Thursday, November 14, 2019

Review: Rock F*ck Club #5 by Michelle Mankin

Book info:
TitleRock F*ck Club #5
Author:  Michelle Mankin 
Genre: Adult rock star romance
Release Date:  November 14th, 2019

Source: E-galley from author which did not influence my opinion.
My rating:  4 stars

I’m all for girl power and sh*t. 
Guys are a disaster.

Trust me. I know.

My name is Josephine Poet. I’m the drummer in an all-girl band.

My rule is f*ck a guy only once, then move onto the next one.

The Rock F*ck Club reality show is no different than my real life. Only there are cameras rolling, and they’re offering me a ton of cash. The money and the publicity is just what Joey’s Band needs. A means to an end for a bad girl who knows how to rock, but isn’t looking for anything good.

But what happens when wrong and right collide?

It’s naughty versus nice in Rock F*ck Club Season Three.

What could go wrong?

My Review:
This book was probably more hot than any of the others so far, at least for me.  We got really risque and definitely much different experiences before.  You see Jo is in a girl band.  And Jo and the girls are into guys, but also at times a little into girls.  And it works out for the best because then Jo is able to fulfill her own RFC requirements with some help from her friends in different ways.  Although I still keep counting on my fingers and seem to only find 9 people not 10.  Hmm. Maybe a re-read will be needed?  Which is fine, the steamy scenes in this were as steamy as can be!  I feel like in this one, we really got the main character taking charge of her sex life.  With no regrets, other than maybe one of the times, and well that had more to do with her past than the actual experience.  Jo had a pretty intense past.  And the more I learned about her life, the more I was able to understand her love of the book Wuthering Heights, which I can't stand, but I guess I can get why someone with a hard life might identify or enjoy it more than I did. And then there is Gale.  I adore him, and he was perfect for Jo.  Even with the one secret she kept that caused him to have to take a step back and think on his own past, they really were a match made in heaven.  The author doesn't keep us from losing characters that we know and like, once again there is a loss in this book.  A kind of big one.  Now, I don't know if there will be more books in this series, but if there are, I started making a list as I read about who I think should get to star next on the reality tv show Rock F*ck Club!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Blog Tour Review: No Whisk, No Reward (Donner Bakery #3) by Ellie Kay

No Whisk, No Reward, an all new romantic comedy with twists and turns from Ellie Kay, is available now!

Book info:
TitleNo Whisk, No Reward
Author:  Ellie Kay
SeriesDonner Bakery #3
Genre: Adult romantic comedy
Release Date:  November 12th, 2019

Publisher:  SmartyPants Romance
Source: E-galley from Social Butterfly PR which did not influence my opinion
My rating:  5 stars

How do you know if a risk is worth taking? If you knew, there wouldn’t be any risk.

Following a disastrous appearance on a televised baking show, Sophie Copeland is certain things can’t get any worse. Several calamities later, Sophie finds herself in Green Valley, Tennessee with no plan, no place to stay, and no prospects. But at least she has a temporary seasonal arrangement with the famed Donner Bakery. And that's something, right?

It's not permanent, and it's not a home, but it's still something.

Enter Joel Barnes, a Green Valley mystery, wrapped in rumors, and a whispered connection to the local notorious biker gang. Joel’s got a name for being bad news, but he also has an apartment for rent.

Intrigued by the dichotomy of Joel’s reputation and sexy southern pull, Sophie can’t help but be tempted, even though she knows—given her (bad) luck—she should stay far, far away. . .
Yet as everyone knows, without risk, there’s no reward.

'No Whisk, No Reward' is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book#3 in the Donner Bakery series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

My Review:
Once again I have so much love for all the books in this series, and this one only served to cement that feeling.    Of course we began with a fun cameo with Cletus Winston, and even though I'd probably never think of him as my type in real life, I do adore him.  And what was neat was that we got a lot of Cletus in this book because it took place in the Donner Baker, hence the series name.  I really liked how the story related into the whole Winston brothers stories with Joel's auto shop.  I kind of got the hint that might be it as soon as I heard he had an auto shop and we kept seeing all the bikers riding around and popping up wherever Sophie seemed to be.  

Another great thing as these series continue is getting to spend time with characters we met in the other books.  If you hadn't read their books, you are okay, you'll get to know and love them as side characters too.  Like Tempest from Stud Muffin, and even Joy who we know from those books and the originals I think.  Of course now, after Joy's little confession about who she's always had a crush on and still does, I hope that someone is writing her story!

Now, I was not at all a fan of the name that Sophie's friend had for the bakery she was opening.  Yeast Attraction, a play off of yeast infection.  It still makes me shudder to think about it.  It reminds me of a dental office near where I live called The Cutting Edge, and I don't like to think about sharp objects when I go to the dentist or them cutting into my gums, teeth, etc.  I also loved when Sophie turned down a diet soda because her reason was the same as one of mine, those things like aspartame are bad for you.  

The love story was good, the cooking show story-line was fun as well.  The author also did a great job at pulling in one of my favorite types of Cletus lines when he invited Sophie and Joel over to try his sausage.  Lol.  A great story, from an author I'll look for more from in the future.

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Worldwide:
Add to GoodReads:

That’s when I saw Joel sitting alone in a booth by a large window, eating a sandwich, and reading a newspaper.  

Oh. Hello, conflicted feelings. You’re looking extra conflicting today. Did you do something with your hair?  

His gorgeous brown hair was a mess and the sleeves of his gray shirt were pushed up revealing his forearms which looked even thicker than I remembered them being, as he worked to fold the gigantic pages of the newspaper into neat manageable folds.  

This man was seriously hotter than a melting ice-cream analogy.  

And also, possibly involved with a crime organization! I reminded myself as I continued to stand uselessly trying to find somewhere to sit.  

I tried not to stare, but it was impossible not to smile at the indelicate way he shoved the corner of his sandwich into his mouth and then proceeded to chew as though it might try to escape.  

He picked up his coffee and was mid-sip when his eyes rose up from the rim of his cup and saw me standing by the entrance staring at him.


“Take a seat wherever you can find one, hon, I’ll be along shortly to take your order,” a lady with a nameplate that read Janice, instructed me as she hurried by with a tray of coffee and doughnuts.  

I looked back over at Joel who was watching me and gestured to the empty seat across from his.  

My mind immediately went to Joy and Tempest’s reaction when they found out he was my landlord, but I quickly reminded myself that he’d done nothing to warrant any rudeness on my part.  

Despite their apprehension, I figured this was a good opportunity to try and get more insight into whether I thought their response carried any weight.  

Plus, I really needed coffee.

I made my way over, feeling his eyes on me as I crisscrossed around tables while trying to be ever vigilant of any sudden movements from other patrons.  

My good sense will not be thwarted by your blue-green eyes and frowny brows, you magnificent biker beast.

“Good afternoon,” he greeted in a smooth as hot honey drawl. I was glad that I was already halfway into the seat because I felt my knees completely give out.  

Traitor knees.  

My armor of detachedness was not as hefty as I’d hoped.  

“Taking a break from work?” I inquired, proud of my cool, even tone.  

“Yep, just grabbing something to eat. You?”  

“I’m done for today,” I replied reaching for a menu and unfolding it as though it were just as informative as his newspaper.  

“Nice. Got any plans?”  

“Not really, I was going to check out the bookstore downstairs, but that’s about—”

I was interrupted by the feeling of fingers gently stroking my cheek and looked up to find him reaching across the table, his eyes focused on a spot as he gently swiped at something on my face.  

“Sorry, you got flour or something on your cheek it was driving me crazy,” he said before pulling away and leaning back coolly against his seat.  

I’m gonna get thwarted, aren’t I?
About Ellie Kay
Ellie Kay is an Australian born living in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada who honed her creative writing skills in the colorful, and imaginative world of Corporate Insurance.

Socially awkward, she loves to respond to theatre ticket vendors who say, “enjoy the movie” with, “Thanks, you too,”, but she also likes to cook, travel and spend time with her partner and cat Taako.

Ellie is on a mission to help change the stigma surrounding the Romance genre and hopes to see a day when they are no longer considered “guilty pleasures,” but rather, just a pleasure. 

Connect with Ellie Kay

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Lisa's Looking Forward To #39 - November 19th, 2019

Back to joining up with the Waiting on Wednesday Posts, and the Can't Wait Wednesday posts hosted by Wishful Endings.  Only two books this week to share.

From my ARC list for November 19th, 2019:

I loved his first book, Denton Little's Deathdate, even though I still need to finish the sequel to it.  So I am sure this one will be laugh out loud funny as well.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

The author of Denton Little's Deathdate gives us a tragicomic story of bad dates, bad news, bad performances, and one girl's determination to find the funny in high school.

Winnie Friedman has been waiting for the world to catch on to what she already knows: she's hilarious.

It might be a long wait, though. After bombing a stand-up set at her own bat mitzvah, Winnie has kept her jokes to herself. Well, to herself and her dad, a former comedian and her inspiration.

Then, on the second day of tenth grade, the funniest guy in school actually laughs at a comment she makes in the lunch line and asks her to join the improv troupe. Maybe he's even . . . flirting?

Just when Winnie's ready to say yes to comedy again, her father reveals that he's been diagnosed with ALS. That is . . . not funny. Her dad's still making jokes, though, which feels like a good thing. And Winnie's prepared to be his straight man if that's what he wants. But is it what he needs?

Caught up in a spiral of epically bad dates, bad news, and bad performances, Winnie's struggling to see the humor in it all. But finding a way to laugh is exactly what will see her through.

Sound good?  Add to Goodreads HERE

I loved the first book that this is a sequel too, Navigating the Stars, and I can't wait for this one!  Just wish I'd had an e-galley or ARC of it to read.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder returns with the next page-turning instalment of the new sci-fi series: Sentinels of the Galaxy Year 2522. Lyra Daniels is dead.

Okay, so I only died for sixty-six seconds. But when I came back to life, I got a brand new name and a snazzy new uniform. Go me! Seriously, though, it's very important that Lyra Daniels stays dead, at least as far as my ex-friend Jarren, the murdering looter, knows.

While dying is the scariest thing that's happened to me, it morphed my worming skills. I can manipulate the Q-net like never before. But Jarren has blocked us from communicating with the rest of the galaxy and now they believe we've gone silent, like Planet Xinji (where silent really means dead).

A Protector Class spaceship is coming to our rescue, but we still have to survive almost two years before they arrive - if they arrive at all. Until then, we have to figure out how to stop an unstoppable alien threat. And it's only a matter of time before Jarren learns I'm not dead and returns to finish what he started.

There's no way I'm going to let Jarren win. Instead I'll do whatever it takes to save the people I love. But even I'm running out of ideas...

'Smart, witty and full of heart, Navigating the Stars had me hooked from the very first page!' - Lynette Noni, bestselling author of The Medoran Chronicles

Sound good?  Add to Goodreads HERE.

Final Thoughts:
The number of books this week is even fewer than last week.  Have you read any of these yet?  Are they on your TBR?  And hey, while you're here, you should go try to win some of my ARCs from Cleaning Up My TBR Post HERE.  The US only giveaway is open till Friday at midnight, there are even some 2019 ARCs that can be one of your two choices. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Release Day Blitz with Giveaway: Storm of Secrets (Haunted Bluffs Mystery #2) by Loretta Marion

I am so excited that STORM OF SECRETS by Loretta Marion is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Loretta Marion, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for signed first editions of STORM OF SECRETS and book 1 HOUSE OF ASHES and a book bag and stickers, US Only AND ebook of THE FOOL'S TRUTH International, courtesy of Loretta and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About the Book:

Title: STORM OF SECRETS (Haunted Bluffs Mystery #2)
Author: Loretta Marion
Pub. Date: November 12, 2019
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 312

A deadly storm, a missing three-year-old child, a grisly murder, and the eerie presence of the spirits of the dead set the stage for the second mesmerizing installment of Loretta Marion's paranormal suspense series.

A powerful storm descends upon Cape Cod's Whale Rock at the peak of tourist season--and the weekend Cassandra Mitchell's and Daniel Benjamin's wedding is set to take place at The Bluffs, the magnificent Victorian mansion Cassie inherited from her family. In the wake of the storm's destruction, three-year-old Lucas Kleister goes missing--and the body of small-time drug dealer Lee Chambers is found in a restaurant dumpster. Now, the WRPD are faced with a murder to solve, a missing child to find, and the aftermath of one of the worst storms in recent memory.

While aiding with the clean-up and helping the displaced, Cassie has been receiving cryptic messages from the spirits of her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, the original residents of The Bluffs. At first, the messages are benign, but soon, they begin to point to something more sinister. As Cassie works to decipher their meaning, the specter of a mysterious local legend surfaces. The tale of Barnacle Boy--and what happened to him during another destructive storm decades earlier--will weave through the desperate search to find Lucas and the identity of the killer.

"Modern and historic mysteries collide in Marion's bittersweet storytelling."   

“[A] gripping sequel...Marion seamlessly weaves the multiple story threads together. Fans of tales of regional intrigue will be satisfied.” Publishers Weekly  

Title: HOUSE OF ASHES (Haunted Bluffs Mystery #1)
Author: Loretta Marion
Pub. Date: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 336

A family patriarch’s dying proclamation, an enigmatic disappearance, and a century-old curse converge in the shadows of a majestic home on Cape Cod’s craggy coast.

Thirty-seven-year-old painter Cassandra Mitchell is fourth-generation to live in the majestic Battersea Bluffs, a brooding Queen Anne home originally built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, and still standing despite tragedies that have swept the generations. Local lore has it that there was a curse placed on the family and the house is haunted, though opinions are divided on whether it's by malicious or benevolent spirits. Cassie believes the latter―but now she stands to lose her beloved home to mounting debt and the machinations of her dream-weaving ex-husband.

Salvation seems to arrive when a nomadic young couple wanders onto the property with the promise of companionship and much-needed help―until they vanish without a trace, leaving behind no clue to their identities. Cassie is devastated, but determined to discover what's happened to the young couple...even as digging into their disappearance starts to uncover family secrets of her own. Despite warnings from her childhood friend, now the local Chief of Police―as well as an FBI agent who pushes the boundaries of professionalism―Cassie can't help following the trail of clues (and eerie signals from the old house itself) to unravel the mystery. But can she do so before her family's dark curse destroys everything in its path?

Whale Rock Village, Massachusetts     

     On the short walk to my car, a sparkle caught my eye on the ground near a temporary dumpster behind La Table, the new location of my old flame Billy Hughes’s catering business.
     Later, I reflected on how different things would have been had I not been so curious.
     What if I hadn’t had the dress fitting today? What if I hadn’t parked in Archie’s space? What if I hadn’t gone out the back door of his shop? What if I hadn’t gone over to examine what was glittering next to the dumpster?
     “The what ifs and should haves will eat your brain.” It was a quote of John O’Callaghan’s, from his book of poetry entitled, Sincerely, John the Ghost—ironically, a gift from Zoe, who’d always eschewed the notion of Percy’s and Celeste’s spirits.
     The point is, if I hadn’t done all those things, then I wouldn’t have seen that glint on the ground and gone over to check out what it was. Most crucially, I would never have noticed a hand through the rusted-out hole in the dumpster.
     A very dead hand.

About Loretta

An author of fiction, Loretta’s writing bridges the genres of women’s fiction, mystery and suspense, always with hints of romance and humor, sometimes delving into the psychological and paranormal. She creates strong but flawed and struggling characters as appealing as the rich atmospheric settings in which the stories take place.

Loretta has loved reading and creating with words since she was a young girl. And that affection for the written word followed her like a shadow throughout her life as she put pen to paper crafting marketing and advertising copy, educational brochures and newsletters. But her passion for writing fiction evolved from the unlikely world of hospice. As a volunteer, she set out to establish a Legacy Story program to honor and preserve the rich heritage of the fascinating people who were soon to leave this world. The meaningful experience inspired her to create her own interesting characters and stories.

Though born and raised in the Midwest, Loretta fell in love with New England and has made it the setting for much of her writing. When not whipping out words on her laptop, she is traveling, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or is curled up with a delicious new book. Loretta lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Geoffrey, and their beloved Mr. Peabody, a sweet, devoted and amusing “Corgador” (Corgi-Labrador cross).

Represented by Jill Grosjean Literary Agency

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a one signed first edition copy of each book in the Haunted Bluffs Mystery Series - HOUSE OF ASHES and STORM OF SECRETS in a book bag with book marks, US Only.

1 winner will receive an ebook of THE FOOL'S TRUTH, International.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Bookmarks

Top 10 Tuesday is now sponsored by The Artsy Reader Girl.  It's been over a year I think since I've done one, but once again this will tie in perfectly to my Blog Ahead Challenge that I did in October to get my November posts done ahead if I can so I can have lots of time to write for NaNoWriMo this year. 

If you've followed me for a while, you probably have seen me mention that I am one of those people who does what makes some of you cringe, I dog-ear pages.  But the weird thing is that I love bookmarks, so I guess I am just a collector really.  It's hard not to collect them working at a bookstore and seeing all the cool ones out there.  Since I have so many, I've chosen to gather some together for a few of the choices.  Honestly, other than the first one below, these aren't necessarily in any order.


This is probably my favorite bookmark, and it has actually been used. I don't remember who I got it from, but it was a librarian who mailed it to me shortly after I went back to school to work on my Master's Degree in Library Science.  I love the tv show BTVS, and so of course loved these bookmarks.  Now, I know this is an ALA bookmark, and at one time there was a poster that went with this.  If I could find the poster I'd be in hog heaven.


This one I received one of the two times I did Weight Watchers and was really successful after I lost my first 5 pounds.  I have actually used it as well.


Some of the first bookmarks I bought while working at the bookstore, these Twilight bookmarks have been used by me.


I also love bookmarks as souvenirs.  The Egyptian one was actually brought home to me from Egypt by my stepdad when he used to travel there for work.  The one on the bottom my friend brought me back from Hawaii.  The metal one I bought for myself a couple summers ago in Albuquerque.


I adore these Harry Potter bookmarks we sell at my store, and I keep buying them even though I don't use them.


I like these clip bookmarks, but again, don't use them.  I don't own all of them, have to keep stopping myself from buying every new set that comes out.  I mean especially since it seems there is one for Harry in every set.


I adore bookmarks that are funny reading quotes or jokes like these.  I know I have more somewhere, but this is all I could find in time to take this picture.


Of course I had to buy all the bookmarks that were for The Big Bang Theory.


I love bookmarks from bookish events I've been to.


I also love to get signed bookmarks by authors that I meet.  Again, I know I have more, I just can't seem to find them for this picture. 

What are your favorite types of bookmarks?

Monday, November 11, 2019

Blog Tour Review: Prose Before Bros (Green Valley Library #3) by Cathy Yardley


Fans of swoony love stories with strong female leads putting alpha males in their place will adore this book!”- Katie Ashley, New York Times bestselling author

Prose Before Bros, an all-new opposites attract romance from Cathy Yardley, is available now!

Book info:
TitleProse Before Bros
Author:  Cathy Yardley
SeriesGreen Valley Library #3
Genre:  Adult romantic comedy
Release Date:  November 5th, 2019

Publisher:  SmartyPants Romance
Source: E-galley from Social Butterfly PR which did not influence my opinion
My rating:  4.5 stars


Nothing about being a librarian prepared Thuy Nguyen for such a wide variety of casseroles. Or life in a small town. Or becoming a farmer.

But what can she do when her catastrophe-prone best friend begs her for help? After all, Maddy has always been there for Thuy. It’s time to return the favor.

It’s simple really, all she has to do is: learn everything about farming ASAP, save her BBF’s family business from disaster, and avoid being caught staring at Maddy’s biker brother, and his muscles, and his smile, and his soulful, sexy eyes.

Oh yeah, and she should definitely not fall in love with him.

Easy, right? . . . Right.

'Prose Before Bros' is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book#3 in the Green Valley Library series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.

Copy of GVL03-LIVE

My Review:
I'm totally loving all of these books set not only in the fictional world of Green Valley that I love, but also with some awesome librarians!  This book had some amazingly true parts about how it is to be a librarian, as well as so many real things that go on in the book world.  Like authors banding together to donate and help out libraries in need, or anyone in need.  And the fight between the last generation of librarians to save everything and keep it traditional compared to the newer generation of librarians who want to get the library to meet the needs of all of its patrons.  I am not normally a fan or a reader of actual motorcycle club romances, so that is probably what kept this from being a full 5 stars here on my blog, even though I will give it the full 5 stars on every other site instead of rounding down to 4.  It was my love of the perfect picture of librarians of all ages, along with the whole Green Valley scene and some of the characters we already know and love that keeps me rounding it up.  The story was good, and in the end, I loved the way that Thuy saved the day.  I mean all that pain and suffering in her early life definitely deserved to pay off in some way, and it did in the perfect way to save Drill.  

I'll once again reiterate how much I'm loving this series and all the ways we get to go back into the Green Valley world and be a part of it.  To meet all these new characters and see them interacting with the main characters from other books in the series is fun as well.  As much as I say I don't like MC romances, I did actually enjoy a bit of seeing Drill try to find his way out of the Wraiths and getting a little bit of a peek into that organization now that all the big names we know from the Winston Brothers series have made their exits.  Now, hand over the next book in the series please, I'm ready for it!

Download copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Worldwide:
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Add to GoodReads:

“Tell me: what kind of books do the men you sleep with read?”

She blinked. Not what she expected him to say. She felt herself smile, slowly. “It’s not like I have a required reading list,” she said, then paused. “Although now that you mention it, that’s not a bad idea.”  

He chuckled. “Probably classics, or ‘literature’, or whatever smart people read,” he said, and there was a note of self-deprecation that somehow broke Thuy’s heart. She quickly shook her head.  

“I don’t read a lot of lit fic — nothing too snobby,” she said. “I mean, I don’t just read literature or classics, although I appreciate them. I read lots of genre fiction, too. Romance, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, thrillers. I think it’s important to read outside of your comfort zone: different authors, different experiences. I have comfort reads, too, but I… well, if you hadn’t guessed, I read all the time,” she finally said, as she realized she was rambling.  

He was staring at her like she was something brand new, something he’d never experienced before. She felt embarrassed, and quickly finished her drink.

“You know,” he said, his voice tinged with amused surprise, “I don’t think I’m as passionate about anything as you are about books.”  

She let out a half-laugh. “They are my favorite thing ever. They gave me a place to go when my life was shitty, and they have continually given me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I read every single day. They’re my lifeline.”  

“Now I envy you,” he said, and she got the feeling he wasn’t just bullshitting her — he sounded like he meant it. “What do you think a guy like me should read?”  

She felt warmth, and it had nothing to do with the amaretto she’d consumed. This was the sort of challenge she loved. She scooted a little closer, so they could talk over the music without yelling. “What kind of movies do you like? What kind of stories?”  

By the end of their talk, nearly two hours had gone by. She found out he liked adventure stories, and that he liked stories with justice and questionable heroes and things that had puzzles. She could think of several books, across several genres, and started to list them all.  

“Whoa, whoa,” he said, holding up a hand. “I’m not going to be able to remember all of them. Which one of those is your favorite?”  

She paused, thinking about it. “For a true book junkie,” she said slowly, “that’s like asking ‘which one is your favorite child?’ or ‘what appendage would you like to keep?’”  

He laughed, and she smiled back at him.

“But, based on what you’ve told me,” she said, “I’d say The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.”  
“Okay.” He nodded. “I’ll read it.”  

She must’ve looked skeptical, because he chuckled.  

“I mean it. I’ll give it a try.”  

“It’s like seven hundred pages long,” she warned him.  

His eyes widened, then he shrugged. “Okay, it may take a little while. But hell, I’m game.”  


He was silent for a long moment, staring into her eyes. She squirmed as the heat from his gaze seemed to seep into her very bones.  

“Do you really not know?” he asked, so matter-of-factly that she felt like an idiot.  

He’s volunteering to read a book for you.  

She felt heat suffuse her cheeks. That might be the single sexiest thing a guy had ever offered to do for her. 

About Cathy Yardley
Cathy Yardley is an award-winning author of romance, chick lit, and urban fantasy, who has sold over 1.2 million copies worldwide. She writes fun, geeky, and diverse characters who believe that underdogs can make good and sometimes being a little wrong is just right. She spends her time writing in the wilds of East Seattle, riding herd on her two dogs, one son, and one husband. 

Connect with Cathy Yardley

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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) - Down the TBR Hole #46

This meme was started by Lost in a Story.  Here is how it works:
  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
So, while I'm making a teensy bit of progress, I think I want to try to push that number each week up to 20 instead of just 10.  Let's see how that goes!

1.  Too Cool for School for Elizabeth Collins:
TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL is an exciting new memoir by award-winning essayist and teacher Elizabeth Collins.

Elizabeth Collins was considered an excellent, highly qualified high school English teacher, but a sudden partisan attack against her purpose and character left Collins reeling and nearly destroyed her teaching career.

Collins became an unwitting target, “a too-liberal” teacher with an Obama sticker on her car and a Ms. in front of her name who, a couple people feared, might “indoctrinate” conservative, Catholic girls into her own intellectual, independent ways.

What began with a petty complaint spiraled into heinous threats against Collins’ family, relentless legal harassment, heart problems, and an internationally reported fiasco.

Lauded as “a hero and a martyr” for refusing to give in after the threats and for daring to write about her experiences as a teacher, Collins was also considered dangerous because of her open-minded politics and willingness to speak.

TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL explains the kind of teacher Collins was and is, what she wrote about teaching on her widely-read blog, Pretty Freaky, and how she survived the madness of being the center of a story that is still reported—and misreported.

When a good teacher can be targeted for having interesting ideas about teaching, and using social media to share her thoughts, who is safe? Who will want to teach in the current teacher-hating climate where teachers are not allowed to do their jobs?

Collins’ fascinating memoir is at once heartbreaking, deeply funny, uplifting, and terrifying. Filled with invaluable teaching tips and lesson ideas, along with the provocative story of Collins’ educational background and unconventional classroom experiences, TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL is essential reading for all teachers, parents, students, and anyone concerned with the state of American education today.

My thoughts:
Probably good, but not interested really anymore.

Verdict:  Toss

2.  The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth:  Popularity, Quirk Theory and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School by Alexandra Robbins:
When school lunchroom doors open, hungry students rush in, searching for tables where they wouldn't be outsiders. Of course, in middle school and high school, almost everyone is an outsider: the nerds, the new girls, the band geeks, the loners; even the "popular" cheerleaders. Alexandra Robbins' The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth takes us inside the hallways of real schools to show us how shifting cliques and permanent marginalization affect children. Following individual students over the course of a year, she tracks the plight and possibilities of self-confessed nerds, freaks, punks, Goths, and weirdos. Her central message is heartening: Our increasingly homogenized society ultimately needs and welcomes the cafeteria fringe.

My thoughts
As interesting as it still sounds, just don't know when I'd get around to reading it.

Verdict: Toss 

3.  The Gaggle:  How the Guys You Know Will Help You Find the Love You Want by Jessica Massa:
Now in paperback, The Gaggle captures the zeitgeist of today's “post-dating” world where instead of traditionally dating, women find love by cultivating a “gaggle” of men.You know you’re great, so why haven’t you been on a classic dinner-and-a-movie date since . . . well, forever? Because as it turns out, you are now living in a post-dating world, where the old rules for romance no longer apply. Suddenly, everything and nothing is a date. But this means that you have much more going on in your love life than you realize.

Say hello to your gaggle.

Your gaggle is the group of guys in your life who you might not be “dating,” but who play different roles, fulfill different needs, and help you figure out who you are and what you want. Though no two gaggles are alike, there are ten types of men a gaggle might include, such as the Ego Booster, the Hot Sex Prospect, and the Boyfriend Prospect. Romance, excitement, self-discovery, love…all this will be yours, once you start thinking of each man you know and meet as a potential guy in your gaggle.

In this clever and groundbreaking debut, based on nationwide interviews with women and men, Jessica Massa reveals that the potential for romance is all around you. The Gaggle is the ultimate guide to embarking on an entirely new path to love in a world that has left traditional dating behind.

My thoughts:  
Pretty much giving up on any of these types of things working for me.  Because they don't.  I'm 47, I've had times in my life where I've hung out with groups of guys, had friends that were guys,  you name it.  None of that works.  Probably just for me.  I'm going to be alone forever.

Verdict: Toss

4.  Endurance by Ann Aguirre:
When rebellion destroys the underground world in which Thimble and Stone have grown up, they take Stone's son and try to escape the chaos. Along the way, they must evade the Freaks, beings who feed on human flesh. Leaving behind the roles of Builder and Breeder which they were assigned at birth, they wander the underground tunnels, looking for safety yet afraid to go "topside" where legend has it that the light and water will burn their skin from their bones.

Their journey takes them upward to an unimagined world of tinned food, comfortable furniture, and books. Away from their regimented society for the first time, and still facing imminent danger, Thimble and Stone acknowledge the forbidden attraction which both have denied for years.

My thoughts:  
I don't know if I'll ever get around to this series, and if I do, I need to read the first one to see if I like it before I get to any of the others.

Verdict: Toss

5.   More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell:
Customer (holding up a book): What’s this? The Secret Garden? Well, it’s not so secret now, is it, since they bloody well wrote a book about it!

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops was a Sunday Times bestseller, and could be found displayed on bookshop counters up and down the country. The response to the book from booksellers all over the world has been one of heartfelt agreement: it would appear that customers are saying bizarre things all over the place - from asking for books with photographs of Jesus in them, to hunting for the best horse owner’s manual that has a detailed chapter on unicorns.

Customer: I had such a crush on Captain Hook when I was younger. Do you think this means I have unresolved issues?

More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops has yet more tales from the antiquarian bookshop where Jen Campbell works, and includes a selection of ‘Weird Things...’ sent in from other booksellers across the world. The book is illustrated by the BAFTA winning Brothers McLeod.

My thoughts:
Loved the first book. This one never was available in the store where I work, so I need to order it online.

Verdict: Keep

6.  Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love:
For those who thirst for accounts of paranormal romance, Trisha Telep has compiled some of the most thrilling takes of forbidden love in this collection. First crushes and last rites; dark spells and bright magic; forbidden lovers and enchanted beings -- and always, always the hungry games of desire. Pucker up for a darkly sweet collection of ghosts, shape shifters, fairies, unicorns, vampires, and demons in tales from today's biggest writers of the paranormal persuasion.

My thoughts:
Nothing new here, but there are some awesome sounding authors included. 

Verdict: Toss

7.  World of Shell and Bone by Adriana Ryan:
In a world ravaged by a nuclear holocaust, Vika Cannon knows there are no guarantees: no guarantees of safety, no guarantees that your neighbor is not actually a spy for the government, and no guarantees you'll be allowed to emigrate to a new life in China.New Amana is dying. Food and water are scarce, and people suffering from radiation-caused mutations--the Nukeheads--are the new class of homeless. Vika has just one purpose: to produce healthy progeny using a Husband assigned by the Match Clinic. Unhealthy children are carted away to Asylums to be experimented on, just as Vika's little sister Ceres was, eight years ago. Parents incapable of producing healthy progeny are put to death in gas chambers.When she's assigned a Husband shortly after her twentieth birthday, Vika expects him to be complacent and obedient. But Shale Underwood has a secret. He is a member of the Radicals, the terrorist group intent on overthrowing the government. And Shale has information about Ceres.As she learns more about the Rads's plan, Vika finds herself drawn to Shale in ways she'd never imagined. When freedom calls in the way of a healthy pregnancy, will she betray her government and risk death for Shale and Ceres?

My thoughts:  
Nah.  Too much of the same here.  Plus, she's holding her boob in her hand on the cover and for some reason it is bugging me for this picture. Almost doesn't match what the story is supposed to be.

Verdict:  Toss

 8.  Mortality (The Hitchhiker Strain #1) by Kellie Sheridan:
After surviving a deadly plague outbreak, sixteen-year-old Savannah thought she had lived through the very worst of human history. There was no way to know that the miracle vaccine would put everyone at risk for a fate worse than un-death.

Now, two very different kinds of infected walk the Earth, intent on nothing but feeding and destroying what little remains of civilization. When the inoculated are bitten, infection means watching on in silent horror as self-control disappears and the idea of feasting on loved ones becomes increasingly hard to ignore.

Starving and forced to live inside of the abandoned high school, all Savannah wants is the chance to fight back. When a strange boy arrives with a plan to set everything right, she gets her chance. Meeting Cole changes everything. Mere survival will never be enough.

My thoughts:
Hmm.  Probably not.  Plus, don't quite get the cover.

Verdict:  Toss

9.  The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson:
Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you're the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect--read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice--stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you've had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie's secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She'll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie's going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.

My thoughts:
I actually still like the sound of this one.

Verdict: Keep

10.  The Worlds We Make by Megan Crewe:
The virus has taken away Kaelyn’s friends, her family, her home.

And now a deadly enemy threatens to take the one hope she has left:

When Kaelyn and her friends reached Toronto with a vaccine for the virus that has ravaged the population, they thought their journey was over. But now they're being tracked by the Wardens, a band of survivors as lethal as the virus who are intent on stealing the vaccine no matter what the cost.

Forced onto the road again, Kaelyn and her companions discover the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is their best hope for finding scientists who can reproduce the vaccine. But with the virus already spreading among them, the Wardens hot on their trail, and hundreds of miles to cross, Kaelyn finds herself compromising her morals to keep her group alive. Her conscience seems a small price to pay if protects them and their precious cargo. Unless even that is not enough...

In the final installment in Megan Crewe’s captivating the Fallen World trilogy, Kaelyn is on the run from her biggest adversaries yet. While she continues to face horrific loss, her resolve is still strong. But to survive this shattered world, will she have to sacrifice all that's left of the girl she was?

My thoughts:
I really like this series, and I need to read this final book!

Verdict:  Keep

11.  The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson:
Rory and her friends are reeling from a series of sudden and tragic events. While racked with grief, Rory tries to determine if she acted in time to save a member of the squad. If she did, how do you find a ghost? Also, Rory’s classmate Charlotte has been kidnapped by Jane and her nefarious organization. Evidence is uncovered of a forty-year-old cult, ten missing teenagers, and a likely mass murder. Everything indicates that Charlotte’s in danger, and it seems that something much bigger and much more terrible is coming.

Time is running out as Rory fights to find her friends and the ghost squad struggles to stop Jane from unleashing her spectral nightmare on the entire city. In the process, they'll discover the existence of an organization that underpins London itself - and Rory will learn that someone she trusts has been keeping a tremendous secret.

In this exhilarating third installment to her New York Times bestselling series, Maureen Johnson brings the sinister streets of London to life with her signature wit and page-turning suspense.

My thoughts:
Another series that I really like and need to keep or finish reading!

Verdict: Keep

12.  The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller:
On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

My thoughts:
I still kind of want to read this one.

Verdict: Keep

13.  The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan:

The incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history.
The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project’s secret cities, it didn’t appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships—and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men!

But against this vibrant wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work—even the most innocuous details—was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb.
Though the young women originally believed they would leave Oak Ridge after the war, many met husbands there, made lifelong friends, and still call the seventy-year-old town home. The reverberations from their work there—work they didn’t fully understand at the time—are still being felt today. In The Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan traces the astonishing story of these unsung WWII workers through interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents. Like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, this is history and science made fresh and vibrant—a beautifully told, deeply researched story that unfolds in a suspenseful and exciting way.

My thoughts:
They compare it to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which I devoured, so I feel like I still want to read this one.

Verdict: Keep

14.  Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton:
Ari can't help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can't be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it's impossible to protect herself when she doesn't know what she's running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won't stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

My thoughts:
Although I can tell why I added it, plus it is going to take place in New Orleans, a future one, but still, I don't think I'll get to it.  And actually I have the whole trilogy on my TBR, so I'll get all of them off with this post.

Verdict:  Toss

15.  Reboot by Amy Tintera:
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

My thoughts:
I know this was a popular book at one time, but don't know that I'll get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

16.  Shifting by Bethany Wiggins:
After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal.

Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.

Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.

My thoughts:
I've liked other books by this author, and I like the idea that this is based on a Navajo legend. 

Verdict:   Keep

17.  Through Frankie's Eyes by Barbara Gail Techel:
Renowned novelist E.M. Forster wrote: "I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves." If your authentic self has disappeared beneath a burden of should haves or could haves-pleasing everyone but yourself, worrying about everything that's out of your control while ignoring what only you can change, settling for less than you know you can be-this is such a book. Author Barbara Techel has certainly gone farther down the path toward self-discovery than most of us have dared, and here she shares that journey with readers ready for its influence on their own choices. It's your time: to grow; to learn from a woman who's overcome her deepest fears to live joyfully, with integrity and intent; and to marvel at the magic of it happening under the guidance and knowing eyes of a small, red dog on wheels. Let this story seep into your consciousness and inspire you-indeed, allow you-to start or continue your own fulfilling journey to who you really are. You've picked up this book because you're craving the inspiration and uplift it so generously offers. Don't put it down. It's a gift, if you're ready to accept it. Read it. Hold onto it to remind you that though you may have work to do, you absolutely can achieve the life you're striving for. Free yourself of the things that no longer matter, and embrace how beautiful the world is to someone who can see it...through Frankie's eyes.

My thoughts:
There's a dachshund on the front, and I want to keep it just because of that.  But I know it's not something I'd probably ever get around to reading.

Verdict:  Toss

18.  Zoo by Tara Elizabeth:
A chronicle of my time living in a zoo . . . I'm not really sure where to start, and you may have trouble believing me even as I tell you my story. My family did. They laughed the first time I told them, so now I just say it was all a crazy dream. You see, I died in a totally preventable car accident . . . or so I thought. When I opened my eyes, I was shocked to discover that I had been resurrected into the year 2282 and, just as unbelievably, was locked up in a zoo! A HUMAN ZOO! Oh wait, I mean the People's Past Anthropological Center.

The Global Government created the Centers because all of the different cultures of the world had, over centuries of time, slowly absorbed into one uniform culture. Everything and everybody felt the same, and the world didn’t like it. So, to help the people of 2282 find cultures they thought worthy to live their lives by, they used time travel to zap the people of the past into the future. They created enclosures to house their live human exhibits. And that's what happened to me. I became a research project, a source of entertainment. I was a prisoner who was over two hundred years away from my family and friends.

Most of my time in the enclosure was spent trying to escape. I also made friends, lost friends, fell in love, was betrayed, was held captive within captivity, and lots of other fun stuff. There were some shocking moments and some devastating moments . . . It’s a lot to recount, but I’ll try my best to tell you all about my time travel . . . PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE.

I'm Emma, by the way.

My thoughts:
Um, weird sounding, but nah.

Verdict:  Toss

19.  Furious by Jill Wolfson:
Three high school girls become the avenging Furies of Greek legend.

We were only three angry girls, to begin with. Alix, the hot-tempered surfer chick; Stephanie, the tree-hugging activist; and me, Meg, the quiet foster kid, the one who never quite fit in. We hardly knew each other, but each of us nurtured a burning anger: at the jerks in our class, at our disappointing parents, at the whole flawed, unjust world.

We were only three angry girls, simmering uselessly in our ocean-side California town, until one day a mysterious, beautiful classmate named Ambrosia taught us what else we could be: Powerful. Deadly. Furious.

My thoughts:
Well, doesn't sound that original, although I do kind of like the cover. 

Verdict:  Toss

20.  The Sphinx Project by Kate Hawkings:
Not many people can say their entire existence has been one big lab experiment: poked and prodded by scientists, genetically modified to be the best and endure the worst, subjected to daily tests and trials that would kill a normal human. All Michaela wants is her own life, to be able to go to school, flirt with boys, maybe eat ice cream now and then. So when the chance to escape finally comes, Michaela and her sister grab it, taking their friends with them.

But they weren’t the only ones to find their way out of those labs. Following close behind are another breed of creature, one that doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong, who exist only to feed their own hunger. The appearance of a strange boy who seems too much like them to be a coincidence makes things even more confusing. But as the world begins to literally fall apart around them, Michaela must accept his help, especially when she could lose the very thing she holds dearest: her sister.

My thoughts:
Again, doesn't sound that original.

Verdict:  Toss

Final Thoughts:
Keeping seven this week, although several of them are parts of series I've already read and enjoyed, so it makes sense.

I know that usually I will post how many are left this week compared to last week, but I honestly got this post done in October as part of my Blogging Ahead Challenge, so I don't have the numbers ready from last week's post, since it isn't done yet. 

Have you read any of these?  Would you suggest I keep any I'm tossing?  And if you're inspired to do this on your blog, please feel free to join in and share a link in the comments, since it will also get you an extra entry into my giveaway at the bottom of this post.      

Once again this is a US only giveaway, unless you are International and see a book here you really want and would be willing to pay for the difference in the shipping through Paypal or some other way.  You get to pick any two books from the pictures below, as long as they don't get traded away, or picked by last week's winner, and I will pick a surprise book from the piles to add to your choice.  As I mentioned above, unpacking is finding a lot of books to get rid of, so you have even more to pick from this week!  Here are your choices:   

2018 ARCs:

2015-2017 ARCs:

I'm continuing to add in my 2019 ARCs now.  You can pick one of your two choices from the picture below, the other book you pick needs to come from the pictures above.  

Once again I'm going to let you pick two, along with me throwing in a surprise third book!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below.   Disclaimer:  Unfortunately, while I've only had it happen once, I'm going to have to make a statement like other giveaways I've seen on blogs that I am not responsible for lost mail.

a Rafflecopter giveaway