Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wrap Up: Mount TBR Reading Challenge

This challenge is being hosted at My Reader's Block.  

I have a slight problem with books (as my following list shows). I can't help it when I see a free book, or a deal to get a book at a really low price.  Being a librarian I also can't help grabbing books from the book donation piles. 

My goal was for Mt. Vancouver which was to read 36 books from my TBR Piles

I managed to read 26 books from my pile.  Four books are also off my pile but those I started and didn't like. 16 books were taken out of my pile because they were parts of series, and after a few book on the lists I realized I really don't have time to start a new series.

So I'm calling this challenge "met" in that I cleared 46 books out of my basket/off my reading devices. 

Here is my pile of books and here's my Goodreads Shelf for the challenge. 

In my book basket:
  • People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • The Dead Beat by Mailyn Johnson
  • American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay
  • Natural Born Angel by Scott Speer
  • The Wizard, the Witch & Two Girls From Jersey by Lisa Papademetriou
  • Knit One Pearl One by Gil McNeil
  • Casting About by Terri Dulong
  • Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange
  • Cassandra & Jane by Jill Pitkeathley
  • Home by Julie Andrews
  • My Name is Will by Jess Winfield
  • The Accidental Bride by Denise  Hunter
  • Midnight's Lover by Donna Grant
  • Matchless by Gregory Maguire
  • The List Lover's Guide to Jane Austen by Joan Strasbaugh
  • I Am Not Esther by Fleur Beale
  • Samurai Game by Christine Feenhan
  • Time Untime by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • The Seductive Imposter by Janet Chapman
  • The Dangerous Protector by Janet Chapman
  • Hummingbird Lake by Emily March
  • Blood Trinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
  • A Hunger so Wild by Sylvia Day
  • Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
Book from my Kindle App
  • Truth about Mr. Darcy by Susan Adriani
  • No Place for a Lady by Jade Lee
  • The Physician's Irish Lady by Susan Macatee
  • To Tuscany with Love by Gail Mencini
  • Uptight & Off Center by Sharon Heller
  • Elanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • Knowing the Score by Kat Latham
  • Sleeves by Chanse Lowell
  • Shadows by Jennifer L Armentrout
  • Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
  • More Than One Night by Marie Tuhart
  • Winning a Bride by Jade Lee
  • Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare by Scott Southard
Books from my Nook:
  • Never a Bride by Amelia Grey
  • Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson
  • Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren
  • The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris
  • Texas Hold Him by Lisa Cooke
  • Liberation of Alice by Abby McDonald
  • Beauty and the Blacksmith by Tessa Dare
  • Pillow Talk by Freya North
  • Cowboy Dad by Cathy McDavid
  • Married by Mistake by Abby Gains
  • Just one of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
  • The Clayborne Brides by Julie Garwood
  • Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe
  • Blessed Isle by Alex Beecroft
  • By Honor Betrayed by Alex Beecroft
  • Captain's Surender by Alex Beecroft
  • Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake
  • Courted by a Cowboy by Lacy Williams
  • Fire at Midnight by Lisa Marie Wilkinson
  • Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah MacLean
  • Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait by Grace Burrowes
  • A Certain Want of Reason by Kate Dolan
  • Say You Love Me by Patricia Hagan
  • Lovers Never Lie by Gael Morrison
  • Beauty and the Wolf by Marina Myles
  • A Darcy Christmas by Various
  • Highland Bride's Choice by Amanda Forester
  • Her Favorite Temptation by Sarah Mayberry
  • Ever After High: Raven Queen's Story by Shannon Hale
  • Ever After High: Apple White's Story by Shannon Hale
Books crossed out I tried to read but didn't finish.
Black - Books in series I haven't started and don't have time to start (except Wolf Hall because I'm determined to read that book!)

Wrap Up: I Love Library Books Reading Challenge

Description of Challenge can be found on the sign-up post:

My goal was the 'just insert IV' level which was to check out and read 50+ books.

From the list bellow you can see that I checked out and read 68 books. With three books checked out but not read yet.  There were a good number of books that I checked out and either didn't read or started and didn't care to finish.

You can find my ratings and/or reviews of the books I've read on my Goodreads' Page.

Books Checked Out and Read:
  1. Real by Katy Evans
  2. Francis: A New World Pope by Michel Cool
  3. Mine by Katy Evans
  4. Remy by Katy Evans
  5. Still Foolin' Em by Billy Crystal (BCD)
  6. Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
  7. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
  8. Boy21 by Matthew Quick
  9. Cordina's Royal Family: Gabriella & Alexander by Nora Roberts
  10. Cane by Jean Toomer
  11. Cordina's Royal Family: Bennett & Camilla by Nora Roberts
  12. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor (BCD)
  13. Wild by Cheryl Strayed (BCD)
  14. The "I Hate to Exercise" Book for People with Diabetes by Charlotte Hayes, MMSC, MS, RD, CDE
  15. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (BCD)
  16. My Brief History by Stephen Hawking (BCD)
  17. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
  18. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie H. Anderson
  19. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  20. Paris in Love by Eloisa James (BCD)
  21. The King by J.R. Ward
  22. Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts
  23. Everything I need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
  24. The History of diners in New Jersey by Michael C. Gabriele
  25. A Call to Action by Jimmy Carter (BCD)
  26. The Public Library: A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson
  27. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (BCD)
  28. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
  29. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
  30. The Collector by Nora Roberts
  31. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom by Amy Chua
  32. Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
  33. The Giver by Lois Lowry (BCD)
  34. Palisades Park by Alan Brennert
  35. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (BCD)
  36. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  37. It Happened One Wedding by Julie James
  38. And One Last Thing by Molly Harper
  39. Divergent by Veronica Roth (BCD)
  40. Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear
  41. The Messenger by Lois Lowery (BCD)
  42. Son by Lois Lowery (BCD)
  43. Beowulf - J.R.R. Tolkien (translator)
  44. The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman (BCD)
  45. Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood
  46. Fast Track by Julie Garwood
  47. Longbourn by Jo Baker (BCD)
  48. Love Letters by Debbie Macomber
  49. NPR driveway moments - Dog tales (BCD)
  50. NPR funniest driveway moments (BCD)
  51. Son of No One by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  52. Contagious: Why Things Catch on by Jonah Berger (BCD)
  53. The Calhouns - Catherine, Amanda, Lilah by Nora Roberts
  54. The Calhouns - Suzanna and Megan by Nora Roberts
  55. Caffeinated: how our daily habit helps, hurts and hooks us by Murray Carpenter (BCD)
  56. Immortal by J.R. Ward
  57. Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
  58. The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne (BCD)
  59. Super Graphic by Tim Leong
  60. Finding the Dream by Nora Roberts
  61. Holding the Dream by Nora Robers
  62. Little Humans by Brandon Stanton
  63. The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  64. Stars by Nora Roberts
  65. Treasures by Nora Roberts
  66. The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo
  67. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  68. A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
  69. Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay
  70. Un Amico Italiano: Eat, Pray, Love in Rome by Luca Spaghetti
  71. Man Down by Dan Abrams (BCD)
Books Checked Out and Currently Reading

Books Checked Out and Not Read - Yet
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  • American Sniper by Chris Kyle

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Nora Roberts Reading Challenge - I have read it all!

Well I've read everything that has been published and now I can relax and just read the new stuff as it comes out!

This is the Complete Booklist from Nora Roberts' website.  Highlighted books are ones that have been read. 

Yellow highlighted books were read prior to the start of this list.
Fuchsia highlighted books have been read in 2011. 
Orange highlighted books have been read in 2012.
Blue highlighted books have been read in 2013.
Lime highlighted books have been read in 2014.

TITLE - Series(s)/Connected Book(c) 
REFLECTIONS  c – Dreams 
DANCE OF DREAMS c – Reflections 
PLAYING THE ODDS  s – The MacGregors 
TEMPTING FATE  s – The MacGregors 
ONE MAN'S ART  s – The MacGregors 
SUMMER DESSERTS  c – Lessons Learned 
SECOND NATURE  c – One Summer 
ONE SUMMER  c – Second Nature 
AFFAIRE ROYALE  s – Cordina’s Royal Family 
LESSONS LEARNED  c – Summer Desserts 
FOR NOW, FOREVER  s – The MacGregors 
COMMAND PERFORMANCE  s – Cordina’s Royal Family 
THE PLAYBOY PRINCE  s – Cordina’s Royal Family 
SACRED SINS  c – Brazen Virtue 
IRISH ROSE s – Irish Hearts 
BRAZEN VIRTUE  c – Sacred Sins 
DANCE TO THE PIPER  s – The O’Hurleys 
REBELLION  s – The MacGregors 
SKIN DEEP  s – The O’Hurleys 
LOVING JACK  c – Best Laid Plans, Lawless 
BEST LAID PLANS c – Loving Jack, Lawless 
LAWLESSc – Loving Jack, Best Laid Plans 
TIME WAS c – Times Change 
TIMES CHANGE  c – Time Was 
TAMING NATASHA s – The Stanislaskis 
WITHOUT A TRACE s – The O’Hurleys 
IN FROM THE COLD  s – The MacGregors 
NIGHT SHIFT s – Night Tales 
NIGHT SHADOW s – Night Tales 
COURTING CATHERINE s – The Calhoun Women 
A MAN FOR AMANDA s – The Calhoun Women 
FOR THE LOVE OF LILAH  s – The Calhoun Women 
SUZANNA'S SURRENDER  s – The Calhoun Women 
LURING A LADY s – The Stanislaskis 
CAPTIVATED  s – Donovan Legacy 
ENTRANCED s – Donovan Legacy 
CHARMED  s – Donovan Legacy 
FALLING FOR RACHEL  s – The Stanislaskis 
NIGHTSHADE  s – Night Tales 
CONVINCING ALEX s – The Stanislaskis 
NIGHT SMOKE  s – Night Tales 
BORN IN FIRE s – Born in trilogy 
NAKED IN DEATH s – In Death #1 
BORN IN ICE  s – Born in Trilogy 
THE PRIDE OF JARED MACKADE  s – The MacKade Brothers 
GLORY IN DEATH  s – In Death #
BORN IN SHAME  s – Born in Trilogy 
THE HEART OF DEVIN MACKADE  s – The MacKade Brothers 
THE FALL OF SHANE MACKADE  s – The MacKade Brothers 
IMMORTAL IN DEATH  s – In Death #3 
DARING TO DREAM  s – Dream Trilogy 
RAPTURE IN DEATH  s – In Death #4 
MEGAN'S MATE  s – The Calhoun Women 
HOLDING THE DREAM  s – Dream Trilogy 
WAITING FOR NICK s – The Stanislaskis 
CEREMONY IN DEATH s – In Death #5 
FINDING THE DREAM s – Dream Trilogy 
HIDDEN STAR  s – Stars of Mithra 
VENGEANCE IN DEATH  s – In Death #6 
CAPTIVE STAR s -- Stars of Mithra 
SEA SWEPT s – Chesapeake Bay Saga 
SECRET STAR  s -- Stars of Mithra 
ONCE UPON A CASTLE featuring Spellbound Novella 
HOLIDAY IN DEATH s – In Death #7 
RISING TIDES  s -- Chesapeake Bay Saga 
THE WINNING HAND  s – The MacGregors 
SILENT NIGHT featuring Midnight in Death  In Death novella 
INNER HARBOR s -- Chesapeake Bay saga 
LOYALTY IN DEATH s – In Death #9 
ENCHANTED 9 s – Donovan Legacy 
JEWELS OF THE SUN  s – Gallaghers of Ardmore 
ONCE UPON A STAR featuring Ever After  Novella 
WITNESS IN DEATH  s – In Death #10 
IRISH REBEL s – Irish Hearts 
TEARS OF THE MOON  s – Galllagerhs of Ardmore 
NIGHT SHIELD  s – Night Tales 
JUDGMENT IN DEATH  s – In Death #11 
ONCE UPON A DREAM featuring In Dreams Novella 
HEART OF THE SEA  s – Gallaghers of Ardmore 
CONSIDERING KATE s – The Stanislaskis 
BETRAYAL IN DEATH  s – In Death #12 
DANCE UPON THE AIR  s – Three Sisters Islan
OUT OF THIS WORLD featuring Interlude in Death  In Death novella 
SEDUCTION IN DEATH  s – In Death #13 
ONCE UPON A ROSE featuring Winter Rose  Novella 
HEAVEN AND EARTH  s – Three Sisters Island 
CORDINA’S CROWN JEWEL  s – Cordina’s Royal Family 
REUNION IN DEATH  s – In Death #14 
FACE THE FIRE  s – Three Sisters Island 
PURITY IN DEATH  s – In Death #15 
CHESAPEAKE BLUE  s – Chesapeake Bay Saga 
ONCE UPON A KISS featuring A World Apart  Novella 
PORTRAIT IN DEATH  s – In Death #16 
IMITATION IN DEATH  s – In Death #17 
REMEMBER WHEN  s – In Death 
ONCE UPON A MIDNIGHT featuring The Witching Hour  Novella 
KEY OF LIGHT  s – Key Trilogy 
KEY OF KNOWLEDGE  s – Key Trilogy 
KEY OF VALOR  s – Key Trilogy 
DIVIDED IN DEATH  s – In Death #18 
VISIONS IN DEATH  s – In Death #19 
MOON SHADOWS featuring Wolf Moon  Novella 
BLUE DAHLIA  s – In the Garden Trilogy 
SURVIVOR IN DEATH 5 s – In Death #20 
BLACK ROSE  s – In the Garden Trilogy 
ORIGIN IN DEATH  s – In Death #21 
RED LILY  s – In the Garden Trilogy 
MEMORY IN DEATH  s – In Death #22 
BUMP IN THE NIGHT featuring Haunted in Death  In Death novella 
MORRIGAN”S CROSS  s – The Circle Trilogy 
DANCE OF THE GODS  s – The Circle Trilogy 
VALLEY OF SILENCE  s – The Circle Trilogy 
BORN IN DEATH  s – In Death #23 
INNOCENT IN DEATH  s – In Death #24 
DEAD OF NIGHT featuring Eternity in Death  In Death novella 
BLOOD BROTHERS s – The Sign of Seven Trilogy 
CREATION IN DEATH  s – In Death #25 
STRANGERS IN DEATH  s – In Death #26 
THE HOLLOW  s – The Sign of Seven Trilogy 
THE PAGAN STONE  s – The Sign of Seven Trilogy 
SALVATION IN DEATH  s – In Death #27 
SUITE 606 featuring Ritual in Death  In Death novella 
PROMISES IN DEATH  s – In Death #28 
VISION IN WHITE  s – The Bride Quartet 
BED OF ROSES  s – The Bride Quartet 
KINDRED IN DEATH  s – In Death #29 
THE LOST featuring Missing in Death  In Death novella 
FANTASY IN DEATH  s – In Death #30 
SAVOR THE MOMENT  s – The Bride Quartet 
INDULGENCE IN DEATH  s – In Death #31 
THE OTHER SIDE featuring an In Death novella
HAPPY EVER AFTER  s – The Bride Quartet 
THE UNQUIET featuring Chaos in Death and In Death Novella
THE NEXT ALWAYS s - Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy
Celebrity in Death s - In Death #34
The Witness
The Last Boyfriend s - Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy
Delusion in Death s - In Death #35
The Perfect Hope s - Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy
Calculated in Death s - In Death #36
Whiskey Beach
Thankless in Death s - In Death #37
Mirror, Mirror featuring Taken in Death novella
Dark Witch s - Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy
Concealed in Death s - In Death #38
The Collector
Shadow Spell s - Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy
Festive in Death s- In Death #39
Blood Magick s - Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nora Roberts Reading Challenge - A Call for Help...

has been answered!

Back in September I had posted A Call for Help in getting my hands on the last remaining Nora Roberts book on my backlist:

Well a friend has come through and I am in possession of a copy of the book. She kindly checked it out of her local library and has lent it to me for her borrowing duration.

I'll be reading the book this weekend! This is a great end to the year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Writing Prompt 18

Study a stranger. 
Go home and write a tragedy about his or her mother.

Dennis gave a deep sigh as he turned down his street. All the other houses were decorated for the holiday season. Some houses simply had a few candles in the windows with a wreath on the door. Other houses were more ornately adorned with lights that danced and twinkled. There were houses with giant blowups on Santa or snow globes. Then there was his house with no lights and no decorations. He hated driving home on these winter nights when it was so obvious they were the odd family out on the block.

He pulled into his drive way and groaned when he saw that the house was completely dark. His mother hadn't turned the lights on, which meant she was sitting in the dark. He wondered if she even realized that she was sitting in the dark. Dennis walked into the house and stopped. He heard his mother humming. It wasn't unusual that she was humming, but the song was one he hadn't heard her sing since his childhood.  It was a Christmas carol. His mother had grown to dislike the holiday.

It all started when his father had left one year saying he was going out Christmas shopping and never came back. Two years later the divorce papers showed up the day before Christmas. Dad had found a new family and wanted to official cut ties to his old one. Then five years ago, Dennis's brother, Kevin had gotten sick at an office holiday party. He ended up in the hospital around New Years and slowly deteriorated and now was living full time in a nursing home. Around the same time she started to shut down herself, leaving Dennis the only functioning member of the family.

Dennis turned on some lights as he moved through the house. He went into his mother's room and found her sitting in her rocking chair, looking out the window and humming Christmas songs.

"Mom?" Dennis stood in the doorway.  She stopped humming and looked over at him. She was the mother of his youth, soft and beautiful.

"Do you see the lights?"  She looked back out the window. "They are so pretty."

Dennis hesitated, weighing the risks of asking, but he found he couldn't stop the words. "Do you want to decorate the house this year?"

The moment the words left his mouth he knew he should have kept quite. His mother stopped rocking. She turned and glared at him and she was no longer the mother of his youth but the mother who haunted his reality. Her eyes were distant and cold and her face had lost the light it had just so recently held. She didn't say anything but just turned away and closed the blinds. Then she looked forward at the blank wall and went back to rocking.

Dennis took a deep breath. "I'll start dinner now and come get you when it's ready."


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Writing Prompt 17

Find a photograph. 
Write a story about what's going on outside the frame.

Claire turned the volume up on her iPhone. The music drowned out the voices of the kids playing next door. They were cute, when they were quite, and right now they were anything but quite. She had needed to get out of the house and since she technically was grounded the back yard was as far as she could go, not that it was a big yard. She was only about 100 feet from the back porch, but it was still outside.

Claire leaned back and watched as some ducks made the turn to swim down their section of the lagoon.  She should have grabbed some bread to feed to them. They kept a bag of stale bread in the microwave just for feeding the ducks. She was debating on going to get some when the kids next door threw something into the lagoon. The ducks scattered and Claire swung her head around to look.

Just as she turned her head another projectile launched towards the ducks. It was a rock!

“Hey!” Claire stood up, ripped her ear buds out of her ears and ran towards the end of the dock that border their lots. “Stop throwing those rocks!”

The kids stopped and looked at her. Two of the three had guilty looks but one had a gleam in her eye. She slowly bent down, picked up another rock and with her eyes locked onto Claire threw it into the water. She smirked at Claire.  This was a little girl she had never seen before, clearly a friend or relative of the two children who knew better and were now staring at their feet.

“Don’t throw rocks at the ducks.” Claire said with as stern a voice as she could muster. “It’s against the law and I will come over there and speak to your parents.”

“You can’t tell me what to do. I do what I want, when I want.” The tone in her voice told Claire this was a child who was used to doing what she wanted with no one to tell her no.

Claire raised an eyebrow. She pulled her phone out of her back pocket and typed out a quick text. A few seconds later she heard the back door open and the heavy tread of her father walking out onto the deck. Claire raised both eyebrows at the cocky little girl as her father’s footsteps approached.

“What’s going on?” His deep voice sounded. Claire’s two next door neighbors both took steps back, leaving their friend standing on her own.

“She’s throwing rocks at the ducks.”

“Hmm, I see.” Claire turned to look at her father. He was dressed for work, minus his jacket. As a detective he didn’t wear a uniform but a suit. His badge was clipped to his belt and he still had his gun holster on, minus his gun.  “That’s a clear violation of Code 162-7. You could do jail time.”

Claire looked back at the girl and the color was draining from her face. “MOM!”

The back door flew open and three adults rushed out of the house. Claire’s neighbors came right up to the dock while the third woman ran to the child. There was a brief exchange between her father and the parents. With the mother denying her child would do something like that, it must have been the other children. Quickly the children were ushered inside while the parents all spoke harshly and quietly with each other.

“Is that even a real code?” Claire followed her father back across the dock and up into their back yard.

“Probably, but don’t ask me what it would be for,” he turned back to look at his daughter, “I never memorized the code book.”

As they reached the porch, Claire made to sit on the porch swing while he father moved towards the back door.

“How long did the warden give you?”

“Two weeks, starting today.”

“I think I can spring you for good behavior if you want to go grab a burger. I’m starving. Missed lunch.”

Claire sprang up and followed her dad into the house.  She stripped off his holster and hug it by the front door as he grabbed his coat and walked out the front door. “Can I drive?”

“No. I’m sure she’d see that is violation of probation.”

“I barely scratched the bumper.” Claire got into the truck.

“You weren’t supposed to have her car out to begin with.”

Thursday, December 4, 2014

2015 TBR Pile Challenge

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months). 

 I pulled 12 books that I won't be getting to from my TBR Pile Challenge for 2014. (I did a different challenge in 2014 and kind of set myself up to fail with too many books on my list so I'm back to narrow down my challenge)
  1. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
  2. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  3. The Dead Beat by Mailyn Johnson
  4. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
  5. Truth about Mr. Darcy by Susan Adriani
  6. The Physician's Irish Lady by Susan Macatee
  7. Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
  8. Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare by Scott Southard
  9. Blessed Isle by Alex Beecroft
  10. By Honor Betrayed by Alex Beecroft
  11. Captain's Surender by Alex Beecroft
  12. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah MacLean

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

November Reading Challenge Update

Here's Where I Stand on the I Love the Library Challenge

Books Checked Out and Read:
  • The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne (BCD)
  • Super Graphic by Tim Leong
  • Finding the Dream by Nora Roberts
  • Holding the Dream by Nora Robers
  • Little Humans by Brandon Stanton
  • The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • Stars by Nora Roberts
  • Treasures by Nora Roberts
Books Checked Out and Currently Reading
  • The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Books Checked Out and Not Read - Yet
  • Think, Eat, Move, Thrive by James Rouse
  • The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
  • The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
  • A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
  • Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay

Here's Where I Stand on the TBR Pile Challenge

In my book basket:
  • Blood Trinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
Book from my Kindle App
  • Elanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Sleeves by Chanse Lowell
Books from my Nook:
  • The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris
  • Highland Bride's Choice by Amanda Forester
Nora Roberts Reading Challenge

I finished (minus Promise Me Tomorrow)! Still on the hunt for Promise Me Tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Weekend Cooking - Book Club discussion of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The obvious choice for this meeting would have been for someone to make Potato Peel Pie, but if you've ever looked at the recipe or read reviews of the dish you would probably veto the option just like we did and stick with our normal choices of baked goods, picky foods, and wine.

I felt like we needed to have something potato related to discuss this book and looked around online and found a number of mashed potato pie recipe ideas.  I picked this one:


  • instant mashed potatoes 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 2 eggs, beaten 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese or 1/2 cup Romano cheese 
  • 1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese ( divided) 
  • paprika 


  1. Make mashed potatoes according to package directions for 7-8 servings. 
  2. Stir garlic powder, eggs, Parmesan and one cup of the mozzarella into prepared potatoes. 
  3. Pile mixture into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Sprinkle top with 1/4 cup of mozzarella and a sprinkle of paprika for color. Bake at 350°F until golden on top and puffy about 45 minutes.

I used four cheese instant mashed potatoes and it was delicious! 

This was the perfect comfort food for the rainy (kinda snowy) night we discussed the book.  We all tended to enjoy the book. I liked the format and the story. I did however find the ending kind of abrupt, it felt like it came out of no where. We wondered if the ending was due to the two authors, or if this was how it was supposed to have ended. 

Book Review: The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre

The Shape of My Heart  (2B Trilogy #3)The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviews of I Want it That Way  and As Long As You Love Me.

We go back to apartment 2B in this third book of Ann Aguirre's trilogy. This book runs along side As Long As You Love Me  Nadia makes a reference to Rob and Lauren's break up over Thanksgiving.

When Lauren moved out to go home, Courtney moved in to take over her spot in the apartment.  Courtney and Max were friends before she moved in and their friendship was the support both needed. Max needed her when things were going south with Lauren and Courtney needed Max when things were going horribly wrong with her breakup.

Max has to go home, some place he hasn't been in years and he's not sure of the welcome he'll receive. He doesn't want to go alone and asks Courtney to go with him. In meeting Max's family, Courtney gets a better understanding of Max and an opportunity to see him as something more than just a friend.  The same can be said of Max, the trip opens his eyes up to so much.

Just when things are going well for Max and Courtney, it's Courtney's family and background that spoil the new romance.  Courtney always thought she met her soul mate in high school only to lose him at a young age.  She downward spiraled and how has overly protective parents. (I kept picturing Emily and Richard Gilmore). They want something different from what Courtney wants in her life.

Courtney's breakup with Max is both painful and helpful for her. Courtney had been drifting along with no real goal in mind. It's during this time she finds herself and her way.

The novel wraps up with a look to the future and a vision of where this group of college friends end up years after graduation. I really enjoyed this ending. I always like when series end with this glimpse, a real view of the happy ever after. Reading this so close to Thanksgiving, I really liked the idea of making a family with the friends you find along the way in your life.  My friends are like an extension of my family, no matter how long goes in between seeing each other when we're together its like we just saw each other yesterday. That's the feeling I get with this group, even though they start to spread out, they are still close, they email, call, text and make the effort to keep in touch.

I received an ebook arc from the publisher. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mini-Review: Santa Claus is for Real by Charles Edward Hall

Santa Claus Is for Real: A True Christmas Fable About the Magic of BelievingSanta Claus Is for Real: A True Christmas Fable About the Magic of Believing by Charles Edward Hall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was really excited to read this book by the Radio City Music Hall Santa, Charles Edward Hall. Charles has played the roll of Santa for over 25 years, he's the Santa many of us grew up with in experiencing the wonder that is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

I was interested in his journey in becoming this roll (if you've had the pleasure of seeing him in this role, you know he becomes this character) from some one who didn't believe in the spirit of Christmas.  What bothered me about this book was his "discussions" with the real Santa. These just didn't work with me and wish they would have found a different avenue for sharing his conversion to a believer.

I also would have liked some more from the show itself and how it's changed over the years and how his role of Santa has changed along with the holiday.

It was an enjoyable read and I do recommend it for anyone who is looking to get into the holiday spirit.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nonfiction November - Diversity

Hosted by I'm Lost In Books this week
This week's prompt:
Diversity and Nonfiction: What does “diversity” in books mean to you? Does it refer to a book’s location or subject matter? Or is it the author’s nationality or background? What countries/cultures do you tend to enjoy or read about most in your nonfiction? What countries/cultures would you like nonfiction recommendations for? What kind of books besides different countries/cultures do you think of as books of diversity?
What does “diversity” in books mean to you? Does it refer to a book’s location or subject matter? Or is it the author’s nationality or background? 
There is so much talk right now about the need for diversity in reading. (Search "We Need Diverse Books") The movement is really about the large scale need for diversity on our bookshelves in both libraries and personal collections. I think it's a good movement and an important undertaking to diversify literature/reading.

However, I feel that we can all read diverse books on the small scale. Just pick up a nonfiction book about a person or a place that is different from your own life/home/situation and you have diversified your reading. I will never know what it is like to be a poor black man in Baltimore, MD, so reading The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore introduced me two lives that are greatly different from mine.

What countries/cultures do you tend to enjoy or read about most in your nonfiction? 
I can honestly say that I'm limited in this type of reading. Since I'm just really starting to branch out in my NF reading, I'm starting out by testing the waters.  I've enjoyed reading about different paths to success of people of similar or different cultural backgrounds than my own. One that stands out is Sonia Sotomayor's My Beloved World.  While ethnically we have a lot in common, there is very little that we shared in life experiences.

I do like to read about different cultures, but a lot of what I have read relates to how different cultural backgrounds conform to life in the United States.

What countries/cultures would you like nonfiction recommendations for? 
I would love recommendations of cultural books based in their home countries. The parts of I Am Malala that I enjoyed the most are when she described what life was like and the history of her country. It's a great way to learn about other places and people when told from a native instead of reading about it from a Western view point.

What kind of books besides different countries/cultures do you think of as books of diversity?
Books that share different lifestyles. I think we need to expand into reading about people from different religious backgrounds, different sexual orientation, and those who live alternative lifestyles (like those doomsday preppers).