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J. Courtney Sullivan’s Maine works perfectly as a summer read with some depth and texture. Maine affected me not only as a reader but also as a writer – I’d love to be able to create the kind of layered, interesting, and connected characters and plot that Sullivan achieves.




If you’ve ever been emotionally involved or interested in the Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck, or Jaycee Dugard cases and admired their strength when their kidnappers were caught and persecuted, then this novel is certainly for you. While there are obvious comparisons to be made to these famous kidnappings/rescues, Room is its own story, and you will root for the confused yet courageous five year old narrator all the way through.


All I want (to read) for Christmas!

Need some last minute gift ideas? Maybe you’ve got all of your presents wrapped and waiting under your beautifully decorated tree. If so, I’m impressed! Oh well – ’tis the season for crazy shopping, weekends full of parties, tons of goodies and sweets, great times with family and friends, and some quality reflection on the real reason we are celebrating a forgiven, redeemed, and blessed life.


The Help


Have you heard about this little book and movie? You know, the one that took its author five years to write, incurred her multiple rejection letters, and then went on to spend months on end on the bestseller list – oh, and inspire a true box-office success? Yeah, I can go ahead and verify right now that it’s a good one. An excellent one, in fact. If you haven’t read the book, please do – even if you’ve seen the movie. It’s definitely worth your time and will be a story that sticks with you forever.


The 19th Wife


Religions and cults have always fascinated me, and the extreme sect of Mormonism that practices polygamy is no exception. I’ve read Elissa Wall’s Stolen Innocence (fascinating and poignant – a post on that later), and her astounding bravery and perseverance just about knocked me over. I’ve also read some of Carolyn Jessup’s powerful work too. All of this further piqued my interest in Ebershoff’s fictionalized account of the life of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Mormon founder Brigham.


American Wife


There’s a reason tabloids, celebrity websites, and reality shows are so popular these days; people love getting a glimpse into the “real” lives of other people, both famous and unknown. I’ll admit that I’ve been known to watch a few shall-remain-nameless reality TV shows. Stepping into another’s shoes is a fascinating experience, and American Wife offers this very kind of people-watching to the extreme; all together, it’s an absorbing, affecting, and addicting read.