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March 1, 2018

Elena’s Bookshelf: recommendations

Posted in Books, Lifestyle by

When I finish a book, I immediately start on another. I drive an hour to and from work 5 days a week, and it helps me feel productive. Some books have been good and some I didn’t even finish. If you’re wondering what you should read next, here are some brief synopsis of the one’s I have read recently that I would recommend:


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All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

booksThis book received a lot of hype when it was first released back in 2014. It’s been on my list for years and I finally got around listening to the audio version a couple of months ago. This is historical fiction taking place during WWII from two different perspectives of a blind French girl and a Nazi German boy.

Werner Pfenning is an orphan who has experience with radios and how they operate. He is recruited by the Nazi’s to track down the resistance in France during the occupation. Marie-Laure is 12 years old when the Nazi’s occupy Paris and force her and her father out to the country-side to reside with her great uncle. Her father carries with him a precious stone worth a fortune the Nazi’s seek.

Werner and Marie-Laure’s stories come together with help from radios and the Nazi occupation. Be cautious when reading, this book is long, has different parts and chapters jump to different time periods. You will need to pay attention while reading, but overall I thought it was a  decent read.

Themes: Historical Fiction, Family, WWII, Adolescence


Related Reading: Reading List for 2018What Should I Read Next?


Turtles All the Way Down – John Green

John GreenYou will have read this or have this on your list if you’ve read any other John Green books, because his fan base is huge. This novel wasn’t my favorite of his, but still worth the read as it relates to the author on a personal level.

Aza is persuaded by her best friend, Daisy, to look into a missing person’s case, whose reward is $100,000. This missing person is the father of Aza’s long lost childhood friend, Davis. To solve the case, she must get close to him once again, for Daisy’s sake. But Aza finds herself discovering more than where the wealthy, irresponsible father has disappeared to as she discovers how to reveal her true self with the help of Davis.

It’s a teen love story, but Aza has a lot of depth to her character that create her to be intriguing until the end. If you haven’t read this yet, be sure to add it to your list. You can get the audible version here.

Themes: Adolescence, Illness, Mystery, Love, Family


Yes Please – Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler

I was recommended this book and decided that it would be a nice change of pace for me. I had been reading a lot of fiction and figured I needed the switch to something more realistic.

This book is about Amy Poehler’s life, including parts before and after her careers primarily on Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation. She delves into her struggles and passions and it is all very engaging! I loved this because it was inspirational and funny. If you read this I would highly recommend the audio version because she reads it and has guest speakers who read different parts like her parents and Seth Meyers.


 Themes: Non-Fiction, Inspirational, Self-Love




Bossypants – Tina Fey

Tina Fey


Tina’s book came out first, but I read it second. Her book is just as inspirational and funny as Amy’s!

Both of their stories are different and unique, but they have a lot of the same struggles they overcame. And yes, of course it’s funny and Tina Fey reads the audio! If you’re looking for some motivation or inspiration, read this.


Themes: Non-Fiction, Inspirational, Self-Love






Related Reading: Elena’s 5 Favorite Books, Belle’s 5 Favorite Books


Not a Sound –  Heather Gudenkauf

Heather Gudenkauf

I chose this book randomly from my app. I needed a new read and this sounded interesting so I gave it a go and I LOVED it!

Amelia Winn is a recovering alcoholic who has burned nearly all bridges with her family and friends. An accident years before caused her to go deaf and learn sign language. She lives in the middle of nowhere practically by the river where she kayaks, paddle-boards and hikes with her service dog, Stitch. One day while she’s out, she stumbles across a body of a friend. She decides to look into the case by herself and discovers more than she bargained for.

I highly recommend this book, it was engaging until the end! Ironically I did read the audio version

Themes: Murder Mystery, Deaf Culture, Love, Medical Controversy



Small Great Things  Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors, I will always lover her books. She focuses on a lot of sensitive topics like gay rights. This book in particular hones in on racism, which may be a bit extreme, but is based off a true story and worth the read.

Ruth Jefferson is a delivery nurse at a small hospital in Connecticut. She has lost her husband to the Iraq war and now lives alone with her only son. Ruth is the ideal nurse, having years of experience and not even one hiccup. That all changes when a couple gives strict instructions that all African American personnel may not be near their newborn son. Ruth is in a predicament when she is the only one on call in the nursery and the baby starts to cardiac distress and she must make a split decision to help the infant and ignore the request or stand back and do nothing. Ruth takes action, which leads her into a huge legal mess with a white supremacy family. Now she must trust in her public attorney and her peers to get her through this situation.

You can get the audio version here.

Themes: Racism, Love, Family, Legal



Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

I recently discovered that there are two movie adaptations for this book, the most recent one starring Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfieffer, Josh Gad, Judy Dench and Penelope Cruz.

A murder takes place on a train departing from Instanbul to Paris. The train is only on the second day when the train is stopped in a snow drift. Hercule Poirot is recruited by the owner of the express to solve the case.

I read this in a little under a week I think! It was wonderfully done and if you read the audio, the narrator talks in different accents and it’s fabulous. There’s also a Hercules Poirot series, which I will be looking into.


Themes: Murder Mystery, Family, 1930s, Suspense



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March 1, 2018