Goodbye 2018 & Looking Ahead

Welcome to my annual “best-of” celebration! I’m changing it up a bit and separating the categories of my yearly best-of lists over a few days. All of this is to celebrate their distinction and spend a few more days talking about all the wonderful entertainment of 2018.

Day 1. Best of 2018: Novellas

Day 2. Best of 2018: Historical Books

Day 3. Best of 2018: Contemporary Books

Day 4. Goodbye 2018 & Looking Ahead

2018 has been quite the year. Personally, it has be joyous and bittersweet. I am glad for several things that happened in 2018, but I also am SO ready for a new year and the renewal and fresh start that comes with it.

Talking reading and entertainment, 2018 was a year of greatness. As I have outlined with my fav book posts so far, I have read some awesome stories. At last count, I read a total of 71 books, novellas, or short stories. I also surpassed my Goodreads challenge of reading 60. Here’s my “Year in Books” there!

2018’s Most Popular Blog Posts

  1. Favorite Quotes from “Persuasion” by Jane Austen
  2. Best of 2017
  3. Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Best On-Screen Rom-Com Couples
  4. How-To: Solar Dyed Yarn Project (With Kool-Aid!)
  5. Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Novels with the Most Unique Settings
  6. Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR + Mood Reads
  7. Top Ten Tuesday: 11 Characters Who Would Make Great Leaders of a Camping Trip
  8. Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Reads & My TBR

2018’s Most Popular Reviews

  1. I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones
  2. Impossible Saints by Clarissa Harwood
  3. Love in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan
  4. Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan
  5. Rose in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan
  6. The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
  7. The Cupcake Dilemma by Jennifer Rodewald
  8. “Whole Heart” Music Album by Passion Music

Looking ahead to 2019, I am anticipating several new book (and movie!) releases. A few of the ones I’m most excited about are listed below. (and I’m likely to forget one or two, so consider this a partial list).

Do YOU have any New Year’s resolutions? Do you set a reading goal for the year?

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Best of 2018: Contemporary Books

Welcome to my annual “best-of” celebration! I’m changing it up a bit and separating the categories of my yearly best-of lists over a few days. All of this is to celebrate their distinction and spend a few more days talking about all the wonderful entertainment of 2018.

Day 1. Best of 2018: Novellas

Day 2. Best of 2018: Historical Books

Day 3. Best of 2018: Contemporary Books

Day 4. Goodbye 2018 & Looking Ahead

Today is about CONTEMPORARY BOOKS, AKA the category with the most favorites. I read more contemporary stories this year… and there several on this list! Maybe that means I know what I like?! I think so. Like my historical list, most are from this year, but a few were released prior to 2018.

The rules: sometimes I have to make boundaries for myself when it comes to talking about books because we would all be here a long time if were able to ramble on. SO, I’m sticking to my format of last year and choosing to share 3 things that describe each of these stories along with a link to Goodreads and my review. In no particular order…

Best of 2018: Contemporary Books

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac | Review

Laughter. Living. Chemistry.

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano | Review

Culinary dream. Delightful complexity. Relationships.

Blue Columbine by Jennifer Rodewald | Review

Grace. Redemption. Raw emotions.

The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce | Review

Friendship. Dreams. True selflessness.

Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig | Review

Epic action. Brotherhood. Sacrifice.

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert | Review

Empathy. Call to love. Relevant.

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Amy Matayo | Review

Power of words. Choices. Connection.

When You Look at Me by Pepper Basham | Review

Music. Trust. Home.

Things Left Unsaid by Courtney Walsh | Review

Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Homecoming.

Wait for Me by Susan May Warren | Review to come

Adventure. Love worth the risk. Timing.

A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson | Review

Heritage. Romance. Worth.

Your turn! What were your favorite contemporary reads of 2018? Have you read any of these?

Best of 2018: Historical Books

Welcome to my annual “best-of” celebration! I’m changing it up a bit and separating the categories of my yearly best-of lists over a few days. All of this is to celebrate their distinction and spend a few more days talking about all the wonderful entertainment of 2018.

Day 1. Best of 2018: Novellas

Day 2. Best of 2018: Historical Books

Day 3. Best of 2018: Contemporary Books

Day 4. Goodbye 2018 & Looking Ahead

Today is all about HISTORICAL BOOKS. While I dearly love historical fiction, I have read less of it this year. At any rate, these are the favorites from my list!

The rules: sometimes I have to make boundaries for myself when it comes to talking about books because we would all be here a long time if were able to ramble on. SO, I’m sticking to my format of last year and choosing to share 3 things that describe each of these stories along with a link to Goodreads and my review. In no particular order…

Best of 2018: Historical Books

Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan | Review

Jazz. Grace. Friendship

Impossible Saints by Clarissa Harwood | Review

Suffrage. Romance. Purpose.

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof | Review

Brotherhood. Atmospheric. Poignant.

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz | Review

Liberty. Honor. Love.

The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews | Review

Arrangements. Mystery. Forgiveness

A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack | Review

Worth. Growth. Kindness.

My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge by Pepper Basham | Review coming in January!

Family. Tenderness. Hope.

Your turn! What were your favorite historical reads of 2018? Have you read any of these?

Best of 2018: Novellas

Welcome to my annual “best-of” celebration! I’m changing it up a bit and separating the categories of my yearly best-of lists over a few days. All of this is to celebrate their distinction and spend a few more days talking about all the wonderful entertainment of 2018.

Day 1. Best of 2018: Novellas

Day 2. Best of 2018: Historical Books

Day 3. Best of 2018: Contemporary Books

Day 4. Goodbye 2018 & Looking Ahead

Today kicks it off talking about NOVELLAS. I’ve read some awesome novellas this year. Novellas are tricky. They are shortened so the author has less time for character development and story depth. With that said, this list is the best-of-the-best. All of these novellas represent the perfect combination of endearing characters, well-paced stories, and a unique depth woven in the plots to make them memorable.

The rules: sometimes I have to make boundaries for myself when it comes to talking about books because we would all be here a long time if were able to ramble on. SO, I’m sticking to my format of last year and choosing to share 3 things that describe each of these stories along with a link to Goodreads and my review. In no particular order…

Best of 2018: Novellas

Love in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan | Review

Caffeine. Eyeglasses. Kindred spirits.

Rose in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan | Review

Parcheesi. Compositions. Friends.

Jane by the Book by Pepper Basham | Review

Family mystery. Bookishness. Charm.

Some Like It Hot by Susan May Warren | Review

Risk. Twists. Heroism.

Christmas at the Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson | Review

Blizzard! Marshmallow Snowmen. Belonging.

Bonus: Favorite Short Story

Of Mozart and Magi by Rachel McMillan | Review

Kinship. Shostafreakingkovich. Wonder.

Your turn! What were your favorite novellas of 2018? Have you read any of these?

Guest Post: Give Your Library a Little Love

Hello blog readers! Join me in welcoming Shirley Rash of my small town’s Berryville Public Library today in a guest post all about libraries!   -Courtney

Booklovers today have no shortage of options when it comes to finding books. Whether it is Amazon, local brick-and-mortar bookstores, or elsewhere, the possibilities are truly endless. However, there’s still nothing better than the local library.

There are many things I love about libraries (the books, for starters!), but one of my absolute favorites is the sense of community it provides.

The internet has made it so much easier for people around the world to connect, through cha trooms and blogs and other forums. It provides a sense of community but discourages face-to-face interaction. Finding a place to gather among like minded people in person can be hard, especially as our world becomes increasingly digital.

Not every town has a coffee shop (and not every person likes or drinks coffee or has the money to afford it!) Not every hobby has a corresponding club where enthusiasts can meet and discuss.

However, almost every town has a library.

It’s a place where bookworms can gather together and trade reading recommendations informally or participate in more formal book clubs.

It’s a place where children, teenagers, and adults can gather together to participate in hobbies that range from Legos to creative writing to coloring to knitting.

It’s a place where many community members who receive little other social interaction (whether because of age, infirmity, family situation, or poverty) can meet and talk to other people.

If you’re a regular library user, you know what a great sense of community the library provides. And that’s true of any public library, regardless of where you live.

If you haven’t been to your local library in a while, drop by and see what they have going on! There’s a little something for everyone,and you might be surprised to see what’s there for you — beyond the books, of course! 😊

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Shirley Rash blogs about books and more for the Berryville Public Library at Berryville Book Buzz. Check us out!

“Fall Time, Cozy Time” Book Tag

While it’s looking a little more like winter every day, I’m still wanting to be in the fall frame of mind. I just love all the cozy things of the fall and winter seasons, including reading books by the fire!

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This book tag is one I saw on my friend Rissi’s BookTube channel and blog. Though I’m not following the video format, I still thought this was a cute tag and a way to talk about all the cozy things with the prompts!

Fall Time, Cozy Time Book Tag

1: Crunching Leaves: “The world is full of color – choose a book that has reds/oranges/yellows on the cover.”

How about a red, orange, and yellow cover?

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay | Still Life by Dani Pettrey

When You Look at Me by Pepper Basham

2: Cozy Sweater: “It’s finally cool enough to don warm cozy clothing: what book gives you the  warm fuzzies?” 

Oh my goodness, a recent favorite that gave me the warm fuzzies was the delightful contemporary romance Rose in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan. Also, anything by Melissa Tagg or Courtney Walsh instantly belongs in this category.

3: Fall Storm: “The wind is howling & the rain is pounding – choose your favorite book OR genre that you like to read on a stormy day.” 

Genre: historical romance!

Something like Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof or The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews because they have such character depth, vibrant sense of place, etc

4: Cool Crisp Air: “What’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?”

conspiracy-of-silence

Definitely Tzivia Khalon from Ronie Kendig’s “Tox Files” series because…… she’s strong. SUPER smart. An archaeologist. She’s often underestimated because she’s gorgeous, but she can and will kick butt if necessary.

5: Hot Apple Cider: “What under hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?”

Things Left Unsaid

Recently…. Things Left Unsaid by Courtney Walsh. Poignant, emotional, and REAL women’s fiction at its best. Because it’s an indie book, it might be a little under-the-radar for some readers who would really love it AND be blessed by its message. I hope YOU check it out!

6: Coat, Scarves, and Mittens: “The weather has turned cold & it’s time to cover up – What’s the most embarrassing book cover you own that you like to keep hidden in public?”

NONE! Maybe an older cover or two from 1990’s fiction that’s just not “appealing” by today’s standards, but otherwise, nope.

7: Pumpkin Spice: “What’s your favorite Fall time comfort food(s)?”

Anything with cinnamon. (But this is me all year longgggg.) I love all the baked things with cinnamon that seem to be season-appropriate, too. Apple pie, apple cinnamon doughnuts, cinnamon oatmeal, cinnamon cookies, spiced cranberry scones, cinnamon toast, and the list goes on…

YOUR TURN! What are your favorite things about fall? What would be your picks for these prompts? Join the tag if you want!

First Line Fridays # 22: “Wait for Me” by Susan May Warren

It’s time for a new edition of First Line Fridays hosted by the Hoarding Books blog!

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Happy weekend! It’s turning chilly in my corner of the world as fall is fading. It’s the perfect weather to curl up in a cozy place with a book!!! Today I’m sharing the first line of a book I’m VERY MUCH anticipating: Wait for Me by Susan May Warren. It’s the last book in her “Montana Rescue” series, and it’s a finale (and couple) I’ve been rooting for since the beginning!

I still need to read the book just before this one, Storm Front, so the good news is I can binge-read both of them soon!

Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

First Line:

He wasn’t looking for trouble, but if Pete didn’t act right now, at least one person was going to die.

What a first line, right? What kind of situation do you think Pete is in? (Do you think it involves his search-and-rescue team or something else?)

Your turn! Find the book closest to you and share your first line in the comments! Then, head over to Hoarding Books for the linky and visit other FLF posts!