Top Ten Tuesday: Last 10 Books I’ve Added to My Shelves

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ ThatArtsy Reader Girl, I decided I wanted to participate to add a little more content to my blog, so here we go!

This week is all about the last 10 books I’ve added to my shelves. It’s a good thing I keep track of the books I add every month or I’d be hopeless in this. Early in the month I went to my local bookstore and traded in a bunch of unhaul books and books that family members had passed to me. On that excursion I picked up four books.

Then I received my Book of the Month box, which included my selection from the finalists for being a BFF, my monthly book and an add on pick. You just can’t beat their prices when it comes to the subscription cost and cost of add ons.

Finally I’ve ordered on book from Amazon this month, which is another Heather Graham book as I’m trying to pick up the ones that I’m missing from the Krewe of Hunters series. Those are all the physical books that I’ve picked up this month, but to make this an even 10 I’ll include the last two books I’ve picked up on my kindle, both of which I’m really excited to get to.

What are some of the last books you picked up? Happy reading!

Review: Murder Is a Debate

Nora and her two best friends, Liv and Nina, aren’t like most people. Nora is the private school kid; the rich girl, though everyone hates her. Liv and Nina attend the run-down public school on the opposite side of town where the football team is a solid two and the art department was shut down due to funding. Their worlds should have never collided, but they had one common factor that brought them together, murder.

In an online mystery chat room, the three girls meet and decide to form The Murder Club. Each week one of the girls must come up with a murder scenario for the other two to solve. It’s fun. It’s active. It’s also deadly.

When one of Nora’s classmates ends up dead, she’s suspicious of her new friends. His death mirrors the very same scenario Nora came up with in their previous meeting. As clues emerge, pointing more definitively at the members of the Murder Club, Nora begins digging for her own clues, bringing fantasy to reality. Could Liv and Nina be involved, and if so why?

They were all curious, but the question is, was one of them too curious?

I didn’t know much about this story going in, but the description caught my interest so I decided to give it a listen. This story was a lot of fun, while also addressing a lot of deeper issues such as anxiety and mental health. The main character, Nora, really goes through a lot of things that are only made worse by figuring out that she has issues with anxiety. A lot of the other characters contribute negatively to that, but there are definitely some stars that are loyal and truly want to help her as she works to unravel what is going on in her town.

This was really well written and a quick mystery that had a few great twists that kept me guessing. I was fairly sure I knew who was doing everything, then was pleasantly surprised when I was wrong, which is always a good sign for me!

Happy reading!

Review: Battlefield Ghosts

A Confederate general peers out to sea: is he still guarding against a federal naval attack? A plaintive cry echoes at Antietam: did modern schoolboys meet the famous Irish Brigade? A collection of compact histories of important American battles — and the cries of the spirits that echo over the fields.

I love books that center around ghost stories in different regions, but this one unfortunately wasn’t one of my favorites. It was more of a historical book than a ghost story book, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. With each story I do recognize that you have to set up the story, but most of them only had a couple paragraphs at most about the ghost stories while the rest told the tale of the battles and people that fought in them.

Another thing that kind of affected my reading experience was that there were stories from both the Revolutionary War and Civil War, which isn’t a problem, but I had wished that they were in chronological order or separated into two sections. I was constantly having to double check which war things were happening in as some of them occurred in similar locations.

I am always down for a book of ghost stories and this one definitely had a number of very interesting experiences, it just wasn’t quite what I was expecting. If you’re looking for something much more historical detail heavy with a little bit of ghostly experiences, then you’d probably love this one as it does have a lot of great detail and is well written.

Happy reading!

Review: A Strangely Wrapped Gift

In A Strangely Wrapped Gift, you will find journeys from mental illness to recovery, from heartbreak to heart growth, from hopelessness to empowerment, and from the ocean to the stars. In these pages, Juniper takes heavy, emotional raw material and weaves it into stunning, relatable poetry you’ll long to share with friends and loved ones. This collection is a reminder that broken pieces make the most beautiful mosaics, and that all of us possess the power to bloom even after a harsh winter.

The poetry collection contains some beautifully written passages. The phrasing in many of the pieces was wonderfully done; however, I found myself not loving the format. This is probably more a me thing than a book thing, so keep that in mind. If you love the poetry format that is more small passages, then you will probably love this collection way more than I did. I just had a slightly hard time getting into the format.

That being said, the content of this was wonderfully done. There is a lot of discussion about mental health, OCD, heartbreak and recovery. It’s obvious that the author put her heart into her poetry and that is something I do love about this collection.

Happy reading!

Review: Infinite Possibilities

The New York Times bestselling author, teacher, and speaker provides the next step beyond his immensely popular Notes from the Universe trilogy with this special 10th anniversary edition of the modern classic that contains even more enriching wisdom for living an abundant, joyous life.

We create our own reality, our own fate, and our own luck. We are all filled with infinite possibilities, and it’s time to explore how powerful we truly are. With clear-eyed and masterful prose, Infinite Possibilities effortlessly reveals our true spiritual nature and exactly what it takes to find true happiness and fulfillment. Witty and intelligent, this is “the perfect book at the perfect time. It is full of wisdom, answers, and guidance—a unique combination that is guaranteed to help anyone during times of change and transition” (Ariane de Bonvoisin, bestselling author of The First 30 Days). This tenth anniversary edition features a new foreword by Bob Proctor and a new introduction from the author.

This book is written wonderfully, I felt that it was such an easy read that flowed like a conversation. If I had to compare it to something I would say it reads like a TED talk, which is understandable considering Dooley has taught his methods.

While I didn’t necessarily agree with the whole of Dooley’s perspectives, the book is full of good advice and a perspective that I think would be valuable to anyone looking to improve themselves or their life. There’s a lot of discussion regarding intention, how positivity and negativity can affect you, etc. Pretty much anything could take something from this book and find it useful.

All in all this was a very enjoyable read that I’m glad I was able to take the time to read. It’s got a lot of great points and even if you don’t agree with everything there are a number of things that could be helpful.

Thank you to Beyond Words for sending me a copy of this book for review, it is out now. Happy reading!

Anticipated February 2020 Releases

Everyone looks ahead to see what books they want to check out and add to their TBR. It may not be great for the bank account, but I’m always excited to add to my want to read list. Let’s look at some of the books coming out in February that I want to check out.

Of Curses and Kisses – Ok, this one is no surprise to anyone who knows me, since it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling. When it comes to fairy tale retellings anything Beauty and the Beast is always at the top of my list. Plus, I’ve enjoyed Sandhya Menon’s writing before in When Dimple Met Rishi so I’m eager to try out her writing with more of a fantasy twist.

The Sun Down Motel – While I haven’t read Simone St. James’ other book that I have, The Broken Girls I am eagerly wanting to read both that one and this one. I was able to select it as my book from Book of the Month so I already have it, now I just have to get to it. I knew after I read the blurb that it was definitely something I wanted to check out.

The Unspoken Name – Ok, I’ll admit I haven’t really heard of this one but it snagged my interest when I was browsing a list so I took a look. Based on the description alone I am intrigued and really want to check it out. We’ll see if I like it when I do get it and get to it! It definitely looks like it would be a fun ride with a lot of morally grey areas, plus a fantasy!

The Unwilling – This is a book that I received an eARC of and accepted it purely because of the premise. It sounds like a fantasy with many moving parts and at the center of it a girl that everyone might want to use. This is one I’ll be diving into very soon, so look for a post about it from me!

So that’s it, those are some titles coming in February that I am very excited to get to. I hope that I end up loving all of them when I get to them, but we’ll just have to see. Do any of these pique your interest?

Happy reading!

Top 5 Things I Love About a Bookstore

We all buy books online quite a lot now, because of convenience or availability, but I still enjoy going to brick and mortar bookstores. Part of this is loyalty, there’s a local one that has been around since I was in high school and I like to support them – but another reason is that sometimes I just need the comfort of a bookstore.

The Smell – Yes, that’s right. Bookstores smell of paper and ink regardless of if they are new or old. I would love candles specifically with this scent because it’s so soothing and a happy place for me.

Books you may not expect – Each bookstore is going to have a different array of books available, especially if they are a used and new bookstore that accepts trades. Finding those rare books that you don’t see in other bookstores, or the hidden treasure of an edition no longer available is an amazing feeling.

The Staff – As I said it’s wonderful when you have a favorite local bookstore, it’s even better when you can build a rapport with them and get to know the staff. They start knowing your taste and trusting your opinions when they ask you how a certain book was.

Trading in – If your favorite bookstore is one that allows you to trade in books for cash or credit, take advantage of it! It’s a great way to ave money and to eliminate books from your shelves that you may no longer want. I’ve saved a ton of money by doing this at my local store.

Instant Gratification – Let’s face it, being able to grab the book and take it home immediately is WAY better than waiting for the book to arrive in the mail!

So those are my favorite things about bookstores – what are some of yours?

Happy reading!

Blog Tour: First Cut

Wife and husband duo Dr. Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell first enthralled the book world with their runaway bestselling memoir Working Stiff—a fearless account of a young forensic pathologist’s “rookie season” as a NYC medical examiner. This winter, Dr. Melinek, now a prominent forensic pathologist in the Bay Area, once again joins forces with writer T.J. Mitchell to take their first stab at fiction. 

The result: FIRST CUT—a gritty and compelling crime debut about a hard-nosed San Francisco medical examiner who uncovers a dangerous conspiracy connecting the seedy underbelly of the city’s nefarious opioid traffickers and its ever-shifting terrain of tech startups.

Dr. Jessie Teska has made a chilling discovery. A suspected overdose case contains hints of something more sinister: a drug lord’s attempt at a murderous cover up. As more bodies land on her autopsy table, Jessie uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate network of powerful criminals—on both sides of the law—that will do anything to keep things buried. But autopsy means “see for yourself,” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she’s seen it all—even if it means the next corpse on the slab could be her own.

BUY LINKS: Harlequin Indiebound Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-A-Million
Target Walmart Google iBooks Kobo

I won’t lie, part of the reason I was drawn to this book was because it is set in the Bay Area and that is one of my favorite settings for a book, but I was also really interested in the plot. I have not read from the M.E.’s point of view before, especially one that dives into cases and tries to unravel the mysteries of them. Needless to say I was intrigued.

This story was full of twists and turns, sometimes due to Dr. Teska’s decisions and assumptions, sometimes because of the actual crimes and criminals. I really enjoyed how things starts falling into place throughout the story. I also loved the personal touches such as Teska’s propensity to curse in Polish, her interactions with her brother and the hijinks of her dog.

I would keep in mind that this is told from the point of view of a M.E. so there are autopsy descriptions that are graphic, though matter of fact. If that kind of thing makes you squirmish please be aware of that.

Judy Melinek was an assistant medical examiner in San Francisco for nine years, and today works as a forensic pathologist in Oakland and as CEO of PathologyExpert Inc. She and T.J. Mitchell met as undergraduates at Harvard, after which she studied medicine and practiced pathology at UCLA. Her training in forensics at the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner is the subject of their first book, the memoir Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner.

T.J. Mitchell is a writer with an English degree from Harvard, and worked in the film industry before becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad. He is the New York Times bestselling co-author of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner with his wife, Judy Melinek.

Social Links:
Twitter: Judy: @drjudymelinek TJ: @TJMitchellWS FB: @DrWorkingStiff

Instagram: Judy: @drjudymelinek

Goodreads:
Judy: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7382113.Judy_Melinek
TJ: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1899585.T_J_Mitchell

Happy reading!

Blog Tour: A Love Hate Thing

When they’re stuck under one roof, the house may not be big enough for their hate…or their love

When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the affluent coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares, and the total feeling of not belonging in the posh suburb. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the mean streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything. He doesn’t even care how the rest of his life will play out.

In Pacific Hills, image is everything. Something that, as the resident golden girl, Nandy Smith knows all too well. She’s spent most of her life building the pristine image that it takes to fit in. After learning that her parents are taking in a former childhood friend, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames. It’s the start of summer vacation and the last thing Nandy needs is some juvenile delinquent from the ’Wood crashing into her world.

Stuck together in close quarters, Trice and Nandy are in for some long summer nights. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

Buy Links: Harlequin Amazon Barnes & Noble Indie Bound Kobo
Books-a-Million Google Play

I don’t read a ton of contemporary YA but the premise of this one piqued my interest and I wanted to check it out. It was definitely a compelling story that delved into subjects such as stereotypes, perceived status, racism and more. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the representation, but I really enjoyed the progression of the story and characters. There were characters that I wish we’d had more of an insight into, as they were a little two dimensional. I found myself wanting to know more about their back stories so that I could understand some of their actions, but since they weren’t the main characters I do understand why there wasn’t more about them.

The pacing and switching off of the POVs made this a really fast read and the story kept moving really well. There were definitely some sections that made me anxious because of what was happening which to me is a good sign of the quality of writing. Overall this was a really compelling and worthwhile read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Whitney D. Grandison was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, where she currently resides. A lover of stories since she first picked up a book, it’s no surprise she’s taken to writing her own. Some of her works can be found on Wattpad, one of the largest online story sharing platforms, where she has acquired over 30,000 followers and an audience of over fifteen million dedicated readers.

Social Links: Instagram: @wheadee
Twitter: @whitney_DG

Happy reading!

Let’s Chat: How I Read So Many Books

I get the question a lot from people in my life as to how I’m able to read so many books. Last year I read 301 books and that surprised quite a few people in my life, even though they almost always see me with a book or kindle. The question that always follows is ‘how?’ so I’m going to break down some of the things I do to read so much.

So the first thing that really ups my game is the fact that I am able to listen to audio books at work. I’ve mentioned this many times, but it really helps. With a lot of books I’m able to listen at about double speed, though depending on the speed of the narrator’s speech I have been known to up it to 2.5 times speed. If I was not able to listen to audio books my numbers would be no where near what they are.

I also read a number of different formats and things such as graphic novels, poetry collections, manga, etc. will obviously take less time to read than full size novels. I also enjoy novellas and don’t turn my nose up at shorter books, I don’t choose books based on their page count so I often end up with a wide range of lengths and formats.

Another thing I’m able to do is read multiple books at once. I know that a lot of people can’t do this or don’t like to do this. I used to not be able to do it but then I went to college and had a double major, so I was constantly reading multiple things and having to keep them straight (often many different types of literature, not just textbooks) and I think that is what really started my ability to read different things at the same time. I will give one caveat though that they have to be different genres/types of stories.

The only other thing I really do, which I know a lot of other people do as well, is make sure I make time for reading. Like I said, I always have some form of a book with me and even if I can only eek out half an hour on my lunch, I take it.

So those are the main things I do that allow me to read so many books. Sometimes I have years like last year but sometimes I don’t. I’m definitely always trying to read more, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t.

Happy reading!