Tuesday, March 17, 2020

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Spring 2020 TBR





The topic for this week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl, is your Spring TBR list. I love making these lists, but maybe this one should be the 'social distancing/isolation list' as we all hunker down and live our best introverted bookworm life. I also expect to get through this list a lot faster than a usual seasonal TBR list. It is technically our March Break this week and how the next few weeks plan our isn't exactly clear for teachers yet, but I expect to be home for quite a bit. So, read on...

Couple of audiobooks I've got borrowed for my walks:


Ask Again, Yes! by Mary Beth Keane
I'm already part way through this one and really liking it!

Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor by Patrick Taylor
Looking forward to a little stay in the simpler 60s of Ireland

next in a series:

Rest Not in Peace (Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon) by Mel Starr 
Way back in the 1200s...


Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
I got this Kindle book on Amazon because my library is missing books 5 & 6 in the series, which is ridiculous. I actually won a $10 Amazon gift certificate through the Participaction app, just for recording my active minutes of exercise. 

books I grabbed at the library on Sunday because I was worried the library would close (which it has!)
All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg 


Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett 


Girl: A Novel by Edna O'Brien 

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo


Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch 

And my Book Club book for the month:

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah 


Also, Happy St Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

TOP TEN TUESDAY: One Word Titles




This week's topic on Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl,  is One Word Titles. I'm amending the topic to One Word Titles of Books I Already Own and Want to Read.



Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier



Causeway by Linden MacIntyre


Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld


Astray by Emma Donoghue



Sovereign by CJ Sansom



Tangled by Carolyn Mackler


Drood by Dan Simmons



Gone by Lisa Gardner


Eventide by Kent Haruf


Rockbound by Frank Day





Tuesday, February 11, 2020

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Love (books from the past decade)

The topic for this week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl, is Love. I'm going with some books I've loved, the best of the best, my favourite books of the past decade. When I look at this list, I nod approvingly.

my favourite books of the past decade


2019 - Milkman - Anna Burns



2018 - Eleanor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine - Gail Honeyman



2017- Finding Wonder - Jeanne Atkins



2016- The Frozen Thames - Helen Humphries



2015- The Martian - Andy Weir



2014- Ready Player One - Ernest Cline



2013- The Light Between the Oceans - ML Stedman



2012- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won't Stop Talking - Susan Cain



2011- Heads You Lose - Lisa Lutz



2010- Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson



2009- The Lizard Cage - Karen Connelly

Saturday, January 25, 2020

CHALLENGE: What's in a Name?


I haven't joined an actual challenge in quite a while, other than the Canadian Book Challenge which I haven't officially completed in a while, or the RIP challenge, which isn't a challenge for me when most of what I read is mystery and suspense books. Anyway. The challenge is now hosted at Carolina Book Nook; head there to sign up.

I participated in the What's in a Name for many years, from 2008 until 2014 when I DNF'd with 3/5 books read. But I'm feeling the need to make a list of possible books, and this is the perfect challenge for that. The topics this year, with my possibilities are:



Tuesday, January 21, 2020

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Newest Additions to Shelves




Top Ten Tuesday topic today is the most recent additions to my shelves. This will give me a chance to write some mini-reviews of books I've recently finished, and a chance to look forward to some books upcoming. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Arty Reader Girl - check her blog out for links to other participants, and to find future topics.


  • To the Land of Long Lost Friends: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #20  by Alexander McCall Smith (Jan 17)
  • My library has been slow to add this to its catalogue, but I finally got myself on the waiting list, should be a few weeks til I get to spend some lovely time in Botswana with some old friends.



Still Midnight by Denise Mina (Jan 11)
I'm listening to this great Scottish police mystery, the first of five books with Alex Morrow as the tortured lead character. With only two hours left to read, I definitely will listen to more of these books.


  • Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell (Jan 5)
  • Quick graphic novel read that takes place on the last night of pumpkin season at a pumpkin patch with two high-schoolers who will be heading off to university. It's a sweet friendship book, with amazing food as the two friends make it a night to remember.



  • We Met in December by Rosie Curtis (Dec 30, 2019)
  • Cute little British rom-com that I listened to to start the year. (Should have read this in December, obvs) Two great main characters sharing a flat with other housemates but are interested but know they shouldn't get involved - it's actually a house rule. But as the year proceeds...


The Art of Theft: The Lady Sherlock Series, Book 4 by Sherry Thomas (Dec 29, 2019)

This series does not disappoint at all! Charlotte and her merry gang of misfits head to France to try and obtain a painting that may contain some blackmail information about a client. We learn more about Mrs Watson's previous life, Charlotte's sisters continue to be a part of the story, and Charlotte and Lord Ingram continue their back and forth. Moriarity's are still always in the background. Fans of Sherlock Holmes should enjoy.


  • We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin (Dec 25, 2019)
  • I borrowed the audio book after seeing this book on the Tournament of Books 2020 play-in list. I think I get what the author was aiming for, but I found it too bleak, and upsetting to enjoy. Set in a slightly future America, where race relations have not improved like you might hope, a father is trying to get his mixed race son surgery to prevent his birthmark from spreading. I didn't like the father and his blaming, and the author knew readers wouldn't like him and he even gives a speech defending his decisions, but it didn't help me. 


The Huntress by Kate Quinn (Dec 9, 2019)
  • My neighbour teacher brought this historical book in for me, with great recommendations and I can't wait to get to it. 


  • Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li (Dec 5, 2019)
  • I'm in the process of reading this book, a longlist book from last year's Bailey's Prize for Fiction. Set in Maryland, a Chinese-American Jimmy is trying to open up a new restaurant, separate from the family Beijing Duck House. There are a bunch of characters, and I'm not completely sure what the main plot is yet. It is okay so far, and it reminds me of another book that I haven't quite been able to recognize.



  • Disappearing Earth  by Julia Phillips (Dec 5, 2019)
Now this book had a lot to recommend. First of all, the setting was in the far east of Russia, in the area known as Kamchatka Peninsula. I was not familiar with this, wouldn't even have thought people lived in this area; luckily a map is included. Bonus. The book starts with the disappearance of two young girls that we read from their perspective. The rest of the book, one chapter for each month, seems to become a series of stories about other characters in the area. Some of these characters are connected to each other, and then near the end, everything starts to come together in a satisfying way. 


  • A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier (Dec 3, 2019)
  • I did enjoy this book but I read it in the weeks before Christmas, and I didn't get to get absorbed in in time-wise, which is too bad, because Chevalier is one of my favourite authors, and in another time, I should have loved this one because it had embroidery. Chevalier writes historical fiction so well, and her research on a topic is always enjoyable.
  • Set in the early 1930s, after WW1 in London, our main character, Violet has lost her brother and fiance in the war, and is a spinster. She is expected to look after her mother, with no regard to her choices. She rebels a bit, and gets a job in a nearby town, lives on her own, and gradually begins to make a life. She discovers a group of embroiderers at a cathedral, and finds her artistic side. She also makes friends with a male bell-ringer at the cathedral, and we get to learn a lot about bell-ringing. Chevalier covers a lot of social territory and commentary, including family obligations, women's roles in society, lesbians, unhappy marriages that won't divorce so lead to affairs, single mothers, and friendships. I would recommend this one especially for fans of historical fiction, England between the wars, and women's fiction. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

TOP TEN TUESDAY: New (female) Authors from 2019





Top Ten Tuesday topic for this week, my first week of 2020 posting, is a bookish discovery from last year. I'm choosing to highlight the new authors I discovered, and they all happen to be women. Some were so good I read more than one of their books.
For more topics, and links to other posts, see That Artsy Reader Girl, who hosts this weekly meme. 



1. Sherry Thomas
Author of the Charlotte Holmes mystery series, I really, really enjoyed this series. The first book, A Study in Scarlet Women, read the delightful Kate Reading, was a good start, and I had fun seeing how Thomas would feminize all the roles from the classic Sherlock Holmes series. By the time I got to the second and third books, I did the unusual for me - I listened to them back to back. I never do that with series! But A Conspiracy in Belgravia ended on a cliff hanger, and I was enjoying my walks with Charlotte, so I immediately downloaded the third book, The Hollow of Fear, and it picked up exactly where the other book ended. I walked a lot that day! This series is funny, exquisitely plotted, and has a large cast of delightful characters. I've already started my year by listening to the fourth edition, The Art of Theft. 



2. Dervla McTiernan
Cormac Reilly is my favourite new Irish detective. The tone feels a bit like Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad, and Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strike. I read both of McTiernan's books, The Ruin and The Scholar, and both were excellent. Waiting for the next book...


3. Sally Rooney
I became aware of Normal People when it was on the Bailey's Prize for Fiction longlist and ended up reading this as an ebook from Netgalley. I quite liked Normal People, enough to listen to Conversations With Friends as an audiobook. Both books didn't have the nicest people, but I liked the Irish vibe. 


4. Elly Griffiths
I heard about the Ruth Galloway archeologist series all around Librarything, and once I decided to read the first one, The Crossing Place, I proceeded to read another three. The personal life of Ruth is far more interesting than the mysteries she gets called in to consult on. Her relationship with the police DCI, Harry Nelson is the best part of the series, along with everyone's favourite druid, Cathbad. For some reason, books five, six and seven are missing from the libraries - both book and online, that I use. I'll have to find them somewhere.


5. Jacqueline Woodson
I listened to this blank verse memoir read by the author. It was engrossing, and lyrical, and excellent. A little girl growing up in South Carolina and New York, during the 60s and 70s, with the Civil Rights movement in the background. Just so well done.
I'm already on the waiting list for her latest book, Red at the Bone.


6.  Lisa Genova
I would definitely read another book by Genova, even if they all seem to be a disease of the week type books. I think she is more famous for Still Alice, about Alzheimer's that many people have recommended to me. Inside the O'Briens is about a Boston father who is diagnosed with Huntington's disease, a horrible hereditary disease. How the grown children and his wife, and he himself react and deal with their new reality is realistic and heartbreaking. I'll look for one of her other books for sure - Still Alice, Left Neglected, Every Note Played.


7. Melanie Benjamin
Benjamin seems to take real people and writes about their lives, but writes them as fictional, which makes a great narrative. The Swans of Fifth Avenue is about Truman Capote (and I'm reading Furious Hours right now, about Harper Lee, and Capote comes up). I loved the crazy 1970s setting of New York City and the decadent lifestyle of Capote. Some of her other books cover people like Tom Thumb, Alice Liddell (Alice in Wonderland), Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Mary Pickford and Frances Marion. 



8. Susan Orlean
I love finding a new nonfiction author that tells a great story. Like everyone else, I liked the Library Book in how it covered many connected topics - the fire at the LA library, the history of libraries and librarians, all the good book stuff. I have her book Rin Tin Tin to read, the biography of the famous dog, and her more famous book, The Orchid Thief. 


9. Jasmine Guilllory
I'm not really much of a romance reader, but listening to The Proposal just before Christmas was the perfect book to listen during the craziness of December. The Proposal is actually the second book in this loosely connected series. The first book, The Wedding Date, has characters who are friends withe the main characters in The Proposal. The story was light, and you obviously hope they will get together, but my ultimate takeaway was how glad I'm not in the dating scene.


10. Rachel Kushner
The Mars Room was a well done story about women in prison, and while it wasn't an uplifting story, it was well written, and I liked how all the strands came together. Kushner has another book, The Flamethrowers, that I'd like to read. 

Lots of great new authors with many more books to look forward to by them. Sigh, So Many Book, So Little Time.