Archive of ‘My Reading Life’ category

Visit Your Indie Bookstore

Friends! This Saturday is one of my favorite days of the whole year. It’s a day where I get to go to one of my favorite places and impulse buy to my heart’s content.

Or until I run out of cash…

It’s Independent Bookstore Day!

If you have read any of my monthly book blogs, you might remember me encouraging you to support your local indie bookstore. And if you haven’t done it yet, here’s your big chance!

Why do I love shopping at independent bookstores? First, the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. They are book nerds just like you and me who decided to open up their own brick-and-mortar store chock full of stories. The bookstore owners and staff are the perfect people to help you pick out your next 5-star read. And the customers – who are otherwise complete strangers to you – are exchanging book recommendations left and right. It’s like an AWESOME book club meeting for the public. The coffee and book talk is free-flowing, and these small literary businesses feel supported by their neighbors. There is a kind of magic here that you won’t find in a Barnes and Noble, a Costco, or an Amazon website. From author meet and greets to curated bookshelves with plots set in your neck of the woods, readers of all ages will find something to read (and hopefully purchase) in their indie bookstore.

And If you aren’t in the market for a new book, that’s okay. They sell more than books. Buy a bookmark, a pair of cute reading glasses, some fuzzy socks, a jigsaw puzzle, a fancy notebook, or a gift card for another book lover.

So hold on to your TBR piles! Whatever your plans are this weekend, please stop by and check out your indie bookstore and report back. You will be glad you did!



March 2023 Book Report

This is not a good time to be in a reading slump, but I find myself without the energy to start a new book right now. It’s not because I have nothing to read. On the contrary, I have about 200 titles divided between my bookshelves, my Audible library, and my e-reader, just waiting for me to pick one. Apparently, what I lack in decision-making, I make up in book buying! Don’t worry, I didn’t buy them all at once. But now I find myself with too many titles to choose from.

Am I in the mood for a memoir or a mystery? I couldn’t tell you.

All is not lost, and I’m not a quitter-especially when it comes to reading. I’ve already read eight books this year, which is a decent amount. I’m still two books behind on reaching my Goodreads goal of 40 titles by the end of the year, which means I need to snap out of it soon. But I know myself. I’ll catch up when the weather gets nicer, and when my job is a little less busy, and when I finally decide on the next book I want to read.

So without further ado, here are the four books I read in March.

The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell

I’ve heard that after you read a good book, you can develop a bit of a hangover—a book hangover. This might be part of what is happening right now because The Golden Spoon did not disappoint. Set in a baking show competition, six contestants travel to a remote location to appear on Bake Week and win a coveted trophy—The Golden Spoon. Each contestant has their own backstory and reasons for wanting to be there. The competition starts off innocently enough, but by day three, someone is murdered, and everyone is considered a suspect. This “whodunnit” story was a lot of fun to read. Both the cast of characters and the storyline moved along at a quick pace, and I couldn’t put it down. I listened to this book on Audible which featured a bunch of voiceover actors. I gave it four stars. Bon Appetit!

Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me by Ralph Macchio

After listening to a podcast featuring Ralph Macchio, I couldn’t wait to read his memoir. His poster had a permanent place on the wall of my childhood bedroom, right next to the other “Outsiders” Rob Lowe and Tom Cruise. His puppy dog eyes reached into my 13-year-old soul and stole my heart. On the other hand, his writing left a lot to be desired.

The Karate Kid is one of my favorite 80s movies. There is a clear chemistry between the actors that is hard to achieve. The behind-the-scenes stories were fun to read to a point. But the endless comparisons between the movie and his tv show Cobra Kai annoyed me. I don’t watch a ton of television because, supposedly, I’d rather be reading. And since I haven’t watched Cobra Kai, some of his stories were lost on me. Sadly, the book felt like a promotional tool instead of a memoir. I would have liked to read about his childhood, his family life, his struggles with fame (although he managed to avoid the alcohol and drugs so prominent in that era), and any other movie or show he has been in. What about the Outsiders? Maybe a few chapters on My Cousin Vinny. Very few pages were dedicated to these classic movies.

Even if I watched Cobra Kai and wanted to learn more about it, I’m not sure I would read his book again. He wrote the book as if in conversation with me. His annoying interjections to let me know to “stay tuned for the next chapter” or “I’ll talk more about that later” needed to be edited out in favor of much smoother transitions. I gave this two stars.

Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox

Now this memoir is more like it! This was a re-read for me, and it is still one of my favorite 80s celebrity memoirs. Michael J. Fox is a gifted storyteller who shares everything from his childhood, family life, and personal battle with alcoholism and how he now copes with Parkinson’s disease. He also shared many stories about his work in both film and tv, including Family Ties, Spin City, and Back to the Future. He left nothing out and left me wanting more. Fortunately, he has written three other books that I have also enjoyed immensely. I can’t recommend it high enough – five stars.

Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

One thing I’ve learned about myself as a reader is that I love plot-driven books. I don’t like stories that are slow to start, and not much happens except for this one. This story is a character study about a teenage girl who lives a sheltered life in 1970s Baltimore. Her innocence stems from a religious mother and an inattentive father. When she takes a summer nanny job for a different kind of family, she is exposed to a whole new and groovy lifestyle. And she digs it. I loved the nostalgia in this book, and the protagonist reminds me a lot of my younger self. You do have to suspend some sense of reality in this book, and the ending is a little hard to believe, but it worked for me – four stars.

I also DNF’ed (Did Not Finish) one book called “Winterland” by Rae Meadows. I decided to listen to this book about the world of competitive gymnastics in the Soviet Union. I remember watching the Olympics and the drama surrounding American vs. Russian gymnasts. Unfortunately, this is a character study that was going nowhere. I’ve listened to about a third of this book and asked some people in a private Facebook group whether this book was going to get any better. The answer was no. Bummer. On to the next one.

What have you been reading lately? Tell me in the comments! I need a few good book recommendations.

Reading Slump and Writers Block

What happens when you can’t decide on a book to read or a topic to write about? My worst nightmare. A reading slump and writer’s block. Okay, it’s not a nightmare, but it’s so frustrating.

Let’s start with my reading life. January started out decent. I read two books and liked them both fine. Then, I DNF’d book number three — “Overdue,” a behind-the-scenes look at the public library system. It sounded good when I heard the author give an interview. In reality, I didn’t want to learn anything that would ruin fond childhood memories of storytimes and reading clubs. Then, I chose two different personal essay collections. Both were national bestsellers; neither held my interest. I switched to fiction and picked up a novel I had put down because I was bored with it. I read two more chapters and put the book at the bottom of my TBR pile.

I took a week off from reading and threw myself into work projects, reorganizing closets, and watching The Bachelor. Today, I pulled out two bestsellers that have been on every “Best of 2022″ list I’ve seen—Carrie Soto is Back” by Taylor Jenkins Reid on Audible and  “Verity” by Colleen Hoover. Fingers crossed.

As far as writing goes, I’ve been doing plenty of it. I compose emails and catchy subject lines, edit videos and website copy, take notes in meetings, brainstorm story ideas, and make lists. Someone once told me that if I wanted to be a successful writer, my day job should have nothing to do with writing. Too late for that! If you ask my bosses, I’ve been very productive. But it isn’t the same as working on my book or finishing a blog writing challenge. All of my good habits, like waking up early, reading for inspiration, and sitting down in the chair to put pen to paper, have failed me lately.

But I’m not quitting. I’m starting over, not from scratch, but from experience, which is where I left off.



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