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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Two quick romance reviews

Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

I am a complete Sarah Morgan fangirl, but this one, oh it tested me. It's a friends to lovers story, which I love, and for the vast majority of the book I was all in.  Jake had some commitment issues, but he was willing to admit (to himself) that this relationship was a good thing. He wanted it out in the open even. He just didn't want love. Well anyone who has ever read a romance knows what's gonna happen, right?  Even that was fine, because of course that was the point, but immediately after the big showdown there is this scene that is so absolutely mortifying (to them, and moreso to ME) that I put the book aside. For weeks. I just could. not. imagine. seeing how that was gonna play out. Then my NetGalley Guilt (TM) got the best of me and I picked it back up, and shockingly, it was just fine. Because of course it was.  I have the next one in the series locked and loaded on my Kindle, and as soon as I have a quiet moment we're on.

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle

Now this one I LOVED. I can't wait to read the next one in the series. In fact, as soon as I finished I ran right to my NetGalley account to see if I couldn't pick up the next book, only to discover that I had missed out on book 2, but could still grab book 3.   Lou is a bit annoying at first, but she settles down a bit as the book progresses, and I loved her interactions with Callum.  Cal is s take charge, alpha leader, but isn't overly loud or obnoxious about it, as heroes can often be. I loved seeing them fall for each other, and thought the ultimate resolution to this book was excellent. However, there is an overarching story line involving the dead body that isn't cleared up and is obviously going to be the thread that ties the series together, so if you're interested, know that there is a completely unresolved plot point.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Reading Update June 2016

June was a terrific month for reading for me. For writing blog posts? Not so much. It was also a terrible month for book acquisitions. I don't even want to count.

What I Read:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. I'm about 60% done, but have to wait for it to come back up at the library (because you know I'm not about to lug around my paper copy of that one!)

The Obsession by Nora Roberts. I am really enjoying these last few stand alone titles-- but I wish she'd go in for a nice trilogy about  some brothers that didn't include Ireland and magic (sorry Katherine.)

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs. This series just gets better and better. I am never disappointed.

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle. I really enjoyed this one, even as Lou was a bit annoying.

Only You by Denise Grover Swank. I am only 8 or so chapters in. I'm not sure I can handle the boss and the humor is a bit less subtle than I would choose, but will certainly continue.

Darkest Journey by Heather Graham.  I can't stop requesting these, but at 41% read I'm fairly sure she's just phoning it in now, and might actually stop after this one.

Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan. If you'll recall, I stopped this one at an awkward scene last month. I managed to read through it with one eye and the book finished strong. Other readers may like that style of awkward, but I have too much empathy for mortification.

New to My Kindle:

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley. This one one has been on my TBR look out list for years and when it was a daily deal I couldn't resist. (Kindle)

The Spinster's Guide to Scandalous Behavior by Jennifer McQuiston. I now have 5 McQuiston titles on my Kindle and have yet to read even one. I should work on that. (Kindle)

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. I've heard so many good things about this one, and I did enjoy Let's Pretend This Never Happened. (Kindle)

Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller. I enjoyed Blue Like Jazz several years ago when I read it, and I think I'd like this one as well. For a non-religious person, I sure enjoy a good religious memoir/essay. (Kindle)

Darkest Journey by Heather Graham. I can't help it. (NetGalley)

Fearless by Kimberly Kincaid. Love this series. (NetGalley)

Once Upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt. Like McQuiston, I should really try to read one by her instead of collecting them. (NetGalley)

For Good. Karelia Stetz-Waters. I really liked the first one I read by her. (NetGalley)

Gone Too Deep by Katie Ruggle. I really enjoyed Hold Your Breath, so had to go see if I could get the others in the series. Sadly, I missed book 2, but managed to snag this one. (NetGalley)

Patient H.M. by Luke Dittrich. I love this sort of thing, and then Books on the Nightstand mentioned it in one of the last podcast episodes. (NetGalley)

Tribe by Sebastian Junger. Mike and I listened to an interview with him on The Tim Ferris show podcast during our drive to Alabama, and it was fascinating. (NetGalley)

To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne.  Another auto-request. (NetGalley)

Running Man by Charlie Engle. This is getting embarrassing. (NetGalley)

The Curse of the Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones. No, still haven't read the 9th. Or the 4th. (NetGalley)

Strange History by the Bathroom Readers Institute. NetGalley is gonna revoke my account soon.

Sunset in Central Park by Sarah Morgan. I told you it was ugly. (NetGalley)

Whew. That's a lot.  The good news is that my reading is really picking up lately.  The bad news is that it's still probably hopeless.

Friday, July 01, 2016

The Next Five Books I Plan to Read. (No Kidding)

I'm so easily distracted by shiny new things. My Kindle is a complete testimony to this, therefore, I'm making a list.  Here's the next five books that I plan to read:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This is a reread (duh) but I'm having so much fun reading with Tristan.

Only You by Denise Grover Swank. It gave Katherine jazz hands! How could I not?

Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle. I need some romantic suspense this summer.

From This Day Forward by Lauren Layne. Don't tell, but I also have the second book in the series waiting.

The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha.

I think the difficulty I just had picking five tells you how likely I am to stick to this plan, but lets see how I do...

Friday, June 24, 2016

Five things that happened.

1. A month or two ago my best running buddy organized a 5K run in order to raise money for Alport Syndrome, which two of her sons have.  I was always going to go run, but Tristan decided that he wanted to do it as well, and he did! I suspect he's actually much faster than me, if he were trying, but I can run a long long ways. He ran the entire last mile about 3 yards in front of me, waiting for me to give up and walk. I didn't.

2. We were recently staying in a hotel with a pool, which we used a LOT while Mike was working at an event. I had picked up some cheap goggles for the kids on the way and they loved wearing them. On our second night there, Tristan left his in the pool area. When we returned to swim again early the next morning we discovered that someone had completely trashed them.  I just don't understand that. I can see if someone took them- clearly we had left them behind, and maybe they really wanted goggles, but why destroy them? I am still baffled.

3. Speaking of swimming, my kids are finally old enough to swim in a hotel pool while I sit happily on the sidelines and only keep half an eye out for drowning! This is such a huge parenting milestone. First you get them old enough to play on the playground unassisted, then they learn to swing without being pushed, and now, swimming. It completely changes my feelings about hotels.

4. Hamilton. I've resisted forever. It annoys me how much people love it, like when everyone loves the same book, only this was way worse. But then Noah did a report on Ben Franklin and he could.not.stop. talking about Ben Franklin. I started thinking that maybe the kids would like Hamilton, and I was right. Mike is not a huge fan, but he'll suffer through it for the quiet it brings to the back seat.

5. Lauren graduated from Kindergarten, and Tristan is going to be in middle school next year. What? How? I don't even know.  I completely teared up at Lauren's graduation- my last one!

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Reading Update May 2016

I'm typing this month's report up a week early, since we will be on vacation at the end of the month. I'm really hoping to have finished up a handful of these by month's end, but you never know how it's going to go.

Books I Read in May:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone  and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling. I'm rereading the series with Tristan, as he reads them for the first time. It's as awesome as I always thought it would be, except turns out he reads fast.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Still working on this. (Tristan is done, of course. Hopefully by the time you read this I will be too.)

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I'm only about 50% done, but it's very motivating.

Tough Luck Hero by Maisey Yates. I'm loving this one after DNF'ing on the last one in the series. Sorry, Maisey.

Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan.  I'm 87% done and I'm totally mortified by the situation the characters are in, so I had to stop and regroup. Hopefully by the time this goes live I'll have gotten over my embarrassment and finished the book.

New to my Kindle in May:

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer (Kindle Daily Deal)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I've wanted to read this forever and couldn't resist when it was on sale. (Kindle Daily Deal)

Mockingbird by Charles J Shields. (NetGalley)

Only You by Denise Grover Swank (NetGalley)

The Born Again Runner  by Pete Magill. (NetGalley)

A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowan (NetGalley)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Five Bits of Bookish Randonness on Friday

1. My library doesn't seem interested in the e-book of Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs, so I checked it out in paper. I haven't read a paper book in at least 2 years, maybe 3. And as I write this, Fire Touched still sits unread because it's just. so. awkward.

2. Instead, I keep reading Harry Potter. I finally convinced Tristan that it really was better than the movies and he can't stop reading. I foolishly agreed to read it along with him, and to be honest, I'm WAY behind.  He keeps saying things like "I'm at the Quidditch game where xyz happens!" and I'm all... uhhhh why is that funny or significant? I can't remember!

3. Noah is still reading furiously. I picked up some library books for our trip to Alabama, and a week before we left (as you read this we should be in the car!), he'd already read two of them. "Put your book down and eat!" "Put your book down and get out of my car!" "Put your book down to pee!" I really am turning into my mother.

4. All day at work I think about books (and running) and then I get home and scroll Instagram. Since the last IG update, however, it keeps crashing on me. I decided this was a sign that I should be reading.

5. Mike and I used to compete to see who would read more in a year. In the last few years, he's drifted into only reading articles on his phone and not actual books. He still reads, but it kills me that it's not a book, in paper OR e-form. However, he recently went to a conference and didn't have WiFi on the plane so he opened the Kindle app on his phone and found Walkable City by Jeff Speck on it. I bought it months ago at Janssen's recommendation and haven't gotten to it. He couldn't stop talking about how great it was. Guess I should read it now!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Haunted Destiny by Heather Graham

Krewe of Hunters, I can't quit you, not even when you aren't very good...

Here's the summary:
Between the evil and the deep blue sea…

A historic cruise ship, a haunted ship, the Celtic American Line's Destiny, sets sail from the Port of New Orleans—with a killer on board. He's known as the Archangel Killer because of the way he displays his victims in churches. And how he places a different saint's medallion on each body. No one knows exactly who he is or why he's doing this.

Jackson Crow—head of the FBI's Krewe of Hunters, a special unit of paranormal investigators—is assigned to the case, along with local agent Jude McCoy. Then Alexi Cromwell, who works in the ship's piano bar, is drawn into the situation when a victim's ghost appears to her—and to Jude. She and Jude share an attraction, and not just because of their mutual talent.

There are many suspects, but one by one they're ruled out… Or are they? In the end, Jude and Alexi have to rely on each other to catch the killer and escape his evil plans for Alexi.

I don't even know where to start here, so jumping in feet first with the characters. First, there are a lot. In fact, there's a cast listing at the start of the book, like an old-school romance. There are enough characters that sometimes one of the main characters (like say Jackson, head of the Krewe!) would show up and I'd have no idea who he was. Once again, I found the FBI agents to be pretty interchangeable, and won't likely remember which book was Jude and which was Jackson.  Alexi is pretty likable tho and I think I'll remember her.

The romance, like all the Krewe books, is predicable and fast with very little attention paid to development. Why do they love each other after only a week? I have no idea. The book kind of tries to take the angle that it's because they share the ability to see ghosts, but even that isn't really pressed. As with the others, you just have to accept the romance and move on.

So why do I even read them if I can't keep the characters straight and the romance is flat? Because they are still compulsively readable. The plots (usually) move along well, and I'm always interested in seeing how Graham will blend the paranormal into the story seamlessly. In that aspect, Haunted Destiny is actually really well done, the ghosts are woven in well and seem natural there. Unfortunately, Haunted Destiny dragged along. They were stuck at sea, there was no contact with land for outside help in the FBI investigation because of a giant storm (but the captain was always in touch with the cruise line? What? But FBI couldn't get help with the serial killer on board? This makes no sense.)  There are only a limited number of suspects and rather than just suck it up and detain them they let them wander the ship and kill off a couple people.  It just made no sense. I still read it in an afternoon, so you can see that lack of sense isn't a real game stopper for me.

Would I recommend this one to a friend? No, I probably wouldn't. Will I keep reading them? Clearly, I can't stop.

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