I don’t know about you lovely bloggers, but I always struggle to come up with content. I have a few book reviews I need to write, but I’m not feeling like it right now. I could of course share some stuff about my WIP except that that has almost completely stalled. I could share more pictures of my cat, but she’s sulking after a trip to the vet and I can’t find her.

I thought I would try something new. I have a list of a few books I’ve heard about or discovered recently and I want you folks to help me decide if they’re worth reading or if I should pass. My GoodReads TBR list is currently over 2000, so even if I read another 200 books this year, it really won’t make a dent. I’ve got to do some major cleansing. It’s not like there’s an actual limit, so that huge imaginary list isn’t actually hurting anyone. But it makes it hard to find the books I really, really want to read in there compared to all the books I’m just thinking about.

So here are the ones I’m currently considering:

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein

11925514What it is: sort of spy thriller thing set in WWII

Plus: All my friends who’ve read it have really enjoyed it.

I like spy thrillers when they’re good

Minus: Kind of a little tired of WWII setting

Sounds a little slow for a thriller

Verdict: Maybe wait a bit on this one

THE MERMAID’S SISTER by Carrie Anne Noble
What it is: Magical realism with family dynamics and mermaids

Plus: By a local author I want to support, free on Kindle Unlimited

Minus: I mostly hate magic realism, reviews tepid, afraid of leaving a bad review for someone I “know”

No reviews by friends on this one, so I’m on my own. I guess I’ll give it a try – it is available for free – but not right away.


What it is: Historical fiction about the Trojan War

Plus: Love the subject and the idea, girl power

Minus: No reviews by friends on this one, and the reviews are rather split. Also not sure if it’s at the library.

I really am undecided on this one. I think I’ll see if it’s at the library. Maybe if I can read through it a bit, I can decide if it’s a good fit for me.


24819482 What it is: Dark fantasy with strong female characters, some queer representation (I think) and a creepy vibe.

Plus: Love female drive fantasy, getting lots of positive buzz.

Minus: Not sure? A little hesitant about wondering just how dark it is. I’ve gotten more careful about that since my mental health has kind of gotten more fragile.

I think I will take a chance on this one and move it up the list. I’m sure the library will have it and I hope it will be a good book for me.



What it is: A memoir by the owner of an independent bookstore in Ireland

Plus: Books! Written by a guy who loves books!

Minus: Yeah, the only one I can think of is that this is going to KILL my TBR list!

I heard about this one from a friend and I love the idea of it, so this is one I’m definitely going to look for at the library. If they don’t have it, I might even request that they buy it.


Right, that’s where I’m going to stop for now. I like the way this post turned out so I think I’ll redo it later with some more books. Have you read any of these title? Do you have any of them on your TBR lists? Let me know your thoughts!


2018 Category Challenge

I don’t know how many of you are over at LibraryThing, but it’s a great site. I’ve been on there for several years now. I love the forums and groups.

One of the groups is The 2018 Category Challenge. The idea is to organize your reading by themes and then share with everyone what you thonk. They have a lot of mini-challenges, group reads and so on.

I’ve decided to join in and I have my categories.

  • Cold cases – book that have been On the shelf too long 
  • First Timers – new books


  • Repeat offenders – rereads


  • Serials – books in a series


  • Isolated occurrence – stand alone titles


  • Minor infractions – YA and kids books


  • Eyewitness accounts – nonfiction books


  • Advance warning – ARCs


  • Most Wanted – best books of the year


  • Petty crime – boring and DNF

If you want to join in, my thread is here. I’ll still post most of my reviews here though.

Have you started thinking about next year yet? What are your plans?

October TBR

I don’t usually plan my reading out, because I hate feeling tied down. Instead, I’m just listing a few possibilities. Nothing wrong with that, right?


Current Reads I must finish!

  • The Queens of the Conquest by Alison Weir, ARC for NetGalley
  • Nation by Terry Pratchett
  • Great Short Novels of Adult Fantasy, Volume 1, **Dad’s old book**


The old opened book is christian PsalterNew books I own and must read!

  • Shadows in the Jungle by Larry Alexander, WWII Scouting in the Pacific
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, historical fiction on audio
  • Servant of a Dark God by John D. Brown, epic fantasy by local author

The old opened book is christian Psalter

ARCS and Review Copies to Finish. I’m so behind!

  • More Than a Fraction by Kerri Moseley – Hobbs
  • Afterdeath by Benoit Charter
  • Claude’s Hotel by Naylene Rondon
  • Fateful Impact by Samantha Hoffman

The old opened book is christian Psalter

Library Books I want to get Hold of

  • Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo – hooray! It’s here, it’s here!
  • The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
  • Extreme Makeover: Apocalypse Edition by Dan Wells

The old opened book is christian Psalter

So that’s my tentative list. We’ll see how much I get through and what I wind up adding. But I should get to 1/3 – 1/2 of these books. What do you have planned for October reading?

Off the Shelf reading challenge

I’m having trouble with my “Off the Shelf” September challenge. I can’t seem to settle down and read any of my books. I spent an hour searching for free books from Amazon and wound up with a dozen new books for my Kindle! I haven’t started any of them, but the whole point was to read books I already own and take a break from buying new ones for a month.

It’s not like there’s a shortage of books in my house! There are bookshelves everywhere, all of them full and more books stacked on the floor. I don’t have that many Kindle books to read, but I have plenty. I also have a few books to review, including one I’m reading now.

Here’s what I think I will read next:

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey – for the Book Riot challenge

The Pierced Heart by Lynn Shepherd

Slaves of Spiegel by Daniel Pinkwater

And I’m currently reading:

Something New by PG Wodehouse

Queens of the Conquest by Alison Weir – for review

American Colonies: The Settling of North America by Alan Taylor




Climbing Mt. TBR

Hey there. If you’re like me, your TBR pile is more like a mountain. I have almost 2000 books on my “To-Read” shelf in Goodreads. (Hey, feel free to check me out there. I am Cindy B.) With that many books floating somewhere in my radar, I may never run out of book ideas! Just kidding. At my present rate of reading, it would take 10 years. A long time, but totally possible. Of course, I keep adding more books to the list, so it really will take me until I die.

That’s not to say I actually own 2000 books I haven’t read. It’s more like 100. Still, way too many. That’s why September is my “Off the Shelf” month. I try to make September the month that I only read books I already own. I have plenty to choose from. There are piles or stacks or shelves or something in every single room except the upstairs bathroom.

Here’s my Top 20 books I want to read this month (I probably won’t get to all of them, but I hope to make a dent.):

  1. Rough Crossings: Britain, Slaves, and the American Revolution by Simon Schama
  2. A Son of Thunder: Patrick Henry and the American Republic by Henry Mayer
  3. Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey – for the Book Riot challenge
  4. The Pierced Heart by Lynn Shepherd
  5. Servant of a Dark God by John D. Brown
  6. The Killing of Katie Steelstock by Michael Gilbert
  7. Partials by Dan Wells
  8. Passage by Connie Willis
  9. Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney
  10. Glory Road by Bruce Catton
  11. Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
  12. The Raphael Affair by Iain Pears
  13. A Hope More Powerful than the Sea by Melissa Fleming, Book Riot Challenge
  14. Native Son by Richard Wright, Book Riot Challenge
  15. Spider Woman, Book Riot Challenge
  16. Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
  17. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon
  18. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Supetys
  19. Two for the Lions by Lindsay Davis
  20. Emma Brown by Clare Boylan

These are a few of the Many! books I have lying around the house. Any of them sound good to you? I’d love some recommendations about which ones to tackle first. I’m really excited about the Connie Willis one and the Iain Pears one, but otherwise I don’t have a preference. It will probably depend on what I’m in the mood for, fiction or non-fiction or audiobook, something quick or something meaty. In the comments, vote for which one I should read first.

Stand Alone Sunday #2 – Passage

Title: Passage

Author: Connie Willis

Genre: Science fiction/speculative fiction

This one is on my TBR list for this year, in a stack of books in my bedroom. Here’s what it says about it on Amazon:

“One of those rare, unforgettable novels that are as chilling as they are insightful, as thought-provoking as they are terrifying, award-winning author Connie Willis’s Passage is an astonishing blend of relentless suspense and cutting-edge science unlike anything you’ve ever read before.

It is the electrifying story of a psychologist who has devoted her life to tracking death. But when she volunteers for a research project that simulates the near-death experience, she will either solve life’s greatest mystery — or fall victim to its greatest terror.

At Mercy General Hospital, Dr. Joanna Lander will soon be paged — not to save a life, but to interview a patient just back from the dead. A psychologist specializing in near-death experiences, Joanna has spent two years recording the experiences of those who have been declared clinically dead and lived to tell about it.

It’s research on the fringes of ordinary science, but Joanna is about to get a boost from an unexpected quarter. A new doctor has arrived at Mercy General, one with the power to give Joanna the chance to get as close to death as anyone can.

A brilliant young neurologist, Dr. Richard Wright has come up with a way to manufacture the near-death experience using a psychoactive drug. Dr. Wright is convinced that the NDE is a survival mechanism and that if only doctors understood how it worked, they could someday delay the dying process, or maybe even reverse it. He can use the expertise of a psychologist of Joanna Lander’s standing to lend credibility to his study.

But he soon needs Joanna for more than just her reputation. When his key volunteer suddenly drops out of the study, Joanna finds herself offering to become Richard’s next subject. After all, who better than she, a trained psychologist, to document the experience?

Her first NDE is as fascinating as she imagined it would be — so astounding that she knows she must go back, if only to find out why this place is so hauntingly familiar. But each time Joanna goes under, her sense of dread begins to grow, because part of her already knows why the experience is so familiar, and why she has every reason to be afraid….

And just when you think you know where she is going, Willis throws in the biggest surprise of all — a shattering scenario that will keep you feverishly reading until the final climactic page is turned.”

Sorry, that was kind of long, but doesn’t it sound good? I love Connie Willis’s books. This one is not rated as high as some of her other books, but I’m excited to read it anyway. Even when I don’t LOVE her books, I find them interesting reads. She has such a unique way of looking at the world, and every books is different from each other. So I really don’t know what to expect from this one, but it should be fun!