Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge Update ~ November

BookishResolution Challenge 2016

Laura @Trips Down Imagination Road and Michelle @Because Reading are once again hosting the Bookish Resolutions Challenge in 2016. I participated in this challenge last year and it was a good way to keep me motivated in certain areas, so I decided to do it again this year.

My Goals for 2016
  • Blogging Goals
    • Keep up with commenting back weekly
    • Link up my challenge posts bi-weekly
    • Learn some HTML to change up format of posts
  • Reading Goals
    • Raise my Netgalley rating to 50%
    • Read books my kids *need* me to read
      • Alice in Wonderland
      • Death with Interruptions 
      • Everything is Illuminated
      • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
      • Listening for Luka
      • School of Good and Evil
      • The Things They Carried
      • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
      • Wonderstruck
  • Personal Goals
    • Stick to my daily schedule

Progress made in September

Blogging Goals
  • I sucked at blogging goals in November. But I knew that was going to be the case. THANK GOODNESS I'd done blog ahead so I had posts scheduled. That's been a relief. And commenting? What commenting?!? But NaNoWriMo ends today (psst...I hit the 50000 word goal! My novel isn't quite done but I'm a winner nonetheless!) I'll be catching up with comments over the next few days!
Reading Goals
  • My rating is still at 22%!! Ugh! I did post a review and I have another I need to get posted but... Maybe I can get it up a couple of percentage points by the end of December???
  • I didn't get any of my Kids' Recs List read in November. I've managed to get ONE request per kid read this year.
Personal Goals
  • My personal goals centered on NaNoWriMo this month. And seeing as I hit the word goal, I'm calling it a win all the way around. :D In December, I'll get back to exercising and keeping a better schedule. I need sleep, y'all! I kept some late hours and then got up early...I'm feeling it. I was slow at reading over the last month. Thank goodness for audiobooks - I listen when I'm traveling back and forth between dropping off and picking up kids, at the store, cleaning...  

How'd y'all do?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Audio Review ~ According to Hoyle ~ Abigail Roux

According To Hoyle
According to Hoyle by Abigail Roux
Narrated byMason Lloyd
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Genre: Adult, Historical M/M Romance
Source: Tantor Audio sent me a complimentary copy
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease

US Marshals Eli Flynn and William Henry Washington - longtime friends and colleagues - are escorting two prisoners to New Orleans for trial when they discover there's more than outlawry to the infamous shootist Dusty Rose and the enigmatic man known as Cage. As the two prisoners form an unlikely partnership, the marshals can't help but look closer at their own.

When forces beyond the marshals' control converge on the paddle wheeler they've hired to take them downriver, they must choose between two dangers: playing by the rules at any cost or trusting the very men they are meant to bring to justice.

"According to Hoyle" - in accord with the highest authority; in accord with a strict set of rules.

I admit I had to look up this phrase. I'd never heard it before and I appreciated how Roux incorporated it into this story. It was brilliant, really. Especially when you think about whether or not life is black and white or shades of gray.

According to Hoyle is historical - a western really - set in the west following the Civil War. Our four main characters are 2 Marshals and the 2 prisoners their charged with getting to trial. Along the way, Wash and Flynn have to decide whether living "According to Hoyle" makes sense or whether, in fact, there are some things in life that don't necessarily fit within the strict confines of law or societal norms.


  • Western setting - we see Denver, Lincoln, Junction City, St. Louis, all as the marshals transport their prisoners to trial in Louisiana. Roux captured the west, its dust, its cool plains nights, beautifully.
  • Well-developed characters that evolve as the story moves along. In each one of them we see they are more than meets the eye and the circumstances they find themselves in cause them to question some things as well as proves each one to be selfless with those they care about. Not only is the law questioned - whether there are shade of gray and if all things defined as punishable on a surface level really are when examined closely, but feelings, dare I say love, are questioned, examined, wondered at outside the bounds of what society considers acceptable.
  • The suspense/mystery. In true western fashion, there is a hold up of sorts. There were guns and bandanas and dynamite. It was all very exciting and kept me guessing.
  • The narrator. Mason Lloyd was absolutely perfect! His gruff voice and range was spot on for a western. He kept the voices distinct, the pacing even, and the suspense tight. Truly, I think he enhanced my enjoyment of the story.
I'll definitely be reading (or listening) to more Roux!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday Post #17 - #NaNoWriMo & Update

Sunday Post

As y'all probably all know, the Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba @Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share my news from the week whether it be book, blog, or just life news. Since I read so many of your Sunday Posts and I wanted to add something new in 2016, I've decided to join in the fun!


Well, it's the end of November. 2016 is rapidly coming to a close and I can't believe how quickly this year seems to have gone by! Like it has somewhere else to be! I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate, and if you don't, I hope your week went smoothly. Hubs, Berk and Jax had the whole week off and Sky came home on Wednesday night for the short break. We enjoyed having everyone home and our nephew came down (he lives a little over an hour north of us) for Thanksgiving day. This week is only semi-normal as I'm heading to Texas while James and the kids go to Phoenix for a drum corps audition camp. I suppose the remainder of the year will run similarly so it's as "normal" as it's going to get.

It's been over a month since I posted and there's lots to catch up on. Primarily I've spent this month participating in NaNoWriMo. As of this posting, I'm at 44106 words with most of 4 days left to complete my novel. Easily doable and I'll be reaching my personal goal of completing my novel in 2016! Woohoo! 

As for reading, I've listened to more than I've actually read lately. Currently, I'm listening to Spin by CD Reiss and Hunting Season by Shelly Laurenston. And I'm reading With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent, which has been sitting on my shelf, signed, since May of 2013 when I first met Rachel. I've let it languish because I hated to say goodbye to these characters but I'm enjoying the book. :) I finished up my #OctobeRecFest strong with 14 recs. I read some great books and I'm grateful to YOU for adding so many wonderful books to my TBR list. ;) I'm working at #TravelingtotheTerminus but haven't read too many so far - only 6. Again, NaNoWriMo is my priority so I don't have as much time for reading. 

I sincerely apologize for not getting by to visit everyone with any regularity. I thought I could do it with a schedule but when the creative juices are flowing, you have to go with it. So writing has taken precedence over most things. I'll be back in December. AND I'm having a holiday raffle for y'all.

Tell me about y'all's week. Was it a good one? Here's to hoping December flies in with holiday cheer and great reads!! :D


Bookworm BrandeeBlogger ShameNew Release Challenge 2016 - (un)Conventional Bookviews2016HWLogoButtonBlog Ahead 2016-Oct

Challenge Updates
I'm continuing to plug away at some of my challenges. Here's how I'm doing by the numbers:

#ShelfLove - 67
Blogger Shame - 11 
New Release - 52
Goodreads - 137
#2016HW - 8 (I've given up on this challenge!)

I've been working at a list of series that I need to catch up on... y'all, I'm up to 122!! Traveling to the Terminus may be an ongoing project in 2017. ;) I've read 6 books so far towards my challenge.

How are y'all doing with your challenges?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Audio Review ~ Pirate ~ Eve Langlais

Pirate (Space Gypsy Chronicles, #1)Pirate by Eve Langlais
Space Gypsy Chronicles #1
Narrated byChandra Skyye
Release Date: May 24, 2016 (audio)
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Source: Tantor Audio sent me a complimentary copy
Rating: 3 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease

Earth: a space pirate's dream when it comes to booty, but not a good place to hide when bounty hunters come looking. Pulling up stakes means Rafe must leave his vintage trailer behind, but in the process he acquires a passenger, a mouthy female who seems to think she's calling the shots. She'll soon learn who's the captain. And it isn't Annabelle, his sassy ship.

A true red-blooded male, Rage does his best to teach Emma her place in the universe, but her human attitude gets in the way. So why doesn't he sell her when he gets the chance? Damned if he knows, but despite his motto of "the universe revolves around me", he finds himself putting his life in peril to save hers. But that doesn't mean he's letting her in on all his secrets. Some things a man has to carry alone, and some revelations a pirate will kill to keep.

The universe might be out to get him, but he's not giving in without a fight.

Pirate isn't my first read from Langlais, but it is my first listen. It's also the first in a new sci-fi series and while the characters and the world building were interesting, it didn't always hold my attention.

Emma, or "Wench", as Rafe lovingly? refers to her, is a delivery truck driver. She's been delivering to Rage for awhile and he's also apparently been trying to score with her. Despite the fact Emma is rather charmed by him, she's continually refused him. This would actually turn out in her favor when she's essentially kidnapped by Rage and removed from Earth.

See, Rafe is a space pirate and as such he often angers powerful people, meaning he's a wanted man. He's also an alien, um, Romani. They're travelers and Rafe gained a traveling companion in Emma when she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As Langlais developed these characters, the spaceship, and world they now inhabit, we learn that the Romani are quite chauvinistic in their treatment of women. There are also hints at Rafe's and Emma's feelings towards on another - especially Rafe's - as being "special". There was some sarcasm and sexually-charged banter - I particularly liked Rafe's AI, who runs his spaceship, being so snarky with him. But honestly, I was bored for a lot of the book. At about 75% in, more hints were dropped about where this story might be going, the romance amp'd up, and the suspense tightened. From there, I was eager to put my earbuds in and listen to what happened next.

Is it the narrator, the story, or just me? I don't know. I felt Skyye did a fairly good job with narrating but her delivery in places was slow and that didn't help keep me engaged. I really think this is a case of me having certain expectations of Langlais and those not being met. Not as much humor and not as many sexy times. She did hook me in the end though and I will continue the series.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

#TravelingtotheTerminus Review ~ Devil and the Deep ~ Julie Ann Walker

Devil and the Deep (Deep Six, #2)Devil and the Deep by Julie Ann Walker
Deep Six #2
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Genre: Adult, Romantic Suspense
Source: I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease, #TravelingtoTerminus

Cocktail parties, political fundraisers, and charity events are Maddy Powers' way of life. But the daring man who appropriated her father's yacht a couple of months ago is still out there, somewhere, and she wants to pay him back for the scorching kiss they shared.

Behind his suave smile and ladykiller eyes, Bran Palladino carries a dark secret that keeps him from pursuing Maddy... even though he can't get her out of his head. But when Maddy is kidnapped as part of a grand scheme, it's time to put up or shut up... because Bran can't live without Maddy now.

I found this second installment of the Deep Six series to be just as entertaining as the first, if a little less compelling, but for different reasons.

The suspense element wasn't quite as gripping but I think that's because of the baddies behind things and their reasons for it weren't quite as relevant as what went on in Hell or High Water. However, trying to figure out the who and the why as well as how far they're willing to go to accomplish the end game was exciting.

The romance between Maddy and Bran shares page time with the suspense. These two met when Maddy's family yacht was hijacked in the previous installment. They have amazing chemistry and a relationship founded in friendship as they've only communicated via email since they met. Their banter is a lot of give and take and I enjoyed it. Maddy is one tough chick - mentally - and meets things head on. So Bran's insistence they remain only friends because he's not good enough for her was a challenge she had no problems undertaking. And I was so happy Bran was finally able to see in himself what everyone else, including Maddy, did. My only issue was that some of the romantic elements occurred during times when I would have thought a former SEAL would have had his mind on other things.

We're also privy to some fun back and forth between Mason and Alex. These two made me laugh with Alex's incessant talking and Mason's reliance on grunting. *ha* I'm eager to see how their sparks finally ignite.

One more thing - the prologue and epilogue from the Spanish Captain's POV is a touch I truly appreciate. I love the history it incorporates as well as how it plays into the mystery of the treasure the Deep Six gang is hunting. 

Bring on #3!

Monday, November 21, 2016

#TravelingtoTerminus Audio Review ~ Dark Deeds at Night's Edge ~ Kresley Cole

Dark Needs at Night's Edge: Immortals After Dark, Book 5 | Kresley ColeDark Deeds at Night's Edge by Kresley Cole
Immortals After Dark #5
Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
Release Date: November 1, 2012
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased on Audible
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #TravelingtoTerminus

A RAVEN-HAIRED TEMPTRESS OF THE DARK... Neomi Laress, a famous ballerina from a past century, became a phantom the night she was murdered. Imbued with otherworldly powers but invisible to the living, she haunts her beloved home, scaring away trespassers -- until she encounters a ruthless immortal even more terrifying than Neomi herself. 
A VAMPIRE WARRIOR CONSUMED BY MADNESS... To prevent him from harming others, Conrad Wroth's brothers imprison him in an abandoned manor. But there, a female only he can see seems determined to drive him further into madness. The exquisite creature torments him with desire, leaving his body racked with lust and his soul torn as he finds himself coveting her for his own. 
HOW FAR WILL HE GO TO CLAIM HER? Yet even if Conrad can win Neomi, evil still surrounds her. Once he returns to the brutality of his past to protect her, will he succumb to the dark needs seething inside him?

I was rather looking forward to Conrad Wroth's story. A fallen vampire, I was curious how and if he could be "saved". Despite his story not being a favorite in the series, because of the lack of action, I was nonetheless happy with Conrad's tale.

Conrad has had a difficult vampiric life as he'd sworn his human life to hunting and killing vampires so becoming a thing he hated didn't sit well. Particularly when the group he'd sworn allegiance to turned their sights on him. In his 300 years as a vampire, he's become a highly skilled and feared assassin. And because of the lives he's taken, he's on the brink of madness - a state his brothers are determined to keep at bay. If only they could help him find his Bride.

Enter Neomi. Neomi is a ghost having been murdered in her hoe by a scorned lover. She's "lived" 80+ years in her home unable to leave and unable to speak to anyone...until Conrad. Conrad can see and hear her. At first, neither can understand why, but Conrad eventually determines it's because she's fated for him. Now, I don't typically enjoy a romance where part of the couple is a ghost. However, Kresley handled this situation in a way that worked. Well.

As for the lack of action, well, it made sense of course since Neomi was a ghost and couldn't leave her home. So I was forgiving of the lack of action, especially when we got some towards the end. I also delighted in seeing favorite characters from previous installments, getting hints as to what will come next, and of course, the humor provided through them - especially Nyx.

Robert Petkoff's narration is, as always, top notch and I'm sure a large part of the reason I'm enjoying this series in audio so much. His voices and accents, both male and female, are simply incredible. He keeps the pacing perfectly and he's able to convey emotions so well, he can give me goosebumps.

So even though I missed the action and was leery of a ghost as a love interest, Dark Deeds at Night's Edge was still an excellent installment. I'm anxious to dive into the next!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Audio Series Review ~ Sugar Bowl Series ~ Sawyer Bennett

The Sugar Bowl series is fantastic! I listened to Sugar Daddy back in September. The cliffhanger ending had me deciding to wait for both remaining installments to be available before I continued, and that was a good decision. (Thanks, Lex, for that advice.) Once I had Sugar Free, the final installment, in my hot little hands, I listened to both Sugar Rush and Sugar Free back-to-back. This is such a great series and it solidified my appreciation for Sawyer Bennett's writing. And I'm not going to lie, Lucy Rivers' and Christian Fox's narration played a huge part in keeping my earbuds stuck in my ears for hours! They're incredible! Since I listened to them all so closely, I figured a series review was the way to go. Enjoy!

Sugar DaddySugar Daddy by Sawyer Bennett
Narrated byLucy Rivers and Christian Fox
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Source: Tantor Audio sent me a complimentary copy
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease

Sela Halstead lost her innocence in a way that no sixteen-year-old should ever have to endure. She's spent years trying to forget that night, even while wondering about the identities of the monsters who brutalized her-until a telltale tattoo flashes across Sela's TV screen. The incriminating ink belongs to Jonathon Townsend, the millionaire founder of The Sugar Bowl, a website that matches rich older men with impressionable young women. Obsessed with revenge, Sela infiltrates Townsend's world, only to come face-to-face with a tantalizing complication: Beckett North, his charismatic business partner. The tech mastermind behind The Sugar Bowl, Beck always gets what he wants, in business and in bed. And yet, for a man who's done every dirty thing imaginable, there's something about the naive, fresh-faced Sela that sparks his hottest fantasies. Because with her, it's not just about sex. Beck opens up to her in ways he never has with other girls. So why does he get the feeling that she's hiding something? In a world of pleasure and power, the shocking truth could turn them against each other-or bind them forever. Contains mature themes.

Sugar Daddy was more than a sweet read. It was gut-wrenching, suspenseful, and heartwarming. It left me dying to know what happens next. Bennett pulled me into Sela's story, wrapped me up in her vengeance, and turned up the heat with her romance with Beck. I'm hooked and sugared up!

Sela's story broke my heart. To come through to the other side after what she endured was nothing short of amazing. And I admired her choice of career - one where she could give back to people who might have suffered like she did. She had major emotional scars and to watch her progress - how Beck reached past all her scars and barriers - was incredible.

Beck was fascinating. He's smart and funny. And he has emotional issues himself. He maintains emotional distance, never dating, and mainly focuses on work. He's also been dealing with an increasingly reckless business partner in JT, who's also his best friend. When he meets Sela, something in him shifts and he decides he'd like to try to build something with her. Only there's tension between Sela and JT that Beck doesn't understand.

JT is despicable. And really, nothing more needs to be said about him.

My only issue with this story is the extreme measures Sela is willing to go to in order to exact her revenge. Not that I didn't understand the desire but I also felt it says something a little deeper about Sela and I'm not sure Bennett is trying to go there. Overall though, Sugar Daddy was riveting and I can't wait to see what happens!

As for the narration, Lucy Rivers had to grow on me but she so did. Her delivery, pacing, and ability to convey the emotion warranted was impressive. Christian Fox *is* Beck. I loved his delivery from the first chapter and am eager to hear more from him.

Sugar RushSugar Rush by Sawyer Bennett
Narrated byLucy Rivers and Christian Fox
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Source: Tantor Audio sent me a complimentary copy
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease

After posing as an escort for the Sugar Bowl online dating service, Sela Halstead is looking for one thing: payback. She's closing in on the site's heartless founder, Jonathon Townsend, and she needs Beckett North, Townsend's business partner and her lover, by her side. She'd thought that their intimate nights together had forged an unbreakable bond, but after a shocking betrayal, Sela begins to doubt the brilliant bad boy. When push comes to shove, can she trust Beck to do the right thing? Now that he understands the truth, Beck will stop at nothing to secure the reckoning Sela deserves. But between his desire for her and his disgust for JT, Beck doesn't exactly have a lot of control over his emotional state. Left with no other choice, he must summon all his discipline to maintain JT's trust and pretend that they're still friends. But how far will Beck go to prove his loyalty to Sela? He nearly lost her once. To keep her, Beck might have to kill for her.

This sequel was equally as thrilling as the first installment with jaw-dropping revelations and heart-pounding events!

Sugar Rush picks up immediately where Sugar Daddy left off. It broke my heart to see Sela dealing with how things went down with Beck but I also liked seeing Beck calm down and look at things rationally. The steps he took to make amends filled in all the cracks he'd made in my heart, as well as Sela's.

The direction things went from there were actually logical, if shocking, and understandable. As Sela and Beck took steps in making their relationship more solid - falling for one another even harder - the all plotted to exact revenge on JT. I admired them both for working towards a revenge that would appease them both as well as leave them relatively "clean".

The ending though - full of revelations that honestly made me sick - was shocking! I didn't see any of it coming. And I'm oh so grateful I already have Sugar Free in my possession. Lucy Rivers and Christian Fox are the perfect duo and embody Sela and Beck. *inserting ear buds*

Sugar Free (Sugar Bowl, #3)Sugar Free by Sawyer Bennett
Narrated byLucy Rivers and Christian Fox
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Source: Tantor Audio sent me a complimentary copy
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease

Sela and Beck's deliciously sinful tale of sex, lies, and vengeance reaches its explosive conclusion in the final chapter of Sawyer Bennett's Sugar Bowl trilogy, which began with the novels Sugar Daddy and Sugar Rush.

For years, Sela Halstead dreamed of revenge, but the quest for payback has been anything but sweet. Now, once again, she finds herself at the mercy of Jonathon Townsend, his hands crushing the very breath from her body. And even though she escapes with her life, Sela fears she may never recover. In desperate need of shelter and comfort, she runs to the one man she can trust. Beckett North has stood by Sela since the beginning. But can he handle the brutal truth?

Beck will do anything to protect what is his--and make no mistake, Sela belongs to him, heart and soul. The passion between them runs hot, even as their world begins to unravel. With the legacy of his ruthless business partner hanging in the balance, Beck stands to lose everything: his fortune, his family, his freedom. But each touch of Sela's mouth on his skin, her nails down his back, makes it harder to let her go--and it might not even be his choice to make.

I am so happy I had Sugar Free downloaded and ready to go. Sela and Beck's story has been a thrill ride so far and Sugar Free didn't disappoint. In any way.

Honestly, I couldn't see a way out of the situation Sela and Beck had found themselves in. Well, I guess I could see one but I didn't like that option. After everything they've been through and sacrificed for the other, that option didn't sit well with me. But in light of there being no other options, I suppose it was better than nothing. 

The revelations made in Sugar Free were shocking - some were even disgusting. When push came to shove, the character of all involved was truly shown and I was disappointed in a few characters but justified in my feelings for others.

The twist Bennett wove in - well, I didn't see it coming. It'd never crossed my mind and I'm always impressed when an author can surprise me like that.
The ending as well as the epilogue was perfect. Y'all know I always enjoy being a part of a journey with characters, particularly journeys where emotional growth occurs. Being with Sela as she progressed from a vengeful victim to a well-adjusted survivor was an incredible experience. Watching as Beck took her hand and walked beside her every step of the way - even when they stumbled - was heartwarming. They both grew - realized what was most important in this life - and it's been a journey I won't soon forget.

Lucy Rivers and Christian are on my favorites list now. I'd listen to Christian Fox read my grocery list or tell me he's sorry but all customer service reps are currently assisting other customers...Both narrators did an incredible job of conveying every nuance of emotion in this story. Fox's delivery in particular was very natural, easy...and I just loved it. I'll definitely be looking for more listens with them both!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

That's What HE Said #70 ~ Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #51

That's What He Said is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies @Chapter Break. Here's the deal: every Thursday, post a line from your book boyfriend to his heroine. Keep in mind, these are direct quotes from dialog in the books. The quote doesn't have to be romantic - just something our hunky hero said to his lucky lady. Be sure to link up over at Chapter Break as well.

My pick this week for That's What He Said is from:

Crash by Nicole Williams


"I love you, Luce," he continued. Clearly he wasn't going to stop until he said what he needed to. "And I'm sorry I ruined everything we had before I could admit it to you. Before I could admit it to myself. You didn't make me a better person, because no one can do that. You made me want to be a better person. You believed in me and stuck up for me. You cared for me when no one else would. You made me better, Luce. You're right---one person can make a difference. One person can change another person's whole world for the better," he said. "One person ruined my world, and that was my dad, and one person saved my world, and that was you." Raising his hands, he stroked my face. "The same tragedy ruined our families. The same tragedy brought us here today. Don't let it tear us apart."


I liked this particular scene of Lucy and her roommate, India, at a college party. Um, I'd be Lucy in this scenario. ;)

"God, I need a drink," she said, pulling me along behind her as she beelined for what I guessed was the beverage table. 
"Just pour me something!" India hollered over the music at the guy manning the drink table. He made a shotgun motion with his hand before mixing something that came out looking too pink and too strong.
"Pick your poison, beautiful," he said to me after handing off India's drink.
"Got anything back there that won't make me shit-faced in two sips?" From the looks of the crowd, it was doubtful.
Another shotgun motion, and he popped open a cooler and twisted the lid off a beer.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Books & Craft #7 ~ #BookBlogger #CraftCircle

Welcome to Books & Crafts, a craft circle composed of book bloggers, a sporadic meme where we share our other creative pursuits aside from reading and blogging. Everyone is welcome to join, just add yout tag/label links below and you're good to go!

I thought it'd be fun to share some Christmas-themed papercrafts with y'all. So this month and next month focus on those. If y'all want more specific information on the "how to", just let me know.

This month, I'm sharing a gift card envelope and gift tags.

This gift card envelope is made using coordinating paper, a scalloped punch, a brad, some ribbon, and some adhesive. It's actually fairly easy and a great way to present a gift card. :)

These gift tags were made using paper, punches, stamps, and silver cord. I think they made gift giving a little more special. :)

Do you craft too? Wanna get in on the fun? Just add your link below. And don't forget to check out the other hosts' crafts! :D
(If the linky doesn't appear correctly or doesn't work, head over to Talk Supe and link up there.)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Review ~ Perfectly Imperfect ~ Harper Sloan

Perfectly ImperfectPerfectly Imperfect by Harper Sloan
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Nook
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove

Mirror, mirror ... who's the fairest of them all?

I still cringe when I hear that line. A fairy tale that had girls pretending they were the fairest, the most beautiful, and the most entitled. A fairy tale most couldn't grow out of turned my haunted childhood memories into a living nightmare. Girls who grew up believing that pile of garbage became the meanest of all 'mean girls.'

And those mean girls were right - it was a line meant for all the beautiful people in the world - and I knew the answer would never be me.

The women with long legs, flat stomachs, and perfect chests.

The type of women Kane Masters gravitated toward.

Well, that's definitely not Willow Tate.

No. That will never be me.

Because I'm completely imperfect.

And ... I hate myself.

I have no idea what Kane could possible see in someone like me when he could have them.

Good golly! This is a difficult review to write. Not because the story was bad. No, quite the opposite. More that it's a story that resonated so deeply with me. One I think many women would identify with, actually. A beautiful story - one that reminds us all that we are beautiful.

Willow is a young woman who's lived an emotionally challenging life. Losing her mother equaled losing all familial support and unconditional love she'd ever experienced. She spent a large portion of her life seeking validation and that love - trying to fit a mold, trying to reach the unattainable goal of perfection. After an ugly divorce, she's fought her way to a point where she's stronger. But it takes meeting Kane and being on the receiving end of his support and love, for Willow to finally break free of the chains of the illusion of perfection and love herself.

Sloan gives us this story from both Willow's and Kane's POVs. I enjoyed the incite that having Kane's POV provided. He's a man that speaks his mind and when he give his word, it's gold. The notion that a superstar actor could fall completely for an average woman is a dream. Right? But Sloan gives us exactly that while at the same time making us believe that in the average woman there is power, strength, passion, intelligence, and love - all so potent that average doesn't exist.

I loved the message conveyed in Willow and Kane's story. It's a powerful and important one. Was the telling perfect? No. But it was perfectly imperfect.

Friday, November 11, 2016

#TravelingtotheTerminus Review ~ Coming Clean ~ C.L. Parker

Coming Clean (Monkey Business Trio, #3)Coming Clean by C.L. Parker
Monkey Business Trio #3
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease, #BlogAhead2016

The steamy conclusion of C.L. Parker's Monkey Business Trio

They have been rivals who fought until the bitter end and lovers who know every sensual inch of each other's bodies. Now sports agents Cassidy Whalen and Shaw Matthews are about to become the one thing they never expected to be: parents. But this new dynamic to their relationship threatens to fizzle the sizzling desire that once held them in thrall to each other. If salvation is only a forbidden fantasy away, then Shaw and the woman he loves must embark on the adventure of their lives.

Cassidy is aching to reignite their connection. In steamy assignations in strange places, she and Shaw live out their most intimate desires--and reveal their deepest secrets. But as Shaw works overtime to sign a superstar athlete, a corporate reshuffling could be a game-changer. Can Cassidy and Shaw save their relationship and have it all--a career, family, and passion that never quits?

Coming Clean is intended for mature audiences.

Coming Clean is a departure from the tone of the first two in this trio. And thinking on it now, each book followed the different phases in the evolution of Cassidy and Shaw's relationship. That's kinda clever. We've been along for the ride with this couple as they went from enemies to loves, falling in love, and in this final installment, we see them trying to find their way back together after events in their lives forced changes in their relationship.

Coming Clean wasn't what I was expecting but it turned out that wasn't a bad thing. I actually liked seeing a realistic portrayal of a couple a few years into their relationship and with a child - how it affects your feelings towards each other and about yourself. And I liked seeing their commitment to one another remained strong despite the "bumps in the road" and that they got outside help in order to achieve their goals. With that help they were able to get to where they wanted and needed to be.

This installment wasn't as exciting as the previous ones but as I said, it felt realistic and genuine. And in the end, it was heartwarming.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Brandee's Bookish Babble #25 ~ Pricing: Amazon vs B&N

Welcome to Brandee's Bookish Babble. There are many, many similar posts to this one - but basically I wanted a place to discuss bookish and/or blogging stuff and I needed a title. :) 

If you aren't an owner of both a Kindle and a nook, you may never have noticed the occasional differences between prices on ebooks. Having started out with a nook and only gotten a kindle because so many indie authors were choosing Amazon as the publishing platform, the price discrepancies are things I noticed and wondered at. I did a little research and thought I'd share my understanding of pricing with y'all.

Full disclosure - I was, until recently, a bookseller for B&N. 

For the most part, ebook pricing is set by the publisher. (I'll get to indies in a moment.) Therefore, in order to make a profit as the book seller, the set price must be charged. Amazon, because of the business model, tax situation, and the number of products they sell other than books, can offer books below the publisher's set price. Why? Because they can make up the loss elsewhere. For example, they can run an ebook normally priced at, say, $9.99 for $0.99 because they make enough money on selling a particular electronic product to make up the loss. Walmart and Target have similar business models and can offer books at discounted rates. B&N, however, because they primarily sell books, cannot do that. As a result, they lose business because consumers would rather spend less (which I can appreciate) so they're in a catch-22 situation.

As for indie authors, I think if they've published on multiple platforms, their pricing eventually matches across those platforms. Sometimes we, as consumers, have to notify the different platforms of the lower price elsewhere but it seems they all get it right. However, I have noticed a lower price on Amazon only quite often and I have a feeling (no evidence) that the author did this because Amazon tends to be their top selling platform and this helps sales numbers.

So, there's your lesson for the day - as far as I understand it. :D

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

New Release Review ~ Trust ~ Jana Aston

Trust (Wrong, #3)Trust by Jana Aston
Wrong #3
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Source: I received an ARC from the author but also purchased my own copy on Kindle
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease, #TravelingtoTerminus
Goodreads ~ Amazon

"Knock knock!"
"Um... Who's there?"

Yeah. That was me, on my last date. Before you feel sorry for me you should know that I was the one telling the jokes. Jokes as in plural, because I didn't stop with just one. Of course not.

Hi, I'm Chloe Scott. The most awkward single girl in the city.
But I'm going to get it together. I am.

I'm going to learn how to date like a grown up.
I'm going to have an orgasm not given to myself.
I'm going to fall in love and live happily ever after.

Right after I get out of this interrogation room.

I have adored every moment I've spent in the world Aston created in the Wrong series. These characters - I feel like they're my all my friends. But Chloe and Boyd - these two characters and their story will forever hold a special place in my heart.

We met Chloe and Boyd in the previous installments but spent little time with them. I knew enough about Chloe to like her but I had no idea I'd relate to her on such a personal level. And Boyd, well, I knew he was an upstanding guy. I mean, he's an FBI agent and he took the time to build a relationship with his half sister, Sophie. But the patience (saintly patience) and creativity he showed with Chloe was heartwarming.
trustnoun1. firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something
I think trust is something we sort of take for granted but its an integral part of any relationship. And it's an element Chloe has a hard time granting - especially with a relationship that might turn intimate. She gets very anxious in new social situations - and starts telling ridiculous jokes. And she thinks something's wrong with her - that's she's not normal.

Boyd knows he's attracted to her and that he'd like to get to know her better from their first meeting in an interrogation room. After crashing one of her dates, he realizes he'll have to tread carefully and creatively to get to where he wants to be with Chloe. Being witness to his gameplan, watching it unfold, was so much fun. And I fell just as hard for him as Chloe did.

Aston really outdid herself with Trust, incorporating her comedic talents while digging deeper and dealing with something that afflicts many people - social anxiety. As a person who suffers from it, although not to an extreme degree, she nailed it.

I'm kinda sad to say goodbye to these characters. But I'm also extremely eager to see what Aston comes up with next. I have complete and total trust whatever it is, it'll be golden!

Monday, November 7, 2016

#TravelingtoTerminus New(er) Release Review ~ Mr. Mysterious ~ JA Huss

Mr. Mysterious (Mister, #4)Mr. Mysterious by JA Huss

Misters #4
Release Date: October 12, 2016
Genre: Adult, Romantic Suspense
Source: Purchased on Kindle
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease
Goodreads ~ Amazon

Paxton Vance isn't as cryptic as he thinks. That broody nature and tough-guy exterior aren't fooling me one bit.

I know everything about him. I listen in on his most personal phone calls. I read his mail before he does. I even know what his mother got him for Christmas last year.

You're the man of my dreams, Paxton Vance. You just don't know it yet.

But don't worry, I'll remind you. I'm here to give you everything you need, before you know you need it.

So don't get defensive because I take a challenge seriously. You have to open up to someone, and that someone is me.

Besides, you can't stay Mr. Mysterious forever. Why play the game if you never want to win?

I read this installment at a much slower pace (not by choice) than I usually read Huss books and I actually felt I was able to savor it, ruminate on revelations and ponder where things might be headed. And I think Mr. Mysterious might be my favorite Mister. *wink*

Paxton Vance is an interesting Mister. I still don't feel like I know him all that well but what I do know, I admire. He kinda made lemonade out of the lemons life gave him. He's as loyal as they come, someone you want at your back even if I had doubts at time - and even if he's slept with your baby sister. *wink*

Cinderella Shrike! Her story is quirky and hilarious. She's a Shrike so she's touch and devious and maybe a little crazy. Also more than a little determined. She set her sights on Pax and went at him balls th the wall. As as aside, she has this quirk where she narrates her life - out loud - and I just loved it!

As for what's going on with the mysteries surrounding the Misters - well, there were some revelations regarding all that. Some questions were answered - more here than in any of the previous installments - but in typical Huss-style, more questions were posed. And I honestly still have no idea who's behind the shit that's going on. I can't wait to find out though and Oliver's book, Mr. Match, promises to be epic!

Julie, in the EOBS you said that some people may read you because your sentence structure is simple. I read you because you always give me a story that will stick with me - roll around in my brain wondering what I may have missed - for quite awhile. Your characters are always complex - usually much deeper than they appear - and always have a compelling story. Your worlds, whether set local to me, in another state, or on another planet, are always well-crafted - so much so that I can "see" them in my mind's eye. I love the suspense, the mind-fuck, the clues and red herrings - gah! I love the interconnections of so many of your stories because I always but always appreciate more time with these people, in their worlds. Your sentence structure may be simple, although I don't agree, but your writing is anything but. And I love it...and you!!