*Dusts Off The Blog*

HELLO!!!!

It has been a LONG while since I have last posted…so here’s a quick update.

I have been working virtually since March. One would think I would have all this extra time and with the start of the new school year, I have been SWAMPED. Trying to navigate teaching from home all while helping my 2 kids has been exhausting. I think I’m finally in a routine now where all is better.

My family was affected (temporarily) due to COVID. My husband lost his job and thankfully we’ve been able to stay afloat and he’s back to work now. During this time I also decided to take a stab into direct sales (I know, I know) and started to sell Scentsy (I love it, shoot me, haha). It actually took off better than I anticipated and I’ve been putting more energy into that. (Don’t worry, I won’t be bringing any of that over here, I’m a very, eh, if you want it you’ll come to me, low pressure, won’t even message you to see if you need anything hahahaha. Apparently my method is working, so that’s good news.)

I have recently picked up reading again. It took me awhile and I didn’t make my goal last year to read 52 books in a year. Bummer. I set my Goodreads goal for the same 52 books and so far I’ve read 4! I’ve also challenged myself not to buy a book this year (with the exception of Elin Hilderbrand). So far I’m holding strong. I’ve been using the library a lot and hope to get back into Netgalley after I catch up a bit.

We’ve also changed our spending habits and so my non-book buying should help with that. I have plenty of books in the house to go through and always have my library. I can even request 5 books a month if my library doesn’t carry them (oh you bet I use all 5 requests haha). We’re cooking at home more which kills me, because I love to eat out (well…take out at the moment with everything happening around us). So I’ll be looking for more easy and delicious recipes and maybe even share a few here too.

I have a backlog of reviews to do and I will slowly write them and post them. I can’t wait to catch up with all your blogs and get back into writing and more reading!!! Here’s to 2021!

Sunday Funday: “What Makes Me Pick Up A Book” TAG

Real quick: HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the Dads out there!!!!

I saw this on Kristin Kraves Books page and I just absolutely loved it so I decided to do it! If you enjoy this tag please fill it out yourself! I love seeing the little details behind all of us book bloggers!!

Do you judge a book by its cover?

Whether it’s wrong or right a cover has a huge influence on if I pick up a book to read or not. I’m not ashamed of this and I freely admit it!!

Focusing just on a cover, what attracts you to pick it up?

I don’t really know. I prefer my covers to have a picture of some kind on them…I don’t like cheesy covers, but cartoony covers (meaning the people may be solid block colors as opposed to real people) are ok, and I really like real images. I’m not big on covers that feature a person as the prominent feature, nor do I really enjoy books that just have the title and a pattern around it.

Do you read the synopsis first, or prefer to go in knowing nothing about the book?

I enjoy knowing not too much about the book. I find that when I read reviews, if a person has posted the blurb of the book I will skip over it and go right to their review of what they liked and didn’t like. Usually they have a brief synopsis and that lets me know if it involves something I’d like or not. When I hear about the book from the reader I know they are going to highlight the most important, broad part of the book and I enjoy that over a blurb. Sometimes this back fires and it’s like…wait…I thought I wanted to read this?! Haha, but overall I find with the method I use, I read books I end up enjoying!

Do you have any auto-buy authors?

Elin Hilderband & Teresa Driscoll are my top two! I will usually stop what I am doing and read these ASAP!

Are you more likely to pick up a book if it has specific elements/themes?

No. I have a favorite genre (thrillers), but I will give most any book a chance. Elements and themes really don’t matter to me.

Do you ever read a book that has generally negative reviews just to form your own opinion on it?

I will look at book reviews and see why it got bad reviews. A rule of thumb I use (on pretty much anything) is I go for the 3 star reviews. These are usually the most honest ones (books and products). They usually highlight what they liked and what they didn’t. If I see a lot of trending themes of why people didn’t like the book and it’s something I don’t enjoy, I will usually steer clear. If it’s something that I don’t mind, I’ll still have it on my list, but I usually have it down further on my list to read. There are so many books to read and I want to ENJOY what I’m reading. Most of my reviews on Goodreads are 4s and I know that may drive some people nuts, but I really look at what I’m reading and read books recommended to me. If I’m going to give a book hours of my time I want to enjoy it!

Do you ever buy a book just because another booktuber/blogger has talked about it a lot?

YES! This is where I find a lot of good books to pick up, from YOU! When I keep seeing a book over and over it’s like, I want to be in this club! You rarely let me down!

Is there anyone whose book recommendations you always trust?

Of course!!!! One of those being one of my friends who loves thrillers even more than I do. I know if she raves about a book it is going to be good! There are a few book bloggers that I look to for books as they have similar tastes to myself as well. More importantly I know the people I AVOID as I usually don’t enjoy books they recommend!

This was so much fun! I hope you take the time to do this yourself so we can learn more about each other as readers too!

Top Ten Tuesday

This week’s topic is…

Books I Meant To Read In 2018

Guys…that’s every book I own!  Haha, no, but really…I had every intention of reading the books I had on hand.  So…I suppose I shall make this list with the books that first come to mind that I really, really, intended on reading, but, for one reason or another just got pushed back…in no particular order here we go!

 

bigwoods

Big Woods by May Cobb

I purchased this on October 22, 2018 and really, really wanted to read it.  I got it for a steal at 99 cents and before I know it, it’s January 2019 and I still haven’t read it yet!  This will be a must for me soon!

 

winterstreetseries

Winter Street Series by Elin Hilderbrand

I fell in love with Elin Hilderbrand in 2018 so I decided I would buy her Winter Street series and have a binge read in December…well, I bought the books…guess what I will be reading in December this year (and if I’m not YELL AT ME)!

 

closerhome

Closer Home by Kerry Anne King

I had this book checked out for a month from the Kindle Owner’s Library and did I read it?  No.  So I finally just purchased it because I love her writing and this story line has me so intrigued.  I’m still kicking myself over not reading it when I had it checked out! Grrrrr…

 

thegreatalone

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

I bought it!  It has been on my list to read since it came out and I finally bought it in 2018!  Each time I saw a review of this book or saw it on social media I thought, I’m going to read it now…yet, here I am…

 

thefifthjurortheadvocate

The Fifth Juror & The Advocate by Lori Lacefield

I won a super sweet contest from Lori Lacefield where I won a $100 Amazon gift card and a new Kindle Paperwhite.  I bought her books (naturally) and I actually went to read these, however, I was slightly miffed that when you buy a box set on the Kindle, it all stays together.  I had every intention of reading the first book, another book inbetween, and then the second book, but, they were together, meaning, when it showed me how many pages and percentage was left, it was for BOTH books.  I had hoped that a box set would show as the 2 separate books but now I know and even if I save a few bucks, I will never buy a box set again on the Kindle!

 

brainonfire

Brain On Fire by Susannah Cahalan

I refound this book when I unpacked a stray box from our move in March 2017.  It went right to the top of my TBR pile, but, I never picked it up.  I would like to note that my day job is working with students with moderate, severe, and profound disabilities so this book really has me curious and will be one that I will read this year.

 

Well…it looks like I have a LOT of reading to do and I should get off of here and get to it!  Are any of these still on your TBR list?  Have you read any?  Any I should stop what I’m doing and read right away?

Book Review: Slay Bells

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. I apologize for the late holiday review (yes, I finished this in 2018), but, I’m still watching Hallmark Christmas movies.  I love the holidays!

This was my first cozy mystery read.  I will warn you right now, I am apparently not a cozy mystery genre fan.  I found this book to be too cheesy at times and lacked some substance for me.  However, I can look past what makes a cozy mystery a cozy mystery and provide an honest review about the overall writing. 

Despite all the cheesiness, I was hooked in to this book.  The premise is a troupe of performers stay at Plum Cottage while they perform nightly during the Christmas Festival in Christmas Village.  There are a lot of characters introduced in the beginning, to the point where it’s overwhelming, and are quite eccentric.  Mrs. Claus helps her friend who owns Plum Cottage and suddenly one of the troupe members is murdered.

What intrigued me was how the murder happened and who did it.  I could not forecast how exactly the murder happened nor could I figure out who did it (until much later in the book).  A second murder also occurs which is also as equally puzzling as the first; this is why I kept reading.

The premise of the murders was so mind boggling that I ignore the cheesiness of the book just to figure out how they were committed.  Mrs. Claus has a lot to do with solving the murders, which is something that is a bit bizarre.  And yes, there are references to her husband who is very busy this time of year, along with her pet ferrets, coincidentally named after famous reindeer.  I would have preferred a more realistic storyline instead of a happier, light one, but, to each their own.

I will say I was shocked with how both murders were committed.  I was not surprised at who did it, the author alludes to who did it as the book progresses.  However, those murders!  I really could not figure out in my head how they were committed and just wow.  The first body is found in the snow with no footprints around it.  I will say that how the murder occurred is revealed at the very end and blew my mind.  The second murder is crazy in its own right as well.  If not for the uniqueness of these murders, I doubt I would have kept reading.

Overall, I would rate this book 3.5 stars (which ultimately rounds up to 4 stars on Goodreads and Amazon).  I would recommend this book if you’re into a puzzling murder case around Christmas time and can look past an overly cheesy barrage of characters and storyline.  If you know you do not like cozy mysteries, don’t pick this book up.  If you are curious, go ahead and try it, just know that I warned you.

 

Details

Title: Slay Bells: A Christmas Village Mystery

Author: T.C. Wescott

Publisher: Better Mousetrap Books

Release Date: November 23, 2018

ISBN-10: 1732135819

Quick Link To Amazon Here