Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Reading Update and I’m Here

It’s been awhile huh? That’s what happens when it takes awhile to finish reading a book. And not much else is happening.

I’ve survived two treatments so far. I’m not noticing many side effects, but man, the weekend after treatment is rough. Both times I ended up with a migraine-like headache that lasted a couple of days. And urinating out what was put in me caused a few issues (which I wasn’t sure there was a correlation until the second treatment). I hope this is only because of the drug I have to take only 4 times. If I have the same issues after the drug I’m supposed to take forever (or close to forever), I won’t be a happy camper.

Of course, I may not be a happy camper during Christmas, as that falls in the weekend after my 4th treatment. Fun, fun… not.

Here’s what I read since my last update:

Book 36

Dates read: October 26 – November 14, 2022
Title: Heat 2
Year of publication: 2022
Author: Michael Mann & Meg Gardiner
Genre: Crime Drama
Series: N/A
# of Pages: 466
Paper or plastic: Hard cover
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: One day after the end of Heat, Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer) is holed up in Koreatown, wounded, half delirious, and desperately trying to escape LA. Hunting him is LAPD detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino). Hours earlier, Hanna killed Shiherlis’s brother in arms Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) in a gunfight under the strobe lights at the foot of an LAX runway. Now Hanna’s determined to capture or kill Shiherlis, the last survivor of McCauley’s crew, before he ghosts out of the city.
    In 1988, seven years earilier, McCauley, Shiherlis, and their highline crew are taking scores on the West Coast, the US-Mexican border, and now in Chicago. Driven, daring, they’re pulling in money and living vivid lives. And Chicago homicide detective Vincent Hanna—a man unreconciled with his history—is following his calling the pursuit of armed and dangerous men into the dark and wild places, hunting an ultraviolent gang of home invaders.
    Meanwhile, the fallout from McCauley’s scores and Hanna’s pursuit causes unexpected repercussions in a parallel narrative, driving through the years following
Heat.
   
Heat 2 projects its dimensional and richly drawn men and women into whole new worlds—from the inner sanctums of rival crime syndicates in a South American free-trade zone to transnational criminal enterprises in Southeast Asia. The novel brings you intimately into these lives. In Michael Mann’s Heat universe, they will confront new adversaries in lethal circumstances beyond all boundaries.
My thoughts: I read this because I enjoy Meg Gardiner’s books. Don’t know how much she contributed, but the story did start out a bit slower than I like (and it took me nearly 3 weeks to read it, but that’s a whole ’nother reason). I haven’t seen the movie “Heat” but was informed I didn’t have to (and that was correct). But I probably will eventually see it. Once I can find it on the television! It’s funny, I hadn’t read the book jacket before reading the book and didn’t know who played who in the movie. I really didn’t picture any of those actors playing the parts. Not even close.

Last week, Hubby and I took a little trip to Virginia to spend a couple of days with friends (they have a timeshare in Massanutten). We would have spent more than two days, but I had to be back for lab work and then my second treatment. It was nice to get away, even for a little bit. Saw James Monroe’s estate, a civil war site, and drove most of the Skyline drive this time around. Most of the leaves were gone or dead, but the last time Hubby and I drove the Skyline drive, it was snowing! So, we at least got to see some of the views this time around. Also saw lots of deer. But did I take any pictures? Of course not! I just don’t think about that until it’s too late. Oh well…

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Reading Update and Cruise News

Our next cruise was scheduled for Jan 8. Unfortunately, I have a treatment on Jan 12 that I can’t miss. We thought we were gonna lose out on the cruise. We thought wrong!

Technically, the day for us to cancel without penalties was on Oct 16th. We didn’t know for sure whether or not we could go until Oct 20th (figures, right?). We told the lady who helped book this cruise whether we could just transfer the payments to another cruise. She talked to her boss, explained the circumstances and how we were active cruisers, and they let us do it! So instead of leaving on the 8th, we’re leaving on the 21st. It’s a different cruise from a different port (out of Miami instead of Baltimore) and it’s an 8-day & 6-day cruise back-to-back (vs the 14-day cruise we had), but we didn’t lose any money. Well, we had to pay extra, since these cruises cost more, but it was less than what we would have lost if we had just cancelled.

While I’m bummed I have to have the cancer treatments, I was super happy that I still get to go on the cruise. And I’m sure by then (when I switch over from phase I to phase II) I’ll really need the break!

Here’s what I read since my last update:

Book 35

Dates read: October 14-25, 2022
Title: After The Bite
Year of publication: 2022
Author: Lynsay Sands
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Argeneau Vampires #35
# of Pages: 392
Paper or plastic: Trade paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: Immortal Enforcer Valerian just wants to relax. His last assignment had been more grueling than he’d care to admit, and golf has always helped him unwind. If golf course owner Natalie thinks it’s a little odd for him to tee off at sunset every evening, she’s keeping it to herself. The single mom is sexy as hell, and her little daughter, Mia, only adds to his delight. He knows Natalie is wary of a relationship of any kind…what will she think when she discovers he’s an immortal? His best course of action is to woo her the old-fashioned way.
    But the course of true love never did run smooth—especially for a vampire and a mortal. And when danger stalks Natalie, Valerian realizes he’s playing a game of life and death and if he loses this round, he risks losing her forever.
My thoughts: I so needed this book after reading The Witcher Chime (the book I finished before this one). I love the Argeneau series! Love the humor. Love the romance. And I love the suspense.

So… my first treatment went well. Lasted a lot longer than I expected, though. I expected one hour. It was THREE! I had an appointment with my cardiologist that I was a little bit late for. And I didn’t get the breakfast I had planned. I’ll know better next time.

So far I haven’t experienced any side effects. I had a headache the first couple of days, but that was it. I was told the effects are delayed with immunotherapy (whereas with chemotherapy, they happen almost right away). So we’ll see how I feel after the next treatment (on Nov 10).

My visit with the cardiologist went well. The mitraclip is working wonderfully. I still get tired climbing stairs or walking fast, but not as bad. On Saturday, we went to see the Penguins play in Columbus (against the Blue Jackets). Pens won, by the way—yay! After the game, in the parking garage, I didn’t have to stop to catch my breath climbing the stairs (and we were parked on the 4th level). Last time I had to stop twice! So I guess I can call that progress.

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Reading Update and an Online Class

The writing organization I belong with is having a month-long online class November 1-30, 2022. It’s only $25 for non-members, too! Here’s the details:


Writing guru Dwight Swain said it’s the author’s job to manipulate the emotions of the reader. There’s no better way for the author to do this than to put his/her/their characters through one roller coaster episode after another, taking the reader along for the ride.

But how much conflict, how much character angst is too much? How can the author keep the action from becoming cartoonish?

Long-time friend of COFW Digital Classes, Linnea Sinclair answers those questions and more in this fun and fast-paced (because torturing students is good, too!) workshop that explores the importance of conflict in today’s commercial fiction novels.

You can sign up on the website Classes - Central Ohio FictionWriters | Official Website (cofwevents.org). Last day to register is Nov 1. I’m taking the class, because I always learn something from Linnea Sinclair. She’s great!

Here’s what I read since my last update:

Book 34

Dates read: October 4-13, 2022
Title: The Witcher Chime
Year of publication: 2016
Author: Amity Green
Genre: Horror
Series: N/A
# of Pages: 260
Paper or plastic: Nook
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from Goodreads: In 1922 and in 1988 a deadly, possessive entity imprints on members of the same family, ancient as Genesis and determined to remain free. Savannah Caleman is the latest object of obsession in this chilling, historical tale of haunted legacy and terror.
    Savannah Caleman’s family has been coming apart since the early 1920’s. After a horrific suicide by their great aunt, the Calemans sell off the family ranch, hoping to leave the stigma of insanity behind and gain a fresh start at a property known by locals as “The Witcher Place.” Days after the move, Savannah’s father isn’t himself and her mother grows increasingly distant. Her little brother, Chaz, is forced out of a second story window by a being that makes Savannah question her sanity for the first time. Her mother takes Chaz and flees the state. Savannah and her younger sister, Molly, are chased home by a mountain lion but when Savannah turns to look back, the cat has transformed into a man. Their father’s behavior takes a more serious twist as horror abounds and Savannah turns to distant relatives for answers, fearing the insanity is real and has spread. Her father is no longer in control. Armed with a shotgun, Savannah is forced to protect herself and her sister.
    The evil plaguing her family dons a suit and tie and introduces himself, giving Savannah an ultimatum. She must decide between her sister’s safety and aiding a monster that can’t be identified as either an angel or a demon. Either way, Savannah is torn, and takes to single-handedly running the family affairs with precision as she takes care of her sister. The Witcher Place is transformed to her liking using family money. Distractions are only that. Releasing a monster to roam at will isn’t a stellar option, no matter the promises it makes. The stain of murder and torment cannot be erased. He has fallen, been shackled, and now has plans to rise once more using Savannah as the key to regain grace.
My thoughts: What the heck did I just read? I don’t think that’s a good thing to think when you finally reach the end. Do you? I really didn’t enjoy this one at all.

Today is the last day to enter for a chance to win a $150 gift card to either B&N or Amazon (your choice). See previous post (Friday’s) for more information and the link to enter.

So…. I start immunotherapy treatment tomorrow morning. Keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t get extreme side effects. I expect I’ll get some, but hopefully in the mild range. First phase of treatment is two drugs every three weeks, for four times. Then after that, one drug every four weeks, for however long it works. I’ll get a CT scan after the first phase (late Dec/early Jan) to make sure it’s working. I really hope it works!

Happy Reading!

Stacy

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Give Card Giveaway Going on Now!


 

Enter now for your chance to win a $150 Amazon or B&N Gift Card, winner’s choice.


The Rules are simple...Follow as many authors as you would like...the more points you get, the better your chances are of winning! Good Luck!

 

Enter Here: https://bit.ly/BookBubOctober2022 before October 19, 2022, 11:59pm.


I'm one of the authors listed. If you already follow me on Book Bub (thank you, by the way), you should still be able to get credit for me.


Have fun and I hope you find some interesting new authors to check out!


~~Stacy


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

No Books, No Surgery, But Pictures!

I was supposed to have surgery yesterday. That's been cancelled...indefinitely.

On Thursday, the 6th, I had my pre-op appointment and CT scan. Results from the scan showed other spots had grown (whereas only one spot was growing the past year) and a new spot appeared. Apparently, the CT scan at UC Health is more detailed than the one on the base. Or I just had some active growth since July.

In any case, there wasn't any reason to have the surgery to remove one spot when all the others seem active, too. And they aren't all in the same area. Some are in the other lung.

Today I see my oncologist to see when I start immunotherapy. Hubby wants it to start tomorrow. We'll see.

I haven't finished reading the book I started last week, so here are some pictures from my trip out west. See, I DID remember!

Yellowstone

Yellowstone

Yellowstone

Yellowstone

Yellowstone

Yellowstone really surprised me. When I was there back in 1970, I only saw Old Faithful. I never realized how much it resembled another planet! I did see a lot of bison there, but no bears. I really thought I'd see at least one bear!

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

I've heard of Bryce Canyon before, but never realized how huge that place is. I'm so glad I was able to experience it.
Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Where you see Bryce from above, you experience Zion from below. Driving through the tunnel was an experience, too. They had to stop the traffic on the other end so our bus could drive down the middle of the road. It was too tall for one side. 

Grand Canyon (donkey excursion--looks like fun!)

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon (if you zoom you might be able to see some people on those trails!)

I've been to the Grand Canyon three times before this trip. We had planned on taking the helicopter through the canyon, but all flights were cancelled due to weather. I was very disappointed and don't know if I'll ever get another chance at it.

Our tour group at Zion.

I had a lot of fun on the coach tour and would do another.

Beach in Santa Barbara (along the Shoreline Park walking path)

Me in Pismo Beach

Sand Dunes at Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach

Me at Morro Bay

While in Santa Barbara, vising my mother, we also took some walks along the beaches. Pismo Beach is about an hour north of SB. Morro Bay another 30 min. I really love Pismo Beach. It's HUGE! 

Hope you enjoy the photos. I should have a book read by next Wednesday.

Happy Reading!

Stacy