Bookish Confessions #TopTenTuesday

January 19, 2021

Bookish Confessions

My Bookish Confessions (white text over a background of book shelves)

Top Ten Tuesday (meme)

I couldn’t find my motivation for the Top Ten Tuesday topic today because I’ve already made a Winter TBR, so I’m going rogue with my own Top Ten Tuesday post (and I’m sure it’s been a topic in the past that I haven’t addressed….so a “make up” post?).

In three and one half years, I’ve never written a Bookish Confessions post. I’ve enjoyed many similar posts, so I think this week is the time to offer mine to the bookish blogging community!

1.

I’ve Never Read Harry Potter!

I guess I need to list this one first and get it over with: I’ve never read Harry Potter!

2.

I’m a picky reader.

I’ve developed into a picky reader…or I guess I should say I KNOW what I like and this has led to a rewarding and rich reading life! I like realistic fiction, historical fiction, brave characters, thoughtful and substantial themes, inspirational biographies/memoirs, sweet middle-grade reads, novels in verse, thoughtful women’s fiction (not chick lit), and complicated family drama. If I stick with these genres and categories, I usually do not have an unsatisfactory reading experience.

3.

I’ve Become a Shameless DNFer!

The main reasons for DNFing include

* excessive profanity or graphic violence
* slow to engage me
* paranormal or occult content
* boring
* feelings of dread rather than joy (upon picking up the book)
* poorly written

“So many books, so little time.” ~Frank Zappa

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

See my related post here: My Love/Hate Relationship With DNF

4.

Sometimes I Peek at the Last Chapter!

I know some readers who would NEVER peek at the last chapter. EVER.

Yet, at times (especially if the book is too stressful and my anxiety interferes with my enjoyment) I will skim the last chapter (mainly, to see if my beloved main character lives!). Sometimes if I am contemplating a DNF, I will read the last chapter before I abandon it to see if anything in that chapter engages me enough to return to reading.  Usually if I do DNF a book, I will still read the last chapter for closure.

5.

I Don’t Enjoy Chick Lit!

I prefer thoughtful, substantial themes. I have found that Elin Hilderbrand rarely offers what I prefer in chick lit. Whereas, I’ve been engaged with Katherine Center’s work. I’m not exactly adverse to chick lit (evidence=I read more chick lit in 2020 under lockdown than ever before), but I enjoy chick lit that has some snappy writing and meaningful themes. It’s always tricky to note what I don’t enjoy because it may be your absolute favorite! Reading is a personal experience, and I think each person should find what suits her or him. There’s no judgement here! I want you to find what’s most enjoyable for you!

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The Great Escape From Woodlands Nursing Home [Book Review]

January 15, 2021

The Great Escape From Woodlands Nursing Home by Joanna Nell

The Great Escape From Woodland Nursing Home by Joanna Nell (cover) Image: text on white background....images of a tree, a barking dog, a bench, and a large bird flying from the tree above text

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Humor, Friendship

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Hattie Bloom is eighty-nine and she prefers birds to people and loves living alone in her small (although decrepit) home surrounded by her trees, plants, and feathered friends. Hattie is especially worried about an owl nest in a tree that the neighbors want to cut down. While climbing the tree, Hattie falls and ends up in a nursing home for rehab. She doesn’t adjust well to her new environment and entertains ideas of escape. Harold is another resident of the home that also dreams of escape. Hattie and Harold meet at the Night Owls social hour organized by a beloved nurse who desires to provide services for the residents who have a difficult time sleeping at night. Hattie and Howard join forces in unsuspecting ways.

My Thoughts:

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The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

January 14, 2021

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor
#throwbackthursday

the Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Jazel Gaynor (cover) Image: a woman looks out over a landscape which includes a lighthouse

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Life

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m eager to share my review of the compelling The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor.a story of strong independent women.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Inspired by true events, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter shares the story of Grace Darling, an extraordinary young woman who helps her father keep the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands off the coast of northeast England. One day in 1838 during a furious storm, Grace and her father rescue nine shipwreck survivors. Grace gains notoriety and finds herself the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. The dear friendship that develops between Grace and one of the survivors and the survivor’s brother continues to impact lives 100 years later.

In 1938 at another lighthouse in Newport, Rhode Island, nineteen year old Matilda is sent away from Ireland in disgrace to live with a distant relative who happens to be an assistant lighthouse keeper. As Matilda stumbles upon an old chest containing artifacts from her family history, she uncovers the story of Grace and the connections Grace has to Matilda’s great-great-grandmother. Although Matilda’s part of the story is pure fiction, the hurricane that hits the east coast of the U.S. in 1938 is historic.

Author, Hazel Gaynor, creates strong connections between two time periods and two story lines including hurricane events of 1838 and 1938, complex connections between past and present family members, and lighthouse themes between the stories.

Even the brave were once afraid. The sum of generations of strong, courageous women who came before her, an echo of them all lingering in her soul.

Continue here for my full review of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter ….



QOTD:

Have you read The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter or is it on your TBR?
Have you read other books by Hazel Gaynor?

In a Holidaze [Book Review]

January 12, 2021

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren (cover) text and a string of Christmas lights on a green background

Genre/Categories: Women’s Contemporary Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Two families gather to spend a few days at a cabin in Utah, an annual and much anticipated Christmas tradition. The children in the families have grown up together and are close friends. Mae is in her twenties and has just moved home to live with her parents after a breakup. The vacation is coming to an end and she is driving home in her parent’s car and feeling miserable about her dead-end job, the fact that the cabin might be sold in the near future (thus losing a beloved family tradition), and her unrealized secret crush on a young man in the other family. She leans her head against the car window wishing for happiness and BAM! Their family car is broadsided by a truck. When she wakes up, she is in an airplane on her way to the cabin as if the accident never happened. Although this is unnerving, it will give her a chance to undo some things she regrets and to have another chance with her true love. The horrible part is that this loop repeats a few times and each time she relives those vacation days in the cabin. Mae is concerned with how she will manage to exit this strange time-loop and how it will affect the progress she has made in her new relationship.

My Thoughts:

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You Have a Match [Book Review]

January 11, 2021

You Have a Match by Emma Lord

You Have a Match by Emma Lord (cover) Image: a boy and a girl paddle in separate boats on a lake surrounded by green hills and pine trees

Genre/Categories: YA Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Family Life

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley #StMartinsPress @StMartinsPress for a complimentary e ARC of #YouHaveAMatch for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Abby and her childhood friend, Leo (secret crush), sign up for a DNA service. For Abby, it’s a lark, but Leo is adopted and is curious about finding some bio relatives. A big surprise: Leo receives no matches but Abby finds out she has a full bio sister living within a couple of miles of her. Abby stalks the bio sister on Instagram,, and they make contact. They agree to meet at a summer camp and compare notes to try and figure out the secret that both sets of parents are keeping. Leo is also a cook at the camp, so this keeps life interesting for Abby in the romance department. Life becomes complicated as camp life, romance, secrets, siblings, friendships, and parents collide.

My Thoughts:

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[Reblog] What Was the Best Decision You Made in 2020? #MentalHealth

January 8, 2021

What Was the Best Decision You Made in 2020? by Deb @ Deb’s World

What Was the Best Decision You Made in 2020? (Image: A woan holding up a HELP sign to her head)

One of my favorite posts of the year!

I have Deb’s permission to “reblog” her post, but for some reason, I can’t get the “Reblog” feature to work today, so I’m posting a link here to Deb’s post about mental health in 2020.

Please give this post a read (and my blogging friend a follow)!

What Was the Most Important Decision You Made in 2020?



QOTD:

What was the most important decision you made in 2020?



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Clock Dance [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

January 7, 2021

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
#throwbackthursday

Clock Dance by Anne tyler (cover) Image: yellow and white text over a large cactus (with one small bloom) and a brilliant blue sky

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Life

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m eager to share my review of the compelling Clock Dance by Anne Tyler.a quiet story of an ordinary woman finding her voice.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“In Clock Dance, Anne Tyler provides a compelling characterization of Willa Drake from a childhood with an unpredictable mother, to her college years and engagement, to her later years as a young widow rebuilding her life, and, finally, to her senior years which find her longing for attachment, family, and a place to belong. In this bittersweet journey, readers root for Willa as she experiences grief, renewed hope, and new direction for her life.”

Readers root for Willa as she experiences grief, renewed hope, and new direction for her life.

Continue here for my full review of Clock Dance ….



QOTD:

Have you read Clock Dance or is it on your TBR?

[Reblog] Most Memorable Reads of 2020 #TopTenTuesday

December 29, 2020

2020 Memorable Reads:
The Top Ten List and The Categories

Most Memorable Reads of 2020 (Image: a colorful banner, confetti, and colorful baloons)

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Read in 2020

Top Ten Tuesday (winter) graphic

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

I mostly love the angst of creating top ten lists! Although it can be a daunting task, it’s my most anticipated post of the year! First, let me remind you that this list is subjective. It’s compiled of books I’ve read this year (there are always so many more great ones that I didn’t get to), and each one has made it onto this list because reading it was a memorable, emotional experience and gave me a “book hangover.”

I’m presenting my list this year in two formats: in list form and in categories. The categories part is a bit more comprehensive because I provided some runners up. Titles are links to my reviews or Amazon affiliate links. Although most titles in this post were published this year, a couple were not.

Thanks for sharing great reads with me this year!

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Top Ten Memorable Fiction Reads of 2020

(see categories below for runners up and additional selections)

1

 The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

2

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

3

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

4

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

5

 The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

6

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

7

 Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

8

 The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

9

 The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

10

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Most Memorable Nonfiction

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9-11 by Garrett M. Graff

The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah



* * * * * BONUS *****

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The Chanel Sisters [Book Review] #blogtour

January 5, 2021

The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little

The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little (cover) Image: a close up image of a woman's face...wearing red lipstick, a white fur hat, white bracelet... the image of the Eiffel Tower in the background

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Siblings, WW1

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Pictures of Coco Chanel and products from Wikipedia.

I’m delighted to take part in the Fall 2020 Blog Tours for Historical Fiction From Harlequin Trade Publishing! Thanks for the invitation. Thanks #Netgalley #HarlequinPublishing @HarperCollins for an electronic complimentary copy of #TheChanelSisters for review. All opinions are my own.

Hats…Fashion…Perfume

Raised in a strict convent orphanage, the Chanel sisters, Gabrielle (“Coco”) and Antoinette, know that they are destined for something better. They hide romantic novels and fashion magazines from strict nuns as they envision a different life. When they age out of the orphanage, Gabrielle and Antoinette set out to create a life for themselves, hoping desperately to leave their poverty behind. Finally, they establish a small hat shop on the rue Cambon in Paris. As their fashionable and well made hats gain popularity, WW1 breaks out.  Ultimately, they go their separate ways as they continue to courageously find their own places in the world.

Chanel No 5 perfume

My Thoughts:

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The Wife Upstairs [Book Review]

January 4, 2021

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins (cover) Image: a glimpse of a while railing, black text on blue wallpaper with light pink flowers scattered around

Genre/Categories: domestic suspense, psychological thriller

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks, #NetGalley @MacmillanAudio @Macillan.Audio for a complimentary e ARC of #TheWifeUpstairs for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

A twisty, slow-burn, domestic suspense story inspired by Jane Eyre.

Plain but street smart Jane has aged out of the foster care system and is struggling to make it on her own in a small suburb of Birmingham, Alabama. After a brief stint in a coffee shop, she becomes a dog walker in the upscale, gated community of Thornfield Estates. She supplements her income by stealing jewelry and other small items from her clients. One day while walking through the estates, she meets Eddie Rochester, a rich widower, whose wife recently died in a boating accident. Their insta attraction is complicated because Jane is running from her past and Eddie has secrets of his own.

My Thoughts:

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