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Rachel (aktakukac) Reads in 2017 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the topic Rachel (aktakukac) Reads in 2017.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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1aktakukac
Edited: May 3, 4:24pm Top



Another thread, another picture featuring cows or calves.

Hello! My name is Rachel, and this will be my seventh year participating in this group. Sometimes real life gets in the way of my posting on here, and I tend to mostly lurk on other treads instead of commenting. I always say I will try to be more active on here, but don't hold your breath.

I work in a library in a small town in Ohio. One of my main responsibilities is ordering books for children and teenagers, which means the list of books I want to read is constantly growing. I live on a farm with my husband. Spring and fall are the busiest times of the year for us.

I try to read a balanced number of children’s, YA, and adult books. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t. At some point, I’d like to read more of the books I own and fewer library books, but since I’m at the library at least five days a week, they tend to just come home with me…



2aktakukac
May 3, 4:21pm Top

Books Read January-March

January

1. When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad
2. Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack
3. When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker
4. Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm
5. Winter's Bullet by William Osborne
6. Wild by Nature: From Siberia to Australia, Three Years Alone in the Wilderness on Foot by Sarah Marquis
7. The Goblin's Puzzle: Being the Adventures of a Boy with No Name and Two Girls Called Alice by Andrew S. Chilton
8. This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
9. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
10. The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson
11. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
12. Madly by Amy Alward

February
13. Royal Tour (The Potion Diaries) by Amy Alward
14. The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman by Margot Mifflin
15. By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
16. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
17. By Your Side by Kasie West
18. Brief Histories of Everyday Objects by Andy Warner
19. The Adventures of Lettie Peppercorn by Sam Gayton
20. Black Diamonds: The Downfall of an Aristocratic Dynasty and the Fifty Years That Changed England by Catherine Bailey
21. Local Girl Swept Away by Ellen Wittlinger
22. The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
23. Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
24. Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas by Jonathan W. Stokes
25. Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown
26. Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Thresa Carle-Sanders

March
27. The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
28. Amy Snow by Tracy Rees
29. Below by Meg McKinlay
30. Winterfrost by Michelle Houts
31. The Littles by John Peterson
32. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
33. Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich
34. Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio
35. Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee
36. Always by Sarah Jio
37. The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter
38. Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams
39. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
40. Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
41. The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron
42. Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper
43. Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods by Tania del Rio

3aktakukac
Edited: Jun 28, 5:19pm Top

Books Read April-June

April
44. The Courage Test by James Preller
45. A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Banks Robbers & Other Badass Girls, Edited by Jessica Spotswood
46. The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
47. The Treasure of Maria Mamoun by Michelle Chalfoun
48. Hamstersaurus Rex by Tom O'Donnell
49. Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley
50. Ice Lake by Various Authors
51. The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough
52. Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton
53. The Matchstick Castle by Keir Graff
54. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story by Caren Stelson
55. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
56. Ride the Wind: The Story of Cynthia Ann Parker and the Last Days of the Comanche by Lucia St. Clair Robson
57. White-Hot Hack by Tracey Garvis Graves
58. In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll

May
59. Secrets in the Mist by Anna Lee Huber
60. Horizon by Scott Westerfeld
61. To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown
62. Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
63. The Ark Plan by Laura Martin
64. Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix
65. The Long Dry by Cynan Jones
66. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
67. Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean
68. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

June
69. Letters to the Lost by Ilona Gray
70. Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
71. Wild Cowboy Ways by Carolyn Brown
72. Hot Cowboy Nights by Carolyn Brown
73. Merry Cowboy Christmas by Carolyn Brown
74. After the Fall by Kate Hart
75. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
76. Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur
77. The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
78. First & Then by Emma Mills
79. Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin
80. Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell

4aktakukac
Edited: Sep 27, 2:12pm Top

Books Read July-September

July
81. Reawakened by Colleen Houck
82. Windbreak: A Woman Rancher on the Northern Plains by Linda Hasselstrom
83. The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
84. More About Paddington by Michael Bond
85. The Marriage Bureau: True Stories From 1940s London Matchmakers by Penrose Halson
86. Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear
87. Until it Fades by K.A. Tucker
88. The Cutters by Bess Streeter Aldrich
89. Wicked Cowboy Charm by Carolyn Brown
90. Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson
91. Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West by Tom Clavin

August
92. Butter in the Well: A Scandinavian Woman's Tale of Life on the Prairie by Linda Hubalek
93. My Mother's Secret: A Novel Based on a True Holocaust Story by J.L. Witterick
94. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
95. Been There, Done That by Carol Snow
96. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
97. Rooms by Lauren Oliver
98. The Dry by Jane Harper
99. The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb
100. No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering by Clara Bensen

September
101. The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant
102. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett
103. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
104. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
105. Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino
106. A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt
107. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

5aktakukac
Edited: Oct 11, 12:22pm Top

Books Read October-December

October
108. On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins
109. The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming
110. The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
111. The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman

6aktakukac
May 3, 4:22pm Top

This thread is now open!

7MickyFine
May 3, 7:24pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel! Adorable calves. :)

8ronincats
May 3, 10:37pm Top

Happy New Thread and a belated Happy Anniversary, Rachel!

9scaifea
May 4, 6:48am Top

Happy new thread, Rachel!

10drneutron
May 4, 8:49am Top

Happy new thread!

11foggidawn
May 4, 9:19am Top

Happy new thread!

12aktakukac
May 4, 12:02pm Top

>7 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! My parents raise Herefords, so I am partial to red and white cows, but there are several other breeds that I think are pretty.

>8 ronincats: Thanks, Roni! We're still eating the leftover cake :)

>9 scaifea: >10 drneutron: >11 foggidawn: Thanks Amber, Jim, and foggi! My reading isn't moving along that well at the moment, but I hope to get something read soon to break in this thread.

13FAMeulstee
May 4, 3:19pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel.
Lovely calves up there. Over here you don't see any calves anymore without the required yellow earmarks.

14PaulCranswick
May 4, 7:50pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel.

>1 aktakukac: I guess you're over the moooo n with the new thread?

15aktakukac
May 5, 11:30am Top

>13 FAMeulstee: Hi, Anita! It's interesting to learn the differences regarding ear-tagging requirements.

>14 PaulCranswick: Yes, Paul, I'm ready to mooove through this one, hopefully with lots of good reads :)

16PaulCranswick
May 7, 3:58am Top

Wishing you a lovely weekend, Rachel.

17aktakukac
May 8, 4:02pm Top

>16 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul, and have a lovely week!

18aktakukac
May 8, 4:02pm Top



Book # 59: Secrets in the Mist by Anna Lee Huber

This story is set in the marshy coastlands of eastern England in 1812. Ella’s mother and brother have died, her father is an alcoholic who prefers illegal French brandy, she has sold almost everything of value, and she has a strained relationship with her best friend’s brother who jilted her for another woman.

One evening while walking through the foggy, marshy fens, Ella comes across a man with a lantern. At first she isn’t sure if her imagination is playing tricks on her. Eventually, she gets caught up with a smuggling ring. But is the Lantern Man a friend or foe? And how are her friends and acquaintances associated with the smuggling? Can she save her home and father, and just what, exactly, does her future hold?

I’d read one novel written by Huber before, and the premise of this one sounded like something I’d enjoy. I don’t know if it was a case of wrong book at the wrong time, or the fact that the story took forever to get to a point where things started to happen, but it didn’t really work for me. Far too much of the beginning was repeating the same old things, so by the time the story could have gotten interesting, I didn’t care anymore. There were too many stereotypical elements, as well.

Oh well, I don’t have a shortage of books to read any time soon, so I’m sure something better will come along soon!

19aktakukac
May 8, 4:11pm Top



Book # 60: Horizon by Scott Westerfeld

A plane crashes in the Arctic, and a group of students survive. But they quickly realize they are not in a frozen, barren land but in a jungle. So where are they, really? Several laws of physics can apparently be changed, and there are several dangerous elements to contend with. Will they figure out how to get help and make it home?

This is the first book in a series, and I think it’s one of those multiple book/multiple authors series. It’s written for middle grade students, and it should appeal to some mg readers who like science fiction and some supernatural events.

It didn’t really work for me, partially because I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was not very good. His voice was alright, but he was so monotonous I almost considered abandoning the audio version. I also didn’t see much character development, but perhaps that will come in later books. Still, it was something different for me, and now I can move on to something I will (hopefully) enjoy more.

20MickyFine
May 9, 12:00pm Top

After two mediocre reads, I hope your next book is much, much better. :)

21aktakukac
May 9, 3:06pm Top

>20 MickyFine: Thanks! I'm slowly working through a novel-in-verse, which I don't often read. It's about a teenage girl travelling with the Donner Party, and it's really good so far. Too bad I've only been able to read it during my lunch breaks the last couple of days!

22MickyFine
May 9, 3:46pm Top

>21 aktakukac: Nice. Hope it remains a good read.

I've been moving at what feels like a glacial pace through my current read but I think it's just the side effect of having ripped through a lot of my reads so far this year in 3-5 days. The writing in this one is more dense and the font is smaller so pages don't fly by at the usual rate.

23aktakukac
May 9, 4:05pm Top

>22 MickyFine: I brought one back to work today unread because the font was too small. It also had a lot of images and pictures (it was about different items that have been left in books) and even the graphics were too tiny to see clearly.

I know I was able to boost my numbers last month because I read a lot of juvenile books. I'm trying to focus more on YA and adult books at the moment, so my count may not be as high in May. I can think of a couple I've got waiting that are going to be heavy and time consuming.

24lkernagh
May 9, 11:38pm Top

Happy new thread, Rachel!

25MickyFine
May 10, 1:14pm Top

>23 aktakukac: Sorry to hear about the poor design on that book. Sounds like it would have been fascinating too.

26aktakukac
May 11, 1:13pm Top

>24 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori!

>25 MickyFine: Yes, a better design certainly would have helped! It sounded intriguing when I checked it out, but when I actually opened it I knew it would be impossible to look at!

Yesterday I had two parents/caregivers inquiring about when the summer reading calendar would be available, since they have to "plan their summers". I told them I am still waiting to hear back on a couple of details and that our marketing person is on vacation anyway, so the calendars will definitely be ready the day after Memorial Day, but I'm not sure exactly about before that date.

Then I had a grade school girl come up and ask me where the reading logs are! Apparently someone is anxious to start summer reading, but i'ts definitely not me!

27aktakukac
May 11, 1:39pm Top



Book # 61: To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown

I don’t often read novels-in-verse, but this one caught my eye because it is historical fiction based on the experiences of a young woman who was part of the Donner Party. I was extremely impressed with the poems and writing and how the story unfolded.

Mary Ann Graves and her family were traveling from Illinois to California when they eventually met up with another group of pioneers heading west. Due to a combination of later-than-normal departures, problems along the way, taking a “shortcut” that was more difficult to traverse than anticipated, weather problems, and more, the pioneers eventually became stranded and snowbound in the mountains. While some perished, others resorted to cannibalism in order to survive.

I actually felt like I was right there with the characters and although I knew that the novel would include something in regards to the cannibalism, it was still harrowing to read. The afterword includes a list of which people died and which were able to be rescued. I also thought this bit was particularly interesting: Mary Ann married a man who was part of the rescue team, but he was murdered a year later. She cooked meals and took them to his killer in order to make sure “he lived long enough to hang.”

Recommended for readers who enjoy verse novels or true survival stories.

28MickyFine
May 11, 4:09pm Top

>26 aktakukac: Oh the intensity of summer reading. Good luck, friend!

29aktakukac
May 11, 4:42pm Top

>28 MickyFine: I know! It's like, can't you at least wait until school is out?!

30PaulCranswick
May 13, 12:38am Top

Summer reading? One good thing with leaving school - I get to read all year round!

Have a great weekend, Rachel.

31aktakukac
May 20, 10:44am Top

>30 PaulCranswick: Hi, Paul...yes, a lot of public libraries have special activities and programs during the summer to try to keep kids reading when they are on their summer vacations from school. It's a lot of work getting things ready. Thankfully, my library only has about a six-week program because of an art show that takes place in our meeting room for over half of July and part of August.

Have a nice weekend too!

32aktakukac
May 20, 10:45am Top



Book # 62: Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley

Cassie and her sister Sid live on two different continents. While Cassie is addicted to social media, Sid does not use it at all. In order to keep in touch more, the sisters make a pact at Christmas to write letters to each other on a regular basis. Cassie even scans her copies of the letters to keep a record of them.

The letters detail all aspects of their lives. Cassie has young twin sons and gave up her job to be a stay-at-home mom. They live in NYC, and while her husband is supportive, sometimes she feels like she can’t deal with her life or sons very well. Sid is living in Singapore, where her husband was transferred and she has to put up with him being gone on business trips across Asia, as well as his infidelity. They have a teenager and a young child, and Sid details various aspects of expat living for Cassie.

When something unexpectedly happens, Cassie has to try to find a way to repair both her marriage and her relationship with her sister. What will happen to their letter writing plan? And just what does the future hold for the sisters?

I enjoyed listening to this audiobook, and thought the story flowed well. Sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into Cassie, but overall she was a likeable character. This was the author’s debut, and I would probably read more by her in the future.

33aktakukac
Edited: May 20, 10:45am Top



Book # 63: Edge of Extinction: The Ark Plan by Laura Martin

If you know any middle grade/tween readers who love dinosaurs, have them read this book.

At some point in time, humans were able to bring dinosaurs back from extinction. Things went well for a time, but then a pandemic killed most of the human population and dinosaurs took over the Earth. In order to survive, humans had to resort to living underground in bunkers and reconstructed nuclear fallout shelters.

Sky lives in one of the four underground compounds in North America, in what at one time was the state of Indiana. Her mother died, and her father disappeared aboveground. He was considered a traitor because he put the lives of everyone in the compound at risk, so Sky is not treated well.

When Sky and her friend Shawn discover the reason her father left the compound, they know they have to go after him. They will have to travel to some kind of “island” location in Lake Michigan and only know the name of a person who was in contact with Sky’s father. The two have no way of knowing if he is still alive, or what it’s really like topside.

What will happen when the leave the compound? What is life really like above ground? The longer they are away from their home, they learn more about what the leaders were trying to hide, and become even more involved in the mystery surrounding Sky’s dad.

The Ark Plan leave things hanging at the end, but the follow-up book comes out later this month. One of my best friends has a son who has been obsessed with dinosaurs since he was little, and I told her he has to read the book. I’m curious to see what he thinks!

34aktakukac
May 20, 10:58am Top



Book # 64: Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

This was a fun audio! Historical fantasy, Regency romance, and mystery, adventure, and magic combine to make an exciting read that is difficult to put down!

When Truthful’s jewel is stolen, she is determined to get it back – even if it means disguising herself as a man. This becomes more difficult when she meets Major Hartnett, and tries to conceal her attraction to him. Can she keep her disguise a secret? Will she be able to reclaim her magical jewel from someone who is determined to keep it from her at all costs?

If you would like to read an Austen/Heyer/O’Brian mashup with a dose of magic, then I definitely recommend this page-turner.

35aktakukac
May 20, 11:09am Top



Book # 65: The Long Dry by Cynan Jones

Gareth is a farmer in Wales, and this 119-page work covers a day in his life. A pregnant cow is missing, and he must search the farm to find her. There are other things that need to happen that day, and there is his wife and children to contend with and learn about.

The writing is simple and constant. I would find myself going back to reread passages before continuing on, just to go over it a second time. There is a lot going on, yet at times it seems like little is happening. The story covers a wide range of emotions and is utterly poignant. I hope many, many readers will find it and read it.

36charl08
May 20, 1:34pm Top

That sounds great. And my library had a copy! I've put in a request for it.

37aktakukac
May 22, 12:49pm Top

>36 charl08: For The Long Dry? I hope you'll like it! I am not sure how I came across it, but I was glad there were two copies in my library consortium and one was available when I requested it.

I had a super busy week at work last week, and my husband and FIL were able to get a couple fields of soybeans planted before we got a lot of rain. Now it's going to be a waiting game for the soil to dry out but there's a lot more rain in the extended forecast. Thankfully, things have been going smoothly and they have all the equipment ready to go once they can make it back in the fields.

My sister-in-law had a baby boy last week as well. We finally got to meet him yesterday. Right before his parents asked us to be godparents, the baby boy decided to soak through his diaper and continue leaking all over my husband, who was holding him :) I guess what does around comes around, because it turns out my husband made an even worse mess all over his grandfather the first time his grandpa held him!

I have been reading a good YA book, and would love to finish that one by the end of the month and start and/or finish another one after that. I was able to finish one over the weekend, so I'll get a review up about that one soon.

38aktakukac
May 23, 4:21pm Top



Book # 66: Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

I read this book several times in my late childhood and teen years, but I haven’t revisited it since. I decided to listen to the audio version, and that was a mistake! I did not care for the author’s voice or way of narrating. I had forgotten that each date in the year-long diary includes information about the day’s saint and while it was a bit tedious to listen to, I enjoyed and appreciated that more than I did as a youngster.

This was a clear case of getting more out of the story as an adult. So many aspects of the story went over my head, or at least I wasn’t able to completely understand them, when I read this in the past. I also paid more attention to the father-daughter relationship this time around.

Overall, it was nice to read this again, but it lost some of the appeal it had as I looked at it with “adult” eyes.

39rretzler
May 25, 11:23am Top

Hi, Rachel. I just found your thread and am dropping a star. I'm from Dublin, Ohio and a life-long Ohio resident. I grew up in a very small town in eastern Ohio, but escapedmoved to Columbus after HS graduation and never left.

I also read a lot of middle/ya books with my two sons - although my 15-year-old has skipped over the ya stuff and is more into adult sci-fi now. Looks like you've been reading a lot of good stuff!

40charl08
Jun 1, 3:24am Top

>37 aktakukac: Yes, that's the one. It just turned up at the library and I realised I had tagged the book with a spelling mistake in your user name. Glad I found you! and thanks :-)

41aktakukac
Jun 2, 11:14am Top

>39 rretzler: Hi, Robin! I have a good friend from college who is from Dublin, and I've been through there once on the way to Columbus - it's a cute place! I also have a good friend in Marysville, so I get down that way occasionally. My husband has lived in Ohio his entire life and has said life on the east side of the state is completely different from the west side! I haven't seen as much of Ohio as I should, but since I'll be living here from now on, there's plenty of time to explore :)

My reading has been going by the wayside recently, just too much going on at work and at home! But that's to be expected this time of year! I have a ton of middle grade and YA books I'm excited to get to at some point...possibly mid-July or so...but it's nice to keep a good rotation with adult books too! I'll pop over to your thread at some point.

>40 charl08: Charlotte, I'm really looking forward to what you think about that one! And my username is a Hungarian word that means something sort of like bookworm...it sure uses some certain letters that make it tricky to spell!

42aktakukac
Jun 6, 3:56pm Top



Book # 67: Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

After her mother’s death leaves her an orphan, Maren is sent to Scotland to live with her paternal grandparents. Despite never having met them, she settles in fairly easily. Then she discovers something in her mother’s journal which leaves her questioning everything she knew about her parents. On top of all this, Maren meets someone who is very different from what she was expecting. Suddenly Maren, Gavin, and a few others are needed to save their friends and family from something evil. Oh, and Maren and Gaven aren’t allowed to fall in love…

Before I started this one, basically all I knew about it was that Maren would go live with her estranged grandparents in Scotland and there was a mystery involved. I didn’t realize that there would be so many paranormal aspects, but it was a pleasant surprise. The story needed a bit of work, but it flew by and kept my attention. The ending set up well for a sequel, so if you read this, be prepared for that.

43aktakukac
Edited: Jun 6, 4:02pm Top



Book # 68: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
A children’s classic that I have been meaning to read for a long time. It’s definitely dated, but the themes are ever so important today. I could see myself buying copies for my nieces when they are a bit older.

44aktakukac
Jun 6, 4:01pm Top

May Summary



May didn't exactly fly by, but it didn't provide me with a lot of reading time, either. I am happy I managed to finish 10 books. I did discard an audio after two or three discs, and I started another audio that will keep me listening through at least the first half of June. I expect June will bring some easier and lighter reading, and I am perfectly fine with that.

45drneutron
Jun 7, 9:40am Top

10's pretty good! I have a goal of someday averaging ten a month so I can crack 120 a year, but so far I'm consistently at about 9 a month. Maybe when I retire... :)

46MickyFine
Jun 7, 11:12am Top

>44 aktakukac: 10 looks pretty impressive. I'm usually happy if I make it 8 in a month. :)

47rretzler
Jun 11, 2:54pm Top

>41 aktakukac: Love to have a meetup if you get to Marysville - I'm about 30 minutes away. Yes, the east and west sides of Ohio are very different - I kind of divide Ohio into 4 quadrants and they are really all a little different.

48charl08
Jun 17, 5:50pm Top

I like your month's cover display.

I wanted to thank you for your recommendation - I loved The Long Dry having finally had the space to sit and read it after struggling since it came into the library. So beautifully written. I'll be recommending this (and looking for my own copy too!).

49aktakukac
Jun 21, 3:26pm Top

I looked at the calendar last week and couldn't believe that June was half over. Now here it is almost a week later, and I can't figure out how the month has gone by so quickly! Ok, I do know, as Summer Reading is in full swing at work, and we had a very long, wet spring that made for some very late planting dates on the farm. But I have managed to get some reading done, and have some reviews to post. I hope to pop around some threads soon, but it could be a few more weeks before that happens!

>45 drneutron: It seems like I start out the year really well, and then my reading slows down...I'll just read as much as I can and see what numbers I end up with :)

>46 MickyFine: Something about those double digits just makes it seem more impressive, but 8 is nothing to sneeze at!

>47 rretzler: I think I'm about an hour and 15 minutes from Marysville. I need to make a list of all the places in the state I'd like to go to eventually! Hocking Hills is towards the top.

>48 charl08: Oh, I'm so glad you loved The Long Dry! I agree - the writing is absolutely beautiful! I'm sure your review will help it get some more readers!

50aktakukac
Jun 21, 3:27pm Top



Book # 69: Letters to the Lost by Ilona Gray

The historical fiction part of this novel takes place during WWII and involves a woman who is (unhappily) married to a vicar who goes off to serve. She meets an American pilot, and they have an affair and fall in love. In the present day, a young girl escapes from an unfortunate situation and takes cover in a house that hasn’t been lived in for years. The characters become connected as letters are discovered, and mysteries are attempted to be solved and people reunited.

I thought some aspects of the story were rushed and other parts could have been expanded. Still, a pleasant enough read.

51aktakukac
Jun 21, 3:27pm Top



Book # 70: Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

Aimee has been friends with James for decades, and they plan to get married, have children, and be successful in their careers. But everything changes when James dies in a boating accident a short time before the wedding is to take place. Aimee is devastated, but eventually starts picking up the pieces of her life. She has a feeling that some things about the accident don’t make sense, and she does some investigating into why James was in Mexico. The more she learns, the more she questions what she knew about the man – and the family- she was about to marry into.

I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews about this one. The writing left a bit to be desired, but the story itself kept me very interested and wanting to know what would happen next.

52aktakukac
Jun 21, 3:28pm Top



Book # 71: Wild Cowboy Ways by Carolyn Brown
First in a series about a group of cowboys who move to rural north Texas to make the unluckiest ranch in the state into a successful business. I liked the small-town setting and variety of secondary characters the most.

Book # 72: Hot Cowboy Nights by Carolyn Brown
Continuing the series, which was about all my brain could handle. Easy reading, fun characters, humor, romance, and cowboys!

Book # 73: Merry Cowboy Christmas by Carolyn Brown
This was my favorite so far, simply because I liked the male lead the most.

53aktakukac
Jun 21, 3:29pm Top



Book # 74: After the Fall by Kate Hart

YA book about a high school student and her relationships with two brothers. When tragedy strikes, she has to decide who she is and what she really wants from life. A quick read, I thought it was a case of the author trying to cram too many themes into the story and most of them being underdeveloped. I also didn’t particularly like any of the characters.

54aktakukac
Jun 21, 3:29pm Top



Book # 75: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

I remember this book getting a lot of buzz a few years ago, and it was a very popular book club choice. I’m surprised that I hadn’t heard any spoilers for the story, and I went into it not really knowing what to expect. I thought the dialogue was witty, entertaining and ture-to-life. At times, I was a bit bored with the overall story, but that’s because the “secret” isn’t much of a secret for long.

55aktakukac
Jun 21, 3:30pm Top



Book # 76: Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

A nice middle grade coming of age story that deals with bullying, grief, friendship, and growing up. Elise has a difficult time adjusting to middle school. Her starts to think her friend Franklin is an embarrassing baby, her locker partner smashes her lunch every day and calls her names, and she has problems getting her homework finished. Both of her parents died when she was young, but she finds a key to a room which helps her with the issues she is dealing with.

I liked the story, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I thought some things could have been explained better, and some things were unresolved, which I didn’t appreciate. Definitely worth reading, though.

56MickyFine
Jun 21, 4:26pm Top

Congratulations on reaching (and surpassing) the magic number!

57drneutron
Jun 21, 6:42pm Top

Congrats!

58foggidawn
Jun 21, 7:07pm Top

Congrats on zooming past 75!

59ronincats
Jun 22, 12:35am Top

Congratulations on blowing past the 75 book mark, Rachel!!

60aktakukac
Jun 22, 1:22pm Top

>56 MickyFine:, >57 drneutron:, >58 foggidawn:, >59 ronincats: Thank you Micky, Jim, Foggi, and Roni! I'm happy to have read so many books before the end of June :) While I'd love to finish another 75 by the end of December, I have a very strong feeling that won't be happening!

I have tomorrow off, and it's supposed to be rainy, so I'm planning on finishing a couple of books I have going, and making some more progress on an audiobook. And maybe do some baking...we'll see what actually gets accomplished...

61FAMeulstee
Jun 22, 5:13pm Top

Congratulations on 75, Rachel, up to the double!

62thornton37814
Jun 22, 6:56pm Top

Congratulations on hitting 75 -- and more!

63charl08
Jun 25, 9:44am Top

Congrats from me too!

64jennyifer24
Jun 27, 12:12am Top

Just finished This is Our Story. Wow! And that cover...! What a punch in the gut when I actually looked closely at it.

65aktakukac
Jun 28, 1:01pm Top

>61 FAMeulstee:, >62 thornton37814:, >63 charl08: Thanks Anita, Lori, and Charlotte! I'm curious to know what my final number will be in December!

>64 jennyifer24: YAY!!! I have a feeling that one will end up being one of my top reads of the year :) I'll visit your thread to see what you thought about it.

66aktakukac
Jul 1, 10:18am Top



Book # 77: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

The lives of three women (and their families) connect in post-WWII Germany. Eventually, we learn about their pasts and how the decisions they made before and during the war will impact their futures.

I liked it…for a while. Then it got bogged down and was too drawn out. I didn’t particularly care for the layout, and didn’t learn things until the last third/quarter of the novel which would have been nice to know earlier on.

67aktakukac
Jul 1, 10:19am Top



Book # 78: First & Then by Emma Mills

Devon is a high school senior in Florida. Her parents have recently started taking care of her cousin Foster, since his father died and his mother can’t take care of him. While adjusting to having Foster in her life, Devon tries to make decisions about college, a crush on her friend, and a developing friendship with the school’s quarterback.

Fans of Jane Austen will appreciate this one, and while (American) football plays a big role in the story, I didn’t find it overpowering (I don’t particularly like football). I do wish Cas had been more of a developed character. A nice contemporary YA “romance” that is light on the romance and heavy on friendship, family, and becoming your own person.

68aktakukac
Jul 1, 10:19am Top



Book # 79: Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

Juvenile non-fiction/true crime about how counterfeiting led to attempts to steal the body of President Lincoln and the development of the “modern” Secret Service. Full of excitement, mystery, and history, this is an engaging read that should appeal to a lot of readers.

69aktakukac
Jul 1, 10:19am Top



Book # 80: Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell

Stella is an orphan who lives with her aunts in a hotel by the sea in Victorian times. She gets caught up in magic, mystery, and adventure. This was the first in a series, and the ending does leave a lot of things unresolved.

I liked the story, but I struggled to get through it. I’m not sure if it was a case of wrong book at the wrong time, what.

70aktakukac
Jul 1, 10:25am Top

June Summary



I read a little of everything in June. I managed to read more than I expected to, which was a nice surprise! I hope I can keep up the numbers in July, and keep working away at the piles of books on my nightstand. I had told myself that once Summer Reading was finished, I’d start reading either The Count of Monte Cristo or Lonesome Dove, but I really need to read some of the books I’ve had checked out for ages first.

71thornton37814
Jul 1, 9:06pm Top

>69 aktakukac: Too bad that one wasn't better. It has a great title.

72aktakukac
Jul 5, 4:00pm Top

>71 thornton37814: It wasn't exactly bad. The more I think about it, I think it was just the wrong book at the wrong time and I was trying to rush through it too quickly. I hope other readers will enjoy it more than I did!

73aktakukac
Jul 5, 5:40pm Top



Book # 81: Reawakened by Colleen Houck

About five years ago or so, I read Houck’s Tiger’s Curse series. I remember that the worldbuilding and plot were incredibly creative, and I was sucked into the story. I also recall the books were not particularly well-written and poorly edited. I decided to try the first book in her most recent series, which is about an ancient Egyptian prince who comes back to life, mostly because I was hoping for a creative storyline and vivid descriptions like in her previous series.

Well, this was a letdown.

While the author’s writing and editing have improved, I thought everything else about the story was just…bland. I had trouble visualizing the events that were taking place. I thought the story did not flow very well, and mostly kept reading just to see how the ending would shape up (since this is the first in a trilogy or series). I do not plan to read on, as I have plenty of other books that are calling my name and I just don’t care what happens to the characters later in the series.

74aktakukac
Jul 7, 11:37am Top



Book # 82: Windbreak: A Woman Rancher on the Northern Plains by Linda Hasselstrom

This memoir is told through journal entries over the course of a year, from September 1984 through August 1985. The author wore many hats, as a rancher, poet, environmentalist, feminist, and more. The journal entries depict the chores and tasks she, her husband, parents, stepson, and neighbors did in order to care for their land and herds of beef cattle in northwestern South Dakota.

Besides feeding the cattle daily, she covered doctoring the cattle, the birthing season, and how they got through each season. The weather – high and low temperatures for each day, as well as precipitation, wind, and other weather characteristics, were included at the top of each entry. Some parts of the journal, especially in the winter months, were a bit tedious, because it seemed like the bitter, extreme cold and snow would never end!

The ranchers had to deal with other things than the weather, including fires, accidents, injuries and health problems, and isolation. Since the author is also a poet and writer, she included poems throughout the memoir, especially at the end of each month. She also discussed some of her political and environmental work.

While I liked reading about a year on the ranch, I did skim some parts because they were repetitive and slightly tedious. A glossary of agriculture and ranching terms and descriptions was included in the back, but I wish the author had explained more in the actual journal entries, as it would have made some things easier to understand.

All in all, a slightly different take on living and working in the West.

75aktakukac
Jul 14, 4:49pm Top

What a week!

We finished cutting the last wheat field.
Had major storms, including tornado warnings, hail two different nights, and a funnel cloud that went over some houses a couple of miles down the road.
I had to sit in my in-law's "Buckeye Building" for a fish fry, and I HATE all types of fish and seafood and can STILL smell the fish.
Finished our Summer Reading program at work, WOO HOO!!!!
Got all the extra supplies, prizes, etc. packed away and have a clean office...oh what joy to be able to see my desk :)
Decided we will go to the Cincinnati Reds game this Sunday to use the tickets we won at a fundraiser earlier this year.
I finished one print book, one audiobook, and am about halfway through another book (but reviews will have to wait until next week).

And I just realized that today is my three-year anniversary at my job. I think I'll celebrate by doing laundry tonight while my husband mows the yards. And hopefully finish my book!

76MickyFine
Jul 14, 6:52pm Top

>75 aktakukac: Wowzers! I'm tired just reading that. Wishing you a restful weekend!

77aktakukac
Jul 17, 3:57pm Top

>76 MickyFine: Thanks! It wasn't all that restful, as Saturday was spent doing tons of chores, cooking, and things that I couldn't get done yesterday. We left for Cincinnati in the morning, went to the Reds Hall of Fame/Museum before the baseball game, and stayed for most of the game even though it wasn't much of a game. The other team just kept scoring runs and the final score was 14-4 :( We stopped in a nearby town on the way back home to get some groceries and things, and a major storm started before we could check out. Hail, wind blowing the rain sideways, the power even went out three times in the store! Thankfully it let up enough for us to drive home and by that time, I was exhausted! Maybe next weekend will be a little more restful!

78aktakukac
Jul 17, 3:57pm Top



Book # 83: The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Told from the perspectives of four different characters, this novel takes place in Alaska in 1970. While the characters and their stories are connected, each faces different situations, dilemmas, and they will grow in their own unique ways. There were a few times when I didn’t understand a historical or cultural reference. This is definitely a book I would recommend to adults who are interested in reading young adult literature.

79aktakukac
Jul 17, 3:58pm Top



Book # 84: More About Paddington by Michael Bond

I’d been meaning to read another Paddington book for a while, and when I saw that Michael Bond recently passed away, I decided to listen to this one, narrated by Stephen Fry. I never read any Paddington books when I was young, and I wish I had…so I will just have to continue reading them as an adult!

80aktakukac
Jul 17, 3:58pm Top



Book # 85: The Marriage Bureau: True Stories from 1940s London Matchmakers by Penrose Halson

Thanks to Micky for this recommendation! It’s non-fiction, but doesn’t read like it. Two women, who were looking to do something with their lives other than what was expected of them, set up an agency in London to pair up interested individuals who were looking for marriage.

Things I really liked included reading about all the different types of people who applied, the successful (and sometimes quite unsuccessful) matches that were made, and how WWII kept the matchmakers incredibly busy.

I wish a couple of things had been explained at the end. What happened to the Bureau after the post-WWII years and in later decades? How did the author come to work there, and what happened to Mary Oliver?

Still an enjoyable read that had a slightly different take on life in England during WWII.

81aktakukac
Jul 17, 3:58pm Top



Book # 86: Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

I decided it was time to read another Maisie Dobbs novel, since it had been way too long since I read the previous one. I enjoyed this one a bit more than some of the others. Maisie and her assistant Billy see a man take his own life on a London street, which leads to her quickly becoming involved with domestic terrorism, chemical warfare, and situations that put her in extreme danger. Adding to the novel is the fact that Billy’s wife, Doreen, is still having trouble getting over the death of their daughter, and is committed to an institution which may do more harm for her than good.

I need to do a better job of staying on track with this series! Who knows, maybe I’ll read the next one later this year!

82jennyifer24
Jul 17, 10:12pm Top

You guys have had some crazy weather this summer! I think we're lucky up here- it seems like the strong stuff falls apart over Lake Michigan. Hope it calms down soon.

Can't wait to look for The Marriage Bureau. Sounds good!

83rretzler
Jul 17, 11:06pm Top

Just got back from a 2 week vacation and was fortunate enough to have missed all of the bad Ohio weather! We only ran into a few storms on the way back. Sounds like its been a typical crazy Ohio summer weather-wise! Belated congrats on reaching 75!

84MickyFine
Jul 18, 11:40am Top

>77 aktakukac: Yikes! Sounds like a crazy busy weekend. I'll cross my fingers that the next one is more low-key.

>80 aktakukac: Yay! I'm glad you liked it!

85aktakukac
Jul 19, 10:10am Top

>82 jennyifer24: Ahh, yes, good old Lake Michigan! It either makes storms break up, or dumps tons of lake effect snow, depending on the season :) The Marriage Bureau was good, but I thought there were definitely some weak points and the ending could have been stronger.

>83 rretzler: I'm not complaining too much, because so far we haven't had that much horrible heat to contend with. But there's still plenty of summer to go, and this week is hot enough for me already!

>84 MickyFine: Thanks, I know things will be getting crazy for a while after next week, so I'll take whatever calm, low-activity days I can for now!

86brodiew2
Edited: Jul 19, 7:33pm Top

Hello aktakukac! I hope your day is going well.

>33 aktakukac: My son loves dinosaurs, but I can barely get him to read Dinosaur Cove, much less something of a more advanced reading level. He's 9 and he can read fine, but he doesn't like to. Perhaps, I'll get this a read it to him. :-)

>68 aktakukac: This looks really interesting. The same son enjoys non fiction. This may get his attention!

87aktakukac
Jul 20, 4:48pm Top

>86 brodiew2: Hello, Brodie! I definitely recommend The Ark Plan for children who love dinosaurs, and I thought it was a pretty decent read for adults, too. Does your son like audiobooks? Maybe he would like listening to it that way. I think it would be a good read aloud for you and him, though! Lincoln's Grave Robbers is great for all ages. It kept my attention the entire time and was full of tons of interesting information - I definitely recommend it if you like non-fiction or American history!

88aktakukac
Jul 21, 11:48am Top



Book # 87: Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

I read one of Tucker’s previous series, and this novel was different. Instead of angsty, sometimes danger-filled romantic supsense, this was very much a fairy-tale Cinderella romance. While I got caught up in the story, in the end I was let down because it was filled with too many clichés, and was sort of boring. Yes, it was heartwarming and sweet, and it was nice to see a different side of Tucker’s writing.

The basic plot: a young single mother rescues a man from a horrific car accident. He happens to be the most popular professional hockey player on the best team, and she is determined to stay out of the spotlight because she has already had her infamous fifteen minutes of fame. They fall in love, but there are plenty of things that could keep them apart.

I’m not saying this was a bad read, and I’m not going to deter people from reading it. It just wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be. I’ll still read whatever the author writes next. It looks like her next book will be published in January, and is more on track with the Burying Water series. Yay!

89aktakukac
Jul 21, 1:03pm Top



Book # 88: The Cutters by Bess Streeter Aldrich

I’ve read several books by Aldrich, although it has been several years since I last picked one up. The Cutters was published in 1926, and the main characters are the members of the Cutter family. Each chapter covers some type of event or problem the family has, and by the end of the chapter, lessons have been learned, characters grow and develop, and family life remains the focal point. The various problems and emotions the characters cover are similar to what people deal with today – comparing yourself to others, not being satisfied with what you have, allowing new friends to make you think less of other friends, and so on. By the end of the novel, the children grow up, and I was sad to see the stories end.

The writing is lovely and old-fashioned, and very Midwestern. I loved some of the expressions and sayings included in the dialogue, as well as the humor and overall themes. Perfect for anyone looking for a read that focuses on family life, is filled with warmth, and memorable characters.

I need to continue with Streeter’s bibliography, and must make a note to not let so much time go by before reading more!

90aktakukac
Jul 21, 2:04pm Top



Book # 89: Wicked Cowboy Charm by Carolyn Brown

An easy read to finish up the series. I think I liked this one the best. Traveling in a blizzard from Montana to Texas kept things interesting!

91aktakukac
Jul 21, 2:04pm Top



Book # 90: Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson

Fun middle grade/early YA novel that is the first in a trilogy. It has lots of the following: dragons, witches, princesses, war, secrets, bravery, courage, good and evil, and LOTS of twists and turns to keep you wondering. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. If you like well-written children’s/tween fantasy set in a fairy tale world, you should read this one.

92aktakukac
Jul 28, 3:28pm Top



Book # 91: Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West by Tom Clavin

Last summer, my husband and I stopped in Dodge City, Kansas, during our summer vacation. We both ended up enjoying our time there a lot more than we had expected. Sure, some of it was touristy, but there was a lot of history and I have a feeling we will go back there some day and spend more time in the town. I especially want to return there after reading this book!

This book is a fantastic combination of the history of the town, state, Wyatt Earp & Bat Masterson’s lives, and many more characters and events that shaped the American west. I listened to the 11 discs while I was doing things around the house, so it did take me a while to get through, but I never found the information dull or drawn-out.

Definitely recommended for readers interested in American history and more truth and less myths about some of the leading figures and circumstances of the time.

93drneutron
Jul 30, 5:39pm Top

Nice review! On my list it goes.

94DFED
Jul 31, 12:29pm Top

I loved Hasselstrom's book and I've since bought her others to read when I get the chance :)

95aktakukac
Aug 1, 10:40am Top

>93 drneutron: Great! It's a good one!

>94 DFED: I'd be interested in reading more by her if I can track down copies of her other books! Some day :)

96aktakukac
Aug 1, 10:48am Top

July Summary



I’m happy with my July reading overall. There were a few disappointing reads and some really good ones as well. I bet July will be the last big month of reading for a while. August has county fairs, a vacation, and I’ll be spending a lot of time in the kitchen with the peaches, pears, blueberries, and sweet corn that need to be canned or put in the freezer. All my weekends are already booked as well, but I hope to at least read as much as I can and keep working through my stack of library books. My audio hold on My Lady Jane finally came in today as well, so that will be my primary audiobook for a while. I'm hoping my hold on A Man Called Ove will arrive before we leave on vacation so I can take it with me.

97aktakukac
Aug 4, 3:38pm Top



Book # 92: Butter in the Well: A Scandinavian Woman’s Tale of Life on the Prairie, 1868-1888 by Linda K. Hubalek

This was the fictionalized journal of a Swedish immigrant woman’s life in Kansas over a twenty-year period in the 19th Century. From filing a homestead claim with her first husband and living in a sod house, to raising her children, developing the farm and marrying her second husband, a lot is covered in a rather short book. It’s easy to read in one or two sitting, and is the first in a series.

At times, it was difficult to keep track of the names of most of the secondary characters. There was also a lot of death mentioned – mostly infants and children who died of illness, as well as others succumbing to fluke accidents, ailments, and occasionally old age. There were a few chapters that were quite bleak on that front, but it was a part of life on the prairie in the 1800s.

A few recipes are also included, and a glossary of Swedish terms that are used throughout the book. Since this was a quick read, I’ve already ordered the next book in the series and will enjoy reading about what will happen to the characters next.

98aktakukac
Aug 8, 4:30pm Top



Book # 93: My Mother’s Secret: A Novel based on a True Holocaust Story by J.L. Witterick

Historical fiction based on true events during WWII. Told from the perspectives of four of the characters, it is the story of a mother and daughter who hid two Jewish families and a German soldier in their small house and barn in Poland. The writing is rather simple, and was a bit dry at times, but I was interested in the story and hearing about things from the different perspectives. It was a quick read as well. I just wish some of the characters had been developed a bit more.

99MickyFine
Aug 9, 10:35am Top

>98 aktakukac: Wishing you a better next read. :)

100aktakukac
Aug 10, 11:23am Top

>99 MickyFine: I did finish the audio of My Lady Jane, which I thought was an entertaining, funny read. I'll post about it soon. I didn't mean to make My Mother's Secret sound bad. It kept me interested in the characters and how things would progress. I think it was just too short and would have been better if the author could have expanded some things. It's a good Holocaust read for tweens, teens, and adults!

As of this morning, I may be taking over or at least helping out with some of the monthly book discussions one of my co-workers leads. She is feeling a bit burned out, my boss decided to delegate some of my tasks to yet another co-worker, and we've been thinking of changing up book some book groups for a while now. Thankfully I still have over a month to get the first book read, but I'm sure I'll procrastinate and then have to rush to finish it :)

101MickyFine
Aug 10, 12:10pm Top

>100 aktakukac: Leading a book group sounds exciting! Hopefully the first read for it will be awesome.

102aktakukac
Sep 13, 12:40pm Top

>101 MickyFine: Thanks! I just finished the book for this month yesterday. It's A House in the Sky, which I've actually had on a reading list for a few years now. Soon it'll be time to start the book for October, which is kind of hard to believe!

103aktakukac
Sep 13, 12:41pm Top



Book # 94: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I don’t typically read much along the lines of alternate history, but this historical fantasy novel was fun, as long as you don’t take it too seriously. I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by the always fabulous Katherine Kellgren, and probably added to my enjoyment of the story.



Book # 95: Been There, Done That by Carol Snow

A book I’ve had on my reading list for many, many years. Unfortunately, it has not stood up well against the passing of time. A journalist goes undercover as a college student to try and solve a mystery. I’d rather watch “Never Been Kissed” because of Michael Vartan.

104aktakukac
Sep 13, 12:42pm Top



Book # 96: The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

This little book explains and describes the Danish cultural characteristic of hygge, which is a quality of coziness and togetherness which causes well-being and contentment. The first time I heard the word was actually years ago in a romance novel of all things!



Book # 97: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Not what I was expecting and quite a disappointment!



Book # 98: The Dry by Jane Harper

If you like well-crafted mysteries that keep you wondering, pick up this novel that is set in rural Australia. It’s the first in a series, and I will definitely be picking up future installments!

105aktakukac
Sep 13, 12:43pm Top



Book # 99: The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb

Wendy Webb’s books always pull me in and are quite atmospheric. They aren’t perfect, but I love reading them. In this novel, a woman is hired to be the manager of an isolated retreat for various kinds of artists. Something happens the day that she arrives that changes everything, and suddenly she must solve a mystery from the past in order to survive. The history behind the setting was very interesting to read about as well.



Book # 100: No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering by Clara Bensen

I saw this on Micky’s thread earlier this year, and decided to read it because it has been a while since I read any travel memoirs. I wish this had more travel and less of the relationship and mental health aspects, to be honest. It made me cut back on some of the luggage I took on a recent vacation, but did not leave me with a desire to travel with one outfit and a handful of personal items!

106aktakukac
Sep 13, 12:48pm Top

August Summary



I wondered if August would have my lowest number of books read so far this year, and it was. But I did make it to 100 books read before the month was over! I took five or six books with me on vacation at the end of the month and beginning of September, and read about 60 pages of one. I don’t expect September to be a huge reading month (especially since it's almost half over already), but I’ve accepted that. Other than reading the book discussion book for work, I just plan to keep chipping away at the pile of library books I have at home.

107MickyFine
Sep 15, 12:15pm Top

>105 aktakukac: Sorry to hear No Baggage didn't work for you as well. But a solid reading month regardless. :)

108PaulCranswick
Sep 15, 9:54pm Top

Well done on a 100 books plus already, Rachel.

Have a good weekend.

109aktakukac
Sep 18, 4:05pm Top

>107 MickyFine: Yes, I can't complain about my August reading numbers!

>108 PaulCranswick: Thank you! I'm happy I made it that far with a few months left in the year!

110aktakukac
Sep 18, 4:05pm Top



Book # 101: The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant

This is another book I’ve had on my reading list for almost a decade. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but in this case that was fine. Folktales and fairy tales were involved in the plot in a way that helped move the story along, and it was also a nice coming of age story.

111aktakukac
Sep 18, 4:06pm Top



Book # 102: A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

Read this for a book discussion I was helping out with, although it has been on a reading list for a few years now. Amanda Lindhout, a young Canadian woman, fell in love with the world and travel by reading old copies of National Geographic during her not-so-great childhood and teenage years. She would waitress for months at a time and then travel to different continents and make her money last as long as possible. After some time in Afghanistan and trying to become a journalist in Iraq during the 2000s, she decided to put her journalist skills to the test by heading to the most dangerous place on the planet at the time: Somalia. Along with her photographer friend Nigel, she was kidnapped four days after arriving in Somalia and spent over a year in captivity, held by a group of extremists.

The memoir was engaging and at times harrowing to read. While I had to shake my head at her blatant stupidity for getting herself into the situation in the first place, I had to admire her courage and intelligence, which helped lead to her eventual release.

112aktakukac
Sep 18, 4:06pm Top



Book # 103: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I listened to this because my library’s copy of the audiobook was miraculously available and I snatched it up before someone could put it on hold. It’s one I had been meaning to read for some time and I thought it was fantastic.

113aktakukac
Sep 18, 4:06pm Top



Book # 104: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I’d had a hold on this book since March, and of course it came in on day two of my vacation! I started reading it after we got home, and it was well worth the wait! I lost track of the number of times I’d start laughing out loud, but I also cried at times. I can see why this book is so popular, and I plan to read more by the author.

114aktakukac
Edited: Sep 18, 4:53pm Top

I can’t believe that September is already more than half over! It seems like it was just August, where I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. My husband’s aunt and I canned 12 quarts of peaches and 25 quarts of pears, and I froze 29 bags of sweet corn and eight or nine pounds of blueberries. It was my first experience with canning since I was young and helped my mom and grandmother. Last year, our sweet corn didn’t do very well, so it was especially nice to be able to have extra this year…it will taste wonderful this winter! The recipe makes it taste a lot like my one grandmother made it, and it’s just like eating it fresh off the cob.

Hurricane Harvey changed my vacation plans at the last minute, but we still had a nice time and it was good to get away. It was also nice to get back home, though. I did all the navigating and map reading on the trip, so the books I packed stayed unread.

I also got to see a few of my college friends in August. I found out that one of them is pregnant and due in late January. It’s nice because my husband and I are expecting our first child earlier in January. When we told my parents on their anniversary weekend (because we had gone up to Michigan and didn’t know when we would see them next), I gave them each a wrapped present “for their anniversary”. The presents were these:

Read to Me Grandma and Read to Me Grandpa books. They didn’t really get it, although my sister, for whom I had wrapped a picture book with “aunt” in the title,” got it right away. I told my mom and dad that the books were NOT to go out to Wisconsin (where my brother lives with his wife and kids) and they STILL didn’t understand what I was getting at. Grr.

I’ve been fortunate to have what I assume is an easy pregnancy…I haven’t had any nausea or problems, other than being really tired for the first 10 weeks or so. I haven’t had any food cravings or aversions, either. We had to have a second ultrasound done, which confirmed what was suspected after the first one: the baby will have clubfoot. One of my first thoughts was the main character from The War that Saved My Life has a clubfoot and that I will have to reread the book. The diagnosis was quite a surprise, and while it is not ideal, I am thankful it is treatable and not a life-threatening condition. I’ve been spending a lot of my non-work time reading up on the condition, figuring out what things we will need for a baby with clubfoot, and preparing questions for my appointment with an orthopedic surgeon in November. I know that life will change once the baby is here even more than it normally would have, and I already told my boss that I won’t be reading much next year (and probably for several years after next!).

115MickyFine
Sep 19, 11:19am Top

Congratulations on your baby, Rachel! That's very exciting!

116aktakukac
Sep 20, 4:05pm Top

>115 MickyFine: Thank you, Micky!! I'm very excited, and also to the point where I'm staring to feel anxious, nervous, worried, and unprepared about certain things. But mostly I'm just incredibly excited. It'll be a nice excuse to have to buy a bookshelf and go through my picture books and board books, too :)

117aktakukac
Sep 26, 10:38am Top



Book # 105: Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino

Charlotte has had many different jobs and tends to fall for guys who are…well, weird. She meets Adam and even though they seem to like each other, something happens and she never sees him again. Later, she meets Seth, a baseball player, who could be just right for her. Charlotte is still hung up on Adam, but is willing to give a relationship with Seth a try. Then she discovers something about Adam and her entire world is turned upside down. By the end of the story she will have to make a lot of difficult decisions and will have to grow up and change.

I’ve read other books by this author and enjoyed them, so I was disappointed that this one didn’t live up to my expectations. Sure, it was a quick read and I was curious to see how things would go, but I really disliked the main character, didn’t enjoy the development of a situation on which the entire story is based, and thought another character was not utilized as well as he could have been.

I’m not saying the story was awful, but it was not the right book for me. Several of the author’s other novels a worth picking up before this one.

118aktakukac
Sep 29, 3:31pm Top



Book # 106: A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt

This is the third book in Hewitt’s Hartley-by-the-Sea series (trilogy? I’m not sure if there will be future books) which is set in a small village on the coast of England. While the books don’t exactly have to be read in order, certain characters appear in all three novels, and they contain slight spoilers about previous events.

Abby had returned to the village after her fiancé died. She is working in her grandmother Mary’s café and talking care of her son. Since Abby’s mother, Laura, left her in Mary’s care when Abby was two years old, Abby is determined to help take care of Mary, who is in failing health.

Laura unexpectedly returns home after losing her job. She wants to try to build a relationship with her daughter, but is that possible after all this time?

I did not care for this one as much as the first two books. It was a nice read, but I would have preferred more interaction with more characters from the village. In my opinion, things needed a little more drama and problems to work through – I’m not saying that the issues mother and daughter had were nonexistent, but for the length of the book, it could have had more to deal with.

Recommended if you like mother-daughter relationship stories or want to read about life in a small British village.

119aktakukac
Sep 29, 3:31pm Top



Book # 107: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

I can’t remember if I read this one when I was a kid or not. Parts of it seemed familiar, but I might be confusing it with another book in the series, Superfudge.

Humorous look at brothers and life in New York City in the early 1970s. While some of the situations and dialogue may be unfamiliar for children in the 21st Century, they will still relate to Peter’s frustrations and relationship with his younger brother.

I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by the author, and quite enjoyed it.

120aktakukac
Oct 2, 2:32pm Top

September Summary



My September numbers were the lowest of the year (so far). I also listened to a good portion of a children’s audiobook that will get finished sometime in October, as well as started the audio of the October book discussion book for work. I managed to curtail my library checkouts (just one all month!) and placed holds on just a few (cookbooks to glance through for ideas). The non-work book I am currently reading is over 430 pages, and I did get half of it done in September.

I know October-December will bring similar numbers of books read – if I am lucky! I’d love to get my number of books read this year to at least 120, but I’m not going to hold my breath!

121MickyFine
Oct 6, 10:29am Top

>120 aktakukac: Still looks like a solid reading month to me, Rachel! :)

122aktakukac
Oct 11, 4:58pm Top

>121 MickyFine: I know that soon, within the next few months or so, I will look back at reading seven books in a month and be amazed that I was able to do that :) I already know that I will be lucky to read pretty much anything in 2018!

Book Problem from Yesterday: I took a book to lunch, read a chapter or so, and brought it back to my office. Instead of putting it in my bag to take home, it got set on my desk and some papers were put over it. I didn't check to make sure I had it before I left for the day. I was NOT happy to discover I'd left it at work once I got home, especially since I was REALLY looking forward to reading it last night! Oh well, I picked up a different book that I already had at home and read a good chunk of it last night.

Book Problem from Today: My boss brought me a checkout slip with 18 juvenile non-fiction titles on it. A teacher had checked them out to use in her classroom. To make a long story short, she told the janitor at her school to throw away some things in her room, and the janitor tossed all 18 of those books. I am just sick.

On the bright side, I finished up a few books over the weekend and this week, so I have a some reviews to post soon!

123foggidawn
Oct 11, 6:38pm Top

>122 aktakukac: Aww, man! Both of those book problems are awful!

124MickyFine
Oct 12, 4:02pm Top

>122 aktakukac: Sympathies for both of those.

125aktakukac
Oct 17, 10:37am Top

>123 foggidawn:, >124 MickyFine: Thanks :( On the one hand, I won't have to weed my mammal or reptile books any time soon. On the other hand, THEY ARE ALL GONE!!! Ugh. I understand mistakes happen, but really!

126aktakukac
Oct 17, 10:37am Top



Book # 108: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

This novel alternates between Kate and Ainsley’s stories. They are half-sisters and their relationship grows as they each face difficult and different situations due to the death of Kate’s husband and Ainsley’s breakup with her long-term boyfriend.

I always know what I’m getting when I read a Higgins novel, and I expected more from this one. Some parts seemed like they were thrown in just to have something “extra” in the plot that ended up not being expanded. I also thought the ending was built up and then too rushed. Still, there was a nice setting, characters that are typical of the author’s writing, and a good story overall to follow.

127aktakukac
Oct 17, 10:38am Top



Book # 109: The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming by J. Anderson Coats

Children’s historical fiction about a girl who travels around the coast of South America to a new life in Seattle as part of the Mercer Girls. They were brought to the Pacific Northwest from generally the Boston/Lowell areas in order to help provide wives for the large population of bachelor men.

Jane is being raised by her stepmother. Her mother died when she was young, and her father was killed during the Civil War. Her stepmother is determined to find a rich banker in Seattle to take care of her. She makes Jane take care of her younger half-brother and does not want Jane to continue with her schooling.

When they finally arrive in Seattle, the land, weather, town, and everything else is completely different from what they were told to expect. What happens next will cause Jane and her family to either adapt and adjust to their new environment or face the consequences.

I enjoyed this coming of age story that will appeal to fans of historical fiction who appreciate well-written stories about the meaning of family and learning to deal with life when it may not turn out as you would like.

128aktakukac
Oct 17, 10:38am Top


Book # 110: The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

I read this for a book discussion group at work. It’s not one I would have picked on my own, as I don’t care for historical fiction biographies like I did at one time. I knew a bit about Charles Lindbergh, but not about his wife. While I can appreciate the author’s research and writing style, the book dragged in too many places for me.

129aktakukac
Oct 17, 10:38am Top



Book # 111: The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman

Four tweens from four very different backgrounds work together in this historical fiction/fantasy novel that combines WWII and King Arthur. The children have to stop a Nazi attack on New York City by using things found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There’s more to it than that.

There were good points to the story, like use of 1940s slang (although way too much, in my opinion). Unfortunately, the book needed more editing, and a lot of readers in the target age group are not going to understand or know about many things the author included in the novel. It took me a very long time to get through this one.

130aktakukac
Oct 17, 10:38am Top



Book # 112: The Next Together by Lauren James

Well, how to describe this book…it’s a combination of time travel, historical fiction, thriller, mystery, romance, reincarnation, and more. The different settings, including the Crimean War, Carlisle England during the Jacobite Rebellion, a couple of years in the future and a couple of decades in the future, all involve Katherine and Matthew.

I’m still processing what I think about this one, and I’m not going to say much else about it. I will say the ending is confusing to say the least!

131jennyifer24
Edited: Oct 22, 11:09pm Top

Congratulations on your exciting news!! I hope you're feeling good!

I stopped by to see what good books you have- I've had a few ehhh reads lately. I'll have to look for My Lady Jane. Sounds fun!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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