This time of year, most of my reading consists of manuscripts. I'm currently busy editing the books you'll see at the stores in late summer to fall. I've been working a nice variety: historical fiction, contemporary fiction, food and drink, textbooks, and literary criticism. All interesting and fun to edit.
I'm recommending historical fiction: In my role as a SheKnows Expert, I recommend 11 books that will introduce you to interesting people and give you insight to past events and times. Click on through and be prepared to add to your reading wish list.
Reading with my ears. Audiobooks are always my friend, but these days, they're my salvation. I just finished Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson and read by Tavia Gilbert for a freelance assignment from AudioFile magazine. The short take is this: Don't miss it! Next up is The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee and read by Lisa Flanagan. This novel has gotten a lot of buzz, so I hope it lives up to the hype.
Print middle grade reads. I was planning on writing another middle grade roundup this winter, but time got away from me. I really enjoyed Chloe in India by Kate Darnton, which touches on themes of fitting in and respecting people for who they are instead of what they look like or or their cultural background. The Goblin's Puzzle by Andrew S. Chilton has a fairy tale kind of feel to it and stars a slave boy with no name and two girls named Alice. Adults will likely figure out the story (because of its familiar elements), but I think middle grade boys and girls will have fun figuring out how the kids will solve the puzzle, save the kingdom, and free the boy.
Print adult books. Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra is an intriguing collection of linked stories set in Russia that focuses on the lives of a handful of people from the Soviet purges into modern times. Woven throughout are themes of art, family, survival, resourcefulness, friendship, love, and hope. Put this one on your list. The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian is a little bit mystery and a whole lot character study. I love stories that explore how a life can change completely in a single instant, and I always admire Bohjalian's ability to shed light on important issues (this time contemporary human trafficking). The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner is an amazing memoir of a woman who grew up in a polygamous community, sometimes in Mexico and sometimes just north of the border. Fascinating, sometimes difficult, and often eye-opening, this memoir is well written and emotionally strong.
Giveaways! I have two great book giveaways scheduled for this week, so come on back and enter them both. Today, however, I have a different kind of giveaway. The nice people over at Le Tote, a clothes and accessories rental program (see my review here), have given me three invitations for free trial totes! If you haven't ever tried Le Tote and you live in the 48 contiguous United States and want to give this rental program a try, then fill out the form for a chance to win one of the free totes (be sure to read my review or visit Le Tote so you understand the service). This is a quicky giveaway; I'll pick three winners on Friday via a random number generator. Once I provide your full name and email address to Le Tote, they'll help you set up your free trial, and I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!