Monday, December 11, 2017

Family Tree Reading Challenge


I did such a dismal job on all my reading challenges during 2017 that I really have no business thinking about challenges for 2018. But you know how it is — with all those shiny new challenges being rolled out right now, there's no way I can just ignore them.

And the Family Tree Reading Challenge, hosted by Becky @ Becky's Book Reviews, is (I think) new this year (at least new to me) and pleasingly different. The goal of the challenge is to read books from the birth years of your family members — at least three books, and at least three family members (you can include yourself in the mix). You can read more about the challenge over on the announcement page.

So what will I read? Well, on my mother's side of the family, I have four cousins, born in 1949, 1950, 1952 and 1960. On my father's side, I have thirteen cousins, so I'm going with Mom's branch of the tree. That means I'll be reading at least one book from each of those four years. I haven't settled on specific books yet, but I've got a list of some possibilities over on my challenge blog, and that's where I'll be tracking my progress.



Sunday, December 10, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Wow, almost Christmas. Almost 2018. What's going on here? It's been a really long time since I posted a reading update. Months. Actually, I haven't been doing much blogging at all, recently. Real life getting in the way of my bookish pursuits. Hate it when that happens!

Haven't posted much lately because of a few medical issues that have been taking up some time. Hope to have that all dealt with very soon. But at the moment, everything is calm enough for me to do a little catching up. And even though I haven't been blogging or doing any reviews, I have been doing some reading.

• In the past few weeks, I've finished several books:

Anything Is Possible. Elizabeth Strout (2017)

The Body in the Library (Miss Marple #3). Agatha Christie (1942)

The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes (Stewart Hoag #9). David Handler (2017)

The Graveyard Apartment. Mariko Koike,
trans. by Deborah Boliver Boehm (2016/1988)

Over My Dead Body (Nero Wolfe #7). Rex Stout (1940)

See What I Have Done. Sarah Schmidt (2017)


• This week, if all goes well, I hope to finish up a couple more I've got going right now:

A Murder Is Announced (Miss Marple #5). Agatha Christie (1950)

Intruder in the Dark (Inspector Littlejohn #43). George Bellairs (1966)

That might be just about as much reading as I'll be able to get done this year, since the holidays are now upon us. But if I have any extra reading time, I'll probably be dipping into this:


So, how about you? More books this year? Or have you already started looking ahead to next year's reads?



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs.



Friday, November 24, 2017

Book Beginnings: The Rules of Magic


The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster, October 2017). These are the book's first sentences:
Once upon a time, before the whole world changed, it was possible to run away from home, disguise who you were, and fit into polite society. The children's mother had done exactly that.

About the Book:
"For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man. 
Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique.  
From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse."

Initial Thoughts:

I read Hoffman's Practical Magic a few years back and loved it. The Rules of Magic is the second book about Franny and Jet, the Owens sisters, and their very unique family -- actually a prequel to that earlier book. I've been looking forward to this one, and hoping it turns out to be as good as its predecessor. I'm about a third of the way through now, and so far I'm enjoying it almost as much as I'd hoped. Enough to go on reading, anyway.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Beginnings: My Sister's Bones


My Sister's Bones, by Nuala Ellwood (William Morrow, July 2017). These are the first lines from the book's Prologue:
She is safe now. Free from her demons. Her final resting place is still and tranquil, a little watery pocket of calm.
About the Book:
"Kate Rafter is a high-flying war reporter. She's the strong one. The one who escaped their father. Her sister Sally didn't. Instead, she drinks. 
But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return to the old family home. And on her very first night she is woken by a terrifying scream. At first she tells herself it's just a nightmare, a legacy of her time in Syria. 
But then she hears it again. And this time she knows she's not imagining it... 
What secret is lurking in her mother's garden? And can Kate get to the truth... before she loses her mind?"
Initial Thoughts:

Well, my first thought is that it's a bit of a depressing beginning. Not exactly frightening, just sort of unsettling. But I think I like that. And I think this should be a good read for this time of year. It was actually supposed to be a summer read, since I've had this book (from Library Thing) for several months now. I have really, really fallen behind in my reading for this year. Gotta get back on track, and I'm hoping this one will help me do that.





Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Friday, October 06, 2017

FrightFall Readathon 2017


This will be my first go-round with the FrightFall Readathon. Autumn is the perfect time of year to be reading spooky stuff and mysterious matter. And this readathon allows you to read other genres as well, doesn't require a huge number of books (just ONE, really), and even has prizes! How could I pass this one up?

FrightFall (#FrightFall for social media) runs through the month of October, and has a dedicated blog (Seasons of Reading) where you can read all the guidelines and sign up.

I don't have a set goal for the event, but I'm hoping to read at least one horror novel this month — possibly...


or...



as well as a couple of mysteries/thrillers. This is one I'm finishing up right now...



And I'll be posting a wrap-up around Halloween to report on what I read.

So that's the plan. Now I just need to get reading.


Thursday, October 05, 2017

Book Beginnings: An Echo of Murder


An Echo of Murder: A William Monk Novel, by Anne Perry (Ballantine Books, September 2017). These are the book's first lines:
"It's a bad one, sir." The policeman shook his head as he stepped back on the wharf, allowing Commander Monk of the Thames River Police to reach the top of the stone stairs up from the water.

About the Book:
"London, 1870: The body of a Hungarian immigrant is found dead in what appears to be a ritualistic killing, with a bayonet through his heart, his fingers broken and his body surrounded by seventeen blood-dipped candles. At first, Commander William Monk of the Thames River Police suspects the killer is from within the community, but when another murder takes place, Monk fears the immigrants are being targeted by an outsider... 
"Meanwhile, his wife Hester is reunited with a doctor who had been left for dead on a Crimean battlefield. Traumatised by his experiences, Fitz has made his way home via Hungary and is now living in the community. Hester is determined to help him and, when he is accused of the killings, she sets out to prove his innocence."

Initial Thoughts:

I was a little worried about diving into this 23rd entry in Anne Perry's William Monk mystery series, since I haven't read any of the earlier books. And I do believe I would have benefitted from a little more familiarity with the recurring characters and relationships. Still, I enjoyed the book quite a lot and intend to get a short review up very soon.

This is one of the Early Reviewer books from Library Thing I've been trying to finish up this week. I've fallen embarrassingly far behind in my reading schedule this year. Just too much real life stuff interfering. Don't you hate it when that happens?



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII



It's that time again, and I almost missed it!

One of my favorite reading events started this month, and I'm hoping it's going to help me get back to the books. This year, Carl (R.I.P.'s original host) has passed the duties on to Heather and Andi at Estella's Revenge. (Check out the blog for the announcement page and sign-ups.)

The challenge/reading event continues on through October, so there's still time to get some reading done. This year I'll be going for Peril the First (read four books that fit within the challenge categories of Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, and Supernatural), Peril on the Screen, and possibly Peril of the Short Story.

I'll be tracking my progress over on my challenge blog. I don't have a list yet, but I've got lots of "must-read" books around here that fit those categories. So now, I just need to get reading!