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Monday, October 18, 2021

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

 This Saturday, October 23, 2021, is the next installment of Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon. I am looking forward to participating. My kids are going to join in with me in the afternoon. We have done this several times and it is always a really nice time. We read our separate books together then share what we are reading. We also take turns reading aloud from a family read. It is a wonderful bonding experience filled with laughter, communication and a shared love of reading and books. Of course, yummy snacks and drinks are always a hit, too.

I will also participate in some of the online and book and readathon community fun. Thankfully this Saturday is actually supposed to be cool and Fall-like here. I am so ready to curl up with a hot chocolate and read a good book with my kids.

How about you? Do you enjoy reading in cool weather? Will you be participating in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon?


Thursday, September 30, 2021

Book Review: The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery

 The Christmas Wedding Guest is the first in a new series by Susan Mallery called Wishing Tree. Wishing Tree is the name of the small town that is very Christmas-centric with street names that either relate to Christmas or types of trees. Reggie and Dena Somerville are sisters living their lives on their own terms and both are single. Dena lives in Wishing Tree while Reggie lives in Seattle. She goes home for the holidays to help her mom and dad plan a vow renewal Christmas wedding. 

Over the course of a few weeks - over the Thanksgiving and Christmas season - both Reggie and Dena find true love. This is a very Hallmark Movie type of a book. Dena meets Micah - a heartbroken musician trying to find his way back from tragedy and write a song again. Reggie reconnects with Toby, her high school sweetheart. He is now an entrepreneur and a single dad.

I liked this book. I especially liked the Christmas elements. I do wish there was more to the two relationships, though. I look forward to checking in on all the couples in future Wishing Tree books. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

National Novel Writing Month

 

    Once again I am going to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November. This is a month long endeavor to write a 50,000 word first draft of a novel! I know, it sounds a bit crazy and it is! However, it is also very doable with some advanced preparation, determination, writing daily and community. The NaNoWriMo community is wonderful. Of course, right now that community is completely virtual but it is still there! If you have ever thought about writing a novel then I highly encourage you to look into knocking out the first draft this November with other like-minded writers. It is a lot of fun!

Friday, August 27, 2021

Bookmarks

 I have always liked bookmarks but recently I have become a little bit obsessed with them. LOL! If there is a free bookmark in a bookstore I definitely pick it up. I also get one for each of my daughters. In fact, one of my daughters and I even started making our own. It has become a very fun activity to do together. We have more than enough bookmarks though so we have started sharing them with friends and family. Do you have a fun little thing like this that you have wound up sharing with others?

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Reading Rut

 I am currently in a reading rut. I don't like when this happens but it does - at least once per year. I keep picking up books I think I am going to love but I haven't been able to get into anything. Usually when this happens to me I can get out the rut by reading a favorite book or picking up something I haven't read by an author I love. Sometimes I get out of the reading rut by choosing a book from a favorite genre. 

I think what I am going to do in order to hopefully get out of this reading rut is choose one of the In Death books by J.D. Robb. This is my favorite series of books. I adore the characters - especially Eve and Roarke. I also love the police procedural and investigation aspects of the series. I also love the faster pacing of the stories in this series.

What do you do in order to get out of the inevitable reading rut?

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Book review: Malibu Rising by Tylor Jenkins Reid

 

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a roller-coaster-ride of a book! I liked it so much! This is the first book I have read by this author but it won't be the last!

Malibu Rising tells the story of the Riva family. The story opens in 1983 on the day of the epic summer's-end party that the Riva siblings throw each year. We meet Nina, Jay, Hud and Kit on the morning of the party. We quickly learn that while the four siblings stick and are always there for one another - they also have dysfunctions like all families do. They are, after all, the children of the ultra-famous singer Mick Riva.

There is a bit of a dual-timeline going on for quite a bit of the book as we go back to 1956 when Mick and June (the Riva siblings mom) first meet. the story is told going back and forth in time until we are once again on the day of the party in 1983 A LOT of things come to a head in the midst of this ridiculously hedonistic party! This book is crazy and not my usual sort of read. However, I am glad I read it and give it a solid four stars.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Book review: Legacy by Nora Roberts

 

This is a great book that I give 4.5 stars. It is very modern but with a lot of Nora Roberts' classic elements: family, small town living and pets as characters. I really enjoyed this book! Adrian is a very strong character from page one. She has a somewhat difficult relationship with her mom and a trauma in the very beginning that aids in her strength, I believe. Adrian is a very strong woman who is driven and surrounds herself with family - both biological and friends who become family.

Raylan is also a great and strong character. He deals with the unexpected and tragic twists in his life in a very believable way. You will need some Kleenex at the ready while reading this book. I have no shame in admitting this book made me cry several times!

There is some romance in this story but it is not the main gist of the book.

My reasons for giving this book 4.5 stars instead of 5 are admittedly nitpicky on my part. They really aren't a deterrent. This is a well-paced, well-written story that I feel very happy to recommend.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Review: The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

This book is amazing! It is the best book I have read in a long time! The book tells the story of Odile - in Paris during World War II and in small town Montana in the 1980's - and Lily, who is Odile's neighbor in Montana. The book moves seamlessly between war-torn Paris and the same old, same old of Froid, Montana. 

In Paris (from 1939 until the end of the war) Odile works at the American Library in Paris. She LOVES books and knows the Dewey Decimal system by heart. She has a twin brother named Remy who is very politically inclined and disenchanted with the path their father wants him to take in life. In Froid (in the 1980's) Odile is alone but befriends Lily and has a second chance at life.. Through the book the two parts of Odile's life are told in a way that is so smartly done. 

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslian Charles is heart-warming, heart-wrenching at times, a story about family, true friendships (through good times and bad!) and an absolute love story to books! I loved this SO MUCH! All through the book there are quotes and lines that are so good and heartfelt and so true! Yes, they are quotes but in my opinion they are also TRUE! For example, "Libraries are lungs. Books the fresh air breathed in to keep the heart beating, to keep the brain imagining, to keep hope alive."

If you like books that tell stories of World War II, have dual timelines, are well-written and show an obvious love for books and the people stories touch - then read The Paris Library. I have a feeling you'll be happy you did.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Review: The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery

 

I wanted to like this book and usually I do like Susan Mallery's stories. It isn't even that I disliked it but the story just didn't hold strong for me. I felt for Daisy in the beginning - her husband left her via a text message (jerk!) and her daughter is sick. Daisy is just trying to keep everything together but it's falling apart. Then her stepsister Sage, and half-sister Cassidy come back into her life. There was just a lot of turmoil and immaturity going on in this book. Maybe it was just the wrong time for me to read this book but I found it more frustrating than enjoyable. I give the book two stars because I do like Mallery's writing style but this was not the book for me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Reading slowly

 I wouldn't say that I am in a reading rut but it is most definitely taking me longer to get through books lately. I think that is in part to life being so off-kilter for the past 14 months. Hopefully, now that things are getting better our reading lives can improve again, as well. This is not to say that I haven't been reading at all because I have. It is just a matter of my own attention span being eschew. Has anyone else experiences this over the past year? 

I am reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling with my kids. Even that, a book we all love, is taking longer than normal. Of course, it is the end of the school year and this is ALWAYS a BUSY and somewhat chaotic time of year. Hopefully with the slower pace of summer coming up we will all be reading more as we enjoy more time outside in the sunshine - either on the trails, at the pool or at the beach. I LOVE pool side reading with a cold drink! Anyone else? 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Audio Books

 I want to talk a little bit about audio books. I am SUPER late getting into this trend. In my defense, I have tried multiple times to get into audio books but they have just never stuck for me - until now. I have been driving around a lot again. My kids and I are reading through the Harry Potter series together this year. We are finishing up Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at this time. A couple of weeks ago we were all bummed to stop reading to leave to be somewhere. I thought of getting the audio book and I am SO GLAD I did. We are now combining reading the book together with listening to the book in the car. Jim Dale reads the audio books and I swear it is an entirely new experience listening to him read the books.

On one such afternoon I dropped my kids off and realized I couldn't keep listening to Harry Potter without them and I was bummed. So I looked for an audio book for myself. I happened upon Naked in Death by J.D. Robb. the In Death series is my favorite series! In case you haven't read any of them they are books about New York City Police Detective Eve Dallas and her Billionaire husband Roarke. Each book in the series revolves around a homicide case. Anyway, as I said, I LOVE this series of books so I decided to listen to them and checked out the first audio book! I am so glad I did this, as well. Listening to the books is so different than reading them! I did find I flew through the book though because when I was done listening in the car I would want to read in the house! This is proving true for both the In Death and the Harry Potter series of books. 

While I am late to audio books I see myself (and possibly my kids) being a convert to them now. Do you enjoy audio books?

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon

 I am so happy that I can actually participate in the upcoming Dewey's 24-Hour readathon. the event is taking place on April 24, 2021. For the first time in quite a while I am actually free for the majority of the day! I am so looking forward to reading a lot! I do have a couple of things to do that day but will be able to read for most of the event! My day will be spent reading great books for myself and with my kids. I love that they enjoy participating in the readathon with me! It will be fun to make our book stacks and plan our snacks and drinks! For us that is part of the fun!

Will you be participating in Dewey's 24-Hour readathon?

Friday, March 19, 2021

Camp NaNoWriMo

 I have come to realize that I work better with a deadline. I have known this in regard to writing the first draft of a book and writing short stories in general. However, I hadn't really thought about a deadline for subsequent drafts of books. Therefore it has taken me much longer than I wanted to revise my novel. 

In April there will be a session of Camp NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is held in November and the goal is to write 50,000 words. In April, for Camp, we can choose our own goals. So I am giving myself the month of April to revise my novel. My hope is that having the deadline and revising my novel a little bit each day will help to finally complete it.

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo?  What was your experience?

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Review: The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery

 


What do you do when you think you have nearly everything in life you ever wanted but then the rug is swept out from beneath you? In the Vineyard at Painted Moon we meet Mackenzie Dienes who has the great job, great friends a great home and marriage or so it appears. The thing is that everything in her life is wrapped up with her husband and when Mackenzie and Rhys decide to divorce she is hurt and grieving but also realizes she may lose everyone and every thing she values in her life.

Mackenzie's story is one of getting to know herself all over again. She slowly picks up the pieces of her life and creates a new and more fulfilling life for herself. There are bumps and surprises, tears and laughter, anger and forgiveness along the way. 

The secondary stories in the book are good as well. I particularly enjoyed Stephanie's story. This book is definitely heavy at times but worth the read.