Here are some books lately that I read and enjoyed! If I start reading something and I don’t get into it for whatever reason, I just set it aside and pick up something else. It wouldn’t be fair to comment on a book I didn’t finish, so I can really only tell you about the ones I liked.

Chances are good you’ve already read the first one on my list this month. Check it out!

Recommended Reads - July 2015

All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr.

Yep, I liked it just as much as everyone else did, except that one guy over at New Republic. It’s lyrical, intricate, and heartbreaking, with several unforgettable characters. Isn’t that one storyline reminiscent of a certain massively popular movie from the 1990s? That’s not a criticism–I love that movie. The short chapters and the non-linear sequencing kept up both the pace and the emotional tension. Just an amazing achievement.

If you adored ATLWCS, I definitely recommend Suite Francaise by Irene Némirovsky, if you haven’t already read it. Némirovsky envisioned it as the beginning of a longer series, but tragically, she died in Auschwitz. If I’m understanding the story correctly, Suite Francaise, discovered decades later, was a hand-written first draft–which seems impossible, considering how good it is.

Recommended Reads - July 2015

Wandering Soul, Cassandra Chandler.

I love a story where the heroine rescues the hero, and that’s the case in this paranormal romance. Elsa, a woman who time-travels in a very unique fashion, snatches Dante, the much-wronged, irresistible man behind the Phantom of the Opera legends, from a fiery death and into the modern world. They both have trust issues, with good reason, and the romance develops in a believable way. This is set up for a sequel.

Recommended Reads - July 2015

How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie.

I keep wanting to put “Jr.” at the end of Dale’s name, but no, that’s Dale the NASCAR driver. There’s a good reason this book has been in print for almost eighty years. It may sound like it’s about manipulating people, but it’s actually about treating people well. Carnegie makes the point that although this will make people like you, you should also do it just because it’s right. The first chapter–about never criticizing or condemning anyone, ever–challenged my thinking the most.

Recommended Reads - July 2015

Bringer of Light, Jenifer Boles.

Sword-and-sorcery fantasies were my first love, and when I started reading Bringer of Light, I had a flashback to the time I first read LOTR as a kid–specifically, I recalled the exact scent of Bonne Bell Lip Smacker I wore then. Unlike a lot of high fantasy, this one has plenty of warrior women, and some of the battles are brutal. The likeable, level-headed heroine, Lynden, is at the center of a love triangle, and I guessed wrong on which way it would go. Since this a trilogy, I guess there are two more books for the other guy to find love.

What have y’all read lately? Anything good? And what are you planning on diving into next?