Wha’cha Reading Good?


Years ago our district started a reading program, and now thanks to that and wonderful teachers like my friend and critique partner (read: unpaid editor), Erin Valentine, our teens are reading maniacs. In one of our junior highs, EVERYONE read during reading time, including the principals. Not only did this up our test scores, promote literacy, and make us all around-cooler, but it gave us all something to talk about. It was nothing to have a kid ask a principal what she was reading. The conversation usually started with, “Whatcha reading that's good?” a buzz-phrase Erin started that led to many awesome conversations.

Even though I no longer teach English, I still maintain a classroom library in my room just for the joy of loaning out book recommendations and getting to talk books.

While on vacation a few weeks ago in Georgia, I made myself read a few things I normally wouldn't. (Meaning, put DOWN the YA!) I thought I'd share what I've read lately, but THESE ARE NOT NECESSARILY RECOMMENDATIONS.
I'm currently reading this, after a tip from my friend Wise Lizann (of the painting advice).
in a pit with a lion
I can't recommend it enough. SOOOO good. It's about how small we live and how God wants us to be lion chasers and do big, gigantic things. Lizann loaned me her copy, but it was so great, I had to order my own.

Okay, I caved and read one YA, but it's been on my TBR pile forever, and since the sequel just hit the NYT list, I thought I had better catch up.
It was an interesting read. I could really see a specific group of my teen girls liking it, as it is about a girl who falls in love with a wolf. I hate it when that happens. Excessive facial hair is so obnoxious on a date. Probably for the mature teen in terms of content. And fur.

I read this on the recommendation of Natalie Lloyd, who has the best book recs.
girl who chased the moon
Isn't it a beautiful cover? The fun thing is they had a little dilemma choosing the cover, and you can see some of their choices HERE. It would've been hard to pick. (Thanks to Natalie for sharing that as well.)  This book didn't grab me right away. The writing did (beautiful and worth reading just to absorb it and learn), but the plot didn't immediately take me in. I like a fast-moving book. But after talking to Becky at Thomas Nelson, who also has great reading taste, and she mentioned the book, I thought, I have to finish that thing. So I did. And I'm so glad. It's a great book. It is not a YA book, so this is not a recommendation for those of you who might be a bit young for it. But I'll definitely be checking out more of Allen's books. This one is mainly about two characters–one woman and one teen, and how their lives intersect in this small town where strange things happen. Emily is trying to fill in the blanks of her deceased mother's  life, and grown-up Julia just wants some peace as she comes back to face her father's old restaurant, her high school love, and secrets she left behind. Recommended!

I'm blowing this cover up because I LOVE it.
Just looking at these beach house colors makes me happy. This also is NOT a book for teens. I would call this book sweetly disguised Southern chick lit. Dempsey's life falls apart, and so she heads to Georgia to fix up the old family place her father inherited. Of course, it's a total dump and comes complete with a mysterious vagrant. She meets Tee, a handsome and noble lawyer, becomes one with the town, and learns DIY is more about fixing up a house. This is a light beach reach, and I think I enjoyed it even more reading it from the shore of Tybee Island, where I know, according to my Better Homes and Gardens magazine, the author has a beach house. I tried to find it and stalk her, but I think we all know how effective my stalking skills are. (Exhibit A: Chris Tomlin is now engaged. Thank you reader and friend Bethany for breaking my heart the news.)  On a side note, I ADORE the skirt in the cover. And her vintage suitcase. And the chippy pink paint. Because paint and I–we are one.

How can a book with a frou-frou puppy on the cover be anything but grand?
twenty wishes
Before my vacation, I had not really read Ms. Macomber. This is also a light read with a fairly large cast. It's a sweet book, and though it's not Christian fiction, it has a few powerful messages, including one of faith. The characters, all widowed women, decided to make a list of 20 things they wish for, hope for, dream for, aspire to. It can be something simple like have one good belly laugh to something big like to go to Paris with someone you love. It can be specific like learn a new language or general like find happiness. The ladies get together from time to time to eat and discuss their progress, much like a book club. They also scrapbook their journey, which I thought was a clever idea, even for someone like me who is not a scrapper. (“Are you a scrapper?” Name that movie!) I'm passing this book on to friends because I thought the idea of Twenty Wishes was so inspiring. Recently my hairdresser told me it wasn't until she started writing her life goals and dreams down that she started achieving them. And how much better to have a group of friends to hold each other accountable?

That's some of my summer reading so far.
So. . .whatcha reading that's good? I'd love to hear it!

*photo credit: Pepo
Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 17 comments
Tiff - August 4, 2010

Hey Jen!
The books you’ve listed here sound so good! 🙂 I’ll have to check them out!
At the moment, I’m reading “Diary of a Teenage girl” The Caitlin series. Its soo good, I actually cannot put it down!!

Ruth - August 4, 2010

Right now I’m finishing up Cara Putman’s Stars in the Night – hope to have a review up this evening! I am absolutely LOVING it!

Sofie - August 4, 2010

I’ve just finished reading Linger, sequel to Shiver, and the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Now I’m really interested in Stars in the Night as well, can’t wait to read it, thanks for blogging about it 🙂

Kristin - August 4, 2010

“The Girl Who Chased the Moon” sounds really good. I might have to check that one out.

I recently finished reading three “children’s books” that I had never read before: “James and the Giant Peach,” “The Tiger Rising,” and “The Tale of Desperaeux.” Kate DiCamillo completely amazes me. I was practically sobbing at the end of TR and ToD is the only one of her books so far that hasn’t made me cry.

Right now, I’m rereading Jane Austen’s “Persuasion.” I also picked up three more books at Target yesterday that I might start on soon: “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “100 Cupboards,” and “The Mysterious Benedict Society.”


Carra - August 4, 2010

I’m going out on a limb to say the movie is New in Town. It’s the only one I can think of with a welcoming, but slightly crazed, “scapper” (plus it’s set in my home state).

Thanks for the book recs. I’m excited about The Girl Who Chased the Moon. Here are a couple of books I read recently and loved: The Mistress of Spices, The Year of the Flood (highly recommend reading <Oryx and Crake first, though), <The Silent Governess, and Guerrilla Lovers: Changing the World with Revolutionary Compassion.

Olivia - August 4, 2010

I just finished reading the Twilight series. I know, I know I’m a bit slow on the draw, but I did read them! I’m team Edward what about you, Jenny? Why did you choose that team?

Sarah - August 4, 2010

I’ve heard good things about The Girl Who Chased the Moon. One of my co-workers compared her stuff to Cecelia Ahern who said it has magical realisim, and since I love Cecelia Ahern, I’ll have to check it out!

Hmm..what have I been reading? I just finished The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee-you so need to read the first book A Spy in the House, I think you’ll love it. I read Linger (the sequel to Shiver) and loved it even more than the first book. I’m reading I Am Number Four right now-a supposed big release that came out yesterday. And a bunch of other stuff that I can’t remember!

Pattie - August 4, 2010

I just got “Girl Who Chased the Moon” from the library. Loved her “Garden Spells” book.

and as for the scrapper quote, that is from “New in Town” – Siobhan Fallon asks Renee Zellweger in a very exaggerated Minnesotan accent! 🙂

Angela - August 4, 2010

Thanks for the recommendations. I’m always looking for good things to read – I’ll look for some of these at our library.

Debra - August 4, 2010

My mom read Twenty Wishes and told me it was really good. I should probably read it. I have my own list. I call it my ‘Life List’ and in parenthesis I added, “Edit as Needed” because sometimes life changes. It’s awesome like that. 😀

I absolutely LOVE the cover for The Fixer Upper. I have this thing about beach colors. I simply adore them. I’m thinking of redecorating my room with a beach theme. Still trying to decide what colors to use. Any paint suggestions, Jenny? 😉


Brittanie - August 4, 2010

I have read several good books lately. Latte Daze by Erynn Mangum, Licensed for Trouble by Susan May Warren, Tomorrow We Die by Shawn Grady,So Over It by Stephanie Morrill, Resurrection in May by Lisa Samson, Ransomed Dreams by Sally John, and Flashpoint by Stephanie Newton.

Bethany Ellis - August 4, 2010

I just finished Randy Singer’s “Fatal Convictions.” Wow! So good. The coolest thing: I got to meet him last week (he lives locally and actually is acquainted with my dad) and I get to be part of a blog tour about Fatal Convictions!

I’m in the midst of reading “The Jesus You Can’t Ignore” by John MacArthur. So far so good.

Getting ready to start (as I go on my two week vacation 😉 ) The Witness by Josh MacDowell and The Last Operative by Jerry Jenkins! Can’t wait 🙂

Lindsay - August 5, 2010

Junebug by Chris Fabry…such a good story!..I cried at the end.

The Wednesday Letters by Jason Wright…AAAmazing!

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood…now being made into a movie…with Zac Efron 🙂

Those are just few..I had my mom read all of them and she loved them too!

Suzanne Schaffer - August 5, 2010

Solitary by Travis Thrasher (very very good!!)

Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken (amazing!)

I know there’s more that I’ve read (bunches more!) but I can’t think of them right now.

Jenny B Jones - August 6, 2010

GREAT recommendations, guys! I’m writing them down…

SavannahB - August 7, 2010

Loved your recs and not-so-recs! I’ll have to add them to my ever-increasing TBR list.
You totally inspired a post at my blog, and got a mention. 🙂

Please don’t get mad that I stole your post title… plagiarism is the best form of flattery, right?

Mattie - August 16, 2010

I love the Gallagher Girl Series by Ally Carter. The fourth one just came out and it was phenominal! The first one is entitled I’d Tell You I Love You bit Then I’d Have to Kill You. I know the title is a little strange but it’s about a girl who goes to a top secret school for spies! It’s awesome!
The other series by Ally Carter, Heist Society, is really good too!
I also like The Luxe series by Anna Godberson. It’s well written and has a plot with lots of twists!
Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard is really good too if you like historical fiction.


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