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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

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

International:
Australia (2)
Canada (3)
England (6)
France (1)
Ireland (1)
Switzerland (1)
The Philippines (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

My Progress:


0 / 24 books. 0% done!

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

My Progress:


6 / 25 books. 24% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My Progress:


33 / 50 books. 66% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


39 / 52 books. 75% done!
Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Barnes' Newest a Fun Knives Out-ish Romp for Teens

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

A junior in high school, Avery Grambs is living in her car when she gets astonishing news:  she's been named in the will of multi-billionaire Tobias Hawthorne.  Since she's never heard of the man, it's obviously a mistake.  Still, she's curious enough to travel to Texas for the reading of the will.  Not only is the summons not an error, but Avery learns she's about to inherit most of the man's huge fortune.  All she has to do is live in Tobias' luxurious home for a year—with his furious disinherited family members.  Avery's understandably confused, but she's also penniless.  She needs the money.

Avery meets Tobias' four grandsons—all handsome, entitled young men who believe the money should be theirs.  Having grown up playing their grandfather's beloved puzzles and games, they figure this is just another one of his grand amusements.  If they solve this one, they win.  Some no-account pauper like Avery is no match for them.  Or is she?  Avery intends to show the spoiled boys just what she's made of.  Not only can she outthink and out-solve them, but she's going to win their money fair and square.  She's in for the game of her life against some very keen (not to mention hot) competitors.  Can she keep her head and pull off the ultimate coup?  She has a year to prove herself while answering the most compelling question of all:  Why did Tobias choose her?

Have you seen Knives Out?  Did you love its intriguing premise and quirky execution as much as I did?  Then you've got to pick up The Inheritance Games, the newest YA novel by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.  It has a similar feel and is just as much fun.  I read the book in a day because it's clever, exciting, and just totally diverting.  Not all of the twists surprised me, but that's okay.  The story still kept me turning pages.  Avery is a likable narrator, although I can't say I loved Grayson or Jameson.  Love triangles bug anyway and this one is especially annoying since there's no chemistry between any of the players.  Those irritants aside, I thoroughly enjoyed The Inheritance Games.  It's an entertaining romp that made me smile.  Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the sequel.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Knives Out as well as the Truly Devious trilogy [Truly Devious; The Vanishing Stair; and The Hand on the Wall] by Maureen Johnson and the Mr. Lemoncello's Library series by Chris Grabenstein)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Problematic Psychological Thriller Another Meh Read For Me

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Fifteen years ago, three little girls were walking to school.  One of them was in a terrible accident that left her with a Traumatic Brain Injury that affects her memory and speech.  Living in an institution, Kitty James has trouble communicating, but that doesn't mean she doesn't remember the accident, at least on some level.  Alison Baker, Kitty's half-sister, has also never quite recovered from the trauma of that long-ago day.  She has no real life and relies on cutting herself in order to feel anything.  

With little money in the bank, Alison reluctantly decides to accept a job as an artist-in-residence at an open prison outside of London.  She's assigned to teach art to a select group of inmates.  Seems simple enough.  Then, she begins receiving threatening notes at work.  When her classroom erupts in violence, Alison becomes completely unsettled.  Someone is purposely tormenting her, someone who knows what really happened the day of Kitty's accident.  Alison's kept her secrets carefully guarded for over a decade, but now the truth will out ...

On its surface, Blood Sisters by Jane Corry seems like the kind of tense psychological thriller I enjoy.  Unfortunately, I had a big problem with the characters in this novel.  They're not at all likable.  Alison is cold, immature, and melodramatic, all of which made it difficult to feel connected to her.  The only cast member I felt anything for was Alison's poor mum.  Corry's prose is awkward as well.  As far as plot goes, Blood Sisters kept my attention, although I saw some of the twists coming.  Many of the situations seem contrived and the Big Reveals at the end drove me crazy, justifying my dislike and distrust of a certain character even more.  Not surprisingly, Blood Sisters is a sad, depressing story.  All of these elements combined to make the novel a rather unpleasant read.  So, while I liked the premise, I just didn't love this book.  Bummer.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other the-past-comes-calling psychological thrillers, although no specific titles are coming to mind)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, violence, blood/gore, mild sexual content, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Blood Sisters with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
Glass Houses by Louise Penny



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