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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

August 26, 2019

August Reading & Blogging Wrap Up

by Donna Huber

August has been over the top hot, but we finally got a tiny break in the heat yesterday. While I prefer the heat to the cold, I'm looking forward to Fall. For those who have been following my summer wrap up posts you know work has been stressful. Thankfully, I've reached the light at the end of the tunnel. I was able to get back to doing my own job instead of filling in for the vacant positions. The start of a new semester also means that I'm back at my spin class. I took the summer off because I had strained a muscle in my hip. It's amazing how much energy I get from going just a few days a week. This weekend I celebrated the end of the dog days of summer by purchasing a couple of plants for the garden I created earlier this summer (they're perennials so they come back next summer) and a couple of books.

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This was not a good month for discussion type posts. I had planned to do one on reading more nonfiction, but since reading a rather long nonfiction book I had fallen behind on my reading challenge. Paired with it being just too hot to think, I decided to focus on reading this month instead. Alison did give us one discussion post where she shares movies she and her husband have watched this summer.

My most viewed review was for Death Comes to Dartmoor by Vivian Conroy. MK's most viewed review was for Goodbye Paris by Mike Bond. Susan's most viewed review was for The Accidentals by Minrose Gwin.

Be sure to check out our Favorite Reads of August.


As I mentioned I started the month behind in my reading challenge. I had been running a couple of books ahead of schedule until I started reading a nonfiction book at the end of the last month. Then I quickly fell 4 books behind. I have caught back up so that I'm "on track". Now that work is settling down I also hope to get more audiobooks listened to.

I finished 10 books this month. I was hoping to finish one more as I still have my pool book to read and plan to spend Saturday in the pool. I have more than 100 pages left so it might not happen.

Of the 10 books I read this month, 5 were review copies as ebooks, 3 audiobooks, and 2 print books from the library. I'm always happy when at least half of the books I read were review copies.

The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator by Timothy C. Winegard

This book took me forever to get through, but it was well worth the time. There is so much history that I have forgotten or maybe never really learned about. Definitely saw history repeating itself, often. I received a free ARC from Netgalley. Read my full review.

Why was gin and tonic the cocktail of choice for British colonists in India and Africa? What does Starbucks have to thank for its global domination? What has protected the lives of popes for millennia? Why did Scotland surrender its sovereignty to England? What was George Washington's secret weapon during the American Revolution?

The answer to all these questions, and many more, is the mosquito.

Across our planet since the dawn of humankind, this nefarious pest, roughly the size and weight of a grape seed, has been at the frontlines of history as the grim reaper, the harvester of human populations, and the ultimate agent of historical change. As the mosquito transformed the landscapes of civilization, humans were unwittingly required to respond to its piercing impact and universal projection of power.

The mosquito has determined the fates of empires and nations, razed and crippled economies, and decided the outcome of pivotal wars, killing nearly half of humanity along the way. She (only females bite) has dispatched an estimated 52 billion people from a total of 108 billion throughout our relatively brief existence. As the greatest purveyor of extermination we have ever known, she has played a greater role in shaping our human story than any other living thing with which we share our global village.

Imagine for a moment a world without deadly mosquitoes, or any mosquitoes, for that matter? Our history and the world we know, or think we know, would be completely unrecognizable.

Buy The Mosquito at Amazon

Death Come to Dartmoor by Vivian Conroy

I requested this book from Netgalley some time back,  but  I wanted to wait until closer to the publication date before reading it. I loved it. This may be my favorite book by Vivian Conroy. It the perfect blend of Victorian gothic and cozy mystery. And the sleuthing couple is adorable. I can't wait to go back and read book 1 in the series. Read my full review.

The mist-shrouded moors of Devon proffer a trove of delights for two vacationing zoologists--but also conceal a hoard of dark secrets reaching down to the fathomless depths of the ocean.

Miss Merula Merriweather barely saved her uncle from the gallows after he was wrongly accused of murder--and now, she's left the bustle of Victorian London to recuperate in the fresh air of Dartmoor with her fellow zoologist, Lord Raven Royston. The trip offers a unique treat, as they'll be staying with a friend of Raven's, who owns a collection of rare zoological specimens--including a kraken, a sea monster of myth and legend.

But all is not right in the land of tors, heaths, and mist. Their host's maid has vanished without a trace, and the townspeople hold him responsible, claiming that his specimens are alive and roam the moors at night, bringing death to anyone who crosses their path. Merula and Raven are skeptical--but the accusations become more ominous when they find several specimen jars empty.

As the two hunt for clues across a desolate and beautiful landscape, a stranger appears bearing a shadowy secret from Merula's past. Could there be a connection between her family history, the missing girl, and a fearsome monster that could be on the loose? The race is on to find the truth.

Buy Death Comes to Dartmoor at Amazon

The Music of the Deep by Elizabeth Hall

The Music of the Deep
The premise was very promising but the audiobook was difficult to follow with multiple characters being focused on and the different timelines. I think it would make a great read though. It was a Prime free read with Audible narration.

Fleeing an abusive marriage and tormented by her past, Alexandra Turner finds solace in a small coastal town on Puget Sound and a job with a local marine biologist studying orcas.

After befriending a group of locals, Alex learns that she has moved to a place that has a reputation of being the “most haunted town in Washington.” Such superstitions would be easy to dismiss…if Alex wasn’t already on edge.

Haunted by shreds of memories of her days with her husband, Alex can’t keep from looking over her shoulder. As unexplained sounds and scents accumulate and unnerving forces seem to take hold, Alex is beginning to believe that she’s not escaping her ghosts, after all. In fact, she might finally be inviting them in.

Buy The Music of the Deep at Amazon

Death Comes to the Village by Catherine Lloyd

Death Comes to the Village
After reading book 4 in the series earlier this summer I'm going to back and reading other books. I checked book 1 out at the library after my book club meeting. It was just as fun a read. I didn't like Lucy's father in Death Come to the Fair but I strongly disliked him in this book. I wanted to slap him. My library doesn't have all the books in the series so I will have to do an interlibrary loan so I hope I don't have to wait too long to get each book.

A wounded soldier and a rector's daughter discover strange goings-on in the sleepy village of Kurland St. Mary in Catherine Lloyd's charming Regency-set mystery debut.

Major Robert Kurland has returned to the quiet vistas of his village home to recuperate from the horrors of Waterloo. However injured his body may be, his mind is as active as ever. Too active, perhaps. When he glimpses a shadowy figure from his bedroom window struggling with a heavy load, the tranquil façade of the village begins to loom sinister...

Unable to forget the incident, Robert confides in his childhood friend, Miss Lucy Harrington. As the dutiful daughter of the widowed rector, following up on the major's suspicions offers a welcome diversion--but soon presents real danger. Someone is intent on stopping their investigation. And in a place where no one locks their doors, a series of thefts and the disappearance of two young serving girls demands explanation. . .

As Robert grapples with his difficult recovery, he and Lucy try to unearth the dark truth lurking within the village shadows, and stop a killer waiting to strike again.

Buy Death Comes to the Village at Amazon

Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen

Love and Death Among the Cheetahs
I was really bummed when I was denied an ARC of this book from Netgalley, but I was the first person to check the book out of my library. It was everything I hoped it would be. I'm still loving this series after 13 books. It also meant that I read a book set in Africa.

Georgie and Darcy are finally on their honeymoon in Kenya's Happy Valley, but murder crashes the party in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling series.

I was so excited when Darcy announced out of the blue that we were flying to Kenya for our extended honeymoon. Now that we are here, I suspect he has actually been sent to fulfill another secret mission. I am trying very hard not to pick a fight about it, because after all, we are in paradise! Darcy finally confides that there have been robberies in London and Paris. It seems the thief was a member of the aristocracy and may have fled to Kenya. Since we are staying in the Happy Valley--the center of upper-class English life--we are well positioned to hunt for clues and ferret out possible suspects.

Now that I am a sophisticated married woman, I am doing my best to sound like one. But crikey! These aristocrats are a thoroughly loathsome sort enjoying a completely decadent lifestyle filled with wild parties and rampant infidelity. And one of the leading lights in the community, Lord Cheriton, has the nerve to make a play for me. While I am on my honeymoon! Of course, I put an end to that right off.

When he is found bloodied and lifeless along a lonely stretch of road, it appears he fell victim to a lion. But it seems that the Happy Valley community wants to close the case a bit too quickly. Darcy and I soon discover that there is much more than a simple robbery and an animal attack to contend with here in Kenya. Nearly everyone has a motive to want Lord Cheriton dead and some will go to great lengths to silence anyone who asks too many questions. The hunt is on! I just hope I can survive my honeymoon long enough to catch a killer.

Buy Love and Death Among the Cheetahs at Amazon

The Last Cleric by Layton Green

So this ARC got kind of lost in my ebook virtual pile, and I recently discovered it. Since I didn't have but 2 ARCs from Netgalley this month I decided now would be a good time to get caught up on my ebook backlog. While epic fantasy is not a typical genre I read, I love Green's storytelling and characters. Read my full review.

Trapped in a world where wizards rule, the Blackwood brothers from New Orleans have become entangled in events that threaten to upend the Realm.

Oldest brother Val, sentenced to die in wizard prison, is forced to undertake a quest for the Congregation to try to win his freedom—but which might cost him his soul.

Reunited with an old companion, Caleb must overcome his personal demons as he braves the dangers of the Barrier Coast to warn his ancestors of the coming invasion.

And in a distant unexplored jungle, Will must find his warrior spirit as he and Mala lead a party of adventurers in search of the Coffer of Devla, a fabled artifact thought to reside in the lost pyramid of Yiknoom Ukab K’ahk, the most powerful sorcerer king who has ever lived. Used to annihilate the enemies of its possessor, the coffer might be the only hope for the struggling revolution.

Yet even if Will’s expedition is a success, prophecy holds that the coffer can only be used by a cleric of Devla.

Buy The Last Cleric at Amazon

Crimes Against a Book Club by Kathy Cooperman

Crimes Against a Book Club
None of the Prime free ebooks with Audible narration really jumped out at me but I didn't want to sit in a totally silent office all week. I haven't read much women's fiction this summer so I decided to give this book a chance. It is pretty good. The characters are fun. Just quirky enough to give a light-hearted feel to the story while still remaining serious in tone. These characters will probably remind you of people that you know.

Best friends Annie and Sarah need cash—fast. Sarah, a beautiful, successful lawyer, wants nothing more than to have a baby. But balancing IVF treatments with a grueling eighty-hour workweek is no walk in the park. Meanwhile, Annie, a Harvard-grad chemist recently transplanted to Southern California, is cutting coupons to afford her young autistic son’s expensive therapy.

Desperate, the two friends come up with a brilliant plan: they’ll combine Sarah’s looks and Annie’s brains to sell a “luxury” antiaging face cream to the wealthy, fading beauties in Annie’s La Jolla book club. The scheme seems innocent enough, until Annie decides to add a special—and oh-so-illegal—ingredient that could bring their whole operation crashing to the ground.

Buy Crimes Against a Book Club at Amazon

Rash by Lisa Kusel

Another book from my backlog of review copies. This turned out to be a really good memoir. Lisa and her husband wanted an adventure so they moved to Bali and they definitely got a wild ride (just not is a totally awesome way). If you have lived abroad, dream of living abroad, or wonder if missed out never living abroad, then you definitely need to read this memoir. Read my full review.

Writer Lisa Kusel, while living comfortably in her California home, feels an unsettling lack of personal contentment. When she sees a job posting for a new international school in Bali, she convinces her schoolteacher husband Victor to apply.

Six weeks after his interview, Lisa, Victor, and their six-year-old daughter, Loy, move halfway around the world to paradise. But instead of luxuriating in ocean breezes, renewed passion, and first-rate schooling, what Lisa and her family find are burning corpses, biting ants, and a millionaire founder who cares more about selling bamboo furniture than educating young minds. Not to mention Lisa’s fear that one morning she might see the Dengue Fever rash on her young daughter.

RASH is an unfiltered, sharply-written memoir about a woman who goes looking for happiness on the Island of the Gods, and nearly destroys her marriage in the process. For anyone who has ever dreamed of starting over in an exotic locale, this is a poignant reminder that no matter where you go, there you are. 

Buy Rash at Amazon

Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinlay

Word to the Wise
A lovely cozy mystery. I had read book 6 in this series this summer but I haven't read any of the other books in this series. I don't feel like I missed anything as all pertinent details (who's who and how they're related) is provided in the opening chapters. But it's done in a natural way so it doesn't feel like a recap or info dump. I received an ARC from NetGalley. My full review will post on Sunday, but the book doesn't come out until Tuesday.

Lindsey Norris is finally getting married to the man of her dreams--but it's not all roses for Briar Creek's beloved library director, as gardening enthusiast and town newcomer Aaron Grady gives the term "book lover" a whole new meaning. Inappropriate looks and unwelcome late-night visits to Lindsey's house have everyone from the crafternooners to Lindsey's fiancé, Sully, on edge.

When Grady's dead body is found staged outside the library and all the clues point to Sully, Lindsey knows it's up to her to dig through the hidden chapters of Grady's previous life to find the real culprit and clear Sully's name. But becoming a thorn in the killer's side is not without its consequences, and the closer Lindsey gets to the truth, the more determined the murderer is to make her just a footnote.

Buy Word to the Wise at Amazon

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Parable of the Sower
I listened to the audiobook from my digital library and I'm sure I missed some stuff. The narrator's voice is very soothing and I occasionally found myself about to nod off. It's an interesting story and I think my book club will have a lot to discuss.

God is change.

That is the central truth of the Earthseed movement, whose unlikely prophet is 18-year-old Lauren Olamina. The young woman's diary entries tell the story of her life amid a violent 21st-century hell of walled neighborhoods and drug-crazed pyromaniacs—and reveal her evolving Earthseed philosophy.

Against a backdrop of horror emerges a message of hope: if we are willing to embrace divine change, we will survive to fulfill our destiny among the stars.

Buy Parable of the Sower at Amazon

What did you read?

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. August hasn't been as hot as previous ones, thankfully. I'm still expecting September to be hot. We usually have a bad heatwave before the fall temperatures and fog settle in. My weekly update.

  2. Nice variety of books. I liked the Vivian Conroy book too. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  3. Nice reading month! Mosquitoes love me, so I should read this book!! My recap is here:

  4. I am way behind on the Rhys Bowen series but I do enjoy it and pick it up on audio every so often. Interesting to see they are now married and honeymooning in Africa. Love the flowers - hope they do well.

  5. I would love to maybe pick up a few of those books you have read. I am thankful we will proably get one last blast of summer before the fall temptures fall in and we can enjoy the nice cool breeze. I do enjoy the fall temptures better then Summer temps but I also love summer for the shorts. Though I wear t-shirts all year around with maybe a sweatshirt.

  6. Rash sounds really interesting. Hope your fall is less stressful than your summer.

  7. Okay, I never thought I'd want to read a book about mosquitos, but now I read that synopsis and I'm really intrigued. I might have to add this to my audiobook list, since it took you so long to get through (but was worth it).

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  8. Ten books is really awesome for the month. I'm glad you're able to attend your spin class again. I know I don't like missing my morning Jazzercise classes.