Friday, March 24, 2017

Should Giveaways Go Away?

It's Friday, so you know what that means! That's right. I've got my soapbox out and I'm ready to rant. (I was totally going to do this yesterday, but then I fell asleep at a normal time for a human being.) For those of you that are new, this is an IABB confession. It was submitted anonymously and neither IABB nor the graphics artist that created the image are responsible for the content. They merely provide the platform for publication. 

For once, I'm not going to be ranting about the attitude of the confessor (I know, I'm surprised too.) I have, however, spent most of the day trying to wrap my mind around the reaction of the giveaway winner. And I'm still largely baffled by it. So I just want to take a little bit to talk about why I find it so strange. 

First of all, I don't see how swag can ever be outdated. Unless the books are no longer in publication, the swag is still relevant in my opinion. Granted, swag that features part of a series that has since been completed is clearly a little older, but again, if the books are still available for purchase, it's not really outdated. And if they are books that the winner had never heard of before, then the swag was still doing it's job of bringing attention to them.

Secondly, do you know how bloggers typically get swag? They either get it by going to book signings or authors send it to us to give away. I've seen several authors offer to send out envelopes of swag to bloggers to include in giveaways in the past, and probably received some offers for swag ages ago when I still allowed people to send messages to my Facebook page, but I don't remember now. But while it would be beneficial to authors to send swag for their newest release to bloggers, financially it probably actually makes more sense for them to send older stuff that's otherwise sitting around their office collecting dust. Because honestly, how much attention are people likely to pay to this random swag? (I can honestly tell you that when I won swag in giveaways forever ago, I did not pay all that much attention to what was on it, although it's still possible that I'll grab a random bookmark and decide the book on it looks interesting at some point in the future and go buy it.) But bloggers cannot be expected to have all the newest swag, because oftentimes we're getting the cast-offs to begin with (which is fine, because authors spend quite a bit of money getting their swag made. They should absolutely be the ones benefiting most directly from the newest stuff.) But like I said before, swag can't really be outdated if the books referenced are still available for purchase.

What really gets me about the actions of the giveaway winner, though, is that they messaged the page to complain that the swag was less than new. And no, saying that you're not complaining is not the same thing as actually not complaining. The fact that they felt the need to send a message about it in the first place, is by it's very nature complaining. Like, dude, you got some free shit, you didn't pay jack squat for it, and the fact that it took you about a week to determine that the books and series featured on the swag were released a few years ago, means that those books weren't already on your radar. So what if they're older. Five bucks says that several of them are probably cheaper now than they were when they were brand new, so if they look interesting, you're going to spend less money to buy them than you would have before. How is that a bad thing?

But you know what, readers (and I realize most readers do not act this way), if you want to be this ungrateful for the free shit that authors and bloggers are giving away, we can just stop giving stuff away completely. I pretty much stopped doing giveaways entirely about two years ago because the brief interaction from y'all to enter a giveaway just wasn't doing much to help boost my reach on other posts, and that is the reason authors and bloggers do giveaways in the first place. But when y'all only want to interact on the giveaway posts and nothing else, it's just not worth it to keep spending the money for the giveaways. As a blogger, I can't even hope to sell a few extra copies of my new release because of the extra reach of the giveaway post.

And maybe that really is the answer here. It's certainly been suggested by others in the past (ungrateful giveaway winners is a somewhat common theme on Confessions.) Authors and bloggers should just stop doing giveaways on Facebook altogether. It was a strategy that used to work to build a fan base and boost interaction and post reach, but with Facebook's constantly changing algorithms, giveaways no longer have the same effect they used to. Add in to that readers that are only looking for free stuff and sometimes aren't even thankful for it, and what's the point? It really may be time to just cut our losses.

What do you think? - Katie

Oh, and before I go, I do have to commend the giveaway winner for sending the original message thanking the blogger for the goodies. Just in case you thought I missed that part of the confession. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

*Review* The Waiting Room by Leah Kaminsky

Genre: Literary Fiction
Published: November 15, 2016
Pages: 320


Leah Kaminsky’s powerful fiction debut—a multi-generational novel perfect for fans of The Tiger’s Wife and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena—unfolds over a day in the life of a young physician in contemporary Israel, who must cope with modern threats in the shadow of her parents’ horrific wartime pasts.

A young doctor in Haifa, Israel, must come to terms with her family’s painful past—and its lingering aftermath—as the conflict between Palestine and Israel reaches its height and the threat of a terrorist attack looms over the city....

Born to two survivors in the smoky after-haze of WWII, Dina has never been able to escape her parents’ history. Tortured by memories of Bergen-Belsen, her mother leaves Dina to inherit her decades of trauma. 

Dina desperately anchors herself in family—a cherished young son, a world-weary husband, and a daughter on the way—and her work as a doctor, but she is struggling to cope, burdened by both the very real anxieties of her daily life and also the shadows of her parents’ ghosts, who follow her wherever she goes. A witty, sensitive narrator, she fights to stay grounded in the here-and-now, even as the challenges of motherhood and medicine threaten to overwhelm her. 

In taut, compelling prose, The Waiting Room weaves between Dina’s exterior and interior lives, straddling the present and the past—and building towards a profoundly dramatic climax that will remind readers of the fragility of human life even as it reassures them of the inescapable power of love and family.


I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program in the hopes that I would leave an honest review. 

This book transported me to a place I didn't expect to go; namely a war zone. I'm not sure why I didn't expect that. I read the blurb, and on a basic level understood what the words meant, but somehow that didn't translate into my idea of where I would be going with this story. That is purely my own fault, but it threw me for an immediate loop that I needed to recover from before I could really settle in with Dina. 

Then once I did feel a bit settled in, I was still left reeling. For one thing, Dina is a doctor (I think, like a general practitioner) who is seems to spend the entire day out of her office or avoiding seeing patients to the best of her ability. And I certainly don't begrudge her time to run some errands and catch a breath between patients, but this seemed a bit extreme. However, maybe that's normal in Israel for the type of clinic where she works. But it seemed very weird to me. 

Dina also seemed to be teetering on the brink of insanity for most of the story. She talks to the ghost of her mother who will apparently not leave her alone, and the ghost encourages some rather strange behavior. Now of course the ghost is really probably just like her natural instincts, and using the idea of her mother may just be a way for Dina to cope and work through issues (I have conversations with imaginary people sometimes too). It just seems a bit more extreme in Dina. 

Overall I give The Waiting Room 4 out of 5 stars because it did engage me and get me thinking, and it pulled me into a world different from my own where I was ultimately able to take up residence for a few hours. 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Leah Kaminsky, a physician and award-winning writer, is Poetry & Fiction Editor at the Medical Journal of Australia. Her debut novel, The Waiting Room is published by Vintage (2015) and will be released by Harper Perennial US in 2016. We’re all Going to Die is forthcoming with Harper Collins in June 2016. She conceived and edited Writer MD, a collection of prominent physician-writers, which starred on Booklist (Knopf US 2012). She is co-author of Cracking the Code, with the Damiani family (Vintage 2015). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. (

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

*Review* #BeatTheBacklist - Messenger by Lois Lowry

Genre: YA Dystopian
Published: April 26, 2004
Pages: 169


Messenger is the masterful third novel in the Giver Quartet, which began with the dystopian bestseller The Giver, now a major motion picture.
Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of Seer, a blind man known for his special sight. Village once welcomed newcomers, but something sinister has seeped into Village and the people have voted to close it to outsiders. Matty has been invaluable as a messenger. Now he must risk everything to make one last journey through the treacherous forest with his only weapon, a power he unexpectedly discovers within himself.


This is the third book in The Giver Quartet, and it starts to bring together the storylines from the first two books. See, Matty was a major secondary character in Gathering Blue, although he was just Mat then, because he was not old enough to have obtained his second syllable. And it didn't take long for it to become apparent that Matty and Mat were the same person. But beyond that, it didn't take long for it to become apparent that Jonas from The Giver was an important member of Village too (which throws my belief that he died at the end of The Giver right out the window. I'm okay with that though.) 

The community in Village seems a bit more "normal" than the communities in both The Giver and Gathering Blue, although it's still a bit primitive by today's standards. The feel I got for it was similar to the feel I got for towns described in books like Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie series. A strong sense of community with a few amenities, but no major technological advancements. 

I really enjoyed seeing the sort of grown up, less wild Matty who so desperately wanted his true name to be Messenger. Village really helped him to become a responsible young man, and he made me think of my own Matty (not just because they share a name either.) I have no problem picturing my Matty being just as responsible as the Matty of the book is, which made some of the events in the book particularly painful for me (because no mother ever wants to see her son hurt, and it really did feel personal.) 

Another aspect of this story that saddened me was the changing behavior of the villagers. This village had seemed pretty darn fantastic with everyone helping each other out and just treating each other kindly in general, but that started to change. And it seems like the villagers were trading away things that they really should have been allowed to give at times when the Trade Mart is open. This is just a personal theory, but it makes sense in terms of the story. And it's absolutely disgusting. 

Overall I give Messenger 4.5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader.s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association.s Children.s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

*Review* #BeatTheBacklist - Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

Genre: Memoir
Published: June 23, 2015
Pages: 352


The shocking, never-before-told story of the bizarre world inside the legendary Playboy Mansion—and, finally, the secret truth about the man who holds the key—from one of the few people who truly knows: Hef’s former #1 girlfriend and star of The Girls Next Door
A spontaneous decision at age twenty-one transformed small-town Oregon girl Holly Sue Cullen into Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner’s #1 girlfriend. But like Alice’s journey into Wonderland, after Holly plunged down the rabbit hole, what seemed like a fairytale life inside the Playboy Mansion—including A-list celebrity parties and her own #1-rated television show for four years—quickly devolved into an oppressive routine of strict rules, manipulation, and battles with ambitious, backstabbing bunnies. Life inside the notorious Mansion wasn’t a dream at all—and quickly became her nightmare. After losing her identity, her sense of self-worth, and her hope for the future, Holly found herself sitting alone in a bathtub contemplating suicide.
But instead of ending her life, Holly chose to take charge of it.
In this shockingly candid and surprisingly moving memoir, this thoughtful and introspective woman opens up about life inside the Mansion, the drugs, the sex, the abuse, the infamous parties, and her real behind-the-scenes life with Bridget, Kendra, and, of course, Mr. Playboy himself.
With great courage, Holly shares the details of her subsequent troubled relationship, landing her own successful television series, and the hard work of healing, including her turn on Dancing with the Stars. A cautionary tale and a celebration of personal empowerment, Down the Rabbit Hole reminds us of the importance of fighting for our dreams—and finding the life we deserve.


I listened to the audiobook version of this book, because as I've mentioned before, if I'm going to read a book about a celebrity, I might as well have them read it to me. It makes me feel important. Fun fact, you can likely listen to this book at 1.5 speed with no problems whatsoever. 

I was a fan of The Girls Next Door when it aired on E! (I started watching when my son was an infant and I needed mindless entertainment that I didn't feel invested in because I was not getting much sleep at the time and could not mentally handle that kind of mental commitment. And The Girls Next Door fit the bill quite well.) Now, because of that, I had some rather deeply ingrained notions about what type of person Holly was, and it seems that most of those notions were dead wrong. I should have known better, but like many of the viewers, I got sucked up into the fantasy that was portrayed on television. I was probably most interested in reading this book, however, because of the way Kendra Wilkinson bashed it. If a woman who was clearly in Hef's good graces (she did get married at the mansion after all) was trying to discredit it, then it should at least be entertaining if nothing else. And it was entertaining. 

While I was listening to this book, I couldn't help but feel bad for Holly, and all the other girls that lived in the mansion as Hef's girlfriends. While I had been aware of the curfew and no boys rule, I didn't realize just how repressive mansion life was on a day to day basis for the girls. And I realize that the girls made the choice to be there on their own, but the way both Holly and Kendra tell it, at the time, they didn't feel like they had a lot of other choices. And I can certainly understand the appeal of having a guaranteed roof over your head and an allowance for clothes. I can't say that I would be willing to do what they did to get those things, but I can't say for sure that I wouldn't either. I do at least understand why they made the choices they did. And once they were in, I can understand how getting out may have seemed downright impossible for a while. But these are things that we never saw when the cameras were rolling. 

I think the part of this book that I really found the most entertaining was when she was talking about her life after Playboy though, probably because it didn't have as much gloominess looming over it from mansion life. Also, that's when the Twitter feud with Kendra took place, and I'm a sucker for drama like that. But mostly, she was clearly getting her life on track and taking charge of her own destiny, so that part of the story was much more uplifting. 

Overall I give Down the Rabbit Hole 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed watching The Girls Next Door. You just might learn a thing or two. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Holly Madison spent five seasons on the #1 rated E! hit reality show The Girls Next Door as the main girlfriend of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. In 2009 she landed the leading role in Tony Award-winning director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell's Las Vegas burlesque act, Peepshow. During this time, Madison also starred in two seasons of E!'s series Holly's World, chronicling her new life in Sin City. Madison has made countless appearances on radio and television shows, magazines, and feature films such as Dancing with the Stars, CSI, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, General Hospital, Scary Movie 4, and The House Bunny. Madison divides her time between Las Vegas and Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

*Review* Give Me Chaos by Jillian Ashe

Genre: Science Fiction
Published: March 16, 2017


The fifth book in the Wolfegang series follows Katerina back to the top secret military base, Enzo, where she is Lt. Donnelly’s prisoner. The lieutenant puts her through tests and experiments to find out what makes her so special, and why the genetic enhancements aren’t degrading her brain. He wants answers for his own cure. Katerina might not survive his search for answers until General Ryojin shows up and changes the game completely.


I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were the spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection to the book makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review.

The last book in this series left me in a lot of suspense, anxious for the characters well-being. This book did not do much to alleviate my concerns. Sure, some of my fears were allayed, but I'm still fairly certain the characters are in dire peril. I'm pretty sure my heart rate was elevated the entire time I was reading this book.

In spite of my elevated heart rate, this book didn't seem to have that much action. It actually felt like it was mostly character building, which for this story makes perfect sense, even though this is the fifth book in the series, because Kat is basically being rebuilt. Don't get me wrong, there is still action, fighting is part of her training, but the action takes a backseat to Kat's personal development. The lack of action made this a bit of a slower read for me because I didn't feel quite as compelled to find out what happened next as I would have with more action. I did enjoy delving into Katerina's development though. It always gave me a slight thrill when she attained noticeable improvement with her skills or got one over on other soldiers.

There was a point in the story where I felt like Kat was being a bit overly emotional, her reactions just a little over the top, but that is likely because I'm a bit hard-hearted by nature where personal relationships are concerned, so I just couldn't really relate on a personal level.

Overall I give Give Me Chaos 4.5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

My readers are what's important to me. Yes, I write for myself and the enjoyment of it, but I adore when a reader actually has a great time reading a story I slaved over. I don't write any particular genre, but I do stick to kick-ass female characters. I love writing about all types of differently strong women. My debut series is Young Adult Science Fiction. The first novella is free to see if you enjoy what I write.

I'm very involved with my fandoms, and love all things geeky and nerdy. I love connecting with my readers, so if you'd like to contact me just head over to my website :)

Jillian Ashe

Monday, March 20, 2017

*Top Ten Tuesday* Ten Books to Read the Day Away

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is "Read in one sitting." Now, I'm a parent of small children and for me there is pretty much no such thing as a book that I can read in one sitting, even if I'm taking short stories into account. There are books that make me want to pretend that feeding my minions is not something I'm obligated to do as their parent in favor of just reading the day away however, so that's what I'll be focusing on this week.

Title: Sorry Not Sorry
Author: Naya Rivera
Genre: Memoir
Published: September 13, 2016

Blurb: Funny and deeply personal, Sorry Not Sorry recounts Glee star Naya Rivera's successes and missteps, urging young women to pursue their dreams and to refuse to let past mistakes define them.

Navigating through youth and young adulthood isn't easy, and in Sorry Not Sorry, Naya Rivera shows us that we're not alone in the highs, lows, and in-betweens. Whether it's with love and dating, career and ambition, friends, or gossip, Naya inspires us to follow our own destiny and step over--or plod through--all the crap along the way. After her rise and fall from early childhood stardom, barely eking her way through high school, a brief stint as a Hooters waitress, going through thick and thin with her mom/manager, and resurrecting her acting career as Santana Lopez on Glee, Naya emerged from these experiences with some key life lessons:

-  All those times I scrawled "I HATE MY MOM" in my journal. So many moms and teenage daughters don't get along--we just have to realize it's nothing personal on either side.
-  At-home highlights and DIY hair extensions. Some things are best left to the experts, and hair dye is one of them.
-  Falling in love with the idea of a person, instead of the actual person.

Not Sorry:
-  That I don't always get along with everyone. Having people not like you is a risk you have to take to be real, and I'll take that over being fake any day.
-  Laughing at the gossip instead of getting upset by it.
-  Getting my financial disasters out of the way early--before I was married or had a family--so that the only credit score that I wrecked was my own.

Even with a successful career and a family that she loves more than anything else, Naya says, "There's still a thirteen-year-old girl inside of me making detailed lists of how I can improve, who's never sure of my own self-worth." Sorry Not Sorry is for that thirteen-year-old in all of us.

Title: Talking As Fast As I Can
Author: Lauren Graham
Genre: Memoir
Published: November 29, 2016

Blurb: In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

Title: Scrappy Little Nobody

Author: Anna Kendrick

Genre: Memoir

Published: November 15, 2016

Blurb: A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch PerfectUp in the AirTwilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

Title: Nerve

Author: Jeanne Ryan

Genre: YA Fiction

Published: September 13, 2012


Vee doesn't know if she has the guts to play NERVE, an anonymous online game of dares. But whoever's behind the game knows exactly what she wants, enticing her with lustworthy prizes and a sizzling-hot partner. With Ian on her team, it's easy to agree to another dare. And another. And another. At first it's thrilling as the Watchers cheer them on to more dangerous challenges. But suddenly the game turns deadly. Will Vee and Ian risk their lives for the Grand Prize dare, or will they lose NERVE?

Title: Lift and Separate

Author: Marilyn Simon Rothstein

Genre: Chick Lit

Published: December 1, 2016

Blurb: Marcy Hammer’s life has been turned upside down. Her husband, the head of a global brassiere empire, didn’t think twice about leaving her after thirty-three years of marriage for a 32DD lingerie model. Now Harvey the Home-Wrecker is missing in action, but Marcy’s through thinking about what a cliché he is. What she needs now is a party-size bag of potato chips, a good support system, and a new dress.

Striking out on her own is difficult at first, but Marcy manages to find traces of humor in her heartbreak. Even while devastated by Harvey’s departure, she still has her indomitable spirit and her self-respect. She has no intention of falling apart, either, even when her adult children drop a few bombshells of their own and she discovers a secret about her new, once-in-a-lifetime friend. Life may be full of setbacks, but by lifting herself up by her own lacy straps, Marcy just may be able to handle them all.

Title: A Man Called Ove

Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Literary Fiction

Published: August 27, 2012

Blurb: A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

Title: Tainted
Author: Ginna Moran
Genre: YA Paranormal
Published: June 30, 2016

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Cami Anders uses one word to describe her life: Purgatory. What she doesn’t know is she’s closer to Hell than she thinks.

On the run from the demon that killed her parents, Cami struggles to find her place on the fringes of the Veiled Realm, the part of the world where demons and other creatures lurk in the shadows. Striving to find a normal life in the care of a former demon hunter, who would punch even an angel to protect her, is harder than Cami ever imagined. There’s nothing ordinary about sipping holy water like it’s her beverage of choice, having stare-downs with animalistic demons, and relying on a hunter with enough secrets to fill an ocean to keep her soul safe. 

When the demon from Cami’s past arrives to collect her soul, which he believes is rightfully his, she must unravel the secrets her protector has spent the last three years keeping from her. She finds herself questioning her existence and learns that running isn’t the answer. The only way to find normalcy is if she fights for it. But is it worth the risk of losing everything, including her soul, in the end?

Title: From Gods
Author: Mary Ting
Genre: YA Paranormal
Published: October 2, 2013

Blurb: Did you just see a flash of lightning across the sky on a clear sunny day? It’s not from Mother Nature. It is most likely from Mason Grand, swoon-worthy demigod, one of Zeus’s descendants.

Skylar Rome is supposed to be having the best summer ever before she heads off to college. Little did she know, her whole life was about to change while visiting her cousin. Nearly drowning at the beach due to unknown forces, one of the Grand brothers she’d just met, Mason, saves her life. Cool, collected, mysterious, and dangerously good-looking, Skylar is drawn to him from the start. Though she knows he is the type of guy good girls stayed away from, it seems he is always saving her life, and the attraction was inevitable.

Upon meeting the brothers, strange things begin to happen. When she accidentally kills one of the brothers, it throws her life into turmoil, as they search to find the answers. Implausibly, she gets caught up in a world of the decedents of ancient gods, all who have super powers. Not only is her discovery difficult to accept, evil beings are after her. Running out of time and running for her life, she must unravel a mystery. What do they want from her? Forced into a battle set into motion long before she was born, will she find the answers, or will she die trying?

Title: The Winemakers

Author: Jan Moran

Genre: Historical Fiction

Published: April 5, 2016

Blurb: A young woman

A family secret

A devastating truth that could destroy the man she loves

Many years ago, the Rosetta family’s hard-won dreams of staking their claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition. Now high-spirited, passionate Caterina Rosetta, who has inherited both her mother’s talent for crafting the finest wines and also her indomitable will, wants nothing more than to win her mother’s approval and work at her side. But that can never happen, because Caterina is keeping a secret that could ruin her: a daughter of her own, fathered by the love of her life, who left her without explanation. Just as she feels she has nowhere to turn, Caterina discovers that she has inherited a vineyard in the Tuscan countryside in Italy, from a grandmother she’s never heard of, and she seizes the chance to start a new life for herself and her child.

But the past is not so easily outrun. In the country of her ancestors, Caterina meets the family of the father she never knew, and discovers that her mother is also hiding her own secret—a secret so devastating it threatens the future of everything her family has worked for. As an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragedy that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past—if she has the strength to face it.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.

Title: The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: February 3, 2015

Blurb: Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her. 

As the war progresses, the sisters' relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

Title: Neanderthal Seeks Human
Author: Penny Reid
Genre: Romance
Published: January 1, 2013

Blurb: There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse.

Title: Alice
Author: Christina Henry
Genre: Horror
Published: August 4, 2015

Blurb: A mind-bending new novel inspired by the twisted and wondrous works of Lewis Carroll...

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…

Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.

Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.

And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Fantasy
Published: September 13, 2011

Blurb: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. 

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air. 

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves. 

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. 

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved--the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them--are swept up in a wake of spells and charms. 

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance. 

Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern's spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.

So those are just some of the books that have made me want to abandon all my responsibilities to do nothing but read. What are some books that make you want to do nothing but read? - Katie