2020 in Books and Other Worldly Things

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I set a goal to read 125 books for the year 2020, which was 25 fewer books than the number I finished in 2019. I went lower because I knew I’d be finishing my fourth novel in 2020. Little did I know that a pandemic would hit the world a mere two months later and that the year would be the strangest on record for me.

While I didn’t meet my reading goal, I did manage to finish 116 books, which is great.  If you’re interested in seeing my reviews of these novels and the others I’ve read in the past, you can check out my Goodreads page here. Here are my top 15 books for the year, all of which I rated at five stars for different reasons for each of these amazing works.

  1. The Stand by Stephen King.
  2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.
  3. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds.
  4. The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts.
  5. We Are Not Free by Traci Chee.
  6. It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne.
  7. Bloodline by Jess Lourey.
  8. The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos.
  9. Find Layla by Meg Elison.
  10. Anything Once by Meka James.
  11. A Whisper of Smoke by Angela Hoke.
  12. White Out by Danielle Girard.
  13. Raising Boys to Be Good Men: A Parent’s Guide to Bringing up Happy Sons in a World Filled with Toxic Masculinity by Aaron Gouveia.
  14. This Won’t End Well by Camile Pagán.
  15. Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo.

Also, in 2020, COVID-19 hit the world hard. It started slowly and then grew exponentially, just as the experts predicted. On March 17, 2020, my children’s schools went virtual, and so did my employer, luckily. All I can say is that I did my best to help them with schoolwork while keeping up with my own work and sometimes my sanity. Continue reading

Update During Chaos

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Unless you’re living under a rock, I don’t have to tell you that the world is infirmed right now—at least, many of the people of the world are ill right now with Coronavirus or COVID-19. As of today, March 28, 2020, there are no positive cases in Dardanelle, AR, (or Yell County) where I live with my family.

Since March 17, my husband and I have been working from home, and our two children have been doing Alternative Method of Instruction (AMI) packets they received from their schools. We had spring break off from March 23-27, and then we’ll get back at it. That first week was chaotic, to say the least. Our kids were in pajamas all day long as we struggled to make things work. They got their work done, but there was no set schedule. They got bored, and my husband and I were busy working, so we couldn’t be their cruise directors—something we don’t want to do anyway. Continue reading

2019 in Book Reviews

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I originally set a goal on Goodreads to read 100 books in 2019. When I surpassed that goal before the end of the year, I upped the goal to 125. As of December 31, I have read 150 books in 2019. This does not include how many times I’ve read my own books or read books with my daughter. I recently reread “Caroline’s Lighthouse” and “Jordan’s Sister” just to review why I write. I published “What I Learned That Summer” in August, so I’ve read through it several times in the last year while getting it reading for publication.

That’s a lot of books! Here’s a collection of the covers from this year.

With this many books, it’s hard to come up with a top ten, but here goes. Below are my top ten for traditionally published.

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