Today on YouTube: NEW episode of Read REACT Decide!

Hi Everyone,

I’m over on YouTube today with a new summer episdoe of Read REACT Decide. See what books I’ve randomly selected from the library and which I’ve chosen to read:

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In case you missed them! BCM Book Reviews April-May 2023

Hey Everyone,

I read some great books this spring! In case you missed them, here’s a quick look at my book reviews for April and May.

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

The Hike by Susi Holliday

What great books have you read this spring? Leave a comment!

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In case you missed them! BCM Book Reviews First Quarter 2023

Hey Everyone,

I’ve read some great books so far this year! In case you missed them, here’s a quick look at my book reviews for the first three months of 2023.

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse

The Measure by Nikki Erlick

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

A Girl Named Truth by Alethea Kehas

Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

“The Hay Bale” by Priscilla Bettis

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Giver by Lois Lowry

What great books have you read so far this year? Leave a comment!

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Up next and looking forward to reading! These Precious Days by Ann Patchett. Have you read it?

To re-read or not to re-read…that is my question!

This weekend I re-read Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian, to get ready for my mystery book club at work on Wednesday. All last week, before I started, I was cursing myself. Why did I read this on my own last summer when I was pretty sure we were going to read it in March? I haven’t re-read a book in a while because, with a few exceptions (you know, Youngblood Hawke and a few others 😉), most books are a “one and done” experience for me. Would my notes be enough? Well I couldn’t find them in my notebook and then I realized I’d read it during my short-lived “I’m only going to take notes on my new Kindle” phase. Argggh.

End result? I re-read it and got A LOT more out of the book the second time around. Not just the plot and character development, but the second time around, I started to better understand the setting and time period (Boston in 1662) and appreciate how much research went into writing this historical fiction. And for these reasons I enjoyed it even more!

So, not a new topic, but I’m interested in knowing what you do.

Do you re-read books and if so, which ones? Leave a comment!

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How well read are you? Re-take this quiz, or take it for the first time!

Here’s a link to a quiz that tells you how well read you are. I’ve taken it every year for the past three years and have shared it on my blog. The first two years I got the exact same score. This year I did a little better. It’s an interesting mix of books and each time I look at it, I’m reminded of ones I want to read but never got to. There are also books I have no interest in reading, but I guess if I want to do better I should expand my list!

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On YouTube: Blind Date with a Book – review of The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

Hi Everyone,

I’m on YouTube today, talking about The Breakdown by B. A. Paris. This was the Blind Date with a Book I chose from the library and it was A WINNER! I hope you’ll pop over and hear what it’s about.

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A small eBook haul

This fall, my family signed up (temporarily) for Amazon Prime, for the main reason of watching NFL on Thursday nights. The Thursday night games are over, so we’re back to regular TV, but while we were Prime members, I got to download these free eBooks! I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to read them, but it’s a nice feeling to have book options waiting on my Kindle. All descriptions are from Amazon.

A Castle in Brooklyn by Shirley Russak Wachtel

Spanning decades, an unforgettable novel about reckoning with the past, the true nature of friendship, and the dream of finding home.

1944, Poland. Jacob Stein and Zalman Mendelson meet as boys under terrifying circumstances. They survive by miraculously escaping, but their shared past haunts and shapes their lives forever.

Years later, Zalman plows a future on a Minnesota farm. In Brooklyn, Jacob has a new life with his wife, Esther. When Zalman travels to New York City to reconnect, Jacob’s hopes for the future are becoming a reality. With Zalman’s help, they build a house for Jacob’s family and for Zalman, who decides to stay. Modest and light filled, inviting and warm with acceptance—for all of them, it’s a castle to call home.

Then an unforeseeable tragedy—and the grief, betrayals, and revelations in its wake—threatens to destroy what was once an unbreakable bond, and Esther finds herself at a crossroads. A Castle in Brooklyn is a moving and heartfelt immigration story about finding love and building a home and family while being haunted by a traumatic past.

Hidden in Snow by Viveca Sten

The splendor of the Swedish mountains becomes the backdrop for a bone-chilling crime.

On the day Stockholm police officer Hanna Ahlander’s personal and professional lives crash, she takes refuge at her sister’s lodge in the Swedish ski resort paradise of Åre. But it’s a brief comfort. The entire village is shaken by the sudden vanishing of a local teenage girl. Hanna can’t help but investigate, and while searching for the missing person, she lands a job with the local police department. There she joins forces with Detective Inspector Daniel Lindskog, who has been tasked with finding the girl. Their only lead: a scarf in the snow.

As subzero temperatures drop even further, a treacherous blizzard sweeps toward Åre. Hanna and Daniel’s investigation is getting more desperate by the hour. Lost or abducted, either way time is running out for the missing girl. Each new clue closes in on something far more sinister than either Hanna or Daniel imagined. In this devious novel by the bestselling author of the Sandhamn Murders series, discover what it will take to solve a case when the truth can be so easily hidden in the coming storm.

The Hike by Susi Holliday

Four hikers enter the mountains. Only two return. But is it tragedy? Or treachery?

When sisters Cat and Ginny travel with their husbands to the idyllic Swiss Alps for a hiking holiday, it’s not just a chance to take in the stunning scenery. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with each other after years of drifting apart—and patch up marriages that are straining at the seams.

As they head into the mountains, morale is high, but as the terrain turns treacherous, cracks in the relationships start to show. With worrying signs that someone might be following them, the sun begins to set and exhaustion kicks in. Suddenly, lost high on a terrifying ridge, tensions spill over—with disastrous consequences.

When only two of the four hikers make it down from the mountain, the police press them for their story—but soon become suspicious when their accounts just don’t add up.

What really happened up on that ridge? Who are the survivors? And what secrets are they trying to hide?

The Hive by Gregg Olsen

Glamorous messiah or charlatan? A mask of beauty hides deadly secrets in #1 New York Times and Amazon Charts bestselling author Gregg Olsen’s mesmerizing novel of suspense.

In the Pacific Northwest, detective Lindsay Jackman is investigating the murder of a young journalist found at the bottom of a ravine. Lindsay soon learns that the victim was writing an exposé. Her subject: a charismatic wellness guru who’s pulled millions into her euphoric orbit…

To hear Marnie Spellman tell it, when she was a child, a swarm of bees lifted her off the ground and toward the sunlight, illuming her spiritual connection with nature—an uncanny event on which Marnie built a cosmetics empire and became a legend, a healer, and the queen of holistic health and eternal beauty. In her inner circle is an intimate band of devotees called the Hive. They share Marnie’s secrets of success—including one cloaked in darkness for twenty years.

Determined to uncover the possibly deadly mysteries of the group, Lindsay focuses her investigation on Marnie and the former members of the Hive, who are just as determined to keep Lindsay from their secrets as they are to maintain their status.

Night Angels by Weina Dai Randel

From the author of The Last Rose of Shanghai comes a profoundly moving novel about a diplomatic couple who risked their lives to help Viennese Jews escape the Nazis, based on the true story of Dr. Ho Fengshan, Righteous Among the Nations.

1938. Dr. Ho Fengshan, consul general of China, is posted in Vienna with his American wife, Grace. Shy and ill at ease with the societal obligations of diplomats’ wives, Grace is an outsider in a city beginning to feel the sweep of the Nazi dragnet. When Grace forms a friendship with her Jewish tutor, Lola Schnitzler, Dr. Ho requests that Grace keep her distance. His instructions are to maintain amicable relations with the Third Reich, and he and Grace are already under their vigilant eye.

But when Lola’s family is subjugated to a brutal pogrom, Dr. Ho decides to issue them visas to Shanghai. As violence against the Jews escalates after Kristallnacht and threats mount, Dr. Ho must issue thousands more to help Jews escape Vienna before World War II explodes.

Based on a remarkable true story, Night Angels explores the risks brave souls took and the love and friendship they built and lost while fighting against incalculable evil.

Have you read any of these? Do any of them sound interesting to you? Leave a comment!

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Books We Love – NPR’s interactive list of recommended books

Today I came across NPR’s Books We Love, a helpful and fun-to-use interactive list of recommended books. They’ve been doing this every year going back to 2013, so there is a lot to look at. Want more information? Here’s an explanation of how they select books.

There’s never a shortage of books to read these days and this list helps you sort things out according to your reading tastes. I’m often frustrated by book recommendations because they aren’t always in line with what I want to read. I haven’t gone through the whole list for 2022 (there are more than 3200 books!), but I was pleased to see that I’ve already read and enjoyed several of these. That’s a good sign to me.

Books I thought were great:

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

French Braid by Anne Tyler

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

Love Marriage by Monica Ali

Books I want to read:

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel       

Scenes from My Life by Michael K. Williams

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

I don’t like to make a long list of books to read for the new year because I find that overwhelming, so I like that I can go back to this and look when I’m ready for something new.

Do you know what your next read will be? Do you like referring to lists like these? Have you read any of the books I picked? Leave a comment!

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