74. The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center - Katherine Center's debut is about a pregnant woman who is engaged to her unborn child's father. When he abandons her and a good-looking neighbor steps in to help, Jenny realizes what she was missing in a relationship. But, is she too stung to move on to a new romance? Sweet, predictable romance feels secondary to the story of pregnancy and single motherhood but I loved the romance so much that I plucked the book off my stationary bike to rush through it. Apart from the focus on being a new mother (which I confess bored me a bit), my only complaint is that Jenny got a lot of help financially and was able to stay home on her own with no job. Maybe the author thought adding a financial struggle would be too much but that aspect felt unrealistic to me. Most single mothers have finances to deal with as well as the ordinary stresses of new parenthood.
75. Did I Ever Tell You This? by Sam Neill - I ordered Sam Neill's new memoir before Book Depository was shut down because I've been following him on Instagram for some time @samneilltheprop and find him charming and full of joy. Did I Ever Tell You This? was written during the pandemic, as Neill was going through chemotherapy, and while he occasionally mentions realizing that he might not survive his illness, the book is generally an upbeat, chatty, and warm book of anecdotes, mostly about growing up, the joys of work, farming, and making his own wine, and his love of people and animals. He's a good storyteller and I kept turning to tell my husband anecdotes from the book, so he finally went off to fetch The Dish, my all-time favorite movie, which just happens to star Sam Neill. It worked if he was trying to shut me up. I highly recommend both the book and the movie.
76. The Dead of the Night (Tomorrow series #2) by John Marsden - The second in the Tomorrow series, which begins with Tomorrow, When the War Began, has the remaining teenagers angry and hurting after their friend Corrie was injured and Kevin never returned from taking her to town for help. After a month recovering, Ellie suggests that they go in the other direction from their camping spot in a place known as Hell. They leave one of their band behind to feed the animals and find a large group of people who call themselves Harvey's Heroes. While they begin to settle in, they want to go back to bring their friend Chris, in spite of the fact that the males are separated from the females and the chores are also divided in a sexist way. But, when the "heroes" go on a mission and it ends in tragedy, they're forced to run for their lives. Back in Hell, they find that Chris is missing. And, then they get tired of recovering, again, and go on a mission in the dead of the night. So good. I love this series and I'm glad I bought the boxed set for rereading.