Posted November 13, 2017 by Renee / 58 Comments



Hi everyone! It’s been too long I know but I have to say I very much needed this blogging break. I’ve spent time reading whatever I’ve wanted these past few weeks and I’m officially OUT of my dreaded reading slump!! I suspect all the ARCS I tried to read but couldn’t get into in early Oct. led to my slump which has led me to rethink the books I’ll be requesting and accepting for review in the future. As all booklovers know, there’s nothing worse than not having a great read to look forward to at the end of the day…or the beginning or middle for that matter:)  I decided to scour my backlist on my kindle as well as the library and I found some AMAZING reads over the last few weeks. In fact, I have several 5 star reads of books that have been sitting on my tbr for far too long! That makes me SO happy. Where the Advanced Copies have fallen short, my backlist has come through for me. I continue to kick myself for not having read them sooner. Read on to find out what I’ve been reading and listening to!



Inside the O’Briens was the book that jolted me out of my reading slump. I read this in a day and I just loved everything about the story and Lisa Genova’s writing. I liked this even better than Still Alice. I’ll be honest though, I was initially mad at the author over the ending but the more I thought about it and talked with friends who’d read it, I can see why she did what she did. Will review soon

The Life We Bury was one I’d picked up long ago, read a few pages and put it down never to pick up again. Until a couple weeks ago. I usually love books that have been Edgar nominated or won so I decided to give this another try and I was immediately pulled into the story. There’s family drama, intrigue, an engaging mystery and characters I really connected with. Loved it! Look for this on a TBT soon.

The Nightingale What can I say about this beautiful, unputdownable novel that hasn’t already been said? This had been sitting on my kindle since it came out and for some reason I kept telling myself it probably wasn’t as good as others were saying, I wasn’t in the mood for historical fiction etc. I resisted it. I’m so happy I took a leap and gave it a try because I was captivated by this story. I stayed up until 2:00am to finish it and oh the tiredness and tears were so worth it.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is another I’ve passed by since it’s publication in early summer and one I LOVED so much. There’s nothing I didn’t like about this book but what I especially loved was that it wasn’t the story I assumed it would be. And it made me cry which I didn’t expect. Will review soon!



The Stranger in the Woods was a quirky, super interesting story about Chris Knight, a man who spent 27 years living in the woods of Maine. This was a perfect audiobook. The narrator was fantastic and I couldn’t wait to walk or drive and find out more about how he possibly lived for so long without companionship, comforts of home etc.

The Wisdom of Sundays was a rare book that I actually preordered in print and then bought on audible to listen to as well. I love listening to Oprah’s Super Soul podcast and I couldn’t wait for this book. The audiobook is actually very different than the print which made me happy I have both. Oprah narrates and picks 1 Super Soul person to share the topic she discusses. It’s the perfect book to listen to for inspiration, grounding, and enlightenment. I learned a lot, highly recommended!



Dirty John is an Apple podcast I just started listening to yesterday. This is true crime and it starts with a bang…or rather a murder! This seems to be one of those true stories that’s so unbelievable I keep forgetting it’s true. I can’t wait to keep listening!


I really have no idea but I might dive into a 2018 read or continue with my backlist, so possibly…

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Have a Wonderful Reading Week! 






  1. Yay, glad to see you Renee and I am so happy that you loved The Nightingale. Such an emotional, powerful read. Glad the blacklist helped with the slump.

    • Thanks Deanna, I”m happy to be getting back in the swing of reading and blogging again. I can’t wait for you to read The Nightingale and your review of The Great Alone led me to request it on NG…it’s a wish for it though so I don’t know if I’ll get it. Fingers crossed.

  2. The Stranger in the Woods sounds fascinating but there seems to be some controverse about this one as he stole numerous times as well… I have the first novel by Dazieri on my readlist so I hope to get to that one sometime soon, I heard nothing but good echos :-). Happy reading!!

    • You’re right about his stealing and there’s many interesting conversations with the people he stole from in the book. I was so interested in all their points of view and they were varied for sure. I think this is worth a read or listen to if you get a chance. I hope you get to Kill the Father soon, I thought it was great. Happy reading to you as well!!

  3. I know what you mean. I’m struggling to read an ARC I received from an author. I finally gave it a rest and started reading two other books that I’m really enjoying. I guess I’ll try again with the ARC when these are finished.
    Glad you found your way out of your reading slump. ( :

    • ARCS can sure be hit or miss sometimes and I’ve discovered if I’m not into it it’s best if I don’t continue. It’s much more fun to read enjoyable books!:) Thanks for your comment

  4. Welcome back, friend!! I’m so happy to see you!! And I’m happy that you were able to enjoy a break and read lots of wonderful books!!
    The Nightingale – such an incredible book. I remember staying up late to finish that one, too. And bawled my eyes out! I loved Evelyn Hugo, too!! I’m so glad you did.
    I just got approved for the new Lisa Geneva book. It sounds wonderful – can’t wait to read it.
    Happy reading this week!

    • Thanks so much Brandie and yes weren’t those books the best?!! Just when I thought I wouldn’t find anything else wonderful this year I found several!! I think they all made me cry too:) I have the new Lisa Genova as well and I don’t know if I can hold off until spring, I just love her writing. Have a great week, glad your daughter is feeling better btw:)

  5. It’s so good to see you and that you broke through your reading slump!
    I loved The Nightingale!! My husband and I listenten to the audio for Inside the O’Briens on a trip to visit family in Las Vegas. It was a great way to kill 12 hours 🙂 and I initially felt the same way you did about the ending.
    The Life We Bury is on my TBR list.
    Happy Reading!

    • Thanks Nicki! Both are SO good! And I say that as someone who doesn’t love everything Oprah does but I’ve really gotten a lot out of her book and the podcast. I hope you like one or both if you try them

  6. Welcome back, Renee! I’m so glad you found some great books to bring you out of your reading slump! Evelyn Hugo I LOVED-it’s still one of my top reads of the year! I’m so glad it was a 5 star read for you! The Nightingale is another favorite; I think I cried my way through most of the book! Lisa Genova is one of my favorite’s, and I have Inside the O’Briens on my Kindle but just haven’t read it yet. I think I need to soon! I just got her newest from NetGalley, Every Note Played, and I’m so looking forward to that one! I’m definitely going to check out The Wisdom of Sundays; I need some inspiration right now 🙂 Hope your next books are just as great!

    • Thanks Stephanie! You know, I have a strong feeling Evelyn will be in my top 10 this year as well and to think I didn’t want to read it
      initially😱I think you’ll like Inside the O’Briens and if you do read it let’s discuss the ending:) I also have Every Note Played and I don’t think I’ll wait until spring to read it but we’ll see. I hope your semester is going well, teaching and writing your dissertation right?? Yes, give The Wisdom of Sundays a try, I almost recommend the audiobook over the print if you have to choose 1…you’ll get some inspiration!!

      • I’m so glad you gave Evelyn a try! It was definitely an unexpected book, but I cannot say enough good things about it! I look forward to the O’Briens and am curious about the ending now! I want to read Every Note Played right now, but I was a bit crazy and asked for too many ARCs to read in Dec over the holidays while on break that are Jan and Feb releases that I will need to get them out of the way first! I have an Audible credit that I have been trying to decide what to use on, and it sounds like The Wisdom of Sundays will be perfect, thanks!!

        Thankfully, my semester ends in 4 weeks-my last exams for classes are Dec 8th and then I have to have all my grades turned in by Dec 13th from teaching. It’s been an interesting 6 weeks! I ended up taking most of October off from work with FMLA disability because things have been a bit rough medically. I’m back to work now, and I’m getting there! I’ll just be glad for another break over the holidays 🙂

  7. So glad your slump is gone!! And so happy you loved Evelyn, it was definitely one of my favorites this year. I’ve only read the last two books by Allen Eskens but I loved them both he’s an amazing writer.

    • I’m so happy as well Amy! As you know it was the worst and having nothing good to read made me GRUMPY so my husband is happy now too😂 Evelyn wasn’t what I expected and I think will also be in my top 10! I think you’d love The Life We Bury, I read it in a day which means you will in 3 hours:)

  8. Jo

    Welcome back! 🙂 And well done on getting out of the reading slump! I went through a phase of having more ARCs than I could comfortably keep up with, and found that I wasn’t enjoying them as much as a result. Since I’ve started being a lot more picky about the review copies I take on, I’ve enjoyed it a lot more!

    • Thanks Jo! I’ve missed the community and having anything to talk about with everyone:) I agree, the ARCS I had this fall weren’t very good and I had way too many of them. They were pretty much all DNF’s but I feel better now having passed them by.

  9. Susie | Novel Visits

    It’s so nice to have you back! So many of the books that turned you around were ones I also loved: The Nightingale, Seven Husbands, Inside the O’Briens, Stranger in the Woods. So smart of you to recognize that you needed a break. Have a wonderful week!

    • Thanks Susie, those were all such fantastic reads weren’t they? I’d love to chat with you about Inside the O’Brien’s sometime. Yes, I really felt like I hit a wall with reading and blogging but it’s amazing what some outstanding books can do to make you feel like getting back into reviewing and sharing thoughts with others…and I missed everyone:)

  10. I have The Nightingale but, like you, I wasn’t in the mood for historical fiction when I bought it. Then I found a deal for another one of Kristin Hannah’s books, Angel Falls. It’s a book from 2001, I think, but her writer’s voice is already quite powerful. I expect The Nightingale will be wonderful 🙂

  11. You have some good ones posted. I just finished “The Girls in the Picture” (already posted) and finishing up “The New Neighbors.”

  12. I’ve been in a bit of a slump myself and I don’t know if it’s because I’m burnt out on galleys (happens occasionally), or if I just need a reading break or what. So glad you found a way out of yours! Several of your slump breakers are on my TBR, so I might just read one or two of those myself. Also, you got Kill the Angel??? I wish NG would let us beg for books (like on EW, where you can sort of state your case) because I have been eagerly awaiting this one. Kill the Father was so amazing! Enjoy. 🙂

    • Sorry to hear you’re in a little slump, if the galleys haven’t really interested you that could be why. I think that’s what happened to me and once I stopped focusing on new releases I found the gems I listed today. Give one a try and see if that helps:) I got Kill the Angel from Edelweiss, have you requested there? Good luck on finding an amazing read!

  13. Sarah's Book Shelves

    Thrilled to see you back and glad you’re out of your slump! I’m going to be trying a new book selecting and requesting strategy next year too!

  14. Yaaay you’re back! Happy to see you Renee and lovely to hear about your recent great reads. I’ve been meaning to read The Nightingale for the longest time now!

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