#T5W - Characters You'd Want at FriendsGiving

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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Characters You'd Want at FriendsGiving



It's time for another TOP 5 Wednesday!


This week also happens to be a special time for us in the US, because we celebrate Thanksgiving with our Families...so in the spirit of being Thankful, our theme this week is Which Characters would you invite to your FriendsGiving? 

But what is FriendsGiving exactly?

"The name Friendsgiving is a mashup of “friends” and “Thanksgiving,” and the idea is to spend an evening with the holiday’s classic dishes and your best buds. There isn’t a strict, enduring set of guidelines—Friendsgiving is a totally customizable modern tradition that’s taken off in recent years"  (excerpt from Real Simple).

I would actually love to have an informal FriendsGiving celebration with some of my favorite characters...let me know if you agree with my choices ♥


1. Gallowglass from the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness, because he's not just a drop-dead gorgeous vampire, but he's also sweet and in love with the wrong person.  He deserves a hug...


2. Tom Sawyer from the Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, because that little troublemaker kept me company for many years during my childhood and we sure have a lot of tales to share.


3. Jude from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, because I just love a girl that can kick-ass and doesn't follow all the rules!


4. Jules Ember from Everless by Sara Holland, a girl that can stop time might become extremely useful at the dinner table :-)


5. Fat Charlie Nancy from the Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, because he made me laugh out loud, and we all need a funny friend at the table...




♥♥♥

Do you play games with your guests during dinner and/or events?  How about a "What If" scenario game?  Click this link to download it for free (no strings attached).

Have FUN and HAPPY FRIENDSGIVING!!!






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The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

14 comments

Book Review

BOOK REVIEW: The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Release Date: April 3rd, 2018
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
454 Pages
Published by Riverhead Books
My rating on Goodreads ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


BOOK BLURB:

Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women's movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer--madly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, but still full of longing for an ambition that she can't quite place--feels her inner world light up. Then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and the future she'd always imagined.

MY THOUGHTS:

I finished it a while ago but didn't want to post a review right away because I needed time to think this through and take it all in.

I enjoyed this book but I didn't love it. But why didn't I love it? I couldn't figure out why. The book is too long (and I had both the physical book and the audiobook). Her writing is phenomenal, let's get that out of the way. Maybe I dove into this book with hopes of experiencing an "A-Ha" moment OR maybe it was because the book tackles situations that are SO real and yet, there are no simple solutions, no formulas to fix them all.

Meg Wolitzer's novel follows four personalities: Faith, Greer, Zee and Cory. Their paths, personalities and experiences are very real to our modern day lives. They experience trauma, privilege, betrayal, acceptance, being judged, feeling lost and the question that burdens us all:
"am I making a difference?"

So that's when I finally realized the brilliant pattern of this book: I walked away from it confused and with more questions, and maybe that was Wolitzer's intention (maybe not). I don't think it was a bad thing. It's life. It's how it is. We do what we can and in the end, "the turtle might outlive us all"...(you'll understand the quote once you read the book).

If you're looking for a book to spin your thoughts around and turn your feelings upside down, this is it.  Grab a copy and read it before the movie comes out :-)

"But she thought that maybe there had been a series of moments, and that this was the way it was for most people: the small realizations leading you first toward an important understanding and then toward doing something about it. Along the way, too, there would be people you would meet who would affect you and turn you ever so slightly in a different direction. Suddenly you knew what you were working for, and you didn't feel as if you were wasting your time."
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The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos

Sunday, November 11, 2018

10 comments

Book Review

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos

Release Date: October 9th, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, World War II
345 Pages
Published by Atria Books
My Rating on Goodreads ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SYNOPSIS:

On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.
Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.
When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.

MY THOUGHTS:

Based on the true story of her mother's life, Veletzos was able to piece together a beautifully written, emotional page-turner, filled with historical details about the WWII and the Soviet rule on Romania.  The result was an impossible to put down book, showing the sacrifice, perseverance, hope and love of two mothers for the child they shared.

The novel is separated into three parts (Anton & Despina, Natalia, Victor), which perfectly paints the picture of  wealth, reversal of fortune and rise to top at a time of war.   The characters are well developed and Veletzos' descriptive writing style allow the reader to imagine the smells and sounds both at happy and tragic times. 

What I loved the most about the story was how both set of parents loved and cherished Natalia.  How they vowed to protect her at all costs.  Their ultimate sacrifice is an inspiration for the human kind.

I truly enjoyed this debut novel and will be looking forward for the author's next book! 

"To love is much easier than to despair, even when all of your hope has been burned to ashes."

To learn more about the author and in case you're looking for the "reading group guide" for book clubs, click here for  Roxanne Veletzos website.


Note:
I received a copy of the book from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.
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#T5W Largest Books on TBR

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

18 comments
#T5W


Yay! Guess what day it is?  It's time for TOP 5 Wednesday!

Top 5 Wednesday is a Book Meme hosted by Samantha on Goodreads Groups.  If you're interested in joining the group, and/or find out what the other weekly topics are, click here.

This week, we're covering the Largest Books on TBR, so before jumping into my list, I have to tell you a little secret: I don't usually pick up books that have more than 600 pages.  In order for me to read a book that is something like 600 pages, it would have to be Extraordinary!
Just saying...


THE CLOCKMAKER'S DAUGHTER by Kate Morton
485 pages
I just got this book at a local Book Festival and it will be my first book by this author, so I am really looking forward to reading it. 

"In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins."



THE FALLEN by David Baldacci
421 pages
I attended an event where David Baldacci was the speaker and I was impressed by both his personality and the fact that he donated his time to help raise funds for a library.  The man won my admiration right there and then.

"Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes--obscure bible verses, odd symbols--have the police stumped."


THE WOODS by Harlan Coben
405 pages
I'm ashamed to admit that I never read any of Harlan Coben's books but after watching the adaptation of one of his books on Netflix, I finally decided to give this book a try.

"Twenty years ago at summer camp, Paul Copeland's sister died in the woods, the alleged victim of a serial killer. Her body was never found. Now, Paul is the prosecutor for Essex County, New Jersey, immersed in one of the biggest cases of his career-a case that will change everything he believes about the past...and the truth"


HOUSE RULES by Jodi Picoult
532 pages
I lost count of how many Jodi Picoult's books I've read, and when I saw this one at a library sale, I couldn't resist buying it.

"Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger's syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject - forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he's always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he's usually right."

LEGENDARY by Stephanie Garber (book 2 of Caraval Series)
451 pages
My local book club picked up this book for our 2019 list, so I'll be reading this one soon.

"A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name."




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A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

Saturday, November 3, 2018

15 comments
Book Review

BOOK REVIEW:  A SPARK OF LIGHT by JODI PICOULT

Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Genre: Adult Fiction
352 Pages
Published by Ballantine Books
My rating on Goodreads: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


BOOK SYNOPSIS:

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy.

And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.
Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.



MY THOUGHTS:

Jodi Picoult tackled yet another controversial issue with this novel.  Abortion is not a simple "black and white" conversation and even as she points out in the book, "I don't think we, as a society will ever see eye-to-eye on this issue".

Only a skillful writer such as Picoult would be able to write about a controversial item without taking sides and/or trying to persuade the reader.  If you think you know every possible angle that involves abortion, think again, because as we get to hear the different thoughts and reasonings from opposite sides in this story, we remember how different we are from one another.   

The story is told in a reverse chronological order, so the first chapter is the end of the hostage negotiation with a cliffhanger.  Of course, as a reader, I just wanted to read fast, absorb it all and find out what happened.  At first, I didn't quite appreciate the reversal time aspect, but towards the end of the book I felt that the plot made a lot more sense this way, as we understood the paths each character took that brought them to that specific situation.

This book is emotionally profound, and like every Picoult's book, it is a necessary reading, that opens the possibility of both discussion and understanding of women's rights. 

It's a story that I highly recommend, but please do me a favor, read it with an open mind and maybe, just maybe, we, as a society, can start to understand and accept each other...

Book Review


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Words We Don't Say - Book Review and Giveaway

Thursday, November 1, 2018

11 comments




It's time for another Blog Tour Review & Giveaway! A Huge Thank You to Rockstar Book Tours for this FUNtastic book! Seriously, You. Must. Read. This. Book. I'm getting ahead of myself here, so let me tell you more about it first...





WORDS WE DON'T SAY by K.J. REILLY
Pub. Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 288
Available at Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


THE BLURB:

Joel Higgins has 901 unsent text messages saved on his phone.

Ever since the thing that happened, there are certain people he hasn't been able to talk to in person. Sure, he shows up at school, does his mandatory volunteer hours at the soup kitchen, and spends pretty much every moment thinking about Eli, the most amazing girl in the world. But that doesn't mean he's keeping it together, or even that he has any friends.

So instead of hanging out with people in real life, he drafts text messages. But he never presses send.

As dismal as sophomore year was for Joel, he doesn't see how junior year will be any better. For starters, Eli doesn't know how he feels about her, his best friend Andy's gone, and he basically bombed the SATs. But as Joel spends more time at the soup kitchen with Eli and Benj, the new kid whose mouth seems to be unconnected to his brain, he forms bonds with the people they serve there-including a veteran they call Rooster-and begins to understand that the world is bigger than his own pain.

MY THOUGHTS:

OMG! I just Loved this book so much! I feel like I need to text all my friends and tell them that they need to read this book - although, unlike Joel Higgins, I will actually send all the texts.

The characters are so real. Our main character Joel is an anxious teenager, who happens to also be insecure and his thoughts fly at 100 miles a minute (oh, and he probably suffers from PTSD as well). We have Eli, the girl he's secretly in love with, but thinks that she's totally out of his league. There's Benj, the new boy that has no filter but turns out to have problems of his own (we all had a friend like that, right?). Alex, the genius that can't drive. Jacey, who is Joel's little brother and I just wish I could hug. Plus, the adults, parents and teachers who play an important part of the story and also felt amazingly authentic.

Joel made me laugh out loud and cry the next minute. Like any person that goes through trauma (teenager or not) he has difficulty accepting that not everything can be fixed. His dad tells him something like "it is what it is", which in Joel's mind, is just not fair. He tries to make sense of all the injustices in the world, while at the same time keeping all his emotions bottled up inside.

"We can feed them, but we can't fix them". The lady at the Soup Kitchen told him.

Joel was told that writing a journal would be a form of therapy to help him through this trauma. Nah, he writes texts that he saves as drafts and never sends. About 900 of them. To Eli, to his friend Andy and to the school principal.

The book deals with common problems going on in our society, such as banned books, PTSD, hunger, homeless, anxiety, depression and guns. You might ask, how can a story that deals with all of these issues be funny? Because of the dialogues, the ramblings and a lot of the situations are sarcastic and hilarious (you know, teenager style).

This is a beautiful coming of age story. Of how to move on after trauma. How to accept one's vulnerability and find hope. And finally, how to love.

Here's my final thought: Teenagers still have to read the same classic books that we all had to read back in High School. A teacher told me the other day that teenagers have lost interest in reading, but I have to disagree with that. I think that we need to give them books that they will connect with, instead of only classics. Words We Don't Say is a clear example of such a book. Please give a copy to a teenager. I know I will.

"The way I figured it, he was probably not a priest or minister but more like a brother or a monk or maybe an extraterrestrial emissary sent by a higher power to foster the spiritual evolution of young earthlings."



ABOUT K.J.:
I am the author of the (contemporary social issue) Young Adult book, Words We Don't Say (Disney Hyperion Oct 2, 2018).


GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tour Schedule:

Week One:
10/8/2018- BookHounds YA- Excerpt
10/9/2018- Utopia State of Mind- Review
10/10/2018- Here's to Happy Endings- Review
10/11/2018- Abellafairytale- Review
10/12/2018- Do You Dog-ear?- Review

Week Two:
10/15/2018- YA Books Central- Excerpt
10/16/2018- The Pages In-Between- Review
10/17/2018- A Dream Within A Dream- Excerpt
10/18/2018- Book-Keeping- Review
10/19/2018- Beware Of The Reader- Review

Week Three:
10/22/2018- Rainy Day Reviews- Excerpt
10/23/2018- Moonlight Rendezvous- Review
10/24/2018- The Cover Contessa- Review
10/25/2018- Jena Brown Writes- Review
10/26/2018- A Fictional Bookworm- Review

Week Four:
10/29/2018- PopTheButterfly Reads- Review
10/30/2018- Cindy's Love of Books- Review
10/31/2018- The Desert Bibliophile- Review
11/1/2018- Trendy Simple Life- Review
11/2/2018- Patriotic Bookaholic- Review

Week Five:
11/5/2018- Coffee, Books and Cakes- Review
11/6/2018- Savings in Seconds- Review
11/7/2018- Novel Novice- Excerpt
11/8/2018- For the Love of KidLit- Spotlight
11/9/2018- Two points of interest- Review
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Painting Blue Water by Leigh Fossan

Sunday, October 28, 2018

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Blog Tour

Happy Sunday everyone!

I'm thrilled to be a part of the #BlogTour of Painting Blue Water by Leigh Fossan.  Thank you Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me to be today's host!


Available at

BOOK BLURB:

Katherine Ross, a struggling artist-turned-successful-businesswoman, has a life many would envy. At only thirty-one years old, Katherine runs one of the top luxury real-estate firms in Manhattan, and she lives in a fabulous loft with her dreamy husband. That is, of course, until her marriage comes to a screeching halt, forcing Katherine to face the truths she’s been burying deep within her heart. She hasn’t been happy for a long time. And her life, while glamorous, is not the life she ever wanted.

Fighting through the fog of her confusion and pain, Katherine makes the daring, or possibly insane, choice to start over somewhere new. She leaves her business, her friends, and the city behind, while she ventures alone to the mountains in hopes of rediscovering her artistic roots in a place surrounded by beauty, peace, and quiet.

But life in Bluewater isn’t as simple as it may seem, and when her art career suddenly begins to take off in this unlikely setting, Katherine finds herself torn between two worlds. Does she pursue her lifelong dream and become the world-famous artist she always wanted to be? Or does she open her heart to the possibility of new dreams and a life she never imagined?


MY THOUGHTS:

This is a beautifully crafted story about re-thinking life's choices and starting over.  How many of us can say that they would choose to leave everything behind and start over somewhere else?  It takes courage to actually go in search of a lost dream...

Leigh Fossan's writing is stunningly picturesque and realistic.  Her descriptions enable the reader to envision the scenery and be transported to Blue Water Lake.  The characters are lovable, funny and well-developed.   The plot is captivating and kept me enthralled the whole way through. 

It's a perfect read if you have a few hours to spare and would like to get lost in a romantic story about loss, love, friends, and hope - with a touch of inspiration.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


AUTHOR BIO:


Painting Blue Water is the debut novel for Leigh Fossan. A creative soul at heart, Leigh grew up with a paintbrush in her hand, and went on to study the arts in Florence, Italy. While abroad, Leigh was one of the few recipients of the Coluccio Salutati Award for Creative Writing. Today, Leigh is a professional artist and her paintings are collected around the world. She lives in Colorado with her artist husband, and their young daughter, who wants to be a scientist.
​You can see Leigh's paintings at www.lavfineart.com

INSTAGRAM: @leighfossanauthor
TWITTER: @LeighFossan





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Blogger Recognition Award

Friday, October 26, 2018

13 comments



The great book and blogging community never ceases to surprise me!  The amount of support and shout outs that is shared everyday is simply amazing!

About two weeks ago, the wonderful Kelly from Paperback Adventures nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award! This came as such a surprise to me because I am not as active as most bloggers out there in the Blogosphere, and to know that someone actually noticed my blog is pretty inspiring! 
Thank you SO much Kelly!    


THE RULES
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you
  • Write a post to show your award
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them, and provide a link to the post you’ve created


HOW MY BLOG STARTED

I always loved to read but would always find excuses not to.  One day while browsing the net, I found Goodreads (which was a WOW moment) and decided to set a goal and keep track of what I read.  Then, in March 2017 I started a local Book Club and met an incredible group of people that share my love of books (can you see where I'm going here?).  Blogging just seemed like the natural next step of my adventure...I started blogging in September 2017. 


ADVICE

Engage with the community.  If someone follows you, go check their blog and leave comments.  Don't just "like" a tweet from a fellow blogger.  Participate in the conversation.  Take an afternoon to do some blog hopping and leave comments.
I just recently did a 1 month social media collaboration with Manon, from Cafe Manon and we're not even in the same continent!  That was a great experience and I actually enjoyed doing it :-)

Read what you love and write from the heart.  It's easy to get overwhelmed and compare yourself with what everyone else is doing.  Don't get distracted by that.  It takes time to develop your own voice and create your own content.  The most important thing is to enjoy what your doing.  Whenever you feel that blogging is becoming an obligation and/or a job, step away and remember why you started blogging in the first place.

Be AUTHENTIC and have FUN :-) 


NOMINATIONS

  1. Cafe Manon
  2. TaleOutLoud
  3. Jo Linsdell
  4. The Burgeoning Bookshelf
  5. Shirley Cuypers
  6. Saturday Nite Reader
  7. Books and Bindings
  8. Jenny in Neverland
  9. Lovely Audiobooks
  10. Brunette Biblio
  11. Lady in Red Writes
  12. Whispering Stories
  13. Stralthy
  14. Belles Lettres
  15. Thoughts with N
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How to stay on top of your to-do lists

Sunday, October 21, 2018

21 comments



At any given time of the day (sometimes in the middle of the night) my head is filled with lists:

  • to-do lists
  • people I need to call list
  • errands I need to run list
  • pictures I need to take for social media posts
  • blog posts ideas list
  • book reviews I need to write (and let's not even mention the TBR list)

Having lists is actually the first step of realistically approaching what needs to be done.  The problem with my lists?  They were all over the place! In my laptop, in my tablet, my phone, pieces of paper I collect with ideas of yet another list...I realized it was getting out of control and adding to my stress level of feeling like I was falling into the rabbit hole of things undone.

I couldn't understand how I can be so organized at work while at the same time seem unable to keep personal tasks under control.  How did I get to this emotional "I'm failing" roller-coaster?  

It's like watching Penny Dreadful + Devil Wears Prada + Mean Girls all at the same TIME while listening to Michael Buble feeling sorry for myself !!!!  (hmmm I actually enjoy all those things, but maybe not together)

Anyway, something needed to be done, so I declared war against all my lists and decided to find a place, one single spot where I can find everything and not worry about what it was that I wrote on the back of last night's restaurant receipt.

If you google "how to tackle your to-do lists" the results will be overwhelming, so here are my best tips on how to create a to-do list that you'll actually want to stay on top of:

  1. First of all, keep everything in the same place - Whatever type of to-do list you decide to use should be available to you at all times: there's no point in choosing to use a physical notebook if you keep forgetting it at home, and the same goes for using an app that's only accessible via phone.  
  2. Be realistic on what you can do in 24 hrs - avoid falling into the trap of over-scheduling yourself. 
  3. Categorize it in a way that makes sense to you - I'm using Evernote (more on that later) and I now have "notebooks", one personal and one for my blog, which are then divided into sections, aka "notes" that I named as hashtags, #errands, #familyfun #placestotravel, #writingprompts #readingchallenge #blogpostideas.  
  4. Focus on one thing at a time (guilty as charged) - It's a rewarding experience when you cross one of the items of your list as done/completed/finished.  As a blogger I am well aware of how easy it is to get distracted with social media, so you can imagine how surprised I was when I found this app called Moment - tagline "put down your phone and get back to life"-  where you can set daily limits on yourself and be notified when you go over! Wait, there's an app for that?
  5. To find the Best To-Do List Apps for IOS and Android head over to this article from Digital Trends, which will give you a summary of each app that's available out there.  Like I said before, I chose to use Evernote, mainly because the free version is sufficient for everything that I need, plus it gives me access to my notes/lists from all of my many devices by keeping everything synchronized across platforms.  Evernote even has free templates!


I hope you enjoyed reading this post and is already thinking of ways to organize your lists.  Please drop me a note to let me know what you thought of it !
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#T5W Favorite Monsters

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

19 comments

#T5W


It's time for another TOP 5 Wednesday!

Top 5 Wednesday is a Book Meme hosted by Samantha on Goodreads Groups.  If you're interested in joining the group, and/or find out what the other weekly topics are, click here.

This week, our #T5W prompt is #Favorite Monsters, and it just so happens that I have a soft spot for mythology, so here's a list of my favorite Mythical Creatures, which are also monsters!



The Dragons in the epic saga of Game of Thrones are at the top of my list: 
Drogon, Rhaegar and Viserion.  
Each dragon was named after somebody in the series and each name holds a special meaning.


 

Time's Convert has the coolest of all mythical creatures: a Griffin named Apollo! 
Although this book didn't really give us enough details on the griffin, I have a feeling Apollo will be a more permanent character on the series.



A Werewolf is a half human/half beast and like every Anne Rice's books, Reuben, (the main character) just so happens to be a sexy beast πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯



The High Court of Faerie is a world full of mythical creatures with their pointy ears and long hair.  All you have to do is google "Cruel Prince images" to see some of the most beautiful character illustrations inspired by the book.



The Shadow is a gigantic monster with two sharp eyes and no face.  He leaps from the ground like fire and only appears when another character, Capricorn calls him.  πŸ‘Ύ



I'm having so much fun putting together these Top 5 Wednesday posts ❤️
Did you like this list?
Have you read any of these?




Note: As an Amazon Affiliate, if you purchase any of the books using the links provided, I’ll earn a small commission (no additional cost to you).


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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Sunday, October 14, 2018

19 comments

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

BOOK REVIEW: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Release Date: January 2nd, 2018
Genre: YA, Fantasy
370 pages
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Available on Amazon
My rating on Goodreads ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


THE BLURB:

"Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself."

MY THOUGHTS:

The Cruel Prince is one of the most loved books you'll find on social media.  I avoided reading other reviews/spoilers at all costs, since I wanted to dive into it blindly.  I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next one.

This intense and dark story will keep you reading into the night.  The world of Faerie is magical, rich and colorful, but its residents are untrustworthy.  For Jude and her twin sister Taryn, growing up in Faerie was no small task.  Both sisters want very much to belong, yet, each one has a very specific goal of what kind of life in the Courts of Faerie they desire.

Jude was my favorite character.  Prince Cardan is a spoiled Royal.  A bully.  He is however, very charming, which can be useful in difficult situations. 

The writing is unmistakably beautiful and easy to follow. 

The first chapters were a little slow for me, even though it all starts with Jude's mortal parents being murdered (it's on the synopsis, so no spoiler).  But then the story picked up and it became a page-turner, full of betrayals, secrets and spies.  Reading the characters' development and the many plot twists was like a WOW moment for me.  I did see that last twist coming, but that did not make it any less memorable!

Black left so many possibilities open for the next book.  It's impossible to predict what will come next.  Will Prince Cardan redeem himself?  Will Oak follow in Cardan's footsteps and become wicked?  What's Locke's end game? 
Stop.
I want to read The Wicked King!!!
❤❤❤❤

The Quote:
“Nicasia's wrong about me. I don't desire to do as well in the tournament as one of the fey. I want to win. I do not yearn to be their equal. In my heart, I yearn to best them.”

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Halloween Creatures 2.0 Book Tag

Friday, October 12, 2018

24 comments



πŸ‘»Thank you Shirley Cuypers  for tagging me with the Halloween Creatures (2.0) Book Tag, which was created by Anthony at Keep Reading Forward ,  and looks like a great way to have some SPOOKY FUN this month during #blogoween !

The Rules are simple: 

  1. Answer all the prompts
  2. Tag 1 to 13 people
  3. Link back to this post
  4. Remember to credit the creator
  5. Have FUN 

Witch
A Magical Character or Book
The Cruel Prince.  I loved the characters and all the magic in the world of Fae! I didn't think I was going to like it so much πŸ‘‘

Werewolf
The Perfect Book to Read at Night
Hmmm, how about The Darkest Star?  Because with a little luck, I'll dream about Luc ❤️

Frankenstein
A Book That Truly Shocked You
The Immortalists because I always thought that I would like to know the exact date of my death, but after reading this book and all the consequences of that knowledge on the 4 siblings, I do agree that there's beauty in uncertainty...

The Devil
A Dark, Evil Character
Prospero, the Enchanter from The Night Circus deserves the evil crown of all times.

Grim Reaper
A Character that Should Have Never Died
Spoilers aside, the book Neverworld Wake gets the award on this one.  If you haven't read it, grab a copy right now, because this book is the real deal. πŸ‘πŸΌ

Zombie
A Book that Made You "Hungry" for More
I just finished reading The Gilded King and I can't wait to read the next book of the series!  

Gargoyle
A Character That You Would Protect at All Cost
Zellie from Children of Blood and Bone just because she happens to be both a bad ass and the savior of Orisha. 

Vampire
A Book That Sucked The Life Out of You
Time's Convert is a book about Vampires, and I do think it sucked the Life Out of Me.  I wanted to love this book as much as I love the All Souls Trilogy, but it just didn't do it for me.  I finished reading it but I was somehow disappointed. 

Ghost
A Book That Still Haunts You
Sadie, because I still think about it and can't get it out of my head.  I was completely lost in this book and in the end, I cried like a child.  

Demon
A Book That Really Scared You
A Good Marriage scared the crap out of me! The thought of living with a psychopath and not seeing the signs were so simple, so naive, that I was really scared (darn it, Stephen King).

Skeleton
A Character That You Have a Bone to Pick With
Vincent, from The Rules of Magic.  Dude, could you be a little less selfish and maybe think about your sisters?  Just a little?  Pretty please...

Mummy
A Book You Would Preserve Throughout Time
Neverwhere is my favorite Neil Gaiman's book and I just ❤️it!  It's the perfect example of Gaiman's true genius as a storyteller.  Can you guess which writer I haven't met yet, but am dying to?

Creepy Doll
A Cover too Scary to Look At
I don't really read scary books and if the cover is too scary, there's 100% chance I won't read it...


The Monster Mash
It's Fun to Be with Friends on Halloween! Tag Your Friends!
Jo Linsdell from www.jolinsdell.com  
Jackie Nolan from Bookworm Cafe
Tracey Faulconbridge from TFAULC Book Reviews
Nikki from Saturday Nite Reader
Jordanne from  Bloodthirsty Little Beasts
Annemieke from A Dance with Books
Sarah from Paranormal Peach




HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Having a Halloween Party?  Check out my Spooktacular Playlist πŸ‘» 
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#T5W Favorite Villains

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

26 comments

#T5W


Top 5 Wednesday is a Book Meme hosted by Samantha on Goodreads Groups.  If you're interested in joining the group, and/or find out what the other weekly topics are, click here.

This week, our #T5W prompt is #FavoriteVillains, which happens to be a topic I really enjoy!  I mean, villains are the best and they keep us entertained.  Some of my favorite villains are the ones I also love (even though I don't necessarily like to say it out loud)!



Lestat de Lioncourt from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles is a typical antihero, sometimes villain...
I can't help but love the Brat Prince.




President Alma Coin from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Forget President Snow - President Alma Coin, from District 13 is the ultimate villain in this series.




Legend from the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber
Legend says Caraval is not just a game...why would you want to play then? 





Hector Bowen (Prospero the Enchanter) from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
Prospero is the real deal, I mean, what kind of a monster do you have to be in order to put your own daughter on a challenge where only 1 person can survive?




King Saran from Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
I loved Children of Blood and Bone and I actually can't wait to see who they will cast as King Saran when they make the movie. 


What about you?
Who are your Favorite Villains?




Note: As an Amazon Affiliate, if you purchase any of the books using the links provided, I’ll earn a small commission (no additional cost to you).

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The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

10 comments

Book Review


BOOK REVIEW: The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

(Sovereign Book 1)
Release Date: June 25th, 2018
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy
292 pages
Published by Josie Jaffrey
Available at Amazon
I rated  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  on Goodreads



THE BLURB:

"In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.
Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are going to come down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do."


THE BOOK TRAILER:





MY THOUGHTS:

I'm a sucker for Vampire stories, so when the Author contacted me and asked me if I would like a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, I jumped right in!

I really enjoyed The Gilded King and I'm actually looking forward to the next book, The Silver Queen, which will be available on October 17th.

What made this book so different from other vampire stories?  We all know vampires need blood, but what if some of the blood is contaminated?  What if all humanity is on the blink of extinction?  Vampires can rule the world, but they still need humans...uncontaminated humans.  This dystopian world, built on fallen European cities made this book so irresistible.  Add a touch of romance with a hint of fairytale and we got a winning page-turner!

I was so intrigued by the 2 worlds - Red / Blue.  I wanted to know more.  We get bits and pieces of hows and whys the 2 worlds got separated, which at times were a bit confusing, with all the different names, but overall, the story was easy to follow.  A lot of times, I dislike when authors give way more details than I feel are necessary, and in this book I felt were just right.


THE CHARACTERS:

Lucas and Julia's romance felt a bit rushed and there were so many questions left unanswered, which I do hope the next book will address.
Why is Lucas different from the other Nobles (vampires aka Silver)?
What happened between Lucas and Rufus?

Julia always wanted to know what life looked like beyond the walls surrounding The Blue and she might have a chance to find out soon enough.

My favorite character was Cameron.  He just felt so genuine, even though he seemed a bit naive for someone who has lived for centuries and trained as Solis Invicti. I also loved how he doubted his own immortality and questioned his way of living.  His perpetual quest to find his friend Emmy leads him to deep forests in the Red, where he meets Felix.  I found Felix an interesting character from the beginning, and the mystery around him and the things he knew (red flag) made me even more curious.

I'm still trying to guess which one of these characters will be the savior of the 2 worlds.  Or will they have to work together to save both humans and Silver?

I will totally recommend this book.  It's very well-written and a quick read.

Content Warning:
The book contains profanity, horror and both F/M and M/M romance (suitable for ages 14+).


And what about that cover? 
I won't spoil it, but it all makes sense in the final chapter...

Book Review


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Free Audiobooks on Audible for Prime Members

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

6 comments


Free Audiobooks



Just last week, one of my friends discovered that she had unknowingly been paying for an Audible membership for months.
How?
Chances are, she started the free-trial and never cancelled it.  Which reminded me that I had to cancel my own Audible trial that I signed up for last month.  As I was ready to delete the App from my phone, I found out that Audible Channels (which has audiobooks) are a FREE service for Amazon Prime members!
Wait!
Did I just read FREE?

If you're an Amazon Prime member or in an Amazon Household with a Prime member, you can stream for free in a section of Channels called Audiobook Collections. They can be found only in the Audible app on iOS, Android, Windows 10, and many Fire Tablets.

As long as you're subscribed to Prime, or in an Amazon Household with a Prime member, you can access this section in Audible Channels.

This information blew my mind! How could I not have known this? Was it in one of the hundreds of emails I receive daily and ignore?
Note to self: Must create e-mail filters and Clean Up inbox :-(

There are over 50 titles available for streaming and the titles are supposed to change every few months or so (although, from what I read in the comments section, some titles have been there for over a year). 

So, if you have Amazon Prime, check out some of the Audiobooks that can be streamed for Free by going to Audible > Channels > Audiobook Collections :

  1. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (from the Follow the Clues Category) 
  2. Baltimore Blues by Laura Lipman (from the Follow the Clues Category) 
  3. Adventures of Hucleberry Finn performed by Elijah Wood (from the Celebrity Voices Classic Stories Category
  4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland narrated by Scarlett Johansson (from the Celebrity Voices Classic Stories Category
  5. Zodiac by Robert Graysmith (from the Truly Criminals Category)
  6. Catch Me if You Can by Frank W Abagnale, Stan Redding (from the Truly Criminal Category)
  7. No Excuses! by Brian Tracy (from the You & Improved Category)
  8. Buddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron, His Holiness the Dalai Lama (from the You & Improved Category)
  9. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman (from the Better Than the Movie Category)
  10. The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings (from the Better Than the Movie Category)
  11. What it is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes (from the Dramatic History Category)
  12. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (from the For All Generations Category)
  13. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (from the For All Generations Category)
  14. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (from the Worlds Away: Sci-Fi Classics Category)
  15. Ender's Game Alive by Orson Scott  Card (from the Worlds Away: Sci-Fi Classics Category)

I will certainly be streaming these during my daily commute.  

And don't forget that Prime Members choose one FREE Kindle book each month, which is such a sweet deal!

Never tried Audiobooks?  Check out my post on how I fell in love with Audiobooks,  "Once Upon a Time There Was an Audiobook".

Do you know of any other Freebies?
Please share :-)

Amazon Prime Perks



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FabFitFun Fall Box

Saturday, September 22, 2018

No comments
Fall Box


My FabFitFun Fall Box has arrived!


There's something about coming home after a busy day at work and finding my favorite box subscription by my door!

I've tried different subscription boxes and honestly, the FabFitFun box gives you the best subscription for the money!

For $49 you'll get $200+ worth of products! And they're FULL size products, not small size samples.

I love the Fall Season and just the thought of trying out all of the products inside this box made me want to curl up on the sofa with a cup of coffee, a book and a face mask!

Curious?  Let me show you what was inside the Fall Box:

1. Vince Camuto Luck Tote Black (Retail $128)
Perfectly sized to carry your everyday essentials. It features a soft interior and a hanging slip pocket to store your keys, lip balm, and more.
I have an obsession with handbags/totes, so this is the one item that I was really waiting for and I am not disappointed by the quality of the product.

2. Alfred Teapot in blue (Retail $28) 
Ceramic teapot designed by L.A.-based tea spot Alfred Tea Room.  With a stainless steel lid, a wide-lipped infuser, and a dripless spout.
Just the right thing to make me start drinking tea and it's Super Cute. I'm thinking Instagram possibilities.

3. CYLO COBRA Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds (Retail $35)
I've been wanting wireless earbuds and these are perfect!

4. Simply Whimsical Set of 2 Tea Towels (Retail $14.99)
Cute tea towels in a classical gray pattern.  One can never have too many of these.

5. LUNA Bar in Salted Caramel flavor (Retail $2.00)
I've never been a fan of protein bars, but I'll give this one a try.




6. Farmacy Dew It All Total Eye Cream with Echinacea GreenEnvy™ (Retail $38)
Fine lines and dark circles, be gone. This moisturizing eye cream helps minimize visible signs of aging, stress, and fatigue while reducing the appearance of dark circles.  
This product sounds amazing.  I have to see how it works.

7. GROWN ALCHEMIST POLISHING FACIAL EXFOLIANT: Pink Grapefruit & Glucomannan Extract (Retail $67)
A gentle skin polishing exfoliant formulated for daily use to polish away dry skin and dead skin cells, nourish and cleanse leaving facial skin looking radiant, calm and smooth, perfectly prepared for moisturizing. 
I was a little skeptical on the price of this exfoliant, but to my surprise, that's how much it costs at Bloomingdale's...

8. SKIN&CO Roma Blue in Capri Shower Gel (Retail $22)
The fresh and invigorating aroma of Wild Sage & Lemon blends in harmony with the intoxicating Mediterranean sea breeze, stirring memories of summer holidays...
Hmmm, I like shower gels the above description is a clear example of good marketing.

9. GLAMGLOW BUBBLESHEET™ OXYGENATING DEEP CLEANSE MASK (2 Pack) (Retail $18)
Watch it activate into a tingling 3-D bubble experience. The microbubbles instantly invigorate and detoxify the skin, revealing a glowing, deeply purified complexion.
I don't personally use these types of masks, but one of best buddies does and loves them, so I'll save them for her.

10. beautyblender® (Retail $20)
Seamlessly blend cream, powder, and liquid formulas. Use the pointed end on the sides of your nose and under your eyes and the rounded end to buff product in to the rest of your face.
I've been told this is THE blender to use, but I never dished out $20 for it, except now I have no excuse to try it.



Total Retail Value = $372

This box is Awesome and for $49.99 I got all these products.  And I love a bargain!  What's not to like about this?

Plus, who has the time to research all types of different beauty products on the market?  I like the idea of having the products picked out for me and delivered to my house.  If I like a product, I'll continue using it, if not, I'll move on to the next.

Because I love this subscription so much and had no plans on cancelling it, I just upgraded my membership from Seasonal (pay $49.99 every season when the box ships) to Yearly (pay $179 once a year for all 4 seasons/boxes).  That saves me $20 and allows me to customize my boxes and receive early shipments.

What about you? 
Are you ready for FabFitFun?
To save $10 off your first box, click here 

I'm already wondering what surprises the Winter Box will reveal!!!




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