Monthly Wrap Up

April, May & June 2015 Wrap Ups

So um…. yeah, I know I’ve been more than a little MIA here on the blog. That’s what happens when you spend all of April in the fog of pregnancy brain and May welcoming a new little one and June seeing your daughter in surgery. So I wanted to spend a few minutes wrapping up the last 3 months of my reading (as if there’s that much to wrap-up…..)

April: 3 books (YTD: 15)

A Dream Called MarilynInnocent DamageLosing Faith

  1. A Dream Called Marilyn by Mercedes King – REVIEW
  2. Innocent Damage by Robert K. Lewis – REVIEW
  3. Losing Faith by Adam Mitzner – REVIEW

May: 1 book (YTD: 16)

Mr. Mercedes

  1. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King – REVIEW

June: 3 books (YTD: 19)

The Truth and Other LiesMiseryThe Silent Wife

  1. The Truth and Other Lies by Sasha Arango – REVIEW
  2. Misery by Stephen King – REVIEW
  3. The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison – REVIEW

Pages Read: 2,173 (YTD: 6,797)

Books Received: 42 (See list here)

  • Hard Copy Review Book: 2
  • Purchased new: 2
  • Purchased used: 21
  • E-Book purchased: 1
  • Paperbackswap: 9
  • Grandmother: 7

Not sure my reading is going to improve any time soon … my maternity leave is over after the 4th of July. But luckily I will only be working part-time. I have signed up for some challenges on my Goodreads groups that have me super excited to cross off some TBR books. Hopefully I can get into some kind of a groove now that Katelyn seems to be sleeping more at night now.

PS … spread the word. There’s going to be a giveaway here on my blog celebrating my birthday (July 5th). It’s going to be a good one you won’t want to miss!!! Stay tuned….

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3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.19 REVIEW – The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

The Silent Wife
by A.S.A. Harrison

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 326
Rating: 3/5
Read: June 18 – June 27, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 19
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Series: N/A

The Silent WifeBlurb:
 Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept.


Review: I purchased this book new in 2014. And then I proceeded to do as I always do … I let it linger on my shelf. I have no idea what made me pick this one up, but it caught my eye when I went searching for my next read after finishing up Misery.

So what did I think ….hmm. This is a tough one. What do you get when you absolutely hate both main characters? Because one is so stupid and the other is in such denial you want to slap her upside the head? Yeah. That’s where I’m at on this book. Todd is a class-A jerk wad. A cheater. Jodi needs to get her head out of the sand. Even after Todd leaves her for Natasha she’s in such denial that I wanted to strangle her.

But for some reason I kept reading this book. I was sucked in for whatever reason. I couldn’t tear myself away from the book (when I got the chance to pick it up … reading with 2 little ones is a whole different ball game). I had to know what happened. Little by little the book unfolds and I was left holding my breath until the very end. This is not necessarily a fast-paced thriller. It’s more slow-paced, but every bit as intriguing.

Bottom line … I enjoyed this one, but ultimately it was my distaste for Todd and Jodi that is keeping my opinion of this one more on the “okay” side than the “awesome” side.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, K, RATING, Read in 2015, Read-a-Long

2015.18 REVIEW – Misery by Stephen King

Misery
by Stephen King

Copyright: 1987
Pages: 356
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 1 – June 17, 2015
Challenge: #MiseryRAL
Yearly count: 18
Format: E-Book
Source: Purchased
Series: N/A

MiseryBlurb:
 Misery Chastain was dead. Paul Sheldon had just killed her – with relief, with joy. Misery had made him rich; she was the heroine of a string of bestsellers. And now he wanted to get on to some real writing.

That’s when the car accident happens, and he wakes up in pain in a strange bed. But it isn’t hospital. Annie Wilkes has pulled him from the wreck, brought him to her remote mountain home, splinted and set his mangled legs.

The good news is that Annie was a nurse and has pain-killing drugs. The bad news is that she has long been Paul’s Number One Fan. And when she finds out what Paul has done to Misery, she doesn’t like it. She doesn’t like it at all.

And now he has to bring Misery back to life. Or else…


Review: When I first saw a read-along mentioned on Twitter for Misery I was intrigued. I had skipped over the few King read-alongs there have been in the past. Mainly because I’m not very social on Twitter. However, I’m trying to change that and I had been kicking around the idea of re-reading some of the old Stephen King books that I fell in love with. So I figured now was as good a time as any to join in on the read-along fun.

As I said at one point on Twitter … Annie is bat-shit crazy! Sometimes all I can do is just shake my head at what Mr. King has come up with for his books. I mean, you pretty much get the idea that Annie has to be crazy just by the book blurb, but you really don’t have any idea just how psycho she is until you get into this book. She’s really creepy psycho. And it makes for some great reading!

For the first time, clearly, the thought surfaced in Paul Sheldon’s mind: I am in trouble here. This woman is not right. (p. 14)

Oh, Paul … you really had no idea just how “not right” Annie truly was. You were her number one fan, you know. Creepy, right? I shudder just at the thought of everything that Paul went through with Annie.

I felt sorry for Paul. Annie really does a number on him psychologically and physically. She breaks him down. She makes him completely dependent on her and the drugs she has. But little by little he brings himself up out of the fog he’s in and it really begins to become a game of wits between the two. That’s when the book starts to get really good!

If he meant to get out of this, he would have to kill her.

Yes. That’s the answer – the only one there is, I think. So it’s that same old game again, isn’t it? Paulie … Can You? 

He answered with no hesitation at all. Yes, I can. (p. 201)

There’s not much I can say in this review that hasn’t been said a million times before. Personally, I enjoyed this book. However, I don’t think it would be at the very top of my list of favorite Stephen King books. It wasn’t scary to me … it was just downright creepy. And kind of gross in some places (okay … very gross!)

My copy had 356 pages. That’s relatively short for a Stephen King book. And it reads quickly (I would have finished it a lot sooner had I not spent a week dealing with Katelyn’s surgery and recovery). So I would definitely recommend picking it up if you’ve never read Mr. King and you’re intimidated by the size of most of his books.

Highly recommended.

Baby Book Addict, Life

Being a parent can be tough…

… especially when your little one is sick and you don’t really know why. For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably have some idea of what’s happened, but for those of you who don’t I wanted to pop in and post a little update.

Two weeks ago our sweet Katelyn started vomiting. And let me tell you, this went WAY beyond spitting up. This was forcefully splattering our faces, getting in our hair, drenching bath towels. Yuck. I didn’t know what had happened. My precious girl went from a happy not-at-all spitty baby to this vomit machine. In just a few days. It was ridiculous. We were both at our wits end not knowing what to do. I was afraid to even put her down because even when sound asleep she would open her mouth and formula would come back out! Without her ever waking up, I was afraid she would choke.

So I did what any parent would do after about 24 hours of her throwing up forcefully after every bottle (sometimes during a feeding while the nipple was still in her mouth!). I took her in to the doctor. Unfortunately, that first day I was only able to see a nurse practitioner. I didn’t care, I just wanted to get an opinion on what was going on with Katelyn. I knew something was wrong. Babies don’t just start randomly throwing up like this. It wasn’t normal. Her weight was fine. Her belly sounded normal. I was told it was “probably” reflux but to come back on Monday for a weight check (we went in on a Thursday).

After a very long weekend, Monday finally rolled around. I told my husband that I didn’t care what he had going on at work, I wanted him to come to the doctor with me. If I was going to have to make an ass of myself to get the help we needed for our daughter, I wanted him by my side. I knew this wasn’t reflux – we dealt with that with Garrett. This was something totally different and I was scared something was seriously wrong. Luckily we saw the doctor this time. And he immediately saw something different. He told us she had lost 4oz in 4 days, asked us a bunch of questions, felt around on her belly, and then calmly told us that he wanted us to go down the hall for an ultrasound, that he suspected something called pyloric stenosis. He also explained that if it was indeed pyloric stenosis then she would require surgery.

Wait, what?! Surgery?!? Yes, surgery. Our baby girl had to have surgery on the day she turned 1 month old. Very, very scary.

To explain, pyloric stenosis is, in the most simplest terms, when the muscle that connects the stomach and the small intestine gets too large to let food pass through for complete digestion. Since nothing or very little can pass through, the vomiting takes place. Dehydration and extreme lethargy can also occur. So the surgeon had to go in and cut through the muscle to make it where food can pass through again. So you know, this condition usually presents between 2 and 8 weeks of age. It is something that is seen in 3 out of 1000 babies. It is most common in males, especially first-borns. So for our girl to have it is even more rarer. It’s also hereditary… we’re still trying to figure out where it came from. In addition, now that she has had it her future children are 20% more likely to have it.

And while my daughter had to have surgery at 1 month old and will forever bear the scar on her belly, she is back to being her happy self. No more vomiting. Hardly even any spitting up. I can lay her down without fear that she will choke on vomit. It was scary for all of us. It was tremendously stressful. But our girl is happy and healthy again. I am just so relieved that what we went through was so easily fixed – a lot of parents and children don’t have it as easy as we did.

Think of this as a public service announcement. While you may never come across another parent dealing with pyloric stenosis … I want you to know to trust your parenting instincts. I was told my girl had reflux. I had my doubts. I knew it was something more serious than just plain old reflux. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. Trust your instincts … no one knows your baby better than you.

3.5/5, A, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book

2015.17 REVIEW – The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango

The Truth and Other Lies
by Sascha Arango

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 241
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: May 23 – May 31, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 17
Format: Print
Source: Publicist for review
Series: N/A

The Truth and Other LiesBlurb: Henry Hayden seems like someone you could admire, or even like. A famous bestselling author with the air of a modest everyman. A loving, devoted husband even though he could have any woman he desires. A generous, compassionate friend. But Henry Hayden is a construction, a mask. His past is a secret, his methods more so. Only he and his wife know that she is the actual writer of the novels that made him famous.

But when his hidden-in-plain-sight mistress becomes pregnant and his carefully constructed facade is about to crumble, his permanent solution becomes his most terrible mistake.

Now not only are the police after Henry, but his past – which he has painstakingly kept hidden – threatens to catch up with him. But Henry is an ingenious man, and he works out an ingenious plan, weaving lies, truths, and half-truths into a story that might help him survive. Still, the noose tightens.

Smart, sardonic, and compulsively readable, this is the story of a man whose cunning allows him to evade the consequences of his every action, even when he’s standing on the edge of the abyss.


Review: I received a copy of this book for review after responding to an offer in a Goodreads group I belong to. All opinions expressed below are my own.

Henry Hayden is one interesting character. He’s a best-selling author despite never having written a word in his life. Rather it’s his wife who is the author. And she’s a big part of this book, yet I didn’t really feel like I knew her at all. Of course, I also didn’t feel very connected to Henry either. There’s a lot that we as readers do not know about Mr. Hayden. He’s got a pretty shady childhood … yet we really aren’t given very many details beyond him ending up an orphan at a fairly young age. And the logic that he uses throughout the book … well, I just can’t grasp most of the decisions he made either. Although I will say he is definitely one sneaky dude. His wife might have been the bestselling author in the family, but he managed to come up with a pretty far-reaching story as to what happened to his wife and mistress.

At one point early on in this book I couldn’t figure out if Henry was delusional and I was reading pretend dialogue, or if what was happening at ay given moment was really happening and not just a figment of his imagination. I have to say that I really struggled with this throughout the book and I think that’s what really impacted my final rating of this novel.

This isn’t a very long book, only clocking in at 241 pages. And to be perfectly honest here, I felt like it could have been a tad bit longer just because there were some places that I felt lacking. I guess it was more because I felt as if there was no real ending. There’s a big “what happened?” at the end that I would have preferred to see resolved. I wanted to know what really happened to Betty. And I really would have liked to have known what happened to Henry’s mother all those years ago.

Overall, this isn’t a bad book. It’s just a little bit different from what I’m used to reading. But it did keep my attention and kept me guessing throughout. Had there been a little more finality to it at the end and had I been able to connect more with the characters, I would have preferred it just a little bit more. But I would recommend it to mystery lovers.

Book Blitz

The Good Girls Release Day Celebration

 

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ABOUT THE BOOK

GoodGirlsHCCTHE GOOD GIRLS
The Perfectionists #2
Author: Sara Shepard
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher:  HarperTeen

SYNOPSIS:

From Sara Shepard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series, comes the shocking sequel to The Perfectionists—with an ending you’ll have to read to believe!

Mackenzie, Ava, Caitlin, Julie, and Parker have done some not-so-perfect things. Even though they all talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, they didn’t actually go through with it. It’s just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned . . . right? Except Nolan wasn’t the only one they fantasized about killing. When someone else they named dies, the girls wonder if they’re being framed. Or are they about to become the killer’s next targets?

BOOK LINKS

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | IndieBound |

SaraShepardABOUT THE AUTHOR

For as long as she can remember, Sara Shepard has been writing. However, when she was young she also wanted to be a soap opera star, a designer for LEGO, a filmmaker, a claymation artist, a geneticist, and a fashion magazine editor when she grew up. She and her sister have been creating joint artistic and written projects for years, except they’re pretty sure they’re the only ones who find them funny.

She got her MFA at Brooklyn College and now lives outside Philadelphia, PA with her husband and dogs. Her first adult novel is called The Visibles/ All The Things We Didn’t Say.

Sara’s bestselling young adult series, Pretty Little Liars, is loosely based on her experiences growing up on Philadelphia’s Main Line…although luckily she never had any serious stalkers. The series has also inspired the ABC Family television series of the same name.

www.sarashepard.com | @sarabooks

GIVEAWAY

One winner will get finished copies of THE PERFECTIONISTS and THE GOOD GIRLS (Ships in US Only | Must be 13+ To Enter)

Please click HERE to visit the Rafflecopter page.

Book Spotlight

Book Spotlight: The Missing and the Dead by Stuart MacBride

The Missing and the Dead

by Stuart MacBride

on Tour June 2015

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Published by: HarperCollins

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

Number of Pages: 592

Series: Logan McRae #10, (Each is a Stand Alone Novel)

ISBN: 0007494602 (ISBN13: 9780007494606)

Purchase Links:

 

Synopsis:

One mistake can cost you everything…

When you catch a twisted killer there should be a reward, right? What Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae gets instead is a ‘development opportunity’ out in the depths of rural Aberdeenshire. Welcome to divisional policing – catching drug dealers, shoplifters, vandals and the odd escaped farm animal.

Then a little girl’s body washes up just outside the sleepy town of Banff, kicking off a massive manhunt. The Major Investigation Team is up from Aberdeen, wanting answers, and they don’t care who they trample over to get them.

Logan’s got enough on his plate keeping B Division together, but DCI Steel wants him back on her team. As his old colleagues stomp around the countryside, burning bridges, Logan gets dragged deeper and deeper into the investigation.

One thing’s clear: there are dangerous predators lurking in the wilds of Aberdeenshire, and not everyone’s going to get out of this alive…

 

Author Bio:

I was born in Dumbarton — no one knows why, not even my mother — and moved up to Aberdeen at the tender age of two, dragging my mother, father, and a pair of wee brothers with me. There followed a less than stellar academic career, starting out in Marchburn Primary School, where my evil parents forced me to join the cub scouts (specialising in tying unnecessary knots in things and wearing shorts). Thence to Middlefield Academy for some combat recorder practice.

Having outstayed our welcome in Heathryfold we stopped thencing and tried going hence instead. To Westhill. To a housing development built over the remains of a pig farm. Sounds a bit suspect, but that’s what the official story was when all the householders found teeth and bones coming to the surface of their neatly tended vegetable plots. Pig farm. Right… Eventually I escaped from Westhill Academy with a CSE in woodwork, a deep suspicion of authority, and itchy shins.

Here followed an aborted attempt to study architecture at Herriot Watt in Edinburgh, which proved to be every bit as exciting and interesting as watching a badger decompose. If you’ve never tried it, I can wholly recommend giving it a go (watching mouldy badgers falling to bits, not architecture). So I gave up the life academic and went a-working offshore instead. That involved a lot of swearing as I recall. Swearing and drinking endless cups of tea. And I think I had Alpen every morning for about a year and a half. Can’t look at a bowl of the stuff now without getting the dry boak, sod how regular it keeps you. After my stint offshore I had a bash at being a graphic designer, a professional actor, an undertaker, a marketing company’s studio manager, a web designer, programmer, technical lead… Then last, but by all means least, finally circling the career drain by becoming a project manager for a huge IT conglomerate.

Shudder.

Anyway, while I was doing all that IT stuff, I wrote a wee book about an Aberdonian detective sergeant and his dysfunctional colleagues: Cold Granite. HarperCollins bought it, and overnight I went from a grumpy project manager caterpillar to a writing butterfly. As long as you can picture a six-foot-tall, pasty-white, bearded butterfly with no wings, that spends all its time hanging about the house in its jammies.

Stuart has recently been crowned WORLD STOVIES CHAMPION at the 2014 Huntly Hairst.

Catch Up:

 

Tour Participants:

1. 06/01/2015 Showcase @ Tales of a Book Addict
2. 06/02/2015 Review @ Its a Mad Mad World
3. 06/02/2015 Showcase @ Mommabears Book Blog
4. 06/03/2015 Showcase @ Fictionzeal
5. 06/04/2015 Review @ Deal Sharing Aunt
6. 06/05/2015 Review @ Booksie’s Blog
7. 06/08/2015 Review & showcase @ Undercover Book Reviews
8. 06/09/2015 Review @ Lazy Day Books
9. 06/10/2015 Showcase @ Housewife Blues And Chihuahua Stories
10. 06/11/2015 Review @ Bless Their Hearts Mom
11. 06/16/2015 Review @ Vics Media Room
12. 06/18/2015 Review @ Maries Cozy Corner
13. 06/21/2015 Review @ Quirky Book Reviews
14. 06/22/2015 Review @ Brooke Blogs
15. 06/26/2015 Review @ Celticladys Reviews

Giveaway:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Stuart MacBride & Harper Collins. There will be one winner of 1 physical copy of The Missing and the Dead by Stuart MacBride to a US recipient. The giveaway begins on June 1st, 2015 and runs through July 3rd, 2015 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours