I’ve been doing a lot of travel writing lately but feel it’s time to get back to my roots and write some book reviews! I’m lucky enough to be a book-lover who works at a library, so I have plenty of opportunities to learn about great reads. As many of you ask me for book recommendations, here are some of my favorites for 2018.
Dear Mrs. Bird – A.J. Pearce
Set in London during WWII this book is about an adventurous young woman who takes a job as a war correspondent, or so she thinks, but when the dust settles, she finds herself working as an advice columnist for a women’s magazine. Emmaline can’t resist answering letters that her boss has deemed unfit, and so the fun begins. Warm and funny, an eye-opening look at life during the bombing of England.
A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles
The author takes us to Russia in 1922, where the aristocratic Count Alexander Rostov, has been condemned to death by a Bolshevik tribunal. Thanks to his popularity and social prominence his life is spared, but the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel for the rest of his life. As he adjusts to his new circumstances, we get to know this witty and elegant gentleman and the profound effect he has on those around him. (One of my favorites!)
Indigo Girl – Natasha Boyd
Set in the 1700s, this is the story of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, a young Southern woman who must run her father’s plantation when he is called away. To save the family from ruin, Eliza decides to grow Indigo, an unheard-of crop for that area. With help from the plantation workers, she attempts this risky endeavor, but not everyone is on her side. Based on a true story. “Reader’s Choice” winner for Salt Lake County Libraries.
Sprig Muslin, The Reluctant Widow, and Beauvallet – Georgette Heyer
I love almost anything by Georgette Heyer. Her stories are humorous, full of charming characters and fun plots. Her books, 56 historical fiction and mystery novels, along with several short stories and essays, were written during the early 1900s. Georgette has a huge fan base which is ever-growing and after reading one of her books you’ll understand why. Pictured are three of my favorites. Are you a Regency fan? You’ll love these.
News of the World – Paulette Giles
In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kidd is responsible for returning a young white girl, recently rescued from the Indians, back to her family. Captain Kidd is an elderly widow and while he and his charge are a mismatched duo at first, they soon form a delightful bond that changes the course of their lives.
Black Rabbit Hall
A mystery about two women who, though separated by time are linked by the secrets of Black Rabbit Hall. Lorna is determined to be married within the ivy-covered walls of her family’s summer home, but the more she learns about Black Rabbit Hall the stranger it seems.
The Chilbury Ladies Choir
This book, set in England during the Second World War, is the story of a choir who refuses to disband after all the men are called to battle. While the local vicar tries to shut them down, the choir ladies rally their village around them and stand fast. Chilbury is about the lives and loves of a population affected by war. A must read – great for book clubs.
Call the Nurse – Mary J. Macleod
Looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of London, Mary J. Macleod and her husband relocate to a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides where her nursing skills catapult her into unfamiliar territory. The subtitle – True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle – pretty much sums it up. Did you like James Herriot? This is a people version.
The Great Halifax Explosion – John U. Bacon
A shocking yet riveting true story, this was one I couldn’t put down. The collision of two ships in the Halifax harbor in 1917, caused the biggest man-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb. Unfortunately, the harbor was surrounded on three sides by bustling communities, all rocked both physically and emotionally by this unimaginable catastrophe. Inspiring heroes and an epic recovery.
A Fine Romance – Susan Branch
Now I want to go to England! This delightful book – part diary, part travel guide will tempt even the most stubborn couch potato to see the world. Susan Branch, a talented artist, illustrates her books with whimsical watercolors. That and the hand-written font make this a captivating read.
Rudy’s Rules for Travel – Mary K. Jensen
Rudy was a traveler extraordinaire. This is his wife’s hilarious account of their frugal but extensive travels – and how she survived. Humorous and informative. You can tell they were a match made in heaven, even though their travel styles were miles apart.
Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, the Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail – Ben Montgomery
Grandma Gatewood is a tough cookie. After enduring years of abuse at the hands of a cruel husband, she decides to take a walk. – a long walk – and proceeds to hike the entire 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail. This inspiring book tells about her adventures and why at the age of 67 she decided to hit the road.
The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful – Myquillyn Smith
I’m not usually into decorating books, but this author dished out a lot of wisdom along with her excellent décor tips. (Her own home has been featured in several magazines) For years she lived in rental homes and felt she couldn’t embrace her space because it wasn’t really what she wanted. This book tells of her attitude change and inspires readers to love their homes wherever they may be.
Reason’s My Kid is Crying – Greg Pembroke
Sure to make you laugh out loud. Anyone who’s spent time around toddlers will relate. The author started out posting a few pics of his child having major meltdowns over minor things and his blog went viral. Other parents joined in the fun and the result is a book that will crack you up.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Marie Kondo
Well, it changed my life. This author inspires readers to get rid of their junk. Can’t part with something because you paid too much for it? Read this book for Marie’s solution. Her breezy style and to the point tips on decluttering are the result of a lifetime of simple living. It’ll make you want to clean your closet!
Junior Fiction Books
The Penderwicks – Jeanne Birdsall
This delightful story of four sisters and their well-meaning but distracted father, will make you smile. Children of all ages should read this book to learn how to have fun with their siblings. An uplifting and heartfelt tale. I loved this and will read more of the Penderwicks in the future.
I Will Always Write Back – Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifirenka
Thanks to a class assignment, Martin from Zimbabwe, and Caitlin from Pennsylvania become pen pals. Their letters link two lives, each saving the other in their own way. Teen and Young adult fiction. A true story and a New York Times bestseller.
Listen Slowly – Thanhha Lai
Mai, a California girl of Vietnamese descent is looking forward to spending the summer on the beach with her friends. Plans change when her grandmother requires a traveling companion to return to the land of their heritage. This book tells a great story about family, life in a foreign country and how people who may seem very different are all basically the same. Recommended for fifth grade and up.
For more Library Lady book recommends, click here!