2019 Wrap-Up

Wow, what a year! I read more books this year than I think I have in my adult life, and it was wonderful. I started this blog and have managed to keep up posing regularly, for the most part. In July, I took my dream vacation to British Columbia and kayaked with killer whales. I finished writing a book and started another. I won NaNoWriMo my first time out. So, yeah. It was a great year.


I read 120 books (my goal was 100).

For the genres, you can see the table below.

Science Fiction4
M/M Historical10
M/M Contemporary4
Book Club0
M/F Romance4

My page breakdown was as follows:

Genre (Pages)
Science Fiction969
M/M Historical2033
M/M Contemporary1304
Book Club0
M/F Romance1359

The format of my books were:

Trade Paperback21
Mass Market5
Uncorrected Proof6
Graphic Novel1

Age group breakdown:

Age Group
Middle Grade2

Books per month:


Pages per month:

Avg. Pages/Month3028

The Longest book I read:

Shortest book:

(I think I forgot to put this book on my spreadsheet; Goodreads says I read 120 books and my spreadsheet 119. I think this is the book missing).

And that’s my year in reading! The spreadsheet I used to track my reading was created by Brock Roberts. I found it really fun to fill out and go over the data as I progressed through the year.

What were some of your reading wins this year?

Review: Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have journeyed to America. They are swept into murder investigations that seem to echo the Ripper murders. After a personal disaster that threatens their relationship, Audrey Rose and Thomas find evidence that the person they are looking for is in Chicago. They go to the Great White City and are swept away by the beauty and wonder of the World’s Fair. That wonder is quickly dimmed when reports of missing women and unsolved murders reach their ears. Soon, they are entangled in the most terrifying investigation of their lives and Audrey Rose finds herself in terrible danger.

This was such a great conclusion to this series. I loved every bit of the murder investigation and the tangled web in which Audrey Rose found herself trapped in. I continue to love her and Thomas’s relationship and the way it was resolved. There were parts in this book where I wasn’t thrilled how the events unfolded, but it all turned out satisfactorily.

Without getting into spoilers, I was amazed at the historical research that went into the book. Not just this one, but all the books. They were connected in ways that I hadn’t been aware of, and it not only makes me want to reread the series, but read some books on the ultimate perpetrator behind the crimes.

Kerri Maniscalco is masterful in writing truly gruesome and horrifying scenes that ground the reader in the place in a way that thrills. She has created really enduring characters and the a very sweet, if unconventional love story. Capturing the Devil is an epic conclusion to a wonderful story.

I would not recommend reading Capturing the Devil first, but if you’ve read the rest of the series, you need to run to your local library or bookstore and get this book ASAP. It’s incredibly well done.

WWW Wednesday | January 1, 2020

OMG, it’s a new year! Welcome to 2020 everyone! I have to say, overall 2019 treated me well. I got to go on my dream vacation, I kicked depression to the curb (for now), and I started this blog. So, go me!

Today, I’m doing WWW Wednesday, which is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Participants are invited to answer 3 questions each week:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading?

I had so hoped to have finished The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice yesterday. It was totally doable, but instead of staying in to read, I went to a New Year’s Eve party. I kind of wish I hadn’t for various reasons, but the result is I did not finish one last book before the New Year. So, I’ll finish it today.

Recently finished?

I got Atomic Habits by James Clear the day after Christmas and tore through it. It was really well written and very actionable. Then, I finished On Writing by Steven King, which was a great book. Finally, I finished listening to Beyond the Grave by C.J. Archer, which started off by frustrating me, but ended with me being completely satisfied. Then, I found out there are three more books in the series and the library doesn’t own them, so I’m back to being frustrated.

Reading next?

First up, I’m going to read Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown, which I was supposed to start last week, but left at home when I went to my parents. Next, it’s The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh, because I’ll need more vampires. And, finally, I’ll start The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, because, as you might have noticed, I’m very interested in habits.

What are you reading this week?

Top 10 Reads of 2019

Can you believe that 2019 is over? It feels like only a couple weeks ago that I was setting goals and getting excited for the year. And now, it’s all over. It went by quickly.

Today, I’m posting my top 10 reads of 2019. I know, I know;I should be doing top 19 books of 2019, but I feel that kind of dilutes the list. Ten is a good, strong number. This list is in no particular order, although the first on the list is probably my favorite.

If you’ve been around this blog awhile, you probably know how much I love A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer and Beauty and the Beast retellings in general. This one blew me out of the park. A highlight of my year was meeting Brigid Kemmerer and getting to tell her how much I loved the book. I just wish I had done it more eloquently.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston remains one of the most romantic book I read this year. It was so lovely. The letters the boys wrote each other thrilled me to death and made me melt into a little pile of goo. I cannot wait to reread it.

I was skeptical about Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid book because I’ve never read anything like it before. But it was amazing. There were so many lines that touched me. They were like poetry (and I’m not talking about the songs). This is the only book that I’ve ever tabbed so I could go back and reread the lines whenever I want. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a masterful writer.

I’d always assumed Caravel by Stephanie Garber book just wasn’t for me. I’m not much into high fantasy and thought that this would be that. But, I gave it a try and loved it. I love Scarlett and Tella so much! They are both so strong and fierce, each in their own way. I loved watching Scarlett navigate the world of Caraval, trying to get it to conform to rules that it never did.

Spellbound by Allie Therin combines Prohibition with magic and mystery. It also has a very sweet romance and one of my favorite tropes, when one character becomes fiercely protective over another and incredibly loyal. I cannot wait for the next one.

Any Old Diamonds by KJ Charles

K.J. Charles hands down writes the most romantic declarations from the most unlikely characters, and she manages to make them totally believable. Any Old Diamonds was so good. It’s got intrigue, silliness, kickass female characters, and a very believable and romantic love story. Do I have time to reread it?

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnnelly was a surprise. I had never heard of it, but thought I might enjoy it. It was hard to stop listening to. The story was so well crafted and intricate, and the characters, especially Isabelle, so interesting, that I was swept into the world. I love when “evil” characters are given motivations and stories of their own, especially when that backstory doesn’t necessarily make excuses for their behaviors, just explains them.

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Now, technically, The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner doesn’t come out until next year, but I read it this year and loved it. A group of people who are brought together by their love of Austen, and who play out the stories in new, original ways? Yes, please.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia was a book I literally could not put down. I read it in a few hours, I was so engrossed. I love reading about people who are involved in fandom in some way and who struggle to participate in the real world. Eliza was sympathetic and understandable. I loved this story.

A Duke in Disguise by Cat Sebastian was probably the only het romance I read that I didn’t get in a giveaway. I love so many aspects of this novel. I loved that the female lead was bisexual and a writer. I loved the male lead and his struggle to do what was right and follow his heart. I loved how it tied back with a another novel of Sebastian’s. It was just great.

What were some of your favorite reads this year?

Review: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Title: Interview with the Vampire

Author: Anne Rice

Publisher: Balltaine Books

Genre: horror

Source: used bookstore

Publication Date: April 12, 1976

Louis, a vampire, tells the story of his long life to an unnamed interviewer. Starting with his human life on a plantation in New Orleans and spanning through the twentieth century, Louis tells of a life of love and loss.

I feel that to summarize this book, you either have to tell nothing or everything. I’m going with almost nothing because a) I think the story is so well known, it’d be redundant and b) less is always more. So… that’s my summary.

I still really love this book. When I struggled to get into it, I thought maybe my love for the story had faded and was just a high school obsession. But, no, once I sat down and really gave it my attention, I was enthralled. I read almost the whole thing in one sitting.

I love Louis. He’s my favorite vampire, and I’m very sad that the rest of the books are about Lestat, because I’m not as interested in him. Maybe rereading The Vampire Lestat will change that, but I doubt it. There’s just something so soulful about Louis, so broken and lost, and that draws me.

The writing is very dense, and it’s a lot different from things that are written today in genre fiction. It made getting into the book hard, because I’m not used to such rich descriptions and huge blocks of texts. As difficult as it was, once I adapted, it flows beautifully. There were a few things that made me pause, little inconsistencies in the text, but I put that down to an either an unreliable narrator (because Louis is, in the end, not the most reliable of people) or me reading to quickly.

So, in the end, I was swept away into this incredible world that Anne Rice created. I loved the characters, especially Louis and Armand. Claudia is interesting, too, and horrifying in so many ways. The story is complex and the writing is beautiful.

Yes. If you like vampires and haven’t read it, I recommend that you give this a try. So many of the books being written today (including mine) were influence by this book and it’s always good to see the origins of some of the mythology. If you’ve already read it… isn’t it time for a reread?

Weekly Wrap-up | December 29

Wow, this week has gone by super quickly! On Monday, I drove home to spend the week with my parents for Christmas/Hanukkah/Mom’s birthday. It was a really fun week. We did Christmas with my brother on Christmas Eve. On Christmas, we had a long, leisurely morning before going out to lunch, then doing Christmas. I got new books as presents, which is always so awesome. The next few days were full of shopping and relaxing. I went to Barnes and Noble and got a couple books I’ve been wanting for awhile. Today, I’m driving back home. I’m sad to leave, but I’m also happy because I miss my cats. I’m also getting excited for the new year.

I bought Atomic Habits and The Beautiful. The rest were gifts. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is signed and personalized by the author. I’m thrilled with my holiday haul.

Monday: Finale by Stephanie Garber (review)

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner (review)

Saturday: Snippet Saturday – Dark Goddess

Monday: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (review)

Tuesday: Top Reads of 2019

Wednesday: WWW Wrap-up

Thursday: Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco (review)

Friday: 2019 Wrap-up

Saturday: Snippet Saturday – Dark Goddess

What are you reading this week? Did you meet your 2019 goals? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Review: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Title: The Jane Austen Society

Author: Natalie Jenner

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: historical fiction

Source: NetGalley

Publication Date: May 26, 2020

United by a love of Jane Austen, a group of people come together in the small village of Chawton, the final home of Jane Austen, to preserve Jane’s Austen’s home and legacy. Along the way, they’ll discover friendships, love, and a deep connection to one another that will last a lifetime.

This was such a lovely, lovely book! The characters were wonderful. They were vividly drawn and so strong and unique. They were a group of intelligent, hard working, serious, and introspective people who not only loved to read Jane Austen, but who have internalized her lessons and philosophies.

I loved the parallels drawn between the books and the characters and their relationships. My favorite, as ever, was the Persuasion reference, because I love me some love letters and this book delivered that with a vengeance. While not quite as romantic as Captain Wentworth’s to Anne Elliot, it was a near thing. I also really enjoyed the Emma story line and the interplay between the two characters all the way through. None of the relationships came as a surprise (well, one did, but that’s because I misread a situation early on), but that was fine. Being familiar with Austen and her stories and seeing the parallels made the journey a delight.

This is a very gentle book with an easy flow. Once I started, I didn’t want to put it down. I felt I knew the characters intimately and that I’d be seeing them in real life. I could picture what was happening and felt quite swept up in it. It’s just a wonderful story with beautiful characters and a very satisfying ending.

YES! If you love Jane Austen and like stories about people working together for a common cause, I think you’ll like this story a lot.