Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 7 & Wrap Up


I’ve participated in the Bout of Books reading challenges in the past few years and I’m usually able to get a good amount of reading done – I’ve found it’s a great way to help me focus on reading and have concentrated reading time. I was especially excited for this month’s Bout of Books since 1) I have a lot of time to relax at home right now (welcome to the pandemic) 2) I had a pretty bad reading slump this year and didn’t read for almost two months so I’m looking forward to diving into some great reads and 3) work this year has been intense so I was more eager than ever for some relaxation time!! I got a good amount of reading done this week and it was great to spend some time focused on the blog and participating in the challenges.

First let’s do my Day 7 (Sunday) update on reading.



Time spent reading: (Approximately) 2.5 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 146 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 1,412 pages
Books read: Started Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich
Challenges: I did tweet about Sunday’s challenge which was just a stretch goal challenge!

And now let’s look at how I fared for my overall Bout of Books 28 wrap up:

Time Devoted to Reading

I plan to read at least an hour Monday and Tuesday and then from there I’m hoping to read at least 3 hours a day, hopefully more.
I met the daily reading goal all of the days! Overall the pandemic really helped me since I can’t exactly go anywhere. I honestly probably would’ve gotten more reading done but I started playing a game in an app on my phone and it quickly got me addicted so I was distracted for some of the days. Overall I read over 23 hours for the challenge so I’d call that a success!

My Goals

My goals for this read-a-thon are that I’d like to participate in as much as I can: the daily posts plus reading every day. I’d really like to just focus on getting back into reading and devouring my books. My traditional busy season at work goes from January to April and it was a killer this year, especially with all the additional issues presented with the pandemic. I gave up on reading for pretty much February through the beginning of April since all I was doing was making myself more tired staying up too late reading. I’ve just recently picked up reading again and it’s been going well but I need to get back on board with my reading schedule and catch up on books I missed over the last couple months!

I was able to read every day, which was probably easier than normal since I took the second half of the week off of work.  I also participated in 5 out of the 7 daily challenges, the two that I missed were logistical issues.

Books to Read

  • Finish Outfox by Sandra Brown – Done! Review will be posted later this week
  • Read Close Up by Amanda Quick – Read and reviewed
  • Read BuzzBooks Romance sampler – Read and reviewed
  • Read Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia – Read and reviewed
  • Read Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson – Read and reviewed
  • Read a book I own (TBD) – Skipped
  • Read Salvation Station by Kathryn Schleich – Started on last day of challenge but haven’t finished yet

Overall I thought I did super well with this challenge and made a lot of time for reading! I’m hoping to also participate in the August Bout of Books this year but that will be dependent on a few scheduling items. Either way, I had a great time this past week! Happy reading everyone!

Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 6


Yesterday was a wonderful day! I did most of my reading for the day at night, as we spent most of the afternoon at my parents having a wonderful make up Mothers Day. Yesterday was a beautiful day for weather and it was great to spend the afternoon on the deck in the sun. So anyways my Saturday’s progress is below:



Time spent reading: (Approximately) 4.25 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 256 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 1,266 pages
Books read: Finished The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson
Challenges: I did not participate in the challenge for yesterday – the challenge was to post a review but I was all caught up with my posts and I didn’t get to finish the current book I was reading in time to post a review.

Stay tuned for continued progress made in my next post on my Sunday update!!

Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 5


Yesterday was another great reading day. I had some work to get done in the morning but then the afternoon and evening I was able to get a lot of reading done. So anyways my Friday’s progress is below:



Time spent reading: (Approximately) 4.5 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 284 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 1,010 pages
Books read: Finished Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia, Finished Outfox by Sandra Brown (review to come next week!), and started The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson
Challenges: I participated in the challenge yesterday on Twitter!

Stay tuned for continued progress made in tomorrow’s post on my Saturday update!!

2020 Book #28 – Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia

Title: Strike Me Down
Author: Mindy Mejia
Date finished: 5/15/20
Genre: Thriller/suspense
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Pages in book: 348
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley / Publisher
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley / Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

From the critically acclaimed author of Leave No Trace, the “nail-biting page-turner that grabs you early and never lets go” (The Real Book Spy), comes a visceral thriller where a high stakes crime triggers a woman’s complicated and potentially deadly search for the truth.

Nora Trier catches thieves. As a forensic accountant and partner in her downtown Minneapolis firm, she’s unearthed millions in every corner of the world. She prides herself on her independence, the most essential currency of accounting, until her firm is hired by Strike.

An anti-corporate, feminist athletic empire, Strike is owned by Logan Russo, a brash and legendary kickboxer, and her marketing genius husband, Gregg Abbott. They’re about to host a major kickboxing tournament with twenty million dollars in prize money, and the chance for the champion to become the new face of the company. Gregg suspects his wife already has a new face in mind—a young trainer named Aaden, for whom Logan feels an unexpected connection.

Days before the tournament begins, it’s discovered that the prize money is missing. Gregg hires Nora’s firm to find both the thief and the money but Nora has a secret connection to Strike that threatens her independence. Her partner pressures her into taking the case anyway, hinting he has information about Strike that could change the course of the investigation in a shocking and deadly way.


My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I read this as part of Bout of Books 28.

I have read other books by this author in the past and have always enjoyed them. And I have to say – this book was pretty perfect for me since it’s about a CPA! And there are a couple funny anecdotes included that made me giggle (included below).  This was a solid mystery, it had me guessing pretty much right up to the end. I thought there was going to be more of a “reveal” so there was a small disappointment when the plot twist wasn’t quite as twisty as I’d expected. Overall though the whole plot was good and I thought it was well paced, I was interested throughout the book. I didn’t understand the vagueness on why her team was crying about Corbett, and it said they knew something she didn’t, but I can’t remember if we ever found out what that thing is. Also the ending was a little too vague for me. Was there something romantic going on between Nora and Logan? It was a little unclear to me and left it up a little to the reader but I wouldn’t liked it to be a little more definitive. Other than those couple things though it was a really good book and I really enjoyed it. Especially being an accountant myself (and being the dorky kind where I actually like accounting) it was exciting to see an accountant as the main character and topic of the story! And I didn’t even realize that the author is a CPA herself, how fun. I would definitely recommend!!

FUN Quotes from the book

“Among accountants, there was no judgment like spreadsheet judgment.” (This is 100% true)

(This is a long one but so funny) “A business owner was looking to hire a manager and he interviewed each candidate with a simple question: ‘How much is 2+2?’ The engineer pulled out his slide rule and shuffled it back and forth, finally announcing, ‘It lies between 3.98 and 4.02.’ The mathematician said, ‘In two hours I can demonstrate it equals 4 with the following short proof.’ The psychologist said, ‘It’s not for me to answer, but we should spend some time exploring the question.’ The attorney stated, ‘In the case of Swenson v. the State, 2+2 was declared to be 4.’ The accountant looked at the business owner, got out of his chair, and closed the office door. Then he leaned across the desk and said in a low voice, ‘How much would you like it to be?'”

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 4


This week is going well so far! I was able to read for a good amount of time yesterday. With my time off this week I’m trying to do other things that are good for my mental health, like chores around the house and some tv time and I found a fun new game to play where I get to interior design different rooms. I’ve been really enjoying the balance this week of getting things that I urgently need to get done with work but also making space with time for just me! So anyways my Thursday’s progress is below:



Time spent reading: (Approximately) 3.5 hour
Number of pages I’ve read today: 230 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 726 pages
Books read: Started Strike Me Down by Mindy Mejia
Challenges: I wanted to participate in today’s challenge but I couldn’t figure out functionally how to get in there and find other people’s posts to respond to with recommendations. Granted I am not a whiz with Twitter so that may have been part of the issue but I thought it was a great idea!

Stay tuned for continued progress made in tomorrow’s post on my Friday update!!

Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 3


Yesterday was a good reading day, but I wouldn’t say great. I had taken some vacation days this week with the thought that I could just read all the time, but between a basement issue we’re dealing with and a lot of house cleaning I’ve been putting off because I’ve been working so much, there’s a lot to distract me from reading during the day. Plus as much as I’d love to 100% put work down for a couple days, there are things that still need to get done! So anyways my Wednesday’s progress is below:



Time spent reading: 4 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 234 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 496 pages
Books read: Finished the Buzz Books Romance sampler
Challenges: I did participate in the challenge for yesterday!

Stay tuned for continued progress made in tomorrow’s post on my Thursday update!!

Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 2


I am loving Bout of Books this week! Tuesday went well, I was able to carve out some reading (and some blogging) time after work. So my Tuesday’s progress is below:



Time spent reading: (Approximately) 2 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 117 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 262 pages
Books read: Finished Close Up by Amanda Quick and started Buzz Books Romance
Challenges: I participated in Tuesday’s challenge! It was great fun – the prompt for yesterday was “If You Like This, Try That” – you can see my post on it here.

Stay tuned for continued progress made in tomorrow’s post on my Wednesday update!!

Bout of Books: If You Like This, Try That

Today’s challenge for Bout of Books 28 is “If You Like This, Try That.” This can be a really fun challenge (if I have enough time to put two thoughts together and type up the post). The organizers of Bout of Books 28 have provided the additional instruction for this challenge:

Put your recommendations hat on, #boutofbooks-ers. For this challenge, pick a book, author, or trope (or whatever!) from your TBR and suggest similar books.

Example 1: If you like Sarah McLean, try Lenora Bell.

Example 2: If you like a modern day, romantic twist on Greek mythology, try Staci Hart’s Hearts and Arrows series.

My examples that I’ve gathered are a mix of different categories and examples from books and other things I’ve experienced over the last year, hopefully it helps someone find a new and interesting read!

If you like being a part of a book club -> Try PODCASTS!

I started listening to podcasts last year and I’ve been hooked ever since! I have a few favorites, which I featured in a blog post earlier this year, but there are so many options out there! It’s especially fun to read along with the podcast hosts and other listeners and then “discuss” the book!

If you like vampires and / or other folklore -> Try the Immortals After Dark series!

I can’t say enough good things about the Immortals After Dark series. After listening to the intro episode to the Fated Mates podcast last spring I decided to give the series a try and I was immediately HOOKED. I read the whole series in like 3 months, I devoured it. It may not be for everyone but damn that series is definitely for me because it is BAT SHIT AMAZING.

If you like family secrets and plenty of plot twists -> Try The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

If you like books by Sarah Addison Allen -> Try The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

If you like the movie The Proposal -> Try Not That Kind of Guy by Andie J. Christopher

And if you are for some reason enjoying the anxiety and panic and just craziness that comes with all this pandemic business but you’re looking for a love story to somehow find root in it -> Try After Sundown by Linda Howard and Linda Jones

It isn’t exact since it isn’t about a pandemic but I have to say when I first started reading this book it reminded me so much of what we were experiencing right now that I almost couldn’t continue reading it because it was creating so much additional anxiety for me!

2020 Book # 26 – Close Up by Amanda Quick

Title: Close Up
Author: Amanda Quick
Date finished: 5/12/20
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Pages in book: 302
Stand alone or series: #4 in the Burning Cove series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Welcome to Burning Cove, California where 1930s Hollywood glamour conceals a ruthless killer…

Vivian Brazier never thought life as an art photographer would include nightly wake-up calls to snap photos of grisly crime scenes or headshots for aspiring male actors. Although she is set on a career of transforming photography into a new art form, she knows her current work is what’s paying the bills.

After shooting crime scene photos of a famous actress, the latest victim of the murderer the press has dubbed the “Dagger Killer,” Vivian notices eerie similarities to the crime scenes of previous victims—details that only another photographer would have noticed—details that put Vivian at the top of the killer’s target list.

Nick Sundridge has always been able to “see” things that others don’t, coping with disturbing dreams and visions. His talent, or as he puts it—his curse—along with his dark past makes him a recluse, but a brilliant investigator. As the only one with the ability to help, Nick is sent to protect Vivian. Together, they discover the Dagger Killer has ties to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood royalty and high society. It is a cutthroat world of allure and deception that Vivian and Nick must traverse—all in order to uncover the killer who will stop at nothing to add them to their gallery of murders.

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I read this book as part of Bout of Books 28!

It’s been awhile since I’ve read an Amanda Quick book, but this one was a great one to pick back up on! The author did an awesome job of transporting the reader right into Old Hollywood. I felt like I was on the scene of one of those noir films, everything classic drama and black and white. And while that was one of my favorite parts of the novel, overall I can’t say that this book was one of my favorites. It was good and I loved the atmosphere and ambience that the author infused into the novel. But I thought the pacing could’ve been improved a bit, it felt a tad slow to me. And there wasn’t all that much chemistry between Nick and Vivian, nor was there all that much tension through the suspenseful parts of the story. There was enough of it to keep the story interesting but there wasn’t enough to really keep me on the edge of my seat. I still really enjoyed the novel and the world it transported me into and I would recommend it, especially if you love old noir films!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

Bout of Books 28 Update – Day 1


I’m so happy to be reading again! This challenge is really just such a good way to make sure I have some dedicated reading time during the week. I’m looking forward to reading all day tomorrow too. So anyways my Monday’s progress is below:



Time spent reading: (Approximately) 2.5 hours
Number of pages I’ve read today: 145 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 145 pages (Day one! Ha)
Books read: Continued reading Close Up by Amanda Quick
Challenges: I participated in the challenge for yesterday!


Stay tuned for continued progress (hopefully!) made in tomorrow’s post on my Tuesday update!!