The good, the bad, and the WHAT??

It’s December and time for my annual “the good, the bad, and the WHAT??” of my 2021 reading life.

I’ll admit that I have not been as avid a reader this year. Between the state of the world, being burnt out at work, and losing my Mom, I have not been reading like I used to. That being said, I don’t have a very long list of favorite books I read this year. So, let’s get started.

My favorite book that I read this year will shock you, since it is not my normal genre.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir – Only the second sci-fi book that I can recall reading.  The first was The Martian by the same author.  Project Hail Mary tells the story of Ryland, a science teacher who somehow gets chosen to join a team of astronauts that are traveling through deep space to try to save humanity.  When Ryland wakes from his induced sleep, he finds that his two companions have perished and he is alone in space with just a medical bot.  At least he thinks he is, until another ship arrives. I listened to the audiobook and I’m so glad I did.  This book was so good that I occasionally think about it six months after I finished reading it.

There were some books I read or tried to read in 2021 that I would like to mention. Of course you will find some are filled with the quirky characters I love.


The Paper Palace by Miranda Crowley Heller – This book was hyped so much that I thought “it must e great”. I however, was unable to get into it. When I read a book the characters must have some redeeming qualities. This was just nasty people doing terrible things to each other. I tried three times to start and finish the book and so far it’s a big ol’ cuppa nope for me.

The Making of Robert Mooney by Jane Gilley – QUIRKY CHARACTER ALERT!!! Robert hasn’t had things easy.  He sleeps on the couch in his home because his mother moved in with him and basically threw him out of his bedroom.  He puts up with a lot of abuse from her while she pretends to be in poor health.  His life takes a swift turn when he has a life changing encounter with Brett. As Robert gets pulled into the antics of Brett and his family, who just happen to be small time thugs, he not only finds friends, his own voice, and the strength to stand up to his mother.  A laugh out loud romp that was almost my favorite book that I read this year.

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson – QUIRKY CHARACTER ALERT!!! As you may know, until three months ago, I worked in a public library. This book was the perfect read for me as I transitioned out of library employment. June Jones, works as a library assistant where her deceased mother used to be the librarian. Shy and reclusive, June has never left the sleepy village where she grew up. When the village council threatens to close the library and sell the building, June and several of her regular library patrons decided to fight back and occupy the library and refuse to leave. While fighting for her library, she finds the strength to come out of the protective shell she engulfed herself in after her mother died. With all the changes in how libraries are run, it is refreshing to know that there may still be people out there who cherish their libraries.

If you read any of these books, let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

I love it when I read an advance copy of a book by an author I’ve never read before and love it. I love it even more when I find out that they have MORE BOOKS for me to read! This is what happened when I received an advance copy of The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Twenty-one year old Lillian Carter has been modeling for artists since she was fifteen. Under her mother’s guidance, she became Angelica, the most sought-after artist model in New York City. When her mother succumbs to the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1919, she is lost. When her landlord’s wife is found murdered with a flirtatious note Lillian sent her husband, she is wanted for questioning. Instead of complying, she runs with hopes to get out to Hollywood to become a movie star.

Lillian stumbles into a job interview for the personal assistant of Miss Helen Frick of the daughter of the infamous industrialist, Henry Clay Frick. She manages to not only get the job but become a valued member of the Frick household. When the patriarch of the family dies, Lillian is caught up in a scandal unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

This book, with it’s many detailed descriptions great art, New York society and it’s landmarks, was an interesting look at how life would be for a young woman with a so called scandalous profession at the time. Flashing back and forth between 1919 and 1966, the book manages to tie up all the missing pieces without being trite.

If you like historical figures and locals mixed with a good fictional story, this book is for you.

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis is scheduled for publication on January 25, 2022. You can preorder from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at your local independent book store.

Thanks for reading.