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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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...
The Romance Reviews website is hosting a Sizzling Summer Reads party with more than 350 authors participating and tons of giveaways and prizes. There will be games and Q&A's. Check it out here. I'll be giving away a copy of SWAY!
I'm just going to leave this here. Happy weekend!
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.
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.
I'm a super impatient person when it comes to book series. The main reason is I'll love a book, but when I have to wait a year for the sequel, by the time I read it I've forgotten everything from book one. So it was awesome to be able to read the LEGEND trilogy by Marie Lu back to back. These past couple of weeks I read PRODIGY and CHAMPION. The whole trilogy was excellent. I usually prefer first books but in this case they were all good. Both books stood on their own two feet, had different plot elements rather than feeling like repeats of LEGEND, developed the characters even more, and she wrapped up the whole thing like a pro. If you enjoy dystopian YA, definitely check out this trilogy.
There's been so much hype around THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, I was almost afraid I wouldn't love it. Nope! My review on Goodreads was, I laughed, I cried, I learned, and that pretty much sums up the book for me. I loved the family dynamics of this book like crazy, I hated the struggles the MC went through, and best of all was the voice. Such a strong voice in this book I found myself thinking in it a few times and had to stop myself saying certain things aloud that I should never say, lol. A must read for everyone and I wouldn't be surprised if they make it required reading in schools one day.
THE LAST SINGLE GIRL by Caitie Quinn. This book was a novella so I breezed through it. It was tons of fun and really cute. You could see the ending a mile away, but that didn't take away my enjoyment. Great novella!
I think I've mentioned before how Kasie West is becoming one of my fave contemp YA authors. So I picked up THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US and it didn't disappoint. I will say it's my least fave of her books so far- I finished reading with a few questions still, and felt the ending was just a bit too easy. Otherwise though, the book was great. As always her dialogue is awesome, I loved the sarcasm of the MC, and again as always the love interest was swoony. Fun read.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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!
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!
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!
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!
As of today, I officially let go of my blog.
But not really. But sorta. I mean, I was posting the exact same blog posts over there as over here. Both had the same information, except I kept my reading list over there. But with Goodreads for my reading list, and the all around purpose of saving time, I decided to finally let the blog go. Now I only have to post one time instead of two.
So goodbye Daydreamer To Writer... it's been real.
Hello grown-up website.
See, this is what happens when I don't do a Monday Reads post for a long time. My list ends up being massive.
Anyway, here's what I've read lately...
THAT GIRL DARCY by James Ramos. As soon as I heard about a gender-swapped YA retelling of Pride & Prejudice I was all SIGN ME UP! And this is another problem with not doing Monday Reads posts more often: I know I had thoughts about this book but now I can't remember what they were. I gave the book 4 stars so obviously I liked it, but I know I had a few issues with it. I remember loving the nerd angle, but also that some of the MC's introspection was a bit overdone or not quite believable. At one point, his thing was, I'm just obsessed with Darcy because I need to figure her out. Yeah, okay. Keep telling yourself that. It was a fun take on one of my fave classics though.
TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP by Ally Carter. This was the last book in the trilogy. Not my favorite books by Ally Carter (I LOVE her GG series so hard), but you can always count on her to have fast-paced books with humor and romance. Plus she did a great job ending the series, so no complaints here.
THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE by Stacey Lee. Ah, Stacey Lee. Easily one of my fave YA authors now. This book was just all kinds of wonderful. It's about a girl who's an "aroma expert." She can smell people's moods. Awesome, right? Her and her mom make "potions" for people who want to fall in love, but if she falls in love she'll lose her nose. So what happens? ENTER BOY. I mean, this book was funny, great voice, romantic, and completely original.
THE PAINTER'S DAUGHTER by Julie Klassen. This was my first Klassen book and it lived up to all the hype I'd heard about it. I absolutely adored the relationship between Sophie and Stephen, I couldn't stand Wesley (which made the book all the more compelling), but I loved the secondary characters. She interwove a little mystery throughout the story, plus I loved all the art references. I had one teeny tiny issue with the MC at this one point. She thought something that really got under my skin, and although it fit with the time period and she went on to sort of retract her opinion, it still irked me. But it wasn't enough to make me stop reading, or lessen my five-star rating.
ROSEBLOOD by A.G. Howard. A Phantom of the Opera retelling! I mean, right up my alley, right? (One of my YA's has a heavy Phantom influence.) This book was basically everything I wanted it to be. The twist on the original was what really made it awesome, not to mention the swoon-worthy romance. Too much exposition for my taste, but I still really enjoyed the book.
VICTORIA by Daisy Goodwin. What I didn't know about this is that the author wrote the novel and the TV series at the same time. Why that means something? Because the two were almost identical. Which is strange. But not necessarily a bad thing. Just strange. When movies/shows are based off a book, you know there will be some major differences. NOPE. Okay, there was one: the book ends sooner than the TV show. But that's all. I still really enjoyed it, I mean obviously- I loved the show. But like the show, I wanted more Albert. There is so much build-up of her relationship with Melbourne- the guy she doesn't end up with. I wish I could see that with Albert, too. Otherwise, loved it.
And that's what I've read lately people. Now I need a nap. Or maybe I'll go read...
So the post title might be a bit of an exaggeration. But I've found when you're in the thick of it, when setbacks hit you, it's hard not to feel like you're stuck in one spot and can't get out, or worse, moving backwards, further and further from your goals instead of towards them.
It started after Christmas when me and my agent parted ways. The split was amicable. She's a wonderful person and I wish her all the best, but it was still a setback plus a major bummer.
Then last week, my romance publisher Samhain announced they are closing down for good by the end of the month. While the news didn't come as a surprise- they announced a year ago they were closing but managed to stay open all this time- it's still a huge setback. And a double shot of bummer.
So what do you do when setback's happen? Because they do happen, to all of us. For me, I had a good cry (or three), I threw my little pity party, asked WHY ME? and got jealous of the writers who's journeys *seem* to be only on the up-and-up. I did those things, because it's human nature to do so. But now I've moved on.
You know that saying, there's no use crying over spilt milk? Well, it's tough but it's true. What happened, happened, and now I have to figure out my own path forward. Otherwise I'm just wallowing in these setbacks. Otherwise, it's ME preventing myself from moving ahead.
Said path is leading me into a place I wasn't sure I'd go: self-publishing. When Samhain closes at the end of the month, my book will be removed from vendors, so it's on me to get it right back up there. Self-publishing has always been in the back of my mind as a maybe for my romance novels, and a definitely for my novella. The novella isn't ready yet, and I figured I'd learn how to self-pub when it was. Enter Samhain's news and now I'm getting a crash course on the how-to's of self-publishing. On the upside, I belong to a small yet wonderful group of Samhain authors and we're all helping each other out. If it wasn't for them, especially the fabulous Lauren Smith who's done this all before, I'd be drowning, not knowing where to even begin.
Writing is easy for some people, or so they say. But for most of us, it's a constant struggle of some kind. For me, it's been a battle since I started this all seven years ago. I have no doubt it will continue to be a battle. As much as I wish I didn't always have to fight so hard for it, I know that it's toughened me up. So when the next setback comes, then the next and the next, I won't be knocked down for good. I will always get back up again.
Now comes the shameless plug. If you like romance, Samhain is having a sale on everything! Check out these books below by some fabulous authors. *heads up: each of these books has sexual content*
It's been awhile since I've done a Friday Loves post. I guess nothing has been really stirring those passion juices... until now.
I feel like I need to insert an evil laugh right here for some reason.
Anyway, I have this list a mile long of TV shows I want to try or continue, and Victoria was one of them. Being in an all around low (winter has a lot to do with that, among other things) I really wanted something sweet and romantic to escape into. So I thought Victoria would be the perfect fit.
And it was.
It was everything I wanted it to be and more. I completely loved the series and am seriously considering watching it from the start all over again. Jenna Coleman does a fabulous job. I love the storyline and sexual tension between her and Melbourne (even if it is made up), and I love love love the relationship between her and Albert. Most of all I love to see a young woman, looked down on by many of the men, overcome it, rise up, and show them who is boss.
My only complaint is that I wish the start of the relationship between Victoria and Albert dragged out a bit more. It could be because I like me some sexual tension, it could also be the contrast between three episodes between her and Melbourne and then it happens with Albert in one, but in any case, I would've liked to see that drawn out more before she's suddenly in love with him and him with her.
Otherwise, a fantastic show. Anyone who loves period dramas is sure to love this one. I can't wait for season two!
I've been reading like crazy in January so I've got a lot of books to talk about.
First off, WICKED DESIGNS by Lauren Smith. Lauren is a fellow Samhain author and all around super smart lady. This book was incredibly sexy and dangerous. I'll admit though, that I had a hard time getting past the premise. The MC is kidnapped by the love interest at the very start, all because he wants revenge on her uncle. He doesn't care AT ALL that he has ruined her reputation completely. I liked how the MC fought back in the beginning, and fought against her feelings for awhile, but while she began to forgive/lust after/fall in love with him I was still like, um no.
SWORN ENEMY by A.L. Sowards. This was a well-written, well-researched novel about World War II, most of it taking place in a location not usually used for WWII novels. The characters were fleshed out, and the mystery of who the double agent might be was really good. It lacked a little bit of something for me... not sure what I just wasn't feeling the emotion as much as I wanted to. Otherwise though, it was a great read.
THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING by Morgan Matson. Great contemp YA read. I loved it, loved the love interest, loved the friendships. My only complaint is that at over 500 pages, it was long for a contemp, IMO.
GOLDEN SON by Pierce Brown. This is the second book in the trilogy and these books are... interesting for me. I love parts like crazy but then I'm bored by parts. The best thing about these books are- 1) he never goes where I expect. The plot twists and turns so much and I'm always surprised by it. And 2) the endings are such cliffhangers in the best way that I want to read the next one. Honestly, if they didn't end like this, I probably wouldn't have picked up GOLDEN SON and wouldn't pick up the third book, but I will now because I want to know what's going to happen. I will pick up book 3 but I'm really hoping it wows me more than bores me.
IN THE MIDDLE by S.J. Henderson. S.J. and I are in a Facebook author group together and I picked up this book when I signed up for her blog tour. I read the book in two days. I found it a very interesting take on life and death, but most of all, I LOVED the love story.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE by Jennifer E. Smith. I think this is my fave Jennifer E. Smith book out of the three I've read. I can't help but love the movie star/average girl trope, plus I loved the email aspect. My only complaint was it ended as Happy-For-Now with not much getting resolved at all. I wanted a better glimpse into the future, but that's just me.
Phew. That was a lot of reading. What are you reading right now?
Today I get to take part in the blog tour for IN THE MIDDLE, a YA Paranormal Romance by S.J. Henderson.
Here's the blurb:
Girl moves to new town.
Girl meets Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome.
Cue Happily Ever After.
That’s how the story goes, right?
Except this is Lucy. The same Lucy whose stellar driving skills single-handedly wiped out both of her parents, leaving her with nothing but the suitcase in her hand and the screws in her skull. Not to mention that Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome—AKA Oliver—is just as annoyingly bossy as he is hot. According to Oliver, Lucy’s not safe in her new hometown, but he refuses to say why. He just gives her some lame warning about not going out after dark, like that’ll stop her.
When several townspeople vanish, the lethargic community springs to life, fearful of the danger lurking among them. The problem is that Lucy’s the last person to have seen any of the missing. Doesn’t exactly qualify her for the Neighbor of the Year Award.
Lucy’s already given up on Happily Ever After, but now she has two choices left: find out what’s happening in her new home, or become the next victim.
Sounds pretty awesome right? Well I can tell you it is! I read this book in two days. It was a fast read, engrossing, the characters were vivid, and best of all the romance was swoony! Not only that, it was a very interesting take on life and death, and a touching story to boot.
You can buy the book on Amazon or at the Publisher's website: Tiny Fox Press.
Wanna read an excerpt? Of course you do!
“Do you trust me?” he asks. He’s closer to me.
“Do I have a choice?”
“Not really. We’ve got to get you back to the mansion before . . .” His voice trails off. I want to slug him in the arm for being spooky again, but I’d have to find his arm first.
He swoops in without warning, whisking me from my feet. Again, I cry out. He sucks in a sharp breath that catches between his teeth. “Lucy, I’m not kidding—stop making noise.”
My blood simmers beneath my skin. “Warn me next time you’re planning on picking me up, then.”
“Sorry,” he fires back, his mouth too close to my ear.
I want nothing more than for the strength in my legs to return so I can get away from him and his nerve, but Oliver is in control now and holds me pressed unnecessarily tightly to his body. Turning my head from him is my only means of escape. I’d shown him, all right.
With a little more energy than necessary, he heaves me up into the blackness. My bottom connects to something soft yet solid—Jasper’s back—and pain spikes down my spine. I gasp as my body starts to curl in on itself.
“Okay,” Oliver says. “Slide your right leg over to the other side. I’ll keep you steady.”
My mouth flops open and I wonder if he can see the ever-growing whites of my eyes. Or maybe he’s picked up on the stampede going on between the valves of my heart, because he softens. “Lucy, I’m not going to let you fall. Trust me.”
“The only people I’ve ever trusted are dead,” I shoot down to him as I claw around for something, anything, to keep me from falling on my face.
Oliver snorts, which sends me over the edge.
“What? You think that’s funny?” I challenge him, no longer concerned about keeping quiet. His hand clamps on my leg in piercing reproof. I’ll have bruises there tomorrow, for sure. Through locked teeth, I order, “Let. Go.”
“Please stop,” he says. “I’m trying to keep you sa—”
A rumble beyond us, where the orchard fades into the rest of the forest, interrupts his plea. Even though I sit astride stoic Jasper, I can feel the ground vibrating beneath us.
“What in the—?” I cry, whipping my head in the direction of the growing commotion.
“Slide back,” Oliver commands. I know better than to take offense at his bossy tone. I’d made a big mistake, one he’d been trying to protect me from. The fear of horses leaves my body, only to be replaced by the fear of the unknown. Ignoring the bite of pain in my hip, I throw my leg over Jasper’s withers and shove myself backward, using my palms for leverage. A second later, Oliver sweeps himself upward and in front of me on his horse’s back.
“Hold on,” he yells over the thunder moving our direction.
And a bit about the author:
S. J. Henderson is the founder of the Kid Authors Project, as well as a published author of the DANIEL THE DRAW-ER series. Now that she's published IN THE MIDDLE, she'll start working on the next big thing.
S. J. lives on a farm with her husband, four boys, two dogs, and cat. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her riding one of her family’s three horses. She loves to sing and is slowly learning to play the ukulele.