Aug-Sep 2018 Wrap-Up

I’ve decided to do a monthly wrap-up post each month to see how I’m doing on my blog and what’s going on in my personal life. I plan to link-up to a couple of blogs that host wrap-ups and reviews of their months. The Month in Review is hosted at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up is hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction.

Personal life

Yard & Garden

August was dry and September got rain. The grass had turned brown and now everything is green again! We have a few autumn flowers blooming.


I was gone for most of the month of August visiting my daughters in Indiana and Illinois. During the time in Indiana we helped our daughter move into her house and helped her build a fence around her backyard so her dogs could roam without being on a leash. They love it.

I spent the month of September back home in Iowa. So nice to be home snuggling with my cats! The weather is cooler and I love that, too. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.

Blog life

I reviewed quite a few books in August, but only two in September. I hope to get more reviews done in October. I do have a few in the works. I read lots of good books in August and September and hope that trend continues!

I’m also trying to get more posts scheduled since the last months of the year are always busy for me. I also am trying to catch up on visiting other blogs and seeing what everyone is up to this fall.

Books read during August

Books read during September

Books reviewed


Modern Crimes by Chris Nickson (ebook, purchased) — B+

Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman (audiobook, library) — B+

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (hardcover, library) — A-

Spindle by W.R. Gingell (ebook, purchased) — B+

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf (audiobook, library) — B+

Blood Hollow by William Kent Kreuger (audiobook, library) — B+

Confluence by S.K. Dunstall (ebook, purchased) — B+

Between Jobs by W.R. Gingell (ebook, purchased) — B+

Mini Reviews

Diamond Girl by Julie Mulhern (ebook, purchased) — B

My Challenges update

I’m doing well with my Goodreads Challenge. However, I need to work a little lot more on the other challenges!

Goodreads Challenge

Goal–90 books read

By the end of September I’ve read 75 books toward my goal. I am 8 books ahead of schedule!

Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge

Goal–read 26-35 mysteries 

I’ve read 39 mysteries so far and have reviewed 16 of those mysteries.

Discussion Challenge

Goal — 1 -10 discussion posts

I haven’t written any discussion posts yet. I finally have some reviews written so I can focus more on discussions and hope to get one or two done in October!

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Goal — 40 prompts to the challenge

I’ve read 14 books which match prompts

Swords & Stars Reading Challenge

Goal — 20 prompts for the challenge

I’ve read and reviewed 8 books which match this challenge

What were August and September like for you?

How I choose what to read next

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: The things we’re drawn to when choosing our next reads. I’m very much a mood reader so at any one time I have lots of books I’m thinking about reading. However, a book may sit on my Kindle for months (maybe a few years) before I finally decide to read it. Sometimes I forget about it and sometimes I’m just not wanting to read that author or that particular book anymore. So how do I choose what to read next?

Here are the things I consider:

  1. Other people’s reviews and recommendations–I get a lot of recommendations from other bloggers. I love reading other bloggers’ reviews plus sometimes bloggers recommend a specific book to me either on my blog or on Goodreads.
  2. The author–If I’ve read other things by an author and liked them I might decide to get another book by the author.
  3. The next book in a series I love–When I can get the next book in a series that I love I usually like to read the book soon.
  4. The synopsis–I don’t usually read the whole synopsis since I don’t want to spoil the book, but I do read a little so I have an idea whether it’s the type of book I want to read.
  5. Books on sale, inexpensive or found at the library–I can’t afford to pay $10 for ebooks (which seems to be the price point these days for a lot ebooks.) (Probably 99% of my books are ebooks or audiobooks these days because it’s easier for me to read and listen to them.) If I can’t find a digital copy at the library or it doesn’t go on sale sometimes I don’t ever read the book.
  6. Books with exotic settings–Sometimes I like to read books set in places other than the United States (or in a different part of the States than I live). Most of the fantasy and science fiction I read also count as an exotic setting.
  7. The genre–Sometimes I’m in the mood for a mystery and sometimes a science fiction or fantasy. Occasionally I will read a different genre, but right now I’m reading mostly those three genres.
  8. Reading challenges–I like to join book challenges each year and sometimes I wouldn’t have found a book that I read except that it fits one of the challenges.
  9. The cover–Sometimes I’m browsing on Goodreads or Kirkus or another site and I see a great cover which encourages me to find out more about the book. However, I have to confess that I’ve never read a book just because I liked the cover.

Since I was looking for a book to read yesterday I decided to show the books I’m considering reading next & why:

Shadow Dancing by Julie Mulhern–The next book in one of my favorite mystery series.

The Salaryman’s Wife by Sujata Massey–I read a book by this author a few months ago plus this one is set in Japan.

Murder at Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey–It’s a mystery set in Ghana and the ebook was on sale (but it’s the third in the series)

The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles by Kij Johnson–a fantasy short story about a cat and has a great looking cover.

No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor–the next book in a time travel series (exotic setting).  (Originally recommended by Li @ Me and My Books).

Drifters’ Alliance, Book 1 by Elle Casey–reviewed by Sarah @ Brainfluff.


And the book I chose? Shadow Dancing by Julie Mulhern

What about you? How do you choose the next book to read?

HoHoHo Readathon Update

This is my favorite blogging extra curricular activity of the year. I love Christmas and winter and this helps me get in the holiday spirit. And I’m so happy Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer hosts it each year.

This year’s event ran from Wednesday, November 8th through Wednesday, November 15th at 11:59 pm. During the event, we could participate in challenges, win prizes, meet new friends and join the Twitter party. You could participate for a day or cozy up by the fire and hang out every day. The more you participated the more entries earned for the Participant Giveaway.

This is a fun and laid back activity so think about it for next year.


My goals and accomplishments:

Goal: I wanted to read at least three books

I read six! Several books were short, but I feel great about what I accomplished.

  • Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis
  • Christmas at Rosie Hopkins Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan
  • Wreck the Halls by Sarah Graves
  • Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Murder Goes Mumming by Charlotte MacLeod (library ebook)
  • “Christmas at Ladybug Farm” by Donna Ball (novella)
  • “Deck the Halls” by Donna Alward (novella)
  • Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie (e-audio)
  • “Christmas Present: A Chronicle of St. Mary’s Short Story” by Jodi Taylor (e-audio)
  • Classics of Childhood, Vol. 3: A Christmas Collection (e-audio)
  • Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien (e-audio)

Goal: Participate in two challenges

I participated in three challenges:

They were all lots of fun. Thank you to all the bloggers who created challenges for us. They were fun!

Goal: Participate in the November 15 Twitter Party


I don’t often take part in Twitter Parties. Sometimes I forget, other times other commitments make it hard to participate. However, I did take part in this party and it was lots of fun to see what other people had read and what their favorite book was. We also talked about holiday TV shows and movies which made me eager to watch a few during the next few weeks.

Kimberly gave away several book bundles at the end of the Twitter Party and I won one of them! I don’t win things too often so that was fun. Thanks, Kimberly!


I urge everyone to sign-up next year for this readathon. It gets me ready for the holiday season every year. Lots of fun activities, winter and holiday books to read and nice people participate. What could be better?

Two new reading challenges

my-reading-challengesI’ve decided to add two more reading challenges to the challenges I’ve already signed up for.

I-Love-Libraries-reading-challengeI Love Libraries Reading Challenge–hosted by Bea @ Bea’s Book Nook.

I do love libraries! The small town I grew up in didn’t have a bookstore until I was an adult. My mom took me to the library almost every Saturday morning and I could spend hours looking at books and selecting ones to check out. I loved it when I started looking in the adult section–probably when I was 10 or 11. That’s when I discovered Agatha Christie and Robert Heinlein and Andre Norton. They all opened new worlds to me.

As an adult I’ve continued to use libraries. Whenever my husband and I have moved (and we’ve moved at least a dozen times since we’ve been married) one of the first things we do is visit the library and as soon as I can I get a library card. Through the years I’ve done lots of research at libraries as well as checking out lots of books. I’ve even volunteered at my children’s school libraries.

Because my husband is taking an early retirement I’m not going to be able to buy as many books as I’ve done in the past. Using the library–both for digital editions and for physical copies of books–is one of my strategies to save money.


My goal is 18 books. I hope I read even more. I also will try to do a wrap-up post each month to show how I’m doing.


netgalley-and-edelweiss-reading challenge

The Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge–hosted by Falling for YA.

I haven’t used Netgalley very much and I’m not signed up on Edelweiss at all. Last fall I started requesting more books and I’ve been approved for most of them. When I saw this reading challenge I decided it would be a good one for me to help keep me on track. Because I don’t have a lot of books on Netgalley yet my percentage keeps dropping every time I request a new book.


My plan is to request, read and review enough books that my percentage stays above 80%. Thus, my goal for this year is 25 books–the Gold level. And I hope to complete a wrap-up post each month.

Have you signed up for either of these challenges? Any others?

2015 reading challenges–How’d I do?


2015 Reading Challenges

I only completed 3 of the 8 challenges for 2015. However, I was 85% or better on 3 more of the challenges so I feel pretty good about that. I’m doing challenges again for 2016–some of the same challenges as the ones below and some new ones. I have fun trying to complete the challenges!

Audiobook Challenge — 85%

  • Goal–20-30 audiobooks
  • How many I listened to –17 audiobooks
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015– 16 books
  • We traveled a lot in 2015 and when I travel I don’t listen to books as much.
  • I’ve signed up for this challenge again.

Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge — 175% –completed!

  • Goal–20 books
  • How many I read — 35 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 — 32 books
  • I read 15 books more than my goal! YAY!
  • I’ve signed up for this one again.

Goodreads Challenge — 92%

  • Goal — 110 books
  • How many I read by the end of 2015 –101 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 — 90 books
  • I have chosen a smaller challenge for 2016. I started worrying about the number of books I’d read instead of just enjoying the books. I also stopped reading long books since I was trying to meet my goal.
  • My goal this year is 100 books.

Library Challenge — 58%

  • Goal — 12-16 books
  • How many I read — 7 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 — 7 books
  • Since we traveled so much last year I didn’t use the library as much as I meant to.
  • I haven’t signed up for a formal library challenge, but plan to keep track of the library books I read. And plan to buy fewer books since we’re retiring a few years earlier than planned and I need to keep to a budget.

New Author Challenge — 168% –completed!

  • Goal — 25 books
  • How many I read by the end of 2015 — 42 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 — 35 books
  • Lots of really good new authors this year.
  • I’ve signed up for this challenge again. I love finding new authors to keep reading.

TBR Challenge — 92%

  • Goal — 1 book per month
  • How many I read — 11 books total
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 — 11 books
  • I missed my July book–again, I got busy and didn’t finish the book until later in the year.
  • I’m not signing up for this challenge since it’s more romance oriented and I’m not reading so much romance anymore.

TBR Pile Reading Challenge — 116% — completed

  • Goal — 31-40 books
  • How many I read — 36 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 –33 books
  • I have lots of TBR books so this is one I’ve signed up again. I have plenty of books for this challenge!

Ultimate Reading Challenge — 58%

  • Goal — 52 books–each in a specific category
  • How many I read — 30 books
  • Books reviewed by the end of 2015 –30 books
  • There were some types of books on the list I probably wouldn’t have read, but I could have done a little better. In the last months of 2015 I got busy with other things and didn’t think about the challenge and trying to find books to meet the challenge.
  • I didn’t check to see if this challenge is occurring again this year. I signed up for a different challenge that’s somewhat similar, but confined to science fiction and fantasy.

Did you take part in reading challenges in 2015? How did you do?

My reading challenges


I really enjoy reading challenges. I love a challenge I have to work to complete. They also help me try new authors I might not read otherwise, listen to more audiobooks, read more of my TBR pile. I don’t change the types of books I read so much as try to see if I can find more that might help me complete a challenge.

I’m signing up for five challenges I’ve done before and two new challenges. Last year I signed up eight challenges. This year I have one less challenge, but I may decide to sign up for one or two more next week!

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My Reading Challenges–2016

I am planning to participate in the following year-long reading challenges in 2016 (each challenge is linked to the page on my blog where I will list the books I read and where you can find more information about the challenge):

Audiobook Challenge

  • I’m challenging myself to listen to 20 – 30 audiobooks

Cloak and Dagger Challenge

  • I’m challenging myself to read 31+ mysteries

Goodreads Challenge

  • I’m challenging myself to read 100 books

New Author Challenge

  • I’m challenging myself to read at least 30 new authors

New Release Challenge

  • I’m challenging myself to read 31 to 45 new releases

Sci-Fi & Fantasy Book Bingo

  • I’m challenging myself to complete at least one bingo or fill in 10 random squares.

TBR Pile Challenge

  • I’m challenging myself to read 31 – 40 TBR books

Are you planning to do any reading challenges this year?


2016 Audiobook Challenge

This challenge is hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs.

2016 Audiobook Challenge

I participated in this reading challenge in 2014 and 2015. listened to 17 audiobooks, but had challenged myself to 20 -30 audiobooks. I did listen to a couple more than in 2014 so that’s good.


I’m challenging myself  to the same number as last year–a Binge Listener (20-30 audiobooks).
Updates will be posted every six months and there will be giveaways then, too.

Audio Resources

Ambling Books

Free Audio Resources

Overdrive through your local library

Audiobook Jukebox audios for review


Do you listen to audiobooks? Whether you do or don’t, this is a great challenge to encourage you to listen to more audiobooks.

2016 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge


This reading challenge is hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and Barb @ Booker T’s Farm

2016 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge

I kind of participated in this challenge last year–meaning that I signed up for it and continued to list mysteries I read throughout the year, but I didn’t link any of mysteries after the first month or so. And when the challenge was abandoned by the blogger who hosted it last year I didn’t switch the challenge over to Stormi’s blog. (Sorry about that, Stormi. I meant to, but didn’t get it done.)


Anyway, I did read quite a few mysteries last year–28 mysteries in 2015. I hope to read a few more this year and have some lined up so I’m going to try the Special Agent level — 31+ books.

Other Details

I will try to link my reviews in the monthly link up. There are also giveaways at the halfway mark and at the end of the year.


What challenges are you participating in this year?

2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge


For the third year in a row I ‘m participating in the TBR Pile Reading Challenge hosted by Bookish Lifesyle. This is Bookish Lifestyle’s 5th Annual TBR Pile Reading Challenge!

I’m a bit behind with my Reading Challenge posts this year since this is my first sign-up post. I plan to post all my 2016 reading challenge posts by the end of the week with a post listing all my reading challenges.

My Goal

In 2015 I challenged myself to read 31-40 TBR books. I completed the challenged by reading 36 books from my TBR books. I’m going to challenge myself to the same number of books this year–31-40 Sweet Summer Fling.

The rest of the challenge

I don’t think I will have time to participate in the TBR Pile Book Club. I will try to post a wrap-up post every other month, but I didn’t manage to do that in 2015 so I may have trouble with that again. Since I participate in quite a few challenges it’s hard to remember all the different interim posts. I do a pretty good job of keeping track of all my challenges by creating a separate page on my blog for each of them. I update each page each time I review a book that matches that challenge.


What challenges are you participating in this year?



COYER Summer Vacation finished up on Friday. It was a fun way to keep track of what I read and reviewed during the summer. There were also lots of activities to participate in–read-a-thons, Twitter parties, a Facebook group. Unfortunately, my summer was much busier than I had planned and though I tried to participate in some of the extra activities I didn’t really manage it. 😦

I read and reviewed 16 books during the read-a-thon and I’m pleased with that…especially getting all the reviews done. I’ve listed the purchase dates and prices on my COYER Reading Challenge Page. COYER (Clean-Out Your E-Reader) traditionally means reading e-books which cost less than $5.00 each. For COYER Summer Vacation we didn’t have to follow that rule, but I wanted to see how many of my Reads actually cost less than $5.00 and how many had been on my E-Reader longer than six months:

  • Books which cost less than $5.00–11 of 16 books (counting my library e-book)
  • TBR books–6 of 16 books

I haven’t participated in COYER before, but I hope to participate in more COYERs in the future! Thanks to Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun & Michelle @ Because Reading is better than real life who hosted this read-a-thon. I hope they host another read-a-thon soon!