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Traci Gets Cozy in 2018

This topic was continued by Traci Gets Cozy in 2018 Part 2.

2018 Category Challenge

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Edited: Mar 10, 8:29am Top

My 2018 challenge is all about getting cozy. My categories are based on the names of cozy mysteries, most of which I've read and loved. For 2017, I read 2,017 pages in 17 categories, but keeping track of page numbers became a chore. I also ended up finishing before September rolled around, and I'm on track to read 150 books by the end of the year, so I'm going to be a bit ambitious in 2018 and do 18 categories with 8 books per category. I don't know if I will be able to make it, but I'm going to give it a shot.

I list possibilities of books I have sitting on my bookshelves, to remind myself of ones I may forget and hopefully shrink my TBR pile just a bit. As always, I welcome any and all recommendations. Can't wait to get started!

Series I want to continue in 2018:
1. Mitch Rapp by Vince Flynn - next in series Separation of Power
2. Alex Cross by James Patterson - next in series Cross Country
3. In Death by J.D. Robb - next in series Immortal in Death
4. Hannah Swenson by Joanne Fluke - next in series Sugar Cookie Murder
5. Mitford Years by Jan Karon - next in series In the Company of Others
6. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher - next in series Grave Peril
7. Lincoln Rhyme by Jeffery Deaver - next in series The Coffin Dancer
8. Dirk Pitt, Numa Files, etc by Clive Cussler
9. Ellie Haskell by Dorothy Cannell - next in series The Widow's Club

Books Acquired in 2018:
1. Scythe
2. The Nest
3. The Library at the End of the World
4. Everyone Brave is Forgiven
5. Altered Carbon
6. The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
7. A Murder of Magpies
8. Revenge of the Judoon (nook)
9. The Silurian Gift (nook)
1. The Impossible Fortress
2. Plum Pudding Murder
3. The Resurrection Casket
4. The Feast of the Drowned
5. The Slitheen Excursion
6. Prisoner of the Daleks
7. The Pirate Loop
8. Shada
9. Apple Turnover Murder
10. Daughter of the Pirate King (kindle)
11. The Fourth Dimension (ER win)
12. The Alienist
13. My Husband's Wife
14. The Flood Girls
15. The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street
16. Uprooted
17. Crazy Rich Asians
18. The Bear and the Nightingale
19. Last Chance Llama Ranch
20. Moloka'i
21. Devil's Food Cake Murder
22. The Dry
23. The Girl in the Red Coat
24. Judi: Behind the Scenes
1. The Last Tudor (kindle)
2. Red Sparrow
3. The Hazel Wood
4. The Lying Game
5. The Book of Speculation
6. A Court of Thorns and Roses
7. A Court of Mist of Fury
8. The Safest Lies
9. The Lonely Hearts Hotel
10. A Study in Charlotte
11. The Right Thing to Do at the Time (ER win)
12. Children of Blood and Bone

Edited: Mar 8, 6:17pm Top

Murder She Wrote
Female Authors
1. Dead Witch Walking - Kim Harrison (finished 02/04)
2. Still Me - JoJo Moyes (finished 02/27)
3. A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas (finished 03/10)

Liane Moriarty
Dorothy Cannell

Murder Sends a Postcard
1. Vespers Rising - Rick Riordan (finished 01/17)
2. The End of the World Running Club - Adrian J. Walker (finished 02/24)
3. The Medusa Plot - Gordon Korman (finished 03/08)

A Year in the World
Bella Tuscany
Eat, Pray, Love

Edited: Mar 13, 4:44pm Top

A Murder in Time
Set in the Future
1. Artemis - Andy Weir (finished 01/01)
2. Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan (finished 02/03)
3. The Pirate Loop - Simon Gurrier (finished 03/03)

In Death series
New York 2140

Murder Is Binding
Books, Libraries, Librarians
1. The Art of the Book of Life - Jorge Gutierrez (finished 01/02)
2. Homicide in Hardcover - Kate Carlisle (currently reading)

Booktown series
Aurora Teagarden series
Murder in the Paperback Parlor
The Little Paris Bookshop

Edited: Feb 28, 8:48pm Top

Turkey Day Murder
Set During a Holiday
1. Sugar Cookie Murder - Joanne Fluke (Valentine's Day - finished 01/21)

Plum Spooky

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
1. A Dinner to Die for - Neil Richards (finished 02/06)
2. Plum Spooky - Janet Evanovich (finished 03/01)

Sushi for Beginners
The Cookbook Collector
Hannah Swenson series
Pies and Prejudice

Edited: Mar 11, 9:03am Top

Murder of the Century
Books Set in the Past
1. The Girl from Rawblood - Catriona Ward (finished 01/14)
2. Revenge of the Judoon - Terrance Dicks (finished 01/22)
3. The Slitheen Excursion - Simon Gurrier (finished 02/06)
4. The Alienist - Caleb Carr (finished 02/22)

Becoming Marie Antoinette
Rules of Civility
Salt to the Sea

Murder with Peacocks
Animals (in the story, on the cover, etc)
1. Meddling Kids - Edgar Cantero (finished 01/07)
2. Turtles All the Way Down - John Green (finished 03/11)

Marley and Me
Dewey The Library Cat
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
Desperate Housedogs
Last Chance Llama Ranch

Edited: Mar 12, 3:29pm Top

Murder on the QE2
Water Plays a Role
1. The Book of Dust - Phillip Pullman (finished 01/09)
2. Sail - James Patterson (finished 02/05)
3. Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson (finished 03/13)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Clive Cussler books
The Last Ship

The ABC Murders
Author's Name Starts with A, B, or C
1. Prisoner of the Daleks - Trevor Baxendale (finished 02/19)
2. The Walking Dead: Search and Destroy - Jay Bonansinga (finished 02/27)
3. The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton (finished 03/2)
4. The Importance of Being Ernestine - Dorothy Cannell (finished 03/06)
5. The Monsters Inside - Stephen Cole (finished 03/11)

The Hate U Give

Edited: Mar 7, 7:51pm Top

Murder in the Mystery Suite
Set in a Hotel, B&B, or Inn

Inn Boonsboro trilogy
The Lonely Hearts Hotel

Murder at the Academy Awards
Big Screen / Small Screen
1. The Art of Coco - Lee Unkrich (finished 01/01)
2. American Gods - Neil Gaiman (finished 01/06)
3. Torchwood: Consequences - Joseph Lidster (finished 01/01)
4. The Walking Dead: Lines We Cross - Robert Kirkman (finished 03/07)

The English Patient
Little Women
Murder She Wrote series

Edited: Mar 6, 4:15pm Top

A Second Helping of Murder
Series Reads (after one)

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder
Color in the Title or in the Author's Name
1. The Redbreast - Jo Nesbø (finished 01/25)
2. Peach Cobbler Murder - Joanne Fluke (finished 01/31)

A Spool of Blue Thread
Black Order
Silver Wedding
White Christmas Pie
The Hazel Wood

Edited: Mar 12, 2:23pm Top

Murder on a Girl's Night Out
1. Nighthawk - Clive Cussler (finished 02/09)

Bad Moon Rising
The Night Manager
House of Night series
The Girl Who Chased the Moon

Murder 101
1. Hardcore Twenty-Four - Janet Evanovich (finished 01/01)
2. The Fourth Dimension - Eric Walters (finished 03/01)
3. Year One - Nora Roberts (finished 03/13)

The Girl in 6E

Edited: Feb 19, 11:18am Top

Murder Past Due
Library Books
1. XO - Jeffrey Deaver (finished 02/15)

It's Not Always Murder
Everything Else

Edited: Mar 12, 3:31pm Top


RandomCAT (Book Bullet): American Gods
ColorCAT (Black): Artemis, American Gods
MysteryCAT (Nordic): The Redbreast
ScaredyKIT (Gothic): The Girl from Rawblood
SFFF KIT (Tomorrow): American Gods
AlphaKIT (M): Meddling Kids
AlphaKIT (V): Vespers Rising

February (hosting ScaredyKIT) COMPLETE

RandomCAT (Uncommon Holiday): Sail
ColorCAT (Brown): Nighthawk
MysteryCAT (Female Slueth): Cherringham: A Dinner to Die For
ScaredyKIT (Survival / Disaster): Sail
SFFF KIT (Urban Fantasy): Dead Witch Walking
AlphaKIT (P): Sail by James Patterson
AlphaKIT (J): Sail by James Patterson


RandomCAT (Headline):
ColorCAT (Green): Turtles All the Way Down
MysteryCAT (Global): The Importance of Being Ernestine
ScaredyKIT (Weird Fiction):
SFFF KIT (Off World): The Pirate Loop
AlphaKIT (F): The Fourth Dimension
AlphaKIT (I): The Importance of Being Ernestine

Turtles All the Way Down for Color, Cherry Cheesecake Murder for Alpha (F), The Impossible Fortress for Alpha (I), The Pirate Loop for SFFF, Swamplandia? for Scaredy, Dorothy Cannell for Mystery

April (hosting SFFF KIT)

RandomCAT (theme):
ColorCAT (Yellow):
MysteryCAT (Classic):
ScaredyKIT (Supernatural):
SFFF KIT (Time Travel):
AlphaKIT (Y):
AlphaKIT (U):

Uprooted for Color and Alpha (U), A Year in the World or The Year of Yes for Alpha (Y), Feast of the Drowned for SFFF Supernatural: Fresh Meat for Scaredy


RandomCAT (theme):
ColorCAT (Blue):
MysteryCAT (Transit):
ScaredyKIT (Close to Home):
SFFF KIT (Rise Up):
AlphaKIT (Q):
AlphaKIT (K):

Someone Like You for Color and Alpha (Kelly - K), A Question of Murder for Alpha (Q)


RandomCAT (theme):
ColorCAT (Purple):
MysteryCAT (True Crime):
ScaredyKIT (Adapted to Film):
SFFF KIT (Series):
AlphaKIT (G):
AlphaKIT (R):

Blood Magick for Color, SFFF, Alpha (Roberts - R)
Maskerade for Color and SFFF


RandomCAT (theme):
ColorCAT (Pink):
MysteryCAT (Police Procedurals):
ScaredyKIT (Science / Techno Thriller):
SFFF KIT (Cyberpunk / Techno SFFF):
AlphaKIT (S):
AlphaKIT (A):


RandomCAT (theme):
ColorCAT (Grey):
MysteryCAT (Historical):
ScaredyKIT (Series):
SFFF KIT (Funny):
AlphaKIT (O):
AlphaKIT (D):

Dawn (first in series by Octavia Butler - kindle) for Scaredy and Alpha (Octavia)


RandomCAT (theme):
ColorCAT (Metallic):
MysteryCAT (Noir):
ScaredyKIT (Stephen King Family):
SFFF KIT (Myths, Legends, and Fairy Tales):
AlphaKIT (B):
AlphaKIT (E):

Silver Wedding for Color (Metallic) and Alpha (Binchy - B)
Silver (audio read by David Tennant) by Andrew Morton for Color

October (hosting ColorCAT)

RandomCAT (theme):
ColorCAT (Orange):
MysteryCAT (Espionage):
ScaredyKIT (Ghost Stories):
SFFF KIT (Historical / Alt Historical):
AlphaKIT (N):
AlphaKIT (L):

Anathem for Group read, SFFF KIT, and Alpha (N)

November (hosting MysteryCAT)

RandomCAT (theme):
ColorCAT (Red):
MysteryCAT (Cozy):
ScaredyKIT (Serial Killers):
SFFF KIT (theme):
AlphaKIT (T):
AlphaKIT (H):

Possibilities: Gone or Micro for Color


RandomCAT (theme):
ColorCAT (White):
MysteryCAT (Futuristic/Fantastical):
ScaredyKIT (Psychological Suspense):
SFFF KIT (This Is How It Ends):
AlphaKIT (C):
AlphaKIT (W):

The Little Book of Hygge (kindle) for Color (cover is white) and Alpha (author name is Wiking)

Yearlong (X): XO
AlphaKIT (Z):

1. Fits at least 2 CATs: Sail
2. Famous Person in Title:
3. Money in Title:
4. Originally in a Different Language: The Redbreast
5. Unread 2017 Purchase: The Girl from Rawblood
6. New to Me Author: Meddling Kids
7. Autobiography / Memoir:
8. Published in 2018: Still Me
9. Longtime TBR: The Importance of Being Ernestine
10. Beautiful Cover: The Belles
11. Poetry or Play:
12. LGBTQ Main Character: Torchwood: Consequences
13. Read a CAT: Dead Witch Walking
14. Rank in Title:
15. Published > 100 Years Ago:
16. Humorous Book: Plum Spooky
17. >500 Pages: American Gods
18. X in Title: The Slitheen Excursion
19. Relative Name in Title:
20. Pacific Ocean Related: Nighthawk
21. Set During a Holiday: The Art of Coco
22. Something in the Sky in the Title:
23. 1001 List: Treasure Island
24. Number in the Title: Hardcore Twenty-Four
25. Involves Travel: The End of the World Running Club


2. Becoming Marie Antoinette
3. Crazy Rich Asians
7. Eat, Pray, Love, Born a Crime
14. Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, Queen of Babble
19. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, The Storekeeper's Daughter, The Godmother
22. Red Sparrow, By the Light of the Moon

Sep 24, 2017, 4:11pm Top

Excellent theme! I especially like the "everything else" category name. Very clever! Have a great reading year :D

Sep 25, 2017, 12:43pm Top

Yes, I really like your category names too!

Sep 25, 2017, 1:37pm Top

Fun categories, Traci, looks like 2018 will be a year of great reading for you.

Sep 25, 2017, 4:14pm Top

Love your creative and cozy categories!

Sep 27, 2017, 12:35pm Top

Love this theme and your categories! I'll be following along because I love all kinds of mysteries.

Oct 18, 2017, 7:44am Top

Very creative theme for the year. I look forward to stopping by.

Oct 18, 2017, 9:02am Top

Thanks, guys.

I don't know if any if your ever saw it, but a while back (probably 10 or 20 years ago) there was a commercial that ran around Christmas time. I don't remember what it was for, some large store. As I remember it, it was supposed to be the morning of Black Friday, and there was a woman standing at the glass doors looking in and saying "Open. Open. Open." As if she could magically make them open the doors sooner so she could get to the good sales. Anyway. That's how I feel. I keep coming to the group page thinking "Start. Start. Start." Like that will make January get here any faster. I may be a bit crazy. ;)

Oct 18, 2017, 9:12am Top

>18 virginiahomeschooler: I feel the same way! Never mind the giant pile of books I have out from the library right now.

Oct 18, 2017, 7:22pm Top

>18 virginiahomeschooler: I think that feeling invades all of us once we put up our new threads!

Oct 19, 2017, 7:32pm Top

>19 casvelyn: & >20 DeltaQueen50: Its comforting to know it's not just me. :)

Oct 20, 2017, 5:06pm Top

Fun categories!

Oct 21, 2017, 3:00pm Top

>22 cmbohn: Thanks. :)

I'm so ready to get started!

Oct 25, 2017, 8:37pm Top

This is such a fun theme! I love the picture of the bingo dog! Look forward to following your thread!

Oct 26, 2017, 9:58am Top

>24 clue: Thanks!

Oct 26, 2017, 11:16am Top

Love your theme! Cozy mysteries are one of my favorite escape reads so it's quite fun to see a whole challenge based around the various types.

Oct 26, 2017, 8:45pm Top

>26 LittleTaiko: I'm fairly new to cozies, but I've quickly become rather obsessed with them. I find myself checking them out from the library by the dozens.

Oct 27, 2017, 2:57pm Top

I found a new (to me) used book shop about 15 miles from my house today.

My daughter and I spent about half an hour browsing. She picked out The Help. I got all the cozies. I have a feeling this place may end up getting me in trouble. It'll be worth it though. :)

Oct 27, 2017, 10:18pm Top

I love finding a new Used Bookstore. I could browse my life away in a good bookshop!

Oct 28, 2017, 2:54am Top

I'm planning a little trip next month and I can't wait to hit the quilt shops and the bookshops!

Oct 28, 2017, 12:45pm Top

>29 DeltaQueen50: Me too. I'm already thinking about when I can go back.

>30 cmbohn: My mom owned a quilt shop, that I worked for off and on, for about 15 years, and I miss it. I definitely don't pass a quilt shop or book shop without going in whenever I travel.

Nov 12, 2017, 12:41pm Top

Cozy is good and what I tend to seek out on cold winter days (and nights).

Yay for new (to you) used bookstore!

Nov 17, 2017, 2:51pm Top

Used bookstores are an excellent source of cozies! It was a clever idea to use books as the theme for your 2018 reading. Have a fun year!

Nov 19, 2017, 3:37pm Top

Great titles for your categories, looks like lots of fun next year! And yay for the bookstore discovery! :)

Nov 19, 2017, 10:14pm Top

I haven't managed to get back to the book store, much as I'd have liked to. My husband has the next 3 weeks off, though, so I'm hoping to get by there again soon.

I'm really itching to get started on next year's challenge. I'm so used to categorizing my reads in this way that I find it difficult to read without a set goal. Since I finished this year so early, I'm struggling to pick what I want to finish this year reading. Currently I'm on The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye, which was an easier pick since I've been looking forward to it for a while, but I'm stumped on what to read next. I'm tempted to reread the Mitford books, but then I also feel like that's a waste of time when there are so many I've not read even once. Ugh. Decisions are the worst. This is why I need categories. They really help me focus.

Nov 20, 2017, 5:10pm Top

>35 virginiahomeschooler: There is no set rule about having to start next year's challenge on January 1st. Some people start in December, especially if they have extra time off either before or during the holidays. You can start your challenge whenever you wish. :)

Nov 24, 2017, 7:36pm Top

Great theme!

Nov 26, 2017, 2:49pm Top

>36 DeltaQueen50: I hadn't considered that. I'd love to start early, but I have a few weird ocd-like quirks that make me think I wouldn't be able to. However, I think I may start a few longish books next month that I'm not likely to finish this year with the intention of counting them for next year (like The Count of Monte Cristo).

>37 thornton37814: Thanks :)

Nov 27, 2017, 11:40am Top

>38 virginiahomeschooler: - Oh, just mentioning the Dumas book makes me want to read it again! Love The Count of Monte Cristo!

Nov 27, 2017, 2:21pm Top

>39 lkernagh: The film with Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce is one of my favorites, but I've not read the book. I'm somewhat torn because the version I have is apparently abridged, and I'm not sure if I should seek out an unabridged version or just read the one I own. Even shortened, it's 600 pages, but I can't help feeling it's a bit like cheating.

Nov 27, 2017, 11:12pm Top

I have never read the abridged so couldn't say, although I would assume that the abridged would hit similar high points like the movie adaptations do. ;-)

Nov 28, 2017, 5:55am Top

>40 virginiahomeschooler: Looking at the names in the cast list I would say that they took some liberties with the book, dropping a few characters and many of the subplots, but also introducing people that did not appear in the book. So even an abridged version could contain surprises for you.

Nov 28, 2017, 7:50am Top

Hi, Traci!

I'm chiming in to say that I loveloveLOVE The Count of Monte Cristo, and part of what I love so much about it is the staggering number of seemingly-side stories that all tie in to the main plot in the end. So I'd say go for the unabridged!

Nov 29, 2017, 5:15pm Top

>42 MissWatson: I understand having to weed out some things when making a film, especially in particularly long works. If you're not doing a mini series, you're going to have to leave some things out. But I don't understand adding things in. Particularly when it's a classic.

>43 scaifea: I'm going to see if I can find an unabridged version at the library.

Dec 6, 2017, 11:52am Top

Just chiming in to say that I also really loved The Count of Monte Cristo when I read it a few years ago! I also found the movie with Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce enjoyable, but it does take several liberties with the plot -- even the ending is somewhat different!

Edited: Dec 18, 2017, 7:36pm Top

January Plans

CAT Plans:

*American Gods will work for ColorCAT (black cover), RandomCAT (BB from TONS of people), and SFFF KIT (I've started it several times, including this year, but never finished it)
*The Girl from Rawblood and/or Jane Eyre and/or The Witching Hour (reread) for ScaredyKIT (gothic)
*The Redbreast or The Ice Princess for MysteryCAT (Nordic)
*Frangipani for AlphaKIT (V)
*The French Gardener for AlphaKIT (M)

Books that will likely come up on my library holds in January:

*The Little Paris Bookshop on audio
*The Book of Dust on audio
*Practical Magic
*Seven Stones to Stand or Fall

If I read all of these and don't get distracted by anything new and shiny, I'll be shocked. I'm sure I'm getting a few books for Christmas as that's all I ever ask Santa for.

What I'm most looking forward to: Artemis, though I've heard it was somewhat disappointing.

Dec 17, 2017, 12:30pm Top

Traci, I love your categories and how you have organized your thread. Looking forward to following you in the New Year.

Dec 29, 2017, 10:21am Top

So, all the books I already had planned for January, and I ended up in the library yesterday. Without my kids. I tend to get into trouble when left alone in a library. This is what I brought home:

Obviously I'm going to have to develop some method of time travel or learn to survive without sleep if I'm going to get all these read (along with my other planned reads) in January.

Dec 29, 2017, 11:13am Top

I vote for the time travel method. Very nice stack - I have not read any of those.

Dec 29, 2017, 11:39am Top

I vote for time travel as well! ;)

Dec 29, 2017, 3:34pm Top

I think we all need a version of Hogwart's time turner!

Dec 31, 2017, 10:34am Top

>49 Crazymamie: and >50 rabbitprincess:, I'll let you know as soon as I work it out.

>51 mamzel: definitely! Or a TARDIS (and maybe the 10th Doctor to escort me around)

Speaking of...I hope you all have a really great year!

Dec 31, 2017, 11:25am Top

>52 virginiahomeschooler: *sigh* I LOVE him.

Dec 31, 2017, 1:13pm Top

>53 Crazymamie: Me too. How could you not??

Dec 31, 2017, 1:17pm Top


Edited: Jan 2, 9:18am Top

Title: Artemis
Author: Andy Weir
Format: Kindle book
Own or Loan: Loan
Number of Books Read: 1
Number of MY Books Read: 0
Bingo Space: None
Group CAT/KIT: ColorCAT (black cover)
Rating: ★★★★

Jasmine Bashara never signed up to be a hero. She just wanted to get rich.

Not crazy, eccentric-billionaire rich, like many of the visitors to her hometown of Artemis, humanity’s first and only lunar colony. Just rich enough to move out of her coffin-sized apartment and eat something better than flavored algae. Rich enough to pay off a debt she’s owed for a long time.

So when a chance at a huge score finally comes her way, Jazz can’t say no. Sure, it requires her to graduate from small-time smuggler to full-on criminal mastermind. And it calls for a particular combination of cunning, technical skills, and large explosions—not to mention sheer brazen swagger. But Jazz has never run into a challenge her intellect can’t handle, and she figures she’s got the ‘swagger’ part down.

The trouble is, engineering the perfect crime is just the start of Jazz’s problems. Because her little heist is about to land her in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself.

Trapped between competing forces, pursued by a killer and the law alike, even Jazz has to admit she’s in way over her head. She’ll have to hatch a truly spectacular scheme to have a chance at staying alive and saving her city.

I had been so looking forward to this book from the moment I heard Weir was writing it. I adored everything about The Martian, and I think that was a bit of a hindrance when it came to loving Artemis. How could it possibly measure up? Unfortunately, it doesn't. The things that worked in The Martian, with one man pitted against not humans but his environment, don't have the same effect in a world filled with other people. Top that with a difficult to like main character, and the book just becomes disappointing.

But I rated it 4 stars. Why? Well, for one, I feel like it should be rated based solely on its own merits and not based on how it fails or succeeds in comparison to an earlier work. The writing is solid. The story is pretty good. Character development is somewhat lacking, but I feel it's compensated a bit by the level of environmental detail (a quality important in science fiction, to me). Finally, I have a soft spot for stories set in other planets, the moon, biosphere, etc. There's just something about the idea of surviving in a habitat where we weren't meant to live that speaks to me.

Jan 2, 9:33am Top

Title: The Art of Coco
Author: Lee Unkrich
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 2
Number of MY Books Read: 1
Bingo Space: Set During a Holiday
Group CAT/KIT: None
Rating: ★★★★★

This book is a spectacularly gorgeous behind the scenes look at the creation of the film Coco. From first sketches to finely detailed clay figures, it showcases all the work that went into the movie. It was also filled with background information on the holiday celebrated in Coco, Dia de los Muertos. The book, with its lovely embossed cover, is itself a work of art and one I'd recommend to anyone interested in animation film-making or The Day of the Dead.

I got this from the November Early Reviewers batch, and it's by far the best ER book I've won. My daughter had been anxiously waiting for it and grabbed it when it got here and finished it before I could get to it. It now sits on display in her room. That's high praise from a girl who is unfortunately not much of a reader. Neither of us have seen the film yet, but we are both now really looking forward to it.

Jan 2, 11:57am Top

Very nice review of Artemis, Traci. I have that one in the stacks because, like you, I loved The Martian. Your comments are echoing those of others as far as it not measuring up against that previous book - which would be hard to do really, but oh, how I wanted it to! I guess I don't have to hurry to get to it.

And The Art of Coco sounds like something my daughter Abby would love - she has a passion for animation film-making and for original story art that is used in non-animated films. She has a birthday next month, so I am thinking that would make a lovely gift.

Edited: Jan 3, 9:41am Top

>58 Crazymamie: Sounds like it would make a lovely gift. How old is your daughter? I also just finished The Art of The Book of Life, which was equally beautiful. My only issue with that one was that I borrowed it from Hoopla and read it on my kindle Fire. It definitely is not on the same level in e-book format. I suppose it makes sense that art books are better in physical book form.

Jan 3, 10:08am Top

>59 virginiahomeschooler: She'll be 22 on February 2nd. Oh! 22 on 2/2!

Yeah, those art books are best in that oversized print version, but then they take up so much space. Still, what a feast for the eyes!

Edited: Jan 3, 10:23am Top

Title: Hardcore Twenty-Four
Author: Janet Evanovich
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 3
Number of MY Books Read: 2
Bingo Space: Number in the Title
Group CAT/KIT: None
Rating: ★★★

Trouble comes in bunches for Stephanie Plum. First, professional grave robber and semi-professional loon, Simon Diggery, won’t let her take him in until she agrees to care for his boa constrictor, Ethel. Stephanie’s main qualification for babysitting an extremely large snake is that she owns a stun gun—whether that’s for use on the wandering serpent or the petrified neighbors remains to be seen.

Events take a dark turn when headless bodies start appearing across town. At first, it’s just corpses from a funeral home and the morgue that have had the heads removed. But when a homeless man is murdered and dumped behind a church Stephanie knows that she’s the only one with a prayer of catching this killer.

If all that’s not enough, Diesel’s back in town. The 6-foot-tall, blonde-haired hunk is a man who accepts no limits—that includes locked doors, closed windows and underwear. Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli isn’t pleased at this unexpected arrival nor is Ranger, the high-powered security consultant who has his own plans for Stephanie.

As usual Jersey’s favorite bounty hunter is stuck in the middle with more questions than answers. What’s the deal with Grandma Mazur’s latest online paramour? Who is behind the startling epidemic of mutilated corpses? And is the enigmatic Diesel’s sudden appearance a coincidence or the cause of recent deadly events?

Sigh. I'm torn with these books. I've followed this series for so long now, and I still find they have their hilarious moments (though there were few in this particular installment). But I'm so over the love triangle (now it's a freaking love square!). And I absolutely hate that she's pulled Diesel in from the short side stories she's written. They tend to have a bit of a supernatural bent, and she is edging far too close to that when she brings him into the full length novels. Ok, so these books aren't high on realism, and I'm all for zombie or other assorted fantastical stories in general, but the Plum books started out just straight fun with a normal, albeit not too plausible, plot, with normal, albeit supernaturally good looking, characters. I miss that. I want that back. And stop making Stephanie hop into bed with other people when she's in a committed relationship. How many readers would put up with Morelli if he were banging Joyce on the side every book? None of them. It makes me dislike Stephanie, and I don't want to dislike her.

At this point I read these books for Lula and Grandma Mazur. They are the high points, and I tolerate the rest of the bits to get to them. It really shouldn't be that way. I would love it if Janet would get back to what made these books so good in the beginning. Or just finish the series (though we all know she's not doing that as long as they are bringing in the dough).

Edited: Jan 3, 11:12am Top

Title: Torchwood: Consequences
Author: Joseph Lidster et al
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Borrowed
Number of Books Read: 4
Number of MY Books Read: 2
Bingo Space: LGBTQ Central Character
Group CAT/KIT: None
Rating: ★★★★

Saving the planet, watching over the Rift, preparing the human race for the 21st century. Torchwood has been keeping Cardiff safe since the late 1800s. But Torchwood do not always see the effects of their actions. What links the rules and regulations for replacing a Torchwood leader to the destruction of a shopping centre?

This was a pretty good set of interrelated short stories that tie in with the tv series. I felt like all of them captured the characters voices well enough. Some of the stories referred to events from the show, and at least one of them mentioned bits from other books (specifically Torchwood: Skypoint). There is an order to these books, and you don't have to read them that way, but I'd recommend it. A couple of the stories were actually quite sad, specifically one about an alien kaleidoscope. All in all, it was a nice little collection of episodes about the Torchwood crew. I'd definitely recommend it to fans of the show.

Jan 4, 11:04am Top

Title: The Art of the Book of Life
Author: Jorge Gutierrez
Format: eBook
Own or Loan: Borrowed
Number of Books Read: 5
Number of MY Books Read: 2
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT: None
Rating: ★★★★½

A tale packed with adventure, The Book of Life celebrates the power of friendship and family, and the courage to follow your dreams.

To determine whether the heart of humankind is pure and good, two godlike beings engage in an otherworldly wager during Mexico's annual Day of the Dead celebration. They tether two friends, Manolo and Joaquin, into vying for the heart of the beautiful and fiercely independent Maria, with comical and sometimes dangerous consequences.

This volume is an inspirational behind-the-scenes look at the making of the animated feature film The Book of Life.

I borrowed this one because of how much I loved The Art of Coco, and if I'm being honest I think the artwork in Book of Life surpassed that in Coco. Maybe I should have given it 5 stars, because I could tell that it truly was exceptional. Problem is I read it on my Kindle Fire, and it got to be a bit tedious in that format. Perhaps it's only in Hoopla that this is the case, but each page was first shown in its entirety. Then the page was broken into 5 or 6 smaller images and texts. Often the images were distorted when they were enlarged. Occasionally it made the text difficult to read. It turned what was a 200 page book into 1200 page turns. Not a huge issue since most of those were single images, but towards the end I was just ready to be done. That said, the book is undeniably gorgeous. Gutierrez obviously put his heart and soul in this film and the book as well. I would highly recommend it, but only as a physical book.

This is the view from my bedroom this morning. Henry (my 2 year old) is convinced it must be Christmas. My plan for the day is to avoid going outside and finish a book or two. Maybe catch up on Supernatural.

Edited: Jan 4, 6:01pm Top

Book Meme for Books Read in 2017

Describe yourself: Agent of Chaos

Describe how you feel: Sick Building

Describe where you currently live: At the Mountains of Madness

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Mars One

Your favorite form of transportation: The Underground Railroad

Your best friend is: The Husband

You and your friends are: Curious Minds

What’s the weather like: Murder Below Zero

You fear: The Wise Man's Fear

What is the best advice you have to give: Humans, Bow Down

Thought for the day: We Are Unprepared

How you would like to die: The Quiche of Death

Your soul’s present condition: Wild

Jan 4, 7:16pm Top

Oh, so good! I think yours might be my favourite meme results. All of them are perfect. Although I am sorry to hear that you're sick and hope that you're feeling better soon!

Jan 4, 7:36pm Top

>64 virginiahomeschooler: I think a lot of folks are feeling like a Sick Building at the moment.

Jan 5, 8:02am Top

>65 rabbitprincess: &>66 thornton37814: I'm feeling a bit better today. Mostly it was just that constant need to sneeze feeling which is really annoying. It's no wonder with the temperature going up and down and up and down that everyone is sick. Woke up to 4 degrees F this morning. Supposed to be near 60 on Monday. Then back down to freezing a few days later. I don't so much mind cold, but I wish mother nature would make up her mind.

Jan 5, 2:58pm Top

Wow, Traci, you are off to a great start. I guess all those books from the library got your motor revved up!

Jan 6, 12:09am Top

Without my kids. I tend to get into trouble when left alone in a library.

LOL, but fun wasn't it to roam the library freely at will? :-)

Time travel is the obvious solution to the problem.

Great start to your 2018 reading and I love that view in >63 virginiahomeschooler:!

>64 virginiahomeschooler: - Great meme answers! Love the weather answer! Seems so appropriate for certain parts of the world right now.

Jan 6, 10:45am Top

>68 DeltaQueen50: The problem is I want to start everything at the same time. I used to never be able to follow more than one book at a time. Now I find myself split between 5 or 6 and looking longingly at another I can't wait to begin. You'd think that would be something you'd grow out of instead of into. Aren't we supposed to gain patience as we get older??

>69 lkernagh: I think time travel would solve a multitude of problems. It would probably create a few too, though.

Jan 6, 11:03am Top

My husband and I started watching this last night on Amazon:

It's based on the Harry Bosch books by Michael Connelly. I've only read one of them (book 14, The Brass Verdict), and that was because it was a Lincoln Lawyer book. But I'm enjoying the show, and I think I'll pick up the first book when I get the chance.

Jan 6, 11:34am Top

You missed me up there in >60 Crazymamie:, no worries, but I didn't want you to think that I hadn't answered your question.

>71 virginiahomeschooler: I love Harry Bosch! Both the books and the show, which is very well done. I read The Lincoln Lawyer first years ago and then went back and started reading through the Bosch series. I have read the first 11 books and also the side books that fit into the series order.

Jan 6, 2:35pm Top

>70 virginiahomeschooler: I find the same as I get older. Maybe it's being aware of time passing but where I used to read one book at a time, I now always have a number on the go.

Jan 7, 2:40pm Top

I love your snow picture. Out here on the west coast, it is dry, dry, dry - even when it's raining! (Lots of clouds but nothing but mist) Compared to the deluges we had last year, it feels like we are headed for more drought.

Jan 7, 5:23pm Top

>72 Crazymamie: Whoops. I don't know how I missed it. Maybe we were typing at the same time? Sorry about that. If you do end up getting the book for her birthday, I'd love to know what she thinks about it. We're still on season one of the show. My toddler had a long nap this afternoon, and my husband and I managed to get 4 episodes in. I kept saying "we'll stop after this one." And then "ok, just one more." They really suck you in. I think we have 3 episodes left in season one. The story is great, and the acting is superb.

>73 DeltaQueen50: The hard part for me is to make sure I actually finish everything I start. That's another thing I used to never do - leave a book unfinished. Now if I lose interest I have no problem letting it go.

>74 mamzel: if it wasn't so dry, does it get cold enough to snow where you are?

Jan 8, 12:49pm Top

>75 virginiahomeschooler: I'm working on letting books go, for some reason it is very difficult for me to not finish a book once I have started it so I usually push on through it.

Jan 8, 2:41pm Top

>76 DeltaQueen50: I still struggle with feeling guilty about giving up, but I'm working on that.

What Henry's Reading
My little monkey has been bringing me books all day and "reading" them to me. In this particular one, there were lots of "fishies going zoom zoom. And the bear said grrr and nom nom nom. The end. All done."

Jan 8, 6:22pm Top

Henry has a promising career in flash fiction! :)

Jan 8, 6:54pm Top

>75 virginiahomeschooler: The last time it snowed here in the North Bay area, my 31-year old son was an infant.

Jan 9, 9:03pm Top

>78 rabbitprincess: Haha! Yes he does.

>79 mamzel: wow, that is a long time. I'm pretty much over it at this point. It's pretty for about 20 minutes. Then I'm ready for 70 degrees and sun.

Edited: Jan 11, 3:10pm Top

Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Format: Paperback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 6
Number of MY Books Read: 3
Bingo Space: More than 500 pages (591)
Group CAT/KIT: SFFF KIT (Tomorrow), RandomCAT (BB), ColorCAT (Black)
Rating: ★★★

Just released from prison, Shadow encounters Mr. Wednesday, an enigmatic stranger who seems to know a lot about him, and when Mr. Wednesday offers him a job as his bodyguard, Shadow accepts and is plunged into a dark and perilous world.

Ever have a book make you feel like something must be wrong with you? Like everyone else LOVES this book. But you barely make it through it, and just finish thinking "that was it???" That's how this one was for me. I've started it 4 times. I always got to around page 130 and just put it down for a bit, which inevitably turned into a year. This time I didn't start on page one. I remembered enough to start around page 100. And I still struggled to finish it, and it took several weeks at that. It's not that it's a bad book. Gaiman is obviously a master story teller. And there were parts that for me were really entertaining and I thought "ok now we're getting somewhere." But then it'd go back to being just a bit too weird. I really feel like the whole it's not you, it's me thing applies with this book. I think it must just be me. Because there is nothing wrong with the book. I just, for whatever reason, didn't so much enjoy it.

Title: Meddling Kids
Author: Edgar Cantero
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Loan
Number of Books Read: 7
Number of MY Books Read: 3
Bingo Space: New to Me Author
Group CAT/KIT: AlphaKIT (M)
Rating: ★★★★½

SUMMER 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster—another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the one-time kid genius and budding biologist, now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader . . . which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.

The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.

This book hooked me from the first page. It was weird and scary and funny and even a bit sad, but mostly it was just a whole lot of fun. It had the nostalgia thing going for It, but honestly that wasn't what did it for me. I can't even say what it was, but it was pretty awesome. Imagine Scooby Doo meets Lovecraft with a little Welcome to Nightvale thrown in for good measure. I'd first seen the book on one of those book lists "if you like Stranger Things, you'll love these books." Stranger Things is ok. My family likes it far more than I do - I do think season two was a big improvement. Still, I saw this on the list and thought I'd give it a shot. I'm so glad I did. The reviews I've seen for it are mixed. And I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone. It's odd for sure. But I really enjoyed it.

Library Woes

Can someone explain to me why the library gods seem to delight in making all my holds (that I've been waiting anywhere from 3 months to 8 months for) come in during the same week? I had 5 ebooks that I'd placed on hold on Overdrive starting back in April for one, and over the past 3 days they've all become mine. I managed to finish one today (Book of Dust), and I cancelled another because I wasn't quite as invested in that one, but now I must decide which of the other 3 I should read first in case I can't get to all of them. One of them is the nearly 1,000 page Column of Fire, so odds are good I won't get to all of them. Another is Seven Stones to Stand or Fall, which I place on hold months before it came out, back in April of last year. My husband says what is the big deal. Just buy them. But I've been waiting so long. If I was going to just buy it I could have read it months and months ago. Ugh!

Jan 10, 10:24am Top

>77 virginiahomeschooler: What a cutie!

>81 virginiahomeschooler: Very nice reviews - I have not read that particular Gaiman, so I cannot comment. I do think I have it in the stacks somewhere, though.

I hear you about the library holds - that happens to me all the time. I usually just bring them all home and see which one calls to me first.

Jan 10, 11:45am Top

>81 virginiahomeschooler: - I completely understand that feeling as I just had it with Lies of Locke Lamora. American Gods is one I bought last year and hope to read sometime in 2018. It'll be interesting to see whether I feel the same as you or not.

Jan 10, 7:37pm Top

If it makes you feel better, my cousin bailed on American Gods, and she rarely bails on books.

I have still not mastered the subtle art of suspending library holds so that they don't all come in six at a time when I re-activate them.

Jan 11, 10:06am Top

>82 Crazymamie: Thank you. I think he's pretty adorable. Even if he desperately needs a haircut. :)

>83 LittleTaiko: I hope you like it. Most people really seem to.

>84 rabbitprincess: I suppose it's nice knowing I'm not the only one. There are tons of books I've read that I didn't care for. I don't know why not loving this one bothered me so much.

Jan 11, 2:21pm Top

Title: The Book of Dust
Author: Phillip Pullman
Format: eBook
Own or Loan: Loan
Number of Books Read: 8
Number of MY Books Read: 3
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★

Malcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy....

Malcolm's parents run an inn called the Trout, on the banks of the river Thames, and all of Oxford passes through its doors. Malcolm and his daemon, Asta, routinely overhear news and gossip, and the occasional scandal, but during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm catches wind of something new: intrigue.

He finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust—and the spy it was intended for finds him.

When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, he sees suspicious characters everywhere: the explorer Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a daemon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl—just a baby—named Lyra.

Lyra is the kind of person who draws people in like magnets. And Malcolm will brave any danger, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through the storm.

I was so excited when I heard that Pullman was writing this book. His Dark Materials is one of my favorite series, so I'm thrilled that there'll be more to the story. I really enjoyed it. Malcolm is a great character, and I'm looking forward to find out what happens next. I listened to the first couple of chapters on audio, but I knew I wasn't going to have time to finish it that way so I decided to read the rest myself. I wish, though, that I'd had time to finish the audio version because Michael Sheen's narration was superb.

Currently Reading

Jan 11, 2:35pm Top

>86 virginiahomeschooler: Oh! I wondered about that one, Traci. We listened to the original books when the kids were younger - on audio, I remember because they were perfect for the long car trip up to Minnesota.

Jan 11, 3:07pm Top

>87 Crazymamie: I listened to the originals on audio as well, and they remain my go to whenever someone asks for an audiobook recommendation. The full cast is so fantastic. From what I can tell this one is just Michael Sheen, but it is still amazing. He does different voices for all the characters and does a magnificent job with all of them, even the female ones. I'd recommend it on audio and will probably go back and listen to it when I have more listening time to devote to it.

Jan 11, 4:33pm Top

Good to know. I'll add it to The List!

Jan 12, 12:37pm Top

Jan 12, 7:16pm Top

Love the Henry's Reading post.... that is so sweet!

Library holds are a challenge. Are you able to freeze your position in the holds queue (save your spot at #2) and then unfreeze it when you have no or only few books ready for pickup?

Looking forward to your comments regarding the Follett book! I still have very fresh memories of Book 1 and 2 in that series.

Jan 13, 10:46am Top

>91 lkernagh: I think there is a way to suspend holds but I'm not sure how. It's obviously something I need to learn how to do as I seem to always either have a drought or a flood of holds.

I hate to say It, but I am not loving the Follett book. I don't know if I'm going to finish it before it goes back, mostly because I can't seem to find the desire to pick it up. I didn't enjoy World Without End but finished it anyway. I'm sort of tempted to give up on this one though. :(

Jan 14, 6:21pm Top

Totally understand if your decide to TNF A Column of Fire! I admit World Without End was not nearly as good as Pillars of the Earth. I was kind of hoping that Follett would have been able to bring back the fabulous writing that was Pillars.

Jan 14, 6:45pm Top

>93 lkernagh: I just returned Column of Fire unfinished. I may pick it back up at some point in the future, once I've had time to forget how much I wasn't enjoying it.

I've got another going that I'm not feeling as well, The Girl from Rawblood. I'm sticking with it because I own it and because it fits the ScaredyKIT this month. But I don't have high hopes for the last half of it.

Jan 16, 3:45pm Top

>94 virginiahomeschooler: - Hope your next book is a great one since you've had a couple of so/so books in a row.

Jan 18, 10:52am Top

>95 LittleTaiko: Thanks. I put Rawblood down for a bit and picked up Sugar Cookie Murder which promises to be a quick fluff read. Sometimes I just need something brainless to get me back on track.

Jan 19, 8:23pm Top

Ive been trying to avoid buying more books. I have hundreds, maybe even a couple thousand (I'm not about to start counting them) on my tbr bookshelves (and even more on nook and kindle), so I certainly don't need more. But today I gave in to temptation. I only bought one, and my resolution to not buy any lasted 18 days, so I'm considering it a minor victory. Maybe if I just make it my goal to not buy more than one book for every 5 I finish off my shelves. Or maybe every 3...

The book I bought:

Jan 19, 10:06pm Top

You’re doing great on the book buying. I’ve officially bought 7, though 5 were using a gift certificate.

Jan 20, 9:20am Top

>98 LittleTaiko: I spent my gift cards and bought a bunch right at the end of December that I am counting in last year's numbers. :)

The problem is it's like an addiction. I don't need more books. There aren't even that many that I specifically want. But I'd give just about anything to spend the day in the bookstore and come home with a sack (or 3) full. I don't even really care what they are. I just want more. And then no matter how many I acquire, that feeling never goes away. One day I'm going to come home and my husband will have organized an intervention. I just know it.

Edited: Jan 20, 9:57am Top

Title: Vespers Rising
Author: Rick Riordan et al
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 9
Number of MY Books Read: 4
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT: AlphaKIT (V)
Rating: ★★★

I picked this up off my kids' bookshelves to fill the V requirement for the AlphaKIT this month. This is the 11th book in the series (I had read the first 10 books years ago), but it is a different format from the first ten. It is a set of four short stories, each written by a different author. And only one of the stories, the last one, involves the kids from the series. This installment is meant to be a bridge between the 39 Clues (books 1-10) and the Cahills vs. Vespers (books 12 and beyond). I suppose it does that, though I've yet to read beyond 11 so I don't know for certain. It seems to me that it's not remotely necessary. The first three stories were sort of boring, and when we finally get to a story with Dan and Amy, it's so brief that there wasn't time for anything to really happen. I suppose it is good to read if you're reading the rest of the series and are a completionist. Otherwise I'd skip this one.

Currently Reading:

I'm trying to finish up The Girl from Rawblood this weekend. I'm really struggling. I probably could knock it out in about 2 hours, but I keep finding myself reading a page or two and then setting it back down. It is so slow and draggy. I'm also reading Sugar Cookie Murder, which I'm enjoying a little more but still isn't holding my interest long. I keep getting sidetracked by Netflix. My daughter and I have been binge watching The Vampire Diaries - this show is so delightfully over the top and terrible. I've also been watching, on my own as nobody else wants to join me, The 100. It's pretty over the top and bad, too, but I'm sucked into the story now.

Jan 20, 1:40pm Top

>97 virginiahomeschooler: Excellent strength at buying only one book! I am doing a 2-for-1 reading challenge because I acquired a huge book debt last year.

Jan 20, 2:29pm Top

If it makes you feel any better, I too suffer from the same addiction. Both my husband and I have learned to live with it, but I am making a conscious effort to read more books from my shelves, but even so, I am filling them faster than I can read them!

Edited: Jan 21, 2:15pm Top

>101 rabbitprincess: & >102 DeltaQueen50: it does help to know I'm not alone. I slipped a little this morning, though. My husband said he thought I needed to take a bookstore break, so he sent me to the mall with no kids and the words "get whatever you want." So I did. :)

Not really book related, but I also bought my daughter these cute "reading socks" at Barnes and Noble, and Henry's been following her around the house saying "ho ho ho" ever since she put them on.

Edited: Jan 22, 9:30am Top

Title: The Girl from Rawblood
Author: Catriona Ward
Format: Paperback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 10
Number of MY Books Read: 5
Bingo Space: Book bought in 2017
Group CAT/KIT: ScaredyKIT (gothic)
Rating: ★★★

At the turn of England's century, as the wind whistles in the lonely halls of Rawblood, young Iris Villarca is the last of her family's line. They are haunted, through the generations, by "her," a curse passed down through ancient blood that marks each Villarca for certain heartbreak. Iris forsakes her promise to her father, to remain alone, safe from the world. She dares to fall in love, and the consequences of her choice are immediate and terrifying. As the world falls apart around her, she must take a final journey back to Rawblood where it all began and where it must all end.

I think I'll let this book be a lesson to me to be more selective in the books I purchase on a whim. This was bought purely because of the cover art. I didn't even read the blurb on the back. I don't know that I wouldn't still have bought it; probably I would have. But I really shouldn't let my head be turned so much by pretty covers. This book was probably very good, if you like this sort of thing. It's gothic and broody and dark. And boring. I struggled so much to finish it. The last maybe 50 pages were pretty good, but it was a slog to get to that point. The story was not bad, and it was quite creepy for those who like to be spooked, but the chapters alternating viewpoints and timelines was disorienting. And I found I really didn't care that much about any of the characters or why the events were happening. I do think this is a case of this book just wasn't written for me. For those who like heavier stuff, it'd probably be an enjoyable read. For me, I'm glad to be done with it.

Jan 21, 2:59pm Top

>103 virginiahomeschooler: It totally doesn't count if your husband *told* you to get whatever you want ;) Cute story about the reading socks! I laughed out loud :)

Jan 21, 10:43pm Top

Love your daughters' reading socks! Great book haul. I picked up The Library at the Edge of the World recently, too!

Jan 22, 9:46am Top

>105 rabbitprincess: It's like how calories you eat while standing up don't count. :)

>106 DeltaQueen50: I hope the book is as delightful as it sounds. I'm a sucker for books about bookshops and libraries.

Title: Sugar Cookie Murder
Author: Joanne Fluke
Format: Paperback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 11
Number of MY Books Read: 6
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★

During the Christmas party at Lake Eden's community center, Hannah Swensen stumbles upon a murder when Martin Dubinski's new wife, a former Las Vegas showgirl, is found dead with Hannah's mother's silver cake knife buried in her cleavage.

This was the weakest of the Hannah Swenson books I've read. I don't know if they are all this short and I just never noticed, but this one seemed like more of a novella. My copy was 384 pages long, but the story only went to page 200. The rest was recipes (which are mostly wasted on me because I can't have carbs). I wouldn't have minded the story being brief if it had been a good one, but it wasn't. Hannah is becoming more and more insufferable, and her love triangle situation is beyond absurd. I'll keep reading these because I usually enjoy the mystery, but I hope the next one has more substance.

Currently Reading:

Jan 22, 10:45am Top

Love your book haul and that you were sent to the bookstore to indulge! The socks are delightful and Henry's response to them made me laugh out loud - so cute.

I really liked The Redbreast when I read it - I am ready for the Leopard.

Jan 22, 11:42pm Top

>103 virginiahomeschooler: Great haul, and so nice of your husband to recognize your need of a bookstore break and send you shopping! Cool socks too!

Jan 23, 9:39am Top

>108 Crazymamie: I'm enjoying The Redbreast so far. Happy the books have finally gotten to Norway.

>109 VivienneR: After 22 years together, he knows what keeps me sane(ish).

Jan 23, 10:34am Top

Title: Revenge of the Judoon
Author: Terrance Dicks
Format: eBook
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 12
Number of MY Books Read: 7
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★½

The TARDIS brings the Doctor & Martha to Balmoral in 1902. Here they meet Captain Harry Carruthers friend of the new king, Edward VII. Together they head for the castle to see the king only to find that Balmoral Castle is gone, leaving just a hole in the ground. The Doctor realises it is the work of the Judoon.

I had a credit for Barnes and Noble that was set to expire soon, so I bought a few Doctor Who nook books, including this one. It's one of the ones touted as a "Quick Read," and it definitely is. I finished it in less than an hour. At only $2.80, though, it's not a bad deal all things considered.

So, here's the thing. I love Ten. He will always be the Doctor in my eyes (Nine is my second favorite, for the record). So, any time I can get a little fix of Ten stories, I'll jump at the chance. The problem with these quick reads, though, is there isn't enough substance to really feel like you've read a Ten (or Nine or whatever) story at all. This one in particular was more Martha than anything else. That said, this was a cute little tale which included some historical figures, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Again, though, it was brief. I think this would have made an excellent full-length novel. As it was, it was decent. The characterizations of the Doctor and Martha were fine (it'd probably be hard to get them all that wrong when you have so little content). The plot with the Judoon was adequate but would have been better had it been fleshed out more - again something a full-length novel could have addressed. Overall it was a moderately satisfying little book, but nothing exceptional.

I've still got about $10 of credit to spend before time runs out. I'm leaning towards 12 Doctors, 12 Stories but haven't made up my mind just yet. I don't know why, but I find it harder to decide when spending gift cards and credits than when spending cash.

Jan 23, 6:24pm Top

Together they head for the castle to see the king only to find that Balmoral Castle is gone, leaving just a hole in the ground. The Doctor realises it is the work of the Judoon.

Well, OBVIOUSLY! That would be my first thought too ;)

Jan 27, 9:44pm Top

107 - I think I'm slightly further along in the Hannah Swensen series and I'm sorry to tell you that she is still insufferable and the love triangle is still there.

Jan 28, 8:28am Top

>112 rabbitprincess: Lol I know, right?

>107 virginiahomeschooler: I like the movie Hannah more than book Hannah. So it sort of allows me to ignore some of her more annoying habits. I do wish book Hannah wouldn't act so superior all the time.

Edited: Jan 31, 3:51pm Top

Title: The Redbreast
Author: Jo Nesbø
Format: eBook
Own or Loan: Loan
Number of Books Read: 13
Number of MY Books Read: 7
Bingo Space: Originally published in a Different language
Group CAT/KIT: MysteryCAT (Nordic)
Rating: ★★★★

Detective Harry Hole embarrassed the force, and for his sins he’s been reassigned to mundane surveillance tasks. But while monitoring neo-Nazi activities in Oslo, Hole is inadvertently drawn into a mystery with deep roots in Norway’s dark past—when members of the nation’s government willingly collaborated with Nazi Germany. More than sixty years later, this black mark won’t wash away, and disgraced old soldiers who once survived a brutal Russian winter are being murdered, one by one. Now, with only a stained and guilty conscience to guide him, an angry, alcoholic, error-prone policeman must make his way safely past the traps and mirrors of a twisted criminal mind. For a hideous conspiracy is rapidly taking shape around Hole—and Norway’s darkest hour may still be to come.

This is the third Harry Hole novel and the first actually set in Norway. I struggled to get through the first third or so of the book because it alternated, in short chapters, between the present (Harry's present at least) and the past (specifically WWII). I had some difficulty keeping up, and I attributed that to issues with the names and my general lack of WWII historical knowledge, especially how it played out in Norway. Once it started sticking mostly to the present (1999-2000), I had an easier go of It, but I still struggled to keep up with who was who.

The story, overall, was a good one. I'm growing to like Harry more and more, and I was really glad we finally made it to Norway. I'm looking forward to the next installment, which I assume will tie up some loose ends from this one.

In finishing this book, I have now completed all the month's KITs and CATs. Yay! I'm still working on Altered Carbon, but it's fairly slow going even though I'm enjoying it.

Jan 31, 4:00pm Top

Title: Peach Cobbler Murder
Author: Joanne Fluke
Format: Paperback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 14
Number of MY Books Read: 8
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★

With The Cookie Jar, Hannah Swensen has a mouthwatering monopoly on the bakery business of Lake Eden, Minnesota. But, when a rival store opens, tensions begin to bubble. As she sits in her nearly empty store on Groundhog Day, Hannah can only hope that spring is just around the corner, and that the popularity of the new Magnolia Blossom Bakery is just a passing fad. The southern hospitality of Lake Eden's two Georgia transplants, Shawna Lee and Vanessa Quinn, is grating on Hannah's nerves and cutting into her profits. At least, Hannah has her business partner Lisa's wedding to look forward to. Unfortunately, Shawna Lee has finagled an invitation to the reception and is bringing her Southern Peach Cobbler for the dessert table. Things go from bad to worse when Shawna Lee and Hannah's sometime-boyfriend, Detective Mike Kingston, are no-shows to the wedding. When Hannah sees lights on at the Magnolia Blossom Bakery after the reception, she investigates, and finds Shawna Lee shot to death. Everyone in town knew the Cookie Jar's business was suffering, a fact that puts Hannah at the top of the initial list of suspects. But, with a little help from her friends, Hannah's determined to track down whoever had the right ingredients to whip up a murder.

I feel like this installment in the Hannah Swenson series was a big improvement from the previous one (Sugar Cookie Murder). Hannah is still annoying, though it was maybe slightly toned down in this one, and the love triangle is still there, but the murder and conclusion were very satisfying. This one was one that has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel. What's nice is that the plot was different enough that I didn't know what was going to happen even though I have seen the movie. The last chapter left a bit of a cliffhanger, so I'm anxious to get to the next one.

Edited: Feb 27, 6:31pm Top

January Recap

Number of Books Read: 14
Number of Books I Own Read: 8
Number of Books Purchased: 9 (whoops)
Number of Bingo Squares Filled: 7
Best of January: The Art of Coco
Worst of January: Sugar Cookie Murder

CATs and KITs

RandomCAT (Book Bullet): American Gods
ColorCAT (Black): Artemis, American Gods
MysteryCAT (Nordic): The Redbreast
ScaredyKIT (Gothic): The Girl from Rawblood
SFFF KIT (Tomorrow): American Gods
AlphaKIT (M): Meddling Kids
AlphaKIT (V): Vespers Rising

Books Acquired in January
1. Scythe
2. The Nest
3. The Library at the End of the World
4. Everyone Brave is Forgiven
5. Altered Carbon
6. The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
7. A Murder of Magpies
8. Revenge of the Judoon (nook)
9. The Silurian Gift (nook)

Feb 1, 10:36am Top

>117 virginiahomeschooler: I like that you list the books you acquired in January! I may steal that idea. :)

Feb 1, 2:41pm Top

>118 christina_reads: I've never kept track of them before. I thought it would make buying more than I read less likely, but it doesn't seem to be working.

Feb 3, 8:34am Top

Title: Altered Carbon
Author: Richard K. Morgan
Format: Large Paperback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 15
Number of MY Books Read: 9
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★

In the 25th century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself - a person's consciousness can be easily downloaded into a new body, making death nearly obsolete. Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly brutal. Resleeved into a new body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco), Kovacs is thrown into a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that buys and sells human existence. As a warrior-for-hire, he is called to help a far-flung planet's government put down a bloody revolution. But when a rogue pilot and a sleazy corporate fat cat offer him a lucrative role in a treacherous treasure hunt, he's only too happy to go AWOL with a band of resurrected soldiers of fortune. All that stands between them and the ancient alien spacecraft they mean to salvage are a massacred city bathed in deadly radiation, unleashed nanotechnology with a million ways to kill, and whatever surprises the highly advanced Martian race may have in store.

I picked this up because of the Netflix show I had heard was being made based on the book. I believe it was released yesterday. It's one of those books that I will probably be thinking about for a long time to come. So, in that way it was successful. In other ways, not so much.

What was good? The general story, mystery, story building. All were pretty terrific. Having not read tons of hard science fiction, specifically noir/cyberpunk sci-fi, the plot seemed wholly original to me. I was intrigued by the idea of sleeves and their meaning for immortality. I do feel like that could have been fleshed out more (get to that in a bit), but the concept was neat. Kovacs as a character was decent. Maybe a little too amazing in every way, but I grew to like him. Somewhat. Secondary characters were pretty well thought out, though I had some issues with motivations and why some did the things they did. The world-building was pretty phenomenal and probably the best thing about this book. For a debut, Morgan did a great job setting the scene. I have no complaints about that aspect. If it were just the good stuff and none of the bad, I'd recommend this book wholeheartedly. However...

What wasn't good. Let me preface this by saying I don't feel I am a prude when it comes to what I read. I am open-minded and not bothered by most things. That said, this book was over the top when it came to depictions of sex and violence. The sex scenes were drawn out and described to the very last detail, and the violence wandered into the realm of what I'd call torture porn. It was not enjoyable to read. Somewhat related to that, I found the author's depiction of women and their roles to be very backward and occasionally misogynistic. Women served essentially one role in this story. When I first started reading it, I thought how dated it was. I could tell right off it had been written in the 1970's just by the descriptions and treatment of women. Then I found out it was written in 2002. So I assume it's just the author's ideas about women that come from the 70s.

Take all the good and the bad, and I'm still left thinking about this book. Specifically it is the idea of immortality. If I die, but essentially my memories and personality and the things that make up me are saved in some sort of thing I pictured as resembling a thumb drive and inserted into a new body, does that mean I am not dead? I'm not sure I see it that way. While I don't believe in the idea of soul in a religious sense, I do feel like I am more than the culmination of my memories and DNA. I could see this being useful if, for instance, I died when my children were still very young. My Henry is just about to turn 3. I would not want to leave him without a mommy. So from his perspective if my "essence" could be sleeved in a new body, he'd still have his mommy. But the me that was me did cease to exist. I don't see that as immortality. I have no interest in leaving a perpetual copy of myself to be brought out each time one of me kicks the bucket. I'd have liked to see this discussed more within the book.

My final thought is that the book had many very good aspects and a few issues that made it hard to continue. I have a feeling Netflix will only exacerbate the issues I had. I don't think I'll be watching it.

Feb 3, 10:05pm Top

>116 virginiahomeschooler: Now I'm wishing I'd purchased that can of peaches I almost bought at Aldi today.

Feb 4, 8:51am Top

>121 thornton37814: lol. They're building an Aldi about a mile from me, and I am irrationally excited about it. I've never been inside one before.

Edited: Feb 5, 8:35am Top

Title: Dead Witch Walking
Author: Kim Harrison
Format: eBook
Own or Loan: Loan
Number of Books Read: 16
Number of MY Books Read: 9
Bingo Space: Read a CAT
Group CAT/KIT: SFFF KIT (urban fantasy)
Rating: ★★★★

Sexy bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan prowls the dark streets of Cincinnati, keeping tabs on the vampires and other creatures of the supernatural who prey on the city's innocent and vulnerable inhabitants.

I have been hearing about this series for a few years now and decided to give the first one a go. I'm really glad I did. The plot was a lot of fun and I loved the characters. It got a bit repetitive in the middle and could have done with about 30 or 40 fewer pages, I think. But overall it was a cute little start to a series I will continue.

Feb 4, 6:22pm Top

I am afraid I have to DNF The Hunt Ball after one chapter. Ordinarily I'd never do that, especially one I own (how that happened, I don't know...its the 4th of a series I've never read). But what I thought was a standard cozy mystery has talking animals. I don't know if the people know the animals talk or if they just chat amongst themselves, but it is just a bit too ridiculous for me. I'm going to have to find another "brown" book for this month's ColorCAT and female slueth book for the MysteryCAT, but that shouldn't be difficult. I think I'll add this to the stack of books I save for the local little free library box.

Feb 4, 9:26pm Top

>120 virginiahomeschooler:

I saw the first episode of Altered Carbon tonight and sex and violence are definitely there in perhaps more than necessary quantities. The story itself does seem to have some interesting ideas though. Just FYI.

Feb 4, 10:03pm Top

>125 hailelib: thanks for the heads up. The main issue I have is that there's one particular scene that if it's in the show I would not be ok watching it. The good thing is though that I would know it was coming and could leave the room and let my husband tell me when it was over. I haven't really set my mind one way or the other. I think my husband is interested in watching it, so I probably will end up doing so. Or I may just read while he watches it.

Feb 4, 11:18pm Top

>122 virginiahomeschooler: I'm sure you'll love it!

Feb 5, 5:29pm Top

You had a very successful January with your reading. Netflix has advised me that Altered Carbon could be a show that I would enjoy so I will probably give it a try at some point. We are finding Netflix hard to keep up with these days, they seem to be adding a new program or two every day!

Feb 6, 10:33am Top

>127 thornton37814: I assume it's similar to Lidl, which I love but the one here is a 20 minute drive so this will be nice being so close.

>128 DeltaQueen50: my husband and I just finished watching all the Bosch episodes on Amazon Prime so he's itching to find something new we can watch after the kids go to bed. It's hard to decide because we have too many choices with Netflix and Prime and cable (with hbo and starz). And most nights I'd prefer to read anyway.

Feb 6, 10:48am Top

Title: Sail
Author: James Patterson
Format: eBook
Own or Loan: Loan
Number of Books Read: 17
Number of MY Books Read: 9
Bingo Space: Fits at least 2 CATs
Group CAT/KIT: AlphaKIT (J and P), ScaredyKIT (Survival), RandomCAT (Holiday - Harbour Fest)
Rating: ★★★½

Since the death of her husband, Anne Dunne and her three children have struggled in every way. In a last ditch effort to save the family, Anne plans an elaborate sailing vacation to bring everyone together once again. But only an hour out of port, everything is going wrong. The teenage daughter, Carrie, is planning to drown herself. The teenage son, Mark, is high on drugs and ten-year-old Ernie is nearly catatonic. This is the worst vacation ever.
Anne manages to pull things together bit by bit, but just as they begin feeling like a family again, something catastrophic happens. Survival may be the least of their concerns.

This is a typical James Patterson novel. Short, action and dialogue packed chapters, heavy on plot, weak on character development. The story was pretty good. There were several parts where you'd just get to a climactic moment and it would time jump into the future and skip over what I thought were pretty integral bits of the plot. Overall it was a fast and fun romp with not a lot of substance.

I was able to cover 4 CATs/KITs with this one. I was tempted to use it for the ColorCAT as it was published by Little, BROWN and Company. But I felt like that would maybe be stretching it a bit too much. :)

Feb 6, 8:23pm Top

Title: Cherringham: A Dinner to Die For
Author: Neil Richards
Format: eBook
Own or Loan: NetGalley
Number of Books Read: 18
Number of MY Books Read: 9
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★

When a new restaurant with a starred American chef opens in Cherringham, it seems the Spotted Pig has a worthy rival. But a series of disturbing incidents turns that rivalry into something dangerous - perhaps even fatal. Jack and Sarah get involved and soon discover dark secrets about the new chef Anna ...

Can they uncover what is really happening before both restaurants go belly-up?

This is the latest in a series of short cozy mysteries set in the quaint English town of Cherringham. It was a charming little story that was surprisingly well written. I hadn't read any of the previous installments - it appears they release a new one every month - but I definitely plan to pick up the first few in the near future. I would recommend it to those who enjoy cozy reads.

Feb 7, 1:45pm Top

Title: The Slitheen Excursion
Author: Simon Gurrier
Format: Paperback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 19
Number of MY Books Read: 10
Bingo Space: An X in the Title
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★

In 1500BC, King Actaeus and his subjects live in mortal fear of the awesome gods who have come to visit their kingdom in ancient Greece. But the Doctor, visiting with university student June, knows they're not gods at all. They're aliens on a package tour. Can he stop this deadly holiday without endangering more lives?

This was a pretty good addition to the Whoniverse. With no regular companion accompanying the tenth Doctor on this particular adventure, it sort of reminded me of one of the special episodes, specifically Planet of the Dead for some reason. It started out strong, and I was sure it would end up being one of my favorites, but somewhere along the way it started to ramble on a bit too much. It could have been shortened by 100 pages and been better for it, even though it was only about 240 pages to start with. There just wasn't enough substance. That said, the characterization of the Doctor was well done, and I did end up enjoying it. I'd recommend it to get a fix of Ten if, like me, you miss him.

Currently Reading:

Edited: Feb 7, 9:35pm Top

>132 virginiahomeschooler: The library has this Dr Who novel, so I shall request it :)

Feb 8, 9:18am Top

>133 rabbitprincess: i hope you like it :)

Feb 8, 3:21pm Top

I saw an article today saying that there will be (at least) 3 new Firefly novels being released soonish. The first, Firefly: Big Damn Hero is scheduled to come out this October. The other two will be released in March and October of 2019. Shiny!

Feb 10, 5:50pm Top

So, I started the year planning to cut back on my book buying. My hope was to read more off my shelves than I added. That didn't go so well in January as I read 8 books off my shelf but added 10. Well it's only 10 days into February and already I've added 13 more books. Ack! It's not looking good, people.

But look at all my goodies!
1. The Impossible Fortress
2. Plum Pudding Murder
3. The Resurrection Casket
4. The Feast of the Drowned
5. The Slitheen Excursion
6. Prisoner of the Daleks
7. The Pirate Loop
8. Shada
9. Apple Turnover Murder
10. Daughter of the Pirate King (kindle)
11. The Fourth Dimension (ER win)
12. The Alienist
13. My Husband's Wife

Feb 10, 6:14pm Top

Too bad that book buying isn't an Olympic event - we could compete with each other for the gold medal!

Feb 10, 6:33pm Top

Oooo Doctor Who books! :D Shada is great. I'll look forward to your thoughts on The Pirate Loop. I love pirates and Doctor Who.

Feb 11, 10:11am Top

>138 DeltaQueen50: oh I love that idea. Although, I tend to be a bit competitive so that would definitely not be good for my attempt to slow down the buying.

>139 rabbitprincess: I'm slowly trying to fill in all the holes of my Doctor Who collection through Thriftbooks. I'm not going to buy the ones I was able to get through the library (they had a decent amount of 10, a few of 11, and like one of 9 and 12), but I'd love to eventually read all the "new series adventure" ones. I'm also looking for a way to display them. Right now they are just shoved on a shelf with everything else, but I'd like to separate them and put my funko people (I have Ten and Rose and really want a Jack and a Donna) with them.

Feb 11, 10:53am Top

>140 virginiahomeschooler: If you're ever looking for a particular title, let me know and I can keep my eyes peeled as well when I'm in the UK.

Feb 13, 2:36pm Top

>138 DeltaQueen50: - That would be an awesome event! Instead of medals the prize could be more books. Then they could add an event for reading the most from the TBR pile.

Feb 15, 10:58am Top

Today is Henry's 3rd birthday.

He is getting a couple of toys, but I wanted to pick a birthday book as well, and I found the perfect one. Every time he talks to his big brother or grandparents on the phone, the first thing he says is "I love you, stinky!" This may be my fault because I say it to him pretty often. Anyway, I stumbled upon this one at Target, and I think he will love it.

Feb 15, 5:21pm Top

Happy Birthday to Henry! I bet he loves his birthday book.

>142 LittleTaiko: & >143 virginiahomeschooler: Sign me up for the Book Reading Olympics!

Feb 17, 9:26pm Top

>145 DeltaQueen50: he loves the book. Of course, now he's calling me stinky face.

We had a little party for him today. He still doesn't really understand what was going on, but he does understand cake and presents.

Feb 18, 12:43pm Top

Title: Nighthawk
Author: Clive Cussler and Graham Brown
Format: ebook
Own or Loan: Borrowed from Overdrive
Number of Books Read: 20
Number of MY Books Read: 10
Bingo Space: Pacific Ocean Related
Group CAT/KIT: ColorCAT (Brown)
Rating: ★★★★

When the most advanced aircraft ever designed vanishes over the South Pacific, Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala are drawn into a deadly contest to locate the fallen machine. Russia and China covet the radical technology, but the United States worries about a darker problem. They know what others don't--that the X-37 is carrying a dangerous secret, a payload of exotic matter, extracted from the upper reaches of the atmosphere and stored at a temperature near absolute zero. As long as it remains frozen, the cargo is inert, but if it thaws, it will unleash a catastrophe of nearly unthinkable proportions. From the Galapagos Islands to the jungles of South America to an icy mountain lake many believe to be the birthplace of the Inca, the entire NUMA team will risk everything in an effort to avert disaster. but they may be caught in a race that no one can win.

I thought this was one of the better NUMA Files books. I attribute it to a good co-author. Like all of Cussler's books, it's heavy on action and water-related hijinks. There was less misogyny in this one, which was refreshing and probably contributed to my enjoyment. Mostly it was just a fun ride with a decent story and plenty of thrills.

Title: XO
Author: Jeffrey Deaver
Format: ebook
Own or Loan: Borrowed from Overdrive
Number of Books Read: 21
Number of MY Books Read: 10
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT: AlphaKIT (X)
Rating: ★★★

Special Agent Kathryn Dance must use her considerable skills at investigation and body language analysis to stop a celebrity stalker set in the world of country music.

I picked this book (which is the third in the Kathryn Dance series) solely because I needed an X book for the AlphaKIT, and it seemed like a decent story. I had not read the first two in the series, but I figured it wouldn't make much difference. And I don't think it really did. Having read The Bone Collector, I was expecting a solid novel. I was disappointed. The plot was ok, but there were far too many turns and subplots and things that just jump out of nowhere. The characters were two-dimensional and wooden. I had settled this at 2 1/2 stars until the very end, which redeemed it a teeny bit. But not enough. I may go back and pick up the Lincoln Rhyme (Bone Collector) series, but I don't plan to read more in this one.

Currently Reading:

I started this last night, and I am LOVING it and having a hard time putting it down.

Feb 18, 12:45pm Top

>146 virginiahomeschooler: Great picture! I think maybe we are born with an understanding of "cake and presents'!

Feb 20, 10:53am Top

>148 DeltaQueen50: True. Personally I'd pick cake over presents any day. Unless the present was pie.

Feb 20, 11:14am Top

Title: Prisoner of the Daleks
Author: Trevor Baxendale
Format: Paperback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 22
Number of MY Books Read: 11
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★

The Daleks are advancing, their empire constantly expanding into Earth's space. The Earth forces are resisting the Daleks in every way they can, but the battles rage on across countless solar systems, and now the future of our galaxy hangs in the balance!

I tend to enjoy Trevor Baxendale's Doctor Who books, and this one was no exception. I did have a few issues, mainly I felt he got Ten wrong in one or two key spots. While most of the dialogue fit, at one point The Doctor, after being blamed for the death of a human, exclaims "It wasn't my fault!" I can't imagine him ever saying that. For one thing, he tends to internalize everything, and I think he actually would have felt at fault in this instance. And for another it just felt sort of whiny and more in character with his John Smith personality (from Human Nature and The Family of Blood). The other problem I had was another dialogue issue, this one with the Daleks. Perhaps it's because the Daleks spoke in ZIG-ZAGGY BOLD-FACED ALL CAPS, it made it more exaggerated, but they were awfully wordy for Daleks. It just seemed out of character. All that said, I really enjoyed the story, and I found the secondary characters to be likeable and interesting. In the end, I felt like this was one of the better tie-ins.

Feb 23, 9:42am Top

I should reread The Alienist. It was so long ago when I read it. All I remember was that it was a great read.

Feb 23, 9:50am Top

Title: The Alienist
Author: Caleb Carr
Format: Paperback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 23
Number of MY Books Read: 12
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★★

The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan's infamous brothels.

The newly appointed police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, in a highly unorthodox move, enlists the two men in the murder investigation, counting on the reserved Kreizler's intellect and Moore's knowledge of New York's vast criminal underworld. They are joined by Sara Howard, a brave and determined woman who works as a secretary in the police department. Laboring in secret (for alienists, and the emerging discipline of psychology, are viewed by the public with skepticism at best), the unlikely team embarks on what is a revolutionary effort in criminology-- amassing a psychological profile of the man they're looking for based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who has killed before. and will kill again before the hunt is over.

I don't think I'd have ever picked this up had it not been for the new show being made based on the novel. It sounded good, but it's one that also sounds like it could be dry and slow. In the end, it was anything but. The story is fascinating, especially for those with any interest in psychology. I'm no historian, so I can't speak to the validity of the facts presented in the book, but it seems as though Carr did an immense amount of research to create his tale. Those little details help set the atmosphere for this one. And it's perfect. As Moore was narrating his story, I felt like I was with him walking down those narrow streets, all foggy and damp and smelly. Carr set his scenes impecibly.

As good as the story itself was, what stood out most to me was the characters. Each one was uniquely drawn, from the main to the minor. Sara was undoubtably my favorite, strong and capable in a time when women weren't "allowed" to be either.

I don't hand out 5 stars to novels often, but I feel like this one warrants it. I'd recommend it to those who like atmospheric historical fiction and psychological thrillers. It does delve into gritty stuff, though, so be forewarned - it has some nausea-inducing moments and may be more graphic at times than some would prefer.

Currently Reading

Feb 23, 9:52am Top

>151 mysterymax: I was really surprised how much I loved it. Have you watched the show?

Feb 23, 9:56am Top

Not yet!

Feb 23, 10:05am Top

>154 mysterymax: I'd been waiting to finish the book before I watched it, but I have the first 5 episodes DVR'd, so I'm going to talk my husband into watching it with me this weekend. I have high hopes that it won't suck. :)

Feb 23, 10:12am Top

>152 virginiahomeschooler: - This would have been a book bullet but apparently I added it to my wishlist in 2014. Your review definitely nudges it up the list of books I should seek out soon.

Feb 23, 10:36am Top

>156 LittleTaiko: I hope you like it. :)

Edited: Feb 23, 7:07pm Top

>86 virginiahomeschooler:
Another endorsement of The Book of Dust! It's on Mt. TBR!

Envious of your book-buying raids. I've been promising myself I'll be good and read off my Mt. TBR, but shiny new stuff is so tempting...

>137 virginiahomeschooler:
Love that picture!

Feb 24, 2:50pm Top

>158 -Eva-: I hope you like The Book of Dust. I've been thinking of going back and listening to the audiobook soon.

Edited: Feb 27, 6:11pm Top

Title: The End of the World Running Club
Author: Adrian J Walker
Format: Paperback
Own or Loan: Borrowed from the Library
Number of Books Read: 24
Number of MY Books Read: 12
Bingo Space: Involves Travel
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★

This book was in so many ways not what I thought it was going to be. I was expecting a story about a man who somehow ends up stranded on the opposite side of the country from his family after asteroids decimate the earth. Racing against the clock, he then decides to run across said country to be with them. Ok, so it's kinda that, but I feel like there was quite a lot more going on here than that. In the beginning I was not enamored with Ed (dude who loses his family). He made a fair few choices that left me thinking maybe his wife and kids were better off on their own. Ed ends up with a ragtag group all heading for what they hope will be their salvation and Ed' s reunion with his family...some 500 miles away. They encounter others while on their journey, and at times I struggled with the depictions of the people left in the aftermath of this disaster. While they weren't all the worst of the worst, Carr painted an awfully bleak picture of what he seems to think humanity would look like post apocalypse. I am not a particularly optimistic person, but I like to think that more of us would step up to help our fellow humans than would go out of our way to break them down. I don't know.

After all was said and done, I came away with pretty strong feelings about this one. And much better feelings than when I started it. It was a fast, hard to put down book that left me very emotional in the end. I don't think Carr is an exceptional writer, but his story was quite good and one I'm glad I picked up.

Currently Reading:

Currently Listening To:

Feb 27, 6:25pm Top

Title: Still Me
Author: Jojo Moyes
Format: ebook
Own or Loan: Borrowed from Overdrive
Number of Books Read: 25
Number of MY Books Read: 12
Bingo Space: Published in 2018
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.

As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you find the courage to follow your heart—wherever that may lead?

I'm of two minds about this book. It was good, better than After You, and left me satisfied in the end. However, I can't help wishing the story had ended with Me Before You. That book was perfect, and, though I enjoyed this (that I've heard is the final book?), I think some books are better as stand alones.

Feb 28, 7:17am Top

Title: The Walking Dead: Search and Destroy
Author: Jay Bonansinga
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Borrowed from the Library
Number of Books Read: 26
Number of MY Books Read: 12
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★

What could possibly go wrong? For one brief moment, it seems Lilly and her plague-weary band of survivors might just engineer a better tomorrow. Banding together with other small town settlements, they begin a massive project to refurbish the railroad between Woodbury and Atlanta. The safer travel will begin a new post-apocalyptic era of trade, progress, and democracy. Little do they know, however, that trouble is brewing back home ... Out of nowhere, a brutal new faction has attacked Woodbury while Lilly and the others have been off repairing the railroad. Now the barricades are burning. Adults have been murdered, children kidnapped. But why? Why subject innocent survivors to such a random, unprovoked assault? Lilly Caul and her ragtag posse of rescuers will soon discover the chilling answers to these questions and more as they launch a desperate mission to save the kidnapped children. But along the way, the dark odyssey will take them into a nightmarish series of traps and hellish encounters with incomprehensible swarms of undead. And as always, in the world of the Walking Dead, the walkers will prove to be the least of Lilly's problems. It's what the human adversaries have in store for her that will provide Lilly's greatest challenge yet.

This is the 7th novel in The Walking Dead series, and while it's filled with action, it doesn't have much more going for it. It had been a while since I read book six, so I really didn't remember where it left off. That didn't prove much of an issue, though, as there was very little substance to the plot. What plot there was felt rather ridiculously unrealistic. That's saying quite a lot considering it's a book about reanimated corpses that eat the living. It was a fast-paced, action and zombie (or biter) packed book, but it was lacking in every other way. There's an 8th book out, and I'd picked it up from the library at the same time I got this one. I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to read it, though. I'm no longer expecting the greatness of the first few books.

Edited: Feb 28, 12:06pm Top

February Recap

Number of Books Read Total: 26
Number of Books Read in February: 12
Number of Books I Own Read Total: 12
Number of Books I Own Read in February: 4
Number of Books Purchased Total: 33 (I don't know how that happened)
Number of Books Purchased in Febrary: 24
Number of Bingo Squares Filled Total: 13
Number of Bingo Squares Filled in February: 6
Best of February: The Alienist
Worst of February: XO

CATs and KITs

RandomCAT (Uncommon Holiday): Sail
ColorCAT (Brown): Nighthawk
MysteryCAT (Female Slueth): Cherringham: A Dinner to Die For
ScaredyKIT (Survival / Disaster): Sail
SFFF KIT (Urban Fantasy): Dead Witch Walking
AlphaKIT (P): Sail by James Patterson
AlphaKIT (J): Sail by James Patterson

Books Acquired in February
1. The Impossible Fortress
2. Plum Pudding Murder
3. The Resurrection Casket
4. The Feast of the Drowned
5. The Slitheen Excursion
6. Prisoner of the Daleks
7. The Pirate Loop
8. Shada
9. Apple Turnover Murder
10. Daughter of the Pirate King (kindle)
11. The Fourth Dimension (ER win)
12. The Alienist
13. My Husband's Wife
14. The Flood Girls
15. The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street
16. Uprooted
17. Crazy Rich Asians
18. The Bear and the Nightingale
19. Last Chance Llama Ranch
20. Moloka'i
21. Devil's Food Cake Murder
22. The Dry
23. The Girl in the Red Coat
24. Judi: Behind the Scenes

Edited: Feb 28, 12:23pm Top

March Plans

CATs and KITs Probables

RandomCAT (Headline): The Hate U Give
ColorCAT (Green): Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
MysteryCAT (Global): The Importance of Being Ernestine
ScaredyKIT (Weird Fiction): Swamplandia!
SFFF KIT (Off World): Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop
AlphaKIT (F): The Fourth Dimension
AlphaKIT (I): The Importance of Being Ernestine

Bingo Possibles

Longtime TBR: The Importance of Being Ernestine
Something in the Sky: Satellite
Beautiful Cover: The Belles (currently listening to this one)

Just Because Reads

Plum Spooky
The Impossible Fortress
The Store

Feb 28, 10:33am Top

>161 virginiahomeschooler: - Yeah, I can't quite decide whether I'm glad the other two books were written or not even though I enjoyed both. Part of me is happy to know how things turn out for Lou but yet...I suppose it's a way of seeing that life can go on after something tragic. Really hope there isn't a fourth book planned though.

Feb 28, 12:08pm Top

>165 LittleTaiko: Yeah i dont want another one either. I'd probably read it, but I wouldn't be happy about it.

Mar 1, 2:39pm Top

Wow, impressive February stats! I'm super intrigued by The Alienist, both the book and the TV show. Also, I hope you enjoy Uprooted when you get to it!

Mar 1, 8:54pm Top

>167 christina_reads: I'm not finding the show quite as compelling as the book (they so rarely are), though it's still enjoyable. I think we have seen 5 of the 6 episodes that have aired already.

Mar 2, 11:32am Top

Title: Plum Spooky
Author: Janet Evanovich
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 27
Number of MY Books Read: 13
Bingo Space: Humorous Book
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★½

Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He's chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he's chosen the Barrens of Trenton, New Jersey, as his new playground. It's up to Plum and Diesel, an über bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women, to hunt down Munch and Grimoire.

These Between the Numbers Stephanie Plum books are pretty awful. This is the 3rd one I've read and the last of the series (somehow I missed Plum Lucky), and I'd say it's the worst of the lot. There were a few laughs but not many. The plot was pretty inane, and the mixing of Stephanie's ordinary world with the supernatural world of Diesel really annoys me. Add to that a bird-flipping monkey and an old man who farts fire, and it's a recipe for a lot of eye rolling. On the upside, it's short, and Lula is always good for a chuckle or two, though even she was off her game in this one. If it had not been a book off my bookshelf, I wouldn't have finished it.

Mar 2, 3:27pm Top

>163 virginiahomeschooler: "Number of Books Purchased Total: 33 (I don't know how that happened)"

I wish someone would explain how that happens to me too!

Mar 2, 10:26pm Top

Title: Fourth Dimension
Author: Eric Walters
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 28
Number of MY Books Read: 14
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT: AlphaKIT F
Rating: ★★★★

Fifteen-year-old Emma has moved house with her ex-Marine mother and younger brother. It's a brand-new condo building, which explains the semi-regular power outages, as workers complete the units around them. So Emma isn't particularly concerned when the latest blackout hits just as they are preparing to leave town on a long weekend camping trip. But then the car won't start, and their cellphones appear dead -- and all the cars outside their building seem to be stalled in a long traffic jam ...

In the midst of what appears to be a massive power outage, with their camping gear packed and ready, Emma and her family canoe over to the islands, just offshore, to wait it out. But while they land on an isolated island, with a relatively hidden site, they are far from safe, as people become increasingly desperate to find food and shelter. And as the days pass, and the power remains out, the threat of violence becomes all too real.

I'm a sucker for a good end of the world as we know it type story, so this was right up my alley. While I had some issues with the characters' actions and the formula of catastrophe, resolution, catastrophe, resolution..., in the end, it was a fun, edge of your seat survival story.

Mar 3, 11:30am Top

Title: The Belles
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Format: Audiobook
Own or Loan: Borrowed from Overdrive
Number of Books Read: 29
Number of MY Books Read: 14
Bingo Space: Beautiful Cover
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★
Narration Rating ★★★★½

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it's not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite, the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orleans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land.

But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie, that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orleans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide: save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles, or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

I really enjoyed this as an audiobook. The narration was fantastic, and I felt that it added to the story. As for the book itself, it's quite good. A unique plot and good character development and world building combine to create a fun start to this YA series that I look forward to continuing.

Edited: Mar 4, 2:31pm Top

Title: The Pirate Loop
Author: Simon Gurrier
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 30
Number of MY Books Read: 15
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT: SFFF KIT (off world)
Rating: ★★★★

The Doctor hasn't the first idea what happened to the Starship Brilliant. Did it fall into a sun or black hole? Was it shot down in the first moments of the galactic war? And what's this about a secret experimental drive? The Doctor is skittish, but Martha is keen to find out.

This was one of the better Doctor Who tie-ins. Gurrier did an excellent job capturing the voices of the Doctor and Martha, the plot was enjoyable and well-paced, and the secondary characters were loads of fun (who doesn't love badger pirates?). This would have made a great episode.

Mar 5, 4:57pm Top

>174 virginiahomeschooler:
Badger pirates?! I have the audio-version, and I'll try and put this next on my audio-list.

Mar 6, 8:24am Top

>175 -Eva-: it was lots of fun. I hope you like it as much as I did.

Mar 7, 10:52am Top

Title: The Importance of Being Ernestine
Author: Dorothy Cannell
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 31
Number of MY Books Read: 16
Bingo Space: Longtime TBR
Group CAT/KIT: AlphaKIT (I) and MysteryCAT (global)
Rating: ★★★

Ellie Haskell becomes drawn into a mystery with her moonlighting housekeeper when a modish matriarch reports that the surviving daughter of a late ex-employee may be seeking revenge by killing off her mother's former employers and their descendants.

I discovered Dorothy Cannell when I was a teenager. I bought The Thin Woman and promptly fell in love with Ellie Haskell and quickly devoured the next few in the series. Perhaps it's just that I'm in a different place I my life, being a good distance from my teens, but I just didn't feel it with this one. This book (and a couple others of Cannell's) have been on my shelf for a long time. Like more than a decade long time. I'm glad to have finally moved it to my "read" bookshelves, but it wasn't particularly enjoyable...more a task I'm glad to be done with. It was ever so slightly boring, and, perhaps because I was skimming some, it was a bit confusing at times. The ending was somewhat unsatisfying as well. I plan to read the others I have since I've had them so long (and moved them across the country twice and across town twice), but I'm not overly enthusiastic.

Currently Reading:

Mar 7, 5:53pm Top

Title: The Medusa Plot
Author: Gordon Korman
Format: Audiobook
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 32
Number of MY Books Read: 17
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★½
Narration Rating: ★★★

Cahills are being kidnapped by a shadowy group known only as the Vespers. Now Amy and Dan have only days to fulfill a bizarre ransom request or their captured friends will start dying. Amy and Dan don't know what the Vespers want or how to stop them. Only one thing is clear. The Vespers are playing to win, and if they get their hands on the Clues ... the world will be their next hostage.

This is a nice little continuation of the 39 Clues story. Cute story. Decent narration. Short and sweet.

Mar 7, 9:14pm Top

Title: The Walking Dead: Lines We Cross
Author: Robert Kirkman
Format: eBook
Own or Loan: Borrowed from Hoopla
Number of Books Read: 33
Number of MY Books Read: 17
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★½

I got a notification from Hoopla tonight that this was available to borrow, and I may have let out a little squeal of delight. This is the 29th volume of the series, and I don't want to go into plot because of potential spoilers. Unlike the show, which has been a disappointment to me lately, I'm still really loving the comics. This one was just as great as the others. My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is that occasionally certain characters will look a bit different from one scene to the next. I chalk this up to having more than one artist. But it bothers me a little. Still, the story is solid. I like where it's going, and there's an interesting new character that I'm looking forward to learning more about in upcoming issues. Yay for Hoopla!

Mar 11, 9:02am Top

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Format: Paperback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 34
Number of MY Books Read: 18
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★★

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.

This is one of those books I kept hearing people rave about, but I wasn't convinced. I'd read and was underwhelmed by Maas's Throne of Glass, and I figured ACoTaR would be the same. Plus LT's algorithm was fairly certain I wouldn't like it. We were both wrong. I flew through this book and can't wait to move on to book two. It wasn't particularly deep or insightful, but it was a perfect escapist read at a time when I really needed one. So maybe timing had something to do with it. But whatever the case, it was totally enjoyable. Lots of action, great characters (though Feyre is probably my least favorite of them all), and just a good solid story (that is clearly based on Beauty and the Beast). Recommended.

Mar 11, 10:53am Top

I don't know how I got so far behind here, but I have finally caught up with you! Loved reading through all the reviews - your February stats were awesome. Henry looks like he had a birthday full of fabulous - loved his cake.

Mar 11, 11:08am Top

Title: Turtles All the Way Down
Author: John Green
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 35
Number of MY Books Read: 19
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT: ColorCAT (green)
Rating: ★★★★

It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

This book. Sigh. So, in order to fully understand my feelings about this book, a little background info is necessary. My daughter, who is now 15, has severe anxiety and agoraphobia. This started 7 years ago after a bout of food poisoning so bad that she was hospitalized. Most of her numerous therapists and psychiatrists over the years have used the term PTSD. Which is not something you want to hear associated with your 8 year old. What started out as panic attacks soon developed into fear any time we would go anywhere "big" like Target or the grocery store. Then it turned into fear going anywhere at all. If I could have one wish, it would be to go back in time and do everything differently. Her life is so small. She leaves the house maybe 3 times per week. When I force her. And it's only to the library a few miles from the house or to a drive through to get dinner. I have to drag her to therapy and psychiatrist appointments through tears - and the worst part is it doesn't really even seem to be working so am I torturing her for nothing? For 7 years, half of her life and arguably what should be her happiest years, she has been trapped in this vile disease. She can't do sleepovers, she does school at home, she can't stay home alone (so I can't work or leave the house without her - you can imagine how that turns out), we can't go on vacations. We are, as a result, very isolated. It's not something I'd wish on my worst enemy, and I spend most days just trying to hold our little world together. So...

The protagonist of Turtles has a totally different anxiety than my Emma, but I couldn't help but make connections. Worse, I was looking at this poor girl in the book and thinking I wish Emma could do as much as Aza. I don't think we're supposed to be jealous of her situation. So the first half of the book was a struggle for me to get through. But not because of anything Green did wrong. Probably it speaks more to how realistic it all was. Still. After I got a little over halfway it started to get easier. I think because he went from trying to slap us in the face with the realities of her illness to the meat of the story, which was actually quite good. If I were rating it in halves, the first half would be 3 star with the last half a solid 4 1/2. I do think this is an important book that can highlight something most people don't fully understand. For Me, I'm not sure I'm glad I read it. It left me feeling down. As an aside, I borrowed the book from Emma, who couldn't get past chapter 13 because Aza's panic attacks triggered her own.

Think I'm going to try to find something happy to read. Maybe a Doctor Who.

Mar 11, 11:12am Top

>181 Crazymamie: Thanks! He loved that cake, but every time he had a piece he thought he had to run his dump truck toy through the frosting.

Mar 11, 12:18pm Top

>183 virginiahomeschooler: Well, of course he did - Henry was absolutely right.

>182 virginiahomeschooler: Wow. I am so glad you shared - that is a lot to handle for both you and for Emma. It sounds like you are doing everything right, and yet I know that feeling of not making progress where progress is so desperately wanted. My oldest daughter (she will be 26 on Tuesday) has Aspergers Syndrome, and so we have dealt with some of the same issues - not wanting to go to big places, being completely overwhelmed by a lot of people in one place. She doesn't have panic attacks, but she does have meltdowns. When she was a teenager, I thought she would never be able to go anywhere without one of us. Slowly but surely she has made progress - but it is the kind of progress that one can only see from a distance - by looking back to where you came from. She now has a job (she works with her Dad), and she can handle places like Target and the grocery store. We know that she needs a recovery time from organized social stuff like family get togethers or going out to eat and then to the movies. She still gets freaked out by new places and does not like to try new things, but she is growing - just at her own pace. So, I will say hang in there and keep doing what you know is a comfort for your daughter - no one knows her better than you do, so you are the best judge of when to push a little and when to step back. In the meantime, I will keep the both of you in my thoughts and prayers - I am firmly convinced that the positive thoughts of everyone here can make a huge difference.

Mar 11, 1:19pm Top

>182 virginiahomeschooler: Echoing what Mamie said about that being a lot to handle for you and your family, and keeping you in my thoughts as well. We're always here if you need friendly ears.

Hope Doctor Who does the trick for a more cheerful next book, and that your daughter also had something lighter to read next. What sort of books does she normally like? My friends' kids are starting to approach the teenage years, so I'm starting a stockpile of recommendations early.

Edited: Mar 11, 2:24pm Top

>184 Crazymamie: Thank you. I know it can get better. She's had some good periods, which is why I stick with the therapy still. In fact, she was going to outside classes in the fall. Just 2 days a week for one class, and it was hard, but she was going. But then she got the flu in November, and because she was sick she didn't go out for a week, and it just sort of triggered a relapse of sorts. At the moment it's as bad as it's ever been. I'm trying to remain hopeful that since we have been at a better place it's possible again. But then there's only so much I can do. She has to do the work. And I think right now she's convinced it won't work and isn't worth it.

It's nice talking to someone who "gets it." Our family are all a few states away, so, while they are well-meaning, they don't get it. They offer up, again well-meaning, advice like essential oils or going for walks (she can't even walk to the mailbox, she's not going for a stroll through the neighborhood). My sister in law suggested that all she needed was to get on birth control. Sure, because my child (who was 11 at the time) whose fears won't let her leave the house should be subjected to a gynecological exam and put on the pill. I know they just want to help her and don't understand the severity of it. But it's exhausting and lonely sometimes.

>185 rabbitprincess: Thanks. She's actually decided to give Turtles another shot. She had gotten to the bit where it got better so we'll see. She's not a big reader because she's extremely picky. Her favorite lately is The Hate U Give. She is not into fantasy and dislikes Harry Potter (if she didn't look like a miniature version of me, I'd swear she was switched at birth). She's not into love stories and sappy stuff, but then she loved The Fault in Our Stars and Everything, Everything. She's reading The Help right now.

This was taken last November. She was heading to a homeschool dance. This is why I'm hopeful. I know it can get better. So we just keep on putting one foot in front of the other until it does.

Mar 11, 6:31pm Top

>182 virginiahomeschooler: & >184 Crazymamie: Heartfelt sympathy. My heart breaks when I read of kids with conditions that prevent normal happy lives. What a lovely photo of Emma, she looks so happy.

Mar 11, 11:18pm Top

I so admire you and Mamie for all the extra care, attention and love that you are giving your children. It is lovely to see that picture of Emma looking happy and ready to step out. I am sure that living it seems like two steps back for every one forward so I too will send positive thoughts your way, and please, if you need to vent, feel free to do so, we will be here to listen and give mental ((hugs)).

Edited: Mar 12, 12:29am Top

Good luck to you both. I totally sympathize with the mental health struggles. All 3 of my kids have depression and anxiety and panic attacks. So I know getting through school is hard. It does get easier when they're older, in my experience, because the adolescent brain is still changing so much. But progress is really slow 🐌.

Edited to add that she looks like a cute, smart girl!

Mar 12, 10:14am Top

Thank you all so much for the supportive comments. It means a lot. :)

Mar 12, 10:54am Top

Hang in there, Emma. There IS a way out of PTSD and you'll find it. Your picture shows how bright and determined you are. And, a lot of your mom's friends here are pulling for you.

Edited: Mar 12, 2:18pm Top

>182 virginiahomeschooler:
Wow, that is a LOT to deal with. Those years are, indeed, supposed to be spent in unawareness and bliss (at least that's how I remember that age) where you shouldn't have to have any *real* problems. Not sure what the essential oils are meant to do, though... I have a dear friend who suffered from agoraphobia for many years, but is now much better (still not happy with big groups of people, but who is...?). Sending my best wishes for you and your daughter and am thankful you have the possibility to support her as much as you do.

>186 virginiahomeschooler:
Aw, she looks so sweet and happy. Suffering a little heartbreak over here. :(

Mar 12, 3:54pm Top

Oh, that is so much to deal with. I'm sorry also that your family doesn't understand, which I know only makes things harder since well-meaning support doesn't do much more than aggravate.

My position was different, but I'll say this: I suffered from debilitating depression, and maybe because that led to me not leaving the house as a 13/14-year old, it resulted in me having a lot of difficulty around crowds or in any space with strangers, and also really severe anxiety around being away from my mom--she'd be gone for fifteen minutes, and I'd start having a panic attack, thinking she'd been in a car wreck, kidnapped by a serial killer, you name it. So, yeah. I still (at 37) can't do stores with lots of people/shelves and high ceilings (like Walmart, Target, BJ's, etc.) except for in very short bursts, and generally gripping onto my husband's hand for dear life. Generally, he goes shopping to any big stores alone, though I can manage grocery shopping if it's a non-busy part of the day. My point is, and the only suggestion I could add... the way I got out of it was being drawn out in small bursts through writing and music and art. My mom encouraged me to do all of the above at home, and then she lured me out to socialize with small groups doing all of the above (a small book circle at the local library, a long series of 5-8 people art classes held at a local artist's home and a local arts studio, music classes to get better at piano, etc.). She tried having me do an art class/workshop at a local art store (like a Joanne's--too big) and that was a disaster, as I didn't even make it in the door, but I could do smaller groups in smaller spaces, and over time they helped me a lot. I know the small classes also gave her a break from being around me 24/7--I was, honestly, something of an emotional wreck, and generally attached to her at the hip, but she could do quick errands or meet a friend for coffee while I was at a class.

I don't know if any sort of small class would be possible for your daughter, or if there's any hobby that could grab her attention enough to allow her to be able to sink into it (as opposed to anxiety) if she were only around five people or so, but I thought it couldn't hurt to mention it.

Mar 12, 5:41pm Top

Thank you so much for sharing. It helps me understand better what my sister-in-law has gone through over the last few years. I'm not what triggered her anxiety but there were a few years where the only place she would go was maybe to her parents house. Fortunately for her she's been slowly improving and can go into town for shopping, etc...It took a lot of work with her doctors to get her there though.

Sending you guys positive thoughts in hopes that Emma will continue to improve.

Mar 12, 7:24pm Top

>191 mysterymax: :) thanks

>192 -Eva-: The essential oils was something my MIL heard, I imagine from someone who sold essential oils. Something about putting stuff that smelled very strongly of oranges on her wrists and neck (like perfume, I guess?) Was supposed to make her relax. All it did was make her smell like oranges. (We do try most of the less extreme suggestions)

>193 whitewavedarling: That's a lot like what we try to do. She does exposure therapy. The idea is to have her do things that get harder in increments. The problem right now is proximity to home. We live sort of in the middle of nowhere. And the anxiety sets in if we have to venture further than a mile or 2 from the house. And then there's the question of how hard to push her. I've had people say well just make her go. But she's 15. Not like I can carry her to the car and tie her down. And when she's crying and saying "mommy please don't make me do this"... It's like walking a tightrope. Push too hard and I'm afraid I'll break what's left of her spirit. Don't push hard enough and she may never get better. We've started painting rocks just this past week. I had found one at the grocery store one day and brought it home to her, and she loved it. She's very artsy. I told her I'd get all the stuff and she could make as many as she wanted. But she's got to go out to hide them. Even if it's just to the library or the Starbucks down the street. So, we'll see how that goes.

>194 LittleTaiko: I'm glad your sister-in-law is doing better. It's no way to live.

Thanks again to all of you. I have spent many nights lying awake thinking of all the ways I've screwed up over the past seven years. And worrying over how I'll screw up tomorrow. It isn't something I talk about much, but it's sort of cathartic to just lay it all out there. So thank you for listening. And for the kind words. :)

Edited: Mar 12, 7:41pm Top

On a positive note, I signed up for the 30 day trial of Audible today and got 2 free books of my choice. I selected two box sets of Doctor Who stories. All of these were included in the two sets:

I'm pretty excited about them. I'm listening to Treasure Island at the moment (narrated by Jasper Britton - it's quite good), but as soon as I'm done with that, I think I'll give one of these a shot.

Edited: Mar 12, 8:57pm Top

>195 virginiahomeschooler: It sounds like you are doing everything right. Great idea about the painted rocks, that could open up a whole host of other ideas.

The worst thing about any health issue is that people try to help by offering wacky ideas. When my brother-in-law was dying of cancer he refused to meet with any friends or family because he was absolutely sick of hearing "You should try this..." and "You should try that...". Just when sitting having a beer and shooting the breeze with a buddy would have meant so much. He lived in Australia and there was no chance of my husband and I visiting. We didn't mention his illness any more and just shared the usual chatty emails.

ETA: I can see rabbitprincess will be heading this way to check out your new Doctor Who collection!

Mar 12, 10:02pm Top

>197 VivienneR: you mentioning wacky ideas reminded me of something someone offered up as advice when we first started dealing with this. Emma couldn't have been more than 9. Her scout leader (this was back when she was still relatively able to do most things, though I had to be in the room with her when she went to scouts) suggested talking to Emma about her fears. Specifically her fears that she felt like she was going to die - if you've ever had a panic attack you know it can really feel like you're dying. Anyway she suggested I calm those fears by saying the worst thing would be if she died, but that that would actually be the best because then she would be in heaven with God. Now, I'm not trying to step on any religious toes, but I was not about to tell my child who was terrified she was dying that yes she might die from her panic attack but that would actually be awesome. I realize she probably didn't mean it the way it came out, but it wasn't helpful. I can almost laugh about that one now. Almost.

Mar 13, 10:34am Top

>186 virginiahomeschooler: What a joyful photo - thank you for sharing it.

I love the rock idea - my daughter Abby works in a coffee house, and they have groups come in to paint those together. I think it is such a fun idea, and she said that there is almost always one rock hidden somewhere around the shop every morning. I found one in the cart return at the grocery store - just sitting on the edge of the metal gate.

>198 virginiahomeschooler: YIKES! People are so stupid sometimes. SO stupid.

Mar 13, 12:50pm Top

>196 virginiahomeschooler:
Oooh, coveting... How did you manage all of those in one "box." I can't seem to find those on Audible (in a set), but perhaps they're for newbies only?

Mar 13, 1:01pm Top

>199 Crazymamie: There seems to be a little community here who paint and "hide" the rocks for others to find. Emma's really enjoying painting them, but I think she is most excited about making someone's day a little brighter.

>200 -Eva-: The first set is 15+ hours, and oddly you can get the stories separately as well. Why you'd want to do that, I don't know.

The second set is 17+ hours. Both sets have stories read by the actors from the show.

If you search tenth Doctor tales and eleventh doctor tales, it should come up. There were also box sets of the full length books, too, but I've read all of those so I wanted to (at least at first) get the ones I didn't have yet.

Mar 13, 1:08pm Top

>201 virginiahomeschooler:
Thank you! Found them now - they didn't come up when I searched "Doctor Who" for some reason.

Mar 13, 1:11pm Top

I LOVE the rock idea :) I also have to say that you're a better person than I--I have a feeling that a scout leader saying that to me, even about one of my students, would have gotten them a punch in the nose!

And, always feel free to share here! I know I've taken advantage of this community to share when I needed to get things off my chest, so to speak, and although I have no idea why it helps, it definitely does. Plus, I'm a strong believer in good vibes, and it can't hurt to have dozens of LT folks sending good wishes/vibes/hopes your way!

Mar 13, 2:26pm Top

>197 VivienneR: LOL Vivienne, you know me too well! ;)

>196 virginiahomeschooler: AWESOME collection!

Mar 14, 8:48am Top

>202 -Eva-: it probably came up for me because I initially was searching for David Tennant. :) Once I got to ten's set, eleven's popped up as "similar to."

>203 whitewavedarling: I think it's sometimes easier to talk here I think because family always wants to tell you how to fix everything. Sometimes you just need to say (or type) it out loud and process.

>204 rabbitprincess: I'm so excited about them. :)

Mar 14, 9:56am Top

Title: The Monsters Inside
Author: Stephen Cole
Format: Hardback
Own or Loan: Own
Number of Books Read: 36
Number of MY Books Read: 20
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★

The TARDIS takes the Doctor and Rose to a brutal deep-space prison colony. Can they stay out of gaol long enough to discover who - or what - is behind the sinister scientific plot that threatens billions of human lives? The TARDIS takes the Doctor and Rose to a destination in deep space - Justicia, a prison camp stretched over seven planets, where Earth colonies deal with their criminals. While Rose finds herself locked up in a teenage borstal, the Doctor is trapped in a scientific labour camp. Each is determined to find the other, and soon both Rose and the Doctor are risking life and limb to escape in their distinctive styles. But their dangerous plans are complicated by some old enemies. Are these creatures fellow prisoners as they claim, or staging a takeover for their own sinister purposes?

While the characterization of Nine and Rose (at least in terms of dialogue) was pretty good, this book as a whole was just ok. I didn't care for the prison setting, and the violence was weird for Doctor Who. I mean, there have been some nasty villains, some very violent by nature (the vampires that Eleven, Amy, and Rory encountered come to mind), but something about Rose being lashed with a whip and the Doctor kicking a gun out of someone's hand just didn't seem right. The plot wasn't terrible, and it was fast and full of action, but it wasn't one of the better ones I've read.

Title: Weapons of Past Destruction
Author: Cavan Scott
Format: eBook
Own or Loan: Borrowed from Hoopla
Number of Books Read: 37
Number of MY Books Read: 20
Bingo Space:
Group CAT/KIT:
Rating: ★★★★

The Doctor discovers a cache of weapons from the Time War are being bought and sold on the black market. Worse, a new and mysterious force are policing time, making use of the power vacuum left by the Time Lords' disappearance to shape history to their own ends!

This is a newish graphic novel featuring the ninth Doctor, Rose, and Jack. The story takes place between The Doctor Dances and Boomtown. Some of my favorite episodes are ones that feature Nine, Rose, and Jack, and it was so nice to find them in these new adventures. The artwork is pretty good, and the story was lots of fun. I'm looking forward to volume 2.

This topic was continued by Traci Gets Cozy in 2018 Part 2.

Group: 2018 Category Challenge

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