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June 26, 2022

A Summer Catch-up

by Donna Huber

It has been forever (since January) since I've done one of these monthly wrap up posts. It's been a busy year so I'll catch you up on the highlights.

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Life Update...

I stopped doing these wrap-ups in February because my shoulder was giving me a lot of problems and I just hurt so much. It was making me so tired that I was barely able to get reading done and I felt bad not getting round to all the blogs participating. I did six weeks of PT this spring and it made me feel so much better. I still have some joint pain but it is manageable now. 

But then it was time to get plants in the ground. I decided that I was tired of mowing the weeds in the front yard and I was never going to do the work to have a nice lawn so I decided to convert it to gardens. I bought a ton of plants (something like 60) most were in 2in pots that I got from charity plant sales, a friend's greenhouse sale, and a plant swap at the library. Adding in the garden beds made me realize how badly my picket fence needed to be painted. It was installed 9 years ago and I haven't painted it since. So I started painting it. I'm halfway through with the fence but the other half may wait until fall as it is too hot now and I have to clean away tree saplings and English ivy to get to it.

Along with all of this, I adopted a four-month-old feral kitten (she came to me in a trap she was so scared of people). I know taming a feral cat isn't for everyone but I have absolutely loved every minute of it. She has now been with me for 3 months and I can pet her (and she actually wants me to pet her), she gets in the bed with me, and I can pick her up to move her from one spot to another. We are still working on being held. Her name is Callie and she is a calico tabby.

Here are some pictures of what I've been doing...

Blog Update...

We have been busy reading and reviewing. Here's a look at some of the books we've reviewed this month. As you might notice, there are some older titles mixed in with June new releases. We've all been trying to catch up on our TBR piles.

Books Read...

I've been able to keep up with my reading this year. I've read 73 books so far in 2022 which means I'm about 11 books ahead on my Goodreads Challenge. It is largely thanks to audiobooks - some months I've listened to 10 audiobooks and only read 1 or 2 books. Beyond tracking what I've read (since Goodreads makes that easy), I've given up tracking my other goals though I do know I've made some progress on reading some of my older titles because I've been able to get the audiobooks from the library. My Netgalley feedback ratio is finally at 80%!! 

Here's what I've read this month.

The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer

book cover of domestic thriller The Perfect Daughter by DJ Palmer

I love DJ Palmer's domestic thrillers and The Perfect Daugher is one of my top favorites of his. While I received an ARC via Netgalley, I listened to the audiobook that I got from the library. Read my full review.

Buy The Perfect Daughter at Amazon

100 Plants to Feed the Birds by Laura Erickson

cover of gardening book 100 Plants to Feed the Birds by Laura Erickson

100 Plants to Feed the Birds doesn't publish until December but because of all the pictures, I had to read it using Adobe Digital Editions so the ARC was only available for 50-something days and it was archived in May. It isn't as informative as I had hoped. I thought it might be more of a coffee table-type book, but it would make a great gift for the birdwatcher or gardener on your holiday gift list. My review will be published in December. 

The French Murder by Verity Bright

book cover of cozy mystery The French Murder by Verity Bright

The French for Murder is the perfect summer read. I loved the French Riviera setting. I really felt like I was on vacation. The mystery is fun as always and we learn a bit more about Clifford's past. Read my full review. I received an ARC via Netgalley.

Buy The French Murder at Amazon

1414° by Paul Bradley Carr

book cover of thriller 1414° by Paul Bradley Carr

It wasn't an edge-of-your-seat kind of thriller for me but it definitely was twisty - it was hard to tell who the bad girls were and who were the good girls - maybe none of them were good - do the ends outweigh the means? Read my full review. I received an audiobook ARC via Netgalley.

Buy 1414° at Amazon

Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer

audiobook cover of beach read Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer

I missed getting Nancy Thayer's newest beach read at Netgalley but I didn't find an audiobook of one of her earlier books that I hadn't read at the library. I'm not sure this is my favorite Thayer book, but I did really enjoy it. I had trouble getting into it but as I got to know the characters I got more into and by the end, I really liked the book.

Buy Summer Breeze at Amazon

Death by Beach Read by Eve Gates

audiobook cover of cozy mystery Death by Beach Reads by Eve Gates

I've only read one other book in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series but I still enjoyed this one. If you are a fan of Jenn McKinlay's Library Lover's series then you definitely want to check this one out. Read my full review. I received an audiobook ARC via Netgalley.

Buy Death by Beach Read at Amazon

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

book review of thriller The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

If you looking for a summer blockbuster to read then you have to get this book. This is a story within a story so it might take a minute to settle into it but once you do you are in for quite the ride. Even though you know there is a going to be a twist it kind of sneaks up on you and wham! But it isn't out of left field either. It was definitely a masterful piece of writing to get the timing of it right. Read my full review. I received an ARC via Netgalley.

The Key to Deceit by Ashley Weaver

audiobook cover of historical mystery The Key to Deceit by Ashley Weaver

I like the characters so I enjoyed catching up with them again but I didn't feel the plot was all that engaging. They work in intelligence during WWII but they don't seem to be that undercover or there is any danger of exposure that you usually get with an espionage story. Read my full review. I received an audiobook ARC via Netgalley.

Buy The Key to Deceit at Amazon

The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey

audiobook cover of southern fiction novel The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey

I've wanted to read a KWH book for some time because I always hear how good they are but I don't really care for southern fiction. When I saw this one had ties to Biltmore Estate, I decided if I was going to read one of her books it would be this one. I've been to Biltmore twice and enjoyed both trips. I love history and I did do some reading up on the estate and family before and after my trip because I wanted to know more about its history. Most of what I've read is about George so I liked that this book delved more into Edith and Cornelia. I eventually found myself enjoying the present-day characters as well. Read my full review. I received an ARC via Netgalley, but I listened to the audiobook I borrowed from the library.

Buy The Wedding Veil at Amazon

Murder at the Country Club by Helena Dixon

book cover of cozy mystery Murder at the Country Club by Helena Dixon

I enjoyed this cozy mystery a lot. I always like that Matt has no problem with Kitty working. Even when they marry, he's not insisting she becomes an ordinary housewife. Nor does he seem jealous or intimidated by the fact that her family owns a hotel and she will inherit it. It makes me like him a lot and is a refreshing change of pace. Read my full review. I received an ARC via Netgalley.

All the Lights Above Us by M.B. Henry

book cover of historical fiction novel All the Lights Above Us by M.B. Henry

This had the potential to be a great WWII novel. I loved getting a look at D-Day from a different perspective. However, the bouncing between 5 main characters made the story difficult to follow. I didn't really connect with any of the characters because of the disjointed storytelling. Read my full review. I received an ARC via Netgallley but I listened to audiobook from the library.

Murder on Madison Square by Victoria Thompson

book cover of cozy mystery Murder on Madison Square by Victoria Thompson

This is the first book in the Gaslight Mystery series I've read, though it is book 25. I liked the characters and the mystery was interesting. What I found most interesting was the mention of electric cars. There isn't a set date given but it is the early 1900s. I did a little research on my own about electric cars at the turn of the century and I can say I definitely learned something new. The author gives more info about electric cars in her author's note. If you listen to the Joanne Fluke mystery series, then you will recognize the narrator of this book. At first, I was confused because many of the voices were the same in this book as they are for the Fluke books. Read my full review. I received an ARC via Netgalley, but I listened to the audiobook from the library.

Zero Hour by Don Bentley

book cover of espionage thriller Zero Hour by Don Bentley

I usually wind up listening to the audiobook of Jack Ryan series, but I actually read this one myself and oh how I enjoyed it. The audiobooks are good but I think reading it myself had a greater intensity because I was solely focused on the story. There are definitely tense moments and I kept having to tell myself to relax as I was afraid I would break my Kindle with how strongly I was gripping it. Read my review. I received an ARC via Netgalley.

Buy Zero Hour at Amazon

When She Dreams by Amanda Quick

book cover of hard-boiled mystery When She Dreams by Amanda Quick

I don't remember why I accepted this book for review. I think it was a little bit of FOMO as I was seeing it a lot. The mystery was good. I liked the characters. But sometimes I found myself a bit bored with the story. I don't read a lot of hard-boiled mysteries and I'm not sure it's a genre I really like. I received an ARC via Netgalley but I listened to the audiobook from the library. Read my review.

Buy When She Dreams at Amazon

Summer at the Little French Cafe by Karen Clarke

audiobook cover of beach read Summer at the Little French Cafe by Karen Clarke

This was a cute little story. It was super easy to listen to. Hours would go by and it wouldn't feel like I had been listening for so long. There is a little romance but it is definitely in the background. I loved the characters. I received an audiobook ARC via Netgalley. Read my review.

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. I'm glad you are feeling better after the PT for your pain. I'm happy you are catching up with us on a summer post...we have missed hearing what you are reading.

    The Woman in the Library is on my radar and 100 Plants to Feed the Birds sounds like a book I need to look for.

    1. Thanks! I'm having fun catching up with others. I highly recommend The Woman in the Library.

  2. Your list is incredibly long, but you sound like you read enormously much. Good luck with the shoulder.

    best… ma at

    1. I do read/listen to a lot of books each month. With all the hours spent in the yard I've been listening to most audiobooks in 2 days.

  3. Aww Callie is a cutie. My cats aren't feral but still don't like to be held- it's funny how some cats do, and some don't.

    I was curious about the Ashley Weaver since I liked her first book, but haven't read any of her stuff since.

    1. I have some that I can't hold for long but all (except Callie) will let me hold them enough to look in ears or if I needed to look at a sore or something.

      I was a little disappointed with Weaver's latest novel. I really liked the first book in the series but this one just didn't have a good plot.

  4. Glad your shoulder is improving. You read a LOT of good books this month!

  5. Hello! Thanks so much for stopping by at Impressions in Ink. Bless you for loving Callie. I hope you have a wonderful life together!
    Glad your shoulder pain is improving. I have chronic pain in hips and knees.

  6. I'm glad to hear your shoulder is better. So many books on your list are on my wishlist. I hope you have a great week!

  7. Glad you’re doing better. Hugs. Regine

  8. Glad to hear you are doing better. You have read quite a few great books, thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by my blog.