Saturday, June 30, 2018

*Stacking the Shelves* 30 June 2018

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too, which covers the books I receive through Netgalley. So my STS post will feature all the books I've been one-clicking on Amazon. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week. All Goodreads First Reads ebook wins unless otherwise specified.

Closet Friends (Chapter Preview) by Eric Rivernight (I apparently won a chapter preview and not even the full book on this one). 
Without a Country by Ayse Kulin - This was my free book selection for Kindle First for June (because I'm always late picking those out). 
The Dreamachine by William Dickerson
Humans and Other Aliens by Alexander Winzer
Eris Adrift by Bruce Post
Confessions of an Old Man: How Millennials are Being Robbed by Munir Moon
The Virtuoso by Virginia Burges
Haunting Poems by Larissa Matharu
Psybrid by Bailey Pons
Make Your Life Better This Year by Kia Wakefield
The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen - I snagged this book on sale for just $3.99 (no longer on sale) when it was a Kindle Daily Deal.
European Son by Barry Levy
The Touch by Robert Flynn III
Before I Saw You by Amy Sorrells
The Mortal Falls by Anna Durand
An Accidental Murder by Diana M. Grillo
The Other Side of History: Daily Life In the Ancient World by Robert Garland (The Great Courses) - I snagged this in audio during a recent 2 for 1 sale on The Great Courses on Audible.
The History of the United States by Allen C Guelzo, Gary W. Gallagher, and Patrick N. Allitt (The Great Courses) - This was another audio grab during The Great Courses sale on Audible.
Living the French Revolution and Age of Napoleon by Suzanne M. Desan (The Great Courses) - Another audio bargain during The Great Courses Sale on Audible.
America's Founding Fathers by Allen C Guelzo (The Great Courses) - My final audio grab during The Great Courses Sale on Audible.
The First 30: Guide to Your First Thirty Years by Dustin Jones
Monster Problems: Vampire Misfire by R.L. Ullman

So that's all the new books I've added to my virtual shelves this past week. It was another slow week for me, and that's okay.

What new books have you added to your shelves recently?  - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can stop by and visit you after I return from my weekend out of town.*

Friday, June 29, 2018

*Book Blogger Hop* 29 June 2018

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
Do you have an Instagram account? If so, do you only follow book folks?(submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
Yes. No, but mostly. I do have an Instagram account which I need to get better at posting to on a regular basis. I have a ton of pics I took before we left Germany that I still need to get posted (but they all got wiped off my phone when we did a hard reset trying to get it connected to service in the states. Turned out the phone couldn't be connected to service at least through that provider and I had to buy a new phone anyway. The pics were backed up onto Google photos, but it's not as easy to access them to post when I think about it, so I just haven't done it.) You can follow me here.

And I follow some friends and family, but most of the people that I follow on IG are people who post bookish pics, because bookish pics are what I mostly want to see because I love books. I am obsessed with them. Also, those posters give me ideas of what to do to make my pics look prettier (although so far I've failed to really emulate any of them successfully, but I'm still trying).

What about you? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can stop by and see your answer too.*

Thursday, June 28, 2018

*Review* Colorful Havana by Laura Lahm and Trevor Essmeier

Genre: Coloring Book
Published: April 21, 2018
Pages: 38

Follow the map and explore the famous landmarks and hidden gems of Havana, Cuba and color along the way. Exploring is made easy as the book begins with a map of the city followed by a corresponding index in both Spanish and English for each of the whimsically illustrated locations featured in the book. Explorers can travel and color from the colonial cobblestones of Old Havana to the musicians playing along the Malecón.

I received a copy of this book from the author. This is my honest review. 

I don't think I can adequately describe how excited I was to get this book in the mail. This is the first time I've had the opportunity to receive a coloring book to review, so when it arrived in my mailbox it was like the best day ever (at least the best day last week). 

For starters, I feel like I should explain what I like to find in coloring books. I like them to be on the simple side, not like dollar store cartoon character coloring book simple, but I'm not a fan of super intricate scenes, much preferring patterns and mandalas. I find coloring those much more relaxing. 

So you might be wondering why I'd want a book of famous landmarks from Havana, and the answer is simple. The cover led me to believe that while the book features scenes, they are not super intricate. They're actually a nice blend of scene and pattern. And I'm happy to report that the cover was not misleading. While I haven't had the time to actually sit down and color in my new book yet, I have flipped through the pages and found several that I'm really excited to brighten up. Several of the pages could even be colored with crayons (I typically feel like adult coloring books require colored pencils or fine-tip markers just to stay inside the lines), which if you have children like I do, you're likely to have laying around the house, literally all over. (And you know the kids begged you to buy the 120 crayon box and you caved because back in our day we only got 64 colors, you know, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. This would be a great book to test out those 56 extra colors on.) 

But not only do I get to color some really fun scenes, but I can find where they are in relation to each other on the provided map and learn more about them in both English and Spanish (I can only learn more about them in English because my Spanish is muy limited). Maybe I'm weird that I like my coloring books to be at least a little educational, but I do. I get really excited when I get to learn something about what I'm coloring. 

And the icing on this wonderful cake is that all the coloring pages are perforated at the top. So if I should be coloring and my daughter should happen to catch me and want to color a picture too, I can just tear out one page for her to color and not have to hand over the whole book to be lost forever in the abyss that she calls a bedroom. And more importantly, at least some of the illustrations are simple enough that at seven years old, she should be able to color them while staying inside the lines (with those crayons that she's left laying all over the house). 

Overall I give Colorful Havana 5.0003 stars. - Katie 

Laura Lahm, founder of Colorful Cities, is the creator and publisher of the “Explore & Color” travel guide and coloring book series for fabulous cities around the world. After years of intrepid travel for both work and pleasure, Lahm took the leap from marketing for high-tech companies to sharing her passion of exploring unique cities coupled with a penchant for good design to create the first book, Colorful Seattle – Explore & Color. Subsequent cities in the series include: Tokyo, Portland and Havana. Colorful Cities is a bronze winner of the 2016 Independent Publishers Book Award in the travel and guidebook category.

About the Illustrator

Having picked up his first crayon at age 2, Trevor Essmeier has been professionally illustrating videos, infographics, comics, and books for clients the last 12 years. A Seattle native, Trevor loves the amazing coffee and art community the city has to offer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

*Review* Spotted Her First by Emma Dean

Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Published: June 26, 2018
Pages: 225

Three hot leopard shifters? Yes please. 

Piper is a librarian at Sacramento State working on her graduate thesis, but her quiet life turns upside down when three hot guys literally crash into her world. They move into her house and her life, telling her she's wanted by a demon and a witch for her pharaoh's blood. She just didn't realize how much they would take over her life in the name of protecting her. 

Piper is overwhelmed by the paranormal world and everything in it, including the fact that somehow all three of these guys are her mates. She has two weeks to find a way out of a demon contract and figure out how she's going to deal with all three of these domineering shifters in her life and in her apartment. Will Piper be able to save herself and the pride she's grown attached to before it's too late?

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 story makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review. 

So I have personally classified this book as erotic paranormal romance because while there are some very descriptive, steamy scenes, the book itself is plot driven, so we're not just trying to get from one sex scene to the next. But since the sex scenes are graphic it goes in the erotica category for me. And paranormal because shifters, that one's just a duh. To me, this book felt like it had a little bit of everything. Humor, action, romance, sex, and at least one subtle movie reference that had me laughing (and wanting to watch said movie immediately). 

I found myself cracking up early on in the story when Piper and the guys were first heading to her house, because Piper is a cat person; a considerate cat person who asks people coming into her house if they are allergic to cats. Do you see where I'm going here? There were a lot of other little moments that gave me the giggles and I may have even snorted once or twice, but we're going to pretend I didn't. 

So the book starts out with an unapproved game of hide and seek in the library, with Piper as a very unwilling participant. But she's no damsel in distress. She's proficient at self-defense and willing to use anything, even a copy of War and Peace, as a weapon to protect herself. But the odds were obviously stacked against her, so I was a bit anxious to see what would happen. I'd like to say everything turned out okay but...

Now I really related to Piper. She loves books and she's a cat person. So I could understand why she wouldn't immediately be down with the idea of having three mates. I mean, what would you do if three strange guys showed up and told you that you were destined to be together, all four of you? So the guys had to romance her and show her just how good things could be between them, and romance her they did. The mushy parts may have made me squeal just a little bit. 

Overall I give Spotted Her First 4.967 stars. - Katie 

Emma Dean lives and works in California with her husband and son. She loves romance but needed something different so Draga Court was born. With too many stories to write the schedule has been filled through 2018.

When she’s not writing she’s reading, or spending time with her family.
With publishing now at least she has an excuse for not folding the laundry ;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

*Review* Beneath the Lighthouse by Julieanne Lynch

Genre: YA/Paranormal
Published: June 26, 2018
Pages: 288


Sixteen-year-old Jamie McGuiness’s sister is dead. Sinking into a deep depression, he frequents the lighthouse where her body was discovered, unaware of the sinister forces surrounding him.

When an angry spirit latches onto Jamie, he’s led down a dark and twisted path, one that uncovers old family secrets, destroying everything Jamie ever believed in.

Caught between the world of the living and the vengeful dead, Jamie fights the pull of the other side. It’s up to Jamie to settle old scores or no one will rest in peace—but, first, he has to survive.

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 story makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review. 

So the first thing you need to know is that this book is set in Ireland. And there is quite a bit of Irish slang incorporated into the characters dialogue. This was a bit jarring for me at first, and there were a few words and phrases that I had to look up when I first encountered them. But once I got used to the dialect, the story started to flow really smoothly for me. This book also felt like a fairly quick read because it seemed rather dialogue heavy. Because of that, I think this would be an amazing book to listen to in audio.

As far as the story goes, it was a painful read at times. There are just some things that play a big role in the story that I just don't enjoy reading about because they are not pleasant things. This was definitely not a light-hearted read.

The story is told from a few different perspectives, and I found the spirit's perspective particularly interesting. It actually made me frustrated at times because I'd only get bits and pieces from her and then move on to Jamie's perspective again, and I really just wanted to know more (because I'm impatient). It really kept me turning pages to get back to her perspective again though.

Overall I give Beneath the Lighthouse 4.285 stars. - Katie 

Julieanne Lynch is an author of urban fantasy and contemporary fiction for both adults and teens. Julieanne lives in Northern Ireland with her family, where she writes full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths, a rock star being one of them. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University and considered journalism as a career path. However, she decided writing was the way for her and is thankful for each day she lives her dream.

Julieanne is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management, and is both traditionally and independently published.

Monday, June 25, 2018

*Top Ten Tuesday* Series I NEED to Finish

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is series that I gave up on, but I'm not the type of person that gives up on books, let alone on series. However, there are several series that I have yet to find the time to finish, so I'm going to focus on the top ten series that I really feel the strong need to finish reading. These are in no particular order.

The Timely Death Trilogy by Shannon A. Thompson. I've read the first two books in this trilogy. Then Ms. Thompson's original publisher went out of business and the third book was not published under them. After she signed with a new publisher for the trilogy, it still took a little while for the third book to be released, and by the time it was, my TBR was much longer and I have just not found the time to get to the final book yet. 

The Sensations Collection by L.B. Dunbar - There are 5 books in this series, and I have read two of them (#2 and #4). I really enjoy Ms. Dunbar's writing style and even own the rest of the books in this series, but somehow I just haven't found any time to read them. This is particularly egregious because I will be seeing L.B. Dunbar at Book Bonanza in less than a month. 

The Outlier series by Daryl Banner - There are currently three books in this series and I've only read the first. This actually makes me rather sad because the dystopian world Mr. Banner created is amazingly detailed...of course that means that his books are a bit on the big side, so it's even harder to find the time to read them. He is another author I will be seeing at Book Bonanza. 

The Fish Tales by Suanne Laqueur - This is a four book series and I've finished reading three of them. The author is super mean to her characters though, so reading her books is emotionally taxing, which makes it slow going. I've made progress on this series this year though by listening to the audiobooks. I feel particularly bad about having not finished this series already though, because I kept accepting review copies from Ms. Laqueur even though I hadn't finished the previous books (after the first one that is). But she's a saint and kept sending them in spite of me being a garbage human being. 

The Knitting in the City series and The Winston Brothers series both by Penny Reid - I am a member of The Sharks of Awesome, Penny Reid's reader group, and the other members of the group are always going on about the different men from these books, and I feel kind of left out. I realize it's my own fault for not finding/making the time to read the books, so these are two series I definitely need to finish reading. 

The Summer Lake series by S.J. McCoy - There are 13 books in this series and I've read one of them (book #4). I really enjoyed it, and it's definitely the type of series I'd seek out if I wanted to read contemporary romance, I just don't often get the urge to read contemporary romance. Here is another situation where I've been offered several review copies because Ms. McCoy is a sweetheart, but I managed to exercise some self-restraint and decline them. But the next time I'm in the mood for a good, sweet romance, I'll know where to go. 

The Hangman's Daughter series by Oliver Pötzsch - I read the first book in this series for book club several years ago. I super loved it and have bought all the subsequent books in the series, but I haven't cracked a single one of them. I will probably find myself drawn to these books when I start to really miss Germany because that's where they're set. This is a series I definitely need to continue though. 

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica A. Roth - I read Divergent and then nothing else (because I started blogging and for quite some time felt like I couldn't pick my books anymore and had to only read books that were sent to me for review). It's a series that I really need to finish, so I can finish watching the movies. I also know that a lot of people were not happy with the ending of this series, so I kind of need to finish reading it so I can decide how I feel about it. 

The Riven Wyrde Saga by Graham Austin-King - This is a trilogy and I've read the first two books from it. I'm not sure what happened and why I haven't read the third, but I need to. And that's really all there is to it. 

So there you have it. 10 series that I feel a strong need to finish...just not strong enough to start working on it right this minute. 

So what are some series that you need to finish or that you have given up on, whichever you are more inclined to answer. - Katie 

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please leave a link to your post below so I can stop by to see your list.*

*Review* The Game of Hope by Sandra Gulland

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction
Published: June 26, 2018
Pages: 384

For Napoleon's stepdaughter, nothing is simple -- especially love.

Paris, 1798. Hortense de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, most of whom suffered tragic losses during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution. She loves to play and compose music, read and paint, and daydream about Christophe, her brother's dashing fellow officer. But Hortense is not an ordinary girl. Her beautiful, charming mother, Josephine, has married Napoleon Bonaparte, soon to become the most powerful man in France, but viewed by Hortense as a coarse, unworthy successor to her elegant father, who was guillotined during the Terror. 

Where will Hortense's future lie?

Inspired by Hortense's real-life autobiography with charming glimpses of teen life long ago, this is the story of a girl chosen by fate to play a role she didn't choose.

I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program. This is my honest review. 

I wanted to like this book. I usually really enjoy historical fiction, but this book fell flat for me. I kind of feel like reading this book would be like reading Rob Kardashian's memoir if he was only famous because his mother married Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner. And I may have been more forgiving of the book if I'd remembered while reading it that it was based on Hortense's actual autobiography, but at the same time, I feel like I'd probably just rather read her autobiography. 

What I found in this story was a main character who is just completely full of herself. Sure, she implies that she gets so much satisfaction from helping others, especially the younger girls at her school, but it comes across like a person bragging about feeding the homeless or donating to charity. In addition to seeming full of herself, Hortense comes across as incredibly sanctimonious. She takes issue with her cousin Em because Em doesn't love her husband and while he's away at war, Em flirts with one of Napoleon's brothers. Meanwhile Hortense was scheming to try and get closer to a certain aide for Napoleon because she had a crush on him. She wanted to marry for love and couldn't understand why her cousin wasn't thrilled about her arranged marriage. There were just so many things about Hortense's attitude that rubbed me the wrong way and I just don't like her. And it's really hard to enjoy a book told from the main character's POV when you don't like the main character. 

In spite of my distaste for Hortense, there were some aspects of the story that I found intriguing. I found myself excited for scenes with her music instructor, Citoyen Jadin, kind of hoping that something would blossom there. I also found the family drama between Hortense's mother and the Bonapartes mildly interesting (but I enjoy reality tv so that's not too surprising). 

Overall I give The Game of Hope 2.674 stars. - Katie 

SANDRA GULLAND is an American-born Canadian novelist. She is the author of the internationally bestselling trilogy of novels based on the life of Josephine Bonaparte: The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe, which was a finalist for the Trillium Award; The Last Great Dance on Earth, as well atwo novels set in the court of Louis XIV, the Sun King: The Shadow Queen and Mistress of the Sun. To date, Gulland's novels have been published in nineteen countries and translated into sixteen languages. The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. was a bestseller in the UK. She divides her time between Ontario and Mexico.

*Review* Seventh Decimate by Stephen R. Donaldson

Genre: Fantasy
Published: November 14, 2017
Pages: 314

The acclaimed author of the Thomas Covenant Chronicles launches a powerful new trilogy about a prince's desperate quest for a sorcerous library to save his people. 

Fire. Wind. Pestilence. Earthquake. Drought. Lightning. These are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil. 

But a seventh Decimate exists--the most devastating one of all... 

For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides brandishing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power. And now the Bellegerins stand defenseless. 

Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to find the book of the seventh Decimate--and reverse the fate of his land. 

All hope rests with Bifalt. But the legendary library, which may or may not exist, lies beyond an unforgiving desert and treacherous mountains--and beyond the borders of his own experience. Wracked by hunger and fatigue, sacrificing loyal men along the way, Bifalt will discover that there is a game being played by those far more powerful than he could ever imagine. And that he is nothing but a pawn...

I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program. This is my honest review.

This book got off to kind of a slow start for me, which is to be expected from a fantasy novel because world building is important, but it's also important for me to feel invested in the characters fortunes, and I had a hard time with that where Prince Bifalt was concerned. I mean, sure, I felt bad for his nation that was stuck fighting a seemingly endless war without even knowing why they were fighting, but I also couldn't understand how the prince of all people didn't actually know why the war started in the first place. I can understand the common soldiers not being kept in the loop after decades of warfare, but you'd think the heir to the throne would be apprised of the situation fully. But no, he's just as clueless as the rest of them, maybe even more so considering his extreme disdain for the sorcerers that have kept him alive in battle.

I became a bit intrigued when the Bellegerin sorcerers lost their magic, wondering what the cause was and if the sorcerers in Amika were equally stricken. Some events ensued that answered that question for me, but it just left me more confused about the war strategy going forward. Then more things happened and some people died, but I didn't really care because I still felt no connection to the characters.

In the end, I was a little intrigued to see if Prince Bifalt's actions would lead to change in the relationship between Beleger and Amika, maybe intrigued enough to read the second book, but I'm not just dying to get my hands on it at this point.

So overall I give Seventh Decimate 3.03 stars. - Katie 

Stephen R. Donaldson is the author of the original six volumes of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, a landmark in modern fantasy. Every volume, beginning with Lord Foul’s Bane in 1977, has been an international bestseller. Donaldson returned to the series with the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, comprising The Runes of the EarthFatal RevenantAgainst All Things Ending, and The Last Dark. Donaldson lives in New Mexico.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

*Review* You Can't Hide by Dan Poblocki

Genre: Middle Grade/Horror
Published: December 27, 2016
Pages: 224

Shadow House will find you . . .

Poppy, Marcus, Dash, Dylan, and Azumi are all trapped within Shadow House, a sinister estate where past and present intertwine. As they fight to find a way out, the kids think the ghosts of the house are the greatest danger they face. Little do the kids know it's the secrets they're each hiding that will prove even more lethal.

They're going to have to come face to face with their fears if they stand any hope of escaping the house alive. Is there anyone or anything in the house they can trust? Or is all hope disappearing, too . . .

Enter Shadow House . . . if you dare.

So last summer I got the audiobook of the first book in this series for free from Audiofile Sync's summer reading program for teens, and loved it for what it was. I mean, it was no Stephen King horror, but it's targeted towards middle grade readers and I wouldn't have an issue letting my 7 and 9 year-old's listen to or read it. When I saw this book on sale on audible (I think it was a 2 for 1 credit sale), I just had to get it, because I needed to see how the story would continue, and since I listened to the first book, I would prefer to listen to the rest of them as well. 

This book is chock full of action and mystery. The kids spend the story mostly split up in smaller groups (because their parents probably never let them watch horror movies before! And the house is a jerk and separated them), and they're trying to find a way to get out of the house (the house that is a jerk and won't let them out mind you). Some new ghosts show up, but they're not all bad. Some even help the kids to learn a little bit about the history of the house and it's creepy owner. It becomes quite clear to me that the kids need to get out of the house alive or they will be stuck there forever, probably. 

And I don't want to say too much else for fear of spoiling the story for you, but if you enjoyed The Gathering, you will probably like this book as well. Overall I give it 4.143 stars. - Katie 

Dan was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and lived in Woonsocket and Lincoln before moving to Basking Ridge, New Jersey when he was eleven years old. Dan now lurks in Brooklyn, NY.

Growing up in small towns shaped Dan's imagination. He was always curious what was out in the dark of the woods or just over the horizon. Often, if he and his friends didn’t have an answer, they would make one up. 

He still does.

Visit the author at

*Stacking the Shelves* 23 June 2018

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too, which covers the books I receive through Netgalley. And since I am currently technically a displaced person (all my things are packed up on a boat and I don't have a home to call my own at the moment), I'm not currently buying any physical books. So my STS post will feature all the books I've been one-clicking on Amazon. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week. All Goodreads First Reads ebook wins unless otherwise specified.

The Infinet by John Akers
Crocodile Man by Graham Wilson
This Side of Zero by Eric Linnell
Fisher's Autism Trilogy by Paul Nelson
The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin - I snagged this book on sale for just 99 cents (no longer on sale). When I saw it as a Kindle Daily Deal I just couldn't resist. I mean, that cover!
The Final Six by Alexandra Monir - I snagged this on sale for just $1.99 (no longer on sale) as a Kindle Daily Deal as well. I've seen it around the blogosphere, so it had been on my radar for a bit. 
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - I snagged this on sale for just $1.99 (maybe still on sale). This one was shared by someone I follow or am friends with on Facebook, but I don't remember who...I know it WASN'T Celebrity Readers though. 
The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide by Chris Colfer - I snagged this audiobook on sale for just $5.24. I own most of the other books in this series in audio, so when I saw this one for so cheap, I just had to buy it. 
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren - I snagged this audiobook on sale for just $3.78. I've seen it a lot around the blogosphere, so being able to get the audiobook for such a bargain price was a major bonus. 
I am always giving the Celebrity
Readers grief over their ab-filled
STS posts, so figured I should share
some abs of my own.
Protector by Ashlee Price
Theonite: Planet Adyn by M.L. Wang
True Heart's Desire by Caroline Fyffe
President Orangejob and the Crimson Mariposa by Rosemary Ness Bitner
The Convenient Murder by J.B. Lucas
Healing Wisdom for a Wounded World: Book 3 by Weam Namou
Arnold and Louis: Gold Rush by Harvey Storm
Teachings of a Shaman by Corey Stultz
Choosing Light: When an Earthquake Buried Me and My Family for 5 Days, I Learned to Fully Live by Viral Dalal
Lot's Return to Sodom by Sandra Brannan
Jacob's Descent by Sandra Brannan
Lady of Justice by Cyana Scriptora
Lovecraft's Monsters by Neil Gaiman - I snagged this on sale for just $1.99 (No longer on sale) because I'm just absolutely intrigued by the title and I've heard great things about Gaiman's work. 

So that's all the new books I picked up this week. It was a rather slow week for me for a change, but that's okay, I probably need those every now and again (or forever because I already own more books than I could possibly read in my lifetime, but who's counting!) 

What books have you added to your shelves recently? - Katie 

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can check out all your new pretties.*

Friday, June 22, 2018

*Review* The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

Genre: Nonfiction
Published: 1903
Pages: 288

This landmark book is a founding work in the literature of black protest. W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963) played a key role in developing the strategy and program that dominated early 20th-century black protest in America. In this collection of essays, first published together in 1903, he eloquently affirms that it is beneath the dignity of a human being to beg for those rights that belong inherently to all mankind. He also charges that the strategy of accommodation to white supremacy advanced by Booker T. Washington, then the most influential black leader in America, would only serve to perpetuate black oppression.

Publication of The Souls of Black Folk was a dramatic event that helped to polarize black leaders into two groups: the more conservative followers of Washington and the more radical supporters of aggressive protest. Its influence cannot be overstated. It is essential reading for everyone interested in African-American history and the struggle for civil rights in America.

I listened to the audiobook version of this book. While I was listening to this book, I couldn't help but compare it to my experience listening to Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington (especially when Du Bois started talking about Washington). This book sort of affirmed some of the issues I had while listening to Washington's book and made me feel less guilty for having those feelings. I certainly didn't have to expend as much energy rationalizing the thoughts and opinions stated in Du Bois' book as I did with Washington's.

Aside from my feelings of vindication, I don't remember a lot of specifics about this book. I could certainly make some assumptions about them based on my personal beliefs and political leanings, but that would be a bad strategy to follow I think. So what I will say is that I think this book, in connection with Up From Slavery is good for giving broad perspective of the lives of black people in American after slavery was abolished. Like me you will probably relate to one more than the other, but they both definitely have merit.

Overall I give The Souls of Black Folk 5.00032 stars. - Katie 

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was an American sociologist, civil rights activist, and author. A strong advocate of Pan-Africanism, he was the first black man to earn a doctorate from Harvard University and cofounded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His best-known book, The Souls of Black Folk, is widely considered to be one of the most important works in African American literature.

*Book Blogger Hop* 22 June 2018

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
For all of you worker bees out there! How do you balance having a day job/career and managing your blog at night? Is it hard or easy to do, and what do people in your work life think of your blogs? (submitted by Danielle @ PoetryBooksYA)
This question doesn't really apply to me, except it also sort of does since I am self-employed (although my job can go hand in hand with the blog and does provide review material), so I'm pretending it does apply to me, full stop.

Honestly, I don't have much balance. I find myself mostly trying to squeeze in time to work on the blog, but when I'm working, that's where my focus is, and I work in the evenings when the rest of my family is in bed so I can concentrate and not have distractions ("Mom, I'm thirsty." "Mom, I'm hungry." "Mom, he's looking at me.") And that's probably why there isn't much balance for me, because I'd be trying to squeeze both things in at the same time and the blogging doesn't earn me any money, so it gets put on the back burner when I have proofreading to do. It's a pretty simple choice for me, so I guess that means it's easy for me to set my priorities, but that doesn't exactly mean doing the blogging and proofreading together is exactly easy.

As far as what the people I work with think about it? I don't know, honestly. I think it would be weird to ask my clients how they feel about me being a blogger, and as long as I don't talk to them about it, the reviews I write about the books that I proofread can't be considered part of the proofreading deal. Those reviews are not part of the expectation, and honestly, they kind of mostly get written just so I will have reviews to post some weeks, since proofreading eats up a lot of my free time.

How would you answer this question? Or does it even apply to you? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can stop by to see your answer.*

Thursday, June 21, 2018

*Review* Give Me Your Answer True by Suanne Laqueur

Genre: NA/Romance
Published: June 20, 2015
Pages: 506

"What I feel has no name..." 

Suanne Laqueur's award-winning debut novel The Man I Lovethrilled readers with its memorable characters and depth of emotion. Erik Fiskare's journey of love, recovery and forgiveness captivated hearts but also left questions unanswered. Now Daisy Bianco has a chance to tell her story. 

It's been three years since a single lapse of judgment cost Daisy the love of her life. Erik was a conduit to her soul but now he's chosen a path of total disconnection, refusing to speak to her or acknowledge her betrayal. Alone and shattered, Daisy attempts to take responsibility for her actions while building her career as a professional dancer in New York City. But Erik's unforgiving estrangement proves too much for her strength. Plagued by flashbacks to the Lancaster shootings, she falls into a dangerous spiral of self-harm, cutting into her own skin as a means to atone. Only the timely appearance of an old friend, John "Opie" Quillis, saves her from self-destruction and gives her a chance to love again. 

Laqueur skillfully weaves flashbacks to the college years with Daisy's present life. Supported by John's patient affection, she works to separate her evolution as an adult from the unresolved guilt and grief of her youth. As her professional accomplishments lift her out of depression, Daisy learns to hold onto her accountability without letting it become her identity. Years pass and she builds a beautiful life filled with dance and friends. Lovers come and eventually go, leaving her on her own with the old thought: Come back to me. 

In this parallel narrative, Laqueur peels open the beloved characters from The Man I Love to reveal new and complex layers of vulnerability. The scars from the shooting are deep and pervasive within this circle of friends. Like Daisy, they are trying to evolve without being fully resolved. But when questions from the past go unheeded, you alone must find and give your answers true.

I started reading this book a couple years ago, but didn't even manage to make it to the part where Daisy's story diverges from Eric's, I think partially because I dreaded the events that led to that and had already experienced them from Eric's perspective. So I decided to try listening to the audiobook instead, figuring that might make it easier to push through those tough spots that I knew were coming. I don't recall feeling like the narration was amazing, but I also don't recall thinking it was awful either, so I can assume that the opposite gendered voices were acceptable and that the narrators voice didn't just grate on my nerves. 

While this book is technically a retelling of The Man I Love from Daisy's perspective, it doesn't feel like it's just a repeat of that story, even before Erik and Daisy's split. Give Me Your Answer True treats us to several scenes where Erik isn't even around (whereas I felt like TMIL was very Daisy-centric even from Erik's POV). Even though my entire ballet expertise comes from Save the Last Dance and Step Up, I was still able to put myself into Daisy's pointe shoes (slippers?) for her classes and performances. Even though I may have been imagining some of the moves incorrectly, the descriptions were so vivid I could easily see them in my mind.

The part of the story that I was most interested in, but also anxious about, was Daisy's life after her big mistake. It was touched upon in TMIL, but this was a way to really feel what Daisy went through after the separation, and I did. I felt it so hard wet stuff leaked from my eyes more than once. I'd thought Erik's actions were rather stupid while reading TMIL, but in GMYAT, I started to kind of hate him for putting my friend Daisy through all that. If he'd tried to get close to Daisy while I was around, I would've cut him.

Overall I give Give Me Your Answer True 4.386 stars. - Katie 

A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur went from choreographing music to choreographing words. Her work has been described as "Therapy Fiction," "Emotionally Intelligent Romance" and "Contemporary Train Wreck."

Laqueur's novel An Exaltation of Larks was the grand prize winner in the 2017 Writer's Digest Book Awards. Her debut novel The Man I Love won a gold medal in the 2015 Readers' Favorite Book Awards and was named Best Debut in the Feathered Quill Book Awards. Her follow-up novel, Give Me Your Answer True, was also a gold medal winner at the 2016 RFBA.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater. She taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010.

Suanne lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.
Visit her at
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Follow her on Twitter @suannelqr
All feels welcome. And she always has coffee