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text 2017-06-01 00:08
May Reading Wrap Up
Deep Deception - Cathy Pegau
Forbidden - Beverly Jenkins
Killer in High Heels - Gemma Halliday
A Charming Crime - Tonya Kappes
A Wedding in Springtime - Amanda Forester
London; the story of the greatest city on Earth. - Edward Rutherford
Learning to Swim - Sara J. Henry
Nothing but Trouble - Susan May Warren
A Christmas Hope - Stacy Henrie
After the Storm: A Kate Burkholder Novel - Linda Castillo

May went by so fast! But the big project, reading the 800+ page book for the Pop Sugar challenge, was a success and now I can easily finish the challenge in the second half of the year.


I took a day to read some really short freebies from my NOOK, none of which worked for me. Hurtling through space and time in a tin can for two days provided a lot of time for me to read. My BL-opoly bank balance is sitting at $68.00.



Best Books: London, Forbidden, Vision volumes 1 and 2

Worst Books: Shimmy for Me, Summer Flings series

Disappointing book: A Charming Cure - I had big expectations for this series and I hope the second book can live up to those expectations


Challenge Progress

Pop Sugar: 4; 33/52 for the year

Library Love: 4; 32/36 for the year

BL/GR: 77/150

BL-opoly: 10


1. Deep Deception by Cathy Pegau (BL-opoly) - 3.5 stars


2. Forbidden (Old West #1) by Beverly Jenkins (BL-opoly) - 4.5 stars


3. Killer in High Heels (High Heels #2) by Gemma Halliday (BL-opoly) - 2.5 stars


4. A Charming Crime (Magical Cures #1) by Tonya Kappes (BL-opoly) - 2 stars


5. A Wedding in Springtime (Marriage Mart #1) by Amanda Forester (Pop Sugar prompt - 1 of 4 seasons in title) (BL-opoly) - 3.5 stars


6. The Dateless Wonder by Anjali Mya Chadha - 3 stars


7. Shimmy for Me: A California Belly Dance Novella by DeAnna Cameron - 1.5 stars


8. Learning to Swim (Troy Chance #1) by Sara L. Henry (BL-opoly) - 2 stars


9. Selkie Heart by Sam Asher - 1 star


10. Trouble in Tinseltown (Summer Flings #1) and Misbehaving in Miami (Summer Flings #2) by Aimee Duffy - 1 star


11. London: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd (Library Love challenge) (Pop Sugar prompt - book with 800+ pages) - 5 stars


12. Nothing But Trouble (PJ Sugar #1) by Susan May Warren (Library Love challenge) - 3.5 stars


13. A Christmas Hope (Of Love and War #1.5) by Stacy Henrie (BL-opoly) - 4 stars


14. After the Storm (Kate Burkholder #7) by Linda Castillo (BL-opoly) - 3.5 stars


15. Her Last Breath (Kate Burkholder #5) by Linda Castillo (BL-opoly) - 3 stars


16. Vision Volume 1: Little Worse Than a Man by Tom King (Pop Sugar prompt - Re-read a shelf keeper) - 4 stars


17. Vision Volume 2: Little Better Than a Beast by Tom King (BL-opoly) (Pop Sugar prompt - non human perspective) - 4 stars

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review 2017-05-27 22:32
Review: Nothing But Trouble (PJ Sugar #1) by Susan May Warren
Nothing but Trouble - Susan May Warren

I borrowed this book from OverDrive after finishing that huge book because I needed something much lighter in tone and in subject matter. The book had some first-book syndrome going on in the beginning; lots of backstory and info-dumping. However, the first scene in the book hooked me and I settled into the story and in PJ's head fairly quickly. Once she was back in her hometown and the murder took place, then things got interesting - more than enough to have me borrowing the second book in the series. There is a hints at a love triangle, but at the end PJ decides on neither of the men and wants to work on herself. PJ is lovable, good-hearted without being overly weird like most cozy mystery amateur sleuths, but damn is she impulsive at times. She also had a lot of character development going on in this book; it is almost like it is part mystery, part chick lit. There is a lot of Christianity in this book, but it is authentic to PJ's character and never feels preachy - it is PJ who kept reminding herself of biblical verses to help her think through and calm down in some low points while investigating the murder. I even like the recurring side characters and they helped in world building as well as added to the plotline. Looking forward to reading book two next month.

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text 2017-05-26 18:55
Friday Reads - Summer Holiday Weekend Part I
After the Storm: A Kate Burkholder Novel - Linda Castillo
Her Last Breath - Linda Castillo
Among the Wicked: A Kate Burkholder Novel - Linda Castillo
Death by Tiara (A Jaine Austen Mystery) - Laura Levine
Egg Drop Dead - Laura Childs
Purl Up and Die (A Knitting Mystery) - Maggie Sefton
Nothing but Trouble - Susan May Warren
Diary of an Accidental Wallflower - Jennifer McQuiston

I feel like it has been a long time since I did a Friday Reads post. I hope all my fellow US'ians have a safe holiday weekend. I hope my British neighbors have a safe bank holiday weekend. We got caught in a heat wave (in the 80s come afternoon time) so I broke out the kiddie pool; forecast states we have one more beautiful summer day, then the rain and lower temps are coming by the end of the weekend. I am spending most of my weekend with books and a long walk in the Thetford Forest with the family before the rain comes.


Here is what I hope to read over the weekend/the final week in May.


1. After the Storm by Linda Castillo

2. Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo 

3. Among the Wicked by Linda Castillo

      I picked these three books from the library. They're from the Kate Burkholder series (Amish police procedurals). I've wanted to try this series for a while now. These books are from later in the series.


4. Death by Tiara by Laura Levine

5. Egg Drop Dead by Laura Childs

6. Purl Up and Die by Maggie Sefton

        Another bunch from the library, this time in really cute cozy mystery flavor. The first is from the Jaine Austen series, and the name of the series was enough for me to take it off the shelf. I tried one book from Laura Childs before (from that tea shop mystery series) and DNF'ed it, so I don't have much expectation for this one (from the Cackleberry Club series). The last one's titled just made me laugh.


7. Nothing But Trouble by Susan May Warren

           Borrowed this one from OverDrive because I kept getting recommended it (OD has the first three books in the series). I'm at the 62% mark and really liking it; PJ is not one of those perfect model of a Christian, but she is a Christian with good intentions and a good heart. The writing is different from a lot of Christian fiction without being profane. I am looking forward to book two and three.


8. Diary of an Accidental Wallflower by Jennifer McQuinston

          My BL-opoly pick which makes it a priority. New to me author, but I loved the interviews she did for the Smart Podcast, Trashy Books podcast - she talked about her work at the CDC in general and her work in Africa dealing with Ebola outbreak specifically....along with her weekend job writing historical romances.





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review 2014-06-02 18:21
The Cubicle Next Door by Siri L. Mitchell
The Cubicle Next Door - Siri Mitchell

[This is an old review, and I had to guess at a rating.]


I bought this book during a moment of "I have nothing to read" boredom - that was a fairly long time ago, before I built the TBR mountain in my living room.  I knew nothing about it, other than that the cover looked kind of fun (although I have an urge to attack the hair of the woman on the cover with a brush) and the description on the back sounded interesting.

Unfortunately, this book was a real slog for me.  I did not like Jackie.  At all.

For one thing, she was the most judgmental person in the entire book.  I can understand her not wanting to share her space, so I was willing to forgive her initial determination to dislike Joe.  However, she was judgmental of everyone.  There was Estelle, who she disliked for not being very computer literate and only really got to know better because Joe was friendlier to Estelle than Jackie has ever been and told Jackie what he'd learned about her.  There was Oliver, who Jackie disliked because it felt to her like he was taking her grandmother away from her.  Then there was everyone in the U.S. who is not exactly as environmentally-conscious as Jackie thinks they should be.  The SUV drivers.  The plastic straw users.  People who buy individually-packaged snacks.  People who don't recycle.  This list could go on.

Which brings me to the next thing I didn't like about Jackie - her environmental leanings that came across as not only being annoyingly strong, but also a bit hypocritical.  She lectures Joe about the SUV he owns and the plastic straws he tries to use.  She rants on her blog about everything Americans do that hurts the environment.  She makes her own shampoo, and her grandmother's house (which Jackie also lives in) is the only place in the neighborhood with a xeriscaped yard.  And yet.  When Joe goes on a trip and leaves his SUV in Jackie's care, Jackie drives herself, her grandmother, and her grandmother's friends to Cripple Creek in it, marveling at the convenience and how safe she feels in it.  She eats out at fast food places with Joe all the time, instead of telling him "no" and eating the lunch she packed on her own or, since she knew Joe would do this every day, just packing him a lunch too to get him to shut up.  Even if you only consider things like sandwich wrappers and paper cups, there's plenty of waste going on when you eat fast food.  When she's getting ready to go to a dance with Joe, she lets her grandmother and her grandmother's friends dress her up.  Not only do they use old hairspray on her (ozone-depleting aerosols), she also allows herself to enjoy a fox fur wrap.  I probably wouldn't have found all this quite so annoying if Jackie hadn't made such a big fuss about being environmentally-conscious all the time.

Examples of Jackie's charitable behavior (sponsoring orphans, cleaning up trash, supporting microloans to help those in poverty-stricken areas make better lives for themselves, etc.) did not make me like her more - actually all that did was make me dislike her more.  Even though she didn't really advertise her goody goody behavior, there was still something about her that made me think of people who do good things mainly so that they they can feel better about themselves.

It's really hard for me to enjoy a romance novel (or chick lit - I suppose this book might be more accurately called Christian chick lit) when I don't like the heroine.  It especially doesn't help when I don't even like the hero.  I found Joe to be a wee bit too pushy at times - he hardly ever took "no" for an answer, figuring that, deep down, Jackie really wanted to do all those things he dragged her into doing and would probably later thank him for forcing her to do.  True, she did enjoy herself, but still - when a girl shows that much reluctance to do something, sometimes a guy should just accept that "no" means "no."  Joe was the kind of guy who would just exhaust me in real life - other than showing up for Jackie's grandmother's poker nights, he was more a "go out and do stuff all the time" kind of guy than a homebody.

For the most part, though, I did like Joe more than I liked Jackie, and I had a lot of trouble understanding why Joe continued to pursue her.  The only thing about Jackie that provided him with any kind of encouragement was that it usually wasn't too hard for him to get her to agree to do thing with him - even though she didn't really want to, she went skiing with him, saw a Bollywood movie with him, participated in a race with him, and more.  She was so unpleasant and negative most of the time, however, that it was really difficult to tell why he persisted in liking her and wanting to be with her.  It wasn't until the "big reveal" at the end that it became a little clearer why he didn't just give up.  But still.  I'm not sure if, had I been in his position (and if I were a guy), that I would have continued to pursue her, even with a few blog posts saying what she really felt as encouragement.

There were a few things about this book that I liked.  First, I liked the setting.  It's rare for me to actually come across a book set someplace that I've been before, and, with this book, I constantly had the pleasure of saying "I know that place!" and "I've seen that before."  Colorado Springs icons and locations were everywhere in this book.  The Air Force Academy stuff was also pretty interesting - I had no idea that stuff like that "mock class session" happened.  Second, I liked that the Christian stuff wasn't overwhelming - in fact, there was so little of it in this book that I could imagine that someone who wanted to read a Christian romance/chick list book might be upset.  Third, I enjoyed the "big reveal" at the end of the book so much that even I, who hated Jackie's blog posts and the accompanying comments, found myself flipping through the book so that I could reread those comments from a new perspective.  I had figured that at least one of the comment writers was someone Jackie knew (I had thought philosophie was Jackie's grandmother), but I had never figured that

Joe was theshrink.  Looking back at theshrink's comments, though, it made perfect sense - most of theshrink's comments were jokey, some were serious, and one comment even told Jackie who he was.

(spoiler show)

The few things I liked about the book weren't enough to overcome my overall dislike of it.  I couldn't stand Jackie, I didn't really like Joe, and I didn't find Joe's interest in Jackie to be believable.  The nationwide interest in Jackie's blog wasn't believable, either - why would thousands of people eagerly read blog posts as vague as the ones Jackie wrote about Joe?  And the comments on the blog posts - has Mitchell ever read blog post comments before?  Mitchell's comment writers weren't real people, they were one-note jokes who wouldn't shut up.  Only occasionally did the comments feel like something real people would write, rather than something Mitchell thought sounded insightful or funny.


(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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