Reading Improves Your Mental Health

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”  Joyce Carol Oates

May 1st to 7th is Mental Health Week here in Canada, not sure that holds for the rest of the world but it doesn’t really matter. Mental health is a subject for all 52 weeks of the year anywhere on the planet. I’m only just realizing how important a well rounded self-care regimen really is to one’s continued mental wellbeing. And seeing as my mental health isn’t always within the optimal range you could be fair to say I’m a slow learner. Good thing it’s never too late to start taking care of yourself.

Three websites listing MANY resources for those who are suffering or who know someone that is:

I wish I could list links for the planet, but hopefully the links above give you an idea of what information and resources you can search out in your own country or region.

But most importantly: Ask for help or seek advice from a professional – give your mental health the attention it needs and deserves.

I can say from personal experience, you won’t regret it. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy gave me important tools to manage my symptoms of depression and anxiety. But in reality it’s of benefit to everyone as we all have to deal with life’s challenges, stresses, and demands. Learn how to manage negative thinking or inaccurate thoughts. Learn the difference between positive thinking and realistic thinking. Make your mental health a priority!

We all need and deserve breaks. But we can’t all jump on a plane or boat and spend a month in Bora Bora. There are numerous ways to relieve stress that won’t put you in the poor house.

One of my favourite ways to relieve stress? Reading. Of course, reading has many benefits, but it’s also a way to reset and recharge. Six minutes of reading can reduce your stress levels by 68%. In the last few months I’ve taken to reading print books again, after having all but given them up. It was a craving really, a desire to hold a print book in my hands. There’s a term for this – slow reading. I guess it’s no surprise that I’m back to reading print (I haven’t given up ebooks!) as I’ve embraced a more mindful life style. Science has proven slow reading reduces stress, increases your ability to concentrate, and improves your sleep.

I’ve just started a wonderful (so far) book: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware! Good thing because this month promises to be a busy one.

When travel journalist Lo Blacklock is invited on a boutique luxury cruise around the Norwegian fjords, it seems like a dream career opportunity.

But the trip takes a nightmarish turn when she wakes in the middle of the night to hear a body being thrown overboard – only to discover that no-one has been reported missing from the boat.

How do you stop a killer, when no-one believes they exist?

Funny how reading about murder allows me to relax! What do you do to relieve stress? And please, offer book recommendations! I’m always in need of a great book to read.

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Books, Mothers, and Memories

I remember trips to the library to pick out books with my kids. Me pulling them along in our wagon. Loading up on books and coming home to read. Cuddling up and turning the pages. Maybe we’d read the story before, or maybe it was a new to us story. Those times are among my fondest memories. I still remember their favourites: Something Out Of Nothing by Phoebe Gilman, Have You Seen Birds by Barbara Reid, Arthur books, Franklin books, Berenstain Bears books. Matthew and The Midnight Pirates by Allen Morgan and Michael Martchenko. Okay, maybe that was one of my favourites. And every time I read Love You Forever by Robert Munsch I tried not to cry.

“Goodnight stars,

Goodnight air,

Goodnight noises everywhere.”

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

I remember going to the library with my mom, who is also an avid reader. Our small town had a cozy little library but it seemed huge to me. And full of possibilities. I’m so very glad she introduced me to the idea of a room filled with books for the borrowing. Thank you, Mom!

Another memory. We lived in a farmhouse on a mixed cattle/grain operation. In the winter, we kids often ended up downstairs playing games or watching television. My mom stayed upstairs. You could usually find her sitting over a heat register on the floor reading a book. That was her escape time. Because we moms need those.

The Gift of Reading

My sister takes the Adorables to the library. And when she comes to visit it’s one of the first places my mom takes her. Bedtime means story time or reading time depending on the age and ability of the child. I hope that’s one of things my kids will remember when they get older. All those trips to library. All the books. The words. The pictures. The love that went into reading them. The time spent.

Some of you might enjoy this article: The Simple Practices to Nurture the Motivation to Read. Whether you’re reading to your kids, your siblings’ kids, the neighbour kids or your grandkids. Maybe you volunteer at a shelter, a community centre, or a library.

Book Recommendation

I’m wrapping up reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which is our May book club pick. And what a fantastic read it is! If you find yourself in need of some respite, this is the book for you! An engaging delight for the senses in the form of a captivating story with intriguing characters.

Reading

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks. When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris in June of 1940, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure’s.

There are many things about this novel that are wonderful. That make reading it an experience to be savoured. One of the small things that I took away from it is the importance of creativity. Of books, of music, of art. And how those things can soothe, even for a moment, a tortured soul.

Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday. What’s a treasured book memory of yours?

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Q Is For Q&A With Jana Richards #AtoZChallenge

Q Is For Q&A With Jana Richards

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016

I so happy to have my friend and talented writer Jana Richards here answering questions about all things books and reading.Welcome to the A to Z April Blogging Challenge, Jana!

So Jana, inquiring minds what to know. What are you currently reading? and Why you picked it?  I’m reading three different books right now, in three different formats. I “read” audio books at the gym and currently I’m listening to Mary Balogh’s Then Came Seduction. Why? Because I love Mary Balogh’s books. On my e-reader I’m reading Please Release Me by Rhoda Baxter, who writes for one of my publishers. I was intrigued by the premise; on their wedding day, a couple is in a bad car accident, putting the bride in a coma. But this bride isn’t going to let a coma stand in the way of her happily ever after. Can’t wait to see how this one turns out. In print, I just started reading Somewhere in France, a WW1 romance. I saw this book on the Internet and it sounded so interesting I wanted to read it. I’m a sucker for a war romance. And it’s written by Canadian Jennifer Robson.

Those sound like great reads, Jana. I’m currently reading The Lake House by Kate Morton, part of which takes place during WW1. I’m really enjoying it! Two of the authors are new to me, but you can’t go wrong with any of Mary’s books!

Following up with the usual qualifiers. E-reader or Physical Book? Choice of Drink While Reading? Favorite Reading Spot?  I can honestly say I don’t have a preference between ebooks or print books. Both have their place. And I love audio books. They make working out at the gym, and long road trips, enjoyable.

My choice of drink – Water at the gym, and either coffee or wine at home, depending on the time of day. I have a comfy chair in my living room that I like to read in. I sometimes read in bed, but I have a tendency to nod off.

I want to know whom you’re an unapologetic fan girl for? An author you’ve read the most books from?  Lifetime, I’ve probably read more Nora Roberts’ books than anyone else’s. Mary Balogh comes a close second. I’m definitely a fangirl of both. They are both so prolific and write such wonderful books. I’m deeply in awe!

I couldn’t agree more with your picks! Love both their books! I’ve read a couple of hidden gems over the years. What book are you glad you took a chance on?  When I belonged to a book club I read some books I probably wouldn’t have read on my own. One that comes to mind is Lord of the Flies – maybe not so much a gem as an experience. Speaking of gems, I contributed a novella, Chill Out, to The Wild Rose Press’s Candy Hearts Series for Valentine’s Day this year. I had the opportunity to read some of the other stories in the series, and maybe I’m biased, but I thought they were all little gems. A couple of my favorites were Ask Me by Laura Strickland and Be My Love by J.C. McKenzie.

It sounds like a lovely series, Jana! I promise not to carve it in stone anywhere important. Three of your all-time favourite books?  In no particular order:  A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux; The Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockmann; Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh.

I find most readers have an opinion on committing to a series. Book series fan? Favourite? Not a fan?  I love book series! I love being able to find out what happens to other characters, and hanging out in the world the author has created for just a little longer.

We romance readers love our heroes. Your overall pick for best book boyfriend?  Tucker Longstreet from Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts. At first he comes off as this womanizing, good ol’ Southern boy. I didn’t like him at all. But then Ms. Roberts lets us find out who he really is, and Holy Smokes, I’ve been smitten ever since.

Hah, he sounds like a great book boyfriend. One of mine would be Cameron Quinn from her Chesapeake Bay Series! Time to ‘fess up. Worst bookish habit?  Perhaps, on occasion, I have been known to read the last page first, just to make sure there’s really going to be a happily ever after.

One of my mine involves a New Year’s Eve stay at cabin that didn’t have a television, let alone an Internet connection. We took turns reading the first Harry Potter book to our five-year-old son.  A dear to you reading memory?  When my youngest daughter was about six, she brought home a book from school about a child whose father had just died. It talked about the father’s funeral and what the child was going through. I got choked up as I was reading it, and Rachel put her hand on my arm and said, “It’s okay Mommy. It’s not our Daddy.” I don’t think I’ll ever forget my six year old trying to comfort me.

Ah, that’s a sweet memory! Inspiration surrounds us. The name of a book or an author who has inspired your own writing?  So many authors have inspired me, but I’ll just talk about three. I’m going to mention Mary Balogh again; I know when I read one of her books that I’m going to root for her heroine and fall in love with her hero. And I’m going to laugh and cry and feel the depths of sadness along with the highs of happiness. Her books are always an emotional read.

I love Rosamunde Pilcher. I’ll never forget crying my way through “Coming Home” and not being able to put the book down. Perhaps it was that book, as well as “The Shell Seekers” that got me interested in writing World War Two stories.

I admire Nora Roberts’ ability to always put me in her settings. She makes me feel like I’m right there with her characters, experiencing their surroundings, whether it’s Chesapeake Bay or New York City or Ireland. And she’s so prolific! As a writer, I’m in awe of the number and quality of the books she’s written. As a reader, I’m thrilled to have so many to choose from.

Oh my gosh, I remember reading The Shell Seekers and being utterly enthralled with her storytelling ability. I loved that book! I think we would make excellent reading companions!

Thanks for being such a good sport and answering my questions, Jana! I’m always curious about other’s reading habits and how it influences their writing.

Jana’s book The Girl Most Likely is a wonderful read and will be a steal of a deal at 99 cents through May 13 to May 27th.

TheGirlMostLikely_w6227_300

Cara McLeod, the girl most likely to have the perfect marriage, is now divorced and, in her own words, “fat, frumpy, and over forty.” The thought of facing former classmates—and the ex-husband who dumped her—at her high school reunion terrifies her. Cajoled into attending by her kids and her best friend, Cara enlists help at the gym to lose weight and look great for the reunion. Personal Trainer Finn Cooper is more than willing to help—but does he have to be so to-die-for gorgeous?

Finn thinks Cara is perfect just the way she is. She’s everything he wants in a woman, except for one thing—she can’t get past the fact that he’s eight years younger. To Finn, age and weight are just numbers. But can he convince Cara the numbers she worries about add up to only one thing for him—love?

Amazon * The Wild Rose Press * Kobo * iBooks * Barnes and Noble

Find Jana!

Website: http://www.janarichards.com

Blog: http://janarichards.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JanaRichardsAuthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JanaRichards_

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B002DEVWWG

Newsletter Signup: http://www.eepurl.com/m3UnT

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2892274Jana_Richards

Google+ Profile: https://plus.google.com/100820406211390323245

What are some of your favourite books to recommend?

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G Is For Gone Fishing #atozchallenge

G Is For Gone Fishing

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016

Had I been super organized for this challenge I would have had all my posts written and scheduled in advance. I’ve done a lot of organizing my life in the last two years, but I haven’t reached that pinnacle of success yet. Maybe next year. I had better start thinking about it in May.

But then I wouldn’t be able to tell you I’ve gone fishin’. I’m not really fishing. But I’m gone for the day. Making lunch for my daughter and her friend and then hanging out. After I drop her friend back home there are errands to be done. And then it’s book club.

Yay!

writing

We’ve read a lot of great books. Books I never would have read left to my own devices. Like Missing Sarah: A Vancouver Woman Remembers Her Vanished Sister by Maggie deVries. The idea for my novel Off The Grid came from reading Maggie’s recounting of her sister’s life.

My Top Five Book Club Picks!

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright

Are you a member of a book club? Want to share a favourite book recommendation?

Others blogs for your reading pleasure!

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E Is For Emotional Connection #atozchallenge

E Is For Emotional Connection

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016

I love it when an emotional connection to a book or a character or a situation grabs hold. When it makes you feel, start to ask questions. The book I’m reading right now for our April book club is a very good example of a book that is making me ask all sorts of questions of myself.

The book is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

For some context, here’s the book description from Kristin Hannah’s website.

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gaetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

As explained above, it is the story of two very different sisters. With two very different ways of coping with the nightmare of living in an Nazi occupied France. I must be honest here and say I’m not fond of WWII stories. Or war stories. Even thought they’re important stories to be told, with their crushingly brutality, heartbreak and loss, as is often the case with the history of this planet we inhabit. But I would not have been allowed to be a soldier. I would not have gone off to fight, willingly, unwillingly or somewhere in between. In this story I saw myself. And I was captivated from the very beginning. The further along I read the stronger the emotional connection. Questions arose. Who would I have been in this story? Would I have been as brave? Made different choices? What would I have done?

That when you know you’re emotional connected and invested in the story. When your heart jumps. When the tears come. When you rage against the circumstances and the only choices left. When you want to decimate the enemy. That’s when you’ve made an emotional connection.

Read what other participants are talking about today!

What book(s) do you have an emotional connection to?

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B Is For Bookshelves #atozchallenge

Bookshelves. Everyone’s got ’em. Whether you put books on it is a whole different story. Please tell me you put books on it! However you arrange things, the truly awesome thing about bookshelves is that no one has the same shelf. Literally no one else on the planet has the same compilation of things lining their shelves.

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016

B Is For Bookshelves

What do our bookshelves say about us? I can’t say for sure, I’m not a psychology major. That you like to read? That you adore knickknacks? Have a thing for photos? Candles? My bookshelves are full of two of those things: books and photos. Candles and books don’t mix. Knickknacks scare me. I feel like I’m one step away from becoming a hoarder when I’m surrounded by them. Other people’s collections are symbolic of who they are, sometimes quirky, and often charming. I’m quite okay with other people’s knickknacks.

There are many ways to arrange books: alphabetically, by genre, size, colour. Some stack literary works on one side. Genre fiction on the other. Some of us mix it up. Below is a peek into one of shelves. I have to say I’m an arrange by size fan. Mostly. Kind of.

Bookshelf

Mostly wine book club books on this one. The Sanity Seekers have been around for nearly fifteen years. The same core group of seven or eight drinkers readers. I prefer to read book club selections in print. For no nobler reason than it’s easier to judge how much I have to read in a very short amount of time. Another confession – it’s easier to skim. Because some of the books we’ve read…yikes. From the very first book we shared, Chocolat by Joanne Harris, to today, I could not have survived with my sanity intact without my book club. Our current book?

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

These days when it comes to books some of us also have ebook shelves. Seriously, what did we do without ereaders? 

My Ebook Shelf

Other bloggers waving at you from over here!

There you have it. A look at my shelves. What’s on yours?

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Why My To-Be-Read Pile Is Smallish

Is Your To-Be-Read Pile Manageable?

An interesting question was posed on Facebook the other day: Is owning books as good as reading them?

Say what now?

Because why would you own a book you weren’t planning on reading? That’s like…I don’t know what it’s like exactly. I mean I have books on my shelves I haven’t read, not because I don’t plan on it. I want to read them, I just haven’t. Yet. Pride and Prejudice I’m looking at you. But good intentions matter, right?

Jane Austen

Then I remembered being invited to dinner years ago. I immediately gravitated to her lovely bookshelf. I’m always interested in a person’s book collections. I remarked on how careful she was with her books and asked how she’d like a particular one. Her response? She’d bought it figuring it would look good on her shelf. She was right. It did. It fit right in with the other books she had no intention of reading. And since she was and still is a lovely person we laughed about it. I mean not everyone is a reading nerd and that’s okay.

And books are beautiful. Check out any number of book related hashtags on Instagram: #bookstagram #booklover #bookporn #bookphotography, to see why others think so too.

All this love for books is heartwarming! Really it is. Buy books! Lots and LOTS of books. Buy my books. If you read them even better. Reading rocks! But I’ve heard of people who have downloaded hundreds and hundreds of books thanks to the wide range of free books, 99 cent books and the like. So again…

Is Owning Books As Good As Reading Them?

Who am I to tell people what they should or should not be doing? Some might be comforted by the all the possibilities. The reasons people buy books is as varied as the people themselves. For myself, I can’t face a toppling to-be-read pile. Knowing all those books are there waiting is to much pressure. As it is I’m freaking out because I’ve been reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert for months. I love it but non-fiction doesn’t sweep me away like my preferred fiction does, and these last few months I’ve needed the escape.

The Lake House by Kate Morton

This lovely book, The Lake House by Kate Morton, is one of the few books on my TBR pile. On my ereader waits Norah Wilson’s The Standish Clan trilogy which is set in the fictional small town of Harkness, New Brunswick. In Norah’s words these stories are sweet, sexy and romantic. And this trilogy is just the first of many series to come under the Hearts of Harkness banner!

The+Standish+Clan+Trilogy

There are a couple of other books waiting in wings. But right now I’m reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah for book club. And listening to Better When He’s Bold by Jay Crownover in Audible when I’m on the treadmill.

There are books I want to read but haven’t purchased. Books I’m considering purchasing. And release dates for books by authors I’m waiting for. But all in all, I like to keep my pile manageable. Otherwise I’d never get anything done.

Because I’d rather be reading.

What’s in your to-be-read pile? Is it toppling? A neat stack? Nonexistent? Come on, ‘fess up!

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What I’ve Been Reading…

No surprise I love reading. I’m somewhat of a varied reader. How’s that for vague? I wouldn’t say I read all over the place, because I do prefer certain types of stories over others.

  1. Happy endings. Please, please, please let it have a happy ending. I have read books for book club where only one person is left standing. I just…don’t even… want to go there. I recently had coffee with a rather new friend. We had a lovely time discussing many things including books. We’re both avid readers which made us instant friends who will never be at a loss for conversational topics. But I mentioned my love of happy endings and she looked at me in surprise, and said, “But not every story can end happyily.” To which I replied, “I know, and I don’t want to read those stories.” Which led to another discussion.

That’s it. That’s all I have. One requirement. Which, I think, still leaves a lot of open road. To that end, I’ve been reading.

a paris apartment

When April Vogt’s boss tells her about the discoveries in a cramped, decrepit apartment in the ninth arrondissement, the Sotheby’s continental furniture specialist does not hear the words dust or rats or shuttered for seventy years. She hears Paris. She hears escape.

Once in Paris, April quickly learns the apartment is not merely some rich hoarder’s repository. Beneath the dust and cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a goldmine and not because of the actual gold (or painted ostrich eggs or mounted rhinoceros horns or bronze bathtub). First, there’s a portrait by one of the masters of the Belle Époque. And there are letters and journals written by the woman in the painting, documents showing she was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable décolletage. Suddenly it’s no longer about the bureau plats and Louis-style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction. It’s about a life. Two lives, actually.

With the help of a salty Parisian solicitor and the courtesan’s private documents, April tries to uncover the secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs into one woman’s life, April can’t help but take a deeper look into her own. When two things she left bubbling back in the States begin to boil over, April starts to wonder if in this apartment or in this life, she’ll ever find what she’s looking for.

I liked it! Because hello Paris! An abandoned apartment. A hoarder. Of cool stuff. Expensive stuff! If you love antique furniture, you’ll love this book. I also adoring this contemporary/history story mix idea right now. One taking place in the present and one in the past. I loved reading about Paris too! So win!

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

Loved this book! Which surprised me because I’m generally not a fan of the New Adult genre. Or sports stories. I can’t remember what influenced me to read it. But oh my gosh! It was super sexy. And super sweet! No alpha males in sight. So double win. 

a cold dark placeJustice isn’t always black or white. 
Former CIA assassin Alex Parker works for The Gateway Project, a clandestine government organization hell-bent on taking out serial killers and pedophiles before they enter the justice system. Alex doesn’t enjoy killing, but he’s damn good at it. He’s good at dodging the law, too—until a beautiful rookie agent has him wondering what it might be like to get caught.
FBI Special Agent Mallory Rooney has spent years hunting the lowlife who abducted her identical twin sister eighteen years ago. Now, during an on-going serial killer investigation, Mallory begins to suspect there’s a vigilante operating outside the law. She has no choice but to take him down, because murder isn’t justice. Is it? 
Sometimes it’s cold and dark.
When Mallory starts asking questions, The Gateway Project management starts to sweat, and orders Alex to watch her. As soon as they meet, the two begin to fall in love. But the lies and betrayals that define Alex’s life threaten to destroy them both—especially when the man who stole her sister all those years ago makes Mallory his next target, and Alex must reveal his true identity to save the woman he loves.

The last couple of months I’ve been reading Toni Anderson’s Cold Justice series. I’ve really enjoyed these books! I’m on No.4! Smart, chilling, and very realistic. The characters are intelligent and respect each other. The plotting is awesome sauce! 

So, that’s what I’ve been reading. How about you? What has you turning the pages these days?

 

 

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The Big Book Theory

Book buying theory: you get the one that fits your mood, your life really, at that moment in time. It’s not incredibly complicated. (Or you buy it because you need to read it for book club.) We all have a method of choosing what book we need. A system we use to whittle down the choices. Stories come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. We might go big, It might be small. Slow moving. Or rocket fast. Spicy or sweet. Happy. Sad. True. Or complete fantasy.

I need at least one book on the go at all times, for sanity sake.

So…I was in the bookstore the other day looking for some epic reads for our camping holiday. As I scanned the tables of books at Chapters (my local bookstore) I noticed a book I’d seen on Twitter by an author I follow. A suspense kind of book, which I love. Very interesting title. Attractive cover. I picked it up to read the blurb and goodness gravy the thing had to weigh 5 pounds. Not quite, but close. but it was Big. BIG, I tell you.

Not even Stephen King’s reassurance that it was a fantastic read and one should not be put off by the sheer number of pages convinced me to buy it. And it turns out it was the second in a trilogy so I need to read the first book, well…first.

Still, I feel kind of wimpy for basing my decision on page length instead of whether I’d enjoy the actually story in those many pages. I mean I read big books. Because hello, Kristen Ashely. She writes long stories and it’s kind of nice knowing you’re in it for the long haul. That you’re going to be engaged for awhile and you don’t have to worry about the story ending too soon. I’ve read Exodus by Leon Uris. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugnenides. I read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Heck, I was probably qualified to build a catherdral after that one. And I thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. I love picking up a Nora Roberts’ book because I know I’m going to sink in, relax, and enjoy.

big books

I just don’t like them all the time. I’ve gotten into the habit of reading shorter books. Past paced, moving quickly, lots happening all at once kind of books, which I also love. And some big stories come in shorter books. I wasn’t in the mood for lengthy. I was looking for something else.

I made my selections that day and here’s what I ended up with: a romantic suspense (I think it was – warning; there is a lot of sex in this book. A LOT. Just so you know.); a colouring book which I adore; and 2 young adult books, one of which I’ve started.)

IMG_1169Do you read big books? Do you care how long the story is if it’s something you think you might want to read? How do you pick books?

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5 Reasons To Make Reading An Absolute Priority This Summer

Besides the obvious, which is because we want to!

1. You can do it for free! And who doesn’t love free! If funds are tight it’s mandatory. Or you can save your money for mojitos and margaritas. Or the fabulous day trip you’ve been planning (don’t forget to pack a book). Get a pedicure! You can pick up print books from the library shelves, or borrow ebooks. God bless libraries. I consider them an essential service! They give you the opportunity to try a book you might not chance buying. You might discover a new-to-you author. Their backlist. Then there’s no stopping you.

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2. You can be an Extreme Reader and not risk your life! This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Unless you need me to tell you not to walk and read. Or maybe that’s only my clumsy self.

3. You can do it on the beach. In a hammock. In the park. In the shade. In a hotel room. In the airpost. Waiting for the ferry. On the bus. In your campsite. Any where. Any how. Any way. You might make a new friend over discussing the books you’re each reading. Also, reading is sexy. So…you know, it might help you score. Do the kids still use that word?

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4. Reading has absolutely zero calories. If you’re interested in that kind of thing. Or concerned about calories. But where’s the fun in that. It also pairs well with wine. Popcorn. Veggies and dip. Fresh berries. Reading is very versitile in that regard and I’m sure Gordon Ramsey would concure. Do it while eating pizza, burgers, or Chinese food. I’m a firm believer that a book look tattered and torn when finished. Unless you get it from a library. Or a friend. Then you might want to keep the crumbs to yourself.

5. Reading helps you chill out. Have stress? And who of us doesn’t? Books can take you away from your day-to-day troubles for a little while and help you relax. So go ahead, let a good book sweep you off your feet. Fall in love with a fictional character. Live in a fantasy world for a few minutes. Go back in time. Help solve a mystery. Play detective. Blush over the sexy bits. Get chills and thrills and crime.

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You can set yourself a summer reading challenge. Do a group read with friends. Or family. Like my sister, mom, and I are reading The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. I’ve pre-ordered Kristen Ashley’s Ride Steady (Chaos #3). I want to read Searching for Sunday: Loving, Learning, and Finding the Church by Rachel Evans Held. Maybe J.R. Ward’s The Bourbon Kings. HelenKay Dimon’s Playing Dirty. Oh, who am I kidding, there are too many to mention.

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Read! Nothing goes with summer like a good book! What books are you looking forward to reading this summer? Also, share your recommendations!

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