Thursday 31 January 2019

Signup for Gentle Spectrums 2019

After skipping a year, I'm back participating in this fun challenge.

Hosted here, this challenge has several categories to read books in. They are:
1. Limitless Palette - Colours
2. Canadian
3. Continents
4. Fashion and Decor
5. Educational
6. Hope and Triumph
7. Animals
8. Natural Environment
9. The Arts
10. Toys or Hobbies
11. Healthfulness.

It should be interesting.

Saturday 26 January 2019

Need To Know

Finished January 25
Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

This spy thriller has CIA analyst Vivian Miller at the verge of a breakthrough to a Russian sleeper cell. But when one of the faces in the cell is that of her own husband, she freezes, unable to process what this means.
Vivan met her husband Matt just as she was beginning her career. They now have four children, including one with special medical needs. Many decisions have been made during the course of her career, that brought her to this dilemma. Her choice to join the unit looking at Russia. Her choice to take only a short maternity leave after her first child. Her choice to have Matt stay home with the kids to keep her better health coverage. Their recent move to a bigger house in a better neighbourhood that stretched their finances. She can't afford to turn in Matt, but how can she not.
As the story develops, I saw her missteps, and her courage to not go past a certain point in her ethical dilemma. I saw how she got herself into an even more difficult situation that she was in to begin with. This is a story of espionage that I hadn't imagined before, and one that kept me reading.
And an ending I won't easily forget.

That Part Was True

Finished January 22
That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay

This novel has two main characters. One is British Eve Petworth, reader, single mother, and middle aged woman finally starting to live her own life. The other is American Jackson Cooper, novelist, divorced man with no children, who is questioning his career.
The connection between them begins when Eve writes to Jackson saying how much she enjoyed one of his books. The two soon discover a shared passion for good food and the creating of it. Their correspondence continues over a period of months, mostly one that others in their lives are not aware of. They share recipes, talk about their lives, and find comfort in the ongoing conversation.
Outside of the letters and emails, both have lots going on. Eve's daughter Izzy is planning her wedding, and expressing regret about the recent loss of her grandmother, Eve's overbearing mother. Jackson has a bit of a writer's block, and is starting to date after the end of his marriage. Both have great confidants: Jackson's actor friend Dex, and Eve's housekeeper and friend Gwen.
This is a story of a friendship as it evolves, and we see each character deal with life's challenges and learn to trust themselves.

Come From Away

Finished January 21
Come From Away by Genevieve Graham

This novel takes place during World War II in rural Nova Scotia. The author was inspired by a historical rumour. It was known that there were German submarines operating along the Atlantic coast of North America during the war, and there was a story that some of the men from one of these ships came ashore one evening and attended a local dance. There is no historical face to base this on, but Graham thought "what if..." and this story was born.
At the center of this story are two characters. One is Grace Baker, a young Nova Scotia woman whose three older brothers have all joined the war effort. One in the navy, one in the merchant marine, and one as a infantry man. Grace longs to do something herself, but instead remains at home, and runs a general store for a neighbour who has health issues.
The other character is Rudi Weiss, a young man in the German navy, assigned to a local submarine, and part of a group of young men who were allowed off the ship to attend a dance. At the dance the two meet and are attracted to each other, but go there separate ways.
But circumstances bring them together again, and this becomes a story that shows the human element of war, the power of second chances, and a young woman learning that things aren't always black and white.

A Howl of Wolves

Finished January 21
A Howl of Wolves by Judith Flanders

This is the fourth book in the series featuring editor Samantha (Sam) Clair. Here it begins as she is out at a play that her upstairs neighbour Kay is in, along with Kay's six year old son Bim. With her is her boyfriend, Jake, a homicide detective. Kay and her husband Anthony are both actors, and rent the second floor of Samantha's house. On the third floor is reclusive Mr. Rudiger, an insightful man who has become a good friend. As the play unfolds, it first appears that someone is playing a practical joke, making up a prop figure to look like the director of the play.
But, as Jake realizes, and Samantha soon catches onto as the play ends, the prop has been replaced with a real man, and he is dead. Samantha helps Kay and Anthony out as the days go on, assisting with keeping an eye on Bim, both at the theatre and rehearsal space, and outside of them.
On the work front, Sam is dealing with an upcoming sales presentation, and angling for her author to get a key spot before the buyers. Luckily she has a good team on her side, with some good contacts.
I like this series for the humour included, with lines that make me laugh out loud.
I also like the plots, and how solving them often requires specialist knowledge, a good eye for details, and good contacts, all of which Sam has. I also like the secondary characters, from Samantha's lawyer mother Helena, to Jake, the other tenants of the house, and Sam's coworkers and friends.

Ghost Riders

Finished January 16
Ghost Riders by Sharon McCrumb

This novel takes place in the North Carolina mountains. Part of it is from the 1860s when the war reached this area, and is centered around a young married couple Keith and Malinda Blalock and a young lawyer, real-life Zebulon Vance. Keith was brought up by his mother and stepfather, and leans toward the Union side, but many of the men of the hills side with the south. When Keith is finally forced into the Confederate Army, Malinda is determined not to let him be alone, and she follows him. Keith ends up in the men commanded by Vance, and thus their paths cross for the first time. Keith and Malinda end up on the Union side, but in a sort of unofficial capacity, fighting in the hills that are their home.
More than a hundred years into the future, mountain man Rattler and wisewoman Nora Bonesteel are drawn into the story as rebel reenactments draw the spirits of the past into the present creating a dangerous situation.
I enjoyed the history of this novel, learning more about how the war affected the backcountry of North Carolina, and about the man trying to do the best for the people of Appalachia, Zebulon Vance. Any civil war pits neighbour against neighbour, and sometimes even brother against brother, and this was certainly true for the United States Civil War. Seeing some examples of how this played out was eye-opening.

Sunday 20 January 2019

Kingdom of the Blind

Finished January 15
Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny, read by Robert Bathurst

I've always enjoyed this mysteries, for the inclusion of the personal life of the characters, and for the complex story they tell. Here, Armand is under suspension from his role as head of the Surete of Quebec for his actions in the previous book. Jean-Guy was also under suspension, but his has been lifted and he is now acting in Armand's role. Isabel, injured in the last book, is still on leave.
As the book opens, Armand is off to a meeting he has been summoned to by a letter. But the letterhead has the name of a dead man, and the contents of the letter give no indication as to the purpose of the meeting. Armand is intrigued, but wary.
When he arrives at the house, about twenty minutes away from Three Pines, he finds one car. Before he can enter the building, another car arrives, that of Myrna. They find that they have received the same letter. A third person arrives, a young man with a unique style, that they don't know.
The three of them soon discover that they have been named liquidators (executors) in the will of a woman they've never met, Bertha Baumgartner. They have some time to think about it before accepting, and as a snowstorm is moving in quickly, they find themselves all in the village of Three Pines. As the story of the Baumgartners and their odd inheritance history is revealed, they also find that there are some in the village that have met Bertha, as her preferred title, the Baroness.
This is but one of the stories of this novel. Although Armand is on suspension, he is still trying to track down the missing drug shipment from the previous novel. His drive to recover the missing carfentanil is a noble one, but he crosses some ethical lines as he does so. One of them involves a young cadet that he previously was close to, who has now put her future on the line in a misguided action.
This novel has a lot of twists and turns, reveals and secrets. Some I guessed at, other I did not. The book ends with some interesting changes to the lives of ongoing characters, and I will be interested to see where these changes take them.

Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo

Finished January 10
Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo by Boris Fishman

This is totally different than what I expected going solely from the title. A middle-aged Jewish couple, both of whom immigrated from Russia, decides to adopt a baby when they are unable to have one of their own. The couple, Maya Shulman and Alex Rubin, live in close contact with Alex's parents. Maya came to the United Sates as an exchange student, while Alex came as a child with his family. Maya always had a dream of owning her own restaurant, but instead she took the more practical route, and works in a local hospital as a technician. Alex works in his father's canning business.
As the book starts, it has been eight years since the adoption of their son, Max. It was a difficult decision to adopt, and when Max first runs away, and then is found to have some quirks unlike anyone the family knows, Maya decides they must hunt down his young birth parents and learn more about his background. There is no particular aim in Maya's quest exactly, it is just something that she feels she must do to make Max fully their own. The title comes from the one request the young parents gave Maya and Alex when they met at the time of adoption.
The book has an interesting dynamic between Maya and Alex, not always a good one, and between Maya and Alex's parents.
There is some inward looking at first for Maya and her son, but when she decides to hunt down Max's birth parents, the young family goes on a cross-country trek from their home in New Jersey to Montana. Along the way they encounter landscapes new to them, and people that captivate them in different ways. One begins to wonder what Maya's plan really is.
This was a very hard book to pin down, and one that took me to places I didn't expect.

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore

Finished January 7
Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

This teen historical novel has intrigue and magic. The novel takes place in 1818, and begins in London. The main character, Annis Whitworth, is sixteen years old and lives with her aunt Cassia. Her father travels a lot, and Annis has long suspected that he was a spy. Now she has just learned that he is dead, and that his money seems to have disappeared.
Annis and her aunt, though not living extravagantly, will have to move to smaller quarters and work to earn their keep. Annis believes that following in her father's footsteps is a natural move, with her first case to find his killer, but her attempt to convince the authorities does not go well. Around the same time, Annis discovers that she has the ability to sew glamours, that is to use needle and thread and a fixed mental intent, and transform cloth into what she envisions. In some cases, this ability even extends to changing the appearance of the wearer to the appearance of another person. Annis is new to using this ability, and can't always control what the outcome will be exactly.
As she and her sister move to a small house, and take only one young girl as a servant, Millie, she works under another identity as a seamstress sewing glamours for ladies.
But her original aim to find her father's killer is still there, and she finds herself both watching others and being watched as she works toward this end. Millie too has her own secret skills, and they will come in very handy here.
This novel shows both the historical expectations for someone of Annis' situation and class, and some interesting ideas around magic in this setting.

Nobody's Baby But Mine / This Heart of Mine

Finished January 6
Nobody's Baby But Mine / This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

This two-in-one book contains two romance novels that are connected through the fictional Chicago Stars football team. The first book, Nobody's Baby But Mine, has Dr. Jane Darlington, a Mensa-level physics professor, discouraged by her lack of family as she nears her mid-thirties, who is neighbour to a young groupie of the Chicago Stars football team. The groupie wants to do a favour for some players and connives to have Jane pretend to be a high-class call girl as a birthday present for star quarterback Cal Bonner. Jane has no plans to see Cal beyond this, but fate offers a different outcome.
The second book, This Heart of Mine, has Molly Somerville, the younger sister of Chicago Stars owner Phoebe Somerville Calebow, in a vulnerable state. She's feeling discouraged about her life, despite her successful children's book series featuring Daphne the Bunny and her friends. She's had a crush on quarterback Kevin Tucker for years, but his women tend to be model beautiful and not much for intelligent conversation. Molly knows that she has a tendency to self-destructive actions when she gets in these moods, and decides a little R and R at the family cabin would be a good thing. What she doesn't know is that Kevin is already at the cabin, sent there to do a little thinking about some of his recent risky escapades. After a bad beginning, the two get along, until Molly makes a impulse move that catches Kevin by total surprise. They part ways, but fate, and Phoebe and her husband Dan, have them getting back together before too long, and learning more about each other.
Both stories have some silly situational things happening, but the characters are interesting and show growth as the stories move forward. with some side stories coming in to add even more interest. I enjoyed them

Saturday 12 January 2019

Misadventures of a City Girl

Finished January 4
Misadventures of a City Girl by Meredith Wild and Chelle Bliss

This romance novel begins as Madison Atwood's divorce has become final. She's tired of fending off the sympathies (real and nosey) of others, tired of seeing her ex with his new love in the news and on friend's social media, tired of putting off the reporters looking for her side of the story. She looks for a place that will let her get away, spend time by herself with a little R and R and no phones or computers. She picks a place upstate, called Avalon Springs.
When she gets there, she finds there is a little more group activity than she is looking for and instead of attending orientation, she heads off on a hike on one of the trails. She finds a hot spring, the one the spa takes its name from, and gives into temptation, strips, and goes in.
But as it turns darker, she finds she is being watched, and she is at first scared, then annoyed, then intrigued.
The man who came upon her unexpectedly, Luke Dawson, owns the land the spa in on, and lives higher up the mountain, seldom interacting with the public. He's dealing with his own issues, and isn't looking for a relationship, but the unexpected and sexually charged encounter keep returning to his mind.
This is a story of two people, who have chemistry, but live in very different worlds. Madison is a sought-after makeup artist, and her job will keep drawing her back to Hollywood. Luke is not comfortable around groups of people, and likes his privacy.
A light, fun romance with some graphic sex scenes, and a few barriers to overcome. An enjoyable read.

Half Spent was the Night

Finished January 2
Half Spent Was the Night by Ami McKay

This short novel follows the characters introduced in The Witches of New York, which I haven't read yet. It takes place beginning on December 29th, and ending on January 1st. The year is not specified here, but it is obviously in an earlier time.
There are three witches living together, Adelaide Thom, Eleanor St. Clair, and Beatrice Dunn. They receive invitations to a grand masquerade ball from a new arrival to New York. The ball is to take place on New Year's Eve, and the attendees are to RSVP in person at the hotel. Two of the witches are eager to go, but the third is not.
All of the witches have questions on their mind. One about dreams she has been having that seem to point to something in her future. One about what choice she should make for her future, and one about choosing between a faraway love and what she feels are her responsibilities.
The woman hosting the ball is an unknown, and yet she seems to know a lot about all three women, as well as about many others in town.
Past figures are likely to appear at the ball, but sometimes that past must be faced before one can deal with the future.
I loved this tale, with both the situations each woman was facing, the magic so evident here, and the strong relationship these women have with each other. A great read.

Tuesday 1 January 2019

My Sister, The Serial Killer

Finished January 1
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

The author and setting of this novel are Nigerian. As the book opens Korede has been called by her younger sister Ayoola to the apartment of her boyfriend, Fedi. Ayoola has called her to help get rid of the evidence that she has killed Fedi. As we soon learn, this isn't the first man that Ayoola has killed, nor the first time that Korede has helped protect her sister by concealing evidence.
Korede is a well-regarded nurse in a local hospital. Ayoola designs and sells clothing. Both women still live at home with their mother. Their father was a strong disciplinarian that both girls feared rather than loved. Ayoola is a very beautiful woman, who always has men interested in her. Korede is much plainer, but she has her own dreams too. Korede feels both angry and frightened that she has been caught up in the crimes of her sister, but can't see a way out.
One of the hospital patients is in a coma, and Korede often sits in his room, and tells him what she can tell no one else. But when her sister intrudes on her work world, Korede feels even more torn than she did before.
This is a fascinating look inside a woman who has been trained from the beginning to be her sister's keeper. Her sister someone she both loves and hates, but she must decide whether that love will always guide her, or not.

Penguin Days

Finished January 1
Penguin Days by Sara Leach, illustrations by Rebecca Bender

I thoroughly enjoyed the previous book about the young autistic girl Lauren, Slug Days, and was excited to have her story continue. Here, she and her family are driving out to North Dakota for her aunt's wedding. Lauren is going to be a flower girl at the wedding.
The long car ride is only one of the challenges that Lauren faces here. She has to get used to some new people, including her Uncle Raymond, who can speak cow, her Almost-Uncle Charlie, and three cousins: Kevin, Zoe, and Sophia.
She and her cousins have to wear new clothes, and it is the "penguin suit" that Kevin complains about wearing that inspires the book title as well as some action in the book. Lauren doesn't like scratchy clothes and her imagination takes her in an unusual and fun direction for alternatives.
It's neat to watch Lauren develop here, and conquer new situations, and make new friends.
The illustrations are charming, and really bring the story to life. From penguins to cows, scratchy dresses to pug onesies, they added to the story. I particularly liked the photo style pictures at the end. I hope to see more Lauren books.

My 2018 Reading Wrap Up

What a great year of reading!
My goal was to read 150 books, and I managed to read 154, finished the last one in the last hour of the year.

Here is the breakdown.
Adult: 128
Teen: 10
Children: 16

Category and Genre:
Fiction: 122
Nonfiction: 32
Short Stories: 2
Essays: 2
Biography/Memoir: 17
Mystery/Thriller: 29
Historical Fiction: 26
Fantasy: 8
Science Fiction: 3
Romance: 17
Horror: 1
Western: 3

11 books in translation
French: 5
German: 2
Croatian: 1
Italian: 1
Spanish: 1
Swedish: 1

31 books set in Canada
59 books set in the US
46 books set in Europe

23 Audiobooks
1 ebook
1 graphic novel

Where I Got Them:
47 books were borrowed from the library
102 books I owned
The other 5 were borrowed from others

Male: 49
Female: 99
Both in one book: 5

Books that were part of a Series: 34
Books that I gave away after reading: 83
Review copies: 34

Goodreads 2019 Book Challenge

I haven't done this one before, but it was posted in a group on Facebook and I thought it sounded interesting.

1. A book that was nominated for or won an award in a genre you enjoy
2. A book with one of the 5 Ws in the title (Who, What, Where, When, or Why)
3. A book where the author's name contains A, T, and Y
4. A book with a criminal character
5. A book by Shakespeare or inspired by Shakespeare
6. A book with a dual timeline
7. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: book 1
8. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: book 2
9. A book from one of the top money-making genres (romance/erotica, crime/mystery, religious/inspirational, science fiction/fantasy, or horror)
10. A book featuring an historical figure
11. A book related to one of the 12 Zodiac Chinese Animals (title, cover, or subject)
12. A book about reading, books, or an author
13. A book that is included on a New York Public Library Staff Picks list
14. A book with a title, subtitle, or cover relating to an astronomical term
15. A book by an author from a Mediterranean country or set in a Mediterranean country
16. A book told from multiple perspectives
17. A book of speculative fiction (fantasy, scifi, horror, dystopian)
18. A book related to one of the elements on the periodic table
19. A book by an author who has more than one book on your TBR list
20. A book featuring indigenous people of a country
21. A book from one of the polarizing or close call votes
22. A book with a number in the title or on the cover
23. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #1 Something Old
24. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #1 Something New
25. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #1 Something Borrowed
26. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #1 Something Blue
27. A book off of the 1001 books to read before you die list
28. A book related to something cold
29. A book published before 1950
30. A book featuring an elderly character
31. A children's classic you've never read
32. A book with more than 500 pages
33. A book you have owned for at least a year, but have not read yet
34. A book with a person's name in the title
35. A psychological thriller
36. A book featured on an NPR Best Books of the Year list
37. A book set in a school or a university
38. A book not written in traditional novel format (poetry, essay, epistolary, graphic novel)
39. A book with a strong sense of place or where the author brings the location/setting to life
40. A book you stumbled upon
41. A book from the 2018 GR Choice Awards
42. A book with a monster or "monstrous" character
43. A book related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
44. A book related in some way to a tv show/series or movie you enjoyed
45. A multi-generational saga
46. A book with a (mostly) black cover
47. A book related to food (title, cover, plot)
48. A book that was a finalist or winner for the National Book Award for any year
49. A book written by a Far East Asian author or set in a Far East Asian country
50. A book that includes a journey (physical, health, or spiritual)
51. A book published in 2019
52. A book with a weird or intriguing title

David Bowie Book Club Wrap-Up

David Bowie Book Club

I saw this article 
and couldn't resist

So I followed him on twitter and here is the first book.

January: Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd. Finished February 14
February: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. Finished December 27
March: Puckoon by Spike Milligan
April: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
May: The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby
I can't find any information that this continued past May.
I had trouble getting the two books that I did read, but plan to eventually get the other three and read them. 

2019 PopSugar Challenge

PopSugar is having its 5th annual challenge, and I think I'll try this one again. This time I'm going to try to identify books that fit the challenge in advance so I know what possibilities I have.
Here's their list:
1. A book being made into a movie in 2019.
2. A book that makes you nostalgic
3. A book written by a musician
4. A book you think should be turned into a movie
5. A book with at least one million ratings on Goodreads
6. A book with a plant in the title or on the cover
7. A reread of a favourite book
8. A book about a hobby
9. A book you meant to read in 2018
10. A book with "pop," "sugar," or "challenge" in the title
11. A book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover
12. A book inspired by mythology, legend, or folklore
13. A book published posthumously
14. A book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie
15. A retelling of a classic
16. A book with a question in the title
17. A book set on a college or university campus
18. A book about someone with a superpower
19. A book told from multiple character POVs
20. A book set in space
21. A book by two female authors
22. A book with a title that contains "salty," "sweet," "bitter," or "spicy"
23. A book set in Scandinavia
24. A book that takes place in a single day
25. A debut novel
26. A book that's published in 2019
27. A book featuring an extinct or imaginary character
28. A book recommended by a celebrity you admire
29. A book with "love" in the title
30. A book featuring an amateur detective
31. A book about a family
32. A book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America
33. A book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in the title
34. A book that includes a wedding
35. A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter
36. A ghost story
37. A book with a two-word title
38. A novel based on a true story
39. A book revolving around a puzzle or a game
40. Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge
41. A "cli-fi" (climate fiction) book
42. A "choose-your-own-adventure" book
43. An "own voices" book
44. Read a book during the season it is set in
45. A LitRPG book
46. A book with no chapters, unusual chapter headings, or unconventionally numbered chapters
47. Two books that share the same title (1)
48. Two books that share the same title (2)
49. A book that has inspired a common phrase or idiom (e.g. Big Brother from 1984)
50. A book set in an abbey, cloister, monastery, vicarage, or convent.

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

 PopSugar 2018 Reading Challenge
Well, this was my first year trying this challenge, and while I didn't complete it, I did pretty good. I had books waiting in the wings on some of the uncompleted ones, but just didn't get to them in time. I'm going to try again for 2019, identifying books early to make it more likely to finish well. 

  • A book made into a movie you’ve already seen [Not Read]
  • True crime
    Hell's Princess by Harold Schechter. Finished October 2
  • The next book in a series you started
    The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley. Finished May 11
  • A book involving a heist
    Old Bones by Gwen Molnar. Finished February 25
  • Nordic noir [Not Read]
  • A novel based on a real person
    Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. Finished June 1
  • A book set in a country that fascinates you
    Sun Dog by Deborah Kerbel, illustrated by Suzanne del Rizzo. Finished May 13 (Canada)
  • A book with the time of day in the title
    My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs by Kazuo Ishiguro. Finished January 24
  • A book about a villain or antihero [Not Read]
  • A book about death or grief
    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson. Finished April 11
  • A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym [Not Read]
  • A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist
    The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka. Finished January 18
  • A book that is also a stage play or musical [Not Read]
  • A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you
    Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez. Finished February 18
  • A book about feminism
    We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • A book about mental health
    Small Things by Mel Tregonning. Finished February 16
  • A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift
    Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg. Finished January 4 (borrowed from the library)
  • A book by two authors
    Too Young to Escape by Van Ho and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. Finished October 19
  • A book about or involving a sport
    Smashed by Lisa Luedeke. Finished March 28 (field hockey)
  • A book by a local author
    Things To Do When It's Raining by Marissa Stapely. Finished April 26
  • A book with your favorite color in the title
    Beyond the Blue Moon 1 of 3 by Simon R. Green. Finished March 20
  • A book with alliteration in the title
    Missing Mike by Shari Green. Finished May 27
  • A book about time travel
    So You Created a Wormhole by Phil Hornshaw and Nick Hurwich. Finished December 7
  • A book with a weather element in the title
    The Prisoner of Snowflake Falls by John Lekich. Finished March 28
  • A book set at sea
    The Flooded Earth by Mardi McConnochie. Finished August 10
  • A book with an animal in the title
    Where's Bunny by Theo Helas. Finished February 28
  • A book set on a different planet [Not Read]
  • A book with song lyrics in the title
    Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell. Finished November 25
  • A book about or set on Halloween [Not Read]
  • A book with characters who are twins
    The Midnight Line by Lee Child. Finished April 30
  • A book mentioned in another book [Not Read]
  • A book from a celebrity book club
    Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd. Finished February 14 (David Bowie Book Club)
  • A childhood classic you’ve never read [Not Read]
  • A book that’s published in 2018
    Say My Name by Allegra Huston. Finished January 7
  • A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner
    Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. Finished May 3
  • A book set in the decade you were born
    Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine. Finished January 4 (set in the 1960s)
  • A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn’t get to
    No One Is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel. Finished January 3
  • A book with an ugly cover
    The Finest Supermarket in Kabul by Ele Pawelski. Finished January 26
  • A book that involves a bookstore or library
    How to Find Love in a Book Shop by Veronica Henry. Finished May 25
  • Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 PopSugar Reading Challenges
    from 2015:
    A book that came out the year you were born
    The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. Finished December 27, 2018
  • A bestseller from the year you graduated high school [Not Read]
  • A cyberpunk book [Not Read]
  • A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place [Not Read]
  • A book tied to your ancestry [Not Read]
  • A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title
    Where the Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine. Finished September 29
  • An allegory [Not Read]
  • A book by an author with the same first or last name as you [Not Read]
  • A microhistory
    Four Fields by Tim Dee. Finished December 31
  • A book about a problem facing society today
    Shrewed by Elizabeth Renzetti. Finished March 23
  • A book recommended by someone else taking the PopSugar Reading Challenge [Not Read]

2019 TBR Pile Challenge

I did 9 of my 12 books last year, so will join again and tackle them more diligently this year. This is hosted by Roof Beam Reader

A few of them are carryovers from 2018, and others are long-term TBRs.

1. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Paker. Finished December 31
2. Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien Finished October 27
3. Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon
4. A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park
5. The Half Brother by Lars Saabye Christensen
6. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
7. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
8. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
9. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
10. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
11. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
12. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

2018 TBR Challenge Wrap-Up

I did the TBR Challenge in 2018, completing 9 of my 12 books.
My challenge page is here
1. Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch. Finished June 24
2. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie. Finished September 14
3. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. Finished October 7
4. Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell. Finished November 25
5. The Confidant by Helene Grimillon. Finished November 30
6. Pieces of My Mind by Frank Kermode. Finished December 9
7. The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag. Finished December 12
8. The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicolson. Finished December 20
9. Four Fields by Time Dee. Finished December 31

2019 European Reading Challenge

I'm looking forward to doing this challenge again for 2019.

This year, I'm going to seek out some of the countries I've not read from before, as well as reading from the larger, easier ones like Britain, France, and Germany.

2018 European Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

Well, I didn't do too badly this year, hitting fourteen countries.
Some of them I hadn't done in other years, so that was good too.
1. No One Is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel. Finished January 3 (Romania)
2. A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler. Finished January 9 (Austria)
3.The Hotel Tito by Ivana Bodrožić. Finished January 10 (Croatia)
4. The Second Winter by Craig Larsen. Finished January 20 (Denmark)
5. Elmet by Fiona Mozley. Finished January 29 (England)
6. A Crime in the Family by Sacha Batthyany. Finished March 6 (Hungary)
7. Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone. Finished March 27 (Italy)
8. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. Finished April 8 (Russia)
9. Greeks Bearing Gifts by Philip Kerr. Finished June 5 (Greece)
10. The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy. Finished August 30 (Ireland)
11. Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian. Finished September 16 (Turkey)
12. La Femme de Gilles by Madeleine Bourdouxhe. Finished September 28 (Belgium)
13. News of Our Loved Ones by Abigail DeWitt. Finished October 1 (France)
14. Beartown by Frederik Backman. Finished December 16 (Sweden)