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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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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, June 27, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Shiny New Releases for the Second Half of 2023

Besides seasonal TBR lists, my most favorite Top Ten Tuesday prompts are the ones about upcoming new releases. It's always fun to see what books loom on the publishing horizon and which titles everyone is excited about. This topic will be dangerous for my already overwhelming TBR pile mountain mountain chain, but I'm here for it!

My list is heavy on mysteries and thrillers, which is no surprise. Fall seems to be the time when lots of readers are in the mood for darker reads. I'm always up for a suspenseful novel and there seem to be many of them coming out soon. I've already mentioned a number of new releases I'm excited for in recent posts, so this list will be focused on ones I haven't talked about yet. 

As always, TTT is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Make sure you click over there and give her some love. 

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books Releasing During the Second Half of 2023

1. Thicker Than Water by Megan Collins (available July 11)—Sienna and Julia are not just best friends, they're also business partners and sisters-in-law. Although they believe their unique bond can never be broken, it starts to bend when Jason—Sienna's beloved brother and Julia's imperfect husband—is accused of a brutal crime. Comatose Jason can't answer any questions, so it's up to the two women who love him most to clear his name. If he is, indeed, innocent, which is looking less and less likely...

2. Cutting Teeth by Chandler Baker (available July 18)—This one sounds a little zany, but still intriguing. It's about four moms who send their darling toddlers to the same preschool. When the pupils are overtaken by a strange medical condition that has them craving blood, their mothers are a bit...taken aback. Then, the kids' teacher is found dead. Suddenly, the moms and their adorable little bloodsuckers are all suspects in the murder.

3. Women of the Post by Joshunda Sanders (available July 18)—Inspired by the real story of the only all-Black battalion of women in the Women's Army Corps to serve overseas during World War II, this novel focuses on several American women who are sent to England with their unit to do the important task of sorting over one million pieces of mail for the troops. The assignment quickly becomes personal as the ladies get to know each other and discover a mysterious letter addressed to one of them. 

4. I'll Tell You No Lies by Amanda McCrina (available August 1)—After a devastating accident kills her mother, 18-year-old Shelby Blaine is wracked with grief. Adding insult to injury, her Air Force intelligence officer father receives a new assignment that requires them to move from West Germany to New York. It's 1955 and Shelby's dad is tasked with interrogating an escaped Soviet pilot. When Shelby meets the accused, she becomes hopelessly entangled in his story. As the stakes stack higher and higher against him, she must decide where her loyalties lie.

5. Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister (available August 1)—When a young woman is kidnapped, a detective starts searching for her. Then, the policewoman's family is threatened and she knows that solving the case will mean dooming everyone she loves most. Does she have the strength not to seek truth and justice? Can she really go through with framing an innocent person in order to save her family?

6. A Council of Dolls by Mona Susan Power (available August 8)—This triple-timeline novel tells the story of three generations of Yanktonai Dakota women in part through the eyes of the dolls they turned to for comfort in difficult times.

7. Midnight is the Darkest Hour by Ashley Winstead (available October 5)—I'll read anything described as "Southern gothic" and this one sounds especially compelling. It's set in a small, God-fearing Louisana town that is steeped in eerie stories and superstition. When a skull is found in a swamp next to strange carved symbols, it puts the entire town on edge. Ruth, a librarian and the daughter of the town's charismatic preacher, soon realizes it's up to her and an old friend to confront their hometown's secrets in order to keep them all safe.

8. Myrtle, Means, and Opportunity by Elizabeth C. Bunce (available October 24)—I've mentioned how much I love this middle-grade mystery series before. It's super fun, especially on audio with the talented Bethan Rose Young narrating. This installment, #5, sees Myrtle accompanying Miss Judson to the estate the governess has just inherited on a remote Scottish island. Myrtle is thrilled to find out that not only is the old house rumored to be haunted, but also that it hides multiple mysteries. 

9. The Search for Us by Susan Azim Boyer (available October 24)—As a genealogist and an adoptive mother, I'm always intrigued by stories about DNA, adoption, long-lost family reunions, etc. This YA novel sounds right up my alley. It's about two half-siblings who are brought together through a DNA test. Together, they launch a search for the biological father neither of them has ever known, with whom they hope to reconnect for varying reasons. 

10. The Fiction Writer by Jillian Cantor (available November 28)—Nothing is going right for novelist Olivia Fitzgerald. Not only is her writing career in jeopardy, but her personal life is in tatters as well. When her publisher offers her a tantalizing and mysterious ghostwriting job, she jumps at the chance. Nothing is quite as it seems at the billionaire's estate where she will be working, nor is its owner...

There you go, ten new releases I can't wait to read. Which up-and-comers are you most excited for? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor. I also reply to TTT comments made here (although I'm still behind from last week).

Happy TTT!

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge

Yesterday, while I was clicking around the blogosphere for Top Ten Tuesday, I kept noticing bloggers reference the 20 Books of Summer. I'd never heard of this fun, relaxed annual reading challenge and I wanted in, darn it! I'm not a fan of summer, but I love books and reading challenges, so this is definitely something I'm all in for. 20 Books of Summer (#20booksofsummer23) is hosted by Cathy over at 746 Books (a blog I've somehow never encountered before). The challenge runs from June 1 to September 1. I'm late to the party, but that's okay. I read fast, so 20 books in two (ish) months is *probably* doable. There are options to read only 10 or 15 titles. I'm going to go for broke, though. Why not? 

I'm headed to Utah next weekend and I need to finish the Pioneer Book Reading Challenge before then/while I'm there so I can redeem my prize—a $50 gift certificate to be spent in-store. Most of these books fulfill one of the challenge prompts. 

Edited on 08.03.23: I'm shifting my focus away from the Pioneer Book Reading Challenge (not admitting defeat, at least not yet...), so I changed out a bunch of my picks. Thank goodness this challenge is laidback like that!

1. Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser—This is my current physical book. I've read about 1/3 so far. finished 06.22.23

2. In Myrtle Peril by Elizabeth C. Bunce—I'm listening to this one on audio and am about halfway done. finished 06.23.23

3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (re-read) - finished 07.05.23

4. A Sky Full of Song by Susan Lynn Meyer - finished 07.14.23 

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (re-read) - finished 07.29.23

6. Kim by Rudyard Kipling - DNF

7. I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin - finished 06.24.23

8. The One and Only Ruby by Katherine Applegate - finished 06.25.23

9. Lasagna Means I Love You by Kate O'Shaughnessy - finished 08.09.23

10. Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow - finished 08.07.23

11. Crow Mary by Kathleen Grissom

12. O' Art of Death by Sarah Stewart Taylor - finished 08.05.23

13. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - finished 08.30.23

14. The Talk by Darrin Bell - finished 06.26.23

15. Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

16. Death in Bloom by Jess Dylan - finished 08.05.23

17. Ellie Engle Saves Herself by Leah Johnson

18. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown - finished 07.18.23

19. The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer - finished 07.16.23

20. Enchanted Hill by Emily Bain Murphy - finished 07.25.23

Looks like a good list to me! Wish me luck. 

Are you participating in the 20 Books of Summer challenge? What are you planning to read? Which gems have you already completed?

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Sizzling Summer Reads on My TBR List (Part Two)


My favorite Top Ten Tuesday prompts are those involving seasonal TBR lists, like today's: Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List. It's always fun to see what everyone is planning to read. Not only does it help me get to know you all better through your book choices, but it also lets me pack my own TBR list with great-looking reads thanks to your awesome recs. Even though I really don't tend to stick very closely to these lists, I enjoy making them, hence the fact that this list is a two-parter. Part One is here if you missed it.

As always, TTT is hosted by the lovely Jana. Click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl to give her some love and to get all the details on this fun weekly meme.

Top Ten (More) Books on My TBR List (Part Two) 

1. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser—I'm reading this biography to fulfill a prompt for the Pioneer Book Reading Challenge, but it's one I've been wanting to pick up ever since it came out. It's a biography of Wilder, as a woman, a pioneer, and a writer, with an emphasis on the development of the American West as she experienced it. I'm about 100 pages in and really enjoying the read.

2. Dust by Dusti Bowling (available August 1, 2023)—Bowling is a local author who writes middle-grade novels set here in Arizona. Her newest is about Avalyn, a girl with asthma whose parents relocate to a cleaner town in order to help her breathe better. It's working—until a strange new boy comes to town. Adam's dirty, unkempt appearance makes him a target for bullies. Although Avalyn wants to befriend him, the grit that always surrounds him is dangerous for her lungs. Besides, there's something decidedly odd about the way unlikely dust storms seem to rise up when he experiences strong emotions...

3. It Ends at Midnight by Harriet Tyce—There's been a rash of thrillers lately that involve a group of old friends reconvening, only to have the secrets and misdeeds of their pasts come back to haunt them. It's one of my favorite tropes, as long as it's done well. This thriller brings old friends back together for a glitzy party in Edinburgh, Scotland. The party, naturally, does not go quite as planned.

4. Beer and Loathing by Ellie Alexander—I enjoy the Sloane Krause cozy mystery series, which is set in the Bavarian tourist town of Leavenworth, Washington. (The quaint village is depicted much better on the previous covers than this one, which I don't love.) This newest installment (#6) has the brewer and her business partner investigating a suspicious death on a ski lift during the town's popular Ski Week. The victim's demise looks accidental, but Sloane is not convinced.

5. Murder at Haven's Rock by Kelley Armstrong—This year, I've been binge-reading/listening Armstrong's popular Rockton series. I love the books, so I'm all in for the spin-off series, which starts with this opener. Detective Casey Duncan and her husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton, are building a new Rockton, a place with the same function as the old town but without all the greed and beauracracy. Their excitement is tempered when two construction workers go missing in the woods. When one of their murdered bodies is discovered, it's up to Casey and Eric to figure out what happened.  

6. Crow Mary by Kathleen Grissom—This historical novel features a 16-year-old Crow Native woman who marries a white fur trader in 1872. On their travels together, they witness a mob of drunk white traders murder a group of Nakota men in Montana and take half a dozen of their women captive. Although Mary Crow begs her husband to save the captives, he refuses. Arming herself with two guns, Mary rushes in to do the job herself, setting off a string of events that forces a bloody clash between two already warring cultures. The story is inspired by a real woman, making it all the more intriguing.

7. The One and Only Ruby by Katherine Applegate—As a rule, I'm not a fan of books narrated by animals. Applegate's beloved The One and Only Ivan is an exception. I also enjoyed its sequel featuring Bob the dog. Another sequel, this one stars Ruby, Ivan and Bob's elephant friend. Applegate's heartfelt middle-grade novels are always a treat, so I'm excited for this one.

8. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown—This non-fiction bestseller fits several prompts for reading challenges I'm doing. I've been meaning to read it anyway. It tells the story of a rowing team from the University of Washington that was made up of the sons of loggers, farmers, and dock workers. Against all odds, they beat teams of athletes from the world's most elite schools, including Hitler's German rowers.

9. A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones—This series opener sounds super fun. It stars Sunshine Vicram, who returns to her small Nevada hometown after her parents secretly nominate her to be its sheriff. She accepts the position reluctantly, figuring it will be an easy gig. Not so. A teenage girl is missing, there's a kidnapper on the loose, and Sunshine's sexy ex is complicating everything. 

10. In Myrtle Peril by Elizabeth C. Bunce—I adore this middle-grade historical series about a perenially curious young girl who loves a good mystery. In this installment (#4), Myrtle's lawyer father is in the hospital with tonsilitis. With him out of commission, it's up to her to decide if a young girl who claims to be the rightful heir to a large fortune is who she says she is. Can she really be the sole survivor of a fatal voyage? If she's not the real heiress, then where is she?

There you are, ten more books I'm hoping to read this summer. What do you think? Have you read any of them? What's on your summer TBR list? 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, June 13, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Sizzling Summer Reads on My TBR List (Part One)

This week's TTT prompt is a twice-yearly one that I just find...odd. I always skip it. For those who want to participate, it's Top Ten Bookish Wishes. Jana explains it thus: I host this topic twice a year (around Christmas and again in June), and people love it! List the top 10 books you’d love to own and include a link to your wishlist so that people can grant your wish. Make sure you link your wishlist to your mailing address [here’s how to do it on Amazon] or include the email address associated with your ereader in the list description so people know how to get the book to you. After you post, jump around the Linky and grant a wish or two if you’d like. Please don’t feel obligated to send anything to anyone! Since we'll be talking about our Summer TBRs next week anyway, I decided to jump the gun and do my list in two parts because why not? I never stick to my lists anyway. Ha ha.

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!

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List, Part One

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis—Someone mentioned this YA sci-fi/dystopian novel in a past TTT list, saying its depiction of a person with autism felt very authentic to them. (If it was you, please say so!) It's about a 16-year-old girl and her drug-addicted mother at the end of the world. Moments before a comet strikes, they're unexpectedly given shelter on board an impenetrable spaceship that is headed off planet as soon as it's safe, at which time Denise and her mom will be left behind—unless they can somehow convince the authorities that they are worth taking. Between her autism and her mother's addiction, they don't stand a chance. Or, do they?

I started this book today and am enjoying it. Thanks for the rec, whoever you are! I need to write these things down... 

2. Homecoming by Kate Morton—Morton is one of my favorite authors and I've been highly anticipating hew newest. It's a dual-timeline novel that starts with the discovery of a corpse on the grounds of a mysterious mansion in Australia. Sixty years later, a journalist living in England rushes to Australia to be at the side of her addled and ailing grandmother. While staying in the elderly woman's house, the granddaughter learns of the decades-old murder as well as her family's surprising connection to it. She can't help but launch her own investigation into the unsolved killing. 

3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith—I enjoyed this 1943 classic when I read it in college years ago. It's my book club's selection for June. I'm excited to re-read it. The story is about a girl growing up in the slums of Brooklyn in the early 1900s. 

4. A Sky Full of Song by Susan Lynn Meyer—North Dakota is always a challenging state to find in fiction, so I was thrilled when I heard about this middle-grade novel that came out in April. Not only will it help me in the Literary Escapes Reading Challenge, but it also sounds super compelling. The story centers around a Jewish family from Ukraine that emigrates to the U.S. in 1905 to escape persecution in the Russian Empire. Eleven-year-old Shoshana wants to fit in in her new life so badly that she's hiding her Jewish identity, which angers her beloved older sister. Shoshana doesn't want to live at odds with her family—or herself—but she desperately wants to belong in America. What other choice does she have?

5. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman—Before I read Anxious People, I really didn't think Backman's books were my kind of thing, no matter how much people raved about his debut. After enjoying Anxious People and loving A Man Called Otto, I'm all in for finally reading this book. It's a feel-good grumpy/sunshine story about a lonely widower and the lively family that cracks his curmudgeonly shell. It also happens to be my book club's pick for August.

6. Enchanted Hill by Emily Bain Murphy—This historical mystery is set in glamorous 1930s Hollywood. It's about a lady P.I. who's undercover at a ritzy estate to unravel a puzzling mystery. When a man who she never thought she would ever see again walks in, also using a false identity, the two tentatively agree to investigate together to protect them both. Secrets hide everywhere at Enchanted Hill, including between the new partners.

7. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado—I need to read a body-positive book as well as a romance with a plus-sized lead for two different reading challenges. This YA novel seems to fit the bill. It's about a teen who is trying to love her large body, despite her mother's constant push to slim it down. Unlike her mom, Charlie's skinny BFF, Amelia,  has always encouraged her to love her whole self. A new boy at school seems to offer the same kind of safe harbor for Charlie, but when Charlie learns he asked Amelia out first, she's devastated. Is she always destined to be someone's second choice? Does the boy even like her at all?

8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë—This 1847 classic is a favorite of mine, but it's been a hot minute since I've read it. I'll be re-reading it for my book club meeting in July. If you don't know, the novel is about the experiences of the titular young woman when she becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall. She falls in love with her charge's father, the enigmatic Mr. Rochester, who is hiding a devastating secret.

9. Artifice by Sharon Cameron—I adore Cameron's books, so I'm excited to read her newest. It concerns Isa de Smit, a young woman who grew up in Amsterdam's colorful art world. As the Nazis invade her hometown, her friends are disappearing and valuable paintings are being confiscated. Desperate for money to help the Resistance, Isa starts selling forgeries of famous artwork to the Nazis. Her scheme goes off perfectly until someone finds out what she's doing. Can Isa save herself and her friends from a ruthless enemy that has no problem killing everyone in their path?

10. The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda —Miranda's thrillers always appeal to me. This one, her latest, is no exception. It's about a group of former classmates who reunite on the tenth anniversary of a tragedy that changed all of their lives. When members of the group start disappearing, it's clear that past secrets and lies are coming back to haunt them.

There you are, ten books I'm planning to read this summer. What do you think? Have you read any of them? Which books are you wishing for today or which are you excited to read in the next few months? 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!

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer-y, Water-y Reads

What is it that really gives you those lazy days of summer vibes? Lounging on a sandy beach with an ice-cold drink in your hand? The tantalizing smells of a backyard barbecue wafting through the air? Roasting marshmallows over a smoldering campfire in the woods? Licking ice cream out of a sugar cone while it slowly melts down your arm? This week's Top Ten Tuesday prompt is all about those sights, smells, and activities that just scream summer and how they're portrayed in and on books. 

The thing I probably most associate with summer is immersing myself in cool, refreshing water. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest's scenic Columbia River Gorge. As a family, we'd often head to the river (or one of the area's many lakes) and spend the day picnicking on the grassy bank and frolicking in the water. In the Arizona desert, backyard swimming pools are plentiful. Here, summer means the scents of chlorine and sunscreen, the sound of happy kids splashing in the water echoing throughout the neighborhood, and the sweet relief of soaking your hot, sweat-slicked body in a pool's chilly depths. Since water was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this prompt, I decided to center my list around books that take place in, on, or around the water. Because I'm me, none of the books on my list are the kind of light, frothy stories that are most often associated with easy, breezy summer reading. Most of them have a sinister bent, but that's what you get from a mystery/thriller lover like me!

First, though, be sure to head on over to That Artsy Reader Girl and give our hostess some love. While you're there, you can get all the details about TTT and check out dozens of fun lists about the Top Ten Books or Covers That Feel/Look Like Summer.  

Top Ten Books on My TBR List That Feel/Look Like Summer 
(mostly because they take place in, on, or around the water)

1. Those We Drown by Amy Goldsmith (available July 11, 2023)—I don't read a lot of horror and when I do, it has to be horror lite or else I won't be able to sleep. This YA novel seems to qualify. It's about a group of students who are chosen to spend a semester at sea aboard a luxury cruise ship. Liv's thrilled with the opportunity, but her enthusiasm dims when she learns she's only there because another girl disappeared mysteriously. When The Eos gets underway and more people vanish, Liv realizes there's something very sinister, even otherworldly, going on...and she's trapped.

2. Under a Dark Summer Sky by Vanessa Lafaye—Billed as The Help meets The Perfect Storm, this 2015 novel is set in the Florida Keys in 1935. As the sun bakes the town of Huron Key, a shocking act of violence rips through the small community. With tension already tearing the place apart, a vicious storm is brewing in the skies. Will anyone survive the impact when the fury of the oncoming storm meets the broiling anger on the ground?

3. Death at High Tide by Hannah Dennison—This is the first installment in a cozy mystery series featuring a woman who inherits a dilapidated hotel on an island off the coast of Cornwall. Along with her sister, she removes to the location permanently—only to find all is not as it seems. When someone is killed at the hotel and another follows, the situation gets even more complicated as the sisters find themselves being accused of murder.

4. Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune—It seems as if everyone has been talking about this second chance romance. It does sound fun. The story revolves around 32-year-old Fern, who has reluctantly returned to her hometown to try to save her family's disintegrating lakeside resort business. Everything's a mess until Fern's summer fling from over a decade ago comes walking in to help. Will's not the same guy he was back then. What's he hiding? And what effect will his presence have on Fern and the business she's trying to save?

5. The Last One by Will Dean (available August 8, 2023)—This thriller has a simple, but terrifying premise. Caz and her boyfriend board a luxurious cruise ship, ready to have the time of their lives enjoying all the vessel's many amenities. And they do. For one night. The next morning when Caz wakes up, her boyfriend is gone—along with everyone else. Caz is alone on a giant ship in the middle of the Atlantic. What happened to the ship's passengers and crew? Why is Caz the only one left? And what in the world is she going to do now?

6. A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams—Like #2, this historical novel is set in a beach town in the 1930s. This time, it's Rhode Island, where socialite Lily Dane is looking forward to her annual summer stay at the shore. She gets a nasty shock when her former best friend arrives in town along with her husband, Lily's one-time fiancé. Along with all the drama the situation brings up between the former friends, there's also a hurricane barreling their way. Will any of them escape unscathed by a summer that's sure to be unforgettable?

7. Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm—It's the summer of 1953 and 11-year-old Penny is determined to spend it well by playing baseball and swimming in the city pool. Only her mother forbids her from going to the pool, terrified she'll catch polio. Growing family drama makes everything that much worse. How can Penny salvage her summer, which is turning out to be the worst one she's ever experienced?

8. A Stranger On Board by Cameron WardAnd Then There Were None on a luxury cruise liner? Yes, please! That's what this thriller sounds like to me. It stars Sarah French, an ex-Marine who takes a job as a security officer onboard a superyacht. Someone goes missing as they head out to sea and Sarah soon realizes there's a killer on the vessel. Can she catch them before they pick off the passengers and crew one by one?

9. Hemlock Island by Kelley Armstrong—After a bitter divorce, Laney Kilpatrick is left with nothing. Almost. The one thing she does have is an island house that she rents out for the money she so desperately needs. After a series of strange and sinister incidents on her property, Laney goes to the island to investigate. Another small group arrives unexpectedly at the same time. When a dead body turns up and the group's only means of transportation disappears, it becomes obvious that something has gone horribly wrong on the island.

10. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson—I love Jackson's Southern novels and I've still yet to read this one. The story revolves around Thalia, a woman who is visited in the night by what appears to be the ghost of her 14-year-old neighbor. The next day, the girl's dead body is found floating in her pool. Although everyone in town thinks it was suicide, Thalia believes the apparation was trying to tell her what really happened—and she won't rest until she finds the truth.

There you go, ten summery (ish) books that take place in, on, or around the water. Have you read any of them? What did you think? What titles did you pick for 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 comments left here at BBB.

Happy TTT! 

Thursday, June 01, 2023

The Bookish Books Reading Challenge: June Book Ideas and Link-Up

Happy June! How did your May go? Mine was busy and, once again, I did not read any bookish books during the month. I read a few that had books in them, but it wasn't a main theme so I'm not counting them. Just to reiterate, though, this is a laidback challenge and you choose what counts as a "bookish" book. If you think it counts for the challenge, it totally does! 

My book club chose The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson for our May read, but we didn't meet until tonight. I loved the novel when I read it back in 2020. My plan was to re-read it before book club, but I'm still only about 100 pages in. So, for May, I'll finish the re-read, then go on to its sequel, The Book Woman's Daughter. Those will happen this month for sure. 

Here are a couple other possibilities:

I'm a big Carol Goodman fan and her newest, The Bones of the Story, sounds like a compelling bookish thriller. It's a locked-room mystery about a group of people who took a creative writing class together in college 25 years ago. A terrible tragedy involving their professor marked their time together. When people start dying at a commemoration event, it becomes clear that the past is coming back to haunt the present.

Vero over at The Moon Phoenix has been raving about The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer and it does sound like a fun read. It's about a super popular children's writer who mysteriously stopped publishing years ago. Everyone is shocked when he announces not only that he has written a new book but also that he is hosting an exclusive competition in which the winner takes home the only copy of his coveted new story. The stakes are impossibly high for the four people chosen to compete. Who will emerge the victor?

What bookish books are you planning to read in June?

For those of you who are participating in the Bookish Books Reading Challenge, here's the Mr. Linky to use for linking up May reviews. If you've not yet signed up for the challenge, what are you waiting for? Join us in this low-key challenge that celebrates a genre we all love: books about books. It will be fun, I promise!

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Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

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