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November 20, 2017
Today, I’m delighted to be featuring author Lauren Faulkenberry, as my guest. I have also posted my review of her latest novel on this site - ‘Just the Trouble I Needed.’
Lauren for these most inspiring book recommendations.
Daisy Mae x
About the Author
Lauren Faulkenberry is author of the Bayou Sabine series, which includes BAYOU MY LOVE (2016), BACK TO BAYOU SABINE (2016), BAYOU WHISPERS (2017), and JUST THE TROUBLE I NEEDED (2017), all from Blue Crow Books. She is also the author and illustrator of the children’s book WHAT DO ANIMALS DO ON THE WEEKEND? (Novello Festival Press 2002, reprint edition forthcoming 2018).
Lauren divides her time between writing, teaching, and printmaking. Originally from South Carolina, she has worked as an archaeologist, an English teacher, and a ranger for the National Park Service. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Georgia College & State University, and her MFA in Book Arts from The University of Alabama. She was a finalist for the Novello Festival Press First Novel Award, won the Family Circle short fiction contest for her story “Beneath Our Skin,” and was nominated for an AWP Intro Award. She’s a sucker for a good love story and is happiest when she writes comedy and romance. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook and learn more at laurenfaulkenberry.com
My 10 Most Favorite Recent Reads
Today I’m writing about the best books I read this year. As a writer, I’m always looking for good stories, and reading keeps me inspired and wanting to write. I read all kinds of genres, from literary fiction to paranormal romance. A good story is a good story, regardless of genre, and I learn a little something from all of them. To borrow Michael Kardos’s words, these books made me pay attention; they reminded me what it feels like to be human.
1. Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor. This might be my absolute favorite of 2017. It’s a beautifully written story of a missing girl, but the real depth comes from the ways that all of the characters’ lives are entangles. I was completely captivated by the voice and the style of writing, and could hardly put it down. If you like a smart, suspenseful story with heart, this is for you.
2. The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill. I knew I’d like this book after the first page. Quirky and imaginative, its characters struggle through a dismal life in a Depression-era orphanage. when separated we follow their parallel lives, hoping the find each other again. They face a multitude of hardships, but shine with imagination. O’Neill’s prose is a delight to read, and I love a good love story.
3. Dangerous in a Kilt by Anna Durand. I love a good romance, but I have stipulations: the heroine must be smart, the hero must be more than her savior, and humor gets gold stars. Durand’s funny, sexy romp puts Erica in the path of the foxy Lachlan, who is house-sitting next door. I swooned and laughed out loud, and didn’t want the story to end. A fun romance with a lot of heart—and sizzling love scenes.
4. The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry. A love story with a little time-travel? I’m skeptical of this premise, but I was pleasantly reminded of The Time Traveler’s Wife. The characters were endearing, the premise was interesting, and I was sucked into the two parallel worlds. Melancholy and heartwarming, this YA story had me captivated until the end.
5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Heart-wrenching and well written, this is one I won’t soon forget. Thomas’s voice is sharp and strong, and I felt instantly transported into Starr’s world. The story is timely and haunting. I dare you not to want to be a better person after reading this book. I’m a fan of Thomas for life.
6. Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. A well-crafted unreliable narrator is delicious. When done well, it’s one of my favorite kinds of storytelling. Kepnes masterfully captures the depths of obsession with the fractured Joe, who is all kinds of bad in this sequel to You. Joe is in LA, trying his hand at screenwriting in between his other darker hobbies. I’ve listened to the audio version twice, and dig this book more with every read.
7. The Risen by Ron Rash. Part mystery, part Southern Gothic, all suspense and poetic prose. Rash is one of my favorite authors, and this is one of his strongest books. Two brothers are haunted by a woman’s disappearance from their childhood, and one brother’s search for the truth will reveal a darkness in his brother. Mesmerizing and beautifully written.
8. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E Reichert. I’m a sucker for a good romantic comedy. This one really delivered, making me laugh and cry with its twist on mistaken identity. It has memorable characters (including a fully-fleshed out secondary cast) with a smart heroine and a lovably surly love interest.
9. Dating the Undead by Juliet Lyons. It’s hailed as “Bridget Jones with vampires,” and that's a pretty good summation. It’s wickedly funny with a sassy heroine (Silver Harris) and a dashing Irish vampire (Logan Byrne), and no shortage of steamy love scenes. A surprisingly delightful read that made me laugh out loud and look forward to the sequel.
10. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. Noah’s struggle to find where he belongs is hilarious one minute, heartbreaking the next. It just shows that even though the details and circumstances of our experiences can differ widely, in the end we're all more alike than we might think. The writing is sharp and smart (and the audiobook is a delight to listen to). I haven't enjoyed a memoir this much since Cheryl Strayed's Wild.