re•cent reads

I'm one of those readers who likes to read a book in one sitting, two tops. When I finally gave in and decided to read the Harry Potter books, I finished the entire series in a week.

Of course, I don't have nearly as much time to sit and read in such a fashion as I'd like. Recently, I made the time to put a dent in the pile of books from Christmas (yikes!). Here's what I read (book links are affiliate links):



1. The Civilized World: A Novel in Stories, Susi Wyss
This is my favorite of the books in this post, but I do have a slight bias: Susi sits in the cubicle next to mine. I randomly discovered one day that she had a (quite popular) book published, and I made sure to win her autographed copy when our organization had a silent auction for charity!

The Civilized World is a collection of intertwining shorter stories, mostly set in Africa. It feels like every theme is covered from love, family, and friendship to business and politics. I love the honest representation of the cultures and characters. Certain bits had me snickering because I knew they could easily describe a lot of people in my organization. Bias aside, Oprah endorsed this book and the amazon reviews are fabulous, so I know I'm not the only fan.

2. When I Found You, Catherine Ryan Hyde
I received this and the next book from a blog book swap around the holidays. I enjoy fiction, and while I probably wouldn't have chosen this book for myself, I found myself enjoying (and getting frustrated with) the characters. The novel spans several years from the time protaganist Nathan discovers an abandoned newborn in the woods while hunting. I enjoyed the bond formed between Nathan and "baby Nathan" and their imperfections—I thought I had the story all figured out, but Hyde gave us a very "human" character who continued to keep things interesting.

3. A Scattered Life, Karen McQuestion
I received this in the same swap, and just finished it during my recent weekend in New York. It's my least favorite on this list, but that doesn't mean I didn't like it. We meet Skyla as a gypsy of sorts, then see her as a wife and friend...while she still sees herself as a wandering loner. The story is short and sweet, but I felt removed from the characters—although the story itself doesn't leave loose ends, I finished the book with a lot of questions regarding the people in it.

4. The Last Mercenary, Diana Palmer + Her Lone Cowboy
I received this one in a different book swap over Christmas. I'm open to a mindless romance read every now and then. The book is actually two novellas by different authors, both of which could be finished in one sitting if you have the time. Mercenary deals with well, Mercenary Micah's rescue of his kidnapped stepsister, Callie, while Cowboy tells the story of a service member who is back home near family and a new friend after a serious injury.  Both follow your typical romance formula of meeting/confusion/conflict/happily ever after, and I'm totally fine with that. I love a happy ending!

What have you read recently?

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