Category Archives: good reads

2023 Good Reads Challenge

This year, I’m determined to read as many books as I can. It’s something I can do on those high pain days and pretty much can do anywhere – outside, inside – or while in bed hopped up on painkillers.

I’m already on my third book of the year and I thought I would keep track of what I’m reading here. I’ll also link to my Good Reads profile and you can follow me there or be friends with me too.

One thing I am trying to do is discover new authors, not only to support their work but also to help boost up my writing skills. When you’re an indie author, you tend to relate more to authors that you have a similar style to.

I’m gravitating more away from horror, to things like fantasy, murder mystery, and maybe some good old fashioned romance or smut books. Since my series has a little bit of it all!

This post will be updated as the challenge continues and I will do a month end summary for all the books I’ve found or started to read.

Wish me luck – what’s on your reading list this year?


Authors mentioned so far:

  • Colleen Hoover
  • Kate Aslinger
  • LJ Smith
  • Lucy Score

February 2023 Book List

Things We Never Got Over – Lucy Score

The story focuses around a set of twins – Naomi and Tina. Tina is hellbent on destroying Naomi’s life – steals her car, her purse, her phone – and leaves something behind. A daughter with no home.

Naomi is thrown into the role of being a caregiver, in a strange town for her niece that she just met.

I tried getting into this book but I couldn’t. I’ll try and give it another chance sometime.


The Gift – Kate Aslinger

The Gift is book one in a five book series by Kate Aslinger called The McKenna Series.

Grace McKenna is a detective of a small town who has a special gift that allows her to see crimes that people have committed. But the gifts come with a caveat and the messages are usually vague, leaving Detective McKenna on some wild goose chases.

READ Feb 2023


Buried Secrets – Kate Aslinger

This is the second book by Kate Aslinger for the McKenna Mysteries series.

This installment fixates on a woman in town named Miriam that Detective Grace McKenna is convinced is a murderer.

Detective McKenna is once again on the hunt for clues with little information to go on.

READ Feb 2023


Want to Read 2023

The following is a list of books I’d like to reading 2023-2024 – aiming to complete at least 12 or 1 per month. It’s ambitious but I am hopeful!!




Previous Book Challenges – 2022

What are you reading this year? Let me know in the comments. And if you use Kindle like I do, do you have an E-Kindle?

Cold winter day thoughts and activities

It’s a bitterly cold day here in my city as we reached down to -36C with the windchill. Doesn’t matter where you are in the world, that’s really cold and we have been spoiled until now with unusually warm weather.

I’m trying to get into the habit of writing a little bit every day, and realized I haven’t posted in a while here. I’m using my other journal on Fetlife more for those low days. And luckily, there haven’t been too many lows periods as of late.

That’s partially due to the fact that I have a new online family I’ve joined. It just sort of happened. None of us was really looking for it. But the more we flirted back and forth and started chatting about life events, the more things kind of clicked and it felt right.

I won’t go into a lot of details here. But it’s nice to have that daily connection again and the power exchange. Someone checking in daily to see how I’m doing and making sure I stay on top of all my tasks. Not that I need it ,but sometimes I procrastinate – and it’s nice to have the “right kind of motivation”.

Honestly, I’m not used to being treated like a priority in life and it scares me. I’m using to being third or fourth down the line. Last night, I had a bit of a trauma response when he mentioned a family issue came up. And my instant response was, “Not again. I’m going to get the shaft and be ousted.” But then, I reminded myself after a little cry, that this was my response to a previous relationship. This man has made no promises, has not hurt me in anyway, has not lied and has treated me like gold. And I need to learn to keep my responses in check. Now, if you’ve been following me for any length of time – you’d understand at what a breakthrough that is for me in terms of relationships.

Old me would have just found an excuse to run or sabotage in some way. Fight or flight mode that comes with anxiety. Abandonment anxiety that stems back over two decades from bad partners.

And so, I put on my big girl pants last night, as he says, and admitted my initial reaction. He confirmed what I suspected – that this had nothing to do with me and he would always let me know where I stand.

I can’t tell you – the level of relief that brings me. While the anxiety is still there in the background, it always is, it’s less. And this relationship is like night and day.

I know, I know. Charmeine, you said you wouldn’t get into another long distance relationship. I know, I’m flogging myself for it too.

But… it’s good. On all parts. We all get along. And we both agree nothing serious, no real serious dynamic. No collaring. None of that. Just – it is what it is.

And honestly. It’s like night and day. I feel like I can breathe.

Today was a pretty good day after no sleep for 32 hours. I slept in. Had a nice breakfast. Got some much needed cleaning done and the bedding is in the wash. I got a workout. And now, I’m going to heat up some leftovers for dinner, and spend the evening writing. The fireplace is on and I’m drinking a freshly brewed pot of coffee.

I’m back to reading a little daily and am on my second book of the year. It’s part of Kate Anslinger’s murder mystery series – McKenna Mystery.

It’s quite good and an easy way to get back into reading.

My book is coming along and I’m determined to get this draft done by the end of the month. Time is slipping and I need to work fast.

I’m finally feeling more like my usual self. A bit mouthy, a bit bratty, opinionated, but also, working on letting go of past hurts and learning from past mistakes. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?

So, for today, for this week – life is pretty good at the moment. How’s your week going?

Today’s quote:

Stay tuned – I’ll have more spiritual posts coming your way. The next big celebration will be Spring Equinox in March and the full moon on March 7th!


Love posts like this? Want to know what else I’m reading? Make sure to subscribe to this blog!

Cozy cottages & fairytale dreamers : YouTube recommendations

Every month, I think I’m going to share some of my favorite content creators here with you. My YouTube algorithm finally has gotten to know my preferences, and I’m discovering new artists daily.

Every morning when feeling well, I start my day with a cup of coffee and breakfast. I’ll sit down to watch the latest videos from my favorite channels. And for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been hooked on a certain aesthetic and vibe.

Think cozy cottage and fairytale vibes.

These videos are so calming that it just starts my day off right.


Darling Desi

Desi is a content creator and filmmaker that lives in Utah, at least up until her most recent video in February 2023. Her channel was created in 2019 and she covers a variety of topics.

If you’re a fan of my blog, then I think you will enjoy her videos. She’s an avid reader and a fan of Canadian novels like Anne of Green Gables. She covers topics from anxiety, selfcare, to daily life as an artist.


Alwyn Oak

This channel is a new discovery for me and I’m in love with the overall vibe of her videos. Alywyn is a practicing witch and films many of her videos outdoors. She loves exploring nature, cooking, baking and crafting. She’s also a composer and shares her original music from time to time while celebrating Sabbats or other holidays.

Alywyn often shares ideas on how to celebrate the Pagan Sabbats or spiritual holidays. I find her ideas to be really inspiring for my own celebrations as a practicing witch. She also has videos dedicated to selfcare, rituals and healing practices.


Moss & Mirth

The creator of Moss & Mirth lives in an organic garden sanctuary that she describes as hidden in the trees of a rainy magical forest. Her videos give off a magical sort of vibe as she works on hand crafts or home projects.

Moss & Mirth is a smaller channel with just 345 subscribers, so do check out her videos if you get a chance. I’m all about supporting other artists that share their work and ideas.


Poetry of Slow Life

Daria is a self described cottage daydreamer that lives in the English countryside. Her channel has been active since 2015 and she has just over 20,000 subscribers. This is another great channel that goes for the cozy vibe and focuses on cozy cottage and slow living life.


The Cottage Fairy

I know that I’ve already plugged this channel in a previous post, but this is honestly one of my favorite channels to binge on those dreary days when you might be moving a little slower.

Endy is a talented artist and illustrator that lives in a cozy cottage in the Washington State. She’s an artist, and also rents out properties that she decorates for holidays and special occasions. She’s also an avid reader and I love her book recommendations.

She posts new content weekly and covers a variety of topics from selfcare, anxiety, mental wellness and mindfulness. I love her videos so much, and as someone with anxiety, I really find I connect with her way of thinking as well.

Goodreads recommendations: February 2022

It’s almost the end of February and I realized I didn’t share my monthly book suggestions with you. So, instead, I’ll share what books I have read and a brief summary.

Some of you may recall my Good Reads challenge that I started in December 2020. The challenge was to find at least three sources of media each month. Whether it was a new podcast, movie or book – I’d share a review with you.

In January, I gave myself a challenge of reading 12 books for the year. That adds up to about one per month. Well, we’re only two months into the year and I’ve already read SIX books.

I am on Good Reads, so you can follow me there for a list of books that I have on my to read shelf. I’m also doing a retro-reread and reading books from my teenage angst years. I ordered a couple of books from Thriftbooks that I’m excited to read again, since many of them are out of print.


Books read so far

  • Forever, Judy Blume
  • Friends for Life, Ellen Emmerson White
  • Life Without Friends, Ellen Emmerson White
  • The Forbidden Games, L.J. Smith (currently rereading)
  • The Widow’s Watcher, Eliza Maxwell
  • Things We Never Got Over, Lucy Score (currently reading)

The Widow’s Watcher by Eliza Maxwell

Click on the image for my review


Things We Never Got Over

Currently reading


The Forbidden Game, L.J. Smith (reread)

If the same L.J. Smith sounds familiar to you, then you might a Vampire Diaries fan. Or as some of us call it, TVD. Long before the TVD universe was brought to us via the CW network, there was a series called The Forbidden Game released in the early 1990’s.

Also, speaking of which. The show is a guilty pleasure that I have re-watched probably seven times since it ended. I’m team Stefan all the way. Damon is like the abusive boyfriend you can’t shake. Paul Wesley is dreamy.

My seventeen year old self fell in love with this trilogy and it is one that I’ve reread the most. I’m kicking myself now for giving away my copies of the books.

This was the book that introduced me to a world of Norse mythology. I think I liked it so much because I am Danish and related to the Nordic lifestyle so much.

Then there’s Julian, the main villain of the story. This tall dreamy blonde haired immortal being with Nordic blue eyes (it’s a thing, I looked it up) falls in love with a mortal being named Jenny. He has magical powers beyond anything we could ever imagine. He sucks Jenny and her friends into this magical world of his full of danger and romance.

Oh gosh. My teen self loved Julian so much. I’m currently rereading this book and am taking my time with it. I visit it once a year, so I finally ordered myself a physical copy.

Julian still invokes all those innocent feelings I had as a teenager. He’s even inspired the novel I’m working on now, though I’m really trying to give my character his own voice and sex appeal.

But god damn, if you’re into supernatural or Norse mythology like I am, you should definitely check out this series.

So, I guess that’s three books in one that I’m reading which bumps up my total to 9!! That’s crazy!


Previous recommendations


Good reads profile

If you are looking for new books to read, then you should follow me on Good Reads. I did sign up for a few other services but most of my friends are on this platform. I enjoy it better and use Kindle for books. I’ll also be sharing a list of sites where I read and download free books – legally.

https://www.goodreads.com/challenges/11636-2022-reading-challenge


What are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments. Bonus points if the book is available through Kindle Unlimited.

Have you read my new book yet? It’s free for a limited time on Smashwords.

Reviews are welcome – this is my first e-book that I self-published. I’m using a penname for all my books and novels.

Free download

Book Review: The Widow’s Watcher by Eliza Maxwell

It doesn’t take me long to read a book if I can keep an interest. There were several times early on, when I wanted to quit reading and move onto something else. But I am determined to meet my book quota for the month and finished it. I had to take several breaks though as I often found myself getting impatient or bored.

I finished the book about an hour ago as part of my 2022 Good Reads Challenge. This makes book number #2 that I’ve read so far. I had to read some of the reviews before making up my mind and reflected on the ending for a while.


The Widow’s Watcher by Eliza Maxwell

“They spend their whole lives walking away from you,” the kindergarten teacher had said on her little girl’s first day. “Your job now is to be there when they look back.”

36434976. sy475

Summary

The story centers around two people and their own stories of personal loss and grief. Or more accurately, horrific tragedies that don’t seem plausible but still entertaining to read.

Jenna Shaw is a grieving widow who has lost her husband due to a tragic accident. She is an unlikable character who has lost the will to carry on. She drives out to the middle of nowhere in Minnesota to end her life.

Unbeknownst to Jenna, the spot she chose to drown herself in belonged to an older man who was known being a “gruff” recluse. Or as she calls him later – “old bastard.” Lars Jorgensen spots Jenna from his kitchen window and he rushes to stop her.

When her van refuses to start, she is trapped in town with Lars for several days. The two form an unlikely friendship and they help each other through their own losses which are revealed to the reader throughout the book.



My review and thoughts

What I did not expect was to cry at the end of the book. I suppose I could identify with the inner voice that was Jenna’s guilt. Her guilt manifested as her daughter Cassie’s voice and this makes sense to me. I often hear my own mother’s voice in my head. She is my worst critic at times, and my savior at other times.

The book is pretty slow but the pace quickens up around chapter 19-20. You start to warm up a little to the Jorgensen family as you learn more about their personal tragedies and loss. While some of the twists and turns are a little unrealistic – stranger things have happened in real life.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


All in all, I found myself more emotional towards the end of the book and for that reason – I gave it four stars. The book was well written. Worth sticking it out to the end even if the ending was a bit disappointing.

Was it perfect? No. Enjoyable? I guess that would depend on where you are in your life. If you’re no stranger to grief like I am, then you might enjoy it.

Worth reading? Yes.


Interested in more of my reviews? Follow me on Good Reads!

Subscribe for daily notifications of new posts!

Good Reads – August 2021 – Comedy Edition

My mother loved to read. Our house was filled with books from top to bottom. I caught the reading bug at an early age and would spend many nights curled up with a good paperback book.

I think this is what led me to enjoy writing as much as I do as an adult. I don’t read a lot of books anymore, but I really enjoy podcasts and audiobooks.

I’m going to use this blog to continue sharing whatever I am listening to or “reading” for the month. This isn’t limited to audiobooks or paper books. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite discoveries here.


Podcast: Markiplier and friends – Distractable (Spotify)

I’m not much of a gamer, but I love watching certain gamers on YouTube fumble their way through games that I would never play. The only two games I’ve ever owned were the Sims (all versions) and Minecraft. I get bored really quickly of games – so it’s more fun to watch other gamers comment and play. But it’s even more fun when all the gamers I like, get together and kill each other, so to speak.

One recent discovery, is Markiplier – one of YouTube’s biggest success stories.

Mark Edward Fishbach is the face and name behind the Markiplier channel on YouTube which has nearly 30 million subscribers. Mark’s main focus is “Let’s Play” games that fall under the horror category. If you’re not a fan of horror, no worries. Mark plays a variety of other games, most hilariously, you can watch him struggle with anger management during his replay of Pogostick.

Pogostick is a game that Mark swore off for good, until the company trolled him and sent him a sponsorship. But it’s this video that lives rent free in my head forever.

Mark has teamed up with his long time childhood friends, Bob and Wade to create a humourous podcast called Distractable. I’ve binged listened to ALL of these episodes and each one is pretty hilarious. But none are as entertaining as the episode titled “Bob’s Fridge.”

If you have listened to this trio play Uno, you know that Bob and Wade can go into spectacular fits of rage over the card game. But none live up to this one podcast episode as Bob hilariously describes his experience with Lowe’s and the installation of a new fridge.

I think we’ve all been there. Maybe that’s why I find this episode so hilarious. If you only listen to this episode, I promise – you won’t regret it.

I’ve listened to this thing twice – and it’s great for when you need a laugh.

The other episodes aren’t as funny, but they are entertaining if you’re looking to kill some time while doing laundry or whatever chore you find boring. The premise of the podcast is that Bob, Wade and Mark compete to tell who tells the funniest or best story. They purposely try and “distract” each other from the main topic, and some of their tangents are for real laugh out loud, gut busting material.


Good Reads

I haven’t kept up with my Good Reads challenge. Mostly because Audible, is SO expensive and I prefer listening to audiobooks while I do other things like work on art pieces. But I signed up for a free Audible trial because I wanted to listen to Seth Rogen’s new book called:

The ever adorable Seth Rogen is a man that wears many hats. He is Canadian born, but currently resides in California. He is an actor, writer, producer, director, business owner, and activist.

Seth is also an avid pot smoker, so if that’s an issue for you, you might not love this book. Or Seth. For me, it’s more that Seth is truly a genuine person, he is humble, supportive of his loved ones, and that laugh. It’s adorable.

Together with friends like Evan Goldberg and James Weaver, Seth has over 40 production credits (according to IMDB), 99 working credits as an actor, and has scored dozens of awards for his work.

Year Book is narrated by Seth Rogen himself. He goes back in time to tell stories of his childhood years with his grandparents. He talks about how he got into stand up comedy as a young teen and how his grandparents were his biggest target for his jokes.

I know Seth’s sense of humour isn’t for everyone. But sometimes you just need a good belly laugh. Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, and Seth MacFarlane are my go to guys when I need to watch something funny.


Free Audiobooks

That’s all I have for you this month. I haven’t done as much reading as I’d like. But I hope to change that once my Ipad comes in – if it ever comes in! Four weeks left to go. I did some digging around and found some free websites where you can listen to audiobooks.

As much as I love the audiobooks on Audible, I find the platform is too expensive. You have to pay $14.95CDN per month to use the platform and you only get 1 credit per month. That means you only get to listen to one book each month without paying. Then you have to pay for any other book you want to listen to. Some books I’ve seen as high as $40 for one book!!

You can give LibriVox a try if you’re like me, and you’re on a budget. This website hosts a collection of free public domain audiobooks. You won’t get the latest book from Obama here. But you will have access to a lot of older books that are worthy of a listen. You can listen to them on any device or download the files and save for later use.

librivox-logo

For my September Good Reads post, I’ll have to pick some books from this website. If you have any other free resources you like – please leave a comment below!

https://librivox.org/search?primary_key=0&search_category=author&search_page=1&search_form=get_results


Previous Recommendations

https://atomic-temporary-134655889.wpcomstaging.com/2021/01/27/february-good-reads/

https://atomic-temporary-134655889.wpcomstaging.com/2020/12/26/good-reads-my-christmas-reading-list/

https://atomic-temporary-134655889.wpcomstaging.com/2021/02/14/february-podcast-recommendations/