Saturday, December 10, 2016

#COYER Blackout Signup Post ~ I'm Ready, Are You?


Have y'all heard the winter forecast? A COYER Blackout is heading our way! 

I'm once again participating on COYER - a challenge where we work diligently to clean out our ereaders! And this time, it's going to be a tough challenge. Here are the basic rules. For complete details, including how to use your GENERATOR during the challenge, click the graphic above.

  • Sign up by December 17.
    COYER Blackout runs December 19, 2016-March 3, 2017.
  • All books you read during the challenge period *MUST* be procured prior to December 17th. (so get your one-click fingers primed!)
  • All books you read during the challenge period *MUST* have been procured for 99 cents or less.
  • All books you read during the challenge period *MUST* be at least 100 pages in length.
  • You may listen to audiobooks ONLY IF they were purchased prior to December 17, 2016 AND cost no more than $5.
  • You may read ARCs obtained from Edelweiss or Netgalley as long as they were requested PRIOR to December 17, 2016.

There is a Facebook group where we cheer each other on, ask questions, etc. There are Instagram and Twitter parties. This challenge is A LOT of fun! I hope you'll consider joining. It's a great way to clean off your ereader, and this particular version will help you clear off some of those books you've had lying around for years! ;)

And just a fun fyi for y'all, I started creating a shelf on my kindle specifically for this challenge. When I noticed I was up to over 350 books, I stopped. I mean, there's no way I can read that many books. AND THAT'S A RIDICULOUS NUMBER OF BOOKS, RIGHT? And I didn't even finish! Yeah, I need this challenge in a BIG way! :D

Friday, December 9, 2016

#TravelingtotheTerminus Review ~ With All My Soul ~ Rachel Vincent


With All My Soul (Soul Screamers, #7)With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent
Soul Screamers #7
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased Paperback
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove, #TravelingtoTerminus
Goodreads

Synopsis
What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America? It's time to kick some hellion butt...

After not really surviving her junior year (does "undead" count as survival?), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She's going to find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another in order to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.

But then she meets Wrath and understands that she's closer to the edge than she's ever been. And when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realizes she can't save everyone she loves without risking everything she has...




I put off reading this last book for a long time. A really long time considering I've had it in my possession, a signed copy no less, since May of 2013. But I adore this series and these characters and I didn't want to say goodbye. So I put it off. However, I'm happy to say that I couldn't be happier with this ending. If I had to say goodbye, at least Vincent made it worth my self-imposed wait. ;)

I think the bar was set very high for Vincent in wrapping up this series. We all love Kaylee and crew and were loathe to say goodbye. I'm sure it was difficult, wanting to make all readers happy but knowing that's an impossible feat. I, for one, am pleased with how things wrapped up.

With All My Soul finds Kaylee wanting justice - nay, vengeance - against the hellions who have taken so much from her. Before she can even formulate a plan, Avari strikes again. In attempting a rescue, Kaylee realizes she's going to have to sacrifice much more if she wants to end the hellions' reign of terror.

I love this entire cast. Okay, there are a few I just love to hate but still. The character development I've been witness to is heartwarming and incredible. They've each grown in some way, some more than others.

Vincent took a risk, I think, with the introduction of a new hellion and the repercussions of the lessons he teaches Kaylee. It was fascinating watching Kaylee, and a few others, learn more about themselves, figuring out what's most important in this life or the after-life in Kaylee's and Tod's case.

I appreciated the action Kaylee took - what she gave up - and the wiliness used in accomplishing it. And I appreciated how it all wrapped up. So even though I waited 3 years to read this because I seriously didn't want it to end, I'm satisfied with where all these characters ended up.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Books & Crafts #8 ~ #BookBlogger #CraftCircle



Welcome to Books & Crafts, a craft circle composed of book bloggers, a sporadic meme where we share our other creative pursuits aside from reading and blogging. Everyone is welcome to join, just add yout tag/label links below and you're good to go!


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This month, I'm once again sharing a way to present a gift card. If you'd like more specific information on the "how to", just let me know. I like these little gift card envelopes a lot!





I made gift card-sized envelopes using the envelope maker from Stampin' Up (I can't recall the proper name) and then adhered the envelope to three mattes of varying sizes (using coordinating papers). I embellished the actual envelope with punches which also serve to seal the envelope.

The materials used are paper, envelope maker, punches, stamps, and adhesive. These are pretty easy to make and like I said, I really like them!





Do you craft too? Wanna get in on the fun? Just add your link below. And don't forget to check out the other hosts' crafts! :D
(If the linky doesn't appear correctly or doesn't work, head over to Talk Supe and link up there.)


#SeasonedRomance Sale ~ It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love

99 Cent Sale ~ December 7-9

I confess I'm rather fond of seasoned romances. You know, those love stories with protagonists who are a little bit older. There's something to be said for reading books with characters closer to my age, with similar experiences. If you love seasoned romances OR are interested in giving one a try, there's no better time than now. These 24 romances are on sale for only 99 cents each. But hurry because the sale runs only from the 7th through the 9th.

Need a suggestion? Karen Booth's Bring Me Back is a favorite of mine. :) Click on the link above or the graphic below for all the book sale links.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#ShelfLove Discussion ~ Year-End Wrap-up

Bookworm Brandee

As part of the #ShelfLove Challenge, we have monthly discussion topics. December's topic is The Year-End Wrap-up.  


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#ShelfLove 2016 Wrap-up

Highs:

  • So far, I've read 69 books which is 12 more than last year. Of those books, 24 were physical books which were moved from my TBR shelves to my Read shelves. I read enough physical books this year to require a major shift on my Read shelves. Score!
  • I co-hosted with the ladies at Chapter Break and Second Run Reviews - my first time to do such a thing. :)
Lows:
  • I still added books to my shelves and did so faster than I can read them. In my defense, many, if not most, were free as I acquired them at book events like BEA or one-clicked.
  • I feel like I failed as a co-host. I didn't visit as much as I'd have liked and I didn't participate enough on social media. Also, I had technical glitches with graphics and link-ups because I'm just not as technically savvy as my cohorts. ;)
Will I do it again?
Absolutely! I love the #ShelfLove Challenge. It gives me a goal as well as a sense of accomplishment to know I'm reading books I already own - most of which I've owned for awhile. ;) As for hosting, I supposed I'd be up for trying again if the ladies would have me.


What about y'all? What bookish item(s) are you most thankful for?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Audio Review ~ Sweet Nothing ~ Jamie McGuire & Teresa Mummert

Sweet NothingSweet Nothing by Jamie McGuire & Teresa Mummert
Narrated by: Carly Robins and Nelson Hobbs
Release Date: April 5, 2016 (audio)
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Tantor Audio sent me a complimentary copy
Rating: 4 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
It is enough to break any man: watching what could have been my future slip away before it was ever in my grasp. The possibility of losing someone I loved, before she was even mine, is something I never would have imagined. Certainly nothing I'd ever wish on anyone. I go to her every day and wait. Wait for the impossible, for a sign, for her to look at me...hoping that sinners are granted miracles, too. Just one glimpse of him was all it took. In the next lane, at a stop light, was the man I would fall in love with and marry. People talk about the kind of lover that takes time, love you fall into. We were more like a crash and burn, and when our lives intertwined I would never be the same. He was the man I would cherish the rest of my life, who would father my children. In an instant our life together began, and in an instant it would end. The late night; the excuses; the lies. And in the blink of an eye, it was like we never were. Contains mature themes.




This review is really hard to write without giving anything away, so my vagueness is intentional. I have to admit that while I liked the story, at about 2/3 in, I was thinking this would be a 3-star read. Then things kinda got turned on their head. And in the end, I felt that the way things wrapped up - reminiscent of a favorite movie - earned the story a few points.

Can one moment really change your life? Can its impact be so profound as to change your perspective - change the way you look at and live your life? That's what Avery and Josh consider after a life-changing event.

Avery, an ER nurse, is steady, hard-working, always playing it safe. Even in her love life, she doesn't risk anything so that there's never anything to lose. Josh, an EMT, is a player with a penchant for nurses. He plays the field always letting the ladies know where they stand. He doesn't get emotionally involved because he knows he can't be there for anyone in that way.

But one moment with Avery changes everything.

I enjoyed how McGuire and Mummert alternated POVs to convey the story. Getting to know Josh and Avery as they got to know each other was fun. Their banter was playful and seeing Josh and Avery invest emotionally in each other ended up being beautiful. When things started going bad, I got frustrated. I felt like Avery was irrational a lot of times as well as too harsh. Of course, Josh wasn't making the best choices either and that was frustrating as well. I couldn't believe, or at least I didn't want to, that they'd throw it all away - all they'd built together. It was maddening.

The ending was completely unexpected but I quite liked it. It eased some of the tension I'd been feeling towards Avery and Josh and moved Sweet Nothing from a just okay read to a good one.

The narrators were excellent. Carly Robins and Nelson Hobbs were new-to-me narrators and they embodied Josh and Avery. They kept the pace of the story even as well as conveyed all the emotion and turmoil being experienced.

Overall, Sweet Nothing was a good listen. I liked the twist thrown in that took Josh and Avery's story up a notch.



Friday, December 2, 2016

#TravelingtotheTerminus Review ~ The Undead Pool ~ Kim Harrison


The Undead Pool (The Hollows, #12)The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison
The Hollows #12
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased Hardcover
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #ShelfLove, #TravelingtoTerminus
Goodreads

Synopsis
Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has managed to save the demonic ever after from shrinking, but at a high cost. Now strange magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong, and the truce between the races, between Inderlander and human, is shattering.

Rachel must stop the occurrences before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and it becomes all-out supernatural war. However, the only way to do so is through the ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils.



The Hollows is one of my favorite urban fantasy series so I can't believe I've consistently stayed behind in it. I love the characters and their development - evolution - over the course of the series. I enjoy the action and mystery in each installment. And I admire Harrison's take on social issues such as discrimination. The Undead Pool was quite a ride and I'm happy, and maybe a little sad, that there's only one book left in the series!

In The Undead Pool, Rachel, Trent, and the gang have to figure out why the master vampires are sleeping and therefore are letting the living vampires run amok. They also have to determine the what kind of magic is being used and who all is involved. On top of that, Trent and Rachel are trying to determine what, if anything, is between them. And the elves are putting a lot of pressure on Trent to do what they want. Should Rachel and Trent follow their hearts or do what's expected of them?

It was all very exciting. Every moment! The way Rachel can bring everyone together - even if she worries about their safety - is special. There were moments where I ooh'd, teared up, gasped. It was fantastic.

I want to mention that I had listened to the last two installments and although I adore Marguerite Gavin's narration, I feel like I had some holes - can't remember all the details. So I was thrilled to go back to reading this one. I'm a slow reader when it comes to Harrison but I savor every page. 

I'm arguing with myself over continuing on to the last book. I think I've decided to read something else but I *will* be read the final installment by year's end.



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016 Bookish Resolutions Challenge Update ~ November

BookishResolution Challenge 2016

Laura @Trips Down Imagination Road and Michelle @Because Reading are once again hosting the Bookish Resolutions Challenge in 2016. I participated in this challenge last year and it was a good way to keep me motivated in certain areas, so I decided to do it again this year.

My Goals for 2016
  • Blogging Goals
    • Keep up with commenting back weekly
    • Link up my challenge posts bi-weekly
    • Learn some HTML to change up format of posts
  • Reading Goals
    • Raise my Netgalley rating to 50%
    • Read books my kids *need* me to read
      • Alice in Wonderland
      • Death with Interruptions 
      • Everything is Illuminated
      • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
      • Listening for Luka
      • School of Good and Evil
      • The Things They Carried
      • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
      • Wonderstruck
  • Personal Goals
    • Stick to my daily schedule


Progress made in September

Blogging Goals
  • I sucked at blogging goals in November. But I knew that was going to be the case. THANK GOODNESS I'd done blog ahead so I had posts scheduled. That's been a relief. And commenting? What commenting?!? But NaNoWriMo ends today (psst...I hit the 50000 word goal! My novel isn't quite done but I'm a winner nonetheless!) I'll be catching up with comments over the next few days!
Reading Goals
  • My rating is still at 22%!! Ugh! I did post a review and I have another I need to get posted but... Maybe I can get it up a couple of percentage points by the end of December???
  • I didn't get any of my Kids' Recs List read in November. I've managed to get ONE request per kid read this year.
Personal Goals
  • My personal goals centered on NaNoWriMo this month. And seeing as I hit the word goal, I'm calling it a win all the way around. :D In December, I'll get back to exercising and keeping a better schedule. I need sleep, y'all! I kept some late hours and then got up early...I'm feeling it. I was slow at reading over the last month. Thank goodness for audiobooks - I listen when I'm traveling back and forth between dropping off and picking up kids, at the store, cleaning...  

How'd y'all do?