April Reading Wrap Up

April 29, 2019

April Reading Wrap Up

April Reading Wrap Up

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

April was a great reading month and I am especially excited to report a few five- and four-star reads. Find all my April reads listed below in order of Star Rating. Keep in mind that I normally recommend five- and four-star reads on the blog; three-star reads received mixed reviews from me for various reasons; and two-star reads are books that were not for me.

Titles are Amazon affiliate links and my available reviews are linked.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane (ARC)

5 Stars. Family drama (mental health/alcoholism). ARC: Pub Date: 5/28. In contention for the best read of the year. Full review coming soon.

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

5 Stars. Historical Fiction. Loved the friendship theme. Full review here.

Brown Girl Dreaming (MG) by Jacqueline Woodson

5 Stars. Memoir: Diverse read/own voices. Free Verse. Full review here.

The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister (ARC)

4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars on Goodreads). ARC: Pub Date: 5/21. Coming of Age. Full review coming soon.

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

4.5 Stars. Historical Fiction. A heartfelt and memorable read.  Full review here.


The Gown [Book Review]

April 26. 2019

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

The Gown Review

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Royal Wedding, 1940s England

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

The Gown is, in part, a behind-the-scenes story of the making of Princess (Queen) Elizabeth’s wedding gown. As the people of England endure a harsh winter and post war shortages and rationing, news of a Royal wedding brightens the country’s spirit. Told from two perspectives, we hear the imagined story of two young women who work for the famous fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Although the girls are accustomed to working on exclusive gowns for high profile clients and the Royal family, the newest assignment of a wedding gown for Princess (Queen) Elizabeth brings extraordinary pressure and excitement. A third perspective and modern timeline follows one of their granddaughters who travels to London a half century later to unravel her grandmother’s mysterious and secret past. There’s more to the story than the dress as the author gives us an idea of what life was like in 1940s London, and explores themes of friendship, family, and love.

Amazon Rating:  4.6 Stars


A-Z of Me, Part I

April 22, 2019

A-Z of Me, Part I

A-Z of Me Part 1

Just for Fun!

Today I’m joining many other bloggers who have created A-Z posts. Although I’ve seen these posts around from time to time, I’ve recently been inspired by Nicki’s at The Secret Library Book Blog and by Lynne’s at Fictionophile.


A is for Avocado!
A sandwich is hardly worth eating without avocado slices. Then, adding avocado to tacos, salads, etc. makes for a divine eating experience. Don’t forget the guacamole and chips! We have a local restaurant whose servers come to your table to make fresh guacamole for guests. I’d be happy with guacamole and chips as my entire meal!


B is for Books! Blogs! Book Clubs!
I love losing myself in books, writing and reading blog posts, and participating in book clubs. I love finding bookish friends, and the first question I want to ask a person is “What are you reading?” Making bookish friends around the world in blogging and Instagram communities has been a delightful and treasured endeavor! Just recently I met 3 other bookstagramers IRL for the first time at an author event. I’m a member of an IRL book club and several online book clubs…..most frequently participating in the Modern Mrs. Darcey Book Club. Of course, I also love sharing current reads with my followers here. Thank you readers for your visits, likes, and comments…..your interaction means a lot to me!

i love books

book club

IRL Book Friends


C is for Chocolate!

I adore chocolate in most forms! My favorite candy bar is probably Baby Ruth. I love chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge for a decadent desert. I also need to mention warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies directly  from the oven! cadbury eggsCadbury Eggs are always a temptation this time of year! My favorite frozen treat is dark chocolate covered raspberry sorbet bars by Dove (thanks Mom!). Trust me. You’re welcome!

dove bars

All this chocolate wouldn’t be sodacomplete without my favorite beverage, Diet Dr. Pepper!

C is also for Candy Crush!
A mention of candy wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Candy Crush! How many of you still play? I tackle it in spurts these days. I play until the thought crosses my mind “What am I doing? I could be reading right now!” I’m on Level 2,420 and have never spent money on it….I am a strategic user of free items however! I don’t love it as much as I used to, and I play out of habit I guess.

candy crush


D is for Dogs!
I love labrador and golden retrievers! We’ve had both, and now we have granddogs who are retrievers. They are sweet, loyal, kid friendly, furry friends and are the perfect addition to any family.


Meet Cooper


A Fall of Marigolds [Book Review]

April 19, 2019

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner (cover) Image: white text on a blue backbround...marigolds peek into the edges of three corners

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Tragic Events, New York City

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

A beautiful scarf with a marigold design connects two women who experience traumatic and personally devastating events almost one hundred years apart. Clara witnesses the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 in Manhattan while Taryn witnesses the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Both young women suffer loss and experience the effects of PTSD. This is a story of their healing journey and their decision to risk love again.


We Love Authors

April 15, 2019

We Love Authors!

We Love Authors

authors spotlightIf you love historical fiction like me, then you will understand my excitement in taking a break from reviewing today to share a special event with you! Last Saturday I attended a Historical Fiction Author Brunch with four fabulous histfic authors! Not only was the author panel spectacular, but four instagramers (bookstagramers) who had never met in real life, engineered a meet up!

Heartfelt thanks to Friends of the Corona Public Library for sponsoring, planning, and hosting this event. Readers in attendance enjoyed a delicious brunch and inspiring talks by three historical fiction authors. We loved hearing some behind the scenes stories about their research and writing process. Meeting an author always endears you to their work!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

These are the four historical fiction authors we met (book titles are Amazon links and an * for the ones I’ve read):

Kate Quinn

The Alice Network (my review)
The Huntress
The Empress of Rome Series
The Borgias Chronicles Series

Susan Meissner

The Last Year of the War (my review)
As Bright As Heaven (my review)
A Fall of Marigolds *
Secrets of a Charmed Life *
The Shape of Mercy
and many many more!

Kristina McMorris

Sold on a Monday(my review)
The Edge of Lost
Letters From Home
and many more!

Marie Benedict

The Only Woman in the Room
The Other Einstein
Carnegie’s Maid

Add a book to your TBR!


author brunch 5

The Panel (l to r): Kristina McMorris, Marie Benedict, Kate Quinn, Susan Meissner

author brunch 4

Book Signing (Tina @ readingbetweenthepagesblog and Jaymi @ orangecountyreadersblog)

author brunch 3

Book Signing (Amanda @ Instagram and Tina @ readingbetweenthepagesblog)

author brunch 2

Group Photo:
Instagramers in the Back Row (l to r): Jaymi (OrangeCountyReadersBlog, Instagram); Tina (ReadingBetweenthePagesBlog, Instagram); Myself; Amanda (Instagram)
Authors Seated (l to r): Marie Benedict (Instagram); Kate Quinn (Instagram); Kristina McMorris (Instagram); and Susan Meissner (Instagram)

Event Rating: 5 Stars!


This is a link to last year’s event at the same location with different authors. Susan Meissner was the moderator of this year’s panel, and she was a guest author at last year’s event.

Let’s Discuss!

Have you read a book by any of these authors? What author events have you attended? Which author event was your favorite? If you could attend any author event, which one would you most like to attend?

I’d like to attend a Fredrik Backman or Louise Penney author event.

Happy Reading Book Worms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Sharing is Caring

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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World [Book Review]

April 12, 2019

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World Review

Genre/Categories: Non-Fiction, Essays, Humor, Parent/Child

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Thank you to #NetGalley #AtriaBooks @AtriaBooks for a complimentary eARC of #ThingsMySonNeedstoKnowAbouttheWorld by Fredrik Backman upon my request. All opinions are my own.

My Summary:

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World is a collection of humorous and poignant essays Fredrik Backman wrote to teach his son about life. Essays range from short and light (how to beat Monkey Island 3) to poignant and deep (why a dad might hold onto his son’s hand just a little too tight). Underlying it all are thoughtful themes including those of unconditional love, a desperate desire to not fail at fatherhood, falling in love, and friendship.

Pub Date: May 7, 2019


Brown Girl Dreaming: A Review

April 10, 2019

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming Review

  • Genre/Categories: Non Fiction, Poetry, Memoir, Middle Grade, Racism, Prejudice, African-American, Family Life

*This post contains amazon affiliate links.


In free verse, Jaqueline Woodson shares her experience as an African-American growing up in South Carolina and New York during the 60s and 70s. An award-winning book, Brown Girl Dreaming is a poignant and inspiring story of a girl finding her voice and her place in the world. Even though she struggled with reading in childhood, she loved stories and blank writing paper as she held her dream of writing close to her heart.


The Library of Lost and Found: A Review

April 5, 2019

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

The Library of Lost and Found Review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Books About Books, Family Life, Sisters

Thanks to #NetGalley #HarlequinBooks for a free e copy of #TheLibraryofLostandFound by #phaedrapatrick in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


Martha Storm volunteers at the library, and she spends much of her free time selflessly helping others. In fact, she keeps meticulous lists of her projects in a Wonder Woman themed notebook (which we might call a bullet journal). Even though many people depend on her to help them out with small projects, Martha doesn’t have many friends and feels “invisible.” Her routine at the library and hours of service to others take a dramatic turn when a mysterious book arrives for her and Martha is determined to solve a family mystery that surrounds the book.


10 Elements of a 5 Star Read

April 4, 2019

What Are the Elements of a 5 Star Read?


Elements of a 5 Star Read

Image Source: Canva

Wow! This is a subjective question, and I’ll offer a subjective response!

Do you rate the books you read on Goodreads using the Five Star Rating System? At times, it can be a daunting task that requires extensive deliberation. While I’m certain you have developed your own criteria, I’d love to share mine with you in this post. When I finally award that elusive 5 Star rating, I’m likely to consider most, if not all, of the following ten factors:


National Poetry Month

April 2, 2019

National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month

Image Source: Canva

Do you read poetry?

In recognition of National Poetry Month, I need your help Readers! Honestly, the type of poetry I like is a story written in free verse. What I love about poetry is the figurative language, sparse words to convey the most beautiful reflections, and beautiful and unique turns of phrases. I need to expand my reading experiences with poetry, and I would love to hear about your favorite poets and poetry collections in comments please!

Here are six of my favorite examples of stories told in free verse: