Virtual Librarian Experience: Great Character-Driven Fiction

The MomAdviceVirtual Librarian (2)

I am getting such great feedback on our virtual librarian series. What is making me extra happy though is hearing how people are actually digging into these suggestions and truly enjoying them. What a gift to get to share a good book with someone, isn’t it?

Sorta Awesome Ep. 44

Speaking of books, I was so honored to get to join the Sorta Awesome Show this past week and share about books, fashion, and a few of my favorite parenting hacks as a mom of a teen & tween. One of the big questions Megan asked me to share was three life-changing books. I picked three fiction books that changed my perspective on life and I’d love for you to listen in on that.

It meant so much to be a part of one of my favorite podcasts and the generous comments from her listeners after it made it doubly special. If you are new to podcasts, I found the Overcast app has made my listening so much easier. You can read more about it in my favorite things list!

If you would like me to pick some books for you, just fill out this quick questionnaire and submit it. I will send you an email when your post is live to let you know my favorite picks for you! You can also leave comments on books you would recommend for this reader too in our comment section below!


Reader Profile



What is Your Favorite Book Genre?


Who Are Your Favorite Authors?

Kristin Hannah, Diane Chamberlain, Liane Moriarty, Jojo Moyes


What is Your Favorite Book of All-Time? 

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

What Do You Look for In a Book?

It’s all about the characters

The MomAdviceVirtual Librarian (2)

The Virtual Librarian Selects…

This is one of those lucky draws for me because I know our reader well and I also have read all of the authors she loves and even have read her favorite book! I also know that Amy is a Christian so I am selecting books based on that as well!


The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel

This book was charming from start to finish and a perfect selection for Amy. I am a big fan of books that explore the what-if’s in life and this one does it beautifully. When Kate loses her husband in a tragic accident she finally feels like she can move forward in a new relationship twelve years later. When her husband begins to visit her in her dreams though, she begins to fall into an alternate universe where the lines between reality and imagination are blurred.

One of my  favorite movies is Sliding Doors and this book reminded me so much of that movie. Harmel truly explores what does it take to move forward in life without forgetting your past.

In this story, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.

This is the best piece of chick lit I have read this year and would highly recommend for anyone who needs a little reading escape! I have been telling everyone to escape with this one and I keep hearing how much they loved it too. I think Amy will love this one because of her love for magic realism as she has embraced in her favorite book, The Time Traveler’s Wife.

After she finishes it, I recommend diving into our interview with Kristin Harmel to learn more about her story behind the story.  

Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting

Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting

This is one of those books that you think will just be a quick escape, but ends up being a beautiful story with endearing characters that you think about after you close the final pages. Since Amy is a big fan of Kristin Hannah, I think she will love this one as it reminded me of the beautiful friendships crafted in her novels.

This coming-of-age story follows the friendship between two teen girls and then the consequences of them both falling for the same guy, which destroys their friendship. Thankfully, it was just so much more than that and really built around a cast of flawed characters, the bonds & love of our family, first loves, true loves, and how friendships between unlikely people can reshape your destiny. There were some really great themes in this one and it is the kind of book that reminds you of your own coming-of-age story and the friendships that can endure those tumultuous years. The theme seems simple, but the story was not. I highly recommend this one!

I was so lucky to chat with Frances about this book in our Sundays With Writers series and recommend reading that interview when you finish it, particularly for the illustrated series that was created around this book (I still think about it a year later!). Read more here

The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward

The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward

This is the third book on immigration that I have read this year and definitely packed a powerful punch about how hard it would be to come to America. Ward alternates two stories- one of a typical middle-class woman who is struggling with infertility and becomes a mentor to a struggling teen and the other story of a young girl and her brother who face the harshest kind of poverty and are trying to get to America where they can finally be reunited with their mother and safe. The story of her journey to America is harrowing and devastating to read. Ward doesn’t hold back on setting the scene, giving you an eye-opening look at the real struggles of coming to America. Their lives intertwine and provide a satisfying conclusion to this sad story.

I found this book disturbing in some parts and I have been carrying some of the scenes around with me this month. There is poverty and then there is POVERTY. We are talking, eating flour and water for dinner (if you are lucky), addictions to glue to feel full by small children, parents abandoning a child to take care of another child and head to America. It was really heartbreaking.

I am glad I read it, but it was just really heavy.

Ward does a great job of contrasting the struggles of a typical middle-class white suburban mother against the struggles of a child in poverty effectively without being mean about it. It made me think about how my struggles are so minor compared to the struggles of others.

I think Amy will enjoy this one because of the alternating chapters in storytelling, a technique that is used often in Diane Chamberlain’s books to tell her stories. Amanda Eyre Ward joined me to share about this compelling book and I recommend reading that interview when you finish. This is a heavier pick for Amy, but I think it is a book that will really make her think and see immigration in a different way…at least it did for me! 

The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

I selected this book for my local book club this month for our annual mimosa kick-off. Well, it wasn’t an annual mimosa kick-off until now, but I am hoping it sticks! I was looking for something a little lighter that people who were just jumping back into the reading game for the year might enjoy and this one really delivered. I am thinking this also would make a fantastic selection for Amy as a great escape this winter.

Although the premise of the book is light, it still speaks a lot of truth about how we use social media and the image that we put out there for the world to see. So many times what is really happy and what we are sharing are so different and this lead to a good discussion on how we use social media in our own lives and how we filter those images and updates for the public.

Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiancé, Max, breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner—to be with Kate’s close friend and coworker, no less—she goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something’s changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips, and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history.

Kate’s two best friends, Jules and Liam, are the only ones who know the truth. In order to convince them she’s really time traveled, Kate offers to use her Facebook status to help improve their lives. But her attempts to help them don’t go exactly as planned, and every effort to get Max back seems to only backfire, causing Kate to wonder if it’s really possible to change her fate.

I love books with a magical realism theme and the idea that you can rewrite your own history through your Facebook status was such a good one. It also makes you think about how we present ourselves online and how our reality are often so different!

Going back to Amy’s love for magic realism, I think she will love The Status of All Things. I was so happy to have our first writing duo in my Sundays With Writers series and you can check out their interview over HERE! Have a good laugh at their FB status updates they would post if they would come true. Our book club sure did!

What would you pick out for Amy based on her preferences? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love though! Dig into the Virtual Librarian series this year for more great selections! 

Published February 02, 2016 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

comments powered by Disqus