2021 Reading


Title: Miracle Creek
Author: Angie Kim
Length14 hrs and 5 mins / 355 p
Published: April 2019
Book Group: School
Finished: 1/1
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I wasn't so sure about this--but about a third of the way, I couldn't stop listening!  A few times, I knew I would have skimmed some of the slow parts and descriptions but overall this was a solid debut novel.  It's a story about family and secrets.  I learned a lot about parenting special needs children.  The courtroom aspects were nicely done.

From the publisher:
How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?

In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.

A powerful showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Chapter by chapter, we shift alliances and gather evidence: Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?

Title: The Duke and I: Bridgerton
Author: Julia Quinn
Length12 hrs and 9 mins / 464 pp
Published: January 2000
Book Group: no
Finished: 1/2
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


I wanted to read this before watching the Netflix series.  It was delightful! I forgot how much I enjoy the Regency rules and lifestyle.  And I admit, I was hooked on Regency romances when I was in middle school.

From the publisher:
In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable…but not too amiable.

Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.

Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.

The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule...

Title: The Once and Future Witches
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Length16 hrs and 3 mins / 528 pp
Published: October 2020
Book Group: no
Finished: 1/7
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Not my usual genre, but the buzz about it drew me to it--as did the gorgeous cover!  I liked the relationships between the sisters and that each sister was distinct.  But the book lagged in places and could have been about 200 pages shorter and less repetitive.

From the publisher:
In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters -- James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna -- join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote -- and perhaps not even to live -- the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There's no such thing as witches. But there will be.

An homage to the indomitable power and persistence of women, The Once and Future Witches reimagines stories of revolution, sapphic love, motherhood, and women's suffrage--the lost ways are calling.

TitleThe Viscount Who Loved Me
Author: Julia Quinn
Length12 hrs and 23 mins / 354 pp
Published: December 2000
Book Group: no
Finished: 1/16
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This second installment of the Bridgerton series was as much fun as the first.  It's like visiting old friends.

From the publisher:
1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, this author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London's most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry.
And in truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better...
—Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, 
April 1814

But this time, the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn't just decided to marry—he's even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended's older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate is the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams...

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate is determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony's lips touch hers, she's suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself...

Title: Eliza Starts A Rumor
Author: Jane L. Rosen
Length8 hrs and 50 mins / 320 pp
Published: June 2000
Book Group: no
Finished: 1/18
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 I didn't expect this book to be so timely and meaty.  I was prepared for a light chick-lit.  There are themes of mental illness, sexual abuse, infidelity, counter-balanced by friendship, family, and finding one's voice.  And it reminded me of my days on AOL's message boards.  Are message boards still a thing??

From the publisher:
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. When Eliza Hunt created The Hudson Valley Ladies’ Bulletin Board fifteen years ago she was happily entrenched in her picture-perfect suburban life with her husband and twin preschoolers. Now, with an empty nest and a crippling case of agoraphobia, the once-fun hobby has become her lifeline. So when a rival parenting forum threatens the site’s existence, she doesn’t think twice before fabricating a salacious rumor to spark things up a bit.

It doesn’t take long before that spark becomes a flame.

Across town, new mom and site devotee Olivia York is thrown into a tailspin by what she reads on the Bulletin Board. Allison Le is making cyber friends with a woman who isn’t quite who she says she is. And Amanda Cole, Eliza’s childhood friend, may just hold the key to unearthing why Eliza can’t step out of her front door.

In all this chaos, one thing is for sure…Hudson Valley will never be the same.

Funny, romantic, raw, and hopeful, this is a story about being a woman and of the healing power of sisterhood.