July, August & September 2019 Wrap-Up Part II

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Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

I didn’t realize that the majority of my reading for this last quarter were romance novels until I reviewed this list. Sometimes I feel like I need to read something else on purpose, but the truth is that I love romance novels the bestest.

Rachel Lee made a career out of writing a book series set in fictional Conard County, Wyoming and the series is addictive. Rugged country, rugged men, sweet heroines, good neighbors… and she always, always writes these really dreamy heroes who make you swoon. Who doesn’t like swooning when reading romance novels?

But Rachel Lee’s Conard County series became so formulaic that you know exactly what to expect: woman in grave danger, abusive ex-husband, special forces hero who kills or puts ex-husband behind bars. And this was exactly the premise for Her Hero in Hiding but I truly did enjoy reading it. I wrote about it here.

Another Rachel Lee book I read was What She Saw. I didn’t enjoy reading this one at all. It was almost as if someone else wrote it. Rachel Lee’s novels are usually packed with emotion and action. The action scenes seemed to be written in a stilted manner and there was zero chemistry between the hero and heroine, Buck and Haley. It took everything I had to keep reading this book.

A Conard County Homecoming by Rachel Lee contains two stories, Miss Emmaline and the Archangel and Ironheart. I enjoyed reading them both very much. They were written in the early days of Rachel Lee’s writing career and it’s these early stories that made me fall in love with her Conard County series.

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Then I read a bunch of early books (from the 1980s) by Sandra Brown. Shadows of Yesterday is one of my favorites from the bunch. The hero, Chad Dillon, was super nice and romantic and practically perfect. In other words, he was not even one tiny bit a jerk (because they usually are in the 80s romance novels). But the story is not realistic at all. The premise is that Chad finds Leigh, the heroine, stranded on the highway, about to give birth to her child. So he delivers her baby, then they fall in love and then they marry. It’s pure fantasy, although that’s not a bad thing. We all pick up a book to escape reality.

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The other two books I read by Sandra Brown are Honor Bound and Led Astray. Really romantic and well-written. I think Sandra Brown doesn’t write romance anymore. She is strictly thrillers/suspense now, but I love those earlier novels best of all.

And this wraps up my third quarter reading. Feel free to share what you’ve been reading too. 🙂

xoxo, Jane

{Also, July, August & September 2019 Wrap-Up Part I}

July, August & September 2019 Wrap-Up Part I

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I love this painting. I wrote about it here.

It’s time for a (late) quarterly wrap-up. I read way more than I expected to read, which is great for my reading life, but not so great for my writing career.

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Lessons from Madame Chic

This is the first book in a three-part series. I really love this series because it inspires me to organize, clean the house, explore the arts and do some self-care. It’s easy to put self-care on your to-do list, but difficult to execute when you have a full-time job and a household to run, so it’s really nice to read this book for inspiration. My original review is here.

Fortune’s Homecoming by Allison Leigh

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love romance novels best of all. I used to be embarrassed to be caught reading them because people were so judgmental and made rude comments to me. While reading on the metro or in the lunch room at work, I’d hide the cover with something else, like an envelope. But I’m now at an age where I don’t give a fudge what people think. It’s incredibly liberating. So, yes, I read this novel in public, during my commute. It was a perfect read about a nice cowboy and a nice girl who fall in love with each other and live happily ever after. My original review is here.

Naturally Tan by Tan France

Tan France is such a cutie. He seems to be a geniounly nice guy. This memoir recounts his early life in England, how he got into his line of work, how he met his husband and how he ended up on the hit show Queer Eye. I finished it in record time because I was enjoying myself so much. My more in-depth review is here.

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Dave Barry Does Japan by Dave Barry

This was a silly, fun read. Dave Barry is a good writer and a great columnist based in Miami. He wrote this book after traveling in Japan for three weeks. The book is from 1993, but it doesn’t feel dated at all. It’s a laugh-out-loud book. My original review is here.

Hopefully you’ve been reading a great stack of books too!

xoxo, Jane

 

Thursday Reading Links #18

This week’s reading links for your amusement and enjoyment are brought to you by my procrastination, delayed metro commutes and Visa (just kidding on that last one!).

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Have a great weekend! xoxo, Jane

April, May & June 2019 Wrap-Up

July is almost behind us and I’m only now posting my quarterly wrap-up. I hope you will forgive my tardiness. I was busy reading and writing…

The second quarter of 2019 fun-reading consisted of one short story by George Orwell, one romantic fiction by Meg Cabot (love her!), one classic (Mary Stewart), one royal history book and two illustrated books that I loved so, so much!

(The links below take you to my earlier reviews, except for Orwell’s short story and Inside the Royal Wardrobe.)

The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot.

This was a very sweet read. I think it had a touch of Jane Austen’s Persuasion because the hero and heroine were forced to let go of each other many years earlier.

You and the Atom Bomb by George Orwell. “It is a commonplace that the history of civilisation is largely the history of weapons.” 

This short story was written during a time when everyone was terrified of being obliterated. It’s always interesting to read serious pieces from the actual era they were written in. I also learned that I should read short stories more often. It was an enjoyable (if not sobering), quick read.

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Paris: Through A Fashion Eye by Megan Hess.

I don’t know why I’ve never heard of Megan Hess before. She is a wonderful illustrator and this book is a fun walk through Paree.

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Coco Chanel by Megan Hess.

This was an illustrated novel of Coco Chanel’s life. I really love this book. It is so beautiful and fun. I’ve already picked it up several times to reread. I need another Megan Hess book pronto!

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The Wind off the Small Isles by Mary Stewart.

This novella was so charming and romantic. The only complaint I had was that it ended too abruptly.

Inside the Royal Wardrobe: A Dress History of Queen Alexandra (affiliate link) by Kate Strasdin.

This newish biography is a fascinating study of Queen Alexandra through her wardrobe. She was not who I thought she was, a timid woman who cowered under Queen Victoria. No! She was a strong woman who knew her own mind and tried to live life on her terms. She was a very caring Princess of Wales and became a good queen. This book warrants its own review, coming soon.

xoxo, Jane

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the links. xoxo, Jane

 

January, February & March 2019 Wrap-Up

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Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

It’s time for my reading wrap-up for the first quarter of 2019.

I read romances (of course!) and books on photography and fashion. All in all, a very successful first quarter. This is a long post so get yourself a cup of tea and settle in for a fun read about books.

Coming Home for Christmas – A Christmas anthology by Lindsay McKenna, Delores Fossen and Geri Krotow. This anthology features three stories, all military-themed. If you like military-themed romances, then this anthology of three novellas is for you. It’s perfect to read during the festive season (so make a note of it for Christmas 2019). The stories were well-thought out, with rich plots and fleshed out characters. And there is always something romantic about a hero coming home from war.

Except…truth be told, I didn’t realize I would not find this theme romantic. I’ve had a brother and a husband go to war and it was stressful and scary and anxious. And I’ll always have the gray hair I got while my husband was in Afghanistan for one year. I probably won’t be reading military-themed romances again. You learn by reading and I learned that it’s too soon for me to read these types of stories. Nevertheless, the stories were well-written and penned by female military veteran writers and I was happy to support them by buying this book.

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A Christmas Railway Mystery by Edward Marston. This book was a treat. It’s actually part of a series, but I was able to enjoy this book without having read any of the other books. Set in December 1860 in a small town outside London, a detective is on the hunt for a murderer. I played a game with myself to figure out who the murderer is while reading this book, but I was dead wrong with my conclusion (pun intended)! The murderer was someone I least suspected. I’m not sure what Christmas-time and murders have in common, but nevertheless I loved reading this book and I will seek out more English mystery/detective books next Christmas.

Paris for One by Jojo Moyes. This was a very charming short story. The main character is a young British girl (somewhat depressed) who is stood up by her boyfriend at the train station. This forces her to travel to Paris alone. But this is good because she embarks on an entirely new adventure in the City of Light. By the end of the story, our heroine discovers that she deserves to be treated well and learns how to live more daringly. I won’t say anything else, as I don’t want to spoil the ending for you. But if you have an afternoon to spare, this book is a must-read. Captain PoldarkLooking for Captain Poldark by Rowan Coleman. This is another short story. It starts out sweet and funny, but quickly becomes action-packed and leaves you at the edge of your seat. Our main character Lisa is a withdrawn woman (and easily overwhelmed by life) and doesn’t trust anyone because of something bad that happened to her. We don’t find out what that bad thing is until the end of the story. Most of the story takes place while Lisa is driving to Cornwall with a small group of Poldark fans (who dubbed themselves “Poldarlings”) riding along in her car. As they are driving to Cornwall, chaos ensues which leads to soul-searching and self-discoveries for all the characters. This is another quick afternoon read, perfect for summer. Go for it.

Wild Wyoming Nights by Joanne Rock. This was a very romantic, feel-good Harlequin novel. I wrote about it in a previous blog post

PrettyCityLondon by Siobhan Ferguson. This book is a gorgeous read about London’s most scenic neighborhoods and gives you tips on photography. It inspired me to dust off my old camera. 

Kate: How to Dress like a Style Icon by Caroline Jones. I bought this book because I wanted to learn tips on how to dress more stylish. It has pages and pages of gorgeous photography, fashion tidbits, outfit ideas and acts as a look book. I’m so glad I bought this book. It gave me hours of enjoyment. Do I dress more stylish? The verdict is still out.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to use the links. Thank you for reading my blog. xoxo, Jane

August & September 2018 Wrap-Up

Time for more list-making!!!

August 2018

August was a pretty mellow month (read: I was very lazy). I didn’t do much reading, but the books I did manage to read were wonderful!Books

Books

The After Room (YA), Secrets of a Wallflower, The Bride’s Baby of Shame.

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Movies

Overboad remake, How to Be A Latin Lover, The Lives of Others, The Shape of Water.

Museums

Hillwood Mansion and Museum – Faberge exhibit

September 2018

September was another lazy month, much to my chagrin. But I did listen to tons of fun and/or educational podcasts, so it wasn’t a total wash-out.

Books

The Royal Diaries: Elisabeth. This book was written for children and it’s the fictional diary of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria (Sisi). It was fun to read since I’m a Sisi fan, but I didn’t learn anything new and some of the diary entries were exaggerated or fabricated. Regardless, the tone was authentic to Sisi, so I recommend it for the young readers in your life or for those die-hard Sisi fans.

TV

Forever, Jack Ryan, Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence 

I can’t write about Forever without giving the plot away so I’ll just say it’s about the nuances of marriage and a must-watch. Amazon’s reboot of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan was pretty awesome. I needed something spectacular and action-ey to take my mind off worries and this show did the trick. Ordeal by Innocence was also wonderful. Agatha Christie at her finest. I was at the edge of my seat through the entire series. Though I heard that it’s much different from the book, but I can’t vouch for that since I didn’t read the book.

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My goal for October is to read more books, which is usually what happens during the fall and winter months.

What are your October goals?