So It’s Probably Pretty Obvious…

…that I’m a little bit off of my bloggy game. I’d love it if I had some witty take on the whys and the hows and the wherefores, but it just is what it is right now.

So there you have it. A vague, somewhat lame explanation. Or a lame, somewhat vague explanation. Either description will do.

Anyway, how about a list? LISTS ARE FUN! AND ALSO EFFICIENT!


– Last Tuesday night I watched the season premiere of “The Voice.” I didn’t really have any expectations, but OH MY GOODNESS I LOVED IT. I thought the judges were great, and there was something very touching about seeing people selected solely on the basis of their talent. Brilliant.

– If you want to help the victims of last week’s tornados, leave a comment on this post of Ree’s. All you have to do is leave a comment – and Ree will donate 25 cents for each comment to tornado relief in the South. Read the whole post for details.

– Daniel Renstrom – who is one of my very favorite singer/songwriters – released a 3-song EP called Jesus Wants My Heart on iTunes yesterday, and it is just a delight. The songs are catchy and Biblical and perfect for anytime when you have a few extra minutes in the car with your young’uns. The EP is only $2.97, and it’s worth every single penny. Promise.

– One more bit of musical happiness: Chasing Someday, the latest CD from Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, is only $5 on Amazon this month.

(You can rest in the peace of knowing that I won’t make one single nickel if you buy either CD – I’m just sharing info.)

– Finally, a question: anybody read any good fiction lately? I’m in the mood to pile up with a novel or nine and would love some recommendations.

Hope y’all are having a great week!

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  1. I absolutely loved The Voice. I dont know exactly why, I just did. A lot.

    And let me know if you find some good fiction, I havent been super excited about anything I’ve read lately!

  2. kelps says:

    Love your you and your blog!! I just got finished reading a mindless book called Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-Kings Daughter… it was a lot of fun. Could have been the love child of Agatha Christie and PG Wodehouse. It’s not a knuckle-whitening nail biter, mind you, but a great distraction. At the same time I downloaded the Book of Common Prayer to my Kindle. I’m sure you already have it, but it is awesome. So simple and beautiful. I read a couple of pages/prayers before sleep each night, it’s the perfect end to any kind of day.

  3. You’re the 2nd hat tip to Daniel Renstrom this morning. I got his Xmas album on your recommendationa nd loved it. Amazon is my next stop!!

    Just started the 3rd book in a trilogy I just LOVE! Jill Williamson’s “Blood of Kings” trilogy. It’s billed as teen fiction, but I found it very engaging and entertaining and not at all immature. Great story, great storytelling, well written. Good, good stuff, I promise! I’m reading this last one slowly so as to really enjoy it. I’ve already read the first 2 twice already.

    After that, it’s “The Help”. I think I’m the last person on the planet to read that one.

    In January I blew thru Kate Morton’s “The Forgotten Garden”. I really enjoyed that one…very intriguing.

    And as a Southern gal, I can’t imagine you’re not familiar with Sarah Addison Allen’s fiction. But if not, I really enjoy her books. They all following pretty much the same formula, but it’s an entertaining one…even if it does fall on the light side.

  4. Good fiction, I am so glad you asked.

    Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society- wonderful book that will make you laugh, think, and cry. You have probably read the whole Mitford series, but if you haven’t a visit with Father Tim will warm the cockles of your heart. Dorothy Sayers novels, although written in the 1930’s, somehow seem very current. Murder Must Advertise is a great place to start. Lousie Penny is a wonderful mystery writer that manages to be both profound and witty. I want to move to her fictional Three Pines village.

    All of the books above will leave you with a good feeling.

  5. have you read Karen Kingsbury? if not, you MUST! Start with her redemption series about the Baxter family and you will be hooked up for the summer! LOVE LOVE LOVE her work, you will get a blessing from it!

  6. I second Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Excellent.

    I just finished reading Room by Emma Dougherty. I read it in 48 hours and it was fascinating. I can’t even explain it except to say that reading it was truly an experience.

  7. AngAK says:

    If you haven’t read “The Help” yet, you must before the movie comes out in August. great book.

  8. I just finished “For Time & Eternity” by Allison Pittman. Very interesting read. Not much else has been too exciting to me lately. I have OCD though, and even if I start a book, I HAVE to finish it…even if it’s horrible.

  9. I third the Potato Peel Pie Society, although I highly recommend the audio version if you can get it. It’s really well done with different actors for the letter readers.
    I’m completely sucked into The Hunger Games at the moment, but they’re not exactly what one would call light hearted. Denise Hildreth…oooh, I recommend especially for you the Savannah from Savannah books!

  10. Yep, “The Voice” is great! Gonna watch that and “The Good Wife” tonight. :) As for books, if you haven’t read “The Help”, I highly recommend it. I’m in the middle of it right now and can’t stop. Another good one, although pretty heavy but though-provoking, historical and well-written is “The Book Thief”. If you’re looking for something quirky and funny, “The Spellman Files” and series is really fun. Hope those help! :)

  11. I second The Help…it is such a great read and I love the southern accents come out in her writing!
    Looks like I should check out the potato peel society!!!

  12. Crystal says:

    I loved the Voice also. As far as fiction, I highly recommend anything written by Karen Kingsbury. The Redemption series would be a good place to start. But I warn you, (to rip off a bit of a phrase You can read just one!!)

  13. I read a lot but it’s hard since I don’t know your taste. I just finished “I’d Know You Anywhere” which is suspenseful and well written. Also just finished, and really enjoyed, “The Civilized World” by Susi Wyss. Other good reads: “Stiltsville,” “Sweetness in the Belly,” Stones for Ibarra.” (The last two came out several years ago…Ibarra I read in college…but they’re really good and worth reading if you haven’t read them. Or re-reading if you have :)

  14. Crystal says:

    That should have read You CAN’T read just one. Fingers move faster than the brain! LOL!!

  15. LOVE LOVE LOVE the Jesus Wants My Heart! I listened for about 5 sec then bought the EP. Is a full length record in the future??

  16. I’m sloooowwly going through a Tricia Goyer novel I won on a blog about 2 years ago. HA HA But I love Lori Wick. She’s great.

  17. Alicia says:

    I can’t thank you enough for turning me on to Drew Holcomb – love, love, love him. And his neighbors.

    I recently read a fantastic book titled These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine by Nancy E. Turner. It confirmed for me that had I would not have made a good pioneer woman. I might have just laid down on the dusty ground and waited for the buzzards to get me. The main character in this book, however, was strong, and smart, and funny – and based on the author’s great, great-grandmother. Great read.

  18. Angie says:

    I can give you all kinds of fiction recommendations, I read all kinds of books. A new author I’ve just recently been turned on to is Charles Martin. He’s written The Dead Don’t Dance, Maggie, When Crickets Cry, and Wrapped in Rain. He’s listed as Christian Fiction but they don’t read “overly preachy.”

    Diane Chamberlain and Margaret Maron are two other good ones.

    I’m also reading a really good non-fiction book right now called Unbroken. It’s about a WWII vet and his time as a POW. It was written by the same woman who wrote Secretariat.

    If you need more recommendations, let me know. I can hook you up with some great authors. :-)

  19. I have the blog blahs too, as our adoption process gets loooonnger. And your readers may rest secure — they’re not the last people to read The Help, I am!

    If you’re interested in England in the wake of the wedding, Elizabeth George writes some wonderful mysteries with lots of depth and emotional resonance. I love her writing (and I’m very picky about mystery writers, because too many of them are gory or just cheesy).

  20. I could recommend about a million books, and I second every one else’s suggestions, but I am just going to tell you about the one I finished today-Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. It was really awesome-just a fun, easy read. She also has others-I am about to start the next one, Something Blue.

  21. I would also recommend The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Society…wonderful book!

    Have you read Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek Quilt series? I absolutely love them (and I don’t even quilt! :). The first one is The Quilter’s Apprentice.

    Karen Kingsbury’s “Unlocked” is fabulous.

    Happy reading! :)

  22. Canadian Cathy says:

    3 books to read!
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    Still Alice by Lisa Genova
    Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

  23. Oh books….my love language!!

    I’ll also urge your toward the Guernsey Potatoe Peel Pie book…good!
    The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers is amazing!!
    And if you have never read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers then you must ignore the rest of this list and run right out and get it. MY FAVORITE BOOK EVER! Life-changing!
    Sarah’s Key
    Anything by Maeve Binchy

    Ok…you get started but I have more…..

    Love you friend!

  24. My fiction recommendation is going to be very not-spiritual, very not-intellectually stimulating and very fluffy.

    That said, these two books are hilarious, will keep you rapt with entertainment, and make you laugh out loud so often that your husband will wonder what’s so funny about the sports game he’s watching on TV.

    Both books are by Kim Gruenenfelder. The first is “A Total Waste of Makeup” and the other is “Misery Loves Cabernet.” These are partner books so read the Makeup one first. They are perfect mindlessly fun summer reads.

    Don’t judge me!

  25. I agree with everyone else who mentioned “The Help” . LOVED it. You MUST, MUST read it. Also, “Firefly Lane” and “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah.

  26. Barbara says:

    I also recommend the Potato Peel Society book. Really great and so much better than the title sounds. I put off reading it despite several recommendations because I thought it sounded boring. It is not anything like what I expected. I also agree with those who recommended The Help . . . another great book.

  27. Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok. You won’t put it down. I promise. :-)

  28. I haven’t read it, but I know 2 people who have read The Help and said it was really good.
    I’d like to find something to take my mind off of all the bad going on, too. Add sickness and hormonal surging to all of the sadness and I’ve got to find something to give my quickly-becoming-depressed mind a rest, you know?

  29. Have you ever read Dorothy Dunnett’s books? She has two series, the Lymond chronicles and the House of Niccolo. Fabulous historical fiction. Everyone I know who has read them hasn’t been able to put them down. Start with the Lymond chronicles first.
    Also fun are the Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley (starting with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie).

  30. Okay, girlie, anything by Francine Rivers (her newest are great, but really tackle some tough issues) or Liz Curtis Higgs (I am starting her newest series on Ruth, yet set in Scotland…she is amazing :).

    Happy reading and I am grateful you are safe!

  31. Deana Lewis says:

    reading suggestions:

    agree with the recommendations on Denise Hildreth’s Savannah books:
    1. Savannah from Savannah
    2. Savannah Comes Undone
    3. Savannah By the Sea

    also anything by Francine Rivers, especially Redeeming Love, The Mark of the Lion Series and Leota’s Garden

    Anything by Liz Curtis Higgs….I especially enjoyed the ones set in Scotland based on Jacob / Leah / Rachel……

    Loved Father Tim and Mitford…

    Here are some that haven’t been mentioned:
    ROBIN JONES GUNN Sisterchick novels……….or anything she writes…………LOVE HER!

    I’ve also enjoyed Kristin Billerbeck, Tracey Bateman, Susan May Warren, Neta Jackson and her Yada Yada Sisterhood

    For older historical fiction, I love Eugenia Price. The Savannah Series and the books based on St Simon’s Island Georgia are classics!!!!

    Keep us posted on what you decided to read. :)

  32. I agree with the comment above by Deana Lewis – those 3 Savannah books by Denise Hildreth were really good! Also, I would recommend the Tulip books by Mindy Starnes Clark, anything by Maeve Binchy or Belva Plain. And, last but not least, if you have not read The Help, run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore & get it! It just came out in paperback! Happy reading! If you read any of these books suggested in all these comments, I’d love for you to post abt which ones & what you think.

    Continuing to think of & pray for people in your neck of the woods.

  33. Lynn L. says:

    Well, I can’t think of a fiction recommendation but if you haven’t read “Heaven is for Real”, please get it and read it. It’s an amazing book that will surely make your heart smile (leap for joy, rather!)

    Good to see you at the 75th anniversary last month! Lynn

  34. I LOVED The Voice too. So good. So very, very good.

    Fiction I can’t put down lately:

    Hunger Games series (yes, this is a teen novel, but I swear I’m an educated 34 year old and lots of my friends and I just love this story. It sounds bizarre but it is so good. It’s like the Voice, you’ll never understand how good it is until you get into it. My husband even read it and loved it…a chemical engineer! yikes!)

    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series

    Loving Frank

    East of Eden

    That’s all I got.

  35. If you haven’t read SOmething Borrowed, coming out in theaters this weekend, it is great. All of her books have been great1

  36. Amanda says:

    Another vote for “The Guernsey Literary…” And I also loved “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.”

  37. Michelle says:

    Really liked “The Hunger games trilogy. So did my hubby. Water for Elephants was pretty good…

    The Mitford Series by Jan Karon is DELIGHTFUL!

  38. Carrie says:

    I love reading, so I couldn’t resist commenting on your book recommendation request. I’m gonna hop on the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society bandwagon. It’s a good one. So is The Distant Hours, The Help, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, and for a piece of easy reading, My Fair Lazy. Happy Fiction reading!

  39. Any of Charles Martin’s books as mentioned by another commenter. “Wrapped in Rain” is my personal favorite but they are all beyond good, all but one set in the South, and all filled with terrific prose, descriptions and characters. Must reads!!!

    “Loved Walked In” by Marissa de los Santos is a great read. It is secular, with secular themes, but exquisitely written with characters you cheer for.

    I just finished three books by Donna Ball:
    A Year on Ladybug Farm
    At Home on Ladybug Farm
    Love Letters from Ladybug Farm
    These are quick and fun; loved them. Three middle aged women buy a 100 year old farm house and set out to restore it.

    I recently re-read “Alas Babylon” by Pat Frank. Yes it’s about nuclear war, but it’s really a sorry of the triumph of the human spirit and one of my all time favorite novels. And it’s set where I grew up ion central Florida.

    “Walking Across Egypt” by Clyde Edgerton is a hoot. Anyone who grew up in church in the South will love this and recognize the folks in the book.

    “The Help” is excellent. “Saving CeeCee Honeycutt” is set in the same time frame and a bit lighter than The Help, and a bit easier read.

    As mentioned above, the Savannah books by Denise Hildreth are fun.

    “The Cure for Modern Life” by Lisa Tucker

    The Mitford series by Jan Karon-can’t go wrong with Father Tim and the gang!

    And I have to add one non fiction; Rick Bragg’s “All Over But the Shoutin'”

  40. I’m a huge David Baldacci fan, and I’m in the middle of one of his books (Hell’s Corner) now that I’m enjoying. But the best book I’ve read in AGES is nonfiction — Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. (She wrote Seabiscuit.) I could not put this book down, which makes it very hard to teach second grade… If we lived close enough to each other, I would walk this book right over.

  41. Have you ever read any Kristen Hannah books. They all are awesome. The Winter Garden is awesome. I have yet to read one of her books that was not good. Love your blog and miss you when you don’t post. Happy Reading.

  42. you might try ‘paths of glory’ by jeffery archer from a former oklahoman

  43. Jennifer in Frisco says:

    I just finished a great book — Blue by Lou Aronica. I think technically it might be considered young adult fiction. Very much pulled me in; found it difficult to put it down.

  44. leaving a comment to help out!!!

  45. As many people mentioned, you must read The Help. My book club just finished it and it is fabulous…I may or may not have spent an entire day at work reading it because I couldn’t put it down. The Scarlet Pimpernell is a good action-romance-history. Anything by Margaret Atwood or Ian McEwan is great. When I get stuck in a rut, sometimes I look back at my favorite movies and read the books they’re based on: The Princess Bride, Peter Pan, The Secret Garden…

    Glad you and yours are ok :)

  46. Sophie – thank you for your link to my blog concerning disaster relief and our friend Lisa’s story. I also just went to Ree’s and commented. I’m proud and thankful to say that the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief fund is up and running – thank the LORD.

    Now – for book recommendations. Do you like mysteries? Have you ever read any by Mary Higgins Clark? They are good clean whodunits. My favorite is “Remember Me,” and it scairt me…in a good clean way. :)

    Love you. Mean it.


  47. Denice says:

    My suggestions are Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (one of the BEST books I’ve ever read!!) and the Yada Yada series by Neta Jackson. LOVE those books!

    Hope you find a good one!

  48. Just read “The Last Sin Eater” by Francine Rivers–very hard to get in to but after finishing it, I consider it one of the top 20 books I’ve ever read and I read a lot.

  49. The First Wife – Paula McLain – I couldn’t put it down and thought about it for days and days…I went right out and her two other books too…

  50. Patty S says:

    “The Scent of Rain and Lightning “by Nancy Picard. ” Garden Spells” by Sarah Addison or “Plantation” by Dorothea Benton Frank. I loved her hilarious and wise take on life on a lush plantation in the heart of modern-day South Carolina. In fact, I just plain love to read anything she write. I have already pre-ordered her latest “Folly Beach” that will be released in July. Happy reading!

  51. LOVED LOVED LOVED Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. And Leigh, I must have read Alas Babylon 4 times in high school (the ’70s) and will never forget it. I rarely read fiction anymore and usually don’t like “Christian fiction” – seems more formulaic than secular. Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation is one of the best – it is a fictionalized autobiography and is very moving and inspirational.

  52. Melissa says:

    I’m into lists as well, so here you go, in no particular order
    – Astrid & Veronika
    – The Help
    – Never Look Away
    – Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (not fiction, but suprisingly readable and fascinating)
    – any Sue Grafton book (A is for Alibi is first in the alphabet series)
    – Bel Canto – Amazing and grabbed me right in
    – Pat Conroy, but they are long books – he’s a southern gentleman and takes his time with the story, but I enjoy
    I can’t think of any others right now, but with my head full of the crud, its not functioning properly. Hope you enjoy the reading. I live to read!!

  53. Gosh I hate to even post since my taste in novels seems a little different than others. I don’t like sad or depressing books but I do love mysteries. Just finished The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly, now reading I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark. Lately read Elisha’s Bones by Don Hoesel, Live Wire by Harlan Coban, Tick Tock by James Patterson, Strategic Moves by Stuart Woods, The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer and The End is Now by Rob Stennett. For fun books with great recipes as a bonus all the Joanne Fluke books are entertaining. So many books, so little time. Enjoy whatever you decide to read. Terry

  54. Best fiction I’ve read lately: Cutting for Stone. Here are my reasons for recommending it:

    Also — LOVED The Help!

  55. Debbie W in Texas says:

    I loved “The Voice”. Unique concept. Even my husband enjoyed it and he is not a fan of this type of program.

    Fun Reads –

    Mourning Gloria, by Susan Wittig Albert. The latest in the China Bayles mystery series about a central Texas herb shop owner and former lawyer whose husband is a former cop and now a private detective. Great book and great series.

    While My Pretty One Knits, by Anne Canadeo. First in a series about a kntting shop and commnity. Enjoyed this one a lot.

    A Cup of Friendship, by Deborah Rodriquez. The first fiction story by the author of “The Kabul Beauty School”. Wasn’t sure how this would be but I really loved it!

    I could go on forever but…….hope you enjoy these.


  56. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It’s a young adult series, but OH MY WORD, it’s good! I spent spring break reading and neglecting my husband and children.

  57. Jennifer says:

    As a B’ham girl I’m sure you have read The Southern Sisters series by Anne George, but if not you should. Also, Water for Elephants and Something Borrowed. Both of these have been made in movies that are about now or about to come out. I truly enjoy your blog! It’s normally my morning laugh!! Thanks!

  58. Annie had told me sometime back about a classic novel, “The Shuttle” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I finally read it and it was wonderful!! In fact, up until 1am last night finishing it and for me, that is late! And it was free for my Kindle—can’t beat that.

  59. I also highly recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I liked The Help also, but then I read The Queen of Palmyra (same setting basically) and found it to be much more realistic, in my opinion. It’s not sweet or happy in the least- but I still think about the characters (and even phrases that the author used) weekly and I think that’s a good measure of a book. It’s extremely well-written. The author’s name is Minrose Gwin.

  60. Carole says:

    I saw The Help mentioned already, but I had to chime in. I have a new baby – Henry – born 4/22. I started the book two days ago and now my fav thing is to hold “Hen-hen” (as my 3yo Walker calls him) and read this book! It’s one I’ll be sad to finish!

  61. LOVED The Voice (not to overstate my feelings!) I foresee a new TV addiction in my future.

  62. Hey there…haven’t been by in awhile. But, just wanted to send some love.

    Oh…and Karen Kingsbury never lets me down for a good dose of fiction. =) I think the Bailey Flannigann series is starting to come out. And, if you have read the Baxter series, you NEED to. Good stuff.

    Love to you…

  63. If you haven’t yet, try the author Susanna Kearsley:

    In anticipation of getting her newest book “The Rose Garden” from the library (except that I am number one billion I think in the queue), I just reread “Marianna” which I love. It is like comfort food– that book you can reread a few dozen times when you don’t want to think and just want to hang out with really nice characters. I am going to reread “The Winter Sea” now. I also love the author Guy Gavriel Kay if you are interested in fantasy. His trilogy “The Fionavar Tapestry” is my all time favourite read.

  64. I forgot to mention books! I adore Lori Wick’s older books, especially The Kensington Chronicles series, with “The Knight and the Dove” being my favorite. “The Princess,” “Bamboo and Lace,” and “Sophie’s Heart” are also really good. They’re the kind of books I become totally absorbed in and don’t want them to end. I also enjoy books by Mindy Starns Clarke (mysteries), Dee Henderson, Lori Copeland, and many, many others!

  65. I have to add my voice to several of these recommendations and add one more I didn’t see.

    I’ve read “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. I’m SO not a war story girl, but this biography is just stunning. Her writing is amazing.

    I’ve read “The Help” twice and will read it a third time before I see the movie. I can count the books I’ve read three times (in adulthood) on one hand.

    I’ve recommended the Hunger Games trilogy to several people. At least one of them has cursed me for lack of sleep. I’ll probably re-read them at some point too.

    Now for the one I haven’t heard from others: I’m currently reading “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese. It’s set in Ethiopia in the mid-20th century, and is a novel written from the point of view of the son (one of a set of twins) born to a nun. It’s his quest to find out about his history: who his father is, what his mother was like, etc. It’s very well written, and I’m enjoying it a lot.

    I’m SO glad you and everyone else I know in the area are safe from the storms. I’m unemployed currently, so I can’t do a lot monetarily to help, but the area is in my prayers for sure.

  66. Catherine Hunter says:

    The Forgotten Garden is a great book. Just finished reading it and LOVED it!

  67. Lisa Miller says:

    My favorite, favorite author is Bodie Thoene. ANYthing by her..but most especially The Zion Covenant series which is set in Pre World War 2 Europe and England. She has several series that tie in together in interesting ways. They show how God works things out in dangerous and precarious times. When I figure picked up the first book in the Covenant series called Vienna Prelude, I was sucked in by the time I was done with the first page. You won’t go wrong with these books!