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We’re starting monthly reading challenges!
For this month, we challenge you to read a book outside of the genre you normally read. For example, if you normally read fantasy, then try a historical fiction or romance. Let us know in the comments below which book you are reading for this challenge!
Here are a few book I’ve read and can recommend in a few different genres to help you choose a book for this challenge.
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin
Nonfiction is definitely out of my wheelhouse. I recently finished 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, and I highly recommend it.
Description: Morin shares her tried-and-true practices for increasing mental strength, writing with searing honesty, incorporating anecdotes from her work as a college psychology instructor and psychotherapist as well as personal stories about how she bolstered her own mental strength when tragedy threatened to consume her.
Increasing your mental strength can change your entire attitude. It takes practice and hard work, but with Morin’s specific tips, exercises, and troubleshooting advice, it is possible to not only fortify your mental muscle but also drastically improve the quality of your life.
I love reading fantasy, so this recommendation is easy! My favorite fantasy author is Brandon Sanderson, and Elantris is my favorite book, with its complex magic system and strong characters, both male and female.
Description: Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.
Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping—based on their correspondence—to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.
This romance features a cute little girl, a sweet single dad, and an admirable heroine.
Description: Having worked for Southern Service Paws for a few years now, I like to think I’m prepared for just about any client meeting under the sun. I am dead wrong.
The day I meet with single dad Jacob Broaden about potentially matching his daughter with one of our service dogs, I learn a few valuable lessons.
1) Always set my alarm clock.
2) Single dads are way hotter than I previously thought.
3) It is possible to go from fantasizing about kissing someone to wishing they would be run over by a truck in a matter of two minutes.
Unfortunately, I don’t hold that opinion of him for very long. Not when he shows me a different side of himself—one that’s sweet as maple syrup and hot as apple pie fresh out of the oven. And after a few days of working closely with him and his daughter, he starts looking at me with fire in his eyes, making me dream of something I probably shouldn’t . . . A family.
A New Beginning by Amelia C. Adams
I like my romances to have additional plots besides the romance itself. This story is both a romance and a story of perseverance and hard work.
Description: Handsome young heir Adam Brody sees nothing but possibilities in the sprawling old building he’s just purchased. With a little hard work, he will transform it into a hotel to meet the needs of those traveling by railroad.
Left a widow with a small daughter, Elizabeth Caldwell must find work. When she sees an advertisement in the newspaper inquiring about cheerful young women to work in a hotel, she decides to apply. However, the hotel owner specifically requested single ladies, so she must hide her former marital status, and her child, if she wishes to get the job.
With cloudy pasts to overcome, both Adam and Elizabeth want to believe in a bright future. Will they find the strength they need in each other, or will their differences keep them apart?
Eat, Pray, Die by Chelsea Field
The mystery and humor combine to make this book a captivating read. I also loved the concept and the way it played out.
Description: Being an undercover poison taster for the rich and famous might sound glamorous, but for Isobel Avery it means stomaching bad clients and even worse coffee.
The one side of the job that lives up to expectations is the money. Which is just as well for Izzy, since she needs an awful lot of it. Who knew when she made a lifelong commitment to a man that it would be one year living with him and the rest of her life paying for it?
But even her scoundrel ex-husband doesn’t look so bad compared to her new client. He’s competent, condescending, and annoyingly attractive, and Izzy doesn’t know whether to sleep with him or poison him herself. Throw in a loan shark, a clever killer, and a co-worker’s life hanging in the balance, and Izzy will have her work cut out for her.
Can Izzy and her annoyingly attractive client put aside their differences to hunt down the bad guy? Or will Izzy fail to survive her job’s probation period?
Bon Bons to Yoga Pants by Katie Cross
This book combines growth and humor to make an engrossing read that empowers women to believe in themselves and in being healthy, rather than just skinny.
Description: Lexie Greene has always had such a pretty face.
Unfortunately, that’s where it seemed to stop. She’s grown up hearing her Mother constantly remind her that she needs to lose weight. And twenty-two-year-old Lexie knows she’s overweight.
With her younger sister’s wedding on the horizon and a crush to stalk on Facebook, Lexie’s had enough. She gives up her constant daydreams about food and joins a dieting group. As the pounds melt away at the gym, she finds that life on the other side of junk food isn’t what she thought.
Bon Bons to Yoga Pants is an inspirational hit about a girl coming to terms with herself, and her past, all while navigating a world of food and fitness.
Touch of Rain by Teyla Branton
This mystery combines a paranormal ability with just a touch of romance. I love Teyla Branton’s books, but this is one of my favorites.
Description: When a young woman vanishes without a trace, her heartbroken parents turn to the last prospect they can find for hope: Autumn Rain. Autumn reads imprints—emotions left behind on certain objects. Only she can shed light on their daughter’s last thoughts.
But Autumn’s ability makes her life difficult. Everyday activities like opening a door or holding a friend’s keys can send her into turmoil. It doesn’t help that the infuriating Detective Shannon Martin, who Autumn has helped on cases, usually treats her more like a suspect than a consultant. Too often Autumn finds herself retreating to her antiques shop and the company of her best friend, Jake Ryan, to avoid notice.
Private detective Ethan McConnell, whose widowed sister has gone missing under similar circumstances, also comes to Autumn for help, but her involvement sets in motion a series of events that risk not only her own life, but the lives of those she cares about most.
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
I read this before the movie was made, and, as usual, the book is better than the movie. The concept is interesting, and the main character’s struggle with Wanderer gets you inside her head (literally!). This one also has a bit of romance.
Description: Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, didn’t expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
As Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she’s never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.
Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, The Host is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.
Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn
It was so interesting to read about a world where nearly everyone can read thoughts, and how that dynamic has changed society itself. I highly recommend this dystopian read.
Description: Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.
Let us know what book you chose to read for this month’s reading challenge in the comments below!
I’m reading Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
Biography of W A Clark and daughter Huguette Clark.