Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 3/28/2021: Updates and Spring is in The Air

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, hope you are well. It’s been a beautiful week here in Jersey with Spring officially making its appearance. We’ve been taking our daily walks and enjoying the nice weather in the mid- 60’s and high 70’s some days with it still brisk in the mornings and evenings. That’s Otis in the photo enjoying the view on one of our walks by the lake last weekend.

A few things have changed since my last Sunday update. I got notice we are not back due to the office now until May so more employees can hopefully get vaccinated in the meantime. SIGH OF RELIEF. I am so grateful. And I finally was able to book my vaccine appointments! My first dose is this upcoming Wednesday. Wish me luck. This means I will be fully vaccinated by the time I go back to the office building in May. How do you feel about the vaccine? Are you getting it or passing on it?

Onto more updates below
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In my mailbox:

Red Deception by Gary Grossman arrived via BookTrib/MeryMoss Media.


Author Ivy Keating sent me a copy of her latest Sarana and the Dark King



Currently reading:

I’m finishing up Puppy Kisses by Lucy Gilmore which was provided by Sourcebooks Casablanca. I tried to finish this one and review it last week but my thoughts will be up this week.



Watching: I watched Into the Wild which was sad but also inspiring. I teared up more than once and I ended up ordering the book Into the Wild based on Chris McCandless’ story. Have you seen the film or read this one?


Crochet: Here is an “Inauguration Bernie” I crocheted a few months back. Bernie and his mittens went viral and so did this crochet pattern. I ordered pliable crafting wire for his glasses and my daughter shaped them for me.








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That covers this week’s updates. What are you up to lately? Stay well and enjoy your reading this week.

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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.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 3/21/2021: Book updates and the cat couch.

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….


Hello and happy weekend. Another week flew by and I’m glad March is coming to a close. It always feels like such a long month before Spring finally arrives.

I hope you are doing well and staying safe. My husband has been back to work for several months and now I just got the news they’re bringing us back to the office soon for alternating weeks. We’re still on the waiting list for the vaccine. I’d be lying if I said my anxiety is not sky high right now. I’ve been lucky enough to have been working from home for over a year and I had hoped we’d stay virtual through the summer at least but I guess not. Aside from the fear of possibly getting infected I don’t even know where to begin. Where are my work clothes even? I haven’t dressed business casual in over one year. Where is my makeup? I don’t think I know how to even walk in heels anymore.


Book-wise I finished a book this past week and posted my thoughts yesterday making it my first book review of 2021. I have not started another book yet but I think it will be Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery Book 1) up next.

Also, thank you for all the love on last week’s updates post. You guys are the best.

Onto more updates….


Recently on the blog:

I reviewed Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine here. This was a solid read although some of it was a little bit far-fetched.

In my mailbox:

Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde came via NetGalley. I have yet to read a book by this author that I didn’t enjoy.

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Watching:
We watched Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel which was very interesting and a little bit surprising. Have you seen this one?

Crochet:
I shared a few crochet photos last week so today I will share the cat couch pictures. I finished the cat couch in November 2020. This was a commissioned item. I am very proud of the result, I love the way it turned out. I adjusted the pattern a bit and it took me about 4 1/2 months to complete in between other things. This was commissioned by a family member that is why I agreed to do it in the first place but I will never take such a large project on again for commission. It is just too time consuming and I couldn’t possibly charge the true value for my time and effort on an item like this.




This is a little bit of the construction. Once I crocheted up all the several pieces I cut foam to size and placed it inside the seat, the cushions, the armrests and the backrest. I also doubled up on the foam pieces and hot glued them together so they would be sturdier and not slide out of place. After that I sewed the crocheted parts together and closed them up. The construction was a little bit complicated but I enjoyed the creativity of it and seeing it all come together. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to crochet so I wanted all the parts to match up, be flush and even all around the couch. I used up two pounds of yarn total on the whole thing. And I crocheted a granny square as a throw blanket on back and I made a small granny square throw pillow to match.



The hardest part was giving this couch away! Such a labor of love. I can’t recall the exact measurements but the couch was around 24 inches wide so it’s a pretty nice size. Now Otis needs a cat couch of his own. I plan on making one in a few months for him. I have a few projects on my hook now that I want to finish up first.
Next week I will share more of my crochet projects that I completed while on blogging hiatus.

That’s all for now. Happy weekend and happy reading. What are you up to?


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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.

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine



source: free copy via AmazonPrime reads
title: Stillhouse Lake
author: Rachel Caine
pages: 292 Kindle version
published: 2017
first line: Gina never asked about the garage.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

blurb:
Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

My thoughts:
Stillhouse Lake is an Amazon Prime free read book that I downloaded last year and finally now made the time to read it. This is book 1 in a 5 book series so far.
At the heart of the story is Gina Royal. She is a housewife and mother who has been unknowingly married to serial killer Mel for nearly a decade. The garage was his “workshop” and the police discover a corpse hanging from the ceiling. When Mel is arrested, Gina is also initially arrested because they suspect her of aiding and abetting. She’s found innocent and goes into hiding with her two children daughter Lanny and son Connor.

Due to their being connected to a serial killer, Gina and the kids receive death threats and are harassed by internet trolls and stalkers. Gina is now Gwen Proctor and never stays in one place for long. She’s got disposable phones, takes shooting lessons and owns guns. Gina and the kids currently reside in an area called Stillhouse Lake. Just as they are finally getting comfortable and considering maybe staying there long term, a corpse turns up in the lake and Gina/Gwen looks very suspicious. She wonders if her ex-husband is pulling some strings from prison.

“Mel infected me like a virus, and I have an unhealthy surety deep down that I’ll never get completely well again.” p. 20, Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Well, you need to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy Stillhouse Lake. I get Gina leaving and starting over with the kids but I wondered about there there being that many online stalkers being that kind of a threat to their lives. These stalkers would have to of had FBI connections the way Gina was acting in order to avoid them from finding her. Their motive is that they think Gina was helping her husband with the murders so they want her dead.
Also, Gina’s serial killer husband’s workshop was the garage and neither Gina nor the children ever went into the garage? Gina was just okay with her husband having a secret workshop in the garage with a padlock on it that she was not allowed to step foot in?



I liked that Gina is a strong woman and mother. She’s different now after finding out her husband is a serial killer. She reflects on how manipulative and controlling Mel was and on all the signs she missed. Gina is extremely over the top with paranoia and at one point she even goes through the motions in her mind of possibly having to shoot a cop who came to question her at home. The paranoia made her a somewhat irritating character. The children are likeable characters and the struggles they were going through with having trauma over their father as well as trying to acclimate to always being on the run etc. were believable. Much of Gina’s thoughts are about wondering if their lives can ever be normal.

As the story flows, there’s a few other characters introduced such as Javi from the gun range and the neighbor Sam and sometimes you don’t know who Gina can actually trust. Gina’s husband is still manipulating her from death row and I wondered how it would all wrap up. Also, why was Gina’s ex-husband so evil to her and the kids once he was caught? He really wanted her to suffer and didn’t care about the children anymore. He was a cardboard cutout of an evil villain.

Overall, Stillhouse Lake was a thrilling, well written story even if it was a little over the top. The ending wrapped it all up while leaving it wide open for the next installment and there’s a twist I did not see coming. This is the first book in the series but I don’t think I’ll be reading any of the others anytime soon.

“The hard part, I realize isn’t letting him know the truth; it’s this ripping fear inside now that he’ll turn his back on me, that this is the last moment we’ll be friends, or even friendly. I never thought that would hurt, but it does. The fragile little roots I’d been putting down, ripping away. Maybe it’s for the best, I try to tell myself, but all I feel is grief.” p.150, Stillhouse Lake

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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 am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my copy of Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine via AmazonPrime free reads. Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 3/14/2021: Long time no see.

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….



Hi everybody. It’s me. 🙂
How are you? Hope you are doing well.
So, I have not blogged since last November. If you are reading this thank you for stopping in. I have missed blog land but took an unexpected break. This past week was my one year anniversary of working from home since quarantine began in 2020. Surreal. It has been a crazy year but I am very grateful and feel blessed. As hard as some of the past year has been it has also been a time to stop and appreciate your blessings and remember what is most important, your family and loved ones and your health.

My reason for being away is #1. Work. I work 50+ hours a week from home, usually 10 hour days and sitting at a computer like that for so long leaves ZERO time or energy for blogging. It has been a year of working this way. So when I’m not working I do not want to be anywhere near the computer. #2. I went into a book slump and had no bookish updates to share. The last book I read was in October 2020. Then I got book mail from a publisher last month and I took that as a sign. I finally read my first book of 2021 last weekend and I read the whole thing in pretty much one sitting. My review is ready to post for April closer to the publication date. The book is called Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan and I am happy to share my thoughts on it next month.

Also, THANK YOU to my blog friends who reached out to me either by commenting here at my blog or through DM’s, Twitter, email. I appreciate your checking on me since I went MIA around here. I’ll be blog hopping today.

More updates below…..

In my mailbox:

My Dear Miss Dupré (American Royalty) by Grace Hitchcock arrived via Bethany House. I ordered a copy of Later by Stephen King. And Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan came via Meryl Moss Media. I read this one already and my review will go live early April.


coming soon:

I’m finally reading Stillhouse Lake by by Rachel Caine and it’s very good so far. I will be sharing my thoughts once I’m finished.



watching:
So many things. I recommend Bridgerton, Jodi Arias: An American Murder Mystery and the Night Stalker: The hunt for a serial killer. What have you been watching that you recommend?

crochet:
I have been crocheting alot. Here are a few of the things I’ve made these past few months, I will share a few more next week:









That covers my updates. Thank you for stopping in. I will start blog hopping this morning to catch up a little. I feel like I’m out of the loop book-wise. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone is doing/reading and I know I will be adding to my TBR as soon as I start blog hopping. Enjoy your weekend!



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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.