Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

One of my favorite mystery series with a forensic archaeologist as the main character

Can’t Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books set to publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

The Night Hawks

by Elly Griffiths

Series: Ruth Galloway #13

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publishing date: June 29

352 pages

Synopsis: The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor’s death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder.

Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner’s suicide note includes the line, ‘He’s buried in the garden.’ Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog.

All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm …

…………………..

This is one of my favorite mystery series. Ruth Galloway is such a great character and the mysteries are very well-done.

If you’re interested in this series and haven’t read any of the books you really need to start with the first book in the series. Lots of things happen during this series!

February 2021 books on my list

Books I’m excited about this month

books-on-my-list

I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of as the months go by.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget!

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I might not know about! The links to the following books will take you to the book on Goodreads.

February 2

A Stranger in Town

by Kelley Armstrong

Series: Rockton #6

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery, police procedural

368 pages

Synopsis: Detective Casey Duncan has noticed fewer and fewer residents coming in to the hidden town of Rockton, and no extensions being granted. Her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, presumes it’s the natural flux of things, but Casey’s not so sure. Something bigger is happening in the small town they call home.

When an injured hiker stumbles from the woods, the sole survivor of a hostile attack, it’s all hands on deck. Even a member of the elusive Rockton council comes in to help. This council member also comes bearing news: Rockton is being shut down due to the hostile situation.

The Night Parade of 100 Demons

by Marie Brennan

A Legend of the Five Rings Novel

Published by Aconyte

Genre: Fantasy

336 pages

Synopsis: Chaos has broken out in the isolated Dragon Clan settlement of Seibo Mura. During the full moon, horrifying creatures rampage through the village, unleashing havoc and death. When the Dragon samurai Agasha no Isao Ryotora is sent to investigate, he faces even greater danger than expected. To save the village, he must confront his buried past – not to mention an unexpected Phoenix Clan visitor, Asako Sekken, who has his own secrets to hide. The quest to save Sebo Mura will take the two samurai into the depths of forgotten history and the shifting terrain of the Spirit Realms… and bring them face to face with an ancient, terrifying evil.

Finlay Donovan is Killing It

by Elle Cosimano

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano’s adult debut, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a witty, fast-paced mystery series, following struggling suspense novelist and single mom Finlay Donovan, whose fiction treads dangerously close to the truth as she becomes tangled in real-life murder investigations…

Winter’s Orbit

by Everina Maxwell

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction

432 pages

Synopsis: While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Much Ado About You

by Samantha Young

Published by Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance

308 pages

Synopsis: At thirty-three-years old Evangeline Starling’s life in Chicago is missing that special something. And when she’s passed over for promotion at work, Evie realizes she needs to make a change. Some time away to regain perspective might be just the thing. In a burst of impulsivity, she plans a holiday in a quaint English village. The holiday package comes with a temporary position at Much Ado About Books, the bookstore located beneath her rental apartment. There’s no better dream vacation for the bookish Evie, a life-long Shakespeare lover.

February 9

The Electric Kingdom

by David Arnold

Published by Viking Books for Young Readers

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

432 page

Synopsis: When a deadly Fly Flu sweeps the globe, it leaves a shell of the world that once was. Among the survivors are eighteen-year-old Nico and her dog, on a voyage devised by Nico’s father to find a mythical portal; a young artist named Kit, raised in an old abandoned cinema; and the enigmatic Deliverer, who lives Life after Life in an attempt to put the world back together. As swarms of infected Flies roam the earth, these few survivors navigate the woods of post-apocalyptic New England, meeting others along the way, each on their own quest to find life and light in a world gone dark. The Electric Kingdom is a sweeping exploration of love, art, storytelling, eternal life, and above all, a testament to the notion that even in an exterminated world, one person might find beauty in another.

A Lady’s Formula for Love

by Elizabeth Everett

Series: The Secret Scientists of London #1

Published by Berkley

Genre: Historical Romance

336 pages

Synopsis: Lady Violet Hughes is keeping secrets. First, she founded a clandestine sanctuary for England’s most brilliant female scientists. Second, she is using her genius on a confidential mission for the Crown. But the biggest secret of all? Her feelings for protection officer Arthur Kneland.

Solitary and reserved, Arthur learned the hard way to put duty first. But the more time he spends in the company of Violet and the eccentric club members, the more his best intentions go up in flames. Literally.

The Gilded Ones

by Namina Forna

Series: Deathless #1

Published by Delacorte

Genre: YA Fantasy

432 pages

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

February 16

The Echo Wife

by Sarah Gailey

Published by Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery

256 pages

Synopsis: Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.

Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.

February 23

The Russian Cage

by Charlaine Harris

Series: Gunnie Rose #3

Published by Gallery/Saga Press

Genre: Fantasy, Western, Alternate History

304 pages

Synopsis: Picking up right where A Longer Fall left off, this thrilling third installment follows Lizbeth Rose as she takes on one of her most dangerous missions yet: rescuing her estranged partner, Prince Eli, from the Holy Russian Empire. Once in San Diego, Lizbeth is going to have to rely upon her sister Felicia, and her growing Grigori powers to navigate her way through this strange new world of royalty and deception in order to get Eli freed from jail where he’s being held for murder.

Night Wind

by Julie Mulhern

Series: Country Club Murder #12

Published by J & M Press

Genre: Historical Mystery

Synopsis: Spring is in the air, and Ellison Russell has places to go, people to see, bodies to find. Strike that. For once, Ellison doesn’t discover the body.

When Detective Anarchy Jones investigates a friend’s husband’s murder, Ellison can’t help but get involved.

What books are you excited to get your hands on this month?

Five books from my TBR pile I’d like to read soon

Some mysteries and science fiction I forgot I bought

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

…………………

These are all books I got at least six months ago and some I’ve had for several years! I love it when I read more of the books I’ve already bought. And it’s nice to read the books that have gotten buried by the more recent books I’ve purchased.

Genre: Mystery

Series: Ruth Galloway #11

I love this series! Each has been a winner for me. Ruth is a forensic archaeologist and a single mother. She teaches at a university and also provides expert advice to the police about bones–letting them know whether the bones are new or hundreds of years old.

In a chilling entry to the award-winning Ruth Galloway series, she and DCI Nelson are haunted by a ghost from their past, just as their future lands on shaky ground.

Genre: Historical Mystery (1970’s Kansas City)

Series: Country Club Murders #8

The twelfth book in this series is set to publish in February and that reminded me that I haven’t read the last few mysteries in this series. I really enjoy Ellison Russell who has grown and changed a lot since the books began, but still finds dead bodies in this cozy mystery series!

All Ellison Russell wanted was an update on her stock portfolio. Instead, she found her broker dead.

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Lady Astronaut #1

Narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal

I want to read about these women astronauts.

On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the East Coast of the US, including Washington, DC. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the Earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space and requires a much-larger share of humanity to take part in the process. 

Genre: Science Fiction

Narrated by Lloyd James

I read most of Heinlein’s books including this one when I was a young adult. Since I don’t remember too much about the books I’ve slowly been rereading them in the last few years. This is one of his more famous books.

Join the Army and See the Universe. That is the motto of The Third Space War, also known as The First Interstellar War, but most commonly as The Bug War. In one of Robert Heinlein’s most controversial best sellers, a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the universe – and into battle with the Terrain Mobile Infantry against mankind’s most alarming enemy.

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel, Historical

Narrated by Kim Staunton

I’ve owned this audiobook for awhile and been meaning to read it. Now’s the time!

The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity.

Do you like to read the books you’ve forgotten you bought?!? What books from your TBR are you hoping to read?

Sunday Post: More snow forecast!

Connecting with others to talk about books plus a little about our personal lives

Sunday-Post

Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Personal life

A rare moment of togetherness for Olaf and Elf

More snow is heading our way. A little on Saturday night and then a bigger storm on Monday with maybe 5-10 inches of snow. Luckily, we don’t go many places so that shouldn’t be a problem for us.

Inaugeration

We spent the day on Wednesday watching the Inaugeration of our 46th President. There were so many great moments from the day.

Our new house

The foundation for our house was poured this week which is exciting. We also had a meeting to go over the blueprints and ask any questions. So good to see so much coming together and the house moving forward. Soon the framing will start!

Blog Life

I finally competed my 2020 end-of-year posts! I like to look back at my reading year and it’s also nice to have the posts for a number of years so I can compare what I’m reading.

Posts
Posts for next week
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Lost Flyght by S.J. Pajonas
Books I read last week
  • Chasing the Shadows by Maria V. Snyder
Books I got last week

What did you do last week? What are you planning for next week?

Five favorite new-to-me authors in 2020

Three mystery writers, a science fiction author and a woman who writes books with a SE United States setting

Connect Five Friday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. (The hashtag is #connect5books) This is a fun and creative way to think about my books and reading. Check out Kathyrn’s blog and link up your Friday Five!

The five book-related items need to connect in some way, but each person who participates can decide for themselves what the book subject and connection is. For example, you could write about five books read last year or five books you want to read. It could even be favorite bookstores or five movies made from books.

…………………

I’ve only included one book cover from each author.

I love police procedural mysteries and read many of them in 2020. Three of the authors in this list of five authors write police procedurals. One author writes science fiction and one author writes Southern-flavored fiction usually with some romance.

Linda Castillo

Books read
  • Breaking Silence
  • Gone Missing
  • Her Last Breath
  • The Dead Will Tell
  • After the Storm
  • Among the Wicked
  • Down A Dark Road
  • A Gathering of Secrets
  • Kate Burkholder Novellas
    • Long Lost
    • A Hidden Secret
    • Seeds of Deception

I read nine books in 2020 in the Kate Burkholder series. (The most of any author in 2020.) The books take place in eastern Ohio. Kate Burkholder is the chief of police of a small town. This is an area where many Quakers live and have farms. Kate was raised as a Quaker, but left the Quakers when she was an adult. All the books feature Quakers. I really enjoy the relationships between the police officer in these books. And there’s some romance as the books go on.

One reason I read so many books by Linda Castillo this year is that there are 13 books so far and my library has the audiobooks. I’ve so enjoyed listening to the narration of Kathleen McInerney.

Jane Isaac

Books read
  • An Unfamiliar Murder (DCI Helen Lavery)
  • The Truth Will Out (DCI Helen Lavery)
  • A Deathly Silence (DCI Helen Lavery)
  • The Other Woman (DC Beth Chamberlain)
  • For Better, for Worse (DC Beth Chamberlain)

I love finding police procedurals I enjoy. Jane Isaac was a great find in 2020 and she has several more books I haven’t read.

I read from two series of police procedurals set in England–five books in all. These books feel authentic and when I read that the author’s husband is a serving detective in the UK that made sense.

S.J. Pajonas

Books read
  • First Flight
  • Broken Flyght
  • High Flyght

I read three books in The Flyght series which is a science fiction series. S.J. Pajonas writes interesting characters who grow and change during these books.

I especially like that the main character–Vivian Kawabata–begins these books as a graduate student preparing to taking over her family’s agricultural dynasty. She soon learns she’s penniless. Her brother emptied the family bank accounts and is on the run. She has to quickly learn to assert herself and learn things she never thought she’d need. She gets an old spacecraft from her aunt to go in search of her brother and try to make some money so she can buy back the family farm. I especially like that she puts her agricultural knowledge to use taking some of the farm animals with her and growing plants on the spaceship!

The world building is so interesting in these books. The people in these books live in an area called the Duo Systems which consists of two systems which include a number of planets. In the culture of these worlds women are usually the ones who inherit and run businesses. Most women (especially wealthy women) make strategic marriages to increase their wealth and power. So women may have a number of husbands. Vivian’s mother only has one husband so Vivian was not used to the idea of several husbands and had to become accustomed to that since she needs money and power quickly. The power structure is interesting, but the relationship dynamics are equally interesting in this culture!

I also like the way the author throws lots of problems and adventures at Vivian and her crew. There are six books so far in this series plus the author has other series for me to try, too!

Mary Kay Andrews

Books read
  • Hello, Summer
  • The Weekenders

I read these two standalone books during the summer of 2020 and they were just the books I needed during the Pandemic. They made me happy! They’re perfect beach reads. I would classify them as fiction with some romance. They take place in Florida and South Carolina and there’s lots of beach in the books! (Since I live far away from the ocean it was fun to read about the beautiful beaches in the U.S. Southeast. I’ll read more books by Mary Kay Andrews–maybe in the summer of 2021.

Valerie Keogh

Books read
  • No Simple Death
  • No Obvious Cause

The books in this series are called The Dublin Mystery series and they take place in Dublin, Ireland! These are police procedurals and I really like the way the author portrays the Gardai team. Luckily, Valerie Keogh has quite a few more mysteries to read.

2020 favorite books

Six books I read in 2020 that have stuck with me since I read them

I read many good books this year, but for one reason or another these are the books I keep thinking about.

Four of the six books are by new-to-me authors. Three of the them are audiobooks from my library so I probably wouldn’t have read them if I couldn’t have gotten them from the library. One book–The Bond was a Kindle Unlimited book. I’m really liking my KU subscription. I’ve found so many new authors and good books to read!

This was so fun to read. It was also such a good book about a plus-size main character who is a fashion blogger with a huge following. She agrees to come on a popular reality TV show as the star with lots of single guys vying for her affection.

She agrees to the show because she’s tired of the size zero young women the show usually has who don’t represent American women. Not everything works out as she hopes, but there are laugh out loud moments as well as cringe worthy moments. This is a very readable story, but it also has important messages (without being preachy) about our self-image and the way women are portrayed on social media as well as on television and in movies.

This was so well done. I don’t usually read romances, but I loved this book. I felt such empathy for both the main characters–Khai Diep and Esme Tran. They are both trying so hard to understand the world they live in.

I like the way the author portrays both characters. Esme is a mixed-race girl from Viet Nam where she’s never been treated as though she’s worthy because of her mixed race. Khai Diep is autistic and doesn’t want a relationship because he doesn’t understand feelings and doesn’t think he has any feelings. His family knows he just processes things differently than other people. And his mother wants him to be happy. However, he’s content with his routine, his job and his life the way they are. He doesn’t like change. Esme grew up in Viet Nam and has worked hard to provide for her daughter, mother and grandmother. When she’s offered the chance by Khai’s mother to come to America and meet Khai and perhaps marry him she jumps at the chance to have a better future.

I like the way the author portrays these two people. She really seems to understand how they feel and would act and react to the situations they find themselves in.

This was quite a unique book. I thought the world building was well done. The people of this world use genetics and people are created in a lab. Dinitra grows up fearing men because of their violent nature and because her world is only filled with women. A war was fought in the past by the men in their world so women took over and only use men as sperm donors.

When she graduates from her school she’s chosen to train 12–a fierce mutant dog. She’s terrified of the dog at first, but finally the two bond. The dog is supposed to help finally kill the rebels that beset her world. However, Dinitra and 12 are kidnapped by the rebels and she learns that what she’s thought of her world isn’t all true. I love the bond between Dinitra and 12. I’ve read other reviews who call this a story of a girl and her dog. And that’s certainly true.

A Deadly Education has many overtones of Harry Potter, but this school for magic users is a much scarier place. It’s not good to be alone in this school. Sometimes people alone in a hallway disappear and are never found again. People don’t have friendships in this school. However, an alliance can keep a person alive, but it can turn deadly, too, if you aren’t useful to the people in your alliance. Plus if you’re not from a wealthy family you probably can’t form an alliance.

Galadriel “El” Higgins is an outsider from a poor family and doesn’t have alliances, but she’s learned how to stay alive. She’s a grumpy, sarcastic character and no one really likes her. . . maybe because most of the students have heard of the dire prophecy made about her. She hopes to catch the eye of an important enclave so that after she graduates they will employ her. Therefore, she’s furious when Orien Lake, the most popular boy in the school and a member of the New York enclave, keeps saving her life. How will she make herself notable if she Orien Lake keeps interfering?

I listened to the audiobook and I thought Anisha Dadia did a great job capturing the snarky, sarcastic tone that El uses. She was easy and fun to listen to. Even though there are dark patches in this book it was a joy to read. I like finding out more about this world and more about individual students. I often don’t like young adult books because of the silly angst, but I didn’t find as much of that as I feared. These students are trying to survive to adulthood!

I was unsure if I wanted to read this book (and I’ve owned the book for months). I love Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway series and was afraid I would be disappointed. This first book was very different from the Ruth Galloway series, but I loved it and want to find out more about DS Harbinder Kaur!

The Stranger Diaries is a mystery, but the Gothic story “The Stranger” by R.M. Holland is gradually told throughout the book along with the modern murder mystery. “The Stranger” is more in the Gothic horror genre, but perhaps because I read it gradually it didn’t scare me! (I don’t like horror.)

R.M. Holland is central to the book. He lived during the 1800’s in one of the buildings which is now a school where much of the book takes place. One of the characters, Clare Cassidy, is an English teacher at the school and is writing a book about Holland. A friend of Clare’s is killed and there seems to be a connection with Holland.

I felt Clare was the main character in this book even though the series will continue and is entitled “Harbinder Kaur.” DS Harbinder Kaur is one of the police officers who is investigating the murder. I wonder if the author will keep Harbinder more in the background of these stories. She’s certainly a character I’d like to know more about.

The story is told by different characters so we’re aware when they lie or hold something back from the police. We aren’t always certain we’re learning everything they know. I thought the author did a very good job the way she wrote the book.

I loved this! The characters are real and fun. I’d love to have them as friends though I’m not sure I could keep up! I like that many of the characters are retired, but that doesn’t mean they’re retired from life. Elizabeth is my favorite. I love the way she tests her memory with a question each day on her calendar of something that happened a couple weeks before. One day she asks herself what number was on a license plate. And she remembers! I think as we grow older testing our memory is something we all do.

The characters seem real to me–with both good and bad qualities. The characters act in surprising ways. The mysteries surprised me. The whole book surprised me! I am glad I had the audiobook of this. The narrator is Lesley Manville and she really enhanced the story for me.

What books were your favorites last year! Have you read any of these books?

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Instinct by Jason M. Hough

Conspiracy theories, a small isolated town, mysterious deaths–can a new police officer figure out what’s happening and stop it?

Can’t Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books set to publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

Instinct

by Jason M. Hough

Published by Skybound Books

Publication date: April 6

Genre: Mystery

336 pages

Synopsis: Welcome to Silvertown, Washington. Population 602 (for now).

Despite its small size, the small mountain town is home to more conspiracy theories than any other place in America. Officer Mary Whittaker is slowly acclimating to the daily weirdness of life here, but when the chief of police takes a leave of absence, she is left alone to confront a series of abnormal incidents–strange even by Silvertown standards.

An “indoor kid” who abhors nature dies on a random midnight walkabout with no explanation.

A hiker is found dead on a trail, smiling serenely after being mauled by a bear.

A woman known for being a helicopter parent abandons her toddler twins without a second thought.

It’s almost as if the townsfolk are losing their survival instinct, one by one…
…………………….

This sounds like it could be a mix of fantasy and mystery. However, it’s listed as a mystery and thriller. I just hope it’s not too much of a thriller! It does sound like an interesting mystery. And apparently it takes place in an area with lots of conspiracy theories–which could be current events…lol

My 2020 reading year

My takeaways

  • I read more books last year–120 books–than I’ve read in a number of years.
  • I read 60 ebooks of which 30 were Kindle Unlimited (KU) books. I try to read at least two KU books every month.
  • I listened to 52 audiobooks this year–a big increase from 2019. Most of them were from the library.
  • A little over 50% of the books I read were mysteries.
  • About a third of the books were fantasy and science fiction.
  • My favorite genres continue to be mysteries, science fiction and fantasy (though I did read seven romance books).
  • 2020 was such a stressful year I hibernated (self-quarantined) and read. Most of the books I read were read to escape what was happening in the real world.
  • I didn’t write any reviews for my blog though I did write a few short reviews on Goodreads.
  • I didn’t participate in any reading challenges.

The three things that stood out to me in 2020

My library

My library was a huge comfort to me. Almost half the books I read in 2020 (55 books) came from my library–almost all of them either ebooks or audiobooks.

The Libby app

I use the Libby app which I love. I can search on my phone by author, subject or name of book to see if my library has electronic copies. I can use tags to put a book on my wish list so I remember to check it out when I have time to read it. (Sometimes I have six or seven books checked out to read at the same time and I don’t have time to read all the books if I only have three weeks.) I can check out a book or place a hold right in the app. I can listen to the audiobook using the app. I can even read the ebook in the app though I usually use my Kindle to read ebooks. Only five of the books I read in 2020 were paper books. Those five books all came from my library.

Library closed

My library was closed most of the year for in-person use although I’ve been able to check out books and a librarian brings the books to our car and places them in the trunk. I mostly did that with cookbooks and other nonfiction which I don’t usually read in Kindle versions. A lot of the nonfiction I skim and read just the sections that interest me so I don’t add them to the books I read.

I checked out fiction books a few times, but often returned them unread when I discovered the library had gotten the digital copy of the book. My library focused on adding more digital items to their library in 2020.

New authors

I read 39 books by new-to-me authors. I usually read about a third of my books by new authors. And that was true again this year. I read most of my new authors either as books from the library or Kindle Unlimited books. The rest of the books I purchased for under $5.00. Especially when an author is new to me I don’t buy books which cost over about $3. (Actually, I don’t buy many books over $5.00 even from authors I love.) I try to wait until their books go on sale.

Books I didn’t finish

The last group of books I want to talk about are the books I didn’t finish this year. There were 16 of those books. I read at least 15% of all the books I designate as “not finished.” I usually decide within the first chapter or two whether I want to read a book or not, but I didn’t add the book to my DNF group if I hadn’t read at least 15%. However, I read over 50% of a few of them before I decided to stop.

  • This year I was much more sensitive to the tone of the book–too sad or too depressing and I bailed.
  • A number of books that other times I might have enjoyed just didn’t hold my interest.
  • A few books that I thought would be calming were just too predictable or silly.
  • One thing didn’t change: I will stop reading a book if it’s too violent for me.
  • One book I was enjoying totally changed at about 50% and I suddenly felt like I was reading a different book.

The numbers

2019

Reading Challenge -95

Books Read-90

Ebooks — 60

Audiobooks — 27

Hardcover & Paperback — 3

Library — 28 (audio-15; ebooks-10; hardcover-3)

Kindle Unlimited — 9*

New Authors — 34

Did Not Finish — 1

*I only started KU towards end of the year

2020

Reading Challenge-90

Books Read-120

Ebooks — 62

Audiobooks — 53

Hardcover & Paperback — 5

Library — 55 (audio-40; ebooks-10; hardcover-5)

Kindle Unlimited — 30

New Authors — 39

Did Not Finish — 16

What about you? How was your 2020 reading year?

Sunday Post: A winter saga

A chance to connect with others to talk about books plus a little about our personal lives

Sunday-Post

Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Personal life

The saga

One of our daughters wanted some of the furniture we planned to get rid of and had also sold a couple things for us so we rented a small U-haul for a couple days and scheduled a trip to her house. Our daughter got Friday off from work and Monday is a holiday for her so the plan was for them to drive back to Des Moines on Friday and spend the weekend helping us with the house.

We scheduled the trip during a weekend when the weather looked good, but as often happens the forecast began to look worse as the week progressed. Since my daughter had gotten time off we decided to continue with our plans. My husband picked up the truck Wednesday morning and spent the day packing it. And we had to pack additional boxes to fill it up!

Wednesday the forecast began to get more serious and the National Weather Service put out a winter weather advisory. And then the advisory was changed to a winter weather warning. It still didn’t sound too bad at that point and the truck was packed! My husband left early Thursday morning. It rained and was windy during the trip. But he arrived about two p.m. and he and my daughter unloaded the furniture and boxes into her garage.

Blizzard warning

During Thursday the winter weather warning was upgraded to a blizzard warning for Thursday night and Friday. We had a forecast of 4-7 inches of snow and 30+ mph winds. Western Iowa had 50 mph winds forecast so it was much worse there. My husband and daughter changed their plans to drive back on Friday and decided to make the trip in one day. They arrived at our house at 10 p.m. Thursday night and the wind was really blowing and snow was coming down hard. Our driveway was snow covered and it took two tries to get to the top of the drive. They said the roads had started to get bad about 20 miles from Des Moines.

Not as bad as forecast

We did have about 4 inches of snow, but when I got up Friday morning the wind had died down and it had stopped snowing so Friday wasn’t too bad once the roads got cleared later in the morning. Not all the snow we got after Christmas had melted in our backyard and it’s completely covered again.

More snow

We have a little more snow falling this morning which was a surprise. (The forecast said: 30% chance of snow flurries so I didn’t think it would be anything.) A few hours ago my daughter and I went to Starbucks and the roads were already a little slippery. It’s still snowing lightly!

Winter cards

All the snow so far this winter has encouraged me to make winter, snowy cards! One of my sisters-in-law also made cards for me showing a picture of our snowy yard this winter. I love them! I will miss this yard when we move.

Blog Life

Last week was busy getting boxes packed and I forgot to put up posts I had ready. 😦 I did work on a couple posts, but didn’t get them quite ready. I can’t even remember if I visited blogs or made any comments. It was a tiring and stressful week! However, I still hope to post 2020 end-of-year posts. They’re not late as long as I get them posted during January, right??!

Posts
Posts for next week
  • What I read in 2020
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday
  • My favorite 2020 books
  • My five favorite new authors in 202o
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Chasing the Shadows by Maria V. Snyder
Books I read last week
  • No Past Forgiven by Valerie Keogh
  • The Lasaran by Dianne Duvall
Books I got last week

What are you hoping for in 2021? What are you planning for next week?

Sunday Post: It’s January 2021, but not much has changed yet

A chance to connect with others & talk about books plus a little about our personal lives

Sunday-Post

Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Personal life

2020 was a difficult year. I’m hoping for better things during 2021. But maybe that’s going to take some time.

Christmas

I made a Shutterfly calendar for my brother for Christmas and I liked it so much I ordered calendars for myself, my kids and my niece. The calendar had pictures of my parents–mostly from when they were young. The front of the calendar has a photo of the house where my brother and I grew up in Oregon. We all loved the house so much. My dad took a small, old house with no plumbing and rebuilt it adding plumbing and electricity. They moved to the house when I was a baby and I remember when I was a child there was a table saw in our living room since my dad worked on the house after work and on weekends.

We had a quiet, simple Christmas with multiple FaceTime meetings throughout the day with our kids and other family members.

More snow

Between Christmas and New Year’s we had a snowstorm with almost 10 inches of snow. The snow is still around. Our backyard is on the north side of our house so we still have a lot of snow back there.

Preparations for move

During these months my husband and I sold some of our furniture and other items. We’ve continued to find things to throw away, give away and things we want to take with us. My husband’s goal each week is to fill the garbage and recycling bins!

We are doing this move ourselves so we’ve started boxing what we won’t need for a few months.

We’re moving some furniture to one of our daughter’s homes next week. Since we’re renting a truck to do that we’re also taking boxes we’ve packed so far.

Once we finish packing as much as we can we will finish decluttering the house. All the pictures need to come off the walls, all the clutter packed away and massive cleaning plus some painting and any repairs that need to be done. We hope to be done with all that by the end of February so the house can go on the market in March.

Our new house

The builders finally “broke ground” on our house in the last week of December. They poured the foundation this week and hopefully can start the building soon. We’re hoping we can move into our new house by May.

Blog Life

I didn’t post much in November and December. Just too much stress, so I mostly stayed away from the internet. I did do a lot of reading in 2020–120 books…beating my Goodreads goal by 30 books!

The first two books I read in 2021 were both books I read when the books were first published–one in 2001 and the other in 1993. I don’t reread books very often, but I enjoyed rereading these in 2021–mostly because I didn’t remember all the details!

Posts
Posts for next week
  • What I read in 2020
  • Can’t Wait Wednesday
  • My favorite 2020 books
  • My five favorite new authors in 202o
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • No Past Forgiven by Valerie Keogh
Books I read last week
  • The Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr
  • Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
A few books I got recently

What are you hoping for in 2021? What are you planning for next week?