Top 10 Tuesday – Cozy Winter Reads

Hello! It’s Tuesday and you know what time it is…Top Ten. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, Jana every week, she posts a new topic/top ten list and invites everyone to share their picks. I looked at this week’s challenge and it sounded like a fun one.

It’s all up to the interpretation of course. I think for me a cozy winter read is a book that can do one of many things: One might be a cozy mystery where I can plop down into a little town, get to know the people and solve a mystery without any gore. Another might be a science fiction or fantasy that allows me to escape to another world with magic and/or cool science. Another might be one that wraps me up in a light family drama. And finally one could transport me to another country where I can learn about another culture without leaving my cozy reading nook!

That said, I have selected 10 reads from my bookshelf that I have not read but believe would fall into this category:

I have a thing about buying used cozy mysteries at independent stores. I love cozy mysteries for many reasons but I really like the fact that they are typically series and you can stay with the characters for a while. They also always have cute covers and are small enough to go in my beach bag in the summer.  I also like reading them between my heavy non-fiction books.  I selected four different cozy mysteries from my collection.

  1. Thread and Buried, A Threadville Mystery by Jane Bolin – I love that cozy books are based around bookstores or crafts.
  2. Crime and Poetry, A Magical Bookshop Mystery by Amanda Flower – Oops, I lied, I did read this one. It was really cute. I love the cat, whose name is Emerson in this book. Read it and you will see why.
  3. Murder Under Cover, A Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle – I am waiting to dive into this one. It will be my first from this author.
  4. Bookplate Special, A Booktown Mystery by Lorna Barrett – Another oops. I read this one too. I read the first in the series and then this one. It has a really cute cast of characters and light romance.
  5. Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham – This one isn’t a cozy mystery. I have been wanting to read this since it came out in 2016. I love the diversity in the characters. The main heroine is a black Muslim.
  6. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – For the obvious reasons I have been meaning to read something by Nnedi Okorafor. I own 3 books by this fantasy author and yet have not cracked one up.
  7. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – Have had this book for ages and looking forward to it transporting me back in time to Iceland to discover what really happened in this murder trial.
  8. A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman – I am probably the last to read this. I won’t even watch the movie adaptation until I read the book. Because we all know the books are always better.
  9. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She is Sorry by Frederik Backman – I saw this in the thrift shop for $1.59 and thought, if everyone liked the first book this might be good too so I picked it up.
  10. What the Fly Saw by Frankie Y. Bailey – Last year, I tried collecting mysteries written by Black females and this was one of the many I picked up. I can’t wait to read this one.

So there are 10 of my cozy picks. Can’t wait to see what your list!

Happy reading!

Belinda

Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

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Title: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland
Copyright: April 3, 2018
Genre: fiction
Format: book
Pages: 455

 

Summary (from Goodreads):

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

About the Author (Justina Ireland):

Image result for justina ireland

Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows. But what you may not know about her is that:

 Over the last several years, Ireland and others in the YA world have been using Twitter to call out what they see as an enduring tradition of racist nonsense in publishing…As Ireland has repeatedly taken pains to point out, the world of children’s and young-adult literature is overwhelmingly, disproportionately white. Of some 3,700 books for children or teens that were published last year, just 340 were about children or teens who were black, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin. Of those, just 100 were written by black authors. Ireland argues that the industry should publish more books by nonwhite authors, and that white authors should think more carefully about how they represent black and brown people in their books.

My Thoughts:

This book was fantastic. I heard about this book from the Book Riot podcast and I was interested because I liked how it was an alternate history during the civil war time. I was also thrilled that the protagonist was mixed race.

The cover art grabbed my attention and it appealed to me that the author was a black woman. As I quoted earlier, there is a disproportionate amount of non-white authors published in the industry today. I’m always trying to make a conscious effort to support black authors.  Because if we don’t buy the books written by people of color then the publishers can say that they didn’t create or generate the sales that they need to be publishing books and we will miss an opportunity to experience diverse talent.

I won’t lie when I say that I was a little hesitant when I saw the word zombie in the description. But the idea of an alternate history where blacks during the civil war were trained in weaponry and etiquette. Well, I just had to see this book through. The story was easy to get into I really like the main character, Jane, who was very strong and smart.

Structurally, I like how at the very start of each chapter you would see an excerpt from a letter Jane wrote to her mother. Since she had to live apart from her mother at the boarding school, she wanted to keep in touch with her mother and we saw this represented in the letters she wrote to her mother.

Of course, you get to see the boarding school experience through Jane’s eyes and hear a lot about how she gets along with the fella girls. You also get glimpses of her past where she used to live on Rose Hill with her mother and the story unfolds really slowly chapter to chapter. I like that it is spread out throughout the story. The author doesn’t throw all the information at you in the beginning. It is delivered at a pace that really enhanced the experience of the book.

Although the story is a fantastical alternate history of the civil war era, the issues of race ring familiar today. We aren’t in that great “melting pot” that we often talked about when I was growing up. We can’t be when people have racial bias and laws that govern exacerbate those feelings. There were many action scenes much of which took place in the last quarter of the book and I just couldn’t put it down had to finish it. I believe it is the start of a series. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and looking forward to the next one.

I give this book 4 1/2 butterflies.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten of the Longest Books I’ve Read

Hello! It’s Tuesday and you know what time it is…Top Ten. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, Jana every week, they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. I looked at this week’s challenge and went to GoodReads to see if I could identify the longest books I’ve read over the years (at least since I have been using Goodreads).

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi 525 pages

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A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir 452 pages

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Winter by Marissa Meyer 827 pages

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The Time in Between by Maria Duenas 615 pages

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The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley 527 pages

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The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith 455 pages

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 440 pages

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Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson 436 pages

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Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand 473 pages

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The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani 475 pages

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The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach 512 pages

Since I really loved this book, I had to add one more big book and that is The Orphan Keeper. This book was long but it was so good, I barely noticed the length.

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The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright 432 pages

Happy reading!

Belinda

Top Ten Tuesday: Books By (some of) My Favorite Authors That I still Haven’t Read

Hello! It’s Tuesday and you know what time it is…Top Ten. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, Jana every week, they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. I looked at this week’s challenge and thought I could easily participate since I have a rather large TBR to choose from.

5186So many years ago, I read Edwidge Danticat’s “Krik Krak” and was so moved by how at such a young age, Edwidge wrote with so much feeling and rawness that I knew I had to read more.  I ended up buying more of her books but not reading them.

31115Some of the books she has written that I still need to read are:

Breath, Eyes, Memory

The Farming of Bones

 

 

51108I read The Samurai’s Garden a couple years ago with a book club and really enjoyed the writing and the story. I quickly began snatching up used copies of Gail Tsukiyama’s other books at used book sales.  Another of her other books I would like to read is:

The Language of Threads

 

 

 

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This list would not be complete without Sujata Massey. I have been with her since her first novel in 1997, “The Salaryman’s Wife (Rei Shimura #1). I loved the main character and experiencing various aspects of Japanese culture while solving a mystery. I read the entire series. Two books of hers that are not in that 40545212series that I have not read yet are:

The Sleeping Dictionary

I am also super excited about her upcoming release of another series she writes. It is called “The Satapur Moonstone (Perveen #2) and it is scheduled to be released in May 2019 and you know I already have it on pre-order!

22221136Another author that I have read a lot of books is Susanna Kearsley. I started with Mariana and never looked back.

15942636They are fantastic books. With a mix of romance and historical fiction that keeps you coming back for more. I have a few that I have not read yet:
 A Desperate Fortune

The Firebird

 

34912895Another author that I have read and enjoyed and need to catch up on is Kristin Hannah. I have only read The Nightingale but I loved it.  1472878So I picked up several of her books in my last birthday book haul and have yet to read them.

One of which is:

Firefly Lane

The Great Alone

 

25150798I read Lisa See many years ago and really enjoyed her books. I recently bought one of her books as part of my birthday haul that I have been meaning to read:

Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

 

So as you can see, I had no problem pulling some books that I want to read from my big old TBR.

Hope you have a wonderful day and find time to spend with a book!

Belinda

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