Living that Bookish Life

Someone asked me on Goodreads how I got into reading and writing, and I felt like blogging my answer.

So how did I get started in this bookish life, hmm? I’d say my parents are the guilty parties here. They both were readers.

My mom took me and my siblings down to the public library for books since we were quite little, and we had a family reading club for years. My dad would put up a new calendar in the kitchen each month where we’d write our initials down every time we finished a book, and a running total for each family member was at the bottom of the calendar.

Every time one of us kids finished ten books, we’d get some sort of little prize, but when it came down to it, it wasn’t about the prizes. Even when the reading club eventually phased out, we kept on reading. My uncle once joked that he’d never seen kids who were so excited to get books for Christmas!

As for my writing, if I had to pinpoint a time when I got started, it was when I was eight years old. I had to write a story for school, using specific spelling words, and my dad seemed to think the story was rather good. (He kept the story–still has it, in fact.)

I’ve been writing stories ever since. I just put book covers on them now. 🙂

 

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Renata and the Fall from Grace by Becky Doughty

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Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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Four Silver Stars

Renata and the Fall from GraceRenata and the Fall from Grace by Becky Doughty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

The Gustafson girls are certainly quite a bunch of women. After reading about Juliette and the ManDates her sisters sent her on, I looked forward to seeing more of this bunch in Renata and the Fall from Grace by author Becky Doughty.

Renata (Gustafson) Dixon is the married sister of the group, experiencing the joys, the annoyances, the heartache, and the different facets of love found in wife and motherhood. As in the first novel of the series, the story makes way for the Gustafsons’ G-FOURce meetings and the one-of-a-kind protocol that those entail, and as much as the sisters may disagree and clash, the way their ultimate bond shines through, in big ways and small, is a pleasure to see.

This isn’t always the case for me when I read, but the parts of this novel that most drew me in were the most tragic, and the scene that put me in tears had its own beauty. I’ll admit I never exactly warmed up to Renata’s independent and pretty prickly character, the swinging of her moods blindsiding me a time or two, but she’s human and understandable, and it helps that she’s self-aware. I’m not sure that I saw an inward, individual growth for her as pronounced as the changing of her circumstances, and an aspect of the novel’s romance left me wanting a little more time to get used to it. I also ran into some language I wasn’t ready for, but a good amount of the Dixon children’s comments, questions, and antics had me smiling.

Oh, and a particular glimpse of a man stepping up and being a man in a tough family situation, teaching someone else something about what it means to be a man, had me all the way pumped.

I could go on. And I will go on, as I find this author’s writing to be consistently real and accessible, and I fully intend to read the next book in this series when it releases. I’m more than intrigued to see what’s in store for the next Gustafson girl, Phoebe.

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See my review of the next book in the series, Phoebe and the Rock of Ages.

Juliette and the Monday ManDates  Phoebe and the Rock of Ages

The Bennett Women by Roberta R. Carr

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Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Online Book Club provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
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The Bennett Women

The Bennett Women by Roberta R. Carr

Women’s Fiction

Three generations of women reach a make-or-break point in this novel about life, love, mortality, forgiveness, and joy. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys hopeful stories about family, especially readers of women’s fiction.

Officially reviewed at OnlineBookClub.org with 3 out of 4 stars. Take a look!

My Mother’s Wish: An American Christmas Carol by Jerry Camery-Hoggatt

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Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Five Gold Stars

My Mother's WishMy Mother’s Wish: An American Christmas Carol by Jerry Camery-Hoggatt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

A punchy and heartwarming little tale if I ever read one.

Pretty much, Ellee and her mother have always seen anything but eye to eye, and they’re both in need of a new awakening to love for Christmas in My Mother’s Wish: An American Christmas Carol by author Jerry Camery-Hoggatt.

Though I’m likely to grow tired of a sarcastic protagonist who merely comes off as proud or bratty, Ellee has an unapologetic tendency toward wry exaggeration that I took to and could even smile at.

Now, though I was aware that the heroine is in the present, telling her story in past tense, some of the switches in tenses threw me a bit. For instance, Ellee’s experience at the Comeback Café starts off in present tense, with the waitress addressing her in the present, and then the scene switches into past tense, “I said” and “she said.” Could just be Ellee’s conversational style of storytelling, perhaps.

Still, this is a quick, deftly written read with substance and room for a reader’s imagination. Not to mention there’s a character named Nadine, which is always a plus. 😉