Blog Update: School’s Out and Two Recent Reads

Linking up this week with Kimberly @ Sunday Post and Kathryn @ It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Hi, everyone! Apologies for being absent from the blogging world and posting sporadically. Life has been very busy with work and family, so blogging and reading time has suffered. The last day of school was just a couple of days ago, and I’m already feeling so much more relaxed. I plan on visiting blogs this weekend.

My daughter graduated from high school this month, and we’ve been busy with all the “last of” events that go along with that. She’s planning on pursuing a degree in music education. She’ll still be close by for college which makes the transition easier (especially for me!).

I finished the first project on my summer “to do” list, which was weeding my bookshelves. I ended up with five shopping bags of books to either donate or sell. I usually donate to the library, but I may try selling this time? Half Price Books is hit or miss with their offers.

Recently, I had a string of five books that ended up in the dreaded DNF pile. I know the fault was mine due to being too distracted and tired to focus. Luckily, I found a couple of books to get me out of my reading slump. I LOVE IT WHEN YOU LIE and THE SOULMATE were so good! Here are my quick thoughts:

I Love It When You Lie
I LOVE IT WHEN YOU LIE by Kristen Bird
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an engrossing and unique family drama/mystery/suspense set in the Appalachian woods of Alabama. The story is told from the POVs of three sisters and their sister-in-law. As the family gathers for their grandmother’s funeral, buried secrets, both past and present, threaten to come to the surface. I enjoyed how the author hid the identity of the missing person until later in the book, which definitely added to the suspense.

I loved these sisters, and I was quickly pulled in by their dilemmas. Each one had her flaws, but all were complex and compelling. Overall, this was an entertaining story about the strength of sisterly bonds, with some Southern Gothic atmosphere and revenge mixed in.

The Soulmate
THE SOULMATE by Sally Hepworth
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Are domestic thrillers supposed to be tearjerkers? Because that twist at the end! *cries* This was my first Sally Hepworth novel, and now I want to read all of her books.

In THE SOULMATE, a married couple lives in their dream cottage on a cliff by the sea, except for the fact that the cliff has become a popular location for troubled individuals to jump. Husband Gabe has become skilled at “talking people down” from the edge and saving many lives, until one fateful night a woman jumps anyway. Or did she? What is Gabe hiding from his wife, Pippa?

The short chapters and alternating POVs kept the pace moving quickly. One of the POVs was an especially unique and intriguing voice that added an extra depth to the story. This twisty thriller addresses mental health issues and toxic relationships. How much does someone have to take for the sake of their soulmate?

Highly recommended!

Reading/Reviewing Next: THE BLOCK PARTY by Jamie Day

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2022

Hello and Happy New Year! I’m linking up with Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday, a bookish meme for all who love lists and reading. There’s a new prompt each week, so check out her blog for details! Today’s topic is:

Favorite Books of 2022

Here’s a look at my top 10 12 books read in 2022. I did a lot of reading the first half of the year, really up through August. Then work started back and it killed my reading mojo, unfortunately. I finished the year strong though, completing a total of 90 books (about a third of those were children’s books). In no particular order, here are my favorites:

THE OVERNIGHT GUEST by Heather Gudenkauf

THE IT GIRL by Ruth Ware


THE NIGHT SHIFT by Alex Finlay

BENEATH THE STAIRS by Jennifer Fawcett

SUN DAMAGE by Sabine Durrant

FAMILY OF LIARS by E. Lockhart


THE FAVOR by Nora Murphy

WOULD I LIE TO YOU? by Aliya Ali-Afzal

142 OSTRICHES by April Davila

TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY by Linwood Barclay

Were any of these a top pick of yours last year? Or maybe on your worst list? Please let me know in the comments. Happy reading in 2023! — 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪

Blog Update: Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas!

This week I’m linking up with Sunday Post, Sunday Salon, and It’s Monday! What are you reading? Thank you for hosting, Kimberly, Deb, and Kathryn!

Happiest of holidays to all who are celebrating this time of year! It’s a tradition that the elves magically move to the kids’ stockings on Christmas Eve, because Santa takes them back to the North Pole after he visits. I know my kids are nearly adults, but they don’t seem to mind.

Like a lot of the US, we’ve been through a major cold snap here in Kansas with highs below zero. Even with a new coat, Ginger said “nope” to going outside. Smart girl.

I’ve read several books over the past few weeks, but haven’t had a chance to write many reviews. December is so busy! I’m hoping to get some reviews posted the week after Christmas and catch up on blog hopping.

Books I’ve Recently Read:

  • THE GUEST HOUSE by Robin Morgan-Bentley
  • HORRID by Katrina Leno
  • TWELVE SLAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Jacqueline Frost
  • THE HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET by Jennifer Sklias-Gahan
  • AN EGGNOG TO DIE FOR by Amy Pershing

I’ll leave you with a clip from my favorite new-to-me artist, Lindsey Stirling, an amazing violinist and songwriter. She has two Christmas/Winter albums that I’ve been listening to on repeat. I really love the video for Snow Waltz because it speaks to my gothic heart…

Thanks for stopping by & have a wonderful holiday! — 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Winter To-Read List

This week I’m linking up with Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday. Check out her blog for a new prompt every week! Today’s topic is:

Books on My Winter 2022-2023 To-Read List

Just last week I organized a “tbr-winter” tag on my LibraryThing account and ended up with 50 books (and counting). All of the books are set in winter or just give me a chilly feeling from the cover/blurb. For this list I picked out the ten I’m most looking forward to reading (alphabetized by title):

(1) THE FAMILY GAME by Catherine Steadman

(2) THE HOUSE OF WHISPERS by Laura Purcell

(3) IRON LAKE by William Kent Krueger

(4) THE LAST PARTY by Clare Mackintosh

(5) NOBODY BUT US by Laure Van Rensburg

(6) THESE SILENT WOODS by Kimi Cunningham Grant

(7) A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES by Alice Henderson

(8) THE STROKE OF WINTER by Wendy Webb

(9) THE WIDE STARLIGHT by Nicole Lesperance

(10) THE WRITING RETREAT by Julia Bartz

I have about a dozen Christmas cozy mysteries I’m wanting to tackle before the 25th, so I probably won’t start this list until the first of the year. Have you read any of these? What books are on the top of your winter list? Thanks so much for stopping by!

Mid-Fall Update — Hello out there…

I’m linking up with It’s Monday! What are you reading? Thank you for hosting, Kathryn!

Hi, all. It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on the blog, and I wanted to do so before Thanksgiving (next Thursday!!). Seems like every fall my reading and blogging slows down for one reason or another, and the same is true this year.

I’m getting over a bout of Covid (my first). It felt like a nasty cold, which wasn’t pleasant, but I know it could have been much worse without the vaccine. While I’ve been home sick, I’ve gotten lots of online Christmas shopping done. Add to cart!!

I did so-so with the R.I.P. XVII reading challenge. I read six books, but only really enjoyed a couple of them. Standouts were THE PLOT AND THE PENDULUM by Jenn McKinlay (cozy mystery) and THE GHOST OF DROWNED MEADOW by Kelley Skovron (middle grade horror).

Here’s a photo of my Halloween tree, which I just took down today. I love “Falloween,” it’s my absolute favorite season, but it just goes by way too quickly.

My TBR cart! I’m behind on my BOTM selections. I’ve heard wonderful things about THE CHANGE, THE CLOISTERS, and WHITE HORSE. And also VERITY and SPELLS FOR FORGETTING from the second shelf.

I’m currently reading STEEPED IN SECRETS by Lauren Elliot, the first book in the Crystals & CuriosiTEAS mystery series. I love a good paranormal cozy mystery.

It’s this sweet and silly girl’s birthday this weekend. Ginger is turning 10 years old! We’re fixing her favorite meal, grilled salmon and peas, so she can have a few bites. ♥

Until next time, take care. — 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪