Mary Ann’s May Recommendation

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Read a sample here!

far from the madding crowd

Mary Ann says:

I read this for a seminar – everyone in the class loved this story of a woman taking charge of a business when this was very rare (1874).  Equal time is given to love affairs.

A movie starring Carey Mulligan comes out soon. I’m glad to see that among the super hero blockbusters, people are making movies based on classic novels.  Articles have pointed out that the name of Katniss Everdeen is inspired by Bathsheba Everdene in Far From the Madding Crowd.  If the movies bring people back to these treasures in literature, readers are in for a treat.

P.S. Madame Bovary is coming out this summer.

Summary from Publisher: Gabriel Oak is a young shepherd. With the savings of a frugal life, and a loan, he has leased and stocked a sheep-farm. He falls in love with a newcomer eight years his junior, Bathsheba Everdene, a proud beauty who arrives to live with her aunt, Mrs. Hurst. She comes to like him well enough, and even saves his life once, but when he makes her an unadorned offer of marriage, she refuses; she values her independence too much and him too little.


Genna’s October Recommendation

Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Just in time for colder weather, this romantic book set in the middle of winter in a Maine town will warm you up! I really enjoyed the interesting character development – Annie gets to live in a cottage that she has inherited from her mother. She has to stay for 60 days straight, otherwise she loses possession of the house and it reverts back to her ex-stepfather’s family. Near the property is another larger mansion, called Harp House, where the brooding ex-stepbrother of Annie’s lives – Theo Harp. He is a reclusive (and attractive) horror writer dealing with grief from the loss of his twin sister and more recently, his wife.

Annie is a skilled children’s puppeteer. I enjoyed reading the different voices of her puppets, thought it did take a while to get used to this as the reader. I also listened to the audiobook for parts of the book.

The author is really great at wrapping up all the loose ends. The story really comes together in the end. It’s a great happy ending!

3 Similar Reads

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie – In these contemporary romances, women bent on executing a simple plan find those plans dashed by children in need, mysterious occurrences, and bewitching men. More witty than scary, these novels also offer warm, likable, and relatable characters. – from Novelist

Solsbury Hill by Susan Wyler – Both feature plenty of romance, spiced with danger. Although modern in setting, each pays homage to a classic Gothic novel: Heroes are My Weakness (a contemporary romance) was inspired by Rebecca; Solsbury Hill (an atmospheric love story) recalls Wuthering Heights.  – from Novelist

Inn at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay  – Each featuring a successful horror writer as the brooding hero, a relatable heroine, and troubles from the past come back to haunt them (as well as other dark touches), these humorous contemporary romances pay tribute to classic Gothic novels. – from Novelist



Dana’s May Recommendation #1

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, a Love Story by Ree Drummond

pioneer womenAmerican blogger and food writer Ree Drummond relates the real life story of how she met and married her “Marlboro Man.” Her stories about her husband, family, and country living paint a warm and touching picture of life on an Oklahoma ranch.

This isn’t just my love story; it’s a universal tale of passion, romance, and all-encompassing love that sweeps us off our feet.

It’s the story of a cowboy. And Wranglers. And chaps.And the girl who fell in love with them.

3 Similar Titles – Nonfiction

Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest by Sandra Day O’Connor

Feels Like Far by Linda Hasselstrom

Chickens in the Road by Suzanne McMinn

Similar Fiction Titles:

Homecoming Ranch by Julia London

Ted + Victoria’s February Recommendation

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

these_broken_stars“It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.” – publisher summary

3 Similar Titles

The 100 by Kass Morgan

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler


Weekly Spotlight On: Transport Yourself Into the New Year with Time-Travel Fiction

Transported into the New Year

This week I’d like to take a look at books that feature time-travel, since it’s a classic and stretches across many genres – literary, historical, fantasy, and science fiction. Many times time travel appeals to fantasy readers because of the magic of it, and science fiction readers if the time travelers go to the future. However, when time travel occurs between the different time periods of present and past, the book can become richly seeped with details about history and appeal to those who like historical novels.
Sometimes time travel even appeals to romance readers. You’ve probably by now seen or heard of Audrey Niffeneger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife (which I enjoyed for the Chicago setting and librarian character) that was adapted into a film as well. Recently another time traveling movie with the same lead actress Rachel McAdams was released called About Time.
In any case, there’s a time-traveling themed book out there for you. Review some of these titles and see if anything is similar to your taste in fiction.
The summary of each novel is taken from the catalog, and each book title is hyper-linked so that you can easily click and request a copy.
Happy traveling!
The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway

theriverofnoreturnWaking up in a modern London hospital 200 years after meeting his death on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott is indoctrinated into a time-traveling society and returned to the side of a woman he loves to reclaim a vital talisman, a mission that places the fate of the future in his hands.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

outlanderThe year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon — when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach — an “outlander” — in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord … 1743.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
lifeafterlifeOkay I’m cheating on this one a little. It’s not time travel, but the main character is reborn again and again. – Genna
On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
theshininggirlsA time-traveling serial killer is impossible to trace– until one of his victims survives. In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back. Working with an ex-homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby has to unravel an impossible mystery
11/22/63 by Stephen King
112263On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? The author’s new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination. In this novel that is a tribute to a simpler era, he sweeps readers back in time to another moment, a real life moment, when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history. Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students, a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night fifty years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk. Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane, and insanely possible, mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life, a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix
foundWhen thirteen-year-olds Jonah and Chip, who are both adopted, learn they were discovered on a plane that appeared out of nowhere, full of babies with no adults on board, they realize that they have uncovered a mystery involving time travel and two opposing forces, each trying to repair the fabric of time.
theimpossiblelivesofgretawellsFrom the critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Confessions of Max Tivoli comes The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, a rapturously romantic story of a woman who finds herself transported to the “other lives” she might have lived.After the death of her beloved twin brother and the abandonment of her long-time lover, Greta Wells undergoes electroshock therapy. Over the course of the treatment, Greta finds herself repeatedly sent to 1918, 1941, and back to the present. Whisked from the gas-lit streets and horse-drawn carriages of the West Village to a martini-fueled lunch at the Oak Room, in these other worlds, Greta finds her brother alive and well—though fearfully masking his true personality. And her former lover is now her devoted husband…but will he be unfaithful to her in this life as well? Greta Wells is fascinated by her alter egos: in 1941, she is a devoted mother; in 1918, she is a bohemian adulteress.In this spellbinding novel by Andrew Sean Greer, each reality has its own losses, its own rewards; each extracts a different price. Which life will she choose as she wrestles with the unpredictability of love and the consequences of even her most carefully considered choices?

Overseas by Beatriz Williams

overseasA cynical Wall Street analyst falls in love with a billionaire with a mysterious past in a romance with mystical ties to a relationship between a World War I British officer and a beautiful young American who held vital information about a fateful reconnaissance mission.

Genna’s November Recommendation

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

the rosie projectLooking for a feel-good romantic comedy? Look no further. Simsion creates a lovely, heartwarming, and scientifically crafted novel. It’s the story of a genetics professor Don Tillman (who has Aspberger’s but remains unaware of his condition despite everyone around him knowing) and his opposite in almost every way: Rosie. Don goes to the supermarket each week to buy the same ingredients to create the same meals each day, in order to be more efficient. He follows a rigid schedule of sleep, exercise, and eating. His life is very methodical, and he struggles to find a mate.

He decides to craft a questionnaire designed to help him select a wife, dubbing it The Wife Project. His coworker sends him Rosie: a girl who doesn’t follow any schedule or pattern. She shakes up his habits, but Don finds that this is a good thing.

This is such a quick and fun read! A great break especially if you’ve just read something longer and more involved. They are making a movie out of this already.

3 Similar Reads

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Match Me If You Can by Susan Phillips

The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay


Kimberly’s August Recommendation

Philosophy Made Simple by Robert Hellenga
philosophy made simple“I loved the main character, Rudy’s, openness to new things like avocado orchards, elephants, and philosophy.  This is interesting and has a lot of heart.” – Kimberly
“Widower Rudy Harrington, a father of three grown daughters, leaves his Chicago home for a new life at an avocado grove in Texas, where he takes up philosophy, presides over his daughter’s Hindu wedding, and falls for his son-in-law’s mother.” – Summary
3 Similar Reads
Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
White Hot by Sandra Brown
Match Me If You Can by Susan Phillips