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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, July 08, 2014

Bless Me Father, For I Have Sinned ...

I know, I know.  You don't hear from me for days and, suddenly, I post four times within a 24-hour period.  What's up with that?  Um, yeah.  Apparently, the long, lazy days of summer have zapped my blogging energy—I've read lots of books, I just haven't gotten around to reviewing them.  Now that I'm back from a week of vacation in Utah, I'm trying my hardest to catch up.  So, I really shouldn't "waste" time on Top Ten Tuesday, but you guys, I just can't help myself!  This is my favorite bookish meme, especially when our lovely hosts over at The Broke and the Bookish give us fun topics like this one—Top Ten Blogging Confessions.  Without further ado, here are mine:

1.  UPS/USPS deliveries still make me squeal—After eight years of book blogging (eight years!), the thrill of getting free books in the mail should probably be gone.  It's not.  Not at all.  I still get excited when I find packages on my doorstep or in my mailbox from Harper Collins, Scholastic, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, etc.  If my reaction to that ever sours, I guess I'll know it's time to start drafting a goodbye post.

2.  I still can't be trusted in a bookstore—Because I've been doing this book blogging thing for almost a decade, I've accumulated a lot of books.  Thousands.  They're stacked on my desk, crammed into bookshelves, packed into boxes that fill the closet in my guest room ... I've got more books than any person could possibly read in two lifetimes and yet, I can't resist buying more.  Seriously, I think I need an intervention.

3.  Someone needs to cut me off.  Like now—Closely related to the above two confessions is this one:  I need another review book like I need a hole in the head.  I have so many, I literally do not know what to do with them all.  Over the years, I've become much more selective in what I choose to accept for review, but I still have no control at all when presented with new books from my favorite publishers.  My greedy little book bloggin' heart wants to read them all.

4.  It's all about the numbers—Okay, it's not.  It's really not.  But Megan's confession #2 reminded me of how hard I always try to reach my reading goal of 200 books a year.  I've yet to accomplish it, but I still find myself avoiding chunky books and embracing quick, children's reads—especially toward the end of the year when I'm racing to get as many books read as I can.  How neurotic is that?  The only person who cares about my numbers is me.  Major head slap.

5.  I really, really want to be nice—Over the past eight years, I've earned a reputation as the Simon Cowell of book bloggers.  People describe my reviews with words like honest, brutal, scathing, pulls-no-punches, etc.  And those are compliments (if not entirely accurate ones)!  But, here's the thing, I'm really a very nice person.  I hate conflict.  I go out of my way to avoid offending people.  The truth is, I wish I could review every single book I'm offered and do so with raving, gushing excitement.  I wish I could make every author happy.  As a veteran book blogger, I've learned something:  it just doesn't work that way.  The only way I can do this "job" is to tell it like it is.  And you know what?  I'm not going to apologize for that.

6.  I spend a lot less time in the library than I used to—Maybe this has nothing to do with book blogging at all, but I find myself spending very little time in the library these days.  I used to love to roam the stacks, spending long hours browsing and spine-gazing.  Nowadays, I'm much more efficient—if I see a glowing review of a book that looks interesting, I reserve it online, then go grab it from the library, and proceed on my merry way.  Most of my visits to the library take less than 5 minutes (ironic, since I make a point of driving to the county library that's about a 15-minute drive from my house because I like it better than the city library, which is a whole lot closer).  This turn-of-events makes me sad because I truly love libraries.

7.  Long waits don't bother me none—Most people complain about having to spend hours and hours in waiting rooms and airport lobbies.  Not me.  I embrace the uninterrupted reading time.

8.  I'm a reading vs. socializing hypocrite—I love that my preteen adores reading, but watching her choose books over interacting with friends, family and classmates sometimes gives me pause.  While I completely understand, I find myself lecturing her a lot about putting her book down and engaging in the world around her—all the while, ignoring my own advice.  I'm an adult, so that's okay, right?  Right?

9.  I'm getting choose-y in my old age—As I mentioned before, I'm a nice person.  So, I felt terrible when I had to pare down my list of book blogs on Bloglovin'.  Well, I didn't get rid of any, I just shifted my favorites into their own section.  While I still read tons of book blogs, usually they are only the ones on this exclusive list.  I know, I'm an awful person!  The guilt is killing me (but I feel a whole lot less overwhelmed by my list of blog posts to be read).

10.  Uh ...—Okay, I can't think of any other scandalous secrets to spill, so I'll just end my confession here.  What do you think?  Do I have some repenting to do?  A Hail Mary or two?  How about you?  What are your deepest, darkest blogging confessions?  I promise I won't tell.  I'm a book blogger, so I'm totally trustworthy ...          

Riveting Mystery Taut, Atmospheric

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

With paper mills closing all up and down the Androscoggin River, everyone knows it's only a matter of time before the one in little Titan Falls, New Hampshire, follows suit.  Not that anyone dares to voice such an opinion.  Or to imagine a future without the steady pulse of the mill pumping its lifeblood into the small community.  Without its only industry, Titan Falls is poised to become another "hollowed-out settlement stuck at the wrong end of nowhere" (5) just like all the other failed paper towns in the North Woods.     

As the wife of the mill's owner, June McAllister must keep a stiff upper lip at all times, despite her many worries.  The other mill wives might not fully accept her—since June was not, after all, born and bred in Titan Falls—but they look to her for guidance and leadership.  In spite of her misgivings, she must give it to them, must keep up the image of being in control of what is, by all appearances, a picture-perfect life.  This becomes especially important after June learns the truth about the cause of a school bus accident that stole the life of a young girl.  She will do anything to cover up what really happened.  Anything

Unlike the McAllisters, the Snow Family has never had much—no money, no education, no standing in the town that has always shunned them.  Accused of vagrancy, witchcraft and all manner of evil-doing, the Snows have never been able to get ahead.  Nineteen-year-old Mercy Snow wants nothing to do with Titan Falls, but she has little choice.  With nowhere else to go, she, her older brother, and her younger sister come looking for their estranged father, who still lives on his family's land.  What they find is what the Snows always find—trouble.  Accused of causing the school bus crash, Zeke Snow is jailed.  Mercy knows—or thinks she knows—that her brother is not responsible.  But, who is?  It's up to her to clear her brother's name.  

At cross-purposes, June and Mercy clash in a vicious battle between rich and poor, influence and ruin, truth and lies.  The fate of two families, a dying town, and a boat-load of long-buried secrets hang in the balance as the women face-off in a war that only one can win.

When Gerard Zemek—one half of the married couple that writes Grab a Book From Our Stack—posted a rave review of Mercy Snow, I knew I had to read the novel.  ASAP.  As promised, Tiffany Baker's newest is indeed "an enjoyable page-turner."  It's more than a run-of-the-mill (see what I did there??) thriller, though.  Baker infuses her tale with rich, complex characters; a vivid, multi-layered setting; and sharp, atmospheric prose.  True, none of the book's characters are all that likable and the whole story's pretty darn depressing, but still, Mercy Snow is a taut, engrossing mystery that kept me riveted from start to finish.  

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of Crooked River by Valerie Geary [available October 14, 2014])


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder invectives), violence and sexual content

  To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center


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

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