2019: December wrap-up

DECEMBER 2019 WRAP-UP

đź“š After a meh reading month, I managed to get an amazing month with 14 books read, like in October.

đź“š SO, I have surpassed my yearly goal of 100 books by 18 titles.

đź“š Of course, I’m way behind as far as reviews go, BUT I have a plan to change the situation in 2020! I’m planning on doing a weekly recap, where I’ll do a short review of books finished during my week – keeping my longer review format only for books received for review.
I have started doing a bit of this when I do WWW Wednesdays, and I realize this is the only way to go to catch up.

So here are the titles I read in December:

14 books:
9 in print 
=  with 2,350 pages, an average of 75 pages/day
5 in audio
= 30H37
, an average of 59 minutes

4 in historical novels:

  1. Olga’s Egg, by Sophie Law – received for review
  2. Treachery, by S. J. Parris – ebook, received for review
  3. Lady Clementine, by Marie Benedict – ebook, received for review
  4. Dreamland, by Nancy Bilyeau – ebook, received for review

3 in mystery:

  1. Le Horla, by Guy de Maupassant – audio, for The Classics Club
  2. The Lodger, by Marie Belloc Lowndes – audio, for The Classics Club
  3. Le cri, by Nicolas Beuglet – French audio

3 in nonfiction:

  1. Sur les chemins noirs, by Sylvain Tesson – French audio
  2. Elder Anthony of Optina, by Fr. Clement Sederholm
  3. Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven, by Saint Innocent of Moscow

3 in children’s books:

  1. The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
  2. Roscoe Riley Rules #1, by Katherine Applegate
  3. Roscoe Riley Rules #2, by Katherine Applegate

1 in fiction:

  1. Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley – audio, for The Classics Club

MY FAVORITE BOOKS IN DECEMBER

 Olgas Egg The Lodger Le cri The One And Only Ivan

Sorry, I couldn’t pick up less than 4 this month!!
And to apply what I mentioned above, here are a few words on books not received for review.

Le Horla, by Guy de Maupassant [The Horla, in English]
I read and studied this story in France 7th grade I believe, so that’s a few decades ago. As one of my French students wanted to read something short (she has just finished reading Les MisĂ©rables in French – unabridged of course!), we talked about short stories and I mentioned that in my days, we all had to read this one.
So to accompany my student, I decided to revisit it, and to listen to it this time, also for The Classics Club.
I found an awesome recording on Youtube. The narrator is great, plus if you want to refresh your French, you can read the text at the same time! And remember you can slow down youtube videos.
I was amazed at Maupassant’s style. I had totally forgotten how he wrote. His writing is so modern, you would never think he wrote this book in 1887! There are both beautiful descriptions and successions of shorter, very lively sentences, describing the inner evolution of a sick man. It’s basically its short journal documenting his slow descent into madness, as he feels there’s some type of supernatural, invisible, and ominous being around him. It’s actually considered as a horror story. Brilliant!

The LodgerThe Lodger, by Marie Belloc Lowndes
Another great classic that I listened to for The Classics Club.
It was written in 1913 and is based on Jack the Ripper murders.
It’s the story of Mr and Mrs Buntings. They haven’t had lodgers for a long time, and they are basically starving for lack of money. Then one day, one guy arrives, asks for rooms, and pays them very generously.
But Mrs Bunting heard about a serial killer in town, and she starts wondering…
There were not too many surprises in the book, but the author did a great job on the psychological (apparently, the author is known for that) tension in the mind of the landlady. And the ending was a smart solution!
Plus the narrator is excellent at doing various English accents.
I didn’t know at all this author. Her mother was English, but her father was French. She actually has a famous brother, Hillaire Belloc, who wrote books on Roman Catholicism, very well known in France. I knew him, abut had no idea he had a prolific sister writing mysteries. Unfortunately, her other books don’t seem to be available as audiobooks.
Definitely an author I recommend.

Le criLe cri, by Nicolas Beuglet
Wow, I just finished listening to this French book, my first one by this author.
Brilliant. Alas not yet available in English.
Gaustad Psychiatric Hospital, Oslo. At the dawn of a freezing night, the body of a patient was found strangled in his cell, his mouth open in a silent scream.  Inspector Sarah Geringën immediately felt this case was very special.
And it got more and more puzzling: why does the victim have a scar with the number 488 on the forehead? What do these indecipherable drawings on the wall of his cell mean? Why do hospital staff seem so uncomfortable about his identity?
I won’t tell much more, but this story totally grabbed me. So smartly done, it’s about psychology and a special project during the Cold War – I won’t reveal you which project here. At one point in the book, I did some research, thinking the author had all made it up, but I realized this did partly happen!! I actually learned a lot, and the suspense was unreal. I’m trying to get the sequel as an audio as well.
The narrator was great, except at one point he pronounced the word Christ as to make it rhyme with mist!

The One And Only IvanThe One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
I explained here how I got this book and why I wanted to read it, with the synopsis.
Well, I did also manage to cry on this one. Applegate has a knack for writing deep stories full of wisdom, in a very accessible style for middle graders. This one is about the strength of friendship, art, freedom, and hope, and is based on true facts. Very refreshing! Recommended to all children AND adults!

So then I decided I need to read more books by Katherine Applegate. I went to the library and checked out 4.
Roscoe Riley Rules #1 and #2 are short funny stories about a young boy getting constantly into trouble, although he means well and has always great reasons. This 7 book series is not as deep as the two novels I have read by her. However, they are funny and do have nice life lessons. Set in the context of trouble in class, they remind me a lot of the French classics Le Petit Nicolas, by René Goscinny, though they are shorter and for younger kids.

Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley
This is a charming and beautiful story as a homage to books and adventure! That’s all I will say, you have to experience it. I liked the old style, and the narrator’s voice and tone fit perfectly with the character of Helen. If you are looking for a short and nice classic, this one is for you!
Now I want to read the sequel, The Haunted Bookshop.

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 8/50 (until September 2024)
2019 Calendar of Crime Challenge:
I read 32 mysteries, and most of them are crime fiction, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to fit the titles with the chart for this challenge. It contains categories like the author’s birth month. I have no idea, and for me, it’s totally irrelevant. I should have paid more attention before launching into this challenge.
Where Are You Reading?: 21/50 – to be finished in ??
Total of books read in 2019 = 118/100 – FINISHED
Number of books added to my TBR this past month= 25

OTHER BOOKS I REVIEWED THIS MONTH

Secret Agent Brainteasers Ultimate Trivia Unicorns Real Chemistry Experiments
A Noel Killling The 30-Minute Ayurvedic Cookbook Word Detective The One-Pot weight Loss plan
My first grade workbook

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

Olgas Egg

click on the cover to access my review 

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

Top Ten Books on my 2019 Winter TBR

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

That Artsy Reader Girl
please go visit

TOP COMMENTERS 

Judy at Keep the Wisdom
Silvia at Silvia Cachia
Karen at Booker Talk

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,097 posts
over 5,070 followers
over 188,620 hits

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Come back tomorrow
to see the books I plan to read in January


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How was YOUR month of December?

2019-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up_300

Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!

 

2019: November wrap-up

NOVEMBER 2019 WRAP-UP

đź“š It’s really unusual for me, but I had a rather meh reading month, as for quantity and content. Actually, I tend to read more slowly when the books are not that great.
But I listened to a lot of audiobook content!

đź“š AND I have so far already read more books than my yearly goal of 100 books. So it’s not all that bad.

đź“š PLUS, November saw my 5,000th follower! As promised, I sent a book to the lucky new follower (Shalini at Shalini’s Books & Reviews – please go and visit her). That ended up being quite an adventure. I talked about it here.
I promised another giveaway for all my current followers, I will post it in a few days.

đź“š I actually did read/browse some gorgeous books published by Rockridge Press and received through The Callisto Publisher’s Club, but as they are mostly cookbooks and children activity books, I do not count them in my statistics.
Some bloggers disagree with that. I don’t mind what other bloggers do, I personally only count books what I really read from A to Z, no word skipped.

📚 Thankfully, it was #Nonficnov, so I visited lots of blogs featuring fascinating nonfiction titles.

đź“š And I’m currently reading 2 great books – come back tomorrow to know more about them!

So here are the few titles I read in November:

6 books:
3 in print 
=  with 862 pages, an average of 28 pages/day
3 in audio
= 25H10
, an average of 50 minutes

5 in mystery:

  1. Scare Me, by Richard Jay Parker – free ebook won in a giveaway
  2. Sharko, by Franck Thilliez – French audiobook
  3. The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgar Allan Poe – audio, for The Classics Club
  4. A NoĂ«l Killing, by M.L. Longworth – received for review for Criminal Element
  5. The Mystery of the Hansom Cab, by Fergus Hume – audio, for The Classics Club

1 in nonfiction:

  1. Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth, by Tom Brown – free book won in a giveaway

MY FAVORITE BOOK IN NOVEMBER

  My Preschool WorkbookSad, but none of the books I completely read is worth being featured as a favorite. Let me tell you a few words about the ones I have not reviewed.

The Masque of the Red Death
I listened to this short story by Edgar Allan Poe for The Classics Club.
I was actually rather disappointed by it. I didn’t think there was much to it, probably because of the short story format. I even listened to an analysis of it, that was actually longer than the book itself, to be sure I had not missed something major. I didn’t even find suspense in it, as the end was obvious from the get go.

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab
And I listened to this one also for The Classics Club. I was really curious, as the author lived for a long time in New Zealand.
I was also rather disappointed. Even though it’s only 260 pages, I felt it was dragging for the resolution of the mystery. However, it was interesting to read about Melbourne in the 1880s. “A man is found dead in a hansom cab, and one of Melbourne’s leading citizens is accused of the murder. He pleads his innocence, yet refuses to give an alibi.” The reason why was also quite clear from the beginning.
I wanted to try this author, who supposedly really influenced Conan Doyle, but I don’t think I’ll read more by him.

A Noël Killing
If you want to try a Christmas mystery with a Provence setting, you may find A Noël Killing enjoyable. It was too slow for me, and as I notice the same criticism applied by other readers to the first book in this series, I don’t think I’ll stay in the company of Verlaque and Bonnet. It also contained inexact details about the region.
This is an excerpt of my review that will be published on Criminal Element mid December.

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 6/50 (until September 2024)
2019 Calendar of Crime Challenge 20/12?
Where Are You Reading?: 21/50 – to be finished in ??
Total of books read in 2019 = 104/100 – FINISHED
Number of books added to my TBR this past month= 26

BOOKS I REVIEWED THIS MONTH

Guide to Healing the Earth  My Preschool Workbook Healing with Apple Cider Vinegar Feng Shui

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

click on the cover to access my review (2013!)

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

Nonfiction 2019 Book Pairings

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

The Mommy Island
please go visit

TOP COMMENTERS 

Judy at Keep the Wisdom
Karen at Booker Talk
Silvia at Silvia Cachia

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,071 posts
over 5,025 followers
over 186,900 hits

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Come back tomorrow
to see the books I plan to read in December.


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How was YOUR month of November?

2019-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up_300

Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!

 

2019: October wrap-up

OCTOBER 2019 WRAP-UP

đź“š Another great month of reading, with a lot of nonfiction. Of course, November is nonfiction month, not October. Oh well…

So here is what I read in October:

14 books:
11 in print 
=  with 2,204 pages, an average of 71 pages/day
3 in audio
= 20H34
, an average of 39 minutes

7 in nonfiction:

  1. Oh, the Meetings You’ll Go To!: A Parody, by Dr Suits – graphic “novel”
  2. Elder Leonid of Optina, by Fr Clement Sederholm – Eastern Orthodoxy
  3. Secret Agent Brainteasers: More Than 100 Codebreaking Puzzles Inspired by Britain’s Espionage Masterminds, by Sinclair McKay – ebook, for review
  4. Alexander Schmorell: Saint of the German Resistance
    by Elena Perekrestov – Eastern Orthodoxy
  5. Travels with a Donkey in the CĂ©vennes, by Robert Louis Stevenson – audio, for The Classics Club
  6. The Parables: Biblical, Patristic, and Liturgical Interpretation, by Dmitri Royster – Eastern Orthodoxy
  7. A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind, by Shoukei Matsumoto

2 in mystery:

  1. Solving Cadence Moore, by Gregory Sterner, for review
  2. Avalanche hôtel, by Niko Tackian- French audiobook

2 in manga:

  1. My Neighbor Totoro, vol. 3 by Hayao Miyazaki
  2. My Neighbor Totoro, vol. 4 by Hayao Miyazaki

1 in literary fiction:

  1. Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald – audio, for The Classics Club

1 in science-fiction:

  1. Supernova Era, by Liu Cixin – for review

1 in historical fiction:

  1. On the Edge of the World, by Nikolai Leskov – ebook, for The Classics Club

MY FAVORITES IN OCTOBER

  Supernova Era  Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes

READING CHALLENGES & RECAP

Classics Club: 4/50 (until September 2024)
2019 Calendar of Crime Challenge 15/12?
Where Are You Reading?: 21/50 – to be finished in ??
Total of books read in 2019 = 98/100
Number of books added to my TBR this past month= 20

BOOKS I REVIEWED THIS MONTH

one pot cooking  Keto in 30 minutes

Supernova Era The Man That Got Away Civilizations

Solving Cadence Moore WeSolarisChildhoods End

 

GIVEAWAYS

The open giveaways are on my homepage

MOST POPULAR BOOK REVIEW THIS PAST MONTH

Rebecca

click on the cover to access my review

MOST POPULAR POST THIS PAST MONTH
– NON BOOK REVIEW –

My Year 2019 in Nonfiction

BOOK BLOG THAT BROUGHT ME MOST TRAFFIC THIS PAST MONTH

Semicolon
please go visit

TOP COMMENTERS OF THE MONTH

Judy at Keep the Wisdom
Karen at Booker Talk
Silvia at Silvia Cachia

BLOG MILESTONES 

2,055 posts
over 4,965 subscribers
over 185,050 hits

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Come back on Monday
to see the books I plan to read in November.


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How was YOUR month of October?

2019-Monthly-Wrap-Up-Round-Up_300

Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
has created a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!