Search This Blog

Love reading challenges? Check out my other blog:

2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge

My Progress:

30 / 30 books. 100% done!

20 Books of Summer 2023

My Progress:

17 / 20 books. 85% done!

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (2)
- Alaska (1)
- Arizona (2)
- Arkansas (1)
- California (16)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (3)
- Delaware (1)
- Florida (2)
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho (1)
- Illinois (1)
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa (1)
- Kansas (1)
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (4)
- Maryland (3)
- Massachusetts (4)
- Michigan (4)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi (1)
- Missouri (1)
- Montana (2)
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico (1)
- New York (15)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota (1)
- Ohio (3)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (1)
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota (1)
- Tennessee (2)
- Texas (4)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (4)
- Virginia (2)
- Washington (6)
- West Virginia (1)
- Wisconsin (2)
- (1)
- Washington, D.C.* (1)


- Australia (3)
- Barbados (1)
- Canada (8)
- Chile (1)
- England (25)
- France (2)
- Ireland (2)
- Italy (1)
- Nigeria (1)
- Norway (1)
- Scotland (3)
- South Korea (1)
- Sweden (1)
- The Netherlands (2)
-Vietnam (1)

My Progress:

51 / 51 states. 100% done!

2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 25 books. 100% done!

2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

50 / 50 books. 100% done!

Booklist Queen's 2023 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

52 / 52 books. 100% done!

2023 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

52 / 52 books. 100% done!

2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

40 / 40 books. 100% done!

2023 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

29 / 40 books. 73% done!

2023 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 25 books. 64% done!

2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Book Bingo Reading Challenge

20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

109 / 109 books. 100% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Anchors Aweigh!: Top Ten Books On My TBR That Are Set on a Boat or Ship

With Thanksgiving barely behind us and Christmas looming right ahead, you'd think I'd be able to come up with something festive for today's Top Ten Tuesday. You'd be wrong. Instead, I'm going to take a more summery slant on our prompt du jour—Top Ten Books Set in X (Pick a setting and share books that are all set there. This could be a specific continent or country, a state, in outer space, underwater, on a ship or boat, at the beach, etc.)—and go with the suggested boat/ship setting. Even though I get terrible motion sickness, especially on water vessels, this is a setting I actually quite enjoy in books. Something about the combination of feelings that ensues just appeals to me: the excitement of an impending voyage, the wonder and fear of what lies below in the fathomless depths of the sea, the claustrophobia of being trapped in a floating tin can with a group of strangers you don't know if you can trust, etc. This summer will find me and my husband on our first cruise, traveling to Alaska, and I don't know what to expect. Hopefully, nothing like what happens in the books on my list (most of which are mystery/thriller novels)!

If you're not aware, TTT is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Click on over and give her some love, won't you?

Top Ten Books On My TBR That Are Set on a Boat or Ship 

1. Those We Drown by Amy Goldsmith—I've talked about this YA fantasy/horror novel before. It's about a group of students who are enrolled in a semester-at-sea program aboard a luxury cruise ship. Liv can't believe it when she's selected to participate. While on board, however, she discovers that she was only chosen for the trip because the girl who was supposed to be there has mysteriously disappeared. When other participants start vanishing and other strange things begin happening on the ship, Liv begins to believe in a supernatural explanation. Just what kinds of monsters lurk under the sea below her? Which type lives above?

2. The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder by David Grann—I'm probably the last person in the book blogosphere to read this non-fiction account of the strange tale of the titular ship. The patched-together vessel floated into Brazil in 1742 carrying a crew of starving English sailors who had been shipwrecked and marooned for months. Although the men were hailed as heroes, another vessel arrived in Chile with a few more of The Wager's survivors. These men had a very different tale to tell...

3. Seven Days in May by Kim Izzo—Based on the author's own family history, this historical novel sounds intriguing. It's about two American sisters who board the Lusitania, knowingly risking the perils of traveling during World War I, but never imagining just how perilous their trip will soon become.

4. The Last One by Will Dean—This thriller has been featured on a few of my TTT lists this year. It's about a woman who embarks on a cruise with her new boyfriend. After a whirlwind night on board, she awakes to find Pete missing from their room. When she steps out of her cabin, she discovers that everyone has vanished. She is the only one aboard the ship, which is floating in the middle of the sea with no land in sight. What happened to all the passengers and crew members? How is the last one going to save herself now?

5. Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them by Siân Evans—This social history about how women's lives were changed by their journeys aboard luxury liners during the early twentieth century sounds fascinating. It tells the stories of a number of female travelers, from celebrities in first class to immigrants in steerage to stewardesses and other crew members who bustled about the ships making sure everyone was safe and comfortable.

6. The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish—This British thriller concerns a group of people who commute to work in London via riverboat. The shared experience has created a community of riders who intermingle while cruising up and down the Thames. When one of them is murdered and another is accused of killing him, the commuters' lives are all upended. Who killed Kit and why?

7. The Last Lifeboat by Hazel Gaynor—The lives of two women collide on the high seas during World War II as they desperately try to save themselves and two children after their ship is torpedoed by Nazi U-boats, leaving them stranded in the last available lifeboat. This harrowing survival story is based on  real events. 

8. A Stranger On Board by Cameron Ward—I've mentioned this murder mystery before as well. It's about an ex-marine who is looking for a new start and finds it working as security on board a luxury superyacht. As they head out to open sea, someone goes missing. It doesn't take long to figure out there's a killer on board. It's up to Sarah to find them before they pick off all the other passengers one by one...

9. The Cuban Heiress by Chanel Cleeton—In 1934, two women embark on a round-trip voyage from New York to Cuba. One is posing as a wealthy heiress. The other is dead. At least that's what everyone thinks. In reality, she's very much alive and on board to get revenge on the person who wronged her. As the fates of the two women collide, they will find themselves risking everything to make sure justice is finally served.

10. Lying in the Deep by Diana Urban—Like #1, this is a YA thriller featuring a group of students enrolled in a semester-at-sea program. After being betrayed by her boyfriend and her best friend, Jade is looking forward to getting away from it all and losing herself in foreign lands and adventures. She isn't expecting the couple who ruined her life to be on board as well. As her fury at them builds, a murder occurs on the ship. Then more of the students begin to suffer similar fates. There's a killer on board, but who is it? Jade has to find out before more people end up dead.

There you are, ten books with boat/ship settings that I want to read. How do you feel about boats/ships? Which books have you enjoyed with this theme? Which are on your TBR? What setting did you pick for your list today? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on yours. I also reply to comments left here, although I am a week behind at the moment.

(While preparing my list, I came across this one with the same theme posted by the lovely bloggers over at Beyond the Bookends. Thanks for the help and recs, ladies!)

Happy TTT!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

New Rockton Series Just As Appealing As Original

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Note: Murder at Haven's Rock is the first book in a spin-off series based on the Rockton books by Kelley Armstrong. This review might contain slight spoilers for the original series. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order. 

Tired of the politics that made Rockton—a secret town built deep in the Yukon wilderness for people who need a place to hide—a difficult place to live, Casey Butler and her husband Eric Dalton (Rockton's former detective and sheriff, respectively) are starting over. They're building a new and better Rockton, a town that will truly be a safe haven for the people who need it most. Of course, living in the wilds of the Yukon is never risk-free. When two construction workers break the cardinal rule of Yukon living and wander into the forest alone, their failure to return raises alarm in the half-built town. With two people missing and the subsequent discovery of a dead body, it's clear that something is not right in Haven's Rock. Not exactly the auspicious beginning Casey and Dalton were hoping for in their new town.

Without disclosing their identities as the owners of Haven's Rock, Casey and Dalton set about doing what they do best: solving a murder. Not surprisingly for a group of people willing to work on a secret project in the middle of nowhere, everybody on the town's construction crew is hiding something. As Casey and Dalton ferret out everyone's secrets, they discover plenty of nefarious doings in their new town. Which of them led to murder? Can Casey and Dalton find a killer while also preserving their vision of creating a perfect safe space? Or will their glorious dream end before it's even had a chance to begin?

The Rockton series by Kelley Armstrong is one of my very favorites. With a unique setting, an upbeat vibe, likable characters, and exciting plots, it's a compelling group of mystery novels. Murder at Haven's Rock is the first installment in a spin-off series featuring the same main characters, just set in a different town. Casey and Dalton are one of the most appealing literary couples I've ever encountered. Their relationship is understated, but it's rock solid, supportive, and wholesome. I'm always rooting for them as a couple, as individuals, and as civic leaders. Although most of my favorite side characters from the original series don't show up until the end of this book, there are plenty of new ones to take up the slack. There's also the usual plot excitement stemming from interpersonal drama, wildlife encounters, unexpected wilderness threats, and more. Add to that a large dose of Armstrong's trademark humor, and you've got that satisfying blend of elements that makes the author's books so appealing. As you can tell, Murder at Haven's Rock is a solid addition to the Rockton book family. I'm already clamoring to read the next book in the new series. 

Although I received a printed ARC of this murder mystery, I actually ended up listening to it on audio instead. Since I've enjoyed the last four Rockton novels in this medium, it seemed a shame not to continue listening. Thérèse Plummer is an excellent narrator. Even if I had read the book in print, it would have been her voice I was hearing in my head. She is the voice of Rockton for me! Her narration is on point; it's animated enough to give the books life without ever upstaging the story. I'm a big fan.

(Readalikes: other books in the Rockton series)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, blood/gore, and mild sexual content/innuendo

To the FTC, with love: I received an ARC of Murder at Haven's Rock from the generous folks at St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: I'm Thankful for YOU!

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate! I know the holiday has a problematic history, but I still love that it prompts us to spend one day out of the year hyper focusing on gratitude. We should be counting our blessings every day, of course. Still, I need the annual reminder to really think about all that I have and be thankful for it. After all, my life is rich and full and beautiful, in spite of its challenges and heartaches. We were discussing the Book of James in church yesterday and I love the verse that counsels us to "count it all joy" (James 1:2). I'm trying to do more of that as I count my blessings instead of my problems. 

Today's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted, as always, by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl) topic is our annual Thanksgiving prompt: Top Ten Reasons Why I'm Thankful for Books. I've done this one multiple times, so today I'm going to go rogue and express my gratitude not for books, but for book bloggers. Over the years, I've wanted to do a personal shout-out to all of the bloggers I love and appreciate, but I couldn't figure out a way to do so without (1) creating a post that's so long no one wants to read it and (2) accidentally leaving someone off the list. Yesterday, I had the brilliant idea of highlighting the top ten commenters on my blog this year. Blogger, unfortunately, doesn't have an easy way to identify these rock stars (at least not that I could find). Since I haven't posted nearly as much in 2023 as I usually do, I decided to just count up the comments myself. How hard could it be, really? Ahem, this is what my desk looked like after tallying up comments for just the first few months of the year:

At this point, a few things occurred to me:

(1) This project was going to take longer than expected and maybe I should quit while I was ahead.
(2) I probably should have used a spreadsheet for my calculations instead of writing everything out by hand.
(3) I really wanted to know who my top commenters were.
(4) A lot of people have taken time out of their days this year to leave a comment on my blog. How awesome is that?

As I wrote all of your names down and scrolled through all of your comments, I was absolutely flooded with gratitude for YOU. According to my calculations, 184 of you (not including anonymous commenters) paused a moment to leave me at least one message this year. Thank you for that! It means a great deal to me. Even more amazing is that a whole bunch of you left me multiple comments over the course of this year. My favorite part of blogging is interacting with you. I haven't been as good about commenting on other people's blogs this year, so the many comments on mine mean even more to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You make blogging such a joy for me. 

Although I appreciate each and every comment left on my blog and it's not a competition, obviously, I still want to give some shout-outs to the bloggers who commented most here at BBB this year. If you're not familiar with them already, do yourself a favor and go check them out. You'll find thoughtful book reviews, on-point reading recommendations, fun book commentary, and, best of all, new blogger friends!

Just for reference, I have published 66 posts this year (not including this one), of which 40 were Top Ten Tuesday lists. (I've been a HUGE slacker on reviews this year!)

Top Ten (Okay, Fifteen-Ish) Top Commenters on BBB in 2023 (So Far)

1. Katherine P. @I Wish I Lived in a Library and Lark @LarkWrites...On Books and Life (43 comments)
2. Cindy @Cindy's Book Corner, Deanna @A Novel Glimpse, Helen @Helen's Book Blog (41 comments)
3. Lydia @Lydia Schoch and Nicole @BookWyrm Knits (40 comments)
4. Rissi @Culture Characteristics/RissiWrites (32 comments)
5. Louise @Foxes and Fairy Tales (31 comments)
6. Deb Nance @Readerbuzz and Leah @Leah's Books (30 comments)
7. Carla @Carla Loves to Read (29 comments)
8. Dedra @A Book Wanderer (26 comments)
9. Nicole Santana @The Christian Fiction Girl and Vero @The Moon Phoenix (24 comments)
10. Lindsey @Lindsey Reads and Marianne @Let's Read (23 comments)
11. Lisa @Bookshelf Fantasies and Tanya @Girl Plus Books (22 comments)
12. Carol @Reading Ladies and Ethan @A Book a Week (21 comments)
13. Emily @Budget Tales Book Blog and Rainbow Stevie @Literary Loot (20 comments)
14. Suzanne @The Bookish Libra (19 comments)
15. Leslie @Books Are the New Black (18 comments)

A million thanks to these frequent commenters and to all of you who read my blog and take the time to comment. I appreciate you more than you could ever know. I love being part of the book blogging community. Thank you for making it such a fantastic place to hang out!

Have these book bloggers also blessed you with their lovely comments? Which book bloggers are you thankful for? Why are you thankful for books and this bookish community of ours? 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!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR Authors I'll Get to Someday (I Hope)

Note: Once again, I'm having trouble commenting on some WordPress blogs. I keep getting "nonce verification failed" messages, which has something to do with the JetPack plug-in, apparently. I've had problems with this plug-in before. If I haven't commented on your blog by the end of today, this is why.

Although I have my favorite tried-and-true authors like any other reader, I actually explore quite a few new-to-me writers every year. No matter how many of these I try, though, there are still a ton of popular authors I have just not gotten around to yet. Sure, there are some that I'm unlikely to read, no matter how many people rave about them, simply because they don't write the kinds of books I'm interested in reading. On the other hand, there are a bunch who write in the genres I love that I've been meaning to test drive; I just haven't gotten around to them yet. Today's prompt explores that very concept: Top Ten Mainstream Popular Authors That I Still Have Not Read. I'm going to focus my list today on popular authors who write in my favorite genres whose books I want to read at some point. 

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Hop on over to her blog and give her some love!

Top Ten Mainstream Popular Authors That I Still Have Not Read

1. Beatriz Williams—Although I have read a couple of historical novels that Williams co-wrote with Karen White and Lauren Willig, I've never read any that she penned solo. 

2. Catherine Coulter—Coulter has written regency romances, historical novels, and mystery/thriller books. It's that last genre that interests me. Her long-running FBI thriller series looks especially good.

3. Josephine Tey (1896-1952)—I always see references to Tey's classic mysteries. I need to read them already!

4. Fiona Barton—Barton's mystery/thriller novels sound like ones I would enjoy.

5. Rhys Bowen—I'm a historical mystery fan and Bowen has written a ton of them. I'm past due for checking her books out. 

6. Lucinda Riley—Riley's historical fiction has been recommended to me multiple times. I'm especially interested in her Seven Sisters series. 

7. Val McDermid—I really need to give this prolific Scottish mystery/thriller writer a go soon!

8. Chanel Cleeton—Cleeton's historical novels look like they're right up my reading alley.

9. Tess Gerritsen—This popular mystery/thriller writer is another one I've been meaning to read for a long time now.

10. Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine (1930-2015)—Another prolific mystery/thriller author, Rendell has been on my list of TBR authors for too long. 

There you go, ten popular mainstream authors I can't believe I haven't read yet. I'll get to them one of these days, hopefully! Which have you read? Which of their books should I start with? Which authors are on your list today? 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!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center


Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive