Snow Day Reads

snow day reads

Image by Peace Hill Press

Here in the Ohio Valley, we are waiting for 2016’s version of Snowmagedon, complete with snow, ice, bitter winds and court cancellations. HURRAH! I’ve got a book on tape I’ve been listening to while traveling — The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out A Window by by Jonas Jonasson — and several books on the read in my hands: No Mud, No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, and Written in my Own Heart’s Blood, an Outlander novel by Diana Gabaldon.

I’ve got my grandmother’s potato soup cooking in a pot, some leftover turkey and black bean chili in the refrigerator and thinking about putting together some oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies, just in case things get desperate. And yes, a couple bottles of red wine.

What are you reading this weekend? If you need a suggestion . . . or a recipe . . . I don’t mind sharing.

black chalk

Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates. Shades of The Secret History as a gang of school friends embarks on a series of increasingly volatile games. The tension is hot enough to keep you warm. It’s available on Kindle so you can download it immediately.

Italian affair

An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser. Molto bene, Laura Fraser takes us on her real-life, personal journey falling in love in Italy. The landscape is gorgeous, the food is great, the romance is juicy. And Laura’s a great writer. I had the pleasure of taking a class from her at the San Miguel Writers’ Conference last February and would love to go on one of her writing excursions. Also available in kindle edition.


The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr. A true life mystery of recovering a lost Caravaggio. “Jonathan Harr has taken the story of theThe Lost Painting lost painting, and woven from it a deeply moving narrative about history, art and taste–and about the greed, envy, covetousness and professional jealousy of people who fall prey to obsession. It is as perfect a work of narrative nonfiction as you could ever hope to read.” —The Economist Also available on Kindle.

fault in our

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Want to lose yourself in a weepy love story? Read the book. Then watch the movie. Then pick up your old Riverside Shakespeare from college and read Romeo & Juliet. Kleenex necessary.


Any of Peter Mayle’s Provence books. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Or pull out one of those classics you sort of read in college moldering on your bookshelf: Vanity Fair (Thackery), The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck), Oliver Twist (Dickens). Whatever it is, I’d love to know what you’re reading.

Stay warm.reading in snow





My Reading Year


“Overdue Book Calendar” auntjune’s Etsy shop.

As the New Year approaches, I have begun a review of this one. What did I accomplish, what did I fail to accomplish, what is worth remembering and what would I rather forget? I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to the San Miguel Writers Conference, attending the Carnegie Center of Lexington’s Books in Progress Conference, the Kentucky Women Writers Conference and the Appalachian Writers Workshop. I met and learned from a number of wonderful writers, including: Rosalind Brackenbury; Jacinda Townsend; Marie Manilla; Hannah Pittard; Ronni Lundy; Scott Turow; Rebecca Gayle Howell; Robert Gipe; and David Joy. Most overwhelmingly joyously, I signed with Folio Literary Management’s Senior Vice President Erin Cartwright Niumata for representation. My website is up and running,, and Erin has my novel “After the Race” out to multiple editors and publishers for sale. It’s been a busy, exciting, successful year and I am so thankful for all those who have helped and guided me.

And I’m thankful for you readers. On average, about 100 people read this blog daily. I hope you have found a book you weren’t aware of, or a recipe, or maybe a playlist. I hope it’s made you laugh, or curious, or on occasion, thoughtful.

Today, I’m providing an overview of the books read in my book club. Tomorrow, I’m going to reveal my best reads of 2015 — not necessarily published in 2015. And as always, I’d love to hear what your book club is reading, what your favorite book of 2015 was, what you’re cooking or listening to while you read.

Book Club 2015 Reads

I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzal. Published in 2013, this is the autobiography of the teenage Nobel Prize winner. Our hostess served a Mediterranean platter of hummus, tzitaki, vegetables and pita.

A Dog’s Purpose, Bruce Cameron. See my earlier post:

Delta Scarlett

A Touch of Stardust, Kate Alcott. This novel, published in 2017, is supposed to be about a young woman from Indiana who becomes involved in the lives of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard during the filming of Gone with the Wind. It was simplistic, a bit silly, and our book club was not impressed.

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins. This book was a success with everyone. See my earlier post:

Life after Life, Kate Atkinson. Also a big success. I’ve posted about Life After Life and Atkinson’s follow-up A God In Ruins

Saint Monkey, Jacinda Townsend. Whenever we can find a novel that has a Saint Monkey covertie to our locale, we certainly try to read it. Townsend’s Kentucky to New York odyssey had us in thrall. See my earlier post:

We Were Liars, E. Lockhart. A Kennedy-esque mystery of sorts.

archie ap comicUnbecoming, Rebecca Scherm. Another guessing game involving a triplet of would-be thieves with literary undertones and one of our favorites. I need to blog about this. Author Rebecca Scherm, as I understand, went to the same high school as I did.

Black Chalk, Christopher J. Yates. Another twisty page-turner that I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about! Look forward to that one.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky, Nancy Horan. The author of Loving Frank, which we all loved, followed up with this novel about Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife, which we did not love. See my earlier post:

Logo_-_MameMame, Patrick Dennis. Who doesn’t love Auntie Mame with her outrageous clothing, behavior, match-making and travels? It was a perfect, classic to end the year.


So there’s our year of book club reads. Tomorrow, my favorite reads of 2015.

Happy Reading!