Here is what I’ve been reading lately. I can honestly say that there is not a bad book in the bunch.
I’ve started picking up some Christmas novels as we’re heading into the Christmas season. If I could recommend one Christmas book to read this year, I highly recommend The Wish Book Christmas by Lynn Austin. Not only is that book a heart-warming Christmas story, it is also a great historical fiction book.
Let me know if you’ve read any of the books below or if there are any that sound interesting to you.
I would love to hear about what you’ve been reading lately, too. Please drop a comment below.
What I’ve Been Reading Lately
I will always pick up a Sally Hepworth novel, so when I had the opportunity to read her forthcoming novel, I jumped at the chance. Her novels always have the right mix of mystery and what I would categorize as women’s fiction. And her books have just the right amount of plot to make the novel almost read itself without sacrificing interesting and complex characters. Having read a fair number of Hepworth novels, my verdict on Darling Girls is: I think this is her best novel to date!
Darling Girls focuses on three women who grew up in the foster-care system in Australia. The women, who refer to each other as sisters, all lived in the same home with an abusive foster-mother. What’s interesting about the abuse is that none of it is physical. It’s all emotional and psycological. But these girls live in fear. I think this book a good reminder that sometimes emotional and psychological abuse is almost more deceptive than physical abuse because a savvy abuser will convince you that you deserve it. This book also highlights some serious gaslighting and a surprising unreliable narrator. I always find unreliable narrators especially creepy.
Unfortunately, Darling Girls will not be released in the United States until next year. But definitely pick this one up when it comes out. I predict you will see this book on a lot of summer reading lists for 2024.
In the meantime, if you haven’t read The Soulmate yet, definitely check that out.
- Genre: Mystery & Thrillers | Women’s Fiction
- Length: 352 pages
- Publication Date: April 23, 2024
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for sharing this advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review.
Where to Buy:
If I had known what a delight these books were, I would have started reading this series a long time ago. I remember seeing these books on my mom’s bookshelves for years, and when I saw it on the shelf of one of favorite bookstores a couple of years ago, I decided to pick it up. So this is my not-so-gentle nudge to not make the mistake I made by taking so long to finally pick this one up. Mma Ramotswe just inherited a herd of cattle from her father, which she sells and uses the proceeds to start her own business as the local private detective. As the story unfolds, we start to learn that there is much more to Ramotswe (and her family) than meets the eye. One thing I really like about this book is that although it is a mystery novel, it’s not a murder mystery.
- Genre: Mystery
- Length: 235 pages
- Publication Date: Jan. 1, 1998
Where to Buy:
There is a genre of books that I read every year but for some reason don’t talk about very often, and that is books related to health and wellness. While this is something that has always interested me, my interest has definitely grown as I have gotten older. I especially love ready books about health and wellness written by women. I can’t remember where I first stumbled upon Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, but she talks about something that is very important to me — how to age without becoming fragile. I know old people who can barely walk across the room, and I know old people in their 80s who are running circles around everyone else. I would very much like to be in the latter group. And that what this book is all about, as it says in the subtitle — aging well. Dr. Lyon says the secret has to do with building muscle and increasing your protein intake. I have been working on implementing her eating plan, and one thing I like about it so far is that there is a lot of freedom. The one thing she is firm on is making sure you get enough protein, which she spells out what that looks like in the book, but there is a lot of flexibility after that. If this is a topic that interests you, I definitely recommend checking out this book.
- Genre: Health & Fitness
- Length: 368 pages
- Publication Date: Oct. 17, 2023
Where to Buy:
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger is one of my favorite books, so I’ve had my eye on Krueger’s backlist for some time. This book did not disappoint. Both books are five star reads for me. Ordinary Grace is a story about brokenness, coming of age, and as the title implies, grace. It focuses on a family that lives in a small town in southern Minnesota in the summer of 1961. It is told through the lens of 12-year-old boy Frank, who very rarely goes anywhere without his younger brother Jake, who suffers from a horrible stutter. Frank and Jake’s father is the town minister, but the family members all have mixed feelings about God, except for their father. By the end of the book, that changes after tragedy strikes the family. This book is full of interesting and complex characters. Even though I read this one is fall, I think this would make a great summer read.
- Genre: Mystery | Historical Fiction | Literary Fiction
- Length: 307 pages
- Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Where to Buy:
Pull out the tissue box for this one. The Christmas Shoes tells the story of two opposite worlds — one of professional success and a more humble world of a family facing the death of a mother. The two worlds cross paths when main characters, lawyer Robert Layton and eight-year-old boy Nathan Andrews, are in a store to buy Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, and Nathan wants to buy a gift for his mom but doesn’t have enough money. This book is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. The Christmas Shoes became a film in 2002, starring Rob Lowe. This book is more than 20 years old, and it remains one of the most beloved Christmas classics.
- Genre: Christmas Fiction | Christian
- Length: 144 pages
- Publication Date: Nov. 9, 2001
Where to Buy:
This book completely exceeded my expectations. It makes me want to read more Lynn Austin books. The Wish Book Christmas is a heartwarming Christmas novel that explores themes of redemption, forgiveness, and friendship. Set in postwar America, the story follows two single mothers, Audrey and Eve, and their young sons as they navigate the true meaning of Christmas. The book delves into the complexities of their lives and relationships. This book is great for fans of historical fiction. Although it is a sequel to If I Were You, it can be enjoyed as a standalone novel. (I can say this because I have never read If I Were You, and I loved this book.)
- Genre: Christmas Fiction | Historical Fiction | Christian
- Length: 304 pages
- Publication Date: Sept. 7, 2021
Where to Buy:
This book probably doesn’t even need an introduction unless you just are an alien that just landed on the planet. I think this is my third time reading this book, and it never disappoints. I’ve been listening to the audio version in the car with my kiddos on the way to school every morning, and it is very well done. The version I’m listening to is read by Michael York. You can find it on both Audible and Libro.fm.
- Genre: Fantasy | Middle Grade
- Length: 206 pages
- Publication Date: Oct. 16, 1950