Sunday, July 2, 2017

Week in Review: July 2, 2017

I know it's been a while since I've participated in my favorite weekly meme... but I did not realize it had been nearly five months! How does time pass so quickly?!

My lack of participation does not mean a lack of reading or writing, which I will detail below.


My GoodReads Challenge is well-ahead of schedule.

I set the goal to read a book-a-week, and currently, I've read 47 books. Now, many of these are Kindle Unlimited books on writing and self-publishing (more about that below...) and a few have focused on Middle-Grade historical fiction focusing on 19th immigrants (research for a new writing project). But I've also read several notable works of contemporary fiction.

Highlights of my 2017 reading so far include:

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I was first interested in this book as research for a possible writing project focusing on my husband's grandmother and her immigration experience. But this book was so much more than that. I adored the author's writing style and character development. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. Again, I initially read this book as research but instead discovered a transformative experience. The narrative is slow and leisurely, and yet I was captivated by Eilis and her story. While she is someone who allows circumstances to make decisions rather than standing up for herself - not a character trait I normally admire - I completely related to her.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio. How did I wait four years to read this book? Above all... I love the message of acceptance and tolerance... and good guys win in the end. But I also enjoyed the author's fluid writing and ability to share the story from multiple points of view. I'm not sure I will go see the movie... I'd rather have the lingering images of my imagination portray this powerful story.

Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan. Again, the immigration theme initially attracted me to the book, but the story is more complex. I enjoyed learning about Catholicism and the convent and the important role the church plays in the lives of Irish immigrants. But even more than that, I adored the story of family: sacrifice, grudges, and resentment; secrets and unconditional love. I look forward to reading more by this author.

I'm currently reading Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train - the book that got me out of a deep reading slump several months go. While I cannot make a regular diet of this kind of suspenseful-thriller reading... I must admit, I do enjoy it as a special treat. I also greatly respect an author who can tell a story from multiple viewpoints - each maintaining an authentic, unique personality. I'm about half-way through but plan to use this long weekend to finish it up.


I am thrilled to announce that I have published my first book!

Journaling Toward Wholeness: a 28-Day Plan to Develop a Journaling Process was first published as a Kindle ebook on May 24th - and the paperback version was released yesterday.

In honor of NaJoWriMo (National Journal Writing Month), the Kindle version is FREE through July 5th ... so now would be a good time to check it out, if interested.

With this milestone moment, I've also created an author website. I will continue to blog here at My Cozy Book Nook, but if you are interested in learning more about my upcoming projects (or care to subscribe to my Reader Group), I'd love for you to stop by and visit.

In the meantime... I continue to write.

While the ink is still wet on the Journaling project, I am already planning to release another book in August. However, this Middle-Grade historical fiction piece has been in the works for nearly seven years, and many of you are familiar with my research into 19th Century Paris and the French Impressionists. I'm nearly ready to publish this work... so I can begin research on the second book this Travel through Art series: Childe Hassam and 19th Century Boston.

Another project on the horizon includes a holiday release entitled, An Italian Family Christmas, where I will delve into my husband's Italian heritage, traditions, and favorite recipes.

It's been a busy few months, but I wouldn't have it any other way.


Blogging has been rather inconsistent.

I did write a six-post series on How and Why I lead  Student Tours to Europe. These posts were written in anticipation of my fourth trip in March 2017, when I accompanied 38 parents and students on a 12-day tour of London, Paris, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, and Capri. I hope to recount details of that trip later this year.

In April I participated in the annual A-Z Blogging Challenge, this time I focused on Journaling. I really enjoy this format. It sparks creativity and helps develop a consistent writing habit. Next year I plan to showcase a New York City A-Z series.


Say what?!

I am not at all comfortable in front of the camera (which is why you don't see my face) ... but I do think YouTube is a viable information alternative.

I'm starting slow... and have only created two videos on Journaling: an Introduction to Bullet Journaling and My First Traveler's Notebook. I have a few more how-to videos in the works, and I'm hoping this gets easier (and less self-conscious) over time.

But I'm also giving thought to filming some book reviews.

I know... I'm rather late to the BookTube game, but I don't take the time to write reviews and I want some documentation of the books I enjoy. I rate books on GoodReads, but I wish I had more detail.

What do you think? Do you watch Book Reviews or just read them?

Do you prefer Book blogs or GoodReads as your primary source for reviews?

Have you considered joining the BookTube community? Why or why not?

Please respond with a comment below. I'd love to engage in an online conversation ...

... For those of us here in the United States, we are enjoying a rather long Independence Day weekend. I wish you all relaxing fun with lots of reading time.



  1. I'm thrilled to hear that your first book is published. Good for you!

    You have read some great books including Brooklyn and Wonder. There's nothing like reading for a writer to feed her spirit.

    1. You are SO right, Deb! And I would add... reading fiction to feed that spirit is essential. I spent most of the past few years reading non-fiction exclusively. I was a bit parched :)

  2. I loved Brooklyn too. Have you seen the movie?

    1. I have not seen the movie... but I'd like to now that I've read the book :)


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