Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Reading Stats and My Favorite Reads

2021 - I am good at making plans and setting goals but not very good at follow through.  At the beginning of 2021 I set out to track all the places I visited through books and I did a great job for the first 3 or so months of the year but then that all fell apart when I got a bit lazy.  While I read a lot of wonderful books in 2021, I also had my share of disappointing reads and (13) DNF titles.  I also felt like I read too many lackluster psych thrillers and, that I struggled through some instead of adding to my DNF list..

In 2021, I think I got that hang of enjoying being home more as my reading went up by 57%.  I read 212 books in 2021.  I believe my increased stats resulted from reading more kids books (44) and lots of combo reads (eBooks/and/audios) - nearly half of my (75) audio books were combo read/listens.

One stat that surprised me was a similar percentage of print books read mostly off my physical shelves (adult & kids) (32%) and books off my Kindle (eBooks/eGalleys) (30%) Audio books accounted for (38%) of my reading/listening.  Library Books (32%) (print books and audio downloads)

                                       Now for My Favorites

 Top 10's 


In 2022, I plan to be more choosy and hoping to focus more on well-written books and more literary fiction from years gone by as well. I like books that make me think, after the final page has been turned and ones that stir up some emotion as I read. I may also have more DNF in 2022 as I no longer want to struggle through a book that is not working. I also plan to purge some unread books from my TBR shelves that no longer seem to call my name.  

I'm still planning on listening to a lot of audios and combo read/listens. The older I get the more tired my eyes seem in the evenings so audios have become a more frequent choice. I have paused my audio memberships for 2022 since I have 32 audios I paid for but haven't listened to.  There are also a lot of free library download options these days as well as free publisher downloads made available to me.

I need to focus on my unread (eGalleys) but, only those that still seem to appeal to me and, not the ones I impulsively requested. I hope to mark many of the oldest unread ones as "did not read" so that I can move forward toward a start fresh.

I'm not planning on joining any formal challenges as I want to be able to read whatever I feel like (exception - my library book group list.)

Have you made any plans for 2022?  I hope I don't miss your "2021 favorite reads posts."

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Abide with Me; Elizabeth Strout

 Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week readers post the first paragraph (or 2) of a book we are reading or plan to read soon. I've actually stopped reading this week as I have some other year end projects to get to but, because I love Elizabeth Strout's writing, I'm planning on reading the remaining (2) books of hers that I haven't read in 2022.  Abide with Me will be on my January 2022.  The other book on my 2022 list is Amy and Isabelle. Have you read these?

Abide with Me; Elizabeth Strout
Random House Audio - 2006

Oh, it would be years ago now, but at one time a minister lived with his small daughter in a town up north near the Sabbanock River, up where the river is narrow and the winters used to be especially long.  The minister's name was Tyler Caskey, and for quite some while his story was told in towns up and down the river, and as far over as the coast, until it emerged with enough variations so as to lose its original punch, and just the passing of time, of course,  will affect the vigor of these things.  But there are a few people still living in the town of West Annett who are set to remember quite clearly the events that took place during the wintery, final months of 1959.  And if you inquire with enough patience and restraint of curiosity, you can probably get them to tell what is is they claim to know, although its accuracy might be something you'd have to sort out on your own.

What do you think?

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Book Reviews - Matrix; Lauren Groff - My One Square Inch of Alaska; Sharon Short and Reckless Girls; Rachel Hawkins

Hope everyone who celebrated Christmas had a wonderful day. We had an inch of the snow of Christmas Eve which looked so pretty and then freezing rain came on Christmas to crust over the snow. Fortunately, the kids, spouses and granddaughters were able to come for dinner and presents.  It was a beautiful day for us and it felt much more relaxed for me in the meal preparation department compared to all the side dishes and prep involved at Thanksgiving. I kept it simple:  fruit plate, chicken parmesan, pasta, salad, rolls, pistachio cake and (4) different kinds of Christmas cookies (we are a dessert family.)  Note to self: make fewer cookies next year.  Yes,  I overcooked and all went home with a care package.  Everyone loved their gifts - all is good.

We all seemed healthy - time will tell - everyone was fully vaccinated, including the girls and all adults boosted as well.  

Reading - I finished what will be my last (3) books of 2021 (quick reviews below). I started Winter Solstice, Rosamunde Pilcher but, I am not enjoying the audio version so I stopped listening and ordered a print copy to arrive during the week.  This week I hope to work on 2021 stats and favorite reads of 2021....stay tuned.

Do you have in New Years Eve plans? We had early dinner plans at a nice restaurant but, we most likely will cancel with the raging virus once again.

Matrix; Lauren Groff
Penguin Audio - 2021 
8 hours 51 min. - Adjoa Andoh - narrator _excellent
(audio download provided at no charge by the published)

The setting for this historical fiction story is a 12th century rundown abbey in England. It's a feminist novel that is all about women, sisterhood and the power of friendship and community and there's a bit of sex among women as well.

Marie is the illegitimate daughter of the royal court. At 17, she is tall skinny and unattractive and, she is deemed "not marriage material" by Queen Eleanor, who Marie deeply loves.  She is sent away to an impoverished abbey and, the work that needs to be done there is almost insurmountable.  Marie, although not all that religious is devoted, smart, strong and industrious but, don't cross her as she can be mean as well.

Initially, I thought this book might not be for me but, because I've had good luck with the author in the past, I decided to give it a try. I was very happy I did.  If you are into audio books, I highly recommend the audio read by: Adjoa Andoh, a new narrator to me.  She made this book feel like a theatrical performance at times by giving each character a distinct voice. 

I loved the way the women banded together to get things done whether it be farming, baking, building, weaving and even writing. A group of engaged, committed women shut off from the outside world building a life and making things better.  This feminist historical book is worth reading is you like historical fiction at its finest and a character driven story.  Rating - 4.5/5 stars

Plume Books - 2013
(print edition - my shelves)

Donna Lane has a lot on her plate; she's about to graduate high school but, she's also a mother figure to her younger brother Will.  Their mother took off when they were young and their father drinks a bit too much.  Donna has dreams of her own but, it's her brother she is most concerned with. 

Brother Will is obsessed with collecting enough cereal box tops for a chance to win a contest - "one square inch of Alaska."  Will is also obsessed with protecting and giving a better life to a neglected, mute, Siberian Husky that lives nearby. When Will is diagnosed with childhood leukemia - (it's the 1950's-60s) and recovery is not looking very good for Will,  Donna is determined to make her brother's dream come true.

This book sat on my shelves far too long and I'm so happy that I finally got to read it.  It's a story that started slightly slow and at times seemed geared more to the YA genre but, oh my did it ever stir up many emotions as I read - such a good story - worth reading.  Rating - 4/5 stars

Reckless Girls; Rachel Hawkins
Macmillan Audio - January - 2022
7 hours - 43 min - Barrie Kreinik - Narrator - very good
(Audio download provided at no charge by publisher and NetGalley)

Lux and Nico are a young couple in need of a change after an unfulfilling job and personal tragedy.  The two find what seems like the perfect opportunity to get away and change things up.  The couple is hired to sail two friends Brittney and Amma to the remote island of Meroe in the South Pacific.  Expecting to be there alone they are surprised to find another boat there as well.  Soon (4) becomes (6) as Jake and Eliza, who appear to be not only wealthy but quite interesting and welcoming as well.  Before long the reality of their isolation sets in as does a feeling of desperation. Soon (6) become (4) and the reader is left wondering who to trust and whether there is someone else lurking in the remote jungle?

This was one of those thrillers that started out slow and I began to think this might not be for me. Barrie Kreinik is a great narrator though so I persisted. Soon as we begin to get insight into each character's secrets and past the story became more interesting.  I began to get the feeling that one or more of the players could not be trusted.  I loved the remote island setting. The story of told from the POV of Lux in the present and flashbacks to the past of all of the characters as well. The short chapters and the way the story was told held my interest once it got going. My suspicions proved correct yet I still wondered a bit about motivation when all was said and done.  Rating - 3.5/5 stars

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas


Wishing all of my readers who celebrate - A Merry Christmas.
May there be Peace on Earth.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Winter Solstice; Rosamunde Pilcher

Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week readers post the first paragraph (or 2) of a book we are reading or plan to read soon. 

I always wanted to read or listen to this book around the Winter Solstice after having reading so many rave reviews. I finally purchased the audio and so this is the year - 2021 (book originally published in 2000.)  Have you read it?  If I like it I'll try others by the author as well.

Winter Solstice; Rosamunde Pilcher
Macmillan Audio - 2018 
17 hours - 52 min.


Before Elfrida Phipps left London for good and moved to the country, she made a trip to the Buttersea Dogs' Home and returned with a canine companion. It took a good--and heart rending half-hour of searching but as soon as she saw him, sitting very close to the bars of his kennel and gazing up at her with dark melting eyes, she knew that he was the one.  She did not want a large animal, nor did she relish the idea of a yapping lap-dog. This one was exactly the right size. Dog size.

What do you think --read more of pass?

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Week in Review - Book Reviews: No One Goes Alone; Erik Larson - A Calling for Charlie Barnes; Joshua Ferris and Five Tuesdays in Winter: Stories; Lily King


Hello readers, did you have a good week? How is it that Christmas is next weekend?  We have been having extremely mild New England weather, which frightens me a bit after what the poor people of Kentucky in dealing with...such devastation.  We were supposed to have some snow but so far just rain.

This birthday week included a mini getaway. My husband has been wanting to visit the new Encore-Boston Harbor resort casino that opened just before COVID closed things down for a while.  Well, yes, it was my birthday but, I was happy to do something we would both enjoy.   We had a great time even though our wallets are slightly lighter, it was so much fun.  Here are a few pictures:

                     indoor ferris wheel

Books Listened to:

Rating 3.5/5 stars
(free Penguin Random House original audio download)
(7 hours and 35 min)

Erik Larson, the author of so many wonderful non fiction books has published his first work of fiction - a ghost story.

Set in 1905, a group of researchers led by William James, a brilliant psychologist, philosopher and prominent member of the Society of Psychical Research head to the remote Isle of Dorn to investigate some mysterious disappearances. One entire family of (4) disappeared while on holiday.

The audiobook read by Julian Rhind-Tutt was well done. It was very atmospheric and almost chilling at times, making it easy to envision the ghostly happenings the characters had encountered.  The characters, a mix of real life and author imagined ones were unique and easy to keep track of on audio. The setting and a dangerous, raging storm, the ship gone and the researchers stranded made for a chilling tale.  I liked that the characters were not sure who they could trust as well.  The story started out rather slow so it took a while for me to feel invested but, I was happy I listened to it.  I also liked that the epilogue gave some insight into the characters.

Rating - 4.5/5 stars
(free library audio download) - Little Brown & Co.
(11 hours 30 min)

Charlie Barnes, nicknamed "steady boy" is a character not easily forgotten. Married (5) times of which (4) ended badly and, he is not on the best of terms with his (2) oldest offspring. The final blow comes when Charlie at 68 years old gets a pancreatic cancer diagnosis and, he is forced to reexamine his life.

Charlie was a character to love when he is hurting despite the fact that many who knew him disliked him for the things he did along the way.  It is Charlie's son Jake whose voice gives the reader insight to the life of Charlie Barnes.  At times I wonder whether Jake was a reliable narrator or an adult man-child comforting a broken heart. 

Despite the subject matter this is a story that made me smile, laugh and think. The writing is observant, funny, wise, sharp and even endearing at times, it's a story that makes you think. When death comes for us what will those we leave behind have to say about us and how we lived our lives?

The story was inspired bu the death of the author's own father in 2014.  Worth reading!  

The audio book was read by Nick Offerman who did a great job.

Rating - 4/5 stars
(free audible plus download)
(6 hours and 10 min)

For years I was never a fan of short stories but, I have a new appreciation for them. It's nice to sit for a brief period and feel a sense of accomplishment in just a short period of time.  In this collected of (10) stories The author touches on subjects that will resonate with most readers.  From coming of age stories, stories about the importance of friendship or, a story about selfish parents, another about a stern grandfather longing to reach his comatose granddaughter through his voice or, any one of the remaining stories most left an impression.  Each story made me think about just how very different people and families can be in different situations. Some stories made me smile, others made me mad or sad.  Well done.

Current Reads:

Not sure if I will get to finish my current reads as I will also be busy baking and preparing for a Christmas gathering here. Even the little ones are fully vaccinated now and all adults in the family boosted. Yoga is done until the new year (scary our instructor got COVID.)

                                                        Our 2022 Book Group Reading List 

                                         Have you read any of these and if so what were your thoughts?

  1. January - In Five Years; Rebecca Serle  (2021)
  2. February - Authenticity Project; Clare Pooley (2022)
  3. March - Invisible Life of Addie LaRue; Victoria Schwab (2020)
  4. April - Anxious People; Fredrick Backman (2020)  - already read & enjoyed
  5. May - Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo; Taylor Jenkins Reid (2017)
  6. June - The Lost Apothecary; Sarah Penner (2021)
  7. July - A Long Petal of the Sea; Isabel Allende (2020)
  8. August - The Only Woman in the Room; Marie Benedict (2019)
  9. September - The Midnight Library; Matthew Haig (2020) - already read - okay read
  10. October - Dark Matter; Blake Crouch (2016)
(November & December no meet but holiday luncheon)

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - My One Square Inch of Alaska; Sharon Short

Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week readers post the first paragraph (or 2) of a book we are reading or plan to read soon. 

This week's pick has been sitting on my shelf unread since 2013, one of those books I needed to buy at the time.  Something about this December and Alaska seemed like the right time to try this one.  Have you read it?

Plume Books - 2013

Chapter 1

Later, MayJune would say that the biggest turns in life came when you're paying the least attention, making small choices you don't yet know will change everything.

MayJune was always saying things like that--corny and peculiar and true, all at once.

But, of course, I hadn't met her when I found Mama's clothes stuffed in suitcases with mothballs and made my first small choice: Instead of snapping the suitcases shut and forgetting my discovery like I knew I should, I counted the pieces.


What do you think? Read more of pass on this one?

Friday, December 10, 2021

Catching up with Book Reviews - The Sentence, Louise Erdrich - The Last House on the Street; Diane Chamberlain and Midwinter Murder; Agatha Christie

Hello out there, I'm still around.   I've been reading but lax about keeping up with reviews with so much going on as the year comes to a close.  

We had a Christmas luncheon for my library book group last week (11) showed up at my favorite restaurant - it was great gathering and we got our list of books to read in 2022 (more about this next week).  We had 2" of snow on Wednesday our first snowfall - (late this year). It looked quite pretty and now it is nearly gone - 60 degrees today! Crazy weather.

This weekend we our going to the theatre for a live on stage holiday show and music festival. It was an annual tradition for us but last year COVID put a halt to it.  This year, it is a go but, masks and proof of vaccination is required which makes me happy!!!  This coming week is my birthday week and we have something special planned that we are both looking forward to - more about that next week.

I still have some gift cards to purchase and some gifts to wrap.  We haven't finalized Christmas get together plans as with the girls in school (they are vaccinated) we still need to play it by ear as there have been some COVID cases in the classes - will this ever end?  We already made reservations for an early New Years eve dinner reservation - that too of course is subject to weather and COVID.

How has your December been and do you have any special plans coming up?

Here's an attempt to catch up on what I've read and what I'm reading now. 

The Sentence; Louise Erdrich
Harper and Harper Audio - 2021
Rating - 5/5 stars 

The Sentence is a very different kind of story by Louise Erdrich. It begin's on All Soul's Day, November 2, 2019 and ends on the same day in 2020.  Yes, it takes place during the pandemic, in Minneapolis amidst the George Floyd protests and the setting of local Indie bookstore that is haunted by one of the staffs least favorite (now decreased) former customers - Flora.  The ghost is determined to stick around until Tookie, the ex-con, who developed a love of books in prison and now works at the bookstore can figure out why she is still around.

Tookie is a great character who did something dumb that landed her in prison.  She ends up marrying the tribal police officer who was involved in her sentencing.  I loved how she has discovered a newfound love and appreciation for books that helped her survive her time behind bars.

The story has a lot going on but is so well done. Like most of the author's books there is Native American folklore and the struggles of the indigenous people. Books and specific book titles play a nice part in this story and, as always, the author's writing left a lasting impression.  There are some funny moments but yet this story is much deeper than it may seem from my brief ramblings.  The audiobook was narrated by the author and it was pitch-perfect! Don't miss it!

(audio download  from my public library - eGalley provided at no charge by Harper Books and Edelweiss)

The Last House on the Street; Diane Chamberlain
St. Martin's Press and Macmillan Audio - January -2022
Rating - 4.5/5 stars

This was a book I almost passed on but am so happy I had a chance to experience it.  It has history, mystery and real social issues that were all so well done. Told in dual timelines - 1965 and 2010, the story takes place in Round Hill, NC.  

(2010) Kayla Carter is a recent widow with a 4-year old daughter. Kayla's husband died in accident which happened as their dream house was being built. The house is a a grand McMansion with some fifty windows and, it is now ready to move in when Kayla has a strange woman that shows up at her office. Kayla is also an architect as was her late husband and, the woman advises Kayla against moving into that new home.  Who is this woman and should she take this as a threat or at least report this to the police?  Does the woman have anything to do with the strange things that begin happening once Kayla and her daughter move in?

(1965) Ellie Hockley is a college student from Round Hill involved in The Scope Project -- students who were committed to registering Blacks so that they could exercise their right to vote.  This, of course. in the 1960s South had to be done secretly. Ellie couldn't even tell her parents as they never would have approved.  What, if anything, does Ellie have to do with the present day story involving Kayla?

I loved this story and the way it played out. I really felt like I got to know the characters, especially Ellie and, even though the story was sad at times and it mad me mad as well, it was an important story to tell. and the author did a great job.  The audio book was read by Susan Bennett who did a great job.  Highly recommended.

(audio download provided at no charge by Macmillan Audio and NetGalley.)

Midwinter Murder; Agatha Christie
William Morrow and Harper Audio - 2020
Rating - 3.5/5 stars

I actually purchased this audio book last December through but, I never listened to it until this month.  Honestly, I haven't had the best of luck with the Agatha Christie books I've tried in the past but, a short story, winter collection seemed right up my alley.

There are (12) short stories featured and the only one I was familiar with was Three Blind Mice, (which I liked a lot) the stories in the collection were:

Christmas at Abney Hall
Three Blind Mice
The Chocolate Box
A Christmas Tragedy
The Coming of Mr. Quin
The Clergyman's Daughter/The Rose House
The Plymouth Express
Problem at Pollensa Bay
The Mystery of Hunters Lodge
The World's End
The Manhood of Edward Robinson
Christmas Adventure

The stories feature familiar Christie characters like: Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence, Harley Quin and Parker Pyne.  Miss Marple is a favorite as I like the way this elderly lady operates - such fun. Three Blind Mice, Sanctuary, Christmas Adventure and The Clergyman's Daughter were the ones that I liked best.

While I can't recommend the audio version as, at least for me, I found the narration by (Fennella Woolgar) a bit difficult to understand at times. Fortunately,  having the print edition was a bonus. Overall, while I liked a few of the short stories, several left me somewhat disappointed. I guess Agatha Christie isn't for all readers.

Reading Now

Library Books - (waiting to be read)

  1. Matrix; Lauren Groff (combo read/listen)
  2. Cloud Cuckoo Land; Anthony Doerr (combo)
  3. Five Days in Winter: Stories; Lily King (audio)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

A Christmas Party; Georgette Heyer - First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros

Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week readers post the first paragraph (or 2) of a book we are reading or plan to read soon.  It's time for me to begin some holiday reads.  I purchased this eBook last week - hope it's good.

Brief Description'Tis the Season―for murder...

A colorful assortment of guests at a festive holiday house party discover there is a killer in their midst when their universally reviled host is found dead―in a room locked from the inside.

For Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard, the investigation is complicated by the fact that every guest is hiding something―throwing all their testimony into question and casting suspicion far and wide. The clever and daring crime will mystify readers, yet the answer is in plain sight all along...

A Christmas Party; Georgette Heyer
Sourcebooks - 2016


It was a source of great satisfaction to Joseph Herriard that the holly trees were in full berry.  He seemed to find in this circumstance an assurance that the projected reunion of the family would be a success.  For days past he had been bringing prickly sprigs into the house, his rosy countenance beaming with pleasure, and his white locks (worn rather long, and grandly waving)  ruffled by the December winds.  "Just look at the berries!" he would say, thrusting his sprig sunder Nathaniel's nose, laying them on Maud's card table.

I must admit that intro doesn't thrill me but, I know the author is quite popular so I thought I'd give it a try.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

(4) great children's books for Christmas: Winter Lullaby; Dianne White; Where's Waldo? Santa Spotlight Search; Martin Handford; Bake, Make and Learn to Cook; David Atherton and We Are One: How the World Adds Up; Susan Hood

Christmastime means book buying time for many people.  Instead of all the toys I always try to add a few kid pleasing books to my holiday list.  These (4) I'm featuring are so well done IMO. 

Winter Lullaby; Dianne White (Ill. Ramona Kaulitzski)
(Ages 4-8) Releases date - 12/8/2021 - Candlewick Press

The weather is changing, gray sky and cold winds have begun. Mama Bear is trying to convince Small Bear that it is time to prepare for a long winter's sleep.  Small Bear isn't convinced and still wants to play with chipmunk, hare, raccoon, skunk and badger.   Patient and reassuring Mama Bear show Small Bear how each are preparing for a long cold winter's sleep as they prepare their cozy, sheltered nests.  At last Small Bear understands that when spring comes and the days are brighter, he will be able to play with his old friends once again.

A lovely story of a mama's love. This book has the perfectly detailed  nature scenes which show the slight color changes as winter turns to spring.  I loved the gentle story told in rhyme; a beautiful book.

Candlewick Press - 2021 (ages 5-9)

With Christmas right around the corner, comes a great activity book to keep the kiddos busy by trying to find Santa -- the right Waldo Santa that is --it's not always as easy as it seems. To add to the fun there is a cool glow wand that helps to spot the Santa in the dark.  In addition to searching for Waldo Santa and his friends searches there are puzzles, games and more.  There is a special pocket that will hopefully keep the glow wand from getting lost. The hardcover construction and larger size make this a delightful gift and one that even older kids might enjoy trying out their super sleuth skills at.

David Atherton (Ill. Rachel Stubbs)
Release Date - 12/8/2021 - Candlewick Press
(ages 5-9)

David Atherton, Winner of the 2019 British Baking Show has written a great book for young, beginner cooks. This book is great and contains a glossary of easy to understand cooking terms, measurements and equipment that will be need. There are so many recipes to try and the illustrations and recipe names are sure to tempt kids into wanting to try each one.

Here are just some of the recipes featured:
  • Purple smoothies
  • Banana Bear pancakes
  • breakfast jars
  • edible chia bowls
  • oatmeal toppers
  • scrambled egg surprise
  • teapot soup
  • snaky breadsticks
  • Octo Pizzas
  • Easy-peasy pot pies
  • Hummus Lion
  • sushi shapes
  • Fruity Jelly jars
  • Peanut Butter Bones for dogs
  • Sweetie Birthday Cake
  • Mega chocolaty cake
Beginning cooks are sure to be thrilled with this book as will their supervising adults.  Well organized and terrific illustrations as well. Highly recommended.

We are One: How the World Adds Up; Susan Hood (Ill. Linda Yan)
Candlewick - 2021  - (ages 3-7)

This book accomplishes an important thing -- how does "one" fit into the bigger picture.  Using understandable terms and concepts small children will learn that although they may be small, they are an important part of everything around us.  The book's message "we are one" - but, one is a part of everything. From Ten to One the author demonstrates example of "one" being a part of something greater - For example: Ten pins in bowling, Nine Supreme Court Justices, Eight Limbs on an Octopus, Seven Days of the week etc..

The book can be read as rhyme with additional details for a more in depth conversation on each page.  This book with its lovely illustrations is beautiful and important in helping little ones understand just how important they are to everything else in the world.  Highly recommended.

Thanks go to Candlewick Press for providing me with these lovely books in exchange for my unbiased reviews.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Matzah Ball; Jean Meltzer


Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week readers post the first paragraph (or 2) of a book we are reading or plan to read soon.  It's time to begin some holiday reads - I hope to read at least (4) this December.  Do you like to indulge in a few holiday reads every year?

The Matzah Ball; Jean Meltzer
Mira - 2021


She needed one more.

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt stared at the collection of miniature Christmas figurines spread across her desk.  She owned 236 of the smiling porcelain Santas from the world famous  Holiday Dreams Collection.  When her best friend, Mickey, arrived, she would complete that collection with the coveted Margaritaville Santa.

Oh, The Margaritaville Santa. How she dreamed of the day that a tiny porcelain Santa, in a Hawaiian shirt and wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses would sit atop her prized collection.

Rachel had scoured eBay for the tiny limited-edition figurine, set up price alerts and left frantic (somewhat drunken) posts at three in the morning on collectors blogs.  Now, after six years, five months and seven days of hunting, the Margaritaville Santa would finally be hers.  The anxiety was killing her.

What do you think, read more or pass?