Sunday, November 30, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 30 - Wrap-Up

This is where I get to tell all of you exactly what I thought of this challenge I signed up for. Are you ready for my rant? If you answered yes, too bad, because I mostly enjoyed it. There were a couple posts that were rather difficult for me because they are either non-issues for me, or things that I just don't fully understand the gist of, but for the most part it really was fun, and I hope that you guys feel like you know me a little better here at the end.

One of the daily challenges gave me an idea for a monthly feature for our blog that the other ladies and I plan to implement at the start of the new year, I will announce more about that later though, so be on the lookout. 

Would I participate again next year? Yes, if there are different challenges, because I don't see my answers to most of these challenges being any different in a year, so posting about them again would be a little pointless. Obviously there are some challenges that could easily be repeated, but others would just be repetitive. 

So there you have it. This concludes the first annual #BookBlogWriMo. Did you enjoy the ride? - Katie 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 29 - Future of the Blog

Where do I see our blog going from here? I honestly don't know and I am mildly psychic (it's okay if you don't believe me, most people won't because it's not a very reliable gift and I can't always use it on demand, but I know it's true, and that's all that matters.) Where do I think we're going to go, nowhere any time soon.

Not that long ago, we thought we weren't going to be here anymore at this point in time. I'm the only one on the team that doesn't have a job outside of the home, and I was feeling very burnt out on the whole blogging thing for various reasons, so I was planning on leaving the team and the other girls didn't feel like they would have enough spare time to keep it going. After a lot of hard thinking on my part, I decided to stay, and just make some changes in what I am willing to take on for the blog, which is mostly resulting in a great decrease in the number of review books I personally accept. I really want to help everyone out by reviewing their book, but it can take a real mental toll on me that I'm not okay with. So now we are a little more focused on promo posts and cover reveals, although we are still reviewing some, and if you have a horror, science fiction, fantasy, or dystopian novel you want/need reviewed, I'm your girl! Those are the genres I'm most passionate about.

Hopefully our following on Facebook will continue to grow, even though our growth has been slow lately, our interaction seems to have increased marginally, which is awesome. We really love hearing from all of you, even when our questions seem silly. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that Facebook is a bit of a pain with their constantly changing page algorithms that prevent our posts from reaching our followers because I'm sure you've seen that same claim made on at least a dozen other Facebook pages. The interaction really is important not only so that you will see our posts, but so that other followers will as well. Speaking from personal experience, the blogs and authors pages that I like and comment on their posts regularly show up in my newsfeed much more often. If this has in any way guilted you into interacting more, then my work here is done :)

I imagine at some point in the future our blog will become an Amazon Affiliate, meaning we would make money if you purchase books from links we provide. That would allow us to have way more giveaways on the blog since those cost money. We aren't currently an affiliate because I'm not sure how it would work with me being overseas, and where I'm the main poster I feel like I should spearhead it. Rest assured, if and when we become an Amazon Affiliate, we will let you know.

But mostly, we're just going to keep doing what we're doing because it works for us. It might not be a very orthodox way of blogging, but it's our style and we're sticking to it. Are there things you would like to see from us that we don't currently do? We would certainly take any suggestions under advisement. - Katie

Friday, November 28, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 28 - Book Pet Peeves

Today's challenge asks me this: What plot lines or stereotypes make you cringe or DNF? This is not an easy question for me to answer, because I don't typically not finish books that I've started, with the exception of The Hobbit, but I have plans to attempt to read that one again sometime in the near future maybe. Are there things in books that just make me roll my eyes and say, "Please," because they are just that ridiculous. Sure. So I guess that's what you're going to hear about here.

The biggie for me is insta-love. I do not believe in love at first sight, and I have yet to find a book that conveys it in a way that feels real, and this is coming from a woman who married a man that she'd only known for three months when she said "I do." I assure you, in the early stages of our relationship love was not something we were considering. I do believe that love can happen quickly, but not instantaneously. And you will absolutely never convince me that a character fell in love with someone else based on a picture (I've read a book where that was the case and the whole relationship felt incredibly fake to me, even before that was revealed).

Another book thing that really makes me go "hmmm" is the borderline abusive alpha males that are apparently super swoon worthy. I just don't get it. Don't get me wrong, I can enjoy a story that features one, Underestimated by Jettie Woodruff did make my top books of 2014 list after all, but I do not go gaga over the abusive partner. I know it's fiction, but that is absolutely not what I would want in a guy and I don't find those guys appealing in stories. If you do, that's awesome for you, but they're just not my type.

I have one more pet peeve, but it isn't plot based. I really can not stand poorly edited books. If I were to not finish a book, it would almost certainly be because it was poorly written or edited with lots of typos or grammatical errors. I get quite annoyed by ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy) because they are usually not fully edited, and grammar and spelling are important to me. I don't really like rating a book without that information because I don't know for sure that spelling and grammar corrections were made. I realize that one of the reasons for this is to help cut down on piracy issues (or at least make it a little easier to find the culprit, but that knowledge doesn't make the errors less annoying to me.

So there you have it. Those are the things that make me roll my eyes and might lead me to not finish a book. What are some of your pet peeves? - Katie

Thursday, November 27, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 27 - Authors I'm Thankful for

Short answer, all of them! Seriously, authors have always been my idols and I've wanted to be one since I was little, still do, but am beginning to think I lack the drive and focus to actually make that a reality. For now, I will just blog and dabble in the writing. But let's get serious for a minute. Which authors would I absolutely love to have over for Thanksgiving dinner keeping in mind that my house is not that big and I can't afford to feed all of them anyway. Time to channel my inner party planner that I'm not sure really exists.

The dinner table is set and the turkey has just come out of the oven to be replaced by corn casserole and green bean casserole. I'm putting the finishing touches on the relish tray when the doorbell rings. I'm classy, so I yell to my husband Mrs. Wolowitz style to "Get the door!" After a few unintelligible greetings, Lisa Suzanne walks into my kitchen carrying a pumpkin pie.

"Can I help you with anything?" She asks setting the pie down at the end of the counter.

"No. I think I've got everything pretty under control here. You can help yourself to a drink though. We have sodas and wine in the fridge, vodka in the freezer, and assorted other liquors in the bottom of the china cabinet." I'm already two glasses of wine into my day because I need the liquid courage to be able to actually talk to my guests today.

"Okay, can I get you anything to drink?"

"No thanks," I say, holding up my red solo cup of wine. I told you I was classy, right? The doorbell rings again. I don't have to yell for my husband to answer it this time because he's on top of his game now. Unintelligible greetings ensue, then L.B. Dunbar comes into the kitchen with a casserole dish of yams topped with perfectly browned marshmallows.

"Oh, the turkey smells delicious," she gushes. "Do you need any help?"

"Nope," I say and give her my drink spiel. Lisa returns to the kitchen drink in hand. "And this is Lisa. Lisa, this is L_____." Pleasant greetings commence and L____ goes to get herself a drink as the doorbell rings again. The next guests to arrive are K.S. Haigwood with a pecan pie and D.S. Schmeckpeper with the dinner rolls. The house is starting to get noisy with extra children running around and the men watching the football pre-game. I make introductions and deliver my drink spiel again adding that we have juice and milk for the children if necessary.

The ladies start chatting about writing and their books, and I just about faint. It's one thing to see authors talking about their inspiration and stuff on Facebook and quite another to actually hear it coming from their mouths, in your kitchen. Maybe this was a horrible idea. I'm socially awkward at the best of times, and this is quite likely a recipe for disaster. I down the rest of my wine and go to make myself something stronger. Shots of tequila sound like a great idea, but I settle for a margarita. The doorbell rings as I'm finishing pouring my drink, so I answer it. Standing on my doorstep is Alexandrea Weis with a bottle of vodka and Rodney the raccoon. I'm pretty sure the kids are going to love him. I just hope he doesn't get too overwhelmed by all of them. I get over my horrible manners and invite her in out of the cold. "The other ladies are in the kitchen. Please help yourself to a drink, I already have vodka chilled in the freezer, unless you prefer to drink it warm."

I return to the kitchen to start making the gravy, I just hope it turns out good this year, I have about a fifty percent success rate at the moment. I'm much better with cream gravies, and today timing is everything. I let out a sigh of relief when my gravy starts to thicken like it's supposed to, but a new worry takes over. We are still one guest short, and the casseroles are almost finished. I don't want to start eating without her, but I also don't want the food to get cold while everyone else is here. I go to tell my husband that it's time to carve the turkey (because we carve in the kitchen and serve the pre-carved turkey on a platter in our house). On our way back to the kitchen the doorbell rings.

I actually squeal when I see Penelope Douglas with her husband and daughter, and delicious looking banana nut bread. "So, uh, can we come in?" she asks because I have once again forgotten my manners in the midst of my inner fan-girling.

"Oh, yes, of course," I say, stepping aside to let them in. "The guys are downstairs in the den and the kids are running around upstairs wreaking havoc. Feel free to help yourselves to drinks." I squeal again because THE Penelope Douglas is in my house. It is definitely time for shots of some sort, but I need to get the potatoes mashed before the timer for my casseroles goes off. After I get the potatoes mashed and in a serving bowl and some gravy in the gravy boat, the ladies start taking the food to the table for me. Next thing I know, the casseroles are finished and it's time to eat. Everyone gathers around the table and we say grace. It seems that everything came together well in the end, but I think next year I might just skip Thanksgiving.

*Note: Stephen King and J.K. Rowling were both also invited but their agents personally declined the invitations.

So there you have it, my dream Thanksgiving guest list. Who is sitting around your dream Thanksgiving table? - Katie

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 26 - Cheating on Books

Today I am tasked with telling you my favorite ways of cheating on books. The full title in the challenge includes t.v. and movies, but I don't actually cheat on books that much with t.v. and movies. Seriously, we have family movie night every single night before sending the kids to bed (it has made bedtime a breeze) and I usually spend it reading rather than watching the movie or t.v. show that the children have picked. My husband and I are currently watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix, starting at the beginning, we're part way through season three now. We watch an episode or two each night, but I wouldn't consider that cheating on books because it's just the time that my husband and I spend together, just the two of us. Unless you want to consider spending time with my husband cheating on books, in which case, guilty.

No, the way that I cheat on books is far more addictive than even television. I cheat on books with Facebook. That is my ultimate procrastinating tool, and I've found myself using it more during the month of November than previously, because I have been feeling very strong urges to procrastinate working on my #NaNoWriMo project. I haven't even hit 25K yet on that, so I'm pretty sure I'm not going to win this year, but since I also already decided that no one will see the MS I've been working on as it stands (it got way too personal) I'm okay with that. I still might take bits and pieces from it for another story that I've wanted to write for a while because I think small portions of it would work, but for the most part, it's a wash.

Anyway, back on topic, when I'm not reading, I am most likely on Facebook or doing housework or interacting with my children, but in my free me time it's a battle between Facebook and books, and right now, Facebook is winning my love. I actually don't think I've finished a single book in November (except that novella I read for the blog tour, but I don't count that since it was just a novella). I've read 127 books so far this year, but only one of those (because on Goodreads the novella counts) was in November. That math just doesn't add up. And it's all #NaNoWriMo and Facebook's fault.

So how do you cheat on books? - Katie

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 25 - How do I deal with Book Hangovers

Book hang-o-ver (hang-oh-ver)

1. The inability to start a new book because you are still living in the old book's world
2. The inability to function at work/school because you were up all night binge-reading

Another short post. I don't. I don't have to. I don't get book hangovers, and like reading nooks, I don't really understand them. I have no problem switching between books while I'm in the middle of them, and I've never had a problem getting into a new book after finishing one. The closest I get to experiencing a book hangover is an inability to function because I was up late binge-reading, except I'm a natural night owl and suffer from insomnia, even when reading doesn't keep me awake. I also frequently have really crazy busy dreams that keep my sleep from actually being restful, so I wake up tired every morning, the books have nothing to do with it. The best answer I can give to this question is I drink a can of Dr. Pepper, or I make myself a Soda Stream Cola if we have no DP in the house to get some caffeine in me to wake me up a little. That's about it though. That is my lame answer in a nutshell. What do you do to get over a book hangover? - Katie

Monday, November 24, 2014

*Sale Blitz* Bound by Love by Stephie Walls

boundsalexx boundfree2

 When young college student and working phenom, Annie Teasman, shows up again at the distribution center to pitch a consulting proposal to management in hopes of sealing the deal, she never suspects when their eyes lock that the gorgeous, blue-eyed, ripped Gray Dearsley will change her life forever. Will the bright, funny, and unassuming coed from an upper class background be able to bind her heart to that of the cocky, carefree Southern playboy? As she tries to manage an impossible school load while working full-time, will her drug use jeopardize their relationship? While Gray wrestles with his desire to lead a carefree and uncommitted lifestyle, Annie must grow up as she struggles to meet her goals and decide for herself what she needs from a relationship to be happy. Will she choose a relationship where she is bound by passionate love, or will she choose the gentle love and security of a man whose background more closely matches her own? Set in a Southern town where the cultural divide is wide and the generation gap is even more pronounced, the book is contemporary in its approach to the issue of drugs at colleges where the demands on time for success-oriented students frequently surpass their physical capabilities. Passionate, sensual, and erotic, Bound by Love explores some of life’s most difficult questions about love & happiness. This is not a fairytale romance; it’s the story of two people desperate to love each other through drugs, infidelity, and painful truths. Not all love is guaranteed a happy ending. (This is book one of a two book series. The sequel, Freed, will release on July 7, 2014).





 I have a serious addiction to anything Coach and would live on Starbucks if I could get away with it. If you follow me on Facebook you'll also find that I'm slightly enamored with Charlie Hunnam. I'm also a tad obsessed with tattoos and have thirteen scattered on my canvas. I'm an avid reader (literary whore to be more precise) averaging around 300 novels a year and wish I had time to read more. I currently work full-time in the Greenville area and fill my "extra" time (haha) with reading anything I can get my hands on and writing contemporary romance novels with a hint of erotica. This has been a dream of mine for years and I couldn't have done it without the support of my BFF Tracy who pushed me to keep going when I didn't have the confidence or the patience. steph'spic 
Twitter: @StephieWalls 

 Other Books by Stephie:   
   freedcover   metacover2
FB Profile Pic for Jen

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 24 - Reading Cave Fantasies

Short post. I don't have them. I don't understand them, unless it's a place where no one could find me and bother me, I don't even need one. I am perfectly happy reading wherever I am (You may have seen my previous post about where I read even, so you know.) The only way I want a reading cave is if it's a room hidden behind a bookcase, because that is just cool! So I guess that is my reading cave fantasy, a room hidden behind a bookcase.

But for the sake of writing more than a single short paragraph, lets go back to my lack of understanding of these reading cave things. What is the point of them? I'm on Pinterest, so I've seen my share of "reading nooks" etc, a lot of them come with the caption, "I'd love to sit and read here," and I always think, "Well sure, if I was there, I'd love to sit and read too," but not, "I'd love to go there to sit and read." Getting to a reading nook takes valuable time away from actual reading. In my post about where I read I talked about having books or devices specifically for certain locations in my house so that when I'm in those locations and want to read, I always have a book handy. I don't need to curl up in my favorite recliner with a cup of hot cocoa and my kindle to be content reading. I can be just as content sitting in my office in front of the computer with a paperback and a glass of lemon water. All I need to be content is a book.

Sure, all these pictures of book nooks look very peaceful, but I've taught myself to read when things around me aren't peaceful. And the fact of the matter is that even if I installed a special book nook in my house, it would soon be overrun by Ninja Turtles and Barbie dolls. I would go to sit down to read my book, and my children would follow with their Play-doh. I may just be too much of a realist to fantasize about something that I know I'll never have. - Katie

Sunday, November 23, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 23 - Book Boyfriend Criteria

*Warning* Mom, don't read this post!

In a nutshell, my perfect book boyfriend is a gentleman on the streets and an Dom in the sheets. It's what I ultimately want in a real man too. I am a rabid feminist (okay, I'm not really rabid, I've been tested) and want equality in my relationships be they real or fictional. I really don't enjoy BDSM books much because the Dom/sub relationships are all encompassing and that type of relationship doesn't appeal to me. I'm all for the kinky fuckery they include though, so I occasionally choke them down for the porny aspects. While I want to be equals in public, in the bedroom I want a man who takes complete control and I really do enjoy the kinky fuckery. I think my toy collection would put Christian Grey to shame.

So what does my ideal book boyfriend look like? He has short hair (I like military guys for a reason), and is clean shaven. I do not do beards on my men, they make me think of my dad and my brother and that's just gross. I'd like him to be toned, but not really big. Solid is good, bulky is bad.

For temperament I like the boy next door or lovable best friend types. The kinds of guys that will listen to you and that you've know your whole life. The ones that have always been there for you no matter what. However, in my fictional experience, these guys seem to be a bit on the vanilla side in the bedroom.

So if you know of any books with a sweet boy next door type book boyfriend that gets down to some real kinky fuckery, let me know because I need that book. - Katie

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 22 - #ShelfieSaturday

So the title of this challenge is supposed to be #ShowMeYourShelves, but I like the sound of #ShelfieSaturday better, so I changed it. It's the same principle though, so I'm going to at least pretend that changing it is okay. Plus, this is my blog and I do what I want! LOL.

For todays challenge, I'm supposed to show you my bookshelves, either real or virtual. Since I don't actually organize books on any single Kindle (my organization there is done by sending different books to different reading devices since I have 5 of them total not counting my phone) so taking screenshots or photos of those would just be showing you my most recently downloaded items, and that doesn't feel like it fits the spirit of this challenge. I have several bookcases though, with a bit of organization to them, so I'm using those. This challenge actually makes me a little sad because I don't have my physical shelves organized exactly how I would like them, I did at our last house, but haven't taken the time to organize them here yet. Without further ado, here they are!

Here are three of my bookcases. The far left is almost entirely full of board games, except for the bottom shelf, which contains my religious books, an entire shelf of assorted religious books including three bibles, one is just the New Testament, but in English, German, and French that I stole from a hotel room because that is just too cool and I'm a horrible person, a Book of Mormon, a copy of the Q'uran, The Satanic Bible, and just some other religion based books. I also have that completely empty shelf on the right bookcase. I just emptied it tonight and moved those books to another shelf that my husband freed up by moving all of his computer books to our DVD bookcase in the living room. There was a reason for the move. As you can see, I like to display some knick knack type items on my bookshelves in front of my books, although that is largely because I needed somewhere to put them.

Here are my other four bookcases, although the one on the left hardly counts at the moment because it's got assorted boxes and random kid crap on it. It's also the shelving I use to try to keep my sons homeschooling stuff at least a little organized (I've pretty much failed at keeping that stuff organized though.) I'm also taking up an entire shelf with Halloween candy, because it's the only way to keep it mostly out of the kids reach (they're smart enough to move a chair over and then my son can reach the buckets for them, but they don't do that often). The boxes that are in the way are electronic crap of my husbands.

Since I have quite a few bookcases and getting pictures of them makes it fairly difficult to see the shelves contents, I've also taken some closer shots to showcase what little organization I've employed so far in this house. Our first shot is my two favorite shelves. Yes, the top shelf is completely full of Stephen King books, that should not be a surprise since I'm such a huge fan. The shelf underneath that has my Harry Potter collection, and I have more than one copy of each of the books, although not all of my copies made it to Germany with us (I left some at my parents house when we moved to help keep our moving weight lower). Also sharing my Harry Potter shelf are signed copies of BullyUntil You, and Rival by Penelope Douglas, The Bondage ClubThe Satyr's Curse, and The Satyr's Curse II: The Reckoning by Alexandrea Weis, and Destiny's Wings by D.S. Schmeckpeper. It also has a pair of wooden clogs from Amsterdam on display.

These three shelves are like my "non-fiction" or reference section. They feature several political books (which are super easy to find at my local base thrift store) for both sides. You may be able to see that I have The Audacity of Hope by President Barack Obama right next to Decision Points by President George W. Bush. That shelf also holds my copy of The Good Soldiers which is about my husbands former unit during their first deployment to Iraq. I have yet to be able to bring myself to read it. I tried to read it during his second deployment and about twenty pages in I realized that was a horrible idea, and stopped. He's out of the Army now though, so reading it now should be much less troubling. The bottom shelf, holds a copy of Grey's Anatomy, a book on Sextrology, and a book on Vampires, among other books.

These four shelves hold all of the books that I have won in Goodreads First Reads giveaways that I have yet to read. I keep them all together so that when I'm choosing a new physical book to read, I know where to look. Probably about thirty percent of them are signed by the author. The bottom of those four was just recently moved from that now empty shelf in my first picture. The framed picture is my son's first photo with Santa. I remember the photographer trying really hard to get a picture of him looking at the camera, but he started crying when he did that. I personally think him looking at Santa is way more precious because it looks like he is actually talking to him and telling him what he wants.

This shelf holds my Goodreads First Reads books that I have read. I'm going to have to start mixing them in with other books here before too much longer when this shelf fills up, but that's okay, because they're already read. At some point I'll probably actually use them within my originally planned organization scheme, rather than keeping them separate, but that will probably happen after we move back to the states. There isn't much point in spending hours reorganizing them right now. There is also a can of silly string that our Elf on the Shelf is going to be using at some point between Thanksgiving and Christmas because I hate myself.

And the last photo. This is supposed to be my "Classics" section, although it has been slightly diluted with a few stray books thrown in. I have gems such as Le Morte D'Arthur, Les Miserables, and War and Peace. Most of these books were purchased at my local base thrift store, usually at ten cents a piece. That's probably the biggest benefit of being a bookaholic stationed overseas, because most families when moving and trying to make weight are perfectly willing to donate books since they can make a big impact on your overall weight, and they're just not as attached to them as I am. So the thrift store frequently has more books than they have room to display them, which means they put them on sale often, usually 10 for a dollar in order to move them off the shelves. I am far less picky about what books I'm buying when they're ten cents a piece and during those times still frequently spend five to six dollars on books. As civilians our moving allowance is more than double what it was while my husband was in the military, which means I don't have to worry about getting rid of any of my precious books when we move back stateside.

 So there you have it. A look and incredibly detailed explanations of my bookshelves. I have a feeling you didn't even read most of this post, and that's okay, sometimes I like to talk just to hear my own voice (which is good because I do so much of it during the day at home with the kids). So how do you organize your shelves? - Katie

Saturday, November 22, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 21 - #FlashbackFriday - First Reviews

So this should be an easy blog post, especially compared to the last one! Other people make ranking books seem so easy. So we're going to go back in time to about a year ago to see some of our blogs oldest reviews. Please step into my Delorean so we can travel through time. Okay, I'll try to stop being cheesy now.

My First Blog Post - This is a joint review of Fixer of Deceit (which has a new title now that I can't think of off the top of my head) and Promiscuous by Alyson Raynes. The highlight of the post for me is the picture.

Courtney's First Review - This review is for Dark Secrets by A.M. Hudson. *Confession* This is the first time I actually read this review from Courtney (I'm a bad co-blogger). *Better Confession* This book is getting moved up on my TBR.

Katie's 2nd Review - Have you noticed that I'm not following any real pattern for what I title my links? Apparently I get lazy after 4 a.m. Anyway, this review is for Blood Claim by Magen McMinimy. It's been so long since I read this book that I actually want to go back and read it again, just to reexperience what I loved about it the first time.

My Third Review - This review is for Bound by Brenda Rothert. I think it's a pretty well written review, and I even played with inserting some graphic quotes in it. I'm really bad at highlighting or marking quotes that I like in books, so including them in reviews does not happen often for me at all. I should work on that.

The Blog's 5th Review - This is another review by me, about the Stalker Anthology compiled by Cynthia Shepp Editing. Since reviewing this book, I've learned a better way for reviewing anthologies that feature several authors. That being said, I'm still proud-ish of this review.

Joint Double Reviews - That tag line doesn't even make sense! This link will take you to Courtney's and my reviews of Save my Soul and Hell's Gift by K.S. Haigwood as well as an interview with the author. *Warning* If you haven't read either of these books, the reviews for Hell's Gift may be kind of spoilerish (I realize now upon re-reading them.)

So there you have it. Some of the first reviews from our blog, back when it was just Courtney and me against the world! Have we improved or is it impossible to improve on perfection? (I'm not really as conceited as I act, I promise. I'm usually pretty sure I suck at everything except math and typing quickly and accurately.) - Katie

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 20 - #TBT - Best Books of 2014

So this is going to be a difficult blog post for me. I don't keep track of my "best books." I don't make lists like that. I also don't frequently have the problem of not being able to get into a new story because I'm stuck in an old one, which would likely qualify that book for a top books list like this is supposed to be. The best thing I can do here, is to look at my Goodreads ratings, and decide from there what the best books of 2014 were for me. At the moment, I don't know how many I'm going to include, but it will probably not be an even number.

*Update* Just went through my "read" books list on Goodreads, and selected my top 18 books, so it is an even number, but not divisible by 10. Looking at the list, most of my top books were read simply for my pleasure and not the blog. So here we go!

Number 18 - Fae - The Wild Hunt by Graham Austin-King - In spite of only receiving four stars from me (too many typos for the book size), this was one of my definite stand out books of the year. "For me it was a lot like A Game of Thrones, but with more mythical creatures." Full Review

Number 17 - Underestimated by Jettie Woodruff - This felt like a monster of a book, coming in at just under 600 pages, but it was gripping the whole way through. This was one of those books where I loved the story, but hated one of the main characters. "It was incredibly well written and put me in Morgans shoes throughout the book." Full Blog Review

Number 16 - Intractable Souls by Tricia Daniels - This was another big book at a little over 500 pages (please don't think I'm complaining about book size because I really love big books, I've just grown accustomed to romance novels being a bit on the shorter side.) So sexy Irishman, need I say more? Honestly, this book was wonderfully written with relatable characters. "It made me laugh with the sharp sarcastic wit, it made me frustrated when the characters fought against what was so obviously supposed to happen, it made me happy when things finally started to go right, and it made me want to throw my Kindle when things got all messed up." Full Review

Number 15 - Spritzerville...Ohio? by Jason R. Koivu - This is the only other book that made the list in spite of only receiving four stars from me (again, too many typos for the size of the book). This book is hilariously absurd. "I imagine this is what The Hobbit would be like if it had been written by Douglas Adams." Full Review

Number 14 - Wind Warrior by Jon Messenger (Currently FREE) - Wind Warrior led me to think of things outside of the realm of the story itself, and I find that to be a great characteristic in a book. "I found the basic idea behind this story to be very intriguing, that there are select supernatural castes of people sent to the Earth to see it through specific phases of development." Full Review

Number 13 - Backward Compatible by Pete Clark and Sarah Daltry - I'm a bit of a nerd and am a gamer in the sense that I will play Mario Bros. 3 on the original Nintendo until the wee hours of the morning (unfortunately I just can't handle the number of buttons on current gaming system controllers. I'm getting old). "It had me laughing out loud, a lot, even when I didn't really get the references." Full Review

Number 12 - The Gathering: Book 1 in the Lia Fail Chronicles by S.L. Dearing - This was another long book coming in at just under 500 pages, and it has a big cast of characters, but they are fairly easy to keep straight for the most part. "If you took Divergent, A Game of Thrones, and The Stand and smushed them together, you would get The Gathering." Full Review

Number 11- 'Twas the Night by Robin Reed - This book falls at number 11 simply because it was a novella and because this ranking my favorite books thing is getting harder and harder. Really, it's for the birds. Honestly, I do not understand how other people do it. Back on topic. "Even though this novella is only about 35,000 words, it had humor, suspense, mystery, action, and horror, all woven together in an almost perfect little satirical Christmas story package." Full Blog Review

Number 10 - The Trials of Hercules: Book 1 in the Osteria Chronicles by Tammie Painter - People always say that history repeats itself. What if that were literally true and after the apocalypse or whatever happens the Greek Gods returned to Earth to start us over? That is part of what Ms. Painter has imagined in The Trials of Hercules. "I am really looking forward to reading more about the world of Osteria, and would definitely recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good action packed mythical story." Full Review

Number 9 - Donners of the Dead by Karina Hall - I won this book twice in different giveaways sponsored by Karina Hall prior to it's release because I wanted to win a copy so badly that I entered every giveaway I found for it on Facebook, and the odds apparently were in my favor. This fictionalized account of what REALLY happened to the Donner party when they were trapped in the Sierra Nevadas was quite comical, and made a certain amount of sense. "This tale of almost terror had me hooked from the title because of my thing for zombie books, and movies, and plant based iPad apps." Full Blog Review

Number 8 - Objective by K. Larsen - I read this book back at the beginning of April, so details are a little fuzzy now, but I can say without a doubt that this book made me a K. Larsen fan. Honestly I'm ashamed of myself for not finding the time to read any other K. Larsen books yet this year. The characters have amazing depth while being completely relatable (at least to an extent). "This book has action, suspense, a surprise twist, and a little bit of romance just for good measure. " Full Blog Review

Number 7 - Seconds Before Sunrise by Shannon A. Thompson - This is the second book in Shannon A. Thompson's YA Timely Death Trilogy, and rather than clearing up questions that I had at the end of Minutes Before Sunset, it added to them. This book made me second guess my suspicions and had me constantly thinking. "I love how this series makes me really think and play detective while I'm reading instead of making everything obvious." Full Blog Review

Number 6 - Good Side of Sin by K.S. Haigwood - Very early on in our blogging days, Courtney and I read Save my Soul (FREE) and Hell's Gift for the blog and they were both excellent and compelling stories. Going into Good Side of Sin, I had my doubts that Ms. Haigwood could maintain the momentum that she built in the first two books of the series. I'm happy to say that she surpassed my expectations. "This book had me hooked from the beginning and only the threat of facing the Syde of Sloth in the afterlife was enough to get me to put it down to do my daily housework." Full Review

Number 5 - Fly Like You've Never Been Grounded by S.J. McCoy - This romance is on the sweeter side, which is how I like them. "I loved the dialogue between the characters, especially Smoke and Laura. It was realistically witty, not feeling forced or unnatural like the author was just trying to make us chuckle." Full Blog Review

Number 4 - The Bondage Club by Alexandrea Weis - You know how they say you should never judge a book by it's cover? This book is the reason why. The book you think you're going to get based on the cover is not the book you actually receive, it's actually better in my opinion. "With a title like The Bondage Club, you know there are going to be at least a few sex scenes. Most of these were hilariously awkward and they help to bring to light a little known problem sweeping the nation since 50 Shades of Grey made it's epic debut." Full Blog Review

Number 3 - Destiny's Wings by D.S. Schmeckpeper - This epic fantasy novel was a nice break for me from the romance that I find myself drowning in for the blog (please remember that romance is not my favorite genre although I do still enjoy it). It's also a great debut novel for D.S. Schmeckpeper. While it's in the epic fantasy genre, it has a strong romantic storyline as well, that's just not the focus. "I thought the characters were really well developed, I loved the relationships between them, I appreciate that the author wasn't afraid to kill off some favorites because it's just too unrealistic for all the good guys to survive when there's fighting and stuff." Full Review

Number 2 - Rival by Penelope Douglas - I don't think it's a secret that I'm a huge Penelope Douglas fan. I believe I have mentioned that she is the reason that I read indie books now after all, and until she publishes a book that just completely disappoints me on all levels, I will continue to be one of her biggest fans. So it should be no surprise that Rival made this list. "I cried on three separate occasions, and I'm not normally a crier." Full Review

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for (or possibly the moment that you have skipped ahead to because this is a rather long blog post). The book that narrowly beat out all the other books on my list to gain the Number 1 spot for 2014.

Number 1 - Taste Test by L.B. Dunbar - Taste Test is a modern twist on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, where a female is the beast, and a male is the beauty. That alone is enough to intrigue me since Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies. But beyond that, I feel like I really connected with both main characters almost on a visceral level. "The story flowed smoothly with enough mystery to keep me firmly hooked, wanting to know what would happen next and if Ethan and Ella would ever find a happily ever after." Full Blog Review

So there you have it. My top 18 reads of 2014 because I like to be different. So what have been your top reads this past year? - Katie

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 19 - #WaitingOnWednesday – TBR Books

Go grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and get comfy, because this is going to be a LONG one. There are so many books on my TBR list right now, it's not even funny, and I'm constantly adding to the list. There are not enough hours in the day for me to do all the reading I actually want to do, and that makes me sad. I will try to keep this sort of brief, but I really wasn't kidding about that cup of coffee.

At the top of my TBR list, and this book has been there since it was published about a year ago is Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. I have this habit of not buying new Stephen King books when they come out because it gives me something to put on my Christmas wish list that my mother insists I give her. Last year for Christmas, my parents gave me a hardcover copy of Doctor Sleep, and it's still at their house because I did not have room for it in the eight boxes of stuff that I mailed back to Germany before the children and I returned from our holiday visit, the kids presents and other assorted things were more important than my book. Also my husband said I could buy it for my Kindle anyway. That's not what happened. I put off buying it for my Kindle, hoping the price would come down some as it got a little older because I'm a bit of a cheapskate and I've gotten 11/22/63 and The Shining for like $2.99 a piece for my kindle, so I was willing to wait. Then I found a mass market paperback of Doctor Sleep at our base bookstore for LESS than the Kindle copy (which really pisses me off because that has much high production costs than the ebook version, but that's a rant for a whole other post) and my husband said I should go ahead and get it even though he really hates my book collection. I've had the paperback for a couple months now, still haven't gotten around to reading it because I've had other commitments (and an obsession with winning books from the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program and I think I've figured out part of their formula). But I will read Doctor Sleep, eventually.

Another book that is high on my TBR list is Side Effects by Lisa Suzanne. Lisa is one of my favorite indie authors (I'm on her street team and everything) and this is the only book of hers that I haven't read yet because I was moving when she needed beta readers and since then I have no found the time to get it read. But I will, I promise.

The next book on my list is The Ghosts of Rue Dumaine by Alexandrea Weis. When I was first lured onto her street team with promises of vodka and raccoons (because who can resist vodka and raccoons), I bought this book so that I could at least test out her writing style to see if I can honestly support her. I still haven't read it. The first book I read of her's was a beta read, The Bondage Club, but I do enjoy her style of writing and can honestly pimp her shamelessly around Facebook and Twitter.

The next two books are tied for their place on my list. They are Sound Advice and Fragrance Free by L.B. Dunbar. I started with Taste Test, the second book in her Sensations Collections (which can all be read as stand alones, but they do have some characters in common), as an ARC for a blog tour and fell in love with her style and characters.

Another book that I absolutely must read is Destiny's Flame by D.S. Schmeckpeper. It's not even out yet, she is still writing it, but it is on my absolutely must read list because I know it's going to be epic, it is in the epic fantasy genre after all. You could all start by reading Destiny's Wings though and I'm sure you'll fall in love with Celeste, Tarnelius, and Arcus just like I did.

And one last book that is on my I absolutely have to read this book and I need it right now list is Falling Away by Penelope Douglas. It is also not out yet, but it is available for pre-order on Amazon already, so go do that right now, I have. I fell in love with Penelope's writing when I managed to snag Bully while it was free on Amazon, before she signed her super deserved publishing deal with Penguin. I fell so in love that I even decided to give other indie authors a chance, which is something I hadn't done in years. If it weren't for Penelope Douglas and Bully, I would not be here writing this today.

Like I said before, there are a ton of books on my TBR, but those are some of the ones I'm most looking forward to reading. So what books are on your TBR? - Katie

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 18 - Favorite Sub-Genres

*Warning: This post may get a little ranty.

I have mentioned on more than one occasion during this challenge that I have always been a big reader. I also frequently find myself using the phrase "Words mean things," in a variety of situations (not always out loud, and actually rarely to the person that really probably needs to hear it). One of those situations is when I see a blog or author on Facebook ask "What's your favorite genre?" because a lot of people answer with sub-genres. In these cases, I believe most of the responders are referring to sub-genres of the Romance Genre, because that is the main focus of most of the blogs and authors that I have found on Facebook (seriously, it's kind of hard to find blogs that focus on other genres, even ours is mostly romance, and romance is on the lower end of my genre preferences.) So I get annoyed a lot. But I guess here is a chance for me to make it a little more clear, at least for some of you.

Genre: Romance

I realize that I just said romance isn't really one of my favorite genres, but I'm starting with it, because I believe it is for most of you. My favorite romance sub genres include:

Paranormal - I enjoy paranormal romance because to me, it's a lot like reading Fantasy. Sure, I'm guaranteed a romantic element, but I'm also guaranteed stuff out of the ordinary that requires some imagination on my part.

Historical - I actually cut my metaphorical romantic teeth on historical romances. I enjoy this sub genre because again, it requires a certain amount of imagination on my part. I love picturing the clothes, and the places in a long ago time.

Dystopian - Actually I'm not sure if Dystopian qualifies for its own genre where dystopian romance would then be a sub genre of it's own. In any case, I love dystopian stories, again with the imagination thing. I really like seeing how the author imagines things going down in the not-so-distant future and deciding in my head if their theories have any merit. It's fun for me.

Genre: Horror

This is my typical proclaimed favorite genre (that whole Stephen King thing from yesterday's post). And honestly, if it's a horror novel I will gladly read it. While I tend to gravitate towards King's supernatural stories, I'm also plenty happy to read a great ghost story, or horrifying vampire tale, but I definitely want to be at least a little creeped out when all is said and done.

Genre: Science Fiction

Science fiction is another one of my favorite genres. I blame my parents. Between my dad's Isaac Asimov collection and my mother's suggestion that I read Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series, I didn't have a chance. So which sub genres are my favorite? All of them. If it requires imagination on my part to picture exactly what the author is describing, I'm all about it.

So I think you probably get the idea here...I'm all about the books that really make me use my imagination to picture things because we don't have them in the real world (at least as far as we know.) So what are some of your favorite sub genres? - Katie

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 17 - Favorite Book Tropes


 noun \ˈtrōp\
: a word, phrase, or image used in a new and different way in order to create an artistic effect

Full Definition of TROPE

a :  a word or expression used in a figurative sense :  figure of speech
b :  a common or overused theme or device :  cliché <the usual horror movie tropes>
:  a phrase or verse added as an embellishment or interpolation to the sung parts of the Mass in the Middle Ages

*Blog Tour* Misappropriate by Kathryn Kelly


 Megan “Meggie” Foy Caldwell is finally getting everything she’s dreamed of, a child, a husband, and family (of bikers) that would truly do anything for her. Her life is finally on the right track. When Meggie asks her husband, Christopher “Outlaw” Caldwell, MC President of the Death Dwellers’, for a church wedding, he agrees because keeping his new found love happy is everything to him. But when a ghost from the past rolls into town and targets Outlaw Caldwell and his family, it forces him to make decisions that could cost them their happily ever after. Threatening their newfound peace, will Meggie and Outlaw’s love conquer all, or will they both fall back into their destructive patterns that could tear their lives a part? ** Warning: FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY CONTAINS SEX, DRUGS, VIOLENCE, AND EXCESSIVE PROFANITY. misappropriate





misappropriateteaser4 misguidedtrailer 
Kathryn Kelly is living her dream and writing books. She's always been an avid reader and still devours books in her spare time. She also enjoys football, socializing, music, eating, and jokes. In her head, she's the ultimate biker babe. In reality, she's an ordinary girl-next-door and a native New Orleanian. 

Other Books by Kathryn Kelly 
 Series order: 
 Misled #1 Release date: December 5, 2013 H/h: Christopher & Megan
 Misappropriate #1.5 Release date: February 14, 2014 H/h: Christopher & Megan
 Misunderstood #2 Release date: April 5, 2014 H/h: Johnnie & Kendall
 Misdeeds #2.5 Release date: June 5, 2014 H/H: Johnnie & Kendall
 Misbehavior #3 Release date: September 17, 2014 H/h: Val & Zoann
 Misguided #4 Release date: December 5, 2014 H/h: Mortician & Bailey
 Misconduct #5 Release date: TBA H/h: Digger & Peyton
 Misfit #5.5 Release date: TBA H/H/h: Stretch, Cash & Ophelia
  misled misappropriate misunderstoo misdeeds misbehavior
FB Profile Pic for Jen

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 16 - Least Favorite Blogging Things

I feel a little bit more certain of what to write about here, than I did for yesterday's post.

The thing I like least about blogging, is blog tour sign up forms. I really wish that my computer would just autofill those things out for me. The fact that our email and blog address both use our whole name (Just Another Girl and Her Books) doesn't help matters any, and that's entirely my fault. They are just very tedious to fill out, although I find them much less tedious on the computer than I did when I only had my iPad with which to fill them out (I'm a fairly fast typist.)

My next least favorite thing is the email. It's not that I don't like receiving it, but sorting through blog tour invites, blog tour packets, and review requests is, well, tedious. It's time consuming, boring, and not the kind of reading I want to be doing for the blog. But it's a necessary evil

Then there is Facebook's every changing page algorithms, that make no sense, ever. When we first started the blog, a fair number of our fans saw every post, but in recent weeks, only a very small percentage see anything we post. We are well aware that giveaways can greatly increase page interaction, but we don't get paid to blog, so those come out of our pocket and we just can't afford to be doing them all the time. So without giveaways we are left trying to figure out how to get y'all to talk to us, so that you will still see our posts. One day we will figure out the secret formula (and then Facebook will change again!) - Katie

Saturday, November 15, 2014

#BookBlogWriMo - Day 15 - Favorite Blogging Things

Um, so not sure what I'm really supposed to write about here, so I'm going to make it a bit of a free for all about the things I love about blogging.

Friends. In my real life, I don't have a lot of friends that like to read. In fact, most of my "friends" kind of make fun of me for enjoying reading so much. I don't even have a fellow reader in my husband, which I'm realizing is kind of sad, but I still love him anyway. Since Courtney made me start blogging with her, though, I've made several Facebook friends that share my love of reading, that I feel a real connection with, and I never have to change out of my comfy clothes or leave my comfort zone. It's great.

The books! I have found some amazing books because of blogging. I have new authors that I will buy everything they ever write because I love their writing style. Then there's the fact that people actually sort of care about what I have to say about the books that I read. It's really cool feeling like my opinion matters.

It encourages me to read more. In 2013, my Goodreads reading goal was 50 books for the year. I ended up reading 62 (granted I read the first three Game of Thrones books and Atlas Shrugged in 2013, and those are not small books, but I only read 62 books in the whole year). This year I doubled my goal to 100. It's November 11th at the time of writing this, and I've already read 127 books. I've surpassed my goal, and doubled last years numbers (although my pages read may be similar). I don't necessarily need encouragement to read, but I do find Facebook to be mighty distracting, so I don't read as much as I did when I was younger. Blogging has helped to change that.

The authors. Authors actually come to me, asking me to read their books because they've read my reviews and appreciate their detail (I've had authors tell me that before). Authors have always been my idols, so having some of them wanting me specifically to read their books is like the best drug in the world. And it's a drug I'm not planning on giving up any time soon. - Katie

*Cover Reveal* Unforseen Destiny by Brooklyn Taylor

Unforeseen Des.

Unforeseen Destiny (Forever Series Book 3)

Brooklyn Taylor

Genre: Romance Contemporary

Expected Release Date: December 5, 2014
Cover Designed by: I Love It Design Studio
Unforeseen Destiny book cover
Ashlynn, Grace and McKoy have been friends since junior high. They have been there for each other through thick and thin; through abuse in more ways than one can imagine, and ultimately, through tragedy. Despite the tests their friendships have endured, it is nothing in comparison to the betrayal their circle is about to encounter. Ashlynn and Grace have both settled down in happy marriages and McKoy has a pain in her heart from the ache of her missing this in her life. Her friends’ marriages have a passion and an always forgiving love that she can only dream of. Now it is McKoy’s turn to get her happily ever after… Her soulmate… or so she thought. McKoy Synder, since age 14, had her future completely planned out. She was going to run her granddaddy’s winery and be happily married with two kids by age 30. She was madly in love with the one man that she thought was meant for her, Beau Evans. Beau had his own plans for life and they did not include McKoy. McKoy’s dominoes start tumbling down, and she finds out that life doesn’t always go as planned. All her plans, hopes and dreams are demolished and she is crippled by the heartache. Her world as she knows it starts to take a drastic turn and she has to start making decisions she never thought she would be faced with. McKoy has to decide whether to rise to the challenge or be defeated. As McKoy finally accepts she is alone, Dr. Grayson Moore walks into her life and he immediately falls for her. Grayson is tall, dark, handsome and sexy as hell. He desires to embrace McKoy for who she is, and to show her love like she’s never had. Can she heal from the heartbreak from the losses she encounters? Will she let the man that very well could be her future walk away?  

The Forever Series

books new cover


Eternal Soulmate (Forever Series Book 1)

This book is intended for readers over 18. Sexual content, language and violence. This book is the first in a three book series. Each book can be read as a standalone. Ashlynn Ellis’ life was finally coming together. After a troubled childhood she had control of her life just the way she wanted. She had her inner circle of trust consisting of McKoy and Grace who were her lifelong girlfriends which allowed her to keep the boundaries set. But an end-of-life journey for her estranged mother shakes Ashlynn’s distrusting self to the core, which unknowingly leads her to cross paths with her soulmate, Cooper Brooks. Ashlynn has never had a trusting man in her life nor did she want one. She has seen domestic abuse on the front line and can not let these memories go. Cooper Brooks is a police officer and has seen domestic violence at its worse. As a child with a hard upbringing, he commits himself to his career. He does not have time in his life for a woman and he doesn’t care to look for one; that is until he meets Ashlynn Ellis. Ashlynn and Cooper meet by what could only be orchestrated by a higher power, and for the first times in both their lives realize love is something they are missing. Will Ashlynn trust Cooper and let her guard down for this man that worships her? Can Cooper convince her to trust him and embrace the love he wants to give her? Will Ashlynn lose her internal battle and let Cooper in? When someone from her past comes back to destroy her can she protect Cooper, the love of her life, before it’s too late to protect herself? This a passionate love story between two people who were brought together by fate as soul mates made for each other. Is their destiny really meant to spend the rest of their lives together?  

Amazon B&N Kobo



Endless Affinity (Forever Series Book 2)

This book is intended for readers OVER 18* due to sexual content, violence and language. Grace Ingram made one mistake that sent her down a path that was full of heart break and misery. In a moment of hesitation her stubbornness left her filled with doubts in her mind that could cause her to sacrifice the love of her life. Grace was a blue-collar, strong, independent Texas girl that had been with the same guy since high school. Now at the age of 26 she has been asked the one thing most women are waiting and wishing for, but not Grace. The last thing she wanted was to get married and start a family- especially with a guy that had never had to work for a living. She knew Kyle was the only one she had ever loved with all her heart, trusting and allowing a level of intimacy she would never allow with another. After all he was the only man that knew of the abuse she suffered as a high school teenager. The differences in their lifestyles were in such contrast, though, that it was hard for her to let her guard down. Grace had no idea the battle she would really be fighting once she realized she was losing Kyle for good. Kyle Chandler was everything every woman wanted. He was rich, gorgeous and full of charm. He was a ladies’ man but the only girl he had eyes for was Grace, his high school sweetheart. He had the world handed to him on a silver platter. The one thing he couldn’t have and wanted deeply was to make Grace his, but he hadn’t been successful at accomplishing that. After years of reluctance he decides to take the risk and ask her to be his, only to be met with the answer he dreaded. Now, the three girls are back together, trying to juggle their friendships and their busy lives. McKoy is beginning to take over her successful family Vineyard, and Ashlynn getting ready for the arrival of her baby with Cooper. Will the people that come into their lives keep them apart? Or serve to make them realize the love that they really share? Do you have to really lose the most important person in your life to realize how special they are? And how hard will you fight to regain that love? Can Grace overcome her indecisiveness, confident in the love she and Kyle share, knowing they are meant to be together? And is love really enough?

Amazon B&N Kobo iBooks


Brooklyn Taylor

Brooklyn Taylor

I am a mother of 2 amazing kiddos and married to my gorgeous soulmate for almost 20 years. I have a full time job in the medical field but would rather be spending my time writing! I love to spend my free time reading, being outside and playing with my family and 4 fur babies. I started to write at the instinct of "hey maybe I can do that!" I have enjoyed every step of the journey. I am blessed to have very supportive friends and family that make my life worth living!