Search This Blog

Love reading challenges? Check out my other blog:

2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (4)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (4)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine
- Maryland (1)
- Massachusetts (1)
- Michigan (1)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico
- New York (3)
- North Carolina (1)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (6)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (3)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming (1)
- *Washington, D.C.

International:
Australia (2)
Canada (3)
England (6)
France (1)
Ireland (1)
Switzerland (1)
The Philippines (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


27 / 51 states. 53% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

My Progress:


0 / 24 books. 0% done!

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

My Progress:


6 / 25 books. 24% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My Progress:


32 / 50 books. 64% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


39 / 52 books. 75% done!
Thursday, September 16, 2021

Gothic-y Mystery a Compelling Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

I'm perpetually behind on reviews and this one is a good example.  I read The Daughters of Foxcote Manor (also called The Glass House) by Eve Chase way back in April.  While I enjoyed it, I really can't remember much about it.  So, I'm going to cheat and use the official blurb:

Outside a remote manor house in an idyllic wood, a baby girl is found.

The Harrington family takes her in and disbelief quickly turns to joy. They're grieving a terrible tragedy of their own and the beautiful baby fills them with hope, lighting up the house's dark, dusty corners. Desperate not to lose her to the authorities, they keep her secret, suspended in a blissful summer world where normal rules of behaviour - and the law - don't seem to apply.

But within days a body will lie dead in the grounds. And their dreams of a perfect family will shatter like glass.

Years later, the truth will need to be put back together again, piece by piece . . .

From the author of Black Rabbit Hall, The Glass House is a emotional, thrilling book about family secrets and belonging - and how we find ourselves when we are most lost. 

Thank goodness for GoodReads, where I faithfully record my impressions of a book right after I read it.  Here's what I said about this one:

The Daughters of Foxcote Manor ticks all my favorite reading boxes: Gothic vibes, family secrets, atmospheric setting, interesting characters, etc.  It's an engrossing novel with a strong sense of place, well-developed characters, and a plot that kept me turning pages.  I loved Rita, although I wasn't as enamored of Sylvie.  Still, they're both relatable, sympathetic characters whose voices kept me engaged in the story.  While I guessed some of the book's plot twists, there were others that surprised me. Overall, then, I found this novel to be a compelling, satisfying read.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other novels by Eve Chase, including Black Rabbit Hall and The Wilding Sisters)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (1 F-bomb—I think—plus milder expletives), violence, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: My Fall TBR List, Part One


Since I'm not feeling very inspired by today's TTT topic—Top Ten Books With Numbers in the Titles—I'm going to skip ahead to next week's, which is all about what's on my Fall TBR list.  I'm still hoping to read at least 55 books before the year ends, so I'll give you ten potential reads this week and ten next week.  I'll miss the next two weeks after that because I'll be in...drumroll, please...Europe!  We're heading out soon for our long-awaited sightseeing/family history trip to the U.K. and France.  My ancestors emigrated from England, Wales, and Scotland in the 1800s and I, personally, have never been back.  I'm excited to be able to finally see their homelands for myself.  

If you want to join in the TTT fun (and you do!), click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.

Top Ten Books on My Fall 2021 TBR List


1.  Survive the Night by Riley Sager—I've mentioned this one a few times already because I'm so excited to read Sager's newest thriller about a ride-share road trip gone wrong.  I'm finally at the top of the library's queue, so I should have this one in my hot little hands within the next week or so.


2.  Beyond the Mapped Stars by Rosalyn Eves—I bought a copy of this MG historical set in 1878, which is about a teen girl who's caught between the future she wants as an astronomer and the one she's expected to lead as a proper Mormon girl, soon to be married off despite her young age. 


3.  Where Echoes Lie by Shannon Schuren (available October 19, 2021)—This eerie YA thriller sounds like the perfect read for Halloween.  It's about a teenage girl who's obsessed by a local legend about a ghost bride who haunts her Kentucky town.


4.  Cackle by Rachel Harrison (available October 5, 2021)—Another fun Halloween yarn, this one concerns a woman looking for a fresh start who moves to a quaint town in upstate New York.  She's charmed by her new town, where everything is just too perfect to be real.  Her new bestie included.  It's not long before the newcomer begins to realize that something a little...otherworldly...may be going on.


5.  Bottomland by Michelle Hoover—I need a book set in Iowa for the Literary Escapes Challenge and this novel sounds intriguing.  It's about a German family in America who's been the center of anti-German sentiment following World War I.  When two of their daughters go missing one night, they fear the worst.  What happened to the girls?  Will they ever be found?


6.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë—This classic fits a few reading challenge prompts I need to fill, so it's a good time for a re-read.


7.  The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof—This dual-timeline novel concerns Juniper Cohen, a mail-order bride who finds love with a kind man in a rough California mining town.  When he disappears, she's confused and distraught.  One hundred years later, a struggling single dad finds the letters Juniper wrote to her lost husband and becomes embroiled in their long-ago mystery.


8.  The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Inheritance Games is a fun YA novel about an ordinary girl who learns she's in the running to inherit an immense fortune.  I've been looking forward to the sequel, which continues the story of the madcap competition that will win someone a very large amount of money.


9.  The Cure for What Ales You by Ellie Alexander (available October 5, 2021)—The Sloan Krause series is one of my favorite cozies, so I'm eagerly awaiting this fifth installment.  In this one, Sloan is still on the hunt for her birthmother.  When the woman she believes is her mother becomes a suspect in a murder, things start to get super complicated...


10.  What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson—Idaho is another of the few states I have left in the Literary Escapes Challenge, so I'm going to give this YA book a go.  It's about two desperate teenagers on the hunt for a cache of money that will enable both to survive their bleak existences.  They're not the only ones, however, who will stop at nothing to find the stash.

There you go, a variety of novels I'm hoping to read this Fall.  Have you read any of them?  What did you think?  What are you planning to read in the next few months?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Wholesome Historical Romance a Warm, Uplifting Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

With her father away from home to find work, 20-year-old Tansy Calhoun must pitch in even more than usual to help her family.  Not only does she help her mother take care of the home and care for her younger siblings, but Tansy also works as a packhorse librarian.  Delivering books to the folks nestled high in the Appalachian Mountains is the highlight of her long days.  She loves the freedom, the land, and the people.  While there's satisfaction in the simplicity of her life, Tansy can't help but long for the kinds of magical romances she reads about in books.  Is it too much to hope for a Prince Charming of her own?

After working out of state with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), 26-year-old Caleb Barton has returned to Kentucky to help his mother after the death of his brother.  He's surprised to learn that Tansy—the girl he's been in love with since childhood—remains unmarried.  When a smooth-talking writer comes into town looking for stories for the Federal Writers' Project, his sights land on the pretty librarian as well.  Can Caleb wrestle up the courage to finally confess his feelings for Tansy before it's too late?

Crochety spinster Perdita Sweet may still be embittered over her own lost love, but she's not about to let Tansy make a poor choice.  Can her meddling persuade her starry-eyed cousin to stop looking for love inside the pages of a novel and see that the perfect man is right in front of her?  Or will Tansy break all their hearts by falling for the fancy city slicker?

I love historical fiction, but I usually prefer a tale that is about more than just romance.  A love story is fine; I just like it as a subplot rather than the main one.  So, I hesitated a little to pick up Along a Storied Trail, the newest historical romance by Ann H. Gabhart, since it seemed to be all romance.  I worried I'd get bored with it.  Was I right?  Yes and no.  The novel definitely lacks in action and conflict, which makes it drag at times.  Tansy also lacks a tangible story goal, something that gives her a reason to take risks and give her all to a cause she's passionate about in spite of whatever might get in her way.  She has her book deliveries, sure, but they're not something she really has to fight for, you know?  Likewise, she doesn't have to battle to win Caleb's love.  She's already got it.  All of this means that while I liked Tansy, I didn't become super invested in her story.  I wanted good things for her, yes, but I also never doubted she would get them.  What I would have liked to see is a little more conflict, struggle, and growth from Tansy.  This would have made her story more gripping and unputdownable for me.

That being said, Along a Storied Trail really is a warm, uplifting story.  The characters aren't overly original or memorable, but they're good, kind-hearted people.  It's impossible not to like them.  The Appalachian setting is vivid and colorful, a backdrop that feels authentic.  As I mentioned, the novel doesn't have a lot of plot, so it does get a little dull here and there.  There was enough going on in the tale to keep me reading, but it did take me a few days to get through this one (whereas I can speed through an engrossing thriller in a matter of hours).  I don't always love Christian novels because they can get preachy and heavy-handed, but Gabhart handles the religious elements in Along a Storied Trail well.  She makes faith feel natural, as if it's just a normal, daily thing for the story's hill people.  I love that!  All these things considered, then, I ended up enjoying this novel.  It's the first I've read by Gabhart, but it won't be the last.  When I'm looking for another clean, uplifting historical novel, I'll definitely look for other titles by her.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson)

Grade:  


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for scenes of peril and scary situations

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Along a Storied Trail from the generous folks at Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!
Thursday, September 09, 2021

Novel Shows Beauty of Found Family in All Its Complicated Glory

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After suffering her own trauma, Dahlia Moscatelli has become a prisoner in her own home.  That doesn't mean she can't offer it as a refuge to others, though.  She and her husband, Louie, are already sheltering three long-term foster children.  When a social worker begs Dahlia to take in one more—a six-year-old who's been horribly abused and needs emergency placement—she hesitates.  Not only is Agnes Juniper a traumatized little girl with developmental delays, but she's also half Native American.  It's 1959 in small-town Massachusetts and the Moscatellis already have enough trouble with the neighbors over taking in so many kids.  When Dahlia meets Agnes, however, she caves.  The damaged youngster is in such obvious need that none of the Moscatellis can bear to turn her away.

It's clear from the get-go that Agnes' presence is about to change the lives of everyone in the Moscatelli household.  Over the next decade and a half, as they embrace the little girl and work together to love away her pain, the Moscatellis experience all the sorrows, challenges, and triumphs that define family life.  With one special girl at their center, all of them will find healing like they've never known before.

Describing All the Children Are Home by Patry Francis is difficult because the novel really doesn't have a plot.  The story meanders here and there as it details everything that happens when Agnes disrupts the Moscatellis' lives for the better.  Because the tale is so unfocused, it definitely sags in places.  Still, all in all, I found All the Children Are Home to be quite compelling.  The characters are sympathetic and likable, even if some of them (Dahlia and Louie in particular) are not exactly warm, fuzzy types.  Their story feels authentic.  It's sad, with a realistically untidy end, and yet, it's also a hopeful tale about the beauty of found family in all its complicated glory.  I liked the novel overall.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (a handful of F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, disturbing subject matter, and depictions of illegal drug use (marijuana)

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of All the Children Are Home with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Reading

<i>Reading</i>
The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
Glass Houses by Louise Penny



Followin' with Bloglovin'

Follow

Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly



Grab my Button!


Blog Design by:


Blog Archive