Bookish (& Not So Bookish) Thoughts

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Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

1.Happy Autumnal Equinox! (yesterday)  I love the fall and it seems like it is actually here.  The highs are mid 70s but the lows at night are pretty chilly.  Can’t wait for the first fire of the year!


2.  I have decided to try to read some of the books on the short list for the Booker Man prize, so I got A Little Life and A Spool of Blue Thread from the library.  A Little Life is not a little book, it’s over 700 pages (not large print by the way) long!  And not a fast read- but I am loving it!

3.  There are bears where I live, and I know this.  They frequently walk through my yard, and that is their right.  I do have a very real fear that my stupid chocolate Lab will try to chase a cub off, only to have Momma attack him.

4.  I watched The Muppets Show last night.  It was funny, in a creepy and disturbing way.

5.  I saw this on Buzzfeed and now I am dying to own it.


I can’t believe a 17 year old made this.  Unfortunately, it is a part of a book of these maps that goes on sale today, but not yet available to purchase as a print.  I want to buy the print, and then hang it right behind my desk so I can turn around and look at it whenever I want.

6.  I  am nervous about my upcoming run in NYC this weekend, but am thankful it is after the Pope has left.

7.  Banned Books week starts on Monday and I am hoping to slip in a reading of a banned book.  What is your favorite Banned Book?

Guess I am out of interesting thought for now

What’s on my fall TBR? A Top Ten List



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!

This week’s topic is-

Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR List

1.This Little Life by Hanya Yanighara

One of the books on the Booker Man short list.

2.  The Lake House by Kate Morton

Love the author!

3. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

I am loving this series.

4. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Still on the TBR

5. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

I am actually a little afraid to tackle this- maybe a better winter book?

6. The Hot Zone by Richard Preston

This was the book club pick at the school my kids go to.  Should be interesting since the host is a science teacher.

7. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I still haven’t read this!

8.  She’s Not There by P.J. Parrish

I just read a review and it looks fun.

9.  A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

-another Booker Man short list book

10. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

(this seems to be eternally on my TBR)

The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

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The Murderer’s Daughter

by Jonathan Kellerman

published by Ballantine Books

August 18, 2015

I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

Psychologist Grace Blades treat patients that have suffered extreme trauma.  As a child, she witnessed the murder-suicide of her parents and had to suffer through many difficult situations in foster care.  Now she helps people through the hardest parts of their lives, while keeping her own life sealed off from relationships.  When a new patient is murdered, Grace feels she must solve the crime herself.

I am sure I have read other books by Jonathan Kellerman in the past, but I honestly don’t remember them.  I was excited to read this book, because it wasn’t a part in a series, like many of his are.  While I enjoyed the book, I didn’t love it. The story is in alternating times- the past and present of the main character.  It did keep me absorbed for about 3/4 of it, but I began to feel the parts with the adult Grace were a lot less  interesting than those with young Grace.  I think that a reason for this is that young Grace, despite such a difficult childhood, still had the potential to become a happy person.  Adult Grace simply has not, but instead has crafted a very lonely life.  The murder mystery was pretty cool- I love anything to do with cults- but the idea of this beautiful, smart psychologist running around in disguise and breaking the law herself just didn’t seem that believable.




A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.
Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.
An evil she thought she’d outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she’d long ago fled.

Bookish (& Not So Bookish) Thoughts



Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

 1. I am preparing myself already to totally fail my Goodreads reading challenge.  Last year I did great- I read 100 books.  This year, I decided to up that to 115- and as of now I am 13 books behind.  I hope I can at least get to 100.

2.  Just when I finally relented and bought the pumpkin candle, its back up to 85 degrees.  But goes to 49 at night.  September is a bitch.

3.  People shouldn’t be allowed to bring their adorable new puppies to high school sporting events.  It’s really not fair.  Especially that extremely smug man with the beautiful black lab puppy he is training as a seeing eye dog.  Actually Jackass, my dogs DO know who is boss- them.  or maybe its a democracy.  At least I love my dogs.

4.  Speaking of which, does anyone know the signs of dementia in dogs?  My 12 year old lab is getting a little wacky.


5.  I watched Stephen King on The Late Show last week- he is so funny!  Any big King fans out there?

What is your favorite book by him?

6.  I know I need to start running, so today, as soon as the kids left, I went back to bed.  But I am going to go for a run in a little while. Maybe.

7.  I watched the debate last night- I wanted to dunk my head in a bucket of ice water afterward.  Thank god for wine- 2016 is going to be an ugly year.

8.  I am still reading The Girl in the Spider’s Web.  It is going a little slow for me, but I am hoping we are getting to a good part.

9.  I walked into the library yesterday and didn’t take anything out- yah willpower!

I was actually returning a book that was 2 days late, and I had an appointment, so I had no time, but still.

10.  They revealed the short list for the Man Booker Prize.  I have not read any of them.  I am ashamed.


Feminist Literature 101- a Top Ten List



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!

This week’s topic is


So I picked a topic that I missed-

Top Ten books on my syllabus if I taught Feminist Literature 101

1. Elizabeth Bennnet

Lizzie is a feminist for all times.  She refuses to marry for anytime but love.  She is strong, wise, and dignified.  She has her own opinions, and apologizes for her mistakes.

“I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any.”

2. Jo March

An intelligent, king, funny woman.  She also refuses to rely on a man for anything but love.  Her family means everything, but she will leave it behind to find herself.

“Some books are so familiar that reading them is like coming home again.”

3. Jean Louise (Scout) Finch

Scout is a marvelous balance of innocence and dignity.  She has amazing role models in her life, though men, not women.  She struggle to do the right thing and to be true to herself.

“I know now what he was trying to do, but Atticus was only a man. It takes a woman to do that kind of work.”

4. Scarlett O’Hara

I know-not what you think of when you think feminist, but in a time when woman were thought to be nothing more than simpering fools, Scarlett takes charge of her life and others.  She is made or iron, and while I and Many others cringe at some of her choices, she is the one actually making them.

“Ooh, if I just wasn’t a lady, WHAT wouldn’t I tell that varmint.”

“Well, I guess I’ve done murder. I won’t think about that now. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

5. Hermione Granger

I love Hermione and am so glad so many young girls got to read an amazing series that featured such a strong female character.  She is brave, intelligent, and loyal.  I must admit I was secretly a little disappointed she ended up with Ron and not Harry, but I won’t say that too loud.

“Just because it’s taken you three years to notice, Ron, doesn’t mean no one else has spotted I’m a girl!”

6. Lisbeth Salander

Again, not what we think of for a feminist, but she actually is a neo feminist.  She fights back against a society she fells treats women like second class citizens.

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of fight in the dog.”

7. Katniss Everdeen

Unfriendly and untrusting of most, she is strong, and fiercely loyal.  She does what she thinks is right, not always what might be best.

“If he wants me broken, then I will have to be whole.”

8. Eowyn of the House of Eorl

In the very male heavy The Lord of the Rings, we have Eowyn as the standout female.  She is a shieldmaiden and a noble woman of Rohan, who disguises herself as a man to follow the warriors into battle rather than be left behind.  In this disguise she slays the Witch King of Angmar to protect her Lord and uncle Theoden.

“But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.”

Black-Eyed Susans by Julie Heaberlin



Black Eyed Susans

by Julie Heaberlin

published by Ballantine Books

August 2015

I received and advance review copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

That cover!  It totally caught my eye and piqued my interest.  In this case, you can judge the book by the cover because the story inside is just as catching and captivating!  This was a suspenseful, fast read that I didn’t want to put down.  As with many books today, it is told in two parts: the past and the present of Tessa Cartwright.  After she is found in a field of black eyed susans, the only living victim of a serial killer, Tessa struggles to cope with her experience.  Despite having no recollection of the actual crime, prosecutors use her testimony to convict and sentence a man to death.  Fast forward almost twenty years and Tess is now living a happy, if very sheltered life with her daughter.  When she sees a fresh batch of the infamous flowers planted outside her bedroom window, she begins to fear the wrong man is about to be put to death.  Agreeing to help the lawyers fighting for appeal, Tess struggle to open her mind, daring herself to remember the worst thing that has ever happened to her.

What I really enjoyed about this book was that it wasn’t as predictable as so many suspense novels out there.  Tess wasn’t just a victim, she was a heroine in my eyes.  The writing keeps you engaged and always a little surprised.  If you enjoy a good suspense story this is a must read for you.



As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories—and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.

What they don’t know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a  fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.

Shocking, intense, and utterly original, Black-Eyed Susans is a dazzling psychological thriller, seamlessly weaving past and present in a searing tale of a young woman whose harrowing memories remain in a field of flowers—as a killer makes a chilling return to his garden.

Bookish (& Not So Bookish) Thoughts




Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

  1. I have been absent from this blog for over a month- and it was ok.  I needed a break, was busy with driving teenagers all over this great state, and wanted to try to relax a little.  I read a lot, started watching The Office- which I am surprised that I like- and did some fun family things.  This is my first post back, but I have been reading tons.  Now to actually write all of those posts!

2. I am sorry- I love this-12002312_928920683823269_3944922516618524575_n

I can’t help it.  I am Italian and I cook.

3. I just finished rereading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, in anticipation for the next one- The Girl in the Spider Web.  I want to read it, but am nervous since it is written by another author.

4. I still haven’t started Go Set A Watchman.  What is the consensus out there?  Is it good?

5. They say that summer is over, but when it is the first day of school, and you are sitting there watching a field hokey game in 98 degree heat, I have to disagree.  September is still summer, and there should not be school.


6. My son passed his road test and is now driving.  I let him drive his sister to school and sports, but am hesitant to get into the car with him myself.  Does that make me a bad mother?  Or just wickedly smart?  Honestly, I don’t think he wants me in the car- I have been told I am not a good passenger.  I just think its because I drive better than most people.

7. Love this-


8. I tried to be good.  I went through my bookcases and made a huge pile of the books I have not read.  I told myself that I had to read through at least 3 books before  could accept a book for review, go to the library, or buy a new book.  I read one book- and that was that.  I have done all 3 things I said I wouldn’t do.  I have no will power.

9. I am running in the Tunnel to Towers again in a few weeks.  It is an amazing experience and I am excited that my daughter will be joining me.  Now, if only I had actually started running again.

Start Line!!



10.  I have set my DVR to tape all new showings of Late Night with Stephen Colbert and it took all of my will power to wait for my husband.  Now we will have Fallon and Colbert to watch!