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text 2017-11-23 21:23
16 Festive Tasks | Square 4 - Thanksgiving Day!
The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season



Square 4 | Thanksgiving Day Tasks:
List of 5 things you’re grateful for –OR– a picture of your thanksgiving feast; post your favourite turkey-day recipe. –OR– Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book - post a picture of it.


Last year around this same time, I made use of a Top Ten Tuesday meme to post a list of things I am grateful for.  I went back to reread that list and found that not much has changed over a year.  I am, and continue to be, grateful for many of the items I listed in 2016: family, friends, books, food...

So coming up with a brand new list seems a bit repetitive.  But that doesn't diminish the fact that I am still thankful for all of those same things.

Instead of listing all of those lifelong "thanks," I mainly wanted to give a short ramble about some of the things I feel strongly about being thankful for, specifically related to this year, 2017.  In failing to actually come up with a list of 5 items, I am also going to post a picture of a new book I treated myself to, a la "Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book," at the end of this post.


There have been a lot of changes this past year, ranging from my younger brother getting married, to my father retiring, to my youngest brother soon-to-be graduating with a Master's degree status...  My cousin also graduated from Pharmacy school.  More cousins are getting engaged.  And my cousin's little boy turned one year old a couple months ago.

I will forever be thankful for family, and all the joy and activity that family brings to my life.  There are so many things to be proud of this year!


In my own personal life, I have made changes that will hopefully benefit me in the long run.  A new job, a new lifestyle, a new chance to get myself and my life on a new journey.  A new set of coworkers who are wonderfully nice people.

I am certainly thankful for opportunities, and the freedom to have opportunities and choices.

 

 

Some recent events make you think about life and how fragile life can be.  We've had a lot of natural disasters reported about this past year, ranging from tropical storm and hurricanes to fires.  We've had some not so natural tragedies as well.  And while not on the same global level of devastation, my own personal life came upon an event that was quite jarring, in itself.

I am grateful for life, for the little things that life affords you, for the small bits of luck, or even any greater power that may or may not keep us in good health.  I will continue to thank each day that passes, and not take the little things for granted.


Along with changes and events, the people in my life have always been wonderful about being supportive.

I'm thankful for my friends and coworkers, former coworkers, for being understanding and supporting of my most recent job change.  I'm thankful for my family for being there to get me through any and all scary events.  I'm thankful for wonderful relationships, online and off, when you really just need words of encouragement in order to move forward.  I am thankful for all the great listeners and the sincere advice I get from everyone when I'm feeling a little lost or trapped.


And finally, I'm thankful for the fur babies, the little ones who don't ask questions and accept you for who you are, and who will always just want to love you and cuddle and play, and all-in-all, just make a long, stressful day worth it when you come home and see them waiting for you, always happy to see you, always ready to bring joy.

Silly Baby is silly.

 

Tired Baby is tired.


Well, look at that!  I DID come up with five things after all.


Nonetheless, on a less sentimental and less serious note:

Being thankful for myself, I went and bought a book!  Obviously!

 


Using some of that e-book settlement money everyone was granted a while back (mine totaled somewhere in ~$5!), I went to the bookstore and bought Laura Griffin's newest Tracers release!  I probably could have bought more books, but I usually try not to go on book buying sprees anymore... unless they involve such niceties as "Fill a bag for $5.00!"

I had been planning on buying this book anyway after it's release, to add to my collection of Laura Griffin paperbacks.  So it's money well spent!

And yes, I may be popping open a bottle of wine this week for the holidays... or just because.  And also, please ignore the little liquor bar our family has going on in the background there...

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Hope you all have a great holiday!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/11/16-festive-tasks-square-4-thanksgiving.html
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text 2017-11-20 12:58
It's Monday! And I'm Back! I hope... | 11/20/2017
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself.  It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!  So welcome in everyone.  This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey.  Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.  And here we are!

 



I really do hope to start blogging more actively now that my work schedule is coming back to a more normal routine--and I don't just mean switching to a day shift position, which is technically more of a midday shift position.  But with this transition, and all the fiasco about my car running into a deer, things have certainly been chaotic.

The last two week at my former job was a big headache, because someone accidentally entered my last day incorrectly, so I got booted out of the system for three nights.  Dealing with all of that was annoying, and I almost just wanted to say F-it! and just call in sick for those last few days.  But I persevered, and now I've started my new job in a new set of hours, and things have been quite nice so far.

The transition has been a little tougher than I'd expected, but I hope everything will normalize soon.

I've been reading, but not really blogging, so I'm a little behind in my reviews.  In order to make myself a happier person, I've just been indulging in the rest of Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series, and will be finishing it up, hopefully by the end of the year.  It's been a rather enjoyable Tessa Dare marathon for me, and I'm quite satisfied with myself.  Because of my strange anal need to read all things in the order they were published, I will also be starting Tessa Dare's Castles Ever After series, if only because it shares a last book with Spindle Cove, apparently--Do You Want to Start a Scandal?

Don't ask.

Meanwhile, I'm finishing up the Flat Book Society Read, Forensics by Val McDermid, which hasn't exactly been what I was expecting, but still enjoyable to an extent.

 

 

What I Read Last Week

 

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

What I'm Hoping to Read Next

 

 

 

Other Plans On the Blog


I had stated in a previous post that I have a few 16 Festive Tasks posts planned--for the actual activity tasks, and not the reading tasks.  Hopefully I will be able to get those written and fleshed out, then posted at some point.  I especially want to get the Thanksgiving task posted this week, preferably the day before Thanksgiving, or maybe even on Thanksgiving Day.

While I'm still training at my new job, I will have every weekend off until they deem me ready to work by myself, so hopefully I will be able to prioritize my weekends to include some blogging, and plan a few more 16 Tasks posts!

Meanwhile, I will probably be flooding everyone with the backlogged reviews I've yet to finalize.

Hope everyone else is having a good month!  I've been missing the updates, but have been skimming the Booklikes dashboard and seeing all the 16 Festive Tasks activity!

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/11/its-monday-and-im-back-i-hope-11202017.html
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text 2017-11-11 14:06
Hiatus (again)

Hey guys! Soooo, how have you been??

Wow, I just logged in BL and it feels like forever ago since my last post.... There are so many personal stuff that kept me from blogging and most importantly from reading. But alas the hiatus is over!

So October is the month to read scary fiction and I think I nailed that! Surprise review to come! 

I have many updates coming, so fair warning I will spam the home page!!

Cheers,

-M.

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review 2017-11-11 07:55
Thoughts: It's in His Kiss
It's in His Kiss - Jill Shalvis

It's in His Kiss
by Jill Shalvis
Book 10 of Lucky Harbor


'Sexy Grumpy Surfer' are three words combined together that aren't as smoothly read as you would think.  I tried it a few times, so if we must, we shall refer to Sam as the 'SGS'... if I feel like lending him an endearing nickname or something.  Sam's nickname for Becca is just slightly cuter, as he calls her 'Peeper' since he's caught her staring at him from her apartment window many times.

At some point, I almost forgot that these characters had real names anyway.

As for the actual story, itself... well, let's just say that Jill Shalvis, while excellent at creating character interaction and lovely humor, definitely isn't all that great at addressing issues that are a bit more serious in nature.  She will use them to help create a backstory for her characters... but by conclusion, those issues seem glossed over in favor of simply solving all the problems with the "One True Love" formula.

And while it's not entirely a deal-breaker for me continuing to read a Jill Shalvis book, I can certainly understand why this would be a reason for many others to be upset or frustrated.


The Story:
Becca Thorpe arrived in Lucky Harbor to get away from the stress of recent events involving her family, specifically her little brother.  To Becca, Lucky Harbor was only supposed to be a pit-stop until she could figure out what to do with herself, how to move on and get her life back together.  But as she continues to explore and get to know Lucky Harbor, she finds herself drawn to the small town of eccentric residents, and slowly creating a home for herself, even if she doesn't realize it yet.

Add onto that the Sexy Grumpy Surfer guy, Sam Brody, and Becca has every reason to continue hanging around... even if this is just a pit-stop.

Meanwhile, while trying to avoid his own complications, Sam can't help but be drawn to Becca when he notices that she has secrets that have hurt her in the past.  He's intent on finding out what her mystery is, even as he has some unresolved issues of his own that need addressing.


My Thoughts:
Sometimes I wonder if some authors just like to create characters with tragic or crappy backgrounds just so that they can become soul mates in their love story.

Sam and Becca both suffer from disappointing, pretty terrible, childhoods.  Sam's father had always been unreliable, which had always ended with Sam in the foster care system.  In present day, Sam does nothing but give his father anything the old man asks for, even if it's unreasonable and only manages to further cause a rift between father and son.  Becca's parents had always left her younger brother to Becca's care, expecting her to do whatever it takes for her brother, even at the expense and detriment of Becca's well-being and mental health.  In present day, this expectation is still floating in the air, and recent events are what caused Becca to uproot and move away from her family, hoping to find comfort and solace for herself.

Once again, to be honest, Jill Shalvis writes lovely characters and stories, with a lot of cute dialogue and tangential side stories.  These are all fine and dandy, but then she brings in some serious issues, such as Sam's relationship with his father, or Becca's relationship with her parents and her brother, or Becca's stage fright, or even the alluded to tragic event that had brought Becca all the way across the country to Lucky Harbor, Washington.

There is always so much potential for these issues to be addressed in a thoughtful way.  In the meantime, there's no reason why we can't have a sweet romance at the same time.

But the book is slightly imbalanced in that the romance overshadows every other issue brought to surface, and then in the end, apparently it's back to "love conquers all," and then Happily Ever After.

The resolution of both Becca's and Sam's conflicts with their respective parents felt abrupt and too easily managed.  The resolution with Becca and her brother might have been a little more believable.  But the issue about Becca's recent tragic event... I'm not sure I really like how that one was handled.

Meanwhile, the romance had it's moments, but the fact that our couple lives in a perpetual state of keeping secrets from each other, but also expecting the other to answer all questions posed to the other was a bit frustrating.  I loved how Sam tried to take care of Becca; I love how Becca got under Sam's skin and makes a place for herself in his life.

What I don't like is how Sam will push for personal, private information that Becca wants to keep to herself, but then shut down the minute she turns around and starts asking him about his own problems.  Then vice versa.

On the other hand, Becca and Olivia actually make a better starting out friendship--neither pushes the other to reveal secrets that she doesn't want to tell.  It's called respect, and the girls seem to be able to keep to those boundaries.  I mean, maybe over time when they get to know each other better, they can start sharing family histories... but for right now, they had just met barely a handful of days ago.  So I find this a refreshing friendship.

Meanwhile Sam and Becca just kept getting irritated when the other wouldn't talk or share stories with the class.

Anyway, enough of my issues.

It's In His Kiss wasn't exactly a Jill Shalvis book that was completely terrible.  I'd say it was in the mediocre 'meh' level, if only because it had it's moments, and it didn't really frustrate me too much.  I will say, however, that I DO miss the close camaraderie of each trio of friends found in each sub-trilogy of the Lucky Harbor series.  Sam, Cole, and Tanner were fun, but they were also kind of boring.  Becca had Olivia... but where's the third point of the trio?  Not to say that Becca and Olivia's new friendship wasn't great--the drunken by two bottles of wine scene was pretty cute.


***

The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season

 

16 Festive Tasks - Dies Natalis Solis Invicti


I'd been meaning to read the rest of Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor books anyway, and it just so happens that this book can fit a couple squares for the 16 Festive Tasks.  And so I've marked it for Square 14 -- Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: Read a book that has a beach or seaside setting.  Sam and his two best friends are surfers as well as run a charter company, and Becca rents a warehouse turned apartment near where they work and live; so the majority of this book DOES indeed take place with the beach as a main part of the setting.

Other Possible Squares:

  • Square 2 | Bon Om Touk:  Water on the cover.
  • Square 3 | St. Martin's Day:  Becca spends the first part of the book looking for a job--her one night waitressing stint was hilarious.
  • Square 10 | Pancha Ganapati:  Book cover has blue, green, orange, and yellow.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/11/thoughts-its-in-his-kiss.html
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review 2017-11-11 06:54
Thoughts: Close to Heaven
Close to Heaven: A Colorado High Country Christmas - Pamela Clare

Close to Heaven
by Pamela Clare
Book 5 of Colorado High Country


A few days prior to publishing this book, Pamela had written a blog post about how Close to Heaven was supposed to have been a Christmas novella, but that it ended up being long enough to be novel-length.  So rather than being a Christmas novella special for the Colorado High Country series, it is now the fifth installment of the series.

As I finished the second half of the book, I couldn't help but wonder whether, maybe, this story would have worked out better as a shorter, novella-length work.

This isn't to say that the book was terrible, but I certainly felt like it dragged on the last half of the story.  I easily saw Pamela's vision and direction for Close to Heaven, but I'm not sure it was necessarily a smoothly executed one.

Nonetheless, even with my misgivings and conflicts about how this novel was presented, I can't deny that, as usual, Pamela always creates a great story, story premise, and characters, with a lot of heart.


The Story:
It is about a month before Christmas and Scarlet Springs is expecting a wintry snow storm in the next few days.  Rain Minear has been feeling lonely ever since her daughter left for college, and she hasn't been able to catch the eye of her boss, Joe Moffat, whom she has been in love with for the past twenty years.  During the night, she starts to wonder if maybe it's time to move on with her life, and maybe start over in another place away from her childhood home of Scarlet Springs.

What she doesn't expect is that her roof would collapse because of the heavy snow, and she would be left without a home, all too suddenly.  Fortunately for her, Joe is generous and caring, and offers to house her at his home until the snow clears and she can find a place to stay.  Unknown to Rain, though, is that Joe has also harbored the same feelings for her these past twenty years, but has never felt right acting on them due to his own rules for not messing around with his own employees.  On top of that, a sordid family history has also influenced Joe's outlook for his own future.

This Christmas, however, it seems that life has some other plans for the both of them.


My Thoughts:
The first thing that came to mind, surprisingly, was the fact that I had thought Rain was younger--the way she'd been described from the first book, I had had the impression that Rain was in her early twenties, or something.  Apparently, I was a little off, or just didn't really pay attention, even though she was one of the side characters I'd hoped to see a story for.

So when the summary came out that this was Joe's and Rain's love story, I was intrigued.  Throughout the series' first few installments, Joe is clearly an older man--which, at least I didn't mistaken his age.  I wondered how this relationship would play out, my mind thinking that Joe Moffat, in his forties, had at least twenty years on Rain, whom I'd thought was in her twenties.

Then Rain was introduced in this book as thirty-seven years old.  Okay, not as young as I'd thought, but still ten years younger than Joe, according to the narration.  It's still a bit of an age gap, so we can still play on that age gap thing.  Or at least, for a while, it was one of the reasons Joe gave for not making a move on Rain.

Even though that particular reason seemed to NOT be a reason, left behind and forgotten.  It was still a significant factor, of course--Rain had gotten pregnant twenty years ago, with a man ten years her senior, who then proceeded to abandon her.  So Joe didn't want to come off like that jackass.

Then, reason after reason came out for why Joe never made a move on Rain for the past twenty years...  TWENTY YEARS.  And we'll come back to these reasons, but, really, I know Rain has her own misgivings, but twenty years is quite the time for two adults to be lusting after each other NOT to notice.  And twenty years is also a long time for Rain to hold a crush on a guy and not do anything about it--she seems like the straight-forward type, and certainly she held no misgivings about making any moves during the course of this story.

I guess that's why we have a story.  And maybe all it took was for her to have a random opportunity.  Like, say, maybe being stuck living in Joe's home while she awaited her insurance claim, and for the snow to melt off her crumpled property.  And maybe for Joe to get a few hard-ons while she's around so she could finally conclude that maybe Joe was interested in her as much as she was interested in him.

I don't know.  It just seems overly convenient a plot.

Anyway, as for Joe's own issues:  He pretty much refuses to make a move on Rain for so many reasons.  His ancestor was a terrible, terrible man who had taken from people, murdered, and forced sex on his own female employees.  And Joe was of the notion that he didn't want to be anything like his ancestor, Silas Moffat.  In fact, Joe's guilt and shame, brought on by all the horrible things that ancestor Silas had done when the man first settled in Scarlet Springs about a century ago, has even made Joe feel like the Moffat name should die with him.  After all, according to him, his grandfather was also a horrible person, and so was his own father.

Somehow, Joe came out the decent man in the Moffat line.  And he's worried that he'd end up starting a family, giving birth to a son, who ends up inheriting previous Moffat male characteristics for evil-doing.  Apparently with all the knowledge and smarts that Joe has, he hasn't figured out the concept of "Nature versus Nurture."  Nor has he stopped to wonder that he was able to become different from his previous male relations.

So Joe refuses to make a move on Rain because she's his employee and he's ten years her senior; he doesn't want to abuse his authority over her.

It just seems like a lot of wasted time, you know.  Twenty years goes by, and even while the two of them are good friends and colleagues, working well together to run the bar, restaurant, and brewery, known as Knockers... well, it just seems like a lot of wasted time where someone could have made a move, or someone could have recognized feelings, whether lust or deeper.


Close to Heaven is up to Pamela Clare standards as far as characters, writing, and heart are concerned.  The schmaltz factor is more subtle in this book.  However, the ending half felt a little dragged out, even after our couple finally acknowledge feelings.  Because then we're just spending time slowly ambling towards that Happily Ever After as the days move forward towards Christmas.  Like, that maybe Christmas was the ultimate end location for this story, and everything from the mid-mark where Rain and Joe finally reciprocate feelings, moving forward, was just filler until the time was right.

I'm not saying it was terrible or anything.  It was sweet and enjoyable and heart-warming--probably what our lovely author was aiming for.  But I just felt like maybe that section of the book could, maybe, have been shortened a little bit.  Because I couldn't help but get the feeling that that latter half of the book went on forever.  And it makes me feel bad, because I DO love a great Pamela Clare romance novel, and Close to Heaven was, once again, very sweet, even if a bit frustrating on Joe's part since he was being so stubborn about Rain.

I mean, for crying out loud, she practically jumped him, and then paraded around naked in front of him, and he STILL thought he'd be the one in the wrong if he made a move.  Even after Rain tells him that she wants him.

And so, props to rain for not letting herself get stuck on this relationship.  After a couple of rejections, she finally just moves herself on and stops her own advances.

But enough of that.  The Happily Ever After happens, feelings are reciprocated, and the book was enjoyable on certain levels.  I'm satisfied enough.


***

The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season

16 Festive Tasks -- Yuletide


I read Close to Heaven for Square 9 -- YuletideA book that is set in the midst of a snowy or icy winter.  Most of the book takes place during a big snow storm that pretty much closes down the entire little town of Scarlet Springs.

Meanwhile, as I was reading this book, I found how many other squares this book would fit.  Although being that this book is the fifth in an ongoing Contemporary Romance series, I don't know how much this helps.

 

  • Square #1 | Calan Gaeaf:  There is a supporting character named Rose.
  • Square #4 | Penance Day:  Our MC, Joe spends most of the book struggling over his guilt over the terrible things his ancestor had done to people over a century ago, and feels that he needs to give back to the community what his ancestor took from them.
  • Square #5 | Advent:  There is a Christmas tree showing in the background of this book, which, of course, is a pine tree.  I don't know how much of a stretch this would be since it's a little hard to see unless you look closely.
  • Square #7 | Saint Lucia's Day:  Obviously, snow features as one of the main events in this book, which is kind of what gives our couple a reason to end up stranded under the same roof.
  • Square #10 | Pancha Ganapati:  There is red on the cover.
  • Square #11 | Soyal:  This book is set in Colorado.
  • Square #13 | Christmas:  The MC is named Joseph Moffat.
 
This book also takes place leading up to Christmas, if that will count for one of the Holiday Book Joker options.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/11/thoughts-close-to-heaven.html
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