Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Book Stats

How many books read in 2017? – 54

How many fiction and non fiction? Two non-fiction.. 2 more were novels but based on true events..

Male/Female author ratio? 34 female and 10 men.. I think… Some names were pretty unisex and I didn’t look too hard into figuring it out.

Favorite book read in 2016? According to my 5 star goodreads ratings Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarians Love Letters and Break Up Notes to the Books in Her Life by Annie Spence, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen, Refugee by Alan Gratz, Bear Town by Fredrick Backman, The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter, and Goodnight June by Sarah Jio.  I definitely would say Bear Town , Born a Crime, and Dear Fahrenheit and Refugee would be my top 4.

Least favorite? Always by Sarah Jio or 16th Seduction by James Patterson…

Any that you simply couldn’t finish and why? Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng due to it needing to be back to the library, Crimes Against a Book Club by Kathy Cooperman because I just couldn’t get into it, and Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigani because I realized I missed book 3! 

How many books from the library? 21 which is up from 15 last year.

How many books read did I purchase?  12 of the books I bought new/used this year, a few others had been purchased from library sales a few years ago..

How many were gifts? 2

How many borrowed from others? 0

How many were given to me for reviews? 6 were for reviews 

How many books read on kindle? 2… The Michigan Murders by Edward Keyes and Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson.  Kept collecting more, but I prefer books in my hand. 

Any re-reads? Yes… Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Vacation Under the Volcano (Magic Tree House Series)

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading? America, England, Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Cuba, Germany, China, Syria, Hungary, Austria, Greece, Turkey,  South Africa to my best guess…

What states did you go through the page in your year of reading? Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio, New York, Tennessee, Louisiana, North Carolina, California, South Carolina, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, Michigan, Mississippi, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia.. I think J
Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation? Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, Double Image by Kate Francis, Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, and Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Which author did you read the most of? Sarah MacLean.

What was your best reading month? November when I read 8.  Followed closely by December with 7.

What was your worst reading month? May, I only read 1 book.

2017 Reading Goals - revisited...

1. Read 52 books. – Wooooo… I read 54!
2. Complete the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.  It does appear more interesting to me this year. –
I completely never looked at it after I stated this.
3. Read more books that I own and continue donating
. – I did this! Tons of donating and more to come!

2018 Reading Goals

1.     Read 52 books.

2.     Keep doing Family Chapter Book Read Alouds.  We are currently on the second book in the Little House Series...

3.     Read more historical non-fiction.
A look back at 2016...

How many books did you read this year? Did you complete your 2017 reading goals? What are your goals for 2018? Which author did you read the most of? What was your most recommended book? Any you couldn't finish?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Currently: November

::dusts off the space and settles in:::  Miss me?  It’s been awhile….   I have a new job.  Was an unplanned new opportunity and in the meantime has sucked all of my time, energy and spirit.  Sounds depressing, but as much as I seek change, I don’t do well in the midst of it.  And basically everything with this change is one step forward is 324234 steps backward and nothing goes correctly the first time.  So challenging.  But I keep reminding myself, my mama did not raise a quitter.  That said, let’s try jumping back with something simple….

Reading:  I am supposed to be reading Crimes Against a Book Club for book club, but I got a few pages in and I’m not feeling it.  So I am thinking of starting The Lost Girls by Lee Smith.  I’ve been flying through books lately.

Loving:  snuggles with my best girl

Feeling:  stressed to the max 

Thinking:  about how cold I am. 

Anticipating: our spring break trip to Washington D.C.  I’m so excited.  It’s not a beach, which I wanted but we had to move up our family trip to D.C. because the person we are visiting is about to be transferred to Germany so we wanted to take a family trip while they were still there. 

Watching:  right this second, last night’s Late Show.  I love Colbert. 

for the mom of my kiddos friend.  She is so nice, fun and helpful.  And her name is my name too!

ugh.  I’m starting a program and there are challenges.  Lots of challenges.

I am still enjoying all the Crooked Media podcasts and am sooo behind on all my podcasts.  But I listen every day in the car for sure.

for an impeachment.

What are you reading, loving and grateful for these days

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Kiss Carlo

I recently took a reading personality quiz that said I was a social reader.  One of the attributes being that I find books/authors from talking to others.  Adriana Trigiani is one such author.  If it wasn't for the social networking of blogs, I wouldn't have heard the rave reviews from Nora about this lovely writer!

My love of series has been mentioned numerous times and I adore her Valentine series! Reading the blurb about Kiss Carlo reminded me of the family tale weaved into the Valentine stories so I was eager to give this book a shot.

Description: It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.
Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.
From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.
Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia,

I had a small issue with Kiss Carlo.  I feel like it was such a thick book.  So many story lines and plot twists that it could have been made into it's own series and saved the hefty weight of this solo novel. It got a bit wordy at points when describing things which is the part of all books that I dread.

BUT, the family story and the rise and fall and rise of Nicky Castone was captivating.  It was entertaining and I did want to see it through.  I read this book in 3 days and it was quite a few pages.

I'd recommend this for other Trigiani fans, but for those who haven't read her I'd suggest starting with Lucia, Lucia or the Valentine series before you decide to tread here.

If you'd like to purchase your own copy check out the HarperCollins site for more info!

What family saga books do you enjoy reading?

I received this book from TLC Book Tours.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Lowcountry Bonfire: A Liz Talbot Mystery

Looking for a beach read? I have a new one for you! The newest installment from Susan Boyer's Liz Talbot series is out and ready for the beach bag!

If you haven't read any of her others, start out with Lowcountry Boil and move on down the list.  I have now read 3 of the series (not in order either) and it hasn't impeded my ability to read any of them.  Though, I will say I am trying to fill the holes as soon as I can via the library and amazon!

Liz Talbot is a private investigator who works with her husband Nate Andrews.  She is currently contracted through the Stella Maris Sheriff, her brother Blake, to assist in certain cases.  You also have to bend your mind a bit because her childhood friend Colleen (17 years deceased) helps them out too.  You did not misread that.  I definitely recommend this series for fans of Gretchen Archer, Janet Evanovich or Dorothea Benton Frank.

Description: Private Investigators Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews have worked their share of domestic cases. So when Tammy Sue Lyerly hires them to find out what her husband is hiding, they expect to find something looney but harmless. After all, this is the guy who claims to have been a DEA agent, a champion bull rider, and a NASCAR driver. But when he turns up dead the morning after Liz and Nate deliver the incriminating photos, Tammy is the prime suspect.

Questioning the truth of Zeke Lyerly’s tall-tales, Liz and Nate race to uncover small town scandals, long buried secrets, and the victim’s tumultuous past to keep Tammy Sue out of jail and the case from going up in flames.

“The authentically Southern Boyer writes with heart, insight, and a deep understanding of human nature.” – Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha Award-Winning Author of What You See

“Susan M. Boyer gets it. And by ‘it,’ I mean ‘the Southern voice.’ And by that I do not mean she throws 'Y’all' into every other line of her dialogue. I mean she understands deep down how Southern people talk and can replicate the cadence and music of that speech on the page as delicately as a master chef adding a last pinch of sea salt to a batch of Hollandaise sauce.” –

Related subjects include: women sleuths, private investigator mystery series, cozy mysteries, murder mysteries, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, Southern fiction, Southern humor, Southern living.

Books in the Liz Talbot Mystery Series:


Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all!

Fast paced and a mystery to figure out! Perfect for the beach bag, which is exactly where I ended up reading the bulk of this book. Even missed a few minutes of the bonfire to finish it up.  Not scary, not gory.  Just a cute quirky mystery to ponder while the waves crash against the shore.

Have you ever visited the Lowcountry in South Carolina? I love reading about this area and hope to one day visit!

I received this book for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Double Up

Three years ago I was introduced to the Davis Way Mystery series.  These books make me laugh out loud and are so quick to read they are perfect for a Sunday afternoon on the couch or for the beach.  Actually have read 2 of them on the beach and the rest in a day on the couch.  May have been Sunday's, may be not.  The point being, if you need a book you can polish off in a day or something slim to throw in a beach bag, settle in I have a new one for you!

Double Up, by Gretchen Archer just came out March 21st from Henery Press and it's worth the space in your bag! This is the 6th story featuring the ever amusing Davis Way.  Each book has a new twist on Davis's job with the Bellissimo Casino.  This time she has newborn twins, a bit of post-partum anxiety/depression and a house that is ALIVE to deal with!

Description: Welcome aboard flight DOUBLE UP. Fasten your seatbelts for non-stop action as stiff competition blows into town and the resulting turbulence threatens to take down the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. Super Secret Spy Davis Way Cole, who lives on the twenty-ninth floor of the hotel with her CEO husband and newborn twins, takes it hard. If the casino goes belly up, she won’t be a stay-at-home mom because she won’t have a home. Not to mention her husband won’t have a job.

Davis can’t find a way to stop the inevitable end of the Bellissimo life she loves until her ex-ex-mother-in-law shows up, unexpected and definitely uninvited. Davis makes the best of a bad Bea Crawford situation and recruits her for a little corporate espionage work, which would’ve been great, had Bea not turned out to be the world’s worst spy.


Seatbacks and tray tables in their upright positions as we prepare for a bumpy ride with babies, bankruptcies, besties, and shrimp. (Shrimp?)

Enjoy your flight. .

Books in the Davis Way Crime Caper Mystery Series:


Oh my GOODNESS.  I was dying at this book.  My favorite part is towards the end with Davis is with her partner and crime and they are trying to 'save the day.'  The description of the smells and disgustingness they go through to save their jobs and loved ones had me rolling! I can't go into more detail without blowing plot but OMG, if you haven't started this series you need too. 

I keep saying I will check out other cozy mysteries from this press and each time I'm  at the library I forgot.  This summer I need to get on it.  They take me back to the early years of the Stephanie Plum series and boy do I love that series!

Anyone have any other funny/cozy mystery suggestions?

I received a copy of this book for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wilde Lake

I think it is well established that I adore series.  I started the Tess Monaghan series when I was pregnant and basically caught up on the series within the first few months of my daughters life.  It started my love of Laura Lippman.  I've read a few of her stand alone novels, but the Tess series has been my favorite work by her.  Wilde Lake will now be my second favorite.

About Wilde Lake
• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 14, 2017)
An African-American man accused of rape by a humiliated girl.  A vengeful father.  A courageous attorney.  A worshipful daughter.  Think you know this story?  Think again. 

Laura Lippman, the “extravagantly gifted” (Chicago Tribune) New York Times bestselling author, delivers “one of her best novels ” (Washington Post)—a modern twist on To Kill a Mockingbird. Scott Turow writes in the New York Times, “Wilde Lake is a real success.”

Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected state’s attorney representing suburban Maryland—including the famous planned community of Columbia, created to be a utopia of racial and economic equality. Prosecuting a controversial case involving a disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death, the fiercely ambitious Lu is determined to avoid the traps that have destroyed other competitive, successful women. She’s going to play it smart to win this case—and win big—cementing her political future.

But her intensive preparation for trial unexpectedly dredges up painful recollections of another crime—the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Justice was done. Or was it? Did the events of 1980 happen as she remembers them? She was only a child then. What details didn’t she know?

As she plunges deeper into the past, Lu is forced to face a troubling reality. The legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. But what happens when she realizes that, for the first time, she doesn’t want to know the whole truth?

Another thing this book has is flashbacks.  Lu is our narrator and she goes from 2015 and her first days on the job as a state attorney and her childhood.  Each trip back to childhood gives the reader more insight into this calm collected private grown woman.  Per my usual, I adore the parts where she goes back slightly more than present day.

One of my favorite parts of reading a Lippman book is the bonus Maryland history lesson you get as you read it.  As someone who has never been to Maryland, I feel like throughout my years of reading her book I've learned bits and pieces of its history and it sure has made me more interested in Baltimore than I ever was pre-Tess Monaghan series reading!

This is a book that sucks you in as you learn more about the family dynamic of the eccentric Brant family and the legal cases that ensnare the lawyers of the family. 

If you haven't picked up a Lippman novel before or you are a fan of the Tess Monaghan series, definitely try this one! Like I said, it's probably my favorite standalone by her that I've read yet.  She is a masterful crime/mystery writer.

Have you read any books by Laura Lippman? Have you been to Maryland? Do you work in the same field as a parent?

If you would like to check out the book you can purchase it from HarperCollins!

Thanks to TLC book tours for sending me this book for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Friday, February 17, 2017


I have been looking forward to the weekend since last Sunday, A nice long weekend will be nice and refreshing.

The high of my week was being able to attend the Q&U wedding my daughter's class had on Valentine's Day! It was so cute and she was so excited that both of her parents could attend!

The low of my week was feeling like crap a lot this week.  Lots of headaches.

A book I am reading is The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diament.  I took a break to read a new Gretchen Archer book but I need to finish it up!

The best money I spent was hopefully on a new tanking from a Zulily sale.  Here's to hoping it fits/looks good when it arrives!

My plans this weekend include dinner out with daughter and husband tonight, possibly stopping by to see cousins that are in town for the weekend.  Tomorrow possibly a cider tasting and maybe out to dinner with said cousins.  Sunday we had talked about using the most current Book IT coupon the child has accumulated.  Monday I am the only one off so that will be nice and relaxing! Probably will get Starbucks, do some shopping, and reading!

What was the high of your week? What are you reading?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Saturday Rambles

Ever wake up and your coffee makes you feel on top of the world? Welcome to this Saturday morning.  My coffee hit the spot for the first time this week (may also have coincided with a good long sleep last night) and I feel ready for anything.  I'm focused and wanting to make plans.  Just not ready enough to shower and get dressed ha.

I have some plans for the weekend but nothing concrete.  I got a new book in the mail, Double Up, by Gretchen Archer and I really just want to bury myself under the covers in my bedroom and read and laugh hysterically all day.  However, I think I have to parent.

We need to find evidence of art in the community so since it is going to be a whopping 40 degrees today I think we are going to our local public gardens to find some art.  I also need to fold some laundry and I feel inspired to do a workout, but I feel like this is rushing things just a tad.  May be a little to ambitious for my usual weekend plans.

However, this ready to go feeling may come from it being the first Saturday in weeks that I feel 100 percent.  And I'm not actually 100 percent because I still can't fully breathe through my nose, however I did not wake up with a sinus headache and it's a major win here.

I'm trying to do a little meal planning today as well because we need quick and easy during the week.  I'm trying to add more and more healthier options into our eating without alienating the natives.  I sautéed kale this week and it was actually a win so I want to recreate that again.  Our problem is my least healthiest eater is the cook.  So that is a problem ha.  I get home from work 30 to 40 minutes after them so it just makes sense for them to start dinner.  So it has to be chef approved to even attempt.  I did make a huge batch of chili last weekend and we froze some and the chef made some pulled pork that we froze so those are options.  We finished all of the creamy tomato soup that we made with our garden tomatoes last summer, so that's sad.

Basically, I need to find something that doesn't sound healthy and doesn't contain 'weird' items.  Weird items would include quinoa and anything whole wheat hahaha.

Have I mentioned how much I love coffee? I am mid-way through my second cup and it's just amazing today.  I had one cup with creamer and this is just black and let me just tell you it is love.  Coffee is love.  And so is no sinus pressure.  That is for the birds.

Switching topics I have a book problem.  I am partway through The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diament and I need to start Wilde Lake for a review and then Double Up is staring at me just wanting to be read.  SO MNNY BOOKS.  So very little time.  I just probably stop rambling to read, however I just felt that I've neglected this place so much that when I had a brain dump in my head I should utilize the motivation to place it here.

You're welcome.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Dressmaker's Dowry

This was the perfect book to read during the Super Bowl! (shhh) Okay, so I am a huge football fan but I was not interested in this years match up so I read the majority of this book during the game with breaks for the commercials.  Probably the first time in my adult life I did this.

About The Dressmaker's Dowry
• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 7, 2017)
For readers of Lucinda Riley, Sarah Jio, or Susan Meissner, this gripping historical debut novel tells the story of two women: one, an immigrant seamstress who disappears from San Francisco’s gritty streets in 1876, and the other, a young woman in present day who must delve into the secrets of her husband’s wealthy family only to discover that she and the missing dressmaker might be connected in unexpected ways.
An exquisite ring, passed down through generations, connects two women who learn that love is a choice, and forgiveness is the key to freedom...
San Francisco: 1876
Immigrant dressmakers Hannelore Schaeffer and Margaret O'Brien struggle to provide food for their siblings, while mending delicate clothing for the city's most affluent ladies. When wealthy Lucas Havensworth enters the shop, Hanna's future is altered forever. With Margaret's encouragement and the power of a borrowed green dress, Hanna dares to see herself as worthy of him. Then Margaret disappears, and Hanna turns to Lucas. Braving the gritty streets of the Barbary Coast and daring to enter the mansions of Nob Hill, Hanna stumbles upon Margaret’s fate, forcing her to make a devastating that will echo through the generations.
San Francisco: Present Day
In her elegant Marina apartment overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, Sarah Havensworth struggles to complete the novel she quit her job for. Afraid to tell her husband of her writer’s block, Sarah is also hiding a darker secret—one that has haunted her for 14 years. Then a news headline from 1876 sparks inspiration: Missing Dressmakers Believed to be Murdered. Compelled to discover what happened to Hannelore and Margaret, Sarah returns to her roots as a journalist. Will her beautiful heirloom engagement ring uncover a connection to Hanna Schaeffer?

My thoughts:
This book hooked you in with the historical San Francisco storyline.   It was fast paced and the mystery was definitely one that kept the pages turning.  The past storyline was probably my favorite.  I really wanted to know what was going to happen to Hanna next. 

The present day storyline had me roll my eyes a few times.  Like how Sarah could marry her husband and not share a pretty major part of her past with him.  It was far more predictable than the past.  I felt it was necessary but could have been given a better intrigue in her story.  The throw in of her old magazines new editor was just a bit much.

I think this book is quite timely in reminding us that immigrants have always been judged harshly in America.  It's never been easy, but it's always been worth it.  Our ancestors bled and died for us to have the lives in the United States that we have today.  We should look back on their mistakes and know that you shouldn't be scared of new immigrants just because they are different than you.  Also, to think that back then there was no real immigration policy and people could randomly be turned back and sent back home or who knows who could just come!  Families got ripped apart then like they are ripped apart now.  But for always, America is a dream for many and the dream is simple.  Be free, work hard, and do better for your family without fear of persecution because of your religion, skin color, or sex.  Let's get it together America.

One last thing.  The name of the book.  It should be different in my opinion.  Dowry? Doesn't seem to fit the book.  I just had to get that out.  Maybe I'm missing something.

In conclusion, if you like historical novels, are interested in 1876 San Francisco (fascinating!), or just looking for a quick read that will make you think a bit, pick up The Dressmaker's Dowry by Meredith Jaeger.

You can purchase through HarperCollins

What are some historical fiction books you have enjoyed reading? What books set in California have you enjoyed?

I received this book from the TLC book tours all thoughts and opinions are my own!