Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z: Zihuatanejo, Mexico!

 


I did it! Welcome to the last day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's "Z" location is a place called:

Zihuatanejo, Mexico!

http://www.zihuatanejo-ixtapa.com/
Zihuatanejo is on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, and looks absolutely fantastic! It's located on a bay, so it's a popular area for boat owners. There are dozens of resorts and vacation rentals in the area and is a popular tourist location. It's the third most visited area in Mexico, after Cancun and Puerto Vallarta and a popular spot for fishermen. I'd love to just relax on the beach, swim in the ocean, drink some yummy drinks, have a spa day....doesn't this just look gorgeous??

Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Mexico
Google Images


Anyone have a "Z" place they'd like to visit?

Congrats to all A to Z Challenge participants for completing the blogging challenge!

 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Forget Me Not

Title: Forget Me Not
Author: Megan Tayte
338 pages, published February 2015
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Note: I received this book from the author to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

Death is stalking Scarlett Blake. As if the encroaching darkness in her head wasn’t enough, she’s become disturbingly accident prone. Falling off a cliff isn’t ideal when all you want is as much time as possible to live, to love.

Her fate is horrifying. Unbearable. And inescapable. No one can save Scarlett from The End that’s looming. Not Jude, the Cerulean who is intent on Claiming her. Not Luke, the boy who is intent on loving her.

The clock is ticking, louder with every heartbeat. Now Scarlett must decide how best to protect the people she loves. Will she trust in Jude and the life-after-death he promises? Will she stand against the Fallen, who have her sister captive? Will she carry the burden of her death alone – every headache, every hallucination, every wrenching, aching emotion?

And when the clock falls silent, when the darkness eclipses the light, will Scarlett fight for life? Or will she have no choice but to surrender?


My Review:

Another fantastic book in the Ceruleans series!!  It was just as good as Death Wish--if not better! I was worried the sequel to the first book in the series wouldn't live up to how much I loved Death Wish--but this book quickly put my fears to rest!! I loved diving back into the story and learning more about Scarlett and the other characters, and more about the Cerulean world.  I don't want to give too much of the plot away but this series is definitely one to sink into--the writing is fantastic and the story is engaging. I devoured 75% of this book in less than 24 hours.

What I love so much about this book and series is that it's the perfect balance. Too often paranormal books are just so "out there" and unrealistic that they just don't work for me. That's not the case with Forget Me Not and the Ceruleans series.  Though definitely paranormal, the story isn't so strange that it's hard to relate to. This book really makes you feel--you identify with Scarlett, your heart aches for her in her choices she must make, and you can relate her struggles of love and grief. I feel for these characters as if they were real people.

I can't say this enough--read these books.  They are amazing!! The third book, Wild Blue Yonder, will be published May 31st (cover reveal on my blog May 25!).  I can't wait to find out what happens next!!

Overall rating for "Forget Me Not": 5 stars

Happy Reading!



Y: Yachats, OR

Welcome to the "Y" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here.  Today's location is a place called:

Yachats, OR!

Photo of Yachats out the car window during a drive on the coast
(didn't get a chance to spend time there!)
I absolutely LOVE the Oregon Coast. It's not really ever super warm, or warm enough to go swimming in the ocean, and rarely warm enough to wear a swimsuit. But it's absolutely gorgeous.  The beautiful ocean of course, but also the trees, cliffs, rocks, and wildlife are what make the Oregon Coast so unique. The town of Yachats is located on the central coast, and is a tiny town with lots of vacation rentals to enjoy the quiet space. I'd love to have a reading weekend there!

Anyone else love the Oregon Coast as much as I do? Or have nay other fun "Y" locations to visit?








Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X: Xanthi, Greece

Welcome to the challenging "X" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here.  I did manage to find a place I'd like to visit, a place called:

Xanthi, Greece!

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Xanthi, Greece Image source: Google
Xanthi is in northeastern Greece, and is known for the Archaeological Museum of Abdera and the Greek Folk Art Museum.  It also is famous throughout Greece for its spring carnival, where over 40 cultural associations in Greece participate. There are concerts, theatre, music and dance, a bicycling event, games, and other fun activities. Xanthi is also known as very multicultural city. Wouldn't it be fun to visit during that festival??



Love this photo below! So pretty!
Thrace xanthi Greece

Anyone else want to visit Greece? Or have any fun "X" places?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Bout of Books 13!

Bout of Books

It's that time again!! Bout of Books 13 is just around the corner--May 11-17! It's my favorite readathon and reading challenge, and I can't wait to participate in my fourth Bout of Books! Here's a little info about Bout of Books:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I don't have any goals in mind yet--but I know that I'm going to keep it low key and low pressure like I did for Bout of Books 12. Keeping it low pressure helped me be even more successful! You can read about my Bout of Books 12 progress here.

Want to sign up? You can do so here! It's going to be a fun week!!

 

W: West Egg

Welcome to the "W" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here.  Today, a place called:

West Egg!

4671Normally I don't get into classics too much but I do love The Great Gatsby. West Egg is where Nick Carraway lives in his little bungalow, next door to Jay Gatsby's mansion. I'm normally an introvert and not one for big parties, but since we're in the fictional realm anyway, part of me would LOVE to attend one of Jay Gatsby's famous parties and experience "The Roaring Twenties" firsthand! The Great Gatsby is one of those books that  I didn't like when I read it in high school, but re-read it again as an adult (in my case, before the new movie came out) and ended up loving it!

Are there any books that you read when you were younger and have since re-read and enjoyed?

Or, any other "W" locations you'd like to visit?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V: Vows

Welcome to the "V" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today is a fictional place called:

Vows!

5598113Confession time: I love Nora Roberts' books. One of my favorite series is her Bridal Quartet.  The books are about a group of four friends who live at one of the women (Parker)'s estate. Her parents had recently passed away, leaving her and her brother the large home and acres of land. Parker and her three best friends Mackenzie, Emma, and Laurel have been playing "wedding" since they were little girls--and as adults decided to make a business out of it--called Vows. Vows is an all inclusive, on location wedding event venue where you get the complete package--Parker is the event coordinator, Mackenzie is the photographer, Emma is the florist, and Laurel bakes. Each book in the quartet focuses on one of the girls and their aspect of Vows, and of course some romance thrown in. I absolutely love this book but the first, Vision in White is my favorite since it's about photography! If you love romance and all things wedding related you will love this series!

Anyone else love these books too? Or have any fun "V" locations?

Friday, April 24, 2015

U: Ut'ah's Bryce Canyon!

Welcome to the "U" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here.  Today's location is a place called:

Utah's Bryce Canyon!

BryceCanyon-Amphiteatre1.jpg
Source: google
I've been fortunate to get to travel through much of the western United States, and through many parts of Utah, but still have yet to make it to Bryce Canyon! Located in southwestern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is actually a collection of giant natural "amphitheaters". Bryce Canyon's elevation ranges from 8,000 to 9.000 feet. There are so many viewpoints, hiking trails and camping spots throughout the park. It's also ideal for stargazing! This looks like a fun summer vacation destination!

Anyone been to Bryce Canyon National Park? Or have any fun "U" destinations?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T: Tuscany!

Welcome to the "T" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here.  I did manage to find a place I'd like to visit, a place called:

Tuscany!

480479Really, I'd love to visit all of Italy, but I picked Tuscany since I needed a "T" location :) Tuscany is a region  in central Italy, and its regional capital is Florence. In addition to all the beautiful scenery and historical sites to see in Tuscany, a main reason I really want to visit is for the food! I absolutely love Italian food, and recently took a cooking class at Carl's Cuisine in Salem, OR that centered around Tuscan cuisine. Carl, the instructor, has taken several trips to Tuscany and knows the cuisine well. For the class we made focaccia bread with arugula and sun-dried tomatoes, pasta with herbed grilled shrimp, and baked fennel. So delicious! I'd just love to travel through Tuscany eating all the yummy food and drinking the wine. I've seen the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, which first made me want to visit the area. Unfortunately I haven't read the book yet but it's on my to-read list! Since I can't afford to travel to Italy right now, I will do the next best thing this summer: re ad about it!

Anyone else have any fun "T" places you'd like to travel?


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S: the Shire!

Welcome to the "S" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here.  I did manage to find a place I'd like to visit, a place called:

the Shire!

Image source: google
I couldn't resist throwing a Lord of the Rings location in my A to Z list--it's such a fantastic series.  Though there are all sorts of magical and wonderful locations to choose from, the Shire is my favorite.  Perhaps it's because I'm short and I can relate to the hobbits! I love the little houses with the round doors, and the cute little gardens and landscape. 

What are some "S" places you'd like to visit?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

TLC Book Tour Review: Running Fire


Title: Running Fire
Author: Lindsay McKenna
23280201384 pages, publication date April 28, 2015
Genre: Military Romance

Note: I received this book from TLC Book Tours to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

Temporarily assigned to the Shadow Squadron in a troubled region of Afghanistan, Chief Warrant Officer and pilot Leah Mackenzie is no stranger to conflict—even if most of her physical and emotional scars are courtesy of her vicious ex. Still, she's got a bad feeling about picking up a team of stranded SEALs. A feeling that's all too justified once enemy fire hits their helicopter and all hell breaks loose…

SEAL Kell Ballard's goal was to get the injured pilot out of harm's way and find shelter deep in the labyrinth of caves. It's a place of dark intimacy, where Leah finds unexpected safety in a man's arms. Where prohibited attraction burns brightly. And where they'll hide until the time comes to face the enemy outside…and the enemy within their ranks.


My Review:




Military Romance isn't normally a genre I read a lot from, but this book sounded really good and I'm happy to report I loved it! This is the first book I've read by Lindsay McKenna, and I really like her writing style.  What I loved so much about this book were the characters--especially Kell, a Navy SEAL.  Not only was he completely swoon-worthy, he was also a compassionate, caring person. Definitely the perfect male lead in a romance novel :) I really liked Kell and Leah together and was rooting for them throughout the book!

 Due to the military setting, the book was deeper than a typical romance, and I really liked that about the book. I felt like the author was trying to accurately portray what life is like for our servicemen and women in Afghanistan, and did so in a respectful way. In addition to the military setting, the book also addressed abuse issues, so it was far from a cheesy, predictable romance (though parts of it were a bit predictable). I was sucked in right away and had a hard time putting the book down!  If you're looking for a steamy romance that also has some action and adventure, this is a great book for you!

Overall rating for "Running Fire": Four Stars

About the Author:


Lindsay McKennaA U.S. Navy veteran, she was a meteorologist while serving her country. She pioneered the military romance in 1993 with Captive of Fate, Silhouette Special edition.  Her heart and focus is on honoring and showing our military men and women.  Creator of the Wyoming Series and Shadow Warriors series for HQN, she writes emotionally and romantically intense suspense stories. You can connect with Lindsay via her website, Facebook, or Twitter!


You can view the full tour schedule for Running Fire here!


R: Raleigh, NC

Welcome to the "R" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here.  I did manage to find a place I'd like to visit, a place called:

Raleigh, NC!

I've spent very little time on the East Coast, and zero time in the Southeastern part of the US, so that's what lead me to choosing Raleigh for today's post! I have some colleagues through work that live there and have heard from others that it's a pretty awesome city, so I thought it would be a great pick for the A to Z challenge. As the capital city of North Carolina, the Raleigh area is home to several major universities (NC State, Duke (in nearby Durham) and UNC at Chapel Hill. Founded as North Carolina's capital city in 1788 and incorporated in 1792, Raleigh is rich in history as well as several cultural arts centers.

image source: Google
Anyone been to Raleigh, or North Carolina? Would it be a good location to start my exploration of the southeastern part of the nation?  Or, any other fun "R" locations to visit?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Q: Quartz Mountain!

Welcome to the ever difficult "Q" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here.  I did manage to find a place I'd like to visit, a place called"

Quartz Mountain!


I love exploring my beautiful home state of Oregon, and I'm ashamed to say I didn't know Quartz Mountain existed until I was researching for this challenge! It's located in Lakeview, OR in the southern part of the state, east of the larger city of Roseburg. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and I'd love to take a road trip there someday!  At 5,200 feet in elevation, Quartz Mountain has a large deposit of high purity silica, commonly known as quartz, hence the name. My husband is an earth science nerd, so I'm sure he'd love to explore this area as well!

Any fellow Oregonians been to Quartz Mountain? Or know of any other great "Q" locations to visit?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P: Pacific Crest Trail

Welcome to the "P" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a place called:

Pacific Crest Trail!

South Sister
South Sister, in Oregon
Despite growing up in Oregon my entire life, I wasn't familiar with the Pacific Crest Trail until I read Cheryl Strayed's book, "Wild." Spanning 2,663 miles, the PCT runs along the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains of the United States Pacific Coast. It runs from the Mexican border all the way up to the Canadian border.  Naturally, like so many others, reading the book made me want to hike the trail--though I know the length of trip Cheryl did would never happen for me! Perhaps a 2-3 day trip through parts of Oregon would work better for me! Central Oregon is one of my favorite places in the world, and I would love to explore this part of the PCT!

Have any of you readers hiked the PCT? Or any other fun "P" places you'd like to visit?

Friday, April 17, 2015

O: Orlando, Florida

Welcome to the "O" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a place called:

Orlando, Florida! 

Image source: google
I've never been to the southeastern part of the country at all, and I'd love to visit! Orlando looks like so much fun, of course because of Disney World and Universal Orlando.  That in itself is a reason to want to visit! Orlando also has lots of beaches, shopping, spas, and other opportunities to relax.  I think Orlando would be a fun place to start exploring the southeast. Also--anyone seen Book of Mormon? I can't help singing "Orldandooooooo.." every time I think of it! More proof I'm a nerd. Anyway, sunny Orlando is definitely on my list of places to visit!

What are some "O" locations you'd like to visit?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N: Narnia!

Welcome to the "N" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a fictional place called:

317500Narnia!

Of course "N" has to be Narnia--I absolutely loved the Chronicles of Narnia series when I was younger! Narnia is a fictional fantasy world full of magic, mythical creatures, and talking animals (you can see why I like it!).  The series spans seven books, the series was originally published back in the 1950's.  My husband loves the books too, and we've talked about re-reading them together! Perhaps a fun summer project in the making?

Anyone else love this series and would love to visit Narnia? Or any other "N" locations?

Runner up for "N": Nantucket! I'm a big fan of Elin Hilderbrand's books, most of which are set in Nantucket.  I love coastal areas and the beach, and I've never been to a beach on the East Coast! Would  love to visit there someday!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: Dog Crazy

Title: Dog Crazy
22573873Author: Meg Donahue
288 pages, published March 2015
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Library

From Goodreads:

As a pet bereavement counselor, Maggie Brennan uses a combination of empathy, insight, and humor to help patients cope with the anguish of losing their beloved four-legged friends. Though she has a gift for guiding others through difficult situations, Maggie has major troubles of her own that threaten the success of her counseling practice and her volunteer work with a dog rescue organization.

Everything changes when a distraught woman shows up at Maggie’s office and claims that her dog has been stolen. Searching the streets of San Francisco for the missing pooch, Maggie finds herself entangled in a mystery that forces her to finally face her biggest fear-and to open her heart to new love.

Packed with deep emotion and charming surprises, Dog Crazy is a bighearted and entertaining story that skillfully captures the bonds of love, the pain of separation, and the power of our dogs to heal us.


My Review:

What drew me to this book (in addition to the fact that I absolutely love dogs) is that adorable cover!! I also loved this story.  I loved how Maggie's story paralleled Anya's, and how Maggie finally faces her issues with the help of some furry companions.  It's such a sweet and emotional story that made my heart so happy.  Despite its deep emotion, this book is a relatively quick and relaxing read.  It's well written, engaging, and fun.

I loved the dogs as characters in this story--I loved Giselle and Seymour! I love how Seymour's challenges mirrored Maggie's challenges--I loved how all the characters' stories tied together. The book talks about Anya's character taking photos of dogs, and that would've been really fun to see in the book!

I definitely recommend this fun book! Especially if you love dogs as much as I do!

Overall rating for "Dog Crazy": 4 stars

Happy Reading!

M: Molokai, Hawaii

Welcome to the "M" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a place called:

Molokai, Hawaii!

3273I know I JUST used a Hawaii location on Monday, but perhaps using Hawaii again for "M" today will help you understand just how much I love Hawaii :) I read Molokai by Alan Brennert a few years ago (here's my review) absolutely LOVED the book. Naturally, it made me so interested in the island's history, and made me want to visit the island. Located northwest of the island of Maui, Molokai is known for Kalaupapa National Historic Park and acres of untouched beautiful landscape. Molokai is 38 miles long and 10 miles wide at its widest point, and most of its population are native Hawaiians, approximately 8,000 residents. I'd love to visit this beautiful island!

If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading the book Molokai!

Anyone know of any other great novels like this one set in Hawaii? I've already read Brennert's Honolulu, and I'm always looking for more novels set in this beautiful place! 

Anyone else want to visit Molokai, or any other "M" place?

Kepuhi Beach, Molokai. Image source: google






Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L: Luna!

Welcome to the "L" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a fictional place called:

Luna!

13206900
I recently read Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress from the Lunar Chronicles series. These books are fantastic--fairytale re-tellings (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel) in which the characters exist in a futuristic time when Earth is in a struggle with evil Queen Levana of the planet Luna. The first three books leave you curious as to what Luna is like, and that's why it made my A to Z Challenge list! The fourth book, Winter, is set to come out this November, and I'm itching to read it and find out what happens next in the series, and more about Luna!

If you haven't read the Lunar Chronicles yet...I highly recommend them! 

Any real or fictional "L" places you'd like to visit?

Monday, April 13, 2015

K: Kona, Hawaii

Welcome to the "K" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a place called:

Kona, Hawaii!

20594804So if you know me personally, or if you follow my blog at all, you know I have a slight (well, HUGE) love affair with Hawaii. I've been to Maui twice and fallen in love! I love how relaxing it is there--the Aloha spirit and easygoing lifestyle is wonderful. Not to mention the gorgeous scenery, ocean, beaches, palm trees, mountains...love it!  Now that I've been to Maui a couple times, I'd love to explore other islands--and the next one I want to explore is the Big Island! More specifically, to go with this post, Kona, Hawaii. There's so much to do on the Big Island, and in addition to snorkeling and soaking up some sun, I'd love to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park!

When I traveled to Maui, several friends recommended the Book Maui Revealed. It is the most fantastic travel book! Great recommendations and ideas, and honest reviews of what to do and what not to do. I recently purchased Hawaii: The Big Island Revealed so I can dream about my next Hawaiian adventure!  I highly recommend these books--they have one for each island.

Anyone else dreaming of a trip to Kona? Or any other "K" locations?

Aloha!

Source: www.onlyinhawaii.org

Saturday, April 11, 2015

J: Jackson Hole, WY

Welcome to the "J" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a place called:

Jackson Hole, WY!


Image source: http://www.jacksonholechamber.com/
The main reason I want to visit here (beside the fact I've never been and that it looks gorgeous) is that a couple of my mom's cousins live here! They're super fun to spend time with, and I've only gotten to when they come to visit us, or when we go to another area for a family event (like my cousin's wedding last year in Santa Monica).  I'd love to take a road trip and see where they're from! There are so many recreational activities to do there among the beautiful scenery of the Teton Mountains. Lots of skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and skating in the winter, and hiking, camping, rafting (and more!) in the summer. Perhaps I need to go twice to experience the fun in both seasons!

Anyone else want to visit Jackson Hole? Or anyone been there and have some good stories? Or any other fun J places you'd like to visit?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Book Beginnings: Forget Me Not




Book Beginnings Fridays is a weekly event hosted by fellow Oregon blogger Gilion at Rose City Reader.  The purpose is to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

One of the things I've really loved about writing this book blog is discovering new authors! Awhile back an author named Megan Tayte contacted me to read and review her books in her Ceruleans series. I read Death Wish and absolutely loved it (here's my review). Next up in the series is Forget Me Not, and it starts like this:

"Beneath the very bluest of heavens, a sea of black, broken only by velvety green grass and the greying granite of grave markers. On the sweet September air, beyond the distant rhythm of waves meeting beach, the rustle of a tissue, the swish of a suit jacket and the minister's gentle bust arresting oratory:"

I absolutely LOVE alliterations, and all those "g" words in the first sentence...love it! Here's the synopsis:

25261649 The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?

Death is stalking Scarlett Blake. As if the encroaching darkness in her head wasn’t enough, she’s become disturbingly accident prone. Falling off a cliff isn’t ideal when all you want is as much time as possible to live, to love.

Her fate is horrifying. Unbearable. And inescapable. No one can save Scarlett from The End that’s looming. Not Jude, the Cerulean who is intent on Claiming her. Not Luke, the boy who is intent on loving her.

The clock is ticking, louder with every heartbeat. Now Scarlett must decide how best to protect the people she loves. Will she trust in Jude and the life-after-death he promises? Will she stand against the Fallen, who have her sister captive? Will she carry the burden of her death alone – every headache, every hallucination, every wrenching, aching emotion?

And when the clock falls silent, when the darkness eclipses the light, will Scarlett fight for life? Or will she have no choice but to surrender?
 


Happy Friday and Happy Reading!!

I: Island Books

Welcome to the "I" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a fictional place called:

18293427Island Books!

I read The Storied Life of AJ Fikry last year and absolutely loved it. it's a perfect book for book lovers! Set on Alice Island, AJ Fikry owns Island Books. I absolutely love visiting new bookstores, and the one in this fictional story sounds perfect! AJ always knows the perfect book to recommend to his customers. One of my Bookish Bucket List goals is to visit new bookstores, and although this is fictional, it's still on my list :) I definitely recommend this book--you can read my full review of it here.

Any bookstores on your bucket list, friends? Or other "I" locations you'd like to visit?

Side note: I came THISCLOSE to using Italy for my "I" post....but I'll be covering that in my "T" post (Tuscany) instead :)

Happy Reading!




Thursday, April 9, 2015

H: Hogwarts!

Welcome to the "H" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a fictional place called:

Hogwarts!


Image source: Google
How could I use this theme for the challenge and NOT use Hogwarts for H?!  I read the Harry Potter series for the first time last year. I was one of those people who thought the series was overrated , and boy, was I WRONG. I absolutely fell in love with the series and everything Harry Potter. It's such a well written, fantastic series.  Of course I'd love to visit Hogwarts! Hermione is my favorite HP character, and if I could spend the day hanging out with her, that would be awesome!

Now the important question: what house would I be sorted into? Only the Sorting Hat could tell me for sure, but I like to think of myself as a Ravenclaw--they value intelligence, creativity, learning and wit. Though I'm afraid of heights, I'd still love to take flying lessons on one of those fancy broomsticks :)


What would you want to experience at Hogwarts? Or do you have another "H" location you'd like to visit?

Review: Crossing the Ice

22552374Title: Crossing the Ice
Author: Jennifer Comeaux
308 pages, published August 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Kindle Unlimited

From Goodreads:

Falling hard never felt so good.

Pair skaters Courtney and Mark have one shot left at their Olympic dream. They vow not to let anything get in their way, especially not Josh and Stephanie, the wealthy and talented brother and sister team.

The heart doesn’t always listen to reason, though…

The more time Courtney spends with sweet, shy Josh, the harder she falls for him. But they are on opposite sides of the competition, and their futures are headed in opposite directions. Will their friendship blossom into more or are their paths too different to cross?


My review:

 I was so excited to discover this author!! I LOVE figure skating--I took lessons for years when I was younger. So I was thrilled to find multiple novels centered around the skating world.  This was the first one I read and I absolutely loved it. As a former skater and avid skating fan, it was clear that the author understands figure skating--the book was so accurate. If it wasn't it would've ruined it for me.  It was well written, and hooked me in the first chapter--I read the last half of the book in one sitting!

I absolutely loved Courtney and Josh as characters.  I couldn't stop rooting for them!  I'm excited to find out what happens next in the second book in the series, Losing the Ice.

Overall rating for "Crossing the Ice": 4.5 stars

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G: Guana Island

Welcome to the "G" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a real place called:

Guana Island!

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Image source: Coastal Living magazine
One of my dreams someday is to have a beach house. Somewhere tropical would be awesome, but my "realistic" dream and goal is to have a beach house here in Oregon. I live 45 minutes away from the beach and would love to be able to pop over there for the weekend! Because of my love of the beach, I subscribe to Coastal Living magazine, and came across this article awhile back about Guana Island, a privately owned island in the British Virgin Islands. They do have a tourism website where you can plan your visit, book accommodations, discover fun activities to do there, etc.  There are lots of great places to dine, hike, explore, and relax. All the photos of the island I've seen are just gorgeous--white sand, beautiful blue water--I can feel the warmth from the sun just looking at them!  Though it takes quite a few plane changes to get there (Puerto Rico to St. Thomas and then a boat ride to Guana) and it's pretty expensive, it looks absolutely wonderful!  A girl can dream, right? I've never been to the Caribbean, and this island looks absolutely wonderful!

Any "G" places you'd like to visit, friends?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F: France!



Welcome to the "F" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a real place, a place called:

Lavender fields in Provence


France!

I've been fortunate enough to travel to Europe, back when I was 15, and did have the opportunity to visit parts of France, including Paris, the Loire Valley, and Normandy. However, there's still so much more I'd like to explore! In addition, since I was 15, I couldn't partake in fun things like wine tasting in the Loire Valley! I'd also love to explore the south of France, in Provence. I took two years of French in high school and another two years in college, and still remember enough to feel comfortable traveling in France.

6454694Since this is a book blog, I can't help but give a book recommendation along with this post. What generally inspires my desire to travel are books I've read either set in that location or about it, and France is no exception. Since I love cooking as well, I absolutely loved "My Life in France" by Julia Child. It is a fantastic book!

Anyone else share my love of French culture?  Or does anyone have any other "F" places they'd love to visit?





Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: Still The One

22732248Title: Still the One
Author: Jill Shalvis
Release Date:  April 7, 2015
Genre: Women's Fiction, Romance


Note: I received this book from NetGalley to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

Darcy Stone is game for anything — except sexy Navy veteran and physical therapist A.J. Colten, the guy who'd rejected her when she'd needed him most. Now the shoe is on the other foot and he needs her to play nice and help him secure grants for his patients. Unfortunately, Darcy can't refuse. She needs the money to fund her passion project: rescuing S&R dogs and placing them with emotionally wounded soldiers.

A.J. admits it — Darcy is irresistible. But he's already been battle-scarred by a strong-willed, vivacious, adventurous woman like Darcy, and he's not making the same mistake twice—until he and Darcy are forced to fake a relationship. Growing closer than they'd ever imagined possible, Darcy and AJ have to ask themselves: how much between them is pretend? What's the real thing? And where does it go from here?


My Review:

First off--I love the cover for this one! What love about Jill Shalvis' books is that they are fun romances that are perfect weekend reads. This one was no exception.  I loved that this one was about animals too--I love books with animals as characters, and loved the Darcy's character rescues animals to use as therapy dogs.

One issue a lot of people have with romance novels is that they are predictable, and that was certainly the case here. At times I was frustrated with Darcy's character and wanted to just grab her through the book and tell her to just be honest with A.J. about her feelings already! She was so stubborn! But I really loved A.J.'s character and found myself rooting for him and Darcy to get together.

I enjoyed this book but I will admit there are others by this author that I liked better. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't like it more, but Darcy was just too stubborn for me and annoyed me after awhile! But it's still a good read if you're looking for something relaxing to read!

Overall rating for "Still the One": 3.5 stars

Happy Reading!

E: Emerald City

Welcome to the "E" day of the A-Z Blogging challenge!  If you need a recap on my theme, "Places I Want To Visit: Real or Fictional"  you can read more about it here. Today's place is a fictional place, a place called:

Emerald City!


Image source: Google
Though I'm not a huge Wizard of Oz fan, I couldn't help but add the Emerald City in for my "E" post since it's such a classic! The Emerald City is located in the center of the Land of Oz, at the end of the Yellow Brick Road.  Really, who wouldn't want to spend a day in this magical land? As long as I had Dorothy's adorable red shoes so I could click my heels and go home afterwards!


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Comnig to Rosemont: Promo Blitz + Giveaway!



ON SALE for $.99 March 29th - April 5th
Contemporary / Women's Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Date Published: February 18, 2013

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Forensic accountant Maggie Martin survives the sudden death of her husband, the charismatic President of Windsor College, only to uncover the secrets of his carefully-concealed double life. Dealing with the financial and emotional wreckage left in Paul's wake, she is stunned to learn he inherited an estate known as Rosemont in the seemingly-serene Midwestern town of Westbury. Why had he never told her?

Maggie travels to Westbury for the stated purpose of listing Rosemont for immediate sale, but what she really seeks are answers to her all-consuming questions about her sham of a marriage; her sham of a life. She never anticipated the seductive charm of Rosemont. Throwing her trademark caution to the wind, and over the objections of her opinionated grown children, she pulls up stakes and moves halfway across the country, determined to make a fresh start in Westbury. Behind closed doors, however, lurks a cadre of evildoers, playing with multiple wild cards of fraud, embezzlement and arson.

With a quiet, orderly -- and distinctively solitary -- life in mind, Maggie is instead thrown headlong into a crusade against political corruption, where defeat and retreat are not an option. Still bearing the scars of betrayal, will she find joy, romance and possibility in Westbury?

This fast-paced, smart novel has enough twists and turns to make the reader want to buckle in!

Coming to Rosemont is the first book in the Rosemont series.

EXCERPT

From chapter 4

“Now,” Tonya said, “As you know, I have been calling for an independent audit of Westbury’s books.  At first, I simply thought this was a good practice.  I never dreamed that something could be wrong.  But the more I requested and pushed for one, the more the Mayor and the other Council Members balked and stalled and misdirected the conversation.”
“I grew up the oldest child in a large family,” she continued.  “I’ve heard plenty of wild excuses and tall tales in my time.  My mother always knew when one of us was lying, and I guess I’ve inherited her nose for nonsense.”  At this, a chuckle rippled through the crowd.  “I felt like I was back in my mother’s kitchen with my brothers when these guys were making excuses to avoid an audit,” she said.  “So I got my back up and decided that I was going to find out about the town’s finances one way or the other.  And at last week’s Town Council meeting I finally got my chance.  Mayor Wheeler left the bank statement out on the Council table in plain sight when we went to recess.”  Tonya paused for dramatic effect.  “So I spent my recess pouring through it.  Long story short, the general account is about half of what was reported in the treasurer’s report and the pension fund was short by almost forty percent,” she announced, as a gasp escaped from the crowd.
Side conversations started up all over the room.  Tonya raised her hands and gestured for quiet.  “At this point, I don’t have a good picture of where the money has gone.  I confronted the Mayor and Council when we resumed after recess.  They scolded me for looking at ‘confidential Town information’, as they called it, telling me that I didn’t understand what I was looking at.  ‘Well, enlighten me,’ I said.  Instead, they quickly adjourned the meeting.  I’ve been calling the Mayor and each of my fellow Council Members ever since and no one has been available to take my call.  And they’re not coming to their offices, either.”
“They’ve all gone to ground,” she continued.  “And you hunters in the crowd know what that means.  We have to drive them out of their hidey-holes.  And this is where I desperately need your help.  Each and every one of you.”


About the Author

Barbara Hinske is a BookBub Bestselling Author in the Women's Fiction category. She is a practicing attorney in Phoenix, Arizona, who inherited the writing gene from her dad. She has two grown children with her exceedingly kind and good second husband who died of cancer in 2006. Lucky in love, Barb married another exceptional man and father of two in 2010, and they live in their own Rosemont with two adorable and spoiled dogs.





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ON SALE for $.99 March 29th - April 5th

 
Giveaway
 
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