Month: December 2020

Top Ten Tuesdays #320: Favorite Books

Posted December 29, 2020 / Top 10 Tuesdays, Weekly Memes / 2 Comments
Top Ten Tuesdays #320: Favorite Books

Favorite Books of 2020 Top Ten Tuesdays were started by The Broke and the Bookish and are now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where we make lists of our top ten books (or something else!) based on that week’s prompt. The topics are provided ahead of time and can be found here. Book links bring you to Goodreads or my review. It’s certainly been a weird reading year for me – are you tired of me saying that yet? Probably. In any case, some real winners still made it on my favorites list. Here are the top ten books I read in 2020 (minus cookbooks that I rated five stars haha). 5 Stars 4.5 Stars I only rated six books five stars this year, but there are 17 books with 4.5 stars. I tried to parse it down a little to the 4.5 star books that were closest to five stars haha.

Review Round Up | All the Missing Girls, Dear Justyce, and Second Chance on Cypress Lane

Posted December 28, 2020 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Round Up | All the Missing Girls, Dear Justyce, and Second Chance on Cypress Lane

In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews! In the shitty year that is 2020, I completely blew it with #ReadForGrace. No calendar reminder could help me keep track of what day it is, apparently. I decided on a whim to start a book a day or two after her birthday and I think she’d be fine with that 🙂 Megan Miranda (and ALL THE MISSING GIRLS specifically) were favorites of hers. I’d been wanting to read this one forever so it was the perfect opportunity. I’m going to keep this review brief because of spoilers, but wow – what a format! The first chapter or two set the scene for the story: Nicolette is managing the health of her aging father and has to return home to NC to help clean the house in order to sell it. You learn that her best friend from high school went missing a decade before. The narrative is then told in reverse, beginning with Day 15 and ending up at Day 1, the day another girl (Annaliese) goes missing. Along the journey, you find out about the complex relationships between Nicolette and her father, ex-boyfriend, brother… a bunch of people who never left town. It took some getting used to, reading a story in reverse, but it […]

Holiday Review: The Twelve Dates of Christmas

Posted December 27, 2020 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Holiday Review: The Twelve Dates of Christmas

Story This was one of my most anticipated reads for the holiday season and it didn’t disappoint! I loved the idea of following Kate on her twelve dates, set up through the 12 Dates of Christmas program. A local agency developed a matchmaking program where the people would go on twelve predetermined dates with matched partners and see how they get along. They were all seasonal and often festive with holiday themes. Lots of the dates showed some promise and plenty more were major busts, so it was funny to see how they all shook out or what activities the couple would go with. It was pretty obvious where the story was going from the beginning, which was okay by me. I like a predictable holiday romance. It did take me a little while to warm up to the winning love interest though; he was a bit annoying and it felt like he took advantage of her a little bit in the first half of the book (her kindness or friendship, I mean). I won’t say anymore! As I’ll discuss more below, her snow-covered English village was adorable. I could relate to her feelings of wanting to be in the big city (London) for a while but happily returned home to help her father out. She debated if it was the right move but truly loved being there. It makes me want to travel to England as soon as I’m able to get out of the country haha. She had […]

Holiday Reviews: Christmas at Holiday House and Christmas at Fireside Cabins

Posted December 25, 2020 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: Christmas at Holiday House and Christmas at Fireside Cabins

Story I’ve enjoyed RaeAnne Thayne’s novels over the past few years. She tends to write great small town romances that verge on too cheesy and wholesome. Well, this one definitely got further into that territory and I was a little put off by it. There were a lot of repetitive thoughts or conversations that made me roll my eyes. Backing up a bit, this one centers around Abigail and her son Christopher. They move to Silver Bells for a few weeks to help out her friend’s grandma before they plan to move from Arizona to Texas for a fresh start. She’s hoping to move on from her husband’s tragic death with a new city and life for her son. While in Silver Bells, she finds a growing attraction to her friend Lucy’s brother, Ethan, who manages the family’s fancy hotel chain. The story also kind of weirdly and randomly has Lucy’s point of view a few times where she wrestles with her feelings for her brother’s best friend. While I appreciated their story, it was kind of weird because the book had three points of view that weren’t split evenly. It was very much Abigail’s story with some pops of Ethan and even less pops of Lucy. It didn’t make a ton of sense to me. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels Silver Bells was a super cute town and the Holiday House setting was even better. She ends up helping to decorate the mansion with a dozen Christmas trees and […]

Top Ten Tuesdays #319: Books from Santa

Posted December 22, 2020 / Top 10 Tuesdays, Weekly Memes / 2 Comments
Top Ten Tuesdays #319: Books from Santa

Books I Hope Santa Brings Top Ten Tuesdays were started by The Broke and the Bookish and are now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where we make lists of our top ten books (or something else!) based on that week’s prompt. The topics are provided ahead of time and can be found here. Book links bring you to Goodreads or my review. I actually only asked for a couple of books for Christmas, so those are included below, but there are other books I hope to order in the new year with gift cards or cash. Essentially this is a list of books I hope to acquire soon with Christmas money… close enough to Santa, right? Books I Asked For Books to Buy with Christmas Gift Cards Books to Preorder with Christmas Gift Cards

Holiday Reviews: In a Holidaze and Season of Joy

Posted December 18, 2020 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 1 Comment
Holiday Reviews: In a Holidaze and Season of Joy

Story I’ve been lucky that there have been a few books this year where I was like “yup this is exactly what I needed.” I’m one of those people who didn’t hop on the Christina Lauren bandwagon until they started writing more rom-com style books, and I’ve enjoyed most of them. Somewhat mixed, but always quick and easy reads. This is easily one of my favorites! This featured a Groundhog Day-style story where Mae keeps returning to the beginning of the trip to try to find out what will make her happy. Can she save the cabin? Will she take a shot at Andrew, her childhood friend and longtime crush? I’ll admit that I usually prefer more “restarts” when I read these books. I won’t say how many times she looped back to the start for spoiler reasons. The big group of people who come to this cabin on a yearly basis were lovely – Mae’s parents (now divorced) and her parents’ college friends, plus all of their kids. There’s somewhat of a SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY vibe with a brother-based “love triangle” (not really, IMO) that I also loved. Benny, their parents fun single friend, was a great confidante for Mae and I loved him. I could have read a lot more about this chosen family! I think that’s one of the main areas where the book was lacking – I wanted MORE of the holiday feels, as discussed below, and more moments with everyone together. I just loved […]

2021 Reading Challenges

Posted December 17, 2020 / Book Challenges, Features / 4 Comments
2021 Reading Challenges

Am I being ambitious for even thinking about signing up for challenges? I basically stopped actively trying to work on them in 2020 and still managed to squeak out a few additions in the second half of the year by pure coincidence or luck. However, there is something about a fresh slate of challenges and goals that really motivate me. I know turning the calendar to 2021 won’t magically fix the world’s problems but I am finally feeling hopeful about things. That includes my reading life! This is a pretty straightforward challenge, hosted HERE. You basically aim to read books that begin with each letter of the alphabet. They also have mini challenges for each month: JANUARY – A book you purchased in 2020 but didn’t readFEBRUARY – A book with non-romantic love (siblings, parent-child, friendships)MARCH – A book written by a person of a different race than youAPRIL – A book with an Autistic main character (April is Autism Awareness)MAY – A book about a nurse (Nat. Nurses Week 2021 is May 6-12)JUNE – A co-written book (2 authors)JULY – A Christmas book (Christmas in July!)AUGUST – A book by an Indie author (self-published or independent)SEPTEMBER – A memoir/biographyOCTOBER – A book written by a new-to-you authorNOVEMBER – A book outside your normal genreDECEMBER – A backlist title (published BEFORE Jan 1, 2021) I’d like to meet most of these but I’m not 100% sure I will focus on them. It definitely depends on if my reading year looks more like 2020 versus 2019 haha. I’ve done this one for at least three […]

Top Ten Tuesdays #318: Winter TBR

Posted December 15, 2020 / Top 10 Tuesdays, Weekly Memes / 2 Comments
Top Ten Tuesdays #318: Winter TBR

Winter TBR (Jan-Mar) Top Ten Tuesdays were started by The Broke and the Bookish and are now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where we make lists of our top ten books (or something else!) based on that week’s prompt. The topics are provided ahead of time and can be found here. Book links bring you to Goodreads or my review. I still have some holiday/Christmas reads to finish off the year (winter technically begins December 21st) but I’m focusing on some of the books I plan to read ASAP in 2021. Here’s my winter TBR for the first three months of next year! Review Copies   There’s still a tiny chance I try to read A PHO LOVE STORY and SANDCASTLE BEACH in 2020 because as of writing this post, I need to read 10 more books for my reading challenge and only have 5 holiday books on deck. Those two are priority because I’m too excited for them! ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED and THE MEET-CUTE PROJECT both sound wonderful as well – they publish in the first quarter of next year too. New Jan-Mar Releases I read my first book by Solomon this year (of the YA variety) and loved it – I really need to dive into her others. THE EX TALK comes out in January and is right up my alley. I also have adored books by Sandhya Menon, so her first full length novel as Lily Menon (of the adult variety), MAKE UP BREAK UP, will be on my list […]

Favorite and Recently Purchased Cookbooks

Favorite and Recently Purchased Cookbooks

I’ve been talking a lot this year about cookbooks – it all started when I finally got the Cravings cookbook by Chrissy Teigen… and ordered her second one while I was still reading the first one. I’ve been following cooking blogs for a while for recipes and Skinnytaste has always been on my radar, so I also ordered the One & Done cookbook. From there… it’s been a slippery slope! I’ll talk more about each cookbook and how I came to acquire them below but basically I’ve turned to them more so than Pinterest. It’s been fun to get into something new and meal plan from them instead! I came up with the idea that in general, I’ll pick one cookbook each week to pick 6-7 recipes from and use as the basis for our meals (I’ve done similar things in the past with Cravings and Skinnytaste). I’ll rotate through all of them to make sure everyone gets used and enjoyed! I posted some polls on Twitter and Instagram for which to start with and ended up picking Half Baked Harvest Super Simple from the results. I’ll probably share more about this experience later, but for now – I thought it would be fun to give you guys a rundown of the recent cookbooks I’ve acquired and my thoughts so far as if these are book reviews. First, what do I personally want in a cookbook? (1) I want recipes that are unique and interesting enough where there aren’t a […]

If We Were Having Coffee…

If We Were Having Coffee…

I LOVE reading personal posts from other bloggers and seeing Jamie’s “If We Were Having Coffee” feature take off is so fun. Laura and Lindsey also have some great spin-offs of this feature too. I was very tempted to also make mine margarita-related (like Lindsey) but coffee is so ingrained in my daily life that it just makes sense to keep it. If you’re not familiar, it basically involves a fake little conversation about what’s been happening in our lives lately. Read on to see what’s been happening lately and feel free to chat back in the comments! If we were having coffee… I’d ask you how you’re doing. How is anyone doing really? I’ve had a pretty good year from a personal perspective, all things considered, but feel guilty saying that when the world is in shambles. It’s hard to believe how fast and slow this year has been. How is it already the end of 2020? Like everyone, I welcome it, but changing to 2021 doesn’t mean the pandemic or racial injustice or anything else terrible from this year will just be fixed. If we were having coffee… I’d talk about my wedding. When we got engaged in late 2019, we knew we didn’t want to rush planning and go for a 2020 wedding. We picked 10/9/21 and I think, with vaccinations on the horizon, we have a pretty good chance of having a normal-ish event? I’d definitely ask your opinion on that! Honestly though… I have no interest […]