20 Books of Summer 2020

20 books

Yes, it’s time to announce that I’m doing yet another book challenge this year. This time it’s one I missed out on last year the 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy746Books. <<– Click here to see the announcement page for the challenge & to learn more about it. If 20 books are too intimidating, there are also 5, 10, & 15 books of summer levels. Just chose the level that is right for you. The challenge runs from June 1st until September 1st this year.

As always, I plan to use this challenge to tackle both my physical Mt. TBR & all the other reading challenges I’m working on this year. So picking out books for this challenges is simple. I just grabbed books that I’ve been planning to read this summer. Also, I’m only counting books that I started and finished during the run time of this challenge.

So, without further ado, here’s my list*:

  1. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
  2. A Women is No Man by Etaf Rum
  3. Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
  4. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
  5. The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
  6. The Library of Legends by Janie Chang
  7. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
  8. That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam
  9. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
  10. The Killing Moon by N.K. James
  11. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  12. We Love You, Charlie Parker by Kaitlyn Green
  13. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  14. Whiskey by Bruce Holbert
  15. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
  16. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
  17. On Beauty by Zadie Smith
  18. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  19. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
  20. The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

*This list will probably change as the summer progresses. I figure as long as I read 20 books on my TBR it’s all good & I accomplish my goal of whittling it down.

I will post about starting or finishing the books on Instagram & Litsy. You can follow me on Instagram buy clicking here. And on Litsy search for Loreen. And of course I’ll be using #20BooksofSummer20 in all my social media posts for this challenge. And at the beginning of September I’ll have a wrap-up post here detailing my reading adventures in this pile & challenge.

Are you planning on joining in on this reading challenge? Let me know in the comments below so I can visit your blog and see what your planning on reading.

Happy Summer Reading, y’all!

Quickie Book Review: The Daughters

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Author: Adrienne Celt

Published: August 3, 2015 by Liveright, hardback.

Length: 272 pages

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Source: from a book box I purchased a few of years ago.

Stars: 4 Stars

Summary:

Since the difficult birth of her daughter, which collided tragically with the death of her beloved grandmother, renowned opera sensation Lulu can’t bring herself to sing a note. Haunted by a curse that traces back through the women in her family, she fears that the loss of her remarkable talent and the birth of her daughter are somehow inexplicably connected. As Lulu tentatively embraces motherhood, she sifts through the stories she’s inherited about her elusive, jazz-singer mother and the nearly mythic matriarch, her great-grandmother Greta. Each tale is steeped in the family’s folkloric Polish tradition and haunted by the rusalka-a spirit that inspired Dvorak’s classic opera.

Like:

This is a wonderful story that explores the ambivalence that comes with motherhood for many women. Not many stories or books about motherhood today focus on that ambivalence. The novel questions if a woman give up parts of herself when becoming a mother? Must she give it all up to be a mother?  And the main character, Lulu, has examples of all the extremes of that ambivalence in her mother, grandmother, and the stories told to her about her great-grandmother by her grandmother. This novel explores a whether or not there is a different way to experience motherhood than is seen in popular culture depictions of it.

Also, this story is a folklore retelling and I love that sort of story. I’m not as familiar with the folklore of Central Europe, so I’m always happy to come across a new to me folktale in my reading.

Another thing I really liked about this book is that I could use it for a prompt in the Pop Sugar Reading challenge: A book that passes the Bechdel Test (click here for a definition of the Bechdel test).

Not so much:

I can’t think of anything I didn’t like so much while reading it.

What I’ll remember:

The beautifully story that focuses on a different way of exploring what it means to be a mother. I’m sorry that I didn’t read it much sooner. I think I say that about most of the books that I finally pull of the TBR and read.

Would I  recommend?

Yes! This is a book I would recommend to everyone. It’s a few years old, so it should be easy to find and add to your TBR.

Click on these links to my other posts featuring this book:

O.W.L Readathon Wrap-up

O.W.L’S TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

Friday 56, #14

October 2016 Wrap-Up

So tell me what you think? Have you read The Daughters? Did you like it? If not, why? Let me know because I would love to chat about it.

Happy Reading, y’all!

O.W.L. Magical Readathon 2020 TBR

A4217102-B285-4FDE-90EB-8DBD1B6603A0It’s time for another readathon. Yes, I just finished one readathon and am getting ready to start another. And it is The O.W.L. Magical Readathon hosted by Book Roast over on You Tube. It runs from April 1st to April 30th. And as with all of my reading challenges and readathons I am focusing on reading books on my TBR pile. It is a Harry Potter themed readathon that is in two parts. The O.W.Ls are in April and the N.E.W.Ts are in August. Basically, like Hogwart’s students, you sit  “exams”/prompts that correspond to the career you have chosen in the Wizarding World. Rather than trying to explain it all myself, do click on this link and watch Book Roast’s You Tube video which explains the readathon in detail.

It may seem daunting at first, but when you read through the Wizarding Careers Guidebook it all begins to make sense. The career I’ve chosen is Seer. For my O.W.L exams I must complete three “exams” (prompts). And I have also chosen to add on a certification for Mermaid Linguistics which requires me to sit for one more exam. So all together I have four books to read in the month of April.

So here is my list of exams and the book I’ve chosen for that prompt.

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  • Ancient Runes: Heart on the cover or in the title. The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter. (Heart on the cover.)
  • Astronomy: Night Classes: read majority of  this book when it’s dark outside. TBA. I’ve a bunch of books on my Kindle TBR that I can read late into the night before I go to sleep.
  • Divination: Third Eye: assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read. The book is number 209 on my Mt. TBR list on GoodReads. It’s The Daughters by Adrienne Celt.
  • Herbology: Mimbulus mimbletonia: Title starts with an MMapping the World of Harry Potter edited by Mercedes Lackey. An appropriate book for a Harry Potter themed readathon, no?

45D80688-1F69-4A05-9343-B9A0B9398E02After seeing all the work Book Roast does for this event and how creative it all is, it just makes me more excited about participating. She put together such a fun event. I will include links to the videos and google documents below so that you download and print what you need.

Here are a list of links to most everything you need for this readathon:

Click here for the You Tube Video.

Click here for the Magical Readathon website.

Click here for Owl prompts and Owl Letter

Click here for Wizarding Careers Guidebook PDF

Be sure to look at the video notes for links to Instagram and Twitter for Book Roast and the Magical Readathon. What do you think? Do you like readathons and have you participated in this readathon? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

 

24 in 48 Read-a-thon: March 21-22, 2020 #StayHome24in48

What a great idea! A #Sayhome24in48 read-a-thon is such a fun way to bring us all together in this time of social distancing. This past weekend was my first time participating in a 24 in 48 Read-a-thon, and it will not be my last.

For most of the read-a-thons I participate in, I read books that will fit tasks or prompts for the various reading challenges I’m participating in this year. And for this read-a-thon I picked books that are on my physical TBR. With that, here are my stats for the weekend. I managed to read for 25 hours, and I only went over the time so I could finish the last book and be done with it. I’m happy to report that I finished four books and all of them will fill tasks and prompts for the various reading challenges that I’m participating in this year.

Here are the books I read in the order that I read them with mini reviews:

Hogwarts LibraryHogwarts Library by J.K Rowling. 4 Stars.

Yes, this is technically three books, but since I have them in this collection and they are all around 100 pages each, I decided to count them as a whole. I loved both Beedle the Bard and Fantastic Beasts. Both were a fun way to visit the Wizarding World. Quidditch Through the Ages is not my cup of tea. As with most sports I just don’t care.

This book is a part of my Top 5 Highest Rated Books. Click here to see more about this challenge.

The Better LiarThe Better Liar by Tanen Jones. 3 Stars.

This is a domestic thriller and it has twists. So if that’s your jam you might enjoy it. For me me, these types of thrillers are hit and miss. But it was fine. This would be a great beach or vacation read if we, you know, ever get to leave our houses this year.

I’m using this for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge prompt: Read a book featuring one of the seven deadly sins.

Bel CantoBel Canto by Ann Patchett. 4-5 Stars.

This book has been on my TBR for over 15 years and I regret not reading much sooner. It was just a lovely read. I can’t stop thinking about it or talking about to people who haven’t even read it. Do yourself a favor and read it if you haven’t already.

This book works for two different reading challenges. The Pop Sugar reading challenge prompt: A Book You Meant to Read in 2019.  And Reading Women Challenge prompt 5: A winner of the Stella Prize or The Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Now You See HerNow You See Her by Jacquelyn Mitchard. 2.5 Stars.

This is not my cup of tea at all. It’s a YA novel with a nasty protagonist. But she is nasty and awful because–reasons. And it all becomes clear why at the end. But for me the first 80% of the book was a slog. And I think that’s all I’ve got to say about it.

This book checks a box for My Top 5 Lowest Rated Books.Click here for more information about it. It also works for Reading Women Challenge prompt 16: read a book featuring a Woman with a disability.  Click here for more information. And finally it fits for the prompt read a book featuring a main character or protagonist with a disability for Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.

So that’s it. Do you participate in reading challenges or read-a-thons? If you did this read-a-thon let me know how you did in the comments below. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

The Five Lowest Rated Books According to GoodReads on my TBR Stack, The 2020 Edition!

If I plan on reading the top Five on my GoodReads owned TBR stack, it stands to reason that I should read the five lowest rated books, right? So that’s what I’m going to do. But unlike the top five, the low five list has changed a bit from the 2019 version. One reason is that I read one of the books on the lowest rated list. And the other is that one of the books on the list has only 34 ratings on GoodReads. So that means the addition of two books to the original list. Click here to see my original post.

Here are the guidelines I’m using for this challenge:

  • I’m using GoodReads ratings to pick the books.
  • Books must have at least 100 ratings on GoodReads.
  • Books that I own, either physical copies or Kindle copies, as of December 31, 2019. Books purchased after this date will not be included this year.
  • All the ratings are as of January 14, 2020 on GoodReads.
  • I will read and write a review for each book before the end of the year.

So, here is the list:

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. Average Rating 2.69 Stars. 33,955 Ratings. 5,508 Reviews. I own a paperback copy.

 

 

 

Whiskey by Bruce Holbert. Average Rating 2.83 Stars. 161 Ratings. 42 Reviews. I own a hard back.

 

 

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam. Average Rating 3.04 Stars. 5,035 Ratings. 756 Reviews. I own hard back copy.

 

 

28FE0B24-BFF8-45EA-BEC8-A1DC5FD88C9A Now You See Her by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Average Rating 3.11 Stars. 491 Ratings. 80 Reviews. I own paperback copy.

 

 

F734741C-E4E6-4958-B79F-F83D9CCD5016 Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale. Average Rating 3.12 Stars. 3,380 ratings. 653 Reviews. I own a Kindle copy.

 

 

 

 

What do you think? Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think if so? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading, y’all!

Here is a link to a book blog and a you tube video that inspired me to attempt this personal challenge last year:

BookBum’s post

The Top Five Highest Rated Books According to GoodReads on my TBR Stack, The 2020 Edition!

Last year one of my many reading plans was to read the top five highest rated books according to GoodReads on my owned books TBR stack. Click on this link to see the original post & plans. But, not surprisingly,  I never got around to reading any of them. It was one of those years, y’all.  A couple of days ago I looked over the list from last year and compared it to the highest rated books I own as of January 14, 2020. And the list had changed quite a bit. Only two books from last year actually is on this years top five. So, due to the change of line up, it sort of encouraged me to try this plan again this year. And many of the books will fit the prompts of the various Reading Challenges I’m attempting, too. So it’s another solid reason why to attempt this personal challenge again.

Here are the guidelines I’m using for this challenge:

  • I’m using GoodReads ratings to pick the books.
  • Books must have at least 100 ratings on GoodReads.
  • Books that I own as of December 31, 2019. Books purchased after this date will not be included this year.
  • All the ratings are as of January 14, 2020 on GoodReads.
  • I will read and write a review for each book before the end of the year.

So, here is the list:

FFC92875-57D4-40A6-A8E4-3CC3B6442882Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat. This book is the highest rated book on my TBR. Average Rating:  4.53 Stars. 12,193 ratings. 1,084 reviews. I own a hard back copy of the book.

 

06B8C19A-7944-4662-9753-42BAC32134F1 Harry Potter & Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts Edited by David Baggett and Shawn E. Klein. Average Rating: 4.48 stars. 11,454 ratings. 92 reviews. I own the paperback.

 

 

16E232A3-CB6E-4C1D-8317-EEDA4A5AD4DE Hogwarts Library by J.K. Rowling. Average Ratings: 4.47. 6,330 ratings. 185 Reviews. The three titles included in this collection are Fantastic Beasts, Quidditch Through the Ages, & The Tales of Beedle the Bard. This is a hardback collection.

 

 

6D19B45C-22E5-4AB6-8EC6-153AB1807641 Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. Average Ratings 4.45 stars. 113,295 ratings. 13,568 reviews. I own a hardback. This is one of the books on my original list. Another hardback copy.

 

broken angelBroken Angels by Gemma Livero. Average Ratings: 4.44 stars. 9,587 ratings. 729 reviews. I won a Kindle copy a year or two ago? I really need to read and review this one. And it is the other book that was  on my original list.

 

What do you think? What does your top five look like, if you use GoodReads, of course. Have you read any of the books on my list? If so what do you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

 

Here is a link to the original you tube video that inspired my original list in 2019:

 

Quickie Book Review: See What I Have Done

Author: Sarah Schmidt

Published: August 2017 by Atlantic Monthly Press eBook

Length: 328 pages

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Thriller

Source: Public Library

My rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Synopsis:

In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one
I think this rhyme is familiar to almost every school kid in America. I skipped rope while chanting this as a child almost a full continent and 80 years away from Fall River, Massachusetts. The fascination with the murders lingers on for so many, including me. So much so that I had a long wait to re-check this book out of my local library.

 

What I Like:

I love a story based on infamous murders. And this one is a crazy tale. The writer, Sarah Schmidt, is an Australian and brings an outsider perspective to this story. She explores the Borden family and it’s dynamic through the senses. The overwhelming heat of that hot August day. The sweat and odor of unwashed bodies. The spoiled mutton broth that they were all forced to eat due to Andrew Borden’s stinginess. The sickness that pervades the house due to that rotten mutton broth. The rotting pears in the yard. So, yes, this family is sick and full of decay.

I also like that there are so many 1st person perspectives for the event. We have Lizzie’s, Emma’s and Bridget the maid’s. We also have Benjamin’s, a man hired by Lizzie and Emma’s Uncle John to kill Andrew Borden. Like any mystery, we need different perspectives to get to the truth of what happened that day.

What I don’t love:

Some of the same things I like about the story, I dislike too, if that makes sense. The descriptions of the decay and sickness and rot of the family become overwhelming. I’m also not a fan of the inclusion of Benjamin in this story. I’m not sure we need his point of view of the events. At the end he causes action, but again, not sure it needs to be him that causes that event?

Would I recommend?:

Yes. Especially if you enjoy true crime that we can’t solve 100 plus years later, then I think you will enjoy this story.

**Edited to add:   After I posted this review I listened to a podcast about Lizzie Borden. Click on this link to The History Chicks see the show notes and listen to the podcast.

Have you read See What I Have Done? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.

October 2017 Wrap-Up

October Stats:

Total Books Read: 16

Number of pages: 5,157

Written by Men: 1

Written by Women: 15

Diverse Authors: 1 (Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas)

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 16

Paperback: 2

Hardback: 0

eBooks/Kindle: 14

Library books: 14

Audio books: 0

Rereads: 2

DNF:

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, Ph.D

I’m still waiting for these two books to become re-available at the library.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

Challenges to Date:

GoodReads: 108/75 (I met my goal for the year.)

BookRiot Read Harder 2017: 0

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks:  0

Favorite Book: Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

Books Purchased/#BookHaul!:

 

Room by Emma Donoghue

Margaret The First by Danielle Dutton

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

The Curl Revolution by Michelle Breyer

 

 

 

My Bookish Posts:

Morning Pages

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon October 2017

Dewy’s Readathon Updates

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon Wrap-Up

Across the Web:

I think this essay is an interesting read: The Hidden Horror Inside Jane Austen’s Novels of Love by Mikaella Clements

So that was my reading life in October. How was your October? Let me know in the commments below. Happy reading in November, y’all!

 

September 2017 Wrap-Up

September Stats:

Total Books Read: 13

Number of pages: 4,673

Written by Men: 0

Written by Women: 13

Diverse Authors: 0

Nonfiction: 0

Fiction: 13

Paperback: 0

Hardback: 0

eBooks/Kindle: 13

Library books: 10

Audio books: 0

Rereads: 0

DNF: 0

My Favorite Book this month:

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor. I love this book and am so looking forward to the next book in the series!

Challenges to date:

GoodReads:  90/75

BookRiot Read Harder 2017: 1

#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 0

Across the Web:

In the fall I love to read, watch, and listen to creepy stories. One of my favorite creepy stories is about Robert the Doll in Key West, Florida. You can hear a version of this story at the web page for the podcast Lore.

The end of August marks the 20th anniversary of Diana, Princess of Wales’s death. And there are “think pieces” about her legacy. Hilary Mantel has written two interesting pieces about being royal here and here.

Friday 56, #37

It’s time for  Friday 56!  It’s a book meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. Be sure to visit her blog if you would like to participate!

From Freda’s Voice The Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky on Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple!

Here is my contribution:

The Art of Fielding

This is at the 56% mark on my Kindle:

This description of the professor is so good. It completely reinforces my belief that feather boas should be worn every damn day.    #lifegoals #readmyowndamnbooks #BookRiotReadHarder2017

Have you read this book? What did you think of it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to leave a link to your Friday56, too. Happy Reading, y’all.