Big Kids’ Table: Leah + Her Pretty Good Book Jar

big kids' table - adult fiction feature on rather be reading

Hello, reading buddies! It’s been awhile — I skipped last month, eek — but don’t worry, I’m back and even better I’m back with a huge book enthusiast who reviews “big kid” books all the time on her blog: The Pretty Good Gatsby. Leah is better than “pretty good”. Magnificent? Enthusiastic? Smart, awesome, lovely, and always inspiring me to pick up hidden gems? Yep. Pretty much all the above. I love her blog + I can’t think of anyone better to be a part of Big Kids’ Table.

Leah from The Pretty Good Gatsby

Note: this is Leah but not her cat.

This month, Leah is taking charge and giving us some amazing suggestions. Enjoy!


Hi guys! I’ve been a huge fan of Big Kids Table since Day 1 and I’m so excited to be here with you today! Here’s the deal – instead of choosing my books, we’re switching it up a bit: I’m having them chosen for me. Back in July, I made a super easy Book Jar. If you’re anything like me, staring at a giant mountain of books can be a little overwhelming. This takes all the stress out of it. Whenever I’m in the mood for a book and can’t decide, I pull out a star and I’m set.

For this edition of Big Kids’ Table I’m letting the jar pick for me – fingers crossed!

BOOK ONE: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Okay, confession time: I miiight have squealed a little when this was the first pick. Yes, I’ve had this book on my shelves for ages and yes, I’ve heard how super fantastic awesome it is! So many bloggers I adore and trust absolutely love this novel: an orderly, socially awkward professor is on a quest to find a wife. I’m all about quirky, charming novels and even better – a sequel is coming out in December!

BOOK TWO: The Venetian Bargain by Marina Fiorato

Venice, 1576. A passenger aboard a cargo ship sends the Bubonic Plague tearing through the city. Don’t judge me, but I love reading about deadly plagues and diseases. The Venetian Bargain seems to have a little bit of everything: romance, mystery, real-life events. Although I love Historical Fiction, I’ve noticed I tend to stick to certain time periods, but I think coming out of my comfort zone won’t be too difficult with this one!

BOOK THREE: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

OMG CAN WE DISCUSS THAT SECOND SEASON CLIFFHANGER?! If you’re not watching this show you should probably fix that. It’s campy and ridiculous and a ton of fun! A Gypsy boy who turns into a werewolf, a fabulously wealthy vampire with a Frankenstein-esque little sister. Seriously, what’s not to love? I immediately bought a copy of this book after watching the first season but never got around to reading it. I made the horrible mistake of binging on the second season (thanks a lot, Netflix) and the withdrawal is torture. With season three not coming back until next summer I’ll need to get my fix with the novel!

BOOK FOUR: Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen

So now that I had my book jar pick some books for me, I think it’s time I highlighted one I’ve actually read! You know a book is special when you still think about it eight months later. Raise your hand if you grew up reading Little House on the Prairie! Looking for an adult version? I’ve got you covered. Pioneer Girl tells the story of a Vietnamese-American woman and the family heirloom that sends her on a cross-country journey. I love dual narratives and Lee’s story was just as fascinating as Rose Wilder’s and when the pieces finally came together…perfection.


My reading list is going to hate me, but ahh — I love the sound of these. Thanks for sharing, Leah!

To make sure you get great book recs from Leah ALL the time, follow her blog and tweet her!

Be sure to leave any awesome reading suggestions below too!

Big Kids Table: I MAY Be Late But… Book Bloggers Rock

big kids' table - adult fiction feature on rather be reading

It’s June. Yep. But it’s been a busy May and last week was absolutely crazy. So fun because people were in town but I literally didn’t open up my laptop for 5 days. If you know me, that’s something that never happens in my life. But perhaps the unplugging was exactly what I needed. It’s nice to take a break now & then. But here I am, back with May’s Big Kids’ Table.

For the record, I did come up with the subject of this BKT a few weeks ago. So that must count for something, right? 🙂

If you are reading this post and visiting RBR today, it’s fair to say you probably get a lot of your book recommendations from bloggers. I know that I definitely do. Whether its something as simple as a tweet or a full-blown review on a blog, I am always curious about what bloggers are fawning over these days.

Today is your lucky day because I’m sharing some of the latest titles I’ve discovered through other bloggers with YOU. I know you are as pumped as I am!


First up: Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom from Leah @ The Pretty Good Gatsby

No joke after reading this review, Rachel & I were in a bookstore searching for this title that same evening and they didn’t have it. SIGH. A five-star review cannot be missed from an imprint a blogger trusts.

Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom

There’s this: “Steal the North is beautiful. It’s heartbreaking. It’s emotional, raw, real. The story is set in the late ’90s and, in the easiest way to get to my heart, features numerous points of view.”

And also: “Steal the North was filled to the brim with emotion: heavy subjects like loss and race were handled with grace and the love coursing through these pages hit home.”

If this title might not float your boat, be sure to check out Leah’s blog. She’s been dishing out high ratings to so many of her reads lately and contributing to my crazy to-be-read list. (Add it to Goodreads!)

Next: Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore from Hannah @ So Obsessed With

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Hannah is another blogger who spotlights both YA and adult (yay!) and her recent review of Bittersweet caught my eye because of the structure of the post (straight to the point) and also? It sounds like a big kids’ version of We Were Liars. (You know, the E. Lockhart book taking the world by storm!) Since that book didn’t totally work for me, I’m curious to check out!

“…the sense of foreboding creates a darker tone from the very beginning of the book. And yet I still really enjoyed reading this story! As unenjoyable as aspects were, Bittersweet was written in a way that had me riveted.”

(Add it to Goodreads!)

And, last but certainly not least: More Like Her by Liza Palmer @ Clear Eyes Full Shelves

More Like Her by Liza Palmer

I’ll be honest… this title isn’t so NEW to me but it just so happens I bought a copy of it on the bargain table at B&N. I adored Liza’s Nowhere But Home and I have two of Liza’s older books waiting for me at home. But I think this post reminds me of how important and amazing a backlist can be. Discover an author after his/her debut and there are a lot of other surprises left for you to uncover. (This is one of my favorite “tactics” for diversifying my book lists.)

“Like most of Liza’s books, there’s a dog (the dog stuff just kills me, because, man, dogs can change your life if you let that love into your heart) and like all of her books, there’s a good guy too. 

And even though much of this story centers around a terrible thing being the catalyst for all of the characters to make changes, to dare to move forward, it’s the little moments that shine.”

(Add to Goodreads!)


Now it’s your turn to spill the beans. Who do you turn to for your big kid lit recommendations?
Have you added to titles to your TBR recently because of a blogger?