Happy Friday! #ThePositivityWave

August 30, 2019

Hello and Happy Friday!

I’m joining with Meggy @ Chocolate’n’Waffles to spread some positivity amongst all the doom and gloom on social media and in the news. Please feel free to join in with your own Happy Friday post and link to Meggy. Thanks to Nicki at The Secret Library Book Blog and Jonetta at The Blue Mood Cafe for the inspiration!
#positivity #gratitude


Gratitude and Positivity are FREE and make every day BETTER!

Mild Summer!

I’m grateful that so far we’ve experienced a mild summer in my neck of the woods! No extreme heat waves…YET! I haven’t resorted one time to posting this favorite summer cartoon!

it's hot outside popcorn cartoon

Celebrating a Birthday!

Birthdays are always fun for the young and young-at-heart!


Fall TV!

It won’t be long now and new fall programming will commence! Do you have favorite television programs? A few that I look forward to including This is Us (I love this show because it’s structured like a multilayered, complex, literary family drama!), Blue Bloods, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, NCIS, The Rookie, The Crown: Season 3 (Netflix), and, of course, Jeopardy (for the nerd in me!).

fall tv

Back to School

The bittersweet aspect of retiring from teaching is missing out on the “back to school” anticipation and vibe! I love “back to school” supplies, planners, new outfits, and the excitement of learning! I definitely don’t miss the early wake-up call!

back to school cartoon



Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his steadfast love endures forever!

give thanks to the lordThis is the day

QOTD: What are you feeling Positive about today? 

Check out other bloggers participating in the #PostitivtyWave

Chocolate’n’Waffles (host)
Blue Mood Cafe
Reading Between the Pages
The Secret Library Book Blog
Carla Loves To Read
Zooloo’s Book Diary
One More Word
The Reading Closet
Chat About Books


A Better Man: A Review

August 30, 2019

3 pines

A Better Man by Louise Penny

A Better Man Review

Genre/Categories: Mystery, Detective

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


A better man or a bitter man?

In #15 of the Chief Inspector Gamache series, A Better Man, a dangerous spring flood causes the river to rise, social media displays its cruel side, and the search for a missing woman intensifies. Meanwhile, life is complicated for Gamache who returns to the Surete du Quebec as second-in-charge and reports to Beauvoir.

Typical of Louise Penny’s stories, the setting of Three Pines is a safe haven, cases are complicated and sometimes morally ambiguous, and the character of leaders is explored and tested. Will Gamache return as a better man or a bitter man?

My Thoughts:


1st Line/1st Paragraph: A Better Man

 August 27, 2019

1st Line/1st Paragraph: A Better Man by Louise Penny

I’m linking up this week with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter/First Paragraph of the book you are currently reading.

First Paragraph

I’m pleased to share a passage from a book that’s been one of my highly anticipated August reads: A Better Man. This is #15 in the Chief Inspector Gamache Series….are you a Three Pines fan?

3 pines

From Amazon: Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Sûreté du Québec in the latest novel by New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny.
In the next novel in this “constantly surprising series that deepens and darkens as it evolves” (New York Times Book Review), Gamache must face a horrific possibility, and a burning question: What would you do if your child’s killer walked free?”

A Better Man by Louise Penny

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

A Better Man

Genre/Categories: Mystery, Crime Fiction

Selected Passage From Chapter One:

“Clara gave Myrna her phone, though the bookstore owner already knew what she’d find.
Before meeting Clara for breakfast, Myrna had checked her Twitter feed. On the screen, for the world to see, was the quickly cooling body of Clara’s artistic career.
As Myrna read, Clara wrapped her large, paint-stained hands around her mug of hot chocolate, a specialite de la maison, and shifted her eyes from her friend to the mullioned window and the tiny Quebec village beyond.
If the phone was an assault, the window was the balm. While perhaps not totally healing, it was at least comforting in its familiarity.
The sky was gray and threatened rain. Or sleet. Ice pellets or snow. The dirt road was covered in slush and mud. There were patches of snow on the sodden grass. Villagers out walking their dogs were clumping around in rubber boots and wrapped in layers of clothing, hoping to keep April away from their skin and out of their bones.”

I chose a passage from the early pages of Chapter One to demonstrate the setting that is like a character in these books. Three Pines is a safe haven for troubled souls. Does this passage entice you?


This series has its devoted fans. Are you a fan of The Inspector Gamache Series?

To read reviews of earlier titles in the series see HERE and HERE.

 Looking Ahead:

Return on Friday for my full review of A Better Man 
and on Saturday for my August Wrap Up.

Recent Posts You Might Have Missed

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Literary Characters That I’d Like as Best Friends

Sharing is Caring

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.

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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.

Happy Friday! #ThePositivityWave

August 23, 2019

Hello and Happy Friday!

For the first time, I’m joining with Meggy @ Chocolate’n’Waffles to spread some positivity amongst all the doom and gloom on social media and in the news. Please feel free to join in with your own Happy Friday post and link to Meggy. Thanks to Nicki at The Secret Library Book Blog and Jonetta at The Blue Mood Cafe for the inspiration!
#positivity #gratitude


Gratitude and Positivity are FREE and make every day BETTER!

Family Swim Day!

I’m grateful for every opportunity to spend laughing, playing, and loving with FAMILY! We enjoyed a swim party this week, and “Cooper” is an integral part of the family fun!

family swim day

Dove Chocolate Covered Raspberry Sorbet Frozen Bars

Trust me! For 150 calories, this is a perfectly satisfying snack.

dove bars


A blogging highlight of the week was an opportunity to be “blog of the day” on @The_Writereads’s Twitter account. Their support is so appreciated, and it provides a chance to interact with the blogging community!

the write reads twitter post

A Highly Anticipated Read

Louise Penny’s new release is in my NEAR future! Four more sleeps until I can immerse myself into the world of Three Pines and check in on Inspector Gamache and the gang.

A Better Man


This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

This is the dayThis is the day

QOTD: What are you feeling Positive about today?


The Huntress: A Review

August 23, 2019

Historical fiction with a generous serving of mystery, intrigue, suspense, and romance!

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

The Huntress Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction (post WW11), mystery, suspense, thriller, romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


An ex WW11 war correspondent, a former American soldier, and an extraordinary Russian woman pilot team up to hunt down a Nazi war criminal known as The Huntress. The duel timeline fills in the past and follows the present-day intrigue. The two timelines merge in a thrilling and suspenseful conclusion.

Early Amazon Rating (August): 4.5 Stars

My Thoughts:


TTT: My Favorite Literary Tropes

August 20, 2019


***Book titles are Amazon affiliate links

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Literary Tropes.

My Favorite Literary Tropes

Do you have favorite tropes?

Part of successfully choosing your next read is knowing what tropes (themes or plot devices) you enjoy and which you don’t! I will almost always be happy with my reading experience when I choose to read a book with one of the following tropes (listed in no particular order). 

The Gruff Older Character Whose Life is Changed by a Precocious, Precious, or Extraordinary Child

Examples: The One-In-A-Million Boy, News of the World, A Man Called Ove

The Importance of Family, Complicated Family Drama

Examples: A Place For Us, We Were the Lucky Ones, Little Fires Everywhere, Ask Again Yes, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

Found Family

Examples: Louisiana’s Way Home, News of the World, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words


Examples: Ask Again Yes, A Place For Us, Invention of Wings


Examples: From Sand and Ash, Paper Hearts, A Fall of Marigolds, Unbroken



The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Review

August 16, 2019

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction, Book About Books, Racism, Prejudice, Poverty

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


In the 1930s, nineteen-year-old Cussy Carter and her father live in the isolated woods of Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. They are the last of the “blue people” of Kentucky and endure racism and prejudice because of the blue hue of their skin. They are considered “colored.” Dad risks his life and health working long hours in the coal mines and Cussy takes a government job with the historical Pack Horse Library Project. As a “librarian,” she travels across treacherous mountains and dangerous creeks on her mule, Junia, to deliver books and other reading materials to the mountain folk who have few resources. She does what she can to meet their most dire needs. Incidentally, she doesn’t cuss! (She’s named after a town in France.)

Early Amazon Rating (August): 4.7 Stars

My Thoughts:


Book Characters That I’d Like as Best Friends

August 13, 2019



***Book titles are Amazon affiliate links

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Book Characters That I’d Like For Best Friends.

Book Characters That I’d Like For Best Friends

Oh my! This is a difficult topic! I admire so many characters!

Many characters I love are from the histfic genre, and I can’t imagine sharing their difficult lives. Also, some of the characters I’d like to be friends with are younger than I am……but maybe that’s OK because we are pretending, and I guess I can become their age if I’m their imaginary friend! So I won’t worry about those pesky details!

Here’s the list I created (tomorrow could be a different list)…..I don’t want to hurt any favorite character’s feelings by leaving them off this list…..just know that there are a hundred more! (listed in no particular order)

Inspector Gamache, Reine Marie, Myrna, Clara

I’d love to be friends with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his wife, Reine Marie (…..and Myrna the bookstore owner and Clara the artist)….. but prickly Ruth the poet kind of intimidates me!). I’d love to visit the Safe Haven of Three Pines and sit by the roaring fire in the Bistro for pastry and hot chocolate, or visit one of their homes for a comfort-food dinner and enjoy their cozy friendship.

A Better Man (Installment #15 in the Chief Inspector Gamache/Three Pines Series) by Louise Penny (counting the days until the 8/27 release!)
Genre: character-driven mystery
(My Kingdom of the Blind ReviewThe Series and Glass Houses Review)

A Better Man


I’d love to be friends with the industrious, loyal, patriotic Eliza Hamilton (wife of Alexander Hamilton). Although she had eleven children and partnered closely with her husband in writing and drafting documents and probably wouldn’t have time to chit-chat, I still think it would be inspirational to have known her.

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
Genre: Historical Fiction, U.S. History and the Founding
(My Review)

my dear hamilton


I would love to have had the opportunity to befriend Cussy Mary Carter who endured racism because of a rare medical condition that caused her skin to appear blue and suffered more than her share of hardships due to poverty and isolation. Cussy is courageous, committed to literacy, always chooses kindness, and cares deeply for others (especially children). It would be a privilege to call her “friend.” (no worries, she doesn’t cuss!)

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Genre: Historical Fiction, Racism, Prejudice, Book About Books
(Review coming this Friday)

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek


I would be honored to be best friends with Precious Ramotswe. She’s a gentle spirit, gracious in her hospitality, wise, thoughtful, and kind. I could learn to drink tea!

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith
Genre: Fiction, Gentle Mystery (Africa)
(a review of The House of Unexpected Sisters)

No 1 Ladies Detective Agency


I can always be friends with a competent, caring, compassionate, creative teacher! I would love to be Maggie‘s teaching partner and her best friend! We would share middle grade lit recommendations and create engaging lesson plans!

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
(my review here)

The Secret of Clouds



Searching For Sylvie Lee: A Review

August 9, 2019

Searching For Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

searching for sylvie lee review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Asian-American Fiction, Family Life, Mystery, Sisters

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


What happened to the eldest daughter, Sylvie Lee?

That is the mystery that drives the plot of this complicated family drama.

A Chinese immigrant family, the Lees were too poor to keep their firstborn, Sylvie, and the parents sent her to the Netherlands where she was raised by her grandmother until she was nine. When Sylvie rejoined the Lee family in New York City, Amy was four years old. Sylvie helped raise Amy while their parents worked long hours to support their family.

Sylvie marries and during a recent solo trip she takes to the Netherlands to visit her dying grandmother, she disappears. Amy adores her beautiful and confident older sister and feels obligated to do everything in her power to find her. Filled with determination, she bravely sets out on her own journey to the Netherlands. While there, she discovers the truth about her family and their secrets.

Amazon Rating (August): 4.2 Stars

My Thoughts: