My Bookshelf Challenge for 2017

My personal goal in 2017 is to read my own books while working on the Birthstone Bookology challenge which may take more than the year to complete. We'll see how it goes.  In particular, my dusty print books that have been lingering on my shelves. They are all quite sad and have been loudly calling my name with each passing day. I also have a few ebooks that are aging away. However my goal is to read more print books this year.   Maybe this year I'll do a better job of keeping track of what I read and complete my own 52 Bingo challenge.  *grin*   

On the shelf 

Alexandria Link (#1) - Steve Berry 
Angelmaker - Nick Harkaway
Blinding - Mircea Cartarescu
Daughter of Time  - Josephine Tey
Devlin Diary -  Christie Phillips
From the Corner of His Eye - Dean Koontz
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  - Stieg Larson
Great Weaver of Kashmir - Halldor Laxness
Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Neffennegger 
In the Shadow of Young Girls - Marcel Proust 
Innocence - Dean Koontz 
Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman
Lord of Chaos (#6 WOT) - Robert Jordan
Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami
Master and Commander - Patrick O'brien
Midwife of Venice - Roberta Rich
Murder One - Robert Dugoni 
Natural History of Dragons - Maria Brennan
Niccolo Rising - Dorothy Dunnett 
Night Film - Marisha Pessl
Norwegian Woods -  Haruki Murakami
Post Captain - Patrick O'brien
Remarkable Creatures -  Tracy Chevalier 
Russian Winter -  Daphne Kalotay 
Seventh Plague - James Rollins
Spartacus: The Gladiator - Ben Kane 
Skin Game -  Jim Butcher
Sunne in Splendor - Sharon Kay Penman
the Fountain of Saint James Court - Sena Jeter Naslund
the Revolt - Susan Wise Bauer
the Source - James Michener 
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
the Three Body Problem - Cixin Lui
The Translator - John Crowley
Thicker Than Blood - C.J. Darlington
Through the Darkness -  Susan Wise Bauer
Venetian Betrayal (#2) - Steve Berry 


6th Extinction - James Rollins
11.22.63 - Stephen King 
13th Tribe - Robert Liparulo 
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
Dawn - Octavia Butler 
Gifted Thief - Helen Harper 
Have Stakes  Will Travel - Faith Hunter
Ice Cutters Daughter - Tracie Peterson
Sweet Tomorrows - Debbie Macomber 
the Forest House - Marion Zimmer Bradley 
The Redbreast - Jo Nesbo 
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Thief with no Shadow - Emily Gee 
Thieves of Heaven- Richard Doetsch 
TimeKeeper - Tara Sim

2017 Birthstone Bookology Reading Adventure

Birthstone Bookology

Reading Adventure  

Inspiration struck me a few days ago while working on themes and authors flavors for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.   Something that would spice up the old A to Z alphabet or spelling out the months.  The Birthstone Bookology Reading Adventure will take me around the world and through different time periods from the ancients to the present. Plus there are a variety of directions this challenge can go with exploring the myths and lore, different time periods and countries where the stones are found, as well as reading books spelling out the stones.  The possibilities are limitless and ripe with rabbit trails. 

I'm going to keep an open mind, use my imagination and see where it takes me.  Join me on Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks and have fun exploring the world.  


One book per letter in the birthstone of the month.

The birthstone name in the title.

The color of the stone in the title.

Set in the time period where the birthstone was discovered

The mythological figure or lore surrounding the stone

Set in the place where the birthstone is currently found

January -  Garnet 

February - Amethyst

March -  Aquamarine

April -  Diamond

May - Emerald

July - Ruby 

August - PeridotSardonyx or Spinel 

September - Sapphire 

October - Opal or Tourmaline 

November - Topaz 

December -  TurquoiseTanzanite, or Zircon   

2016 Reading Wrap Up

2016 Reading Wrap Up!

How many books did you read and did you meet or beat your own personal goal?  Or did you get caught up in reading and forget to keep?    

2016 turned out to be a stressful year for a variety of reasons which means my goals went out the window and I escaped into comfort reads, sticking with favorite authors.    So I ended up rereading quite a few and didn't keep track of how many.  However  after perusing my shelves, both physical and virtual, recreated my reading year and discovered I have read 101 books.  What fun! What memories!    I discovered a few books lost in the shelves to read for next year.  They keep having babies.  Derailed by rabbit trails!  Back to the subject at hand.

Statistics wise:

101 Books
49 authors
11 are new to me
34 female
36 whole series or part of series
49 paranormal and urban fantasy with a couple dystopian thrown in for good measure. The remainder are a mixture of mystery and suspense, psychological thrillers or mild horror, contemporary romance and historical.
43 print books
58 e-books
17 Chunky
6 nonfiction

What were your most favorite stories?   Any stories that stayed with you a long time,  left you wanting more or needed to digest for a while before starting another?  Did you read any books that touched you and made you laugh, cry, sing or dance. 

I fell in like with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series this year and devoured all eight chunky books as well as binge watched the first two seasons of the TV series on Starz.  Once I finished the series, it took me a while to move on as my head was full of Claire, Jamie and company.  It made me laugh, sigh, yell in frustration at stupid choices, cringe during fight scenes and  saddened when a favored character died.

Robert McCammon's dystopian Swan Song captured my attention and left me wanting to know what happened to the characters after the end of the story.

T.M. Causey's Saints of the Lost and Found enthralled with the character who could read any person she came in contact with and know what they had lost - whether physically or emotionally or spiritually.   As soon as I finished it, I turned right around and read it again.

What is the one book or the one author you thought you'd never read and found yourself pleasantly surprised that you liked it?  Any that made you want to toss it across the room in disgust?

Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy both surprised and disgusted me.  It was a fascinating adventure into  India in the 1960's. A blend of culture and politics and how it plays a role in the life of both family and friends. Seth has a way of weaving a story and enmeshing the reader into the characters lives. So when the character didn't make what I considered the right choice, I wanted to throw the book across the room in disgust.  

What countries and time periods did you visit?  

I went from the bottom of the sea up to outer space.  Spent quite a bit of time visiting various countries in Europe including England, Scotland, France and Greece.  Traveled through the Middle East and settled down in India for a bit. Visited the past as well as the future and explored alternative worlds.  I traveled the Appalachian trail  with Bill Bryson and experienced the 60's through Joan Didion's eyes.

Plans for next year?  Attempt to stay on track and have fun with birthstone bookology. Read from my own stacks until... well, just until I give in and buy that next new book in the series I've been waiting for.   😎

Happy to say this year is ending on a very thrilling note as we just closed on a new business property. Let's just say after 6 months of hoops, I'm an expert hoop jumper now. A story for another day.   You might say the planning and renovating a new building, while sorting, throwing away and packing a business that's been in the same spot for 28 years will be equally stressful.  But in this case, the good kind, so onward and upward.


J.D. Robb - Diva of Death and Dialogue

J.D. Robb's Brotherhood in Death 

I am hooked on J.D. Robb  (aka Nora Roberts)and her In Death series.  She is the one author I pre-order all her books and read them over and over again.  Yes, I've read the whole In Death series three times, plus listened to the audiobooks once. I'm currently on a 2nd go round of listening to them in the car while going to and fro. I learn something new with each read or listen.    I still consider myself a newbie writer since I discovered the joy about 10 years ago.  Around the same time, a friend suggested I read one of Nora's books from her McGregor series and I've been hooked ever since.  I studied how she handled all the elements from the dialogue to point of view to description.   And that's how I feel in love with Eve and Roark and the whole cast of characters from In Death.   No she doesn't hit it out of the ballpark with every story, but that doesn't stop me from reading every single one.

Yes, she breaks some rules with point of view, sliding in a thought here and there from other characters, but it works very well.   Didn't realize it was 'against the rules' until  another writer friend provided me feedback on a couple chapters and took me to task for differing points of view.  Rules are made to be broken and according to Alice LaPlant in The Making of a Story, the rules are more guidelines than anything else. * grin *   I had more fun completing all the exercises in TMoaS when I did a study with a group at WVU, ..which is a story for another day.

She rarely uses dialogue tags choosing instead to  use movement beats and momentum of the scene so you always know who is speaking.  It's sort of rubbed off on my own writing as  you can tell from the last post with the discussion between Ashley and Greg.   I've listened to other authors who use a lot of he said, she said and when read aloud, becomes really distracting.  Robyn Carr's Virgin River for instance.  I love reading the series but couldn't stand listening to the first book.  Which is why I appreciate J.D. Robb's style so much.