Books I read and loved

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While the world outside feels chaotic, we readers find refuge in books. Here are some books that I have read recently and would recommend:

People We Meet on Vacation – Warm, buttery, sweet, and perfect for romance lovers. This is a book one can read again and again.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft: If you read one book on writing, make it this. An authentic voice is such an elusive thing. Stephen King does it so effortlessly. To imagine him facing near-death halfway through the text and still producing such a great book speaks to his skills as an author. I learned a lot from this book and highly recommend it to all my author friends.

A Game of Fear (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #24): To say I have a soft spot for the shell-shocked inspector is an understatement. I have read all the books in this series. This novel was better than the last book. That is saying something because this is book 24. Recommend for mystery lovers and lovers of the foggy, grey English countryside.

The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5): Surprised by this book. In a good way. Short stories compiled cleverly into a novel. Sprinkling of old fairy tales retold in clever ways. Recommend for fantasy readers. I am off reading the next book in this series.

Of course, if you have not read my books, start reading with Heir to Malla.

Books I read and Loved

A lady in my book club recommended Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I am embarrassed to say I had never heard of the author before. I read the book and loved it. It is based in 19th century China, and most of the story takes place in the women’s chamber. No voyages or epic journeys in this novel. Instead, it revolves around a woman’s life in that time and the protagonist’s friendship and family ties. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved the emotional tug of heart. Have you read any other Lisa See novels that you would recommend?

Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev – This is an Indian American twist to Jane Austen’s classic. I have read other books in the Rajes series, and the author keeps getting better with her flavors, characters, and tales.

And Then You Loved Me by Inglath Cooper – Great love story filled with family drama and sacrifices. Similar notes to Heir to Malla, though my book is set in medieval India. Isn’t that the marvelous thing about human nature that allows us to enjoy books set in different cultures and periods?

Book Review – Ship of Destiny

Robin Hobb’s writing is marvelous. This third book of the Liveship traders trilogy concludes satisfactorily while leaving enough threads for us to meet these characters in a future book.

You can read my review of book one and two in my blog.

I read all three books in the last few months while editing and revising my book. That should tell you how this series captured my imagination. I am inspired to write a fantasy series after I complete the Land of Magadha series.

The author has written many books. What order to read the books is a question I asked myself. My answer is in the order she wrote them. I have read Farseer Trilogy and Liveship Traders Trilogy. I will be reading the Tawny Man trilogy next.

Highly recommend these books to any fantasy lover.

Book Review – Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

I read this book out of sequence. I read Recipe for Persuasion earlier and enjoyed it. You can read my review here. Before reading her new book, Incense and Sensibility, I decided to read the first book of the Rajes series, Pride, Prejudice and other flavors.

I am a huge fan of Jane Austen and have read her novels many times. I made sure I did not compare the characters in this book to Lizzy and Darcy in my head. Once I decided to enjoy this book as is, I appreciated this novel.

The story of the immigrant families resonated with me. Immigrant families and their high expectations for their kids rings true across cultures. The author has a way of describing her food that is magical. So a warning to readers to not read this book hungry. You will be attacking your fridge.


The alternating POV is effective. The story itself is not new. When Wickham arrives as a character, we know how it is going to end. The surprise is in the author’s treatment of this old tale and giving it a new life with plenty of Indian flavors.


Recommend for romance readers and Jane Austen book lovers.

Book Review – The Mad Ship

This is book two in the Liveship Traders fantasy series. You can read my review of book one here.

I hope to one day write like Robin Hobb.

The world-building is mind-blowing.

Set in this world is a rich set of characters, each with their unique voice and arc. From Althea to Wintrow to Malta to Vivacia, this author has masterfully crafted an imaginative and emotionally satisfying story.

Middle books in a trilogy sometimes suffer from a meandering plot. Not the case in this book.

What am I looking forward to in book 3?
Malta’s arc: That child is full of surprises;
Althea and Brashen: Is there a happy ending here?
Wintrow: I want the boy to have peace. Is that too much to ask?
Vivacia: Will I see the ship fly?

Recommend this book to epic fantasy lovers.

Do you binge read?

I don’t binge watch shows but I am known to binge read an entire book series. Kindle Unlimited is great for binge reading books and is a monthly digital subscription service.

If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, here are some great novels for you to add to your reading list.

If you love to read historical stories across all genres, these novels let you travel back in time without a time travel machine.

If you love happily ever after or a love story that gives you hope, these novels are for you.
If you like romantic novels set in the past, you are in for a treat.

Why read fiction?

Like many adults, I read a fair share of non-fiction books. Topics range from self-help, philosophy, and history to gardening and cookbooks. Many adults stop reading fiction after the high school days of forced reading. With our busy lives, why read fiction?

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Humans have told stories for millennia, and we started telling stories as soon as we had language. Oral storytelling is how many cultures passed on their ancient myths and legends. Fiction builds on this tradition.

Reading fiction builds empathy. Our imagination translates the words in a book. As a reader, we picture the world, taste the five-course meal, smell the forest floor and feel the character’s pain. We can read about distant lands and cultures and fall in love with a person who only exists on a page. Watching TV does not have the same impact on our minds.

Fiction allows you to escape reality and walk in someone else’s shoes.

Reading science fiction and fantasy is the equivalent of daydreaming. Many scientists began their journey as science fiction readers. Historical fiction allows us to experience the past through stories. A child who dislikes history with dry dates and places might love the same past when told as stories.

There is research to show that reading literary fiction improves the Theory of Mind. Theory of Mind is the human capacity to comprehend that other people hold beliefs and desires and that these may differ from one’s own beliefs and desires. More broadly, their study shows that works of art enhance this critical skill.

Stories are a complex form of communication, and reading stories have a long-lasting effect on the human brain, per this Emory study. Reading fiction helps us better understand others and enhances our ability to keep an open mind, per this Harvard Business Review article.

Finally, reading fiction brings us joy. Overcoming adversity, triumphant underdogs, falling in love, and finding friendships all bring us enjoyment.

Curl up with a novel today and fall in love with a character. I recommend my historical fiction “Heir to Malla” or check out my book reviews for a great read.