Friday, June 26, 2015

The Cephalopod Coffehouse: Best Books of June

It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time to reveal the best books of the month. It's part of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse:



My schedule is finally back to normal after our move, but I still find myself reading a lot of audiobooks. This month I have Natalie Lloyd and Stephen King to thank for keeping me entertained on audio while I did boring household chores. But first--three books I read the old-fashioned way!


The first book is from a Twitter friend of mine who is an amazing woman. She sold a four-book deal to Simon & Schuster when she was only 20 years old. In the eight years that have followed, she has sold more than 20 books, including Wild Hearts.



This was the first book of Jessica's I've read, but it won't be the last! She has a talent for describing a setting so vividly, you feel as if you're standing in the middle of it. She perfectly captures the mind of a teenage girl, complete with a love for makeup and a desire to fit in. Added to that is a mega-conflict that forces the main character to choose between family loyalty and her own convictions. I can't wait to read more of Jessica's books!

I was so excited to finally get to read this book from my blogging friend Megan Whitson Lee.



Song from the Ashes tells the story of a man who is torn between the woman he feels obligated to marry and the woman who has captured his heart. It has a Christian undertone to it, which makes the main character's struggle all the more compelling. The characters and their stories are so realistic, you'll feel like you know them.

After reading two romances, I was ready for a scary read! J.H. Moncrieff didn't let me down. I love J.H.'s spooky blog, which usually includes riveting stories about unsolved mysteries, so I knew I'd love her book, too. The Bear Who Wouldn't Leave does what some of the best horror stories ever have done--it turns an innocent childhood toy into something scary. Can anything be spookier than an evil teddy bear?




I have to say, this book is about so much more than an evil teddy bear. It's dark and complex and it pulls you right in and won't let you go. You can't help but root for Josh and the surprise ending will have you thinking about this book long after you put it down.

My first audiobook this month comes from the lovely Natalie Lloyd. I sat with her and Kristin Tubb at a booksigning in early May and vowed to read both their books. When I got home, Natalie's book, A Snicker of Magic, was already on my Audible.com wish list. I downloaded it and started reading right away. How can you resist this cover?




I have to say, this is one of those awesome books that may be better on audio. The narrator has the perfect voice with just enough of a Southern accent to be extra charming. A 12-year-old girl named Felicity Pickle moves to Midnight Gulch with her mom. She soon finds that the entire town was once magic. To stay, she must find a way to bring the magic back...but in the meantime, she'll meet a cast of memorable characters and hear a series of interesting stories. This is the type of book that helps you escape from the stress of everyday life, transporting you to a magical place as only a book can.

And here's my second audiobook. It had been a while since I'd read a Stephen King novel, but the cover to Joyland had long fascinated me.



This book is one of Stephen King's shorter books, which is a good thing for those of us who can't quite commit to one of his 1,000-page tomes at this point in our lives. Joyland is the story of a teenage boy who takes a job at a carnival for the summer. Of course, all is not as it seems at this particular carnival. I enjoyed it, but if you're looking for a great Stephen King read from recent years, I'd recommend 11/22/63.

What's the best book you read in June? Tell us in comments or add your name to the list and tell all of your readers!

36 comments:

  1. Wonderful review and those titles look really great. I will be reading my second book of the month next week, not sure of the title yet. Best wishes!

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  2. Cephalopod Coffeehouse looks interesting. :)

    I don't think I've read something with a similar plot. Honestly, I haven't have my Stephen King yet. I don't know what's stopping me from reading his books. Soon. :)

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  3. JH's book is definitely high on my list to read. And you're right, her blog is awesome.

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  5. Have we discussed 11/22/63 before? I loved it, but it's the only King book I've read.

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  6. They all sound fantastic books - especially the audio ones.

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  7. that one about the bear sounds dangerous.... do they really have to turn kids' toys into potential sources of horror too?

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  8. Big fan of JH's! Love her blog and looking forward to the creepy read. :)

    I'm reading King's FINDERS KEEPERS and thoroughly enjoying it. It's the second book of his detective/mystery trilogy - I didn't care for the first one so much and was hesitant to read this one but the reviews convinced me to give it a shot. So glad I did! I'm also a big fan of his collections of shorter works. :)

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  9. Quite the mixture of books this month. Megan sure sounds super successful to, awesome.

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  10. I love that you read Megan's book for this. It's great when Coffeehouse members promote one another's work.

    I'm also intrigued by Joyland. If nothing else, I love the cover. That painted, pulp novel art aesthetic is very appealing.

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  11. i like that retro cover for joyland. congrats to all of your successful writer friends!

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  12. I read Wild Hearts last month! loved it. Right now I'm reading the latest Sarah Dessen...it's amazing, classic Dessen. My only problem with reading her books is I get SO down on myself as a writer since I think she's one of the best out there!

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  13. Wow you did manage to read quite a few books in the midst of settling in after your move! That bear one sounds spooky, but interesting, might have to look for it. Right now I'm reading The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman. I'm about halfway through and enjoying it. I think the favorite from the month was "The Last Goodbye" by Caroline Finnert. Sad, but compelling.

    betty

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  14. How is it I'm more freaked out by the blurb for THE BEAR THAT WOULDN'T LEAVE than JOYLAND? Wow! Great comments on some really cool books! Thanks for sharing.
    Veronica

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  15. Hey, thanks for the plug! That was awesome!!!

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  16. What great reviews. You are so kind to other authors. I really like that.

    I can't remember what the first book was. I'm such an avid reader that I just don't know.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  17. I'm ashamed to say, I've been so physically busy this time of year that I haven't read a single book in June. I've read lots of short Tapping Solution printout from a webinar I took last fall to put me to sleep but I never manage finishing a single print out in one session. I fall asleep.

    Writers have to read a lot and you always have great reviews.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  18. Glad you are finally settling in and look at you go with all the reading. The freaky Panda scares me just looking at the cover. I will check out her blog. I have read a biography on John Wayne which is a wonderful homage to a great actor and person. I am catching up on my (not my-lol) magazine called "Archeology Today"

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  19. That's so great that a young, talented writer got picked up like that. She has a great career ahead of her.

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  20. Thanks for the reviews! I've been wanting to read King's Joyland for a while, but I haven't gotten around to it. I think the last King book I read was Doctor Sleep.

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  21. Sounds like plenty of great books here Stephanie!!! Thank You!!!

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  22. Isn't it wonderful (and sometimes daunting) to find so much talent in the blogosphere. Some fascinating sounding books this month - thank you.
    My best books were darker. In my Mother's Hands by Biff Ward was a memoir about growing up in a family with a politically active father and a mother with severe mental illness. Fraught. With undercurrents of fear and horror.

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  23. I enjoyed Joyland's setting and I can't believe I haven't added this to my Goodreads account! Mr. Mercedes in another good Stephen King audio book if you're looking for another. :)

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  24. Thanks so much, Stephanie! This was so unexpected and incredibly kind. It means the world to me that you read and loved my book.

    The best book I've read in June was "My Life with Eleanor." I really enjoyed it.

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  25. Thank you very much for bringing this wealth of talent to our attention.

    Greetings from London.

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  26. Evil teddy bear. The mind boggles.

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  27. You present so many good books, especially YA. When it's time to buy Christmas presents for the YA nieces and nephews, I'll take my cue from you.

    Love,
    Janie

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  28. I haven't read anything in a while.

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  29. These books are all new to me. I recently listened to my first audio book. Neat. I'm looking for more good ones to listen to.
    Have a nice weekend.

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  30. I have two favorites -- Sarah McCoy's THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN and the one I'm currently reading, Vanessa Diffenbaugh's THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS. So good!

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  31. I am terrified and now curious just looking at the cover and reading your synopsis of JH's book. I read 4 books while at the beach and would not recommend any of them to anyone. I have a few more in the queue, perhaps my selection batting average will improve before summer ends.

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  32. OK you moved and read 62 books !
    But really, wonderful book reviews.

    cheers, parsnip

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  33. The cover of The Bear Who Wouldn't Leave is freaking me out lol! And I've seen Wild Hearts around - I'm hearing lots of good things about it! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I think I've read one of the author's books before...I should probably start reading the rest haha. Great reviews!

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  34. I haven't had time to read much recently as I was busy editing a project.

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  35. I finished reading (actually listening to the unabridged version) of Pat Conroy's "South of Broad" this month and really enjoyed the story... I need to read more of King's work

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