What I Read…

Happy Book Day! 📚 💛

I’ve noticed a pattern over the last few years where I read a bunch during the first half of the year, then fall off the wagon. This year it seems kind of opposite. Then again, nothing about this year is normal so that makes total sense. *shrug*

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
★★★★/5; Fiction, Women’s Lit
This book was good, but it didn’t stick with me. I would label it as slightly predictable, too. An enjoyable and fairly light read, Olivia was a fun and flawed main character. All the supporting characters were fabulous, as was the setting. There were parts of the story that felt trite, but I looked forward to picking up where I left off each time and it was a nice story to get lost in- thus the four start rating. Are there deeper, more profound books in the world? Of course. But this was a perfect quaran-read. Also, the food descriptions made me D R O O L.
Read it? Sure, if you’re looking for something light. And you’re not on a diet 😉

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
★★★★★/5; Mystery, thriller
Man… every bit as good as people said it was. I love me a good locked room mystery. I felt for Jules and Hannah and Olivia at different times. And I easily hated the men- a true “boys will be boys” theme going on there. Grrrrr. Readers on GR noted some continuity issues- and I noticed some, too- but I could look past it for the sake of story. *shrug* When I read mysteries I’m always reading suspiciously and carefully to try and solve the crime. I figured out someone’s true identity before the end, but I didn’t solve the murder. I was as shocked as the victim. And I really loved that we didn’t know who the victim was until the last few chapters! I’m adding The Hunting Party to my library holds now!
Read it? Yeah!
*I have to know. Did anyone else notice the switched groomsmen in the bog? Hannah said that two of them found her, but then a few chapters later it was different groomsmen that mentioned finding her. A few readers on GR noticed, too. 

The Mermaids Melt at Dawn by Grendolyn Peach Soleil
★★★★/5; Fantasty/folklore
This is slightly difficult to review because it’s my sister-in-law’s sister’s book. Here’s what I said on Goodreads:

How to describe a book so rich in imagery? The Mermaids Melt at Dawn is a descriptive story about a rowdy Cajun man on a hunt to understand and tame the wild monsters that plague his family history. It weaves soft and beautiful French undertones with bold and brash bayou flavor. On top of that, a strong mythical and Cretan story comes to life and grabs the reader, pulling them down into the deep, dark, fantastically terrifying ocean from which the mermaids swim.

I really enjoyed this book, but it’s not something I would’ve found & read on my own. It’s very whimsical, magical, and folklore-y. Every time I’d start reading I’d think, ‘This isn’t for me’ but then I’d read one more paragraph and get lost in her whimsical world.
Read it? If it sounds like something you’d like, absolutely.

M’s Favorite Reads

*I mentioned last time that M is into eating and shaking books right now. Two of these are cloth books and linked to baby stores since GR doesn’t have them, lol.

Buddy Dog’s Busy Day – A Taggies Adventure
Or as we call it, “Bristol Dog’s Busy Day” lol

Peek-a-Boo Forest – Lamaze

Disney Princess The Little Book of Big Ideas
The girth of this book is a little inconvenient, but I love all the learning and colors. Minus Ariel. Stupid Ariel. LOL

Little One, God Made You Special by Amy Warren Hilliker, Polona Lovsin (illustrator)
Such an adorable little book.


Erin’s Challenge 13.0

| 5 p | Freebie: Coldhearted Boss (Grey)
| 10 p | Starts with “S”: Salt to the Sea (Sepetys)
| 10 p | A preposition in the title: The Marriage Bureau: The True Story of How Two Matchmakers Arranged Love in Wartime London (Halson)
| 15 p | An odd number in a series: The Bromance Book Club (Adams #1)
| 20 p | Set in a different country than yours: Bringing Down the Duke (Dunmore)
| 20 p | Female officer/detective: Murder at the Vicarage (Christie)
| 25 p | An immigrant as a m/c: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Ford)
| 30 p | Words in the title… “anything”: Anything You Can Do (Grey)
| 30 p | October themed: HP & the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) – witches
| 35 p | Words in the title… “city” & “county”: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living (Miller)

I have 35 out of 200 points.


What did you read this month?

Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!

Life According to Steph

What I Read…

Happy Happy Happy Book Day!

I’m going to throw in a shameless plug for my new book/travel instagram 🙂 If you’d like to follow along, I will be posting at To Read & To Roam (linked here!).

FINALLY linking up with the fabulous Jana & Steph today for Show Us Your Books!

I skipped the last few months because I’ve been a lazy reader & a lazy blogger.

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
★★★/5; Mystery
I was bored with the beginning of this book and was feeling a solid two stars… then it got better and by the end I was at four stars. So we landed at three. It’s a slow start; I guess most series starters are… but I was so close to quitting. I’ve been meaning to start this series for a while & I was determined to get through the first book. By the end I was glad I did!
Georgie is an adult woman with no clear path. Her family can’t afford to support her as a spinster but she’s horrified at the idea of marrying a distant royal relative, just to appease the Queen. She she takes it upon herself to move to London and winds up in the middle of a murder case. It was quite dull at first, but I guess Bowen was laying the groundwork. By the end I liked Georgie- but I don’t think this series is for me.
Read it? Maybe? But probably not.

A Danger Engagement by Ashley Weaver
★★★★/5; Mystery
Apparently I’m on a mystery kick right now.
I’m a big fan of Weaver’s Amory. I love her improving relationship with Milo, I love her spunk and determination and courage, & I love the flow of these mysteries. This is the sixth in the series and I’ve read them all, so obviously I’m a fan. This one was set in NYC in the 1930s with a sprinkle of mobsters and prohibition. I always judge mysteries on whether or not I solve it before the m/c (which I did, but just barely) and if the author gave me enough info to have done so without giving it all away. I don’t need to solve it, but I need to the clues to have been presented. Does that makes sense? I feel like that’s the true sign of a star mystery writer.
Read it? Yes, but start at the beginning of the series.

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
★★★★★/5; Fantasy
I was afraid I wouldn’t like this one. The first in the series was awesome & I thought this one would lack. I wasn’t sucked in from the start, which made me worry even more. But before I hit page 50 I was hooked. I think many readers had beef with the changing personalities of Rhen & Harper, but this story focused on Grey & Lia Mara… so it seems natural and right that those two characters would view R&H differently than R&H view themselves… ya know? Also. I still love Grey. And Lia Mara, too. (She is the daughter of the enemy queen, fyi.)
I know a fantasy story (or any story) is good when I think about it outside of reading. And I imagine it like a tv show or movie that I can’t wait to get back to- then I have to remind myself that it’s a book, not a visual medium.
Once again, the ending has me going, “Ehhh….” but I felt that way after book #1 so I’m going to give the author and series the benefit of the doubt when moving on to book #3 (in freaking Jan. 2021 WHYYY).
Read it? Start at the beginning of the series.

M’s Favorite Reads

Truthfully, M is more into eating books than reading books… but we’ve gotten through a few without her nomming on the pages…

Bloom by Deborah Diesen, Mary Lundquist (illustrator)
M’s sweet and kind aunt sent her this beautiful book about plants & growing! (This is the same author who pens The Pout-Pout Fish books.)

Take Heart, My Child by Ainsley Earhardt, Kathryn Cristaldi, Jaime Kim (illustrator)
This book is a soft rhyming lullaby that is easy to read to M when we’re winding down. We have the board book and normal book, I think.
*Want to hear something fun? Ainsley & Katheryn were both on the name shortlist before we picked one for M.


Another challenge from Erin has begun. Here are my picks:

| 5 p | Freebie: Coldhearted Boss (Grey)
| 10 p | Starts with “S”: Salt to the Sea (Sepetys)
| 10 p | A preposition in the title: The Marriage Bureau: The True Story of How Two Matchmakers Arranged Love in Wartime London (Halson)
| 15 p | An odd number in a series: The Bromance Book Club (Adams #1)
| 20 p | Set in a different country than yours: Bringing Down the Duke (Dunmore)
| 20 p | Female officer/detective: Murder at the Vicarage (Christie)
| 25 p | An immigrant as a m/c: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Ford)
| 30 p | Words in the title… “anything”: Anything You Can Do (Grey)
| 30 p | October themed: HP & the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) – witches
| 35 p | Words in the title… “city” & “county”: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living (Miller)

And there we have it. A new book update 😉 What have you been reading?

Book Challenge by Erin 13.0

Before I launch into books, I want to address the happenings in our country. But I also don’t know how to address it. I am not racist, but I know I can do better & I have a lot of learning and reading and outreach to do. And as a parent, I have a responsibility to help my child see, appreciate, respect, and love all the color in our world. I know it’s going to take effort on my part. I live in a very white place and the effects of that on me, my family, and my neighbors are evident, but I’m committed to doing better and loving more. Please know I’m not ignoring the issues when I talk about books- I’m just working on better myself at home, in my neighborhood, and beyond.

Twice a year Erin (and Vinay) host a book challenge. I’ve only completed it once, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

It starts July 1st & ends October 31st. No repeats. Only 1 reread. Rules found here.

| 5 p | Freebie: Coldhearted Boss (Grey)
| 10 p | Starts with “S”: Salt to the Sea (Sepetys)
| 10 p | A preposition in the title: The Marriage Bureau: The True Story of How Two Matchmakers Arranged Love in Wartime London (Halson)
| 15 p | An odd number in a series: The Bromance Book Club (Adams #1)
| 20 p | Set in a different country than yours: Bringing Down the Duke (Dunmore)
| 20 p | Female officer/detective: Murder at the Vicarage (Christie)
| 25 p | An immigrant as a m/c: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Ford)
| 30 p | Words in the title… “anything”: Anything You Can Do (Grey)
| 30 p | October themed: HP & the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) – witches
| 35 p | Words in the title… “city” & “county”: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living (Miller)

I own at least 6 of these, so I’m also pretty excited to pare down my owned & unread!

What I Read…

Hello. I thought I’d have three books for you today. I have one. #BetterThanNothing

I wish it was a higher rating… Also, some M picks are below!

Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!

Frogkisser by Garth Nix
★★/5; Teenage Fantasy
Ughhh… I wanted to love this story & I did not. It read like a middle grade marriage of The Phantom Tollbooth & The Hobbit. I love both of those stories but this one didn’t work for me. I loved the royal dogs & I loved Anya’s determination to not be a princess who needed saved… but it was such a young book. I wouldn’t call it a teen read. It was just long and silly in a weird way and… I don’t know. I loved the concept and hated the execution. Which is a shame because it really sounded like my kind of book.
Read it? No. Although I know some (Alexandra, Bev) really liked it.

And from M’s vast library… here are some favs this month:

If I Were A Lizard by Kidsbooks
This one is silly but cute & it has a bunch of lizards if that’s your kid’s thing. M just like color.

And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon by Janet Stevens, Susan Stevens Crummel
Not 100% on the illustrations but we liked all the nursery rhyme references.

The Brave Little Owl by Gill Davies
This was mommy’s favorite of the month ❤

God Is With Us by Amy Parker, Ramona Kaulitzki (Illustrator)
This is an ok one for Christmas… We were not aware it was the story of Jesus’ birth until we started and M doesn’t like to quit books.

Maybe next month’s mom book quantity will match M’s… lol.

What’d you read this month?

Life According to Steph

What I Read…

Happy Tuesday! This is my first Show Us Your Books link-up of the year. It’s hard for me to prioritize reading right now but I’m trying! I’m including my picks for Erin’s 12.0 Book Challenge, too. It started at the beginning of the year. I will most definitely not be getting to all the books I selected, lol. Linking up with Steph & Jana!

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
★★★★/5; Mystery
I can’t decide if this is a 3 or 4 star book. I’m settling on 3.5 and rounding up. There were moments that I really loved. But then there were parts I kind of hated- mainly the very end. Sigh. The concept is amazing. Even the mystery was cool to follow. I got lost a few times but I always found my way back. I also solved two of the twists before their reveal, but there were countless twists so it didn’t spoil the story at all. My biggest beef is with the story outside of Blackheath. It seems unfinished and convenient and strange. That said, the author worked HARD to weave this story together and that deserves serious kudos. It’s a cleverly written book and a beautifully woven plot. I’m looking forward to his next book.
Read it? Yes, if you like a good twisty mystery. Keep in mind there’s a mystical element.

Baby/Kid Books:

M and I read together & she asked me to share our favorites each month. Only the favorites so you don’t waste your time 😉

Be Kind, Be Brave, Be You by Charlies M. Schulz, Elizabeth Dennis Barton, Scott Jeralds (illustrator)

A is for Awesome!: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World by Eva Chen, Derek Desierto (illustrator)
The amazing Steph bought this for M when I was pregnant! I love reading her this book. That said, I change the words “girl boss” to boss and “sheroes” to heroes. Also, we add “badass” to RBG’s description 😉

You’re My Little Sweet Pea by Kit Chase
This is such a cute read.

The Story of Rock by Nicola Edwards, Lindsey Sagar (illustrator)
This book cracks me up & I love that it’s a quick introduction to rock music. There’s a country, pop, and rap music one, too. We still need those 🙂

You can find M’s list of read books on Goodreads HERE.


And here are my selections for the Book Challenge by Erin 12.0

| 5 points | Freebie: Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
| 10 points | Starts with “I”: Impossible Dream by Gemma Jackson
| 10 points | Written by two+ authors: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
| 15 points | A  picture of a tree on the cover: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
| 20 points | One of the following words in the title: who, what, when, where, why: What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
| 20 points | A book set in Africa: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
| 25 points | One of the words in the title: mother(s), sister(s), wife/wives, grandmother (or variation of), daughter(s), niece(s), aunt(s): Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran
| 30 points| A book that has won an Edgar award: Long Way Down (Jason Reynolds)
| 30 points | A “locked room mystery”: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Stuart Turton)
| 35 points | A book from the 2018 Show Us Your Books favs: Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng) – Kristen‘s list


I love the prompts for Erin’s challenge this round. Are you participating?

What have you read so far this year?