Book Reviews

The Little Women Devotional Review

I’m SO excited to be part of the launch team for The Little Women Devotional. Little Women is one of my favorite books and as soon as I heard about this devotional, I knew I wanted to read it!

About the Book

The Little Women Devotional offers lovely inspiration that explores the themes of faith, family, contentment, wisdom, and joy in the classic Louisa May Alcott novel, cherished by generations of readers.

Each reading corresponds with a chapter from the book and invites you to embrace God’s guiding hand in your life as His cherished daughter. This beautiful chapter-by-chapter devotional includes original artwork throughout, and each reading includes examples from the novel, scripture, life application, and prayers perfect for groups, book clubs, or personal reflection.

My Review

If you have been following my blog long, you know how much I love Little Women, so I was so excited to find out about this book. And it didn’t disappoint. It is so encouraging, and I love the way each devotional piece corresponds to a chapter in Little Women. It was a lot of fun to read through a chapter of Little Women and then read the corresponding devotional. There are some adorable illustrations included throughout the book as well. It’s a devotional you could read over again and still gain some new insights. I’m planning to read it again and journal my thoughts for each day as I read through the book.

I think this book is perfect for literature enthusiasts as well as anyone who enjoys Little Women.

Do you have a favorite devotional book? Let me know in the comments!

About the Author

RACHEL DODGE is the bestselling author of The Anne of Green Gables Devotional: A Chapter-by-Chapter Companion for Kindred Spirits and Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Rachel teaches college English; speaks at libraries, literary groups, and teas; and writes for Jane Austen’s World. A true kindred spirit at heart, she loves books, bonnets, and ballgowns. You can visit her at RachelDodge.com or on Instagram @kindredspiritbooks.

Book Reviews

Top Ten Best Reads of 2021

Hi everyone! I read a lot of books this year, not quite as many as last year, but I met my Goodreads goal, so I’m happy!

I read a lot of thrillers this year, both YA and adult, which is a bit of a departure from what a typically read, YA fantasy. I also joined a book club at my local bookstore, and that turned out to be a good thing, since a few of my top ten picks were the book club choices. Here are the ones I chose as my top ten:

  1. Chasing Starlight by Teri Bailey Black (YA historical mystery) – This book has a great vintage vibe and was a NetGalley read. Check out my review here.
  2. A Curse So Dark and Lonely and Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer (YA fantasy) – I combined two here since they are by the same author, but I really enjoyed both of them. A Curse so Dark and Lonely is the first book in the Cursebreakers series. Defy the Night, the first in a new series, is the author’s latest book. My local bookstore chose this book as the book club pick and I was able to meet the author and get my copy signed. If you like YA fantasy, you’ll likely enjoy both of these.
  3. Lost in the Neverwood by Aiden Thomas (YA fantasy) – This is a retelling of Peter Pan. It was very good, but fair warning, it will probably make you cry.
  4. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (Adult thriller) – This a book I chose for one of my Book of the Month boxes. A journalist investigates a haunted hall where students had been killed fifty plus years earlier.
  5. Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone (Adult thriller) – This was another ARC read, a book I recieved as part of a blog tour. You can read my review here.
  6. Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon (YA contemporary) – I also read this one as part of a book tour. It was another great read, but be warned that it’s not just a fluffy story – you’ll probably cry, I did. You can read my full review here.
  7. The Stranger in the Mirror by Liv Constantine (Adult Thriller) – This was another book club read from my local bookstore, and again I was able to meet the author and get my book signed. This is a thriller where the main character cannot remember who she is. She only has her husband’s word telling her who she is, but more and more things happen causing her to doubt him. I could not put this one down and finished it in two sittings.
  8. I Don’t Forgive You by Aggie Blum Thompson (Adult Thriller) – Another book club read, I also got my copy of this book signed by the author. This is about a photographer who has just moved to a cliquely DC suburb, and on top of navigating the new setting, she also gets framed for murder. I read this one in one sitting.
  9. Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain (YA Thriller) – A girl returns to the small town where she spends her summers. But things are different because one of her best friends has been missing for six months. As she tries to figure out what happened, she uncovers secret after secret. Set in the swamps of Louisiana, the setting only added to the suspense.
  10. Shiver by Allie Reynolds (Adult Thriller) – I just read this one last month, but I’d had it on my TBR for awhile. Five friends who have not seen each other for a decade get invited to a ski resort. The same ski resort where one of their friends went missing ten years ago. No one knows who invited them and they appear to be the only ones there. Strange things keep happening making them believe someone else is there watching them. Creepy and haunting, I read this one in a day.

What were your favorite reads of 2021? Let me know in the comments!

Reading Challenge

Fairytale Reading Challenge 2022

I’m bringing back the fairytale reading challenge for 2022. Just like last year, this is a pretty laid back challenge. Each month there is a fairytale prompt. You can read a retelling or the original fairytale. For 2021, several people also watched a movie for each prompt as well.

Share what your reading on social media with #fairytaleretellingchallenge.

Here are the prompts:

And there is also a printable bookmark again this year.

Let me know what fairytale you are most excited to read in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Blog tours, Book Reviews

Wicked Little Deeds Blog Tour

Publisher: Penguin

Length: 400 Pages

Publishing: 5th August 2021

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Little-Deeds-Kat-Ellis-ebook/dp/B08L75VKPD

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55600867-wicked-little-deeds

About the Book

From its creepy town mascot to the story of its cursed waterfall, Burden Falls is a small town dripping with superstition. Ava Thorn knows this well – since the horrific accident she witnessed a year ago, she’s been plagued by nightmares.

But when her school nemesis is brutally murdered and Ava is the primary suspect, she starts to wonder if the legends surrounding the town are more fact than fiction.

Whatever secrets Burden Falls is hiding, there’s a killer on the loose, and they have a vendetta against the Thorns…

My Review

This book was fast paced and a little twisty. It held my attention and kept me interested in the storyline, and I was a little suprised by the twist at the end.

I thought the main character, Ava, was relatable. Dominic was also an interesting character, but some of the side characters were not as well developed, and I would have liked to have seen more characterization with them.

This is not one of my favorites, but I did give it a solid three star rating. Some FYI – there was a bit of language and some weird references to Satan (i.e – “thank Satan” instead of “thank God”).

Fans of #Murdertrending, All Your Twisted Secrets, and White Fox would probably also enjoy this book.

About the Author

Kat Ellis is a young adult author whose novels include Wicked Little Deeds/Burden Falls (August 2021), Harrow Lake (July 2020), Purge (September 2016), Breaker (May 2016), and Blackfin Sky (May 2014). She is a fan of all things horror and sci-fi, and a keen explorer of ruins, castles and cemeteries – all of which are plentiful in North Wales, where Kat lives with her husband.

You can find out more about Kat at http://www.katelliswrites.com or connect with her on social media.  

Email: katelliswrites@gmail.com

Website: katelliswrites.com

Facebook: facebook.com/katelliswrites

Instagram: @katelliswrites

Twitter: @el_kat


Blog tours, Book Reviews

Roaring Book Review

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I’m excited to be part of the Favourite Pages Book Club blog tour for Roaring by Lindsey Duga.  A fantasy set in the roaring twenties? Yes, please!

About the Book

 

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Roaring

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC (Teen)
Release Date: August 3rd 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Synopsis:
Colt Clemmons is an agent in a specialized division within the Bureau of Investigation—one that hunts down not just mobsters, but also monsters.
For reasons that are kept top secret, Colt is the only person who can resist a siren’s voice. But he’s never had a chance to test this ability. The last siren left in the world mysteriously disappeared years ago.
Then one night, with a single word, she reveals herself. It seems too good to be true.
And it is. Because nothing about this siren—her past, her powers, or her purpose—is what it seems…

My Review

I loved that this book was set in the 1920’s, and it was full of all the things that make that time period seem glamorous: speakeasies, mobsters, and romance. And it had lots of mythical creatures. At first, I was unsure how about how the roaring twenties theme would work with the fantasy element, but the author seamlessly weaved the two together and created a magical story.

I like how the book alternates between the siren’s viewpoint and Colt’s viewpoint.  Both are fully-developed, relatable characters, and I quickly found myself pulled into their story and rooting for them. I also liked the mystery surrounding both Colt’s and Eris’s past. It gave the story a bit of a noir film vibe.

The book is fast-paced, and I flew through it in basically one sitting. If you love vintage stuff and mythical creatures, you’ll enjoy this book.

 

About the Author

Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.
Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.

Giveaway

Be sure to check out the giveaway on Instagram. The winner recieves a signed copy of Roaring as well as a signed copy of Glow of the Fireflies, artwork based on Roaring, and a $25 Amazon gift card.
Book Tags

#Beforebookstagram Tag

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I was tagged on Instagram to do the #beforebookstagram challenge, and this really applies to my book blog too, since I started my IG account not long after I started my blog. So I thought it would fun to share the tag here too. 🙂

1. What was the first book you read? I don’t really remember the exact first book I read, but I remember reading and loving Ferdinand and the Bullies. Not long after that, I started reading Little Women, and throughout middle school I devoured every Nancy Drew file book I could get my hands on.😊📚📖
2. When did you start reading? Pretty much as soon as I could read on my own – by 2nd grade I was reading several books per week.

 
3. Where do you get your reading recommendations? IG, Litsy, Goodreads, and my sister.
4. What books are your favorites? Little Women, the Lunar Chronicles, and the Wendy Darling series, just to name a few.
5. What inspired you to join bookstagram? I love books and taking pictures, so it was the perfect combo.📷
6. What changed after you started your bookstagram? I found out about so many good books I hadn’t known about before, and I found a great community to share my love of books with!

What about you? When did you start your book blog or bookstagram account? Let me know in the comment. I tag whoever wants to participate!😁

Reading Challenge

#Armedwithabingo Q2 Check-in

This year, one of the challenges I’m participating in, is #armedwithabingo hosted by Kristi and Ariel. All the details for the bingo are here, and you can check out my first post about the challenge here.

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For the first quarter, I read these books:

Poetry collection – Ink Knows No Borders

Book in the middle of a series – Blizzard of New Moon (Magic Treehouse Series) by Mary Pope Osbourne

Book published in the last decade – A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahareh Mafi

A YA novel – Heart of the Moors by Holly Black

A memoir – Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Friendship/family – Drama by Reina Telgemeier

Fantasy – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Bestseller – The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Meant to read last year – Final Girls by Riley Sager

Nonfiction – You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time by Patricia Marx

 

And since the last post, I’ve added these books to my bingo board:

Book published in 2020 – Straight on Till Morning by Liz Braswell. This is my favorite read of the year so far, and you can check out my review here.

Book with multiple POV’s – Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reed

Book with a number in the title – The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie. This one was also enjoyable and though not one of Christie’s most popular series, I find I’m really enjoying the Superintendent Battle series.

Book a friend recommends – Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto.  I read this book as part of the Book Gizmo Book Club on Instagram.

A dystopian novel – The Jewel by Amy Ewing.

Not third person POV (first person POV) – Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell

Book by an indie author – A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Book with a Beautiful Cover – Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel. As soon as I saw the cover for this book, I wanted to read it, even without reading the premise. 🙂

Book you saw someone else reading – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Fred Rogers

How about you? How are your reading challenges coming? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

 

Uncategorized

Virtual Book Events

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I recently attended the virtual #Yallstayhome Book Festival, the Yallwest Book Festival gone virtual, and it was so much fun! I’ve been researching other virtual book events and have found quite a few.  So now I’m sharing them with my readers:

  1. Everywhere Book Fest – lots of videos on YouTube from a variety of authors.
  2. Social Distance Book Festival This festival aired a couple of weekends ago, but you can still view the recordings on YouTube. This is a festival hosted by a book YouTuber, Beautifully Bookish Bethany.
  3. Wordplay Book Festival – This is going on now and has events for all ages.
  4. Bookcon – Bookcon is doing a virtual series on Facebook.
  5. Midtown Scholar Bookstore – This bookstore has several virtual author talks scheduled.
  6. MYVLF – This site has all kind of virtual events, including The Big Book Weekend.
  7. Gaithersburg Book Festival – I’ve enjoyed attending this festival in person, and am happy to see I’ll be able to attend virtually this year!

How about you all? Are there any virtual book events you’ll be attending during this quarantine time? Let me know in the comments!

Uncategorized

Tips for Tackling Your TBR List

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If you’re like me, you probably have shelves full of unread books. I read a lot, and am planning to read twenty books this month to help whittle down the amount of books I own that I haven’t yet read. ( This is part of a reading challenge, and if you missed out on that post you can check it out here.)

People often ask me how I read so many books, so today, I wanted to share some tips to help you tackle your TBR. Since many of us are at home during this quarantine time, you may have more time to read than usual, so maybe these tips can help you get even more reading done. 🙂

1. Know your limits. A lot of things play into how many books you can read within a given time period. How fast do you read? How many other responsibilities do you have? Don’t try to compare yourself to other people. Set a realistic but challenging goal for yourself.

2. Mix it up. Read in a lot of different genres. I find this helps to ward off reading slumps. Once I start to feel fantasy-ied out, I switch over to mysteries or memoirs, and I find my interest in reading is renewed.

3. Read various book lengths and levels. This is another great way to avoid a reading slump. If I’m feeling tired of reading, I might pick a book of poetry or even a picture book I’ve been wanting to read. As an educator, I often read children’s and MG books as I need to stay up on the trends and know what is available for students to read,  but I also believe that people of any age can find enjoyment in a picture book. Many of them are worth reading simply because of the beautiful artwork they contain. And most of us know at least one kid that we could read to or recommend a book to.

4. Listen to audiobooks. This is one of the easiest ways to up your book count. I increased my yearly amount of read books by over a hundred, simply by listening to audiobooks. I listen to audiobooks in the car, in the kitchen, when I’m cleaning, and when I’m crafting.

You may be wondering if it’s cheating, or you may think you can’t focus on an audiobook. I understand your hesitation on this one, as I had similar doubts at first. But then I realized if I chose the right audiobook, I was engaged and even found myself laughing out loud. This is especially true for celebrity memoirs that are narrated by the said celebrity.

I would suggest starting with celebrity memoirs if you’re hesitant about trying audiobooks. Another way to determine if the audiobook is right for you is to read the reviews for the audiobook before listening to it. The success of the audiobook depends on the narrator. If the narrator does a poor job, it will be noted in the reviews.

5. Take a break when you need to. Yes, it is okay to take a break sometimes. Just like basically everything else in life, sometimes you just need to take a break and do something else. Every so often, I take as much as a week and a half off from reading, and am still able to meet my reading goal for the year. I find that I am able to go through several books quickly after taking a break.

6. Read what you want. This is another important one. Don’t be so focused on reading the things you think you need to read. Read the books that YOU want to read. So many times, people read something because it has been recommended to them by someone else, so they feel they must read it even though they aren’t really interested in it.  This just ends up wasting your reading time and can even put you into a reading slump. If you’re not interested in the book, don’t read it. If you’re worried about what your friend will think,  politely tell them that you just couldn’t get into the book, so you moved onto something else on your TBR list.

7. Don’t be afraid to not finish a book.  This kind of goes along with the previous tip, and is the hardest one for me to follow. I just hate the feeling of not finishing a book, but ultimately I know that I will end up wasting my reading time by trying to finish a book I don’t enjoy. I have gotten better than I used to be, but I am still working on this one.

8. Most importantly, have fun! This kind of sums them all up. Your reading time is supposed to be enjoyable, so make sure it is by reading the right things for you!

How about you? What is your best tip for moving through your TBR list? Let me know in the comments, and if you want to check out what I’m currently reading, feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads.

Reading Challenge

Unread Book Bingo

One of the reading challenges I always participate in, is the unread shelf project, a yearly challenge where I try to read many of my own books that I haven’t yet read. During the past two months, Whitney, the host of the unread shelf challenge, has hosted a bingo challenge (more details here.) I love bingo challenges, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to participate in this one. Here is my bingo card:

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And here are the books I read:

Published before 2000 – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Backlist title – The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

From Favorite genre – The Jewel by Amy Ewing (YA Fantasy)

On shelf more than a year – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Blue Book – Ice Breaker: How Maribel Fairbanks Changed Figure Skating by Rosa Vina

Fiction – The Stillwater Girls by Minka

YA lit – The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir

E-book – Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey

Published after 2000 – The Thinnest Air by Minka Kent

Any unread book – Tell Me Lies by JD Pomer

Red book – The Big Four by Agatha Christie

Nonfiction – In Other Words by Christopher J. Moore

Book from a series – The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah (New Hercule Poirot series)

Last book acquired – Straight on Till Morning by Liz Braswell (check out my review for this book here.)

Less than 200 pages – If a Horse Had Words by Kelly Cooper

Audiobook – The Body in the Woods by April Henry

Chosen by friends – Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montegomery

Hardback – The Handmaid’s Tale: the graphic novel by Renee Nault

Author of color – The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

I was hoping to fill the board, but I got two bingos and had more spaces filled than not, so I guess I did pretty well. 🙂

If you want to check out all I’ve read so far this year, feel free to add as a friend on Goodreads.

How about you? Have you participated in any fun reading challenges lately? Let me know in the comments!