LauraBrook Pulls Some ROOTs 2018, part 1
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Hello there fellow ROOTers! I'm happy to be back in this group again, and I hope that we can all make our collective goals this year.
I'm bumping up my goal to 100 ROOTS (from 75 last year) simply because I needed a bit more of a challenge. Ideally I'll get rid of all 100 this year too, but that seems unlikely as I'm a bit of a book hoarder. I will include ROOTs that I didn't read but am still getting rid of - for me, this challenge is about not only reading the books I already own, but also getting rid of some too.
Good luck to one and all! I can't wait to see what everyone's goals are for this year!
update: I should add, as of today, January 1, I have 2,200 unread books on my shelves. I don't count ebooks or audiobooks, though I've certainly got enough of those to read/listen to too. I...may have a problem.
2,200 unread books? That is close to my numbers so I can understand the need to read and move 100 along. Good luck with your ROOTing in 2018!
>8 tess_schoolmarm:, >9 FAMeulstee:, >10 floremolla:, >11 cyderry:, >12 Berly: Thanks, everyone! I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone reads this year!
>13 Familyhistorian: I'm so happy to find another person who has books like I do! There are several that I know I should just move on without reading, but I can't bring myself to do it. I hope we both meet our ROOTing goals this year!
Book 1: A Room Full of Bones by Ellly Griffiths
I started reading the Dr Ruth Galloway series a few weeks ago, and I'm unable and unwilling to stop reading them one after the other. They're so good! This (4th) book finds Ruth with a new neighbor, an Australian Aboriginal man, and the usual cast of characters (Nelson, Michelle, Cathbad, Judy, Clough) are involved in two different investigations that are, of course, somehow oddly involved. While this is my least favorite of the series so far, I still enjoyed it quite a lot, and have already placed my bookmark in the beginning of the 5th book so I can start reading before I go to work this afternoon. 3.5 stars, and a keeper. My Mom, also a big reader, is on the 2nd in the series, and we're so grateful to have someone else to talk to about these books!
Hi Laura! So happy to be joining the group this year, everyone seems so nice! And it'll do me good to spend a little time playing amongst my own shelves, instead of hitting up Waterstones or staggering home from the library with even more!
Congrats on one down already - I haven't even started my reading yet, but I've got a pile here calling to me and I CAN'T WAIT! :D
>16 elliepotten: Yay, Ellie is here!!!!!! I need a group like this to help me focus on my own personal library, versus (as you so well stated) staggering home with armloads of books from the public library.
Book 2: Ruth's First Christmas Tree by Elly Griffiths
This quickie between-the-numbers e-book was charming and easy, though I don't think you'd miss anything if it was skipped. (Also, why did literally half of this book need to be a re-hash over the basics of all the characters? Presumably anyone reading it would know what in the world is going on.) 2.5 stars
I'm a sucker for a good mystery series, you have me intrigued. I may have to check those books out sometime!
>14 LauraBrook: I have a few of those books that I should move along without reading but that would never happen. Maybe I should concentrate on getting some of those read and moved along? Sounds a bit like work. LOL
A Room Full of Bones is the next Ruth Galloway up for me. You have inspired me to add it to the mix of books that I am reading.
Well done on your first couple of ROOTs! Your TBR pile makes me want to lie down and fan myself. Mine is just under 400, and that is bad enough, I wouldn't know where to start with 2,200!
>18 LibraryLover23: I'm really enjoying them, if for no other reason than Ruth's job is so interesting! I hope you like them if you decide to check them out!
>19 MissWatson: Thank you, MissWatson! :)
>20 Familyhistorian: Hah, doesn't it sound like work? Thumbs down. ;) Yay, add it in to your reading! I'm halfway through the 5th book (A Dying Fall), and I'm annoyed that I can't let myself just sit and read it today - unfortunately, laundry and dishes don't do themselves.
>21 Jackie_K: Thanks Jackie! I know, I can't think about that big number too much either, but by the state of my shelves and bins in the basement, I know it's accurate. Oh, the problems of being a lifelong book hoarder. Want to trade TBRs? ;)
Book 3: Introvert Doodles by Marzi Wilson
I got tired of waiting for my library system to get this, so I caved and bought it. It's a cute little book with one-page cartoons about being an introvert, and happily about reading and books too. I enjoyed it, and can see myself reading/flipping through it again, but it wasn't anything earth-shattering. Recommended but I wouldn't break my ankle running to get a copy. 3.25 stars, and a keeper for now.
>23 Familyhistorian: I'm so glad you liked that one! My Mom is about halfway through it now, and keeps trying to get me to tell her what happens.
Through working and completely ignoring the bomb that apparently went off in my house, I've managed to read a few more of my own books!
Book 4: A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
Just loved this one, and I tore through it in just over a day! 4.5 stars, keeper
Book 5: The Clocks by Agatha Christie
I'm nearing the end of my Poirot readathon, and it's starting to make me read a little slower in an effort to stretch it out a little more. In this story, a secretary gets called to a house in London with instructions to go inside and wait if the owner isn't home yet. When she does and finds a dead body in the room she's supposed to wait in, along with several clocks that show the wrong time, she careers out of the house and right into a detective. I wasn't sure about who the culprit was until halfway through, and then I doubted myself because so many other moving parts went back and forth. A fun little story. 4 stars, ebook library checkout, so not a keeper, but I'm always looking for a physical copy to add to my library.
Book 6: Organize Your Way by Katie McMenamin
Originally a library checkout, I had to buy a copy for myself! Taking a quiz near the beginning of this book, you find out what kind of person you are, and each chapter focuses on a room with both generic rules/tips that apply to everyone, and specific suggestions for each type too. It was very inspiring and helped me understand why I do things the way that I do them - mostly I didn't catch on that I did things a certain way until I read my section! 5 stars, keeper! And, I didn't know this until after I read the book (granted, I did skip a couple of the early chapters to get to the quiz) but it's based on Briggs-Meyers, and I got my same result, so that really made me happy. Recommended!
Book 7: The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths
Another Ruth adventure, and another 2 day read. 4 stars, keeper!
Book 8: Pride, Prejudice and Popcorn by Carrie Sessarego
Another one that was a library checkout that I ended up buying (for $1 - an ebook). I laughed out loud lots of times reading this. Carrie talks about her love/hate relationship with Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre. There's a funny and accurate recap of each book, and then she reviews each adaptation, and picks the best of each part in a summary at the end. I really enjoyed this one, and it made me want to do my own version of this, and with my favorite Austen book, Sense & Sensibility. Fun and funny! 5 stars, ebook keeper.
Book 9:A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt
An LTER book I'd forgotten about, this was a delight to read at 3 AM when I had horrible insomnia. The start to a series, it focuses on Anna, the youngest daughter in a loving family, coming home for Christmas for the first time in years, and dealing not only with the changes in their family status, but with her anxiety issues, the death of a sibling from years ago, and a new love interest. It's not perfect, but I enjoyed the heck out of it, even making me tear up a couple of times. 4 stars! ebook keeper!
Book 10: The Wicked Godmother by Marion Chesney / M C Beaton
Such a fun little Regency romance series! This is the third and I plowed through the whole thing on the same insomnia night as the book above. It's my first series of romance books by Chesney, and I'm really enjoying them. 4 stars, ebook keeper
Book 11: The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths
Another 2 days, another Ruth Galloway book. ;) 4 stars, keeper
Book 12: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
A newer book and I read it within 2 years of owning it, which is something of a minor miracle. Spooky and eerie, with religious fervor/mania, hauntings, a special needs sibling, a savage beach that disappears with the tide, and frightening locals on a cold and isolated island. I liked it, but I don't understand what I read. Most of the mysteries here weren't resolved, which usually doesn't bother me, but in this case it did. If you're going to work something spooky up into something that seems major, don't leave it hanging, dude! 3 stars, and it's out the door!
Book 13: Seeking Spirits by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson
Eh. I used to really like this show, and I missed it when it went off the air. I prefer their other book, as a lot of this was just nothing paranormal at all, and it seemed a little less readable to me. If you're a fan of the show, I'd recommend it if for no other reason than Grant finally tells his story of what happened to him that lead him down this path. 2 1/2 stars, and it's gone!
Plus, I got rid of 7 unread books off of my shelves, so I'm counting those - that brings me up to 20 books so far. Fingers crossed I can get another 6 read before the end of the month to make it an even 30!
You are reading up a storm. I think all the Ruth Galloways are helping. LOL.
>25 LauraBrook: Book 8 is a serious BB for me (especially after realizing that the author writes for one of the blogs I read!). Also, I look forward to your research into the S&S adaptations!
Wooooow, look at you go! I LOVE 'organising books', anything that makes me want to clear out some crap and make the rest look lovely is fine by me. I was that weird kid who used to read books like that (very much NOT aimed at children, haha, but I read every last page) as inspiration to clean my bedroom, and I still adore them now! I'd heard good things about The Loney too, but maybe I'll leave that one alone for a while. The library will always be there later!
>26 floremolla: Oooh, I hope you give in and read it! I'm about to start the 8th one myself after a 2 week break.
>27 rabbitprincess:, >29 MissWatson: Thank you!
>28 Familyhistorian: They certainly are! (Of course, that means that I'm buying them, too, so it's sort of a break-even.)
>30 Caramellunacy:, >31 Jackie_K: I hope you both enjoy it!
>32 elliepotten: I was the same weird kid. :) Love reading Good Housekeeping magazine too, and always like the home decoration part. I'd save Loney for a cold and grey spring or fall day, if you can. Would be even more eerie!
Book 21: How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing With Your House's Dirty Little Secrets by Dana K. White
I saw a glowing review for this book somewhere online recently and that the author wrote aslobcomesclean.com, and thought that if anyone can call themselves a slob and refer going crazy in terms of housework, she could be just the gal for me. And she totally is!
Originally I checked this out from the library, because, like so many "organization" books, they either don't apply to me in the end, or they're too impractical. This one, however, was so good that I bought myself a copy! Dana talks about Slob Vision (when you don't see the stuff any more), and as someone who has this same problem it really struck a chord. This is the most honest and realistic "get your butt in gear" book I've found. She does swear a little bit, and talk about her faith a (very) little bit, as a heads up for you all. But mostly, she's just straightforward about everything - the mess, the internal monologues, the rationalizations - and it was refreshing as heck. I've even managed to implement some of her strategies and maintain them for most of a week! That's something that I can't say is true for any other book. This gives me hope and make me feel not-so-alone in the struggle to get my house together. Even though I'm single and without (two-legged) kids, it's something I've always had a hard time with. Between this book and Organize Your Way, I understand myself so much better than I have before, and I'm motivated to keep working on things. I recommend this book (especially if you suspect you're a slob), and that you check it out from the library first. 4 1/2 stars, keeper
>34 LauraBrook: *adds quietly to library list* My room and the surrounding environs aren't in TERRIBLE shape right now, but anything that inspires me to get on top of those last problem areas and KEEP it that way is fine by me!
>35 Berly: Thanks, Berly! I've hit a little reading wall, but I'm starting to feel the urge to pick up a book again. Thankful this round didn't last too long!
>36 elliepotten: I hear you, I'll give any book a shot if I think it'll help me control the stuff chaos in my house. Hope you like this one if and when you get around to it!
It's been a while since I updated here :( so I don't remember details of most of these, so I'll just do a star and if it's a keeper or goner.
Book 22: Third Girl by Agatha Christie Good, 4 stars, keeper
Book 23: How to be Champion by Sarah Millican Wonderful, laugh out loud and honest. 4.5 stars, keeper
Book 24: Lagom by Linnea Dunne Lovely inside and out. 3.5 stars, keeper
Book 25: The Alchemyst by Michael Scott Cute, and I realized I'm not the intended audience, but there were too many inconsistencies and infuriating idiotic moments to keep me going in this series. 2.5 stars, and a goner!
Book 26: The Will to Whatevs by Eugene Mirman Too all over the place, seemingly without structure, and the humor just wasn't funny to me. 1 star, and it's a goner!
Book 27: Rake's Progress by M.C. Beaton/Marion Chesney Cute, and a nice addition to the series. 3.5 stars, keeper (ebook).
Book 28: The Woman in Blue by Ellie Griffiths Another good'un, though the stakes were less high-risk for me than usual. 4 stars, keeper
Book 29: Midsummer Delights by Eloisa James Sweet, romantic fun! 3 stars, keeper (ebook).
Book 30: The Chalk Pit by Ellie Griffiths Holy crap, two "bombs" were dropped at the end of this book - I'm champing at the bit for the newest addition to the series in May! 4 stars, keeper
Book 31: Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie A little all over the place, though it's still Agatha. I think the TV adaptation did a better job with the story, frankly. 3 stars, keeper.
Book 32: Little House in Brookfield by Maria D. Wilkes Cute, and I wish I knew if this was a complete book on its' own, or if it was taken from a larger one. Regardless, it's a nice story about the city that's next to mine and Laura's Ma in her youth. 3.5 stars, keeper since I'm a Little House book fan.
Book 33: Kilt Dead by Kaitlyn Dunnett Eh. It might have been the formatting for the ebook I read, but there seemed to be almost zero segways that weren't completely jarring, and some of the obvious misses in the mystery were a little annoying. Wish there were more to do with Scotland and the shop, but maybe in the rest of the series that gets used/developed. 2.5 stars, goner.
Book 34: Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry Okay. For a 400 page cozy mass market, this sure took a long time to have things develop in every storyline, and it was so incredibly obvious whodunnit from the get-go that it was infuriating to read. Also, the MC does the stupidest thing EVER near the end of the book
That brings me up to 36 books total, which is okay for me for early March. And over all, I'm only up 21 books since January 1st, which for me, is virtually nothing. If I can keep finding starts to series I don't enjoy, that would be really helpful! Off to go and search my shelves to see what I think I might dislike and want to get rid of once I try it.
Wow, I can't believe that 36 books is a reading slump! I'm in awe!
I have How to be Champion on my TBR, and have heard lots of good things about it, glad you liked it too!
>38 Jackie_K: I hope you like Sarah Millican as much as I did. I think we could be friends in real life, if for no other reason than our embarrassing taste in music (Go West, "Moonlighting" theme song, etc).
And it is totally a slump. I'm around 57 or so total books read so far this year, which if I take a step back I can see that that's a lot of books for like 10 weeks, but I was reading at least 100 pages a day for most of those weeks. I've hardly gotten 30 pages a day in 3 weeks. For someone with a part time job and enough health problems to make laying down a necessity for the bulk of the day, I should be doing more reading and less rewatching Galavant and Bob's Burgers.
I'm looking forward to How to Be Champion as well! My library has ordered it, and I have to support their seemingly random UK-related purchases!
>38 Jackie_K: I'm in with Jackie! I want a slump like yours anytime (only the reading part, the health issues are not so good of course. I hope that will be more manageable soon).
>40 rabbitprincess: Bummer on having to wait for Ms. Millican. Fingers crossed they decide to order it soon! I'd imagine quite a few people would want to read it.
>41 connie53: Hah, thank you. And it will be a long road to being "healthy" or "normal", having autoimmune disorders are lifelong things, but I'll take what I can get. However, with the small changes my natural doctor and I have done in the past month, I'm already starting to feel a little better and am able to do 3 things a day most days. Usually it's just one, or two on a good day. I turn 40 this year (not sure how that is happening already), and it's starting to feel like things are getting figured out or falling into place after struggling and suffering since my teens. Uffda!
>42 LauraBrook: WOW, that's really much to live with, Laura. Very good that your natural doctor and you made some changes that made life more bearable. I know what those doctors can achieve because my husband is visiting one too. It's often finding a balance in medication. It takes time, but if you hang in there it gets better.
I'm turning 65 in two weeks, so 40 looks very, very young to me (I feel 38 though)
>42 LauraBrook: Sorry the autoimmune stuff has been getting in the way for so long. Hope you make progress with the natural doc. I am also trying to get "back on track," but you've been fitting in WAY more books in your downtime than I have! Good job. : )
>43 connie53: You're right, it does take time, but I'm hopeful. How is your husband doing? And happy belated birthday!
>44 Berly: Health issues are never easy, but for some reason the hidden, non-visible ones are the toughest. I'm just glad that I've been able to keep reading! Though the amount of TV I watch is semi-shocking for me (lots of mysteries and Brit-coms!), I could really use a bump-up in pages. And you're doing pretty darned good yourself!
Books 37 & 38: Scooby-Doo Team-Up Vol 1 and 2 by Sholly Fisch Eh. These were cute and entertaining enough, but I won't reread them 3 stars each, and they're both gone!
Books 39 & 40: Elephants Can Remember and Poirot's Early Cases by Agatha Christie. 3 for Elephants and 2.5 for Cases. This is my first time reading the Poirot books, and I'm doing them in order. Just the last book left, and I can see how the mystery parts had started to decline in the last few books. Keeping both, because I'm trying to own the whole series.
Book 41: Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan. 4 stars of fun and fluff with a relatable MC living in an enviable place off the coast of Cornwall. Keeper, and I'm working towards the 3rd in the series which I won in ER last November/December!
Book 42: The Birdwoman's Palate by Laksmi Pamuntjak. Ugh. A Kindle First read, and I really didn't like it. She's not a bad writer, not at all, but this book was too all over the place. As it kept going, new people and relationships kept popping up too, and it just seemed like a mess. If was a book about food and the avian flu, with the focus on that, I would've really enjoyed it. But it all just seemed like haphazard writing, shoved together and loosely connected with some character names. 1 star, and deleted. No thank you.
>45 LauraBrook: Hi Laura, thanks for asking about my husband. It took some time, but the past few days he feels better, so I hope it will stay that way.
Finally resurfacing myself after a bit of a rough patch. How are you doing? I have made it to 33 books so far. Feeling proud. : )
>47 Berly: Hi Laura. Good to see you are back. I hope the rough patches are in the past for you.
>47 Berly: Hi Berly! Lots of rough patches all around. Had a few myself, but seem to be on an upswing and don't want to jinx it. *knocks on wood* You should feel proud, that's a great number!
>48 connie53: Thanks, I hope so, and I think so too! I hope you and your husband are doing well too! OXO
Let's see what I've managed to read in the interim! Might not be too many things as I seem to have hit a reading dry spell. The good side of that is that I've been working on cleaning up my house, getting rid of things like crazy, rearranging what's left, reconsidering how things have previously been stored (since my Grandmother lived here), etc. A lot of work, and mentally exhausting, but positive otherwise.
Book 43:The Scam by Janet Evanovich Lots of fun, with many catch-your-breath and anxiety-inducing moments like all the previous books in the series. It ends on a cliff-hanger too, so I was champing at the bit to get to the next book. 4 stars, keeper for now.
Book 44: Royal Wedding: Harry & Meghan Paper Dolls Yes, I am an adult, and yes, I low-key collect paper doll books. I LOVED them when I was a kid and was always torn between actually playing with them or leaving the book "unharmed" and just flipping through it and imagining instead. Since I'm grown-up now, I'd feel a little strange actually playing with them, but I can find some beautiful ones to admire. This was kind of fun, and actually her dress wasn't too far off from reality (despite having it for a few months now). 3 stars, keeper.
Books 45, 46, & 47: Play, Lead, and Deep by Kylie Scott. I really liked this dirty series! The first one (Lick) and the 3rd, Lead, were my favorites, but I liked them all. Each book focuses on an individual in a popular rock band, Stage Dive, and their personal demons and how the meet their "one", and the start of their relationship. And I liked that the previous/future characters are in the other books too, so you can still see what everyone is up to as the overarching storyline progresses. There's a spin-off series too that I'm saving for an insomnia night since I know I'll get sucked right in. 3 stars, 4 stars, and 3 stars resepectively, and all keepers. (e-books)
Book 48: The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich. The 5th in the series, and I enjoyed the heck of it too. It was the last in the series, and then recently the 6th book was announced for publication late this year or early next. These books are entertaining and a heck of a lot of fun, where the bad guy almost always gets what he deserves. 4 stars, keeper for now.
Books 49 & 50: Every Heart A Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire. An interesting little series of novellas. I didn't really like the first one, Doorway, and was intrigued by what the second book would be like. It was SO MUCH BETTER! It seems like the first book sets up the school and the world, and you get to know the students and other worlds out there, and then in the following books you follow a character or two into their nonsense world. The second book follows the twins and their time in the land of the dead (or whatever it was called). It was SO GOOD! I'm looking forward to reading the third book whenever I can get my hands on it. 2 stars and 4 stars, respectively, and they're both already out the door!
Book 51: Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan More fun and drama and laughs on the little island once again. I'm so happy that I won the 3rd in the series in an Early Review giveaway late last year, otherwise I may never have picked up these books. (I'm reading the 3rd now, and dragging it out - I don't want the characters to stop!) I liked this one slightly less than the 1st, but it was still enjoyable to see what Polly and Huck and Neil the puffin were all up to. 3.5 stars, keeper.
That's all for now! For the first time in 4 or 5 years, I'm behind schedule according to Goodreads. I'm trying not to panic or get anxious about it, since I know this slump can't last forever. Right? ;) And, another long-time first for me, I have NOTHING CHECKED OUT FROM THE LIBRARY! I know!!! They're doing major street construction on the streets around it, this on top of pretty major construction that's been going on around my house for almost 6 years now (it's a wonder I don't have a drinking problem), and not being able to easily access the library was sort of my last straw in regards to things I'm willing to drive around. I have thousands of unread books here at home, and I can still use the library online to check out ebooks, so this is the perfect time to finally do what I've been planning/threatening to do for years and just read what I've already shelled out money on. Amazing! Since I tend to read at least a dozen books at once, I think I might start putting a bright post-it on the front of each cover with a fake due-date on it just to keep me moving on some of them. Like Voyager, for example. I started that last fall and am still only about 100 pages in. Come on, Laura, you're home a lot now, just read the chunkster! Ugh.
Hope you're all doing well. And have you ever gone awhile without using your local library?
I'm getting the shakes just thinking about not using my local library! The longest I go without using it is maybe a couple of weeks, if I'm going out of town on vacation.
Lovely to see you posting again :D
Nice to hear from you, and boo to the construction work. We're having loads of it at the moment, it's disrupting traffic in a major way and interferes with so many daily routines. Enjoy your own books!
>50 rabbitprincess: The longest I've gone is two weeks previously. I'm coming up to that mark now, and I nearly broke it last night by requesting something. Close one! I realized that I didn't need to request that romance novel to see what it was like as I already owned it. *sigh and head shake* I've requested things too many times and found out once I had it at home that I already owned it. Note to self: always check LibraryThing before requesting anything from the library!
>51 MissWatson: Construction is so disruptive in so many ways! And it's either never-ending (seemingly) or needs to be done desperately for far too long. No happy medium! Hope you're chugging away on your own books. Off to catch up on your thread...
Book 52: Serendipity Market by Penny Blubaugh Well, I read this one so long ago that I don't remember much about it other that it was slim and I only thought it was okay. 2 stars, and needless to say, it's out the door!
Book 53: The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham. After watching Midsomer Murders for decades, I finally got around to reading my copy of the first book in the series. The TV episode of this follows the book closely, so there weren't any real surprises here, other than how much I enjoyed seeing Barnaby in print. 4 stars, and a keeper. I'm wondering how the rest of the books stack up against the series as there are under 10 in print, and the rest of the multiple seasons are all simply based on the series. Hmmm.
Book 54: Shirley, Vol. 1 by Kaoru Mori. A manga I'd been holding onto for a few years (Ms. Mori is my favorite manga author, and this is one of her earliest works, if not the earliest). Getting to know Shirley the young maid and her life in Victorian London was delightful, and I"m only sorry that there isn't another volume to follow up on! 4 stars, keeper.
Book 55: Sinful Temptation by London Hale. An erotic novella is how I'd classify it best, I think. I don't remember where online I saw the recommendation for London's work, but I jumped on the two available books in print. Fun and flirty, and heavy on the instant-sexual-attraction thing, I enjoyed this story of the young pastor and the sex shop owner falling in lust and then in love. 3 stars, and out the door!
Book 56: The Second Empress by Michelle Moran. I think this is the first of her books that I've read all the way through, and that's a shame, only myself to blame. Reading this tale of Napoleon's second wife, 19-year-old Archducess of Austria Marie-Louise, it reignited my interest in all things Napoleonic, especially in historical fiction. I enjoyed the heck out of this, reading late into the night on my Kindle. 4.25 stars, keeper.
Book 57: West from Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This epistolary tale of Laura's trip out to San Francisco to visit Rose was just as interesting and wonderful as I'd expected it to be. An easy journey it was not, and her visit had its' share of ups and downs in the weeks spent in California, but it was nice to read some new-to-me words in Laura's voice. 3.5 stars, keeper.
Book 58: Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch. Light on the SNL days, this was an easy and enjoyable memoir of her life and her unconventional trip to motherhood and where she currently finds herself. Funny and relatable, I encourage anyone who might be interested to pick it up. 4 stars, out the door!
Books 59, 60, & 61: Size Matters, On the Plus Side, and More to Love by Alison Bliss. This contemporary romance series (maybe it's only a trilogy?) featuring plus-sized MCs was not quite what I thought it would be. The first book, Size Matters, was the best of the three, with the middle book (Plus Side) veering too strongly from what the main lady was set out to be like as the best friend in the first book, and the third book was nearly unreadable for me, full of manipulation and meanness and lies. It went from 3 stars, to 2, to 1. I'm disappointed because my expectations were high. Oh well, they're all gone now.
Book 62: Sinful Attraction by London Hale. The second of the two print books of hers I could find, this is also set in the same small island/city as Sinful Temptation, but this time features a police officer and a newcomer whom he keeps coincidentally saving from risky situations. Of course they fall in love (and in bed), and it was a fun read, but I don't feel a need to hang on to it. 3 stars, and out the door!
Book 63: Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke. The start of an historical mystery series set in San Francisco in the late 1800s, I wish I'd gotten around to it sooner, but alas, it sat on my Kindle unread for a few years. This series focuses on widow Annie Fuller and her life in the boardinghouse she owns (left to her by her deceased Aunt). Annie spends her days running the boardinghouse and earning some extra income posing as Madam Sybil, a clairvoyant who is popular with businessmen and ladies alike - learning all about business matters from her deceased father and having a brain in her head certainly helps her along. When a creditor comes calling years after her husband's suicide, asking for a debt to be repaid that would cause her to lose her livelihood and home, she decides to investigate the recent death and apparent suicide of one of her clients and friends. Fun and intense in parts, I'm happy to say that I couldn't quite figure out whodunit and why. Looking forward to the next in the series! 4.25 stars, and a keeper.
Book 64: Long Live the Queen by Kate Locke. I saved this trilogy-ender for a little too long, I think - I should have kept reading right along. No matter, though, as I jumped right back into this crazy world easily. A satisfying end, I only wish that Xandra and her world were real somehow. 4 stars, keeper!
Book 65: Hungry by Crystal Renn. This plus-size supermodel's memoir of her life and rise to fame was interesting and read like you were sitting and chatting with a new friend who feels like an old friend. Interesting, nothing earth-shattering, but I think I got her voice really well. (She used a ghost writer, whom I think did a great job.) 3 stars, and out the door.
Book 66: Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan. Finally, the third in the Beach Street trilogy, and the reason I discovered this author thanks to my Early Reviewer winning of this book. The story picks up pretty much where it left off in the previous book, and while I enjoyed it, it seemed a little too overly dramatic more often than I was really comfortable with. Still, a fun wrap-up, and I'm so pleased that Neil the puffin is doing so well. 3 stars, keeper.
Book 67: I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee. I really like Samantha on TV, and I was happy to see that her real life has been just as interesting and funny and dirty as she seems to be. Not for the easily offended (but why would they be reading this anyways?) I laughed and enjoyed the heck out of the afternoon it took me to read through. 4 stars, and out the door. Kind of wish I'd kept it.
Book 68: The Bridge of Dead Things by Michael Gallagher. Getting to know Lizzie Blaylock, reluctant medium, has been nothing but a delight. Yet another favorite author introduced to me courtesy of the Early Reviewers here, this tale of little Lizzie, her poor family, and her misunderstood gift was so real to me, and so fascinatingly, delightfully gothic, it was such a treat to read that I strung it out over a week in trying to preserve my time in the world. As ever, author Michael Gallagher has made such a true world and place that I found myself trying to Google the characters again, just like in his fantastic Octavius Guy series. 4.5 stars, and a keeper for sure!
Book 69: Heart Mate by Robin D. Owens. What started out as an "eh, I'll give this one a shot, I can probably just get rid of it" read ended up being a fevered dash through pages, and the start to yet another series I'm hooked on. It's a sort of futuristic science fiction romance that felt real to me, especially with the wonderful language use. How people can make up words and worlds nowhere yet in existence and make them nearly-instantly understandable is amazing to me. I've got the next few books in the series here, just waiting a little while longer until I can focus more fully on them, time-wise. 4 stars, keeper!
Book 70: Little Women: A BabyLit Playtime Primer by Jennifer Adams. A fun, wonderfully illustrated and written book for the youngest of kids. 3 stars, and it's already gifted to my friends' daughter.
Book 71: Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai. A couple of years ago, when I first started reading romance novels, I got hooked on Sarah MacLean's works. Thankfully for myself and readers everywhere, she maintains a comprehensive list of her favorite romance books/series/authors that she recommends, and most importantly, why she recommends them. This came from that massive list, and I have to say I wasn't really a fan. It seemed too contrived to me - or I'm too bitter, take your pick - and I didn't really enjoy it. It was okay, don't get me wrong, but not a favorite for sure. 2 stars, and out the door.
Book 72: Blameless by Gail Carriger. Yet another book in a series that I waited too long to get back to. But no matter - within a few pages, I was right back in Alexandra's world, smiling and engrossed, wondering what kept me away for so long. The third in the quintet, I enjoyed the heck out of it, and I can guarantee it won't be quite so long before I'm back and reading about her steampunk adventures with her wolverine husband. 3.75 stars, keeper.
BOok 73: The Adventuress by Marion Chesney / M. C. Beaton. The penultimate of this Regency romp of a series, I didn't care for the main character too much. As always, Rainbird and the rest of the staff at Clarges Street steal the show. 2.5 stars, and a keeper only because it's part of a series I'm keeping and it's an ebook.
Book 74: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand. A supernatural twist to Tudor history, this chunkster of a YA book was fun to read, even if it felt a bit uneven to me. 3.5 stars, keeper bc it's an ebook and I'm a sucker for anything British.
Book 75: The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny. This eight Chief Inspector Gamache mystery certainly did not disappoint. In fact, it led to be binge-reading the next two books immediately! This story find Gamache and Beauvoir investigating the murder of a monk in a monastery long thought dead or disappeared, deep deep into the Canadian wilderness. A fascinating mystery not only for the murder, but also for the monastery and the monks themselves, and of course, our fearless and much-loved main characters. Wonderful writing, full of truths of humanity and humor as always, I just adore this series. 5 stars, and a lifetime keeper for sure.
Book 76 and 77: How the Light Gets In and The Long Way Home by Louise Penny. Both of these were fantastic, most especially "Light", as it wraps up some forgotten-about (by me) old and scary storylines. I literally could not turn the pages fast enough! What a tour de force, full of rage and terror and anxiety and thoughtfulness... just outstanding. "Home" was a bit less of a fascinating read, simply because no matter what story would have been after "Light" it would be a comedown. I still read it in under 48 hours, though, so there's that. Now the only thing that's stopped me from Penny-bingeing is the fact that my Mom had the next in the series. 5.5 stars and 4 stars, respectively. Keepers.
Book 78: This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart by Susannah Conway. I first found out about Susannah from my good friend, Nan. Every year Susannah offers a free "course", on helping you reflect on the past year, the year to come, and to help you find a specific word to focus on and use as a centering point throughout the year. I enjoy the course, and wanted to read her book once I knew about it. An honest look at grief, moving through life after a profound death, and on healing and being gentle with yourself. I loved it, and the accompanying photographs too, and can see myself reading it again in future. 4.75 stars, keeper.
Book 79: The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny. Yet another wonderful Gamache book. It's hard to say just why these are such excellent books for me, but they sure hit all of the main things that turn me on in books, especially in mysteries. 4.25 stars, keeper.
Book 80: Orange, the complete collection, volume 1 by Ichigo Takano. In an effort to try and clear some books from my shelves (*ahem*) I picked up this chunkster of a manga and found myself entranced by the story of a group of friends in high school. Our main girl receives letters from herself 10 years in the future, telling her what to do differently to save the life of one of the group. It was sweet and lovely, and I'm itching to get back to the second collection soon. 4 stars, keeper.
Book 81: A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh. Yet another from Sarah MacLean's recommendation list, this novella was a delight. Everything I've read about this practically screams to "NOT READ THE FLAP" for fear of spoilers. (Why do publishers do this so often?!?) I just dove in and was rewarded with a lovely twist and a fun and romantic story. 4 stars, keeper.
Book 82: Monsieur Lambert by Jean-Jacques Sempé. This is another "quickly clear the shelf" one, and a slim one I'd kept wrapped in its' original plastic wrap since I purchased it at the local Art Museum a few years ago. It's a graphic novel, and a very French one at that. Focusing on one of a group of middle-aged-and-older men having lunch every day at the same restaurant, the youngest of them finds himself in a love affair. It starts slowly and ends quickly, with the bulk of the story focusing on the lunch table and each of the men reminiscing about their love lives. 3 stars, keeper for now, will probably move along in future.
Book 83: The Scarab Heart by Michael Gallagher. The second (and last) of the wonderful Lizzie Blaylock books, this finds our Lizzie in Egypt a few years after the first book. Things are disappearing on an archaeological dig, and not only does Lizzie's gift come in handy, but she gets more involved in the hunt too. Historically accurate from what I remember from my Egyptian-obsessed-years, this is just as wonderful and even more realistic than the first book. 5 stars, keeper for sure.
Book 84: Rainbird's Revenge by Marion Chesney. The last in the Clarges Street series, it was a nice end to the Regency series, though it did leave me quite nervous for how the servants were all going to end up. I can't say I'm thrilled with the outcome, but it is quite realistic. 4 stars, and a keeper.
Book 85: Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton. Last night I was trapped in a recliner under my cat, and the only book to hand was this one. My Mom has been bugging me to start this series since it was first published in the mid-90's, and upon my recommendation (well, from my Mom), two of my friends have fallen in love with the series. With nothing to lose, I picked it up, and finished it, eagerly, this morning. The start to what I'm assuming is a semi-cozy series with the hint of the supernatural, this old-fashioned-feeling tale was so wonderful and heartwarming. I'm only sad that it took me this long to get to it (though I always think the right book comes along at the right time). 4.5 stars, and a keeper.
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