Books · Reading

What I just finished reading…

For the last eight days or so, I have been tearing through the ACRO series of books by Sydney Croft.  The six books – Riding the Storm, Unleashing the Storm, Seducing the Storm, Taming the Fire, Tempting the Fire, Taken by Fire – are all about characters that have super-human powers. They work for the Agency of Covert Rare Operations (ACRO) and they’re basically badass superhero spies that save the world while battling the rival, evil agency Itor.  Add to this awesomeness some seriously hot smut (this is erotic fiction, y’all) and great romance, and this series was a total winner.

Each book is about a separate couple but two couples have their stories told in tidbits over the six books.  It’s one of these couples, Creed and Annika, that was my absolute favorite of the whole series.  They’re the only couple that reduced me to tears at one point due to their serious angst.  Creed is a ghost hunter with a spirit attached to him named Kat (and he’s covered in tattoos that he was born with completely from head to toe on his right side) and Annika can electrify her body and fry crispy anything and everything that touches her. Their relationship, for me, was the heart and soul of the book and it’s a reason that if anyone tackles this series, they have to read all six books just so that they can see how Creed and Annika end up.

Seriously, though, the books are fantastic.  Full of adventure, people with super powers, and hardcore smut – read these books now!!!!  (All of the books can be found here.)

Books · Reading

What I’m reading right now….

For full disclosure, I’ve been a fan of MaryJane Butters for well over a decade.  Each issue of her organic lifestyle magazine feels more like a piece of art in my hand than an actual magazine.  I keep each issue and love to flip back through them so that I can be re-inspired by the stories and tempted by the delicious recipes.  I subscribe to her “farmgirl” precepts, regardless of where I might be living at the time.

This is her latest book:


In true MaryJane fashion, it is fantastic.  Gorgeous photography.  Practical advice.  It tugs at the heartstrings.  I’ve wanted a vintage camper for a very long time (and even owned one for a while, until we realized it was too damaged to be able to practically restore) and this book makes it seem possible. Not only is it full of delicious recipes, there are adorable craft projects scattered throughout.  And the restoration tips for vintage campers are so helpful to a total novice like me.  Thanks to this book, I can honestly say that 1958 Airstream Bubble will be mine eventually!


Books · Reading

One angst-whore’s dream book…

Hi, my name is Rachel, and I’m an angst-whore.

I love a good angsty romance.  Novels filled with unrequited love/star-crossed lovers/lovers kept apart by circumstance are probably among my list of very favorite things.  Thanks to one of my favorite authors tweeting about a book she loved yesterday, I discovered Within Reach by Sarah Mayberry.

Oh my God….

–I need a minute–

*grasps for composure*

Okay, this book made me bawl for more than halfway through it.  It’s about a man (Michael) trying to recover after the untimely death of his young wife, Billie, and Billie’s best friend (Angie), who is grappling with both the loss of her friend and a newfound attraction to Michael. And then “stuff” happens and it gets more and more complicated.  And then the tears start and continue for page after page and I– GAHHH!!!  I just can’t…

Seriously, if you love angst and romance and smut and happy endings, go read this book!

Books · Reading

The next two books I’m reading –

Both of these were just added to my Kindle Paperwhite!

The Dirty Life

(from Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season—complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.

Kimball and her husband had a plan: to grow everything needed to feed a community. It was an ambitious idea, a bit romantic, and it worked. Every Friday evening, all year round, a hundred people travel to Essex Farm to pick up their weekly share of the “whole diet”—beef, pork, chicken, milk, eggs, maple syrup, grains, flours, dried beans, herbs, fruits, and forty different vegetables—produced by the farm. The work is done by draft horses instead of tractors, and the fertility comes from compost. Kimball’s vivid descriptions of landscape, food, cooking—and marriage—are irresistible.

Rurally Screwed(from   Jessie Knadler was a New York City girl, through and through. An editor for a splashy women’s magazine, she splurged on Miu Miu, partied hard, lived for Kundalini yoga, and dated a man-boy whose complexion was creamier than her own. Circling the drain both personally and professionally, Jessie definitely wouldn’t have described herself as “happy”; more like caustically content. Then one day, she was assigned a story about an annual rodeo in the badlands of Eastern Montana.

There, she met a twenty-five-year-old bull rider named Jake. He voted Republican and read Truck Trader. He listened to Garth Brooks. He owned guns. And Jessie suddenly found herself blindsided by something with which she was painfully unfamiliar: a genuinely lovable disposition. In fact, Jake radiated such optimism and old-school gentlemanliness that Jessie impulsively ditched Manhattan for an authentic existence, and an authentic man. Almost overnight, she was canning and sewing, making jerky, chopping firewood, and raising chickens. And all the while one question was ringing in the back of her head: “What the !#*$ have I done with my life?”

A hilarious true-life love story, Rurally Screwed reveals what happens to a woman who gives up everything she’s ever known and wanted-job security, money, her professional network, access to decent Thai food-to live off the grid with her one true love (and dogs and horses and chickens), and asks, is it worth it? The answer comes amid war, Bible clubs, and moonshine.

I’m absolutely fascinated with these types of stories, and I’m hoping they’ll both be better than Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman: From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels – A Love Story.  Her memoir just didn’t feel authentic to me at all and after I read it, I found myself turned off by her completely.  I received a recommendation for Rurally Screwed from a friend I know from the fanfiction world and, considering how amazing of a writer she is, I trust her to not lead me astray!

Books · Reading

Anybody have a good book recommendation?

I’m looking for a spectacular, amazing book to read.  The best book I’ve read this year is, hands down, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I realize it’s a few years old, but I just discovered it so it’s new to me.  I usually read mindless romances and I’m perfectly content with those, but I’m truly restless for something that gets me – really socks me in the gut and makes me think/weep/gnash my teeth/pour over the pages.  Can anyone recommend some good fiction?  What’s the best book you’ve read this year? I come to you, oh wise WP community, because I trust your intelligence and taste, so… help?

Books · Reading

What I’m reading right now…

Although I’m 93% done (according to my Kindle), I wanted to share what I’m reading at the moment because it’s really affecting me.


This story follows Babe, Grace, and Millie from the World War II years to the mid-60s, and shows how their lives and the lives of those around them were profoundly changed by the war.  A connoisseur of WWII-era fiction, this book is different than most of the ones I’ve read because it strips away the romanticism of the period and lays the struggles of those that lived it open for all to see.  It focuses on the intense grief over the men who didn’t come home and on those who did make it home, but who came back changed due to PTSD.  It tackles heavy topics like as rape, racism, and the post-war role of women, but at its heart, it’s about three women, the men they love, and how the war changed them and the world around them.  Oh, and as an added bonus for those of us who thrive on angst, it has a healthy dose of unrequited love, too.

Books · Reading

What I’m reading right now…

Thanks to my Kindle Fire, which I love more than most of my other possessions put together, I tear through books these days.  Between the thousands of free books available on Amazon and the fact that our library is tied into the Overdrive system that lets me check out 12 books at a time, I am in book (and magazine) heaven.  The Kindle owns me.  I’ve read some pretty fantastic books lately so I figured I would start posting entries about the great books I’m reading.

For my first “What I’m reading right now” entry, here’s my current book:


An excerpt that basically feels like I wrote it myself:

“And, oh my God: I wanted to live in one room with my whole family and have a pathetic corncob doll all my own.  I wanted to wear a calico sunbonnet – or rather, I wanted to not wear a calico sunbonnet, the way Laura did, letting it hang down her back by its ties.  I wanted to do chores because of those books.  Carry water, churn butter, make headcheese.  I wanted dead rabbits brought home for supper.  I wanted to go out into the backyard and just, I don’t know, grab stuff off trees, or uproot things from the ground, and bring it all inside in a basket and have my parents say, ‘My land! What a harvest!'”


A lifelong love affair with everything having to do with Little House on the Prairie, as well as a vow when made when I was 18 to marry my very own Almanzo Wilder (which only happened if you consider the very urban African-American man I married to be Almanzo-like (he’s not)), makes this book the perfect late summer evening read.