Discussion | It’s Hard to Say No

discussion

Book blogging covers many different degrees of content, opportunities, and of course the goals of book bloggers themselves.  Some of us choose to update sporadically and some of us update every day. Some of us are dying to get our hands on ARCs and some of us couldn’t care less about reading advance copies. I love the range of people and content that this community offers and I think it’s so wonderful to see everyone’s individuality through their blogs, what they write, and how they choose to express their feelings all on the same topics and/or books! I think it’s absolutely fantastic how diverse this community is in countless ways! But this post is for that corner of the internet who are “yes people” like I am. We have trouble saying no to good offers!

Gather ’round, fellow “yes people”! Let’s have a little chat about how to say no. Now I’m not saying that you have to say no to things but I’ve had several posts over the years about my personal experiences where I felt the need to put stress on myself to join challenges, participate in blog tours, accept books/ARCs when they were offered, and run promos for pubs/authors/bloggers. These are only a handful of the opportunities that are possible as a book blogger and I’m sure you know that the list goes on! I was one of those people who was just so excited about being a part of everything that I really and truly did want to say yes to nearly every offer.

When I was a newer blogger, I didn’t have as many opportunities as I do now so I really did say yes to just about damn near every pitch that was sent my way. I read books I probably shouldn’t have, joined blog tours when I wasn’t sure I would be keen on the book but felt like I couldn’t turn a publisher down, and hopped on read alongs/blogger projects because I felt bad saying no to the hosts. The silly thing is, this actually put more stress on myself. Sometimes everything worked out great and I had an absolute blast! But too many times I ended up scrambling to meet deadlines because I was doing so many things, rushing through reads, or simply not enjoying the book I was reading. The commitment added more pressure to my hectic blogging schedule and I ended up feeling worse about the content I was putting out and disappointed when I didn’t enjoy a particular book, especially if I needed to report that back to an author or publisher.

I’ve been blogging for almost four years now and I can honestly tell you that it really has taken me this long to be okay with saying no to people. I had to realize that someone else would be able to provide better content or feedback. Someone else might have more time than I do to put together a more thorough post (although really, I always feel like my posts are too wordy… like this one…). Someone else might really want that opportunity more than I do and authors/publishers will more likely appreciate my honesty that a book might not be a good fit for me and offer it to someone who is better suited to give it good feedback. It also really took me this long to put myself first. Sounds stupid, right? I’m reading and blogging for a hobby — how am I not putting myself first this whole time? But being a “yes person” often goes hand-in-hand in being a giver for me. I like to support authors/publishers/bloggers and like to do everything I can do help out. Sometimes I extend myself a little too far and I’ve started doing too many things for other people that I don’t have time to do my own things like read backlist books or post my own personal features. Not to mention that I also have a personal life and I need time to cook, clean, spend time with family, travel, hang out with friends, or simply sit at home and do nothing!

I was afraid to say no because I was afraid I would lose this opportunities if I did. I didn’t want it to seem like I wasn’t interested in working with a publisher because I kept saying no to their offers. The thing is, I didn’t stop to think that they contacted me for a reason and may end up offering me something more suiting to my tastes if I told them my reasons for why I was refusing the offer. Saying something like “I don’t think this book is the right book for me” or “I’m actually more of a fantasy girl than dystopian” is totally okay to say. I don’t personally know how the publishing/blogger relationship works on their end but I’m betting someone out there makes a note of what your preference is so they can pitch you the right books instead of wasting time/money on sending you a book that you don’t want to promote because it wasn’t right. Logic doesn’t win out over emotions sometimes I had to take a step back to look at it from a head vs heart perspective.

I also have a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), especially with blogger-run events/features. I hate saying no to things that sound like fun but I might be too busy to do them. (Note: I always complete an assignment once I commit but that doesn’t mean I’m not stressed while working to do so!) I didn’t want to hurt my blogger friend’s feelings when I said no to her event but something I’ve learned over the years is that people are generally understanding, especially when you give them genuine reasons why you just can’t commit at the moment. Mostly likely, they don’t want you to be stressed over a fun even that they’re planning because that really takes away from the fun aspect of it! My FOMO also applied a lot to book offers which was so silly because whether it’s an ARC, egalley, or finished copy, this book will be available to me in one way or another. If I say no to it now, I can always buy, borrow from the library, or borrow from a friend later. There will be SOME way for me to read it. I might pass on the opportunity for a blog tour but it’s really not the end of the world to pass on something that will end up stressing me out more!

That being said, I do still say yes to a lot. You’ll still see me in tons of places around the blogosphere because I really do enjoy being a part of so many things! No matter what I’ve committed to in the past or what I might commit to in the future, my participation is always genuine even if my stress levels run high sometimes! It’s still hard for me to say no but I’ve gotten MUCH  better at only committing to what I think I will have time for or what I will really enjoy and I think everyone can understand that when I do have to turn something down, there’s a real reason for it. It’s a bit painful to turn down a review copy or decline and invitation to a blog tour but I’m trying to keep in mind that I might not be the best fit for it and then someone else will get that opportunity instead. I could be making someone else’s day!


Do you have a hard time saying no? Do you have FOMO? What are your best tips to psych yourself up to politely refuse?

Book and a Beverage [132] – Ezrah from I Heart Romance & YA

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

In case you don’t know the deal about Book and a Beverage, it’s a very simple yet fun feature: We read books, we drink beverages, we take pictures of them and then I share your photos and a little about you to the blogging world!

Give a big welcome to Ezrah from I Heart Romance & YA!

Zeee at I Heart Romance and YA

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Name & Blog Name:  Ezrah Lasola-Tuble (Zeee), I Heart Romance & YA
Tell us a little about your blog! I officially started I Heart Romance in 2013 but I have been blogging since 2001/2002!  So yes, my bookish blog is almost three years old!  I started my book blog because of my love for all things historical romance.  But it was in 2014 where I rediscovered my love for young adult books when I started reviewing YA books!  I was reading mostly dystopian and fantasy YA and I thought my old blog name didn’t fit.  So late last year, I decided to change my blog name to I Heart Romance & YA, while still keeping my original domain.  That was also about the time where I started being active in the YA bookish community.  Prior to that, I was a lurker commenting on a few blogs and joining a few memes.  Now, here I am ready to reintroduce myself to everyone!
What’s been your favorite post you’ve written so far? (Link us up!) I wrote this post last year when I was still starting to become active in the community and I think it needs more love!  This post talks about When Favorite Authors Disappoint because I was at a point where I wasn’t blown away by multiple favorite authors’ next books!
Got anything special coming up we should know about? Yes!  My official third-year blogoversary is happening in April and I have something special planned!  Stay tuned!

book

Whatcha reading? From London with Love by Jenna Petersen
Zeee at I Heart Romance and YA 2Where did it come from? (Library, purchased, publisher, etc): I received a personalized autographed copy from Jenna, one of my favorite historical romance authors!
Any special reason you chose to feature this book? I am actually re-reading this book right now and its been a few years since I read it!  I’m falling in love with it all over again!
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? This is book 1 in the Lady Spies series and is basically a historical Charlie’s Angels!  The heroine’s mission is to bring a traitor to justice but then she starts falling in love with her mark, the Marquis!  This is definitely a must read! 

beverage


Whatcha drinking?
 A Venti Hot White Chocolate Mocha with whip from Starbucks
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading? Good ole H2O!  Because I love water!
Favorite beverage of all time. Go! You can’t make me pick one so I am choosing 3: Coke Classic, Hot Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks, and hot chocolate with marshmallows

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What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Right now, I am currently reading The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas and I can’t believe I just read this series NOW!  This series just blew me away so I am singing at the top of my lungs about this!  YAAAZZ!!!
What’s your proudest blogging/reading/writing moment? So, I had my blog hacked last year and I fixed it myself!  I got down and dirty and played around with code!  Eeep!  I wrote about it here.
Anything else you’d like to share? I’m really excited to connect with other bloggers in the bookish community so don’t be shy (because I am!) and visit me on my blog or on Twitter!


 Thanks, Ezrah! My blogoversary is in April too — huzzah! I just read the Throne of Glass series… wow, almost two years ago already? Feels like last year! But YES! It’s so amazing. So glad I picked it up!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Ezrah! Connect with her at the links below!
Blog // Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest // Goodreads // Instagram


And don’t forget! You can participate in Book and a Beverage at any time! Got a book? Got a beverage? Just tweet or post your photo on Instagram using the hashtag #bookandabeverage!#bookandabeverage

Blog Tour: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry | Playlist

Blog Tour: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry | Playlist

Welcome to the blog tour for
THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD
by Emily Henry!

I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour today for THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD by Emily Henry! I finished the book a couple weeks ago and I am still so in love with everything about it. This was truly a special book and I’m truly thankful that I get to be a part of the blog tour too! Today’s post features a playlist of songs that Emily Henry has selected for one of the main characters and male lead Beau and I have to tell you… they’re absolutely perfect!

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:

Blog Tour: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry | PlaylistTitle: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Publishing Info: January 26, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Parallel Universe, Time Travel, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 17, 2016
Related Posts: The Love That Split the World

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start... until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.
Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

CHARACTER PLAYLIST: BEAU

For the tour today, Emily Henry put together a playlist for Beau! I absolutely adore it and love her selections. Take it away, Emily!  

When I made a playlist for Natalie, earlier, I made the decision to focus the tracks on things I thought she would listen to. Beau’s playlist is a little bit different. Some I think he would listen to, but others just capture him, I think. Odds are he’d listen to a lot more country I’m not familiar with or old rock I don’t like enough to know about but I also think he’d keep some of the classics close to his heart. I actually asked my husband to help me with this, and we jointly decided that even though Beau has a complex relationship with his father, a lot of the music Beau would listen to would’ve come from his dad. (Sidenote: while we were making this, my husband asked me if Beau likes Elvis and without missing a beat, I said, “No, but his grandma does, and he calls her ‘granny.’” So there’s that.)  

See the full playlist on YouTube!

  1. Glenn Campbell – Gentle on My Mind: This classic is just so fitting for Beau and what he wants out of life. Natalie is ambitious and driven and searching, but Beau’s got a simpler idea of happiness and contentment, which this song captures well.
  2. Neil Young – Heart of Gold: I just came up with an elaborate backstory for why this song matters to Beau. This is 100% not in the book, but I made him up, so I’m allowed to do this. Growing up, Beau really looked up to his dad’s older brother, who was just sort of a kind, laid-back dude who travelled a lot with weird, random jobs, but died when Beau was thirteen or fourteen. At his funeral, a friend of his played and sung a not-great cover of this song, and it’s stuck in Beau’s heart since. He wants to be the kind of man his uncle was.
  3. Charlie Feathers – Can’t Hardly Stand It: I love the drawl of this song. It’s perfect dive-bar rockabilly but also super classic. I mostly like to imagine this playing on the jukebox wherever Beau and his brother are playing pool. As a sidenote, let’s please make sure we never get rid of jukeboxes.  
  4. Ryan Adams – The Shadowlands: I don’t know whether Beau would listen to Ryan Adams. Natalie and Megan would listen to Ryan Adams and be like, “Ughhh, this is just like Beau!” and then Beau would just smile and think it was charming but have no intention of ever listening to Ryan Adams. HOWEVER, this song makes me think of him. He’s had a pretty rough life. If Natalie were PMSing and she heard this, she’d start crying immediately. Wow, it’s so sad and beautiful.
  5. Rolling Stones – Play with Fire: Mostly needed something upbeat, and I love this song. But Beau is a liiiiitle “dangerous” (heavy on the air quotes) for a girl like Natalie. I also do think Beau likes the Rolling Stones. (I bet his dad would listen to them while sitting in a folding chair in the garage, drinking beer and drumming on his belly, before he got sober.) 
  6. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Hey hey, My My (Into the Black): I imagine he listens to this while he’s working on his car. That’s incredibly vague because I know nothing about cars, but BEAU does, and he definitely listens to this while he’s fixing them.
  7. George Harrison – I Live For You: Frankly, I do not think Beau cares about the Beatles. I think if you asked him what he thought about them, he’d be like, “They’re all raht.” And you’d be like, “Did you hear me? Because I said The Beatles. Arguably the most significant band of all time.” And he’d be like, “I like George all raht.” Because George was the most country. Plus this song relates to Beau’s idea of a good life. Beautiful place, doing things you love, with a person you’d do anything for. 
  8. Tom Waits – In Between Love: Natalie would totally show Beau Tom Waits, expecting him to love it, and then Beau would make fun of Tom Waits’s voice. He’d be like, “This guy sounds like he’s been eating lit cigarettes.” Nat would get mad and Beau would admit he liked it. I honestly don’t know if he’d be lying or not. I bet it would grow on him.
  9. Bob Seger – Night Moves: Beau’s dad probably played this song while they drove around in his truck when Beau was little. Beau hated it then but loves to listen to listen to it while he drives his truck around  now, not that he’d ever tell his dad. 
  10. Big Star – Ballad of El Goodo: This is so fitting for Beau and his life. It’s such perfect “summer daytime driving with the windows-down” music, and that’s Beau’s favorite kind.
  11. Willie Nelson – Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground: I’d guess Beau’s a big Willie Nelson fan. I certainly HOPE he is, and that he has a Willie Nelson T-shirt, although I don’t know where he’d get it. He definitely doesn’t buy clothes. Maybe his brother bought it and Beau just started wearing it. I think he “gets” most of his clothes from the floor and doesn’t question where they came from. All that to say, he loves Willie Nelson and this song reminds him of Nat, for sure. 
  12. Joe Cocker – Something: See “I Live For You” for a long explanation on Beau’s opinions on the Beatles. BUT, once you put a Beatles song in Joe Cocker’s voice, everything changes. I’m sure he’d love this cover, and it would remind him of Natalie.
  13. Johnny Cash – Hurt: Beau’s more likely to listen to classic Johnny Cash than this Nine Inch Nails cover, but I had to use it because it’s so powerful and ultimately lines up too perfectly with Beau’s feelings about himself, Nat, and the world. 
  14. Glen Campbell – I’m Not Gonna Miss You: This song. Hnnnnnnnngh. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard. Glen Campbell’s team helped him record this while his Alzheimer’s was aggressively deteriorating his memory. It’s about how, when he forgets the people who love him, he won’t be sad. He won’t know what he’s missing. Nat and Beau have gone eighteen years not knowing each other. They wouldn’t have ever had to cross paths, and then this crazy thing happens and they’re thrown together. Two people who shouldn’t ever have met fall in love and it has this bigger-than-time effect. It leaves them feeling like they’ve been missing one another all along. They weren’t, but now that they have one another–and are afraid of losing that–they know what they were missing.
  15. Claude Debussy – Clair De Lune: Beau is a pianist, and while I don’t think he spends much time listening to classical music, I imagine he plays somewhat like this: sparse, beautiful, delicate songs. 
  16. Rolling Stones – Wild Horses: This song just makes me cry immediately, and I’m not sure why. I don’t think Beau knows why it makes him feel something either (if I don’t, he stands no chance, being the sort of person who isn’t concerned with these questions). So much of Beau and the book are wrapped up in the song–thoughts about freedom and love, holding on and letting go, and ultimately about clinging to hope. I don’t want to give too much away, but I feel like this is the song to listen to when you finish the book.

Thanks, Emily! This playlist is stunning and absolutely perfect. Gahhh, my feels just thinking about these songs in relation to Beau! It kills me (in a good way)! 

Have you read The Love That Split the World yet? What songs would you choose for Beau? Aren’t Emily Henry’s selections just perfect!?


Don’t miss the rest of The Love That Split the World blog tour stops!

http://theyoungfolks.com/ The Young Folks 1/18 – Interview
http://readingteen.net/ Reading Teen 1/19 – Guest post 1
http://itstartsatmidnight.com It Starts at Midnight 1/20 – Top 10 list
thehollowcupboards.blogspot.com The Hollow Cupboards 1/21 – Book soundtrack
Http://www.owlalwaysbereading.com Owl Always Be Reading 1/22 – Review & giveaway
http://www.fictionfare.com Fiction Fare 1/25 – Guest post 2
http://www.buttermybooks.com/ Buttermybooks 1/26 – Interview
http://thehardcoverlover.blogspot.com The Hardcover Lover 1/27 – 25 Random Things About Me
http://effortlesslyreading.com/ Effortlessly Reading 1/28 – Interview
Http://www.amidsummernightsread.com A Midsummer Night’s Read 1/29 – Review & giveaway
http://www.forestofwordsandpages.com/ The Forest of Words and Pages 2/1 – Character playlist
http://www.loveisnotatriangle.com Love is not a triangle 2/2 – Would You Rather?
http://www.bookaddictsguide.com The Book Addict’s Guide 2/3 – Character playlist 2
http://www.onceuponatwilight.com/ Once Upon a Twilight 2/4 – Dreamcasting post
mugglenet.com MuggleNet 2/5 – Review & giveaway

The Love That Split the World – Emily Henry

The Love That Split the World – Emily HenryTitle: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Publishing Info: January 26, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 17, 2016

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.
Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

bookreview1

As soon as I started reading, I knew that THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD was a special book. Emily Henry’s writing immediately hooked me and I was instantly transported into Natalie’s world, fully involved in her story. Even after thirty pages, I knew that I would fall in love with this book. With moments that reminded me of childhood favorite WALK TWO MOONS, I was immediately invested (in so many ways, really) and this turned out to be a very special read for me.

At first, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD. From the synopsis, it sounded like a book about alternate universes but I couldn’t tell if it was going to be more contemporary, more science-fiction, or none of the above. I ended up with a lot of contemporary romance feelings as I read about the epic romance between Natalie and Beau and I easily got swept up in their whirlwind romance. I absolutely loved that there was a sense that these two simply belonged together. There are books that proclaim destiny and connections but Emily Henry’s writing truly convinced me that these two souls were irrevocably connected, which left me feeling quite impressed! The way the story was written and how everything fell into place really had me feeling that connection instead of just being told it was there. I become utterly involved in Natalie and Beau’s story and couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page!

The characters were wonderfully developed! Each character had many layers and each of their relationships did as well. Of course I can sing praises of the romance but really one of my favorite relationships in the book was Natalie’s friendship with Megan. Their friendship really reminded me of my own with my best friends and it just felt so genuine and true. It was an easy friendship and the two girls also had an incredibly strong bond, able to talk about anything and everything, including some humor that you only experience with a best friend. I instantly connected with their friendship and it really developed their characters even more!
I was also pleased to see the relationship that Natalie had with her family. Being adopted, she does struggle at times to feel like she fits in, especially when her siblings are actually biological children, but they do have a special familial bond that also just felt so genuine. I could really feel the hesitation as Natalie tries to find out if and where she fits in but she still has a strong love for every person in her family.

Natalie’s self-discovery was also incredibly so well-done. Having her hallucinations/visions sets her apart even more, on top of the fact that she’s adopted and looks nothing like her family (Natalie being of Native American heritage and her family having pale skin and red hair). She struggles to find out where exactly she belongs and as high school ends, the crisis escalates even further. It was wonderfully subtle and obvious all at the same time and I really felt for Natalie as she tried to figure out exactly who she was and where she fit in. I think we’ve all been through a similar phase but Natalie faces much bigger questions, especially as her life comes to a major crossroads with her latest “visitation” from a wise figure that she calls Grandmother.

As much as the book was partially a love story, it was also quite magical. I loved the Native American traditions and folklore that really set the tone of the novel and tied into Natalie’s current timeline. It was just wonderful to read each story and connect it to a specific moment, even if I couldn’t make that connection until later on in the book. Natalie learns and and repeats creation myths, tradition origins, and life lessons through each story and I really loved experiencing and learning about each one as I read. I also felt like it offered a little explanation and left clues for what was happening to Natalie and why.

I do want to touch on large concept of the book involving the concept of parallel universes and the sci-fi/magical aspect but I don’t want to give anything away so all I will really say about that is how much I loved it and how well everything connected. Natalie, Beau, and the readers are really trying to figure out throughout the book why their surroundings keep changing, why their friends are acting differently, and what the deal is with what is happening to them. It was an incredible journey and discovery to witness so I’ll leave all of the details inside the pages of the book but I was so impressed with the way it was done, including all of the reveals. The tension and suspense really picks up towards the end and I had a few rushes of emotion as things finally took shape and started to reveal themselves. It felt like a wonderful take on a commonly used concept and I just really loved how original it all felt!

Oh wow, clearly I can gush for days on end about this book but when it comes down to it, I can sum it up by repeating how special this book really was. I had feelings on top of feelings with a dash of amazement and a thirst for knowledge. THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD was so incredibly well-written and I think it’ll appeal to such a wide audience, spanning genres and age ranges alike. Don’t miss this book, friends! It’s a keeper.
view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

the love that split the world gr update

character_breakdown1

Natalie // Character Obsessions: A mission, fitting in, friendship, Beau, Brown. 
I just adored Natalie. She was a wonderful mix of so many things and just felt so real. I also really adored her sense of humor. It was a humor that I feel like I use a lot but doesn’t come across well in books but this just made her even more genuine for me. She was such a wonderful character and really a delight to get to know.
Beau // Character Obsessions: Friendship, football, crossing, Natalie. 
Beau = Tim Riggins. It took me a while to realize this but once I did I was like, “Ohhhh” and then fell even more in love. (He’s not really Tim Riggins but totally reminded me of him.) I just loved how he and Natalie came together and give me that dark, brooding type in a book any day!

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Contemporary/Sci-fi mix. I think the last book that really did this for me was TIME BETWEEN US by Tamara Ireland Stone. The romance and connection between the two characters was so important that there was a lot of love story and a lot of feelings combined with a sci-fi concept.
Left Me Wanting More: Ending. This wasn’t really an open ending but I was just enjoying the book so much that I wanted it to keep going! I could have used a couple more paragraphs or even a couple more sentences but I understood the ending just the same.

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

Oh, friends. This book was so special for me. I think so many readers will love it no matter their go-to genre or age range. It’s so easy to relate on a personal level with Natalie and the “other world” concept was done so well.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD

(Click the cover to see my review!)

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT    DISSONANCE

Call Me, Maybe – Ellie Cahill

Call Me, Maybe – Ellie CahillTitle: Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill, Liz Czukas
Publishing Info: February 9, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Netgalley
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 21, 2015
Related Posts: When Joss Met Matt, Ask Again Later, Top Ten Clues You're Clueless, When Joss Met Matt

Clementine Daly knows she’s the black sheep. Her wealthy, powerful family has watched her very closely since she almost got caught in an embarrassing scandal a few years ago. So when Clementine’s sent on a mission to live up to the Daly name, politely declining isn’t even an option. Of course, the last thing Clementine does before departure is grab a stranger’s phone by mistake—leaving the hunky journalist with her phone. Soon his sexy voice is on the line, but he doesn’t know her real name, or her famous pedigree—which is just the way Clementine likes it.
Despite all the hassles, Justin Mueller is intrigued to realize that the beautiful brown-eyed girl he met at the airport is suddenly at his fingertips. They agree to exchange phones when they’re both back in town, but after a week of flirty texts and wonderfully intimate conversations, Justin doesn’t want to let her go that easy. The only problem? It turns out that Clementine has been lying to him about, well, everything. Except for the one thing two people can’t fake, the only thing that matters: The heat between them is for real.

bookreview1

I’m a huge fan of Liz Czukas’ YA novels and absolutely adored her first NA, WHEN JOSS MET MATT. When I heard about CALL ME MAYBE, I knew I had to get my hands on it quickly! Like all of her other novels, CALL ME MAYBE was a fun and quick read. It was also, however, the book of hers that I’ve had the most issues with to date.

CALL ME MAYBE started out incredibly cute. Readers get to know Clementine who seems just like the girl next door… if the girl next door’s family was filthy, filthy rich. Chaos and adorableness ensues when Clementine and mysterious hot stranger accidentally switch phones and end up making a connection while talking. The phone conversations were absolutely adorable and I was quickly falling in love with these two characters and their relationship! I loved how they got to know one another and since it’s New Adult, we got to dip more into the sexy side of flirting. Some of it actually really reminded me of text conversations I had while in college (well, maybe they weren’t sexy like that but the texts reminded me of my own) when I had all of the feelings for a new crush!

Fellow book bloggers might also love that Clementine is a book worm and blogger just like us! At first I was super thrilled because hey, she’s just like me! But as the story progressed, I sort of felt like I was reading something that I had written… but not really in a good way. Don’t get me wrong! This wasn’t the author’s fault, but I have a terribly, terribly bad habit of “writing what I know” aka, I fictionalize my own life when I run out of creative ideas when writing (seriously. This is why I’m a reader and not a writer) so it sort of started to feel like that for me. I also ended up having a hard time with Clem’s job choices and how easy/hard it was to find something in her field. Trust me — we as bloggers would love to write reviews and blog and get paid for it but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Some things just felt like they happened a little too easily since for me/us, the struggle is real.

My big hang-up, though, was that Clementine really ended up self-sabotaging and that was THE reason for conflict in the book. Things were going just fine until she started getting suspicious, jealous, and freaking out for honestly no reason at all. There really could have been some other conflict or maybe something more justifiable for her to freak out like she did but I really didn’t feel like her actions were warranted and that totally turned me off. I didn’t really feel sorry for her because any drama that happened, she really did it to herself.

I was so bummed that it started out so cute and really lost steam about halfway through. I just wanted so much more from this book considering WHEN JOSS MET MATT is still one of my favorite contemporary books and was easily a favorite from 2015. CALL ME, MAYBE just didn’t quite live up to its predecessor and was so sad that I didn’t fall in love with it.
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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

call me maybe gr updates

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Clementine // Character Obsessions: Reading, blogging, family, privacy. 
Oh, Clem. We hit it off so well and then you had to go and get all paranoid. It was really such a bummer because I was positively glowing at the beginning of the book and you can really see how quickly things changed for me by my updates. Such a shame that she had to get so insecure.

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Kept Me Hooked On: New adult. I don’t really read a lot of new adult but these books always remind me why I love the ones that I do. Though really, where was all of the good new adult sexy times in this?
Left Me Wanting More: Confidence. Clem didn’t have to be crazy confident but I would have appreciated something there that prevented her from getting so paranoid. That was really hard to watch and totally lost me.

Addiction Rating
Try it

The beginning was super cute and I loved where the book was headed. If insecurity doesn’t turn you off as much as it does for me, hopefully you won’t have a big issue! I just couldn’t look the other way.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE CALL ME, MAYBE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT    THINGS I CAN'T EXPLAIN

Blog Tour: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski | The Winning Kiss

Blog Tour: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski | The Winning Kiss

Welcome to the blog tour for THE WINNER’S KISS
by Marie Rutkoski!

I am thrilled to be today’s stop on THE WINNER’S KISS blog tour to share my favorite kiss *booming announcer voice* in ALL OF LITERATURE!!! A big, big thank you to Gina and Brittany from Macmillan for inviting me to be a part of this epic tour! It’s quite the honor to be a part of this blog tour and to be able to read THE WINNER’S KISS early (no spoilers but it’s just as achingly beautiful as the first two books)!

Before we jump into my favorite kiss of ALL TIME, let’s take a second to talk a little about the book! I’m sure if you’re checking out this post, you’re already a fan of The Winner’s Trilogy (or maybe you’re here for the kisses — I don’t blame you) but here’s all of the vitals about THE WINNER’S KISS!

Blog Tour: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski | The Winning KissTitle: The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski
Publishing Info: March 29, 2016 by Macmillan
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 27, 2016
Related Posts: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse #1), The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2)

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.
But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders and The Marie-Rutkoski-credit Tobias EverkeCelestial GlobeThe Cabinet of Wonders, her debut novel, was named an Indie Next Kids’ List Great Read and a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, among other honors. Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She attended the University of Iowa, where she took Writers’ Workshop classes and studied with Pulitzer Prize-winner James Alan McPherson. After graduating, she lived in Moscow and Prague. Upon receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University, she held dual appointments as a lecturer there in both English and American Literature and Language, and History and Literature. Rutkoski is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and creative writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and cat.

THE KISS!

If this post had come pre-WINTER, I would have had to spend a lot of time debating which kiss winter marissa meyerwould take the cake for me. Before I read the book, people were raving about pages 601 – 603 and I was like, “Okay, I hear you, friends, but I’m not there yet.” I had some theories about what it could be but if possible, the kissing scene on those pages was even better than I could have imagined!

Not only was this an incredibly kissing scene, but it was between my OTP, Cress and Captain Carswell Throne (who you know I swoon for hard anyway)! Things had been building up and building up and you can tell that there’s a huge miscommunication about feelings here and then when THE KISS finally happens, it’s just absolutely glorious. Check it out:

She started to not, but was surprised when Thorne pushed away from the door. Cress blinked and stumbled back, started by the sudden movement. Three, four steps. The back of her thighs hit one of the desks.
“What –?”
In one movement, Thorne lifted her onto the desk and pressed her back against an enourmous potted fern and — oh.
Cress had built a thousand fantasies around their rooftop kiss, but this kiss was something new.
Where before, the kiss had been gentle and protective, now there was something passionate. Determined. Cress’s body dissolved into nothing but sensation. His hands burned her waist through the skirt’s thin fabric. Her knees pressed against his hips, and he pulled her closer, closer, like he couldn’t get her close enough. A whimper escaped her mouth, only to be swallowed by his. She heard a moan, but it could have come from either of them.
And where, on the rooftop, the kiss had been cut too short by the battle raging on around them, this kiss went on, and on, and on…

I mean… *fans self* MAJOR SWOONS, am I right? I simply adore Thorne but that kiss, man. Whew boy. That goes down in history as one of my all-time favorites.

Bonus Question: what kiss do you hope will occur in Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Kiss?

Oh gosh, obviously Kestrel and Arin but seeing as I’m about 20% in so far, these two are constantly killing me. The kiss I’m hoping to see in THE WINNER’S KISS is the one where they finally reunite and see eye-to-eye again… and this better be one hell of a passionate kiss! (I mean, I really have no doubt. THE TENSION in these books….) I am all about those passionate kisses.


Thanks again for checking out my stop on THE WINNER’S KISS blog tour! So tell me — what’s your favorite kiss in literature? Does the Cress/Thorne kiss make your favorites list? How excited are you to read THE WINNER’S KISS!?

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet Evanovich

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 20, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 23, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), Novella Mini-Reviews: The Emperor's Soul, The Snow Queen, The Eleventh Metal, Snow White & Rose Red, Finger Lickin' Fifteen, Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16)

New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is certain of three truths: People don’t just vanish into thin air. Never anger old people. And don’t do what Tiki tells you to do.
After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton’s premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it’s on Stephanie to track down the con man. Unfortunately, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumors are stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape . . . or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff’s lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it’s hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Stephanie is forced into working side by side with Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case.
The real problem is, no Cubbin also means no way to pay the rent. Desperate for money—or maybe just desperate—Stephanie accepts a secondary job guarding her secretive and mouthwatering mentor Ranger from a deadly Special Forces adversary. While Stephanie is notorious for finding trouble, she may have found a little more than she bargained for this time around. Then again—a little food poisoning, some threatening notes, and a bridesmaid’s dress with an excess of taffeta never killed anyone . . . or did they? If Stephanie Plum wants to bring in a paycheck, she’ll have to remember: No guts, no glory. . . .

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 10, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 24, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), Novella Mini-Reviews: The Emperor's Soul, The Snow Queen, The Eleventh Metal, Snow White & Rose Red, Finger Lickin' Fifteen, Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16)

New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in—not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because—just Stephanie’s luck—the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.
It’s not just Uncle Sunny giving Stephanie the run-around. Security specialist Ranger needs her help to solve the bizarre death of a top client’s mother, a woman who happened to play bingo with Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur. Before Stephanie knows it, she’s working side by side with Ranger and Grandma at the senior center, trying to catch a killer on the loose—and the bingo balls are not rolling in their favor.
With bullet holes in her car, henchmen on her tail, and a giraffe named Kevin running wild in the streets of Trenton, Stephanie will have to up her game for the ultimate takedown.

Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) – Janet EvanovichTitle: Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: June 17, 2014 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 28, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), Novella Mini-Reviews: The Emperor's Soul, The Snow Queen, The Eleventh Metal, Snow White & Rose Red, Finger Lickin' Fifteen, Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16)

Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures. So Stephanie is going to have to do something she really doesn’t want to do: protect former hospital security guard and general pain in her behind Randy Briggs. Briggs was picking up quick cash as Poletti’s bookkeeper and knows all his boss’s dirty secrets. Now Briggs is next on Poletti’s list of people to put six feet under.
To top things off, Ranger—resident security expert and Stephanie’s greatest temptation—has been the target of an assassination plot. He’s dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he’ll have to enlist Stephanie’s help and reveal a bit more of his mysterious past.
Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, and Stark Street being overrun by a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day’s work for Stephanie Plum. The real challenge is dealing with her Grandma Mazur’s wild bucket list. A boob job and getting revenge on Joe Morelli’s Grandma Bella can barely hold a candle to what’s number one on the list—but that’s top secret.

bookreview1

I’m guessing if you’re this far into the Stephanie Plum series, you’re not really looking for a review of the books. I’ve sort of been lumping the last few books into a series of mini-reviews since my feelings about them tend to generally be the same!

In December, I was looking for a few quick books to read to meet my 2015 reading challenge goal and I knew the Stephanie Plum audio books were quick and also fun! I meant to start with just NINETEEN but ended up bingeing TWENTY and TWENTY-ONE as well because I was just on a roll! NINETEEN and TWENTY were my favorites out of the three. I thought they did a great job with the story line, keeping things moving, and keeping me engaged. I was actually pretty hooked on both of their plots and I also was totally hooked on the romance(s) that were developing even more! This is the one series that I’m not even mad or annoyed has a love triangle because I really feel for both guys and I really love them both in their own ways.

I don’t know if it was me rushing through TWENTY-ONE or just that it wasn’t as engaging but I found myself losing focus when listening to it. The premise didn’t appeal to me as much because I think it felt less personal and I just wasn’t as connected. I wish I had more to say but I really just ended up losing focus on this one and found it harder to concentrate on the audio, but I guess that says something in itself!

It’s weird to be almost caught up on the series now too! I’ve been reading it for about five years (I only started it a few years back when I was looking for more mysteries from the library) and this is definitely the longest series I’ve ever read… aside from like, The Baby-Sitter’s Club. It’s kind of fun to have this fun and easy series to fall back on! Except now that I’m caught up, I’ll have to find another fun, easy series while I’m waiting for new Stephanie!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Long series. I’ve really never read such a long series aside from children’s books when I was younger so it’s fun to really be so involved! It’s so easy to continue too since it’s much lighter and the plots don’t really tie together, aside from Stephanie’s personal life.
Left Me Wanting More: Swoony moments. I’m starting to really get into the romance in these books and I could totally go for a few more swoon-worthy moments!

Addiction Rating
Read them!

If you’re a Plum fan, you’re in it this far! They’re fun for quick, easy reads and they’re always a bunch of fun!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE NOTORIOUS NINETEEN, TAKEDOWN TWENTY, TOP-SECRET TWENTY-ONE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 size 12 and ready to rock    MURDER UNCORKED