Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!
This week’s TTT topic is Bookish Memories (Share stories of your reading life as a child, events you’ve gone to, books that made an impression on you, noteworthy experiences with books, authors you’ve met, etc. Reminisce with me!). I’ve never attended a bookish event or met an author so I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and share a few highlights of my bookish life.
(My post is also a little shout-out to Friends since I wrote all of my memories like they’re episode titles from the show.)
10 Bookish Episodes from My Life
- The one where my Dad taught me how to read using Little Golden Books. This will always be one of my favorite childhood memories.
- The one where I cried my eyes out because I thought I had lost a library book (Bambi by Felix Salten) and therefore would never be allowed to check out books from my elementary school library again. So traumatizing!
- The one where getting to go to the Scholastic Book Fair when it came to my school was like Christmas. So many books!
- The one where I felt so grown up in middle school because I was allowed to read To Kill a Mockingbird, which was banned in a lot of schools.
- The one where, as a young teen, I used to hide in my grandmother’s house so I could secretly read the steamy historical romance novels I had pilfered from her bedroom.
- The one where I took so many literature classes for “fun” in college that I ended up adding English as a Double Major.
- The one where I had such an addiction to collecting books that I convinced my husband to convert our formal living room, which never got used, into a home office with wall to wall built in bookshelves. My sanctuary.
- The one where I felt the need to find more people to share my love of books with so I started a book blog. 😊
- The one where I read the entire Harry Potter series aloud to my son because I wanted to foster a love of reading in him at a young age.
- The one where I realized that one of my bffs loves to read as much as I do, so I invited her to guest post on my blog. Hi Sharon! 😊
Happy Monday all! I hope everyone who was celebrating Thanksgiving this past week had a lovely holiday. We kept our celebration small but I did get to spend some time with my mom and sister so that was really nice. I worked off and on the rest of the weekend and painted a room in my house yesterday, which is why I was mostly offline. I’ll be catching up on blog visits over the next few days. Today I’m sharing reviews for two excellent books I’ve read recently, one from a favorite author, Tracey Garvis Graves, and one from a new-to-me author, Sarah Grunder Ruiz, who is sure to become a favorite if this first book is any indication. And apparently my accidental theme this week, which I didn’t notice until I made the above graphic, is sunglasses with images reflected in them, lol.
Heard It in a Love Song Goodreads
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves
Publication Date: November 9, 2021
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Heard It in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves is a beautiful story about finding love again after having your heart broken. What I loved about this story is that although it focuses on two characters who are coming out of toxic relationships and trying to start over, there isn’t a lot of heavy drama filling the pages. Instead, the story focuses more on each character’s inner journey to find themselves again. There’s a lot of looking back and reflecting on what went wrong with their previous relationships, but it’s looking back so as to be able to move forward and I really enjoyed that angle.
Heard It in a Love Song follows Layla Hilding, a 35-year old elementary school music teacher. Layla is recently divorced after her 10-year marriage to Liam ended. When we first meet Layla, we learn that although she has a passion for music, her dream was not to become a music teacher. Instead, her dream was actually to be a professional musician and, prior to getting married, she was actually the lead singer in a band. Although Liam was initially enamored by watching Layla perform, once they were in a relationship, he became quite toxic, often belittling her performances and her musical skills. He basically sucked the life right out of her dream. One of the first things Layla purchases once she is on her own again is a guitar, and it’s with that guitar that her journey to self-rediscovery begins.
Although being a music teacher wasn’t her first choice, it is at her elementary school that Layla first meets Josh Summers, a 35 year old electrician with a 5 year old daughter who is in Layla’s class. Josh is coming out of a failed relationship. He had married his high school sweetheart, but after 20 years together, it was like living with a stranger and so they had separated. Like Layla, Josh is trying to move forward and figure out what’s next for him. When Layla and Josh meet, it’s obvious that they have major chemistry, but they’re both still reeling from their previous relationships and hesitant to start a new one.
I had tremendous sympathy for both Layla and Josh, who are both very likable and vulnerable characters. It was easy to understand why they were both so cautious about getting involved with someone new, but at the same time, it was also obvious that they would be so great together so I was definitely rooting for them to open their hearts to each other.
I also loved how Graves chose to present Layla and Josh’s journey. Although the story mostly stays focused on their paths forward, Graves gives her readers several flashbacks as Layla and Josh reflect on the highs and lows of their previous relationships. Seeing some of the more painful moments from their pasts had me rooting for these two all the more because they both deserve so much better than what they had.
Heard It in a Love Song is a poignant story about love, second chances, and about finding yourself. 4 STARS
Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships Goodreads
Author: Sarah Grunder Ruiz
Publication Date: November 23, 2021
Publisher: Berkley Books
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships by Sarah Grunder Ruiz is a contemporary romance that follows Jo Walker, a soon-to-be 30 year old yacht stewardess. As a way to commemorate the last year of her 20s, Jo decides to come up with a bucket list of 30 things she wants to do by the time she turns 30. It’s a list that really focuses on stepping out of her comfort zone – get a tattoo, go skinny dipping, run a marathon, visit ten foreign countries, etc. For the past year, Jo has been completing her list and humorously documenting her efforts on her blog.
It is when Jo works up the nerve to complete item number 5 on her list – kissing a stranger – that Jo’s life takes an unexpected turn. After she kisses a handsome stranger at the local bar, she’s mortified to learn that said stranger, whose name is Alex, is actually her new neighbor, which she learns when he accidentally comes across her late one night in the community pool, checking off another item on her bucket list, skinny dipping. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, it turns out Alex is also the new chef on the yacht where she works so, as much as Jo would like to forget about their previous encounters, there’s just no avoiding him, which leads to some awkward but entertaining moments. Even though Jo swears she isn’t interested in starting a relationship with anyone, Alex is pretty irresistible to her so the temptation is definitely there. I loved their scenes together, both the fun, flirty ones and then later, the more serious ones when they discuss their families, etc. I really enjoyed the romantic aspect of this story because Jo and Alex have amazing chemistry and could be so good together if Jo would just let herself take another big step out of that comfort zone of hers.
While Jo’s blog and her adventures with Alex as they got to know each other provided lots of fun moments, what really made this a special read for me was the more emotional and personal journey that Jo faces. Because while there is definitely a potential romance, this is also a story about grief and loss. In Jo’s case, it’s the loss of her beloved nephew, who was killed when he was hit by a car while riding his bike. Jo has been repressing her grief by trying to stay busy and not think about it, but when her two nieces come to spend the summer with her and she realizes they are struggling with the loss of their little brother too, it brings all of Jo’s grief to a head. I found this part of the story so incredibly moving and well written and my heart just ached for Jo and the girls as they try to process such a devastating loss.
As much as I enjoy a good rom-com, a contemporary romance that makes me feel all the feels is what I’m really a sucker for and Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships by Sarah Grunder Ruiz really delivers in that department. 4 STARS
“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about. It is a meme that I have loved participating in since I first started blogging, but as Jill is no longer actively posting, from now on I’ll be linking to Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, which is a spinoff of the original WoW meme.
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My selection for this week is BOOK LOVERS by Emily Henry. Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation are two of my favorite books so Emily Henry is an auto-buy author for me. Even if she wasn’t though, that synopsis just screams “You need to read this book!” A cutthroat literary agent and a brooding editor? And a story that features sisters spending time together? Yes, please!
BOOK LOVERS by Emily Henry
Publication Date: May 3, 2022 by Berkley Books
A by the book literary agent must decide if happily ever after is worth changing her whole life for in this insightful, delightful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation.
Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.
Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.
If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.
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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your CWW selection for this week. 🙂