Love. Story. (A Contribution)

Today’s post by one of our lovely readers, Tori Whitaker | @ToriLWhitaker

Love. Story

We’re thrilled to hand this space over to Tori Whitaker today in the first of our “Love. Story.” series. We first met Tori last August at a writer’s workshop at the Decatur Book Festival. She is bright, well read, thoughtful, and a true lover of story. In the last year she has become not just a member of this community but a friend as well. Please welcome her today. And if you would like contribute to our series, read this post and contact us here.

Tori Whitaker

Tori Whitaker

How Back Bay by William Martin Changed My Life

My daddy asked me when I was nine where we should go on family vacation.  I said what every small town Indiana girl would say.  Disneyland? Nope.  Camping?  No way.  The beach?  Nah-uh.  I picked the 1607 settlement of Jamestown, Virginia.

Okay, so my dream destination was a tad unusual for my age.  Maybe it was spurred by Mrs. Stevens who taught American history that year. Or, maybe it came because I was born to a family of five living generations—in a way, I grew up with people from history eating around the breakfast table.  Perhaps, it was nostalgia in recalling my first museum visit; when I was four, I’d stood with Poppy and Memaw before a Model T, a real car from the “olden days.”  Regardless, I craved history the way athletes love sports.

This love prompted me years later to pick up William Martin’s 1979 debut novel, Back Bay.  Oh, I’d read plenty of historical fiction.  I’d gone through a historical romance phase before that.  This was different.

The chapters of Martin’s family saga alternated between the days of Paul Revere and Boston’s era of corporate greed and corruption.  A buried silver tea service connected the two periods.  By the time I discovered Martin, he had published a slew of past-and-present novels, but in Back Bay, I’d found my literary passion:  books with contemporary storylines juxtaposed against tales of ages past…books offering a glance-across-the-shoulder perspective.

Had I not read Martin’s book, I might not have sought out newer novels that spanned time periods.  Works like those by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, Sarah Jio, and Sarah McCoy.  I might not have lost myself in Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train, nor puzzled over Anne Fortier’s mystery set centuries apart in Italy.  I might never have bitten my nails over the fate of a painting looted by Nazis—thanks to best-selling author, Jojo Moyes—nor soaked up tales of Salem witches by Katherine Howe.  I might have missed pondering the horrors of slavery through Tara Conklin’s eyes, or of 1930s discrimination via Julie Kibler’s voice.  And I might have skipped crying over scenes crafted by Jenna Blum and Tatiana De Rosnay.

Without reading Back Bay, I might never have realized that here was the kind of fiction I yearned to write.

How fortuitous of me to show up early for a book fest awhile back.  The session preceding William Martin’s was crammed full, forcing me to wait in the lobby (and to greet the master of dual narrative novels, alone, upon his arrival).  He shared wisdom as I scrawled notes in my pocket-sized spiral pad with jittery fingers.

“Is it hard for you,” I asked, newbie that I was, “to align the stories of characters in two time periods so seamlessly?”

“It makes me pull out my hair,” he said with a laugh.  Thinking of my own book in progress, I warmed in knowing I was on the right track.

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Life Is Still Sweet: A Roundup

Today’s post by our own Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Between the untimely death of a beloved actor, the atrocities and unrest in the middle east, the weird weather patterns, and other freaky things that show up in our news feeds and social media, it’s easy to start thinking the sky really is falling. It’s hard not to let it get us down. Especially if this worldwide unrest is amplified by hard times on the home front– job loss, illness, family strife, financial woes, and marital disharmony come to mind… just to name a few.

When life begins to weigh on us, it’s tempting to hide under the covers in a fetal position sucking our thumb. But today at She Reads we’d like to offer another solution. Silly as it may sound, maybe diving into a sweet story is just what the doctor ordered. So today, because we believe in hope, and goodness, and joy (and cake, and flowers, and love), we share these books with you– if for nothing else than to remind us all that life is still sweet. Hard as it can be to find simple joy– it is, always, there.

*Note: Some of these books are available now, some are coming out in a few weeks. Put them on your radar or better yet, on your nightstand!

Since You've Been GoneSINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE by Anouska Knight

How do you learn to love again?

In one tragic moment, Holly Jefferson’s life as she knew it changed forever. Now—to the external world, at least—she’s finally getting back on her feet, running her bakery, Cake. But inside, she’s still going through the motions befitting a twenty-seven-year-old widow.

Then she meets Ciaran Argyll. His privileged and charmed life feels a million miles from her own. However, there’s more to Ciaran than the superficial world that surrounds him, and he, too, is wrestling with his own ghosts. Will Holly find the missing ingredient that allows her to live again—and embrace an unknown and unexpected tomorrow?

Life Is SweetLIFE IS SWEET by Elizabeth Bass

Three years ago, Becca Hudson threw a dart at a map, hit Leesburg, Virginia, and decided it was the perfect place to start over. Now she has her own bakery, The Strawberry Cake Shop, loyal customers, and close friends. She also has something that success as a Hollywood child star couldn’t give her: a mostly normal existence. Not that it’s without complications. One best friend, Pam, is in the wary early days of a new relationship;another is fighting to save her marriage in the midst of infidelity. And then there’s Becca’s growing attraction to Matthew, surrogate stepdad to Olivia, a smart, sensitive ten-year-old who’s become a fixture in the bakery and in Becca’s affections.

Still, Becca is content to live in the present and ignore the “Whatever happened to?” speculation and occasional curious fan–until her past barges in again. Amid revelations and unexpected dilemmas, Becca must confront the life she stepped away from and the love she struggles to accept. It’s the only way she’ll truly find what she needs: a recipe for living that’s honest, messy, sweet, and true.

In an eloquent novel as moving as it is funny, acclaimed author Elizabeth Bass tells a story of forgiveness, resilience–and the unexpected detours that shape every journey to happiness.

A Pinch Of Ooh La LaA PINCH OF OOH LA LA by Renee Swindle

To get to happily ever after, sometimes you need to start from scratch….

Abbey Ross, who runs her own bakery in Oakland, California, is known for her visually stunning wedding cakes. But lately, Abbey’s own love life has become stale. According to her best friend, Bendrix, Abbey’s not the spontaneous young woman she was when they were teenagers listening to the Cure and creating attention-grabbing graffiti. Of course, her failed relationship with a womanizing art forger might have something to do with that. Nevertheless, it’s time for Abbey to step out of the kitchen—and her comfort zone—and Bendrix has even handpicked a man for her to date.

Samuel Howard is everything Abbey’s dreamed of: handsome, successful, and looking to raise a family. But a creamy icing might be needed to hide a problem or two. When Samuel complains about disrespect for the institution of marriage, Abbey’s reminded of her nontraditional family, with thirteen children from various mothers. And when Samuel rails about kids having kids, Abbey thinks of her twenty-year-old sister who’s recently revealed her pregnancy.

Soon Abbey is facing one disaster after another and struggling to make sense of it all. Her search for love has led her down a bitter path, but with the help of her unique family and unwavering friends, she just might find the ooh la la that makes life sweet.

The Art Of Arranging FlowersTHE ART OF ARRANGING FLOWERS by Lynne Barnard

A moving and eloquent novel about love, grief, renewal—and the powerful language of flowers.

Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion.

Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need.

Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again.


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Book Trailer of the Day

One of the reasons I love running She Reads with my best friend is because she sends me links to videos like this. And as the daughter of an artist, I love this so much. Marybeth and I knew this was a novel we should share with you, and really, once you watch it, you’ll see how this was the best possible format to do so. You can bet that I now have ALL WE HAD by Annie Weatherwax on my to-read list.

*email readers can click here to see the video

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YA Review: Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Today’s YA book review by Melissa Carpenter | @MelissaCarp

Catch A Falling StarMy take:

Kim Culbertson’s Catch a Falling Star is one of the best contemporary YA romances I’ve read so far this year. It has everything I want to see: a strong, relatable, intelligent protagonist, a swoon-worthy boy, great supporting characters (including good parents – YAY!),  a setting I’d like to spend time in, and a cute, cleverly written plot sprinkled with some humor and sweetness.

What it’s about:

Carter Moon is happy with her life – she helps out in her parents’ deli, she’s about to graduate high school with some great friends, and she loves the small town of Little, CA. The problem? Well, there are a few. One, she’s so content with her current life that she hasn’t made any plans for beyond high school. Two, she takes on too much responsibility for her brother’s gambling addiction. And three, she’s completely unprepared for the impact the filming of a Hollywood movie in Little will have on her nice, quiet little life.

When Adam Jakes, current teen heartthrob and object of almost every teenage girl’s obsession, comes to Little for his next Hollywood movie, he’s in need of some positive PR. When Adam’s manager sees Carter and her small-town sweetness, he hires her to “date” Adam while he’s in town to build up his public image (Carter only agrees so she can use the money to help her brother).

Adam is not prepared for a girl who speaks her mind and seems immune to his celebrity status, and Carter is not prepared to actually find some depth and humanity behind Adam’s public persona. The result? A really, really cute story reminiscent of Jen E. Smith’s THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE. I devoured this in a day and instantly wanted more of Carter and Adam’s story. I’d love to see these characters reappear in future Culbertson titles.

Also, though these characters are upper high school age, I was really pleased to see that the book was totally clean and appropriate even for my middle schooler students to read. It was also pleasantly surprising to see that Carter’s parents are really good parents, models for the kinds of parents I wish we saw more in YA titles. Culbertson is a refreshing new voice in the YA world – I’d love to see this book on a bestseller list (and it would be perfect for a movie, too).

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It Comes In Waves: on motherhood, writing, and freedom.

Today’s post by author Erika Marks | @erikamarksauthr

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I set out to write IT COMES IN WAVES, I knew one of the novel’s pivotal relationships was going to be that of forty-two year-old, single mother Claire, and her teenage daughter, Lizzie, who is struggling to assert her independence.

Before I began the novel’s first draft, I worried I wouldn’t be able to relate to Claire’s challenges. Don’t get me wrong: I’m the mother of two daughters—but my daughters are young; young enough that they—and for this I thank my stars DAILY—still want me to, on occasion, hold their hands, sing them to sleep and maybe even, for a few precious minutes, be their whole world.

Now I know one day they will want their own space. There will be no hand-holding, no lullaby-singing, no tolerance of mom’s Mom-ness on any level—but that day is far, far away.

After all, I was a wildly independent kid who grew up to be a wildly independent adult. My leash was long—okay, in truth, there was no leash. There was no fence, no curfews, no limits. At seventeen, I backpacked through Greece and Italy with my best friend for six weeks. After college, I moved to LA, not knowing a soul, and asked a bus driver to drop me off in Venice Beach because I liked the way it felt. If my mother struggled to come to terms with my fierce independence, she cloaked it well. So how could I relate to a mother who saw the early sparks of independence in her daughter and felt such panic she could barely breathe—or let her daughter breathe, for that matter? Surely I couldn’t understand that mother?

Then I started writing Claire.

And suddenly, I could.

Because as mothers, no matter how we tell ourselves we will let go when we must, the instinct to hold on is strong—quite possibly even stronger than our childrens’ desire to pull free.

In my novel, Claire comes out on the other side, a better mother, a better person.

When the day comes for my daughters to show that same desire for personal freedom, that vital craving for independence, I can only hope I will have learned from Claire’s challenge—and emerge as well on the other side.


9780451418869_large_It_Comes_In_WavesFor competitive surfer Claire “Pepper” Patton, the waves of South Carolina’s Folly Beach once held the promise of a loving future and a bright career—until her fiance, Foster, broke the news that he and Claire’s best friend, Jill, were in love.

Eighteen years later, now forty-two and a single parent to a rebellious teenage daughter, Claire has put miles between that betrayal and that coast. But when ESPN invites her back to Folly Beach for a documentary on women in surfing, Claire decides it might be the chance she needs to regain control of her life and reacquaint herself with the unsinkable young woman she once was.

But not everything in Folly Beach is as Claire remembers it, most especially her ex-best friend, Jill, who is now widowed and raising her and Foster’s teenage son. An unexpected reunion with Claire will uncover a guilt that Jill has worked hard to bury—and bring to the surface years of unspoken blame.

When Claire crosses paths with a sexy pro-surfer who is as determined to get Claire back on a board as he is to get her in his bed, a chance for healing might not be far behind—or is it too late for two estranged friends to find forgiveness in the place that was once their coastal paradise, where life was spent barefoot and love was as dizzying as the perfect wave…


Erika Marks is a native New Englander who now lives and writes in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and their two little mermaids who will one day in the far, far future, forbid her from referring to them as such.

Question for you: what was your relationship with your mother like during your teen years? Good? Bad? Ugly? Or somewhere in between? 


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Book Review: The Home Place by Carrie La Seur

Today’s review by yours truly | @ArielLawhon

The Home PlaceWhat it’s about:

Carrie La Seur makes her remarkable debut with The Home Place, a mesmerizing, emotionally evocative, and atmospheric literary novel in the vein of The House Girl and A Land More Kind Than Home, in which a successful lawyer is pulled back into her troubled family’s life in rural Montana in the wake of her sister’s death.

The only Terrebonne who made it out, Alma thought she was done with Montana, with its bleak winters and stifling ways. But an unexpected call from the local police takes the successful lawyer back to her provincial hometown and pulls her into the family trouble she thought she’d left far behind: Her lying, party-loving sister, Vicky, is dead. Alma is told that a very drunk Vicky had wandered away from a party and died of exposure after a night in the brutal cold. But when Alma returns home to bury Vicky and see to her orphaned niece, she discovers that the death may not have been an accident.

The Home Place is a story of secrets that will not lie still, human bonds that will not break, and crippling memories that will not be silenced. It is a story of rural towns and runaways, of tensions corporate and racial, of childhood trauma and adolescent betrayal, and of the guilt that even forgiveness cannot ease. Most of all, this is a story of the place we carry in us always: home.

The First Paragraphs:

“The cold on a January night in Billings, Montana, is personal and spiritual. It knows your weaknesses. It communicates with your fears. If you have a god, this cold pulls a veil between you and your deity. It gets you alone in a place where it can work at you. If you are white, especially from the old families, the cold speaks to you of being isolated and undefended on the infinite homestead plains. It sound like wolves and reverberates like drums in all the hollow places where you wonder who you are and what you would do in extremis. In this cold, you understand at last that you are not brave at all.

If you’re Indian–a Crow or Cheyenne off the res maybe, a Shoshone, Hidatsa, Assiniboine, one of the humbled peoples of an unforgiving land–the cold will sound different, but still, it knows your name. It has no mercy for you no matter how long and intimate its relationship with your mothers and fathers. You of all people ought to know that it is a killer. How many of your relatives has it taken? More than wars and car crashes? Do your fingers and toes tingle in the cold because of some childhood frostbite, before you learned to cover up, or when the power company turned off the juice and your little back got pushed up hard against the cold rock of winter?”

Why I loved it:

For me everything about this book came down to sisters. I have three of them, you see. And one of them could be the blueprint for Alma’s younger, troubled, tragic sister Vicky. It’s a wondrous and terrible thing to love someone you can’t control. Especially when that someone is determined to burn through life at their own pace and on their own terms. So reading this novel was visceral for me. I understood why Alma wanted to leave her old life behind (I did the same thing after all) and I also understood how easily and completely she could be pulled back into it (this is a recurring theme in my own life).

THE HOME PLACE is written with the sharp, clean prose of a literary heavyweight and paced with compelling must-know-more suspense. It is exactly the sort of novel I adore. Smart. Searing. Redemptive. I read this novel quickly (that’s always my litmus test) and thought about the characters when I wasn’t with them. I loved the contemplation of home: why we leave it, why we yearn for it, and why, ultimately, we always return. And try as I might, I was not able to solve the mystery of Vicky’s death in advance. A truly well done mystery.

It’s been a long time since I found myself missing the jagged peaks and sagebrush mesas of my own home. But after reading this novel I found myself wrestling with the sudden urge to return to New Mexico, a place not so very different than the Billings, Montana of Carrie La Seur’s beautiful debut novel.

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What If: The Question Every Author (And Mother) Asks

Today’s post by Ann Lewis Hamilton

Ann Lewis HamiltonSometimes when I look at my daughter, I marvel at the journey that brought us together – a woman from a small southern town who ended up living in Los Angeles and an orphaned infant from the streets of Calcutta.

The “what ifs” start before that.  My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.  Suppose I had carried that baby to term?  Would it have been a girl?  A boy?  If I’d had that child, does that mean I wouldn’t have given birth to my wonderful son?  (I missed biology in high school, so I don’t know how things like that work.)

What if.   When my husband and I tried to have another child after Max, what if we had been been successful?  Successful at least twice so we’d be a family with three biological children.  My husband and I had always talked of adoption, but with three biological children, would we have stopped?

What if.  We didn’t go very far down the infertility road, only to IUI (intrauterine insemination).  The first time was successful, but I had another miscarriage.  Suppose I hadn’t?  By then we were looking into international adoption.  There was a point where I was pregnant and expecting in the spring and we’d been told our adoptive daughter would arrive around the same time.  So in addition to our son, would we suddenly have two infants?  Would we have stopped the adoption process?

Not in a million years.  My husband and I joked about how crazy our lives would have been if it had worked out that way.  Things happen for a reason.  But do they?  The miscarriages and fertility treatments – I have a hard time wrapping my head around how pain and heartbreak make you a stronger person.  Really?  I think I’d be just as strong without having gone through that.  (On the other hand, I never would have been about to write a book about infertility.)

We never found out why I had a hard time getting pregnant or had miscarriages.  But what if we had?  How far would we have gone to have another child?  In my novel, Alan talks about never feeling the need to replicate himself.  My husband and I felt the same way.  We didn’t need a replica of ourselves or a blend of our genetic material.  Color, nationality, sex of the child, none of that made a difference to us.

I’d like to think we have the best of both worlds.  A birth child and an adopted child.  But when I look at my son and daughter, that’s not what I see.  I see my children.

* * *

ExpectingA mom, a dad, a baby…and another dad.

Laurie and Alan are expecting, again. After two miscarriages, Laurie was afraid they’d never be able to have a child. Now she’s cautiously optimistic — the fertility treatment worked, and things seem to be different this time around. But she doesn’t yet know how different.

Jack can’t seem to catch a break — his parents are on his case about graduating from college, he’s somehow dating two girls at once, and he has to find a way to pay back the money he borrowed from his fraternity’s party fund. The only jobs he is qualified for barely pay enough to keep him in beer money, but an ad for the local sperm bank gives Jack an idea.

Laurie and Alan’s joy is shattered when their doctor reveals that Laurie was accidentally impregnated by sperm from a donor rather than her husband. Who is Donor 296. And how will their family change now that Donor 296 is inarguably part of it?

* * *

Ann Lewis Hamilton has written for film and television. EXPECTING is her first novel.

Ann Lewis Hamilton’s television credits include, among others, Grey’s Anatomy, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, and thirtysomething. She co-edits a small online literary magazine, Hot Valley Writers, and writes a blog, Book Club for One. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia in a house full of typewriters – her grandfather was the editor of the local newspaper where her father worked as a reporter and her mother wrote for the society page. Ann’s goal was to write and draw for MAD magazine, but instead she graduated with a BA from the University of Virginia and an MFA from UCLA. However, she still has a subscription to MAD.

When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time as a amateur astronaut. (Not really, but she has seen Gravity three times and would consider being an astronaut if she got to meet George Clooney.)

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Working And Mothering From Home: A Horror Story

Today’s post by author Sonya Cobb | @CobbSonya

Sonya Cobb

Sonya Cobb

I was hiding behind the shower curtain, hand clamped over my mouth, phone jammed against my ear, sweat pouring into my eyes.  In the next room, my daughter’s screams were ratcheting from anxiety to desperation to mindless panic.

There was no man with a knife silhouetted against the shower curtain.  There was, however, an important client on the phone, and he wanted to know what I thought about the change in strategy we were considering.  I didn’t know we were considering a change of strategy.  I didn’t even know what the original strategy was, because the document was sitting on my desk in the room where my baby was screaming her head off.  Cue Psycho music.

I learned an important lesson that day:  if you try to work and parent at the same time, you will end up doing a half-assed job of both.

Later on I would ask myself why I didn’t politely excuse myself from that phone call and arrange to have the conversation another time.  I wondered why I hadn’t trained my daughter to soothe herself back to sleep after her usual ten-minute micronap.  But in both roles – freelancer and mother – I was tentative, inexperienced, and desperate to succeed.

We needed two incomes, but I avoided getting a full-time job because I wasn’t ready to put my daughter into full-time daycare.  I figured I’d stuff some freelance work into the cracks and crevices of my day, scheduling conference calls during my daughter’s naps, working on assignments after my husband got home.  The rest of the time, I’d nurse my baby, provide lots of meaningful eye contact, and watch her personality unfold.

But the work was slow to come, leaving me in no position to dictate my clients’ conference call schedules.  I became well acquainted with my phone’s mute button as I perfected the art of multitasking:  working while nursing.  Working while changing diapers.  Working while frantically dabbing spit-up off my keyboard.

It wasn’t working.  After the bathtub debacle I finally hired a babysitter, even though the math was all wrong.  My hourly rate was higher than the sitter’s, but I had to pay her whether I was working or not.  That led to some strange afternoons spent shopping for clothes I couldn’t afford, just because I felt weird sitting at home reading magazines while the sitter played with my baby.

Eventually the work began to flow more regularly, and I got better at budgeting the needs of my baby, clients and childcare provider.  But it took a long time, and when I look back, I consider it one of the most exhausting and conflicted periods of my life.  When I think about women whose hourly wage is lower than the cost of childcare, who struggle every day just to provide food for their kids (never mind meaningful eye contact), I know I’m one of the lucky ones.  But I never look at a new mom juggling the demands of work and motherhood – no matter her socioeconomic circumstances – without sympathy, respect, and the sound of Psycho music echoing in my head.

* * *

The Objects of Her Affection - coverHer Heists Paid the Bills.
Her Family Paid the Price.

Sophie Porter is the last person in the world you’d expect to be stealing Renaissance masterpieces—and that’s exactly why she’s so good at it. Slipping objects out of her husband’s office at the Philadelphia Museum of Art satisfies something deep inside, during a time in her life when satisfactions are few and far between.

Selling the treasures also happens to keep their house out of foreclosure — a house that means everything to Sophie. But the FBI is sniffing around, and Sophie is close to destroying the very life she’s working so hard to build. She knows she should give up her thieving ways. But she may no longer be in control. The Objects of Her Affection is a riveting story about the realities of motherhood, the perils of secrecy, and the art of appraising the real treasures in our lives.

“This thrilling, emotional, and tautly paced novel will appeal to fans of The Book Thief…[Cobb's] brilliant first novel is the story of a woman with nothing and everything to lose.”—Booklist, starred review

Question: have you ever worked from home while caring for young children? How’d it go?

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Love. Story. (A Call For Submissions)

Love. Story

This month marks our fifth anniversary. In blog years (not to mention dog years) that basically means we’ve been around forever. And even though this reading community looks much different than it did when we started, She Reads still exists because we believe in the power of Story. We still want to share stories and encourage the women to read them. Year after year we’ve been profiling the books we think will move our readers. But as time has gone on, we’ve realized there’s been something missing: You.

Given the changes we’re making this fall, and our renewed focus on Community, Conversation, and Connection we’ve decided to open the doors of this organization a bit wider. And we’d like to hear how Story has changed your life. What novel comes to mind when you hear those words? Perhaps it’s a memoir or biography? Maybe a story led you to forgive someone, to make that hard phone call, to notice someone you might have otherwise overlooked, to speak up, to share something painful, to act, or to love. Whatever your story about Story is, we want to hear it. And we’d like to share it with this community.

We invite you to submit your “Love. Story.” posts to us here and we will begin what we hope to be a long conversation about the power of Story in our lives.

A few specifics on what we’re looking for: 

  • The post needs to be about a novel, memoir, or biography that changed your life. Tell us why. If you can make us laugh or cry, even better.
  • Your post should be no longer than 500 words.
  • It can NOT be about a book you have written.

We look forward to hearing from you!


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Big Changes Coming Soon


This is usually the point where we announce our new book club selection. But that won’t be happening this month because we have some very BIG and very EXCITING news to share with you soon. Our next book club announcement won’t come until September 8th. (And really, let’s be honest: August is crazy. Everyone is getting kids back to school. We’re adjusting to the end of the summer and the new normal for fall.) Until then we’ll be here as usual. Reviewing books. Interviewing authors. Sharing stories. But we have changed the way we look at reading over the last few months. We’ve changed the way we select books and how we share them with you. And most importantly we have changed the way we operate so that we can better serve you, our lovely readers, through conversation, community, and connection.

Change can be hard. But in this case, we promise it will be wonderful. Stick with us. Keep reading. And prepare yourself for September.

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