Monthly Recaps

February in Review

What I Read

I’m also ‘reading’ 5 other books, but I’ve been reading one of them (Terminal World) since about October. I lost one of them under the bed (An Impartial Witness), and just found it. One I accidentally found out the twist (Castaway House) so I’m waiting until I forget the twist to finish it. The other two I’m actually in the middle of reading – Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag & a alien invasion audiobook called Fear the Sky. I’m still at least 2 books behind my Goodreads challenge, but I’m normally 4-5 behind so I’m not too bothered.

What I Watched

Highlights:

  • Umbrella Academy
    • I’m watching this with Shane and I love it! It’s so weird that it’s right on the border of what I would normally like, but the characters are so lovable I’m into it. One of my favorite things is Shane’s pure and uncomplicated love of Ellen Page, which immediately transferred to Vanya, her character.
  • King of the Hill
    • FINALLY FINISHED.

Shows:

  • Most Haunted {me as a paranormal investigator, even if I’m a skeptic}
  • Haunted {supposedly non-fiction, but I feel like it’s fiction}
  • Hellier {a really weird paranormal hunter documentary}
  • Shut Eye
  • The usual background watching:
    • Unsolved Mysteries
    • Forensic Files
    • Bob’s Burgers
    • American Dad

Movies:

  • Polar {Super strange, but also good}
  • Unbreakable {Still haven’t seen Split or Glass, but I’m working on it}
  • Universal Soldier {I had never seen this classic Van Damme flick which was apparently a travesty to Shane}

What I Cooked/Ate

  • Broth fondue with thin cut steak, etc.
  • A great spaghetti meat sauce from a jar + canned tomatoes + a little of this + a little of that.
  • Finally went to a pancake house – apparently Myrtle Beach is famous for pancake houses. I got chocolate chip pancakes with fresh whipped cream and it was amazing.
  • A box of cereal, dry, by the fistful.
  • So many chicken wings.
  • Diner!
  • Steak N Shake – obvs.

What I Did

  • About a year ago I randomly met a girl on reddit & we’ve been email buds since then. Anyway, she came down to MB for a conference and we finally got to meet! We hung out at the restaurant in her hotel and had a great time. We were wearing the exact same shoes – gray keds in the same style.
  • Built a little stand for my laptop. I still need to put on another coat of paint but so close to being finished!
  • That’s it – it was a pretty chill month even with the shenanigans going on in the background. I didn’t post in February, after the first few days, and I enjoyed the time off!
Top Ten Tuesday

Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
    • I love a good mystery and this one looks like a great one. Who doesn’t want to know why a woman shoots her husband in the face and then never speaks again?
  • The Au Pair by Emma Rous
    • The comparison to VC Andrews is enough to make me want to read this one. I’ll be requesting it from the library.
  • Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong
    • Is it cheating to put a book that’s next in a series you’re reading? I really enjoy the Rockton series. I discovered it while I was packing to move and I had both audiobooks and ebooks so I could read or listen when needed.
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
    • The buzz around this one is big, and it looks like a very interesting fantasy novel. It’s also huge. I’m excited.
  • Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
    • Written by the authors of The Illuminae Files. That’s enough for me, but the description also sounds great.
  • Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds
    • Not going to lie, I’m eagerly anticipating this one for Shane. He loves Alastair Reynolds and he can’t wait to read this one.
  • The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
    • I need to read more YA sci-fi, because I really love it and haven’t read much of it lately.
  • The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe
    • I love Katherine Howe. I’ve read all her books, and I’m not about to stop now.
  • The Summer Country by Lauren Willig
    • I haven’t read much historical fiction set in Barbados, but I’m very interested in this mystery.
  • Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
    • Pride and Prejudice plus a culture I’m fairly unfamiliar with? Sign me up.
Reading · Top Ten Tuesday

Best Books I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Happy New Year!

I hope that 2019 is the best year yet.

I realized while making this list that I read very few books I really loved in 2018. I can do better in 2019. Obviously not every book I read will be a winner, but I can definitely choose books that are more likely to be ones I really enjoy. Anyway, I’m fairly sick (thanks allergies), so I’m presenting this list without commentary.

  1. City of the Lost – Kelley Armstrong
  2. The Broken Girls – Simone St James
  3. The Queen’s Poisoner– Jeff Wheeler
  1. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride – Cary Elwes
  2. Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling – Michael Cannell
  3. Classic Style: Hand it Down, Dress it Up, Wear it Out – Kate Schelter
  4. The Bullet Journal Method – Ryder Carroll
  1. Obsidio – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
  2. About a Dog – Jenn McKinlay
  3. Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate

I hope you have an excellent first day of 2019.

Blogmas · Top Ten Tuesday

My Top Ten on My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Usually, I don’t really look at these TBR lists after making them, but I feel like this is a pretty accurate representation of what I’m going to be reading over the next couple of months. Especially Terminal World, I’ve been reading it off and on for months, and Shane (who loves it), is starting to get his feelings hurt. The rest of these fiction books are ones that I’ve been really looking forward to. 

  1. All the Weyrs of Pern ~ Anne McCaffrey 
  2. Terminal World ~ Alastair Reynolds
  3. Avalon – Mindee Arnett
  4. A Winter Flame ~ Milly Johnson
  5. The Mysterious Affair At Castaway House ~ Stephanie Lam

On the non-fiction side, I’ve been looking at figuring out this whole ‘being a super responsible adult’ thing, hence the style books, the book on writing, and the book on bullet journals. The Murder Room is just going to be a great read. 

  1. The Curated Closet ~ Anuschka Rees
  2. Classic Style: Hand it Down, Dress it Up, Wear it Out ~ Kate Schelter
  3. The Murder Room ~ Michael Capuzzo
  4. On Writing ~ Stephen King
  5. The Bullet Journal Method ~ Ryder Carroll
Blogmas · Reviews

Catching Christmas {Review}

I accidentally read a Christian Christmas Romance novel, guys. I found this book while wandering the aisles of my local library and the book jacket only talked about the fact that there’s a taxi driver who has to ferry an old lady with dementia around town.

It was pretty cute though. The last half was definitely  heavier on religion than the first half, though. The main character/taxi driver/ex-chef is pretty funny in his determination to be mean while failing at it completely. He also has the deepest hatred of Uber that I’ve ever encountered. 

Miss Callie (the old lady with dementia) is a terror, and while she’s adorable in the novel, in real life I’d hate encountering her in real life. In the novel she’s a character that everyone loves and supports. Though her son-in-law kept her from seeing her granddaughter for most of her life (for good reason, really). That’s fairly glossed over.

I really love the trope of hating each other then loving each other, and Catching Christmas does that one really really well. The author does misunderstandings really well, too. They have a very realistic ‘bumping of heads’ in the beginning and get over it in a realistic way as well. 

There’s a moment where the book went from normal story to Christian fiction and it’s a fairly small part of the novel overall. This book is a really sweet Christmas tale that involves the elderly, a taxi, and a sweet romance. 

-S-

Blogmas · Reviews

The Christmas Tree Farm Mysteries {Review}

Thanks to NetGalley.com for giving me a copy of Twas the Knife Before Christmas in return for an honest review.
Cover for Twelve Slays of Christmas

I got a copy of the second book in this series (‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas) from NetGalley and decided to read the first book as well. It wasn’t super needed, since the second book is fairly independent of the first. 

I really like both books, by the way. They’re very sweet little cozy murder mysteries with a likeable main character named Holly (her cat’s name is Cindy Lou Who, which I enjoy) who lives in a Christmas obsessed town on a Christmas obsessed tree farm/tourist attraction. She’s super nosy and has to investigate the Christmas-related murders, even though her life is threatened on the regular. Holly can just not trust law enforcement, even though the sheriff (who has a seemingly unlimited number of deputies for the size of the town) is a homicide detective from Boston. I really think that he’s better at the whole death investigation than she is.  There’s a wee bit of romance that’s very much a side story and is honestly mostly forgotten about in the second novel. Which is oddly the only thing that got on my nerves.

The author stuck with the conceit that Mistletoe, Maine only has murders at Christmas, so Twas the Knife Before Christmas is set a year after the end of Twelve Slays of Christmas. Nothing has seemed to move forward for Holly, though. She’s still living in her parents’ guesthouse (though they’re building an inn) and isn’t sure if they guy she’s been dating for  year is her boyfriend or if they’re exclusive. I feel like that’d be a conversation you’d have over a year-long relationship. Could be wrong, but it feels weird, especially since he’s weirdly jealous/possessive. He just doesn’t seem the type to leave her ‘available’. There’s a semi-explanation given, and I like the story line, but the effect on their relationship doesn’t seem real. 

Overall, I enjoyed both books – I’ll read anymore that Jacqueline Frost rights, for sure. They’re adorable little Christmas cozy murder mysteries that are all resolved neatly and there are some quality death threats thrown in there. I definitely suggest reading these for some light Christmas reading!

Blogmas · Top Ten Tuesday

My Top Ten 2019 Bookish Resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today is a freebie for Top Ten Tuesday, so I thought I’d revisit one of my favorites (on another blog) – Ten Book-related Resolutions.

  1. I always do a Goodreads Challenge – mine for 2019 will be the same as 2018: 60 books.
  2. I’d like to (finally) complete a Popsugar Reading Challenge and/or a Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I think I’ll bend the rules a little bit and let a book count for 2 categories on each list (if it can).
  3. Cut my ‘owned-and-unread’ list down a bit. I have way too many books to read that are already on my shelf.
  4. To go with that, I don’t want to buy any books in 2019. The exceptions are if I’m buying them for someone else, a book for book club, or if it’s a book by one of my ‘must buy’ authors (Karin Slaughter and Simone St. James). 
    • Note: Shane says this is impossible, and he’s usually right about these things, but I’ll be happy if the book buying is cut waaaay down.
  5. Get my Goodreads shelves figured out. I deleted 90% of my shelves awhile ago and it’s getting on my nerves.
  6. Along those lines, I need to go through my TBR pile on Goodreads and get rid of whatever I don’t want to read anymore.
  7. Read difficult books – I read a lot of mindless novels, but I’d like to learn something or have challenges to the way I think….or even just the hard sci-fi Shane reads that seems interesting but daunting.
  8. I want to get back to science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic fiction, etc. Not that I’ve stopped reading it entirely but I tend to reach for something murder-y or romance-y.
  9. Read some non-technical technology nonfiction. I’m not sure what to call it – the philosophy of technology? I know what I mean, anyway.
  10. Read some non-fiction that will help me improve. 
Blogmas · Monthly Recaps

November in Review

What I Read

How did I not read more? I feel like I read tons, but I guess not.

What I Watched

  • Preacher
    • So dark and so good! I love Cassidy and would probably watch a show completely around him. Since I want to name a daughter Cassidy I keep telling Shane that when she’s 13 I’m going to watch Preacher with her and tell her that she’s named after him. Note: season 1 is better than season 2.
  • King of the Hill
    • I watched this show as a kid and I’m really enjoying re-watching it on Hulu. 
  • Bob’s Burgers
    • I love this show. It’s so so good.

What I Cooked/Ate

  • Shepherd’s Pie for Shane’s birthday. We found ground lamb at Lowe’s Foods and it turned out incredibly delicious. I ate it for 5 meals in a row, which never happens. 
  • Thanksgiving dinner! Shane and I cooked Cornish Game Hens, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, red wine & mushroom gravy, & crescent rolls. We forgot vegetables, though. I wanted sauteed green beans, but I forgot to remind him to cook them. 
  • Actual lunch food at our diner. The waitress is starting to recognize us, I think. I had a Bacon Cheddar BBQ burger that was super tasty.
  • More grocery store sushi.
  • Another monthly trip to Steak and Shake. Probably the last one, since I’m going to try to eat healthier.

What I Did

  • Cooked Thanksgiving dinner with Shane.
  • Took a 4 hour nap (in 2 phases) and then slept a full night, which is unheard of. I rarely take naps even though I love them deeply.
  • Spent 3 days and 2 nights in the Upstate. Changed to a different hotel and I really liked it. Though my first room had a busted fridge and I had to change rooms since I needed the fridge. 
  • Did a ton of Christmas shopping.
  • Opened so many packages!
  • Worked really hard at cleaning and organizing the apartment. I want to have a “fresh start” with 2019 so I’m working on getting things organized.
Top Ten Tuesday

10 Horror Novels I Can’t Wait to Read

I don’t really go for very horrific horror novels, if you haven’t been able to tell from my review choices this October. I love creepy books, though. When the suspense and eerie feelings ratchet up to a crescendo, that’s when I’m most intrigued. There’s a list on Goodreads called Space Horror that I keep meaning to go though and add to my TBR mountain, because I love two kinds of horror more than any others – gothic creepiness in Victorian mansions and terror in space where there can be no escape. That said, I don’t read as much horror as I’d like, so for my Halloween Top Ten Tuesday topic, here are some horror(ish) books I’d like to check out.

On to the list!

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon ~ It’s got so much I adore in a novel! Complicated family relationships, generational curses (even if not actually cursed), abandoned motels, missing people, etc. I picked this up a library book sale and I’m pretty sure it’s a quarter well spent. 

The Desolation of Solitude by Sean-Paul Thomas (also called Alone, apparently) ~ Here’s that space horror I enjoy, but in a novella (150 pages is a novella, right?). It’s got similarities with the movie Passengers from what I can tell, but has the creepiness raised a ton. No memories, waking up alone in space, lady companion also awakes, dark thoughts, ghostly visions. You can download it for free, so why wouldn’t I?

This House is Haunted by John Boyne ~ This has a governess in the mid 1800s who rolls up to her new employment but there are only children and no adults. Oh, and ghosts. It also has awesome cover art, and I won’t deny that helps.

Snowblind by Christopher Golden ~ Ghostly happenings in a blizzard? Yes please! This is definitely a book I’m looking forward to – snow is something I see *maybe* once a year or so and the thought of a full-on blizzard is kind of terrifying. Add ghosts/demons/the supernatural and it’s a definite fear inducer. 

No Doors. No Windows. by Joe Schreiber ~ I enjoy novels that play tricks on with your mind – is he insane or haunted? This seems to meet that criteria, and seems generally spooky, so I’m looking forward to it!

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay ~ This is a home invasion story that’s not really my style but the description on Goodreads hooked me. I have to know more about what the men are up to. 

Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey ~ I love Carey’s previous novels and I’m so excited to read another one! The reviews look excellent & I’m not surprised.

The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish ~ I honestly don’t know anything about this book beyond the Goodreads blurb, but that was enough to add it to the list. I’m intrigued!

The Waiting Room by F. G. Cottam ~ An abandoned war-time train station waiting room with ghosts sounds like an amazing rainy day read. I also love the ‘ghost hunter isn’t really a ghost hunter, but is now a believer’ trope, so I’m in.

The Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring ~ I love the time period between the world wars, especially in the UK, so that in addition to the aforementioned trope in a creepy old rectory makes this book a must-read.

~S~