Friday, January 18, 2019

Dark, Disturbing Psychological Thriller Impossible to Put Down

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After the traumatic events that shattered her life fourteen years ago, Susanna Fenton took her baby daughter and ran—away from her husband, away from the media, away from her neighbors' judging eyes and wagging tongues.  Changing her name, her city, and her occupation, she's desperate to remain anonymous.  After 14 years, it appears she's been successful.  Until a young man walks into her counseling office and starts asking unsettling questions about Susanna's past.  Who is Adam Geraghty?  What does he want?  And, most important of all, what has he done to her teenage daughter?

The Liar's Room by Simon Lelic has a simple, yet chilling premise.  Its format—basically an intense therapy session that takes place over five hours—is also minimalistic.  However, these elements, combined with a small cast of complex characters and the slow unraveling of their shocking secrets, make for a tense, unputdownable psychological thriller.  I read this one in a day because I could not stop reading.  The novel is that intense.  While the story completely engrossed me, I didn't end up loving it.  It's definitely mesmerizing, but The Liar's Room is also a sad, depressing story that's as disturbing as it is memorable.  Overall, then, I liked it but didn't love it.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I'm not sure to what to compare The Liar's Room.  Any ideas?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for strong language, violence, depictions of illegal drug use, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Liar's Room from the generous folks at Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Rags-to-Riches Romance Far-fetched, But Fun

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Note:  I realized only after finishing In Dog We Trust that it is the fifth book in a series.  While the installments do not appear to need to be read in order, characters from earlier books do make cameo appearances in the newer ones.  In order to remain completely free from all possible spoilers, you may want to read the series in order. 

Jocelyn Hillier's mother always told her never to get personally involved with the summer people who flock to Black Dog Bay, Delaware, every summer.  Doing their laundry in order to pay your bills is one thing; canoodling with a tourist is quite another.  In the 27 years she's been alive and living in the resort town, Jocelyn has always obeyed her mother's rule.  Then, a chance meeting puts her in the middle of a squabble between two of them.  Before she knows it, Jocelyn is working as a dog walker for one Richie Rich and dating another.  

When Jocelyn's cantankerous boss dies unexpectedly, leaving his vast wealth to his three prize Labs, and naming Jocelyn as their legal guardian, she's stunned.  As the dogs' primary caregiver, she's suddenly living in the lap of luxury with access to millions of dollars.  Of course, some people—including her boss's estranged son, Liam Sheridan—are angered by Mr. Allardyce's ridiculous dying wishes and will do whatever it takes to get the money to which they believe they are entitled.  While persistent Liam starts out as a thorn in Jocelyn's side, it's not long before she's feeling a deep, unsettling attraction to the enemy.  Even as he schemes to take away every penny his father bequeathed to his pups and their spirited guardian, who isn't about to take Liam's duplicity lying down ...

I didn't realize until after I'd finished In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick that it is the fifth installment in a series.  The setting of the romantic comedy seemed familiar, which makes sense since apparently I read—and really enjoyed—the second book in the series, New Uses for Old Boyfriends, back in 2015.  Although In Dog We Trust is lighthearted and funny, I didn't end up liking it as much as I did its predecessor.  The situation in which Jocelyn finds herself just seems far-fetched, her antics silly and immature.  Because our heroine has no real story goal, the novel's plot seems episodic and meandering, with no real focus.  I get that it's a rom-com that's supposed to be light and diverting, but still, I would have appreciated a little substance from In Dog We Trust.  In the end, I enjoyed this cute romance enough to finish it, but I can't say I loved it.  It turned into just an okay read for me.

(Readalikes:  Other books in the Black Dog Bay series by Beth Kendrick.  Also reminds me of On the Same Page by N.D. Galland and a bit of other small town romances by Robyn Carr and RaeAnne Thayne)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs) and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of In Dog We Trust from the generous folks at Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: New Authors, Old Year


It's Tuesday and you know what that means!  Time for my favorite weekly meme, Top Ten Tuesday.  Today's prompt is all about new authors you discovered in 2018, which will be a fun one.  Before we get to that, though, here are the deets on how to join in the TTT fun.  It's simple:  click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl, read a few guidelines, make and share your own list, then hop around the book blogosphere visiting other people's posts.  It's a great way to spread the bookish love by revisiting favorite blogs, discovering new ones, and, of course, adding great-sounding books to your toppling TBR pile.  What's not to love?

Okay, here we go with Top Ten New (to Me) Authors I Discovered in 2018:


1.  Emily Carpenter—You know I love me a good Gothic yarn, especially when it involves family secrets, creepy old houses, and some nail-biting suspense.  Emily Carpenter's books deliver on all accounts.  She only has three out so far (with another one coming in March) and I read all of them in 2018.  My favorite:  The Weight of Lies.


2.  Lori Rader-Day—I'm a big psychological thriller fan, so Rader-Day's books definitely caught my attention.  I read three out of her four this year and enjoyed two of them.  My favorite:  Under a Dark Sky.


3.  Dervla McTiernan—I loved this Irish author's debut, The Ruin.  It's a dark, but very compelling mystery.  A sequel, The Scholar, will be out on May 14.  I can't wait!


4.  Kristina McMorris—I'm a sucker for historical fiction and I find books about orphans and children in crisis especially moving.  Naturally, then, I wanted to read Sold On a Monday as soon as I heard about it.  I enjoyed it and plan to read more of McMorris' work.


5.  Hester Fox—Fox's ghostly, atmospheric debut, The Witch of Willow Hall, earned lots of buzz last year.  And deservedly so.  I can't wait to see what Fox does next!


6.  Elizabeth Byler YountsThe Solace of Water, Younts' most recent novel, was one of my favorite 2018 reads.  It convinced me to start Younts' Promise of Sunrise trilogy, which is about how World War II affects an Amish community in Delaware.  Having been raised Amish, Younts has a unique perspective on the culture/religion, which gives her books a refreshing authenticity.  My favorite:  The Solace of Water.


7.  Alison Gaylin—Domestic thrillers are my jam, so I had to give Gaylin's books a go in 2018.  I read and enjoyed two of hers.  My favorite:  And She Was.


8.  Emma Berquist—I loved Devils Unto Dust, Berquist's debut novel.  It's a Western/horror mash-up that satisfies on every level.  I can't wait for her newest, Missing, Presumed Dead, which comes out in May.


9.  Joanna Barker—Regency romance is far from my favorite genre, but I do count on them for light, amusing entertainment that I can sandwich between heavier reads.  It's rare for me to really love a book in this genre, but Barker's debut, The Truth About Miss Ashbourne, really charmed me with its tight prose, engaging plot line, and well-developed characters.  I'm definitely keeping an eye out to see what this talented newcomer does next.


10.  Sarah Maine—The first book I read in 2018 was The House Between Tides, Maine's atmospheric debut.  I enjoyed it and have been meaning to try the author's other two novels ever since.

So, there you go—ten authors I discovered last year.  Hm, I just realized that they're all white women and most of them are debut authors.  Interesting.  Perhaps I need to work on diversifying my reading this year?  Anyway, have you read any of these authors?  What do you think of their work?  Which new-to-you authors did you discover in 2018?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will happily return the favor.

Happy TTT!

Martha's Vineyard Rom Com Dull and Unsatisfying

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When her aging, cantankerous uncle injures himself in a fall, Joanna Howes is drawn home to Martha's Vineyard to take care of him.  She's anticipating a short visit, but as Henry's leg refuses to heal, Joanna fears she may be in town for the long haul.  As her bank balance dwindles, the freelance journalist agrees to take a job writing for one of the two local newspapers.  When it becomes obvious she won't be able to pay her bills on the part-time gig, she begins working for the rival paper as well.  Publishing articles under two different names, she hopes to keep her separate identities ... separate.  The more undercover she tries to delve, however, the more complicated her already messy life seems to get.

Things become even more chaotic when Joanna accepts a date with a handsome stranger only to realize he's at the center of a controversy that's got locals (including her Uncle Henry) hot and bothered.  Joanna can't tell her uncle—or either of her editors-in-chief—that her objectivity is being more and more compromised with every minute she spends with Orion Smith.  How can she keep the professional distance she needs in order to report fairly on Orion while she's falling so hopelessly in love with him?  The last thing Joanna needs is more knots in her already tangled-up life, but that's what she's getting.  Can she get herself sorted before she loses everything that's important to her?

On the Same Page, a romantic comedy by N.D. Galland, has a fun premise with lots of potential.  Unfortunately, that potential just isn't realized.  While I enjoyed learning about Martha's Vineyard's dual personality, that's about the only thing in this novel that intrigued me.  For me, the story ran on and on, with so much extraneous detail that it felt
overly long and dull.  In addition, I just didn't care for Joanna.  Selfish and dishonest, she doesn't ever risk enough to cause enough tension and suspense to make her tale interesting.  She doesn't grow as a character, which makes the novel feel unsatisfying.  In the end, then, I didn't love this one.  Bummer.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't really think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of On the Same Page from the generous folks at HarperCollins via those at TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

--

Want more opinions of On the Same Page?  Follow along on the book's blog tour by clicking on the links below:

Instagram Features

Monday, December 31st: Instagram: @oddandbookish
Wednesday, January 2nd: Instagram: @laceybooklovers
Thursday, January 3rd: Instagram: @giuliland
Saturday, January 5th: Instagram: @sjwonderlandz
Sunday, January 6th: Instagram: @somekindofalibrary
Monday, January 7th: Instagram: @books.tea.quotes

Review Stops

Monday, December 31st: BookNAround
Wednesday, January 2nd: Tales of a Book Addict
Thursday, January 3rd: Instagram: @diaryofaclosetreader
Monday, January 7th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Tuesday, January 8th: Instagram: @megabunnyreads
Wednesday, January 9th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, January 14th: What Is That Book About
Tuesday, January 15th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Wednesday, January 16th: Literary Quicksand
Thursday, January 17th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Riveting Psychological Thriller An Intriguing Debut

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

If V. C. Andrews and Kate Morton had a literary love child, Emma Rous' The Au Pair would be it.

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother, Danny, were born in the middle of summer at their family's estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is smiling serenely and holding just one baby.

 
Who is the child, and what really happened that day?

Only one person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her. 

I usually write my own plot summaries, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't come up with one as succinct but evocative as the one that appears on The Au Pair's back cover.  The professionally-written copy captures the book perfectly. 

You know I love me a psychological thriller, especially one with Gothic vibes that hints at dark family secrets coming to light, so this one definitely appealed to me from the moment I heard about it.  And you know what?  It delivered.  With an intriguing premise, complex characters, and a tautly-plotted storyline, the novel kept me riveted throughout.  Although I saw some of the twists coming, I didn't figure everything out until the very end.  Even if The Au Pair gets a little predictable, it's still an engrossing read that I could not put down.  This is Rous' first novel and I cannot wait to see what she does next!

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of books by Carol Goodman and Kate Morton.  Also a little of In the Shadow of Lakecrest by Elizabeth Blackwell.)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, disturbing subject matter, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Au Pair from the generous folks at Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Bright, Shiny, And New


Traditionally, January and February are slow months for me as far as scheduled reviews go.  Not so in 2019!  My winter calendar is already bulging with books that need to be read and reviewed.  All of these are new (and new-ish)  releases and yet, there are still more bright, shiny 2019 books that I'd like to get to in the near future.  I'm going to hit you with a list of 10 (okay, 12) in just a sec, but first ... If you want to join in this week's Top Ten Tuesday fun (and you totally do), click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl, read up on a few TTT guidelines, make your own list, and spend some happy hours visiting other people's blogs to peruse their lists.  It's a good time!  Not to mention a great way to discover new blogs, drop in on old favorites, and of course, add great-looking books to your TBR list. 

Okay, here we go with my Top Ten (Ahem, 12) Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2019:


1.  The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner (available March 19)—I'm actually almost finished with this dual timeline novel about an 81-year-old woman with Alzheimer's who's desperate to find and thank an old friend she met at the Crystal City, Texas, internment camp during World War II before her disease erases all her memories for good.  It's an intriguing novel, although it actually reads more like a memoir.


2.  Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill (available March 5)—In the same vein as Meissner's WWII novel is this one about an Italian-American teen who falls in love with a Japanese-American boy.  A romance between them would be scandalous, not to mention illegal.  When the boy is sent to an internment camp, his hope is kept alive by letters from his secret girlfriend, whose not so subtle support of Japanese-Americans could get her into some big trouble.


3.  Lovely War by Julie Berry (available March 5)—I enjoy Julie Berry's books, so I'm excited about her newest which concerns four young people torn apart by World War I.


4.  The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (available February 5)—Jenoff's World War II novels are excellent.  This based-on-a-true-story novel about a ring of female secret agents who operated during the war sounds thrilling.


5.  Inheritance by Dani Shapiro (available January 15)—As a genealogy buff, I'm intrigued by stories like Shapiro's and the questions they raise.  This memoir is about the shock Shapiro receives when a DNA test she takes on a whim reveals that her father is not her biological parent and her subsequent search for her true identity. 


6.  The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker (available January 15)—This novel, about a troubling sleeping disease that descends on a California college town and the chaos that follows in its wake, sounds riveting.


7.  The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome (available January 15)—I love historical MG novels and this one, about a slave family whose son runs away from the plantation, sounds intriguing.


8.  Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams (available January 15)—As the adoptive mother of a bi-racial child, I'm always interested in books like this one.  It's about a young girl who struggles with her chaotic family life, the fact that her skin's not as light as she would like it to be, and her own journey to find out who she really is. 


9.  The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine Doyle (January 22)—Another MG novel, this one concerns a magical island and the brewing fight over who will inherit the power to control it.


10.  The Current by Tim Johnston (available January 22)—I'm always up for a good murder mystery/small town secrets novel and this one sounds like just the ticket.  The story revolves around an "accident" that kills a young college student.  The incident bears an uncanny resemblance to another murderous event from the past, which propels a young woman to investigate both—to her own peril.


11.  The Lost Man by Jane Harper (available February 5)—I enjoyed both of the books in Harper's Aaron Falk series.  Her newest is a standalone, which is a little disappointing but still intriguing.  The plot summary on this one doesn't give away much, but it looks like another murder mystery set in the Australian outback.  I'm in!


12.  The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye (available January 8)—This historical thriller centers around a white woman from New York City who is on the run after an illicit deal gone wrong.  When she befriends a Pullman porter, who helps her find refuge at a blacks-only hotel in Portland, Oregon, she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous, racially-charged situation that will leave her smack in the middle of another tangled mess.

There you go, twelve new releases I'm excited to read.  What about you?  Which 2019 books are you looking forward to?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor.

Happy TTT!   

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Funny, Authentic YA Debut Preaches Loving Yourself and Your Body, No Matter What Size You Are

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ever since a bitter divorce propelled her mother to audition for a weight loss reality show, things at Savannah Alverson's home have been a little rough.  Her mom is still obsessed with the extreme diet/exercise methods she learned on the show and she won't stop harping on Savannah about her own extra weight.  Savannah could ignore the jabs more easily when Ashley, her sister and best friend, was by her side; now that Ashley has gone away for college, Savannah has to deal with it on her own.  She's never felt more alone.  

Savannah's senior year of high school is supposed to be magical, and it does start perking up when she meets "dorky-hot" George Smith.  She feels instantly comfortable with the kind band nerd, who seems to reciprocate her growing feelings.  Except sometimes, he runs a bit hot and cold.  What's up with that?  While Savannah tries to sort her George problem, she also has to deal with her mom's increasingly dangerous behavior, her sister's gaping absence, her boiling anger toward her dad, and a shocking news story that just might lead her to the college path that's meant to be hers.  Dealing with it all won't be easy.  In fact, this just might be the toughest year of Savannah's life ...

To Be Honest, a debut novel by Maggie Ann Martin, is a quick YA read that's entertaining and authentic.  Savannah is an admirable heroine—she's smart, funny, and confident but she also has some flaws and issues to keep her real.  The story she tells isn't anything fresh or original.  However, the tale definitely promotes having a positive body image.  Unlike her mom, Savannah isn't trying to lose weight; she's not even that concerned about being chubby.  She knows she's a little overweight, but that doesn't stop her from dating, being involved at school, getting top marks, or putting body-shamers in their places.  I love that about this book and hope that teen girls will get the message loud and clear.  Overall, then, I enjoyed this read that stays funny and positive even when Savannah's dealing with hard things.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Plus by Veronica Chambers, What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard, and Purge by Sarah Darer Littman)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (1 F-bomb, plus occasional, milder expletives), depictions of underage drinking, and mild innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Friday, January 04, 2019

Honeymoon-Gone-Wrong Thriller an Exciting, Engrossing Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After living together for four years, Erin Locke and Mark Roberts are finally tying the knot.  They're both excited about their upcoming nuptials, but when Mark loses his lucrative banking job and money worries start to creep in, tension seeps in to their comfortable relationship.  Their planned honeymoon in Bora Bora (trimmed down from three weeks to two) seems like just the thing to restore their balance, bring them closer together, and maybe even jump start the family they've always wanted to have.  The R&R seems to be working until the pair finds something shocking in the ocean during a scuba diving excursion.  Should they tell the authorities what they've discovered?  Or keep mum?

Choosing the second option propels the newlyweds on a terrifying, unalterable course that will keep them looking over their shoulders, jumping at every sound, and seeing malevolence in every stranger's glance.  Who can they trust in this deadly game of cat and mouse?  And where will it end?  How far will the couple go to give themselves the life they've always wanted?

Something in the Water, a debut novel by British actress Catherine Steadman (best known for playing Mabel Lane Fox on Downton Abbey), is a tense, taut thriller that kept me mesmerized from Page One.  With an intriguing premise, complex characters, and non-stop suspense, it's the kind of book that you just can't stop reading.  I saw where the story was going from early on, so I wasn't surprised by the ending.  Disappointed, yes, because I had hoped for a dénouement with a little more complexity and freshness.  Overall, though, I enjoyed this engrossing, fast-and-furious read.  I'm very interested to see what this skilled new author does next.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of books by Ruth Ware)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for strong language, violence, blood/gore, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Something in the Water from Barnes & Noble with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Royal Wedding Novel Interesting and Engaging

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

London, 1947—World War II ended two years ago, but the English are still living with ration books and food shortages, to say nothing of the sorrow that will forever haunt their hearts.  The announcement of a royal wedding between Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten is just the thing to lift spirits.  From drawing rooms to boardrooms to classrooms, everyone is abuzz with excitement.  For Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, both embroiderers at Norman Hartnell's Mayfair fashion house, the event is also causing more than a little stress.  Tasked with helping to create a wedding gown fit for a princess, they're working feverishly to finish the sumptuous, embroidery-laden dress in time.  When they're not laboring at work, they're falling in love, learning each other's secrets, and making decisions that will impact the rest of their lives and beyond.

Canada, 2016—When her beloved Nan dies, Heather MacKenzie inherits a box of beautiful, hand-stitched flowers.  Although they're exquisite, Heather can't imagine why Nan saved them or why she gifted them to her granddaughter.  What did the pieces mean to Nan, who Heather often saw knitting, but never embroidering?  Heather soon discovers that the flowers she's been given match those that were sewn on Queen Elizabeth's wedding dress in 1947, which is even more perplexing.  Did Nan, who never spoke about her past, have something to do with the famous gown?  If she did, why did she not mention it?  Realizing how little she really knew about her grandmother, Heather embarks on a quest to find out everything she can about the woman's mysterious past.

Dual timeline novels that explore interesting bits of history are my jam, so I couldn't wait to read The Gown, Jennifer Robson's newest.  It's an engaging novel with an intriguing setting, inlaid with fascinating details about the making of a luxurious wedding gown.  Neither of these elements overwhelm the story, which is, at its heart, really a tale of friendship between two women from different backgrounds who come together through their job.  Plotwise, the tale is very straightforward—a little too much so, really, since I kept waiting for a surprising twist to liven things up.  That didn't happen, which left me longing for a bit more development, both in plot and character.  Still, The Gown remains an easy, appealing read that I enjoyed overall.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of dual timeline novels by Susan Meissner and Kate Morton)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence (including a fairly graphic rape scene), mild innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Gown from the generous folks at HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

-- 

Interested in more opinions of The Gown?  Follow along on its book tour, organized by TLC Book Tours, by clicking on the following links:

Monday, December 31st: Instagram: @ladyofthelibrary
Wednesday, January 2nd: Instagram: @my_book_journey_
Wednesday, January 2nd: 5 Minutes For Books
Thursday, January 3rd: As I turn the pages
Thursday, January 3rd: Bloggin' 'Bout Books
Friday, January 4th: Into the Hall of Books
Friday, January 4th: Laura's Reviews
Monday, January 7th: BookNAround
Monday, January 7th: InkyMoments
Tuesday, January 8th: Jessicamap Reviews
Wednesday, January 9th: Instagram: @giuliland
Thursday, January 10th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, January 11th: Lindsay's Book Reviews
Monday, January 14th: Instagram: @ciannereads
Tuesday, January 15th: Instagram: @sjwonderlandz
Tuesday, January 15th: Based on a True Story
Wednesday, January 16th: Always With a Book
Wednesday, January 16th: Instagram: @tbretc
Thursday, January 17th: Instagram: @somekindofalibrary
Thursday, January 17th: Doing Dewey
Thursday, January 17th: Instagram: @theunreadshelf
Friday, January 18th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, January 22nd: A Bookish Way of Life

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

I'm Up For a Challenge!

I love reading challenges, even though I never really seem to complete them.  It's just fun to think about what I could read this year and then track my progress (on the right sidebar of my blog).  If I don't complete them, I don't.  No stress.  Here are the ones I'm joining this year:



2019 Literary Escapes Challenge
Hosted By:  Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book
Goal:  Read books set in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C.  You get bonus points for each different country as well.  I got 38 states and 10 countries in 2018.  Let's see if I can beat that in 2019!
List:  I'm not going to make a list for this one, at least not until the middle of the year when I need to be more focused about finishing the challenge.


Pioneer Books Reading Challenge
Hosted By:  Pioneer Books in Provo, Utah
Goal:  Read from a list of prompts.  Complete all 44 prompts by the end of the year and you get a $50 gift certificate to the store.
List:  I can't find a printable version of the prompt list, but you can see it by going to the bookstore's Facebook page.  I'll post the prompts on my sidebar.


2019 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge
Hosted By:  Girl X0X0
Goal:  Read a book from a monthly prompt selected by the host.
List:  Here's what I'm thinking:

January—New to You Author:  The Gown by Jennifer Robson
February—Cover Love:  Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
March—Royalty, Kingdoms, Empires, Governments:   The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner
April—Crack the Case:  A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander
May—One Sitting Reads:  Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord
June—Diversify Your Reading:  All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
July—Through the Years:  The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
August—Mode of Transportation:  The Ocean Liner by Marius Gabriel
September—Animal, Number, Color, Name:  Woman 99 by Greer Macallister
October—Tricks and Trades—The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo
November—Seasons, Elements, and Weather—The Summer of Secrets by Barbara Hannay
December—Last Chance—Life Without Limits by Nic Vujicic


2019 Reading Challenge
Hosted By:  Linz the Bookworm
Goal:  Read as many books as you can from a selected set of categories in increasingly more challenging levels, although you don't have to read in any order.
List:  Again, I'm not going to pre-plan this one, at least not yet.  I'll keep track of categories I finish on my sidebar.
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