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LittleTaiko's (Stacy) 80's Music Challenge

2018 Category Challenge

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Edited: Oct 21, 2017, 6:47pm Top

Hello! I'm ready for another great reading year. This time I'll be reading along with some of my favorite songs from the 80's. These are the songs from my teenage years and while you couldn't pay me to be a teenager again, I do love revisiting these songs from time to time. (I might be listening to an 80's pop playlist as I'm typing this).

There are some standard categories that I usually have as well as a couple of new ones. There are 18 categories including one for the dreaded DNF. The goal is to have a nice balance between some structure while allowing for flexibility. I'll be participating in all the CAT's this year which is a first for me along with the AlpahKIT, oh and of course BingoDOG. The goal is to read at least 3 in each category though I know I'll exceed that in most of them.


1 Star - Didn't like at all or did not finish
2 Stars - It's okay but not something I would recommend.
3 Stars - I liked it but may or may not recommend it
4 Stars - Really liked it and am happy that I spent time reading it
5 Stars - Loved it and the whole world should read it too

Edited: Mar 26, 3:01pm Top

Big Time by Peter Gabriel - Iconic Books

Andrea shared on her thread a link to Most Iconic Book Set in Every Country which sent me down the rabbit hole of looking up all the books on the list and adding them to my TBR list.

1. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid - Pakistan (3 stars)


The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
The Comedians by Graham Greene
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The Bridge Over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle

Edited: May 7, 10:42am Top

The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades by Timbuk 3 - Books published in 2018

1. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (3 stars)
2. Clue by Paul Allor (4 stars)

Edited: Jun 24, 2:45pm Top

I'll Be Loving You Forever by NKOTB - Favorite Male Authors

1. Marcovaldo by Italo Calvino (4 stars)
2. The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch (4 stars)
3. The Mating Season by P.G. Wodehouse (4 stars)
4. The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes (4 stars)
5. Shots Fired by C. J. Box (4 stars)

Edited: May 28, 1:09pm Top

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves by Eurthymics - Favorite Female Authors

1. Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie (3 stars)
2. Still Me by Jojo Moyes (4 stars)
3. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova (5 stars)
4. N or M? by Agatha Christie (4 stars)
5. Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton (4 stars)
6. I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos (4 stars)
7. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (4 stars)

Edited: Jun 14, 4:53pm Top

Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx - Borrowed Books

This includes all the books my dad lends me throughout the year, all the ones he's already loaned me, or the books that I get from the library. Currently I have 26 out from the library that just keep renewing.

1. The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith (4 stars) - dad
2. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (3 stars) - library
3. Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz (3 stars) - library
4. You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried by Susannah Gora (3 stars) - library
5. Rise and Shine Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick (3 stars) - library
6. The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict (2 stars) - library
7. The Power by Naomi Alderman (3 stars) - library

Edited: Mar 12, 10:38am Top

One Moment in Time by Whitney Houston - Tournament of Books

1. Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim (2 stars)
2. The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker (3 stars)
3. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (3 stars)
4. White Tears by Hari Kunzru (2 stars)
5. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (3 stars)

Edited: May 28, 1:11pm Top

Thriller by Michael Jackson - Thrillers/non-cozies
Did you really think I'd pick any other song for this one?

1. Outrage by Arnaldur Indriaason (3 stars)
2. Black Skies by Arnaldur Indriaason (3 stars)
3. Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate (3 stars)
4. Raven Black by Ann Cleeves (3 stars)
5. Cop Town by Karin Slaughter (3 stars)
6. Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor (4 stars)
7. The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber (4 stars)
8. Infernal Angels by Loren D. Estleman (4 stars)
9. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn (4 stars)
10. Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber (3 stars)
11. A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber (4 stars)
12. Hot Seat by Simon Wood (3 stars)
13. A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber (4 stars)
14. A Pressing Engagement by Anna Lee Huber (4 stars)
15. As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber (3 stars)
16. A Brush with Shadows by Anna Lee Huber (4 stars)
17. The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley (2 stars)
18. Cold Mourning by Brenda Chapman (3 stars)

Edited: Apr 15, 11:25am Top

Stuck with You by Huey Lewis and the News - Acquired before 2015

1. Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder by Gyles Brandreth (4 stars)
2. The Wit and Wisdom of Oscar Wilde by Ralph Keyes (4 stars)
3. Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto (4 stars)
4. Selected Poems II by Margaret Atwood (3 stars)

Edited: Jun 19, 10:32am Top

Together Forever by Rick Astley - Books over 400 pages

1. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan (3 stars)
2. Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn (3 stars)
3. And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer (4 stars)

Edited: Mar 21, 2:23pm Top

Simply Irresistible by Robert Palmer - Book Buying Binge of 2017

1. Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris (3 stars)
2. The Age of Perpetual Light by Josh Weil (2 stars)
3. Fundraising the Dead by Sheila Connolly (4 stars)
4. The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas (4 stars)
5. Blindness by Henry Green (4 stars)

Edited: Jun 20, 2:52pm Top

Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar - New to Me Authors

1. The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (3 stars)
2. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (3 stars)
3. The Norths Meet Murder by Frances Lockridge (3 stars)
4. Chemistry by Weike Wang (4 stars)
5. The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton (3 stars)
6. Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce (4 stars)
7. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (3 stars)
8. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. LeGuin (3 stars)

Edited: Jun 22, 11:26am Top

St. Elmo's Fire by John Parr - Other

1. Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli (4 stars)
2. Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley (3 stars)
3. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks (3 stars)

Edited: Jun 19, 10:33am Top


Card #1

1. Book that fits at least 2 KIT’s/CAT’s - Black Skies by Arnaldur Indriaason
2. Title contains name of a famous person, real or fictional - Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder by Gyles Brandreth
3. Money in the title - any form of currency, type of payment, etc...
4. Originally in a different language - Outrage by Arnaldur Indriaason
5. Book bought in 2017 that hasn’t been read yet - Strangeways to Oldham by Andrea Frazer
6. New-to-you author - Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate
7. Autobiography/memoir - Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola
8. Book published in 2018 - Still Me by Jojo Moyes
9. A long-time TBR/TBR the longest - The Wit and Wisdom of Oscar Wilde by Ralph Keyes
10. Book with a beautiful cover (in your opinion) - Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
11. Poetry or plays - Selected Poems II by Margaret Atwood
12. LGBTQ central character - The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker
13. Read a CAT (middle square) - Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris
14. Title contains a person’s rank, real or fictional - The Black Count by Tom Reiss
15. Published more than 100 years ago - Sandition by Jane Austen
16. Book that is humorous - The Mating Season by P.G. Wodehouse
17. Fat book - 500 plus pages - And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer
18. X somewhere in the title
19. Relative name in the title (aunt, niece, etc...) - Aunt Bessie Enjoys by Diana Xarissa
20. Related to the Pacific Ocean
21. Book set during a holiday
22. Title contains something you would see in the sky - Raven Black by Ann Cleeves
23. Book on the 1001 list - The Picture of Dorian Gray
24. Number in the title
25. Story involves travel - From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty

Card #2

1. Title contains name of a famous person, real or fictional - Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life by Jonathan Gould
2. Published more than 100 years ago - Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
3. Originally in a different language - Marcovaldo by Italo Calvino
4. New-to-you author - The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson
5. Relative name in the title (aunt, niece, etc...) - Aunt Bessie Finds by Diana Xarissa
6. Money in the title - any form of currency, type of payment, etc...
7. Book published in 2018 - Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
8. X somewhere in the title
9. Fat book - 500 plus pages
10. Book set during a holiday
11. LGBTQ central character
12. Book on the 1001 list - Blindness by Henry Green
13. Read a CAT (middle square) - Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
14. Number in the title
15. Book that is humorous
16. Book bought in 2017 that hasn’t been read yet - The Age of Perpetual Light by Josh Weil
17. Title contains something you would see in the sky - Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie
18. Related to the Pacific Ocean
19. Book that fits at least 2 KIT’s/CAT’s - Death in D Minor by Alexia Gordon
20. Book with a beautiful cover (in your opinion) - A Brush with Death by Anna Huber
21. Autobiography/memoir
22. Poetry or plays
23. A long-time TBR/TBR the longest - Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto
24. Story involves travel - Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce
25. Title contains a person’s rank, real or fictional - Queen of Bebop by Elaine M. Hayes

Oct 21, 2017, 6:20pm Top

Welcome - this thread is officially open!

Oct 21, 2017, 6:44pm Top

Great theme! And I agree, I wouldn't want to be a teenager again either. I didn't want to be a teenager when I WAS a teenager :-/

Oct 21, 2017, 7:16pm Top

What a great trip down memory lane and a fun theme. I wouldn't mind going back to 30, but yeah I would never want to revisit my teenage years.

Oct 21, 2017, 7:17pm Top

I'm a wee bit older than you but I remember most of these songs quite fondly, although a few of them became ear-worms when my daughters played them over and over. Looking forward to following your reading once again next year.

Oct 21, 2017, 7:59pm Top

Looks like a fun year! Great songs picks, BTW

Oct 22, 2017, 4:09am Top

Love the songs and how they fit your categories. Happy reading!

Oct 22, 2017, 5:44am Top

The 80s was a special decade, wasn't it? It's surprising we all turned out as well balanced and sensible as we have when you look back at our formative years. I'd not been a teenage again for love nor money. But I know I'd rather have been a teenage then than a teenager now.
I will wander away, humming quite a few of those.

Oct 22, 2017, 1:15pm Top

I was doing other things in the 80s and missed most of the music. Great to see - and listen to - the songs, that fit your categories so well.

Oct 23, 2017, 11:15am Top

I loooooooove this theme! And now I can't resist leaving this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

Oct 25, 2017, 9:00pm Top

This is where I'm coming when I need a boost! LOVE Gloria, now and forever!

Oct 25, 2017, 9:27pm Top

>22 rabbitprincess: - Agreed - I was always wanting to me an adult and to not actually be a teen.

>23 virginiahomeschooler: - Yeah, my 30's were nice so that wouldn't be too bad to revisit, but I'm actually enjoying my 40's quite a bit so am content where I am.

>24 DeltaQueen50: - Oooh, the dreaded ear worm. I'm sure my mom would feel the same way about some of the songs I listened to over and over again. Pretty sure she never quite understood my NKOTB obsession.

>25 cmbohn: - Thank you! I had fun matching the songs to categories. In some cases, the songs sort of forced the category.

>26 MissWatson: - Thank you! I'm really looking forward to next years reading.

>27 Helenliz: - I completely agree. Being a teenager was hard but it seems that being a teenager today is really, really hard.

>28 VivienneR: - You were being a much more productive member of society than I was during that time. :)

>29 christina_reads: - OMG - love that you left that link. That is one of my favorite 80's songs. I think it's impossible to listen to that song and remain in a bad mood.

>30 clue: - She was awesome! I'm looking forward to seeing the musical about her career/life when it tours through here in 2018.

Oct 26, 2017, 1:09pm Top

>31 LittleTaiko: Haha, I just couldn't resist rickrolling you!

Oct 26, 2017, 1:24pm Top

Everything about this thread makes me happy! (another 1980s reluctant teen checking in here, although I wonder if I'm a few years older than you, as I would probably have gone for slightly earlier 80s tracks. 1983 was the musical pinnacle of the decade, in my opinion!). I've already more or less chosen my 2018 theme, but maybe I could use this for 2019! (with appropriate attribution, of course!)

Nov 6, 2017, 2:57pm Top

great theme! What is a tournament of books (Category One Moment in Time)

Nov 12, 2017, 1:08pm Top

Love the theme! I am a huge fan of 80's music and it looks like we have similar favorites from that era. ;-)

Nov 16, 2017, 1:46pm Top

Your theme is taking me back - I was also a teenager in the 80s, so I have big love for the music from that decade. Looking forward to following your reading in the New Year.

Nov 17, 2017, 12:25pm Top

One of the fun things about reading the book, Ready Player One was remembering all of the songs, movies, TV shows, etc. about the 80s. It was a crazy time. I look forward to seeing what books you choose for 2018.

Nov 17, 2017, 6:54pm Top

I'm finally checking in on threads and setting my stars for next year. What a great theme and getting the right songs to fit your readings. I already see a few possibilities that are interesting. I went through my teens before the eighties but many of the songs are still familiar to me.

Dec 3, 2017, 2:44pm Top

This is a fun theme with great song selections. I think you'll have many happy thread visitors next year! :)

Dec 8, 2017, 12:00pm Top

Looks like you're going to have a fun year! Good luck with your challenge!

Edited: Dec 13, 2017, 11:02am Top

I've been so busy trying to finish my 2017 books that I've neglected my 2018 thread. Never mind that I've been anxiously counting down the days so I can get started filling these categories.

>33 Jackie_K: - The early 80's stuff was good too but somehow the later 80's are seared in my brain a bit more. Looking forward to seeing what songs you choose if you do use this theme for 2019. So much to choose from!

>34 cyderry: - Tournament of Books is an annual tournament hosted by The Morning News where they put books in a bracket format and have a guest judge choose a winner. It's sort of like March Madness but with books. I've been following it for a few years now and try to read most of the short-listed books. Below is the link to the long list and they should announce the short list in January.

>35 lkernagh: - Not surprising I imagine since we seem to like similar books.

>36 Crazymamie: - It is fun to revisit those days for a bit. Do you have a favorite song from that time?

>37 mamzel: - Agreed, that was one of my favorite parts of the book. Have you seen the trailer for the film? Watched it the other night and I'm now really excited to see the movie when it finally comes out in March.

>38 dudes22: - Thanks for stopping by! It was fun to try and match songs to the categories.

>39 Chrischi_HH: - Thank you very much. I certainly hope people enjoy the challenge as much as I intend to.

>40 mstrust: - Thank you. I'm worried about actually filling the music non-fiction category. I have so many books that should work it's just actually sitting down and reading them.

Dec 13, 2017, 1:52pm Top

>41 LittleTaiko: Night Shift by The Commodores, but I also have a soft spot for Sister Christian by Night Ranger.

They played your >11 LittleTaiko: on my final day of high school for my senior class as school was dismissed. Very cool.

Dec 25, 2017, 5:34pm Top

I heart the 80s! Wooo!

Fun challenge and looking forward to reading with you next year.

Edited: Jan 1, 5:19pm Top

First book finished!

Don't You Forget About Me (Classics)
Bingo - 1001 list

1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (4 stars)

I remember loving this book when I read it as a teenager. However, I'm not sure if I loved it for itself or because I adored Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest and was determined to love anything he wrote. Rereading it now, I can now say I like it for it's own merits. It's still a fascinating story about the impact of living a selfish, vain, pleasure at all costs sort of life. What helps it along is Wilde's brilliant quips. Granted, his witticisms can get a little tiring after a bit and might be better suited for plays. So happy that it held up for me after all these years.

Jan 2, 12:23pm Top

I read Wilde's book a while back and, while it is worth reading once, it's not one I'm likely to reread. I would like to read his play though.

Jan 2, 12:55pm Top

Love the theme. :)

>29 christina_reads: Argh! Rickrolled!

Jan 2, 1:01pm Top

>44 LittleTaiko: I have that one in the stacks for this year - nice review! Glad to see that it held up.

Jan 2, 3:55pm Top

I wonder how many of us were drawn to your thread due to the theme!? Looks like a lot. I was also a teenager through most of the 80s, so I love the songs you've chosen! People are so creative with their challenge themes!

And I see you do the BingoDOG twice! Good for you!

Jan 2, 6:33pm Top

Dorian Gray was an interesting read, although I don't remember loving it. I do need to check out some of Wilde's other work, though.

Jan 3, 6:03pm Top

>45 hailelib: - Yeah, not sure if I'll ever reread it again, but I'm happy to have done so now when I understand more of what is happening.

>46 madhatter22: - Thank you!

>47 Crazymamie: - Hope you enjoy it when you get to it.

>48 LibraryCin: - Who knew my guilty pleasure was so shared by so many others? Yes, I'm attempting to do the BingoDOG twice. There are some categories that will be super easy to do twice and some that I'll struggle to do even once. Should be fun to see how it turns out.

>49 andreablythe: - My favorite will always be The Importance of Being Earnest. It makes me laugh so much every time.

Edited: Jan 4, 10:51am Top

Danger Zone (Cozy Mysteries)
Bingo - Unread 2017 Purchase

2. Strangeways to Oldham by Andrea Frazer (3 stars)

Who knew that the title referred to a cocktail? The things I learn while reading...Anyway, this is a fun first book in a series that features Lady Amanda, her friend Hugo, and her very patient butler Beacham. Amanda and Hugo are rather elderly but that doesn't stop them for trying to track down the suspected murderer of a mutual friend. The mystery is really secondary to the story and instead the reader delights in seeing these characters living life to the fullest.

Edited: Jan 8, 2:19pm Top

Stuck with You - Books Acquired before 2015
Bingo - Famous Person in Title
AlphaKit - M

3. Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder by Gyles Brandreth

I know this book has been on my shelf since 2010 if not later than that. I was finally inspired to pick it up after finishing The Picture of Dorian Gray and deciding to see what other Oscar Wilde themed booked I had. The set up to the books is that Oscar and several of his friends including Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker gather for dinner. After it's over they play a game called Murder where they all write down on a slip of paper the name of one person who they would like to murder. The slips are drawn and the intent is to guess who selected which person. Problems arise when the next day the first person on the list dies in what appears to be a tragic accident. When the second person on the list also dies, Oscar and his friends start investigating to determine who is picking off people one by one. I really enjoyed this book - it captured the essence of Oscar Wilde and friends. It amused me too that Wilde was more a Sherlock Holmes character than Doyle was.

Jan 4, 9:46pm Top

>51 LittleTaiko: I've never yeard of that series. I can't decide whether I'd enjoy it or not.

>52 LittleTaiko: That one sounds interesting. My library doesn't have a copy, but it was available to suggest on the ebook platform. Knox County does own one print copy if they don't purchase the requested copy.

Jan 5, 3:18pm Top

>51 LittleTaiko:
There are so many strange names for cocktails — a person could write a hundred books with a new cocktail-based title for each one. lol.

Jan 5, 4:22pm Top

I think someone here did their challenge with cocktail names a few years ago.

Jan 5, 5:11pm Top

I graduated high school in 87 so of course I LOVE 80'S music. Very cool theme and songs to fit.

Love The Picture of Dorian Gray. I found a coffee table copy of this book that is really cool.

Happy Reading

Jan 7, 3:00pm Top

>53 thornton37814: - It wasn't a series I was familiar with until I stumbled onto it when reading another series by the author. It was definitely on the fluffy side.

>54 andreablythe: - I wonder if a bartender would know what I was talking about if I ordered one. :)

>55 dudes22: - That sounds familiar. It would be quite easy to do and very fun.

>56 ALWINN: - Hmm, a coffee table book sounds intriguing. I'll have to be on the lookout for it.

Jan 7, 3:03pm Top

Could've Been - DNF

Had my first DNF of the year though really I should have counted it for last year since that is when I started it. Just couldn't get into a book that I know has a lot of love here - The Lies of Locke Lamora. I made it over 200 pages into it and realized I just didn't care how it was going to turn out. I sort of see the appeal but it was too violent for my tastes. The flashbacks were more interesting than the current story.

Life is too short to read books that just you really aren't enjoying.

Jan 7, 6:06pm Top

Sorry to see the Lynch book didn't work for you, Stacy, but as you said, life is too short to waste on books that one isn't enjoying.

Jan 8, 10:01am Top

>59 lkernagh: - It's one of those books where I'm still trying to puzzle out why it wasn't working for me since it seems like something I should enjoy instead of being bored by.

Jan 8, 1:01pm Top

>58 LittleTaiko: Sorry to hear that it didn't work for you but that does seem to be a book that people either really like - or don't. Hope the next book you pick up is a great read!

Jan 8, 6:33pm Top

>58 LittleTaiko: Ditto for me. I felt like you did, that I missed something that everyone else loved. I tried an audiobook version.

Edited: Jan 10, 11:10am Top

>61 DeltaQueen50: - I've rebounded nicely with a couple of enjoyable books - one that I'm about to post below along with an Otis Redding biography that has been really fascinating.
>62 mamzel: - The relief to know that it isn't just me!

Jan 10, 11:15am Top

Simply Irresistible - Book Buying Binge 2017
Bingo - Read a CAT
January ColorCAT - Black

4. Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris (3 stars)

This is best summed up as a very pleasant read. Nothing terribly earth shattering happens but instead it's just a nice story about a writer at a crossroads in his life who is helped along by the Specials - a magical kind of wine. The wine has the ability to help people see more clearly the path to fixing the problems in their life. The final resolution wasn't completely satisfactory but it was still a nice way to spend a few hours.

Jan 10, 11:21am Top

>64 LittleTaiko: I have not read that one, Stacy, but I love Chocolat by that same author.

Jan 10, 11:27am Top

>65 Crazymamie: - I haven't read Chocolat but did see the movie and this book reminded me a bit of that, except instead of chocolate working wonders it was wine. The only other book I've read of hers is Gentlemen and Players which I loved so I look forward to reading more by her.

Jan 10, 7:17pm Top

Waiting until the new year to start reading threads means I'm late to the party. I could hear each of the songs in my head as I looked at your categories. I look forward to another year following your reading.

Edited: Jan 17, 10:50am Top

Thriller - Non Cozies/Thrillers
MysteryCAT - Nordic
Bingo - Originally in a Different Lanugage

5. Outrage by Arnaldur Indriaason (3 stars)

This book picks up at the end of the previous book and instead of featuring Erlendur the focus is predominately on Elinborg instead. It was nice to get insight into the life of another member of the team. As usual though you get an interesting case as well as some other side stories to help showcase more well rounded characters.

Thriller - Non Cozies/Thrillers
ColorCAT - Black
MysteryCAT - Nordic
Bingo - Two CATS/KITS

6. Black Skies by Arnaldur Indriaason (3 stars)

I'm so happy that I read this one pretty much right after Outrage since the events in this book are happening at the same time. This time Oli gets the focus as he works a case that involves some friends of his. While Oli isn't the most sympathetic of people I find him the most interesting of the team as he seems to always be at odds with himself.

Thriller - Non Cozies/Thrillers
AlphaKIT - V
Bingo - New to You Author

7. Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate (3 stars)

Picked this British Library Crime Classic on a whim when visiting my in-laws and doing our usual trip to the local bookstore. The setup of this one is what makes it interesting. The first few chapters are really intriguing character sketches of the 12 members of the jury. The second part of the story shows the events in question for the trial, finally there is the trial and the verdict. The psychology behind why the jurors vote the way they do is both fascinating and a bit scary.

The Rhythm is Gonna Get You - non-fiction music
ColorCAT - Black (cover)
Bingo - Famous Name in Title

8. Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life by Jonathan Gould (5 stars)

I thought I was getting a book about Otis Redding and what I got instead was oh so much more. This was a fascinating, well-researched book that surrounds the life of Otis Redding but delves into the history of the time from civil rights issues to the history of soul and R&B music in general. It was really hard to put this book down. Even more fun was finishing it on the plane while listening to Otis's music. I'm going to go back and reread the parts that pertain to specific songs and this time listen to that song to better understand what went into making the song.

Edited: Jan 18, 3:52pm Top

Live to Tell - Non-fiction
ColorCAT - Black
Bingo - Memoir/Autobiography
RandomCAT - Book Bullet

9. Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola (3 stars)

A book club friend recommended this book a couple of years ago. I had heard the author speak on a few radio shows and was interested since she grew up in Dallas and currently lives here. This was an interesting and surprisingly light look at the dangers of binge drinking, especially for people who are prone to blacking out which is quite different from passing out. People in a black out act are awake and functioning but have absolutely no idea or memory of what happened. She doesn't hold back about the many mistakes she's made in her life and the hard struggle to become sober. The one thing that seemed a bit inconsistent is that she says she doesn't blame her family and realizes it's genetics, it did seem based on her stories that she was blaming them a just a little. Actually, now that I write this, I think she was explaining why her younger self started to drink. Like a lot of pre-teen/teenagers she was convinced that nobody felt like she did and could not be as unhappy. Once she got older of course she came to her senses but continued to drink for a variety of other reasons. Sorry, had to work that out in my head while typing.

Jan 19, 9:40pm Top

Saying hello as I catch up on threads!

Jan 28, 3:18pm Top

Argh, how did I get so behind in posting yet again? I think I've just been busy reading...

Live to Tell - Non-fiction
Bingo - Travel

10. From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty (4 stars)

For some strange reason I'm drawn to books about death and the way various societies cope with it. Doughty travels to several different countries to witness the rituals there. While they may seem strange to an American they are fascinating and educational. She even touches on a couple of more unusual ways of handling death in the US. She strikes a great balance between respect and humor.

Jan 28, 3:21pm Top

Simply Irresistible - Book Buying Binge of 2017
Bingo - Unread 2017

11. The Age of Perpetual Light by Josh Weil (2 stars)

It has become a bit of a surprise to me that I do like short stories most of the time. However this is one of those times when a collection really didn't work for me. I'm pretty sure the writer is a good writer and very smart, maybe too smart for me. Most of the stories left me confused as to who was narrating and what was happening. There were a couple that I enjoyed but overall it just wasn't for me.

Edited: Jan 28, 4:46pm Top

Together Forever - Books over 400 pages
AlphaKIT - M

12. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan (3 stars)

This is a case where the subject matter is absolutely incredible and inspiring but the writing falls a bit short. A historical fiction account of Pino Lella, a young Italian man during WWII who finds himself in some extraordinary circumstances. He has a brief stint helping Jews escape to Switzerland but then soon finds himself the driver for a German general based in Italy. It is just mind boggling that his story is true and for that I'm so glad to have read the book. I just wish the writing had been a bit stronger. The dialogue felt a bit stiff and unnatural most of the time and it seemed that the story didn't quite flow as intended.

Jan 28, 3:37pm Top

One Moment in Time - Tournament of Books

13. Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim (2 stars)

I read this for the Tournament of Books and my conclusion is that this must be the weird book selection for the tournament. Parts of it were entertaining even if I pretty much had no idea what was happening. From what I gather the story shifts among three different stories that I think come together at the end. However, don't hold me to it. Characters speak in long soliloquies which just comes across as odd. I'm looking forward to the tournament discussion so I can find out what I missed with this one.

Edited: Jan 28, 4:46pm Top

If Wishes Came True - book recommendations
RandomCAT - book bullet

14. Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (4 stars)

The setup of this book sounded right up my alley - the formation of the police department in New York City? Yes, I'd love to read a mystery set around that time period. It did get off to a slow start as initially there is a bit of back and forth in time with the narrator. Plus, it was confusing to have him hate his brother so much without knowing why. Fortunately, the book settles down and everything slowly becomes clear. It was a pretty gripping mystery that had me turning the pages even though I was fairly sure I new who the guilty party was.

This was a book bullet from Lori (lkernagh) - thanks!

Jan 28, 6:00pm Top

>73 LittleTaiko: I have this on my list so I'm glad to see your comments. I see the library has it so I'll check it out instead of buying it.

Jan 28, 7:08pm Top

I thought that once I finished Savage Theories, the rest of the Tournament books would smooth sailing. So Dear Cyborgs, huh? At least it's short.

Jan 29, 2:39pm Top

>76 clue: - Yes, it's definitely a borrow not buy sort of book.

>77 RidgewayGirl: - The length is definitely a plus. Hopefully you get on with it better than I did and can explain it to me. :)

Edited: Jan 29, 3:04pm Top

Live to Tell - Non-fiction
ColorCAT - Black
Bingo - Person's rank in title of book

15. The Black Count by Tom Reiss (3 stars)

This poor book has been stopped and started so many times through no fault of it's own. One of my all time favorite books is The Count of Monte Cristo so of course I'd be interested in the back story behind the real count. Alexander Dumas based the count on some of his father's experiences. The book focuses primarily on the father, who had a white father and black mother, who became a very important general in the French army and fought at times along with Napoleon. At times the book seemed more about Napoleon than Dumas, but then again way more is known about Napoleon so it's easier to get those details.

Jan 29, 9:27pm Top

>68 LittleTaiko: I'm glad I saw your review of Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life. My husband is a big fan of Redding and my 18-year-old daughter has been discovering his music recently too. I will have to pick this one up for them (and for myself, too).

>74 LittleTaiko: I have Dear Cyborgs on my TBR list and am now thoroughly intrigued. I have a pretty good tolerance for weird if the book is short, but I'm not confident that I'll "get" more than you did.

Jan 31, 4:18pm Top

>80 mathgirl40: - I hope they enjoy it as much as I did. Also, can't wait to see your thoughts on Dear Cyborgs once you get there.

Jan 31, 4:40pm Top

Thriller - Non-Cozies/Thrillers>
ColorCAT - Black
Bingo - Something you'd see in the sky

16. Raven Black by Ann Cleeves (3 stars)

This book started slow but man did it finish strong. This is the first in the Shetland series and I'm definitely interested to see how the rest of the series unfolds. The focus is on the murder of a teenage girl which may or may not be related to the disappearance of a young girl several years ago. You see the events the unfold through four different characters point of view which ends up being an effective way of building tension.

Edited: Feb 4, 5:21pm Top

Stuck with You - Books Acquired before 2015
Bingo - Longtime TBR

17. The Wit & Wisdom of Oscar Wilde by Ralph Keyes (4 stars)

This was a fun book to dip into to pick up Wilde's witticisms. Some of my favorites:

On Literature:

"There is a great deal to be said in favor of reading a novel backwards. The last page is, as a rule, the most interesting and when one begins with the catastrophe or denouement one feels on pleasant terms of equality with the author."

"To know the vintage and quality of a wine one need not drink the whole cask. It must be perfectly easy in half an hour to say whether a book is worth anything or worth reading. Ten minutes are really sufficient, if one has an instinct for form. Who wants to wade through a full volume? One tastes it, and that is quite enough."


"When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed, when I am in really great trouble...I refuse everything except food and drink."

Jan 31, 5:01pm Top

January Recap

Books read: 17 - This is a personal record for one month and not something I expect to repeat anytime soon.
Favorite Book: Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life by Jonathan Gould

Books from my shelf: 14
Borrowed: 3

Jan 31, 7:52pm Top

>84 LittleTaiko: WHOOT! A new personal record - most impressive!

Feb 1, 3:28am Top

>84 LittleTaiko: Wow, that's an amazing number of books!

Feb 1, 1:24pm Top

Way to go! That's a lot of reading!

Feb 3, 6:13pm Top

Look at you go with your reading and super happy to see that you enjoyed Gods of Gotham!

>79 LittleTaiko: - Good review. I have a copy of The Black Count waiting on my TBR shelves. I will get around to reading it... someday.

Feb 3, 10:09pm Top

>82 LittleTaiko: That's one of my favorite series.

Feb 4, 1:36am Top

Wheeee! Just got back from a Platinum Blonde concert!!! Fun night of 80s music nostalgia! Ok, I suppose it may be only the Canadians who recognize the band, but they were an 80s hair band. :-) I didn't think of them this way, but wikipedia calls them "new wave".

Sorry... just catching up here on LT, and opened this thread to the 80s music theme! I'm also listening to an 80s playlist on youtube in the background. :-)

Feb 4, 4:31pm Top

>90 LibraryCin: - OMG... what a flash from the past! Mentioning the band's name totally takes me back to my high school days. ;-)

Feb 4, 5:18pm Top

>85 Crazymamie:,>86 MissWatson:, >87 mstrust: - Thank you! I'm really to sure how I had the time but enjoyed being able to get that much reading in.

>88 lkernagh: - Hope you enjoy it when you get to it as it was an interesting story.

>89 thornton37814: - I've heard so many good things about the series that I'm glad I was able to at least read the first book.

>90 LibraryCin: - Sadly, I'm not familiar with their songs, but based on the snippets I just listened to on iTunes they sound like a bad I would enjoy.

Feb 4, 5:25pm Top

Danger Zone - Cozy Mysteries
MysteryCAT - Female Sleuths
ColorCAT - Brown
Bingo - 2KITS/CATS

18. Death in D Minor by Alexia Gordon (4 stars)

This is the second book in an unusual cozy series that I particularly enjoy. Gethsemane Brown is an American classical musician living in Ireland for a bit. She can see ghosts and has a weird music premonition from time to time. She's also funny, smart, and unafraid to pursue anything. This time she's helping clear her brother-in-laws name when he's suspected of stealing a valuable art piece.

Feb 4, 5:29pm Top

Don't You Forget About Me - Classics
AlphaKIT - J
Bingo - Published Over 100 Years Ago

19. Sandition by Jane Austen (4 stars)

So very sad that she was unable to finish this book. The first 12 chapters showed such promise and I was left dying to know what happens to Charlotte though I have a guess based on how other Austen novels end. I'm going to try the completed novel written by "another lady" to see how her version ends.

Feb 4, 5:37pm Top

One Moment in Time - Tournament of Books
Bingo - LBGQT central character

20. The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker (3 stars)

What an up and down experience I had with this book. Let me just preface this by saying that while I don't necessarily need to like all the characters in a book, it does help that I have something to root for with them. The first third of the book I struggled as neither Sharon nor Mel made it easy to relate to them. The focus on their early college years and beginning as animators only showcased how immature they were.

Then bam there comes an event that adds some complexity and starts to show them as slightly more well-rounded characters and I started to become more invested in the story. I still struggled though because everything is filtered through Sharon's eyes and she was just so self-absorbed and incapable of seeing the other side of a situation especially when it came to her family.

For a book that was under 400 pages it just felt so long, especially the last third or so of the book.

Feb 4, 5:39pm Top

>92 LittleTaiko: No worries! I don't think they were well-known outside Canada.

Edited: Feb 8, 3:27pm Top

Danger Zone - Cozy Mysteries
Alpha - X
MysteryCAT - Female Sleuth
RandomCAT - Celebrations/Holidays
Bingo - Relative name in title

21. Aunt Bessie Enjoys by Diana Xarissa (4 stars)

I do so love spending time with Bessie and friends, especially when she's making her weekly trip to buy books and then comes home to read them. She takes long walks on the beach, eats a lot, reads, and solves mysteries - what is not to love? This time Bessie and her friends are celebrating Tynwald Day and catching up with fellow neighbors. When one member of a group of friends dies of jam poisoning the next day, Bessie can't help but get involved.

Feb 8, 3:31pm Top

Sisters Are Doing it For Themselves - Favorite Female Authors
Bingo - Something in the Sky

22. Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie (3 stars)

I wasn't feeling well and none of my current reads sounded good at the moment so to the rescue was Agatha Christie. Reading one of her books usually makes me feel better and this time was no different. I've read this one a few times, enough so that I remembered who did it but couldn't quite remember all the specific details regarding how. A clever Poirot mystery full of the usual twists, difficult relationships, and people on holiday.

Feb 8, 3:38pm Top

One Moment in Time - Tournament of Books

23. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (3 stars)

This was one of the more unusual books that I've read recently and I truly admire the author's ability to structure the entire novel so it feels like a dream. A woman is dying in the hospital and a young man is sitting next to her. There are no breaks in this book and it's just one long rambling yet structured back and forth between the two of them.

Feb 8, 9:29pm Top

>97 LittleTaiko: I have a friend that loves the Miss Bessie books too, I've got to give them a try.

Feb 19, 2:10pm Top

>100 clue: - I hope you like them when you have a chance to try them. They are a fun light read.

Edited: Feb 19, 2:50pm Top

Hit Me With Your Best Shot - New to me Authors
AlphaKIT - J
Bingo - new to me author

24. The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (3 stars)

So happy that I finally read this first book in the Longmire series. I'm not generally a fan of westerns so wasn't really sure how this was going to go. Walt Longmire is the easy going sheriff in a small Wyoming town dealing with the usual small town problems when the dead body of a local teenager with a criminal past is found dead. The investigation opens up some old wounds that the community would probably rather keep quiet. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the resolution made sense.

Feb 19, 2:21pm Top

Rhythm is Gonna Get You - non-fiction music

25. Dreams to Remember by Mark Ribowsky (4 stars)

It was an interesting exercise to read this book so close in time to when I read Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life since they are both about Otis Redding. There are overlaps between the two books with details of his life. While Unfinished Life focused more on the history of the music and civil rights, Dreams is more about Otis the artist. One books shows a Redding who is struggling to find his way in the world and the other portrays a supremely confident man who always got what he wanted. I enjoyed both and would recommend both to a Redding fan.

Feb 19, 2:31pm Top

Together Forever - books over 400 pages

26. Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn (3 stars)

This book started off with a great first sentence but then took a long time to get going again. Lady Julia's husband collapses at a dinner party and dies shortly afterwards. He had always suffered from a heart ailment so his death wasn't too unexpected. However, she soon discovers that maybe he was murdered instead. Her quest to find out the truth turns her into a bit of investigator. Julia and her family are rather unconventional and overall fun, though maybe a bit too precious? My main quibble is that it took so long for the story to unfold that no matter how much I might enjoy a section it seems that nothing was happening. I'll probably still check out the next in the series to see if things smooth out a bit.

Feb 19, 2:39pm Top

Simply Irresistible - book buying binge of 2017
ColorCAT - Brown (cover)

27. Fundraising the Dead by Sheila Connolly (4 stars)

Love it when I find the perfect book for me at a point in time. I picked this up last year on a book buying binge since it was on my wishlist for some reason. Finally picked it up since I was in the mood for a cozy mystery and needed something with a brown cover for the color challenge.

From the very beginning I was hooked on this mystery set in a Philadelphia museum. Nell is in charge of development which basically means she is a fundraiser. Now that I work for a non-profit I understand how important that role is. In fact part of why I loved this book so much is the behind the scenes working of the non-profit world rang so true. It made it quite fun to immerse myself in her world. The mystery revolves around collection pieces that might have gone missing and comes to a head when a museum employee is found dead the day after the big gala.

This wasn't a conventional mystery in that the perpetrator is know about halfway through and the story becomes more of a how to prove it case.

Edited: Feb 22, 11:55am Top

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves - Favorite Female Authors
AlphaKIT - J
Bingo - Published in 2018

28. Still Me by Jojo Moyes (4 stars)

What a satisfying end to the trilogy. I found this more enjoyable than the second book and it pulled on my heartstrings in so many different ways. Lou has moved to New York for a year to have an adventure and has a job as an assistant to a wealthy society wife. To be fair, I will say that the beginning was rather weak and I found myself rolling my eyes at Lou's life or in particular the life of the family she works for. However things quickly settle down and become more interesting. It's probably a bit predictable but I just didn't care. The best part is watching Lou figure out who she is and what she wants from her life.

Feb 19, 8:43pm Top

>106 LittleTaiko: I've just started reading this one, and I'm glad to hear you liked it more than the second book. I found that one to be not awful but disappointing after Me Before You.

Feb 26, 11:06am Top

>107 virginiahomeschooler: - Hope you enjoy it! The beginning had me worried but I thought it picked up and kept improving.

Feb 26, 11:15am Top

Honestly, I thought I had posted some other reviews already but apparently that was just me doing it in my imagination.

Right Here Waiting - Borrowed Books
Alpha - P

29. The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith (4 stars)

My dad absolutely loved this book so I was quite curious to see what the fuss was all about. While I didn't love it as much as he did, I did enjoy it quite a bit. The story alternates between three people: the Sara de Vos, a Dutch artist in 1631, Ellie, a young art student in 1950, and Marty, a NY resident who happens to own the last painting that Sara painted. It was fascinating to see how the stories played out, especially since we get to see Ellie as a young woman and then fifty years later more established in her career.

Feb 26, 11:24am Top

I'll Be Loving You Forever - Favorite Male Authors
ColorCAT - Brown
Bingo - Originally in a Different Language

30. Marcovaldo by Italo Calvino (4 stars)

Never know what to expect with a Calvino, but you're usually guaranteed an unusual story. This time it's a humorous collection of stories about an Italian man named Marcovaldo. Each story is from one of the four seasons, starting with spring and cycling through several years. Marcovaldo is quite well meaning if a bit inept. His love of nature is often thwarted by the practicalities of life. My favorite story was The City Lost in the Snow.

Feb 26, 11:37am Top

Right Here Waiting - Borrowed Books
Bingo - Beautiful Cover

31. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (3 stars)

Rill is a young girl living with her family along the river in Tennessee in 1939. Avery is a lawyer from a very prominent political family in the modern day. From the start Rill's life is turned upside down when her parents leave them alone while they rush to the hospital to give birth the latest child for their family. While the parents are away, Rill and her siblings are essentially kidnapped and taken to an orphanage. How this relates to Avery's modern day story is a sad and disturbing tale especially since it's based on real events that happened in Tennessee during the 30's and 40's. The truthfulness of the crux of the story is what makes it worth reading even though some of the characters and back stories veer into soap opera territory.

Edited: Feb 26, 11:57am Top

Thriller - Non-cozies/Thrillers
Bingo - Read a CAT

32. Cop Town by Karin Slaughter (3 stars)

I've been a fan of the author's Will Trent and Grant County series so was intrigued when she wrote this stand alone set in Atlanta in 1974. The story follows two women, Maggie and Kate, on the Atalanta police force who are having to deal with the pressures of being in a hostile work environment, family issues, and trying to track down a killer who is targeting police officers. Maggie is from a family of police officers but that does not make her life any easier. Her uncle Terry is a good ole boy who along with his cronies do not take kindly to anyone else trying to get into their business. Kate is a young widow who needs to find something to do to fill the void in her life. It was a bit hard to get my head into what life for women would have been like in the 1970's and I found myself frustrated with some of the characters actions, especially Maggie. Then again while I liked Kate more, there's a part of her story line that seemed unnecessary. This being a Slaughter novel, there is plenty of violence, swearing, and sex - definitely lots of swearing, though it seemed appropriate for the characters.

Feb 26, 11:54am Top

One Moment in Time - Tournament of Books

33. White Tears by Hari Kunzru (2 stars)

I almost feel like there were two different books here. The first half was compelling even though the two main characters Seth and Carter are really hard to root for. Two guys who seem to have nothing else to do besides drink, do drugs, and obsess about music - it should have been a turn off, but yet I found myself getting into their story and wanting to see how it played out. Somewhere in the middle is when it stated to lose me. It somehow turned into an examination of racial tensions, blues music, and some overall craziness that sort of involved Carter and Seth but not exactly. The ending was unexpected for me, though in hindsight it shouldn't have been.

Feb 26, 5:49pm Top

>109 LittleTaiko: I know exactly what you mean! Sometimes I think about doing something, and thinking about it is the same as doing it for me ;)

Feb 27, 3:35pm Top

>114 rabbitprincess: - The worst is when I try to remember if I've actually had the conversation with someone, usually my husband, or did I just have it all in my head. Or like last week when I could have sworn up and down that I had put my snack container in my purse. Nope, still sitting on the counter when I came home, though I could actually see me in my head picking them up and putting them in my purse. Probably because it's a routine that I do every day that I just visualized a different day. :)

Feb 27, 3:39pm Top

Danger Zone - Cozy Mysteries
ColorCAT - Brown

34. Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell (3 stars)

Rose is a Quaker mid-wife in the late 1800's in Massachusetts who ends up helping the police catch a killer and arsonist. I liked Rose's no nonsense approach to life. She may be a bit progressive for her time, but it's hard to find fault with that.

Feb 27, 3:40pm Top

I remember really liking The Last Painting of Sara de Vos but I read it only a year ago and am embarrassed to say I remember almost nothing about it. Maybe it wasn't as good as I thought at the time!

Edited: Feb 27, 4:03pm Top

I don't think I'll finish any other books this month so thought I'd go ahead and do my February recap.

February Recap

Books read: 17 - I really can't believe that I was able to read 17 books again this month. I had to double and triple check the math to make sure this was right. .
Favorite Book: Dreams to Remember by Mark Ribowsky

Books from my shelf: 13
Borrowed: 4

February YTD

Books read: 34
Favorite Book - January: Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life by Jonathan Gould
Favorite Book - February: Dreams to Remember by Mark Ribowsky

Books from my shelf: 27 (whew, that is 10 more than the 17 I have bought so far this year so I'm actually making a dent!)
Borrowed: 7

Currently Reading
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Slow Reading in a Hurried Age by David Mikics
Bridge over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver by Mary Oliver

Feb 27, 4:05pm Top

>117 japaul22: - Funny how that works isn't it? A year from now I doubt I'll remember anything about it either besides the feeling that I really enjoyed it. Then again, I'm horrible at remembering much about what I read.

Feb 27, 9:02pm Top

>115 LittleTaiko: LOL! I'm sure I've done that, as well!

Feb 28, 1:42pm Top

>119 LittleTaiko: - I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t remember books I’ve read.

Mar 4, 12:23am Top

>99 LittleTaiko: I liked the description of Fever Dream on the MNToB site, so I started looking for the book. Couldn't find it anywhere. Even The Strand didn't have it. Then I started reading reviews of the book. It seems to have left many frustrated readers in it's wake.

Mar 4, 1:36pm Top

>122 VioletBramble: - How strange the The Strand didn't have it, I thought they had everything! I got it from our library so didn't know it was so hard to buy. I can see where it would cause frustration. I know I didn't pick up on some of the nuances of the book until I read other reviews.

Mar 4, 1:49pm Top

Future's So Bright - Published in 2018
Alpha - I

35. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (3 stars)

When reading I have found that I tend to enjoy books about families and the various dynamics within. Personally, I'm also always intrigued by the question of if given the chance would I want to know when I was going to die. Combining both of these concepts into one book it was pretty much a done deal that I was going to read this book.

Four young siblings go to a fortune teller who tells each of them the date that they are going to die. The rest of the book shows how they handle that information and choose to live their lives. Overall I enjoyed it but found it to be a bit uneven. Some of the siblings reactions didn't quite seem appropriate.

Mar 4, 1:59pm Top

I'll Be Loving You Forever - Favorite Male Authors
Alpha - F
MysteryCAT - Global Mystery

36. The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch (4 stars)

I get a little nervous about reading prequels to an established mystery series. I've already grown to love the characters and to go back into time means that they might not be part of the story. My fears were unfounded with this prequel. It was fun to see Lenox struggling to make his way as a detective. It also meant that we got more great scenes with Graham.

Edited: Mar 4, 5:47pm Top

<125 I'll finish this tomorrow and I feel the same as you. When I learned it was a prequel I was sooo disappointed but once I got into it I didn't have a problem with it.

Edited: Mar 6, 8:01pm Top

Your list is just full of books I have on my bookshelf, but haven't gotten around to reading yet! Very happy I made my challenge this year a Mt. TBR-challenge as I really need to read the books I acquire!

>29 christina_reads:
Can't believe I fell for that one!!

Mar 12, 10:36am Top

>127 -Eva-: - That is the ongoing struggle isn't it? I've been trying really hard to read the books that I already own, but somehow have still managed to purchase quite a few. At least I've read more from my shelf than I've added even if it is by a small margin.

Edited: Mar 14, 12:14pm Top

Simply Irresistible - Book Buying Binge of 2017
AlphaKIT - F
CrimeCAT - global mystery

37. The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas (4 stars)

Picked this book up on a whim when on vacation last year and browsing in a mystery book store and am very glad I did. This is the first book in a series set in Paris that has a rather whimsical group of characters. The mystery centers around mysterious chalk circles that are popping up all over the city with random objects within the circles. When one day a dead body is found in the middle of the circle this rather harmless joke becomes much more serious. I found the rather unusual characters to be refreshing, especially Mathilde and her day of the week theory. Plus the opening sentence hooked me. "Mathilde took out her diary and wrote: 'The man sitting next to me has got one hell of a nerve.'"

Mar 14, 12:24pm Top

>129 LittleTaiko: Sounds like a good read -- BB taken!

Mar 14, 12:33pm Top

Live To Tell - non-fiction

38. Slow Reading in a Hurried Age by David Mikics (2 stars)

The premise of this book should relate to all people who love to read - finding uninterrupted time to read can be challenging. He spends the first couple chapters explaining why the internet is bad and distracting and how we should all take a break from it to get some serious reading done. The rest of the book focuses on his rules for reading and his philosophy that every word is important and much analysis should occur when reading. He gives examples, solely from classic literature to support his arguments. The book became rather repetitious and I found it to be a bit condescending at times. Sadly, I ended up skipping the last couple of chapters.

Edited: Mar 21, 2:32pm Top

Danger Zone - Cozy Mysteries
Bingo - Relative name in Title

39. Aunt Bessie Finds by Diana Xarissa (3 stars)

It took me until about 3/4 of the way through the book before I realized this was not a murder mystery but instead a general weird things are happening mystery. Either way, it was lovely to spend time with Aunt Bessie and I kind of view this as a transitional book in the series that helps set up future books.

Mar 14, 12:42pm Top

One Moment in Time - TOB

40. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (3 stars)

I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. It started off strong with a young Anna, full of intelligence and strength. Early on we are introduced as well to Dexter Styles, a mobster with a sort of soft side. Both of those characters should be interesting to read about and engage with. Somewhere around the middle of the book it starts to wander, bring in additional story lines, characters, and perspectives that muddle the story. Additionally, there are a few actions that just didn't make sense to me, especially the diving scene with Dexter. I did enjoy learning more about Anna's journey to become a diver and would have probably liked the book more if it was about only that.

Mar 14, 12:53pm Top

>133 LittleTaiko:, I've yet to read a book by Egan, though I sometimes think I should. I had a few on my TBR, but then I heard her speak some years ago; she talked about her writing process, and really preferring to write short stories, but that marketing/publishing always pushed her to bring a number of short stories together into novels, so she did. Much as I like hearing writers talk about their process, it really just struck me as being disingenuous to her own talent and writing, she talked about it all in such a sort of dismissive way, and every time I've thought about reading her since then, I've decided to read something else instead. It makes comments like yours stand out all the more, though.

Mar 14, 1:05pm Top

>133 LittleTaiko: I abandoned that one about halfway through. Like you, I thought the beginning was good, but then it just kept going nowhere.

Mar 14, 4:36pm Top

>134 whitewavedarling: - That is really interesting about how she would prefer to write short stories. This is the only work of hers that I've read, but I think that her preference shows. It did seem like several short stories that were forced to fit into one novel. Too bad she doesn't just write what she prefers.

>135 Crazymamie: - Always good to know that I'm not alone.

Now, I'm off to wrap up some work and then finish packing for our NYC trip!!! We're celebrating our 20th anniversary and I'm quite looking forward to vacation time. Hoping to make a stop at The Mysterious Bookshop while there in addition to the museum visits and shows.

Mar 14, 4:44pm Top

Happy Anniversary!

Mar 14, 5:14pm Top

>136 LittleTaiko: I was at The Mysterious Bookshop in November during our NYC trip. It's beautiful! And the staff is beyond helpful. If you have an interest in first editions or signed books, they keep them hidden in the basement, so you have to be accompanied. I ended up having a big boxes of books mailed home from the store.
Happy Anniversary!

Mar 14, 6:39pm Top

Oooh have lots of fun at The Mysterious Bookshop! (Not Workshop, as I originally typed.)

Good to know about Manhattan Beach. I'll probably read it, because I really want to read about the diver, but it's always good to manage expectations ;)

Mar 15, 4:09am Top

Happy Anniversary and have fun at the bookshop!

Mar 16, 6:30pm Top

>129 LittleTaiko: Glad to see you enjoy this one. The characters in her books are great aren't they.. I've now read 7 of her books and yet to find a bad one. There are some very good French TV movie adaptations of the Adamsberg books out there somewhere which are worth a look if you get the chance.

Mar 19, 10:15pm Top

>133 LittleTaiko: I'm enjoying your Tournament of Books reviews. I agree with your comment about the diving scene with Dexter in Manhattan Beach. I didn't like the story all that much, but it did seem somewhat plausible up until that scene.

Mar 21, 7:52am Top

>133 LittleTaiko: That diving scene!

Mar 21, 2:14pm Top

>137 virginiahomeschooler: - Thank you! We had a lovely time.

>138 mstrust: - Thanks for the tip about them shipping. I had been there a few years before and loved it but never really considered shipping. This time I decided it would be so much easier than hauling them around. Anxiously awaiting for them to arrive now.

>139 rabbitprincess: - Yes it is best to go in with slightly adjusted expectations so you can possibly enjoy it more.

>140 MissWatson: - Thank you! I had a great time at the bookstore. They have such a wide selection that it's easy to find lots of interesting things to read.

>141 AHS-Wolfy: - I ended up picking up the second book in the series while on my trip. Looking forward to reading it.

>142 mathgirl40: & >143 RidgewayGirl: - That diving scene indeed! Agree that up until then it was perfectly plausible but that just really pulled me out of the story.

Mar 21, 2:21pm Top

Spent a lovely bit of time at the Mysterious Bookshop and between my shopping list, general browsing, and the recommendations of the bookstore clerk I bought quite a few books.

The Alienist by Caleb Carr
Diamond Solitaire by Peter Lovesey
Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas
A Deadly Affection by Cuyler Overholt
The Norths Meet Murder by Frances Lockridge
Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker
The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber
Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser

Also stopped in the Amazon store just to see how it differed from other stores if at all. Overall it's your basic store but the have displays centered around popular books based on ratings, etc...I ended up buying one book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper.

Edited: Mar 21, 2:40pm Top

Now time to catch up on reviews.

Simply Irresistible - Book Buying Binge of 2017
ColorCAT - Green
Bingo - 1001 Books

41. Blindness by Henry Green (4 stars)

Last year when I was shopping the bookstore had "blind date" books on sale. Books that are wrapped in plain paper and have key words written on the packaging that give hints to what the books is about. I decided to give it a whirl and ended up with this book. Somehow I had never heard of the author before which seems strange since he has about 5 books on the 1001 book list. This opens with a series of journal entries by a young man at university and you quickly get a sense of his character and I enjoyed seeing his thoughts. When a freak accident causes him to go blind, the rest of the book deals with how he and his family copes. I liked the humor and the alternating perspectives. He really captured the stream of conscious thinking quite well. I'll definitely seek out more by him.

Edited: Mar 21, 3:11pm Top

Stuck with You - Acquired Before 2015
Bingo - Longtime TBR

42. Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto (4 stars)

Sometimes a book has been on your shelf so long you no longer remember why you bought it to begin with. That is the case this time around. My best guess is that it was a tournament of book entry from a few years ago that for some reason caught my interest. A father has moved his two sons to a remote area along with their uncle and one other person and told his two boys that the rest of the world is dead. Each member of their group gets a chapter which helps unravel how they all ended up in this situation. This really isn't the sort of book that I usually like with people who are hard to relate to and don't make sense. Not to mention the rather odd relationship with a mule. Yet, the characters were eccentric and well-meaning enough that I just couldn't help enjoy reading about them.

Mar 21, 2:51pm Top

Danger Zone - Cozy Mysteries
Alpha - F
ColorCAT - Green

43. First Hit of the Season by Jane Dentinger (4 stars)

Heading to New York for vacation it made sense to bring along this fun mystery book set in the New York theater world. I really enjoyed the first book in the series and this follow up was just as much fun. I love the main character Jocelyn (Josh) - she's smart, talented, pragmatic, and funny. This time she winds up helping her policeman boyfriend investigate the murder of a notorious theater critic. Things get tricky when clues point towards one of her friends.

Mar 21, 2:59pm Top

Hit Me With Your Best Shot - New to Me Authors
MysteryCAT - Global

44. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (3 stars)

Overall this was a fun mystery to try thought I'm to sure I liked it enough to rush out and buy more in the series. Phyrne Fisher is bored in England and decides it would be a fun idea to become a private detective in Australia, because of course that is just what one does when bored. Once in Australia she is immediately caught up in a flurry of detective activity on various cases. We quickly learn that Phryne is an amazing human being with all sorts of skills such as flying planes and driving race cars all while stylishly clad. There was way too much discussion about her clothes and various outfits for each occasion. What really held my attention were the wonderful side characters, they were infinitely more interesting to spend time with. Hopefully future books tone down Phryne and give more time to the other characters.

Edited: Mar 21, 3:09pm Top

Sisters are Doing It All Themselves
RandomCAT - In the News
Bingo - Published in 2018

45. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova (5 stars)

Took advantage of having the day off to read the latest Lisa Genova book. I love her books and have been looking forward to the latest for quite some time. Once again she does a wonderful job of giving a very realistic portrayal of what life is like for someone diagnosed with a neurological disease, this time around it's ALS. Richard is a famous classical pianist who is diagnosed with ALS. Karina is his ex-wife who finds herself somehow in the role of caregiver. The story alternates between their POV allowing us to see their struggles, accomplishments, as well as their flaws. Karina's story had me wanting to shake her and tell her to stop being such a martyr. However, whether she realizes it or not, that is how she has been for most of her adult life. Richard is a jerk, but we are allowed to see the anxieties and thoughts that shaped him. This book does not shy away from the difficulties involved for those having the disease as well as those who care for them. It's very real and compassionate.

Mar 21, 6:01pm Top

>146 LittleTaiko: I saw on the Colour CAT thread that you'd also chosen Henry Green, so have dropped in to say Hello. I've read three of his books now, Blindness, Nothing and Loving, in that order and degree of difficulty. I've become a fan.

Edited: Mar 21, 9:01pm Top

>151 pamelad: - I had seen that you read Loving and that you liked it so was encouraged to try and seek out more by him. This really was a case of a blind date working out. :)

Mar 21, 10:46pm Top

I would love to visit a store like The Mysterious Bookstore! I'm glad you were able to find so many new things to read.

Mar 21, 11:38pm Top

>146 LittleTaiko: Henry Green is an author that I don't recall ever hearing about before I saw that he had multiple listings on the 1001 books list. Good to know that both you and Pamelad have enjoyed his writing.

Mar 22, 7:13am Top

>150 LittleTaiko: -I was first in line on the hold list at the library and picked this up on Tues. Lisa Genova is one of my favorite authors. I have a couple of books to finish first, but then I'll be starting this.

Mar 22, 1:08pm Top

I'm glad you had a fun trip to The Mysterious Bookstore, and that I could help by mentioning the shipping. Between that store and The Strand, there was no way I was carrying all the books I bought.
Great haul!

Mar 25, 8:21pm Top

Stopping by to get caught up and just wowed at your reading so far this year.

>145 LittleTaiko: - Lovely book haul and I loved The Alienist!

>150 LittleTaiko:- I have really liked all of Genova's earlier books so a 5 star for Every Note Played? Totally on the future reading list for that one.

Mar 30, 5:13pm Top

>153 cmbohn: - Hope you get to visit it someday, it really is a dream for mystery lovers.

>154 DeltaQueen50: - Yeah, I was floored to see he had so many books on the 1001 list. He seems to have flown under the radar for a lot of us.

>155 dudes22: - Lucky you too be first in line at the library.

>156 mstrust: - Thanks again! The books made it safe and sound and I've started one of them already.

>157 lkernagh: - Really looking forward to The Alienist. I almost went with 4 stars, but bumped it up to 5 since the ALS portion was just so strong.

Edited: Mar 30, 5:35pm Top

I'll Be Loving You Forever - Favorite Male Authors
Bingo - Humorous Book
ColorCAT - Green

46. The Mating Season by P.G. Wodehouse (4 stars)

Another fun outing with Wooster and Jeeves. Once again there are affairs of the heart that need to be settled and misunderstanding put right. Bertie ends up pretending to be Gussie Fink-Nottle, Gussie pretends to be Bertie, and even Jeeves is incognito. Many chuckles from this one.

Mar 30, 5:32pm Top

Right Here Waiting For You - Borrowed Books

47. Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz (3 stars)

First in a cozy mystery series set in Montana that features Erin Murphy and her family. The book opens with them preparing for a new food festival. Disaster strikes when a former employee is found murdered during the event and suspicion falls on Erin's mother. Solid mystery with interesting characters.

Mar 30, 5:42pm Top

Thriller - Thrillers

48. The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor (4 stars)

Started this book on a Saturday night and wrapped it up on Sunday afternoon. This was a very quick page turner about a group of friends that alternates between present day and their youth. When they were young they used to amuse themselves by leaving chalk drawings for each other. One day, the chalk drawings lead to a dead body. The present day story deals with fall out from those events. I look forward to seeing what this author does next.

Mar 30, 5:47pm Top

Big Time - Iconic Books
RandomCAT - In the News

49. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (3 stars)

I'm a fan of Hamid's other books Exit West and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia so had high expectations for this one. The story is told completely through a one-sided conversation over the course of one evening. Changez lives in Pakistan and is chatting with a stranger over drinks and dinner while sharing his life story. The story telling story style was charming at first but eventually left me feeling a bit flat. The side story of his friend Erica and her problems slowed the story down a bit as well.

Mar 30, 5:51pm Top

Sisters Are Doing it All Themselves - Favorite Female Authors

50. N or M? by Agatha Christie (4 stars)

Tommy and Tuppence are back in this spy caper. It made me laugh/sigh that everybody is treating them as old and out of it while in their mid-40's, especially since I'm in the same age bracket. This time they are helping track down British masterminds who are supporting the Germans during WWII. I vaguely remembered who the bad people were but it was fun to see it unfold anyway.

Mar 31, 2:43pm Top

Don't You Forget About Me - Classics

51. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (4 stars)

Reading this book was a reminder as to how much I appreciate my book club. I end up reading books that I normally wouldn't have read. For some reason I had a small dread of this book that ended up being completely unfounded. It's a very straight forward and unrelenting look at a young woman's struggles with mental illness and a nervous breakdown. I found that her straight forward and matter of fact narration hit the right notes. It was serious but yet living in Esther's mind was rather entertaining at times. Her no nonsense way of looking at events helped draw me in to her story.

Edited: Apr 15, 11:26am Top

March Recap

Books read: 17 - Yet again, I hit 17 for the month. Seriously doubt that it will happen in April as I'm currently reading a 1000 plus page book.

Favorite Book: Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

Books from my shelf: 14
Borrowed: 3

March YTD

Books read: 51
Favorite Book - January: Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life by Jonathan Gould
Favorite Book - February: Dreams to Remember by Mark Ribowsky
Favorite Book - March: Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

Books from my shelf: 41 (whew, that is 11 more than the 30 I have bought so far this year so I'm actually making a dent!)
Borrowed: 10

Currently Reading
And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer (this is the 1000 plus page book mentioned above)
The Norths Meet Murder by Frances Lockridge
Beale Street Dynasty by Preston Lauterbach
Selected Poems II by Margaret Atwood
Devotions by Mary Oliver

Apr 1, 8:17am Top

Excellent work on making a dent in your books owned! :)

Apr 1, 8:27am Top

41 off your shelves is great!

Apr 3, 2:26pm Top

17 in one month!? Kudos!

Apr 5, 3:15pm Top

Congrats on 51 books read so far this year!

Edited: Apr 15, 12:18pm Top

Quick catch-up on what I have read so far for April.

52. The Norths Meet Murder by Frances Lockridge (3 stars)

This was a fun mystery written in 1940 featuring the Norths, a quirky married couple in New York who stumble across a dead body. They work with the detective to help solve the case. Lots of cocktails help aid the process along. I was surprised to find out that this was the beginning of a long running series. Nice to know I have other books to look forward to.

53. Failing Up by Leslie Odom Jr. (4 stars)

Leslie Odom Jr first came to my attention when I saw him portray Aaron Burr in the musical Hamilton. Being a big fan of the musical, I also followed his vlog that he did for a few weeks for Broadway.com and found him to be an interesting and thoughtful person. He also has an amazing voice. This books is a quick, uplifting memoir about taking charge of your life and not worrying about failing because most likely you will at some point and that is okay.

54. Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton (4 stars)

While I'm sad that this is the last new Kinsey Millhone novel, it was nice to go out with a strong finish. Though I could see a few threads that she had left open for the never to be written Z book, it still ended satisfactorily enough. Y finds Kinsey dealing with the aftermath of X as well as working a case that has it's roots from an incident 10 years prior. I enjoyed the back and forth between 1979 ad 1989. I'm looking forward to when I reread the series again sometime in the next decade or so.

55. The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (4 stars)

It was a pleasant surprise when I picked up this book to find that part of it is set in Dallas which is where I live. It's sometimes tricky to read about your city in a work of fiction without getting bogged down in the details and what they got right or wrong. I chuckled over Parkland Hospital being renamed to Parkview but thought that overall the author did a nice job of nailing some of the highlights of the city, especially White Rock Lake. However Dallas is really a small part of the story.

India and the culture there dominates the story of Anil, the favored older son who has dreams of becoming a doctor. During his quest he has to deal with the problem of not quite fitting into either world.

56. Death in the Dentist's Chair by Molly Thynne (3 stars)

A Golden Age mystery with the rather amusing opener from the perspective of a patient in a dentist's chair. It's not a mystery that can be solved by the reader but following the investigation with Scotland Yard and Dr. Constantine, a patient who happens to be on the premises when the murder occurs.

57. Selected Poems II by Margaret Atwood (3 stars)

Let me preface this by saying I don't know much about poetry and have only read a little. That said, I felt that the writing was probably quite beautiful, but overall I also found it rather grim, dark, and disturbing. This is not the sort of poetry to read if you want to feel better about the state of the world or life in general.

Apr 23, 3:48pm Top

Another round while I take advantage of a day off.

58. Chemistry by Weike Wang (4 stars)

For a little while this book was at a disadvantage since I had recently read The Bell Jar and was thinking that this was another mental breakdown book and it wasn't comparing favorably to The Bell Jar. Fortunately it settled in and I realized that it wasn't about a mental breakdown, but a young woman who is really confused about what she wants out of life. It's funny at times as well as eye-opening. Just when you think a character is rather one-dimensional, the author shows you how wrong you were with that assumption.

59. The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton (3 stars)

Really not sure why I bought this book last year, it might have been a Kindle deal that sounded promising. It's not a bad book but it didn't wow me either. The story alternates between Sara in the present day and her grandmother's story from her own youth. It's your pretty standard family secret, learning to appreciate your family feel-good story. My main problem is with the completely unrealistic portrayal of home renovation. One does not simply waltz into a place, ask a few question, say you have some ideas and poof hire them. There are bids to consider. At the very least I would think the contractor would want to take a look at your ideas before signing on to a project. I don't care how small the town is, things don't happen quite that fast.

60. The Lemon Table by Julian Barnes (4 stars)

Julian Barnes is one of my favorite authors and this collection of short stories did not disappoint. There are 11 stories that deal with aging and coming to terms with the last phase of your life in a very honest, at times bittersweet, and at times amusing ways. The only strange part was that there were a few instance where the characters were in their 60's and thinking that life was over. Granted some of the stories weren't set in modern times so I guess they could have been right. Just hard to reconcile with all the vibrant 60+ people that I know.

61. Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli (4 stars)

This should be required reading for almost everyone. It's a simple essay written using the 40 questions asked of undocumented children facing deportation. The author has been volunteering as a translator to aid the lawyers and families. The essay uses the responses to show how messed up the process really is and how complicated the issue is. No one political party is responsible for causing the mess. I would have liked more information on what we can do to help.

62. The Anatomist's Wife byAnna Lee Huber (4 stars)

I do love a good historical murder mystery, mainly because I get to learn about a different time and place as well as have a puzzle to solve. This series is set in Scotland in 1830 which is not a common place or time for mysteries. The main character is Keira, a young widow who has a scandalous past. Her husband was an anatomist and she assisted him with the pictures, something that was deemed quite irregular for a woman of that time. Keira has taken refuge from the gossip by staying with her sister's family. Unfortunately when a house party guest is murdered most of the other guests assume it was Keira. She has to use her anatomist skills to prove otherwise. I enjoyed the setting and the characters and look forward to reading more.

63. Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce (4 stars)

Having recently visited Japan this book pulled me in quicker than it may have done otherwise. Though with an opening like this book has, I probably would have been hooked fairly quickly. To be fair, this book gets at least one star from me solely because of the pickled plum onigri description. It perfectly captures what it's like to eat one of my all time favorite foods.

Anyway, I digress. The heart of this story is a young girl, half-Japanse/half-American, who kills a classmate in Japan when she's about 12. She then spends the next few years in a detention center until she becomes an adult. She leaves the country and creates a wonderful, normal life for herself in the United States. When her estranged father dies she finds that maybe her past isn't as buried as she had thought and heads back to Japan to figure out more about who she really is.

Apr 24, 7:23am Top

Wow! A bunch of 4* reads.

Apr 24, 8:37am Top

>171 LittleTaiko: How did you manage to find that many four star reads in a row?

Apr 24, 1:09pm Top

Tell Me How It Ends is a BB for me. I have a friend that has worked as a volunteer, she's a professional counselor, with DACA kids. I know she'll want to read it too if she hasn't already.

Apr 25, 11:56am Top

>171 LittleTaiko: The Anatomist's Wife has been on my radar for a while...glad to know you enjoyed it!

Apr 30, 2:26pm Top

>172 dudes22: & >173 thornton37814: - Yeah, I had a really nice run there. It helped that I was overall picking up things I was already interested in reading. Never fear, as you'll see below, the streak stopped.

>174 clue: - I hope she does read it, I'm sure there are parts of it that she'll be able to relate to.

>175 christina_reads: - It was good enough that I just picked up the next book in the series today from the library. Not sure if I'll get to it right away, but it does have a lovely blue cover so I'll probably try to work it in for the May ColorCAT.

Apr 30, 3:06pm Top

64. Infernal Angels by Loren D. Estleman (4 stars)

I'm pretty sure I received this for free at a book convention four years ago. I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. Normally, I'm not a huge PI fan (Kinsey Millhone excepted), but I may have found another series to explore. This is the 21st book in the series so there's plenty of catching up to do, but I didn't feel like I missed anything by not knowing the back story. Set in Detroit, Amos Walker is a PI who wise-cracks just enough to be entertaining but not too much that it becomes annoying. Modern technology isn't Walker's cup of tea (whiskey really), but he needs to learn quickly since his latest case involves HDTV converters. Like I said, I enjoyed it much more than I expected to and do intend to try and read more in the series.

65. I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos (4 stars)

I really needed a change of pace after I DNF'd another book that I was reading. The author is one of my favorites and I was excited to revisit the characters who originated in Love Walked In. This time Clare is the focus of the story as she approaches her wedding day and is overcome with some serious doubts. A chance encounter with a elderly lady gives her perspective and the courage to decide what she really wants out of life. I do have some quibbles with the book as there were a couple of grammatical errors that an editor should have caught. Also, some of the actions that Clare took seemed a bit irresponsible. However, this was just the book I need this past weekend and I enjoyed every single minute reading it.

66. You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried by Susannah Gora (3 stars)

Took a book bullet for this from LibraryCin and had a very enjoyable time going down memory lane and reading about these teen movies from the 80's. I now have an overwhelming urge to rewatch all of them. It was especially timely since I just saw Rob Lowe last week when he came to Dallas for his one man show - "Stories I Only Tell My Friends."

DNF - Giant of the Senate by Al Franken (1 star)

Oh I wanted to like this book more than I did. However, every time I read this book I would end up in a bad mood. It's really more of a matter of this book not being right for me than anything else. My first problem is that I don't particularly enjoy satire that much and I also find comedians to be trying too hard to be funny all the time when writing a book. I made it through his election and to his first few months as a senator. However, his tone grated on my nerves too much. He came across as very arrogant which I don't necessarily think that he is, but it just comes across that way. It was discouraging to read about how dysfunctional political system is, not surprising really but just another reminder. It was a bit shocking to read about some of the stories that came out during his campaign. No way would he be elected today with the whole rape joke. I don't care if it was while writing for SNL - if that is the sort of thing that he finds funny or satirical it makes you wonder what other objectionable things he would find funny.

Edited: May 31, 10:54am Top

April Recap

Books read: 15

Favorite Book: I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos

Books from my shelf: 12
Borrowed: 3

April YTD

Books read: 66
Favorite Book - January: Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life by Jonathan Gould
Favorite Book - February: Dreams to Remember by Mark Ribowsky
Favorite Book - March: Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
Favorite Book - April: I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos

Books from my shelf: 53 (still more than the 44 I acquired this year)
Borrowed: 13

Currently Reading

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer
Beale Street Dynasty by Preston Lauterbach
Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley

May 1, 11:32am Top

>177 LittleTaiko: That's disappointing to hear about the Franken book.

May 1, 11:40am Top

>179 virginiahomeschooler: - I'm really curious to see how the rest of my book club feels about the book. I have a feeling I may be in the minority and that it was just a case of wrong book/wrong time kind of thing.

May 11, 8:04pm Top

Your thread is always so dangerous! Bullets flying!

I've added several to my wishlist, with Julian Barnes' The Lemon Table at the top of the list.

May 14, 4:56pm Top

>181 VivienneR: - Hope you enjoy it!

Edited: May 14, 5:21pm Top

Ugh, how is it possible that it's the middle of May and I haven't posted any of my reading yet? Here we go with another quickish round of reviews.

67. Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling (3 stars) - Fun, short, coming of age story about a rather spoiled young boy who becomes an earnest hardworking young man while working on a fishing boat. It was a challenge to follow the dialogue at times, but the crew were an entertaining bunch.

68. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn (4 stars) - I enjoyed this first book in the Victoria Speedwell series. Victoria is a very self aware, independent, and adventurous. I'm looking forward to seeing what adventures she has next.

69. Clue by Paul Allor (4 stars) - Clue is one of my all time favorite movies and board games, so when I found out that there was a graphic novel based on both I immediately ordered the book. Loved the graphics and chuckled quite a bit at some of the movie references. I appreciated that they used the new board game character of Dr. Orchid as well as keeping Mrs. White but changing her to Senator White. This is something I'll revisit from time to time. Thank you Traci for the book bullet!

70. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (3 stars) - There seems to have been a lot of buzz about this book so I went into it with high expectations which is always dangerous. While I overall enjoyed this mystery set in East Texas I can't say that I was wowed. I think there was too much time stuck in the protagonists head with lots of thinking and drinking going on.

71. Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber (3 stars) - Second in the Lady Darby series. The mystery was a tad weak as there was never really any doubt as to who the perpetrator was. Instead it felt more like a transition story to flesh out character back stories a bit as well as set them up for future story lines. Still enjoyed reading it though.

72. A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber (4 stars) - I've been enjoying this series so immediately jumped into the next installment. This time around the mystery was quite solid and the characters continued to develop. This is quickly becoming a favorite of mine and I'm ready to binge the rest of the series just as soon as they are all ready to be picked up at the library.

73. Hot Seat by Simon Wood (3 stars) - Auto racing can be quite fun to watch and it is equally fun to read about. I enjoyed the racing aspect of the book even as the mystery portion was a bit over the top. It just seemed a tad far-fetched the sheer amount of people who were trying to use or sabotage Aidy.

So, that's a wrap for now.

May 14, 6:15pm Top

>183 LittleTaiko: I am a sucker for seafaring books like Captains Courageous. Sea Wolf by London is probably my favorite.

May 17, 12:44pm Top

>183 LittleTaiko: I'm so glad you liked Clue.

May 21, 2:27pm Top

>184 mamzel: - There is definitely something fun about those seafaring books. Happy to know that Sea Wolf is one of the better ones since it's been sitting on my TBR for quite some time now. Hopefully I'll get to it sooner rather than later.

>185 virginiahomeschooler: - It was so much fun!

May 21, 2:49pm Top

Series binge reading!

This is only the second time that I can recall completely binge reading a series/author and both times it was with historical mysteries. The first was a couple of years ago when I discovered Charles Finch's series, this time around it's Anna Huber. Now that I think about it, I discovered both authors while at The Mysterious Bookshop in New York. I was browsing the shelves and saw books by authors that I hadn't heard of but who had written several books which I took as a good sign. Both series also featured covers that appealed to me. Looking forward to returning to that book store in another couple of years to see what I find!

So, over the course of the last week, I read the following in the Lady Darby series by Anna Huber and am now officially caught up. I have already documented books 1-3 above.

74. A Study in Death (4 stars) - Keira has been commissioned to paint a portrait of Lady Drummond. During their sessions, Keira has reason to suspect that Lady Drummond is being ill-treated by her husband. When Lady Drummond dies suddenly in a very dramatic fashion, Keira can't help but suspect that it wasn't due to natural causes. This is the first time that she's investigated something that isn't obviously murder. In addition to her worries about this case, she is worried about her sister's health as they await the birth of her latest child. I love the character development that has occurred over the course of these books and also enjoy how she brings back characters from prior books that you might not expect to see again.

75. A Pressing Engagement (4 stars) - Fun novella that fills in the gaps between the 4th and 5th books and allows us to be a part of a rather big event.

76. As Death Draws Near (3 stars) - Keira and Gage are off touring Ireland when they get summoned to help with a mysterious death of a nun. This felt a bit like a filler book to help get all the characters moving along to something else. It's nice to see Keira less concerned about her past and becoming more comfortable with her life now. It was also fun to see one of the characters from the first book pop us as well. I did find that I missed the interactions with Keira's family since this time it was just Keira and Gage and their servants. Though on the plus side that meant more of Bree, and you really can't have too much of her.

77. A Brush With Shadows (4 stars) - This is the book where we get to see Gage come to terms with his past as he's summoned back to his family home to help find his cousin who has disappeared rather suddenly. I really enjoyed this one as once again the characters continue to grow and deal with their pasts and move on. Now I'm just sad to finally be caught up with this series and now having to wait until March for the next one. Oh well, it's always nice to have something to look forward to.

May 21, 6:36pm Top

I'll say that I really like the covers on the Charles Finch books too.

May 23, 2:04pm Top

I am always curious when an LTer engages in some binge reading! I will be keeping my eye out for the Huber books and thank you for the reminder that I need to get back to the Charles Lennox series... I stalled at end of book #7 in that series. ;-)

Edited: May 24, 3:56pm Top

I just read the next (for me) book in the Charles Lenox series, Home by Nightfall, and liked it a lot! I'm excited to try Anna Lee Huber now...I haven't read any of the Lady Darby books yet, but I did just acquire This Side of Murder.

ETA: >188 dudes22: I totally agree! The cover are so well designed and instantly recognizable -- love them!

May 24, 4:11pm Top

I'm really impressed by your personal record of 17 books in amonth - three times in a row! I haven't been here since January, but still have to note down a BB from a while ago: The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

May 28, 1:15pm Top

>188 dudes22: - Yeah, the are quite atmospheric.

>189 lkernagh: - Me too - I figure if someone is binge reading a series it is worth looking into.

>190 christina_reads: - Now that I've finished the Lady Darby series of hers, I am interested in trying her other one. I'll be watching to see what you think of it.

>191 Chrischi_HH: - Thanks for visiting again. It is so hard to keep up with everyone here, isn't it? I'm doing good to keep my thread updated these days.

Edited: May 28, 1:45pm Top

Wrapping up another week of reading. Long holiday weekends really are lovely for getting some reading in.

78. Rise and Shine Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick (3 stars)

Cute, light book about an older man trying to figure out how to win his wife back. His niece unexpectedly shows up at his door step and of course helps provide the guidance he needs. I loved learning more about the meanings behind gemstones and the books was fun enough to keep me interested even though pretty much none of the adults acted like adults.

79. Murder in a Locked Library by Ellery Adams (4 stars)

Another strong installment in this series. This time one of the dead body's being investigated is a skeleton that was found when work is being done on the property. Sadly, another much more recent body complicates matters. Jane and the Fin's are on both cases. The ending was a bit unexpected but overall I still enjoyed it.

80. The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (4 stars)

Nice to be back with Miss Marple and her insights into human nature. When a dead body is found in the library of some friends of hers she is there to help them figure out who she is and how she came to be there. Love Miss Marple.

81. The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley (2 stars)

This could have been a really good book but instead it came across as a movie of the week sort of story complete with cardboard characters that unfortunately were hard to like or root for. The secret is revealed pretty early on in the book and then becomes a waiting game to see how it will all unfold. It was a book I couldn't help but read though as I wanted to see how everything imploded on everyone.

82. Cold Mourning by Brenda Chapman (3 stars)

This is the first in a series I was unfamiliar with set in Canada. The first chapter regarding two young girls was a tough one to read and almost put me off the book. It quickly switches to modern day and a rather unpleasant man contemplating killing his wife. When he goes missing there are plenty of people who may have had a reason to wish him dead instead. Kala Stonechild, a young police officer with a past, is investigating along with a small team led by Jaques Rouleau. I enjoyed the dynamics of the investigative team. The storytelling was unusual as the chapters switched between about five different points of view.

83. Queen of Bebop by Elaine M. Hayes (3 stars)

When I was younger and trying to learn more about jazz, my boss recommended gave me some names of people to listen to. I picked up the Four Queens of Jazz which included Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, and the lady who became my favorite, Sarah Vaughan. I understand pretty much nothing about music and how it all works, but this book helped me understand it just a bit more along with getting some insight into her life.

May 28, 4:34pm Top

Looks like you read a lot this week!

May 31, 10:54am Top

>194 thornton37814: - It's easier for me to get through a lot of books when I'm reading mysteries. A couple of these though I had been reading off and on for a couple of months and finally had some time to finish them.

May 31, 11:06am Top

May Recap

Books read: 17

Favorite Book: A Brush With Shadows by Anna Huber - really it's the whole Lady Darby series

Books from my shelf: 11
Borrowed: 6

April YTD

Books read: 83
Favorite Book - January: Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life by Jonathan Gould
Favorite Book - February: Dreams to Remember by Mark Ribowsky
Favorite Book - March: Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
Favorite Book - April: I'll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos
Favorite Book - May: A Brush With Shadows by Anna Huber - really it's the whole Lady Darby series

Books from my shelf: 64
Books acquired but not read yet: 47
Borrowed: 19

Currently Reading
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

May 31, 4:00pm Top

And again 17 books per months, seems like you're getting used to that number. ;)

May 31, 4:25pm Top

I took a BB for Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone, as the gemstone angle was too intriguing. Thanks for the review!

May 31, 4:40pm Top

>197 Chrischi_HH: - Ha! I know. Makes me kind of wish that I had tried harder in April to get to 17.

>198 mstrust: - The gemstone information was quite fun. Made me want to have a variety on hand to make sure I'm covered for any situation. :)

Edited: Jun 1, 8:41am Top

>188 dudes22: On the subject of the Charles Lennox series covers: I made one of those dangerous trips to the bookstore the other day and saw a new book from a different author in exactly the same style. I'm seeing this kind of thing more and more, even the same cover on different books! I suppose the publishers are trying to lower costs but I don't like this practice at all!

Jun 1, 2:43pm Top

>200 clue: - Well that's interesting. I'll have to keep an eye out.

Jun 5, 6:05pm Top

84. Final Fondue by Maya Corrigan (3 stars)

This is the third installment in this series and while I thought it was an improvement over the second book it still left me unexcited about the idea of reading the rest. Val has settled into life in a small town and is enjoying life overall. She is still living with her grandfather and of course investigating murders when they occur. This time a house guest is killed in her grandfather's backyard. The thing that I appreciated was that for the most part Val lets the police do their job and passes along any information that she happens to discover. I expect to be in the minority in this, but I really do not enjoy the character of the grandfather. He's using Val's cooking skills and recipes to perpetuate the myth that he can cook. The whole quirky codger thing just annoys me.

85. Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (3 stars)

Cute, if slightly too sweet tale of a young girl, Rose, who goes to live with her uncle at "Aunt Hill" where she is surrounded by many aunts and seven boy cousins. The little adventures that the children get into were enjoyable enough and reading the book made for a pleasant afternoon. The relationship between the uncle and Rose was a bit odd by more modern standards which left me feeling a bit uncomfortable.

Jun 7, 3:31pm Top

>202 LittleTaiko: I remember Eight Cousins very fondly, even though it is quite preachy and dated now. The sequel, Rose in Bloom, is a book I still love to revisit occasionally (although the same problems are present, plus romance between first cousins!).

Jun 14, 5:06pm Top

>203 christina_reads: - I do plan on reading the sequel someday to find out how everyone turns out. I was fulling expecting a romance between cousins based on events in the first book so will not be caught unaware.

Jun 14, 5:23pm Top

86. The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict (2 stars)

This book further cements my usual dislike of historical fiction loosely based on real people. While I tend to find the concept interesting, I generally find myself frustrated because I want to know what is real or not. Especially when the story portrays someone well known in a largely negative light, it feels a tad unfair since they aren't alive to defend themselves. In this case, the story focuses on Albert Einstein's first wife. Initially the story was engaging as she attends university and starts to make friends. Then she meets fellow student Albert Einstein and things start to get complicated. In the course of a few chapters he goes from sweet, romantic, goofball to a verbally abusive, mean, and incredibly selfish person. It was an interesting look at the times, the science, and one interpretation of events.

87. The Power by Naomi Alderman (3 stars)

Fascinating concept - what would the world be like if women were all of a sudden given a power that made them infinitely more powerful than men? The story is primarily told through four points of view, Allie (a mixed race foster child), Roxy (daughter of a crime boss), Margot (mother and politician), and Tundae (a journalist). Sadly, the most consistently interesting of the characters was the male journalist, Tundae. He was probably the most interesting since his job was to report on the events and to provide a fairly even portrayal. Things start to get a bit disjointed the closer we get to the end which might be a result of how chaotic the events depicted are. It's an intriguing look at how power can corrupt, no matter what gender you are. The depiction of various groups of people seemed overly generalized and Allie's back story seemed a bit tired and something I had read quite a few times before.

Jun 19, 4:48pm Top

88. And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer (4 stars)

I did it! I finally finished all 1,176 pages of this book. It is one of my dad's favorite books and for years he's been asking me if I had read it yet. Now I can say I have and I enjoyed it tremendously. I'm a sucker for family sagas and this one was no different. The book opens in a small Ohio town with two young women, Anne and Sally, graduating in the late 1800's. They are asked to join a women's club that is forming for the purpose of continuing intellectual pursuits. The book then follows their lives as well as the lives of other club members for the next 60 years. Nothing much happens over the course of the book besides every day life - graduations, marriages, births, deaths, political and cultural changes. After having spent so much time with these characters I find that I miss them and would like to some day revisit them. There were some obvious typos (maybe the editor was tired after all those pages), but it didn't keep me from enjoying the book.

Edited: Jun 19, 7:41pm Top

>206 LittleTaiko: . That's a book which my mother really enjoyed and urged me to read many years ago. I never tried it, and no longer have the book, but maybe I'll read it sometime since you enjoyed it so much. I tend no to read long books.

I'm glad to see you counted this on your BingoDOG card.

Jun 19, 8:22pm Top

>206 LittleTaiko: I read that book years ago and loved it.

Jun 19, 9:31pm Top

>206 LittleTaiko: When I first worked in bookstores in the mid-eighties, that was the thickest mass market paperback we stocked. But there's something so satisfying about a good book when you get to spend weeks with it.

Jun 19, 9:45pm Top

>206 LittleTaiko: Congrats on finishing that chunkster! And I'm glad you enjoyed it, since it's one of your dad's favourites :)

Jun 20, 7:51am Top

>206 LittleTaiko: - I too am one of those who read it years ago. I’ve always liked a nice thick book to sink into.

Jun 20, 1:03pm Top

>206 LittleTaiko: I have a history with this book too. I started it at one time but put it down because I was still in college and couldn't manage the time. I carried it with me for years from one dwelling to the next. A year or so ago the director of our library, her mother and I were talking about older good novels and her mother brought this up. The director said they needed a copy because it's still asked for and I took my pristine copy to her. Early this year I read an article on the history of women's culture clubs in Arkansas during the late 19th and early 20th century and found the topic fascinating. It also caused me to remember this book and I'm determined to check "my" copy out of the library and read it. I wish it was on Kindle but it's not.

Jun 24, 2:54pm Top

>207 sallylou61: - There was no way I wasn't counting that for the >500 pages bingo square! It was tempting to count it twice since I'm doing 2 cards. lol

>208 thornton37814: - It surprised me that I liked it as much as I did but I now can definitely see the appeal.

>209 RidgewayGirl: - I'm normally one to race through books, but you're right it was really enjoyable to just curl up with a big book and live in that world for a few weeks.

>210 rabbitprincess: - Thanks! Now it's on to his next recommendation. Now that he's retired I'm getting more suggestions!

>211 dudes22: - It was a nice change of pace to slow down and really spend time with the characters.

>212 clue: - I love that story! How fun that you'll be able to check out "your" copy someday.

Jun 24, 3:19pm Top

Now that I'm done with the big chunkster it was time to finish up some books that I had been stopping and starting for months as well as a couple of quick mystery reads.

89. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin (3 stars)

My first Le Guin novel and it won't be my last. I enjoyed this rather quick read about a man who can change reality through his dreams. What could go wrong?

90. The Hostess with the Ghostess by E.J. Copperman (3 stars)

Another solid entry in the Haunted Guesthouse series. The book opens up with Paul no longer part of the group while he travels the world. When his brother's ghost appears needing help determine who murdered someone it's time for Paul to come home and get back to detective work.

91. Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley (3 stars)

This poor book - it took me so long to finish it. Every time I picked it up I enjoyed it but then I would later forget that I was reading it. This is a rather uneventful book that pokes fun and English society. A couple of great quotes though.

"After all, what is reading but a vice, like drink or venery or any other form of excessive self-indulgence? One reads to tickle and amuse one’s mind; one reads, above all, to prevent oneself thinking."

"As reading becomes more and more habitual and widespread, an ever-increasing number of people will discover that books will give them all the pleasures of social life and none of its intolerable tedium."

92. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks (3 stars)

A nice collection of stories that all feature a typewriter at some point during each story.

93. Shots Fired by C.J. Box (4 stars)

Box is one of my favorite mystery authors and I enjoyed this collection of stories, some of which featured Joe Pickett. There's a dark element to most of the stories which is typical for Box. My favorite was the one that was only 1000 words long. He did a nice job conveying quite a bit with so few words.

Edited: Jun 27, 11:17am Top

94. Rat Pack Confidential by Shawn Levy (3 stars)

Entertaining, gossipy, engaging, and fairly disturbing look at a short period of time when the Rat Pack ruled Las Vegas. I will always love the music of Dean, Sammy, and Frank but boy were they obnoxious, especially Frank. The author manages to walk a fine line most of the time of admiring the stars but yet finding their actions repugnant. The most icky chapter is the one that lists all of the famous women the guys were supposed to have slept with. Lots of stories about the mob and the Kennedy's provide a lot of other salacious details.

Jun 27, 1:27pm Top

I would probably like that one, as Vegas is a big part of my life. If you want to read more about the city and Sinatra at that time, you might like Don Rickles autobiography, Rickles' Book. He has several chapters about meeting and becoming part of Sinatra's inner group and it's sort of amusing to read about Sinatra's behavior from someone who liked him and is trying to paint it in the best way possible.

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