Musing: Quarantine reading

How are you guys doing? Have you read anything good lately? Sorry I’ve been distant. It’s been a rough year so far. I’m not my usual crazy self.

Up here in Michigan we’ve been self quarantined for over a month now. Since my hubby is a first responder we’ve been staying home longer than most people. I’ve only left my house to shop twice. So you would think I’d have plenty of time to read. But sadly, I don’t. The stress of the world has brought me down and I find it hard to review, let alone read anything. I also have a senior who now had her year cut short and we’re missing out on all the end of the year activities. So there’s a sense of sadness in the air. But since there’s nothing we can do, we’re trying to move past it.

Because of my lack of concentration I’ve been rereading some old favorites In the midst of the ARCs I’m working my way through. I just need to not think, ya know? And I am usually one who LOVES to cry while reading, but lately I’m struggling and don’t need to added emotions. So I’m sticking with fantasy books that usually have plenty of sass and snark.

I have managed to read a few that I’ve been excited over but they take me longer than usual to finish. There are so many on my TBR but finding the time between cooking, baking and cleaning, has proven a bit difficult. But I will try to post some reviews, even if they’re short, just in case you’re looking for new books to add to your TBR.


Monday Musing: Fangirling

Do you fangirl/fanboy or your authors? I do. ALL THE TIME. I go to multiple book signings each year and I have to try and contain myself. It’s so hard sometimes. Social media has made it easier to interact with out authors, which amps up the fangirling. I see the same author every year and I still get all sweaty and bumble my words. I consider her a friend and I still act like a dork. *sigh*

They don’t realize the effect they have on us. When they recognize us by our face or names, it’s a thrill. If they call us out and act excited to see US, we lose our minds. I can’t tell you how many times I have to leave a signing room to calm down. These people are our rock stars.

Last month my family and I went to D.C. for a vacation and so I could attend Apollycon. I took my daughter with me to the signing, even though she hates to read almost every book except Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series. I wanted her to meet some of my favorite YA authors and see their books and hear them speak. Some get so passionate it’s fabulous. I hoped she would find at least one new author to try out. I never expected anything like what happened.

A little backstory, since January my daughter has been dealing with a debilitating illness that we can’t figure out what is causing it. So we were very nervous to take her on a 9 hour drive and then to all the museums and monuments. But she wanted to go. Amazingly she did well and didn’t get sick once. I however, was a nervous wreck the entire time. This has been my life since January, so it won’t switch off till we get a diagnosis.

Her one wish was to see and get a picture with Sarah J. Maas. She won the lottery so she would get to meet her and get a book signed but a picture wasn’t part of the deal. But on that Friday, I was working the registration and I get a text saying, “Sarah is in the lobby. I’m too nervous to ask for a pic.” To which I respond with, “ASK!!!” I mean, what’s the worst that can happen, she says no?

And then I get this picture. Mind you, she just got back from Mount Vernon and she had a hat on all day, so she looks tired and a mess. 🙂 But look at that smile.

Sarah had no idea what this kid’s been dealing with. She doesn’t know that she came up to me shaking, with tears in her eyes, and she never cries. She has no idea that in that couple of minutes she took away the fear of an unknown diagnosis. She made my girl so happy that she forgot all the stress. I went with her the next day to get a book signed and I tried to tell Sarah how much it meant to me as a mom to have her daughter get her wish and I could barely get the words out through my tears. I would’ve said thank you for making my daughter’s whole life, so far. Thank you, for taking a few minutes to show a teenager that they’re worthy of your time. You made her wish come true and I will be forever thankful.

By the way, she still tears up when we talk about it. That’s the power of an author. And that’s the life of a fangirl.


Summer rereads and ramblings

This summer I had high hopes of reading only books from my summer reading list. But that all changed when my hubby asked to listen to one of my books. So I suggested the Rock Chick series. And then I got in the mood to listen as well. But when I started listening, I realized that I should probably go in order, according to Kristen’s website. See that HERE So that means if I listen/read the Rock Chicks, I need to read the Colorado Mountain series also. And if I read the Colorado Mountain series, then I have to read The ‘Burg ones as well. And since I’m reading The ‘Burg, I should probably just continue with the Magdalene series. which has the bonus factor that it will be fresh in my mind since the final book releases and the end of summer. So basically my summer should be themed “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” But at least there’s a method to my madness, right? 🙂

The best part about rereading these books is that, besides the Rock Chicks, I don’t remember much of them. Well, at least not the finer points. I read so many books, everything get all jumbled up. I even went to Goodreads to try and refresh my memory and I really wanna smack myself. Let me give you an example. Here’s my review for Soaring. I’m cracking up cuz I have NO IDEA what’s going on!

I swear, for the first 25% or so, I thought I was gonna die from depression. So much emotion.

But then it all started to work out.

And then a BANG in the middle-ish made me super worried.

But then it all started to work out.

And then around 75% was making me nervous. I wasn’t sure what was happening.

But then it all worked out. Beautifully.

I love KA.

I mean, what am I supposed to do with that?!?! Unreal. I mean seriously!! Clear as mud. Who writes a review like that?! I’m rolling my eyes so hard over here.

Now if only the weather would cooperate, then I could at least relax as I read these books for the the “first time”, as I float in my pool.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer reads!!


Musing: Catching up… Prepare for a Trifecta 

Slacker Calliope here. Been reading but not reviewing for a couple weeks, but all that’s about to change. Three reviews will come your way this weekend – maybe more if I finish another book! And the rest of the titles you see here will be reviewed in upcoming weeks, barring the distraction of acquiring more books, in which case… slacker Calliope here. 😜
Btw, my current read is The Final Vow by Amanda Flower 

Musing: The Anti-Best-Seller Reader


If you’re a reader, chances are you take a gander at book lists. You probably even look at a weekly best-seller list, whether it’s in the Sunday paper or via your favorite online book-seller. 

Now maybe you’re the type who reads a best-seller list and zips right out to the grocery store to see if maybe they have a few copies left of anything from the top five. Maybe you’re in a book club and you’re taking notes so you have some ideas for your next read. Maybe you already OWN those books because you like to be in the know. Maybe you and your friends have such awesome taste in books, you had a hand in a book appearing on the list. 

Or maybe you’re a rebel. 

Yep. Some of you look at that list and decide you won’t be reading any of those books on the best-seller list. You’re going rogue. Maybe you’ll search NetGalley for an obscure sounding author and hope that your future review will boost a new author into fame. Or maybe you’ll hope it won’t, and you can keep the awesome new author all to yourself. 

Hey, maybe you’ll just stick to your favorite authors… the best-seller list be damned. And if one day your personal fave appears on the list, you can say “I read her when… .”

You might be the reader who looks at the list and thinks you’re better than pop culture. You’re above it all! You can find better books, whether or not they make it onto The List. Bring ye to the library, or Overdrive, or your best friend’s blog, or the water cooler. You’ll browse and ponder and find a title you’ll love. 

I like to think of the best-seller lists as a guide for Everyman: if you’re not entrenched in the book world, you need some sort of direction when looking for a monthly read. The best-seller list can do that for you. 

As for the rebels, we keep searching for what fits us, and we hope it’s not on a list. 


Teen/YA books

Have you noticed lately that the YA books seem to be creeping into the NA realm?? Well, as a parent of a couple of tweens, I sure have. And let me tell you, I am not one bit happy.

I don’t want to shelter my kids too much, but I would like them to remain innocent for as long as possible. There is no reason for YA books to have excessive language or sex in them, whether or not it’s a closed door scene. I’m not trying to be a prude, but I have a real problem with this. It seems that all the books geared toward girls, have a heavy dose of romance and many go a bit overboard. Since my almost 13 yr old daughter wants to read “more YA and less ‘kids’ books” (her words), I wish there were more teen books out there. I have been reading a few with her lately and here are a couple that I think are absolutely perfect tween/YA books.

Now, a couple of these are christian romances, but they’re teen romances. These kids don’t need to read about adult feelings and emotions. They need to be kids and be silly, not be subjected to books about things they can’t possibly understand yet.

Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson

This is one of my daughter’s absolute favorite books. I had to go out and order a signed copy for Christmas last year, because she had to hold in her hands. She was in love with this book.

To quote my review, “This book was so full of sweet romance that my eyes were prickling the whole entire time. I fell in love all over again. I feel like twirling with my eyes closed.”

I think I may need a reread of this one soon. Go HERE to read my full review.

Up next is another by Julianne. This one is my favorite of hers.

Blackmoore, by Julianne Donaldson

Is it possible to have too much love?? Well, this story surely did.

For the last 20% of the book I don’t think my tears stopped falling. This story was about love, love, and more love. Love that hurts. Love that rips you up. Love that puts you back together.

I loved the emotional turmoil and the gut retching feeling I had. Although I almost had to stop, it was too much for me.

I think my daughter even shed a couple of tears. I love books like this.

Go HERE for Clio’s full review.

Up next is my daughter’s all time favorite. She even read it twice in two days. If I’d let her, she’d keep reading this one over and over again.
Eyes of the Woods, by Eden Fierce

This is a paranormal YA romance that was written by a 14 yr old!! So I knew it would be perfect for daughter. ANd I was right.

“The action was fantastic! My nerves did get the better of me a few times. I was so very curious to what happening, I couldn’t put it down. There were a couple of sad parts that may be hard to read. But as I thought about what these kids watch on TV or video games, they would be used to things much worse.”

Go HERE for my full review.

This is our current read.
Matched, by Ally Condie

I read this series a few years back. So I don’t remember much of of it. I know that it’s romance, but I don’t remember any sex. So far we are up to chapter 10 and so far, she is dying to read faster. I’m pretty sure this is a safe read, but I’m not taking any chances. So as I read for myself, I am sneaking in 5-7 chapters of this each day.

It’s a dystopian book, so there isn’t any language I have to deal with. I love most dystopians, for that very reason.

I’m hoping to review this, when I am done. Meanwhile go HERE to grab a copy for yourself.

Well, I am off to read. I’ll keep you posted, if I discover any more. And if you find any, please let me know!


Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance

Blackmoore (Proper Romances)

Eyes of the Woods


Musing: Reading and Running

IMG_0209.JPGLast year I read Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run. Read my review here.

One valuable nugget I took from the book was that people who ran barefoot – and who were raised running barefoot – had fewer injuries than westerners running on super-cushioned shoes.

Even in my 20s when I was in the best shape of my life and ran half-marathons, I still felt pain when running. Shinsplints and knee pain attacked the most. I was slender, strong, and young. I couldn’t imagine why running was so painful sometimes.

Fast forward 15 years, three childbirths, and five pounds… and the book Born to Run.

I decided to try barefoot running shoes to help me shorten my stride and land on the balls of my feet. (I’ve since learned this is called “running forefoot.”) I picked out some cute Vibram FiveFingers. See some Vibrams here. My husband calls them my Himalayan mountain shoes. And hey, if it helps me run like the guys running 20 miles a day in the Himalayan mountains… Awesome.

Guess what? On my very first longer-than-a-mile run, NO SHIN SPLINTS. I haven’t had shin splints or lasting knee pain from running in the entire year I’ve been running “barefoot.”

I recently trained for 8 weeks for a race. Just 8 weeks. I finished the half-marathon (13.1 miles) wearing barefoot running shoes. My stride is more natural and I am pain free. I even recovered twice as quickly as my sister who has been training longer and further than I have.

I credit Christopher McDougall, Born to Run, and Vibram with my success. Thank you!

To you readers out there I say, Give Born to Run a read. Even if you’ll never run in your entire life, it’s a work of science and anthropology followed by a fantastic, inspirational story.


buy more by journalist CHRISTOPHER MCDOUGALL

Rereading Books

Do you reread books? Lately I’ve been rereading quite a few. I blame my book club for this. They got me started. We had a Kristen Ashley week, so I reread all of the Dream Man books. Let me tell you, I LOVE those guys!! Mystery Man was the first, and I gotta say, Hawk was the BEST!!! His and Gwen’s story was so awesome! Lots of emotion and excitement. Wild Man, Law Man and Motorcycle Man rounded up the series. Motorcycle Man was Tack’s story and I seriously love that guy. He has the biggest heart and he loves so fiercely, that when he sets his sights on Tyra, she can’t possibly get away. I can’t wait to keep going with the Chaos series, which is the spin off of Tack’s story. Love me some motorcycle men.

Mystery Man (Dream Man Book 1)
Wild Man (Dream Man Series Book 2)
Law Man (Dream Man Series Book 3)
Motorcycle Man (Dream Man Series Book 4)

Then I decided to read the Birthmarked trilogy, by Caragh O’Brien. I was hoping to have my daughter read them, but then I got to the second book and realized that the subject matter was quite above what I want my 12 yr old to know or think about. I’m so glad I reread them, before I set her to them. While this is one of my favorite YA series, I think it’s more for older teens, or atleast in my house it will be.

Birthmarked (The Birthmarked Trilogy)
Prized (The Birthmarked Trilogy)
Promised (The Birthmarked Trilogy)

Now I’ve been dying to reread the Fever series, by Karen Marie Moning, but first I have to reread her highlander series. So I’m slowly going through these. I just read the first one yesterday and I’m reading the second one now. I love the highlanders!!! I love the romance and sexy scenes. I love the accents, I can hear in my head. I can’t wait to get through these and on to Fever. I heart Barrons!! I have missed him and need to visit him soon.

Beyond the Highland Mist (Highlander Book 1)
To Tame a Highland Warrior (Highlander Book 2)
The Highlander’s Touch
Kiss of the Highlander
The Dark Highlander
The Immortal Highlander
Spell of the Highlander
Into the Dreaming (with bonus material) (Highlander Book 8)

So??? What are some of your favorite rereads??


Musing: Keeping Up with NetGalley Approvals

20140504-141055.jpg Do you use NetGalley? It’s a repository full of advance copies of books that haven’t been published yet. You fill out a profile page, peruse the available books, and request the ones you want. Publishers approve or decline the requests, and if they approve one, you can download an electronic copy for free. Yes, free! FREE BOOKS! Then you read, write a review, post it, and boom, you’re done.

Well, actually, if you’re like me, you end up selling your soul for these “free” books. The books have publish dates and archive dates associated with them, both of which create pressure to read fast, review fast, and move on to the next one.

I’m actually a little bit proud of my NetGalley achievements. I’ve been approved for 117 books since last July, and I’ve read 101 of them. I have a handful to read in May and June.

Then I have THE EIGHT. The eight NetGalley books that were published in 2013 that I just haven’t gotten to. That’s what the picture is up there. The eight unread, need-to-be-read NetGalley books.

They’ve been on my kindle for so long that I’ve lost all excitement for them. But there are only eight. I should get going and get them over with.

Any ideas which one I should start with?