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Nothing better than a good book...

If it's good, I'll read it! Instagram:  @crystenasbooks

Currently reading

Body on Baker Street
Vicki Delany
Progress: 5 %
The Sunne in Splendour
Sharon Kay Penman
Progress: 321/936 pages
How the Light Gets In
Louise Penny
Progress: 57/405 pages
Challenge Participant Professional Reader 80%

Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 510 pages.

Wool Omnibus Edition (Silo, #1; Wool, #1-5) - Hugh Howey

That first story was twisty...


Trying to see if this book lives up to it's hype. So far so good! 

Reading progress update: I've read 27%.

David Copperfield (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Charles Dickens, Radhika Jones

In my attempt to read more classics, I'm making my way through this one and really enjoying it. 

The Memory Watcher

The Memory Watcher - Minka Kent

Rating: 3 stars


Book Blurb:  When Autumn Carpenter stumbles upon the social media account of the family who adopted her infant daughter years ago, she finds herself instantly drawn into their picture-perfect existence. 

From behind a computer screen, Autumn watches Grace's every memory, from birthdays to holidays to bedtime snuggles. But what starts as an innocent fascination soon spirals into an addictive obsession that comes to a screeching halt the day the McMullen family closes their Instaface account without so much as a warning. 

Frantic and desperate to reconnect with her daughter, Autumn applies for a nanny position with the McMullens, manipulating herself into Grace's life under false pretenses. And it's only then that Autumn discovers pictures lie, the perfect family doesn't exist, and beautiful people? They have the ugliest secrets. 


Decent thriller with a twisty ending.


This was not Girl on a Train but it was pretty good. I really enjoyed the writing, Minka Kent really pulls you into the minds of two very different women to the point where it gets under you skin.  You compulsively turn the pages wanting to see what happens next.


Recommend if you're into psychological thrillers. 

Murder in Mayfair

Murder in Mayfair: An Atlas Catesby Mystery - D. M. Quincy

An above average historical mystery. Entertaining characters, clear writing.


I definitely recommend it and look forward to more.


I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 




The Trouble With Mirrors

The Trouble with Mirrors - Charlotte Elkins, Aaron Elkins



This was an enjoyable entry in the Alix London series. It was light and there was some progress made on the personal front when it comes to Alix's love life. 


The cast of characters are back, and this time the story revolves around Tiny, a regular character and a reformed art forger who served as a surrogate uncle to Alix. He has gone missing and so has the painting he gave to Alix when she was a child. The mystery as to what happened to him and the painting isn't terribly hard to figure out, but I really enjoy the way the Elkins team flesh out their characters- minor ones get a rich backstory that makes you care, adding to the tension of the novel. 


Overall I enjoyed it. 


One thing that makes these novels stand out is the inclusion of real art pieces and how they are cleverly woven into the story. In this entry they featured this piece called The Marriage of Giovanni And Giovanna Cenami by Jan Van Eyck :


Related image


They talked about the reflection in the mirror, something I probably wouldn't have noticed being a novice and all. But I like that each book makes me broaden my horizons and provides some insight into a world I know little of.


Recommend if you are into cozy and/or mysteries in general.



I'm engaged!

And he proposed in the library!!!!!!


Does this man know me or what? He talked to the librarian a few days before and told her what he was planning. He arranged to meet her before he brought me in,  to put a hollowed out book on the shelf that had the ring in the back.  The day of the proposal he told me that he needed a book that the reference desk had suggested to him. I was all kinds of confused wondering why the reference desk hadn't pulled the book for him already. But I figured maybe she just didn't have the opportunity to...  So she directed us to the reference section and points out this odd looking book. The book was actually one of those cute relationship books where you fill out your first date, proposal info etc. 


When I flipped to the back of the book and saw the ring, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes to the man that proposed to me in the library. :)


I have to give a shout out to the librarian who took pics for us. She was awesome. They are going to put one up on the library website. 


So I'm all kinds of happy. We are shooting for a September wedding so needless to say I am busy with that and my reading has taken a back seat. 


Just wanted to share and give an explanation as to why I've been MIA.


Happy reading! 




Friday reads 3.24.2017

Murder at an Irish Wedding (An Irish Village Mystery) - Carlene O'Connor Knight's Shadow - Sebastien de Castell

I actually read a few non-fiction/ self help books in the past week that I really enjoyed. I recommend Rewire You Brain. Very good.


As far as fiction, while I do love The Golden Cup by Belva Plain, my Netgalley obligations are calling to me and affecting my conscience. I have to put that book on hold for a minute while taking care of these. 


I'm reading Murder at an Irish Wedding first, the second in a cozy mystery series set in Ireland. 


And I have resolved to finish Knight's Shadow, because I need to review the next book in the series.


This weekend it will be rainy and I am fighting a cold. So I hope to get some reading done.


Happy reading!

Friday Reads! 3.17.2017

The Golden Cup - Belva Plain Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior - Richard O'Connor

I wasn't ready to leave the world of Evergreen yet, so I'm following my emotions and diving right into the next book,The Golden Cup.  Making this my fiction book for the week ahead.


My nonfiction will be Rewire  - Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits , Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self Destructive Behavior.  I love reading about how to change- I believe strongly in our ability to and that it's an ongoing process in our lives, from a personal and spiritual standpoint.  I enjoy reading the science behind it. 



This is what I will be reading this weekend. My other plans? The weather is going to be meh. So I will be cooking vegetarian burgers with my boyfriend and family Saturday night, watching Rebels (cuz it's the Maul and Obiwan showdown!!! Round 2!!)  and we might visit a local museum after our religious meeting on Sunday.


Enjoy your weekend! 


Happy reading! 


Nonfiction Library Book Haul

The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital - Alexandra Robbins George Lucas: A Life - Brian Jay Jones You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir - Felicia Day Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior - Richard O'Connor J.J. Abrams vs. Joss Whedon: Duel for Media Master of the Universe - Wendy Sterba

Been enjoying my foray into non-fiction. So I hit up the library and took out some nonfiction books I found interesting.  


J.J. Abrams vs Joss Whedon could be interesting. Fan of both.


Looking forward to all of these!


Still deciding on my Friday reads. I will probably post them later today. Decisions, decisions...

Eat That Frog!

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time - Brian Tracy

Informative collection of mantras and ideas to help you handle time and work more efficiently.


Nothing new per se, but I always enjoy reminding myself of the principles involved. This book does that nicely.


Evergreen - Belva Plain

Author: Belva Plain

Rating: 5 star. All the stars.


Book Blurb: Born into poverty and fear, Anna is desperate to leave her native Poland. Determined to make something of herself, Anna moves into a cramped New York slum and finds a job in a sweatshop. When two very different men fall in love with her, Anna is destined to be forever torn in love and loyalty.


****One of the best books I've ever read.*****


This is the book I've been looking for. Following one character through their entire lives, 705 pages, and the story never dragging. Secondary characters so powerful in their own right, they feel like people you know. History woven effortlessly into the fiction. This book hit all the right notes.


I'm sorry it's over.  


It is the first in a series though and I own the next book, so that tempers my book hangover.


If you're even slightly interested in a book like this, go read it. You won't be disappointed.

I Work at a Public Library

I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks - Gina Sheridan

Author: Gina Sheridan

Rating: 4.5 stars


Book Blurb: 


Straight from the library--the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out!

From a patron's missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan's circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that plague her, such as, "What is the standard length of eyebrow hairs?" Whether she's helping someone scan his face onto an online dating site or explaining why the library doesn't have any dragon autobiographies, Sheridan's bizarre tales prove that she's truly seen it all.

Stacked high with hundreds of strange-but-true stories, I Work at a Public Library celebrates librarians and the unforgettable patrons that roam the stacks every day.


This was a lot of fun. The section on gratitude- showing the way the library has helped people and the ways they've expressed it - was my favorite and made me bump it up a star from my original rating.


Some of these were really funny.  I knocked it half a star because these books always walk a fine line. It can seem like you're mocking or making fun of patrons in a way that might seem a little cruel. There were a couple of instances that were borderline. Uncomfortable, I couldn't give it a 5 star stamp.


But there was plenty to amuse and make me smile otherwise. And I liked how it brought home how helpful the library was and still is in people's lives. The account about the man finalizing his work visa application and begging the librarian for help comes to mind. That part and the touching outcome brought a tear to my eye.


Overall, definitely recommend. 

Friday Reads!

Evergreen - Belva Plain Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time - Brian Tracy I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks - Gina Sheridan Knight's Shadow - Sebastien de Castell After the Fire - Belva Plain

It's that time of  week again!


These are the books I have lined up on my TBR over the next week.


I'm happy to say I was wrong  - apparently I do like reading certain types of non fiction- self help and the like. I have added a few such titles to my TBR. I have two memoirs ready to go as well. Glad to finally be excited about this genre.


Have to finish up Evergreen and my next fiction book will either be Knight's Shadow or After the Fire. Little obsessed with Belva Plain right now.


It's going to be all kinds of cold on this weekend! I will be in NYC eating the Impossible Burger - a burger that supposedly tastes like real meat - but it isn't. My boyfriend is dying to try it. Other than that I will just be trying to keep warm. May go see the Kong movie, we'll see.


Enjoy your weekends!


Happy reading!



Reading progress update: I've read 502 out of 704 pages.

Evergreen - Belva Plain

This book is why I am so glad I resolved to read books on my shelf. 

It's just so good, like a warm blanket- I can lose myself in the story. And I am so emotional over these characters! Historical fiction at its best. It's 700+ pages and I'm not antsy reading it which is unusual for me with long books.


I have the series - just missing the last one.  


Love it when you discover a new author -  and to discover that she's written 20+ books is even better! :)

Reading progress update: I've read 28%.

I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks - Gina Sheridan


"Patrons will often let us know when they really like, or hate, a book. One day, a woman expressed both emotions when returning two books. 


WOMAN: [Slams first book onto the counter.] This book is born of the devil. It was absolutely repulsive and I don’t think it would benefit anyone to read it. [Lovingly places the second book in my hands.] Now this one. This one, well, I insist that you read it. Insist! Do you think you could read it by next week? I’d like to discuss it with you. I bet you’ll just love it. You’d better love it! "



I don't get it. Doesn't everyone do this when returning their books to the library? #thiswasprobablyme #prettysureofit 


Totally Organized

Totally Organized - Bonnie Runyan McCullough

This was pretty good and an easy read.


It had a few suggestions I want to try and good reminders, such as doing "minimum maintenance" before leaving each morning - just a quick tidy up to keep things in order.

Also, I liked the recommendation on deciding on dinner early, in the morning. I always fail to do that and scramble to figure out what to eat and fail to eat healthy.


The actual planner section was a touch outdated and reminded me a bit of Franklin Covey's method, but the principles were sound.


I always enjoy reading these books as they inspire me to hone my cleaning and organizing skills.