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February 2021

MsWas's Message Corner

Hello CBR13 participants and friends of Cannonball Read,

Welcome to all of our new and veteran Cannonballers! I hope everyone’s getting into the swing of things with posting reviews. 112 of you have posted at least one review this year so far. 

If you’re unsure about how to get going, check out our Getting Started page along with the FAQs. Another great place to ask questions is our Facebook group, Cannonball Read Book Chat.

And if you really can’t find the answer to your question, please do drop me a line. I love to hear from you - even if it is with a question or problem. Rest assured that there are others with the same question, so let’s help them out together.

Last, I’ll mention review amnesty, as I always do. For Cannonball Read, you are NOT required to review every book you read this year. If you want the book to count on the leaderboard, you do have to publish that review. But if there is one book that was so problematic, or awful, or just plain “meh,” you do not have to write the review, especially if it’s holding you up from writing other reviews. You might be a completist and feel the need to write something about every book, but that is not required for CBR. Hopefully that little tip helps you out this year.

Take care and Happy Reading!

Bonnie (aka "MsWas")

"There is no friend so faithful as a good book. There is no worse robber than a bad book." – Italian proverb


Q&A with a Cannonballer: dsbs42


How many times have you participated in CBR? Has it changed the way you read?

This is my fourth CBR. I participated a lot early on just for fun (completely missed two in a row and then decided to lower my expectations to a half Cannonball, which I did manage) but got overwhelmed with the reviewing portion and watched from afar for a while. I decided to jump back in for a full Cannonball this year because I read so little last year (between general pandemic anxiety and some more personal difficulties). It changes the way I read in that I tend to be more strategic - I read 2-4 shorter books in a row to prepare for a longer one. One new thing I'm trying this year is that I put aside 26 physical books I want to read into a giant pile next to my bed (a mix of newly purchased, borrowed from friends and need to be returned, been on my shelves for ages, and been in the middle of for ages and it's time to put up or shut up). The other 26 can be anything.

See what else dsbs42 has to say »

Quick Questions Flashback: Our first ever newsletter in February 2016, and first ever Q&A - Mrs. Julien


Diversions: Let's chat! 

Cannonballers have always had a soft spot for romance, and came out in droves to participate in our "Swoony Literary Couples" Diversion. This Thursday, February 25, there will be a new Diversion discussing books that take us back to childhood (spoiler alert: this may have something to do with the first book club of the year). It'll be tough, but please try to limit your childhood book list to 4,827. 



Congratulations to BlackRaven for the first Cannonball of the year!

For the second year in a row, BlackRaven is the first to hit 52 books reviewed! In her review of the graphic novel Animal Crackers by Gene Luen Yang, she says "You just go with the flow and find out what you are going to find out." 

If you're thinking "oh my goodness, I haven't even posted my first review yet and somebody already hit their Cannonball," don't fret! You have loads of 2021 left, and there aren't Cannonball Hall Monitors who are going to come after you if you've only posted two reviews by October. Read what you want (books and others' reviews), review what you can, and we're just happy you're here! 

Off to a good start with our Fan Mail

It's always fun to get comments from authors, and they're definitely paying attention in 2021. We've had authors leave notes on social media and right in the comments on the page itself. Ursula Majorette even had an author leave a recommended Spotify playlist in the comments of her review about Step it Up and Go: The Story of North Carolina Popular Music. To keep up with these author notes, check out our Fan Mail page.

Participant tally

We're officially at 233 participants for CBR13! We're delighted to have each and every one of you. Next newsletter, look for an updated map of those participants. Check out last year's map (above) and those from years prior. It's always interesting to see where everybody is, and it's been fun hearing the variety of accents on the CBR Zoom hangouts. 

Introducing the CBR Event Calendar

From here on out, this space in the newsletter will be reserved for upcoming events. You can also always check the new calendar page on the blog. Pencil us in for lots of future fun!   


Stuff We're Reading

A Stranger World: blauracke's review of The Doll's Alphabet

Feb 22, 2021 04:01 pm
Women shed their outer skin to reveal their true insect self, a man with eight legs is looking for a suitable companion, two girls become obsessed with a magical sewing machine, and a wooden mermaid gives birth to a sconce after being beset by an octopus. These are just a few of the short stories in the book, and they all are cut from the same cloth: a scratchy, worn-out fabric depicting a warped reality. The world in which The Doll’s Alphabet takes place is […]
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A good trilogy ender.: narfna's review of Enlightened (Enlightenment, #3)

Feb 22, 2021 01:58 pm
I was hoping for a real firecracker with this one, just a really undeniably great closer to this lovely trilogy, but what I got was more what I actually should have expected, which was more like the slow burn of a hearth fire. This has been entirely a trilogy about quiet, inner emotions and inner growth, and not melodramatic, shout to the sky emotions. The more I reflect on how this series ended, the more I liked it. David has been recuperating for the last […]
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An excellent middle book in this historical romance trilogy.: narfna's review of Beguiled (Enlightenment, #2)

Feb 22, 2021 01:21 pm
This series continues to be the perfect blend of historical fiction and romance. Most historical romance authors use the historical setting as a backdrop and creator of atmosphere, or convert it into a sort of fantasy realm to explore other things, which can be really fun! But as I said in my review of the first book in this series, there’s just something so pleasurable about stone cold history being actually explored in this format. In the first book, it was the fallout from a […]
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Atmospheric seaside mystery.: narfna's review of The Survivors

Feb 22, 2021 01:14 pm
I received a free ARC of The Survivors from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. Getting this review in just under the wire! US pub date is tomorrow, 2/2/21*. And y’all should check this out! If mysteries and crime books are your thing. This is my second Jane Harper book. Previously, I’ve read The Dry and also have her sequel to that book and her other standalone, The Lost Man on my TBR. Just judging by the two books of hers I’ve read now, […]
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Stop reading after book two! Is my advice.: narfna's review of Five Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns, #5)

Feb 22, 2021 01:10 pm
This is the final book in the Three Dark Crowns quartet, which was originally supposed to be a duology, but money, what are you going to do, oh right, trick a bunch of teens (and adults, coughcough) into buying your book series. Yeah, sorry all fans of this series and the author (I’m sure you’re lovely) but I hated this. It doubled down on everything I disliked from books one through three (especially three), and downgraded what I liked (the premise, the worldbuilding). It also […]
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Amanda Howard (aka "Bothari43")

The Cannonball Read Newsletter Editor
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