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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

31 Days of Better Blogging


31 Days of Better Blogging

Parajunkee is hosting a Better Blogging Challenge again this year. She hosted something similar for 2014 and I had fun taking part, so thought I'd try it again this year! I like that the challenge is pretty flexible and you're not locked into doing every single task.

How to participate:

The daily topics/tasks are below, each day will be a different focus. How-to and tips will be posted on parajunkee.com each day, in correlation with each task. Visit parajunkee.com each day to get pointers on how to take care of your task, and join in the discussion. Or just do the tasks on your own schedule in your own time-frame. (Parajunkee.com)

Daily Topics/Tasks:

Day 1: Let’s Get Commenting
Day 2: Time for Spring Cleaning
Day 3: About Me Refresher
Day 4: Top Commentators
Day 5: Friendly Feedback
Day 6: Planning Ahead
Day 7: Highlight Your Popular Posts
Day 8: Recycle Your Posts
Day 9: Social Media Checks & Balances
Day 10: Email Signatures
Day 11: Forums & Such
Day 12: Menu Systems
Day 13: New To Your Blogs
Day 14: Your Competitors
Day 15: Idea Journal
Day 16: The Buddy List
Day 17: Gals & Missions
Day 18: Social Network…Go!
Day 19: Change it up
Day 20: Reader Survey
Day 21: Blogger Love Note
Day 22: Check under the SEO Hood
Day 23: Pros & Cons of Blogging
Day 24: The Big Interview
Day 25: Blog Schedule
Day 26: Share a bit…
Day 27: Target Audience
Day 28: Contact Info
Day 29: User Friendly
Day 30: Brainstorm Time
Day 31: Put your blog to the test.


I don't expect to participate every single day, but will try to post at least two days a week. Let me know if you're planning to take part so I can swing by to share some comment love!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa
The Secret Santa exchange hosted by the ladies over at The Broke & the Bookish is one of my favorite swaps! For some reason, it's just more fun shopping for a fellow book lover! There's an added layer of excitement that isn't there for other exchanges.

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa
I was a good girl this year and waited until Christmas to open my package. My Secret Santa was Alex from Booksy Daisy Reviews, and she did a fantastic job! Look at all of the goodies she sent me! There was even a little Santa stocking full of more packages! You can't see them from this angle, but the packages had little notes on them explaining why she chose the item. Such a clever idea!

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa
The goodies unwrapped! It's like Alex has known me for years and I feel so spoiled!

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa
My new books!
Seraphina - I love dragons, so Alex thought I could give this one a good home! Looks good!
Fire - Alex loved this story and had to send me a copy when she saw it on my wishlist!
Talon - the newest book from one of my favorite authors!

The Broke & the Bookish Secret Santa
The non-book goodies.
My favorite candy - red Twizzlers
Magnetic page clips - such a cute idea for bookmarks!
Godiva milk chocolate bar - yum!
A Dr. Who Titans toy of the 6th Doctor - love Dr. Who!


Alex, I can't thank you enough for my presents! I couldn't have picked out anything better, and it's like you've known me for years! I love absolutely everything, and can't wait to start reading my new books!

Anyone else take part in a Secret Santa exchange this year? Would love to see what you got!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Book Haul 12/27/2014


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 book.

For Review:

This was a surprise in my mailbox. I thought at first that I had agreed to review it and simply forgot to make a note, but this is not my type of read at all. Sounds intriguing, but I don't know when or if I'll have time to read it.

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

A luminous and unforgettable tale of two women, destiny, and identity in Afghanistan.




What did you receive this week?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas!

 photo Christmaspuppy.jpg

May you get everything under the tree that you wanted! 
If not, there'll be a huge sale tomorrow so treat yourself!

 photo Christmascats.jpg

And now, for your viewing pleasure....enjoy!



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Shake Puppies - A great last-minute stocking stuffer!

Shake Puppies by Carli Davidson
Shake Puppies by Carli Davidson

Shake Puppies features two images of each dog placed side by side to capture the action of the shake- - the tousled hair, the distorted expression, the flying water droplets. The photographs capture the dogs in the most candid of moments and were shot against brightly colored backdrops to make them fresh, lively, and inviting.

Shake Puppies includes a roster listing the names, ages, and breeds of the dogs, as well as behind-the-scenes images that take readers into the studio with Carli Davidson and the smiling, playful pups. In the accompanying text, she offers never-before-shared insight into her creative process and reminds readers of the importance of animal adoption and quality pet care.

Funny and heartwarming Shake Puppies is a colorful assemblage of photographs that are startling and endearing, revealing and irresistible. (Goodreads)


Shake Puppies is an adorable book, stuffed full of cute pictures of puppies caught mid-shake! You cannot help but smile as you thumb through the pages, as nothing is cuter than a puppy! The author even includes some basic training tips at the end of the book, which is a nice touch. Would definitely make a great gift for someone, as who doesn't love puppies?

The song Shake It Off kept playing through my head as I enjoyed all of the pictures. No Taylor Swift in the below video, but it's still adorable! Enjoy!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Book Haul 12/20/2014

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 know that I really shouldn't be accepting any new review offers, but this one sounded too intriguing to pass up! And the publisher was very understanding about giving me time to review the book, so how could I resist? 

 photo stolen-bishop.jpg
The Stolen by Bishop O'Connell

Tonight, for the first time in over a century, a mortal child will be kidnapped by faeries.


***

This was a surprise in the mail. About a week after receiving the book, I got an email asking if I'd be interested in reviewing the book. Guess she forgot that she had already shipped it to me! Sounds quirky enough to be a fun read, so I may sign up for the tour.


Death by Roses
Death by Roses by Vivian R. Probst

For the first time in nearly thirty years of marriage, Art McElroy Sr. buys his headstrong, disapproving wife a dozen yellow roses. Hours later he discovers her lifeless body seated on the toilet. Mae Rose McElroy's sudden death leaves a void in her family and in the entire Midwestern farming community of Fairview. It's a void Mae Rose will attempt to fill, herself, from the hereafter by meddling directly in earthly affairs. (Goodreads)

Gift:

I joined a bookish Secret Santa swap on Facebook and received a book from my wishlist and a $5 Amazon gift card. Very happy with this swap!

Truth by Julia Karr
Truth by Julia Karr 

 Nina Oberon's life has changed enormously in the last few months. When her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council-ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all sixteen-year-old girls have. The one that announces to the world that she is easy prey to predators. But Nina won't be anyone's stereotype. And when she joins an organization of girls working within the Resistance, she knows that they can put an end to one of the most terrifying secret programs the GC has ever conceived. Because the truth always comes out . . . and the consequences can be deadly. (Goodreads)


What did you receive this week?


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Darkest Part of the Forest book review

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly BlackThe Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

**ARC received from the publisher**

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does… (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

One of the things that I really loved about this story is that Hazel is the hero. She wants to be a knight, fighting monsters and saving her town, rather than waiting passively for a Prince Charming to come and save the day. I love a good, strong female lead and Hazel fits the bill perfectly!

Hazel and her brother are raised by inattentive parents, left to their own devices much too often and getting into more trouble than was healthy. But if they weren't neglected, they wouldn't have had so many childhood adventures! The jury's still out though on whether or not that was a good thing.

Having unwisely made a deal with the fae when she was younger, things go from bad to worse for Hazel when the mysterious horned boy disappears from his glass coffin in the woods.

So many questions! Who is the horned boy? Where did Hazel's childhood sword disappear to? Who is leaving her cryptic messages? And when will the Alderking finally make Hazel pay up?

Really enjoyed this story! Holly is an incredibly talented writer who gives us great characters, an interesting plot, and a nice twist to the ending that I wasn't expecting. Well worth reading!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

November Wrap Up

library-6

Trying to get back into the swing of things, so thought this wrap-up might help.

Books read

In order to meet my Goodreads goal of 100 books, I need to read 8.33 books per month. No way will I make my goal because of the huge reading slump these past four months, but pleasantly surprised that I've managed to read 7 books:

  1. Redeemed by PC Cast & Kristin Cast
  2. A Vision of Fire by Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin
  3. Captive by Aimee Carter
  4. Brazen by Kelley Armstrong
  5. When by Victoria Laurie
  6. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  7. Superheroes Anonymous by Lexis Dunn

Commenting

Another month of no blog hopping. Getting back into blogging is harder than expected. I miss it, but can't seem to muster the energy. Think I need to set myself some small goals as crossing items off a list seems to motivate me. Maybe start with visiting 1-2 blogs a day to get me back in the mood?

Overall

Recovery from my knee replacement has been slow. I flunked out of physical therapy after 4 months because there was nothing else they could do for me. Should be depressing, but I found it funny. I mean, who flunks out of PT? And at least they didn't keep taking my money, knowing that they couldn't help me.

I have a torture device knee brace I wear 3 times a day for 30 minute sessions to slowly straighten my leg, plus a huge list of exercises that's supposed to help. Doctor reminded me (yet again) that while most people recover quickly, my journey will take longer because I was in such bad shape to begin with. This is one time I really wish I was average! ha!

Am slowly but surely recovering my love of reading, which is a good sign! Still spending way too much time on Facebook and watching bad TV, but I'm getting there. I've been to the bookstore a few times and just being surrounded by books is therapeutic in and of itself.

Here's to a better December, and a rocking 2015!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
May your turkeys be moist and your
desserts plentiful.


Happy Thanksgiving!
Me after dinner. Every. Single. Year.


















Monday, November 24, 2014

Grave Mercy book review

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversGrave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

*eBook received from the publisher via NetGalley*

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

This book and I started off on the wrong foot, as there is a map and cast of characters listed at the beginning. This happens to be one of my reading pet peeves, as I don't like having to plow through a cast of characters that I haven't even met yet! It also makes me suspicious that the author feels the need to list the characters, as if the reader will be confused otherwise. Thankfully, this was not the case!

Once I started reading, the story really drew me in! Ismae has been treated horribly her entire life because she is "marked" by the god of death, with scars from her mother's failed attempt to expel her from the womb. Unloved and unwanted, Ismae is rescued from her new brute of a husband and taken to an isolated convent. A convent full of assassin nuns! How cool is that?

Quickly taking to her new life, Ismae discovers that she is immune to poison and is assigned to the Poisons Mistress. She isn't as successful in all of her studies (history and womanly arts are kind of boring), but she does well enough to be sent on her first assignment. And it's a success! Her second assignment doesn't go as smoothly and the Abbess receives a complaint about Ismae. This complaint leads to her third and most challenging assignment, undercover at the royal court.

Most of the story deals with her undercover assignment in the court of the young Duchess Anne of Brittany.  Using Anne's half-brother Gavriel Duval as part of her cover, she tries to figure out who is plotting against the duchess. All while dealing with her growing feelings for Duval.

To be honest, most historical fiction isn't to my liking and I get bored with all the double-crosses and schemes. Thankfully there wasn't too much court intrigue in this one and it easily held my interest.

All in all a very satisfying read! The author has come up with a very interesting premise - assassin nuns! And I loved seeing Ismae explore her gifts and become more confident in her duties as Death's Handmaiden. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series, as I really like these characters!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Book Haul 11/15/2014

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 don't remember requesting this title and it's not my usual type of read, but it sounds interesting.

Love, Lucy
Love, Lucy by April Lindner

While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, 17-year-old Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too. (Goodreads)


Won:

Won this from a Birchbox contest for their monthly bookclub. I think Amy Poehler is one of the funniest people around and I'm looking forward to reading her story!

Yes Please
Yes Please by Amy Poehler

 In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book is full of words to live by. (Goodreads)



What did you receive this week?


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vision of Fire book review

 photo visionoffire.jpgVision of Fire by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin

**Review copy received from the publisher**

The first novel from iconic X-Files star Gillian Anderson and New York Times bestselling author Jeff Rovin: a science fiction thriller of epic proportions.

Renowned child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara is a single mom trying to juggle her job, her son, and a lackluster dating life. Her world is suddenly upturned when Maanik, the daughter of India’s ambassador to the United Nations, starts speaking in tongues and having violent visions. Caitlin is sure that her fits have something to do with the recent assassination attempt on her father - a shooting that has escalated nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan to dangerous levels - but when teenagers around the world start having similar outbursts, Caitlin begins to think that there’s a more sinister force at work. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

To be honest, I went into this book with low expectations. A debut novel, much less a debut novel by an actor (with the help of a secondary author), can be hit or miss. After an inauspicious beginning, the story soon drew me in and I enjoyed the journey!

While Caitlin is the main character, the story switches to different POVs throughout the book. These changes were disconcerting and annoying at times, as I wanted to find out what happened next with Caitlin! While the info might have been necessary to move the story forward, I wish the transitions had been smoother.

Overall it was the story itself that kept me going, as I found it fascinating! Why are teenagers in different parts of the world exhibiting the same weird symptoms? What's with the mysterious symbol they've drawn? And what is the secretive Global Explorers Club up to?

Hoping that the writing in the next book is more polished, but really hope that the story lives up to its potential and doesn't peter out. I really want to know what the authors have planned next!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

My Book Haul 11/8/14

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:

 photo UncleJohns.jpg
Uncle John's Weird, Weird World

It’s finally here - the book that Uncle John’s fans have been asking for: a full-color, illustrated edition featuring the most entertaining articles from the world’s bestselling bathroom trivia series! 

NetGalley:

 photo When.jpg
When by Victoria Laurie 

Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

***


 photo Captive.jpg
Captive by Aimee Carter

For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever.

Contest win:

 photo pushedtoofar.jpg
Pushed Too Far by Ann Voss Peterson

An ex-con, who was in the pen for murder, is let out of prison and begins to "punish" all those who put him there.





What did you receive this week?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Redeemed blog tour & GIVEAWAY

Redeemed by PC Cast & Kristin Cast
Redeemed by PC Cast & Kristin Cast

In the final electrifying novel in the HoN series, Neferet has finally made herself known to mortals. A Dark Goddess is loose on Tulsa and the world. No single vampyre is strong enough to vanquish her - unless that creature has the power to summon the elements as well as the ability to wield Old Magick. Only Zoey Redbird is heir to such power…but because of the consequences of using Old Magick, she is unable to help. Find out who will win and who will lose in this epic battle of Light versus Darkness. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

This is the 12th and final book in the House of Night series, but can be read as a stand-alone. I'm terribly behind on this series and have only read the first book, but never felt lost or confused while reading.

With multiple narrators, we get several points of view during the battle between Light and Darkness. I appreciated that each time the narrator changed, their name was listed as a chapter heading so you never felt lost.

While Zoey is definitely the heroine of this story, I found myself drawn to Neferet and enjoyed her parts of the story the most. Crazy villains are usually the most interesting characters, don't you think? Especially crazy vampires who think they are a goddess!

While reading the entire series may have filled in some background for me, I enjoyed getting to know Zoey and her friends and watching them interact with each other while battling Neferet. Even the humans outside her circle were interesting, such as Detective Marx and Lynette (one of Neferet's hostages).

Overall I enjoyed this story and was pleased with the ending. PC Cast has written some of my favorite series and I'm sorry I waited so long to read this one. Looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

Giveaway:

Goddess GiftsThink you have what it takes fight the darkness with Zoey? Can you wield Old Magick effortlessly like Neferet?

To celebrate the launch of Redeemed, P.C. and Kristin Cast teamed up with some great companies, like Sinful Colors, 21 Drops, Jamberry, Chrislie, Baby Blue Designs, and For Strange Women, to put together “Goddess Gifts” filled with goodies that represent main characters in the books.

Celebrate the goddess within. Enter to win a Goddess Gift!

US shipping addresses only
Contest ends November 12, 2014 at 11:59PM EST




*Winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond
Good luck!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Book Haul 10/18/14

My Book Haul

While I've tried to be good during my convalescence, there were a few books that I simply couldn't resist. Some were review requests, some from NetGalley, and some purchased. In my defense, this is about a month's worth of mail. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information.

For Review:

Redeemed by PC Cast & Kristin Cast
Redeemed by PC Cast & Kristin Cast

In the final electrifying novel in the HoN series, Neferet has finally made herself known to mortals. A Dark Goddess is loose on Tulsa and the world. No single vampyre is strong enough to vanquish her - unless that creature has the power to summon the elements as well as the ability to wield Old Magick. Only Zoey Redbird is heir to such power…but because of the consequences of using Old Magick, she is unable to help. Find out who will win and who will lose in this epic battle of Light versus Darkness. (Goodreads)

***

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for. (Goodreads)

***

Vision of Fire by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin
Vision of Fire by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin

  The first novel from iconic X-Files star Gillian Anderson and New York Times bestselling author Jeff Rovin: a science fiction thriller of epic proportions. (Goodreads)

NetGalley:

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

 Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in this action-packed paranormal thriller, the first book in a new series from New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia. (Goodreads)

***


Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. (Goodreads)

***


Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers 

 When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge - but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons. (Goodreads)

Purchased:

Festive in Death by JD Robb
Festive in Death by JD Robb

Eve Dallas deals with a homicide - and the holiday season - in the latest from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

Won:

I won a contest on Fantasy Literature.com! Thrilled that they had a Kelley Armstrong book that I haven't read, as she's one of my favorites!

Brazen by Kelley Armstrong
Brazen by Kelley Armstrong 

Nick Sorrentino knows everyone in the supernatural world considers him the Pack’s playboy, the pretty but not very useful werewolf whose only reputation involves his amorous exploits. 

It’s time for Nick to prove he’s not just a lover. (Goodreads)



What did you receive this week?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

No Limits Blog Tour

No Limits - Alexia's Books and SuchNo Limits by Lori Foster

ARC provided by Meryl L Moss Media Relations in exchange for an honest review

Cannon Colter is quintessential hero material: chiseled jawline, shredded body - the works. He's also the guy who rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers, only to put an end to her romantic dreams. 

These days, she's older, smarter, determined to face whatever life throws her way. Even the prospect of sharing a house and business with Cannon.

Cannon knew Yvette wanted him three years ago. But she was young - and some things are worth waiting for. Thrown together by her grandfather's legacy, he realizes how deep Yvette's scars really go, and how much danger lurks in their quiet town. As pent-up desire explodes between them, protecting her becomes the only fight that matters. And he'll break all the rules to do it…(Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

While I'm not usually a fan of fighters, I've been looking forward to Cannon's story ever since we first met him in an earlier book! Cannon is definitely hero-material...a real good guy who still worries about his family and his old neighborhood. He's even used some of his UFC earnings to open up a gym that helps keep the neighborhood kids off the street.

Cannon comes back to the old neighborhood when he learns that his old friend Tipton mentioned him in his will. Thrown together with Tipton's granddaughter Yvette, he soon realizes that she's no longer the naive teenager who crushed on him years back.

I really enjoyed watching Cannon and Yvetter's relationship develop, and loved getting to know Cannon's friends at the gym. Lori Foster is one of my favorite writers, and you can always depend on her for a good romantic story with interesting characters! Already looking forward to the next book!

Excerpt:

Cannon couldn't stop looking at her. Damn, he’d remembered her as pretty, but she’d matured into killer good looks - and didn’t seem to know it. An angel’s face paired with that trim but curvy figure, and yeah, he was pretty sure every guy in the place had already started fantasizing.

Too bad, because none of them would touch her.

If he’d had any doubts about wanting her, they were put to rest in a big way. Instead of three years, it felt like a decade he’d been waiting on her. Yes, he wanted her. He would have her, too.

The only question was how soon.

A few weeks ago she’d lost her grandfather, and she probably needed time to acclimate to being home around the unpleasant memories. He’d love to segue right from hello to hell yeah, but he also enjoyed just looking at her and talking with her.

Sipping her Coke, Yvette stole a peek at him. Feathery lashes framed those big green eyes he remembered so well - eyes that used to watch him with innocent infatuation, but now seemed wary. She sat straight, proper.Spoke carefully. Avoided his direct gaze.

As Tipton had said, she was guarded.

She wore makeup, but not a lot. Even in a ponytail, her long dark hair made him think of it spilled loose on his pillows, or gliding over his chest. Or his thighs.

And her clothes, while casual, covered such a sweet body it left him visually undressing her. Repeatedly.

Knowing he had to get a grip, he asked, “Are you hungry?” She shook her head. “But please go ahead and eat if you want.” “I’m good.” Arms folded on the top of the booth, he smiled. “I can’t get over how much you've changed.”

That pleased her, he could tell. “It’s been almost three and a half years.”

Long enough for her to put the past behind her? To put him behind her? No, he wouldn’t let her. “I’m sodamn sorry about Tipton.”

“Thank you.” She set the drink aside, then nervously drew her finger through the damp ring the glass hadleft on the booth top. “I wanted to talk to you about that. About -”

“Hey, Saint.” Two guys sidled up to the table. “Can we get a pic?” Cannon forced his gaze away from Yvette. “Sure.” He would never alienate a fan, but damn, the timing could be better. Yvette had been screwing up her courage to say something. Now he had to wonder what.

Stepping out of the booth, he bent a little to put himself more in line with the shorter guys, and with a double thumbs-up, smiled as a plump lady used her cell phone to snap a few photos.

That only seemed to unleash other fans, and before he knew it, he was posing with men and women alike.Some wanted to hug him, some wanted him in a fighter’s stance, a few just wanted him to mug for the camera.Before he could get a handle on things, he’d taken around twenty photos and signed more than a dozen autographs.

Yvette watched it all with a look of fascinated indulgence. When there seemed to be a lull, he reseated himself. “Sorry about that.”

“You’re popular, I understand.” Her long glossy ponytail spilled over her shoulder when she tipped her head to study him. “I watch the fights.”

That pleased him more than it should have. “Yeah? What do you think?” “You’re pretty amazing.”
He held back his grin. “I do my best.” That earned a short laugh. “Humble too.” Shaking her head, she teased, “No wonder they call you the Saint.”

He’d rarely heard her laugh before, and hearing it now did funny things to him. It was nice. Rich. Husky. A turn-on.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: The Bees by Laline Paull

Book Review: The Bees by Laline Paull - Alexia's Books and Such...The Bees by Laline Paull

ARC received via Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut set in an ancient culture where only the queen may breed and deformity means death.

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw but her courage and strength are an asset. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. She also finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Flora 717, born to the lowest caste of the hive, is an anomaly. With a large build and considered ugly, she is the only sanitation worker who isn't mute. She has several unusual talents that, along with her intellect and curious nature, make her an asset to her hive.

Surprised at how quickly I was drawn into the story, I really liked Flora and became invested in her story. I was proud of her for not meekly accepting her designated role and wanting more, while still supporting the structure of her hive.

I was fascinated by the various roles every bee played in keeping the hive running smoothly, from the lowly sanitation workers to the nursery feeders to the ladies in waiting. Everyone has their role to play in order to keep the hive running, including the dreaded police bees. Flora 717 steps outside her role, but only because the hive is in trouble and needs her multiple talents.

The book has been compared to The Handmaid's Tale, but I honestly didn't see any similarities. It has been awhile since I read THT, but I know it left quite an impression and made me think. While I enjoyed The Bees, it didn't leave the same impression.

This is an odd book in that I've never read anything like it. An enjoyable read with interesting tidbits about bees and their hive, I took it at face value and didn't try to ferret out any deeper meaning. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes a bee is just a bee. I enjoyed the story and will leave the deep analysis to others.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July Wrap Up

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Hoping that 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. Shattered by Kevin Hearne
  2. The City by Dean Koontz
  3. Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin
  4. Help For the Haunted by John Searles
  5. No Limits by Lori Foster
  6. Personal by Lee Child
  7. The Bees by Laline Paull

Commenting

Started off strong for the month and easily made my goal of commenting on 5-10 blogs per day for the first half of the month, then went on sabbatical for my knee operation. August will be slow as I know I won't be online very often, but should be back in the swing of things by September!

Overall

In a way, I'm surprised I managed to read seven books last month. I actually took two books to the hospital with me, thinking I'd have plenty of time to read. Obviously, I've never been in the hospital before or I would have known better. Took me several days after I got home before I even felt like reading, and even then I could only manage a magazine. My husband said he knew I was feeling better when I actually picked up a book. Go me!

I'm currently using a walker and going to physical therapy three times a week. My at-home exercises take a few hours every day, but progress seems slow. I know it's only been a little over a week, but I'm impatient. I get tired easily and find myself falling asleep at odd times, even in the middle of reading. The horror! ;)

Thanks for all of the good wishes! It means a lot to know that people care.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Becoming the Bionic Woman (or why I'll be offline for awhile)

Going to be offline for awhile due to a bionic upgrade, aka knee replacement surgery. Not sure how long recovery will take, but I know I'm going to be extremely disappointed if I'm not able to leap tall buildings or make a cool gee-gee-gee sound when I run!

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So many tests! I've learned that no matter where I go, people keep wanting to take my blood. Think I might have gotten on a Vampire Blood Donor list by mistake!

A very nice lady came by Sunday afternoon to set me up with my very own torture device! After I get home from the hospital, I have to strap my leg into this thing for a minimum of six hours a day. Luckily, I can split those six hours however I like, so I'm thinking three sessions of two hours each. 

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Looking forward to all the books I'll be able to read during those sessions! I just have to lie there while the machine bends my leg for me. My kind of exercise! Read-a-thon, here I come!

So anyway, just wanted to explain why I'm going to be offline for a month or so. I'll try to schedule a couple of posts, but don't be alarmed if you come visit and the blog has gone radio silent.

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Please send good vibes and happy thoughts my way! Light a candle. Sacrifice a chicken. Say a prayer. Whatever it takes! See you on the other side!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mini Bloggiesta Wrap Up

Mini Bloggiesta Wrap Up - Alexia's Books and Such

Well, another Bloggiesta has come and gone. This round was a major fail for me, as I got almost nothing done. :(

Saturday we hung out with my husband's godson, who brought his family down for the weekend. I bonded with his six year old over books, which was cool! Sunday I got a call that my medical liaison was in the area and could set me up today, so she came over to show me how everything worked. Having surgery this week and I get a fancy-schmancy machine to help bend my new knee. Then of course I had to play with everything and sort of forgot about my list of goals. *sigh*

Bloggiesta Goals:

  • Crosspost reviews on Amazon
  • Crosspost reviews on Goodreads
  • Update TBR Page
  • Update Reviews Page
  • Comment on at least 12 Bloggiesta participants blogs
  • Do at least one mini-challenge
Oh well, there's always next time....

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Book Haul 7/19/14

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.

Gifts:

My friend Tammy over at Bo's Book Nook sent me a boxful of awesome! She picked up a few books for me at BEA this year since I wasn't able to attend, but I wasn't expecting so many. Thank you Tammy! It's good to have good friends! 

Tammy's awesome gift! - Alexia's Books and Such
This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel
Zodiac by Romina Russell
Vampires of Manhattan by Melissa de la Cruz
Rooms by Lauren Oliver

The awesomeness continues! - Alexia's Books and Such
Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen
Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Jackaby by William Ritter
We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Invisible by Dawn Metcalf
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis 

But wait, there's more! - Alexia's Books and Such
Not only did Tammy send me a boxful of lovely books, but she also included a very cool tote bag, an Ally Condie sampler, and some great swag! The magnet is already front and center on my fridge, proclaiming to all that Authors Are My Rock Stars! Thank you so very, very much!!!

Oddest mail of the week:


what the heck? - Alexia's Books and Such
This has got to be, hands down, the oddest thing I've ever received in the mail. It's basically an office supply catalog, addressed to me with my name and blog name. While fascinating to browse, sad to say that I do not need 500 mailing envelopes, gigantic rolls of plastic wrap, or 1,000 sheets of packing paper. I can only assume that they got my name and address from a publisher, as that's the only mail I receive with my blog name. Why they would think that a book blogger would need bulk office supplies is beyond me. Very odd....


What did you receive this week?

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