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Review – Pupcakes – Annie England Noblin

Pupcakes
Author: Annie England Noblin
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
All she wants is a settled-down life.

What she gets is a dog—and a whole new normal . . .

There he stood in the doorway: overweight, depressed and nearly homeless—a pug named Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy was Brydie Benson’s latest problem, arriving on top of her messy divorce and sudden move. Brydie needed a place to start over, so this rent-free home seemed a great idea. She just never counted on Teddy, or his owner, the Germantown Retirement Village’s toughest customer, Pauline Neumann.

And because rent-free doesn’t mean bills-free, Brydie gets a night-shift job at a big-box grocery. Whoever guessed there were so many people who wanted baked goods after midnight?

Then, she gets an idea—why not combine her baking skills with her new-found dog knowledge? And so her store Pupcakes is born. Along with a new start comes a possible new love, in the form of Nathan Reid, a local doctor with a sassy Irish Wolfhound named Sasha. And as fall turns to winter, and then to Christmas, Brydie begins to realize that life is a little bit like learning a new recipe for puff pastry—it takes a few tries to get it just right!

Review:
I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a bookcovers that have dogs on them – my eye catches on them in bookstores and at the library. So when I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing Pupcakes by Annie England Noblin, it was like yes please (although, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of pugs, there is just something about them…) Ms. Noblin is a new author to me, but after reading Pupcakes, I can say that it won’t be the last time I read something by her. There was nothing really unique about her writing style, but it just drew me in. After suffering a bit of a reading slump the last few weeks (on top of being busy at work), I needed a book that engaged me that I wanted to keep reading.

Using Theodore Roosevelt (yes, that was the dogs name) as a vehicle to tell the story was something that make it engaging. The dog wasn’t just an accessory to a character, but was primary to moving the story from beginning to end. But it wasn’t just a story of a woman and dog – it was about finding yourself about life changing events, about rediscovering who you are and finding love again. I felt that while I hadn’t experienced any of what Brydie had gone through that she was still relatable. Then there was Nathan – ahhh, I love a good doctor 🙂 (I don’t think I need to say much more than that right?) In general the cast of characters (Joe, Rosa, Lillian from the overnight bakery) and Pauline (without who there wouldn’t have been a Teddy Roosevelt to fall in love with).

An ultimately satisfying story that made me want to keep reading, as well as try my hand at making homemade dog cookies (i’m sure my two would love me even more if I did that)…I think one thing that would have made the book great, would have been some of the different recipes that Brydie created. A solid 3.5 stars and another added to Mt. I-want-to-read-more-of! 😉

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s Monday – What Are You Reading? (23 October)

its-monday-what-are-you-reading

It’s Monday – What are you reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

So i’m currently alternating laying in bed with my feet up and on the couch catching up with some TV viewing (yeah, I’m like uber far behind and just now finishing up Season 2 of Outlander) – recovering from running (and some walking) of the Marine Corps Marathon yesterday. Overall, I was happy with how I did – it was a 35min-ish improvement over last year – but I still missed my goal time of 5:30 by 30minutes (but since I walked the Blue Mile and had a couple of epic potty breaks), I’m happy with h untilow I did. But i’ll be back next year – 2 years down and 3 to go until I hit the MCM runner’s club (meaning I won’t have to go through the lottery to register each year). If you have ever even thought about running a marathon, I HIGHLY recommend the Marine Corps Marathon in DC – you start at the Pentagon, hit many of the tourist attractions (you run by the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, and through different parts of the city) – it might not be the easiest course (hello, uphills and mile 3 kind of suck) – but there is a reason why its called the People’s Marathon.

I was kind of bummed that I didn’t get to fully participate in Dewey’s Read-a-thon this year – but resting and relaxing pre-marathon was more important. Although I did get a little bit of reading done – just not up to my normal read-a-thon goals. This week was a pretty slow reading week in general – I actually only finished up 3 books – I blame it on a busy week at work and just being in a bit of a reading funk.

Here’s hoping that this week will be more productive – although since I have my first weekend class for my Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) this weekend – I’m pretty sure that will cut into my reading time (oh the things that I do to try and advance my career 🙂 ) Or rather – lots of reading to do from various journals and textbooks, but not fun stuff that I would normally chose to read. But at least I’ll have the drive to Quantico on both Saturday and Sunday to get some audiobook time in. On the pile this week, finishing up my current audiobook (A Stranger in the House – Shari Lapena), although it feels kind of like cheating to list it, since I only have like 20 minutes left. Once I finish that up, my next listen is Murder by Mocha – Cleo Coyle – I know that I’m picking up a series 10 books in but yeah, I can be a rebel at times 🙂 On the reading pile are a couple of ARCs – Running With A Sweet Talker – Jami Albright and Secret Heir – Victoria Pinder. I also have the most recent Katie Maguire series (Dead Girls Dancing and the newest Rizzoli and Isles (I Know A Secret

What about you – what are you reading this slightly overcast Monday? (and seriously Mother Nature, why couldn’t you give us this weather yesterday!)

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2017 in It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

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First Lines Friday – 20 October 2017

First Line Friday’s is a weekly feature, hosted by Hoarding Books – so grab a book off your pile and share the first line

Jack Avery stared at the scene before him while sucking on a cherry lollipop his godson Aiden had given him.

From:
Running With a Sweet Talker – Jami Albright

A few months ago, I borrowed a book from Amazon Kindle Unlimited called Running from the Rock Star. What I didn’t know at the time was a) how much I was going to enjoy it and b) that the author would end up on my auto-buy list PDQ (pretty darn quick). There was something fresh about her writing, which was very needed as a run of a few less than stellar reads. So when I got an email from her a couple weeks ago, asking if I wanted to review the next book in the series – i’m pretty sure my response was something that went, not only yes, but heck yeah (or maybe gimme gimme gimme). With Dewey Read-a-thon this week (although I’m not fully participating), Running with a Sweet Talker is on the top of my to-read pile.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in First Line Fridays, Uncategorized

 

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Countdown to Dewey!

Its Thursday evening, which means that its not only Friday eve, but that its officially less than 48 hours until the October edition of Dewey’s 24 Read-a-thon. Unfortunately, this is the first time in a couple of years that I won’t be fully participating as a reader. But I swear I have a good reason – Sunday is my last race of the season – the Marine Corps Marathon, so it seems like a potentially bad idea to stay up all night reading and then trying to run 26.2 miles…don’t get me wrong – I would try it if I legitimately thought I could, but not likely. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to read at all – it will be a good excuse (like I ever actually need one) to sit around with my feet up, resting and relaxing.

This year I’m going to read by the proverbial seat of my pants – I don’t have a formal pile of books that I am considering – although I do have my current stack of books from the library – while I’m going to give you titles right now – choices include a police procedural, a book of essays, a YA sci-fi dystopia and a contemporary romance.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in Read-A-Thon

 

First Line Fridays – 13 October 2017

First Line Friday’s is a weekly feature, hosted by Hoarding Books – so grab a book off your pile and share the first line

Caroline’s wrist turned an flicked as the steel tongue of her crochet hook dipped in and ut, mirroring the movement of the fiddle’s bow.

From:
Caroline: Little House, Revisited – Sarah Miller

When I saw a preview of this book show up in my email, I KNEW that I had to read it. As an 7(ish) year old, I devoured the Little House on the Prairie books as well as watching reruns of the TV (running home from school to watch it at 3pm with a snack was like a daily routine). I’ve really enjoyed some of the other retellings of classic books that I’ve read recently (and equally excited about some of the other upcoming ones I’ve seen authors I follow talk about…like Marilla from Anne of Green Gables).

I’m only a chapter into Caroline so far – but I have a feeling that its going to be a great read!

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2017 in First Line Fridays

 

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It’s Monday – What Are You Reading? (9 Oct)

its-monday-what-are-you-reading

It’s Monday – What are you reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

So obviously from my lack of blog posts in the last two months, I’ve been busy as all get out – its been peak triathlon training season and in my ultimate wisdom, I also signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon (2 weeks to go – yikes – what the heck was I thinking!!!) On top of all my training shenanigans, work in general has been busy – so in the ultimate sacrifice, reading (or at least a reduction in reading) and blogging had to be sacrificed! But never you fear – I’m getting back into the swing of things and hope to have more frequent posting in the next couple of weeks 🙂

Now on to the fun stuff! I have the day off work today (thank you DoD) which could be a good thing – between my last longish training on Friday (15 miles at an 11:40 page) and then volunteering at Ironman Maryland (if you ever want to see insane athletes – these guys – yes i’m one of them – cover 140.6 miles in no more than 17hrs – 2.4mile swim, 112 miles on the bike and then a marathon), I am rather stiff and sore (for lack of a better word) – so curling up in bed today sounds like a great idea (but its wet and drizzly out which helps the desire to be a sloth).

My reading this past week can be described as sexy electrician, quilting friends, matchmaking moose and irish police procedural binge read. For the most part it was a fairly successful reading week, although, i’ll admit, while I have enjoyed other books in the Elm Creek Quilts series – the characters have been noticeably more annoying to me in recent reads/listens.

Currently Reading:
So I discovered Irish author Graham Masterton a few months ago when I picked up #7 in his Katie Maguire series from my local library. It hit the spot in the dark and torturous column (something I see a lot of in the Nordic Noir mysteries) and so have proceeded to binge read the first 4 books in the series – and getting ready to start book 5. I also have no doubt, if I finish up Blood Sisters this week, that I will roll into book 6 (Buried).

Along with Blood Sisters, I also have a couple of ARC’s from authors to read and review – Freeing the Beast (Tina Donahue) and Pupcakes (Annie England Noblin). I’ve read stuff by Tina Donahue before and found myself needing to fan my face because of the steaminess of the writing. This is a re-release of a book published a few years ago by Samhain (speaking of, I used to read tons of their books, how did I not discover her before this year!!!). Annie England Noblin is a new author to me, but i’ll admit to being a sucker for the dog on the cover (even if i’m not a huge pug fan in general…). Here’s hoping I enjoy Pupcakes and find a new author to add to my repitoire.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2017 in It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

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Review – Mercies in Disguise – Gina Kolata

Mercies in Disguise
Author: Gina Kolata
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
The phone rings. The doctor from California is on the line. “Are you ready Amanda?” The two people Amanda Baxley loves the most had begged her not to be tested—at least, not now. But she had to find out.

If your family carried a mutated gene that foretold a brutal illness and you were offered the chance to find out if you’d inherited it, would you do it? Would you walk toward the problem, bravely accepting whatever answer came your way? Or would you avoid the potential bad news as long as possible?

In Mercies in Disguise, acclaimed New York Times science reporter and bestselling author Gina Kolata tells the story of the Baxleys, an almost archetypal family in a small town in South Carolina. A proud and determined clan, many of them doctors, they are struck one by one with an inscrutable illness. They finally discover the cause of the disease after a remarkable sequence of events that many saw as providential. Meanwhile, science, progressing for a half a century along a parallel track, had handed the Baxleys a resolution—not a cure, but a blood test that would reveal who had the gene for the disease and who did not. And science would offer another dilemma—fertility specialists had created a way to spare the children through an expensive process.

Review:
Last year one of the books that I read and reviewed for my blog was Inside the O’Briens (Lisa Genova) – the story of a Boston family where the Patriarch is diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease – a progressive disease that causes the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. Around the same time I posted my review, I also proposed a question on my facebook page about genetic testing – specifically, if there was a 100% certainty that you would inherit a disease if you carried the gene for it (i.e. Huntington’s), would you pursue the test or would you want to just see how your odds fall? It was interesting reading some of the responses from people I know and others who came across that question, as a friend of a friend. Fast forward to March this year and I saw mention of a non-fiction book with a similar theme mentioned on Doing Dewey Non-Fiction Friday that I just knew I needed to read in the very near future.

Mercies in Disguise is told in 2 parallel stories – that of the Baxley family, where grandfather, father, and brothers had been afflicted by an unknown disease – a disease that resembled Alzheimer’s and a touch of Huntington’s but not just that…and the scientist who discovered the disease approximately half a century earlier. From the get-go, I was drawn into Ms. Kolata’s story-telling – she managed to weave science, family dynamics and medical mystery in a way that I wanted to keep reading (in fact, I pretty much read the entire book in one sitting while waiting for my car to be serviced). There were lots of questions about the ethics of medical advancements including genetic testing for embryos. It is definitely a book that make me think a lot about what I would do if I was put into the same situation as members of the Baxter family. Personally, I’d probably fall on the side of wanting to know my future so that I could plan for it – even if I know that I might die at a very young age…but thankfully, I’ve not had to make a medical decision like that. I think I found the medical side of the story – how the disease was identified to be less interesting than the family dynamics overall – not saying I didn’t like it, but the Baxter family portion was more intriguing to me – maybe because it was a bit over my head with some of the science (I mean, I did get a D in college biology…sooooo).

If you are looking for a solid non-fiction book that would pair well with a book like Inside the O’Brien’s or Still Alice – then you may enjoy Mercies in Disguise.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

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