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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Winter Reading Suggestions by Fran Joyce


January, February and March can be icy, cold and snowy. No, we don’t want you to forget to stay active but winter is the perfect time to catch up on your reading. We’ve collected an assortment of works including a Nobel Price winner, some cozy mysteries and bestsellers from distinguished authors around the world. Enjoy!

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck – the final novel written by Steinbeck which was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature. Steinbeck tells the story of Ethan Allen Howley, a once wealthy man reduced to being a clerk in a grocery store formerly owned by his family. Steinbeck explores public and private honesty. Which moral shortcuts will a good man commit to save face with his wife and children and regain his place in the wealthy Long Island elite? 

Depth of Winter by Craig Johnson – good news for fans of the Longmire mysteries – Walt Longmire is headed to Mexico to rescue his daughter after she is kidnaped by an international hitman who also controls a powerful drug cartel. Can Walt save Candy before she is sold to the highest bidder? 

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende – a winter car crash in Brooklyn brings three lives together – a young undocumented student, a 60 year old college professor, and his trusted associate. Allende once again utilizes themes such as political injustice, survival, and our human need for love. 

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy – When Chicky Starr decided to renovate a decaying mansion in Stonebridge, a small town in west coast of  Ireland, everyone thinks she’s crazy, but her Inn opens just in time to welcome a quirky assortment of guests who interact in signature Binchy form. 

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah – two sisters who seem to share little more than their parents come together at their father’s deathbed to learn shocking family secrets which will change their lives forever. 

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand –  Irene Steele has an idyllic life in Iowa… a beautiful home, perfect children and a devoted husband who is killed in a plane crash one the way home from a business trip in the Caribbean. What happens when death reveals a secret life? Find out in this first novel in a new series by Hilderbrand. 

Winter Street series by Elin Hilderbrand Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms and Winter Solstice – enjoy this series which takes place in Nantucket. 

The Winter Mystery by Faith Martin – This is the second book in the Jenny Starling Mysteries series. Jenny is a traveling cook and reluctant amateur detective. What happens when you are hired to cook for the holidays by a wealthy family in Oxford. Jenny plans to overlook the constant family squabbles and concentrate on preparing perfect holiday fare until someone leaves a dead body on the kitchen table making her the prime suspect. When an incompetent local constable bungles the investigation, it’s up to Jenny to clear her name. 

Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell – crafts, recipes, jewelry and forged infusions to banish winter boredom. Filled with vibrant photos and detailed instructions – you are sure to find something to make you glad it’s winter. 

Winter: Warm Recipes for Cold Nights by Louise Franc – 140 recipes from around the world sure to warm those wintry days and nights. Hearty stews, rich soups, slow cooker meats that fall off the bone and flavorful curries guaranteed to help you love winter again.

Winter Reading Suggestions for Kids and Young Adults by Fran Joyce

52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier Year by Brett Blumenthal - A Review by Fran Joyce