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.


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:


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

January 14, 2021

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

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 ….


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.


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:


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.


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:


[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?


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

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 ….


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)


 The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare


Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell


Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi


All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny


 The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton


The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay


 Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly


 The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel


 The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin


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 *****


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.


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.


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:


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.


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:


#6Degrees of Separation: From Hamnet to The Aviator’s Wife

January 2, 2021

#6Degrees of Separation: From Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell to The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

#6Degrees of Separation: From Hamnet to The Aviator's Wife (image of book covers talked about in post)

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Women Behind Famous Men!

#6Degrees of Separation: from Hamnet to The Aviator’s Wife.

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I’ve seen this meme around for a while and Davida’s posts at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog inspired me to give it a try this year! Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hashtag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (cover) Image: head shot of a young boy wearing a felt hat and a large feather lies horizontally across his eyesThis month’s prompt starts with Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell, and I’m thrilled because it was a favorite, top read for me in 2020.

An important aspect of the story is the woman and the family behind a famous man, so my chain is held together with this idea. Also, all of these books are written by women authors!

My Summary: “Hamnet is set in 1580s Warwickshire, England, and it is the highly imagined story of William Shakespeare’s family, especially his son, Hamnet, and his wife, Agnes (Anne). It’s the story of a marriage and family. Shakespeare and Agnes had three children. It’s also a story of grief as we know from history that Hamnet dies. O’Farrell imagines that he might have died as a result of the 1550s plague. William Shakespeare is “off-stage” for the majority of the story and is never mentioned by name (referred to as husband, father, etc.). This centers Agnes (and the children) as the main character of the story and grief as the main theme. Agnes is a beautiful woman who has some supernatural gifts of healing with herbs, is entirely devoted to family, and frequently experiences glimpses into the future.My review of Hamnet here.

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (cover)First Degree. From Hamnet, I continue the central idea of the woman and family behind a famous man with My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie, in which the story focuses on Eliza Hamilton.

My Summary: “A general’s daughter, Elizabeth Schuyler meets and marries Alexander Hamilton amid the union’s fight for independence and the uncertainties of war. Eliza and Alexander find themselves establishing their life together at the same time as they are at the center of our nation’s founding. Authors Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to imagine Eliza’s story as a patriot, loving wife, political partner, loyal friend, supportive sister, and devoted mother of eight.” My review of My Dear Hamilton here.

America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (cover)Second Degree: Another story by the same authors is America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. This story focuses on the daughter behind the famous man.

My Summary: “A fast-paced read, this well-researched novel draws from thousands of letters and original sources as it tells the story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph. Patsy shares her father’s devotion to their country and becomes his partner, protector, and loyal companion after the death of her mother. As a young girl, she travels with him to Paris when he becomes the American minister to France, and it is here she eventually learns of his relationship with Sally Hemings, a slave girl about her own age. According to the authors, it’s during these Paris years that Patsy falls in love with William Short, her father’s assistant and protégé who is an abolitionist and aspiring diplomat. Patsy is torn between love, principles, and family loyalty, and she questions whether she can be married to William and remain devoted to her father. This is a story of sacrifice and grit as Patsy tirelessly protects her father’s reputation and supports him as he guides and leads the nation he helped found. My review of America’s First Daughter here.

Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (cover)Third Degree: The next book to involve the family of a famous man is Jefferson’s Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret Sons (Middle Grade) by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. This is a Middle-Grade read that is enjoyable for adults, too.

Goodreads Summary: Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston are Thomas Jefferson’s children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, and while they do get special treatment – better work, better shoes, even violin lessons – they are still slaves, and are never to mention who their father is. The lighter-skinned children have been promised a chance to escape into white society, but what does this mean for the children who look more like their mother? As each child grows up, their questions about slavery and freedom become tougher, calling into question the real meaning of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Told in three parts from the points of view of three of Jefferson’s slaves – Beverly, Madison, and a third boy close to the Hemings family – these engaging and poignant voices shed light on what life was like as one of Jefferson’s invisible offspring.