Tuesday, March 10, 2020

TTT: Spring Has Sprung on Mt. TBR, Part One


Ahhh, Tuesday!  My favorite day of the week in the book blogging world. I've been a little bit MIA from BBB lately thanks to my attendance at RootsTech—a big, multi-day genealogy conference.  Since I was in Salt Lake City for the event, I took the opportunity to do some on-site research on some of my Mormon pioneer ancestors.  The Church History Library held an absolute gem—a series of letters written to my great-great-great grandfather from his mother in England while he was eking out a life in Ogden, Utah, in the 1860s and '70s.  Since they hadn't been indexed or transcribed, I spent a few hours sending the letters from microfilm to my email address, page by page.  Once I got home, I couldn't wait to transcribe them, a painstaking but very fulfilling process.  Reading the letters made me laugh, cry, and shake my head.  Let's just say that moms haven't changed much in 150 years!

Hoping to strike gold again, I visited the Salt Lake City Cemetery in search of a more recent ancestor who died in a coal mine cave-in near Helper, Utah, in 1925.  Find a Grave did not have any photos, so I went headstone-hunting hoping to take one for myself.  Imagine my dismay when I found this:


Considering the age of some of the headstones in this cemetery, it's amazing more haven't toppled, but nope—the stone I sought was the only one laying face forward on the ground!  Try as they might, my husband and aunt couldn't lift the heavy stone so we could read its inscription.  Such is the life of the genealogist, I guess.  You win some, you lose some.  Ironically, a quick visit to Billion Graves (which I somehow hadn't thought to check) revealed a perfectly clear photo of the headstone taken while it was still upright, proving I'm not quite the thorough genealogist I thought I was!  Good thing I attended RootsTech to hone my skills.   

Anyway, all this is to say that I'm home, recovered from my vacation, and ready to get the blog updated.  Participating in TTT seems like the best way to get back into the swing of things!

If you're not familiar with Top Ten Tuesday, it's a super fun weekly meme.  You should definitely join in. It's simple.  Just head on over to That Artsy Reader Girl, read some quick instructions, make your own list, and then spend a few happy hours hopping around the book blogosphere checking out other people's lists.  If you're looking for an easy way to feel more connected here while spreading the love to some awesome blogs and adding to your TBR pile at the same time—well, you've found it.  Jump on in, the water's fine :)

This week's topic is Top Ten Authors Who Have a Fun Social Media Presence.  I don't follow many authors, so I'm going to fast forward to next week's topic: Top Ten Books on My Spring 2020 TBR.  Since there are at least 20 books on my Spring TBR, I'll share ten this week and ten next week.  Here goes:

Top Ten Books on My Spring 2020 TBR (Part One):



1.  The Wish and the Peacock by Wendy S. Swore—Swore's debut, A Monster Like Me, was one of my favorite novels of 2019.  I was super excited to get an ARC of her newest, which I'm reading now.  It's a poignant story about a 12-year-old girl who's desperate to hold on to the family farm she loves, which is being sold in the wake of her father's death.  She'll do whatever it takes to sabotage the sale, even tame a wild peacock!  So far, the book is sweet and funny.  I'm enjoying it.


2.  The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron—I'm a big fan of Cameron's books, which are unique and thought-provoking.  Her newest tells a more traditional story than her others.  It's a WWII novel about a real Polish teenager who hid 13 Jews in her tiny apartment, even with Nazis living next door, throughout the war.  Sounds fascinating!


3.  When We Were Lost by Kevin WignallLark recommended this YA novel about a high school field trip to Costa Rica gone horribly wrong.  It sounds like a tense, exciting adventure/survival story.  I just grabbed it from the library and I can't wait to dig in.


4.  My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira—This is an older historical that I somehow missed reading.  It's about a 17-year-old midwife who dreams of becoming a surgeon.  The Civil War is raging and she offers her services as a nurse, which leads to an adventure that is full of excitement, danger, heartbreak, romance, and sorrow.


5.  Rebel Spy by Veronica Rossi (available June 23, 2020)—This one is kind of a cheat since it doesn't come out until the end of June, but I'm hoping to get an early copy of it, so ... I really enjoyed Rossi's Never Sky series, but her latest is a completely different kind of novel.  It's a historical featuring a young woman who snatches a surprise opportunity to assume a different identity.  Eventually, she becomes a Revolutionary War spy for George Washington.  Based on a real person, this one sounds super intriguing!


6.  The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth—Not gonna lie, even as a kid, I found Mister Rogers' Neighborhood a little too trippy!  I was never a fan of the Land of Make Believe (so weird!), but I enjoyed the rest of Mister Rogers' show as well as the calm, accepting, positive vibe he put off.  It's been fun getting to know this wonderful man better through recent movies.  My book club chose this book for our March meeting and I can't wait to read it.


7.  The Last Blue by Isla Morley (available May 5, 2020)—I loved The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, which features a "Blue" from the unique Kentucky clan.  I've been interested in reading more about these people, so when Morley offered me a copy of her newest, I gladly accepted.  Her novel is about a pair of journalists who travel to the wilds of Appalachia to study the Blue People of Kentucky for a government WPA project.  The experience opens their eyes and changes their lives forever.


8.  The Supremes at Earl's All You Can Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore—This one came up in a Google search I did for "happy novels."  It's about a trio of friends who have been by each other's sides through thick and thin.  This year, however, will be their most challenging yet.  Sounds a little intense, but I'm hoping happy wins out in the end!


9.  A Good Neighborhood by Therese Ann Fowler—This one's gotten some excited buzz lately, and it does sound interesting, especially considering I have a bi-racial daughter.  The novel concerns a family with a bi-racial son whose ordered lives are challenged when their uppity new neighbors start causing tension, which causes everyone in the neighborhood to ask important questions about race, class, and interracial romance.


10.  In Five Years by Rebecca Serle—This novel, which comes out today, sounds like a thought-provoking one!  It concerns a woman who knows exactly where she will be in five years.  Until one night when she has a very real-feeling dream in which she's shown an entirely different future.  What does it all mean, if anything?  Oooh, the possibilities with this premise ... I'm excited to see what happens.

There ya go, ten books I'm hoping to read this Spring.  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  What's on your TBR list this season?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on yours.

Happy TTT! 

49 comments:

  1. I hope you enjoy all of these books.

    My TTT .

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    1. Thanks! I hope so, too. It's always disappointing when books sound really great but ... aren't.

      Thanks for coming by, Lydia!

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  2. I added In Five Years as soon as I read the synopsis a few weeks ago. It sounds right up my alley. Hopefully we'll both love it!

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    1. Right? I love books with these kinds of premises. There's so much possibility, plus they always make me think about alternative paths my life could have taken. Super interesting to contemplate.

      Thanks for coming by, Tanya!

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  3. Oh wow, you have 20 books on your quarterly TBR?!? Good luck getting them all read. I hope to read In Five Years at some point, but I don't think it'll make it onto this quarter's TBR. I didn't even finish my ten from my Winter TBR!

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    1. Well, these are just the books I WANT to read. How many and which ones I ACTUALLY read will be a whole different matter! LOL.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  4. Oh, and I like genealogy as well, although I haven't done it in a while. I did some transcription for FamilySearch.org a while back, which is nice because you get free access in return, plus it always feels like you're doing something good for the community!

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    1. Familysearch.org is a great site! It's chock-full of great information and it's completely free. If you're interested in transcribing old documents, for sure check out the "Web Indexing" tab on its website. It's a fun, easy way to help make historical documents easily available to all!

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  5. Sad about your fallen headstone at the Salt Lake City Cemetery. I have an ancestor buried up there. It's such a cool cemetery. :) The Light In Hidden Places is one book from your list that I really want to read. They did a movie about it several years ago called Hidden in Silence that was really good.

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    1. Right? We had fun walking through the cemetery, though. It really is a cool one. We saw the resting places of many prominent Utahns just by walking around a little.

      I haven't heard of Hidden in Silence. I'll have to look it up. The story sounds SO interesting.

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting, Lark!

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  6. I got an early copy of Rebel Spy through NetGalley so I'm looking forward to reading it. The Mister Rogers book sounds interesting as well! :)

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    1. I just requested it on NG yesterday, so I'm hoping I get approved. The book sounds so good! And, yes, I've heard great things about the Mister Rogers book. I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

      Thanks for coming by!

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    2. Do you have a blog, Jaime? I want to make sure I visit it ...

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  7. Some good reading here, enjoy. https://pmprescott.blogspot.com/2020/03/ttt-031020.html

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    1. Thanks! I'm hoping these books are all winners for me :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. The genealogy conference sounds amazing! And to bad about the headstone but exploring a cemetery is always fascinating. Hopefully you get to some of these books on your TBR!

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    1. I've been to RootsTech a few times and have really enjoyed it each time. I also like the BYU Family History Conference in Provo, Utah - it's smaller, but just as informative.

      And, I agree - cemeteries are always interesting. I find them peaceful, not scary.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting!

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  9. What a cool trip. Most of my ancestors are overseas (my dad came here in the 50s, and my mom's family in the early 1900s). I recently read a review for In Five Years and I am intrigued. Sounds like something I could really like.

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    1. It's harder to research ancestors in different countries, but FamilySearch and Ancestry.com have documents from all over the world. Maybe you'll get lucky :)

      IN FIVE YEARS sounds amazing, doesn't it?

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting!

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  10. In 5 Years is supposed to be really good. I hope you love it!

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    1. It sounds really good. I'm excited to read it.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  11. I'm really looking forward to In Five Years!! I hoe you love all of these. :) Yay, for Spring!

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    1. Sounds like lots of us are! I hope it's as good as it sounds.

      Thanks for stopping by, Leslie!

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  12. How fascinating! I love genealogy. And sounds like you made some awesome discoveries- those letters sound amazing!

    The Wish and the Peacock looks like a neat read. The Cameron book sounds great too!

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    1. I was absolutely thrilled to find the letters. They weren't easy to transcribe because of the difficult handwriting, lack of punctuation, poor grammar, etc., but they were absolutely fascinating for me to read. I learned a lot about the family from them.

      I just finished THE WISH AND THE PEACOCK. It was good, although I liked the author's debut better. And, I agree - the Cameron book sounds excellent.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  13. Hope you enjoy all the books you pick up this spring!

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    1. Thank you! You, too.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. 20 books! That's a lot! I don't think I could read that much books this Spring, but will see. (we don't have spring in my country though) Great list <3

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    1. I probably won't read that many either, but I'm going to try! We don't have seasons here in Arizona in the same way other states do - it's mostly just hot, ridiculously hot, and a little bit less hot :)

      Thanks for coming by, Rose!

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  15. I'm glad your genealogy trip was so successful. What a treasure to find old letters of an ancestor.

    And now you've sent me to my library website, where I was able to request Simple Faith of Mister Rogers and In Five Years. Thank you.

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    1. Definitely a great fine. While they didn't give me the exact information I was looking for, the letters did confirm some of my hypotheses. Also, they just charmed me by giving me an intimate look into my ancestors' lives. Very fun!

      I hope we both enjoy these books.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  16. You've got a few books on your spring TBR that are on my TBR as well! Thanks for visiting my TTT on Lisa Loves Literature earlier!

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    1. Oh, good! I hope we both enjoy them :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  17. What a great discovery those letters are! I've tried researching my own roots on several occasions and have done pretty well on the branches associated with both grandmothers, but very poorly on both grandfathers. The letters are something your family can enjoy for many generations to come.

    Of the books you list here, the only one I'm familiar with is "My Name is Mary Sutter," a book I reviewed in 2011. I really liked the historical look at what medicine was like during the Civil War and how much was learned during those four or five years as a result of the overabundance of patients available for study. My only complaint about the book that it at times read too much like a romance novel to suit my taste. But in all honestly, I don't remember many of the details anymore. I see that I rated it a 3.5 star book at the time .

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    1. Yeah, I'm always amazed by how much I can find about my ancestors and how much I CAN'T find about them! Research can be very frustrating, but also very enlightening. It just depends :)

      I'm interested in MARY SUTTER for the historical aspect, so I hope it's not too romancy! We'll see what I think.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

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  18. I've been interested in A Good Neighboorhood. It was a BotM choice and I almost picked it! I'd love to hear what you think of it :)

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    1. I decided to buy it instead of borrow it from the library because I think it will be a nice, inspirational one to have on my shelves. I hope it's an awesome read!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  19. Find a Grave is really interesting to go over, especially looking at local cemeteries.

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    1. I love Find a Grave! It's a super useful site. It's nice to be able to look at far away cemeteries without having to travel all that way.

      Thanks for coming by!

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  20. Looks like you have some great reads coming up on your Spring TBR. Rebel Spy is one that I'm very excited to read this year.

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    1. It looks awesome, doesn't it? I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can get an early copy.

      Thanks for stopping by, Suzanne!

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  21. I did not know Billion Graves existed either; that's awesome. I love family history & genealogical research so your trip sounds incredible. Also I have a lot of thoughts about your TBR. Hope you don't mind me almost writing my own version of your post, because you have selected an incredible slew of novels, most of which are new to me.

    -The Wish and the Peacock looks really good -- but I think I'm going to have to know in advance if she saves the farm, or the lesson is about how it's okay to let things go because farms are just places and memories are what live forever. The latter kills me every time (family history includes places!! she says, forever mad about her grandparents' AND great-grandparents' farmhouses being torn down after there was nobody left to live in them).

    -When We Were Lost is going on the TBR RIGHT NOW; I absolutely love that kind of story! It sounds kind of similar to If We Survive by Andrew Klavan, which I really enjoyed and recommend, but with less civil war -- a definite upgrade.

    And the historical novels all sound like notable standouts from time periods that have no shortage of novel options, so I'm glad you brought them to my attention.

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    1. Ha ha. I love that you write me a comment-novel :)

      So, I've known about Billion Graves for awhile, but I use Find a Grave almost exclusively. I just like its set up better. I'm still slapping my forehead for not at least checking it, though. Duh!

      I liked THE WISH AND THE PEACOCK. If you want spoilers, email me and I'll give them to you :) I liked WHEN WE WERE LOST as well. It's a fast-moving adventure story that kept me entertained. The characters weren't quite as fleshed-out as I wanted them to be, but besides that, it's a good action/adventure/survival novel. I haven't read the Klavan book yet, but it's on my TBR. I just started THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES. So far, so good.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  22. The Supremes is on my TBR as well-- I've heard wonderful things about that book.

    I love this list! It's so varied in genre. I've never heard of Swore's writing; I'll have to check it out. Good luck reading all these books (and the 10 to come next week) this spring!

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    1. Thanks! I try to change up the genres I read, just to keep things exciting :)

      Swore has only written two books so far, so it's not surprising you haven't heard of her. I LOVED her debut novel, A MONSTER LIKE ME. THE WISH AND THE PEACOCK is good, too, but I liked MONSTER better.

      Thanks for coming by, Jackie!

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  23. The only book I have on your list is A Good Neighbor (got it through Book of the Month). Your genealogy adventures sound like fun, even if the headstone was overturned. I find old cemeteries super interesting.

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    1. Me, too! I'm not creeped out by cemeteries at all. I find them peaceful, sacred places that are all kinds of fascinating.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Helen!

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  24. The Wish and the Peacock sounds super cute, I love sweet and funny

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    1. It is sweet and funny, but it's also got some really poignant parts. The story is nicely balanced that way.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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