2022 Reading Challenge discussion

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ARCHIVE 2018 > Carolyn's Challenge ** 40 Books

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message 1: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments I read 50 books in 2017, but I am going to lower my goal to 40 for 2018.


message 2: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) Wishing you the best of luck with your goal Carolyn & a very happy New (reading) Year!


message 3: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments Wishing you the best of luck with your goal this year.


message 4: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Thanks Susy and Blagica! I am still hoping to read more than 40 books. :)


message 5: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 1. Jane Austen Lied to Me by Jeanette Watts - light, interesting story about a college girl who loves all things related to Jane Austen.


message 6: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 2. Sketches of a Small Town...circa 1940 by Clifton K Meador - Interesting memoir that takes a trip down memory lane to the author's childhoold in Greenville, Alabama


message 7: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 3. Friends by Bonita Treasure Murungi Arinaitwe - This is a children's chapter book written by a 10-year old girl from Uganda. I was very impressed.


message 8: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 4. The Christmas Mouse by Mark Spencer - I read this book in exchange for an honest review on another site. This is a heartwarming children's book that takes a look at one aspect of the first Christmas Eve. It is written completely in rhyme and features a cute mouse.


message 9: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 5. The Reel Sisters by Michelle Cummings - Written in five alternating perspectives, this is an interesting story about friendship and fly fishing. Very enjoyable read, despite a slow start.


message 10: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments Fantastic job Carolyn keep up the fantastic progress!


message 11: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Blagica wrote: "Fantastic job Carolyn keep up the fantastic progress!"

Thanks Blagica!


message 12: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 6. A Test of Wills by Charles Todd - this is the first book in the Ian Rutledge mystery series. The main character has an interesting backstory and the ending is very good. I certainly was unable to figure out the murderer or the motive in advance. On to the negative - the story moves at a snail's pace and pretty much all the characters in the village are unlikable.


message 13: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 7. Terry Bradshaw: From Super Bowl Champion to Television Personality by Brett L. Abrams - I enjoyed this book as it contains many interesting tidbits about the football star on and off the field, and his pursuits after retirement. However, there was too much blow-by-blow detail and it bogged down the story.

8. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan - I was a little disappointed, considering the hype this book has gotten. The author has a nice writing style, but my interest waned in the second half of the story.


message 14: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments You are doing great. Hoping March is a great month for you.


message 15: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Blagica wrote: "You are doing great. Hoping March is a great month for you."

Thanks Blagica! I picked up a bunch of new and old titles from the library and have been reading up a storm!


message 16: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 9. I finished From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell last weekend (yes, it's Doon, not Doom). It's the first book in the Inspector Wexford mysteries. I really enjoyed this well-plotted story and intend to read more books in the series.

10. The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo - excellent, realistic story with wonderful main characters. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.


message 17: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 11. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley - I enjoyed this character-driven mystery, although there are too many characters and too much backstory about each of them.


message 18: by Carolyn (last edited Mar 20, 2018 07:54AM) (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments I finished two books in the past two days...
12. The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman - witty and well-written book about a widow with two young daughters. She is a textbook illustrator whose boss signs her up for a client's gardening class; her upcoming project is illustrating the client's gardening booklets. The characters are wonderful although some of the witty, snappy dialogue feels too contrived at times.

13. Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin - this is the first book in the Inspector Rebus Mystery series. Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, Inspector John Rebus is part of a team investigating a serial killer who is kidnapping and murdering 12-year-old girls. The book was ok...nothing great, nothing bad.


message 19: by Carolyn (last edited Mar 22, 2018 08:29AM) (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Kristin wrote: "I just saw that Reese Witherspoon had The Light We Lost as one of her past book club suggestions. It sounds like a great book and a tear-jerker. I'm excited to check it out. What ha..."

That's funny that you mention Reese Witherspoon's book club - that's how I found out about The Light We Lost! The best book I read this year so far is the book I just finished last night and am listing below!

14. The Ex by Alafair Burke - this is one of the best mysteries I have read in a very long time. A 40-something defense lawyer is asked to represent her ex-fiance (from 20 years ago) in a triple homicide. She is convinced he is innocent, but questions his innocence as the evidence starts piling up. Lots of twists and turns along the way. I found it almost impossible to put this book down and highly recommend it.


message 20: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. I hope that April brings you many more five star reads. I am hoping to read The Ex this year. Did you read The Wife?


message 21: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Blagica wrote: "A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. I hope that April brings you many more five star reads. I am hoping to read The Ex this year. Did you read The Wife?"

Thanks Blagica! I have The Wife on my reading list. :)


message 22: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 15. I finished Still Me by JoJo Moyes about 10 days ago. I loved this book. Louisa is such a wonderful character and the descriptions of the super-rich in Manhattan are spot-on. Highly recommend. This is the third book in the trilogy that started with Me Before You (I skipped the second book).

16. Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea - I read this book for a mystery book club I belong to. There are so many far-fetched, contrived plot points in this story of a reporter investigating the rape and murder of a law student at her parents' vacation home. I still enjoyed the book and loved the characters, especially the reporter who felt a very personal connection to the victim - she had survived a brutal assault.


message 23: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 17. After the Crash by Michel Bussi - interesting premise about a 3-month-old girl who is the sole survivor of a plane crash. The problem is there were two 3-month-old girls on the plane and both sets of parents were killed. The grandparents of each baby had never met their grandchild so it's a mystery who the baby is.


message 24: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 18. Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin - I loved this book and read it in two days. The protagonist reminds me of a blend of Monica Lewinsky and Chandra Levy. She is a congressional intern who has an affair with a married congressman. The twist?...after the affair comes to light, she moves to Maine and reinvents herself. The book is written in sections from different female characters' perspectives - Aviva/Jane, her daughter Ruby, her mother Rachel, and the congressman's wife. In the beginning, I thought this book was going to be a light, witty novel. It turned out to be much deeper than that.


message 25: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments “Reading brings us unknown friends” While the warm weather is coming I hope you make some new friends in May! You are doing great keep it up!


message 26: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Blagica wrote: "“Reading brings us unknown friends” While the warm weather is coming I hope you make some new friends in May! You are doing great keep it up!"

Thanks Blagica!


message 27: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Updating...

19. The Wife Between Us by Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks - I read this book in 2 days so it obviously kept my interest. Still, the twist was a little confusing and the characters were not likable, for the most part.

20. Vampires at Easter by R.F. Kristi - I read this long children's book (176 pages) in exchange for an honest review on another site. While the story was fun, it took almost half the book for the main plot to emerge.

21. Small Change by Keddie Hughes - absorbing contemporary story about a woman in Scotland that is at a crossroads in her life. Unhappy with her alcoholic husband, she become involved with a fraud investigation. Sparks fly with the London journalist who is on the case.

22. Masterpiece in Your Heart- I read this poetry collection in exchange for an honest review on another site. The poems focus on love and friendship. There is an awkward flow to the phrasing and the stanzas and descriptions go off on tangents at times. The poems are not cohesive and the meaning is often vague.

23. Through My Daughter's Eyes by Julia Dye - Well-written story that explores the impact of a soldier's war deployment on his wife and tween daughter.


message 28: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 24. I Wanted That Spark by Brandie Lion - I read this book in exchange for an honest review on another site. The story focuses on a 25-year-old woman's sexual awakening with both men and women she meets through internet chat rooms. It's a quick, breezy read although the writing is simplistic and the story lacks depth.

25. Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood - I read this book for an in-person book club. The plot and subplot are busy and there are too many characters to keep track of. It's a little irritating that the 7th book, rather than the 1st, book in the series was chosen for this month's pick, as it takes a while to figure who the main character is. She is a private detective, but this isn't stated until much later in the story. I initially thought she was more of an armchair or accidental sleuth.


message 29: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 26. Serendipity Mystery by R.F. Kristi - I read this long children's chapter book in exchange for an honest review on another site. It's part of the Diary of a Snoopy Cat mystery series. Inca the Siberian cat and her detective team get involved with the case of a stolen sword and other objects from a museum in Sri Lanka. It's a fun read although the plot often goes off track.


message 30: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 27. The Girl Who Knew da Vinci by Belle Ami - a blend of thriller and romance about a missing da Vinci painting that almost no one knows exists. I enjoyed the book, although there is too much jumping back and forth among three time periods.


message 31: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 28. We're Not Sixteen Anymore by Becky Andersen - I read this book in exchange for an honest review on another site. It's a witty non-fiction book about a 60-year-old widow's experiences with cyber-dating.

29. American Fascist by Malcom James -I read this book in exchange for an honest review on another site. It's a thinly disguised fictional look at the Trump Presidency within a fictional plot about a tech geek that works in the White House.

30 You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott - I read this book for my in-person mystery book club. Absorbing story set in the world of teenage competitive gymnastics..


message 32: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments “I have always imagined paradise will be a kind of library.” With summer coming I hope you find a corner in Paradise!


message 33: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Blagica wrote: "“I have always imagined paradise will be a kind of library.” With summer coming I hope you find a corner in Paradise!"

Thanks Blagica for the inspiration!


message 34: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Updated to include:

31. I Wanted that Spark by Brandie Lion - I read this book last month in exchange for an honest review on another site. It's about a 25-year-old woman's experiences with meeting men, and later women, through internet chat rooms in the 1990's. The 100-page story is a quick read, but the writing is simplistic and the plot doesn't have much depth.

32. A-Z of Animal Limericks by Kate Condon - I read this book in exchange for an honest review on another site. I enjoyed this light collection of poems, but it would have been nice to have more illustrations. The alphabet format seems geared for children, but many words are too advanced for the younger set. Also, one of the limericks contains language that is completely unsuitable for kids even though the phrase is shown as an acronym.

33. 101 Things to Do with a Dead Body by Jason Blake - a book of funny cartoons about creative uses for a dead body.


message 35: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 34. The Secret, Book, and Scone Society by Ellery Adams - I loved everything about this book. A cozy mystery that is a cut above. Highly recommend.


message 36: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 35. The Soda Jerk - I read this soon-to-be-published book in exchange for an honest review on another site. Nice coming-of-age story set in Richmond in the 1950's.


message 37: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Just finished...
36. The Wife by Alafair Burke - A quick read told from alternating perspectives. I didn't love it, but I still recommend it.


message 38: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 37. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center - I loved everything about this book. Excellent writing and thought-provoking subject matter.


message 39: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments Awesome job so far any book you would recommend I read in July?


message 40: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Blagica wrote: "Awesome job so far any book you would recommend I read in July?"

I definitely recommend a book I recently read - How to Walk Away by Katherine Center. The writing is great, the subject matter is interesting, it's very relatable, and there is some subtle humor. It's one of the best books I've read this year.


message 41: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Blagica wrote: "Awesome job so far any book you would recommend I read in July?"

Also, I recommend The Secret, Book, and Scone Society by Ellery Adams if you like cozy mysteries. I really liked this author's writing style and, in fact, just finished another book by this author.


message 42: by Carolyn (last edited Jul 10, 2018 09:16AM) (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Updated to include -

38. Carbs and Cadavers by Ellery Adams (this book was initially published under the author's pen name, J.B. Stanley) - it's the first book in the Supper Club Mysteries series. I enjoyed this light cozy mystery set in a small town in Virginia. The main character joins a newly formed supper club made up of people who want to lose weight. They become good friends and also help solve a local murder mystery.


message 43: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 39. Other People's Houses by Abbi Waxman - This is the second book I've read by this author (the first was The Garden of Small Beginnings). I enjoyed this character-driven book about a neighborhood of families and carpooling. The neighborhood theme in novels has been done to death, but the author has a nice writing style and the characters are fleshed out well.


message 44: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 40. Around Seattle in 80 Dates by Renata Lubinsky - I read this book in exchange for an honest review on another site. It's a memoir about the author's dating experiences after getting divorced.


message 45: by Blagica , Cheerleader! (new)

Blagica  | 12028 comments Carolyn wrote: "Blagica wrote: "Awesome job so far any book you would recommend I read in July?"

Also, I recommend The Secret, Book, and Scone Society by Ellery Adams if you like cozy mysteries. I really liked th..."


I will look into it thank you.


message 46: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments I just realized I reached my 2018 goal with the book I read right before this one. :)

41. Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan - I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I read it for my in-person mystery book club and initially didn't think I would like it, based on the inside cover blurb. Well, I couldn't put it down and read it in one day. The plot is nicely layered and thought-provoking.


message 47: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 42. Down River by John Hart - perfect book from start to finsh.


message 48: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 43. The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton - very readable, but not James Patterson at his best. Involving Bill Clinton as a co-author seems to have made the writing more long-winded in some parts.


message 49: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments Updated to include:
44. The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson - I read this book for one of my in-person book clubs. It was a quick read, but the characters were unlikable and the plot was unrealistic.

45. Chili Con Corpses by J.B. Stanley (Ellery Adams writing under a pen name) - another enjoyable installment in the Supper Club Mystery series


message 50: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (bookowlie) | 330 comments 46. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng - Although this is a well-written, absorbing read, the characters are very unlikable and some of their actions are unbelievable.


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