Why I Love to Read: Vacations

Why I Love to Read

Why I Love to Read


I love vacations! Who doesn’t?! One of my favorite things during the planning phase of my trip is deciding which books I will take. I have a Kindle so number isn’t an issue. I’m really excited about that. This summer we are heading to Disney World in Orlando. I probably won’t have a lot of reading time but I gotta bring as many as I can.

I checked my Kindle and I have a lot of great books already loaded. I will have a wonderful selection to choose from. Want to know which ones will be going to Orlando? Well, here they are:


  • Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell

  • Charlotte by Karen Aminadra

  • Matt Archer: Legend by Kendra Highley

  • The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau

  • The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

  • The Promise by Kate Worth

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What do you think? When I do have some downtime I will have plenty of wonderful books to keep occupied and to help me relax.

This is going to be my first trip to Disney World. What are your favorite rides, shows, or places?

Why I Love to Read: Graphic Novels

Why I Love to Read

Why I Love to Read

Graphic Novels

Have you ever read a graphic novel? You really should try one. I read my first one during last year’s Banned Book Week. I wanted to read some completely different so I chose The Color of Earth and it was amazing. In my uneducated mind, I thought graphic novels were more like comic books. Man, was I wrong! I loved every page and I couldn’t put it down.

The Color of Earth completely opened me up to a whole new book world. Another great discovery is First Second Books, a graphic novels publisher located in New York. First Second published Color of Earth plus so many others. Graphic novels come in so many different genres, from memoirs to historical fiction to kids lit. I love looking through their catalog to find a new treasure.

The reason I love graphic novels so much is that it gives so much texture and richness to a story. In my mind, this is what is going on in the author’s mind. It’s his/her vision of the characters and story. It helps me visualize the appearance of a character and the tone of the story. There are many times while I’m reading that I get overcome and feel totally immersed in the book. It’s a great feeling. Sometimes I can get bogged down in an overly wordy book. However, when I pick up a graphic novel, I can very easily get lost in the illustrations.

My eight year old has also found the pleasure of reading a graphic novel. Before she read one, she had a hard time finding anything she really wanted to read. I think she would get overwhelmed with chapter books. She needed something that stimulated her mind visually. Finally, she discovered Bad Kitty, Bone, Baby Mouse and Lunch Lady. She loves them and plows right through them.

I’m not saying that all I’m going to read now are graphic novels. For me, it is a nice change from the more traditional novel. Most graphic novels are a pretty quick read and sometimes I really need that. I think the other side of my brain needs that visual stimulation.

Here is a list of graphic novels that I love:

  •  The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa
  • The Color of Water by Kim Dong Hwa
  • The Color of Heaven by Kim Dong Hwa
  • Relish by Lucy Knisley
  • French Milk by Lucy Knisley
  • Templar by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland

Why I Love to Read: World Book Night

Why I Love to Read

Why I Love to Read

World Book Night


On April 23, 2013, I participated in my first World Book Night. I had never even heard of it until I started blogging. You sign up, select a book, and then pick up your 20 books to hand out for free. I love this entire concept. I absolutely love to share my loving for reading and World Book Night let me do just that.

There were so many books to choose from; however, I selected The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I read this book last year for my book club and I loved it. I thought this book would be perfect to hand out. When it was time to pick up my books, I was so excited. I had my two daughters with me and my excitement spread to them as well. They kept asking me what I was going to do with all of those books. I told them I was going to give them to people. “Why?”, they asked. “Why do you think?” I replied. “Because you love to read!” They know their mommy so well. Makes me proud.

On World Book Night, my youngest had to go to dance class. I thought to myself that would be a great place to hand out books. Usually, I’m the only one reading a book while waiting for class to end. Everyone else is glued to their smartphones or chit chatting. I bring my big bag of books into the studio and start handing out books. At first I got some weird looks, not sure what to make of me. But I explain what that night was and I wanted them to have a free book. After that I got lots of smiles and “thank yous”. My girls helped pass out each book. They were so proud to be giving out books to people. Mind you I don’t know any these of people. I’m not what you call overly social and usually I have my nose in a book. So walking up to strange people is not my cup of tea. But I found it so rewarding especially when I saw someone open the book immediately and start reading. It was great!

I love World Book Night and I can’t wait to do it again and again. I wonder what book I will give out next year. It can’t come too soon.


Why I Love to Read: Austenesque Fiction

Why I Love To Read

Austenesque Fiction


This year I have fallen in love with Austenesque Fiction! For some, I bet you’re asking what is Austenesque Fiction. Well, let me tell you. It is a literary genre totally based on Jane Austen novels. These wonderful books come in all shapes and sizes. There is historical fiction, paranormal, contemporary, time travel, and the list goes on.

Some of my favorites are where Miss Austen is an actual character in the book. Stephanie Barron writes some wonderful murder mysteries where Jane is the sleuth. I believe, she written eleven of these mysteries. Another author I thoroughly enjoy, where Jane is a character, is Sally Smith O’Rourke. She has written two time travel books entitled The Man Who Loved Jane Austen and Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen. Both are lovely takes on who Jane Austen was. In all of these novels, Jane is portrayed as extremely witty, intelligent and fun-loving; just as I would expect her to be.

Speaking of time travel, Jane Odiwe has written a delightful book based on Persuasion called Searching for Captain Wentworth. This is one of my favorites. Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel AND Captain Wentworth is my favorite hero. I think I read this book in two days. I couldn’t put it down. Ms. Odiwe has written many Austenesque novels and I can’t wait to read more!

Currently, I’m reading the Given Good Principles Series by Maria Grace and I love it. So far, I’ve read Darcy’s Decision and I’m almost finished with The Future Mrs. Darcy. As you may guess, this series is based on Pride and Prejudice. I’m very surprised that I like this series so much because P and P is not one of my favorites (I know…BLASPHEMY!) However, I’m enjoying Ms. Grace’s insight into these classic characters. I can’t wait to read her third book, All the Appearances of Goodness.

If you have never tried an Austenesque novel, I highly recommend it. These books are so much fun and even though Ms. Austen is no longer with us, her legacy continues to live on in our hearts and minds thanks to these wonderful authors.

Why I Love to Read: Cover Art

Why I love to Read

Cover Art

OK, I’ll admit it. I judge a book by its cover. I know I shouldn’t  but I do. If I see a cover that looks absolutely horrible I won’t pick it up; even if it is highly recommended. Book cover art is like window shopping. If something doesn’t catch your eye, you’re not going to give it a second glance. Luckily, for me, there are so many books with amazing cover art right now.  But at the same time, there are some really bad ones as well. 

Lately, I found some amazing book covers. For example, Danielle Trussoni’s Angelopolis is amazing! When I posted it for one of my Waiting on Wednesdays I received so many comments from readers who loved the cover. It really catches your eye. If I saw this book on the shelf, I would pick it up; my curiosity is piqued. Another book cover, I liked is Relish by Lucy Knisley. Lucy is a graphic artist and did the cover herself plus all the illustrations inside. It’s a really fun and clever cover. 

On the flip-side  back covers can be indicative of a bad book. I’ve read several where the cover was just plain silly and the book was too. I should have known better. But I wanted to give it a chance. As I think about it, I’m not sure if I have liked a book where the cover is just plain awful. However, I know I’ve read books that have wonderful covers that I hated. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan comes to mind; beautiful cover but very tedious book. 

Of course, book cover art preference is purely subjective. Someone may love one cover while another person may hate it. I’ve seen that a lot. I know a lot of readers LOVE the smexy covers. I really don’t. I get tired and a little bored of seeing the same ole smexy art on books. I prefer more of a unique art work kind of cover. 

When I’m approached for a blog tour, I read the synopsis and then look at the cover. Truth be told, I really don’t want to promote a book that has an ugly cover. I want something that compliments my blog and that will attract readers. These two covers, Seduction and Cascade, I totally fell in love with when I saw them. The covers were the main reason I chose to participate in the blog tours. 

A book cover is a very important aspect of the packaging of any given book. It is a part of the whole reading experience. I know I have looked at the cover repeatedly while I’m reading. It puts me in the mood for the story and gives me anticipation as well. 

That’s why I love to read this week? How do you view cover art?

Why I love to Read by Liesel Hill

Why I love to Read

Drama Queen
by Liesel Hill

Why I Love to Read

Why do I love to read so much? It’s a valid question, given that the bookish community is just one corner of the world, albeit the most important one. ;D

The simple, all-encompassing answer is that I’m a bit of a drama queen. *waits patiently for you to recover from your shock* I know, I know. How could I be a drama queen? I mean, I only write stories about scary collective entities that murder individuals (Persistence of Vision), ferocious dragons and evils sorcerers, locked in battles that threaten to tear the world apart (WIP) and sadistic medieval dictators who rule over Eastern chaos and try to come up with new and more interesting ways to kill people (Citadels of Fire, out 9/2013). But me? A drama queen? Of course not!

Seriously though– *sticks out tongue and crosses eyes* –I think I’m a drama queen at heart, but I’ve had such an awesome life. My parents were loving and supportive. I’m very close with all of my siblings. I have friends I’ve known since junior high that I still hang with (on occasion). I live in the greatest country in the world. And I’ve been taught the basic Christian values of family, justice, honesty, and hard work. I mean, what do I have to complain about?

But drama is a human condition—I’d argue it’s even a human emotion—and we all need to vent sometimes. Reading allows me to do that. It allows all of us to get lost in worlds where the conflicts are real enough for us to care about, but not real enough that we actually have to deal with them. It’s a place where characters are likable, even when they’re not (as opposed to real people) and the bad guys are oh-so-tangible and vanquishable. It’s so much easier to wrap our heads around fictional conflicts than our own.

I’m a firm believer, though, that while also providing much needed relief and entertainment, getting lost in fiction also helps us build up our own characters and face our own real problems with more courage and confidence. Even if we don’t like how a character handles a situation, we’ve decided, by default, how we would handle it. And so, our own character grows.

The stuff I read (when it’s awesome) gives me courage and insight into the mystery that is our universe. If what I write does that for anyone else on any level, than all the reading I’ve ever done has been all kinds of worth it.

Here’s to coming up with noble-sounding excuses to read for hours on end. Cheers! ;P

Why I Love to Read: Book Blogs

Why I love to Read

Book Blogs

When I began my blog in May 2012, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know what a weekly meme, blog hops or blog tours were. All I wanted to do was write about the books I was reading. At that time I was completely immersed in supernatural fiction. I wasn’t venturing beyond that genre.

Once I started posting regularly, I discovered that there is this amazing book blog community. I had no idea how many people had blogs that talk about how much they to read. What’s even better is that these blogs cover every genre imaginable. I have found so many new books and authors by visiting all of these amazing sites. Each blogger has his/her own favorite books and authors. I’ve read so many great reviews about books that I thought I would never try.

I remember when I started I had to Google the definition of a blog tour. I had no idea what it was. Now I participate in several. I love that blog tours introduce readers to new authors and releases. I, also, love giveaways that are included in the tours; not to mention all the wonderful author interviews and guest posts. You are exposed to so many different aspects of a book during a tour. It just makes you want to read that book even more.

I have yet to come across the nastiness of book blogging. I haven’t had any mean confrontations with other bloggers or authors. No jealousies either! For that, I’m very grateful. What I have experienced is a remarkable community who want to share new releases, covers, authors or whatever else he/her discovers in the book world. It makes me want to read more and more. With every new book recommendation, my TBR list is turning into Mount Everest. I will never be without something to read next.

Finding new authors is another pleasure of starting my own blog. Some people don’t like when they receive a cold email from an author wanting you to read and review their book. Actually, I enjoy it; but I don’t receive many. Maybe if I received tons I might get a little jaded. That being said, the authors that have sent me their books have been really good and the authors have been really kind when I didn’t like their book.

So far, I’ve had a very positive experience with my book blog. I’m reading more than I ever have before. I’m reading new genres (graphic novels) and going back to my favorite genre (historical fiction). I’ve found some amazing blogs and met some great people.

In case you’re curious, here are some of my favorite book blogs: ·         Passages to the Past

·         The Relentless Reader

·         Oklahoma Women Bloggers

·         Indie Jane

·         Workaday Reads

·         Book Journey

·         (un)Conventional Bookviews

·         Peace Love Books

·         Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

·         Booklover Book Reviews

·         I Am a Reader, Not a Writer

·         Historical Tapestry

·         Austenprose

·         Austenesque Reviews

·         English Historical Fiction Authors

·         Austen Authors

·         My Jane Austen Book Club

Why I Love to Read: Book Club

Why I love To Read


Book Club

I love my book club! Three years ago, nine other ladies and I, who I now call my close friends, decided to get together once a month to talk about books.  We call ourselves Books, Babes and Booze and we had no idea how long it would last or what great conversations we would have. Rules of book club is that the hostess for that month gets to choose whatever book she wants and everyone must read at least 100 pages.

As we are about to finish our third year together, we will have read over 30 books. We have read books from so many different genres. I have read books that I know I would have never chosen for myself. We read books about World War II, cancer, Nigeria, witches and vampires, other planets, carnivals, dystopian worlds and the list goes on and on. We’ve covered fiction and nonfiction alike. Some books we agree on and others we don’t; and, that’s the best part about book club.

Each person in our group has her own strong opinions about what we are reading at any given time. It is so much fun to listen to another person’s thoughts on a book that you either loved or hated. We are never mean to each other because we respect every other too much to do that. We just love to debate and enjoy the differing opinions. I really love when a book totally polarizes the group. For example, one month I picked The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. For the group, you either loved it or hated it. We had such a loud and heated debate on why Diana and Matthew never had sex in the book. We argued and laughed. It was such fun!!

Of course, with any good book club we have wonderful food and beverage. Each hostess puts together a wonderful spread of yummy snacks and great wine. For an hour and a half, we are able to let our hair down and talk about our lives and get whatever support we might need. Because after we have exhausted the book talk, we switch to whatever is happening in our lives at the time. It’s like a good old-fashioned quilting bee but with books instead of thread and needles. It’s fun talking to other like-minded women to get their take on the world’s problems.

So, that’s why I love to read this week. Good books, good friends and good conversations!

Why I Love to Read: Snowy Days

Why I Love to Read

Snowy Days

Why Do I love to read? Snowy days! Yesterday, in Norman, OK, we got a nice coating of snow. It left the ground and trees with a couple of inches of pretty fluffy flakes. On days like these all I want to do is curl up of my couch with my comfy reading blanket and dig into a good book. Every once in a while I will look out the window to see the pretty flakes coating the ground. On the table next to me will be a steaming cup of hot zen green tea and on the other side of the couch sits my hubby reading on his iPad. Doesn’t that sound heavenly?!

Wait! Enter screaming kids saying, “I’m bored!” My Eden has been disturbed; but only for a couple of moments. I say back “why don’t you read a book?” “That’s a great idea, mommy!” My seven year old will pick up a Dork Diaries book and my five year will pick up a princess reader. We all snuggle together on the couch under my comfy reading blanket. Once again, doesn’t that sound heavenly?

Wait! Enter the dogs, Layla and Ringo, and jump right in the middle of our Eden. Another disruption!! However, all they want to do is find a warm and cozy place to have a little nap. Now on the couch under the comfy reading blanket are mommy, daddy, two little girls and two sweet doggies. I wish my cats could join us but the dogs will go absolutely crazy. Doesn’t this sound like a little bit of Heaven. It does to me!

The little scenario above rarely happens at my house; but on that rare occasion when all the snowy stars are aligned, my idea of a perfect snowy day will actually happen – my family sitting on the couch, warm and cozy, reading our favorite books while watching the snow fall.

That’s why I love to read!