachel becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of the stranger whose life she wished she had.
I loved the movement of this story. It continued forward even though it had many flashbacks. Each return to the past revealed something new to chew on for the future. I picked up on the ending a bit soon, but was still surprised by a few things. I highly recommend this book.
I just started Underneath by Sarah Jamila Stevenson. Sunny’s life seems wonderful. She’s got a spot on the high school swim team, has a great group of friends, and a supportive family. Everything is going great until her closest cousin Shiri commits suicide, and her journal shows up on Sunny’ doorstep. Then she starts to hear others’ thoughts! Sounds crazy, I know. And that’s why I think I’m going to love it! The sentences flow nicely, and it’s written in first person—my favorite point of view….so, stay tuned. I think it’s going to be a quick read for me!
June 26, 2016:
Happy summer, everyone, and my apologies for being absent for so long. It’s been an extremely busy spring/summer with two graduations, a family reunion, an anniversary trip to paradise (poor me), and other things that require my full attention. Oh, did I mention I rewrote and republished my first print novella Lizbeth? Yeah, that too. You should ask me about that sometime. Well, here I am! And believe it or not, I actually found enough time to read two great books during all of the insanity.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is Ransom Riggs first novel. It’s been made into a movie! OMG a writer’s dream. It’s about a young man named Jacob whose crazy, story-telling grandfather has suddenly become paranoid and erratic, sleeping with his gun and is sure someTHING is trying to kill him. Jacob always knew Grandpa Portman’s stories were figments of his imagination—it was impossible to grow up on an island with a headmistress who was a bird, or a schoolmate who was invisible. Children couldn’t levitate or breathe under water. Jacob knew monsters weren’t real. Until he saw one in the woods while searching for his missing grandfather. Jacob finds this island. He finds these children. They take him on an unbelievable, daunting but magical adventure. The truth about Grandpa comes out. Curious? Go get it.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is also a movie. I saw it. I cried my eyeballs out, but it was so worth it. I picked the book up after seeing the movie trailer—I knew it was going to be a tearjerker, but I like that kind of thing. As long as the meat of the story takes me to faraway places, has me falling in love with the characters and believing in something wonderful, I don’t mind my heart being yanked around. In fact, if it doesn’t make me gasp, cry, or think, I’ll throw it in the pile after the first two chapters.
Louisa Clark needs a job in the worst way. Her parents need help with the bills. Wheelchair-bound Will Trainor needs someone to look after him during the day. But Louisa’s no nurse, in fact she’s a simple girl with minimal life or job experience, barely stepping outside the borders of her own town, but Will’s parents have a special job for her that requires more than medical know-how. And when she learns the truth behind their motives, she’s shocked and determined to show Will life is still worth living. This story is adorable—you’ll love Louisa, and although this tale is gut wrenching, it’s humorous at times (yes I said humorous), and worth every tear. Please read it. Please see the movie. It might change you like it changed me.
Next Pulitzer Prize book in line: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Stay tuned!
January 31, 2016:
Alas, the year has begun and it’s been extremely busy. The New Year started off with a bang! I finished another book, received notification that edits have begun for my third book with Keith Publications, my daughter had surgery, I had a medical procedure, and we lost a precious family friend to an unexpected tragedy. So, ouch. *bows head to pray for the many broken hearts* Let’s rewind, regroup, and take a breath. Be grateful for each day, each smile we’re given, each hug we receive from those blessed family members we love so much.
Although I haven’t had much time to read, I’ve cracked open a couple. Patti Callahan Henry’s book And Then I Found You has begun to work its way under my skin. It’s about the beginnings of young love…Katie and Jack, their first kiss on the first day of spring. She makes a secret vow to do something unseen, undone, or unheard of every first day of spring because of this very kiss. Mostly she vows to be with him forever. But as you may predict, it doesn’t quite go as planned.
Growing up is hard. Jack goes away to college, Katie finds her calling at a wilderness camp for troubled young girls. The distance takes its toll. They are able to connect for an unbridled night of lovemaking that produces a child. One they are not ready for. Luna is placed up for adoption…they split up…and that’s only the first few chapters!! I’m dying to know how this book ends!! Will they reconnect? Will they find Luna? Oh please, give me my happy ending.
I also started Spirit Bonded by Ashlynn Monroe. Annika Valon has no memory of her real parents, nor does she have any idea who could be vile enough to tattoo a child. Seeing shadows, and feeling physically drained, she thinks she’s going crazy. The cold dread that accompanies her spectral visitors has sickened her to the point of being bedridden for days.
So far, I get the feeling her best friend Cas is crushing on her pretty hard, but she seems to have eyes for his scorching-hot big brother who soon comes to town. When he does, it’s apparent he’s as protective if not more. And there’s something salaciously supernatural going on here…
I’m sure I will be delighted with this story! You can find more of Ashlynn’s books here:
June 15th, 2015: I just finished Sassy Lewis’ book Throttle. WOW! Let me tell you this…
I’m not a huge erotica reader. It’s not that I don’t enjoy hot, sexy stories, but I usually go for tamer romancy-style books that make my gut twist in angst or even worse, kill my heart. (am I sick?) This story was about a womanizer/biker type guy in his thirties (Cynfor) who was eye-balling his son’s girlfriend, and at first I was totally freaked out. This chick (Georgia) should be totally off limits.
As it turns out, (thank you Jesus) she wasn’t that much younger than Cynfor. And thankfully, the relationship with the son and Georgia had ended, removing the taboo element for me. And what a wild ride it was!! It was incredibly sexy from this point on, and to my relief, Cynfor really did have a heart. I highly recommend Throttle by Sassy Lewis to those who enjoy some dirty fun.
Now for some out-of-the-box entertainment! I’m reading Brewing a Witch by Eri Nelson. I’d read Book 1 of the All About the Sauce series and found The Hidden Witch delightful! Eri has an unorthodox style of writing that takes you on a twisty, turny journey in a really creative way. Her little witch Saucie is so dang loveable (and feisty), I couldn’t help but fall in love with her immediately. I look forward to seeing what trouble she will be getting into next, even though staying out of trouble seems to be her goal. (tee hee) Readers be warned, she does have a heated libido and voracious appetite!
A NEW CHILDREN’S AUTHOR TO WATCH!! Amy Suchman just released her new book Just Be. GO GET IT!!!
February 15th, 2015: I just started Olivia Starke’s Heart’s Paradise and only a few pages into this steamy story, let me just say this…it has my full attention! Also, I’m reading If I Stay by Gayle Forman–a story about a young girl’s choice to live or die. Mia’s in a coma, but is somehow aware of everyone around her, and is able to follow her loved ones as they contemplate her situation. She visits memories, and knowing what she’s lost, has the ultimate say on whether she continues in a world without some very important people in her life. I’m still waiting for an emotional jolt, which is why I read. But I have the feeling one is on the way.
I finished Unwritten by Charles Martin and I want to tell you that it was the best book I have ever read. Not that writing styles, or technical writing savvy had anything to do with it either. He is an excellent story teller. This book is about rewriting your life, throwing out the old painful, empty one and rebuilding from the ground up. Literally. It’s about unbecoming and rebirth. It sent me spiraling into oblivion with every emotion available. I HIGHLY recommend.
November 17th, 2014: Currently I’m reading The Hostile Hospital, Book number 8 in Daniel Handler’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series. The beauty about Daniel’s stories (written as Lemony Snicket) is that you can go years in between books and still feel caught up the minute you dive in. His humorous and unique ability to tell about the dark woes of the three Baudelaire children keeps me curious. Curious to know what happens next.
I recently had the pleasure of seeing him perform at The Gallo Center for the Arts, and he had us in stitches to say the least—and had us curious. He said he once received a letter from a little girl who thanked him for writing the books because they made her “curious”. He now has that letter framed on his desk. What a delightful way to describe how these adventures made her feel!! What types of stories make you feel that way?
I also am ashamed to say that I recently started to read The Diary of Anne Frank…for the first time. *Tisk* Everyone should read this book as well as Night by Elie Wiesel, but don’t wait until you are as old as dirt like me. It was a very powerful story that made me cry buckets of tears, but somehow enriched my life to witness such strength in the face of horrible pain. Be grateful for our freedoms.
Olivia Starke’s The Baby Contract was an intriguing love story about Liam, the most desired but seemingly untouchable bachelor in Austin and his search for a woman to provide an heir. Abby, has her own reasons to enter into a Baby Contract. This book was an erotic and emotional ride that made me an immediate fan of Miss Starke’s. Take a look at her page and become a fan too! Warning: Adult Content—18 and over please.
Kimberly Van Meter http://kimberlyvanmeter.com/
Janice Seagraves http://janiceseagraves.org/
Josephine Sanchez-Vanner http://www.josephine-sanchez-vanner.org.uk/
Terry Spear http://terrylspear.wordpress.com/
Cheryl Rees-Price http://cherylreesprice.weebly.com/
June Capossela Kempf http://www.keithpublications.com/
Young Adult and Children
Tally Scully and Micheal Maxwell https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/476157
Tally Scully http://www.backyardscienceimprint.com/
Micheal Maxwell http://michaelmaxwellauthor.blogspot.com/