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?

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


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


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: Summer is nearly over


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

Hard to believe summer is nearly over. This summer has flown by. It’s dry here, but at least it’s not too hot. My husband continues to work on our driveway and is making great progress since it hasn’t rained lately. We need some rain, but if it’s too wet our clay soil makes it very hard to work.

Iowa State Fair

The Iowa State Fair started at the end of the week, but I don’t think we’ll get a chance to go this year. Maybe next year, since it’s great fun to go and see all the exhibits and shows and try the amazing foods (like deep-fried Oreos and pecan pie with bacon…lol). This year, of course, many of the Presidential candidates are visiting the fair where they each have 20 minutes to speak at the Des Moines Register Soapbox. Of course, they’re expected to try some of those foods!

Summer travel

We’re leaving next week to visit our daughters and then fly to Seattle to visit our son. I’m hoping the plane to Seattle won’t be too crowded, but since it’s still summer it probably will be. It’s always great to see our kids and we love Seattle. We’ve been in Seattle many times over the years since my husband’s sister and brother-in-law live there. Now that our son is also living in Seattle we have even more incentive! We’re also going to meet my brother and his family on the central Washington coast for a few days. My brother and sister-in-law live in Oregon so we’re each driving partway. It will be fun to see them.

Blog life

My head is feeling better, but I’m still taking it easy. Most mornings my head starts hurting so I lie down and close my eyes for a while. I haven’t spent much time using my computer, but have managed to do some reading especially audiobooks. I especially loved listening to Evvie Drake Starts Over. It’s a great summer read. Made me feel really happy!

Recent posts
Next week
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Craks in a Marriage by Barbara Barrett
  • A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
What I read recently
  • Ascending by Meg Pechenick
  • Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Dropbears by W.R. Gingell
Books I got recently

A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon

Bright Shards by Meg Pechenick

Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop

What have you been doing? What are your plans next week?

Books I want to read during fall 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings where a range of topics from books to blogging are discussed.

This week we’re talking about Books I want to read during fall 2018The books I’ve listed are mostly ones already published and I that already own. I also list a few that publish in October that I’m especially excited about.

Head On by John Scalzi, Lock In #2

The Salaryman’s Wife by Sujata Massey, Rei Shimura #1

The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles by Kij Johnson, a fantasy short story

No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #5

The First Eagle by Tony Hillerman, Leaphorn & Chee #13

Mercy Falls by William Kent Kreuger, Cork O’Connor #5

Plague Ship by Andre Norton, Solar Queen #2

Binti by Nnedi Okorato, Binti #1

Last Dragon Standing by Rachel Aaron, Heartrikers #5

Planetside by Michael Mammay

Rogue Protocol & Exit Strategy by Martha Wells, The Murderbot Diaries #3 & 4 — #3 came out in August & #4 comes out in October

Back Stabbers by Julie Mulhern, The Country Club Murders #8, comes out in October

Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima, Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #4, comes out in October

What books do you want to read this fall?

Audiobooks aid my card creation

Last year I listened to more audiobooks than ever before and it was all because I made a lot of cards last year. Usually I only listen to audios when I’m in my craft room. I don’t use headphones. I like to just listen using my phone as the audio plays loud and clear while I decide what kind of card I’m going to create and then get busy and create it. I guess I must use two different parts of my brain when I listen and create, because I do really get into a good book while making my cards. (I do sometimes listen outside my craft room when I’m close to the end of a really good book.) I love that I can create the cards I send to family and friends while I listen to audiobooks.

Some of my favorite 2017 cards

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Audiobook numbers for 2017:

Total audiobooks: 38

Total books of all kinds read: 100

I listened to 12 new-to-me authors as I listened to audiobooks last year.

Audiobooks and cards

Audiobooks really kept me on track in 2017 to reach my reading goal of 100 books. I find it really satisfying to create something. Another reason I spent a lot of time working on cards and listening to books–I calm down when I listen and work on cards. I stopped worrying so much about the state of the world and regained calmness…lol.

Do you like listening to audiobooks? If you do, when do you listen? Did the state of the world bother you last year? If so, how did you cope?

Review: Lock In by John Scalzi

lock-in-audioLock In
by John Scalzi
Narrated by Wil Wheaton
Series: Lock In #1
Genre: Science Fiction/Mystery
Setting: Washington, DC, 15 years in the future
Published by Tor Books, 2014 (Audible Studios, 2014)
Audiobook, purchased
337 pages
7 hours, 40 minutes
Grade: A
Narrator grade: A
Synopsis: Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselves “locked in”—fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.

One per cent doesn’t seem like a lot. But in the United States, that’s 1.7 million people “locked in”…including the President’s wife and daughter.

Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can restore the ability to control their own bodies to the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge. One is a virtual-reality environment, “The Agora,” in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. The other is the discovery that a few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, meaning that from time to time, those who are locked in can “ride” these people and use their bodies as if they were their own.

This skill is quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse….

“Making people change because you can’t deal with who they are isn’t how it’s supposed to be done. What needs to be done is for people to pull their heads out of their asses. You say ‘cure.’ I hear ‘you’re not human enough.”


Rich people show their appreciation through favors. When everyone you know has more money than they know what to do with, money stops being a useful transactional tool. So instead you offer favors. Deals. Quid pro quos. Things that involve personal involvement rather than money. Because when you’re that rich, your personal time is your limiting factor.


  • One of the reasons I like this book–it’s a combination of science fiction and mystery. Two of my favorite genres.
  • Wil Wheaton does an excellent job narrating this book.
  • This book offers so much for the reader to think about and yet it’s so entertaining, too. One of favorite things about Scalzi’s books is that they are so entertaining.
  • The way the people with Haden’s Syndrome are able to overcome the fact they can’t speak or move is really interesting–and amazing.
  • Chris Shane is an interesting character. His father is a senator and was a famous basketball player. The family is rich and Chris has Haden’s Syndrome. However, he decides to become an FBI agent. His first day on the job is action packed and continues that way the entire book.
  • The book (and the novella) describe Haden’s Syndrome really well plus the society which has grown up around the disease.
  • The book has action, politics, mystery.
  • The politics of Haden’s Syndrome is front and center in the book since the people with Haden’s rely on the care they receive plus having an artificial body so they can live as independent a life as possible. However, now funding for the massive amount of care is going to be privatized in the U.S. That has lots of ramifications for people with Haden’s.
  • There are people who resent the Haden’s victims. And there’s discrimination and hatred for those who are different.
  • After I finished the book I realized we don’t really know a lot about Chris–whether he’s male or female (the audiobook is available narrated by either a male or female. Since I got the male version I had an image of a male looking like Wil Wheaton! His race is also not mentioned. I find this very refreshing. If I had read the book rather than listened to it I might have a different mental image of the characters. It’s interesting the assumptions we make as we read.


  •  None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • The Audible edition also has a bonus novella by John Scalzi–Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome. This novella (144 pages/about 2.5 hours) was narrated by a group of people and gave excellent background to Haden’s Syndrome.
  • I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.
  • I’ve liked every book I’ve read by Scalzi.


  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee for Best Novel (2015)
  • ALA Alex Award (2015)
  • Locus SF Award Nominee for Best Novel (2015)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • (from Wikipedia): John Michael Scalzi II (born May 10, 1969) is an American science fiction author, online writer, and former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He is best known for his Old Man’s War series, three novels of which have been nominated for the Hugo Award, and for his blog Whatever, at which he has written frequently on a number of topics since 1998. He won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2008 based predominantly on that blog, which he has also used for several prominent charity drives. His novel Redshirts won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel. He has written non-fiction books and columns on diverse topics such as finance, video games, films, astronomy, and writing, and served as a creative consultant for the TV series Stargate Universe.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book set in the future)

My favorite books so far this year…

toptentuesday2I haven’t participated in a Top Ten Tuesday meme for quite a while. Several weeks I’ve meant to, but things have always come up! Anyway, this topic–Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year–is one I’ve been thinking about because I’ve read a lot of good books already! The Broke and the Bookish blog hosts Top Ten Tuesday.

In no particular order…

Caszandra by Andrea K. Host (science fiction/fantasy, Grade: A)–this was the first book I read this year and is the last book in the Touchstone series. I like this series very much.

Pivot Point by Kasie West (young adult fantasy, Grade: B+)–this isn’t a perfect book (what is?!!), but it has stuck with me because of the premise of the book. The main character is able to look at two different futures to see which she wants to choose. I always wonder about the choices we make in our lives and what that does to change us.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (audiobook, historical mystery–WWWI flashbacks and 1920’s; Grade: A-)–a very powerful and emotional read for me because of the flashbacks to WWWI. The narration is excellent in this book.

Cold Magic by Kate Elliott (fantasy, Grade: A-)–This is a very good fantasy. Cat is such a strong character and the story is so good.

Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross (young adult contemporary, Grade: A-)–This book has stuck with me since I read it. How Karen learns to cope with the death of her parents is very powerful. Reading about the world of elite gymnastics is also fascinating.

Redshirts by John Scalzi (science fiction/space opera, Grade: B+)–A very funny and fun science fiction, but also made me think about what reality is. This is one of the reasons I like science fiction. I like the ideas and questions science fiction often presents.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (audiobook, historical/contemporary/fantasy, Grade: A)–Such a wonderful book. The language is lush, the story is poignant, the Scotland setting is wonderful and the narration–especially the Scots accent–is just excellent!

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs (urban fantasy, Grade: B+)–I continue to love this series!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor –Not Yet Reviewed (audiobook, fantasy, Grade: B+)–The narration is wonderful and Karou is a great character.

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards–Not Yet Reviewed (YA science fiction, Grade: B+)–I just finished this book and I loved it. The main character is so much fun and so honest (even when she’s lying!) Plus the far future setting is fascinating.

Honorable Mention

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop–I love Meg Corbyn and the Others.

In for a Penny by Rose Lerner–This was a re-read for me and I loved it the second time around, too. The characters are what make this book memorable.

Generation V by M. L. Brennan–I love this new series. I just wish there was more about the kitsune,

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch–This series gets better and better.


What books are your favorites so far this year?

Audiobook challenge update

2014 Audiobook Challenge
2014 Audiobook Challenge

I’m participating in the 2014 Audiobook Challenge hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs.

I didn’t know June is Audiobook Month so I’m going to challenge myself to listen to one book a week during June!

I have quite a few audiobooks by now since I’ve joined Audible and I’m downloading the two free books from Sync each week this summer and also download books from my library or find them on CD.

At the beginning of the year I said I’d listen to 5-10 audiobooks this year. I didn’t listen to any audiobooks last year so this is a big jump for me! This is my update at the almost six month mark for the challenge.

Books read and reviewed:

1. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (narrated by James Marsters) — reviewed Feb 28 –Grade B+

2. Maisie Dobbs (narrated by Rita Barrington)–reviewed April 7 –Grade A

3. The Winter Sea (narrated by Rosalyn Landor)–reviewed May 21 –Grade A

Books read, but not reviewed yet:

1. Silence by Michelle Sagara (read in April)

2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (read in May)

3. The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (read in May)

I’ve listened to 6 books so far this year so that is within my challenge number of 5-10 books (Weekend Warrior). Since there’s over half the year left I think I should be able to move at least to the next level of listening–10-15 books (Stenographer). My favorites so far are The Winter Sea, Maisie Dobbs and The Emperor’s Soul.




Sunday Post–May 18



The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

Last Week

Around the house

I’ve been in Des Moines all week. My daughter and I have packed boxes and delivered them to her new house all week after she gets home from work. Also putting shelf paper in the kitchen and unpacking a few boxes. I’ve been at the house several days for the carpet cleaner and satellite hookup. Saturday was moving day so we were busy most of the day. I did a bit of reading and audiobook listening during my random moments! The house is full of boxes, but it looks great. I think she’ll be very happy!

Internet was connected at the new house on Friday, but when we tried to connect on Saturday evening it didn’t work so I’m finishing up this Sunday Post at Starbucks! I won’t comment or answer comments until we get the internet connection working. I will comment when I can.

Blog posts

What I’m reading

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (audiobook)

Iron Night by M. L. Brennan

What I read this week

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

White Night by Jim Butcher

E-books bought

Murder in a Mill Town

Murder in a Mill Town  by P. B. Ryan

From Audible

Splintered by A. G. Howard

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Saltation by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede

The Line by J. D. Horn

Next Week

Around the internet

Bout of Books 10

I’m participating in the Bout of Books 10 Read-a-thon and hoping to read at least three books plus take part in some challenges and twitter chats. I haven’t had a chance to figure out what I need to do so I’m hoping to work on that!


Sync downloads

Sync is a site for young adult audiobooks. In the summer (beginning May 15 to August 20) they offer two free audiobooks each week. These books are available from May 15-21:

WARP: The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

The following books are available from May 22-28:

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Oedipus the King by Sophocles

Check out the entire Sync schedule.

Around the house

I’m in Iowa another week. My daughter and I will unload boxes and try to get the house in order. My husband and older daughter are coming for Memorial Day weekend. We’re hoping to have a barbecue and do other fun things as well as some projects!

Posts on the blog

  • Bout of Books posts
  • Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
  • Review:
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?