Challenges · Memes · Tags · Wrap-ups

#Top10of2k19 Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2020

Top 10 of 2019


Top 10 of 2019 is a meme that looks back on the books read throughout the year. It is hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads and @greadsbooks. It runs from December 25-31.

Today marks the end of #Top10of2k19. I have really enjoyed participating and seeing the other responses for the prompts. I will also be sharing my answers on Instagram. You can follow me at @melissalessredhousereviews.

Before I begin, I would like to share my answers for this prompt, last year.

Books I Wanted to Read in 2019

  1. Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy
  2. The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
  3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  4. The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
  5. Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, #2) by Jacqueline Winspear
  6. The Lost Girls of Paris by Pan Jenoff
  7. Lies by T.M. Logan
  8. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  9. The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Unfortunately I only read 1 of those books in 2019: Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, #2) by Jacqueline Winspear. Fortunately it was one of my favourite books of the year. Once again I do hope to get those the remaining books on that list this year. Or at least some of them. Here are the other books I’d like to read in 2020:

Are any of these books on your radar? Did you participate in #Top10of2k19? If so leave me your link in the comments.

Challenges · Memes · Recommendations · Tags · Wrap-ups

#Top10of2k19 Best of the Best

Top 10 of 2019


Top 10 of 2019 is a meme that looks back on the books read throughout the year. It is hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads and @greadsbooks. It runs from December 25-31.

Todays #Top10of2k19, prompt is The Best of the Best. In other words, our favourite books of 2019. I will also be sharing my responses on Instagram. You can follow me at @melissaleesredhousereviews .

5 Star Reads of 2019

To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden
Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Mending Fences (The Deacon’s Family, #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, #2) by Jacqueline Winspear
The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #1) by Sarah Sundin
The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
Body of Proof by Darrell Brown & Sophie Ellis

Honorable Mentions

Me Before You (Me Before You, 1) by Jojo Moyes
The Bungalow Mystery (Nancy Drew 3) by Carolyn Keene
Philomena: A Mother, Her Son and a Fifty-Year Search by Martin Sixsmith

Articles · Character Spotlight · Memes · Tags · Wrap-ups

#Top10of2k19 OTP

Top 10 of 2019
Top 10 of 2019 is a meme that looks back on the books read throughout the year. It is hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads and @greadsbooks. It runs from December 25-31.

Today’s prompt for #Top10of2k19, is OTP. Or in other words, we are sharing our favourite couples from the books we read this past year. I will also be sharing my responses on Instagram. You can follow me @melissaleesredhousereviews

Hamish DeLuca and Reggie Van Buren (Van Buren and DeLuca Mysteries by Rachel McMillan)
Lincoln and Beth (Attachments by Rainbow Rowell)
Louisa Clark and Will Traynor (Me Before You by Jojo Moyes)
Birdie and Daniel (Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett)
Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather (Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy)
Daniel and “Cinderella” (Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover)

Memes · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

#Top10of2k19 Cover Love

Top 10 of 2019


Top 10 of 2019 is a meme that looks back on the books read throughout the year. It is hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads and @greadsbooks. It runs from December 25-31.

It’s day 4 of #Top10of2k19 and we are sharing our favourite book covers. Here are my favourites from the books I read this year. I will also be posting on my Instagram. You can follow me at @melissaleesredhousereviews.

  • Murder at the Flamingo & Murder in the City of Liberty (A Van Buren and De Luca Mystery) by Rachel McMillan
  • The Sea Before Us & The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin
  • First and Then by Emma Mills
  • The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
  • Welcome to Moonlight Harbor & Winter at the Beach (Moonlight Harbor) by Sheila Roberts
  • LA Candy by Lauren Conrad
  • A Certain Age (A Certain Age, 1) by Beatriz Williams

Which of these covers are your favourite? Are you participating in the #Top10of2k19? If so leave your link in the comments.

Articles · Character Spotlight · Memes · Tags · Wrap-ups

#Top10of2k19 Captivating Characters

Top 10 of 2019
Top 10 of 2019 is a meme that looks back on the books read throughout the year. It is hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads and @greadsbooks. It runs from December 25-31.

It’s day 3 for #Top102k19 and we are talking about our favourite characters. I will also be posting my responses on Instagram. You can follow me @melissaleesredhousereviews.

1. Hamish DeLuca (Van Buren and DeLuca Mysteries by Rachel McMillan)

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It is quite rare that I come across a character in a book who shines far above the rest. In this series, Hamish DeLuca does just that. I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to a male character who isn’t portrayed as the typical alpha male. Instead Hamish had a vulnerability that was endearing. His anxiety problems was something I could empathize with and the way the author described his symptoms was very realistic. Despite his ailments that kept him sheltered, Hamish was quite an intelligent man and one of my favourite literary characters.

2. Lincoln O’Neill (Attachments by Rainbow Rowell)

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Sure, reading Jennifer and Beth’s emails for so long wasn’t the most moral thing to do. But as this book went along and I got to know the character more, I began to really like him. In fact by the end I had a bit of a crush on him.

3. Great Aunt Edie (Moonlight Harbor Series by Sheila Roberts)

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Although I have decided not to continue past the second book in the Moonlight Harbor series, I still enjoyed the character Aunt Edie. She is the heart of this series and anyone would be lucky to be stranded in her home (like in the second installment). Reading about all the delicious food she would make, made me long for the holiday season.

4. Daniel (Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett)

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Another of my literary crushes from 2019, was Daniel from Serious Moonlight. I found him to be especially charming and loved how he worked to win over Birdie’s affections. Plus he took her on what I would call the perfect date! To a Murder Mystery dinner.

5. Molly Burke (It’s Not What It Looks Like by Molly Burke)

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Molly Burke isn’t a fictional character, but an author, motivational speaker and YouTuber. Despite losing her sight as a teenager, she travels the world sharing herstory and encouraging others with her optimism.

6. The Elderly Sherlock Holmes (A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin)

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Although this story of Sherlock Holmes, wasn’t written by the original author. I enjoyed this post-WWII version of the famed investigator which was written by Mitch Cullin.

Memes · Recommendations · Tags · Wrap-ups

#Top10of2k19 New or New to Me Authors

Top 10 of 2019
Top 10 of 2019 is a meme that looks back on the books read throughout the year. It is hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads and @greadsbooks. It runs from December 25-31.

Day 2 of #Top10of2k19, is all about New or New to Me Authors. I will also be posting my responses on Instagram. You can follow me at @melissaleesredhousereviews.

Rachel McMillan
Nicola Yoon
Rainbow Rowell
Emma Mills
Karin Tanabe
Jojo Moyes
Sheila Roberts
Jenn Bennett
Genevieve Graham
Beatriz Williams

Have you read any of these authors? Are you participating in #Top10of2k19? If so leave me your link in the comments, so I can check out your response.

Memes · Tags · Wrap-ups

#Top10of2K19 Books I Wish I’d Made the Time to Read in 2019

Top 10 of 2019
Top 10 of 2019 is a meme that looks back on the books read throughout the year. It is hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads and @greadsbooks. It runs from December 25-31.

Today is the first day of #Top10of2k19 and the topic is Books I Wish I’d Made the Time to Read in 2019. I will also be posting my responses on Instagram. You can follow me @melissaleesredhousereviews

Books from my TBR Jar

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams

2019 Releases

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Books I was Sent for Review

The Winter Sister by Megan Collins
The Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite
Crashing the A-List by Summer Heacock
The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White
Trouble and Strife by Johanne Levesque

Have you read any of the books above? Are you participating in #Top10of2k19? If so leave your link in the comments so I can check out your responses.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Pros vs. Cons Review: A Certain Age (A Certain Age, 1) by Beatriz Williams

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A Certain Age
(A Certain Age, #1)
By Beatriz Williams

Published: June 2016
Published by: William Morrow
Format Read: Hardcover
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis

The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers brings the Roaring Twenties brilliantly to life in this enchanting and compulsively readable tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal in New York Society, brimming with lush atmosphere, striking characters, and irresistible charm.

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression … and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts: Pros vs. Cons

The Pros

  • I was instantly drawn in by the New York City high society plot, set in the 1920s.
  • The inclusion of newspaper columns in the style of a gossip writer reminded me of the Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen, only with an older cast of characters.
  • Theresa and Sophie’s characters were well written and complex. In fact they were each others opposite, which was interesting.
  • Theresa felt very authentic to the time period. From her style to her ideals and language, she was typical for a high society New Yorker of the era.
  • I liked how the quotes by Helen Rowland tied into each chapter.

The Cons

  • Theresa’s story was told in first person, whereas Sophie’s was not. I found this slightly irritating, however in the end I do understand why the author decided to tell the story this way.
  • I was captivated by the premise of the mystery and I thought that A Certain Age would garner 4 stars, however the way it unfolded turned out to be very anti-climatic, in my opinion.

In Conclusion

A Certain Age had a lot of potential, unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to what I thought it would. I do believe that it is worthy of reading and I do plan on giving Beatriz Williams another try.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Body of Proof by Darrell Brown & Sophie Ellis

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Body of Proof
By: Darrell Brown & Sophie Ellis

Published: September 2019
Published by: Audible Originals
Format Read: Audiobook, Audible
Genre: Non-fiction, True Crime

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

A woman disappeared. A man was convicted. Case closed?

Body of Proof, a true crime podcast, examines the many unanswered questions surrounding the disappearance and death of Suzanne Pilley in Edinburgh in 2010 and the subsequent conviction of David Gilroy. Journalists and TV producers Darrell Brown and Sophie Ellis spent two years investigating the case and spoke exclusively to David Gilroy, who was convicted of murdering Suzanne Pilley and disposing of her body. Sentenced to life in a Scottish prison, Gilroy maintains his innocence. Although police believe they have the right man, key components of the prosecution’s case are missing: there is no body of the victim, no witnesses to the crime, and no physical evidence (no DNA, CCTV video, or murder weapon).

In this gripping, step-by-step investigation, Darrell Brown and Sophie Ellis uncover startling information not heard in court that might have changed the minds of the jurors. And they shine a light on aspects of the Scottish criminal justice system that might be keeping an innocent man behind bars.

A What’s the Story Films production for Audible.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

Suzanne Pilley was last seen walking through the busy Edinburgh streets on her way to work one morning in 2010. Her coworker David Gilroy is charged with her murder and sentenced to life in prison. The only problem is that no body or evidence found. Documenters Darrell Brown and Sophie Ellis examine the case in the effort to uncover the truth and determine whether or not Gilroy is really guilty or innocent.

As I have recently become more interested in True Crime, I downloaded Body of Proof on a whim. I began listening not knowing that it would be presented in documentary format. While this may have irritated some listeners, I was intrigued by this case from the beginning. Even though I knew the outcome for David Gilroy, this audiobook had me hooked and I listened to it in one day.

The steps that were taken to investigate and put together the events of this case had me second-guessing my own verdict throughout. In the end I still do not have a definite answer and it made me definitely question the legal systems handling of this situation. I highly recommend listening to this Audible Original: Body of Proof.

Challenges · Memes · Wrap-ups

Top 10 of 2019

Its that time of year again when all of the wrap-ups are being posted and we reflect on the past twelve months in reading.

Last year I really enjoyed participating in Kimberly Faye’s Top 10 in 2018 and I am excited to be joining up for her 2019 event. It will run from December 25-31.

Top 10 of 2019

This year, she will have a co-host; Ginger ( @greadsbooks) and they will be posting both on the blog and Instagram. Here are the prompts:

If you would like to participate, you can sign up at Kimberly Faye Reads.