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Category Archives for "Romance"

Find book discussion guides for your favorite romance fiction and so much more, including memorable quotes and recipes! Thanks for stopping by!

The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison, I provide your book club with a brief summary and comparison, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison
The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison
The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison
The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison

If you don’t know about it, there has been some controversy about the publication of The Giver of Stars soon after the publication of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.

I actually saw The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek long before The Giver of Stars released, but passed it by because I thought the subject might be a little heavy based on the description and I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy book. When The Giver of Stars released, I had no idea by the cover that it was about Pack Horse Librarians, but after reading the description, my interest was peaked and I decided to read it.

The controversy revolves around possible plagiarism on Jojo Moyes part, asserting that parts of The Giver of Stars are too similar to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek to be a coincidence.

I read The Giver of Stars first, unaware of the controversy. After reading, I was shocked to see the accusations from many readers in reviews, many of them citing the Buzzfeed article where the similarities are outlined. Instead of reading the article, I decided to read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek next and form my own opinion.

After reading both, I was confused and surprised that so many readers were vehemently choosing one or the other. The books were very different to me and BOTH worth reading.

Yes, the topic is Pack Horse Librarians, a Works Progress Administration program enacted by Roosevelt in the 1930s to bring books to rural Kentucky, but both authors created a book on the same subject in very different way. After I finished both books, I did finally read the article and, to me, the similarities outlined were minor.

If you disagree, think about this–this is a new subject to fiction. No other books I can think of have been written on it. Yet, there are hundreds to thousands of novels written about World War II. In those books, we expect to see spies, someone facing starvation, someone being tortured physically or mentally by a Nazi, etc.

It’s not surprising to me that Moyes and Richardson would have studied the time period and the facts and come up with story elements that coincidentally are similar. Including adding colored librarians, because of the times we are in (and it’s just important), placing antagonists along the lonely routes through the mountains, because that seems the most logical way to add tension, and creating love interests, because readers love and expect this. As a writer, I read with that eye. I’m always considering what I would add to a book on the subject, and I have to say I would have added some form of those things myself.

Let me talk a little about how the two novels are very different rather than scrutinizing their similarities.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a novel about a single woman who faces severe persecution because of her Blue skin. This alone is worth reading about because it’s based on the real-life blue-skinned people of Kentucky, a new subject and fascinating for me. She is also a Pack Horse Librarian who takes books via horseback to her patrons in rural Appalachia. The book is primarily about her inner struggle to accept herself. It is written in a literary style. It does an exceptional job of highlighting the true-to-life details of life in Appalachia. And, it should be on your book club list.

The Giver of Stars is a friendship novel about five Pack Horse Librarians. It centers on two of the women and follows their struggles through love and life. The women fight to find their voices in a time and place where women didn’t have much say. It is a plot-driven novel that will have you cheering, but many of the true-to-life details of life in Appalachia are glossed over or not addressed. Still, any book club would love this book.

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Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Where the Crawdads Sing, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe

If you haven’t heard of Where the Crawdads Sing yet, I’d be surprised. The book, released in 2018, has already sold 7 million copies as of this writing. Still, it’s a pretty new release, especially for some book clubs who require that a book is readily available through a library before they select it to read. Before now, securing the book via any other means than buying the hard copy would have been difficult.

The book is Delia Owen’s debut novel, although the author has written other non-fiction works. It’s a novel rich with natural history and scientific details of the ocean marsh where its main character, Kya, lives. Delia Owens’ background in zoology adds a significant depth to Kya’s love for the marsh and its creatures, taking the novel beyond a normal love-triangle and murder mystery plot.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
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The Giver of Stars Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Giver of Stars, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Giver of Stars Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Giver of Stars Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Giver of Stars Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Giver of Stars Book Club Questions and Recipe

The Giver of Stars is the latest novel by bestselling author, Jojo Moyes. If you don’t recall, Jojo Moyes wrote the smash hit Me Before You, among other bestsellers.

The Giver of Stars follows a group of Pack Horse Librarians in Kentucky in the 1930s. Pack Horse Librarians were part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration and a special project of Eleanor Roosevelt. They carried books via horseback to some of the most rural and remote areas of Kentucky.

The novel is permeated with friendship, primarily centered around five librarians and the events that happen to them. If you don’t know, Jojo Moyes is English, but if you do, you might be wondering how she pulled off writing a novel about rural Kentucky. The main character, Alice, is an English-born and bred lady who marries a native Kentuckian and we follow her as she moves to Kentucky and ultimately joins the Pack Horse Librarians.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Since Moyes started out as a romance author, you won’t be surprised to find a good deal of romance in the novel as well. The romance is clean and you won’t find any on-page sex. But romance isn’t the primary driving force of the novel, there are high stakes and some life-threatening situations for almost all of the characters that will keep you turning pages.

I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the book and expect it to be another hit by Moyes on the scale of Me Before You. That said, I cannot continue without addressing the fact that there has been some controversy regarding the similarity to another book about Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, which I am also featuring. However, I do not think you should form an opinion before reading both books.

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Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and book club questions in that order!

Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe Book Club Questions and Recipe
Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe Book Club Questions and Recipe
Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas Book Club Questions and Recipe
Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas Book Club Questions and Recipe
Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas Book Club Questions and Recipe
Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas Book Club Questions and Recipe
French Toast Sandwich
French Toast Sandwich

Do you love small town romances? If so, then you’ll love Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas. The novel is the first in a new series by Jodi Thomas, who, if you don’t know, is the queen of Texas romance.

Her books, set in Texas, range from historical to contemporary, from series to stand alone books. While she primarily writes romance, several of her books also lean towards women’s fiction like The Widows of Wichita County and The Little Teashop on Main. She’s won three RITAs for her romance books, which led to her induction into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame (with only 17 other romance writers!).

Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas
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The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Great Gatsby, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Recipe

This post is the third post in the Classics Series–you can check out the posts on Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Emma by Jane Austen for more.

The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most renown work. Maybe you know The Great Gatsby from high school English, where it’s often required reading (gasp!–If you’re in high school English now, hi there! Don’t worry, you’ll survive!). Anyway, maybe that’s been a while…but you have a vague memory of parties and wealth along with Gatsby’s doomed obsession for a past love.

The Great Gatsby

Or, maybe due to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jay Gatsby, you are more recently familiar with the story. Either way, you might not have read the book as an adult. I know I hadn’t.

Let me encourage you if it’s been a while or especially if you’ve crossed into mid-life, the place where we flounder between the tug of the future and the pull of the past, to consider rereading the novel. The Great Gatsby is a timeless book that can be read every few years and mined for new insights. It’s ultimately a warning against the pursuit of wealth unrestrained by morality. But, it’s more than that, too.

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Emma by Jane Austen Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Emma by Jane Austen, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

Emma Book Club Questions and Strawberry Eton Mess
Emma Book Club Questions and Strawberry Eton Mess

This post for Emma by Jane Austen is the second post in my new Classics series. If you missed the first, check out the Little Women Book Club Questions and Recipe post.

Emma is one of Jane Austen’s lesser known masterpieces (often behind Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility in readers’ minds). It is a comedy about romantic mishaps and youthful overconfidence.

Emma by
Jane Austen

Don’t you remember those blissfully ignorant and misguided days of youth when you absolutely knew what everyone else wanted and needed but had no idea what you wanted or needed? No? Just me?

Well Emma, the book’s namesake, is the epitome of this dichotomy. She’s quick to meddle in all of her neighbors’ lives, yet she has is blind to the desires of her own heart. She’s presumptuous, loved by everyone, and stubborn to a fault. Throw in a cast of quirky characters including a loquacious spinster, a gold-digging vicar, and an anti-social father and you’ve got a book full of mayhem and mishaps.

If you’ve read any of her books, you’ll know that Jane Austen is the queen of miscommunication. Her books often revolve around dangers of assumptions. Emma is no different, but I found the heroine to be especially charming in a unique way to other Austen heroines.

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The Alice Network Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Alice Network, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Alice Network Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Alice Network Book Club Questions and Recipe

Have you read any books featured by Reese’s Book Club? (As in Reese Witherspoon. In case you didn’t know, she has a online book club which is part of her company Hello Sunshine and the books they choose get the Reese seal of approval–much like Oprah’s book selections.) Anyway, for me, the books I’ve read have been hit or miss. Lately, though, it seems Reese is hitting it out of the park with titles like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Little Fires Everywhere, and Where the Crawdads Sing.

The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn

Needless to say, The Alice Network is a Reese’s Book Club pick and I loved it. The novel is a dual timeline story featuring two women as they deal with both WWI and WWII. It is set primarily in France. When the two women meet in the aftermath of WWII, their stories converge and they set out on a journey of discovery and revenge.

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In Farleigh Field Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For In Farleigh Field, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

In Farleigh Field Book Club Questions and Recipe
In Farleigh Field Book Club Questions and Recipe

In Farleigh Field has been floating around as a potential read for me for quite a while. I’ll tell you why.

In Farleigh Field

Did you know that Amazon has it’s own publishing house now? That’s right. Just like Penguin, Random House, and the others. It’s called Lake Union and it’s been putting out some hits.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s fine. Readers are meant to enjoy books and not know how the sausage is made, so to speak. However, as someone who likes to keep abreast of the industry, I’ve been wanting to read a book that Lake Union has produced. So, I chose In Farleigh Field.

You might recognize some of the other titles: The Tuscan Child, The Ragged Edge of the Night, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, What the Wind Knows...all put out by Lake Union.

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Then There Was You Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Then There Was You, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

Then There Was You Book Club Questions and Recipe
Then There Was You Book Club Questions and Recipe

As a (mostly) traditional reader, I haven’t read many books that have been indie published. So, I decided to change that. Insert Kara Isaac and Then There Was You. Wow. I was beyond pleasantly surprised.

Then There was You
by Kara Isaac

Of course, this book won a RITA in 2018, so I’m not sure why I was so delighted to find out how awesome it was! It is an inspirational (faith) romance, but can easily be enjoyed by any reader. However, as a Christian, I found this book to be a breath of fresh air compared to other titles I’ve read.

It was just so REAL. I loved the characters, the romance, and the plot. I hope you do, too!

I wanted to share this gem here as a book club suggestion for groups who might be looking for a feel-good inspirational read that still has depth. If that’s your group, I hope you’ll take a chance on this read. I’ve provided book club questions and a recipe for Then There Was You to facilitate your meeting! So if you are looking for food ideas and more for your book club meeting, keep reading!

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The Rosie Project Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Rosie Project, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Rosie Project Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Rosie Project Book Club Questions and Recipe

If your book club needs a good laugh or a feel good book, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is the book for you. From page one, I loved the narrator’s voice and couldn’t stop smiling. As someone who works in a business office during the day, I have met so many Don’s that I can’t count them. Too bad they weren’t as funny or redeemable.

The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion

This book really was a breath of fresh air to me. I’ll be interested to know if you felt the same. Even though it is a rom-com essentially, I had no trouble finding more than enough book club questions and a recipe (ummm, margaritas anyone?) to compliment the book.

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