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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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January Reviews Link-Up

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April Reviews Link-Up

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June Reviews Link-Up

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My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (8)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (2)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 40 books. 63% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

22 / 100 books. 22% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

60 / 165 books. 36% done!
Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Let's Get Cozy!

Even though we don't really get winter weather here in the Phoenix area, it has been fairly nippy lately. Most mornings you'll find me sitting at my computer wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket to stay warm. The chill in the air (or at least in my house) definitely makes me want to cozy up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. This week's TTT prompt—Top Ten Cozy Reads—is appropos, but since I couldn't think of specific "cozy" books I want to read, I'm just going to go a *little* bit rogue today and hit you with the next ten I'm planning to "cozy" up with. That works, right? Hopefully so, because I'm too tired to get more creative than this. Ha!

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

Top Ten Books I Plan to "Cozy" Up With Next

1. Snow Struck by Nick Courage—I just started this middle-grade Cybils Awards nominee about a girl who can't wait to spend Christmas in New York City with her cousin. Elizabeth, who is from Florida, is keeping her fingers crossed for a white holiday. Weather in the U.S. has been unusually wonky, but everyone's shocked when a weirdly warm NYC winter suddenly turns arctic. As a deadly snow covers the city, grinding everything to a halt, Elizabeth's cousin's small dog gets out. Can the cousins find Fang before she becomes a victim of the vicious storm? Will any of them make it home alive? I love me a good disaster/survival story, so I'm enjoying this one.

2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot—I'm actually almost done with this book, which I've been listening to on audio. It tells the fascinating story of a poor, uneducated Black woman who was dying from cervical cancer when doctors at Johns Hopkins took a sample of her cells without her knowledge. Although Henrietta Lacks died without ever knowing it, her cells—known as HeLa—are "immortal." Since they were taken in the 1950s, they have been cloned over and over and have been used to test all kinds of drugs, develop vaccines, and have even been launched into space to test cell behavior there. While HeLa cells became famous around the world, Henrietta's descendants—most of whom couldn't even afford health insurance—were kept almost wholly in the dark about the whole thing. It's a super interesting read/listen.

3. Air by Monica Roe—Another MG book for the Cybils, this one stars 12-year-old Emmie who dreams of competing as a wheelchair motorcross racer. When an accident on a wheelchair ramp at school turns Emmie into the star of an unexpected media circus, her big dream feels like it's no longer her own. Wanting to prove herself perfectly able, she launches her own plan to get what she wants and show her little town everything she has to offer. Sounds like a fun, empowering read!

4. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal—I still need to read a Hugo Award winner for the PopSugar reading challenge and this one sounds good. The book takes place in 1952, when a huge meteorite crashes to the earth, destroying most of the East Coast of the U.S. A climate catastrophe results, making space colonization suddenly imperative. Elma York, a female pilot and mathematician, must fight sexism and societal assumptions in her desperate bid to become the first female astronaut ever.

5. The Gods of Green County by Mary Elizabeth Pope—Every year, I struggle to find books set in Arkansas for the Literary Escapes Challenge. I just discovered this historical novel, which sounds intriguing. It concerns Coralee Harper, a woman whose life is shattered when her brother is murdered by a local sheriff. Poor and unimportant, she doesn't stand a chance of getting justice against the powerful policeman. When Coralee starts seeing her brother around town, she begins to doubt her own sanity. What is happening to Coralee? Can she stand up to the town and avenge her brother's death?

6. At the Quiet Edge by Victoria Helen Stone—Kansas is another state I have trouble checking off my Literary Escapes Challenge list, so I was happy to find this mystery/thriller. It stars Lily Brown, a single mom who's trying to rebuild her life in the wake of the havoc caused by her ex-husband's crimes. When Lily's son finds clues about a string of disappearances of local women, the two of them become entangled in investigating the crime, which makes them a target for a dangerous killer.

7. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens—This novella is one of my all-time favorite books. I try to re-read it every December to get me in the Christmas spirit.

8. A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser—Yet another Cybils read, this middle-grade novel is about two kids living in a homeless shelter who bond over their shared love of classical music. Sounds sweet.

9. How to Fake An Irish Wake by Eliza Watson—I'm reviewing this cozy mystery for a genealogical magazine, so I need to read it soon. This first installment in a series introduces readers to 24-year-old Mags Murphy. Her beloved genealogist grandmother has just died and Mags is in charge of not just her wake but also selling her cottage. When Mags is approached by a man desperate to discover his father's identity, she wants to help. Soon, she finds herself wrapped up in an intriguing—and increasingly dangerous—genealogical investigation.

10. The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey—I've been meaning to read this bookish romance ever since it came out. It just sounds sweet and fun.

There you go, ten books I want to "cozy" up with soon. Have you read any of them? What did you think? Which cozy books are you planning to read this winter? 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, November 28, 2022

Ready For a Reading Challenge?

I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We had planned to join my aunt-in-law at her house as we do every year, but we ended up having surprise guests and doing our own thing. It was lovely to cook, eat, and visit with my sister, brother-in-law, three of our four children, and our daughter-in-law. I'm thankful for each of them. They all bring such light into my life.

Over the weekend, we brought all of our boxes of Christmas decorations into the house from the garage. Even though we donated a ton of holiday decor to charity before moving, we still have a LOT. Once again, our living room is filled with boxes! It's bringing back not-so-distant, not-so-pleasant memories of moving into this house in the middle of major remodeling. As for that, the house is finally just about done, thank goodness. We've been waiting for a week for our painters to come do some touch-up work. Hopefully, they will show up today so we can get the remodel all wrapped up and move on to Christmas decorating. Yay! This is my favorite time of year.

As the new year speeds closer, I've noticed posts popping up about 2023 reading challenges. In case you don't know, I have another blog, Ready For a Reading Challenge?, that's basically a database of current reading challenges. If you're into these, definitely check it out. I added a few this morning (Lori over at Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book is so on the ball!) and will continue to do so as I spot more 2023 challenges being announced around the book blogosphere. If you're hosting a reading challenge this year, please let me know. I'd love to help you get the word out.

I also thought it would be fun to see just how behind I am how I'm doing on my 2022 reading challenges. Here's a breakdown:

2022 Literary Escapes Challenge: So far, I've read books set in 43 of the 50 U.S. states (plus D.C.). Not bad. I still need: Arkansas, Delaware, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. If you know of any good reads set in these states, let me know!

2022 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: I'm a big hist-fic fan, so I should be totally rocking this challenge. I pledged to read 50 historical novels this year and I'm only at 35 so far. Will I read 15 more before January 1st? It's possible...

2022 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge: This one I have been rocking, thank you very much. I vowed to read 20 cozies and I've read 22. Ba da bing, ba da boom!

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge: Reading mysteries is never a challenge for me, so I signed up for this challenge at the Sherlock Holmes level, which meant reading 56+ books in the mystery/thriller/crime genre. So far, I'm at 74. Easy cheesy.

Booklist Queen's 2022 Reading Challenge: I'm at 44/52 on this prompt-based challenge. Since I still have to read a Shakespearean play, I'm unlikely to finish this one in time. Or I'll do what the challenge host recommends and sub out the tough categories for easier ones so I can complete it. We'll see.

Aussie Author Reading Challenge 2022: I was super excited about this one, which requires you to read and review books by Australian authors, but I've been failing miserably at it! I pledged to read and review 24 books and I've only done ONE. Yikes. I have read four more that I haven't reviewed yet. Will I catch up? At this point, that's very unlikely. Bummer. 

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge: I've really been wanting to read more non-fiction and this challenge has helped me do that, although not as much as I'd hoped. Still, I've read 11 books that fit the bill so far this year and am almost done with my 12th. I've only reviewed three of them, though. Oops!

2022 PopSugar Reading Challenge: This challenge is always a, well, challenge for me. That's why I do it. I'm not doing too badly this time around, though. I've read 41/50 books. I doubt I'll complete this one either, but I'll get close.

2022 Build Your Library Reading Challenge: I'm actually going to complete this challenge today when I finish reading Sphere by Michael Crichton for the "A Story Set Under the Sea" prompt. Woo hoo! That will be 40/40 books read.

The 52 Club's Reading Challenge 2022: I'm nearing the finish line on this 52-prompt challenge as well. I've got 7 prompts left. Not too shabby.

2022 Medical Examiner Mystery Reading Challenge: I've been counting the bodies in the murder mysteries I read for this fun challenge that I do every year. So far, I've tied 262 toe tags, putting me in 13th place. I don't know how many more murder mysteries I'll be able to fit in this year since I'm still madly reading middle-grade books for the two book awards programs I'm helping to judge. We'll see.

2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge: This one doesn't have to do with reading. It's a task-based challenge that encourages book bloggers to support each other in a variety of ways. There are 17 tasks and I've done 11.

All in all, I'm pretty proud of my reading challenge progress this year. Even if I don't finish all of them, I've had fun trying and that's all I really care about.

Did you take on any 2022 reading challenges? How are you doing with them? 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: An Attitude of Gratitude

Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and, while I know the history behind the holiday is problematic, I still love that we celebrate it. For me, it's about gratitude above all. Yes, it's great to gather with loved ones. Yes, it's fun to feast on delicious food. Yes, it's delightful to watch football (for some people), play games, take long walks, nap on the couch, and just spend time visiting with family and friends. What's the holiday really about, though? Gratitude. It's a time to acknowledge all the wonder and goodness that life has to offer, even amidst the challenges and struggles we all face. As a religious person, it's also a time for me to really reflect on and fervently thank God for the blessings He's given me. I love that there is a holiday focused on thankfulness. Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you do take a moment this week to be grateful for what and who you have in your life and for all those little things that make your existence beautiful, joyful, and worth living. 

One of the things I'm very grateful for is YOU. Thank you for visiting my blog, for leaving thoughtful comments, and for making this book blogging community of ours such a delightful place to hang out. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

To celebrate the upcoming holiday, today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is a Thanksgiving Freebie. I'm going to go with something non-bookish today and list ten quotes I love about gratitude. If you want to join in the TTT fun, head on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.

Top Ten Lovely Quotes About Gratitude

1. There is always, ALWAYS something to be grateful for. - Author Unknown

2. "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy, U.S. president

3. "So it is not happiness that makes us grateful. It's gratefulness that makes us happy." - Brother David Steindl-Rast, American monk

4. "Count your blessings;
Name them one by one. 
Count your many blessings;
See what God has done."

- hymn, "Count Your Blessings," text by Johnson Oatman, Jr., music by Edwin O. Excell

5. " in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you." - Alma 34:38, the Book of Mormon

6. "Those who find gratitude in the little things find humility in the big things." - Lidia Longorio, Hey Humanity

7. "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." - Epictetus, Greek philosopher

8. "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it." - Author Unknown

9. "O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever." - 1 Chronicles 16:34

10. "Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance." - Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

There you are, ten inspiring quotes about gratitude. Which are your favorites? Do you have a quote about gratitude that you adore? I'd love to hear it. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog. 

Happy TTT!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

The Goodreads 100: How Did YOU Do?

I saw this over at Helen's Book Blog and thought I would join in the fun. She saw it on Readerbuzz and My Head Is Full of Books. Thanks for letting me play along, ladies!

This is what Goodreads had to say:

"This is a fun one: For the collection below, we decided to take a long-arc overview and try to identify the most popular books published over the past 100 years, as determined by Goodreads members' digital shelves. To do this, we went year by year and picked one title from among the top of each pile.

However, we didn’t always just grab the very top book for several reasons. Repeats, for instance (some entire eras are Very Stephen King). And some years saw multiple Very, Very Important Works published. Ah, the backstage agony of debating the relative merits of F. Scott FitzgeraldVirginia Woolf, and Franz Kafka!

Mostly we wanted to curate a list that would cover a range of genres and suggest the breadth of reading interests over time. And OK, full confession, it tickled our fancy to be able to put Ulysses and Malibu Rising on the same list."

I'm going to use the same key Ann and Helen did by highlighting the books I've read in yellow, the books on my TBR shelf in aqua, and the books I attempted but didn't finish in green. Let's see how this goes!

1922: Ulysses by James Joyce

1923: The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

1924: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

1925: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

1926: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

1927: To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

1928: The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

1929: Passing by Nella Larsen

1930: As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

1931: The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer

1932: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

1933: In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki

1934: Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

1935: Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

1936: Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

1937: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

1938: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

1939: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

1940: Native Son by Richard Wright

1941: The Library Of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges

1942: The Stranger by Albert Camus

1943: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

1944: Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges

1945: The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

1946: The Member Of The Wedding by Carson McCullers

1947: No Exit by Jean Paul-Sartre

1948: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

1949: 1984 by George Orwell

1950: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

1951: Foundation by Isaac Asimov

1952: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

1953: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

1954: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

1955: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

1956: Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

1957: Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

1958: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

1959: The Haunting Of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

1960: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I've read this one multiple times. It's my favorite book of all time!)

1961: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

1962: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

1963: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

1964: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

1965: Dune by Frank Herbert

1966: Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard

1967: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

1968: Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

1969: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

1970: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

1971: Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

1972: Ways Of Seeing by John Berger

1973: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

1974: Carrie by Stephen King

1975: Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

1976: The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

1977: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

1978: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

1979: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

1980: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

1981: Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

1982: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

1983: The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis

1984: The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

1985: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (I've tried a few times with this one and I just can't ever get into it.)

1986: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

1987: Watchmen by Alan Moore

1988: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

1989: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

1990: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

1991: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

1992: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

1993: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

1994: The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami

1995: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

1996: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

1997: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

1998: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

1999: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

2000: House Of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielwski

2001: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

2002: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

2003: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

2004: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

2005: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

2006: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

2007: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

2008: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

2009: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

2010: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

2011: The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller

2012: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2013: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

2014: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

2015: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

2016: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

2017: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

2018: Educated by Tara Westover

2019: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

2020: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

2021: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Interesting. If I counted right, I've only read 24 of these. I'm surprised and not surprised, both. 

How many of these have you read? Which do you want to read? In which do you have no interest at all? Ha ha.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Reading Series-ly

I don't know how you feel about it, but I adore reading books in a series. Something about sinking into a setting and really getting to know a cast of characters over time really appeals to me. Since I'm in the middle of so many of them, I started keeping track of my series reading on a spreadsheet. According to its very scientific data, I'm in the middle of about FORTY series. Clearly, I have a problem and yet, according to the same spreadsheet, there are at least TWENTY new ones I want to start! It's an addiction, what can I say? I know not everyone likes to read books in a series, but I also know I'm not alone in loving them. Because I'm such a fan, I love this week's prompt—Top Ten Series I'd Like to Start/Catch Up On/Finish. Last year at this time, I made a list of Top Ten Series I Want to Start in 2022 (I even started two of them!) and in January of 2021, I crafted one about the Top Ten Mystery Series I Want to Finish/Catch Up On Before the End of the Year. (Spoiler alert: I failed miserably, so you'll see a lot of crossover with today's list). This time around, I'm going to highlight series in all genres (although they're still mostly mysteries) that I want to catch up on/finish.

Before we get to that, though, be sure to click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl and give our gracious hostess, Jana, some love. If you want to talk series-ly, make your own list and join in the fun. If you're not feeling the prompt, change it up to something more appealing. Then, click around the book blogosphere and enjoy the party that is TTT. It's a good ole time, I promise!

Top Ten Series I Want to Catch Up On/Finish
(Book covers show the first installment in each series. "Books in Series" includes only full-length books that have already been published or have announced publication dates.)

1. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny
Books in Series: 18 (and counting)
Books I've Read: 13
Next Up: Kingdom of the Blind

This is my favorite mystery series of all time and I don't ever want it to end! I've been reading the books slowly in order to savor them. The series features one of the most likable and admirable detectives I've ever encountered. If you love mysteries, definitely give this series a go.

2. Amish Candy Shop Mystery series by Amanda Flower
Books in Series: 8 (and counting)
Books I've Read: 5
Next Up: Lemon Drop Dead

This is a fun cozy mystery series set in Amish country. The main character leaves her career as a chocolatier in New York City to help her Amish grandmother run a candy store in rural Ohio. Murder and mayhem ensue, even among the peace-loving Amish.

3. Ruth Galloway Mystery series by Elly Griffiths
Books in Series: 15 (I believe the 15th installment will be the last book in the series, but don't quote me on that!)
Books I've Read: 4
Next Up: A Dying Fall

Featuring an intrepid British forensic archaeologist, this mystery series is always good for an interesting, engrossing read.

4. Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer
Books in Series: 12 (complete)
Books I've read: 10
Next Up: Boston Jacky

A swashbuckling YA pirate adventure series, this one is just all-around entertaining. I've especially enjoyed listening to the books on audio, with the wonderful Katherine Kellgren narrating. Unfortunately, Meyer died in 2014. Kellgren passed four years later. I hope they're collaborating in heaven to create amazing new series!

5. Casey Duncan/Rockton series by Kelley Armstrong
Books in Series: 8 (I think the series was actually complete at seven books and the 8th is, technically, a spin-off.)
Books I've Read: 2
Next Up: This Fallen Prey

Set in a secret, off-the-grid town hidden deep in the Yukon that has been set up especially for people who need to disappear from their lives, this series has a unique set-up. The star of the show is Casey Duncan, a talented young police detective, who's tasked with keeping the peace in this very unique village full of intriguing people. 

6. The American Wonders Collection by Regina Scott
Books in Series: 3 (complete)
Books I've Read: 2
Next Up: A View Most Glorious

This trilogy of historical romances (with a Christian bent) set in famous American locales is clean, uplifting and enjoyable.

7. Eleanor Wilde Mystery series by Tamara Berry
Books in Series: 4 (and counting)
Books I've Read: 1
Next Up: Potions Are For Pushovers

Featuring a fake psychic who solves mysteries, this cozy series is just a whole bunch of fun.

8. Amelia Peabody Mystery series by Elizabeth Peters
Books in Series: 20 (complete)
Books I've Read: 2 (I'm re-reading the series since I never finished it years ago when I started reading it.)
Next Up: The Mummy Case

Amelia Peabody is a no-nonsense British archaeologist who's happy to be a wealthy spinster with the freedom to explore ancient civilizations at her leisure. She never expects to find love or a string of shocking mysteries, but that's exactly what happens in this humorous cozy series.

9. Gilded Newport mystery series by Alyssa Maxwell
Books in Series: 10 (and counting)
Books I've Read:
Next Up: Murder at Rough Point

Despite being only a poor relation of the Vanderbilt Family, Emma Cross is invited to all the best parties in Newport, which makes her perfectly positioned to write juicy stories for the society pages. When she is instrumental in solving a puzzling mystery, she becomes known for her skills as a successful amateur sleuth.

10. Thursday Murder Club Mystery series by Richard Osman
Books in Series: 4 (and counting)
Books I've Read: 1
Next Up: The Man Who Died Twice

A group of senior citizens in a British retirement home solve mysteries in this entertaining series of whodunits.

There you go, ten series I would like to catch up on/finish at some point. Who knows how long it will actually take me! Ha ha. How do you feel about reading books in a series? Love them? Hate them? Which ones are your favorites? Have you read any from my list? Based on this list, do you know of any others I would like? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog (I also reply to your comments here).

Happy TTT!

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Read Before 2022 Disappears

Edited to add: I'm having trouble commenting on some of your WordPress-hosted blogs. When I try to leave a comment, I get a "Not Acceptable!An appropriate representation of the requested resource could not be found on this server. This error was generated by Mod_Security" error. I'm not sure what this means or how to fix it. So, just know if you have a WP blog and you don't see a comment from me, I got this error when I tried. I'm commenting on everyone's blogs this week; bummer that some of you will never see them. Boo hoo.

It's been a rough week already and it's barely Wednesday, but I didn't want to miss Top Ten Tuesday even if I'm late to the party. TTT makes me happy—I need happy this week! I'm stumped on the prompt, though. My brain and memory aren't up for much right now, so I'm going to forgo the official topic—Top Ten Unlikable Characters You Can't Help But Love—and do a simpler one. 

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Click on over there and give her some love! And if you want to join in the TTT fun, please do, even though it's not Tuesday.

Now that it's November, I'm really starting to think about the books I still want to read before 2022 is gone forever. My goal is to read 200 books this year; I'm at 153 now, so I've got some work to do. At the moment, I'm concentrating on reading for two book awards programs I'm helping to judge, but—of course—there are other titles I want to get to as well. So here are ten that I want to read before 2022 ends.

Top Ten Books I Want to Read Before the Year's Out

1. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir—Okay, this is one I need to read, not necessarily want to read, but still...Sci-fi has never been my favorite genre, but Weir's books are so popular that I couldn't not give them a chance. I started The Martian and gave up after a chapter or two. All that detail about every little thing put me right to sleep! My husband adored both The Martian and Project Hail Mary. My book club is reading the latter this month, so I'm finally going to brave it. Wish me luck!

2. A Song Called Home by Sara Zarr—I've enjoyed several of Zarr's YA books. This is her first novel for middle-graders. It concerns a girl named Lou who's satisfied with her life in the city, even if her dad drinks too much and her family has little in the way of material comforts. When her mom decides to move in with her boyfriend, leaving the city and her dad behind, Lou feels adrift. On her last night in her old home, she finds a guitar on her front porch. Although the giver has remained anonymous, she assumes it's from her dad and that learning how to play it will, somehow, keep him close to her despite the distance between them. Sounds like a sweet read.

3. Madwoman by Louisa Treger—I've talked about this historical novel before. It's based on the true story of Nellie Bly's terrifying but illuminating undercover infiltration of the famous mental asylum on New York's Blackwell's Island in 1887.

4. Ashton Hall by Lauren Belfer—This Gothic mystery is about a woman who is happy to escape her unraveling life in New York City to stay with an ill relative at a manor house in England. When her young, neurodivergent son discovers human remains in a forgotten wing, she becomes consumed with learning about the woman whose skeleton was hidden in mysterious Ashton Hall.

5. Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese—I'm #3 on the library waiting list for this buzzy novel. You probably already know that the story is a reimagining of the life of the woman who inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. It sounds intriguing.

6. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens—This classic novella actually fits this week's real TTT prompt about unlikable characters. It's one of my favorite books of all time. I re-read it every December to get me in the Christmas spirit.

7. Somewhere Sisters: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family by Erika Hayasaki—I'm an adoptive mom, so I'm always interested in books like this one. It recounts the true story of a pair of identical twins who were born in Vietnam in 1998. The girls' biological mother could not take care of them. One was adopted and raised in a poor, rural village in Vietnam by her biological aunt. The other was adopted by a wealthy white family and raised in a prosperous Chicago household. When the American adoptive mother learned her daughter had a twin back in Vietnam, she reunited the sisters, who were teens at the time. Sounds like an incredible story.

8. No Strangers Here by Carlene O'Connor—I just heard about this series opener (probably from one of your blogs) and it sounds excellent. When the dead body of a bloke known as "The Dancing Man" is found murdered on a beach in southwest Ireland, Detective Inspector Cormac O'Brien gets the case. His investigation in the small town of Dingle leads him to the dead man's rumored lover. When Dimpna Wilde's mother comes under suspicion of murdering "The Dancing Man," Dimpna returns to the hometown she gladly left behind to clear her mother's name. 

9. Embers On the Wind by Lisa Williamson Rosenberg—This dual-timeline novel revolves around Whittaker House, an old Massachusetts home that was once a stop on the Underground Railroad. Inhabited by the ghosts of two women who died there while trying to escape slavery, it's now a posh vacation rental. The ghosts observe the modern-day holiday-makers, many of whom are Black women who are not as free as they appear. 

10. A Murder at Balmoral by Chris McGeorge—I'm not a person who cares for real-life drama, royal or otherwise, but this holiday murder mystery sounds like a fun caper. The royal family is gathered in Scotland for Christmas when the king dies from poisoning. Everyone in the dysfunctional clan is a suspect, but who actually did the dirty deed?

There you are, ten books I want to read before 2022 disappears. Which titles are you itching to read before the new year? Do you have any villains you love to hate? I'd truly love to know.

Happy TTT!

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