Mini Reviews #4

Hello everyone, 

Welcome to another installment of my mini-reviews. I have five to share with you  today so let’s jump right in: 

The Chilbury LadiesChoir by Jennifer Ryan


This is a charming novel that is a slice of life novel depicting life in a small British village during World War II. I’ll admit that I read most of this in one day, but it was such a charming novel and I loved each of the quirky characters that are introduced in this novel. 4/5 Stars.

I Wad Jane Austen’s Best Friend by Cora Harrison6853842

This was another re-read for me, because the last time I read it was in 2012. This is a fictional diary told from the perspective of Jane Austen’s cousin Jenny (although in the author’s note we find out her name was also Jane) and follows their lives after they are rescued from a horrible boarding school. We also follow Jenny as she meets several young men that seem to fancy her. There’s a cute romance and of course we follow her, Jane Austen, and the rest of the Austen clan through a series of events. 3/5 Stars. 

Girls Like Me by Lola St Vil 28114572

I’ll admit that I didn’t really know what to expect from this book, but I really enjoyed it, especially since it was told in verse. It was a good romance, funny in some parts and hard hitting in other. It covers a lot of different topics, such as coping with the death of a parent and grief, also bullying. Shay is a relatable character to those of us who are plus-sized, and I liked how things ended for her. There were a couple of things that I didn’t like, but it was still a good book which deserves to be read by more people. 3.5/5 Stars. 

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell352262._sx318_

I really enjoyed the movies when I watched them for the first time last year, I’ve been meaning to at least pick up the first book in the series to at least try it, and I’m glad I finally did. While I enjoyed it, I wasn’t quite prepared for how different it was from the movie! There were some elements that were the same, however it was still very different..and a little bit of a let down. But I did like it enough to go ahead and try and read the second book in the series. 3/5 Stars. 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis 140212._sy475_

A childhood classic that I always enjoy reading. I feel like every time I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I notice more of the allegorical elements. It’s always a great reminder of the death and resurrection of Christ and how He did it even though we are wholly undeserving of it. I am looking forward to reading the rest of The Chronicles of Narnia soon! 5/5 Stars. 

Happy Reading, 

Janelle L. C. 


Reading Experiments #3 and #4 Update

Hello everyone,

Today I thought I would share an update on both Reading Experiments #3 and #4 and whether I’ve been successful with either of them. If you are interesested in checking out my original posts for these, click here for Reading Experiment #3 and here for Reading Experiment #4.

Let’s start with Reading Experiment #3, which following the read-a-like trail from NoveList. The first book I started with was Amish Front Porch Stories by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter and Richelle Brunstetter. My original plan was to read 14 books that made up this read-a-like trail, which honestly was super ambitious considering I have not even continued on with this experiment. However, I would still like to do it, so my plan is to narrow it down to 9 books (so that there are 10 in total including the first one) and hopefully it will make it less intimidating and maybe motivate me more to work on this experiment. My plan is that if I have not made much progress by June, I will abandon this reading experiment, but hopefully it won’t come to that. Here are the 9 books I’m planning on reading:

1. The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis


2. A Place at our Table by Amy Clipston

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3. Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard


4. A Son’s Vow by Shelley Shepard Gray


5. Written in Love by Kathleen Fuller

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6. Lydia’s Charm by Wanda E. Brunstetter


7. When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall

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8. A Cousin’s Promise by Wanda E. Brunstetter

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9. Courting Cate by Leslie Gould


Reading Experiment #4 was also a bust and I have decided to abandon for the time being, at least until I can have more time to dedicate to it. I think what I need to do is read a read-a-like for a book as soon as I’ve read it. And then move on to another book. Like I said, I’m abadoning this for now, at least until I finish the other three reading experiments and then I might try and pick this back up again with a more clear cut plan of how I want to do it.

Update: Since writing this post I have read The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis and I am about to start A Place at Our Table by Amy Clipston.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

First Line Fridays #36 – A Phoenix Must First Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

Hello everyone,

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books. Since today’s book is an anthology, I am going to include the title of the first story in this collection along with the title.

A Phoenix Must First Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell – When Life Hand You A Lemon Fruit Bomb by Amerie

“When I was ten, the orcs dropped out of a clear summer-blue sky and landed in the middle of Central Park.”

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

On My Radar – January 2021

Hello everyone,

Today I’m going to be sharing the January book releases that are on my radar. These are all the books that sound the most interesting to me and I am hoping to pick them up eventually. This month there were a lot of good books coming out, so this list is pretty long. Here are all the January releases I am looking forward to:

  • Confessions of a Curious Bookshelf by Elizabeth Green – January 1st 53331137This sounds really good, it is about a bookseller who’s life is interrupted when a new indie bookseller opens up a shop just down the street from hers. And a war starts to ensue between the two of them. It also looks like an epistalory novel, which is one of my personal favorite formats. Also, it sounds a little like You’ve Got Mail, which is one of my favorite movies!
  • Dreams of Savannah by Roseanna M. White – January 5th 53918360This is a historical novel set during the Civil War. It is about Cordelia Owens who is a skilled storyteller, and even when her love seemingly dies in a shipwreck, she convinces his family that he will return. Phin (who I think is her love) returns, but he is jaded and cynical from the things that he has faced over the previous months, and it also makes him think more about the war. Events happen that force both Delia and Phin to think through what America will look like once it emerges from the Civil War.
  • The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greeley – January 5th 51178523As the title suggests this a book about Anne de Bourgh, Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s daughter, from Pride and Prejudice, who was originally believed to be bethrothed to Mr. Darcy. I’m interested to see what the author does in exploring this minor character and see what happens to her in the aftermath of Pride and Prejudice.
  • The World Between Blinks by Amie Kaufman and Ryam Graudin – January 5th 53018246This is a middle grade book about two cousins who always go on adventures together. One summer they discover a map that their Nana left to a lighthouse and they discover that the lighthouse serves as a doorway to a magical world that contains a lot of mysteries from history and from myths. It sounds really interesting and I am curious to read it.
  • Court of Swans by Melanie Dickerson – January 5th52573908. sy475 Court of Swans is the start of a new series by Melanie Dickerson and this time we are being transported to medieval England for a retelling of the Wild Swans – which is a fairy tale I’m not familiar with, but I intend to read it before I pick this up.
  • Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz – January 5th 53911583Tidewater Bride is a historical novel set in the Virginia Colony where the most eligible maiden in the colony has no desire to get married. She also spends her time matchmaking other people, but a new landowner comes to the colony that could change her mind about marriage.
  • The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins – January 5th 53137893The Wife Upstairs is supposedly a modern retelling of Jane Eyre and it follows Jane who falls for the wealthy widow, Eddie Rochester. However, as their romance starts to bloom, she discovers that everything he told her surrounding his wife’s death might not be what it seems and there might be something more sinister at play.
  • Star Wars: The High Republic – A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland – January 5th 51734016A Test of Courage is the first middle-grade book in the new Star Wars: High Republic series. It is set 200 years before the events of Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace. It follows a young Jedi and a padawan, and a couple other of youngsters that find themselves stranded on a jungle moon.
  • The Sea in Winter by Christine Day – January 5th 53018234The Sea in Winter follows Maisie Cannon, a young Native American girl who is forced to drop out of her ballet training. While her family is supportive, she still feels like no one understands her. Her and her family go to visit her mom’s family who are part of the Makah community, but Maisie is not looking forward to it. And during the trip she starts having anxiety and dark moods and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule – January 5th 51637946This is the first adult book set in the High Republic era. Not much has been revealed about the plot of this particular book, except for there being jedis – and I’m okay with that, I don’t think I want to know any more of the plot. I will say that I am excited to pick this up soon!
  • Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert – January 12th53138251The Tales from the Hinterland is a collection of tales that The Hazel Wood and The Night Country or centered on. I’m looking forward to reading this collection, and I definitely plan on rereading The Hazel Wood and finally picking up The Night Country.
  • The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin – January 12th53425138This is a historical novel set in January 12, 1888 and it is a fictional account of a freak blizzard that hit the Dakota territory and the children were trapped in the school house and decisions have to be made whether to keep them in the school house or try and get home to their families. It follws two teachers, one who is praised for her decisions made and the other one who is judged for her decisions in the aftermath. It sounds fascianting and I can’t wait to read it.
  • Many Points of Me by Caroline Gertler 53175355This follows Georgia Rosenbloom, who’s father was a famous artist. However, he died before he could make his final piece, but she discovers a sketch that she think is related to it and she decides to go and do some digging into what happens.
  • Neverland by Meagan Spooner – Janaury 28th 

GoodReads doesn’t have a lot of information about this book, the cover hasn’t been released yet either. However, I’m assuming that it is going to be a Peter Pan retelling and we might follow Wendy. Again, that’s just my assumption, but we shall see.

And those are all the books that are coming out in January that I am looking forward to reading once I can get my hands on them!

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

Reading Experiment #2 Update

Hello everyone,

Today’s post is an update for Reading Experiment #2. For this reading experiment I was rereading Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin and then reading the 9 read-a-likes that were listed on the database NoveList. Just like the first reading experiment, I did not do well with this one, but I am planning on trying to get the ones done that I haven’t read read by the end of June, so watch this space for a wrap-up of that experiment. With this update I want to share which books I have read, my brief thoughts and then the list of books I still need to get to.

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin


I read this first because it made sense to start with this before reading the other books on this list. It was enjoyable to reread this book and while I read it I remembered all the reasons why I loved it. If you are interested in reading more of my thoughts, check out my full-length review.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

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I read this one next because it is honestly the book that kind of inspired me to this reading experiment because I read the synopsis and realized that it had some of the same elements that were in Wonderland Creek. I also liked this one, even though it was different from Wonderland Creek, however I liked seeing a different take on the pack-horse librarians. If you are interested in reading more of my thoughts, check out my full-length review.

The Patient One by Shelley Shepard Gray

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This was the other read-a-like I got to in 2020, and honestly, I couldn’t tell you why this was recommended as a read-a-like. The only thing I can think of is that it is Christian fiction and a tragedy does take place in several of the characters’ past, but other than that there was very little in common with Wonderland Creek and it was just an okay read. If you are interested in reading more of my thoughts, check out my full-length review.

And now for the seven books that I still need to read for this experiment:

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

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The Homestead by Linda Byler


The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg


Rainwater by Sandra Brown

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Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas

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The Edge of Town by Dorothy Garlock


The Quilter’s Homecoming by Jennifer Chiaverini


Stay tuned for later this year to see if I actually completed this experiment (I sure hope so).

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

First Line Fridays #35 – Radioactive! by Winifred Conkling

Hello everyone,

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books.

Radioactive! by Winifred Conkling

“Their moment had finally arrived. In the fall of 1933, scientists Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie were invited to present their latest research at the 7th Solvay Conference in Brussels, Belgium.”

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

Reading Experiment #1 Update

Hello everyone,

Some of you may remember that last year I tried to attempt several different reading experiments, my plan was to complete them within the year, but that didn’t happen for a number of different reasons, but I am planning on completing them this year. With each of these updates I am giving myself 6 months to complete these challenges…I think I can do it!

The first reading experiment I did was books recommended to me by my husband (when he was still my fiance). Let’s see how I’ve done so far!

  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – Read


I liked this, but it was a little confusing too. However, I think that had more to do with the time in which I read it which was when I was getting ready to move across the country, planning a wedding and finishing stuff up at my old job. If you’re interested to see more of my thoughts, click here to read my full-length review.

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy – Read


I liked The Scarlet Pimpernel, but I honestly preferred the movie because the book seemed to drag in places where it probably shouldn’t have. Click here if you’d like to read a mini-review of my thouhgts.


  • The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides – Read


I really enjoyed The Virgin Suicides. Out of the three books that I’ve read so far, I enjoyed this one the most. Click here for my full-length review, I also wrote a review of the movie adaptation.

So I’ve made it through half of the six books my husband recommended. Here are the three I still have to read:

  • Waiting for God by Simone Weil


  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac


  • The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce by Judith S. Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis and Sandra Blakeslee



I think I will be able to get through these three over the next 6 months. We will see, I plan on writing some sort of review for each of these, whether it be a full-length review or a mini-review. I will also have a post with my concluding thoughts on the experiment as a whole.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge 2021 Prompts

Photo by Pixabay on

Hello everyone,

Today I will be sharing the prompts for the Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge 2021. I’m not going to include my tentative choices for each of these prompts, but I will be doing a mid-year check in at the beginning of July to share how I’m doing. Also if I have any book reviews for the books I read, I will include a note about which prompt it fulfilled. Here are the prompts for this year:

1. A book related to “In the Beginning…”
2. A book by an author whose name doesn’t contain the letters A, T or Y
3. A book related to the lyrics for the song “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music
4. A book with a monochromatic cover

5. A book by an author on USA Today’s list of 100 Black Novelists You Should Read
6. A love story
7. A book that fits a prompt suggestion that didn’t make the final list
8. A book set in a state, province, or country you have never visited

9. A book you associate with a specific season or time of year
10. A book with a female villain or criminal
11. A book to celebrate The Grand Egyptian Museum
12. A book eligible for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation
13. A book written by an author of one of your best reads of 2020

14. A book set in a made-up place
15. A book that features siblings as the main characters
16. A book with a building in the title
17. A book with a Muslim character or author

18. 3 books related to “Past, Present, Future” – Book 1
19. 3 books related to “Past, Present, Future” – Book 2
20. 3 books related to “Past, Present, Future” – Book 3
21. A book whose title and author both contain the letter “u”
22. A book posted in one of the ATY Best Book of the Month threads

23. A cross genre novel
24. A book about racism or race relations
25. A book set on an island
26. A short book (<210 pages) by a new-to-you author

27. A book with a character who can be found in a deck of cards
28. A book connected to ice
29. A book that you consider comfort reading
30. A long book

31. A book by an author whose career spanned more than 21 years
32. A book whose cover shows more than 2 people
33. A collection of short stories, essays, or poetry
34. A book with a travel theme
35. A book set in a country on or below the Tropic of Cancer

36. A book with six or more words in the title
37. A book from the Are You Well Read in World Literature list
38. A book related to a word given by a random word generator
39. A book involving an immigrant

40. A book with flowers or greenery on the cover
41. A book by a new-to-you BIPOC author
42. A mystery or thriller
43. A book with elements of magic

44. A book whose title contains a negative
45. A book related to a codeword from the NATO Phonetic Alphabet
46. A winner or nominee from the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards
47. A non-fiction book other than biography, autobiography or memoir
48. A book that might cause someone to react “You read what?!?”

49. A book with an ensemble cast
50. A book published in 2021
51. A book whose title refers to person(s) without giving their name
52. A book related to “the end”

Let me know down in the comments if any of you are planning on taking part in the Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Chaallenge this year!

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

Library Haul #18

Hello everyone,

I recently went to the library and checked some great books and I thought I would share them with you.

Fairy Tail Volume 4 by Hiro Mashima


One Piece Volume 22 by Eiichiro Oda

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One Piece Volume 23 by Eiichiro Oda

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Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 4 by Hiromu Arakawa


Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 5 by Hiromu Arakawa


All five these mangas are the next installments in series that I am currently reading and I’m looking for continuing with each of these three series.

A Place at Our Table by Amy Clipston

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A Place at Our Table is the next book in my Reading Experiment #3 list. I am looking forward to it, especially since I have only read Amy Clipston’s novellas and short stories and I’m curious to see how she is as a writer when it comes to full-length novels.

One Day in December by Josie Silver


I have been meaning to read this for a while because I have heard nothing but good things about it. It also seems like it will have a similar plot to Where Rainbows End (known as Love, Rosie in the U.S.) by Cecelia Ahern. It is about a woman that meets a guy at a bus stop and has a crush on him, and their paths keep interesecting at different points over 10 years.

Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos


I have been intrigued by this middle grade book when I first heard about it a couple years ago. It is about an autistic girl named Nova, who is looking forward to the launch of Challenger. However, her sister has disappeared and she wonders where she has gone.

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson


This is the third installment in the Truly Devious series, and I believe it is the finale of the Truly Devious story arc. I am looking forward to being able to pick this up as soon as I finish the second book.

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

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The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

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These are the last two books in the Wintersong trilogy and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next after the end of The Bear and the Nightingale – which I loved!

The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox


One of my goals for this year is to read at least one Newbery Award Winner each month. This is the first book I picked at random. I know very little about it except it follows a boy who is kidnapped and is taken aboard a ship that is part of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. I’m curious to see how it handles the subject matter, and I’m sure it’s going to be heartbreaking read because it is covering a horrific part of history.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

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I’m going to be honest, I know very little about this book and I want to keep it that way until I read it. All I know is that it is set in Paris during World War I, and it is an epistalory novel, which should be interesting. All three of the those things make me think I will really love it and we shall see!

I also renewed 5 books from my previous library:

The Tinderbox by Beverley Lewis


I am just about to start this one!

Gods & Kings by Lynn Austin


The Christmas Blessing by Melody Carlson


The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson


Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

January 2021 TBR

Hello everyone,

Welcome to my January TBR! I have no idea how my reading is going to go this month, but I still want to share the 3-5 books I am hoping to definitely get to this month. Before I share the books I want to read, I first wanted to give a check-in as to how I did on my December TBR . I managed to read all the books on my TBR, although I only finished Finding Dorothy a couple of days ago. I am looking forward to tackling this month’s TBR:

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Last month I started my reread of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My plan is to read at least one of the books a month, and naturally this is the next book in the series. I am looking forward to joining the Ingalls family on their journey to find a new home! I am planning on having a review for each book in the series later on this year.

The Answer Is… by Alex Trebeck


My husband and I are huge fans of Jeopardy! and were saddened to hear of Alex Trebek’s parting. I’ve been wanting to read his memoir since I heard that is was being published, and my husband was given a copy of it for Christmas which means I no logner have to wait for my hold to come through at the library! I am looking forward to reading it and finding out more about Mr. Trebek’s life.

Confessions of a Curious Bookseller by Elizabeth Green

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So quick confession, this book is also going to appear on a post later this month of books that are on my radar for January. However, hopefully I will have already read this by the time that post goes up. It is about rival booksellers and told in epistalory format, which I love! I can’t wait to pick this up.

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis


Another series I am planning on rereading this year is the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. The last time I read these books was when I was either a junior or senior in high school and I am looking froward to rereading them as an adult. I plan on reading at least one of the books each month, and, as with the Little House books, I plan on writing a review for each of them. I can’t wait to revisit the world of Narnia.

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen


I’ve been a fan of Julie Klassen ever since I read The Secret of Pembrooke Park back in 2015. But for whatever reason it has been a while since I’ve picked up one of her books! Last month I read An Ivy Hill Christmas which is novella set in this village and I fell in love with all the people I was intrduced to and I can’t wait to read a full-length novel set in Ivy Hill.

Those are all the books I’m planning on definitely reading this month and hopefully I will get to all of them!

What books are you planning on getting to this month?

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.