Musical Chairs

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Anne Bogel said she was reading this lately and that she liked it so I ran to the library (I mean opened Libby) and it was available now. So I dropped the other buddy read I was starting and gobbled it up. The main character is in her fifties trying to find her way again. She finds herself and what will really make her happy.

Her kids move in to their summer home too in the midst of their own struggles. And they find what’s most important in life. The music sounds amazing and I’d love to have been at the wedding at the end!

Will there be a sequel for the one year anniversary party? I sure hope so!!

“People so often seemed to find the right partner. It wasn’t so much that there was a right person for everyone that intrigued Nicholas, but more that two people could meet by chance and be exactly what the other wanted and needed. What are the chances of that happening, really?


Truly, Madly, Deeply

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I love when life and fiction interact. I read this book set in Indianapolis on my way to Indianapolis. Such a fun coincidence. I also teared up so many times on the plane. Good thing the guy beside me was into some show on his tablet.

This is the latest in Karen Kingsbury’s Baxter Family series. I loved reading Tommy’s story while seeing what the old gang has been up to. It’s technically stand alone, but I think you’ll miss 1/3rd of the story if you don’t know the history.

“Traffickers confuse the brains of these children. They threaten to kill their parents or their families. It’s very precise how they treat their victims, like a science. Captors know how to keep their slaves.”

The scenes in Thailand are heartbreaking. Even thinking about a young girl of 8 being in the sex trade is too much, but it’s the reality for so many. We need to do more to rescue them.


The Wife Upstairs

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I wasn’t sure about this book as it’s a retelling of Jane Eyre, and I wasn’t really all that fond of that classic when I had to read it for an English class in college. All I remember is not being able to understand why red was such a strong symbol.

Now I’m wondering about the plot all over again because this book was fast-paced mystery that had me saying, “What?” Over and over again. Jane is the neighborhood dog-walker until Eddie asks her out. A whirlwind romance clouds her suspicions about his wife who disappeared about six months ago.

We hear from Bea too, and although I should have expected it, I didn’t. Bea is kind of a B.

It’s a mystery. There’s a murder. It’s super fast-paced. It was a delight, as much as a book that kind of creeps you out can be.

“Enough about me. I want to hear about you.” I provide some charming anecdotes, painting Jane’s life in a flattering light. Some of the stories are real (high school in Arizona), some are half-truths, and some are stolen friends. But he seems to enjoy them, smiling and nodding throughout the meal, and by the time the check comes, I’m more relaxed and confident than I’d ever thought I’d be on this date.


The Dating Plan

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After taking a week to finish a book, I needed something quick, light, and fun – so I picked up this month’s Book of the Month pick. It was just what I needed. I read it all in one day (maybe I worked less than I should have yesterday) and really loved the story.

It’s the fake dating trope combined with a bit of enemies to lovers. She’s a computer programmer and he’s a venture capitalist. They both have strong family heritages, hers Indian and his Irish – which was a delight to read.

There’s a little more language than I’d like and it’s pretty open door, but all around a delightful read.

“Don’t ever think there’s something wrong with you. You have gifts that people can only dream of having. They make you special and utterly unique in a way that is as far from weird as you can get. You blew my mind when you were a girl. I loved coming here to see what you could do, whether it was solving difficult math puzzles, destroying your dad at chess, memorizing the entire Human section of The Guinness Book of World Records, or trying to beat me at video games.” Liam to Daisy


Nothing to See Here

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I got this as a Book of the Month Club awhile ago and when I packed up I didn’t think I’d be reading it, so it’s somewhere deep in a box. Then it was picked for our January book club, so I borrowed from the library. It’s different. I don’t know how else to describe it.

There are ten-year old twins who catch on fire. Bessie and Roland don’t do it on purpose, but also don’t seem to be able to stop it. Madison asks her old friend Lillian to come watch them for the summer. There’s a lot of tragedy and some entitlement – but all in all, I enjoyed it. I could have used a little less of the f-word throughout though.

Madison’s life goals: “I want to be powerful. I want to be the person who makes big things happen, where people owe me so many favors that they can never pay me back. I want to be so important that if I eff up, I’ll never get punished” [She almost gets her wish.]


In Full Bloom

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This is an excellent resource for women who are younger than me. There were plenty of great things about the spiritual life but most of them would have been good for me a decade ago.

I appreciated the garden metaphors and now really just want to plant a garden. Soon, when I have my house.

“Comparison definitely existed before Instagram – it’s just that now, most of us are addicted to it.” a few weeks ago I heard this question to ask when you’re comparing to someone else or envying something in their life. Ask yourself “would I trade everything?” So not just the thing you’re wanting now – but all the good and all the suffering. Would you give it all up?


The Worst Best Man

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I think this is another Amazon Prime First Read from a few months ago. It’s cute. Features a few new cultures in a really beautiful way. Follows the “enemies to lovers” romance trope. Also open door, so a few scenes to skip if that’s not your thing.

Really appreciate the nod to healthy emotions and mental health plus what it means for a woman to “get emotional” at work, especially if she is a person of color.

“Protecting yourself from hurt doesn’t mean you’re broken. It means you’re human.”


Confessions of a Curious Bookseller

I looked at the reviews before diving into this Amazon First Reads I got in December and almost didn’t start this. All the reviews were right. Fawn is crazy and I did not like her as a person. I kept reading because I do really enjoy epistolary novels. This one is written in online reviews, emails, texts, blog posts, some hand written letters, and journal entries. A fun first book of 2021!

A quote from her online dating profile I could heartily agree with as I’ve been rewatching myself during this break: “And for shows, I absolutely ADORE Downton Abbey. If you dislike Downton Abbey, it’s very possible I will dislike you.”


163: Crazy Stupid Bromance

Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

I needed another book to round out 2020 and this fun romance series was perfect as a book I could read in one day.

It’s the third installment in the Bromance Book Club series and it’s a delight. A little open door as a warning but the content is so good.

I hope there’s a forth planned in the series because I need to know the story of more of the guys in the club.


162: Preparation for the Total Consecration

Preparation for the Total Consecration by Fr. Hugh Gillespie, SMM

I first made a total consecration to Our Lady on January 1, 2014 and have been renewing each Advent since with a variety of methods and books. This year I had to find a new one because I foolishly packed my regulars!

A co-worker who’s an editor and has “read them all” said this was a good one and she was right! I appreciated the daily formula, the reflection questions, and the ways the author pulls in quotes from St. Louis de Montfort into each day.

There were some hard things like on day 3 you choose a sacrifice for the rest of the preparation. I chose Instagram which has been hard not seeing Christmas posts, but good for not feeling like I need to know everything that someone does in a day or even that I need to share everything I’m doing. The world rotates without my social media post!