Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Secret History

My book club just read The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  This is the second novel by her that we have read.  The previous being Goldfinch.  While I enjoyed both books they didn't wow me and they are very long.  This book is over 500 pages so it will take a while to read.  They were both a bit long winded for me and the story seemed to drag on for too long.  In both stories there are many drug and alcohol references so be aware if this is an issue for you.

The Secret History was an interesting concept focusing on a small insular group of Classical scholars  at a Vermont Liberal arts college, Hampden.  Tartt does a wonderful job of developing her characters and you feel as though you know them well. We really get to know Richard, Bunny, Francis, Henry, Charles and Camilla as well as the supporting characters who appear throughout the story.  They are definitely an interesting group with atypical interests and social skills.

The underlying story is a disturbing one and it makes you ponder whether this could really occur.  Without giving any spoilers let's just say it is a big example of group think.  The majority of the story occurs during one school year but the ending of the book provides a bit of a recap of where the characters stand in the future.

All in all it is a good read but if you don't like books with descriptive prose and are a bit slow paced, this may not be the book for you.

The Secret HistoryThe Secret History by Donna Tartt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I enjoyed this book I didn't love it. In many ways it reminded me of John Knowles A Separate Peace. Similar premise of an event at a school with a flashback story telling style. While Tartt's writing is good, it feels like it is too long at times. I had a similar reaction to Goldfinch when I read it a few years ago. Basically, I neither love nor hate the book. I'm just somewhat indifferent to it.

Be aware the book is full of drug and alcohol references so if this is not appropriate for the intended reader this may not be the best selection for them.

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #29
  2. Literary Escapes-  VT
  3.  Cloak and  Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #23
  4. Medical Examiner-  3 Toe Tag 
  5. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #48 published in the 20th century
  6. Around the Year in 52 Books- #14. by author on the Abe List of 100 Essential Female Writers 
  7. Book List Queen #12 More Than 400 Pages
  8. 20 in 20 #Read20in2020  #15 book over 500 pages
  9. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #10 book over 500 pages
  10. Beat the Backlist #BeatTheBacklist2020 #23 written before 2010
  11. 2020 TBR  #2020TBRReadingChallenge  #15 book over 500 pages
  12. TBR  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon  Book #20
  13. Wizarding World Tour  
    • Uagadou-  a book over 450 pages

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Dogs Don't Lie

A cute dog, a cat and a llama what's not to love.  Add in a bit of a mystery, a veterinarian, Kallie,  who can communicate with animals and a budding romance.  Oh yeah, don't forget the meddling mother who keeps trying to set Kallie up with her 'friends" family members.  This of course provides for some comedic relief.  Kallie has a great group of female friends who lend their support both emotionally and in following clues.  All in all it was a very enjoyable read that I was able to finish this morning in one sitting.

I read this new cozy series by Lisa Shay for a Hidden Gems ARC.  This was my second ARC book that I read, the other being False Flags earlier in the week.  I am enjoying the opportunity to read books in exchange for giving a review on Amazon.  The only tricky part is finding the time to make sure you finish in the short window they give you to complete your review.

Dogs Don't LieDogs Don't Lie by Lisa Shay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dogs Don't Lie is a cozy mystery by Lisa Shay that I was given an advanced copy for free in return for this honest review I am providing.

The story centers around the main character of Kallie Collins, a recently graduated veterinarian who is living in Medford, Oregon. We first meet Kallie as she is arriving at a BBQ that her mother has failed to tell her is a large gathering with a blind introduction to a nephew of a "dear" friend of her mother's. This turns out to be one of several ambushes her mother pulls trying to fix her up, leading to some comedic moments in the book. While at the BBQ she's gets a call to meet the County Sheriff for an assist at a scene.

Here she meets Ben and the events that transpire lead to her involvement in his case. Her ability to communicate with animals leads the authorities to some clues and information about the victim of a crime. Kallie, ends up fostering a corgi/terrier mix named Ariel and a calico cat, Ella. She wrangles her best friends, Sam and Gracie to help her in her side investigation. Together they uncover more suspicious and apparently unlawful activities going on in Medford.

There are several escapades traipsing through the woods and on the back roads that eventually lead to Kallie helping the authorities solve the case. They even acknowledge her involvement provided valuable information that helped them close the case. Shay does a nice job of wrapping up the story and providing the missing pieces at the end. All in all the book was a very good, fast read. I look forward to seeing if there are more installments in the series and to see if Kallie and Ben become a couple.

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Literary Escapes-  OR
  2. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  22
  3. Cruising through cozies -  Animal related #2
  4. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
  5. Mystery Bingo
    • Crime Scenes: Garden/Gazebo
  6. Around the Year in 52 Books- #5 The first book in a series that you have not started
  7. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #36  Written in first person
  8. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #23 a book with an animal in the title

Friday, March 27, 2020

Espionage with an AI twist

I have just completed reading my first ARC (advanced reader copy) for a book from Hidden Gems.  I enjoyed getting to read this espionage thriller by DS Kane.   It was the 10th and final installment in the Spies Lie series.  Although, I had not read the other books previously I was able to fully enjoy this book.  It is quite a globe trotting experience, with major scenes at Stanford, Tel Aviv, Scotland and England.  In this story we learn that an AI created by Ann Sashakovich and her design team for a competition has become more adept than people realize.  This AI begins manipulating humans and has the different espionage agencies running around attempting to infiltrate and turn each other's agents.  Ann and her fiance, Jon Sommers, are called to help find the enemy and even get pulled away from their honeymoon to do so.

There are lots of players in the game and this could be a bit confusing at times.  I found myself wishing I had a chart to tell me who everyone was and how they were related to one another.  I discovered at the end that there was an index at the end with a listing of characters.  I guess that's the downside to reading an ebook.  I might have found it earlier if I had a physical copy.   This did not stop me from enjoying my book and I will probably go back and read the earlier books in the series now.  You will enjoy this book if you like high paced thriller espionage books with a little scifi thrown in.

False FlagsFalse Flags by D.S. Kane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

False Flags was a high speed and engaging spy novel that is the 10th and final book in a series. I had not read any of the previous installments but that did not prove to be an issue with this book The reader is introduced to Ann Sashakovich and her fiance', Jon Sommers, early in the book. We also learn out about a previous AI competition that has gone awry for Ann and her Stanford classmates that has left two AI's battling each other and trying to influence the espionage world.

The initial setup of the plot involves Ann and her classmates, Glen Sarkov, Dave Nordman, Laura Hunter, and Samantha Trout and their interactions while interviewing for jobs post college. Many of the interviews are with intelligence agencies which we find out are no strangers to many of the characters as they have family members in the business working for different nationalities.

This is actually one of the few issues I had with the book, there were often too many characters referenced and their relationships with the other characters discussed. It was hard to follow and I found myself lost and having to flip back for clarity. I wished while I was reading for a character chart, which I found at the conclusion of the book- which would have been easier to discover if I had been reading a physical book.

Overall the action and the story line were quite engaging. There were many interlinking subplots which the author tied together quite well. I appreciated the author's final chapters where Jon told what happened in the ensuing years to many of the key characters. I would like to have found out what happened further with the AI and the havoc it was attempting to reek on the world. We were left hanging on that one aspect.

All in all I can recommend this book

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Literary Escapes-  Israel
  2.  Cloak and  Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #21
  3. Medical Examiner-  6 Toe Tag 
  4. Mystery Bingo
    • Weapons card :  Fistfight
    • Crime Scene:  Lawn
  5. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #22 with a robot, cyborg, AI character
  6. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #43 Set in a country you’ve never visited before
  7. Book List Queen #28 By an Indie Author
  8. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #6 a book with a bad boy hero 
  9. Wizarding World Tour  possible categories
    • Koldovstoretz- related to my Scottish roots

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Swipe Right for Murder

This was a YA book by Derek Milman that I recently completed.  I have to say I wouldn't want to use any dating apps after reading this book.  It is an engaging thriller that takes you all over NY, the city and state.  It was a bit like a book version of an episode of Person of Interest.  You were never totally sure who to trust or what side any of the characters were on.  I was able to feel the stress and indecision that Aidan was experiencing.  I can recommend this book for anyone interested in a thriller that is relatively quick to read.  Be careful what you share on the internet because you never know who is going to snoop.

Swipe Right for MurderSwipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thriller with lots of twists

This was a very engaging and enjoyable read. Milman keeps the reader guessing about who the bad guy is until the end. The main character, Aidan, goes through some soul searching and growth. All in all a good enjoyable book that definitely gives pause to think about what you put out into the digital ether

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book 28
  2. Cloak and  Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal : Book  20
  3. Medical Examiner-  5 Toe Tag 
  4. Mystery Bingo
    • Weapons card :  Electricity; drugs; arrow; push or fall
    • Crime Scenes: park and swimming pool
  5. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #2 by trans or non binary author
  6. Around the Year in 52 Books- # 23 A book featuring an LGBTQIA+ character AND by an LGBTQIA+ author
  7. 20 in 20 #Read20in2020 #5 Fiction LGBTQ related book 
  8. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #17 a book with LGBTQIA Rep
  9. Wizarding World Tour  possible categories
    • Ilvermorny-  Read an own voices book
  10. While I was Reading #2 a young adult book

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Word the the Wise by Jenn McKinlay

The tenth installment in Library Lover's Mystery does not disappoint.  McKinlay does a wonderful job of intertwining the everyday lives of the Briar Creek Library group and their families in with the mystery.  Unfortunately for Lindsay, even when she tries to stay out of trouble and the murder investigation she ends up embroiled in it.   This story has some good twists and turns and keeps the reader engaged throughout the story.

I am looking forward to hearing more about the personal stories of Lindsay & Sully,  Beth & Ryan and Emma & Robbie as well as the supporting characters in the story.  I am curious to see if Chloe is made into a recurring character as she seems to have a good relationship with the main characters of the stories.

Word to the Wise (Library Lover's Mystery, #10)Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinlay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is always enjoyable to read about Lindsey and her friends. This edition of the Briar Creek Library adventures is a delight as we visit Briar Creek, CT during a drought in June. Lindsay has a visit from a new town resident looking for gardening advice to save his roses. His thank you roses and more prove to be an unwelcome bit of attention. Fortunately her fiance', Sully and Robbie Vine are able to support her in confirming he lack of interest. This drags all 3 of them into a mystery that grows as the book progresses. We get glimpses of Lindsay and Sully's wedding planning and the lives of their friends and family during this book. I look forward to the next installment and see how Mrs. Cole's aka the Lemon's, new venture pans out.

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book  #27 
  2. Finishing the Series-  #FinishingTheSeries2020   Library Lover's series 
  3. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #19
  4. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice #1
  5. Calendar of Crime-  #CalendarOfCrime2020  Jun #3-  Primary action takes place this month
  6. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tags 
  7. Six Shooter-  2nd shot for Jenn McKinlay
  8. Mystery Bingo:  
    • Crime Scenes:  Library;  Bedroom
  9. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #30  Book on the cover
  10. Beat the Backlist #BeatTheBacklist2020  Book #15 
  11. TBR Book #18  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon
  12. Wizarding World Tour  possible categories
    • Durmstrang:  outdoors

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Contraband by Stuart Woods

As my full review states below, this is a typical Stone Barrington novel.  Globe trotting and sexual exploits abound.  The storyline wasn't too bad and there were some interesting twists to keep the reader engaged.  These books are fun light reads and are not meant to be overly intellectual or in depth.  Taken as a fun escape it is a decent book.  Like all these books, I prefer to read them from the library because they are quick reads that I would be upset to spend the cover price for the hardcover. 

Contraband (Stone Barrington, #50)Contraband by Stuart Woods
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The adventures with Stone Barrington never cease to be sexy and exciting. This book finds him bouncing back and forth between NYC and Key West. Remarkably, he only bounces between 2 women which makes it a bit less obnoxious than the last time we saw him. This storyline has 2 different threads but Woods does a good job of weaving the story together in a cohesive manner. All in all an enjoyable easy read, not the book if you are looking for deep intellectually stimulating material but still a fun read.

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book 26
  2. Finishing the Series-  #FinishingTheSeries2020   up on the Stone Barrington as of Mar 2020
  3. Calendar of Crime-  #CalendarOfCrime2020  February #9 couple/love triangle major role
  4.  Cloak and  Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal : Book  18
  5. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tag 
  6. Six Shooter-  3rd shot for Stuart Woods
  7. Mystery Bingo:  
    • Red Herring :  Gambling Debts;  Second Weapon
  8. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #25 Title beginning with "C"
  9. Wizarding World Tour  possible categories
    • Durmstrang:  Involves a boat

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Winter in Paradise is just that

Elin Hilderbrand does an amazing job of weaving vivid description of St. John's with great characters and plot development in Winter in Paradise.  I thoroughly enjoyed how the story moved between the different characters and how some of the scenes were viewed from multiple individuals' perspectives.

Hilderbrand does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into the story and the lives of the characters.   I did feel connections to them, with different emotional reactions to different characters. I did not necessarily like Baker Steele and I felt myself rooting for Cash Steele. Overall, I had great sympathy for Irene, Huck, Ayers and Maya.  I found myself greatly disliking Richard Steele and Anna Steele.

The plot line, while a bit unbelievable at first, is feasible especially given today's nomadic business travel and electronic communication.  It does highlight what can happen if we become too caught up in our selves and don't take interest and involvement in others' lives.

The underlying premise of the story does create a mystery aspect to the book and that mystery is part of the cliffhanger for the sequel.  The other aspect that makes me want to read more is to see how the characters fare and to see what their futures hold.    All in all I enjoyed the book and can recommend it.

I must say the book left me wanting to hop on a plane and head to St. John's while reading the next installment in the series. 

Winter in Paradise (Paradise, #1)Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I really wasn't sure what to expect when I checked the audiobook out from the library. I really enjoyed reading Hilderbrand's descriptions of St. John as well as her storyline. The character development was well done and I appreciated seeing how the different characters interacted and reacted to a specific event they all had in common. I enjoyed how the story moved between different characters and seeing how specific scenes were perceived by each of the characters.

The mystery portion of the story was intriguing and I cannot wait to read the sequel. All in all a great book.

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #24
  2. Audiobook challenge  Book # 5
  3. Literary Escapes-  St. John's USVI
  4. Alphabet soup Author- #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge- "E"
  5. AtoZ and Alphabet soup challenge #AlphabetSoupChallenge- "W"
  6. Wizarding World Tour  possible categories
    • Ilvermorny-  Body Part on the cover
  7. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #10 a Bestseller
  8. Book List Queen #23 A Beach Read
  9. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #24  has a season in its title
  10. Monthly Keyword-  #MonthlyKeyWordChallenge  Mar- "in"
  11. Around the Year in 52 Books- #37  Binary opposites with a book w/ summer or hell in title

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Popsugar challenge up date

As of the first week in March, I have completed 23/ 50 of the Popsugar prompts.  I was able to use a visual chart thanks to the generosity of another FB group member.  This is where I stand

Mumbo Gumbo Murder New Orleans's style

This latest installment in Laura Child's scrapbooking series finds Carmela Bertrand and Ava looking to solve the murder of Carmela's friend Devon.  All the while, perturbing Carmela's fiance, Detective Edgar Babcock. The book is full of plenty of intrigue and New Orleans funk and flair.  It is always enjoyable to see what crazy antics the 2 friends find themselves embroiled in each time.  This book has everything from crafting to matchmaking and all sorts of other activities in between all while trying to solve the murder.  The story twists and turns around Carmela's life and we see how different coincidences and moments of chance help her to solve the mysteries.

I always love reading about the different crafts Carmela designs and the different relationships with the recurring characters.  We get quick glimpses of Shamus, the dogs, and his sister Glory.   Again we find ourselves at a house party in the Garden District and viewing parades in the French Quarter. The Memory Mine regulars pop in, including Gabby and Baby.

An enjoyable, light read with a surprise ending.  I only had a fleeting bit of suspicion as to who the guilty party was in the murder.  The underlying premise of the crime made for an interesting twist to the story.   Grab this book if you want to experience a little French Creole charm while trying to figure out whodunit.

Mumbo Gumbo Murder (A Scrapbooking Mystery #16)Mumbo Gumbo Murder by Laura Childs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is always fun to read the Laura Childs' scrapbooking series. These books cover both my interests, mysteries and scrapbooking so they don't come out fast enough for my reading pleasure. This series is set in the French Quarter in New Orleans and as such has lots of the aspects one associates with the Big Easy. There are parades, fancy dining, and plenty of drinking in the book. There are nods to the city's links with the mystical and the dead as well as the antiques trade so prevalent there. The antiques business is at the center of this particular installment when Carmela Bertrand and her friend Ava stumble upon the body of their friend Devon in his antique shop while watching a parade as part of the city's legendary Jazz Fest. The story of their amateur sleuthing to solve Devon's murder is intertwined with stories of their everyday lives, including the scrapbook store, Memory Mine, Carmela owns. There are plenty of visits from ex-beaus as well as glimpses of her current relationship with fiance, Detective Edgar Babcock. All in all the story is well paced and enjoyable with enough suspense to keep the reader engaged. I recommend this book if you like cozy mysteries and fun quirky characters.

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #25
  2. Literary Escapes-  LA
  3. Finishing the Series-  #FinishingTheSeries2020   New Orleans Scrapbooking Series #16
  4. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #17
  5. Cruising through cozies -  craft #2
  6. Calendar of Crime-  #CalendarOfCrime2020  
  7. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tag 
  8. Six Shooter-  2nd shot for Laura Childs
  9. Color Coded:  #4 Green
  10. Wizarding World Tour  
      • Castelobruxo: Green dust jacket; 
  11. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #2 A Hardcover

Monday, March 9, 2020

Beat the Backlist Bingo Card

I wanted to post my current Backlist Bingo Card as I have been making some progress on it and finally got it filled out with Jan and Feb reads


The books that meet these squares are:
  1. released in the 2010’s  An Appetite for Murder by Lucy Burdette  2/10/20\
  2. author you want to meet Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie  2/19/20
  3. book that shares your zodiac sign  The Medical Examiner by James Patterson 1/25/20 
  4. one word title Stealth by Stuart Woods 1/27/20
  5. author who writes multiple genres Death by Jack'OLantern by Alexis Morgan Abby McCree series #2   1/13/20 
  6. genre mash-up Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella 1/23/20
  7.  cover redesign is better  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis 1/30/20
  8. book with less than 200 pg  Kiki Lowenstein and the Purple Passion  by Joanna Campbell Slan 2/4/20
  9. the 4th+ book in a series  19th Christmas by James Patterson Women's Murder Club #19   1/4/20 
  10. wish you had read it sooner The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff  ;   1/7/20 
    • blog  post and Goodreads review
  11. new to you author   Let's Fake a Deal  by Shelly Harris  1/16/20 
  12. shocking plot twist  Toxic Toffee by Amanda Flower 2/3/20
  13. a top 10 read of the year  The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine 2/8/20

Feb progress recap

February continued to be a good reading month.  I managed to finish another 12  books.  The variety of genres was not quite as extensive as Jan but I did get some Memoir reading as well as Thriller/Suspense, Mysteries and some Romance.  All in all an enjoyable reading month.

General Tracking

AtoZ  and  Alphabet Soup #AlphabetSoupChallenge  - A, F, K, N
completed previously - D, E, G, L, M, O, P, S, T, U

Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge- B, F, M, N, S, T
completed previously A, C, D, H, J, K, L, P, R, V, W

Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2020  Tracked Here  completed 6/5 in total

Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Tracked Here  22/36 books read  (11 previously)

Literary Escapes  (Destination)  Visited: FL. MO, OH, Australia, Yugoslavia in Feb
visited previously CA, CT, MA, NY, TN, WA  plus England, France, Ireland

Specific Criteria

PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge   # 1, 6, 8, 14, 15, 16, 21, 40, 43, 47   completed in Feb
completed previously # 12, 19, 20, 23, 27, 35, 38, 41 46, 47, 49, 50

Around the Year in 52 Books # 11, 13, 16, 17, 22, 26, 28, 40, 41, 45, 48, 49 completed in Feb 
completed previously # 1, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 19, 33, 34, 50

52 Books in 52 Weeks # 10, 11, 12, 14, 18, 20, 22, 30, 35, 39, 42, 48 completed in Feb
completed previously  #1, 4, 8,  13, 15, 17,  21, 26,  34, 37, 46, 47 

BooklistQueen #31, 36, 40, 43, 49 completed in Feb
completed previously #3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16, 21, 32, 39, 46 c

20 in 20 #Read20in2020  #2, 10 completed in Feb 
completed previously #1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 13, 17, 18,

NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2020 # 1, 18, 21 completed in Feb
completed previously#2, 4, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 20, 25

Wizarding World Tour
  • Beauxbatons: 6th item in a series; a blue cover
  • Castelobruxo- set in tropics; troublemaker; involves plants
  • Durmstrang:    involves a secret; has a dark cover 
  • Hogwarts:  book that is a guilty pleasure; 
  • Ilvermorny-  published in 2020; includes a trip
  • Uagadou- follows a dream

While I was Reading  nothing in Feb
completed previously- Centered around a holiday

What's in a Name  Given/First Name

Color Coded  White; Beige
completed previously Blue, Black, Red and Orange

Monthly Motif #MonthlyMotifGXO  Murder on the Orient Express for Red on the cover

Monthly Keyword #MonthlyKeyWordGXO-   Kiss the Girls and Make them Cry Keyword "Girl"

Monthly Book Awards #GXOAwardReadingChallenge -  Lab Girl for AAAS Subaru Award 2017

TBR Based Challenges

2020TBR #2020TBRReadingChallenge: #1; #7,  #16 north america, australia completed in Feb
completed previously  # 5, 9, 14, 20, 21

Beat the Backlist #BeatTheBacklist2020  completed 6  books in Feb;  5 new bingo squares:
shocking plot twist; top 10 read of the year; book with less than 200 pgs, author you want to meet, released in 2010s  # 4 12, 16, 18

previously completed 8 bingo squares: bingo squares: cover redesign is better; 4th+ book in series; one word title; author who writes multiple genres; genre-mashup; wish you had read it sooner; new to you author;

Back List Reader  #Backlistreader Tracked Here  15/24 read  (9 read previously)

Start on Your Shelfathon  #StartOnYourShelfathon Tracked Here  15/5  thru Apr 2020

Mount TBR  #MountTBR2020 Tracked Here 15 /24 read  (9 read previously)

Genre Specific

Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2020  a prompt in 4 new months- Mar,  Jun, Jul,  Nov
previously a prompt in 5 months- Apr, May, Aug, Oct, Dec

Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal - Mysteries Tracked Here  16/25 total comp (5 prev)

Craving for Cozies  Tracked Here  8/26 total completed  (4 completed previously)

Cruisin thru Cozies 8 /20  total completed;  Set outside US, craft related, animal, free choice 

  • (4 completed previously)  the culinary, holiday, career and 1 freebie

Historical Fiction  #2020HFReadingChallenge  Tracked Here  1/5

Memoir  total completed 2 /5  Lab Girl fits multiple prompts TBD later
previously read memoir for the Food memoir category

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Lab Girl

I read the memoir Lab Girl by Hope Jahren this month.  The book was a great balance between storytelling and science.  Jahren does a wonderful job at talking about science in a manner that is understood by lay people.  Her explanations about plant life and trees are interesting and her witty storytelling was enjoyable to read.  I can recommend this book to anyone interested in the ways a research scientist goes about doing field research, lab work and raising funds.  All in all it is a very enjoyable read.

Lab GirlLab Girl by Hope Jahren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was an enjoyable mix of sciences and human interest. The relationship Hope has with her lab partner Bill is quite quirky and is fun to watch grow. She does a wonderful job of detailing aspects or her research and plants/trees in general. I can recommend this book to anyone who is interested I learning more about the green life around us as well as those curious about the life of research scientists

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book 22
  2. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge  #16  About Women in STEM
  3. Around the Year in 52 Books- #17 Neuro Diverse character
  4. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #42 Reuse a prompt from a past year- "A  Plant on Cover"
  5. Book List Queen #37  Book that will make you smarter
  6. 20 in 20 #Read20in2020 #2  Book set in country you are currently residing
  7. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #7 Biography/autobiography
  8. Beat the Backlist #BeatTheBacklist2020 #15 author who writes multiple genres
  9. 2020 TBR  #2020TBRReadingChallenge
  10. TBR Book #1  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon
  11. Wizarding World Tour 
    • Castelobruxo: Book related to Plants
  12. Color Coded:  #5  Beige
  13. Monthly Book Award-   #GXOAwardReadingChallenge  AAAS Subaru science award 2017 

Possible prompts

I will decide as the year goes along which prompts I use it for on several challenges since it meets multiple criteria within the challenge.
  1. Memoirs-  
    • #1 Mental Health Memoir
    • #9  Written by a woman
    • # 25 Under 300 pages

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Antics abound in the latest Hat Shop Mystery

My first finished book for March was quite a pleasant and quick cozy-  Buried to the Brim.  Jenn McKinlay's latest installment in her Hat Shop Mystery series continues to charm as always.  This book finds us catching up with Scarlett, Viv and Fee.  As well as Scarlett's now fiance, Harrison, his buddy Alistair whom Scarlett is determined to match up with Viv- much to her cousin's annoyance.   Andre and  Nick round out the friendship circle of the recurring characters.   The story centers around the millinery as they all tend to with lots of descriptions of very British hats and fascinators.

This story centers around Harrison's Aunt Betty and her Corgi, Freddy.   I mean what makes a book about a great group of friends even better than throwing in a bunch of cute dogs.  McKinlay's descriptions of the animals, their owners and the dog show reminded me of the movie, "Best in Show"   It was easy to visualize all the character and the goings on in the novel.  Of course there was the unexpected body of the arch nemesis of Aunt Betty and the drama that ensued as the group worked to clear her name.    The friends banter back and forth and their exchange of puns, this time very canine oriented, made the story a delight to read.  The guilty party was a well played secret until the closing scene when it is revealed by Scarlett.  All in all this is a fun read and those who love all things British or dogs will enjoy it especially.

Buried to the Brim (Hat Shop Mystery #6)Buried to the Brim by Jenn McKinlay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What's not to love about the adventures of Scarlett, Harrison, Viv and Fee. Oh yeah don't forget Nick, Andre and Alistair. This latest installment in the Hat Shop Mysteries does not disappoint. They even threw in a few cute dogs this time. All in all Jenn McKinlay does a great job telling a delightful story. She throws in just enough non mystery details to make the book fun and entertaining without being distracting. The who did it is a great twist as well.

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book 23
  2. AtoZ and Alphabet soup challenge #AlphabetSoupChallenge-  "B"
  3. Finishing the Series- #6   #FinishingTheSeries2020    Hat Shop Mysteries through 3/2020
  4. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #16
  5. Cruising through cozies -  #5  Series set outside the US
  6. Calendar of Crime-  #CalendarOfCrime2020  Jan #6-  Original Publication Month
  7. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
  8. Six Shooter-  1 shot for Jenn McKinlay
  9. Monthly Motif   #MonthlyMotifGXO-  SubGenre sound off-  used Cozy Mystery as subgenre
  10. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge  #5 Set in a city that hosted the Olympics- London
  11. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #24 Title beginning with B