a winner and what i’m reading now

Happy Sunday to you!

I’d like to announce the winner of the blog birthday giveway….congrats Elizabeth! Please email your shipping information to jenna[at] and I’ll get your book right to you!

In other news, I was up quite late last night with my nose in this book:

I couldn’t put it down for the life of me and the only reason I didn’t finish it completely was because I wanted to have something to read on my kindle while I wait for my love at the airport today.

If you haven’t read this, I highly (!!) recommend it. It’s about a young white girl who ends up living as an indentured servant amongst slaves in the late eighteenth century. It’s a sweeping, page-turning saga!

I also finished reading this last week:

I had so many responses when I mentioned I was reading this that I knew I had to put it on the blog! This was a great book…dark…but wonderful. It was beautifully written and tragic at the same time. You all have been telling me I had to read it now for almost a year, so it was one of my first purchases when I got my kindle! I read it in two days and am still thinking about it two weeks later.

I’ve always been interested in Holocaust literature and would recommend this book to pretty much anyone who loves a good read. I think it should be required reading for high school seniors!

Lastly, I read this entire book on my six hour flight the other day!

Sooooo goooooooood (insert little squeal)!!!!!!!!

I love Francine Rivers and this was one of my favorite books of hers. It was the perfect book for a long flight and I literally read without stopping for six.hours.straight. This is the second book in a two-book series, but I don’t even think you need to read the first one to really “get” and enjoy this one.

It’s light, it’s easy to read and it’s a page turner!

I know I’ve hemmed and hawed over the kindle so much lately (I promise this isn’t a sales pitch and I’m not really selling kindles out my back door), but having one really has made my life so much easier! I was able to travel across the country with a library full of brand new books and not have to worry about finishing one on the plane and not having a back-up.

It’s so easy to have all your books in one place and carry them with you wherever you go. Since who doesn’t carry books with them everywhere they go?

Enjoy your Sunday, my friends!

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  • Natalia - a side of simple
    January 9, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Ok, you’ve convinced me. As an avid reader and book page turner, I’ve been weary of trading in the smell of my crinkled pages. But I’ll still keep my physical library. A kindle will ONLY make it BETTER. 🙂

    • Leslie
      January 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      Yes, get one! I LOOOVE mine–you won’t regret it 🙂

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    January 9, 2011 at 7:25 am

    PS. Did I make up that you love Sugar Babies? Because I found them at Cracker Barrel yesterday on a date with my mom and I immediately thought of you…it could have just been the atmosphere though… it was pretty rustic and country-like, aka Jenna inspired.

    • jenna
      January 9, 2011 at 7:35 am

      I love sugar babies! I’ve never mentioned that on the blog but clearly you knew subconsciously!!

  • Kristin
    January 9, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Love Francine Rivers. I’ve probably bought a dozen copies of Redeeming Love for girlfriends as gifts, so good! Can you tell me the name of the first of the two books in the series you mentioned above? Thanks!!

    • jenna
      January 9, 2011 at 7:35 am

      Her Mother’s Hope and Her Mother’s Dream 🙂 so good! And I LOOOOOOVE redeeming love!

  • Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day
    January 9, 2011 at 7:26 am

    I’m always looking for new books to read.. that for sharing!

  • Erin @ small things
    January 9, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Okay, I’ve got a question for you and your readers…I am trying (so hard!) to read Pride & Prejudice. Somehow I got out of high school and my literature heavy college years with this book *never* having been assigned. But now I’m reading it and it’s a big snooze fest. 🙁 Is there a point where I’ll fall in love with it or where it will become a page-turner??
    Maybe if I had a kindle.

    • Leslie
      January 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      I am now a huge Jane Austen fan, but used to be pretty indifferent.

      In this case, I might actually recommend listening to it on audiobook to bring the characters and Jane Austen’s humor to life. Another idea is renting the movie (recent Keira Knightley one) or the even better BBC miniseries with Colin Firth from the early 90’s and THEN giving the book a try once you know the story a bit. Just some ideas 🙂

  • Emily
    January 9, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Funny you should mention that The Book Thief should be read by seniors–I’m a high school teacher and we did a school-wide summer reading, and that’s what we read! Everyone read it–from students to teachers to principals to janitors. I also love Francine Rivers…I cannot put her books down either. I like your taste in books 🙂

  • Baking 'n' Books
    January 9, 2011 at 7:37 am

    I seen The Book Thief in the stores and was wondering what it was like. Waiting for it to go down in price first.

    Jenna, I assume you are an affiliate with Amazon however though? So if people click on your links, you could benefit from it? I have no problem with that haha – we all should find ways like that and your blog is part of your living! Just asking because I had read another blogger tell her readers that upfront and that’s how I learned about it.

  • jen @ taste life
    January 9, 2011 at 7:42 am

    You are making me want a kindle!! How much are books to download? I am sure i could look this up, but clearly I’m lazy. Can you keep them forever? Forgive me, I’m behind the times and still listen to CDs and actually call people on the phone.

  • Amanda (Eating Up)
    January 9, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I wish I knew whether I would read more if I had a Kindle. I’m going to wait a little longer to decide!

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing
    January 9, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Great book suggestions!! I’ll be writing them down.

  • Stephanie
    January 9, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I read the Book Thief for school this winter and I loved it. There were mixed reviews in our class but I thought the writing style was my favorite part. I loved how he bolded and centered thoughts to highlight points.

    Haven’t read the others, but now I have books to put on my list of *what to read this year*

  • Meg
    January 9, 2011 at 7:48 am

    You always have the best book suggestions! I LOVED The Kitchen House. Such a great book!

  • Ann @ Day by Day
    January 9, 2011 at 7:48 am

    I was just talking to my Mom about Kindles and Ipads a few minutes ago. We were discussing the pros and cons of both. We both think Kindles sound really nice, but my Mom’s only con was that she likes “adding to her library.” I’m so glad you gave those book reviews. I love Francine Rivers too, so I’ll have to pick that one up!

  • molly l.
    January 9, 2011 at 7:50 am

    thank you for another round of great book suggestions. your taste in books is excellent and there hasn’t been one that you’ve recommended that i didn’t absolutely love as well. i am esp interested in historical fiction holocaust literature and i look forward to checking out the book thief. thank you for these great recommendations!

    p.s. i was a kindle-hater for so long (“but i like the way the books smell and feel in my hands!!!”) but my husband got me one for x-mas and i cannot put it or the 10 new books i’ve plowed through since x-mas down. i agree w/ the ease of traveling/waiting in lines/etc when you have a kindle tucked into your purse.

  • Maria
    January 9, 2011 at 7:51 am

    I am looking for a new book to get into to, thanks for the list!

  • Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel
    January 9, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I picked up The Book Thief a couple summers ago in Germany because it was one of the few English-language books I could find in the small town we were staying, and couldn’t put it down. I agree, definitely dark, but also one of the post powerful and captivating books I’ve ever read. It’s one of my go-to recommendations for friends.

  • Kelly
    January 9, 2011 at 7:53 am

    It is definitely making me think more about a kindle since you love yours. I just really love the money saving of the library, so I don’t think I’ll get one yet.

  • Courtney
    January 9, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Your description of The Book Thief just propelled to go download it to my own kindle!

  • Kristi
    January 9, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I’m definitely going to put The Kitchen House on my must read book list. Love all the book reviews!

  • Paj
    January 9, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Please keep your book suggestions coming. I’ve read several you’ve recommended and they don’t disappoint. I may be the last hold out with a library card though!

  • Ella
    January 9, 2011 at 8:09 am

    I just ordered a kindle yesterday!! I’m so excited, and those books sound so good Ill have to look into them once it arrives!
    I was unsure if I wanted one at first, but I’m reading Gone With the Wind now and about a hundred pages into it I made the decision to buy a kindle – I can’t bring this book anywhere with me because it doesnt fit into any of my purses!

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen
    January 9, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Love the suggestions!

  • VeggieGirl
    January 9, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Congratulations to Elizabeth!

    Oooh, I will check out those books.

  • Lena
    January 9, 2011 at 8:18 am

    you’ve got to read Mister Pip by Llyod Jones. i really love the book! it has parallels to Dickens’ Great Expectations yet it has a dark side, somewhat like the book thief but even better! let me know what you think after you read it! 🙂

    Anna and Mister God by Fynn is also very good!

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    January 9, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I also loved the Book Thief! Trying to decide what my next read is since I just finished a book last night…

  • Jenna @ Eating Green, Staying Lean
    January 9, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I’m SO glad you love the Kindle…I’ve been going back and forth deciding whether or not I want to invest in getting one. I read fairly often, and lugging a few books back and forth on trips is definitely an extra few pounds that no one wants to carry in their luggage.

    Does it hurt your eyes at all when you’ve been reading for a long period of time? That’s what I’m most concerned about.

  • Karen
    January 9, 2011 at 8:22 am

    You read my mind, Jenna. I’ve been hoping you’d share some thoughts on your latest spate of books. Your recommendations are always terrific. I’ve read The Book Thief and share your sentiments…fantastic! I have the Kitchen House sitting on my bookshelf, but haven’t felt in the mood to open it…your review has inspired me!

    Have Sunday to you as well!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Graduate
    January 9, 2011 at 8:23 am

    You and my mom have both sold me on getting an e-book reader! I’m definitely going to ask for one for my birthday! 🙂

  • AnneW
    January 9, 2011 at 8:23 am

    I’m carrying a book in my purse about 95% of the time. Yesterday, my mom got bored at Anthropologie, so I pulled out Seabiscuit! You never know when you’ll have a little time for a book!

  • Fancy
    January 9, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Yay, THANK YOU! I have read many books you have recommended in the past and have loved them all. I love when you talk about new books that you have read—great post, Jenna 🙂

  • Tracy
    January 9, 2011 at 8:41 am

    You read so fast! Always love these posts though, please continue to give us recommendations – you haven’t failed me yet!

  • Jessica
    January 9, 2011 at 8:50 am

    You’re making me jealous! I am so busy with school (on route to becoming an elem school teacher) and creating lesson plans, and starting teaching on Monday, that I can’t even THINK about picking up a novel. I used to read constantly and I miss it SO much, but… on the other hand… teaching is pretty fabulous too :).

  • Sheila
    January 9, 2011 at 9:08 am

    See I KNEW if you tried a Kindle/Nook that you would love it! Traveling with them is great! I have a Nook and LOVE it.

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat)
    January 9, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Like you, I was always anti-Kindle and still rely on paper books but after seeing so many people get them and realizing there are lots of free ebooks available, I’m now tempted to buy one.

  • MaryBe@AccidentallyVegan
    January 9, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I have a Kindle and love it. I love that it synchs to my Droid.
    Funny, but none of those books sound even remotely interesting to me!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    January 9, 2011 at 9:31 am

    SO, I am now putting all of those books on my list. And you have officially made me want a Kindle.

  • Fi
    January 9, 2011 at 9:39 am

    ok, i have GOT to start reading more. x

  • Shutupandrun
    January 9, 2011 at 9:41 am

    In defense of the Kindle: I never wanted one or cared. But I got an iPad for Christmas and the Kindle is on there. I downloaded a couple of books tha werent’ readily available at the libary and I was hooked. Like you, I love books. The touch and feel, the smell, the weight of them in my hands. However, it is so convenient and easy to read on that thing. I read faster. For travelling I think it must be the best invention ever. Now I just need the water proof case so I can take it in the bath!

  • Jill
    January 9, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I never buy books because I cannot afford them. I get all my books from the library. It can kind of stink because there are SO many I want to buy…but only if I have the extra I guess by month end.
    So, I try to wait-list for things at the library.
    BUT, I do have a giftcard to a bookstore for 20 dollars…but I’m so choosy…its a big deal for me to buy a book now, and I want to make sure the purchase is a GOOD one…so…not sure.
    I really need to try to focus and read more. Things have been kind –ouch— lately, and I find myself more apt to turn to comics or TV… ooops!! I guess I need a simple read. But I might just see what I can find and try reading something I guess!

    • Tracey
      January 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      Another “I don’t have have what everyone else has” comment from emptynut! Or is it Anon?

      • M
        January 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

        Tracey, there really is no need for this kind of sarcasm against another on a lovely blog like this.

        Kindness and treating others as we would wish to be treated.Those are such important things in life.

        I mean this in all sincerity and wish you all the best as well….

  • Amy
    January 9, 2011 at 10:14 am

    You have the best book recommendations! Thanks to you, Sarah’s Key is my fave book ever. I’ll download those to my kindle today.

  • Whitney @ My Life. My Heart. My Journey.
    January 9, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Thanks for sharing about the books you’ve been reading! I always have such a hart time of hearing about good books to read…I usually end up looking on the Oprah website to see what she’s put up. I’ve also been thinking about a Kindle…so it’s good to hear you love yours!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    January 9, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I am so happy you’re loving your kindle! I made the mistake of taking a trip out of the country with only 2 books with me…and I didnt like either of them 50 pages in, and so…I was bookless. And I wanted so badly to have books to read but didnt. You have convinced me to consider a kindle…but when I am not on vacation, I dont have much time to read books…b/c I am always reading blogs 🙂

  • Katherine: Unemployed
    January 9, 2011 at 10:41 am

    love, love, love Francine Rivers

  • Kate
    January 9, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Thanks for the recommendations! I love my Kindle, too–I’m currently reading the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning and it’s wonderful to be able to download the next book as soon as I’m done with the previous one.

  • Amber K
    January 9, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I just can’t do the Kindle thing. It’s so uncomfortable to hold. I need the feel of the pages!

  • Amanda
    January 9, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I read so much more now that I have a kindle. I’m an ‘awkward reader’ in that it’s never been comfortable for me to prop open a book (I read anyways….) but the kindle or any other reader out there makes it easy to just read and read.

  • carole
    January 9, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I keep going back and forth with the idea of a Kindle. I think if I traveled a lot, lived in a foreign country, or went to the beach a lot, it would be very convenient. Since most of my books come from the public library and don’t cost a cent, I think the only benefit for me would be reading in bed at night and keeping recipe books and magazines from crowding my shelves. I still want one, but will wait…

  • Dee
    January 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I just went and purchased The Book Thief! Can’t wait to read it! Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

  • carin
    January 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    i loooooved the book thief. i jus finished a thousand splendid suns and have been reading some milan kundera. i also just started the house of god, since i’ll be a medical resident next year.

    gosh, sometimes i miss my days as a lit major and having an excuse to read al day….

  • Kara
    January 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I have read almost every book you’ve recommended (except for the ones I already own!). We have very similar tastes, but you always seem to be finding the good books first! Thanks for helping a busy mommy find something good to read during nap time 🙂

  • Paige @ Running Around Normal
    January 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Thanks for the recs! I have a long running list of books to DL for the Kindle. I’ll add these to it! 🙂

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans
    January 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I just got a kindle for Christmas and it first I was hesitant to use it (I just LOVE books), it has made traveling a whole lot easier (or, at least lighter)! Off to check out The Kitchen House…

  • Megan
    January 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Jenna, did you know you can “lend” your kindle books? Would you lend me the Francine Rivers book? I LOVE her Mark of the Lion Trilogy.
    Also, could you link to the case you have, and any thoughts you have on it? Like it??

  • Susan
    January 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I used to choose my purses not by price, or looks but by whether or not I could fit a book (or two) inside them! I love the idea of a kindle but I don’t have the $$ to buy one or to buy the downloads- the library and free books is the best option for me right now.

  • Caitlin
    January 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I’m in the middle of The Kitchen House now, and I hate having to put it down! Someone suggested it to me after I read The Help and said this one was so much better. She also suggested a book called The Blood of Flowers.

  • Paige (Two Runners And A Brown Dog)
    January 9, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Have you read Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Based on the other novels that you like, I think that you would find it riveting. It’s free at Amazon. It’s the first book that I read on my Kindle when I got it for Christmas this year. Uncle Tom’s Cabin will make your heart sink and sing. It is a life changing novel, to be sure!

  • Salah (My Healthiest Lifestyle)
    January 9, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you for the book suggestions!! and those pictures are beautiful!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    January 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I love when you give book reccomendations. You always read such great ones! I need to go to the library tomorrow!

  • Lisa
    January 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I tried the Book Thief and couldnt get into it! Maybe I’ll pick it up again.

  • D
    January 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Lisa- I would say give the Book Thief another chance.(maybe wait awhile) It took a few chapters for me to get in to it and it is now one of my fav books of all time. It takes wwhile to get used to death being the nararrator!

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    January 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    i read the kitchen house over christmas and i loved it! i can’t wait for her second novel 🙂

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl)
    January 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Oooh I want to read the Kitchen Adventures! I just read another one you recommended- Sarah’s Key- and it was amazing! I read it all in my flight from Vegas visiting fam back home to D.C.

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie
    January 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I have Nook and I LOVE it! It’s definitely so nice to have a portable reader to carry my books in. hehe

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    January 9, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I’ll have to get The Book Thief from Borders soon. That’s just the type of book I’d like!

  • notyet100
    January 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    thanks for the book list, i knw wht to get from library

  • Jaclyn
    January 9, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Jenna I’m jus wondering if you have read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. If not please read it.

  • Helen
    January 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    do you subscribe to it’s a great site to keep a list of books you’ve read, want to read, are currently reading, and to share them with friends, get recommendations, rate and write reviews. i think you’d like it–that is, if you don’t already know about it 😉

  • Anne @ butter and bear
    January 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks to your recommendation, I just finished reading my first Francine Rivers novel. LOVED it! Thanks for all the book reviews.

  • Jamie
    January 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Beautiful pictures!

    I’ve had The Book Thief since last spring and haven’t read it yet. I’ve gotta start it! I wish I had more time to read but life happens. Happy belated birthday to your blog 🙂

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    January 10, 2011 at 4:23 am

    oh, i love francine rivers! i guess i didn’t realize she had some books out now that i hadn’t read yet..better get on that!

  • Katie
    January 10, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I just started The Book Thief this weekend. It is a lot faster than you’d think, based on how long it is, but it is great so far. I also read American Wife based on your review and it was amazing. I didn’t think I’d like it nearly as much as I did.

  • Leslie
    January 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Since you mentioned being interested in Holocaust literature, I thought I’d share with you an AMAZING book I just finished: The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn.

    Wow. That’s all I can say.

  • Janice Smith
    January 11, 2011 at 5:33 am

    So funny you mention the Book Thief, as I teach at a high school in rural NC, and our senior class is currently reading it. They WILL NOT put them down. Everywhere you see a senior, you see them with that book in hand, and other teachers have complained that they’re rushing through assignments in their classes so they can read when done.

    While I haven’t read it yet, I’d definitely say this would make for great required senior reading everywhere 🙂

  • kaila @ healthyhelper blog!
    January 11, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I totally want a kindle now! you have completely convinced me of how awesome they are! holocaust literature is my favorite type to read…..i just find the stores so intrigueing so i will definitely have to pick up the book theif when i get a chance!

  • Ffion
    January 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Are you still going to carry on with the ELR book club? I never got a chance to take part before!

  • Emily @ Write Twenty Eleven
    January 13, 2011 at 6:43 am

    If you haven’t read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, you must!! It’s one of my favs, and I know a lot of other people who have read it and loved it. Check it out 🙂

  • Jessica
    June 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    You should definitely read A VOICE IN THE WIND. It was hands down, my favorite Francine Rivers book and probably favorite book of all time! The first 2 chapters are a little slow…. but keep reading because I promise its worth it!

  • Donna
    March 10, 2012 at 10:38 am

    night road by Kristen Hannah The best book ever!