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My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

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38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

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25 / 40 books. 63% done!

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15 / 40 books. 38% done!

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9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

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6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

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22 / 100 books. 22% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

60 / 165 books. 36% done!
Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: The Next Few in the Queue

Back in the good ole days before COVID-19 struck (otherwise known as February), I wasn't much of a t.v. watcher.  I tuned in to Call the Midwife while I folded laundry, but that's about it.  Then came lockdown, which saw me picking up an old hobby—cross-stitching—which I like to do while watching the tube.  Other than the occasional movie on Netflix, though, the few shows I watch are on PBS and CBS All Access (Genealogy Roadshow, anyone?).  I realize no one really cares about my viewing habits, but I'm telling you all this to explain why, once again, I went rogue with today's Top Ten Tuesday topic of Top Ten Book Series That Should Be Adapted Into Netflix Shows.  My mind is drawing a complete blank on this one! 

I hate to skip TTT, so today I'm striking out on my own topic-wise.  Upon realizing yesterday that I'm just about to finish my 100th read of the year, I've been contemplating which 100 I should read next in order to complete my goal of reading 200 books in 2020.  I realize that I'm unlikely to actually hit 200, although I've come close over the years.  Still, it's fun to think about which books I want to read before the end of the year.  A list of 100 might be a *tad* excessive, so I'm just going to give you the next ten in my queue.

First, though, a quick reminder to click on over to That Artsy Reader and give Jana, our lovely host, some love.  I encourage you, as always, to join in the TTT fun.  It really is a good time that you don't want to miss.

Top Ten Books I Plan to Read Next  

1.  Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah—This is cheating a little because I'm actually just about done with this novel.  Someone (was it you?) mentioned last week how much they liked this one and while reorganizing some books in my office area, I came across my copy.  When I started the book, I thought I knew exactly where the plot was going.  Now, I'm not so sure ... I'm a Hannah fan and The Winter Garden shows why.  It's engaging, interesting, surprising, and enjoyable.

2.  Death in Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley—I enjoy Ashley's upstairs/downstairs mysteries starring Kat Holloway, the most sought-after cook in Victorian London.  I'm going to be reading #4, Murder in the East End, soon for a blog tour, but I need to read this one—the third installment in the series—first.

3.  Murder in the East End by Jennifer Ashley—When Kat hears that children are going missing from a local foundling hospital and that their nurse has been murdered, she can't stay away from the intriguing case.  Can the cook find the killer before she becomes his/her next victim?

4.  The Children's Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin (available January 12, 2021)—I read David Laskin's fascinating non-fiction book about this horrifying tragedy not long ago.  I'm interested to see how the story is told in a novel.  I've got an e-ARC of this one, which sounds intriguing but sad (of course).

5.  Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards (available October 6, 2020)—This YA thriller is about Mira, who is desperate to get home for the holidays.  When her flight is canceled at the last minute, she's forced to rely on the generosity of another passenger, who offers Mira a seat in the car she and a few others are renting.  As the weather worsens, she finds herself trapped in an increasingly terrifying position with a group of people she doesn't know at all.  Sounds like a heartwarming holiday yarn!

6.  What You Wish For by Katherine Center—I've enjoyed both of the Center novels I've read so far, so I'm definitely up for her newest.  It centers around Samantha and Duncan, educators who were once lovers.  When Duncan is hired to be the principal at Sam's new school, she's not sure how to handle the awkward situation.  As the school faces challenges on every side, the two must navigate their own hurdles.  Center's novels are always engrossing and upbeat, so I'm excited to see what she does with this one.

7.  The Big Easy and Other Lies by Melanie Jacobson—I met this charming author of contemporary romances back in 2012 when she was my mentor for a writing workshop at the Storymakers Conference.  Back then, she talked about a book she was planning to write about a teen who's determined to win a fashion designing contest, even if the only materials she has at her disposal are whatever she can find in her guardian's hoarding piles.  It sounded good then and it sounds good now that the e-book has been published.  You can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited or buy it, like I did, for the bargain price of $4.99.  It will come out in paperback soon-ish, but I couldn't wait!

8.  You Belong Here Now by Dianna Rostad (available April 21, 2021)—This one doesn't come out for quite a while still, but I have an e-ARC of it that I'm excited to read. The story concerns a trio of children who are put on an orphan train headed west.  They jump off before the last stop, winding up at a ranch in Montana where they must prove their worth to a taciturn spinster.  You know I love me a good historical novel and this one sounds like just the ticket.

9.  These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart—I heard about this historical novel from someone's TTT list sometime in the last month or so.  Was it yours?  It concerns a young woman who's crushed after receiving a "Dear John" letter from her WWII soldier boyfriend.  In search of a new start, she heads to Appalachia to train as a nurse/midwife in the unforgiving hills.  Adventure, heartache, and romance ensue.

10.  Born a Crime by Trevor Noah—On a visit to The Strand a couple years ago, I picked up this gem.  I rediscovered it during the reorganization of books I mentioned above.  I'm hoping to get to it soon.

There you have it, the next ten books I'm hoping to read.  What do you think of my list?  Have you read any of these?  Do any of them pique your interest?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will return the favor on yours.

Happy TTT!


  1. I've also read the nonfiction version of The Children's Blizzard. The fiction version sounds good!

    My TTT .

    1. It does, doesn't it? I'm excited to read it.

      Thanks for coming by, Lydia!

  2. I've got Born a Crime and still haven't cracked it open. I should get on that too. I wish you all the luck on reaching your reading goals by the end of the year!

    Here's my Top Ten Tuesday post.

    1. Thanks! I need all the luck I can get :)

      I totally forgot about BORN A CRIME since it was stacked in a huge heap of books. Now that I've found it, I'm definitely going to read it so it doesn't get lost again.

      Thanks for stopping by, Natalie!

  3. I love Center's books and WHAT YOU WISH FOR just seem really timely for me. It 's about choosing joy and we definitely need that reminder right now.

    1. Very timely! I'm even more excited to read WHAT YOU WISH FOR now.

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

  4. I normally draw a blank with the topics, but this one was easy for me! 😂

    1. It's funny how I can think of twenty responses for some topics and zilch for others!

      Thanks for stopping by, NickiMags!

  5. All of the book concepts sound really interesting! Cheering you on as you try and reach your goal of 200 books in 2020!

    My TTT:

    1. Thanks! I don't think I'll make it, but I'm going to try.

      Thanks for coming by, JadeSky!

  6. So many people have recommended the Trevor Noah book for me. We've been binging Downton Abbey and plan to watch the film at the end!

    1. Can you believe I've never watched Downton Abbey? I like period dramas, too! Are you guys enjoying it?

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

  7. I really liked What You Wish For - joy is the theme. I like the look of Five Total Strangers. Will watch for that one.

    1. Joy is the perfect theme right now! Even in crazy times like this we can choose to live our lives in a positive, grateful way. This makes me want to read the book even more.

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

  8. I've read 3 from your list Born A Crime (loved), Winter Garden (not bad) and What You Wish for (pretty good). I do want to read The Children's Blizzard..

    1. I started THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD last night. I'm only a few chapters in, but it's hooked my interest for sure. I think it's going to be a good read. Sad but engrossing.

      Thanks for stopping by, Diane!

  9. I really liked ‘Born a Crime.’ I’ve got the Hannah and the Center on my to-read list. I’ll be watching for ‘The Children’s Bluzzard;’ it sounds interesting. Happy reading!

    1. I've heard only good things about BORN A CRIME. My only excuse for not reading it earlier is that the book got lost in my many book stacks. Now that I've reorganized, I have no excuse! Must read.

      Thanks for coming by, Alison!

  10. Several of these pique my interest, You Belong Here and These Healing Hills most of all. The one that chills me is Five Total Strangers. Oh my word!

    1. Right? When I was in college, there was a big "ride board" posted so that students from outside of Utah could carpool home to other states for the holidays. I always thought that would be a great set-up for a novel. Only I was thinking of a romance or an adventure. I never thought about a thriller, but it really is a chilling premise, isn't it?

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

  11. Wow congrats on reaching 100 books this year so far! I read 156 last year, but so far I'm only at 71. I think I'll make my goal of 110 though.

    I sometimes cross-stitch on the rare occasion that I'm watching TV too, but more often I'm playing Quiz Up (something fairly mindless).

    1. I used to cross-stitch all the time, ten years ago or so. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Now, I spend an hour or two every night stitching and watching t.v. with my family. My husband likes it better when I stitch than when I read since he can still talk to me without feeling like he's interrupting! LOL.

      Thanks for stopping by, Brooke!

  12. I totally understand why you didn't take to the topic. It wasn't my favourite, either, but I do enjoy classic adaptations, so I wandered there. ;)

    Anyway, I love your take. My goal has always been 100 books but then, I do read really really big ones. My last one hat 489 pages, right now I'm on one with 1,376, one with 432 and one with 464 pages, so that's why I think I'll never reach 200. Still, great that you can do it.

    The only book I've read from your list is Winter Garden which was a book club book. I've read better ones on that topic but it was alright.

    Anyway, happy reading. And thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

    1. Wow, you do read hefty tomes! Maybe you should have a pages read goal instead of a books read one. I count all books with over 50 pages and I try to read a variety of lengths. Still, I've been into a few other projects this year so my reading has been slower than in years past. Not that it matters really, but it's fun to have a reading goal to aim for.

      I've read very little about what happened in Leningrad. Which other books on the subject would you recommend? Preferably something under 500 pages :)

      Thanks for coming by, Marianne!

    2. I've mentioned this in my statistics last year, that if you assume that the average novel contains between 140 and 320 pages, i.e. 230, then I would have read 134 books in 2019.

      I will have to think whether I can recommend a good novel about the siege. Or whether it appears in a novel that is not too long. I'll get back to you.

      And you're welcome, always a pleasure reading your posts.

    3. Thanks! The only other novel I can think of that I've read about the siege of Leningrad is THE MADONNAS OF LENINGRAD. It was a long time ago, but I remember enjoying the book. Maybe I should re-read it ...

    4. I think, even if I don't enjoy a book because I know all the background already, someone else might love it or at least learn from it. So, it's good that you read about history, no matter how.

  13. Five Total Strangers has been getting some great reviews -- I hope you enjoy it!

    1. I'm looking forward to it! The premise is so simple, but so intriguing ...

      Thanks for stopping by, Verushka!

  14. You have a nice lineup of books here. My list for the To-Read pile is growing since we are confined to the house. I read now more tha ever.
    The Children's Blizzard sounds very good.

    1. Are you on NetGalley? E-ARCs of THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD are available there.

      Thanks for coming by, Tina!

  15. I listened to Trevor Noah narrate Born a Crime, and I really enjoyed it. I hope you like it when you get to it also!

    1. Oh, hearing him read it might make the book even better. Maybe I should try that. Glad you enjoyed!

      Thanks for stopping by, Nicole!

  16. The Children's Blizzard, Five Total Strangers and What You Wish For are high on my TBR list, too. :)

    1. I hope you love them! I'm reading THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD right now. It starts with a bang and is pretty darn intense, which isn't surprising but still ...

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

  17. Call the Midwife is such a good show! Your next 10 are so good and I've got a couple of them (Winter Garden and What You Wish For) on my TBR shelves as well so I look forward to hearing what you think of them.

    1. I know! I love Call the Midwife. My kids used to groan every time I turned it on - "not the baby birthing show again!" I could never convince them that it was a really, REALLY good show. Kids!

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

  18. That whole "orphan train" part of our history has always fascinated me. Just the idea of big city orphanages packing children on trains and taking them from town to town to find homes without really vetting anyone still appalls me. I'll have to take a look at You Belong Here Now, for sure.

    I don't know the story of The Children's Blizzard, so I may wander over to NetGalley to see if a review copy is still available. Thanks.

    1. The orphan train movement was truly incredible. I know we can't fully understand the kind of desperation people felt at that time period, but still, how could someone give away their children? And subject them to a program that placed them with guardians who might just as soon enslave and beat them than love them as their own? Horrifying.

      The Children's Blizzard is also a horrifying event. Fascinating, but super sad. I definitely recommend the Laskin book about it that I mentioned above. Benjamin's novel is atmospheric and intense so far. I'm sure you'd find it engrossing - I sure am!

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

  19. Ohh, 200 in 2020 is such a fun goal. Good luck! On enjoying the journey as much as the end goal. I did 211 in 2011 and it was bonkers/featured mostly YA novels by the last quarter when I escalated to ~25 a month, but fun.

    The Big Easy and Other Lies looks great.

    I wasn't totally sold on Natalie D. Richard's debut, but Five Total Strangers looks way fun. ...also I was apparently so unimpressed by her debut that I forgot that she existed and had no idea she had a whole string of thrillers afterward, nearly all of them looking more exciting/appealing than her first. Guess I've found a good well to draw from for fall! (a.k.a. my personal Thriller Season)

    And finally, I think you'll enjoy These Healing Hills based on some of the other books you've read about this area/era. My expectations from such a Photoshopped cover were not high (to bust out a VERY old meme: my dog is pastede on, yay), but they were blown out of the water. There are lots of animals, which is a nice bonus.

    1. 200 is my goal every year since I haven't managed to reach it yet. I don't stress about it - like you said, the journey's more important than the destination!

      I hadn't heard of Richards before I saw FIVE TOTAL STRANGERS advertised, but she has other books I want to check out. I'm always up for a good thriller, no matter what the season.

      I'm glad you liked THESE HEALING HILLS. I do like Appalachian stories and I find midwivery fascinating. Christian books are hit and miss for me, but it sounds like this one is a hit. Yay!

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

  20. I have to pick up that Hannah book!

    1. It's not my favorite Hannah book, but I liked it. I hope you do, too.

      Thanks for stopping by, Debra!

  21. I have never heard of The Children's Blizzard before but now that I've looked it up--what a disaster! I can't imagine! Melanie Benjamin always writes such compelling historical fiction too. Enjoy your next reads!

  22. I went off script this week as well, and I expect that I might next week too.


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