Cindy/LibraryCin's 2024 Challenges

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Cindy/LibraryCin's 2024 Challenges

Dez 31, 2023, 5:09 pm

Using a similar intro to last year's thread. One thing I'll add... many others use their threads for just chatting, as well. I started doing that a little bit last year, so I'm going to try to do more of that also this year.

For anyone who doesn't know me:

I'm in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and am a librarian. I have three cats - Kells (boy) is about 13; Lainey is about 12; newly adopted Gretel (Nov 2023) is 9 years old and everyone is still getting used to Gretel and vice versa. She is mostly still in her own room (though I've started leaving the door and baby gate open more often, as long as I'm home.

Reading? There's more I don't read than do read. I'm iffy on "classics" and "literary" fiction, not a big fan of "epic" fantasy. Science fiction varies. Not a fan of romance or westerns.

Favourite genres? Lately, thrillers have overtaken historical fiction as a favourite. Nonfiction - biographies are right up there, along with popular science and history.

5 stars - very rare
4.5 stars - likely to be a favourite, but couldn't quite give the full 5 stars (it's hard to rate something "perfect"!)
4 stars - I really liked this
3.5 stars - good
3 stars - ok
2.5 stars - didn't like it, but there might have been ok threads
2 stars - didn't like it (this rating is becoming a bit more common for me)
1.5 stars really didn't like it (very rare)

I do use .25 and .75, usually when I really can't decide.

Challenges? Here goes...

Editado: Fev 11, 4:36 pm

12x12 Challenge

Play Book Tag
(tags or challenges)
1. Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come / Jessica Pan. 4 stars
2. The Man Who Lived Underground / Richard Wright. 3 stars

Editado: Jan 27, 4:00 pm

ARCs (Netgalley, Early Readers)
1. Lottery of Secrets / Nadija Mujagic. 4 stars

Editado: Fev 10, 10:45 pm

Reading Through Time
1. Before and After / Judy Christie, Lisa Wingate. 3 stars
2. The Lake of Dreams / Kim Edwards. 3.25 stars

Editado: Fev 19, 9:50 pm

Oh Canada! (Canadian Authors)
1. Fayne / Ann-Marie MacDonald. 3 stars
2. What Strange Paradise / Omar El Akkad. 4 stars

Editado: Fev 19, 1:39 pm

Trim the TBR (On TBR 3+ years)
1. The Traitor's Wife / Susan Higginbotham. 4.25 stars
2. Not a Drop to Drink / Mindy McGinnis. 3.75 stars

Editado: Jan 20, 3:09 pm

Will it Ever End? (Continuing Series)
1. Against a Brightening Sky / Jaime Lee Moyer. 3.5 stars
2. Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets / Rosemary Simpson. 3.5 stars

Editado: Fev 23, 10:34 pm

Off the Shelf (Print or E-Books I Own)
1. Garment of Shadows / Laurie R. King. 2.5 stars

Editado: Fev 10, 3:31 pm

Is Listening Really Reading? (Audio Books)
1. The Word Exchange / Alena Graedon. 2.75 stars
2. The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter / Hazel Gaynor. 3.5 stars

Editado: Fev 19, 9:50 pm

I'll Travel Virtually (Books Set in Other Countries - not Canada, USA, or England)
1. Death Cruise / Lawrence Block (ed). 4 stars
2. The Paris Apartment / Lucy Foley. 4 stars

Editado: Jan 20, 3:33 pm

Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My! (Animals)
1. The Genius of Birds / Jennifer Ackerman. 3.5 stars

Editado: Fev 18, 2:44 pm

Truth is Stranger than Fiction (Nonfiction)
1. Get Well Soon / Jennifer Wright. 4 stars
2. You May Also Like / Tom Vanderbilt. 3.5 stars
3. The Cold Vanish / Jon Billman. 3.5 stars

Editado: Fev 5, 11:11 pm

BIPOC (Authors or main characters)
1. The Night of the Storm / Nishita Parekh. 4 stars
2. Bluebird, Bluebird / Attica Locke. 3.75 stars
3. Such a Fun Age / Kiley Reid. 3.5 stars

Dez 31, 2023, 5:15 pm

Overflow (doesn’t fit other categories)

Editado: Fev 11, 4:39 pm


1. Food or Cooking
2. A book with an ugly cover
3. A book with nothing on the cover but the title and author
4. Features twins
. Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets / Rosemary Simpson. 3.5 stars
5. A topic about which you have specific knowledge
6. Published in year ending in 24
. The Night of the Storm / Nishita Parekh. 4 stars
7. Epistolary or diary
8. Big or little in title
9. A book from one of the libraries listed under the "Similar libraries" featured on your LT profile page
10. About friendship
. Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come / Jessica Pan. 4 stars
11. Three-word title. The Traitor's Wife / Susan Higginbotham. 4.25 stars
12. Paper-based item in plot. The Word Exchange / Alena Graedon. 2.75 strs
13. Read a CAT. The Man Who Lived Underground / Richard Wright. 3 stars
14. Short story collection. Death Cruise / Lawrence Block (ed). 4 stars
15. Person's name in title
16. Set in a city
Against a Brightening Sky / Jaime Lee Moyer. 3.5 stars
17. A book with fewer than 100 copies on LT. Lottery of Secrets / Nadija Mujagic. 4 stars
18. Something written by a person of colour. Bluebird, Bluebird / Attica Locke. 3.75 stars
19. Written by an author 65 or older
20. Featuring water
. The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter / Hazel Gaynor. 3.5 stars
21. Involves warriors or mercenaries
22. Re-read a favourite book
23. Written in another cultural tradition
24. Something that takes place in multiple countries
. Get Well Soon / Jennifer Wright. 4 stars
25. Current or recent best-seller

Editado: Fev 19, 9:50 pm


January (Introvert Day):
- Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come / Jessica Pan. 4 stars

February: Black History Month, Missing Persons Day:
- The Man Who Lived Underground / Richard Wright. 3 stars
- Such a Fun Age / Kiley Reid. 3.5 stars
- The Cold Vanish / Jon Billman. 3.5 stars
- The Paris Apartment / Lucy Foley. 4 stars

March (World Wildlife Day):

Editado: Fev 12, 10:46 pm


January: Long-Running Prizes
- Bluebird, Bluebird / Attica Locke. 3.75 stars

February: A Prize from Your Own Country
- What Strange Paradise / Omar El Akkad. 4 stars

March: A Prize That's New to You
April: Women's Writing
May: Doubling Up (books that won two or more awards)
June: Book Lists
July: A Prize from a Country Other than Your Own
August: A Prize for a Genre
September: A prize winner/longlist/shortlist that also fits another CAT/KIT
October: One That Missed Out (a book on a shortlist/longlist that didn't win)
November: Children's Book Awards
December: A Prize of Your Choice

Dez 31, 2023, 5:23 pm


January: North & South American Wars & Conflicts
February: Georgian/Regency Britain
*March: Science & Medicine
April: Riots, Revolution, & Mayhem
May: Middle Ages
June: Historians
July: Spies
August: Byzantine Empire
September: WWI/WWII
October: Disasters
November: Ancient & Classical History
December: Religions and Religious Festivals

Editado: Jan 27, 4:01 pm


January: Psychological Thrillers
- Lottery of Secrets / Nadija Mujagic. 4 stars

February: Gothic
March: True Crime
April: Witches, Evil Spirits, and Black Magic
May: Graphic Novels and Short Fiction
*June: Serial Killers
July: Corporeal Undead
August: Middle grade and YA horror
September: Stephen King and Family
October: Contemporary Horror
November: Things with a Bite - Vampires and Werewolves
December: Catch Up! Read Something That Fits Any Month's Theme

Editado: Fev 18, 2:44 pm


January: Short story mysteries
- Death Cruise / Lawrence Block (ed). 4 stars

February: True unsolved mysteries
- The Cold Vanish / Jon Billman. 3.5 stars

March: Historical
April: Series
May: Golden age
June: Authors new to you
July: Cross genre mysteries
August: Amateurs
September: Upstairs/downstairs
October: Not too scary mysteries
November: Noir
December: Culinary mysteries

Editado: Fev 18, 2:45 pm


January: Early Birds
- The Genius of Birds / Jennifer Ackerman. 3.5 stars

February: Escape or Rescue
- The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter / Hazel Gaynor. 3.5 stars
- The Man Who Lived Underground / Richard Wright. 3 stars
- The Cold Vanish / Jon Billman. 3.5 stars


Editado: Fev 19, 9:50 pm


January: A Y
- Fayne / Ann-Marie MacDonald. 3 stars
- Against a Brightening Sky / Jaime Lee Moyer. 3.5 stars
- The Genius of Birds / Jennifer Ackerman. 3.5 stars
- Bluebird, Bluebird / Attica Locke. 3.75 stars
- You May Also Like / Tom Vanderbilt. 3.5 stars

February: F E
- The Lake of Dreams / Kim Edwards. 3.25 stars
- What Strange Paradise / Omar El Akkad. 4 stars
- The Paris Apartment / Lucy Foley. 4 stars

March: H R
April: U O
May: N P
June: J B
July: I S
August: M G
September: V C
October: D T
November: L W
December: K Q

Editado: Fev 10, 3:33 pm

Historical Fiction Challenge

1. Read a work of historical fiction set in the country you’re from
2. Read a work of historical fiction set in a different country to the one you’re from. Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets / Rosemary Simpson. 3.5 stars
3. Read a work of historical fiction set in your favorite historical time period to read about
4. Read a work of historical fiction set in a time period you’re less familiar with. The Traitor's Wife / Susan Higginbotham. 4.25 stars
5. Read a work of historical fiction with a speculative element. Against a Brightening Sky / Jaime Lee Moyer. 3.5 stars
6. Read a work of historical fiction about a real historical figure or a specific historical event. The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter / Hazel Gaynor. 3.5 stars
7. Read a work of historical fiction of over 500 pages. Fayne / Ann-Marie MacDonald. 3 stars

8. Read a Classic work (written/published at least 60 years ago) or Bonus: Read a Classic work of historical fiction (written at least 60 years ago about a time period at least sixty years before the work was written/published)

Editado: Fev 23, 10:34 pm

Roundtuits/(Classic) Trim the TBR
(3+ years on the tbr)

1. Stay / Allie Larkin
2. Sea of Slaughter / Farley Mowat
3. The Perfect Ghost / Linda Barnes
4. Something About Sophie / Mary Kay McComas
5. The Sister Season / Jennifer Scott
6. The Incredible Journey / Sheila Burnford (own)
7. The Homing Instinct / Bernd Heinrich
8. Somewhere in France / Jennifer Robson
9. The Collector of Dying Breaths / M. J. Rose
10. A Beautiful Truth / Colin McAdam
12. No Way Down / Graham Bowley (openlib)
13. No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood / Henriette Mantel
14.Thousand Words / Jennifer Brown
15. Benazir Bhutto: Favored Daughter / Brooke Allen

1. The Traitor's Wife / Susan Higginbotham. 4.25 stars
2. Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come / Jessica Pan. 4 stars
3. The Genius of Birds / Jennifer Ackerman. 3.5 stars
4. You May Also Like / Tom Vanderbilt. 3.5 stars
5. The Word Exchange / Alena Graedon. 2.75 stars
6. Such a Fun Age / Kiley Reid. 3.5 stars
7. The Lake of Dreams / Kim Edwards. 3.25 stars
8. Not a Drop to Drink / Mindy McGinnis. 3.75 stars
9. Garment of Shadows / Laurie R. King. 2.5 stars

Editado: Fev 23, 10:35 pm

PBT Trim the TBR

1. Sea of Slaughter / Farley Mowat
2. Still Life / Joy Fielding
3. Finding Frankie / Maeve Binchy
4. Everything She Ever Wanted / Ann Rule
5. Bet Me / Jennifer Crusie
6. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox / Maggie O’Farrell
7. Deliverance From Evil / Frances Hill
8. Runaway / Alice Munro
9. The Lost Girls of Paris / Pam Jenoff
10. Born Bad / Heather Burnside
11. The Taster / V. S. Alexander
12. We Bought a Zoo / Benjamin Mee

13. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter / Hazel Gaynor. 3.5 stars
14. Garment of Shadows / Laurie R. King. 2.5 stars

15. A Newfoundlander in Canada / Alan Doyle
16. Seal Wars / Paul Watson
17. On This Day / Nathaniel Bellows
18. Arbella / Sarah Gristwood
19. Anne Neville: Queen to Richard III / Michael Hicks
20. Cry Rape / Bill Lueders (openlib)
21. Calligraphy of the Witch / Alicia Gaspar de Alba
22. Nobody's Mother: Life Without Kids / Lynne van Luven
23. Fostering Sustainable Behavior / Doug McKenzie-Mohr
24. The Autobiography of an Execution / David R. Dow

Editado: Fev 5, 11:11 pm

PBT Books With Friends

- Against a Brightening Sky / Jaime Lee Moyer. 3.5 stars
- Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets / Rosemary Simpson. 3.5 stars

February: AUTHORS
- Such a Fun Age / Kiley Reid. 3.5 stars


Editado: Fev 18, 2:45 pm

PBT Steeplechase

Spin 1 (2. Nonfiction). Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come / Jessica Pan (tagged 401 times). 4 stars (Finished Jan 9)
Spin 2 (+8 = 10. Technology). The Word Exchange / Alena Graedon (tagged 13 times). 2.75 stars (Finished Feb 1)
Spin 3 (+4 = 14 Race). Such a Fun Age / Kiley Reid (tagged 631 times + matches month tag “Authors of color”). 3.5 stars (Finished Feb. 4)
Spin 4 (+5 = 19. Drama). The Lake of Dreams / Kim Edwards (tagged 13 times). 3.25 stars (Finished Feb 10)
Spin 5 (+7. +2 from #14 tagged w/ monthly tag = 28. True Crime). The Cold Vanish / Jon Billman (tagged 250 times). 3.5 stars (Finished Feb 17)
Spin 6 (+6 = 34. Fairytale).

Editado: Dez 31, 2023, 6:05 pm

PBT Fall Flurries


Editado: Dez 31, 2023, 6:06 pm

Travel Across Canada

British Columbia:
New Brunswick:
Northern Canada:
Northwest Territories:
Nova Scotia:
Prince Edward Island:
Prairie Provinces:

Editado: Fev 12, 10:47 pm

Play Book Tag

January: Historical Mystery
- Against a Brightening Sky / Jaime Lee Moyer. 3.5 stars
- Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets / Rosemary Simpson. 3.5 stars

- Such a Fun Age / Kiley Reid. 3.5 stars
- The Man Who Lived Underground / Richard Wright. 3 stars
- What Strange Paradise / Omar El Akkad. 4 stars


Editado: Fev 19, 1:40 pm

Reading Through Time

January: Janus
- Before and After / Judy Christie, Lisa Wingate. 3 stars
- Fayne / Ann-Marie MacDonald. 3 stars

February: Aquarius & Amethyst (water)
- The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter / Hazel Gaynor. 3.5 stars
- The Lake of Dreams / Kim Edwards. 3.25 stars
- What Strange Paradise / Omar El Akkad. 4 stars
- Not a Drop to Drink / Mindy McGinnis. 3.75 stars

March: Medicine & Epidemics
April: Characters with disabilities
May: International Labour Day
July: Vive la France
September: Royal to the Bone
October: Adultery
November: Biographies & Memoirs
December: Reader's Choice

Dez 31, 2023, 9:46 pm

Looks like you are going to have a very busy reading year, Cindy. I'm bracing myself for all the book bullets!

Dez 31, 2023, 10:23 pm

>32 DeltaQueen50: As always (busy)! I am one short of my "goal" for 2023, but oh, well. I finished my last book (an audio) this afternoon and that review will come over in that thread.

Dez 31, 2023, 11:15 pm

Good luck with your 2024 reading goals. I will be back to pick up some more BBs.

Jan 1, 6:54 am

Looking forward to seeing what you'll be reading in 2024.

Jan 1, 7:17 am

Happy reading in 2024!

Jan 1, 10:59 am

Welcome back and have a great reading year!

Jan 1, 12:47 pm

Good luck with your 2024 reading---it looks very ambitious!

Jan 1, 1:11 pm

Happy new year and good luck with your reading! Always happy to hear news about Kells, Lainey, and Gretel.

Jan 1, 1:20 pm

Thanks, everyone! Happy New Year all! I still need to start visiting other people's threads (I know, many of you started yours months ago!).

News of my cats. Gretel is still having a hard time with mine, but she's (slowly) getting better. Lainey used to stay back/out of the way, but she's becoming more forceful, I suppose, and isn't thrilled herself. Kells is still so good and patient and wants to be "friends" (or at least is curious about her and has no ill will indicated).

Gretel had an ear infection before Christmas. She had some ear drops and I need to take her back today to see if it's gone. I had no idea, but we were there for a checkup just after adopting her and the vet saw it. Since I had no idea it was there to begin with, I have no idea if the meds got rid of it, so they said I could bring her back and they'll check, no charge.

The bulk of the rest of today, New Year's Day, I will have a friend by and we'll be playing board games.

Jan 1, 4:25 pm

>40 LibraryCin: Sending good vibes for Gretel's check-up and for the kitties to start enjoying each other's company.

Jan 2, 11:36 am

Have a good time with all those categories.

Jan 6, 9:19 am

Happy reading in 20924, and I hope Gretel is doing better now.

Jan 6, 12:45 pm

Thanks, everyone.

Unfortunately, Gretel's infection was still there, but too deep for anything any drops I give her can help with, so they gave her something at the vet's and I need to take her back again tomorrow to see if it's now gone.

We went backwards with introductions the other day, so I've moved her to a different room (temporarily), so hopefully my cats will come investigate "her" room while it's "safe" to do so. She has become very territorial in her room, though (except Lainey has had some recent trouble with her) she is mostly doing well outside her room. I'm not sure when I'll let her back out to "mingle" again. Kells is now scared of her. :-(

Jan 6, 10:31 pm

12x12 Trim, Roundtuits, Hist Fict Ch, BingoDOG

The Traitor's Wife / Susan Higginbotham
4.25 stars

This is fiction during the times of Edward II and Edward III. It is told from the point of view of Eleanor, the wife of Hugh le Despenser, who was a favourite of Edward II for a while. Eleanor was only 13 when she married Hugh, but she seemed to be completely in love with him. However, he was often away, and apparently committed piracy (among other bad things). Still, he loved Eleanor and their children. He also may have “loved” the king. Later in the book, once Edward II is gone (he was likely murdered), and a teenage Edward III is ruling, it is really his mother and Roger Mortimer (her new lover) who rule through him. But they were ruthless, and when Edward was older, he was not going to go along with this.

This was really good. I think I’ve only read one other book (nonfiction) about this time period and these kings. (The focus of that book was on Mortimer.) It took a bit to get “into” this one since I was unfamiliar with the time period and the people, so I spent a bit of time at the start figuring out who everyone was. Also, there are so many people with the same name! The author tried to distinguish most of the time, but it was still sometimes a bit confusing. But still very good, I thought.

Jan 7, 4:55 am

>44 LibraryCin: Oh no, I hope Gretel will be better soon and your cats will finally get used to each other! It is so worrying when pets are ill!

>45 LibraryCin: This sounds very interesting and I don't think I have read anything so far about these two Edwards.

Jan 7, 6:19 am

>45 LibraryCin: - I can definitely see that title being one for the meme next year for a few of the prompts.

Jan 7, 9:48 pm

>47 dudes22: Ha! Yup. I forgot to do that meme one for 2023, but I do enjoy doing those! Sigh... if only I had more time off work! Maybe I'll still find time to back up and do it for last year, too.

>46 MissBrangwen: Thank you! The infection is still a little bit there, but apparently it looks somewhat better. But more meds to hopefully finish it off and I'll take her in again in maybe a month or so to recheck.

I'm likely going to contact the rescue I adopted her from to see if they have a behaviouralist or something to help with more suggestions on hopefully getting her to not be so territorial!

Jan 7, 10:30 pm

12x12 Nonfiction, BingoDOG

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them / Jennifer Wright
4 stars

This book looks at various “plagues” (or diseases) over the years and how they were overcome. There are chapters on smallpox, the Spanish flu, polio, leprosy, syphilis, typhoid, and more. Not only does she talk about the diseases and how they affected people, but she included specific people stories for some of them, as well (“Typhoid Mary”, Father Damien at Moloka’i...)

This was published pre-COVID. I listened to the audio and although my mind did wander at times, I thought it was very good. She does pepper the book with humour. It was interesting to read about vaccines, etc, especially with COVID fresh in my mind. She does end on a positive/hopeful note, but it does make me curious about how she feels about how people have reacted to the COVID vaccine, particularly anti-vaxxers (she does talk a bit about vaccines and anti-vaxxers in her chapter on polio).

Jan 7, 10:30 pm

>47 dudes22: The title I just posted in >49 LibraryCin: might make a good one, too!

Jan 9, 11:15 pm

12x12 PBT, Steeplechase, CalendarCAT, BingoDOG, Roundtuits

Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come / Jessica Pan
4 stars

The author is a “shintrovert” (shy + introvert… a word she made up). She decided she was going to try a bunch of extroverted-type things over a year. She did things like learn to talk to strangers on the street or public transit, she joined a website/app to meet new friends (like a dating app, but to meet friends), took an improv class, forced herself to do some group networking, took a comedy class (with the end result everyone up on stage to perform their comedy), travelling alone, hosting a dinner party, and probably more I’m forgetting.

Pretty sure this book will appeal much more to the introverts of the world. I am one. As a kid and teen, I was even a shintrovert, but the shyness is (mostly) gone as an adult. Obviously (based on the title), Jessica includes some humour in her story. I think there can’t help but be humour, though, in some of these situations that she puts herself though. I admire that she was able to do all those things (comedy! Improv!), and she ended up enjoying most of it.

Jan 10, 7:13 am

>51 LibraryCin: I am always slightly wary of these types of books, unless the author was happy to be trying these things. Sometimes it seems like they feel like they 'should' be more extroverted, rather than actually wanting to, and then just end up feeling like a failure as they don't enjoy it. It sounds like, in this case, her experiment was a success.

Jan 10, 3:51 pm

>52 JayneCM: It was and she chose to do it. She was in a "new" city where she didn't have any friends and she wanted to meet people and make friends.

Jan 12, 6:44 am

>45 LibraryCin: I love that author so this is going on my WL!

Jan 12, 9:14 pm

>54 Tess_W: I don't know if I've read anything else by her!

Jan 13, 3:32 pm

12x12 RTT, Read Thru Time

Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans... / Judy Christie, Lisa Wingate
3 stars

Lisa Wingate’s “Before We Were Yours” is a fictional account of Georgia Tann and her illegally obtaining kids and babies to illegally adopt out. With the popularity of that book, she and Judy Christie decided to reach out to many of those “kids” (now adults, of course) to hear their stories and to set up a reunion.

I listened to the audio and that may have been my downfall. Because there were multiple individual stories to this one, it was more similar to a book of essays or short stories, so (because – audio) when I missed parts, it was hard to “catch up” on what I’d missed before we moved on to the next story. It did seem like many of the adopted kids had good lives, in the end.

There was some talk at the end about one of the reunion attendees not having a great home life post-adoption and that she was heartened to find others out there with a similar story – that is, she wasn’t alone in that. But if those stories were told in this book, I missed them. The entire story (Georgia Tann) is sad, but I suspect I might have liked this more if I’d actually read it. In any case, I’m still rating it ok.

Jan 13, 3:53 pm

12x12 Oh Canada, AlphaKIT, RTT, Hist Fict Ch

Fayne / Ann-Marie MacDonald
3 stars

In the late 19th century, 12-year old Charlotte lives with her father at Fayne (in Scotland or England). Her mother died in childbirth and her brother died when she was young, as well (Charlotte does not remember her brother). Charlotte is extremely smart and her father hires a tutor for her (who is initially perturbed that he was brought to tutor a girl). She wants to attend university.

This did not turn out as I’d expected. It was very long and I’m rating it ok. There were parts I liked (more toward the beginning of the book), but whenever we switched perspectives, I felt like I was starting over (even though after the first couple of times, we were mostly going back and continuing from where the last switch left off), and wasn’t interested for the first bit (of every switch). It took time to get interested again, but just as that happened, we switched again.

So, the other perspective is Charlotte’s mother. I honestly didn’t find this nearly as interesting, overall, as Charlotte herself. Though, after a bit, I was interested (then… switch!). Clarissa (Charlotte’s aunt) was a piece of work, wow! I didn’t like her from the start. The end was a bit weird: Did Charlotte live to about 140 years old!?

Jan 13, 10:46 pm

12x12 BIPOC, BingoDOG

The Night of the Storm / Nishita Parekh
4 stars

Jia is divorced and raising her 12-year old son, Ishaan, who was recently in trouble at school. So much trouble that her ex-husband is threatening to take him away from her. However, the urgent issue this evening is the hurricane coming toward Houston. Told to evacuate their area Jia and Ishaan are invited to Jia’s sister Seema’s place, not too far away. What they don’t realize until it’s too late is Seema’s area was also supposed to evacuate (though Jia does question that there are so few people nearby). Seema and her husband, Vipul, have also invited Vipul’s brother, Raj and his wife, Lisa. Also in the house is Vipul and Raj’s mother and Seema and Vipul’s young daughter.

When a neighbour urgently presses the doorbell to be let in, he is injured and needs help. Although Vipul does not like Rafael at all (they have had a number of disagreements), they let Rafael in, anyway. And things go terribly wrong.

I really liked this. There were, of course, also flashbacks to what led Jia to her divorce, Ishaan’s issues at school, and other things going on with Jia (including unwanted advances from Vipul). I did find the storm/”current day” scenes more interesting than the flashbacks, but of course the flashbacks were needed to figure out what was going on, in general. There were times I wasn’t a fan of Jia, as she did do some stupid things. I almost rated it a bit lower due to more focus on these flashbacks (when I’m really interested in the storm and the murder/thriller/suspense parts of the book), but the end brought the rating back up for me.

Jan 15, 11:19 pm

12x12 Series, BWF, PBT, AlphaKIT, BingoDOG, Hist Fict Ch

Against a Brightening Sky / Jaime Lee Moyer.
3.5 stars

It’s 1919 in San Francisco. When Delia and Gabe, Sophie and Jack (and their two kids), and Sam and Libby head to a parade, they never expected a riot to break out. Not only a riot, but then gunfire and explosions. Gabe and Jack are police so they go to help. Delia is a “spiritualist” – she can see ghosts; not only that, Sophie’s young son Connor sees them, too, but he is too young to do anything about it and they scare him. Delia does what she can to protect him. She also noticed the people who ended up rioting had something odd happen just before the riot. Once again, Delia and her friend Dora (also a spiritualist) must help Gabe solve this mystery.

I liked this. This is the third (and final, I’m guessing?) in a series. The POV changes between Gabe and Delia. Like the 2nd book, I think I liked Gabe’s storyline a bit better. I really liked the police officer, Jordan Lynch, whom they brought in from Chicago. There were a few times I really didn’t like Dora. I would continue with this series if it was to keep going (and would hope Jordan Lynch would continue to be in it, as well), but I see there aren’t (currently) more and this was published in 2015, so I’m not sure how likely another one is. It also kind of ended in a way that appears that there is unlikely to be more in the series.

Jan 20, 3:09 pm

12x12 Series, BWF, PBT, BingoDOG, Hist Fict Ch

Let the Dead Keep Their Secrets / Rosemary Simpson
3.5 stars

It’s the late 19th century in New York City. Prudence and Geoffrey run an investigation business. An opera singer, Claire, comes to them to ask them to investigate her twin sister’s (Catherine’s) death. Her sister, also an opera singer, was married to Aaron who seemed to keep her from her family and, by his request, she had stopped performing/singing. Catherine had just had a baby and they are now both dead. Aaron remarried very quickly after their deaths, and now Prudence and Geoffrey worry about his new wife, Ethel (who is pregnant).

This continues to be an enjoyable series. I love that a woman is doing much of the investigating. Apparently there were a few women investigators with the famous Pinkerton investigation agency at the time, as well. The story didn’t grip me as much as the first two in the series did, but it did ramp up a bit toward the end. Definitely still enjoying it enough to continue the series. I didn’t mention it in my description, but Aaron had a photographer come take a post-mortem photograph of Catherine and their baby; I did know this happened, but only because of the Nicole Kidman movie “The Others” from the late 90s?, so that wasn’t a surprise.

Jan 20, 3:33 pm

12x12 Animals, RandomKIT, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits

The Genius of Birds / Jennifer Ackerman
3.5 stars

As the title suggests, this book looks at bird intelligence. How intelligent are birds? And how do we measure this?

It’s hard to base intelligence on what humans think is smart. I think it’s similar to culturally-biased IQ tests, really. Birds don’t need to know the same things as humans. That being said, there are things that birds know or can figure out that is comparable to humans and/or other primates. They are smart, IMO. Most of us know how smart corvids (crows, ravens, etc) are, but other birds are smart, too, in different ways, including sparrows, pigeons… some birds that aren’t “traditionally” thought of as smart. Some of the things discussed in the book include songs, migration, tools, aesthetically—pleasing displays, etc. I listened to the audio, but I bet I would have taken in more had I actually read it in print or via ebook.

Jan 23, 10:20 pm

12x12 Travel, MysteryKIT, BingoDOG

Death Cruise: Crime Stories on the Open Seas / Lawrence Block (ed.)
4 stars

These are mystery short stories mostly set on cruises.

But. Short stories so mostly not memorable by the end of the book, though I really enjoyed most of them as I read them (hence the 4 stars, which is higher than I rate most short story collections). One had a short author’s note at the end, which made me happy because I did wonder (the story took place on the Queen Mary, and there were some interesting stats and uses of the ship during WWII). Unfortunately, one of the last stories (and potentially also the longest), I didn’t like, but almost all the others I really liked. Might help that I have enjoyed the cruises that I’ve taken, so the setting is familiar and enjoyable for me.

Jan 26, 10:49 pm

12x12 BIPOC, PrizeCAT, BingoDOG, AlphaKIT

Bluebird, Bluebird / Attica Locke
3.75 stars

Darren is a black man and a Texas Ranger. Though he is on suspension, he gets a tip that there have been two murders one county over – a black man and a white woman. Bodies found in the river a few days apart. Initially, he heads over just to see what things are looking like. Turns out there is an active chapter of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (a modern-day KKK) in this small town where there hasn’t been even one murder in decades. When he does get the go ahead from his Ranger supervisor to help investigate, the local sheriff isn’t thrilled.

I mostly liked this, but some of the flashbacks to previous happenings didn’t completely hold my interest. I liked Darren, but didn’t like some of the other characters much. I feel like dark and gritty are good words to describe this one. I do plan to continue with book 2 at some point.

Jan 27, 4:00 pm

12x12 ARCs, ScaredyKIT, BingoDOG

Lottery of Secrets / Nadija Mujagic
4 stars

Lynn has won 5 million dollars in the lottery. But she doesn’t want to tell her abusive husband, Jimmy. She plans to donate the money to charity. She is sick and doesn’t want him getting his hands on any of the money. But then the threats start.

There are more layers to this than I’ve mentioned. I’m not sure how much I want to give away (even if much of it is revealed early on, and I think much more is said in some of the other reviews).

Lynn is a very unreliable narrator. I thought all the feelings she went through after winning (about winning) probably were legitimate, but stacked on top of that was all the abuse she’s suffered over decades. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. There was a surprise/twist near the end, but then it ended so abruptly, so that was disappointing, as it seems it is meant to continue in another book. If it wasn’t for the (non?) ending, I might have rated it a bit higher.

Jan 30, 11:02 pm

12x12 Nonfiction, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits

You May Also Like / Tom Vanderbilt
3.5 stars

The author looks at what people like, why we like those things, etc. Our “taste” so to speak (not the sense of taste, but our “taste” for what we like). He does, of course, discuss food, but there is also a chapter (I found this one particularly interesting) on online reviews and recommendations, etc. Other chapters include museums/art, ways to describe why we like something, and more.

Not too much to say about this. I found it (mostly) interesting and easy to read. Oddly, although I’m not really one for art appreciation, I remember that chapter a bit more than some of the others (also the online review chapter, but that may not be a surprise considering I am writing a review to post online…!).

Fev 2, 11:29 pm

12x12 Audio, Steeplechase, Roundtuits, BingoDOG

The Word Exchange / Alena Graedon
2.75 stars

It’s a little bit into the future and almost everyone uses a “Meme”, a recent handheld device that does pretty much everything, including coming up with language/words for people to use. Print dictionaries are almost at an end. Doug is working on the last one that will be printed, but when he disappears, he leaves a clue for his daughter, Anana. While she searches for him, Memes start controlling more and more of people’s language as they also need to pay for words (via “The Word Exchange”. Not only that, there is now a “word flu” making its rounds where people are not only not feeling well, they are garbelling their words.

I feel like I might have liked it better and paid better attention if I hadn’t listened to the audio. I got the gist of the bulk of what was happening, and was a little bit interested, but not completely. Hmm, in some ways (based on other reviews), maybe the audio was better? I didn’t notice too many super-big words that made it hard to understand, and I mostly didn’t have an issue understanding what people were trying to say when garbled words were coming out – that was likely easier due to hearing the “word” rather than reading it. Overall, I’m rating it just under “ok”.

Editado: Fev 11, 5:00 pm

12x12 BIPOC, PBT, Steeplechase, BWF, Roundtuits, CalendarCAT

Such a Fun Age / Kiley Reid
3.5 stars

Emira is a black 25-year old and she doesn’t have a “real” job. She is a babysitter (not a nanny) for a white couple three days/week and a typist the other two days. Briar is the toddler she looks after, mostly because Alix (Bri’s mom) doesn’t really like Bri and wants time away (though Emira is told Alix needs quiet to write her book (despite Alix taking her baby with her)).

When there is an emergency at Alix’s house one night while Emira is our with friends, Alix calls Emira in a panic asking if she can come take Bri while Alix and her husband call the police. Alix suggests Emira take Bri to the local grocery store… where another shopper decides Emira must have stolen the little white child and reports her to security. Another shopper gets the confrontation on video until it is sorted out. Emira wants nothing to do with the video and just wants to put it all behind her.

This was good. I didn’t really like any of the characters, though. (And although I don’t particularly like kids), I did love Emira’s relationship with Bri. Alix weirded me out there when she tried to befriend Emira. At the end, I liked the way the author delved into future years with how Emira was doing and what she continued on to do after the main part of the story was done.

Fev 10, 3:30 pm

12x12 Audio, PBT Jan Trim, BingoDOG, RandomKIT, Hist Fict Ch, RTT

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter / Hazel Gaynor
3.5 stars

Unmarried and pregnant, Matilda is 19-years old in 1938 when she is sent across the ocean to live with a distant relative in Rhode Island, Harriet, who watches the lighthouse there.

One hundred years earlier, in England, a storm washed up survivors of a shipwreck, including Sarah. Sarah’s two young children died in the wreck. Grace Darling is the lighthouse keeper’s daughter who saw the survivors still in the water, so she and her dad went to help them. Grace become a local hero after this. (And apparently, Grace Darling was a real person.)

Matilda has a book on keeping lighthouses that she brings with her. The inscription includes one from Grace to Sarah and Sarah to (a different) Matilda.

I listened to the audio and it was good. I did lose focus at times, but I think I caught the main happenings in the book. Harriet also kept secrets and it took time for her to open up to Matilda. I liked her, though she did seem “gruff” at times. I liked all the characters, really. The women were pretty tough and self-sufficient – or certainly tried/wanted to be as much as they could in their time periods. There were a lot of characters, though, and there were times that it took me a bit to figure out which time frame and character’s POV I was listening to. It did say when the POV changed, but since I know my mind wandered some plus putting away the audio and picking it up later sometimes made it a bit tricky.

Fev 10, 3:35 pm

>68 LibraryCin: Years ago, on Friday's after work some of the staff used to go to a pub called The Grace Darling, so it's good to know where the name came from.

An aside. One evening a bewildered English tourist approached us to check on the pub's name. She didn't speak Australian and had been wandering up and down the street looking for The Grey Starling.

Fev 10, 3:37 pm

>69 pamelad: Oh, that's pretty cool!

And LOL! Easy mistake to make, though, I think!

Editado: Fev 11, 4:08 pm

12x12 RTT, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits, RTT, Steeplechase

The Lake of Dreams / Kim Edwards
3.25 stars

Lucy has been living abroad for a number of years, but when her mother is injured and in hospital, she decides to come home. Her partner, Yoshi, will join her later. Lucy’s family has had some quarrels (particularly her father (died a while back) and his brother/Lucy’s uncle Art), mostly over the family business and inheritance. Now, her brother is working for Art, and her mom is considering selling the house and land to Art. The land sits on an ecologically sensitive lake that Art wants to develop.

While Lucy is helping clean out the house, she comes across some paperwork that mentions Rose. It sounds like Rose is someone in the family, but Lucy has never heard of her, so she does some research to try to find out who Rose was. And uncovers other secrets along the way.

Through the first 2/3 or so of the book, I would have rated it 3 stars (ok), but I increased it just a touch, as I got much more interested in the last 1/3. I did skim parts of the first of the book, so I did miss a few things. I liked that Lucy went back to Yoshi, rather than falling in love (again) with Keegan. So many novels would go the other way. I think I liked it because the author made sure that the reader could see how much Lucy still loves and misses Yoshi via their conversations, whereas so many other books wouldn’t go into that. I also liked the ecological slant to the story (though that wasn’t explored in a lot of detail, but it still appealed to me).

Editado: Fev 11, 4:42 pm

12x12 PBT, PBT, CalendarCAT, RandomKIT, BingoDOG

The Man Who Lived Underground / Richard Wright
3 stars

This actually consists of a novella-length story, plus a nonfiction essay. The short story is the one of the title. It’s set in the 1940s(?) (that’s when it was originally written, anyway), and a black man, Fred, leaving work, just having been paid in cash, is “arrested” by the police and “questioned”/tortured. Initially not knowing even what they police were talking about, it turns out the neighbours of the people Fred worked for had been murdered in their home earlier in the day. Fred manages to escape and moves underground via the sewers from building to building for a few days.

The essay talked about how the author grew up with his very religious Grandmother and how some things from that experience related to this story.

Overall, I’m rating it ok. The essay got pretty philosophical, so wasn’t all that interesting to me. The story itself was better, but also a little bit odd while Fred was underground. I definitely did not see the end coming (but maybe I should have?).

Fev 12, 12:49 am

>68 LibraryCin: I posted a message on another thread (RandomKIT?) because you reminded me of when I was in grade school with the Grace Darling mention. She was (probably still is) a well-known hero. And the RLNI (Royal Lifeboat National Institute) is having their 200th anniversary this year so your book was well-timed.

I just checked and my library doesn't have it but I'll keep a lookout for it.

Fev 12, 3:41 pm

>73 VivienneR: Good luck! I hope you can get your hands on it at some point.

Fev 12, 10:45 pm

12x12 Travel, PrizeCAT, AlphaKIT, PBT, RTT

What Strange Paradise / Omar El Akkad
4 stars

Amir is a 9-year old Syrian boy who survives a shipwreck. Everyone else to be seen has washed up on shore, dead. He is on an island, but doesn’t know where he is, nor does he understand the language. When two men see him and point and shout, Amir gets scared and runs. He runs into Vanna, 15-years old and though they are unable to communicate verbally, she hides him.

The story then shifts to “Before”, which brings us up to date on how Amir got where he is. We go back and forth between Amir’s before and “After”. Much of after is told from Vanna’s POV, but occasionally we switch to the POV of a colonial who is dead set on finding Amir, the little boy who ran away.

Given that it’s (primarily) from a 9-year old’s POV, it took a bit to figure out what was going on through much of the story. I am still not sure I understand the ending. But it was a “good” (powerful) story, even so.

Fev 18, 2:44 pm

12x12 Nonfiction, CalendarCAT, RandomKIT, MysteryKIT, Steeplechase

The Cold Vanish / Jon Billman
3.5 stars

When Jacob Gray disappeared in Olympic National Park in Washington state, his dad Randy would not give up looking. Luckily, Randy had the stamina and money to be able to continually look for his 22-year old son. The author, Jon Billman, was often along to help out. This book is primarily Jacob’s search story, but the author also brings in many other missing persons cases (missing in the “wild”/in nature) in the U.S. and Canada, some who were found and others not.

I don’t personally know anyone who has gone missing and not been found, but I know someone whose brother has (and my brother does know him – the one who went missing). I couldn’t help but think about him at various points while reading this. That’s beside the point of what I thought of the book, however.

Some of the stories peaked my interest more than others, but with as many as there were, it’s hard to remember them when a short time was spent on many (as opposed to the bulk of the book on Jacob’s case). The book also highlighted differences in the types of searches, for how long they last, etc, depending on where a person goes missing; much of that comes down to cost. It included stats and went into a few various “oddball” theories like Bigfoot and UFOs (Jacob’s father Randy insisted on following any and all leads, no matter how “out there”).

Fev 19, 1:38 pm

12x12 Trim, Roundtuits, RTT

Not a Drop to Drink / Mindy McGinnis
3.75 stars

There is not much water left in the world. 16-year old Lynn lives with her mother in a rural area and they have been able to protect their source of water. Lynn has been very sheltered during her life and has never really known much about the real world or any other people, but she does know they have a neighbour her mother has helped a little bit. Just before her mother decides it’s time for them to leave, she is killed. Now, Lynn is on her own. Lynn has been taught how to protect their home and pond, but she and her mother knew there were people not far away, based on the smoke from their fire.

I listened to the audio and it took a little bit before I was fully paying attention, but it got better and better as the story moved along, I thought. I actually didn’t like Lynn much at first, but she learned and changed.

Fev 19, 9:49 pm

12x12 Travel, CalendarCAT, AlphaKIT

The Paris Apartment / Lucy Foley
4 stars

Jess is headed to Paris to visit her half-brother Ben in his new apartment. When he isn’t there to pick her up, she makes her way to his place, but he’s not there. He knew she was coming and when and said he’d be there. What’s going on? Once she finally manages to get into the apartment, no one is around, but something feels “off”.

Wealthy Sophie and Jacques live in the penthouse; introverted 19-year old Mimi and her outgoing roommate Camille are on the 4th floor; Ben’s apartment is on the 3rd; Ben’s friend Nick lives on the 2nd floor, and alcoholic Antoine and his wife, Dominique are on the 1st floor. An older woman, the concierge, lives in a shack on the property.

POV switches between many of the different characters. The book “grabbed” me from the start. It was hard to tell who was telling the truth and who wasn’t, as well as who might be an unreliable narrator. Everyone had a secret. Had a twist at the end, as well as one about half-way through. As with Foley’s other books that I’ve read, I really liked this.

Fev 20, 5:04 am

>78 LibraryCin: - I'm not sure I actually have this yet, but I'm pretty sure I have it on a list. somewhere.

Fev 20, 4:01 pm

>78 LibraryCin: Your review makes me curious about this book, it sounds like a great read!

Fev 20, 8:45 pm

>78 LibraryCin: I read The Guest List a few months ago and enjoyed it a lot. Taking a BB for this one.

Editado: Fev 20, 11:47 pm

I hope you all enjoy it (for those who do decide to read it!). I've also really liked all the books (I think this was the 3rd?) I've read by Foley.

Fev 22, 6:15 pm

>78 LibraryCin: We read this in my RL book club last year. I liked it a lot. I tiptoe around the thriller genre, but think I may lean into it more.
>81 lowelibrary: Perhaps The Guest List will be next for me. Bullet!

Editado: Fev 22, 7:12 pm

>83 beebeereads: A wedding party on an island. Very reminiscent of And Then There Was None.

Fev 23, 10:33 pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, Rountuits, PBT trim

Garment of Shadows / Laurie R. King
2.5 stars

A woman wakes up in a place she doesn’t know. Nor does she know how she got there, nor even who she is. She appears to have been hurt and is wearing men’s clothes. She is able to get up and leave and follows a mute boy. Meantime, Sherlock Holmes, in Morocco, is looking for his wife, Mary Russell. She was there to shoot a film(?) and has disappeared.

I enjoyed the book more when it focused on Mary and the amnesia. I wasn’t as interested in what was happening in Morocco, nor in Holmes and what he was up to. Oh, near the end got a bit more interesting, as well. A bit of tension/suspense at that point made it a bit better. Overall, though, I’m not a fan. I think I picked up this book in a Little Free Library, not realizing it was #12 in a series; when I learned that, I did back up to read the first in the series (I don’t believe I was super-excited about it, either, but still wanted to read this one, anyway).