Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May End of Month Wrap Up Post

Time to look back at the month!  While I didn't do a Sunday Post this week, I was on vacation until yesterday, out of town, so I feel it is okay.  Plus, I didn't get that many books, so I'll share next Sunday instead.  I think I may have a new challenge to talk about next month though.  I've joined into a Comment Challenge for June.  And hope to continue with the rest of the summer months as well.

I'll keep you updated on that weekly!


So far I'm keeping up with this, with one a month, although I have two ideas for topics right now.  I don't know if I'll do both in June, or save one for July.  You can check out my May discussion:  This Review Should Come With a Warning - Or is it okay to review New Adult, Adult, and Young Adult on the Same Blog?  You can click on the button above to see my sign up post for my goals.


Now this next challenge is my own challenge, one I started back in December to try to get through all those series that everyone else loves, and I have yet to start, but maybe already have the first one sitting on my TBR shelf.  I didn't do so well this month. Didn't really start anything new. Although I have started some that I'll be able to share in my June wrap up.  You can click on the button above to find out more about it!


Once again I've linked to my original post with the button above.  This is another challenge that I didn't quite live up to this month.   However, as with the last challenge, I've got a few to talk about in June, and with it being summer break, expect a lot more!


My original post is linked in the button above.  I'm not doing so great.  While I did give feedback on one book in May, I also downloaded some others, and so my feedback ratio is down to 69%.  Here is the one book that matched this goal for May:


If you click the button above you can see my original goals.  Let's go through them one by one again:

  • While I mentioned above that Netgalley wasn't doing great for my downloading, I have definitely done better with Edelweiss.  I'll go write it down in my calendar, and then only go to download it if I know I'm going to have time and actually read it.
  • While I didn't technically post every day of the month, for example yesterday, I did have a lot of posts to take up every day.  And I don't see things slowing down in June!  But with it being summer, I hope that I won't feel overwhelmed and can hopefully get more done ahead.  Like all the reviews I'm behind on!
  • I haven't been as great at commenting this month because of all the end of school stuff. But with the comment challenge I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I plan to pick it back up this month!
  • Still on top of the monthly wrap up posts!
  • Still reaching my goal of two or more reviews a week.  With all the ebooks I was reading through last month, I've had quite a few to share!
  • Personal goals:  Still no money saved.  In fact, because I spent a bit too much at Comic Con a week or so ago, and then I didn't get my end of the month paycheck until today, I had to borrow money from my mom to have fun in Branson this past weekend.  I did meet my walking goal of twice a week.  I haven't done my reward yet.  Still deciding between a new Alta Fit Bit, or a pair of Tom's, and of course the reward will have to wait till I get some money.  I will be upping my exercise goal to three times a week.  May not get that many done this week, but will stick to my twice a week for sure.  My three times a week goal will be until the end of July.

So I did get one this month.  You can see my goals for this challenge by clicking on the button above if you'd like. 
I mentioned last month about how I'm hoping to do some more writing this month.  I've set up a writing retreat at a friend's condo in Fort Collins, CO, at the end of June.  This is just for me.   My former writing partner doesn't seem to be able to go this time.  But I'm looking forward to going and getting some alone time, both for writing and even for reading.  Remember if you're interested in the stories I've worked on, the YA novel I finished in 2014's NaNoWriMo is on Swoon Reads HERE.  And the NA novel I need to finish up is on Wattpad HERE.

Whew!  That's a lot of challenges to wrap up!  I'd love to do some other statistics too, but it takes so much time just for the above!  So maybe I'll just do quick numbers, and not list actual books.
  • # of books read:  27
  • # of reviews posted on blog:  15
I'll see what other statistics I might want to post next month.   Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Audiobook Review: Lady Renegades (Rebel Belle #3) by Rachel Hawkins

I listened to this last book in the series on audiobook, once again downloading it digitally for free from the public library, just like I did with the first two.  While I feel like it was a good ending, it kind of had the road trip feel that normally 2nd books in a series have.  And it was missing a vital part of the story that I think made the first two for me, and that was the interaction between Harper and David.  If you aren't to this part in the series yet, you can go back and check in based on where you are, so that I don't give away any spoilers in this review. The first book was Rebel Belle, and the 2nd was Miss Mayhem

Where we had left off in the 2nd book, David had taken off, because he had help from Harper's friend Bee, and her ex-boyfriend - now Bee's boyfriend, Ryan.  They had helped keep Harper from going after him, because he had convinced them it was best for him to get away with his Oracle powers.  Only, Harper as a Paladin, is unable to protect him if he is not where she knows.  Not only that, but as David's powers get stronger, there is the fear that he may become as bad as the last male Oracle, who had done horrible things.  And it seems as if that may be starting when all of a sudden there are these new Paladins being made, young girls, that are trying to kill Harper, and Bee also.  And the longer that David is away, the more that Harper's Paladin powers seem to be fading.  So, along with one of their enemies from before, the girl that helped David to create more paladins, and also helped kidnap Bee, Harper and Bee set out on a road trip to try to find and save David before he goes off the deep end like the last male Oracle. 

The search for David is an interesting one. We get bits of the story told from his point of view.  And we can tell how much his mind is being taken over, and how much he is fighting to not hurt Harper, who he still loves, as much as his slowly changing mind will allow.  When they do finally find David, Harper will face the one nightmare that David used to have, that she will have to decide whether to kill him or not.  For all that she feels she could never kill him, will it become a necessary evil in order to save the rest of the world?

The ending was sad, but actually had a very hopeful bit at the end.  I feel like I kind of knew what was coming for the very ending, even if the author almost did get me thinking that she wasn't going to go there.  So overall, even though I missed the Harper and David time, I am okay with this final book in the series, and the way it all ended.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Review: The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

This is a book I was lucky enough to get the ARC of at the bookstore where I work.  I had been very intrigued by it after all the promotional posts going on from the author, as well as on other blogs.  Overall, I was pretty pleased with the book!  And I think I'm glad for it to be a series, as I don't know that I'm thrilled with how the book ended, although it did end well enough.

We have two main characters, Vika and Nikolai.  Both are enchanters, Vika uses nature and the elements mostly for her magic, whereas Nikolai is better making or using man made things for his magic.  When the tsar decides that he needs a Royal Enchanter to help keep his country safe, he must initiate the Crown's Game.  In this, the two enchanters will have to duel, and only one can win, which also means only one will be left alive.  Either one of them will kill the other one, or the tsar/game will kill the loser.

Vika has always lived away from everyone, on an island with her father, where he has trained her all of her life to be the enchanter.  He doesn't know that there is another one out there, and so when the game begins, he must figure out the best way to help his daughter.

Nikolai was an orphan, and taken in by a woman who had been training him not only to be an enchanter, but also to win the Crown's Game.  Nikolai is also best friend with the tsar's son, Pasha.  Now he must keep the game a secret, and so he cannot tell his friend Pasha about it.  But one day he and Pasha had been out on Vika's island, and they had seen her do magic in the forest.  Seeing her caused Pasha to be intrigued by this girl, and want to know more about her, as well as magic.  Nikolai on the other hand, now had a bit of an advantage over Vika, knowing who she was before the game begins.  You see they put wards around themselves to keep the other from knowing who they are, to try to keep the other from being able to kill them.  The tsar has asked the two enchanters to make their feats of magic something to impress his son before his birthday.  They begin with making the buildings colorful and beautiful.  Then the water is made to do very neat things.  Nikolai does try to kill Vika, sort of, with stone birds.  But other than that, they soon become friends, somewhat.  And Pasha starts to figure things out about the game, not realizing that it isn't just Vika.

When something terrible happens to the tsar and his wife, Pasha must hurry up the ending of the game, and this leads to Vika and Nikolai having to make heavy decisions.  Will they choose to save their own life by taking the other enchanter's life?  Or will they try to figure out a way to not hurt the person they have come to know.  The ending is sad, very suspenseful, but sad.  And as I mentioned at the beginning, I'm very intrigued to see what will happen next in the story.  I also liked how the author gave us some factual information about Russia during that time period.  I love when authors do that!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Audiobook Reviews: Until Fountain Bridge (On Dublin Street #1.5) and Down London Road (On Dublin Street #2) by Samantha Young

The next two digital audio books that I borrowed from my public library were the next two in the On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young.  I'd begun listening to her books because she is going to be at NOLA Story Con in September, and I wanted to know if she was someone I'd want to meet and get autographs from. And I can say that she definitely is!  I loved the first one, and these two didn't disappoint either.  I'm reviewing them together since one is more of a novella than a full novel.  I love that the author is basically giving each of the characters their own story.  And as I looked further down the series titles on Goodreads, I was very excited to see some of the younger characters from these books that will get their own books as well!

Until Fountain Bridge (On Dublin Street #1.5)
 This story follows Ellie Carmichael who is Braden's sister from the first book, and Joss's roommate.  We know that she pretty much ended up with Braden's best friend Adam, so I guess they didn't need a full book to themselves, hence this novella. But really this was a pretty good length.  In it, Ellie is going through her old diaries, thinking that she might give them to Joss to help her write her romance novels.  Adam comes in while she is looking through them, and so she finds parts in each one to show him how her love for him really started, and all the different moments that led them to where they finally are in love and happy together.  There are sweet moments from when she was pretty young, and Adam had no idea how he affected her. There are memories from when he did seem to know, and even when he did catch on, and the way he turned her down makes you cry.  We even go back and read about the horrible events at the end of the first book, when Ellie had received the life threatening news that really brought Joss and Braden together.  Going through each of these memories really helped me to fall in love with this couple, more than I already loved Ellie from just her being Joss's friend in the first book.

Down London Road (On Dublin Street #2):
I actually listened to this one before Until Fountain Bridge, but I decided I'd review them in chronological order for the series.  In this one we get the story of Joss's friend from the bar where she works, Johanna.  What we know about Johanna from the Joss's story is that she is a bit of a gold digger.  But we find out that it has to do with her family situation.  You see Johanna's mother is an alcoholic, and her father is in prison.  Johanna has a younger teenaged brother, Cole, that she must take care of in her mother's stead. 

When the book begins, Johanna is dating a rich man.  He's nice, and she likes him well enough.  But when she goes to an art gallery with him to help support his ex's art, she meets the new, somewhat surly boyfriend of his ex, and his name is Cam.  Cam also seems to be instantly attracted to Johanna, but he immediately determines that she is a gold digger.  Partly because she goes out and gets on her phone during the night.  When he sees that, he assumes that she must also be cheating on the guy.  Well, it turns out that Cam needs a job.  Since one of the bartenders where Johanna works has left, they need someone, and so she is nice enough to give her boss his name, even though he still seems to be quite rude to her.  He finds new problems with her when she is on her phone at work a lot.  He doesn't know that she is just checking up on her brother, and because he is so rude in his assumptions, she chooses not to correct him.  Even though the two of them have a strong, physical attraction, and it is hard for her to be around him. 

Then Cam moves into the apartment below where Johanna lives with her mom and brother.  This is scary for Johanna, as her mother can often go into screaming fits, breaking things, and causing all kinds of problems that the neighbors around, and below, can hear.  One night it all comes to a head. Cam has finally started to see Johanna in a little better light, when he hears the noises from her apartment above his, and he goes up and now thinks that Johanna is horrible for being out on a date while her brother is dealing with their drunk mother.  The two of them, Johanna and Cam, have to continue to work through their issues.  When Johanna gives up a few more secrets, leading Cam to see that she's been through a lot, and has done whatever she can to try to take care of her brother, they finally decide not to deny the connection they have any more, and they give a relationship a chance. 

Those secrets will come back to bite them, though.  More about Johanna's father, and even something about a past relationship that Cam had.  They will both handle things the wrong way, causing more drama, that could probably have been prevented.  And while it frustrates me when that happens in books, I know that it is a big part of story telling, and so I go with it, and continued to enjoy the story.  I will have to purchase this book for an autograph before September.  And I look forward to reading on to the next story in the series.

Both of these books had the wonderful emotions that made you fall in love with the well-developed characters, as well as the steamy sex scenes that the author writes so well.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Blog Tour - Review and Giveaway: Exile for Dreamers (Stranje House #2) by Kathleen Baldwin

About the book:


Author: Kathleen Baldwin
Pub. Date: May 24, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Goodreads  


A School for Unusual Girls is the first captivating installment in the Stranje House series for young adults by award-winning author Kathleen Baldwin. #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot calls this romantic Regency adventure "completely original and totally engrossing."

Tess can't run far enough or fast enough to escape the prophetic dreams that haunt her. Dreams bring nothing but death and grief, and Tess refuses to accept that she may be destined for the same madness that destroyed her mother. Until her disturbing dreams become the only means of saving Lord Ravencross, the man she loves, and her friends at Stranje House from Lady Daneska and her lover, the Ghost-agent of Napoleon, who has escaped from Elba. Can the young ladies of Stranje House prevail once more? Or is England destined to fall into the hands of the power-mad dictator?

"Enticing from the first sentence." -New York Times Book Review

A School for Unusual Girls is a great next read for fans of Gail Carriger's Finishing School series and Robin LaFevers' His Fair Assassin series. 

I was so excited to get to be a part of this tour, as I really enjoyed the first book in the series, A School for Unusual Girls.  Something I really liked about this one is that we got the story from a different girl's viewpoint, and I'm hoping that the next book will be yet another one of the girls!  The first book was told from Georgie's point of view. This time we get Tess's point of view.  Tess is kind of the strong, silent character.  She has prophetic dreams, as well as a connection to animals.  And, she likes to run.  Every morning she goes running.  And usually she will meet Lord Ravencross at a certain point.  One day when Georgie decides to go on the run too, some men show up and try to capture Georgie.  Lord Ravencross, Gabriel, come up to try to save Tess from the men, and ends up getting shot.  They are able to stop the men, killing them.  But before that, they hear some unsettling talk.  It seems that Lady Daneska, once a girl at the school, and Tess's best friend then, is out to capture Georgie, or maybe it is Tess she is after.  It seems that Daneska had told Napoleon about Tess's dreams, and he is really a believer in dreams and the psychic, and wants to use Tess to help him fight his war.  But there are other things Napoleon might want in the house.  An American who is working on building a submarine type of boat.  He had escaped from Daneska and the Ghost and was being hidden at their school while he continued to work on the plans.  Yet another secret they must try to keep from getting out.  The girls plan to try to capture Daneska and feed her the wrong information, and hope that if they "allow" her to "escape", she will take that info back to Napoleon, and cause him to not be prepared.  Their plan will have many road blocks, as well as take many turns off the planned route.  And in the end, there will be more for all the girls to think about and do to help their country.  Not to mention Tess will have to admit her feelings for Ravencross, and decide if he is worth giving a chance for her future.  And there are new romances on the horizon, that I hope we will see in future books!

That's a bit scattered review I know, but I didn't want to give away anything important.  It's good.  There, go read it!

 About Kathleen :

"I love adventure in books and in real life. I've roamed the Rocky Mountains, wandered the desert, enjoyed way too many classes in college, was stalked by a mountain lion, lost an argument with a rattlesnake, fell in love at least a dozen times, finally met and married my very own hero, and together we've raised four free-spirited children."

Award-winning author - Kensington published four of Kathleen's Regency romantic comedies, including MISTAKEN KISS, a Holt Medallion finalist. DIARY OF A TEENAGE FAIRY GODMOTHER, was a Golden Quill finalist. Her upcoming Historical YA series with TorTeen, A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS, is a Junior Library Guild Selection and won a Marlene.

News and more at: www.Kathleenbaldwin.com

WebsiteBlog | Twitter | Facebook |Pinterest
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--> Giveaway Details :
  • 3 winners will receive a finished copy of EXILE FOR DREAMERS. US/Canada Only.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
 Description: https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifWeek One:
5/23/2016- Once Upon A Twilight- Interview
5/24/2016- Stories &Sweeties Review
5/25/2016- Curling Up With AGood BookGuest Post
5/26/2016- Lisa Loves LiteratureReview - You are HERE!
5/27/2016- The Cover ContessaInterview

Week Two:
5/30/2016- The Best Books Ever - Review
5/31/2016- A Dream Within ADreamGuest Post
6/1/2016- Wishful EndingsReview
6/2/2016- BookHounds YA- Interview
6/3/2016- Pandora's BooksReview  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cover Characteristic: Only the Back of People

The Cover Characteristic meme is hosted at  Sugar and Snark.   Here are the guidelines:

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky (so we can visit).
You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!

This is another hard week.  So again I'm going to just pick ten. At the end I'll decide which is my favorite.  Here you go.










Liv, Forever is probably my favorite. Which one of my choices do you like best?

Waiting on Wednesday: Nothing More by Anna Todd

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.  My choice this week is a spinoff series of a series that I fell in love with a couple months ago.  I have become a huge lover of the After series by Anna Todd.  I love it so much that I got a tattoo because of it, and any time I even look at a page in any of the books, I'm sucked back in and could sit and just read till the very end and forget everything else.  This next book is told from one of the other characters in the original books, Tessa's best friend, and Hardin's step-brother, Landon.  Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Book 1 of a new series featuring After worldwide fan-favorite Landon Gibson as he leaves Washington to navigate love and life in New York City. At the end of the After Ever Happy, Landon got married—but readers everywhere have been wondering who will get to call the nicest boy in the After series their forever love? Read it and find out!

“I'm so excited for everyone to get to know Landon Gibson. Whether you're just hearing about him or already know him from the After series, I know that readers are going to love his story. He's kind and fiercely loyal, and when he falls in love, he loves hard.” (Anna Todd, New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of the After series)

Landon is just someone that you love after the first series so much!  Now, he's not quite as innocent as we may think he is though, at least that's what we're finding out.  The author is doing the same thing with this book that she did with the original After series, and posting it chapter by chapter on Wattpad.  If you want to go check it out, here is the LINK.  

I don't know if you've read this series, or even have any interest in it.  And yes, I'm keeping up with it on Wattpad. But I really need to own the book and just sit and read it!  

What book are you eagerly awaiting this week?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Promo Post - Resolution: Huck Finn's Greatest Adventure by Andrew Joyce

Book Information:
TitleResolution:  Huck Finn's Greatest Adventure
Author:  Andrew Joyce
Genre:  Adventure/Historical Fiction


It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.
By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.
Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”
When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.
On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.
It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.
They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Lisa has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog Danny—Danny the Dog—to toot it for me. He always has an attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States once co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny.
Andrew took me away from one of my most pleasurable pursuits—barking at ducks—to help him out here. For a person who works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don’t think I will—I’m not too happy with Andrew at the moment. My name is Danny. To my legions of fans, I am known as Danny the Dog.
Today I am going to talk about Andrew, but not in the way he thinks. He’s a real idiot! He wants a Viking funeral. Do you know what a Viking funeral consists of? I didn’t think so, and neither did I until Andrew opened his big yap!
When a Viking died, they put him on his boat, set it afire and pushed it out into the fjord. Oh . . . and one more thing, they killed his dog and laid him at the feet of the dead Viking just so the guy could have his dog with him in Valhalla!
I mean . . . what the hell? What had the poor pooch done to warrant a death sentence?
I had a talk with Andrew last night and told him that if I went first into the “good night,” then I too want a Viking funeral. His buddies should kill him and put him at my feet before they set the boat ablaze.
And guess what? Big surprise, he didn’t think that was such a good idea. So we agreed to just have a simple non-denominational service regardless of who goes first. But if he keeps up with this Viking funeral stuff, it will probably be him . . . in fact, I’ll make sure of it.
That’s about it for now. Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s new book and make the old guy happy while he’s still extant on the physical plane.
This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Lisa for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.

Author Bio:
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.