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2022 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska (1)
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (9)
- Colorado (3)
- Connecticut (2)
- Delaware
- Florida (3)
- Georgia (3)
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho (1)
- Illinois (3)
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa (1)
- Kansas (1)
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (2)
- Maine (2)
- Maryland (3)
- Massachusetts (6)
- Michigan (2)
- Minnesota (2)
- Mississippi (2)
- Missouri (1)
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (2)
- New Mexico (1)
- New York (12)
- North Carolina (5)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (4)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon (1)
- Pennsylvania (3)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota (1)
- Tennessee (2)
- Texas (3)
- Utah (3)
- Vermont (3)
- Virginia (3)
- Washington (4)
- West Virginia (1)
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming (1)
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

International:

Antarctica (1)
Australia (3)
Egypt (2)
England (16)
France (1)
Greece (1)
India (1)Ireland (2)
Italy (1)
Malaysia (1)
Nepal (1)
Poland (1)
Portugal (1)
Romania (1)
Scotland (3)
Sweden (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


46 / 51 states. 90% 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:


73 / 53 books. 125% done!

Booklist Queen's 2022 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


46 / 52 books. 88% 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:


40 / 50 books. 80% done!

The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

My Progress:


47 / 52 books. 90% done!

2022 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:


40 / 40 books. 100% done!

2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge

2022 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: 200 Books in 2022

I really can't believe it, but there are only 25 days left in 2022! Where has the time gone? Interestingly enough, I have exactly 25 more books to go until I meet my goal of reading 200 books this year. Will I make it? I don't know. I could read a book a day until January 1st, but I've also got a lot of other things that need to be done. I'd like to at least meet my goal, if not surpass it. We'll see how things go. Since today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is a freebie and next week's is Top Ten Books On My Winter 2022-2023 TBR List, I'm going to combine them and do two posts about the 25 books I plan to read before the year ends. 

Before I get to that, though, two things: (1) If you're not aware, TTT is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Click on over for all the deets on this fun meme and to give her some love. (2) If you're a reading challenge fiend like me, please check out my other blog, Ready for a Reading Challenge? It's a database of current reading challenges being hosted all over the Internet. If you're hosting a reading challenge this year, let me know. I'm happy to add it to my database to help spread the word. 

Top Twenty-Five Books I'm Going to Read to Meet My 2022 Reading Goal, Part One

This list is a combination of books I still need to read for reading challenges, a couple book awards I'm helping to judge, a review I'm writing for a genealogical magazine next year, and just fun reads that I've been meaning to get to. I've mentioned most of them before, so bear with me.


1. Roll for Initiative by Jaime Formato—This Cybils nominee has a strong Dungeons and Dragons theme, which made it a little hard to get into for me with my total lack of D&D knowledge or interest. Once you get past that, though, it becomes an engaging story about finding your tribe. I've only got about 100 pages left in the book. Overall, I've enjoyed it.


2. Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik—I'm listening to this lively story on audio. It's set in small-town North Dakota (a very difficult state to find if you, like me, are doing a read-a-book-set-in-every-state challenge), where a suicidal Southern woman lands unexpectedly after a bus breakdown. Violet has never belonged anywhere, so she's shocked when tiny Pearl starts to feel like home. 


3. The Kind to Kill by Tessa Wegert—This mystery, the fourth in the Shana Merchant series, just came out today. When a tourist goes missing during a Thousand Islands community festival, our fearless detective takes the case amidst outcries that she attracts trouble to the otherwise peaceful community. Shana can't help her familial connection to a serial killer, but will his dirty deeds lead to the end of her career?


4. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly—I need an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winner for the POPSUGAR reading challenge and I've been meaning to read this one anyway. If you're not familiar with it, it tells the true story of five Black female mathematicians who worked for NASA starting in the early 1940s. Although their work was essential to the success of the American space program, they had to fight against blatant racism and sexism in the workplace just to perform their jobs.


5. The Hope of Elephants by Amanda Rawson Hill—Who doesn't love elephants? This middle-grade verse novel is about a young girl who's coping with her dad's cancer diagnosis as well as the terrifying possibility that she may have inherited his genetic mutation. I'm interested to see how pachiderms come into play...


6. The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green—I really enjoyed Green's last historical novel, so I'm looking forward to this one, her newest. It's about a woman who becomes the unlikely head of a small library in Maine during World War II. When the library's future is threatened, she invents a book club to save it from closure, a move that just might save herself as well.


7. Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson—I love the Truly Devious YA mystery series so I'm excited to read this newest installment, the fifth. This time around, Stevie Bell is studying abroad in England when she's introduced to a notorious cold case in which two Cambridge students were murdered after a game of hide-and-seek got out of hand. Can the intrepid amateur sleuth figure out whodunit?


8. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear—With New Year's resolution-making time right around the corner, this will be a good, motivational book to re-read. It's a quick read, but one that has some great ideas to impart.


9. Flip Turns by Catherine Arguelles—Another Cybils contender, this novel features a girl whose family owns a town swimming pool. When a series of pranks is launched at the pool, she must channel her inner Nancy Drew to figure out who's pulling the tricks and why.


10. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens—I mentioned in my last list that I re-read this classic every year. I'm feeling super Grinch-y this year, so it should be just the thing to reset my frame of mind.


11. Doing Life With Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out by Jim Burns—On a related note ("Adult" children, man, they're rough!), this book is about how to successfully navigate those tricky and changing relationships between parents and their growing-up children. I feel like I'm completely failing at this, so hopefully this book will be helpful.


12. Death On the Nile by Agatha Christie—I need something for a "Book Turned Into a Movie in 2022" reading challenge prompt, so I chose this classic mystery, which I've never read before. Normally, I don't watch a movie before I read the book it's based on, but I did already watch (and enjoy) the film.

There you go, 12 (of 25) books I'm planning to read before 2022 disappears forever. Have you read any of them? What did you think? What did you do for your Freebie 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, November 29, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Let's Get Cozy!

Even though we don't really get winter weather here in the Phoenix area, it has been fairly nippy lately. Most mornings you'll find me sitting at my computer wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket to stay warm. The chill in the air (or at least in my house) definitely makes me want to cozy up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. This week's TTT prompt—Top Ten Cozy Reads—is appropos, but since I couldn't think of specific "cozy" books I want to read, I'm just going to go a *little* bit rogue today and hit you with the next ten I'm planning to "cozy" up with. That works, right? Hopefully so, because I'm too tired to get more creative than this. Ha!

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

Top Ten Books I Plan to "Cozy" Up With Next


1. Snow Struck by Nick Courage—I just started this middle-grade Cybils Awards nominee about a girl who can't wait to spend Christmas in New York City with her cousin. Elizabeth, who is from Florida, is keeping her fingers crossed for a white holiday. Weather in the U.S. has been unusually wonky, but everyone's shocked when a weirdly warm NYC winter suddenly turns arctic. As a deadly snow covers the city, grinding everything to a halt, Elizabeth's cousin's small dog gets out. Can the cousins find Fang before she becomes a victim of the vicious storm? Will any of them make it home alive? I love me a good disaster/survival story, so I'm enjoying this one.


2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot—I'm actually almost done with this book, which I've been listening to on audio. It tells the fascinating story of a poor, uneducated Black woman who was dying from cervical cancer when doctors at Johns Hopkins took a sample of her cells without her knowledge. Although Henrietta Lacks died without ever knowing it, her cells—known as HeLa—are "immortal." Since they were taken in the 1950s, they have been cloned over and over and have been used to test all kinds of drugs, develop vaccines, and have even been launched into space to test cell behavior there. While HeLa cells became famous around the world, Henrietta's descendants—most of whom couldn't even afford health insurance—were kept almost wholly in the dark about the whole thing. It's a super interesting read/listen.


3. Air by Monica Roe—Another MG book for the Cybils, this one stars 12-year-old Emmie who dreams of competing as a wheelchair motorcross racer. When an accident on a wheelchair ramp at school turns Emmie into the star of an unexpected media circus, her big dream feels like it's no longer her own. Wanting to prove herself perfectly able, she launches her own plan to get what she wants and show her little town everything she has to offer. Sounds like a fun, empowering read!


4. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal—I still need to read a Hugo Award winner for the PopSugar reading challenge and this one sounds good. The book takes place in 1952, when a huge meteorite crashes to the earth, destroying most of the East Coast of the U.S. A climate catastrophe results, making space colonization suddenly imperative. Elma York, a female pilot and mathematician, must fight sexism and societal assumptions in her desperate bid to become the first female astronaut ever.


5. The Gods of Green County by Mary Elizabeth Pope—Every year, I struggle to find books set in Arkansas for the Literary Escapes Challenge. I just discovered this historical novel, which sounds intriguing. It concerns Coralee Harper, a woman whose life is shattered when her brother is murdered by a local sheriff. Poor and unimportant, she doesn't stand a chance of getting justice against the powerful policeman. When Coralee starts seeing her brother around town, she begins to doubt her own sanity. What is happening to Coralee? Can she stand up to the town and avenge her brother's death?


6. At the Quiet Edge by Victoria Helen Stone—Kansas is another state I have trouble checking off my Literary Escapes Challenge list, so I was happy to find this mystery/thriller. It stars Lily Brown, a single mom who's trying to rebuild her life in the wake of the havoc caused by her ex-husband's crimes. When Lily's son finds clues about a string of disappearances of local women, the two of them become entangled in investigating the crime, which makes them a target for a dangerous killer.


7. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens—This novella is one of my all-time favorite books. I try to re-read it every December to get me in the Christmas spirit.


8. A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser—Yet another Cybils read, this middle-grade novel is about two kids living in a homeless shelter who bond over their shared love of classical music. Sounds sweet.


9. How to Fake An Irish Wake by Eliza Watson—I'm reviewing this cozy mystery for a genealogical magazine, so I need to read it soon. This first installment in a series introduces readers to 24-year-old Mags Murphy. Her beloved genealogist grandmother has just died and Mags is in charge of not just her wake but also selling her cottage. When Mags is approached by a man desperate to discover his father's identity, she wants to help. Soon, she finds herself wrapped up in an intriguing—and increasingly dangerous—genealogical investigation.


10. The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey—I've been meaning to read this bookish romance ever since it came out. It just sounds sweet and fun.

There you go, ten books I want to "cozy" up with soon. Have you read any of them? What did you think? Which cozy books are you planning to read this winter? 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, November 28, 2022

Ready For a Reading Challenge?

I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We had planned to join my aunt-in-law at her house as we do every year, but we ended up having surprise guests and doing our own thing. It was lovely to cook, eat, and visit with my sister, brother-in-law, three of our four children, and our daughter-in-law. I'm thankful for each of them. They all bring such light into my life.

Over the weekend, we brought all of our boxes of Christmas decorations into the house from the garage. Even though we donated a ton of holiday decor to charity before moving, we still have a LOT. Once again, our living room is filled with boxes! It's bringing back not-so-distant, not-so-pleasant memories of moving into this house in the middle of major remodeling. As for that, the house is finally just about done, thank goodness. We've been waiting for a week for our painters to come do some touch-up work. Hopefully, they will show up today so we can get the remodel all wrapped up and move on to Christmas decorating. Yay! This is my favorite time of year.

As the new year speeds closer, I've noticed posts popping up about 2023 reading challenges. In case you don't know, I have another blog, Ready For a Reading Challenge?, that's basically a database of current reading challenges. If you're into these, definitely check it out. I added a few this morning (Lori over at Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book is so on the ball!) and will continue to do so as I spot more 2023 challenges being announced around the book blogosphere. If you're hosting a reading challenge this year, please let me know. I'd love to help you get the word out.

I also thought it would be fun to see just how behind I am how I'm doing on my 2022 reading challenges. Here's a breakdown:


2022 Literary Escapes Challenge: So far, I've read books set in 43 of the 50 U.S. states (plus D.C.). Not bad. I still need: Arkansas, Delaware, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. If you know of any good reads set in these states, let me know!


2022 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: I'm a big hist-fic fan, so I should be totally rocking this challenge. I pledged to read 50 historical novels this year and I'm only at 35 so far. Will I read 15 more before January 1st? It's possible...


2022 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge: This one I have been rocking, thank you very much. I vowed to read 20 cozies and I've read 22. Ba da bing, ba da boom!


Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge: Reading mysteries is never a challenge for me, so I signed up for this challenge at the Sherlock Holmes level, which meant reading 56+ books in the mystery/thriller/crime genre. So far, I'm at 74. Easy cheesy.


Booklist Queen's 2022 Reading Challenge: I'm at 44/52 on this prompt-based challenge. Since I still have to read a Shakespearean play, I'm unlikely to finish this one in time. Or I'll do what the challenge host recommends and sub out the tough categories for easier ones so I can complete it. We'll see.


Aussie Author Reading Challenge 2022: I was super excited about this one, which requires you to read and review books by Australian authors, but I've been failing miserably at it! I pledged to read and review 24 books and I've only done ONE. Yikes. I have read four more that I haven't reviewed yet. Will I catch up? At this point, that's very unlikely. Bummer. 


2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge: I've really been wanting to read more non-fiction and this challenge has helped me do that, although not as much as I'd hoped. Still, I've read 11 books that fit the bill so far this year and am almost done with my 12th. I've only reviewed three of them, though. Oops!


2022 PopSugar Reading Challenge: This challenge is always a, well, challenge for me. That's why I do it. I'm not doing too badly this time around, though. I've read 41/50 books. I doubt I'll complete this one either, but I'll get close.

2022 Build Your Library Reading Challenge: I'm actually going to complete this challenge today when I finish reading Sphere by Michael Crichton for the "A Story Set Under the Sea" prompt. Woo hoo! That will be 40/40 books read.


The 52 Club's Reading Challenge 2022: I'm nearing the finish line on this 52-prompt challenge as well. I've got 7 prompts left. Not too shabby.

2022 Medical Examiner Mystery Reading Challenge: I've been counting the bodies in the murder mysteries I read for this fun challenge that I do every year. So far, I've tied 262 toe tags, putting me in 13th place. I don't know how many more murder mysteries I'll be able to fit in this year since I'm still madly reading middle-grade books for the two book awards programs I'm helping to judge. We'll see.


2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge: This one doesn't have to do with reading. It's a task-based challenge that encourages book bloggers to support each other in a variety of ways. There are 17 tasks and I've done 11.

All in all, I'm pretty proud of my reading challenge progress this year. Even if I don't finish all of them, I've had fun trying and that's all I really care about.

Did you take on any 2022 reading challenges? How are you doing with them? 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: An Attitude of Gratitude

Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and, while I know the history behind the holiday is problematic, I still love that we celebrate it. For me, it's about gratitude above all. Yes, it's great to gather with loved ones. Yes, it's fun to feast on delicious food. Yes, it's delightful to watch football (for some people), play games, take long walks, nap on the couch, and just spend time visiting with family and friends. What's the holiday really about, though? Gratitude. It's a time to acknowledge all the wonder and goodness that life has to offer, even amidst the challenges and struggles we all face. As a religious person, it's also a time for me to really reflect on and fervently thank God for the blessings He's given me. I love that there is a holiday focused on thankfulness. Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you do take a moment this week to be grateful for what and who you have in your life and for all those little things that make your existence beautiful, joyful, and worth living. 

One of the things I'm very grateful for is YOU. Thank you for visiting my blog, for leaving thoughtful comments, and for making this book blogging community of ours such a delightful place to hang out. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

To celebrate the upcoming holiday, today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is a Thanksgiving Freebie. I'm going to go with something non-bookish today and list ten quotes I love about gratitude. If you want to join in the TTT fun, head on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.

Top Ten Lovely Quotes About Gratitude

1. There is always, ALWAYS something to be grateful for. - Author Unknown


2. "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy, U.S. president


3. "So it is not happiness that makes us grateful. It's gratefulness that makes us happy." - Brother David Steindl-Rast, American monk


4. "Count your blessings;
Name them one by one. 
Count your many blessings;
See what God has done."

- hymn, "Count Your Blessings," text by Johnson Oatman, Jr., music by Edwin O. Excell


5. "...live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you." - Alma 34:38, the Book of Mormon


6. "Those who find gratitude in the little things find humility in the big things." - Lidia Longorio, Hey Humanity


7. "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." - Epictetus, Greek philosopher

8. "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it." - Author Unknown


9. "O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever." - 1 Chronicles 16:34


10. "Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance." - Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

There you are, ten inspiring quotes about gratitude. Which are your favorites? Do you have a quote about gratitude that you adore? I'd love to hear it. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog. 

Happy TTT!

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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot



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