Books About Books and #TheReadingList [Book Review] #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge

January 21, 2022

Do you love Books About Books?

Favorite Books About Books (white text alongside a tall stack of hardback books on a blue painted wood table)

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Books About Books.”

Do you have a favorite Book About Books?

I fall hard for Books About Books and it’s one of my favorite and most read categories! Following today’s review, find a list of a few of my favorite “Books About Books” titles.


For today’s review, I’m highlighting my most recent “books about books” read:

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

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

Genre/Categories/Settings: Contemporary Fiction, Books About Books, Ode to Books and Libraries, Multi-Generational Friendship, London (suburb)

My Summary:

The Reading List is a memorable debut novel about a list of library books, the magic of reading, and unlikely friendships. A widower, Mukesh longs to connect with Priya his bookworm granddaughter. He ventures into the local library and meets Aleisha, a lonely and sometimes surly teenager who is a volunteer at the library for the summer. Aleisha has discovered a reading list in the back of one of the books she was shelving and decided she would read the books on the list. When Mukesh asks her for a reading recommendation, she remembers the list and recommends the first book on the list. Mukesh and Aleisha strike up an unlikely friendship and connection through discussing the books on the list as they read them (she reads one book ahead of him).

My Thoughts:

Debut: The Reading List is a beautifully written and all around wonderful debut novel. Sara Nisha Adams is definitely on my “new authors to watch” list!

Main Characters: Mukesh and Aleisha are both lonely and start out as nonreaders. Aleisha begins to read books on the “found” list out of curiosity and boredom while Mukesh thinks he “should” read because his late wife was a reader and now his granddaughter is a bookworm. He hopes that reading will help him keep alive the close connection he had with his wife and make new connections with his granddaughter, Pirya. Mukesh and Aleisha form a bookclub of sorts as they look forward to sharing their thoughts about the recent book that Aleisha has recommended for him (from the list). Their conversations are sweet, a friendship forms, and reading becomes a lifeline for both of them.

Other Characters: The story includes other colorful and interesting characters from the library and the community. However, when the author devotes an entire chapter to a random character, I found it to be a distraction that took me out of the story and away from the main characters. Each one is an interesting character and the sections of random characters exhibit the same quality of writing, but I’m not sure of the purpose except to establish the sense of a broader reading community.

The Reading Life: The author captures so much of the magic, satisfaction, and enjoyment of the reading life! Books have the ability to create strong connections between people….even strangers! How many times have you been in a public place and found yourself trying to read the title of the book the person next to you or across from you is reading? Or when you notice a person reading a book you loved, do you feel compelled to start a conversation? Do you ever feel that a book is recommending a person? I.E. if this person is reading that book, they must be a great person! Book people really are the best people, and I think this a universally recognized fact!

Favorite Quote:

“Priya was reading a book he knew all about. He knew the world Priya was in right now. There was something magical in that…in sharing a world you have loved; allowing someone to see it through the same pair of spectacles you saw it through yourself.”

A Mystery: There is a bit of intrigue in the story, also. Where did the list come from? Who created it? For what purpose was it created? Is there a reason that certain books were selected?

Structure: The story is loosely structured around the actual reading list as Mukesh and Aleisha work their way through. Each book is discussed to varying degrees and your reading enjoyment will be enhanced if you’ve read some or all of the books (but it’s not necessary to have read any of them). However, there’s more to this story than a simple reading list. It’s a story of found family, community, grief, connection, and moving forward.

The Books: Mukesh’s reading experience starts with The Time Traveler’s Wife (a book Mukesh found while cleaning after his wife died). He wants to read the book she had last read before he returns it to the library. This in turn leads him to meeting Aleisha and receiving his first recommendation.

(if you’re curious!) The Reading List:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Rebecca
The Life of Pi
The Kite Runner
Pride and Prejudice
Little Women
A Suitable Boy
Beloved

Themes: the joys of reading, connecting with others through books, the book life, friendship, support, loneliness, sibling relationships, mental health, grief, complicated family dynamics, connection, and community.

***contains spoilers***
Content Considerations: mental health, suicide, cancer

Highly Recommended: I’m enthusiastically recommending The Reading List for fans of books about books and the reading life, for those who appreciate an uplifting story (except for hard hitting issues as mentioned above), for readers who may have read any or all of the books on “the list,” and for book clubs.

Your Book List: If YOU were to curate a reading list to leave in random places for other readers or non-readers to find, what books would you put on your list and why? Wouldn’t it be fun to start finding book lists lying around?! Hummmm….perhaps this will be a future blog post!

My Rating: 4 Stars

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

The Reading List Information Here

Meet the Author, Sara Nisha Adams

Author Sara Nisha AdamsSara Nisha Adams is a writer and editor. She lives in London and was born in Hertfordshire to Indian and English parents. Her debut novel The Reading List is partly inspired by her grandfather, who lived in Wembley and immediately found a connection with his granddaughter through books.



A Few of My Favorite Books About Books/Bookshops/Libraries

(the first section are my most favorite and most highly recommended)

The Printed Letter Bookshop
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
How to Find Love in a Bookshop
The Last Bookshop in London
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
The Librarian of Auschwitz
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
The Reading List

* * *
The Last Chance Library
The Paris Library
The Lost and Found Bookshop
The Jane Austen Society
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
The Library of Lost and Found
The Night of Many Endings
Cloud Cuckoo Land
The Personal Librarian
84, Charing Cross Road



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

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



QOTD:

Do you love Books About Books?
Do you have a favorite?
Is The Reading List on your TBR or have you read it?



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

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Most Anticipated Reads Q1 2022 #T5T

January 11, 2022

Top 5 Most Anticipated Reads Q1 2022

a graphic picture of a blond girl holding an open blue book

I’m linking up today with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads for Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Anticipated Reads Q1 2022. ( maybe have a list of 6!)

***This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Top 5 Anticipated Reads Q1 2022

1.

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson

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

I loved The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and it was my most memorable read of 2019 so I’m eager for the sequel!

2.

Passing by Nella Larsen

Passing by Nella Larsen (cover) Black and White Image: a young woman in a coat and hat pulled down to shade her eyes

One of my bookish resolutions in 2022 is to read one classic per quarter. This is my choice for Q1 of 2022. I also want to read it before I watch the Netflix adaptation!

3.

Quiet by Susan Cain and The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore

One of my bookish resolution in 2022 is to read more nonfiction: Quiet has been on my TBR the longest, and I want to make it a priority this year; I came across The Woman They Could Not Silence during Nonfiction November. Both of these titles are high priority on my Nonfiction TBR.

4.

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (cover) Image: grayscale image of a man standing outside a building holding a blue/yellow/red torn flag

Sepetys is an auto buy YA author for me, so I’m eager to read her new release on 2.1.2022.

5.

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn (cover) grayscale cover....a woman in a dark long coat walks into a grove of tall trees (red and black text)

Quinn is another auto buy histfic author, and I’m preordering her new release which publishes on 3.31.2022.



QOTD:

What is your most anticipated read in the first Quarter of 2022?



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

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Bookish Resolutions #T5T

January 4, 2022

Top 5 Bookish Resolutions

a graphic picture of a blond girl holding an open blue book

I’m linking up today with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads for Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Bookish Resolutions.

Top 5 Bookish Resolutions

1.

Keep more accurate and complete records of book recs. I love to thank the blogger or reviewer and give her credit, but I don’t keep the best records or I think I’ll surely remember until I don’t. I’ve improved a bit over the past year, but this area definitely needs improvement.

2.

Read more nonfiction. I’d love my reading to consist of at least 20% nonfiction (which would be about 20 books per year).

3.

I want to do better at writing reviews immediately after finishing the book. I’m fairly good at taking notes, but I need to transfer those notes to a rough draft in WordPress before I lose them! Too frequently I have found notes/book quotes after I’ve already written and published the review! At the very least, I need to designate ONE place to keep notes!

4.

I’d like to read a few more classics. Perhaps one per quarter might be a reasonable goal.

5.

I want to continue:
reading diversely,
reading authors of color,
reading own voices authors,
reading books from other cultures and countries.



white 2022 on a blue background surrounded by white sparklers

QOTD:

Do you have a reading resolution?
Do we share any resolutions?



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

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!
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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!

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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

 

“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



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

Dear Authors, An Update on These Characters Please! #TopTenTuesday

November 23, 2021

Dear Authors, I'd Like a Character Update (Image: white text over a background of hands on a laptop keyboard)

Image Source: Canva

***Titles are Amazon affiliate links or links to my reviews

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: “Ten Characters I’d Love an Update on.”

Dear Authors,
I’d Like an Update on These Characters Please!

Do you appreciate epilogues that fill readers in on the future years after the story concludes? Most of the time, I do! I’m never ready to let go of a beloved character and I enjoy hearing what the author envisions for their futures! Sometimes, the story ends and the author leaves the reader to imagine their futures. Other times, a reader like myself simply wants an entire new book as a followup!


Adunni from The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

I would like an entire followup book please! I saw on Instagram that Abi Daré has already said that she has no plans for a followup. Minds are changeable….amirite!

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (cover)


Ryland and Rocky from Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Admit it! I’m not the only one who wonders about Ryland’s future (no spoilers!)

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


Eleanor from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I love brave Eleanor and we were left with hope, but I want to know if something more develops between Eleanor and Raymund and how she handles the following years (after the big reveal…no spoilers!).

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (cover)


Eleanor and Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

OK. I know you want to know, too. What were those three words? Do Eleanor and Park have a future?


Ada from The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I wish with all my readerly heart that we had a follow up to these two wonderful Middle Grade books and spunky Ada! Maybe a Young Adult followup? Please?!


Juliet and Dawsey from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

I know this is an impossible ask because the author has died. But aren’t you curious to follow the lives of all these eccentric characters?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society y Mary Ann Shaffer (cover) Image: black text on a postcard....a woman dressed in a red coat stands at a railing overlooking the ocean


Tina and Anders from Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

The ending was open ended and a bit unsatisfactory for me as a result. After investing hours in reading this beautiful story, I MUST know…did Tina meet Anders at the museum?!


Rafiq (father) and Amar (son) from A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Oh, the last part of this story between father and son was so emotional, tender, and heartfelt! I must know how this relationship unfolds in the future!

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (cover)


Ha from Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Ha represents many favorite immigrant characters from multiple middle grade reads in that I want to know about their adult lives. Ha’s story ended somewhat abruptly and left me wanting more. The conclusions to these stories are always hopeful, but how do their lives unfold as adults?

Inside Out & Back Again y Thannha Lai (cover) ....a girl holding onto a tree trunk with one hand on a breezy day


Johanna and the Captain from News of the World by Paulette Jiles

I loved the redemptive and poignant ending, and even though the author included a lovely epilogue, I’d love a followup book on how that found family relationship unfolded over the years.

News of the World by Paulette Jiles (cover) Image: a prairie landscape under a big blue cloud filled sky



QOTD!

There are so many more I could add!
How about you? For which character would you most eagerly want an update?
Do you commiserate with any of my desires here?



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

© http://www.ReadingLadies.com

My Newbery Project #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge #NewberyBooks

November 19, 2021

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on Middle Grade reads, particularly books that have won the Newbery Award. In fact, I have a Newbery Page in my blog menu!

My Newbery Project

my-newbery-project

Background Image Source: Canva

What is the Newbery Award?

First awarded in 1922, the Newbery Award also known as the John Newbery Medal is a literary award given by the Association of Library Services for Children (as part of the American Library Association) to one author (per year) for the most distinguished contribution to American children’s literature.

Winners display the medal on the cover as shown on this 2019 winner:

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (cover) ....girl on bike

For each year, in addition to the one Newbery winner there are also Honor winners.

You can find the complete list of Winners and Honors in this link.

When I’m in a reading slump or simply looking for a lighter and quicker read, I often turn to middle grade literature as evidenced in these posts: 10 Reasons Why I love Middle Grade Books. or 10 Awesome and Diverse Reads for Middle Grade or 10 Inspirational Reads For Middle grade. Obviously, the Newbery list is not the only resource for finding fabulous middle-grade reads, but I do check the list to see what I can check off. As a result, I’ve decided to document my progress toward reading Newbery Award winners.

I’ve created a page that you can find in my blog menu or by clicking on this link:

My Page For My Newbery Project Progress Here

How Many Newbery Award Winner (or Honors) Have You Read?

Or do you have other awards you follow?

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

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



Remain Young At Heart and Read Middle Grade!

QOTD:

Do you have a favorite Middle Grade Read? A favorite Newbery Award winner?



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

Is a Balanced Reading Life Important? #NationalBookMonth #LetsDiscuss2021

October 15, 2021

Is a Balanced Reading Life Important?

Is a Balanced Reading Life Important? (white text over a picture of a hand balancing a miniature book on an index finger)

Image Source: Pixabay

October is National Book Month

National Book Month

All through the year there are many occasions to celebrate books and reading!

National Book Month is held each October.
The month-long celebration focuses on the importance of reading, writing and literature.

To celebrate, I’m asking a bookish question… or two….

2021 discussion challenge graphic (a blue bird and red fox and wall clock and stack of books graphic)

I’m linking up with Discussion Challenge 2021.

Let’s Discuss!

  • Do you have a balanced reading life?
  • Do you think a reader needs a balanced reading life?
  • What is a balanced reading life?
  • Is a balanced reading life important?
  • What are the benefits of a balanced reading life?
  • What do you do to balance your reading life?

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

10 Reasons For a Balanced Reading Life:

(more…)

Ten Bookish Pet Peeves #TopTenTuesday #LetsDiscuss2021

October 5, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Bookish Pet Peeves

10 Bookish Pet Peeves

Background Image Source: Canva

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Pet Peeves!

2021 discussion challenge graphic (a blue bird and red fox and wall clock and stack of books graphic)

I’m also linking up with the October 2021 Discussion Challenge.


Yes. I do have bookish pet peeves!
They do affect my reading experiences!

Do you have bookish pet peeves? Do we share any pet peeves?

I realize that these are only my personal preferences and opinions and you may or may not agree. That’s OK. Reading is a personal experience.

*Reviews are linked as available (and may contain Amazon affiliate links).

Bookish Pet Peeves

(in the general order of their annoyance factor)

(more…)

Do Hype, Book Buzz, and High Expectations Affect Your Reading Experience? #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge #LetsDiscuss2021

September 17, 2021

 Do Hype, Book Buzz, and High Expectations Affect Your Reading Experience?

Do Hype, Book Buzz, and High Expectations Affect Your Reading Experience? (white text over a background picture of a tall stack hardback books on a blue painted table"

Background Image Source: Canva

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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

…and with the 2021 Discussion Challenge.

2021 discussion challenge graphic (a blue bird and red fox and wall clock and stack of books graphic)


My answer to this question is absolutely YES!

If you love reading, you’re likely to approach your next read with certain expectations. Or perhaps you try to minimize your expectations and go in “cold.” Some readers don’t like to read reviews or blurbs before they read. This post is written with the assumption that you might have some expectations about your current or next read.

I have learned through experience to approach highly buzzed and popular books with caution because high expectations have definitely affected my reading experience. Do you find this true in your reading life? Two recent books that did meet my high expectations were the audio version of Project Hail Mary (The audio was absolutely as good as I expected) and Hamnet.

Currently, I have the highest expectations for Fredrik Backman’s new release (Beartown #3) in 2022.

Sometimes publishers hype a book through social media campaigns and blog tours and the hype doesn’t develop organically from reviewers. At times I’ve read hyped books and thought “Really?” Then later, more authentic and honest reviews start rolling in and the hype is not sustainable.

I need to confess that I have a high level of FOMO (fear of missing out), so I am highly susceptible to buzzed and hyped and popular books. This doesn’t always serve me well. For example, I SHOULD have a review ready for you on the blog today! Truthfully, I need to report that I have been underwhelmed with a few highly anticipated books lately which has negatively affected my scheduled reviews and my reading mojo. This situation has caused me to think about the predicament of high expectations, so I’m opening it up for discussion today.

An author’s blurb (cover endorsement) can cause you to have high expectations for a book. That happened to me last year. I accepted an ARC for a book that was endorsed by one of my favorite authors and I ended up disliking it. So… proceed with caution (curb impulse buying!) when it comes to cover blurbs and check some reviews!

I realize that I may be guilty of raising your expectations for certain books I love and then they fall flat for you. If this has been your experience, I’m truly sorry. It simply shows that no two readers read the same book and that the reading experience is a personal one.

Do HYPE and book BUZZ and HIGH EXPECTATIONS affect YOUR reading experience or reading choices?

Do high expectations (book buzz and hype) work for you or against you in your reading life?

How many times have you turned the last page and thought “I wanted to love it more”?

There are a few courses of action a reader can take when your highly anticipated book disappoints you:

  1. throw that book across the room
  2. take the author off your auto buy list
  3. delete it from your Goodreads shelf and pretend you’ve never read it or wanted to read it
  4. write a negative review
  5. accept it as a lesson learned (once burned…) and vet the next book very carefully
  6. Give the author another chance
  7. no drama needed….not every book is for every reader….move on
  8. donate/give the book away
  9. set it aside to pick up again at a later date (maybe it wasn’t the right time)
  10. spiral into a reading slump
  11. stop buying or borrowing or requesting hyped books
  12. only read from a back list and avoid popular books
  13. throw it in the trash
  14. what have you done with a book you didn’t like?????

My history with disappointing reads: I read on a kindle so throwing it across the room is not a wise option….although I have been known to return digital books to Amazon! I don’t think I would discount a favorite author, but I’m certainly going to read many reviews and refrain from a publishing day purchase. I would probably throw away a book I disliked before I would donate it. If I felt it was just me and others might appreciate it, I would donate it. I rarely set a book aside to read at a later date. I know my reading tastes well and they are not likely to change that much over time. I have been known to delete books from my Goodreads shelf and pretend I haven’t read them. Most of the time, though, I just move them to my DNF shelf. Honestly, I don’t enjoy writing negative reviews and have written very few (usually I leave a one or two star rating and keep my opinions to myself).  Actually, most of the time my reaction is “it was not for me but it might be perfect for another reader” and move on. Life is too short to read bad books or books that don’t match my reading tastes. These days, I’m quick to abandon a book without much guilt. I think I’ve become pickier over the years and embrace the quote from Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; “Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”

A highly anticipated book that didn’t work out: One book which I set the highest expectations for was Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak, author of The Book Thief. Readers have waited thirteen years for a new book by this author and the anticipation was at a high level. Although others have loved it, I was underwhelmed and disappointed (mainly because it didn’t match my reading tastes). Although I don’t write many negative reviews, you can read my goodreads review here. I will certainly take a close look at his next book before jumping in.

A highly anticipated book that did work out after an initial scare: A recent book that made me nervous in the beginning was Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. It started out slow and I panicked and thought “Oh no! What if this isn’t a great reading experience for me?!” Then I remembered the author and decided to relax into the read and trust him; to acknowledge that he can take his time to build a story (Beartown); and to know that his message/themes are worth an investment of time. It ended up being a 4.5-5 Star read for me and you can see my review of Anxious People here.

If You’re Curious: Here’s a list of a few recent buzzed and hyped books that I highly anticipated and that underwhelmed me (for a variety of reasons). These are NOT bad books (others have loved them); they are just not to my taste. Brood, Braiding Sweet Grass, The Madness of Crowds, The Road Trip, Olympus Texas, Crying in H Mart. (of these, I abandoned Braiding Sweet Grass and Road Trip…I finished the others but they received 3 stars) The lesson here is that exploring and knowing your reading tastes will help you avoid disappointments. I knew that Crying in H Mart might not be the right read for me (too sad) but I’ve seen it on soooo many lists and I fell under the FOMO spell.

Move On: I think it’s important to realize that every book won’t match your reading tastes and that’s it’s absolutely OK to set it aside or mark it as DNF. In other words, just move on! I think that the more we read and the more we reflect on our reading experiences our knowledge will help us choose the next right book for an enjoyable reading experience!

Don’t feel bad if you’re an outlier. Often in my reviews, I need to confess that I’m an outlier (in the minority) with my opinions. I’m comfortable with that and I encourage you to also embrace this concept as a possible reaction to a book.

Not every book is for every reader: For every book that I do not enjoy, I read many raving reviews from others. Reading is a personal experience and not every book is for every reader. We each bring unique experiences and thoughts and triggers to the reading experience. Embrace what you enjoy and know that other readers will enjoy the books that are not right for you. I think one of the worst things to do is to force yourself to finish a book that doesn’t match your tastes.

I honestly believe that Hype, Book Buzz, and High Expectations do affect your reading experience. I’m not sure of the best way to avoid that except to read many reviews and to get to know your reading tastes. Often, I read the 2 Star reviews just to see what some major objections might be. If I notice themes or certain triggers, I know it’s a book I might want to skip. Deciding not to read a popular book is difficult, though, isn’t it? For example, I decided not to read a popular new release, The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, because I knew I didn’t want to read something that depressing and sad (she has made me ugly cry before and I didn’t like it). But every time I see it on a list, I feel a twinge of regret and then I have to remind myself of why I made the decision.

If I’ve listed a book here that you’ve loved, I’m sorry. I usually avoid talking about books in a negative way. I think the topic of high expectations is worth exploring and it’s always helpful to provide examples. Your examples would be completely different from mine! Please leave your thoughts in comments.

Do you agree or disagree that high expectations can affect a reading experience?



QOTD:

Do you think your own high expectations has ever affected your reading experiences? Can you give an example?



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



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

© ReadingLadies.com