December 2021 Reading Wrap Up

December 31, 2021

December 2021 Reading Wrap Up

December Reading Wrap Up (collage of titles)

How was your December reading?

Welcome to the last monthly wrap up of the year!
My December reading consisted of mostly light, escapist reads.
Out of 8 books completed, I had one 5-star read, six 4-star reads, and one 3-star read.
I’ve now read 119 books towards my year end goal of 100. Do you set a year-end goal?
(see my reading stats and new goals post here)

My favorite fiction read of the month is Sisters of Night and Fog (for it gripping content).


Did we read any of the same books?

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Titles are Amazon affiliate links or my linked reviews
.
ARC=Advanced Readers Copy (complimentary copy for review)


Sisters of Night and Fog by Erika Robuck (two women wearing hats and business suits walk away from the camera in a field of low fog)

Sisters of Night and Fog by Erika Robuck

5 Stars. (ARC) Historical Fiction, WW11, France, Resistance Movement. (Pub Date: 3/1/2022)


Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner (cover) Image: three young women walking arm in arm toward the camera, red text and ...

The Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

4 Stars. (ARC) Historical Fiction, London. (Pub Date: 5/17/2022)


A Vicarage Wedding by Kate Hewitt (pink text over

A Vicarage Wedding by Kate Hewitt

4 Stars. #3 in a Series, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Romance.


The Golden Girls Getaway by Judy Leigh (cover) Image: white text against a blue sky and three women sitting in camp chairs with their backs to the camera on a green expansive lawn area

The Golden Girls’ Getaway by Judy Leigh

4 Stars. (ARC) Contemporary Fiction, Coastal England and Wales. My review of Golden Girls.


The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams (cover) white text overe a graphic image of scattered open books

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

4 Stars. Contemporary Fiction, Book About Books, Diverse Read.


A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland (pinkish red text over a background picture of a country gazeba decorated for a wedding)

A Wedding at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessical Redland

4 Stars. (ARC) #4 in a Series. Contemporary Fiction, England. (Pub Date: 1/6/2022)


A Vicarage Homecoming by Kate Hewitt (a young man and woman walk through a quaint rural village)

A Vicarage Homecoming by Kate Hewitt

4 Stars Contemporary Fiction, England, Family Drama, Romance.


The Joy and Light Bus Company by Alexander McCall Smith (cover) Image: graphic drawing of a blue bus with orange markings drives along a country road...rust colored trees and scenery including a statue of a rooster

The Joy and Light Bus Company by Alexander McCall Smith

3 Stars. (#22 in a Series) Contemporary Fiction, Botswana, Diverse Read.



QOTD:

What was your favorite December read?
Did we read any of the same books?
Which of these books is on your TBR?



ICYMI:

December Blog Posts:

2021 Reading and 2022 Goals
Top 5 Memorable Hisfic Reads 2021
Most Memorable Reads of 2021
Top 5 New-To-Me Authors 2021
“Uplit” Recommendations and A Vicarage Christmas Review
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone Review
Winter 2021 TBR
Meet the Blogger, Christmas Version
The Golden Girls’ Getaway Review
The Girl With Seven Names Review
Christmas in Briarwood Review
Book Ideas For Gift Giving
#6 Degrees of Separation: Ethan Frome
The Stranger in the Lifeboat Review
The Beekeeper of Aleppo Review



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“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



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog 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 covers are credited to Amazon.

© http://www.ReadingLadies.com

 

2021 Reading Stats and 2022 Goals

December 30, 2021

Happy New Year Book Worms!

2021 Reading Stats and 2022 Goals

Reflection: 2021 Reading and 2022 Goals (white text over a background of an open journal, pen, hardbbackbook and holiday candles)

Image Source: Canva

Brace yourself for a nerdy post, bookaholics!

Have you ever set a reading goal or considered a reading challenge?

Reading in 2021

I’d love to hear from you if you analyze reading data at year’s end. Although I’ve always been analytical, I think my appreciation for using data to plan was heightened during my tenure as a teacher when I poured over student data to inform my teaching. Now, instead of looking at student achievement, I’m paying attention to my own numbers as it relates to reading achievement. I realize that while numbers are not that important in a rewarding reading life, they do reveal some trends and inform future reading choices. It’s important to me that I’m reading diversely, supporting women authors, and increasing my nonfiction percentage. While this post about the numbers is mostly a self-reflection, I hope you find it interesting and possibly motivating toward considering your own reading achievement during the past year and setting some goals for 2022.

If you’ve read ONE book this year, you’re a reader and I encourage you to celebrate that read and accomplishment!

Blog Feedback

I’d also like to know (in comments) what you’d like to see more of or less of on the blog for 2022. Has the variety this year been satisfactory for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! In fact, I may put together a survey in January.

2021 has been another challenging year, but I’m also so grateful for wonderful books and delightful bookish conversation! Thank you to each of my followers and visitors! Thanks for the views, comments, and shares! I appreciate EACH one!
giphy

Best of 2021

See this post for a list of my most memorable reads in 2021 and this post for my top five memorable histfic reads of 2021.



Let’s Talk Numbers!

Total Books Read: 119

Remember….it’s really not about the numbers! It’s about the enjoyment of reading.

This number is down a bit from last year’s high of 131, but as long as I’m above 100 I’m satisfied. I averaged 25-30 books a year when I was teaching full time and the majority of those were read during the summer. For me in this season of life, 100 books is a comfortable number. I average two books per week and the weeks when I can only read one dense nonfiction or a 500+ page fiction are balanced out later when I can read 3 lighter, shorter books in one week.

My Year in Books (stats from Goodreads)



Books Abandoned (DNF): 7

I’m getting better at knowing my reading tastes and passing on books/genres that I know won’t be to my taste. I’m also not reluctant to abandon books that aren’t working for me. There are too many great books waiting to be read to make myself finish something that isn’t right for me at the time. Are you a fearless abandoner or a committed finisher



Women Authors: 102!

One of my goals in starting this blog is to support women authors writing about strong women and I feel like I’ve had success in this area. We’ve certainly come a long way since the days when women had to publish under a man’s name!



Diverse Reads: 20

For this number, I counted the books that take place in a culture other than my own, whose characters are ethnically different from me, and whose author is an author of color. It was my focus this year to intentionally read and promote authors of color. I have read other books in a broader sense of diversity, and it’s always my goal to read more diversely.

Library Books:

One stat I enjoy tracking each year is the percentage of books I read that are from the library.

Library = 41 (34%)
ARC (advanced readers copy from the publisher) = 40 (34%)
Own = 38 (32%)

I didn’t realize until I counted them up that the percentage is evenly distributed! Between library books and ARCs, 68% of my books are free! Great kindle deals help me buy books to own.



Fiction: (Broken Down by Sub-Genre): 107

The sub-genres add up to a more than 107 because a few books fall into more than one category.

Historical Fiction: 29
This is obviously a favorite sub-genre! See my top five memorable histfic reads in this post.

Literary Fiction: 4
This is a category that brings about some debate among readers….the most simple definition is that literary fiction is not genre fiction. Also, it’s character driven (usually) and known as literature written to explore the meaning of life and its issues….for example, most prestigious award recipients and national prize winners are categorized as literary fiction. My favorite title this year in the category is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.

Women’s Fiction: 57
Wow! This is the first time I’ve ever read this much “women’s fiction”! There were months when these books were a balm to my pandemic brain! Again, a reader’s definition may vary….for me they are books in which most characters are women and the plot centers around women’s concerns and issues….some in this category are lighter reads that readers refer to as “beach reads” or “vacation reads.” Two of my favorites in this category are Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb and Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce.

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Science Fiction: 8
Clearly, I don’t read too much in this category because real life is scary enough….mainly, the books I read in this category are best sellers that I want to form my own opinion about. Although I rarely read scifi, my favorite read in this category is the audio version of Project Hail Mary…simply fabulous!

Issue Centered: 5
The main purpose of these stories is to focus on a certain issue. I usually enjoy these books unless they are heavily agenda driven by the author. My favorite title in this category is The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom (what if God appeared to you when you called out?)

Middle Grade: 12
I love a great Middle Grade read! There’s some enjoyable and engaging literature in this category for adults! Two of my favorites are Ghost by Jason Reynolds and Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga.

I’ve started a Newbery Project which you can find in my blog’s menu pages.

Young Adult: 6
I didn’t read in this category as much as in previous years. One of my favorites this year is Firekeeper’s Daughter.



Nonfiction (broken down into sub-genres): 12

This is a definite area for improvement for me in 2022! My goal is to have a 20% nonfiction percentage. In this second year of the pandemic, I have been more drawn to escapist reads! My favorite nonfiction in 2021 is The Day the World Came to Town (don’t miss the Broadway musical Come From Away streaming on AppleTV +).

Memoir: 6
Memoir is a favorite form of nonfiction.

Biography: 1

Narrative Nonfiction: 1
Nonfiction written in story format.

Essay: 4



Story Graph

You may have heard about Story Graph, an alternative book tracking app to Goodreads. I decided to use both Goodreads and Story Graph this year to compare them (a blog post about this coming soon). One of the delights of using Story Graph is that it provides you with neat charts and graphs to help summarize your reading. My Story Graph handle is reading_ladies_blog. Here are a few of my 2021 charts/graphs:

Story Graph 4

Story Graph 1

Story Graph 2

Story Graph 3



Let’s Consider New 2022 Goals

(please share yours in comments):

Goal 1:

Goodreads Reading Challenge (determine how many books you’d like to read and track them through the Goodreads app). This is the easiest of the goals/challenges as it simply involves setting a number. This number can be adjusted throughout the year if you are reading above or below your goal. I recommend setting a reasonable goal and then raising it if necessary. My goal is 100 books. I met this goal in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, and it’s reasonable that I will meet it again. Retirement and pandemic isolation help tremendously! The 2022 Goodreads challenge will be available at the first of the year. Are we friends on Goodreads?

My Year in Books (stats from Goodreads)

This year I used StoryGraph concurrently with Goodreads to compare and contrast the two platforms. A blog post about that is coming soon.

Goal 2:

I want to curate a satisfying reading life in which I read what I want, when I want! (Thus, no other challenges for me this year.) I’ve come to the conclusion that life is hard enough without adding book challenges.

My goals are simple: read at least 100 books in 2022, read widely and diversely, and increase my nonfiction percentage.



What reading goals do you have for 2022?

goal make things happen



Happy New Year! I hope you’ve experienced some pleasurable and challenging reading in 2021 and are eagerly anticipating the reading year ahead!

giphy

giphy-1



QOTD:

Did you meet your reading goal for 2021?

What is your 2022 Reading Goal?

Do you use a method for tracking your reads during the year?

Have you considered your best read of the year? (see my most memorable reads of 2021 in this post and my top five historical fiction reads in this post.)



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



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog 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.

© WWW.ReadingLadies.com

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Memorable Histfic Reads 2021 [Book Reviews] #T5T

December 28, 2021

Top 5 Memorable Historical Fiction Reads 2021

5 Memorable Histfic Reads of 2021

Background Image Source: Canva

*Titles are links to my reviews which contain Amazon affiliate links.

I’m linking up today with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads for Top 5 Tuesday. This week I’m narrowing the prompt of Top 5 Books of 2021 to Top 5 Historical Fiction Reads of 2021.

ICYMI: See all my most memorable reads of 2021 in this Top Ten Tuesday post.

Top 5 Histfic Books

1.

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

a woman dressed in a rose dress stands with her back to the camera overlooking a balcony and a gold wall

Well written and researched, historically interesting, compelling characters with a side of mystery, England.

2.

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

Gold and Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi (cover) Image: white text against a dark blue background

Page turning escape, refugee, found family, Afghanistan.

3.

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner (cover) Image: blue-toned picture of a woman and young girl holding hands and walking down railroad tracks with backs to camerai

Histfic (SF earthquake) with a side of mystery and page-turning suspense.

4.

Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman

Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman (cover) Image: two girls sit on a wing of a plane

Women in the war effort (WW11, Hawaii), friendship.

5.

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

The Invisible Woman by Erica Robuck (cover) Image: a woman stands with her back to the camera and shadows of airplanes on the ground surround her

Biographical, a brave woman in the Resistance Movement (WW11), France.



QOTD:

Have you read any of my Top 5 Histfic reads?
What is one of your Top 5 Reads of the year?
If you read histfic, what was your most memorable read in that genre?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“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



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog 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 photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Most Memorable Reads of 2021 #TopTenTuesday

December 28, 2021

2021 Memorable Reads:
The Top Ten List and The Categories

2021 Most Memorable Reads

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Best Books I Read in 2021

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 an enjoyable, memorable, emotional experience and gave me a “book hangover.”

I’m presenting my list this year in two formats: in top ten list form and in categories. The categories part is a bit more comprehensive because I provide some runners up and books that didn’t make it to my official top ten. Titles are links to my reviews or Amazon affiliate links. Although most titles in this post were published this year, a few were not.

Thanks for sharing great reads with me this year!

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Top Ten Memorable Fiction Reads of 2021

Based on the qualities of enjoyment, engagement, compelling, unputdownable, and book hangovers.

(see categories below for runners up and additional selections)

1

 The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

2

Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack

3

Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman

4

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi,

5

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner
(finished on 12/31/2020 so it didn’t make last year’s list)

6

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

7

Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan

8

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

9

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

10

 Project Hail Mary (the audio version) by Andy Weir

Most Memorable Nonfiction

The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede

The Day the World Came to Town



* * * * * BONUS *****

(more…)

Merry “Pandemic” Christmas! [Year Two]

December 21, 2021

Merry Christmas to Everyone Who Celebrates!

We are ready here!

Santa's Sidekick

Merry Christmas book friends! I certainly didn’t think we’d still be dealing with the Pandemic again this Christmas. Because the Omicron variant is surging in our area, we will again limit big family gatherings and celebrate the birth of Jesus in quieter, smaller ways.

There’s a meme going around that says “2022 is pronounced 2020 too” ….. I just want 2020 in the history books! I definitely want to see the terms and conditions of 2022 before I get too excited! We’re all vacinated and boosted at my house and I hope you are also keeping safe in ways that make sense for you.

As I reflect on 2021, I realize that blogging and sharing book reviews with you has brought me a tremendous amount of joy. I greatly appreciate your support, comments, likes, and shares! Thank you! I treasure the virtual friendships that blogging has brought into my life!

At Christmastime, we have HOPE and JOY and whatever your traditions, I wish each of you healthy and safe holiday celebrations.

Emmanuel…God With Us

I’m taking a few days off this week and I’ll be back on 12/28 with my favorites of the year post. Until then….here are a few of my favorite songs….

Luke Bryan, O Holy Night

Josh Groban, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

(my fav verse)

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

Do you love Flash Mobs?

“Hallelujah Chorus”

Merry Christmas

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 New-To-Me Authors 2021

December 21, 2021

Top 5 New-To-Me Authors 2021

New-To-Me Authors in 2021 (white text over a background of library shelves)

Background Image Source: Canva

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I’m linking up today with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads for Top 5 Tuesday: Five New-To-Me Authors in 2021.

New-To-Me-Authors

Andy Weir

OK….I think I might be the only one who didn’t read The Martian?! After I read all the enthusastic reviews for Project Hail Mary, it was time to read Any Weir. Well, I was not disappointed! Project Hail Mary made my Top Ten Best of 2021 List (published on 12/28/2021).

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (cover) Image: an astronaut floats in space tethered to a gold and black object

Marilynne Robinson

I have had Gilead on my TBR for years now! I decided this was the year to finally read Gilead and I fell in love with Marilynne Robinson, and now I have plans to read the next three in the loosely connected series in 2022.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (cover) Image:

Jose S. Kilpack

After I accepted the ARC for Love and Lavender and posted my review, I had several readers comment that they love Kilpack. However, this is my first book by her and I loved it (made my top ten list this year), so I know I want to explore her backlist! If you’ve read her, what book would you recommend next?

Love and Lavender by Jose S. Kilpack (cover) Image: a woman in a long dress and bonnet stands alone in a field of lavender

Jason Reynolds

I have heard of Jason Reynolds and I have seen his poetry (For Every One), and I decided then that I wanted to read one of his middle grade novels. I made that happen this year when I read Ghost (and the other three in the “Track” series). I’ve heard him interviewed and was so impressed by his purpose and mission that I’ve love to read more of his work.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds (cover) Black text on a yellow background....a young African American boy is running off the page

Angeline Boulley (debut author)

Boulley is my only debut author on this list (although not the only debut author I’ve read this year). I was impressed with Firekeeper’s Daughter and I’m interested in reading her next work….especially if she continues writing as an “own voices” author for Indigenous People.

The Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley (cover) Image: the profiles of two native american young People (man and woman) in cultural dress


These are the first five new-to-me authors I found in my list. I’m sure there are more!



QOTD:

Have you read any of my new-to-me authors?
Who is your favorite new-to-you author?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“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



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blog 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 photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

“Uplit” Recommendations and #AVicarageChristmas [Book Review] #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge

December 17, 2021

Do you have “Uplit” on your bookshelves?

UpLit What's On Your Bookshelf (white text in a blue text box against a background of reddish pink balloons against a blue sky

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Uplit.” If this term is new to you, here’s a definition I found online:

‘Up Lit’ is the new literary buzz word, described as a trend for books with an emphasis on empathy, books that are uplifting and life-affirming, and which explore themes of family bonds and the human spirit. These types of novels focus on kinder, gentler human connections, but have an element that preserves realism.

Although I regularly and intentionally seek out “feel good” books with some substance (more in 2020 and 2021 than ever before!), I first became aware of “Uplit” as an official term and subgenre in this blog post by Lynne @ Fictionophile.

Uplit adds balance to my reading life.

Perhaps this is why I adore Middle Grade literature that often has strong themes of family, friendship, and hope.

However, “uplit” is not exclusively fluffy and light. The stories can include substantial themes but kindness, gentleness, empathy, and hope always shine through the darkness.

***Note of Caution: as with most subgenres, there can be a difference of opinion in the books that are included….the following list is not an “official” list and simply represents my personal opinions.

From my reading, here are a few of my favorite “uplit” titles (in no particular order):

Although those who curate lists often cite Eleanor Oliphant as their prime example of “Uplit,” I don’t know if I fully agree. Although there is kindness, quirkiness, and a ray of hope, the story is filled with trauma and has an unreliable narrator. The story is devastating. What do you think? Uplit or not?


For today’s review, I’m highlighting my most recent “uplit” find from The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite Series (Book 1)

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate J

My Summary:

A family tragedy that happened years ago has caused Anna, the third of four sisters, to suffer from shyness and some social anxiety. She works and lives in Manchester and for the first time in years she comes home for Christmas because her parents have a big announcement. Coming home is difficult for her yet she adores her family. One night to escape her busy and complicated family and bossy sister, she goes alone to a pub where she meets a handsome and kind stranger. Simon is easy to talk to and she ends up spilling her family secrets. She’s mortified to later learn that Simon is connected with her father at his Parish. Can Simon and Anna salvage their new relationship, negotiate family complications, and create a magical Christmas?

My Thoughts:

I first came across this series in a post by Lisa @ Hopewell’s Public Library of Life Blog just at the time I was comtemplating light Christmas reads for December and rounding out my novella reads for Novellas in November. At 182 pages, this is a quick light read for your busy December days! Thanks for the rec Lisa!

Setting: Who can resist a quaint village in England’s Lake District?

Characters: A Vicarage Christmas is a poignant story of a lovely family comprised of four adult daughters with four unique personalities, a wise and kind father who is also the Vicar of the village parish, and a compassionate and understanding mother who holds the family together and is a gracious hostess. Then, there’s Simon who would like a future with Anna, and I can’t forget about the beloved family dog.

Themes: Lovely themes in A Vicarage Christmas include family dynamics, sibling loyalty, taking risks, grief and childhood trauma, reconciling with the past, community, and parents who do the unexpected.

Lots to Love! I enjoyed this “uplit” story of family, community, and finding love. After reading this novella, I am eager to continue with the series. I’m now on book three, but I think I’m loving book one the most! It was a perfect December read and introduction to the series.

Content Consideration: one trigger warning for memories of the death of a child (sibling)

Recommended: A Vicarage Christmas is an excellent example of “uplit” in my opinion! I’m enthusiastically recommending this heartfelt story for fans of “uplit,” for readers who love gently told stories with themes of family, faith, and finding love, and for those looking for a novella or quick vacation/weekend read.

My Rating: 4 Stars (3.5 rounded up)

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-starhalf twinkle-twinkle-little-star

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate J

A Vicarage Christmas Information Here

Meet the Author, Kate Hewitt

Author Kate HewittKate Hewitt is the bestselling author of many novels of both historical and contemporary fiction. She particularly enjoys writing contemporary issue-driven women’s fiction, and her novels have been called ‘unputdownable’ and ‘the most emotional book I have ever read’ by readers.

An American ex-pat, she lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five young(ish) children, along with their two Golden Retrievers. Join her newsletter for monthly updates and giveaways at http://www.kate-hewitt.com, or be part of her Facebook groups Kate’s Reads, to discuss all manner of books, movies, music and cooking.


 I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and SueDonna, and Jo for the December installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge.

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



QOTD:

Have you read A Vicarage Christmas or is it on your TBR?

Do you read “uplit”?

What is your number one “uplit” recommendation?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“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



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***Blog 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 photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© ReadingLadies.com

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

December 16,  2021

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
#throwbackthursday

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (cover) Image: black text over a large yellow box of tissue against a blue background

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Psychology, Therapy, Mental Health

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads. Today, I’m re-sharing a compelling memoir that explores therapy, Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb.

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

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Humorous, thought-provoking, and candid…

Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist and national advice columnist, shares a behind-the-scenes look into her work as a therapist. She also shares what it was like when she sought out therapy for herself.

“Most of what we say to ourselves we’d never say to people we love or care about, like our friends or children. In therapy, we learn to pay close attention to those voices in our heads so that we can learn a better way to communicate with ourselves.”

Exploring mental health, finding meaning in life, and repairing broken relationships…

Continue here for my full review of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone…



QOTD:

Have you read Maybe You Should Talk to Someone or is it on your TBR?

 

Winter 2021 TBR #TopTenTuesday

December 14, 2021

Winter Reading Season TBR (2021-2022) #TopTenTuesday

Winter 2021 TBR (white text over a background picture of a small show dusted pine tree in a small burlap wrapped pot....tree sits on a hardback book)

Image Source: Esther Hanten on Unsplash

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

For winter, most of the titles on my TBR are a result of the wonderful recommendations I receive from fellow bloggers, back list books that I’ve been meaning to read, and ARCs (advanced reader copies). Sadly, my most highly anticipated 2022 release, The Winners by Fredrik Backman (Beartown #3), won’t be available in the U.S. until September.

I never plan more than ten titles for my quarterly TBR lists because I need to leave time for mood reading and review commitments. These ten books are a priority on a much longer general TBR.

What is your most anticipated read this winter?

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Winter To Read List.

Top Ten Tuesday (winter) graphic


Winter 2021-2022 TBR


Home by Marilynne Robinson

Home by Marilynne Robinson (cover) Image: a graphic pictures of greenery, a small section of brown fence, and the sun in a cloudy sky

After reading Gilead this year, I want to read the other three books in the loosely connected series.


The Joy and Light Bus Company by Alexander McCall Smith

(I’ve read all 21 in the series, so can’t miss the newest….holdover from fall TBR)

The Joy and Light Bus Company by Alexander McCall Smith (cover) a graphic picture in rust and blue colors of a bus filled with people driving along a country road

I love this gentle series!


Still Life by Sarah Winman

Still Life by Sarah Winman (cover) Image: blue text above and below an orange and blue bird.....a colorful blue and orange border around the center image and text

Thanks for the rec Mailread @ Swirl and Thread Blog


The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain

(hold over from last year….my library never obtained it…so I’ll need to purchase it)

The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain (cover) Image: a gazebo and a lake in a snowy setting

 This Christmas romance is a rec from Jo at The Book Jotter.


The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight For Freedom, and the Men Who Tried To Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore

The Woman They Could Not Silence

Thanks to Shelleyrae at Book’d Out for the rec during nonfiction November!


I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird by Susan Cerulean

(another one my library doesn’t have…..hold over from last year…I’ll need to make a purchase)

I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird by Susan Cerulean (I(mage: one large and one small bird looking for food)

This NF memoir is a rec from Annie B. Jones @ From the Front Porch podcast.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Quiet by Susan Cain (Cover: red lettering on a soft blue background)

Thanks to Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books for reminding me (again!) that I have been wanting to read this one!


The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson (ARC)

(ARC: PUb Date: May 3, 2022)

The Book Woman's Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson (cover) Image: old work boots sit atop a stack of books

I was THRILLED to receive an ARC for the followup to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek! I should technically wait until spring to read this, but I know I won’t be able to wait!

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Meet the Blogger, Christmas Version #festivebonbons

December 13, 2021

Meet the Blogger, Christmas Version

Meet the Blogger Christmas version (white text against a snow covered pine tree background)

I’m linking up today with Deb @ Deb’s World Blog for A Festive Bonbons Linkup.
Why bonbons?
T
he word ‘bonbons’ creates a festive feel. Bonbons are small bits of Christmas cheer like our questions. A bonbon is a sweet or small confection, especially a small ball coated in chocolate.

Here are Deb’s questions:

Festive bonbon questions

Christmas Tree:

I like to celebrate Thanksgiving before putting up Christmas decorations. Years and years ago, we bundled up the kiddos and picked out our tree from a tree farm. As the children became adults and we experienced an “empty nest,” we bought our first artificial tree. There have been a few iterations of the fake tree. We started with one that had color coded individual branches and the lights were put on manually, and now our tree is easy to assemble (three pieces) and is pre-lighted for the win! When the children were little, I would take them to pick out an ornament each year, so our tree was filled with treasured, unique, individual ornaments which reflected each child’s interests that year. Now that they’ve moved out along with their box of ornaments, I have enjoyed more thematic trees. The one item that never changes is the angel tree topper. I think it’s been on almost every tree we’ve ever owned (except perhaps the first few because I can’t remember the year I bought it).

My Christmas Tree

This was last year’s tree.

close up of my treetop Angel

This year’s tree with a closeup of the treetop Angel.

Christmas Carols:

I love ALMOST all the Christmas music, traditional and modern. Enjoy an assortment of a few of my favorites! What is your favorite Carol?

Christmas Books:

Luke 2: 1-20 is my favorite Christmas Story!

I don’t think I have a very favorite Christmas book but there are several books that have poignant Christmas scenes which I love. For example, Little Women and The Deal of a Lifetime. Do you have a favorite Christmas story?

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