Happy Monday, friends.
Christmas is only two weeks away! I hope you’re already enjoying all that this wonderful season has to offer instead of stressing about the details. Still looking for the perfect gift for everyone on your list? Well read looks positively gorgeous on everyone. Here are some of my favorites from this year.
For the KIDS in your life:
The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau is the first book in a children’s series about two mischievous brothers whose “tough” intentions don’t work out quite the way they planned. This chapter book is geared for kids 5-8, but I read it out loud with my 8 and 11 year old and we all loved it. I even teared up at the end. It’s just lovely. Kara writes with humor and heart, and I guarantee the lessons the Ratso brothers learn will speak volumes to your kids, too. The illustrations are whimsical, the chapters short, and the characters lovable. Five enthusiastic stars!
For the GLOBAL CITIZEN in your life:
My family and I consider Liberia a second home, so I have been greatly anticipating She Would Be King! I was not disappointed. Weaving magical realism with some historical facts and some imagined events, Moore paints a compelling and hopeful portrait of the birth of a nation. Though, in reality, Liberia plays a small role against the backdrop of a deep character study of three people. Gbessa, June Dey, and Norman Aragon are fascinating in and of themselves, so vivid and relatable that they each broke my heart in two and then mended it again. At first I was disappointed by the abrupt ending, but have since considered that there is power in its subtlety. May we all await our resurrection.
For the MYSTERY BUFF in your life:
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is hands down one of the most unique, complex books I’ve read in years. The mystery is utterly gripping, but the character development as Aiden (our narrator) inhabits the bodies and lives of eight different “hosts” is fascinating–and moving. A story about second (and third and fourth and…) chances, this novel intimately explores the depth of our depravity and our longing for redemption.
For ANYONE & EVERYONE in your life:
The Hate U Give should be required reading. It broke my heart and challenged me and ultimately gave me so much hope for our crazy, messed-up, beautiful country. If you haven’t read it, please do. Angie Thomas offers us the opportunity to slip inside another person’s skin. And wow, what a view. (Readers should know that there is lots of language in this book.)
For the HOPELESS ROMANTIC in your life:
Brimming with Kimberly Stuart’s signature wit and warmth, Heart Land is a tender, funny book that hits all the right notes. As the story unfolds, readers will find themselves tangled in the conflicting worlds and emotions of the likable Grace Klaren and her shifting dreams. This endearing, beautifully told story will leave readers hope-filled and convinced of the power of the human spirit.
For the MEMOIR LOVERS in your life:
Footprints in the Dust, Roberta Gately’s poignant, gripping memoir is a timely and inspiring tale of a big heart in a broken world. Chronicling her years as a humanitarian aid worker in the most desperate corners of the globe, this book is an absolute must-read. As modern society wrestles with obesity and consumerism and self-interest, Gately reminds us of the beauty and importance of a selfless life. Her experiences tending to and befriending the world’s forgotten call us to compassion and significance, and her perspective on the plight of refugees is both exceptional and inspiring. “The proof of my life was in the precious memories of the incredible refugees whom I’d met over the years. They’d given me proof of my life and in the magnificence of all our lives…”
You Were Always Mine is my newest book and one that is very near and dear to my heart. According to Chelsea Humphrey of The Suspense is Thrilling me: “Oh wow. This story was a breath of fresh air in a genre that has grown somewhat stale to me in the past year. Is it a domestic thriller? Yes. Is it women’s fiction? I suppose, although I’ve grown to dislike that term, as it suggests that ONLY women will enjoy those novels, when in fact I know many men who greedily devour them as well. Whatever you want to call it, You Were Always Mine is a complex tale that vacillates between thrilling page turner and thought provoking and heavy thematic elements.”
If you purchase You Were Always Mine for yourself or someone else, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you some swag (a signed bookplate, bookmarks, my grandmother’s gingersnap recipe, and some special insights and discussion questions) to make it a personal gift.
Happy holidays, friends! I hope the season is filled with joy for you. And books. Lots and lots of books.
xoxo – Nicole