Books You Need to Read

I finished reading my 17th book of 2017 last night. I’ve committed to reading 70 books on the Goodreads challenge this year, and I am a little ahead of schedule – woo hoo! But I noticed something about my reading habits this year that is different than most years. My genres were all over the place. So I went through my favorites and figured the titles were varied enough that I had recommendations for everyone. So here goes (in no particular order):

MAKE ME LOVE YOU By Johanna Lindsey

To this day, the Mallory family has been one of my favorite “wish-I-could-be-one” families in literature. Just to be clear, this book covers the same time frame but does not mention the Mallorys. It just happens to be by the same author. A regency romance, this one has the brooding hero, the plucky heroine and lots of adventure romping all over England. Horses, wolves and a cat that loves sausage complete the picture. I brought this book to the table during meals, to my desk when I was supposed to be writing and sent the kids to bed early last night so I could finish it. If you love historical romances, you must read this one.

11/22/63 By Stephen King

So we all agree that Stephen King is a master storyteller. But some of his books I won’t even touch — because I know I’ll be so freaked out that I’ll probably need a prescription for anti-anxiety meds. Cell? OMG! I still shudder when I think of that one. The length of 11/22/63 might intimidate some people (at 850+ pages), but make the time. It’s SO worth it. Time travel (one of my absolute favs!), alternate reality…it was so unlike King and yet still wonderfully awesome. There are a ton of conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of JFK and I’d never really been interested enough to read about it until now. I finished this book in January and I still find myself thinking about the main character, Jake. Like he was a real person and you just wonder what he’s up to now. This one will take you a while, but keep at it. Well worth the read.

THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE By Janet Fox

I stole this one from my daughter’s bookshelf. As you can probably tell from the title, it’s intended for middle-grade and YA. But I challenge any adult Harry Potter fan not to love this one. Set in WWII, a group of children is sent to a run-down castle in Scotland to escape the London Blitz. Creepy castle…check. Mistress of the castle who isn’t exactly human…check. Nazi spy…check. Magically imbued objects…check. Lots of fun for the whole family. My daughter was dancing around, waiting until we could discuss this book without her giving anything away.

A FAMILY UNDER THE STARS By Christy Jeffries

While I am no stranger to Harlequin’s Special Edition line, Jeffries is a new-to-me author. And this review is especially for those of you who have asked me for more Scallop Shores books because you enjoy small town contemporaries, with repeat visits from characters popping back and forth between books. All her books are set in the fictional town of Sugar Falls, ID. This one involves a rugged outdoorsman and a by-the-book lifestyles expert. Doesn’t get much different than that, right? I absolutely fell in love with the grumpy grandfather, and her kids were adorably unique. Jeffries is wonderful at dropping in backstory and adding layer upon layer to her characters in just a sentence or two scattered here and there. I finished her book and thought, “Can I be her when I grow up?” Not only is this going in my keeper stack, but it’s on my reference shelf when I need help with my own plot structure.

THE LADIES ROOM By Carolyn Brown

I’d categorize this one as women’s fiction. There is romance in this book, but the main focus of the story is on Trudy and how her life gets turned upside down when she overhears some shocking news in the ladies room during her great-aunt’s funeral. Are you a big DIY fan? Trudy tackles some major renovations. Awkward/hurtful family interactions? By the boatload! I felt bad for Trudy. I felt hopeful. I cheered her on when things looked bleak. And I hollered out loud when she stood up for herself. She’s a gutsy gal and I think every woman out there will find a piece of themselves in this complex character. Read this one. Seriously.

Okay, your turn. You’ve seen a little bit about the kind of books I’m drawn to. What recommendations do you have for me? Time travel? Spooky castles and magic? Sexy, brooding heroes? I’ve got over 50 books left to read this year if I’m going to win the challenge. Help a girl out.