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review 2018-01-31 00:48
Accessories to Die For: A Mystery (Irene's Closet) - Paula Paul

This was my first book by this author and I truly enjoyed it.

A nice little cozy mystery that is sent in one of my favorite places . . . Santa Fe. The scenes on the plaza brought back great memories for me of the five Mother's Days in a row that I spent there for business.

A tale of murder, mystery together with an insight into Pueblo customs. I sped right through this enjoyable read!

Thanks to Random House/Alibi and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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text 2018-01-04 19:43
My 2018 Reading Plan
The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories - Anthony Marra
Not Without Laughter - Langston Hughes,Maya Angelou
The Bone People - Keri Hulme
Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight - Margaret Lazarus Dean
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration - Isabel Wilkerson
This Side of Brightness - Colum McCann
The Grass is Singing - Doris Lessing
Flying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman - Cathy Wilkerson
The Sky Unwashed - Irene Zabytko
Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath - Paul Ham


Every year, I like to set a few reading goals for myself: number of books, specific titles, and so forth. Because my whims change with the days and new books always catch my attention, I have yet to have one year where I complete my intended goals. So, I've decided that this year I'm going to keep it simple. I intend to read less, to slow down and really focus on and enjoy what I'm reading.


...But I love lists too much. And I cannot resist the urge to make a list of books I “will” complete this year. It's a practice I began in 2012—to identify ten books that will be read by the end of the year. Guess what? I've never read all ten in a year. I still have four holdouts from 2017, plus two others from farther back. So my only concrete goal this year is to complete my 2018 list in its entirety and to read the books from prior years. Other than that, my only goal is to enjoy what I'm reading. I'll set a reading challenge of so many books like I always do, but I'll keep it low so I don't become consumed with it.


So what will I be reading in 2018? These are the ten books that I am committing to. I think I'll be able to complete my challenge this year, assuming the world doesn't go up in smoke first. This year's list has more non-fiction than any prior list because I've had a desire to read more non-fiction lately. I mostly read fiction and I'd like to branch out some.


The Bone People cover


The Bone People by Keri Hulme

My interest in New Zealand and its literature goes back many years. I've made it a point to read more works by New Zealanders, but despite good intentions, I have avoided this Man Booker winner. I'm expecting good things from this one.


Flying Close to the Sun coverFlying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman by Cathy Wilkerson

In undergrad, I watched the documentary about The Weatherman Organization and was very intrigued. I told myself I'd learn more about them and would possibly write a novel focused on them. I've been saving these Weatherman memoirs until I began researching for that novel, but now I'm not sure I'll ever tackle that project. Project or no project, I've decided to stop putting it off.


The Grass Is Singing cover


The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing

I really want to like Doris Lessing, but my first and only experience with her so far (The Cleft) was so off-putting that I've avoided her for more than a decade. I never want to judge any author by one book, so I'm making a point to read her debut novel in 2018. I'm hoping for better results.



Hiroshima Nagasaki coverHiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath by Paul Ham

I have a strong interest in the WWII destruction of Japan, particularly the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I've read some of these historical accounts before and will likely come across much of the same information in this large volume, but it's time to brush up on the subject.


Leaving Orbit coverLeaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Margaret Lazarus Dean

Dean's previous work was a novel about a girl's obsession with spaceflight during the days surrounding the Challenger disaster. Her second book is this exploration of the rise and fall of NASA. I've had this one on the top of my to-read pile since its publication in 2015, but haven't made time for it.


Not Without LaughterNot Without Laughter by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes is one of the more notable authors to have resided in my part of the world. I've always had the best intentions of reading local authors, especially those who were pioneers and helped shape the way for others, but I've never read more than the occasional poem by Hughes.


The Sky Unwashed coverThe Sky Unwashed by Irene Zabytko

When I first started working at the library more than ten years ago, I saw this book on the shelf and was attracted to its sepia cover, its gorgeous title, and its intriguing description. It was one of the very first books to be added to my to-read list at my new job. Ten years later I still work at the library and I still haven't read this short novel about the Chernobyl accident.



The Tsar of Love and Techno coverThe Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

We loved A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, didn't we? Yet I, like many readers apparently, did not transition well to Marra's follow up two years later, this collection of short stories. Even though I absolutely loved his debut novel, I just wasn't interested in this volume. Adding it to my list will force my hand, I figure.


The Warmth of Other SunsThe Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

There's been so much praise heaped on this book. It's time I give this historical gem a try.


This Side of Brightness coverThis Side of Brightness by Colum McCann

Last year, I read and absolutely loved McCann's Letters to a Young Writer. I'd spent some time with the author previously, but it was this slim volume about writing that made a big fan out of me. I told myself I'd make it a point to return to the author as soon as possible. And I figured I might as well start with the novel that launched his career.


And my unfinished books from prior years:

The Counterfeiters by Andre Gide

The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies

Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

Union Dues by John Sayles

Weeds by Edith Summers Kelley


Seeing all sixteen of these listed, I'm already feeling overwhelmed. I've learned the key to completing my list is to not put off the list to the middle of the year. I really need to be checking off one or two of these titles every month. Intention set.


While I'm making an already long post longer, here are some of the top titles, old and new, I hope to get around to in 2018: The Temple of the Dawn by Yukio Mishima, The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton, Erasure by Percival Everett, The Road Through the Wall by Shirley Jackson, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro, Winter by Ali Smith, Parnucklian for Chocolate by B.H. James, 1996 by Gloria Naylor, Hot Pink by Adam Levin, and... I can keep going forever. See how I get myself in trouble?


Do you set reading goals for your year? Do you find it helpful to do so, or imposing? What do you look forward to reading in 2018?


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review 2017-12-22 20:58
Doctor Doom talks it out
Gwenpool, The Unbelievable (2016-) #23 - Christopher Hastings,Irene Strychalski,Gurihiru

No, really, the new, good Doctor Doom sits Gwenpool down and talks it out - and somehow, it's just as badass as his evil-self beating the crap out of Gwenpool.  


I'm not sure what's going to happen, or if this series has been canceled, but it's getting really good, really a commentary on how readers engage with comics, and I hope it doesn't get axed.   

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review 2017-12-22 20:38
Gwen versus Doom continues
Gwenpool, The Unbelievable (2016-) #22 - Christopher Hastings,Irene Strychalski,Gurihiru

She's still convinced she can join the Avengers if she kills Doom.   I read these all at once, so the storylines from issue 21 are bleeding into this.   So you get this short, crappy review, but I love it, and it's a five star read, for me at least. 

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review 2017-11-13 14:53
ARC Review: A Spoonful of Magic by Irene Radford
A Spoonful of Magic - Irene Radford
A Spoonful of Magic

Irene Radford
Urban Fantasy
Daw Books
November 7th 2017


A delightful new urban fantasy about a kitchen witch and her magical family



Daphne "Daffy" Rose Wallace Deschants has an ideal suburban life--three wonderful and talented children; a coffee shop and bakery, owned and run with her best friend; a nearly perfect husband, Gabriel, or "G" to his friends and family. Life could hardly be better.


But G's perfection hides dangerous secrets. When Daffy uncovers evidence of his infidelity, her perfect life seems to be in ruins. On their wedding anniversary, Daffy prepares to confront him, only to be stopped in her tracks when he foils a mugging attempt using wizard-level magic.


Suddenly, Daphne is part of a world she never imagined--where her husband is not a traveling troubleshooter for a software company, but the sheriff of the International Guild of Wizards, and her brilliant children are also budding magicians. Even she herself is not just a great baker and barista--she's actually a kitchen witch. And her discovery of her powers is only just beginnning.


But even the midst of her chaotic new life, another problem is brewing. G's ex-wife, a dangerous witch, has escaped from her magical prison. Revenge-bent and blind, she needs the eyes of her son to restore her sight--the son Daffy has raised as her own since he was a year old. Now Daphne must find a way to harness her new powers and protect her family--or risk losing everything she holds dear.




Barnes & Noble




This is my first experience with Irene Radford. Sadly I’m disappointed in what I read. A Spoonful of Magic turned out to be depressing and a major headache.


I picked this one up; because I found the cover to be beautiful and the blurb to be intriguing. Even though the blurb mention’s that Daffy’s hubby G has been unfaithful I was hoping it was a misunderstanding and not true, especially since G’s a Sheriff for the International Guild of Wizard’s. Sadly it didn’t turn out that way.


G is a cheater. As soon as it was true and came to light I should have DNF’d this book, but nope I kept going. I new I should have stoped, but their was something that compiled me to finish. Maybe I was hoping for a turn around, I just don’t know.


Cheater’s are a no no for me. That scenario is one I don’t like to read about, one that bothers me greatly. Their is no excuses for cheating. Non. So why does he cheat on his wife? Well it’s his magic. When he uses a lot of magic he ends up having to much pent up energy and the only way to get ride of it is to have sex. Since he’s out being sheriff of his territory and never home or near his wife, he sleeps with other women (one night stands). This set up for the magic is wrong. What was even more unfortunate is that G, Daffy’s X-Hubby had no remorse about what he did to his wife, doesn’t change his way, and continues to lie, cheat, and manipulate throughout the story.


As for G and Daffy I never felt the love from G, but Daffy she loved him. G picked Daffy up to be a mom to his son and used his wife as a nanny. It was sad how G treated his wife, whom you can clearly see loved him deeply. He kept secrets lots of them, doesn’t talk to his wife now and then, nor does he tell her the truth, and when he does it’s not the whole story. As for Daffy she has magical powers, but they have been layton until now. She also doesn’t have the sexual urge like her X until they do a major power spell, but even then she doesn’t give in and finds other ways to work off the excess energy.


To wrap things up A Spoonful of Magic showed some promise with the plot that was fascinating at times, the lesser characters where appealing, but ultimately the unorthodox morality Radford created in her magical world was just to hard for me to consume.


Rated: 1 Star


*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy provided by Berkley Publishing via NetGalley with the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.


Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!



Challenge(s): Pick Your Genre (UF) | New To Me (Author) | New Release (2017)





I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/11/arc-review-a-spoonful-of-magic-by-irene-radford
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