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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (4)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Hawaii
- Idaho
- Illinois (3)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky
- Louisiana
- Maine
- Maryland (1)
- Massachusetts
- Michigan
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (3)
- North Carolina (1)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (5)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (3)
- Washington (1)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming (1)
- *Washington, D.C.

International:
Australia (2)
Canada (3)
England (5)
France (1)
Ireland (1)
Switzerland (1)
The Philippines (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


21 / 51 states. 41% done!

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

My Progress:


6 / 25 books. 24% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My Progress:


31 / 50 books. 62% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


32 / 52 books. 62% done!
Saturday, July 31, 2021

BBB Is Under Construction


You've probably noticed by now that my blog is in the middle of a re-design.  The last time I did this was in 2013!  With my 15th blogoversary coming up fast, I figured it was time to spruce things up a bit.  I wanted to keep the warm, friendly vibe that Bloggin' 'bout Books has always had while giving it a more fun, modern feel.  Amanda over at Simply Stella Design Studio is doing a wonderful job.  I'm thrilled with how the blog looks so far.  We're still working on both the design and the content, so please hang in there while we get it all figured out.  Thanks for your patience and your loyalty!  

 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Island Fever


This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic asks the old cliché question:  If you were stranded on a deserted island, which books would you want to have with you?  Really, the only one I'd need would be How to Get Yourself Rescued From a Deserted Island for Dummies.  That would get me off the island and back to my large home library pronto.  Voilà!  Problem solved.  Since this prompt (obviously) didn't really speak to me, I decided to spin it a little to make it more fun.  How about Top Ten Most Memorable Books With An Island Setting instead?  I've read lots of books set on islands big and small.  For this list, I'm going to focus on the latter.

If you want to hop on the TTT train, click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.

Top Ten Most Memorable Books With An Island Setting
(in no particular order)


1.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery—This novel, the first in a beloved series, is set on Prince Edward Island, Canada.


2.  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie—Eight strangers are invited to Soldier Island, a fictional speck of land on the English coast, in this classic murder mystery. 


3.  Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton—On another made-up island, this one near Costa Rica, dinosaurs are alive, well, and available for viewing if you've got the dough.  Sounds awesome.  Until things start to go horrifically awry...


4.  Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko—This historical middle-grade novel, the first in a series, is about a boy who lives with his family on California's Alcatraz Island.  Before reading this series, it had never occurred to me that children might have lived in the vicinity of the infamous prison, but they absolutely did!  Crazy.


5.  The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See—Jeju, a small Korean island, is the setting for this fascinating historical.  It's about the island's female free divers, traditionally the breadwinners for their families, and how their trade changes over time.


6.  Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert—The first in a compelling mystery/thriller series, this one is set on a private island in the Thousand Islands region of New York state.  When a murder occurs during a family get together, Detective Shana Merchant and her partner are called out to investigate.  Atmospheric and engrossing, it's a tense page-turner.


7.  Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton—Bolton's written a bunch of intense thrillers, but this one is my favorite.  It takes place in the U.K.-owned Falkland Islands.  The mystery concerns a missing child whose disappearance in such an isolated and dangerous locale is at first assumed to be a tragic accident, but is soon determined to be something much more sinister...


8.  Moloka'i by Alan Brennert—Set on Hawaii's famous island leper colony, this is an intriguing and eye-opening historical novel.


9.  The Lewis Trilogy (The Blackhouse; The Lewis Man; The Chessmen) by Peter May—Scotland's Hebrides Islands are the setting for this atmospheric trio of mysteries.


10.  The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter—In this tense family drama, a woman visits fictional Bonny Island, Georgia, the setting for a horror novel turned cult classic written by her mother.  Determined to write a biting tell-all, she uncovers some astonishing secrets about her own family and past.

There you have it, ten memorable novels I've read that are set on small islands.  Have you read any of them?  What are your favorite books with small island settings?  Which titles would you like to have with you on a deserted island?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!  
 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Sixth Noodle Shop Cozy A Bit Lackluster, But Still Fun


(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Killer Kung Pao by Vivien Chien, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier installments in the Noodle Shop Mystery series.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)  

As manager of Ho Lee Noodle House, her family's popular Chinese restaurant, Lana Lee is always at the center of the action in Cleveland's Asia Village shopping center.  Dealing with her overbearing mother and annoyingly perfect sister causes enough drama for the 28-year-old, but there's always tension and intrigue boiling among Asia Village's many strong personalities.  Add in the center's weirdly high murder rate and she's got a lot on her plate...

When Lana witnesses an altercation in the parking lot between two aging village divas—competitive mahjong player Millie Mao and heartless tea shop owner June Yi—she has no idea that one of them will soon end up dead  When Millie is electrocuted during a pedicure, it becomes apparent that it was no accident.  Did the argument in the parking lot lead June to kill Millie?  Is there someone else who had it in for the mahjong matron?  Although her detective boyfriend warns Lana to stay out of it, she's once again on the case.  Can she solve Asia Village's latest murder?  

I'm a big fan of Vivien Chien's Noodle Shop mysteries.  The series is fun, light-hearted, and entertaining.  Like most cozies, the books are a little silly and a lot far-fetched, but who cares?  They're easy, enjoyable, clean reads.  That being said, Killer Kung Pao—the sixth installment—might be my least favorite of them.  Why?  Although Chien's characters are always fun, the mystery in this one is a bit...lackluster.  The book is still a fast, engaging read; it's just not as compelling as some of its predecessors.  A bummer, yes, but not one that will keep me from continuing with this series.  Even the less satisfying books are more enjoyable for me than other cozies.

(Readalikes:  Other books in the Noodle Shop Mystery series, as well as culinary cozies by Ellie Alexander, Amanda Flower, Eve Calder, etc.)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs) and violence

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find 

Friday, July 23, 2021

MG Murder Mystery A Delightful, Entertaining Romp

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Young Ladies of Quality do not snoop.  Nor do they spy on their neighbors.  Or study masculine subjects like science, law, and forensics.  And they certainly do not express a morbid interest in something as vulgar as murder.  In fact—in the opinion of 12-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle—Young Ladies of Quality do not do anything of interest.  Why would she want to be one of them?  Although "Morbid Myrtle" is shunned by the other girls, she's not about to give up reading her father's law books and peering through her late mother's microscope.  Everyone else might despair of her antics, but Myrtle knows she will be far happier pursuing her unique studies than sipping tea in a frilly dress in someone's stifling parlor.

When Myrtle's 79-year-old neighbor, a cross old woman who grew prize-winning flowers, is found dead in her sprawling home, no one thinks much about it.  Only Myrtle thinks there's something fishy about Minerva Wodehouse's death.  Then, relatives the dead woman never once mentioned start coming out of the woodwork with greed glinting in their eyes.  All of them are acting shifty, which just confirms Myrtle's suspicions—Mrs. Wodehouse was murdered!  Since no one takes her accusations and observations seriously, the young sleuth knows it's up to her to bring Minerva's killer to justice.  Can Myrtle solve the mystery?  Is there even a case to investigate, or is Myrtle letting her imagination run amok once again?

I listened to Premeditated Myrtle, the first book in Elizabeth C. Bunce's Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery series, on audio and was totally charmed by the experience!  Myrtle is a delightful heroine.  Not only is she whip smart, but she's also perpetually curious and dangerously impulsive, two traits that get her into scrape after scrape.  Her warm relationship with her faithful governess, Ada Judson, is one of the loveliest parts of the novel.  The plot is also exciting, with plenty of twists to keep the reader/listener engaged.  Bethan Rose Young does an excellent job with the audiobook narration, which makes the story come alive even more.  Needless to say, I very much enjoyed this funny, entertaining, classic-feeling mystery novel.  I will absolutely be reading (or listening to) the sequels.

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

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence and scary scenes

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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