Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday

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

This week's theme is a FREEBIE.

Sometimes I find it hard to do decide what to do on Freebie weeks. This time I'm going with Random Happy Things That'll Make You Smile...at least, they all made me smile. 


Snoopy's 'Happy Dance':

Favorite TV series that always makes me laugh:

Napili Bay, Maui, Hawaii
(my most favorite place in the world):

Chocolate-y goodness:


Polar bear love:


Wishing you all a little extra happiness today! 

Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise by Colleen Oakley

"In life, there were two kinds of friends: friends who would wish you well on  your journey to battle, and friends who would jump in the trenches with you."

I won a copy of this book on Goodreads and I absolutely loved it! Total opposites, Tanner and Louise are such unique and memorable characters. At 84, Louise has definite views on just about everything. She hates the indignities that come with growing old. And she has a secret past. Tanner, on the other hand, is just 21. She lost her soccer scholarship because of a leg injury, and now she spends her days playing video games so she doesn't have to deal with her rage or grief. She's also Louise's new live-in caretaker. 

Together these two are hilarious. They so don't like each other at the beginning. I loved the wit in Oakley's writing and the banter, the humorous interactions between Tanner and Louise, their different POVs, their snark and sarcasm, and their unexpected friendship. And when they end up on the run together because of Louise's past? Talk about a madcap cross-country adventure. This book is entertaining, amusing, surprising, and heartwarming. A definite 5-star read!

Happy Reading!

Similar read: 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

From the A Shelf...

 Author:  Anderson, Rachael Renee
Title:  Minor Adjustments

There are a lot of authors whose last names begin with A:  Austen, Auel, Atwood, Archer, Adler-Olsen, Adichie, Abbott. It was hard choosing just one book. In the end, I went with this novel by a local Utah author, Rachael Renee Anderson, because I was in the mood for a more light-hearted read....and it's set in Australia.

From the blurb:  "Bachelor Devon Pierce isn't sure what to think when he's appointed guardian of four-year-old Australian Ryan Caldwell--except that he's completely unprepared to be anyone's guardian. Leaving his Chicago business, he heads to Sydney to prove he isn't up for the responsibility. But Ryan's solicitor, Stella Walker, convinces him to give it a try--at least for a few weeks. Little does Devon know this 'minor' adjustment will turn his life upside down and grant him a future he never expected to have."

My thoughts:  This is a sweet and heartwarming story. At just 214 pages, it's not very long, and it reads fast. I really liked Devon, and enjoyed watching his transformation from single guy to loving Dad. The sparks between him and Stella were fun, too. And there's a lot of humor and a happy ending. All in all, this was a good pick from the A shelf, and it wraps up my Reading the Alphabet project....although I now have a list of other A authors I want to read. Like Mona Awad, Tahmina Anan, and Jeff Abbott. But that was kind of the whole point of this alphabet reading project:  to discover new books and new authors from the library shelves. And it definitely worked. Maybe someday I'll start back at Z and do it all over again. 

Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Haiku Reviews...


Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik

Once enemies, Torran's 
hired Tavi to help him track down
a stolen object.

Science Fiction .... 419 pages .... 4.5/5 stars.
(Space opera at its best: humor, action, suspense, great characters & romance!)

All That Fills Us by Autumn Lytle

Mel's lost herself in
her eating disorder. Can
hiking bring healing?

Fiction .... 346 pages .... 3.5/5 stars.
(There's a lot of hope and heart in Mel's cross-country journey.)

Kiss the Girl by Melanie Jacobson

Grace is leaving town soon--
that's why she's only fake-dating Noah.
But his kisses feel real!

Contemporary romance .... 218 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(A fun take on a favorite trope.)

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

The plot:  June Jones once dreamed of attending Cambridge University and becoming a writer. Instead, she ended up staying in the small English village where she grew up, working at the Chalcot Library as an assistant librarian. She's 28 and shy, one of those introverts who would rather get lost in a good book than go out, though several library patrons count her as their friend. When she finds out that the county council might close the library for good, June doesn't know if she has the courage to join in the fight to save it. But in fighting to save the library, she just might save herself.

My thoughts:  This is a novel about the power of books to change lives, as well as a love letter to libraries. It's got humor, and charm, delightful and eccentric characters, unexpected friendships, and even a bit of a romance. I loved how June classified everyone by the books they read, and how she had her own favorite books that she turned to when needing escape or comfort. And I liked how she found her voice and her fighting spirit with a little help from her friends--friends who range from a crossword-loving elderly gentleman to a precocious 8-year-old boy. Everything about this book made me smile, including the predictable twist at the end. It's a truly lovely read.

Happy Reading!

P.S. This book also counts as one of my reads for Susan's Bookish Books Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday...

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

This week's theme: Bookish Goals for 2023.

Here are some of mine:

1. Find a book from the A Shelf and FINALLY finish the Reading the Alphabet challenge I designed for myself an embarrassing eight years ago. 

2. Dust my bookshelves.

3. Weed my bookshelves and donate the books I know I'm never going to read again.

4. Read at least one Agatha Christie mystery and one British Library Crime Classic.

5. Delete titles from my Goodreads Want To Read shelf that I no longer want to read.

6. Participate in Susan's Bookish Books Reading Challenge.

7. Read more Science Fiction.

8. Limit my book buying this year to 10 books or less.

9. Stop using the phrase "fun read" or "fun character" in my book reviews. Surely there's better descriptive words that I can use. 

10. Buy a fun bookish tee or sweatshirt like this one: 

Bonus bookish goal:  Check my blog's spam folder daily in order to rescue all those comments that get lost there...including mine!

Can't wait to check out some of your bookish goals for 2023. 
Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 15, 2023

January's Bookish Art...

August Macke -- Blue Girl Reading

"Book's are time travel. True readers all know this. But books don't just take you back to the time in which they were written; they can take you back to different versions of yourself."
--Peter Swanson, Eight Perfect Murders

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Woman in Shadow by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Plot:  
Darby Graham is a forensic linguist. Or was. Lately she's been struggling with PTSD from a case that cost her almost everything. Now she's been sent to Idaho to stay at the exclusive Mule Shoe Dude Rance for a vacation...and to look into some recent incidents of sabotage that has the owner worried.

Bram White is a Deputy Sheriff investigating a string of fires in town. He hopes Darby will help him analyze the letters left by the serial arsonist. In return, she asks for his help at Mule Shoe when things escalate and people start getting hurt.

My thoughts:
I liked Darby a lot. And I found it fascinating how she could draw so many clues and truths just from listeining to a person's words. And her fight to deal with her PTSD triggers felt very real. I thought Bram was a good guy, if a little shallow at times. His interactions with Darby were sometimes awkward, sometimes cute, sometimes humorous, and always fun. 

The mystery itself has lots of  different threads, from the random problems at the lodge, to the arson, to a missing artist, to murder. The way Parks weaves them all together with both suspense and good writing makes this novel very readable and engaging. And there are two dogs, Holly and Maverick, that Darby rescues at the beginning of the book that I totally loved! I'd give this one 4 stars.  

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday...

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

This week's theme:  Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023.

And I had a list already made. 
Here are ten eleven books coming out in the next six months that I can't wait to read:

Coming out this month:

Releasing in February:

Coming in March:

April's new releases:

Out in May:

And coming in June:

What books are you most looking forward to being released this year? 

Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 7, 2023

A good read won from Goodreads....

An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

Harris has created a fun alternate timeline in this book, where the assassination of FDR and an influenza outbreak back in the 1920s caused the United States to fracture into five distinct countries. It's also where magic meets the Wild West, a very crazy and fun mash-up.

While I definitely appreciated Harris's inventive world building, I absolutely loved her main character! Gunslinging Lizbeth Rose is independent and fierce, and at just nineteen, she's one of the best gunnies in Texoma. She'll risk her life to protect her clients. Even when her clients are grigories, two Russian wizards who need her help to track down a direct descendant of Grigori Rasputin. Lizbeth has her own reasons for not liking wizards, but she needs this job. And before their journey through Texoma to the border towns of Mexico is over, she'll have more than earned her money protecting her clients from ambushes, bandits, magical traps and enemy wizards. 

This is one fun adventure: compelling, gritty and immersive. I didn't want to put it down! I won a copy of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway last year, and the fact that it was such an entertaining read makes me feel even luckier. I can't wait to read the other books in this series. 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Bookish Books Reading Challenge

I think reading challenges are a lot of fun, but I've learned over the years that if I want to stick with it for the entire year and actually finish, my limit is one. So, last month I started trying to figure out which reading challenge I wanted to sign up for this year...if any. 

I love Karen's Back to the Classics Challenge, but having participated in that one for the past two years, I felt like I needed a change. And Stacey @ Unruly Reader has once again come up with an enticing Reading Bingo for 2023--and I do love filling in those squares!--so I was seriously considering committing to that one. 

But then I saw that Susan @ Bloggin' 'bout Books is going to host a Bookish Books Reading Challenge this year and I knew that's the one I want to do. Because I love reading books about books, bookish people, bookstores, authors, etc. And I already have a list of at least twenty bookish books on my TBR list that I want to read this year, so it feels like the perfect fit for me. If it sounds like the right kind of reading challenge for you, I hope you join in, too. 

Here are just some of the books I'm planning (hoping!) to read for this challenge this year:
  • The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson
  • The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick
  • The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by Shauna Robinson
  • The Library by Bella Osborne
  • The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
  • The Librarian of Burned Books by Brianna Labuskes
  • The Bookshop of Secrets by Mollie Rushmeyer
  • The Book Lover by Maryann McFadden 
  • The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green
  • Camino Island by John Grisham
There are many, many more...but we'll see how I do at getting these read first. And if you know of any amazing bookish books I should add to this list, please let me know! 

Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy 2023!

The beginning of a new year always makes me stop and evaluate my life and think about what changes I'd like to make, or what I'd like to accomplish in the future. But rather than setting a specific resolution or goal this year, I decided to choose a word to focus on instead. One word to center my year around. 

There were several words on my shortlist:  Dare. Become. Rise. Change. Seek. 

But the one word that resonated the most with me was this one:  Embrace

So that's going to be my word and focus for 2023. I like that it's a word that can encompass so many other things...
Embrace faith.
Embrace change.
Embrace positivity.
Embrace joy.
Embrace fear.
Embrace hard work.
Embrace gratitude.
Embrace failure.
Embrace life.
Embrace hope. 
Embrace love.
Embrace myself. 

I really like the idea of embracing a different quality each month. Though it's not so much about setting a goal as it is about having a change in perspective and attitude. And I think that's what I need in my life right now. What about you? What goals or intentions are you setting for yourself in 2023? Are you picking a new word for the new year, too? I'd love to know. 

Happy New Year!