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2022 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska (1)
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (5)
- Colorado (2)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (1)
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa (1)
- Kansas
- Kentucky
- Louisiana
- Maine (1)
- Maryland (2)
- Massachusetts (5)
- Michigan (2)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi (1)
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (9)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon (1)
- Pennsylvania (2)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (2)
- Utah (2)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington (4)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)


Antarctica (1)
Australia (2)
Egypt (2)
England (14)
France (1)
Greece (1)
Italy (1)
Nepal (1)
Romania (1)
Scotland (3)
Sweden (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:

31 / 50 states. 62% done!

2022 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

19 / 50 books. 38% done!

2022 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2022 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge

My Progress:

49 / 53 books. 92% done!

Booklist Queen's 2022 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

40 / 52 books. 77% done!

Aussie Author Reading Challenge 2022

1 / 24 books. 4% done!

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge

3 / 20 books. 15% done!

2022 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

My Progress:

31 / 50 books. 62% done!

The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

My Progress:

39 / 52 books. 75% done!

2022 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

34 / 50 books. 68% done!

2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge

2022 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR Reads Set in My Ancestral Homeland

When I saw today's prompt—Top Ten Books Set in Places I'd Love to Visit (Real or Fictional)—it sounded familiar. I was sure I'd done this topic before sometime in the past and yet, no matter how hard I searched my blog, I couldn't find a list with that theme. Although a few settings came immediately to mind (Hogwarts, Avonlea, Narnia, etc.), I struggled to come up with a bigger list than that, even though there are many settings that come alive so vividly in books that I long to step foot inside them. Nevertheless, I decided to focus on just one of those places: Scotland. You may remember that I traveled to the U.K. last year for sightseeing and family history exploration and that I did, indeed, visit the country. It enchanted me so much that I've been planning a return trip ever since I got home (in fact, we've been putting a lot of our new home purchased on a British Airways credit card to rack up travel points). So, today, I'm going to cheat a little and share with you ten books on my TBR that are set in a place I would love to revisit. 

If you want to join in the TTT fun, head on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.

Top Ten Books On My TBR Set in a Place I Would Love to Revisit (Scotland):
- in no particular order - 

1.  Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin—As much as I love his homeland and mysteries, I've never read anything by this Scottish author. Knots and Crosses is the first installment in his well-known Inspector Rebus series and I think it's high time I read it!

2. Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine—Libby Snow's third great-grandmother was obsessed with the legend of Ulla, a Viking maiden who washed up on shore with the almost lifeless body of her husband, inspiring fantastical tales and epic poems. When Libby, an archaeologist, receives permission to dig in the place Ulla allegedly appeared on Scotland's western coast, she discovers the bones of a much newer corpse. The stories of Ulla and Libby entwine with that of the dead woman as Libby searches for answers to explain the murder that caused her death.

3. Loch Down Abbey by Beth Cowan-Erskine—Another murder mystery, this one revolves around the Inverkillen Family, residents of the titular home. With a mysterious illness running rampant through Scotland, the whole country is in a panic. The Inverkillens are already dealing with an alarming toilet paper shortage and Nanny's inconvenient death when Lord Inverkillen is found dead. Because of the lockdown keeping everyone at home, the only suspects in his murder are members of his family and staff. It's up to the head housekeeper to figure out who did him in.

4. 500 Miles From You by Jenny Colgan—Colgan is a Scottish author who writes fun, upbeat rom-coms. This one is the third entry in her Scottish Bookshop series. I enjoyed the first two and am looking forward to this newest installment. 

5. Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon—Written in the 1930s, this if the first book in a trilogy about a woman whose quiet pastoral life in Scotland is changed forever by World War I.

6. Lockdown by Peter May—Speaking of lockdowns, I'm intrigued by the premise of this novel by one of my favorite Scottish mystery writers. I thought it was set in Scotland, but it's actually set in London. Oops! Oh well, it still sounds compelling, especially since it was written over 15 years ago but so closely mirrors what we've all experienced recently with the global pandemic.

7. The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton—This is the first installment in a cozy mystery series set in an Edinburgh bookshop. It features an American armchair traveler who makes an impulsive decision to accept a position at a bookstore in Scotland. Things get off to a cracking start when a valuable artifact goes missing and her boss's sister gets herself murdered. 

8. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley—Another series opener, this one revolves around a woman who retreats to Scotland to write a novel based on a 1708 Jacobite effort to return an exiled James Stewart to his homeland in order to reclaim his crown. Writing from the perspective of one of her own ancestors, the writer soon realizes her strange obsession with the story may be a case of ancestral memory, making her the only person who knows what really happened that fateful day...

9. The Distant Echo by Val McDermid—McDermid is another Scottish mystery writer that I somehow have not read yet. This novel is the first in her Inspector Kate Pirie series and centers around a cold case homicide that opens old wounds and exposes long-buried secrets. 

10. Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland—Mac is working on a compilation of local folktales and legends when her only child, Arthur, insists she needs an assistant to help her. Lucie, who moves into a cottage on Mac's property, seems a little too interested in the secrets Mac's working hard to protect. Unbeknownst to Mac, Lucie has secrets of her own.

There you go, ten (okay, nine) books on my TBR list that are set in beautiful Scotland. Have you read any of them? What did you think? Are there any others I should add to my list? Which books did you highlight 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!  

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Moving Woes and Seasonal Slows

It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything here at BBB and you can probably guess why. We made the big move to our new/old house. The remodel is nowhere near finished, but we moved all our stuff in anyway. It was a grueling weekend of moving in record-breaking heat (and that's saying something in Arizona!) that left us all exhausted. We never would have survived it without our ward (church congregation) and other friends helping us.  After a week in an AirBnB, everyone except me voted to officially move into the house despite the fact that it had no functioning sinks, no kitchen countertops, no appliances, a big hole in the master bathroom (the delivery of a custom window has been delayed), etc., etc. I'm a gal who likes her creature comforts, so it's been an experience to say the least. The sink and appliance situation is supposed to be rectified today. Fingers crossed! In the meantime, the remodeling goes on. The entire house pretty much looks like this right now:

We still don't have railings for the stairs and loft. The washer and dryer are in boxes in the garage, so the laundry situation is getting a little out of control...

Boxes, boxes, and more boxes everywhere you look!

At least my husband has a sense of humor. He built this couch out of some of our food storage. The Mormons in the audience are laughing right now—if you know, you know. Ha ha. The t.v. that is supposed to go on the wall wasn't delivered when it was supposed to be and we still haven't bought a new couch to replace the one we sold prior to the move. More items for the ole to-do list...

Annnyyywaaayyy, the good news is progress is being made on the house. It's just slow. Also, I'm really learning to appreciate things I've always taken for granted, like sinks and master bedroom showers. And, I'm back for Top Ten Tuesday. Yay! I've missed participating and interacting with you all. If you haven't gotten on the TTT train yet, you really should. Just hop on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.

Today's guilt trip prompt is Top Ten Books From My Past Seasonal TBR Posts I STILL Haven't Read (submitted by Dedra at A Book Wanderer).  I'd venture to guess I'm not the only one who loves creating these lists, yet fails to actually complete them. I looked back at my seasonal lists for 2021 to see how many of my picks I read. Here's how it panned out:

Check marks denote books read. Titles link to reviews I posted here on the blog or on Goodreads.

In a Book Club Far Away by Tif Marcelo
Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia
The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray
A Million Reasons Why by Jessica Strawser 
The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale
Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen
The Vines by Shelley Nolden
The Kew Garden Girls by Posy Lovell

The Block by Ben Oliver
The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
Forget Me Not by Alexandra Oliva
Girl in the Walls by A.J. Gnuse
The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia
Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
Are We There Yet? by Kathleen West
You'll Thank Me For This by Nina Siegal

Searcher of the Dead by Nancy Herriman
The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte Nunn
The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor
A Cup of Silver Linings by Karen Hawkins
Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
The Pact by Sharon Bolton 

Survive the Night by Riley Sager (also on the Summer TBR—oops!) ✔
Where Echoes Lie by Shannon Schuren
Cackle by Rachel Harrison
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (re-read)
The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof
What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson ✔

The Haunting Season by various authors
God Spare the Girls by Kelsey McKinney
A View Most Glorious by Regina Scott
The Saint of Lost Things by Christopher Castellani
The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
Unmissing by Minka Kent
The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

Poison Lillies by Katie Tallo
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In the Market for Murder by T.E. Kinsey
Futureface by Alex Wagner
The Last Daughter of York by Nicola Cornick
Stiff by Mary Roach

Out of 60 intended reads, I only managed to tackle 21 (really only 20 since one book was on two lists). Ouch! Will these dismal stats keep me from making more overly ambitious seasonal TBR lists in the future? Of course not. They're way too much fun to resist. 

How have you been doing with your seasonal TBR lists? Have you read any of the books I've listed here? Are there any reads on these lists that I absolutely cannot miss? I'd love to know your opinion. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT! 

Friday, July 08, 2022

Which ONE Book Should You Read This Year? Twenty Awesome Book Bloggers (Including Yours Truly) Chime In...

I was so thrilled when my book blogging buddy, Carol of Reading Ladies Book Club, asked me to be a part of a fun collab. For her annual One Great Summer Read event, she asks a group of book bloggers from all over the U.S. and beyond to recommend just one favorite book from their reading year. We came up with a great list, if I do say so myself! What book did I recommend? Which titles did the other bloggers choose? Click the logo above to find out...

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Shiny New Distractions

I really should do myself a favor and skip the TTT prompts that focus on new releases. All they do is make me salivate over shiny, new delights while distracting me from the hundreds of books already on my bookshelves waiting for a look-see. And yet, I can't resist Googling all the tantalizing up-and-comers, collecting your recommendations, and adding them all to my already about-to-topple Mount TBR! Honestly, why do I do this to myself? It's such sweet, sweet torture... 

If you're also into masochism-by-new-release, you should definitely join in this week's TTT fun. Just click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the info.

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the Second Half of 2022
- in order of release date -

1. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (available today!)—This adult contemporary novel features a pair of best friends who form an incredibly successful video game creation partnership. The story follows their lives over several decades. 

I can't tell exactly what the plot of this novel is, but I trust Zevin to deliver a powerful read. I'm looking forward to checking this one out soon.

2. Upgrade by Blake Crouch (available July 12)—I'm not much for sci-fi, but I do love Crouch's immersive, engrossing mind-benders. His newest concerns Logan Ramsay, an ordinary guy with a dark past, who's been chosen for a genome upgrade. As Logan feels himself changing into something a little more—and a little less—than human, he wonders if evolving in this way is really the only way to save his species.

3. We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison (available July 12)—Moving from Montreal to Montana leaves Celeste feeling lonely and out of place. She finds solace in writing a fan fiction love story between the school's most popular guy and its resident stoner. When, at the urging of her only friend, Celeste tries to create reality out of her fantasy, a boy ends up dead. Celeste can't remember what happened on that fateful night. Is she responsible for his death? 

This YA mystery/thriller sounds intriguing!

4. The Night Ship by Jess Kidd (available August 4)—Based on the real-life story of Batavia, a ship that wrecked on an Australian island in the 17th Century, this dual-timeline tale sounds epic. Can't wait. 

5. Madwoman by Louisa Treger (available August 23)—Nellie Bly's famous investigative sojourn in an insane asylum on Blackwell's Island, New York, is the subject of this historical novel. 

6. The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (available August 30)—I've enjoyed this Knives Out-ish YA series and am looking forward to seeing how the story ends in this finale to the trilogy.

7. The Winter Orphans by Kristin Beck (available September 13)—Based on the true story of young World War II refugees who fled over snow-covered French mountain passes to escape the Nazis, this historical novel features a group of children hiding in a crumbling castle overseen by Swiss nurses. When Germany invades southern France, their safe haven is no more. Can the children's protectors smuggle them over the dangerous passes to safety? Or will all of their lives be lost in the attempt?

8. Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister (available September 20)—This twisty psychological thriller sounds unique and compelling. It's about a mother who is shocked when she witnesses her funny, good-natured 17-year-old son murder a man in cold blood. When he's taken into custody, she's shattered with no idea what to do next. Upon awakening the next morning, she's stunned to realize that she's reliving the day of the murder. The next morning, she rewinds another day, then another. With time moving backward, can she figure out a way to stop the murder she witnessed before it happens? 

9. In Myrtle Peril by Elizabeth C. Bunce (available October 4)—I adore this middle-grade mystery series, so I'm excited for the next installment. In this fourth book, an heiress who was presumed to be lost at sea returns to claim her fortune. Myrtle's father is hired to determine whether the young lady is truly who she says she is. When he is waylaid by tonsilitis, it's up to Myrtle to solve the mystery as well as a murder her father may—or may not—have witnessed while in the throes of a fever.

10. Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (available October 4)—Ng's newest is hard to describe, but it sounds fresh and interesting. Here's the official plot summary:

Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.
Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.
Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power—and limitations—of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact.

There you go, ten up-and-comers I'm eager to read. What do you think of my list? Are you excited about any of these? What new releases are you most looking forward to? I'd love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!

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