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About Dee

I'm one of those people that no matter how many books I have, I can't turn down a sale or a trip to the bookstore. There are no limits to what I'll read and I hope you enjoy my reviews.

Review – Saving Meghan – D.J. Palmer

Saving Meghan
Author: D.J. Palmer
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided By Publisher

Description:
Can you love someone to death?

Some would say Becky Gerard is a devoted mother and would do anything for her only child. Others claim she’s obsessed and can’t stop the vicious circle of finding a cure at her daughter’s expense.

Fifteen-year-old Meghan has been in and out of hospitals with a plague of unexplained illnesses. But when the ailments take a sharp turn, doctors intervene and immediately suspect Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare behavioral disorder where the primary caretaker, typically the mother, seeks medical help for made-up symptoms of a child. Is this what’s going on? Or is there something even more sinister at hand?

Review
Saving Meghan came at the perfect time for me, I was getting ready to head out of town for a short trip and I was in an epic reading funk. I started reading it one day at lunch (while I was waiting a brutally long time for my computer profile to load) and before I knew it, I was sneaking chapters in between breaks in class and I totally blew off a workout that night to keep reading. So yeah, I kind of devoured it. Also I loved the interactive part of reading this – when the publisher asked you to tweet were you – #believebecky or #protectmeghan – because it made you think about which side of the debate you came down on – did I believe that Becky (Meghan’s mother) was hurting her or was Meghan really sick…

I’m not going to spoil Saving Meghan for you – and honestly, its kind of hard to touch on many of the different plot points without potentially risking spoilers – but suffice to say that I totally didn’t predict anything about how the story unwound, whatsoever…I was guessing right up until the very last page what was going to happen. I did think that Palmer did a solid job of developing all of the characters – even those that I thought were going to be relatively minor to the storyline – were two dimensional and believable. There were so many different layers to the characters in Saving Meghan – there was family dysfunction (oh boy was Becky’s family dysfunctional); there were the medical mystery of what was going on with Meghan, there was a family dealing with grief and the role that the internet plays in solving medical mysteries (or does it cause more confusion).

D.J. Palmer is a new to me author, but after taking a look at his website (which is under his pseudonym Daniel Palmer) – i’m definitely going to be reading more of them by him in the future. I love a good medical thriller/suspense/mystery and good ones are often few and far between (so if you have any recommendations, please let me know!)

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2019 in Book Review, Review

 

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March Wrap-Up

And with a blink of the eye, the first quarter of the year is over. and I have to say this, holy shit, time is flying! This month seemed to speed by – of course, it helped that I was traveling for two weeks so I had nothing to really do but go to the class I was attending, workout and read – without all the distractions of home (although I missed my pup like mad) – see obligatory picture…this is her common pose while i’m laying on the couch reading (or working out in the basement). The end of March saw a most gorgeous weekend with temps in the 70’s – which meant I got to sit outside, get some Vitamin D and finish up the month with some solid reading. Overall for March, my total was 29 books – so right in line with what I read last month and in January (for a current total of 89 books for the year).

New Authors Discovered:
I kick off the month with two new to me authors – that I know I will definitely read more of in the future – my first experience with reading Sylvain Neuval came from his dystopian novella set in the UK where immigrants have to sit a test to determine if they are worthy enough to be granted citizenship. I followed very quickly with The Girls of 17 Swann Street (Yara Zgheib) – which was an emotional look into a residence facility for women with eating disorders. For me it provided a very stark reminder of how fragile life is and how eating habits can transition over time into an eating disorder – but how there is help available. I don’t know if the author had ever been in one of these treatment facilities – but she had an insight that seemed to be very realistic. Finally, while I was traveling, a book that I had on reserve on overdrive for like 2 months came available for me to listen to – so I also discovered Dani Shapiro – though her memoir, Inheritance.

Diversity Challenge
One of my favorite books of March was one that I found when I was scrolling through a list of new releases for March – which was also one of the new to me authors I discovered – The Girls of 17 Swann Street which helped me with my diversity challenge as it featured characters who suffer from a mental disorder (anorexia, as it has a heavy mental component). This was one of those books that I started reading Sunday morning and by that evening, I had finished. It was a can’t put down book for me and I know that I’ve recommended it to several people already. I also read Lion by Saroo Bierdley – this book was the basis of a movie that was released a few years ago where a young Indian man, who had gotten lost as a child was adopted by an Australian couple, finds his childhood home through the miracle of the internet and google maps. In addition to The Test (Sylvain Neuval) mentioned above, I also read two books where main characters who are the children of immigrants or members of another culture (in these instances, specifically Chinese with American Panda (Gloria Chao) and Indian with When Dimple Met Rishi (Sandhya Menon)). I’ll admit that 3 months in, I’m really enjoying this diversity challenge as its making me look more closely at the books i’m picking to read, because previously I was definitely stay within a relatively narrow scope of authors/genres.

Series Continued
March was pretty much a solid hit for series that I’m in the process of continuing. I finished up 2 books in a trilogy that I’d been waiting to finish for a couple of months; I also listened to do more additions in J.D Robb’s In Death series (the end is actually nearly in sight with listening to books 38/39 and currently 48 books in the series available! honestly I catn’t believe that the author still keeps me intrigued with all the different storylines!) My enjoyment of Lisa Kleypas and her historicals continued with the most recent in her Ravenel’s series – but the best part of the entire book for me was seeing Sebastian and Evie from The Devil in the Winter (which is like one of my favoritest historicals romances of all time).

Tackling the TBR
Of the 29 books I read this month, 8 of them were books that had been on my TBR/TBL pile since before January 2018 (because hey, I figure more than 15 months counts being lost on the TBR). The book that has been on the TBR pile the longest that I read this month was Red’s Hot Honky-Tonk Bar – which I bought wayyyy back in 2008-09 (I think it was potentially one of the first books I bought for the kindle way back when. it always surprises me when I enjoy books that have loitered on my TBR for that long – especially authors like Pamela Morsi – who I have read books by before and always enjoyed (yeah, i’m kind of a doofus…lol).

When all was said and done, I think March was a fairly successful reading month and I can’t wait to see what April brings for me – especially since April features the first of the two Dewey Readathons for the year 🙂

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2019 in Month in Review

 

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February Wrap-Up

Ahhh, February – the shortest month of the year and the one that a) either feels like it is going to last forever or b) just flies by – you never know. Its also the month where it can be 60+ degrees somedays and on others snowing and storming. I know I don’t regret the snow day we had last week from work, or the fact that I had several days where we had a delayed work start (which is solid because I can get my workout in earlier in the day rather than in the evening). February saw me read (or listen) to 30 books – which is on the lower side of my normal reading (of course it doesn’t help that I have like 10 different books in progress…lol).

New Authors Discovered
February definitely was a GREAT month for discovering new authors – Of the 30 books that I read, 9 were by new to me authors, and at least 4 of them have been added to my read more in the future pile. I already have several books by Fredrik Bachman checked out from the library and on the pile for March and waiting (impatiently) for the next book by Helen Hoang. The Kiss Quotient (Helen Huong) gets the award for the most unique but likeable characters; and Saving Meghan (D.J. Palmer) for the most unlikeable characters (and yet I found myself completely sucked in). I also forsee a binge read of the J.A. Jance series that I started (Joanna Brady series)

Series Continued
I continued to dig into the multitude of series that I have in progress this month. I binged on books 2 and 3 in Kristi Belcamino’s Gabriella Giovanni series and then bought the remaining books in the series so that I could finish reading it in March. I also read the next installment in Rosalind James’ Escape from New Zealand series (I totally fall into the delayed gratification for this series, by trying to ration the books that have been released). I finished up Lauren Dane’s Ink and Chrome Trilogy (although I’ll flat out admit that it wasn’t my favorite book in the series) and jumped back into Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles (the third book def. suffered from that transition in series weakness – or at least I think so). I also continued with the next book in Lucy Lennox’s Made Marian series. JD Robb gave a solid installment to the In Death series with Thankless in Death (I finished up the last chapter of that on the first of the month) Finally, after discovering him in January, I buddy listening to the remaining 2 books in the Reckoner’s series by Branden Sanderson (although technically I finished up the last bit of the third book on the first day of March).

Diversity Challenge
February saw me read a book that hit both a neurodiverse character and by an author that identifies as such – I think of the 30 books that I read this month, The Kiss Quotient was in my top 3 favorites for the month. I loved Stella as a character and the romance between her and Michael had the right amount of sexual tension building throughout. I laughed out loud in several places, in particular, her lesson plans that she made for her sexual experiences. In addition, to the Kiss Quotient, I also rediscovered my enjoyment of m/m romances (specifically this month ones by Mary Calmes) and I’m part-way finished with Halsey Street (Naima Coster) which showed up on my kindle screen one night and caught my eye. I should have it finished in the next couple of days.

Tackling the TBR
Of all my various reading goals, this month my goal of tackling Mt To-Be-Read/Mt To-Be-Listened was the most successful. Of the 30 books that I read, 9 had been on my TBR pile for longer than three years and another 3 for longer than a year. I already mentioned it, but Thankless in Death was probably my favorite lost on Mt TBL that I got to this month (even though I did technically finish it up in March, over 90% of it was listened to in February). I also started Maya Banks KGI series (the first book has been on Mt TBR since 2012 and for some reason and I don’t remember buying them all, but I own books 1-8…I think I might have a TINY problem…) I also had to laugh when I requested a book from the library (The Winter Over) to discover that I had actually bought back in January 2017 (and I have now created a shelf on Goodreads called – “totally forgot I bought that” for those random finds).

My Top 3 Reads for February:
The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang
Beartown – Fredrik Bachman
From Lukov With Love – Mariana Zapata

What About You? How was your February Reading? Did you discover any new must-recommend authors?

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2019 in Month in Review, Uncategorized

 

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Buddy Read – Bleak House – Charles Dickens


Welcome! Come and join Moonlight Reader and me in our buddy read of the Dicken’s classic, Bleak House.

About Bleak House:
Bleak House opens in the twilight of foggy London, where fog grips the city most densely in the Court of Chancery. The obscure case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, in which an inheritance is gradually devoured by legal costs, the romance of Esther Summerson and the secrets of her origin, the sleuthing of Detective Inspector Bucket and the fate of Jo the crossing-sweeper, these are some of the lives Dickens invokes to portray London society, rich and poor, as no other novelist has done. Bleak House, in its atmosphere, symbolism and magnificent bleak comedy, is often regarded as the best of Dickens. A ‘great Victorian novel’, it is so inventive in its competing plots and styles that it eludes interpretation.

Proposed Reading Schedule: (subject to real-life)
Week 1 (25Feb-03Mar) – Chapters Preface-12
Week 2 (04Mar-11Mar) – Chapters 13-24
Week 3 (11Mar-17Mar) – Chapters 25-36
Week 4 (18Mar-24Mar) – Chapters 37-48
Week 5 (25Mar-31Mar) – Chapters 49-60
Week 6 (01Apr-07Apr) – Chapters 61-67
Week 7 (08Apr-14Apr) – Extra Week (if needed)

Discussion Questions:
Well, i’m still looking for some good discussion questions – so there may be some posted at the end of each week, I’m really not sure yet 😉

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2019 in Buddy Listen

 

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January Wrap-Up

I don’t know about you guys, I’m still kind of in shock that its the last day of January – I mean, this first month of the year just flew by…it seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year (or in my case, sleeping through the new year after falling asleep during my Captain America binge). While its not as cold in DC as other parts of the country (my sister informed me that with the wind-chill it was -50 in her neck of the woods this week) – we are still suffering some of the “polar vortex” and I’m having visions of the blizzard from the movie, The Day After Tomorrow (which is a great watch if you have never seen).

And now onto the summary of my January reading and listening…overall, i’m going to call it a successful month with 24 books either read or listened to.

New Authors Discovered:
Brandon Sanderson – I finished up the month listening to the first book in Sanderson’s Reckoner’s series (YA dystopia set in what was one Chicago). It was so good that I’ve already requested the second book in the series and can’t wait to listen to it in February (yay for a road trip next week). I also FINALLY read Angie Thomas‘ The Hate U Give (yeah, I’m pretty sure i’m the last person in the country to read it), but it lived up to the hype (which is what I was afraid of and why I put off reading it as long as I did).

Series Continued:
This month saw me continuing several series that I had in progress – including the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs; The Department Q series by Jussi Adler-Olsen and the Shadowlands series by Cherise Sinclair. I was kind of disappointed in the middle of the series Kate Daniels book (which was really all about her best friend Andrea) – I mean, she was ok as a secondary character in the series, but a full-novel just didn’t work for me, I think I like her even less as a character right now…which is disappointing since I love the rest of the Kate Daniels series.

Diversity Challenge:
One of my goals for 2019 is to read more books by diverse authors and with diverse characters (thanks Robin Covington for that awesome challenge!). I read several books this month that fit into the bounds of that challenge – specifically, The Poet X about the daughter of Dominican immigrants trying to find her place in the world, told through poetry; as well as The Hate U Give which fit both an author and character of color categories. I also added more books than I can count to my list of prospective books that will fit into the challenge.

Tackling the TBR
One of my others goals for this year is to start digging into my epic kindle archives for books to read (because I have like 5000+ at last count)…i’m giving myself a personal goal to read at least 5 books each month that I have had on the pile since before January 2017. I fell slightly shy of that goal this month, with 3 books complete and 1 still in progress. The oldest book off my shelf that I read was Silent in the Sanctuary, by Deanna Raybourn, that I added to Mt TBR in November 2011. The other two books I finished were purchased in 2014 (Gunmetal Magic – Ilona Andrews) and 2015 (Extreme Love – Abby Niles). But I’m not too worried, because right now I have at least 5 books slated into my February reading that will help me with this goal.

How was your reading month? Stop by and tell me what your favorite read was or how you are doing on your reading goals for the year!

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2019 in Month in Review

 

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2019 Diverse Reading Challenge

A few weeks ago an author I’ve previously read and is pretty much on my go-to pile (the amazing Robin Covington) posted on her facebook page about a reading challenge she wanted to undertake in 2019. The goal of the challenge is to expand the diversity of your reading choices by including more diverse authors and characters. While 18 books (1 for each character/author) will barely scratch the surface of the availability of diverse books – it will hopefully give me a starting point to consistently consider more diverse reading choices.

Here’s finding new authors to read and love in 2019!

 

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2019 – First Book of the Year

Year 3. This is my third year of participating in First Book of the Year hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Although this is the first year when I haven’t really had my first book planned out and known in advance – which is why its January 1 and i’m just posting my first book of the year now. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was even going to participate this year – but I was recently inspired by Robyn Covington to expand my reading list year by increasing the diversity of the books I read. And kicking off that challenge as my first book of the year seemed to be the way to go.

So drumroll please…my first book of 2019 is going to be…(and my dog – Marie – wanted to show you all her toy, Monkey…the poor thing has been beat up but she loves him)…and it wouldn’t be first book of the year without a new coffee mug

From the Goodreads description:
Michael likes to hang out with his friends and play with the latest graphic design software. His parents drag him to rallies held by their anti-immigrant group, which rails against the tide of refugees flooding the country. And it all makes sense to Michael.

Until Mina, a beautiful girl from the other side of the protest lines, shows up at his school, and turns out to be funny, smart — and a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. Suddenly, his parents’ politics seem much more complicated.

Mina has had a long and dangerous journey fleeing her besieged home in Afghanistan, and now faces a frigid reception at her new prep school, where she is on scholarship. As tensions rise, lines are drawn. Michael has to decide where he stands. Mina has to protect herself and her family. Both have to choose what they want their world to look like.

Here’s to many great books and memories in 2019!!

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2019 in Uncategorized