Monthly Wrap Up

July 2014 Wrap-Up

July wasn’t a half-bad month. It started out slow, but then I managed to end on a pretty good note as far as quality of books I read.

Books read: 5 (YTD: 35)

Elizabeth is MissingThe ThreeTrunk MusicThe ButcherDon't Try to Find Me

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
The Three by Sarah Lotz
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier
Don’t Try to Find Me by Holly Brown

Pages read: 1829 (YTD: 12,448)

Challenge Progress:

Eclectic Reader Challenge: 5/12
Official TBR Pile Challenge: 6/12
What’s in a Name Challenge: 3/5

Books received: 31 (see list here)

Hard copy Review books: 3
Electronic Review books: 3
Purchased Used: 6
Purchased New: 8
Paperbackswap: 7
Grandmother: 4

Memes posted: 5

Events Participated In: None

Recipes shared: 1

Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake


#TBRChallengeRBR Checkpoint 7


Well, here we are at the seventh TBR Challenge checkpoint.

In July I finished one book for this challenge. I’m still one book behind, but I keep managing to not get any farther behind! Yay! Downside … I’m not as excited by the books that are left on my list. Boo. Why didn’t I chose better?! Ugh! Oh well. I guess that’s what makes it a “challenge”, right?

So I finished Trunk Music by Michael Connelly this month. I’m slooooowly making my way through the Harry Bosch series and I’m still really enjoying it! This one was a little slow in the beginning, but it ended up being an overall fun read.

I’m not sure where I’ll head next with my list for this challenge. Here’s what I’ve still got left to choose from, which one would you choose next!??!:

  1. The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
  2. A Time to Kill by John Grisham
  3. The Hunt for Atlantis by Andy McDermott
  4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  5. Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
  6. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult


  1. Mallory’s Oracle by Carol O’Connell
  2. McNally’s Secret by Lawrence Sanders
4/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, B, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2014, Review Book

2014.35 REVIEW – Don’t Try To Find Me by Holly Brown

Don’t Try to Find Me
by Holly Brown

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 352
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 23-July 29, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 35
Format:  Print
Source: Publicist
Series: N/A

Don't Try to Find MeBlurb: Though the message on the kitchen whiteboard is in fourteen-year-old Marley’s handwriting, her mother, Rachel, knows there has to be some other explanation. Marley would never run away.

Marley’s quiet. Innocent. Sheltered. Growing up in Northern California with all the privilege Rachel never had, what does Marley know about taking care of herself? About being okay?

Rachel might not know her daughter at all. But she does know that she needs to find Marley before someone else does. Someone dangerous.

The police have limited resources devoted to runaways. If Rachel and her husband, Paul, want their daughter back, they’ll have to find her themselves. Paul turns to Facebook and Twitter and launches

But Marley isn’t the only one with something to hide. Paul’s social media campaign generates national attention, and the public scrutiny could expose Rachel’s darkest secrets. When she blows a television interview, the dirty speculation begins.

The blogosphere is convinced Rachel is hiding something. It’s not what they think; Rachel would never hurt Marley. Not intentionally, anyway. But when it’s discovered that Rachel lied to the police, the devoted mother becomes the prime suspect in Marley’s disappearance.

Is Marley out there, somewhere, watching it all happen … or is the truth something far worse?

Review: I received a copy of this book for free via a publicist, all opinions expressed below are my own.

The description of this book immediately intrigued me and I was very glad when I was able to receive a review copy. And I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The whole idea of Marley running away with a boyfriend that she met on the internet brought back some pretty bad memories of my early teenage years. I was about 15 when I decided it would be a great idea to meet a guy I had met online in some chatroom in real life. Luckily I was smart enough to meet at a public place with a friend in tow. However, I watched from the back of the building as he pulled up in his beat-up 20-year-old car and he wasn’t exactly 16 like he had told me. I never approached him, instead I hid behind the building until he finally gave up and left. I later told him that my parents hadn’t let me go out that night and I then never spoke to him again. I learned a very important lesson that night. And I was lucky for that. There are a lot of young girls out there who aren’t that lucky.

And that’s what I think made this book so much more real to me. I think teenagers need to read this book. Anyone can be anyone they want to on the internet and I really liked how this book explored that idea.

All of that aside, I thought this was a very well-written book. I personally thought Ms. Brown portrayed Marley better than she did Rachel. Maybe it was just me not liking how weak Rachel was portrayed. But I feel as if the sections from Marley’s perspective were stronger than those of Rachel’s.

The writing was very well done. The characters were well-developed. The storyline was fresh and relevant. This book reads so fast as well, I would sit down and 50 pages later I would come up for air.

Overall, a great book that I would highly recommend.

Meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – July 29, 2014


Well it’s only been forever since I last did a Top Ten Tuesday post! Thought I’d jump back in this week 🙂

The topic this week is … Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

Okay, so I have this little problem with book series. I am obsessed. And nine times out of ten I will collect all the books in the series before I even know if I will enjoy the series. What can I say … I am probably a book hoarder as my husband likes to tell me 🙂

Here’s my list:

  1. John Sandford … I have 18 of his books. Eighteen. I am intending on reading all of his Lucas Davenport books. And I have nearly all of them.
  2. Tom Clancy … 14 of his books. I collected a lot of his books in the hopes that my husband would read them. He has yet to read them and I can’t seem to part with them. I keep hoping I will turn my husband into a reader…
  3. Michael Connelly … clocking in at 11 books. I am reading through his Harry Bosch series and have most of those books.
  4. Clive Cussler … I have 9 Cussler books. I enjoy his books, especially his Dirk Pitt series … I just don’t read them often enough.
  5. Steve Martini … I have 8 of his books from the series that I can’t even tell you who the main character is. Pitiful, right? Obviously I had intended on reading this series, but if I can’t even remember what the character’s name is …
  6. Perri O’Shaughnessy … 7 of her books. I have only read the first one in this series and while I did enjoy it, I obviously didn’t enjoy it enough to get right on that second book.
  7. Vince Flynn … 6 books. I really enjoyed the first few Mitch Rapp books, but then somewhere along the line I got sidetracked and haven’t read any more of Flynn’s books.
  8. Ted Bell … 6 books. I read the first book in the Alexander Hawke series, and while I enjoyed it, I have yet to read on in this series … despite me having almost all the books.
  9. Brad Thor … 5 books. I have gone back and forth with the Scot Harvath series for ages. I read the first 3 books and enjoyed them. But somewhere along the line in the 3rd book I lost interest and have really considered not continuing with this series.
  10. Stuart Woods … 5 books. I recently discovered Stone Barrington and have accumulated books 3-7 in this series.

So there is my list. You can tell I’m a serious series reader. And I have a bad habit of reading the first couple of books, accumulating the next gazillion in the series, and then not going anywhere else with it. Oh well.

Life, Miscellaneous Ramblings

Another week in paradise….

It’s insane in my neck of the woods.

My grandmother has been released from the nursing home and is back home. Currently with no help at all except for my 82-year-old grandfather, who had stents put in 2 weeks ago. This ought to end well.

Nathan’s grandmother spent Thursday night in the ER with severe pains running from her ribcage all the way around her back. The initial tests weren’t showing anything. They were going to admit her and schedule a scope for the next morning because they suspect an ulcer. She refused. They pumped her with three morphine shots and sent her home with instructions to call her primary physician first thing Friday morning to schedule the scope. As of yesterday evening she was in pain again, but she’s so stubborn she didn’t call her doctor.

We got a new bed last week, but when it was delivered there was this huge red stain on it that they say is from the manufacturer. They had delivered a bed with the exact same stain a few weeks back. They left it here and have ordered us another one that’s supposed to be delivered on Tuesday.

Since I will have to be home on Tuesday to wait for the delivery guys … I’m going to be a horrible mother and send my child to daycare while I stay home. This will mark the second time I’ve done this and while I do feel guilty … I need this for sure. A quiet house. Bliss!

Garrett has been on Pediasure twice a day since his 2 year appointment in June. After many tries, he will finally drink the strawberry ones. He likes it now and asks for his “strawberry juice” all the time. Good news is that I think he’s finally gaining weight! He’s definitely starting to look bigger … those little chicken legs are starting to fill in 🙂 But goodness gracious, those Pediasure people must thing they’re packaging liquid gold. It’s like I’m buying formula again.

I have a newfound respect for single parents after this week. Nathan has been working early and late every single day. Two nights he was up visiting family and wasn’t home until almost 11pm. So that left me with all parenting responsibilities (see why I’m sending my kid to daycare on the day I’m staying home next week?). Holy cow is it difficult. And my child, while difficult at times, isn’t really all that much trouble at the age of 2. … Except for when I find him climbing on the dining room table, playing with the outlet where the satellite is plugged in, or chasing the dog around the house trying to pull his tail. Yep, typical 2-year-old little boy 🙂

Speaking of typical 2-year-old little boy … it’s all I can do to keep Garrett from taking off all his clothes! Luckily, he only does it here at the house. But seriously?

He keeps going to the bathroom where we keep his potty. He pulls his own pants down and I remove the diaper. Then he runs out of the bathroom screaming “pee-pee potty!”. I’ve explained to him that he has to pee pee IN the potty. We’re not pushing him to potty train immediately, but he’s obviously stuck between interested and not ready.

Well I’ve realized that all I’ve talked about on my BOOK blog is my son. Oops. So … reading? During the second week of July I looked at the calendar and realized that I had only finished one book and had kind of lost my reading mojo. I started stressing about my numbers. Why do I do that to myself, anyway? However, in the last week I’ve finished three books. THREE! I don’t think I have to worry about my numbers now, ha! And I’m 100 pages into the book I’m reading now.

Speaking of which, I’m currently reading “Don’t Try to Find Me” by Holly Brown.  I’m really enjoying it so far! I’m dying to know what happened to make Marley take off! There’s obviously a big secret coming and I have a few guesses of what it might be … but I can’t wait to find out! Look for my review of this one sometime next week.

Well I think it’s time for me to sign off now. We are headed up to our hometown today. Going to play a round of golf with the husband while my parents babysit and then it’s off to the fair for us! It will be Garrett’s first trip, and while I’m not sure what he will get to do being only 2, I know he’ll enjoy walking around watching all the other kids.

Have a good rest of the weekend 🙂

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, H, NetGalley, RATING, Read in 2014, Review Book

2014.34 REVIEW – The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier

The Butcher
by Jennifer Hillier

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 354
Rating: 3/5
Read: July 20-July 23, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 34
Format:  E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Series: N/A

The ButcherBlurb: From the author of the acclaimed suspense novels Creep and Freak and whom Jeffery Deaver has praised as a “top of the line thriller writer,” The Butcher is a high-octane novel about lethal secrets that refuse to die—until they kill again.

A rash of grisly serial murders plagued Seattle until the infamous “Beacon Hill Butcher” was finally hunted down and killed by police chief Edward Shank in 1985. Now, some thirty years later, Shank, retired and widowed, is giving up his large rambling Victorian house to his grandson Matt, whom he helped raise.

Settling back into his childhood home and doing some renovations in the backyard to make the house feel like his own, Matt, a young up-and-coming chef and restaurateur, stumbles upon a locked crate he’s never seen before. Curious, he picks the padlock and makes a discovery so gruesome it will forever haunt him… Faced with this deep dark family secret, Matt must decide whether to keep what he knows buried in the past, go to the police, or take matters into his own hands.

Meanwhile Matt’s girlfriend, Sam, has always suspected that her mother was murdered by the Beacon Hill Butcher—two years after the supposed Butcher was gunned down. As she pursues leads that will prove her right, Sam heads right into the path of Matt’s terrible secret.

A thriller with taut, fast-paced suspense, and twists around every corner, The Butcher will keep you guessing until the bitter, bloody end.

Review: I received a copy of this book for free via NetGalley, all opinions expressed below are my own.

I first saw this book mentioned in a NetGalley email and was immediately intrigued. So I requested access and was glad to snag an e-galley.

This one is a tough one to describe. Here’s the deal: you know exactly who the Butcher is within the first chapter. I’m not entirely sure I liked that strategy. Nothing … and I mean nothing was a surprise in this book. I hate to use this word, but it was so predictable. That’s why I can’t rate it higher than a 3.

Overall it was a good book in general. I would recommend it, but if you like a lot of twists and turns, this one might not be for you. But it does read quickly and easily and kept me quite entertained.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, July 21, 2014

Mailbox Monday has returned home to Mailbox Monday’s site this year.

Birthday money burns a hole in my pocket. And 9 times out of 10 I spend it at the book store :):)

The Cuckoo's CallingBurial RitesCinderThe Other Typist

Or at the library book sale, which just happens to land during my birthday month 🙂

212IcedThe AbductionColder than IceDearly BelovedLive to Tell

I also got these from Paperbackswap:

Worst Fears RealizedSilent Prey

And finally one book from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program:

Don't Talk to Strangers In the woods of Whisper, Georgia, two bodies are found: one recently dead, the other decayed from a decade of exposure to the elements. The sheriff is going to need help to track down an experienced predator – one who abducts girls and holds them for months before ending their lives. Enter ex-FBI profiler and private investigator Keye Street.

After a few weeks, Keye is finally used to sharing her downtown Atlanta loft with her boyfriend, A.P.D. Lieutenant Aaron Rauser. Along with their pets (his dog, her cat) they seem almost like a family. But when Rauser plunks a few ice cubes in a tumbler and pours a whiskey, Keye tenses. Her addiction recovery is tenuous at best.

Though reluctant to head out into the country, Keye agrees to assist Sheriff Ken Meltzer. Once in Whisper, where the locals have no love for outsiders, Keye starts to piece together a psychological profile: The killer is someone who stalks and plans and waits. But why does the sociopath hold the victims for so long, and what horrible things must they endure? When a third girl goes missing, Keye races against time to connect the scant bits of evidence. All the while, she cannot shake the chilling feeling: Something dark and disturbing lives in these woods – and it is watching her every move.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Harry Bosch, RATING, Read in 2014, READING CHALLENGES 2014, SERIES

2014.33 REVIEW – Trunk Music by Michael Connelly

Trunk Music
by Michael Connelly

Copyright: 1997
Pages: 427
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 10-July 19, 2014
Challenge: Official TBR Challenge
Yearly count: 33
Format:  Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Harry Bosch #5

Trunk MusicBlurb: When B-grade L.A. movie producer Tony Aliso is found stuffed into the trunk of his Rolls-Royce, all signs point to “trunk music” – a mob hit. Detective Harry Bosch, just back from an “involuntary stress lave,” is not so sure. And when he finds the money trail, he follows it … all the way to Vegas.

Seems this Tony had his share of enemies, and in no time, so does Harry: Vegas thugs, LAPD’s organized crime unit, a smarmy internal affairs investigator and, of course, Tony’s killers. Everyone wants a piece of Harry. And somehow, they’ve found just the way to get it…

Turns out that just before his death, Tony was seen at a Vegas poker table with one Eleanor Wish – ex-FBI agent, ex-convict … and ex-love of Harry’s life. Now it’s time for Harry to keep his cards close to the table – and his enemies even closer before it’s time to face the TRUNK MUSIC.

Review: Oh, Harry … how I love you so much! Seriously, I really like Harry Bosch! I’m slowly making my way through this series, but the books are getting better and better.

This one was a really good installment. I found it so much fun to work the case with Harry. I only had part of the “who-dun-it” figured out before it was finally put together by Harry.

There’s not much else that can be said about an older book that has already been read and reviewed a gazillion times. I liked it and I’m looking forward to the next Harry Bosch book!!

Book Nerd Tours, Book Spotlight

Book Spotlight: The Founders’ Plot by Frank Victoria



The Founders' PlotSynopsis 

Clarion Reviews – Five Stars: … an
intriguing and rich novel. The char-
acters, dialogue, and plot will
entertain readers…to the end.

Kirkus Reviews: … for a fictional
account of a contemporary political
dispute, this is a competent if not
inspiring option.

When California Governor Michael J. DiGrasso pushes through a tough immigration law, the Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional, but the decorated Vietnam veteran refuses to accept the ruling. This ignites a clash between federal, state, and judicial power that threatens to jar the country’s political and justice systems. And it leaves the governor’s long-time friend, President of the United States, Martin W. Ballard, with the decision of whether to federalize the California National Guard to enforce the Court’s order.

Tension increases when Elizabeth Stern, a savvy member of the opposition party tries to ram through a new immigration law that will pass judicial review. An expert in back-room legislative machinations, she’ll go to any length to force the governor to obey the Court decision, and her devious maneuvers throw DiGrasso’s personal and professional life into turmoil.

One subplot involves DiGrasso’s close personal friend, Congressman Manuel Mendoza, who is indicted for taking bribes. Another concerns two Mexican families in the country illegally and the tragedies that befall them because of the new immigration law.

The unfolding of these interwoven events creates a tense, fast-paced thriller that parallels the current tumult over illegal immigration and the on-going debate on Constitutional interpretation that will leave readers craving for the eventual outcome.

Giveaway Banner-2

Frank Victoria was born and raised in Chicago, a city rich in industry and ambitions and many of his ideas were molded by its brand of politics and immigrant culture. He served in the Marine Corps, which left an imprint of just how much he could do and helped create the persistence needed to earn his BA in Journalism from Northern Illinois University.

It took him nearly eight years to get the degree because he repeatedly had to interrupt his studies with full-time work to pay for his expenses. He toiled on the docks loading and unloading freight, moved furniture, worked construction, was a cabbie, a shoe salesman and a factory worker. The payoff: Time in the ivory tower setting balanced by a nitty gritty education in the real world.


2 winners will receive a copy of The Founders’ Plot + $20.00 Amazon Gift Card by Frank Victoria. Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

Please be sure to stop by HERE to see the rest of the tour participants!


RECIPE: Oreo and Fudge Ice Cream Cake

Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake (12 servings)

  • 1/2 cup  hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
  • 1 tub  (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
  • 1 pkg.  (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
  • 8 OREO Cookies, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches


  1. Pour fudge topping into medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup COOL WHIP. Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 min. Stir in chopped cookies.
  2. Arrange 4 ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on 24-inch-long sheet of foil; top with half the COOL WHIP mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining sandwiches. Frost top and sides with remaining COOL WHIP. Bring up foil sides; double fold top and ends to loosely seal packet.
  3. Freeze 4 hours or until firm.

Recipe Source: Kraft Recipes


Personal Review: Here’s something I’ve never shared with my readers … a dessert! Why, you might ask? Because I don’t make dessert very often. I have two go-to recipes for dessert … this is one of them (and the easiest).

I make this every year for Easter dinner and it is always a huge hit. I would make it more often if it wasn’t so addicting, ha!

I will say that if you make this and you have trouble getting everything to mix together in step 1, add a splash of milk to thin it out some. By the way, you don’t *need* to buy an entire package of Oreos … I just do it because I’m an Oreo freak 🙂