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13 Books to Read on a Snowy Day

There’s nothing like curling up with a good book on a snowy day…even better is a book that totally immerses you in a winter world from the comfort of your own home!

These 13 books do just that. From snowy countrysides to magical far-off places, these 13 books are perfect for reading on a snowy, blistery winter night.

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13 Books to Read on a Snowy Day

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The Snowman, Jo Nesbø

When dozens of women show up murdered on the day of a first snow fall, investigator Harry Hole is put on the case. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer. This one is long, but worth it in the end.

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The Road, Cormac McCarthy

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape, save the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other. A heartbreaking story of love and survival.

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The Girl with Glass Feet, Ali Shaw

Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land. Magical winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts who has only visited the islands once before. A visitor to this land before, she has returned in search of a cure.

Chocolat and The Girl With No Shadow, Joanne Harris

The delicious story about Vianne Rocher and her chocolate shop begins with Chocolat and continues with The Girl With No Shadow. Two whimsical, romantic books that will warm your heart and soul (and make you hungry for some delicious hot cocoa!).

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Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable.

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The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

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Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

A family of ladies, including talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, unite in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.

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The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling

No real description needed here! This entire series is always a fun one to re-read in the winter (or anytime, really!).

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The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart – he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone – but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. What they eventually learn about this girl they call Faina will transform all of them.

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The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. Beautiful winter scenes pepper this book with a magical landscape, and the rich, seductive prose, makes this spell-casting novel a feast for all the senses.

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Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson

San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man’s guilt. Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense that will leave you shaken and changed.

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The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want–but what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other. The first in a magical series of books that will stay with you long after you’re done.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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10 Awesome Quotes from Mark Twain

Today marks the 183rd birthday of American author, Mark Twain. Best known for writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain was born and raised in Missouri where he worked as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River.

His wit and satire got him far in life, earning praise from critics and peers, as well as presidents, artists, industrialists and European royalty.

Often referred to as “the greatest humorist this country has produced”, and even called “the father of American literature” by one William Faulkner, Twain has a litany of wisdom in his repertoire. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that the man had a way with words…

In honor of his birthday, here are 10 great quotes by Mark Twain!

10 Awesome Quotes from Mark Twain

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“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

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“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

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“Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”

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“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.”

“′Classic′ – a book which people praise and don’t read.”

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“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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A Spark of Light Book Review

For years I’ve judged Jodi Picoult’s books by their covers. Often showcasing minimal photography covered with large type that’s mainly indicative of chic lit, I walked right past her shelf of novels, not realizing the true beauty I was missing.

My recent appreciation for Picoult was not out of the blue…it came to me on a little cloud in the form of my sister, who has read not one, not two, but near 15 of Picoult’s novels. She gave me a long list of Jodi books to read that I’m STILL plowing through!

The first Picoult book I read was Small Great Things, a gripping novel about the large racial issues that still plague our country. It was a captivating story that I was not expecting, as was My Sister’s Keeper, the second Picoult book I added to my repertoire. When my sister told me that Picoult would be coming to Milwaukee to promote her new book and do a talk, we knew we had to go!

I didn’t know anything about A Spark of Light before going to Picoult’s talk. While I wasn’t surprised that Picoult decided to cover a hot-button issue in her most recent novel (abortion), I was pleasantly surprised with her candor. A genuine advocate not for woman, Picoult spoke with great respect about the women she interviewed who had recently had abortions, doctors she shadowed performing abortions, and the thousands of men and women who stood outside the clinics day after day trying to convince desperate women to change their minds.

This book does not take sides, nor does it show one side in a better light than another. As Picoult says herself, there are times people can be on both sides of the argument, and that’s okay. If anything, that means that more and more people are open to understanding that abortion is and never will be a political issue…but will always be a human rights issue.

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The Center shines brightly in the little Mississippi town that houses it. A clinic that offers women help with birth control, pregnancy screenings, sensitive cancer diagnoses and yes, abortions, the Center is a refuge for women all over the south, including the 10 or so people that have arrived there for various reasons this warm fall day.

However, in the early morning hours, a distraught gunman bursts through the door, opening fire and killing several patients, doctors and nurses instantly. The rest, including those severely injured, are held hostage.

After Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, gets to the scene, he begins communication with the gunman inside. However McElroy’s job is made increasingly more difficult when he comes to learn that his sister and 15-year-old daughter, Wren, are among those still inside the clinic.

Working back in time from the end of the hostage situation to the morning hours before the shooter stepped foot into the center, A Spark of Light slowly brings to life a cast of unforgettable characters, including a pregnant nurse who puts her fears aside to help others, a doctor who does his work honorably in spite of his own beliefs, a pro-life protester, a young woman who has just had an abortion, as well as a disturbed killer who will stop at nothing to seek his revenge.

Fearless and thought-provoking, A Spark of Light tackles a complicated issue with decency and respect. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong, but more so about understanding. What does it mean to be a good parent? How do we balance the rights of a pregnant woman with the rights of the life inside her?

At one point in the talk, Picoult asked the audience to raise their hand if they knew anyone who had an abortion in their lifetime…more than half of the audience raised their hands, including my sister and me. Many of us know – or are – women that have suffered through this. Most women don’t get pregnant hoping to have an abortion…for several women, this is a last resort, whether it’s for their own health or the life inside of them. This is not an issue that should divide a country, it’s an issue that should be talked about, understood and respected. If A Spark of Light does anything, it serves as its namesake, striking a match on a conversation, no matter how big or small, that might help at least one person better understand a woman’s right to make her own decisions.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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One Book a Month: Reading All Year Long

Hard to believe, but it’s about the time to start thinking of those New Year’s resolutions. If your resolution involves wanting to read more, this list is a great place to start!

There’s no need to dive in to reading one book a week, you can start simply with just one book a month…and what better way to look forward to the next book than to read something in the spirit of the season?

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Gathered and arranged specifically to put you in the festive mood from January through December, this list of 12 books encompasses a little something for everyone…some classics, some new releases, some graphic novels and even some short stories.

Happy reading!

One Book a Month: Reading All Year Long

January
A Year of Living Kindly: Choices That Will Change Your Life and the World Around You, Donna Cameron

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In A Year of Living Kindly, author Donna Cameron shares her experience committing to 365 days of practicing kindness. This is a great read for establishing a fresh start or a life goal come New Year’s.

February
Persuasion, Jane Austen

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Even if you’ve read Persuasion before, it’s certainly worth a re-read. A beautiful love story that’s probably one of Austen’s most reliable, the intimate romance between Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth will absolutely put you in the mood for Valentine’s Day.

March
In the Woods, Tana French

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As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours. Filled with atmospheric beauty, In the Woods will take you straight into the heart of Ireland.

April
A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There, Aldo Leopold

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Written with an unparalleled understanding of the ways of nature, A Sand County Almanac takes readers into the heart of Wisconsin, exploring the flaura and fauna that makes this state such a beauty in the heart of the spring (there are stunning illustrations, too!).

May
What To Do When I’m Gone: A Mother’s Wisdom to Her Daughter, Suzy Hopkins and Hallie Bateman

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What to Do When I’m Gone is the illustrated instruction manual for getting through life without one’s mom. It’s also a poignant look at loss, love, and taking things one moment at a time. During the month of Mother’s Day, this book will certainly make you more appreciative of the woman you love!

June
Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult

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With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice and compassion in her page-turning book, Small Great Things. A great book for a summer read, this novel will also open your heart and encourage discussion (this would also be a great read for a summer book club).

July
The Good Girl, Mary Kubica

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And speaking of summer reads, The Good Girl makes for an awesome beach read if you’re more of the thriller type. A stalker has been tracking Mia for days…and after a series of terrifying events, no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that cause Mia’s family to shatter to pieces.

August
A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson

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We all like to think we’re the nature type, but truth be told, not all of us are cut out for it. If you’re one who enjoys “glamping” rather than sleeping among the leaves, you’ll get a kick out of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. A true account of his hike along the Appalachian Trail, this book will make you laugh out loud and appreciate, even more, the comfort of a bed and air conditioning!

September
A Thousand Days in Venice, Marlena de Blasi

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As summer turns to fall, warm your heart (and your belly!) with A Thousand Days in Venice. A true story about falling in love with a man and a city, this book brings you straight into the heart of Italy, complete with delicious recipes you can make at home to help you savor every page.

October
Nocturnes, John Connolly

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This haunting book of short stories will certainly get you in the Halloween spirit! With stories of various lengths, Nocturnes is great for reading before bed…if you’re brave enough…

November
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well, Meik Wiking

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You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right. With helpful hints, tips and recipes to help you better achieve a sense of hygge, this little book is a quick, yet super informative read for embracing a more comfortable and cozy lifestyle.

December
Letters from Father Christmas, J.R.R. Tolkien

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Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or painting. The letters were from Father Christmas. Collected here in this beautiful book, Letters from Father Christmas is a wonderful read that the whole family will enjoy.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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10 Literary Quotes about Gratitude

We’re a mere couple weeks away from Thanksgiving…and in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to forget the reason for the season.

If you’ve just been on overdrive these last few weeks, take a moment and enjoy these gratitude quotes, pulled from a few famous authors and books. Use them on your Thanksgiving table or hang them on your wall as a reminder to be thankful for what you have, what you’ve learned and every little experience that has brought you here.

10 Literary Quotes about Gratitude

After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody…even one’s own relations.
–Oscar Wilde

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual…my wealth is not possession, but enjoyment.
–Henry David Thoreau

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Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
–W.T. Purkiser

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.
–Alphonse Karr

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–Roy T. Bennett

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.
–Maya Angelou

We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.
–Neal A. Maxwell

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Be happy with who you are and what you do, and you can do anything you want.
–Steve Maraboli

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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20 Terrifying Lines from Literature

Have you ever come across a line in a book that just shakes you to your core? Maybe it gets under your skin and sits there, tickling the back of your neck…or maybe it haunts you with memories of something past, or something gone, or something to come…

Lucky for you, I’ve collected a handful of good ones just in time for Halloween! From the age-old wisdom of Alfred Lord Tennyson to the sage words of Stephen King, here are 20 terrifying lines from literature.

20 Terrifying Lines from Literature

The man screamed and clawed frantically, like a drowning swimmer. The screaming filled the universe.
–Ray Bradbury, Kaleidoscope

flynn–Gillian Flynn, Dark Places

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London that a young, healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or broiled.
–Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal

The last man on earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door.
–Fredric Brown, Knock

I thought that Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman. I thought so right up to the moment that I cut his throat.
–Truman Capote, In Cold Blood

stair–Hughes Mearns, Antigonish

Since it’s Sunday and it’s stopped raining, I think I’ll take a bouquet of roses to my grave.
–Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Someone Has Been Disarranging These Roses

You can’t run away from this. The evil is already inside you.
–Danielle Vega, The Merciless III

monsters–Stephen King, The Shining

Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.
–Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil: and Edward Hyde, alone, in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil.
–Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

death–Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

The monsters that rose from the dead, they are nothing compared to the ones we carry in our hearts.
–Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

I lay in bed and thought about how easy it was to hurt a person. It didn’t have to be physical. All you had to do was take a good hard kick at something they cared about.
–Jack Ketchum, The Girl Next Door

My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape.
–Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho

Do not expect me to wish you health and long life. You will have neither. But that is not my doing. I merely foretell.
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

empty–Christopher Pike, The Wicked Heart

Here is a small fact: You are going to die.
–Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

‘I swear on my mother’s grave.’
‘Does she have a grave?’ asked Coraline.
‘Oh yes,’ said the other mother. ‘I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back.’
–Neil Gaiman, Coraline

Chanted loudly, chanted lowly
Till her blood was frozen slowly
And her eyes were darken’d wholly.
–Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Lady of Shalott

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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I Let You Go Book Review

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world turned upside down.

In the wake of a horrible accident, the only hope Jenna has of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows and start anew. She drives to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but her memories and fears continue to haunt her. The flashbacks of that night remain ever present, no matter how far she takes herself off the grid.

Ever so slowly, Jenna begins a new life in this quaint coastal town; however, her memories are far from the only thing chasing her…

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I Let You Go is a delicious thriller with more than one epic twist. One part murder mystery and one part romantic flirtation, this book will grab you from the first chapter and won’t let you go until the final words are uttered.

Told from the perspective of Jenna herself, as well as the lead detective on the murder case, I Let You Go brings to life a bittersweet story that will certainly tug at your heartstrings. It offers characters that are surprisingly flawed, real, and dare I say – relatable. It’s unlike most other thrillers in that way, which made me appreciate I Let You Go all the more.

A quick read that will keep readers engaged from start to end, I Let You Go is a moving story of a woman who tried to run away from what she knew only to end up finding what she needed.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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