It’s That Time of Year Again

Going over what is in my To Be Read pile

I usually start the new year with a pile of books that I can’t wait to read, but 2022 is a little bit different. I’m starting out the year with a pile of books that are to be read – that have been there for quite some time.

At the end of 2021 I hit a reading rut. I had created a decent habit of reading a little bit every night at bedtime. It would calm me and settle me down. And then I stopped. I’d read here and there. I’ve been working on the same book since September, maybe August.

It’s very sad.

I tend to go in reading phases. I’ll knock 60 books out in a year. Or, before 2017 when I started tracking my reading, I’d gone YEARS without picking up a book. I don’t want to get back to that – not reading at all – so a goal of mine for 2022 is to make it a good habit once again.

The books I have in that dusty pile from 2021 are:

Essence by Mandi Lynn

This is the first of Mandi Lynn’s books I’ve read and I truly do love it. I feel bad that my “reading rut” hit while I was in the midst of this one. The book tells the story of Amelia (Emma) who dies and becomes and Essence and her journey of learning that that means.

Mandi is a self published author that I look up to and admire. I found her on YouTube and grabbed this book off her website. I hope I can dig out of this rut so I can finish this and move on to more of her books. Her writing grips you in the moment and her book cover design is epic!

Heartbreak Bay by Rachel Caine

This is the last book in the Stillhouse Lake Series by Rachel Caine. I’ve had this book in this pile since it released in March 2021. The author passed away before this was released, so it’ll be the last book in the series. I hate goodbyes and endings, so knowing there will be no more is going to be a hard pill to swallow. The series follows Gina Royal and her fight to seperate herself and her children from the horrendous acts of her ex-husband and his psychotic followers. It’s a fantastic read and an absolute page turner. Once I’ve read the entire series, It’s one I see myself reading over again to relive the suspense. It’s that good.

Breakthrough by Joyce Smith (also released as The Impossible)

This one is based on a true story and has been made into a movie, which I’ve seen already. I’m a sucker for a good true story. This one is heart wrenching. Joyce Smith tells the story of her son who fell through the ice of a pond and essentially died and was resurrected. It’s a faith based read as well, so if that’s not your thing, skip it, but otherwise, I’m really looking forward to this one. The movie was great but I feel like the book on which the true stories are based have just a little bit more information and meat in them.

Craven Manor by Darcy Coates

I have lists of books everywhere that I want to read, and this one has been on that list for a while. It’s been in this dang to be read pile nearly all of 2021. As I’m typing this, I can’t even remember the premise of the book, but it’s got to do with a rotting, old, probably haunted mansion and that’s right up my alley. Creepy, huge old houses falling apart with some kind of marred history. Yes, Please. I can’t wait for this one!

Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray

This was a Christmas gift so it’s on the top of that 2021 pile. I felt like I’ve read a Sarah Wray novel before, but I can’t find it in all my lists, so I guess not. The author just seems so familiar. I’m not positive what this one is about either since it was a gift, but it sounds great by the tag line. Would I do anything to save my Best Friend? I’d like to think so … or would I?

There they are, the first five books for 2022 (or the 2021 leftovers, however you want to look at it). The thought of reading is starting to feel exciting again so I’m praying these don’t end up on a 2023 list.

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What have you read in Quarantine? See ya, 2020!

These are the books I’ve read Fall through Winter 2020, because … COVID.

As mentioned last month, Covid quarantine has been real in our household and here we are, ready to end 2020.

Here is a quick rundown of the books I’ve read this fall through winter and my two cents on each. Let me know if you’re interested in keeping up with my reading list in 2021.

What My Sister Knew by Nina Laurin. I picked up Nina Laurin’s book Girl Last Seen and fell in love with her style of writing. I went back and forth on whether to read this one or not. The blurb didn’t quite grab my interest. I’m so glad I did, though. It was completely different than what I expected and I absolutely loved it! It’s one I’ll reread in the future. And I don’t reread a ton of books.

A Half Forgotten Song by Katherine Webb. In my last blog, I mentioned three books by Katherin Webb. I’ve just started reading her books this year and I’m in love with them! They remind me of my favorite author, Kate Morton. A Half Forgotten Song took a little bit to grab my interest, but once it did, I couldn’t put it down! It was intriguing and I really enjoy a book that I don’t see the ending coming.

Odd Child Out by Gilly MacMillian. I found this book at Dollar Tree! I couldn’t believe it. I read another book of hers, What She Knew a while back and really enjoyed her way of storytelling. This book was a little less impressive than the prior book I read, but I did enjoy it. It’s not one I’d reread again. Trigger warning – it was a little depressing and pretty sad.

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens. I think I’ve read all of Chevy Stevens’ books. And for me, I either really love them or think they are okay. This one had me feeling it was just okay. I did enjoy the storyline, however the main character didn’t sit well with me. If I can’t connect with the main character, I tend to not connect with the entire story / book.

Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield. Years ago I was gifted and read Diane’s book The Thirteenth Tale and was obssessed with it! It was simply amazing and I recommend it to everyone. When I grabbed this book, I was so excited. I honestly didn’t like this book at all. I couldn’t get into the story or connect with the plot or the characters. It made me sad, that I didn’t love it. The Thirteenth Tale was a much superior book, in my opinion.

Conversion by Katherine Howe. I absolutley love Katherine Howe. Her book The Physick Book of Deliverance Day is one my favorite books ever. I’ve read a few of her books and I picked this one up to kind of complete her catalog. I read Conversion quite a while ago and I still think about it. The story was something new to me and it keeps you thinking for a while after. It’s interesting because I’m not quite sure if I liked it, but I keep coming back to thinking about it.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. Kate Morton is one of my absolute favorite author and I’ve now read every book she has released. I’ve had this one on my shelf for almost two years as the last one to be read. I hate when I get to this point where I’ve read everything from an author and have to wait for the next release. It makes me sad. But, of course, I loved this book. I’ve yet to reread any of Kate Morton’s books, but I will. They feel like home to me and I absolutely recommend them to anyone!

The Harry Potter series. You don’t really need a whole lot of information here. I bought all the books in the series a while ago and they sat on my shelf. I’ve seen the movies more times than I can count. I finally picked up the first book and started reading. Currently I’m on book 5. They take a minute to read, and the first books seemed to track the movies pretty closely. I love seeing the subtle differences between the books and the movies. Of course I recommend Harry Potter. LOL. Who wouldn’t.

That’s my list! I have read 47 books in 2020 (and we have a few days left to go). What books to you recommend? I’d love to check them out!

What have you read in Quarantine?

These are the books I’ve read Summer through Fall 2020, because … COVID.

I know everyone’s opinions on Covid and quarantine vary, and that’s fine, but in our household – we’re taking extreme caution and staying in as much as possible.

Our daughter is virtual learning and I’m working outside the home, but our office is not seeing clients in person. I don’t go to the store, we don’t go out to eat. I wear a mask if I’m outside the house. In turn, I’ve done quite a bit of reading.

Here is a quick rundown of the books I’ve read this summer and fall and my two cents on each. Come back next month for the winter wrap up of what I’ve read.

The Charm of the Defeated and Ten Years Taken by Susannah B. Lewis. Both of these books by author and down right hilarious woman Susannah B. Lewis were purchased as gifts since I went on and on about her and wanted to support a fellow self-published author. Both were wonderful reads, Ten Years Taken being completely different than I expected. The Charm of the Defeated was a delightful look at the South through several different characters and timelines.

Daughters of the Lake and The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb. I’ve read all of Wendy Webb’s books (with the exception of The Haunting of Brynn Wilder that was just released) and I thoroughly enjoy her style of writing. You get caught up in the tale and within pages you’re right there with the characters. If you haven’t read her works, you should. I’d recommend any of them!

Bitter Falls by Rachel Caine
I was sad to hear that author Rachel Caine passed away recently. She’s got a huge volume of work, but I’m most familiar with her Stillhouse Lake series. I have a thing for books with lake houses, houses in the middle of nowhere, decrepit, old mansions. My friend Jeanne bought me my first Rachel Caine book and I was blown away by the nonstop action and despair of the main character. Bitter Falls is the latest in the series and does not disappoint. Check out the entire series and get ready for the next release Heartbreak Bay in March 2021.

The Cat, the Devil and the Last Escape by Shirley Murphy
This book is a spin off of the Joe Grey Mystery series. If you’re not familiar, the Joe Grey mystery series is about a talking cat that solves mysteries and it’s amazing. Jeanne started me on Joe Grey many years ago and I fell in love with him. I could go on and on about these books. They are so special to me because Jeanne loved them so much. Jeanne passed in January 2019 and I feel like any books in this collection are a connection to her.

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
This is the first Jessica Strawser book I’ve read and I fell in love with it. Almost Missed You was a page turner that I couldn’t put down. I rarely find a book that I can’t put down, but this was one of them. I can’t wait to pick up some of her other books!

Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft
This is another author I’ve not read before and picked up this book on a whim. I LOVED IT. Books like this that keep you turning the page and guessing what happens next are so much fun. I kept guessing what would happen next and then second guess myself. By the time it was over, I was exhausted. Great read!

The Legacy, The Unseen and The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb
Some of my favorite authors are Kate Morton and Wendy Webb with their sprawling houses and haunting characters. In looking for something similar, I came across Katherine Webb. I picked up The Legacy first and found a match for what I was looking for! Now I’ve read several of Katherine’s books with some more on their way to me. Check her out if you have any interest in this area of writing – haunting and whimsical historical fiction.

Replica and Rooms by Lauren Oliver
I fell in love with Lauren Oliver’s writing when I read Broken Things last year. It was one of those books that stuck with me. This year, I picked up Vanishing Girls, Replica and Ringer. Now I did this ass backwards and read Ringer before I read Replica, which should have been the other way around. Doesn’t matter. Both books were great. All her books are great. I recently finished Rooms and it blew me away!

Now the book that left a lasting impact most …

Night Road by Kristin Hannah
This was another gift and I’d never read a novel by Kristin Hannah before. I started the book knowing that Kristin Hannah is a huge author with loads of books under her belt. I was excited to see what everyone loved. I couldn’t put this book down. I think I read it in a couple of nights, maybe three. I identified with each character and the heartbreaking lives they were dealt. Ugh. This book tore me up. And not just while I was reading it. For days afterward it stuck with me, plagued me and wore heavy on my heart. It was such an expierence I want to read it again, but I also don’t because it was so emotional and quite a physical read – at least for me. And that is what makes it amazing – a book that can stay with you well after you’ve finished it and put it on the shelf is superb.

That’s my list! Next month I’ll have my wrap up of 2020. I have a few books in the mail to read but not enough. What do you recommend? I’d love to check them out!