Book Blogger Challenge- Week 12

Hello and welcome to the 12th installment of the Book Blogger Challenge. I can hardly believe I’ve been doing this weekly for 3 months.Pretty awesome. I also cannot believe that I just passed my 7 month blogiversary. Holy moly. I never thought I could maintain this book blog for so long. Not only that, but my numbers are starting to increase.It took awhile for that to happen and I am thrilled that it is happening.

Anywho, this feature is hosted by Good Books and Good Wine and today’s query is…

How Do You Fight Blogger Fatigue?
Oh man, this is a tough one. I think that fighting blogging fatigue is directly linked to reading fatigue. I look at my massive TBR pile and I groan because I know that means that I’ll have to write reviews for all of them.I get exhausted just thinking about it. But really things have been slow on the blog lately and that’s due in part to me being behind in my reading and also having read & reviewed books that aren’t scheduled for release for months.

I don’t want to do a whole lot of discussion posts because then things get boring and stagnant. I also don’t do “filler” posts such as cover reveals, book tours etc all that much anymore.I guess I could just write and write about totally random stuff but then I feel like the blog gets away from why I created it. I created it to talk about books. Yes I do personal posts but I don’t want those to become my main posts.

So I just have to hope that the slump that I am in right now ends soonish.

So how do you fight blogger fatigue?

Cover Reveal: Out of the Ashes (The Ashes #1) by Diana Gardin

Title: Out of the Ashes (The Ashes Series #1)
Author: Diana Gardin
Publication date: December 12th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:
Out of the frying pan and into the fire…
Paige Hill is discovering who she is again after losing everything she loves in a tragic fire. She’s endured a long road to recovery with the help of her best fiend Gillian and is finally beginning her life again: college, a job, and a blossoming love she never even saw coming.
Clay Forbes is the notorious campus playboy. He’s a star athlete, a senior architecture major, and the only son in a family with power and money back in his hometown. When he crashes into Paige, his whole perspective on life shifts, and his world as he knew it becomes nonexistent. He’s wrapped up in her.
They’re both learning how to love, but Clay’s ex-girlfriend Hannah won’t make it easy for them. She puts a target on Paige’s back, and won’t stop until she’s derailed their budding romance once and for all. Who will be left standing after the ashes settle for the second time?

Book Info:
Author Bio:
I’m a wife of one and a mom of two. Writing is my second full time job to that, and I love it! I write Contemporary Romance in the Young Adult and New Adult categories. I’m also a former Elementary school teacher. I love steak, sugar cookies, and Coke and I hate working out. Look for more Contemporary Romance Titles from me soon, including Out of the Ashes (Ashes 1) and Wanted (Nelson Island 1).
Connect with the Author:
Website: http://www.dianagardin.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7319252.Diana_Gardin
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dianalynngardin

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things I Am Most Thankful For This Year

10
This feature is hosted by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.

1. 
My mom. She’s always in my corner no matter what.Even if I mess up, she’s right there for me. Supporting me. Loving me. I cannot ask for much more from her.

2. 
My health. I have serious health problems. I’ve never been shy about them.This year my health has been pretty good. Not amazing, but pretty good.I’m very thankful for that as I know so many people who don’t have their health.

3. 
My younger half sisters & half brother. Things are still awkward with them as I have chosen to have no contact with our dad. However since they have had kids in the past 3 years, I have really worked on establishing a relationship with them.It’s not their fault that our dad is a total a-hole. So I’m working on things with them.

4. 
My extended family on my mom’s side. It’s small and we do fight on occasion but we have never held a grudge. Even after having a screaming fight with my uncle on Superbowl Sunday about gay rights 2 years ago. We’ve just agreed to disagree with each other when it comes to politics.

5. 
Bloggers. I just started this crazy ride in April and I cannot believe the awesome people that I have met through blogging. I am so thankful for that. I could fill up a full post just talking about those people who I have connected with so I’ll just keep it short. Ashley, Jamie, Meredith, Marie & Molli. All of you have brought something special to my life and I thank you so much for that.

6. 
My cats. It’s no secret that my cats are my family. I would have a very boring life if they were not in it. They have their own personalities and they have made my life even more wonderful.

7. 
I’m thankful that I have everything I need. Clothes on my back, a roof over my head and food in my stomach. As long as I have that, everything else is just gravy. So many people in my city live under bridges, have no idea where their next meal is coming from or even if it’s coming.

8. 
I’m thankful for books. I’ve loved books since I was a 3 year old and I cannot imagine never being able to read another book. The idea is too awful to even consider.

9. 
I’m thankful for authors who treat their readers well. I’ve heard of authors that have treated readers/bloggers horribly and that makes me so sad. I am so grateful that I have yet to encounter anything like that.All the authors that I have interacted with have been wonderful people.I love that authors are interacting more with their readers. Thank you to social media for that!

10. 
J.K.Rowling. For reasons that should be obvious to everyone. She is a goddess and she brought these books that will be classics forever. She taught so many kids about love, sacrifice and how doing the right thing is more important than having a boyfriend/girlfriend.

These are my top ten. It’s a mix of book related things and the usual answers that come around at this time of the year.

So what are you most thankful for this year?

Book Blogger Challenge-Week 11

Hi everyone! Once again, it’s time for the weekly installment of The Book Blogger Challenge. This feature is hosted by Good Books & Good Wine, Stop by and link up your posts if you are participating in this feature.

Show off 5 of your best blog posts!

1. Review- OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
– I absolutely LOVED this book. The characters were great and I poured a little bit of myself into this review.

2. Review- If You Leave by Courtney Cole
-This book meant more to me than I ever thought was possible. It brought me a lot of healing and I explored those in this review.

3. Review- Always Watching by Chevy Stevens
-This book was the first unsolicited finished copy that I had received. It still remains my favorite psychological thriller of the year.

4. Friday Musing #5
-This is definitely considered an older post. It was back when I still wanted to come up with a witty name for my discussion posts. Yeah, that didn’t last long. But this post detailed bookish turn-offs. I’ve eased up on some but not all of them.

5. Review: The Program by Suzanne Young
-This book gutted me and then gutted me again. I pretty much cried through the whole thing. I live for those books with the feels though.I named this my favorite YA book of 2013.If you haven’t read it, you need to make a point of doing it soon.

So what are some of your best blog posts?

Blog Tour: Review of Second Chance Summer (Book 1 of Chance series) by Emma Hart

2

Synopsis:
From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Love Game and Playing for Keeps is a story of hope and the beauty of getting a second chance at the kind of love that comes once in a lifetime…
“You don’t get a love like ours and get to leave it behind.”
Kia James was never meant to return to her hometown of Harlan Grove, Alabama…But she has.
And Reese Pembleton was definitely not supposed to still be in love with her the way she is him… But he is.
Last summer was the summer to end all summers. It was the summer they both fell in too deep to get out, and try as she might, Kia can’t deny that whatever was there between them a year ago is still there. If she’s honest with herself, there’s so much more there than there ever was, but the way her dad walked out six years ago has shattered her belief of that fairytale love every girl craves.
Reese isn’t giving up so easily. His biggest mistake was not chasing after Kia the way he wanted to when she upped and left him without a word. Despite what she says, he knows her better than anyone, and he knows she still wants him the way he wants her. And this time, nothing will stop him from getting – and keeping – his girl.
But nothing is that easy. When Kia’s dad arrives back in town, family secrets come tumbling out she never realized existed. Everything her mom has ever told her about the reason he left is a lie – but how can she trust the man who, by his own admission, didn’t fight for her as hard as he could have?
With her past and present wants and needs colliding, Kia is thrown into the turmoil of the biggest decisions of her life. And she realizes, sometimes a second chance is all you need. 
Review:
It’s hard to articulate exactly what this book meant to me. I related to Kia in a lot of ways,but there were ways that I didn’t and couldn’t relate to her as well. I couldn’t relate to her relationship with her mother as I have a very close and loving relationship with my mother. But I related to her when it came to her father and to Reese.
When I was a baby, my father cheated on my mom multiple times and was abusive to her. Thankfully my mom had the strength to get out of the relationship, but I still wondered about my biological dad. Where was he? Why didn’t he try harder to be the father I deserved? And why oh why was he being a better father to my half siblings than he was to me? 
I understood Kia’s reluctance to forgive her father when she learned the truth.Why forgive someone who could have tried harder to stay in contact with his only child? My father may have had a darker path than Kia’s father, but the questions still remain the same. The reluctance to forgive is still the same and the curiosity is still the same.
Kia and I took different paths to figure out what we wanted, but I’d like to think that we still felt a similar sense of peace about the decisions that were made about this man that we barely, and in my case, don’t know.
Now Reese reminded me a lot of my on again off again boyfriend.He was sweet, kind, loyal and best of all, he loved Kia. It was obvious to me that he was fully intent on getting Kia and keeping her.Not in a possessive way, thank goodness.He was there for her when she needed him and when she didn’t need him, he allowed her to retain her independence, which I loved.  
Finally, a female character who knows that she doesn’t need a guy to stand on her own two feet. I was SUPER excited about that. Kia is a strong, independent woman who knows that she can stand on her own and she doesn’t need Reese constantly.Too many NA books have characters who are in a codependent relationship and that usually ruins a book for me.
“I’m an independent woman and as much as I need Reese, I don’t need him to make me okay.He takes away the pain I feel ,but to be okay I need to face up to that pain which means I need to be alone right now more than I need him.-Kia-

This book was amazing. It helped me heal in a lot of ways. It helped me make decisions about my own life. Decisions that I had been wavering on for a very long time. Kia was a wonderful character who I related to big time. I was rooting for her and Reese all the way through because the way they loved each other just jumped off of my Kindle in a magical way. It should come as no surprise that I am giving this book five stars.
Purchase Links:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1bovmYy
About The Author:
By day, New York Times and USA Todaybestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies – usually wine – and writes books.
Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.
She likes to be busy – unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.
Connect with the Author:
Twitter: @EmmaHartAuthor
Giveaways

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stacking the Shelves #19

24

This feature is hosted by Tynga @ Tynga’s Reviews. Don’t forget to drop by there and link up your stacking the shelves posts and vlogs,
Hi everyone! Welcome to another stacking the shelves post. This week was a very exciting week for me. I got two e-ARC’s that I had been hoping for (Thank you bunches Edelweiss) There was one book that I didn’t even know was on NetGalley, but then a fellow blogger tweeted that she had gotten it so I went to request it from NetGalley and I too, received it. It was a rather slow book week for me, but maybe that’s a good thing. I am already behind on reading and I need to catch up.
You may remember me posting about my reading slump recently, well I am excited to report that my reading slump is over. Hopefully it’s over for awhile.

It was a busy week on the blog. I participated in a cover reveal for Pepper Winters’ latest book Last Shadow. On Tuesday I posted my thoughts on Pawn by Aimee Carter. Wednesday I posted my thoughts on Allegiant and gave Veronica Roth serious credit for the risks she took. Friday I posted my answer to the question How Do You Decide What Book to Read Next? Yesterday, I posted my e-ARC review of In Between by Jane Hoppen.

Now on to the books!

Bought
Received for Review

-Edelweiss-
Elusion by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam
Me Since You by Laura Wiess

-NetGalley-

Before We Fall (Beautifully Broken #3) by Courtney Cole

Won

Gifted

Now, be sure to let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought of them. Also, leave me the links to your Stacking the Shelves posts & vlogs.
Happy Reading! 

Review: In Between by Jane Hoppen

Book Title: In Between
Author: Jane Hoppen
Publish Date: December 16th, 2013
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Genre: Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Never have there been only two genders—male and female. A third gender, denied by society and hidden by the medical community, has always existed, and that is what Sophie Schmidt discovers when, at the age of fourteen, she learns the truth of how she was born. Sophie then embarks on a journey to learn more about her true self and to find others born like her. When Sophie moves to New York City, she enters the world of gays and lesbians, as well as those who are transgender and transsexual. Searching for her own place in society, her journey leads her to Alice Parker, and Sophie takes the final steps to accept herself enough to allow another to love her.
Disclaimer: I received this e-galley from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
The beginning of this book was very predictable as I had done a lot of research on this condition for my own interest. So I already knew about the condition that Sophie Schmidt was born with.The author really makes us feel sympathy for Max and Mary, Sophie’s parents, as they grapple with the information that they receive upon Sophie’s birth. You can tell that they love their child and are so scared of making the “wrong” decision. Well Mary more than Max.
Their decision not to say anything to anyone seemed cruel. Not only are they punishing Sophie by not being honest with her, they are also punishing their friends and family and most notably Sophie’s older sister Holly. When Sophie discovers the truth at age 14, she is overcome with anger, horror and disgust. Most of it directed at her parents but she saves some of that disgust for herself as she begins to take a closer look at her own body.
She’s furious that her parents kept the secret from her for so long. She feels ashamed of herself. She feels ugly and repulsive. Not totally unexpected given her age as most girls feel that way at some point during their teen years. But for her it’s different. SO different.I was so, so happy that Holly didn’t abandon her sister after learning the truth. I was so afraid that Holly would call her sister terrible names and when that didn’t happen, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Sophie had a lot of family support in the book which was really nice to see.Except her grandmother was not the most supportive woman in the world and in fact did not know of Sophie’s condition until after Sophie had been told.Mary had been very protective of Sophie and she had been afraid that her devout Catholic mother would have something terrible to say or criticize Sophie on.
Watching Sophie blossom into a young lady, moving far away from home, was exciting. I did understand her reluctance to get into a relationship though. She didn’t want to get close to someone only to have them repulsed by her condition which was something she couldn’t help.
I had never read a book dealing with this, oftentimes still taboo subject. All I had read about this condition involved research papers and case studies. Interesting yes, but they didn’t talk about the emotional side of things like this book did.
I loved the characters and the setting. Not too many books are in a farm setting which I think is such a SHAME. The characters were interesting definitely not flat… well with the small exception of Max. I don’t feel like I got to know him nearly as well as I got to know the others,but from what I did see of him, I liked him.
I am really, really glad that I took a chance on this book. I didn’t love the ending and I wished that it had been longer or that there had been an epilogue or something to tie up some loose ends. Also, I didn’t really get emotional during this book. I was really bummed and I had hoped that this book would bring me serious feels and it did not. So that’s why the book will be getting 4 stars.

Book Blogger Challenge- Week 10

This feature comes from Good Books and Good Wine. If you are participating in this challenge don’t forget to go and link up your posts.

How Do You Choose What Book To Read Next?
Well for me it is all about the deadlines. If I am doing a book review for a blog tour, then that book gets first priority. Books that are coming out in the next few weeks also get priority. Once I am done with the blog tour stuff then I move on, usually to those books that are going to be released in the next few weeks.Aside from that, I don’t really have any specific criteria. If it’s a book that I have been really looking forward to, then I’ll definitely read it, even if it’s release date is not for months.

I’ve been bad recently. I’ve read several 2014 releases instead of two book tour books whose tours are in the next month. Ooopsies!

I do try not to read too many books of the same genre back to back. I would hate to get bored of the genre. Yet, as you can see this week I had the reviews of two YA dystopians back to back. Yeah not the best planning in the universe. But I digress.

So how do you choose what book to read next?

Review: Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth (Contains Spoilers)

2
Book Title: Allegiant (Divergent #3)
Author: Veronica Roth
Publish Date: October 22nd, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA/Dystopian
Series: Book 3 in Divergent Trilogy
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Link: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads: 
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Disclaimer #1 This was a personal purchase.
Disclaimer #2 This review includes spoilers


Review:

Okay so it turns out that the “spoiler” that I had heard about was false. THANK GOODNESS. I don’t know how angry I would have been if it turned out to be true. The spoiler I was fed was that the whole thing was a dream. That would have been a major cop-out on Roth’s part and many, MANY people would have likely been angry with her.

Allegiant was not my favorite book of the series (actually Insurgent was) However there was some good things in this book.The dual POV was awesome,very few authors can do it and get it right. Roth for the most part was able to do it. I loved how we got to learn more about Four.

Having the dual POV definitely helped in that case. Yes some of the revelations seemed to be coming at an awfully convenient time but truthfully we hadn’t learned a whole lot about Four’s past (aside from his father being abusive and Four ditching Abegnation for Dauntless on the day of his Choosing Ceremony etc) We got to see a more vulnerable Four this time around which I loved. In the past we hadn’t seen much of his vulnerability but in Allegiant we did.

Most of Tris’s POV, I loved.There were a few parts in there that drove me crazy in a negative way, but I loved that she talked a lot with Caleb. Family had always been a big thing to her and it continued to be all the way through Allegiant.

The science-y stuff was really far-fetched to me and it made me cringe. A lot. I totally called the connection between David and Tris’s mom. It was totally 100% clear to me from the beginning. I liked Christina and Uriah together and I had hoped that more would be explored with that friendship. I think Roth could have delved a bit more into that.

I commend Roth for doing what she did. I know she’s got a lot of angry people but it was gutsy as heck to kill off Tris. A week ago I would have put money on it being Four who dies. I was actually pleased that she took such a different route than most authors of dystopians take. Normally they save the leading male and female characters. Not Roth. She went for the jugular and killed off a girl who was stubborn and who did what was right and knew what was wrong. Tris was loyal to her friends and Four.

Yes some secondary characters were killed. One in particular gutted me like a fish. It didn’t hurt quite as bad as Tris’s death did, but it was close. Really close.I still don’t hold this series up to the likes of the Harry Potter series (nothing will ever come that close for me) However, there were deaths in this book that hurt, that caused me to get those feels in an otherwise pretty bland book.

Despite all of this, I have to give it 3 stars. It was okay, though some parts were better than others. Do I think Roth could have done better? Absolutely. But she took risks with this final book and some of those risks paid off and some of them did not.

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by Aimee Carter

2
Book Title: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Publish Date: November 26th, 2013
Genre: YA/Dystopian
Series: Book 1 in the series
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: Amazon


Synopsis from Goodreads:
For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. 

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. 

There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand.

Previously titled Masked.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
I have been reading a lot of dystopians lately so I wasn’t sure if this one would hold up to some of the other ones that I have really enjoyed. Thankfully, after a slow start Pawn gathered steam quickly and drew me into a world where everyone has their own agenda and everyone has secrets and no one is sure who they can trust.

For Kitty, her number one goal is to protect Benjamin “Benjy” They are in love but when Kitty gets a III on the day of her testing, she knows she needs to do something drastic.With that III she is going to be taken away from everything she loves. So when she’s offered a chance to become a VII, she doesn’t think on it too long. She accepts the offer,but when she wakes up. she’s no longer Kitty Doe. She’s Lila Hart.

It was hard to figure out who to trust. Augusta is the clear leader in the family. Daxton is quickly proved to be untrustworthy. Celia and Knox are the wild cards. Kitty is not sure where they stand. She forms a friendship with Greyson and when the truth unfolds itself, one of the wild cards will throw everything Kitty thought she had learned about the Harts into question.

The editing job was well done. There were a few tiny issues with it but nothing major. The world building was actually really good. It felt like I was in their world which is a great feeling.The characters were pretty decent throughout, you never knew what some of them would do, which added an element to the story.Yet I didn’t get any major feels from the book and that’s the majority of the reason that I am giving this story 4 stars. It was an enjoyable read and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.