Friday, April 1, 2016

10 Books I’m Dying To Read This April

April is looking to be a pretty great month for new releases.  I can’t possibly find time to read all the books I want to this month but these 10 are at least going to be added to my shelves to read later.

April's Exciting Releases

1. The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

Hitting shelves April 26th

The Raven King is the final book in the Raven Cycle.  If you haven’t started this series already, you’re missing out.  Maggie Stiefvater has a way of making readers adore her characters and then killing them in cruel and unusual ways.  Seriously.  How could I come to love someone that has been fated to die since book one?  I’m just asking for heartbreak.

The Raven King

2. Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima

Hitting shelves April 5th

I have yet to read anything by Cinda Williams Chima but I’ve heard from my fellow readers that her books are amazing.  While this one is set in the same world as her Seven Realms series, it takes place a generation later and I have heard that you don’t need to read the other books before reading this one. It’s a high fantasy featuring a guy out for revenge and a girl on the run from the crown.  I’m intrigued.


3. Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

Hitting shelves April 19th

If you’re a member of any fandom, I think you can relate to Scarlett Epstein.  She’s a fanfiction writer, she has tons of online friends but not a lot of IRL ones, and she (rightly) freaks out when her favorite TV show is cancelled.  She starts writing fan fiction about kids from her school and we can all guess how that turns out but I’m eager to read for myself and see how it goes.

Scarlett Epstein

4. The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen #2) by Jodi Meadows

Hitting shelves April 5th

The Orphan Queen was one of my favorite books of last year and the cliffhanger ending was probably one of the worst I’ve ever read.  Needless to say, I’ve been waiting for this one.  If you haven’t read The Orphan Queen, it’s a great fantasy novel about an orphaned queen who plans to take back her throne and save the kingdom from the evil byproduct of magic use.

The Mirror King

5. The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Hitting shelves April 26th

Roshani Chokshi’s debut novel has been getting a lot of buzz from her fellow authors as well as the bloggers who have been lucky enough to read early copies.  It’s a story inspired by Indian mythology that features arranged marriage, dark secrets, and magic.

The Star Touched Queen

6. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Hitting shelves April 19th

The blurb for this one describes it as deliciously creepy and that’d be enough to get me to read it but the synopsis sounds amazing too.  It’s historical fiction about a girl whose father is murdered and she sets out for revenge using a tree that she discovered.  When a lie is whispered to the tree, a hidden truth is told.  The tree might help her find her father’s murderer but it could also lead the murderer to her.

The Lie Tree

7. When We Collided by Emery Lord

Hitting shelves April 5th

I’m a fan of Emery Lord’s work so I’m pretty eager to get the chance to read this one.  I’ve been hearing that this one is a very emotional read dealing with mental health and I look forward to seeing how Emery Lord tackles that tough topic while also delivering another great romance.

When We Collided

8. Tell The Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Hitting shelves April 5th

Tell the Wind and Fire is loosely based on Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and while that doesn’t really matter to me, I do love retellings.  However, it’s the story itself that really appeals to me.  Lucie lives in a city divided between the Dark and the Light.  While she lives in the Light now, that hasn’t always been the case and she knows some very dark secrets.  When revolution breaks out, it’s up to her to save herself and the two boys in her life.

Tell the Wind and Fire

9. Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

Hitting shelves April 5th

Eidetic memory, time travel, and a race against time?  I’m a fan of all those things.  Five teens are sent to the future on a mission to bring back some data.  When they arrive they break the only rule they’ve been given and they find their future selves to see what’s happened to them.  What they find out isn’t what they hoped for and now they have to get back to the past to stop their future.

Future Shock

10. Girl In The Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

Hitting shelves April 5th

I’m a history minor and the Nazis/Holocaust have always fascinated me.  Girl in the Blue Coat is the story of a Dutch teenager who procures black market goods for people.  When her neighbor asks her to find a missing Jewish girl she had been hiding, she can’t resist the task and is drawn into mystery and danger in the midst of rebellion.

Girl in teh blue coat

What are you looking forward to reading in April?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Movies of March | Wrap Up

I don’t know about you guys but I have a tendency to watch the same movies, over and over.  I find one that I like and I watch it until I know every last word.  For some reason I never get tired of those movies.  This year, however, I’ve been trying to branch out and watch some new things so here are the movies I got around to in March.

Lilo & Stitch, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch, Stitch!: The Movie, Leroy & Stitch

Lilo and Stitch

I’m a little behind with these movies and my age range is probably not the target audience but who really cares?  I loved every single one of these movies, the first one probably being the best.  I think each one has a great message about family and finding where you belong.  I admit, at one point, I even cried a little.  (That’s not really saying much since I cry a lot, but still.)  If you haven’t watched these I do recommend it and if you know where I can get the TV show, let me know.  I’d like some more Stitch in my life.  He’s so adorable!

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day off

If I was a little behind with Lilo & Stitch, I was way behind with this one. I probably shouldn’t admit that I only just watched this for the first time this month but it’s the truth.  I never really wanted to watch it but a friend of mine found out and forced me to watch it and I’m glad he did.  I laughed so hard at this movie and it surprised me in a lot of ways.  I didn’t really expect anything other than a funny, feel good movie but there was a little more to it than that.

Inside Out

Inside Out

Disney has really got to stop with the animated movies that make me cry.  The last one was Big Hero 6 and now this one.  Everything about this movie was perfect.  I borrowed a friend’s copy but I need to get a copy for my own collection.  This was definitely a more emotional Disney movie and it was a little deeper than their usual ones and I loved that.  It wasn’t just for kids (although I don’t really believe any Disney movies are just for kids).  Seriously, if you haven’t seen this one, watch it now.  And if you have seen it, please tell me you loved it as much as I did.  Bing Bong!

I really didn’t get around to watching a whole lot of new movies this month but I’m happy with the ones I picked.  Next month I’m hoping to get to The Princess and the Frog, From Hell, and Dirty Dancing, just to name a few.  

Have you seen any of these?  What did you think?  What are some movies that you’ve been meaning to watch but haven’t gotten around to yet?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top 5 Most Recent 5 Star Reads

top ten tuesday 4

I haven’t been reading a whole lot lately and I haven’t really adored that many of the books that I have read so I think this is probably going to be less than ten but I’ll try and get close!

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I mentioned this one in last week’s post and I’ll say it again, it’s amazing.  Fantasy fans and non-fantasy fans should totally read this one.  The romance is perfect, the banter is extremely witty, and the story is fresh.

rebel of the sands

Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

I read this one at the recommendation of a friend and I am so glad that I did.  It’s the story of Morgan who believes she had something to do with a fatal shooting at her school.  She becomes afraid to leave her apartment but that starts to change when a new boy moves in next door.  While the story was a little slow at times, the writing more than made up for it.


Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer

Is this one really a surprise to anyone?  Marissa Meyer made herself one of my favorite authors with this series and it’s finale was no exception.  Winter was probably the best of the series and I loved how everything ended.  I haven’t read Stars Above yet but I do expect another five star read from that one.


The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

When this one first came out, everyone was talking about it and telling me to read it.  I picked it up with very low expectations (hype usually makes me nervous) but I ended up adoring it!  Bex and Jack were perfect together and their story was full of adventure, romance, and intrigue.  It’s probably one of my all time favorite contemporary novels.

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin

Wolf By Wolf was one of those books that I predicted I would love and I was right.  I’m a huge history buff and anything to do with Nazi history really gets my attention.  While this is alternative history, it was still fascinating and contained enough actual historical references for me to love it.

wolf by wolf

Have you read any of these?  Did they make your list of five star reads?  What books were on your list?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Blog Tour: Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn | Review + GiveawayHot Pterodactyl Boyfriend by Alan Cumyn
Published by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books on March 22nd 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

Prepare to be blown away—or rather, carried away on huge muscular wings—by this blissfully outlandish, bracingly-smart, tour de force about a teen who has to come to terms with relinquishing control for the first time as she falls for the hot new…pterodactyl…at school. After all, everybody wants him!

Sheils is very pleased with her perfectly controlled life (controlling others while she’s at it). She’s smart, powerful, the Student Body Chair, and she even has a loving boyfriend. What more could a girl ask for?

But everything changes when the first-ever interspecies transfer student, a pterodactyl named Pyke, enrolls at her school. There’s something about him—something primal—that causes the students to lose control whenever he’s around. Even Sheils, the seemingly perfect self-confident girl that she is, can’t keep her mind off of him, despite her doting boyfriend and despite the fact that Pyke immediately starts dating Jocelyn, the school’s fastest runner who Sheils has always discounted as a nobody.

Pyke, hugely popular in a school whose motto is to embrace differences, is asked to join a band, and when his band plays at the Autumn Whirl dance, his preternatural shrieking music sends everyone into a literal frenzy. No one can remember what happened the next day, but Shiels learns that she danced far too long with Pyke, her nose has turned purple, and she may have done something with her boyfriend that she shouldn’t have. Who’s in control now?

Hilarious and relatable (despite the dinosaur), Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is about a teen who must come to terms with not being in control of all things at all times, break free of her mundane life, discover who her true self is, and, oh, finding out that going primal isn’t always a bad thing


Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is probably one of the most bizarre books I’ve ever read.  I mean, just look at the title and synopsis.  You can’t really expect normal from a book about a hot pterodactyl boyfriend.  I had a feeling that it was going to be weird and entertaining and that feeling was definitely proven right.


  • The story:  As bizarre as the story may seem, it’s actually quite relatable.  Shiels is a control freak in every aspect of her life and she’s at the point in her life where she feels like she really needs that control.  She’s applying to colleges and doing everything she can to make herself look good on those applications.  It’s a really common story except for the fact that her school now has a pterodactyl as a student and his entrance in her life throws it into complete upheaval.
  • Shiels:  I really liked Shiels.  Like I said, she wanted complete control and she was used to having it.  That all changed with Pyke.  She had to give up that control and she might have actually gone a little overboard (skipping school, hiding things from her parents) but she grew as a person when she did give up some of that control.  She started to see that maybe things didn’t have to be so orderly and maybe she didn’t always have to be the one to do everything.
  • The family aspect: I loved Shiels’ family, especially her brother.  Her parents were involved in her life but sometimes a little absent and sometimes a little overbearing.  I really just liked that they played a role in her life.  Her brother, Jonathan, was the best part.  They had the classic sibling relationship.  He reminded me a lot of my own brother and their dynamics were very similar to ours.  Maybe that won’t be a big deal to you guys but it was definitely a pro for me.


  • Pyke:  I could not relate to Pyke and honestly, he was a little weird.  I mean, of course he’s going to be weird, he’s a freaking pterodactyl but I don’t know.  It was more than that.  He wasn’t very humanlike and so I didn’t feel like I ever got to know him.  I couldn’t understand how he evoked this attraction from everyone he met.  And it wasn’t always romantic attraction though that did happen.  It seemed like everyone wanted to be something to him, whether it was a girlfriend or a mother figure.  It was strange.
  • The writing: This one isn’t a huge con for me but the writing took some getting used to.  It is a little stilted and choppy but once I got used to that I could see how it actually moved the story along a little faster.  Take some time to get used to the style and it will get better.

Overall, Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is one of those books that you should go into expecting something totally out of the norm.  It was hilarious at times while also being really heartfelt.  I can’t say it’s on my list of favorites but it has me eager to check out more form Alan Cumyn.


3 finished copies of Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour stops!

Week 1:
Week 2:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Blog Tour | What I Look For In Retellings | Stone Field by Christy Lenzi

Blog Tour | What I Look For In Retellings | Stone Field by Christy Lenzi

You guys know I love blog tours but there was something special about this one.  I always look for romance in my novels, I’m a history buff, and retellings are some of my favorite things.  Stone Field is all of those wrapped in one gorgeous package!

Before I get to my favorite things, make sure to check out a little more about Stone Field!

Stone Field

Stone Field by Christy Lenzi
(Website, Goodreads)

In a small town on the brink of the Civil War, Catrina finds a man making strange patterns in her family’s sorghum crop. He’s mad with fever, naked, and strikingly beautiful. He has no memory of who he is or what he’s done before Catrina found him in Stone Field. But that doesn’t bother Catrina because she doesn’t like thinking about the things she’s done before either.

Catrina and Stonefield fall passionately, dangerously, in love. All they want is to live with each other, in harmony with the land and away from Cat’s protective brother, the new fanatical preacher, and the neighbors who are scandalized by their relationship. But Stonefield can’t escape the truth about who he is, and the conflict tearing apart the country demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their doorstep.

Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository


What I Look For In A Retelling

  • Originality: This might seem a little odd since the whole point of a retelling is to retell something that’s already been told.  However, that’s not to say that an author shouldn’t put their own spin on whatever tale they’ve chose to retell.  It’s also a good idea to make it unique so that readers who may not have read the original can still enjoy it.  In this case, Christy Lenzi took Wuthering Heights and made it her own.  And since I’ve never (completely) read Wuthering Heights, I appreciated that it didn’t seem like I had to.
  • Hints of the original: This may seem like the complete opposite of what I just said but if you’re writing a retelling, you have to keep something of the original story.  A lot of the time when I’m picking up a retelling, I’ve read and loved the original.  That means I definitely want to at least get a similar feel from the retelling.  Like I said, I haven’t read all of Wuthering Heights but from what I have read, I can see where Christy Lenzi took some inspiration.
  • An updated feel: Even if a retelling is still set in a historical time period, I want it to feel new.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the classics, but they can sometimes be lengthy reads that plod along.  Retellings need to make the writing a little more modern.  Make things move a little faster.  And maybe contain a little more romance than some of the classics.  Just maybe.

Stone Field is a great representation of the things I look for in a retelling.  If you haven’t checked it out already, add it to your TBR!

Oh and don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour! 3/19/2016 RETELLING 3/20/2016 ROMANCE 3/21/2016 ROMANCE 3/22/2016 HISTORICAL 3/23/2016 RETELLING 3/25/2016 ROMANCE 3/26/2016 RETELLING 3/27/2016 HISTORICAL 3/28/2016 ROMANCE 3/29/2016 HISTORICAL
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Books I Love But Don’t Talk About Enough

top ten tuesday 4

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about books that I love but haven’t talked about enough.  I think I sometimes read so many books that I forget to really talk about some of them so here are a few!

1. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I read this one recently but it was during my blogging break and I haven’t really talked to anyone about it other than my IRL friends.  It was exactly what I was looking for in a fantasy novel.  It was fast-paced, full of quick-witted characters, a wonderful romance, and enough of a cliffhanger that I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel.  While this one is very obviously the start of a new series, there is plenty going on to keep readers on the edge of their seats and I think people that aren’t even fantasy fans could love it.

rebel of the sands

2. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

I read this one last year and adored it.  It’s the story of a pair of friends, Emmy and Oliver, who are reunited after 10 years.  Oliver was kidnapped by his father and Emmy’s life changed forever that day.  When he returns, their friendship turns into something even more than it was before.  I loved Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway and I really loved that even though this was a much tougher subject she still managed to imbue a sense of humor throughout.  It was a really quick, cute read.

Emmy & Oliver

3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks, Jessica Morgan

I read this while on vacation last year and it was totally my kind of book.  Bex is an American going to school in London and she just happens to meet Prince Nicholas.  In fact, she starts dating him.  It’s a hefty book but it’s amazing from start to finish.  What girl doesn’t dream of meeting a prince and falling in love with him and becoming part of the royal family?  However, it’s not all perfect for Bex and Nick.  They have very realistic struggles and I think that’s what made me love this book even more than I already did.

The Royal We

4. The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

I’ll admit that the cover might have been the initial draw for this one.  Once I stopped staring at it though and actually started the book, I loved it.  It’s one of my favorite new adult books even though it is quite predictable.  I really just loved the chemistry between the two main characters and the secondary characters were some of the best I’ve read.

The Deal

5. Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

I’m a big fan of all of Stacey Jay’s books and I feel like I don’t talk enough about any of them but especially this one.  Princess of Thorns follows Sleeping Beauty’s daughter and she is one fierce girl.  She’s disguised as a boy for most of the book so that she can rescue her brother and she acts more like a guy than a girl, at least for her time period.  She’s very independent, a little untrustworthy, but totally great.  She’s by far the best part about this book though I’m a fan of the rest of it too.

Princess of Thorns

6. Whatever Life Throws At You by Julie Cross

This is another new adult book that I really didn’t talk about enough when I read it.  Just like The Deal, this one focuses on sports but in this case it’s baseball, not hockey.  Annie’s dad is the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals, making the rookie pitcher off limits to her.  That doesn’t stop them from having amazing chemistry, witty banter, and some steamy scenes!

Whatever Life Throws At You

7. #scandal by Sarah Ockler

I read this one months before it came out (I’m impatient when it comes to Sarah Ockler books) and because of that I think I didn’t really push it enough when it actually hit shelves.  It’s about Lucy who is in love with her best friend’s boyfriend and it turns out he just might feel the same way.  However, before they are able to let her know, it becomes public knowledge and Lucy is labeled a backstabber, a slut, and worse.  I love how Lucy handled things and the mystery of who was behind leaking her hook up with Cole.


8. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

The main character in Prisoner of Night and Fog, Gretchen, has grown up as part of the Nazi party, a favorite pet to Adolf Hitler.  She’s loyal to him and never questions him until she meets a young Jewish reporter who claims to know more about her father’s death than she does.  As she gets to know him and finds out more about what really happened, she becomes disillusioned with the Nazi party and Hitler and has to decide who she will ultimately side with.

Prisoner of Night and Fog

9. Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas

Now that I think about this one, I really think I need to re-read it soon.  Ask Again Later is an extremely cute romantic comedy about a girl who receives two invites to the prom and flips a coin to see who she should go with.  The weird thing is though, when she flips the coin, she actually gets to live out both dates.  It’s extremely cute and so funny.

Ask Again Later

10. How To Love by Katie Cotugno

I know I talked about this one a lot when it first came out but it’s been a while so I wanted to include it.  How To Love is one of my favorite contemporary novels.  It’s more serious but it’s so cute.  It alternates between the past and present and I loved Reena and Sawyer the whole time.  I also loved Hannah, their daughter, and how she actually played a big role throughout the book.

How To Love

What are some of your favorite books that you don’t talk about enough?  Feel free to leave me your links!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Furious by T.R. Ragan | Book Spotlight + Giveaway



Faith McMann comes home to a nightmare: her husband is killed and her son and daughter are taken. Although the intruders leave her for dead, she survives. Crippling grief and fear for her children make life unbearable. Until her anguish turns to anger…and she trades victimhood for vengeance. Frustrated with the law’s efforts, she takes action to rescue her children—and wreaks havoc on the brutal criminals who tore them from her. With her family and newfound allies at her side, Faith descends into the hellish underworld of human trafficking, determined to make those who prey on the innocent pray for mercy. The forces she’s up against have already proven that their ruthlessness knows no bounds. And there’s nothing they won’t do to turn Faith’s crusade into a suicide mission. But they’re about to learn that nothing is more dangerous than a mother fighting for her children—especially one who’s earned the nickname Furious.

Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | The Book Depository

Author Bio: 

T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. Her exciting Lizzy Gardner series: Abducted, Dead Weight, A Dark Mind, Obsessed, Almost Dead, and Evil Never Dies, has received tremendous praise. In August 2015 Evil Never Dies hit #7 on the Wall Street Journal Bestselling List. Since publishing in 2011, she has sold over two million books and has been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, PC Magazine, Huffington Post, and Publishers Weekly. Theresa grew up in a family of five girls in Lafayette, California. An avid traveler, her wanderings have carried her to Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, China, Thailand, and Nepal, where she narrowly survived being chased by a killer elephant. Before devoting herself to writing fiction, she worked as a legal secretary for a large corporation. Theresa and her husband Joe have four children and live in Sacramento, California. FURIOUS, the first book in her most recent Faith McMann series will be released March 22, 2016, followed by OUTRAGE and WRATH.

Early Praise

“Faith McMann, heroine of this gripping novel, is a Sacramento schoolteacher, wife, and mother who comes home just in time to witness her husband’s throat getting cut and her two children hauled away. The attempt on her life is botched—the killers were in a hurry—and as she recovers, she’s convinced the police are brushing her off. So she whacks a detective with his computer keyboard and gets sentenced to anger management sessions. If this were a cookie-cutter thriller, the male hero would be tracking the killers with an automatic weapon and maybe a major babe beside him. But our hero is smarter than that, and her revenge is a product of relationships, not bullets. In classes, she meets other victims as angry as she is, and, together, in fine scenes of action and suspense, they seek explanations and vengeance as well as the children’s rescue, which takes them into a slimy world of human trafficking. Learn here about “lot lizards” and “kiddie strolls” on the way to a wild finale. Suspenseful and smart, in equal measure.” —Don Crinklaw, Booklist

“Searing…Readers with strong stomachs will eagerly await the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Exciting Additions To My Shelves | March 19

Exciting AdditionsToMy Shelves

I haven’t been doing Stacking the Shelves posts anymore (I can’t keep up with all the books) but I do still want to share some of the books that have been added to my shelves lately.  This is my way of picking a few and letting you guys know what you should be on the lookout for!

Raw Blue by Kirsy Eagar

Raw Bluw

I’ve had this book on my wishlist for years but since it’s only published in Australia, it’s been a bit out of my price range.  Willa from Willa’s Ramblings was so kind as to send me her copy that she no longer needed.  I’ve heard it’s extremely emotional and amazingly written so I’m eager to check it out.

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan

Julia Vanishes

This book holds some serious promise.  It’s got magic.  It’s about a girl who can appear invisible (kind of).  And the girl just happens to be a thief and a spy.  How awesome does that sound?

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Labyrinth Lost

Look at that cover!  It’s absolutely stunning.  I’m really hoping it hints at what’s between the pages.  This one has been described as a mix of Beautiful Creatures and Daughter of Smoke and Bone so I’m sold.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song

A new book from Victoria Schwab?  Who wouldn’t be excited if this showed up on their doorstep?  I’ve already been hearing fabulous things about it so I hope to make time for it very soon.  The setting is compared to Gotham and it’s full of monsters.  Sounds pretty exciting to me.

What The Dead Want by Norah Olson

What The Dead Want

The cover and title definitely intrigue me with this one.  It’s about a girl whose mom goes missing and years later her daughter discovers that it might have something to do with a crumbling Civil War era mansion that she has inherited.  It’s full of secrets about violence and racism and seems like it could be really creepy.

Are any of these on your TBR?  Which one are you most excited for?

Friday, March 18, 2016

How do you make time to read? | Discussion

You guys know what this is?  The first discussion post I have written in ages.  Topics are hard for me to come up with but this one has definitely been on my mind for a while.

Most of you probably don’t know this but I got a new job back in January.  The first month was a lot of learning and a lot of stressful days.  It slowed down a bit in February but I was just recently given some more work to do and now my days are just packed.  I come home and I’m so tired that I don’t want to do anything.  Never mind the fact that I’m trying to get back in the habit of going to the gym.  Needless to say, there isn’t a lot of free time in my life to read and let me just tell you, that sucks.

I’ve been trying to think of ways to make time to read and short of adding more hours to the day (or just not sleeping) I haven’t really come up with any.  I used to read before bed but now I’m so exhausted that any time I try to do that, I fall asleep.  I try to read at the gym but it’s kinda hard to run on a treadmill and keep the page in focus.  Really, I’m just struggling here.

However, I have been testing out new things and I’ve found some things that work for me.


First, I shut off all electronic devices (unless it’s my ipod) and put them in another room so I’m not even tempted by them.  I don’t want my notifications popping up and distracting me all the time.  I also find that if I put on some movie soundtracks (I love the Harry Potter film scores) I can really focus on the book I’m reading and get out of my own head.  Sometimes I spend so much time thinking about other things that I should be doing that I find myself reading the same sentence over and over again without taking in a word of it.  Music surprisingly helps with that.


Second, I give myself a schedule.  I work from 7 to 4 every day and I’m usually home no later than 5.  I go the gym for an hour and when I get home I can read.  I set aside 1 hour reading time and if I can get in more than that, great, but if not, at least I’ve got that hour.  Sometimes I do take breaks for snacks or whatever and get a little distracted but most of the time I can at least read for 45 minutes of the hour.


Third, I’ve learned that audiobooks are great for driving or for the gym.  I can’t focus on them if I’m doing anything super productive (like cleaning) but if I’m just driving to or from work or hanging out on the treadmill, they are perfect.  I still don’t like them all that much but I’m trying.  I feel like I just haven’t found the right narrator yet.  I’ve heard that the narrator for the Harry Potter audiobooks is fabulous so maybe I’ll re-read those a different way this year.  (Yes, I try and re-read them at least once a year.  I don’t see this as a problem.)


Last, I have found that I have to have something interesting to read.  I tried to force myself to read a book that I just wasn’t feeling and it really made me not want to read at all.  I put that book aside, picked up a different one, and now I’m hooked.  I want to make time to read this one, unlike the last one I was trying to read.  A good book can make all the difference in whether or not you feel in the mood to read.

What do you guys do when you find that you don’t have a whole lot of time to read?  Do you stay up later than normal so you can at least read a chapter a day?  Do you do the audiobook thing and if so, who is your favorite narrator?  How do you feel about music while reading?  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Blog Tour: The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters | Review + GiveawayThe Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters
Published by Amulet Books on March 8th 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.

The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.


The Steep and Thorny Way is my first foray into Cat Winters’ work but it won’t be my last.  While the Hamlet retelling aspect of this one was what first caught my attention, it was Cat Winters’ writing that kept it.  I’ll hold out judgment until I can read at least one more of her books but I think she may earn a place on my favorites shelf.


  • The writing: As I said, the writing definitely got me with this one.  The Steep and Thorny Way is historical fiction with a twist and Cat’s writing is perfect for this type of story.  It’s atmospheric and haunting.  The story itself was extremely interesting and I was hooked for that aspect but the writing definitely added to my enjoyment.
  • The history: I’m a huge history buff and I loved that Cat Winters didn’t choose the typical 1920s to portray.  The Steep and Thorny Way shows a darker side of the 1920s and it’s not always easy to read.  And while it is very much fiction, Cat Winters did a great job making her story as accurate as possible.  She doesn’t shy away from the reality that would have been Hanalee’s life as a mixed race teenager in that time period.
  • Hanalee: Hanalee certainly had her flaws but I really liked her overall.  She reminded me a lot of myself in some of the things that she did.  I felt that I could relate to her, even though our situations are nothing alike.  She was strong and capable but she didn’t always think things through before acting.  I couldn’t fault her for that but sometimes I could see how things would happen because of her actions.


  • The other characters: I was not a huge fan of any of the other characters.  While I felt like I could relate to Hanalee, she was the only one I felt that way about.  Everyone else needed to be a bit more rounded out and I felt like I never really got to know or like them.
  • The retelling aspect: I love Hamlet.  I took a Shakespeare class in high school and college and I’ve loved everything I’ve read by him but especially Hamlet.  I feel like saying this is a retelling was a little bit misleading.  There were definitely things about it that tied back to Hamlet but I would say it was more inspired by Hamlet than a retelling.

Overall, The Steep and Thorny Way really did impress me.  I love that I have found a new author that I feel can do the historical fiction genre justice.  I look forward to checking out the rest of her books and if you haven’t already, this one is definitely a good place to start.


5 US readers have a chance to win their own copy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!

Week One:

2/29/2016- Adventures of a Book Junkie Interview
3/1/2016- The Forest of Words and Pages Review
3/2/2016- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post
3/3/2016- A Dream Within A Dream Review
3/4/2016- Stories & Sweeties– Excerpt

Week Two:

3/7/2016- Jessabella Reads Review
3/8/2016- Bookish Lifestyle– Guest Post
3/9/2016- Katie’s Book Blog- Review
3/10/2016- The Fox’s Hideaway– Interview
3/11/2016- MEREADALOT– Review