24 Hours by Greg Iles

24 Hours24 Hours. Finished 4-23-14, 3.5/5 stars, thriller, pub. 2000

Unabridged audio, 10 hours. read by Dick Hill

24 HOURS — that’s how long it takes a madman to pull off the perfect crime. He’s done it before, he’ll do it again, and no one can stop him. 

But this time, he’s just picked the wrong family to terrorize. Because Will and Karen Jennings aren’t going to watch helplessly as he victimizes them. And they aren’t going to let him get away with it.

from Goodreads

Hickey seems to have the perfect plan to extort money from people.  It takes guts, help and planning, but the job itself only lasts 24 hours.  He spends the day with the wife, his wife spends the day with the husband, and the kidnapped child spends the day with a cousin.  He demands little money, enough that would be a boon for him but very little hardship for the victims.  His plan depends on timing and loyalty of the other two involved.  When Will and Karen are targeted things go as expected at first, but once there is a crack in one of the three, the rest are effected.

The last book I read by Iles was Third Degree and it felt similar in a lot of ways, in ways that left me disappointed.  I liked this one better because the plot felt fresh and it had more action, but the ‘being confined to your house by a madman’ was the same.  Nonetheless, this was not my favorite Iles but it was a solid thriller that will keep you guessing which one will be the victor in each of the two person scenarios.

I read and listened to this one.  The narration was good, Dick Hill always seems to be solid.

The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell

The Shadow YearThe Shadow Year. Finished 5-25-14, rating 4.5/5, fiction, 416 pages, pub. 2013

On a sultry summer’s day in 1980, five friends stumble upon an abandoned lakeside cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. For Kat and her friends, it offers an escape; a chance to drop out for a while, with lazy summer days by the lake and intimate winter evenings around the fire. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise and when an unexpected visitor appears at their door, nothing will be the same again.

Three decades later, Lila arrives at the same remote cottage. With her marriage in crisis, she finds solace in renovating the tumbledown house. Little by little she wonders about the previous inhabitants. How did they manage in such isolation? Why did they leave in such a hurry, with their belongings still strewn about? Most disturbing of all, why can t she shake the feeling that someone might be watching her?                                                           (from Goodreads)

Kat and her friends are graduating from university, but they aren’t quite ready for the real world yet, so they find an abandoned cottage and decide to live off the land (which you might say is more real world than anything else!). Kat is in love with Simon, the obvious but unnamed leader, and Mac is the loner who can share his survival skills, and Ban and Cara are a couple in love.  It’s a challenge, but one that is working until Kat’s sister shows up.

Lila and her husband have just suffered a miscarriage and the marriage is in trouble.  Her father has recently died and she has mysteriously been left an isolated plot of land with a rundown shack on it.  She decides to take the opportunity to get away from her husband Tom and fix up the small house on her own.

It didn’t take me long to start disliking Kat, but the group dynamics were interesting so I liked reading about them. Lila wasn’t always the most sympathetic character either, but I didn’t dislike her, I just didn’t care as much about her story until later.  It’s obvious that these two stories were connected somehow, but the alternating storylines were told at just the right pace to keep me riveted.  I admit that the connection itself was not that surprising and even the twist at the end was one I sort of saw coming, but it was a fun ride.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one and look forward to reading more from Richell.

I received this book from She Reads.  Go on over and see what other bloggers think about this one. You can take a look at her writing space (I always love this – I’m nosy) here.


Girls Rock Quiz – guessing closed

For the last quiz of this round (we’ll start again in July) I want you to match the actress with the movie she starred in.  Please just go by looks alone.  If you don’t recognize the actress, NO reverse searches.  You don’t need to know the actress name to answer,  just use the number.

Sadly, I have only seen one of these movies.  Tell me how many you’ve seen and if it’s more than me you’ll get extra points!

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  You have til Sunday to enter.  All extra details can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section.  


2.Movie poster mulan.JPG


 4. Frozen (2013 film) poster.jpg

5.(Coraline.jpgCharlotte's Web 2006.jpgShe’s in 2!  Bonus if you get both

6.  Charlotte's Web 2006.jpg

7.A teenage girl standing tall with three monsters in front of her and a cityscape behind her.

 8. A girl with long, curly red hair stares at the viewer holding a bow and an arrow. Behind her is the film's title while at the left shows a bear staring at her.

9.A man with a frying pan, a girl with long blonde hair, and a white horse.

 10.Epic (2013 film) poster.jpg

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper TownsPaper Towns. Finished 4-27-14, rating 4/5, YA, 320 pages, pub. 2008

Unabridged audio 8 hours, read by Dan John Miller

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life — dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge — he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues — and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

from Goodreads

This is my second John Green novel (I read Looking for Alaska last December)  and I’ve listened to them both on audio.  I liked the narration of this one a lot, where the narration of LFA made me dislike a key character.  Anyway, I liked this story of Q adoring his childhood friend and neighbor from afar as they grew up and moved to different levels on the pecking order that makes up pretty much every high school.  As a band geek, he can only imagine what it would be like if Margo snuck in his bedroom window at night, until one night, all of his hoping paid off as Margo wanted him, him!, to light the town on fire with her.  As the best night of his life turned to morning he had reached a high he was sure would continue.  Until Margo disappeared.  Leaving only a bread crumb trail to follow if he was willing and, of course, he was.

I liked this story quite a bit.  Many kids in high school face the same problem, of idealizing someone, of loving the idea of that person without ever understanding them.  Q was a typical boy in love with a beautiful girl.  As he and his buddies interpreted the hints left by Margot, they were able to have one last adventure together before graduation. I loved that.  Now, Margot is a different story.  Who would do that to someone?  I won’t say anything else about Margo, so you’ll have to read it for yourself!

I see why Green is so popular with high schoolers and young adults.  He writes insightful and beautiful prose and he really gets teens.  I don’t read a lot of YA, but I will happily read more John Green.


The Invisible Man by HG Wells

The Invisible Man by WellsThe Invisible Man. Finished 4-23-14, 2.5/5 stars, classic, 192 pages, pub.1897

Unabridged audio, 5 hours 30 minutes. Read by James Adams

I loved The Time Machine by Wells and started this book with high hopes.  A scientist finds a way to make himself invisible.  It sounds cool right?  The scientist, Griffin, does have the power, but the basic necessities of life are lost to him.  When he eats, the food can be seen moving through his system and how does he find basic shelter for himself?  Griffin isn’t very likeable, maybe due to the potion or maybe he’s just a narcissistic jerk.  He finds himself having to swaddle his body and face in clothing so he can appear human and live a real life.

The possibilities for this premise are endless and by today’s standards are definitely lacking, but even giving credit for the originality of it at the time it was published, 1899, I just couldn’t appreciate it.  This may be another case of the audio not doing the novel justicel.  I tried to listen to the audio once several years ago and only made it an hour before giving up.  I’ll be reading my next Wells, War of the Worlds,  the old-fashioned way, as it was intended.

Three’s Enough Quiz – guessing closed

This one may take a few minutes and you may want pen handy.  There are 30 titles listed making 10 trilogies.  Give it your best shot and sort them all out 🙂 An answer might look like this,

1. Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed.

You may notice that one title is on there twice, it’s the first of one series and the last of another.

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  You have til Sunday to enter.  All extra details can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section.  You only need to guess one to be eligible for a prize.   Next week will be the last quiz of this round so get in some points while you still can!

Griffin and Sabine          The Subtle Knife          The Hunger Games          Shiver          Fever          Cities of the Plain          Legend          Tatiana and Alexander          City of Glass          City of Glass          The Golden Mean          Mockingjay          The Golden Compass          The Bronze Horseman          Champion          City of Ashes          Linger           All the Pretty Horses          Burn          The Crossing          Sabine’s Notebook          The Summer Garden          The Amber Spyglass          City of Bones          Breathless          Ghosts          The Locked Room          Forever          Catching Fire          Prodigy

I’ll give you a few hints just to jog your memory (not for cheating purposes!). The authors of these trilogies,

Pullman, Lu, Clare, Collins, Simons, Banks, McCarthy, Bantock, Auster, Stiefvater

Griffin & Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantock  Griffin and Sabine, Sabine’s Notebook, The Golden Mean

His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman   The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass

Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paullina Simons   The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander, The Summer Garden

Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins   The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay

Mortal Instrumnents trilogy by Cassandra Clare   City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass

New York trilogy by Paul Auster   City of Glass, Ghosts, The Locked Room

Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater   Shiver, Linger, Forever

Border trilogy by Cormac McCarthy   All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, Cities of the Plain

Breathless trilogy by Maya Banks   Breathless, Fever, Burn

Book problem, year 7

Another year, another wall of unread books.  When I started blogging in 2008 I took this picture of my unread books…


Oh, how worried I was. “That’s Max looking a little nervous that all those books might topple over on him!  So, instead of being funny, it made me a little sad that I had gotten this far behind 😦  I will go to the book sale this weekend, but I’m taking Jason to limit my craziness.  But, then I need to spend a few months reading through my backlog before buying anything new.”

Haha!  So, silly I was to think this wasn’t going to get worse.

So, every year I recreate the wall (the same way, because I can get a little OCD about things) and then add the new books I’ve acquired.

For those of you who saw my Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon mini-challenge you will be prepared for my big reveal.



I managed to read 25 from my stacks last year and give some more, BUT somehow I acquired (through giveaway, book sales, gifts) a net addition of 98 to my overflowing stacks.   That’s a total of 837  unread books.

Some of you may wonder how long it takes me to recreate these stacks every year.  Because I want them in the same place they were the year before I do a few hours of prep by putting the books of each stack together, then another few hours (3 maybe) to move the books to the space. I consider this my workout for the week 🙂 I count, update my lists, take a few pictures for another 45 minutes or so.   It’s always the cleanup that takes the longest, because I’m tired and do it all in a night’s time.  There is no way I’d do this when Gage was awake, I’ve had stacks fall over before, although not this year.

I took this picture a month ago and, thanks to the 24 hour read-a-thon, I’ve already read 6 and gave away 7.  Okay, okay, I’ve also acquired 7 more so the dent isn’t as large as I’d like but I’m working on it 🙂

Time to fess up.  How many books are you hoarding holding in your TBR piles?

Libraries with Gage

We use the library a lot, so every once in a while, I’ll share with you what has Gage loving the library.

Cuyahoga County is the second most used library system in the country.  That means they really know how to get people to check things out (probably because that’s how they get state funding).  I went to the  online catalog and typed in toys and then puzzles and found four pages of puzzles I could check out for Gage.  He loves puzzles and we already have too many so when another mom suggested the library I was excited to try it.  I placed 12 on hold and 11 of them came into my branch for me a few days later.  Let me show you what it looks like when it arrives.


Each puzzle includes a book that goes with it.  I liked this number puzzle even though it is easy because it forced Gage to know that two separate digits make up a big number, important for someone who memorizes things visually.

Let me show you the 46 piece one he’s done a few times already.


He always has to put in Alaska and Hawaii first before he can do any of the others and he likes to know what the states are called (at least the first 20 or so, after that he just wants to get it done :))

Our library also has a big binder listing all of the toys available for checkout.  PERFECT for parents and grandparents 🙂  Don’t forget to ask your librarians about all the resources for kids.  I bet they’d love to tell you!

Traveling Light for Mothers by Max Lucado & A WINNER!!

Last week I offered to send my book, The End of Everything, to one lucky commenter.  I would have Gage choose, but he’s napping and I need the break ;).  After placing the names in a bowl, the winner is….


Congratulations! I’ll be sending the book to Sri Lanka next week 🙂


Traveling Light for MothersTraveling Light for Mothers. Finished 4-26-14, rating 3/5, inspirational?, 120 pages, pub. 2003

I read this easy and light spiritual/inspirational book during the 24 hours read-a-thon and it was a perfect time for it.  It was my hot tub reading and it didn’t take me long to finish.  It covered self-reliance, discontent, weariness, worry, hopelessness, and guilt.    I liked the mix of scripture, stories and a splash of stats.  The chapter on weariness focused on getting enough sleep, which gave me a giggle while reading since I was trying to stay up 24 hours reading 🙂

I liked it and am happy that my cousin decided to share it with me.


The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

The FirebirdThe Firebird.  Finished 4-26-14, rating 4.25/5, historical fiction, 544 pages, pub. 2013

Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird—the mythical creature from an old Russian fable.

Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna into the past who leads her on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

from Goodreads

I finished this almost a month ago so I’ll keep this short.  I loved The Winter Sea, it was my favorite read from last year, and this is a continuation of that story.  I didn’t love it as much as it’s predecessor for one big reason.  It also tells two stories, a modern one that links to a historical one, but in this book the modern story is not at all engaging.  It involves two people who can read minds and travel in time by using their paranormal abilities.  It was just to hard for me to care about Nicola and to a lesser extent, Rob.  They could do too much.  It was too easy.  This was pretty much the first third of the book so I made a slow go of it.  Once we got to Anna’s story in Imperial Russia, I loved it!  Anna is the true star and I loved every minute of her adventures.

This is my second book by Kearsley and I’m still a fan, but do feel like this could have been better.  Since I didn’t exactly fall in love with Rob in this one I’m not in a huge hurry to read The Shadowy Horses, the story told when he was a boy.  Has anyone read it?

I read this one on my Nook.