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text 2017-02-01 18:37
February 2017 Reading List
To Defy a Sheikh (Harlequin Presents) - Maisey Yates
Dangerous Allies - Renee Ryan
The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts) - Deborah Fletcher Mello
Beauty and the Rake (The Rookery Rogues Book 3) - Erica Monroe
Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story - Sarah Wendell
Celtic Viking: Historical Romance (Heart of the Battle Series Book 1) - Lexy Timms
Courting His Countess - C.J. Archer
Craving Temptation - Deborah Fletcher Mello
The Johnstown Flood (Paperback) - David McCullough (Author)
By Starlight - Dorothy Garlock

Halfway through Romance Bingo and I am behind in my goal to black out the card. Time to prioritize romance over any other challenge until the card is complete. Luckily, some romance will satisfy other challenges, so I can kill birds with not as many stones.

 

1. The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough (Diseases and Disasters challenge)

 

2. To Defy a Sheikh by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Secret Billionaire)

 

3. Dangerous Allies by Renee Ryan (Romance Bingo - Rogue)

 

4. By Starlight by Dorothy Garlock (physical TBR)

 

5. His Ring is Not Enough by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Virgin)

 

6. The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Romance Bingo - Free Space; Pop Sugar Challenge - Author is POC)

 

7. Craving Temptation (Just Desserts #2) by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Romance Bingo - Eyeshadow and Bosom; Pop Sugar Challenge - MC is different ethnicity than reader)

 

8. Beauty and the Rake by Erica Monroe (Romance Bingo - Fairy Tale Re-telling)

 

9. Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts (Romance Bingo - Key to the heart; Library Love)

 

10. Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell (Romance Bingo - Guy/Girl Next Door; Pop Sugar Challenge - holiday setting other than Christmas)

 

11. A Lady Dares by Bronwyn Scott (Romance Bingo - Pirates)

 

12. Celtic Viking by Lexie Timms (Romance Bingo - Man in Kilt)

 

13. Courting His Countess by CJ Archer (Romance Bingo - Gothic)

 

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text 2017-01-31 12:35
January 2017 Wrap Up
Apprentice in Death - J.D. Robb
Wave - Sonali Deraniyagala
March: Book Two - Andrew Aydin,Nate Powell,John Robert Lewis
Lowcountry Bordello - Susan M. Boyer
Switched - HelenKay Dimon

Started the Romance Bingo and Pop Sugar Reading Challenges this month. Participated in Bout of Books cycle 18. Participated in #24in48 read-a--thon.

 

 

1. My Writing Professor by Nicolette Dane (Romance Bingo - New Adult square) - 1 star

2. My Friend the Bride by Nicolette Dane (Romance Bingo - Wedding Bells square) - 1 star

3. Sarah Sunshine (Montana Romances series) by Merry Farmer (Romance Bingo - TSTL square) - 1 star

4. A Bit of Bite by Cynthia Eden (Romance Bingo - Urban Fantasy square) - 3.5 stars

5. Heir to a Desert Legacy by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Interracial couple square) - 1 star

6. Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala (Diseases and Disasters Challenge) - 4 stars

7. Apprentice in Death by JD Robb (Pop Sugar Challenge) -  4 stars

8. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling - 3 stars

9. The Lady's Scandalous Night by Jeannie Lin (Romance Bingo - Insta Love) - 3 stars

10. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo - 2.5 stars

11. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan - 4 stars

12. Long Gone Girl (Romance Bingo - Second Chances square) by Amy Rose Bennett - 2.5 stars

13. Lowcountry Bordello (Liz Talbot #4) (Romance Bingo - Love is Murder square) by Susan M. Boyer - 4.5 stars

14. March Book 2 by John Lewis et al - 5 stars

15. Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg (Romance Bingo - YA) - 3 stars

16. Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan - 5 stars

17. Switched by HelenKay Dimon (Romance Bingo - Blown Away square) - 3.5 stars

18. Sweetheart in High Heels by Gemma Halliday (Romance Bingo - Headless Woman) - 2 stars

19. An Illicit Temptation by Jeannie Lin (Romance Bingo -Historical) - 3.5 stars

20. Double Love by Francine Pascal (Romance Bingo - Twins) - 1 star

21. A Sport of Baronets (Romance Bingo - Regency) - 3.5 stars

22. The Secret of Yellow Death by Suzanne Jurmain - 2.5 stars

 

 

Challenges Update:

GR/BL Reading Challenge: 22/150

Library Love Challenge: 10/36

Romance Bingo: 14/25

Pop Sugar Challenge: 8/50

 

Ratings Breakdown:

Avg Star Rating: 2.9 stars

Avg Non-Fiction Rating: 4.25

Avg Fiction Rating: 2.65

 

Final Thoughts:

I am enjoying the bingo and getting a lot of short books off my electronic TBR. The beginning of the month featured A LOT of 1 star books, mostly freebies from the NOOK store.

 

Pop Sugar challenge is kind of on the back burner for now. The fact I knocked out 8 out of the 50 prompts was more than I had hoped for (5 being the goal). Not as hard as I thought it would be, plus I am learning to like audiobooks!

 

Library Love challenge is going great; thinking I should have gone for the top level (50+ books), but may stay at the current level (36+ books) for now. I also got in 11 hours of volunteer time at the library, despite a constantly changing school schedule that saw my son out of school more than in school.

 

I picked my top five books to add to the post.

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-01-30 22:38
Review: The Secret of the Yellow Death by Suzanne Jurmain
The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing - Suzanne Jurmain

Cuba, 1900. This is a MG-level book that explores the discovery of how yellow fever is spread - basically one of those "breaking the codes" that led to numerous public health campaigns and led to more discoveries about yellow fever in the 20th century. Major Leonard Wood of the US Army spearheaded a team of doctors/scientists to look at four theories for the spread of yellow fever - a specific bacteria, the soiled remains (corpses and bedding/clothing) of yellow fever victims, something in the water/air, or contact/bites from a specific breed of mosquitos. The last theory, wild and well-mocked by most scientists around the world, was the brain-child of a Cuban doctor (Carlos Juan Finlay). Turns out Dr. Finlay's theory, down to the correct breed of mosquito, was correct - he only got recognition for this outstanding work by the experiments of Reed's team. Pictures from that time/place help give the reader a sense of environment the doctors were working in.

 

The book only talked about how the disease is spread; the epilogue goes through a quick time line of the medical advancements in combating the disease (still no cure, but there is a vaccine).

 

Recommended for upper elementary students (4th - 6th grade)  to encourage them to read more non-textbook science/history of medicine books. Would make a great pairing with the MG-level fiction book Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson.

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review 2017-01-26 16:05
Review: Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
Wave - Sonali Deraniyagala

Wave is a first person account of the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 in the Indian Ocean. Deraniyagala was visiting her native country of Sri Lanka with her family (husband Steve, their two boys Vik and Mal, and her parents) at the coastline city of Yala when the wave struck their getaway car and hotel. She was the only one in her family to survive.

The book starts out in the hour before the wave hit; the hotel room was peaceful, with the adults (Sonali and a friend) lingering over breakfast and the kids playing with their Christmas gifts. Steve was in the loo. Word came from another friend that they should leave the coast immediately and that friend was coming to pick them up. Sonali rounded up her two kids and Steve and ran to meet the car; she never stopped to knock on her parents' door to tell them to leave. They just had minutes to leave the area - and never made it to safe ground when the wave it the car and they were separated. Sonali surfaced within the hours but could not find her family. She was rescued and sent to the local hospital. And that is where the heartbreak of that tragedy begins.

This was a heartbreaking story to read, but beautifully written at the same time. Sonali laid bare all the ugly emotions and the mental toll of the event impacted survivors. It took years for Sonali to heal enough to remember her family in a way that honors them, and she did so much of it on her own - there were few people who were really there for her, especially in her lowest points. She is honest and that honesty made me connect with her on so many levels - as a daughter, as a mother, as a wife. The tsunami that struck Japan years after the Indian Ocean one triggered an outpouring of emotions that only a survivor of a similar events can have.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. I would like to read more about the event itself, but reading a survivor's story you get a sense of the emotional and mental impact that a science or history book can lack.

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text 2017-01-01 16:30
January 2017 Reading List
My Writing Professor: A Lesbian Romance - Nicolette Dane
My Friend The Bride: A Lesbian Romance - Nicolette Dane
Sarah Sunshine - Merry Farmer
A Bit of Bite - Cynthia Eden
Heir to a Desert Legacy - Maisey Yates
Wave - Sonali Deraniyagala
Why Not Me? - B.J. Novak,Greg Daniels,Mindy Kaling,Mindy Kaling
Deep Deception - Cathy Pegau
A Lady Dares - Bronwyn Scott
Switched - HelenKay Dimon

Starting the Romance Bingo and Pop Sugar Reading Challenges this month.

 

1. My Writing Professor by Nicolette Dane (Romance Bingo - New Adult square)

2. My Friend the Bride by Nicolette Dane (Romance Bingo - Wedding Bells square)

3. Sarah Sunshine (Montana Romances series) by Merry Farmer (Romance Bingo - Interracial couple square)

4. A Bit of Bite by Cynthia Eden (Romance Bingo - Urban Fantasy square)

5. Heir to a Desert Legacy by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Secret Billionaire square)

6. Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala (Diseases and Disasters Challenge)

7. Apprentice in Death by JD Robb (Pop Sugar Challenge)

8. Deep Deception by Cathy Pegau (Romance Bingo - Blown away square)

9. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

10. A Lady Dares by Bronwyn Scott (Romance Bingo - Pirates)

11. Switched by Helen Kay Dimon

 

 

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