Saturday, December 16, 2017

Some Thoughts: Forensics What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime

Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime

**Also known under the title 'Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime'

by Val McDermid

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  2.5 Stars

Val McDermid is one of the finest crime writers we have, whose novels have captivated millions of readers worldwide with their riveting narratives of characters who solve complex crimes and confront unimaginable evil.  In the course of researching her bestselling novels McDermid has become familiar with every branch of forensics, and now she uncovers the history of this science, real-world murders and the people who must solve them.

The dead talk—to the right listener.  They can tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died, and, of course, who killed them.  Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help serve justice using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene, or the faintest of human traces.  Forensics draws on interviews with some of these top-level professionals, ground-breaking research, and McDermid’s own original interviews and firsthand experience on scene with top forensic scientists.

Along the way, McDermid discovers how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine one’s time of death; how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer; and how a team of young Argentine scientists led by a maverick American anthropologist were able to uncover the victims of a genocide.  It’s a journey that will take McDermid to war zones, fire scenes, and autopsy suites, and bring her into contact with both extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.

I can't deny that the direction, inspiration, and point behind this book is in the right place.  It seems that author Val McDermid had set out to showcase and introduce forensics and its role in criminal justice, and has done exactly that.  And this book was enjoyable in its own way, with a lot of information, certainly well-researched.  The writing is easy to follow, and each chapter is formatted in the same fashion, with introductory, history, experts, and case examples.

Unfortunately, if I had to describe this book to friends or interested parties, I'd have to go with something akin to: "An Introductory Textbook to the History of Forensic Science."  It certainly reads like a textbook--previously I had mentioned to a friend that this book reads like a jumble of news articles and case reports that don't have the full story of each of the cases presented.  That it's just a copy-and-paste of the author's interview notes, with word-for-word quotes, and pre-approved descriptions and character histories of each expert she had interviewed.  There were certain moments in some chapters where she introduces the reader to a certain expert, but then awkwardly incorporates a description of said expert, that can ONLY be described as very awkwardly inserted.

This is jarring to me as a reader, because then I spend a good moment wondering why the author used such a descriptor, and wondering if those were her words, or if that is how our mentioned expert wants to be introduced in the chapter.  Or maybe they were words given to our author by friends or associates of said expert.  I mean, why do I need to know some random personal lifestyle tidbits about our toxicologist or facial reconstruction expert?

As I got further into each of the chapters, I wasn't really sure how to describe the book anymore.  Is it an introductory textbook?  Is it a collection of badly edited news articles and case reports?  I read a few updates for this book that liken parts of the writing to purposefully creating sensationalized phrases and exclamations of the case examples just to get the reader's attention--something I DID come across a few times that seemed highly unnecessary.

I found that a few sentences here and there, or a piece of dialogue or quote, would occasionally present that felt like it had nothing to do with the subject or the case example being discussed.  Again, I would end up taking a moment to wonder to myself why this particular quote was incorporated.

I felt like the book could have served better by delving just a tad bit deeper into the sciences or the procedures of each forensic science technique.  I mean, I don't need a full semester of Genetics or Anthropology, or anything like that, but at least give me more than just the bare minimum.  I came to a point in the book where it felt like I was just a short, hand's grasp away from getting the full story of the subject presented, as well as the case example used to illustrate said subject... right before we hit a wall and stop discussing the topic.

There felt like there were a lot of: "... and then our forensic expert used his/her expertise to help solve the crime."  And I'm still staring at those last sentences of that paragraph wondering just exactly what our expert did to come to his or her conclusions.  Meanwhile, the chapter has moved onto another case example, or another part of the subject and how wondrous this technique was in becoming a great tool for criminal investigations.

I mean, I already know that there have been a lot of advances in forensics--I took some classes in college a long time ago, and have always been interested in the subject.  I don't really need that point reiterated several times within each chapter.

And I would have liked for the subject and the case examples to be a bit less incomplete.  I understand that science is an ever-evolving field, and that we couldn't possibly know everything there is to know about stuff like Toxicology, or Anthropology, or DNA testing.  I get that some cases go unsolved, and even the best of experts or techniques are helpless.

But if you present me with an example of a case that used a specific technique to become solved, I want to know exactly how our experts came to those conclusions.  Not just, "And then we used digital forensics to determine our suspect's guilt."  Okay... but what exactly was used, and what evidence was studied?  And how did that lead to a guilty verdict?

I can't really pinpoint where in the book, but this particular conclusion came about with each case example enough times for me to begin wondering about it.

Truthfully, I'd been fully intent on taking notes and posting updates about my thoughts on each chapter and subject.  And while other, outside circumstances kept me from being able to post updates, I also kind of gave up on taking notes because there didn't seem to be a whole lot of notes worthy of being taken.  I had added exactly one post-it note to the book, wherein I highlight (not literally) an all too well-known and common phrase that has always been associated with Forensic Science:  The Locard Principle--"Every contact leaves a trace."

So instead of fully enjoying the book after going into it with all sorts of interested excitement, I found myself more interested in the barely skimmed names and case examples that were brought up.  I started making note of some of these names and wondering if I'd have better luck learning about this subject by doing a bit of research on my own.  Because, at best, each chapter may be lengthy, but they certainly feel incomplete to me.

I'm left wondering whether or not I've missed part of the story somewhere.  I'm left wanting to know more about how certain conclusions came about.  I'm left with an unfinished story that had all the build-up and all the unwanted tangential tidbits, and no explanation of how that conclusion was come to.  I'm left with a list of names and cases that I now have to look up if I want more information, because my curiosity was piqued, but not satisfied.

This book took me over a month to finish reading.  Whether it was because of personal reasons or the book itself, I can't possibly say for sure.  But I felt like this book dragged, and yet gave little to satisfy my expectations.  There were a lot of generalizations, and what truly DID annoy me in each chapter was the great emphasis on how "THIS VERY TECHNIQUE" was what helped break a case wide open and convict criminals, and establish truth, and save babies...

It's been a very long time since I've had my last forensic science class, or my last criminal justice course.  But I'm not sure an entire case truly hinges on the test results of one specific branch of forensics.  I mean, I work in a hospital lab, and a patient's diagnosis certainly isn't based off of one particular test result, but instead should be concluded based on multiple factors.

Certainly, this isn't a terrible Introduction to Forensic Science book.  It's not really a science book, per se as there is very little science about it.  It might interest many other people who are into journalistic accounts of case files, Wikipedia style.  It may interest someone who simply wants a skimmed surface of the overall subject.

It will certainly get you wondering who all these names are that get brought up randomly.  And making notes of them in case you ever feel like you want more information.

Again, it just wasn't what I'd expected to get, and maybe that's the only fault in this reading experience.


16 Festive Tasks - Newtonmas

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- November 2017

November was definitely the slowest month for me in reading and blogging all year.  I barely posted anything, and read a total of 6 books.  I had ambitions for this month, I promise, but things just didn't work out and now I've got a lot more books on my TBR that I'd been hoping to finish before the end of the year... all crammed into December.

It looks like I'm either going to have to get more ambitious... or just call it a day and screw my reading list!  I'll read what I want!

November Reads

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

None this month!  Yay!

Currently Reading

November Reading Stats

Total works read:  6
  • 5 print/e-book novels
  • 1 novella

Average rating: 3.36 Stars
  • Highest Rated:  Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare // 4.5 Stars
  • Lowest Rated:  5 books // 3.0 Stars
    • (1) Close to Heaven by Pamela Clare
    • (2) It's in His Kiss by Jill Shalvis
    • (3) Frost Line by Linda Howard and Linda Jones
    • (4) A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare
    • (5) Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Series I started reading:
  • Castles Ever After by Tessa Dare
  • Hercule Poirot by Agatha Christie
Series I completed:
  • None
Series I have made progress on:
  • Colorado High Country by Pamela Clare
  • Lucky Harbor by Jill Shalvis
  • Spindle Cove by Tessa Dare

Favorite reads:  Really, Tessa Dare made my month great, what with everything being so slow in November.  My most favorite read was, obviously, Any Duchess Will Do, with the other Tessa Dare books following very closely behind.

Disappointing reads:  I wouldn't necessarily say that I was disappointed in any books, really... except maybe the one book took me a while to finish... which took some motivation to finish that last chapter...  more on that later...

Reviews & Notable Posts

Reviews Written


Other Posts

Coming Up In December

Tentative TBR

Other Stuff

The above tentative list of books I want to read in December isn't as ambitious as I thought it would be, but at the rate that I'm going (and if history is to show a pattern), I'll probably be lucky to finish most of them at all.  Especially since I've still got three books currently being read.

Nonetheless, my main goal is to get those books read, and become more active on my blog for this last month of 2017, at least.  And hopefully I can stick to that, but it almost seems easier just to go into a slump and stay there for the first three months of the next year... much like I did this year.  Very tempting...

I think I'll just take it day-by-day at this point.

2017 Wrap-Ups 

Past Monthly Reading Wrap Ups
See Also: 2015 Reading Wrap-Up posts (scroll to bottom of page)

(updated as year progresses by month)
January | February | March | April | May | June
July | August | September | October | November | December

Sunday, December 3, 2017

16 Festive Tasks | Square 5 - Advent (Task 1) - My youngest brother and a Master's Degree!

16 Festive Tasks

Square 5 | Advent: (Task 1)
Post a pic of your advent calendar. (Festive cat, dog, hamster or other suitable pet background expressly encouraged.) –OR– “Advent” means “he is coming.” Tell us: What in the immediate or near future are you most looking forward to? (This can be a book release, or a tech gadget, or an event … whatever you next expect to make you really happy.)

This will be one of the few task posts that I won't really have a photo for, but if I DO find a suitable one, I will most definitely update and edit this post to fit.  In fact, after the event has passed, I may return with a follow-up post.

As I had stated in my Thanksgiving Day task post, a lot of events and activities have been going on this year of 2017.  There was a wedding, and if this task had been part of another game prior to that, I would have named my little brother's wedding as an event I'm very much looking forward to--but that event has come and gone, and all was wonderful!

Instead, my family and I will be looking forward to a graduation in the very, very near future:  My youngest brother will be graduating with a Master's degree in Computer Science and Computer Engineering!  The ceremony will be taking place in exactly two weeks on December 17, so today is the perfect time to boast and brag about it.

For this generation in our family, including cousins, he will be the first with a Master's degree, and we're all very excited.  Of course, this is not disregarding the fact that one of my cousins is a Doctor of Pharmacy... but she already had her day to shine, and today (as well as two weeks from today) will be all about my baby brother.

Obviously there is a lot of boasting going around the family and lots of people are happy.  Coming from a family of immigrants, myself, my brothers, and most of our cousins are the first generation of the family born in America.  And while we aren't the first generation given the opportunity to go to college (my youngest uncle on my mother's side of the family also has a Master's degree), there's no denying that the elder generation are all very proud of this accomplishment.

And now, as my brother reaches the end of his higher education years, it is time for him to figure out what he's going to do for a job.  Definitely, his life is about to change a lot as he officially enters the working world.  Of course, he has been working as a paid intern with NIAR (National Institute for Aviation Research)--a job he loves.

But still, a bright new future for him, hopefully, as he begins his search for his ideal career!!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Spindle Cove Series Thoughts: A Lady by Midnight / Beauty and the Blacksmith / Any Duchess Will Do

Spindle Cove
by Tessa Dare
Book #3:  A Lady by Midnight | Goodreads | Rating:  3.0 Stars
Book #3.5:  Beauty and the Blacksmith | Goodreads | Rating:  4.0 Stars
Book #4:  Any Duchess Will Do | Goodreads | Rating:  4.5 Stars

Apparently it was a nice Tessa Dare marathon for me as I devoured one book after another (and continue to do so).  These books are wonderfully written and so much fun, even if a bit hard to believe based on the time frame and setting.

But what do I care about any of that when all I want is a good time, an enjoyable book, and lots of steamy romance with witty characters, amusing dialogue, and heart-warming moments?

A temporary engagement, a lifetime in the making...

After years of fending for herself, Kate Taylor found friendship and acceptance in Spindle Cove—but she never stopped yearning for love.  The very last place she'd look for it is in the arms of Corporal Thorne.  The militia commander is as stone cold as he is brutally handsome.  But when mysterious strangers come searching for Kate, Thorne steps forward as her fianc√©.  He claims to have only Kate's safety in mind. So why is there smoldering passion in his kiss?

Long ago, Samuel Thorne devoted his life to guarding Kate's happiness.  He wants what's best for her, and he knows it's not marriage to a man like him.  To outlast their temporary engagement, he must keep his hands off her tempting body and lock her warm smiles out of his withered heart. It's the toughest battle of this hardened warrior's life . . . and the first he seems destined to lose.

A Lady by Midnight is my least favorite of the Spindle Cove books, thus far, but for whatever reason, I'm not sure I can pinpoint, exactly.  I only recall thinking that while I did like our main couple, Kate and Thorne, I also found them extremely frustrating in their actions, especially towards the ending.  And something about their relationship never did sit well with me, especially with Thorne coming off so intense and dangerous all the time.

Meanwhile, the long lost family who has come to claim Kate were amusing, and while I had the same misgivings about them at first as Thorne did, I later came to find that maybe Thorne was being too much of a possessive, paranoid jerk than was necessary.

Nonetheless, this was still an enjoyable and charming book.

At last, Diana gets a romance of her own! But with the last man anyone in Spindle Cove expects...

Beautiful and elegant, Miss Diana Highwood is destined to marry a wealthy, well-placed nobleman.  At least, that's what her mother has loudly declared to everyone in Spindle Cove.

But Diana's not excited by dukes and lords.  The only man who makes her heart pound is the village blacksmith, Aaron Dawes.  By birth and fortune, they couldn't be more wrong for each other...but during stolen, steamy moments in his forge, his strong hands feel so right.

Is their love forged strong enough to last, or are they just playing with fire?

I hadn't really known what to expect of Diana's turn at being the main heroine, even as this is a novella.  In fact, with her situation, I would have almost expected her to get a full length novel instead, but Beauty and the Blacksmith proved to be quite cute, sweet, and charming... even while I had no idea what our main couple were doing with each other.

I mean, I know what they were doing with each other, but there were a lot of actions that spoke to the contrary of what I thought they wanted with each other.  I'm suspecting that might have been intentionally added angst, just for the sake of having romantic angst.

What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence.  Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever.  He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes.  All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop.  That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment.  Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training"... and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure.  She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul.  Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy.  Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?

I'm supposing that this Spindle Cove installment was supposed to be some sort of fairy tale meets 'My Fair Lady' crossover, which was wonderful and amusing, and so many things I enjoyed all rolled into one.  "The practical girl's fairy tale," as Duke Halford puts it.  The premise is promising, and the characters were all individually awesome by their own merit.

The character interaction could have been better, and somehow, the romance rang a little false to me, but I enjoyed a few of the exchanges here and there, and loved Pauline's randomly muttered, "Dukes and their problems."  I found I absolutely adored the dowager duchess of Halford before she even reveals the little knitting atrocities to Pauline--after that, I fell in love with her.

And the dialogue was terrific, especially when the duchess was trying to teach Pauline proper diction, among all of her other "duchess training" lessons.

The only quibble I have about this book would probably be the ending.  Somehow, it felt rushed and kind of trampled over the emotional build-up that I thought it was going for.  I'm not sure I know how to describe my conflicting feelings about it, but while I enjoyed how Griff handles the situation, I still felt like there could have been something... more.

Otherwise, this was a lovely read and I can honestly say that I absolutely loved it!


I'm trying to decide which 16 Festive Tasks squares to mark these as and have come up with at least two for A Lady by Midnight, and one for Any Duchess Will Do.

Square 2 | Book themes for Bon Om Touk:
Read a book that takes place on the sea, near the sea, or on a lake or a river, or read a book that has water on the cover.

Square 3 | Book themes for St. Martin’s Day:
Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).

I think A Lady by Midnight will fit in either of the above two squares (the bolded book theme options), as Spindle Cove takes place on a setting near the sea, and I'm quite sure Spindle Cove would be considered quite rural.  The setting is Regency... which is before the age of electricity, no?  I haven't quite decided which square to choose... and just as well, there were a couple other squares that would work, too.

Square 15 | Book themes for Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day:
Read anything where the main character has servants (paid servants count, NOT unpaid) or is working as a servant him-/ herself.

I mainly bolded the first part of this book theme if only because I'm certain about the Duke and his family employing paid servants in his household.  The second part of this book theme would probably fit as well, but probably on a stretch, since Pauline is a serving girl/barmaid, who gets paid to pretend to take duchess training lessons from the dowager duchess--I'm not sure that actually qualifies her for a paid servant, though, but since the first part of the book theme fits, I'm definitely using this book for this square.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

16 Festive Tasks | Square 2 - Guy Fawkes Night Task - Tea and books!

16 Festive Tasks - Guy Fawkes

Tasks for Guy Fawkes Night:  Post pictures of past or present bonfires, fireworks (IF THEY’RE LEGAL) or sparklers.  Or: Host a traditional English tea party, or make yourself a nice cup of tea and settle down with a good book to read.  Which kind of tea is your favorite?  Tell us why.

By popular request, here is a nice photo of my pewter dragon design tea pot... of which I have never used.  So let's pretend I did use it to steep the tea I'm currently enjoying.  It's just so pretty, all I want to do is stare at it and not blemish it with any kind of use.


Though, obviously I used a tea bag for my tea, but that's because I haven't actually used loose leaf tea in a long time.  Truth be told, tea bags are definitely much more efficient for when you just want a nice mug of tea... like, RIGHT NOW.

Here is a nice little mid-morning snack with my cup of tea as well--a glutinous rice cake, sliced and toasted.  It doesn't come that way, but our family like to eat glutinous rice cake in this fashion.  You may also steam it, as well as eat it with some sugar.

The glutinous rice cake is made of sticky rice as the outermost layer, with mung bean and choice other filling items.  This particular one just has roasted fatty pork.  The glutinous rice and mung bean are soaked for a time, and then everything is wrapped up in banana leaves, tied tightly, then steamed for a very long time until everything is cooked.

Our family typically do not make these from scratch because they take a tedious amount of work and time.  So it's much easier to buy from the store and reheat.  My grandmother used to make them for special occasions, and she especially loved to stuff them full of random ingredients ranging from aromatic Chinese sausages, to shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, boiled peanuts... just all sorts of things.  And the truth of it is, I really prefer less and like the store bought kind with just the fatty pork.

But let's get back to point of this post, shall we?

Yes, I am still reading this book.

Hot tea is one of those pleasures I absolutely enjoy, and I don't know if this is because I'm Chinese and tea is such a significant part of our culture... or if I just plain like it because you can get so many wonderful subtle aromas from a vast variety of different kinds of tea leaves.

For as long as I can remember, I've always preferred my tea hot over cold.  And, for some time, I'd always rejected any kind of sweetening of tea, as I had always felt that any kind of sweetener (be it sugar, honey, or fruit flavored add-ins) would mask the actual taste of the tea itself.  But some years ago recently, I'd realized that my tastes can change, and with it, an appreciation of certain kinds of iced teas, and certain kinds of sweet teas.

Our household will usually keep an assortment of tea bags, from Jasmine tea, to Herbal tea, Oolong tea, and so on.  We also have a few loose leaf varieties, some of which I'm not sure how to translate into English.  Dad has taken to drinking a Bitter Melon Tea, mainly in his attempts to lower his blood sugar (which really isn't that high to begin with)--and since he grows his own bitter melon, he has also started roasting his own bitter melon leaves for tea steeping.  My Mom likes to keep a supply of dried Chrysanthemum flowers, for the lovely and refreshing Chrysanthemum tea, also known as Flower Tea, with just a small spoonful of rock sugar--this is not pictured above as I cannot find her stash.

And, like mother, like daughter, Chrysanthemum tea is also a personal favorite of mine, sweetened or unsweetened.

I like teas of all sorts of varieties, so it's hard to pinpoint which ones are my favorites, to be honest.  While I love Chrysanthemum tea, I also love the more understated Oolong tea, or the lovely smelling Jasmine tea.  The Herbal tea (what I made for myself in the previous photos) is something more recent I'd been introduced to, which has a very subtle sweetness to it without even adding sugar or honey--it's a mixture of chrysanthemum, and other assorted medicinal herbs, which is good for the throat, and wonderful when you're out with a cold.

And that's just one more thing about tea:  It's a wonderful, warm and soothing drink when you're sick.  I like to spike my tea with crushed raw ginger root, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dallop of honey--works wonders!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

16 Festive Tasks | Square 4 - Thanksgiving Day! - I am thankful for... and a new book!

The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season

Square 4 | Thanksgiving Day Tasks:
List of 5 things you’re grateful for –OR– a picture of your thanksgiving feast; post your favourite turkey-day recipe. –OR– Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book - post a picture of it.

Last year around this same time, I made use of a Top Ten Tuesday meme to post a list of things I am grateful for.  I went back to reread that list and found that not much has changed over a year.  I am, and continue to be, grateful for many of the items I listed in 2016: family, friends, books, food...

So coming up with a brand new list seems a bit repetitive.  But that doesn't diminish the fact that I am still thankful for all of those same things.

Instead of listing all of those lifelong "thanks," I mainly wanted to give a short ramble about some of the things I feel strongly about being thankful for, specifically related to this year, 2017.  In failing to actually come up with a list of 5 items, I am also going to post a picture of a new book I treated myself to, a la "Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book," at the end of this post.

There have been a lot of changes this past year, ranging from my younger brother getting married, to my father retiring, to my youngest brother soon-to-be graduating with a Master's degree status...  My cousin also graduated from Pharmacy school.  More cousins are getting engaged.  And my cousin's little boy turned one year old a couple months ago.

I will forever be thankful for family, and all the joy and activity that family brings to my life.  There are so many things to be proud of this year!

In my own personal life, I have made changes that will hopefully benefit me in the long run.  A new job, a new lifestyle, a new chance to get myself and my life on a new journey.  A new set of coworkers who are wonderfully nice people.

I am certainly thankful for opportunities, and the freedom to have opportunities and choices.

Some recent events make you think about life and how fragile life can be.  We've had a lot of natural disasters reported about this past year, ranging from tropical storm and hurricanes to fires.  We've had some not so natural tragedies as well.  And while not on the same global level of devastation, my own personal life came upon an event that was quite jarring, in itself.

I am grateful for life, for the little things that life affords you, for the small bits of luck, or even any greater power that may or may not keep us in good health.  I will continue to thank each day that passes, and not take the little things for granted.

Along with changes and events, the people in my life have always been wonderful about being supportive.

I'm thankful for my friends and coworkers, former coworkers, for being understanding and supporting of my most recent job change.  I'm thankful for my family for being there to get me through any and all scary events.  I'm thankful for wonderful relationships, online and off, when you really just need words of encouragement in order to move forward.  I am thankful for all the great listeners and the sincere advice I get from everyone when I'm feeling a little lost or trapped.

And I'm thankful for the fur babies, the little ones who don't ask questions and accept you for who you are, and who will always just want to love you and cuddle and play, and all-in-all, just make a long, stressful day worth it when you come home and see them waiting for you, always happy to see you, always ready to bring joy.

Silly Baby is silly.

Tired Baby is tired.

Well, look at that!  I DID come up with five things after all.

Nonetheless, on a less sentimental and less serious note:

Being thankful for myself, I went and bought a book!  Obviously!

Using some of that e-book settlement money everyone was granted a while back (mine totaled somewhere in ~$5!), I went to the bookstore and bought Laura Griffin's newest Tracers release!  I probably could have bought more books, but I usually try not to go on book buying sprees anymore... unless they involve such niceties as "Fill a bag for $5.00!"

I had been planning on buying this book anyway after it's release, to add to my collection of Laura Griffin paperbacks.  So it's money well spent!

And yes, I may be popping open a bottle of wine this week for the holidays... or just because.  And also, please ignore the little liquor bar our family has going on in the background there...

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Hope you all have a great holiday!

Monday, November 20, 2017

It's Monday! And I'm Back! I hope... | 11/20/2017

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.  And here we are!

I really do hope to start blogging more actively now that my work schedule is coming back to a more normal routine--and I don't just mean switching to a day shift position, which is technically more of a midday shift position.  But with this transition, and all the fiasco about my car running into a deer, things have certainly been chaotic.

The last two week at my former job was a big headache, because someone accidentally entered my last day incorrectly, so I got booted out of the system for three nights.  Dealing with all of that was annoying, and I almost just wanted to say F-it! and just call in sick for those last few days.  But I persevered, and now I've started my new job in a new set of hours, and things have been quite nice so far.

The transition has been a little tougher than I'd expected, but I hope everything will normalize soon.

I've been reading, but not really blogging, so I'm a little behind in my reviews.  In order to make myself a happier person, I've just been indulging in the rest of Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series, and will be finishing it up, hopefully by the end of the year.  It's been a rather enjoyable Tessa Dare marathon for me, and I'm quite satisfied with myself.  Because of my strange anal need to read all things in the order they were published, I will also be starting Tessa Dare's Castles Ever After series, if only because it shares a last book with Spindle Cove, apparently--Do You Want to Start a Scandal?

Don't ask.

Meanwhile, I'm finishing up the Flat Book Society Read, Forensics by Val McDermid, which hasn't exactly been what I was expecting, but still enjoyable to an extent.

What I Read Last Week

What I'm Currently Reading

What I'm Hoping to Read Next

Other Plans On the Blog

I had stated in a previous post that I have a few 16 Festive Tasks posts planned--for the actual activity tasks, and not the reading tasks.  Hopefully I will be able to get those written and fleshed out, then posted at some point.  I especially want to get the Thanksgiving task posted this week, preferably the day before Thanksgiving, or maybe even on Thanksgiving Day.

While I'm still training at my new job, I will have every weekend off until they deem me ready to work by myself, so hopefully I will be able to prioritize my weekends to include some blogging, and plan a few more 16 Tasks posts!

Meanwhile, I will probably be flooding everyone with the backlogged reviews I've yet to finalize.

Hope everyone else is having a good month!  I've been missing the updates, but have been skimming the Booklikes dashboard and seeing all the 16 Festive Tasks activity!