Traveling With T’s Best Books of 2013

Best Books of 2013

It’s that time of the year- the time of year where numerous “Best Books” list are published. And so, it’s time for Traveling With T to publish a list- a list of the books I loved, some books that made me a better reader, and a few honorable mentions.

Best of 2013

The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman  

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Lori Nelson Spielman’s debut is heartwarming, loving and and has some thought-provoking moments.  I cried, I laughed, I LOVED. Here is my review. This is 1 of the 2 hands down favorite books of Traveling With T. Read on for #2!

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Kimberly McCreight’s debut, Reconstructing Amelia, was called 2013’s Gone Girl. While many books in the mystery/suspense was compared to Gone Girl- this one probably was most deserving. Dark. Twisty. Kate’s anguish over what happened to Amelia, realizing how she did not know her daughter- and wondering if past sins of hers played a role in Amelia’s death- of if the sin of not being there for Amelia in her time of need was why Amelia is gone. Each character- each section of the book- carefully crafted and wonderful. You, as a reader, might think you have it all figured out- but Kimberly takes twists and turns- and creates a story in unforgettable. Here is my review.

A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

When I was emailed a request to review this book, I wasn’t familiar with Susan’s work. But, I had a good feeling from the description and the cover was beautiful. I’m glad I trusted my instincts- because this book is a Southern Lit treasure. Love, finding yourself, feeling nourished, and acceptance are themes of this book- and it truly is a gem. Here is my review.

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

I yearn for the latest Kinsey book well ahead of Sue Grafton’s 2 year publishing schedule. I curse the the day I discovered A is for Alibi and thought “Years and years of mass market paperback books will keep me busy for some time.”  It did not. Thus began the waiting game. Each year a Sue book is published- I’m so happy. Kinsey rocks as a character. Seriously. If you like a mystery- Sue Grafton is great.

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

My first J. Courtney Sullivan book was a treat. JCS weaves a story of fiction with some real-life truths about how “A Diamond is Forever” came about. Criss-crossing from 4 viewpoints, 4 different time frames- and how a diamond plays a role in all their lives. Here is my review.

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Mia March books just scream “SUMMER” to me. Light, funny- sometimes fluffy- I love to read a Mia book. Finding Colin Firth, her 2nd novel, tells the story of  3 women- women who are each dealing with troubles of their own. To add to the mix, a movie is being filmed- and rumor has it that Colin Firth is in town- which adds to the fun of the book.  Here is my review.

Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Thriller. Terrifying at times. Suzanne’s look into the dark side of a marriage is worth a read. Here is my review.

The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

A mother’s love. Love and trust in WWII. Secrets and betrayal. Grief. And much more. Kristina McMorris weaves 2 stories together to make 1 compelling book. Here is my review.

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

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Photo Credit: Amazon

Magical-realism. That phrase made me hesitant about reading this. But, I did. And I’m so glad. It was so much more than I expected. Don’t let the magical-realism label scare you! Here is my review.

The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Haunting and beautifully written. A Southern Lit tale that will stay with you far after the last page is turned. Here is my review.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams– Love, lust, betrayal. Secrets. And a hurricane. Here is my review.

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

honorable mentions for 2013

Books that def require a mention!

The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Enjoyable- very enjoyable! Here is my review.

You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert

you knew me when

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Entertaining and enjoyable. A tale of friendship- the highs and lows. Here is my review.

Buried Leads by LynDee Walker

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Photo Credit: Henery Press

Smart. Funny. Nichelle is high-heel loving, Moscato-drinking, and funny as all get out reporter. Enjoyable read! Here is my review.

The Affair by Colette Freedman

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Photo Credit: Amazon

Normally an affair can be seen as pretty black and white issue. But Colette Freedman takes this topic- and paints in shades of grey. By the end, you’re not sure who is right or wrong! Here is my review.

The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

A lie. A harmless lie. And a girl turns up missing. But, that is just a section of the story. Page turning- and you are never quite sure who is innocent or guilty. Here is my review.

What do you think? Find any books to read? Did I miss a book you thought was “Best of 2013” worthy? Tell me!

*This list is just my opinion. I fully realize that I may have over-looked a book that should be ranked. My apologies!

T Traveling With T pic sign off

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Literary Friday ya’ll…

It’s FRIDAY. It’s also the opening weekend of CATCHING FIRE. I Know I shouldn’t go. I hate bigggggg crowds. BUT I”M SOOOOOO READY to see it! #catchingfire #lovepeeta What are YOU doing this weekend?

 

1. Deep South Magazine and their #literaryfriday: A GIVEAWAY of Joshilyn Jackson’s latest, Someone Else’s Love Story, talk of upcoming Twitter chats (yippee!), news about Joshilyn Jackson’s tour, and a review of Sleigh Belles by Beth Albright (remember her first book Sassy Belles was a Deep South Magazine Summer Reading List selection) by yours truly! Plus- a whole heck of a lotta other stuff!

 

2. Giveaways: What The Bride Didn’t Know by Kelly Hunter & Thursday Mashup has other giveaways listed!

 

3. Looking for ideas for the book lover in your life? Well Traveling With T just so happens to have a list! Read here for ideas!

 

4. #bringingAWESOMEback: Bloggers Made of AWESOME has returned! Lori @ Escape With Dollycas into A Good Book is a great tour coordinator & shows AWESOME love to cozy mysteries!

 

5.  Week 3 Questions have been posted for discussion about Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn!

 

6. What is your #fridayreads? I’m reading Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah!

 

7. Next week is Thanksgiving week- and I know many will be traveling. But check in when you can because I’ll have 2 giveaways happening- and they look pretty good!

 

 

Week 3 Discussion Questions for Book Lovers Unite: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

 

This is the last week of questions- we have discussed and had a great time!

I hope you have enjoyed reading Hush Little Baby with Book Lovers Unite.

Please know that if you have read- but have not commented- you can still join in! It’s not too late.

Next week- Thanksgiving and Black Friday will be happening- and I wish you and your family a happy holiday. And if you go out and Black Friday shop- have fun!

 

Questions for Week 3:

1. What was your overall thoughts about the book?

 

2. How did you like the ending? Fitting? Would you like to know more about Jillian or is her story over?

 

3. What do you think- did Gordon kill Jeffrey? Was Jeffrey just in the wrong place, wrong time? Suzanne never really tells us 100% absolutely if Gordon did or not.

 

4. I asked you when we first started this book- what would you do if you were in Jillian’s place and told you to think about it. After finishing the book- are you still certain of what you would do?

 

5. A father’s love was another theme in this book. Jillian’s dad loved her and worked hard to save her. And Claudia’s dad was another father who did what he could to help Jillian. Did Claudia’s father help out because of Jillian- or was it strictly love for his daughter and Jillian just benefited?

 

 

Week 2 Questions for Book Lovers Unite: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

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It’s time for Week 2 questions! Week 1  was a great discussion- so let’s keep the momentum going for Week 2!

 

Remember: Answer the questions you want and ask questions if you have one- just don’t spoil ahead please!

 

Week 2 Questions:

1. I think we, as a group, are pretty much in agreement that Gordon is pond scum. Worse than pond scum. However- what is your opinion of Jillian? Do you trust Jillian? (Thanks to Cindi (Utah Mom’s Life for getting my mind thinking along these lines from last night’s chat!)

 

2. Jillian is on the defensive- trying to anticipate Gordon’s next move. After years of being married, does Jillian even have an idea of what Gordon is capable of?

 

3. Jillian and the school teacher- why is the school teacher going to be singing Gordon’s praises instead of Jillian’s?

 

4. Jillian seems to know her husband- and yet, he constantly surprises her by being 2 steps ahead. Is this because Jillian still loves her husband in some way?

 

5. Jillian had an affair. And then she renews it- why? Why would a woman who is married to an insane man do this? Was Jillian’s affair more about “her choosing life”, choosing to live than live in a world of black?

 

6.Should Jillian have clued Jeffrey more about the ways of Gordon- what he was capable of? Or, does doing that make her sound crazy?

 

7.  Jill runs. Takes the kids. Leaves. Is she running to certain death? Should Jill have just left on her own? Could you leave your kids?

 

8. When Jillian met Gordon’s dad- he warned her to not marry him. Would Jillian’s life be different if she had heeded that advice?

 

9. Someone realizes who Jillian is while she’s on the run. Why don’t they turn her in? Would you?

 

10. Paul names Jillian “Ntamqe” which translates to bear. How central is that part to this story-line?

 

11. Jillian knows what might be her saving grace if Gordon finds her. Is that her only motivation for keeping the baby?

Literary Friday ya’ll……

It’s Friday- the weekend is almost here- we can almost touch it!

 

1. Deep South Magazine and their #literaryfriday: Louisiana Book Festival wrap-up (plus a picture of me, Erin and Rita Leganski!), a video of Erin interviewing Shirley Ann Grau, a #giveaway of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, and much more!

Next week (when I finally get all my pics uploaded and organized), I’ll be posting about my first time experience at the Louisiana Book Festival- but Deep South Mag’s is EXCELLENT!

 

2. Blog Talk: Today, Rebecca at Love First Book gives us access to this cute printable blog planners! Maybe you are more of a digital person- and that’s great! But wouldn’t it be nice to have 1 binder where all your bloggy stuff is? Use the printables! Get organized. Your blog will thank you! Want more Blog Talk? Check out my Thursday Mashup– there’s talk of how to increase traffic, blog tips and much more (all thanks to other bloggers who are kicking butt and taking names in the bloggy world!)

 

3. Giveaway news: Closed the Cover and Book2Buzz teamed up to create a fantastic giveaway- and I, Traveling With T, is part of it! Visit here for the details! Want more giveaway? See my Thursday Mashup for other giveaway news!

 

4. Last night I was reading a few blogs and looking over some others that I’d been meaning to check out- The Book Musings was one of those I’d meaning to look at. I noticed a blog post in her Top Posts and Pages titled Please Don’t Reblog Our Content- so I clicked on it to read. M talks about how she does not care for the WordPress feature of re-blogging a post for a variety of reasons- but mainly because she works hard on having unique content at her blog. I had never actually even thought about this- but after reading her views, I’m curious as to what other people think. Re-blog or not? Should you ASK the blog before you re-blog?

I have re-blogged a few things in my time- bloggy friends post and the likes. I’ve always considered it a shout-out (since if you click to read, it directs you to the original website post). For Book Lovers Unite, before my co-host had to take a break- re-blogging worked great for us to make sure fans of our blogs were aware that new discussion questions had been posted. However, I’ve also had a negative experience- I wrote a post about Chick Lit and Body Image- and a bloggy friend re-blogged it. Months later a person commented on the post being negative and thinking that the people who re-blogged the post actually wrote it (their blog was about getting Men to read books).

Re-blogging is a feature I don’t mind- but use responsibly. Think about target audiences and if someone asks you to remove the re-blogged content, respect their wishes.

 

5. Week 1 Discussion Questions about Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn. Join in the discussion! This book is fast-paced and exciting!

 

6. What are your #fridayreads? I’m reading Sleigh Belles by Beth Albright. I’m in the mood for a mystery- any suggestions?

 

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Week 1 Book Lovers Unite Discussion: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

 

It’s here! It’s time! This is Week 1 Discussion of Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn.

Some guidelines:

Each week (on Friday) new questions will be posted. We’ll only discuss what happens in the book during the pages designated for that week’s reading. Please know you can read ahead or stick with the group or play catch-up (just #nospoilers please!)

You don’t have to answer all the questions! Just answer the ones you want! And feel free to ask questions (if there is not something that I covered!)

Lastly, just have fun! Because if it’s not fun- it’s not worth it. #truthoftheday

To see the reading schedule, visit here.

Week 1 Questions

1. “We look like the perfect family and I’m happy to pretend.” Jillian, page 1. What does this statement tell us as readers? Did it give you a tingle of nervousness about what was to happen in the next 300+ pages?

2. Gordon is a police officer. How does Gordon’s career work against Jillian? Are wives of police officers almost always doomed in this kind of situation (if their husband is abusive?)

3. Jillian is smart. She’s confident in her work environment. Jillian is not confident as a mother, though. How does Gordon use her fears and perceived shortcomings against her?

4. “I can’t handle what I have” is a theme that runs through Hush Little Baby. What does this mean? Do you ever wonder about Jillian’s state of mind as she repeats this?

5. When Gordon speaks of Jillian’s temper to a friend- Jillian is shocked.  What was Gordon’s goal?

6. Jillian tells her friend Connor about the abuse. After seeing the bruises, though, Connor has a harder time believing her story (though he still supports her).  How does Jillian’s vanity tie her hands when it comes to Gordon?

7. This week I want you to think about what you would do if you were in Jillian’s place. You don’t have to post (if it’s not something you want to share). Our last discussion will have a question about has your opinion changed (in any way) after reading the book?

 

Thank you for joining in! Be sure and tell your mama, your book loving friends and anyone else!

 

Reading Schedule for Hush Little Baby: November Book Lovers Unite selection

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Here is the reading schedule for Hush Little Baby, the November Book Lovers Unite selection!

 

Week 1 (November 8th):  pgs 1-115 Ch 1-end of 26

Week 2 (November 15th) pgs 116- 234 Ch 27-end of 48

Week 3 (November 22th) pgs 235-end Ch 49- end of 78.

 

 

Please know a few things- the questions will be posted for that week’s discussion on Nov 8, 15, and 22- however, comment when you get a chance. Please do not spoil ahead in the discussion if you have read ahead or finished the book (it’s fine to read ahead, though!)

With Thanksgiving being in November, I wanted us to have a chance to finish before traveling happened. Take your time and read at your own pace- these chapters are VERY short, though. The plot is fast-paced as well.

 

Tell your mama, tell your friends, tell everyone! Come and discuss Hush Little Baby in November!