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    This is my little corner of the world where I can do whatever I some of my favorite (and not so favorite) books, whine about yet another gray sky, or just share a little of what it means to live in the Pacific Northwest after a lifetime of living in the sun.

    Reading As you spend time on my blog, you may notice that my reading tastes are a bit eclectic. I used to be what I call a "book snob". That was before I began work on my master's degree and needed light recreational reading and discovered that while some books might not be "critically acclaimed", they could still be some great fun to read! Now I read a little bit of everything.

    Writing One of my lifelong dreams (besides meeting John Taylor from 80's Duran Duran fame) has been write the next great American novel . I'm sure many of you share this dream (you might even share my dream of meeting John Taylor, who knows). I've always been afraid to start writing. I put "writing" in the sub-title of the blog hoping that it will force me to begin writing something or else I will have to crawl away in shame...

    Living I'll also be sharing stories about my experiences living and parenting in the PNW. If you're expecting great tips on how to organize your schedule or how to prepare gourmet meals on a shoestring budget...sorry, you won't find that here. I am chronically messy, chronically disorganized, and chronically planning gourmet meals that never get prepared. It's just going to be me...sharing my trials and tribulations of not only leaving 365 days of sunshine for 350 days of gray skies but also the oh so fun adventure of parenting two "tweens" who think they know more than me.

Bout of Books 12

Bout of Books

I’m participating in a Bout of Books Read-a-Thon yet again.  I’ve never actually met my goals in one of these things but I enjoy it none the less!  My goal for this Bout of Books is just to read (or listen) a little more than is normal for me.  I’m having arthroscopic knee surgery on January 7, so this may mean either an increase in reading time (since I won’t be doing much for a couple of days) or a decrease in reading time (since I may be taking a heavy duty pain reliever)…we shall see.

So, come join me on this fun reading adventure!  There will be games and challenges from other bloggers.  You don’t even need a blog to participate, just a love of reading!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

2014 End of Year Book Survey

Happy New Year!

What better day than January 1 to reflect on my year of reading.  I’m participating in the 2014 End of Year Book Survey hosted by Perpetual Page Turner.


Number of Books I Read:  92

Number of Re-Reads:  1 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream  by W. Shakespeare)


Best Book I Read in 2014:  Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Most Surprising (good or bad) Read in 2014:  King and Maxwell by David Baldacci (I was surprised with how much I disliked this book.)

Best Series I Started in 2014:  Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel

Best Sequel I Read in 2014: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness

Best Series Ender in 2014:  The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness

Favorite New Author (to me) I Discovered in 2014:  Deborah Harkness

Favorite Book Cover of 2014:  Inamorata by Megan Chance

Most Memorable Character of 2014:  Grace Marks from Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2014:  Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman (I think I’d be happy reading Gaiman’s grocery list.  He has an amazing way of stringing words together that is magical.)

Book I Can’t Believe I Waited Until 2014 to Read:  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson  and  Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel

Book That Shocked Me the Most in 2014:  Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink (I remember being shocked as I watched the events of Hurricane Katrina unfold but reading about how this hospital was left to fend for itself was truly shocking.)

Most Action Packed Thriller I Couldn’t Put Down in 2014:   The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson.  A close second would be Snowblind by Christopher Golden.

Best 2014 Debut I Read in 2014:  Now That You’re Here  by Amy K Nichols

Book That Put a Smile on My Face in 2014:  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Book That Made Me Cry or Nearly Cry in 2014:  Please Look After Mom  by Kyung-Sook Shin

Book That Made Me the Most Mad in 2014:  Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospitalby Sheri Fink


Book I Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be a Priority in 2015:  The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman (My new bookclub’s first book in January)

Series Ending/Sequel I Am Most Looking Forward To In 2015:  Burned: A Fever Novel by Karen Marie Moning and Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles) by Kresley Cole  (Both come out this month.  Yay!)

One Thing I Hope To Accomplish In My Reading/Blogging Life in 2015:  I was a very sporadic reviewer and blogger in 2014.  I hope to change that this year.

A 2015 Release I’ve Already Read and Recommend To Everyone:  When by Victoria Laurie

What was your bookish life like in 2014?  Favorite books?  Is there a book that you are looking forward to in 2015?

January 9, 2015 - 6:09 am

Susan (Bloggin' 'bout Books) - FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL was crazy, wasn’t it? So vivid, shocking and just maddening. Gave me lots to think about. It’s been awhile since I read it and it STILL makes me think!

Book Review: Now That You’re Here

Title:  Now That You’re Here
Author:  Amy K. Nichols
Publisher:  Knopf/Random House
Genre:  Sci Fi/YA/Middle Grade
Source:  Purchased
Rating:  5
Locate It: Powell’s or Amazon

 In a parallel universe, the classic bad boy falls for the class science geek.
One minute Danny was running from the cops, and the next, he jolted awake in an unfamiliar body—his own, but different. Somehow, he’s crossed into a parallel universe. Now his friends are his enemies, his parents are long dead, and studious Eevee is not the mysterious femme fatale he once kissed back home. Then again, this Eevee—a girl who’d rather land an internship at NASA than a date to the prom—may be his only hope of getting home.Eevee tells herself she’s only helping him in the name of quantum physics, but there’s something undeniably fascinating about this boy from another dimension . . . a boy who makes her question who she is, and who she might be in another place and time.

My Thoughts:

I’ve been looking forward to Now That You’re Here for well over a year.   The author is my friend (our daughters were in kindergarten and first grade together) and I was thrilled when I heard that she would have her debut novel published by Random House/Knopf.  I had pre-ordered the book as soon as it was available for pre-ordering.  I’d even read a very early version of chapter 1 (which is now chapter2).  I couldn’t wait to read this book.  But, then it arrived and I became worried.  What if I didn’t like it?  I wanted to be able to give it an honest review but also didn’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings.  I was a little uncomfortable and even considered putting off opening the book but I didn’t.  Instead, I read it.  I read it in two days because I had a hard time putting it down!  I loved it!

I don’t think that I’ve read a book quite like Now That You’re Here.   This is one of those genre-bending novels, a mix of science-fiction, romance, mystery, and thriller…all wrapped up in a fun, fast YA novel, complete with Doctor Who and Star Trek references.  Someone said there was also some Klingon and/or Elvish in the book, but I couldn’t really tell you since I don’t speak either one.  😉

I absolutely LOVED the main female protagonist, Eevee.  She is strong and smart and caring and active. Everything that I want my own daughter to be.  I loved that Eevee was open to believing that the new Danny was from a “different world” and was willing to help him.  What I didn’t like was how easy she slipped into skipping class once she met him but I’m sure that’s just the mom in me talking.  If it had been 16 year old me reading this book, I probably would have found it romantic.  😉

Something else, I really loved about Now That You’re Here is that although it is being marketed as a YA novel, it could just as easily be given to a middle-schooler to read.  There is nothing in this book that would make me uncomfortable to give to either my son or daughter to read (well, except the skipping of school but (spoiler alert) Eevee does end up getting in trouble for that).

I definitely recommend this book for adults, teens, and middle-schoolers.

Book Review: King and Maxwell

Title:   King and Maxwell
Author:   David Baldacci
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing/Hachette
Genre:  Thriller/Suspense
Source:   Publisher & Netgalley
Rating:  2

David Baldacci brings back Sean King and Michelle Maxwell–former Secret Service agents turned private investigators–in their most surprising, personal, and dangerous case ever . . .

It seems at first like a simple, tragic story. Tyler Wingo, a teenage boy, learns the awful news that his father, a soldier, was killed in action in Afghanistan. Then the extraordinary happens: Tyler receives a communication from his father . . . after his supposed death.
Tyler hires Sean and Michelle to solve the mystery surrounding his father. But their investigation quickly leads to deeper, more troubling questions. Could Tyler’s father really still be alive? What was his true mission? Could Tyler be the next target?
Sean and Michelle soon realize that they’ve stumbled on to something bigger and more treacherous than anyone could have imagined. And as their hunt for the truth leads them relentlessly to the highest levels of power and to uncovering the most clandestine of secrets, Sean and Michelle are determined to help and protect Tyler–though they may pay for it with their lives.

My Thoughts:

It’s been years since I’ve read a novel by David Baldacci.  He was one of my go-to suspense authors so when I saw his new novel, King and Maxwell, available as an ARC I jumped on it.  Unfortunately, I did not like this newest Baldacci.  It was simplistic and unconvincing with choppy dialogue.   One scene has a character talking with his father-in-law.  The father-in-law tells the son-in-law how he had met the character’s father in a way that one would at a first time meeting, not a reminiscing between two people who have been a part of each other’s lives for many years.

King and Maxwell is the sixth book in series.  The earlier books may have been better but I don’t know.  Maybe one day, when I have nothing else to read, I will read the first book in the series…

*I received a digital copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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