Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The Art of Fielding
Author: Chad Harbach
Published: September 7, 2011
Genre: contemporary fiction
Hardcover: 512 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended. Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry's gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners' team captain and Henry's best friend, realizes he has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert's daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life. As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment--to oneself and to others.

My Thoughts: I love it when a book that I don't think I will like turns out to be a fantastic read. This was one of those books. I don't like baseball but it was such a minor part of the story that I didn't even think of it as a baseball book. It's a book that explores the simple acts of life that carry us through each day, how we sometimes become caught up on them until they define us. It's about relationships, about how we depend on one another and how certain relationships define who we are as people. It's about society's expectations of us in the roles that we perform and how we feel the pressure to perform those roles. 

I found myself reading this book slowly because I feared when it would end. I was trying to savor every word that Chad Harbach put down and I could not get enough of his writing. It's simple, straightforward, but presented in such a way that makes you think about the world differently. His characters are real people, people that we can relate to. This is probably one of the best books that I have ever read and I cannot wait to see what Harbach puts out in the future. If you brushed this book aside because it's a sports book, forget that and go out and get it. It's a book that you will treasure forever (and I'm going out and buying myself a copy since I borrowed mine from the library!) 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Follow Friday and TGIF! (3-30-12)

Happy Friday everybody! I hope that you are having a great week! It's hard to believe that March is over ... I don't know where the time has gone! Now, onto the Friday fun ...

Parajunkee asks:

Do you read one book at a time or do you switch back and forth between two or more?

I'm typically a one book kinda gal, which means that I am reading one book and listening to one book. I tend to listen to chick-lit books because they are pretty easy to keep up with and they are easy to stop and start. Right now, I am reading two books, which is very out of character for me! I'm reading 150 Pounds and The Hunger Games, but this isn't something that I will continue to do in the future.

GReads asks:

Book Blogger Retreat: If you could gather up a handful of book blogger friends to spend a weekend away talking books, where would you go? Tell us about it.

How exciting! I would probably plan for a nice retreat in the fall, somewhere in the woods so we could enjoy the beautiful foilage and sip on pumpkin spice lattes.

So, how many books do you read at a time? Where would you plan a book blogger retreat? Let me know, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sweet Treats: Nutella Cookies

One of the things that I enjoy doing in my free time (what little I have) is baking. I like trying out new recipes and making something delicious, and I figured that I would share some of the recipes with you guys! So, first up ...

Nutella Cookies
(from Lovin' In the Oven via Pinterest)

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup Nutella
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg, vanilla, and Nutella.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt into the wet mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. 
  4. Drop the dough by tablespoons onto baking sheet and bake for 6-7 minutes.

These cookies turned out so well! Instead of using mini chocolate chips, I used regular size chocolate chips and they were still amazing. And for me and my oven, the cookies were done at 6 and a half minutes. You have to watch them very carefully or they will burn.

(these are the cookies that I made ... I wish you could smell them through the computer!)

If you are looking for an easy cookie that takes a few minutes to whip up and tastes amazing, then I would recommend this recipe! I have made it several times in the past few weeks and everywhere I take them, people love them! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (3-28-12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, you highlight an upcoming release that you are eagerly awaiting. This week, my pick is: Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer (expected publication date: June 5, 2012).

Synopsis (from Morgan O’Keefe feels trapped in a gilded cage. True, the thirty-year-old mother agreed to put her science career on hold to raise her young son while her husband  pursued his high-powered job. But though Morgan loves many things about staying home with her child, she misses the thrill of working with her colleagues in the lab. She’s restless and in dire need of a change. 
Fed up with New York City’s hectic pace, Natalie Reynolds takes up her aunt’s offer to move to the Berkshires and house-sit her fabulous lakeside house for a year. Passionate about applying brush to canvas, Natalie is poised to become the artist she has forever longed to be. But life on Dragonfly Lake is never without surprises, and for a novice swimmer like Natalie, the most welcome surprise proves to be the arms of a handsome neighbor pulling her up from the water for a gulp of air. 
When her mother breaks her leg, Bella Barnaby quits her job in Austin and returns home to help out her large, boisterous family. Among her new duties: manning the counter at the family business, Barnaby’s Barn, an outdated shop sorely in need of a makeover. While attractive architect Aaron has designs on her, Bella harbors long held secret dreams of her own. 
Summer on Dragonfly Lake is ripe for romance, temptation, and self-discovery as the lives of these three women unexpectedly intertwine. Summer Breeze illustrates how the best of friends can offer comfort, infuriate, or even—sometimes—open one’s eyes to the astonishing possibilities of life lived in a different way. This captivating novel displays a prestigiously gifted writer at the height of her storytelling powers.

With summer right around the corner, I'm looking forward to reading those great beach reads! What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (3-27-12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, 
they post a different topic, and you get to create your own top ten list. So, this week's 
topic is:

Spring Fever: Books I'd Play Hooky With

1) Testimony by Anita Shreve - I actually have played hooky with this book! It was a winter day while I was in college and I started reading it in the morning (my first class wasn't until around 2 pm), and I was so engrossed in the story that I ended up skipping class to read it!

2) any Bill Bryson book - Bryson's books (his travelogoues, specfically) are like travelling with a friend (or a cool uncle, as I tend to think of him). And I would much rather spend the day reading about his adventures than working!

3) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling - it's my favorite book from the series!

4) Bossypants by Tina Fey - because who wouldn't love to skip work and hang out with Tina Fey?!?

5) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - I wish that I could have read this book all in one sitting, that's how incredibly decadent it is. I should have played hooky to finish this one!

6)  One Day by David Nicholls - such a great love story and presented in such a unique way.

7) The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger - I would love to play hooky from work to read about one of the world's worst bosses. Is that ironic?

8) Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella - classic chick lit with a twist. I listened to the audiobook and loved every second of it!

9) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling - I remember holding my eyes open so I wouldn't fall asleep the first time that I read this book. I would play hooky to do that again!

Well, I could only think of nine this week ... oh well! What books make you wanna play hooky this spring? Let me know!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

A Secret Kept
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Published: September 14, 2010
Genre: contemporary fiction
Hardcover: 303 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): It all began with a simple seaside vacation, a brother and sister recapturing their childhood.  Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach.  It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they’d returned to the island—over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased.  But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer.  When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car. Recovering from the accident in a nearby hospital, Mélanie tries to recall what caused her to crash.  Antoine encounters an unexpected ally: sexy, streetwise Angèle, a mortician who will teach him new meanings for the words life, love and death.  Suddenly, however, the past comes swinging back at both siblings, burdened with a dark truth about their mother, Clarisse.

My Thoughts: This was my first time reading Tatiana de Rosnay and I had high hopes. I have heard so many great things about her books (particularly Sarah's Key) that I knew I would have to give her a try. And while this book was okay, it lacked quite a bit for me. The description made it seem like this would be more of a mystery book, about Antoine trying to discover his mother's secret. However, until the last 100 pages or so, that seems as if it is a secondary part of the book. I wish that de Rosnay had explored that more because I thought it was a great story line. Just never developed for me. I also didn't like how there was no sense of time throughout the novel. Sometimes, you jump ahead eight months with no idea that it has happened. It made it a little jarring to read, at points.

There is quite a bit of death in this novel, but I liked how de Rosnay worked with that theme. She has Angele, the mortician, the person who handles death and brings beauty to it. You have Antoine and Melanie dealing with the death of their mother, someone they barely know. Another character dies (no spoilers here, don't worry!) and you see the impact it has on a community. Then there is a death of someone who Antoine loathes, who has hidden who his mother really was. I felt like de Rosnay really explored this theme in so many different ways that you finished the book with a greater understanding of how death affects different people.

While it may not be my favorite book ever, de Rosnay has intrigued me enough to want to read more of her work. Have you read any of de Rosnay's books? Please let me know your opinions! I would love to hear what other people think about her books!  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Published: July 1, 2003
Genre: mystery
Hardcover: 294 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Lady Rowan Compton first met Maisie when, at thirteen, she went into service as a maid at her ladyship’s Belgravia mansion. A suffragette, Lady Rowan took the remarkably smart youngster under her wing and became her patron. She encouraged Maisie to study at Cambridge, and was aided in this by Maurice Blanche, a friend often retained as an investigator by the elite of Europe when discretion and results were required. It was he who first recognized Maisie’s intuitive gifts. The outbreak of war changed everything. Maisie left for France to train as a nurse, then served at the front, where she fell in love with a handsome young doctor. After the Armistice, in the spring of 1929, Maisie hangs out her shingle:M. Dobbs, Trade and Personal Investigations. Her very first case involves suspected infidelity but turns up something else, a tombstone with only a first name—Vincent. And then she finds another. The deceased had lived on a cooperative farm called The Retreat, a well-regarded convalescent refuge for those grievously wounded in the war, ex-soldiers too shattered to resume normal life. When Lady Rowan’s son makes plans to join the reclusive community, Maisie hurriedly investigates and finds a disturbing mystery at its core whose resolution gives her the courage to confront the ghost that has haunted her for ten years.

My Thoughts: When I first heard about Masie Dobbs, I was wondering around my local Borders (RIP), and saw this amazing art deco cover from a few feet away. I made a beeline towards the book to see what it was about. After reading the description and realizing that this was part of a series, I knew that it was something that I wanted to read. Now, over a year later, I'm finally getting around to it! And let me say, after finishing this book, I can't wait to continue with the rest of the series.

This is a mystery book, but not a scary, murder mystery/oh my goodness I'm too scared to fall asleep now (which is what normally happens to me when I read a mystery book). Maisie is a true detective, trying to learn why a woman goes to visit grave two days every week. It turns into an investigation that leads her to help many injured World War I vets. It's an easy read, but also very engaging. I didn't want to put it down once I started!

The book is divided into three parts: the present (which is 1929), 1910-1917, and the present (1929). You start into this investigation, then you are taken back into Maisie's past. I loved how Winspear did this. It wasn't awkward and it flowed with the rest of the story, which isn't always the case when an author does a flashback in the middle of a book. You are able to see Maisie become the woman that she is today and how she handled some of the horrific things that she has seen.

The characters were fantastic, the plot intriguing, the writing well done. To say that I cannot wait to continue with this series would be an understatement!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Follow Friday and TGIF (3-23-12)

Happy Friday everyone! I hope that you had a wonderful week and that you were able to enjoy this beautiful weather that seems to be happening all across the country! Yesterday it was 80 degrees here! In March! How insane is that?!? I'm definitely getting ready for summer ... went ahead and got some beachy reads to read outside and enjoy in the sunshine! Now, onto the Friday fun ...

Parajunkee asks:

What is the longest book you’ve read? What are your favorite 600+ page reads?

Well, some of those Harry Potter books are over 600 pages, so I would probably count those one as my favorites. Last spring, I read An Invisible Bridge which clocks in at 758 pages. Other than that, I don't think I've attempted any other super long books!

GReads asks:

Bookish Trends: What are some bookish trends you are noticing in the literature world today? Is there a particular trend you'd like to see more of?

The bookish trend I've been seeing a lot of is young adult books. There seems to be tons and tons of new YA authors coming out. Which is great, because that wasn't the case when I was in middle school and was trapped between the children and adult sections of the library with no place to really go. And it's definitely something that's taken over the blogosphere. Most blogs that I stumble upon seem to deal with YA literature, which makes me wonder if there are more people out there still enjoying adult fiction. It seems to be harder and harder to find those blogs!

So, what's the longest book you've ever read? What bookish trends have you been noticing? Let me know, and have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (3-21-12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, you highlight an upcoming release that you are eagerly awaiting. This week, my pick is: The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani (expected publication date: April 3, 2012).

Synopsis (from GoodReads): 
The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza's family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future. Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso. From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever. 

So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (3-20-12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, 
they post a different topic, and you get to create your own top ten list. So, this week's 
topic is:

Books On My Spring To-Be-Read List

1) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - I keep on meaning to get around to rereading this book, but then I forget about it or find something else to read and then remember that I wanted to read this one (I call that book ADD).

2) That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor by Anne Sebba - this is one biography that I cannot wait to get my hands on! In case you didn't know, Wallis Simpson was the American divorcee who fell in love with the king of England, and he abdicated his throne to be with her. Very interesting!

3) Home Front by Kristin Hannah - any Kristin Hannah novel will do, but this one is her latest.

4) A Dublin Student Doctor by Patrick Taylor - part of my favorite series, so definitely looking forward to getting around to this one.

5) I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella - I love Kinsella's audiobook and can't wait to listen to her latest one.

6) The Submission by Amy Waldman - I received this book for Christmas and haven't read it yet, so I'm planning on making time for it this spring.

7) Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand - I discovered Hilderbrand last summer and really enjoyed her writing (it's the perfect summer reading!), so this will definitely get me in the mood for summer reading!

8) Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer - another book to get me in the mood for summer.

9) Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster - I really enjoy Lancaster's books and they are so funny! Looking forward to when this one comes out!

10) 150 Pounds by Kate Rockland

So, which books are in your TBR list for spring? Let me know!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Audiobook Review: Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

Not My Daughter
Author: Barbara Delinsky
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Published: December 9, 2008
Genre: chick lit
Audiobook: 10 discs
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads):When Susan Tate's seventeen-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an unimaginable tragedy for both Lily and herself. Then comes word of two more pregnancies among high school juniors who happen to be Lily's best friends-and the town turns to talk of a pact. As fingers start pointing, the most ardent criticism is directed at Susan. As principal of the high school, she has always been held up as a role model of hard work and core values. Now her detractors accuse her of being a lax mother, perhaps not worthy of the job of shepherding impressionable students. As Susan struggles with the implications of her daughter's pregnancy, her job, financial independence, and long-fought-for dreams are all at risk. The emotional ties between mothers and daughters are stretched to breaking in this emotionally wrenching story of love and forgiveness. Once again, Barbara Delinsky has given us a powerful novel, one that asks a central question: What does it take to be a good mother?

My Thoughts: The premise of this book is what originally drew me to it. A few years ago, the nation was shocked that a group of teenage girls had formed a pregnancy pact, promising one another that they would all get pregnant at the same time (a Lifetime movie followed, of course). It was such a shocking story that it didn't seem real. Barbara Delinsky drew upon that scandal for this book, focusing a trio of best friends who form a pact one summer, vowing that they will all get pregnant. But instead of focusing on the girls and their issues, Delinsky focuses instead on one of the girl's mothers, Susan, who is the high school pricipal. Her experiences with teen pregnancy and the struggles she faced in raising a daughter all by herself are what really make this story.

The characters are strong and sure of their actions, which I really liked. There was development among the main characters, but they still stayed true to themselves. If there was one thing that I had to point out as being flawed in this book, it's the intensity of the parents involved. None of the mothers of the pregnant girls ever seemed truly upset by it. They would say they were, but there wasn't any emotion behind it. I felt like if they had expressed their feelings more, it would have made the story more believable. I enjoy Delinsky's work (even though it tends to be a bit long), and look forward to reading/listening to her again in the future.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Review: The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

The Forgotten Waltz
Author: Anne Enright
Published: October 3, 2011
Genre: contemporary fiction
Hardcover: 263 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from B&N): new, unapologetic kind of adultery novel. Narrated by the proverbial other woman—Gina Moynihan, a sharp, sexy, darkly funny thirtysomething IT worker—The Forgotten Waltz charts an extramarital affair from first encounter to arranged, settled, everyday domesticity. . . . This novel’s beauty lies in Enright’s spare, poetic, off-kilter prose—at once heartbreaking and subversively funny. It’s built of startling little surprises and one fresh sentence after another. Enright captures the heady eroticism of an extramarital affair and the incendiary egomania that accompanies secret passion: For all their utter ordinariness, Sean and Gina feel like the greatest lovers who've ever lived.

My Thoughts: I wish the book that I had read was the same one described in the summary above, because it certainly wasn't anything like what I read above. Told by Gina, a married woman who begins having an affair with a married man, this story is meant to explore how an extramarital affair affects these two individuals. Instead, I read some woman who seems to whine a lot, abandons her husband (he literally just disappears in the middle of the book, as if the author forgot about him), and is unhappy with her life. It just read like one big gripe session told be a middle-class woman who acts as if her life is so difficult. The characters come across as very bland, there was no development, and there wasn't any kind of story being told. It was frenetic at times, jumping all over the place and making my head spin. Anne Enright won the Man Booker prize for a previous novel, The Gathering. I'm interested to see what that book is about, because this one left me feeling like I wasted my time.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Follow Friday and TGIF (3-16-12)

Happy Friday everyone! I hope that you are having some amazing weather in your corner of the world. Here in Pittsburgh, it's 71! And the forecast is saying that it might stay that way for a few more days! It definitely has me looking forward to summer and spending the time outside. Now, onto the Friday fun ...

Parajunkee asks:

What is the best book you've read in the past month? What is the worst book you've read in the past month?

The best book, hands down, The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. My review will be up in a few weeks.

The worst? I would have to say The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright, and that review is actually scheduled to go up tomorrow,

GReads asks:

Social Networking: Do you use Twitter or Facebook to promote your blog?  How has it benefited your book blogging experience? If not, how do you promote your blog? Share your twitter handle and/or Facebook link!

I do not use either platform to promote my blog. For me, the best way to promote my blog is to participate in weekly memes (such as this one) and reach out to other bloggers and connect with them. I have been wondering about having a Twitter account for my blog, but haven't really put any effort into making one. Maybe that's a goal to consider for this year!

So, what has been the best and worst book of the past month? How do you promote your blog? I would love to here from people who use Twitter ... pros and cons of using it for your blog, if you connect with more people because of it, etc. Please let me know! And have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (3-14-12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, you highlight an upcoming release that you are eagerly awaiting. This week, my pick is: Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank (expected publication date: May 1, 2012).

Synopsis (from New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank is back home in the Carolina lowcountry, spinning a tale that brims with the warmth, charm, heart, and humor that has become her trademark. Porch Lights is a stirring, emotionally rich multigenerational story—a poignant tale of life, love, and transformation—as a nurse, returning to Sullivans Island from the Iraq War, finds her life has been irrevocably altered by tragedy…and now must rediscover love and purpose with the help of her son and aging mother. An evocative visit to enchanting Sullivans Island with its unique pluff mud beaches, palmetto trees, and colorful local lore—a novel filled with unforgettable characters, and enlivened by tales of the notorious Blackbeard and his bloodthirsty pirate crew and eerie Edgar Allen Poe stories—Porch Lights stands tall among the very best works of not only Dottie Frank, but Anne Rivers Siddons, Rebecca Wells, Pat Conroy, and other masters of the modern Southern novel as well.

I'm definitely anticipating summer and I think this the perfect summer read! So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (3-13-12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, 
they post a different topic, and you get to create your own top ten list. So, this week's 
topic is:

Top Historical Books (fiction and nonfiction)

1) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - one of the best books that I have ever read, this is following a World War II pilot who is shot down over the Pacific. A great piece of narrative nonfiction.

2) The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin - a delightful book following around Mrs. Tom Thumb. While she made her way in the world by being a circus sideshow, she also was a smart woman.

3) The Very Thought of You by Rosie Allen - another World War II novel (my favorite time period). A greeat book that takes place at a home for children in the English countryside. It shows how devastating war can be, not only for those who can serve, but those who want but cannot.

4) The Help by Kathryn Stockett - set during the 1960s in Mississippi, detailing two black maids and a young white girl's efforts to write a book, from the point of view of the help. Wonderful story.

5) Snow In August by Pete Hamill - set in Brooklyn right after the end of WWII, Hamill writes of a young boy who befriends a rabbi. A moving story with a little mysticism thrown in.

6) In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson - another wonderful piece of narrative nonfiction. Exploring the American ambassador to Berlin in the mid-1930s, it's a fascinating story to see what an American government official made of all that was unfolding in Germany.

7) Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran - a novel about the French Revolution that isn't told from the perspective of Marie Antoinette or someone working within the royal palace at the time! A great read and one that I think anyone who doesn't like hsitorical fiction would probably enjoy.

8) The Paris Wife by Paula McLain - told from Hadley's point of view, a look into Ernest Hemmingway's early years, following his exploits in Paris. A wonderful story and interesting to learn more about Hemmingway's personal life.

9) First Family: Abigail and John Adams by John Ellis - exploring the relationship between one of America's founding fathers and his wife. Ellis based most of his book on the letters between the two, since most of their married life was spent away from one another. A great look at one of the founding fathers and the woman who was there for him.

One short of ten this week, but there are so many great historical fiction books that I can't think of! So, what genre did you choose? Let me know!