Monthly Archives: December 2015

My Life According to the Books I Read in 2015…

I saw this over at She is Too Fond of Books, and I absolutely loved it. You pretty much answer the prompts with book titles you have read throughout the year. Answers can be pretty creative and sometimes funny! So, I’m giving it a try…

Describe yourself: 
Blossoming Flower by Vivian Winslow

How do you feel: 
Red Blooded by Caitlin Sinead

Describe where you currently live: 

Ghetto by M.L. Sparrow

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Cocktails at Le Carmen by Isabelle Andover

Your favorite form of transportation:
Cadillac Payback by A.J. Elmore

Your best friend is:

The Frog Prince by Sophie Ranald

You and your friends are:
The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

What’s the weather like?
A Kindled Winter by Rachel L. Demeter

What is life to you: 
Before & After by Nazarea Andrews

Favorite time of day:
Without You by Reylynn Purdue

Your fear:
Zombie War by Jean Booth

What is the best advice you have to give: 
Don’t Mention the Rockstar by Bree Darcy

Thought for the day:
All It Takes by Sadie Munroe

How I would like to die:

Joyride by Anna Banks

My soul’s present condition: 
Blackheart by Shannon C. Hill

My Family is: 
Ancient Guardians: The Awakening by S.L. Morgan

If you decide to give this a try, leave me your link in the comments! I’d love to check out other answers 🙂

 

Statistics Survey 2015

heading

This Statistics Survey is hosted by The Book Addicts Guide and Andi’s ABCs, and I first saw it at The Hardcover Lover. Check out these lovely ladies’ blogs. They’re awesome! Yes, I know I just started blogging in June, but I have been reading all year long, and I LOVE stats…a little too much. So I thought this would be the perfect survey for me. On to the fun!

number of statistics survey

  • Number of books read…
    • Under 250 pages (not including novellas): 15
    • Between 400-449 pages: 4
    • Between 450-499 pages: 2
    • Over 500 pages: 4
    • Over 1000 pages: 0
  • Number of…
    • Audiobooks: 1
    • Re-reads: 0
    • DNFs (did not finish): 0
  • Number of books rated… 
    • Five Stars: 24
    • One/Two Stars: 5
  • Number of authors met in 2015: 0…sadly 🙁
  • Number of book events attended in 2015: 0…unfortunately 🙁
  • Number of books you read in one day: 1
  • Number of books that made you cry: 4
  • Number of 2016 books you have on pre-order: 0…I’m trying not to spend money right now 🙂

by the books statistics survey

  • Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?): Didn’t go on vacation this year. I’m pretty sure I only read at home. How sad is that??
  • Book that took you the longest to read: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. It took me 7 months to read this. Not a fan.
  • Book that you personally connected with the most: Don’t Mention the Rockstar by Bree Darcy. The ups and downs of one of the relationships was definitely relatable.
  • Book that made you love the villain: No villain-loving this year.
  • Book you said you’d come back to but still haven’t picked up again: Actually none. I would have said The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, but I recently picked it back up again, so that doesn’t count.
  • Book you read waaaay before it’s publication date: The furthest was Loving Lucas by Violetta Rand. I read this about a week before it was published. Not very good with ARCs. I tend to lag 🙂
  • Book you read on your birthday: Bait by K.C. Blake
  • Book with a character who shares your name: I don’t think I read any with a Cheryl.
  • Book you weren’t entirely truthful about when rating (Fluff up any ratings? Rated even though you didn’t finish?): Actually, I think I was pretty honest this year. Last year is another story… 😉
  • Book you read in 2015 but already want to re-read: The Line Between by Tamsyn Bester
  • Book you borrowed from a friend a long time ago and still have: I don’t have friends who read, so this has never been a problem.
  • Book which you could go back and read for the first time again: Unspeakable by Michelle K. Pickett
  • Most books read by one author this year: M.L. Sparrow, Rachel L. Demeter, and Melissa Foster (2 each)

this & that statistics survey

grab bag statistics survey

  • Book you read that is red: Die Trying (Jack Reacher #2) by Lee Child
  • Starts with X, Y, or Z: Zombie War by Jean Booth
  • Book you hugged when you finished it: Come Back to Me by Mila Gray. Gave me all the feels!
  • Book you wanted to throw across a room: Loving Lucas by Violetta Rand. No comment.
  • Food you craved while/after reading a certain book: Do cocktails count? 🙂 Cocktails at Le Carmen by Isabelle Andover
  • Book that became an instant go-to recommendation: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
  • Furthest out of your comfort zone: Probably Bait by K.C. Blake because it’s heavy on the fantasy/paranormal side, which I don’t always like.
  • Read on a recommendation (that you may not have picked up yourself): Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
  • Forced yourself to finish: Loving Lucas by Violetta Rand
  • Series or author’s works you binged (whether all at once or throughout the year): None. But I will be soon…

Blogging_Life

Review: The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

Title: The Ugly Stepsister (Unfinished Fairy Tales #1)

Author: Aya Ling

Published: June 12th, 2015

Length: 299 pages (eBook)

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling

Source: Author via Xpresso Book Tours (for honest review)

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

book blurb

When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she’s magically transported into the world of Cinderella–as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she’ll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?

my review

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I got this book months ago and just never got around to reading it. I’ve always been curious about fairy tale retellings, but I can’t remember any that I have read. Guess I haven’t been curious enough. But when I saw this book available for review, I instantly requested it. I love the Cinderella stories and all the movie adaptations. I’ve never heard the story from the ugly stepsister’s point of view, so I was definitely intrigued. Plus, I LOVE the cover.

WHAT I LIKED

Kat. I loved her. First of all, she was completely relatable. As soon as she compared herself to Belle from Beauty and the Beast because of her love of books, I knew I would love her. And she has always felt like the unpopular, unattractive one that no one notices, which I can relate to as well! So I was attached to her right away. Secondly, she has this determination and perseverance about her that I admire. Once she sets her mind on something, she does whatever it takes to get it done. She sticks up for what she believes in, unafraid to offend anyone or of the consequences. Such an awesome character to look up to.

The very real issues. While the majority of the book is based on the original Cinderella story, I really like the unique additions to it. For example, Kat is very adamant about making changes in this world she is forced to live in. She sees children working in horrible conditions and being treated like they don’t matter. She sees that women have no say in anything because they are inferior to men and should be only doing domestic duties. I love that she takes on such real issues as child labor and gender equality.

The references to modern-day pop culture. Ahh! I LOVED all the references to books and movies. She is stuck in this world that is 100% different from her world, but she can’t help comparing certain situations to what she is familiar with, such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Kill Bill, and Inception. At times, it made the story hilarious. This was such a fun part of the book. I absolutely loved it.

Kat and Edward’s relationship. Okay, their relationship was my favorite part of the book. She was so determined to make Prince Edward fall for Cinderella, but she couldn’t help falling for him herself. And I loved how cautious and hesitant she was around him. She didn’t throw herself at him, and she rejected his advances. Their relationship just gradually grew. It was heartwarming and sweet, and it was done perfectly.

The suspense. I just HAD to know how this book was going to end! I couldn’t stop reading it! My husband kept telling me to go to bed. But I couldn’t help myself. Was Kat ever going to get back to her real world? How was she going to get the prince to fall for Cinderella when he was falling for her? Was she going to give in and just stay in this world to be with Edward? WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?! I was obsessed…

WHAT COULD’VE BEEN BETTER

At first, I wasn’t a fan of how Kat was transported to this story and time period. So she accidentally rips a book and is now cursed and stuck in the story? Books fall apart over time. That’s just what they do. I thought there could’ve been a better, more creative way to get her into the story. BUT, as the story progressed, I totally forgot about what bothered me in the beginning because I was so captivated by everything about the book.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

I loved this book so much that I told my mom all about it and the author, which I never do. (By the way, mom was ecstatic because the author is from Taiwan and so is my mom, so it was like a family member of hers became a published author. Too funny.) I read a lot, but I don’t usually bug my family and friends about the books I read because they are not readers. But I had to tell them about this one! It is so, so good! I mean, we all love the Cinderella story, but it has been told the same way for years. It was so refreshing to read a completely different version of it. The amazing protagonist, the humor, the romance, the suspense, the fascinating plot. Everything about this book was incredible, and I am super happy that I got the chance to read it. I can’t wait to read the sequel, which is coming out next year! Kudos to Aya Ling for her awesome storytelling skills. She just became my new favorite author!

five hearts

5 out of 5 Hearts!


Links

Amazon


about the author

(from Goodreads)

Aya is from Taiwan, where she struggles daily to contain her obsession with mouthwatering and unhealthy foods. Often she will devour a good book instead. Her favorite books include martial arts romances, fairy tale retellings, high fantasy, cozy mysteries, and manga.

author links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads


Reading Challenges:

Bookish Bingo: Holiday 2015

Musing Mondays #2

Hosted by A Daily Rhythm

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Did you buy books for anyone this Christmas (other than yourself)? 😉


First, I wanted to update you about what I said last week about my husband breaking my Nook. He got me a new one, but he could not recover all of the stuff on my old one. I was bummed, but on the bright side, I have a brand new, shiny Nook. Onto this week!

I bought the following book(s) in the past week…My new Nook came with a $5 gift certificate to use on Nook books. Of course, I immediately went on the under $5 section at the B&N site. So, I bought these two books:

21525330-2 23671124

Neverland was already on my TBR list, so I was super excited to see that it was under five bucks. And If You’re Not the One sounded so intriguing, so I had to get that one too. All for $4.98. Go me!

My answer to this week’s random question: No, I did not buy any books for anyone this Christmas. BUT, that’s only because no one I buy gifts for actually reads! They’re into other stuff, and I’m the geeky bookworm in the family 😉

Review: Blossoming Flower by Vivian Winslow

Title: Blossoming Flower (Wildflowers #1)

Author: Vivian Winslow

Published: October 19th, 2015

Length: 252 pages (eBook)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Source: Author (for honest review)

My Rating: ❤❤❤

book blurb

In the wake of the collapse of her father’s business empire, Flor, the gorgeous twenty-one year-old daughter of disgraced former Brazillionaire Gustavo de Lima, is forced to forge her own path in life. Flor decides that none of it—the private jets, the vacation homes and the luxury cars—were real. Or at least they really didn’t matter. The only thing that’s real for Flor is her love of horses and her desire to go to veterinary school. Heading into her final year of college, Flor seeks out the help of an unlikely benefactor to secure a summer internship working with horses. Arriving at the secluded Belo Horizonte ranch, Flor is awed not only by the majestic beauty of the place, but also by handsome cowboy and skilled horse trainer, Collin Taylor. Yet nothing is quite as it appears on the surface. When the hidden past is revealed, will love end up blossoming for Flor?

my review

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I really liked the cover! That is what initially got my attention. It has this girl-next-door/nature feel that just makes you want to dive into the story. And then I see that this girl meets a cute horse trainer. Yes, please!

WHAT I LIKED

The plot. I don’t want to give too much away here, but I LOVED the secrets and everyone’s hidden pasts. I loved finding out about how people and things were connected. It was written and done so well!

The characters. Flor, who is used to a lavish lifestyle because of her father’s wealth, decides to make her own path in life and chooses to go to school and start an internship at a horse ranch. And she meets Collin. They both have secrets in their pasts that they are afraid to let out because they may be looked at differently. I liked Flor’s independence and determination. And Collin has this sweet, admirable, gentleman-like quality about him that makes him oh-so-likable. The two of them made the story for me.

The romance. I really liked that both Flor and Collin were cautious and wanted to take things slow. There was obviously a connection and an attraction, but for different reasons, they didn’t want to rush into things. And the gradual growth of their relationship was so sweet and heartwarming. I loved it.

WHAT COULD’VE BEEN BETTER

The multiple viewpoints. This bugged me. On the same page, you would see the thoughts of one character, and in the next paragraph, it would be from the point of view of another character. It was confusing and distracting at times. In my opinion, if there are going to be multiple viewpoints, then it should be completely separated, such as different chapters or something like that. I think it works better that way.

The connection to the story and characters. Honestly, I just didn’t feel too connected to the story or characters. Yes, I liked them, but I didn’t get attached and feel like I just had to finish the book to see what happens to them. I was kind of in the middle. I was curious, but it wasn’t like my life depended on it, like I feel with other books. It may have been because of the confusing viewpoints or maybe there just wasn’t enough details or dialogue. I’m not sure. I just didn’t feel a connection as a reader.

The end. It just ended abruptly! Not a fan. I wanted some kind of conclusion. Maybe an epilogue. Something that gave me closure.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

Another tough one for me. I liked it. But I didn’t love it. So, I’m going to give it 3 hearts. This author is new to me, and I liked this book enough to definitely check out more from her. I may just have to get used to the different points of view.

“Romance is fantasy, you do know that, right?…It’s how you feel in the presence of your lover that matters the most. Your feelings won’t betray you, only your mind can do that. You have to know the difference.”

“My dear, fearing heartbreak is what keeps us from experiencing true love. We calculate too much, assessing risks and rewards. It may sound cliche, but being clear about who you are and allowing the feelings to follow suit will never set you up for failure, even if the one who loves you doesn’t love you back. You see, it isn’t about that.”

three hearts

3 out of 5 Hearts!


Links

Amazon


about the author

(from Goodreads)

 

Vivian Winslow was born and raised in Southern California. Before becoming a writer, she made a career out of moving around the world every couple of years thanks to her husband’s job and her incurable wanderlust. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and two elementary school age children, and is grateful to finally have a place to call home for more than two years.
New York is the perfect city to indulge her love of fashion, the arts and especially food. If she’s not at home writing or running around the city with her kids, you’ll most likely find her eating at the newest restaurant in her beloved Lower East Side or having a cocktail at her favorite bar in Alphabet City. That said, she’s still a California girl at heart and would gladly trade in her heels for a pair of flip-flops to catch a sunset on the beach.

author links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads


Reading Challenges:

Bookish Bingo: Holiday 2015

2016 Reading Challenge Sign-Ups

Unknown-3

So, after much consideration, I have decided to participate in some reading challenges. And when I say some, I mean too many. With it being the first time that I’m actually doing these, I thought I would go all out and set unrealistic goals for myself to see how I do. Plus, it was almost impossible to narrow down my list. I just kept adding more and more to it. So, here are the challenges I will be doing, and I will keep track of them on my Reading Challenges page:

(Click on the host’s name for more details about the challenge)

Hosted by Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

It’s an alphabet challenge!!! The challenge is to read one book that has a title starting with every letter of the alphabet.


Hosted by All About Books

The goal of the Around the World challenge is to visit as many different places in the world through books, especially places that are rather rare, and not the kind of settings you see in 95% of all the books you read. We’re are going to do this by creating a google map where every pin on the map stands for one book. The goal is to have as many pins as possible and they shouldn’t be very close to each other but spread all over.

Here is the map I will use to track all the places I visit via books I read. I’m excited about this one! Let’s see how I do!

There are also mini-challenges, but I’m not sure I’ll be doing those. Just curious to see how many places I visit 🙂


Hosted by My Reader’s Block

*Read nine books in the following categories.

1. A book with “Blue” or any shade of Blue (Turquoise, Aquamarine, Navy, etc) in the title/on the cover.

2. A book with “Red” or any shade of Red (Scarlet, Crimson, Burgandy, etc) in the title/on the cover.

3. A book with “Yellow” or any shade of Yellow (Gold, Lemon, Maize, etc.)in the title/on the cover.

4. A book with “Green” or any shade of Green (Emerald, Lime, Jade, etc) in the title/on the cover.

5. A book with “Brown” or any shade of Brown (Tan, Chocolate, Beige, etc)in the title/on the cover.

6. A book with “Black” or any shade of Black (Jet, Ebony, Charcoal, etc) in the title/on the cover.

7. A book with “White” or any shade of White (Ivory, Eggshell, Cream, etc)in the title/on the cover.

8. A book with any other color in the title/on the cover (Purple, Orange, Silver, Pink, Magneta, etc.).

9. A book with a word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.).


Hosted by Gone with the Words and Love at First Page

Reading Challenge Details:

  • Runs January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016 (books read prior to 1/1/2016 do not count towards the challenge). You can join anytime you want, though the sign up linky will close Nov. 15, 2016. Sign up at Gone with the Words or Love at First Page.
  • The goal is to read as many Contemporary Romance books as you’d like. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. You can move up a level as often as you’d like but no moving down. Remember, the idea is to challenge yourself.
  • Books that qualify for this challenge can be young adult, new adult, or adult. Books can be M/F, M/M, or F/F. Books must be a work of fiction (sorry, nonfiction does not qualify for this challenge).
  • Romances with the following elements do not qualify for this reading challenge: paranormal, historical, time-travel, fantasy, science fiction, or mystery/suspense/thriller.
  • Books can be any format (print, ebook, audio).
  • Novellas that are 100 pages in length (give or take), as well as full-length novels, will count for this reading challenge.
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • Use the hashtag #ContRom2016 when posting your reviews/updates/re-caps/monthly topics on social media.

Levels:

  • 1st Base: read 1 – 5 books
  • 2nd Base: read 6 – 10 books
  • 3rd Base: read 11 – 15 books
  • Home Run: read 16 – 20 books
  • Grand Slam: read 21+ books

I’m shooting for Grand Slam: 21+ books!


Hosted by Book Date

Complete the card below.  You can do it in any order you wish.  You are allowed “one free exchange”, if there is something on the square you really dislike you may change it to something of your choice. Once you have played this free choice that is it. Mention the exchange in the final summary post.


Hosted by Delighted Reader

How keen of an observer are you? Good at finding important stuff? Or maybe not, but you just want to participate anyway? This challenge is just a fun way to see if you can find a list of items as you read no matter what romance style you pick up. The reader picks and chooses how many books and what list items they want to find. It can be a commitment to ten reads a year or a hundred. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Level One – Treasure Hunter in Training- 10 items/10 places

Level Two – Garage Sale Guru- 25 items/ 25 places

Level Three -Professional Picker- 50 items/50 places

2016 Literary Pickers Challenge- Scavenger List

Household Goods

  1. Ceiling Fan
  2. Portrait
  3. House Plant
  4. Pumpkin
  5. Candelabra
  6. Dead Bolt
  7. Grandfather Clock/Mantle Clock
  8. Window Blinds
  9. Microwave
  10. Table Cloth
  11. Razor
  12. Nail Polish
  13. Hand/Purse Mirror
  14. Coffee Table
  15. E-Reader
  16. Earbuds
  17. Window Shutters
  18. Sink
  19. Lawn Mower/Equipment
  20. Tile floor

Clothing/Accessories

  1. Hard Helmet
  2. Earring/s
  3. Head Band
  4. Flip Flops
  5. Motorcycle boots
  6. Belt
  7. Tattoo/Body Art
  8. Evening Gown/Dress
  9. Business Suit
  10. Cuff Links
  11. Space Suit
  12. Military Uniform
  13. Fisherman/Newsboy Cap
  14. Scarf
  15. Mask
  16. Bracelets/Cuffs
  17. Natty or Ugly Sweater
  18. Sunglasses
  19. Business Card/s
  20. Lingerie

Work Tools/Weapons

  1. Rifle
  2. Saddle
  3. Whip
  4. Hammer
  5. Tool Belt/Box
  6. Briefcase/bag
  7. File Folder
  8. Work Gloves/Garden Gloves
  9. Cash Register
  10. Measuring Tape/Ruler
  11. Microscope
  12. Ingredients
  13. Sports Equipment
  14. Silencer for a gun
  15. Explosive
  16. Lock Picks
  17. Safe
  18. Photocopier
  19. Stamps
  20. Notebook/pad

Transportation/Places

  1. European Sports Car
  2. American Muscle Car
  3. Fighter Jet/Spacecraft
  4. Steam-Powered Vehicle
  5. Ice Skate/s
  6. Russia
  7. China
  8. India
  9. Spain
  10. Brazil
  11. Underwater
  12. Another planet
  13. Another Dimension/Parallel Earth
  14. Desert
  15. Tropical Island
  16. Place of Archeological Interest
  17. War Zone
  18. Cart/Wagon
  19. Camel/Donkey
  20. Sailboat

Romantic Encounters

  1. Alien/Alien or Alien/Human
  2. With a Geek
  3. Male/Male or Female/Female
  4. Menage or Poly
  5. Love Triangle
  6. Arranged Marriage
  7. Fated Mate
  8. Fake Mates/Marriage of Convenience
  9. Reunion or Second Chance
  10. Blind Date/Dating Service
  11. Dominant/submissive or Master/slave
  12. Capture/captive
  13. One Night Stand
  14. Male/Female
  15. Older/Younger (5 years or more age difference)
  16. Highschool Sweethearts/Young Love
  17. Apocalyptic/Dystopian Romance
  18. Romance before 1950
  19. Older Couple (over 50)/Winter Romance
  20. Enemies to Lovers

I’m choosing Level 3. Professional Picker here!


Hosted by My Soul Called Life

There are six keywords associated with each month in 2016. The task is to .

read one book each month whose title includes one or more of the keywords for that month


Hosted by Second Run Reviews, Chapter Break, and Bookworm Brandee

Guidelines For The Shelf Love Challenge 2016

  • Read books that are in your personal library that were obtained before January 1, 2016.
  • Responsibly obtain books for your personal library.
    You may wish to abstain from purchasing
    books or set a book budget for yourself.
    You decide the best way to get control of your TBR pile and read the books you
    already own.
  • Library books (and textbooks) do not count for the challenge. You may use your library to obtain different formats of books you already own and count those towards your goal.

Now Select Your Goal For The Shelf Love Challenge 2016!

  • 1-10 books: shake hands with your shelves
  • 11-20 books: pat your shelves on the back
  • 21-30 books: give your shelves a warm friendly hug
  • 31-40 books: regular date night with your shelves
  • 41-50 books: my shelves are now my bff
  • 51+ books: my shelves and I are going steady

My goal is 11-20 books: pat your shelves on the back!


Hosted by The Bookshelf Gargoyle

* Challengees must read at least one book from each category (listed below). Challengees must read a DIFFERENT book for each category – even if your book title might fit a number of categories, it will only count towards a single category. Challengees are free to choose which category best suits.

1. A book with something related to fighting in the title (eg: Battle Bunny, The Great Snape Debate, The Tale of the Duelling Neurosurgeons)

2. A book with someone’s title in the title: (eg: Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Dr Jekkyl and Mr Hyde, To Sir with Love)

3. A book with onomatopoeia in the title (eg: Kung Pow Chicken, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Cloud Busting)

4. A book with an object you might find in a boxing gym in the title (eg: The Cat on the Mat is Flat, Bag of Bones, Smoke and Mirrors)

5. A book with an injury (or a word related to or implying an injury) in the title (eg: Heart-Shaped Bruise, These Broken Stars, Scarface Claw)

6. A book with an emotion in the title (eg: Bear Feels Scared, Road Rage, Pride and Prejudice)

7. A book with a word or phrase implying victory in the title (eg: How to Win Friends and Influence People, Danny the Champion of the World, Curious George Gets a Medal)


Hosted by The Worm Hole

The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories (examples of books you could choose are in brackets – I’ve included some from other languages, and translations most definitely count!):

  • A country (try not to use ‘Africa’!) Suggestions: Daphne Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn, Xiaolu Guo’s I Am China, Martin Wagner’s Deutschland)
  • An item of clothing (Su Dharmapala’s Saree, Ann Brashare’s The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants, Javier Moro’s El Sari Rojo; Pierre Lemaitre’s Vestido De Novia)
  • An item of furniture (Marghanita Laski’s The Victorian Chaise-Longue; C S Lewis’s The Silver Chair; Goslash;hril Gabrielsen’s The Looking-Glass Sisters)
  • A profession (Adriana Trigiani’s The Shoemaker’s Wife; Mikhail Elizarov’s The Librarian)
  • A month of the year (Elizabeth Von Arnim’s The Enchanted April; Rhoda Baxter’s Doctor January)
  • A title with the word ‘tree’ in it (Ai Mi’s Under The Hawthorn Tree; Elle Newmark’s The Sandalwood Tree)

 

Musing Mondays #1

Hosted by A Daily Rhythm

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Think of your favorite book… If you had a song that you think represents it well, what would that song be?


I’ve been wanting to participate in this meme for months. Now that I finally have time, I’m excited to start now! So here we go! Let’s start off with some not-so-good news 🙁

I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…the fact that my husband just broke my Nook last night! Yup. While watching TV, he put his elbow on it, leaned all his weight, and the screen cracked. I was beyond upset, and I probably overreacted. Yes, I know it was an accident, but my immediate thought was, “My books! All of my notes! They’re all gone!” He actually bought me a new one this morning and is now trying to figure out how to get all of my old stuff onto the new one, so we’ll see what happens. Keeping my fingers crossed…

My answer to this week’s random question: What a great question for my first post! I have too many favorite books, so I’m just going to pick one:

August Fog by A.L. Goulden

In a nutshell, this woman falls for her neighbor, and they have this intense love affair that is wrong but oh-so-right. I don’t condone cheating, but this story got to me. Read it, and you’ll know what I mean. Anyway, when I think of this book, two songs come to mind: Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects and Lips of an Angel by Hinder. Lyrics fit perfectly!

Feel free to let me know what you think and leave links to your own Musing Mondays 🙂

Review: A Kindled Winter by Rachel L. Demeter

26221419Title: A Kindled Winter

Author: Rachel L. Demeter

Published by: Black Lyon Publishing on November 1st, 2015

Length: 130 pages (eBook)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Source: Author (for honest review)

Reading Challenge: Bookish Bingo: Holiday 2015

My Rating: ❤❤❤

book blurb

(from Goodreads)

“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” — Dale Evans

A week before Christmas, Jeseca Reed sets off for Blue River, Oregon—her childhood home and a vault of tender memories. However, fate takes an unexpected turn when she’s left stranded in the mountains’ vast, untamed wilderness. Desperate and alone, she seeks shelter at a cottage and finds herself in the arms of a mysterious stranger.

Dr. David Drake was once a renowned cardiovascular surgeon. But a devastating tragedy has left him scarred both inside and out, unable to use his hands to operate again. For the past five years, his Blue River cottage has been his sole escape—a safe haven where he can shut out the world, bury himself in his grief, and reunite with his son’s memory.

Together they are summer and winter. Fire and ice. And yet a poignant connection forms between them. Jeseca awakens David and thaws his heart with a romance hot enough to melt snow. But before David and Jeseca can fully embrace each other, they must wade through darkness and confront the ghosts of their pasts …

Equal parts steamy and heartfelt, A Kindled Winter brings the spirit of the holidays to life with a passionate story of second chances and healing love.

my review

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I enjoyed Rachel L. Demeter’s Finding Gabriel, so I jumped at the chance to read another of her books. And I’m all for Christmas romances. Since it’s that time of the year, I figured this would be perfect to read now.

WHAT I LIKED

The writing. I’m not surprised that the writing was so good. I was so impressed with her last book. The detailed and descriptive language was awesome. I always had a clear picture in my mind of the setting and everything that was happening in the book, which is great because that doesn’t always happen.

The story. The two characters have tragedies that they are clearly affected by, and I love that they were able to find comfort in each other. I also like the idea of a woman being stranded in the wilderness and having a handsome, mysterious man come to her rescue. It screamed romance. So, yes, I was a fan from the get-go.

The mystery. The pasts of both of the characters is gradually revealed throughout the story, which I loved! I had different guesses of what happened, and it kept me on the edge of my seat because I really just had to know. It definitely kept me reading!

WHAT COULD’VE BEEN BETTER

Needs more dialogue. The issue I had with Finding Gabriel is the same issue I have with this book. I really just wanted more dialogue. The book was so fixated on the details of the setting, the descriptions of what was happening, and the thoughts of the characters that I found myself getting sidetracked and losing focus. I like a lot of dialogue in my books because it makes me feel like the relationships are growing realistically and right in front of me. So, I think that would’ve helped in my opinion.

Connection between characters felt rushed/forced. I realize that this book was shorter than most, but I couldn’t help but feel that the relationship felt rushed and kind of forced. I would have really liked to get to know the characters as individuals first or even through flashbacks, but it was kind of like here are the characters, they meet, and then they fall in love. I guess I just wanted more of the background. And everything does happen in the span of a week or so, which bugged me a little.

Similar plot to Finding Gabriel. I won’t go into detail here, but there were too many similarities to the author’s last book. As a fan of hers, I wanted new ideas. I just felt like I was reminded too much of the other one, and it was hard to not compare the two.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

This one was a little tough for me in regards to rating it. The writing itself deserves five hearts, but then there’s the stuff I mentioned. So, I’m going to go smack dab in the middle and give it three hearts. I liked it. It was romantic and mysterious, but it also could use some improvements. I will definitely be reading more from this author though. I’m still a fan 🙂

three hearts

3 out of 5 Hearts!


Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble


about the author

(from Goodreads)

I live in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, my goofy lowland sheepdog, and high school sweetheart of eleven years. I enjoy writing poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love.

Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been my passion for longer than I can remember. Before learning how to read or write, I would dictate stories while my mom would jot them down for me. I hold a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, I ensure every character is given a soul.

I endeavor to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes my stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness.

My dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through my words. ♥

Don’t be a stranger! I absolutely love to connect and interact:

author links

Email: Rachel@RachelDemeter.net

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Goodreads

Amazon

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway – Scrubs by Brooke Harris

ScrubsTourBanner2

Welcome to the I Heart Fictional People’s Scrubs blog tour stop! This tour is hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!

Scrubs

Title: Scrubs

Author: Brooke Harris

Published: December 4, 2015

Length: 109 pages (eBook)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Source: Author via Xpresso Book Tours (for honest review)

Reading Challenge: Bookish Bingo: Holiday 2015

My Rating: ❤❤❤

 

book blurb

I like fast cars, beautiful women and great sex.
I hate drugs. I can’t stand the idiots who take them and I loathe the bastards who supply them. Drugs cost me my whole world.
I wear many faces; right now I’m Doctor Lucas Callaghan and I’ll be him until I get my revenge.
My real name will be the last words to ever pass their lips.

I hate my name, Aoife Brennan, as soon as people hear it they treat me differently because of my father.
Medical school isn’t my dream, it’s his. But, it’s the least I owe him after everything I’ve done. I’m trying to be a good girl, but even good girls make mistakes.

He’s lying about who he is, she’s kidding herself about who she can be. They’re polar opposites with one very big secret in common.

my review

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This probably doesn’t need an explanation. I mean, look at that cover. Hot doctor…with a gun. What does a doctor need with a gun? I was definitely intrigued. And the synopsis really got me. I just had to know Lucas’ story and what has him needing revenge. I had to read this one. It sounded SO good.

WHAT I LIKED

The beginning. Wow. Now that is how you introduce a story. The prologue and first chapter had me in tears and on the edge of my seat at the same time. It’s not easy to make me cry within 3 pages. So, kudos to the author for that! Plus, there was no way that I was NOT going to read this after reading the prologue. I was committed and had to know what happened after that.

Lucas/Sean. I really liked him. I felt for him, and I wanted him to get his revenge so bad. He does a complete 180 after this tragedy that happens to him, and he turns into this angry, aggressive, cocky man with only one goal in mind: make them pay. But you get this glimpse of the real him sometimes. It’s sad! I got attached to this guy. He has obviously been suffering for so long. I just wanted him to be happy! And I wanted to give him a hug!

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER

Aoife’s name. This may sound like a minor issue, but it irritated me every time I had to read it. I had absolutely no idea how to pronounce it. Eventually, about halfway in, I just had to Google it. I was so far off from the real pronunciation. And even after I knew how to say it, I would hesitate every time her name came up. It actually distracted me from enjoying the story.

Connection felt rushed/forced. I really didn’t feel the connection between Lucas and Aoife. Maybe it was because the book was only about 100 pages. Usually, 100 pages in is when the characters are just falling for each other. So, for me, it happened way too fast, and it wasn’t believable.

The end. Yes, I know it’s just the first part of a series and there is a clear warning at the opening of the book, but the end just came out of nowhere. There was zero closure. I’m a fan of cliffhangers, but this one just didn’t work for me.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

This is a tough one for me. I liked it. I loved the main character. A lot of it just felt rushed. I would’ve liked more in-depth stuff. More details. More background information. Just more! So, I’m kind of caught in the middle, which is why I gave it 3 hearts. But I’m curious as to where the story goes, so I will check out the next part.

three hearts

3 out of 5 Hearts!


buy links

Amazon


about the author

USA Today bestselling author Brooke Harris is a self diagnosed romance addict. Realising at the age of seven that being a real person and not a cartoon character may prove a hindrance when applying for a role as a Disney Princess, she decided to create her own stories. As a grown up Brooke tried swapping the heels and tiaras in her stories for sex and revenge and published her first book, Rules of Harte in 2014. The Harte Series went on to become a #1 international bestseller.

Brooke lives in Kildare, Ireland with her young family. She daydreams about a climate where it doesn’t rain every day, but secretly she loves the green fields and heritage of Ireland.

Brooke also writes Psych-thriller under the pseudonym Janelle Harris.

author links

Blog

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter


giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
$20 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ButtonXBT

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway – Come Back To Me by Mila Gray

come back to me

Welcome to the I Heart Fictional People’s Come Back To Me blog tour stop! This tour is hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club, and I’ve been waiting so long to be a part of it. You’ll notice that I gave this book the coveted 6 HEARTS! Read on to find out why!

24885539

Title: Come Back To Me

Author: Mila Gray

Published by: Simon Pulse on December 8, 2015

Length: 373 pages (eBook)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Source: Publisher via The Fantastic Flying Book Club (for honest review)

My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤❤

book blurb

In this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, a young Marine and his best friend’s sister plunge into a forbidden love affair while he’s home on leave.

 When a Marine Chaplain knocks on her door, Jessa’s heart breaks—someone she loves is dead. Killed in action, but is it Riley or Kit? Her brother or her boyfriend…

 Three months earlier, Marine Kit Ryan finds himself back home on leave and dangerously drawn to his best friend Riley’s sister, Jessa—the one girl he can’t have. Exhausted from fighting his feelings, Kit finally gives in, and Jessa isn’t strong enough to resist diving headfirst into a passionate relationship.

 But what was just supposed to be a summer romance develops into something far greater than either of them expected. Jessa’s finally found the man of her dreams and Kit’s finally discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

 When it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither one is ready to say goodbye. Jessa vows to wait for him and Kit promises tocome home to her. No matter what.

 But as Jessa stands waiting for the Marine Chaplain to break her heart, she can’t help but feel that Kit has broken his promise…

 Riley or Kit? Kit or Riley? Her brother or her boyfriend? Who’s coming home to her?

my review

INITIAL THOUGHTS

So I added this book to my TBR list on Goodreads months ago. I can’t remember where I first saw it. Maybe it was on another blog or something. Anyway, I remember absolutely loving the description. This was one of those books that I was super excited to read but just didn’t get to it. Then I saw it available for a book tour. I practically started jumping up and down. I immediately sent a request to participate. But then I got anxiety about reading it. My hopes and expectations were SO high, so I was nervous that I would be disappointed. Thanksgiving break came, which means I had a week to read books uninterrupted. Anxiety be damned.

WHAT I LIKED

EVERYTHING! But here is my attempt to narrow it down into categories…

The characters. I was beyond attached to these characters. I got to the point where I didn’t care that I wasn’t getting any sleep. I refused to sleep. I HAD to know what happened to them. I especially liked Jessa, Kit, and Riley. Jessa is this innocent girl who has so many dreams but also needs to please her parents, so she puts those dreams aside and she puts on her good girl face and does what she is told, even though there is a part of her that wants to escape and just do what she wants for a change. Then, there’s Kit…dreamy, hot, delicious Kit. He has a reputation for being quite the player, but Jessa changes that. And now he’s faced with falling for his best friend’s sister, on top of dealing with their dad, who has always hated him for reasons he doesn’t understand. And of course, there is Riley, the overprotective brother. He has never felt good enough for his dad, so he became a Marine to get away from him. He also has a long-time girlfriend, but their relationship is tough because he’s gone so often, and he also has to deal with protecting his mom and sister from his dad. Plus, there’s Kit’s dad, Jessa and Riley’s parents, and Didi, who I also learned to love for very different reasons.

The plot. Wow. It’s hard to put into words how I felt about this story. Right off the bat, we know that Jessa may or may not have lost either her boyfriend or her brother, and you’re trying to guess throughout the whole book. I will not give anything away, but this story will pull on your heartstrings and give you the feels. It’s heartbreaking and emotional, yet real, romantic, and passionate. I cried throughout the last half of the book. I’m not even exaggerating. I was crying for over an hour. This one got to me like no other book has in a long time.

The romance. Jessa and Kit have to hide their relationship because they don’t want to hurt Riley, and they don’t want her dad to go ballistic. So, the secrecy was hot actually. You never knew if they would get caught or who would catch them and what their reaction would be. And I really liked the pace. It was perfect. They’ve known each other forever, but this attraction to each other and feelings for each other are fairly new, so it was nice to see them explore it. And reading how they fall for each other and how their relationship blossoms just gives you butterflies in your stomach and reminds you of how you first fell in love.

The family dynamics. Other than the romance, I really loved the other relationships in this book. Sister/brother, father/son, best friends. I loved them all. I even loved the dysfunctional relationships with Jessa’s dad. He may have come off as an asshole, but toward the end, it’s a little understandable. So, his relationship with his wife and his kids is interesting and intriguing, and I just had to know more. It was all just very real. It made the story real for me. Jessa’s family is not perfect. None of our families are. And it was refreshing to see that.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER

Absolutely nothing, hence the SIX OUT OF FIVE HEARTS!

OVERALL THOUGHTS

I completely fell head over heels with this book and the characters in it. Not a lot of books make me this emotional. When the book was over, it was bittersweet. I was heartbroken but also happy. It felt like I had just broken up with an amazing boyfriend and didn’t know how to move on. I just haven’t really been able to get into another book without thinking of this one. Anyway, it’s SO worth the heartache. I don’t know about you, but when a book makes me cry and gives me the feels, I KNOW it’s good. Mila Gray, you are incredible, and I must thank you for writing such a powerful and wonderful story. I can’t wait to read any other books written by you.

Unknown-3

6 out of 5 Hearts!


buy links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository

iTunes

Kobo


about the author

Mila Gray is the pen name for Sarah Alderson, author of Hunting Lila, Losing Lila, The Sound, Fated and Out of Control.

 Originally from London she has lived in Bali for the last four years with her husband and daughter.

 As well as writing young adult fiction under the name Sarah Alderson and adult fiction under the name Mila Gray, she also writes screenplays.

 You can find out more at www.milagray.com and on facebook: www.facebook.com/sarahjalderson

author links

Website

Goodreads

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram


giveaway

This is an individual blog giveaway, so one of my followers will definitely win!

Win a hard copy of Come Back to Me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ffbc