Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Challenges Wrap-Up Post

Yeah, so once again I failed miserably at most of my Challenges.  :-(  Except for two, my Goodreads Challenge, I did have to cut down from the 250 books goal I had the past two years that I met and exceeded.  This year I dropped to 215, but I made it, and exceeded it at 217.  Once again, let's recount all my challenge failures and one success:

My goal was to do four discussion posts.  I only got two done, even though I kept thinking up ideas.  I ran out of time, which is partly from failing at some other goals.  If you want to check the two discussions I did, they are:

Now this one I was successful at, in fact, my goal was six, but I got thirteen done.  Here is the list:
  1. Everlife by Gena Showalter
  2. Chaser by Kylie Scott
  3. True Storm by L.E. Sterling
  4. Down Shift by K. Bromberg
  5. Brave by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  6. Worth the Risk by K. Bromberg
  7. Bright We Burn by Kiersten White
  8. Dominate by Amy Daws
  9. Beautiful by Christina Lauren
  10. Love You S'more by Beth Merlin
  11. Pucked Love by Helena Hunting
  12. Royally Endowed by Emma Chase
  13. Beneath the Truth by Meghan March
So yeah, did well with that one.

Now this is one that I really need to do better with, I keep adding more books, and not reading them!  My goal was 12, that's only one per month, but I only got 5 done. 

  1. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
  2. On the Plus Side by Alison Bliss
  3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  4. Felony Ever After - A Domino Anthology - 13 Authors - 1 Story
  5. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

So, I had three resolutions, and I did well with one, mostly, and the others are works in progress.

1.  My first goal was to complete one of my Works in Progress.  I did, I finished my short story.  So that is good.  But I need to finish editing it.  So that is maybe going to be a goal/resolution for 2019.

2.  My 2nd goal was to read books that were suggested to me by friends or relatives.  I had three I planned to do.  First, I had a friend ask me if I liked Marvel or DC better, and all I could go on was the movies.  So he picked one graphic novel from DC and one from Marvel for me to read and compare.  All I got done was the Marvel one, which was a Captain America one.  And I wasn't thrilled.  I still plan to read the DC one though, just to compare.  My third recommended book was one by Kurt Vonnegut.  And yeah, didn't read it.  I do still want to read that.  Plus I have a new romance reader friend that has recommended a book I did end up buying, so I probably need to do this again next year.

So boo hiss to me and failing last year.  I'm still working on my Challenges and Goals for 2019, so be on the lookout for that post tomorrow!  Well, at this point, later today, since it's only 20 minutes till 2019 where I am.

L-L-L-Little Reviews: 3 YA ARCs

Other than an audiobook that I finished yesterday, and an e-galley that I'm part of a tour to review on Thursday, I'll be complete with all my reviews of 2018 reads after this post. 

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White:
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Genre:  YA Retelling

Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Source:  Received ARC from publisher at ALA convention which did not effect my opinion 
My rating:  4 stars

I didn't get this read when I wanted to, too many blog tour review books to get done.  I got this from ALA last summer, and it was one of my unicorn ARCs.  I loved The Conqueror's Saga by this author, her retelling of Vlad the Impaler, and so I had high hopes for this retelling of the Frankenstein story.   I wasn't disappointed.  Once I got the chance to pick it up, I was hooked, and loved trying to fit what I remembered of the original story in with how the author was retelling it.  It was a great account at looking how Victor wasn't really just a good guy gone bad, how he was a bad guy in this one.  On a side note, I loved that one of the character's last names was my mother's maiden name, even if it is probably more common in Europe.  Great retelling, and I'm reading another good one by the author right now, Slayer, and enjoying it as well.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

The Similars by Rebecca Hanover:
Release Date: January 1st, 2019
Genre:  YA Science Fiction

Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire
Source:  Received ARC from publisher which did not effect my opinion 
My rating:  5 stars

This one grabbed me from the start, and I couldn't put it down.  I loved the idea behind these clones, and so much about them fit in with how the world is today with other types of discrimination.  But when I would think one thing, something happened and it went another way, and I loved all the twists and turns that kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat.  Even though I wanted to be done with it by the weekend before Christmas, I also had wished I'd been on Christmas break already so that I could have stayed up and finished it one night, it was that good.  I'm happy to see that it is supposed to be a series, or at least have a sequel, because the ending left it so that we need to know more!  

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend’s face each day in class.

The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn't care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver's exact DNA replica and one of the Similars.

Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver's face.

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney:
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Genre:  YA Fantasy/paranormal

Publisher:  Imprint Reads/Macmillan
Source:  Borrowed ARC from a student 
My rating:  3.5 stars

So, while this one had a really good story, I had a few issues with it.  I loved so much of the Buffy aspects of the story.  I loved the Alice in Wonderland aspects as well.  However, there was just so much to read. So many details and so much that I actually skipped over to just get the story.  The author did a lot of great descriptions and great back story, but I am a little embarrassed to admit that I may have skimmed a lot of it, just because I was more about getting the main story and not worrying as much about all the extra.  As I said first though, the story was really good, and I'm definitely going to need a sequel to find out what happens next.  There was a lot of tragedy, just like in the BTVS series, and also humor, just like the series.  

A kind of neat note about this book, the author graduated from the high school where I am a librarian.  A little bit before my time, but still, very exciting!  Hoping to get her to come and talk to the students about writing.  

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice's handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she'll need to use everything she's learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.   

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Top 10 of 2018: Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2019 with Giveaway

Technically this post is for tomorrow, but since I already have a post planned for tomorrow, I decided to go ahead and do it today.  This is hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, so thanks to her, I have a group to join in with.  Now, here are the top 10 books I'm looking forward to next year, in no particular order:







No title or cover yet, but still excited for it!





The first three are by the same author, she's on a roll this year!  I have an ARC already of the 4th one. The last one was supposed to be out in 2018, but the author is still working on it, and I'm still eagerly awaiting it!

Below is today's giveaway.  But I've also got 5 giveaways from last week for you to go enter:  Top 10 Favorite Books, Top 10 Favorite Covers, Top 10 New to Me Authors, Top 10 Book Boyfriends, and Top 10 Books I Meant to Read in 2018.  All of these giveaways will run until midnight December 31st, 2018!  That's tomorrow night!

One winner will get their choice of book from The Book Depository for up to $12.  Second prize will be a $5 gift card to Amazon.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 29, 2018

L-L-L-Little Reviews: 7 Adult Romances

Okay, trying really hard to get all my reviews done for 2018 before it is 2019, so I've got a bunch to do today!  But after this one, and then a YA or two, I'll be done!  Here we go.

Pucked Off (Pucked #5) by Helena Hunting:
Release Date: February 21st, 2017
Genre:  Adult Sports Romance
Source:  Purchased physical copy 
My rating:  5 stars

I actually got this back in March, but didn't get around to reading it until this past October.  As with every other book by this author, I loved it.  So many fun terms for sexual things that then I need other people who have read these books so when we hear the words in other situations my snickering at them doesn't make me feel weird.  Like cookies, and beard conditioning.  Read them, you'll know what I mean.  I do have a friend that works at the bookstore with me now that we were giggling over Area 51 today.  But anyway, Lance is a sweetie, although man, he had some major issues.  I loved him though, just like all the other hockey boys Hunting writes.  This was a stay up all night reading story, unfortunately, I couldn't stay up, work and stuff.   While I did read it out of order, since I'd already read/listened to book 6, this series works okay to read out of order.  I did like Poppy and getting those moments we'd had with her earlier in the series pulled back into context with this story.  

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
***A Standalone novel in The Pucked Series***

I’m NHL defenseman Lance Romero, AKA Lance “Romance."

I’m notorious for parties and excess. I have the most penalty minutes in the league. I get into the most fights. I take the most hits. I’m a player on and off the ice. I’m the one women with no inhibitions want.

Not because I like the notoriety, but because I don’t know how to be any other way.

I have secrets. Ones I shared with the wrong person, and she used them against me. Sometimes she still does. I should cut ties. But she makes it difficult, because she’s the kind of bad I deserve.

At least that’s what I believed until someone from my past gets caught up in my present. She’s all the good things in this world. She lights up my dark.

I shouldn’t want her.

But I do. 

I should leave her alone.

But I won’t.

I also want to share the picture I took with the author at Book Bonanza last summer!

Area 51:  Pucked Series Deleted Scenes and Outtakes (Pucked #4.1) by Helena Hunting:
Release Date: August 7th, 2016
Genre:  Adult Sports Romance
Source:  Purchased physical copy 
My rating:  5 stars

There were 4 little novellas/scenes in this book.  One I'd read before as an ebook, the Christmas story where Violet dresses up MC as Santa, and herself as the chimney for him to slide down.  I pretty much love all things Violet and Alex.  And then we get one of Buck's stories.  I love what a good guy he is with all the charity work he does, but man, does Buck have the worst luck.  And then we get my favorite guy, Randy Balls, and Lily.  If you have read their books, you have to read these short stories. They are just as much laugh out loud as the actual full length novels.  And only add to your love of the characters.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
From Pucked and Forever Pucked: 
An Area 51 breach on the kitchen table that was cut from the final draft, a holiday outtake including a special costume just for Super MC, plus a deleted scene and a sneak peek at Forever Pucked. 
From Pucked Up: 
Discover just how bad Miller's luck really is in these deleted chapters, and fall even more in love with the snuggly, reformed manwhore yeti. 
From Pucked Over: 
Revisit the sexiest, horniest couple with a series of outtakes and alternative POV's all from Randy Ballistic.  

Release Me (Stark Trilogy #1) by J. Kenner:

Release Date: January 1st, 2013
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romance
Source:  Author gifted me physical copy at Book Bonanza, but my opinion was not influenced  
My rating:  4 stars

So, if you know me and have followed my blog, you know I wasn't a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey, and I'm  not the hugest fan of any kind of BDSM. So I never quite felt like this was my type of read.  However, when I met the author at Book Bonanza, after reading her Man of the Month series, she suggested that I needed to try the book that really started her going.  So I took the book, and finally got around to it in November.  And needless to say, her writing grabbed me right away.  Honestly it wasn't quite the BDSM I was expecting, and I really liked the way it all happened, and the relationship was very steamy.  I am definitely left needing to read on in the series.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
For fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You comes an erotic, emotionally charged romance between a powerful man who’s never heard “no” and a fiery woman who says “yes” on her own terms. 

He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist. 

Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.

Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.

But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.

Release Me is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences. 

Of course have to share the picture of me with the author!

British Bedmate by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland:

Release Date: September 18th, 2017
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romance
Source:  Purchased from 
My rating:  5 stars

This book had one of the best beginnings.  I loved the fish hook in the butt!  As I listened to this, it made me think about how I need to try to start any books I write that way if I want to get people reading.  So much that I could relate to, even though I'm not a single mother.  There was the part where she was set up on a blind date, and I totally know the feeling of walking in and from the very first moment having absolutely no attraction to the guy you're being set up with, leading to a sinking feeling.  Then there was the letter, yowza!  How embarrassing!  Then, I didn't see what came up about 70% through, but the way it was handled was realistic.  I was so scared Bridget would get mad at him for what wasn't his fault, something that a lot of authors add as drama, but that's not how it went, and I loved that.  Sweet, but steamy, definitely a great book!  Also, is narrator Zachary Webber really British?  He did the accent very well. 

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
From the New York Times Bestselling authors of Stuck-Up Suit and Mister Moneybags, comes a new, sexy standalone novel.

Dear Bridget,
I'm writing this letter because it's highly doubtful I'll ever garner the courage to say this to your face.
So, here goes.
We're totally wrong for each other. You're the proper single mum with a good head on your shoulders. I'm just the carefree British doctor passing through town and temporarily living in your converted garage until I head back to England.
But here's the thing... for some bloody reason, I can't stop thinking about you in very inappropriate ways.
I want you.
The only reason I'm even admitting all of this to you right now is because I don't believe it's one-sided. I notice your eyes when you look at me, too. And as crass as I appear when we're joking around about sex, my attraction to you is not a joke.
So, what's the purpose of this note? I guess it's a reminder that we're adults, that sex is healthy and natural, and that you can find me just through the door past the kitchen. More specifically, it's to let you know that I'm leaving said door cracked open from now on in case you'd like to visit me in the middle of the night sometime.
No questions asked.
Think about it.
Or don't.
Whatever you choose.
It's doubtful I'll even end up sliding this letter under your door anyway.

Beneath the Truth (Beneath #7) by Meghan March:
Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romance
Source:  Digital Download checked out from local library 
My rating:  5 stars


So I was definitely sad to be finishing the last book in this series. There are so many great characters that we've met in the earlier books, and that the author weaves into each story so seamlessly.  Once again we had characters behaving realistically for the most part in their reactions to things.  But there were definitely twists and turns, things I didn't see coming, although felt I should have paid more attention once they came to light.  As usual the author writes some of the steamiest sex scenes, and makes me want my own Alpha when I read them.  I love so much how she did epilogues to fill us in on each of the couples from the other six books.  And when I wondered about a few of the other characters we'd met but hadn't gotten stories for, such as Rhett's brothers, I reached out to the author to ask if there would be any stories for them, and she mentioned where I might find them already.  I also found out that one of the "bad" guys in this story has his own series, and now I'll need to read that.  Normally I'm not a fan of stories about the bad guys, when they're really bad guys, like mafia stories, but for this author, well, I'll have to give them a chance.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
I used to believe there were lines in life you don't cross. 
Don't lie. Don't cheat. Don't steal.
Until I learned people don't always practice what they preach.
I turned in my badge and gun and walked away from everything.
Then I got the call no one wants, and I’m back in New Orleans.
What I don't expect is for her to be here too.
Another line you don’t cross?
Don't touch your best friend’s little sister.
She's always been off-limits. 
Too bad I don't follow the rules anymore.

***May absolutely be read as a standalone!***  

Oh yeah, have to share my picture with this author too!


Unzipped by Lauren Blakely:

Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romance
Source:  E-galley from InkSlinger PR which did not influence my opinion
My rating:  5 stars

While this took a little bit to get into, about a third of the way through I was hooked and giggling as I read.  A lot of witty banter, and I loved all the 80s movies referenced.  Loved the quote about not having to take down a blowjob stand.  Loved her learning to do it with him, her description of how she'd been made to feel about her skills at that definitely was something I could commiserate with.  In the end it got really steamy, and I sped through the last 20% because I couldn't put it down.  I'd hoped to have it done in time to review for the release launch on December 14th, but I didn't get it done in time.  So here is my review, a fun book, and definitely one you should check out!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Picture this - I'm ready to win back the love of my life, and I'm going big this time. We're talking boom box, sing her name in the rain, let the whole damn neighborhood know I'm good and ready this time around. After all, if you're going to grand gesture the ever-loving hell out of a second chance, you need to pull out all the stops. 

There's only one little problem. 

My college girlfriend isn't the one who shows up when I play my "I'll do anything to win you back" tune. 

The woman who flings open the second-floor window tells me my ex doesn't live here anymore. But she'll help me win her back. Anything for romance, anything for a guy so willing to go big for love. And that's what I want at first. Until I get to know my new "romance coach" and discover she's funny, clever, and keeps me on my toes. And boy, do I ever need that. 

Now I don't want to win anyone else's heart. I want the woman who's been helping me all along. 

Trouble is - she thinks I'm in love with someone else, and when we take off on a road trip, everything I think I know about women is about to be unzipped and turned inside out.


My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren:

Release Date: December 4th, 2018
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Source:  E-galley from Netgalley which did not influence my opinion
My rating:  5 stars

Once again Christina Lauren has blown me away.  I barely picked it up and could hardly put it down, not to mention laughing so hard!  So many times that I feel Millie should have come clean about being Cat, and I still feel that Reid maybe overreacted a bit when he found out it was her, but still, the hilariousness of the friends, the texting, instant messaging, all of it, make up for that.  The fact that there was a reference to the movie Caddyshack in this made it even more a book that I adored, since that is a movie I have memorized and quote almost weekly if not daily.  Love, loved this, funny, sexy, wonderful characters, a definite must read!

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:
Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.  

While you're here, you should go check out the giveaways I've got going with my Top 10 of 2018 posts this past week:  Favorite books of 2018Favorite Covers,  Favorite New to Me Authors, Favorite Book Boyfriends,  and Top 10 Books I Meant to Read in 2018.