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Mary's Books

I have loved to read since I was little. I would borrow many books from the library and still borrow to this day, but I also purchase books (mostly for my kids) and freebies on Kindle. I read as much as I can daily. Sometimes I read several books at one time. I don't have a preference of paper book over an ebook, I just love to read. Keeping lists of what I have read is a good way for me to remember. 

Currently reading

The Midnight Show Murders
Al Roker, Dick Lochte
Black River Falls
Jeff Hirsch
And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life
Jane Christmas
Look Both Ways
Carol J. Perry
The Devotional Bible: Experiencing The Heart of Jesus
Max Lucado
Progress: 51 %
Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 Days
John A Carroll
Progress: 60 %

Book Better Than Movie

The Morning Show Murders - Al Roker, Dick Lochte

My family and I love the Hallmark Channel (January to October 15th, after the 15th you start seeing non-stop Christmas). We love the mystery movies that they put on and the mystery shows. So after Christmas, the commercials started talking about Al Roker's mysteries. I had seen them but had not read them. So with the movie coming, I decided I needed to "read" this book, but I have been unable to find it in Kindle format, so I borrowed it as an audio. 

Billy Blessing (male) is a chef with a popular NYC restaurant and host of morning news segments and a cooking program. One night the restaurant is visited by the local corrupt DA who demands that he be given a private room for his entourage. Billy's manager, Cassandra - a strong woman who doesn't take anything from anyone, refuses to move people to please this man. The next night, the restaurant is closed down by the police because one of Billy's coworkers, Rudy - a man who has a black book of women and cheats on all of them, is found dead in his apartment and they believe that Billy committed the crime. Because Billy is the main suspect and the police and DA are causing him problems in his business, he feels the need to find out who really killed Rudy. As he searches for the real killer, he comes across another killer, a serial killer called Felix. Because he is now being threatened, he is given a security detail and still works to find the true Felix. 

There were moments that the story felt like "The Gourmet Detective" by Peter King. At other times you could clearly see the author's beliefs. He dedicates the books to his family and says they think he hasn't got a clue. 

Overall, the book was pretty good, but the movie was okay but definitely different from the book. Billie (female), Cassandra (aunt) and Ian the detective helps while in the book, the detective was adversarial and crooked as well.

And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life - Jane Christmas
""Every time you begin something, pray. It marks the start of a new chapter in your day and your life," Sister Jessica had taught me. "And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life" by Jane Christmas"

Odd Name, but Good Facts and Trivia

Toiletrivia - General Trivia Sampler (History Trivia, Movie Trivia, Sports Trivia, Geography Trivia, and More): The Only Trivia Book That Caters To Your Everyday Bathroom Needs (Volume 6) - Jeremy Klaff, Harry Klaff

I found many of these Toiletrivia books on Amazon for free some time ago and I bought them. I didn't have time to go through them all at the time but thought they might be fun for trivia night (Trivial Pursuit questions can be dated) and I thought they might also spark the girls to find out more on something they see in these questions. I know that I marked this as read in 2017, but I again revisited the book and made the girls open it and start working on the questions today. It was really fun to watch them with their facts. 

First in the Series

Death by Chocolate Lab - Bethany Blake

I thought the name of the title was funny (criteria for me to choose to read it). It was a cute story about two sisters sharing a house together and their mother, a realtor. The youngest sister holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and runs her own dog walking/sitting business. Her older sister is a veterinarian who is driven to succeed, like their mother, the realtor. The night before dog show for agility, the younger sister, Daphne is watching out her window while the people show up to set up for the next day. She sees her sister, Piper, giving a thermos of coffee to a man that she doesn't like. Later the next day, Daphne finds him dead in a tunnel. She doesn't want to see her sister as the person of interest in the murder and starts to find out the truth for herself. Along the way she learns many secrets of the people in the town she grew up in. She also learns that people will talk to her about what they know or what they suspect. She also keeps searching for the murdered man's dog that has gone missing following the murder. She also develops a relationship with the new detective in town. 


I did borrow the 2nd book in the series and am curious to see how things continue as Daphne is "involved" with two different men and she seems to be trying to figure out her own life. I know that as I write there are only in three in the series, so I don't know if I will read them all or not, but I did enjoy the story a little, but I just felt that Daphne needed to be more adult and not needing rescue from her constant running out of gas and leaving places without paying for meals. 



Well Researched and Written

The Case for Christ - Lee Strobel

I had marked the movie on Netflix to watch and then I remembered hearing that this was a book. I decided to read the book since I feel that books are often better than movies. I borrowed the audio version so that I could work on other things while listening to the book. Very early in the book, the author was talking about his criteria for someone to interview in his quest for the truth. His academic qualifications and then he said, he still believes that the Cubs will win the World Series. Given that this had just happened, I really laughed at this quote. 

It was interesting to hear about all the people he interviewed where they were and how much he learned from each one, showing that there are others outside of the Gospels that write about what they saw for the time of Jesus and the time after. 

I really did enjoy this book and I know that I will be telling my sister-in-law about it.

Poet, Son of Slaves, From Ohio

The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar - Paul Laurence Dunbar

I had not heard of this author, ever, in my college or high school time. I only discovered him while visiting Wright Brother monuments and museums located in Dayton, OH. I decided that I needed to learn about this man. I was amazed at his work. Not that he could do this work, but that his work, while it is poetry, it is a great quantity and it covers so many different things in his life. It covers love, laughter, death, work, slavery. It is in a dialect and plain English. He shows such emotion in his work. I read a little every day and just thoroughly enjoyed this work. 

Around the US in Mystery/Cozy Mystery

This is what I have achieved so far this year for the Mystery for each state in the United States. I think it is a good start. 






California - "Whistleblower" by Tess Gerritsen




District of Columbia


Georgia "Potions and Pastries" by Bailey Cates











Massachusetts "Look Both Ways" by Carol J Perry

Michigan - "Oh, Fudge" by Nancy CoCo.  Minnesota






New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York - "The Christmas Mystery" by James Patterson

North Carolina - "The Secret, Book & Scone Society" by Ellery Adams

North Dakota




Pennsylvania - "Death by Chocolate Lab" by Bethany Blake

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota





Virginia - "Not a Creature Was Purring," by Krista Davis 


West Virginia





So Much to Read and So Many Challenges!

If you look at my currently reading list you will be shocked by how much is being read. I have challenged my self to read 245 books this year. That was how much I had read last year. I always start with what I accomplished and see if I can repeat it or surpass. Some years I have surpassed and some I have not. A lot of this depends on my free time. I am using more audiobooks this year because I am also trying to finish many items (knit/crochet) and I am spending more time in the car driving back and forth between Ohio and Kentucky (my home and my father-in-law's home and sometimes my father's home). Without the audiobooks, I may not achieve my goal. 


I still love to read the books over listening because it is hard for me to hear all the time (noise levels). 


I decided to try challenges from one of the libraries I go to all the time, they are doing a "New Beginnings" Challenge: 


Happy New Year, and here’s to New Beginnings!

This year, we’re challenging ourselves, and you, to read something new. Each month, we’ll post a subject or genre and suggest some authors or titles that fit the bill.

January’s challenge: Read a book by a Central or South Americana author. Might we suggest….

Mariana Enriquez
Valeria Luiselli
Jennine Capo Crucet
Alejandro Zambra
Mario Vargas Llosa
Chico Buarque


Then I am also doing the book from each of the states in the United States Challenge with the added challenge being a mystery or cozy mystery books. It pays to spend tons of time in the local libraries. They love researching challenges, and so do I! 


I am hoping that these help me reach my goal of 245 books this year and maybe even getting past. 




Just starting out

The Case for Christ - Lee Strobel

I had seen the movie and was unable to watch uninterrupted, so I thought I would try to "read" this book instead. It has even been on my TBR list. Wish me luck. 

Who is Really to Blame?

Crooked House (Buku Catatan Yosephine) - Agatha Christie

I "read" this one with the audio download from a library. I did it this way so that I could knit while I was listening. 

A young man has met the woman of his dreams while stationed in Egypt and proposes to her, but states that they will wait until they are back in England to actually propose. Before he can actually meet her family and propose officially, there is a death of her grandfather. She is concerned that the wrong person is going to be accused of the murder and asks her fiancee to help solve the murder. 

He meets the entire family and learns the dynamics of the family. His father, a police inspector, encourages him to go and listen to the whole family. 

It was an interesting story and had a very interesting twist at the end. I did enjoy this story. I did have to rerun it many times as people kept talking to me and interrupting so that I couldn't follow along. 

Running from Government

Whistleblower - Tess Gerritsen

Viktor is trying to blow the whistle on his company for doing something that is highly illegal but authorized by the government. He first calls the FBI and starts to work with an agent, but when he is ambushed and starts running for his life, he runs in front of a car driven by Cathy Weaver. She saves his life and gets him to a hospital and medical attention. When he wakes up from the surgery he tries to get out of the bed and get to the woman who rescued him. 


It is through their running for their lives that they form a bond. They also work to get the only evidence back that was not reclaimed by his company. 


I enjoyed the story and read it pretty quick. I know that some said that they didn't enjoy this story, but I did. Make up your own mind. 

Christmas from Mackinac Island

Deck the Halls with Fudge - Nancy CoCo

This story was told from the perspective of Frances, who is celebrating Christmas with her new husband in their new house. As she and Douglas are unpacking and making a meal one night, they look out their kitchen window and see a man fall out of a sleigh and get run over by the sleigh. Douglas goes out to see if he can help the man and Frances calls for help. They find that the murdered man is Warren Engle and Frances is friend's with his step-mother and feels that she needs to find out the truth of who murdered her former student. 


The story was interesting and was shorter. It was nice to have a different perspective on the story series. 


This one also only had 1 recipe in it for Peppermint Fudge. 



The Current Last in Series

Potions and Pastries (A Magical Bakery Mystery) - Bailey Cates

This is a series of Cozy Mysteries involving Katie Lightfoot, Declan McCarthy, Lucy and Ben (her aunt and uncle) and the members of the Spellbook Club. It is set in Savannah, GA and Katie with her aunt and uncle own a bakery that is very popular. 


Katie, Lucy, Ben and Declan have gone out to celebrate the 2nd year of business and as they are coming back from their meal they see Orla, a woman they know, telling tarot fortunes to the people on the walk. They are interested in the family dynamic in the Black Family. The next day, Katie and Lucy see Orla outside their shop and go out to talk with her. She says she doesn't have much time to talk, but she would meet with Katie that night, but instead, she walks in front of a car and is instantly killed. 


Katie and Lucy both feel that it wasn't an accident and they begin their own investigation. Even Declan says he doesn't believe it was an accident. As they go along many other things begin to happen and Katie also deals with her and Declan's engagement and search for a new house. 


I did enjoy this book and tried to read it every chance that I encountered. This is one series that I feel is best to read all the books in order, though. 

An Old Free Kindle (2010)

The Book of Three Hundred Anecdotes Historical, Literary, and Humorous A New Selection - Various

Back in November of 2009, my sweet husband, knowing how much I loved to read and seeing the Kindle (still fairly new to the world). I was finding some freebies and adding them to my list to read. I am now going back and catching some of these and reading them. I have found that while they still exist for my Kindles, they cannot be purchased any longer. 


This was kind of a fun book. Definitely historical as many of the quotes are from the 1700 and 1800's. They were interesting as they showed the beliefs and thoughts of the people of the time. 



All Kinds of Hats

Knit Hats Now: 35 Designs for Women from Classic to Trendsetting - Trafalgar Square Books

This book was filled with hat patterns that could be convertible (to cowls), use different weights of yarn from sock yarn (weight 1) to bulky. The patterns had different techniques and different styles and I marked so many hats that I want to try and make.

A Good Memory

The Best of Knit Along With Debbie Macomber - Debbie Macomber

Many Christmases ago, my mother gave me a book with a story by Debbie Macomber and knitting patterns in it. I read the story and liked it (romance novels are not something I enjoy) and then I tried the patterns in the back of the book. A few years later, I found the knitting books. I have a couple of the smaller versions of the book, but this book was special. It had a pattern for a scarf that I had made for my dad. It had patterns for a socks and hats and blankets.


This is such a fun book.