what I’m reading: behind closed doors by b.a. paris.

Grace seems to have it all – a great husband, perfect house. She eats all she wants and never gains weight and can cook the most perfect meals. But why does she never go out alone without her husband? Why does she never talk on the phone or answer the door? The truth may be more shocking than you realize.

The only word I can use to describe this novel is chilling. This is an excellent psychological thriller, complete with a psychopath at the center of the story. At times I felt like I was reading the way I watch horror movies – with one hand covering my eyes. I didn’t want to read on, but I had to know what happened.

This book isn’t necessarily a suspenseful book like The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl because you figure out what’s going on fairly soon. It’s more of a book where every time you think it can’t get any worse, you turn the page and it does. This book is centered very much on the action and what’s going to happen next.

This is a great first novel and I look forward to see what else this author comes up with.

what I’m reading: sleepless in manhattan by sarah morgan.

I started reading Sarah Morgan’s books last year and she is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors. Sleepless in Manhattan is a yummy little cupcake of a novel. It was fun and sweet and just hit the spot.

Paige, Eva, and Frankie are childhood friends who live in Manhattan and work together at the same events planning company. Paige is driven and hard-working and after all three friends are let go from their jobs on the same day, Paige comes up with the idea to start their own events planning and concierge business. Paige’s brother Matt and his best friend Jake decide to help the girls out. The issue? Paige has been in love with Jake since she was a teenager, and as the two work together to plan the perfect party for Jake’s company, they start a relationship but are forced to hide it from Matt.

This was a cute friends to lovers romance. I loved the great sibling relationship that Paige and Matt have. I also loved the friendships between the three ladies. I did have to roll my eyes at the enormous success their business had after just one event; I thought it was a little unbelievable. If only every start-up business had instant success, right?

This book is the first in the From Manhattan with Love series, so there is plenty of sequel bait. Paige has two best friends so we know each one will have their own story. Hopefully they will be just as entertaining as this one.

what I’m reading: hillbilly elegy: a memoir of a family and culture in crisis by j.d. vance.

hillbilly-elegyI found Hillbilly Elegy to be a very inspiring memoir. J.D. Vance grew up in a poor Appalachian town. His mother was a drug addict. Two of his grandparents never finished high school. Vance was on his way to failing out of school as well, until his grandmother stepped in and pushed him to succeed. Vance ending up joining the Marines, graduated from Ohio University, and eventually went on to Yale Law School.

I enjoyed reading about Vance’s family and his personal story. Vance’s grandmother, Memaw, was one of my favorites and she provided the needed humor and strictness for Vance to flourish in his dysfunctional family. She was a tough lady and her love for Vance was clear.

This book is described as part memoir, part historical and social analysis, however I found there was little analysis. The majority of the book is a recount of Vance’s life (all 31 years of it). There were a couple of instances where he delved into the history of the area and some sociological aspects, but those were slim and not very extensive.

While I enjoyed the memoir part of the book, I was a bit disappointed in the rest. I’ve read many reviews and heard so much about this book, but I didn’t have the same experience as other readers. To me, this book was just a memoir about a boy who overcame obstacles and makes something of himself. It really didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know and I didn’t learn anything new about the “culture in crisis”.

what I’m reading: the twelve dogs of christmas: an andy carpenter mystery by david rosenfelt.

the-twelve-dogs-of-christmasThe Twelve Dogs of Christmas is the 15th novel in the Andy Carpenter series. I haven’t read any books in this series. In fact I’ve never heard of this series. I mainly checked this book out from the library because it had “Christmas” in the title and dogs on the cover. However, I was surprised to find this cozy mystery/legal thriller quite entertaining.

Martha “Pups” Boyer raises the puppies that the overcrowded local animal rescues can’t handle. When her neighbor reports Pups for violating zoning laws for having too many dogs in her home, she hires Andy Carpenter to defend her. Andy is quick to get Pups off, but when that same neighbor is killed and Pups is seen running from the crime scene, Andy finds himself in the middle of a murder trial. Did I mention Christmas is just around the corner?

This was a really fast read; I read it in a few hours. The story is told from the point of view of Andy Carpenter and I really enjoyed his outlook on life. He was witty and had a funny sense of humor. The mystery kept me entertained and although I thought I knew who the murderer was, I was left guessing until the very end.

It was clear that this book was part of a series. Characters are introduced and it’s understood that we are supposed to know who they are and their backstory. Despite not having read any of the other books in the serious, I found the book fairly easy to follow.

A great book for those who love mysteries, interesting characters, dogs, and Christmas.

snow day.

It snowed today in Seattle and the city shut down. Schools were closed, people were stuck at the airport, and the buses were on snow routes. My office was closed for the day so I took the opportunity to enjoy this rare and unscheduled treat and took to the streets with my camera. Here are some of the pictures I caught today:









what I’m reading: then came you by jennifer weiner.

then-came-youThen Came You is the story of 4 women whose lives become connected by chance. India Bishop wants to get pregnant in order to secure her standing in her older husband’s life (and bank account). After she learns she is unable to carry a child, India decides to use a surrogate and a donated egg. Jules, a bright college senior, has sold her eggs and plans to use the money to help her father fight his addictions. Annie is a young housewife who agrees to become a surrogate to financially help her family and because she loves being a mother. Meanwhile, India’s step-daughter Bettina is convinced India is a gold-digger and sets out to unearth all her secrets.

This book was my book club’s pick from last month. I had read a couple others of Jennifer Weiner’s books so I knew what I was getting into. This book is pretty much the definition of chick-lit. Issues about modern women? Check. Issues about female friendships? Check. Humorous? Check. Romantic entanglements? Check.

All the characters were developed and had a lot of back-story. The more I read about India, the more I kept changing my opinion of her. There were a couple of reveals that I thought were a bit anti-climactic and I really couldn’t stand the Bettina character. She was unhappy and bitter and I’m not sure I bought her redemption arc at the end.

However, while the core of the story kept me entertained, I thought the ending was a little woo-woo and a bit unbelievable. I’m skeptical that all the problems could be fixed and tied up in a big bow as they were presented in the book. Most of my book club felt the same – the book was okay but the ending was unrealistic.

a book I had forgot I read.

The other day I was browsing through the library catalogue, looking for some new books to read, when I came across a book that sounded really interesting. The book description was totally something that I would want to read and I was all set to put it on hold at the library.

So I clicked over to my Goodreads account to add it to my To Be Read list and to see what other books the author has written, only to be surprised when I realized I had already read this book in 2013. Not only had I already read that book, but I’ve read a second book by that same author and didn’t remember it either.

I was astonished. Occasionally I’ve forgotten some of the books I’ve read, but as soon as I see the book cover and read the description, the book comes back to me and I remember reading it. I might not remember the exact plot but I can tell you I’ve read the book.

But these books – nothing. I don’t remember reading either book, I don’t remember checking it out from the library (since they are not on my bookshelf), I have no memory of them. Which shocks me because clearly I thought the first book description was compelling if it caught my eye a second time.

Has this ever happened to anyone else? Or better yet, should I read the book again?