Sunday, November 30, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo Day 30: #BookBlogWriMo Wrap Up


Day 30: #BookBlogWriMo Wrap Up

Wow, I can't believe it is the end of November already, which means the last day of BookBlogWriMo! Even though this month was incredibly busy for me, and adding this daily writing challenge made it just a tad more stressful, I am glad I signed up for it. I like the daily writing challenge and I am going to miss it tomorrow. I like just writing about random things that are book or blog related. And yes, I did type these up every day instead of writing them a chunk at a time and scheduling them out. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just wanted to get myself to write at least a little bit every day just as a personal challenge. Some days were harder than others because I was tired or busy or whatever and either didn't feel like writing or didn't have much time, but I still go it done. Some days were difficult because I didn't have much to say on the topic, but I still really enjoyed waking up and writing something. This challenge did make me look at my blog more and how I do things and made me think of ways I might improve or things I could post most often that might be fun. As I said yesterday I would like to continue writing more non-review posts so we shall see how it goes. This was a lot of fun and I hope you all have enjoyed learning a little more about me and my ways.

Thank you so much to Brittany at Book Bumblings for setting this up for us!! I know it was a lot of work organizing it, but I think it worked very well. I loved reading other peoples responses everyday and writing my own. So thank you for being awesome and making this challenge for me to participate in!

I guess that is all. I can't believe it is over already. It has been a lot of fun. Thanks so much for reading. I hope everyone has a happy holiday!

Christmas In Venice by Meadow Taylor


Christmas in Venice: A Short Story


Synopsis:

Olivia's Christmas trip to Venice, Italy should be a holiday dream come true. But when she’ s confronted by a handsome Italian cop about her unattended luggage, she worries she won't even make it out of the Marco Polo Airport…

Review:

Christmas in Venice is a really short little story about Olivia and her adventures at the airport in Venice. She has come to spend Christmas with her cousin, but it is not that easy to get out of the airport and on to her fun. She does meet a good looking cop, and what happens was quite humorous. It was a nice, super short story but not really Christmasy like I was hoping. It is set at Christmastime, but doesn't have any of the Christmas magic I love. Still a good read and I might have to go read Midnight in Venice since this is the beginning of that story.

Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2

Saturday, November 29, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo Day 29: The Future of Your Blog


Day 29: The Future of Your Blog

The future of my blog? Well I think for one thing I am going to try and post more non-review posts. I have really enjoyed writing up posts for this challenge everyday and it made me realize I like writing about all things books, not just reviewing them. I will probably start posting books I am looking forward to and whatever else I feel like talking about that is book related. It won't be as often as this, and will just be whenever I have something to share, but it will be good to get a little more diversity. The problem I always had before is I didn't know what else to write about so now I have some ideas rolling around in my head that I can start in the new year.

Also I think I am going to work on my blog layout some in the new years. There are a few things I would like to add or change about it now. Not much as I don't like the cluttered look, but just some small changes that will hopefully make my blog better.

Also I am going to started some reading challenges in Jan. These are just books I am going to read and review as part of the challenge, but it should be fun. They will get me to diversify my reading a bit which is always a good thing.

That is about it. I still see myself reviewing or posting about a book every day. I don't know that that will ever change. I love reading and reviewing the books I read so that will be a constant. Just tweaking the layout and adding some new content in addition to what I already am doing and I think it will be good.

Playing Santa (Summer Beach Vets) by H.Y. Hanna


Playing Santa (Summer Beach Vets Christmas Romance) ~ Escape Down Under

Synopsis:

Escape Down Under this Christmas...and find love in Summer Beach, where cold noses touch warm hearts! 
Holly stopped believing in Santa Claus long ago... until a house-sitting vacation in Australia rekindles the magic of Christmas. When she rescues a litter of abandoned puppies and meets a handsome veterinarian who captures her heart, she finds herself tempted to give up everything for a chance at love.

The last thing billionaire Dr Nick Forrester expected when helping out at the animal hospital was to meet this pretty American. He knows that they belong together - but with malicious gossip and culture clash coming between them, can he convince Holly that all he wants for Christmas is her?

Review:

Oh Playing Santa was exactly what I wanted in a cheesy Christmas read. I love Hallmark channel's countdown to Christmas. I love there terrible Christmas movies that are just awful, but in a really great way. Love love love them, and this book is kind of like that. 

Holly goes to Australia to housesit for the holidays and meets sexy Dr. Nick when she finds some stranded puppies outside her house. They are both super attracted to each other, but they try not to do anything about it. It is a super quick suddenly they are in love and it is Christmas and everything is amazing book. It doesn't actually feel like the characters fall in love, but it has enough of that Christmas magic cheesiness that I loved it. Plus there are puppies! 

Holly is a bit insecure and gets crazy at one point and Nick is just a really nice guy. How could he not be? He helps all the puppies! Can you tell I like puppies? So yeah they don't really spend a lot of time together before it is just like let's change our whole life to be together forever! Since it is Christmastime I love it. If this were just a normal book set some other time and I was reading it it would just be okay. Oh Christmas magic. Love it!

Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2 Christmas stars

Friday, November 28, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo Day 28: Book Pet Peeves


Day 28: Book Pet Peeves

Pet peeves you say? What plot lines don't I like? Well let's see. For pet peeves I would say whiny characters. I cannot stand them. Those people who are all poor me. Those people who could easily fix whatever it is they just don't because they would rather moan and groan and complain. I cannot stand it. I am the do something!!! Kind of person. I love books with people who have horrible pasts they have to overcome, and they are not the people I am talking about. But then again those people are not usually mopey self centered people. They don't whine constantly. They are usually the people who just try and survive or move on.

What else don't I like? Well I would say some types of books or plot lines. I don't usually like fairy books or faerie books or however you want to spell it. Not sure why. My first series I really enjoyed, though that was a few years ago and I don't remember what it was called. I didn't really know anything about them and these books had the summer and winter queens and everything and it was interesting. Unfortunately since then the things I have read have just been disappointing. Maybe it is the  super beautiful, kind of self centered characters they usually. I don't know. Whatever it is I don't really like it usually.

I also don't really like vampire books anymore. I got kind of burned out on them and the ones I keep trying to read are just not that good.

Also I am not a fan of rich &/or famous people in books. Not sure why. Like rock stars, movie stars, billionaires, I just don't usually like their stories. Part of it, at least with the famous people, is I don't want to be famous. I don't want people to know who I am, so I don't want to date someone famous. That would be terrible to me so...I don't know. That still shouldn't make me dislike the stories, but I do. Maybe it is just the personalities that the rich/famous people usually have in books that is just not something I like. Whatever it is I don't usually read them.

I guess that is all I can think of. Any of these things that I don't like in books could, if you are a great author, be written in a way that I will enjoy. I remember a few books where I should have hated everything about them, but I actually enjoyed the story because of the way it was written. The whiny girl I should have wanted to scream at I didn't and I kept reading. It is always surprising when I find one of those gems. One of those stories I should hate but don't. That is why I will give any book a try if it looks interesting to me, even if it has one of the above in it.

Snow-Kissed (Snow Queen #1) by Laura Florand


Snow-Kissed (A Novella)

Synopsis:

Florand takes us to a snow-kissed Christmas cabin for this heart-wrenching tale of love, loss, forgiveness—and hope. After the utter destruction of her marriage and her happiness, Kai knew it was better to shut herself away from the world than to hurt and be hurt. Holed up in her mountain cabin, she planned to spend her Christmas alone. Until her not-quite-ex-husband shows up as the first flakes start to fall. Now should she send him back out into the cold? Or can she be brave enough to let this winter snow bind them back together?

Review:

Woohoo! It is finally time for my countdown to Christmas! Every year I save up my Christmas books to start reading the day after Thanksgiving. It doesn't matter that I no longer live in the states I still like to wait until after the holiday to start my Christmas fun. First up is Snow-Kissed! I have been holding onto this one for a while.

Man Laura Florand can really write an amazing story. As soon as I start reading I am just submerged into this warm, cozy state that is just magical. When talking about this book I feel like I need a video review to really express what I want to say. It is just...I can't find the right words for it exactly. It's more like expressions and sounds would be better. I'm all warm and fuzzy and gooey inside while reading Florand. It is amazing and I love it. 

In Snow-Kissed we have the story of Kai and Kurt and how they try and work their way back together again. It really is a heart-wrenching tale as the synopsis says. Over a year ago Kai pushed Kurt away when she just couldn't deal with her grief. Kurt tried so hard to be enough for her, to help her through it, but everything he did just didn't work. She left him and felt like that was it. She doesn't deserve to get him back because she ruined them. She places a lot of guilt onto herself and she doesn't feel she deserves to be happy. Everything is her fault and she no longer can bring the happy so Kurt will just move on and it will be fine. She will survive somehow. 

Only Kurt never moves on. He never gives up hope. He says at one time he never even considered the option of moving on. He ends up stranded at the remote cabin alone with Kai right before Christmas. He wants her back so badly, but he doesn't want to do the wrong thing again and push her away again. It hurt so much the last time that he is just hoping that this time it won't hurt as much. He knows he doesn't deserve her, he is not enough for her, but he wants to try and get her back anyway. It is just...my heart just hurt for both of them. 

The two of them are both hurting so much, but they could be so good together once again. It was heartbreaking watching how each of them thought of the situation and what had happened and watching them try and come together again. Watching Kai start to come back to life was just beautiful. Florand's way of describing things is really just so charming and I love it. I don't know how she does it but I alway just feel so cozy and comforted by her words. Really an amazing read and a great way to start off my holiday season. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2

Thursday, November 27, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo Day 27: Authors You’re Thankful For


Day 27: Authors You’re Thankful For

For those of you in the US Happy Thanksgiving! Today's topic? Writer I am thankful for. Who’s sitting at my dream Thanksgiving table? Can I just say that I am thankful for all the writers who write such amazing books? All those people who put their work out there for all of us to read. It is really amazing how many people have stories to share and how great a lot of them are. I am really thankful that I've had the time to be able to read so many amazing things. Does that sound lame? It is true. Book related that is what I am thankful for.

So who would be at my dream Thanksgiving table? That is a hard one. The first thing to come to mind was to just make a list of my favorite authors. People who have written my favorite books. Then I thought about it and that doesn't really work really. Just because you wrote an amazing book doesn't necessarily mean I would want to hang out with you. So it is interesting to think about. I did go through my top rated books and chose some authors who I enjoyed their books and also who I think I would get along with. People who I have either had interactions with, who I follow or am friends with online, or that I just think for whatever reason we have fun or interesting conversations. So here are my Thanksgiving dinner authors:

H.D. Gordon
Penny Reid
Laura Floarnd
Belle Aurora
Aurora Rose Reynolds
Abbi Glines
Colleen Hoover
Rachael Herron
Barbara Kingsolver
Gillian Flynn
Cora Carmack
Mia Sheridan

It would be an interesting dinner, but it would be fun! Hope you all are having a great Thanksgiving if you are in the states! If not I hope you are having a great Thursday :)

Blog Tour: A Very Grey Christmas by T.A. Foster - Review & Giveaway





Available on AmazonAmazon.de, and Goodreads

Synopsis:

I was getting ready to spend the single most important holiday of the year alone. Completely and utterly alone.

That meant he wouldn’t be there Christmas Eve. No making Christmas cookies, or listening to my dad sing off-key while my mom bustled around wrapping last-minute gifts. No decorating the tree. No midnight Christmas kiss. 

No waking up in Grey’s arms. We were actually going to spend our very first Christmas in different states.

That was until Grey gave me the most unexpected gift of my life.

Review:

A Very Grey Christmas was a cute addition to the Kissing Eden series. It's a short read and you get to see Eden and Grey and how they spend their first Christmas together as a couple. 

I must note though that at first Eden comes off as really whiny. I understand she didn't want to spend Christmas apart from Grey, but oh man. You don't need to be so whiny and try and make him feel terrible about not being there with you. At the same time I get it. He couldn't come with you and that kind of sucks. It is not the best being apart for Christmas, especially when for you it is the most romantic holiday of the year. Sometimes this is the way things work out though. Thankfully it has been a long time since I have had to spend the holiday apart from my husband, but there was a year or two after we first started dating when we did. He just wasn't able to come home with me and I didn't like it, but couldn't really do much about it. 

Of course Grey is so amazing and he will do pretty much anything for Eden. Everything works out in the end and Eden and Grey are happy and it was just really nice getting to spend a little more time with these characters. It was nice to see what Christmas traditions Eden's family had and everything they did to make the holiday fun. A great intro to the holiday season! Definitely check it out if you enjoyed the rest of the series. It is great to be able to see a little more of this couple and their relationship. A great holiday read.

Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2



Prior Books in the Series (click title for my review):







About the Author:

T.A. Foster once spent a monthlong spring break on South Padre Island, where she soaked in the Texas sun, beach, and learned what real Texas country music is. Sometimes fiction does spring from reality.

She grew up catching rays and chasing waves along the North Carolina Outer Banks and now resides in the state with her adventurous pilot husband, two children, and two canine kiddos.

T.A. has an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. When she’s not chasing her two-legged and four-legged children or trying to escape for date night, you can find her reading, writing, or planning her next beach trip.

  Author Links: Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads


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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo Day 26: Cheating on Books: TV & Movies


Day 26: Cheating on Books: TV & Movies

TV and Movies is the topic for today. I will say I think I watch a lot of TV, but as I mentioned yesterday I almost never just watch TV. I have it on while I read and write blog posts and just do whatever I need to do. It's good background noise and I like it better than music for stationary tasks. My absolute favorites are really the only ones that I give my full attention to.

I guess I will start with movies since I don't watch a lot of them. I don't like going to the movie theatre as I am cheap and they are way to expensive in my opinion. It has to be something that I really really want to see or something that I think would be better on the large screen. My husband, on the other hand, loves going to the movies so I do see a few in the theatre every year. He also put a lot on for lazy Sunday afternoons.

As for what movies? Well I like a little bit of everything. Some favorites I can think of off the top of my head? Amelie, The Dark Knight trilogy (I like superheroes in general, Batman being my favorite), Charade, Footloose (the Kevin Bacon one, not the new release which I hated), Evil Dead 2, You're Next (after the first 20 minutes or so. We just recently watched this one which is why it is in my head), His Girl Friday, almost any Hallmark original holiday movie, Taken, Beauty & the Beast, and so on. A mix of everything really except fantasy. I am not a fan of Lord of the Rings or anything like that and am not the biggest space fan, though I have found more space related shows and movies that I have enjoyed.

As for TV shows? I again watch a lot of different things. I love cop shows or crime shows or anything like that. Anything where there is a crime and someone or group of people try and figure it out in whatever way they have, even if they are not cops. Law & Order (though not the biggest Criminal Intent fan), Criminal Minds, Bones, Burn Notice, Sherlock, Bletchly Circle, really anything in that vein. As long as it is not too bad I will put it on while I am working on other things.

I also love children's shows that are not too simplistic. My Little Pony, especially the older cartoon, Pokemon, Lazy Town, Wonder Pets, Invader Zim, really anything that is cute and fun I will like. Also lots of teen dramas. Pretty much anything on the CW for those of you in the states (Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie, Supernatural, Beauty & the Beast, etc. Almost anything on that channel I will watch at least for a while. Some of them eventually go on too long and I end up quitting before they are wrapped up). And Gilmore Girls!

I also watch family dramas like Parenthood and Brothers & Sisters. Really I will try watching most anything on TV except I am not a huge anime fan or fantasy or space things again. I did enjoy Star Trek the Next Generation, but not the others. And Battlestar Galactica? I can't do it. My husband puts it on sometimes and I just can't.

So what are my favorite shows? The ones I will devote my entire attention too the first time watching an episode? Well Gilmore Girls is always great. I re-watch those episodes often especially now that it is on Netflix! The Walking Dead cause I just really enjoy that show. Hannibal is amazing. I loved how it was filmed and the visuals and the characters and everything. I can't wait for the next season. Fargo surprised me with how much I loved it. I loved Billy Bob Thornton, whom I am not usually a fan of. He was perfect for his role and it was so great. It's Always Sunny, the funniest show ever! I watch the episodes again and again and still laugh just as much.

That's all I can think of right now. As I said I do have the TV on a lot when I am working, but it is not my only focus. Fun times.

Thanksgiving Night by Richard Bausch


Thanksgiving Night


Synopsis:

Richard Bausch calls this, his tenth novel, "a love comedy with sorrows." The story is set in the small Virginia valley town of Point Royal, where several of Bausch's other novels and many of his stories take place. It is 1999; predictions of catastrophe blare on the radio, and religious fanaticism is everywhere on the rise. The millennium is approaching.

Oliver Ward and his divorced daughter, a young policewoman named Alison, and Oliver's two grandchildren become involved with Holly Grey and Holly's aunt Fiona, elderly ladies with a marked propensity for outlandish behavior. Holly's son, Will Butterfield, and Elizabeth, Will's second wife by that name, have been happily married for ten years but are about to discover how fragile happiness is.

And in the middle of all of them is an old priest, Father John Fire, who is a good man, thinking of leaving the priesthood. He is called "Brother Fire" by everyone who knows him, after the famous words of Saint Francis when confronted with the burning brand with which he would be martyred. Close to both Holly and Fiona, Brother Fire also has a part to play in the rapidly unfolding family drama.

Thanksgiving Night is a touching and empathetic portrayal of family the one we have, and the ones we make. The people who populate these pages are flawed, wounded, stubborn, willful, scarred, often wildly eccentric, and all searching, in one way or another, for love.

Review:

Thanksgiving Night was my second Thanksgiving book I was going to read and well...I just couldn't finish it. It is not like it was absolutely terrible and I hated it per say. It is more that I found it really boring I would fall asleep trying to read it. I will not give up on a book until I have read at least half of it, and this book being 400 pages I read over 200 before it was due back at the library and I just had to call it quits. It was taking me forever to get anywhere in it, though I don't think it was a terrible book. The writing was fine and everything. It was just, as I said, a bit boring to me. 

Part of the problem with this book? I didn't like any of the characters. I really didn't like the crazies, Holly & Fiona, and got tired of reading about them fighting. It was tedious and I just didn't care. Really I wanted everyone to just leave them and not give them the attention they are looking for. Will and Elizabeth should just not answer the phone or go over when they are arguing, which is always. It just...I didn't understand. I didn't like them and it made me tired reading their same nonsense over and over and over again. Elizabeth is starting to tire of them, but I would have not been able to put up with it as long as she has. 

Then you have Oliver who makes lots of poor decisions. He can't seem to not drink too much then drive even though he doesn't really seem to be an alcoholic or anything. His daughter is not very happy, Father Fire is not very happy, really no one in the story is very happy. They are all a mess, unhappy, and not great people. It just seems to go on and on and on and nothing really happens. Or it does, but it is written in such a way that I don't really care much. Like Will cheating, or contemplating, cheating on his wife. Or the teacher who reaches out to Father Fire for his issues. Or anything that was part of the plot in the first half. I did look at some other reviews to see if it seemed to get better, but based on them it sounds like the same thing for another 200 pages so I called it quits. 

Then my other issue? There is a lot of drinking and driving in the book. There is one scene that I think is supposed to be humorous, but I didn't find it funny at all. Really drunk driving is not funny to me ever. I have lost people to drunk drivers so that is just a super definite no go for me. The story is retold of when Fiona drove to the bar and had a few drinks, too many to be able to drive home. She tries to be more responsible and gets a ride with someone else, only he has had too much to drink as well. Somehow, while driving home, the car goes off the road and flying into a tree and lands in said tree upside down. They found Fiona and the guy just sitting strapped into the seat upside down and asleep. No one was seriously injured which is great, but it seemed like it was supposed to be comical and I just can't. There is just too much drinking and driving in this book for me. Really once is too much, but to have the characters keep doing it? Not cool. 

So even with all of this (not liking the characters, the story being boring, tedious, and seemingly nothing important happening, the drunk driving) I still didn't hate the book. I just couldn't seem to make my way through it in the 3 weeks I had to read it. And it is not good enough for me to want to wait to check it out again to finish it. It's alright, but I am fine not finishing it. 

Rating: ★ ★

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo Dat 25: How You Deal with Book Hangovers


Day 25: How You Deal with Book Hangovers

My husband always asks what my topic for writing these is and last night I mentioned that today is how to deal with a book hangover. I said this and it was like crickets chirping. "What is a book hangover?" I tried to explain to him, but as he is not a reader I don't think he really got it. It was pretty funny.

Anyways how do I deal with a book hangover? I'm not sure. I am trying to think what I did the last time I had one. I think the last one for me was Beauty & the Mustache and I left on vacation for a week of backpacking in the mountains with no books or electronics the next day. That worked really well. Getting out into nature for a bit. I might do that in the future, take a walk and hang out at the park for a bit. We shall see.

Before that? Well I might watch a TV show without doing anything else for an episode or two (normally I am reading or writing or something while the TV is on. For example I am watching TV right now as I write this. I like the background noise and it is easy to multitask. I very rarely just watch TV). It helps get my mind off of the book and thinking of something else so I will be able to move on.

I might just re-read the book again, or my favorite parts of the book (this has definitely happened before). Or go online and find others who have read and love the book and talk about it. Talk to my friend about it. Tell my husband all about the book when he gets home. Really just try and talk it out of my system a little bit so I can move on. If the book is so good I have a hangover from it I probably won't be able to write about it for a few days which is my normal go to when I need to stop thinking about things.

Or I might choose a book that sounds kind of lame and read that. A book that I don't think I will love as a way to get back to normal. Something cheesy and fun. I don't want to read another book I think I will absolutely love right away as I don't want the hangover to affect my feels for the new book, so the so so book helps cleanse the pallet, though sometimes the so so book ends up being amazing so. I think that is about it.

Release Day: 'Til Death by Bella Jewel - Review & Giveaway



Available on Amazon, Amazon.de, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads       

Synopsis:

They say there's a fine line between love and hate.

There is.

I married a douchebag.

I didn't know it at the time.

He came in like a handsome stranger and blew me off my feet.

I fell madly in love, like the naive girl I am.

Then he left me high and dry.

Turns out, I was nothing more than a business plan for billionaire playboy, Marcus Tandem.

He needed to be married in order to obtain his grandfathers business, and I was the poor victim in his path.

I believed in what we had, until the truth reared its ugly head.

I never meant anything to Marcus. Not a damned thing.

With my world spinning on its axis, the girl I once was has long since died.

Instead he left me as this empty, emotionless shell.

I may have made a vow before God to love and cherish him ‘Til Death do we part, but it’s time for me to give back to Marcus, exactly what he gave me.

He has to pay.

And pay he will.

*This is part of a two book series and it will contain a HEA – Readers over 18+



Review:

'Til Death is part one of a two part series. Just a warning it ends and you will want more! This is both good and bad. Good because it means it was a great read, bad because I for one am not a patient person! I want the HEA now! Oh well, I will try and wait patiently for it to come out to see how it all plays out. I'm sure it will be worth it.

This first part, this book, was not what I expected. I thought from the synopsis it would be more the story of how Katia plans/gets revenge on Marcus, but it is not. You will have to wait for book two for that. This is more how she gets to that point. The whole time reading I am waiting for her to find out what is really going on and you wait for most of the book. Still a great read that I really enjoyed.

Katia is one of those girls that you are just like what is wrong with you? How can you be so delusional? She even says in the prologue how this is her story and you will think this. She was right. But then she also says how Marcus will win you over like he did her and well...until the end I was not a Marcus fan. I guess he started to win me over slightly, but not with his hot rich guy who doesn't care about you at all thing. He started winning me over with his inner thoughts and struggles towards the end, which Katia didn't know. I am not sure why Katia was so in love with him or why she agreed to marry him. Sure they had amazing sex, but that does not a loving relationship make. She always wonders if he even loves her, but then she clings to the hope that since he married her that means he does care about her even though he never shows it. He is really not even very nice to Katia. It is just kind of sad watching her as...I don't know how she put up with him. Well I do. He would just have sex with her and she would stop worrying or caring. She is kind of naive and not very smart and just puts up with way more than I would, but I still liked her somehow. This is why Bella is a great author. She wrote a character that I would normally hate, but had me actually like her and be sympathetic towards her. I don't know how that happened, but I did want a happily ever after for the two of them right from the beginning. I wanted Marcus to realize that he cares for Katia and for Katia to have her love returned. So we shall see what happens next!

Marcus, as I said above, is not really a nice guy. You know he is into some shady things, and he is not very nice to Katia, but I didn't hate him either. I did like as you get into the book he does start feeling emotions and it was kind of fun reading that. He doesn't know what to do or even what these weird things are that he is feeling as he is just not used to feeling much of anything. He does grow on you slowly, and the end I was just like what is going on? Why are you doing this?!? I really can't wait to read the conclusion of this story. I can't wait to see what is really going on and how they will work everything out. I think Katia and Marcus will be great together, but I have no idea how they will be able to get there. Katia is pretty broken and Marcus...I don't know what is going on with him. We shall see.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

About the Author:
Bella Jewel is a self published, USA Today bestselling author. She’s been publishing since 2013. Her first release was a contemporary romance, Hell’s Knights which topped the charts upon release. Since that time, she has published over five novels, gaining a bestseller status on numerous platforms. She lives in North Queensland and is currently studying editing and proofreading to further expand her career. Bella has been writing since she was just shy of fifteen years old. In Summer 2013 she was offered an ebook deal through Montlake Romance for her bestselling modern day pirate series, Enslaved By The Ocean. She plans to expand her writing career, planning many new releases for the future.



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Monday, November 24, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo Day 24: Reading Cave Fantasies


Day 24: Reading Cave Fantasies

Growing up we had a bay window in the living room. I always wanted to turn that into a window seat and just sit and read all day, but alas it was not to be. It was kind of falling apart on the outside so we couldn't put a lot of weight on it and it wasn't fixed until much later in my life, but that has always been as ideal reading space for me.

Whenever I see a castle or a house with a turret I think about how amazing it would be if it was just a giant window seat inside and I could sit there all day. But then I actually think about sitting in a round room all day it I don't think it would really work that well, but the idea is perfect. So that is why the bay window would have bee great. I could have sat up and leaned back against the one side, or lying down, or whatever. Perfect.

Even better would be some kind of window box in a corner of the house. Just windows on all sides, except the bottom. Nice fluffy cushion to sit on and lots of pillows. Perfect. Really anything so I can see outside is great.

Then ideally this would be somewhere overlooking the water, preferably from a few stories up. Lake, ocean, sound, whatever just as long as I can watch the storms come in. I used to live in Seattle and worked downtown in some buildings with amazing views. My desk overlooked the sound and I could stare out the window forever. I loved looking out over the water to the mountains on the other side, or watching the rain come across the water. Loved it. I love storms and sitting with my tea and a blanket and reading while it is pouring outside. Thunder and lightning are even better. Or maybe snow. Really anything. Then sunny days are nice as well, especially in winter with the sun shining in warming everything up. Really I guess I just like watching the weather, any weather, while reading. Which is why my reading spot now is by the window.

So there you have it. My ideal reading space. Bay window or something similar with comfortable seating for hours of reading overlooking the water from a few stories up. Perfect.


Release Day! Winning Appeal (Lawyers in Love #4) by N.M. Silber




Available now on Amazon * Amazon.deGoodreads

Synopsis:

Once upon a time, a good girl who wanted to be naughty, met a naughty boy who wanted to be good...

 Beth Pierce, is the Director of Fundraising for her older brother's new legal non-profit. She spends her weekends fighting off lecherous men at charity galas and her weekdays trying to hide her attraction for a certain sexy young attorney in her office.

 Mark Patterson, is the object of Beth's desire. He spends his weekends having casual encounters with women and his weekdays trying not to think about how gorgeous, smart, and sexy Beth is. Because not only is Beth his colleague, she's the younger sister of one of his closest friends.

 When Mark is assigned to escort Beth to those weekend galas, they both quickly realize that things could get very interesting. Will Beth be as naughty as she would like to be? Can Mark be as good as he wants to be? Even if they give in to their desire for each other, how can they risk romance when so much is at stake?

 A companion novella will be included with this edition in January 2015.

✩★✩★Grab the entire series for ONLY $0.99 EACH for a limited time✩★✩★

The Law of Attraction (Lawyers in Love 1)

The Home Court Advantage (Lawyers in Love 2)

Legal Briefs (Lawyers in Love 3)

Legally Wed (A Lawyers in Love Novella)

The Lawyers in Love, Books 1 & 2 Boxed Set




About the Author


N.M. Silber is a USA Today Bestselling author, and recovering attorney, who survived the Philadelphia criminal court system, largely by having a sarcastic sense of humor. She used her her experiences there as a starting place to build her humorous cast of characters and sexy story lines, and she uses her knowledge of legal practice, courtroom procedure, and how lawyers really think, in every one of her novels.

 She has been a #1 Bestselling author in Romantic Comedy on Amazon, and a Top 20 Bestselling author there, and at Barnes & Noble. She was voted an Amazon Reader's Choice Best New Author for 2013, and has been ranked as a Top 100 author there overall. She has stated that her goal is to write books that genuinely make readers feel good.

 N.M. Silber's Writing Manifesto:

1) My characters don't cheat.

2) My characters treat people with dignity.

3) My male characters do not refer to women as "whores," "sluts," or "bitches."

4) My female characters are strong, intelligent and unwilling to be involved with men who act like they are A) fifteen B) emotionally disturbed C) asshats.

5) My couples communicate rather than react.

6) My couples have fun, healthy, hot, and sexy sex. Nobody gets hurt - physically or emotionally.

7) My goal is to make you laugh, swoon, blush and hide in the bathroom to read. My goal is NOT to make you to go through a box of tissues or throw your Kindle.

8) There will be no amnesia, secret babies, dead parents, break ups over misunderstandings, book covers with Fabio on them or use of the words "throbbing manhood."

9) Despite all of the above ^^ I will still provide PLENTY of conflict and tension and sizzling chemistry between my characters.

Connect with N.M.

Hosted by

Sunday, November 23, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo Day 23: Book Boyfriend Criteria


Day 23: Book Boyfriend Criteria

Book boyfriends are often times kind of an odd thing for me. Does this mean boys that I would want to date in real life if I were single? I love a lot of boys in books, but usually I love them for the girls in said books. Not so much for myself. Like Dom from The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand. I love Dom, love him so much, but not for me. I love him with Jamie. But I do have a couple book boyfriends that would be for me so I guess I will describe them a bit. It is hard to put together a list of what my ideal would be as I have dated guys who if you forced me to make a list they would have fit it perfectly and it just didn't work out. I am still friends with them, but it was never romantic even though they would have checked all the boxes. So I like characters. It is easier to say this person, he is what I want instead of pieces from a, a bit from b, and a tad from c to make this guy cause that doesn't really work for me.

First up is the tattooed caveman type. Lots of awesome tattoos, lots of piercings, hair dyed lots of colors and changed now and again, maybe a mohawk or something similar, tall and kind of lanky but muscular at the same time. Maybe kind of a slight punk feel to his clothing or skater boy style something like that. Casual, not suit and tie. That would be what he looks like. Like Rule by Jay Crownover. He was always my ultimate tattooed alpha male type guy. I love him and yeah. He was what I would go to when someone asked about book boyfriends. He knows what he wants and he takes it, but he is also super sweet and gentle with me when he needs to be. Super hot. Rule is looks wise my favorite book guy.

Now Rule was always what I would have said was my ultimate book boyfriend. I love the tattooed boys. Love them. Then I read Beauty & the Mustache by Penny Reid and everything changed. Drew just blew everyone else out of the water. He is so romantic and sweet and kind and perfect and a poet and smart and amazing and nothing like what I would normally say I would like in a guy. I don't really do romance. I don't get it in general. Grand romantic gestures are lost on me. Love poem, no thanks I'm fine. But Drew....Drew has all of this and more and I want nothing more than to be swept away in his romantic gestures and just be a gooey mess forever. I just want him to write me poems and read them to me all day. I just want to be swept up in him. He is now who I immediately think of when I think book boyfriends. He is definitely more his personality than what he looks like. In my head he would be tall and kind of muscular, but not super muscles, with a beard and more like mountain man type. And so sweet and just amazing. Really Drew represents everything I never knew I liked and thought I hated, but after reading him realize he is what I would want over everything else. After reading him all the tattooed boys are a distant memory. Sure when I read them I love them, but Drew holds my book heart. Swoon.

The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne


The Ghost at the Table: A Novel

Synopsis:

Strikingly different since childhood and leading dissimilar lives now, sisters Frances and Cynthia have managed to remain "devoted"—as long as they stay on opposite coasts. When Frances arranges to host Thanksgiving at her idyllic New England farmhouse, she envisions a happy family reunion, one that will include the sisters' long-estranged father. Cynthia, however, doesn't understand how Frances can ignore the past their father's presence revives, a past that includes suspicions about their mother's death twenty-five years earlier.

As Thanksgiving Day arrives, with a houseful of guests looking forward to dinner, the sisters continue to struggle with different versions of a shared past, their conflict escalating to a dramatic, suspenseful climax.

Review:

I really like reading/watching holiday specific things. This year I realized I should search for Thanksgiving books as I don't normally read them. I wasn't sure how many I would find, but I did find a few. This was one of them and included in my countdown to US Thanksgiving!

The Ghost at the Table was not a terrible read, but it wasn't amazing either. I did enjoy the way it was written even if it was a bit repetitive and odd. My husband was reading over my shoulder at one point where the one character is talking about diets where people avoid starches and carbohydrates. It is multiple sentences in a row about it and every one uses starches and carbohydrates. Starches and carbohydrates, starches and carbohydrates, starches and carbohydrates. He was just like has the author never heard of pronouns? It made me laugh, but it is true. It was written like that throughout. 

The characters were also not realistic, at least not like anyone I have encountered. They were so strange the way they were written. The way the thought and spoke was just odd to me. 

"'She probably made him eat muesli every morning. Thing of that.'
'You're right,' she said. 'I'll think of that.'"

The entire way through the story I just kept thinking what is going on with these people. Every single one of them was so odd and this weird character that I just didn't fully understand. I was often just like what is even happening? Why is she doing this? What the what? It was just strange, but I liked it at the same time. 

So Cynthia comes for Thanksgiving dinner with her sister Frances and her family. She shows up and finds that she has to go down with her sister to pick up her father whom she has not spoken to in forever. She is still angry about everything he put them through and can't see how Frances can even talk to him after all that happened. So I kept waiting for what happened and it just never really made sense. It was just...I expected more. The writing, while interesting, never made me really care about anyone. I guess it is supposed to be a mystery, what really happened to their mom, but if so I missed that. I never really wondered what happened to the mom or realized that I was supposed to be trying to figure out who did it until the very end. It just didn't seem that important, even though that is where all the issues with the father started. 

Then it just kind of ends. I got to the end and thought why did I even read this? You read the very last pages and I thought really? This is what this is? Why in the world would this be what was written as a kind of what really happened? It just doesn't make anyone look good. They all look kind of crazy and messed up. Frances is this strange woman that seems like she needs some help as she is just not right in the head, the husband and kids are not much better. Really no one seems right the way they are portrayed. It was just a weird read. As I said I did enjoy the way it was written and I was enjoying it enough until I got to the end and then it was just like why did I waste my time with this? So the end just kind of ruined the strange enjoyment I had with the rest of the book. 

Rating: ★ ★1/2

Available on Amazon, Amazon.de, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo Day 22: #ShowMeYourShelves


Day 22: #ShowMeYourShelves



Alright here is a not very good photo of my bookshelf. As in one. Singular. Sad. There are not actually that many books on it. I used to have shelves and shelves full of books I loved, but then I moved half way around the world and had to give them all up. So now I only have the left two cubes in the second row (my fiction books) and the right cube in the third row of books (my non-fiction books - my backpacking/hiking guides and infos and stuff like that). There are sheet music books in the bottom right two cubes, and the second from the right cube in the third row, but they are my husbands. If there were more places to buy cheap books here (like a dollar) I could fill them up again, but oh well. I read more ebooks now anyways. I still love paper books though. Slowly I shall build my collection once again.  

My Kindle shelves are not anything to speak of either. I don't really organize my ebooks. I have two folders - one is cookbooks and one is Christmas stories as I save those for Christmas time. I always think that maybe I will start putting my ebooks in folders by type of book, holiday themes, series I am waiting for the last book to come out to read, whatever I feel like at the time, but I just am too lazy. Instead I just scroll through all my unread books until I find one that looks good. So there you have my shelves. 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper lee


To Kill a Mockingbird

Synopsis:

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbirdtakes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos.

Review:

To Kill A Mockingbird was my book club book for this month. I had never read it before and I see now why it is such a classic. It was a great read. It is simple and easy to follow, but written in such a way that it entertained me from the first word until the last. Just a really great story.

I was surprised that the story was not as much about black vs white as I had thought going into it. Before reading it I had heard of it of course, but didn't really know the story. I knew there was some talk about race, but I thought that would be most of the story and I didn't think it was. I felt like it was more about people in general and how we treat each other based on various different things, one of them being the color of your skin. Really there is all of the hierarchy of people that everyone is in within their groups. Like Scout couldn't befriend Walter Cunningham because her aunt wouldn't let her. Why? Because he is a Cunningham and Cunningham's are beneath them. They are trash. It was really interesting how it was more about how we treat people in general. Yes, there is the black guy Tom and his trial and that whole racial tension part to it, but it is more than just that. I loved the story.

It was interesting as the one lady in book club felt like nothing really happened in the book, nothing really changed. I found that not to be true. This book was written at that time when the people are on the cusp of change. It shows how change happens slowly, it doesn't happen overnight. You keep fighting and you can change things. The jurors took hours to come back with a guilty conviction instead of minutes like it would have been. Sure it is not perfect yet, but it is setting up for the next time when maybe it won't be that they will convict just based on the color of the skin even if the person is obviously not guilty. Feelings are slowly changing and people are starting to think more about the way they are looking at things. Change doesn't happen overnight, but this showed how you can slowly start to influence people and their ways of doing things.

Atticus was of course the perfect moral compass. He was always level headed and kind to everyone. He didn't hold grudges and just wanted everyone to be treated equally. He didn't think less of the Cunninghams because they didn't have money, or the black people, or anyone really. He was just a great influence on everyone. He is just that all around good person in the story that if you needed to know if something was right or wrong you could look to him and what he thought. Not that he was really perfect, he did have some slight flaws that I don't even know were supposed to be there. Like his views on women are not 100% equal which I found interesting. Still for the most part he is the person to look to for right and wrong.

I am glad it was written in the point of view of a child. It was nice to see how she grew and was influenced by everyone around her. It was nice watching her try and figure out what is right and wrong, how to fit in someone else's skin and see it from their point of view. Really a great read and no wonder it is such a classic. Even though it was written some time ago it still feels relevant today. It is not one of those books where you just can't identify with what is happening and the people of the time because everything is so different. It still works today. Really loved this book and I am glad it was chosen for our book club read this month.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2

Friday, November 21, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo Day 21: #FlashbackFriday – Your First Reviews


Day 21: #FlashbackFriday – Your First Reviews

Oh man, my first reviews. I haven't look at these in forever. Here are links to my first 10 reviews.

1. Worst Week Ever by Liza O'Connor
2. Him by Carey Heywood
3. Crazy Beautiful Love by J.S. Copper
4. You Against Me by Jenny Downham
5. Two Thousand Miles by Jennifer Davis
6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
7. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
8. Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James
9. Unteathered by Katie Hayoz
10. Killer by Stephen Carpenter

Wow, going back and looking at these reviews...they are not very good. Most of them are just I liked it/didn't but not much of why. The books I remember I really enjoyed I kind of want to go back and re-write. Yeah. I definitely feel like I have gotten better at writing reviews since then. I don't often go back and read them, so this was quite interesting. I didn't think I had really grown that much as a writer. If you would have asked me I would have said they are about the same as they are now, but looking at these that is not really true. Some of the books I don't really remember, like Forbidden, and that review does not help me at all remember what I liked/didn't like about the story. Or why you should/shouldn't read it. Crazy. This was a fun one today. I should do this more often, go back and re-read some older reviews just to see what has changed.

Release day! Sugar Rush (Friend-Zoned #3) by Belle Aurora - Review & Giveaway



Today is the day! Sugar Rush, Friend-Zoned #3 is out now! You get to read Max's story!! Yes! Can you tell I am excited? I loved the first two books, so I was really looking forward to reading this one. Keep reading for my review and a chance to win your own copy of this amazing book!


Synopsis:

Max Leokov has watched the people around him find love.
At one point in life, he not only wanted that, but lived for it.
He loved once. He loved with all his heart.
His heart broken, he was left to care for his young daughter.

He deserves a second chance.

Helena Kovac has spent years studying.
She has worked her ass off to get her degree.
She doesn't have time for love. Hell, she doesn't have time to mess around, even.
Books and work are her life. Everything else comes second.

When Max and Helena join forces to help his daughter, Ceecee, they are shocked at the spark between them.

A cynic.
A workaholic.

When love hits, it hits hard.

And sometimes, love hurts.

Review:

I was so excited when I saw there was going to be a third Friend-Zoned book. I loved the first two as they are just fun and amazing so I had high expectations for this book. When I first started reading Sugar Rush Helena was a bit...I didn't really care for her. Her and Nat and their back and forth insults that are actually showing they care were just a bit much for me. Not my thing and I thought did I really love Nat's story? Well then I quickly got into the book and started to see why Helena is so amazing and why I should love her just like everyone else and it was all good. She quickly won me over and she was great. 

It has been a while since I read the other two books and when I was reading and saw it was Max that Helena was crushing on I thought is he the one with the kid? And he is! I was so excited to see this all work out. Ceecee seems like a sweetheart and Max is just amazing with her. He really is such a great guy and he tries to be the best dad ever and you can't help but love him. Sure he is a big flirt when Helena first meets him, but the thing about Max is he doesn't even realize he is doing it. He can be a bit dense sometimes and he thinks his flirting is just being nice. It is awesome. He doesn't always realize what he is doing and is kind of clueless a lot and he is not the smoothest guy out there, but he tries so hard to be a good person. I love him even more for his cluelessness. He really just doesn't know what he is doing sometimes. The very end when the whole family is together and Max just goes for it was amazing. I just love him even if he is not the most romantic guy out there. He tries, but he is oblivious to a lot of things. He is a sweetheart. 

When Helena first sees Max she thinks she will try to hook up with him, but he just blew her off. This was a bit before the start of the book so when Helena ends up moving to New York and living next to her sister she is not too fond of Max. She thinks he is a terrible person since he flirts all the time and he didn't flirt with her. Really she just has a lot of hurt feelings from something he doesn't remember doing. It is obvious he doesn't remember, and he tries his hardest to win her over. He just wants to be friends with her and everyone keeps telling her what a great guy Max is. As she starts to see this for herself she feels bad for being so terrible to him. Things progress and they have an understanding that they won't be super serious or anything. I mean Helena doesn't have time for a man, she would have to give up her career to fall in love and that is just not happening. And Max? Max is not willing to trust someone like that again after his ex, Ceecee's mom, and how terrible she turned out to be. 

It was a lot of fun watching these two fall for each other, both afraid that they will be hurt when the other one calls it quits. They were so cute together and how can you not love Helena especially since she is so amazing with Ceecee? Really they make the perfect little family and it was wonderful. Really a great read. If you enjoyed the other books in this series this will be another great read. If it is your first it is still amazing. As I said it has been a while since I read the first two and I don't really remember them that well so ah. So good.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2

Available on Amazon, Amazon.de, and Goodreads


Also available in the Friend-Zoned series (click the title for my review):


Friend-Zoned available on Amazon, Amazon.de, and Goodreads




About the Author:

Belle Aurora is twenty seven years old and was born in the land down under.

At an early age she fell in love with reading. Boredom one summer had her scouring the bookshelves 
at home. She stumbled across Sandra Brown's Breath of Scandal and fell in love with romance. 

Having been brought up in a loud and boisterous family of Croatian descent, she developed a natural 
love for dramatics and humor. Only some years ago had she discovered a new love. 

Humorous romance novels. 

Kristen Ashley and R.L. Mathewson had opened a brand new world where she could lose herself yet 
feel safe and at home in their stories. Belle has been known to become a screeching banshee while 
anxiously awaiting their newest titles. 

Belle never thought she would write. It had never interested her until recently. Friend-Zoned began 
to form and in February 2013 Belle typed the words Chapter One. And she fell in love. 

With words. 

With writing. 

With a creative imagination she never knew she harbored. 

Friend-Zoned is the first in the Friend-Zoned series. Keep an eye out for this cheeky author.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo Day 20: #TBT – Best Books of 2014


Day 20: #TBT – Best Books of 2014

So I am not actually going to do this one today. Why? Well I like to make a list at the end of the year of my top reads for the year. Since it is almost Dec that would just be a bit repetitive so if you want to see my list check back on Dec 31st!

Release Day Blitz: A Very Grey Christmas (Kissing Eden #3) by T.A. Foster - Promo & Giveaway


Today is release day for A Very Grey Christmas! I am excited about this one. I loved the first two books in this series so I am excited for another story of Eden and Grey!


Available on AmazonAmazon.de, and Goodreads

Synopsis:

I was getting ready to spend the single most important holiday of the year alone. Completely and utterly alone.

That meant he wouldn’t be there Christmas Eve. No making Christmas cookies, or listening to my dad sing off-key while my mom bustled around wrapping last-minute gifts. No decorating the tree. No midnight Christmas kiss. 

No waking up in Grey’s arms. We were actually going to spend our very first Christmas in different states.

That was until Grey gave me the most unexpected gift of my life.


Prior Books in the Series (click title for my review):







About the Author:

T.A. Foster once spent a monthlong spring break on South Padre Island, where she soaked in the Texas sun, beach, and learned what real Texas country music is. Sometimes fiction does spring from reality.

She grew up catching rays and chasing waves along the North Carolina Outer Banks and now resides in the state with her adventurous pilot husband, two children, and two canine kiddos.

T.A. has an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. When she’s not chasing her two-legged and four-legged children or trying to escape for date night, you can find her reading, writing, or planning her next beach trip.

  Author Links: Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads