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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:


5 / 30 books. 17% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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

International:
- Australia (1)
- England (3)
- Ireland (1)
- Scotland (1)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:


9 / 51 states. 18% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:


6 / 50 books. 12% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge


12 / 50 books. 24% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


23 / 50 books. 46% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:


20 / 52 books. 38% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:


16 / 40 books. 40% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge


13 / 40 books. 33% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:


2 / 25 books. 8% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress


11 / 26.2 miles. 42% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress


11 / 100 books. 11% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:


24 / 104 books. 23% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress


23 / 52 books. 44% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress


23 / 165 books. 14% done!
Sunday, December 31, 2023

That's a Wrap!

 


Happy New Year! Even though I'll probably finish another book today, I'm going to go ahead and compile my reading stats for the year. That way, I can refresh my blog today and be all ready to jump into 2024 tomorrow. Woo hoo!

2023 has been a great reading year for me, at least in that I've read more books than I ever have before. I'm not sure how many truly fantastic books I've experienced in 2024. Still, I enjoyed my reading for the most part. I discovered new authors, found hidden treasures, acted as a judge for three different book awards, headed up a fun book club, etc. So, yeah, it's been a successful reading year for me. Let's see what the numbers say:


I've read 223 books this year, which is 23 more than last year. Go, me.

To no one's surprise, I once again read way more fiction than nonfiction, with 198 of the former and 25 of the latter:


This next breakdown isn't too surprising either, considering it's stayed pretty consistent over the last several years. I read children's books (middle grade and YA) for book awards judging and only occasionally otherwise.



You know how I mentioned needing to put myself on a book buying ban in 2024? Here's a look at why. The books I read this year came from the following sources:


I'm patting myself on the back for making good use of my city and county library systems, but I REALLY need to use my own personal library instead of just adding to it!

Here's how the genres broke down. No surprise that mysteries/thrillers dominated (this includes historical mysteries, which I didn't count for the hist fic genre):


I couldn't get this pie chart right, but here's how the genres broke down:

Mystery/Thriller    70 books (31.4%)
Historical Fiction    32 books (14.3 %)
General Fiction        65 books (29.1%)
Sci Fi/Fantasy         17 books (7.6 %)
Romance                  7 books (3.2 %)
Supernatural/Horror    2 books (approx. 1%)
Dystopian                    2 books (approx. 1%)
Poetry                        1 book (approx. .5%)
General Nonfiction    10 books (4.5%)
Historical Nonfiction    7 books (3.1 %)
Biography/Memoir        10 books (4.5%)

Lastly, I always keep track of the settings of the books I read. This year, I "visited" all 50 U.S. states, plus D.C., in my reading. The Top 5 states I stopped in were:

1. California (23 books)
2. New York (17 books)
3. Washington (6 books)
4. Tie—Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Vermont (5 books each)
5. Tie—Michigan, Ohio, Texas (4 books each)

I also did some international reading. The Top 5 countries I visited were:

1. England (25 books)
2. Canada (10 books)
3. Scotland (4 books)
4. Tie—Ireland and Australia (3 books each)
5. Tie—France and The Netherlands (2 books each)

How about you? How did your 2023 reading year go?

Just for my records, here are the books I read in 2023 (asterisks denote favorites):

  • 1. Cece Rios and the King of Fears by Kaela Rivera (Jan)
  • 2. Bastille Vs. The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson (Jan)
  • 3. Sunny by Jason Reynolds [audio] (Jan)
  • 4. The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green (Jan)
  • 5. Madwoman by Louisa Treger (Jan)
  • 6. The Art of the Decoy by Trish Esden (Jan)
  • 7. Ten Days a Madwoman by Deborah Noyes (Jan)
  • 8. Booked for Trouble by Eva Gates (Jan)
  • 9. Dead and Gondola by Ann Claire* (Jan)
  • 10. The War Librarian by Addison Armstrong [audio] (Jan)
  • 11. Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron (Jan)
  • 12. Exiles by Jane Harper* (Jan)
  • 13. The Stranded by Sarah Daniels (Jan)
  • 14. No Strangers Here by Carlene O'Connor (Jan)
  • 15. Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber [audio] (Jan)
  • 16. All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham (Jan)
  • 17. Still Alice by Lisa Genova (Jan)
  • 18. The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden [audio] (Jan)
  • 19. The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho (Feb)
  • 20. Five Survive by Holly Jackson (Feb)
  • 21. Beneath the Wide Silk Sky by Emily Inouye Huey* (Feb)
  • 22. The Words We Keep by Erin Stewart (Feb)
  • 23. The Poisoner's Ring by Kelley Armstrong* (Feb)
  • 24. The Starburst Effect by Kelly Oram (Feb)
  • 25. Falling for Korea by Piper Jean (Feb)
  • 26. Without the Mask: Coming Out and Coming Into God's Light by Charlie Bird* (Feb)
  • 27. American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson (Feb)
  • 28. Don't Look For Me by Wendy Walker [audio] (Feb)
  • 29. Her Little Flowers by Shannon Morgan (Feb)
  • 30. The Silence by Susan Alcott (Feb)
  • 31. Somewhere Sisters: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family by Erika Hayasaki (Feb)
  • 32. In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward (Feb)
  • 33. The Lost Wonderland Diaries by J. Scott Savage (Feb)
  • 34. Secrets of the Looking Glass by J. Scott Savage (Feb)
  • 35. In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park (Feb)
  • 36. The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation by Rosemary Simpson [audio] (Feb)
  • 37. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds [audio] (Mar)
  • 38. Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare (Mar)
  • 39. Murder Off the Books by Tamara Berry* (Mar)
  • 40. The Unknown Beloved by Amy Harmon (Mar)
  • 41. The Opera Sisters by Marianne Monson (Mar)
  • 42. Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country in the World by Sarah Smarsh [audio] (Mar)
  • 43. The Letter Carrier by L.C. Lewis (Mar)
  • 44. This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong* (Mar)
  • 45. Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong* (Mar)
  • 46. Courts and Alleys by Elizabeth J. Stewart (Mar)
  • 47. A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice by Rebecca Connolly (Mar)
  • 48. In the Shadow of a Queen by H.B. Moore (Mar)
  • 49. The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede* (Mar)
  • 50. The Letter From Briarton Park by Sarah E. Ladd [audio] (Mar}
  • 51. Book Lovers by Emily Henry [audio] (Apr)
  • 52. A Girl Called Samson by Amy Harmon* (Apr)
  • 53. The Hot Zone by Richard Preston (Apr)
  • 54. The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore (Apr)
  • 55. A Stolen Child by Sarah Stewart Taylor (Apr)
  • 56. Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley (Apr)
  • 57. Six Feet Deep Dish by Mindy Quigley (Apr)
  • 58. The Swell by Allie Reynolds (Apr)
  • 59. Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley (Apr)
  • 60. The Wedding Dress Sewing Cirlce by Jennifer Ryan (Apr)
  • 61. To Catch a Storm by Mindy Mejia (Apr)
  • 62. Lone Women by Victor LaValle (Apr)
  • 63. Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong* [audio] (Apr)
  • 64. The Close by Jane Casey* (May)
  • 65. Misfortune Cookie by Vivien Chien (May)
  • 66. The Bone Hacker by Kathy Reichs* (May)
  • 67. The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden (May)
  • 68. The Only Girl in Town by Ally Condie (May)
  • 69. Vinyl Resting Place by Olivia Blacke (May)
  • 70. Where Are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark (May)
  • 71. A Stranger in Town by Kelley Armstrong* [audio] (May)
  • 72. Where Are the Children Now? by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke (May)
  • 73. The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas (May)
  • 74. Enola Holmes and the Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer* [audio] (May)
  • 75. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (May)
  • 76. The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz (May)
  • 77. The Deepest of Secrets by Kelley Armstrong* (May)
  • 78. Mousse and Murder by Elizabeth Logan (May)
  • 79. Zero Days by Ruth Ware (Jun)
  • 80. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson [re-read] (Jun)
  • 81. Home Away From Home by Cynthia Lord (Jun)
  • 82. Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen [audio] (Jun)
  • 83. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (Jun)
  • 84. The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Jun)
  • 85. Bleeding Heart Yard by Elly Griffiths [audio] (Jun)
  • 86. On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis (Jun)
  • 87. A Simple Plan by Scott Smith (Jun)
  • 88. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (Jun)
  • 89. In Myrtle Peril by Elizabeth C. Bunce* [audio] (Jun)
  • 90. I Lived On Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin (Jun)
  • 91. The One and Only Ruby by Katherine Applegate (Jun)
  • 92. Stiff by Mary Roach (Jun)
  • 93. The Talk by Darrin Bell* (Jun)
  • 94. Surrender by Bono (Jul)
  • 95. The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda (Jul)
  • 96. Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA by Richard Hill (Jul)
  • 97. A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones [audio] (Jul)
  • 98. A Sky Full of Song by Susan Lynn Meyer (Jul)
  • 99. The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer (Jul)
  • 100. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (Jul)
  • 101. A Gathering Of Days by Joan W. Blos (Jul)
  • 102. Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney* [audio] (Jul)
  • 103. What Stands in a Storm by Kim Cross (Jul)
  • 104. Enchanted Hill by Emily Bain Murphy (Jul)
  • 105. Iceberg by Jennifer A. Nielsen [audio] (Jul)
  • 106. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë* [re-read] (Jul)
  • 107. The Manor House by Gilly Macmillan (Aug)
  • 108. Death in Bloom by Jess Dylan [audio] (Aug)
  • 109. O' Artful Death by Sarah Stewart Taylor (Aug)
  • 110. Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow* (Aug)
  • 111. What Happened to Rachel Riley? by Claire Swinarski (Aug)
  • 112. Lasagna Means I Love You by Kate O'Shaughnessy (Aug)
  • 113. The Fiction Writer by Jillian Cantor (Aug)
  • 114. Sincerely Sicily by Tamika Burgess (Aug)
  • 115. Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (Aug)
  • 116. Adrift by Lisa Brideau (Aug)
  • 117. 102 Days of Lying About Lauren by Maura Jortner (Aug)
  • 118. The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd [audio] (Aug)
  • 119. Death at High Tide by Hannah Dennison (Aug)
  • 120. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado (Aug)
  • 121. Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright (Aug)
  • 122. Lemon Drop Dead by Amanda Flower (Aug)
  • 123. Anatomy by Dana Schwartz [audio] (Aug)
  • 124. Goldilocks by Laura Lam (Aug)
  • 125. The Codebreaker's Secret by Sara Ackerman (Aug)
  • 126. The Unbreakable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumacher (Aug)
  • 127. The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil [audio] (Aug)
  • 128. All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers (Aug)
  • 129. The Search for Us by Susan Azim Boyer (Aug)
  • 130. Little Wonders by Kate Rorick (Aug)
  • 131. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman* (Aug)
  • 132. I Survived The Destruction of Pompeii, AD 79 by Lauren Tarshis (Aug)
  • 133. The Bones of the Story by Carol Goodman (Sep)
  • 134. How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller (Sep)
  • 135. The Vanishing Violin by Michael D. Beil (Sep)
  • 136. The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne (Sep)
  • 137. Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming (Sep)
  • 138. Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister (Sep)
  • 139. Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig (Sep)
  • 140. Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell (Sep)
  • 141. Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life by Sutton Foster [audio] (Sep)
  • 142. Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy (Sep)
  • 143. Murder By Degrees by Ritu Mukerji (Sep)
  • 144. Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese (Sep)
  • 145. Off the Grid by Tess Sharpe (Sep)
  • 146. Lay Your Body Down by Amy Suiter Clarke (Sep)
  • 147. Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (Sep)
  • 148. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (Sep)
  • 149. All the Small Poems and Fourteen More by Valerie Worth (Sep)
  • 150. Like Vanessa by Tami Charles [audio] (Sep)
  • 151. Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford (Sep)
  • 152. Scene of the Climb by Kate Dyer-Seeley (Sep)
  • 153. The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer (Oct)
  • 154. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (Oct)
  • 155. Beer and Loathing by Ellie Alexander (Oct)
  • 156. A Brew to a Kill by Ellie Alexander (Oct)
  • 157. My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows* [audio] (Oct)
  • 158. Solito by Javier Zamora (Oct)
  • 159. The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch (Oct)
  • 160. The Audacity of Sara Grayson by Joani Elliott (Oct)
  • 161. The Secret of Snow by VIola Shipman [audio] (Oct)
  • 162. The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie (Oct)
  • 163. War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi (Oct)
  • 164. Your Second Act by Patricia Heaton (Oct)
  • 165. A Bit of Earth by Karuna Riazi [audio] (Oct)
  • 166. Eventide by Sarah Goodman (Oct)
  • 167. Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center* (Oct)
  • 168. The Inn Between by Marina Cohen (Oct)
  • 169. Finally Seen by Kelly Yang (Oct)
  • 170. Devil By the Tail by Jeanne Matthews (Oct)
  • 171. The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm* (Nov)
  • 172. Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. [audio] (Nov)
  • 173. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Nov)
  • 174. The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict (Nov)
  • 175. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Nov)
  • 176. River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer (Nov)
  • 177. The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters (Nov)
  • 178. The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor (Nov)
  • 179. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White* (Nov)
  • 180. Austenland by Shannon Hale (Nov)
  • 181. Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree* (Nov)
  • 182. The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl (Nov)
  • 183. Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub (Nov)
  • 184. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (Nov)
  • 185. Weird Rules to Follow by Kim Spencer (Nov)
  • 186. Hope in the Valley by Mitali Perkins (Nov)
  • 187. Murder at Haven's Rock by Kelley Armstrong* [audio] (Nov)
  • 188. The Fire, the Water, and Maudie McGinn by Sally J. Pla (Nov)
  • 189. Miracle by Karen S. Chow (Nov)
  • 190. Half Moon Summer by Elaine Vickers (Nov)
  • 191. The Braid Girls by Sherri Winston (Nov)
  • 192. The Great Kid in the World by John David Anderson* (Nov)
  • 193. A Touch of Blue by Tory Christie (Nov)
  • 194. Murder Road by Simone St. James* (Nov)
  • 195. The Gray by Chris Baron (Nov)
  • 196. Hands by Torrey Maldonado (Nov)
  • 197. On Air With Zoe Washington by Janae Marks (Nov)
  • 198. Sixties Girl by MaryLou Driedger (Nov)
  • 199. The Lost Year by Katherine Marsh* (Nov)
  • 200. An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James [audio] (Nov)
  • 201. The Only One Left by Riley Sager (Dec)
  • 202. Ruby Lost and Found by Christina Li (Dec)
  • 203. The Wild Journey of Juniper Berry by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown* (Dec)
  • 204. Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan (Dec)
  • 205. Tethered to Other Stars by Elisa Stone Leahy (Dec)
  • 206. Light a Candle by Jean Kuo Lee (Dec)
  • 207. Race for the Ruby Turtle by Stephen Bramucci (Dec)
  • 208. Amelia Gray Is Almost Okay by Jessica Brody (Dec)
  • 209. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens* [audio] [re-read] (Dec)
  • 210. Jiu-Jitsu Girl by Jennifer Dutton (Dec)
  • 211. The Labors of Hercules Beal by Gary D. Schmidt* (Dec)
  • 212. The Paper Daughters of Chinatown (Young People's Edition) by Heather B. Moore and Allison Hong Merrill (Dec)
  • 213. Never Lie by Freida McFadden [audio] (Dec)
  • 214. No Matter the Distance by Cindy Baldwin (Dec)
  • 215. Once Upon a Family by Amanda Rawson Hill (Dec)
  • 216. The Talent Thief by Mike Thayer (Dec)
  • 217. The Winterton Deception: Final Word by Janet Sumner Johnson (Dec)
  • 218. Gingersnap! A Redhead's Guide to Not Being Eaten By a Dragon by Daniel Swenson (Dec)
  • 219. First, the Conjurer by Mary Locke Jolley (Dec)
  • 220. Before by Molly McNamara Carter (Dec)
  • 221. The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell [audio] (Dec)
  • 222. Taigh by Loralee Evans (Dec)
  • 223. Branson Garcia and the Sea of Sceros by Amy Dewsnup (Dec)
Saturday, December 30, 2023

The One Where I Rocked All My 2023 Reading Challenges (Mostly)

It's no secret that I love a good reading challenge. They give my reading life a little more...well, life! I have fun with them, never taking them TOO seriously. This year, I did better with my challenges than I've ever done before. Huzzah! Let's see how everything shook out in 2023:

1. The Goodreads Reading Challenge

Hosted By: Goodreads

Status: Completed

I set my Goodreads goal at 200, just like I do every year. At the moment, I'm at 222 books read. I'm an hour away from finishing #223 and I'll probably read another short middle-grade novel tomorrow. At any rate, I crushed my goal, reading more books in a year than I ever have before. Huzzah!

2. The Bookish Books Reading Challenge 

Hosted By: Yours Truly

Status: Completed

This challenge was born in 2023 and had a successful first year of existence. It's been so fun to host this laidback, bookish challenge that I'm bringing it back in 2024. If you haven't signed up for it yet, what are you waiting for? Click here.

Naturally, I signed up for this challenge at the highest level—Living in the Library—which required me to read 30+ bookish books. I reached this goal, reading 33 in total. 

3. Literary Escapes Reading Challenge

Hosted By: Lori @Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book

Status: Completed

This is one of my favorite challenges. It involves keeping track of where all the books you read are set, with the goal of reading at least one book set in each of the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. You get extra points for every country you "visit" in your reading. I checked off all the states, D.C., and 17 countries outside of the U.S. Not too bad!

4. Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Hosted By: Marg @Intrepid Reader and Baker

Status: Completed

Because hist fic is one of my favorite genres, this challenge is never really a challenge at all. I signed up for the "Ancient History" level, which meant reading 25+ historical novels. I rocked it, reading 49. 

5. POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Hosted By: POPSUGAR

Status: Completed

For the second year in a row, I completed this challenge, including the 10 "Advanced" prompts.

6. Booklist Queen Reading Challenge

Hosted By: Rachael @Booklist Queen

Status: Completed

I finished this one back in October or November by crossing off all 52 prompts.

7. The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge

Hosted By: The 52 Book Club

Status: Completed

All 52 prompts for this challenge have been checked off as well.

8. Build Your Library Reading Challenge

Hosted By: Emily @Build Your Library

Status: Completed

The nature theme made this challenge a little bit difficult for me, but I managed to find a book for each of its 40 prompts.

9. Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

Hosted By: Pioneer Book

Status: Incomplete

Pioneer Bookstore is a great indie in Provo, Utah, where I went to college. Although I now live in Arizona, my husband and/or I travel to Provo several times a year to visit family and attend conferences at our alma mater. The bookstore hosts a reading challenge every year that comes with a $50 gift certificate to spend in store. The prompts are always a little tough, so I've never actually managed to complete this challenge. 2023 has been no exception. I finished over half of the 40 prompts, but I quit when I realized I wasn't going to complete them all by the time we took our last trip of the year to Provo. Oh well. I didn't really want to read a Shakespeare play anyway!

10. Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

Hosted By: Lori @Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book

Status: Completed

Since I joined this challenge at the "Peckish" level, which required reading 1-25 cozy mysteries, I was easily able to finish it. I ended up cruising through 16 cozies.

11. Medical Examiner Mystery Reading Challenge

Hosted By: Rick @The Mystillery

Status: Completed - 12th Place

As macabre as it is to count the dead bodies in the mystery books I read, I still enjoy doing this challenge every year. Currently, I'm in 12th place with 406 "toe tags" tied.

12. Book Bingo Blackout

Hosted By: Unruly Reader

Status: Incomplete due to mysterious disappearance of challenge

This bingo-style challenge had 25 prompts to tackle. I was well on my way to completion when the challenge page disappeared! Since I couldn't remember exactly what each category involved, I stopped working on this one once it mysteriously vanished. LOL

13. Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

Hosted By: GregoryRoad @Take a Walk Down Gregory Road

Status: Complete

This lengthy challenge offers 27 topics with four prompts each. You can complete certain categories only or go for a blackout. I'm a glutton for punishment, so I went for the latter. I finished all 108 prompts earlier this month.

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

Hosted By: Sarah @Belle's Library

Status: Complete

There are no requirements for this challenge except to read children's books. Easy peasey. I read a total of 83. I'll finish another one today and will probably read yet another tomorrow. We'll see.

So, yep, I pretty much rocked my challenges in 2023. I never take any of them too seriously, but I'm still proud of myself for finishing all these. They definitely added some fun and challenge to my reading this year as well as pushing me to read titles I wouldn't have otherwise. That's exactly why I love doing reading challenges!

Did you take on any reading challenges in 2023? How did you fare with them?

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

What's Two More?

Because I'm crazy, I'm adding two more reading challenges to my roster for 2024:

Mount TBR Reading Challenge


This annual challenge, hosted by Bev of My Reader's Block, is all about conquering Mount TBR by reading books you own to "climb" as high as you can. Because I seriously need to reduce the amount of books I own (especially the physical ones), I'm going to join at the Mt. Everest level, which requires reading 100 TBR books that you own. 



We all know I love a prompt-based reading challenge. When someone mentioned this one on their blog, I couldn't resist checking it out. Hosted by Emily Bourque on Goodreads, it features 52 prompts that are voted on by challenge participants. Sounds fun!

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: My Latest Book Acquisitions


Good morning! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was delightful, with lots of laughs, baby snuggles, good food, and quality time spent with family and friends. My kids' favorite gift was surprise tickets to see U2 perform at The Sphere in Las Vegas. A few months ago, my husband went to see the concert with a buddy, and he hasn't stopped talking about it, so we decided to road trip to Vegas in February with our two youngest and experience it together. 

Thank you for all of your good wishes for my daughter-in-law. She was discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon. Although she's still in a lot of pain, she and my son are thrilled to be back home. I'll be delivering their dog to them later today so their little family can all be reunited after a long week apart. My DIL still has a long recovery in front of her, so continued prayers/good vibes are very much welcome!

For those of you who have been dying to know what my son added to my Jesus collection this Christmas, wonder no more:


Buddy Christ makes me laugh. I'm not a dashboard figurine kind of person, so he'll be joining the other Jesuses on my desk.

Updated (12.28.23): My aunt thinks this Jesus giving tradition is sacrilegious. Since some of you might feel the same way, I better reiterate that I love and honor Jesus Christ as not just my loving elder brother (the son of my Heavenly Father) but also as my Savior. I do, however, have a sense of humor about being a "Jesus freak," and this tradition has been a way for my son and I to connect over the sometimes sticky issue of religion. So, even though it might seem a little irreverent, I love that we have this fun tradition. 

Anyway, today's Top Ten Tuesday prompt is, not surprisingly, Top Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf. "Santa" hid a fun bookish goodie under my tree. I've also gone a little crazy with the book buying lately thanks to Christmas, my recent birthday, and Barnes & Noble's new rewards program. I'm also heading to my favorite indie this afternoon to take advantage of the discount I get during my birthday month. Bottom line: I have a *few* acquisitions to share with you today. Funnily enough, when I mentioned to my husband that I really needed to put myself on a book buying ban in 2024, he just said, "You don't have to do that." My bookshelves are stuffed to the gills with unread books, so I really DO need to do that. Ha ha. 

TTT is hosted, as always, by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. She's sick today, so click on over there and give her some extra love, won't you?

Top Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf



1. Melanie Jacobson book box—Let's start with the cute bookish gift I found under my tree yesterday. When Melanie Jacobson—an author who writes sweet contemporary romances and was a very enthusiastic supporter of my own attempts to pen a novel years ago—announced that she was sponsoring a Christmas book box in conjunction with Hares and Hatters Bookshop (an indie in Pocatello, Idaho), I decided to order it for myself. It came with three hardcovers from her cozy Creekville series (Cocoa Kisses, Kiss the Girl, and Scrooge and the Girls Next Door), plus some cute surprises: an apron, a mug, hot cocoa mix, cookies, etc. Lots of fun!


2. Artifice by Sharon Cameron—Cameron is one of my favorite YA authors. I have enjoyed all of her books and I especially loved Bluebird, a World War II novel. I've been eyeing her newest, Artifice, ever since it came out. Since I was at Barnes & Noble anyway and I had rewards points to use, I went ahead and bought myself a copy.


3. Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson—Since my B&N point bank needs to be refilled, I sacrificed and bought a copy of this buzzy murder mystery.


4. Gull Island by Anna Porter—This thriller about a woman who travels to her family's cottage seeking answers about her missing father looked intriguing, so it came home with me as well. Huh. I just looked the book up on Barnes & Noble and Amazon to get a cover image and Gull Island does not get very good ratings/reviews. Oops. At least it was 50% off!


5. Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson and Jay Cooper—I love Johnson's murder mysteries. I've been wanting to read this one ever since it came out. My parents got me an Amazon gift card for my birthday, so I used it to purchase a copy. I'll be in a few quaint English villages this Spring and as much as I love researching my ancestors, I really don't want to die where they did. Thankfully, I've got this guide to keep me safe!


6. The Pact by Sharon Bolton—I love Bolton's Lacey Flint series and I haven't been able to find this newest installment in my local libraries. Amazon gift card to the rescue!


7. The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose—Earlier this year, I signed up for the Book of the Month club. After a few months, I decided it really wasn't worth the cost for me. This murder mystery, sequel to The Maid (which I loved), was my last request from BOTM before I cancelled my membership.


8. Women of the Post by Joshunda Sanders—I've been wanting to read this historical novel ever since it came out. It's based on the real story of a battalion of Black women who found purpose in serving with the Women's Army Corps during World War II. Their job was to sort the copious amounts of mail being sent to soldiers every day from their loved ones.


9. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van PeltDeanna has convinced me that I need to read this book, even though it doesn't necessarily sound like my kind of thing. When someone in my book club suggested we read it next year, it seemed like another sign from the universe. I listened and bought myself a copy.


10. The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan—Another World War II novel, this one is about a Malayan woman who made the desperate decision to become a spy for the Japanese government ten years ago. That action has brutal consequences in her present. When the woman's teenaged son disappears, she must risk everything to save her family.

There you go, the last ten (actually thirteen, but who's counting?) books that have found their way onto my already overcrowded bookshelves. Have you read any of them? Did Santa bring you any bookish goodies? Which titles have you acquired lately? I'd truly love to know. Leave a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog. I also reply to comments left here (although I am a week or so behind).

Happy TTT!

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas!



It's just after 6 a.m. on Christmas morning and I'm up with the grandbaby, who stayed the night with me because her mommy is still in the hospital. It's been a week since my daughter-in-law's open heart surgery. She's still in a lot of pain, but we're hopeful she'll be discharged today so her little family can enjoy Christmas together. We'll see what happens. In the meantime, I'm enjoying this early morning peace and quiet that's permeating my home right now. It's the perfect time to contemplate my blessings, always thanking God for what He has given me. Among these blessings, I count you, my loyal (and even occasional), blog readers. You make this book blogging hobby a true joy. Thank you for hanging out with me here at BBB, for your thoughtful comments, your reading recommendations, your bookish chat, and your support. I wish all of you who celebrate a very Merry Christmas! I hope all of us can feel the magic of this special season.

(Image courtesy of callmetak on Freepik)

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Christmas Traditions

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate! Are you ready for the big day? Other than a couple of gift cards that still need to be purchased, I've finished shopping for presents. Thanks to my 15-year-old, everything is wrapped and waiting under the Christmas tree. I've still got grocery shopping to do, but that's about it. Phew! I'm tired from watching my 2-month-old granddaughter overnight on Sunday so her mom could get a good night's rest before having open heart surgery on Monday and I've got a sore throat and cough that are driving me crazy. The baby's got a cold, too (I'm pretty sure it was her daddy that infected both of us!), but we're tough. We'll all get through this. (My daughter-in-law's surgery went better than expected. She should be released from the hospital before Christmas. Yay!) At any rate, I'm looking forward to a fun week filled with family, friends, good food, and holiday traditions. 
As joyous as the holidays can be, they can also be indescribably tough. I have a particular heartbreak in my life that's making me feel sorrowful and a little Grinch-y, so to those who are having a hard time feeling comfort and joy right now, I see you. I'm a person of faith, even in the hard times (maybe especially then). I have felt the power of God's healing embrace throughout my life as well as the hope that Jesus Christ brought into the world with his miraculous birth and atonement. Whether you're happily making merry or suffering through a season made difficult by struggle or sorrow (or both), I pray that you can feel the peace of Their love this Christmas.

I decided to push this week's TTT prompt—Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings/Bookish Wishes—off until next week when the topic is Top Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf. Instead, I'm going to get more personal today and talk about my favorite Christmas traditions. These are the activities I participate in, the decorations I put up, the foods I eat, the songs I listen to, etc. every year in order to saturate my heart and soul with the enchanting spirit of Christmas.

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Hop on over there and give her some love, won't you? 

Top Ten Favorite Christmas Traditions


Nutcrackers

My birthday is a few days before Christmas. One year, when I was probably 8 or 9, my mom decided to take me to a professional performance of The Nutcracker ballet as a birthday present. Afterward, she presented me with my first nutcracker. I've always been charmed by the whimsical figurines and have continued to collect them. As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, I like to line them up on the windowsills throughout my home at Christmastime. 

Jesus


I mean, He is the reason for the season! I've collected nativities for some time now, but recently my son started a new Jesus collection for me. Three Christmases ago, he was stumped on what to get me for a present. He literally Googled "What do middle-aged white women want for Christmas?" The bendable, poseable Jesus figurine in the photo above was the result. It was such an unexpected gift from my teenaged son that I couldn't stop laughing. He was delighted by my reaction, so the next year he got me a Jesus bobblehead. Last year, it was the life-sized stuffie in the photo at left (which has been a great conversation piece, by the way, as well as a total hug magnet). I'm not sure how he's going to top that this year! I'll keep you posted.
Doughnuts


Every year, we make hundreds of homemade raised doughnuts to give away to neighbors, friends, and even strangers. This tradition comes from my husband's side of the family and it's one that I both love and hate. The love is because it's a tradition that has been going on for decades, ever since my mother-in-law was a child. It's meaningful to the hubs, who has lots of great memories of making doughnuts with his family. Also, homemade doughnuts are delicious! They're also a lot of work, which is where the hate part comes in. Everyone pitches in to make them, but guess who always does the lion's share of the prep work and clean up? Yep. Me. And let me tell you, scraping dough and hardened glaze off every surface in my kitchen is not exactly a good time. Still, people look forward to receiving our doughnuts all year, so I *guess* it's worth it.

Chimichangas 

Since my husband's family already had the fryers out to make doughnuts, they created a tradition of making chimichangas for Christmas Eve dinner. We continue this yummy tradition with members of his extended family (who do most of the work, to be honest) as part of our night-before-Christmas festivities In addition to eating chimis, we have a musical puppet nativity, play games, and surprise our hostess (my husband's great aunt) by hiding gifts under her tree and hanging silly ornaments on its branches for her to find on Christmas morning.

Lights 

We don't go crazy with our outside lights, but some people in our neighborhood and wider area do. It's always fun to walk or drive around and enjoy the different displays. One of the biggest and most popular places to check out lights in our area is at the Mesa Temple. The grounds are always beautifully lit up for the holiday.

Music



I love listening to Christmas songs (although I only allow them to be played in my home and car after Thanksgiving and before New Year's Day). Whimsical or sacred, silly or solemn, they fill me with joy. I've been contemplating my favorites. Here's my Top 5:

1. O Holy Night
2. What Child Is This?
3. O Come All Ye Faithful
4. Go Tell It On the Mountain
5. Mary, Did You Know?

What are your favorite Christmas/holiday songs?

Books



I've mentioned this tradition before, but every December, I re-read (or listen to) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It's such a rich story that I get something new from it every time I experience it. We also read Luke 2 and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore every Christmas Eve as a family.

Village


I blame my mother-in-law for this one. She bought me my first piece from Department 56's quaint Snow Village collection for my birthday one year and has gifted me many more over the years. I saw a display of the company's Harry Potter village last week; I may just have to start collecting those as well!

Cards



My mom has always been faithful about sending Christmas cards accompanied by a newsy family letter to friends and family every year. I have kept this tradition alive since I enjoy giving and receiving Christmas cards so much. I've skipped a few years here and there (including this one), but it's still a tradition I adore. 

I have to admit, though, that this episode of Everybody Loves Raymond has made me rethink the annual Christmas letter a bit, LOL:



Birthday


Whenever people learn that my birthday occurs just before Christmas, they inevitably say, "Don't you
hate that?" I don't. As a matter of fact, I love it. I was born on my dad's birthday, which makes it special. I've loved celebrating it with him over the years, even if we can't physically get together much because we live in different states. I'm not into birthday parties or big celebrations, so I enjoy marking my birthday in simple ways—a dinner out, a new book, going to see a performance (this year it was GENTRI's Christmas concert), etc. 

There you go, ten Christmas traditions I love to keep. What are some of the traditions that make your holiday festivities special? How do you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc? What books are you hoping to find under your tree on Monday? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on yours. I also reply to your comments here, although I am a week behind at the moment.

Happy TTT! 
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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Kill Her Twice by Stacey Lee

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows



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