Currently Reading: Goodreads vs. Reality

If you look on my Goodreads account, it will give you a list of seven books I’m currently reading. (o_O) While I’ve been making more of a concerted effort to keep up with my reading on Goodreads, I have to admit my current reading life bears little resemblance to the list you’ll find there. I wanted to give you a real glimpse into my currently reading list, TBR pile, and recent reads. It’s time to take a look at my real reading life vs. my Goodreads account.

Current Reads: 

The Promise of Home

I recently visited a used book tent at a Flea Market and they were having a 2 for $1 sale on Harlequin’s Love Inspired books, which I love. I bought and devoured Love Finds a Home by Kathryn Springer. I loved it. According to the Dear Reader note, the next book in the series was about one of the secondary characters I really liked, and it had a good hook. Three books later (hello, reading rabbit hole!), I’m reading my fourth book set in Mirror Lake (in less than five days).

 

Born a Crime

This is one I have out from the library. I started reading the first chapter the other day and so far it’s really interesting. I also made a print that says “Just waiting for Trevor Noah to realize he’s my husband,” so there’s that.

 

 

 

Come Matter Here

This one is a bit of a cheat. I’m actually slowing reading through a sample of this book and deciding if I want to borrow it or buy it. I haven’t read much, but it’s pretty good so far, and I’ve heard great things.

 

 

 

Currently Checked Out of the Library:

Born A Crime, referenced in Current Reads. Divided Kingdom is a book a listener suggested on a special episode of What Should I Read Next that has an interesting premise. Close Enough to Touch has been in my Goodreads Want to Read for years, so I requested it. Educated and Vox were my FOMO and Buzz Book picks, respectively.

Recent Purchases:

Along with the second book of the Mirror Lake series referenced above, I also picked up Firestarter and Thinner by Stephen King and Finally a Bride by Renee Andrews at the flea market. There are more Love Inspired Titles, but I can’t remember them right now. I saw a kindle deal for  I’ll Take You There and snapped it up because the Staple Singers’ music makes up a large part of the soundtrack of my childhood, yet I had no clue it “shaped the Civil Rights Era.” I’m looking forward to it.

Speaking of Kindle Deals:

I purchased these as kindle deals and have yet to dive into them. I started the first essay in All the Lives I Want but got sidetracked by other books.

Recent Reads:

Series:

I went back and closed the loop in my reading of Julie Miller’s The Precinct series, reading books 4-6, which I’d somehow skipped. As I mentioned in current reads, I bought the second book in the Mirror Lake Series, Love Finds a Home, at a flea market and found books 2, 3, 4, and now 5 on kindle. I read and loved three of the six so far and am currently reading the fourth.

Individual reads:

I read more than category romance this month. Since September 14, I’ve also managed to read I’d Rather be Reading (a Get in My Kindle Pick that turned out to be amazing), I Am I Am I Am (a FOMO book that was well worth the buzz), and Vinegar Girl (a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew that kept me turning the pages and proved to be an enjoyable read).

TBR:

Remember God

In addition to the library books and recent purchases (and books that will inevitably jump the line and demand to be read before what I planned to read), there’s this book, Remember God by Annie F. Downs. I actually listened to the audio book I received as a pre-order bonus, but I don’t think of audio books as reading (I know, this is a hot button issue in the reading world. I’m not saying YOU can’t count them however you want on your Goodreads or in your bullet journal, just that I, personally, don’t count them). I loved hearing Annie tell me her story, but it’s a different experience for me to read the words on the page, and I can’t wait to read it.

Your Turn: Does the reality of your reading life match your Goodreads profile? What are you currently reading? What’s at the top of your TBR pile?

Return Reads: The Blue Willow Brides Series by Maggie Brendan


Once upon a time, there was a lovely young woman who fell in love with her father’s humble assistant. This love affair angered the young woman’s father because of the difference in their backgrounds. To keep his daughter from continuing the relationship, the father dismissed the assistant and built a huge fence around his property to keep the young lovers apart. He arranged for his daughter to marry a powerful Duke instead. When the Duke arrived to marry the young woman, he presented her with a box of jewels. On the eve of the wedding, the young assistant disguised himself as a servant, slipped into the house, and escaped with the jewels and the woman he loved. Using the Duke’s ship, the young couple escaped to a secluded island where they lived happily for many years. When the Duke learned of their location, he sent soldiers to capture the couple and put them to death. The gods, touched by their unfortunate situation and the power of their loved, transformed the couple into doves, thus returning them to freedom.

Lovely tale, isn’t it? This is the story, behind the Blue Willow china pattern that became popular in 18th century England.

Blue Willow China

It’s also the inspiration behind a series of books I recently rediscovered buried deep in my kindle library.

The Blue Willow Brides series by Maggie Brendan follows three sisters as they immigrate from Holland to the wilds of the western territory of America to become mail order brides. Each sister has a love of blue willow china, its meaning held deep in their hearts. That love surrounds each of the three books in the series and is enough to make anyone want to start collecting the delicate pattern.

Maggie Brendan writes genuinely vivid characters and journeys that leave readers feeling satisfied with the happy ending they crave. Her stories deal with the trials – and sometimes humor – that comes from navigating romantic relationships without succumbing to traditional romance tropes. It’s no wonder her novels have won many awards.

Rediscovering her series and rereading them much later into the night than I expected reminded me how much I love her writing! I’ve since downloaded several of her other books that I plan to read this autumn when the weather gives me a perfect excuse to curl up with a good book. Check out Maggie’s Blue Willow Brides series and I promise you’ll be reading it (and rereading it) late into the night, too!

We’d love to hear your views on rereading. Are you a re-reader? Why or why not?

Reading Dilemmas: Gulp or Sip

Today’s post is a little different from my usual posts (though what is usual when you’ve been posting for less than a month?). I wanted to talk about one of the dilemmas I face as a reader. Like most readers, I have many, but this one came to me and I wondered how other people deal with it. So let’s dive in. 

Reading a good book is like eating an amazing dessert. You try to take your time and savor each bite. You want to stretch it out and make the experience last. You try to identify every note or hint of flavor. You take a small bite, spoonful, or forkful, closing your eyes so there’s one less sense to compete with your sense of taste. At least, you try to. Usually in this scenario, as much as I want to slowly savor every last bit of it, I find I can’t make it last nearly as long as I want to.

Similarly, sometimes I try to read a book slowly, but I can’t. I love the journey the story is taking me on and I don’t want it to end, yet I can’t stop turning the pages. Every time I put the book down, it calls me back. I will sit down, only intending to read a chapter or two, and look up hours later having devoured the whole thing in one sitting.

 (Note: One Good Man & The Marine Next Door are both the first books in compulsively readable mini-series by romantic suspense superwoman author, Julie Miller. I’m ADDICTED to the Precinct series and every mini-series within the series)

I’ve come to realize some books are gulp books; you drink deeply from them and finish them before you know it. Gulp books aren’t confined to a certain genre or a statement on the depth of the material–I’ve gulped down both books of substance and less stellar but equally compulsive reads. There are some books you just can’t stop reading until it’s finished.

Then there are the books you sip. Sip books are the ones where you read a sentence, paragraph, or page, sometimes a whole chapter, but then you have to stop and stare into space, take a walk, think deeply about your life choices. These are the books where Truth punches you in the chest and you need a moment to recover, where the beauty of the prose steals your breath and it takes you some time to catch it. It’s the book you close with a finger holding your spot as you try to put the pieces of your brain back together because “wow.” These are the books you have to stop reading and process before you go back in.
 (If you’re in the market for a truly beautiful memoir, the kindle version of The Prisoner’s Wife is currently $0.99! Click the book and grab it now!)

Some of the best books I’ve ever read find a way to combine both these disparate characteristics into one book. There a lines that cut deep and make you stop and think, and there are whole sections that won’t let you step away. Pages where you throw the book in frustration, then hurry over and flip back to your spot because “gah!” you have to know what happens next.

Now it’s your turn. Which type of book do you prefer–gulps, sips, or a blend of both? Feel free to share your top picks for each category in the comments below.

XOXO,

Erica

P.S. Don’t be surprised if you see posts about any of these titles in the future 😉