Wednesday, September 30, 2020

An Ale of Two Cities

 

I really enjoyed reading this second installment in the Literary Pub Series by Sarah Fox.  This time we visit Shady Creek during the Winter Festival.  Fox does such a wonderful job of describing her characters and the scenery you cannot help but feel like you are right there with everyone in the small town.   The mystery has plenty of twists and turns and keeps you guess until the end.  Excited to read the third book in the series.



An Ale of Two CitiesAn Ale of Two Cities by Sarah Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

I enjoyed this next installment in the Literary Pub series. This one shows off Shady Creek's charm at Christmas time. Fox continues to develop her characters and to show off the charm of a small town life. The downside to the small town living is also shown when a prior resident comes back to town and everyone isn't necessarily thrilled to see him. Fox again leads us through a festival and some red herring misdirects while solving the mystery. Keeps you guessing til the end.

Looking forward to the next installment in the series


View all my reviews



Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

    1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #105
    2. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book # 90
    3. Cruising through cozies -  2nd choice for holiday cozy
    4. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
    5. Six Shooter- 2nd shot

    Monday, September 28, 2020

    Travels with Walt Disney

     This book by Jeff Kurrti combines 2 of my favorite things in the world.  I am absolutely a lover of all things Disney and then when you combine it with travel I'm in book heaven.  

    My family are Disney lovers through and through.  My son visited Disney World before

    he had even turned 2.  We visited the parks 2 more times and went on  Disney Cruise before he turned 4.  Yes we love Disney.  Fortunately we all love it was an easy decision to go on vacations there, Disneyland or the high seas. This book was a fun read for me and I really enjoyed looking through all the pictures and reading the stories.  It felt a bit like peering at a Disney family photo album.  Which hits upon another passion of mine, scrapbooking.  So I guess it makes perfect sense why I enjoyed the book.  

    I also found the backstory to the author very intriguing.  Much of his career interests me.  We have visited and enjoyed the Disney Family museum in San Francisco.  It is an enjoyable afternoon if you are visiting the city especially if you would also like to visit the Lucas Films campus on the Presidio to see the Yoda fountain.   There are some virtual tours and information on their site  as well.  

    Kurrti's background as an Imagineer instrigues me since this has been a desired career for my son since he was in 5th grade.  I plan to research and read more of his works and to share them with my son as he makes plans to head to college in a few years.  

    If you would like to spend a casual afternoon looking through photos and reading some anecdotes about the movies, and his family then this a perfect book for you 


    Travels with Walt Disney: A Photographic Voyage Around the WorldTravels with Walt Disney: A Photographic Voyage Around the World by Jeff Kurtti
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

    As a Disney lover who also likes to travel this was a very enjoyable read. It was fascinating to read the stories and look at all the wonderful photos that depict this aspect of Disney's life. 

    I did find the organization of the book a bit clunky at times but realize why Kurtti organized it the way he did. The theme of the book is travel and he categorized the photos and stories based upon different modes of transportation. This didn't always follow along a chronological path but rather jumped around and that was a bit unsettling for me. Reading the afterword and discovering this book started as a lecture aboard the Disney Cruise Line did add clarity to the organization. 

    All in all this is a great book if you are a Disney lover or have a sense of wanderlust. 

    View all my reviews


    Challenge Prompts

    The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

    1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #103
    2. Book List Queen #33- Nonfiction Topic You Love
    3. Monthly Motif   #MonthlyMotifGXO- when text just isn't enough
    4. Historical NonFiction   1st book

    Sunday, September 27, 2020

    Murder at the Breakers

     In this first book in her Gilded Newport series, Alyssa Maxwell introduces us to her strong willed character Emma.  Emma is like many of the female protagonists you find in cozy mysteries.  She has a sense of curiosity and need to get to the bottom of a mystery.   She is a single woman who enlists the aid of family and friends in her quest for the truth.  The biggest difference in this book is Emma is a descendant of the Vanderbilt family and is doing all this independent sleuthing while living in 1895.  

    Maxwell does a wonderful job of describing life in that era and specifically life as a female during that time.  She demonstrates the contrast between the very wealthy- the 400 as they are referred to, and the middle class as well as the working class in Newport, RI.  Etiquette and tradition dictate much of how Emma goes about investigating the sudden death she is a witness to.  Her independence and stubbornness are at odds with how her Uncle Cornelius Vanderbilt and her Aunt would like her to behave.  

    The story does a wonderful job of developing Sadie as a character as well as her relationships with family and friends.  The reader cannot help be feel the emotions Sadie does as she realizes not everyone from her childhood is a trustworthy and honest as she would like them to be.  

    I enjoyed this book and am interested to continue reading the series set in the Gilded Age in Newport, the summer home of the super rich.  


    Murder at the BreakersMurder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

    Wonderful historical mystery

    This book is a wonderful mix of characters and history. It is easy to visualize being back in the late 1800s in Newport RI It’s a glimpse of what the life of the Vanderbilts and Astors must have been like and what it was like to be a servant to them. The main character, Emma, is a strong willed independent and smart woman born into a good family but not the wealth. Her devotion to her brother and friends is very apparent as is her steadfast support of them. She finds herself questioning much of what she’s believed and known about people she has grown up with in Newport. She discovers her strength and independence as she fights to clear her loved ones name. I looked forward to reading more books set in tho gilded age in Newport 

    View all my reviews


    Challenge Prompts

    The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

    1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #102
    2. Literary Escapes-  RI
    3. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book # 89
    4. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice 34
    5. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tag 
    6. Six Shooter- new target 38
    7. Mystery Bingo
      • Clues:  Monogram
      • Red Herring :  Lighted window
    8. Historic Fiction   #2020HFReadingChallenge  book 8

    The Jumbies

     This is a middle grade fiction book based upon Caribbean folklore.  The description of the island and the characters is well done.  It definitely evokes the moral of treat others as you wish to be treated.  The book tends toward getting the reader to look at things from other's perspectives.   All in all a good message during a very tumultuous time in the world.  


    The JumbiesThe Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

    This was an intriguing Middle reader read. Based upon Caribbean folklore Baptiste spins a tale of magic and evil. Readers are drawn into the seaside land and the mahogany jungle it sits next to. The level of detail in the writing makes it easy to visualize the island and its residents 

    The 4 central children are realistic in their fears and boldness as they try to get to the bottom of the dark magic that has overcome their home. The mystical story is one of strength and perseverance. It’s also one that reminds readers that we should look at both sides to a situation and not judge others without getting to know them and their situation This is the first book in the series and I am intrigued to read more 

    View all my reviews



    Challenge Prompts

    The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

      1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book # 100
      2. Literary Escapes-  Trinidad and Tobago
      3. AtoZ and Alphabet soup challenge #AlphabetSoupChallenge  "J"
      4. Book List Queen #34- Middle Grade Fiction
      5. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #13 based on myth/folklore

      Saturday, September 26, 2020

      Wine and Punishment

       This is the first book in the Literary Pub series by Sarah Fox.  The entire series appears to be titles that are play on words of famous literary works.  This series has a strong female lead character who is striking out on a new direction in life.   Her new choices have led her to live in Shady Creek, VT.   Of course, being a cozy mystery she stumbles upon a crime that she becomes embroiled in solving.  Sadie ends up enlisting the assistance of her friends and frenemies in getting to the bottom of the mysterious death.  Along the way we meet her friends and family and watch as relationships grow with the plot line.   

      I am looking forward to reading more in the series and am starting An Ale of Two Cities this weekend.


      Wine and PunishmentWine and Punishment by Sarah Fox
      My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

      A perfect fall cozy mystery. Sadie Coleman is a strong character who is starting over. New home, new business,new friends, in Shady Creek, VT. The charming literary pub she has established sounds so inviting when you read the story. The crimes and vandalism not so much. Sadie sets out to figure out whether a fire in town is related to a mysterious death. Along the way we get glimpses of the charm and frustration of small town life. Sadie isn’t sure who she can trust and depend on while trying to solve the mysteries. Her relationships with her employees and friends grow and develop during the story. It is easy to imagine being right there in the small town as part of her friends and book clubs. The mystery had lots of twists and turns and the guilty party and motive is quite shocking I look forward to reading more in the series 

      View all my reviews


      Challenge Prompts

      The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

      1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #101
      2. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book # 88
      3. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice 33
      4. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
      5. Six Shooter- new target 37

      Friday, September 25, 2020

      Flour in the Attic

       This latest installment in the Bread Shop mysteries by Winnie Archer, finds Ivy in the middle of another investigation of a mysterious death.  Again the victim is someone close to her and her friends.  We see more of her relationship with her boss, Olaya, and her boyfriend Miguel throughout this book.  Both show how thoroughly devoted to Ivy they are.   Ivy's neighbor, Mrs. Branford, continues to provide some lighthearted conversation and input but this time we see an even more in depth and thoughtful side to the retired teacher.  She is involved in this mystery a bit more than previous stories due to her relationship with the deceased and her family, having taught them all through her teaching career. 

      Ms. Archer does a wonderful job of describing the scenery as well as the food in this book.  I would not advise reading it when hungry if you are a lover of either Mexican food or breads.  You cannot help but have your mouth water when reading about the yummy foods prepared throughout the story.  

      The book sets up the next installment in the series with a bit of a cliff hanger so I look forward to continuing on in the series when I have the chance.


      Flour in the AtticFlour in the Attic by Winnie Archer
      My rating: 4 of 5 stars 



      View all my reviews





      Challenge Prompts

      The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

      1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #99
      2. Finishing the Series-  #FinishingTheSeries2020   Bread Shop mysteries #4
      3. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book # 87
      4. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice 32
      5. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tag 
      6. Six Shooter- new target 36

      Thursday, September 24, 2020

      The Florist and the Funeral

       This is a quick read novella by Ruby Loren that I received as an ARC.  It was an enjoyable introduction to the Diana Flowers series.  I enjoyed the characters and found it to have a nice twist on the typical guilty party.  I look forward to reading more in this series set in the South of England centered around flowers and floriculture.  

      The Florist and the FuneralThe Florist and the Funeral by Ruby Loren
      My rating: 4 of 5 stars 



      View all my reviews




      Challenge Prompts

      The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

      1. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book # 86
      2. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice 31
      3. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
      4. Six Shooter- new target

      Monday, September 21, 2020

      Disquiet at the Dive Shack

       This is the third book in the Dive Shack mystery series by Donna Amis Davis.  The beautiful Philippines continues to be the setting of the story.  This time the book focused on the B&B owned by Shelby's friend Jasmine and her husband, Winston.   It was a nice respite to not focus on the Sydney resort so much.  The author note at the end explained why based on how she evolved the storyline for this installment. 

      We continued to get better acquainted with all the main characters in the story and  got a little more in depth views of Jasmine and Winston.  Marlena continues to charm everyone with her quirky over the top personality, especially as she prepares to celebrate a big event.  

      We get a few glimpses at some budding romances as well as get a deeper look at Jesse and Shelby's relationship.  All these interactions and relationships seem very realistic  and relatable.   

      I cannot wait for what I hope are many more installments in this series in beautiful Palawan.


      Disquiet at the Dive ShackDisquiet at the Dive Shack by Donna Amis Davis
      My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

      This third book in the series was as good as the first 2. The twists and turns keep you from figuring out who is the guilty party until the very end. Davis continues to develop her main characters in this installment. This book focuses more on Shelby and Jesse as well as Marlena. There are some funny moments as always as you cannot help but smile at Marlena's personality. We also see a deeper side of Jesse and Shelby's relationship in this storyline. The supporting cast of the ladies isn't as prominent in this book with the exception of Jasmine as this story's main setting is her and Winston's B&B. 

      Cannot wait to read more in the series 

      View all my reviews


      Challenge Prompts

      The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


      1. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book # 85
      2. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice 30
      3. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
      4. Six Shooter- 3rd shot

      Sunday, September 20, 2020

      The Calculating Stars

       This book turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me.  I wasn't sure how I was going to like it when I first started reading.   I am not the biggest science fiction fan and then when you add the layer of rewriting how something happened in the past I wasn't sure how I would like the book.  I am glad I stuck with the book and finished it. 

       I really ended up enjoying the book and the way Mary Robinette Kowal wrote about different aspects of the US' history.  It was interesting to read about a time when women were not given equal opportunities in the workforce and were treated as delicate objects.   Her characters in the book are strong women who push against stereotypes and fight for what they want.  I did find it interesting how Nicole had to reframe the expectations of what the astronaut opportunity meant to the women versus Elma's approach to the situation.  

      I appreciated that story praising women's accomplishments in math and science.  Kowal did a wonderful job of showing the struggles women can face in choosing fields that are traditionally male dominated.  Personally I had some similar experiences studying engineering and being in finance.  Strong women are often judged in ways their male counterparts are not.  It is nice to see a book that shows these struggles and has women succeeding on their merits without belittling men in the process.

      This book felt like a fictional version of the Rocket Girls book which was so popular recently.  I am very glad I read it and would recommend it to any women in the math and science fields.  


      The Calculating StarsThe Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
      My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

      This book is a wonderful science fiction book that models an alternate history of the US in the 1950s. Many of the elements of the story still looked like much of the true history of the country. It was easy to see parallels with the actual space program history. I appreciated the author's strong female characters and their drive to succeed. Kowal addressed many of the obstacles women had to overcome as well as minorities at that time. 
      The book was a very good fictional version of the rocket girls book that was so popular recently. 

      View all my reviews


      Challenge Prompts

      The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

        1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #98
        2. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #17 Won an award in 2019
        3. Around the Year in 52 Books- #46 era/event from Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire"
        4. Monthly Keyword-  #MonthlyKeyWordChallenge- Star
        5. Historic Fiction   #2020HFReadingChallenge  Book #7

        Friday, September 18, 2020

        Rum Raisin Revenge

         This is the second book in the series by Becca Bloom (Jennifer Joy).   The story leads us back to Ecuador and Jess' mishap adventures.  We find ourselves immersed in the nature and culture of Ecuador even more in this book.  It is hard not to imagine yourself riding the Swing at the End of the World with Jess. I decided to do a little research on this death defying ride and thought I'd share it.  

         Here's a bit more information on the Casa de Arbol and the swing. 



        The book is a great read besides the adventures in the jungle that Jess and her hosts explore.  The character development and family interactions are wonderful in this book all set against a backdrop of a mystery that Jess inadvertently gets involved in again.  
        My favorite part of the book though is the wonderful ending and how perfectly and seamlessly it sets up the future installment of the book.

        I can highly recommend this series if you want a clean humorous cozy that includes lots of wonderful descriptions.



        Rum Raisin RevengeRum Raisin Revenge by Jennifer Joy
        My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

        Tourist becomes detective in Ecuador

        This second book in the series was a good balance between plot and descriptive prose. 
        Jess finds herself mixed up in a mysterious death through a case of bad timing. Even as she tried to stay out of the investigation she gets drawn in. The mystery is full of speculation of who's guilty with several misdirects but in the end the story is wrapped up well and Bloom does a great job of clarifying the motive and how the crime was committed.
        The murder mystery is only a small portion of what makes this book so enjoyable. Bloom does a masterful job of creating truly likeable and believable characters. The humor and family banter is well written. Even when they are annoying you feel the emotions and interactions between the characters. It is easy to envision being there in Ecuador with Jess.
        The other aspect of the story is the descriptions of Ecuador and the scenery and culture there. It is definitely an armchair tourist book.
        Even with all that I must say that my favorite part of the story was.how Bloom ended the book. She puts a wonderful twist that is a perfect and heartwarming setup for the continuation of the series. It is well done and absolutely fits the storyline

        Don't miss this book and the series!


        View all my reviews


        Challenge Prompts

        The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

        1. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book # 84
        2. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice 29
        3. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
        4. Six Shooter- 2nd shot


        Thursday, September 17, 2020

        The Perfect Nanny

         This thriller is not for the female faint of heart.  The author does a wonderful job of building up to the climactic tragedy in the story.  You really felt as though you knew the characters and could understand their roles in the family dynamic.   Leila Slimani does a wonderful job of portraying them all as likable and repulsive at different moments in the story.  Her representation of the working mother and her guilt and doubts of never being enough is well done.   

        My only issue with the book is it felt like a sudden ending without a resolution to many of the aspects of the story.  We never get the full background of Louise and what made her the way she is at the time of the story.  There are glimpses but not enough concrete to answer all the questions about why she acted as she did at the end of the story.   The book just leaves the reader hanging and I found myself wanting more explanation and feeling disappointed after really liking the book up until those last 40 pages or so.


        The Perfect NannyThe Perfect Nanny by Le├»la Slimani
        My rating: 3 of 5 stars 

        Chilling thriller

        This book.is spooky and disarming but keeps you reading even when you're terrified of the outcome. Slimani does an amazing job at getting into the minds of the characters. You cannot help but have a bit of sorrow for Louise and wonder what drive her to her vicious acts. The immense impact of mothers guilt is apparent in Myrame. 

        While I did find the book very engaging I did come away wishing we had been given more background explanation of how Louise came to this point in life. Also a bit more closure on her relationships with Stephane and Nerve would have added to the story. even though I enjoyed the book.and found it engaging, I finished the book feeling like I had a lot of unanswered questions so that's why I didn't give it 4 stars 

        View all my reviews



        Challenge Prompts

        The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

        1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #97
        2. Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book # 83
        3. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tag 
        4. Around the Year in 52 Books- #31- A book inspired by a leading news story
        5. Book List Queen #19 Based on a true story
        6. 20 in 20 #Read20in2020 #14 translated to English
        7. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #16  translated from another language
        8. Wizarding World Tour  possible categories
          • Castelobruxo:read a book translated into your language
        9. While I was Reading #5 based on a true story
        10. Beat the Backlist #BeatTheBacklist2020 #7 author Intl to you
        11. 2020 TBR  #2020TBRReadingChallenge #6 originally written in a foreign language
        12. TBR Book #51  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon

        Wednesday, September 16, 2020

        Private the Games

         


        This installment of the Private series is set in Rio in 2016 just as the Summer Games are about to kick off.  There is a different co author on this book and I think I might like Mark Sullivan's style with James Patterson a bit better than some of the other installments.  This book does a wonderful job of describing the socioeconomic and physical geography of the Brazilian city.

        The storyline and its connection to poverty and wealth and the struggles to move the country forward without further impoverishing the  poor is on point.  It definitely creates a thought provoking inner dialogue with me as a reader of the book.  It is especially appropriate timing with all that is going on in the US and the world in 2020



        The GamesThe Games by James Patterson
        My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

        This is a typical Private series book with lots of shooting and action. This time Jack Morgan is in Rio for the Summer games in 2016. The details of the city and the landscape definitely make it possible to visualize the scenery and the city as you read. The premise behind the story is a bit close to home with much of what is in the news today in US. There are some thought provoking aspects to the storyline. The book is part of the series but can be read in any order. 

        View all my reviews


        Challenge Prompts

        The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

        1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #96
        2. Literary Escapes-  Brazil
        3. Finishing the Series-  #FinishingTheSeries2020   
        4. Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book # 82
        5. Medical Examiner-  10 Toe Tag 
        6. Six Shooter- 6th Shot-  Target completed
        7. TBR Book #50  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon  
        8. Wizarding World Tour  
          • Mahoutokoro: Read a book involving a sport
        9. Book List Queen #29- A Book About Sports

        Tuesday, September 15, 2020

        Girl Gone Viral

         This is the second installment in the Modern Love series by Alisha Rai.  It is part steamy romance, part introspective look at  relationships.   Rai examines both romantic relationships and family dynamics in this novel.  

        The novel centers around the same characters we met in The Right Swipe (see blog post here) but this book is all about Katrina.  We learn much about what troubles her and how it affects her daily life.  The illness was alluded to in the initial book but this time it is described in detail as is her life history.  We really learn about what makes her who she is and why she is the way she is.  

        We also get to see how she interacts with a new romance and her reactions to the family dynamics that relationship brings.  The author does a wonderful job of showing multiple perspectives of conflict and how different individuals interpret the same situation.  

        As the title suggests, the underlying story relates to an episode going viral on Twitter.  It raises some real issues about privacy in the modern electronic era and how a seemingly innocent act can have many unintended consequences.  

        The novel centers around characters that are deep and realistic.  It is easy to envision the scenarios Rai describes, particularly if you have any previous experiences with the mental ailments she focuses on in her narrative.   I appreciate that her characters are strong women who can take care of themselves but still appreciate a man and romance in their lives.   

        I look forward to reading the next book in the series, First Comes Like,  when it is published next year.



        Girl Gone ViralGirl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai
        My rating: 5 of 5 stars 



        View all my reviews





        Challenge Prompts

        The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

        1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #95

        Monday, September 14, 2020

        Map of books to read in 4th quarter

        I decided it might be a good idea to make a listing of the books I have in my queue for meeting challenge prompts.  I admit I tend to be distracted by the shiny books that show up in my inbox for ebooks.  Plus when I head to the library I tend to come home with more books that I had returned.  Basically I don't think I have every met a book I didn't want to find out about and pretty much any cozy freebie lands in my kindle account.

        As I head into the last quarter of the year I decided I might need to focus my attention on completing my challenges.  Additionally, there are some specific dated challenges that I need to make sure I address at the appropriate time. 

        That being said I am trying to lay out a timeline of books I need to read in the next bit of time so I don't get too distracted by all the tempting choices.


        September

        1-   Vox by Christina Dalcher 
        • Girl XOXO award book
        • popsugar #32 made up language
        • what's in a name 4 letters or less
        • A to Z- V

        2-   And then there were none by Agatha Christie  Sept 27th week
        • Read banned book in banned book week-   popsugar #39

        3-   Disney's Land by Richard Snow
        • Girls XOXO Motif-  when text just isn't enough 
        • NF history
        •  Booklist Queen # 33 Nonfiction topic you love
        • 20in20 #10  NF Book with 11 characters
        4-  The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
        • Around the Year # 31- A book inspired by a leading news story
        • Booklist Queen # 19 Based on a true story
        • 20in20 #14 translated to English
        • NJM #16  translated from another language
        • while I was reading #3 translated from another language
        • Beat the Backlist author Intl to you
        • 2020TBR #6 originally written in a foreign language
        • wizarding world Castelobruxo  - read a book translated into your language

        Keyword challenge  Star, Cry, She, Window, Forever, Eye



        Oct-  The Boys in the Boat   By Daniel James Brown  
        • 2020TBR #10 winner Booker Award
        • Wizarding World Mahoutokoro - involving a sport
        • 20in20 #16 has to do with sports
        • Booklist Queen #29 about sports


        Greenwood by Michael Christie
        • Book set in future

        Nov-  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine  winner of Specsavers National Book Awards UK


        Parchment and Old Lace

         This novel is one of the New Orleans scrapbooking series by Laura Childs.  I had previously missed reading this installment in the series.   Carmela and Ava continue to find themselves dragged into murder investigations.  Carmela's beau, Edgar Babcock, actually allows them to be a bit more involved in this case than he normally does.  It is full of twists and turns and I didn't figure out the guilty party until Carmela did herself.   Always a fun series especially since I love to scrapbook and it is full of references to that paper crafting medium.  


        Parchment and Old LaceParchment and Old Lace by Laura Childs

        My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

        NOLA cozy to charm readers 

        Any cozy lover will enjoy this latest installment of the New Orleans scrapbooking series by Laura Childs. You will especially enjoy it if you like scrapbooking and paper crafts 
        Carmela and her friend Ava are up to their snooping and socializing They continue to disregard Carmela’s beau, Detective Babcock and his warnings not to meddle in police business. The story is engaging and has a surprising twist at the end 

        View all my reviews



        Challenge Prompts

        The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

        1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #92
        2. Finishing the Series-  #FinishingTheSeries2020   book 2 read of series
        3. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #79
        4. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice 28
        5. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
        6. Six Shooter- 3rd shot on target
        7. TBR Book #49  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon

        Sunday, September 13, 2020

        Bombshell

         This is the next installment in the Teddy Fay series by Stuart Woods.  Although there is a brief appearance by Stone Barrington, this is all about Teddy Fay.  He is moving forward in his new life in Hollywood but trouble seems to continue to find him.  This story is set among the glamour and glitz of Hollywood and movies.  It is a surprisingly plot-centric book with no racy bedroom scenes in the novel.  I found it an enjoyable read and couldn't help but root for Teddy to successful navigate the drama that surrounded him.  


        BombshellBombshell by Stuart Woods

        My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

        Teddy Fay manages to engage readers while assuming his different personas in his Hollywood life. This book has lots of twists and intrigue. Teddy used his CIA skills quite proficiently and solves problems according to his code of what’s acceptable. Amazing feature of this book is there’s no steamy sex scenes even when Stone Barrington makes a brief appearance. Enjoyed this book by Woods and look forward to more adventures involving Teddy Fay 

        View all my reviews

        Challenge Prompts

        The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  
        1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #91
        2. Finishing the Series-  #FinishingTheSeries2020   Teddy Fay series
        3. Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book # 78
        4. Medical Examiner-  5 Toe Tag 
        5. Six Shooter- 6th Shot for Stuart Woods-  Completes the Target

        Saturday, September 12, 2020

        The Sun Down Motel

        This is a pulse racing thriller bordering on horror novel.  I don't think I have read anything like this previously.   It reminds me of going to a horror movie where you want to watch but you don't.  St. James does a wonderful job of creating a tense environment and you as the reader cannot help but feel much of the same fears and curiosity as the  Viv and Carly do.  I enjoyed the parallel timelines that then converged to a cohesive story ending.  The book was very well written and it was easy to relate to the characters and the ethical dilemmas some of them faced.  It definitely pointed out that not everything in life is as straightforward and simple as it seems.  


        The Sun Down MotelThe Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

        My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

        Pulse racing thriller

        This is an engrossing novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. The characters have a level of complexity that makes them feel real. They are conflicted about how to handle different scenarios and who to trust. There is a tenacity about Carly and Heather that makes them so strong even though we glimpse the fragile side too. The story is a well written novel with two narrators and two timelines it is very well written and the story is wrapped up quite well at the end

        This book is not for those who scare easily or have nightmares based on books they read. If you like thrillers that keep you on the edge of you seat this is a book for you 

        View all my reviews


        Challenge Prompts

        The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  
        1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #93
        2. Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #80
        3. Medical Examiner-  6 Toe Tag 

          Remaining prompts as of Sept 12, 2020

           As I complete many of my reading prompts for the year, it is getting more difficult to remember which prompts a book covers.  I decided to create a list of the challenges and their remaining prompts in order to make allocating books a more straightforward process as I write the review posts.


          √ Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  my goal was 36 (overdrive junkie)  I have completed 95 books which completes Library Card on Fire the top selection at 60+ books 

          Audiobook challenge  completed 7/10

          Literary Escapes-  completed 37/51 and 18 additional countries
            • still have the following states remaining: AL, AK, AR, CO, DE, DC, GA, ID, IN, IA, MD, MS, NE, NM, ND, OK, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, WI, WV, WY
          Alphabet soup Author- #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge 
            • need to read I, O, Q, U, X, Z
          AtoZ and Alphabet soup challenge #AlphabetSoupChallenge
            • need to read I, J, Q, V, X, Z
          √ Finishing the Series-  #FinishingTheSeries2020   Goal was 5 series (B list) I have completed 10 which completes A List which is top selection

          Cravings for a Cozy  Read 47/26 books for Famished

          Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal :  Read 81/25 books for detective

          √ Cruising through cozies -  read 28 additional cozies
            • need 1 additional holiday theme
          Medical Examiner-  162 Toe Tags issued 

          Six Shooter- 34 targets started;  1 Completed Target

          Mystery Bingo
          • Weapons card :  Blackout Bingo complete
            • need fireplace poker to complete R3
          • Clues:  Bingo Row 1, 2, 4  
            • need Monogram for R3; 
            • clock heard striking for R5
          • Red Herring :  Bingo Row 1 & 2
            • need looking/listening through keyhole R3
            • need car backfires R4
            • need lighted window & too many gunshots R5
          • Crime Scenes: Blackout Bingo complete
          Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge  All Advanced prompts completed;  32/40 regular prompts
            • 3-  with a  great first line
            • 7- first book you touch on a shelf with your eyes closed
            • 10- recommended by your fav blog, vlog, podcast or online book club
            • 17- that won an award in 2019
            • 24- fiction or non fiction about a world leader
            • 32- with a made up language
            • 37- a Western
            • 39- read a banned book during banned books week 
          Around the Year in 52 Books-  completed 46/52
            • 30- A book from the New York Times '100 Notable Books' list for any year
            • 31- A book inspired by a leading news story
            • 36- A book from your TBR/wishlist that you don't recognize
            • 46- A book about an event or era in history taken from the Billy Joel song "We Didn't Start the Fire"
            • 47- A classic book you've always meant to read 
            • 52- A book related to time
          52 Books in 52 weeks  completed 43/52
            • 3- By an indigenous author
            • 6- Written in the 1970’s
            • 7- An author local to you
            • 16- Borrowed from a friend
            • 19- A Stephen King novel
            • 38- Set in the future
            • 40- A book on the Mensa reading list for grades 9-12
            • 41- Published when you were 20 
            • 49- About a World Leader
          Book List Queen  34/52 completed
            • 1- Book Becoming Movie in 2020  Artemis Fowl 
            • 4- Published in 1920s
            • 14- Famous Author You’ve Never Read
            • 18- New York Times #1 Bestseller
            • 19- Based on a True Story
            • 22- Bottom of Your To-Read List
            • 24- A Book Everyone Is Talking About
            • 25-  Recommended by a Family Member
            • 26- From the 50 States Reading List 
            • 29- A Book About Sports
            • 30- A Play
            • 33- Nonfiction Topic You Love
            • 34- Middle Grade Fiction
            • 38- A Modern Classic
            • 41- Translated from Another Language
            • 44- A Book About Politics
            • 45- By a Local Author
            • 51- Borrowed From a Friend
          20 in 20 #Read20in2020  Completed 20 Books 6 NF & 14 Fiction
            • 1- NF Crime fiction or True crime book 
            • 3- NF A book with a (mostly) white color cover  
            •  6- F & NF Book originally published in 1990s
            • 9- NF A book from an author you chose for another category in this challenge
            • 10- NF Book with 11 letters/characters in the title  IDEA:  Disney's Land
            • 11- F & NF An epistolary book
            • 12- F & NF A book with a calendar month in the the title
            • 13- NF A book you read in your childhood days
            • 14- F & NF Book translated into English from another language
            • 15- NF A book with more than 500 pages
            • 16- NF  A book that has something to do with sports
            • 18- NF A wartime book
          NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020 completed 21/25
            • 5- a book made into a film/tv series Artemis Fowl 
            • 8- pre 1900s
            • 13- a book based on folklore/myth 
            • 16- a work translated from another language
          Wizarding World Tour  possible categories
            • Beauxbatons: Tour  completed 10/20
              • Read a book about or written by someone you respect
            • Castelobruxo: Tour  completed
              • Read a book that was translated into your language
            • √ Durmstrang:  Tour  completed May 2020
            • Hogwarts: Tour  completed Oct 2020
              • Read a book related to art or a poetry book
            • Ilvermorny: Tour Completed Aug 2020
            • Koldovstoretz: 5/7 completed
              • Read a book by a Russian author
              • Read a book set in a palace
            • Mahoutokoro: 5/7 completed
              • Read a book set in a school
              • Read a book involving a sport
            • √ Uagadou: Tour Completed Aug 2020
          While I was Reading 7/12 completed
            • 3- A book translated from another language
            • 5- A novel based on a true story
            • 6-  A book with song lyrics in the title
            • 9 - A book with a month in the title
            • 10- A book you heard about on TV/Radio/a podcast IDEA 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
          What's in a Name  5/6 complete  CHALLENGE COMPLETED 9/20
            • 4 letters or less 
          Beat the Backlist #BeatTheBacklist2020 20 /24
            • book with 600+ pages 
            • book by an INTL (to you) author
            • book you never finished before
            •  book rec from a friend
          2020 TBR  #2020TBRReadingChallenge 11/22 completed
            • 2- book published the yr you were born
            • 3- novel that will get a movie adaptation in 2020   Artemis Fowl 
            • 4- friend recommendation
            • 6- book originally written in a foreign language
            • 8- novel that was banned
            • 10- Booker Prize winning book  
            • 11- Book by a Nobel Prize winner 
            • 12- Goodreads winner
            • 13- book from rory gilmore challenge
            • 18- book trilogy
            • 22- a classic
          √ TBR   #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon completed 49/24 
            • scaled Mount Blanc, Mount Vancouver, Mount Ararat
            • Mt Kilamanjaro is next with 60 read
          √ Historic Fiction   #2020HFReadingChallenge  Completed Victorian (5) with 6 books finished
          Historical NonFiction   1 read

          Friday, September 11, 2020

          Afterlife

          This novel by Julia Alvarez was the selection for my book club this month.   I found it to be a thought provoking book that caused me to look at several issues from different perspectives than I might normally approach them.  The main character is dealing with a tragic loss and much of the book is about her coping and learning to live through this loss.  

          There are 2 other major themes in the book.  The first is family and the different bonds and roles different members of the family develop and how childhood follows us long into adulthood and often the roles played as a child continue into adulthood.  Related to this theme was how different members of the family can address/deal with a siblings behavior.  Some want to view it as just who they are versus labeling it with a diagnosis of a mental illness.    The book examines this concept and how the individual suffering may have a very different perspective than their family members.

          The last issue the book raised was about illegal immigrants in the country.  They play a role in society here in the US- I didn't necessarily associate this with Vermont but the book highlighted the dairy farms as a place of employment that I hadn't really thought of previously.  The topic is a divisive one at times and I appreciated the author's perspective on seeing it from the immigrant's perspective even if I don't necessarily agree 100%   

          Alvarez definitely addresses these difficult topics and puts a humanizing face to them that causes the reader to stop and reflect.



          AfterlifeAfterlife by Julia Alvarez
          My rating: 3 of 5 stars 

          This is a well written story demonstrating the strong bond of sisterhood. It also touches on the strength of a woman and her efforts to move forward after a life changing event. While I neither loved nor disliked this book I did find it thought provoking and feel it offers an interesting perspective on a topic that is often polarizing to many. I appreciated the alternative perspective on a topic and it give me a point of view I wouldn’t necessarily have discovered otherwise 

          View all my reviews


          Challenge Prompts

          The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

          1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #90

          Thursday, September 10, 2020

          Her Royal Spyness


          This is the first in the series of The Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen.  I selected it as a book to meet the cozy requirement of a historical mystery and I wasn't really sure what to expect.   I thoroughly enjoyed the protagonist, Georgie, and her strong independence and desire to make it on her own in 1930s England.  It was fun to see the aspects of daily life she didn't know how to manage after having grown up with servants.  There are some very fun comedic moments when she finds herself in a number of predicaments.   Bowen does a wonderful job of throwing out red herrings to cast suspicion on numerous parties.  Her prose really conveys the fear and anxiety Georgie experiences as she is trying to determine who to trust and who is not trustworthy.  

          All in all a great read and I look forward to reading more in the series.  



          Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
          My rating: 4 of 5 stars
          Her Royal SpynessSurprisingly fun and engaging book. I enjoyed the development of the characters and the story. Bowen does a wonderful job of establishing doubt in the reader and the protagonist's mind as to who is behind the murder and accidents. I enjoyed that Georgie was portrayed as a smart woman but still showed how her sheltered upbringing lead her to be unknowing about many ordinary daily tasks. 
           It is fun to try to visualize the 1930s era England and in particular the royal family. It is also interesting to see how they relationship between the Prince and Mrs. Simpson is portrayed from a fictional "insider" perspective vs the true history of the situation. All in all an enjoyable book and I look forward to reading more of the series


          View all my reviews


          Challenge Prompts

          The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

          1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #94
          2. Literary Escapes-  Scotland
          3. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #81
          4. Cruising through cozies -  Historical Cozy #2
          5. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
          6. Six Shooter- New Target 34
          7. Historic Fiction   #2020HFReadingChallenge  Book #6

          Saturday, September 5, 2020

          Duplicity at the Dive Shack

          Another fun adventure in the Philippines.  Donna Amis Davis continues to capture the charm of the islands and the people of the Philippines in this next installment of the Dive Shack series.  I enjoy reading these so much that I fly through them in a day, most of it in a single sitting.

          I finder her characters to be realistic and you can really feel the emotions they are feeling during the story.  Much of what they experience is normal everyday things most of us go through as well.  Apart from Shelby's knack to stumble onto crimes, I think many of us can relate to the things she and her friends experience.  

          I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series as soon as I read my book club book for the month.   

          Duplicity at the Dive ShackDuplicity at the Dive Shack by Donna Amis Davis
          My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

          Another great installment in series

          This book is the second in the series set in Palawan in the Philippines. You do not need to read the first one to enjoy this cozy mystery. The story continues to develop the relationships between Shelby and her new friends. Several mysteries surround them and one of the unique things about this story is The Who did it isn’t necessarily the center of the story, but rather the why and details are much of the story development. It is easy to relate to Shelby and her curiosity and actions. I look forward to reading the next book in the series 

          View all my reviews

          Challenge Prompts

          The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  
          1. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  77
          2. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice 26
          3. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tag 
          4. Six Shooter- 2nd shot