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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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

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

My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

40 / 52 books. 77% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

26 / 100 books. 26% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

64 / 104 books. 62% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

69 / 165 books. 42% done!
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday: And There They Still Sit...

I'm a little late to the party, but I'm here. Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!

I don't know about you, but I have a bad habit of getting excited about a book, acquiring said book, and then totally forgetting the book exists in the world, let alone right there on my bookshelf or Kindle. Sound familiar at all? Today's TTT topic is all about this weird, inexplicable phenomenon: Top Ten Books I Couldn't Wait to Get My Hands On and Still Haven't Read. This is another one of those prompts that could have been a Top One Hundred list, but ain't nobody wanna read that, so I'll restrain myself and stick to the assignment. While I definitely have older examples, the volumes on my list are the first ten that caught my eye while I was perusing my bookshelves. 

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.

1. Homecoming by Kate Morton—This is the first book that came to mind for this topic. I adore Morton and get excited every time she publishes. Extra so this go around because I didn't love her last novel. (There's a first time for everything, I guess.) Homecoming has gotten great reviews. I just need to read it already. The story is about a journalist living in England who returns to her native Australia to care for her elderly grandmother. While poking about in the older woman's attic, she discovers intriguing clues that propel her to investigate a 60-year-old unsolved murder that, shockingly, seems to have ties to her family.

2. The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder by David Grann—Like all buzzy books, this one had a long waitlist at my library, so I bought myself a copy...which has been gathering dust on my bookshelf ever since! It's the nonfiction account of a British ship that wrecked in 1742. Two groups of survivors arrived home at different times and in separate cobbled-together vessels. With wildly different stories about what happened to them, the question became: What really happened aboard the Wager?

3. Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng—I'm always up for a unique dystopian novel and this one caught my attention as soon as I heard about it. I even bought a copy to enjoy at my leisure, although I planned to get to it sooner rather than later. Hasn't happened yet. It's about a young Asian American boy living in a tumultuous new world that is trying to regroup following years of economic chaos and angry violence. The government says that anything "unpatriotic" (including the poems his mother wrote before she abandoned him) should be eradicated. When he gets a mysterious letter with only a drawing on it, it sends him on a daring journey to find the mother he hasn't seen in three years.

4. Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese—This historical novel tells the reimagined story of the woman who inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne's most famous character, Hester Prynne. I really should pick it up one of these days!

5. Fly Away by Kristin Hannah—After loving Hannah's most recent novels, I wanted to read some of her backlist ones. I purchased this one only to later realize it was the second book in a duology. Oops! Once I read Firefly Lane, I'll get to this sequel, which continues the story of the great friendship between Tully Hart and Kate Ryan.

6. How to Keep House While Drowning by K.C. Davis—While my housekeeping skills can always use refining, I hear this slim self-help book really isn't about cleaning at all. Lots of my busy mom friends have recommended this to me as a guide that helped them feel better about all they're doing and get rid of the shame and guilt they feel over not being able to accomplish as much as they want to in their long, crazy days filled with constant cleaning, cooking, childcare, etc.

7. The Silo trilogy by Hugh Howey—Dystopian novels have always been my jam. I loved Wool when I read it, so much so that I bought a boxed set of the three-volume series. Have I read Shift or Dust? No, no I have not. The story is about apocalypse survivors who have been living through the fallout underground. Tired of the confinement, some of them want to bust out and take their chances on the outside. They get their wish, for good or ill...

8. Daughter of Moloka'i by Alan BrennertMoloka'i is an impactful historical novel that I still think about even though it's been years since I read it. Since I liked it so much, I purchased the sequel. I feel like I need to re-read the first book to remember who's who and what's what before I move on with the story, but I've yet to actually do it because as much as I may have enjoyed a book, I'm not much for re-reading.

9. What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon—Of the three books I've read by Harmon, I adored two of them (Where the Lost Wander and A Girl Called Samson). This time-slip novel is one of her most well-loved. It's about a woman grieving the death of her beloved grandfather, who always regaled her with stories of his childhood in Ireland. Sucked back to that time period, she finds herself the unwitting guardian of a young boy. Even if she could return to her time, could she bear to leave the child she is coming to love as her own?

10. The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn—I feel like the last hist-fic lover on the planet that hasn't read anything by Quinn. This is the book of hers I most want to read. Based on a true story, it's about a bookish student who is forced to take up a gun and defend her native Ukraine from Hitler's oncoming invasion. She soon becomes a proficient killer, a national hero, and a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. Then an old enemy comes calling...

There you go, ten books I was really excited to read and still haven't gotten to. What's on your shelf of shame? I'd love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on yours.

Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge

Cathy over at 746 Books has been hosting her fun 20 Books of Summer event for ten years now, but I only heard about it last year. Even though it's about the chillest reading challenge ever, I didn't *quite* finish it on my first go 'round. I'll do better this year!

The challenge runs from June 1 - September 1 and the aim is simple: cross books off your TBR list. You can choose to read the full 20 books or do a 15 or 10 book version or whatever you want. You can even change your challenge list at any time. The point is to perk up your summer reading with a fun, no-pressure challenge. I'm in. How about you?

Here's my tentative list of books I want to read for the challenge. Once if officially begins, I'll update my progress on this post.

1. The Women by Kristin Hannah
2. Peking Duck and Cover by Vivien Chien (available July 23, 2024)
3. Trouble at the Tangerine by Gillian McDunn
4. Things We Didn't Say by Amy Lynn Green
5. Middle of the Night by Riley Sager (available June 18, 2024)
6. Weather Girl by Rachel Solomon
7. The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter
8. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
9. The Maid by Nita Prose (re-read)
10. Nothing Else But Miracles by Kate Albus
11. A Deadly Endeavor by Jenny Adams finished 06.08.24
12. The Underground Library by Jennifer Ryan finished 06.06.24
13. Of Manners and Murder by Anastasia Hastings
14. Light and Air by Mindy Nichols Wendell
15. Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris
16. The Blue Hour by Paula Hawkins
17. Why We Read: On Bookworms, Libraries, and Just One More Page Before Lights Out by Shannon Reed
18. The Mystery of Locked Rooms by Lindsay Currie finished 06.09.24
19. Sleeping Spells and Dragon Scales by Wendy S. Swore
20. The Words We Lost by Nicole Deese

I'm hoping this is a good mix of serious stuff and more lighthearted stories. We'll see. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Quotes From My Top Ten Favorite Novels

While I love finding beautiful, inspiring, meaningful passages while I'm reading or coming across a clever quote about books/reading, I'm rubbish at actually writing them down or remembering them. That makes today's TTT prompt—Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes—a tad difficult. Thank goodness for Google! With a little help from my favorite search engine, I'm going to highlight ten of my most-loved quotes from my ten favorite novels of all time. 

By the by, this fun weekly event is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Ten Favorite Quotes From My Top Ten Favorite Novels

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."

"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship."

"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet."

"Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs."

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach."

"There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."

"She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realised that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life."

"Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library."

"Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over."

There you are, ten of my favorite quotes from my ten favorite novels. Which are your favorites? Which quotes did you choose for your list this week? I'd love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!

Thursday, May 09, 2024

The Bookish Books Reading Challenge: May Book Ideas and Link-Up for Reviews (April/May)

Hey, Bookish Books RC participants! Long time no see. I've had a busy Spring so far and I'm behind on pretty much everything there is to be behind on. I'm trying to catch up, so today's post will cover April and May. 

I've only read one bookish book since I last did one of these posts. Yikes! I'm hoping to read 30+ bookish books to achieve the "Livin' in the Library" level; looks like I need to seriously step up my game since I've only read ten so far this year. 

Back in March, I read this lovely middle-grade novel, which I absolutely adored:

Dust by Dusti Bowling is about Avalyn, a girl with severe asthma whose parents move her to a small Arizona town in the mountains so that she can breathe more easily. Everything is hunky dory until a new boy moves to town. Adam is a loner who doesn't seem to want anything to do with anyone. Avalyn feels sorry for him, especially when he becomes a target for bullies, and makes efforts to get to know him. As she slowly cracks through some of his armor, she begins to notice how difficult it is to breathe around him. It's like his emotions stir up dust, which spreads into Avalyn's compromised lungs, clogging her airway. That kind of thing isn't possible, is it? If she figures out what's wrong with Adam, will the strange weather changes go away? Or will her prying cause more problems for her health and the already troubled boy?

Bowling is a local author. I've read most of her books and enjoyed them all. This one is a little darker than her others, but it's still a poignant, moving novel. It's heartbreaking, yet hopeful. I loved it. It's not overtly bookish, but Avalyn and Adam both like superhero comic books and their friend, Nan, is always talking about a book series she loves. Since I'm so far behind on this challenge, I'm basically counting anything that has books in it as "bookish." LOL

Am I planning to read any bookish books in May? That's a great question! I definitely should. This one just came on my radar and it sounds fun:

Dead to Rights by Jasmine Webb is the first book in a new cozy mystery series about a woman who inherits a home and bookshop in Cornwall. She's thrilled to leave behind the chaos of New York City for the calm, quiet seashore...until she realizes that claiming her inheritance will mean living with an elderly woman whom she's never met, dealing with a dead body on her doorstep, and possibly going to prison for life! Forget bookselling and strolls along the beach. Suddenly, she's Nancy Drew? What even is happening right now? Sounds like a fun (if very familiar) premise and the start to an entertaining series.

This one also looks appealing:

Why We Read: On Bookworms, Libraries, and Just One More Page Before Lights Out by Shannon Reed is a collection of essays about reading that encourages us to read mostly for pleasure—a philosophy I happily espouse!

What bookish books have you been reading lately? Which do you plan to read next?

If you are participating in the 2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge, please use the widget below to link-up your April and May reviews. If you're not signed up for the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Click here to join the party.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday: A Garden of "Flowery" TBR Books


I spent the weekend before last visiting family in the Columbia River Gorge, where rain showers and cool breezes reminded me of what Spring is supposed to be like. Guess what greeted me when I came home to the Arizona desert? Bright sunshine and blazing heat. The temperatures have been a little milder this week, but even still, our pool has been a popular place for family and friends lately!  *Sigh* While Spring in Arizona is nothing like the Pacific Northwest's version, it does bring the promised blossoms to add much-needed color to our parched, dry landscape. I know very little about flowers, but I am grateful for the cheery pops of pretty they bring. 

Today's Top Ten Tuesday prompt is appropriate for the season here in the U.S.: May Flowers. It's a choose-your-own adventure topic to celebrate Spring. I'm going to stay pretty basic and highlight ten books on my TBR list that have a type of flower in the title. I think I'll even be able to make it without repeating any of them. We'll see. I also just realized that they're all historical fiction. Does that genre lend itself more readily to flower-y titles? Interesting...

As always, this fun weekly meme is hosted by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Click on over to her blog to join in the party!

Top Ten Books On My TBR List With Flower Titles

1. The Elusive Truth of Lily Temple by Joanna Davidson Politano—Private investigator Peter Driscoll has been hired to locate a priceless, legendary sapphire which is allegedly in the possession of silent film star Lily Temple. In an effort to get close to her, Peter enlists Lily's help with a case. As the two grow closer, their partnership becomes increasingly dangerous, not just for their physical well-beings but also for the state of their hearts.

2. White Rose by Kip Wilson—This historical YA novel revolves around Sophie Scholl, a real German woman who created a resistance group while she was in college called The White Rose to fight against the Nazis in non-violent ways. When their clandestine activities are discovered, Sophie and her fellow collaborators find themselves at the mercy of the very group they're trying to destroy.  

3. Under the Tulip Tree by Michelle Shocklee—At 16, Lorena Leland dreams of achieving fame and fortune by becoming a writer. The crash of the stock market in 1929 dashes her hopes as well as those of Americans all over the country, causing widespread unemployment, poverty, and depression. Desperate to help her family financially, Lorena takes a job interviewing the formerly enslaved for the Federal Writers' Project. As she grows close to one of her subjects, her eyes are opened and her heart expanded in ways she never could have predicted.

4. The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman—Sage Winters has been grieving the death of her twin sister for six years. When her resentful stepfather reveals the truth—Rosemary, who was always a little different, didn't die but was actually committed to the Willowbrook State School (a real institution that was eventually closed down because of the horrendous abuses that were committed there), from which she has just disappeared. Furious and determined to find out what happened to her sister, Sage gets herself committed to the school in order to find answers.

5. The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis—This dual-timeline novel centers around the Frick mansion, a real Gilded Age home in New York City that was turned into an art museum in the 1930s. In 1919, a down-on-her-luck artists' model is thrilled to land a position as the secretary for Helen Frick, the daughter of Henry Clay Frick, a wealthy robber baron. The longer Lillian is in the family's employ, the more she learns about them and their secrets, putting her very life at risk. Fifty years later, an English model arrives at the Frick mansion, now an impressive art museum. When she stumbles upon a series of messages hidden within the museum, she is led on a hunt for not just a concealed treasure, but also possibly the solution to a decades-old murder.

6. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly—Three women are at the heart of this World War II novel. Caroline Ferriday is a New York socialite who works at the French consulate. Kasia Kuzmerick is a Polish teen whose position as a courier for the resistance puts her in danger every day. Herta Oberheuser is a doctor who takes a job with the German government in order to escape her desolate life, only to find herself trapped in a position she's not sure she wants to be in. The three women's lives intersect when Kasia is sent to a concentration camp. 

Incidentally, this is the first book in a trilogy, all of which have flower titles.

7. The Wings of Poppy Pendleton by Melanie Dobson—On a night of celebration in her family's Thousand Islands castle, 4-year-old Poppy goes peacefully to bed. In the morning, she is nowhere to be found while her father's dead body lies in the smoking room. Eighty-five years later, Chloe Ridell lives on the island, where she is working to preserve the environment and breathe fresh life into her family's candy shop. When a young Pendleton relative shows up on her doorstep, Chloe is thrust into a search for answers about what happened to young Poppy so long ago.

8. Peony in Love by Lisa See—I can't find much in the way of a plot summary for this novel, but apparently, it's a ghost story set in 17th Century China.

9. The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley—As the last person in her family line, Emilie inherits a magnificent chateau and vineyard in the south of France. Along with the property comes a tower of debt and a mountain of secrets. Desperate to know what became of Constance Carruthers, a British woman who worked as an undercover agent in Paris during World War II, Emilie starts digging for answers in her new home.

10. the next book in the Myrtle Hardcastle mystery series by Elizabeth C. Bunce—I have to cheat a little in order to get ten different flowers on my list, so just go along with me here...Each of the installments in this entertaining middle-grade historical mystery series has a title that includes a play on the name Myrtle: Myrtle, Means, and Opportunity; Cold-Blooded Myrtle; In Myrtle Peril; etc. I'm not sure when the next one comes out, but I know it will have a "Myrtle" title when it does.

There you are, ten books on my TBR list with the names of flowers in their titles. Have you read any of them? What did you think? Can you think of any others I need to read? What spin did you take 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.

Happy TTT! 

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