what I've been reading lately

I used to be quite the reader back in the day, plowing through book after book and loving every second of it. With the addition of children into my life I have drastically cut back, unfortunately, to about a dozen books a year. These being mainly Christmas presents from my parents (thanks guys!). But a new goal of mine has been to up the reading ante as it were. I would say I've been pretty successful as I've read fourteen books since July... Already beat my prior year's record! Some of these I already owned or were given as a gift and some of these were borrowed from my Stephanie and well some came from our local library! I had no idea I could check out a book online and it would be shipped into my community library from a different one in the county! What is next?
I'm not a book reviewer by any means but I'll share my general thoughts as I'm sure you are all dying to know... And yes, these are affiliate links.

Leaving Time by Jodi Piccoult
I've never ever read a Piccoult book before strangely enough (or not so strange depending on your literary tastes). I wanted a page turner and this was just that. Elephants and ghosts and psychics rolled into one!

Underground Railroad bu Colson Whitehead
I was so fascinated by the idea of the Underground Railroad being an actual underground railroad, like subway/metro style. This was such a good book even with such a pretense as that. Such a sad time in our nation's history. There were some horribly graphic parts; it is so hard to imagine human beings enduring such travesties!

Valley of the Dolls - Jacqueline Susann 
The book follows the lives of three ladies as they climb the celebrity ladder over the course of twenty years. Sex, drugs and rock and roll. That whole bit. It is not an uplifting tale, to be sure. A classic that made me think of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Just me?

A Map of Time by Felix Palma
This is one of a series and while it was entertaining enough, I just don't think this is a world I'd spend too much time in. A serial killer and lots of deception and slight of hand type situations happening in this one. Sitting on a throne of lies!

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Obviously a classic and a very quick read. Even more upsetting to read after the above Whitehead novel. It's not just a story of the South during the Civil Rights Movement but also a story of a girl becoming an independent thinker from her family. I think.

The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
This is one of the Lord John books, a first for me, delving into his world... But this one's title had me because it was obviously allll about Jamie so. Loved it. Give me more Jamie please and thank you! Those years where Claire was away were monstrous times I'm sure but what was he up to all that time!? I need the info.

Second Glance by Jodi Piccoult
Again with her, yes. Does she always write about ghosts and hauntings and psychics? I don't know but this was also another good one. Anything that makes me want to keep reading and turn that page I'm a fan of.

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
We all know I have a thing for the Gaines' and this did not disappoint! It was a real quick read and definitely felt like a conversation with the two of them, Chip piping in with his random two cents! I just loved to hear how she decided to start decorating for the family. Kid friendly? I just love her so!

Marked, Betrayed, Chosen and Untamed by P.C. Cast
A PG-13 Twilight perhaps? With tattoos? But not as good of course because that series had me sucked in immediately. These were easy reads and entertaining enough but I doubt I'll keep reading the rest of this House Of Night series... There is at least another four books maybe more? 

I had watched the movie and really liked it so when I heard it was a book before that I had to read it. I'm curious where the whole Clary/Jace thing is going to go so I might read the next book eventually. A demon hunter and werewolves and vampires with some budding teenage romance? Sure! 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
So so so good. I have always found reading anything about WWII/The Holocaust to be fascinating, like, as a child reading Number the Stars and all that. I started young. This book just weighs heavily on me. Worth reading in a tragic way of course. Two sisters finding their way doing what was right in such a scary and devastating time... Each in their own way. Goodness. I can't even fathom children in such a world. No.

Up on deck in no particular order...
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Any good suggestions for me? I'm all ears/eyes! Are these types of posts incredibly boring/fascinating to you guys? I have no idea! You tell me.