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Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 Young Adult Reading Challenge

January 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013

The Rules:

-Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Posting on GoodReads or wherever you post your reviews is good enough.
-Audio, eBooks, paper, re-reads all count.
-No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.
-Young Adult is a broad range. Middle grade and New Adult CAN be included.

There are four levels:
The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
The "Fun Size" YA Reading Challenge – Read 20 Young Adult novels.
The Jumbo Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 40 Young Adult novels.
The Mega size YA Reading Challenge – Read 50+ Young Adult novels.

Challenge begins January 1st, 2013 -December 31, 2013. 
Books started before the 1st do not count. You can join at anytime.

When you sign up under Linky, put the direct link to your post where your books will be listed. Include the URL to this post so that other viewers can find this fun challenge. If you’d prefer to put your list in the sidebar of your blog, please leave your viewers the link to the sign up page. Again, so viewers can join the challenge too.

Come link up at the beginning of each month to share your reviews! 
-(this is optional, but we all love to hear your thoughts on books you have read!)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

150+ Reading Challenge for 2013

It is my pleasure to present to you the 
150+ Reading Challenge for 2013!


For me 100 books is not a problem to read for one year.  I know there are a lot of people out there who can read more than the base line of 100.

So....this year I am not only challenging myself, I am going to challenge you to read even more this year!

The goal is to reach 150+ books for this challenge.  Now don't get discouraged!  I know 150 books or more sounds like a lot.  When you read the rules below though, you will find that it is quite easy to reach 150 books.

Don't be shy! Come sign up and spread the word!  The challenge doesn't officially start until January 1st, 2013.  Only books read on this date or after count towards the challenge.


1. The goal is to read 150 or more books. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Posting on GoodReads or wherever you post your reviews is good enough.

2. Allowed are: Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Manga, Graphic Novels, Library books, Novellas, Young Reader, Nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts.

What doesn't count: Individual short stories or individual books in the Bible and comic books.

3. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

4. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

5. Challenge begins January 1st, 2013 thru December 31, 2013. Books started before the 1st do not count. You can join at anytime.

6. When you sign up under Linky, put the direct link to your post where your books will be listed. Include the URL to this post so that other viewers can find this fun challenge. If you’d prefer to put your list in the sidebar of your blog, please leave your viewers the link to the sign up page. Again, so viewers can join the challenge too.

READY......SET.....SIGN UP!!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top Picks of 2012

Another year is coming to a close which means another post featuring my Top Picks of 2012.  While some of these sections only have one, you will find that it was hard to narrow it down in others.  There were many great books in 2012! I can't wait to see what 2013 will bring us! 


Contemporary Romance

Yours To Keep by Shannon Stacey
-- Ms. Stacey, how much do I love thee? This is one author that knows how to write a Romance with sweetness, love, and wit.  I loved the entire series, but Yours To Keep is the one that stood out for me. 


Historical Romance

A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare
-- While I am not a huge fan of Historical Romance, author Tessa Dare made me a firm believer in it.  Flawed characters with a romance that isn't always easy makes a true romance stand out.  Thank you Ms. Dare for giving me a reason to read this genre.


Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
-- PERRY! Is it any wonder that this made my list? I bow down to author Veronica Rossi.  Under the Never Sky brought angst, turmoil, first love, and a freaky world to boot! Plus did I mention Perry?


Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
-- Oh Vlad, I have waited forever for your turn.  While I will always love Bones and Cat, your story was the one I needed.  Unfortunately, Ms. Frost is breaking your story up into several books.  I will say though, your story is worth the wait. You fire me up on so many levels!


The Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day
-- Oh Gideon. How could I not put you on this list? You are so messed up but you are so swoon worthy.  Author Sylvia Day has brought her A-game with the Crossfire series.  With Bared to You and Reflected in You, I was met with anticipation and desperate want for Gideon Cross.  Then the ending of Reflected in You was one I couldn't stop thinking about!  The next book in this series is already on my pre-order list.  

** Runners Up are:
Fifty Shades series by E.L. James
Club Shadowlands series by Cherise Sinclair


M/M Romance
Faith and Fidelity by Tere Michaels
-- M/M Romance is one genre that I have slowly introduced to my reading experience.  I had heard wonderful things about Faith and Fidelity so I decided to give it a try.  This is the book that captured my heart and my interest in reading more in this genre.  The characters were written wonderfully and the plot was one that seemed real.  I hope to finish this series in the upcoming year!

**Runners Up are:
Grey's Awakening by Cameron Dane
Aaron by J.P. Barnaby



Feral Warriors by Pamela Palmer
Demonica Series by Larissa Ione
--Bad boys, sexy boys, great writing and awesome plot.  Two series that I discovered this year and devoured in no time! YUM!


Young Adult Debut
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
-- I adored this book!  There were so many debut authors this year, but My Life Next Door is the top pick for me.  The characters were believable.  The hero was swoon worthy and sweet. Simply wonderful and definitely an author to keep an eye on.

**Runner Up:
The D.U.F.F. by Kody Keplinger (re-read and still in love with it)


Best Fiction/Psychologic Thriller

Consequences by Aleatha Romig
--Mind. Blown.
Every time someone even mentions this title and author, my mind starts thinking about Tony.  This is by far the most emotional and dark story that gave me the chills this year.  So many questions and shock factors are involved as well.  So it is no surprise that the next book in the series titled Truth was my runner up. I keep telling the author to write faster and to send me hints for the next book, but alas she is tight lipped on it.  Ms. Romig, I bow to you and I am keeping my fingers crossed that you don't make us wait much longer.


New Adult

Easy by Tammara Webber
-- I think it is a safe bet that author Tammara Webber is going to be appearing on a huge amount of blog lists.  This author can write and weave a story with so many emotions it is unbelievable!  I quickly fell in love with the hero.  He was sweet, amazing and a good guy.  I wanted to pull him out of the pages and put him safely away in my closet so no one else could have him.  This is one author who I will be following and purchasing more from!

**Runner Up:
Down To You by M. Leighton


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Review: Things Go Wrong For Me by Rodney Lacroix

Things Go Wrong For Me
(When Life Hands You Lemons, Add Vodka)
Author: Rodney Lacroix
E-Book Edition Review

(From Goodreads)

Things Go Wrong For Me (when life hands you lemons, add vodka) is a memoir of sorts, a roadmap of Rodney Lacroix's haywire life thus far. From his childhood, through the raising of his own kids, to his vasectomy and post-divorce world ... this book is more than just a culmination of outrageous stories woven into a cohesive narrative, it’s a testament for the "little guy."

In this case, literally. Rodney is 5’3”. He’s very little. Almost tiny. Bank tellers offer him lollipops. He makes holiday money wearing green stockings and fake ears.

But even though he’s small in stature, his stories and the laughs that accompany them are definitely BIG.

There's no doubt, if you enjoy snorting milk through your nose, and you're drinking milk right now ... you're going to love this book.


Sometimes you just need a good laugh-out-loud book to read.  While cruising around the blog-o-sphere,  I came across the blog Mental Poo.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A blog that is described as "Jerking off your funny bone, one post at a time." While laughing and trying not to pee my pants at the blog posts, I came across a link in the right hand sidebar to purchase the book.  I laughed so hard with this book.

Author Rodney Lacroix touches on some subjects that shouldn't be funny and turns them into a work of comedy art.  I am talking about things like Chocolate Ex-Lax episodes, Sex Game Dice, and Vasectomy.  Yes, he even laughs at himself while undergoing the knife in the sensitive area.  While some men would cringe at a puff of smoke coming from below, Mr. Lacroix finds the humor in it. Plus, I will never look at a raisin the same way again. To understand why, well, you have to read the book.

Included in the series of topics, we also get illustrations that the author created as well.  A diagram becomes a tool of laughter.  I loved the chapter and pictures about the popular app "Draw Something".

They say that laughter is the best medicine and I can honestly say that I am feeling like a million bucks after reading this.  Tears ran down my face and I might have received funny looks from my family while reading it. This is one book that I will be reading again when I need a pick-me-up laugh and a blog that I have bookmarked so I can continue on in his journey of parenthood and life.


Outstanding book that will stay on my bookshelf for rereading!

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

3 in 1 Review: Holiday Fix-It & Forget-It Cookbooks

This review will be 3 books in 1 post.  All are cookbooks and by author Phyllis Pellman Good.  They are in the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook line that are recipes made in a slow cooker.


Fix-It and Forget-It Holiday Main Dishes and Sides
Author: Phyllis Pellman Good

31 Main Dishes
19 Side Dishes
One section on Tips

Features recipes from easy to intense. Intense meaning more ingredients and prep time. Easy meaning easy to find recipes and easy prep time.

Some recipes have pictures of the completed recipe as a guide and hint of what can be created.

Easy to follow recipes that aren't very complicated for beginners.

Tips include ideas for after dinner gifts, dinner invitations and color themes, and dinner traditions to be shared with guests.

I am a huge cookbook fanatic.  I may not be the best cook, but if it is easy and sounds good, you can bet I am going to try it.  I also love slow cooker recipes.  I love the ability to Fix-It and Forget-It.  This one featured some great dishes and sides that would be great for the holidays, but also great year round.  I have already included a few of them for my dinners for the upcoming holiday week!

Fix-It and Forget-It Holiday Sweets and Desserts
Author: Phyllis Pellman Good

50 Sweet Recipes
One section of Tips

Features recipes from easy to intense. Intense meaning more ingredients and prep time. Easy meaning easy to find recipes and easy prep time.

Some recipes have pictures of the completed recipe as a guide and hint of what can be created.

Easy to follow recipes that aren't very complicated for beginners.

Tips include ideas for after dinner gifts, dinner invitations and color themes, and dinner traditions to be shared with guests.

I never realized how many desserts can be made in a crock pot!  I didn't think breads or candy apples could be accomplished with one.  This book features step by step recipes on creating these treats with some even having little effort/prep time.

Fix-It and Forget-It Holiday Appetizers, Finger Foods and Beverage
Author: Phyllis Pellman Good

31 Appetizers, Snacks, and Spreads
18 Beverages
One section of Tips

Features recipes from easy to intense. Intense meaning more ingredients and prep time. Easy meaning easy to find recipes and easy prep time.

Some recipes have pictures of the completed recipe as a guide and hint of what can be created.

Easy to follow recipes that aren't very complicated for beginners.

Tips include ideas for after dinner gifts, dinner invitations and color themes, and dinner traditions to be shared with guests.

This cookbook was great for giving ideas for snacking and drinking.  I loved all the appetizers and dips that were provided.  I am a huge cheese fan and this book gave me some new ideas for dips to use all year.  While some of the recipes focus on holiday theme, I did think that most of them could be adapted for all year long.  It also had some that would be great for Superbowl weekend and birthday parties. The beverage recipes range from original apple cider all the way to coffee.

Outstanding book that will stay on my bookshelf for rereading!

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Review: The Stranger by Kyra Davis

The Stranger, Just One Night Part One
Author: Kyra Davis
Genre: Erotica/Romance
ISBN: 9781476711102
Review E-Book Copy provided by NetGalley

(From Goodreads)

Kasie knows who she’s supposed to be. But one passionate night with a mysterious stranger will teach her who she wants to be. 

You should sleep with a stranger, her best friend whispers in her ear as they take to Vegas for one last pre-wedding fling. Despite her best intentions, when Kasie Fitzgerald enters the casino and sees him, a man whose tailored clothes belied a powerful, even dangerous, presence, she loses herself to the moment. Maybe it’s the dress, much shorter than she’d ever normally wear, or the Scotch, but something makes her give herself over to him more completely than she's ever done with a man before.

It was supposed to be just one night. But right as she’s thinking she wants more, he shows up in her office with an agenda. As the billionaire CEO of a company that’s engaged her PR firm, his demands just became her reality...and he desires so much more than just some attention in the boardroom.


I am having problems writing this review not because of the writing from the author, but from a major plot point that irks me.  Why are the last few books I have read about one person cheating on another? I don't like this happening in real life and I certainly don't like it in my books.

Kasie is engaged to a man named Dave.  While Dave is orderly and not quite passionate in the bedroom area, he is stable and compatible.  When her friend suggests they go to Vegas, she also tells Kasie to have fling with a stranger.  I didn't find her friend to be to supportive and frankly a lousy friend for suggesting this.

Kasie meets Mr. Robert Dade at the Blackjack table.  They make a wager and Kasie loses.  She now must pay up by having a drink with him at the bar.  Things progress from the bar to his room and leads to a wild and passionate filled escapade.  After the deed is done, Kasie takes off and leaves him alone.

Upon returning to her regular life, she falls back into the role of nice and sweet.  She is not wild and doesn't like people getting the wrong idea about her.  Mr. Dade contacts her company and requests Kasie to work on his file.  When they meet to discuss the plans of the work she will do, Robert throws out how they are going to be doing it again.  He teases her through the meeting and she leaves.  When she shows up early for a regular meeting with his company, they do the naughty again in his office. She tells him this is the last time. She has just been out shopping for engagement rings with Dave.

This is where I couldn't read any further.  While the writing wasn't bad and the author did pretty well with the building of the story, I just couldn't continue reading about the affairs.  Kasie had plenty of chances to break it off with Dave, but she never says a word to him.  To me, cheating is wrong and I just didn't like reading about someone doing this.

If a reader doesn't mind escaping into the fantasy world for a bit that involves cheating, then by all means give this book a try.  The writing is good and the characters are just okay, but this is one story I just didn't love.


I did not like this book at all!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan

A Night of No Return
Author: Sarah Morgan
Genre: Adult Romance
ISBN: 9780373131044

(From Goodreads)

Money, charm and sensual skills don't make up for a heart colder than ice...

Wild parties, wanton women, relentless work—nothing helps tycoon Lucas Jackson escape his dark and haunting past. Arriving at his rural castle in a snarling snowstorm, he craves only complete isolation.… But it seems oblivion can take an unexpected and highly intoxicating form!

Personally delivering the vital file left on her boss's desk, secretary Emma Gray starts to seriously regret her dutiful overtime mission. She never expected the dark side of the usually controlled Lucas could generate such a primitive, powerful—and entirely inappropriate—reaction.


I have never been a big reader of the classic Harlequin line and I usually only read the Nocturne books in their serial lines.  For some reason though, the summary drew me in and I decided to give them a try.

The first third of the book is about Emma and Lucas being trapped in a fancy castle that Lucas owns with his partners/friends from work.  There is a bunch of narration in the first third of this book to set up the story that will follow in the rest of the pages.  While I appreciate some initial set up in a story, this one was heavy on it. I liked the mystery of why Lucas was the way he was.  I actually liked Lucas better than Emma character-wise.  Emma seemed dull and at times a little dense.  If this man who is drinking and telling a someone to leave several times while his anger is simmering below the surface, you would think a smart woman would back off at least.  Nope, she continued to push and he pushed right back with sexual need.

The next part of the book is after the do the naughty in front of a fire.  It is about Emma traveling with her boss Lucas out of country to a company party and meeting.  They are trying to move past what they did and trying to bring the relationship back to the professional level.  Lucas repeatedly tells Emma that he doesn't do love and family.  He is a use them and leave them type of man.  He starts to reveal reasons of why he is like this to her and solves a little bit of the questions on this.

The last part of the book is Emma setting Lucas up to deal with his reasons in not finding love.  I didn't like the way she went about it and it didn't seem real plausible.  I am suppose to believe that one night of dealing with something is going to change years of guilt and blame?  It just didn't feel right for me.  I still couldn't feel happy about the outcome of this story when I finished the last page.  The chemistry wasn't that great -- mainly because I couldn't bring myself to enjoy Emma's role that much -- and the ending was not only rushed but far fetched too.

I will say though that this book served as a fluffy romance that was also a quick read.  Something I was initially looking for but wanting more for the next read.


If the library doesn't have it, don't worry about reading it!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

The Shadow Society
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: Young Adult
ISBN:  9780374349059

(From Goodreads)

Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.

Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.

As if she were his enemy.

When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything—not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever . . .


Borderline love/hate with this story is the only way I can explain my feelings on this book.  Its dark and different than what I am used to reading which was refreshing in the way that I got to step out of my box with it.

The characters were the main thing for me that kept me from rating it higher.  I think the main problem I had was that some characters were not needed to make this story great while others weren't used enough.  Another problem is the cliched new boy who is dark yet sexy.  The plot was interesting enough that I didn't need some of the problems of love triangles and cliches to lure me in.

Like other reviewers have said about this read -- you will either love it or hate it.  Some will think it had the perfect balance and others will say it lacked in balance.  I, felt that it was walking a fine line between being great or it being bad.  This is the type of read that you will more than likely have to choose for yourself in forming an opinion.


Okay book, but it left me wanting more!

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Review: Mistletoe Cowboy by Carolyn Brown

Mistletoe Cowboy
Series: Spikes & Spurs #5
Author: Carolyn Brown
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 9781402270154

(From Goodreads)

'Tis the season for... 

A matchmaking grandma on a long-disantance mission 
Mistletoe temptation in every doorway 
A sexy cowboy with a killer smile

When Gran Presely agrees to sell Creed Riley the Rockin' C Ranch for a song at Christmastime, he can hardly believe his good fortune. There's just one little catch-her tantalizing granddaughter Sage is part of the deal...


It is the season for Holiday romance!  I enjoy curling up by our fireplace with a roaring fire, cup of cocoa, and a sexy romance to read.  I was looking forward to reading Mistletoe Cowboy by Carolyn Brown this holiday season because I usually love anything by this author.

Unfortunately, this was not one of my favorites by this author.  I couldn't get into the plot and Sage was not a favorite character for me.  She was snotty and stand offish.  I just couldn't bring myself to care about her turmoil and personality.  Creed was a little more likable, but he was still on the dull end of the spectrum.  When these two are put together in an unlikely situation, the chemistry fizzled and never really took off for me. This book has a bunch of stereotypes including speech that kept me from truly enjoying it.

While I consider this a light and fluffy read for the holidays,  I don't consider it a feel good romance that filled that reading hunger I was looking for.  It wasn't a book I couldn't stop reading and it wasn't one I kept wanting to finish until the last page.  Others might enjoy this type of read, but I wanted a little more substance and chemistry in my reading.


If the library doesn't have it, don't worry about reading it!

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Review: The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale

The Bully Book
Author: Eric Kahn Gale
ISBN: 9780062125118
Publisher: HarperCollins

(From Goodreads)

The rules governing middle school are often a mystery, but for Eric Haskins, they’re a mystery he needs to solve, and fast. He’s a normal, average kid, until sixth grade starts. For some inexplicable reason, the class bully and his pack make Eric the Grunt. Even his best friend since first grade turns on him. Eric can’t figure out why he’s the Grunt until he hears about the Bully Book, a cryptic guide that teaches you how to “make trouble without getting in trouble, rule the school and be the man” and how to select the Grunt-the kid who will become the lowest of the low. 

Eric Haskins may be this year’s Grunt for now, but he’s determined not to stay at the bottom of the social ladder forever. Hilarious and compelling, The Bully Book is a must-read for every tween, tween parent, librarian and educator!


Have you ever wondered why someone gets chosen to be picked on in school?  What is going on through the minds of the bully and the one being picked on?  While this may not be what actually goes on and it may not be the way one is chosen to be picked on, it does give you a greater understanding on why it can happen.

I used to be picked on all through school.  Now that I am older and have children of my own, I constantly worry about them being bullied.  As a parent you want to protect your child.  As a child you just want to be accepted and have friends.  What do you do when those so called friends turn on you and decide to target you as their next scapegoat?  The Bully Book gives you an inside perspective of both the child being chosen as the target and the child that is doing the actual bullying.

While the over all tone of this book focuses on the horrible act of bullying within the schools, it does have some lighthearted moments as well.  As a tween book, it still kept this adult reader interested and compelled to finish the story.  I needed to know what would happen and the outcome.

This is a great read for younger readers no matter if you are boy or girl.  It can be shocking, enduring and eye opening.  While the adult might be as interested in it, I could see the younger generation reading it.


Okay book, but it left me wanting more!

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

The Raven Prince
Series: Princes Trilogy #1
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781455513581

(From Goodreads)

There comes a time in a lady's life...

Widowed Anna Wren is having a wretched day. After an arrogant male on horseback nearly squashes her, she arrives home to learn that she is in dire financial straits.

When she must do the unthinkable...

The Earl of Swartingham is in a quandary. Having frightened off two secretaries, Edward de Raaf needs someone who can withstand his bad temper and boorish behavior.

And find employment.

When Anna becomes the earl's secretary, it would seem that both their problems are solved. Then she discovers he plans to visit the most notorious brothel in London for his "manly" needs. Well! Anna sees red—and decides to assuage her "womanly" desires...with the earl as her unknowing lover.


Even though Historical Romance is not a favorite of mine to read,  author Elizabeth Hoyt never fails to amaze me.  This author is one of my favorites in this genre and I have no idea why I have put off reading this series.

Edward is suppose to be some mean Earl that hardly anyone can tolerate.  I on the other hand, enjoyed his characters.  I don't think he was unruly and temperamental as he was suppose to be.  I actually found him shy and at times a sweet man.  This is not to say he didn't have his moments, but I liked him from the first time he entered the scene.

Anna I felt was the perfect counterpart for Edward.  She didn't take his crap and she could dish out just as much as she was given.  I like how she didn't care what others really thought about her and just went with what she felt was right for herself.

I think the only problem I had with this story was the over abundance of characters.  I felt like the reader was introduced to too many even though this is the first in series.  At times it felt like I would need a flow sheet to remember who everyone was.

A great romance to sweep you away and one that I enjoyed enough to recommend to fans of Historical Romance.


Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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