Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (top to bottom):

  • Milkman by Anna Burns - purchased
  • Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane and
  • Operation Frog Effect by Sarah Scheerger - from Penguin Random House for review
  • Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini - from HarperCollins for review
  • So Much Life Left Over by Louis de Bernieres - purchased

An eclectic selection, as always. Milkman and So Much Life Left Over were on my wish list for a while but I don't recall what possessed me to place an order, although I have an inkling that I may have found Milkman at a good price and decided to go ahead and toss in the de Bernieres while I was at it.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • The Gown by Jennifer Robson
  • Time is the Longest Distance by Janet Clare
  • Freefall by Jessica Barry

This was a good reading week. I enjoyed all three books I finished, although Time is the Longest Distance has a melancholy tone (not my favorite). The Gown is historical fiction (historical/contemporary blend), Time is the Longest Distance is contemporary literature set mostly in Australia, and Freefall is a suspense/thriller about a woman who survives a plane crash and then must run for her life.

Currently reading:

  • Howard's End by E. M. Forster
  • The Free Speech Century by Geoffrey Stone and Lee Bollinger
  • Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

I'm a little over halfway into Howard's End and still loving it. There are times I don't understand the nuances of turn-of-the-20th-Century English society and their dialogue but it's not enough to detract from the most entertaining scenes, and there are plenty of those. The Free Speech Century is going to take me a long time. I've got a paralegal certification under my belt but it's not the easiest thing to read, whether you've experienced reading law or not. It's worth the effort, though. I like what Oliver Wendell Homes and Louis Brandeis had to say about free speech and why it's so important for opposing viewpoints to be heard in a functioning Republic. Old Baggage is a Lissa Evans book, so I already loved what I've read but I'm not far into it. Evans has recently become a favorite author.

Posts since last Malarkey:

I may do 2-a-day book reviews, this week, so I don't fall too much farther behind. I found myself struggling to write about Friday Black on Thursday, so I defaulted to Tomorrow is Waiting and didn't get that written till Friday. Since then, I've found the notebook in which I wrote a few words about each of the first few stories in Friday Black, so that should help. 

In other news:

We were planning to take a quick trip to Memphis, this weekend, but then we changed our plans at the last minute and ended up doing post-holiday tidying, instead, with some reading and a movie for breaks. The movie surprised me. Husband found a movie he wanted me to watch with him on the Hallmark Channel. It was a little hokey but it took place in South Africa, so we were both in it for the scenes with local wildlife.

Like most of the Eastern half of America, we had storms and then a bitter cold front, so part of the reason we stayed home was to avoid driving in stormy weather and make sure the house was prepared for the drop below freezing. So, that was probably it for genuine winter weather, here. I enjoyed a day of wearing fluffy boots and having an excuse to curl up under the blankets and read, when I wasn't cleaning.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Tomorrow is Waiting by Kiley Frank and Aaron Meshon and a Fiona Friday pic

Tonight as you sleep, a new day stirs. 
Each kiss goodnight is a wish for tomorrow. 
That you'll have wings enough to fly as high as you want. 

I'm going to say something unusual and I don't say this lightly: I can already tell Tomorrow is Waiting by Kiley Frank, illustrated by Aaron Meshon, is going to be a favorite children's book in 2019. I love Tomorrow is Waiting so much it brings tears to my eyes (and it's not a sad book).

With absolutely gorgeous, eye-catching, bold illustrations, Tomorrow is Waiting talks about the many things a child has to look forward to and talks of the wishes a parent has for a child. Each spread shows a child exploring the world in some way -- snorkeling, walking through woods, leaping across river rocks, climbing over a wall, jumping into water. The book talks about courage, imagination, kindness, and hope, wishing these and other positive characteristics on the child.

Highly recommended - Colorful, uplifting, hopeful wishes. I can't think of a better way to put a child to bed at night than with such glorious hopes for the future. Here's an interior shot of one of the spreads so you can get a load of that eye-popping color:

I received a copy of Tomorrow is Waiting from Penguin Random House in return for an unbiased review. Many thanks!

And, now I must squeeze in a Fiona Friday pic because I was away from the computer, yesterday. Look what happens when you fold up a blanket and put it on your coffee table! It attracts cats! Granted, this is a super soft blanket. I might like to curl up on the coffee table, myself.

Also of note: A cat opened that cabinet door behind Isabel. Little rapscallions have been into everything, lately.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ten Kisses to Scandal by Vivienne Lorret (Misadventures in Matchmaking #2)

Ten Kisses to Scandal by Vivienne Lorret, the second book in the Misadventures in Matchmaking series, is the story of the youngest sister in a family of matchmakers. Briar's elder sisters are in charge of interviewing potential clients, investigating their lives to discover their characteristics in order to find their perfect match, and doing all the important paperwork. Meanwhile, Briar is relegated to serving their clients tea.

Determined to become a matchmaker herself, Briar sets out to try to meet up with a potential client -- one who is unaware that the spontaneous and imaginative youngest Bourne sister sees him that way. On her way to see this potential client, Briar ends up viewing an infamous rake ravishing a woman (well . . . kissing her passionately and such) as he sends her off in a carriage. Briar is both scandalized and fascinated.

The rake, Nicholas, is surprised by this enchanting and naive young woman, her wild imagination, and her infatuation with chocolate. When she is later challenged to find him a bride, Briar makes a deal with Nicholas. If he will teach her about what attracts males and females to each other, how to read their body language, etc., she will pay him for each lesson with a single kiss. She'll be able to observe him and find the right matchmate while she learns. But, as each kiss becomes more passionate, will Nicholas drop his guard and fall in love?

Highly recommended to romance lovers - I'll mention the negative first (there's only one): there was something done in one of the two sex scenes that totally grossed me out. As anyone who reads my blog regularly knows, I'm not into graphic sex scenes, anyway, so I'll just skim those in the next installment. It wasn't enough to turn me away from this delightful series, by any means, but it certainly surprised me. What makes Ten Kisses to Scandal shine is the author's sense of humor. In Briar, she has created a truly adorable and entertaining character. Often, romance authors will describe a character as enchanting or clever without showing them to be so through dialogue. Briar's imagination and charm are well described and shown. She really is a delight. And, while Nicholas is a rake, Lorret also beautifully shows his soft side and makes the pairing believable. I loved Ten Kisses to Scandal and can't wait for the third book in the Misadventures in Matchmaking series.

Note: I received a copy of Ten Kisses to Scandal from Avon Romance in return for an unbiased review.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

2019 Reading Goals

I spent some time in December thinking about my 2019 Reading Goals when I probably ought to have been working on a Year in Review report. Ah, well. I like thinking ahead.

Reading Goals for 2019:

1.  Recently Dead Guys Personal Challenge - I bought 3 books by authors who then promptly died in 2018. I can't find one of them but I just bought another and 3 seems like a nice challenge number, so I'll stick with the 3 unless I find the 4th and decide I'm in a hurry to read it. The challenge books:

  • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • Cruising Paradise by Sam Shepard
  • A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz

2. Perfect Little Gems Personal Challenge - After reading News of the World by Paulette Jiles a second time, last year, I spent a lot of time thinking about books that are short but perfect little gems -- which News of the World definitely is, in my humble opinion. When I took a writing workshop taught by Simon Van Booy, he mentioned the fact that it's not necessary to write a 300-page book when you're starting out (and I've been away from fiction writing long enough to feel like I'm starting all over again, although I've written several novels). Instead, he said, focus on reading really well-written short books and trying to write a shorter work.

I've been literally pondering that advice for years without doing a thing but the longer I think about it, the more I miss writing fiction and want to return to it. So, I want to spend some time looking for and reading shorter works of excellence in 2019. I have a few titles that were recommended to me and a list that contains a few more I'll eventually buy. The challenge books, so far:

  • Articles of War by Nick Arvin
  • The Wedding of Zein by Tayeb Salih
  • The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (I've misplaced this one but will be searching for it)

I've got quite a few shorter novels shelved around my house and some have come highly recommended (pretty much everything by Italo Calvino, for example) so I will probably add one of Calvino's shorter works like Under the Jaguar Sun to that list and see what other books I've got that get high ratings and happen to be short.

3. Books I bought in hardback because I was sooo anxious to read them and then didn't get around to reading them -- another Personal Challenge:

  • Transcription by Kate Atkins
  • Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
  • In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne
  • Old Baggage by Lissa Evans
  • Savage Country by Robert Olmstead
  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (admittedly purchased mostly because so many men were telling her she should sit down and shut up)

I'm still equally excited about these titles. The thrill of having them ahead of me on the TBR piles has not worn off. 

4. Personal Classics Challenge - I plan to return to the usual 1 per month challenge that I've kept to in recent years except while reading one particular title. In 2018, I set a goal to read two really long books: Don Quixote and Gone With the Wind. Don Quixote was so memorable that I often set it aside for weeks before returning to it for a while (with no trouble recalling where I was in the story), then I'd set it aside again. The result was a full 6 months of reading the same classic. When I finished, I was both elated and drained. I thought I'd wait a month or two and then start Gone With the Wind. I never got to it, so I'm folding Gone With the Wind into my 2019 Classics Challenge and it's the one title I'll let drag on a couple months, if necessary. I'd like to read no fewer than 9 classics in 2019.

5. Fewer ARCs/upcoming releases in 2019 (exception: children's books) - I'm going to try my darndest to read more off my shelves and request fewer ARCs, although I already have a substantial number of ARCs for January alone. Wish me luck. This one is hard. I've been blogging a long time and I receive a lot of requests to review. I have no problem fitting in the children's books because so many of those that I review are middle grade or picture books -- very quick reads. Plus, I'm crazy about children's books and would be happy to review even more. But, I'm not going to go out looking for them. I'll just stick with the publishers with whom I already have a relationship.

6. Spend less time on social media and more time reading - If you're on Facebook or Twitter, you've probably seen the article that says you can likely bump the number of books you read in a year up significantly (they say 200 books but I don't know if that's possible for me) if you give up social media. I've been trying to work on that, already, in spite of the fact that I actually started up an Instagram account, a couple months ago (I'm @Bookfoolery on Instagram, if you're interested in following me there). I like the fact that Instagram is something I don't want to spend a lot of time on and adds a little fun because it makes me think about visuals -- posing books instead of just posting cover images.

I haven't gone beyond a paragraph when I posted about a finished book on Instagram, so far, and I like that. I've even considered eventually giving up the blog and just posting at Instagram someday. But, I'm not there, yet. It's an option for the future if I seriously get back to regular fiction writing, but until then . . . I need to write so I'll keep the blog going until and unless I am doing some other kind of writing that satisfies that particular primal need.

7. I've set my annual Goodreads reading goal at 100, again, although I read 131 books in 2018 and my unstated goal is shifting constantly. At this point, I'm really hoping to reach 150. But, I like keeping the Goodreads goal lower because I don't want it to be something that stresses me out.

That's it! I've given myself a lot more reading goals than I did in 2018 and I'm not going to kick myself around the block if I decide I need to ease up on some of them. But, for now, it's January and I'm jazzed and looking forward to a fresh, new reading year!

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (left to right):

  • Wunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein - from Crown Publishing, for review
  • Cruising Paradise (short stories) by Sam Shepard - purchased
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer - from local Little Free Library

Wunderland is a title I signed up to review via Shelf Awareness. And then I squeezed my eyes, held my breath, and crossed my fingers that I'd receive a copy so there may have been squealing when I opened the manila envelope. I read The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Epstein and can still remember scenes from it, years later, so Wunderland was way up there on my list of 2019 titles to look forward to. Getting to read it pre-publication is just icing on the cake. I don't have to wait for its release! Woot!

The Sam Shepard title, Cruising Paradise, was chosen at random for one of my 2019 reading goals. In 2018, I bought several titles by people who died shortly after their purchases. Shepard is already gone, of course, but I'd planned to read the titles I purchased in 2018 for a Recently Dead Guys personal reading challenge and I've wanted to read something by Sam Shepard. So, I went ahead and chose a book at random, mostly based on reviews, to add to the challenge pile. I'll probably read Cruising Paradise right away because I've been trying to keep a collection of short stories going at all times, in the past couple of months. I love short stories.

The Interestings is a beat-up mess, so I had to move the camera a bit to the left to avoid showing the curled-up cover, but it was a lucky find at our local Little Free Library. The city posted a photo on their Facebook page saying the Little Free Library box was full, complete with photo, and I saw a title by an author I love. The photo must have been old. None of the titles in that photo were in the LFL. But, The Interestings was in there and I've wanted to read that for a while. I'll return it and add a couple other titles (whatever will fit -- our LFL is pretty much always filled to overflowing), when I've read the book.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • Splinterlands by John Feffer
  • Fighting Fascism: How to Struggle and How to Win by Clara Zetkin, ed. by M. Taber and J. Riddell
  • Soon: What Science, Philosophy, Religion, and History Teach Us about the Surprising Power of Procrastination by Andrew Santella
  • 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do by Amy Morin

As usual, January has been a Read Till Your Eyes Cross kind of month. I almost always read more books in January than any other month of the year. Then, I burn out a bit and slow down. But, I can't help it. After the reading desert that is the holiday season, I'm always ready to dive in and not come up for air for a month. I am really enjoying myself. 

Currently reading:

  • The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson
  • Howard's End by E. M. Forster
  • The Free Speech Century by Lee Bollinger and Geoffrey Stone

I'm about 3/4 of the way through The Gown and enjoying it immensely. Howard's End will be my first classic of 2019. I'll mention my reading goals for 2019, tomorrow, but I'm hoping to get back to reading a classic per month, most months. I've only read one other Forster: A Passage to India. I loved it, so I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get back to him. So far, Howard's End is a delight. I've really only just begun to read it (and I've never seen the movie, so I had no idea what I was getting into). I've also just begun to read The Free Speech Century, which is both a celebration of 100 years of free speech and an analysis of the meaning of free speech, what's been argued about it in the courts, and how the potential limits of free speech are being tested by social media. I'm also not far into this one but so far, so good.

Posts since last Malarkey:

I'm done with 2018 (apart from *maybe, possibly* a wrap-up post of 2018, but I haven't worked on that, yet, so I can't say if it'll happen), so next up will be a post about my plans for 2019 and then I'll start diving into reviews of books I've read in 2019. I've read a lot, this year, but everything has been pretty memorable, so far, so I don't feel intimidated by the fact that I've got 8 reviews to write -- and that number will turn to 9 if I finish The Gown, tonight. 

In other news:

Hmm, I don't think there's much other news. apart from the fact that Saturday evening was Paint Night -- always a joy. Everyone who was here for Christmas is now back at work, home, or school. It's a bit of a shock, but I tend to like my alone time so I've decided today can be a day of adjustment (Kiddo just left yesterday, so this is really the first time I've been completely on my own for an entire day in 3 or 4 weeks). Tomorrow, I'll make myself get back into my normal routine (updated for 2019). Hope the start of your year has been a terrific one, so far.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Fiona Friday - Smashface

Somebody's comfy.

©2019 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Books Read in 2018

Everything I read in 2018, with links to either a review, mini reviews, or a month-in-review in which I wrote about the book. 


1. Saving Tarboo Creek - Scott Freeman and Susan Leopold Freeman
2. Forty Autumns - Nina Willner
3. The Bones of Grace - Tahmima Anam
4. Braving the Wilderness - Brené Brown
5. The Dry - Jane Harper
6. Milk and Honey - Rupi Kaur
7. If This Isn't Nice, What Is? - Kurt Vonnegut
8. A Nest for Celeste - Henry Cole
9. Another Quest for Celeste - Henry Cole
10. Bagel in Love - Natasha Wing and Helen Dardik
11. Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
12. The Wife Between Us - Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
13. The Radium Girls - Kate Moore
14. Nature's Lullaby Fills the Night - Dee Leone and Bali Engel
15. A Couch for Llama - Leah Gilbert
16. Artemis - Andy Weir
17. Force of Nature - Jane Harper


18. Down and Across - Arvin Ahmadi
19. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate - Al Franken
20. The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
21. Being Mortal - Atul Gawande
22. Only Killers and Thieves - Paul Howarth
23. I Am the Boss of this Chair - Carolyn Crimi and Marisa Morea
24. The Statue and the Fury - Jim Dees
25. Our Native Bees - Paige Embry


26. The Brontë Sisters - Catherine Reef
27. Black Fortunes - Shomari Wills
28. Nothing Left to Burn - Heather Ezell
29. The Broken Girls - Simone St. James
30. Orphan Monster Spy - Matt Killeen
31. The Saboteur - Paul Nix
32. The Woman Next Door - Yewande Omotoso
33. Supergifted - Gordon Korman
34. Good Behavior - Blake Crouch
35. Bus! Stop! - James Yang
36. Up in the Leaves - Shira Boss and Jamey Christoph
37. Gloria's Voice - Aura Lewis


38. Princesses Behaving Badly - Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
39. The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody - Matthew Landis
40. Look for Her - Emily Winslow
41. Rocket Men - Robert Kurson
42. If You Come Softly - Jacqueline Woodson
43. Sleep Train - Jonathan London and Lauren Eldridge
44. But the Bear Came Back - Tammi Sauer and Dan Taylor
45. Albie Newton - Josh Funk and Ester Garay
46. How to Forget a Duke - Vivienne Lorret
47. Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders
48. Isosceles' Day - Kevin Meehan
49. Tin Man - Sarah Winman
50. Warren the 13th and The Whispering Woods - Tania del Rio and Will Staehle
51. The Reckless Rescue (The Explorers #2) - Adrienne Kress
52. Daddies Do - Lezlie Evans and Elisa Ferro
53. Boots on the Ground - Elizabeth Partridge


54. Mad Boy - Nick Arvin
55. The Endless Beach - Jenny Colgan
56. Obscura - Joe Hart
57. Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng
58. Out of Left Field - Ellen Klages
59. Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor - Yossi Klein Halevi
60. The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik - David Arnold
61. The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses) - Terri-Lynne DeFino


62. Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes, translated by Edith Grossman
63. Hollywood Beach Beauties - David Wills
64. Goodbye, Sweet Girl - Kelly Sundberg
65. Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue - Jeff Seymour
66. As You Wish - Cary Elwes and Joe Layden
67. Siracusa - Delia Ephron
68. Abridged Classics - John Atkinson
69. Wed Wabbit - Lissa Evans


70. The Lost Family - Jenna Blum
71. Between You and Me - Susan Wiggs
72. Who Was George Washington Carver? - Jim Gigliotti
73. Bring Me Back - B. A. Paris
74. Who Was Genghis Khan? - Nico Medina
75. All Are Welcome - Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman
76. Born a Crime - Trevor Noah*
77. The Space Between Us - Thrity Umrigar*
78. Nightbooks - J. A. White
79. The Secrets Between Us - Thrity Umrigar
80. The War that Saved My Life - Kimberly Brubaker Bradley


81. Under a Dark Sky - Lori Rader-Day
82. Allie All Along - Sarah Lynne Reul
83. No Frogs in School - A. La Faye and E. Ceulemans
84. If You Go to a March - M. Freeman and V. Kim
85. How to Feed Your Parents - R. Miller and H. Aly
86. Never Satisfied: The Story of the Stonecutter - D. Horowitz
87. Unpunished Murder - Lawrence Goldstone
88. How to Be a T. Rex - Ryan North and Mike Lowery
89. Six Weeks in the Sioux Tepees - Sarah F. Wakefield
90. I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 - Lauren Tarshis
91. The Muse - Jessie Burton
92. The Day You Begin - Jacqueline Woodson
93. Harbor Me - Jacqueline Woodson
94. From the Corner of the Oval - Beck Dorey-Stein
95. Saving Winslow - Sharon Creech
96. Death of the Snake Catcher - Ak Welsapar
97. Homespun - Ed. by Lorilee Craker


98. Mission Defrostable (Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast #3) - J. Funk and B. Kearney
99. Business Pig - Andrea Zuill
100. Look at Me!: Wild Animal Show-Offs - Jim Arnosky
101. I Know You Know - Gilly Macmillan
102. Never Too Young - Aileen Weintraub and Laura Horton
103. When Elephants Fly - Nancy Richardson Fischer
104. Mac B., Kid Spy: Mac Undercover - Mac Barnett, illus. by Mike Lowery
105. The Birds of Opulence - Crystal Wilkinson
106. Hot Winter Nights - Jill Shalvis
107. The Sadness of Beautiful Things° - Simon Van Booy
108. Sons and Soldiers - Bruce Henderson


109. A Brown Man in Russia - Vijay Menon
110. The Kennedy Debutante - Kerri Maher
111. Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Ghosts - Katie and Kevin Tsang
112. News of Our Loved Ones - Abigail DeWitt
113. The Last Ballad - Wiley Cash
114. The Sadness of Beautiful Things* - Simon Van Booy
115. News of the World*^- Paulette Jiles
116. Hey, Kiddo - Jarrett J. Krosoczka
117. Seven Days of Us - Francesca Hornak
118. The Travelling Cat Chronicles - Hiro Arikawa, translated by Philip Gabriel
119. To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel - Harper Lee and Fred Fordham (adaptor/illustrator)
120. Polar Bear Island - Lindsay Bonilla and Cinta Villalobos
121. Monstrous Devices - Damien Love


122. Marilla of Green Gables - Sarah McCoy
123. The Truth Pixie - Matt Haig
124. The Third Level - Jack Finney
125. Cupidity - Patricia Wood
126. Unsheltered - Barbara Kingsolver


127. Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets - Sara O'Leary and Jacob Grant
128. A Duke Changes Everything - Christy Carlyle
129. Their Finest Hour and a Half - Lissa Evans
130. Down in Mississippi - Johnette Downing and Katherine Zecca
131. The Huntress - Kate Quinn

* reread
° e-book
^ mentioned but not reviewed

©2018 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.