Updates, Book Deals, and What I’m Reading Now

It’s officially summer break, and as always, I have big plans and goals. One of those goals is to maintain a more consistent writing schedule here on the blog and for another project I have started working on.

The spring semester was rough for me, and I can’t quite put my finger on the problem. I wasn’t teaching as many classes and wasn’t quite as busy as I was in the fall, but I dealt with a lot of anxiety that affected me physically. Hence, very little writing.

For my first post of the summer, I had planned to write about two YA novels I read recently. I have lots of feelings and thoughts about them, but this week has been a little crazy. My husband and I have been trying to renovate our 1920s house for years, but haven’t made much progress because the most significant and costly problem was the foundation. But, this week, a foundation repair crew is working under the house, hopefully resolving the issues that have prevented us from moving forward. Having a crew at the house means that my house has become very loud, and my schedule is completely off. Every time I sit down to write, I get distracted and can’t concentrate. So, instead of beating myself up about not writing the post I intended to write (I promise I will soon), I decided to begin with some updates, some e-book deals that you can’t miss, and what I’m reading now. 

To begin, I want to share something that I’m really excited about. As most of you know, I am on Litsy, a social media platform for readers. I love Litsy so much, and I tell everyone about it. It’s an incredibly supportive, encouraging, smart, and fun community, and it keeps me sane. One of the women I follow on Litsy (@BookishMarginalia) has organized several book exchanges in the last year. I missed the Christmas book exchange, but participated for Valentine’s Day. It was so much fun that when she announced a #SummerSantaGoesPostal exchange, I immediately signed up. The rules for the exchange are simple. You sign up, and she matches you with another Litten. You receive their mailing address, their reading preferences, and links to their Goodreads and Litsy accounts (for a little TBR stalking). Then, you put together a box of books (used, new, or from your own shelf) and other bookish items to send to your match. In return, you get a box of goodies from your own secret Santa. We all open our boxes on the same day, June 21, the summer solstice, and post pics of our goodies on Litsy. For the summer exhange,  I believe over three hundred people around the world signed up to participate. Today, I sent off my box that included five books, two (homemade) crocheted bookmarks, some lovely loose-leaf tea, and a tea infuser (in the shape of the cutest umbrella). It is such a great way to connect with other readers and to start the summer off right. I can’t wait to receive my box!

I don’t usually share e-book deals on the blog. There are lots of newsletters and other blogs that do, so I don’t feel it’s necessary. However, there are a couple of e-books that are on sale right now that I have to share. This week, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell is on sale through Amazon for $1.99. I read this book for the first time a little over a year ago, and it has become the title I give when people ask me for my favorite book. I wrote about it here. It’s one of the most amazing, character-driven books I’ve read in a long time. It’s a story about humanity, the choices we make, about families, about trauma, about faith, hope, and redemption. And, oh yeah, it’s about Jesuits in space. Read it! Also, right now The Girl Who Fell from the Sky  by Heidi W. Durrow is also available for $1.99. I read it last weekend in two sittings, and it’s beautiful and difficult. Not difficult to read, but difficult in its subject matter. I don’t like to say that a book is “important” because I think most books are important, and it makes books sound unappealing sometimes. Let’s just say that this book won the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice. Much of the novel is told from the perspective of Rachel, a  biracial teen, who moves in with her grandmother in a mostly black community after a tragic accident. The novel explores Rachel’s grief and the ways that she comes to understand her identity. Really beautifully written.

Now, that it’s summer for this teacher, I have already begun reading as many books as  I can. Right now, I’m listening to I Found You by Lisa Jewell on audio. It’s a fun mystery perfect for summer. I’m also reading Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy, a new YA novel that’s getting a lot of Buzz, and so far, it’s absolutely deserving of it.

That’s all for now, but hopefully I will have some new posts next week once my house is quiet and is no longer shaking and rattling. Happy summer reading, everyone!


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