In a Holidaze

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This is a re-read for me, but I couldn’t resist it on the shelf at the library for my Christmas reads pile.

It’s a time loop for the first third of the book with the final third showing how the main character takes charge of her life. It’s sweet and so much about family and tradition!

“I give advice as I quickly deliver hugs. ‘Kennedy, watch out for Miso on your way inside. Dad, once again, don’t eat the cookies. Everyone? Kyle has a new tattoo. It’s on his arm – a music note – and it’s very cool but don’t touch it, it’s healing. Ricky,’ I continue, ‘don’t worry about the Hendrick’s, everyone is fine with Bombay – and Aaron isn’t drinking anyway because he’s middle-aged and stressed about getting old. Speaking of hair, Theo, your haircut is great, but your hair wasn’t ever the problem. And Lisa?’ I say, and a twinge of guilt works through me because they’re staring at me with wide, worried eyes. ‘I love you – so much – but maybe let Aaron pick the music tonight.’ I pause. ‘And let Mom take the photos.’”


Forgiving Paris

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I’ve been a fan of the Baxter family for quite some time. While Karen says this one stands alone, I respectfully disagree. I think you could like it if you don’t know the family’s history, but the experience is richer with the previous books (of which there are many).

The story centers around the time in Scripture when Jesus called the sea. Not only were the apostles comforted, but the other little boats on the sea were as well. I’d never thought of this other boats.

When the Lord works in our lives we aren’t the only ones affected. Others experience the grace being poured out on us. It’s easy to forget that, but it’s true.

“I am one of those boats, Ashley. All you could see was your own situation, the way the storm was about to destroy you. But I was one of those little boats. I would’ve sunk if you hadn’t come home. But there are others. I believe that.”


Beth & Amy

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This is the second in this modern retelling of Little Women series, which really need to be read in order (and I think probably back-to-back, which I did not do).

Jo’s getting married to Beth and Amy make their way home. They’ve each got a secret that will shape the family’s next few years.

Beth is sick, not like in the original – but an exploration of what an eating disorder does to a person and what might have led to it was done well. The recovery is a bit quicker than it would be in reality, but there are only so many pages after the climax of a story!

Amy is in love with someone who’s always been off limits, and who’s hurt her deeply in the past. Rather than being angry with her, they’re all delighted that their beloved Trey is her beloved.

It’s sweet and delightful … but if you dislike retellings, then stay away, this is not for you!

“Our mother, who never took a day’s vacation in her life, had encouraged all of us girls to work hard and follow our dreams. Meg was the perfect mother to two perfect children. Jo was a bestselling author. Beth was a budding country star. And I … I made accessories. It didn’t matter how many Instagram followers or employees I had. In my family’s eyes, I was still little Amy, playing with scraps from Miss Hannah’s quilting bag.”


The Tourist Attraction

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This series is such a delight! I couldn’t help picking this off the shelf at the library, reminding myself of how delightful it was.

Boy meets moose, girl comes on vacation, anti-tourist finds one he can’t live without, moose keeps her from getting on the plane.

You know, an everyday love story.

“I have no idea how much of what’s coming out of your mouth is true or just your own personal brand of passive-aggressive societal mockery disguised as a sense of humor.”


Apples Never Fall

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It took me five days to get to 70% in this book before it got interesting. It ended up being good, but then the last three chapters (all of a sudden) included the pandemic, which was odd.

There was no notion of when it was set, until chapter 96, which felt oddly placed.

It’s a mystery that could be murder or misunderstanding. The entire time we see the true character of the kids come out while the police are trying to determine if Joy was murdered or just walked out.

“Not exciting at all, infuriating, but as her grandfather used to say, ‘Never spoil a good story with the facts.’”


Sunrise by the Sea

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This was just on the new release shelf at the library and I couldn’t resist. The first three books in this series follow Polly and Huckle and their lighthouse and bakery on this small island. This installment features Marissa and Alexie. Two individuals coming to the end of the world on this island at the end of their rope.

What follows is beautiful (and not so beautiful) piano music, healing from grief and anxiety, and lots of amazing food.

It was a delight. And had just enough Polly and Huckle so give some satisfying windows into their bakery and lighthouse. Also I really want some seriously good pizza right now!!

“‘It’s okay,’ said Marisa, who had managed to calm herself down, and was wondering if people had always been so strange and she just hadn’t noticed, or if the world really had changed that much while she’d been sitting alone in her bedroom in Caius’ flat.”


We Are Not Like Them

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I put this in hold at the library after listening to Anne Bogel have the authors on her podcast What Should I Read Next a few weeks ago. It was just released this month (and I may have been this copy’s first reader!)

It’s the story of friendship and race and consequences. It humanizes the boy who is killed, his family, the officer who fired the gun, and his family. I really appreciated the the insight into both women’s stories.

The book is full of hard situations, tough conversations, and so much fuel for discussion. This is definitely a book club book, so which of my friends who I read books with is going to read it so we can discuss?

“…sometimes we need to swallow our pride and reach out. Even when we don’t know what to say and we’re afraid of messing everything up by saying the wrong thing. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to talk about something. All that matters is that you try. The longer you let something go, the easier it is to stay silent, and the silence is where the resentment starts to fester and rot.”


The Jam and Jelly Nook

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After reading the third in this series as a stand-alone I didn’t think I’d pick up the other ones. But as luck would have it, it was on the shelf right there when I was at the library last week.

It’s a sweet story about a 30-something widow who finds someone. Their meeting starts at the police station when their teens are picked up for trespassing.

She helps his daughter and he helps her son … both find their way in a world without a parent of their same gender. It’s sweet and lovely!!

“‘How do you know her?’ ‘Funny you should ask.’ Emory walked over to the counter and rested his elbows on it. ‘I met her late last night at the police station.’”


Lady in Waiting

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Anne Glenconner lived a life that’s stranger than any fiction book I’ve read. She grew up very close to the royal family and was even a Lady in Waiting to the late Princess Margaret.

This is the true story of her life. It’s one wild ride. I couldn’t believe her honeymoon story or that her husband just “bought an island” or the many, varied adventures.

It was a good listen, she reads it herself. Although a little long, so I had to speed it up to 1.5x.

“I might have had lots of dramatic things happen to me, but I’d never considered hiring a hit man.”


The Reading List

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What a beautiful debut! A love story to books and libraries and finding oneself in someone else’s story. Mukesh is grieving the loss of his wife. Aleisha has taken a summer job at the library. Neither knows that they need the other, but they become one another’s life lines.

Someone has written a list of books and it seems to be invading everyone’s reading life. It changes them as they let the books open them up to new worlds.

The story is really a love letter to how books shape and change us. It was lovely!

“Sometimes, books just take us away for a little while, and return us to our place with a new perspective.”