Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Grim Reaper: End of Days

Grim Reaper: End of Days Grim Reaper: End of Days by Steve Alten
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was just ok for me. I suppose it wasn't the story I was expecting going in. It's a battle between good and evil with elements of spirituality and science, but there's a lot going on. There were many POVs and I felt like that made the story drag. This seems to be the start of a series per the last few pages in the book, but there have not been any subsequent novels published to date. I don't think I would've continued with this series if there were to be honest. This book did feel final enough for me in the epilogue.

Though I didn't enjoy this book very much, I have been enjoying the author's MEG series a lot and will try other books by him in the future.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Sweetest Burn (Broken Destiny #2)

The Sweetest Burn The Sweetest Burn by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting sequel. It's been a while since I read the first book though, so I was a bit lost in the beginning. It did all come back eventually. Now that the third installment is out, I better get to that one soon so I don't have the same thing happen.

Listened to this one on audio again since one of my favorite narrators does this presentation. Though I always enjoy her narrations, this installment wasn't as enjoyable as other books I've read by this author. Not sure what it is but I'm still looking forward to the next installment.

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Diva Runs Out of Thyme (A Domestic Diva Mystery #1)

The Diva Runs Out of Thyme The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Read for #Book1CoziesClub

Pretty enjoyable read. Had no idea who the culprit was but I did not care for the heavy focus on one character in the hopes of luring us into believing that person had something to do with it. That made it pretty obvious it wasn't that person for me. One thing definitely made me laugh out loud, and I enjoyed the recipes that are provided at the end of the book.

I listened to a majority of this on audiobook and thought the narration was ok. It was done well enough that I will probably continue to listen to subsequent novels in this series (at least partially) on audiobook. I look forward to seeing where this series goes in the future.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Nightstalkers (MEG #5)

Nightstalkers Nightstalkers by Steve Alten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enjoyable but I wish the author would get away from the reality TV plot line. That didn't play a big part in this book thankfully. Another creature is introduced in this volume and that always brings interest for me.

Something to note is that this book drops what I think are spoilers to the author's Loch series. It is a series I was interested in reading, so not knowing things were revealed in this book that pertained to that series bothered me a bit. If you are interested in the Loch series, definitely stay away from this installment until you've read the first 2 books in that one.

I believe this series will conclude in 2018, so I'm interested to see how this all will wrap up.

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Outtakes from the Grave (Night Huntress #7.5)

Outtakes from the Grave Outtakes from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reconnecting with these characters. It's been a while since I read volume 7 so things aren't as fresh in my memory as to the goings on in each installment. As such, there were times I was a little lost in regards to timelines, but I still enjoyed these little snippets. It's interesting to hear why these scenes were cut from the original publications and it would've been nice to have these extras as I was reading the series. Each scene is cut into a separate chapter and starts with a preface from the author stating which installment the scene is from and why the scene was not in the final publication.

I found the narrator, Tavia Gilbert, when I started this series and she has become one of my favorite narrators. Each character has their own unique voice and she really does a great presentation. Even if this type of book is not your thing, I'd definitely recommend giving any book narrated by Tavia Gilbert a listen.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Origin (Robert Langdon #5)

Origin Origin by Dan Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I do enjoy these books, even if they're a bit formulaic and in this particular one, I guessed something about the story pretty early on. This installment held my interest almost until the end, and then I got bogged down by the science in the later part of the book. Once that part passed and we headed towards the end, the story renewed my interest.

I was expecting that we'd find the world in the aftermath of the occurrences in Inferno, but I didn't find that at all. I don't think it was even mentioned, unless I really missed something. This book discusses some pretty highly controversial topics, so I think it's something to consider before starting this book.

I did listen to a majority of this book in audio and enjoyed the narration. I'm not usually one to pick up a book immediately upon it's release, but after Inferno, I was curious about this one. Though it wasn't what I expected, I did enjoy it quite a bit.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Shark (Forgotten Files #1)

The Shark The Shark by Mary Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Picked up this book because I won the second one in a giveaway. Interesting mystery. Had no idea until it was revealed, who was involved. Based on the sneak peek of the next book that was at the end of this installment, I think I'm going to enjoy that story as well.

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Hell's Aquarium (MEG #4)

Hell's Aquarium Hell's Aquarium by Steve Alten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this installment a lot more than the previous two. This one got back to the things I really enjoyed about the first book. I did again listen to a majority of this in audiobook, but I also picked up a physical copy from my library. The physical copy included pictures of the other animals mentioned in this installment, which were very interesting. Looking forward to the next one!

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland #3)

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Listened to this one on audiobook and I have to say that the experience this time around was much easier than I had with the previous installments. The narration was very soothing also.

These books are never what I expect, to be honest. We find September a year older in this one, but she doesn't seem to have matured at all. The story wasn't gripping for me and I really think I need that for a book to be more than just enjoyable. These books are definitely more like a stroll where the destination is never really set until you get there. At least that's how I feel. The uncertainty of where the story is finally going to end up I think also hinders my enjoyment because I'm constantly looking for how the story will resolve.

I will still continue with the series as I do like them. The end of these books always makes me curious about what will happen in the next installment, and this one didn't disappoint in that regard.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Primal Waters (MEG #3)

Primal Waters Primal Waters by Steve Alten
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This installment has taken me the longest to finish so far and it was the least enjoyable as well. Fast forward a couple decades and we have an older Jonas and his family including two teen children, one who thinks she can do anything she wants because she's almost 18. She really grated on my nerves and I did not like how her character progressed at all. We again have the dual POV situation here, but it didn't bother me in this installment as much as it did in the second book.

The reality TV show aspect of this installment wasn't enjoyable at all and it wasn't believable to me considering the situations these characters were in. I am still going to progress through to the next book in the series though, because though I enjoy them less and less, this series is still keeping my interest at the moment.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed revisiting this story. It was more hilarious than I remember the original to be for sure. I'm not sure if it was because the lines sounded different in my head, if it was the way the narrator delivered them, or if they were in fact slightly different. There are a few differences in the story as well, which I found interesting. It's been several years since I read the original series and I will need to go back and re-read it just to see what differences were made other than the obvious ones.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)

City of Ashes City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally got to the next book in this series and I'm really enjoying it! Yes, I am watching the TV show and enjoying that as well. The differences in the book and show are interesting and I'm curious what will happen in the next installment. I really feel like with adaptations, I need to watch them first before reading the text. I seem to be able to enjoy the show for what it is without the constant voice in my head telling me things are different or being disappointed as to why certain things aren't in the show.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Trench (MEG #2)

The Trench The Trench by Steve Alten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More like a 3.5

I felt this installment had 2nd book syndrome. It wasn't as good as the first one was for me. Though it was still enjoyable, I didn't like the alternating POV every chapter. I felt that due to this, I lost some of the flow to the story and I was more interested in one POV than the other. I definitely recommend these books over Jaws, which I also read this month and I'm looking forward to the next installment of this series.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Crochet: Peanuts Graphghan - Schroeder

Finished my first square for the Peanuts Graphghan with Two Hearts Crochet! It had to be Schroeder because he's my fav 💙 Worked in Tunisian crochet as that was the look I liked best. I was never a fan of the purple shirt, so I amended the color scheme ^-^

Monday, August 21, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Jaws

Jaws Jaws by Peter Benchley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was so fascinated by Meg that I thought I should probably check out this book. Yes, I've seen the movie, but I was still curious about the source material especially because I don't quite remember everything from the film. This one was available to stream for free through Audible for Prime Members so I thought, why not.

It's been a while since I've seen the film, though I can say that when I watched it, I did think it was scary. I was a child when I watched it and as an adult, I don't think the movie will give me the same chilling feeling I had then. This book surely was not anything like I expected, and not in a positive way.

The use of vulgar language and a derogatory word right off the bat did not help matters for me. The writing style didn't agree with me and the story itself was very dated. The descriptions of the attacks were not chilling or suspenseful to me and the end was very anticlimactic. There was also a story line in this book that I felt was entirely pointless. It added nothing to the story and I would've appreciated more about the shark or have scenes in the story from the shark's point of view.

In the end, I am glad I finally read this book, but I will probably not be reading any more by this author in the future.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Bat (Harry Hole #1)

The Bat The Bat by Jo Nesbø
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie The Snowman and looked up the book it was based on, only to find out it's the seventh book in this series. I don't read series out of order and since the movie looked interesting, I thought I'd check this series out.

For me, this book was good but not very enjoyable. It didn't seem like anything really exciting happened and the investigation dragged. Harry gets intoxicated quite a bit in this book (which I understand is part of his character, but it doesn't make him a likeable or interesting person to me as a reader) and there's a fair bit of foul language. The end was poetic, though I believe it was unrealistic.

I did find it a bit strange that we start this series not in the main character's home land, but in a different country entirely, though I did enjoy the Australian backdrop. I did read the snippet for the next book that was included at the end of this one. It looks like that one is set in another country and I and am interested, so I will be giving this series another chance to impress me.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on A World without Princes (The School for Good and Evil #2)

A World without Princes A World without Princes by Soman Chainani
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I enjoyed the story telling in this book, but I did not enjoy Sophie's character one bit. I don't think she was entirely what made this story not as enjoyable as it's predecessor for me though. The pitting of genders against each other was not enjoyable to me either and the ending of this installment was kind of unsettling to me - Not because I didn't know where it was going, but it's disturbing to me. I can't say anymore on that without giving things away, so I'll stop here.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Crochet: Totallee's Crochet Portrait of Frodo

Most of you know that I've been struggling through The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I've got just one book to go before I complete the series. My friend Lee from the blog has been with me through it all. As you know, they're taking me forever to get through and unfortunately, I've been the one that lags behind on our buddy read of these books.

While Lee was waiting for me to finish, she's been working on a crocheted portrait of Frodo Baggins and it's finally complete! Check out her amazing work in the below video and subscribe to her YouTube channel to see more. Also, if you are a crocheter and would like to create this portrait yourself, be sure to head on over to her blog as the pattern is now available there.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings #2)

The Two Towers The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was very difficult for me to get through. I knew it would be as I've had issues getting through The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, but this one took the longest to read so far. I am determined to get through this series at least once in my life though and I have not gotten through any of the books in my attempts previously. For me to get this far is an accomplishment for me.

I'm afraid I have an unpopular opinion of this series. The story just isn't grabbing me and I don't feel connected to the characters like I do with the movie versions. There are definite differences between the two and I do find those tidbits interesting, but I was completely able to leave this book to the side for long periods of time. I did great in the beginning, but lost my momentum pretty quick.

One more book in this series to go and I'm hoping that one won't be as difficult to get through as this one was.

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire & Thorns #1)

The Girl of Fire and Thorns The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was not what I expected it to be, but that's what I get for not reading a synopsis before going in. I especially wasn't prepared for it to have a religious tone to it. It's not preachy (at least I didn't feel like it was), but I felt a little on edge the whole way through wondering if it was going to get preachy. The atmosphere was interesting, a few things happened that I wasn't expecting, but for the most part, this story did not grab me.

Thankfully this installment did end with a bit of finality. I am comfortable thinking on this as a stand alone. That being said, there is still a possibility I will continue with the next volume in the future. As of right now though, I am satisfied with where things left off and will be moving on to something else for the time being.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror (Meg #1)

Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not into shark movies, but I do enjoy documentaries on sharks and prehistoric creatures so when I heard about this book, I was very interested. I really enjoyed this one. It starts off with a bang and the events through out the book just kept me intrigued. The relationship that happened towards the end was unnecessary in my opinion and kind of curious to be honest. I feel like some development was missing in order to make that relationship believable, but that's really my only issue with the book. The end was fast paced and exciting and I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

#Book1CoziesClub | July Book of the Month

Announcing July's Selection for the First in a Series Cozy Mystery Book Club! Come chat with us in the Mystery Madness Goodreads Group ^-^ Will you be joining in on this read?

You can find the book on these sites:

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

#Book1CoziesClub: My Thoughts on On What Grounds (Coffeehouse Mysteries #1)

On What Grounds On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read for #Book1CoziesClub

I seriously wonder what takes me so long to get to some of the books on my shelf and this one is no exception. It was very entertaining and I really enjoyed this story. All the information on various types of coffee was interesting as well, but it tended to make me crave a cup after reading. That's a bad thing when you're reading right before bed!

I definitely recommend this one, especially if you're a fan of coffee or are a frequent customer of a smaller coffee shop. The mystery was engaging and Clare didn't come off as too pushy in her sleuthing style, which I appreciated. Her sleuthing style seemed very natural and logical to me and that was refreshing to read. I have collected several installments of this series so I will be continuing on. Glad I finally got to this one!

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Brazen (Gilded #3)

Brazen Brazen by Christina Farley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the conclusion of this trilogy. Though I thought book 2 wasn't as enjoyable as book 1, this one brought the excitement back to this series for me. I listened to a majority of this series on audiobook and I highly recommend the narrations especially if you're not familiar with the Korean language. I thought Greta Jung did a great job with the voices. Overall, I do recommend this series and will be looking forward to reading more from the author and hearing more of the narrator's work.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

LuLaRoe: Carly Dress Video Album

This video contains all of Carly Dresses I have in my inventory currently. Final price will include tax and shipping. Shipping is $4 for one, $6 for two, and three or more ships free! If you see something you'd like to claim, please fill out my Google Doc here

Time stamps for sizes are as follows for your convenience:
XXS - 1:23
XS - 3:30
S - 6:39
M - 9:44
L - 12:49
XL - 16:36 - #59 has sold
2XL - 19:21
3XL - 21:25

U.S. Only

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Silvern (Gilded #2)

Silvern Silvern by Christina Farley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This definitely suffered from second book syndrome for me. The story just didn't grab me like the first one did. One of the characters in the previous book has a bigger role in this one, and she tended to grate on my nerves. The story does end on a cliffhanger, unlike the first. Though I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first, I am still interested to see how this will all wrap up.

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LuLaRoe: Americana Leggings

Here's a sampling of the prints I have in my inventory from the LuLaRoe Americana Collection! Join my shopping group to see sizes and availability here.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Books: April Wrap Up

Been super busy, but my wrap up for April is finally here! This video includes my thoughts on 4 novels and 4 volumes of manga.

Lee's Channel

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Gilded

Gilded Gilded by Christina Farley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. There were definitely times where I was cringing at some of the descriptions used. I am not Korean, but I have watched quite a few Korean Dramas and Korean Variety Shows and personally have never heard anyone describe their face turning as red as kimchi - not to mention that not all kimchi is red but that's besides the point. Thankfully those descriptions were only in the first portion of the book and did not carry through the entirety.

I was not familiar with the legend of Haemosu and Princess Yuhwa before reading this, but the way the legend is intertwined within this story really kept my interest. I found this story to be very entertaining, but I wouldn't say this story was very Korean in nature. If that's the type of story you're looking for, I don't think this one is for you. It does take place in South Korea, there's some Korean words throughout and the mention of other Korean Gods, as well as the legend itself, but that's about it. That didn't bother me personally, but I know it may bother others so I figure I'd mention it.

Though this book is the beginning of a series, the end does have a finality to it and you definitely could read it as a stand alone, I feel. I was able to listen to a copy of the audiobook that is narrated by Greta Jung and I highly recommend listening to this one, especially if you're not familiar with the Korean language. I'll definitely be continuing with the audiobooks for the other books in this series and look forward to seeing what Jae Hwa has in store for her after the events of this book.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

#Book1CoziesClub | June Book of the Month

I've been meaning to read this month's selection for a while! In fact, I've collected several of the books in this series so I'm super excited to get to this one. Need help finding a copy? Links below:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

LuLaRoe: Album Sale in My LuLaRoe Shopping Group

The shop is open until 7:30pm PST/10:30pm EST tonight! Above is a peek at some of the prints I'm currently carrying. Two of those prints are from leggings, but the other prints are from shirts or skirts. If you'd like to shop my inventory, you can join my shopping group here. For any outfit purchased, you'll get a spin on the prize wheel!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

#Book1CoziesClub: My Thoughts on Crime and Poetry (Magical Bookshop Mysteries #1)

Crime and Poetry Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read for #Book1Cozies Club

I really enjoyed this one! The magical elements were kept to a minimum in this installment, but I do look forward to hopefully seeing more of that in future installments of this series. The things I have been cringing from in cozies I've read recently did not pop up in this story, which was much appreciated. I had no idea who the culprit was until pretty close to the end of the story. All in all a very enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more by this author.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Night Film

Night Film Night Film by Marisha Pessl
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have to say that I am disappointed in this book. I heard so many great things but for me, this was just ok. I didn't find it suspenseful in the least. Maybe it's because I read so many mysteries that this wasn't as intriguing for me? Maybe I just don't understand what the point of this was? Whatever the case, this story didn't grab me at all, I wasn't attached to any of the characters, and will probably never think about this book again.

I would say that the character of Hopper was probably the one I was interested in the most. I did enjoy the articles, documents, and pictures that are spread throughout the book. That made the read more entertaining for sure, but not enough for me to say that I liked this book as a whole.

Truthfully, if I were the type to DNF books, I probably would've DNFd this one. I kept reading because I thought maybe there was something revealed at the end of this that would redeem the hours that I put into reading this story. Unfortunately that wasn't the case for me. Again, maybe I completely missed the point or the point just didn't wow me like it should've, but this ended up being just ok for me.

I will give the author's other book a shot to see if maybe that one sits with me better, but this one just left me disappointed.

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings #1)

The Fellowship of the Ring The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My feelings on this book are pretty much the same as how I felt about The Hobbit: glad that I finally read it, will probably not ever read it again, and I enjoyed the movie more than the book. I listened to a lot of this on audiobook, as I did with The Hobbit, and the amount of singing bothered me yet again. I'm going to try to avoid the audiobook of the next installment and see if that helps my enjoyment of the story, but I have very little hope as the next movie is the one I enjoyed the least...

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Books: March Wrap Up

I had a great reading month in March. 4 books for #MarchMysteryMadness, 1 ARC, 1 book in prep for a buddy read in April, and 5 volumes of manga. A nice change of pace since I haven't been able to read that much in the last few months.

Elizabeth's channel (LizzyFayeLovesBooks)

Troi's channel (Troi Towel)

March Mystery Madness Twitter

Mystery Madness Goodreads Group

My LuLaRoe Boutique (US Only)

The blankets shown in the opener and closer were hand knit by me.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

#Book1CoziesClub | May Book of the Month

#Book1CoziesClub pick for May! I'm looking forward to reading this one as I know a few of our members have already enjoyed this title. Please join the First in a Series Cozy Mystery Book Club in the Mystery Madness Goodreads Group to talk about it. You can also interact with us on Twitter @marchmysmadness

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on A Ghostly Undertaking (Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1)

A Ghostly Undertaking A Ghostly Undertaking by Tonya Kappes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read for #Book1CoziesClub

Really enjoyed this and the writing was so easy to read! I found myself just going from chapter to chapter and not wanting to put the book down. I'm beginning to think that paranormal mysteries or cozies are my favorite types of books to read.

I enjoyed that Emma Lee used how everyone thought she had "Funeral Trauma" to her advantage. I had no idea who the culprit was, though I did have several suspicions. All of my suspicions were wrong, but that's what makes reading a mystery fun, at least for me. I'll definitely be continuing with this series and checking out more of the author's work.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Etched in Bone (The Others #5)

Etched in Bone Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I haven't anticipated a book like I anticipated this one in a very long time. It was everything I wanted and I'm not ashamed to say that I was smiling pretty big at the end. Bittersweet that, though I know it's not the end of the series, we will be shifting focus to some other characters in future books.

This book really brought a focus on family. What it means to be a part of the pack, how far do you allow a child or sibling to push you before it's too far? What does family look like? That being said, this story brought a character that was particularly despicable and his use of foul language was plentiful. There is physical abuse in this story as well.

The courtyard dynamics were very interesting. This is definitely going to need a re-read as I fear I missed a few things in my excitement of absorbing the audiobook, especially towards the end. Thankfully I don't have long to wait until it's my turn to receive a copy at my library. This one had such a satisfying ending as well! Seriously, it's what I have been waiting for since I read Written in Red. I recommend this series all the time and I'm going to continue doing so. It's definitely a favorite for me as far as series go!

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Re-reading City of Bones

City of Bones City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The last time I read this book was back in late 2010/early 2011, but I never continued to the following books! I've been wanting to continue this series for a while and finally got a chance to re-read this one in preparation for that. I really enjoyed this. I listened to a majority of it this time on audiobook with Mae Whitman narrating and thought she did a wonderful job. I laughed out loud a few times and was surprised that the story stayed with me, for the most part. It's probably the fact that I've seen the movie and TV show, but I still really enjoyed revisiting this one. Looking forward to finally getting to the next book in this well known series!

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Blueberry Muffin Murder (Hannah Swensen #3)

Blueberry Muffin Murder Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Read as part of #MarchMysteryMadness

It's been a while since I read the previous book in this series, but it was very easy to get back into it and it was nice revisiting the characters. Of course the recipes all look and sound yummy. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of it, but the love lines are getting on my nerves.

Three books in and we still have a love triangle. I'm not a fan of that because it seems like she's just stringing both guys along with no intention of making a decision. It sure seems, at least to me, that she likes one more than the other, but she shares romantic gestures more with the other guy. Not sure how long this is going to keep up, but I hope she makes a decision soon.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Bone Witch

The Bone Witch The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

In every chapter we have 2 points of view: Tea in the present, telling her story to a bard, and Tea in the past learning to become an asha. The premise is interesting and immediately as you start reading, you wonder to yourself about Tea's situation. You will not get an answer to the question that forms in your head in this installment, just so you know. The end of this book really pulls you in, but I wish the momentum that I felt at the end started a bit earlier in the book.

The story is very slow building. We follow Tea in her studies, which is very similar to a geisha or gisaeng, I think. She learns how to sing, dance, play instruments, but she also learns self defense and attack skills as well as ways to hone her magical abilities. Men hire her at tea houses for conversational and artistic entertainment and the more renown she becomes, the higher the price they pay for her company. Also, part of what she earns at the tea houses goes to paying back what her asha-ka, or the house that she belongs to, has already paid for her training. Reading how Tea learned these techniques and how she rises up the ranks was interesting, but it wasn't enough to glue me to the book until I finished, at least not until the last 10% of the book.

I do believe that if some of Tea's journey to becoming an asha were condensed, it would've propelled the story a bit faster. Part of what slowed me down is that there isn't a lot of action in the story. Nothing really pulled at me to come back to the story and I would step away from it for days at a time. Another thing that bothered me was that more than half way into the book we're told that Tea's name is pronounced Tay-uh. Personally, this was very confusing and I couldn't get myself to pronounce her name the way it was supposed to be pronounced. If this pronunciation was introduced at the beginning of the book, this wouldn't have made me stumble every time I read her name after that pronunciation was introduced.

Truthfully, this book took a lot longer to get through than I thought it would. I feel though that now that the story has gained momentum, the next book should move much faster and I am interested to see more of Tea's journey and get an answer to the question that I have had since the beginning of this book. I did enjoy this, despite my issues above, and am looking forward to the sequel.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Bubbles Unbound (Bubbles Yablonsky #1)

Bubbles Unbound Bubbles Unbound by Sarah Strohmeyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Read for #Book1CoziesClub and #MarchMysteryMadness

I enjoyed this book. I could relate to Bubbles being a single mom and having struggles to find her place in life. I also enjoyed seeing her successes as the book progressed. She and her mother are pretty funny too.

This book is pretty dated to me. There were several references to bands I believe are 80's Hair Bands, but I'm not entirely sure. I think you definitely need to be a certain age to get all the references. It probably would've made the book more enjoyable for me as well. This does come with a few skincare recipes that I may try and a makeup tutorial that again, is dated, and I will not be trying ^_-

Something I did not enjoy was Bubbles' infatuation with a certain character, especially because we don't see this character very much during the entire book! Not InstaLove, but InstaLust for sure. That being said, I did still enjoy the book and the mystery was interesting. I was pretty sure who the culprit was and ended up being correct, but we are thrown several viable options along the way that did make me question if I had the correct person in mind.

All in all, this was pretty enjoyable and I am interested to see what Bubbles gets into in the next installment.

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

#Book1CoziesClub: April Book of the Month

So, I think we may be pushing the Cozy genre a bit with April's selection, but it is a mystery so we'll roll with it! Check our Goodread's Group for the discussion thread closer to the beginning of April.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Pretty Poison (Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries #1)

Pretty Poison Pretty Poison by Joyce Lavene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Probably more like a 3.5

This was one of January's picks for #Book1CoziesClub and I also finished it as part of #MarchMysteryMadness which I am co-hosting. This was enjoyable and I found the gardening tips and information on the flowers at the beginning of each chapter interesting. I do not have the gift of growing plants, but I may try some of the tips included in this book. I enjoy where Peggy Lee is in her life and how this story also shows the growth of her relationship with her son in the aftermath of her husband's passing.

For a little bit, I thought her interrogation style was going to be similar to another set of older sleuths that didn't quite agree with me. I'm glad that her interrogation style was different. I am finding that several cozy mystery sleuths are very stubborn LOL. Not sure I enjoy that and since I've been reading a lot of cozies, it may be bothering me more than it should.

I will be continuing to the next one when I can find it, as I did find this enjoyable. I look forward to more gardening tips and learning more about flowers.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Hobbit

The Hobbit The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After several attempts to read this during my lifetime, I can finally say that I have read this book. I listened to some of it on audio and could've done without the singing (I'm pretty sure all the songs had the same melody too). I had always thought that The Hobbit was the story of how Bilbo acquired The Ring, but it wasn't until I saw the movie trilogy that I realized there was more.

This book was different than the movies, as they usually are, but unfortunately I have to say that (and I know this will be an unpopular opinion) I enjoyed the movies more. Even though there are some unnecessary differences in the movies, I will watch those again and again but I will probably not ever re-read this book. I am looking forward to seeing how I feel about The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as I will be picking up The Fellowship of the Ring next month.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Books: February Wrap Up

So, I went from not wanting to read anything to wanting to read all the books! That being said, I didn't complete too many in February, but I should have several books to talk about in my March Wrap Up including the books I completed for #MarchMysteryMadness

Janie's Channel Bookworms Buddy

Mystery Madness Goodreads Group

March Mystery Madness Twitter

Monday, March 6, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Probably more like a 3.5, read for #MarchMysteryMadness

This was a pretty fast read, though fairly predictable. I think if you are interested in this one, it's best to go in blind. Even reading the synopsis on the front cover puts too many pieces together for you, I feel. That being said, the format is interesting as you go back and forth between past and present, so you do get the full picture of what is going on as you read.

Grace was a bit too naïve for me at times and I did actually laugh out loud at some of her actions that weren't well thought through. I really enjoyed how this book wrapped up and since one of the blurbs on the back of the book references Gone Girl, I will tell you that I enjoyed this book a lot more than Gone Girl. I hesitate to say anymore as I will end up giving things away. I'll wrap this up by saying that I am interested to see what other stories this author brings us.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Crochet: Granny Square Cocoon Sweater

This past weekend I finished work on this comfy Cocoon Sweater! I followed YARNutopia's video tutorial here. Using Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn in Linen and Black, with a little Vanna's Choice in Taupe and Charcoal Grey, this came out super squishy and soft to the touch. It's been a while since I made myself anything and I absolutely adore this!

Have you made one of these sweaters? If so, please share it with me below. I hope you are all doing great!

Until next time, Take Care & Smi-Le Always!

(   "   )
/___\     Di

Saturday, February 25, 2017

#MarchMysteryMadness : Challenges & TBR

A video version of the challenges for the 2nd Annual March Mystery Madness Readathon including the books I have chosen to fit the challenges. No promises that I'll stick to this list though, as you may or may not know, I am terrible at sticking to a TBR! Let me know if you'll be joining us for our readathon in March!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Books: January Wrap Up

I think I'm finally coming out of my reading slump! I read 3 novels and 10 volumes of manga in January. Really been enjoying manga lately and I still have a lot of it out from the library. If you are only interested in the manga that I ready, you can skip ahead to 17:11

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Books: March Mystery Madness Challenges Announcement

March Mystery Madness starts a little over a week from now! If you are a part of our Mystery Madness Goodreads Group, you have already seen the threads, but if you aren't a part of the group yet, here are the challenges that we have for the month of March. Hopefully these will help you put together your To Read list for the month, if you don't already have a few books lined up already! Most of these are self-explainatory, but if you have any questions, please let me know.
  1. True Crime or Thriller
  2. Classic Mystery - any mystery published before 1967 counts!
  3. First in a Series or Sequel - start a new mystery series or read a sequel in one you have already started. If you are participating in #Book1CoziesClub any of those selections counts for this too!
  4. New To You Author
  5. Paranormal or Futuristic Mystery
  6. Kid or Youth Detective
  7. Diverse Character - read a mystery with a character that has a different background than you. This includes race, sexuality, religion, etc. We'll leave this up to your own personal interpretation.
  8. Cozy Mystery - again, #Book1CoziesClub selections are a fit for this challenge!
  9. Read 8 Bonus - complete 8 mysteries in the month of March
So, those are the challenges we have for this round of #MarchMysteryMadness and I hope you will be joining us. We will also be hosting a giveaway at the end of March. There are two ways to gain entries into the giveaway and each person can gain a maximum of two entries. The first is to create a TBR and either tweet it to us or post it in the TBR Thread in our Goodreads Group. The second way is to create a post in our Finishing Line thread in our Goodreads Troup. This entry can only be earned in the Goodreads Group. After you finish each book, note it in your personal Finish Line post. You don't need to post each time you finish a book. Just update your post every time you finish a book.

I hope to interact with you either in our Goodreads Group or on our Twitter page! We are planning to host some reading sprints there, so if you would like to take part in those, please follow us. Our sprint schedule will be announced soon. Please also subscribe to my co-hosts channels, LizzyfayeLovesBooks and Troi Towel for other announcements. Let me know if you have any questions and if you are planning on joining us in March.

Until Next Time, Take Care & Smi-Le Always!

(   "   )
/___\     Di

P.S. Go check out my co-host Troi's blog post here for some extra fun challenge descriptions!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on P.S. I Love You

P.S. I Love You P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really don't know what took me so long to read this book! You would not believe how long I’ve had it sitting on my shelf. I originally bought it because I saw the movie, not realizing it was based on a book. Of course, once I found out, I immediately went to purchase a copy of the book and then I let it sit on my shelf for ages. I think part of my hesitation in reading this was because I had enjoyed the movie so much. I know the saying is that the book is always better than the movie, but over the last year, I have found that not to be 100% true, at least in my case. I am very happy to say that this book was so much better than the movie!

I am so glad that I was able to buddy read this with a friend. You really go through a roller coaster of emotions as you follow Holly trying to cope with the death of her husband. You can feel Holly's pain and the grief she carries, but you also get flashbacks of her husband Gerry and their relationship before and during his illness. Not only do we get Holly's perspective, but we get to know Gerry as a live person and we get a glimpse into what motivated each letter. Having those moments made the story feel complete for me.

We also see Holly's interactions with her friends and family and how Gerry's loss not only is affecting her, but them as well, even though she doesn't see that they're grieving too. These little realizations come in all the way through the story and really add to Holly as a character and the relationships she has with the other people in her life. There are conversations that Holly has with her friends and family that really put into perspective both sides of the situation. I could really understand where both parties were coming from and these conversations were heart wrenching for me to read. I have said before that I am not a very emotional reader. Though I did not shed a tear while reading this, there were moments that were painful to read because the situation just felt so real.

This was the first book that I have read by this author. I have a couple of her other books and definitely look forward to reading them, especially after the experience I had reading this one. Highly recommended!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

#Book1CoziesClub: March Book of the Month

I only picked one book out of the jar this month, so we can all participate in March Mystery Madness! Links to the selection are after the break:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Books: March Mystery Madness Announcement

Get ready to join us in the 2nd Annual March Mystery Madness Readathon!

Elizabeth from LizzyfayeLovesBooks

Troi Towel

March Mystery Madness on Twitter

Mystery Madness Goodreads Group

The blanket shown in the closer was hand knit by me.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Second Street Station (Mary Handley Mystery #1)

Second Street Station Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the end, I did enjoy seeing Mary work through this case and kick some butt while she was at it, however, the things that bothered me about this book will stay with me for a while.

I picked up this book because I received a copy of the second book in this series for review. I do not like to series out of order so I had to read this first. I had prepared myself before starting this for it's view on women due to the time in history where this story takes place. I hadn't prepared myself for it's statements regarding Chinese immigrant workers. Granted, due to the time period, I probably should've prepared myself for all aspects, but I didn't and those parts of this story bothered me a lot. It makes you wonder how the author comes up with such hateful phrases. I understand this is a work of fiction, but I have to wonder if he heard something like what he has written from someone else in his life, did he make it up himself, or is it how he actually feels? Also, there is a derogatory name for a Chinese person used in this book which shocked and disgusted me. Having the Chinese character's storyline in this book is merely a way to explain how Mary learned jujitsu, I feel. The narratives were uncalled for and unnecessary in my opinion because the story would've been fine without the mention of those characters. In fact, I probably would've rated this higher if those sections had been excluded.

Mary is a great character. I really enjoyed seeing how she dealt with situations and the work place bullying she faced. The mystery was interesting also and I did enjoy seeing other historical figures pop up in this story, though their portrayal was not very nice. This book does portray drug use by several of the characters also. Overall, I did enjoy the parts that didn't have to do with the Chinese people, but the sections of this book that bothered me will stay with me for a while. I will be reading the next book since I did receive it for review, but I will need to distance myself from it for a bit first.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on The Forgotten Girls (Louise Rick #4)

The Forgotten Girls The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I decided to pick up this book because it was Barnes & Noble's Serial Read offering for the month. I had no idea it was the fourth book in a series! That being said, I didn't have any trouble nor did it ever dawn on me that I was in the middle of a series.

Please note that this book does touch on the subjects of rape and mental illness. The story drew me right in, but I knew immediately that I would need to borrow a copy of the audiobook version to help me accustom myself with the pronunciation of names and such.Once I became familiar with the pronunciation, I should've read exclusively from print. I definitely do not recommend the audiobook version because I'm pretty sure the accents are not right. I picked up an American Southern accent and an Irish accent I think, which kind of made the the backdrop of the book disappear for me. I'm not entirely sure the pronunciation was right, but I hope it was.

Other than that bit of confusion, the case was very interesting and it kept me wondering what would happen next. Towards the end, I found myself thinking about the story when I wasn't reading it, which is a good sign. I did pick up on little clues as to the end but not until the last quarter of the story. Even then, how it eventually played out was a complete surprise.

We got a bit of backstory on Louise, which I appreciated. It seems like we're going to get more hopefully in the next book, as a tidbit to her past was dropped at the end of this installment. I look forward to reading more of the author's work in the future!

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This has always been my favorite installment in this series, and it's the one that I've read the most. That being said, it's been at least 15 years since I read it last. I'm not sure what about this one puts it on top for me, whether it be the types of activities going on at Hogwarts during this term, or how the bonds of friendship are tested. The movie of this book also is the one that disappointed me the most, because there are so many interesting things that happen in this one that were left out!

I'm not a very emotional reader, but this one never fails to bring a tear to my eye in two chapters of this story. This will always be a favorite of mine and I'm so glad that I finally revisited this one.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

#Book1CoziesClub February Books of the Month

February's selections for the First in a Series Cozy Mystery Book Club have been chosen! Links to books mentioned can be found after the break.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Books: December Wrap Up

December was a slower reading month for me, but I still managed to read six things. Goodreads links to all books mentioned can be found after the break.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Books: My Thoughts on Mistletoe Murder (Lucy Stone Mysteries #1)

Mistletoe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery #1)Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read as part of #Book1CoziesClub

Synopsis (from Goodreads): As if baking holiday cookies, knitting a sweater for her husband’s gift, and making her daughter’s angel costume for the church pageant weren’t enough things for Lucy Stone’s busy Christmas schedule, she’s also working nights at the famous mail-order company Country Cousins. But when she discovers Sam Miller, its very wealthy founder, dead in his car from an apparent suicide, the sleuth in her knows something just doesn’t smell right.

Taking time out from her hectic holiday life to find out what really happened, her investigation leads to a backlog of secrets as long as Santa’s Christmas Eve route. Lucy is convinced that someone murdered Sam Miller. But who and why? With each harrowing twist she uncovers in this bizarre case, another shocking revelation is exposed. Now, as Christmas draws near and Lucy gets dangerously closer to the truth, she’s about to receive a present from Santa she didn’t ask for--a killer who won’t be satisfied until everyone on his shopping list is dead, including Lucy herself…

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

This was a re-read for me and I have to say that I enjoyed this more than I did the first time around. I didn't remember a lot of what happened, so it was almost like a new read for me. I really enjoyed the relationship between Lucy and her husband. I also found the chapter headers interesting as they tied in to Lucy's day job.

This ebook included samples to a couple of the other books in this series and I will definitely be continuing to other installments.

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Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Recap/2017 Goals

This is a bit of a long one! I got a bit chatty telling you how I did in regards to the goals I set for myself in 2016 and what goals I am planning for myself in 2017. Links to things mentioned can be found after the break.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Books: My Highest and Lowest Rated Books in 2016

My highest and lowest rated books in 2016! This video includes all of my 5 star reads and 2 star reads in 2016. My written reviews for each book mentioned is linked after the break.