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2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 30 books. 30% done!

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

26 / 51 states. 51% done!

2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

19 / 25 books. 76% done!

2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

32 / 50 books. 64% done!

Booklist Queen's 2023 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

36 / 52 books. 69% done!

2023 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

41 / 52 books. 79% done!

2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2023 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2023 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Book Bingo Reading Challenge

19 / 25 books. 76% done!

2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

57 / 109 books. 52% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Livin' It Up at the Library

Thanks so much to everyone who has filled out the survey I included in my last post.  Your responses have been so kind and helpful!  You've given me some great ideas for future posts as well as ways to improve the blog as a whole.  I appreciate your responses so much.  If you haven't had a chance to fill out the survey, please take a minute to do so.  I'll keep it up for now, with a link in my sidebar.  

One of the things several people said they'd like to
see more of at BBB is non-review posts.  Great!  I just went to the library yesterday and I haven't posted about my library hauls in forever and ever.

I don't know about you, but I hit up the library every 2-3 weeks.  I'm lucky to live near two different libraries—one is a branch of my city's library system, the other is a branch of my county's.  The former is only a couple miles from my house, but it's housed in an older building that just feels dark and dingy.  Its organization isn't my favorite either.  The county library, on the other hand, sits on a serene nature preserve.  With big windows that let in lots of natural light, it's bright and cheery with a lovely view of the sparkling lake that's right outside.  The books are well organized, the employees are helpful, and the place always vibrates with a happy hum, so yeah, I make the 30-minute round trip to that library because I like it so much better.  Not everyone gets why I go so far out of my way when there's a perfectly serviceable library just down the street, but I think fellow booklovers will understand!

Like most (all?) libraries, mine were shut down for some time due to COVID-19.  As soon as the county library could, it started offering curbside pick-up.  It then opened for "pop-in pick-up," which allowed patrons to come inside, collect their own holds, and quickly browse a small selection of books.  A couple months ago, it opened up fully.  Although it hadn't been as busy since the pandemic started, yesterday the place was hopping!  There were moms helping kids select books, toddlers running in the hallways, and people typing away on the public computers.  It wasn't very quiet, but that's okay.  The noise made me happy because it means that people are coming back to the library and loving every minute of it.  While masks are still recommended for the un-vaxxed, I only saw them on a few library employees.  That's kind of the norm around here—either people are vaxxed and mask-less or they "identify" as vaxxed and do whatever the heck they want.  I'm in the former category, thank heavens!  The only places I've been lately here in Arizona that still require masks for everyone are the airports and the county courthouse.  You should have seen the lady in the passport office recoil when I lifted my mask to lick my finger in order to flip through some papers.  Oops!

I don't know if other people have a library routine, but here's my usual plan of attack:

  • Return books at the kiosk in the foyer of the library.
  • Donate books I've read to the Friends of the Library store (also in the foyer).
  • Inside the library, I check out the tables that feature new books, both fiction and non.  I also grab the newest edition of BookPage magazine from these tables (it's free!).
  • Pick up my holds, of which I generally have at least several.
  • Browse the stacks, usually hitting the adult section for my favorite genres—mystery/thriller, historical, and general—and then the children's and YA sections for the same.
  • Check out at the kiosks.   

Anyone else have an established library routine or it just me? 

At any rate, here's what I picked up this time around:


The Boston Jane series by Jennifer L. Holm—I loved The Lion of Mars, so I wanted to read more from Holm.  This MG/YA trilogy seemed right up my alley.  It's about a proper young woman who travels from Philadelphia to Oregon Territory to marry a man she barely knows.  Naturally, she finds the experience of living on the frontier a bit...challenging.  I'm almost finished with the first installment, which I've very much enjoyed.  I'm glad I checked out the whole series at once!

My Own Two Feet by Beverly Cleary—I finished A Girl From Yamhill, Cleary's 1988 memoir about her childhood in Oregon, a few days ago.  It's interesting and charming, so I wanted to continue reading about her life in this second volume.

The War Outside by Monica Hesse—Hesse's Girl in the Blue Coat is a gripping read, so I decided to try out more of her books.  I checked out They Went Left on audio, but I didn't love the melodramatic narration or the wholly depressing nature of the book, so I DNF'd it about 1/3 of the way through.  I'm hoping I'll have better luck with The War Outside, which is about the imprisonment of Japanese- and German-born Americans at displacement camps during World War II.

From the Stacks: 

Lies in White Dresses by Sofia Grant—I didn't realize this until I Googled Grant just now, but this is actually a pen name for Sophia Littlefield, whose books I've enjoyed in the past.  I've never read anything she's written as Grant, but Lies in White Dresses sounds interesting.  It's about a group of women traveling to a Nevada ranch in the 40's or 50's (not sure which) to wait out the six weeks required before they can be granted divorces from their disappointing husbands.  When something shocking occurs, all of their lives change forever.

The Daisy Children by Sofia Grant—This one also sounds intriguing.  A woman in need of a new beginning is shocked to discover she's inherited a home from a grandmother she barely knew.  As she combs through the woman's possessions, she has to confront secrets from her family's past that explain SO much about its present.

The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn McCrumb—McCrumb is an author I've heard of but never read.  I like stories about Appalachia, so I'm down for this one, which is based on the well-known song about Tom Dooley, who was a real person.  I realized later that this book is actually part of a 12-part series that explores the stories behind Appalachian folk songs.  The novels seem to be only loosely connected, so I'm going to break one of my cardinal reading rules and go ahead and read this one, Book 10, first.  Watch out, world!  I'm really living on the edge now.

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan—I've read nothing but praise for this new release.  It's about four women who are competing on a BBC cooking show during World War II.  Sounds unique and interesting.

Speaking of borrowed books, I also just signed up for Kindle Unlimited.  I recently read and enjoyed The Girl Beneath the Sea by Andrew Mayne.  It's the first in the series, but neither of my libraries has the second volume, Black Coral.  Buying the Kindle book would cost me $7.99.  However, it's part of the "free" selections for Kindle Unlimited.  Since Amazon was having a promotion—Kindle Unlimited for $4.99 for two months—I decided to give it a go.  In addition to Black Coral, I've put these on my KU to-read list:

The House by the Sea by Louise Douglas—Lucy from Bookish Yarn recommended this one to me and it sounds right up my alley.  It's another one about an inherited house full of secrets, which just happens to be one of my very favorite literary tropes!

Where the Story Starts by Imogen Clark—More mysterious houses hiding intriguing secrets?  I'm in for sure.

Whew, this post turned out to be a lot longer than planned.  Thanks for hanging in there for it!  Since I love me a bulleted list, here's one for you:

  • Do you use your library often?  What's your library routine?
  • Have you read any of the books I listed?  What did you think of them?
  • Are you a Kindle Unlimited user?  Do you find it to be worth the money or not? 
  • If you are a KU user, do you ever listen to the books on audio?  Are all the narrators terrible or just the ones on the audiobooks I've tried?  Ha ha.


  1. Wow, that's quite a haul from the Library. This post is a great reminder for me to visit my local library. I will do that soon. Thanks.

    1. I couldn't go too crazy since I already had 40 books checked out and you're only allowed to have 50 out at a time! LOL.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed this post, Susan! Before the pandemic I was in the library probably once a week. The pandemic put paid to that but it's open again now and I use it mainly to pick up reserved books.

    I have Amazon Prime but not KU. But goodness me do I think about getting it a 'lot'. It's not even as though it costs that much so it's silly to dilly-dally over it so much but the thing is I have a huge tbr pile of real books and over 500 on my Kindle. I'm not sure I 'need' KU really. And then I realise I've purchased several books for Kindle that were free on KU and that would've been the month's subscription...

    1. Ha ha! Same. I don't "need" KU at all, but I am enjoying it now that I've found some books on there that I want to read. Will I keep it after the two months are up? Probably not, but we'll see...

  3. I love my local library! It's part of the county system, but the atmosphere in my city's library is really nice. I've been taking advantage of their curbside pickup during the pandemic, too, but now that they're open again it is really nice to be able to browse. I'm not sure if this is still the case, but last time I was there they still required masks (I think because it's a county building).

    1. Before the pandemic, I would generally just pop in to the library to pick up holds and peruse the new books without really browsing the stacks. I've been doing more browsing lately because I really missed it during the pandemic! You don't know what you got 'til it's gone, I guess :)

  4. I love that library!! Just going inside almost takes my breath away sometimes! Although I am about 20 minutes south east of it now I still make a trip there every 1-2 weeks! My regular library is about 3 miles from my home on a High School campus. I pick up my holds from there but love the browsing at the SW library best!

    Your method cracks me up as I felt you had been stalking me in the library!!! Even down to the picking up the new issue of Book Page. I think the only difference is that I spend lots of time getting picture books for the littles grandies that I home school.

    I love your book choices!! I loved The Kitchen Front. A good book revolving friendship and resilience!! I also read the first one of the Jennifer Holm books but never felt inclined to finish the series. I look forward to hear how you feel about your stacks!!! I'm adding some of your titles to my towering TBR skyscraper.

    Happy Reading 📚

    1. It is a great library, isn't it? I'm surprised I've never seen you there. I'll have to spend more time in the picture book section :)

      I'm excited for THE KITCHEN FRONT. I'm pretty sure I'm going to love it!

  5. That's quite the library haul you got! I go to the library every few weeks, too! It was awful last spring when mine shut down completely. I don't think I've quite recovered from that bookish trauma because I find myself putting way too many books on hold each time, and then picking up a few 'extra' books while I'm there. Libraries are the best! :D

    1. Same! It probably is PTSD. Not that I don't have enough books in my home to last for several pandemics...

  6. Wonderful post! I love my library but it's a tiny little branch. It's got a great selection and I can have any book transferred there but it doesn't have the fun features that the bigger branches do. If I'm feeling wild and crazy I'll go to the bigger branches. Love your haul! I've read a lot of Sharyn McCrumb's older books but haven't read anything by her in awhile. She has a very story telling feel to her writing. Can't wait to see your thoughts on these books! I love seeing what people end up with after a trip to the library.

    1. I grew up going to a little teensy library and that was before the Internet, so getting books from other branches took FOREVER. I love that even small libraries can get books transferred.

      I'm glad you like McCrumb. I'm excited to give her a go.

  7. Your book choices are interesting. I especially will be looking into The Daisy Children by Sofia Grant. That book has piqued my my interest. Thank you for sharing your visit to the library.

    1. I'm also interested to see what I think of Sofia Grant's books. They sound like they're right up my alley!

  8. I have been to your county library when I lived in Chandler! Absolutely gorgeous!! I have the same exact routine as you do when I go to the library or as I like to call it, the crack house!!💜

    1. Awesome! It really is a great library. I love it.

      "The crack house" - ha ha. For real!

  9. Do I love libraries and do I go there? Of course! I've already visited my new one here. I love that you shared pictures with us - great post! I've read a few books by Sharyn McCrumb way back. What do I say? Well, I will share that I liked Julia Keller's books better, but see what you think. Kindle Unlimited - yes, I have it. I've done the year-end specials and last time got two years for a very low price. Anyway, I've enjoyed Robert Dugoni's Tracy Crosswhite series and Joy Ellis' Nikki Galena series. There are lots of fun things there. Enjoy exploring!

    1. Unfortunately, I'm all caught up on Keller's books, so I need something to tide me over until the next Bell Elkins book comes out! Hopefully, McCrumb will work.

      I've read the first book in the Dugoni series, but I haven't continued on with it. I've never even heard of Joy Ellis, so I'll have to look her up.

  10. I usually visit my town's library, about 1.5 miles from home, 1-2x a week. I go usually when I have physical books waiting for me and I'll return any I'm done with. I browse new fiction and new NF, grab the Book Page (which I love) and check out any programs being held in the near future. I also go there for my monthly book group meetings. I don't spend much time when I'm there. I also donate and browse the free cart to see if anything looks interesting. I do like to check out the libraries in neighboring towns as well from time to time.

    1. I love BookPage and I love that it's free at the library. It actually costs quite a lot to subscribe and have it mailed to you. I'll take free, thank you very much!

      Oooh, the free cart sounds interesting. My library doesn't have that.

  11. I don't visit the public library often at all, but that's not good. I've done a few audio books from the library and I use our school libraries a lot.

  12. The Boston Jane books are such an underrated series. I thought they were delightful

  13. It was fun to read about your library routine!

    I only borrow ebooks these days, but when I used to borrow physical books my routine was similar to yours.

    I hope you’re enjoying all of those books!


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