First of all my apologies for being gone so much longer than I planned. When I set the date of my return to blogging, I wasn't thinking about spring break following the end of Lent. We went on a quick trip to the beach while the kids were out of school and, upon returning from that and getting back into the swing of school again, life has been crazy.
But I'm back now, and plan to return more consistently next week.
For my return post, here's what I've been reading lately. I've got some good books to share!
Gods In Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson: Anyone who knows me knows I love Joshilyn's writing. This was the only book I hadn't read by her and I think I was kind of hanging onto it because I didn't want to be done with her books. (At least until the next one's out.) But one day I decided to read it, and 24 hours later, I was done. This one was every bit as good as the others and I highly recommend it.
For 10 years Arlene has kept her promises, and God has kept His end of the bargain. Until now. When an old schoolmate from Possett turns up at Arlene's door in Chicago asking questions about Jim Beverly, former quarterback and god of Possett High, Arlene's break with her former hometown is forced to an end. At the same time, Burr, her long-time boyfriend, has raised an ultimatum: introduce him to her family or consider him gone. Arlene loves him dearly but knows her lily white (not to mention deeply racist)Southern Baptist family will not understand her relationship with an African American boyfriend. Reluctantly, Arlene bows to the pressure, and she and Burr embark on the long-avoided road trip back home. As Arlene digs through guilt and deception, her patched-together alibi begins to unravel, and she discovers how far she will go for love and a chance at redemption.
My Sunshine Away by MO Walsh: I listened to this one on audio and, while I didn't love the narrator, I loved the story. It will definitely make my top ten list for this year.
"My Sunshine Away" unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson--free spirit, track star, and belle of the block--experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.
In "My Sunshine Away," M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.
Home Is Where My People Are by Sophie Hudson: This memoir about what home means, what it's like to grow up southern, and the power of friendship. Oh, and it's really funny.
All roads lead to home. It's easy to go through life believing that we can satisfy our longing for home with a three-bedroom, two-bath slice of the American dream that we mortgage at 4 percent and pay for over the course of thirty years. But ultimately, in our deepest places, we're really looking to belong and to be known. And what we sometimes miss in our search for the perfect spot to set up camp is that wherever we are on the long and winding road of life, God is at work in the journey, teaching us, shaping us, and refining us--sometimes through the most unlikely people and circumstances. In "Home Is Where My People Are," Sophie Hudson takes readers on a delightfully quirky journey through the South, introducing them to an unforgettable cast of characters, places, and experiences. Along the way, she reflects on how God has used each of the stops along the road to impart timeless spiritual wisdom and truth. Nobody embodies the South like Sophie Hudson, and this nostalgic celebration of home is sure to make even those north of the Mason-Dixon line long to settle in on the front porch with a glass of sweet tea and reflect on all of the people in our lives who--related or not--have come to represent home. Because at the end of the day, it's not the address on the front door or even the name on the mailbox that says home, but the people who live and laugh and love there, wherever "there" might happen to be.
Those Girls by Chevy Stevens: this one is an advance reader copy of a book coming out this summer. It's gripping and gritty. Chevy Stevens' female characters are so much tougher than me!
Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives.
Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past.
This time there’s nowhere left to run.
As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.
Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight: I just started this one-- but I've been waiting for it to come out for months. Can't wait to really dig in.
From the author of the New York Times bestseller and 2014 Edgar and Anthony nominee Reconstructing Amelia comes another harrowing, gripping novel that marries psychological suspense with an emotionally powerful story about a community struggling with the consequences of a devastating discovery.
At the end of a long winter, in bucolic Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of an infant is discovered in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. No one knows who the baby is, or how her body ended up out there. But there is no shortage of opinions.
When freelance journalist, and recent Ridgedale transplant, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the story for the Ridegdale Reader, it’s a risk, given the severe depression that followed the loss of her own baby. But the bigger threat comes when Molly unearths some of Ridgedale’s darkest secrets, including a string of unreported sexual assaults that goes back twenty years.
Meanwhile, Sandy, a high school dropout, searches for her volatile and now missing mother, and PTA president Barbara struggles to help her young son, who’s suddenly having disturbing outbursts.
Told from the perspectives of Molly, Barbara, and Sandy, Kimberly McCreight’s taut and profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth about the baby’s death revealing that these three women have far more in common than they realized. And that their lives are more intertwined with what happened to the baby than they ever could have imagined.