It was even harder than I expected

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Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

“Let me ask you something…”my husband began, leaning back in his chair. This is how I know he’s about to play Devil’s Advocate, which can be maddening. “How would you feel if instead of liberals, the sign said, ‘Make Cowboys fans cry again’ and it was an Eagles banner?”

I paused my rant to wipe my tears with my sleeve. My face twisted like I’d just sucked a lemon.

“Okay, I see what you’re saying. Maybe it’s similar, but this is different.”

“Why is that?”

“Well I don’t wish suffering on Cowboys fans on a personal level,” I explained with an eye roll. …

(Now more than ever!)

I’m not the only forty-something woman who got a big chunk of her early sex- ed from her mom’s Danielle Steel and Sidney Sheldon novels. Swiping those paperbacks and giggling at the sexy parts was practically a rite of passage in the ’90s. I wonder how many other young women later gave up on the genre like I did when I realized real life wasn’t as sweet and sexy as those books led us to believe.

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Photo by Nicole Wolf on Unsplash

As I entered my teens, Danielle Steel’s plot lines were believable because anything seemed possible. Within a few years, my dysfunctional home life obliterated any belief I’d held that two people could end up together forever. I was twelve when my mother and I snuck out of the house where we had both suffered abuse from her second husband. We moved right in with a man my mother had dated when I was a toddler, they had reconnected months earlier and covertly planned this move. …

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Photo by David Iskander on Unsplash

Quite often on my blog, I give tips for writing book reviews. I’ve also talked about the importance of the star rating. I’ve covered the how’s when it comes to reviewing, so today I’m going to cover the WHYs.

Readers who find How To posts valuable are likely ones who are already writing reviews. Today, I’m talking to those of you who haven’t started yet. My question is: why not?

I’m sure your answer goes along the lines of one of these:

  • I don’t have time.
  • I’m not a writer.
  • I don’t know what to say.
  • I’m not qualified.
  • I’m afraid of writing a bad review. …

A Book Review

A music filled romance about staying true to who you are.

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Image from Goodreads

I finished this book last night and I’m still swooning! A well-written young adult romance makes my heart explode in the very best way.

The Characters

Luke is a British transplant living in Minnesota with his family. The son of a punk rock legend, Luke is passionate about composing songs and has incredible talent. The problem is, he hates performing and has no interest following in his father’s footsteps, much to his dad’s dismay.

Vada’s dream is to be a music journalist and she’s got a detailed plan for getting there. She lives and breathes music, which is how she talked her way into working at a dingy rock club with a history of hosting the greats, and took over the owner’s semi-famous music review blog. …

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

On my book blog, I write a lot about the why’s and how to’s of writing book reviews. There’s a lot to consider if you want to write reviews that are useful to readers and authors. But there’s one aspect of reviews I haven’t covered yet.

This is a question I get quite often when I tell people I’m a book blogger, “How do you review books you don’t like?” Many people assume I don’t review those books, which isn’t true.

Low star reviews are just as important as five star ones.

I’m thrilled to bring you this interview with my dear friend Betsy Gaines Quammen. Her first book, American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God, & American Lands in the West, was published in March of this year.

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On staying sober during the pandemic

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Photo by Tapio Haaja on Unsplash

In lockdown, my sobriety suddenly seemed irrelevant. I unpacked the groceries from our last trip out before our Governor’s Stay at Home Directive took effect. I grabbed a beer from the fridge to pass to my husband, something I’ve done dozens of times without consideration. I kicked the fridge door shut as I walked away, then I froze in place and looked at the brown bottle against my palm. “Maybe I’ll have a beer,” I said before I’d even thought the words. I could almost taste the crisp hoppiness.

“Do you really want to have one?” my husband asked, not sure how serious I was. …

A Book Review

A brutal, yet darkly funny exploration of identity and friendship.

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Photo by Ramona Mead

The “problem” with reading and reviewing close to 200 books a year is that the bar for a great book is pretty high. I’m not usually impressed with buzzy best-sellers. It takes something truly extraordinary, and a super talented writer, to knock my socks off, and The Knockout Queen does exactly that.

I went into this book with no real expectations. I hadn’t even fully read the blurb. It was highly recommended to me by a friend who shares my reading tastes; if he’s raving about it, I’ll like it, so I dove right in.

Bunny is “the queen of North Shore.” She’s a tall, blonde, volleyball star with a rich father and a pool in her backyard. Michael moves next door with his aunt and cousin after his mother goes to jail. It’s a cramped, modest house that never feels like home to him. When Bunny catches Michael smoking in her backyard one evening, he is quickly drawn into her life, and it becomes clear things are not as perfect as they appeared from the outside. …

Toward the end of 2019, I read A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott. I chose it to fill the only category I hadn’t yet completed in PopSugar’s 2019 Reading Challenge: to read a book that was published posthumously (meaning after the author’s death.) Out of the 86 challenge tasks I had that year between three changes, I put this one off until absolute last. Why? Because all the books I own that fit this criterion are classics.

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Image by Karim Ghantous via Upsplash

I don’t have anything against reading classics. I recommend them, and try to fit them in to my reading. But I’m almost always choosing to read them reluctantly — even ones that I want to read. Starting a classic feels like a huge investment because they generally take me longer to read than contemporary books for multiple reasons (length, language, etc.) …

I mention my bookish bestie Lea a lot in my posts. She’s one of the few humans I communicate with on a daily basis and over the years has become one of my closest confidantes and biggest cheerleaders.

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But when we first met, we didn’t bond immediately. In fact we ran in the same friend group for a few years before connecting on Facebook. At first, our friendship consisted entirely of exchanges about books. We’d ask what the other was reading or ask for recommendation.

After about a year, we began to notice something: our friendship had become closer and more trusted to both of us, than many of the other friendships we’d harbored for much longer.


Ramona Mead

Avid reader, writer of true stories, book hoarder, eternal optimist

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