March 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

March has been such a chaotic month, to say the least! Here in the US, what began as a month to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day activities and friends’ birthdays shifted into a period of Coronavirus dangers and social isolation. We don’t know how long this danger will last. What I do know is that reading is always (and continues to be) my mainstay for healing!

I read 5 books during the month of March:
Genres (books may fall into more than one category):
Mystery: 2
Contemporary: 1
Historical Fiction: 3
Romance: 3

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry (4 Stars)
Thank you Pantheon Books for sending me an ARC of We Ride Upon Sticks! I enjoyed the throwbacks to the 80s as a female hockey team enlisted the help of supernatural powers to succeed!

The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole (4.5 Stars)
I purchased The A.I. Who Loved Me through Audible. It was a lighthearted, sexy read! I loved that the story held a diverse cast of characters!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (4 Stars)
Where the Crawdads Sing was supposed to be a book club selection for March, but my library closed a couple days before the meeting due to the coronavirus. I loved that I got the opportunity to read the story though! While I wasn’t blown away, I deeply appreciated the North Carolina marshland depictions!

Out of the Embers by Amanda Cabot (4 Stars)
Thank you to Revell for sending me a copy of Out of the Embers! I loved this suspenseful-yet-sweet story of Texas in the 1850s!

Berried in the Past by Peg Cochran (5 Stars)
Thank you NetGalley for the eARC of Berried of the Past! I loved this cozy mystery set in a small Michigan town. The recipes given were also very yummy!

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver (5 Stars)
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is equal parts romantic and emotional! Lydia struggles to live life without her fiance while experiencing another ‘life’ with him!

Those were the books I read during March! How about you?

Goodreads Monday: March 23

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This Week’s Post:

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

Why I Want to Read It:
I’ve recently gotten into reading books outside of my favorite genre. I’m naturally drawn toward Historical Fiction and Fantasy, but I’m beginning to branch out towards Contemporary stories. I came across this title while I was planning my wedding last year, so I placed this on my TBR list. I’ve yet to read it, but since I now own the book, I plan on doing so!

WWW Wednesday: March 11

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and now maintained by Taking on a World of Words.

There are three prompts for WWW Wednesday:
–What are you currently reading?
–What did you finish recently reading?
–What do you think you’ll read next?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I’m reading Where the Crawdads Sing for my local library’s book club. So far I’m about 10% through. I’m really liking Kya’s backstory!

The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole
I had fun reading this quick story! I loved the fact that it features diverse characters, with a strong Black woman as the focal point in the plot.

Out of the Embers by Amanda Cabot
I received a complimentary copy of Out of the Embers as part of Revell Reads blogger list. So far I’ve received some interesting titles from Revell, so I can’t wait to start reading this one!

WWW Wednesday: November 6

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and now maintained by Taking on a World of Words.

There are three prompts for WWW Wednesday:
–What are you currently reading?
–What did you finish recently reading?
–What do you think you’ll read next?

Home for Christmas by Catherine Lanigan
I’m reading Home for Christmas for a tour stop on Prism Book Tours. Now that Halloween is behind us, books focusing on Thanksgiving and Christmas are plentiful. I will share my thoughts on this endearing book next week!

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
I was really surprised while reading Lock Every Door! It began at a slow pace, yet it picked up as the book progressed. I will share my full thoughts on this novel in my next post!

Deadly Deceit (Harbored Secrets #2) by Natalie Waters
After reading a Thriller, I’m looking forward to reading another suspenseful story! I can’t wait to see what this story is about.

The Reader Problems Book Tag

I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start!

Today I’m working on the Reader Problems Book Tag. I came across this tag from Stephen Writes‘s page.

You have 20,000 books on your TBR, how do you decide what to read next?
Hmm…usually I choose stories based on where my emotions lead me. Unless it’s a book that’s been released recently, then I approach that one first!

You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you put it down or are you committed?
I do my best to plug my way through it, unless I absolutely can’t tolerate the content.

The end of the year is coming and you’re behind on your reading challenge. Do you try to catch up? And if so, how?
Sure, I just dive right in through audiobooks in the evening.

The covers of a series you love do not match, how do you cope?
I appreciate a book regardless of how the cover looks.

Everyone and their mother loves a book that you do not. Who do you bond with over your shared feelings?
I turn to a close friend, who won’t judge my reading preferences lol

You’re reading a book in public and you’re about to start crying. How do you deal?
I grab tissues out of my purse and run!

The sequel to a book you loved just came out but you’ve forgotten a lot of what happens. Are you going to reread it?
No, I’ll read the sequel to have my mind refreshed. It will be like a new story!

You do not want anyone to borrow your books, how do you politely say no when someone asks?
I’ll be honest with them. I’ve had too many instances of people ‘borrowing’ forever, never again!

You have picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over this reading slump?
Yikes, this happened to me a few months ago! Since I was working a job that consumed nearly all of my time while enduring my slump, I threw my focus on that. This lasted for about a month, then the reading slump faded.

There are so many books coming out that you are dying to read. How many do you end up buying?
I try to stick with 1-2 books a week. I also make requests in the library.

After you purchase all of these books that you’re dying to read, how long do they sit on your shelf before you read them?
It depends…some books are weeks, other books are months. I have so many to love!

That’s all of the questions!

October Reading Blog #1/Blogtober Day 2

I began the month reading L.L. McKinney’s ‘A Dream So Dark’. I’m about halfway through, and I’m really enjoying the book so far! I really appreciate how McKinney expands on the world of Wonderland, and the many eccentric people and creatures Alice encounters along her journey. There’s also lots of tension taking place, and it’s definitely keeping me on edge!

I also read some poetry and prose from Lucille Clifton and Judith Ortiz Cofer. Thanks to the Poets House library in New York City, I had access to unlimited works of poetry. Visiting Poets House brings me back to those regular meetings with my poetry therapy mentor and community. We shared and learned so much with each other!

I hope your reading and writing is off to a promising start this month!

October 2019 New Releases

I adore the magic of October! Autumn is in full swing, and it’s the time for everything frightful! There are certainly some books released during this time that fit the bill!

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: October 8

Ninth House is Leigh Bardugo’s highly anticipated release. This will be Bardugo’s first venture into writing Adult Fiction, taking us into the world of Alex Stern, a high school dropout who is given the opportunity to attend Yale, while monitoring the clandestine (and at times dark) activities of the elite.

Full Throttle: Stories by Joe HIll
Publisher: Gollancz Books
Genre: Horror
Release Date: Oct 1, 2019

Full Throttle is a short story compilation that contains 13 tales of human struggle and terror. Two of these stories are co-written with Stephen King. I’m sure that these stories will be charged with enough psychological tension to keep anyone awake at night!

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: P.G. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA/Paranormal
Release Date: October 8, 2019

Renee Ahdieh’s The Beautiful tells a tale of Celine, a dressmaker fleeing from Paris who becomes captivated with the glamour of New Orleans within the 19th century. As the story unfolds, beauty of this new world also reveals a haven of mystery and supernatural intrigue.

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Fantasy

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Rin Chupeco writes an intense story about a betrayal that is the cause of twin sisters ruling opposite ends of a world that ceases to rotate. It is up to their daughters to stop sinister forces that threaten their very livlihood, while discovering the secret behind their stories family conflict.

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu
Story by Suzanne Walker
Genre: Graphic Novel/YA
Publisher: Lion Forge
Release Date: October 15, 2019

Mooncakes is a graphic novel that tells the story of a Nova, teen witch working at her grandmother’s bookshop, who helps out her childhood friend Tam, a werewolf. Nova and Tam’s story is heartfelt, set in a backdrop of magic and family lineage.

Sunday Sentence: September 29, 2019

I’m participating in David Abrams’s ‘Sunday Sentence‘ project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, ‘out of context and without commentary’.

‘Her reflection gazed back at her, but not like how you look at yourself in the mirror’.

Source: ‘A Dream So Dark’, by L.L. McKinney

September 2019 Reading Wrap Up

I read six books this month. Now, I know that it’s not a huge number, but I’m very proud of my progress!

‘Tunnel of Bones’ by Victoria Schwab
Length: 304 pages
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 3, 2019

I rated ‘Tunnel of Bones’ 5 stars. It was very exciting to revisit Cassidy Blake’s world, as she explored Paris in order to vanquish a restless spirit. Having a best friend who’s a ghost is an extra bonus! I’m already anticipating the next book in the series!

Sweet Melody by Heidi McCahan
Length: 217 pages
Publisher: Snug Corner Cove Press
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
September 13, 2019

I rated ‘Sweet Melody‘ 5 Stars. This story was read and reviewed for a tour stop on Prism Book Tours. This was an endearing novel that covers the issue of struggle after heartbreak. The message expressed that with a strong support network, and with a little faith, one is never truly alone!

‘Kingdom Cold’ Trilogy by Brittni Chenelle
Length: 622 pages
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Release Date: February 14, 2019

I gave the ‘Kingdom Cold’ series 5 stars. I read and reviewed these stories through Caffiene Book Tours. Truthfully, I went into this series not expecting to be absorbed, but I was pleasantly surprised. Chenelle displays strong female characters and a steady pace throughout the books. I’m thankful that I gave these stories a chance!

‘The Lost Girls of Paris’ by Pam Jenoff
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Park Row Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: March 1, 2019

I gave ‘The Lost Girls of Paris’ 4 Stars. Learning about a female secret agent unit in London during World War II was truly eye-opening. Genoff artfully created fictionalized accounts of the three female leads in the book, while enlightening readers of the reality that women faced while operating behind enemy lines. It reveals that women played a greater role in war than originally thought!

Autumn Goals!

Autumn is finally here!

As much as everyone dreads the arrival of Fall, I enjoy it! It’s the season right before everything is inundated with snowfall. Breezy again to wear a sweater, yet not to the point that you’re wearing three layers of clothes!

With the arrival of Autumn, here are three goals I want to accomplish:

My Pumpkin creation from 2013

Revive my crocheting passion
I needed to pause my crocheting last year due to a wrist injury, yet my left hand has healed to the point where I can complete a few rows a day with no pain. Now that this setback is subsided, I can now create Amigurumi (crocheted animals) once again! My end goal is to open my own Etsy shop with my creations, so I’ll see how that goes.

View from The Book Garden’s ‘First Friday’ poetry group, in Frenchtown

Attend local literary/crochet groups
My mainstay community will always by my poetry therapy group in New York City, yet it’s quiet during the autumn months, and I always have a difficult time seeking out local groups in my Central NJ town. That began to change in recent months! I became involved with a poetry group in Frenchtown, and last week I attended my first book group in Tewksbury. There’s also a regular yarn crafting group in the Flemington area for me to practice my skills! I’m so relieved that there are finally local groups in my area. Hopefully I can continue to attend.

Complete revising my draft
I have my 1st draft of a book completed (yay!), and now the painstaking process of changing things around begins. There’s always the tinkering with my main character, or the possibility of adding certain magical elements…which would change the who story around! I’ll get there…just need to get to that revising!

Happy First Day of Autumn!