Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover

Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

Image credit: InfinityPublishing

Today’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is “The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover” (submitted by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse).

Fortunately, I’ve been recording the books I read for the last couple of years…so here are the books I loved recently and recommend to everyone!

1—The Benedict Option

Rod Dreher

Everyone should read this book. Right now.

It’s about living as a Christian in a world that’s hostile to Christ, and the very fact that the author’s background is different than mine (Catholic-inspired Orthodox) challenged my preconceived notions and made me think more deeply about how I can live intentionally for Christ in my everyday life.

Yeah, read it!


2—Good News for a Change

Matt MikalatosLast Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

If you only read one book on evangelism – ever – read this one! I’ve read it twice now, and the down-to-earth advice and practical perspective both challenge me and comfort me that it doesn’t have to be this hard.

Everybody likes good news, right? And Jesus is the best news of all! Just…translating that for other people can be a bit difficult.

Amazon — Barnes & Noble — the Book Depository — KoboIndieBound

3—Ice Station Zebra

Alistair MacLean

This book starts out kinda slow…but it sure picks up!

If you aren’t yet afraid of the North Pole, this book will fix that…and also make you afraid of submarines and all the different ways both of these things can kill you.

An unreliable narrator, a conspiracy mystery, and a glorious climax all join in to make this a fantastic story!


4—The Guns of Navarone

Alistair MacLean

When I finally read this, I said, “Why have I been putting this off?!”

Alistair MacLean delivers action, tension, and fun every single time…and this gripping story of a specialist team on a high-stakes secret mission in World War II is no exception! (It’s also a little gut-wrenching!)


5—Vessels of Honor

Virginia MyersLast Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

Writing spiritual themes into fiction is so very hard.

It’s easier if the entire story is centered around “what does it mean to live the Christian life?”

Vessels of Honor is the best example I’ve ever seen of Christians living in a fallen world and struggling through as best they can. The members of this church are broken, sinful, hurting…adulterers, idol worshippers, liars. And yet that’s all of us…and God calls us to extend His grace to all of them, whether or not they will accept it.

AmazonBarnes & NobleAbeBooksKobo

6—A Sidekick’s Tale

Elisabeth Grace FoleyLast Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

Moving to the lighter side, this short story is for anyone even remotely interested in Westerns, great sidekicks, family feuds, slapstick, lightweight romance, and wry humor.

Amazon — Barnes & Noble — Kobo — the Book Depository

7—The Screwtape Letters

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis’ classic about the elder devil coaching his tempter-in-training nephew is so much more meaningful once you’ve experienced the other side – the Christian walk – first-hand…the struggling, the painful growth, the periods of bland coasting, etc.

Lewis’ portrayal of blind, self-consuming evil is also spot on…which is why That Hideous Strength is still my favorite novel of all time.


Sir Walter ScottLast Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

This is a classic. Therefore slow and boring, right?

Only the beginning! Once the stage is properly set, we launch right into the pithy dialogue between the different fascinating characters…and explore through their actions the classist, racist, superstitious, and foreign mindsets of these 12th century Brits.

Plus there are fight scenes and lots of derring-do! Try it out.

9—The Hand of Oberon (Chronicles of Amber)

Roger ZelaznyLast Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

This is part of the Chronicles of Amber (which everyone should read BTW) and I gobbled it up because it’s part murder mystery. (Also features a royal family of like 14 princes and princesses, all split into factions and maybe possibly going to kill each other!)

10—The Book of Were-Wolves

Sabin Baring-Gould

This was a fascinating examination of around-the-world myths surrounding the were-wolf, and their historical context (and basis).

It’s also a horrifying exploration of human evil.

Project Gutenberg (free ebooks—check copyright laws in your own country) — Amazon (free ebook) — Amazon (paperback) — Barnes&Noble (paperback) — Kobo — Book Depository

Honorable Mention: Nomad of the Emirates

E.B. Dawson
Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

Finally: an alien story written from a third-culture kid’s perspective.

I kept mentioning this story to my dad, since he’s a missionary kid with a home that no longer exists…and it’s so hard to get Americans to understand the world from a broader frame of reference.

If you want to experience some of that broader frame of reference, try this book.

AmazonBarnes&NobleKobo — the Book Depository — IndieBound

Honorable Mention: The Body in the Library

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is dependable for a good mystery “buzz.” This is one where I was so sure I had solved it…and then the twist hit me and I said, “That’s so clever how did I not see that!”


Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia WoodKimia Wood lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family…including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

She’s currently bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Solider! You’ll also receive occasional updates on her latest reading and writing adventures.

Top Ten Book Quotes

Meaningful quotes can be hard to define, since they so often depend on the context.

But this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about “Inspirational/Thought-Provoking Book Quotes,” so I’ve done my best to compile my favorites:

1Top Ten Book Quotes — Kimia Wood

“Why do they send these people here? Making themselves miserable and taking up the place of people who would enjoy Oxford? We haven’t got room for women who aren’t and never will be scholars…”

“I know,” said the Dean, impatiently. “But schoolmistresses and parents are such jugginses.…”

Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers

Gaudy Night is a deep and complex examination of the role of women in society, higher education, and the interplay of individuals in a romance. There’s also a philosophically-grounded mystery. Highly recommended. Continue reading

Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

Books I Meant to Read in 2018 But Didn't Get To — Kimia WoodStop me if you’ve heard this before…Last year, my mother set each of us a goal to read fifty books within the year. So, I started scheming for titles to scratch off.

As these things happen, though, I hadn’t gotten to everything on the list before I reached my goal – and the year ended. For Top Ten Tuesday, here are some of them:

The Crown and Covenant series, Douglas Bond

This is a favorite of my brother’s, and I figured it’d be a good way to fill up my list of books read.

As it turns out, I did sample Mr. Bond’s work for the first time last year — but with Hand of Vengeance, which is a cool, stand-alone Saxon/Viking-themed mystery/romance.

Never Leave Me, Priscilla J. Krahn

This is one of several stories I received for participating in the Indie Author e-Convention (May 2018). I figured they’d be a good way to sample fellow authors’ work, while racking up some short reads for my list.

I’ve currently read about three out of five, I want to say — but this is one that I didn’t get to.

Monster Hunter Legion, Larry Correia

This is Book 4 in the Monster Hunter series (y’know, the series my brother chewed through like a machine gun chews through zombies). Continue reading

Authors I Read for the First Time in 2018

This past year, my mother gave the entire family a reading challenge of fifty books – that we hadn’t read before! This gave me the opportunity to read several new authors, which I will share with you for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post!

Independent Authors

Since I read fifty books this past year – and kept track of them all! – I’m able to split this list into “indie” authors and more “traditional” or classic authors.

So, for authors I read for the first time in 2018, and who publish their books independently:

1—E.B. DawsonAuthors I Read for the First Time in 2018 — Kimia Wood
(Nomad of the Emirates)

A good writer with a fresh, interesting perspective on things.

She also has a third-culture heritage. Check her out!

Author’s site

2—Sarah Holman
(Kate’s Innocence)

Her mystery was actually a mystery!! but oh, she needed a competent editor!

Author’s site

3—Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
(Twisted Dreams)Authors I Read for the First Time in 2018 — Kimia Wood

She took a story I’m not that crazy about (Sleeping Beauty) and a setting I wasn’t sure about (cross-genre dream-worlds) and wrote a tale that sucked me in.

Probably because of the feisty younger brother.

Author’s site

4—Allison Tebo
(The Reluctant Godfather)

A competent author with a bright future before her…though if it were me writing the story, I wouldn’t have let romance solve the world’s problems.

That’s me. Grumpykinz.

Author’s site

5—Amanda Tero
(Coffee Cake Days)

Her short story really nailed what it’s like to grow up in a large, homeschooling, Christian family.

Author’s site

Other Indie Authors from this year:

Julie C. Gilbert (The Collins Case)— I’m glad I read her story, as I’ve referred to it several times in my own work…as something not to do. I feel bad, but really…gotta be honest, or how will we grow?

Ruth O’Neil (Come Eat At My Table)— A really slow-simmering story joined up with an uninspired writing style to…sneak up on my emotions when I wasn’t looking!

Traditional/Classic Authors:

Authors I Read for the First Time in 2018 — Kimia Wood1—Robert Ludlum
(The Bourne Identity; The Janson Directive)

His suspense is AMAZINGLY SUSPENSEFUL; his mysteries are deep and twisty; and his plot “onions” have layers upon layers of juicy, edge-of-your-seat intrigue.

But you gotta have a strong constitution and conscience.

(Read my full reviews for content cautions.)

Author’s Goodreads page

2–Roger Zelazny
(The Chronicles of Amber)

Authors I Read for the First Time in 2018 — Kimia WoodThis is a fantasy series with world-ending stakes, told through the eyes of the very relatable Corwin — who doesn’t trust his eight brothers farther than he can throw them, but will drop everything to hear to latest gossip about what they’re up to.

It’s super fun. My brother has yet to yield and read it.

(Also: Zelazny could have used a competent editor. But that’s the way it goes.)

Author’s Goodreads page

3—Larry Correia
(Monster Hunter International; Monster Hunter Vendetta; and Monster Hunter Alpha)

Fulfills the genre. So if you’re into splatting monsters with jacked-up firearms…full steam ahead!Authors I Read for the First Time in 2018 — Kimia Wood

My brother (who gave up on the reading challenge when he got a job in March) has read through to Book 6 and is eagerly awaiting the next one.

Another fun fact: Mr. Correia self-published MHI, but then signed with a publisher — Baen Books. Proof of what can happen to you if you know your audience, get them to trust you, and write a gripping, solid, entertaining story!

(Read my full review for content cautions.)

Author’s site

4—Sabine Baring-Gould
(The Book of Were-Wolves)

This book was profound, interesting, and somewhat disturbing. If you want to know about the actual history of were-wolves and their legends, this is a good, readable book.

Author’s Wikipedia page

5—Tom Clancy
(The Hunt for Red October)

Red October was good, honest fun. It’s dubbed the father of the “techno-thriller” genre, and I can see why. While it wasn’t as pulse-pounding as Ludlum’s stuff, it did manage to make the science of submarines sound exciting (or at least interesting).

Author’s Goodreads page

Other “classic” authors I read this year:Authors I Read for the First Time in 2018 — Kimia Wood

Blake Snider (Save the Cat)— A must-read in writers’ circles…for good reason. I’ve gotten a little bored with the glut of writing gurus on the internet—so if you’re only going to buy one writing book, Save the Cat is a good, all-bases-covered source-text.

Ian Fleming (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)— This is the first James Bond story I’d ever read…and frankly, Robert Ludlum is better. Sure, Ludlum has sex – and more violence – but I don’t come away from his stories feeling so empty.

John Grisham (The Racketeer; The Testament)— I know John Grisham is a really big name (at least in the circles I’ve touched) but my first impression was…bleh. Mom convinced me to try another of his books, and it was…okay…? I guess I didn’t loathe the main character of The Testament—so that’s a plus.

Authors I Read for the First Time in 2018 — Kimia WoodSir Walter Scott (Ivanhoe)— This is a classic, a treatment of Robin Hood and King Richard, a treatise on racism and classism in 12th century Britain, and well worth reading. Even if you’re not into historicals, it might teach you something!

Virginia Myers (Vessels of Honor)— As a Christian, this book was an amazing example of showing grace and love to people we don’t see eye-to-eye with!

Mike Mikalatos (Good News for a Change)— This book is about talking to others about Jesus, but it would be useful for so many other situations because it’s about actually listening to people while conversing with them and is AWESOME.

What Will I Read in 2019?

I had a lot of fun with this reading challenge, and met a lot of new “author” friends!

Let’s see what cool new books I read in 2019.

Authors I Read for the First Time in 2018 — Kimia WoodKimia Wood currently lives somewhere in the American midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by baking, knitting, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier, plus occasional updates on her latest reading and writing exploits.

Top Ten Mysteries

I’m a huge fan of mysteries. “Top Ten Tuesday” is a list-making meme currently hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and the theme for this week is a FREEBIE. Since I’ve noticed a troubling lack of mystery-related lists for Top Ten Tuesday, I offer up my list of the top ten…specifically, the mysteries which most took me by surprise or had the most satisfying twists!

1– Have His Carcase, Dorothy SayersTop Ten Mysteries — Kimia Wood

Mystery author Harriet Vane is on a walking tour along the coast of England when she discovers a body with its throat cut. Along with her suitor and friend, noble sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, she sets out tracking down suspects, busting alibis, and cracking conspiracies.

The twist is truly original, beautifully foreshadowed, and is surprising yet inevitable – and thus very satisfying.

All in all, an excellent mystery story, with a smattering of romance mixed in.

2– Gemini Rue (2011)

Top Ten Mysteries — Kimia WoodThe hook for this sci-fi puzzle game is a former assassin hunting for his long-lost brother. But there’s way more in this story about organized crime, friendship, and whether we can really trust our memories.

Read my full review to see how the twist totally floored me and made me a fan for life! Continue reading

Top Ten Relationships

“Top Ten Tuesday” is a list-making meme currently hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and the topic for this week is “Love Freebie (Romances, swoons…) etc.

I’m not actually a fan of romances, and I’ve already shared my top “ten” romantic hits-and-misses and the top ten fictional guys I really admire (and would have crushes on if I did the “crush” thing), so to avoid just talking about the Master Chief again I want to share the Top Ten Relationships (friendships, platonic bonds, etc.) that I find most compelling.

1– Frodo and Sam (Lord of the Rings, Tolkien)

Frodo is the meta heroic protagonist who goes from quiet-living aristocrat in an ivory-tower corner of the world, to laying down his life to save all creation.

Sam is the down-home, unassuming, cleaning-the-toilets type who’s there to take care of his employer…and ends up helping to save the world. Continue reading

Top Ten Best Books for Children to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly list event created and hosted by the Broke and Bookish blog. Today’s theme is “Top Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read”.Top Ten Best Books for Children to Read — Kimia Wood — books

Perfect! I’m approaching the time of life when this consideration is important, so here are the books that will be important for me to share with my children (should they ever appear). From picture books, to chapter books, to read-alouds, here are fun and timeless reads for kids of all ages! Continue reading

Top 10 Heroes

“Top Ten Tuesday” is a weekly blogging event created and hosted by the Broke and Bookish blog, and the theme for this week is “Top Ten Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends (Which characters do you have crushes on?)”.

Frankly, I don’t consider having “crushes” on fictional characters a good thing (and goo-goo eyes make me nauseous), but I can talk about ten characters I admire, for various reasons.

–”You know me—when I make a promise…” –”You keep it.”

1 The Master Chief
Halo 1, 2, and 3, Bungie

Heroism. Bravery. Self-sacrifice. Dedication. If you’re looking for nobility of character, look no further than the Master Chief, a super-soldier of few words who will stop at nothing to defend humanity, whatever the cost to himself.

He betrays no doubt, experiences no angst, and is super patient with the AI companion who does express anxiety, irritation, panic, and trepidation.

And while his ability to single-handedly blow through vast alien armies is impressive, he also has a gentle humility of character that makes my heart-strings play strange, mushy songs. Continue reading

Top Ten Book Turn-offs

Top Ten Book Turn-offs

“Top Ten Tuesday” – the weekly bookish list event curated by the Broke and Bookish blog – has as its theme this week “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book“.

In approximate order from least the greatest:

Things I’m Indifferent To (At Best)

These I can more or less tolerate in a book, but they certainly aren’t a hook for me in picking it up.

1. Romance


Top Ten Book Turn-Offs — Kimia Wood

This romance works for me because it’s not too sugary…just a little. Also, it’s in a medium where I’m prepared for it. Image from Amazon

I do read romance – or books that contain romance – but it’s not what is called a “turn on” for me. I also get extra annoyed by the clichés of romance: especially the attitude that romance is the be-all and end-all of life, relationships where it’s unclear what drew them to each other at all, and mooning. I have very little patience for mooning – it’s too close to angst.

I also don’t appreciate excessive physical descriptions of the love interest. I get physical attraction – I do – but there’s so much more to founding a lasting relationship, and to focus on the physical (his hands! his muscular hands, ending in muscular fingers!) gets really old really fast. Continue reading