Monday Memes: What are you reading? What’s in your mailbox?

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Hosted by: The Book Date

What I read last week:

Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James – really cute cozy mystery!  I was so tempted to buy the second in the series when I finished on Saturday night, but resisted.  For now.  Hah.

What I’m currently reading: 

Dates From Hell by Kim Harrison, Lyndsay Sands, Kelley Armstrong, & Lori Handeland

Under a Red Sky: Memoir of a Childhood in Communist Romania by Haya Leah Molnar

What I’m reading next (hopefully):

Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae & Elena Ceausescus’ Crimes, Lifestyle and Corruption by Lt. Gen Ion Mihai Pacepa

Another unimpressive week!  I think I’m finally over whatever funk my kids and/or co-workers gave to me, so I’m hoping for a better week this week!

 

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Hosted by Mailbox Monday

The mailbox was rather quiet this week, which is a good thing.  I need to catch up!

Library Haul: 

I had previously cleaned out my list of holds so that I could get through some of the owned books I have piling up around me.  I forgot I even had this one on my list still.

Juror #3 by James Patterson and Nancy Allen

Mailbox Haul:

My physical mailbox was empty this week!  That’s good and bad.  Good because it means no more books piling up this week, but bad because NO MORE BOOKS.

Purchased: 

I’ve also currently put a moratorium on buying books with the exception of say, a blockbuster book everyone is raving about on sale for $1.99.  But, for the most part, I’m trying not to buy anything for the rest of the year.  And then I realize I’d made a preorder a month back and hey, surprise!  You have a new book.  Hahaha.

Hit and Nun by Dakota Cassidy – I love her and her oddball sense of humor.  I need to read Then there Were Nun first, but at least I have both books on hand for when I get that chance.

Enough babbling for one Monday morning.  How’d your mailbox look this past week?  Get anything good?  Read anything exciting?

Review: When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

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Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

Jessie is an interesting character in that I can both relate to her and not.  I don’t know what I’d do if I lost my mother, and I’m a heck of a lot older than she is.  Also, I’m not alone in that I have lots of family around me.  But that thought of but what if  can really haunt you.  I know losing her will wreck me but I also have no idea what it’s like to be so horribly alone.  Jessie’s mother, Eden, is a whole other story.  She had everything and lost it all due to her insatiable quest for one singular thing.  And while I understand her feelings on the subject, I’m not sure I would have gone to the lengths she did.

I loved the alternating points of view between Jessie in the present and Eden in the past and the twisty route they took to meet in the end.  The two combined voices really keep you off balance as Jessie searches for her true identity.  Did her mother do the unthinkable or is there simply some mistake at Social Security?  What is the truth and how does she find it?  Add into this Jessie’s long-held desire to know her father and the days and days she’s gone without sleep and you’re on a slippery slope of craziness.

The thing you may be hearing a lot about, however, is the twist at the end.  At first, I was angry.  But now that I’ve let it sit for a week or so, I’m finding myself of two minds about this.  On one hand, it’s brilliant.  It resolves everything and nothing at the same time.  Suddenly, every insane bit of the story makes sense.  And yet, it’s a bit of a cop out in the sense that everything that happened was pointless.  I may never really know how I feel about this book.  What I can tell you is that, even if you hate that last ten percent, the other ninety is definitley worth the read.

When the Lights go Out  is an intense roller coaster ride of epic proportions.  It starts a little slowly but, once Jessie gets the call from the financial aid office at school, it really takes off in a rush of events and chaos.   You never know what Jessie is going to say, do, or discover next.  I found myself unable to stop reading simply becuase I needed to know what is the truth?

4/5

*This was part of my personal collection although I won an ARC from Goodreads, so thanks to them, the author, and the publisher for the giveaway.

Monday Memes: What are you reading? What’s in your mailbox?

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Hosted by: The Book Date

What I read last week:

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

What I’m currently reading: 

Dates From Hell by Kim Harrison, Lyndsay Sands, Kelley Armstrong, & Lori Handeland

Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James

What I’m reading next (hopefully):

Under a Red Sky: Memoir of a Childhood in Communist Romania by Haya Leah Molnar

Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae & Elena Ceausescus’ Crimes, Lifestyle and Corruption by Lt. Gen Ion Mihai Pacepa

I didn’t get much read this past week due to being horribly ill.  Gotta love having kids in the public school system, right?  Sadly, one of them is in college which somehow makes it feel so much worse.

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Hosted by Mailbox Monday

I had quite the full mailbox this week!  I kind of went on a spree between the library, PaperBackSwap and a surprise from a friend.

Library Haul: 

Nothing this week as I am trying to behave myself.

Mailbox Haul:

I had a much smaller haul this week.  The book I had been waiting for from Amazon finally arrived, pluse one I’d requested from PaperBackSwap.

Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and their Journey by Isabel Fonseca.

Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead.

Maybe this means I can start getting ahead on some of the books I have piled up?  Nah.

OWNtober: TBR List

I have this bad habit of buying books and then either not reading them or getting more books from the library and pushing ‘my children’ aside for my ‘adopted children’. Or so my husband says.  So, when I stumbled across a challenge for October to help drive down the size of my TBR, I was on it.

Rules

1. Post a blogpost saying you’ll be joining me in my battle against the ever-growing physical TBR-piles and pingback to this post.

2. Share your list of all the books you own and then decide which ones you’re going to read first.

If you can’t figure out a sequence for yourself, you can always start a poll and let others help you out!

3. If you’re sharing your updates on social media, use #OWNtober so we can follow up on each other!

Okay, so there’s no way in heck I’m listing all the books I own and haven’t read.  A) there isn’t enough time and b) no one wants to see that.  I mean, really.  There’s a reason why I’m starting a whole month early, guys.  So, instead, I’m going to run with the pile of books on and around my reading spot.  I counted twenty-five.  Yeah, TWENTY-FIVE.  I guess my husband isn’t all that far off when he says he can build me my own house of books in the back yard.  Huh.

*Note: Since I have already started on this list, I’ll mark off and add new as I get through the list.

TBR Pile

1. Dodging and Burning – John Coplennaver

2. Why Kill the Innocent – C. S. Harris

3. The Perfect Mother  – Aimee Molloy

4. The Real Michael Swann – Bryan Reardon

5. The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson

6. Cloche and Dagger – Jenn McKinlay

7. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

8. Every Dead Thing  – John Connolly

9. The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware

10. We Were There Volume 1 – Yuuki Obata

11. Grace Under Pressure – Julie Hyzy

12. The Imperial Presidency – Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

13. State of the Onion – Julie Hyzy

14. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy  – David D. Burns

15. Blackbird Volume 4 – Kanoko Sakurakouji

16. Vampire Knight Volume 5 – Matsuri Hino

17. Vampire Knight Volume 6 – Matsuri Hino

18. The Innocent – Avi Arad, Yasung Ko, Junichi Fujisaku

19. In Europe’s Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond – Robert D. Kaplan

20. Murder Beyond the Grave – James Patterson

21. The Banker’s Wife  – Christina Alger

22. Little Fires Everywhere  – Celeste Ng

23. The Wife – Alafair Burke

24. Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey – Isabel Fonseca

25. Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night – various authors (short story anthology)

So, this is what I’m starting with.  Wish me luck as I have three library books I need to read and return as well.

Review: Saddle Up by A M Arthur

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I should apologize becuase I totally dropped the ball on this.  I thought the book didn’t release until next week.

Reyes Caldero keeps his past buried deep and his emotions buried deeper. But what he doesn’t say he always makes up for with his actions. When the hot chef he once saved from an abusive ex turns up at Clean Slate Ranch, the quiet cowboy is happy to act on their sizzling chemistry, even if he’s not ready to share his secrets—or his heart.

Miles Arlington needs to get the hell out of San Francisco, and heading north for a job near Clean Slate Ranch seems like just the thing. It doesn’t hurt that his secret crush slash onetime rescuer happens to work at the ranch. Miles has never been one for the outdoors, but the superhot Reyes has him ready to saddle up.

Reyes is happy to keep things casual, even though his heart has other ideas. And when Miles is forced to confront his past again, Reyes and Miles will have to put all their trust in each other if they want any chance at building a future together.

Cowboys are my thing.  Seriously.  I don’t know if I watched too many westerns as a kid or because I grew up in what was once the Old West, but it’s true.  So, when I spotted Saddle Up, I had to read it.  Bonus: Miles is a chef, something else that interests me.

Miles was probably my favorite of the two main characters.  I could relate a lot to his love of cooking and turning it into a career by accident.  Not that that’s how my life went but because it was what I had once wanted to do.  He has a rough past and is desperate for a new start.  And if that new start happens to have the sexy cowboy Reyes Caldero in it?  All the better.  Miles is charming and strong, even when he doesn’t think he is.  That he’s able to cope with everything happening around him is amazing.

Reyes really is the perfect match for Miles.  He’s older, more experienced, and has dealt with his own catastrophes, giving him unique insight into how to help Miles get through his own.  That, and having experienced first hand the reason why Miles is fleeing his home for Clean Slate, he’s already aware of part of Miles’ troubles.

The interactions between Miles and Reyes were sweet and fun and it’s obvious that they care for each other, even if neither is willing to make that first move.  But that’s okay, I prefer my romances that way.  Take that time to get to know each other before you land in bed.  The thing that bothered me were the secrets each man was holding onto.  Miles not telling Reyes makes some sense because he was running for his life, essentially.  It was real and present and current.  However, Reyes holding on to his secret, beating himself up over it, and declaring himself unfit to be loved was rather annoying.  He’d been a frightened kid when it happened and had no control over what had occurred.  I do undestand why he was worried, why he carried that guilt, but I do not understand why it made him push Miles away like he did.  That said, I loved the entire premise of the story.  The ghost town reminded me so much of my visit to Tombstone, AZ, that I felt like I was there.  I hadn’t realized there were two other books in this series.  Now, I need to pick them both up to find out how Mack and Wes got together.

4/5

*thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an advance copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.

Monday Memes: What are you reading? What’s in your mailbox?

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Hosted by: The Book Date

What I read last week:

Saddle Up by A M Arthur

I really enjoyed this despite one issue.  It makes me crazy when people have *secrets* but refuse to communicate them to their hopeful partner.  In both cases, I do understand but also… communicate!

Coffin Road by Peter May

This was an intense read.  The main character washes up on the beach without a shred of his memory intact and spends a good three quarters of the book trying to figure out who he is and what he’s doing.

What I’m currently reading: 

 

Dates From Hell by Kim Harrison, Lyndsay Sands, Kelley Armstrong, & Lori Handeland

Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

 

What I’m reading next (hopefully):

Under a Red Sky: Memoir of a Childhood in Communist Romania by Haya Leah Molnar

Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae & Elena Ceausescus’ Crimes, Lifestyle and Corruption by Lt. Gen Ion Mihai Pacepa

I know, a couple of odd choices, but they’re both library books so I need to read them next.  Plus, I have this strange obsession with Romania that I cannot explain.

 

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Hosted by Mailbox Monday

I had quite the full mailbox this week!  I kind of went on a spree between the library, PaperBackSwap and a surprise from a friend.

Library Haul: 

Under a Red Sky: Memoir of a Childhood in Communist Romania by Haya Leah Molnar

Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae & Elena Ceausescus’ Crimes, Lifestyle and Corruption by Lt. Gen Ion Mihai Pacepa

 

Mailbox Haul:

Murder Beyond the Grave by James Patterson

It’s Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell

The Banker’s Wife by Christina Alger

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Wife – Alafair Burke

In Europe’s Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond by Robert D. Kaplan

All of the above minus the very last one arrived in a box from a friend of mine.  It’s good to have friends like that, eh?

I have one book still in limbo, seems Amazon is holding it hostage.  But it should arrive in the next few days, I hope!

Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and their Journey by Isabel Fonseca.  I read this book a million years ago and recently started thinking about it again, so I bought it.  Wish I knew what happened to my original copy.

If you’re in the US, happy Labor Day!  If you’re not, or you work in one of those industries that knows no holiday, then happy Monday!

Review: Taco Tuesday Cookbook by Laura Fuentes

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Who doesn’t love a good taco?  I’m sure there are some out there, and that’s cool because it means more tacos for me, right?  But if you are like me and are a taco lover, then this cookbook is for you.

I’ll admit, I was kind of curious how someone could write an entire cookbook on tacos without overlapping or becoming repetitive.  The Taco Tuesday Cookbook did not disappoint!

We start out with the essentials – recipes for seasonings, guacamole, salsa, and other tasty things to top your tacos with.  In addition to that, you get a primer on making your own tortillas from scratch, something I’ve always wanted to try.

The meat of this cookbook, so to speak, are the taco recipes themselves.  I was amazed at the variety of taco recipes I found.  There’s everything from your usual ground beef taco to Korean Beef to breakfast tacos.  The Huevos Rancheros tacos sound especially appealing to me and would make a great Sunday brunch food.  Also, for the vegetarian in your life, there’s an entire section with meatless recipes.  Take it from someone who knows, it can be hard to find a substantial, meatless taco that has more than beans and quacamole in it.  Whatever your preferences, there is sure to be something in this cookbook to tickle your fancy.

To wind things down, the reader is treated to a handful of easy drink recipes to compliment your tacos.  I’ve been eyeing that watermelon agua fresca from the moment I picked up this book.  There’s even a handy, weekly meal plan for the year to get you through all fifty-two taco recipes to liven up your Taco Tuesdays.

The Taco Tuesday Cookbook is an excellent source for your taco recipes.  Chock full of variety and delicious sounding recipes, there’s something for every occasion.  Each recipe is written clearly and don’t generally contain difficult directions or hard-to-find products.  There is nothing I like better in a recipe than simple, tasty, and easy to prepare food.

*thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an advance copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.