Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Author Love Challenge 2017 #authorluv ~ Sign Up Post ~ CoHo


Since I'm apparently the impetus behind the creation of this challenge, I just *have* to participate, right?!? And yes, it *is* the end of January but this challenge is low-key, as demonstrated by it's late start. ;) Here are the rules:

  1. Pick an author you love and wish you'd read more books from.
  2. Set a goal to read x number of books - you can read any number you want but please make your goal at least 5.
  3. Announce your participation and author, either via blog or social media platform. Link up!
  4. Have fun catching up on a favorite author!

Also, if you read any books in January by your author pick, it counts towards this challenge.

See how easy and low-key?? If you want to participate in a more hard-core challenge, you can join me in Herding Cats & Burning Soup's Read All the Books Challenge. Yep, I'm doing both! ;)


Okay, now for the important stuff, like who I'm picking. It was a difficult choice but I decided to go with an author whose books I already had. AND it was *still* a difficult choice. But ultimately I decided to go with.....

Colleen Hoover
And I'm hoping to read them ALL! 
12 in all.

Here are her titles - I've indicated the ones I've already read. And YES, I do own ALL these books. In paperback. ;)

Slammed Series
Slammed (Slammed, #1)Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2)This Girl (Slammed, #3)
READ: Slammed and Point of Retreat

Hopeless Series
Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)Losing Hope (Hopeless, #2)Finding Cinderella (Hopeless, #2.5)
READ: Hopeless

Maybe Series
Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1)Maybe Not (Maybe, #1.5)

Never Never Series
Never Never (Never Never, #1)Never Never: Part Two (Never Never, #2)Never Never: Part Three (Never Never, #3)

ConfessUgly LoveIt Ends with UsNovember 9Too Late
READ: Confess

So what about y'all? You up for this challenge? Come on! Show a favorite author some love!! <3

Monday, January 30, 2017

Review ~ The Thorn & the Thistle ~ Julie Moffett #BloggerShame

The Thorn & the ThistleThe Thorn & the Thistle by Julie Moffett
Release Date: January 28, 2013
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #BookishResolutions, #COYER, #ShelfLove

Scotland, 1751

The MacLeods are a strong clan, united with their fellow Scots to resist English rule. But when their leader, the Black Wolf, is struck down in battle, it is up to his daughter to keep the rebellion alive. Megan knows she must act quickly or risk losing the fight for their ancestral lands. Desperate, she secretly assumes the Black Wolf's mantle, fooling their enemies into thinking he's still alive. If she can keep going for a bit longer, the clan's future will be secure...

Rolf St. James has been sent by the king to settle the Scottish lands once and for all. He's not about to let a woman get in his way, no matter how desirable he finds her. He must put aside his attraction and fulfill his duty to permanently quell the rebellion, regardless of the cost.

Rolf represents everything her father hated, everything she's been fighting against. But as the days pass and Rolf's code of honor reveals itself, Megan finds it's not so easy to hate him anymore. Can she risk her people's future for a chance at personal happiness?

This little gem has been sitting on my nook since 2013. I'm happy I finally read it as it was a compelling and satisfying read.

When the British defeated the Highlanders at Culloden, the MacLeod clan was removed from their lands - forced to live in the forest of Gairloch. Megan MacLeod, a smart, witty, cunning, and courageous young woman, tkaes over as laird when her father is killed. She carries on his legend as the Black Wolf, stealing food and supplies from the English until a new Englishman comes. One tasked with capturing the Black Wolf and bringing about peace between the English and the Scottish. When he captures Megan, they both begin to re-think their ideas and perceptions about one another and the possibility of peace between their people.

What I enjoyed most was seeing a woman in power - how brilliantly she negotiated and used her mind in aiding and protecting her people. And how the men, particularly the English, underestimated her because she was a woman. Over the course of the story, Rolf came to see Megan as his equal and that was a feat for the time period.

I also liked how living among the Scots changed Rolf's view of them. He'd heard rumors of their savagery but just as others had formed ideas about him due to rumors, he came to see the reality very differently - just as the Scots, and Megan specifically - came to view him as quite different from all they'd heard.

The Thorn & the Thistle was more a story of lessons than a romance, although there is that as well. The characters were complex and the story compelling. My only issue is the inconsistency in the use of the Scottish language. For example, "dinna" and "don't" were used interchangeably but I'd have preferred a consistent use of one. However, the writing was well-done overall and I'll certainly look for more of Moffett's backlist.

#2017 Bookish Resolutions Update ~ January

I'm once again participating in the Bookish Resolutions Challenge. This challenge is hosted by Michelle @Because Reading and Laura @ Trips Down Imagination RoadFor complete details and to sign up, click the graphic above or here

**MY GOALS FOR 2017**

I've been moderately successful with the challenge the past 2 years but I think I've come up with some tweaks so that I'll be even more so in 2017. Mostly I'm making my goals more specific and therefore more quantifiable. :)
  • Blogging Goals
    • Comment back THREE times a week
    • Visit TEN blogs a day
    • Interact with 3 blog Facebook pages a day
    • Link up my challenge posts on the last day of each month (or last day of month quarterly for those updating quarterly)
    • Keep track of my progress on my calendar
  • Reading Goals
    • NO BOOK BUYING without a gift card (that was gifted!)
    • Read TWO Netgalley reads per month
    • Read (at least) TWO books I already own per month
    • Read ONE book from a series I'm behind in per month
    • Listen to TWO review books per month
    • Read books my kids *need* me to read
      • Born to Run (Jax)
      • Death with Interruptions (Jax)
      • Everything is Illuminated (Sky)
      • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Jax)
      • School of Good and Evil (Berk)
      • The Book Thief (Sky)
      • The Lightning Thief (Berk)
    • Keep track of my progress on my calendar and in my book journal
  • Personal Goals
    • Exercise FIVE days a week
    • Keep a food/exercise journal
    • Spend an hour daily writing/editing
    • Clean up my Goodreads Shelves!
    • Spend ONE day a month on a different hobby - paper crafting or knitting
    • Keep track of my progress with writing/editing and crafting on my calendar


  • Blogging Goals
    The first week and a half or so of January, I was doing well with all my blogging goals. Mid-month I fell behind because I was spending quality time with Sky. I'm not going to feel badly about that. This last week and a half of the month, I've gotten back in the game. :D I've kept up with visiting, commenting back, and I linked up my challenge posts too! And I'm using my calendar as well to track everything
  • Reading Goals
    I'm quite proud of the fact that I've managed an entire month without one-clicking a book! I did add a couple to my library but only because they were free and they were on my wishlist. I also read two Netgalley reads this month, The Thorn & the Thistle by Julie Moffett and Breathe Into Me by Sara Fawkes. I also read one book from a series I am behind in - My TBR read for January, The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I've started one audio review book but haven't finished, so I didn't meet this goal for January. And I didn't read any books from my kids' request list. But I'm using my planner to keep track of these goals and it makes it easier to see what I have on tap.
  • Personal Goals
    As with my blogging goals, a few of my personal goals fell to the wayside because of spending time with Sky. So exercising, journaling, writing, etc., are all things I got back to as the month ended and I'll try to keep up next month too. I *DID* spend a weekend scrapbooking so that covers that particular goal. :)

How are y'all doing?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

My TBR List Review for January ~ The Evolution of Mara Dyer ~ Michelle Hodkin


The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Mara Dyer #2
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Suspense
Source: Purchased Hardcover
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove, #TravelingtotheTerminus

The truth about Mara Dyer's dangerous and mysterious abilities continues to unravel in the New York Times bestselling sequel to the thrilling The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past. She can't. She used to think her problems were all in her head. They aren't. She couldn't imagine that after everything she's been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets. She's wrong. In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

I'm not sure how often I meet an unreliable narrator, but I find I quite like them. At least, Mara Dyer. Despite having read book #1 at least 3 years ago and therefore having fuzzy recollections of the details, The Evolution of Mara Dyer sucked me right in.

This installment sees Mara's continuing search for answers about what's happening to her and why no one, save Noah, believes her. Oh and she's also doing her best not to be committed. And I want to believe Mara. I do. But then these unexplainable things happen and...and I doubt.

One of the details I did remember clearly was the incredible cast - specifically Mara's brother, Daniel, and Noah, of course. The romance between Mara and Noah. although not much time is devoted to it, is wonderful. Under the stress and constraints of Mara's circumstances, it's fascinating to see how they work together, support each other, and protect one another. A true foundation developing.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer is creepy, suspenseful, and messed with my mind. While some things were illuminated towards the end, there are still so many questions. One in particular had me wishing I already had book #3 on my shelf. And then I found it! :) Guess what I'm reading right now?!?

Friday, January 27, 2017

New Release Review ~ Rock Chick Reawakening ~ Kristen Ashley

Rock Chick Reawakening (Rock Chick, #0.5)Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley
Rock Chick #0.5
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I preordered a copy on Kindle
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease
Goodreads ~ Amazon

From New York Times bestselling author, Kristen Ashley, comes the long-awaited story of Daisy and Marcus, Rock Chick Reawakening. A prequel to Kristen's Rock Chick series, Rock Chick Reawakening shares the tale of the devastating event that nearly broke Daisy, an even that set Marcus Sloane--one of Denver's most respected businessmen and one of the Denver underground's most feared crime bosses--into finally making his move to win the heart of the woman who stole his.

Oh my heart! Just when I don't know how my heart can contain any more love for this series, KA delivers Daisy and Marcus' story. Honestly, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed but I couldn't have imagined how beautiful their story would be.

I think that this story really works, especially being a novella, because I knew Daisy so well already. The addition of her back story was cake. I also knew Marcus but getting to know him better, seeing him woo Daisy...wow! But more than wooing, witnessing how Marcus handles Daisy after a traumatic event (one in which KA conveys how it affected Daisy without giving us a front row seat) - and even in simply getting to know her better - his patience, compassion, and care - it's easy to see why she fell for him. I fell as well.

And that ending. *sniff* I think I may have cried more over this novella than any of the full length Rock Chick stories because Daisy and Marcus both survived a lot - particularly Daisy. So it was extra touching seeing how Marcus won his woman - how Daisy found her prince.

KA couldn't have done it any better!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

That's What HE Said #73 ~ Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #56

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:

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin


"If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them. If we were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one."


The restaurant was lit with white Christmas lights outside, and the smell of frying dough invaded the damp air.
"Whatever that smell is," Sophie said as we went inside, "that's what I'm having."
"Churros," Noah said. "It's a dessert."
Sophie tucked her short blond hair behind her ears. "I don't care. That smell is crazy."

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Brandee's Bookish Babble #29 ~ Dilemma

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. :) 

I was recently in a used bookstore and happened upon an ARC for sale on the shelf. I know it was an ARC because it clearly states so on the cover and it's one I happened to procure while at BEA. I was torn over what to do though. This is a new business in town - they've only been open for a year. Do I tell the owner that it's illegal to be selling the ARC? Do I keep my mouth shut? How will I feel if they *are* aware and put it on the shelf anyway?

Has this happened to any of y'all? What did you do?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Review ~ The Nightingale ~ Kristin Hannah

The NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: Gift
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove
Goodreads ~ Amazon

Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters' relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

It took me awhile to put some thoughts into words about The Nightingale and even as I'm typing this review, I find myself affected by the story. It's powerful, thought-provoking, impactful...in short, it's a read that will stay with me for a very long time. 

The Nightingale tells the story of two women, sisters, and the roles they take on during WWII France. But more than that, it tells the story of the human spirit, and what it can endure under great duress. What a woman will do when she's greatly aggrieved by injustices perpetrated against her people - people in general. What a mother will abide to protect her children.

We all know of the atrocities committed by the Germans during WWII - although I will admit to learning a few history lessons about France during the reading of this book - but here, Hannah sets about showing the reader how the war affected the women left behind. It made me question how I'd be affected, how I'd act and react, what I'd suffer to protect my children. It made me wonder at the human spirit - how it can still soar when it seems humanity is lost. And it made me grateful - grateful to have never experienced such pain, tragedy, loss at the hands of humans. It also made me grateful and hopeful - for our world - to see the human spirit triumph.
"Think about who you are and what sacrifices you can live with and what will break you." 
"In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are. And sometimes, perhaps, we don't want to know what we would do to survive."
"But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us."
This was my first time reading Hannah...it won't be my last. Her skill was deftly illustrated in this novel which was engrossing as well as touching...haunting...these characters, Vianne and Isabelle, will live on in my heart.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Post #19 ~ Returning to "Normal"

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. 

How is y'all's 2017 going so far? I hope things are going well and that you've found some fabulous reads so far! After Berk & Jax went back to school and Hubs went back to work, Sky and I have had some fun! We've gone to the museum, to the movies, skiing...of course, spending lots of time with her means I haven't spent much time in the blogosphere. Forgive me! She left for Portland last night so things will return to my new "normal" now... at least until summer when I'll have to try out another new "normal". Those of y'all who've followed me for awhile might know a little about drum corps. Well, Sky and Jax auditioned for two separate drum corps and were contracted. This means that neither of them will be home at all this summer. *sniff* That's right, they'll be gone from Labor Day to mid-August, which means they'll barely be home before going back to college and high school respectively. However, they will be traveling the country, having great experiences, making new friends, and perfecting their musical crafts so how can I be sad?? 

I've managed some reading this month. I had several new releases drop onto my Kindle - I'd pre-ordered them in 2016 - so I've not gotten quite as many COYER reads in but The Best Man's Baby by Karen Booth, Volley Balls by Tara Lain, and The Thorn & the Thistle by Julie Moffett all count. I've also read Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley, Taking Turns by JA Huss, and I beta read Riptide by Michelle Mankin. Currently, I'm reading The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. And in my ears is Rule by CD Reiss - which happens to count towards COYER since I got it for $1.99!  

I hope y'all enjoy this last full week of January! :) 


I've done really well sticking to my No-Book-Buying-Ban...I haven't one-clicked a single book! Well, I did add this one to my library...it was a boxset AND it was FREE!

Rockin' Country Series Box Set

My blogger wife, Lexxie, sent me a special gift from The Bookworm Box to kick off 2017 well! Thanks, wifey! <3 


2017 Challenges

wintercoyer-16-17New Release Challenge 2017 - (un)Conventional Bookviews2017hwlogo.jpgbookishresolution2017Audiobook-Challenge-2017

#COYER Blackout - 8 books
#2017NewRelease - 4 books
#2017HW - Scorpio Races is up this week
#Audiobook Challenge - 1 book
#BloggerShame - 1 book
Read All the Books - none so far
#ShelfLove - 3 books

Friday, January 20, 2017

New Release Review ~ The Best Man's Baby ~ Karen Booth (@karenbooth)

The Best Man's BabyThe Best Man's Baby by Karen Booth
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author. I voluntarily reviewed.
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease, #COYER, #ShelfLove
Goodreads ~ Amazon

It's a second-chance baby!

Julia Keys has everything going for her: beauty, brains and a Hollywood career. So why does she keep ending up in Logan Brandt's bed? The sexy former pro baseball player has wreaked havoc on her heart for years. But when their latest fling ends with a plus sign on the pregnancy test, Logan makes the case for marriage.

Julia knows the only wedding in their future is the one they're both attending, no matter how hot the chemistry between them still burns. Can two high school sweethearts who've made a mess of love finally get it right even if the baby isn't Logan's?

Alright, as I've said before about Harlequin, this isn't a title I'd necessarily pick up myself. Cheesy title aside, it's by Karen Booth and y'all, the woman knows how to write a romance! The Best Man's Baby has a lot going for it...second chances, small town setting, close-knit families... Oh! And it happens to feature an interracial couple. For all that, I can overlook the title.

I'm a sucker for second chances and Julia and Logan's story offered up a wonderful one. These two essentially grew up together and were high school sweethearts. But Julia broke things off before they both left for college feeling a break up was inevitable and not wanting her heart broken later. They've kept in contact over the years though and hook up yearly at their high school reunion. However, following the most recent reunion, Logan decided to break things off for good, feeling Julia doesn't have it in her to commit for the long haul. Cut to the present: they're both in town for Julia's sister's wedding (who happens to be marrying Logan's best friend) and Julia has quite a bomb to drop on Logan. It doesn't take long for the flames between them to reignite.

I immediately liked both Julia and Logan. They both fiercely loyal to their families and friends. Logan doesn't want to let anyone down and Julia is out to save everyone. They're both giving but Julia, for some reason, doesn't trust easily. Probably because in her effort to save people, she keeps getting into relationships with the wrong men.

I also liked their families. I could tell they were close and always had each others' backs. However, Julia's sister, Tracy, did get on my nerves at times. She acted rather bratty quite often and her being the bride didn't excuse her behavior in my book.

The interplay between Julia and Logan was fun but also poignant. Their chemistry was combustible but they were truly a match - everyone seemed to be waiting for them to figure it out.

The only issues I had aside from Tracy's behavior is that Julia's career and the repercussions from being pregnant were never resolved. Otherwise, I found the characters realistic and the story engaging. Another winner from Booth!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #54

My pick this week is from:

The Best Man's Baby by Karen Booth

"Unless you want to find a sit-down restaurant, your options are chain fast food or biscuits."
Ooh. The dilapidated sign for Sunset Biscuit Kitchen was straight ahead. It'd been years since she'd eaten there. It wasn't exactly camera-friendly cuisine, but her pregnant appetite had her salivating at the thought of their fluffy, buttery pieces of heaven. "Biscuits."
"I was hoping you'd say that." Logan pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, which was really more like a shack, with a battleship-gray exterior and a faded red roof. There was no drive-thought or dining room - just a walk-up window and if memory served, lightening-fast service. "The usual? Fried chicken biscuit and a hash brown?"
"How do you remember this stuff?"
"I remember everything."
That was indeed her standard, very unhealthy order. But she wanted more than that. "Can you also get me a sausage and egg biscuit? And an extra biscuit with honey? You know. Just in case."
Logan nodded and smiled. "I like this whole pregnant and hungry thing. It's adorable."

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Release Day Review ~ Taking Turns ~ JA Huss (@JAHuss)

Taking Turns (Turning, #1)Taking Turns by JA Huss
Turning #1
Release Date: January 18, 2017
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance
Source: I received an ARC from the author which I voluntarily reviewed. I also purchased my own copy in paperback.
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease
Goodreads ~ Amazon

I've never been afraid of the dark...but that doesn't mean I wanted to live in it. And maybe everyone wants what they can't have, but I should've thought it over before I accepted the key and unlocked the door to their forbidden world.

Number One is mostly silent. He watches me with them very carefully. His gaze never wanders. His interest never wanes.

Number Two is mostly gentle. But it's the other side of him I like best. The wild side.

Number Three is mostly reserved. He refuses to cross the line. Even when I beg.

It was carnal, it was sensual, and it was erotic. That's it. That's all it was supposed to be. A trip into the dark. A peek into the forbidden.

I just didn't expect to like them.

I've read and reviewed every one of JA Huss' books and I have to say there comes a point where it's difficult to find different ways to extol her virtues in storytelling. I mean, her books almost always hit the mark for me. I know no matter what I'm going to get a well-crafted story, typically at least some suspense, a plotline that messes with my head and keeps me guessing, characters so well-wrought they feel like real people. And in Taking Turns she delivered all of that. But this story...this story was also more. And seeing as how I'm always impressed by Huss anyway, it's telling that with this story I was utterly captivated from start to finish...dazzled.

Taking Turns tells the story of four people - one woman, three men - who enter into an unconventional relationship. They each have their own reasons for doing so - the men having been doing so for years. While getting acquainted and comfortable in the relationship, they not only learn about each other but also about themselves.

The story is told from the POVs of each of the four and I appreciated this because it enabled me to get a solid understanding of each character - even if I wasn't privy to all their secrets. There is also a fifth character who plays an integral role in the lives of the four - one we never meet but learn a lot about.

There are secrets - of course there are secrets, this is Huss after all. And I can say in all honesty that I didn't guess what they were and they made powerful impacts. Taking Turns is also very sexy. Huss has written sexy before but not like this. I commend Huss for taking something taboo and making it so accessible. I also commend her for taking on a topic like female sexuality. I admire her saying that it's okay for a woman to be sexual, to own her own sexuality. It's so true - we should not feel shame for liking sex.

The characters, Chella, Bric, Quin, and Smith - they're all complicated and they're all searching for something. They all entered the game with a purpose. However, I'm not yet certain what all those purposes are. These characters, they're each flawed and yet perfect in their imperfection. I adore each of them and am eager for the continuation of their stories.

I don't see Huss making any less of an impression with her stories any time soon so I suppose I'll have to continue to search for creative ways to sing her praises.