Thinking Ahead….

…. to 2018! It seems insane to think that 2018 is so close, but it’s definitely right around the corner! Scary!

So I’ve been thinking more and more where I’d like to go with my reading in 2018. 2017 has been a great year for my reading in terms of quantity. I’ve read more this year than I have in the last few years. That’s great, I’m happy to see my numbers go up. As far as quality … I definitely read more than a few home runs … but also a great deal of duds! Can’t all be winners I guess…

So what do I want to focus on in 2018? Hm.

(1) – I need to rein in the book buying. I don’t spend a whole lot of money on books (I utilize the used book store/goodwill/library book sales a lot). But when I buy books, I buy like 10-15 at a time. Ugh! That needs to stop. I say this every year and I doubt it will stop …. but I feel like I need to reiterate it. Maybe one day it will stick?

(2) – Clear off my shelves. Really focus on getting some of those older books moved. Get them read or get them out. At this point my shelf space is at critical level. I’ve rearranged so many times and I still do not have room for everything. And to be honest, I could seriously not buy a single book for the next 4 years before I ran out of something to read. Oops?

(3) – Goodreads groups/challenges. So I am still in love with my Goodreads challenges. I’m not going to stop participating over there. However, I want to take a break from group challenges. I had a slight run-in with a group member that left a bad taste in my mouth and left me not contributing to the point total that week. I’m being vague because I don’t really want to complain too much, but it made me realize that I definitely do better on individual challenges. Besides … I’m really feeling the burnout on not knowing what book I’m going to be able to read until the callout happens. It’s taken away a lot of my reading spontaneity and I’m wanting that back.

(4) – Continue to work on backlists, but also get some new releases in there. 2017 really saw me focus on backlists. But it also made me realize that I need more new releases as well. I need to find a better balance …. maybe for every 3 backlist titles, read 1 new(ish) release?

(5) – I have been a member of Book of the Month for over a year now and I have only read 2 of the books I’ve gotten from there. Oops? So I need to work on getting those books read. I would like to try to read one book every month from BOTM. This can go hand-in-hand with my desire to read more new releases.

So those are my “goals” for 2018. Who knows how they’ll go, ha! The main point is to read and enjoy what I’m reading 🙂

How about you? Do you have any reading goals for next year?

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Review: Reckless Abandon by Stuart Woods

Reckless Abandon
by Stuart Woods

Reckless Abandon

Copyright: 2004

Pages: 342

Read: Nov. 18 –23, 2017

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Stone Barrington is, once again, right at home in New York City. But this time he’s joined by the tenacious Holly Barker – the lady police chief of Orchid Beach, Florida. She’s come to Manhattan hot on the trail of a fugitive from her jurisdiction. And Stone is, well, glad to see her, right up until the moment when her presence creates a great danger to both of them – and to their surprise, she becomes the pursued instead of the pursuer…


Review: I say this every time – Stuart Woods Stone Barrington books are no literary feat by any means. They are simply good fun escapism. Nothing more than some brain candy for a few days. And that’s okay. Sometimes that’s exactly what a reader needs!

This particular installment (#10 in the series) introduced me to Mr. Woods’ other recurring character, Holly Barker. And I’m not entirely sure I liked her. She came off as Stone Barrington in a female body and I don’t know exactly how that translates in her own series. Ed Eagle, another of Mr. Woods’ characters also has a small role in this book so I was introduced to two new characters.

This book had Holly on the hunt for a particularly nasty fugitive. The FBI wants him in Witness Protection so he can testify in some cases for them while Holly wants him for something like 12 murders back in Florida. I think most of my issue with this book is that Stone is not stupid. Woman-crazy, sure. Stupid, no. So the mere fact that he went off with Holly (who was half-cracked over catching the fugitive) really didn’t translate well for me. I think I just didn’t care for Holly as a character. Or maybe I just didn’t like the character crossover – I know they do that sometimes with the TV shows I watch and I very rarely like those episodes.

Either way, not a terrible book, but not one of my favorites in this series either. On to the next one … there’s only 30 something books to go!

Review: Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie

About Garden of Lamentations

• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (November 14, 2017)

Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are drawn into separate investigations that hold disturbing—and deadly—complications for their own lives in this powerful mystery in the bestselling series.

On a beautiful morning in mid-May, the body of a young woman is found in one of Notting Hill’s private gardens. To passersby, the pretty girl in the white dress looks as if she’s sleeping. But Reagan Keating has been murdered, and the lead detective, DI Kerry Boatman, turns to Gemma James for help. She and Gemma worked together on a previous investigation, and Gemma has a personal connection to the case: Reagan was the nanny of a child who attends the same dance studio as Toby, Gemma and Kincaid’s son.

Gemma soon discovers that Reagan’s death is the second tragedy in this exclusive London park; a few months before, a young boy died in a tragic accident. But when still another of the garden residents meets a violent end, it becomes clear that there are more sinister forces at play. Boatman and Gemma must stop the killer before another innocent life is taken.

While his wife is consumed with her new case, Kincaid finds himself plagued by disturbing questions about several previous—and seemingly unrelated—cases involving members of the force. If his suspicions are correct and the crimes are linked, are his family and friends in mortal danger as well? Kincaid’s hunch turns to certainty when a Metropolitan Police officer close to him is brutally attacked. There’s a traitor in the ranks, and now Kincaid wonders if he can trust anyone.

As Gemma begins to see a solution to her case, she realizes she holds a child’s fate in her hands. Can she do the right thing? And can Kincaid rely on his friends, both inside and outside the Scotland Yard force, to stand beside him as he faces the deadliest challenge of his career?


Review:

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own.

I was thrilled when I was offered this book for review. I had read and reviewed the 15th book in the series, The Sound of Broken Glass, back in 2014. I thoroughly enjoyed that book and was looking forward to jumping back in with Gemma and Duncan.

It’s always hard to pick up a book in the middle of a long running series and not be a little lost. Looking back at my review for the previous book I mentioned that, but it didn’t really affect my opinion on the book all that much. For this installment, while I still enjoyed the book …. I definitely missed something big in the 16th installment. Practically the entire case that Duncan is working on throughout this book is heavily influenced by something that happened in the 16th book. It was definitely frustrating, but not a deal breaker by any means.

Gemma’s case she was working on was a lot easier for me to read, because it had nothing to do with the previous books. It was fun to work the case with Gemma. And I enjoyed unraveling the who-dun-it with her. But it felt strange because she wasn’t working with her normal crew, she got pulled into the nanny case because she happened to know someone who knew the victim. She found herself working with someone she obviously had a history with …. but once again, that seems to have been something a previous installment touched upon.

See a trend here? This is why I hate to pick up a book in the middle of the series. Because it just makes me want to go back and read the entire series from the start so that I can get a good base … but at the same time you hate to do that because you already know things that are slightly spoiler-ish. Such a conundrum when dealing with a long running series!

I did enjoy this book. I just happened to prefer the storyline Gemma was dealing with more than Duncan’s storyline. So definitely give this book a chance…. but I highly recommend reading at least the 16th book first!

And now I’ll be going back to the beginning……. 🙂


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Deborah Crombie

Deborah Crombie is a New York Times bestselling author and a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She now lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.

Connect with her through her website, Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

tlc tour host

Hello!

So … I haven’t had much to post this past week … sorry!

It’s been pretty quiet around here. Work, work and more work. Garrett had another progress report come home on Friday. He’s doing so well in kindergarten! I’m so proud of my little guy. Sometimes I look over at him and am just in awe of who he is and what he can do! It’s amazing to watch children grow up! One night last week he read almost an entire book to me! Proud momma moment right there! He definitely doesn’t give himself enough credit for what he’s capable of. Hopefully he gains more confidence in himself and his abilities.

Tomorrow we have to take Garrett back to the doctor. He’s still having a lot of trouble swallowing 😦 The scope we had done back in September with gastro showed nothing wrong. So now I want  an ENT to look at him. Maybe it’s more of a tonsil/adenoids issue since he definitely struggles more when he’s congested. We have to figure this out one way or another – he’s gotten sent home from school twice now because he threw up at school at lunch. A total of four missed days because of his swallowing issue….

He’s also been monitored by a growth stature clinic because of his size for the last year. He’s now been listed as failure to thrive! I’m just flabbergasted by that. He’s not failing to thrive … he’s thriving just fine. Sure he’s a small guy, very little by 5 year old standards, but he’s for sure thriving. He’s most definitely the smallest kid in his class (and his best friend is the tallest – they’re a pair to see!) But he’s happy and healthy. Plus according to his teacher last month, he’s at the head of the class academically! I’m tired of doctors and hospitals and pokes and prods. It’s time to leave my kid alone and let him be a kid. What pisses me off is that he’s always been small, he’s always been in the 1-2 percentile. Well now he’s in the 10th percentile for height and 25th for weight …. but that doesn’t seem to account for anything?! Don’t give me that failure to thrive bullshit.

They did a bone scan of his hand to check his bone age to see if he’s potentially just going to be a late bloomer.  They keep talking about genetic testing and potentially doing growth hormones. We have made the decision not to go down that route. I’m not pumping by child full of hormones that will do god knows what to him in the future just to potentially get him an additional 1-3 inches. (And let’s not even talk about the cost …. one estimate I saw said that one inch will cost you approximately $52,000…) The risks don’t outweigh the benefits to me in our situation. If he ends up being 5’4″ (which is where he’s being projected now…) then so be it. He’ll just be a small guy. He’s healthy and happy. That’s enough for me.

Can you tell that I’m at the end of my rope with all this junk with doctors and my son? I honestly feel like they want there to be something wrong with him. They want him to have some rare genetic disorder causing his slow growth. I’ve heard nothing but criticism about his size for his entire life (he was born small, 5lb 14oz at 39 weeks). I’m so over it. It’s time to move on and figure out his swallowing issue. Maybe if he could eat better he’d grow better … there’s an idea! Even though the endocrinologist we saw last week told us that his small stature had nothing to do with his eating habits. Whatever. It’s still a pain in the ass to deal with a kid that throws up and can’t swallow because he says food won’t go down his throat. Something’s wrong, that’s not normal – to me that’s a more important issue than any stupid genetic test could show. I never should have opened up this can of worms, it boils my blood every time I think about this whole issue.

Moving on….

Garrett has some sort of a Thanksgiving performance on Tuesday – he says he’s a pilgrim and his line is “bang bang”. I’ll be curious to see how that goes! He’s best friend is going to be a turkey. This is sure to be a cute performance!!

I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving. Christmas will be right around the corner. And my Christmas shopping is almost all done! Talk about being on the ball this year! Ha! Well I think that’s all I’ve got for this quiet Sunday morning. I’m going to a painting event later today with some girlfriends. Going to be painting a snowman door hanger! I’m looking forward to that.

I sure hope you’ll stop back by on Tuesday for my blog tour stop for Deborah Crombie’s Garden of Lamentations!

I’m back!!!

I hope, lol!

This year has been really wonky for my blogging mojo. I have been reading … as of this writing I’ve finished 57 books for the year, with most of November and all of December remaining … last year I only managed 53. But real life has intervened more than once.

Katelyn had to have tubes put in her ears in April. My grandmother was sick in June/July with a pretty serious cancer scare – she was extremely lucky only a surgery was required. In August Garrett started kindergarten 😥 In August and September Nathan had carpal tunnel surgery done on both hands. In September we finally had Garrett’s scope on his throat (with negative results of anything being wrong …. so we still don’t know what causes his swallowing issues) And the medical bills, tubes – carpal tunnel – scope … ugh! We have “good” insurance, but good lord we’ve been drowning in medical bills. Plus Garrett did t-ball in the spring/summer and flag football in the fall, so we spent 2-3 times a week out on a field. It’s been crazy around here!

So it’s been a crazy busy and somewhat rough year. It’s just been one thing after another. And so the blog fell by the wayside. It juts wasn’t a priority with everything else going on. Somehow though I managed to keep reading – I think that was my escape as to how I dealt with a lot of the stress I was under.

Hopefully though we’re past the rough part, lol. One can hope at least! And I can get my schedule back on track and get back to the blog. I’ve missed ya’ll. I know I’ve been posting those mini reviews so I was at least keeping a teeny tiny presence here. But not what I would like.

So here’s to hoping I can get back on track here and start producing some good quality stuff for the blog again.

Until next time…

Review: I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Mary Higgins Clark

I’ve Got You Under My Skin
by Mary Higgins Clark

I've Got You Under My Skin

Copyright: 2014

Pages: 371

Read: Nov. 4 –9, 2017

Rating: 5/5

Source: Grandmother

 
Blurb: Five years after watching his father brutally gunned down, eight-year-old Timmy Moran is still haunted by a killer’s piercing blue eyes. His mother, Laurie, is troubled by the man’s threat as he fled the scene: “Tell your mother she’s next, then it’s your turn…”

As the producer of a true-crime television show, Laurie is no stranger to murder. Her new series will feature the twenty-year-old unsolved case of a socialite who was found suffocated in bed following a graduation gala for her daughter. The sensational murder made news nationwide. Reopening the case in its lavish setting with the cooperation of the fatal night’s surviving guests, Laurie is sure to have a hit on her hands. But when filming begins, it becomes clear her subjects are hiding secrets … small and large.

And a pair of blue eyes is watching events unfold, too…


Review: Mary Higgins Clark is the epitome of murder mysteries. Her books are always so good! Entertaining, suspenseful, clean …. just good fun! This particular book was no different.

I went back and forth between all of the subjects throughout the entire book before the killer was finally revealed in the last few pages. The killer wasn’t even someone I had even given a second thought to! I thought I had it all figured out …. but nope! I wasn’t even close! That to me is what makes a perfect murder mystery. I shouldn’t be able to peg the killer early on in the book. Even though looking back on it, this person should have been more suspect to me … they weren’t. Wasn’t even really on my radar!

Apparently this is the beginning of a series, one featuring Laurie Moran continuing to find and produce her television show showcasing old unsolved cases. I didn’t realize that going into this one, but I will definitely be looking forward to reading more of Laurie’s story in the future!

So another backlist book that I definitely highly recommend! If you love a great murder mystery this one is definitely for you! Just Mary Higgins Clark at her finest!

September & October 2017 Reads

Well….. it’s obviously been awhile 😦 September saw a HUGE reading slump…. I went from reading anywhere from 6-9 books to a whopping 3 in September…. October wasn’t that much better….. Here’s to hoping November is better 🙂

So I’ll do a quick mini-review round up of my September and October reads. It’s so impressive, I tell ya …. ::eyeroll::

Sate of the Onion
Title: State of the Onion
Author: Julie Hyzy
Read: Sept. 3-6, 2017
Pages: 325
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the first in the White House Chef Mystery series …. it was a fun read that I enjoyed! It was cute, but not cutesie …. if that makes sense? I definitely am looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

Where They Found Her
Title: Where They Found Her
Author: Kimberly McCreight
Read: Sept. 10-19, 2017
Pages: 326
Source: Purchased New
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: So this one I found in the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble. I had my eye on it when it first came out because I had read and LOVED her previous book, Reconstructing Amelia, so I think I had high hopes for this one. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t grab me right off the bat and I struggled to really get into it. And when it was all revealed in the end, it wasn’t as surprising as I had hoped for. So good, but not great.
Obstruction of Justice
Title: Obstruction of Justice
Author: Perri O’Shaughnessy
Read: Sept. 20-29, 2017
Pages: 512
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the 3rd book in the Nina Reilly series. I have read and enjoyed the previous two so I was looking forward to this one! I enjoyed it and it definitely left me wanting to read the fourth book … if only they weren’t so long, I often find myself too intimidated by longer books these days….
Her Last Breath
Title: Her Last Breath
Author: Linda Castillo
Read: Oct. 2-5, 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: This is the 5th book in the Kate Burkholder series. I read and LOVED the first 4 in 2016 and had tried to pick this one up shortly after I read the 5th, but realized that I was a little burned out on the series. In fact, I can recall feeling like the books were all too similar to each other. So I set it aside and decided I’d come back to it later. Apparently a year later I decided it was time …. I’m glad I waited because I thoroughly enjoyed it! I had no trouble jumping right back into Kate’s life and I can’t wait to see where her and Tomasetti go in the future. I definitely recommend this series!
Pop Goes the Weasel
Title: Pop Goes the Weasel 
Author: M.J. Arlidge
Read: Oct. 8-13, 2017
Pages: 390
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts: I read the first book in this series, Eeny Meeny,  back in January of this year and I absolutely adored it! So I had high hopes for this one, but I wanted to let it sit for awhile (series burnout is real!) … and while I did enjoy this one, it definitely didn’t grab me as fast as the first book did. It was gruesome and a roller coaster ride, but I felt like it was a letdown from the first book. Yet I still want to continue on with this series, so it wasn’t terrible either. A solid thriller.
Beautiful Storm
Title: Beautiful Storm 
Author: Barbara Freethy
Read: Oct. 6-25, 2017
Pages: 321
Source: B&N Serial Reads
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts: This book was October’s selection for Barnes & Noble’s Serial Reads…. I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense, mainly because I don’t read a lot of romance. So I was a little unsure going into this one, but I was immediately intrigued by the storyline – the missing person’s case. If only it had been a little more on the intrigue and less on the romance (which really, wasn’t overbearing honestly…) it would have been a lot more interesting to me. So not something I would ever pick up on my own, but definitely a decent freebie read.
Winter Prey
Title: Winter Prey
Author: John Sandford
Read: Oct. 21-27, 2017
Pages: 400
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: I remember very clearly thoroughly loving the previous book in this series, Silent Prey, so I was looking forward to getting to this 5th book in the Lucas Davenport series. Why did I wait so long between books?!? I really enjoyed this book. It was so creepy and suspenseful. I know I’m only on the 5th book in the series, but other than #2 they’ve all been home runs for me! Definitely makes me look forward to continuing on sooner rather than later!