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2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Bingo!

I don't even know what to say about the state of the world anymore. I'm just going to post the following picture of my family and say that I hope and pray and—to the best of my ability—work toward, a future that is safe and peaceful for all my children regardless of their skin color:

On a lighter note, it's Top Ten Tuesday time.  Yay!  This is my favorite bookish meme.  If you haven't joined in before, you really should—it's a great way to spread the love around our great book blogging community.  All you have to do is click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl to get started.  Easy peasy.

Today's topic is a fun one:  Top Ten Books That Give Off Summer Vibes.  Summer is my least favorite season (ironic, given that I live in the Land of Eternal Sunshine) and I actually seem to avoid it in my reading as much as I do in my real life.  So, I'm going to change up the topic a little bit today.  Jana, our TTT host, just announced a summer reading challenge she and Reading With Jessica are hosting from June 1 - August 31.  It has a Bingo format, where you cross off different prompts when you read books that fit the categories.  The kicker?  Each book has to be written by an author you've never tried before.  Sounds fun, right?  I haven't come up with a coordinated attack for tackling the challenge yet, but here are the Top Ten Books I'm Planning to Read for the New-to-Me Author Summer Bingo Event.  Want to Bingo with me?  You can find all the info here

Top Ten Books I'm Planning to Read for the New-to-Me Author Summer Bingo Event

1.  Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles—I just started this magical YA fantasy, a genre I don't usually read.  It's about a powerful show magician who's determined to break out of the gilded cage in which her mentor is keeping her.  When she escapes, she finds herself in a complex world that she doesn't understand.  So far, I'm enjoying the writing, the imaginative world, and the strong, willful heroine.  (Challenge categories:  Summer 2020 Release, Author With a "J" in Their Name, First in a Series)

2.  The Other People by C.J. Tudor—I don't usually like books centered around a revenge plot, but this one sounds intriguing.  It's about a father who wants justice after his daughter is abducted and killed.  (Challenge categories:  Author With a "J" in Their Name, Standalone)

3.  Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle (available June 9, 2020)—This thriller revolves around Charlotte, a newlywed who's trying to ignore the small-town whispers about the real cause of her husband's first wife's death.  When the body of a young woman is found in the same place where his first wife died, Charlotte is forced to take a closer look at the husband she isn't sure she really knows.  (Challenge categories:  Summer 2020 Release, Your Favorite Genre, Contemporary)

4.  The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season by Molly Fader—A mother and her daughter seek asylum at the Orchard House, their family estate in Michigan.  As she works in the orchards and gets to know their caretaker, she begins to discover the way to a new start.  (Challenge categories:  Summer 2020 Release, Summery Book Cover, Contemporary, Standalone)

5.  That Summer in Maine by Brianna Wolfson (available June 23, 2020)—During one summer in Maine, two women who don't know each other have an affair with the same man.  Sixteen years later, their daughters find each other and decide to spend a summer in Maine getting to know their biological father.  (Challenge categories:  Summer 2020 Release, Contemporary, Summery Book Cover, Your Favorite Color on the Cover, Beach on the Cover, Standalone)

6.  The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper—I'll be reviewing this one for a blog tour later in the summer.  It centers on a young widow who receives a large sum when her husband dies in the Great War.  Knowing his family in Australia needs the money more than she does, Fleur travels Down Under and finds herself in a strange country living a life she never expected as the owner of a remote farm and a crumbling curio shop.  Sounds like a fun read!  (Challenge categories:  Summer 2020 Release, Your Favorite Color on the Cover, Standalone, Set in a Country Other Than Your Own)

7.  A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette—Bronwyn Crewse has returned to her small Ohio town to renovate and reopen her family's ice cream shop.  A delayed opening means her first day in business coincides with the first snowfall of the year—and the murder of a drifter who harbored an old grief against Bronwyn's family.  I'm enjoying cozy mysteries lately and this series opener is getting good reviews.  (Challenge categories:  Contemporary, Cool Off With a Wintry or Snowy Setting, First in a Series)

8.  The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue (available July 21,2020)—This one is set in a Dublin hospital during World War I and the deadly flu pandemic.  The women at its center change each other's lives in meaningful ways over the course of the novel.  I've never read anything by Donoghue, but I find pandemic novels fascinating, so this one appeals.  (Challenge categories:  Set in a Country Other Than Your Own, Standalone, Hyped)

9.  The Lost Family:  How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are by Libby Copeland—As a budding genealogist, I find genetics and family relationships endlessly intriguing.  I can't wait to read this one, which I have on hold at the library.  (Challenge categories:  Recommended By a Friend, Reader's Choice, Lesser-Known)

10.  Mind Games by Nancy Mehl—This series opener features FBI behavioral analyst Kaely Quinn, whose career is ruined when she's ousted as the daughter of a serial killer.  Starting over in a new city with a demotion to field agent, she gets caught up in a puzzling murder case.  Mehl writes "faith-filled" mystery and suspense, so I'm hoping this one will be clean and uplifting, but also compelling.  We'll see.  (Challenge categories:  First in a Series, Contemporary, Your Favorite Color on the Cover, Lesser-Known) 

There you go.  What do you think of my choices?  Have you read any of them?  Any suggestions for other books that might fit the challenge's prompts?  What summery books are on your list today?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I'll return the favor on yours.

Happy TTT!  


  1. You have a beautiful family. :)

    The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season is making me crave cherries.

    My TTT .

    1. Right? I love that cover. It totally says summer to me.

      Thanks for coming by, Lydia!

  2. First of all, what a wonderful picture of you and your family! So precious! Thanks for sharing it with us!

    As to the books you mentioned, good luck with the bingo and also these. I've already had Stranger In the Lake and The Other People on my list. I'm adding Mind Games and also The Pull of the Stars as well. As I've mentioned several times, I like to 'read cold books in summer' and so I'll likely be looking for some set in Antarctica or Iceland or Alaska - LOL!

    1. Thanks, Kay! The photo is a few years old now. We were scheduled to have new ones taken in March, but COVID put a stop to that. Oh well. I'll have to reschedule them for Thanksgiving time when my daughter's home from college on break.

      I'll be interested to see what we both think of these books. And if you find some good cold reads, let me know. I'm always up for an icy read to combat this crazy Arizona heat.

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

  3. You have a truly beautiful family. May God bless you all.

    I'll have to look into the Bingo challenge!! Sounds intriguing...

    The Other People was so good! It was my first book by C.J. Tudor and I absolutely loved it.

    Stranger on the Lake is coming up on my TBR also. But a lot of people are rating it right around 3 stars that I've seen... Hope it turns out better for you (and me!)

    The Pull of the Stars has a beautiful cover and title! Hope it turns out to be as good of a book.

    My TTT.

    1. Thank you, Leslie! Having a bi-racial daughter (she's adopted) has led to us having our own experiences with racism. Luckily, most of them have turned into teaching moments, but some of them have really hurt my daughter's feelings. It's tough.

      I'm picking up a copy of THE OTHER PEOPLE from the library tomorrow. I'm excited to read it. Bummer that STRANGER is getting mediocre reviews. We'll have to see what we both think of it. I agree on THE PULL OF THE STARS. I have an e-ARC of it and I'm excited to get to it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Summer is my least favorite season, too. It's just way too hot! Your list has books that seem like really fun reads. I'm adding That Summer in Maine by Brianna Wolfson to my TBR. (Cute family, by the way!)

    Here's my TTT list.

    1. Agreed. I was not made for the heat. My skin's too pale and my constitution too weak! I should be leaving in Antarctica :)

      I hope we both enjoy ThAT SUMMER IN MAINE.

      Thanks for coming by, Leatrice!

    2. Sorry, Lectrice not Leatrice!

  5. Most of them sounds like they are really good books. Especially The Sweet and Bitter of Cherry season.

    1. I think so, too. We'll see how they turn out :)

      Thanks for coming by!

  6. I'm so happy you are participating with me and Jana!! I cannot wait to try some new authors and find a new fave!! Good luck with all your books. I hope they're all 5 stars <3

    1. I'm excited for the challenge. It will be a fun way to boost my summer reading. It's always fun to try new authors and hopefully find some new favorites.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jessica!

  7. Your family is beautiful, Susan. And I echo your feelings about the state of the world at the moment. Take care and stay safe.

    A couple of your books appeal to me: The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season and That Summer in Maine. Enjoy the challenge! (And summer is my least favourite season too.)

    1. Thanks, Cath! I'm not sure we can handle much more in 2020. God help us all.

      There's not a lot of detail in the plot summer for THE BITTER AND SWEET OF CHERRY SEASON, but I usually like books that involve women going back to their hometowns to confront the past, find a new life, etc. Hopefully it tells a good story.

      Summer is just rough for me. My English/Welsh ancestry gives me light skin and hair, which isn't very helpful in this hot, dry desert, and my Pacific Northwest upbringing makes me crave rain, wind, and cool weather. I'm counting down the days until the blazing temperatures go away.

      You and yours take care as well. Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cath!

  8. Beautiful picture of your family! Being a resident of Texas, I'm definitely not a fan of the summer heat. But I do love some summer reading! I really think you're going to enjoy The Other People! It hooked me from the prologue alone!

    1. Thanks, Ethan! The picture was taken a few years ago, so we're all a little older and bigger now. Ha ha.

      I am glad that Arizona doesn't have the kind of humidity you get in Texas. The big joke here is that it's a dry heat, but I actually do prefer dry heat to wet heat. I'd prefer no heat, but what can you do beyond moving to Antarctica?

      I think I'm going to enjoy THE OTHER PEOPLE. I love a thriller that hooks me from the get-go.

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

  9. I love the family photo! So sweet! I'm also going to do the challenge.

    1. Thanks! It was taken a few years ago in the Fall when the desert is actually a bit green. If you look closely, you can even see one of the wild horses that lives at the river up the road a few miles from our house :)

      I'm glad you're doing the challenge, too. It sounds like a fun way to boost our summer reading.

      Thanks for stopping by, Deanna!

  10. I'm just about to start The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season. It has such an amazing cover.

    1. It does. I hope the story is as awesome as the cover!

      Thanks for coming by, Cheri!

  11. Aww, you guys look so happy in that picture! Summer is my least-favorite season too. I hate being hot. Good luck with Bingo!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Unlike most family photo shoots, this one was really fun. We had a photographer we know well, so we were all relaxed and happy. We really need new photos done, but I do love these :)

      I hate being hot, too. Just ugh. We've been swimming every day, so that helps. Still. Antarctica is looking better and better every day ...

      Thanks for coming by, AJ!

  12. Love the photo! Your family is beautiful. And, That Summer in Maine sounds crazy. I need to know more about that.

    1. Aw, thanks! We had a good time with that photo shoot. I'm not a big fan of the desert, but it makes for a pretty background in the Fall.

      Ha ha. I might not have described THAT SUMMER IN MAINE very well, but it does sound intriguing, doesn't it?

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

  13. Where Dreams Descend looks good. Glad to hear you're enjoying it. :)

    Check out my TTT

    1. It's interesting so far. The plot seems fairly original to me, although I don't read much fantasy so it could be totally generic. Ha ha.

      Thanks for stopping by, Lauren!

  14. I JUST finished That Summer In Maine...I loved it!!!!

    1. Really? How funny! I'm so glad to hear that you loved it. That makes me even more excited to read it.

      Thanks for coming by, Donna!

  15. Oh I really want to read Where dreams descend!


    1. It's good so far, but I'm reading an e-ARC and I didn't realize how LONG the book is. In paper form, it's 464 pages. Yikes! We'll see if there's enough plot to keep things moving for that long.

      Thanks for stopping by, Evelyn!

  16. Beautiful family photo!

    I have read one Tea Cooper book but I really do want to read more!

    1. I thought of you when I saw Cooper was an Australian author :) I've heard good things about her, so I'm excited to try her out.

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

  17. I've been hearing interesting/good things about the Lost Family down here and will look forward to your reaction to it.

    The Emma Donoghue book sounds interesting. The only thing I've read of hers was her smash hit from a few years ago called Room. That one was made into a movie that had some success, but the movie sort of turned me off the book for some reason. Room is one of the few titles that I downgraded in my mind over time; it usually works in the other direction.

    1. Same. I'm always interested in families finding each other through DNA and genealogical research. The whole process just fascinates my family history-loving heart :)

      I've had a copy of ROOM ever since it came out, but for some reason I haven't read it yet. And I never watch movies based on books before I read the book, so I haven't seen the film either. Weird that the book's been downgraded for you. For me, too, it goes the other way. Although I did recently re-read a book that I LOVED when I first read it - the second time around I liked it, but wasn't sure why I had been so twitterpated the first time I read it. Funny how your experience with a book can change over time.

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

  18. Summer bingo sounds like so much fun! Happy reading. :)

    1. Doesn't it? And the prompts are general enough that they work for the books I was already planning to read. Perfect!

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

  19. Great post! I'm so pumped to pick up Where Dreams Descend too :)

    1. I hope you enjoy WHERE DREAMS DESCEND when you read it. I'm about halfway through. It's long but entertaining.

      Thanks for stopping by, Emelie!

  20. What a lovely take on the TTT. And so nice to see your whole family.

    Same as you, I don't like summer, far too hot. Luckily, they don't get too bad over here but lately they have become worse. Hope it won't get even hotter.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

    1. Our summers seem to be getting worse and worse, too! Ugh. One of these years, I'm going to melt completely away ... I hope we both survive the heat. At least it gives us an excuse to stay inside and read, right?

      Thanks for coming by, Marianne!

    2. I hope so, too. You're right, a good excuse to stay inside though when it's really hot, even inside is hardly bearable. We don't have any airco in Europe. At least not in the normal houses.

  21. I haven't heard of any of these! I feel so out of touch with reading right now. I hope I can get my act together now that it's summer.

    1. I hope you get some time to relax, read, and do whatever else brings you pleasure this summer :)

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

  22. Ooh, there are so many titles I've never heard of that sound interesting on this list, but I think my top intrigue is for #4 and 6 for their combined themes of family land, women starting over, and I'M SORRY DID YOU SAY OWNER OF A CURIO SHOP.

    1. Right? I'm a sucker for those tropes, too. I will always look twice at a book that features any of those themes individually, but collectively? YES. A curio shop does sound fun, doesn't it? Lots of story potential there.

      Thanks for coming by, RS!

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Great twist on the topic Susan. Several of those books definitely interest me. I just read The Bitter & Sweet of Cherry Season and loved it. I am reading Stranger in the Lake right now and so far, so good. I hope you enjoy them and good luck with Bingo.

  25. What a great list! I haven't read any of these books but I certainly am going to take a look at some of them! Thank you for sharing!

  26. I love the photo of your family!

    What a fun idea for summer. If you might enjoy an older title, I'd highly recommend Parnassus on Wheels. I will look for more of that author.

  27. Stranger in the Lake was good! This bingo game looks fun :)


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