Welcome to the page all about books!
These are all the books I’ve read this year with a little snippet about them to entice you to read them. Feel free to make comments or leave suggestions. I am always searching for new authors to read.
(Sometimes I’m reading more than one book at the same time)
DIG by A.S. King
The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family’s maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being simple Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account, wealth they’ve declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grand children.
“Because we want them to thrive,” Marla always says.
What does thriving look like? Like carrying a snow shovel everywhere. Like selling pot at the Arby’s drive-thru window. Like a first class ticket to Jamaica between cancer treatments. Like a flea-circus in a doublewide. Like the GPS coordinates to a mound of dirt in a New Jersey forest.
As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings precious white suburban respectability begins to spread, the far flung grand children gradually find their ways back to each other, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name.
(Book summary from Goodreads.)
Learn more about A. S. King here.
HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben
In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.
Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.
(Book summary from Goodreads.)
Learn more about Peter Wohlleben here.
— Books I’ve Read in 2020 —
MY MASTODON by Barbara Lowell, illustrated by Antonio Marinoni
I was so excited for the release of my critique partner’s latest book. I’d loved this story in all of its variations from the very beginning and couldn’t wait to see how it turned out as an actual fully realized book.
I immediately fell in love with Sybilla the explorer who loves her mastodon so much she will do anything to keep him with her until she realizes how much her brother loves her. Such a wonderful story! The illustrations are a perfect fit and bring the story to life.
Inspired by the 19th-century lives of artist and scientist Charles Willson Peale’s family, this is a tale of a girl and her favorite companion a fossilized mastodon! (Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about Barbara Lowell here.
AN ASSASSIN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND TREASON by Virginia Boecker
A friend recommended this book to me and I’m so glad she did. So fantastic!
Such a fun read! A little bit “Shakespeare in Love” with a healthy dose of spies and assassins thrown in and of course a plot to kill the Queen. Highly recommend!
When Lady Katherine’s father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn’t the only secret he’s been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father’s mission, and to take it one step further–kill the queen herself.
Katherine’s opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare’s newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn’t know is that the play is not just a play–it’s a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.
The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play’s leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)
Learn more about Virginia Boecker here.
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (Anna and the French Kiss #1) LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR (Anna and the French Kiss #2) and ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins
I have wanted to read this series for a long time and then the first book popped up on my daily ebook sales list, so I snatched it up and then couldn’t stop reading until I had finished the entire series. Loved getting to know all of the characters and reading their individual stories. Loved how Stephanie weaved them all together.
Such a fun read!
Plot summary for ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS:
Can Anna find love in the City of Light?
Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her attention. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking of word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken—and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?
Plot summary for LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR:
Could the boy from her past be the love of her future?
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—the more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. And life is pretty close to perfect in Lola’s world, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend. That is, until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood and unearth a past of hurt and anguish that Lola thought was long buried. When talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna and Étienne.
Plot summary for ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER:
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.
(Plot summaries from author’s website.)
Learn more about Stephanie Perkins here.
DREAD NATION by Justina Ireland
This book has been on my TBR pile for awhile and I’m so glad I finally got to read it! Such a fantastic story! Fierce zombie slaying females in corsets (and out of them!) what’s not to love?
There’s so much more to this story, of course, including tackling nuanced and not-so-subtle racism and the ugliness of the forced civilization of the Native Americans. Ireland is a great storyteller. Can’t wait for the sequel!
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.
At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland’s stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.
(Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about Justina Ireland here.
GENUINE FRAUD by E. Lockhart
I love a fast-paced, intriguing mystery told by an unreliable narrator and this one was stellar!
Influenced by The Talented Mr. Ripley, it lived up to the hype and then some. I lost a lot of sleep tearing through the pages of this one. So worth it!
From the author of the unforgettable New York Times bestseller We Were Liars comes a masterful new psychological suspense novel—the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.
Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.
(Book summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about E. Lockhart here.
FATES AND FURIES by Lauren Groff
I picked up this book because I wanted to read more adult books and it was on President Obama’s reading list, I think. (It was also on sale in ebook format, so why not?)
I absolutely loved the first half of the book as much as the second half of the book confused me. Honestly, I felt like the story was over and done already. Why did we even need the second half? It just seemed like unnecessary backstory.
Maybe it was just me. I felt like they were two separate stories that didn’t necessarily go together. But I think that was the point of this book. I don’t know. Maybe I just need to read more adult books?
Fates and Furies is a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation.
Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.
At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it.
Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart. (Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about Lauren Groff here.
LOOK BOTH WAYS by Jason Reynolds
Great book recommended by a friend.
So far I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Jason Reynolds. He just makes neighborhoods and people come alive. I’ve walked home from school and sweated some of the same fears these characters have, came up with crazy schemes with friends, found unique ways to earn some pocket money, and also felt the loneliness and heartache he weaves in as well. A master storyteller.
This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy—
Talking about boogers.
Stealing pocket change.
Executing complicated handshakes.
Planning an escape.
But mostly, too busy walking home.
Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.
(Plot summary from Goodreads.)
Learn more about Jason Reynolds here.
THIRTEEN DOORWAYS, WOLVES BEHIND THEM ALL by Laura Ruby
A writer friend loaned me this book, and that’s always a good sign that you’re in for a treat. I also loved BONE GAP written by this author.
This book was such an emotional powerhouse of a book. It really hits you in the feels HARD! I absolutely loved it.
From the author of the Printz Medal Winter Bone Gap comes a tale of two young women—one living, one dead—dealing with loss, desire, and the fragility of the American dream.
When Frankie’s mother died and her father left her and her siblings at an orphanage in Chicago, she thought it was only temporary—just long enough for him to get back on his feet. That’s why she is not prepared for the day he arrives for his weekend visit with a new woman on his arm and out-of-state train tickets in his pocket.
Now Frankie and her sister, Toni, are abandoned at the orphanage, two young unwanted women doing everything they can to survive. And as the embers of the Great Depression are kindled into the fires of World War II, and the shadows of injustice, poverty, and death walk the streets in broad daylight, it will be up to Frankie to find something worth holding on to in the ruins of this shattered America—every minute of every day wondering if the life she is able to carve out will be enough.
I will admit, I don’t know the answer to this last question. But I will be watching, waiting to find out.
That’s what ghosts do.
(Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about Laura Ruby here.