Tag Archives: reading

January Wrap Up & February TBR

 

January Wrap Up

January was a slow month of reading for me, you could call it a reading slump, but it was more like a life slump. I didn’t feel like doing much at all, but I was doing a ton of editing on my next novel. I managed to read two romance novels this month. I don’t know about you, but I really like reading adult romance during the winter!

Darker by EL James– 3/5 Stars

This is the second Fifty Shades of Grey novel in Christian’s perspective. I loved the first one from his POV, but this one lacked something for me. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t really like Ana in this version, she seemed like the shell of a character, not fully developed at all. On a side note, who else plans on going out to see the new movie in February?

 

Blaze by Rachael Herron– 2/5 Stars

So I started watching the show 9-1-1 on Fox and then it got me on a steamy firefighter kick, so I bought this one because it was free on Kindle. This isn’t a BDSM erotica like Darker, more of a sweet romance with a non-detailed sex scene, so if you’re looking for smutty stuff, go elsewhere. This was cute, but I couldn’t see Tox as the sexy firefighter he was supposed to be and I wasn’t sure if that was the author’s lack of physical details on him or me. It was a super quick read, but I just wouldn’t get into it. The climax was very predictable and after that, I wasn’t too interested in finished the novel. There are more in this series, but I think I’ll be saying goodbye to the residents of Darling Bay.

 

 

 

 

February TBR

 

Three Sides of a Heart by Natalie C Parker and others-

This is a bunch of short stories about love triangles by various authors. I bought it just because Katie Cotugno had a short story and I already read hers! Planning on finishing all of them in honor of Valentine’s Day.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Yes, for the hundredth time, I’ve added this to my TBR. This one has been a struggle for me to sit down and read, so now I’m just listening to it on audiobook while I’m driving to various places. I’m ten chapters in, so I am making progress!

Unashamed by Christine Caine

Part of my bookish resolutions this year was to read more faith-based books, so twice a week I’ve been trying to do just that. This month, Unashamed is that book. I’m not too far into it, but hoping to finish it before March.

The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren

I received this book via NetGalley months ago, and kind of forgot that I need get to read it and review it for free! I saw Colleen Hoover recently read it and loved it! So I’m going to make sure I read that in February, for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 Favorite Books

10. Forever… by Judy Blume

I read this along time ago, but I just remember it being the first romance book that I read that was honest about teens and sex and I loved that! I didn’t really care for the characters, but I did like that this was the first romance book that I had read.

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9. Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

What I liked most about this was how mature the writing seemed for a YA/NA romance. It wasn’t full of the typical troupes you see in most novels, but it was still romantic and I was rooting for the characters to have a happy ending.

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8. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

I have no shame. This was the very first book that got me into my obsession with books, after a long hiatus of not reading for pleasure after elementary school. I remember devouring this series in about a month. I’m still obsessed. What can I say? I’ll always make room for Twilight on my favorites list.

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7. Teach Me by R.A. Nelson

Wonder what happens behind closed doors of a teacher/student relationship. This one is for you. I think I’m going to reread this one in 2018.

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6. Zac and Mia by AJ Betts

For those who enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars, take a chance on this one. For me, this was way better and more honest than TFiOS. Don’t get me wrong, I loved TFiOS, but this novel has all the raw emotions of what being a cancer patient is really like (and I should know, I went through it).

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5. The Cellar by Natasha Preston

This novel is about a girl who is kidnapped and put in a cellar along with a handful of other women who have been brainwashed by their kidnapper to basically love him because their lives depend on it. I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of this novel.

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4. Stolen by Lucy Christopher

If you end up enjoying Cellar, you’ll probably like Stolen. It’s along the same lines except our character is taken to the dessert where she tries to find a way to escape, but where can you run to in the dessert?

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3. How to Love by Katie Cotugno

The next two novels were hard for me to rate because I love them both so much. It took me awhile to pick up How to Love, but once I did, I wished I had read it sooner. The synopsis had turned me away from it originally, I loved it and couldn’t put it down.

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2. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

I just might be one of the only YA readers around who enjoyed the love triangle in 99 Days and I’m not ashamed of that. I can’t wait for the sequel!

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1. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

I didn’t think any book would ever pass up a Katie Cotugno book on my favorites, let alone a Colleen Hoover book. I’ve read a few of her novels, and nothing was ever favorite worthy. That was, until I picked up November 9, on November 9th. It was book fate, haha. This book had me on a rollercoaster of emotions and I was constantly rooting for the couple, until the moment Ben broke my heart, but I still loved him as a fictional boyfriend. This is a must read!

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2017 Goodreads Challenge COMPLETED!

So I completed my 2017 Goodreads Challenge and even went an ‘armful’ of books over! I thought I’d share with you the stats of the books I read over 2017 because it’s fun for me to look back on all the books. Some of them feel like I read them YEARS ago!

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No-where But Here was sooooo good!

 

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Loved Everything, Everything but the movie fell short for me. Of course, my novel was the least ‘popular’ one that I read. And yes, I did read my own novel, a few times actually. Show your support for an indie or local author! It doesn’t even have to be me (but I’d love if you checked my novel out), us small time authors love hearing feedback! The Last July is out in paperback and e-book, the e-book is usually $4.99 but you can sometimes catch it on sale for .99 cents.

Overview of Book Ratings in 2017

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover- 4/5 Stars

Outcast Volume 1 by Robery Kirkman- 4/5 Stars

How to Love by Katie Cotugno- 5/5 Stars

True (#1) by Erin McCarthy- 2/5 Stars

Denton Little’s Still Not Dead by Lance Rubin- 5/5 Stars

Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken- 3/5 Stars

Coming Up For Air by Miranda Kenneally- 2/5 Stars

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West- 4/5 Stars

Pucked (#1) by Helena Hunting- 3/5 Stars

Say Anything by Sarah Dessen- 3/5 Stars

Trusting You and Other Lies by Nicole Williams- 4/5 Stars

No-Where But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry- 5/5 Stars

Shadowlith (Umbral Blade #1) by Stuart Thaman- 5/5 Stars

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno- 4/5 Stars

Mann Cakes by Mysti Parker- 4/5 Stars

Kingdom Marriage Devotional- I didn’t finish this, but my husband and I read a devotional once a week from it and it’s been a good conversation starter for us.

Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2) by Katie McGarry- 4/5 Stars

Long Way Home (Thunder Road #3) by Katie McGarry- 5/5 Stars

Bad Penny by Staci Hart- 3/5 Stars

Wonderlost by Jenny Malone- 2/5 Stars

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen- 5/5 Stars

Trust by Kylie Scott- 3/5 Stars

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon- 5/5 Stars

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino- 5/5 Stars

The Last July by Breanna Mounce- I’d give it a 5/5 but I wrote it!

Dearly Departed (Grave Reminders #1) by Rachael Rawlings- 4/5 Stars

Dirty by Kylie Scott- 3/5 Stars

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno- 3/5 Stars

Wytches Volume 1 by Scott Snyder- 4/5 Stars

November 9 by Colleen Hoover- 5/5 Stars

Dear Delilah by T Bester- 2/5 Stars

What Light by Jay Asher- 5/5 Stars

 

As for the 2018 Challenge, I set my goal to only 15. This year I want to read more non-fiction, faith based and classic books. I also want to publish two of my own, so I’m going to slow down on my writing a little bit.

 

 

 

Bookish Resolutions for 2018

 

1.) Read IT by Stephen King all the way through. Why is this a battle? Because I’ve never read anything by Stephen King and this book is about 900 pages. My husband started IT two months ago and he’s almost done.

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2.) Read some classic books. I stick to YA and romance most of the time because they’re easy reads, but I’d like to read some classics that I’ve been trying to get around to.

 

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3.) Read without feeling pressured to read. I got into doing a lot of ARC reading last year and I’m going to stay away from that this year. I’m not against ARC’s, but I feel like I have to enjoy them and write a good review for the author.

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4.) Finally finish The Raven Cycle. Yes, I still haven’t read The Raven King yet. It’s on my TBR pile. I swear.

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5.) Publish two of my own novels. I just finished my first set of edits on a novel I’ll be co-authoring with my husband and I just started editing another contemporary YA. Looking forward to getting those done! I just have to kick myself to sit down and complete this.

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4.) Finish reading all the hardback/paperback books I bought in 2017 but didn’t get to. Here’s my current TBR pile of those novels:

 

 

What Light by Jay Asher Book Review

Title: What LightBooks Jay Asher

Author: Jay Asher

Rating: 5/5 Stars




Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.




 

This was probably the coziest YA romance I could have picked up for the month of December. I’ve had it on my TBR since earlier this summer and had been waiting for the holiday season to hit so I could read it (yes, I prefer to read books in whatever season they take place in.)

I loved this novel so much, it wasn’t a life changing, I’m in complete since I finished it like I was with November 9 last month, but it was still super cute and I was totally crushing on Caleb.

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I didn’t find too many issues with the plot in this and I never found the characters annoying or bland. Which was why I gave this novel a perfect rating. The drama was minimal, and was usually quickly resolved.

This is the perfect novel for you to snuggle up to this Christmas! I highly recommend it, no complaints here! Beautiful scenery, plenty of details, wonderful story.

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Surviving my first book signing…

 

On December 2nd, I did my very first book signing. I’ve gone along with my husband to various signings and comic-cons, but this was the first time my book would be on the table to purchase.

Now, let me tell you, I was nervous. I was shaking like crazy on the way to the venue and I get this weird voice when I’m going to have to talk to strangers in person, where I sound like I’m going to burst into tears. I’m fairly sure I have a mild case of anxiety that I haven’t been able to shake since middle school, but I refuse to admit it sometimes.

My husband was running late, so it was up to me to get everything ready to go, I’m used to following his lead when we go to shows like this.

When I got to the venue though and set the table up, I felt a lot better. It wasn’t too crowded so there weren’t many people I could make a full of myself in front of. It’s a lot different when you’re trying to sell your own book, versus someone else’s. I was honestly surprised about how confident I was talking to people, the pride I felt for accomplishing something I’ve always wanted to do. But… I did have some trouble finding the words I wanted to say when someone asked me a question. I’m not a good BS’er or salesperson, I’ll admit that right now. I don’t know what to say to convince someone that they must read my book, but honestly, that doesn’t bother me.

I’m not writing for money or fame. Even if only a handful of strangers love my novels and writing style, I’d say I was successful. I write because it’s my passion, I want to write the perfect book boyfriend that you’re going to fall in love with and beg me for a sequel.

I didn’t sell out at the signing, but my husband and I managed to make back what we paid for the booth and then some. If anything, it was a great learning experience and I found some stuff I want to work on for the next signing. I totally need to improve on my selling pitch and get my next novel out ASAP. It was still fun. I had my very first in person sale to someone who wasn’t a friend or family member! Can’t wait to sign up to do some more next year!

If you want to stay up to date on signings and specials, follow my FB author page.

 

 

November 9 Review by Colleen Hoover

Title: November 925111004

Author: Colleen Hoover

Rating: 5/5 stars




 

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.




 

I’m sure if you’re reading a blog about books, you’ve probably experienced the feeling I’m about to explain. You know when you finish a book and you just don’t know what to do with yourself? You got so invested in the characters lives that once you put the book down, you can’t imagine ever starting another book because you loved the last characters so much? That’s how I felt after reading November 9. This book has made it to the tip top of my favorites list.

Prior to reading November 9, I hadn’t enjoyed the books that I’ve read from Hoover, so I wasn’t expecting much from this one. I only started it because I saw it was on sale since it’s November. This book exceeded my expectations. The characters were beautiful, I loved the plot, and I adored how we only got to see the one day out of the entire year for these characters.

I laughed, cried, screamed… everything while reading this novel. I’ve never experienced such a crazy roller coaster of feelings.

I don’t want to say too much, and spoil this amazing novel, but I must say, it comes full circle but I was still very shocked by the plot twist. Normally, I can predict pretty well what will happen, but not with this one.

Even though I loved this book, I’ve seen many negative reviews, mostly on Goodreads. This novel has stirred some unnecessary controversy (guys, it’s fiction, get off of Hoover’s metaphorical dick!) that I don’t really agree with, but we’re all free to have our own opinions. I won’t go into those reviews because I don’t think they deserve attention, and I’m kind of still fuming from the annoying tumblr rants, sadly, Hoover felt like she had to apologize for some of what was written. That being said, proceed with caution when reading this book, but also have an open mind.

I’m planning on ordering an autographed copy of this novel from her website, if that helps you understand just how much I enjoyed the lives of Ben and Fallon. Three days after finishing this book, I’m still having issues with moving on from their story.

Well done, Hoover, well done!

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Wytches (Vol. 1) by Snyder

Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying. Wytches takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before. When the Rooks family moves to the81HOHp3nwWL remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry.




 

It’s kind of tough to give a review of a graphic novel… and I’m just now realizing that. It was even hard for me to pick what star review I should give this also. I found this graphic novel/comic to be very creepy but also mysterious at the same time. I loved the bond between Sailor and her dad, though there were times I didn’t really understand their relationship. Sailor has anxiety and I couldn’t tell if her dad hated her for it or was worried about her. We have these flashbacks that seem to be her dad trying to put her in a situation that she doesn’t want to be in, thinking she needs to fight her fears but I don’t think it worked out too well. Though, we do see Sailor’s strength and thirst for life come out later in the comic.

I loved the plot, but some of the actual conversation bubbles were tough to read. I’m not a expert reviewer/reader of graphic novels, so I might be alone on this thought but I felt like the font size and type was not good on the eyes. This took away from the story a bit for me.

I think I’d give this a 3/5 stars. Plot was great, but a little tough to follow. You can’t just stop in the middle of this and pick it up again, you have to keep pushing through so you don’t miss out on anything. Hoping this story continues on! Would love to see more of the wytches!

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno Book Review

Title: Top TenTopTen_1

Author: Katie Cotugno

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 3/5 Stars



 

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?



 

I didn’t think it would happen, but I’ve finally read a book of Katie Cotugno’s that I wasn’t thrilled about. I’ve never given her anything less than a five star until this novel. It won’t stop me from reading her stuff in the future, but I don’t think it was nearly as good as 99 Days of How to Love.

Gabby’s Anxiety

Gabby reminded me so much of myself. She hates being put in social situations, doesn’t want to be in a crowd, hates parties and constantly thinks she makes mistakes and dwells on the past. Literally. Me. There were moments I thought, ‘Shit, Cotugno, how’d you get into my brain and write my anxiety so well?’ She did a great job at the ‘panicers’ and anxiety, but I found myself really annoyed with Gabby for how she treated Ryan and her sisters sometimes. She came off as a total ass and I know she didn’t mean to, but you can only blame the anxiety for so long.

Sexuality

I was also put off my Gabby being bi, I’m not a big fan about ready non-heterosexual romance (I’m not against this, I’m just not a fan of reading something I can’t relate to like that). I feel like if you’re going to make a character bi/gay/trans it needs to be in the synopsis, especially since this played a huge role in the book. I may be the only one who feels this way, and forgive me if I sound ignorant, but that’s how I felt.

Out of Order Plot

How to Love was written in a THEN/NOW alternating chapters, which I loved. This novel however did a countdown that was mixed in some areas. Had it been written their senior year, backwards until you get to when they meet each other, that would have been easier to follow.

 

For Ryan and Gabby being best friends, I feel like they never actually knew how to handle one another, they seemed to constantly be stepping around their feelings for each other. This drove me absolutely nuts! Ryan was always worried about setting off Gabby and Gabby was always worried about pissing off Ryan. It didn’t seem healthy for either of them. And poor Ryan! I felt like Gabby was constantly messing with his emotions!

 

 

 

 

Dirty (Dive Bar Book 1) by Kylie Scott Review

Title: Dirty (Dive Bar 1)25671827

Author: Kylie Scott

Genre: Romance

Rating: 3/5 Stars



 

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that come with her.

Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to scream or cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together.

Just when this runaway bride has nowhere left to turn, a handsome stranger offers her a broad, muscular shoulder to cry on. Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessmen she’s normally drawn to. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and is facing his own crossroads. But Lydia’s already tried Mr. Right and discovered he’s all wrong–maybe it’s time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what’s wrong with getting dirty?



 

After I read Trust by Scott, I was really excited to check out some of her other books. I was a little let down by this one, it wasn’t as good as Trust was and I felt like things moved way too quickly. The ‘instalove’ was VERY instant in this novel. It started out hilarious, I mean, what would you do if you found a porn of your soon-to-be husband having sex with his groomsmen? Talk about dodging a bullet.

One thing I’m not a fan of in Kylie Scott’s books is how she makes her characters self-conscious of their body weight. Unless it has to do with the plot, which it didn’t in this novel, don’t make it part of the story. I feel like she’s only writing overweight characters in order to get a target audience. Not into that.

This novel takes place over one week… as I mentioned before about the instant love between these two characters, I wasn’t lying. Even Lydia says at the end of the book that they moved too fast.

With all that said, I might still read book two in the series (Twist) just to see if it’s any better.