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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
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- California (3)
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- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
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- West Virginia
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- Wyoming
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- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (10)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
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My Progress:

27 / 51 states. 53% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

22 / 50 books. 44% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

39 / 52 books. 75% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

26 / 40 books. 65% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

25 / 100 books. 25% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

63 / 104 books. 61% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

68 / 165 books. 41% done!
Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Reads

Some Top Ten Tuesday topics are complete head-scratchers for me.  Others are no-brainers.  This week's is the latter and, honestly, I'm glad for a prompt that doesn't require a lot of thinking on my part.  Coming up with a list of My Ten Most Recent Reads was a cinch.  If you want to jump in on this easiest of TTT topics, use a past one, or even come up with your own, head on over to That Artsy Reader Girl to get started.  It's tons of fun!

My Ten Most Recent Reads  

1.  The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton—This swashbuckling adventure/mystery story is all kinds of entertaining.  Grade:  B

2.  Until I Find You by Rea Frey—Although the denouement of this one is far-fetched and dissatisfying, I liked the novel otherwise.  It's a mystery/thriller about a grieving widow with a degenerative eye disease that has rendered her nearly blind who is convinced someone has replaced her newborn with someone else's baby.  Grade:  B-

3.  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein—Narrated by Enzo, a pooch with a soul that is "very human," this book tells the story of a race car driver who must deal with some paralyzing life situations.  His faithful dog witnesses it all and does his best to provide his owner with comfort and joy, in spite of their trials.  I listened to this novel on audio.  While the tale kept my interest, I didn't end up loving it for a variety of reasons.  Grade:  C+

4.  The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben—This missing persons mystery stars Wilde, a man with few memories of his life as a feral child living alone in the forest.  Although he still prefers trees to people, he agrees to help search for a teenage girl who has vanished.  There are elements of this novel that I liked, but overall, it was just an average read for me.  Grade:  C  

5.  The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore (available July 27, 2021)—In this historical novel which begins in 1926, a Hollywood socialite receives a shocking diagnosis of leprosy.  Sent to a Louisiana sanitorium for treatment, she must come to terms with a life she never could have imagined living.  I found this one interesting and engrossing, although I didn't end up absolutely loving it.  Grade:  B-

6.  The Cold Vanish by Jon BillmanLark gave this book, about the astonishing number of people who go missing in America's national parks, a rave review on her blog.  Like her, I found it fascinating.  Grade:  B

7.  All the Children Are Home by Patry Francis—Another historical novel, this one revolves around an agoraphobic woman who retreats to her home after a horrific assault.  Becoming a foster mother, especially to a young Native American girl who has been severely abused, changes everything for her and her family.  Grade:  B-

8.  The Daughters of Foxcote Manor by Eve Chase—I love me an atmospheric family secrets story and this one certainly qualifies.  It's about a nanny who's caring for the young children of a grieving, mentally unstable woman.  When a mysterious newborn arrives on their doorstep, it throws the whole household for an unexpected loop, one that ends in unthinkable tragedy.  Grade:  B

9.  We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin—Odette Tucker's backwater Texas hometown is rife with secrets, number one being what happened to True Branson and her abusive father, both of whom disappeared without a trace ten years ago.  Everyone in town thinks True's younger brother, Wyatt, murdered them both, even though nothing about the case has ever been proven.  Odette refuses to believe her old boyfriend is capable of anything nefarious, but when a young girl is seen with Wyatt, she has to rethink everything she knows about him.  Grade:  B

10.  Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto (available May 6, 2021)—I've been really excited about this much-hyped novel, which looked like a fun rom-com/cozy mystery.  It's about a woman who accidentally kills her blind date and enlists her overbearing Indo-Chinese aunties to help her hide the body.  It's funny, yes, but it also got so over-the-top absurd that it just annoyed me.  Bummer.  Grade:  C

There you go, the last ten books I've read, from the pretty good to the not-so-great.  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  What are the last ten books you've read?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!     


  1. I just finished The Cold Vanish on audio and liked it a lot. (no review yet) I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain - book and movie.

    1. THE COLD VANISH is super interesting, isn't it? I'll have to watch RAIN the movie. I wonder if I'd like it better than the book?

      Thanks for stopping by, Diane!

  2. Oh, what a shame, I thought Dial A for Aunties sounded really good!

    1. I think I'm an outlier in this opinion! All I've seen are rave reviews. I'll be interested to know what you think of it if you read it.

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

  3. I thought Dial A for Aunties was a lot of fun. Yes, it was so over the top, but I expected that when they compared it to Crazy Rich Asians.

    1. I haven't read CRAZY RICH ASIANS, so I don't know how they compare. AUNTIES is enjoyable, it was just more R-rated and more absurd than I expected, both of which annoyed me. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I think I'm definitely going to be in the minority on this one :)

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

  4. I'm sure curious about The Second Life of Mirielle West. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    My post:

    1. Somehow I didn't realize that there were leper colonies/sanitoriums in the U.S. besides the one in Hawaii. This book takes place in Louisiana, which I found super interesting.

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

  5. I enjoyed Racing in the Rain more than you did but I can see how it isn't to everyone's taste.

    I went through a Harlan Coben phase for a while but then his books all started to feel the same for me. I haven't read this one but the synopsis feels like...more of the same.

    The Cold Vanish sounds interesting! I'm going to look for at it the library.

    1. I've read a few of Coben's books and I've found that his premises really intrigue me, but the execution always leaves me less than satisfied.

      I hope you enjoy THE COLD VANISH. Do you park your RV in national parks? Be safe! I never realized before reading this book how unsafe they are. Yikes.

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

  6. Too bad the one by Coben wasn't better. My sister keeps recommending his books to me.

    1. Right? I'm finding his books underwhelming, even though he's a super popular author. Bummer.

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

  7. I also loved the Devil and the Dark Water what a great book! Too bad Dial A for Aunties was so OTT, might give that one a miss!

    1. THE DEVIL AND THE DARK WATER was fun, wasn't it? I wasn't sure I was going to like it, but I ended up really enjoying it. DIAL A FOR AUNTIES was the opposite - I thought I would love it, but it ended up being kind of meh for me. Funny how books do and do not fulfill our expectations for them.

      Thanks for stopping in, Nicki!

  8. I love the title Dial A For Aunties! It sounds really amusing, but I can see where it could get to be too much.

    I'm curious about that Stuart Turton book. I had mixed feelings about his 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

    My TTT:

    1. I think the title and the cover are very reflective of the story for DIAL A FOR AUNTIES. That doesn't always happen, you know?

      I haven't read EVELYN HARDCASTLE, but I'm definitely going to give it a go after enjoying THE DEVIL AND THE DARK WATER.

      Thanks for coming by, Nicole!

  9. Oh sorry to hear Dial A For Aunties was over-the-top absurd, because it sounded really great!

    1. Like I said above, I think I'm going to be in the minority on this one! It is a super fun book; it just got to be a bit much for me.

      Thanks for stopping in, Lindsey!

  10. Dial A For Aunties sounds like so much fun. I am going to have to check it out soon. Have a good week!

    1. I hope you enjoy it when you read it!

      Thanks for coming by, Alicia!

  11. I was also really glad we had an easy topic this week lol. It looks like you had some really good books in your recent reads. The Devil and the Dark Water sounds really interesting. Hope you have a good week and happy reading!

    1. It's nice to get a brain break once in awhile, isn't it? THE DEVIL AND THE DARK WATER wasn't quite what I expected, but it was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy it if you read it.

      Thanks for stopping in, Denise!

  12. I haven't read any of these other than Racing in the Rain (didn't much care for it, honestly), but I like the sound of number nine on your list. "We Are All the Same in the Dark" is just such a great title...

    1. It is a great title! The book is set in Texas, so that's right up your alley :) It's not an uplifting read by any means, but it kept me engaged.

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

  13. " It's funny, yes, but it also got so over-the-top absurd that it just annoyed me." I feel like that so often with things billed "laugh-out-loud funny" etc.

    1. Glad I'm not the only one! I'm just not a big fan of slapstick or silly comedy, although there are exceptions (Steve Martin comes to mind).

      Thanks for stopping in, Lisa!

  14. Nice list Susan, it looks like you have has some good reads lately. Two of these are on my upcoming reads list: Until I Find YOu and Boy From the Woods.

    1. It's kind of been a mixed bag, but that's how it often goes with my reading! I hope you enjoy those books when you read them.

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

  15. Dial A for Aunties does sound interesting! Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you!

    1. I hope you enjoy it if you read it!

      Thanks for stopping in!

  16. Is it strange for me to say I'm glad you didn't give Dial A for Aunties a higher rating? I only heard about this book a few days ago through the authors wonderful social media post that got me interested enough to immediately add it to my TBR. Then I've heard so much good that I was a bit afraid to read the story for fear my expectations are too high. So having some not so high ratings help me to bring my expectations down a bit and that's a good thing.

    1. Ha ha. Makes total sense! I think having sky-high expectations was part of my problem - I couldn't help being disappointed. I'll be interested to see what you think of the book!

      Thanks for coming by, Cheri!

  17. Oh wow I did not realize that first novel was a swashbuckling book! I am always looking for more pirate inspired novels. I may have to read that one. Great list!

    1. It's not EXACTLY a pirate book, but it takes place aboard a ship that is manned by salty, superstitious sailors. There's lots of fighting, double-crossing, and treasure-seeking. So, yes, I'd definitely describe it as "swashbuckling!"

      Thanks for stopping in, Leelynn!

  18. I am so sorry that you didn't enjoy The Art of Racing in the Rain as much as I did. I remember really enjoying it years ago.

    1. It wasn't what I expected. I didn't hate it, I just didn't absolutely love it either, you know? I think my expectations were way too high because so many people adore the book.

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

  19. I was also thankful for the TTT idea that required less thinking, haha. I haven't heard of any of these, but Until I Find You and books 7-9 all sound really good!

    1. My brain appreciated the break for sure! Sometimes, TTT requires a lot more thinking than I really want to do. LOL.

      Thanks for stopping in, Holliehocks!

  20. The second life of Mirelle West" sounds like something I should def get my hands on ASAP as I am very big on historicals. thanks for sharing! great list

    1. It's a really interesting one! Like I said above, I hadn't really heard anything or thought about leprosy in the continental U.S. so it brought a piece of history to life that I really didn't know about. I love it when historical novels do that.

      Thanks for coming by!

  21. Oh, I heard so much about Dial A for Auntie, I was curious. Also, while I was reading your list, I can't help but admire the book covers and it could pass as top 10 beautiful book covers too. ^_^

    1. I hadn't really thought about that either, but you're right - it is a pretty collection of covers!

      Thanks for stopping in, April!

  22. This is a great list, you have such a wide variety of genres! I agree that it was a very easy topic this week

    1. I try to mix things up and not read TOO many mystery/thrillers in a row :)

      Thanks for coming by, Rabeeah!

  23. Some interesting books there. And you are right, this was an easy one but so very fascinating to see what others are reading.

    "All the children" are home sounds great.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

    1. It's always fun to see what everyone's reading, I agree.

      I did enjoy ALL THE CHILDREN ARE HOME. It's not a super exciting read, but I found it thought-provoking and affecting.

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

    2. That's exactly the kind of books I enjoy. And I don't just follow your page, I also have your site on my link. You often post after me (of course, your day starts later than mine) and I always check on the next day, if you haven't replied to mine, of course. LOL.

      I do love your posts. Thanks.

  24. I've got Dial A for Aunties coming up soon on my TBR so I'll be curious to see if I like the humor or think it's too over the top.

  25. That's a great variety of books you read, Susan! I've only read two books from your list (The Boy from the Woods and We Are All the Same in the Dark). Now I'm intrigued with The Cold Vanish after seeing you and Lark enjoyed it.

  26. I also loved that this week's prompt was so easy! the creative ones are fun too but a quick and easy one is nice for a change.


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