Category Archives: Monthly Reading

My March Reading

I read 15 books this month, not impressive to my daughter if you’ve read my “February Reads” post, however, I felt ok about it! ūüôā¬† My first book for the month of March was “Fifty Fifty” by James Patterson, the second in his series about “Blue” a homicide detective whose brother has been accused of serial murder.¬† She’s determined to prove his innocence, but her temper keeps her away from his case and the courtroom and gets her sent to handle other cases far away from home.

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My second book was “I Survived the Children’s Blizzard, 1888” by Lauren Tarshis.¬† When my daughter was in elementary school we started reading the “I Survived” series together, and even though she’s moved on to Jr. High and bigger books, when I see a new “I Survived” book comes out, I still have to read it, I guess for old time’s sake.

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The third book I read in March was “Bonfire” by Krysten Ritter, a story of a small town Indiana girl turned Chicago environmentalist attorney.¬† The main manufacturer in her hometown, the company that has brought her town back from the edge of poverty and extinction, is now under investigation for environmental pollution.¬† When Abby Williams gets home to Barrens, Indiana, she isn’t exactly welcome home with open arms.¬† Her investigation threatens the economical heart of the town.¬† Things are not going well for Abby in Barrens, she and her team are squabbling, there is an arson fire in the workspace that contains their files and research against Optimal plastics, destroying everything, and Abby’s father, a devout Christian, dies of an apparent suicide.¬† She has to wonder if her being her, investigating a company that no one in the town wants her to investigate, is worth all that she is losing while she’s there.¬† I gave it a 3/5 stars.

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My fourth book was “The Last Black Unicorn” by Tiffany Haddish, which I reviewed in full here.

The Last Black Unicorn

My fifth book read was “The Passengers” by Lisa Lutz.¬† I don’t remember reading a book by this author before.¬† This was one of my audio-around-the-house books – I download it from my laundry and play it on my phone while I’m busy around the house.¬† I can play it while I clean, wash/dry/fold/hang laundry, do dishes, prep dinner, bake, dust, carry out trash and recyclables, all but take a shower while listening.¬† I tried really hard to get into it.¬† By the time I realized it was still moving slow, it was still predictable, and it still wasn’t going to get better,¬† I was over halfway done with the book, and just decided to finish it.¬† I can’t give you a great recommendation for this book, and I probably won’t pursue more books by Ms. Lutz.

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The sixth book in March was called “The Tumor” by John Grisham, and he said that its the most important book he’s ever written.¬† After reading it, I have to agree.¬† His book reveals¬†an outpatient ultrasound treatment, while not covered by insurance at this time, could save patients with many illnesses, even those we consider terminal.¬† Terminal patients could have many added years of high-quality life with this treatment.¬† In this book, John Grisham details two differing paths of one patient – his life without this treatment after a brain cancer diagnosis, where his family goes deeply in debt, and the flip side of the coin, where the patient receives this non-invasive ultrasound, covered by insurance, where the costs are manageable, and his life with stage 4 terminal cancer is extended.

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Book seven was “Sworn to Silence” by Linda Castillo, the first book in the Kate Burkholder series.¬† Kate is a former Amish girl turned police chief in the small town of Painter’s Mill.¬† In Sworn to Silence Chief Burkholder deals with a serial killer who carves Roman Numerals into the abdomens of his victims.

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I followed that up with my eighth book, the second book in the Kate Burkholder series, “Pray for Silence”, in which Chief Burkholder must solve the mystery of the death of an entire Amish family, seven people, in one household.

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My ninth book was “Breaking Silence”, you guessed it, the third book in the Kate Burkholder series.¬† I was on a roll…..¬† Parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, apparent victims of methane gas asphyxiation, no, not from dinner (hahaha), but rather from a poorly vented cesspit.¬† Which is totally plausible, until a head wound is discovered on one of the bodies.

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I took a Burkholder break for number ten with “The Quest” by Nelson DeMille.¬† This is a book he originally wrote in 1975, then rewrote in 2013, doubling its length.¬† Two journalists and their photographer are taking refuge from the Ethiopian Civil War in the jungle when an elderly, wounded priest comes upon them, and during the night tells his story of 40 years captivity for knowing the location of Christ’s cup from the Last Supper.¬† He dies from his wounds, and by the time the sun rises the three have decided that they must find this relic for themselves.¬† This trek takes them to and from the Ethiopian Civil War, through captivity, negotiations, escape, Rome and the Vatican, and back to the jungle.¬† But did the priest tell them a fanciful daydream, the fantastic imagination of a man kept in solitary confinement for forty years, or an incredibly detailed memory held on to for decades?

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Book eleven was “Home Sweet Murder” by James Patterson, which details two of the real-life true crime stories seen on the Investigation Discovery: Murder Is Forever show on the ID channel.

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Now into the James Patterson/TV books, I read “Murder Games” by James Patterson for my twelfth book of the month.¬† The new TV show Instinct is based on this book.¬† For the most part, I like the people they’ve chosen to represent the characters in the book, however, there are quite a few cheesy lines in the show, which make it not quite as enjoyable to me as the book.

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For number thirteen I was back to Kate Burkholder.¬† I had previously read book number four as it was the only one available, then this month I read one, two and three.¬† “Long Lost” by Linda Castillo is considered number 4.5 in the series.¬† Its a shorter story, published in e-book form, detailing Chief Burkholder on vacation.¬† She is told the story of a local girl who went missing under strange circumstances, and as one does on vacation, she spends her time interviewing people unofficially outside of her jurisdiction to gain more knowledge about the missing girl.

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Book fourteen was neither the interesting Chief Burkholder, nor James Patterson’s TV/Books, it was “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen (very serious intro by Newt Gingrich). The story is about a college town in a small mountain town in North Carolina, and how they fare after the United States is attacked with an EMP bomb.¬† (Electro Magnetic Pulse).¬† The EMP fries most all circuits in everything electrical.¬† Cars, computers, phone systems, generators, down to the smallest things we take for granted – like a glucose meter.¬† With no running water, electricity, or vehicles from the last 30 years that work, the town is plunged back to the ways of a century ago.¬† Currency is no longer paper money, but bullets and food.¬† How do you run a city when you have no infrastructure.¬† How do you maintain law and order?¬† How do you protect your city and its meager supplies from groups of people who want to take it by force?¬† How do you keep your hospital patients and nursing home residents alive when you have no medicine, no running oxygen/ventilator systems, no electricity, no running water, no alarmed doors to keep the Alzheimer’s patients confined to one wing, and prevent them from leaving the building and wandering out alone?¬† These are things that 95% of the population is not prepared for.¬† How do you gather and ration food for a city?¬† Provide protection?¬† Put out fires when people start cooking in a fireplace indoors with no running fire trucks or water?¬† This book is obviously fiction but written with so much forethought that it sounds like a premonition of something to come.

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The last book of the month, number fifteen, was the continuation of the last story, called “One Year After” by the same author.¬† The small town in North Carolina has survived one year, albiet with a lot less population than they had 366 days prior.¬† They’ve built an infrastucture, and have a few running vintage vehicles.¬† Some of the college students have found old magazines detailing how to build and grow things the “old fashioned way” that have turned out to be very useful.¬† They have gardens, ration cards, most of the sick have died from lack of medicine, oxygen or food.¬† Their borders seem secure, and they now have a small trained military force.¬† They have very basic communication with the towns on either side of them and seem to be gaining their footing in this new world.¬† Of course, something has to come in and ruin that, so the newly formed US government sends in troops to help regain control, establish a draft, and secure national borders which other countries have encroached upon during this collapse.

I have been anxiously looking for the third book, “The Final Day”, which neither my library nor my libraries online e-book or audio Overdrive have, so I will apparently have to purchase it to find out what happens!

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That’s my wrapup for books read in the month of March.¬† I need to have an entirely separate post for the books I acquired during March.¬† Many more than 15, and of course, so many added to my TBR pile from my online book groups and other reader friends!

Have you read any of these books?  What was your favorite March read?

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April 6, 2018 · 12:28 PM

My February Reads

For some reason, February¬†was a slow reading month for me.¬† In January I was flying through books, this month I felt like I was slogging through molasses.¬† I enjoyed my reading, but didn’t do it swiftly!¬† I want to add more NF to my reading this year, but apparently, February was not the month for it.

I started the month with “Blue on Black” by Michael Connelly, and I got it as an audiobook so I could listen while I baked and cleaned.

Blue on Black

2. “Gone Missing” by Linda Castillo.¬† I hadn’t previously read any books by Linda, nor had I really read any Amish fiction books, although I know they are quite popular.¬† I was looking for a readily available audiobook¬†for my house cleaning time, and only book #4 was available.¬† I took a chance that I could jump into the middle of the series and not miss too much. There were references that I might understand better if I were reading the books in order, but nothing that impacted the plot line so much that I couldn’t enjoy the story.¬† I reviewed it here.Gone Missing

3. “Sweep in Peace” by Ilona Andrews – this is the second book in the Innkeeper series, definitely a paranormal/fantasy series, a type which is definitely a fun read for me.¬† I will definitely be reading the third book in this series, “One Fell Sweep”.Sweet in Peace

4. “Ricochet Joe” by Dean Koontz – Dean is one of my favorite authors, and while some of his books are definitely in the horror genre, and make me rethink sleeping entirely, I still seek out every new book he writes.¬† “Ricochet Joe” reminds me a bit of the Odd Thomas series, also by DK, and I would love to see more books or a longer story about “Ricochet Joe”.¬†¬†Ricochet Joe

5. “Artemis” by Andy Weir – to be honest, I was almost reluctant to read “Artemis”, as I so enjoyed “The Martian”, and didn’t want to be disappointed if this didn’t live up to the gripping drama, humor, and suspense of “The Martian”.¬† I reviewed the book here.

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6. “Renegades” by Marissa Meyer – this is the first book in a new series, detailing a dystopian style novel of individuals who are born with powers and abilities that are superhuman.¬† Superhuman strength, crazy abilities like flying, strange abilities like being able to put someone to sleep instantly, anything that makes them more than human.¬† Some of them use these abilities for good, while others make different choices. Of course, this leads to conflicts, detailed in this new series.Renegades

7. “Menagerie” by Rachel Vincent – Also the first in a new series, I wrote a review about this book, which you can find here.¬† I love this series!

Menagerie

8. “Her Last Breath” by Linda Castillo – this is the book following “Gone Missing”, so #5 in the Kate Burkholder series.¬† I WILL get to the first book in the series, I am actually on the wait list for it.¬† This may be the first time I have ever knowingly started a series, mid-series.¬†¬†Her Last Breath

9. “Stillhouse Lake” by Rachel Caine – Y’all – this book!!!¬† One of my wonderful friends, also a reader, read this and recommended it.¬† I have also seen this all over the place in the bookish world and finally decided to read it.¬† I could not stop!!!¬† I stayed up until 11pm finishing this book, the same day I started it, even though I had the normal daily interruptions – school car line, feeding of animals, feeding the family, cleaning up, etc., etc., I HAD to finish this book.¬† Definitely worth your time!

Stillhouse Lake

10. “Killman Creek” by Rachel Caine – and yes, this is the second book in the “Stillhouse Lake” series – I downloaded this on Kindle about 10 minutes after I finished “Stillhouse Lake”.¬† At 11:15pm.¬† Knowing full well I had to get up before 6am, and lying to myself about not staying up too late.¬† With everyone in bed and the animals asleep, I had no interruptions (except for getting snacks), and read straight through until the end, and made it to bed by 3:30am.¬† Yes, I think it’s that good!¬† Suspenseful, dramatic, family stuff, kid stuff, emotions, it’s all there.¬† I’m stalking for an ARC of the third book, “Wolfhunter River” because I know that just when it seems like everything is fine, and all the loose ends are tied up – they aren’t!!!¬† The third book is expected out in December of this year, so stay tuned!

Killman Creek

11. “All We Can Do Is Wait” by Richard Lawson – this is a Young Adult book that tells the story of a bridge collapse in Boston that brings a group of teens together in a hospital ER.¬† I reviewed the book here.

All We Can Do Is Wait

12. “Spectacle” by Rachel Vincent – this is the second book in the Menagerie series, and I wrote a book review here.

Spectacle

13. “The Cuban Affair” by Nelson DeMille – this is the first book I’ve ever read by Mr. DeMille, and I really enjoyed it.¬† While looking up his other works I found that he also wrote (among many others) “The General’s Daughter”, which was made into a movie starring John Travolta.¬† I will definitely be reading more of Nelson DeMille’s work!

The Cuban Affair

I had hoped to get through more books this month, but March is tomorrow, and I have great hopes for this coming month.  There are so many wonderful books out there just waiting to be read!  What were your favorite reads of February?  What are you most looking forward to reading in March?

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My January Reading

I’ve had a good batch of reading so far this year (I know the year is young….).¬† While I don’t typically do Reading Challenges because I’m stubborn, and don’t like being told what to do, I did decide to broaden my reading horizons by reading more non-fiction, and authors¬†I haven’t read before.¬† I sometimes get overwhelmed¬†seeing all the books in the world that I want to read (and all the ones yet to be released)¬†while knowing that I most likely will not live to be 250 years old.¬† If SciFi is real, and paranormal beings do exist, I would be willing to become a vampire just to have unlimited reading time.¬† I’m already as translucent and sun-repellant as it gets, can’t get a tan if I try, so having more time to read seems only beneficial.

As a side note, my reading goal for the year is the same as last year,¬† because I barely made my goal last year.¬† My lovely daughter, going through a particularly wounding teenage moment, informed me that she was “disappointed in me” for ONLY reading 133 books last year, as she “expected more”, and hopes that I do better this year.¬† She also suggested I update my reading goal to a book a day to reflect an actual challenge that would make me push myself. *sigh*¬† Who is this child?¬† Does she know other people who read 7 books a week on the regular?¬† I can’t even tell her that I read 21 books in January.¬† Most people would say, “Wow, that’s cool!”, or something else, like my husband, who says, “You aren’t normal!”, but if I told HER, she would probably say, “Really, Mom?¬† 21?¬† You had 31 days.¬† What did you do with your time?”¬† I can’t deal with hot flashes AND that kind of negativity in my life, so I’m not going to tell her that I’m happy to have read 21 books and that GoodReads tells me I’m ahead of schedule on my meager goal for the year.¬† My emotional wounds aside, here are my January books:

  1. The Black Book by James Patterson
  2. Wave by Sonali Derangiyagala (review on blog)
  3. Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  5. Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner
  6. Very Good Lives by J. K. Rowling
  7. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
  8. The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
  9. Year One by Nora Roberts
  10. The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian (review on blog)
  11. Matagorda by Louis L’amour
  12. Lando by Louis L’amour
  13. Silver Canyon by Louis L’amour
  14. The Sackett Brand by Louis L’amour
  15. Utah Blaine by Louis L’amour
  16. The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz
  17. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  18. Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardener
  19. 113 Minutes by James Patterson
  20. The Crooked Staircase (ARC) by Dean Koontz
  21. Helium by Rudy Francisco

Three of my twenty-one books were non-fiction, which in terms of percentages, isn’t much, 14%, but a bigger percentage than I typically read in NF vs Fiction I think.¬† #4 was a re-read, but it has been about six years, so there were details I didn’t remember, and I loved it as much as the first time I read it.¬† The books by Lisa Gardner are second and third of a series I started in late 2017, and #8 is a book I got for Christmas, first in a new series by Dean Koontz, and boy was it good!¬† I got the second one from the library and was fortunate enough to get the third one as an ARC, as it doesn’t release until May.

My mom called one evening, and as my family is full of readers and book lovers, we talked books, then specifically Louis L’amour books.¬† She had some duplicates in her collection and wanted to know if I was missing any she could send to me.¬† The more we talked and reminisced about his stories, the more I felt the urge to reread a few of them, which started me on a short burst of westerns.

Somehow in all my reading through high school and college, I never read Fahrenheit 451, so I got that done, and finished the month with my third non-fiction of the year, a poetry book called “Helium”.¬† Y’all.¬† Have you read this?¬† If not, you should.¬† I LOVE IT.¬† I saw a FaceBook clip of Rudy Francisco doing a live reading of one of his poems, and it moved me.¬† His words are like a paintbrush of emotions.¬† Incredible.¬† I knew his book was coming out, and I could hardly wait.¬† I stalked my library, I stalked my library’s book buyer, then stalked the “processing” section of the library books, and I¬†may be the first person in town to have checked out this book.¬† I think I’ve read it through three times, and read some poems five or six times each.¬† I’ve sent them to friends, I’ve posted them, I’ve tagged Rudy on his FB page, all but offered to have his kids (because that’s weird, and I’m married).¬† He’s amazing, you should watch him, listen to him, read him.¬† You can find his FaceBook page at RudyFranciscopoetry.¬† He’s touring, you can follow his events or watch clips of him reading.¬† You should check it out.

All in all, I’m pleased with my January reading, and am looking forward to all the wonderful books coming my way in February!!!¬† I’d love to see/hear about what you’re reading, and what your favorite January books were.

 

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Books Read In January

 

This is a poem from the book, “Helium” by Rudy Francisco.

 

Good Morning

“Good Morning” by Rudy Francisco

 

Here is a link to Rudy Francisco speaking about “Complainers” – just fair warning – this brought me to tears.¬† Maybe it’s just me and those darn hot flashes…

Rudy Francisco – Complainers

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Filed under fiction books, links, Monthly Reading, reading