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2022 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska (1)
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (5)
- Colorado (3)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida (1)
- Georgia (2)
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (2)
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa (1)
- Kansas
- Kentucky
- Louisiana
- Maine (1)
- Maryland (2)
- Massachusetts (5)
- Michigan (2)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi (1)
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico (1)
- New York (9)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon (1)
- Pennsylvania (2)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (2)
- Utah (2)
- Vermont (3)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington (4)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming (1)
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

International:

Antarctica (1)
Australia (2)
Egypt (2)
England (16)
France (1)
Greece (1)
Ireland (2)
Italy (1)
Malaysia (1)
Nepal (1)
Poland (1)
Portugal (1)
Romania (1)
Scotland (3)
Sweden (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


37 / 51 states. 73% done!

2022 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:


19 / 50 books. 38% done!

2022 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:


20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2022 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge

My Progress:


65 / 53 books. 123% done!

Booklist Queen's 2022 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Aussie Author Reading Challenge 2022


1 / 24 books. 4% done!

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge


3 / 20 books. 15% done!

2022 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

My Progress:


36 / 50 books. 72% done!

The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

My Progress:


39 / 52 books. 75% done!

2022 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:


38 / 40 books. 95% done!

2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge

2022 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Serial Starts and Ends


So, here's the thing about book series: I love them. Really love them. In fact, I'm reading so many of them at the moment that I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of them all. Here's the other thing: I tend to languish in the middle of multiple series without ever actually completing any of them. That's why TTT prompts like the one we have today—Top Ten Completed Series I Wish Had More Books—are kind of tough for me. I managed to come up with ten for my list, but the majority of them, no surprise, are middle grade and YA series that consist of only a few installments. It's a lot easier to finish a MG trilogy, for me at least, than it is to complete an adult series with 20+ books in it!

Do you want to chat about your favorite series with a bunch of other passionate book lovers? Of course you do! You can get in on the TTT fun by clicking over to That Artsy Reader Girl, then making your own list. It's a good ole time, I promise.

Top Ten Completed Series That I Wish Had More Books 

(covers are for the first book in each series)

1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling—I'm betting this series is the first one that came to a lot of people's minds for this topic. I adore the world of Harry Potter and would love to sink back into it via more novels, be they prequels, a spin-off series, whatever...just not screenplays!

2. The Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson—Up until yesterday, I thought this YA series featuring a teenaged true crime aficionado who uses her unique skills to solve cold cases, was complete at four books. Then, I noticed a new installment being promoted on NetGalley. Yay! I love this series, so I'm thrilled it's going to continue on. Even though it doesn't really fit this prompt, I'm keeping it on the list because I'm so happy it's not over.

3. The London Shades series by Maureen Johnson—Speaking of Johnson, I'm still irritated that she hasn't finished this YA series about a young woman who gained "the sight" when she almost choked to death in her school cafeteria and subsequently became part of a London "ghost squad" that investigates supernatural crimes. There were supposed to be four books in the series, but The Shadow Cabinet (#3) came out in 2015 and there's been no action since. All I can say is, this series better not be finished! I'm holding out hope that Johnson will pen that fourth book, even though I can barely remember who's who and what's what in the series. I'll happily re-read them all if Johnson can just do me a solid and bring the series to a satisfying close.

4. The Al Capone series by Gennifer Choldenko—This MG series is set in the 1930s and features a boy who lives on Alcatraz Island, where his father works as a security guard. I loved all four of the books in the series and would gladly read more adventures starring the lovable Moose Flanagan.

5. The Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer—I'm not sure how many installments were planned for this YA series about an orphaned girl who goes from living rough on the streets of London to becoming the most notorious pirate on the high seas, but her adventures ended with the death of her creator in 2014. The series is all kinds of entertaining. I'm sad that Jacky Faber's tale had to end and that Meyer will never write another book.

6. The Good Girl's Guide to Murder series by Holly Jackson—Although I didn't like the direction this story took in the last book, I still very much enjoyed the trilogy as a whole. I would read more books about Pip, especially if they were in the upbeat style of the first two installments. 

7. The Gold Seer Trilogy by Rae Carson—I adored this YA historical/supernatural series about a young woman with the ability to sense the presence of gold. Her adventures kept me totally enthralled. I would love to read more of them.


8. The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness—It's been a long time since I read this YA trilogy (well, three full books and three novellas) of dystopian thrillers, so I honestly can't even remember what the books are about. I only know that I loved the trilogy when I read it and would gladly reengage with its characters and their world.

9. The Lewis Trilogy by Peter May—This adult mystery series set in the Outer Hebrides features Fin Macleod, one of my favorite May characters. More books featuring him would make me very, very happy.

10. The Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani—I loved all four of the books in this series and would gladly read more featuring the same setting and characters. The novels are full of warmth and charm. I'm definitely going to need to re-read them at some point.

There you go, ten series I wish would be extended. Have you read any of them? Which series do you wish had more books in them? 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!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Older Whodunits Still On My TBR List


Many of the Top Ten Tuesday prompts focus on the shiny and new, so I'm digging the topic du jour: Top Ten Books I Love That Are Over Ten Years Old. That doesn't mean I'm not going to twist it up a little, though! Everyone knows I love a good mystery, even a dated one, so I decided to focus my list today on older whodunits on my TBR list that I still want to read. 

If you want to join in the TTT fun (and you definitely do), click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.

Top Ten Mysteries On My TBR List That Are Over Ten Years Old
- in order of publication - 


1. A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George (1988)—The first installment in George's well-known Inspector Lynley series, this one features a strange and vicious murder that has a village on edge. The plot summary describes it thus: "Fat, unlovely Roberta Teys has been found in her best dress, an axe in her lap, seated in the old stone barn beside her father's headless corpse. Her first and last words were, 'I did it. And I'm not sorry." Color me intrigued!

2. The Eight by Katherine Neville (1988)—A computer expert (in 1988??) is setting out on a work-related trip to Algeria. At the behest of an antiques dealer, she will be searching for a set of priceless chess pieces. What she doesn't know is that the game pieces are a whole lot more powerful than anyone could ever imagine... 

3. Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell (1990)—Another series debut, this one introduces Cornwell's beloved medical examiner Kay Scarpetta. The forensics expert is tasked with solving the case of a brutal serial killer. Can she find the murderer before she becomes the next victim?

4. Sleeping With the Enemy by Nancy Price (1991)—I've seen the Julia Roberts movie based on this book, but I've never read it. The story concerns a woman who changes her identity to hide from her abusive husband, who will do anything to find her.

5. Booked to Die by John Dunning (1992)—In yet another series opener, Cliff Janeway—a homicide detective in Denver who was forced to turn in his badge after enacting vigilante justice on a local murderer—has opened a bookstore. When valuable volumes start to disappear and bodies start to stack up, he finds himself with a new case to work, shield or no shield.

6. The Alienist by Caleb Carr (1996)—This historical mystery takes place in 1896 New York City, where psychologist (or "alienist") Dr. Laszlo Kreizler is tasked with helping the police investigate the murder of a young man. They seek to create a criminal profile, a revolutionary idea, which takes them into the disturbing mind of a brutal killer.


7. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James (2001)—This first-in-a-series introduces Cordelia Gray, a rookie private investigator, who is hired by a wealthy man who is desperate to find the truth behind his son's suspicious suicide. 

8. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (2003)—Technically, I've read this historical mystery, but it's been a long time and I need to re-visit it before I continue on with the series. The story revolves around the titular character who, in 1929, has just opened her own detective agency. 

9. A Simple Plan by Scott Smith (2006)—When three men happen upon a wrecked plane harboring a dead pilot and four million dollars in cash, they devise a simple plan to hide their discovery and keep the money. Their plans, naturally, go awry. 

10. Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn (2006)—I adore Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell series, so I definitely need to get going with this one. It stars Lady Julia Grey, whose husband dies suddenly in the middle of a dinner party at their home. Assuming his death is the result of natural causes, she's outraged when his private inquiry agent suggests a murder may have taken place. When he convinces her that something nefarious has gone on, Lady Julia starts looking into the murder herself.

There you are, ten older mysteries that are still sitting on my TBR list. Have you read any of them? What did you think? What are your favorite older books? 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!

Monday, August 15, 2022

Kelley Armstrong's Newest Crime Novel a Rip-Roaring Good Read

Oh, ho! What is this? An actual book review? It's been a hot minute since I posted much other than Top Ten Tuesday lists. It feels good to be getting back in the saddle, even if I pretty much just copied and pasted my Goodreads review here instead of expanding and enhancing it for the blog as I usually do. Oh well, at least you're getting a real, live book review today. Progress!

---

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Vancouver homicide detective Mallory Atkinson is in Edinburgh, Scotland, to be with her dying grandmother as she lives out her final days. The grieving 30-year-old goes on a jog one evening to clear her mind. She's lured into an alley where she is brutally strangled by a strange man.

The next thing Mallory knows, she's waking up in a world that has tilted completely. She's still in Edinburgh, but, as she soon discovers, she's traveled back in time 150 years to 1869. To further complicate matters, she's no longer Mallory, at least not on the outside. She's now inhabiting the body of Catriona Mitchell, a saucy 19-year-old. A semi-reformed thief rescued from the streets by her employer's sister, Catriona works for a handsome undertaker named Dr. Duncan Gray. The kicker? Catriona is recovering from being strangled and left for dead—in the exact same spot where Mallory was attacked a century and a half later. 

As Mallory struggles to make sense of her new life while also trying to figure out how to escape it and return to her own time, a curious corpse is delivered to Dr. Gray, who moonlights as a medical examiner. The young man has been strangled. Just like Mallory and Catriona. Mallory's detective brain kicks into high gear; even though she knows it's essential for her to act the part of Catriona—an uneducated servant who doesn't know what a germ is, let alone understand forensic science—she can't help but tap into her own expertise. Anything to catch the cold-blooded killer who is stalking prey in two separate timelines. Desperate to return to the side of her beloved nana, Mallory hopes that solving the case will catapult her back where she belongs. Can the detective put the killer behind bars before he strikes again? Or will his next attempt on her life be final, for both Mallory and Catriona?

I'm already a big fan of Kelley Armstrong's crime novels, but I have to say, she outdid herself with A Rip Through Time, her newest outing. Of all the books I've read by Armstrong, this one is hands-down my favorite. Why? It's just SO MUCH FUN. Seriously. It doesn't sound like it from the plot summary, but A Rip Through Time is a funny, entertaining, all-around charming romp of a mystery novel. The premise is intriguing, the characters are likable, the prose is engaging, and the plot is engrossing. What more could I ask for? How about humor? Check. A light, flirty romance that makes for a diverting subplot without distracting from the mystery? Check. A PG-13 rating that lets me enjoy a crime novel without feeling nauseated or afraid to be in the house alone? A bad-a$$ heroine who's also down-to-earth and relatable? A cast that includes several strong women and even some decent men? Check, check, and check. For all these reasons and more, I adored A Rip Through Time. Considering this glowing review, it won't surprise you at all that I am anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series. Too bad it won't come out until at least next year. Boo hoo hoo. I seriously can't wait!

(Readalikes: It's Outlander meets The Alienist, according to the publisher. I've never read the latter or watched the series, but I agree with the former. No other keen comparisons are coming to mind. You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, sexual innuendo, depictions of drug abuse (opium), and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love: I received an ARC of A Rip Through Time from the generous folks at St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: The Next Few in the Queue


Because of our big move, continued remodeling, and just life, my Top Ten Tuesday posts are about the only thing happening here at BBB! Thanks for hanging in there with me during all the chaos. It's hard to feel settled when there are still boxes to be unpacked, cabinets to be hung, light fixtures that need installing, and on and on and on. I long for the day when everything is back to normal. In the meantime, I'm learning patience and gratitude, so there's that...

I have to say, though, that today's prompt—Top Ten Books With Hilarious Titles—has me stumped. Other than cozy mysteries (which often have punny titles, some of them quite clever), I really don't read funny books. I'm not sure why this is since I do love to laugh. My brain is mush this morning thanks to a wild storm that kept me awake last night, so I can't even come up with an interesting way to twist the topic. I didn't want to miss out on the TTT fun, though, so today I'm just going to list the next ten books I'm thinking about reading. Mood may get in the way, so this list isn't set in stone. We'll see what actually happens. Ha ha.

If you want to join in this fun weekly meme, head on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.

Edited to add: I don't know if anyone else is having this problem, but I'm unable to comment on some of your blogs. I keep getting "Not Acceptable!" errors. Googling tells me the issue has something to do with Wordpress and the JetPack plugin. Even when I'm logged in to WP with my correct username and password, the plugin won't let me in. Super annoying. Anyone else having this problem? Know how to fix it?

Top Ten Books I *Might* Read Next


1. The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer—Marg over at The Intrepid Reader suggested we do a buddy read of this World War II novel, so I started reading it yesterday. It's a dual-timeline story about secrets, war, love, and learning to use one's voice. I'm enjoying it so far.

2. Six Feet Deep Dish by Mindy Quigley—Speaking of cozies, I just got a copy of this one from the publisher. It's the first in a new series set in a Wisconsin pizzeria. Sounds delicious!

3. The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton—I mentioned this book last week on my TTT list about books I want to read that are set in Scotland. While sorting through my personal library in preparation for moving, I realized I own copies of most of the books in the Scottish Bookshop series. For the first installment, though, I'm going to have to hit up the library. There's a little bit of a waiting list for The Cracked Spine, but it should move fast.


4. A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee—Another discovery I made (or a re-discovery, really) while purging my books was this YA historical mystery series. It's about a secret detective agency made up of Victorican women. I read most of the books as they came out and enjoyed them, but I never finished the series. Since I own all of them, I think I'm going to re-read them starting with this first installment.

5. The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick—This contemporary novel sounds fun. It's about a woman who makes ends meet by working as a maid. In her spare time, she escapes into books and dreams of writing her own. When her employer—a bestselling author—dies, she's given the opportunity to finish the writer's last novel, a task that will change her own life forever.

6. The Making of Her by Bernadette Jiwa—Is a book set in 1996 really considered historical fiction? I was a college sophomore then and it really doesn't seem like that long ago! Anyway, this novel is set in Dublin in 1996. It's about a woman who is living her best life when she receives a life-or-death plea from the daughter she placed for adoption thirty years ago. I'm always up for an adoption story, so this sounds right up my alley.

7. Hypnosis is For Hacks by Tamara Berry—I enjoyed the first book in this cozy mystery series, so I'm excited to read this second installment. The series stars a sham medium and is lots of fun so far.

8. The Girls With No Names by Serena Burdick—This historical has been on my TBR for too long. I just picked up a copy from the library so I can finally get it read. It concerns the wrongful commitment of a privileged young woman to a home for wayward girls and her sister, who's determined to rescue her, even if it means incarcerating herself. 

9. Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March—Another series opener, this historical mystery is based on a true story about two women who fell from a clock tower in colonial India. The accident looks a lot like murder, which leads Captain Jim Agnihotri to investigate.

10. Hide by Kiersten White—I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this novel on here before, but it sounds so good that I'm going to mention it again. The story concerns a vicious hide-and-seek competition held in an abandoned amusement park. The winner snags a pile of cash big enough to change their lives forever. Mack is determined to win, but something not quite of this world has been let loose in the playing field...

There you go, the ten books I will might read next. What do you think of my picks? Have you read any of them? What funny titles did you highlight on your list today? 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!

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR Reads Set in My Ancestral Homeland


When I saw today's prompt—Top Ten Books Set in Places I'd Love to Visit (Real or Fictional)—it sounded familiar. I was sure I'd done this topic before sometime in the past and yet, no matter how hard I searched my blog, I couldn't find a list with that theme. Although a few settings came immediately to mind (Hogwarts, Avonlea, Narnia, etc.), I struggled to come up with a bigger list than that, even though there are many settings that come alive so vividly in books that I long to step foot inside them. Nevertheless, I decided to focus on just one of those places: Scotland. You may remember that I traveled to the U.K. last year for sightseeing and family history exploration and that I did, indeed, visit the country. It enchanted me so much that I've been planning a return trip ever since I got home (in fact, we've been putting a lot of our new home purchased on a British Airways credit card to rack up travel points). So, today, I'm going to cheat a little and share with you ten books on my TBR that are set in a place I would love to revisit. 

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

Top Ten Books On My TBR Set in a Place I Would Love to Revisit (Scotland):
- in no particular order - 


1.  Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin—As much as I love his homeland and mysteries, I've never read anything by this Scottish author. Knots and Crosses is the first installment in his well-known Inspector Rebus series and I think it's high time I read it!


2. Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine—Libby Snow's third great-grandmother was obsessed with the legend of Ulla, a Viking maiden who washed up on shore with the almost lifeless body of her husband, inspiring fantastical tales and epic poems. When Libby, an archaeologist, receives permission to dig in the place Ulla allegedly appeared on Scotland's western coast, she discovers the bones of a much newer corpse. The stories of Ulla and Libby entwine with that of the dead woman as Libby searches for answers to explain the murder that caused her death.


3. Loch Down Abbey by Beth Cowan-Erskine—Another murder mystery, this one revolves around the Inverkillen Family, residents of the titular home. With a mysterious illness running rampant through Scotland, the whole country is in a panic. The Inverkillens are already dealing with an alarming toilet paper shortage and Nanny's inconvenient death when Lord Inverkillen is found dead. Because of the lockdown keeping everyone at home, the only suspects in his murder are members of his family and staff. It's up to the head housekeeper to figure out who did him in.


4. 500 Miles From You by Jenny Colgan—Colgan is a Scottish author who writes fun, upbeat rom-coms. This one is the third entry in her Scottish Bookshop series. I enjoyed the first two and am looking forward to this newest installment. 


5. Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon—Written in the 1930s, this if the first book in a trilogy about a woman whose quiet pastoral life in Scotland is changed forever by World War I.


6. Lockdown by Peter May—Speaking of lockdowns, I'm intrigued by the premise of this novel by one of my favorite Scottish mystery writers. I thought it was set in Scotland, but it's actually set in London. Oops! Oh well, it still sounds compelling, especially since it was written over 15 years ago but so closely mirrors what we've all experienced recently with the global pandemic.


7. The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton—This is the first installment in a cozy mystery series set in an Edinburgh bookshop. It features an American armchair traveler who makes an impulsive decision to accept a position at a bookstore in Scotland. Things get off to a cracking start when a valuable artifact goes missing and her boss's sister gets herself murdered. 


8. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley—Another series opener, this one revolves around a woman who retreats to Scotland to write a novel based on a 1708 Jacobite effort to return an exiled James Stewart to his homeland in order to reclaim his crown. Writing from the perspective of one of her own ancestors, the writer soon realizes her strange obsession with the story may be a case of ancestral memory, making her the only person who knows what really happened that fateful day...


9. The Distant Echo by Val McDermid—McDermid is another Scottish mystery writer that I somehow have not read yet. This novel is the first in her Inspector Kate Pirie series and centers around a cold case homicide that opens old wounds and exposes long-buried secrets. 


10. Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland—Mac is working on a compilation of local folktales and legends when her only child, Arthur, insists she needs an assistant to help her. Lucie, who moves into a cottage on Mac's property, seems a little too interested in the secrets Mac's working hard to protect. Unbeknownst to Mac, Lucie has secrets of her own.

There you go, ten (okay, nine) books on my TBR list that are set in beautiful Scotland. Have you read any of them? What did you think? Are there any others I should add to my list? Which books did you highlight today? 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!  

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Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower

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The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs



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