Articles · Challenges · TBR

October TBR: Reading My Favourite Authors

Over the summer I made it a point to focus on all of the back-list books I had either been sent for review or had won via giveaways. Afterwards I decided that I would reward myself by spending a month reading books I own by my favourite authors.

Three of those authors include; Nicholas Sparks, Kate Morton and Mitch Albom. Here are the books I will be focusing on during the month of October.

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The Notebook
By: Nicholas Sparks

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The Lake House
By Kate Morton

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The First Phone Call From Heaven
By: Mitch Albom

Articles · Recommendations · Worth a Watch

My Firefly Lane Playlist

Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane has been on my TBR for years, however in light of the release of the Netflix adaptation, I decided to bump it up my list. I finally read this book in April and enjoyed the coming of age story of two best friends.

For those who are not familiar with this book here is the synopsis:

Book Cover

From the New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah comes a powerful novel of love, loss, and the magic of friendship. . . .

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all—beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness.

Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you—and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.

Source: Goodreads

I loved all the cultural references to the time periods it covers. Kristin Hannah really transports her readers back in time. Another aspect I loved, was how much amazing music was incorporated into this book and how it played such a pivotal role in the different chapters of Tully and Kate’s lives.

Today I would like to share with you some (and I could add tons more ha) of my favourite songs that were mentioned in Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane.

For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield

Daydream Believer by The Monkees

Takin’ Care of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

Articles · Memes · TBR

Waiting on Wednesday: Our Woman in Moscow

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, that shines a spotlight on the books we can’t wait to be released in the near future.

Today I would like to share the synopsis for an author that has several titles I’m interested in reading. Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams is set to be released June 1, 2021.

Our Woman in Moscow
By: Beatriz Williams

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Synopsis

The New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Flight returns with a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion that proves again why Elin Hilderbrand says Beatriz Williams “is writing the best historical fiction out there.”

In the autumn of 1948, Iris Digby vanishes from her London home with her American diplomat husband and their two children. The world is shocked by the family’s sensational disappearance. Were they eliminated by the Soviet intelligence service? Or have the Digbys defected to Moscow with a trove of the West’s most vital secrets?

Four years later, Ruth Macallister receives a postcard from the twin sister she hasn’t seen since their catastrophic parting in Rome in the summer of 1940, as war engulfed the continent and Iris fell desperately in love with an enigmatic United States Embassy official named Sasha Digby. Within days, Ruth is on her way to Moscow, posing as the wife of counterintelligence agent Sumner Fox in a precarious plot to extract the Digbys from behind the Iron Curtain.

But the complex truth behind Iris’s marriage defies Ruth’s understanding, and as the sisters race toward safety, a dogged Soviet agent forces them to make a heartbreaking choice between two irreconcilable loyalties.

Source: Always With a Book

Articles · Memes · TBR

Waiting on Wednesday: The Rose Code

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, that shines a spotlight on the books we can’t wait to be released in the near future.

Today I will be sharing the synopsis for Kate Quinn’s The Rose Code, which is set to be released March 9, 2021.

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

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Synopsis

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Huntress and The Alice Network returns with another heart-stopping World War II story of three female code breakers at Bletchley Park and the spy they must root out after the war is over.

1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles, and soon Beth spreads her wings as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart. 1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger–and their true enemy–closer… 

Source: Goodreads
Articles · Tags

The Anti-TBR Tag

I came across the Anti-TBR Tag on Kristin Kraves Books and it was originally created by NICOLE on YouTube.

  1. a popular book everyone loves but you have no interest in reading?
    Divergent by Veronica Roth
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2. a classic book/author you don’t have an interest in reading?
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

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3. an author whose books you have no interest in reading?
George R.R. Martin

4. a problematic author whose books you have no interest in reading?
Orson Scott Card

5. an author you have read a couple books from and decided their books are not for you?
Jane Austen

6. a genre you have no interest in OR genre you tried and couldn’t get into?
Sci-fi, Fantasy, Horror

7. a book you bought but will never read OR a library book you borrowed but returned unread?

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, 1) by Marissa Meyer

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8. a series you have no interest in reading OR a series you started but have dnf’d?
A Series I DNF’d: Moonlight Harbor Series by Sheila Roberts

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9. a new release you have no interest in reading?

Lore by Alexandra Bracken

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Articles · Book Reviews · Challenges · Wrap-ups

2020 Wrap-up: Goal Check-in

As I wrap up my posts for the year 2020, I decided to look back on my goals for the past twelve months and see how much progress I made.

At the end of 2019, I posted the following image of the books I was looking forward to reading.

Here is how I did:

Number of books read in 2020: 5/10

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen
The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin
Conviction by Denise Mina
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

How did you do with your reading goals for 2020? Let me know in the comments.

Articles · Challenges · TBR · Wrap-ups

2020 Wrap-up: Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading in 2021

I have yet to decide if I will have a more structured approach to my TBR this year, but because I did well (unintentionally) with the books I included on my list for 2020, I decided to go ahead and post one for 2021.

Here are the books I’m interested in reading over the next twelve months.

Waiting for Summer’s Return (Heart of the Prairie, 1) by Kim Vogel Sawyer
A Winter’s Tale: The Wreck of the Florizel by Cassie Brown
A Royal Pain (Her Royal Spyness 2) by Rhys Bowen
Trouble and Strife by Johanne Levesque
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

Articles · Wrap-ups

2020 Wrap-up: Cover Love

Although some of these books weren’t necessarily my top books that I read in 2020 but they did make it to one of my favourites posts due in part to their awesome covers.

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I thought this was a good depiction of the main character Daisy Jones.

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This cover screams autumn. And what a beautiful view.

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The cover photo for this book shows women fighting fires after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is a perfect image to introduce a book about courageous women.

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What better way to represent Nashville and country music than with an image of a rhinestone cowboy boot?

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I love a book set in a ship and this cover was done beautifully.

Which of these covers do you like the most? Do you have a favourite cover from the books you read in 2020? Let me know in the comments.

Articles · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

2020 Wrap-up: Best of the Best

The following are my favourite books that I read over the past twelve months.

Honorable Mentions: The Book of Gutsy Women by Hillary Rodham Clinton & Chelsea Clinton , Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

What was your favourite books of the year? Have you read any of the titles I mentioned? Leave me a message in the comments.

Articles · Challenges

On the Fence Try a Chapter 2: Historical Fiction Kindle Edition

Back in March, I decided to sort through my Kindle library and weed out some books that I was on the fence about. I read the first chapter of three eBooks and got rid of those that didn’t catch my interest.

Click here to see that post and to recap, my results were as follows:

Book: Snowfall and Secrets (Omega Mu Alpha Brothers, 1) by Kimberly Loth
Verdict: Keep
Status: Read & Reviewed
Rating: 2.5/5

Book: Bundle of Trouble (Maternal Instincts Mystery, 1) by Diana Orgain
Verdict: Keep
Status: Read and Reviewed
Rating: 2.5/5

Book: Murder on the SS Rosa (Ginger Rose Mysteries 1) by Lee Strauss
Verdict: Toss
Status: Deleted

Although both of the books I decided to keep had their positive points, they both didn’t garner a very high rating. Hopefully this second round of On the Fence, Try a Chapter will uncover some more enjoyable stories.

For this edition I will be sampling historical fiction books from my Kindle library. Here are the three books I considered:

The Engagement Party
By: Kimberly Freeman

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Synopsis

Flora Honeychurch-Black awakens on the day of her engagement party excited yet somehow unsettled. Throughout the day, despite the well-meaning attention of her friend Liberty and the distraction of the household’s many preparations for the night’s celebration, Flora’s unease grows. Her much-loved, erratic brother Sam unwittingly adds to the tension, behaving oddly and drawing mirth from her suave fiance Tony and derision from some of his sophisticated coterie of friends.
As the storm clouds gather outside and the engagement party begins, Flora realises that something is amiss. Where is Sam? What secret is he hiding? The answers may be more than Flora – and her new relationships and loyalties – can bear.

Source: Goodreads

First Impression

This short story opens on the day of our main character Flora’s engagement party. I like that this is set in a country I haven’t read a lot from (Australia) and the 1920s time period.

Keep or Toss?

Keep! Although this short story isn’t highly rated, I think it will be a good introduction to Kimberly Freeman’s writing. I am interested in learning how all the details in the synopsis will fit into just 36 pages.

Waiting for Summer’s Return (Heart of the Prairie)
By: Kim Vogel Sawyer

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Synopsis

All alone on the Kansas prairie, Summer Steadman has few options. With her husband and children lost to illness, she has no desire to continue on farther west to where she and her husband planned to build their future. Instead, she seeks employment in a small Mennonite community in order to be near the graves of her family.
Widower Peter Ollenburger, the local gristmill owner, needs someone to teach his young son. When he hears of a “learned woman” in town, he believes she is the answer to his prayers. He soon discovers, however, that helping this outsider may have troublesome consequences.
There is little this father will not do for his son, but as the boy begins to look at Summer as more than a teacher, Peter must make a choice. Does he marry this woman to give his son a new mother, or does he marry only for love?Will Summer’s broken heart ever be able to love again?

Soource: Goodreads

First Impression

In the first chapter we are introduced to a woman named Sumer who has recently lost her husband and four children. She is stranded in an unfamiliar town and seeking employment. Readers are also introduced to a widower name Peter, who is in search for a tutor for his son. Both of these characters have seen tragedy in their lives and I anticipate this novel will be their heartwarming love story. This chapter, although long was interesting and so it didn’t take long to fly through.

Keep or Toss?

Definitely keep! The first chapter has made me really eager to bump this up on my TBR.

All My Love, Detrick
By: Roberta Kagan

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Synopsis

True love is difficult to come by. What would you sacrifice for love? Your home? Your material possessions? Your family and friends? Your principles? Your life?
Prologue
Detrick, a seven-year-old Aryan boy, with blonde hair that shines like the rays of the sun rides his brand new bicycle down a main street of Berlin in 1923. Young and carefree, he’s fully experiencing freedom for the first time. It is mid-day and the street is filled with humanity. Vendors hawk their wares and haggle with potential shoppers, while a few of the new inventions called automoblies honk as make their way through the crowded roads. There is so much to look at, to smell, and to take in, the fresh baked bread, the chocolate candy, the fresh fruit. Detrick is swept away by all of the activities surrounding him, so he is not paying attention when suddenly a horse drawn cart appears causing him to fall. Embarrassed and upset he decides to walk his damaged bicycle home by a different path, one where he is unlikely to be forced to face his friends. A path through the Jewish sector of town. It is here that he meets Jacob Abdenstern, a lovable Jewish bicycle repair man who offers to help the little boy. Detrick having an alcoholic, anti-Semitic father finds a friend and much-needed paternal figure in Jacob. A relationship flourishes between the two of them that will alter both of their lives forever.

Source: Goodreads

First Impression

Whew another long first chapter, or in this case prologue. We are introduced to a young boy named Detrick who befriends a Jewish bicycle salesman. Beginning in Berlin 1923, I anticipate this will be a heartbreaking story.

Keep or Toss?

Keep. In the past I read a fair bit of historical fiction centered around the Holocaust, but it has been quite a while since I’ve visited that time period. It is a topic that I have to be in the mood for. I’ve decided to save this book for another time.

So that makes for 3 books that I will be keeping on my TBR. Two of these titles I hope to read in the near future.