No Spoiler Book Review
This was book-club, book-of-the-year when it came out. It was that year’s “Where the Crawdad Sings”. Everyone wanted to read this book and tell everyone they read it.
I knew that this book was about a cranky old man who is secretly lovable. I think I am just over this concept. The misunderstood villain, the I’m a jerk, but here is why… I want to surround myself with positivity. I'm not into the backstory and excuses right now.
While I didn’t love the curmudgeon aspect of the book, I did like its history and some of the ideas written into the story. I liked the concept that everyone has value and is lovable and worthy of love. I did like that this book is Swedish. It’s always nice to read something that is not US-centric. It did have some good comedic moments and very touching stories of real love. Not my favorite book this year, but I can see why so many people love this book.
This book would appeal to most book club participants, there is a lot to discuss! Anyone who likes books about human psychology and relationships. Readers looking for something heart warming with sneaky humor. If you enjoyed this book, you may also enjoy, Less by Andrew Sean Greer. Click here for my No Spoiler Book Review of Less.
Share your thoughts on this book. Comment below:
February 2020 New Releases
After wading through hundreds of upcoming titles, I have narrowed the list of February releases to these nine Can’t Wait Books. I scoured book review catalogs, book blogs and library chat forums to ensure that I found the most interesting and original new books. I primarily focus on Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction, but I will include Young Adult titles, if they seem like they will have a broad appeal. Starred titles have been added to my personal to be read list.
Summary excerpts from goodreads.com
February 04, 2020
Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa - Sassy, steamy enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy about a woman whose new job requires her to work side-by-side with the best man who ruined her wedding: her ex-fiancé's infuriating, irritating, annoyingly handsome brother.
Yes, No, Maybe So by Albertalli & Saeed - Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely. (Young Adult)
February 11, 2020
Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen - A single twist of fate puts a servant girl to work in Queen Victoria’s royal kitchen, setting off a suspenseful, historical mystery. I was lucky to receive an advance copy of this book, for a No Spoiler Review click here.
House of Trelawney by Hannah Mary Rothschild - An eccentric, dysfunctional family of English aristocrats, and their crumbling stately home that reminds us how the lives and hopes of women can still be shaped by the ties of family and love.
February 15, 2020
*Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel - Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.
February 18, 2020
Adventurer’s Son by Roman Dial - A harrowing story of drama, adventure, and a father’s love for his son, set in the most beautiful and dangerous reaches of the planet, The Adventurer’s Son is a mystery, the memoir of a father and his son, and an unforgettable story of love and profound loss. (Non-Fiction)
February 25, 2020
*Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore - Oona Out of Order is a remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of sequence. Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.
*Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little - An egomaniacal movie director, an isolated island. A wickedly funny exploration of our cultural addiction to tales of murder and mayhem and a thrilling, behind-the-scenes whodunit.
*Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson – A time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together. (Non-Fiction)
Which of upcoming titles are you excited to read? Have you read any of the above books? Comment below:
Check back on Thursday for a No Spoiler Review of A Man Called Ove.
For Librarians and Working Professionals
It’s officially the time of year when people start giving up on their New Year’s Resolutions. That’s right, two weeks and most people are done. It’s no wonder really, everyone is so busy and no one seems to have enough time for themselves. How do you follow the Whole 30, when you don’t have time to cook? How do you work out when you work 12 hours per day? Here are some quick tips to help you free up some time, so you can prioritize your personal life.
Use your vacation time. All of it. Every year. You don’t need to spend a ton of money to have a nice refreshing getaway. Go camping or rent a cabin a few hours from home. Staycations are fine, but a change of atmosphere can be invigorating. If you can, go somewhere!
Use more sick time. If you end the year with an abundance of unused sick time, there are honest ways that you can use more. Schedule Dr. appointments during the work day and take sick hours to pay for them. Call-in if you have a headache, bad allergies or feel like you *might* be getting sick. Bonus, I find that calling in for minor issues has mostly prevented me from getting disgustingly sick. Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, use your sick time when you are actually sick! Please do not be a walking death martyr, getting the entire office sick. Gross.
Take back your overtime. If you work for a salary, you are probably contracted to work, more or less, the same number of hours every week. If you are consistently asked to work more without receiving additional compensation, start taking back your time. If you have a late meeting or an event on your day off, schedule a day to get that time back. Keep track of your extra hours and take off a whole day, come in late or leave early. It’s your time.
Schedule down time throughout the day. I typically work for about 45 minutes, then get up and work on something easy and active for 15. Repeat all day. As a librarian I would work on ordering books for 45 minutes and then get up and shelve an armful of books for 15. This helps me feel mentally and physically energized all day.
Set an “end of the day” alarm. I work part-time and have two littles. I get up at 6:30, work, work on my blog, workout, work on the house and take care of the kids. All day. At 9 PM an alarm goes off and I am done. TV time, book time, down time!
Get enough sleep. For me 7-8 hours is perfect. Find out what your optimum number is and get that. Not getting enough sleep is not a badge of honor. It makes you cranky and less efficient. Make sleep a priority. You will be healthier, happier and get more done.
Take a whole day off every week. Have one day where you don’t do any work. No laundry, no vacuuming, no scrubbing. Eat out or eat left-overs so you don’t even have to cook and do dishes. Do something fun, by yourself or with friends and family. What would you do with a whole day off?
Once you have started to reclaim some of your personal time, consider getting back to your New Year’s goal. Just because your resolution didn’t work in January doesn’t mean that it won’t work in April or August. Take the time to consider what you want to do for yourself and try again. Best of luck! Keep me posted on your progress!
How do you create free time for yourself? Comment below:
Check back on Tuesday for Bossy’s Most Anticipated New and Upcoming Books!
No Spoiler Book Review
Release Date April 28, 2020
This was the Okayest book that I loved the most. This book and I got off to kind of a rocky start. The initial writing, particularly dialogue made me question its historical accuracy. I am not a historian, so it is probably perfect, maybe just different than I was expecting. There was a big chunk of “memory” that maybe should have been sprinkled throughout the book instead of just dumped near the beginning. Hopefully, that will be corrected, since this was an advance copy… With that being said, I loved this book more with every page I read.
I have been into historical fiction lately and westerns are no exception. I would actually love to see westerns make a comeback. They are such an exciting mix of danger and naïve optimism. This book did a good job of illustrating that people did not put their lives on hold while they were on the trail. They continued their hobbies and work in some cases, got married, and had babies. Can you imagine? Having a baby. On the trail. Westerns are wild.
Naomi and John are fun, strong-willed characters that play off each other nicely. Amy Harmon does a good job of writing the sexual tension between the two characters and it helps add to the excitement of the story. It was amazing to find out that John Lowry and many other characters in this book were real people with a personal connection to the author. Don’t miss the author’s note, it was one of my favorite things about this book.
This is a western expansion, soft romance. If you like wagon trains, pioneers, settlers, Indians and sexual tension with no sex, this is the book for you. Fans of the ancient series Into the West (2005) will love this book. If you are looking for a western with no romance try News of the World.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers of this book for allowing me advance access in exchange for this honest review.
Share your thoughts on this book. Comment below:
Check back on Thursday for Tips to Take Back Your Time in 2020
No Spoiler Book Review
I think by now almost everyone has heard of Malala and knows the gist of her story. People know that she was shot by the Taliban for advocating for education for girls and women. She was 15 at the time. Shortly after she was attacked, she wrote and published, I am Malala.
About half of this book is entirely about Malala and her experiences growing up in Pakistan, and is very engaging. The other half of this book is about her family history and the history of Pakistan, which can be a little dry. The entire book is extremely important, but because about half of it is historical, I think a lot of people will have a hard time getting all the way through it.
I have seen this book on required reading lists for SIXTH GRADE, and I have to say that is a mistake. This book is very rich in political and religious content that is beyond the grasp of many readers. While Malala was a teenager when she wrote this book, she was exceptional. Most Americans would have a hard time with this book even as adults. If someone is drawn to this book, they will benefit from it. If they are forced to read it, they will be bored, at best.
You may also enjoy this No Spoiler Book Review of Moment of Lift.
Share your thoughts on this book. Comment below:
Check back on Tuesday for a No Spoiler Review of Where the Lost Wander.
If you are reading this you are either a librarian or an avid reader. If you are an avid reader, you probably read more than me every year. You can read this article, laugh, pat me on the head and tell me my goals are adorable. If you are a librarian, you probably read, on average, what I read every year. You can read this article, quietly nod in agreement, and *maybe* leave me a comment, thanking me for my brilliance.
I only started setting reading goals when my second daughter was born two years ago. I decided to re-read all of the Harry Potters while I was taking my unpaid-maternity-leave. I read all seven in the allotted time, easily. I then continued to read one book per two-week check-out, even after I went back to work. With no problem.
The key to my success was my smart phone. I started downloading books to my phone, so that I would read instead of wasting my life scrolling social media. I had no idea how much time I was wasting on mind numbing social media, until I did this. I went from reading something like 12 books per year, to 24, and in 2019 I read 37! This is the part where the avid readers pat me on the head. In March 2019, I rediscovered audiobooks, which effectively doubled the number of books I can read. WooHoo!
So, for 2020, I will basically read one book per week. I know I will occasionally read something that is a little long, or I will be busy with work or some other excuse. So, my official goal will be to read at least 40 books next year, but I expect to read closer to 50. What’s your number?
Here are some tips to get you out of a reading slump:
Here are some prompts to help you find books outside of your comfort zone:
Tell me about your reading goals and strategy for 2020. Comment below:
Check back on Thursday for a No Spoiler Review of I Am Malala
Eleven years ago, I realized the futility of having a “favorite” book and decided that I would select a favorite book every year. Note: it’s just something I personally read that year, not necessarily published that year. I have never met anyone in real life that does this, but a lot of the book bloggers and twitterbrarians do it. They’re all my type of nerdy. #librarytwitter #bookbloggers
I read books that are in almost every genre. Occasionally, I will read two great books that are so dissimilar that I cannot compare them enough to decide between the two. Those rare years I will have two favorites, but for the most part, I have one very clear favorite. These books are all innovative, surprising and expertly crafted. They are profound or outstanding in their own way.
Here are my previous selections:
I feel like unveiling my book of the year should come with a drumroll and curtain, but I haven’t figured out how to do that on blog, so…
My favorite book of 2019 was The Wanderers by Chuck Wendig (Ta-Dah!!!!!) I was absolutely 100% obsessed with this book. The audio was THIRTY-TWO hours long and I finished it with time to spare on my two-week check-out. My house was spotless and I got so many steps in because all I wanted to do was walk and clean so I could listen to my book.
The Wanderers is apocalyptic fiction set in the very near future. I would consider this to be science-fiction although the tech is only slightly more advanced than ours. So, it’s probably science-fact, we just don’t know it yet. Fans of Stephen King’s Under the Dome and The Stand will love this book. For my full review click here.
What was your favorite book this year? Comment below:
Check back on Tuesday for (nerd alert) My 2020 Reading Strategy!