2021 Favorites: Top Ten Books

Hey, bookish buds! Happy New Year to you all. 2021 was pretty crazy for me. Luckily, I did quite well on my reading challenges–completing a total of 113 books for my Goodread’s challenge after attempting to make just 60. Yes, some of these are middle-grade and children’s books, but I feel positive about my progress despite the challenges I’ve faced this year. I’ll do a separate post on the reading challenges, but here’s a quick list of the five-star books I read in 2021…


Live Your Life: My Story of Loving and Losing Nick Cordero

Amanda Kloots bravely reflects on love, loss, and life with her husband, Broadway star and Tony-nominee Nick Cordero, whose public battle with Covid-19 and tragic death made headlines around the world.

In the early spring of 2020, Broadway star and Tony Award nominee Nick Cordero was hospitalized for what he and his wife, Amanda Kloots, believed was a severe case of pneumonia. Entering Cedars-Sinai, there was no indication that Nick—a young man in the prime of life with no pre-existing conditions—would never return home. Diagnosed with Covid-19, this rising star—who only a few days earlier was the picture of health—soon deteriorated. Suffering a series of complications – minor heart attacks, an amputation, sepsis—he was kept alive for weeks, hooked to a ventilator, bypass machines, dialysis, and a specialized heart-lung bypass machine.

 Staying strong for Nick and their infant son, Elvis, Amanda shared their journey on social media, documenting Nick’s condition and the risks of Covid-19 for all ages. Her updates quickly made an impact, inspiring millions of followers around the globe who offered positive thoughts and virtual prayers, and danced each day to Nick’s hit song Live Your Life. When Nick passed away after 94 grueling days in the ICU, the world grieved for Amanda and her family’s devastating loss.

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This Week’s Reads and Updates: Beasts and Beauty – The Christmas Pig – A Christmas in the Alps and more… #AmReading #Books #Reads

Hey, everyone! I hope you’re all doing well this week. I’m starting to make my way back to posting at least a few times a week. It’s been really nice chatting with everyone and seeing what you have all been up to. If I missed anything big or if there are any particular posts of yours you want me to get caught up on, please feel free to link them below!

In the reading world, I’ve finally finished Shadowsong over the weekend. You can see my review for that one here. This book was on my retelling challenge list. I’m trying with all my might to get caught up with the Retelling Reading Challenge before the year is up. There are only a few more, but sadly one or two may not make the list. It’s definitely not a failure; in fact, I’ve read a total of fourteen retellings this year alone, which is quite good because the original number was ten. I’ll do an update soon on my plans to finish out the challenge. As of now, I’m not sure which book I’ll be grabbing next in the challenge, but it looks like it will either be Circe, or East by Edith Pattou. Check out the link above to see my progress, and feel free to give me recommendations on which one should come next.

We also finished all three books of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. These get five stars from all the kids and me.



This week I’m reading a ton of middle-grade books–two are NetGalley/Edelweiss reads I’m behind on.

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This Week’s Reads: The Sweetness of Water – Total Health Turnaround – The Lord of the Rings #AmReading #Books #Reads

Hey, everyone! I hope you’re all doing well this week. First, I have to apologize for being somewhat absent recently; I’ve tried to keep up with posts, but it’s been difficult for me. I’ve been dealing with some health problems, which has led me back into the doctor’s realm again—where I don’t want to be. Since my daughter was sick, and the stress of dealing with that on top of some other things (I believe) has activated something in my system and I’m in a bit of a setback now. Something really neat happened though: I went to the wrong doctor. Have you ever gone to the wrong doctor because there were other doctors with the same last name and Google misled you? I did, and at first it seemed like a huge nuisance. I was supposed to be visiting a cardiologist in a new group and instead I went to his cousin’s office, who’s a family doctor but highly active in functional medicine. It must be a sign because it’s exactly where I needed to be. I’ve always had an interest in functional medicine, and this doctor tends to treat with a more natural approach. We talked for a time, and he didn’t even charge me for the visit. What’s happened to me is an imbalance of stress hormones (including a thyroid imbalance no surprise), and I’m hopeful I can get it under control quickly. My plan is to go back and sit down with him for a comprehensive visit. So, there’s something good that happened for me this week. 😀

In the reading world, I’ve finally finished The Princess Bride over the weekend. I’ve been thinking about it considerably, and I’m finally ready to write up a review. We watched the movie again so I could compare the two with both fresh in my mind. There was so much that I forgot about, even with this being a reread. It turned out to be a good experience overall.

We also finished The Black Stallion, and then we watched the movie with Mickey Rooney, and I cried. Gosh it was good. Watch for that review coming up for Shabby Sunday.



My new fiction book pick for this week is The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris.

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Late March/April Wrap-Up #Books #BookReviews #Music #ReadingChallenge

It’s hard to believe we’re coming into May! This month flew for me. Now that the weather is warming up and all the snow is gone, it’s been a pleasure to spend more time outside in nature. I’m feeling very positive about the upcoming growing season too.

I returned to blogging the second half of March. Because I missed that wrap-up, I’m going to combine everything I’ve posted since coming back. I’ve had a few good months and feel really good about being back here in the blogging community again, especially now that I’ve figured out the block editor. 🙂

Regular Book Reviews from March-April:

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