Meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday

January 22: Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

Hm. Well, this could be a long list (ha!) But actually when I went through my TBR list I realized that there were really only 3 that really stood out to me.

What HappenedGone GirlOutlander

What Happened … I was pumped when I purchased this one brand spanking new in hardcover at full price (a very rare thing for me) … but I just can’t bring myself to open it yet. 😦

Gone Girl … at this point I think I may be the only person on earth who hasn’t read this one.

Outlander … I’m just too intimidated by it. But I will conquer it. Someday. 😀

 

 

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Life, Miscellaneous Ramblings

Reading Slumps Stink…

Here I was all excited for the new year and the fresh start of a new reading year … and I’ve hit a reading slump. Just, ugh! These things are supposed to hit in March … or October … or any other month at all … NOT in January 😥 But here we are.

I thought at first it was because I had to finish my way through Clive Cussler’s Treasure since I was silly to pick up a 500+ page book at the end of 2018, but the last couple hundred pages went quite well and I was done by the 2nd, so I figured a few days into the New Year wouldn’t really matter all that much. Then I hopped right into Harry’s Trees for the MMD book club selection and I was pumped at first only to have to wade through at the end.

Then I picked up a James Patterson book because James Patterson always puts me right back into reading, but this one (The President is Missing) doesn’t have the same feel as a “usual” Patterson and I’ve spent the last 3 days on it and I’m only 49 pages in. I think I’m going to have to have my first DNF of the year and that saddens me. I don’t really know where to go from here. I mean, if James Patterson can’t pick me up (my go-to slump author) … what will?! This is awful.

I know a lot of it has to do with some stuff going on in my personal life. Not wanting to go into too much detail (you know, because it’s personal and not necessarily my story to tell, but I am involved in it). .. I have a family member going through a divorce. And I’m feeling the effects of if in a major way because I lost not only a family member, but someone who I considered a very close friend. I was lied to multiple times over the course of at least the last 6-8 months and that hurts. The betrayal. I don’t make friends easily, and the ones that I do make I tend to hold onto for dear life. So the fact that not only am I losing a friend but I’m losing one because of such a big betrayal … it’s really hurt me in ways I can’t describe. The whole family feels betrayed, not just the member involved in the divorce. It’s just been a cluster and I’m having a very hard time processing everything.

We will all heal with time … but for now, my reading is really taking a hit. I find myself just aimlessly surfing the internet more often than not and when I do pick up a book, I can’t tell you anything about the previous 5 pages I just read.

So all that rambling … what is YOUR go-to slump breaker? Have you read anything AMAZING lately that you’d like to share in the comments? Please drop me a note with your recommendations!

In the meantime … happy reading 🙂

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, MMD Book Club, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen

Harry’s Trees
by Jon Cohen

harry's trees

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 428

Read: Jan 4 – 14, 2019

Rating: 3/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane works as an analyst for the US Forest Service. When his wife dies suddenly, he is unable to cope. Leaving his job and his old life behind, Harry makes his way to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, determined to lose himself. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She and her mother, Amanda, are struggling to pick up the pieces from their own tragedy – Amanda stoically holding it together while Oriana roams the forest searching for answers. And in Oriana’s magical, willful mind, she believes that Harry is the key to righting her world.

After taking up residence in the woods behind Amanda’s house, Harry reluctantly agrees to help Oriana in a ludicrous scheme to escape his tragic past. In so doing, the unlikeliest of elements – a wolf, a stash of gold coins, a fairy tale called The Grum’s Ledger and a wise old librarian named Olive – come together to create a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana’s wildest dreams and open Harry’s heart to a whole new life.

Harry’s Trees is an uplifting story about the redeeming power of friendship and love and the magic to be found in life’s most surprising adventures.


Review: This book is the January selection in the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club. As usual, this selection is way outside my normal reading. It’s billed on Goodreads as magical realism. I was a little leery to take this one on, but having skipped the last few months I knew I wanted to at least give this one a shot – it didn’t sound terrible, just not necessarily my norm.

So what did I think? Well, ultimately, it wasn’t a bad book. In fact the first half of the book really swept me up and I was really enjoying it. And then right around the time that Oriana and Harry put their “scheme” into motion it kind of dropped off for me. I think it was right around that time that I could see the obvious about how the ending would happen – and for the most part, I nailed it. I don’t like predictability in my endings, and this one was just a little too predictable for my personal taste.

The book itself is well written and thought out.  The characters were all well-developed and each had their own interesting story. The character development was definitely a big part of this book and that was probably my favorite part about the entire book. I can definitely see the “magic” of this book, but I had a hard time buying into it personally.

Meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday

January 15: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2018

Well if you read my 2018 reading recap I posted a few weeks ago you would have seen that in 2018 I read 26 new-to-me authors. Woo! However, I’m only going to share those authors that I will for sure continue to follow in the future, so that pares the list down to a manageable 5. Without further ado:

The Great Alone
The first on the list is without a doubt Kristin Hannah. Her novel The Great Alone was my #1 favorite for the entire year of 2018. I still get all the feels when I think back to my reading experience of that book. I’m definitely looking forward to exploring her back list a little bit as well as watching out for her in the future.


Final GirlsSThe Last Time I Liedecond on my list is definitely Riley Sager. I enjoyed his first book, Final Girls so much that I could hardly contain myself when I got my hands on The Last Time I Lied. I can’t wait to see what he does in the future! Whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be thrilling. Annnnd I totally just peeked at his Goodreads author page – another book coming in July … Can you say BIRTHDAY BOOK?!? 😀


The Seven Husbands of Evenlyn HugoNext up is Taylor Jenkins Reid. This book caught me by surprise. I’m not going to lie, I chose it basically for the cover (which is saying something for a person who isn’t really a “cover person”) so I wasn’t really expecting to be so caught up in it. But I sure was! I haven’t really spent much time looking through her backlist, but I definitely will keep my out on her future works.


The Woman in Cabin 10
Ruth Ware. This particular book was one of my BOTM selections that I picked up as part of a Goodreads challenge. It was a twisty novel that had me questioning everything and everyone! I have two of her other books already on my shelves that I’m definitely looking forward to getting to!

 


for-better-and-worse1And last but not least we have Margot Hunt. This book was super good and when I went to her author page I saw her previous work that looked good as well. FYI – Margot Hunt is actually a pseudonym for Whitney Gaskell, who seems to have written 12 books which all appear to be not my cup of tea (romance/chick lit), but I sure hope she continues to write psychological thrillers under her pseudonym because this book was really good!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, January 14, 2019

Mailbox Mondays

Only one book this week, a backlist series book that I realized I didn’t have a copy of when I was updating my Goodreads TBR catalog.

shoot him if he runsTeddy Fay, the rogue agent last seen escaping from an imploding building in Iron Orchid, has been considered dead for some time now. But President Will Lee thinks Teddy may still be alive. In a top-secret Oval Office meeting, Stone learns that he and his cohorts, Holly Barker and Dino Bacchetti, are being sent to the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Marks, courtesy of the CIA, to track down Teddy once and for all.

St. Marks is a vacationers’ paradise, but its luxurious beach clubs and secluded mountain villas are home to corrupt local politicians and more than a few American expats with murky personal histories. Stone and Holly soon discover that in St. Marks, everyone is hiding something—and that Teddy Fay may just be hiding in plain sight.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Dirk Pitt, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2019, SERIES

Review: Treasure by Clive Cussler

Treasure
by Clive Cussler

Treasure

Copyright: 1988

Pages: 547

Read: Dec. 24, 2018 – Jan 2, 2019

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Charts of lost gold … breathtaking art and rare volumes … maps of hidden oil and mineral deposits that could change the world’s balance of power. Now Dirk Pitt has discovered the secret trail of the treasures of Alexandria – a trail that plunges him into a brutal conspiracy for total domination of the globe. Zealots threaten to unseat the governments of Egypt and Mexico, exposing America to invasion and economic collapse. Suddenly, from East to West, anarchists reach their deadly tentacles into the heart of the United States. And Dirk Pitt, the hard-hitting hero of Clive Cussler’s Deep Six and Raise the Titanic! is up against the most feared assassin known to man. An international band of terrorists is making its play for world power on the high seas – and Pitt is the only man alive who can stop them!


Review: I try and read one Clive Cussler book every year, but I kept putting this one off every time I thought about needing to get my yearly Dirk Pitt fix in. 😦 For some reason this one just didn’t call to me the way the other installments have. And for the most part, my original assessment was pretty close to spot on.

There were a lot of things going on in this book with multiple storylines. Some of those storylines I loved and yet the other one… not so much. It all came together in the end in an interesting way, but there was a lot of political scenes that I could have done without. I just found it a little bit of a stretch to believe what Dirk Pitt went through in this book (which I think is pretty par for the course for any Dirk Pitt novel).

So while overall I’m glad that I was able to cross this one off the list, at 547 pages it was a little long and it dragged in a few places. But I’m still looking forward to continuing on with this series! There’s just something about Dirk Pitt that keeps me coming back for more.

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, January 8, 2019

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring the January selection for the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club. Again, WAY outside of my normal reading zone, but I’m definitely looking forward to digging into this one!

harry's trees

The memorial service for Beth, Harry Crane’s wife of fourteen years, was held in the Leiper Friends Meeting House in Waverly, just outside Philadelphia. The large, unadorned room was packed with relatives, friends, neighbors and coworkers. A woman’s whisper rose from their midst. “Oh, look at him. Poor Harry.” Grief-haunted and pale in his rumpled blue suit, Harry sat in the front row propped between his imposing older brother, Wolf, and Beth’s father, Stan.

Like I said above, this book is way outside my normal reading. But that intro works for me… it definitely makes me want to know how Beth died. I hope you come back in a few weeks when I get my review posted 🙂

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, January 7, 2019

Mailbox Mondays

This week I received my BOTM selection:

The Silent Patient.jpgAlicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….


And I also received my bookcase.club subscription. This month’s selections were A TON better than last month’s. Here’s what I got:

ragdollWilliam “Wolf” Fawkes gets the case of a lifetime – a case that could restore his once-enviable reputation. He and his former partner, Detective Emily Baxter, arrive at a crime scene where the body is made of the dismembered parts of six victims, sewn together – a corpse that becomes known as “The Ragdoll.”

Wolf is tasked with identifying the six victims, but that is complicated when his ex-wife, a popular journalist, anonymously receives a list of names, and the dates on which the Ragdoll Killer plans to strike next.

The final name on the list is Wolf.

Baxter homes in on figuring out what links the victims together before the killer attacks again. But for Wolf, seeing his name on the list reignites his most self-destructive instincts as he races against the clock to stop this twisted, elusive killer.


crimson lakeAccused but not convicted of a brutal abduction, Sydney Detective Ted Conkaffey is now a free man – and public enemy number one. Maintaining his innocence, he flees north to keep a low profile amid the steamy, croc-infested wetlands of Crimson Lake.

There, Ted’s lawyer introduces him to eccentric private investigator Amanda Pharrell, herself a convicted murderer. Not entirely convinced Amanda is a cold-blooded killer, Ted agrees to help with her investigation, a case full of deception and obsession, while secretly digging into her troubled past. The residents of Crimson Lake are watching the pair’s every move … and the town offers no place to hide.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: On the Same Page by N.D. Galland

On the Same Page coverAbout On the Same Page

• Paperback: 320 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (December 31, 2018)

“N. D. Galland has created a delectable romantic comedy set in her home town of Martha’s Vineyard long after the summer crowds have departed.  With a satirist’s eye and a pitch-perfect ear for the social nuances of small-town life, it’s Pride and Prejudice for the Bumble generation.”

— Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March and The Secret Chord

From the critically acclaimed author of Stepdog and The Fool’s Tale comes a romantic comedy that tells the story of one journalist secretly juggling two bylines for competing newspapers on a small island.

One island, two newspapers, and the reporter who played them both

Joanna Howes is a Martha’s Vineyard native who left the Island at eighteen and moved to New York City to become a writer. Now in her thirties, she reluctantly returns to care for her cranky, injured uncle. Needing income, she freelances for one island newspaper (the one Uncle Hank likes). But that doesn’t cover her bills, so she creates an alter ego to write for the rival paper (the one Uncle Hank doesn’t like).

The Vineyard has a split personality – part elite summer resort, part working-class small town. The Island’s two papers –the Journal and the Newes – are famously at odds with each other and reflect the seasonal schism in their reporting. Everybody’s shoulder seems to have a chip on it.

Joanna gets personally ensnared in a messy situation she’s assigned to write about for both papers: a wealthy seasonal resident sues the town for the right to use his private helicopter. When Johanna agrees to a cup of coffee with the witty, handsome stranger she meets at a zoning board meeting, she has no idea she’s made a date with Orion Smith, helicopter owner. Orion, meanwhile, doesn’t realize Joanna is the niece of his political nemesis, Henry Holmes.

Joanna scrambles to keep her disparate identities separate from each other in the tiny off-season community, but everything she does just gets her into deeper trouble…and further complicates her budding romance with the exasperating charmer she’s doing her best not to fall for.

A story about the half-truths we tell ourselves – and others – especially when our hearts are on the line.

“The most exciting story of skullduggery, intrigue and drama on Martha’s Vineyard since the last time Alan Dershowitz was snubbed at a cocktail party.”

— Peter Sagal, Host of NPR’s “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” and author of The Incomplete Book of Running

“[A] gem of a novel. . . . this rollicking rom-com unfolds on Martha’s Vineyard, which has spun its own share of fables. Quick, somebody call Hollywood. This one is ready for the big screen.”

— Bob Drogin, author of Curveball: Spies, Lies and the Con Man Who Caused a War


REVIEW:

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

So when I was originally pitched this book it immediately spoke to me mainly because of the main character being a journalist on Martha’s Vineyard. You see, when I was in high school I honestly thought that I would be going to J-School at Mizzou and would end up writing for a newspaper in a small coastal town (yep, that was really my dream). None of those things ultimately happened, but it was really my dream for quite a few years. So when I read the blurb of this book about a journalist on an island it really spoke to me!

Overall, I enjoyed the book well enough. However, I didn’t really care for how weak Joanna came across at times. For having the success as a writer in New York City that she did, I felt like she should have had a lot more confidence in herself than she did. I also really disliked Orion’s character. He was nothing but a bully and I just couldn’t get past that. The actual storyline was decent enough for me and it read quick and easily. The setting of Martha’s Vineyard was really enjoyable to me – I felt like Ms. Galland really got the feel of island life across to me the reader.

Overall a good book that is outside my comfort zone. It was strange to be reading what is  billed as a romantic comedy when the romance didn’t come into the picture for quite some time. I think that ultimately helped my personal opinion of this one (romance is definitely outside of my wheelhouse).


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

N. D. Galland AP Photo by Maria ThibodeauAbout N. D. Galland

N. D. Galland is the author of the historical novels GodivaI, IagoCrossedRevenge of the Rose, and The Fool’s Tale, as well as the contemporary romantic comedy Stepdog, and the New York Times bestselling near-future thriller The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (with Neal Stephenson). She lives on Martha’s Vineyard.

Find out more at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.