Monday, January 31, 2022

Reading Update and January Wrap-Up

Wow, we're already a month into the new year! That just seems really unbelievable. So far, 2022 is whizzing along even faster than 2021 — or maybe I just feel that way because we've been so busy around here. Busy, but not doing a huge amount of reading, I'm sorry to say. The hubby had surgery earlier this month and I've mostly been concentrating on getting him back up and running! (Well, not exactly running — let's say up and moving around like a normal human being again.) 

So with all the medical drama, I've only managed to finish two books in January....

Homicide Trinity, by Rex Stout (first published, 1962)
is made up of three separate Nero Wolfe novellas (or long short stories).

The Stately Home Murder, by Catherine Aird,
(first published 1969)
is the third book in her Inspector Sloan mystery series. 

Both of those were very enjoyable and just what I needed to help me through a dreary month. And, if all goes as planned, I should finish up one more feel-good book this evening....

Rabbit Hill, written and illustrated by Robert Lawson
First published 1944

That last book was awarded the Newbery Medal for 1945, and I'm a little surprised I never read it as a child. Last year, I read a lot of kiddie lit, and I'll probably read a lot of it this year, too — it's like comfort food for the mind and spirit. And right now my mind and spirit could both use a LOT of comfort.

Happy reading, everyone — and have a great week!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is 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. 

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Edgar Award Nominees Announced

The Mystery Writers of America have announced the nominees for the 2022 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, commonly referred to as the "Edgars." The annual awards honor the past year's best writing in mystery fiction and nonfiction. There are also awards for television writing, published or produced in 2021. 

Since this is my favorite genre, I always like to see who's been nominated every year. Gives me lots of titles to add to my (already ridiculously long) TBR list, and helps me find new authors I might want to try. This year, I'm embarrassed to admit, I haven't read any of the nominated works, and I've only seen one of the TV shows (the  “Happy Families” episode of the Midsomer Murders series, written by Nicholas Hicks-Beach; available on Acorn TV).

The awards celebration is scheduled to take place on April 28, 2022 at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square, as well as online. I'm not going to include all the nominations here (you can see the full list on the MWA website), but these are a  few of the books I'm looking forward to checking out.

Cold-Blooded Myrtle (Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery #3)
by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Category: Best Juvenile Work

From the publisher:

Myrtle Hardcastle – twelve-year-old Young Lady of Quality and Victorian amateur detective – is back on the case, solving a string of bizarre murders in her hometown of Swinburne and picking up right where she left off in Premeditated Myrtle and How to Get Away with Myrtle.

When the proprietor of Leighton’s Mercantile is found dead on the morning his annual Christmas shop display is to be unveiled, it’s clear a killer had revenge in mind. But who would want to kill the local dry-goods merchant? Perhaps someone who remembers the mysterious scandal that destroyed his career as a professor and archaeologist. When the killer strikes again, each time manipulating the figures in the display to foretell the crime, Myrtle finds herself racing to uncover the long-buried facts of a cold case – and the motivations of a modern murderer. 


The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet
by Katherine Cowley
(Tule Publishing – Tule Mystery)
Category: The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award

From the publisher:

Upon the death of her father, Mary Bennet's life is thrown into turmoil. With no fortune or marriage prospects, Mary must rely on the kindness of her relatives. When a mysterious late-night visit by an unknown relative  a Lady Trafford from Castle Durrington  leads to an extended stay and the chance for an education, Mary gratefully accepts the opportunity.

But even as she arrives at the castle, she's faced with one mystery after another. Who is Lady Trafford really and what is she hiding? Do her secrets and manipulations place the small seaside community at risk of an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte? Always curious, Mary sets out to discover the truth. But when she discovers the dead body of a would-be thief she outed prior to her father's funeral, Mary jeopardizes her position at the castle and her family's good name in her quest for the truth.

Never underestimate the observation skills of a woman who hides in the background.

Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World
by Mark Aldridge
(HarperCollins Publishers – Harper360)
Category: Best Critical/Biographical

From the publisher:

From the very first book publication in 1920 to the upcoming film release of Death on the Nile, this investigation into Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot celebrates a century of probably the world’s favorite fictional detective.

This book tells his story decade-by-decade, exploring his appearances not only in the original novels, short stories and plays but also across stage, screen and radio productions. The hardback edition includes more than 400 illustrations.

Poirot has had near-permanent presence in the public eye ever since the 1920 publication of The Mysterious Affair at Styles. From character development, publication history and private discussion concerning the original stories themselves, to early forays on to the stage and screen, the story of Poirot is as fascinating as it is enduring.

Based on the author’s original research, review excerpts and original Agatha Christie correspondence, Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World is a lively and accessible history of the character, offering new information and helpful pieces of context, that will delight all Agatha Christie fans, from a new generation of readers to those already highly familiar with the canon.

The Reason for the Darkness of the Night:
Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science
by John Tresch
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Category: Best Critical/Biographical

From the publisher:
We all think we know Poe – the most popular American writer around the world, dissolute puzzle-maker, pioneer of detective fiction, and author of haunting, atmospheric verse. But what if there was another side to the man who wrote “The Raven” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”? What if Poe were as well known for his speculations about the birth of the universe or his “Sonnet–to Science”? In The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science, John Tresch offers a bold new life of one of the nineteenth century’s most iconic writers. By shining a spotlight on a time when the line between speculative endeavors and scientific inquiry was blurred, Tresch reveals Poe to have been much more than a practitioner of science fiction – in fact, he was an avid commentator on scientific developments, publishing and circulating in literary milieux that also played host to lectures and demonstrations by the era’s most prominent scientists, semi-scientists, and pseudo-intellectual rogues. As one newspaper put it, “Mr. Poe is not merely a man of science – not merely a poet – not merely a man of letters. He is all combined; and perhaps he is something more.” Beginning with his study of mathematics and engineering at West Point, and taking us through the tumultuous years leading up to publication of “The Raven,” Tresch shows that Poe nurtured a fascination with science from his earliest days as a writer. In works such as “A Descent into the Maelstrom” and “Mesmeric Revelation,” Poe explored subjects ranging from the physics of vortices to occult psychology, later turning his attention to the origins of the universe in a dazzling lecture that would win the admiration of Albert Einstein and other twentieth-century physicists. Throughout, he lived and suffered for his ideas, and remained a figure of brilliant contradiction: he gleefully exposed the hoaxes of the era’s pseudo-scientific fraudsters even as he perpetrated hoaxes himself. The Reason for the Darkness of the Night is the richest portrait yet of a writer whose life is synonymous with mystery and an entertaining, erudite tour of the world of American science just as it was beginning to come into its own.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Looking Forward

Now that I've signed up for the New Release Challenge this year, I've started watching publication schedules a little more closely than I have in recent years. And I've put together a list of soon-to-be-published books that seem interesting. I definitely can't hope to read all of them, but I'm hoping it'll help keep me focused on what's coming up in 2022. (And I do love a list!) I'll try to remember to add to it as I discover new titles throughout the year. (Not every book published during the year will make the list — just books that sound like something I'd like to read.)

JANUARY Releases


MARCH Releases

APRIL Releases

MAY Releases

JUNE Releases

JULY Releases

AUGUST Releases


OCTOBER Releases




Tuesday, January 18, 2022

2022 Reading Challenge Sign-Ups (Part 2)

Yes, I'm signing up for a few more reading challenges. I promised myself I'd be more conservative about challenges this year, but it looks like I'm already breaking that promise. During the year, I'll be tracking my progress and keeping all my reading lists over on my challenge blog

2022 Children's Books Reading Challenge...for Adults! 

Host: Belle's Library

I love reading children's books of all kinds, so this challenge is perfect for me. Not many rules and you can read any books that might be found in the children's section of a library or bookstore. Sounds great.

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2022

Host: Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2022

Click here for announcement, rules, and sign-ups.

I'm signing up at the Victorian Reader level — just 5 books. Much of what I read is historical fiction, so I should be able to handle that many with no trouble.

2022 New Release Challenge

Host: (un)Conventional Bookworms
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2022
(sign-ups open until September 1)

Click here for announcement, rules, and sign-ups.

This is a new challenge for me, and I'm hoping it helps me pay a little more attention to current bookish happenings. There are five levels of participation, and I'm signing up at the "New Release Newbie" level (1-30 books for the year).   



Saturday, January 15, 2022

2022 Reading Challenges - Sign-Ups (Part 1)

I didn’t exactly wipe out when it comes to reading challenges in 2021. I managed to do the reading and actually completed several of the challenges. But I didn’t review many of the books I read. Of course, I use the challenges as a spur to keep me reading, and that worked really well. So I’d say it was sort of a 50/50 result. 

I’m getting a bit of a late start in signing up for the 2022 challenges. I’ve had to concentrate on some medical goings-on for the last few months, but things seem to be calming down a bit now and I’ve had a little more time to think about bookish adventures and new challenges. So, here we go….

2022 Bookish Resolutions Challenge

Host: Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2022

Click here for announcement, rules, and sign-ups. 

I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions (who needs that pressure?), but this year I do have a few reading/blogging goals.

My bookish resolutions for 2022: 

  • Read at least 50 books. This is always my annual goal, but most years I don’t reach it. Last year, however, I managed to read 52 books, and I’m hoping I can do at least that well in 2022. 
  • Post more reviews than I posted last year. This shouldn’t be difficult to achieve, since last year I only reviewed two or three books on the blog. 
  • Do a better job of replying to comments from readers of my blog(s). I always read and appreciate every comment on my posts, but I don’t always remember to leave a reply or thank you. Must do better. 
  • Get my NetGalley review percentage up to an acceptable level. I’m not going to commit to any specific number because at the moment my percentage is so embarrassingly low, any increase would be an enormous improvement. 
  • Finish Jane Eyre! I’ve started Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece several times over the years, but never actually made it through to the end. It isn’t that I don’t find it enjoyable – I just keep being diverted by real life… and other books. Last year I got halfway through, farther than I’ve ever gotten in the past. Hoping 2022 will be the year I can finally check it off my TBR list. 
Should be interesting to see how far I get with these goals. 

2022 Books in Translation Reading Challenge

Host: Introverted Reader
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2022

I'll be signing up at the Beginner Level (Beginner: Read 1-3 books in translation). I should be able to handle at least one or two translated works.

Calendar of Crime 2022

Host: Bev @ My Reader's Block
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2022

Click here for announcement, rules, and sign-ups.

The Calendar of Crime challenge is always one of my favorites, so I'll definitely be signing up for this year's edition. I love matching up books to categories, and I really do intend to review all the books I read this year. Seriously. 

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge 2022

Host: Carol's Notebook
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2022

Crime fiction is my go-to genre, so this challenge is a natural for me. I read a lot of books for the 2021 challenge, but didn't get many reviews written. This year I hope to do a much better job of actually participating in the challenge. I'll be signing up at the Detective Level (16-25 books). 

European Reading Challenge 2022

Host: Rose City Reader
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2022

Click here for announcement, rules, and sign-ups.

Another of my favorite challenges — it can be such a great way to find new authors and learn about places I'd love to tour in real life. 2022 is the tenth anniversary for this challenge and I've signed up almost every year. This year I'll be joining in at the Three-Star (Business Traveler) Level, but (as always) hope to do a little better than three books. 

I have a few more challenges in mind, but this is enough for now. During the year, I'll be tracking my progress and keeping all my lists over on my challenge blog

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Books Read in 2022

Cumulative Reading List

Here's where I'll be tracking my reading in 2022.

I generally think of 50 books as my annual goal, but I'm always really happy if I make it to 40. In 2021 I actually managed to read 52 books. I'd love to do that well again in 2022, but the way this year is starting out, I don't have high hopes. We'll see what develops.


1. Homicide Trinity (Nero Wolfe #36). Rex Stout (1962; fiction / mystery; 220 pages) 
2. The Stately Home Murder (Inspector Sloan #3). Catherine Aird (1969; fiction / mystery; 160 pages) 


3. The Hidden. Melanie Golding (2021; fiction / mystery; 304 pages)
4. Bright April. Marguerite de Angeli (1946; children's fiction / middle grade fiction; 88 pages) 
5. The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night. Peter Spier; illus. by author (1961; children's fiction / picture book; 48 pages; Caldecott Honor Book, 1962)
6. Blueberries for Sal. Robert McCloskey; illus. by author (1948; children's fiction / picture book; 64 pages; Caldecott Honor Book, 1949) 
7. Skippyjon Jones. Judy Schachner; illus. by author (2003; children's fiction / picture book; 32 pages)
8. The Barnabus Project. Eric, Terry, and Devin Fan; illus. by authors (2020; children's fiction / picture book; 72 pages) 
9. The Night Gardener. Terry and Eric Fan; illus. by authors (2016; children's fiction / picture book; 48 pages) 
10. How to Live with a Calculating Cat. Eric Gurney, illus; William Nettleton, text (1962; humor; 128 pages) 


11. The Christie Affair. Nina de Gramont (2022; historical fiction; 320 pages) 
12. The Case of the Silent Partner (Perry Mason #17). Erle Stanley Gardner (1940; fiction / mystery; 215 pages) 


13. City of the Dead (Alex Delaware #37). Jonathan Kellerman (2022; fiction / mystery; 336 pages) 
14. Amelia Bedelia. Peggy Parish; illus. by Fritz Siebel (1963; children's literature / picture book; 40 pages) 
15. The Children on the Hill. Jennifer McMahon (2022; fiction / horror; 352 pages)
16. Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Lewis Carroll (1871; children's literature / fantasy; 166 pages; this was a re-read) 
17. The Moving Target (Lew Archer #1). Ross Macdonald (1949; fiction / mystery; 256 pages)


18. The Fashion Orphans. Randy Susan Meyers & M.J. Rose (2022; fiction / chick lit; 304 pages) 
19. Black Orchids (Nero Wolfe #9). Rex Stout (1942; fiction / mystery; 209 pages) 
20. The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws. Margaret Drabble (2009; nonfiction / autobiography / cultural history; 368 pages) 


21. The Marlow Murder Club (Marlow Murder Club #1). Robert Thorogood (2021/2022; fiction / mystery; 352 pages)  


22. Mrs Armitage on Wheels. Quentin Blake; illus. by author (1987; children's literature / picture book; 32 pages) 
23. Death by Beach Read (Lighthouse Library Mystery #9). Eva Gates (2022; fiction / mystery; 288 pages) 
24. Chrysalis (Jeremy Logan #6). Lincoln Child (2022; fiction / thriller; 304 pages)  


25. Afternoon of the Elves. Janet Taylor Lisle (1989; children's literature / middle grade; 128 pages) 
26. Many Moons. James Thurber; illus. by Louis Slobodkin (1943; children's literature; 45 pages) 
27. J.R. Silver Writes Her World. Melissa Dassori; illus. by Chelen Aecija (2022; children's literature / middle grade fiction; 272 pages)
28. Howliday Inn (Bunnicula Series #2). James Howe; illus. by Lynn Munsinger (1982; children's literature / fantasy; 195 pages) 
29. Small Angels. Lauren Owen (2022; fiction; 400 pages) 
30. The Omega Factor. Steve Berry (2022; fiction / thriller; 464 pages)


31. Stay Awake. Megan Goldin (2022; fiction / thriller; 352 pages) 
32. Back to the Garden. Laurie R. King (2022; fiction / mystery; 352 pages) 
33. Late Harvest Havoc (Winemaker Detective #10). Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen; trans. by Sally Pane (2015; fiction / mystery; 167 pages) 


34. The Final Equinox (Theo Cray & Jessica Blackwood #2). Andrew Mayne (2022; fiction / thriller; 336 pages) 
35. Night at the Vulcan (Inspector Roderick Alleyn #16). Ngaio Marsh (1951; fiction / mystery; 236 pages) 
36. James and the Giant Peach. Roald Dahl; illus. by Quentin Blake (1961; children's literature; 151 pages) 


37. The Shadow Over Innsmouth. H.P. Lovecraft (1936; fiction / horror; 110 pages)
38. The Wanderer in Unknown Realms. John Connolly (2013; historical fiction / horror; 128 pages) 
39. Gambit (Nero Wolfe #37). Rex Stout (1962; mystery; 208 pages)
40. The Cabinet of Dr. Leng (Aloysius Pendergast #21). Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (Jan 2023; fiction / thriller; 368 pages) 


41. Terminal Freeze (Jeremy Logan #2). Lincoln Child (2008; fiction / sci-fi thriller; 450 pages) 
42. The Chalmers Case (Markham Sisters #3). Diana Xarissa (2015; fiction / mystery; 106 pages) 
43. The Headless Cupid (Stanley Family #1). Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1971; mystery / children's literature / middle grade fiction; 228 pages)