This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Blah, Blah, Blah, Blogging…

Last year I set a fast and furious pace for myself. I was posting 3 reviews a week, had my Sunday Commentary post and filled in with a few bookish discussions, tags, etc. I religiously posted every other day. I did see my follows rise, but my energy level fell. To keep up that review pace I had to read 4 books a week, write religiously every weekend, and give up a little bit of my life. That second book I wanted to write kept getting pushed back as I slogged through trying to keep up the pace.

burn out

I didn’t want to quit blogging because I really love it! I just wanted to love other things too.

I know there are other bloggers out there who feel the same way I did, so I wanted to share a few things I did to get my life and my blogging back on track.

BACK OFF!– No! Not you guys! Me!! I needed to back down from this frantic pace I had set for myself. I backed down to two reviews a week (Tue and Fri) and made one of them my Friday YA post because a little YA just makes me happy. 🙂 I’ll confess, I do occasionally have three reviews in a week, but it’s usually because I have an Arc I forgot to read and review and I’ll throw one into my schedule to meet that due date.

Goodreads Challenge

Do you all do these Goodreads challenges? Well, I had set myself the challenge of reading 212 books this year. Ummm, not even close. I lowered it to 200 and am still 7 books behind schedule, so I’m just throwing this year out the window. 200 is NOT going to happen and I don’t know what I was thinking!

Aha

I had an AHA! moment- I wanted to show my fellow bloggers some love and approached a couple that I had admired to ask if they would answer a few questions in a new series I had been mulling over in my mind. They said yes, my Blogger to Blogger series was born. I really enjoy getting to know all of the bloggers in our universe and seeing how diverse we are! It’s a fun little series that seems to be taking off and brings joy to my little blog!

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I walked my dog!- This seems like such a small thing, doesn’t it? But getting outside with my dog and my husband starts the day off right. I get to see the neighborhood, enjoy the weather, and get a goofy grin from my baby, Nash. Isn’t he adorable?

Nash pumpkin

Be social! I”m lucky because I live in one of the best cities in the US for concerts, Nashville TN! My husband, who is my best friend and willing participant, has agreed that we must DO THINGS! So I’ve put the book down and started trying to get out of the house and do non bookish things. This helps so much! When I have time to relax and I relish getting back to that book instead of forcing myself to pick it up.

Maroon 5 concert

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Salon@615 at the Nashville Library with Deborah Harkness talking about her newest novel in the Discovery of Witches series.

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The hubs and I at an NFL Titans game.

What did I learn???

Having fun in life means having fun reading and writing again, and yeah, don’t over schedule myself…. that is no fun at all!

Do any of you have the same kinds of problems? What did you do to get yourself back on track?

Thanks for reading! Until next Sunday…

Deb

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Friday YA: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

Do you ever start off reading a book thinking it’s about one thing, but your own experience with the words on the page make your experience something entirely different? That’s what happened to me with Kasie West’s Love, Life and the List.

Abby is seventeen years old and in love with her best friend Cooper. As if that’s not bad enough, she is trying to enter her art into an exhibit to help her chances of getting into art school but her mentor tells her that she hasn’t lived through enough life experiences to portray art with feeling. Abby is pretty destroyed, but determined to live life to the fullest by following a list she creates. What’s on the list? Things like facing your fear; watch a life end; experiencing unrequited love, etc. and her painting changes as she does with each life event she faces.

I think we’ve all lived through Abby’s emotion of loving her best friend and not having that love returned. Although mine was at a little bit older of an age, those feelings came rushing right back as she tried to deny the importance of her feelings. Thankfully she had some other things to check off to keep her busy and as she did I realized I should make my own list because even though I’m older, there is still a lot I need to experience. Kasie West’s point about your life becoming 3D by living through different experiences was poignant, and even though sometimes I’m human and want to avoid heavy emotions, reading this book made me think I may be missing something by not living them. (OK, I am mostly thinking about my avoidance of movies and books that make me cry, but even so, I may be missing something!)

Cooper was a charming leading man. He was a typical teen in that he didn’t think that far into the future and so in making a joke of Abby’s feelings he actually hurts himself as much as he hurts her. He was a really fun character to read and I enjoyed their sparring, but was thankful to see his character growth because it gave him dimension and the story more impact. I enjoyed experiencing life through Abby’s character and loved how quickly this plot moved. If you are looking for a one hanky lighthearted romance, I think this is the story for you! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Love, Life and the List

Click this link to purchase!*

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) by Darynda Jones (audio book review)

First Grave on the Right was first published in 2011, so this is not a new book. However, recently I had another blogger recommend Darynda Jones to me because of my love of paranormal fantasy novels. When I looked up Darynda Jones I saw there were 13 books in this series and I’ll admit I was excited. There’s nothing like finding a great new author and getting to read through a bunch of their novels that are already published. I chose to explore by listening to the audio book narrated by Lorelei King. I’ll be the first to admit that I am just learning to recognize narrators names and I didn’t recognize Lorelei King, but when I heard her voice I knew immediately who she was. Ms. King also narrates Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series, one of my favorites, and also a series I am currently listening to. Once I got over the fact that the voice may be the same, but the characters definitely weren’t I really enjoyed the novel.

First Grave on the Right introduces us to Charley Davidson, PI and Grim Reaper. Charley is not the Grim Reaper of horror stories. She doesn’t wear a cape and carry a scythe. She is a person who see’s dead people and helps them cross. The dead people see Charley as a brilliant white light which attracts them to her and to get them to cross she helps solve the problem that’s keeping them in this realm. In this case it is a murder. Charley’s character has such a joie de vivre! Ms. King read’s her with a sense of humor and irreverence that really makes listening to this novel enjoyable. It is part slapstick, romance and mystery; think Stephanie Plumb meets Nancy Drew.

First Grave on the Right is also a paranormal romance novel, but Charley’s lover is not corporeal, he is an entity that at first we’re not sure is a bad guy or good guy. We are only introduced to this character, but he has played an integral part in Charley’s entire life. Moving into future novels his character becomes a bit more fleshed out, but in First Grave on the Right Charley is trying to determine who and what he is, while also solving this other murder.

I really enjoyed Darynda Jones since of humor in writing these characters. It’s a paranormal fantasy so throw away your expectations of reality and just enjoy the ride!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

First Grave

Click this link to purchase the audio book! First Grave on the Right: Charley Davidson, Book 1

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small stipend if you purchase through the above link.

This Chicks SundayCommentary: September Wrap Up!

Even though the weather is still warm the leaves are starting to turn in Nashville, making me feel like fall MUST be around the corner (my fingers and toes are crossed!). September is gone, gone, gone and that means it’s time for a monthly wrap up post. Here’s what happened on The Reading Chick last month.

I only gave one book a five rating last month but I enjoyed so many! Here are a few recommendations. If you’ve read them please let me know if you agree with my rating!

A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

A Murder‘A Murder in Time is part mystery with a hint of romance. The Duke is not Kendra’s romantic partner, but instead it’s his nephew that she ensnares. The tension between the two of them is intense but really the story revolves around solving the mystery of who among their peers is the killer. This novel held my interest and truly I didn’t want to put it down.’

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

The Dinner List

‘This book made me reflect upon my own list of five people I’d like to sit down to dinner, dead or alive. Should I sit Jon Bon Jovi next to Abraham Lincoln or Margaret Thatcher? Or maybe I should ask Candice Bergen if she’s available? Regardless, I don’t think it would be as interesting as Sabrina’s journey was in this book.’

The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan

The Hot Shot

‘I loved the slow build up of Chess and Finn’s friendship. I am a firm believer in being friends before becoming lovers and Kristen Callihan hit that trigger for me. Finn is a self described one night stand man and even though Chess finds him attractive she determinedly put him in the hands off category and Finn has his work cut out for him to make her see him in another light.’

The Changeling by Molly Harper

The Changeling

‘If you’re jonesing for a quick Harry Potter-esque novel I think you’ll enjoy The Changeling. At times I expected Hermione would walk around the corner of this girls school and join in the fun!’

This Chicks Sunday Commentary Posts: (click the link to read)

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: August Wrap-Up!

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: Uppercase Box September ‘18 Reveal!

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: What? My Review got Blocked?

Are you familiar with my Blogger to Blogger series? I ask the same 10 questions to different bloggers and share their answers. Their words and the pictures they share have really surprised me! We all have this love of books but are all so different! You can really see that diversity in their answers. In September I highlighted 2 bloggers. If you didn’t get a chance to read their interviews, please click the link if you’re interested.

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Trang and Lashaan with @Bookidote

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Lynne @Fictionophile

I have noticed that the number of books I’ve been reading has slowed down. I think it’s a mixture of a busy schedule, moving into a new apartment, and just being generally exhausted. I have tried to give myself a break and not set such stringent rules on my reading and you know? I’m a bit happier with my life! I doubt anyone cares if I put out 3 or 4 posts a week. So I backed down by one and it’s so much more manageable and I’m back to enjoying blogging again!

Anyway, the above reviews and posts are the highlights of my blog for the past month. I hope you all have enjoyed this September Wrap Up.

Keep reading, writing and living life to your greatest potential. Most of all be HAPPY!

Deb

 

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Jo @ My Chestnut Reading Tree

I am drawn to Jo’s blog, My Chestnut Reading Tree because I too adore mysteries. I don’t review them too often because it’s so hard to not give away the ending when you’ve read a good one! However, if you are looking for a good recomendation Jo’s blog should be one of your firsts places to go to fill up your TBR! You can imagine how excited I was when Joe wanted to participate in my Blogger to Blogger Series. Here’s my chance to find out a little more inside information about the life and reading habits of the woman behind My Chestnut Reading Tree!

My Chestnut Reading Tree

Here are Jo’s answers to my 10 questions…

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

I live in a village in Cheshire in the U.K.

What is the view outside your front door? 

Pic of view from front door which is looking down the street towards a railway line at the end. Very boring view!!

Jo's View

Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.

My neighbours used to have a beautiful Chestnut tree in their garden which is why our street is called Chestnut Drive. I could see it from my spare bedroom where I used to read in the afternoon as the light was just perfect in there then. So I decided to name my blog after that tree. Unfortunately 6 months later we had new neighbours and the first thing they did was cut the tree down! One morning I walked home from taking my granddaughter to school and it had gone!!

Describe where you write your blog. 

I write my blog at my desk in my old dining room which is now an office although it also shares space with a large treadmill (that has been waiting to be fixed for over a year now!) I have all my bookshelves in that room too.

Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack?

I have a pile of blog tour reads and also other ARCs that I keep in my study. There are so many books that I’m desperate to read on these piles but I try to read in date order. Here’s a pic of a few awaiting my attention!

Jo's stack

Come and Find Me by Sarah Hilary

On the surface, Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull have nothing in common, other than their infatuation with Michael Vokey. Each is writing to a sadistic inmate, sharing her secrets, whispering her worst fears, craving his attention.
DI Marnie Rome understands obsession. She’s finding it hard to give up her own addiction to a dangerous man: her foster brother, Stephen Keele. She wasn’t able to save her parents from Stephen. She lives with that guilt every day.
As the hunt for Vokey gathers pace, Marnie fears one of the women may have found him – and is about to pay the ultimate price.

And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott

Cleo knows she should be happy for her brother Mark. He’s managed to find someone new after the sudden death of his first wife – but something about Evie just doesn’t feel right…

When Evie starts having accidents at home, her friends grow concerned. Could Mark be causing her injuries? Called out to their cliff-top house one night, Sergeant Stephanie King finds two bodies entangled on blood-drenched sheets.

Where does murder begin? When the knife is raised to strike, or before, at the first thought of violence? As the accused stands trial, the jury is forced to consider – is there ever a proper defence for murder?

If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?

I love a twisty psychological thriller and it is always these I tend to search out if I want to read away the stresses of the day. I also reread Lady of Hay or Kingdom of Shadows by Barbara Erskine if I need some comfort reading.

When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

What don’t I do!? I have 2 jobs in my local primary school where I work everyday as a Welfare Assistant and Lunchtime Supervisor. I also look after my grandchildren before and after school and in the holidays. And I have a little eBay business selling preloved children’s clothing.

My favorite blog post banner

What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?

My most popular blog post is actually related to question 7 as it was my A Typical Day in the Life of a book blogger post! Here is the link-I only had one of my school jobs at the time so it’s slightly more manic during my day now!

A Typical Day in the Life of a Book Blogger

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?

I’m really lucky in that I have met lots of my favourite authors mostly when I attend Theakstons Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate which I have done for the past 3 years. The one that is probably my favourite though, is when I met Linwood Barclay and had afternoon tea at Betty’s in Harrogate with him and my fellow blogger Sarah Hardy. We were both a bit shy but he put us at ease and we had a fabulous chat for over 2 hours about absolutely everything! And the cakes were pretty good too!

Jo and author

If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question, who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?

As you can tell I already think authors and cakes go well together as per question 9! I’m really lucky that I’ve met most of my favourite authors but one that I’ve never met, and would love to, is Amanda Prowse. I would serve my favourite carrot cake or a lemon and blueberry cream sponge and I would ask her first how she manages to look so bloody gorgeous in her Instagram pics even first thing in the morning with no make up on!!! And then I would serve prosecco and ask how her ideas come to her for her novels and tell her that I’ve yet to read one of her books that hasn’t made me cry!

 

 

Jo, apparently you and I share a love for cake!  Lemon and Blueberry cream Sponge cake? YUM! If that cake doesn’t make Amanda Prowse spill all of her secrets to you then I don’t know what would! Thanks so much for participating, I really enjoyed all of your answers and found some new authors to read.

Does anyone else share a love of mysteries with Jo? Have you read any of the authors on her TBR? What’s your favorite?

Thanks for reading Blogger to Blogger!

Deb

Friday YA: Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Taking place over one weekend, Save the Date explores the relationships of the Grant family as seen through the eyes of the youngest daughter, Charlie. As one of five children, Charlie has really looked forward to her oldest sister Linnea’s wedding at their family home this weekend. It will be the first time her whole family has been together in the last year and a half and she misses them horribly.  Of course, nothing goes as planned and Charlie’s envisioned family reunion does not go as planned.

Charlie’s mother is being honored for the retirement of the comic strip she has created and written through Charlie’s entire life. The antics of the kids in the comic strip mirrored the antics of her own children. This weekend wedding opens up Charlie’s eyes to the fact that some of her own memories are actually memories of things that happened in the comic strip and not exactly as it happened in real life. This awareness of what actually had been changes Charlie’s visions of what her future could be helping her make some decisions that she had been postponing.

I found this novel so refreshing because it was about a whole family. There was such a huge cast of characters to keep track of, but in the center of it all was Charlie, who seemed to be the one that grounded everyone. I don’t mean to give her more importance than her older siblings, but they all had flaws and Charlie’s only flaw seemed to be that she had glorified their family but in my own experience I think seeing everyone for who they are is actually a part of growing up. Even though this novel took place over a weekend, Charlie grew up a lot.

I enjoyed this novel a lot. It was an easy read with a lot of humor. This families antics actually reminded me a bit of my own family and I wonder if everyone who reads it won’t see a bit of themselves in one of these characters. There are a lot to choose from, after all! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase*! Save the Date

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: What? My Review got Blocked?

Google+ has become a very important medium for my blog. I have 2,231 followers nationwide on my page and sometimes when I share my blog posts from The Reading Chick onto my Google+ my views spike tremendously. I haven’t yet figured out a rhythm of what works and what doesn’t, even after 574 posts. However, I see the significance that posting on that medium makes and I take the time to share each post to relevant pages, hoping to spread my bookish words.

If you are curious and want to see my page This Chick Reads, Reviews, Writes and Comments, click HERE.

This past week I had the pleasure of having my review of Kristen Callihan’s novel The Hot Shot blocked on Google+.  I was really surprised! It only said it was blocked due to content, so I have to guess as to why that particular post got chosen out of the 550+ that I have shared on that site?

  • I scanned the review for curse words. Yes, even though I try to keep my review PG-13, every once in awhile I forget and cuss. Nope, no curse words!
  • Did I talk too much about sex? No, actually I only mentioned the two main characters growing relationship. Although I did say the word “firm”. Maybe they misunderstood the context?
  • Was it the title? The Hot Shot, doesn’t seem too salacious. It could refer to a personality trait, a really good businessman, or as in this case a really hot guy. Hmmm. I can’t believe that’s why it would get blocked?
  • Maybe it was the book cover? The Hot Shot does have a good looking man laying face down with a bare chest, slightly arching his back. There is not a woman laying underneath him, and I’ve seen a LOT more books with sexier covers. I actually admired the restraint of the publisher on this one! I think that might even be a yoga pose. Not that I do yoga but isn’t that a plank pose, or something like that?img_1246Really this cover is not any different than a number of other covers with naked male chests, and those reviews made it onto Google+ just fine! (see examples, below).

I am so tempted to just keep adding and see if I can get it blocked again! But, you get my point. They are all pretty much the same, aren’t they? With the exception of The Hot Shot laying face down. Maybe that is too suggestive.

Anyway, here’s my question to you! Have you ever had one of your reviews blocked for content? Or for another reason?

I’m curious! Please let me know.

Until next Sunday,

Deb

Oh! If you want to read my review of The Hot Shot. Click HERE!

 

 

Friday YA: The Changeling (Sorcery & Society #1) by Molly Harper

Sarah Smith thought herself unmagical. After all, she was a Snipe (kind of like a muggle), growing up serving as a maid in the Winters household. Until one day she stops a vase from falling by levitating it.  Suddenly Sarah Smith becomes Cassandra Reed, cousin of the Winter family. Elevated into magical society and sent off to boarding school. Talk about culture shock! Cassandra must hide who she really is, and somehow look as if she’s lived in this world her whole life. If anyone finds out she was once a Snipe, their whole society might crumble. But would that really be a bad thing???

I thought The Changeling was a lot of fun. It didn’t take itself too seriously and I was allowed to enjoy each moment in the story without overthinking the plot. Cassandra was ok as a heroine. She spent the first half of the book in shock and when she finally accepts her role her character started to grow and become interesting. Her experience as a Snipe, living unnoticed among the magical society made her see their world through cynical eyes, although those eyes did not always see things very clearly. I enjoyed the good vs evil sub plot and I was kept guessing on the bad guy.

If you’re jonesing for a quick Harry Potter-esque novel I think you’ll enjoy The Changeling. At times I expected Hermione would walk around the corner of this girls school and join in the fun! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I was given an ARC of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

The Changeling.jpg

Click this link to purchase!*Changeling: (Sorcery and Society Book 1) (Volume 1)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved.

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas (Rocky Mountain Cowboys) by Katie Ruggle

Katie Ruggle excels at building fun characters who live on the edge of society. Those oddball characters that are slightly dorky and immediately endear you to them. Camille Brandt has always had trouble talking to people. She second guesses what she should say and do in social situations so tries to avoid them as much as possible. When Steve Springfield moves back to town with his four kids, Camille’s crush from high school immediately blooms again. Watching her face her struggles trying to speak normally made Camille so identifiable. Who hasn’t felt like that at one point in their life? I rooted for her so hard!

You may recognize Steve Springfield from the Search and Rescue series. He’s a firefighter and was always in the story but on the peripheral. It was so nice to get to know him and all of his kids! I know the Rocky Mountain Cowboy series will probably be about all of Steve’s brothers, but I want some YA books about Steve’s kids. They were so fun and unusual. Zoe is an inventor- blowing things up occasionally, Micah is the hermit artist, Will the adopted joyful oldest son, and Maya the youngest and sweetest little thing. Seriously these kids rocked and need their own stories!

Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas was a great start to this series. Katie Ruggle has proven herself again with some great characters, a solid love story, and of course she throws in just a hint of danger adding that tension that works so well in her novels. This was my first Christmas novel of the year and even though we are only approaching October, I was in the Christmas spirit right away.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I was given an ARC of this novel for my honest review and it was honest!

Rocky Mountain

Click this link to purchase!* Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas (Rocky Mountain Cowboys)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: The Hot Shot (Game On #4) by Kristen Callihan

Chess Copper is photographing players from her local pro football team naked for their annual charity calendar. Tough job but someone’s got to do it! When she meets Finn, the QB for the team there is instant chemistry, but a miscommunication gets their relationship off on the wrong foot. As she tries to make him more comfortable with the shoot, she see’s that he’s actually just a bit nervous and through their conversation realizes that behind that pretty face is a really nice guy that she might want to get to know better. There’s one problem. Chess is looking for a relationship and Finn is a no strings attached kind of guy…at first.

I loved the slow build up of Chess and Finn’s friendship. I am a firm believer in being friends before becoming lovers and Kristen Callihan hit that trigger for me. Finn is a self described one night stand man and even though Chess finds him attractive she determinedly put him in the hands off category and Finn has his work cut out for him to make her see him in another light. When tragedy hits and Chess needs a place to stay their close quarters help speed things along from friendship into love.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve read one of the Game On books, but when a couple of characters showed up in this novel I could easily remember their story. It helped a bit that this novel’s timeline paralleled Dex and Fiona’s from the Game Plan. It was kind of fun to listen to Dex talk about his budding relationship when we already knew how that relationship turned out.

If you are a fan of this series you will like The Hot Shot. Was it my favorite? No, I still like The Game Plan the best. However, I liked Finn and Chess together and really rooted for them to find their happily ever after and was happy when they did.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

The Hot Shot

Click this link to purchase! The Hot Shot

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved