Friday, 26 April 2013

A Few Things For Your Weekend

I'm reading a travelogue right now. It is a bit hard to get into. Not because it isn't goo but because I've been on an all fiction brain candy diet for quite some time. It is hard to switch gears. Ya know? But, I do believe we need to read non-fiction. I love reading about people who live extraordinary lives. 

Spring still hasn't shown its face here in Scotland. I'm waiting. I'm about to go all crazy up in this place if it doesn't warm up soon. 

Here are a few things I read, saw and loved around the internet this week. 

The most well-read cities in America {According to Amazon}

How to teach your 6-7 yr old to decode bigger words while reading

FREE audio of The Great Gatsby!

Are writers badgering readers?

A different kind of romantic gesture {love this!!!}

Authors: readers don't owe you sh*t

15 delightful vintage books that you need to read 

In Case You Missed It::

Monday, 22 April 2013

While It Lasts by Abbi Glines

Title: While It Lasts
Author: Abbi Glines
Publisher: Simon Audio 
Length: 6:34:42
Narrator: Kirby Heyborne and Shayna Thibodeaux
Format: Audiobook
Disclosure: received from publisher for review

Maybe driving home after a few (or more) shots of tequila had been a bad idea, but hell, he did it all the time. The cops had to have been freaking bored to have pulled him over. He wasn’t even swerving! That’s Cage York’s story and he’s sticking to it.

Unfortunately, his baseball coach isn’t buying it. Cage has a free ride to the local junior college for baseball -- or he did, until he’d gotten a DUI. Now, Cage has to decide: does he drop out and give up his dream of getting noticed by a college in the SEC, and possibly making it into the Major Leagues -- or does he give in to his coach’s demands and spend his summer baling hay?

Eva Brooks planned out her life step by step when she was eight years old. Not once over the years had she lost sight of her goals. Josh Beasley, her next door neighbor, had been the center of those goals. He’d been her first boyfriend at seven, her first kiss at ten, her first date at fifteen, and her first tragedy at eighteen. The moment she’d received the phone call from Josh’s mother saying he’d been killed along with four other soldiers just north of Baghdad, Eva’s carefully planned life imploded in the worst way possible.

Cage isn’t real happy with his closet-sized bedroom in the back of a foul smelling barn, or his daily interactions with cows, but he knows that if he doesn’t make his coach happy then he can kiss his scholarship goodbye. Only a sick and twisted man would decide his punishment was to be working on a farm all summer. No hot babes in bikinis waiting to meet a Southern boy to make her vacation complete. Just him and the damned cows.

Oh -- and an uptight, snarky brunette with the biggest blue eyes he’s every seen. But she doesn’t count, because as hard as he’s tried to charm her out of her panties - he’s pretty sure she’d rather see him hung from the rafters than let him get a taste of her pretty little lips.

This audiobook is told in two points of view. I really love those. I even love it when they use two different actor's to do the voices. Helps my brain know what is going on. Feels more like a movie. The voices were really perfect. I couldn't imagine anything better. They fit well with the story and I liked that it was a little over 6 hrs. Holy perfect length batman! I listened to it in one day. I need more of these. 

Eva is the farmer's daughter. There's always a daughter isn't there. She has had a lot to deal with the last 18 months and you can really relate to her. Even though I have never been through what she has, I fel for her. I could understand why she did the things she did. I'd probably do the same. I love books where you get to actually see and feel their development. You know the moments that help them change or break down the walls they keep up. There are plenty of them with Eva. 

Cage is the bad boy in trouble and has to work on the farm for the summer. There's always a bad boy isn't there?! Of course. I love how he's bad in not a too bad kind of way. Ya know? He's good at heart he just made some bad judgment calls. He's hot and romantic. He really made this book for me. 

I will say that there is a lot of adult content here. Probably too much. Description that I would have considered Erotica and I'm no prude. I'm fine with it, but I feel like young teenage's are going to pick up this book and well...get an eye full. Just know that it's pretty graphic. 

If you're looking for something simple and hot to get your day going, then this is it. Eva and Cage will set your heart on fire! 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Wait For You by Jennifer Armentrout

Title: Wait For You
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Pages: 332
Format: ARC-Kindle
Pub Date: April 25, 2013
Disclosure: Received for review via Publisher

Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she’s has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for…

This is another New Adult novel that seems to be sweeping the UK. There is some serious issues in here. Yet, the story doesn't feel heavy. I liked that. I don't enjoy books that make me feel weighed down by the character's problems. I have enough of my own. 

There is book is also full of mature content. I'm talking graphic sex here. Let it be known I told you. I was a bit shocked and I'm no prude. It felt more like erotica to me. Personally. Watch out. 

This is a story about life and love. Life isn't easy. It isn't easy for anyone. Especially not Avery. She moves across the country to West Virginia {my home state!!} for college just to escape her problems. She's got a hot neighbor too. You literally watch their love blossom. They get to know each other well. I'm not an insta-love kind of girl so I appreciate when a couple takes the time to get to know each other and become friends first. 

Avery and Cam have a lot of get through before they can truly be together. Cam is waiting for her. It's sweet. It is romantic. It's shocking all the little details you find out. This is one of those novels that is perfect for your holiday away or a rainy day. It is perfect for a little escapism. 

Review:: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Title: Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 304
Format: ARC-Kindle
Disclosure: Received for review via NetGalley

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams. Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t. 

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality. 
A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

I'm so in the mood for summery books right now and nothing says summer better than a whole summer at the beach. I have a fascination with New England and what's better than Nantucket?! This is the perfect book for your vacation. 

Cricket is working at an Inn for the summer. How quaint, right! It makes me wish I'd have had some kind of summer job growing up. She's spending her days at the beach and riding an old bicycle with a basket. What more could you ask for?

A boy. That's what! I love a romance that starts off with friendship and this is exactly what we got. But, it's secret. I really liked Zack. Even if he was a little younger. It shook it up for me. Nothing wrong with girls being older. No sir. 

This was such a fun book. It had its serious moments alright. No life is complete without a little drama but it just had such a summery feel to it. I now want to go visit Nantucket. I only wish I was 18 yrs old and off to see the world for the first time. I need more books like this one. We don't have a summer in Scotland. 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Book Review:: Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

Title: Cinnamon and Gunpowder
Author: Eli Brown
Publisher: Straus and Giroux
Pages: 336
Format: ARC-Kindle
Disclosure: e-galley from NetGalley

A gripping adventure, a seaborne romance, and a twist on the tale of Scheherazade—with the best food ever served aboard a pirate’s ship. The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by the ruthless pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot. He will be spared, she tells him, as long as he puts exquisite food in front of her every Sunday without fail.     
To appease the red-haired captain, Wedgwood gets cracking with the meager supplies on board. His first triumph at sea is actual bread, made from a sourdough starter that he leavens in a tin under his shirt throughout a roaring battle, as men are cutlassed all around him. Soon he’s making tea-smoked eel and brewing pineapple-banana cider. 

But Mabbot—who exerts a curious draw on the chef—is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur hidden on her ship, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. As Wedgwood begins to sense a method to Mabbot’s madness, he must rely on the bizarre crewmembers he once feared: Mr. Apples, the fearsome giant who loves to knit; Feng and Bai, martial arts masters sworn to defend their captain; and Joshua, the deaf cabin boy who becomes the son Wedgwood never had.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a swashbuckling epicure’s adventure simmered over a surprisingly touching love story—with a dash of the strangest, most delightful cookbook never written. Eli Brown has crafted a uniquely entertaining novel full of adventure: the Scheherazade story turned on its head, at sea, with food.

Christy’s Review:
It’s rare to encounter a novel that is a product born of craftsmanship and love these days. Gunpowder & Cinnamon is a true work of beauty; a story written so tenderly, with such care that one can’t help but be completely enraptured by the world presented. This is story telling at it’s best and there is so much more to it that meets the eye!  Food, pirates, the Opium trade (and Britain’s involvement in it), the ocean and a love for most of those things are the subjects of Brown’s  caring ministrations in this profession of amour. Truly, the historical and food detail packed into this can be considered nothing short of obsessive on the author's part. And said obsession gives the reader a full-bodied reading experience that won't soon be forgotten. I could not get enough of the saffron-sauced dishes, the swashbuckling sass or the haunting, lore-filled world of pirates, privateers and one shanghaied chef!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Book Review:: Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Title: Going Too Far
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Pages: 245
Format: Paperback
Disclosure: Sent from publisher for review

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.
John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge -- and over....
This is my first Jennifer Echols. I don't even know how that is possible but here I am. Let me tell you...I loved it. It's just a fun book. The only problem is I want more. I want a second book and I want it now. I just need to know more. I need more Jennifer Echols. 

The book is only 245 pages. Pretty short if you ask me. But, perfect at the same time. It didn't take me long to get into it and I even brought the book to church and read in the corner. I know, I'm going to hell. I just couldn't put it down! I love a shorter book that I can easily get into and finish in a short amount of time. Win/win in my book!

Meg has gotten herself into some trouble and she needs to do a ride-a-long with Officer After--during Spring Break. I was picturing him with his 14 kids and wondering what kind of story this was going to be. Would it go there. I mean, would it actually go to the whole corrupt a minor thing? I was so pleased with what actually happened ;)

I liked how the character's both had things they needed to overcome. It wasn't a one sided story. There was progress on both parties. Isn't that the most important part in a book like this? I liked seeing them fall in love and flirt. 

The ending was perfect. It really was. I just want more now. Oh so more! This might have been my first Echols, but it won't be my last. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Are Beta Readers Doing Their Job?

What is a Beta Reader anyway?

"a beta reader is a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described as a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public." -Wikipedia

The last several self-published books I've read had quite a few mistakes in them. I'm not really talking grammar. Every book is going to have those. I'm talking some major mistakes. Even main character names misspelled and I'm not a typo kind of person. I'm talking about plot points not connecting, major questions asked but not answered. World building and leaving out whole parts of the story/world. The overall story is in question. 

I've dabbled in beta reading--just a tiny bit. I was surprised how fast the author wanted my notes back. In a few days. Seriously. I was honestly wondering how on earth I could be thorough with such a short time frame. Not to mention that I had to fit this into my already busy schedule. What did this author wanted me to look for? How did they want their notes? I wasn't given any instructions on I wasn't being paid! Is this the norm for all beta readers? 

I also know that there are some good one's out there that really know what they're doing. They are quick, thorough, and honest. Flip the coin and I'm sure you get those beta readers that seem to take forever and their notes are meager. I'm a fan of self published books. I personally think you can find some great gems and books that are full of the new content I'm craving. 

I follow quite a few authors on Twitter. They are always tweeting about writing. On more than one occasion these authors have mentioned that they just sent the book out to their beta reader's and should have the book up ready for purchase on Amazon within a few days. How in the world is that even possible?! That isn't enough time to read and critique the manuscript. That isn't enough time for the author to "fix" what needs fixing. Or am I wrong? 

It would be my hope that to get a good beta reader you'd have to give good instructions. Include a deadline, instructions on how you want your notes, and what specifically you need help with. This way your beta will be able to give you just what you want. I know I would have appreciated it.

All of these  things lead me to wonder if beta reader's are doing their job? Or are they just there to stroke the author's ego? Is it really just to say, "OMG I LOVED IT SO MUCH!!!" Are they truly being critical? Are they taking the time they need to be thorough? Or are the author's just expecting a read through and a little encouragement?

Are you a beta reader? Tell us your experience?
Are you an author? Tell us what you expect from your beta's?
Or are you a reader and have asked these same questions? 

Let me know what you think. 

Here are a few posts that I love about beta reading::

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Ten Bookish Confessions

01. I'm 3 books behind my Goodreads yearly reading goal. Not bad seeing as I didn't read a single book in February {I was super sick}. But, it still haunts me. I need to get with the program!

02. I have several series book sitting on my shelf that I have yet to read. I'm waiting for the last book to come out so I can gorge myself on the story and not have to wait to find out what happens next.

03. I read so much that sometime's I get fiction and reality mixed up.

04. I freaked out my husband early on in our marriage. I started feverishly reading a book the minute I got home from the book store. When he woke the next morning I was still on the couch reading... Except it was the next book in the series and I was almost finished. He thinks I'm weird because I read so fast. I now reserve reading for just before bedtime only.

05. Sometime's life is so stressful the only way to help me through is to read as much as I can. I have to get lost in another world to keep functioning.

06. I go to the library every week with my 2 yr old son. I want to peruse the isles and pick me up something but I can't. I have stacks of books to review at home. This makes me sad sometimes. But, I do grab the occasional audiobook.

07. My favorite time to read is about 5:30 am with a quiet house and natural light. Before my husband and toddler wake for the day. Peace.

08. Whenever I finish a book I briefly entertain the idea of flipping back to the beginning and reading it again. I settle for reading my favorite scenes.

09. I wish I had a friend who loves reading as much as I do.

10. I'm addicted to the romance in books. It is my sole reason for reading the book in the first place. Even if it just has a teeny tiny bit of it. I need that. I crave it. I can never get enough.

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish

Monday, 15 April 2013

Audiobook Review:: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

Title: The Girl Who Played With Fire
Author: Stieg Larsson
Publisher: Clipper Audio UK
Narrator: Saul Reichlin
Length: 21 hours

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazineMillennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.

But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and who now becomes the focus and fierce heart of The Girl Who Played with Fire.

As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.

I'm trying out new genre's this year and I've never read a suspense/mystery novel. I'd seen the film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and loved it. I wanted to give the books a try. At 21 hours I knew this was a big book and it would take me awhile to get through it, but it wasn't hard. The writing is just so good. The story keeps you thinking and wondering what the heck is going on. The story is graphic. Graphic in ways that make me uncomfortable, but the story line is so good that I couldn't help but keep listening. 

Narrator Saul Reichlin is a master reader. He did so many different voices that I actually felt like I was watching the film. I knew exactly who was speaking the whole way through. It amazed me how good this narration was. 

No matter how much I thought about it, I could never have come up with the ending of this mystery myself. I hadn't even thought of its possibility! It all came out of nowhere! I couldn't find the connection. It was brilliant. I want to see this as a film. It would be amazing! 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Cookbook Review:: The Three Sisters Quick and Easy Indian Cookbook by Kaul

The Three Sisters Quick and Easy Indian Cookbook 
Author:  Sereena, Alexa and Priya Kaul
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Pages: 160
Pub Date: June 2013
Format: Paperback Cookbook

Drawing on a lifetime of passion for food, The Three Sisters have brought together a second collection of traditional recipes, tailored for quick and easy preparation

Combining speedy one-pot curries, tasty dishes, and snacks inspired by their mother's and grandmother's recipes, this beautiful cookbook also incorporated the authors' own experience of delicious Indian street food. Once readers have the sisters' recommended selection of essential spices listed in the front of the book, they can easily make a myriad of fabulous meals, delectable desserts, and fragrant treats. This collection is perfect for busy people who love cooking and do not want to compromise on authentic Indian flavors.

I've actually never had Indian food before I got this cookbook. Crazy I know. I'm living in Scotland! Indian food is the go to take away food. I'm American though and we tend to go south of the border for more Mexican foods. But, I wanted to give Indian a try.

Let me say first and foremost that this is probably the more simple and easy cookbook I have ever owned! There is a small section before all the recipes which gives you some quick tips on how to prepare your foods early and have things at the ready for a fast and easy cook time. I loved this! It made an Indian novice like myself get it done fast.

I wanted to make Street Corn-on-the-Cob {Bhuna Huva Maki}and Dry Green Beans {Sukhi Hari Rajmah} first to give the Indian spices a try to see if I even liked them. I was afraid I wouldn't, but oh boy did I! I don't think I will ever eat my vegetables plain any more. I'll be adding spices to shake things up. Both dishes were uber simple and easy to make.

I would definitely advise purchasing The Three Sisters Spice Kit that they have for sale on their website. I had to go to 2 different stores to get all the spices I needed. I would have rather just got the kit and known it has everything I will need to make anything in the cookbook. It is worth it.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Review:: Grave Consequences by Lisa T. Bergren

Title: Grave Consequences
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Publisher: David A. Cook
Pages: 448
Format: ARC-Kindle
Disclosure: e-galley from NetGalley

For Cora Kensington, the journey of a lifetime takes unexpected twists. And her future—her very life—depends on the decisions she’ll make at each crossroad. As her European tour with her new found family takes her through Austria, France, and Italy, an unseen enemy trails close behind. Meanwhile, a forbidden love continues to claim her heart, putting everyone’s plans in danger. And as Cora stays one step ahead of it all, what might need the most protection is her own heart, torn between the dramatic pursuit of a dashing Frenchman and a man who has been quietly staking claim to her affections all along. Love has dangers all its own. She must escape the bonds of the past and discover the faith to make the right choices, as each one has grave consequences.

Christy's Review:
Let me preface this review by telling you that after reading book one of this series, I was completely enthralled! I was so enamored of Glamorous Illusions that I have since worked my way through nearly every single one of Lisa T. Bergren's fictions. (I will endeavor to review them here as well.) I LOVE this author's combination of travel and faith. Her storylines are never smutty, or filled with lewd or lustful topics. She is an author I trust to entertain me, without making me feel as though I've compromised my high standards.

That said, on with the review of The Grand Tour Series, Book 2: Grave Consequences
Grave Consequences is a wonderful continuance of Glamorous Illusion's storyline! In book two, Cora Diels Kensington has settled into the role of farmer cum heiress daughter, albeit with justified hesitations about that role. She also retains a firm grip on her roots. She seeks to reconcile her past with her present, and comes to realize that life experiences change perspective. The love triangle is brilliant, never false feeling or overbearing - it all seems so very realistic for the circumstances, and that is what good writing is all about. Every character seems to be completely breathed full of life and full-bodied. Will Cora choose Will or Pierre? Will she cling to her old dreams, or allow herself to be swept up into a world of money, power and manipulation? Will her attempted kidnappers come back and try to finish the job? You'll just have to read this gem to find out for yourself!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Review:: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

Title: The Secret of Ella and Micha
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 316
Format: Paperback
Disclosure: Review copy from publisher

Ella and Micha have been best friends since they were kids. But one tragic night shatters their friendship and their lives forever.

Ella used to be a rule-breaker with fiery attitude who wore her heart on her sleeve. But she left everything behind when she went to college and transformed into someone that follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. But now it's summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home. 

Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. If Micha tries to tempt the old her back, she knows that it will be hard to resist.

Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to bring his best friend, and the girl he loves back, no matter what it takes. 

(New Adult Contemporary)
*Mature Content** Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language.

This is a very easy read. Something great for a beach trip or vacation. As I was reading it made me wish that I had a guy best friend growing up. I think the best love stories come from a deep friendship. It also feels real. People run away from their problems all the time. It's hard to share feelings with the people you love if you're afraid you're going to lose them. It's relate-able. 

Micha is swoon worthy. Like all love interests in books should be. He and Ella are both from dysfunctional families {who isn't?!} and they just get each other. Although they have their own problems, they are each other's rock. There were some thing that happened in the past that I was dying to know. I needed all the pieces to fit so I could understand Ella and Micha better. 

This is a really great love story. There is something epic about it. Ella is trying to stay away but the chemistry is just too strong. They can't keep their hands off each other!

There is a lot of mature content here. I really loved that! This is sort of where we all want our favorite YA books to go. But, at the same time it was a lot. Is the New Adult name just to get some juicy content in there? It felt very adult to me. 

I'm going to say it again--if you haven't jumped on this New Adult bandwagon then you need to get with the program. I can see every bit of why this story has swept the nation. There's a certain umph to it that you don't get from YA contemporary. It is probably all the sex talk. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Audiobook Review:: Reckless by SC Stephens

Title: Reckless
Author: SC Stephens
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Narrator: Rebekkah Ross
Length: 21:05 hrs
Format: Audiobook

Can love survive when life gets Reckless?

When the band hits it big, Kiera and Kellan must ask themselves: Can their love for each other survive the constant pressures of superstardom? The friendships they've formed, the new family they've found, and the history they've forged will all play a part in helping them navigate the turbulent waters of the band's exploding popularity. A greedy executive hell-bent on success, a declining pop star looking for an edge, and a media circus that twists lies into truths are just some of the obstacles the lovers will have to overcome if they are going to remain together. Fame comes with a price-but will it cost Kiera and Kellan everything?

Audiobook Review:
I was so looking forward to the end of this trilogy. The drama is so intense and I just love it. Kiera infuriates me to no end and I have the hots for Kellan. So, I just had to read it. This cover is steaming! Is it not?! In case you were wondering, so is the book. 

Kellan is on his way to be a big star and he takes Kiera along with him on tour. There are a few problems. To say the least. I loved watching them interact and after all they have been through in the past two books, it was amazing to see them jive so well. They just fit. The smexy times Probably my favorite parts of this book. I really love the romantic times shared between Kellan and Kiera. 

Narrator Rebekkah Ross sounds exactly like what I'd imagine Kiera to be. She is comfortable to listen to and I found myself at ease. It was hard to put her down. 

I just love this series! It's all so romantic and dramatic. 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

My Favorite Books Before This Blogging Thing

I started this book blog in June 2009. I've read more than I ever have since. Book Blogging is almost like a drug. I love keeping a record of what I've read and how I felt about it. I only wish I started sooner! I'm sure there are many books that I have forgotten about.

I do have some favorite books that carried me into this whole blogging thing. Take a peek below and see!

01. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery is one of my most favorites of all time. I read it when I was 12 yrs old. I went back to the library and grabbed the other 7 books and devoured them. My Mom thought something was wrong with me because I was reading so much--and she's a reader! I've always longed to go to PE Island and have a soft spot for Gilbert.

02. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee- I read this in high school. Twice actually. I'd never read anything quite so beautiful. The writing is brilliant. It has been about 15 years since I picked this book up, which is far too long. I'm going to need to re-visit it soon.

03. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott-My mother read this to me and my sisters. We always felt like the March family. We have so many similarities. From a family of all women to the youngest being named Amy. We all picked a March girl to be like. I was Jo. This is such a creative story. The girls play and make their own fun and they fall in love. I always wanted Jo and Laurie to be together in the films. I was upset they weren't. But, when you read the book you know they aren't meant to be. You know whom Laurie belongs with. This is one of my favorites of all time.

04. Persuasion by Jane Austen- I love second chance stories. It is as if the universe is saying that they belonged together all along but just weren't ready for each other yet. It means their love is so strong they've lasted through so much. It means a humbling of the heart. What's not to love?!

05. Harry Potter by JK Rowling-It's Harry Freaking Potter! I read it about a year after it came out. I was 18 and had already graduated high school. I saw a kid with this big book and asked him what he was reading. I went directly to the book store. What could be that interesting to keep a child reading such a big book? Brilliant on so many levels I don't have time to talk about them all. It never gets old either. I could read these books over and over and it would never gets old.

06. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella was given to me by a friend. I think this was my first experience with chic-lit and I loved it. I couldn't stop laughing! She is on my auto buy list. I love her humor and wit. This is such a great series.

07. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert-I watched an Oprah about this book. All these women were sharing about how they changed their lives because of it. I wanted to know what all the hype was about. My Mom and I read it together. I loved it all. It made me want to get out and try new things. See the world. I'm now living in Scotland!

08. The Gable Faces East by Anita Stansfield-I read this book exactly 10 years ago. I am obsessed with it. I've re-read it several times since. I love the Australian setting and the epic love story has me weak in the knees. It never gets old.

09. He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo-Ya'll, this book helped me get over a boyfriend. I read it long before the film came out. Which I still find funny that they could make a film out of this. It isn't even fiction! It's a self help book--and I loved it! I laughed and cried through the whole thing. It put things into perspective. Told me what was what.

10. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer-There. I said it. I loved it. It got me all obsessed and all that good stuff. I devoured the books like a drowning woman searching for oxygen. It was my first taste of YA paranormal.

What are your favorite books?

*I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish

Monday, 8 April 2013

Review:: The Truth About Letting Go by Leigh T. Moore

Title: The Truth About Letting Go
Author: Leigh T. Moore
Pages: 276
Format: Kindle

Ashley wants to smash everything in her once-perfect life.
Charlotte wants to walk in Ashley's seemingly charmed shoes.
Colt wants to turn Smalltown USA on its ear--with Ashley at his side. Jordan wants to follow his heart... but Ashley is the one sacrifice he never expected to make.

Ashley Lockett has always followed the rules. She's always done the right thing, played it safe, gone to church. And then her ideal life is shattered when her dad dies suddenly.

Fueled by anger and grief, she vows to do everything opposite of how she lived before. She rejects safety, rules, faith, and then she meets Jordan. Jordan has big dreams, he's had a crush on Ashley for years, and he's a great kisser. But he's also safe. 

Enter Colt. He is not safe, and he's more than willing to help Ashley fulfill her vow.

I really enjoyed The Truth About Faking  {it is on my favorites list!!}and have been looking forward to a companion novel. I wasn't sure what to expect but I knew I'd enjoy it. I love a good YA contemporary. 

This is a coming of age story really. Ashley's father has passed away. She is questioning her faith. She feels like being reckless. Going crazy to cover up the emotions. It's been awhile since I was a teenager but I can imagine this being very true to life. When something so devastating happens in your life it makes everything go up in the air. She's questioning everything. 

There is a bit of a love triangle. I love a love triangle, so sue me. I love that one of them is the quintessential bad boy and the other is well...a bit of a dorky nerd. I love a dork! I love nerds! We don't see enough of these guys in young adult. They are just relate-able don't you think? It was a bit steamy at times {I love this!!} and I just wanted to smack Ashley upside the head at others. Girl, get it together!

It was a little preachy for me. I enjoy Christian fiction but I do think if you are going to "go there" then you need to follow through. Take it all the way. Ashley was still mediocre about her feelings toward God and her involvement in church was involuntary. If you're going to do the religion thing in a book, then ask the important questions. I want to see the character's faith grow or diminish. I want to see the character development. 

I must say, if you are looking for some good YA contemporary for your vacation look no further. The Truth About Faking and The Truth About Letting Go need to be on your list. You'll devour them in one sitting. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013


Check out some of the regular Features here at The Sweet Bookshelf.

The Newsstand is a bookish news post where I share some of the things I saw, read and loved around the internet during the week. I don't post on the weekends and so I leave you with a bunch of bookish posts to fill your weekend reading while I'm gone. Enjoy!

Let's Talk Romance is an original feature co-hosted with For Love and Books. I love the romance in books and is the sole reason I'm reading the book in the first place. Seriously! There will be all manner of romance-ish posts to be had every 1st and 3rd Thursday's of the month. Join in the fun!

Every once in awhile I have a few Bookish Confessions to make. You're welcome to share your confessions along with me in the comments! 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. I really love lists and like to participate and see what other people are reading. I don't post every Tuesday only when I really love the topic. Find out what my Top Ten's are!

*click on the picture to take you to the posts. Have fun looking around!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Month of Men:: Grounding Quinn by Stephanie Campbell Excerpt

Simon and Schuster UK is having a Month of Men Blog Tour. Holla! I'm jumping all over this New Adult bandwagon. If you've not read one yet, do it. See what all the hype is about.
You can see the full tour list {here}.

You should start with Grounding Quinn by Stephanie Campbell. When I read it I had all these eerie emotions surfacing. It hit maybe a little too close to home. I love books that feel real. 

Aren't these covers gorgeous?!

Check out an excerpt for Grounding Quinn by Stephanie Campbell below.
Then go forth and purchase!

Blog | Twitter | Goodreads
My mother is totally nuts. I say this with complete certainty, and with the backing of fourteen medical professionals’ opinions. They’ve filled her head – and our medicine cabinet, with enough bottles to make a CVS jealous. Lithium, Darvocet, Prozac, Xanax- they’re all present and accounted for, happy little tablets to curb her unruly moods. So, what did come first, the meds or her major personality defect? If you ask me, I don’t think my mom started off certifiably emo. I think she was unhappy and my dad knew it’d be easier to partially sedate her to keep her quiet than attempt to make her life better. So between him and all the whack job doctors with their happy little concoctions, they’ve made her schizo on their own. But whether it was before or after the pills, my mother’s now bat shit crazy just the same.

   I tap my fingers lackadaisically on the heavy walnut door, as I stare in to the overflowing medicine cabinet. Mom’s insanity at least has one perk. There’s a sea of countless bottles seemingly smiling at me, begging me to pick them. I spin the Lazy Susan until I find a winner. Grabbing the dark, amber bottle, I roll the cool glass back and forth in my palm. My parents are too self-absorbed and preoccupied with my younger brother that they’ll never realize that it’s missing.

   I chug a mouthful of Tussionex (pre-spiked with hydrocodone for your convenience), savoring its warm, syrupy goodness as it coats my throat and flows down into my stomach. I know that in minutes I’ll
feel blissful and alert. My mother’s flakiness and my dad’s patronization will cease to bother me. Yes, now I’m ready to start my day.

   I should be dreading this. Going to summer school is not at all how I envisioned spending the summer before my senior year. I should be off on some drunken Mexican vacation with everyone else in my class, not making up math credits in order to graduate. Too bad I’m galactically inept when it comes to math. I don’t care what anyone thinks, I just can’t wrap my mind around numbers; they taunt me, and laugh at my stupidity. Maybe if I had something else going on, summer school wouldn’t have appealed to me in the least,
but sadly, I do not. My boyfriend Daniel and I broke up the day before he left for Cabo, and my two best friends, Sydney and Tessa, are both out of town, so that helps raise the depression factor a bit.

   The halls at school are empty for once, just the way that I like them. Stepping into the deserted administrative office sort of makes me feel like I’ve made a wrong turn and ended up on the sun. Between the bright fluorescent lights, and intense yellow paint job, it wouldn’t be an unrealistic assumption. The cheeriness of the room leaves me grimacing. I’m tempted to set the attendance sheets of the summer school students that I’ve been charged with delivering on the office desk and leave, but I decide against it. With my luck, they’d get overlooked and I wouldn’t get credit for this damn class. I try to be patient and amuse myself by looking at the class panoramic pictures from previous years. Decade’s worth of happy graduates crammed into the school bleachers showing off their commencement attire. I scan the alternating colors of caps and gowns that so creatively spell out our school’s initials, and find my dad in one of the yellowing, framed pictures. He looks so pompous, even at eighteen. It’s nice to see some things never change. I root around in my purse until I find a black permanent marker and scribble out his smug head.

Friday, 5 April 2013

For Your Weekend

Well, I broke my pinky toe this week. My husband heard the crack in the other room. My whole foot has gone black and blue and my toe is swollen the size of a sausage. Here's hoping it heals this week! I kind of need my foot back.

I've been listening to The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson on audiobook. I've never read this genre before and I'm just sucked in. This is good writing people. I also couldn't help but pick up City of Bones by Cassandra Clare again. Man, I love the Shadowhunter world. I took it to the park this afternoon and read in the sun on a park bench while my son played on the slide. My idea of bliss.

Here are a few things I have read and loved around the internet this week::

+ Destination bookstore:: This Brazilian bookstore is so cool! 

+ Romance Writing Contest {deadline April 15th}

+ 10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer 

+ 12 Alternatives to Goodreads

+ What every author's website needs

+ 2 different types of writers block and how to deal with them.

+ 7 of the most beautiful libraries in the world!

+ Literary Fiction Must Go {I kind of love this article!!}

+ Cover Trends. What do you think of the latest? I'm glad the girl with the big dress is over.

+ Judy Blume on BBC Radio 4!

I hope these posts fill your weekend reading a bit. 
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Blog Tour:: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers + Giveaway

I am so excited about Dark Triumph! I am a big fan of Grave Mercy and have been looking forward to this next installment for some time. It has the feel of Graceling by Kristin Cashore and I know you all loved that!

The eBook for Dark Triumph is available now!
But, you'll have to wait until June for the paperback.
Get it while it's hot.

Here is what you'll find in this post:: 

+ Learn about the book {as well as a trailer and an excerpt}
+ a guest post from the author herself on fairy tale influences  
+ I'm giving away Grave Mercy {His Fair Assassin #1}  

*****About the Book*****

Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. Naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, the convent views Sybella as one of their most dangerous weapons.

But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

This heart-pounding sequel to Grave Mercy serves betrayal, treachery, and danger in equal measure, bringing readers back to fifteenth century Brittany and will keep them on the edge of their seats.

*****Guest Post::Fairy Tale Influences by Robin La Fevers*****

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
While Dark Triumph is not a true retelling, it does contain echoes of at least two of my favorite fairy tales: Beauty and the Beast and Bluebeard.

I suppose it’s inevitable to be influenced by Beauty and the Beast when one has a hero named Beast. I was drawn to his character in the first book because as a child, one of my greatest early literary disappointments was when the beast turned into a handsome prince at the end of that tale. I was heartbroken and felt I’d been cheated. I had grown attached to that kind, ugly, dear monster and I greatly resented the boring handsome dude who replaced him. So when I was casting around for some of Duval’s companions in arms, I came up with Beast. Like Sybella, he was larger than life and threatened to take over the story in Grave Mercy. That was when I realized he would need his own book. And who better to pair him with than a tortured beauty who also threatened to steal every scene she was in.

Also, I thought the themes touched on in the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale worked well for the story I was telling in Dark Triumph—that love can see beyond the external to our true essence. In fact, I think that is what makes a compelling romance; when the hero/heroine is able to see things in the other that no one else can. They recognize our secret hidden selves and respond to that.

But there is a strong influence of another fairy tale in Dark Triumph as well. As I researched the history and folklore of Brittany, I discovered that the two historical seeds of one of the most fascinating fairy tales of my childhood—Bluebeard—had its roots in ancient Breton history.

The earliest seed for the Bluebeard tales can be found in Conomor the Cursed, who had been told that he would be slain by his own son. Consequently, whenever one of his wives became pregnant, he killed her. The second historical basis for Bluebeard occurred only fifty or so years prior to the events in Dark Triumph. Gilles de Reitz had been the Marshal of France and a nobleman who fought alongside Joan d’Arc in the Hundred Years War. But once the war was over and he returned to his holding, he is rumored to have been at the root of over a hundred gruesome child murders, and was tried and hung for those crimes. 

The Tale of Bluebeard fascinated, even as it horrified me and hinted at a darkness and depravity my seven year old mind could only guess at. I was outraged on behalf of the young wife whose only sin was curiosity, and equally outraged that such a blood punishment should await her. And Bluebeard himself gave me nightmares, with his aggressive, bristling blue-black beard and the fleshy lips that were so often portrayed in the accompanying illustrations. I felt there was a warning there, although I was too young to grasp it.

Since Sybella’s story was so dark and dealt with many of those very themes I was so disturbed by when younger, it seemed especially important to give her a message of hope as well; that love had the ability to see beyond the façade she presented to the world and recognize her true essence.

*****UK GIVEAWAY*****
a special Thank you to Anderson Press for sponsoring this giveaway
+UK only
+must be over 13 yrs of age
+enter the rafflecopter form below

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