Archives for July 2014

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Melissa’s review)

InsurgentInsurgent (Divergent #2)
written by Veronica Roth
published by Katherine Tegen Books (an imprint of HarperCollins)

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: I actually think I like it better than the first book (you can see our staff reviews of Divergent HERE, HERE, and HERE). I suppose I got a bit tired of Tris’s depression, and there were a few last minute rescues that were just a *bit* too convenient to be exactly believable, but it was a good read and  a great second installment. I’m going to start Allegiant just as soon as I can!


Would I recommend it: Yep. If you liked the first book in the series, just keep on reading, friends!


About the book – from Goodreads: 
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.



Thoughtful Thursday – How Much Description – July 24, 2014


Reading Is Fun Again created Thoughtful Thursday. Each week, she posts a new bookish thought that she discusses.

Everyone is welcome to join. 


July 24: How descriptive action sequences and/or romantic situations are usually depends on the author. Some authors spend several pages describing an action or romantic scene while others describe this situations in a few paragraphs or less. What is your preference?


I’m really not a fan of action sequences. I tend to skim battle scenes and the like while mumbling to myself, “fighting, fighting, fighting . . . still fighting, okay.  Moving on.” Unless the romantic scene is obviously integral to the plot, I tend to feel the same way about love scenes (“sexy time, sexy time, Oi, more sexy time, aaaand finally more plot“). I guess my preference is most obvious in books-turned-into-movies (if you’ve both read and seen the Narnia works you know what I’m talking about), but ultimately I think it’s easy to convey an heroic warrior or a steamy couple without offering a chapter’s worth of details. I’d rather use my imagination for those bits & let the author fill in the plot points I can’t guess.

Be sure to check out the other posts on this topic at Reading Is Fun Again.



Cover Reveal: Dangled Carat by Hilary Grossman (spotlight)

I am so excited to share with you the new cover for Hilary Grossman’s novel, Dangled Carat.

I think the new cover is absolutely gorgeous!!!

Dangled Carat Hilary Grossman

Dangled Carat
written by Hilary Grossman
published by BookTrope


find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & NobleAmazonBook DepositoryGoodreads

About the book: 

For every girl who wondered if she should love him or dump him…..

For every girl who listened to her heart instead of her friends advice….

For every girl who l wondered if she was wasting her time dating that guy….

meet Hilary….

She had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship–why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn’t ready–and their friends’ meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year’s Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.

For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary’s humorous and honest story will hit home.

Dangled Carat sparkles with humor and shines with wisdom. It is a gem of a book.” – Christina Baker Kline – New York Times Best Selling Author of Orphan Train.

“Fans of Sex and the City – Grossman makes a reference to Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big – will enjoy the story, but its real-girl charm should draw an even wider crowd.” – Kirkus Reviews.

hilary grossmanAbout the author: Hilary Grossman dated a guy so commitment-phobic that she was able to write a book about their relationship.  She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and shoes.  She loves to find humor in every day life.  And she likens life to a game of dodgeball – she tries to keep many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn’t writing or blogging she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer.  She lives on Long Island.

Find Ms. Grossman here: blogFacebookTwitterGoodreads


Summer Reading Challenge: Elly in Love by Colleen Oakes (Chrissy’s review)

summer reading challenge header

Elly-In-LoveElly in Love (The Elly in Bloom series #2)
written by Colleen Oakes
published by SparkPress

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Elly in Bloom (see my review here).

It’s been a while since her ex-husband’s wedding, and Elly is doing well. She and Keith are hitting it off. Her shop is doing great, and she’s thinking about opening another store. She’s about to land the celebrity wedding of the year when her life gets an unexpected visitor. And this is where I’m going to stop. I really don’t want to spoil this book.

But I will say this, Elly is growing. She is strong. She still has some fears, but she is happy. She is a great friend, even to those who may not realize they need a friend. Elly in Love is a great summer read. You will laugh, maybe cry, experience some joy and excitement, and feel a bit of fear. This would be a great beach read. My one wish: I wish there were pictures of the flowers and decorations. I guess I have to go stalk Ms. Oakes’s Pinterest page . . . I can’t wait for Elly Inspired.


Would I recommend it: Yes, especially if you liked Elly in Bloom.

About the book – from Goodreads: 
Curvy wedding florist Elly Jordan has had quite a year. First, she had to design her ex-husband’s wedding to the mistress who split them up, and then she broke up with the hottest musician this side of St. Louis. Three months have passed since then, and now Elly is primed for what promises to be the best wedding season of her life.

Helped by her loyal friends, Elly is on the verge of opening a chic flower boutique uptown when BlissBride, a popular wedding reality show, asks her to design the wedding of a famous—make that infamous–celebrity. Elly is about to get everything she’s ever wanted, when a stranger shows up at her store with a request that changes every aspect of her life–including her budding relationship with deli owner Keith. As she struggles to stay calm in the midst of growing chaos, Elly will learn the true meaning of love and sacrifice.


colleen oakesAbout the author: Colleen Oakes is the author of the Elly in Bloom series and the YA fantasy Queen of Hearts Saga, both published via SparkPress, a BookSparks imprint. She lives in North Denver with her husband and son. When not writing, Colleen enjoys swimming, traveling, and immersing herself in nerdy pop culture. She is currently at work on the last Elly novel and her second YA fantasy series, Wendy Darling.

Find Ms. Oakes here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest


summer reading challenge badge


Review: Irradiance: The Dream Guild Chronicles Book One by David Bruns (Melissa’s review)

irradianceIrradiance: The Dream Guild Chronicles Book One
written by David Bruns
published by David Bruns

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
Not really. I mean, it was okay. It wasn’t terribly well written or terribly original, but I did love the character names. I’m pretty sure liking the names of the characters isn’t enough to make a book worthwhile, though.


Would I recommend it: No, I’d give this one a pass.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
The Community is your first responsibility as a Citizen. So says the First Edict of post-Reformation Sindra. Maribel is a new mother of twins in this bioengineered, telepathically networked society of comfort and safety, where the only relationship that matters is the one between a Citizen and her Community. But Maribel is also a scientist, and scientists follow facts-wherever they lead. Her search for the truth awakens emotions in her she never knew existed, uncovers ancient powers long hidden in Sindra’s history, and has the potential to destroy her Community. A dying planet . . . A desperate parent . . . A daring plan . . . IRRADIANCE is the story of Maribel’s choice.



Blog Tour: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda by Tara Lee Reed (spotlight, excerpt, giveaway)

coulda woulda shoulda button

coulda-woulda-shoulda-195x300Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda
written by Tara Lee Reed
published by Doorflower Co.

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book: “The End” is Only the Beginning.

Elle Masters is over dating. It used to be fun: the drama, the angst, the exhilarating beginnings, the bittersweet middles, the blowout endings. Then the tears, hangovers, rebounds, and another addition to the shoebox of memories in her closet. Now Elle can’t remember the last time a guy made his way into her box.

When her friends Rachel and Valerie insist she snap out of her post-breakup funk with a girls’ night out/rebound hunt at a San Francisco bar, Elle isn’t expecting tall, dark, and hummuna-hummuna, Nick Wright. This is no rebound guy. He’s definitely, maybe, The One.

In Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, the interactive romantic comedy where you direct the plot, you play Elle as she and her pals put the “antics” in “romantics.” Get ready to question everything you thought you knew about love, over-analyzing and second-guessing your way through hundreds of modern dating dilemmas and passionate predicaments. Will you accept a last minute date? Freak out if Nick wants space? Be the first to use the ‘L’ word? Live in sin? Or hold out for a ring? Wait, do you even want a ring?

With 60 good, bad and inexplicable endings, you’ll always have another second chance at love with Mr. Wright.


You and Nick have been dating for six weeks and it’s been wonderful. You can’t remember the last time you had this much fun with someone. You’re never bored when you’re together, never at a loss for conversation, and when it is quiet, it’s a good quiet.

You are happy!

During your Friday night dinner date at your favorite Thai restaurant, you’re hard at work trying to convince Nick of his completely wrong, unjustified and undeserved preconceived notions of The Vampire Diaries, and that he should really give the show a chance – if not for himself, then for you.

“I’ll hate it.” He shakes his head rapidly.

“You don’t think I know what you’ll like?” you ask with a wriggle of your eyebrows. He coughs.

And that’s when you hear it.

Oh, myyyyyyyyy god! Nick!

If it’s possible to be allergic to a particular audio frequency, then you are allergic to this one. Wincing, you rub your ears and follow the shriek to its source – a tall, curvy, dark-haired beauty whose face must prevent heterosexual men from hearing her voice. Yes, she’s hot enough to turn men deaf and make you incredibly catty. “What are you doing here?”

Seriously – like acrylic nails on a chalkboard.

Hottie McHotterson, as you’ve named her, invades your table. She flaps her glossy lips and you try really, really hard to listen to what she says so you can report (and mock) her every word to Rachel and Valerie. Unfortunately, you’re powerless against staring at her spectacular breasts. It’s fine, they’re staring at you, too. And, anyway, you’re not sure she’s even noticed you yet.

A few awkward moments later, she squeals goodbye to Nick and leaves a big, shiny mouth-print on his already crimson cheek before she struts off.

Nice to meet your breasts, too.

You look at Nick, who wears a thoroughly pained expression. He starts to babble an explanation of how he and Hottie know each other, which, of course, you’re dying – dying – to hear.

At the same time, it’s not really your business, is it?

Give him some rope to hang himself, turn to section 108

Give him a stay of execution, turn to section 120


tara lee reedAbout the author: Tara Lee Reed is the accidental writer from Toronto, Canada, not that chick from Sharknado. When her career in public relations was forced into hiatus by a jerky plot twist, she wrote the first in a series of interactive novels. When she received offers of single and multi-book deals from top houses, she turned them down to publish independently. Because she’s crazy.

She was voted Most Sarcastic Female at her high school prom, which she went to alone. (Not that she thinks about it.) She can fit her whole fist in her mouth (which makes the prom thing surprising), and she can sing with her mouth closed, but she can’t do both at the same time.

Her tweets on The Bachelor have been aired in a live broadcast and picked up by national media. She once appeared on the cover of a romance novel with her longtime partner, who has done 79 more – with other women. She thinks that’s qualification enough to write this book.

Find Ms. Reed here: web, Facebook, Twitter, GoodreadsGoogle+, Pinterest, Instagram

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Release Day Blast: Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen (spotlight, giveaway)

Ready to WedReady to Wed
written by Cindi Madsen
published by Entangled: Select

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Dakota Halifax loves to be in love. In fact, as one of Las Vegas’s premier wedding planners, she’s built a whole career around romance. Which is why her own wedding has to be nothing short of perfect. And then her fiancé jilts her. While she’s waiting in her wedding dress. On a cruise ship already out at sea.Once back on dry land, Dakota tries to pour her heart into her business and weekly wedding advice column, Get Ready to Wed. But how can the heartbroken celebrate others’ true love? When she reconnects with her childhood best friend, surprisingly sexy and all-grown-up casino bouncer Brendan West, Dakota wonders if maybe she can fall back in love with being in love.

But then her ex reappears, begging for another chance, and suddenly Dakota questions if she’ll ever understand love. Can someone once-burned and twice-shy ever find her way down the aisle again?


About the author: Cindi Madsen is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

Find Ms. Madsen here: web, blogFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads

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Boost It Tuesday!


Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free Chance, Candace’s Book Blog, and Gin’s Book Notes for Boost It Tuesday.


What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.


As an added bonus, Candace, Ginny, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the Gin’s Book Notes Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

Gin's Book Notes

Christmas in July Giveaway Hop

Christmas in July Giveaway Hop

I am giving away one of my favorite Christmas reads — The Christmas Train by David Baldacci! I love this story. Here is a link to my review, if you’re interested. (It was one of my first reviews, too!)

The Christmas Train
written by David Baldacci
published by Grand Central Publishing

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

About the book — from Goodreads: Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington D.C. to L.A in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people’s essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost. 

The Christmas Train is filled with memorable characters who have packed their bags with as much wisdom as mischief … and shows how we do get second chances to fulfill our deepest hopes and dreams, especially during this season of miracles.



a Rafflecopter giveaway



Be sure to check out all of the stops on the Christmas in July Giveaway Hop!!!


Review: The Hero of Blind Pig Island and Other Island Stories by Jimmy Olsen (Belinda’s review)

The Hero of Blind Pig Island and Other Island StoriesThe Hero of Blind Pig Island
written by Jimmy Olsen
published by Hoffman House Press

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
This review is really a mixed bag. It’s hard to review a short story anthology when you loved some stories and hated others.

First, the positive: Mr. Olsen autographed the books he sent EFC for review. It buttered me up before I started reading. Nice touch.

I really enjoyed several of the stories. My favorite two were “Denise” and “The Hero of Blind Pig Island.” Both stories had endearing characters and strong emotional messages. Olsen has a down to earth, homey style of writing that makes you feel like you’re sitting around a campfire listening to a beloved Grandfather.

All of the stories were dramatically different, so there was no way to get bored. There was something for everyone, but unfortunately not every story is likely to entertain every reader.

I got off to a rough start with the first story, “Party Girl.”  The local high school administrator threw a party for the new teachers who came fresh out of college to work on the exotic Island.  He was more interested in evaluating their breasts than their performance. One young woman passed out and there were hints of a potential gang rape.  One of the wives, Patricia, stepped in to assure the girl’s safety. “My wife Patricia is one of those women who spends way too much time looking out for other women.” The narrator complained. From there, they moved the unconscious girl several times. It was a weird story and it didn’t sit well with me.

If the second story had been similar to the first, I’d have stopped reading. So for me, it was a three star book – with a half star thrown in for the autograph.



About the book — from Amazon: This collection of island stories carries the reader from daring adventures beneath the Caribbean Sea to tense conflict on a deserted island near the Canadian border. Love stories and private eyes, a boy living on a lonely salt cay and a girl’s dream of freedom at sea, hurricanes and heroes — all told with humor ad the insight that comes from firsthand experience.