25 January 2021

February book club pick

Time has flown, we are now approaching the end of January.  I am shocked at how fast this month has flown by.  I have gotten so many great books off my TBR as I tend to read more in the months before spring.  I know, I know most folks read more as summer gets here, but that is my busy time at work so I take massive advantage of the winter slow down.  

The book for February is Stories from Suffragette City.  A novel that was written by many big names in the world of historical fiction.  

Lisa Wingate
M J Rose
Steve Berry
Paula McLain
Katherine J Chen
Christina Baker Kline
Jamie Ford
Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Megan Chance
Alyson Richman
Chris Bohjalian
Fiona Davis

The events of this book take place on October 23, 1915.  What is special about that day?  It was the day that over one million women marched for the right to vote in New York City.  We, as women, have come so far, and yet we have so much more to accomplish.  #votesforwomen

I hope you enjoy this read as much as I did.  

21 January 2021

I have no time to read

I would love to read, but I don't have the time. 

  I get it, but let's think about how to remedy this problem. Here are my steps to get more books off the TBR (To Be Read list) and into your "finished" column. If you have no TBR list, I would LOVE to help you build one.   

1.  Don't make it a competition (unless that is your thing).

Never put yourself in a situation where you feel that you have to compete with someone on the number of books read. Challenge yourself to finish one book every two months, or one book a month. 

You are the only one that knows the number that is right for you.  

2.  Fill idle time.

One of my secrets for reading more is to fill that idle time.  It is so easy to kill time with the TV, the phone, or the computer.  I have channeled that wasted time to reading.  On my phone, I have limited social media to one hour a day.   Don't even get out the computer!  Don't do it, you know those funny memes will never let you go!!!

The same goes for television, put down the remote or pretend the TV doesn't exist so that you are not distracted.  We all know what will happen if you touch that remote. You will binge watch that new show on Netflix or Disney+ and again, you will never escape.   NEVER!!!! 

3. Use audiobooks.

 Yes, audiobooks count too!!! For me, the experience is all about the narrator. Some of the best audiobooks I have ever listed feature the talents of Jim Dale.   

Here is a list of times you can try an audiobook:

  • On the commute to work or traveling
  • In the shower/bath
  • While cooking dinner
  • While it is quiet in the office
  • While cleaning the house (pop in some headphones to make this easier)
  • While grocery shopping
  • While working a puzzle or crafting

While walking

  • At a little league game (shhh, we all know these things last forever)

I always recommend audios to folks that think they hate to read too. You may get sucked in by the story and decide to do more by the same author or even that same narrator. 

Try it tip: I can't test this theory, I have heard that Alexa will read books to you if you have them in your Kindle account.

4.  Use the extra or stolen moments. 

Take advantage of any moment you have to wait on someone or something. You can squeeze in a few pages here and thereby practicing this tip.  Yesterday I went to the dentist and got 10 pages in while sitting and waiting.

 5.  Set a goal!  

Not a goal to compete against anyone (unless that is your thing), but a goal for yourself.  " Write down that goal and use tick marks to count or a journal of the books you have read. 

6.  Just say NO!!!

If you have started a book that doesn't grab you, or have started one that you aren't feeling, put it down.  I don't care how many people say, "this is the greatest book", it is for them, but not for you.  Don't torture yourself with a book you don't like. Set a rule for yourself.  I practice a 50/5 rule, if, after 50 pages or 5 chapters, if I am not gripped by the story, I will close the book. I put the book on a virtual shelf labeled "abandoned". In 2020, I abandoned twelve books.  

7.  Set aside an assigned time and make reading a habit.

Set aside a time every day and say I will read at such and such time. I have carved out an hour every morning. I am on top of my game and enjoy what I am reading more during the morning hour or so than any other time during the day.  You may be an evening reader, I know that I am not so I made my reading time start my day.  Use this time every day for your reading time. Some people call this "alone time", I call it "Kindle time". 

8.  Paper or electronic?

I thought this was a no brainer (paper wins) until I discovered the eInk e-reader.  This device changed my reading life.  I went from reading 20 or 30 books a year to hundreds. I admit that the digital platform is the reading life for me.  I can carry all my books with me at all times. I can read in varying light, or after my husband has gone to sleep.  My friend is the opposite, she prefers the paper book and gets more reading done with that physical book in her lap. 

 9. Read what you like.

I mentioned this when I talked about a bad book, but also think about what you are reading. If you like YA, read YA.  I like historical fiction and books on the President of the United States.  I try other genres of books, but I always come back to these.  You might like to try celeb bios or westerns, there are so many genres out there that one will fit your likes.

10.  No negativity. 

Don't say I wish I could, do it.  If you want to do something, prioritize it.  Carve out that time and make it important to you.  You got this!!!

15 January 2021

January Bonus Book Pick

 Hello, by now we are almost halfway through the month of January.  We are approaching inauguration day and hopefully seeing some snow (because I love Presidents and snow :) ).  I hope you have been reading (or are a waitlist) for my two January books.  Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson is the newly published book and then I chose a new classic, On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford too.  Both have a WWII storyline, but take place in two different parts of the world (Italy and America, respectively).  

I have chosen a bonus book in the event that you don't care for either of those, or you have already finished them.  This one is a complete departure from the WWII world that I usually read about because it takes place in the western United States in the 1800s.  

Outlawed is a book about the wild west, but not the wild west that we all know about.  This one starts with a woman named Ada.  Ada marries a local guy (not completely by their choosing, but they did like each other) and turns up to be barren.  According to the laws of Baby Jesus, a woman must reproduce or she is cast aside so Ada is dumped and sent off to find her own way.  She ends up in the wild, untamed west as a member of a gang.....a gang of girl crooks.  All the women in this gang are barren or outcast from society.  I am not going to spoil a thing for you, but I will say I never thought I would read a western book and enjoy it, but I sure did enjoy this one.  

10 January 2021

Faith Journal Page

 Hello and welcome to 2021!!!

So many people keep journals, myself included,  and every year I look for a journal that gives me what I want.  In 2020, I kept adding to the existing one that I was using and decided for 2021 I was going to make some of my own pages.  I worked on a faith page because I wanted a place to reflect on good things, which is what I try to use my journal to accomplish anyway.  

My journal is a combination of art, books, events, prayers, faith, gratitude, and BT.  I try to write down a BT for every single day.  What is a BT?  It is the BEST THING that happened that day.  Try doing that, it completely changes your outlook on how your day went.  I don't think I said "I had a bad day" one day in 2020 since I started.  

I am going to share with you the page that I made today.  Use it if you like, change it up, do your own thing, and may you have the greatest year ever!!!

Download a copy here.

Review: The Fall of Richard Nixon: A Reporter Remembers Watergate

The Fall of Richard Nixon: A Reporter Remembers Watergate The Fall of Richard Nixon: A Reporter Remembers Watergate by Tom Brokaw
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Review: When We Meet Again

When We Meet Again When We Meet Again by Kristin Harmel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Review: Outlawed

Outlawed Outlawed by Anna North
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Review: A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

01 January 2021

Looking forward to these new releases

 Every year I make a list of books I want to read that will be published in the upcoming year. I see I never posted it last year, but did all the other years, weird.  Anyhoo, I am going to publish it this year because there are some that I cannot wait to get my hands on.  There are also a few titles that I have already read and I can't wait until my friends get to read them too.  

What I do is make a list of all upcoming titles that interest me.  I then look at my libraries to see if I can go ahead and put any of them on hold.  If I can I do if I can't then I keep this list and every month I go back to my libraries and see if I can put any of the upcoming titles on hold.  

I looked back on this year's unpublished list and I have read all but two books that I chose.  The year before (that list is posted) I read all but one.  

I cannot find many books listed to be published after May (I think I had this problem last year too), so I may update this later.  I have some that I can't find dates for, like Blood by the Jonas Brothers. It keeps getting pushed back.  

Here is my list for 2021

January 5

January 5

January 12

February 9

I have read this one and loved it!! I can't wait for you guys to read it.  It is about the American Library in Paris during WWII

March 9

I was lucky enough to get a hold of a copy of this one too.  WOW!! This one is all about a shipwreck in Savannah and features two time periods.  The first period is the setting of the sinking, the backstory, and the aftermath of the sinking are depicted.  The second time period is a modern-day setting and the shipwreck has been found and now the archivers need to uncover the ship's secrets.  

March 9

March 23 

March 30

I was also lucky enough to get my hands on this book.  Stephanie does an incredible job of showing three time periods.  One is the American Revolution where you meet the bride, Adrienne,  of Gilbert, Marquis de Lafayette.  Next, you see Beatrice in World War I, Beatrice has purchased the home of Gilbert and Adrienne's chateau in France.  Lastly, you will see Marthe try to uncover her past and survive Hilter's regime in WWII.  This was an exceptional book.  

May 4