Monday, January 25, 2021

Choppy Water

 This is the 54th installment in the Stone Barrington series by Stuart Woods.  Needless to say with that many books it is a bit formulaic but I still enjoy them none the less.  This installment found Stone acting as a boyfriend and political advisor to recently elected Holly Barker.  It is definitely meant to be read in order as the previous stories have lead up to this current situation in history.   

There were some unbelievable aspects to the story, beyond the usual James Bondesque scenes.  The radical political group that is at the center of the story would not have accepted outsiders like they apparently did especially not as easily as the story made it seem.  Additionally. the climatic scene was a bit confusing and harried and was difficult to tell what really transpired.   I did enjoy the entertainment factor of the book and as always that's all I am looking for in these novels.  

Looking forward to catching up with Shakeup and Hush Hush both waiting in my queue.  

Choppy WaterChoppy Water by Stuart Woods
My rating: 3 of 5 stars 

Stone Barrington’s dabbling in political advisory 

This was a good installment in the Stone Barrington series. The storyline was engaging and had some interesting tense moments I didn’t feel it was worthy of the fourth star because the infiltration of the radical group seemed a bit too simplistic I felt those groups would be much more suspicious of outsiders. Also the ending felt rushed but I did enjoy the storyline and the continuing relationship development of Holly and Stone. Those looking for all the steamy bedroom scenes may be a bit disappointed they felt more implied and less overt in this novel 

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #5
  2. AtoZ   #2021AtoZReadingChallenge  #AlphabetSoupChallenge "C"
  3. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  "C"
  4. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021 yes book 54/56
  5. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #23 cover with your country’s flag colors
  6. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #5
  7. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #7
  8. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #4
  9. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge #30 A book set somewhere you’d like to visit in 2021
  10. Around the Year in 52 Books # 42 mystery/thriller
  11. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  # 31. Jon: MC/author is ace
  12. BooklistQueen   #37 Borrowed from the Library
  13. NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2021  #6 bad boy hero
  14. While I was Reading  #11 A book by an author who has written more than 10 books
  16. Bookworm  #37 Read the next book in a series you've started
  17. Magic in the Books Book 1 #7 Include a brave character
  18. Spells and Spaceships features a big battle
  19. Bloggers Bookshelf   #bloggersbookshelf #5 read in one sitting
  20. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #5  Shot #1
  21. 52 books in 52 weeks  #43 on the run 
  22. Unruly Reader Bingo  #10 survival 
  23. Pick your Poison  #21 Drinking Game #3 A book title that could be a drinking game

Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Midnight Library

 This novel by Matt Haig was a very pleasant surprise.  There is a great storyline on the surface and if you read it just for that it's a fun and engaging book.  But the novel goes further than that and goes into some philosophical discussion.  The basic premise being the existence of parallel universes. There is some discussion of the topic from an astrophysicist perspective but not anything the average reader cannot follow.  I never felt as though it was going in deep and I wasn't following, unlike some of the descriptions in South Pole Station (see review here) .  It all seemed to make sense and be consistent with the flow of the story.     

Please don't let the apparent heaviness of the topic scare you off from reading the book though.  Know that I do not consider myself to be a super deep thinker,  I never took a philosophy course in college either.  I am definitely a logical math/science brain with an engineering degree.  I found myself thinking about the premises of the book as I was reading and when I put the book down.  It made me realize life is about perspective and how we chose to frame it.  

This was a perfect book to be reading in January when everyone seems to be looking at the year ahead and trying to make some goals/ organize life.  It also was a great pairing for the Non Fiction book I am concurrently reading, Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.  They both combine to give new perspective on life and how to tackle it,  perfect reading for this chaotic time in history.   

I can highly recommend this book if you are looking for a pleasurable read or if you are looking for one with deeper meaning.  This tome satisfies both and I bet it leaves you thinking and talking about it afterwards.

The Midnight LibraryThe Midnight Library by Matt Haig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

Great read for new year

This is not a genre I generally select it I am so glad I did. This book does a wonderful job at telling an engaging story with less than perfect characters. On top of the entertaining story line there are some wonderful introspective points made and it’s a perfect book to read when you want a reminder that perspective is important and the grass isn’t always greener. So happy I read this book if you are looking for a book that gets you to think about your world from more than just your normal perspective then be sure to read this one 

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #4
  2. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  "H"
  3. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #21 Standalone
  4. 2021TBR  #2021ReadingChallenge #12 fantasy
  5. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #4
  6. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #6
  7. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge #27 A book about do-overs or fresh starts
  8. Around the Year in 52 Books #52 A book related to "the end" 
  9. 52 Book Club  #the52bookclub2021  #13 Includes An Exotic Animal
  10. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  #16 with a found footage element  
  11. BooklistQueen   #3 Goodreads Winner in 2020
  12. A Pretty Mess Challenge #16 Goodreads 2020 winner 
  13. NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2021  #22 spec fic book 
  14. While I was Reading  #5. A book of magical realism
  16. Bookworm  #34 Read a book with a time of day in the title
  17. Magic in the Books Book 1  #2  Where a character discovers an identity/ability
  18. Spells and Spaceships Non human Badge: one of MC is not human being
  19. Bloggers Bookshelf   #bloggersbookshelf #24 2020 Goodreads winner or nominee
  20. Monthly Motif #MonthlyMotifGXO  Fantasy
  21. Monthly Keyword #MonthlyKeyWordGXO "MIDNIGHT"
  22. 52 books in 52 weeks  #11 alternate reality
  23. Unruly Reader Bingo  # 15 The Explorer
  24. Pick your Poison #15 Reflections #3 A fiction book about reminiscing

Saturday, January 23, 2021

South Pole Station

 I selected this novel for my January Book Voyage  #bookvoyagechallenge choice for the Arctic and Antarctic.   I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by Ashley Shelby which was set at the South Pole Station on Antarctica.  Her characters were intriguing and believable and she deftly transitioned between narrators.  There were moments of lightheartedness and times when I could feel the characters' frustrations with each other and the situations they were facing.  

The dynamics between the scientists and the Pole staff were well presented and felt realistic.  I worked in an environment where I was an intermediary between software developers and financial traders.  It was an interesting dynamic at times because the two groups tend to have very different personalities and approaches to work.  This experience made it easy for me to relate to the conflicts between the Scientists and the support staff/construction sector.  

There is another source of conflict at the station between 2 groups within the science community.  There is a climate change questioner who is at odds with the rest of the science community doing research at the station.  He meets with many obstacles and his difficulties become a major plotline.  The main character, Cooper, is portrayed as an impartial middle "man" because she is willing to socialize with him and not view him as evil incarnate.    This plot line definitely got me thinking about the whole discussion about the climate changes we are witnessing and what the motivation in behind all the studies and money being thrown at it in the real world.  

The only reason I did not provide this book with a 5 star rating was the depth of scientific discussion at times was a bit advanced.  I felt a bit lost in the details at points in the story.  It was not enough so that I didn't enjoy the story or miss out on the intention of the plot but it was a bit frustrating to encounter it and change my pace of reading/comprehension.  Overall though I really am glad I found this book and enjoyed reading the story.  I now want to visit Antarctica even more although I know I will be the laughingstock of the Polies when I visit as a tourist :)

South Pole StationSouth Pole Station by Ashley Shelby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

I really didn't know what to expect when I decided to read this book for the Book Voyage challenge. Ashley Shelby does a great job of immersing the reader in the environment of the South Pole research station. It is at times a scientific book that I didn't always follow the gist of the explanations but that didn't detract from the story. There are many layers of the characters both their surface quirkiness and their reasons why they would want to live at the remote location. There are sociology aspects to the novel, climate research, power struggles, secrets and ulterior motives all exist. All in all this is an interesting and engaging novel that even leads the reader to question some of the motivations behind much of the current scientific research. The characters are engaging and you cannot help but root for their successes. This was a great find and I am glad to have read it. 

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

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. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes  Antarctica
  2. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  "S"
  3. Color Coded # 7 White
  4. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #44 with a map
  5. Mount TBR   #MountTBR2021  Book #2
  6. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #5
  7. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge #11. A book about forgetting
  8. Around the Year in 52 Books #28. A book connected to ice
  9. 52 Book Club  #the52bookclub2021  #17 A Character "On The Run"  
  10. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  # 13 The Lonely: set in the Arctic  
  11. BooklistQueen   # 20   A Book That Makes You Think 
  12. NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2021  #17 LGBTQ representation
  13. Nerd Daily  #NERDREADING2021 #47. RELEASED IN JULY
  14. Bookworm  #28.) Read a book published in the 2010s
  15. Magic in the Books Book 3 #2 Has a page 394
  16. Spells and Spaceships quest to solve a problem affecting whole world or universe
  17. Bloggers Bookshelf   #bloggersbookshelf #2 set in a country you've never visited
  18. Book Voyage  #bookvoyagechallenge Arctic/Antarctic
  19. Beyond the Bookends  story set in a location you want to travel to
  20. 52 books in 52 weeks #28 maps 
  21. Unruly Reader Bingo  Defiance
  22. Pick your Poison  #5Occupations #4 A book about a scientist

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Red at the Bone

 I read this book by Jacqueline Woodson for my January read for our book club.  It is a fast read, I basically read it in one sitting.  I found it engaging although I did struggle with the time line hopping around as well as the narrator.  It wasn't always easy to tell who was telling the story and when in the time frame it was occurring.  I did find the  story to be an engaging one and the characters definitely intrigued me.  There were aspects of the story that lead me to look at different aspects of socio economics and cultural differences from a different perspective.  I found it interesting how Aubrey's mother viewed the government Welfare programs and her attitude toward accepting the assistance.  The other very interesting perspective was how Blacks of differing skin tones are perceived even within the Black community.   

The coming out party was and interesting cultural phenomena that I wasn't familiar with but seemed to be a tradition that Melody's somewhat old fashioned grandparents cherished.  They seemed to struggle to hold on to the past traditions and to want to keep a perception of innocence alive.  They seemed to be a bit naive in their approaches and attitudes.  I cannot help but wonder if their naivete/apparent lack of acceptance regarding sexual orientation was common in the Black community as a whole or if  it was an outcome of their traditional religious foundations.   Perhaps I am just overlaying a misconceived timeline to general acceptance of sexual preferences and believing it was later in my life than I remember it being.  Although, while reading another book recently that had a Black LGBTQ character the statement made to them was it must be hard being gay and black so maybe the acceptance is lower within the Black community or took longer to be as acceptable as I perceive it to be on average in the US.  I would hope at this point we could all just come to see each other as humans and judge us on our individual personalities and behaviors rather than lumping people into buckets and making assumptions about each other.

Overall this was an enjoyable read despite the difficulties I had following the storyline at times.  I also have decided I am not a fan of the dialogue not being placed in quotations.  It makes it difficult to ascertain whether it is actual conversation or an internal dialogue in my opinion.  These factors are why I gave the otherwise interesting and engaging story only 3 stars.   

Red at the BoneRed at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars 

Wonderful story teller

This is the first book by Jacqueline Woods I’ve read. I enjoyed it but didn’t love it. Her story is a great read about families and the different ways they interact and love each other. This book is full of glimpses of hope loss and sorrow all rolled into one. The reason I didn’t give it 4 stars is I found the story a bit disjointed at times. It was often times difficult to tell who was narrating the section I was reading at the time and also where in time we were in the story. Overall I enjoyed the book and the glimpse into perspective of the different experiences a POC has of events in history and society. I may not totally understand or agree with the depiction of historical events as Ms Woods represented them but I found the correlation to Iris’ history interesting. At the heart of it all we are all human and we experience love and loss during our lives 

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #3
  2. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes    NY
  3. AtoZ   #2021AtoZReadingChallenge #AlphabetSoupChallenge  R
  4. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  W
  5. Color Coded #2  Red
  6. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #  45  book about bones OR “bone” in the title
  7. 2021TBR  #2021ReadingChallenge # 6 can read in a day
  8. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #3
  9. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #4
  10. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge  #8. A book that has won the Women’s Prize for Fiction
  11. Around the Year in 52 Books #5. A book by an author on USA Today's list of 100 Black Novelists You Should Read
  12. 52 Book Club  #the52bookclub2021  #3 A Dual Timeline 
  13. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  #12. The Corruption: about a family
  14. BooklistQueen   # 42. Recommended by a Librarian
  15. A Pretty Mess Challenge # 1. 2020 Bestseller
  16. NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2021  #12 read in a single day
  17. Nerd Daily  #NERDREADING2021 #37. BIPOC AUTHOR 
  18. Bookworm  #35 by an author of a different ethnicity than you 
  19. Magic in the Books Book 4 #3 Includes a rebel character
  20. Spells and Spaceships  Standalone Badge:  standalone story
  21. Pick your Poison #51 Crossing Boundaries 3- A book about reconciliation
  22. Bloggers Bookshelf   #bloggersbookshelf #3 LGBTQ protagonist 
  23. Diversify your reading #DYRC21  January: Literary Fiction
  24. 52 books in 52 weeks   Row 2-7 skin diving
  25. Unruly Reader Bingo  #  Uncoventional

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Killer Kung Pao

 This is the 6th book in the series by Vivien Chien about an Chinese American woman, Lana, trying to find her way in the world.  She has found her way to managing her family's restaurant, Ho-Lee Noodles in Asia Village in Cleveland, OH.  This was not her life goal but she is slowly realizing this might be the right place for her to be.   Unfortunately she keeps stumbling upon murder scenes and cannot help but follow her nosy inclinations and look into the cases, even when her family and boyfriend try to dissuade her.  

The stories do a wonderful job of mixing quirky characters with cozy mysteries.   The family dynamics that Ms. Chien intertwines in the stories are relatable to everyone, but are particularly recognizable if you have any close friends who are Chinese by heritage.   

This is not my favorite installment in the series as it took me a while to be engaged by the plot.  I am not sure if it was the story or just my mood.  There were plenty of twists and turns and false leads of who was the guilty party.  The ending was a surprise and the motive was well explained.   Lana continues to find herself in crazy situations and we wonder if she will ever learn not to place herself in them but that is part of the appeal to the stories.  

There is a bit of a plot cliff teaser involving Lana's sister Anna May so I will definitely be watching for the next book in the series, Fatal Fried Rice,  to appear at my library.

Killer Kung PaoKiller Kung Pao by Vivien Chien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars 

Lana is at it again in this latest installment of the Noodle House mysteries. She just cannot seem to stay out of trouble, even when she swears she will not involve herself. This mystery is well done and has the twists and turns and false leads that make cozy mysteries interesting. For some reason though I just had trouble getting started in this story. I am not sure if it was my own mood or if it was the fact the story just wasn't grabbing me at the start. Either way, I am glad I stuck it out and finished. I would not recommend reading this book without reading the others in the series. There is just too much history and previous character development that is needed as a foundation of this book. There are some cliff hangers in the story that will have to be answered in a future book so I will keep going with the series for sure 

View all my reviews  

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #2
  2. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes   OH
  3. AtoZ   #2021AtoZReadingChallenge  #AlphabetSoupChallenge  K
  4. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge    V
  5. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021  yes caught up on series
  6. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #51 author has a book releasing in 2021
  7. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #2
  8. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #3
  9. Cozy Mysteries   #1  3 word title 
  10. Cruisin thru Cozies  #1 culinary #1
  11. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #3
  12. Craving for Cozies  Book #3
  13. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge #36  fewer than 1,000 reviews on Amazon or Goodreads   
  14. Around the Year in 52 Books #15. A book that features siblings as the main characters
  15. 52 Book Club  #the52bookclub2021  #2 Featuring The Legal Profession
  16. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  #42. Benoît Maçon: with an unexpected partnership/romance
  17. A Pretty Mess Challenge # 5. Next book in a series
  18. NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2021  #9 sassy heroine
  19. While I was Reading  #8  A cozy mystery
  21. Bookworm  #42 book with the letter V in the title or author's name 
  22. Magic in the Books Book 7 #1 Includes Twins
  23. Spells and Spaceships Asian Inspiration Badge 
    • #13 book inspired by culture, history or identity of Asia
  24. Pick your Poison #35  Bringing the World into Your Home 3 About a culture other than your own
  25. Bloggers Bookshelf   #bloggersbookshelf #23 with flowers on the cover
  26. Medical Examiner Challenge  1 Toe Tags
  27. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 3  Bar, store, restaurant-  Nail Salon
      • Weapons
        • Row 3  Drowning, water, ice-  Electrocution with appliance
    • Detectives- Lana/Megan
    • Victims- Millie
  28. Six Shooter Challenge  Target # 33  Shot #2
  29. 52 books in 52 weeks  #Row 3-3 different culture

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Challenge Addict 2021 Links to My Challenge tracking

  I decided to try something a little different for tracking which challenges I am doing this year.  Since I plan to sign up for the reading challenge addict challenge I figured I would use this challenge page as the compilation page for all the challenges.  This site also hosts intermittent reading challenges at different times of the year as well.  

How addicted are you?
  • Easy as Pie: 1-5 Challenges (Entered & Completed)
  • On the Roof: 6-10 Challenges (Entered & Completed)
  • In Flight: 11-15 Challenges (Entered & Completed)
  • Out of This World: 16+ Challenges (Entered & Completed)    <=====  Going for this level

Click on the challenge titles to see the detailed post about that challenge and the books I've read for each challenge.   The date in parentheses is the completion date of the challenge

General Tracking Challenges

Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  

Literary Escapes  (Destination) 

AtoZ   #2021AtoZReadingChallenge

Alphabet Soup #AlphabetSoupChallenge  

Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  

Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021

Color Coded


TBR Based Challenges

Beat the Backlist #BTB2021

2021TBR  #2021ReadingChallenge

Mount TBR   #MountTBR2021

Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021

Back List Reader  #Backlistreader

Genre Specific

Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   

Cozy Mysteries   

Cruisin thru Cozies 

Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal 

Craving for Cozies  


Historic Fiction  #histficreadingchallenge  

Non Fiction Reader  #2021ReadNonFic 


Prompt Based Challenges

PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge

Around the Year in 52 Books

52 Book Club

The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge


A Pretty Mess Challenge

NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2021  

While I was Reading  

What's in a Name   

Nerd Daily  #NERDREADING2021


Magic in the Books

Spells and Spaceships 

Pick your Poison

Bloggers Bookshelf   #bloggersbookshelf

Monthly Criteria

Monthly Motif #MonthlyMotifGXO

Monthly Keyword #MonthlyKeyWordGXO

Monthly Book Awards #AwardReadingChallenge

Uncorked Reader #UncorkedReading2021

Book Voyage  #bookvoyagechallenge

Backpacking Bookworm  #bbReadingChallenge2021 

Creative Tracking Challenges

Medical Examiner Challenge  

Beachcomber Challenge  

Six Shooter Challenge  

52 books in 52 weeks

Agatha Christie 

Unruly Reader Bingo  

Chapter Break Book Bingo

Perpetual Agatha Christie Challenge

I have found a perpetual challenge hosted at 52booksin52weeks that is based around reading Agatha Christie works.   I started reading these as a teen and would like to go back and read them again so I am going to incorporate this challenge into my other challenges each year.  You can find this challenge here

Books Read


  1. Murder on the Orient Express  2/19/20


  1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles 
  2. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding Poirot

  1. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Rating  :  3 1/2 Stars 

This is the first time I have read the original Poirot tome by Agatha Christie.  When I was younger I read several of her works, but they were all Miss Marple mysteries.  This is the 2nd Poirot novel I read, the first being Murder on the Orient Express last year.  Again I found myself visualizing the actor as I read about Poirot but I think it makes it that much easier to become absorbed in the mystery.  

I definitely enjoyed this locked room mystery set in the English countryside.   I found it difficult to initially get involved in the story with Mr. Hastings as the narrator talking about Hercule Poirot in the 3sd person but as the story progressed it was a more natural flow to me.  

There were definitely many twists and turns to the solution to the mystery.   I appreciate how Poirot provides a recap at the end explaining the rational behind his conclusions and why he behaved as he did in certain situations.   

My only real frustration with the story was the decision to alternate between referring to the female characters by their first names and their surnames.  I found this created a difficult task in  keeping the 5 female characters sorted. This is the main reason I did not give the story a 4 star rating.

 All in all I am glad I went back and read the first Agatha Christie mystery.  I plan to read several more of her works this year.  

The Mysterious Affair at StylesThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars 

My review is actually a 3 1/2 star for this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and liked all the twists and turns the story took leading the solution to be difficult to predict before Poirot laid it out for the reader. It was definitely a locked room mystery at its finest by the queen of the genre. I enjoyed how the current events were intertwined into the story and it was easy to imagine the countryside and the estate at Styles. I didn't give it 4 stars because I found it difficult to keep all the female characters straight for some reason. I felt as though their names were a bit too similar and the fact that sometimes they were referred to by first name and interchanges with surnames made it more difficult to sort who was who in the story. All in all I am glad I went back and read the first Poirot novel. 

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book # 1
  2. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes UK/ England
  3. AtoZ   #2021AtoZReadingChallenge  "M"
  4. Alphabet Soup #AlphabetSoupChallenge    "M"
  5. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  "A"/ "C"
  6. Color Coded yellow
  7. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #19 character lets out a breath they didn’t realize they were holding
  8. 2021TBR  #2021ReadingChallenge #11 first in a book series
  9. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #1
  10. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #2
  11. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   July #3 Main action occurs during this month
  12. Cozy Mysteries   #6 mentioned in another book 
  13. Cruisin thru Cozies  historical #1
  14. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #2
  15. Craving for Cozies  Book #2
  16. Historic Fiction  #histficreadingchallenge   Book #1
  17. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge #13 A locked-room mystery
  18. Around the Year in 52 Books #10 A book with a female villain or criminal
  19. 52 Book Club  #the52bookclub2021  #15 A Book Mentioned In Another Book
  20. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  #23 Hunter: involves a MacGuffin
  21. BooklistQueen   #47  Debut Novel of Famous Author 
  22. NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2021  #4 set during a historic event
  23. While I was Reading  # 12  A debut novel
  24. Nerd Daily #NERDREADING2021 #48. FIVE WORD TITLE
  25. Bookworm  #30 Read a book that has had at least three different covers
  26. Magic in the Books 
  27. Spells and Spaceships Debut Badge: Author's debut novel
  28. Pick your Poison # 22-1 A book set in your grandparents' era 
  29. Bloggers Bookshelf #bloggersbookshelf #8 a multigenerational story
  30. Backpacking Bookworm  #bbReadingChallenge2021 
  31. Medical Examiner Challenge  1 Toe Tag- Poison
  32. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 5  Bedroom
    • Weapons
      • Row 5  Medicine or drugs
    • Detectives- Hastings/Poirot
    • Victims- Emily Inglethorp
  33. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #9  Shot #2
  34. 52 books in 52 weeks  Row#2-2  different century 
  35. Agatha Christie  Book # 1
  36. Unruly Reader Bingo  Rabbit Hole- inspired to read more AC books

Blogger Bookshelf challenge

 I found another straightforward challenge through the Girl XOXO listing today.   This challenge is hosted at the blog titled Bloggers Bookshelf and consists of 24 prompts, most of which overlap with other challenges I am doing.  There is no formal signup required and you can just use their  #bloggersbookshelf to identify books you review.  You can check it out here 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Sinister Superyacht

Rating  :  4  Stars  

My first read of the year is the continuation of the Julie Cavallo Investigates series set in Provence France.  This was the 3rd installment in the series by Ana T. Drew.   

This one involved Julie and her grandmother, Rose, doing a temporary pastry chef job on the superyacht of Jean Louis Ponsard.  I think I enjoyed this 3rd installment the best of all the series so far.

Ms. Drew writes great mysteries with characters that are appealing to the reader.  They seem like real people who have quirks to their personalities.  Some of the characters definitely have annoying traits but that is their intended characteristics- the annoying mother in law comes across as an annoying mother in law.   

The Sinister Superyacht: a Provence Cozy MysteryThe Sinister Superyacht: a Provence Cozy Mystery by Ana T. Drew
My rating: 4 of 5 stars 

I think this is my favorite of the 3 books so far. Ms Drew does a wonderful job of creating characters who are authentic and spark emotions in readers, both positive and annoyances. Once again Julie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and thoroughly drags Grandma Rose into it as well. The mystery is well written with plenty of probable suspects I appreciate Ms Drew including descriptions of France and the everyday culture as well. Highly recommend this series for cozy fans who like sassy characters 

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes   France
  2. AtoZ   #2021AtoZReadingChallenge  S
  3. Alphabet Soup #AlphabetSoupChallenge    S
  4. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge   D
  5. Color Coded blue
  6. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #30 character has a dream scene 
  7. 2021TBR  #2021ReadingChallenge #4 set in a place you'd like to live 
  8. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021  Julie Cavallo Investigates #3
  9. Mount TBR   #MountTBR2021  Book #1
  10. Cozy Mysteries   #12 set somewhere not US or UK 
  11. Cruisin thru Cozies  paranormal #1
  12. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #1
  13. Craving for Cozies  Book # 1
  14. Medical Examiner Challenge  2 Toe Tags
  15. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 1
        • Boat
      • Row 5
        • Home or business office
    • Weapons
      • Row 2 
        • Hand gun
      • Row 5
        • Hands or fists
    • Detectives- Julie/Rose/Adinian
    • Victims- Roland/ Michelle
  16. 52 Book Club  #9   Set In A Mediterranean Country
  17. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  # 49 Grifter’s Bone: about/featuring an urban legend
  18. While I was Reading  #7 A book with food or drink on the cover
  19. BooklistQueen # 46. Title with Three Words
  20. Nerd Daily  #NERDREADING2021 #44 INDIE AUTHOR
  21. Bookworm  #17 the main character's occupation is a chef or baker
  22. Magic in the Books Book 3 #7  Includes a parent/child relationship 
  23. Spells and Spaceships less than 100 total ratings on GR 
  24. Pick your Poison Weather #3 A book with a picture of clear blue sky on the cover
  25. Bloggers Bookshelf   #bloggersbookshelf #20 written by an author who is younger than you 
  26. Beyond the Bookends  Location you wish to travel to-  France
  27. 52 books in 52 weeks  Row 4 alpha males and strong heroines
  28. Unruly Reader Bingo  #25 Knotty
  29. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge #33. A book featuring three generations
  30. NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2021  #3 self published 
  31. Unruly Reader Bingo  Knotty

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. Around the Year in 52 Books 
    1. # 14. A book set in a made-up place
    2. 43. A book with elements of magic