Sunday Bookends: Little white lies, Three Amigos, and it is time for Christmas books

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays, I ramble about what’s been going on, what I and the rest of the family have been reading and watching, and what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.


What I/we’ve been Reading

I finished Love and A Little White Lie last night after working on it for a few weeks now. It didn’t take me this long because it was bad, but because I kept getting interrupted by writing projects, books, or just the everyday weirdness of life.

I will be honest that I almost bailed on this book part way through because the one character was so annoying to me and because the middle dragged a little bit. I really wanted to reach into the book and slap the one character. He was so whiney. Argh! But the book was really worth finishing because the writing was so good, the main character was so complex, and many of the supporting characters were loveable.

In case anyone reading this is interested, here is the description:

There’s a lot of irony in hitting rock bottom

After a heartbreak leaves her reeling, January Sanders is open to anything–including moving into a cabin on her aunt’s wedding-venue property and accepting a temporary position at her aunt’s church despite being a lifelong skeptic of faith. Choosing to keep her doubts to herself, she’s determined to give her all to supporting Grace Community’s overworked staff while helping herself move on.

What she doesn’t count on is meeting the church’s handsome and charming guitarist. It’s a match set for disaster, and yet January has no ability to stay away, even if it means pretending to have faith in a God she doesn’t believe in.

Only this time, keeping her secret isn’t as easy as she thought it would be. Especially when she’s constantly running into her aunt’s landscape architect, who seems to know everything about her past-and-present sins and makes no apologies about pushing her to deal with feelings she’d rather keep buried.

Torn between two worlds that can’t coexist, can January find the healing that’s eluded her, or will her resistance to the truth ruin any chance of happiness?

I am finishing a book for an author friend this week (By Broken Birch Bay by Jenny Knipfer) and then I plan to focus on Christmas books, including Shepherd’s Abiding by Jan Karon, America’s Favorite Christmastown by Dawn Klinge, and A Highland Christmas: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery by M.C. Beaton. If I can find a paperback copy, I’d also like to read some of Christmas with Anne by L.M. Montgomery, if it is a real book and not just some knock-off Amazon thing. Has anyone heard of it?

Little Miss and I are reading Paddington before bed and Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac during the day.

The Boy is reading Sea of Monsters, which is a Percy Jackson book and yes, during the week I am making him finish The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Husband is reading Kagan The Damned by Jonathan Maberry.

What’s Been Occurring

This past week we had a good school week during which I actually felt like I had fun, even if the children didn’t.

We didn’t do much else during the week, other than visit my mom on Thursday and grocery shop on Friday. Our shopping trip was delayed by an issue with the van that I thought was going to cost a lot, but turned out could be fixed by my dad dumping three quarts of oil in the engine. In other words, I don’t pay attention to the lights on the dash of my car.

This week’s weather was a mix of mess, wind, and cold. Still no snow, which was fine with me.  

This next week we don’t have a ton planned and if it’s going to be as cold as it has been, I am fine with that too.

What We watched/are Watching

Last Sunday, The Boy and I watched Planes, Trains, and Automobiles while The Husband took Little Miss to a train ride with Santa.

Later in the week we watched The Three Amigos, an old movie from the 80s with Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase.

It is a movie I used to watch with some friends of mine, probably when I was 9 or 10 and it was so weird and funny to watch it again all these years later. There was at least a couple of off-color moments, but for the most part the movie is clean.

The movie is about three actors who portray a trio of heroes called the Three Amigos in silent movies. A woman who is looking for someone to rescue her town from an evil man who is terrorizing it sees the movie, thinks it is a newsreel and sends them a telegram, asking them to come save her town. The telegraph operator decides to edit the telegram so she can afford to send it and, unfortunately, the actors think they are being hired for an acting job. Hilarity ensues from there as “they” say.

During the movie, there is a scene where Martin Short and Steve Martin sing a song called “My Little Buttercup,” which I had forgotten all about until it started. I used to sing the song to my mom and dad after my friends and I watched the movie and they would laugh so hard because I looked so ridiculous. I’m leaving it here for your viewing pleasure.

Little Miss’s impression of the movie: “Nope. Too much fantasy. Not enough reality.”

Sigh. If you knew what movies she watches, you’d really laugh at that comment.

There is a scene in the movie where the villain has a discussion about the word plethora and what it means. As I watched it I remembered that this is where I learned the word and from then on kept finding ways to use it in sentences. I still find a plethora of ways to use the word in sentences. Get it? I still find a plethora – yeah, okay. You get it.

Anyhow, later in the week, I started to watch You’ve Got Mail then realized that I don’t really like that movie because the two main characters are lying to their boyfriend and girlfriend and chatting to each other behind their backs. It is essentially a movie about cheaters, even if parts of it are cute.

I clicked off that and saw The Bookshop Around the Corner with Jimmy Stewart and then realized something I didn’t realize before. You’ve Got Mail is based on this 1940 movie.

As usual Hollywood is not original because I also started to watch A Man Called Ove this week and it is a Swedish movie that is being released in the U.S. under the title A Man Called Otto starring Tom Hanks. From what I can see, the American movie has been recreated frame for frame. I enjoyed what I did watch of A Man Called Ove, even though I would consider it a dark comedy and those aren’t usually my thing. I stopped it because I decided I should watch something a little happier since I was home by myself. I plan to finish the movie this week.

Anyhow, back to The Bookshop Around the Corner – it’s supposed to take place in Hungary, but only one person has a Hungarian accent. The rest either have New York accents or British ones. Besides that odd glitch, it is a very good movie about a man who is writing to a woman and later learns that the woman is someone he actually knows in real life.

I very much enjoyed the movie and was glad I watched that instead of You’ve Got Mail.

Also this week I watched The Muppets Christmas Carol as part of the ‘Tis the Season Cinema with Erin from Still Life with Cracker Crumbs and Katja_137 from Breath of Hallelujah.

They both had such interesting posts about the movie. I loved how Katja_137 threw in so much trivia about it, including an edited scene I didn’t even know existed.

You can read her post here: https://breathofhallelujah.com/2022/12/02/the-muppet-christmas-carol-tis-the-season-cinema/comment-page-1/#comment-56

And Erin’s here: https://crackercrumblife.com/2022/12/01/tis-the-season-cinema-the-muppets-christmas-carol/



What I’m Writing

I’ve been working on a short story that I will start sharing on the blog Friday and run for 12 days after that. It will feature the characters from Spencer Valley, including Molly, Alex, Robert, Annie, Franny, and maybe a little bit of Jason and Ellie and Matt and Liz.

Here is a little sneak peek for those of you who might like to read along:

Cold bit at Robert Tanner’s skin, stung his lungs, and made him wish he could stay inside under a blanket with a warm cup of coffee. Instead, he stepped further into the cold, pulling his winter cap down further on his head.

Between the house and the barn snow swirled wildly, darkening the sky and making it feel like dusk instead of late afternoon.

Inside the barn it was warm, and he was grateful for it, even if his arrival did mean he’d have to start cleaning out the cows sleeping area and preparing the second milking of the day.

Truthfully, his mind was far away from the tasks of the day. His thoughts were consumed with another project he hoped to have complete by Christmas – a gift for his wife of 30 years.

On the blog this week I shared:

What I’m Listening To

I have not been slowing down and listening to anything except for some worship guitar music while I write. I hope to remedy that this week and listen to some more music. Some nights my daughter and I listen to the family hour on our local Christian radio station, which features Adventures in Odyssey and other Christian radio dramas from 7 to  8 p.m.

Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Sunday Bookends: friend visits, warm weather, and Christmas movies

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays I ramble about what’s been going on, what I and the rest of the family have been reading and watching, and what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.


What I/we’ve been Reading

I have been reading a collection of Father Brown stories by G.K. Chesterton and have been enjoying them for the most part. The third one I read went off on a weird ramble for several pages that had nothing to do with the story I thought but these were written in the early 1900s so I cut Chesterton some slack.

I have also been reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain with The Boy for school and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with Little Miss.

I’ll probably start a new fiction book this week, but I’m not sure which one yet. I have a few I’ve read the first few pages of an am liking so I just need to pick one. The Seven and a half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has caught my attention so far.



What’s Been Occurring

This past week Little Miss and I were both surprised when her little friends who moved to Texas a year and a half ago, came back to stay.

Little Miss had a blast visiting with them during the week. We were still able to finish schoolwork but it was pushed off to the evenings to they could play together.

The friends are signed up back into school now so we won’t have our school days interrupted as much.

She was able to visit with some other friends yesterday.

We didn’t do a lot last week other than school. We had been doing game nights once a week with my parents but I had congestion and they were doing other things most days so we will have to have a game night another time.

The weather was oddly warm all week and then today it dropped into the 40s and it is literally downhill from here. It’s like we were in spring and then drastically plunged into winter. Our sinuses are definitely going to suffer even more this week. As I was writing this actual snow started to fall. Yuck.

What We watched/are Watching

This week I watched light and fluffy stuff including a couple of Hallmark movies even though I am not the biggest fan of Hallmark movies. I do like the movies based on the short-lived show Signed, Sealed, Delivered which follows a group of employees in the Dead Letter Office of the United States Postal Service. The premise – of them solving mysteries surrounding lost letters or packages — is a bit far fetched but the overall stories are uplifting and encouraging.

Earlier in the week I watched The Man Who Invented Christmas as part of the ‘Tis the Season Cinema feature Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs and I started this week. We are watching Christmas movies from now until the week before Christmas. Next up is A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong which you can find here on YouTube:

This special was on the BBC and is part of a series of specials and shows about a theater group who is always messing up or somehow ruining their shows with misspoken words or mishaps.

What I’m Writing

I didn’t share much on the blog this week other than the last chapters of Mercy’s Shore (Shores of Mercy).

I had to add a quick chapter to Shores of Mercy and also started a couple other stories to see which one sticks in my brain for me to continue it.

I did share a blog post about The Man Who Invented Christmas.

What I’m Listening To

I am listening to a lot of Family Life, our local Christian radio station.


Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Book review and giveaway: Dog Days of Summer

Book: Dog Days of Summer

Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo

Genre: Christian/Mystery/Romance Fiction

Release date: October 2022

Trina Potter, Nashville country music star, buys a ranch near her hometown in Brenham, Texas, to help her niece open a rescue facility for dogs. Her presence in town stirs up some old high school rivalries—and romance. Finding property to buy is a challenge, convincing her mother to move there with her is daunting, and navigating a string of strange accidents is perplexing. Sometimes Trina feels like she’s purchased her own three ring circus instead of a beautiful piece of land. But her first priority will be figuring out who wants Second Chance Ranch shut down before they even have the grand opening.

Click here to get your copy!






MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a cozy mystery with entertaining characters, then Dog Days of Summer is a good choice.

The book starts off pulling you into the story with characters who are downhome, even though one is a famous country singer.

This is the second book in the series, but you don’t have to read the first one to know what is happening in this one.

Y’Barbo writes characters who are very relatable.

A few sections dragged a little bit for me, but that’s merely my opinion. Other readers may not mind a little meandering. I felt that there could have been a bit more information about the main character’s singing career but that’s because I was interested, not because there was anything wrong with how it was written. I wasn’t a huge fan of how the love story was tossed in there as a plot point. It didn’t feel flushed out to me. The love story and the ending felt rushed to me but other readers may feel the pacing was just fine. Overall, this was a clean, cozy story that left me with a happy feeling at the end.

About the Author

Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than one hundred books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Students and the Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Novelists Inc., and American Christian Fiction Writers. She would also be a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a few others if she would just remember to fill out the paperwork that Great Aunt Mary Beth has sent her more than once.

When she’s not spinning modern day tales about her wacky Southern relatives, Kathleen inserts an ancestor or two into her historical and mystery novels as well. Recent book releases include bestselling The Pirate Bride set in 1700s New Orleans and Galveston, its sequel The Alamo Bride set in 1836 Texas, which feature a few well-placed folks from history and a family tale of adventure on the high seas and on the coast of Texas. She also writes (mostly) relative-free cozy mystery novels for Guideposts Books.

Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. They make their home just north of Houston, Texas and are the parents and in-laws of a blended family of Texans, Okies, and one very adorable Londoner.

More from Kathleen

Do you love dogs…or cats…or both…? I’m firmly in the “both” category. Since childhood I’ve always lived in homes that had at least one or the other, usually several of each. With every dog or cat comes at least one good story. One of my favorites is the tale of Bandit, the inspiration for the cover of my cozy mystery DOG DAYS OF SUMMER.

Once upon a time there was a black and white dog named Bandit. He was an English Springer Spaniel by birth but was completely convinced he was human. Bandit loved his people—three growing boys and a baby girl—even more than he loved popcorn and playing keep away (his version of catch). After many years, Bandit’s people grew up and he grew old. Toward the end of his very long and pampered life, he was plagued by the unwanted and yet much appreciated friendship of an ornery orange-striped cat named Baby and a snooty pedigreed feline named Fifi.

Everyone loved Bandit…except the territorial squirrel who lived in a tree in our backyard in Southeast Texas. From the moment Bandit joined the family, the furry fellow was determined to rid himself and his backyard of the trespassing canine. The squirrel’s favorite tactic was to tease Bandit until the dog chased him up a tree. Once treed, the crafty critter would run around the trunk just out of Bandit’s reach. Once the squirrel tired of this, it would retreat to a limb. There, the battle of the backyard beasts would commence again but with the squirrel lobbing pinecones and the dog trying to catch them.

While every good story has a beginning, middle and end, unfortunately at the end of this one there was no winner in the dog vs. squirrel wars. A job transfer led us to Houston where squirrels were in abundance in our new neighborhood but none of them were nearly as much fun as the one Bandit left behind. The last time I spoke with the owners of our old house, they told the funniest story: they loved their new home, but there was this squirrel in the backyard that kept throwing pinecones at everyone.

In DOG DAYS OF SUMMER, I tell the story of another Texas backyard. This one is located in Brenham, Texas, and it is about to become a very special place for some very special dogs named Patsy and Cline. Have I mentioned these dogs belong to a country singer named Trina who has a mother named Mama Peach who happens to own a cat named Hector that dislikes almost everyone and can open doors? Then there’s the problem of the next door neighbor and his penchant to forget to close the lid on his grill when he’s cooking? Did I mention that Patsy and Cline enjoy nothing more than whatever they happen to find on an unguarded grill? While the two furry scoundrels are rounding up trouble next door, there is even more trouble happening at the building site for Second Chance Ranch Dog Rescue on the other side of the property. Apparently not everyone is happy about the new neighbors. The mystery is who that person might be. While you’ve got to read DOG DAYS OF SUMMER to find out, I can give you one hint: it’s not the squirrel!

I’ve told you mine; now tell me your favorite dog or cat story. I can’t wait to read them.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a print copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/2244a/dog-days-of-summer-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday Bookends: Fun romantic comedies, all our leaves are gone, and finishing up Shores of Mercy

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.


What I/we’ve been Reading

Last night I finished The Do Over by Sharon Peterson. This is the second book by the same title that I’ve read this year and I liked this one a lot more. Sharon is a new to me author who was nice enough to read and review The Farmer’s Daughter for me about a month ago.

The book is not Christian but is a clean romantic comedy with some mild language. I absolutely loved the mouthy grandma and I am pretty sure Sharon has been in my house and met Little Miss because the little girl in the book acts and talks like her – right down to knowing a bunch of facts about animals.

The only downside to the book was that it was fairly predictable and I already knew what was going to happen during part of it. Luckily it was presented in a very creative and fun way, even though I knew where it was going. In other words, I had fun reading it anyhow.

I also wish all the romances today would stop putting out covers with faceless animated people. It’s not trendy anymore. Everyone is over it. Thank you. *just a little bit of joking. I’ll still read the books, even with those covers.*

Now I will continue to read Dog Days of Summer by Kathleen Y’arbo. It’s a very light read about a country singer who goes home for a visit and learns someone left a bomb at her niece’s dog rescue. I am reading it for a book tour and so far I am enjoying it.

I have a couple other books I hope to get to after these two, including, the second book in the Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box and The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.

The Husband is reading The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz.

Little Miss and I are finishing Paddington At Work and then will probably return to Anne of Avonlea. During the school week I am reading a book about George Washington Carver to her for history.

The Boy (I know this is a ridiculous blog nickname for him, but he and I couldn’t come up with a better one this weekend) and I are going to start The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn this week for school. Meanwhile, he breezed through The Lightning Thief by Rick Riorden, which is the first book in the Percy Jackson: The Olympians series. He was up until 3 a.m. reading it one night after which he made a snarky remark that people always suggest reading if you can’t go to sleep but instead it kept him awake until 3 a.m. He is now on book two.



What’s Been Occurring

Yesterday Little Miss and I were supposed to go to gymnastics and then a trunk-or-treat near there, but Little Miss woke up with a congested nose (most likely from the weather change) and threw up. She was a coughing, gagging, miserable mess all day and refused almost all suggestions to help her feel better. Hopefully today will be better.

Almost all the leaves fell off our trees and I found this very depressing because I am not a fan of winter. I do like curling up inside on snowy days with hot cocoa and a good book so I am sure I will survive.

Scout, the big footed kitten (she is a polydactyly cat), decided she wouldn’t come in until 10:30 at night Friday which left me convinced she had been run over and I should have carried her in earlier in the evening. I even drove around the block, looking for a squished kitten on the roads in the neighborhood. After I pulled back into the driveway, I headed to the garage to look again to see if we had shut her in (we rarely actually park our cars in the garage. Don’t ask.). While in I heard The Husband say, “oh there you are Scout.”

We have no idea where that little jerk had gone or where she came from but suddenly she was strolling up to the back porch and I simultaneously wanted to scream at her and kiss her.

She has been snuggling with me at nights, reminiscent of when we first got her when she was a kitten, sprawled on my chest. When I couldn’t find her, I worried we might have had our last snuggle session.

What We watched/are Watching

Last week we watched Brokenwood and a couple episodes of a 80s British sitcom, Yes, Minister.

Yesterday the kids watched Despicable Me 1 and 2 while Little Miss dealt with her illness.

We didn’t watch much else during the week because I mainly read and wrote .

Oh, but I did watch the Season 3 trailer for The Chosen. Oh my. I can’t wait for this season.

What I’m Writing

I am almost done with the first draft of Shores of Mercy so I have been working on that.

What I’m Listening to

This week I plan to listen to the new Steven Curtis Chapman album that just came out. I’ve been listening to him since I was in elementary school so I’m happy he has a new album out.


Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Sunday Bookends: Juggling books with my mood and tours, smells (good and bad) returning, and playing in water

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.


What I/we’ve been Reading

I had to abandon my plans from last week when I realized I had a couple books I agreed to read for blog tours. Luckily I have a little bit of time before the reviews need to be up, but I never know what each week is going to bring so I figured I’d better start them.

I am reading an indie book by Milla Holt called Into the Flood, which is a Christian romance. I’ll share a little bit more about it after I finish it and post a review, but it is available for sale at this time.

A description:

One mistake imploded Sonia Krogstad’s PR career, leaving her with a stack of debt and no job prospects. Out of options, she returns to her tiny hometown in the northern wilds of Norway, planning only to stay long enough to get back on her feet and prepare for her big-city comeback.

Reclusive tech genius Axel Vikhammer bought a non-profit community arts center that’s fast becoming a money pit. Closing it down is not an option, especially since it’s a refuge for the teenage daughter he only recently learned he has. With her PR background, Sonia seems the perfect hire for the job as his center’s fundraising manager.

Yet as feelings develop between the two, Axel wonders how he can trust Sonia with his business—or his heart—when her dreams don’t include his small town or him.

With her head and her heart pulling her in different directions, Sonia needs to take a leap of faith. But every time she’s done that in the past, she’s fallen flat on her face. Why should it be different now?

I’m also reading Dead Sea Rising by Jerry B. Jenkins. It is the second book in the Dead Sea Chronicles, but I didn’t realize that when I signed up for the tour. So far I am able to follow along without reading the first book. This is the first book I’ve read by Jenkins, who co-wrote the Left Behind series and is all the father of Dallas Jenkins who is writing and directing The Chosen series.

A description:

Nicole Berman is an archaeologist on the brink of a world-changing discovery. Preparing for her first dig in Jordan, she believes she has found concrete evidence of a biblical patriarch that could change history books forever. But someone doesn’t want the truth revealed. While urgently trying to connect pieces of an ancient puzzle, a dangerous enemy is out to stop her.

I’m switching between the two books and since I have a couple weeks before Dead Sea Rising needs to be finished, I am reading A Breath of French Air, the second book in the Pop Larkins series by H.E. Bates before bed each night because it’s very light and fun.

Little Miss and I are reading Ramona and Her Mom by Beverly Cleary.

The Husband is reading Noir by Christopher Moore.

The Boy is still reading War of the Worlds by HG Welles.


What’s Been Occurring

I had mentioned a few times in the last nine months, since the dreaded virus, that my smell has either remained dulled or distorted, sometimes to the point of making me physically ill. My taste had also been off and still is for some things. For the longest time most meats, anything with garlic, and many other foods tasted rancid or like burnt rubber. I don’t know how else to explain it. Also, like sweaty feet smell, if that makes any sense. There are still times that chicken, especially with skin, garlic, and tomatoes don’t taste right. This summer has also been rough because watermelon doesn’t taste sweet any longer. It tastes like squash in a way. Strawberries sometimes taste like strawberries and sometimes have what I, and others who have had their smell and taste effected by the virus, call The Covid Taste/Smell.

As for smell, things that still have the Covid Smell are sweat (sorry), gasoline, propane, chemicals, and sometimes … um…poop (like cat and dog).

This week, though, I noticed I was smelling things I couldn’t smell at all before. For the last nine months smells have been muted or I haven’t noticed them much. When someone says “oh that smells good” I say, “can’t smell it.” Of course, I had sinus issues before the dreaded virus as well, and that had also dulled my smell.

Late in the week, when I walked outside with my daughter and walked between our pine tree bushes I suddenly realized I could smell pine. A couple of days later I could smell — excuse me for sharing, but dog poop in our yard. It didn’t smell like Covid, it smelled like poop. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to rejoice for that or not.

For most of my life, smells that don’t bother other people, bother me. Like perfumes or air freshners. I get headaches and sometimes my chest tightens. That hasn’t been common the last nine months but The Husband sprayed some Febreeze and it was overwhelming. I could actually smell it. Again, I don’t know if I want to rejoice that I can smell smells which bother me, but it is nice to be able to smell pine trees and freshly cut grass again.

Little Miss and I went swimming again this week at my parents. We also grocery shopped again, which I always dread and hate. Grocery shopping went wonderful but then I got to my van, which has issues with its locks and its key fobs and I accidentally locked it while trying to open the back hatch. When I went to open the hatch it was locked, as was the rest of the van. This left me standing in the parking lot with Little Miss and a cart full of groceries but no way to get home. To cut a too long story already short, I called The Husband, who called our insurance company to have someone come open it. Our insurance company apparently stinks because they called someone a half an hour away. The Husband came and traded cars with us and waited for the locksmith (or whatever he is called) and I drove home wondering why I can’t buy groceries without something weird happening.

The day before we picked up groceries, we visited our neighbor who broke her ankle a few weeks ago and is still laid up from it after spending some time in the hospital and a rehabilitation center. Our kitten walked with us to her house and when we came out after the visit, she was waiting for us and walked back home with us. Our neighbor is about five houses from ours. Our animals crack us up and I also think it is sweet that the cats, who sometimes seem like they couldn’t care less about us, apparently do.

Yesterday The Husband and The Boy borrowed my dad’s truck and picked up some firewood to help us prepare for this winter and hopefully cut down on our heating bill since we are currently struggling to pay the one we just received.

Earlier in the week, the kids had fun on the Slip N Slide and yesterday Little Miss had fun running through the sprinkler.

What We watched/are Watching

I did not watch as many movies last week, partially because I tried to read more and also because I was outside so much with Little Miss and grocery shopping and all that kind of stuff that I just didn’t have time to sit down and watch an entire movie. Not until The Boy and I watched Gladiator, which we started Thursday and finished Friday. I hadn’t seen it in years and forgot how good it was.

Last night, The Husband and I watched a Poirot movie, Murder on the Links.

This week I am returning to the Summer of Paul with a list of Paul Newman movies I hope to get through before the end of August.


What I’m Writing

I am working on Mercy’s Shore, The Shores of Mercy, whatever I’m going to call it, but this week I forgot to post Chapter 13 on Friday. I am going to make up for it this week by posting Chapter 13 on Thursday and Chapter 14 on Friday.

I guess my brain was mush from all the little weird things that seemed to happen Friday and how busy we were playing outside during the week.

On the blog I shared:

What I’m Listening to

Matthew West. I don’t know if I have praised him enough on this blog, but his songs are so uplifting, so encouraging and help soothe my spirit on the most anxious days. On the days where I am really shook up and worried I turn his songs on, especially the ones on his greatest hits album. Those songs, the lyrics, all of it, help me so much.

The album is Brand New, and I really encourage you to check it out via whatever music listening service you listen to.

This song is not on that album, but it is Matthew’s latest:


Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Sunday Bookends: Anything Goes, hot days, and books that are in the wrong genre

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.


What I/we’ve Been Reading

So I finished The Do Over by Bethany Turner this week and I’m going to offer a little review here instead of breaking it out in a separate post.

I like Bethany as a person. She’s fun to watch and listen to and as someone who writes Christian Fiction and actually mentions God and is still told my books aren’t Christian enough, I do feel bad writing that this book isn’t Christian fiction, but, well . . . it isn’t.

It’s a clean book. It’s a funny book and I did enjoy it for the most part. It’s full of pop culture references – so many you can barely get a few pages, sometimes a few paragraphs, before another movie or celebrity is referenced, but there is not one reference to God in the book. Not even anyone going to church.

It’s a simple, clean romantic comedy written by someone who once wrote Christian fiction and that is not a bad thing. I am, however, a little bewildered why the book is listed under Christian fiction. It definitely didn’t hold my attention as well as some of her other books and the reveal of the person who committed a crime in the book wasn’t a surprise at all.

The book was also yet another romantic comedy love letter to New York City, which is getting a little tiresome actually. It’s like yet another love letter to Jane Austen books or London. All the name drops of locations in New York City did very little for someone who isn’t as excited by the city as Turner is, unfortunately. But if you love NYC and squealing about specific locations like they are a big deal, you’ll love this book. (We’ll all just pretend crime isn’t a daily occurrence and instead believe that the characters aren’t praying they don’t get mugged while walking by the homeless on the streets.)

The saving grace of this book was Henry Blumenthal, even though he could have been a little more well-rounded in my opinion. He seemed very stoic and awkward, but he was supposed to be so I guess that worked. What I do love is how Turner writes a kiss scene. It’s not overdone or over explained, but you feel the emotion and I like that.

I think after reading The Do Over, though, I might have to finally admit something. I don’t like a lot of traditional romance books. I don’t like when the entire book is built around swoons and misunderstandings, break-ups and then resumed swoons (shhh…I know mine are similar but I try to throw in a little bit more plot to even it out and hopefully I’ll get better at it.) Oh, and then epilogues with weddings or future scenes of happy marriages with children now born. (Yep. Totally did this in my second book. Never did it again.)

Almost every single romance or romantic comedy I’ve read in CF has ended this way and Turner’s books are no exception, but I wish they were.

So what’s next for me?

I don’t know yet. I can’t decide what I am in the mood for, but The Husband has suggested a couple of books for me, including What’s the Worst That Can Happen by Donald Westlake and The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz.

I’m also considering reading the second book in the Pop Larkin series because those books are fairly quick reads.

I hope to finish Anne of the Island this week as I have enjoyed reading it leisurely at a couple chapters a day for the last couple of months.

The Husband is reading Don’t Know Tough by Eli Cantour (which he is almost done with).

The Boy is reading War of the Worlds by H.G. Welles.

Little Miss and I are re-reading Romona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary but she also let me read from Anne of Green Gables last night.


What’s Been Occurring

My husband had a small part in the local theater group’s production of Anything Goes and this week was showtime. He had dress rehearsals the first part of the week and then the show Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. He was on stage for the speaking part for about five minutes but then he was in the background as a sailor.

Little Miss, The Boy, and I went for the dress rehearsal Monday but it got late and we slipped out after the first act. Little Miss wanted to go back to watch the whole show but we didn’t make it for various reasons (partially because I wasn’t sure she’d stay seated for a three-hour show) so I looked up a production of it we could watch at home and found one performed in the West End Theater in London earlier this year and showcased on PBS. Someone had put it up illegally on YouTube (yeah for pirating! 😉). I thought Little Miss would like to see the second half of it but it turns out she only wanted to see the version our local performers did. Boy did I feel like a jerk that I didn’t get her over there after that. I enjoyed it at least and will include a link to it under the What I’m Watching header.

I took some photographs of the dress rehearsal along with The Husband for the paper since The Husband was in the first act and couldn’t take photos of himself. He took photos of the second act and a collection of both our photos were used for a photo page in the paper, which is a weekly paper.

The Husband doesn’t want me to post any photos of him, but I thought I’d share a few others I took that night.



This one is my favorite and it is close to the one on the front page of the newspaper he works at:

We took a break on Tuesday and then Wednesday we went to my parents to swim but were dive bombed by some wasps and had to head out earlier than we wanted to. We hope to be able to spray them before we go in the next time. It’s been very hot here for the last two weeks. You know it’s been hot when you see it’s going to be 81 later in the week and you’re excited about the cooler temperatures. I know that 90 to 92 is not as hot as down South or in Arizona, but it’s hot for Pennsylvania and it’s hot for me since I’ve never done well in the heat.

Friday it was grocery shopping day again. Blah. I hate grocery shopping.

Yesterday it was time to relax for me and today The Husband finally gets to relax after several 14 or more hour days in a row (between work and rehearsals).

What We watched/are Watching

I continued watching Paul Newman movies this past week with Sweet Bird of Youth. I’d never heard of this movie and was blown away by the acting and the viscousness of the characters. This was another movie based on a Tennessee Williams play.

This one startled me a little to be honest. It was put out in 1962 and dealt with some more steamy topics than I expected. Newman was a gigolo and at one point he was rolling blunts for his current client, a washed-up actress who he’d taken with him back to Talahasee to see the girl he wanted to marry as soon as he hit it big as an actor. His character seriously drove me nuts – he was so fixated on becoming famous and hitting it big so he could provide for the girl he loved that he literally would do anything to get to the top. And I mean just about anything.

The plus side of this movie, besides the fact the acting really was very good, was that Paul had his shirt off more than he had it on. This, of course, annoyed The Boy who told me at one point, “Just go back and watch your movie with shirtless Paul Newman.” He then rolled his eyes. I, of course, obliged. *wink* (Please know that I am just joking around. I am a married woman and Paul is, well, dead.)

As I mentioned above, I then watched Anything Goes, essentially by myself since my children abandoned me. This version was with Sutton Fuller who won a Tony for her performance.

I also watched The Bachelor and The Bobby Soxer with Cary Grant, Myrna Lloyd, and Shirley Temple, which I have watched before and really enjoyed. It’s very funny.

The plot is that Temple falls for Cary Grant, who is probably 25 years older than her, when he speaks at her school, and tries to chase after him. Her older sister, Loy, is a judge who has had Grant before her in court for another matter. Long story short, Temple goes to Grant’s apartment and is caught there and Grant is framed for tying to get involved with a minor. In an effort to try to deter Temple, Loy’s uncle, the city District Attorney, suggests that Grant carry on the charade (no pun to the other movie Grant was in) and try to frighten Temple off. This completely backfires and hilarity ensues.


What I’m Writing

I’m also working on Mercy’s Shore, of course.



Now it’s your turn

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

Sunday Bookends: Crazy week in so many ways

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing, and listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

Last week was one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a very long time. For that reason, I am writing this while barely awake. What do you mean all my posts sound like I’m barely awake when I write them? Well, anyhow. . . The busy week started Sunday when we headed 40 minutes away to see Top Gun: Maverick for me and The Boy and one of his friends, and the Minions movie for The Husband, Little Miss, and some of her friends (and those friends’ dad and brother.). I went despite the fact I’d only had about four hours of sleep the night before. Maybe the day was so fun because I was barely awake. I’m not sure.

Because Minions ended before Top Gun, The Husband and the father of Little Miss’s friends took the other children to a park and playground across town. The Husband came back to pick us up and when he did the boys and I were outside the theater and I was looking through the Little Library they had by the front doors. I had just discovered there was another row behind the first row (It was bigger on the inside!) and had three books in the crook of my arm when he pulled up in the middle of the street and called, “Get in quick!” and grinned like he was driving a get away car. I bet he always wanted to do that.

I had to hurry and slide the safety pin back into the door latch to hold the door closed and take off with the books like I was some kind of thief before a car came up behind him. It was both humorous and sad. I escaped with two hard-cover Robert Galbraith books and a Robert Parker book. I felt horrible because the sign on the little library door said “take a book, leave a book.” I didn’t have a book to leave, but The Husband said he would take three down to replace the next time he has to go to a meeting in the town for work.

And then, when we went back to the park to play a little longer and pick up Little Miss, he snatched another book out of another Little Library. So now we owe the town four books. Sigh.

On Monday we went to my parents to spend the Fourth with them. All four of my immediate family jumped in the pool together, which is unusual. Usually, Little Miss and I are the ones who go in the pool and sometimes The Boy. This time we were all in and it was a lot of fun, even though The Boy ripped a hole in one of his toes, and a couple of days later we thought it was infected.

The Boy was also dealing with a horrific sore throat from the Thursday before until Tuesday when it disappeared right before we took him to the doctor to see if he might have an infection of some kind. On the Fourth he couldn’t even eat because swallowing was too painful.

This is the third time I have taken one of my children to the local doctor only to have their symptoms disappear the day I take them and be told there is nothing wrong with them. I’m beginning to worry this local doctor thinks I’m crazy, but this time it was The Boy who insisted on going because the pain had been so bad.

I was hoping for a break on Wednesday, but then I was reminded the local firemen’s carnival was being held almost two months earlier than normal because of a change in ride vendors. This is the largest fundraiser of the year for the small, volunteer fire department in the town my husband works in, and I went to school in. My friends and I traditionally attended this carnival every, or almost every, year when I was growing up. I’ll probably share a blog post later this week with some stories about our trips there.

There is a huge parade held on the first day of the carnival and Little Miss’s gymnastics school was walking in it. Her little friends were going to be in the parade so I thought she would enjoy going as well since this is her first year in gymnastics. I had to go a couple hours before the parade for decorating (which it turns out they actually didn’t do because the girls ended up just walking and not riding a float) and then to drop them off for line up.

I then went to The Husband’s office because he was rushing to take photos of the floats to be sure the photos and stories went into the next day’s newspaper. His newspaper is a weekly newspaper, and they usually have an earlier deadline to have their newspaper sent to the printer, but once a year they are provided with a later deadline to make sure coverage of the parade is in the next day.

Little Miss went to the carnival for about 30 minutes with her friends after the parade and then we staggered home for a day off (Thursday) before I drove 45 minutes south (yes..we seem to be 45 minutes away from everywhere) on Friday to pick up Little Miss’s friends so they could have a day to play. That day became a little weird when Little Miss drank some orange juice too fast while we were at my parents, told me her chest hurt and she was scared, and then briefly fainted, similar to how she fainted when she was bit by a non-venomous snake last Labor Day and we had to take her to the ER. We called an ambulance that day because she slammed her head off a table during her fainting spell and was completely out of it.

This time she slumped into the fridge, I grabbed her and held her, calling her name and she opened her eyes within 30 seconds and asked what happened. We sat in the floor for a bit because she said her legs were weak and shaking but within 15 minutes she was up and running around with her friends again.

She acted completely normal for the rest of the day but since she’s now fainted twice after stressful situations, we are going to be calling a doctor to have her checked out. This will probably be the fourth time I take her to the local doctor and have them tell me there is nothing wrong with her, but I’ll be fine with that this time.

I have read before that fainting is somewhat common in some children (I fainted once from low blood sugar and gave almost fainted many times), whose body sometimes reacts quite quickly to stress by dropping their heart rate and blood pressure. The scary thing is that her fainting spells happen so quickly. One minute she’s talking and the next she collapses to the floor. My mom compared her to a fainting goat and she’s right- it’s sort of what it is like.

What was even odder about Friday is that my dad started to black out while we were on our way to see some fireworks later in the day. I don’t know of any connection between the two incidents. My dad believes his was dehydration, but we weren’t sure, so I drove him home before the fireworks even started. Little Miss was disappointed because she and her friends had planned to jump in the bouncy house before the fireworks, but after her odd day, she was actually very tired. In the end, I don’t think she minded going back home.

On the way home, Dad started feeling better (after drinking a bottle of Gatorade) and we also saw four deer either standing very close to the road or in fields on four different occasions. The first deer, a doe, was standing on our side of the road, right on the edge, turned toward us and watching us as we drove by slowly (because I was honestly afraid she was going to jump out in front of us).

The second deer was in a wooded area with another deer laying next to her. I didn’t see the deer laying next to her, but Little Miss did. The third deer was a young buck, standing in a field close to the road. Little Miss didn’t see the buck so we actually circled around so we could show him to her and he was still there, chewing while he watched us. He had very short antlers, with one of them deformed. He was obviously a very young buck because he still had velvet on his short antlers. I wish I had been able to take a photograph of him, but I was driving and we were in the middle of a highway and I wasn’t sure when a car might come up behind us.

The fourth deer was running in a field, but also close to the road. The Boy also said he saw three wild turkeys while we were driving, but the rest of us missed those.

After my dad was back home, I called my brother to tell him about Dad. As if the incidents with Dad and Little Miss weren’t enough, while we were talking my brother’s nose started bleeding. I said a prayer over our family because it was starting to feel like a demonic attack!

What was odd about all the medical stuff happening to my family members is that I’m the one who usually has some weird medical episode when we go to an event or try to do something special. This time I was feeling fairly good and was actually very calm when Little Miss fainted and when my dad started to feel a little off. I’m going to say that the peace came both from praying and from the very small amount of CBD I started taking daily a couple of weeks ago.

Since we missed going to the carnival Friday night, I had to take another trip to it yesterday so Little Miss could jump in the bouncy house. It’s the only thing she’s asked to do recently and after watching her faint and fall into the fridge Friday, I wanted to let her have as much fun as possible.

Luckily her little friends were there then too so they were able to have fun together. The Boy’s two friends came as well so it was a nice day for the kids.

I’m hoping for a little bit of a more relaxed week this week, but there is a local VBS going on so…who knows what will happen. At least most of the stuff we did last week was fun (other than the fainting and almost fainting episodes). I think this is one of the longer “What’s Been Occurring” sections I’ve ever shared and, actually, I’m hoping future sections are much shorter. I’m tired, ya’ll.

What I’m Reading

Last night I finally finished Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. I think I’ve been reading it two months or so, and to explain, it was not boring, it was simply a book full of a lot of a lot of technical kitchen and restauranter lingo and stories, which was sometimes overwhelming. I was also reading a couple of books for book tours while reading it, which delayed me finishing it. I am going to write a longe post about my impressions of it later this week.

I am still enjoying a leisurely read of Anne of the Island. I pick it up during more depressing or tough moments and read a chapter or two. I’m not in any hurry to finish it.

Last week I also started The Do Over by Bethany Turner. It is a romantic comedy and so far, I am enjoying it. I will most likely concentrate on it this week and maybe even finish it.

I hope to start one of the Dortmunder novels by Donald Westlake next week.

What I’m/We’re Watching/Watched

I mentioned already above, and in a separate blog post earlier in the week, that I watched Top Gun: Maverick. I presented my spoiler free impression of it HERE.

Later in the week, The Boy and I watched Jaws for fun. I had only seen parts of it in the past. We actually enjoyed it.

I started Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, but I wasn’t able to finish it before my rental ran out on Amazon so hope to watch it Monday or Tuesday.

The Husband and I watched a Brokenwood Mysteries one night, but he was busy all week with either work, play practice, or volunteering at the carnival.

We hope to watch Family Camp for our family movie next week since we ran out of time this week.

What I’m Writing

Last week I worked quite a bit on The Shores of Mercy.

On the blog I shared:

Now It’s Your Turn

Your turn! What have you been doing, reading, watching, or listening to recently? Let me know in the comments.

Anne Shirley quotes and loving it when my daughter “gets” a character I “get”

I love it when someone besides me understands a literary character who I love and it’s even better when that someone is my seven-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

I’ve mentioned before on my blog that Little Miss has been making me read the Little House on the Prairie books again and I’m not really enjoying reading them again because, well, they are a bit tedious at times and Ma drives me bonkers (she’s so rude and well, racist, at times. I still don’t think the whole series is racist, however, and I definitely think children should read them or have them read to them to learn more about life in the 1800s). I’ll write about Ma and her idiosyncrasies in a future post.

Recently I had convinced Little Miss to let me read Anne of Green Gables before bed instead, but sadly she seemed unable to fall asleep while I was reading that book, mainly because, as she said, “It wakes my brain up too much.”

I read the dialogue in the voices of the characters when I read to her, and I’ve watched the Anne of Green Gables movie (Canadian version only) so many times that I was really getting into it. I made Anne a little bit too hyper, but that’s how she is. Little Miss told me that she was too into the story to fall asleep and asked me to go back to Little House because it was “boring enough for me to fall asleep to.”

Earlier this week I had simply had had enough of Ma and told Little Miss I could read Anne but dull it down a little.

“I can make it boring,” I told her. “Make Anne sound boring. Less bouncy.”

She gasped. “No! You can’t do that!  You have to read it with Anne’s bouncy voice because Anne’s bouncy voice is what makes Anne, Anne!”

Oh gosh! She gets it! Anne’s personality is what makes Anne Anne and that’s really the point of the books, but especially the first one. The theme is that Anne is dramatic and silly and swoony and, well, wonderful, and Little Miss gets it!

I’ve really enjoyed reading the Anne series these last couple of months. It’s been comfort reading for me. While reading, I have written down or snapped photos on my phone of several quotes I have enjoyed the most. I thought I’d share some of my favorites here for you today.

Marilla felt more embarrassed than ever. She had intended to teach Anne the childish classic, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” But she had, as I have told you, the glimmerings of a sense of humor–which is simply another name for a sense of the fitness of things; and it suddenly occurred to her that simple little prayer, sacred to the white-robed childhood lisping at motherly knees, was entirely unsuited to this freckled witch of a girl who knew and cared nothing about God’s love, since she had never had it translated to her through the medium of human love.”―  Anne of Green Gables

“Having adventures comes natural to some people”, said Anne serenely. “You just have a gift for them or you haven’t.” Anne of Avonlea

“Oh, here we are at the bridge. I’m going to shut my eyes tight. I’m always afraid going over bridges. I can’t help imagining that perhaps, just as we get to the middle, they’ll crumple up like a jackknife and nip us. So I shut my eyes. But I always have to open them for all when I think we’re getting near the middle. Because, you see, if the bridge did crumple up I’d want to see it crumple. What a jolly rumble it makes! I always like the rumble part of it. Isn’t it splendid there are so many things to like in this world? There, we’re over. Now I’ll look back. Good night, dear Lake of Shining Waters. I always say good night to the things I love, just as I would to people. I think they like it. That water looks as if it was smiling at me.”
―  Anne of Green Gables

“Well, I don’t want to be anyone but myself, even if I go uncomforted by diamonds all my life,” declared Anne. “I’m quite content to be Anne of Green Gables, with my string of pearl beads.” — Anne of Green Gables

“Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them,” exclaimed Anne. “You mayn’t get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs. Lynde says, ‘Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.’ But I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed.” – Anne of Green Gables

“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.” – Anne of Avonlea

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” – Anne of Avonlea

“Yes, it’s beautiful,’ said Gilbert, looking steadily down into Anne’s uplifted face, ‘but wouldn’t it have been more beautiful still, Anne, if there had been no separation or misunderstanding . . . if they had come hand in hand all the way through life, with no memories behind them but those which belonged to each other?” – Anne of Avonlea

“When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it lasts…it’s like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud.” – Anne of Avonlea

“Whenever you looked forward to anything pleasant you were sure to be more or less disappointed…that nothing ever came up to your expectations. Well, perhaps that is true. But there is a good side to it too. The bad things don’t always come up to your expectations either…they nearly always turn out ever so much better than you think.” -Anne of Avonlea

“It takes all sorts of people to make a world, as I’ve often heard, but I think there are some who could be spared,” — Anne of Avonlea

“There is so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it, and the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it to ourselves–so much in men and women, so much in art and literature, so much everywhere in which to delight, and for which to be thankful.” — Anne of the Island

“I am afraid to speak or move for the fear all this wonderful beauty will vanish just like a broken silence.” — Anne of the Island

That’s one of the things we learn as we grow older — how to forgive. It comes easier at forty than it did at twenty.” — Anne of the Island

People told her she hadn’t changed much, in a tone which hinted they were surprised and a little disappointed she hadn’t.” — Anne of the Island

“There is a book of Revelation in everyone’s life, as there is in the Bible.” — Anne of the Island

“Never write a line you’d be ashamed to read at your own funeral.” — Anne of the Island

“I’m going home to an old country farmhouse, once green, rather faded now, set among leafless apple orchards. There is a brook below and a December fir wood beyond, where I’ve heard harps swept by the fingers of rain and wind. There is a pond nearby that will be gray and brooding now. There will be two oldish ladies in the house, one tall and thin, one short and fat; and there will be two twins, one a perfect model, the other what Mrs. Lynde calls a ‘holy terror.’ There will be a little room upstairs over the porch, where old dreams hang thick, and a big, fat, glorious feather bed which will almost seem the height of luxury after a boardinghouse mattress. How do you like my picture, Phil?”

“It seems a very dull one,” said Phil, with a grimace.

“Oh, but I’ve left out the transforming thing,” said Anne softly. “There’ll be love there, Phil—faithful, tender love, such as I’ll never find anywhere else in the world—love that’s waiting for me. That makes my picture a masterpiece, doesn’t it, even if the colors are not very brilliant?”

Phil silently got up, tossed her box of chocolates away, went up to Anne, and put her arms about her. “Anne, I wish I was like you,” she said soberly.”
— Anne of the Island

Which genre are your favorite books in?

Have you ever had someone ask you what kind of genres of books you like and draw a blank? Well, I have many times so recently I did some research on the different genres to see what genres the books I read are in. I mean I know some of the genres I like but sometimes I don’t know what genre a book falls under.

I don’t really pay attention to a genre when I pick up a book and read what it is about. If I like the sound of the book, I read it. I do know that I read a lot of inspirational fiction and mystery but I couldn’t figure out what genre some of the other books are in.

I now know that I like cozy mysteries, Christian fiction, some women’s fiction, mystery/detective, thriller and suspense (although not all), contemporary fiction, romantic comedy, and some classics. I also like some historical fiction but not all.

The genres I don’t like as much as science fiction (so sorry dear husband), fantasy (so sorry dear husband, son and friends), non-fiction (with the exception of a few), memoir, and action and adventure (with a few exceptions).

A couple genres which I don’t hate but don’t exactly love, include historical romance and mainstream romance. This is because so many of these books are the same book written over and over.

Historical romance drives me nuts at times because it often oversimplifies and over glorifies times in history that were not simple or worthy of being glorified. It also drives me crazy when someone writes historical fiction in the style of the time period, as if they were in that time period, especially if it is a third person book. If the book was written in 2022 but the author is writing sentences like, “And she did walk upon the frosty morning grass with the air of a newly crowned queen….” I tune out pretty fast.

Genres I don’t like at all: horror, erotica, political, satire, political-satire (if you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of political writing in general), dystopian, paranormal, vampire, young adult, and magical realism.

Thanks to a few different sites, I can help you identity the book genres you like, including some examples of books listed in that genre.

I’m going to list only 10 of the popular genres, their description as I see it, and some of the books in them for the sake of time and space. Some articles online detail more than 30 different genres and then genres under the umbrellas of those genres. I know. Who knew books could be so complicated? I will list those blog posts and articles at the bottom of this blog post.

  1. Literary Fiction

These books are usually written with deeper prose, more description, and deep plot points. They usually focus on a personal or social issue to be addressed. In my opinion they are a bit over dramatic, but I still enjoy them. As is the case with many genres there are books in this genre which can fit into other genre categories or into a sub-category of this genre. There are also those in the fiction world who break this further into genres like classic literary fiction and contemporary literary fiction.

Some examples of general literary fiction that I know of include Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, anything by Charles Martin (who is also listed in Christian/Religious fiction), Harper Lee, J.D. Salinger, and anything by Margaret Atwood.

I consider classic literary fiction a different category altogether.

Other literary fiction authors and books:

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/literary-fiction

2. Romance (including romantic comedy)

I don’t think I really have to explain the romance genre. Most romance goes like this: boy and girl meet, boy and girl hate each other then later they love each other, then they have a misunderstanding and fall away from each other and then something happens to bring them back together and they have a happily ever after ending.

Many romances end with a wedding. There are, of course, romances which are clean and romances which are not-so-clean. There are also sub-genres of romance, such as sweet or wholesome or erotica. There is also inspirational romance or Christian romance.

Example of romance books include anything by Becky Wade, Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts, Robyn Carr, Debbie Macomber, Carolyn Brown, Sarah MacLean, Bethany Turner (clean romantic comedies), and Nicholas Sparks. This definitely is not an exhaustive list so….

For more romance authors:

https://www.tckpublishing.com/best-romance-authors/

For Christian/inspirational romance authors:

https://jocolibrary.bibliocommons.com/list/share/74067937/1826651979

3. Women’s Fiction

Women’s fiction is not romance. This is fiction about women but it doesn’t usually involve a romance or if it does, the romance is secondary. To me, women’s fiction is often focused on deeper thoughts and situations that face the female protagonist, and during the book she works through those various issues.

Examples of women’s fiction authors that I found online include Kristin Hannah, Colleen Hoover, Mary Kay Andrews, Lisa Wingate, Karen White, Jodi Picoult, and Karen Kingsbury.

For more women’s fiction authors:

https://www.goodreads.com/genres/womens-fiction

4. Mystery/Detective/Crime/Thriller

Mystery is what it sounds like. They are books that include a mystery of some kind whether they are being investigated by a professional or not. The protagonist is the one investigating the mystery.

There are a couple other genres that I think are offshoots to this one – suspense and thrillers which usually have a mystery in them as well. And of course cozy mysteries, which I personally read a lot of.

Detective obviously means the protagonist is a detective of some kind, either a private one or with law enforcement.

There is old detective/crime/ mystery like Raymond Chadler, Earl Stanley Gardner, Donald Westlake, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the queen Agatha Christie. Then there is the new stuff like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, The Walt Longmire Mysteries, John Grisham, Michael Connelly’s Bosch series, C.J. Box, and Robert Gailbrith just to name a few.

Some sites list Stephen King in mystery and some put him in thriller. I consider him horror-thriller so I’ll list him below under horror too.

For cozy mysteries I have enjoyed Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who series, the Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross (these are super cozy with not even murder in them most of the tienand the Lady Hardcastle series. Cozy mysteries are often written as series. There is also the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton, which the show was based on. I am sure the beginning of the series is okay but the later books are absolutely awful. Maybe because they were trying to capitalize off the success of the show and pushed the elderly writer to try to write more. I don’t know but I’m glad I picked it up on clearance.

Here is a little more info on mystery authors:

https://becomeawritertoday.com/top-mystery-writers/

https://becomeawritertoday.com/crime-thriller-authors/

Here is a whole site about Cozy Mystery books and writers:

https://cozy-mystery.com/

5. Fantasy

Fantasy is another one of those broad genres that can include other genres (like dystopian fantasy or magical fantasy) but mainly it focuses on books about fantastical worlds with dragons and warlocks and wizards, etc. There are also often fantastical monarchies and other crazy creatures, as well as humans.

Fantasy authors include Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling (who also falls into child or young adult books), Terry Pratchett, George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, C.S. Lewis (who is also a theological and children’s book author), and Katherine Arden. Again — a very short list in a hugely popular genre.

https://www.audible.com/blog/article-best-fantasy-authors-ever

6. Science Fiction

Most people think of Science Fiction as books or movies that are usually about other planets or stories which take place in space. The genre is much broader than that, however. According to the site, Famous Authors, “The world of sci-fi is a unique experience as, unlike other genres, it allows for an author to take their imagination to new limits and thus provide a surreal experience for their readers.”

Time travel books fall under this genre, in addition to books that take place in space. Some famous authors in this genre are H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, Mary Shelly, Isaac Asimov. Modern writers of this genre include Ann Leckie, Martha Wells, Tamysn Muir, and Charles Stross. Personally, I’ve never heard of any of them.

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/best-sci-fi-books

7. Classic

Classic literature is usually considered (or at least by me) books written more than 40 years ago. Articles online state that classic literature must be anything that has universal appeal, has “high artistic quality”, and stands the test of time. Which authors should be included in this category seems to create debates and controversy online.

When I think of classics I think first about the Victorian age authors like Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, George Elliott, Edgar Allen Poe, L.M. Montgomery, and Leo Tolstoy, for example. Then I go on to Mark Twain, William Faulkner (good grief! His run-ons!), Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Harper Lee (even though she only wrote one book), William Golding, and George Orwell.

Find a ton more classics here:

https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2018/100-must-read-classic-books.html

8. Horror

Horror to me are stories of the macabre, the grotesque, plenty of violence and gore, but in the early days they were simply novels or stories which instilled fear in the reader.

Some classic horror writers include Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe (who can also go to the classic genre, as I mentioned), Mary Shelly, and Franz Kafka.

More modern horror writers include Stephen King (considered the king of the genre), Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, Joe Hill (son of Stephen King), Jonathan Maberry, Mylo Carbia, and Clive Barker. Neil Gaiman is put into this category by some, but I always thought he was more fantasy. I guess I’ll have to ask The Husband his opinion this one since he is a huge Gaiman fan. (Update, he says he doesn’t consider his work horror. He considers it fantasy/science fiction. See?! Genres are so complicated! Another combined set of genres. Sigh)

For more horror authors click here:

https://booklaunch.io/bestsellers/best-horror-authors

Or

https://bookriot.com/best-horror-authors/

9. Historical Fiction

Historical Fiction is what it sounds like. It’s fiction either based on a historical event,  person or time period.

Some Historical Fiction authors include Hilary Mantel, Graham Greene, Ken Follet, Philippa Gregory, Sarah Waters, Sarah Sundin, Lynn Austin, Bodie and Brock Thoene, Kate Alcott, and Bernard Cornwall.

Here are a couple of sites with some author Historical Fiction authors:

https://becomeawritertoday.com/best-historical-fiction-authors/

https://bookriot.com/best-historical-fiction-authors/

10. Christian Fiction

Christian Fiction is a genre in itself but under this genre are many of the other genres, even horror (I know..what?!).

Popular Christian Fiction authors include Karen Kingsbury (general and women’s fiction), Tessa Afshar (Biblical fiction), Becky Wade (romance), James L. Rubart (science fiction/supernatural), Frank Peretti (supernatural/horror), Ted Dekker (fantasy, suspense, thriller, youth, mind benders), Francine Rivers (romance, Biblical and women’s fiction), Terri Blackstock (suspense, mystery), Bethany Turner (romantic comedies), Robin W. Pearson (southern fiction), Jerry B. Jenkins (suspense, mystery and a variety of other genres), Lynn Austin (historical fiction), Sarah Sundin (historical fiction), Susan May Warren (suspense, romance), and Jan Karon (general/Southern fiction). There are soo many Christian Fiction authors.

Click here for a more thorough list (though, of course, not comprehensive):

https://bloggersforthekingdom.com/top-christian-fiction-writers-that-know-how-to-hook-you/

https://kristiwoods.net/10-not-to-miss-female-christian-fiction-authors/

And for a couple of posts about the many variety of genres and what books are in them:

https://booksummaryclub.com/genres-of-books/

https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/books/a29576863/types-of-book-genres/

So what genres of books are your favorites? Let me know in the comments!