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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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My Progress:

13 / 30 books. 43% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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

- Australia (2)
- Canada (2)
- England (10)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

35 / 51 states. 69% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

29 / 50 books. 58% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

29 / 40 books. 73% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

16 / 40 books. 40% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

11 / 25 books. 44% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

17 / 26.2 miles (2nd lap). 65% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

30 / 100 books. 30% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

74 / 104 books. 71% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

84 / 165 books. 51% done!
Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: I'm Not Reading THAT!

Last week's TTT was all about the things that make us want to take a second look at a book. Today's prompt explores the flip side, asking what elements cause us to shy away from certain volumes. I always try to keep my TTT lists positive, but I have to say that this list was actually much easier to make than the last one. I guess I know what I don't like more than what I do?? For whatever reason, this list came together rapidly, without me having to think much about it at all.

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Check out her awesome blog for great reading recommendations and all the deets on this fun meme.

Top Ten Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book

1. Covers featuring scantily-clad people—This is probably my #1 turn-off when it comes to books. I don't read much romance at all and I especially don't want to read the kind that's signaled by people wearing next to nothing on their covers. Same goes with erotic poses or suggestive images of any type. I'm a big prude, so these types of books are just not my thing at all. 

2. Books described as "spicy," "sexy," etc.—I guess this is pretty much the same thing as #1. Again, not for me. If I'm going to read romance, I prefer the sweet, closed-door kind.

3. True crime—I discovered Ann Rule in high school when I attended a writing conference where she was speaking. Her true crime books engrossed and fascinated me, violent and disturbing as they often were. At some point in my young adulthood, the genre as a whole just got to be too much for me. While I can handle books about white collar or non-violent offenses, I won't read true accounts of violent/disturbing crimes. I don't need the nightmares.

4. Low-star ratings/negative reviews—Even though we all know that book reviews/ratings are highly subjective, I still pay attention to them. If a book gets consistently poor reviews/ratings, especially from reviewers I trust, I'm unlikely to waste my time on it.

5. Sports and politics—While I enjoy reading about religion, I have zero interest in the other two members of this taboo trio. Even novels with these themes are generally a turn-off for me.

6. Profanity in a book's title—I'm a person who doesn't swear. Ever. When my kids were younger, they were totally shocked when I lost my temper and used the word "hell" in a sentence that had nothing to do with the Bible. They still bring up that one time I cussed at them because it was so unusual! They were also scandalized when I checked How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey out from the library because it had a bad word in the title. I can handle profanity inside a book (although I'd rather there wasn't any), but if it's in the title, I won't buy it or check it out. Even on my Kindle. I'd never hear the end of it from my family! LOL.

7. High fantasy and hard sci-fi—I do read the occasional fantasy (Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, for example) and sci-fi books. (In fact, I surprised myself recently by enjoying Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, although I did DNF The Martian because all the tedious detail put me to sleep.) In general, though, I shy away from these genres. They're just not what I typically enjoy reading.

8. Short stories—My favorite thing about reading is sinking myself deeply into different worlds and experiences. I love the feeling of being completely carried away by a book. Short stories don't do that for me, so I read them only very rarely.

9. Poetry—While I love verse novels, I avoid poetry. I never seem to get what poems are trying to say. They make me feel dumb, honestly!

10. A previously disliked author—Even my favorite writers sometimes pen stinkers, so I never say never, but, on the whole, I'm unlikely to want to pick up a book by an author whose writing I haven't enjoyed in the past. 

There you are, the top ten things that will make me give a book a wide berth. Are you the same way or completely opposite? What elements of a book turn you off? 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 comments you leave here at BBB.

Happy TTT!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten (More) Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

There are lots of things that make me want to read a particular book. Perhaps it's written by a favorite author or it utilizes a trope I enjoy or the cover just screams, "Pick me up!" What attracts another reader to a certain volume might turn me off completely. Selecting the right book is a very objective process. Today's TTT prompt—Top Ten Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book—is all about those specific reasons you find certain books alluring. I created a list for this topic back in 2018 and nothing much has changed. I'm a creature of habit. Coming up with an additional ten for today's list was a bit of a struggle, but I managed it.

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Click on over and give her some love!

Top Ten (More) Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book
- Covers indicate a book I have read and enjoyed that fits the category. - 

1. Family History/DNA—I'm a genealogist, so I'm naturally drawn to books about this hobby and industry. It's endlessly fascinating to me, whether it's being examined in a novel, memoir, or popsci volume.

2. Locked-Room Mysteries—My favorite kind of mysteries are those where the killers and victims are closeted together in an intimate, claustrophobic setting. Remote islands, Antarctic outposts, secret towns in the Yukon...I love them all. Even better if there's a vicious storm brewing to complicate things even more!

3. Depression/Dust Bowl—It's not a very uplifting subject, but lately I've been very intrigued by this era in American history.

4. Appalachia—I've never been to this area of the U.S., but I'm still fascinated by the region with its hills, hollers, and unique way of life.

5. Catchy Titles—If a book's title makes me smile, laugh, or wonder, I'll probably pick it up. I find cozy mystery titles involving cheese especially hilarious.

6. Moody, Broody Covers—Give me all the windswept old houses, angry seas, desolate landscapes, and stormy skies. Atmospheric covers always appeal to me. 

7. Based on a True Story Historical Fiction—I'm a big hist-fic fan, especially when a novel tells an obscure/untold tale that is based on real life.

8. Knives Out-ish—Ever since this popular movie came out, I've seen a bunch of mystery novels comparing themselves to Knives Out. Although none of the ones I've read so far have really charmed me as much as the film, I still rush to read them. 

9. One Thing Wrong Cover—Books about communities that seem placid and upstanding on the outside by harbor deep, dark secrets always appeal to me. I love covers that illustrate this subtly, with just one little thing out of place to show that not everything is what it seems.

10. Books—This one will shock exactly no one. If a cover features a stack of books, a bookstore or library, and/or a bookish title, I'm in.

There you go, ten more things that draw me to certain books. What subjects/tropes/cover images, etc. never fail to hook your interest as a reader? 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 comments left here.

Happy TTT! 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Do You Do Anything Besides Read? Why Yes, Yes I Do. Occasionally.

Is it starting to get hot—like, really, hot—anywhere other than Arizona? I just got out of my car, which was registering the outside temperature at 103 degrees! Ugh. Swimming is definitely on my schedule for later today. Update: I took a nap and now we're having a rainstorm. I guess swimming will have to wait until tomorrow.

Today's Top Ten Tuesday prompt, Top Ten Things Getting in the Way of My Reading, is a fun one. Don't hate me, but I almost skipped this topic because I actually have almost unlimited reading time. I don't have a job, my kids are teens and young adults, I watch very little t.v., and I don't have a ton of other time-consuming responsibilities or hobbies. If I want to spend all day reading, I can (and often do). Of course, I don't spend 100% of the time with my nose in a book, so how about if I tell you ten other ways I spend my hours on a frequent(ish) basis?

Before we get to that, though, be sure to click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl and give our gracious host, Jana, some love. If you want to join in the TTT fun (and you do!), all the details are on her blog.

Top Ten Things I Do Other Than Read
- in no particular order - 

1. Sleep—When I was a kid, I despised taking naps. I would do almost anything (including climbing out my bedroom window) to avoid them. These days, I can't get enough zzzz's. In addition to my nightly 7-ish hours, I take about a 2-hour nap almost every day. I'm aging, overweight, and living with a chronic illness. That combination makes me very, very tired!

2. Family History Research—I've been a genealogy enthusiast for years. In addition to working on my own family research projects, I also volunteer in a local FamilySearch Center each week. In addition, I do volunteer genealogy work for several organizations, including: FamilySearch, the BYU Record Linking Lab, Stories Behind the Stars, and ICAPGen.

3. Family—I spend a lot of time communing with my dead family members through genealogy, but sometimes the live ones need my attention as well! And guess who will soon be getting the lion's share? My son and daughter-in-law are expecting our first grandbaby. She's a girl and is due in October. Yay!

4. Housework—This one might not count since I actually listen to audiobooks while I clean. Still, it's something that is absolutely endless and takes up lots of my I-could-be-lounging-in-a-recliner-with-my-feet-up-and-a-book-in-my-hands time.

5. Write Reviews—Okay, so I actually haven't been doing much of this lately, but reviews used to take up a lot of my time and should definitely be taking up more of it now. Oops! I read way faster than I review, so I am always behind on reviews. Always.

6. Church/Temple—If you hang around here much, you know I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In addition to two hours of worship at church each Sunday, I also try to attend the temple at least once a week. All able adults in my church are also given a volunteer job (pianist, Sunday School teacher, Nursery worker, compassionate service, etc.) that helps our congregations function smoothly. I'm the secretary of the women's organization (Relief Society) in my congregation, a "calling" I love, even though it demands a fair amount of my time. 

7. Cross-Stitch—I'm an on-again-off-again stitcher, but it's a hobby I've long enjoyed. At the moment, I'm dealing with some tendonitis in my dominant hand, so I haven't stitched in a few months and probably won't be able to for some time still. Bummer. 

8. Walk/Swim—Anyone who knows me IRL will laugh at this one, but the husband and I are on a joint quest to lose weight and get in shape. We've been walking every morning, even though it's not exactly cool outside, even at 6 a.m. Pretty soon, we're going to have to get our steps at a nearby mall or swim laps in our pool instead. I also asked for an exercise bike for Mother's Day, so you know I'm serious about this! LOL. In addition, I rejoined Weight Watchers (with which I've had success before). If you're a WW member and you use Connect, I'd love to follow you. I'm jensensrk.

9. T.V.—I mentioned that I watch hardly any t.v. and I wasn't lying. However, there are two shows that my husband and I like to watch an episode or two of most nights before we go to bed. Everybody Loves Raymond is an old favorite. Ghosts is a new one. (We're genealogists. Go figure!)

10. Book Blogger Relations—I love being part of this wonderful community! It's a joy to visit and comment on other book blogs. The fun interactions with fellow book lovers is my favorite part of blogging, so I happily spend a fair amount of my time visiting blogs, making comments, and replying to your comments here at BBB.

There you have it, ten things I do on a regular basis besides read. What are your "distractions" from reading? I'd love to know. Leave a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog. I also reply to comments here on BBB.

Happy TTT!

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Top Ten Random Reading Recs From Goodreads

Today's Top Ten Tuesday prompt is one I feel like I've done a million times: Top Ten Books You Recommend to Others Most Often. Basically, I most recommend the books and authors I most love. I talk about these gems here on the blog so much that anyone who stops by BBB regularly could probably make a list of the ten books I recommend most for me! In looking for a way to twist the topic into something fresh, I decided to utilize a function of Goodreads that I've never really played with before. Under the "Browse" heading, there is an option to get reading recommendations based on the books you've recorded as read on Goodreads or that appear in your lists on the site. I'm constantly adding data about my reading to Goodreads, so it should know me pretty well by now. We'll see how the recommendation generator did in just a sec...

Before we do that, be sure to click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl and give our hardworking host, Jana, some love. You can find all the details about TTT on her blog. It's a great weekly meme. You should definitely join in the fun!

Top Ten Books Goodreads Recommended to Me

I have a lot of reading lists on Goodreads. A bunch of books were suggested for each one, so I just used the first book on the first ten lists to make today's TTT list. 

Based on my TBR Shelf:

Yesterday's Tides
by Roseanna M. White
—This is a dual-timeline novel that spans both World War I and World War II. It's set on Ocracoke Island, a small community where life is quiet and simple—until German U-boats start causing trouble. When an injured special agent washes ashore, he comes under the care of Evie Farrow, who runs the local inn. As the two get to know each other, they discover their growing relationship echoes another that occurred in the same inn 30 years before. As past secrets come to light, the couple can't help but wonder what it will mean for their own futures.

Verdict: Well done, Goodreads! This historical novel sounds right up my alley. I've never read anything by White, but I like the sound of this one. Plus, I need a book with "tide" in the title for a reading challenge. Score.

Based on my Adult Mystery/Thriller TBR Shelf:

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver—Inspired by Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, Kingsolver explores the effects of poverty on a man born into a penniless environment in Appalachia. Blessed with only his good looks and a mop of eye-catchingly copper hair, he plows through a lifetime of struggles.

Verdict: Another hit! This book is one I've been eyeing, although I apparently haven't actually added it to my TBR list yet. Although the plot summary gives little away in terms of what actually happens in the story, the publisher promises that the novel has "a plot that never pauses for breath." I'm in.

Based on my YA Historical Fiction TBR Shelf:

The Hidden Prince by Tessa Afshar—With a Biblical setting, this Christian (adult?) novel features Keren, the daughter of Jewish captives in Babylon. She is sold into the household of Daniel, where she soon becomes his most trusted scribe. After a horrible accident disrupts her ordered life, she is sent to a foreign country and given an odd job: teach a shepherd boy to become a lord. Why has she been tasked with this strange mission? Who exactly is this shepherd?

Verdict: Hmm, I'm not sure on this one. I usually avoid historical fiction set before the mid-18th Century and Bible-inspired fiction isn't something I've ever really enjoyed. The Hidden Prince gets high marks from Goodreads reviewers, though, so maybe I should give it a go? I probably won't, but you never know...

Based on my Middle Grade Mystery/Thriller TBR Shelf:

A Super Scary Narwhalloween by Ben Clanton—The 8th installment in Clanton's Narwhal and Jelly graphic novel series, this outing celebrates the spookiest night of the year. Narwhal is totally into dressing up and enjoying the holiday. Jelly? Not so much. He finds it way too scary. When Narwhal gets swallowed up by a terrifying sea monster, Jelly must face his fears in order to save his friend.

Verdict: I laughed out loud when I saw this suggestion. This series sounds cute, but it's really not the kind of thing I read.

Based on my Adult General TBR Shelf: 

A Silken Thread by Brenda Jackson—Erica Sanders and Brian Lawson are the perfect couple. Everyone agrees about that. Well, everyone except Erica's mother, Karen (naturally), who will do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart. When she hires a private detective to suss out the Brian's most intimate secrets, what she finds will devastate the families of both Erica and Brian. Though hurt, Erica can't deny her feelings for Brian. She doesn't want to give him up, even though everyone is now telling her to stay away from him. Do Erica and Brian have any chance of finding their once-guaranteed happily ever after? Or will the mistakes of the past ruin any hope they have for a future together?

Verdict: Yeah, no. Way too much drama here for me. I'll give A Silken Thread a hard pass, Goodreads.

Based on my Young Adult Mystery/Thriller TBR Shelf:

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber—This is the first installment in a YA fantasy series about a young woman who is heartbroken when she discovers that the love of her life plans to marry someone else. Desperate, she makes a dangerous deal with the cunning Prince of Hearts. It's not long before she realizes just how foolish it is to bargain with an immortal...

Verdict: I know Garber is a popular author, but nothing about this book appeals to me. Nice try, Goodreads, but nope.

Based on my Adult Historical Fiction TBR Shelf:

Laurel's Dream
by Pepper Basham
—This book is the last (most recent?) installment in a 13-volume series penned by a variety of popular Christian writers. Laurel's Dream takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1918. It features Laurel McAdams, a young woman whose life's ambition is to become a teacher and bring education to her impoverished community. When a disgraced British man comes to the area as a missionary, he finds hope in an unexpected friendship with Laurel that is quickly becoming more. Can the couple find a way to be together despite the challenges that threaten to tear them apart?

Verdict: While I like historical fiction and Appalachian settings, this one might be too romance-y for me. I won't dismiss it outright, but it also doesn't sound all that appealing to me.

Based on my Middle Grade General TBR Shelf:

Worst-Case Collin by Rebecca Caprara—Ever since his mom died in a car accident, 12-year-old Collin has had trouble controlling his anxiety. The only thing that calms him is planning for every possible kind of emergency, from a deadly riptide to embarrassing halitosis. Meanwhile, his dad is growing more distant and has turned to hoarding as a way to soothe his own anxieties. How desperate will Collin's situation get before he's finally able to ask for the help he needs to cope?

Verdict: I've never heard of this verse novel before, but it sounds like one I would like. Thanks for the heads-up, Goodreads!

Based on my Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian TBR Shelf:

Blue Exorcist by Kazue Kato—In this first installment of the Blue Exorcist manga series, a boy discovers that the blood of Satan runs through his veins. Desperate to keep this disturbing information to himself while he figures out how to defeat the devil, he starts training as an exorcist at the mysterious True Cross Academy. Can he find enough power within himself to banish demons, especially those lurking inside himself?

Verdict: My 14-year-old daughter might go for this one, but I have no clue why Goodreads chose it for me! I have no interest in manga, for one, and this plot sounds super weird, for two. No thanks, Goodreads.

Based on my Middle Grade Historical Fiction TBR Shelf:

Running While Black: Finding Freedom in a Sport That Wasn't Built For Us
by Alison Mariella Désir
—When Désir hit rock bottom, she found solace in running. Training for a marathon helped her improve both her physical and mental health. As she got more into the sport, she started investigating its history, which she found disturbingly white. Désir advocates for change and offers ideas for creating a more inclusive running community.

Verdict: This book seems like a super weird choice for this category, doesn't it? I'm the adoptive mother of a bi-racial child, so I'm interested in racial issues, but running really isn't a topic I care about. I'll skip this one.

Goodreads made a couple of useful suggestions for me, but I don't think I'll be relying on it for future recs! Ha ha. It was a fun exercise, though. What do you think of Goodreads' choices for me? Have you read any of them? What books do you recommend most often? 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 comments here.

Happy TTT!

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Newest Amy Harmon Historical My Favorite So Far

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

In the wake of her father's abandonment and her mother's inability to provide for her children, 10-year-old Deborah Samson becomes an indentured servant. Her mentor, a kindly clergyman, reassures her that she will be treated well by the Thomases—and she is, more or less. Although her serving responsibilities in the home mean she's never quite part of the family, Deborah fits in well with the ten rambunctious Thomas boys. Tall, strong, and plain, she's a tomboy with little in the way of femininity or fragility. With an insatiable hunger for knowledge, Deborah is bursting with the desire for freedom, adventure, and real-life experience, a seemingly impossible goal for someone of her lowly station and protected sex. 

When war breaks out, the Thomas boys start enlisting one-by-one. Deborah's heart shatters each time, not just because of worry for her "brothers," but because she wishes she could fight by their sides. In 1782, she gets tired of waiting. Donning her brothers' old clothing, she enlists in the army under a false name. An enthusiastic "Robert Shurtliff" heads off to war, eager to fight, especially under the leadership of the respected General John Paterson. In addition to the challenge of keeping her identity a secret from the men around her, Deborah is soon dealing with the gruesome realities of war, which is nowhere near as glamorous as it seemed from the sidelines. Desperate to prove herself on the battlefield while not drawing undue attention to herself, she is dismayed to find that she's somehow attracted the admiration of General Paterson. As proud as she is to be assigned his aide-de-camp, being in his constant presence is unsettling to say the least. She's hiding several major secrets from him, including her growing romantic feelings for the handsome widower. How can she make sure he never discovers what she's concealing? And what will happen when he—inevitably—does? If she survives the war, what will the future hold for an unusual woman like herself?

A Girl Called Samson is the newest historical novel by Amy Harmon. This is the third book I've read by her and my favorite one so far (although I do really love Where the Lost Wander). Deborah Samson was a real woman who truly did disguise herself as a man in order to serve in the Revolutionary War. Although Harmon tells a fictionalized version of Deborah's story, it's based in the remarkable truth about an extraordinary woman. In Harmon's hands, at least, she's a compassionate, brave, forthright, and passionate heroine who's both sympathetic and admirable. The author imbues her with a complex personality, a diverse range of emotions, and enough challenging experiences to prove her grit and fortitude, all of which make her a well-crafted character who comes alive on the page. John Paterson (also a real person) is just as likable and appealing. The sparks flying between the two are felt almost instantly, but their bond is built over time, giving their relationship a realistic warmth and depth. Besides their budding romance, there is plenty of action and other turmoil in A Girl Called Samson to keep the tale exciting, compelling, and, of course, heartbreaking. In addition, Harmon's prose is vivid, even poetic, but it's never sentimental or overdone. All of these things combine to create an engrossing, resonant novel that shines light on people who really lived, breathed, and loved their country so much that they did remarkable things in its defense. A Girl Called Samson is a gripping must-read for any historical fiction lover.


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence, blood/gore, mild sexual content/innuendo, and mild language (no F-bombs)

To the FTC, with love: I received an e-ARC of A Girl Called Samson from the generous folks at Lake Union Publishing via those at NetGalley. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Random Reads

Today's TTT prompt is a fun one: The First Ten Books I Randomly Grabbed From My Shelf. We were instructed to close our eyes and point to ten books at random. Easy cheesy! If you want to join the TTT party, click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the deets.

Since I have two different bookcases, I thought I'd give you a little peek into my library and explain how I chose my random ten. Here are my two main bookshelves, both of which are in my living room:

This one is huge, about 9 feet tall and 12 feet wide. The top two tiers hold review books that I've yet to read, alphabetized by author. All the rest of the books are volumes I have purchased, been gifted, or are review copies I enjoyed enough to keep. The lower shelves are organized by genre. I'd say I've read about half of them.

This large bookshelf tops my desk. The three rows of shelving are about 8 feet wide and 3 1/2 feet tall. It holds only review books that I haven't read yet, alphabetized by author. 

Other than the scriptures on my nightstand and the book cart next to my desk which holds my library finds plus a dozen or so paper books that need to be reviewed, these shelves house all of the books I own. (My husband's books are another story...) Even though I have fewer books than I did before I moved last July (by a couple thousand), the first comment most people make upon entering my home is, "Wow! That's A LOT of books." They're not wrong. 

At any rate, I decided to choose my ten randos from my shelves of review books since those volumes can use some highlighting while they await their turns to be read and reviewed. Also, note that I can't reach the higher shelves on these bookcases without a stepladder. Since I was too lazy to go grab one, for some of these I had to stand on my tiptoes, point in the general direction of a book, and go from there. Here's what I came up with:

First Ten Books I Randomly Grabbed From My Shelf(ves)  
- in the order I picked them -
- Parentheses indicate the publisher/publicist/author, etc. who sent the book to me and in what year they did so (as embarrassing as it may be). -  

1. The Lost Ones by Sheena Kamal (HarperCollins, 2018)—This series opener revolves around Nora Watts, an intuitive investigator who works for a P.I. When she receives a call that the daughter she placed for adoption as a baby—now a teenager—is missing, she can't help but get involved, even if it means dredging up the past she's worked so desperately to put behind her. 

2. Something About Sophie by Mary Kay McComas (HarperCollins, 2013)—When Sophie Shepard is summoned to the deathbed of a stranger but arrives too late to hear what he wanted to tell her, her curiosity is piqued. As she starts digging into her own mysterious past, she uncovers secrets that make her question everything she knows about herself, her birth mother, and the community in which—in another life—she might have been raised. 

3. The Beloved Girls by Harriet Evans (Hachette Book Group, 2022)—A successful barrister vanishes without a trace from a train station. Her disappearance leads back to a fateful summer in a mysterious old country house where her life was not the only one that was changed forever...

4. No Way Down: Life and Death on K2 by Graham Bowley (HarperCollins, 2010)—This non-fiction account tells the story of the worst mountain climbing disaster ever to happen on K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth.

5. Alone in the Woods by Rebecca Behrens (Sourcebooks, 2020)—This middle grade wilderness survival tale is about two girls who find themselves lost in the woods when a rafting trip in an isolated forest goes horribly wrong.

6. The Tumbling Girl by Bridget Walsh (Meryl Zegarek PR, 2023)—This is the first book in a Victorian mystery series starring private eye Albert Easterbrook. When a music hall scriptwriter's best friend is murdered, she enlists Easterbrook to find her killer.

7. The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane by Julia Nobel (Sourcebooks, 2018)—Another series opener, this middle-grade mystery stars Emmy, a young girl who's shipped off to a prestigious boarding school after her father's mysterious disappearance. Just before she leaves, an anonymous caller leaves her a box containing items they claim belonged to her missing dad. When Emmy sees symbols around her new school that match those she's seen in the box, she follows clues and discovers the existence of a secret society. Does the society have something to do with her father's disappearance? 

8. Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen (HarperCollins, 2022)—Ava Wong, a straight-laced Chinese American lawyer, gets caught up in her friend's lucrative counterfeit scheme. When the friend vanishes, Ava's left to deal with the consequences. 

9. Greenglass House by Kate Milford (HarperCollins, 2014)—The first book in a popular middle-grade series, this novel introduces readers to Milo, who helps his parents run an inn. Business is never brisk in winter, so Milo is anticipating a relaxing holiday when several unexpected guests come knocking. Suddenly, the inn is full of strange people and odd occurrences. What is going on? It's up to Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, to figure it out.

10. All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani (HarperCollins, 2015)—Set in the glittering world of 1935 Hollywood, this novel tells the tale of a former nun who becomes an assistant to starlet Loretta Young. Their friendship becomes fierce and binding as they experience the ups and downs of life together. 

There you go, ten random books off my shelves. Have you read any of them? Do any of them sound particularly compelling to you? Which titles are on your list today? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog. I also reply to your comments here.

Happy TTT!

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