I am an avid reader. I have been in book clubs and I ran a book club for several years. I like all sorts of books, both fiction and non-fiction. Right now these are the books on my nightstand:

1. “First Comes Love”- My friend Chelsea recommended this book by Emily Griffin. It is a number 1 international best seller. I can see why. It is a great book. I read it last month in a week. It is a story of sibling love, loss, and the struggle to get along. It is an easy read that pulls you in from the start. You feel like a part of the family by the time you finish the book.

2 “The Last Anniversary”- This book is written by Liane Moriarty and is a New York Times bestseller. I read it on my cruise. Interesting coincidence is that there is the same major theme in both this book and “First Comes Love”, yet both are completely different books written on separate continents. I like other books Liane Moriarty has written including “The Husband’s Secret” and “Big Little Lies”. The later has been made into an HBO mini series staring Reece Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. It premieres on February 19th http://www.hbo.com/big-little-lies. “The Last Anniversary” does not disappoint. It takes place primarily on a small island in Australia. This one was also a quick read for me and took about 5 days from start to finish.

3. “Get a Literary Agent”- I finished this book a few days ago. It is a great, practical guide for getting a book published. A lot of people think the hard part is writing the book, when in fact it is actually quite difficult to get an agent and get published. I have the materials ready for an agent, but according to this book I need to work on my “platform”. Over the last week I have been building my twitter following, as this is considered part of my platform. I now have almost 12k followers! Now I have to work on getting more blog subscribers. I am working on strategies for that, as it has always simply been a hobby and I never thought I would need any specific  numbers to secure an agent. I was wrong. Now I know, so it gives me something to work toward. This book is very helpful if you are serious about getting published. An agent is the path to getting a contract with a publishing company. This book has shown me that you need a fabulous agent if you are serious about writing, as they can be your ticket to numerous book deals. My book is my story about surviving loss and how God got me through. Obviously, it’s about Barron. His story and our story as survivors should be shared, as it can certainly encourage others who experience tragedy.

4. “If I Have to Tell You One More Time”- This book just arrived from Amazon. It was mentioned at our recent Moms of Preschoolers (MOPS) steering meeting, so I looked it up and decided I had to read it. This book was also featured on the Today Show. The author is Amy McCready and she has an online positive parenting course that helps parents correct their children’s behavior without nagging and yelling. I am always in the market for parenting solutions that align with my views. I want happy, loving, and well behaved children. I also work to avoid yelling or nagging (as I am sure most parents do). This is all the testimonial I needed to read for me to order the book- “A must read! If I Have to Tell You One More Time delivers practical, step-by-step tools for well-behaved kids and happy families.”
—Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions and Today show contributor

5. “A Piece of Cake”- I will start this book tonight. My friend Joya recommended it via Facebook. It is a memoir by Cupcake Brown about her survival from awful beginnings. Here is what Publishers Weekly has to say about the book via Amazon.com: “Cupcake Brown (that’s her real name) was 11 in 1976 when her mother died. Custody of Brown and her brother was given to a stranger—their birth father—who only wanted their social security checks. He then left them with an abusive foster mother who encouraged her nephew to rape Brown repeatedly. Brown got better and better at running away. A prostitute taught her to drink, smoke marijuana and charge for sex. Her next foster father traded her LSD and cocaine for oral sex. Eventually she went to live with a great-aunt in South Central L.A., where she joined a gang. Almost 16, having barely survived a shooting, she decided to quit gangbanging. Drugs were her new best friends. A boyfriend taught her to freebase, but then there was crack, which was easier. Before long she was a “trash-can junkie,” taking anything and everything. It wasn’t until she woke up behind a Dumpster one morning, half-dressed and more than half-dead, that she admitted she needed help. Brown conveys this all in gritty detail, and her struggle to come clean and develop her potential—she’s now an attorney with a leading California firm and a motivational speaker—ends her story on a high note. Booksellers, watch out—Cupcake’s gonna sell like hotcakes.”

Let me know what you are reading and books you can recommend, I would greatly appreciate your recommendations. I am always in the market for good books.

Dana, I know you always have some good ones!