Monday, November 28, 2022

Swan Dive: the Making of a Rogue Ballerina


Georgina Pazcoguin joined the New York city Ballet when she was just seventeen. In 2013, after dancing ten years in the Corps de Ballet, she was promoted, and became NYCB's first Asian American female soloist. Her candid memoir is a revealing look into the competitive (even cutthroat), demanding, sexist, and sometimes toxic culture that exists at the NYCB. What else comes through is her fierce love of ballet. In her twenty years as a professional ballerina, she's had some exhilarating highs and some devastating lows. She's persevered through it all. And she shares her struggles and her joy with refreshing frankness, honesty, and humor. 

I've always loved reading about anything that has to do with ballet, and this book is a very engaging memoir! It's interesting and eye-opening, and it gave me an even greater appreciation for the years and years of dedication and effort, and all the hard work that these dancers put forth in hopes of becoming a professional ballerina. This book is a 5-star read!

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 25, 2022

Last the best of all the classics...

I've read some really good classics this year, but I think The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is my favorite. It's such a fun adventure! Set in 1792 during the Reign of Terror, the story takes place in England and in France, both places I'd love to visit someday. (Which is why I chose this book for my "Classic set in a place you'd like to visit" for Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge.)

Lady Marguerite Blakeney and her husband, Sir Percy, are at the heart of this novel. She's beautiful, clever, and French. He's handsome, wealthy, and English. But though they had a passionate courtship, "Now they had drifted quite apart, and Sir Percy seemed to have laid aside his love her, as he would an ill-fitting glove. She tried to rouse him by sharpening her ready wit against his dull intellect; endeavored to excite his jealousy, if she could not rouse his love...but all in vain. He remained the same, always passive, drawling, sleepy, always courteous, invariably a gentleman..."

Added to the events of their life together in England, are the daring intrigues of the Scarlet Pimpernel, the mysterious and dashing Englishman who has rescued countless French aristocrats from the guillotine. His brave exploits are the talk of London. But who is he? Lady Blakeney is about to find out. 

I loved this book! It's captivating, amusing, clever, and diverting. And it reads fast. Why couldn't I have read this classic in high school? I'm so glad I read it now. It's the best.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!


I've been trying to be more aware of my blessings this month, and to be more grateful for all that I have. So this year I thought I'd do an A-to-Z gratitude post (though I cheated a bit with the letter X). Here are just a few of the many reasons I have to be grateful for this year:

Alien tape! (because it really works.)
B  Books, bubble baths, booster shots, and blogging buddies
C  Chocolate and crossword puzzles
D  Days off from work!
E  Elephants and electricity. 
Family, friends, and freedom
Game nights every month and garbage trucks
Hawaii (one of my most favorite vacation spots)
the Internet
Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice
Kind comments on all my blog posts from all of you...THANK YOU! 
Music...all kinds. 
Nieces and Nephews
Owls (and other birds)
Peanuts and popcorn (my two favorite snacks)
Quilts and quiet time
Road trips!
Sleeping in.  😴
T  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes & gravy...YUM!
U  Utah's scenic beauty from Arches to Zions National Parks
Wunderbrow long-lasting brow gel
all the eXperiences in life, good and bad, that have helped shape me
Zebra pens and zip-up hoodies (my favorite weekend wear)

Wishing you and your family a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday...

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by

This week's theme: Thankful Freebie. But since I already have a gratitude post planned for Thanksgiving Day, I decided to change it up and go with Books With November in the Title instead:

November by Jorge Galan

Mr. November by Lori Foster

Hunting November by Adriana Mather

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Come November by Katrin van Dam

Butterflies in November by Audur Ava Olafsdottir

The November Girl by Lydia Kang

November of the Heart by LaVyrle Spencer

A Cold November Road by Darla Cain

November's Past by A.E. Howe

Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Hidden One by Linda Castillo

Jonas Bowman was Kate Burkholder's first love back when she was fifteen years old. It's been over twenty years since she's seen him, but when she finds out he's been accused of murdering an Amish bishop, she heads to Pennsylvania to help out. Because she knows Jonas could never murder anyone. 

The Hidden One is the fourteenth Kate Burkholder mystery. She's the Chief of Police in Painter's Mill, Ohio, where most of this series is set. Kate grew up Amish, which helps her navigate between the English and Amish in her community now. In this book, she heads to Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania on her own to look into this murder, putting herself in danger once again. 

I find the Amish setting in these books, with their faith, culture and traditions, fascinating; and I always enjoy Kate's interactions with her family and the other Amish. The flashbacks into Kate's teenage years and her friendship with Jonas was also fun. And I thought the mystery involving the murdered Amish bishop was very compelling. I didn't quite guess the twist at the end, but I did like it. But then, I've liked all of Linda Castillo's books. This is one of my favorite mystery series. 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Quick Book Recommendations...


Eloise and the Grump Next Door by Emma St. Clair iand Jenny Proctor

An island setting. (Love it!) Quirky characters. (Always fun.) Several humorous mishaps. (Lo's a bit accident prone.) Chemistry and spark. (Necessary in a romance.) A predictably happy ending. (Because that's why I read these books.) And a very sweet romance between Eloise and Jake. This one charmed me. (Especially Jake's love letters to Lo.)

The Maid by Nita Prose

This book is as good as everyone says it is. Molly's a very unique and interesting character. Her inability to pick up on or understand everyday social cues made her an easy target; I felt bad that she couldn't always tell when people were lying to her, making fun of her, or using her for their own selfish purposes. Because despite all her awkward peculiarities, I liked her. Which made me like this book even more. 

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 13, 2022

November's Bookish Art...

Berthe Morisot -- Mother and Sister Reading, 1869-70

"There are no faster or firmer friendships than those
formed between people who love the same books."
--Irving Stone 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

The Perfect Predator...

...A scientist's race to save her husband from a deadly superbug. 

From the blurb:  Epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee and her husband, psychologist Tom Patterson, were vacationing in Egypt when Tom came down with a stomach bug. What at first seemed like a case of food poisoning quickly turned critical, and by the time Tom had been transferred via emergency medevac to the world-class medical center at UC San Diego, where both he and Steffanie worked, blood work revealed why modern medicine was failing: Tom was fighting one of the most dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the world.

My thoughts:  This memoir reads like a medical thriller! I got so caught up in Strathdee's and her husband's story I didn't want to put this book down. It's scary to think that something as small as a bacteria can be so deadly. Did you know that more than 150,000 people die of a superbug infection in the United States each year? And apparently there are at least a dozen different strains of bacteria that have now evolved into these kinds of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. I learned a lot reading this book. And I found Strathdee's quest to find a treatment for her husband completely compelling. She writes so well; even the way she describes the science of it all is readable and easy to understand. This is a fascinating book. I loved it enough to give it 5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday...

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme is about series you'd like to start, catch up on, or finish. I tweaked it just a little bit. Here's my list of Favorite Series I'm Currently Reading and Enjoying: 

The K-9 Mysteries:

Alex Kava's Ryder Creed Series

Margaret Mizushima's Timber Creek K-9 Series

Paula Munier's Mercy & Elvis Series

My favorite Urban Fantasy Series:

(Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson Series)

The thriller/action series I love:

Gregg Hurwitz's Orphan X series.

Nicholas Petrie's Peter Ash Series

Paul Doiron's Mike Bowditch Series

The female sheriff/detective series I'm really enjoying:

Linda Castillo's Kate Burkholder Series

Melinda Leigh's Bree Taggert Series

Lisa Regan's Josie Quinn Series

And the Historical Fiction/Mysteries I still read and love:

Anna Lee Huber's Lady Darby Series

Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mysteries

C.S. Harris's Sebastian St. Cyr Series

And I know I'm over ten series with this post, but I have to say, it was hard winnowing it down to these thirteen. Because apparently I read a lot of series. I didn't even mention Ragnar Jonasson, or Sara Driscoll, or Nalini Singh, or Annabel Chase, or Fred Vargas, or John Connolly, or Kristen Painter, or any of the other romance series I love, etc. Because there are a lot of really good series out there. Which makes it impossible to choose just ten. What are your favorite series?

Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 5, 2022


Kindle Vella Update: My sister and I just posted our eleventh episode of Ghosts of Grayhaven; we have just ten more episodes to go and will be posting two episodes a week until we're done. We've been having so much fun creating and writing this ghost story about Zeb, Mariah and Moose.   THANK YOU so much to all those blogging friends who have read, followed, and given likes to our story. I appreciate your support so much! You guys are the best. And if anyone else wants to check it out, the first three episodes are totally free to read. Just click on the story title link above. (And if you want to read more episodes, Kindle Vella gives you your first 200 tokens for free; and you can buy 200 more tokens for just $1.99. Each of our episodes cost between 10-15 tokens.) 

Reading Challenge update: I only have one more classic to read this year and I will have finished all twelve categories in Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge. I'm hoping to read my last classic, The Scarlet Pimpernel, this month. I picked up a used copy of it for 25 cents at a library book sale last year. It'll fill the Classic Set in a Place You'd Like to Visit category...because Paris! 

Nonfiction November:  I always try to read a few nonfiction books every November. Here are the ones I'm planning on reading this month:
  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War by Tony Horwitz
  • The Fighting Bunch by Chris DeRose (a book that Sam @ Book Chase recommended last year)
  • Days of Rage by Bryan Burrough
  • The Perfect Predator: A Scientist's Race to Save Her Husband From a Deadly Superbug by Steffanie Strathdee
  • Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina by Georgina Pazcoguin
Will I manage to finish them all? Probably not. But I'm going to try. Of course, I also checked out a bunch of fiction titles from the library yesterday, too, because I'm the girl who always checks out too many books every month. So, here are the top five fiction books I'm planning on reading this month too: 
The Maid by Nita Prose
The Hidden One by Linda Castillo
Still Life by Louise Penny
The Dragon's Promise by Elizabeth Lim
A Little Wilder by Serena Bell

Practicing gratitude:  And throughout this month, I'm going to try a little harder to remember these two quotes by William A Ward, and be more consciously thankful for all the blessings I have been given in my life. 


Happy November Reading!

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Just for laughs...

 You know how much I love John Atkinson's cartoons; here are two more of my favorite ones. Enjoy!

Happy Reading!