Quick Thoughts on Nine Years of Book Blogging ~

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine years since I launched my book blog! On Saint Patrick’s Day back in 2010, I threw together a quick “hello” post, not even sure if I was serious about blogging. Before the day was done, I had a couple of followers, and the pressure was on to post some book reviews!

All in all, running Book of Secrets has been great fun, and I’m glad I stuck with it. The book blogging community has changed over the years, maybe waning in popularity a bit. Some bloggers I’ve followed have slowed down or stepped away, and that’s understandable. It can be very time consuming, and I’ve taken a few blogging breaks over the years to catch my breath.

It seems there’s been a shift from traditional book blogs to Instagram, and I follow lots of Bookstagrammers. My photography skills aren’t the greatest, but it’s still fun! About other social media places: I still love Goodreads, and I’d be lost without it. I’m on Twitter, but mainly to share review links. Pinterest has become my new online obsession. And finally, no more Facebook, personal or blog page. We were long overdue to part ways.

I’ve read hundreds of books over the past nine years (wow!), and it’s very difficult to narrow it down to one favorite per year. Here is my attempt to do that:

2010: GOODNIGHT TWEETHEART by Teresa Medeiros (So sweet)
2011: WILDFLOWER HILL by Kimberley Freeman (A dual timeline tear-jerker)
2012: THE KINGDOM by Amanda Stevens (A creepy modern Gothic)
2013: THE SECRET KEEPER by Kate Morton (I’m still wowed)
2014: YOU by Caroline Kepnes (Listen to it on audio)
2015: THE STORYCATCHER by Ann Hite (A Southern ghost story)
2016: I LET YOU GO by Clare Mackintosh (I did NOT see that coming)
2017: THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER by Karen Dionne (Disturbing and fascinating)
2018: WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens (Deserves ALL the stars)

Have you read any of these? Agree or disagree? Thoughts on book blogging & social media? Please share! Thanks so much for visiting my blog & Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! ~ 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪

 

R.I.P. XIII Reading Challenge

Happy Labor Day to my USA friends! Today I’m joining my favorite reading challenge, Readers Imbibing Peril, which is celebrating its 13th year!

This past month has been crazy busy with real life commitments, and I haven’t had much time for reading and blogging. Hopefully things will return to normal soon so I can get back to my books…

For this year’s challenge, I’m aiming for the PERIL IN THE FIRST level, reading four books that fall into one of these categories: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, and Supernatural. (My favorites!!)

Sounds fun, right? I’ll be posting my progress on this post below, and also on Instagram, so please find me there too → Instagram: @bookofsecretsblog

R.I.P. XIII Books Read:

  1. THE EXES’ REVENGE by Jo Jakeman
  2. CROSS HER HEART by Sarah Pinborough
  3. THE LIES WE TOLD by Camilla Way
  4. A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS by Linwood Barclay
  5. LEAVE NO TRACE by Mindy Mejia
  6. THE LITTLE STRANGER by Sarah Waters
  7. THE WITCH AT WILLOW HALL by Hester Fox

Looking for Halloween Cozy Mystery titles?

With Halloween just a month away, I wanted to share a list I created on Goodreads of all the Halloween and Autumn themed cozy mysteries I could find. The ones pictured above are a small sample of the 50+ currently on the list. Please feel free to add books I missed or vote on your favorites!

Here’s the link to the list:
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/114273.Halloween_and_Autumn_Cozy_Mysteries

🎃🎃🎃

June Is Audiobook Month (JIAM) Blog Tour #loveaudiobooks @Audiobook_Comm

Greetings! Welcome to my stop on the June Is Audiobook Month (JIAM) Blog Tour, organized by the Audio Publishers Association. Click HERE for a list of all participating blogs!

I started listening to audiobooks about 4½ years ago, and it was my blog buddy Felicia (The Geeky Blogger) who got me hooked on the format. I was hesitant at first, but then realized that audiobooks would let me read and do necessary non-reading things at the same time. Win-win! Yard work isn’t so bad when I can listen to a great book.

I’m an eclectic reader – or listener, as the case may be – so I’ve chosen a recommendation from a few of my favorite fiction genres. The samples below are linked to Audiobook.com.


PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

YOU by Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Play Sample

Why? YOU was a well written novel, unique, suspenseful, and full of pop culture references – I’ll forever associate YOU with IKEA – however, the BIG reason I enjoyed this book so much was the audio performance by Santino Fontana. His narration was brilliant, probably my all-time favorite on audiobook. Joe’s character was a total and complete sociopath, but dang it, Santino Fontana made me sympathize with Joe, even *gasp* love him in a crazy sort of way. He WAS Joe. Amazing… and chilling! Bonus: You can get a second helping of Joe in the sequel, HIDDEN BODIES.

WOMEN’S FICTION

THE SOUND OF GLASS by Karen White
Narrators: Therese Plummer, Susan Bennett
Play Sample

Why? This was the first book I read by Karen White, and I was wowed! THE SOUND OF GLASS is a remarkable, character-driven story of mystery, family secrets, loss, second chances, and letting go. Narrators Therese Plummer and Susan Bennett did a wonderful job capturing the characters’ personalities, including stubborn Merritt, sugary sweet Loralee, and stoic Edith. This Southern family drama makes a perfect summer read.

MYSTERY

HE’S GONE by Deb Caletti
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Play Sample

Why? HE’S GONE is an intriguing blend of suspense and women’s fiction, with a puzzling mystery and emotional backstory to keep readers hooked. The story moves back and forth between the main character, Dani Keller, searching for clues to her missing husband’s whereabouts, and Dani’s introspective look at her life and what’s brought her to this point in time. Cassandra Campbell is one of my favorite narrators, and she was perfect as Dani Keller’s voice, capturing her personality and predicament very well.

HISTORICAL FICTION

MY NOTORIOUS LIFE by Kate Manning
Narrator: Terry Donnelly
Play Sample

Why? The audiobook of Kate Manning’s MY NOTORIOUS LIFE was amazing. The notorious life in question is that of Axie Muldoon, a poor orphan who became a wealthy female physician and midwife in 19th century New York City. Axie’s character was inspired by the real life story of Madame Restell, a controversial family planning provider in the 1800s. This epic tale was brilliantly narrated by Terry Donnelly, who I believe was channeling Axie as she read her memoirs. Ms. Donnelly’s performance truly captured Axie’s passion and courage.

GOTHIC FICTION

JANE STEELE by Lyndsay Faye
Narrator: Susie Riddell
Play Sample

Why? Like me, the character Jane Steele is a huge fan of JANE EYRE, and in many ways her life mirrors that of her favorite character. Only, Miss Steele is a wee bit of a sociopath, but in the best way possible! When she sees an injustice, she handles it in her own vigilante way. Retellings of classics can be tricky, but this one was clever and captivating, and I loved it. Narrator Susie Riddell’s performance made this an entertaining listen. The book was full of many characters with different accents, and she brought each of the players to life. I enjoyed every minute.

LITERARY FICTION

THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker
Narrator: Alice Walker
Play Sample

Why? What can I say about THE COLOR PURPLE? Wow. It’s the ultimate story of survival, even when everything in life is stacked against you. When Celie tells her sister Nettie to write, and Nettie responds “Nothing but death can keep me from it!” well, that’s when the tears start flowing. I’ve loved this book for 25 years, and just recently did I get a chance to listen to it on audio. It’s narrated by the author herself, Alice Walker, and her voice was perfect for Celie. I enjoyed it so much, and I think everyone should give this book a read or listen. Powerful!


Thanks so much for stopping by today! Have you listened to any of these audiobooks or narrators? What did you think? Any recommendations for me?

Before you go, please check out my social links below, and remember to visit the other JIAM Blog Tour participants throughout the month. Happy listening!

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin


Immortal Perfumes: Fragrances Inspired by History

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Seriously, is 2016 over yet? What a horrid year, one awful thing after another. I’ve been in a major reading slump for the past two months, so instead of talking about books, I’m going to talk about perfume!

I discovered IMMORTAL PERFUMES about two years ago. I was searching Etsy for Edgar Allan Poe inspired fragrances. I know, sounds weird, but that’s me. Weird. 😉 I ordered one called “Lenore” from them, along with a few others, including their popular “Dead Writers” fragrance. They all smelled amazing – unique perfumes inspired by literature and history, each one with a different story.

Their latest line of fragrances is the Literary Lovers collection: Catherine & Heathcliff, Capulet & Montague, and Persephone & Hades. I purchased the sample set to give them a try (pictured above). All of the masculine ones were a big hit with me, though Catherine was my favorite. I bet it does smell like rain on the moors. 🙂

You can find their complete line of perfumes HERE.

** All of the fragrances I’ve tried from IMMORTAL PERFUMES were ones I purchased myself. **


2016 Reading Wrap-Up:

For a very quick look at the books I read this year, check out → MY YEAR IN BOOKS ← on Goodreads. I’m planning to finish one more book before midnight on the 31st, bringing my yearly total to 82. Hopefully starting a new year will haul me out of my reading slump!

HAPPY NEW YEAR & HAPPY READING