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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

My Favorite Reader Tanya

I hope that you had a good weekend.  We met our dear friends, Miss Deb and Sir Rex, at my new favorite restaurant, Joey's

They enjoyed our favorite appetizer, hummus and tzatziki, with crispy pita chips, as much as we did.  As always, it was great fun catching up.

On Monday, the Mister and I stopped by our Mama and Daddy-to-be's home.  The Mister & AJ hung some prints in the nursery.  The Mister was so excited to use his new leveler, as you can see on the wall.  We took our #1 out for lunch at another one of our favorites, R&D Kitchen, since she had the day off.  Poor AJ was not as fortunate because he had to work.

Check back on Friday for more pics of the sweet nursery.

Today, my friend, Tanya, from The Other Side of the Road, is in the hot seat, answering my hard-hitting questions about books. I have been following Tanya's blog for over ten years.  

Tanya has a beautiful family, and I have watched her children grow up through her blog. I have also watched Tanya rebuild their home after Hurricane Harvey. She is a strong,  positive person, which was apparent during that incredibly difficult time.

Tanya hosts my favorite link-up party, Prime Purchases, on the first Monday of every month.  Bloggers post their favorite finds on Amazon.  It never fails; I always order at least a couple of things that my fellow bloggers mention.

I love to read Tanya's book reviews.  More often than not, we agree on our likes and dislikes.  She has turned me on to Ethan Joella and Liz Nugent. 

This is Tanya's second time around in this series.  You can find her post from last year right here.

Without further adieu, I present Tanya.

1. Refresh our memories and tell us a little about yourself.

I'm Tanya, a blogger from Houston. I've been married to Michael for 22 years, and we have two college-age kids. I enjoy reading, gardening, cooking (sometimes), and travel.

2. Do you think that 2023 was a good year for books? What were the standouts for you?

What are you reading now, and what's next on your list?

I do NOT think this has been a good year for books. It seems like I have had more DNF books than ever, with only a few that I have felt strongly about recommending!

The standouts for this year are:

Lighter reads that were memorable:


Currently reading:

(on audio for a road trip with my husband)

Next on my list:

3. Did any of the 2023 books make your GOAT list?

I think I will remember The Caretaker most from this year.

4. Are there any books that you are eagerly awaiting publication?

5. Was there a book(s) this year that was a disappointment? Was there a book(s) that was a pleasant surprise?

The book that was a disappointment was Tom Lake. I know many readers loved it, but I didn't finish even with Meryl Streep narrating. This was surprising since I absolutely loved The Dutch House.

The book that was a pleasant surprise was The Paris Daughter. I have heard so many great reviews of Kristin Harmel's books but haven't picked up her recent World War II books. I loved The Paris Daughter and then went back to read her last book, The Book of Lost Names. I enjoyed both of them, especially the memorable characters and historical details.

6. Do you ever skip to the end of the book? Or skim through the boring parts?

Since I read mostly through audiobooks, I usually don't skip or skim. If a book is not "grabbing" me by about 25%, I will return it to the Libby app library. I have started a DNF category on my Goodreads account.

7. How do you choose your books, i.e., bookstagrammers, Goodreads, friends' recommendations?

I mainly get recommendations from other bloggers (like Preppy Empty Nester) or by looking at the New Releases list. I follow a few bookstagrammers, but I have cut back on how many I follow since it was getting a little overwhelming. 

I also enjoy looking at the new releases from the UK bookseller Waterstone to see what is trending there. I probably get the most recommendations from bookish podcasts like Thoughts from a Page, The Bookreporter, and TBR Etc.

8. Have you added any new authors to your favorite list? Have you met any authors this year?

I had several "new to me" authors on my favorites for the 2023 list: Liz Nugent, Stacy Willingham, Clemence Michallon, Ron Rash, and Ethan Joella.

I have not met any authors this year.

9. Pick any book you have read (it doesn't have to be 2023). In five sentences or less, convince me to read it.

 Most of us remember exactly where we were when we heard about the tragic terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Sadly, I think some of the emotions and patriotism of the months that followed have been forgotten. This book is a first-hand account of the events of the day, told by the first responders, leaders, families of victims, and bystanders. Hearing their voices tell the story is poignant, heartbreaking, and inspiring all at once. It is an intense experience, and I think this important book serves as a memorial for September 11th.

10. If you could ask any author a question about a particular book, who would it be, and what would you ask?

I would ask Shelby Van Pelt (author of Remarkably Bright Creatures) how, in the world, she came up with a story with an octopus as a main character!

11. Who would you like to write your life story?  Who would play you?

I think I would pick someone like Elin Hilderbrand or Kristy Woodson Harvey because they have a way of making the ordinary things in life seem humorous, interesting, and fun.

 I'm not sure who would play me. I did a quiz online, and it came up with Emma Stone, Kathy Bates, and Michelle Duggar. 
 Ha! No thanks!

Thank you, Tanya, for your thoughtful answers.  
Btw, that quiz missed the mark.

My vote goes to Elizabeth Banks to play you.

Stop by Tanya's blog, The Other Side of the Road, for cute stories about her darling family, her Prime Purchases link-up on the first Monday of every month, wonderful recipes, and thoughtful book reviews.  And here is a link to Tanya's blog post with a list of her favorite reads of 2023.

Tanya's sweet Albie

Preppy Empty Nester
Preppy Empty Nester

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Feel free to contact me through comments and email. I love to hear from my readers!


  1. Awww, thanks so much for featuring me. It really is special to think we have been reading each other's blogs for so many years.

    1. A great interview of one of my favorite people! XO Aunt Suzette

  2. Great to see Tanya as a feature! I too, have been following her for many years. I'm adding some of those books to my list!

  3. I love Tanya’s blog and happy to see her featured here. I’ll be adding some of these to my reading list.
    Julie’s Creative Lifestyle

  4. I am really enjoyed Kristen Hannah's newest! I see a few new authors on here I should check out.

  5. Because of the monthly prime purchases link up , I’ve become a regular reader of Tanya’s blog - I enjoy learning new things - on her post “Works for me Wednesdays. “ She does that one eom or so. I like when she shares her travels as well. m in hi


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