What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable

Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet book reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

This month I’ve been reading so many advance review copies for the Summer Reading Guide (and the time to begin sharing those is not terribly far away!).

I’ve also been in the car a ton: I’m not overly fond of road trips, but I definitely enjoyed listening to two audiobooks in quick succession last week: one en route to my destination, and one on the way home.

Quick Lit February 2019
Garden Spells

Garden Spells

I so enjoyed revisiting this old favorite for Book Club last month, because it was our flight selection to accompany the newer release Harry's Trees. Like all the women in her family, Claire Waverly possesses a unique magic: she uses edible flowers to prepare foods that affect the eater in “curious ways.” Years ago, Claire’s sister fled town—and her Waverly gift—but she discovers her own sort of magic when she returns. What to say about this book? The romance is cheesy, the magic is impossible, but put them together and it sings. A few love scenes are a little racy (ahem). If you’re not down with supernatural food or a magical apple tree, skip this one—but you should know how many readers call this “a wonderful surprise.” More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Bookshop
On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this for the first time about ten years ago, and have been meaning to revisit it. When my friend Ariel told me the audio version was terrific—and read by the author—I decided to re-read in audio format. Once again, I found it to be an exceptional book for book lovers and a must-read for writers, and I'm saying that as someone who has read a grand total of two books by King. (The other is 11/22/63.) I thoroughly enjoyed the story of his path to publication and his personal writing process (although now I'm sure I never, ever want to read Carrie.) I especially enjoyed the anecdotes he shared about his marriage and struggle with substance abuse. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
On the Come Up

On the Come Up

I've been looking forward to this new release from the author of The Hate U Give, and when I saw that Bahni Turpin narrates, I knew I wanted to listen—she's one of my very favorites, and my audiobook queue is full of her titles. This audiobook made the miles fly by: I was engrossed in the story of 15-year-old Brianna, who is confident in her dreams—and has a chance of making them come true—but first has to navigate a whole slew of pitfalls, both the ones forced upon her and the ones of her own making. If you appreciated THUG, add this to your TBR immediately. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Libro.fm
Buy from Bookshop
More Than Words

More Than Words

You may know Santopolo from her big 2017 bestseller The Light We Lost. I enjoyed this one a lot more. It's about Nina Gregory, hotel heiress and campaign strategist, and how her life falls apart after her father dies—due to her grief, and secrets revealed in the wake of her loss. I found this to be predictable but pleasant; the romance plot took center stage, but I found the strong supporting female characters to be more interesting. The campaign elements reminded me of Parenthood (when Kristina and Amber work on a political campaign) and The West Wing, which was fun. Heads up for some racy scenes. And also: am I the only one who is reading a ton of contemporary fiction featuring a "Nina" as protagonist? More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, and Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self

The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, and Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self

I loved the original book The Confidence Code, aimed at grown-ups, and was delighted to stumble upon this new edition for the younger set at my local bookstore. The authors do an excellent job of adapting the content for tweens and young teens, addressing topics that matter to women no matter their age, like getting comfortable with risk-taking, learning how to squelch negative thought patterns, and growing confidence to take on challenges involving sports, school, ambitions, and personal relationships. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound

What have you been reading lately? Tell us all about it in comments or share a link in the comments to your post on what you’ve been reading lately!

P.S. Because I know you want to know: that top photo is from Off Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. I highly recommend a visit.


Leave A Comment
  1. Linda Stoll says:

    February was created for leisurely reads, stories that capture your heart, and thought-provoking conversations between friends.

    Becoming Mrs. Lewis has become my hands down favorite historical fiction. And I’d love for you to come by the Book Club this week and join us as we chat about this new classic …

    And to sweeten the pot, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card. Just because.


  2. Kacie says:

    I felt the same about THUG and Bahni Turpin, and I’m also listening to On the Come Up. So good!

    Finishing off my NASA book flight (The Mercury 13, Rise of the Rocket Girls, Rocket Men by Robert Kursen, and now Endurance by Scott Kelly). Really enjoying this.

    Also starting a new flight in preparation for my upcoming trip to Arizona. I’m reading Kingsolvers the Bean Trees right now and have oh, 6+ titles I’d like to get to soon.

    Too many books, too little time.

  3. Christine O'Connor says:

    I’m currently reading, “The Library Book,” by Susan Orlean. If you’re a “book nerd” like me, I think you’ll really like this one. It’s all about the historic fire at the Los Angeles City Library in the 80s.

  4. Teri says:

    I am currently reading Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and listening to Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. I kicked off the year by reading 15 of my 50 book goal. Amor Towles and Kristin Hannah are currently my two favorite authors. I am attempting to go back and read classic and award winning literature that should have been read when I was younger.

  5. Gay Bitter says:

    My son had to read On Writing prior to entering high school – I read it then too and really enjoyed it. I’m a knitter and quilter so have been listening to books recently while working. I really enjoyed Bill Bryson’s One Summer, America 1927. It revolves around Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis flight to France, but talks about so much more…baseball, politics, and scandalous legal trials. I’m currently listening to The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl, it’s a drama and a bit of a thriller with characters that draw you right in. Current print reads are The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty (I’d classify this one as more of a summer beach read, but it’s fast moving), and Why Religion by Elaine Pagels – a memoir of her life, study of the Gnostic Gospels, personal tragedy and how religion has woven its way through her life.

  6. Debbie Laws says:

    Just finished two books. The Library Book made me realize what I had forgotten–what a national treasure our libraries are!!!!! And off my TBR shelf–Death Comes For The Archbishop. That was a treat.

  7. I’m currently reading “Harry’s Tree” based on your recommendation! Before that I read the 8th book in the Inspector Gamache series. It ended with quite a cliff hanger so I am anxiously waiting for the 9th book to be available at the library! I’m also tempted to check out the physical version, which is available right now… but reading a physical book just feels so hard with a baby!

  8. Karen Funfgeld says:

    Speaking of Stephen King, I am reading “The Stand,” a big endeavor at 1200 pages. I have been told it may be his best book, though for me I’m not sure it can top 11/22/63. I am only about 250 pages into it, so the jury is still out. I have downloaded the audio version of On Writing and plan to get to it soon.

  9. Barbara Rodriguez says:

    My year has started out strong (13/75 books read). The highlights for me are the completion of the Winternight series by Katherine Arden, The Winter of the Witch as well as Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (magical realism) and Becoming by Michelle Obama (I highly recommend the Audio read by the author).
    Also have made steady progress with my brand new book journal.

  10. Tanya says:

    I will definitely be listening to On the Come Up. I loved Turpin’s narration of The Hate you Give, she’s fabulous! Currently reading Meet me at the Museum for book club & The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell. Living both of them.

  11. Ashleigh says:

    I just finished Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger on audiobook. It was fantastic. I loved listening to the author (it was almost like listening to a podcast) and only on a few occasions wished I had actually been reading it instead (which is a big deal as I struggle with focusing when listening to audiobooks). Currently reading Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty and struggling a bit with it as it’s more character driven than plot driven. I just want to know what happened at the barbecue! Thanks to this post, I’ve just added two new books to my neverending TBR list!

  12. Lyndsey G says:

    Recently, I’ve finished Garden Spells (lovely read!); audio version of Ready Player One (didn’t love it, but did enjoy it and am glad I read it); audio of Bossy Pants (Tina Fey’s narration is fun to listen to); audios of In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It, and Talking As Fast As I Can (both narrated by Lauren Graham and LOVED them); audio of The Almost Sisters (my first Joshilyn Jackson, and certainly won’t be my last!); and my 10 year old and I finished listening to audio of How To Train Your Dragon (a fun one!). Now I am reading Parkland by Dave Cullen and listening to We Have Always Lived In the Castle. My kids and I have started the audio of The War That Saved My Life. (I’ve read the print and absolutely loved it.)

  13. Stephanie says:

    Ohhhhhhh, Garden Spells. Such a lovely book. I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Sarah Addison Allen back when she was promoting, I think, The Girl Who Chased the Moon. She’s absolutely as much of a delight as her books, and this makes me want to pick up another of hers!

  14. Regis says:

    I just finished The Night Circus, which I really loved but took me forever (5 weeks!?!) because life is busy. Now I’m just a couple of chapters into Educated and really intrigued so far.

  15. Stephen King’s usual work is not my genre, but I want to read hos book on writing some time.

    Right now I am listening to Becoming Mrs. Lewis and reading Steal Away Home, about a friendship between Charles Spurgeon and a freed slave, Journaling for the soul by Deborah Haddix, and your book about reading.

    I finished this month a wonderful book about devotions in general, but especially how to read and get the most out of the different genres in the Bible. It’s called Reading for Life by George Guthrie: https://barbarah.wordpress.com/2019/02/13/book-review-read-the-bible-for-life/

    I also enjoyed Marilla of Green Gables (https://barbarah.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/book-review-marilla-of-green-gables/) and Katie’s Dream by Leisha Kelly (https://barbarah.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/book-review-katies-dream/).

  16. Heidi Farr says:

    I’m deep into The Warmth of Other Suns, and it’s fantastic. When I get tired of the Great Migration, I switch to Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver, or At the Wolf’s Table, a novel about the German women who were food tasters for Hitler. Both are great!

  17. Heather says:

    I set aside everything else when my copy of “The Dreamers” arrived on the library hold shelf. It did not disappoint. Currently, I am very much enjoying “Spectacles” the memoir of Sue Perkins from The Great British Bake-Off. It took some doing to get my hands on a copy, but it has been a delight to read, especially if you are a fan of hers. On deck is “I Think You’re Wrong, but I’m Listening” from the Pantsuit Politics ladies and I am very much looking forward do diving into it.

  18. April Best says:

    I am definitely adding some of these to my TBR list 🙂 I just finished Atomic Habits which was amazing! And I am finishing up Circe by Madeleine Miller which I have been enjoying thoroughly — it is taking me on a trip down memory lane to my college freshman Greek and Roman Humanities course. I have been slowly reading through Taking the Arrow out of the Heart by Alice Walker — almost every poem has made me tear up.

  19. jayne garvin says:

    Just finished Where the Crawdads sing. Really good. On the Come Up is coming on vacation with me!! Can’t wait. Also, the seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is worth a read.

  20. I really enjoyed On Writing as well, even though I’ve actually NEVER read another Stephen King book. (I’m way too freaked out to even try! I’m definitely an HSP, to the core.) And I kind of can’t believe I still haven’t picked up The Hate U Give–I’ve heard almost nothing but rave reviews about it, so it’s about time I probably put a hold on it already 🙂

    January was a decent reading month for me, and I was happy to see that after a major reading slump over the holidays, I seem to be picking back up to normal speed with plenty of nonfiction (some Laura Vanderkam, the book Little Soldiers by Lenora Chu) as well as some fiction picks to lighten it up (like My Mrs. Brown, which maybe was trying to lighten it up *too* much). More thoughts on the blog post I did today!


  21. Mary says:

    I am reading One Summer in America: 1927 by Bill Bryson – and learning SO much! I just finished listening to An Anonymous Girl, which was totally disturbing, but inna good way?!?! Someone had recommended Next Year in Havana on audio and I can tell just an hour in that it is going to capture me. Thank you for continuing to inspire my reading life! Garden Spells was given to many people last Christmas from me with rave reviews. I love all of her books ? ?❤️.

  22. Julie E says:

    I just finished The Golem and the Jinni, a book I probably never would have picked up if it weren’t for Anne recommending it on the podcast. Highly recommend it, even if you’re not typically into fantasy. Great characters, twisty plot, and vivid setting. I’m currently reading Meet Me At The Museum for the MMD Book Club and really like it so far!

  23. S says:

    I already had On the Come Up on my TBR but will add The Confidence Code to the list.

    So many great reads lately – Becoming followed by Who Thought This Was a Good Idea (great book flight and Sisters First is on my tbr to make this a balanced trio). Graphic Novels have hooked me since devouring Hey Kiddo last year- read Spinning, Check Please and Chopstick in the last few weeks.
    Also read Maid (average for me), Kitchn Yarns (all the love – a keeper to re-read and cook from), Hens Dancing (so fun/comfort read), and Dopesick (eye opening but heart breaking/perspective shifting and I need some light and hopefilled reading after that dense informative but depression inducing expose). Reading Ghost (Jason Reynolds) and I Think You’re Wrong… currently.

  24. Erika says:

    I feel exactly the same way about “On Writing.” I’m not a horror fan, but adored that book.

    The kids and I tackled “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis this month and they LOVED it. We tried to start book two in the chronological series, “The Horse and His Boy,” but the language was a bit too flowery for them. They are only five and six. Would you just wait till they are older and try again to tackle the series or try a different book first. The debate on what order to read these books on the internet – oy vey, I give and am seeking advice from other Mom readers….. lol


  25. Debra says:

    I read Persepolis, a great insight into the author’s teen years in the Middle East. I also read When Breath Becomes Air. This book, while impactful, was not my cup of tea. The issues and questions raised were excellent, and lead to a great discussion with my sons who also read it, but the writing seemed purposefully difficult in vocabulary and complexity. And Winter Garden which I loved, with its insight into Russian life during the WWII and the relationship of daughters and their mother. I have decided that Kirstin Hannah will be the author I read three books for the challenge. This month, I am reading Name of the Wind as I tackle a new genre per that challenge. I also finished Meet Me at the Museum for Book Club. I really enjoyed it and the conversations we are having on it.

  26. Sandy Young says:

    Just finished The One-in-a-Million Boy and The Bookshop on the Corner. Loved, loved, loved both. Cried a good bit in The Boy because both the boy and his dad reminded me of my son, who died in 1992 at 24 and who was a talented musician. The Bookshop was so good, but I’m afraid that I didn’t understand the title. I don’t know why Monica Wood changed the title. Right now, I’m getting in to How to Read Literature Like a Professor. I was an English teacher for 32 years and am eager to get involved in this one! Also reading David Baldacci’s Long Road to Mercy. Both my husband and I devour Baldacci’s novels!

  27. Sandy Young says:

    Oops! I forgot to mention that I’m also just starting In a Flash! Writing & Publishing Dynamic Flash Prose by Melanie Faith. I’ll be completing the exercises that she gives in each chapter.

  28. Erika Shirk says:

    I can’t wait to read On the Come Up! I’m number 7 on my library wait list! Here are the books I read in January: https://erikashirk.com/2019/02/19/forced-to-quit-my-reading-streak-quick-lit-january-books/

    I accidentally started and then on purpose continued my streak of finishing a book a day until January 10th. Inspired by your habit of reading a book a day during winter break after christmas. I concluded it was the best way to start the year.

  29. Kaethe Pittman says:

    I am seven books into the MMD 2019 challenge! My list: The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (for #2); Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me, A Matter of Trust, and Storm Front, all by Susan May Warren (for #s 5,6,7, and 9, respectively); Raquel by Leon Feuchtwanger (for #10); and Joan of Arc by Mark Twain (for #12). For the Susan May Warren bunch, I started with Storm Front even though it is #5 in her Montana Rescue series because I won it and my adult daughter squealed with delight when I opened the package, saying “I love her!” Hard to resist that kind of endorsement!! Then I loved it so much, I went back for more and am reading my way through the series (nice Christian romances). The Daughter of Time was thanks to a recent WSIRN podcast episode, and it was so good I read it in one day. Thanks for the fabulous recommendation, Anne!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.