December 2021 Wrap Up

I know this is late but my kids were on winter vacation and I decided that I was going to unplug for 2 weeks (well 3 because my 16-year-old tested out of her End of Course testing and she was home). Unfortunately, that did carry over to my reading. I read nothing from December 13th to January 3rd. So, I am very behind on NetGalley ARC’s. Not so much with Indie authors, though. I have those all caught up.

I am behind with reviews. As of right now (and counting the book I am reading), I am behind 4 books and they are all NetGalley. My requests from indie authors have slowed down (I have had two all of December). I have also stopped requesting from NetGalley (as I said in my last Wrap-Up) but still accepted 9 books (yikes!!).

I plan on reading my little head off the next few days. It should be easy with the kids in school and my housework done early in the morning (my 8-year-old is in school by 8:10 and I am done cleaning by 9:30). So wish me luck!!

As always, please let me know if you have read any of these books and what you have thought about them!!


Books I got from NetGalley

Summer Nights with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

Quantum Girl Theory by Erin Kate Ryan

Lucy Checks In by Dee Ernst

The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill

Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

The Date From Hell by Gwenda Bond

Together We Burn by Isabel Ibanez

The Favor by Nora Murphy

Never Broken by Lori Duffy Foster (This will be in under Books I got from Author’s/Indie Publishers also)


Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers

Never Broken by Lori Duffy Foster (author asked me to review and sent me a NetGalley link)

Shadow Guard by Reily Garrett (book isn’t on Goodreads yet)

Rupture State by M.B. Bartkowski


Books Read and Reviewed

Heard It in a Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves (review here)

The First Christmas: A Story of New Beginnings by Stephen Mitchell (review here)

Spies Never Swoon by M. Taylor Christensen (review here)

Glory Unbound by Deborah L. King (review here)

Masters’ Promise by Jamie Schulz (review here)

Diary of an Angry Young Man by Rishi Vora (review here)

Golem by P.D. Alleva (review here)

The Secret of the Rai Zamindars: An Aalo & Adhir Mystery by Tanmoy Bhattacharjee (review here)

Liar: Memoir of a Haunting by E.F. Schraeder (review here)

Silent Depths by Reily Garrett (review here)

The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale (review here)

Stocking the Shelved—December 18th, 2021

Welcome to the newest meme that I am doing: Stocking the Shelves. Every Saturday, I will be posting what books I got this week. Stocking the Shelves is hosted by Reading Reality. So, here is my list. Let me know if you have read any of these and what you thought!!


From the Author:

Nothing this week which is fine because it gives me some time to catch up with the backlog of books that I have.

NetGalley:

Lucy Checks In by Dee Ernst

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Lucia Giannetti needs a fresh start. Once the hotel manager of a glamorous NYC hotel and intimately involved with the hotel’s owner, Lucy had her entire future planned out. But when the owner disappears, taking millions of dollars with him, Lucy’s life as she knows it falls apart.

Two years later, forty-nine years old and unemployed, Lucy takes a job in Rennes, France to manage the Hotel Paradis. She pictures fur quilts and extravagant chandeliers, but what she finds is wildly different. Lucy is now in charge of turning the run-down, but charming hotel into a bustling tourist attraction. Between painting rooms, building a website, and getting to know Bing, the irritatingly attractive artist, Lucy finds an unexpected home. But can she succeed in bringing the Hotel Paradis to its former glory?

Witty and heartfelt, Lucy Checks In is an inspiring and feel-good novel about reclaiming your life, finding love, and creating a home in places you never thought possible.

The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill

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There’s always been a mystery to Vika Hale’s life. Ever since she was a child, she’s had an unknown benefactor providing for her and her family, making sure that Vika and her sister received the best education they could. Now, Vika longs for a bigger life than one as a poor barmaid on a struggling planet, but those dreams feel out of reach. Until one day Vika learns that her benefactor was a billionaire magnate who recently died under suspicious circumstances, and Vika has shockingly been included in his will. Invited to live on a glittering neighboring planet, Vika steps into a world she can hardly believe is real.

The only blight on Vika’s lavish new life is the constant presence of Sky Foster, a mysterious young man from Vika’s past who works for her benefactors. She doesn’t like or trust Sky, but when she narrowly escapes an explosion and realizes someone is targeting the will’s heirs, Vika knows Sky is the only one who can help her discover the identity of the bomber before she becomes their next victim. As Vika and Sky delve into the truth of the attacks, they uncover a web of secrets, murder, and an underground rebellion who may hold the answers they’ve been looking for. But Sky isn’t who he seems to be, and Vika may not escape this new life unscathed.

In The Stars Between Us, Cristin Terrill sweeps readers away to a Dickensian-inspired world where secrets are currency and love is the most dangerous risk of all.

Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

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Liv Reese wakes up in the back of a taxi with no idea where she is or how she got there. When she’s dropped off at the door of her brownstone, a stranger answers—a stranger who now lives in her apartment and forces her out in the cold. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing, and in its place is a bloodstained knife. That’s when she sees that her hands are covered in black pen, scribbled messages like graffiti on her skin: STAY AWAKE.

Two years ago, Liv was living with her best friend, dating a new man, and thriving as a successful writer for a trendy magazine. Now, she’s lost and disoriented in a New York City that looks nothing like what she remembers. Catching a glimpse of the local news, she’s horrified to see reports of a crime scene where the victim’s blood has been used to scrawl a message across a window, the same message that’s inked on her hands. What did she do last night? And why does she remember nothing from the past two years? Liv finds herself on the run for a crime she doesn’t remember committing as she tries to piece together the fragments of her life. But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget—permanently.

A complex thriller that unfolds at a breakneck speed, Stay Awake will keep you up all night.

WWW Wednesday: March 31st 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

So, I still have that flipping bladder infection. Cue in long, frustrated scream. If this new round of antibiotics don’t work, then off I go to a specialist. I am not very happy and very frustrated.

My garden is doing well. Nothing has sprouted yet (knock on wood). My bird feeders, though, are a whole different story. I am getting a ton of birds….and squirrels. I ended up getting a squirrels feeder, hoping that it would keep them out of my feeders. Nope. Instead, I have a heavily pregnant squirrel using my deck feeder as her personal buffet. I have named her Mama and can’t wait to see the babies!! I also have an opossum visiting. I caught it on camera sitting on my back deck. I think it was debating on going after the suet feeder….lol. I don’t mind them. They keep the ticks and bugs down in the yard. Plus, they eat mice and rats, which make them my best friends (I have a mice/rat phobia).

I made the decision last week to send Miss R back to school 4 days a week. I had noticed that she wasn’t as into her virtual lessons as she was. Plus, it seemed that she was missing out when there was a substitute. So, after talking with BK, I decided to send her back after Easter break. After getting the OK from the teacher/principal, I told her. It was like someone flipped a switch. She has been so excited to do her schoolwork and all she talks about is going back to school.

I made the non refundable deposit for Miss B’s driving school. It took me and the instructor about a week of going back and forth before we finally connected. So, for a week in July, she will be going to driving school, 9-5. Then she will start driving (6 hours on the road). She is super nervous but also excited.

I am still watching The Magicians. I was a little iffy about it for the first couple of episodes but I have gotten into it. Unfortunately, Miss B has decided to watch Criminal Minds by herself. She says its because she wants to “absorb the episodes.” Don’t ask me to translate….lol. BK and I have started watching The Irregulars. I really like it even though I got freaked out by the first episode.

I made Slow-Cooker Sesame Chicken with Cashews this past week. It was alright. The kids weren’t crazy about it. It tasted fine but the chicken was dry. So, I will not be making this again.

Blog

I changed my theme for the blog. I had Rosalie originally but changed to Independent Publisher 2. I am liking this theme a whole lot better than the Rosalie one. There were a lot more options for customization.

I started going through my posts again. I am slowly, but surely, updating links/covers/blurbs or just taking posts down for books that aren’t even on Goodreads/Amazon anymore. Its tedious, but needs to be done.

I am not sure if I like the new changes that WordPress pushed through earlier this week. I am used to having the admin page open up to a different window, not having it all on one page. But, I will get used to it. I don’t have a choice.

Reading

I didn’t do so great reading since last week’s WWW. I think I read 2 books between Thursday and yesterday? I was stuck on a book that I got from the library. I thought that I was going to love it. Instead, I was “eh” about it and it took me 3 days to finish. So disappointing when that happens.


What I Recently Finished Reading:

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When headstrong West Indian heiress Patience Jordan questioned her English husband’s mysterious suicide, she lost everything: her newborn son, Lionel, her fortune—and her freedom. Falsely imprisoned, she risks her life to be near her child—until The Widow’s Grace gets her hired as her own son’s nanny. But working for his unsuspecting new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, has perils of its own. Especially when Patience discovers his military strictness belies an ex-rake of unswerving honor—and unexpected passion . . .

A wounded military hero, Busick is determined to resolve his dead cousin’s dangerous financial dealings for Lionel’s sake. But his investigation is a minor skirmish compared to dealing with the forthright, courageous, and alluring Patience. Somehow, she’s breaking his rules, and sweeping past his defenses. Soon, between formidable enemies and obstacles, they form a fragile trust—but will it be enough to save the future they long to dare together?

I was so disappointed by this book. I had seen a couple of reviews by people that had loved it and thought to myself “Well, this seems like something I would like to read.” It is a favorite genre with a twist. Plus, having a POC as a main character for that era was brilliant. Then I read the book and cringed. I couldn’t get into the romance between Patience and Busick. The plotline bored me. I called the ending. It was a relief when the book ended.


What I am currently reading:

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It’s 1927 when Olive McCormick moves from Minneapolis to New York City determined to become a star in the Ziegfeld Follies. Extremely talented as a singer and dancer, it takes every bit of perseverance to finally make it on stage. And once she does, all the glamour and excitement is everything she imagined and more–even worth all the sacrifices she has had to make along the way.

Then she meets Archie Carmichael. Handsome, wealthy–the only man she’s ever met who seems to accept her modern ways–her independent nature and passion for success. But once she accepts his proposal of marriage he starts to change his tune, and Olive must decide if she is willing to reveal a devastating secret and sacrifice the life she loves for the man she loves.

Words can’t begin to describe how much I am enjoying this book. Olive McCormick (aka Olive Shines) is unusual for the era that book is set in. She is a strong woman who is living her life the way she wants. I am about 20% into the book and so much has happened. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the book will be like!!


What books I think I’ll read next:

I was pretty set with the books I had on the list for next week. It was going to be a repeat of last week’s books. Then, last night, a library book came off hold, unexpectedly. So, I had to tweak things a little bit. The library book is first and then the books from my TBR.

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After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?
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A lightless tower maze…

…Four powerless teens. Or are they?

Each child in Valkryion has one chance to prove their magical prowess or they must face the most feared abomination ever created: the Depths.

A group of teens find themselves cast into the lightless labyrinth meant to channel the hidden potential in their Signets and lynths.

The one rule for those downcast is simple – descend further into the Depths to try to escape while mastering the environment to defeat all that stands in their path. With descent comes more challenges and enemies intended to either make the teens more powerful or snap them from existence.

Rules are meant to be broken, but can the teens break free from contained chaos?

Magic. Awe. Discovery. Wonder.

Enter the Depths NOW.
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How far will a man go to protect his family? Mason Seaforth is about to find out.

Mason Seaforth, a mild-mannered accountant. wakes up the morning of his 20th wedding anniversary to find that his wife, Sami has disappeared. A search of Sami’s computer uncovers a past she has buried for more than 20 years.

Together with their strong-willed friend, Marcie Kane, Mason leads an investigation that takes them from the home he and Sami share in Gulfport, Florida to a casino in Gatineau, Quebec. As he and Marcie close in on Sami’s whereabouts, so do Aaron Marshall and his enforcer, Greg Johnson, AKA, “The Force” – deadly serious men willing to kill the entire Seaforth family to protect Sami’s secrets.

Action-packed crime thriller with suspenseful storytelling and a surpising twist.

Mason is thrust into a race against Marshall and Johnson, thrown into a life that is meant for other people. He must put his quiet job on hold and quickly learn how to handle a Glock 17. Each decision he needs to make is deadlier than the last, and one wrong move could result in the death of his family.
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It’s been 20 long years since a night of horror where Detective Jess Antler’s 10-year-old brother Billy was abducted. Despite Jess seeing the intruder face to face, neither he or her brother were ever found. After enduring a terrifying adolescence at the hands of her abusive Aunt, Jess has learnt to push away her feelings about her brother, and her drive to find him.

As everyone says, Billy’s never coming back. It’s time to move on.

However after uncovering Billy’s secret diary, Jess begins to unravel the mystery further and discovers shocking truths about her family and what Billy was really mixed up in.
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Cursed with the ability to weave thread into gold, Brie has learned to trust no one. Her parents keep her around so they can gamble their money away and now her boyfriend’s only staying because he’s got a collection of game systems to grow.

When Brie grabs the attention of Stilt, the new guy in town, it changes everything. Brie is a Legend—a character in a fairytale—and she belongs in a realm of magic called Fable. But when she crosses over to the new world with Stilt, she soon learns that the cruel ruler of the realm has taken an interest in her ability-and it could cost Brie her life.

Stilt promises that he can help her escape, but in return, he asks for something that she might not be able to give. Can Brie put her trust in Stilt or will she die at the hands of greed?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

She assigns each Tuesday a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


  1. What You Wish For by Katherine Center
  2. White Oleander by Janet Fitch
  3. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  4. The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne
  5. The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
  6. The Shadows by Alex North
  7. The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
  8. Havenfall by Sara Holland
  9. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
  10. LaRose by Louise Erdrich