“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” ~ Mark Twain

Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: I See You Made an Effort

Book Review:  I See You Made an Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch
I See You Made an Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch

Annabelle Gurwitch the humorist The Washington Post calls hilarious and O, The Oprah Magazine slyly subversive returns with a wickedly funny new book chronicling the vicissitudes of turning 50. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Humor is very subjective and, unfortunately, my sense of humor is different than the authors. I was hoping for an amusing look at aging from a woman's perspective, something along the lines of Nora Ephron maybe, but was sadly disappointed.

While I could sometimes relate to the issues covered, none of them really tickled my funnybone. I don't expect to laugh out loud at books like this, but I do expect to chuckle knowingly, nod wisely, or grin to myself every now and again. Unfortunately, I was not amused.

Not all of the stories are supposed to be amusing, which I found strange in a book marketed as "wickedly funny," but these serious tales turned out to be my favorites. The story of an old friend dying of cancer was incredibly touching.

As I said, humor is subjective. This one wasn't for me, but others might enjoy it.



eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring Bloggiesta Wrap Up

 
Well, another Bloggiesta has come and gone.  photo bloggiestafinish.gif
Let's see how I did...

My To-Do List:

  • Back up blog - oops! forgot to do this one!
  • Update My TBR Page - only half done
  • Crosspost reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Pinteresdone
  • Update Challenges Page done
  • Write at least two reviews - only managed to write one :(
  • Update Reviews Page done
  • Complete at least one mini-challenge see below
  • Visit other participants to cheer them on managed to visit several participants to cheer them on!
  • Clean up Bloglovin' (there are blogs on there I don't remember following!) - a work in progress
  • Reply to all outstanding comments caught up on the last two weeks
  • Spring Clean my email box (it's gotten scary huge!) got it under 300!

Mini challenges completed:

  • Facebook page for your blog I already have a Facebook page for my blog, but have to admit that I didn't really do much with it. It automatically posted from my blog, but that was it. I need to start interacting more with my followers, and sharing interesting links. Going to carve out 15 minutes a day for my page instead of neglecting it.
  • Pinterest for your blog I don't have a separate Pinterest board for my blog, but do have several book-related boards: 2014 Book Reviews, Bookish Delights, and Blogging. I'm going to spend a few minutes a day searching for bookish pins  to like and maybe come up with a few new boards.
  • Twitter List Tutorial Twitter is a huge time-suck for me, but sticking to lists should make it easier!  
  • Using Social Media Good overview of the top social media sites!
  • Are "About Me" pages necessary? I have one because everyone told me I needed one, but I rarely update it. Took another look and, aside from a couple of minor updates, I still like it!
  • FTC Disclosure Requirements for Bloggers A very helpful post explaining those confusing FTC guidelines! I just need to move my current disclosure from the bottom of my posts to the top. Trying to come up with a format I like, but will start doing this as soon as I can.
  • Tips and Tricks for NetGalley I need to increase my ratio, so every little tip helps! 
I wound up adding several items, but that always happens when I visit other participants and see their lists! I updated my TBR list with the books I've already read, but still need to add all the books from my book hauls. I also pinned a few of the challenges I didn't get to. I really, really need to figure out Google+!

Did you take part in Bloggiesta this time around? If so, how did you do?


Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Book Haul (47)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

From NetGalley:

NetGalley keeps sending me "You're invited" emails, and I keep accepting. It's a vicious cycle....

Then and Always by Dani Atkins
Then and Always by Dani Atkins

For fans of One Day, What Alice Forgot, and the hit film Sliding Doors, comes an absorbing and surprising debut novel about a young woman who, after an accident, gets a second chance at life . . . just not in one she remembers.

***

First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now.

Purchased:

I've had this on my wishlist for awhile, but never picked it up for some reason. Browsing online, I saw it available and immediately downloaded it to my nook. It's not like I have a million books already in my TBR pile or anything (she said sarcastically). What can I say...I have impulse control issues! *L*

 photo unremembered.jpg
Unremembered by Jessica Brody

From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

***

Couldn't read book one without downloading the sequel at the same time, now could I? :)

 photo unforgotten.jpg
Unforgotten by Jessica Brody

Some memories are better left forgotten...



What did you receive this week?


Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Review: John Dreamer

Book Review:  John Dreamer by Elise Celine

John Dreamer by Elise Celine

Andy wasn’t usually sure about much, but she was absolutely certain this was the weirdest day of her life as she stood stranded in the middle of a great white room with six strangers. Well, they were mostly strangers. She could have sworn she’d seen the guy with the green eyes before, and maybe that was why he kept staring at her.

When a man calling himself the Guardian appeared and said they had come to make their deepest dreams come true, they embark on an adventure none of them ever imagined, and the consequences of their actions would change them forever.

"John Dreamer" is the first in a series of books set in the confines of the Great White Room. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

This story has an interesting premise, but I'm not entirely sure if the Great White Room is a real place or somewhere you visit while dreaming. I found it intriguing that they could help make your deepest dreams come true, but was left with several questions:  how did they know your deepest dream? How exactly could they make them come true? Who were the other people in the Great White Room? How were the dreamers chosen? Inquiring minds want to know!

We first encounter the Great White Room the same time we meet Andy. She's the first to arrive, but is soon joined by six others. They introduce themselves, all wondering where they are and how they got there. The Guardian appears, but leaves them just as confused as they were before his arrival. And then their adventure begins!

While I did enjoy this story and am looking forward to the sequel, the writing felt a little young to me. Nothing I can put my finger on, but I got the impression that this story was written with a younger audience in mind than your usual Young Adult book. Some of the dreamer's issues were resolved rather quickly and a little simplistically in my opinion, and I would have liked it if some of the dreamers stuck around a little longer. 

Overall, not a bad introduction to a new series. Some of the characters could have been fleshed out a little more, but I'm still interested in seeing where the author takes this series next! New dreamers? Or will she pick up where this one left off? Looking forward to it!


eBook provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Bloggiesta!

Spring Bloggiesta
It's time for the Spring Bloggiesta!

Bloggiesta is one of my favorite blogging events, as I always learn something new! It's a chance to catch up on all the tasks you've been putting off, as well as try a few new things! 

My To-Do List:

  • Back up blog
  • Update My TBR Page
  • Crosspost reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Pinterest
  • Update Challenges Page
  • Write at least two reviews
  • Update Reviews Page
  • Complete at least one mini-challenge
  • Visit other participants to cheer them on!
I'm trying not to overwhelm myself with too many tasks, so wish me luck!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: Dash of Peril

 photo DashofPeril.jpgDash of Peril by Lori Foster

A no-nonsense female cop reluctantly teams up with the one man who makes her lose control in a deliciously sensual new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster...

To bring down a sleazy abduction ring, Lieutenant Margaret "Margo" Peterson has set herself up as bait. But recruiting Dashiel Riske as her unofficial partner is a whole other kind of danger. Dash is 6'4" of laid-back masculine charm, a man who loves life - and women - to the limit. Until Margo is threatened, and he reveals a dark side that may just match her own.

Beneath Margo's tough facade is a slow-burning sexiness that drives Dash crazy. The only way to finish this case is to work together side by side…skin to skin. And as their mission takes a lethal turn, he'll have to prove he's all the man she needs - in all the ways that matter. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Lori Foster is one of those authors that I find myself turning to whenever I need a good read with a touch of romance. She doesn't do rainbows and unicorns, which I really appreciate! Her characters are admirable yet still believable, and I can always count on her to get me out of a reading rut. This book is no exception!

Dash is Logan's brother (from book #1 of this series, Run The Risk), and he is more than a little interested in Margo Peterson. Complicating things a bit is that Margo is also Logan's boss, but that doesn't slow Dash down.

While Lieutenant Margo can certainly take care of herself, Dash is determined to be her back-up, whether she wants his help or not. Good thing too, because she's hurt while trying to smoke out a group kidnapping and raping women for black market porn. If Dash wasn't there to help, who knows what might have happened to Margo!

We also learn more about her efforts to root out corruption in her precinct, and get to meet her dysfunctional family. A classic case of a daughter not being able to live up to her father's ideals and always feeling like a disappointment. Then there's a small subplot concerning Margo's sexual preferences, which she thought was a big deal but I found a little anti-climatic (no pun intended). Lots going on in this one, but it never seems rushed or contrived.

Really enjoying this series, and especially like that one of the running themes is the fight against female trafficking. It's an important topic, but Lori doesn't dumb it down in any way, shape, or form. Full of strong, interesting women and men who treat them as such, this is a great series if you like romances! 


Review copy provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Write On Review-a-Thon Wrap Up

Write On Review-a-Thon

I was only able to work on my reviews on Saturday. Here is my original list of pending reviews, with the completed ones crossed off:
  1. John Dreamer
  2. I See You Made An Effort
  3. The Spider
  4. Dash of Peril
  5. Don't Even Think About It
  6. What Nora Knew

I wasn't able to get to all of my pending NetGalley reviews, but was able to write and schedule half of them. And I've got everything outlined for the other three posts, so just have to write the actual review. That's a good start for me! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Book Haul (46)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information.

For Review:

Hadn't realized the book 3 of the Blood of Eden series was coming out until it started popping up on other blogs. Once I saw that, I practically tripped over myself in my rush to request a copy from NetGalley. Can't wait to read this one! Thank you Harlequin Teen!

The Forever Song
The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer. (Goodreads)


What did you receive this week?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Write On review-a-thon

Write On Review-a-Thon

Brianna over at The Book Vixen has posted the sign ups for this month's review-a-thon! I missed last months, but need to catch up and hoping this will do the trick!

Review-a-Thon Details:

  • Reviews can be of the written variety or in video format.
  • This event is not limited to book reviews. If you write/vlog reviews for movies, super cool gadgets, or anything else, you are welcome to participate.
  • To participate, create a post on your blog with a list of reviews you need to complete. If you don’t have a blog, you can announce your intent to participate via social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) with a link back to this sign up post so others can join in as well.
  • The sign up linky will be open until 11:59 pm PDT on March 21.
  • On March 21, get working on those reviews!
  • There will be a wrap-up post linky here on The Book Vixen on March 23.
  • There will be a GIVEAWAY this time!!
  • There will be a Twitter Chat on Friday, March 21 at 9 am PDT. Follow @reviewathon and use the #reviewathon hashtag to follow along and participate. (Participating in the Twitter chat is not required to participate in the review-a-thon.)

Pending Reviews:

I'm going to concentrate on my NetGalley reviews, as I really want to raise my NG rating!
  1. John Dreamer
  2. I See You Made An Effort
  3. The Spider
  4. Dash of Peril
  5. Don't Even Think About It
  6. What Nora Knew
Are you taking part in this month's review-a-thon? Find out more information or sign up today!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Book Haul (45)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information.

For Review:

This was another email invitation from NetGalley. Giving serious consideration to having these invites sent directly to the trash so I'm not tempted anymore. Ah, who am I kidding? I can't resist great sounding reads like this, so will never filter NetGalley! *L*

John Dreamer
John Dreamer by Elise Celine

Andy wasn’t usually sure about much, but she was absolutely certain this was the weirdest day of her life as she stood stranded in the middle of a great white room with six strangers. Well, they were mostly strangers. She could have sworn she’d seen the guy with the green eyes before, and maybe that was why he kept staring at her.

When a man calling himself the Guardian appeared and said they had come to make their deepest dreams come true, they embark on an adventure none of them ever imagined, and the consequences of their actions would change them forever.

"John Dreamer" is the first in a series of books set in the confines of the Great White Room. 

***
Another NetGalley find. Review books don't count in a No Book Buying Ban, right? The synopsis sucked me right in!

Don't Even Think About It
Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.



What did you receive this week?


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: Three Souls

Book Review:  Three Souls by Janie ChangThree Souls by Janie Chang

We have three souls, or so I'd been told. But only in death could I confirm this ... So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls - stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun - who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

This is one of those books that I wasn't sure I'd like, but wound up loving! I don't think I've ever read a book set in China before, so this was a totally new experience for me. Add in the 1930's setting, which I usually don't care for, and this one is totally outside my usual comfort zone! But the author made it an easy read and I was never confused about what was happening because she explained everything seamlessly, without getting in the way of the story. Very impressive!

We first meet Leiyin on the day of her funeral. Unsure of why she hasn't yet ascended to the afterlife, her three souls explain that she was responsible for a great wrong during her life. In order to journey to the afterlife, she needs to remember what happened and then make things right.

We journey with Leiyin down memory lane, and the journey isn't always pleasant as she was a bit of a sheltered, spoiled little rich girl. Thinking only of herself, she suffers the consequences of her actions. Was her "punishment" a little harsh? I think so, but she certainly could have handled things better and taken the opportunity to pull up her big girl panties and grow up!

While Leiyin isn't the nicest person, I could relate to her situation and she had my sympathy. I enjoyed getting to know several of the other characters as well, especially her sisters and stepmother.

This story is beautifully written, and I'm astounded that it's the author's first book! She's incredibly talented, and I'm doubly impressed that she hooked me so thoroughly with something so far outside of my usual genres! Interesting characters, a smooth flowing plot, and an introduction to a foreign land to boot. Definitely a must read!



Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My Book Haul (44)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

Purchased:

Love novellas, and this will keep me satisfied until the next book in the Taken series comes out in April.

Stolen
Stolen by Erin Bowman

Before Gray Weathersby uncovered the truth about Claysoot and the Laicos Project, a girl named Bree came of age in the coastal settlement of Saltwater - and made her own surprising journey to the world beyond its borders. In Stolen, discover the story of Bree’s life before she was Snatched from her home, before she joined the rebellion, and before she met a boy named Gray…

***
This is one of the titles I loved in the Buzz Books sampler, so was excited to download a copy once it was released! Couldn't wait, so have already started reading it!

 photo halfbad.jpg
Half Bad by Sally Green

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page. 


What did you receive this week?


Monday, March 3, 2014

February Wrap Up

library-6
Hoping that a monthly wrap up posts will help keep me on track this year!

Books read

In order to meet my Goodreads goal of 100 books, I need to read 8.33 books per month. According to Goodreads, I've read 7 books this month:

  1. Ascendant by Drew Chapman
  2. Buzz Books 2014
  3. Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
  4. Dash of Peril by Lori Foster
  5. After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman
  6. Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
  7. Three Souls by Janie Chang

Commenting

After doing so well last month, I totally dropped the ball this month and would go days without making a single comment. Still having trouble with the whole balancing act, but I'm trying out different solutions and am convinced that I'll figure it out one of these days!

Fun With Keywords

Think that it's funny to see what keyword search terms bring people to my blog. Some of them definitely had me scratching my head!

*shirtless wonders*
*parker young shirtless*
*book+cat*
*adam driver shirtless*
*lucy lie 750*

What's with all of the searches for shirtless men? I mean, I know they're hot and all, but still....a little restraint now and again wouldn't hurt! And I can only imagine the disappointment when their search led to my blog! *L*

Overall

February was a disappointing month for me. The weather was lousy, I got sick, and we found out my poor dog has heartworm and has to go through a painful treatment to get rid of them. I felt like I was doing really well with my reading, so a little surprised that I only managed to finish 7 books. If I read, I don't blog and vice versa, so need to work on that. And could someone please remove Farmville 2 from my computer, as that's a worst timesuck than Twitter!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Book Haul (43)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

I've read this series before, so was happy to accept the newest book in order to find out what Munroe gets up to next! Since they were nice enough to send me two copies, I'll give one away in an upcoming contest.

The Doll by Taylor Stevens
The Doll:  A Novel by Taylor Stevens

In this high-octane thriller Munroe will have to fight fast, smart, and furious to overcome a dangerous nemesis and deliver her trademark brand of justice. (Goodreads)

***
Another offer from NetGalley that I couldn't resist! I really should stop opening their email invitations, but can't seem to make myself hit the delete button. Read the excerpt and was sucked right in, so looking forward to reading the rest!

 photo thehereandnow.jpg
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to. (Goodreads)

Purchased:

The Eve Dallas series is one of my must-haves, as I love Dallas and Roarke! Great mystery/thrillers with a touch of romance. Awesome reads!

Concealed in Death
Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb

The incomparable J. D. Robb presents the latest moving and suspenseful novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Eve Dallas series. (Goodreads)


What did you receive this week?

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