Thursday, December 31, 2015

NetGalley TBR list 2016

This year, I really want to read all the books I currently have on my Kindle from Netgalley. I hate that I've left them on there so long without reading them. So I've made my list below of all the Netgalley books I have on my Kindle as of today and my goal is to read them all, in no particular order, by the end of 2016 (if not sooner). 

1. Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill (review here)
2. Power Play by Sophia Henry
3. The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag

4. Devil's Bridge by Linda Fairstein
5. Once and Again by Elisabeth Barrett (review here)
6. Mean Streak by Sandra Brown (review here)

7. The Alphabet House by Jussi Adler-Olsen
8. The Competition by Marcia Clark 
9. Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark

10. Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark
11. Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark 
12. The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon 

13. The Tyrant's Daughter by JC Carleson
14. Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan 
15. Doing Harm by Kelly Parsons
16. Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

[Review] Night by Elie Wiesel

Night by Elie Weisel
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publishing Date: April 1982
Format: paperback
109 Pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's memoir Night, a scholarly, Orthodox teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust & the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare worlds of Auschwitz-Birkenau & Buchenwald present him with an intolerable question: how can the god he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life's essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel's lifelong project to bear witness for those who died.

My Review 

I hate reviewing books like this. The story itself is incredibly heartbreaking; but I didn't like the book. Does that make sense? Maybe not, but it does to me. What Elie Weisel went through is absolutely awful and I can't imagine surviving anything like that. I truly think it's amazing that he survived the Holocaust, persevered, and is able to tell his story. However, I can't exactly explain why I didn't like this book. Please remember, though, that just because I didn't like the book doesn't take away anything from his story and experiences.  Everyone should read memoirs similar to this. I know there are many people who would disagree with me, but it's simply my opinion. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

[Mini Review] Once Upon a Cowboy by Maggie McGinnis

Once Upon a Cowboy by Maggie McGinnis
Series: Whisper Creek, #3
Publisher: Loveswept
Publishing Date: June 30, 2015
Format: ebook
285 pages


In this sexy Whisper Creek romance for readers of Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery, and Molly O’Keefe, a red-hot cowboy uses some Montana magic to give a reclusive beauty her happily ever after.

Yoga instructor Jessalyn Alcott radiates peace, calm, and serenity—on the outside. Inside, she still feels like the broken, desperate girl from the trailer park. She’s got dark secrets she can’t share, which is why she never lets her relationships go beyond the third date. But when she travels to the Whisper Creek dude ranch for a friend’s wedding, Jess is enchanted by a cowboy whose deep blue eyes, dimpled smile, and rock-hard body make it tough to remember why she keeps running scared.

Cole Driscoll has struggled to find his place on a family ranch where he’s always played second fiddle. His future might be uncertain, but he’s sure of one thing: He wants Jess by his side. Easier said than done. When it comes to getting close, she’s full of excuses, and he longs to fix the hurt he sees in her eyes. Now that she’s at Whisper Creek, there’s nothing he wants more than to break down the walls around her heart and heal her pain with the power of love.

My Review

I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review. 

I read this book earlier this year and really enjoyed it. I just realized, as I was making lists for this upcoming year, that I never reviewed it! Oops! So I thought I would write a mini review of this one since it's been a while since I read it, but still wanted to give it the attention it deserves. There's just something about cowboys that intrigue me though I've never met a one. Maybe it's because they're working outside all day, riding horses, being with animals. I don't know. But it's pretty sexy (at least, it is in books). I know real life might not be quite that sexy, but dang, these authors know how to write about them! Jessalyn has a lot of secrets and wants to keep to herself. But once she meets Cole, it's a game changer and she won't ever be the same. This was a fun, romantic read with a lot of emotions. I've read other novels by McGinnis and I can't wait to read more! 

[Review] The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Publisher: Scribner
Publishing date: March 2005
288 Pages
Format: paperback
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 4.5 stars


The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing--a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family. 

My Review

Captivating. That's the first word that comes to mind about this memoir. This book had been sitting on my shelf for a good couple of months... probably about a year. I had heard it was good, but was never in the mood for it and so I didn't get around to it. I finally decided to pick it up when I was going over to my in-laws for Christmas. I wasn't sure if I was in the mood to read it, but felt like I needed to since it was just sitting on my shelf. I immediately loved this book; Walls has a gifted way of telling her story. I felt so bad for her the entire time I read it. I know things like this happen all too often. But I still was shocked by some of the things her family went through and how her parents acted. I can't imagine growing up with this type of life, moving around constantly, not knowing whether you'll have food to eat, whether you'll go to school, or whether you have running water. 

Nevertheless, Walls perseveres. Her sister moves to New York, she follows soon after, and together they start a new life. She slowly gets on solid ground by having a stable place to live, having a job, and going to school. Through all of her hard times, Walls continues to land on her feet. It clearly wasn't an easy childhood, and many people, unfortunately, would fall into the same cycle that her parents did. But she and most of her siblings were able to overcome that. I wish we knew a little more about what happened to Maureen, but I guess it really just shows what Walls' life was like when she finished this book; she didn't really know much about Maureen either. 

I highly recommend this book! I can't wait to read more of her work, especially Half Broke Horses. I never thought I would like non-fiction and memoirs as much as I do, and this certainly won't be my last! 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Stacking the Shelves 12.27.15

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga @ Tynga's Reviews. Its all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, whether physical or virtual books. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course, ebooks! Tynga posts this meme on Saturdays, but you can post on any day that works best for you! Check out the guidelines by visiting Tynga's blog! 

Christmas Haul!

I received some really great books this year and I can't wait to dive into them all! Here are the 6 that I got:

Friction by Sandra Brown
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
The Noticer by Andy Andrews
The One and Only by Emily Giffin
See Me by Nicholas Sparks

I've never actually heard of The Noticer, but my mother-in-law read it and loved it. So she gifted a copy to me and my three sister-in-laws. I'm just really excited to start them all! Plus I was given a good amount in gift cards, so more books will be purchased, and soon!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

[Review] The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Publisher: GP Putnam's Sons
Publishing Date: July 30, 2013
396 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 4 Stars


At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died...

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.

My Review

I was so excited to receive a copy of this book last year for Christmas! I wanted to read it right away, but then life got in the way (like normal). I finally got around to this one during this Christmas and I couldn't put it down. I read Big Little Lies earlier this year and immediately fell in love with Moriarty's work and writing style. I love the way she tells a story and how each of the characters' lives slowly intertwine with each other. 

This book, like Big Little Lies, grabbed me from the beginning and didn't let go. Cecilia is a very interesting character; her life seems absolutely perfect, especially from the outside eye. But the more we get to know about her, the more we realize that it really isn't perfect, especially once she reads the letter from her husband. Meanwhile, Tess' life is not-so-secretly falling apart and Rachel has no idea what she's going to find out very soon. 

The whole book only takes place over a few days time, but there's a lot of information packed into it! It's a very fast read and you won't want to put it down. The characters are so interesting and compelling; they each have their own stories but you find out more and more how their lives intertwine. I loved Big Little Lies and I really loved The Husband's Secret as well. I know Moriarty is going to continue to be a favorite author of mine and I can't wait to read more! What Alice Forgot is on my shelf waiting to be read, and hopefully soon! I highly recommend this book to everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Blogging Challenge: Day 6

The 7 Day Holiday Challenge is an event hosted by Parajunkee! Check out her website for more information and to participate! 

Day Six: Favorite holiday book!

Oh, this is a hard one for me! I really don't have a book that I re-read each holiday season (though I want to be one of those people that do!) I really like anything that has some holiday scenes, like Harry Potter, The Christmas Shoes, Little Women... 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Blogging Challenge: Day 5

The 7 Day Holiday Challenge is an event hosted by Parajunkee! Check out her website for more information and to participate! 

Day Five: Share a holiday tradition!

Ever year on Christmas morning, my family goes to my mom's parents' house for brunch. We then go to my dad's parents' house to see all of our extended family. But the best part of Christmas day (other than opening gifts in the morning) is that my parents would make sure we were home each Xmas day by 6 pm. They always wanted to give us enough time to play with the toys we got that morning. Holidays can be hectic, and it was always a bummer to leave so soon for brunch after we opened presents! Leaving my grandparents by 6 was our immediate family time and time for us to relax and wind down after the busy holidays. I love spending time with my extended family, but those few hours at night were always my favorite and even as we've grown older, we still try to do this! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Holiday Blogging Challenge: Day 3

The 7 Day Holiday Challenge is an event hosted by Parajunkee! Check out her website for more information and to participate! 

Day Three: Share a holiday photo moment! 

Shoot, I missed yesterday! Oops... to make it up, here's my holiday photo! I'll post Day 4 later tonight!

My husband and I from 3 years ago! Wow, we look so much younger (at least I think so!) Too bad I wiped my computer and don't have my hard drive plugged in otherwise I'd have a more recent photo. Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Holiday Blogging Challenge: Day 2

The 7 Day Holiday Challenge is an event hosted by Parajunkee! Check out her website for more information and to participate! 

Day Two: Favorite holiday scene in a book!

Oh, this is a little hard for me! I'm not great at remembering specifics from books...It's partly the reason I started my blog; I figured if I posted a personal review, then I would remember the book a little better after I finished reading. It has helped quite a bit, but not always, clearly. I'm going to have to say that one of my favorite holiday scenes from a book is definitely Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I know it's a bit of a cliche answer, but I really love Harry's first "real" Christmas experience. With the Dursleys he was never treated as part of the family. But at Hogwarts, he has a family and the Weasleys make sure to include him. His surprise when he first wakes up is really great. It's a scene I think I'll always remember! 

Plus I also really loved reading The Christmas Shoes by Donna Van Liere. A really touching story! Plus I still tear up over the song!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Blogging Challenge: Day 1

The 7 Day Holiday Challenge is an event hosted by Parajunkee! Check out her website for more information and to participate! 

On the first day of the challenge, we're discussing a gift we're giving this year!

I'm really excited about a couple of gifts that I'm giving this year! For both of my nephews and my niece, they're getting books (no surprise!). The youngest (about 8 mos. old) is getting one book, and the other two are getting 2-3 books each! Plus they're all getting something else too, including Green Bay Packer clothing -- Go Pack! 

I think my favorite gift that I'm giving is for my mom (hopefully she doesn't read my blog!) It's a Galileo Thermometer. She had one previously, but it broke many years ago when it was knocked off a shelf. I found a smaller version of hers when I was in Door County Wisconsin earlier this year and knew I had to get it for her!

What gifts are you giving this year? Join Parajunkee's Holiday Challenge and let us know!

[Review] The 9th Judgment by James Patterson

The 9th Judgment by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Series: Women's Murder Club, #9
Publisher: Little Brown
Publishing Date: April 26, 2010
Format: hardcover, purchased
355 Pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 3 stars


The most personal

A young mother and her infant child are ruthlessly gunned down while returning to their car in the garage of a shopping mall. There are no witnesses, and Detective Lindsay Boxer is left with only one shred of evidence: a cryptic message scrawled across the windshield in bloodred lipstick. 

The most dangerous

The same night, the wife of A-list actor Marcus Dowling is woken by a cat burglar who is about to steal millions of dollars' worth of precious jewels. In just seconds there is a nearly empty safe, a lifeless body, and another mystery that throws San Francisco into hysteria. 

The most exciting Women's Murder Club novel ever

Lindsay spends every waking hour working with her partner, Rich--and her desire for him threatens to tear apart both her engagement and the Women's Murder Club. Before Lindsay and her friends can piece together either case, one of the killers forces Lindsay to put her own life on the line--but is it enough to save the city? With unparalleled danger and explosive action, The 9th Judgment is James Patterson at his compelling, unstoppable best!

My Mini Review

Another good, fast-paced book by James Patterson! I really enjoy this series by Patterson and always look forward to his next one. I started this series much later so I've been able to read them closer together than people who have followed from the beginning, which I think helps me interested. While I really liked this book, I think Patterson has some other novels that are a bit better. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with this book, and like I said, I still enjoyed it. I found the plot line interesting and it kept me hooked. I like this series and I'll continue to read them! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

[Review] We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publishing Date: Aug. 18, 2015
320 Pages
Format: ARC, hardcover
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 5 stars


From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers comes her much-anticipated new novel about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds.

For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now fifteen, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life.

Navigating this new terrain is challenging for Letty, especially as Luna desperately misses her grandparents and Alex, who is falling in love with a classmate, is unwilling to give his mother a chance. Letty comes up with a plan to help the family escape the dangerous neighborhood and heartbreaking injustice that have marked their lives, but one wrong move could jeopardize everything she’s worked for and her family’s fragile hopes for the future.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh blends gorgeous prose with compelling themes of motherhood, undocumented immigration, and the American Dream in a powerful and prescient story about family.

My Review

I LOVED this book! I thought it was so, so good! I read Diffenbaugh's first book, The Language of Flowers, earlier this year for my book club and fell in love with Diffenbaugh's writing style. That book was so original and full of emotions; I knew I needed to get her next book. When I started reading We Never Asked for Wings, I was immediately hooked. I finished it in three days while traveling to and from Chicago for the weekend. I never wanted to put this book down. 

Letty is a young mother of two children; she got pregnant at 17 and wasn't ready for motherhood. As a result, her mother raised her two children until one day, her mother and father leave California to return to Mexico. Letty's forced to grow up and start caring for her children. It definitely isn't smooth sailing and they have a lot of issues. But what I loved so much was watching as Letty grew up, matured, and became the mother that her children needed. It's a lot of trial and error with Letty, her son Alex, and her daughter Luna. Alex is a young, high school kid trying to find his way in the world, and Luna is a spunky 6 year old who loves her mother unconditionally. Things don't go perfect, but they are a family and learn to work things out together. This is another really great book by Diffenbaugh; so original and thought-provoking. I really loved Letty and Alex as characters and I couldn't wait to keep reading their story. I wish it didn't have to end! 

I know this book was just released, but I seriously can't wait until Diffenbaugh writes something else! She's easily a favorite author of mine!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

[Review] One in a Million by Jill Shalvis

One in a Million by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor, #12
Publisher: Grand Central
Publishing Date: Oct. 14, 2014
368 Pages
Format: purchased, paperback
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 4 stars


As the brains behind wedding site, Callie sees it all: from the ring to the dress, the smiles . . . to the tears. It's that last part that keeps her single and not looking. Getting left at the altar will do that to a girl. But when Callie returns to her old hometown, she finds that her sweet high school crush is sexier than ever. And he makes it hard to remember why she's sworn off love . . .

Tanner is a deep-sea diver with a wild, adrenaline-junkie past—and now his teenage son is back in his life. How can Tanner be a role model when he's still paying for his own mistakes? It's hard enough that gorgeous Callie has appeared in town like a beautiful dream, challenging his best-laid plans to keep his heart on lockdown. Though there's something about being around her again that makes him feel like he can be the man she—and his son—deserve. Little Lucky Harbor holds their past; can it hold a beautiful new future?

My Review 

I've been on a romance kick lately and can't get enough of it! It's always been my first love in book genres and my favorite fall-back when I'm not sure what else to read. I don't think I've read anything by Shalvis before but this certainly won't be the last! I really loved this story. Callie and Tanner are so much fun together. I love high school crushes that bloom later in life. It's great to see how they interact and how flustered Callie gets around him. This book had a little bit of everything you want in  a romance story. I really can't wait to get more books by Shalvis! She's definitely great at what she does. I highly recommend this book (and I'm guessing her others) if you like romance stories. Plus, Callie's grandmother is really funny (:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

[Review] Meant-to-Be Mom by Karen Templeton

Meant-to-be-Mom by Karen Templeton
Series: Jersey Boys, #4
Publisher: Harlequin
Publishing Date: March 17, 2015
224 Pages
Format: purchased, paperback
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 3 stars



Sabrina Noble's Journal

Dear Diary,

You'll never believe who I spotted on my first day back in Maple River -- the one who got away, Cole Rayburn. He's definitely not the same kid I swung on the monkey bars with. In fact, Cole is more handsome than ever and has two adorable tweens.

There's definitely still something between Cole and myself…but I get the sense that his ex burned him and his kids pretty badly. Now that I'm back in New Jersey, I'm spending more and more time with the Rayburn clan, and I'm honestly loving it. But can I be the bonus mom these kids deserve and have the husband I've always dreamed of? Or is it true that you can't go home again?

My Review

I picked up this book because I wanted a quick, easy romance. And that's what I got. It was a short book about two former high school friends. They haven't seen each other in years, and haven't spoken for that long. Something happened between the two of them that we don't really find out until later in the book. But these two fit together well; Cole has two children from a previous marriage and Sabrina dotes on them. Cole's son is a little hesitant to get too close to Sabrina, but she slowly breaks down those walls. I wish there was a little more romance in this book, though. I felt like a lot of it was just building their friendship back up, which is obviously important, but then it's not until the very end that things start to heat up between them. I just wish it had happened sooner and we saw a little more romance with them! Overall, good, quick book. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

[Review] Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand
Series: Winter, #1
Publisher: Little Brown & Co
Publishing Date: Oct. 14, 2014
256 Pages
Format: hardcover, library
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 3 stars


In bestseller Elin Hilderbrand's first Christmas novel, a family gathers on Nantucket for a holiday filled with surprises.

Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket's Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can't get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley's second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines. 

As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who's playing Santa at the inn's annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley's ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn. 

Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.

My Review

This was our winter pick for my book club and I was excited to read it. I've read other novels by Hilderbrand and I've always really enjoyed them; plus, it's a winter themed novel and what a better time to read it?! 

This what a pretty short, quick book. There's a lot going on with the different family members, and everyone kind of has their own secrets. As the story unfolds, we learn what these secrets are and how the family handles them. It's great to see the family come together in tough times and really support one another. 

This is a mini review, but I really did enjoy this book and I'm glad I read it. Great holiday read. I can't wait to read more of Hilderbrand's work. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

[Review] The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber

The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder by Charles Graeber
Publisher: Twelve
Publishing Date: April 15, 2013
276 Pages
Format: hardcover, library
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 3 stars


After his December 2003 arrest, registered nurse Charlie Cullen was quickly dubbed "The Angel of Death" by the media. But Cullen was no mercy killer, nor was he a simple monster. He was a favorite son, husband, beloved father, best friend, and celebrated caregiver. Implicated in the deaths of as many as 300 patients, he was also perhaps the most prolific serial killer in American history.

Cullen's murderous career in the world's most trusted profession spanned sixteen years and nine hospitals across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When, in March of 2006, Charles Cullen was marched from his final sentencing in an Allentown, Pennsylvania, courthouse into a waiting police van, it seemed certain that the chilling secrets of his life, career, and capture would disappear with him. Now, in a riveting piece of investigative journalism nearly ten years in the making, journalist Charles Graeber presents the whole story for the first time. Based on hundreds of pages of previously unseen police records, interviews, wire-tap recordings and videotapes, as well as exclusive jailhouse conversations with Cullen himself and the confidential informant who helped bring him down, THE GOOD NURSE weaves an urgent, terrifying tale of murder, friendship, and betrayal.

Graeber's portrait of Cullen depicts a surprisingly intelligent and complicated young man whose promising career was overwhelmed by his compulsion to kill, and whose shy demeanor masked a twisted interior life hidden even to his family and friends. Were it not for the hardboiled, unrelenting work of two former Newark homicide detectives racing to put together the pieces of Cullen's professional past, and a fellow nurse willing to put everything at risk, including her job and the safety of her children, there's no telling how many more lives could have been lost.

In the tradition of In Cold Blood, THE GOOD NURSE does more than chronicle Cullen's deadly career and the breathless efforts to stop him; it paints an incredibly vivid portrait of madness and offers a penetrating look inside America's medical system. Harrowing and irresistibly paced, this book will make you look at medicine, hospitals, and the people who work in them, in an entirely different way.

My Review

A co-worker of mine told me about this book because she's been meaning to read it for a while. And because I work in the legal field and medical field a little, I was very interested. I grabbed a copy of this from my library and dove right in. I didn't know too much about this book when I started except that it was about a nurse who killed patients, but I soon found out a lot more. 

This was an interesting book. Charles Cullen first started as a nurse in the late 1980's and continued to practice until the early 2000's. Throughout that time, he worked in 9 or 10 different facilities, and killed people at all of those. I found it very intriguing how he stole the medication, how he chose patients (sometimes chose them, sometimes left it up to whoever got a specific IV bag), and how he didn't get caught for so long! So many facilities had concerns about him and he was often involved in internal investigations. But because of the lack of technology in those times, and the nature of the medical field, they couldn't prove that he was actually killing patients. It took many years before everything was out in the open and he finally admitted to killing about 40 patients, though some experts say it was as many as 400. 

It's always fascinating to get into the minds of killers even though many won't admit to why they did it. I thought this author did a pretty good job laying out all the facts, keeping my interest, and showing Cullen's true, cold character. Interesting read and if you like true crime or medical crime, I would suggest picking this up. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

[Review] After You by Jojo Moyes

After You by Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You, #2
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publishing Dates: Sept 29, 2015
Format: ARC, hardcover
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 5 stars


How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.

My Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I had a bad book hangover after reading Me Before You (first review here; second here). I couldn't get over how amazing Lou and Will's story was, and I didn't want to to be over. Once I found out there was going to be a movie, it helped my hangover a little. And then I saw there was this sequel. I couldn't wait to get a copy of it! It did sit on my shelf a little longer than I wanted it to, but I had to get to some others first. Plus, let's be honest, I was a little nervous about starting this. I loved Me Before You so much that I was really worried this wouldn't be as good. 

Thankfully, my worries were unfounded. I really, really enjoyed After You. It was slower paced than Me Before You, but good nonetheless. I enjoy Lou as a character and I liked finding out what happened to her after the end of the last book. We saw her grow so much in Me Before You and in After You, she regresses a little. But I think that's to be expected after you lose someone you love. But as the book, and her life, moves on, she slowly starts coming out of her depression and living a little more. There are certain characters that help her with this and it's interesting to see how they all interact. 

I know some people felt this book wasn't necessary, but I'm glad it was written. I like Lou as a character, I wanted to find out what happened to her after, and I really like Moyes' writing. I thought she did a good job of giving the readers more info about Lou without taking away from the story in Me Before You. Very much enjoyed this book!

Monday, November 16, 2015

[Review] Re-read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publishing Date: Dec. 31, 2012
Format: paperback, purchased
369 Pages
Goodreads rating: 5 stars
First read: March, 2014


Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

My Review

This is a re-read for me! I wanted to read this again before I picked up After You, the sequel. It's been a little over a year and a half since I last read this and I actually forgot quite a bit, so I'm glad I read it again. See my first review here!

Last year, when I finished this book, I said it was easily one of my favorite books and one of the best book buying decisions I've ever made. I couldn't wait to re-read it, but I always have reservations about re-reading one of my favorites because I'm worried I won't like it quite as much. I couldn't have been more wrong! I absolutely loved this book just as much, if not more, the second time around! Everything I loved about it the first time was amplified the second time. I absolutely love Will and Louisa as characters. They are so incredibly real and I can easily relate to them. Will has had something horrible happen to him, and unfortunately, it changed his life forever for the negative. While I can't understand what it's like to be in his situation, I can empathize. He led a HUGE life before his accident and he struggles with not being able to do the same things. 

On the other hand, Louisa leads a very quite, very simple, if not boring life. She works, she goes home, she sometimes sees her boyfriend. But once she begins working with Will, he pulls her out of her shell. Little by very little, we see her grow. She argues with Will, tells him when he's being a complete ass, but also goes along with his wishes to show him she can. She really is different from the beginning of the book. 

And together, these two are beautiful. I cried so much throughout this book; more than I thought I would since I already knew what was happening! Part of me kept wishing this book would end differently. But at the same time, I realize the end is what makes this book so wonderful. I really can't get enough of this book or Jojo Moyes' writing! 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

[Review] Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Series: Infernal Devices, #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: Aug. 31, 2010
479 Pages
Format: paperback, won
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 3.5 stars


In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them...

My Review

I won a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster in 2014 for a 31 days of reading giveaway. Unfortunately, it's been sitting on my shelf since then! I decided to pick this one up recently, and I'm really glad I did! I really liked this book and I'm very interested in reading the rest of this series and the Mortal Instruments series as well. It's full of fantasy and interesting characters. I wasn't sure if I would be super interested in this steampunk world. But once I started reading, I was hooked. I really liked the characters, especially Tessa, Will, and Jem; they were unique in their own ways. Will was a tough character to figure out, and I'm not sure I quite have, even after the book ended. And I feel really bad for Jem, but I can't elaborate without giving anything away! This book was full of adventure and suspense. I wasn't sure what was going to happen or which characters I could trust. Overall, it kept me interested and wanting to know more. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

My Fall TBR List!

I'm a little behind for posting this for a fall list, but it's not quite winter yet either, and since I love making lists, I figured I'd do fall first! These are the books I'm planning to read within the next few weeks, which will probably transfer over to my winter list.

1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
currently reading this one and it's very good so far! 

2. The 9th Judgment by James Patterson 

3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes 

This will be a re-read so I can read... 

4. After You by Jojo Moyes

5. We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

6. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

7. The Stranger by Harlan Coben

8. One in a Million by Jill Shalvis 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

[Review] The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publishing Date: Oct 1, 1999
546 Pages
Format: paperback, purchased
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 1 star


The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it -- from garden seeds to Scripture -- is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa. The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy.

My Review

I first heard of this book when I was at my aunt's house and she told me how much she liked it. So I borrowed it from her and started reading. I got about 1/3 or 1/2 way through and put it down. I can't remember exactly why I stopped reading it, if it was another book I picked up, lost interest, or what. But regardless, I had my aunt's copy a long time and I needed to give it back to her. So when I saw this at my local used book store, I picked up a copy for myself because I was really interested in reading it (and finishing it this time). 

My book club picked it for last month's read, so it was the perfect time to get back into it. But the problem was, I couldn't! It was a really slow start for me and I never really got into the story. I struggled to read it, often putting it down, and couldn't concentrate on the book when other things were going on, like my husband watching tv next to me. I didn't enjoy it at all. I found some of the characters to be annoying and their chapters dragged on for me. 

It's disappointing because I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, it didn't do it for me. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

[Review] Lip Service by Susan Mallery

Lip Service by Susan Mallery
Series: Lone Star Sisters, #2
Publisher: HQN
Publishing Date: June 1, 2009
366 Pages
Format: paperback, purchased
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 3.5 stars


Skye Titan's wealthy father thinks he can still dictate his daughter's choice in men. Now widowed and a single mother, Skye isn't the yes-girl she once was. Especially since the love of her life is back in Texas after eight long years. He won't like the answers to the questions he's asking. About why she left him at the altar. And about her eight-year-old daughter.

Former navy SEAL Mitch Cassidy comes home to find nearly everything different. His wounds from battle have changed the way people treat him. His cattle ranch is suddenly organic. But time hasn't touched his desire for Skye -- or the sting of her betrayal. Forget lip service. He's asking that luscious mouth of hers to reveal the truth. But will Mitch be able to put the past aside to help Skye get out from under her father's thumb and help himself recover from a broken heart?

My Review

I was really in the mood to read a romance novel, so I went to the book store and picked one up that sounded interesting. I had heard of Susan Mallery before as a romance novelist, but haven't read any of her work. 

This was a pretty good book. I love stories about couples that knew each other/date previously, lost touch for whatever reason, and then get back together. I just find it so sweet and makes me think that if you're meant to be with someone, somehow it will happen. Yes, I understand it's just fiction, but it still gives me a little hope for all those people out there! 

Skye has an interesting lifestyle; she's very wealthy and lives at home with her dad, sister and young daughter after her husband died. Despite being very wealthy and not needing to work, she starts a non-profit foundation for feeding hungry children. She leads a very different lifestyle from what her father wants for her. And to sum it up, he's a jerk. He just wants to bully his kids and everyone he knows into doing what he wants. While this is all going on, there's a little something else with a long-lost family member, but I can't divulge to much without spoilers! 

On the other hand, Mitch is an injured Navy veteran who has a big chip on his shoulder and he doesn't care who he hurts when he comes home, especially Skye. But he soon realizes that there's more to life than being angry all the time. It's really interesting to watch him and Skye interact with each other. We watch as they both let go of anger and learn to trust each other and while it's sometimes heartbreaking, it's fun to watch!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Break in Two by MJ Summers

Break In Two by MJ Summers
Publisher: Indigo Group
Publishing Date: Nov. 5, 2013
Format: ebook
420 Pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 3 stars


Thirty-one year old Claire Hatley is running from Seattle having just discovered that her live-in boyfriend has traded her in for a twenty-two year old hostess. Devastated and alone Claire must make a fresh start. She answers an ad for a chef at a guest ranch just outside Colorado Springs and finds herself face to face with Cole Mitchell, quite possibly the sexiest man to ever ride a horse. Common sense tells them to stay away from each other, but their attraction is not to be denied. He gives her a glimpse of what love should be, but just as she starts to trust him, the past comes back to tear them apart.

Join Claire and Cole as they embark on the stormy love affair of a lifetime.

My Review

I grabbed this book when it was free on Amazon a while ago.  I found the characters to be a interesting and I was really hooked in the beginning. They characters had really strong chemistry and I loved reading about them. The setting in Colorado was beautiful, too. Or what I imagine would be really beautiful. 

But I felt that the book dragged out a little too much for me. It was a pretty good book, but unfortunately wasn't my favorite. I felt like when the book should have wrapped up, or at least been close to ending, it was actually only about halfway through. Normally I don't say that about books, but sometimes you  just know when a story should end. Maybe it's just me, but I felt something was taken away from the story by having it so long. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

[Review] Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publishing Date: Jan. 4, 2011
322 Pages
Format: paperback, purchased
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 3 stars


From Lisa Genova—whose novel Still Alice is soon to be a major motion picture starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth, and Kristen Stewart—comes this New York Times bestselling novel of resilience in the face of a devastating diagnosis. A vibrant mother in her thirties learns what matters most in life when a car crash leaves her with a traumatic brain disorder called "left neglect."

Sarah Nickerson, like any other working mom, is busy trying to have it all. One morning while racing to work and distracted by her cell phone, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In that blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her over-scheduled life come to a screeching halt. After a brain injury steals her awareness of everything on her left side, Sarah must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole. In so doing, she also learns how to pay attention to the people and parts of her life that matter most. 

In this powerful and poignant New York Times bestseller, Lisa Genova explores what can happen when we are forced to change our perception of everything around us. Left Neglected is an unforgettable story about finding abundance in the most difficult of circumstances, learning to pay attention to the details, and nourishing what truly matters.

My Review

For those of you who follow or have read posts on my blog, you probably know that I'm a big fan of Lisa Genova's work. I really loved Still Alice and Inside the O'Briens was another great work as well.  I knew when I saw this one on the shelf that I had to grab a copy. I love how she takes this very real, very scary disorder, and creates a captivating book. I love learning about these disorders, but it also makes me very sad for those that have to endure these difficulties. I can't imagine not being able to see or use anything on the left (or right) side of your body. It's a crazy concept to me and I've never heard of anything like it. 

The characters in this book are really sympathetic too. All Sarah wants is to go back to her normal life that she's used to. But after the accident, she has to learn that she can't pick up where she left off. It's sad to watch her struggle through the daily tasks of walking, eating everything on her plate, using both hands, etc. And her husband is really great to her. Sure, they struggle with her new disorder and it's something they both have to cope with, but he does everything he can to make things easier, including covering their house with florescent tape to help her see things easier. 

The title of this book is very creative and the storyline is incredibly original. If you're looking good medical-type book, this is one I'd recommend. If you're not sure about the medical language and aspects of the book, don't let it scare you away! It's truly a good book and very eye-opening.