Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Wednesday Reads and Movies

Christmas time is movie time for us. In the theater and on DVDs. On Christmas Eve our daughter came over and we watched “Love, Actually,” “While You Were Sleeping,” and “Lethal Weapon.” I hadn’t seen “Lethal Weapon” in years! Still love it. Then on Christmas the whole family went to the theatre and saw “Mary Poppins Returns” (which was a very good movie). Came home after dinner and then Hubby and I watched “Donovan’s Reef” (one of Hubby’s favorites—John Wayne—which is also set during Christmas).

Here’s what I finished reading this week:

Book #55

Dates read: December 18-20
Title: The Crooked Staircase
Year of publication: 2018
Author: Dean Koontz
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Series:  Jane Hawk #3
# of Pages: 462
Paper or plastic: Hardback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: “I could be dead tomorrow. Or something worse than dead.” Jane Hawk knows she may be living on borrowed time. But as long as she’s breathing, she’ll never cease her one-woman war against the terrifying conspiracy that threatens the freedom—and free will—of millions. Battling the strange epidemic of murder-suicides that claimed Jane’s husband, and is escalating across the country, has made the rogue FBI agent a wanted fugitive, relentlessly hunted not only by the government but by the secret cabal behind the plot. Deploying every resource their malign nexus of power and technology commands, Jane’s enemies are determined to see her dead…or make her wish she was.
    Jane’s ruthless pursuers can’t stop her from drawing a bead on her prey: a cunning man with connections in high places, a twisted soul of unspeakable depths with an army of professional killers on call. Propelled by her righteous fury and implacable insistence on justice, Jane will make her way from Southern California to the snow-swept slopes of Lake Tahoe to confront head-on the lethal forces arrayed against her. But nothing can prepare her for the chilling truth that awaits when she descends the crooked staircase to the dark and dreadful place where her long nightmare was born.
My thoughts: Have you ever watched “The Stepford Wives”? That’s what this series kind of reminds me of. Only worse. Much worse. I ripped through this book, and was a little disappointed that it left me hanging a bit. I have the next one to read, and I want to read it, but now I wonder if I should wait. The fifth (and supposedly final) book in the series isn’t due out until May. One way or another I’m waiting. But what if the next book has an even WORSE cliffhanger? Yeah, I think I’ll just wait until the last book comes out.

Book #56

Dates read: December 21-23
Title: Waking the Dead
Year of publication: 2014
Author: Heather Graham
Genre: Paranormal mystery romance
Series:  Cafferty & Quinn #2
# of Pages: 360
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: They say a painting can have a life of its own… In the case of Ghosts in the Mind painted by Henry Sebastian Hubert, that’s more than just an expression. The characters are reputed to come to life—and to kill. The artist was a friend of Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, joining them in Switzerland in 1816, and now, almost two hundreds years later, the painting appears in New Orleans. Wherever it goes, death seems to follow.
     Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn, occasional partners in solving crime, are drawn into the case. They begin to make connections between that summer in Switzerland and this spring in Louisiana. Danni, the owner of an eccentric antique shop, and Quinn, a private detective, have discovered that they have separate but complementary talents when it comes to investigating
unusual situations.
    Blending their personal relationship with the professional lives they’ve stumbled into, they confront this work of art…and evil. They have to discover what brings it to life. And they have to destroy it—before it destroys them.
My thoughts: Very good mystery with lots of creepy stuff. It had been awhile since I read book 1, but I managed to get back into this world easy enough. No cliffhangers, either!

So… Do you find yourself watching a lot of movies during the holidays? Which ones?

Happy Reading! And I hope your Christmas was splendid!


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Wednesday Reads and I'm Still Exercising

One good thing about walking on the treadmill, I get more books read!

Here’s what I finished reading this week:

Book #53

Dates read: December 7-12
Title: Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon
Year of publication: 2018
Author: Kerrelyn Sparks
Genre: Fantasy romance
Series:  The Embraced #3
# of Pages: 429
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: Gwennore is an Elf able to track down the cause of a certain illness and heal it—a valuable asset to her people But when she is thrust into the realm of the dragons she discovers a haunted place of power, passion, and magic—one that is plagued by an ancient curse. When she meets the smoldering general Silas Dravenko, Gwen knows she’s entered a whole new world of trouble. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon. So why does making a deal with the devil feel so good?
    Silas has no way of saving the royal family he’s served for years. But when a beautiful, innocent elf comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to desire in a way he’s never felt before But how can he trust a sworn enemy… and how can he live without her?
My thoughts: I laughed out loud at many of the scenes in this book. It was a lot of fun to read.

 Book #54

Dates read: December 12-17
Title: The Whispering Room
Year of publication: 2017
Author: Dean Koontz
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Series:  Jane Hawk #2
# of Pages: 492
Paper or plastic: Hardback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: “No time to delay. Do what you were born to do. Fame will be yours when you do this.” These are the words that ring in the mind of mild-mannered, beloved schoolteacher Cora Gundersun—just before she takes her own life, and many others, in a shocking act of carnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, it seems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better.
    In the wake of her husband’s inexplicable suicide—and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals—Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. But the ruthless people bent on hijacking America’s future for their own monstrous ends never banked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue—and become the nation’s most wanted fugitive—in order to derail their insidious plans to gain absolute power with a terrifying technological breakthrough. Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-old son she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them.
My thoughts: Man, I had a hard time putting this book down. Many questions still remain (and the ending sure made more of them—for the reader and the main character), but at least there isn’t an actual cliff hanger. However, I have the next two books and I’m not wasting any time starting on book 3. If you like suspense/thrillers, give this series a try.

So far I’ve been sticking with the exercise. Yay! If not for a book to read, I doubt I’d continue walking on that treadmill, though. It really is the pits. At least when the weather warms up (it will, right?), I can walk outside and then continue with my weight training when I get home. Although, I’m gonna need more weights. I’ve only got 8- and 10-pound dumbbells (and nothing for my legs), which won’t be enough if I stick with it and give up the fitness center. And I really want to stick with it and give up the fitness center.

The sort-of break is going well (one less thing to worry about) so I won’t be back here until next Wednesday (because I’m pretty sure I’ll have a book to report). I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. That’s if you celebrate it.

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wednesday Reads and I’m Taking a Break…Sort of

Not much happens in my life. Well…not much INTERESTING. And it’s getting harder and harder to blog about all that uninteresting stuff. So, I figure why not take a break. I won’t not blog because if I’ve read a book, I’m still posting that. And I’ll still be around the blogosphere, reading and commenting when the mood strikes. So I won’t be gone, just not posting. At least for December. And except on Wednesday.

See? Only a sort-of break. J

Here’s what I finished reading this week:

Book #52

Dates read: December 2-6
Title: Restore Me
Year of publication: 2018
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: YA Distopian
Series:  Shatter Me #4
# of Pages: 435
Paper or plastic: Hard back
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: It’ been sixteen days since Juliette Ferrars killed the supreme commander of North America and took over as ruler of The Reestablishment on the continent.
    Sixteen days since she assassinated Warner’s father.
    Juliette thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45 and now has Warner by her side. But she’s still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch—and with so much power in her young hands, the world is watching her every move, waiting to see what happens next.
    Juliette and Warner have risked everything. But when tragedy strikes, they must confront the darkness that exists both around and inside them. Will they be able to control the power Juliette wields, or will it control them?
My thoughts: Do not read this book if you like your books to have an actual ending. This one did not (it’s way worse than a stupid cliffhanger). I like the series. Started it when the first one came out in 2011 and don’t remember any of them ending as badly as this one does (okay, I just re-read my review of book 2 and it did have a cliff hanger). I find it funny that book 3 was supposed to be the conclusion to the series. Now there’s a book 5 and 6 planned. I think I’ll wait until book 6 is out (or the last one, if that isn’t it) before I read anymore. That’s if I even bother. Oh, and don’t let that page count fool you. There are soooooo many blank pages between Juliette’s and Warner’s POV (yes, it’s in first person and they each have a POV), and the flip back and forth happens a lot.

It’s funny that Wednesday used to be the hardest day for me to blog. Then I came up with Wednesday Reads. Now it’s the easiest! I’ll just have to come up with something fun to blog about on the other days, but right now my brain isn’t functioning so well. I’ll blame it on the holidays. They always make a good excuse.

But at least I’m NOT using the holidays as an excuse for not exercising. I’m still at it every morning (except on the weekends when we have other plans) and I hope to continue this habit into 2019. I’m tired of feeling old and slow. And when the day comes for that heart surgery, I’d like to be in a better shape than I am now.

So… Reading anything good? After that last book I made sure to pick a romance to read next. Those always make me happy and right now I want happy.

Happy Reading!


Friday, December 7, 2018

The Survey Says...

AOL sent me a survey to find out how they’re doing. Hahahahaha! They weren’t giving me anything to do it (because that’s usually why I’ll do a survey—for free or discounted stuff), but I completed it anyway.

Yes, they got low marks. But then every e-mail service I use would get the same, so that’s nothing new. At the end they asked for comments and to give them my e-mail if I wanted to be paid to test stuff out for them.

Well, I didn’t want to do any testing, but I had comments. My major one being that when I comment on people’s Blogger posts, my e-mails automatically go into spam. Yes, even my own comments on my own blog!!

I really wish I knew why that is, because it’s really annoying.

I hit submit and got an error. Said the comment box wasn’t formatted correctly.

Formatted? It took me a moment to realize they only wanted my e-mail address.

Well, hell. Apparently AOL didn’t want my comments after all (and I so much wanted to give it to them, too!). Or they just don’t know what a comment box is. Foo on them!

Now I wish I’d given them LOWER marks.

So… Do you do surveys for free or only those where you get $$ off a meal or a free sandwich or something?

Happy Friday! And Happy Birthday to my sister (in case she reads my blog, which I don’t believe she does).


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wednesday Reads and We Book Another Cruise!

Hubby and I already have cruises booked for Bermuda (8 days, Oct 2019) and Hawaii (14 days, Dec 2019). On Monday Carnival announced this awesome transatlantic cruise in June 2020 (16 days) leaving NYC with stops to Greenland, Iceland, Shetland Islands, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and ending in London. On Tuesday we booked it! I’m so freakin’ excited.

Are we nuts? Probably. But this is a RARE cruise. We really didn’t want to miss it. And you know what? In less than two days, this cruise was already 80% full. I’m so glad we didn’t wait.

Here’s what I finished reading this week:

Book #51

Dates read: November 25-December 1
Title: Too Far Gone
Year of publication: 2018
Author: Allison Brennan
Genre: Suspense
Series:  Lucy Kincaid #14
# of Pages: 473
Paper or plastic: Mass market paperback
How obtained: Purchased
Blurb from book: When a man who appears mentally unstable holds a group of people hostage and dies in a shootout with the FBI, Special Agent Lucy Kincaid is assigned to investigate what happened. Up until two months ago, Charlie McMahon was a respected scientist—then his wife left him, he lost his job, and he was arrested for assaulting a former colleague. The one person who might have answers—his research assistant—has disappeared.
    While Lucy is investigating this bizarre case, her husband Sean is on top of the world: his son Jesse is visiting for the summer. They are having a blast, until someone follows them. Sean is positive that the surveillance is connected to Jesse’s stepfather—a man who had once laundered money for a violent drug cartel. But when Lucy and Jesse are run off the road, they begin to wonder if the attack is connected to Jesse…or Lucy’s current case.
    Nothing is what it seams—not the McMahon investigation or the car accident. As Sean and Lucy dig deep into the lives of everyone involved, one thing becomes clear: If they don’t find the truth fast, everyone they care about is in danger…
My thoughts: This series started out as romantic suspense. Now the romance is very light and it’s more just suspense. I’m okay with this. I love this family, these characters. It’s always a joy to return to. The suspense ain’t half bad, either!

Yesterday I started what I hope will become a regular exercise program (it’s been long overdue). Walked on the treadmill and worked the upper body (started out light—don’t want to overdo anything). Today I’ll walk the treadmill and work the legs. This is in my house, too (no trips to the fitness center). I’m determined to stick with it because I really need to get back in some sort of healthy shape. And as long as I don’t start out too hard (and get myself too sore), I should do okay. Also, I get to read while I’m on the treadmill, which helps my reading and walking (sure passes the time easier!).

So… Are you trying to start something healthy before the new year gets here? I really should start eating healthier, too, but hey, one step at a time. Right?

Happy Reading!


Monday, December 3, 2018

Football and Pictures of my Christmas Tree

I watched the horrible, horrible Steelers game last night and failed to write today’s post. Okay, more like just forgot, period, since I could have written this while watching the game. Probably just as well I didn’t. That game put me in a pissy mood.

At least the Rams won their game, and are the NFC West champs! Yay!

I’m really happy OSU won and became the Big Ten champions on Saturday. Kind of feel like they got a slap in the face by putting a 2-loss team (a team that lost their conference champion game), ahead of them in the rankings, but oh well. They’re going to the Rose Bowl. Can’t complain too much about that. Go Bucks!!

I decorated the house and tree this weekend (so I wasn’t a total slob just watching sports). Here are some pictures.

This is the first year since 1992 that we haven't had a fireplace to hang the stockings. I think I found a suitable replacement (as long as I don't need inside the cabinet). In this pic, the tree is up, but not decorated (it's a pre-lit tree, so that part of decorating is easy).

Here's a picture of the completely decorated tree. I like how I have lots of room to walk around it! Didn't have that luxury in the old house (at least not where we could see it all the time).

Every year we purchase dated ornaments (have been doing this since our first Christmas as a married couple). In 2003, we started adding a dated Steelers ornament. This one is the ornament I bought at the local Hallmark store. It has a penguin on it!

Here's our dated Steelers ornament. We get them from the Danbury Mint. In fact, they just automatically mail it to us and I had to search for last year's order so the new one would come to the correct house! The things you don't realize when you move until it's almost too late.

So… Are you ready for Christmas? Do you buy dated ornaments? I have most of my shopping done (shocker, huh?) and now the tree is ready for presents. Guess I have to now wrap some stuff. That part I don’t like so much.

Happy Monday!