10 Authors I’ve Read the Most

Inspired by Thatartsyreadergirl.com

10 Mystery Authors I’ve Read the Most

(This is a guess, because I’m having some Good Reads issues with my phone.)

1. Agatha Christie

2. Dick Francis

3. Ellis Peters

4. Catherine Aird

5. Michael Innes

6. Margery Allingham

7. Donna Andrews

8. Ngaio Marsh

9. Patricia Wentworth

10. Rex Stout

Of ten, only 2 are still writing. One from New Zealand, several British, and 2 Americans. 7 women & 3 men. 0 POC and 0 queer writers (as far as I know.) No as much diversity as I’d like. I can do better.

 

 

TTT: 10 Books I Haven’t Packed Yet

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


Hey fellow readers! This week’s prompt was about most anticipated releases of the end of the year, but I haven’t got a clue about new releases. Instead I’m to my own way.

10 + 2 Books I Haven’t Packed Yet (and so I might read before we move.)

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It’s a little blurry, but I couldn’t get a better shot, so I hope you can read it. Here we go, from the top.

1. The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party by Daniel James Brown. Non-fiction, challenge book. *

2. The Mutts Diaries by Patrick McDonnell. Comics. *

3. Beowulf, transl. by Seamus Heaney. Poetry.

4. The Rising of the Moon by Gladys Mitchell. Mystery. *

5. Cane by Jean Toomer. Literary fiction, BLM.

6. Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett. Non-fiction.

7. Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally. Non-fiction.

8. First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung. Memoir, challenge. *

9. Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights by Dovey Johnson Roundtree. Non-fiction, BLM.

10. The Crusades Though Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf. Non-fiction.

11. The Asylum: A Novel by John Harwood. Suspense.

12. Say You’re One of Them by Uwen Akpan. Short stories.

Books with stars are the ones I’m going to try to read before we move. I’ve been reading a lot of intense emotional stuff, so I’m taking a little break for some nature and science books. But after that I think I’ll jump into the Cambodia book. It’s going to be hella depressing, but I think it’s an important subject & I keep putting it off. I can follow it with the Mutts book.

I think we’re down to 2 weeks before we move, so it’s getting real! I’m not sure how much I’m going to be on here, but we’ll see how it foes! Until next time, happy reading!

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday Turns 10!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Today That Artsy Reader Girl is celebrating 10 years of Top 10 Tuesday! I can’t believe sticking to a blog that long. She opened it up for a free week, but suggested maybe doing a topic from a previous list. After some thought, I’m doing just that.

10 More Favorite Books from my Childhood

1. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater. As a kid, it was totally reasonable to me that he would turn his basement into an ice rink. But then, I was crazy about animals.

2. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. I loved the land of Chewandswallow and so did my kids.

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3. Miss Jasper’s Garden by N M Bodecker. “After getting caught in Miss Jaster’s spring planting, the hedgehog discovers he has become a four-legged, walking flower garden.”

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Photo by monicore on Pexels.com

If that doesn’t sound adorable, you’re just not human. I *loved* this book.

4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I loved the Cheshire Cat best, of course. 😸

5. The Resident Witch by Marian T. Place. I loved the Little witch and the way she finally found friends.

6. Yobgorgle by Daniel Pinkwater. The cover completely gives the twist away, but I loved the crazy characters in this.

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7. The Tiny Tawny Kitten by Barbara Shook Hazen. Look, it has a kitten and it has flowers. For 4 year old me, that was all it took.

8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. In fact, I think I read all her books about the March family. They haven’t stayed favorites, but I loved them at one time.

9. Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever. I loved Huckle and Sally Cat and Lowly Worm so much!

10. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Toad forever!


Happy Birthday to Top 10 and Happy Reading to all of you!

baked beautiful birthday birthday cake
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

 

 

5 Non-fiction Books to Read

I’ve been busy packing, and by now, most of my books are in boxes. But moving day is still 3 weeks away and I need something to read until then, so I kept out most of my TBR stacks. I realized most of them are non-fiction, so that’s what I’ve been reading. That’s fine with me – I’ve been enjoying that more than fiction lately anyway.

Here are 5 I’ve read this month.

Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decide Animal Behavior by Temple Grandin

This was such a good book. The writing was so conversational I almost didn’t realize I was learning anything. So much great information on here. At the end she includes some training tips.

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

A quick read with truly original ideas. All about the connections between ideas that lead to technological advances. Also lots of pictures.

Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us by Sam Kean

This wasn’t quite as good as his previous books, but it was as still interesting. Basically about chemistry and gases. But I got a little overwhelmed with details and skipped some paragraphs.

Man of the Family by Ralph Moody

The second book in this autobiographical series. This book is all about Ralph and his family living in town. Ralph is 11 now and trying to earn what money he can while still going to school. I never worked as hard as this poor kid did.

The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven

The Karluk was meant to explore the Arctic and discover new land. Instead it got trapped in the ice and their leader abandoned them. Only their captain, Robert Bartlett, could keep them alive. Great story.


I’ve gotta say, it’s been a good month! I can’t wait to move, but at least I’ve still got plenty to read.

Try a Chapter Tag!

I have such a lot of books on my TBR list, many that I don’t remember adding. I decided to look into this Try a Chapter Tag I’ve seen on Booktube. I found it on Book Paradise here.

What to Do:

1.Choose 5+ books that “you have been meaning to read”

2. Read up to the 1st Chapter (prologue included)

3.Yes or No, will you finish or set it aside?

I chose 5 books, in no particular order, but they are all fantasy or horror, and 2 of them are short story collections.

Book 1

36530066._UX75_ We Should Have Left Well Enough Alone by Ronald Malfi

Short stories

I read the first story in this collection, “The Dinner Party.”  The main character is a young mom who is hosting her husband’s boss & his wife for dinner.

I found this story predictable but profoundly disturbing. But it’s horror, so is that a good thing? I can’t really decide. My library does not have this book, so I would have to buy it to read the rest and I don’t think I want to do that. So I guess it’s No.

Book 2

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North American Lake Monsters

by Nathan Ballungrud

Short stories

I read the first story in this collection, “You Go Where It Takes You.” The MC here is your waitress names Toni who is a single mom. She brings home a male customer with a dangerous secret.

This story did surprise me, twice in fact. It was enticing enough that I want to read more. But I don’t think my library has this one either. I think this one is a maybe. If I can get it for a really good price then I will say yes.

Book 3

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Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher

(Sorry about the poor image quality. Still having computer issues here.)

YA or even MG fantasy

Big shift in tone here. The story starts with Oliver, the only mage in his village, being forced to leave town and find out why it won’t rain. The twist: Oliver is 12, and his familiar is an armadillo.

This was actually pretty funny and while I’m not reading much MG at the moment, this would be a fun light read to balance out some heavy stuff. I’m not sure if my library has it, but I’ve seen it for under $5 and I think it’s worth it. Still, I didn’t love it enough to buy it right this minute. Yes, but not today.

Book 4

31695006._UY120_ Shades – The Demise of Blake Beck  by Anders Rauff -Nielsen

Paranormal

Blake is at work one day when he gets a reminder about retirement. Except in his case, it’s a razor blade and retirement is pretty permanent.

I liked the first chapter. It’s pretty mysterious, but the story involves Death personified and fighting vampires and true love. However, the reviews make it clear it’s downhill from here so I think I will pass. No on this one. (However it is available on Kindle Unlimited, so if I change my mind I can get it for free.)

Book 5

11711794._UX75_A Turn of Light by Julie E Czerneda

YA fantasy

Jenn wants to leave her village and see the world, but it seems like her family is planning to marry her off. But there’s magic at work here.

My least favorite of the bunch. Jenn is whiny and self-absorbed. While I imagine there’s some character growth, this didn’t strike me as anything special. No.

Wow, that didn’t turn out how I expected. 3 No’s, 1 Yes but later, and 1 Maybe. I usually keep all of them on my list. Maybe these are just duds! But I think it’s progress. Let me know if you have read any of these. Until next time, happy reading!

TTT: Top 10 on my summer reading list

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Happy Summer! Are you so ready? I’m not as excited about summer this year with quarantine and everything. The last couple of years we’ve stayed at a cabin with family, but that’s obviously cancelled. Instead this summer we are moving to a NEW HOUSE!

I’ve packed SO MANY book, but I tried to keep out my TBR and challenge books, so that’s what I’m reading this summer.

(In no particular order)

1. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Physical copy, kinda struggling with this. Very unusual writing style.

First published in 1952 and immediately hailed as a masterpiece, Invisible Man is one of those rare novels that have changed the shape of American literature. For not only does Ralph Ellison’s nightmare journey across the racial divide tell unparalleled truths about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators, it gives us an entirely new model of what a novel can be.

2. Clariel by Garth Nix. Just read a spoiler & now I’m mad.

Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilp. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all.

3. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman. I do not like this. Everyone says it’s worth it at the end. I hope so.

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

4. Beautiful by Juliet Marillier. Told in 3 parts; I liked part 1 best. Starts off with a fairy tale but becomes something more.l

Beautiful is in three parts. Part one follows the pattern of the fairy tale, though the central character is not the white bear prince or the intrepid young woman who travels east of the sun and west of the moon to save him from a curse. Our narrator, whom I named Hulde, only had a bit-part in that original story. The novel-length version takes Hulde way out of her comfort zone as she heads off into the unknown world beyond the glass mountain, to find out what it means to make your own story.

These 4 are all books I am currently reading. Here are the others I hope to read soon.

5. Altered Perceptions, ed. Dan Wells. I backed this when I was on Indiegogo and then I lost my digital copy. I was really bummed, but I didn’t really want to buy it again. Then I found it at the library! So happy. It’s a collection of speculative fiction short stories.

6. Work Song by Ivan Doig. Physical copy.

An award-winning and beloved novelist of the American West spins the further adventures of a favorite character, in one of his richest historical settings yet.

“If America was a melting pot, Butte would be its boiling point,” observes Morrie Morgan, the itinerant teacher, walking encyclopedia, and inveterate charmer last seen leaving a one-room schoolhouse in Marias Coulee, the stage he stole in Ivan Doig’s 2006 The Whistling Season. A decade later, Morrie is back in Montana, as the beguiling narrator of Work Song.

Lured like so many others by “the richest hill on earth,” Morrie steps off the train in Butte, copper-mining capital of the world, in its jittery heyday of 1919. But while riches elude Morrie, once again a colorful cast of local characters-and their dramas-seek him out: a look-alike, sound-alike pair of retired Welsh miners; a streak-of-lightning waif so skinny that he is dubbed Russian Famine; a pair of mining company goons; a comely landlady propitiously named Grace; and an eccentric boss at the public library, his whispered nickname a source of inexplicable terror. When Morrie crosses paths with a lively former student, now engaged to a fiery young union leader, he is caught up in the mounting clash between the iron-fisted mining company, radical “outside agitators,” and the beleaguered miners. And as tensions above ground and below reach the explosion point, Morrie finds a unique way to give a voice to those who truly need one.

7. The Letter for the King by Tonke Draft. Also physical copy.

A young messenger. A secret mission. A kingdom in peril.

It is the dead of night.

Sixteen-year-old Tiuri must spend hours locked in a chapel in silent contemplation if he is to be knighted the next day.

But, as he waits by the light of a flickering candle, he hears a knock at the door and a voice desperately asking for help.

A secret letter must be delivered to King Unauwen across the Great Mountains – a letter upon which the fate of the entire kingdom depends. Tiuri has a vital role to play, one that might cost him his knighthood.

Tiuri’s journey will take him through dark, menacing forests, across treacherous rivers, to sinister castles and strange cities. He will encounter evil enemies who would kill to get the letter, but also the best of friends in the most unexpected places.

He must trust no one.

He must keep his true identity secret.

Above all, he must never reveal what is in the letter…

The Letter for the King is the thrilling story of one boy’s battle against evil, set in an enchanted world of chivalry, courage and true friendship.

8. The Music of the Spheres: Music, Science, and the Natural Order of the Universe by Jamie James.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers believed that the universe was a stately, ordered mechanism, both mathematical and musical. The perceived distances between objects in the sky mirrored (and were mirrored by) the spaces between notes forming chords and scales. The smooth operation of the cosmos created a divine harmony that composers sought to capture and express.

Jamie James allows readers to see how this scientific philosophy emerged, how it was shattered by changing views of the universe and the rise of Romanticism, and to what extent it survives today – if at all. From Pythagoras to Newton, Bach to Beethoven, and on to the twentieth century of Einstein, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Cage and Glass. A spellbinding examination of the interwoven fates of science and music throughout history.

That’s only 8, but since I’m bad at planning out my reading I’m going to call it good. I’m going to start on Invisible Man this week and try to finish Çlariel next. I *really* wish I hadn’t seen that stupid spoiler. Now I’m not excited to finish the book. 😢 What are you reading? Have you read any of these? Let me now & happy reading!

Want to Read – The Crescent Moon Kingdoms

Today I felt like sound something different. Instead of telling you about one of my favorite series, I’m going to tell you about a series I really want to read. It’s my Saladin Ahmed and the first book is called  Throne of the Crescent Moon.

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The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings:

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, “the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat,” just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter’s path.

Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla’s young assistant, is a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety. But even as Raseed’s sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.

Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the lion-shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man’s title. She lives only to avenge her father’s death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father’s killer. Until she meets Raseed.

When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince’s brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time—and struggle against their own misgivings—to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.

It sounds creepy and complex, with some romance (hopefully not cringey) and plenty magical. I love the Middle Eastern setting. Have any of you read this? My libraries don’t carry it so it looks like I’d have to buy it. Is it worth it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Pioneer Book Challenge

Do you have a favorite bookstore? Mine is Pioneer Book in Provo. First of all, they have a very cool store front.

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I love it! But I’ve been coming here even before they moved to their awesome new location. There just aren’t that many really good used bookstores any more. But it’s great to be able to go and browse in person.

Plus they give you store credit for trade ins. Which is nice, because I dropped off SO MANY books during my big declutter. I used my credit to buy books for the Pioneer Book Challenge!

Every year they do a challenge with around 40 categories. I’ve never been able to finish it, but this year I’m really trying. Here’s some of the categories I’ve finished so far.


Canadian Author: Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

Biography: Becoming by Michelle Obama

Popular Book published in 1990: Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

New Arrival Display Upstairs: Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

Book on Religion Other than Your Own: When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka


Those are just some of the ones I have finished. I still have about 1/3 to go. Here’s what I’m planning.

Popular Book Published in 1980: The Panda’s Thumb by Stephen Jay Gould

Time Magazine 100 Best Fiction: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

PEN/Faulkner Winner/Finalist: Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks

Music Book: The Music of the Spheres by Jamie James

Michael L Printz Award Winner/Honoree: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor


I used to do a book challenge every year, but I got to pick the categories. Even then it got too complicated, with 10 books per category. This seems like it will be easier in some ways, but I don’t usually read award winners or keep track of that. I mean, I’d never heard of some these awards. I just read what catches my interest. This is really making me stretch, but I think that’s a good thing. I hope so! Everyone who finishes the challenge gets a $50 gift card for more books, and I can’t resist that!