Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 10/24/21: Another busy week and book updates

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….


Happy Sunday everyone. I hope this post finds you well. How is October flying by so fast? Fall is definitely in the air, it’s 55 degrees here today. I’m enjoying my Starbucks hot chocolate and toasted croissant as I type this.

It’s been a very busy last couple of weeks. I wanted to blog last week but just could not make any time for it and last Sunday I was bedridden with a migraine from the morning into the late evening. I think that was my body’s way of telling me I needed a break. I also put in 5 hours of community service at a church this past week packing bags of food for those in need then helping distribute them. It feels nice helping out and I do this once a year. Although it’s a drop in the bucket compared to those who volunteer on a regular basis or those who run these charities…they do so much. We packaged and handed out a little over 100 bags of food to people last Tuesday.
And to top if off, my step-father surgery last week so it’s been a week of hospital visits since he was admitted for 7 days. He’s okay, recovering at home now from a complicated gall bladder surgery and we’ve been helping my mom with things while he gets better. Needless to say I’ve been physically and mentally exhausted these few weeks and my reading time has been put on the back-burner unfortunately. I hope this upcoming week will be easier and less stressful.


On another note, Otis’ Halloween costume arrived a few weeks ago so I’ll be sharing pics next updates post 🙂 Can you guess what he will be? Hint: the first film came out in 1977.

onto my bookish updates…..

in my mailbox:

A copy of Our Trespasses: A Paranormal Thriller by Michael Cordell came via the author for a November review. This sounds like a good one, I like the paranormal twist.

coming soon:

I’m behind on my reviews but I’m aiming to get my thoughts on Simple Tryst of Fate: Some Rules are Meant to be Broken by D.M. Barr up this week.


watching:

We’ve been watching the new season of You on Netflix which is really good. Also, I re-watched Alias Grace on Netflix which was worth the re-watch. And we watched the very popular Squid Game. What are you watching?


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crochet:
I recently crocheted two sets of these, one for myself in grey and one for my daughter in blue. These are scarves with a matching ear warmer.







That wraps up my updates, thank you for stopping in. I’ll be blog hopping this week and catching up. Enjoy your weekend!


Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The photos in this post are my own and not to be removed from here.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 10/10/21: October Updates

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….


Happy weekend everyone. I hope this post finds you well. It’s a nice 3 day weekend so I’m glad for the extra day off. The hybrid schedule at work is permanent so I’m working from home this whole upcoming week. There’s something to be said for being able to take conference calls in your pajamas and going to work with no commute.

It’s been a busy past few weeks and we’ve been doing the Fall things while the pretty season lasts. We went apple picking a few weekends ago which was fun. With the apples we picked and the cider that we bought there we’ve made apple cider pancakes, apple cake and apple muffins.


We also took a road trip and spent a two days in Gettysburg PA this past week which was amazing. I love history specifically Civil War history. I’ll share pics at the end of this post. This visit included a ghost hunting tour at the Gettysburg Orphanage.

Also of note, I met author Nicholas Sparks a few weeks ago! He was on book tour promoting his latest book and his first tour stop was in New Jersey in a bookstore about 30 minutes from us. I’ll share more about that under the mailbox section of this post.

onto my bookish updates….

recently on the blog:

I shared my thoughts on Dark Prince by Christine Feehan


I also posted about Seven Perfect Things. Author Catherine Ryan Hyde retweeted my tweet and tanked me for the review which was very nice of her.


in my mailbox:

My daughter and I met author Nicholas Sparks in September. We attended his book signing event and got autographed copies of his latest The Wish.
This was special since we read his books together it was awesome getting to meet him in person. We got there just 5 minutes early and we were already number 319 in line to meet him. They made everyone wait outside the bookstore then they call people in about 10 at a time to go inside to see him and get a picture with him. Masks were mandatory until it came time to take the pic and there was a glass between himself and us.




Also in my mailbox is The Thin Place via Amazon Publishing. This one sounds really good so I can’t wait to get to it.

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Also of note…Fratertest is coming up on the 15th. Are you participating? I have several spooky reads to choose from and I am aiming to read two for this event.


That covers my updates for now, I’ll close with a few photos of our Gettysburg visit. Thanks for stopping in, I’ll be returning visits today and tomorrow. Enjoy your week ahead and happy reading. Let me know in the comments section what you’ve been up to.

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On our trip we visited the Military Park Museum, a few of the battlefields and went on a ghost hunting tour of the orphanage there one night. The ghost tour host was dressed up in Civil War era clothing and was in character as the head mistress at the time. The story surrounding this place is sad to begin with but seeing the historic building and going inside and hearing the children’s stories, seeing their photos, etc. was interesting. However, not mentioned on the tour site is that the tour ends with about a 40 minute visit to the orphanage basement in which the tour guide shut of all the lights while we sat in total darkness for about the longest 5 minutes of my life. Ghost Adventures filmed an episode here.


The tour of the orphanage took place around the outside of the two buildings and inside. This is a view of some of the Soldiers National Cemetery from behind the orphanage.

Our ghost tour guide.


Peaceful view of Cemetery Hill Battlefield early one morning. This was after the rain so it was foggy and added to the atmosphere. Visiting these sites is amazing but also unsettling when you think of all that happened here. Most of Gettysburg feels this way. The hotel we stayed at was used as a Civil War hospital at one point.


A memory tree. They’re called this because they witnessed the battle.




These are some of my favorite pics I took on the battlefields. I lowered the saturation to give them a vintage look. We visited Devil’s Den and Little Round Top this visit as well as Cemetery Hill.



Flag inside the museum. They have so many interesting artifacts on display here.


Union officer’s coat. One side of the photos on the wall behind this are soldiers from the North and the other side are soldiers from the South.


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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The photos in this post are my own and not to be removed from here.

Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde



source: review copy via Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley
title: Seven Perfect Things
author: Catherine Ryan Hyde / Twitter
genre: fiction
pages: 320
published: May 2021
first line: When Elliot opened the door, the woman on his welcome mat stuck him as bizarrely young.
rated: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Blurb:
A heart-stirring novel about the joy that comes from finding love in unexpected places by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Thirteen-year-old Abby Hubble lives in an unhappy home in the Sierra Nevada foothills where her father makes life miserable for her and her mother, Mary. One day Abby witnesses a man dump a litter of puppies into the nearby river. Diving in to rescue all seven, she knows she won’t be able to bring them home. Afraid for their fate at the pound, she takes them to an abandoned cabin, where all she can offer is a promise that she’ll be back the next day.

To grieving widower Elliot Colvin, life has lost meaning. Looking for solace, he retreats to the hunting cabin he last visited years ago, before his wife’s illness. What he discovers is not at all what he expected: seven puppies and one determined girl with an indomitable heart.

As Abby and Elliot’s friendship deepens, Abby imagines how much better her life—and the puppies’ lives—would be if her mother were married to Elliot instead of her father.

Seven Perfect Things is a story about joy, where to find it, how to know it when you see it, and the courage it takes to hang on to it once you have it.


My thoughts:
I have yet to read a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde that I didn’t enjoy. This author has a way of writing wonderful stories about everyday people who do everyday things to help each other out. She writes about everyday heroes so well.

Seven Perfect Things revolves around 13 year old Abby, her mother Mary, newly widowed Elliot and 7 puppies. Abby finds herself responsible for a litter of 7 puppies and in trying to take care of them she’s also learning life lessons about responsibility and trust. The puppies need her, and she needs them.

Abby’s mother Mary married young and has lived in an unhappy marriage to her verbally abusive and controlling husband since then. Dependent on her husband financially she continues to say with him.

Elliot’s wife recently passed away and he goes to his vacation cabin in the woods for peace and quiet before he returns to work in the city. At the cabin is when he meets Abby and the puppies by a twist of fate. As the story flows, Mary, Abby and Elliot form a bond. The puppies bring theses three together.

Like I said, I really enjoyed Seven Perfect Things. I sped right through it. I found myself invested in these characters and the puppies tugged at my heartstrings of course. Abby was written really well and I rooted for her from the start. She finds these puppies who need help and she does everything she can to care for them. I felt bad for Mary who was always on edge worried about her husband’s moods. She has an awakening and finally realizes how her life revolves around her husband and that staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of her daughter is doing more harm that good. Elliot is grieving the recent loss of his wife and in meeting Abby and Mary he finds a new purpose in helping them out.

The ending was nice as well and nothing felt rushed. These three seemed like real people with real daily struggles to overcome. I recommend Seven Perfect Things if you’re looking for an engaging read with realistic and relatable characters.

“Though she couldn’t quite put it into words, she resented having been thrust into a world where such perfect little beings could be treated as worthless. She knew she had been living in that world all along, but she resented having been forced awake. Forced to recognize it. But the puppies themselves…they were perfect.”Seven Perfect Things, 21% Kindle



About the Author:
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of forty books (and counting). An avid traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she shares her astrophotography with readers on her website.

Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association (ALA) for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than twenty-three languages in over thirty countries. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow list, and Jumpstart the World was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. Where We Belong won two Rainbow Awards in 2013, and The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award in 2015. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other journals; in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts; and in the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Copilot. Her stories have been honored by the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and have been nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in the annual Best American Short Stories anthology.

She is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

For more information, please visit the author at www.catherineryanhyde.com. – quoted from Amazon



Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. My copy of Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde came via Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Dark Prince by Christine Feehan



source: own
title: Dark Prince (The Dark Book 1)
author: Christine Feehan
pages: 314
published: 1999
genre: paranormal romance
first line: He could no longer fool himself.

blurb:
Enter the enchanting world of the Carpathians, where dark adventure, mystery, and love await, and the desires of two daring hearts unite in one irresistible passion.

A telepathic hunter of serial killers, Raven Whitney helps catch some of the most depraved criminals. But her work keeps her from getting close to others, and has drained her body and spirit. In need of rest and rejuvenation, she embarks on a vacation far from home.

Mikhail Dubrinksy is the Prince of the Carpathians, the powerful leader of a wise and secret ancient race that thrives in the night. Engulfed by despair, fearful of never finding the mate who can save him from the encroaching darkness, his soul cries out in loneliness. Until the day a beautiful voice full of light and love responds, softly soothing his pain and yearning.

From the moment they meet, Raven and Dubrinksy are helpless to resist the desire that sparks between them. But just as fate unexpectedly brings these life mates together, malevolent forces threaten to destroy them and their fragile love. Yet even if they survive, how can these two lovers — Carpathian and human — build a future together? And how can Dubrinksy bring Raven into his dark world without extinguishing her beautiful goodness and light?- quoted from the author’s website.


My thoughts:

Dark Prince is book 1 of 35 in the Dark Series. There are 35 books in this series so far! That’s impressive. I read this one after my daughter read it. She’s been on a reading kick lately and sometimes we like to read the same books so we can discuss. We bought this one a few summers ago at a used book shop while on vacation.



I wanted to like Dark Prince, I really did. I’m just glad this book didn’t put me into a reading slump because that’s what happens when I’m struggling with my current read. While the writing was entertaining, this just didn’t work for me, mainly because of Mikhail.

Who is Mikhail? Well. Mikhail Dubrinksy is the Prince of an ancient race of vampire shapeshifters called the Carpathians. As the story begins, Mikhail is depressed because he can’t find his soulmate. However, enter an American woman named Raven Whitney and viola! Love at first sight. Raven is in Budapest (I think that’s where this is set) taking a break to recover emotionally from her line of work helping the police find serial killers. She is telepathic and uses her abilities to help the police. That is actually a pretty cool job and I wish there was more mentioned about it in the book.

As the story moves along there’s a group of vampire hunters in town so Mikhail and his Carpathian family are attempting to stop these people. In the midst of the danger from the vampire hunters, central to the storyline is whether Mikhail and Raven can truly be together.

Mikhail is one of the most toxic and controlling characters I’ve ever read because he manipulates and gaslights Raven throughout the entire book. His attitude is that the knows what’s best for her. He’s also telepathic because why not and he’s constantly inside Raven’s mind reading her every thought. He has zero boundaries and honestly I think he should have been arrested. In real life someone doing what Mikhail was doing needs to go to jail for it. Among many other things, he drinks Raven’s blood without her permission and later justifies this by saying:

“The ritual demands the exchange of blood. It is not feeding hunger; it is purely a sensual exchange, a beautiful, erotic affirmation of love and trust. The first time I took your blood, I inadvertently took too much because I felt such ecstasy. I was out of control.
I was wrong to tie you to me without your understanding of what it all meant. But I allowed you to make the choice. You cannot deny it.”
-Dark Prince by Christine Feehan p. 185



Raven is a strong independent woman and she reminds Mikhail of this all the time. Unfortunately her words don’t quite match her actions. She should have either left him or held him accountable for his actions, she did neither. Instead she continues enable Mikhail’s toxic ways. Also, I would have liked to have seen more character development with her background story.

Once the main plot issue was pretty much resolved the story took a different twist and it almost felt like I was reading a second book. At this point the book started to drag on somewhat. Other characters are introduced so I’m imagining they make appearances in some of the other books.

I’m not trying to bash this one, this series seems to be popular and I actually enjoyed some of the dramatic writing. I would read author Christine Feehan again but maybe some of her more recent work instead. Her latest book in this series called Dark Tarot comes out on November 9.
I know this book is dated being published in 1999 but I just could not get over Mikhail’s toxic actions. Even for romance written a few decades ago that is too much.

Oh and the ending was crazy-sauce but was somehow perfect considering everything else….lol. I’ll close with a few snippets from the book.

“Mikhail lifted her easily with his enormous strength, slid her slowly, erotically down his clenching belly until she was pressed against his raging velvet tip. Her heat seared him, beckoned. Raven’s arm slid around his neck, her legs around his hips, opening for him. Slowly he lowered her body over his, impaled her on the thick length of fire…” -Dark Prince by Christine Feehan p.88


“The mixture of his tenderness and wild nature was so impossible to resist, Raven knew no other man could ever touch her as he had. There would only be Mikhail for her.”–Dark Prince p. 84

Have you read Dark Prince? What do you think of these types of older romances?





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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I purchased Dark Prince (The Dark Book 1) by Christine Feehan. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 9/19/21: Reading, Crochet etc.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….

Happy Sunday all. What an absolutely gorgeous weekend we are having here, the weather is perfect…sunny and high 70’s. I was going to get this post up earlier but we ran a few errands this morning and then I was out enjoying the weather afterwards.

This past week flew by so fast. It was a good week, I met my work deadlines, I got a yearly doctor’s visit out of the way on Monday morning and I got my flu shot over with also. After the side effects from the Covid vax over the Spring, the flu shot was a piece of cake lol.

Onto my weekly updates…..

recently on the blog:


I did a Top Ten Tuesday after so long. The topic was Books With Numbers In the Title.

in my mailbox:

I have a great mailbox this week and can’t wait to read these.


I am beyond excited about cuddling up in bed at night with my hot coco while reading Where They Wait by Scott Carson. This came via NetGalley/Atria Books It’s about a haunted sleep meditation app, what a great idea for a scary book.


I also received Simple Tryst of Fate: Some Rules are Meant to be Broken by D.M. Barr via Book Sirens which looks good.
crochet:
Here are a few photos of one of my latest projects. This is Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas. This was a fun pattern I found on ETSY from a crochet designer. I don’t usually follow other people’s patterns since I make my own, but this one caught my eye and I’m glad I found it.







The smaller one went to an Aunt who asked me for one.



Well, that wraps up my weekly updates. What are you doing? What are you reading? Enjoy your week! Thank you for stopping in 🙂

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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The photos in this post are my own and not to be removed from here.