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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!


  1. I hope you get to all of these! It looks like a fun end of the year reading list.

    1. Me, too! I'm excited for all of these, so it definitely should be fun reading. We'll see.

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

  2. That Somewhere Sisters book sounds crazy, i might have to stick it on the list.

    1. Right? I'm so interested to see how the sisters' lives compare and contrast being raised in such different circumstances. The book just sounds fascinating on so many levels.

      Thanks for popping in, Peat!

  3. I have quite a few I am hoping to read before the end of the year as well...good luck to us both! Nice topic for this week!

    1. I know! I definitely won't get to ALL the books I want to read before the end of the year, but I'm going to try to hit my goal which means 46 more books by December 31. We'll see how it goes.

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

  4. Well, now I totally want to read Mad Woman! I've always been a fan of Nellie Bly and her daring investigations. On my own "what I want to read before the end of the year" list I've got The Maid, Still Life, The Thief of Blackfriar's Lane, Lakeshire Park, The Prisoner's Wife, The Lost Children, and about thirty other titles. Too many books to be able to read them all, but you know how that goes! ;D Good luck getting these read before the year ends.

    1. Nellie Bly really was a fascinating woman. I can't wait to learn more about her.

      I loved THE MAID and STILL LIFE (if you're referring to the Louise Penny book). I also want to read THE THIEF OF BLACKFRIAR'S LANE and THE PRISONER'S WIFE at some point. I hope you get to all your books before the end of the year!

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

  5. Oooh, so many of these sound really good! Hester was fantastic, so I'm pretty biased towards that one, but I am with you on wanting to read Project Hail Mary - everyone is telling me I've got to read it, so I'm obviously curious.

    1. I'm getting closer and closer to having HESTER in my hot little hands! I'm still 3rd on the list, but the line has actually been moving pretty fast so we'll see how long it takes me to get it. PROJECT HAIL MARY I actually have on my Kindle. I just haven't gotten to it yet. I'm planning to read it in the next couple weeks so I'll have it finished in time for book club. I hope we both enjoy it!

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

  6. It looks like you have some good reading ahead of you, Susan. I hope you are able to fit them all in.

    1. Me too! We'll see how it goes. My 200 book goal may have been too ambitious for this year. LOL.

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

  7. I started Project Hail Mary with my husband on a road trip and never finished it. I need to. It was getting so good.

    1. I guess you'll have to go on another road trip so you can finish it!

      Thanks for stopping in, Kel!

  8. I want to read a couple of those! I use my Goodreads app with the list of books that I have read since last year (when I discovered Goodreads and started blogging!) to help me with TTT.

    I hope that you have a good week this week 😊

    1. GR really comes in handy for TTT, although I'm beginning to think I need to keep more themed lists instead of just TBRs.

      Thanks for popping by, Emily!

  9. Also please let me know when you have your 2023 challenges ready! :)

    1. I will! Do you do a lot of reading challenges, too? I'm not sure which I'll do next year, but I'll post about it when I decide.

  10. Ohhh, i love your site design. It's so cute! :D "Somewhere Sister" sounds like an amazing book. Very thoughtful. I wonder how different the sisters would be.

    Here's my TTT

    Hopefully you'll be able to comment. :/ If not, i'll have to look into that.

    1. Thanks! My blog got a makeover about a year ago and I love it.

      I'm curious about that, too, with SOMEWHERE SISTERS. I've wondered before how similar/different my adopted daughter would be had she been raised by her birthparents or different adoptive parents. It's an interesting thought (although I'm incredibly grateful I get the privilege of raising her).

      Oh, and I commented on your blog with no problem. It hasn't been all the WP blogs, just some of them. So weird.

      Thanks for popping in, MBM!

    2. Yay! Thanks for coming by. That's very interesting about your daughter too. My undergraduate degree is in Psychology, so i love to ponder on people's behavior and overall personality development. :D

      Luna @ Mysteries by Moonlight

  11. Both Hester and Madwoman sound fascinating!

    1. I agree! I just need to get them read already.

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

  12. I suppose the one unlikeable character I can't help but love is Severus Snape from Harry Potter. I can't think of any more so I wouldn't be able to do 10 of those either! Project Hail Mary is wonderful but it does take a little while to get to the really interesting part, so bear with it and good luck!

    1. Snape and Ebeneezer Scrooge are the only two who popped right into my mind for this topic. They weren't enough for a list, so I twisted the topic.

      That's what I've heard from others about PROJECT HAIL MARY as well. I'll try to be patient :)

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

  13. A Christmas Carol is great. I also enjoy watching various adaptations of it. :)

    1. I adore A CHRISTMAS CAROL! Since it's a novella, it's easy to re-read every year. I also enjoy watching film adaptations of it. My favorite might actually be the Muppets version :) Which is yours?

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

  14. I totally get your feelings about Martian and Proj Hail Mary. I made it through Martian but felt like I was the only person who didn't like it. SO much science blah blah. Proj Hail Mary is somewhat similar - different kind of science. BUT, the main character and alien totally redeem the book and I couldn't put it down. I read the science words but had only the vaguest idea of what they meant - but the characters, amazing. Such a good story (don't tell, but I skimmed plenty of the sciencey stuff!). Thanks for the visit.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

    1. I have heard that PROJECT HAIL MARY is more exciting than THE MARTIAN. Like you, I find all the science-y stuff tedious. Just get on with the story already! I might have to do some skimming, too, so don't feel bad :)

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

  15. Bye the way, I had a really hard time finding where to comment - almost gave up. Hopefully next week when I come back I'll remember.

    1. I'm so sorry! It's kind of hidden as it is and I changed the "comments" to "readers said" just for fun. Maybe I should change it back so it's clearer where to comment. Thanks for the feedback.

  16. I have also had times when I cannot comment on WordPress blogs and I never figured out why.

    I have only read Project Hail Mary from your list but I really enjoyed it so look forward to seeing what you think of it.

    I hope you start to feel better/happier. :-)

    1. I've encountered several different errors at different times with WP blogs. Not all of them, just some. It's very strange.

      I'm glad you enjoyed PROJECT HAIL MARY. Most people seem to, although I've heard several people say it takes some patience to stick with it. We'll see how it goes for me.

      Thanks for your well wishes. I received some harsh words from one of my kids, which has left me feeling heartbroken and raw. I'm feeling a little better now, but I tell you (even though you're a mom so you already know), parenting can be rough sometimes!

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

  17. Mad Woman and A Murder at Balmoral sound good! I hope you get to all of these and I hope your week gets better

    1. Thank you! I'm feeling a little bit better, just worn down from parenting, remodeling, and life. Escaping into books definitely helps :)

      Thanks for popping in, Taylor!

  18. Interesting list. "Project Hail Mary" is on my TBR pile but I doubt I'll manage before the end of the year what with Non-fiction November and book clubs etc. "A Christmas Carol" is our book club read for December but I've read it before, and not just once, so I'll see.

    Anyway, Happy Reading.

    1. I'm not much of a re-reader, but I make an exception for A CHRISTMAS CAROL. It's one of my favorite all-time books and it's short, so it's an easy one to re-read. I listened to it on audio last year. Maybe I'll do that again this year. We'll see.

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

    2. Me, either. I re-read from time to time but usually fewer than five books a year. There are SO many new ones out there.

  19. I hope you get to all of these. They look good. I've only read A Christmas Carol, but I loved it.

    1. A CHRISTMAS CAROL is such a good, classic story. I love it. No matter how many times I read it, it never gets old!

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

  20. I hate to miss TTT too. I hope you get to all these books by the end of the year

    1. Since I've been a huge slacker with reviews, TTT is about the only thing I've been posting on my blog for months now, so I REALLY hate to miss it. I also just enjoy talking books with everyone. It's a good time!

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

  21. I want to read Project Hail Mary sooner rather than later, too. Not sure it will happen in 2022 for me, though. (I hope you get to it this year!)

    1. My plan is to finish PROJECT HAIL MARY before book club. It's in just a couple of weeks, though, so I better get moving! I hope we both enjoy it when we read it.

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

  22. I hope you'll get through all the books on your list! Project Hail Mary has been on my TBR for a while.

  23. Good luck! I also want to read Project Hail Mary in December. It's been on my shelf for way too long.

  24. Good luck with your goal and your reading list! I always find that if I need to hurry to catch up on a reading goal to find short books to read XD A Christmas Carol is a good one for that and the holiday season!

  25. I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble commenting on WP blogs. I hope it is resolved soon.

    I also enjoy rereading A Christmas Carol in December.

    My post:

  26. I hope you are able to pick up all of these before the year is over!

  27. Hope you are able to read and enjoy all of these! Happy reading. :) Thanks for visiting my list on this week.

  28. I've only read A Christmas Carol and I absolutely loved it. This has been terrible for my TBR though! I'm adding Madwoman, Ashton Hall, Murder at Balmoral, and No Strangers Here. All of them look really good!

  29. I’d like to try Project Hail Mary before year’s end too. I’m just curious.

  30. Some of these covers are really beautiful. A Song Called Home, Embers on the Wind, and Ashton Hall sound quite interesting.
    I've read a Christmas Carol before and absolutely love it too! It's such a good read, I think I'm going to read it again in December to get in the Christmas mood 🥰


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