Saturday, January 16, 2021

Noodle House Mystery Series Always Fun, Entertaining

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Egg Drop Dead, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier Noodle Shop mysteries.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.

Lana Lee is always looking for ways to promote her family's Chinese restaurant, Ho-Lee Noodle House.  As manager, it's her responsibility to keep the place running smoothly as well as look for new ways to bring in business.  Offering catering services seems like a good idea.  Especially when Lana sees just how swanky their first catered party really is.  Wealthy guests are eating up all of Ho-Lee Noodle House's delicious offerings and promising to use the restaurant for their own fancy galas.  Everything is going swimmingly until a dead body is found in the backyard pool.

Donna Feng—the party hostess and co-owner of the Asian Village shopping center where Ho-Lee Noodle House is located—swears she has no idea how her children's nanny ended up dead.  Everyone heard Donna screaming at the young woman earlier in the party.  Everyone knows Donna hasn't been quite right since her husband died.  Everyone seems convinced that the widow snapped and killed Alice Kam in a fit of rage.  Lana seems to be the only one who believes Donna, an old family friend whom she's known for years, is innocent.  True, the woman is not exactly who she says she is.  Still, Lana knows she isn't capable of murder.  So, who did the dastardly deed?  It's up to Lana to find out...

Vivien Chien's Noodle House Mystery series is one of my favorites.  The books don't take themselves too seriously which makes them fun, entertaining reads.  Lana is a spunky heroine whose natural curiosity leads her into plenty of far-fetched but exciting mystery-solving adventures.  Her relationship with her colorful, complicated family adds humor and tension to every book.  While Egg Drop Dead isn't my favorite installment in the series, it's still an enjoyable romp that kept me smiling while I zipped through its pages.  Even though the killer in this one is pretty obvious and Lana's boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau, drove me crazy with his condescending "dollface" comments, I still liked Egg Drop Dead.  I'll continue with the series, no question, because it really is a whole lot of fun!

(Readalikes:  Other books in the series, including Death By Dumpling, Dim Sum of All Fears, Murder Lo Mein, Wonton Terror, Killer Kung Pao, Fatal Fried Rice, and Hot and Sour Suspects; also reminds me of culinary cozies by Ellie Alexander, Amanda Flower, Kylie Logan, and Eve Calder)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


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

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2021 Monthly Review Link-Up (January)


I'm a *little* late on posting this monthly link-up for January.  Sorry about that! For those of you who are participating in the challenge, this is where you can post reviews for this month.  Please include the title of the book you're reviewing along with your name and the name of your blog.  I can't wait to see what everyone's reading!

If you haven't "officially" signed up for the challenge, it's not too late.  Just go to this post and add your name to the Mr. Linky there.





 

Poignant, Compelling MG Novel My Favorite Read of the Year So Far

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Imani Mandel is used to nosey questions from strangers.  The 12-year-old has spent her whole life fielding them.  Why is she Black when her parents are white?  Who are her real mom and dad?  How can she be Jewish when she's Black?  Shouldn't she be celebrating Kwanza instead of Hanukkah?  

Imani has grown up in an adoptive Jewish family, so her life makes sense to her.  Still, she can't help but wonder about her birth family and the truths that are hiding in her DNA.  For her upcoming bat mitzvah, Imani gets to choose a "big" present.  She knows what she wants—her parents' permission to search for her birth family—but she doesn't know how to ask for it without gutting them.  

For her bat mitzvah, Imani is supposed to do a research project about the Holocaust.  When her great-grandmother dies, leaving her many books to her grandchildren, Imani is shocked to discover a diary forgotten among the other volumes.  Even more amazing, it's the journal her great-grandmother Anna kept when she was forced to leave her native Luxembourg in 1941.  At 12 years old, she fled to America by herself, reluctantly leaving her parents and five siblings behind.  As Hitler's campaign to destroy the Jews heats up, she worries constantly about the family she left in Europe.  What happened to Anna's family?

As Imani becomes immersed in her great-grandmother's story, she begins to understand her place in her adoptive family, her legacy as a Jew, and what it truly means to be her own unique self.  

I had never heard of The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman until I came across Afoma Umesi's wonderful list of 67 Best Middle-Grade Historical Fiction Books.  As the adoptive mother of a mixed-race daughter and a lover of World War II stories, I was immediately drawn to the novel's premise.  It promised a compelling story about themes I find intriguing: identity, family history, heritage, adoption, DNA, etc.  Did it deliver?  Absolutely!  The characters are sympathetic and likable, the plot is exciting and interesting, and the overall story is poignant and moving.  When it comes to dual-timeline novels, I'm usually way more invested in the past story than the present.  Not so with The Length of a String; I was equally intrigued by both story lines.  Although the book deals with some difficult subjects, overall it's upbeat, uplifting, and empowering.  So far, this is my favorite read of the year.  I loved it.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen and other children's books about the Holocaust)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: The Mystery of the Catch-Up Reader


What do you want to accomplish in 2021?  Do you make New Year's resolutions?  Do you keep them?  Are you a person who chooses a focus word/idea to guide your choices throughout the year?  I've always been a great goal maker, but not a very good goal achiever!  Because of my son's wedding in early January, my usual New Year's tasks were postponed, so I haven't made any resolutions yet.  It feels very liberating, let me tell you!  I may use February 1st as my January 1st or I may not make any resolutions at all.  We'll see.  I am curious what you all do and how well your methods work, though, so please share.  I need some motivation (obviously).

Today's Top Ten Tuesday is all about our hopes and goals for the new year.  Book/blog-wise, my only real aims are to read 200 books in 2021 and to complete the reading challenges I've taken on.  If I fail completely?  No biggie.  These are just-for-fun goals.  Since I'm not really sure about what else I want to accomplish this year, on the blog and off, I'm not going to do today's topic of Top Ten Goals and Hopes for 2021.  Instead, I'm going to steal a topic that Katherine over at I Wish I Lived in a Library did last week:  Top Ten Series I Want to Finish/Catch Up On By the End of the Year (check out her list here).  I love series, especially mystery ones, but I get stuck in the middle of them all the time.  2021 seems like a good time to catch up!  

Before we get to that, though, I want to encourage you to join in the TTT fun.  This is an awesome weekly meme that encourages bloggers to spread the love throughout our wonderful book blogosphere.  It's a great way to get involved in the community, find new blogs, revisit old favorites, and, of course, add more books to your TBR pile mountain mountain chain.  What's not to love?  Hop on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the TTT deets. 

Top Ten Mystery Series I Want to Finish/Catch Up On Before the End of the Year (in no particular order)


1.  Name:  The Noodle Shop Mystery series
Author:  Vivien Chien
Description:  Cozy culinary mysteries revolving around a Asian-American family that runs a Chinese restaurant in Cleveland
Books in series so far:  8 (two of which come out in 2021)
Books I've read:  5
Next up for me:  Killer Kung Pao 


2.  Name:  The Gilded Newport Mystery series
Author:  Alyssa Maxwell
Description:  Cozy historical mysteries starring a poor Vanderbilt relation who gets caught up in upstairs/downstairs tangles of all sorts
Books in series so far:  9 (the newest of which comes out in 2021)
Books I've read:  2
Next up for me:  Murder at Beechwood


3.  Name:  Lady Darby Mystery series
Author:  Anna Lee Huber
Description:  Set in 1830's Scotland, this mystery series features a widow whose former occupation as an anatomist's assistant makes her especially suited to help solve confounding murder mysteries.
Books in series so far:  9 (the newest of which comes out in 2021)
Books I've read:  2
Next up for me:  A Grave Matter


4.  Name:  The Bakeshop Mystery series
Author:  Ellie Alexander
Description:  Cozy culinary mystery series set in a family-owned bakeshop in Ashland, Oregon
Books in series so far:  13 (the newest of which comes out in 2021)
Books I've read:  1
Next up for me:  A Batter of Life and Death


5.  Name:  The Amish Candy Shop Mystery series
Author:  Amanda Flower
Description:  Cozy mystery series set in a family-owned candy shop in the heart of Ohio's Amish country
Books in series so far:  7 (the newest of which comes out in 2021)
Books I've read:  3
Next up for me:  Toxic Toffee


6.  Name:  The Ruth Galloway Mystery series
Author:  Elly Griffiths
Description:  An English archeologist helps solve mysteries involving bones and secrets
Books in series so far:  13 (the newest of which comes out in 2021)
Books I've read:  4
Next up for me:  A Dying Fall


7.  Name:  Below Stairs Mystery series
Author:  Jennifer Ashley
Description:  London's best cook is also a keen observer and amateur detective
Books in series so far:  5 (the newest of which comes out in 2021)
Books I've read:  3
Next up for me:  Murder in the East End


8.  Name:  Inspector Armand Gamache Mystery series
Author:  Louise Penny
Description:  Canada's best detective solves puzzling mysteries, with a special interest in those originating from the small town of Three Pines
Books in series so far:  17 (the newest of which comes out in 2021)
Books I've read:  11
Next up for me:  A Great Reckoning


9.  Name:  Shetland Mystery series
Author:  Ann Cleeves
Description:  Crime series set in the Shetland Islands
Books in series so far:  8
Books I've read:  3
Next up for me:  Blue Lightning


10.  Name:  Lucy Campion Mystery series
Author:  Susanna Calkins
Description:  A chamber maid solves mysteries in plague-ridden 17th Century England
Books in series so far:  5
Books I've read:  0
Next up for me:  A Murder at Rosamund's Gate    

There you go, ten mystery series I want to catch up on in 2021.  Are you a fellow fan of these series?  Which mystery series are your favorites?  Which series in other genres do you enjoy?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Gilded Age Mystery Series Fun, Engaging

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Note:  Although this review will not contain spoilers for Murder at Marble House, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Murder at the Breakers.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.

It's only been a few weeks since Emmaline "Emma" Cross helped solve a murder at the luxurious Newport home of her well-known Vanderbilt uncle.  Now, another of her illustrious relatives is in trouble.  This time, it's 18-year-old Consuelo Vanderbilt.  Distressed at the news that she will soon be forced into an advantageous engagement to an English duke she barely knows, Consuelo begs Emma to help her escape the impending nuptials.  Emma's not sure how to help the young woman.  Before she's really had a chance to do anything, a woman is killed on the grounds of Consuelo's home and the bride-to-be has gone missing.  While the police handle the murder, Consuelo's mother pleads with Emma to find her missing daughter.  Discreetly.  The girl's dramatics cannot be allowed to spoil her upcoming marriage.

Emma, who dreams of being an investigative reporter, can't resist the chance to put her detective skills to work once again.  She wants to know who strangled the mysterious psychic, but she's more concerned about her young cousin.  Did Consuelo flounce off somewhere to pout?  Or has someone taken her against her will?  Emma vows to find her.  If she happens to bring a murderer to justice along the way, all the better.  With the help of a dashing journalist, she will get to the bottom of Consuelo's disappearance—even if it means putting herself in harm's way.  Which it will ...

I enjoyed Murder at the Breakers, the first installment in Alyssa Maxwell's Gilded Newport Mystery series, so I was excited to pick up the next book, Murder at Marble House.  Like its predecessor, the novel features a vivid historical setting, likable characters, and a plot that kept me guessing.  As a poor relation of a wealthy family, Emma straddles the line between upstairs and downstairs, which gives the stories an added layer of tension and intrigue.  With her bravery, loyalty, and compassion, she is an appealing heroine who handles her station with humor and aplomb.  All these elements work together beautifully to create engaging tales that make for a fun, entertaining series that's just all kinds of enjoyable.  I'm looking forward to reading the next book and the next and the next ...

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other historical mysteries like the Tess Holloway series by Jennifer Ashley, the Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber, and the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

     

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

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Saturday, January 09, 2021

The Midnight Library Full of Tantalizing Possibility

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

One of the things I love about libraries is that they're full of possibility.  There are literally millions of stories sitting on the shelves, just waiting to be told.  You might walk in having a vague idea of what you want to read, but you could walk out with something totally different.  The best part is you don't have to limit yourself to only one or two stories—you can experience them all!

Imagine a library with that kind of power, except every book on its shelves stars one person:  you.  Each represents a life you are living in a parallel universe, one in which you made different choices than those you picked in your root life.  You can hop in and out of these volumes to find the story that suits you best.  With endless possibilities, which life would you choose?

This is the premise behind The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.  The story revolves around Nora Seed, a 35-year-old who has just lost her long-time dead-end job as well as her beloved cat.  After realizing that these are her only real connections in a world where she's always felt superfluous, she decides to take her own life.  Instead of ending up in heaven or hell, however, she finds herself in an in-between place called The Midnight Library.  Here, she has the ability to try on her different lives to find one that feels more comfortable, more satisfying than her root life.  As Nora tries these variations on for size—experiencing versions that are glamorous, successful, adventurous, terrifying, humdrum, disappointing, surprising, etc.—she begins to wonder if any life is really worth living.  When her strange library starts to crumble, she must decide whether to live or die.  

With that kind of premise, how could I not be drawn into The Midnight Library?  It's a fascinating seed from which to grow a compelling story.  The novel definitely tells an interesting tale, one which is both entertaining and thought-provoking.  It explores some intriguing concepts:  potential and perspective, regrets and resolutions, choice and possibility.  Still, I didn't end up absolutely loving The Midnight Library, but I did like it.  It's a unique, life-affirming read that kept me turning pages.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, violence, sexual content, and depictions of illegal drug use (marijuana)

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

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

A Historical Girl-Power Survival Novel Set in the Arctic? Yes, Please!

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When Sir John Franklin and his crew of explorers disappear after an 1845 trip to the Arctic, everyone is eager to learn of the company's fate.  After several parties fail to find her missing husband, Lady Jane Franklin decides to take the matter into her own hands.  She pays for an all-female crew to make a secret trek into the wilderness.  If they succeed in finding Franklin, the team of women will become famous the world over.  Should they fail?  No one will ever know.  Or will they?

Virginia Reeve has helped lead hundreds of pioneers across the United States to California Territory.  She's proved herself against inclement weather, ferocious wildlife, and ill-prepared gold seekers, but she has never taken on a journey the likes of which Lady Jane is proposing.  Is she really up for leading a group of women she doesn't know into the frozen unknown?  A million things could go wrong—is she prepared to deal with the potential fallout?  

One year later, Virginia is standing trial for murder.  A young socialite is dead.  And she's not the only one who perished in the Arctic under Virginia's watch.  What really happened out there on the ice?

I love survival stories set in remote, dangerous places.  Mix in a murder mystery and you've got my attention, one hundred percent.  As soon as I read the synopsis for The Arctic Fury, the newest historical novel by Greer Macallister, then, I knew I had to read it.  A girl-power survival novel set in the Arctic?  Yes, please!  I was all-in for what I hoped would be an absorbing, immersive read.  Did The Arctic Fury meet my (admittedly high) expectations?  Yes and no.  The premise is definitely unique and interesting (the all-female expedition is entirely fictional, but what if it weren't?).  As far as plot goes, there's enough tension, suspense, and mystery to keep the tale moving at a satisfactory clip.  The tale definitely never got boring for me.  I had a hard time with the characters, though.  The cast is large and even though each of the women in the expedition narrates at least one chapter of the book, I still didn't feel like I really knew any of them.  Thus, it was difficult to care too much when characters died—none of them felt real enough to make me mournful.  Since I'm not sure exactly what purpose all the book's courtroom scenes served, I would have preferred that the whole novel—or at least a good 80% of it—took place in the Arctic.  That way, the story would have been more atmospheric, intense, and compelling.  Plus, it would have given Macallister more time to really develop all the female explorers, create a bond between them that the reader could feel, and offer more excitement and thrills to the plot.  I also would have liked to see the women have a more proactive role in their own rescue. 

Considering all these things, I ended up liking The Arctic Fury without loving it like I wanted to.  The book kept my attention, but it didn't yank me in and make me feel like I was trudging through the Arctic along with Virginia and her crew.  Ah, well.   

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Terror by Dan Simmons)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


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

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Arctic Fury from the generous folks at Sourcebooks via those at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Out With the Old, In With the Shiny and New


Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are settling into the new year with hope and resolve.  I've yet to make any resolutions, but I've definitely been thinking about what I want to accomplish this year, both on the blog and off.  What have you come up with?  Any big goals or plans?  Whatever you're shooting for, I wish you the very best of luck with it.

Today's Top Ten Tuesday concerns our Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021.  I feel like I've talked a lot already about the new releases I'm most looking forward to, but I'll go ahead and give you ten more.  There are tons of great-sounding books coming out this year—I can't wait!

If you want to join in the TTT fun, click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl to get all the details.

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021:  


1.  What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton (available April 13)—June Bennett is shocked when she inherits her family's ancestral home and island, which she thought had been sold after her father's mysterious disappearance thirty years ago.  When she returns to the island, she learns that her former neighbors believe her dad was murdered.  As June looks into the past, she's taunted by strange happenings in the present.  What is going on in her 100-year-old cottage?  And what really happened to her father?  Sounds compelling!


2.  Survive the Night by Riley Sager (available June 29)—This thriller features a student who uses his college's ride board to hitch a ride home to Ohio.  He's never met the driver and the longer the two are on the road together, the more frightened he becomes about who the man behind the wheel really is.  It's Sager, so I'm definitely in for this one.


3.  Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (available May 4, 2021)—The first installment in a new cozy culinary mystery series, this novel features a woman who is tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's struggling restaurant.  When her food critic ex-boyfriend is found dead, she finds herself playing Nancy Drew in order to save her own neck.  This one sounds similar to the Noodle House Mystery series by Vivien Chien, which I love, so I'm excited to check out this series debut.


4.  Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto (available April 27)—This mystery/rom-com sounds like a lot of fun.  It's all about a woman who accidentally kills her blind date.  When she calls her mother for help, her mother calls in her squad of sisters.  The aunties must help hide a corpse while trying to keep their wedding planning business afloat.  


5.  War and Millie McGonigle by Karen Cushman (available April 6)—This middle grade novel concerns a California girl who's life is changed irrevocably both by a faraway war and problems closer to home.  I'm always up for a World War II novel, so I'm curious to see what this one's all about.


6.  Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh (available February 23)—Ten years ago, a wealthy socialite disappeared with a whole lot of money.  When her body is found buried in the elite neighborhood where she lived, it becomes apparent that she didn't just skip town.  What really happened?  Color me intrigued!


7.  Starfish by Lisa Fipps (available March 9)—This body-positive MG novel revolves around a girl who is bullied because of her weight.  She finds solace in the swimming pool and with supportive people, who help her thrive in spite of her mother's constant criticism.


8.  Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson (available March 2)—I enjoyed A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, so I'm excited for this sequel.  This time around, Pip is on the hunt for a missing teenager.


9.  When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain (available April 13)—When a seasoned missing persons detective returns to her California hometown to grieve, she discovers that a local teen has vanished under mysterious circumstances.  The incident is eerily similar to one that occurred when she was a child.  Can she figure out what happened then and what is going on now?  Sounds compelling, no?


10.  The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. by David Levithan (available February 2)—When Aidan goes missing for almost a week, everyone wondered where he was.  He returns with an impossible story.  His brother, Lucas, wants to believe Aidan's wild story, but how can he?  With a vague premise like that, I'm definitely interested to see where this story goes ...

There you go, ten 2021 releases I'm looking forward to reading.  Which are on your list?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on yours.

Happy TTT!  

Monday, January 04, 2021

Rockin' and Rollin' With 2021 Reading Challenges

I love reading challenges, but historically I have not done well with actually completing them.  In 2020, I actually finished six of the eight I signed up for—go me!  I'm still riding that high, so this year I'm going for broke and doing eight again.  We'll see how I do.  As always, I'll be keeping track of my challenge progress on the right sidebar of my blog. 

These are the challenges I'm tackling:

1.  2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge


I'm hosting this challenge, which encourages participants to read historical fiction written for children (including teens) by fulfilling 20 reading prompts.  You can get all the information on this challenge and sign up here.



I love historical fiction of all kinds, so I'm excited for this one.  I'm going to aim for the "Prehistoric" level by reading 50+ historical novels.  You can get all the information on this challenge and sign up here.


I signed up for this 52-prompt challenge halfway through last year, so I didn't complete the 2020 version, although I did finish about 70% of the prompts.  I'm aiming for 100% this year.  You can get all the information on this challenge and sign up here.



This annual challenge features 40 prompts, with an additional 10 for an "Advanced" experience.  Naturally, I plan to do all 50 like I did in 2020.  What can I say?  I'm a glutton for punishment!  You can get all the information on this challenge here.  No sign up is required. 



Although I do this challenge every year, 2020 was the first year I actually completed it.  It's a fun one, so I'm doing it again in 2021.  The aim is to read one book set in every state, plus D.C.  You can get all the information on this challenge and sign up here.



If you enjoy mysteries, this is a morbid but fun challenge.  You read murder mysteries, keep track of the body count, and earn points for every corpse you add to the morgue.  You can get all the information on this challenge and sign up here.



I've been enjoying cozy mysteries lately, so I'm going to take on this one as well.  There are different levels.  I'm going to play it safe and go with the lowest one, "Peckish," which requires reading 25 cozies.  Shouldn't be too tough.  I hope.  You can get all the information on this challenge and sign up here.


Think you can read 52 books in 52 weeks?  Then this is the challenge for you!  It has 52 prompts to fulfill by the end of the year.  You can get all the information on this challenge and sign up here.

--

Think I can do complete all these?  I do.  Which challenges are you excited about this year?  If you're still looking for 2021 challenges, don't forget to check out my Ready for a Reading Challenge blog.  If you're hosting a challenge that you don't see listed over there, please let me know so I can get it in my database.  Wish me luck with my reading challenges and best of luck with yours!

Another Year in the Books



We did it!  We made it to 2021!  Happy New Year, everyone!  

I know I'm a little bit late to the party, but things have been a little hectic around here.  My son and his beautiful bride were married on Saturday.  It was a lovely event in every way and even though it was stressful to hold a wedding during the holidays, it was a fun way to start the new year.

Now that my company has gone home, I can turn my attention to looking at my reading stats from 2020.  It's always interesting and fun for me to look back at what I read and how it compares/contrasts with other years' numbers.  So, without further ado, here we go:

Total Books Read:  191 - Although I did not meet my goal of reading 200 books, I got pretty darn close.  I blew past last year's total of 168 and even beat my all-time record of 186 (from 2011).  Not bad!

Number of fiction books read:  183 (96%)
Number of non-fiction books read:  8 (4%)
Number of adult books read:  119 (62%)
Number of YA books read:  23 (12%)
Number of MG books read:  49 (26%)
Number of books by female authors: 164 (86%)
Number of books by male authors: 22 (12%)
Number of books by multiple authors, male and female:  5 (2%)
Number of books read, personal collection:  37 (19%)
Number of books read, review copies:  53 (28%)
Number of books read, borrowed from library:  101 (53%)
Number of books read, paper:  126 (66%)
Number of books read, electronic: 60 (31%)  
Number of books read, audio:  6 (3%)
Number of reading challenges joined:  8
Number of reading challenges completed:  6

For the Literary Escapes Challenge, I kept track of the states and countries where the books I read took place.  The top three states I visited most were:  California, New York, and North Carolina (a three-way tie as I read 11 books set in each).  The top three countries besides the U.S. were:  England (13), France (3), and Russia (3).  

As is true every year, in 2020 I read mostly adult fiction set in the United States that was written by women.  Unlike other years, the majority of the books I read this year came from the library, which is interesting since my local libraries were not open for several months because of the pandemic.  In previous years, I've read mostly review books.  Another big change this year is that I completed almost all of the reading challenges I signed up for.  That has never happened before!  

Overall, I have to say that 2020 was a very good reading year for me.  I'm hoping 2021 will be even better.  How did your year in reading go?  

Just for my records, the following is a list of books I read this year:

BOOKS READ IN 2020 (ASTERISKS DENOTE FAVORITES)

  • 191. THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD BY LAURA MCHUGH (DEC)
  • 190. THE ARCTIC FURY BY GREER MACALLISTER (DEC)
  • 189. SUGAR AND VICE BY EVE CALDER (DEC)
  • 188. BORN A CRIME BY TREVOR NOAH (DEC)
  • 187. THE TWENTY-ONE BALLOONS BY WILLIAM PENE DU BOIS (DEC)
  • 186. THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD BY AGATHA CHRISTIE (DEC)
  • 185. THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT BY CHRIS BOHJALIAN (DEC)
  • 184. WITHOUT A BREW BY ELLIE ALEXANDER (DEC)
  • 183. THE ONLY BLACK GIRLS IN TOWN BY BRANDY COLBERT (DEC)
  • 182. VIVA JACQUELINA! BY L.A. MEYER* (DEC)
  • 181. THE FAMILY ROMANOV BY CANDACE FLEMING (DEC)
  • 180. DRAGON PEARL BY YOON HA LEE (DEC)
  • 179. ROOM BY EMMA DONOGHUE (DEC)
  • 178. HUNGRY HEARTS BY VARIOUS AUTHORS (DEC)
  • 177. BEAUTY AND THE BARON BY JOANNA BARKER (DEC)
  • 176. THE SIMPLE FAITH OF MISTER ROGERS BY AMY HOLLINGSWORTH (DEC)
  • 175. THE LOOP BY BEN OLIVER* (DEC)
  • 174. WHEN I HIT THE ROAD BY NANCY J. CAVANAUGH (DEC)
  • 173. THE TRUTH PROJECT BY DANTE MEDEMA (DEC)
  • 172. PINE ISLAND HOME BY POLLY HORVATH (DEC)
  • 171. A CHRISTMAS CAROL BY CHARLES DICKENS [RE-READ]* (DEC)
  • 170. SHOOT THE MOON BY BILLIE LETTS (DEC)
  • 169. AS YOU WISH BY CHELSEA SEDOTI (NOV)
  • 168. A PROMISE FOR ELLIE BY LAURAINE SNELLING (NOV)
  • 167. COOP KNOWS THE SCOOP BY TARYN SOUDERS (NOV)
  • 166. A SEPARATE PEACE BY JOHN KNOWLES (NOV)
  • 165. CODE TALKER BY JOSEPH BRUCHAC (NOV)
  • 164. MURDER AT THE BREAKERS BY ALYSSA MAXWELL (NOV)
  • 163. SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE BY JO WATSON HACKL (NOV)
  • 162. GOLD RUSH GIRL BY AVI (NOV)
  • 161. STATE OF THE ONION BY JULIE HYZY (NOV)
  • 160. THE SEARCHER BY TANA FRENCH (NOV)
  • 159. LIGHTING TREE BY SARAH DUNSTER (NOV)
  • 158. SURVIVING SAVANNAH BY PATTI CALLAHAN (NOV)
  • 157. CLEAN GETAWAY BY NIC STONE (NOV)
  • 156. WINTERBORNE HOME FOR VENGEANCE AND VALOR BY ALLY CARTER (NOV)
  • 155. EVERY MISSING PIECE BY MELANIE CONKLIN (NOV)
  • 154. BROTHER'S KEEPER BY JULIE LEE* (NOV)
  • 153. MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK BY BARBARA DEE (NOV)
  • 152. ISAIAH DUNN IS MY HERO BY KELLY J. BAPTIST (OCT)
  • 151. STARTING FROM SENECA FALLS BY KAREN SCHWABACH (OCT)
  • 150. MY LIFE AS A POTATO BY ARIANNE COSTNER* (OCT)
  • 149. WE DREAM OF SPACE BY ERIN ENTRADA KELLY (OCT)
  • 148. CLOSER TO NOWHERE BY ELLEN HOPKINS (OCT)
  • 147. DRESS CODED BY CARRIE FIRESTONE (OCT)
  • 146. EFREN DIVIDED BY ERNESTO CISNEROS (OCT)
  • 145. HERE IN THE REAL WORLD BY SARA PENNYPACKER (OCT)
  • 144. STAND UP, YUMI CHUNG! BY JESSICA KIM (OCT)
  • 143. WHAT STARS ARE MADE OF BY SARAH ALLEN (OCT)
  • 142. THE CANYON'S EDGE BY DUSTI BOWLING (OCT)
  • 141. FIGHTING WORDS BY KIMBERLY BRUBAKER BRADLEY* (OCT)
  • 140. THE AMELIA SIX BY KRISTIN L. GRAY (OCT)
  • 139. A PLACE AT THE TABLE BY SAADIA FARUQI AND LAURA SHOVAN* (OCT)
  • 138. BEFORE THE EVER AFTER BY JACQUELINE WOODSON (OCT)
  • 137. THE WESTING GAME BY ELLEN RASKIN (OCT)
  • 136. WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE BY RENEE WATSON (OCT)
  • 135. WE COULD BE HEROES BY MARGARET FINNEGAN (OCT)
  • 134. ECHO MOUNTAIN BY LAUREN WOLK (OCT)
  • 133. TUNE IT OUT BY JAMIE SUMNER (OCT)
  • 132. LAND OF THE CRANES BY AIDA SALAZAR (OCT)
  • 131. WARRIORS DON'T CRY BY MELBA PATILLO BEALS (OCT)
  • 130. THE ONE AND ONLY BOB BY KATHERINE APPLEGATE (OCT)
  • 129. THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN BY KATHERINE APPLEGATE* [RE-READ] (OCT)
  • 128. FIVE TOTAL STRANGERS BY NATALIE D. RICHARDS (OCT)
  • 127. BLACK BROTHER, BLACK BROTHER BY JEWELL PARKER RHODES (OCT)
  • 126. SEVEN CLUES TO HOME BY GAE POLISNER AND NORA RALEIGH BASKIN (OCT)
  • 125. THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE BY REBECCA STEAD (OCT)
  • 124. THE INHERITANCE GAMES BY JENNIFER LYNN BARNES (OCT)
  • 123. BLOOD SISTERS BY JANE CORRY (OCT)
  • 122. THE STREEL BY MARY LOGUE (OCT)
  • 121. BEYOND VALOR BY JON ERWIN AND WILLIAM DOYLE (OCT)
  • 120. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD BY HARPER LEE [RE-READ] (OCT)
  • 119. PRAIRIE LOTUS BY LINDA SUE PARK (SEP)
  • 118. THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB'S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES BY GRADY HENDRIX (SEP)
  • 117. AND THEN THERE WERE CRUMBS BY EVE CALDER (SEP)
  • 116. THE EAGLE CATCHER BY MARGARET COEL (SEP)
  • 115. SHE GETS THAT FROM ME BY ROBIN WELLS (SEP)
  • 114. CHRISTMAS AFTER ALL BY KATHRYN LASKY* (SEP)
  • 113. A LIGHT IN THE STORM BY KAREN HESSE (SEP)
  • 112. THE FOUR WINDS BY KRISTIN HANNAH (SEP)
  • 111. AFTER ANATEVKA BY ALEXANDRA SILBER (SEP)
  • 110. REBECCA BY DAPHNE DU MAURIER (SEP)
  • 109. THE BLACKBIRD GIRLS BY ANNE BLANKMAN (SEP)
  • 108. NO FILTER BY HEATHER DAY GILBERT (SEP)
  • 107. LONG, BRIGHT RIVER BY LIZ MOORE (SEP)
  • 106. THE DROWNING KIND BY JENNIFER MCMAHON (SEP)
  • 105. THE STOLEN MARRIAGE BY DIANE CHAMBERLAIN* (SEP)
  • 104. EVERY LAST FEAR BY ALEX FINLAY (AUG)
  • 103. THE NIGHT SWIM BY MEGAN GOLDIN (AUG)
  • 102. DEATH IN KEW GARDENS BY JENNIFER ASHLEY (AUG)
  • 101. THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD BY MELANIE BENJAMIN (AUG)
  • 100. WINTER GARDEN BY KRISTIN HANNAH (AUG)
  • 99. SOMEONE'S LISTENING BY SERAPHINA NOVA GLASS (AUG)
  • 98. WITH OR WITHOUT YOU BY CAROLINE LEAVITT (AUG)
  • 97. PREMEDITATED PEPPERMINT BY AMANDA FLOWER (AUG)
  • 96. AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD BY KELLY MCWILLIAMS (JUL)
  • 95. FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON BY JANAE MARKS (JUL)
  • 94. THE IMPERFECTS BY AMY MEYERSON* (JUL)
  • 93. BE NOT FAR FROM ME BY MINDY MCGINNIS (JUL)
  • 92. THE SILENT HOUSE BY NELL PATTISON (JUL)
  • 91. A DEADLY INSIDE SCOOP BY ABBY COLLETTE (JUL)
  • 90. RECURSION BY BLAKE CROUCH (JUL)
  • 89. THE LAST WIFE BY KAREN HAMILTON (JUL)
  • 88. FRACTURED TIDE BY LESLIE LUTZ (JUL)
  • 87. THE WOMAN IN THE GREEN DRESS BY TEA COOPER* (JUL)
  • 86. EIGHT PERFECT MURDERS BY PETER SWANSON (JUL)
  • 85. TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH BY GILLY MACMILLAN (JUN)
  • 84. NECESSARY LIES BY DIANE CHAMBERLAIN* (JUN)
  • 83. BEYOND THE HORIZON BY LOIS LOWRY* (JUN)
  • 82. THAT SUMMER IN MAINE BY BRIANNA WOLFSON (JUN)
  • 81. A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER BY HOLLY JACKSON (JUN)
  • 80. SHOW ME A SIGN BY ANN CLARE LEZOTTE (JUN)
  • 79. THE VANISHING DEEP BY ASTRID SCHOLTE (JUN)
  • 78. THE GUEST LIST BY LUCY FOLEY (JUN)
  • 77. RED SKY OVER HAWAII BY SARA ACKERMAN (JUN)
  • 76. GARDEN OF STONES BY SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD (JUN)
  • 75. THE BITTER AND SWEET OF CHERRY SEASON BY MOLLY FADER (JUN)
  • 74. STRANGER IN THE LAKE BY KIMBERLY BELLE (JUN)
  • 73. THE PRISONER'S WIFE BY MAGGIE BROOKES (JUN)
  • 72. WHERE DREAMS DESCEND BY JANELLA ANGELES (JUN)
  • 71. THIS IS BIG BY MARISA MELTZER (MAY)
  • 70. THE LAST BLUE BY ISLA MORLEY* (MAY)
  • 69. REVIVING THE HAWTHORN SISTERS BY EMILY CARPENTER (MAY)
  • 68. THIS IS HOW I LIED BY HEATHER GUDENKAUF (MAY)
  • 67. ABANDON BY BLAKE CROUCH (MAY)
  • 66. THE DEEP BY ALMA KATSU (MAY)
  • 65. THE GIRL FROM WIDOW HILLS BY MEGAN MIRANDA (MAY)
  • 64. WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS BY ERIN BARTELS (MAY)
  • 63. BEST BEHAVIOR BY WENDY FRANCIS (MAY)
  • 62. THE SUMMER VILLA BY MELISSA HILL (MAY)
  • 61. THE MOUNTAIN MIDWIFE BY LAURIE ALICE EAKES (MAY)
  • 60. ONE BY ONE BY RUTH WARE (MAY)
  • 59. LETHAL LICORICE BY AMANDA FLOWERS (APR)
  • 58. THE CUTTING PLACE BY JANE CASEY (APR)
  • 57. THE SEA OF LOST GIRLS BY CAROL GOODMAN (APR)
  • 56. THE BOOK OF LOST FRIENDS BY LISA WINGATE* (APR)
  • 55. WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW BY CINDY BALDWIN (APR)
  • 54. BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND BY HEATHER GUDENKAUF (APR)
  • 53. ASSAULTED CARAMEL BY AMANDA FLOWER (APR)
  • 52. SUNRISE ON HALF MOON BAY BY ROBYN CARR (APR)
  • 51. MR. NOBODY BY CATHERINE STEADMAN (APR)
  • 50. TRUTHS I NEVER TOLD YOU BY KELLY RIMMER (APR)
  • 49. THE MARK OF THE GOLDEN DRAGON BY L.A. MEYER (APR)
  • 48. A SINGLE LIGHT BY TOSCA LEE (APR)
  • 47. THE LINE BETWEEN BY TOSCA LEE (APR)
  • 46. THE SPLIT BY SHARON BOLTON* (APR)
  • 45. TIGERS, NOT DAUGHTERS BY SAMANTHA MABRY (APR)
  • 44. GIRL WAITS WITH GUN BY AMY STEWART* (APR)
  • 43. SPRINKLE WITH MURDER BY JENN MCKINLAY (MAR)
  • 42. WHO RESCUED WHO BY VICTORIA SCHADE (MAR)
  • 41. THE UNHONEYMOONERS BY CHRISTINA LAUREN* (MAR)
  • 40. REBEL SPY BY VERONICA ROSSI (MAR)
  • 39. FOREVER FRIENDS BY SARAH MACKENZIE (MAR)
  • 38. THIN ICE BY PAIGE SHELTON (MAR)
  • 37. A CONSPIRACY OF BONES BY KATHY REICHS* (MAR)
  • 36. THE LAST TIME I LIED BY RILEY SAGER (MAR)
  • 35. LOCK EVERY DOOR BY RILEY SAGER (MAR)
  • 34. A ROOM FULL OF BONES BY ELLY GRIFFITHS (MAR)
  • 33. DRY BY NEAL AND JARROD SHUSTERMAN (MAR)
  • 32. THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES BY SHARON CAMERON* (MAR)
  • 31. WHEN WE WERE LOST BY KEVIN WIGNALL (MAR)
  • 30. THE WISH AND THE PEACOCK BY WENDY S. SWORE (MAR)
  • 29. THE LUCKY ONE BY LORI RADER-DAY (MAR)
  • 28. THE SWEENEY SISTERS BY LIAN DOLAN (MAR)
  • 27. AFTER THE FLOOD BY KASSANDRA MONTAG (MAR)
  • 26. THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK BY KIM MICHELE RICHARDSON* (FEB)
  • 25. TOMORROW THERE WILL BE SUN BY DANA REINHARDT (FEB)
  • 24. THE PERFECT GHOST BY LINDA BARNES (FEB)
  • 23. PEACE LIKE A RIVER BY LEIF ENGER [RE-READ] (FEB)
  • 22. MINOR DRAMAS AND OTHER CATASTROPHES BY KATHLEEN WEST (FEB)
  • 21. FLAT BROKE WITH TWO GOATS BY JENNIFER MCGAHA (FEB)
  • 20. WHERE THE LOST WANDER BY AMY HARMON* (FEB)
  • 19. DARLING ROSE GOLD BY STEPHANIE WROBEL (FEB)
  • 18. THE SUN DOWN MOTEL BY SIMONE ST. JAMES* (FEB)
  • 17. THE VINEYARDS OF CHAMPAGNE BY JULIET BLACKWELL (FEB)
  • 16. THE SECRETS OF BONES BY KYLIE LOGAN (FEB)
  • 15. THE WAKE OF THE LORELEI LEE BY L.A. MEYER* (JAN)
  • 14. THE ILLUSIONIST'S APPRENTICE BY KRISTY CAMBRON (JAN)
  • 13. THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE BY KRISTIN HANNAH (JAN)
  • 12. THE HOLLOWS BY JESS MONTGOMERY* (JAN)
  • 11. SECOND SIGHT BY AOIFE CLIFFORD (JAN)
  • 10. WONTON TERROR BY VIVIEN CHIEN (JAN)
  • 9. TWEET CUTE BY EMMA LORD (JAN)
  • 8. YOU WERE THERE TOO BY COLLEEN OAKLEY (JAN)
  • 7. THE OTHER HALF OF MY HEART BY SUNDEE T. FRAZIER (JAN)
  • 6. BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN BY DIANE CHAMBERLAIN* (JAN)
  • 5. SPECTACLE BY JODIE LYNN ZDROK (JAN)
  • 4. A MURDEROUS RELATION BY DEANNA RAYBOURN (JAN)
  • 3. FIRST CUT BY JUDY MELINEK AND T.J. MITCHELL (JAN)
  • 2. THE BLACK HOUR BY LORI RADER-DAY (JAN)
  • 1. CHRISTMAS BELLS BY JENNIFER CHIAVERINI (JAN)
Blog Widget by LinkWithin