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31 December 2014

2015 British Books Challenge

I found out about the British Books Challenge hosted over at Fluttering Butterflies from Chrissi Reads' recap of her 2014 reads.

I got looking at The Reading Thing and immediately thought : GREAT! A ton of these are British!

Eh. Not so much.

A ton of them are SET in the UK but written by "others."

I only have eight British authors on the Thing!

  • Agatha Christie
  • Rhys Bowen
  • Carola Dunn
  • Catriona McPherson
  • Claire North
  • Josephine Tey
  • Nicola Upson
  • Jacqueline Winspear
Luckily, though, the challenge is to read 12 books by British authors .... and since I'm lined up to read the first 18 Hercule Poirot novels over the course of the year (if all goes as planned), I should have this in the bag!

The way it looks now my tally will look like this:
  • Agatha Christie - 18
  • Rhys Bowen - 2
  • Carola Dunn - 2 (3 if you count the one I'm reading now and likely won't finish until next year)
  • Catriona McPherson - 2
  • Claire North - 1
  • Josephine Tey - 1
  • Nicola Upson - 1
  • Jacqueline Winspear - 1
28 total (or 29). Not too shabby. Of course, this IS assuming I read consistently .... and a wee bit faster than I have in 2014.

For more information on the BBC and to sign-up, just click here:

2014 End of Year Book Survey

I'm SO thankful that a couple of the book blogs I'm now following on bloglovin' have done this (and also that Perpetual Page-Turner set it up in the first place!)! It looked like great fun so I've decided to give it a whirl. (copied/pasted so all the pretty fancy headings are all her doing - not mine).


Number Of Books You Read: 55
Number of Re-Reads: 4
Genre You Read The Most From: Cozy Mystery


1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
Seriously? This is like being asked to pick a favorite child when you have more than one!
Oh .... okay ....

Winston Graham's Ross Poldark (the first in the Poldark saga). OOOOOH how I loved this book

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Leslie Meier's Mistletoe Murder. Couldn't even make it past chapter six.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

I wasn't expecting to love this as much as I did. I really only read it after I saw the trailer for the movie and a friend gave me a copy so I could read it before seeing it.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

Ummmmm .... I know I got at least one person hooked on Charlotte MacLeod after oohing and aahing over Rest You Merry.

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

(all of these are READ in 2014 - not necessarily published in 2014)
Series: Catriona MacPherson's Dandy Gilver

Sequel: Ransom Riggs' Hollow City

Series Ender: Julia Hughes' An Explosive Time 
(although I keep hoping she'll continue the Celtic Cousins' Adventures!)

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Charlotte MacLeod. I know. She's not new. In fact, she's dead. BUT she's new to me.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Joe Hill's Horns (I don't typically do "horror")

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander -- I finished it in two days, I believe!

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Easy! Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel! I read it every year!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Charlotte MacLeod's Peter Shandy

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

I'm seriously stumped on this one. I don't know if I'd consider anything of read really "beautifully written."
No! Not true! I finally started reading the Harry Potter books with my son, John, and was seriously blown away with how beautifully written I found The Sorcerer's Stone.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

Going with The Sorcerer's Stone again. 
It completely changed how John views reading as being a joy and not a chore.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

And, yet again, The Sorcerer's Stone. I never had much interest in Harry Potter until I had John and then was just waiting until I thought he might be old enough. I was expecting to wait a couple more years at least.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?


16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.


 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
Winston Graham's Demelza had so many "oh. my. heck." moments that I read the next two in the series immediately after. I hardly EVER do that with a series!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Charlotte MacLeod's Peter Shandy and Helen Marsh

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Catriona MacPherson's Dandy Gilver and Alec Osborne

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Ann Charles' The Great Jackalope Stampede 

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Kate Racculia's Bellweather Rhapsody

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Charlotte MacLeod's Peter Shandy

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

I don't think there were any! At least, not any published in 2014.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Really. Can you get better than Hogwarts?

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel
(There's a reason I read it every year!)

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

I cried during each of the Winston Graham books read -- Ross Poldark, Demelza, Jeremy Poldark, Warleggan & The Black Moon

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Anything written by Ann Charles. She's delightful!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Ummmm .... why would I read something that would crush my soul?

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Ransom Riggs' Hollow City, I suppose. 

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

.Leslie Meier's Mistletoe Murder


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? 

Does my own count?
I discover so many wonderful blogs every day I can't possibly choose!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? 

Of the few that I've written, I think I had the most fun with Etiquette & Espionage since I spread it over two posts -- here and here.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

On the blog? We don't talk much. BUT we can get a bit chatty on the Facebook page. Of course, all but 2 of my FB followers are actual friends of mine ....

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?I'm still so new to this whole thing that this and a couple of Top Ten Tuesdays have been all I've done!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

Starting the blog at all! (It's only been up since December 9th!)

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Ridiculously enough - the post where I asked for opinions on formatting The Reading Thing, HERE.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Any of them. BUT I'm new. It takes time and I get that.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Litographs! (A friend even surprised me with a tshirt of The Secret Adversary!)

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

My original GoodReads goal for the year was a mere 25 books. I hit 55.


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

I guess the one I'm reading now, Death at Wentwater Court. I was originally hoping to have it done by New Year's Day but it's not looking real likely right now.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

Honestly couldn't tell you. There are just far too many!

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Ann Charles has a new series coming out and I'm SO excited about it!

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

The second in Ellery Adam's Book Retreat series, Murder in the Paperback Parlor

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

Become better acquainted with other book bloggers!

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Sadly, not applicable

30 December 2014

Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness

It's 1932 and the world is reeling from The Great Depression. Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie (aka Georgie), the 21 year old great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria (and 34th in line for the throne), leaves her family home in Scotland. She's been living there with her boring half-brother, his uptight wife and their forgettable son (I only vaguely remember that he exists) and decides to make it on her own at their other family home in London.

She has no allowance. 

She has no servants. 

She has no useful life skills. 

Her prospects are to be married off, shipped off to an aging relative to be a lady-in-waiting, or to make it on her own somehow.
Luckily for her she has old school friends nearby as well as her maternal (non-royal) grandfather. Even her mother pops in from time to time (which is about all she's done for her entire life). She needs their support -- and for more than just a good meal and learning how to set a fire so she doesn't freeze to death!

There's a murder, of course, as well as some smaller side-mysteries. All the while we have Georgie working as a maid (in cognito, of course), dealing with her foray into real (well, possibly real, anyway) romance, and being asked by the Queen to spy on her cousin, The Prince of Wales. 

Now, with the book title being "Her Royal Spyness" one might think that this last part tackles the majority of the book.

One would be mistaken. It is an awfully cute title, though, and the reason I was first drawn to the book in the first place.(Well-done, book titlers!) It does open up the possibility for more fun on behalf of the Queen at the very end, though. (Literally "at the very end" with the last sentence of the book.)

Pros: I love the time period and the setting -- big draws in choosing the book to read. Georgie is a treat and her best friend Belinda is a riot. I loved watching how Georgie grew over the course of the book from being quite helpless and a bit of a doormat to quite capable and a bit of a pip -- at least where her sister-in-law in concerned.

Cons: Really, I can only think of one and that's the choice of romantic interest for dear Georgie. Something about him just rubs me the wrong way. It's not a HUGE con, though, and certainly won't prevent me from continuing the series at this point.

Top Ten Tuesday : Goals for 2015

It's another Tuesday and I'm actually remembering to check in with Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish!

Yay me!!!
I'm going to do blogging-related goals -- for all three blogs!

1. Complete The Reading Thing -- hopefully with enough time to add in some extra books! As it is I'll be starting it late because I'm only 35% into the book I'm reading now and I really want to read one more before I start the official Thing.

2. Start "Reading with the Well-Read Pirate Prince" feature with John. We read together almost every day and I've convinced him (not hard to do at all) to share his thoughts here! He asked about having his own blog but then we decided that for now we'd keep it all in one place. At least for books.

3. Post on I Wish I Had An Adipose more than once a week. The past little bit I've kinda sucked at that.

4. Post on What's In Our Lunch Bags? five times a week -- which will mean that I actually have to make MY lunch for work on a semi-regular basis again.

5. Comment on other blogs more regularly. Most work nights I have very little to do. There's no reason not to be social.

6. Find more weekly linkies to have fun with -- for each of the three. Ideally I'd be linking somewhere every day from one or more blog.

7. Pay more attention to the Facebook pages for each blog. I do pretty well with this one .... because I like it best at the moment even though it has the smallest number of followers. The others are horribly neglected.

8. WRITE STUFF DOWN! Come up with a blogging schedule and stick to it. Probably more for I Wish I Had An Adipose than the other two.

9. Stop forgetting that this does NOT autopost to Facebook.

10. Consider setting up my own linky .... somewhere .... about something ....

28 December 2014

So many challenges!!!

Just when I figured I had everything figured out for The Reading Thing 2015, Jacquie goes and posts about another challenge that looks like fun. Grrrrrrrr!
SO, I was thinking that maybe I could work what I've already got planned around this.... but I just don't see it happening and I REALLY like what I've got planned at this point! BUT if you're up for a challenge I'm sure Jacquie would love to have someone else to talk with about this one ;) 

(Every time I say her name I link to her blog just to make it easier on you .... heheheh)

25 December 2014

Have You Read It?: Amanda Stevens' The Restorer

I love a good ghost story. When I was growing up few things gave me as much joy as watching the old Topper movies or The Ghost & Mrs Muir every time they came on tv.

I also love a good graveyard. My mom and I used to actually plan vacation destinations around cemeteries.

When I found out about Amanda Stevens' series called The Graveyard Queen about a ghost-seeing cemetery restorer named Amelia? Definitely count me in!
The book opens when Amelia was nine years old and she realized that she could see ghosts ... and so could her father (who, at the time, was a graveyard caretaker). He told her the rules of being able to see ghosts:
“For those of us who can, there are certain precautions we must take in order to protect ourselves and those around us. The first and most important is this - never acknowledge the dead. Don't look at them, don't speak to them don't let them sense your fear. Even when they touch you"..."The second thing you must remember is this," Papa said. "Never stray too far from hallowed ground."..."Rule Number Three," he said. "Keep your distance from those who are haunted. If they seek you out, turn away from them, for they constitute a terrible threat and cannot be trusted." ..."Rule Number Four," he said sternly. "Never, ever tempt fate.” 
[Wait. What? Ghosts aren't all bad! What about Simon de Canterville? Nearly Headless Nick?? George & Marian Kerby??? Captain Gregg???? Hrmph!]

Fast forward almost 20 years and the rules start flying out the window. You know, it happens. Besides, who wants to read a book about a girl who can see ghosts but never acknowledges that fact except for constantly thinking "Hmmmm. There's a ghost over there but I'll ignore it and pretend that this isn't supposed to be a ghost story."

Actually, for the first part of the book at least (I'm currently only about 25% in), that happens far too often. Four specific ignored ghosts mentioned before Chapter 3 -- not including her first when her father explained the rules to her. I get it. You shouldn't play with dead things ... or with others who have dead things attached to them ...

Oh yeah. That's why the rules start flying out the window. You see, a murder takes place in the graveyard she's been working on and the hot detective assigned to the case? Yep. Being followed by ghosts. Two of them so he must be, like, extra special dangerous to be around for her. But, you know, he's hot.

Oh. And the publishing company is an imprint of Harlequin.

I don't have anything against Harlequin. Really. Some of their imprints I quite enjoy.... as long as I can skip over the steamy "sexy" crap and still have a substantial amount of book left to read.

So, now I'm about to start Chapter 10 and wondering if I stick it out all the way to Chapter 41 (plus the Epilogue that everyone seems compelled to add nowadays) .... or cut it short and be glad that it only costs $1.99? I would really hate to end 2014 with a book that I'm not immediately sure of, you know?

23 December 2014

Etiquette & Espionage : The Verdict

I finished Gail Carriger's Etiquette & Espionage this morning and while I've already given my initial thoughts, I figured I should come back and give the final verdict!
It was a fun, easy read ... and I've already made plans to continue the series which doesn't always happen. 

Now, it IS a "young adult" book so if you go into it thinking for serious adult situations ... you aren't going to find them. The main character is, after all, fourteen years old. There's light flirtation and minor swooning but, luckily, that's about all you get on the romance end of the spectrum. I was very thankful for this as I hate seeing kids portrayed as something other than kids.  Of course, I am hoping that as the kids age there'll be more Sophronia than merely batting her eyelashes (which, as it turns out, is a key skill to have in feminine espionage).

I love her friends! With her since the very beginning of her adventures at (or to, actually) Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, are Dimity and her brother, Pill (who attends the nearby boy's school for evil geniuses .... well, whenever the school floats by, anyway. Remember .... it flies.). While Sophronia is spitfire and tomboy, Dimity is frilly girly-girl. They complement each other well and help each other to grow. Even Pill, what little we get to see of him, shows growth over the course of the semester. It would be so easy just to write him off since he's not in the forefront but Carriger doesn't do that.

Along the way we also get to know the Mean Girl (and mean-girl-in-training, it seems), the vampire teacher, the werewolf, Mademoiselle Geraldine who thinks she's running a normal school (they think -- I'm not so sure she's as clueless as they make out), the 9-year-old niece of another teacher who's even more tomboy than Sophronia (and even more of a spitfire), the "sooties" who work in the boiler room, the young Lady who was raised by werewolves and laments that girls (apparently) can't be werewolves themselves, bad guys, good girls, bad girls, good guys .... and, of course, the mechanicals (and mechanimals).

There's intrigue, of course, though it wasn't horribly intriguing which I attribute to the whole "young adult" aspect. Still, I loved seeing how the "nonsense" of all of the etiquette lessons end up helping Sophronia and her friends save the day. (Sorry for the "spoiler," but of course they save the day. You didn't expect them not to, did you?)

As far as your "standard steam punk" goes, I couldn't tell you how this would rate as it's my first. It won't be my last, though!

Top Ten Tuesday : Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing This Year

I've been following lots of new-to-me blogs on bloglovin' over the past little bit and stumbled on this fun little "Top Ten Tuesday" deal sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish. I'm not promising that I'll always remember when Tuesday rolls around, but for this week, at least, let's play!
The theme this week is "Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing This Year." Now, if you know me at all you know that I really truly don't "need" more books. I have well over 2000 ebooks right now PLUS piles upon piles upon shelves full of actual books at home.

And yet.

I will always need more.

So, Santa, in no particular order of importance:

#10 Winston Graham - The Angry Tide
#9 Winston Graham - The Stranger From The Sea
#8 Winston Graham - The Miller's Dance
#7 Winston Graham - The Loving Cup
#6 Winston Graham - The Twisted Sword
#5 Winston Graham - Bella Poldark

I've already made a huge error in judgement. There IS an order of importance.
Start with #10 as the most important and then go from there -- at least for these first six on the list.

I fell madly in love with the Poldark saga in April and have only acquired (so far) the first six books of the twelve book series. (If you would like to bring me all twelve in matchy-matchy covers that would be awesome ... but I'm trying to not be all that picky.)

#4 Sophie Hannah - The Monogram Murders 

I wasn't sure for a good long time if I wanted to read this or not. I have issues with people re-writing favorite characters from time to time, but I feel as though I need to read this anyway... even if only to be able to gripe with all of the other naysayers.

#3 Emily Brightwell - Mrs. Jeffries Weeds The Plot

It's the fifteenth in the series and right now it's the only one I'm missing and it's driving me a wee bit mad. Please deliver it in epub format, please. I hate mixed format e-collections.

#2 Fynn - Mister God, This Is Anna

I have a copy already but it's seen better years. A first edition hardcover would be nice. Signed would be better.

#1 Thomas Hardy - Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Like, #2 -- I have this. I have devoured this. I have been permanently altered by this. If I find a first (or even second -- I'm not THAT picky) edition under my tree I won't ask for another book for .... ummmm .... two weeks, at least.

The Reading Thing - 2015

See the new and improved ACTUAL Thing HERE.

ramble (01/03)

ramble (01/05)

ramble (01/06)