Sunday, January 26, 2020


Ellen Marie Wiseman - What She Left Behind
Ellen Marie Wiseman - The Life She Was Given
Kristen Harmel - The Winemaker's Wife
Kristin Hannah - The Great Alone
Ally Larkin - Swimming for Sunlight
Suzanne Woods Fisher - Mending Fences
Kristen Harmel - When We Meet Again
Barry Eisler - All the Devils
Kate Quinn - The Huntress
Robert Dugoni - The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell (audiobook)
Delia Owens - Where the Crawdads Sing
Sally Field - In Pieces (audiobook)
Renee Rosen - Windy City Blues
Tracey Garvis Graves - The Girl He Used to Know
Sarah Jio - Goodnight June

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Kristin Harmel's When We Meet Again

For those of you who have never read my blog (and you know who you are!), there is an author that I have been extremely high on over the last couple of years.  Her name is Kristin Harmel, and I have just finished my 5th book.  It's called When We Meet Again.  And, big surprise, I liked it a lot.  Here is what it's about:

Emily Emerson is used to being alone; her dad ran out on the family when she was just a kid, her mom died when she was eighteen, and her beloved grandmother has just passed away as well.  But when she's laid off from her reporting job, she finds herself completely at sea...until the day she receives a beautiful, haunting painting of a young woman standing at the edge of a sugarcane field under a violet sky.  That woman is recognizable as her grandmother - and the painting arrives with no identification other than a handwritten note saying, "He never stopped loving her."
Emily is hungry for roots and family, so she begins to dig.  And as she does, she uncovers a fascinating era in American history.  Her trail leads her to the World War II POW internment camps in Florida, where the German prisoners worked for American farmers...and sometimes fell in love with American women.  But how does this all connect to the painting?  The answer to that question will take Emily from the sweltering Everglades to Munich, Germany, and back to the Atlanta art scene before she's done.
Along the way, she finds herself tempted to tear down her carefully tended walls at last; she's seeing another side of her father, and a new angle on her painful family history.  But she still has secrets, ones she's kept locked inside for years.  Will this journey bring her the strength to confront them at last?

Let me tell you what I liked about this book:
1.  I am a big fan of historical fiction.  And as you have seen from Harmel's The Room on Rue Amelie, The Sweetness of Forgetting, and The Winemaker's Wife, and, now, When We Meet Again, nobody does it any better.
2.  Did you know that German prisoners actually worked on farms here in the U.S. during WWII?  Neither did I.  When you read WWMA, you'll find out how many there were.  And I think it will blow your mind.  It sure did mine.
3.  My favorite historical fiction novels are the ones that go back and forth from then to now.  This one certainly does that.
4.  Kristin has created a book that mixes in mystery tied into the historical elements.
5.  And let's not forget that there might even be a love story to enjoy.
6.  Finally, and probably most importantly for me, I emotionally connected to the characters.  You all know how important that is to me.  I never have to worry about that with Kristin's books.

So there you have it.  I will end by quoting from notes I took while reading:  "I'm tired of doing nothing but praise Harmel.  But what can I do?"

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Books in 2019 by Genre

You will be happy to know that this is the 4th, AND FINAL, year-end post. We went from 15 genres in 2017 to 7 in 2018.  This year we split the difference.  We have 11.  But the distribution is crazy.  Last year there were 44 out of 69 in the literature and fiction section.  And the other 6 genres were all in the single digits.  This year we have 10 more books read/listened to and 15 LESS books in the literature and fiction section. On top of that, 3 other genres are in the double digits!  Here's the breakdown:

Literature and Fiction - 29

Historical Fiction - 15

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense - 13

Memoir - 11

Romance - 2

Non-Fiction/Self-Help - 2

Romantic Comedy - 2

Poetry (yep, poetry) - 2

Fantasy/Paranormal - 2

Young Adult - 1

Religious Fiction - 1


Friday, January 3, 2020

New Authors (for me) in 2019

The 2018 list had, for me, 44 new authors.  And in 2019 I hit 48.  I have to confess, though, that the total includes 7 authors who I discovered in audiobooks.  But books are books!

Gail Honeyman
Charles Belfoure
Lizbeth Meredith
Ellen Marie Wiseman - 2
Mark Greaney
Jandy Nelson
Michael Gerber
Erin Gordon
Michelle Obama (audiobook)
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Jill Santopolo
Rich Amooi - 2
Laurie Halse Anderson
Phaedra Patrick
Kristin Chenowith (audiobook)
Mary Curtis
Aria Glazki
Allie Larkin - 2
Marcia Rosen
Tracey Garvis Graves
Heather Morris
Sally Field (audiobook)
Christina Britton
Meg Donohue
Ellison Cooper
Suzanne Woods Fisher
Amy Mason Doan
Tara Westover (audiobook)
Cassandra Dunn
Trevor Noah (audiobook)
Kari Kelley
Marie Benedict
Mary Beth Keane
Brian Holsinger
Andrew Bernstein
Ann Mah
Billy Crystal (audiobook)
Kristin Higgins
Mark Sullivan
Robert Dugoni - 2 (1 audiobook)
Julianne Guthrie
Catherine Chung
Jeanine Cummins
Stephen Hauser
Jeff Lindsay
Sheryl Sandberg (audiobook)
Colson Whitehead
Renee Rosen