Month: March 2017

Review: Charlotte’s Web

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Charlotte's WebMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you’ve never read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, you are utterly missing out on a classic Newbery Honor award winner. Go to the library now and borrow this book first published in 1952. You shouldn’t buy it (unless you have children or are giving it as a present), but choose to embrace the entire experience of being a small child walking through your public library’s doors, searching for an amazing book and finding yourself bringing home a tale that will make you cry and fall in love all at the same time. And don’t spoil it by watching the cartoon or regular movies made based on the book until you’ve read it yourself! It’s important….

At a quick glance, a little pig arrives on a new farm and is basically going to be entered into a contest to win a prize for the farm owner. But the pig is scared and confused, turning to all sorts of other farm animals for love and guidance at his new home: chickens, mice, birds and of course, Charlotte, the friendly spider. To help save the pig, Charlotte spins webs overnight about the pig’s talents in the hopes that he’ll be saved from the… sniff sniff… chopping block even if he wins the contest for best pig. But there’s so much more going on in this book…

Charlotte is everyone’s mother. She’s everyone’s teacher. She’s everyone’s friend. As Pollyanna as it will sound, we should all have a Charlotte in our life to help us grow up and mature into terrific, radiant and humble human beings. (I’ll avoid calling us “some pig” as the other message she crafts). All the lessons children can learn from this book are important, even the ones about death. I won’t spoil it, but despite all the efforts across all the animals and the people in this treasure, someone doesn’t make it. It’s on the same level as “Bambi” in my opinion when it comes to a must-read for children, even if the harsh realities of life are exposed.

Please go read it. 🙂

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March 2017: Monthly Wrap Up

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March has been quite a busy month for this blogger who’s been posting on the Interwebs for about 7 months so far. While a bit nervous to put so much of myself out there for all to see, it’s been refreshing and powerful in many ways.

Key Metrics in March

  • 62 Posts (average of 2 per day)
    • 20 – 365 Challenge
    • 38 – Book Reviews
    • 2 – TV & Film Reviews
    • 2 – General Blog
  • 38 Book Reviews
    • 14 – Books read in March
    • 24 – Reviews written from prior years
  • Site Metrics (NEW)
    • 964 – Views
    • 313 – Visitors
    • 42 – Followers
    • 308 – Likes
    • 96 – Comments

*** March has officially been the blog’s best and most popular month!

What did I read in March 2017?  Let’s dive into the reading specifics…




Gone with the Twins

liked it
3+ stars to Kylie Logan’s Gone with the Twins, the fifth book in the “League of Literary Ladies” mystery series about a woman who owns a B&B on an island between Ohio and Canada and helps the local police solve crimes using her skills as…
tagged: 2-fic-cozy-mystery, 1-fiction, 3-fic-multi-book-series, and 7-read-…
Sprinkle with Murder
liked it
3+ stars to Jenn McKinlay’s Sprinkle with Murder, the first book in the “Cupcake Bakery” cozy mystery series. I’m a fan of Ms. McKinlay, as I enjoy both her “Hat Shop” and “Library Lovers” mystery series, which pushed me to try this one….
tagged: 2-fic-cozy-mystery, 1-fiction, 3-fic-multi-book-series, and 7-read-…
The Mother's Promise
really liked it
4+ of 5 stars to Sally Hepworth’s The Mother’s Promise, a touching story that will give you a tremendous amount to consider. I received this ARC from St. Martin’s Press as a giveaway through Goodreads, choosing it because it had a grippi…
tagged: 1-fiction and 7-read-2017-march
really liked it
4+ stars to Daisy Goodwin’s Victoria, a historical fiction novel released with a PBS TV series bringing the book to life on Sunday evenings. I was very sad when Downton Abbey was ending, but looked forward to the release of “The Gilded A…
tagged: 4-fic-historical-fiction, 1-fiction, and 7-read-2017-march
The Idea of You
really liked it
4 stars to Amanda Prowse’s book The Idea of You, a fictional story about a women craving motherhood but facing many barriers to success. I was offered this book through NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for a fair an honest…
tagged: 1-fiction, 5-netgalley, and 7-read-2017-march
Kale to the Queen
really liked it
4 stars to Nell Hampton’s Kale to the Queen, the first book in the new “Kensington Palace Chef” mystery series. I thoroughly adored this book and am very excited to see how this new series does in the coming years. A definite read for co…
tagged: 2-fic-cozy-mystery, 1-fiction, 3-fic-multi-book-series, and 7-read-…
Murder at the Courthouse
liked it
3 of 5 stars to A.H. Gabhart’s Murder at the Courthouse, the first in the “Hidden Springs” cozy mystery series. I downloaded this free e-book for Kindle and read it on my iPad. While the story was clever and interesting, it wasn’t as app…
tagged: 2-fic-cozy-mystery, 1-fiction, 3-fic-multi-book-series, and 7-read-…
Murder on the Oceania
it was ok
I found a plethora of free cozy mysteries on Amazon — all first in the series — and downloaded them without really looking into any details other than a brief plot overview. Murder on a cruise ship seemed like a different angle. I down…
tagged: 2-fic-cozy-mystery, 1-fiction, 3-fic-multi-book-series, and 7-read-…
Maids of Misfortune
really liked it
4 stars to M. Louisa Locke’s Maids of Misfortune, the first book in the “Victorian San Francisco” mystery series and a great blend of murder mystery charm and historical shenanigans. I found the book on Amazon as a free Kindle e-read and…
tagged: 2-fic-cozy-mystery, 1-fiction, 4-fic-historical-fiction, 3-fic-mult…
The Girl in the Spider's Web
liked it
3 stars to David Lagercrantz’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the fourth book in the “Millenium” thriller series, written by a new author given the original, Steig Larsson, passed away several years ago. While the book carries on with gre…
tagged: 3-fic-multi-book-series, 1-fiction, and 7-read-2017-march
Sunset in Old Savannah
liked it
3 stars to Mary Ellis’s Sunset in Old Savannah, the fourth in her “Secrets of the South” mystery series. In this book, the Price Investigation team heads to Savannah to investigate a new case and enjoy this lovely view:This was my in…
tagged: 1-fiction, 3-fic-multi-book-series, 5-netgalley, 2-fic-cozy-mystery…
Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery
really liked it
4 stars to Melinda Mullet’s Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery, the first book in the new “Whisky Business” cozy mystery series. I stumbled across this book on NetGalley as a pre-release opportunity to read and review. I’m so …
tagged: 1-fiction, 2-fic-cozy-mystery, 3-fic-multi-book-series, 5-netgalley…
Brew or Die: A Java Jive Mystery
liked it
3 stars to Caroline Fardig’s Brew or Die: A Java Jive Mystery, the fourth book in her “Java Jive” mystery series. When I first began reading this book, it reminded me of either Sue Grafton’s “Kinsey Millhone Alphabet” series or Janet Eva…
tagged: 1-fiction, 2-fic-cozy-mystery, 3-fic-multi-book-series, 5-netgalley…
House Of Shadows
liked it
3 stars to Nicola Cornick’s House of Shadows, an ARC I received through NetGalley last week in exchange for an honest review. I realized it takes time to build up a good rating before publishers choose you to read new releases by famous …
tagged: 1-fiction, 4-fic-historical-fiction, 5-netgalley, and 7-read-2017-m…

Favorite Book

  • The Mother’s Promise

Least Favorite Book

  • Murder on the Oceania

365 Challenge – Daily Characteristics

  • Dedication (1)
  • Honesty (2)
  • Consistency (3)
  • Creativity (4)
  • Shy (5)
  • Old Soul (6)
  • Irish (7)
  • Considerate (8)
  • Envious (9)
  • Pragmatic (10)
  • Dreamer (11)
  • Reader (12)
  • Culinary (13)
  • German (14)
  • Sarcastic (15)
  • Punctual (16)
  • Quiet (17)
  • Pale (18)
  • Competitive (19)

365 Challenge Surprise

  • Considering myself an “Old Soul” was a impactful one. It made me proud of who I am.

Final Thoughts

  1. March was awesome.
  2. April will be even cooler.
  3. I’m gonna run out of characteristics
  4. I need to focus on trips and vacations
  5. Should I list expected books to read for April and do a compare?
  6. Thank you for reading and commenting!!!

365 Challenge: Day 19 – Competitive

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Competitive: as good as or better than others of a comparable nature

When I searched for the definition to add to the post, I was surprised. Yes, I agree with it, but I’ve always had a much darker meaning in mind when I thought of the word competitive, or at least how I interpreted it. Then I saw the synonyms listed were ruthless, aggressive or fierce. NOW WE’RE TALKING!!!

Well, I’m not that bad! But I am very competitive about certain things. And when I compete, I want to win with such passion. You’re probably thinking this sounds like the opposite of what I was saying yesterday about being cool with being average. But, competition is healthy when kept under control and infrequent. That said, I’m not even considering talking about sporting events where that’s entirely what the game’s about – who will win. I suppose it’s partially about who plays well and what new feats of strength are pulled off, but then again, who watches the sport to see their favorite team lose???

When I was younger, I was a little bit snarky when I’d lose. (Mom, if you’re ever reading this, I know you are laughing right now, thinking… “a little bit… you can’t stand to lose when you set your mind to winning.”

She could always tell when I wasn’t happy because I had a hard time containing it. I’d hint at why I didn’t win and what may have been unfair (embarrassing now that I think of it).

I never got that angry, but I was displeased. As I’ve gotten older, I’m much better about losing, but there are a few things that I expect myself to be top of game at — and never lose!

Playing cards is one of them. I grew up in a card-playing family; as a child, I would ask to watch my grandparents and great aunts and uncles playing various card games such as Follow the Queen, Criss Cross, Poker, Sevens, Rummy, Black Jack and others. I didn’t want to play with my cousins, go outside or even sit on the couch and watch TV or read a book — that is, when cards were being played! Of course I read all the time, but when those 52 pieces of perfection slid across the table, matched or had a wild card, it was as if I’d won the lottery.

But I kept it cool unlike my friend Christina… no one could know — and trust me when I tell you I have a poker face. I know how to look sullen and disinterested. I knew when to fake “I’ve got good cards and can’t hold it in look,” forcing my competition to fold and then I’d win the pot even tho I had a horrible hand.  Ooh, getting excited just thinking about it! :0

But it’s finally become fun competition for me – not frustrated competition. When it’s done, I let it go and move on. But during the game, it’s part of the environment, the ambiance, the action. It helps you get excited or hopeful — all healthy feelings when kept within the right parameters of friendly competition.

Luckily, I’ve never really crossed the line and gotten competitive to the point where you hurt someone else’s feelings or look like a complete and utter jerk. I may have come up close to it when I was younger, but it was always in trying to be humorous. Never any intention to be mean.

Sometimes there’s competition in the weirdest of places for me. When I would go out drinking with friends, in my mind, it was a competition who could drink the most and not get sick. Not that I ever really drank that much, but on a few occasions, it would be amusing. I’d think to myself, “oh, I had a few of this, half of that, 3 or 4 of those…” and I’d round up so it sounded like I drank more. What was wrong with me??? I needed to be the one who drank more and would exaggerate a little bit to win that competition? And the prize was, you guessed it,

That was the nicest way of showing you “vomiting” when you drink too much! I could have showed you a far worse picture I found on the GIF site, but that would make me a horrible person!

Another weird competition… who could finish painting a room the quickest. Two equal size rooms, same color paint, same start time. Who would finish first?  Now think about it… if there’s something you don’t want to rush to win, it’s painting a room. Because you’ll get sloppy. And then you have to live with it. Or paint it all over again. And you can’t just fix the places you messed up because the paint dries differently and you see shine in some areas. And then you live in an ugly room, all so you could say “I finished painting first.”

Maybe I did have a problem when I was younger. I suppose that’s what these 365 challenges are about. Discovering something I didn’t know. Woah!!! I bet I discovered something before you!  Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah!!!!  Ha. I win!

What’s my prize!??????

The Blog is Growing!

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When I first started this blog about 6 months ago, I thought it would be an entertaining experience… but somehow in the last few months, I’ve got close to 100 followers and I’m on here posting nearly every day. It’s been really fun and challenging, but ultimately I want it to deliver valuable content, insight and laughter. I’m super excited with the results so far!

Now I need to start adding new content sections. Starting next week, a few posts each week on the following topics:

  1. Book Reviews
  2. TV & Film Reviews
  3. My Book: “Watching a Glass Shatter”
  4. Other Fiction I’ve Written
  5. Vacation Spot Experiences
  6. 365 Daily Challenge
  7. General Blog & Thoughts

What else should I add?

  • More animations?
  • Restaurant Reviews and link to Open Table and FourSquare reviews?
  • More author and book content?
  • Or keep it streamlined as it is now?

Let me know your opinions and let’s see what we can come up with next! Thanks for everyone’s support.


-jjc iv


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Review: The Eyre Affair

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The Eyre Affair
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book may describe my perfect job goal: to be able to enter a book and meet the characters, ensuring they are following the author’s original intentions and not “on-the-loose” due to some sort of villain. How amazing would that be? Awesome kick start to this series… I read the first 4 then started to get a little disenchanted, but I’ll go back one day! All book lovers need to give this first one a chance — you’ll undoubtedly love and hate parts of it!

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Review: Zeitoun

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Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book club I belonged to several years ago selected Zeitoun and we had a week to read it. I enjoyed the book and hadn’t realized how many horrible things happened in New Orleans besides the actual impact of the hurricane. Based on some reality, the story helps a non-Louisiana native understand the true impacts of the hurricane, not only on the land but on the people.

The imagery and language were strong, and the characterizations were very intricate. Since reading the books, I’ve spent time in Louisiana (both rural and New Orleans) and hear so many different stories of what actually happened.

I may re-read this one in preparation for the next American Crime Story TV anthology. I enjoyed the “OJ Simpson” season 1 so much and am excited to see what they can do with the impacts of Hurricane Katrina. And this book will help me prepare and remember as much as I can before diving in.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The FreeForm cable network aired all the Harry Potter movies this weekend and it prompted me to pick up all the books on my shelves and read a few pages again. I opened to the scene where Harry starts speaking parseltongue and was instantly brought back into this amazing world. I loved this series when I read it nearly ten years ago and I’m considering starting all over again — one a month in between all the other books I read. The imagination. The depth of characters. The reality among fantasy. I can’t imagine a world without it!

What was special about this book is how it carried the intense weight of the first book and added even more. Harry’s energy drives the story. His relationships create the challenges. And we meet Dobby. I love Dobby! If you haven’t read the whole series, you have to indulge in the first few books just to understand the world the wizards live in…

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