Articles · Challenges · Wrap-ups

52 Book Club Challenge Wrap-up 2021

Although I didn’t post my progress here on my blog, I did participate in the 52 Book Club Challenge during 2021. For those of you who have not heard of this challenge or the club, the goal is to read books to match with the prompts given. What I love about this challenge is that it made me pick up books that I might not have otherwise read. Finding books to fit each prompt is easy because of the reading guide on the clubs website and the feedback from the other readers who are participating.

Here are the prompts from 2021:

The 52 Book Club's 2021 Reading Challenge - 52 Books in 52 Weeks

So how did I do?

Well I read over 52 books this past year, however I didn’t manage to fill all of the prompts. However I did complete more than I did when I participated the previous year. The following are the prompts I completed along with the books I read for each:

  1. Set in a school:
    The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
  2. Featuring the legal profession:
    He Sees You When You’re Sleeping by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark
  3. A dual timeline:
    The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
  4. An author that is deceased:
    Remembrance by Alistair MacLeod
  5. Published by Penguin
    After You by Jojo Moyes
  6. A character with the same name as a male family member:
    Abduction! by Peg Kehret
  7. An author with only one published book:
    For the Love of Friends by Sara Goodman Confino
  8. A book in the 900s of the Dewey Decimal System:
  9. Set in a Mediterranean country:
  10. Related to the word fire:
    Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, 18) by Janet Evanovich
  11. A book with discussion questions inside:
    Anna’s Crossing (Amish Beginnings, 1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher
  12. Title starting with the letter “d”:
    Double Dare O’Toole by Constance C. Greene
  13. Includes an exotic animal:
    The Devoted (The Bishop’s Family, 3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher [an exotic bird]
  14. Written by an author over 65:
    American Duchess by Karen Harper
  15. A Book mentioned in another book:
    Muddy Bottom (Palmetto Island, 1) by Ashley Farley
  16. Set before the 17th century:
    Catla and the Vikings by Mary Elizabeth Nelson
  17. A character “on the run”:
    The Lieutenants Nurse by Sara Ackerman
  18. An author with a 9-letter last name:
    Lumberjanes (Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy) by Noelle Stevenson et. al.
  19. Book with a deckled edge:
    The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
  20. Made into a tv series:
    Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
  21. Book by Kristin Hannah:
    Fly Away (Firefly Lane, 2) by Kristin Hannah
  22. A family saga:
    The Lake House by Kate Morton
  23. An ending that surprises you:
    The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
  24. a book you think they should read in schools:
    Flight From the Fortress by Lyn Cook
  25. A book with multiple character POV:
    The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton
  26. An author of colour:
    The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  27. First chapter ends on an odd page number:
    Ice Magic (Silver Blades, 16) by Melissa Lowell
  28. Includes a historical event you know little about:
    We Came Here to Shine by Susie Orman Schnall
  29. Featuring the environment:
    Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
  30. Watch out for dragons:
    A Royal Pain (Her Royal Spyness Mystery, 2) by Rhys Bowen [a character is referred to as the “old dragon’]
  31. Shares a similar title to another book:
    Verity by Colleen Hoover
  32. A selfish character:
    Tinaca Jones by Matt Boren
  33. Featuring adoption:
    Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  34. A book you’d rate 5 stars:
    Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins
  35. Set in a country that starts with the letter “s”:
    The Bookshop on the Shore (Scottish Bookshop 2) by Jenny Colgan
  36. A nameless narrator:
  37. An educational read:
    100 Ways to Motivate Yourself by Steve Chandler
  38. Recommended on Book Bub”
    Stranded (Alaskan Courage, 3) by Dani Pettrey
  39. An alternate history novel:
  40. Found via #bookstagram:
  41. An endorsement by a famous author on the cover:
    Inheriting Edith by Zoe Fishman
  42. An epistolary:
    Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Martiza Moulite
  43. A character with a pet cat:
    Royal Wedding (The Princess Diaries, 11) by Meg Cabot
  44. Includes a garden:
    The Mystery at Lilac Inn (Nancy Drew, 4) by Carolyn Keene
  45. A coming of age novel:
    The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
  46. Winner of the National Book Award (any year):
  47. A character with a disability:
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  48. A cover with a woman who is facing away:
    Buried Deep by Margo Hunt
  49. A flavour in the title:
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  50. A shoe on the cover:
    64th Man by Bryan Tucker & Zack Phillips
  51. Published in 2021:
    The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
  52. Re-do one of the previous 51 categories from this 2021 challenge:
    The New Elizabeth (Sweet Valley High, 63) by Francine Pascal [TV Series]

I’m looking forward to participating in this challenge again this year.

Articles · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

My Top 6 Books Read in 2021

Over the year of 2021, I read only 6 books that I gave 5 star ratings to. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the majority of the books I read, I did. I actually allowed myself to read more according to my mood, rather than a more strict schedule I have stuck to in the past. There were several books I read this past year that I had very high expectations for. Many of which were from authors that I have rated highly in the past. Oddly enough none of those books made this Top 6 list. Instead the books that ended up on this list were ones I randomly picked up on a whim. I wonder how this will play out during 2022.

Here are my favourite books that I read in 2021:

Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Buried Deep by Margot Hunt

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Fly Away (Firefly Lane, 2) by Kristin Hannah

Have you read any of these books? What were your favourite books you read in 2021?

Wishing you all a very happy holidays and a happy new year!

Articles · Challenges · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

2021 Reading Superlatives

Today I am going to share a fun wrap-up post that I’ve never done before. Here are some superlatives from the books I read in 2021.

Articles · Challenges · Personal Post · TBR · Wrap-ups

2021 Wrap-up: Goal Check-in

As I wrap up my posts for the year 2021, I decided to look back on my goals for the past twelve months and see how much progress I made.

At the end of 2020, I posted the following image of the books I was looking forward to reading during the upcoming year.

Here is how I did on this TBR

Number of TBR books read in 2021: 3/6

While I am still looking forward to reading Things You Save in the Fire by Katherine Center and A Winter’s Tale by Cassie Brown, I think that I have lost interest in reading Waiting for Summer’s Return by Kim Vogel Sawyer.

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.

Book Cover

The Notebook
By: Nicholas Sparks

Book Cover

The Lake House
By Kate Morton

Book Cover

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.