Monday, October 24, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (10/24/16)

Click the button to join in the fun!

Someone pinch me, because I can't believe that the end of October is already upon us. I hadn't even realized that the last time I participated in these meme was last month, and now I feel like so much reading time has gotten away from me! Alas! Why can't bookworms just be paid to read? On the bright side, staying home with a recuperating puppy has actually allowed me a fair bit of reading time. So there is much to report! Here we go!




I sadly had to abandon my Halloween bingo plans, because BookLikes decided to have a fit these last few weeks. I did keep some of the books I had in mind though, simply because I really wanted to read them. Thus, Practical Magic. This book is like an old friend, and I'm never sad to re-read it! Kubrick's Game was pretty amazing. You can see my review in the post before this. Then, continuing with my comfort reads, I started a re-read of the Fables series by Bill Willingham. I still love these SO MUCH. They are great graphic novels!



When Candlewick Press sent me Evil Librarian for review, I snatched it up and started reading it. It's honestly really great so far. Just enough horror, with just enough humor, to make it a really fun read. I only have 10 pages left to read, so expect a review very soon! 

My current audio book is Magic Binds and, guys, you have NO IDEA how much I missed Kate! I've been waiting for this all year and I am SO EXCITED. I know it's going to rip my heart out, and I don't even care.








This beautiful, BEAUTIFUL book is my next read. I was approved to read an ARC of Caraval and I swear to you, I did the biggest happy dance of all happy dances. This book already has amazing buzz, and I can't wait to review it for all of you!

That's it for me! What are YOU reading this week? Don't forget to leave a link so I can go and visit you too!


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Book Review: Kubrick's Game by Derek Taylor Kent


Media Type: Ebook
Title: Kubrick's Game
Author: Derek Taylor Kent
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Pages: Paperback; 363
Release Date: September 26, 2016
Source: Author
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Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who are fans of puzzles, and definitely fans of Stanley Kubrick's movies.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Shawn Hagan, a college film student obsessed with legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, discovers hidden clues in his movies which lead him on a harrowing quest toward a mysterious treasure that Kubrick left behind. Endangered by sinister groups on the same quest, Shawn has no choice but to claim the prize first because in the wrong hands … "It has the power to change the course of history."

Do you ever read a book, and end up feeling slightly jealous at how much smarter the characters are than you? Well, prepare to feel that way when you pick up Kubrick's Game. Derek Taylor Kent has woven a story that is full to the brim with puzzles. Shawn and his friends are lead through twists, and turns, all tying into this insane game that focuses solely around Stanley Kubrick's movies. If you're a fan of books that make you ponder, then this one is definitely for you.

First off, I need to point out the fact that Kent obviously knows a lot about Kubrick and his cinematic legacy. Each and every part of this story is like a love letter to that creator, and his works. As Shawn delves deeper into the mystery surrounding this game, more and more love is given to the puzzle itself. There are so many clues, expertly created to lead right into the next. My head was spinning after the first few had been uncovered. As a person who has definitely seen Kubrick's movies, but isn't a raving fan, I can say that this book definitely prompted me to want to watch them again. I keep wondering if I can pinpoint all the clues myself.

Which of course, means that this book picks up speed and then won't let you slow down. Shawn was put in some fairly terrifying situations, all in the name of solving the mystery. I'll be honest, I didn't like him much at first. His blunt personality, and inability to understand relationships annoyed me a bit. Following him through this puzzle though soon made me appreciate his particular brand of focus. He was able to pull himself away from situations, and really see into what he needed to do next.

The absolute only reason that I rated this four stars, rather than five, was the fact that the ending felt rushed to me. After so much build up, so many puzzles cracked, and so much time with Shawn, I couldn't help but feel like the ending came and went without a big finish. There are strong ties to all manner of conspiracy theories here, and I would have loved to see some more of those really coming life. The villains here just felt flat, and I wanted more.

Overall though? This book was fairly fantastic. As I said, it's a testament to how well written this puzzle is that I was always five steps behind Shawn. He is a brilliant mind. I'll just step away, and let him do his thing.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Review: B.S., Incorporated by Jennifer Rock and Michael Voss


Media Type: Ebook
Title: B.S, Incorporated
Author: Jennifer ROck and Michael Voss
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Pages: Paperback; 334
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Source: Book Publicity Services
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Genre: Humor, Fiction

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Anyone who enjoys some insight into the craziness that is corporate America. 

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
Business Solutions, Inc. is falling apart at the seams. While employees kill time stalking free snacks and filming porn in the HQ stairwells, the company’s co-CEOs bring in shadowy corporate consultants to shake up their business in ways even they don’t understand.

As the communications manager tasked with translating C-suite doublespeak, Will Evans is constantly torn between his blue-collar warehouse past and his white-collar future. When he is put in charge of rolling out a dubious strategy the consultants brand Optelligence, Will is thrust deep into a muddle of absurdity and responsibility he never expected.

Enter Anna Reed, corporate mercenary with heels as high as her ambition. To her, BSI is just a steppingstone to a better job at a smarter company. Demoted to Will’s team on her first day, she’s ready to steamroll anyone to get her career back on track.

When BSI is pushed to the brink of bankruptcy, Will hatches a covert plan that just might save them all. But he needs Anna’s cunning and courage to pull it off. Can Anna, the consummate job jumper, find a reason to go all-in on BSI? Or is she better off bailing and letting the company go down in flames?

Real talk, this book stressed me out. It took me a few extra days to read it because I just couldn't deal with the too real stresses of a job I basically lived through. For a moment I wanted to rate this book lower because of the stress, but I realized that the authors did a superb job bringing you into the story and characters and it's not really their fault that I worked for a similar company that went through a similar situation and ended up having to leave the company because of it. Call it corporate PTSD if you will, but I think the authors did a good job capturing the corporate world in this humorous book.

Will is my favorite type of character, sarcastic and pragmatic. He is navigating the system and chaos of things he basically has no control over, while simultaneously trying to keep his job. If you've ever worked in a corporate environment, or known someone who has, the banter and insight Will shares with his trusted friends/coworkers will make you laugh. Every office needs a Will.

Anna was a less likable character, but she grows on you as the story progresses. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to say I liked her character until the very end of the story, which can be a good thing. You're never quite sure where her loyalties lie and that brings about an interesting turn of events. I really enjoyed her "real" moments when she wasn't projecting Corporate Anna and actually acted like a normal human being.

All in all I would say this book is a funny read. If you've been through a corporate transition, there may be some stressful "too real" moments for you but hopefully the humorous take on everything will bring you through the story with a smile.

Jennifer and Michael have a shared passion for storytelling that goes back – way back – to when Jennifer published haikus in her first-grade newsletter, and Mike entertained other kids on the school bus with his creative fiction.

Not surprisingly, their jones for crafting a tale fueled their individual career paths, where each held roles in journalism, advertising, public relations, marketing and corporate communications. Jennifer and Michael had the good fortune to work for and with companies that spanned industries and impact – from privately held start-ups to Fortune 50 powerhouses to, now, their own communications agency.

Both authors live near Minneapolis where they work as speakers and consultants. They share their best stories during happy hour. B.S., Incorporated is their debut novel. For more information, visit their website.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Book Review: Time Traveling With A Hamster by Ross Welford



Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Time Traveling With A Hamster
Author: Ross Welford
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Pages: Hardcover; 434
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Source: Publisher
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Content Screening: Nothing of note.

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers of all ages, but specifically those young readers who have a big love for science and theory!

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Back to the Future meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in this original, poignant, race-against-time story about a boy who travels back to 1984 to save his father’s life.

My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty-nine and again four years later, when he was twelve. On his twelfth birthday, Al Chaudhury receives a letter from his dead father. It directs him to the bunker of their old house, where Al finds a time machine (an ancient computer and a tin bucket). The letter also outlines a mission: travel back to 1984 and prevent the go-kart accident that will eventually take his father’s life. But as Al soon discovers, whizzing back thirty years requires not only imagination and courage, but also lying to your mom, stealing a moped, and setting your school on fire—oh, and keeping your pet hamster safe. With a literary edge and tons of commerical appeal, this incredible debut has it all: heart, humor, vividly imagined characters, and a pitch-perfect voice.


Okay, color me impressed! You've heard me praise the wonders of Middle Grade fiction and its wonderful authors many a time, and yet it never fails to stun me how much goodness comes out of the books written for this age group. Ross Welford has penned a gem here. Time Traveling With A Hamster simultaneously pulls together the importance of family, the grey areas we face when making hard decisions, the beauty (and issues) associated with being passionate about something, and even owning up to ones own mistakes. I am so thrilled to have read this, and can't recommend it enough!

Now, let me put out there that there are actually a fair amount of high end concepts in this book. As a reader who believes fully in not talking down to young readers, I was smitten with this. Al Chadhury's father was a brilliant man. One who wasn't afraid to dabble in science and theory, ultimately leading to his discovery of time travel. Through Al's travels in time, and the letters his father left behind, he learns so much about everything his dad was passionate about. There are brilliant descriptions of the theory of relativity, and examples that actually make it palatable for young minds. There's even discussions of memory devices. Suffice it to say, I was blown away by the sheer amount of lessons in here.

Better still, none of those lessons seemed to slow down the overall pace of the story. I admit that it took a few chapters to really get going, as some books do, but once I was immersed that was it. Al's quest to save his dad flew by. His brushes with danger, his quick thinking to get out of hairy situations, his realizations that he might not be as clever as the thought he was, all of it just blurred together into this gorgeous story that wouldn't let me go. The ending is perfection, especially for an MG read, and I couldn't have been happier.

Long story short? This is a must have for reading lists of all ages, but specifically I think this would be a wonderful book to share as a family. There are just so many good ideas caught up in here, I feel like it would be an amazing read to share between parents and their children. Ross Welford has written the type of story that transcends age groups, and that's no easy feat! Add this to your reading list. You won't regret it.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: Yesternight by Cat Winters


Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Yesternight
Author: Cat Winters
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: Paperback; 400
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Source: Harper Collins Publishers and TLC Book Tours
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Content Screening: Mild Violence and Sexual Situations

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy darker historical fiction, with a look at reincarnation.

From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core. A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination. But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.


The items that drew me towards this book were two-fold. First off, I have a deep fascination with stories that center around children who glimpse things that adults don't. The possibilty that there are things I'm not privy to, hidden in the world I walk through every day, is intriguing. Cat Winters also wrapped the concept of reincarnation into this story, which fully sealed my need to read it. I sincerely hoped for something with gothic tones, and a deep simmering sense of tension.

Which is actually what I was given a fair amount of throughout the first half of this book. Alice's arrival, heralded by a storm of massive proportions, started things out excellently. As she began to navigate the small town of Gordon Bay, and meet the rather interesting inhabitants, I was enraptured. Small towns tend to hold interesting secrets, and when Alice met Janie I felt sure that I was correct in assuming that was coming around the bend. With characters that were generally not at all agreeable, I felt sure there was something hiding beneath it all.

Then, the second half of the book began. Let me just say, I spend the first two chapters of this part flipping back and forth with confusion. It was as if this was a whole new book, although I knew it wasn't because Alice was still present. In fact, Alice is the main focus of this portion of the book and, quite honestly, the reason things started to unravel. Suddenly I was reading a story focused on rage, and an uncomfortable discussion of sexual agression. I missed Janie's story, and wanted to go back to it.

From that point on, things just got weirder and weirder. Alice's story felt cobbled together, and spiraled toward an ending that had me shaking my head in disbelief. I'm definitely not one to turn away from a surprise twist, or unexpected ending. In this case, it felt more misplaced than anything. It's not that I expected a happy ending, not at all! It's more that I couldn't comprehend the reasoning behind the particular ending that Yesternight offered up to me.

I'm on the fence, regarding this book. Yesternight showed me a lot of the parts of Cat Winters' writing that I love, but it just didn't live up to what I hoped for. I think if the second half of the story had felt as polished as the first portion, I would have been head over heels in love. Winters has made me crave more about Janie, and her past lives. That, in itself, is impressive! So I'll offer up three stars for this book, and a warning that the ending might not be quite what you expect it to be.



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Book Review: The Bone Tree by Greg Iles


Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Bone Tree
   *Series: Penn Cage #5
Author: Greg Iles
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Pages: Hardcover; 804
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Source: Harper Collins Publishers and TLC Book Tours
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Genre: Mystery / Crime Thriller

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who have previously joined Penn Cage on his journey to pin down the Double Eagles.


#1 New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles continues the electrifying story he began in his smashing New York Timesbestseller Natchez Burning with this highly anticipated second volume in an epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

Southern prosecutor Penn Cage is caught in the darkest maelstrom of his life. The heartbreaking but seemingly straightforward death of his father's African-American nurse, Viola Turner, has fractured Penn's family and turned Dr. Tom Cage into a fugitive from justice. And in the search for his father and his reasons for running, Penn has unwittingly started a war with a violent offshoot of the KKK, the Double Eagles, whose members seem to know much more about Tom's past than Penn or his mother ever did.

Desperately following his father's trail, Penn finds himself in a maze of mirrors, beset on all sides by a family of criminals and corrupt police whose power reaches into the highest levels of state government. To even the odds, Penn must rely on allies whose objectives are very different from his own. FBI special agent John Kaiser sees Tom Cage as the key to closing not only countless civil rights murders, but also the ultimate cold case: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Penn's fiancée, journalist Caitlin Masters, is chasing the biggest story of her career and believes Tom can lead her to evidence of America's most secret, shameful history. In the end, all roads will lead to the mysterious Bone Tree, a legendary killing site that may conceal far more than the remains of the forgotten.

Penn now knows that the death of Viola Turner is a door to the darkest chapters of America's past. In the civil rights battleground that was 1960s Mississippi and Louisiana, powerful men had audacious, sweeping agendas, and their violent race murders concealed a conspiracy that ran wide and deep, involving the New Orleans Mafia, a Double Eagle hit squad, and a world- altering murder in Dealey Plaza in 1963. And if the FBI can be believed, somehow Dr. Tom Cage stands at the center of it all.

Enthralling, captivating, and utterly engrossing, The Bone Tree is a masterpiece of modern suspense and the next novel in the monumental trilogy that Greg Iles was born to write.

I finished Natchez Burning with sense of excitement over what was to come. Iles ended that book on a high note, with the kind of climax that leaves you breathless. I couldn't wait to see what Penn would find himself involved in once I started The Bone Tree. I admit that I've found a bit of a soft spot in my heart for Penn Cage and his little family. They have so much passion for doing the right thing, even when it's dangerous, that it's intoxicating.

So, it was a little disappointing that I didn't love this book as much as the first. I didn't feel that same sense of urgency, where I had to read at a rapid pace to keep up with the action. Where I praised the first book for avoiding the dreaded info dump, The Bone Tree didn't seem to take that same road. While the premise here is fascinating, tying all the way back into the JFK assassination, the only way to keep that story line going is to throw down a ton of historical knowledge. There are dense portions of explanation into histories of past characters, and how they tie into the ones we are dealing with today. It does slow things down.

Now, on a happy note, there's definitely the same amount of attention to detail that there was in the first book. Newly introduced characters are rich, and have deep history surrounding them. Which comes in handy, especially the further that things delve into the past. Natchez, as well as its surrounding cities, gets the same kind of love that it did before. The setting here has its own kind of special magic, managing to set it apart from the rest of the world in a way. It's like a place set back in time, and it makes for an excellent jumping off point into Penn's newest adventure.

The action here is just as fast paced as before, putting Penn and his family in the face of danger at every turn. I swear, I've never simultaneously wanted to cheer on and punch a character as often as I have during these books. There are some decisions made that, had I been able to, I would have smacked some of these characters for. The only downside to this particular book is that some of the action feels forced. Like it was put there simply to pick up the pace after a long dialogue or back story portion. The Bone Tree flowed, but just not as beautifully as its predecessor.

So, it comes down to the fact that I think The Bone Tree suffers from "middle book syndrome". It's the mid point in this particular story arc, and there's a lot packed into it because of that. It just unfortunately doesn't read as smoothly as the first in the series. The good news is that there's enough here, and the ending is solid enough, that it doesn't keep me from wanting to move on with the series. I'm still really excited to see what happens next.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Book Spotlight + Author Interview: Outward Blonde by Trish Cook

There's a lot of fun to be had with today's spotlight, because Trish Cook was kind enough to stop by for a stellar interview! If you haven't already added Outward Blonde to your TBR, let me tell you that you absolutely should. It's funny, adorable, and so easy to relate to! If you have ever been in the "great outdoors" against your will? Well, Lizzie feels your pain.

Sixteen-year-old Lizzie Finkelstein is a hard-partying socialite who lives a charmed life with her mother in Manhattan. After a public drunken sexual escapade results in both an arrest and an embarrassing viral video online, Lizzie’s parents stage a late night intervention. Lizzie finds herself whisked away to Utah to learn a lesson or two about taking responsibility at Camp Smiley, a wilderness survival program for troubled kids.

Camp Smiley is a far cry from Lizzie’s high society life in New York. Without her stable of luxury hair/makeup items, her teacup Pomeranian, contact with the outside world or access to social media, Lizzie must face the harsh conditions of the outdoors. Grouped with troubled campers in which she’s certain she has nothing in common (except Jack, who’s pretty hot), Lizzie must now learn to dig her own toilet in the woods and build a fire by rubbing two sticks together before the camp will ever let her go back to her former existence. She has a choice: get with the program, or get out of there.
Sound like a book you'd enjoy? Click the links below to add it to your reading list!

Get it now on B&N
Pre-Order at Amazon
Add it to Goodreads


* If I had to choose one word to describe myself, it would be adventurous.

* My favorite color is hot pink.

* I'd describe my "currently reading" bookshelf as dark memoirs and light comedy.

* The Phocus app! (and my dog and sour patch kids) are something I definitely need while writing.


What was your favorite part about writing this book? What kind of research did you get to do?

My favorite part about writing this book was digging into the characters and making them come alive. I really understood and empathized with them all by the end, and it was hard to say goodbye and close the book on writing them! The most interesting research I did was interview a friend of my daughter’s who had gone to wilderness in high school. She gave me the lowdown on what it was really like there, and shared a lot about her feelings while there and in retrospect. She’s a kick-ass young woman now and you have her to thank all the in-depth knowledge about wilderness "bathrooms."


Was there anything that you learned while writing this book that really surprised you?

I think what surprised me most is there’s more than one way to write and edit a book! For my publisher, the team at Adaptive Books, a first draft is just a jumping off point for trying all sorts of creative ideas to make it even better. Some of the notes they gave me were ginormous. Some were little tweaks. Some didn’t work. Most worked like magic. And we never would’ve known unless we tried them all. Now, I have a book I’m insanely proud of, that is better than I ever imagined it could be, and I have them to thank for it!


Were there any moments that made you really emotional while writing them?
I really liked the tender moments between Lizzie and Jack, and Lizzie and her dad. She’s had such a wall up around her heart for so long, and it choked me up to have her be brave enough to let those walls down. That’s how honest relationships are forged. It is a giant scary leap to let people see the squishy parts of you, but it’s so, so worth it. So I was proud of her!


Finally, what would you say to readers who are looking at picking up your books?

Always stay true to you, and be your awesome self.


Trish Cook is the author of four YA novels: So Lyrical, Overnight Sensation, Notes from the Blender, and A Really Awesome Mess. Her personal essays have appeared in Graze Literary Magazine and Spittoon, and she is currently completing her memoir, tentatively titled Bret Michaels at the Symphony. When she's not writing, Trish is a runner, rower, music and pop culture fanatic.
 



 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Confessions of an Undercover Girlfriend by Kay Marie

Happy Monday! What better way to start your week than with a new romantic comedy? Just look at that adorable cover! Don't you just want to get cozy with a cup of coffee and read?


So, I'm no longer a virgin sex columnist—thank you, Ollie—but if I thought that was going to make my life easier, boy was I wrong! John is back in town determined to win my forgiveness. Blythe is more ready than ever to take me down. Bridget is totally onto the new twinkle in my eye. And, well, Ollie is just as distractingly delicious as usual.

So, naturally, I have a few more confessions to make.

Confession #1: I came up with what I thought would be the perfect plan to keep my relationship with Ollie a secret—pretend to get back together with John!

Confession #2: It backfired. A lot.


***

Check out these inspiration boards for some of the characters, can you say swoon? Don't forget to check out the giveaway at the end!

Oliver McDonough Inspirations:

Skylar Quinn Inspirations:


Bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis writes young adult fantasy novels under the name Kaitlyn Davis and contemporary romance novels under the name Kay Marie.

Always blessed with an overactive imagination, Kaitlyn has been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to share her work with the world. When she's not daydreaming, typing stories, or getting lost in fictional worlds, Kaitlyn can be found indulging in some puppy videos, watching a little too much television, or spending time with her family. If you have any questions for her--about her books, about scheduling an event, or just in general--you may contact her at: KaitlynDavisBooks@gmail.com

To stay up-to-date with all of Kaitlyn's new releases, sign up for her new release newsletter here.










Thursday, October 6, 2016

Thankful Thursday



In the madness that has been the last two weeks, I put everything to the wayside in favor of work. Which is dangerous, because if there one thing that I've learned it's that I need a certain amount of self care. Ignoring that leads to anxiety, and depression. Those are roads I like to avoid if at all possible.

I'm writing this post as a way to stop for a minute, and really think about these last two weeks. What I've been trying to do, mostly in my paper journal, is take some time once a week and write down some things that I was proud of, or thankful for, or excited about. It's really easy to focus on all the stress and the negativity. It takes practice to steer that energy towards the happiness and the positive.

So here's a quick list of 5 things that I'm thankful for right this moment.

* My husband who understands my moods, and supports me when I'm down. Plus, provides ice cream and snuggles for those most anxiety riddled of days.

* My puppy who, as much of a trouble maker as she might be at times, makes me laugh and provides someone to cuddle with when my husband is busy.

* My hammock, and the quiet zen/reading space that it provides.

* Awesome friends. Who check up on me when I try to hide away from everything, and cheer me up when I need it most. Friends who are just as happy to share a meal, as they are to share quiet and relaxing discussion time.

* Bookstagram. That might sound silly, but ever since I discovered this as a hobby, it has really boosted my creativity level. It gives me something to look forward to, and another group of people to interact with.


What are you thankful for right now? 

Perhaps a new book that you've been waiting for anxiously? I know that definitely makes my list when it happens :).

This is your reminder, if you haven't done it already this week, to take a step back and just zen. Self care is vastly important, and really easy to push aside.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Book Review: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan


Media Type: Print Book 
Title: The Bookshop on the Corner
Author: Jenny Colgan
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: Paperback; 368
Release Date: September 20, 2016
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Genre: Women's Fiction / Chick Lit

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love books that are all about the love of books.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | HarperCollins
“Losing myself in Jenny Colgan’s beautiful pages is the most delicious, comforting, satisfying treat I have had in ages.”—Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author of Summer Secrets

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

Ah, books about books. Is there any greater love letter to readers out there, than a book about someone who revolves their whole life around books? I think not. Which is why The Bookshop on the Corner was such an enjoyable read. There's so much wrapped up in Nina's story, but at the heart of it all is the ardent love of books.

When Nina is laid off from her readers' advisory job at the library, she turns that passion towards something even more amazing. She moves away from a bustling city, to the quiet countryside. I admit to grinning like a fool when Nina opened her "bookshop-on-wheels". What a way to spend a day. Matching potential readers with their perfect books, and wandering the Scottish countryside. Can I please trade places with her? What a pleasant way to live out your days.

As if a book love wasn't enough of a reason to read this book though, there's a romance brewing as well. A bit nervous about anything romantic, after her bad luck with men, Nina's worry about diving headfirst into love is understandable. Which makes her slow decent into smitten territory absolutely adorable. It's hard not to fall head over heels right along with her, and it endeared me to her immensely.

This book might be a little predictable, but it's that kind of story that really just pulls you in. It's all about life as a journey, and how we really never know what is going to happen next. It's about embracing change. It's an enjoyable read, and one that you can easily devour on a porch swing, or in a hammock

Plain and simple, this is a book that deserves a space on your reading list. I, for one, know that I'll be hunting down more Jenny Colgan if this is what I have to look forward to.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Book Blitz: The Rift Uprising by Amy S. Foster


Today we're celebrating the book birthday of The Right Uprising by Amy S. Foster. In my opinion, there's nothing better than a book birthday! A new read, going out into the world, for everyone to enjoy. What could be better than that? Check it out!

Normal seventeen-year-old girls go to high school, binge watch TV shows all weekend, and flirt with everyone on the face of the Earth. But Ryn Whitaker is trying to save it.

Ryn is a Citadel. A soldier. A liar. Ryn and her fellow Citadels were specially chosen and trained to guard a Rift—one of fourteen unpredictable tears in the fabric of the universe that serve as doorways to alternate Earths. Unbeknownst to her family, Ryn leaves for school each day and then reports for duty as an elite, cybernetically-altered soldier who can run faster, jump farther, and fight better than a Navy SEAL—which comes in handy when she’s not sure if axe-wielding Vikings or any number of other terrified and often dangerous beings come through the Rift. A fine-tuned weapon, Ryn is a picture-perfect Citadel. But that’s all about to change.

When a young man named Ezra is pulled through the Rift, Ryn finds herself immediately drawn to him, despite her training. What starts as a physical attraction quickly grows deeper, and Ezra’s curiosity throws Ryn off balance when he starts questioning the Rifts, the mysterious organization that oversees them, and the Citadels themselves—questions that lead Ryn to wonder if the lies she’s been telling her family are just the surface of a much bigger lie told to her. As Ryn and Ezra desperately try to get to that truth, they discover that each revelation blurs the line between the villains and the heroes even more.

***

So what do you think? Is this something that you'll be adding to your TBR?

I'll be reviewing this in a few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, go and add it to your wishlists!

Amy S. Foster is a celebrated songwriter, best known as Michael Bublé’s writing partner. You might recognize her work in his four hit singles, including "Home" and "Haven't Met You Yet.” She has also collaborated with Destiny’s Child, Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and a host of other artists. She is also the author of the novel When Autumn Leaves. When she's not in a studio in Nashville, Amy lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Amy is the daughter of singer B.J. Cook and the legendary music producer, David Foster. Fun fact about Amy: Her extended family tree includes Bella and Gigi Hadid, Sara and Erin Foster and Brody and Brandon Jenner, and Clay Aiken! The Rift Uprising, her YA debut, will be released on October 4, 2016.




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