Monday, February 8, 2016

Weekly Reading Recap

book and coffee

It's Monday! I'm dragging a bit today after staying up too late last night. We had a Super Bowl party here, which was fun from a social standpoint but incredibly disappointing from a game standpoint (I do live in North Carolina, after all). Once everyone went home and the house was fairly cleaned up, I sat up until midnight reading! I'm finally getting toward the end of my book so I couldn't resist. It's going to be a long day.

Blog posts and reviews

image of my bookshelf
Last week, I reviewed The Ex by Alafair Burke.
I also posted an update on my Bookish Resolutions challenge.

What I'm reading

I'm still reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. A neighbor who is in my book club mentioned it was a slow read but worth it, and I have to agree. I am enjoying it but it's not something I can read quickly. I hope to finish tonight and move on to something new. Not sure what yet.

What my kids are reading

M, who is in 3rd grade, is almost done with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. I'm hoping I can report that she has moved on to the last book by next week's recap.

Carter, who is in 6th grade, is reading The Enchantress by Michael Scott. This is the last book of the series but he has already expressed interest in finding another book or series by the author. He also finished Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin for his nonfiction novel study at school. He seems to have enjoyed it.


I'm linking up with Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading? as well as Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for the children's and YA version of this weekly gathering. What are you reading? Please share in the comments!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bookish Resolutions - Month 1 Update

Bookish Resolutions Challenge image

In January, I set some goals for the year and now it's time to see how I did for the first month. The challenge is called Bookish Resolutions, and it's hosted by Laura @ trips down imagination road and Michelle @ Because Reading. I didn't set my goals until midway through the month, and I must admit that I did not do well in this first month. But it sounds like this may be considered a bit of a practice month!

Here are my goals and my progress for January:

Reading Goals

Read 60 books by the end of the year ~ I've read 4 books so far. 4x12 is only 48...
Read 5 books that I already own as of today (1/17) ~ 0
Read every book chosen for my book club this year ~ so far on track
Commit to reading no more than 2 review books per month ~ I read two in January

Blogging Goals

Write a weekly reading recap every week ~ I missed last week but hit all the others
Write at least one review each week ~ I missed one week
Visit and comment on 5 blogs per week ~ not doing well on this one at all
Send out Book Club Picks newsletter every month ~ sent January's on time

Personal Goals

Fit in three workouts per week ~ not yet but I did work out on Monday...
Drink 64 ounces of water per day ~ I think I'm doing okay with this one
Get 7500 steps in at least 5 days per week ~ nope

Monday, February 1, 2016

Book Review: The Ex by Alafair Burke

The Ex book cover

Twenty years ago, Olivia Randall ruined Jack Harris's life. Now her ex-fiance is accused of a triple murder and his daughter has convinced Olivia to take on the case as his defense attorney. She is sure that there's no way he could have committed the crime, but the prosecution is convinced otherwise. She needs to help him prove his innocence to make up for what she did to him so long ago. It looks like he may have been framed, but can she prove it? How can she get at the truth?

The Ex by Alafair Burke is a combination of legal and psychological thriller. Olivia spends a lot of time going through the evidence and trying to unearth the proof they need to show Jack's innocence. There isn't a lot of courtroom time but there is a lot of investigating and digging into the details of what actually happened. There's a whole psychological aspect to the story as well. First, there's the relationship between Olivia and Jack and the effect it had on the course of their lives. But there's also the question of whether Olivia really knows Jack as well as she thinks she does. She is convinced he could never kill someone, but what if she's wrong?

What I love most about The Ex is the characters of Olivia and Jack. Olivia is a strong, independent woman who stands up for what she believes. Jack is a kind widower with a daughter he cherishes. But both are also complex, flawed characters, making them quite realistic. Their history is a mess and has a huge impact on how they handle the case. We get to learn more details about their relationship and their breakup ~ from Olivia's point of view ~ and in the process get to know each of them a little more deeply.

Burke doesn't get into the other characters nearly as much. Jack's daughter and his best friend are integral to the story, providing support and encouragement along the way. The prosecutor on the case is also a key supporting character who has a big part in the story. But we don't get to hear as much about what these characters think and feel as I would have liked.

Overall, The Ex is a page-turner that features engaging characters and a complex but believable storyline. If you enjoy thrillers that make you wonder who's telling the truth, I highly recommend it.

My Rating:


Connect with the author on her website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

See more reviews of The Ex by Alafair Burke
 
This review was written based on a copy of The Ex that I received from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This post includes Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase something using my link, I will receive a very small commission but your price does not change.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekly Reading Recap

book and coffee

Welcome back to another weekly recap. I was actually rather active here on the blog last week, but I didn't manage to participate in this meme last Monday. That means today is a two-week recap instead of just one. You would think that would mean I'd have a lot of progress in reading and reviewing to share, but I didn't accomplish quite as much as I had hoped.

I did host book club last week, and that was fun. We had a nice discussion of The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos. I made mimosas and snacks and enjoyed the company of my neighbors.

Blog posts and reviews

image of my bookshelf
I did some reorganizing in my office and ended up with a bookshelf devoted to my TBR books. There were 51 books on it when I shared the picture, but I've found more books around the house and am up to 57 now...

I wrote two book reviews, both thrillers:

What I'm reading

Since I last posted, I finished The Ex by Alafair Burke. I credit the A Winter's Respite Readathon hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading for that, although I never did write a recap of the readathon. Now I'm about halfway through The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, which I will be discussing with my book club this month.

What my kids are reading

M, who is in 3rd grade, is about halfway through Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling.

Carter, who is in 6th grade, is reading The Sorceress by Michael Scott. He is also about halfway through Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin for his nonfiction novel study at school.


I'm linking up with Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading? as well as Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for the children's and YA version of this weekly gathering. What are you reading? Please share in the comments!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Review: Circle of Betrayal by Jacqueline Simon Gunn


Kadee Carlisle finally fell in love. But now the man she loved is dead and she is a prime suspect. Did she do it? Well, even she doesn't know. She came to hate him almost as much as she loved him but could she really kill him? Unfortunately, she can't remember what she was doing when he was killed so she doesn't know if she did it, and neither do we.

Circle of Betrayal by Jacqueline Simon Gunn is a psychological, erotic thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. My friend asked me to read this novel because it was written by her cousin. I have to admit, I was hesitant since you never know what to expect when you get a request like that. But I really enjoyed this thriller and am so glad I took the time to read it.

Kadee is strong and independent, and doesn't really believe in romantic love. Then she meets Noah Donovan who sweeps her off her feet. But she can tell he's hiding something; she just doesn't know what it is. He becomes obsessive and controlling, but she can't seem to break free. She even starts counseling to understand her feelings and try to get to a point where she can leave him.

It may sound like I'm giving too much away, but I'm really not. The story is complex and jumps around a bit in time. We know early on that Noah is dead and Kadee is the suspect. And then we get to see how their relationship started and evolved, and how we ever got to the point where he was dead and she was accused. But even then, we don't have a clue what really happened.

There are tons of twists and turns in this story. I found myself going back and forth between thinking Kadee did it and thinking she didn't. Gunn definitely doesn't give it away too early. The only negative I found is the erotica element, which was a bit more than I am used to reading. But it was completely relevant to the story.

If you're looking for a psychological thriller that will keep you guessing right along with the main character, I definitely recommend Circle of Betrayal.

My Rating:


Connect with the author on her website, Twitter or Facebook

This review was written based on a copy of Circle of Betrayal that I purchased based on the recommendation of a friend who is the author's cousin. My review is my honest opinion of this book. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't have reviewed it. This post includes Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase something using my link, I will receive a very small commission but your price does not change.