Recent Reads

by jenna on December 13, 2013

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I’ve been reading some awesome books lately! You know when you are just on a roll with finding great ones that you can’t put down? I love that. I read tons over Thanksgiving and need to get a few more books to read over Christmas. You know I love your suggestions, so please suggest away if you’re reading something you currently love! I practically find out about all the books I read from blog comments.

So here’s my latest list!

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – absolutely loved this one. It covers tough subjects through the eyes of a teenager.

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The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – while I didn’t like this one as much as I liked her other book, What Alice Forgot, this still drew me in and kept me till the end.

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Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen – I started this book a year ago and put it down. Glad I picked it back up! I really loved this and it’s different than anything I normally would read. It’s told from a child’s perspective and is set in Milwaukee in the 50′s. I love books with a strong sense of place and really enjoyed this one!

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War Brides by Helen Bryan – this is a SAGA of a novel and it took me awhile to get through. It read like a movie script and I fell in love with all the characters. It took me a little while to get into, but once I did I was totally hooked on all the drama.

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Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain – one of the best books I’ve read all year hands down and my favorite off this list. I have read all of Diane Chamberlain’s books and this was my very favorite. It’s set in North Carolina in the 60′s. I can’t recommend this book enough if you’re looking for perfect snow day reading.

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Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld – I love everything this author writes. My favorite was American Wife but this is right up there. It’s a very interesting book. It made me happy, sad and mad. A great read!

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Krista December 13, 2013 at 3:08 am

I just finished Me Before You last night…and I loved it!! I couldn’t put it down. Thanks for the suggestion : ) I have read Diane Chamberlain before and think I will be getting Necessary Lies very soon! I just downloaded The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes, have you read it?

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Jenn from Much to My Delight December 13, 2013 at 3:32 am

I loved “The Dinner”. Thanks for the other recommendations!

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Live Love Yum December 13, 2013 at 3:45 am

Am looking for good book suggestions myself!

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rebecca - Goodnight Noises Everywhere December 13, 2013 at 4:09 am

If you liked Me Before You you’ll probably like The Girl You Left Behind. Both were great!

It’s a kids book, but the book Wonder was absolutely one of the best books I read all year. You’ll read it in about an hour but it’s amazing.

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Patricia December 14, 2013 at 12:34 am

I read Wonder with my middle school students this year. It’s a great read for teens and adults.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 13, 2013 at 4:46 am

Thanks for these recommendations Jenna! I’m going to be flying to Palm Springs for Christmas so I could use some good plane reading material!

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Danielle December 13, 2013 at 4:48 am

Thanks for these recommendations, Jenna! Now that I’m in the original land of Amazon, I’m eager to get my bookworm on :)

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Deb @ Dietitian Debbie Dishes December 13, 2013 at 4:57 am

Loved “Tell the Wolves I’m Home”! These all look like such great reads – I was going to need some new reading material for holiday travels!

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Tina@GottaRunNow December 13, 2013 at 4:58 am

Love to read! I recently finished reading another one with a strong sense of place that you might like: Continental Quotient by Kristen Lodge.

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Ellie December 13, 2013 at 5:30 am

Try ‘City of Women’ by David R Gillham. It’s rather dark, but an excellent read. Also, ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed is one I recently discovered.

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Gail December 13, 2013 at 5:32 am

I read Burial Rites by Hannah Kent this past fall, and loved it- it takes place in Iceland in the 1800s and has an amazing sense of place, like you mentioned. It’s about the last execution that Iceland ever did, and does an amazing job of telling the story of the murderess.

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Becca December 13, 2013 at 5:45 am

I just started “Wonder” – I haven’t finished it yet but it is so good so far! It is a book written for kids but with a huge crossover to adults! This summer I read “Unbroken” and thoroughly enjoyed it. I will try some of these – thanks for the recommendations!

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Paige @ Your Trainer Paige December 13, 2013 at 5:53 am

I’m reading What Alice Forgot, too! Well, about to. A client recommended it to me.

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Audri Kocsis December 13, 2013 at 6:34 am

I just finished Soy Sauce for Beginners by Kirstin Chen, read it in two days! Great story about family.

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Sara @ LovingOnTheRun December 13, 2013 at 6:48 am

Awesome list! I am looking for some new book suggestions because we will be traveling in a few weeks and this was just in time!

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Ruth Crumplar December 13, 2013 at 6:57 am

Thanks for the suggestions! I need a new book soon. Have you read Daring Greatly yet by Brene Brown (non-fiction) or Beautiful Ruins (fiction)?

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Aggie December 13, 2013 at 6:58 am

All I want to do is read right now. I have a million books checked out from the library! I’m finishing up My Story, Elizabeth Smart – definitely a must read, she’s s a very strong brave girl!!
I have Me Before You and Eleanor and Park on standby…as well as a couple of Kristin Hannahs (one is a holiday one) and a big ole Stephen King (Under the Dome)…I just want to hole up and read all day :)

Hope you are well Jenna! Adding a few more to my To Read list :)

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Jess December 13, 2013 at 7:04 am

Reconstructing Amelia, Silver Linings Playbook, and Serena were the best books I’ve read in the past couple of months. I was a little disappointed when I read Sisterland. The ending was just meh for me. And I was so angry about parts in this book, which I guess says that I was really into it as well.

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Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner December 13, 2013 at 7:05 am

Thanks for all the suggestions! I have recently read, and loved, Beautiful Ruins, The Cuckoo’s Calling, and The Art of Racing in the Rain. All perfect snow day reads!

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colleen December 13, 2013 at 7:13 am

Reading really goes downhill after you have kids – I have about a half hour of free time per day and chose to spend it with my husband instead. Currently reading Cyndi Lauper’s biography she co-wrote with Jancee Dunn (rolling stone), who I respect. Eagle Eye view of the 1980s in New York.

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Kristi December 13, 2013 at 7:24 am

I love these posts!! I just went on my libraries website to see which ones they had.

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jenn December 13, 2013 at 7:29 am

Have you read the Paris Wife or Tigers in Red Weather? Both amazing books, the Paris Wife broke my heart and warmed it all in the span of just a few chapters!

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Jobie December 13, 2013 at 7:31 am

Have you read “Where’d you go Bernadette?” by Maria Semple Its a light fun read and I really loved it even though it is something I usually don’t go for which is sometimes the best kind of find. Really love all your recommendations, keeps my kindle full :)

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Stacey December 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I loved this book too! Different than what I usually read, but so funny!

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Liz (The Tar Heel Cook) December 13, 2013 at 7:53 am

Try The Art Forger, and Mudbound, and Flora, and The Painted Girls.

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Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages December 13, 2013 at 8:08 am

I read mostly YA books, which I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you read, but I’ll recommend some YA any way. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is my favorite book of 2013 (and I’ve read over 200 books this year!), it’s an amazing story about a girl going away to college. Also, Rose Under Fire and Code Name Verity, both are technically YA, but they’re historical fiction about WWII so I think they’d be right up your alley.

And then Why Can’t I Be You, which is an adult chick lit book. It’s funny and entertaining, but it also has a really amazing message about figuring out who you want to be and coming to terms with your past.

Happy reading!

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Julie December 13, 2013 at 8:15 am

I read necessary lies after seeing it on your facebook page (i think!?) and LOVED it! It was such a great story line, and educating at the same time. Another book that reminded me of this with both the great story line + educating was Between Shades of Gray, if you haven’t read it yet. I love your current reads lists, so thanks for sharing! :)

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Cassie December 13, 2013 at 8:18 am

I’m working on Freedom: A Novel by Jonathon Franzen. It’s a totally engrossing Family Saga read. I’m really liking it.

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Chelsea December 13, 2013 at 8:29 am

In the middle of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – it’s great so far!

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Rebecca Hoover December 16, 2013 at 8:17 am

I’m with Chelsea, The Goldfinch is up there with my all time favorites, it’s a really a wonderful book. I also enjoyed The Signature of All Things (I’m not sure what categorizes a “snow book” but this is definitely not a beach book), I would also recommend Wally Lamb’s, We Are Water.

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Patty December 16, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I just finished Goldfinch, and its very good. A page turner.

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Nicole December 13, 2013 at 8:35 am

I love your book suggestions. I am always looking for something new to read!

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Kelly Mitchem December 13, 2013 at 8:53 am

These all sound good!

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Lauren December 13, 2013 at 8:58 am

If you enjoyed Whistling in the Dark, you need to read Good Graces, the sequel. I loved both…but part of that might be because when I read them I happened to be living in Milwaukee and had given birth to both of my kids at the hospital in the book…so I could really envision the neighborhood and places they talked about. Either way, I thought both books were really great reads!

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Jennifer December 13, 2013 at 9:29 am

I loved War Brides until the very end, which I thought was terrible! Thanks for the ideas on books to add to my list.

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amybtwink www.funfoodiefamily.com December 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

Can’t wait to try some of these!

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Lauren December 13, 2013 at 10:09 am

‘Sisterland’ was fantastic!

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Heidi December 13, 2013 at 11:45 am

Currently reading The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow. WW2 love story. Great read.

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Karen T. December 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Two great books I’ve recently read: The Language of Flowers (different from what I usually read but I absolutely fell in love with the main character) and The Obituary Writer (sounds morbid but it soooo isn’t–such an amazing story with a twist!)

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Jessie December 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm

These all look great! I can’t wait to read War Brides too. The Light Between Oceans was one I read recently and it was so moving, I highly suggest it!

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Jessica K December 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I recently read “One Thousand White Women” by Jim Fergus. A fantastic book-that has been around for a while I guess. He also wrote “Legends of the Fall”. (Which I never read but loved the movie!)

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Stacey December 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm

The end of this one broke my heart.

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Gwyn December 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Thanks for the ideas!!! I have read some of them. I recently read “The Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline. It was excellent.

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Tara December 13, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Thanks for the new suggestions!!! Just got Me Before You and can’t wait to start it!!!

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Emily @ Life on Food December 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Thanks so much for this…I was on the look for new reads over the holiday. Cannot wait to tackle some of these.

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jan December 14, 2013 at 4:38 am

Thanks for sharing! I love hearing about new books, and since I live in a cave these days, reading about them on blogs is the only way I see them!

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Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs December 14, 2013 at 6:10 am

Thanks for the list! I need a new book to read over the holidays, so this is perfect!

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Gennin December 14, 2013 at 6:14 am

Thanks for sharing your list. I am always looking for a good read. I have enjoyed most of the books I have discovered on your blog. Kind of funny that 4 out of the 6 books on your list have 2 girls/women on the cover. Maybe your having baby girl.

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christena December 14, 2013 at 6:19 am

I found out about Curtis Sittenfield through you and I have read everything she has written, including Sisterland. It was good, but like you, I had some strong emotional reactions. I also didn’t like it as much as her others since it was a bit all over the place. But the actual writing was great.

Have you read Gap Creek? It is an old one, but I only recently read it and fell in love. Since you like old-timey books, you would probably like this one. There is a sequel out now & I have heard it is awesome as well.

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jan December 14, 2013 at 7:32 am

I recently finished EMMA by Jane Kirkpatrick. It was a historical trilogy about a Christian colony in Oregon in the 1800s. It was amazing!! So much character development and interesting history. I also really liked THE OUTCAST by Jolina Petersheim.
I love your book recommends! Thanks for sharing.

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Wendy December 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Hi Jenna! Quick question: how do you get your hands on so many books! If you buy them in print, they can be quite expensive. If you get ebook, you’d have to buy a kindle first. If you borrow them, sometimes one library doesn’t have it and it takes a while for another library to ship it to you and plus you can take them for an extensive traveling trip. I appreciate your advice! Thank you!

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jenna December 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm

I buy books on my kindle! I allow myself five a month. If I didn’t have a kindle, I’d be all about the library!

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allie December 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm

“15 minutes” (or really anything) by karen kingsbury. Love!

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Angela December 14, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Hi! I really recommend The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. I’m nearly finished (and I’ve only been reading for 2 days)!

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Coty and Mariah@quirksandtwists December 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm

A lovely list of choices. Can’t wait to read some of these!

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Nancy December 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I’ve enjoyed a number of the books mentioned, and one of my favorites this year was Sparta by Roxana Robinson. Difficult book to read (about a young soldier returning from Afghanistan) but very moving.

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Emily W. December 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I am finishing “Dancing on Broken Glass” by Ka Hancock – what a great novel with happy and sad moments that tells the story of a couple in a small town going through some rough times, with their two personal lives, but their strong will and love for each other gets them through even some of the toughest times. The characters really come to life.

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Amy December 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I highly suggest Counting by 7s. It’s a young adult book and so good! I’m a librarian and it was my top choice if the year. Also throne of glass is amazingly well written.

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Mary December 14, 2013 at 6:50 pm

The Girl You Left Behind by Jo Jo Moyes. Great read!

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Tamara December 15, 2013 at 4:26 pm

The Violet Hour: A Novel by Katherine Hill, and The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls. I love seeing your suggestions! I love my Kindle too. And I still hit the library up, as nothing can take the place of the feel, the smell and the weight of a book!

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Jessica December 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim. Read it in one sitting—so good!

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Hilary L December 16, 2013 at 9:15 am

I’m reading The Perfume Collector and it is really good!

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Laura December 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I have pretty much loved all of your suggestions ever…

A few others that I have loved: Defending Jacob, Reconstructing Amelia, Orange is the New Black, The Cuckoo’s Calling, and all of Gillian Flynn’s books (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Dark Places).

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Robin December 23, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Try “The Kitchen House” could not put it down.

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Alexis December 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I just read Tell the Wolves I’m Home after seeing it on this list, and I LOVED it. Couldn’t put it down. It was so so beautiful and honest and just lovely in all the right ways. Thank you for sharing it!

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kasey December 26, 2013 at 8:58 am

love your site!! been meaning to read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt! read many awesome reviews by her, would you read and review though! :) while i work through all these great suggestions of yours!

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