How to find a Read-A-Like

Dear Fellow Journalers,

If you read series books, I have mentioned my favorites in the past (Murder She Wrote, Cosy Mystery series from Joanne Fluke and Miranda James) when you’re either waiting for the author’s next book or just wanting to find a read-a-like, where do you find it?  This article from the Cheshire Library Blog may help you.


New post on The Cheshire Library Blog

How to Find a Read-alike by Mary

If you are like me, when I find a series I love I burn through it in record time and then am left mourning that I have finished the series. Finding a new series can be difficult, so invariably I turn to NoveList for help.

NoveList is an online database that offers recommended reading lists. You can sort by age and genre and even by topics such as “fast-paced and amusing” or “moving and haunting” and even “snarky and compelling”. However my favorite part of NoveList is the Read-alike links.

If you type in a book title or author, NoveList will produce a list of results that include three very handy links: Title Read-alikes, Author Read-Alikes and Series Read-alikes.

What is a Read-alike?

A read-alike is a book, author, or series that shares some of the basic characteristics of another book, author, or series. It means that if you enjoy, say, author Marcia Muller, you may also like books by Laurie R. King, Kate Wilhelm, or Iain Pears,

For example, type in Lord Peter Wimsey (one of my favorite British mystery sleuths), click on Series Read-alikes, and you will get a list of recommendations that include the Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood (stories that have also been turned into a wonderful BBC drama: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) and the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries by P.D. James, among many others.

Bingo! Two more series just waiting to be devoured.

Try NoveList. It works!


Angry at the world

Dear Fellow Journalers,

There’s a line from the movie Network, which says ” I’m as mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore”. What do you do if you’re frustrated or downright angry and you can’t seem to write about it? Or, how do you write about “it” when you’re “spitting nails” and have trouble even verbalizing ?

We all have issues in our lives. I wrote an e-mail to a good friend recently telling her about all the things going bad in my life and she wrote back “Sallie, it’s called life.” Yeah, well! Little things become big things and before you know it you’ve reached the end of your rope. Writing about your life in the state you’re in can be extremely difficult and you may wonder if after you’ve written it, should you keep it? There’s an old custom which entails writing about your grievances and then burning the page. I don’t think we have to resort to that extreme measure! However, the problem remains. Can we write about our problems and if we can will there be a proper outcome?

When you’re angry you’ve also convinced yourself you are right and the other person is wrong. Later on afterwards you may start to doubt your feelings. Could I have been wrong?  In the land of the “dark side” we often say things we regret later and then the situation gets worse. It’s always better, if possible, to write your feelings instead of verbalizing them. Then what to do?


Write briefly:

  • The opposite of this anger is —–
  • This is how my body feels now —-
  • I’m afraid of —
  • I’m sad that —
  • What I need to do now —

Much later, when you’re calm, and can journal more objectively about the experience write the answer to:

  • What occurred when I became angry?
  • How did I handle the situation and what would I do differently?
  • Did anger serve me well in this instance?
  • Do I feel better about my situation?


Wednesday words to live by


Nobody said life would be easy. They just promised it would be worth it.

Self-Care Kit

Dear Fellow Journalers,

A Self-Care Kit is  great thing for yourself and for others who are struggling. Sometimes when we do for others we end up healing ourselves too. You can use a basket or a decorative box. The items are anything that brings comfort and care.

So, some of those things are:

  • Weighted blanket or throw
  • Inspiring mug
  • Funny book
  • Essential oil
  • Journal
  • (In our case, a new pen)
  • Stuffed animal (I know!)
  • Headphones
  • Chocolate
  • Tea
  • Coloring book
  • Something personal


Wednesday words to live by


What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.

The 5 W’s

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Remember when you were in school and  you had  to write  a composition? I remember the teacher, who happened to be a nun, telling us that if we wanted our stories to be unique we had to answer 5 questions within the first paragraphs. Who, what, when, where, and why we’re the guidelines we should follow.

I mention this because I sometimes feel as though I repeat myself in my journaling. If I’m bored or tired I just write the same old stuff. Being one who is creative by nature and wanting to be true to herself, I find this behavior self-defeating. If I find myself writing such things as “nothing much happened today”often I have to verbally stop myself.

So how do we overcome doldrums? I don’t think it matters what type of journal you’re writing – the problem is still the same. What to write about and should I write when I’m bored?

Peach Tree Farms by Charles Wysocki

Above my roll-top writing desk is a framed print called “A Peach of a Day”. The original was painted by  a well-known artist by the name of Charles Wysocki. The picture always makes me happy. I try to surround myself with things like that -a scented candle, a lighthouse themed quilt, a mason jar mug of the beverage of the day. But still, sometimes I have problems writing.

Experts have different techniques that help with this issue. I have, on occasion followed some:

  • Go for a walk.Sometimes nature can sooth our souls. If impossible, due to weather, watch a nature or travel show on TV.
  • Knowing the best time for you to write in your journal is a good thing. Try experimenting say write in the early morning or at lunch for a different spin.
  • Listen to an audio book.
  • Pick up your favorite book and read one chapter. More than that and you’ll finish the book!
  • Create some art. When was the last time you added any “bling” to your journal cover?
  • Watch a TED talk.
  • Make a self-care kit for when you have a bad day.
  • Do you often go by a certain restaurant or store and never stop to browse? Now’s your excuse.
  • Try writing in your journal at a coffee shop or outside.
  • Color a page in a coloring book.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Do a random act of kindness for someone.
  • Visit the library and bring home some awesome books.
  • Write about your present moment.
  • Maintain a success log.(Your accomplishments no matter how big or small) For instance, I drove in the pouring rain at 2am to the hospital. (I don’t like driving at night and especially don’t like driving when I don’t know how to get where I’m supposed to be).
  • Write in the third person. For instance, “Kelly woke up at 8 am” not “I woke up at 8 am”.
  • Write in a different pen color.
  • Make a list of things to buy or do.
  • Try writing in your non-dominate hand.

Finally, JUST WRITE!


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