Tag Archives: reader

Edition: On the Reading Radar

Wednesday Reads WideMy Kindle wish list is quite large and gets bigger each week. Since I follow many authors and book clubs on various social media outlets, there’s a new book recommendation almost daily. I could seriously go bankrupt purchasing books. I wish I was a library fanatic but I have a hard time borrowing a book.  What started out as a educational pursuit of taking notes and highlighting books has become a personal hobby. Therefore, I must own the book so I can deface it to my heart’s delight.

No matter if I check it out or purchase it, here are a few books that are on my radar right now.  More than likely you will see a review of one or five in the next few weeks.  By the way, Mother’s Day is around the corner and if you need to buy a book for your mom (hint hint to my kiddos), any one of these gems will do.

51-siNDoBeL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Reservations for Two: A Novel of Fresh Flavors and New Horizons by Hillary Manton Lodge.

I adored Hillary’s first novel (check out my review here).  This novel is a sequel, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Food writer-turned-restaurateur Juliette D’Alisa has more than enough on her plate. While her trip to Provence might have unlocked new answers to her grandmother’s past, it’s also provided new complications in the form of Neil McLaren, the man she can’t give up. 

Juliette and Neil find romance simple as they travel through Provence and Tuscany together, but life back home presents a different set of challenges. Juliette has a restaurant to open, a mother combating serious illness, and a family legacy of secrets to untangle – how does Neil, living so far away in Memphis, fit into to her life? 

As she confronts an uncertain future, Juliette can’t help but wish that life could be as straightforward as her chocolate chip cookie recipe. Can her French grandmother’s letters from the 1940’s provide wisdom to guide her present? Or will every new insight create a fresh batch of mysteries? (Taken from  HIllary Manton Lodge’s book page. Click here to visit her site.)

 

Dog_Crazy2. Dog Crazy by Meg Donohue

Since Harvey (our basset hound) joined the Hall family, I’ve become a little partial to books with dogs, about dogs, or told by dogs, such as Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain.  This one by Meg Donohue sounds like a winner to me. Check out the publisher’s overview below:

The USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake and All the Summer Girls returns with an unforgettably poignant and funny tale of love and loss, confronting our fears, and moving on . . . with the help of a poodle, a mutt, and a Basset retriever named Seymour.

As a pet bereavement counselor, Maggie Brennan uses a combination of empathy, insight, and humor to help patients cope with the anguish of losing their beloved four-legged friends. Though she has a gift for guiding others through difficult situations, Maggie has major troubles of her own that threaten the success of her counseling practice and her volunteer work with a dog rescue organization.

Everything changes when a distraught woman shows up at Maggie’s office and claims that her dog has been stolen. Searching the streets of San Francisco for the missing pooch, Maggie finds herself entangled in a mystery that forces her to finally face her biggest fear-and to open her heart to new love.

Packed with deep emotion and charming surprises, Dog Crazy is a bighearted and entertaining story that skillfully captures the bonds of love, the pain of separation, and the power of our dogs to heal us.  (Visit Meg’s author page here.)

 

Savor_FinalCoverOptions_rev233. Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist

Shauna is one of my absolute FAVORITE writers.  In fact, I want to be her.  She is so great at sharing everyday life in a way the reveals an extraordinary God. Her new book is a devotional format (365 days worth) which is slightly different from her other books which are essay format.  I have loved all three of her other books: Bittersweet, Cold Tangerines, and Bread and Wine.

Check out an excerpt here. 

 

516TXpkm6+L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_4. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Many bloggers and writers that I follow on social media have discussed the book. Every quote I’ve read from the book has challenged me or hailed a hearty “Amen!”  Living in Ecuador forced me to re-evaluate what is truly important in my daily life – and it is not the busyness of work, school, or even church.  I’ve got a feeling this book will only reinforce my ideas.  Check out this intro from the McKeown’s book page.

  • Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin?
  • Do you sometimes feel overworked and underutilized?
  • Do you feel motion sickness instead of momentum?
  • Does your day sometimes get hijacked by someone else’s agenda?
  • Have you ever said “yes” simply to please and then resented it?

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.

I’m sure that several of those questions resounded with my readers.  If so, this might be the book for you.  I can’t wait to glean from its wisdom.

If you dive into one of these books on the radar, let me know what you think.  Come back and leave a comment so reader’s can get more info. 

Happy Reading,

~a

 

 

 

Edition: Original Flash Fiction

Wednesday Reads WideJust for fun today, I’m doing something a little different. Today, you get to read an original flash fiction story by me!  It is Wednesday Reads after all. Hope you enjoy!

Lonely No More

The click of the automatic coffee maker dispelled the morning’s silence and woke Henry. Rolling up to a seated position, he paused on the edge of the bed. “Ruthie, dear, the coffee’s brewing.” He turned, hoping his voice roused her, to find her pillow untouched. Tears rimmed his eyes as he stared at the fluffed pillow. It had been six months already. Why did the memory rip through him every morning like it had happened yesterday? Why did his brain still see her standing in the kitchen pouring coffee?

Henry slowly rose to his full height and donned his slippers. Without thinking, he grabbed his robe and headed toward the kitchen. The droll of amber liquid stopped, and the house returned to silence once again. Closing his eyes, he breathed in the coffee’s earthy sweetness and filled his cup. He shuffled toward the table, the weight of a thousand mornings shared with Ruthie pulled behind him like boxcars on a train. How many more must he endure without her cup sitting expectantly beside his?

Henry shivered as he touched the nearby window, where pockets of snow lined each pane. Just last night the porch chairs stood expectantly waiting for their usual evening occupants, but mere hours transformed the entire porch into a perfectly stitched white blanket. Beyond the glass, the rising sun brought shadows into light compelling Henry’s gaze toward footprints. One set, undisturbed, led away from Ruthie’s porch chair and down the steps. Who would be on the porch during a middle-of-the-night snowfall?

Grabbing his toboggan, Henry headed out into the snow-covered morning, leaving his coffee behind. Punching his hands deep into his robe pockets, he followed the footprint trail, pausing where the visitor paused — in front of the old tree swing. What trespasser stops for a brief jaunt on a swing?

Henry took another step toward the swing, stumbled, and grabbed the rope for stability. A smile captured his blue-hued lips. Countless times, Ruthie had followed the same path on summer evenings. While fireflies danced in the dusk, Henry pushed, she swung, and together they dreamed of the future. Now, he pushed the swing only to send it toward the morning sunlight and scatter the snowflakes.

Their life together had flown by. The kids were born, grown, and out the door before he’d finished his second cup of morning coffee. Then it was just he and Ruthie again. Still young. Still dreaming of the future. But now there was nothing but lonely waiting.

The rustle of trees interrupted the silence, and Henry turned to see branches bouncing as the weight of the snow fell from their limbs. The footprints extended beyond the tree’s edge, so he followed. His wet slippers stepped into each footprint so as not to miss their leading. The chill of winter air snuck through the fabric of his pajamas, and Henry shivered as he stepped in the last footprint, which ended in a small clearing on the edge of their property. A chuckle bubbled up and boomed through the snow-laden trees. How long ago had he and Ruthie slipped away for some alone time in this exact spot? The children were too scared to venture this far from the house, but it was the perfect hideout for “romance.” Well, that’s what Ruthie called it. He had a different word.

A fully formed snowman stood cheerily a few feet away. The usual coal eyes, carrot nose, and stick arms accompanied a pink and green toboggan. A snow-woman! Beside the daintily dressed snowwoman sat a half-rolled snow-boulder. Henry’s chest tightened and a familiar burn formed in his throat. He couldn’t leave her alone in the cold.

Henry cupped a handful of snow and packed it hard. Another handful and another brought forth the snow-partner. Pulling a few items from the pine tree audience, he decorated the snowman’s face then donned its head with his own toboggan. He stood before the pair — his heart pounding and his breath short. What a cute couple! Even their toboggans matched.

Stepping closer to the snow-woman, Henry reached for her toboggan. It slipped from his hand. Steadying himself against the snow-plumped body, he reached for it again. The familiar green thread slid between his fingers. Ruthie’s empty nest moments had been filled with hours of knitting. His green birthday toboggan was a mate to her own pink and green version. And there it sat upon the head of the snow-woman. Had the footprint visitor borrowed it?

With a furrowed brow, he sat down in front of the pair, propped his elbow on his knee, and rested his cheek in his palm. He thoughts swirled around like snowflakes caught in the wind. Ruthie had always loved the mornings after a snowfall. Had she gotten up earlier than he to enjoy this one? Where could she have gone? She wasn’t in the kitchen by the coffee pot. Maybe, he had seen her in the garden? Yes, there were lots of flowers. He just couldn’t remember the place.

Henry yawned and closed his eyes. He just needed to rest his eyes while he waited for Ruthie to return. Tucking the pink and green toboggan beneath his head, he laid down in the snow. She’d be here any minute, and they could laugh together about the snow pair. Maybe she’d even bring him a cup of coffee.

The police found Henry the next day, pink and green toboggan tucked under his head with a smile on his face. A snow-formed pair of lovers stood before him. The girl was missing her hat, but the boy was dressed perfectly in a robe-cum-scarf, a hand-knitted green toboggan, and a pair of black slippers. Neither the snow-woman nor Henry was lonely anymore.

 

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