Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Favs

Happy New Year’s Eve! 

My final stats for the year: 145 read. A little less than last year, but that’s okay. The video above are my favorite books for the year. They’re in no particular order. They’re books I thought about long after reading them. 
Here’s the complete list: 

The Thursday Murder Club
The Man Who Died Twice
Billy Sommers
Razorblade Tears
Malibu Rising
The Guncle
Project Hail Mary
Hard Cash Valley
Heaven’s a Lie
We Begin at the Bed
The Rose Code
The Four Winds
Concrete Rose
Stuntboy, in the Meantime 

I hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year’s celebration! 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Seasonal Work


Author: Laura Lippman

Publisher: William Morrow 

Year: 2022

๐Ÿ“– ๐๐จ๐จ๐ค ๐‘๐ž๐ฏ๐ข๐ž๐ฐ ๐Ÿ“–

Author Laura Lippman serves up a collection of short stories in Seasonal Work. The book’s title comes from the first story in the collection. A man runs a con in a different city every Christmas using his kids and a down on their luck story to solicit presents, money, and gift cards from kind hearted people. PI Tess Monaghan, the main character in 12 of Lippman’s novels, uncovers the con but can’t do anything about it. The man’s 14 year old stepdaughter explains to Tess that he is all they have and when she’s old enough to take care of her younger siblings, she’ll also take care of him. 

Tess also shows up in another story when she volunteers to find out who’s stealing books from a local indie bookstore. Lippman also gives Tess’s mom a starring role in one of the stories. Judith Monaghan is adjusting to life as a newlywed in Baltimore in the 1970s. She’s a little bored being home alone while her husband is at work all day. Judith entertains herself with long walks around the neighborhood observing the coming and goings of all her neighbors. Judith knows there’s something off about a crass husband and his vague wife, but she can’t quite put her finger on what’s different about them. When the husband dies suddenly, Judith knows her suspicions were correct. 

The other stories in the anthology run the gambit from a fantastical story about a girl who drowned in a pond, to a mother put out when her grown son moves back home, to a young newspaper reporter who has a close brush with death. The last story in the collection is set during last year’s pandemic lockdown. A bored wife suggests to her husband they test out how well a dating app works by creating personas to see if the app would match them. It’s a cautionary tale of be careful what you wish for. 

These are quick hits of crime fiction and Lippman is a master storyteller. Lippman’s skillful plotting and pacing gives each story a twist you may or may not see coming. Once again, Lippman proves she’s one of the best in the business. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow Books for the digital ARC. Seasonal Work publishes on January 4th.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

2022 Hopefuls

 ๐‘ฏ๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’š ๐‘ป๐’–๐’†๐’”๐’…๐’‚๐’š!

Here’s my book pile to start off the new year. Not sure what order I’ll read them in, but these should be my main focus over then next month or two. Thank you to Kensington Publishing for the gifted copy of Ink and Shadows by Ellery Adams. I have books on my kindle and audiobooks on my phone that will be mixed in with this pile too. 

We got home yesterday afternoon after spending Christmas at our daughter’s house. I have to go grocery shopping today. Give me some dinner inspiration! 

QOTD: what are you having for dinner this week? 

I need inspiration and ideas! 

#tbrpile #bookstagram #readinghopefuls #justread #booksbooksbooks #alwaysreading #booksnerd #bookwormproblems #bibliophile #bibliophilelife 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Merry and Bright


๐‡๐š๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ฒ ๐‚๐ก๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ฆ๐š๐ฌ ๐„๐ฏ๐ž ๐„๐ฏ๐ž! ๐€๐ฅ๐ฌ๐จ ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ๐ง ๐š๐ฌ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐š๐ง๐ง๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ!

Today is our 33rd wedding anniversary. We’ve been married so long we don’t give each other gifts anymore. But the other day a box was delivered to the house. My husband said he bought a new reading lamp for our bedroom and told me to open the box to see if I liked it. This book was in the box with the lamp. I asked him why he bought Little Steven’s autobiography. Hubby said “Oh. I didn’t think it would be delivered in the same box with the lamp. The book is for you. Happy anniversary, Merry Christmas, and happy birthday.” He knows I’m a huge Springsteen fan and figured I’d want to read what The Boss’s bff had to say. He’s a keeper! 

Taking a few days off for the holiday! Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating! I hope Santa leaves lots of books under the tree for you! ๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿป๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ“š

QOTD: what was your hidden gem book this year? In other words, what book did you love that wasn’t a bookstagram darling and seemed to fly under the radar? 

My hidden gem was Heaven’s a Lie by Wallace Stroby. A young woman finds a satchel full of cash and must deal with the deadly consequences. A great action thriller! 

#merrychristmas #bookstagram #anniversary #marriedalongtime #autobiography #memior #bookworm #booknerd #alwaysreading #bibliophile #bibliophilelife 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Stuntboy, in the Meantime


Author: Jason Reynolds 

Narrator: Guy Lockard and others

Publisher: Simon Audio

Year: 2021

๐—” ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ผ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป! ๐Ÿฆธ๐Ÿฟ‍♂️

Thank you for the #giftedbook. 

Stuntboy, in the Meantime is truly a gift for kids.  It’s funny. It’s full of imagination. It’s full of heart. It’s full of friendship. And it’s full of love.

Portico Reeves is the best superhero you’ve never heard of. Stuntboy is Portico’s superhero alter ego and his mission is to keep other superheroes safe- like his mom and dad, his best friend, and the people who live in his apartment building. But even superheroes have secrets sometimes. Portico’s secret is his anxiety or the “frets” as he calls it. His parents keep fighting all the time. Can Stuntboy tame his frets and save his mom and dad? 

This audiobook was a joy to listen to! Author @jasonreynolds83 really tapped into his inner middle school boy for this one. The book is filled with kid humor, silliness, and imagination. It’s also filled with the that peculiar kid logic and wonder as Portico tries to make sense of the world around him and his changing family situation. Actor @guylockard leads a full cast recording. His energy and enthusiasm is captivating. The narration also has sound effects, music, and and silly commercial breaks. Perfect for keeping kids listening. This is a story that will enthrall and entertain even the most reluctant of middle grade readers. This one deserves all the stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

QOTD: do you add new holiday decorations every year? 

I haven’t bought any new holiday decorations in several years. We’ve traveled the past few years so we didn’t do much decorating. This year I bought a few gnomes and I love these little guys. I think they are really cute and fun. 

#stuntboy #stuntboyinthemeantime #jasonreynolds #simonaudio #audiobook #audiobookstagram #audiobooksofinstagram #superhero #middlegradebooks #middlegradefiction #anxiety #divorce #friendship #audiobookreview #guylockard 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Year of Living Danishly


Author: Helen Russell

Publisher: Icon Books

Year: 2015

This was definitely a bookstagram make me read it book. I saw someone’s review of The Year of Living Danishly here on booksta and thought it looked interesting. 

Journalist Helen Russell moved from London to rural Denmark when her husband landed his dream job at LEGO. Helen was surprised to learn that statistics showed Denmark is the happiest country in the world. The Danes are famous for hygge- the feeling of coziness, comfort, well being, and contentment. Helen gave herself a year to discover what makes the Danes so happy and to see if some of that happiness and contentment could rub off on her. 

Helen looked at the Danish educational system, jobs, food, interior design, hobbies, employment, healthcare, and taxes. Danes pay some of the highest taxes in the world, but the amount of social services they receive is astounding (compared to here in the US). 

There are some huge differences in the Danes attitude toward their jobs compared to the US. Their wages provide a high standard of living no matter what the job is. They don’t put in overtime and leave the office at a reasonable time every day, and they have a generous amount of vacation days. Their family leave and child care policies (for both mothers and fathers) frankly puts the US to shame. 

Of course, Denmark is not perfect. Sexism and misogyny can be found. And Russell points out that Denmark is dealing with racism after a rise in immigration over the past few years. 

Russell’s breezy and often humorous writing style made this a quick read. It’s fascinating to see how people in other countries think and live. Since it’s officially the first day of winter, it’s a good time for me to practice some hygge by lighting some candles, snuggling up in a blanket in front of the fire, and reading a book. I’ll skip the pickled herring though. ๐Ÿ˜€ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

QOTD: how do you practice hygge? 

My answer: tbh it’s been easier since I retired. More time to be with family, to walk with the dogs, to try a new recipe, to just be. 

#theyearoflivingdanishly #helenrussell #iconbooks #hygge #denmark #jutland #nonfiction #nonfictionnovember #bookstagram #bookstagrammademereadit #danishculture #needmorehygge #firstdayofwinter #book

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Book of Accidents


Author: Chuck Wendig 

Narrators: Xe Sands and George Newbern

Publisher: Random House Audio

Year: 2021

There’s a lot going on in The Book of Accidents- a demon, parallel words, works of art that come to life, an emphatic teen with a special power, collapsing universes, weird storms, a haunted coal mine, and lots of creepiness. Whew! I put this one in the horror-lite category. It’s creepy, but it’s not an all out gore-fest. The story focuses on a family who moves back to the family homestead in a rural area outside of Philadelphia. Weird things start happening and the entire universe is at risk. 

Author Chuck Wendig keeps the action moving along and I loved the character of Oliver, the emphatic teen at the center of all the chaos. Narrators Xe Sands and George Newbern kept me riveted and on the edge of my seat. This is a great choice for readers looking for an exciting mix of supernatural and horror (without too much blood and guts). ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

QOTD: I could use a good laugh so let’s do predictive text today. Type:  I hope I find _____ and _____ under my Christmas tree. 

My answer: I hope I find a dog and another dog under my Christmas tree. ๐Ÿ˜€ That sounds about right for me! 

#thebookofaccidents #chuckwendig #randomhouseaudio #xesands #georgenewbern #supernatural #horrorfiction #supernaturalfiction #audiobook #aubiobookstagram #audiobooksofinstagram #alwaysreading #libbyapp #libraryaudiobook #bookworm #audiobooksarebooks 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Currently Reading


Crime Reads and a whole bunch of others put Clark and Division by @gasagasagirl on their best books of the year lists. I was thrilled to get the notice that my library hold was ready this morning. I can’t wait to get lost in this historical fiction thriller. I need the distraction. My father passed away early Friday evening at age 95. He battled Parkinson’s for years and the last five years had particularly difficult. He declined quickly since Thanksgiving and in the end he went peacefully and gently. My sister and I spent yesterday with our mom and then planned the funeral. We are comforted knowing his pain and suffering are over. He was a WWII veteran, educator, and head our area’s PBS television station before retiring. He was always active in his church and community. He was always patient, kind, generous, and a gentleman to all. He adored my mother and was a wonderful father, grandfather, and great grandfather. My sister and I couldn’t have asked for a better dad. We were lucky to have him. ❤️

#currentlyreading #coffeeandcurrentlyreading #thatsnotcoffee #clarkanddivision #parkinsonssucks #librarybook #lovemylibrary #kindle 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Every Last Fear


Author: Alex Finlay

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Year: 2021

Happy Wednesday! 

Matt, a college student, is left reeling after his family dies while they’re vacationing in Mexico. Matt’s older brother Danny is sitting in jail, convicted of a murder he insists he didn’t commit. Are the deaths a tragic accident or are they somehow connected to a recent true crime documentary series about Danny’s case? 

I enjoyed this thriller from author Alex Finley. The story shifts between two timelines. The first is Matt’s timeline in the present as he learns about the deaths of his parents and younger siblings. The other timeline focuses on events leading to the family’s trip to Mexico. I liked this nonlinear timeline shift. I think it worked well here because it added a little extra sense of tragedy and it was easy to follow. The pacing is fast and there’s plenty of twists and turns to keep the story entertaining. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

QOTD: do you watch true crime documentaries? What’s your favorite one? 

I know true crime series are really popular but I don’t watch them. I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten into any. 

#everylastfear #alexfinlay #minotaurbooks #thriller #suspensethriller #mysteryfiction #crimefiction #truecrimedocumentary #bookstagram #igreads #bibliophile #bibliophilelife #bookworm #librarybook #lovemylibrary #murderforhire

Monday, December 6, 2021

Book Mail


๐Ÿ“ซ๐˜ฝ๐™ค๐™ค๐™  ๐™ˆ๐™–๐™ž๐™ก ๐Ÿ“ซ

Thank you Kensington Books for this #gifted copy of Ink and Shadows by Ellery Adams.  The main character is a librarian turned bookseller who solves mysteries! Is that my dream job, or what?! I can’t wait to dive into this one! 

Synopsis: Controversy erupts in Miracle Springs, North Carolina, when the owner of the local bookstore tries to play peacekeeper—but winds up playing detective instead…

Known for her window displays, Nora Pennington decides to showcase fictional heroines like Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Madeline Miller’s Circe for Halloween. But a family-values group disapproves of the magical themes and wastes no time launching a modern-day witch hunt. Suddenly, former friends and customers are targeting not only Nora and Miracle Books, but a new shopkeeper, Celeste, who’s been selling CBD oil products.
Nora and her friends in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society are doing their best to put an end to the strife—but then someone puts an end to a life. Declared an accident, the ruling can’t explain the old book page covered with strange symbols and disturbing drawings left under Nora’s doormat. It’s up to Nora and the Secret, Book, and Scone Society to sort out the clues before more bodies turn up and the secrets from Celeste’s past come back to haunt them all…

QOTD: What are you looking forward to this week? 

I’m looking forward to the electrician installing the ceiling lights in the living room today. Also looking forward to new recliners and an end table being delivered tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜„

#bookmail #bookmailmonday #elleryadams #kennsingtonbooks #mystery #mysteryfiction #bookseller #librarian #bookstore #bookstagram #igreads #booksbooksbooks #giftedbook #bookworm #bibliophile #bibliophilelife 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

November Reading Wrap Up ๐Ÿฆƒ


๐ŸŽ„Happy December! ๐ŸŽ„

Seems like November was here and gone in the blink of an eye. In many ways it was a busy month for us and at the same time, it wasn’t very busy at all. I read nine books for the month. It feels like I should have read more and written my reviews in a timely fashion. Guess I spent too much time just scrolling on my phone. ๐Ÿ˜€I really liked 8 of the nine books I read. I didn’t love them, but they were enjoyable and satisfying reads. 

๐Ÿ“–Do No Harm- liked it. Didn’t like the cliched reference to a character looking like a mousy librarian. 

๐Ÿ“–The Left Handed Twin- liked the main character and the plot. Thought the dialogue was a little clunky. Thank you @netgalley for the review copy. 

๐ŸŽงWe Are Not Like Them- liked the main characters and the plot. Still need to post a full review. 

๐Ÿ“–You’ll Be the Death of Me- a satisfying teen thriller. Thank you @netgalley for the review copy. 

๐Ÿ“–Every Last Fear - a solid thriller with lots of twists. Still have to post a full review. 

๐ŸŽงThe Book of Accidents- a creepy story with good main characters 

๐Ÿ“–The Year of Living Danishly- enlightening and humorous nonfiction!

๐Ÿ“–Her Name Is Knight- an action packed thriller. 

๐Ÿ“–The Twilight Wife- this was my book club’s pick for the month. It was just ok for me. 

In other news, our remodeling project slowly goes on. Waiting for the electrician to come over to cut out the spots for the ceiling lights. Waiting for the new flooring to be delivered and installed. We have the living room all painted except for the trim and fireplace. Waiting for my husband to install doorway and some window trim. We need to get moving on the dining room if we want it primed and painted before the floor is installed. We’ll get there eventually! 

My library hold for Our Woman in Moscow is ready so that’s what I’m kicking off December with. What books are you planning to read this month? 

#readingwrapup #november #booksbooksbooks #crimefiction #thrillerfiction #bookstagram #youngadultfiction #audiobooks #horrorfiction #bibliophile #bibliophilelife #readmorebooks #bookworm #booknerd #librarybooks #lovemylibrary 

Under Your Spell

  Author: Laura Wood Narrator: Ellie Heydon Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Year: 2024 ๐ŸŽง๐—”๐˜‚๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜„๐ŸŽง Many thanks...