2nd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2020

2nd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2020

So life has been a bit crazy lately. I hope you all are doing alright. It is definitely a stressful time.

With everything going on, I didn’t have any extra free time, but managed to read 5 books. I feel like my pace of reading is constantly changing and I have moments where I do nothing but read. Then I go months without picking up a single book.

Any-who, let’s get to the mini reviews.

Beauty Tempts the Beast book cover

Beauty Tempts the Beast (Sins for All Seasons #6) by Lorraine Heath

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I couldn’t put this book put down once I starting reading it. I actually stayed up until 3 am because I was in love with the characters. The story was playful, romantic, and everything you expect a romance to be. It was fun to see how the beauty and the beast story plots are intertwined without the damsel being held captive. I really felt that these characters were a match for each other and the side characters were fun as well.


All I Ask book cover

All I Ask by Corinne Michaels

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I very much enjoyed this story. It was an interesting storyline regarding second-chances at love. Both characters had rounded backgrounds that contributed to who they become. The plot is pretty predictable, but that didn’t stop me from liking the characters and their story.


My Fallen Saint book cover

My Fallen Saint (Fallen Saint #1) by J. Kenner

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was an easy read and I finished it in a day. I found several plot points to be predictable, but I am looking forward to how their story continues. As this will be a series, not all secrets were revealed, so I feel hooked enough to get more answers.


Girl Serpent Thorn book cover

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. It was nice to see Persian characters and folklore in a novel. I also liked the F-F-M love triangle. What’s better is that the relationships were created without fuss or a “coming out” story. I thought that the novel was well-paced and kept my attention. I also enjoyed the twists that occurred. Very well done and I hope to see more from this author.


Daring and the Duke book cover

Daring and the Duke (The Bareknuckle Bastards #3) by Sarah MacLean

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. It was the first I read by this author, and I ended up going back to read to the first two in this series. Love seeing strong female characters in romance novels. I thought the characters were fun, smart, and independent. I read this from start to finish in about a day.

Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

1st Quarter Wrap-Up | 2020

1st Quarter Wrap-Up | 2020

Happy New Year! Plus, three months. To be honest, I have been in a reading slump lately. It’s not for lack of reading material, I just can’t seem to get in the mood. I’m sure you can relate.

So, this quarter I only read two books. I’m happy to have read anything at all. There was also a DNF, which happens.

Twenty-One Truths About Love book cover

Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really loved this book. It was different and cute and kept my attention. I’ve never read a book that was only written in lists, but it worked here.


Stop Missing Your Life book cover

Stop Missing Your Life by Cory Muscara

DNF

I like the author’s intent with this, but I couldn’t connect. The author speaks beyond meditation and mindfulness to help readers find fulfillment. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into it or connect with the writing and that’s important with this type of read.


We Met in December book cover

We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

Rating: 3 out of 5.

It’s a cute book and easy to read. I just didn’t feel that it offered anything special and added new elements. However, I think most romance readers will enjoy this.

Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

I took it easy the last few months of this year. It was hard to fit in time to read among all the holiday festivities. Apparently I was in a romance and peaceful living mood.

Seeking slow book cover

Seeking Slow by Melanie Barnes

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Seeking Slow is a small book and easily read in one day, but don’t let the size fool you. This book is beautifully crafted and provides useful information. It is well organized and I liked that each section had takeaways and main points to focus on. The content provides a lot to think about and the images are stunning.


The Body Painter book cover

The Body Painter (Master of Trickery Duet #1) by Pepper Winters

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I have mixed feelings about this novel. This is definitely more in the realm of dark romance. I find it hard to like the lead male. There are also plenty of moments that make me dislike the female lead as well. The relationship is push-pull and at times (especially at the beginning) was very repetitive and little depth was given to the relationship. I found myself losing interest in the middle, but then the story really picked up after that. I enjoyed the premise for this book and I wanted to see how this story would end, which happens to be with a big cliff hanger! Overall, I like the direction of the plot and very interested in how the next book will finish out, but I find it difficult to root for this couple. Honestly, they should go separate ways.

Also, be warned there is abuse, violence, and rape in this novel – so if that can be a trigger you may not want to read this one.


Twice in a Blue Moon book cover

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was a cute romance novel but didn’t create a lasting impression. The story kept my attention, but I would have liked to see a bit more character development. Maybe more focus on the present story than the past.


Find Your Glow, Feed Your Soul book cover

Find Your Glow, Feed Your Soul by Emily Silva

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was beautifully crafted and a wonderful read. I thought it had plenty of helpful ideas and will go through it multiple times.

Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

3rd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

3rd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

We’re into the second half of the year and I’m happy to be on track with my reading goals. Here’s a quick overview of what I read this quarter.

In at the Deep End book cover

In at the Deep End by Kate Davies

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I wanted to like this book, but I didn’t. The idea of someone exploring and finding their sexuality is a great book premise. There were some great moments at the beginning and I felt that that tone should have lasted throughout. The main characters is very likable and relatable. However, I don’t understand the point of the extreme/abusive relationship that evolves. Having extreme relationships is very common in erotic novels, but honestly it is getting boring. What was the point? What did the character learn from the experience? I don’t want shock value, I want substance and I don’t think this novel delivered that.


Wilder Girls book cover

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This novel wasn’t what I thought it would be. I was very surprised by the story and journey of the characters. This novel is beautifully written and very descriptive. Reluctant readers may have a hard time getting into this book, but it is well worth the read.


Normal People book cover

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A sweet and interesting book about relationships. It was easy to relate to this novel from both of the character’s perspectives. I also liked the realistic ending.


The Grace Year book cover

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The cover of this novel caught my attention. It is beautiful. Then I read the synopsis and know I had to read it. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast read and kept my attention throughout. I think this novel will be very popular when it come out. I like the premise of feminine bonding and strength. The middle section of the novel through me for a bit and almost feels out of place. I am still reflecting on the importance of the romance as part of the overall story. Some of the pacing seemed off and several times months were skipped, when I wanted nothing more to read about what occurred in those times. I hope there will be a follow-up to this novel. Although it could work as a standalone piece, I’m very interested in seeing how the relationships grow and the societal shifts that are sure to come.


Saturday Night Ghost Club book cover

The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was an interesting read. The main character is a brain surgeon and each chapter uses a story based on his surgery experience that has a mirrored theme with the events that occurred when he was twelve. I found this book to be beautifully written and loved the themes that arose. The ending wasn’t a surprise, but I don’t think it was meant to be, there were strong hints throughout the novel. I loved the depth of each character and their differing personalities. Very well written, but short. I wanted a little more.


Uncommon Paper Flowers book cover

Uncommon Paper Flowers by Kate Alarcon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I thought the tutorials in this book were easy to follow and the flowers included were interesting. I appreciated that this didn’t just reuse the same types of plants found in every other craft book.

Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

2nd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

2nd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2019

Can you believe it has been three months? Time is flying by. This quarter I read 6 books all of which were eARCs. I also had two DNFs.

Sewing Shirts book cover

Sewing Shirts with a Perfect Fit by David Page Coffin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was looking for a book about this and it delivered. As someone who is learning, this was a tremendous help. Informative and easy to follow, I would highly recommend.


Brave Not Perfect book cover

Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was amazing and inspirational! I keep recommending it to everyone I talk to. The author makes a lot of good intellectual points that will make you look at gender social cues and breaking down barriers. Would love to see more like it.


30-Day Money Cleanse book cover

The 30-Day Money Cleanse by Ashley Feinstein Gerstley

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Not exactly what I thought it would be. It has some useful information and could be more beneficial to young adults or those who really know nothing about money.


The Minimalist Home book cover

The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I am very interested in minimalism and have read several books on the subject. Unfortunately, I could not get into this book. I didn’t like the tone and felt that it wasn’t organized very well. I’m actually a bit disappointed.


Namaste the Hard Way book cover

Namaste the Hard Way by Sasha Brown-Worsham

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a beautiful story. I was much invested and could not put the book down. What I love is that you don’t have to be a yogi to appreciate the overall message.


The Immmortalists book cover

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

DNF

I really tried, but just couldn’t get into the book. I love the description and found the premise interesting, but I guess it wasn’t for me.


Slay Like a Mother book cover

Slay Like a Mother by Katherine Wintsch

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved this book. It was exactly what I needed for a bit of self-reflection and motivation. The book was well paced and I enjoyed the voice used. It was also nice to have activities spread throughout. I would recommend to any parent out there.


The French Girl book cover

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

DNF

I tried to get into this a couple of times, but I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. It just wasn’t for me. However, I did find the description intriguing.


Don't keep your day job book cover

Don’t Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was not familiar with the Don’t Keep Your Day Job podcast prior to reading this book. I have listened to a few episodes since. Listeners of the podcast will be familiar with the tone and structure of each chapter. It is very similar to the way episodes are formatted. Heller uses a very conversational tone and often talks about her journey as a music writer, consultant, and motivator. Some of the information is redundant, especially if you’re a listener. That being said, I enjoyed the book and thought that it had an uplifting and motivational tone. It was nice to hear about the successes of the author, as well as others her listeners and interviewees. I like that each chapter provided key takeaways and that there were reflective exercises. Whether or not you have listened to the podcast, I think you would get something out of this book.


Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2018

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2018

This quarter I challenged myself to read books I normally wouldn’t. I’ve been in a comfort zone and want to be sure to try new authors and genres. There were some surprisingly good reads in this group.

1,000 books to read book cover

1,000 Books to Read Before You Die by James Mustich

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a great book for any reader and those who might need guidance. It is simple to follow and has a ton of great reads included. This is a straightforward book with descriptions for each novel suggested. The author really knows his stuff.


the library book book cover

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Orlean masterfully weaves the events of the Los Angeles Public Library Fire in 1986 with her own feelings and recollections of libraries. This is a great book for library lovers and historical enthusiasts. It really brings to light the community role libraries play and their evolution in time. This book was hard to put down and was entertaining and informative.


dear heartbreak book cover

Dear Heartbreak by Heather Demetrios

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dear Heartbreak contains letters written by teens to Heartbreak and are answered by various authors. The letters cover a variety of topics all within the individual’s feelings toward heartbreak and interpretations of situations. Some letters (and responses) are lengthy, while other cut straight to the point. Everyone has dealt with heartbreak and this book showed how humans respond to it. I love that the letters come from teens of different ages that have experienced different situations. I also appreciated the diverse tone and responses throughout.

Although targeted at teens, I feel that this book could be useful (and definitely appealing) to adults as well. As an adult, I could remember my experiences that matched what these current teens were writing about. It was equally fascinating to understand the author responses and their aged reflective and introspective wisdom.

This book was diverse, raw, and honest. Thank you for that.


a messy, beautiful life book cover

A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Allen

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. It was smart and funny and sad. This book had everything you’d expect from a good young adult romance, but also included deeper elements and tackled the hard issues.


7 laws of enough book cover

The 7 Laws of Enough by Gina LaRoche

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I really wanted to like this book, I just couldn’t connect with it. For books on this topic, it is important to feel like the author is talking to you personally. I appreciate the message and believe this book can be helpful for others, unfortunately it just wasn’t for me.


creating things that matter book cover

Creating Things that Matter by David Edwards

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I thought this was an interesting book with a lot of thoughtful information and musings. However, I didn’t find it to be an easy read and feel like that might deter readers.


Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

3rd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2018

3rd Quarter Wrap-Up | 2018

This quarter, I read nonfiction. I have a good mix of self-help and creativity. This was an interesting mix of books and I learned a lot from them. Some I liked so much, I ended up purchasing a print copy.

Hand Made book cover

Hand Made by Melissa K. Norris

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. Norris seamlessly share recipes and connects to life experiences. I found it interesting and connected with the stories.


Make Art Every Day book cover

Make Art Every Day by Katie Vernon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love the idea of bullet journals, but don’t always have time to fill it out. That’s why this planner is perfect. Not only does it already include boxes for daily entries, but it is informative and provides ideas for doodles and other creative activities. I love the colors and the stickers are so cute.


Give a Sh*t book cover

Give a Sh*t by Ashlee Piper

Rating: 3 out of 5.

When I became interested in this title, I thought it would have more exposition. Instead, it was not a memoir and really only included lists. That is not what I wanted from this book and felt that the information was the same as other books on this subject. The information provided was good, I just think I was disappointed in the lack of personality.


Handmade Houseplants book cover

Handmade Houseplants by Corie Beth Hogg

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Creating paper plants is one of my favorite crafts, so I was excited to see this book. One thing that separates this from others, is that it focuses on greenery, instead of flowers. There aren’t a lot of books out there that cover this aspect. I found the crafts to be fairly simple and easy for beginners to create. I also loved the detailed instructions and tips.


Natural Dyeing with Plants book cover

Natural Dyeing with Plants by Franziska Ebner & Romana Hasenöhrl

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a beautiful book and perfect for any level of natural dyers. Mostly focusing on wool, the concepts could be applied to most types of textile. I love the variety of plants introduced and colors.


Decluttering at the Speed of Life book cover

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I don’t have a lot to say about this book. It offers insight and techniques to declutter your home, but I really didn’t get anything extra. I feel like I have heard this information before.


Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2017

4th Quarter Wrap-Up | 2017

As usual, most of my reads were romance. I’m finding this to be my go-to genre now. It is nice to escape and explore situations I probably won’t find myself in. Overall I was satisfied with these novels and I was able to fit in a fairy tale retelling, which I always look forward to.

The Billionaires book cover

The Billionaires (Lover’s Triangle #1) by Calista Fox

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This novel was an interesting read. I enjoyed it and felt that the plot moved along at a nice pace. I feel that some character development is lacking and the end game was quite predictable. However, I appreciated the family twist and backstory to give an added element. Also, you don’t read about trio relationships very often. Thanks for the good read!


Ensnared book cover

Ensnared by Rita Stradling

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I enjoyed the premise of the book – a futuristic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I thought the concept and main plot were very interesting, however I feel that additional editing could improve the book overall. I wish there was more backstory about the “beast.” He is an interesting character and I felt that divulging more into the past could give more insight towards that character. It could also be a good way for Alainn to relate on a personal level. There were chapters that felt unnecessary, such as chapter 13. It introduces Alainn’s ski friend, but focuses on him checking out another ski patrol member. This chapter focuses on a non-essential character and has zero plot relevance. I have found instances like this happen on numerous occasions. The ending felt rushed. I would like to hear more about Rose’s motives and the impact this situation on society. Also, does no one want to help Mr. Garbhan overcome his illness, especially if children will be involved? I believe this novel has potential, but it just isn’t there yet. I hope you will continue to edit and revise before the December publication date.


The Bad Boy's Girl book cover

The Bad Boy’s Girl (The Bad Boy’s Girl #1) by Blair Holden

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I mostly enjoyed this novel. The story has a lot of potential. I felt that the characters could have been built upon a bit more. The author hints at the main character having an eating disorder and then the problem just disappears. This is highly unlikely and I would have appreciated more insight or solution. I also wanted to learn more about Cole’s backstory. There is a lot about him that feels hidden. Overall, this story kept my interest, but feel that it could benefit from some edition and rewrites.


Superhero Sewing book cover

Superhero Sewing by Lane Huerta

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a cute project book. If you have kids and want to create for them, this is a great book to use/start with. The patterns were easy to follow and there were varying degrees of difficulty.


Blood and Ink book cover

Blood and Ink by Stephen Davies

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I enjoyed this novel. I like the complexity of the characters and appreciated a background setting usually not used. It was nice to see Muslim representation. This novel also mixed real life events with fiction.


Thank you NetGalley for providing digital copies of these books in exchange for an honest review.

Reading Roundup | January & February 2016

Reading Roundup | January  & February 2016

Looking back, I read a lot more books than anticipated. I feel like I have a diverse grouping here. It’s hard to choose a favorite out of this bunch, so many were very well written.

Here is what I read in January and February:

A Room with a View by E. M. Forster | Classic | Romance

Blast From Two Pasts by Kristel S. Villar | Romance

Funny! Twenty-Five Years of Laughter from the Pixar Story Room | Nonfiction | Art & Illustration

Glow by Beth Kery | Erotica | Contemporary Romance

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor | Young Adult | Science Fiction | Historical Fiction

My Father’s Son: A Memoir by John Davis | Nonfiction | Memoir

Solid Stone: Revolving Door by E.G. Patrick | Erotica | Contemporary Romance

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum | Young Adult | Romance

The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker | Young Adult | Historical Fiction | Fantasy

The Stranger by Harlan Coben | Thriller | Mystery

2015 Roundup | What I Read This Year

2015 Roundup | What I Read This Year

Books Read Entirely: 48

Books Not Finished: 10

Books Reviewed: 12

Favorite Book: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. This book was cute, quirky, funny, and had substance. It was a great YA read with awesome characters and laugh out loud moments.

Fiction

Nonfiction

  • Airplane Rides: Observations from Above by Jake Alexander
  • Cooking Up a Storytime: Mix-And-Match Menus for Easy Programming by Susan Anderson-Newham
  • It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways by Dallas Hartwig
  • Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media. by Aliza Licht
  • Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries by Ander Monson
  • Library Innovation Toolkit: Ideas, Strategies, and Programs, The by Anthony Molaro
  • Repurposed Library, The by Lisa Occhipinti
  • Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina by Ronnie Greene (DNF)
  • STEP into Storytime: Using StoryTime Effective Practice to Strengthen the Development of Newborns to Five-Year-Olds by Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting
  • Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J. K. Rowling
  • Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom by Melissa Hartwig
  • Wordplay for Kids: A Sourcebook of Poems, Rhymes, and Read-Alouds by Tim Wadham