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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Book Exchange: Traveling Letter Library

Posted by Irish in Book Exchange, Misc0 Comments

 

Hello Internet!

Last month I read an amazing book called WORDS IN DEEP BLUE by Cath Crowley which is about so many different things that its hard to describe it in words. Throughout my read of it though I fell in love with the Letter Library. This was a section of the bookstore where the main characters worked that shelved books that we not for sale. They could be read and they were and as they were read people added notes in the margins, highlighted favorite passages, and even left letters tucked in the pages. I loved this idea and wish that a letter library existed in a bookstore near me. It also got me to thinking that maybe I start a version of it with some of my favorite people….you.

The “rules” of this exchange are as follows:

  • Fill out the form below
  • Choose a book that you love, or one that you have wanted to read, and mark it up with your own notes throughout.
  • When done with the book write a letter to tuck in the pages.
    • This letter can be to the next person who reads the book, to a character, or to a stranger
  • Mail the book to another reader who will repeat the above steps.
    • Ideally each person would send their book out by the end of February
  • Wait for the your book to be returned to you.
  • Flip through book to see the added notes and letters from its travels.

Currently I am thinking that a book will travel between 3-4 people which I’ll do my best to pair up based on preferred reading genre. There will be no time limit for reading or passing a book a long but I’d hope that each person would try to read and mail their book off to the next person in a timely manner.

 

 

 

Click here to access the sign up form if it doesn’t appear below.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t

Posted by Irish in Top Ten Tuesday2 Comments

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish this weeks topic is about those 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t. Its so hard to be a reader in the internet age because you keep hearing about all these great reads and then you just don’t have the time to read them all. I read a lot too, maybe not as much as some, but 150 books in one calendar year is pretty darn good if you ask me. Yet even with reading all those books there were still a lot of 2016 releases that I missed. Even the ten books listed below aren’t all the one 2016 releases that I missed but would like to get to but they are a start. Have you read any of the books below? Which ones should I focus on? Let me know in the comments! (Links go to Goodreads.)

1 This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Sloane isn’t expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that’s exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera’s twin brother and the most serious person Sloane’s ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins’ late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins’ lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.

2. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

3. All in Pieces by Suzanne Young

“Anger-management issues.”

That’s how they classified Savannah Sutton after she stuck a pencil in her ex-boyfriend’s hand because he mocked her little brother, Evan, for being disabled. That’s why they sent her to Brooks Academy—an alternative high school that’s used as a temporary detention center.

The days at Brooks are miserable, but at home, life is far more bleak. Savvy’s struggling to take care of her brother since her mom left years ago, and her alcoholic dad can’t be bothered. Life with Evan is a constant challenge, but he’s also the most important person in the world to Savvy.

Then there’s Cameron, a new student at Brooks with issues of his own, a guy from a perfect family that Savvy thought only existed on TV. Cameron seems determined to break through every one of the walls Savvy’s built around herself—except if she lets herself trust him, it could make everything she’s worked so hard for fall apart in an instant.

And with her aunt seeking custody of her brother and her ex-boyfriend seeking revenge, Savvy’s fighting to hold all the pieces together. But she’s not sure how much tighter she can be pulled before she breaks completely.

4. Vicarious by Paula Stokes

Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they’ve escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you—for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.

5. Roman Crazy by Nina Bocci and Alice Clayton

Avery Bardot steps off the plane in Rome, looking for a fresh start. She’s left behind a soon-to-be ex-husband in Boston and plans to spend the summer with her best friend Daisy, licking her wounds—and perhaps a gelato or two. But when her American-expat friend throws her a welcome party on her first night, Avery’s thrown for a loop when she sees a man she never thought she’d see again: Italian architect Marcello Bianchi.

Marcello was the man—the one who got away. And now her past is colliding with her present, a present where she should be mourning the loss of her marriage and—hey, that fettuccine is delicious! And so is Marcello…

Slipping easily into the good life of summertime in Rome, Avery spends her days exploring a city that makes art historians swoon, and her nights swooning over her unexpected what was old is new again romance. It’s heady, it’s fevered, it’s wanton, and it’s crazy. But could this really be her new life? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before returning to the land of twin-set cardigans and crustless sandwiches?

A celebration of great friendship, passionate romance, and wonderful food, Roman Crazy is a lighthearted story of second chances and living life to the fullest.

6. Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

Will a dark history doom their future together? New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang. Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within. Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved. But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.

7. Lady Claire is All That by Maya Rodale

Her Brains
Claire Cavendish is in search of a duke, but not for the usual reasons. The man she seeks is a mathematician; the man she unwittingly finds is Lord Fox: dynamic, athletic, and as bored by the equations Claire adores as she is by the social whirl upon which he thrives. As attractive as Fox is, he’s of no use to Claire . . . or is he?

Plus His Brawn
Fox’s male pride has been bruised ever since his fiancée jilted him. One way to recover: win a bet that he can transform Lady Claire, Society’s roughest diamond, into its most prized jewel. But Claire has other ideas—shockingly steamy ones. . .

Equals A Study In Seduction
By Claire’s calculations, Fox is the perfect man to satisfy her sensual curiosity. In Fox’s estimation, Claire is the perfect woman to prove his mastery of the ton. But the one thing neither of them counted on is love . . .

8. Going Geek by Charlotte Huang

A girl forced out of her comfort zone finds that being true to herself is the best way to live her life, in this second novel from the author of For the Record.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect:
amazing boyfriend
the coolest friends
the most desirable dorm
But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn’t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles—and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.

Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary—or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself . . .

9. A Place in the Sun by R.S. Grey

When her mother’s incessant matchmaking hits an all-time high, Georgie Archibald does what any sensible woman would do: she flees the country.

Seeking refuge in the picturesque seaside village of Vernazza, Italy, Georgie’s only plan is to lie low, gorge herself on gelato, and let the wine and waves wash her troubles away… that is until she wakes up in a bed that belongs to the most romantic-looking man she’s ever seen.

Gianluca.

After going out of his way to rescue her, the former London financier turned mysterious recluse makes it clear that despite acting as her white knight, he has no plans to co-star in her fairytale.

But Georgie isn’t asking for his heart—she’s merely intrigued.

After all, Gianluca isn’t just gorgeous—tall and tan from days spent in the sun—his touch sets her world on fire. With him, Georgie experiences the most intoxicating passion she’s ever known, and it only takes a few steamy nights for her to realize that sometimes running away from trouble is the best way to find it.

10. Daring Fate by Megan Erickson

We all have tragic backstories in today’s world.

I wake up chained to the wall of a dark cell aware of two things: I failed my sister, and I smell my enemy.

When I’m taken to meet Dare, the alpha of the Silver Tip pack, I’m sure I’m about to lose my throat. The last thing I expect is for the Alpha to recognize me as his fated mate. No way is he going to let me go now, and I still have to find a way to rescue my sister.

As I plot my escape to save her, I find that if I leave, Dare could be killed by power-hungry members of his pack. And now he’s more to me than my fated mate—my heart is involved. With time ticking by on my sister’s life, I have to make a choice I never thought I’d face—my sister’s life or my mate’s? That’s if I can survive the undead shifters intent on killing me first…

 

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Review: Off Base by Annabeth Albert

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Off Base by Annabeth AlbertOff Base (Out of Uniform, #1) by Annabeth Albert
Published by Carina Press on January 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, Contemporary Romance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Treble Maker, Status Update, Love Me Tenor, Beta Test

Place(s) Traveled To: West Hollywood, California // Coronado, California // San Diego, California

First Line(s): “What do you mean they’re not coming?” Zack tried hard to sound like the badass navy SEAL he was now.

OFF BASE is the newest release from a new favorite author of mine, Annabeth Albert. I’ve been devouring everything she’s written and so was very excited to get my hands on this one. Especially since its a spin off of her #gaymers series which I adored. We first meet the main characters in OFF BASE, in CONNECTION ERROR (review coming soon) and Zack seems even more up tight than he was when we first meet him. Its a good thing that Pike worms his way into his life because he is Zack’s opposite in many ways and the two of them really work well together.

OFF BASE is filled to the brim of heart achy feels because Zack is just so tortured about who he really is. He’s been brainwashed since he was young that being gay was wrong and he’s faced nothing but homophobia since which has made it hard to be comfortable in his own skin. Things start to change when he is roomed with Ryan in the VA hospital and he starts to see another side to what he thought he always knew. I loved all the moments between Zack and Pike and the cameos of Ryan and Josiah. They all just made my heart sing. What I didn’t like was the homophobia that ran rampant throughout the book. It just made my skin crawl whenever Zack’s teammates said something or when Zack talked to his parents.

Overall though, I really enjoyed the relationship between Pike and Zack. I do wish that Zack was a little more comfortable in who he was but I understood it. I also liked watching Pike come into his own as he found his grove in teaching. I liked that he learned that sometimes the unexpected path could lead to something even better than what he dreamed was possible. And once Pike and Zack started to put their difference aside this story because a favorite enemies to lovers story. There was just so much tension between Pike and Zack that I couldn’t stop turning the pages in order to see how they would reach their happily ever after.

I find that Annabeth Albert really excels at writing a feel good story that often packs a punch to the emotions. Her characters are real and raw and they are all so uniquely drawn. Every story she tells does follow a certain path but there is always a fresh spin that keeps me coming back for more. The are quick, engrossing reads that I just suck up when I get my hands on one. I lose track of time until I hit the final page and then I am sad because I can’t read the story for the first time again. If you are a fan of MM Romances then you really want to give Annabeth Albert a try.

Add Just Drive by L.A. Witt to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

Add Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Audio Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline KepnesHidden Bodies (You, #2) by Caroline Kepnes
on 23 February 2016
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adult, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense
Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: You

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Los Angeles, California // Malibu, California // Palm Springs, California // Cabo San Lucas, Mexico // Las Vegas, Nevada // Reno, Nevada

First Line(s): I buy violets for Amy. Not roses. Roses are for people who did something wrong.

Joe is back!

And he’s just as crazy as ever. HIDDEN BODIES is the sequel to Caroline Kepnes’s YOU (my review) which introduces us to Joe, a total sociopath that you just can’t help but love. As a reader, you know that Joe is crazy-pants and that what he is doing is wrong and yet it all seems so logical when you read his thoughts on why he does the things that he does. In HIDDEN BODIES, Joe has moved on to a new relationship “choosing better” as he says with a girl named Amy. As with the previous women that have come into Joe’s orbit Amy is a flawed character and that seems to be what draws Joe to them. Its as if the inevitable betrayal is what drives Joe to choose these women because deep down he really wants to give into his baser instincts of murder.

In HIDDEN BODIES, Amy does a thing that as a reader just makes you gasp as we know what Joe is capable of when he is betrayed. Amy does not. Which makes you feel for Amy but yet at the same time you are also angry at her for not living up to Joe’s expectations. Its really amazing just how much Kepnes’s writing puts the reader on Joe’s side as he’s usually the character we want the hero or heroine of the story to capture and put behind bars. But with YOU and HIDDEN BODIES all you want is for Joe to find peace and happiness. Its a strange feeling to be cheering for the bad guy and yet, how can you not?

HIDDEN BODIES is a fast paced thriller that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Santino Fontana returns to narrate the story and he just becomes Joe. Fontana’s is a voice that is going to be hard for me to separate from this character as it just fits Joe so perfectly. Fontana’s narration style just sets the perfect mood for HIDDEN BODIES and makes it so easy to fall for Joe and to want him to come out on top. To find his place in the world and to be happy. Happiness isn’t easy for our Joe, he’s had a hard life, but by the end of HIDDEN BODIES you think that maybe things will turn out ok for him.

HIDDEN BODIES takes the reader to new places and we meet new characters. Some of whom are even worse than Joe. There are lots of ups and downs and twists and turns and where you end up is no where near where you thought you would. I fell for this story and just loved everything about it. I’m in awe of everything that Kepnes managed to do and know that I am going to want to rush out to grab her next book in hopes that its even half as good as this duology. Kepnes is a master of suspense and in defying expectations and this series is one that you must check out if you love a good mystery.

 

 

four-stars
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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published by Riverhead Books on 13 January 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // Ashbury, England // Whitny, England // Train between Ashbury & London (2012, 2013)

First Line(s): There is a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins isn’t my typical book these days as I do lean more towards the YA but I do love a good mystery. So when I heard that THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN was going to be a movie and all the love for the story I thought that I would give it a try. I was initially intrigued by the story and found it to be very readable and I thought that I was in for a really good book. Then the middle happened and the book just lost all of its steam. It started to drag and I found myself not wanting to pick it up. That coupled with how easy it was to predict turned a story that was filled with promise to one that was just meh by the end.

At first I felt sympathy for the various POV characters but that too fizzled out over the course of the book. They were all flawed and that added realism to them but there was nothing to redeem them. Rachel starts off as a character that you think you can be friends with. But then as the layers are pulled back she just becomes pathetic and so very hard to like. By the end of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN I really didn’t care what had happened to the missing girl and kind of wish that all the characters would be killed off.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN was a readable story but it wasn’t an enjoyable on for me. I figured it all out before the 50% mark so there were no great reveals and part of me wishes I’d just skipped to the end to verify before DNFing the story. I don’t get the hype for it and as such I am not sure if I’ll watch the movie. I like my mysteries to be engaging and filled with some sort of action but all I got from THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN was a static story that never really went anywhere.

 

Add Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn to Goodreads.

Add In the Woods by Tana French to Goodreads.

 

three-stars
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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016: My Reading Year in Review

Posted by Irish in Year End Summary0 Comments

Hello Internet!!

The time has come to say goodbye to another year and welcome in a new one. I had a really good reading year in 2016 and as always I am looking forward to see what this new year will bring. And with the end of one year comes one of my favorite things to do in the new one….putting together my year end review post. So here it is….my 2016 reading year in review. (Caution: Graphs ahead!)

Overall Reading:

Total Books = 150
Total Pages = 35,290
Total Audio Hours = 262.5
Average Days per Books = 2.39
Average Books per Day = 0.42
Average Pages per Day = 98.3

Longest book read in 2016 = Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (818 pgs)
Shortest Book / Novella = Frozen Heart by Heidi Cullinan (19 pgs)

My best reading month was January where I read 17 books for a total of 4180 pages and April where I listened to 38.5 audiobook hours. My worst month was September where I only read 7 books though my lowest page count read was August with 1,599 pages. The full breakdown for books/pages read by month for the year looks like this:

For 2016, I read an average of 12.5 books, 2941 pages, and listened to 22 hours of audio every month. Which is pretty darn good if you ask me. And now for the first graph of the day…my 2016 reading year, as charted to my previous years, well, those in which I started to keep an excel spreadsheet for stats. If you would like to skip the graph portion of my reading year and skip right to my Year End Survey then just keep scrolling though I do hope that you like the graphs as much as I do.

2016 was also a good year for audio books and with the exception of my summer hiatus. As I said above my best listening month was April with over 30 hours of audio listened to. My longest audiobook was Winter by Marissa Meyer (23.5 hours) and my shortest was Fairest which was also by Marissa Meyer (6.5 hours). In total I listened to 23 audiobooks and as always I’m hoping to increase that number in the coming year.

In terms of book ratings 41% of the books read had a rating of 4 stars or above which is an increase from last year (34%). In 2015, the bulk of my ratings fell in the 3 star range but in 2016 books with a 4 star rating just edged out the 3 stars taking 37% of the pie. So either I am getting better at choosing books that I know I’ll like or I just got lucky and stumbled upon some really good reads. I also marked five books as DNF and had six books with a 5 star rating. Here are my rating from 2016 done visually because graphs are fun!

This year I also decided to graph out all my ratings based on a post I had seen on twitter to get a feel for my reading “heartbeat” and I thought it was an interesting look of my reading year.

Every year I always get asked what my favorite book of the year and as any reader knows that is a daunting task! So I started to chose my top book from each month and then from those twelve books its a little bit easier to chose my favorite of the year. My Top 12 books for 2016 were:

JAN – Tied to Trouble by Megan Erickson
FEB – Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
MAR – The Remedy by Suzanne Young
APR – The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
MAY – Hamilton the Revolution by Lin Manuel-Miranda
JUN – Fast Connection by Megan Erikson and Santino Hassel
JUL – Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
AUG – The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson
SEP – The Goal by Elle Kennedy
OCT – Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
NOV – The Screaming Staircase by Jonathon Stroud
DEC – Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

All of these books are absolutely worth your time in reading them. These are the books that have really stayed with me of the course of the year. From those twelve books I can further narrow it down to the following:

These are the books that once I started them I couldn’t stop reading until I was done. They are the one books that I gave 5 stars to and they are all very special to me in some way. These books made me laugh and they made me cry. They turned me into a book bully for them and will all been read more than once as they are bound to be lifetime favorites. But there can only be one book that is the best of the best and so the book that will be known as my favorite read of 2016 is…..*insert drum roll here*

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley!!!

WORDS IN DEEP BLUE was a book that I have been waiting a long time for as Cath Crowley is one of my favorite authors. I even went as far as importing this one from Australia as I didn’t want to wait for the US release date (June 2017). It was one of the last books that I read in 2016 and just touched me on so many levels. While there were things about the book I could have done without overall it was everything I’d hoped for in a Cath Crowley story. My only real regret is that there are no more words to read and so now another long wait for the next Cath Crowley book begins.

Favorite Quote from Words in Deep Blue:

Mood Board for Words in Deep Blue:

This past year instead of doing any formal challenges I set a few personal reading goals for myself with some mixed results. Some categories I did amazingly well in and others, well, its as if I didn’t try at all. I started the year with similar goal values and then upped that number as I saw fit over the course of the year.  It should also be noted that some books were placed in several different categories.  Even though I “failed” at some of my goals I am pleased with my overall reading year. I like the idea of setting my own personal goals so I’m not sure that I’ll be joining any formal challenges in 2017.

I also kept track of the genres that I read. I’ve used my gut reaction to chose one genre for each book. Although I am aware that sometimes it is possible for a book to be classified in more than one. 2016 was a hard year so it doesn’t really surprise me that I sought out books that I knew would have a happy ending and as a result most of what I read were romances. Based on what I read the genres fall out like this:

I’ve also tracked what age range of books I read and graphed them out (shocker) and those results can be seen below. I also just realized, by looking at this graph, that for the first time in years my adult book reading beat out YA and by a decent amount too.

Another thing that I like to track is the gender of the author that I read. As with previous years my reading is dominated by female authors and I am not ashamed of that. I’d like to say that this will change in 2017 by the data trend doesn’t lie and I don’t see this graph flipping any time soon.

Another thing I track is, how I acquired the books that I read during a calendar year. This data just encompasses the books that I read over the course of the year and doesn’t include all the books that I have obtained. In 2016, most of the books I read were books that I borrowed from the library (43) or that I purchased (41).

 

I also track the format that I used to experience a book and because I am a total nerd I made a graph for it (at this point you probably aren’t surprised by this). Like last year (and the two years before that), ebooks and egalleys dominated my reading and counted for 92 of the books that I read. This always seems to surprise me as I’m a lover of physical books and buy a lot of them but it does makes sense as my kindle is so much easier for this mood reader to carry around.

Last year I added a few new categories to track: Diversity, Year Published, and POV. For diversity, I focused on the characters that were in the books. This could mean that a character was LGBT+ or a person of color. I also included non-Christian based religions if it was mentioned. I tracked if the diversity mentioned was in the main or supporting character and for any book where it was unknown, or not specifically mentioned, I recorded it as NA. In 2017, I might dive more into the type of diversity mentioned in the books I read, though it wouldn’t surprise me if LGBT+ characters dominated the list.

For the year published, most of the books I read were published in 2016 and this is something that I think I want to try and change in the coming year. While I do love reading new titles I do want to put some more focus on backlist titles that I may have missed.

Finally, I tracked the POV of the books I was reading. I was curious to see how this would breakdown. I’m not surprised the the bulk of my books had either female or an alternating POV as I did read a lot of romances in 2016. I’m sure that this will be a trend in 2017 as well.

Well, that’s it for the graph/stats portion of the post which I hope you enjoyed and if you are still reading then you must have. If there are any stats you think I should track in the coming year then please leave me a comment below. I’m always looking for new graphs to make after all!

2016 End of Year Survey

First Read of the Year – Treble Maker by Annabeth Albert

Last Read of the Year – Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Best Book of of the Year –  Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Worst Book of Year (not including DNFs) – You Make Me by Erin McCarthy

Most Disappointing Book of Year – The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Most Surprising Book of Year – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Best Series Discovered – Lockwood & Co by Jonathon Stroud

Series That Went Off the Rails – While there were a couple of series that I tried this year and did not care for the first book there were none that I felt went off the rails and I enjoyed most of the series books I read in 2016.

Favorite New Author You Discovered This Year – Lily Anderson (The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You) and Jennifer Niven (Holding Up the Universe)

Most Hilarious Read of Year – Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Anderson and Hyperbole & a Half by Allie Brosh

Book That Made You Cry the Hardest – There were books that made my heart ache in 2016 but none that I recall making me cry

Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book – Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Book You Most Anticipated in 2016 – Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2016 –

Most Beautifully Written Book of Year – Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Book That Had the Greatest Impact – Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Book You Can’t Believe You Waited until 2016 to Read – Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else: Deeper by Robin York

Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you? Off the top of my head, I can’t really think of any one book that was out of my comfort zone this past year.

Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? There are so many possibilities and I’ll read any of my favorite heart-achy reads from 2016. As of writing this though the books that I most want to reread are the ones in Annabeth Albert’s Portland Heat series.

Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2016 (be it romantic, friendship, etc) – Damien and Laurent in the Captive Prince Series by CS Pacat, Baz and Elijah in Lonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan, Mitch and Cody in Full Disclosure by Kindle Alexander, Trixie and Ben in The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson, Maddie and Seth in Lucky in Love by Kasie West, Billie and George in Because of Miss Bridgeron by Julia Quinn

Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously? The Remedy by Suzanne Young

Book you read in 2016 that you recommended to people most in 2017? Lucky in Love by Kasie West, In Real Life by Jessica Love, The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson, Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Genre You Read The Most From in 2016? Contemporary Romance

Best 2016 debut you read? In Real Life by Jessica Love and Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read this year? Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Book You Read in 2016 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out? The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson, In Real Life by Jessica Love, and Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

Series or author’s works you binged? Portland Heat series by Annabeth Albert

Book read furthest away from home – Gemina by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufmann (England), Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen (Poland), One Silver Summer by Rachel Hickman (Poland), Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas (Poland – read on plane home), The Deepest Blue by Christina Lee (Started on plane home from Poland)

Book that took the longest to read – Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (19 days)

Book that made you love the villain – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo because Kaz Breckker can be described as many things…but Hero is not one of them.

Book you read waaaay before it’s publication date – Lucky in Love by Kasie West (July 2017)

Book you read on your birthday – None! I finished a book on 18 September (The Goal by Elle Kennedy) and I started another on 21 September (Tempting Tristan by Melissa Foster) I didn’t actually read anything on my actual birthday (20 September).

Book you which you could go back and read for the first time again – Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Most books read by one author this year – Annabeth Albert (9 books read)

Number of new series started: 24

Number of series completed: 12

Number of 2016 Debut Novels Read: 16

LOOKING AHEAD

1. One Book You Didn’t Get to in 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017? This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)? Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett, In a Perfect World by Trish Doller, The Adjustment by Suzanne Young, Thick as Thieves by Meg Whalen Turner, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, Dream Magic by Joshua Khan, Want by Cindy Pon…and several more…2017 is going to be a good reading year!

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock and Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2017? None!! Because I really hate when a good series comes to an end. *sobs*

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2017? To get caught up on my review backlog.

End of Year Quiz

Saw this on a friends facebook page and she saw it on LibraryThing and liked it enough to try it for myself. The idea is to answer the questions using book titles read in 2016.

Describe yourself: Bookishly Ever After
How do you feel? Frazzled
Describe where you currently live: Crooked Kingdom
If you could go anywhere…? A Scot in the Dark
Favorite form of transportation: Fly with Me
Your best friend is: Steadfast
You and your friends are: Thicker Than Water
What’s the weather like? Winter
Your favorite time of day is: Sunset Park
What is life for you? Practice Makes Perfect
You fear: Frozen Heart
Best advice: Adulthood is a Myth
Thought for the day: You
How you would like to die: Black Knife

My 2016 Book Reviews

Other Posts of 2016

 

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Friday, November 4, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Heartless

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8th 2016
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Love & Romance, Magic, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
Setting: Wonderland
four-stars

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter

First Line(s): Three luscious lemon tarts glistened up at Catherine.

First things first…there are FOUR days until HEARTLESS!

Can you believe it?!? The wait is almost over!

excited-baby

We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland even if we’ve never read the book by Lewis Carroll we at least know the Disney version about a plucky girl who falls down a rabbit hole and goes on a most extraordinary adventure. There are songs and shenanigans and run ins with the evil Queen of Hearts. When you watch the movie or read the book the Queen is always cast as a villainous character and as a viewer its easy to sympathize with Alice and cheer her triumphs. But you don’t always think about why the Queen is so evil or that maybe Alice isn’t as nice as you originally think. We grow up conditioned to think about fairy tales in a certain way that it can be a bit shocking to see alternate versions of the stories we love. We see this in the stories of Gregory McGuire and on the show Once Upon a Time and now here, in HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer we get to see a new side to the Queen of Hearts. Not only does HEARTLESS make you think differently about a story you thought you knew but its also a bit of a unicorn in the world of fantasy books in that it is a standalone book.

lurking

HEARTLESS is a story that will suck you in from the start. This book is such a different sort of story from Meyer’s series, The Lunar Chronicles and yet you still get her signature writing style and her ability to spin a beautiful story. HEARTLESS is not a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, its a prequel. Its a story that came about because Meyer’s asked the question why is the queen so evil? Was she born this way or did something happen to make her this way. Catherine (aka the Queen) is a girl much like the readers of the book she has hopes and dreams and a love for baking that will make a reader’s mouth water throughout this book. She’s of a noble family but she dreams of opening a bakery with her friend and maid.

cupcake

But we all know that’s not how the story ended up and I loved Meyer’s take on the story. I love the characters that she created and how she incorporated some old friends. It was a wonderful mix of original and new and told in a way that I think would make Lewis Carroll proud. HEARTLESS is a book that will suck you in with its whimsy and you’ll fall in love with Cath. You’ll turn the pages hoping against hope that somehow the ending of this story will be different and that Cath will get her bakery and her happily ever after. You’ll hope that in the end you’ll learn that the Queen of Hearts is a different girl altogether. But not all stories have a happy ending and sometimes your heart has to break. And boy does Meyer’s play with your heart but everything that happens needs to happen and despite the lack of a HEA its still possible to love this book. In fact, its kind of hard not to like this story and I highly recommend it.

broken-heart

irishdarkblue

JOIN THE #HEARTLESSCOUNTDOWN!

Join Fierce Reads in celebrating all things Heartless by Marissa Meyer! Starting Monday, September 19, they’ll be counting down to on sale with daily challenges where you can show your love and excitement, AND where you’ll have the chance to win a special edition advance copy of Heartless and MORE every single day.

Enter for your chance to win each day from September 19 – November 8 on Twitter or Instagram using #HeartlessCountdown and #Sweepstakes.

Fierce Reads will be posting weekly challenge updates and adding more links and information for some challenges as we get closer. Click here to take a look at the schedule and join in the excitement!

four-stars
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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: She Made Me Read It!

Posted by Irish in Top Ten Tuesday3 Comments

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish this weeks topic is about those books you may not have read if someone didn’t bully…err….recommend it to you. Most of my recent read because of a recommendation are from Andi at AndiABCs….she’s like an annoying little fly sometimes that you can’t swat away. And what usually happens is we’ll meet up, grab some beers and then make a drunken book deal because there’s usually something I’ve been nagging her to read just as much. So here are ten books that were strongly recommended to me and that I am now recommending to you. (Links go to Goodreads except where indicated.)

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling (Recommended By: Robin)

My friend Robin had nagged me about reading Harry Potter for YEARS starting in 1997 and not letting up until I caved and read the first one around 2000 or 2001. I was a snotty newly adult and insisted that I couldn’t possibly like this series because it was a children’s book and I only read serious literature at that time.

eye-roll

But then one day I was at my local library looking for a new audio to listen to for my commute to work and saw they had HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE. I grabbed it fully expecting to rub it in her face about just how wrong she was about my liking this series. But in the end, the egg was on my face because I not only liked the book I fell in love and thus began my interest in YA books.

What Happens

2. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton (Recommend By: Andi // My Review)

How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still…), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect… or so she thinks.

Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.

 

far from you

3. Far From You by Tess Sharpe (Recommend By: Andi // My Review)

Nine months. Two weeks. Six days.

That’s how long recovering addict Sophie’s been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong – a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.

Forced into rehab for an addiction she’d already beaten, Sophie’s finally out and on the trail of the killer—but can she track them down before they come for her?

The Program

4. The Program by Suzanne Young (Recommend By: Andi // My Review)

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

scoring wilder quote

5. Scoring Wilder by RS Grey (Recommended by: Andi // My Review)

 What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”

Everything Everything Quote

6. Everything, Everything by Nicolaa Yoon (Recommended by: Andi // My Review)

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

7. Fly With Me by Chanel Cleeton (Recommended by: NY Sarah)

U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Noah Miller—call sign Burn—loves nothing more than flying hard and fast. When he meets a gorgeous and sassy woman while partying in Las Vegas, he immediately locks on to her.

Jordan Callahan owns a thriving clothing boutique, but her love life is far less successful. Her luck changes when six feet, two inches of sexy swagger asks her to dance and turns her world upside down.

One scorching weekend becomes an undeniable chemistry that they can’t leave in Vegas. But the long distance relationship and their different lives threaten to ground their romance. And when the dangers of Noah’s job become all too real, Jordan learns being with a fighter pilot means risking it all for a shot at love…

Something Real Quote

8. Something Real by Heather Demetrios (Recommended By: Andi, and others // My Review)

There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

Demon's Lexicon

9. The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (Recommended By: Jennifer and Dani // My Review)

Sixteen-year-old Nick and his brother, Alan, are always ready to run. Their father is dead, and their mother is crazy—she screams if Nick gets near her. She’s no help in protecting any of them from the deadly magicians who use demons to work their magic. The magicians want a charm that Nick’s mother stole—and they want it badly enough to kill. Alan is Nick’s partner in demon slaying and the only person he trusts in the world. So things get very scary and very complicated when Nick begins to suspect that everything Alan has told him about their father, their mother, their past, and what they are doing is a complete lie. . . .

Shuffle Repeat

10. Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein (Recommended By: Andi)

June wants high school to end and real life to begin. Oliver is soaking up senior year’s glory days. They could have coasted through high school, knowing about—but not really knowing—each other.

Except that their moms have arranged for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Single. Day.

Suddenly these two opposites are fighting about music, life . . . pretty much everything. But love is unpredictable. When promises—and hearts—get broken, Oliver and June must figure out what really matters. And then fight for it.

 

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Guest Post: Joshua Khan, Author of Shadow Magic on Inspiration

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Guest Post, Middle Grade0 Comments

Guest Post: Joshua Khan, Author of Shadow Magic on Inspiration

 

Title: Shadow Magic (Shadow Magic #1)

Author: Joshua Khan

Release Date: 6th October 2016

Genre: MG Fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic

Format: Paperback

Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.

I’m very pleased to welcome Joshua Khan, author of SHADOW MAGIC, to Ticket to Anywhere as part of the UK blog for this fun and imaginative middle grade novel. SHADOW MAGIC is filled with friendship, mystery, zombies, magic and giant bats. Its an adventure story and sure to engage the mind of anyone who reads it. SHADOW MAGIC is currently available in the US, UK and Australia and if you haven’t picked it up yet then what are you waiting for? As Rick Riordan has blurred “I defy you not to love this story.”

Guest Post

Most Inspiring Things/Places

 

My bank statement is probably what inspires me most of all. Second comes the crack in the walls in the house. Third is the holes in my shoes…

I jest, sort of. Writing’s my job. It’s my career. It’s what earns me money and I’m very proud of that. Very. Getting paid to do something you love is damn awesome.

I’m not looking for inspiration, and definitely not waiting for it to strike. If I’m not typing, I’m sitting with my notepad open. Sometimes it’s just scribbling, sometimes its notes in teh margin on previous pages, sometimes it’s maps or pages and pages of download, random ideas that, when shifted through, make yield up a nugget of sometime shiny.

My inspirations the world going by. I love taking buses. Up on the top floor you’ve a great view, of people and places and the sky and I love that. Looking down onto people’s heads and wondering about what they’[re wondering about, trying see into their heads. Cafes, travelling, seeing sights, all these things inspire me, if not immediately, sometimes later. They’re a compost of ideas. What will grow out of it, who knows?

I start and abandon projects all the time. If I hit 20,000 words on an idea, then I’ll finish it, that’s my test on its sturdiness. I no longer plot in detail, certainly not on the 1st draft. I have a sense of the journey, the destination, but not on the actual road. I know where I want to end up, but happy to work on the route as it comes.

I think there is an irony to writing. It’s a lonely profession, but one that needs the writer to engage with the outside world more than any other job. It’s our concerns, our dreams and our frustrations with the world at large that feed our work. SHADOW MAGIC is all about the education and opportunities for girls, despite the zombies and giant bats my concerns are how my daughters, now in secondary school, will get on in the outside world, what with gender pay gaps and glass ceilings and stereotypes on careers suitable for women (one daughter’s very interested in the RAF, for instance, the other’s taken up martial arts). So, my biggest inspiration is my children. Always has been, always will be.

Joshua Khan was born in Britain. From very early on he filled himself with the stories of heroes, kings and queens until there was hardly any room for anything else. He can tell you where King Arthur was born* but not what he himself had for breakfast. So, with a head stuffed with tales of legendary knights, wizards and great and terrible monsters it was inevitable Joshua would want to create some of his own. Hence SHADOW MAGIC. Josh lives in London with his family, but he’d rather live in a castle. It wouldn’t have to be very big, just as long as it had battlements.

*Tintagel, in case you were wondering.

Website: http://www.joshuakhan.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/writerjoshkhan

 

Tour Stops

Wednesday 5th October

Bart’s Bookshelf

Teens on Moon Lane

Thursday 6th October

Luna’s Little Library

Bazinga Booknerd

Friday 7th October

Bookish Outsider

Sister Spooky

Saturday 8th October

Northern Plunder

Chouett

Sunday 9th October

Tales of Yesterday

The Book Bandit

Monday 10th October

It Takes a Woman

Ticket to Anywhere

Tuesday 11th October

Big Book Little Book

Delightful Book Reviews

Wednesday 12th October

ArtsMum

The Reading Pile

Thursday 13th October

Kirstyes

Inspiring Imarah

Friday 14th October

YA Under my Skin

Bibliomaniac

Saturday 15th October

Fiction Fascination

Sweet Love Books

Sunday 16th October

Mugglenet

K Books

Monday 17th October

Snuggling on the Sofa

MG Strikes Back

Tuesday 18th October

YA Yeah Yeah

Nayu’s Reading Corner

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Review1 Comment

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi CullinanEnjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Dancing, Book 2
Also in this series: Dance with Me
Published by Self-Published on October 11, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Love & Romance, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 224
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Setting: St Paul, Minnesota (2012)
three-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay, Dance with Me

First Line(s):  One cool October day, after a dispiriting seven hours of teaching privileged kindergarten children, Spenser Harris returned to his apartment to discover a teenage boy – battered, bruised, and coiled into a ball – in front of his door.

ENJOY THE DANCE is the second book in Heidi Cullinan’s Dancing series and takes place about a year after the events in DANCE WITH ME (my review) ends. While this book features cameos from people that we’ve met before the two main characters are new ones to the reader, Spenser and Tomas. Both of whom I really liked and I also really liked their story and the journey that they took over the course of the book. I liked how they became friends first and then worked up to something more. I liked the slow burn aspect of this book but also liked that it wasn’t so slow that I lost interest. I also liked how Spenser and Tomas interacted with the people around them.

What I didn’t like about ENJOY THE DANCE was just how much was going on in this book. There was the issue with Duon, there was the political aspect, and then there was what was going on with Tomas’s family. Just one of those plot points would have been a lot but all three together and it all got a bit jumbled and distracting. The political portion of the story line, while an important part of modern history, isn’t something that I really want to encounter to the extent mentioned in this book. As a bit of filler here and there fine but it was just so much. Although, I do think that part of this dislike of mine comes from politic fatigue. We are in the midst of Presidential election season and I’m just really really really tired of politics. So this portion of the story may not have bothered me if I’d read it at a different time.

ENJOY THE DANCE is a quick read and I liked it I just didn’t love it as much as I would have liked. I think if there was more focus on the romance and less on the political situation than I would have liked it more. I enjoyed the cameos of the characters we knew and I won’t be surprised if Duon eventually gets his own story. The boy has been through a lot of the course of the two books in this series and ENJOY THE DANCE ends in 2015 so there is potential for it. Speaking of the ending, ENJOY THE DANCE had an epilogue that did not suck. You know me reader, I am not a fan of epilogue but I think that Cullinan did a good job with this one. Although I did think that the timing of things didn’t seem entirely plausible for a 3 year stretch from the start. A year, maybe, but three? It just seemed forced. But overall, I liked it and I liked how Tomas and Spenser’s story ends. Unlike make of Cullinan’s books I didn’t find this ending to be too sugary although it does end in a way that is so very Cullinan.

If you are a fan a Cullinan, then you will like ENJOY THE DANCE. There is a lot to like about this book and I think that new fans and old will enjoy it. ENJOY THE DANCE can be read as a standalone book but there is something added when you know the other characters involved. This was a quick read for me and I do look forward to reading more of what Cullinan comes up with.

enjoy-the-dance-quote

three-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
three-stars
Overall: three-stars
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