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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

July 30, 2018

Donna's Month of Reading #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber
In my mailbox

July has been a good month for reading - 12 books finished! Probably because I took a week off from the day job. I did a few projects around the house: replaced dryer vent, mailbox, and bathroom faucet. But then I hung out with my niece, spent time in the pool, and read. The above picture is of the fun stuff I found in the mailbox this month. I took advantage of a great Prime Day deal to get a Kindle to replace my now non-supported 1st generation Nook. I tried the Nook Glowlight 3 that B&N was offering a great deal on for those who would be affected when they took the 1st generation Nook offline, but it just didn't work for me and was just way too frustrating. I'm very happy with my Kindle Paperwhite.
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In ebook...

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
An Ocean of Minutes
I was interested in this book as a possibility for the post-apocalyptic book club I attend. We have a loose definition for the genre. This is not your typical time-traveling sci-fi novel. I really liked the character-driven story and we are reading it for our April meeting. I got it from Read my full review.

America is in the grip of a deadly flu. When Frank gets sick, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded labourer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

Buy An Ocean of Minutes at Amazon

The Hitwoman in a Pickle by JB Lynn
The Hitwoman in a Pickle
I love this series. Even after 18 books, I can't wait for the next one. I got a free copy from the author. Read my full review.

What kind of trouble is Maggie in this time?

The klutzy contract killer must enlist the help of both her psychic friend, Armani, and her ever-growing collection of talking pets, as she desperately searches for not one, but two, missing relatives.

At the same time she’s trying to keep the peace in her crazy family and complete an unwanted assignment from mob boss, Delveccio, which could end with her on ice.

And oh yeah, she’s got a date with a certain hot manny.

Maggie and friends follow a crazy and convoluted path to try to save the day, but will an unexpected enemy get the upper hand?

Buy The Hitwoman in a Pickle at Amazon

The Six by K. B. Hoyle
The Six
I have read this book at least 3 times and I still stay up late to keep reading. The series is being re-released this summer with a few updates to the story. I didn't notice too much of difference in this one, but it was still fun to go to camp with these kids. The author provided a free copy. Read my full review.

Darcy Pennington hates her life. She is an insufferably average teenager with no true friends, crushing social anxiety, and an indescribable sense of not fitting in anywhere. When her parents force her to attend Cedar Cove Family Camp the summer before her eighth-grade year, Darcy once again finds herself on the outside of an established social circle.

But the camp holds secrets, and when Darcy begins to have strange experiences, she comes to believe she’s either losing her mind or on the brink of a discovery that could give her life purpose.

An unwitting tumble through a magical gateway lands her in a new world called Alitheia, and Darcy must convince five other teenagers at the camp to not only befriend her but follow her on a journey beyond their world and their wildest dreams to save Alitheia from an ancient, shadowy foe.

Buy The Six at Amazon

Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding
I discovered this series last summer when I read book 11. I've spent the past year reading through the series to catch up. I really liked this installment. It was almost totally focused on Georgie solving the mystery. She really comes into her own. I'm looking forward to what life with Darcy is like. I received a copy from My review will post on August 7.

Georgie is finally able to plan for her wedding in the summer. It is going to be a summer of weddings: her mother is marrying Max, her German beau; Georgie's grandfather is marrying his next door neighbor, Mrs. Huggins; and Darcy's father is getting up the courage to ask the princess to marry him. Georgie is staying at the princess's London house when she receives a letter from one of her mother's former husbands, Sir Hubert Anstruther. Georgie is now his sole heir, and he's offering her the use of his lovely country house. He suggests she move in right away to keep an eye on the place because all might not be well since his butler died.

Georgie talks this through with her husband-to-be, Darcy, who is off to Europe again, this time to Berlin. They decide that she will take Sir Hubert up on his offer. However, when Georgie arrives, it becomes clear that she is definitely not wanted in the house. Strange things are happening, including a lively ghost and a less than friendly reception from the new butler. When a body shows up, Georgie realizes that Sir Hubert's invitation may not have been entirely altruistic and begins to wonder if she'll even make it to her wedding day.

Buy Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding at Amazon

The Oracle by K. B. Hoyle
The Oracle
I know I was supposed to be reading Infidelity, but once I start this series it is really hard to set it aside. I didn't cry this time around, but I'm anxious to return to Alitheia and rescue Yahto Veli. I received a free copy from the author. Read my full review.

A year ago Darcy Pennington would have laughed at the idea of magical worlds, prophecies, and talking animals, but everything changed when she visited Cedar Cove Family Camp and stumbled through a gateway.

It is the summer before freshman year, and Darcy and her five friends have returned through the gateway to the world of Alitheia. But the return is bittersweet for Darcy as her purpose in the magical realm remains shrouded in mystery. Goaded by Tellius, the boy prince she is prophesied to marry, Darcy petitions an entity called the Oracle to tell her more about her future in Alitheia. But petitioning the Oracle is playing with fire, and she soon finds herself on a perilous journey that will test not only her friendships but her sanity.

There is a cost associated with every petition, too, and it is a cost far greater than Darcy ever imagined. The only way to be free of the deadly call of the Oracle is for the petitioner to pay.

Buy The Oracle at Amazon

In print...

Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen
Queen of Hearts
Every time I went to book club, I would check out one of the books in the series. I missed a couple of meetings so I still had two books to read before the newest one came out. This one is fun and I enjoyed seeing Darcy and Georgie together.

Lady Georgiana Rannoch, thirty-fifth in line for the British throne, knows how to play the part of an almost royal—but now she’s off to Hollywood, where she must reprise her role as sleuth or risk starring in an all-too-convincing death scene…

My mother, the glamorous and much-married actress, is hearing wedding bells once again—which is why she must hop across the pond for a quickie divorce in Reno. To offer my moral support, and since all expenses are paid by her new hubby-to-be, Max, I agree to make the voyage with her.

Crossing the Atlantic, with adventure in the air and wealthy men aboard, Mother all but forgets about Max and matrimony—especially when movie mogul Cy Goldman insists on casting her in his next picture.

Meanwhile, I find myself caught up in the secret investigation of a suspected jewel thief. Lucky for me, the lead investigator happens to be my dashing beau, Darcy!

Mother’s movie and Darcy’s larceny lead everyone to Cy’s Hollywood home, where the likes of Charlie Chaplin are hanging about and there’s enough romantic intrigue to fill a double feature. But we hardly get a chance to work out the sleeping arrangements before Cy turns up dead—as if there wasn’t enough drama already…

Buy Queen of Hearts at Amazon

Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives
Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives edited by Sarah Weinman
This collection of short stories has been on my review shelf way too long. It was so good. I don't usually like short stories, but I loved these. I received a free copy from the publisher. Read my full review.

Fourteen chilling tales from the pioneering women who created the domestic suspense genre

Murderous wives, deranged husbands, deceitful children, and vengeful friends. Few know these characters—and their creators—better than Sarah Weinman. One of today’s preeminent authorities on crime fiction, Weinman asks: Where would bestselling authors like Gillian Flynn, Sue Grafton, or Tana French be without the women writers who came before them?

In Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, Weinman brings together fourteen hair-raising tales by women who—from the 1940s through the mid-1970s—took a scalpel to contemporary society and sliced away to reveal its dark essence. Lovers of crime fiction from any era will welcome this deliciously dark tribute to a largely forgotten generation of women writers.

Buy Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives at Amazon

Malice at the Palace
Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen
I really enjoy this cozy mystery series. And now that I'm all caught up, I guess I will have to wait a year for more. I checked it out of the library.

Lady Georgiana Rannoch won’t deny that being thirty-fifth in line for the British throne has its advantages. Unfortunately, money isn’t one of them. And sometimes making ends meet requires her to investigate a little royal wrongdoing.

Buy Malice at the Palace at Amazon

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye
I read this as part of PBS's Great American Read. I hadn't read it before but felt that maybe I should. It read much more quickly than I expected, which is a good thing. Borrowed a copy. Read the rest of my thoughts and some interesting tidbits I learned. 

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

Buy The Catcher in the Rye at Amazon

In audio...

Moral Panic by K.M. Ecke
Moral Panic
This was an interesting, short audiobook. It is also kind scary in the sense that it could really happen. I received a free audiobook from the author. Read my full review.

If anything can be hacked, nothing can be trusted.

Tanner Moore is at the top of his game in the high stakes world of Big Technology. As Chief Technology Officer of Paragon, the largest corporation in the world, he is about to release the greatest convenience innovation in the history of commerce: Drone delivery service to every inch of the globe.

But when a series of off-the-record comments are published by the click-bait media, Tanner’s fall from grace is swift and brutal.

Kidnapped by a mysterious vigilante secret police with unknown intentions, Tanner must navigate an underground world of violent zealots and mental manipulation to find the truth within a cage of distortion.

Buy Moral Panic at Amazon

Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
Everything We Keep
After reading Susan's review of the series, and noticing that Prime members could read and listen to book 1 free, I decided to give it a try. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was a great audiobook.

A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keep explores the devastation of loss, the euphoria of finding love again, and the pulse-racing repercussions of discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear and the lengths they will go to protect us.

Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancĂ©, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever.

Buy Everything We Keep at Amazon

The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch
THe Gone World
This is what my post-apocalyptic book club is reading for its August 2 meeting. I love the television show NCIS and I enjoy time-travel novels, so I was optimistic about this one. I enjoyed it, but if I tried to think too hard I would confuse myself. I haven't been so confused by time travel since the time turners in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I received a free audiobook from Audible.

Shannon Moss is part of a clandestine division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In Western Pennsylvania, 1997, she is assigned to solve the murder of a Navy SEAL's family--and to locate his teenage daughter, who has disappeared. Though she can't share the information with conventional law enforcement, Moss discovers that the missing SEAL was an astronaut aboard the spaceship U.S.S. Libra--a ship assumed lost to the darkest currents of Deep Time. Moss knows first-hand the mental trauma of time-travel and believes the SEAL's experience with the future has triggered this violence.

Determined to find the missing girl and driven by a troubling connection from her own past, Moss travels ahead in time to explore possible versions of the future, seeking evidence or insight that will crack the present-day case. To her horror, the future reveals that it's not only the fate of a family that hinges on her work, for what she witnesses rising over time's horizon and hurtling toward the present is the Terminus: the terrifying and cataclysmic end of humanity itself.

Luminous and unsettling, The Gone World bristles with world-shattering ideas yet remains at its heart an intensely human story.

Buy The Gone World at Amazon

Currently Reading

In print...

Infidelity by Ann Pearlman
I've just started this book so I don't have any opinions. I'm shooting to have it done by its release date of August 14. The author sent me a free copy.

It is estimated that an alarming four out of five married couples experience infidelity. Growing up with a mother and grandmother who painfully accepted the existence of their respective husbands’ mistresses, Ann Pearlman set out to beat the odds. She embarked on a career as a therapist who helped hundreds of unhappily married patients build new lives. She also found a husband with whom she felt secure. But after thirty years of rewarding marriage and parenthood, she discovered that her husband was having an affair with one of his art students. Infidelity is the moving account of her shattered trust, and the women in her family who endured similar wounds in the radically different climate of America before 1960.

Written in precisely drawn, vivid scenes, Infidelity traces Pearlman’s first understanding of unfaithfulness through her father. A gifted and intelligent man, he took the time to explain Freud’s theories to her during dinner, a meal often served late because of his after-work trysts. Falling in love with Ty, an African American football player and artist, she basked in a strong marriage that even shrugged off interracial bias and inspired her to write a book on how to foster vitality in a marriage. Yet as her own unraveled, she arrived at a turning point that would test everything she had taught and believed. Compelling reading for men and women alike, Infidelity is an eye-opening testament to commitments made and broken, and the experience of matrimony across three very different yet strikingly connected lifetimes.

Buy Infidelity at Amazon

This post is linked with Book Date's It's Monday! What are your reading?, Stacking the Shelves at Tynga's reviewsMailbox Monday, and Feed Your Fiction Addiction's Monthly Wrap-up Round-up.
Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. So many tempting books! I have a copy of Everything We looks like I should read it!

    I've also been eyeing Rhys Bowen's books.

    Enjoy your week, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

  2. What a great variety of books! I got a new Kindle too but just went with the basic one. I'm a little disappointed at the battery length but will just have to get used to charging it more often than my old one. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    1. I really wanted to the built in light which is why I went with the Paperwhite. With the way the trees are around my house it will be bright and then suddenly dark in the house and I hate to interrupt my reading to turn on more lights. lol.

  3. A field guide to murder and flyfishing made me laugh. I'll have to look at that one a little more closely.
    Have a great week!
    Valerie @ Cats Luv Coffee

    1. I won that one at Goodreads. It seems to be a theme for me lately as I just read The Feather Thief this spring. It's about a bird heist and Victorian fly fish tying.

  4. I see you are a fan of Rhys Bowen. Enjoy her marvelous books!

  5. I like my PAperwhite too- so convenient. The Hitwoman in a Pickle looks fun, and so does The Six. I've read one of Rhys Bowen's Georgie books and liked it. Fun series. :)

    Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives looks great too!

  6. I'm unfamiliar with the hitwoman series by JB Lynn, but it sounds like my type of book. The only problem is 18! Why do I always seem to come across series with so many to catch up on?

    1. They are quick reads. I'm a slow reader and I can usually finish them in a couple of days.

  7. What great progress this month! I'm hoping to read Catcher in the Rye soon.

  8. Following you, Looks like your got yourself some reaally good reads and books, I hope August treats you well. Check out my blog:

  9. That's a lot of good looking books. I haven't read Catcher since high school

  10. Great job reading 11 books! Taking time off work definitely helps!!

    --Sam @ Sharing Inspired Kreations

  11. Good reading month! I am still nursing my Gen2 Kindle although I have a Fire as a back-up.
    I have been eyeing The Gone World.
    Thanks for linking at MM.
    Hope this is another good month of reading for you!

  12. My Nook was limping along - I had to remember to charge it every day. So I was already planning to get a back-up kindle around Christmas. Prime Day just pushed up the plan. The Gone World was good, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it instead of listening to it.

  13. I love the variety of books! I keep seeing Everything We Keep on my amazon page so I'm tempted to give it a try. I'm glad you enjoyed the audiobook, so I may check that out. I hope you have a wonderful August.

    Tina @ As Told By Tina

  14. Oo I'd not heard of Lynn's series. Sounds fun! It's awesome when so many books in and it's still good.

  15. Catcher in the Rye was one of my favorite books when I was a teenager. Looks like you had some good reads in July!
    Here's my July Wrap-Up Post

  16. I haven't even read Catcher in the Rye, but now that I've read the synopsis, I'm going to find it as I missed out on a great book. 12 books is amazing and congrats on reading so much.

  17. Hope you've been enjoying your new Kindle! Catcher in the Rye was a favorite of mine when I was in school. My daughter is reading it in school this year, and I'm eager to see how she likes it.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  18. I love Catcher in the Rye - such a classic. Hope your August was as good as July!