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3 Books to Read: The Wicked Girls, The Accidental Empress, Big Magic


It's been too long since I've shared what book my nose has been stuck in. So today, I'm treating you to three! One thrilling, unraveling crime drama. One lush, luxurious historical fiction novel. And one creatively inspiring non-fiction must-read. Let's get started!


If you love getting wrapped up in those long,
drawn-out British mystery dramas on Netflix... 



(like The Fall, Girl on the Lake, and Broadchurch), you'll love curling up with this topsy-turvy novel by Alex Marwood. 

On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two eleven-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives—and unknowing families to protect—will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden? (via Goodreads)


I took this book with me over Christmas break when G and I visited his family out in Philly. It was the perfect pageturner for airports, flights, and lounging around on the days when we didn't have much to do. I couldn't put it down!

What I love about The Wicked Girls is how Alex Marwood's narrative artfully bounces back and forth between perspectives and time. Her writing is so realistic and everyday – I could really hear the characters thinking and talking as real people. It took some getting used to the British words and phrases, but I caught on and eventually it felt rather natural. There are suspenseful layers woven in and I was truly stunned by the end of the book. No spoilers! ;)

If you have a hole in your heart
the size of Highclere Castle...



I feel your pain. I can't even tell you how many tears escaped and sobs were swallowed during that final season finale of my beloved Downton Abbey. 

Fortunately, I had this book on hand: Allison Pataki's The Accidental Empress.

Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead. Thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world. (via Goodreads)


I love a good historical fiction and this one was enthralling. Gorgeous, lush descriptions of luxurious gowns, elaborate interiors, and breathtaking mountain vistas? Check. A free-spirited, strong-willed heroine that you relate to, come to adore, and are simultaneously sometimes frustrated by? Check. Handsome men who both steal and break your heart? Check and check. 

I loved the history. I loved the drama. I loved getting to know one of history's most interesting women through Allison Pataki's rich storytelling. And I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, Sisi. 

Also, I really, really want this to be turned into a television series. 

If your muse has seemingly gone on Spring
Break and forgot to take you along...




This one is kind of a cheat – because I'm currently reading it. When it comes to fiction (like the novels above), I like to read one book at a time. But I also always like to have an inspiring, motivating non-fiction book on hand for times when I need a creative push.

Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic is just that – a big, creative kick in the butt! (In the best possible way.) 

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy. (via Goodreads)


Having this book nearby to pick up and read a chapter every so often inspires me in my personal creative endeavors (noveling and blogging) as well as my professional creativity (copywriting at work). 

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