27 Jul

Review: Seducing Summer by Serenity Woods

Seducing Summer Book Cover Seducing Summer
The Four Seasons #1
Serenity Woods
Fiction; Romance
February 14, 2016
Kindle
238
Amazon

When a CEO falls in love with her PA, it can only lead to trouble…

Callie Summer, CEO of The Four Seasons lingerie business, is in shock. She’d expected her new PA to be a middle-aged frump, but Jean turns out to be Gene, and he’s neither middle-aged, nor anything like a frump. When the gorgeous Bond-lookalike insists he’ll be the perfect companion on her business trip around the country, Callie agrees to give him a trial. Having recently found her ex in bed with another woman, she’s not looking for love. But a little bit of private lusting never did anyone any harm.

Once a military journalist with the New Zealand Army, Gene now runs his own security firm. Hired by Callie’s mother, Phoebe, to secretly protect her daughter after Phoebe receives death threats against her family, Gene finds his work cut out for him. Callie’s as delectable as she is infuriating, and his urge to seduce her fights with his duty to keep her safe.

It’s not long before they give in to their passion, and the weather isn’t the only thing that turns hot and sultry as they travel further north. But Gene can’t keep his identity a secret from Callie forever. And when an attempt is finally made on her life, the truth threatens to break them apart.

Warning: it grows hotter and hotter as they travel north through the country. So does the weather.

This was a super sweet romance, the first in a series of 4 set in New Zealand.

Callie is a businesswoman, running a lingerie company with her friends. She knows what she’s doing in the business world, but can be out of her depth in matters of the heart. Gene is working undercover as Callie’s PA and has also had troubles of his own in the romance department.

The pair hit it off immediately and set out full of flirting and teasing. They both show a lot of humor and respect as they interact. Their attraction to each other is there from the start, though both try to fight it. Gene is reluctant to get involved because he is trying to protect Callie, Callie feels rejected by Gene’s resistance.

Ultimately, once they connect, that’s it. They both remain committed to each other no matter what is thrown at them.

I am excited to see where this series goes, watching Gene and Callie evolve as we get to know Callie’s friends better in further installments.

As this was a free book for Kindle on Amazon, I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as quality, but it was well written and a lot of fun.

27 Jul

Review: The Graces

The Graces Book Cover The Graces
Laure Eve
Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
Amulet Books
September 6, 2016
e-ARC
362
Net Galley, ABRAMS Kids, Amulet Books

From Net Galley:

"When a glamorous family of teenage witches brings a mysterious new girl into their fold, they unwittingly nurture a powerful black magic that could destroy them all. This paranormal YA fantasy features intrigue, spells, and a devastating twist. In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.

Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They've managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they're rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you're not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She's different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. But what the Graces don't know is that River's presence in town is no accident.

This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The Craft, The Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches."

Wow. That was all that I could say when I finished this book, just wow. I absolutely loved it.

The evolution of the characters from start to finish in this book is amazing. Watching the Grace children change as circumstances evolve, especially in relation to the changes in River based on those same circumstances, is riveting. I don’t want to give away spoilers, so I’ll just say the story provides a true representation of how those that seem to have the power can often be weak.

I have always been fascinated by magic, and feel that the author did an amazing job incorporating the mystique surrounding the belief in witchcraft. And setting everything against the backdrop of a typical high school, full of cliques and awkwardness, only magnifies River’s desire to belong.

The story was compelling and I devoured the book, especially the last 30%. I didn’t want to put it down and just had to know what happened. I was not disappointed by the ending… if anything, I was left wanting even more!

Disclaimer: I received an electronic advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher {ABRAMS Kids, Amulet Books} through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

26 Jul

Top Ten Tuesday~ Inspiring Reads

Time for more Top Ten Tuesday! As always, I am joining up with the amazing team at The Broke and the Bookish to share my top ten for this week. The theme for this week is books that made me want to learn or do something. I decided to stick with non-fiction this week and focus on my most inspiring non-fiction reads.

No Opportunity Wasted: Creating a Life List No Opportunity Wasted~ Phil Keoghan of The Amazing Race fame shares his ideas for a “list for life” in which you create a list of adventures you want to achieve in your lifetime. And each time you fulfill an adventure, you add a new item to the list. I’ve mentioned previously how much I love this book, and even after multiple re-readings, I come away inspired to create my own list. On my current list for life are taking a road trip to every state in the contiguous United States and creating a cat sanctuary, among other things.

Eat, Pray, Love Eat Pray Love~ This is another book that I have repeatedly shared, read, and extolled the praises of! After my initial reading of Elizabeth Gilbert’s adventures, I was inspired to learn more about Hindu and Buddhism. While I had studied religions a bit in the past, this was what really focused me on these two paths.

Under the Tuscan Sun Bella Tuscany Under the Tuscan Sun/ Bella Tuscany~ These first two books from Frances Mayes about her life in Italy not only made me want to visit Italy someday, they also inspired me to cook. In addition to talking about the house she and her partner {now husband} bought and renovated in Italy and the amazing gardens there, Ms. Mayes also shares recipes for authentic Italian dishes. I have the third book about her life in Italy sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. PS The movie is only loosely based on her life and completely different from the book.

Yes Please Yes Please~ After reading about Amy Poehler’s life and career, all I could think was that I wanted to try Improv. Unfortunately I have not been in a position to take a class yet, but I really want to once I am working again and have already started looking for Improv classes in my area. I should note that I am incredibly shy, a total introvert, and have sometimes debilitating social anxiety, but I think this could really help me deal with it.

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living Julie & Julia~ I read this book when I was first learning about the whole blogging world. At the time I wrote a personal blog as part of a private web community, but had never considered writing a public blog. After reading about Julie Powell’s blogging experience, I decided to take the plunge and started my first wordpress.com hosted blog.

Simple Abundance:  A Daybook of Comfort and Joy Simple Abundance~ Through this book I learned some key skills that I have continued to utilize to this day… using a vision board and keeping a gratitude journal. Both of these have helped me to stay focused on the positive and when I feel myself slipping, I remind myself to bring out some Sara Ban Breathnach and get back on track.

Start Something That Matters Start Something that Matters~ Learning the story behind TOMS footwear and the philosophy of Blake Mycoskie has further inspired my desire to give back. My plan {when I eventually start my own business} is to adopt the one for one concept.

The Accidental Buddhist: Mindfulness, Enlightenment, and Sitting Still, American Style The Accidental Buddhist~ After being inspired to learn more about Buddhism from Elizabeth Gilbert, reading about Dinty Moore’s experiences really got me to the place where I wanted to adopt a meditation practice in my own life. I am horrible at it, but I hope to improve with time.

Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide To Finding Her Inner French Girl Entre Nous~ After reading this homage to the French Woman, I was left with the desire to learn French. I took a quarter of French in college many, many years ago, but never pursued it before. Debra Ollivier has made me start look into classes in the area and online language programs.

Coming Up for Air: Simple Acts to Redefine Your Life Coming Up for Air~ The first thing I wanted when I finished this book for the first time was to go to a cabin on my own somewhere for a retreat. I still want that. Me, some music, lots of books, paint supplies, a camera, and lots of great food. But mostly, what Margaret Becker inspired me to do was to express myself on paper and in paints.

** All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

25 Jul

Monday Update #15

rp_Monday-Update-300x200-1-300x200-1-300x200-300x200-1-300x200-1-300x200-300x200-1-300x200-1-300x200-300x200.jpg

Welcome to another edition of my Monday Update. I’ll be once again linking up with The Book Date for their weekly meme, It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

badge

Now that I have access to additional books from the library and e-ARCs through my Kindle, I am re-vamping my reading piles a bit. I am still reading multiple books at a time, but I’m reading one book from each category, rather than having them randomly mixed in my TBR pile. My Currently Reading stack is a little larger than normal this week as I’m clearing a couple of non-fiction books out. That being said, here’s where we are this week…

Recently Completed:

The Sapphire Affair (Jewel, #1)     Seducing Summer (The Four Seasons #1)     The Graces (The Graces, #1)     Into the Dark (The Bodyguards, #6)     Before You Go (Impossible Love, #1)     The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)

The Sapphire Affair//Seducing Summer//The Graces//Into the Dark//Before You Go//The Death Cure

Currently Reading:

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)      It Was Me All Along: A Memoir      Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives      Liars, Inc.      One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer's Art and Craft

Nevernight//It Was Me All Along//Run Like a Girl//Liar’s Inc.//One Year to a Writing Life

One Less Problem Without You: A Novel      Never Forgotten Love (Second Chances #1)

One Less Problem Without You//Never Forgotten Love

Up Next on the TBR:

June     Going Home (3-in-1)     A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)     Letters from Paris     Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)     Sweet Reunion (Hope Falls, #1)

June//Going Home//A Discovery of Witches//Letters from Paris//Illuminae//Sweet Reunion

** All covers link to Goodreads, all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

24 Jul

Sunday Post #12

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Life Happenings:

If you saw my post from yesterday, you know that I spent my week acquiring lots and lots of books. I am a total book hoarder and want ALL THE BOOKS! Thankfully, I was able to find a ton of free Kindle books on Amazon. I also went to the library with my mom on Friday and walked out with 10 books, she doesn’t understand why I don’t just take 2 and come back for more… I can’t explain it to her.
In addition to bonding with my Kindle, I also worked on my editorial calendar for August, getting all of my reviews scheduled for the coming weeks. Time was devoted to self-care as well, I have been sorely lacking in this area for a while, which probably contributed to the funk I was in a couple weeks ago. But I am feeling really good right now and hope to remain in this state for a while.

Last Week on the Blog:

Sunday Post #11~ Birthday Recap
Monday Update #14~ Breaking the Slump
Top Ten Tuesday~ Far Off Places
Review: The Sapphire Affair by Lauren Blakely
Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts #4~ Into the Dark
The Friday 56 #2~ The Death Cure
Stacking the Shelves #5~ A Haul of Epic Proportions

This Week on the Blog:

Monday Update #15
Top Ten Tuesday~ Inspiring Reads
Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts #5~ Liar’s Inc
A Collection of Random Observations
Stacking the Shelves #6

This Week’s Reviews:

The Graces
Seducing Summer

Book of the Week:

Before You Go (Impossible Love, #1)

Quote of the Week:

“To say my life is bliss would be a gross misrepresentation. It is bliss to the nth degree times infinity. I am in love- with a sexy, smart, kind, amazing guy, and somehow he finds me worth all the trouble.”

Tabby, Before You Go by Clare James {78%}

Last Week’s Goals:

I happily met all of my goals this week! I set up a Kindle shelf in Goodreads, set up accounts with Net Galley and Library 2 Go, set up my review schedule for August {barring any additional review titles}, and completed more than 3 books!

This Week’s Goals:

Locate props for bookish photo shoots
Complete at least 4 books
Spend quality time with Cheshire
Add core work to my current fitness plan

Notable Posts from the Blog World:

Where Do We Go From Here? from Helene in Between
What’s Up With Weird Titles? from Book Haven
The Art of Starting a Book Review: Nine Ideas for Bloggers from Forever Literary

23 Jul

Stacking the Shelves #5 ~ A Haul of Epic Proportions

STSmall

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! This awesome meme is hosted by the team at Tynga’s Reviews.

My birthday was last week, so my haul is incredibly large this week! Especially since I received a Kindle Fire which I proceeded to fill with free Kindle books from Amazon plus some eARCs from Net Galley. And in a library trip and a physical book for review and the result in a book haul of epic proportions! {And that’s not even counting the physical books I ordered with my gift card, but they haven’t arrived yet so they’ll be in a future haul}. My family {none of whom are bookish people} think that I am completely insane.

Physical Book for Review:

June

June

Thank you to:
Blogging for Books
Penguin Random House

eARCs for Review:

The Sapphire Affair (Jewel, #1)      Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)      The Form of Things Unknown      The Graces (The Graces, #1)      Liar's Key (Sharpe & Donovan, #6)

The Sapphire Affair//Nevernight//The Form of Things Unknown//The Graces//Liar’s Key

Letters from Paris

Letters from Paris

Thank you to:
Net Galley
Harlequin
Mira
ABRAMS Kids
Amulet Books
Kensington Press
St. Martin’s Press
Thomas Dunn Books
Montlake Romance
Berkely

Library Haul:

Every Day (Every Day, #1)      Angel Falls      Home Safe      The Night Circus      Ender's Game

Every Day//Angel Falls//Home Safe//The Night Circus//Ender’s Game

The Art of Racing in the Rain      The Martian      Shadowland (The Immortals, #3)      Frozen (Heart of Dread, #1)      The Wrong Hostage

The Art of Racing in the Rain//The Martian//Shadowland//Frozen//The Wrong Hostage

Library eBooks:

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)      The One and Only      It Was Me All Along: A Memoir

Illuminae//The One and Only//It Was Me All Along

Free eBooks for Kindle:

Seducing Summer (The Four Seasons #1)      Before You Go (Impossible Love, #1)      Never Forgotten Love (Second Chances #1)      Sweet Reunion (Hope Falls, #1)      How to Say Goodbye

Seducing Summer//Before You Go//Never Forgotten Love//Sweet Reunion//How to Say Goodbye

Lost to You (Take This Regret, #0.5)      Hot as Hell (Deep Six 0.5)      Come Away with Me (With Me in Seattle, #1)      Imperfect Chemistry (Imperfect, #1)      The Phantom of the Opera

Lost to You//Hot as Hell//Come Away With Me//Imperfect Chemistry//The Phantom of the Opera

The Divine Guide to Creating a Daily Writing Practice      Coming in from the Cold (Gravity, #1)      On His Watch (Search and Rescue, #0.5)      Those Were the Days: (A TATM Prequel)      The Ex Games (The Ex Games, #1)

The Divine Guide to Creating a Daily Writing Practice//Coming in From the Cold//On His Watch//Those Were the Days//The Ex Games

The Cat Rescue Diaries: 56 True Life Stories of Cats Who Found Their Forever Homes, and the People Who Saved Them      Strong & Wilde (Strong & Wilde, Part 1)      Ruined by You (By You, #1)      Emmaline Waters, This Is Your Life      The Scargill Cove Case Files (Arcane Society, #9.5; Looking Glass Trilogy, #0.5)

The Cat Rescue Diaries//Strong & Wilde I//Ruined by You//Emmaline Waters, This is Your Life//The Scargill Cove Case Files

Cinderella      What She Really Wants      Rock My World      Reckless Longing (Reckless, #1)      In Too Deep

Cinderella//What She Really Wants//Rock My World//Reckless Longing//In Too Deep

A Quest of Heroes (The Sorcerer's Ring, #1)      First Love Second Choice      The Last Orphans (The Last Orphans, #1)      My Best Friend's Brother (My Best Friend's Brother, #1)      The Story of Awkward

A Quest of Heroes//First Love Second Choice//The Last Orphans//My Best Friend’s Brother//The Story of Awkward

The Crown & the Arrow (The Wrath and the Dawn, #0.5)      The Mirror & the Maze (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1.5)      The Trouble with Flying (The Trouble, #1)      Solving for Ex (Solving For Ex #1)      The Princess Guide to Being a Cat (The Princess Guide to Life)

The Crown and the Arrow//The Mirror and the Maze//The Trouble with Flying//Solving for Ex//The Princess Guide to Being a Cat

Arcadium (Arcadium, #1)      Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1)      Eversea (Butler Cove, #1)      Finding Cinderella (Hopeless, #2.5)      Ready to Fall (Wingmen #1)

Arcadium//Neanderthal Seeks Human//Eversea//Finding Cinderella//Ready to Fall

UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale, #1)      Coming Home (Jackson Falls, #1)     If I Break      A French Girl in New York (The French Girl, #1)      The New Girl (Webster Grove, #1)

Unenchanted//Coming Home//If I Break//A French Girl in New York//The New Girl

A Million Little Snowflakes

A Million Little Snowflakes

**All Covers link to Goodreads, all titles link to Amazon

22 Jul

The Friday 56 #2~ The Death Cure

I’ll be linking up with Freda at Freda’s Voice for another edition of The Friday 56 this week. This meme is a lot of fun and I would love to participate every week, but for now will be participating every other week.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.

This week I chose The Death Cure by James Dashner.

“She returned his gaze, the slightest of smiles on her face. ‘I’ve been wanting to do something like that for a long time. Good thing I convinced Janson to assign me to you for this procedure.’ She bent over and took the unconscious man’s key card, slipped it into her pocket. ‘This’ll get us in anywhere.'”

What is something that you have been wanting to do?

21 Jul

Thirsty Thursdays & Hungry Hearts #4~ Into the Dark

Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Welcome to Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts, an original weekly meme hosted by Lexxie at (un)Conventional Bookviews. The idea of this feature is to share a quote with food or drinks that showed up in a recent read, as well as if it’s something you think you’d like or not. I’ve been having a lot of fun with this and am happy to continue participating again this week.

This week I picked Into the Dark by Cindy Gerard {pg. 150}. To be honest, there’s not a lot of food discussed in this book, so my options were limited. But I figured how can you go wrong with steak and beer, right?

“‘Steak and beer,’ he said inanely, lifted a hand toward the food in a vain attempt to do the right thing. She needed food not sex. And right now, he needed a brain, not a dick.
Com. part. men. tal. ize.
He moved a step away, feigned concentration on retrieving napkins. ‘Hope beer’s okay. It’s actually cheaper than water.'”

What’s your favorite drink with steak?

20 Jul

Review: The Sapphire Affair by Lauren Blakely

The Sapphire Affair Book Cover The Sapphire Affair
Jewel #1
Lauren Blakely
Fiction; Romance
Montlake Romance
July 12, 2016
Kindle; e-ARC
222
Net Galley; Montlake Romance

If I had to pick just one word to describe this story is would be heat! The amount of heat generated between Jake and Steph just pours off the pages {or in my case the Kindle screen}. They simply cannot keep their hands off each other.

But don’t think that heat is all there is to these characters, they are also filled with lots of fun and humor. They both have been hurt and taken advantage of in the past, so they are hesitant to fully trust each other, but their attraction to each other and their fun loving natures continue to draw them together.

While there is a mystery involved in the story, most of the focus in this book is on the relationship between Jake and Steph. Clues are found and the investigation progresses, but the action mostly takes place in the form of passion, rather than the hunt for answers.

I found this to be a super quick, fun read and was left wanting so much more at the end. As I was coming to the end of the story, I knew there was so much that would not be answered in this first book, and I was right. The story ends on a cliffhanger that opens up a whole new collection of questions while providing no answers. The second book continues the story and I can’t wait to read it to find out what happens next between Steph and Jake… and to get the answers to what is really going on.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC copy of this book in return for an honest review; all thoughts and opinions are my own.

19 Jul

Top Ten Tuesday~ Far Off Places

It’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is books that take place outside the United States. I read a lot of travel memoirs that take place all over the world, but I decided that I wanted to focus on fiction for this top ten.

Seducing Summer (The Four Seasons #1)  Seducing Summer~ New Zealand

All the Light We Cannot See  All the Light We Cannot See~ France; Germany; Russia

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society~ UK

Can You Keep a Secret?  Can You Keep a Secret?~ UK

The Little Paris Bookshop  The Little Paris Bookshop~ France

Something Blue (Darcy & Rachel, #2)  Something Blue~ UK

Born in Fire (Born In Trilogy, #1)  Born in Fire~ Ireland

The Apple Tart of Hope  The Apple Tart of Hope~ Ireland

Hide and Seek (T-FLAC, #3)  Hide and Seek~ South America

Into the Dark (The Bodyguards, #6)  Into the Dark~ Argentina

I actually have so many books that take place in the UK that I could do an entire list of just those and still have some left over.

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}