Cozy-up to one of these great books this winter!

Cozy-up to one of these great books this winter!

It’s almost that nice time of year where I can snuggle up with a good book in front of the fire. Okay, who am I kidding? It rarely gets cold enough here in warm, sunny Southern California to snuggle up in front of a fire. But I can pretend, right?

I absolutely love to read. Reading is my way to wind down and relax after a tough day; to put aside any cares or worries that might be clouding my mind and lose myself in another place and time. There are many genres of books that I enjoy. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for a good romance, while other times I want something chilling and suspenseful. I enjoy learning about life during different time periods in history and reading inspiring true stories of others. Probably the only category of books I don’t enjoy would be sci-fi/fantasy. But even then…I may find a book here or there that surprises me!

I am always seeing posts from friends asking for book recommendations. I have a love-hate relationship with answering those posts; love because I have so many great books to recommend, but hate because it takes far too long to type it all out on every post! So here I am, composing a list of some of my favorites. Now all I have to do is copy and paste this link! I even broke it down into categories/genres for you with a brief description of the book and links to easily find them.  I’ll continue to update as I come across a book that is too good to not share. Here you go. And you’re welcome!

Historical Fiction:

  • “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd: This story follows two women over the span of 35 years. When Sarah Grimke turned 10 years old, her parents gift her a slave girl, Hetty. Over the years, both strive to live their own lives as Hetty yearns for freedom and Sarah joins the abolitionist movement, forming a complex relationship with another along the way.
  • “These is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine,” by Nancy E. Turner: This is actually a 3 part series about a young girl, full of spit and fire, Sarah Prine, whose family settled the harsh frontier of the Arizona Territories. The books cover Sarah’s life as a young girl through motherhood and beyond and is rich with adventure, love and challenges. It is based on the author’s great-grandmother, although the diaries are a complete work of fiction. I read each book back to back-they were that good!
  • “All New Things” by Lynn Austin: The civil war has just ended and Josephine’s family plantation is a shell of what it once was. This story follows 3 women: Josephine, who vows to rebuild and adapt to a new life; Josephine’s mother, who is left bitter and angry; and their house slave, who doesn’t quite trust that she could truly be free.

Other Dramas:

  • “The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton: This is one of my absolute favorites! A very intriguing story about Laurel, who witnessed an unthinkable crime at her family’s farm when she was just 16 years old. Years later, a successful actress, Laurel returns home for her mother’s 90th birthday and begins to question what really happened that day. The mystery unfolds as this story intertwines the past and present in a page turning story!
  • “The Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline: A captivating story of a 91 year-old-woman, Vivian, whose hidden secrets of her adolescence while riding the “orphan train” resurface when a troubled foster child, Molly, begins cleaning her house and asking questions about her past. Between 1854-1929, orphan trains regularly picked up orphans from cities in the East Coast and dropped them off to families in the mid-west, their fates completely determined by luck.
  • “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova: Alice has an accomplished life. At 50 years old, she is a college linguistics professor, has a good marriage and three beautiful, grown children. When she starts having problems with forgetfulness and disorientation, she receives a devastating diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. On a personal note, my own mother was a teacher, with 3 grown children, who was diagnosed with early onset frontotemporal lobe dementia at age 50. This story resonated with me on a much deeper level, but you don’t have to be affected by the disease to feel a connection to the characters.

Autobiography/Memoir/Inspirational:

  • “An Unseen Angel” by Alissa Parker: After losing her sweet daughter, Emilee, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Alissa Parker shares how she was able to heal and find faith and hope again.
  • “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand: The true story of Louis Zamperini, a World War II airman who crashed into the sea, surviving 47 days adrift and being held prisoner in a Japanese camp. His story of survival and forgiveness is inspiring!
  • “Where The Light Gets In” by Kimberly Williams-Paisley: Our favorite on-screen bride (“Father of the Bride”) shares her real life experience with her mother’s diagnosis of frontotemporal lobe dementia, diagnosed in her 50’s. (Also a more personal story to me, as her mom had almost the same form of dementia as my mom). Kimberly shares how she was able to find her mom again, after losing her, little by little, to her disease.

Thriller/Suspense:

  • “The Pilot’s Wife” by Anita Shreve: Late one night, Kathryn receives a knock at her door only to learn that her husband, Jack, had been killed in a crash on a plane he was flying. Rumors begin to surface about Jack leading a double life, and Kathryn sets out to learn who her husband really is.
  • “In a Dark, Dark Wood” by Ruth Ware: Nora receives an invitation to her estranged best friend’s bachelorette party in the countryside. Reluctantly, she accepts the invitation. Things take a twisted turn when Nora wakes up in the hospital to find herself badly injured, her memory of the weekend hazy. As she struggles to put the pieces together, she uncovers dark secrets from the past.
  • If you like suspenseful, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat courtroom dramas, I highly recommend the author Jodi Picoult! I have read several of her books and haven’t come across a bad one yet! Here are a couple of my favorites:

 

 

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