This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This is How It Always IsThis is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book!!! For many reasons.

I loved the writing style. I can’t quite explain what I loved about it, but it was a great way to read a book.

I loved the family. The drama, the dynamics, the struggles. I felt like I was in the house with them, watching them, learning about him, like a peek into their world.

I loved that this book challenged me a bit. I went into it not really knowing much about what it meant to have a transgender child but this booked helped me understand. And I really am glad for that.

I loved all the talk about parenting in this book because it is so reliable for any parent. Are we making the right choices? Can we ever really know exactly what to do?

I really would love to read more about this family in the future. I care about what happens to them and will miss them now that I have finished the book.

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A Spark of Light By Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light By Jodi Picoult

Have you ever read a book with a really difficult topic? Did it make you think? Did it make you see the other side?

Well, Jodi Picoult’s latest book, A Spark of Light did just that for me.

A Spark of Light By Jodi Picoult

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A Spark of Light is about some very real characters, a women’s reproductive health services clinic, and a desperate and distraught gunman who bursts in and open fires.

This book is written in reverse. This can be weird at first. The event happens, and then you go backward. All the Missing Girls also did this and while it isn’t my favorite way to read a book, you do get used to doing so. With books like this, it is best to read as much as you can in a short amount of time. Don’t let this writing style turn you off though, Jodi Picoult does it well.

What I liked most about this book were the characters. There are many, and each one is connected to the clinic for different reasons. Each person has their own belief system about abortion, what is right, and what is wrong. They make some of their choices based on this, and you can really see the different sides coming through.

When you are writing about a topic as heated as abortion, it can be difficult to express both sides of the debate. I think Jodi Picoult did this well. And she does this by weaving the different viewpoints into the story through all of the different characters.

A Spark of Light By Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light not going to be for everyone. For some, this book might simply be too hard to read because of the topic. There could be personal reasons for staying away.

However, if you think you can handle this type of topic, I will recommend this book to you.

You are not going to agree with every character, and you might hate some of them.

You might not even agree with how the book plays out.

But you will be able to spend time reading a story that will make you think about other viewpoints and the way people live their lives, and I think that is a good thing.

This is the third book I have read by Jodi Picoult. I read Leaving Time and Small Great Things and would love to read more of her books.

Have you read A Spark of Light? What did you think?

Are you a fan of Jodi Picoult?

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Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where The Crawdads Sing

I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens this past weekend.


I first heard about Where the Crawdads Sing through Reese Witherspoon’s book club, Hello Sunshine and I couldn’t resist starting it myself.

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This books got me. In a similar way that the Great Alone by Kristin Hannah did, even though the stories are quite different. In both, you really fall into the setting and the world of the main character. You want them to be okay, you are not sure they are going to be, and you want things to end well for them.

Where the Crawdads Sing is about the marsh in North Carolina and the girl who grew up there alone. This book is a beautiful story about humans, nature, and survival. This book is quite emotional but worth the journey.

Where the Crawdads Sing will draw you in the world of the characters, keep you guessing about what really happened to a local hero, and have you empathizing with the Marsh Girl and what she has been through.

Where the crawdads sing

The marsh itself is a character of its own and the author does an amazing job describing not only the landscape but the animals that live there. You will almost feel like you are actually there, in the marsh, with the “Marsh Girl” and the other characters of the novel.

Written by Delia Owens, this is a must read and could end up being my #1 fiction pick for 2018. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel and I am looking forward to reading more of her books in the future. She writes beautifully and is able to tell quite the story with engaging characters that make you never want to put the book down.

Have you read Where the Crawdads Sing? What did you think?

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The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

The Secrets of midwivesThe Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

Way back before I had children I worked a little bit as a doula. Because of that I got to know a few midwives and went to about 6 or 7 births. I haven’t done a lot with birth since then other than having three of my own children. This book, The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth took me right back to those days.

The Secrets of Midwives is about three generations of midwives and the secrets that they have. Neva is keeping the details surrounding her pregnancy secret. Grace, her mother is not okay with not knowing who the baby’s father is. Floss, Grace’s mother and Neva’s grandmother has a secret of her own.

This book has great characters, a great story that keeps you wondering what is going to happen next and a touch of Call the Midwife feel to it as part of the story takes us back 60 years to England. I loved reading about life as a midwife and doing so brought me right back to my own births as well as the ones I attended when I was a doula.

Sally Hepworth lives in Australia with her husband and her two children. She also wrote The Things We Keep as well as The Mother’s Promise: A Novel that comes out in February. I will be adding her other books to my to be read list.

Have you read The Secrets of Midwives or anything by Sally Hepworth?


Really Good WWII Historical Fiction to Add to Your Reading List

Really Good WWII Historical Fiction to Add to Your Reading List

Really Good WWII Historical Fiction to Add to Your Reading List

There is something about WWII Historical Fiction that draws me in. There are so many books to choose from and each one gives us a slice of life during that time. Some of these books are harder to read than others and some will have you in tears wondering how all of what you read could have really happened. When we read World War 2 historical fiction we find ourselves connecting to the characters, wondering what we would do if we were in their shoes and showing compassion for any of the pain they have felt because of what they went through.

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Here are some really good WWII historical fiction books to add to your reading list:

1. The Nightingale This book by Kristin Hannah will take you to France, Paris and the French Countryside during the war. The story is about two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle and what they go through during those years. Their relationship and what they had to do to survive during these times.

2. Lilac Girls This book is the first by Martha Hall Kelly. The book takes you through the point of view of three women during the war and the aftermath. Caroline Ferriday is a New York socialite, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager and Herta Oberheuser, a young German doctor. As the story progresses, all three stories intertwined once Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the Nazi concentration camp for women.

3. Secrets of a Charmed Life This book by Susan Meissner takes you to England during the Blitz. The story goes back and forth between Kendra Van Zant, an American student in modern day England and fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree in the early 1940s England. The story is about the choices that Emmy makes and the relationship with her younger sister Julia.

4. All the Light We Cannot See– Anthony Doerr wrote this one and I will warn you that it will take some time to get into the book. It is the story of Marie-Laure, a blind girl living in France and the orphan Werner, living in a mining town in Germany. The story spans the years leading up to the war as well as the time during the war itself.

5. Sarah’s Key- Written by Tatiana de Rosnay, Sarah’s Key is probably the saddest WWII Historical Fiction book you will read. The story goes back and forth between Sarah, a 10-year-old French-born Jewish girl, and Julia, an American married to a French man living in modern day Paris. In July 1942, Sarah is arrested by the French police along with her mother and father as a part of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup. But to save her brother she locks him in a hidden cupboard assuming they will be able to come back for him soon after. The story takes us through Sarah’s journey as well as Julia’s as she learns about what happened in Sarah’s apartment.

Have you read any of these books? What WWII historical fiction books have you read?

When You Love All The Books

reading life

As I think back over my reading life, I realize that I have read many different types of books over the year. My mom was a teacher and because of that, we had a lot of Dick and Jane type books around the house. I can remember trying to read them even before I was only enough to be doing so. I have been a reader ever since.

I read Ramona and the Babysitter’s Club. As I got older I went through a Christopher Pike stage and after that, I spent about 10 years reading mostly Christian fiction with some John Grisham thrown in the mix. It was about the time I had my first child that I realized there was so much more out there in the world of books. There was the popular fiction books that everyone read, historical fiction which I have always been a fan of, fantasy and later on YA as that genre started to become popular.

These days, at the age of 37, my reading life is based on almost any type of book that looks interesting to me. I want to know that the book is good and that a lot of people enjoyed reading it too. I don’t want to waste my time on a book I have to put down half way through. I want to make sure that before I start a book that I am going to enjoy reading that story.

I love talking about books with other people and I am lucky enough to have friends that like to read a lot of different kind of books as well. As I look at my TBR list, which will never be completed in this lifetime, I see a little bit of everything and I love that.

Sometimes I want to read about Paris in 1944 and other times I want to read about a dystopian adventure in the far future. I am thankful I live in the time that I do. I have access to almost every book I would want to read. Whatever mood I am in, there is a book out there to match. I have access to libraries and bookstores and even friends who might have a book I am looking to read next. As a blogger, I can review books and learn about new ones as they come out into the world. My TBR pile will always be too long and that is okay with me.

They say you can’t ask a reader what their favorite book is and this is pretty much true. I could tell you what I loved in high school, a Christy Miller book. I could tell you what I loved in college or in my mid to late 30s. And then today, what is my favorite today? There are too many choices and I honestly can’t tell you which one of the books I have read lately is my favorite. That depends on the day you ask me that question.

What about you? Do you like all the books like I do? Anything you won’t read? Anything you find yourself reading more than any other type of book?

Why I Like To Keep Track Of My Books

What I Track My Books

Are you on Goodreads? I love Goodreads. It’s the best. You can connect with people, see what they are reading, read reviews and track what you have read. You can also connect with authors, enter giveaways and join groups about your favorite books and authors.

Before Goodreads I would write down everything I read in a notebook. I wanted to remember what I had been reading. It’s helpful for many reasons. I like to be organized with my reading and writing things down is a must when it comes to that. I can’t possibly remember every single book I have read off-hand.

Once I joined Goodreads I started tracking my books. There is the option to add the books you want to read but I don’t typically use Goodreads for that. I prefer to just enter books as I am reading them and then when I finish.

I love to look back and see what I was reading at the same time of the year. I love to see what I thought of books I have read and can go back through my list to look at authors I have liked. Then I can go find more books I haven’t read from them.

I also like to look back at the end of the year at how many books I have read. Some years are more than others. Goodreads also has challenges which is fun. You pick how many books you want to read during the year and it will tell you if you are on track or not. I have only read 11/100 this year so I need to pick up the pace a bit.

I also like to see how long it takes me to finish a particular book. I try to log that I started a book but sometimes I wait until I am about 15% in. By then I usually know if I am going to keep reading or if I am going to give the book up because I just don’t think I will like it after all.

Tracking my books is apart of the reading experience for me. I enjoy tracking my books and if I ever find my old notes from before Goodreads, I will enter them in there too.

Do you like to track your books? Do you use Goodreads or another site to do so? If you are, let’s connect there too 🙂

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns

Have you read the Fault in Our Stars? You should! This is a great book and also a movie. John Green is the author. After I read the Fault in Our Stars I knew I wanted to read more about his books. When I heard that another one of his books is going to be a movie I put it on my list. I figured that if I loved Fault in Our Stars I would like anything else he wrote as well.

Paper Towns is the story of Quentin, a senior in high school who is about to graduate. His neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, crawls through his window one night and asks for help. Although the two were very close as children they had not talked much in their teen years. After having an interesting adventure with Margo all over town, Q wakes up the next morning to find her missing. Once he discovers that she has left him some clues, he starts investigating and the story goes from there.

Paper Towns was another quick read and I also enjoyed the move. They did change a few details in the movie which happens but nothing that bothered me too much. The actors were well cast in my opinion which is a good thing.

Paper Towns wasn’t quite as dramatic as the Fault in Our Stars.  The book was funny in parts, suspenseful in others. Most of the story takes place in Orlando, Florida and there are other supporting characters that I did find rather interesting like Quentin’s friends and even his parents.

This is a GREAT book for vacation, a plane ride or if you are in the mood for some young adult fiction about teenagers trying to figure out their world.

Have you read anything by John Green? Have you read Paper Towns?



Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies, the fiction book cafe

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

If you haven’t heard of Liane Moriarty, you should really check her out. She is one my favorite new writers. This year I have read three of her books, she has six that are published. I started with The Husband’s Secret and then read What Alice Forgot. I just finished Big Little Lies. I loved it as much as I thought I would. It’s a good read and brings up a lot of emotions.


Big Little Lies is about three friends. Madeline, Celeste and Jane. It is also about a primary school in Australia and the drama that can happen there. Madeline is funny, passionate and is always moving and doing something. Her ex-husband also lives in the same area and has a daughter with his new wife in the same class as her daughter. This alone can cause drama. Celeste is the beautiful one, she always seems flustered and not always present. She has twin boys and seems to be a part of the perfect couple. Jane is a young single mom that moves to the area. She is overall sad about life and we eventually find out why.

My thoughts

This is one of those books that draws you in right away. Something big happens but you don’t find out what it is right away and the book will keep you guessing. The three main characters are so different which is a good thing. It is easy to see that they lead very different lives and you eventually find out why. There are many different supporting characters from their husbands to their children to the other school moms. What I like the most about Liane Moriarty is that every character she writes about seems to have their own personality. This book also deals with some darker issues such as domestic violence and divorce. Not everything is as it seems, but it all comes together in one book that is worth spending the time reading.

I have heard that Big Little Lies is going to be a mini-series. That will be exciting and I think this will do well in that form. I am excited it see it when it comes out on HBO sometime in the future.

Have you read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty? What did you think?


Fiction Books for Days

book blog

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my new book blog, “The Fiction Book Cafe.” As a huge fan of reading, I wanted to start a blog all about the fiction books I have read. I decided that it would be best to focus on fiction. I love all types of fiction and that is what you will find here. I am also a fan of non-fiction but in a given year I read a lot more fiction books.

I have always been a reader, even when I was very small. I read a lot growing up, through high school and college. I would sneak my books into my classes and read a few pages in between taking notes. Once I got married I continued to read and then I had my first child in 2004. I didn’t stop reading then either. With waking up to nurse in the middle of the night, I read as much as I could during those early years. As time has gone by, I have continued to keep up my reading. It’s important to me and always has been. Although I do have days every once in a while where I don’t read anything, most days I am reading something. Whether it is just a couple of pages or many chapters.

I have been wanting to start a book blog for a long time now. I have another blog, Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life but I wanted a place to talk about books. So here we are, at the end of 2015, ready to talk about fiction books!

What have you been reading lately???