Sunday, September 30, 2018

September 2018 Wrap-Up - Officially Back in School Mode

The first two months of summer have flown by, and as expected, my amount of reading time has totally decreased from this summer, although if you remember what I posted in my July wrap-up, I didn't get as much reading done as I wanted this summer either.  I'm so far behind on my ARCs from ALA, as well as some that some publishers sent me unsolicited, but that I did want to try to read.  August was too busy for a wrap-up post really, and while September has been busy as well, since I am not quite finished with the series I need to review, and was told I mainly needed to post those reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and  Barnes and Noble more than my blog, I thought I'd go ahead and do a wrap-up post for today, and then share each of those books individually on other sites, and then one big review post for all three here when I'm done with the 2nd and 3rd. 

Just this last week of September I have had some really exciting times, meeting some authors and also a favorite reality tv celebrity.  This past Tuesday the first Wahlburgers restaurant in our area opened up, and I took the day off work to go wait in line and eat there.  My hope was to meet Donnie Wahlberg from NKOTB, and his brother Paul, the chef, who I've gotten to know from watching the Wahlburgers reality tv show.  No Donnie, but Paul was there, and I got a selfie with him!

And the food was just as good as I remembered from when I got to eat at the Wahlburgers in Orlando back in 2017.  Just look at this picture, it's Donnie's choice of the BBQ Bacon cheeseburger with no avocado spread or jalapenos.  And then I got the onion strings this time instead of the sweet potato tater tots.  I also had their "adult" cherry cola, which was made with Mexican coca cola, and as you can see, they brought the soda left in the bottle out for you to add if you wanted or drink the rest of.

Then, we had Juliana Zobrist, wife of former KC Royals baseball player Ben Zobrist, at the bookstore where I work on Thursday night, promoting her new book, Pull it Off.  She was so nice and sweet, and so I had to buy a book and get it autographed, and also get my picture with her.

The most exciting event of this past week though, or at least tied with the Wahlburgers opening, was an author panel we held at my bookstore on Saturday.  There were 5 awesome YA authors there, and I got to be the moderator for the panel!  Of course they were all books I wanted to read, and one of the authors I already have met and read and love her books!  First here is a shot of me with all the authors:  Miranda Asebedo, Sarah Henning, Natalie C. Parker, Megan Bannen, and Tessa Gratton.

Okay, then I got my books signed and got a picture with each individual author.  Starting with Megan Bannen, author of The Bird and the Blade.  I haven't read it yet, although have had it sitting in my house for over a month now.  It's such a small world because she is neighbors with my co-librarian, and also will be coming to speak at my school in December!

Next was Miranda Asebedo, author of The Deepest Roots.  Now I already had an ARC of her book, but didn't get to it before the panel.  See reasons in top paragraph.  But I love that her book is set in Kansas, and from what she said, her next book will be set there as well.  While I'm officially from and live in Missouri, we are right on the border of Kansas, and I work in Kansas, and my stepdad is from Kansas, so I have family there, and I count it as kind of my home state part two.  I also had a chance to talk to her husband and her daughters while the other attendees were meeting the authors, and it was great to hear about the life of an author, especially a debut author, who used to be a teacher!

The author in the middle of the row was another new to me author, Natalie C. Parker, author of Seafire.  Another book I've been excited to read, but had to buy a copy to get signed.  I didn't realize she was married to Tessa Gratton, but that was definitely fun to have a married couple as part of the panel.  She was really nice, and I look forward to reading her book!

The fourth author on the panel was Sarah Henning, who wrote Sea Witch.  If you've followed me for a while, you know that I love fairy tale retellings, and a lot of the time I do love it when they take the viewpoint of the villain to make us feel for them as a person, not just an evil entity.  Once again I didn't have a copy to read beforehand, but I now own a copy and can't wait to read it.  I have to share one of Sarah's answers to the question about what she finds the most difficult about writing along with what she finds the most rewarding part of writing.  She compared it to a wedding cake.  Your first draft is a beautiful wedding cake, and then you give it to the editor and other readers and they make it so you have to smash it into pieces, and then you have to take that smashed up cake and fix it into an even prettier wedding cake with more frosting and fondant.  One of my favorite stories during the panel, surely nothing to do with how much I love wedding cake.  Also, she started her writing on her phone, while riding a stationary bike.  Wow! (Never mind the photo bombing by Tessa Gratton in the picture!)

And thanks to that lovely photo-bomb above, you can probably guess that the final author on the panel that I got to talk to was Tessa Gratton.  I've been a big fan of hers since she first came to KC, back in 2011 I think, with Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff.  I even invited her to come speak to the Young Writers group at my school a couple years ago when I found out she lived in Kansas.  Of course now I know that all of these wonderful women live in Kansas, so I may reach out to more of them!  Here I am with Tessa in the picture below.  I felt like I had to promise her that I wasn't stalking her, since I did invite her to my school a few years ago, then see her at ALA this summer. 

So much awesomeness in this past week!

Alright, let's get some stats!

#of books read September/year so far:  16/163
# of reviews posted in September/year so far:  13/155

Challenge Updates:
 My goal was 4 for the year, and I got one more done this month, Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover, or a Narrator by Their Voice.  So, halfway done for the year.  Two more posts in 3 months, I can do it, right?

 My goal for this was 6, and I finished back in July, when I got up to a total of 8.  I did have two more, one in August, and one in September:

Beautiful (Beautiful Bastard #5) by Christina Lauren
Love You S'more (The Campfire Series #3) by Beth Merlin

My goal was 12 for the year, I had 5 as of July, and I think I've only had one more since, but I didn't review it yet, so I'm not going to list it here.  So, if it's true, I've got to get through 6 more in 3 months.  Gah!

1.  Still working on editing my short story.  I have decided on what I think my NaNoWriMo idea will be this year.  I need to do some outlining though.  I might be going to an editing conference put on by Carina Press at the end of October, it all depends on if I can get someone to watch my dogs that weekend.

2.  Goal 2 was reading books that my friends recommended.  I brought home the graphic novels my friend suggested I read to decide if I liked DC or Marvel actual comics better, without taking into account the movies.  I started the Captain America one.  Kinda bored by it.  Haven't finished.

3.  Still working on the cutting back of blog tours.  I have started getting those ARCs posted on my calendar which does help keep me from signing up for tours.  But it doesn't necessarily mean I'm getting all those ARCs finished like I plan.  Now, this final thought leads into a quick one month challenge I signed up for in August:

My sign up post is HERE.  I got 6 of my goal of 9 done:

Echoes by Alice Reeds and Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas #2) by Zoraida Cordova both HERE
A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan
The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé
That's Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger
Kiss Me in Paris by Catherine Rider 

Okay, other things going on in my life right now include that I'm selling my house.  I'm going to continue living here and renting it for about a year. Then I'll be ready to start looking for a new house so that I can move. And I'll have the money from selling my house sitting in the bank ready to put down.  I'm getting even more stressed about my part time job. As much as I love the bookstore, the number of people they have working has decreased to where I am sometimes the only person working our two floor store for customer service.  We have a cashier, and someone in cafe, as well as a manager.  But it's not enough.  I wish I could afford to quit, but I'll be hanging on for a while longer.  

I mentioned about the construction at school.  Let's just say it was NOT all completed by the time school started and they are still working on it.  The circulation desk we were supposed to get replaced is still there.  They might get the new one out to us in October, but most likely not until December.  Things are a little crazy at school, with a new superintendent, and other changes going on, it seems like things are just constantly changing.  Oh well, I still love being a librarian, and my school is still an awesome school.

I'm looking forward to finally getting fall weather, tired of the summer heat.  Although it seems the first week of October is going back to the 80 degree temps.  Boo.  

So, how was your September?  Are you a fan of fall weather, if you live in a part of the world that is going into that season? 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Release Blitz with Giveaway: Test (A Gentry Generations Story) by Cora Brent

Title: Test
Series: A Gentry Generations Story
Author: Cora Brent
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 27, 2018
He seems like nothing but arrogance with a beer in one hand and some clueless girl in the other. I can read Derek Gentry like he’s a neon sign that says ‘I AM A TERRIBLE IDEA.’
And I’m not tempted, no matter how hot he is.
I’ve heard the rumors. I know his story.
But I’ve got my own scars. I don’t need his.
Despite his muscled, blue-eyed Adonis kind of staggering good looks, he’s heartbreak wrapped in a seductive package.
However I never planned on falling into his arms on the worst night of my life.
I never planned on initiating a chain reaction of events that neither of us saw coming.
And I never planned on needing him so much I can hardly stand it. 

Everyone has a history.
Mine’s a little worse than most.
I’ve hurt my family. I’ve hurt people I never knew. I’ve hurt myself.
And I’ve been hiding at the bottom of a bottle for so long I’m not sure how to do things differently.
Paige always struck me as the sort of uptight girl who would never give anyone a break. Little did I know what kind of mysteries she’s been keeping inside. Now I can’t get her out of my head.
We could help each other.
Or we could destroy each other.
Right now it’s anyone’s guess…

I flushed and tried to choke out a laugh. “It’s funny how I can’t seem to stop embarrassing myself in front of you.” 

Derek shook his head like he thought I was being ridiculous. “Stop being embarrassed.” 

He started moving the piles of cassettes over to the desk and then switched off the power button on the stereo. I had no idea why. Maybe he was just trying to help clean up. Then he got on the bed beside me, stretched out and extended his arm. 

“Come here,” he whispered. 

I obeyed. Slowly, because I wasn’t sure what he had in mind. 

But Derek wasn’t after sex. He didn’t touch me while I got comfortable. Settling against his strong body seemed like the most natural act in the world. It didn’t feel dirty or even erotic. He switched off the bedside lamp, wrapped his arms around me and let me fall asleep with my cheek next to his beating heart. 

And there I slept all night, more soundly than I thought possible...
Cora Brent was born in a cold climate and escaped as soon as it was legally possible. Now, she lives in the desert with her husband, two kids and a prickly pear cactus she has affectionately named ‘Spot’. Cora’s closet is filled with boxes of unfinished stories that date back her 1980’s childhood and all her life she has dreamed of being an author. Amazingly, she is now a New York Times and USA Today bestselling writer of contemporary romance and begs not to be awakened from this dream.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Blog Tour Review with Giveaway: Make Me Fall (Books and Brews #2) by Sara Rider

Enemies make the worst neighbors, but the best lovers in Sara Rider’s MAKE ME FALL, the second book in her standalone Books and Brews series. Eli doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for his uptight neighbor, Nora, until he hears about her “un-datable” status and all it takes is one disastrous date with Nora for Eli to fall hard. Fans of Lauren Layne, Jenny Holiday’s ONE AND ONLY, and THE FINE ART OF FAKING IT by Lucy Score will devour this opposites attract, fun buy sexy romance.  

Book Info:
TitleMake Me Fall  
Author:  Sara Rider
SeriesBooks and Brews #2  
Genre:  Adult contemporary romance
Published:  September 24th, 2018
My rating:  4 stars


After losing her job, her home, and her friends in her divorce, Nora Pitts is determined not to make the same mistakes when she starts over in the small town of Shadow Creek, Washington. No more toiling away in the lab at the expense of her social life, and definitely no more men. Ever.  But making friends in her thirties is so much harder than she anticipated. And when it comes to her gorgeous yet obnoxious neighbor, it’s a whole lot easier to make enemies.

Eli Hardin doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for his uptight neighbor, until he overhears her so-called new friends making fun of her un-datable status. Suddenly he finds himself volunteering for a date with a woman who’s been leaving angry hate-notes in his mailbox, and in way over his head. Because all it takes is one disastrous date with Nora for Eli to fall hard.

But falling for Eli isn’t something Nora’s ready for—not when he’s her complete opposite, and especially not when he turns out to be the best friend she’s made in Shadow Creek. But as her attraction and her feelings for Eli grow hotter, resisting him might just lead to heartbreak anyway. 

Find out more at: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo  

Add to Goodreads →

Copyright © 2018 Sara Rider

Eli marked off twenty-six and three-quarter inches as precisely as he could and lifted the blade of the circular saw.

“Oh my God, I soooo wasn’t kidding,” one of the women next door said loudly. “Nora really does need to get laid.”

His shoulders tensed. This wasn’t the first time he’d overheard the women loudly shit-talking his neighbor behind her back. He had no idea why she hung out with them.

“Maybe you should set her up with someone,” another woman added.

The other two laughed. “Can you imagine Nora on a date? She’s so uptight and frigid. Who would want to date her? No lay is worth that kind of torture. Can’t you just picture her busting out her bottle of sanitizer before the poor sap tries to hold her hand?”

His jaw tensed and he felt the last of his patience snap like an icicle in his warm hands. He sliced the saw through the wood, threw his protective glasses onto the ground, and marched over to the waist-high chain link fence. “I’d do it.”

All three women turned to look at him like he was a space alien who’d just beamed down to earth. The one who’d been talking the most leaned forward in her seat. “What did you just say?”

“You heard me. I’d go out with her.”

“You can’t be serious.”

The more this woman pushed, the more he wanted to put her in her place. No, Nora was not the kind of woman he would normally ask out—mainly because she was one of the few who didn’t seem to fall for his charm. In fact, he was pretty sure she didn’t think he had any charm whatsoever, but she was attractive and smart enough to read a book every month. That alone made her more dateable than half the population in this town. “Sure as hell am.”

The woman leaned forward, smiling at him like he was freshly caught prey in her snare. “If you’re looking for a date, I could show you a much better time.”

He shrugged, keeping his fake smile on his face. “No thanks. Backstabbing and mean isn’t my type.”

He probably enjoyed the shocked look on the woman’s face a little too much, but it was seriously fucking rude to trash-talk the hostess while sitting on her porch and eating her canapés.

The screen door slid open right at that moment. Nora walked out with a plate of decadent-looking mini-chocolate cakes that made his mouth water on sight. Her eyes darted from her friends to him and back again. “Um, what’s going on?”

He rested his hands against the old chain-link fence. “What’s going on is that your so-called friends are talking trash about your love life behind your back and don’t seem to think you can get a date. So I volunteered.”

“You what?”

“Volunteered. You and me. Tomorrow night at seven. I’ll drive.”

She slammed the cake tray onto the coffee table and set her hands on her hips. She looked around, like she couldn’t decide where to focus her anger. Of course she settled on him. “Who says I’d want to go out with you?”

He raised his eyebrow, liking the way she got flustered around him a little too much. “Got better plans?”

Even at the distance between them, he could see her suck in a breath. Her mouth hardened into a flat line, but she didn’t say no.

“Tomorrow. Seven. Dinner. Oh, and consider making new friends who aren’t so damn mean. These ladies don’t deserve any of those amazing-looking cakes.” He grabbed his plank of wood and headed into the house, wondering what the hell he’d just gotten himself into.  

Want Some More Books and Brews from Sara Rider? 
Pick up a copy of RIGHT KIND OF LOVE today!
Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo  

My Review:
I enjoyed this romance with its quirky female lead, and the annoying guy next door.  There were a lot of things about Nora that I totally connected with.  Not feeling comfortable going to a book group with people she didn't already know.  Now, I'm not quite the neat freak she is, but I do have things around my house that bother me.  Like, I want the light switches to all be facing the same way if they're all off.  Stupid little things like that.  I also have probably put up with friends that might not have been that nice to me in the past, just so I'd have someone to do things with.  Unfortunately I never had the hot guy to save me from those type of people like Nora did.  
There were also great side characters in the book, which makes sense since this is part of a series.  Eli's family and friends were the type of friends and family that I like having around.  The type I could totally see myself spending time with, and I know the ones I already have like them.  The fact that they took Nora into their own book group, where they were reading a more popular book, instead of the more literary books her original book club pretended to read, and even when she and Eli were on the outs, they kept her around, that said a lot for them.  
There were the usual bits that annoyed me between the two of them pushing each other away for stupid reasons, or mishearing things, but since that is part of the drama in almost all romances it seems, I feel they fit in fine.  This was a fun, sweet little read, and I'll be hoping to go back when I have time and read the first book, to get Clem and Jake's full story.

About the Author:

Sara Rider writes contemporary romance full of heart, heat, and happily ever after. She lives in British Columbia with her husband and daughters. She spends far too much time in public libraries and never leaves the home without her e-reader stuffed in her purse.

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Cover Reveal: Blastaway by Melissa Landers

Today Melissa Landers and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover and an exclusive content for BLASTAWAY, her new Middle Grade Sci-Fi which releases Summer 2019! Check out the awesome cover and the excerpt!

On to the reveal! 

Author: Melissa Landers
Pub. Date: Summer 2019
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Goodreads

Pitched as "Home Alone in space," a young science prodigy who runs away in his family spaceship must team up with a plucky mutant to save the Earth from destruction.

Scheduled for publication Summer 2019.

Exclusive Excerpt!

At some point, I must have fallen asleep.

I say that for two reasons. First, my chin was wet with drool, and I hardly ever slobber on myself when I’m awake. And second, I was no longer on Earth.

I sat bolt upright and stared out the window as distant stars whizzed past in a blur. There were no planets in sight, and judging by the swirling purple nebula ahead of me, this wasn’t the way to Nana’s house. I checked the navigation screen and felt my mouth drop open. The flashing beacon that represented my ship was halfway between Earth and Fasti.

(So you see, it is totally possible to steal a spaceship on accident.)

I guess my hand hit the EXECUTE button when I fell asleep. And because it would take just as long for me to turn around and go home as it would to finish my journey, it made sense to keep going, right? Either way, my parents would ground me into the afterlife, so I might as well earn the sentence, right?


An electric thrill rushed through my veins when I thought about the possibilities that lay ahead of me. Anything could happen on this trip. Literally anything. I could discover a brand-new element. Or meet a secret race of aliens. Or invent a new energy source. Or eat so much chocolate that I puked. Either way, I had complete freedom to make this journey into whatever I wanted, and once I realized that, there was no freaking way I could turn back. It was like the universe had dropped a gift in my lap, a gift I had no intention of returning.    

I wiped the drool off my chin and smiled.

“Hold onto your stars, Fasti. Here I come.”

About Melissa:

Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati in the town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.”