Monday Reads: Series Ends and Austen Retellings

It's always great to finish up a series. It's an accomplishment of sorts. And if the books are good, it's seeing favorite characters get the endings they deserve. It's finishing with a sense of satisfaction and closure. Hopefully.

Luckily, both of these 3rd books in YA trilogies did that for me. 

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN by Jenny Han and THE ENDS OF THE WORLD by Maggie Hall. Great ends to great trilogies. 

I also read two modern Jane Austen retellings. EMMA: A LATTER-DAY Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison, and FIRST & THEN by Emma Mills.

With Emma, it was a book where the characters share my religion. I thought I'd really enjoy this modern retelling, but unfortunately it just didn't do it for me. I had a lot of issues with the book and the characters, and in fact rounded up to a 3-star rating because it's really difficult for me to give lower. I enjoyed FIRST & THEN decidedly more, although calling it a PRIDE & PREJUDICE retelling isn't quite right. The MC likes Austen, and sometimes thinks things using a regency voice, and there could be a parallel made with how she feels about the hero at the start with how Elizabeth feels about Mr. Darcy, but that's where the Austen/P&P similarities end. I did like the book though and it gave me the feels in quite a few spots. 

In all, not a bad reading week. What have you read lately?

Monday Reads

It's Monday Reads, Labour Day edition. Which basically means I'm writing this post at 6pm instead of in the AM because I was out with the kids all day. So here's what I read:

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DARK DESIRES by Eve Silver. I heard Eve Silver speak a couple of years ago at WHEN WORDS COLLIDE. I really connected with her story of writer struggles and how her writer heart got broken over and over and over again (like, ALOT. It made me feel better). Since then, I've wanted to read something by her and finally, I did. Dark Desires didn't disappoint. The mystery was good and I especially loved the romance and the swoony hero. I did get a bit irked by the MC at times. I can't really say why without giving the mystery away, but it was all good in the end.

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P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU by Jenny Han. This book was a lot of fun. I laughed out loud lots and really connected with the MC. I've heard a lot of criticism about how the MC's voice is young, but I find it refreshing. Not every teenager is going to sound jaded, mature, experienced, etc. and it bugs me when they're expected to be that way. So I've liked the two books in this series so far and onto the third!

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THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO by F.C. Yee. My local librarian told me to pick this one up- she loved it- so I thought, why not. And I'm so glad I did. The MC was so awesome. She was snarky, tough, mean, unapologetic, and funny. It was awesome reading about a mythology I know nothing about. And I liked the slow burn of the romance. 

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THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS by Sarah Ockler. This book was on the slower side, but still good. The premise was so interesting, as was the MC and her backstory. I thought it might be difficult to read a story where the MC can't talk, but it wasn't at all. The romance was the best part for me- a great mixture of sweet and sexy and romantic.

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PREJUDICE MEETS PRIDE by Rachael Anderson. Based on the title, I assumed this was a Pride & Prejudice retelling. Um, no. It's not. Which left me a little disappointed because the book wasn't what I thought. Aside from that, I enjoyed the story, but it wasn't amazing. Just good. Good enough to finish but I wasn't wowed. 

I will not mention the book I DNF'd after two pages based on the shoddy writing, because whatcha gonna do. It happens.

*Terrifical Travels, Part One: Maui

I love to travel. If I could, I would go everywhere, and often. Unfortunately, time, money, and four children prevent that. Fortunately, I have managed to go to some pretty great places in the last year and thought I'd share some pics from the places I've visited.

Last November, I visited Hawaii for the second time. First time was a few years ago for my brother's wedding on Oahu. This time, me and the hubs plus my brother-in-law and his wife went to Maui.

Can I say how much I love Hawaii? I really do. Yes, it's expensive, but it's such a beautiful place and the weather is perfection. I was really worried it wouldn't be warm enough (for me, who hates the cold) in November but it was gorgeous. It never rained and it was never too hot.

We stayed at a time share right on the beach, although the waves near us were massive. Lucky for me and the hubs, it was our turn to get the "good" room, and whoo did we ever. Check out this view!

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The trip was the perfect mix of relaxation and sight-seeing. We snorkeled, we tried some great restaurants, we shopped, drove around the island, saw a huge surfing competition (from afar) and even took a helicopter tour, which was so cool. And of course, we went to a luau. The food was iffy but the show was incredible! 

Have you ever been to Hawaii? I would love to go back again. The hubs hasn't been to Oahu and would like to see Pearl Harbour so hopefully one day...

*Is terrifical actually a word? I'm not sure if it is, but I liked the sound of it anyway. I really wanted to call these posts Travels With Trolls but thought the people I traveled with might object. *Bonus points if you know where Travels With Trolls is from. 

 

Monday Reads

It's hard to read anything after HARRY POTTER... I mean, nothing lives up, right? And maybe I was just a bit judgmental after because I found myself nitpicking a lot of the books I've read since.

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Like THE SUNFLOWER by Richard Paul Evans. This is the first I've read by this author although I've seen some movies based off his books. But I found this story lacking. It was sweet and nice, and a quick read, but too quick I think. It didn't delve as deeply into the characters as I would have liked, so when they are having feelings, I had trouble believing them. Also, the dialogue was forced at times. A nice story though, and I did like the setting, some of the places they traveled, and the kids at the orphanage.

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I SEE LONDON, I SEE FRANCE by Sarah Mlynowski. So, this was a strange one for me. I picked it up because I loved the premise and I wanted just this kind of story for a summer read. I assumed it was YA, it read like YA, and then the MC says she's 19 and already done a year in college. I was super confused. It took my probably half the book to finally get used to the younger voice compared to the age and experience of the character. There was very blase talk of sex and drugs that didn't fit for me. I did enjoy the romance part of the story though and all the places they visited. 

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THE BELLES  by Dhonielle Clayton. Isn't the cover gorgeous? I also love the premise. However, it took me a while to get into it. There was a lot of beautiful description, and I get why, but it became too much for me. Other than that though, I really enjoyed the story, was bummed it cut off so abruptly and I'll pick up the next one for sure. Unfortunately I read an ARC because the book hasn't released yet so I have a long time to wait.

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ON THE FENCE by Kasie West. Kasie West does it again. LOVED LOVED LOVED. The characters, the romance, the feels. She gets me, every time. A 5-billion star read.

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DARCY'S ULTIMATUM by Jennifer Joy. I enjoyed this Pride & Prejudice variation. The addition of Darcy's father was really interesting and I loved him as a character. I also liked seeing how Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship played out in this setting, plus I got a bigger glimpse into Darcy's character. The stakes felt a bit low to me at times, but otherwise it was a great read.

So ON THE FENCE was definitely my fave but the rest were solid reads. Unfortunately I also DNF'd a book this week but I don't like to talk about those. If I finish a book, then there are definitely things I like about them, despite the nitpicks.

What did you read this week? 

 

 

On Conferences and Anxiety

This weekend I had the chance to attend a writers conference- WHEN WORDS COLLIDE in Calgary. It was my third time attending WWC and my third time attending any writers con. It was a great experience, I learned a lot, participated in some panels, and sold some books. 

But I wanted to say some things... 

Most writers are introverts. A lot of us get really nervous about attending cons. We feel awkward and insecure and lonely and weird. We worry about having no one to talk to, or about trying to talk to someone. We worry about the stress we'll feel from being around so many people. We worry about the toll it will take on our bodies and minds.

These are all worries I have personally. I get anxiety about it every single time. For at least a week leading up to WWC- or any author event, I'm sick to my stomach. I tell myself I won't go, then tell myself I will, then won't, then will, and back and forth. I feel absolute dread about the whole thing. I get sweaty and nervous before I have to appear on panels, or work the shared author table where my books are sold. I wish I was a different person who isn't like this. Who can saunter into any class or room and talk to random strangers- because after all aren't we all writers or artists of some kind? Aren't these my people? It doesn't matter what I tell myself on the drive in (nobody really knows you and you can be anyone), I still end up being mostly silent and alone and nervous and scared.

So. This isn't me trying to drum up pity. And it's definitely not me telling you not to attend writers cons. Because YOU SHOULD ATTEND WRITERS CONS. Despite all the stuff I go through before and during, despite the need to de-stress afterward, I will keep attending.

Why? First, I learn stuff. If I hadn't gone to WWC this weekend I never would have learned how to write a better fight scene, how to find influencers, and that I can pitch my book to Hollywood producers myself (no joke, you can!). I don't learn something new in every panel or class, but like I said earlier, just being around other writers is motivating. It's inspiring. It's beneficial. It's a must, especially for those of us who don't know many (if any) writers in real life.

Second, people learn about me. I haven't done many in-person events. Mostly because I don't know where/how to book them. So when I know of one, a clear chance to get my name out there and my books on a table, where I can share what I've learned about the writing process/craft/business, then I need to take it. And you do, too.

Third, I need to push myself out of my comfort zone. I know this. My therapist has told me this. I don't want my anxiety to beat me so I have to beat it. I'm hoping one day it will get easier, but I also know it probably won't. But I do it anyway because I know I should. 

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To help my anxiety, I wear a fake tattoo. I started this with my first ever author appearance and it's become tradition. So when I start to get anxious or stressed or nervous or down or less in any kind of way, I look at the tattoo (usually on my wrist) and it helps ground me. So if you get anxiety about going to a con, find something that will center you. That will remind you that you are awesome and that you can do anything.

Go to that writer's con. You won't regret it.

Monday Rereads

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of when Harry Potter was first published. The 19 years later at the end of Deathly Hallows happens this September the 1st. July was also the month I visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the 2nd time (the first time in California). So naturally, it felt time for a reread.

I spent July rereading the Harry Potter series and I loved it just as much as I did the first time, the second time, the tenth time... I will always love these books. If you asked me what one book I'd want with me on a desert island, I'd answer all seven HP books. (Because you can't read one without reading the rest.)

I've often wondered why I love the books so much. There are a lot of reasons, but the main one is the world J.K. Rowling created. It just feels so real. I want it to be real. And if it is, I better not be a Muggle! I want to live in it, and get my letter to Hogwarts, and my own wand, and...

So yeah, I'm a Harry Potter fangirl. Probably always will be. I can totally picture myself at 70 years old still reading them, watching the movies, and wearing an I Solemnly Swear I Am Up to No Good shirt. 

Harry Potter? you ask. And I reply, Always. 

Monday Reads... on Wednesday!

I've read nine books since I've posted last. NINE. So I don't think I'm going to talk about each one. I've rated them all on Goodreads, but most of these books were stellar reads. POISON'S KISS, ALEX & ELIZA, SOULLESS, and of course the first two Harry Potter's were all five star reads. The rest, 4-star. So yay for that. Good books make me happy. 

Monday Reads: a YA, an MG, and an Anthology

A bit of a slower couple of weeks for reading, mostly because I had to read my novella like three times in a row and that kinda sorta cut into my reading time. But so it goes.

Anyway, I read MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick. This is a YA contemp I've had on my Goodreads TBR for forever. It's one of the first books I ever added. It was a great read, and I loved the relationship between Sam and Jase. I also really loved the family dynamics of the Garretts. You could tell the author knows what it's like to have a big family. My only complaint was the book ended too easily, and it didn't tie up some of the subplots. It left me feeling a bit dissatisfied, despite enjoying the first 300 or so pages I spent with these characters. 

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale. I don't usually read middle grade, but this book looked good to me ever since my daughter got it in her Easter basket this year. I ended up loving it! The book was so funny, especially the postscripts and the texts Squirrel Girls sends the Avengers. Not only that but it had a great message about friends and accepting people- and yourself- for who you are.

THE DARCY MONOLOGUES edited by Christina Boyd. Obviously I'd read one of these stories already... ahem, mine. I spent the last couple of months reading through the rest. It took me long because I'd read a story in between a book I was reading, or sometimes when I was out and only had my phone on me and needed something to read. But I really liked reading it this way because it was like prolonging the enjoyment of the book. I can say with all honesty that each one of these stories is fabulous. I have my faves (not mentioning any names) but they were all so well done and it was a lot of fun reading the different takes on Mr. Darcy. I'm truly honoured to be part of such an awesome collection of stories.

 

Cover Reveal Coming Soon...

My novella is done, it's in for formatting, and I have a cover reveal coming this FRIDAY! 

CLASH is a story about Elizabeth Elliot, AKA Ava's older sister Beth from SWAY, AKA Miss Elliot from Persuasion. Beth is a snotty, sometimes mean, no-filtered, and very strong woman who was a lot of fun to write. Despite her hard exterior, she has an inner vulnerability that she doesn't like to show anyone. So when a man and his daughter enter her life... well things get a bit messed up for her. 

Here's the blurb:

Planning a party is easy, falling in love is hard.

No longer content to be a Los Angeles socialite, Elizabeth Elliot starts her own party planning business: Excessively Diverted, making dreams come true one party at a time. She even knows how to handle those unruly party guests, like Antonio Reyes, the man who drank too much, insulted the décor, and didn’t know the difference between crudités and canapés. The nerve. 

So when this same Tony Reyes demands she plan his daughter’s Sweet Sixteen, Elizabeth refuses, no matter how many dollar signs are attached to his name. That is until Elizabeth discovers her new business is in trouble. She must suck up her pride and work with Tony, despite how much she hates the man.

As Elizabeth gets to know Tony and his daughter, her clear-cut hatred starts to get muddled with feelings—the kind that could screw up the job, and her life, completely. She must decide whether risking her heart is worth it… but who has time for all that when there’s a party to be planned? 

Check out my cover reveal on Friday over at Austen Variations! And CLASH will be coming June 27th! 

Monday Reads, or rather May Reads

Wow, I haven't done a Monday Reads post in a month! Yikes! But I did take a trip to Europe so... excuses. 

So in this last month, here's what I read:

THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND by Kasie West. Loved loved loved this book! So cute and fun, like all of her books. I highly recommend Kasie West to anyone looking for cute, clean YA reads with quirky characters and great dialogue. 

BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm not much for non-fiction but I received this book from my ex-agent as a Christmas gift and of course gave it a try. I ended up loving it! I didn't agree with quite everything Gilbert said, but it was an inspiring book about learning how to live a creative life. It's probably one I'll pick up again when I'm feeling low on creative juices.

THE PAINTED GIRLS by Cathy Marie Buchanan. I don't usually buy books I haven't read, or haven't heard good things about, or where I'm not familiar with the author, but this book was an exception. The blurb sounded right up my alley. While I did like the book, I didn't love it like I thought it would. I think because the book was darker/harsher than I expected it to be. Still a well-written and well-researched read though.

CLOCKWISE by Elle Strauss. Time-travel is one of my favourite genres (if I can call it that). I picked up this book with high hopes and was left slightly disappointed. It was a fun, easy read, and I found the author's use of the time-travel trope interesting, but it lacked something I can't quite put my finger on. :(

PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND THE PERFECT MATCH by Marilyn Brant. I love PRIDE & PREJUDICE retellings, especially moderns, and this one was excellent. Great characters, great twist on the original, and a lovely ending. I'll definitely be picking up another book by Marilyn Brant!

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CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo. This book is a sequel to SIX OF CROWS. I remember having a hard time getting into SIX OF CROWS but once I did, I loved it. With CROOKED KINGDOM, I was into it from the very start- though I had a hard time remembering who was who and what had happened in the previous book. But no matter- it was an excellent read. Twisty plot and fantastic characters. 

DREAMING ANASTASIA by Joy Preble. So my Goodreads To-Read list is endless, of course, but I've been trying to read some of the books I added at the very start. This book was one of those. I couldn't even remember what it was about or why I added it, but I reserved it from my library and then dove right in when I got it. And, oh hey, it was about Anastasia Romanov, cool! Lol. This book ended up sorta like CLOCKWISE for me. There were things I loved but it fell a little short. Bummer.

So that's basically my May reading. Can't wait to see what June brings! 

Cover Reveal: Home Field by Laurie Winter

I love taking part in cover reveals. It's such an exciting time for an author, plus I love promoting pretty covers. They say don't judge a book by its cover... but I totally do. 

So today is all about HOME FIELD by Laurie Winter. Before I show you the cover, how about telling you what the book is all about?

 An unexpected friendship offers her broken heart a second chance at true love.

One year after her husband is killed in action, Julie Ellis is back in her hometown and focused on raising her young son. Then Reagan Harrison bursts into her life—a cocky, charming linebacker who leaves her off balance.

As a successful, professional athlete, Reagan believes he has it all. But after meeting Julie, he finds every excuse in the book to spend time with her. Despite his best efforts not to fall too hard, Reagan envisions a future with Julie, along with the little boy he’s come to love as his own.

While Reagan’s protective love begins to mend Julie’s spirit, she can’t suppress her continued deep devotion to her late husband’s memory. And when a letter arrives from beyond the grave, Reagan resolves to provide her with the answers she desperately needs to heal. Now Julie must choose either to keep her heart closed off or remove the lock and fight for a future with Reagan. Can a second chance at true love be just as sweet?

Sounds like a book full of feels, right? Now how about that cover...

Gorgeous! HOME FIELD by Laurie Winter is coming June 30th! Pre-order on Amazon or Kobo.

Monday Reads... on Tuesday

I feel like I'm one thing away from a full-on brain scramble. Where there will just be so much going on in my head that it'll become mush. Or maybe it's already mush, who knows. Which is my excuse for why I'm a day late on Monday Reads.

I've seen this cover somewhere before...

I've seen this cover somewhere before...

First up is SECRETS AFTER DARK by Marie Higgins. This is one of those books where the concept is really good but the execution just wasn't. There were things I liked about the book, but things that fell flat. And I'm just going to leave it at that. 

CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber. Another book where I loved the concept. I read a lot of reviews talking about the flowery language, but I didn't feel like it was over the top. I loved the twists and turns of this book- just when I thought I knew what was happening, something else happened instead. The book always left me guessing. I also loved Scarlett and Julian as characters. While I gave it 5 stars, it's actually more of a 4.5 for me, mostly because Scarlett and Tella's dad was very one-dimensional EVIL. Also, Tella (Scarlett's sister) isn't very nice. Scarlett does everything for her, but since we see Tella very little in the book, and what we do see of her is mostly selfishness, it's hard to understand why Scarlett's main focus is on protecting Tella the whole time. Otherwise, excellent world-building and lovely story.

Last, I read MORNING STAR, the third book in the RED RISING trilogy by Pierce Brown. This book felt just like the others for me in that I wanted to know what happened, but I wanted to be done it already. I'm not sure exactly what it was- the violence maybe, or so much going on that it ended up feeling unnecessary... not really sure, but I never connected with these books like I wanted. They have some excellent characters, full plots, and big bang endings, but unfortunately I was often bored in the middle. Still, a four-star read for me like the others.

Now I'm in the mood for some fun and swoony romance. 

Multitasking Writing Projects

I consider myself a good multitasker. And yet...

I rarely read more than one book at once. I know some people have multiple books on the go at all times, but not me. 

Same with writing. I've heard of some authors jumping from one project to another in the same month, week, even day. I've never been great at that. I get really focused on the one project I'm working on to the point where everything else is a distraction. It's hard for me to suddenly click "off" on a certain set of characters/world and "on" to another. I also have a hard time not finishing something once I've started. 

For example, I've been struggling with Romance Book 3 for awhile now. I did end up putting it aside to write my short story THE BEAST OF PEMBERLEY, which is going to appear in the upcoming anthology THE DARCY MONOLGUES (like I haven't talked about it before, lol). I went back to book 3 after, finally finishing what I thought was the hardest part- the middle section. I thought once that was done, the rest would come easy. 

Ha!

I have managed to find somewhat of a groove with book 3- not writing as often as I would like but still making forward progress. I really really wanted to finish the first draft of this book before doing anything else. 

But now, my editor is finished with his first pass of COLLIDE (Romance Book 2), meaning I can start in on that anytime. I'd really like to publish it by the end of this year. PLUS, my novella has been waiting for a long time... I was hoping to have it out in the summer. With my slow progress on Romance Book 3, I just keep thinking, maybe I should set it aside and work on these other two instead.

But it's so hard. I feel like I'm quitting, even though I'm not. I know I'll finish book 3 eventually, but dang. I want to get it done now. At the same time, I have self-imposed deadlines for the other two projects so I have to shift my thinking.

Learning to jump back and forth between projects isn't going to come easy, but I think it's going to become a must. Just this week, I put aside book 3 to reread my novella and did a surface revision before sending it to a CP, and now I'm back to book 3 again. I have got to learn to compartmentalize each project in a way that lets me move back and forth between them if I must. I don't really know how to do this, but as they say, practice makes perfect, right? Or, at least, practice might help me get used to it, since perfection is a long way off.

THE DARCY MONOLOGUES cover

So the cover for THE DARCY MONOLOGUES went live on Monday. Fifteen blogs participated and there's some giveaways happening. You can check those out here.

But in case you haven't seen it yet, here is the pretty...

Isn't it gorgeous?! Black and pink are one of my fave colour combos. Plus, I love the mix of modern and Regency Darcy. I can't wait to get my very own copy so that I can show it off! Well done Christina (for her vision) and Shari at MadHat Covers (for making it a reality)! 

In case you're wondering what THE DARCY MONOLOGUES is all about, here's the blurb:

"You must allow me to tell you..."
For over two hundred years, Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy has captivated readers' imaginations as the ultimate catch. Rich. Powerful. Noble. Handsome. And yet, as Miss Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" is established through Elizabeth Bennet's fine eyes, how are we to know his mind? How does Darcy progress from "She is tolerable: but not handsome enough to tempt 'me'" to "I thought only of 'you'"?
In this romance anthology, fifteen Austenesque authors assemble to sketch Darcy's character through a series of re-imaginings, set in the Regency through contemporary times--from faithful narratives to the fanciful. Herein "The Darcy Monologues", the man himself reveals his intimate thoughts, his passionate dreams, and his journey to love--all told with a previously concealed wit and enduring charm.
Stories by: Susan Adriani * Sara Angelini * J. Marie Croft * Karen M Cox * Jan Hahn * Jenetta James * Lory Lilian * KaraLynne Mackrory * Beau North * Ruth Phillips Oakland * Natalie Richards * Sophia Rose * Joana Starnes * Melanie Stanford * Caitlin Williams

I can't say enough how excited I am to be part of this anthology, and I can't wait to read the other stories! 

Cover Reveal and Monday Reads

First off, IT'S COVER REVEAL DAY FOR THE DARCY MONOLOGUES!!!!!!!!

I'm super excited to be a part of this anthology all about Mr. Darcy (Pride & Prejudice). The anthology comes out in May, but today is cover reveal day, plus there's a chance to win a Kindle Fire! You can check it out here. My story is a PRIDE & PREJUDICE/BEAUTY AND THE BEAST mashup!

Now onto Monday Reads: 

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon. I really really enjoyed this book. Yoon has a way of making characters real and flawed and relatable. Their stories are heartbreaking yet there's humor throughout. It's a 4.5 star read for me, and that's only because personally I wanted more of an HEA. Don't get me wrong, the story ends happily, but I wanted more happy! Lol. Just a personal preference.

THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne. This book was just so funny and so witty and so sexy. It was chick lit at its best and I'll definitely read Thorne's next book. 5 stars all the way. (Warning: it does have sex scenes, for anyone who doesn't care for that sort of thing.) This book needs to be a movie ASAP, and I found this casting someone did online and I think it's perfect:

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DARCY'S VOYAGE by Kara Louise. Kara is a fellow member of Austen Variations, and sadly I haven't read a whole lot of the other members books yet. So as soon as I saw this on the shelf, I snapped it up. There are some people who only read P&P variations, or Austen variations. I'm obviously not one of those people. In fact, I don't even like to read two variations in a row. That doesn't mean I don't like them though and this book did not disappoint. The great thing about P&P variations is it has the same feel as reading a beloved book, yet it's different in a surprising way. I had to suspend my disbelief a bit at the "marriage" but it didn't stop my enjoyment of the book and I thought Kara did the whole thing brilliantly. Another 5 star read!

LEGEND by Marie Lu. I bought this book at a school book fair AGES ago and kept putting it off. At first, it was because I wanted all three books out before I started so I wouldn't have to wait. And then I think it just became a matter of not being in the mood for dystopian. But then I was and it was exactly like I wanted it to be. The best parts of it for me were the pacing (so fast but not too fast) and the characters/love story. It was an excellent read and as soon as I finished I was at my library picking up book 2- Prodigy. I'm fairly certain I'll end up buying book 2 and 3, but my library was closer so... Anyway, 5 stars to LEGEND!  What a great reading week!

Friday Loves: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

This isn't exactly news, but the new live action BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is AMAZING. 

So, I'm not going to lie and say it was a perfect movie, because it wasn't. BUT. The beauty of it was just... mesmerizing. It was so colorful, and full of life. The songs were, of course, excellent. The way they did the beast worked- better than hair and makeup or a mask probably would've. But best of all was the little bits they added in to flesh out the story and make it more believable.

***Minor spoilers ahead, don't read if you haven't seen it***

The backstory for the Beast, plus about Belle's mom. How Mrs. Potts basically says they didn't help change their master so the curse was their problem to deal with (we made our bed, we have to lie in it, that kind of thing). And I especially liked how at one point Belle says something to the Beast along the lines of, "Can you ever really be happy if you aren't free?" I also really liked how LeFou was more than just a silly henchman, and how he has a change of heart at the end. 

The whole thing was just so magical and beautiful and I can't wait until I can see it again. Well done Disney!

Monday Reads and a Giveaway!

Another full couple of weeks of reading!

STARFALL by Melissa Landers is the sequel to STARFLIGHT. Melissa Landers always does these sweeping and epic sci-fi stories with tons of romance, which I love. STARFALL was pretty good, although I liked STARFLIGHT better. 

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon. Oh this book. So excellent. Great voice. Loved the little extras in the book... I don't know what else to call them but if you've read it you'll know what I mean. And the romance. I know some felt gypped by the ending- or that the author took the easy way out- but I didn't. Really, it could either go one way or the other and I for one liked the end the author chose. I can't wait to see the movie!

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THE DASHWOOD SISTERS TELL ALL by Beth Patillo. This was a third book in a sort of trilogy. Not the kind that you have to read in order, but I did. I liked this one a lot better than book 2, and I think maybe better than book 1, although it's hard to remember. There's always a hint of mystery in these books, and of course, some romance. The author tends to take endings that I don't enjoy, but this one was not disappointing.

WHAT IS HIDDEN? by Lauren Skidmore. This book started out rough for me. I wasn't that into it, and the writing felt a bit amateurish. However, the premise was good so I gave it a chance, and I'm glad I did. The twist on Cinderella really was different than anything I'd read before, and I liked the world the author built. I was disappointed to find out it's the start of a series, so things didn't get wrapped up neatly. Not sure if I'll pick up the next book but the romance was definitely enjoyable and at times it had some really excellent dialogue.

BY YOUR SIDE by Kasie West. Speaking of dialogue, Kasie West is a queen! This is the second book I've read by this author and as soon as I was done, I went to my local bookstore and bought two more by her. That's how certain I am that I will love everything she writes. Her YA contemporary is perfect. It's everything I want it to be. I liked how this story delved into some deep issues without going really dark. I don't mind a dark book, but this book shows you can talk about serious stuff while still keeping things on the lighter side. I LOVED it.

THE ALCHEMISTS by Craig DiLouie. I went to an author evening where a bunch of authors did readings, Craig DiLouie being one of them. Out of all of them, his reading inspired me to buy the book. This book ended up being hit or miss with me. The dialogue was excellent, and often very funny, which was the best part. The miss was that oftentimes it felt like a history lesson. I love historicals but there were so many parts where the author told the backstory of some war or some king, and in a way where it was like, okay, settle in, it's time for backstory right now. With all of that, the love story thread in the book ended up feeling rushed, and therefore not all that believable. So three stars, because I liked it, but didn't love it.

Speaking of books, 5 copies of SWAY are up for grabs on Goodreads in honor of 200 years of Jane Austen! Enter to win! 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sway by Melanie Stanford

Sway

by Melanie Stanford

Giveaway ends April 13, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

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