Annette's Picks

I LOVED , LOVED, LOVED this book about two women corresponding in the 1960s! They begin by sharing their interest in food and then develop a true friendship. One lives in L.A., the other in the Seattle area. Every page either made me smile or pulled on my heartstrings. This is such a SPECIAL, gentle gem of a book that I pre-ordered seven copies as gifts!!


While I mistakenly thought this was a humorous book, the complexities of relationships made up for it. But it was really the descriptions of the food and locations that grabbed me over and over and had me heating up my phone with nonstop googling of the hotels, restaurants, and other GORGEOUS sites. One day (when I hit the lottery) I want to plan a tour of all the stops Katy made. Most people might like this book for the mystery and romance, but as for me, she had me at “Positano.”


A young seamstress in 1946 North Carolina, discovers the secrets of a tobacco company. She learns the harsh reality of the balance between truth and consequences, health and economy, and the strength of profit and power. This book is sure to spur some great book club discussions not only about smoking, but also women’s roll in the 1940s and fashion!


Kate Quinn has done it again! Another compelling WWII read—this time about the female Russian sharpshooter, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who had 309 confirmed kills before being sent to the US on a propaganda tour, where she met and became friends with Eleanor Roosevelt.


Fascinating! I was totally immersed in this historical fiction of Mona Lisa’s life and how centuries later her portrait, along with other art from the Louvre, was kept safe during WWII. I learned so much!


Heart-wrenching and LOL funny—a meek, anxious, awkward, sad, overthinker is obsessed with death. She’s an atheist lesbian who is accidentally hired by a Catholic church—a well-meaning, yet tragic figure who makes hilarious, honest observations while unintentionally getting involved in a murder investigation.


This is a small but powerful book. Thought-provoking and inspiring, it will reside with me not just alongside the Christmas spirit, but throughout the year in the spirit of humanity and compassion.


Good book for kids to understand what it was like for a young Italian Jewish girl during WWII. Written at a comprehensible level, children will learn about the changes, fears, and hopes of living during scary times, and why Lia wants to give America a big hug!


Super cute book about a bright and plucky 14 y/o princess mermaid ready to take on her ambassadorship at the annual Royal Festival only to be treated like a little kid. While on land, she learns of an earthquake at her home in the sea, and even there, her dad doesn’t want her input. Top that off with seeing her mother who abandoned her 7 years ago, and things just aren’t going right. Will she ever be taken seriously? Can she make a difference?


A sweet story of a camel saving two baby birds during a sandstorm. To keep them calm, she tells them stories of her childhood in Turkey, being raised as a racing camel, and how she came to Texas. Her stories are a fun way to learn about the Texas Experiment in the 1850s where the US military imported camels, about sandstorms, and animals found in the desert like the horned toads that have unique defense mechanisms. Informative and touching.


This is an introspective book about two teen boys, both loners but so different, who connect and form a friendship. It’s about dealing with the complexities of emotions and sexuality and discovering who you are in this world—so engaging and well-written. Loved both the main characters!


What a hoot! Maud might be almost 89 years old, but she’s no shrinking violet. She knows how to take care of herself and situations that need “fixing.” I loved this little treasure of a book!


A chilling account of Auschwitz by Heather Morris based on the real lives of three sisters. I cannot count the number of times my heart felt crushed by the weight of their story. What the sisters were subjected to and witnessed left me speechless, and yet they endured and ultimately prevailed! EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS!


I loved this book about four women in a cooking contest in England during WWII. Each had more at stake than the prize of becoming a BBC radio program presenter. It’s about their separate struggles, the general hardships of war, and the power of friendships. BIG BONUS: it includes over 15 recipes! I’ve made one already, and plan to try a lot more (although I will skip the Sheep’s Head Roll). Cooking some of the recipes is a fun way to connect to the characters and the time period!


Whoo-wee—what a wild ride! Are you in a reading slump? This book will give you a jolt! Creepy, funny, gory, disgusting—loved it! At times I found myself cringing while laughing out loud at the same time. Glad our book club stepped outside of our usual reading genre and took a chance on this one!


This book, about 2 black women stepping outside the restrictive protections of their families into roles of officers in the WAAC, really grabbed me! The ladies confronted segregation in the Army & blatant, even violent discrimination from other Americans outside the Army. At times hopeful, at times heart-wrenching, the book later circles around to their triumphal breakthrough in the “Six Triple Eight”—the only all-black, all-female American battalion deployed overseas during WWII.


I love how AJ Pearce was somehow able to form a WWII story into a feel-good book. She made me care about every one of her warm characters, especially the center of them all, a young journalist who is determined to help working women with daycare issues during wartime. I couldn’t help but root for Emmy’s bright enthusiasm and moxie as she delicately yet doggedly negotiates in a man’s world. Go Emmy!


Wow! This book pivots on roles three women played in the enormous Woman Suffrage Procession in 1913 that was interrupted by a chaotic mob. The ladies' activism is a great reminder of the long and hard-won road to women’s right to vote that we should not take for granted!


I was awestruck by the stunning tale of Jews surviving in the forest as the Nazis hunted them during WWII. Inspired by true events, it’s a monumental story of courage, heroism, and a shining light in the midst of darkness and evil. Remarkable!


This book helped me open my eyes to the little things I can do to change my habits in order to make a positive environmental impact. It offered new suggestions and reinforced old ideas, but mostly it inspired me to be more aware of my own actions and purchases. Every little bit counts and it starts with me. I CAN make a difference!


A beautifully written story of two teenage girls involved in a murder in the back swamps of Mississippi and the unravelling of what brought the two strangers together. This book kept calling for me anytime I reluctantly had to put it down. It is an excellent tale of despair, tragedy, and rays of hope for justice in an unjust world. The end had me biting my nails and holding my breath, as the past comes back to haunt the relationship that was forged out of necessity and survival.


I couldn’t resist returning to Alka Joshi’s rich and vivid India, where once again I was enraptured by the story, the culture, and at the end of the book I immersed myself further by cooking her delicious recipes. A complete delight!


The rapid and overwhelming devastation of the 1918 Spanish Flu, an evil nurse, and callous nuns set the backdrop for a thirteen-year-old girl’s frantic search for her baby brothers. This book at me at the edge of my seat at the end! Gooooood!


This book paints a painfully vivid and powerful image of Hitler’s reign and the courageous young women in the Polish Resistance who found the strength for defiance. Utterly sobering and chilling, it shook me to the core.


Crazy to imagine that this story of gun-wielding sailors, their ship frozen in ice for a year, with unforgiving polar nights, and a mysterious illness afflicting them, IS TRUE! Soooo good!