Monday, July 23, 2018

Monday Muse (1)

Hey fam! Happy Monday! Or something - are Mondays ever really happy? Let's change that! By now you must have noticed that my reading has slowed down a looooooot. I'm going to be honest: I love reading, always will, but nothing current in the publishing world seems to be really grabbing my attention. Maybe current trends don't suit my tastes; I keep wanting to reread old favorites or read unread backlist novels that I've had for forever. Maybe it's a part of getting older - I started this blog in 2012 when I was 17 - but it's just not the same.

In any case, I've been branching out my hobbies and interests. In January I joined a gym, and I really love the power of running, lifting, stretching, and sweating - I feel so much stronger than I have in my entire life.

I also picked up knitting again, in January, but I've fallen off the wagon with that one. I bought a pound of red yarn recently, and I want to participate in the Little Hats, Big Hearts program in the coming February.

I'm teaching myself Icelandic! I checked out a Beginner's Icelandic book by Helga Hilmisdóttir and Jacek Kozlowski from my local public library, and I'm going to use the Icelandic Online course that the University of Iceland has available. Wish me luck!

I've finally started to get into coloring, which is something I've been meaning to do. You'd think I was a coloring addict, given the sheer number of adult coloring books that I own. But NOPE. I've barely colored in any of the books. That is going to change.

So for my first Monday Muse post, I'm going to share a little of my recent coloring! For every Monday Muse post that I do, I will share an update on a hobby of mine, whether it be coloring, or Icelandic, or knitting, or whatever. My goal this year is to try more new things, even if it means I'll be shifting away from reading like an addict.*

*Note: I still love reading. I always will.

So, the coloring!

I got this gorgeous Joanna Basford planner from my #TBTBSanta (thank you!).

I love this planner, not only because it is so pretty and detailed, but also because of the amount of space I have to write details for each day of the week. Here is one week in November:

Isn't that tree amazing? I love it. It's almost too hard to write up and color the book, because the illustrations are so beautiful.

I use three planners; one as a gym log, one for work, and this Joanna Basford one, for personal use. I admit I use this one least of the three, mostly because I pretty much go to work, go to the gym, come home and sleep. I'm trying to be better about it through! 

Here is a peek at this week's coloring:

I'll be taking this on the metro with me this week. Let's see how far I get! These designs are so complicated.

That's my muse for the week! This weekend I reread Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier (love love love), and I'll be rereading book two, Dream On. In addition to the Icelandic book, I checked out Just Dreaming (book three) from the library, so I'm hoping to read that by Thursday. It's been a while since I had a proper review on a Friday. But those are my goals for the week!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Review: One Night of Trouble by Elle Kennedy

One Night of Trouble by Elle Kennedy
Book Three of the After Hours series
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Publication Date: January 5, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased Kindle copy

Summary (from Goodreads):

No More Mr. Nice Guy…

The moment AJ Walsh sees the sexy, tattooed pixie walk up to his bar, it's lust at first sight. He's always been labeled the "nice" guy―opening doors, buying flowers, and never, ever having one-night stands. But with this wicked little angel with red lips and unfathomably dark eyes? Oh, yeah. Tonight, "nice" has nothing to do with it...

Brett Conlon is trying to convince her family that she's put away her reckless wild girl side for good. Nothing―and no one―could be better for her reputation than golden boy AJ Walsh. So they make a deal: if he plays The Good Boyfriend for her family, he can be a very, very bad boy with her. Now their one naughty night is about to turn into a whole lot of trouble...

What I Liked:

I bought this book for $0.99 a really long time ago and never read it! A shame, because I loved the first book in this series. Gage and Skylar are super cute today, very opposites-attract. This is the third and final book in the series, featuring Gage's friend and business partner AJ Walsh. I haven't read book two but I probably will at some point. In any case, this book was awesome!

AJ Walsh has been single for a little while, and he doesn't really mind. Not until a tiny girl with a smattering of tattoos walks into his nightclub. Their connection is instant, and AJ knows he can't walk away from her. It's the same for Brett Conlon - she is intoxicated by AJ from the moment she sees him in the nightclub. They come up with a mutually beneficial agreement: AJ and Brett will keep seeing each for the next month, and pretend to be boyfriend/girlfriend. Brett needs her family to think she is taking her life seriously and not sleeping around, because she wants to run her family's newest tattoo shop. But a short-term fake relationship turns into so much...

This book has a lot of tropes that I like: opposites attract, different upbringings, dominant alpha male, strong female, minimal drama. There are a few appearances of exes, but again, minimal drama. Elle Kennedy seems to have writing drama-free romances down to a science. I open her books and I know that I'm going to fall in love with the couple, and not get irritated with over-the-top drama.

On the outside, AJ seems to be a preppy, selfless, charming, golden boy. He tries to please everyone, especially his parents, and he puts on a good mask. But inside, he's a dominating, rough-and-tumble guy who likes control. He isn't as "nice" as he likes people to think he is. I like AJ; he genuinely is a good guy and has a good heart. He puts on a mask for selfless reasons. He's a good guy but he's also very yummy. There's a lot of passion simmering underneath that charming mask.

Brett is trying to be good; she has had some mistakes in her past, and she wants her father and brothers to see past these things. She wants to show them that she has matured, and she is taking the tattoo parlor business seriously. Getting caught with AJ by her brother wasn't part of the plan, so she lied and said that AJ is her boyfriend. I liked Brett's intentions - she loves working as a tattoo artist, and she has a good head for business.

AJ and Brett have instant chemistry. They're both strong individuals, but AJ is clearly the more alpha of the two, and Brett loves to please him. Their dynamic works for them. AJ is more of his alpha self around her (not in a bad way) and less of The Perfect Son that he wants his parents to think he is. AJ is good for Brett; she takes her work seriously, but she makes room in her heart for him. They develop a strong relationship, and yes, they are very steamy together. There are plenty of hot scenes in this book. It's amazing how the author keeps coming up with different, sizzling sexy times in all of her books (and she has a lot of books!). 

The ending is fairly drama-free and it's really sweet! There isn't a huge grand gesture, which I appreciated - but there is some groveling (which was necessary). AJ and Brett are a cute couple and I was happy to see them overcome their inner demons and get together (especially on AJ's side). I wish we could see an extended epilogue with them!

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing in particular to mention! Except maybe that extended epilogue. It was nice to see Gage/Skylar and Reed/Darcy though!

Would I Recommend It:

If you like ~very~ steamy adult contemporary romance, Elle Kennedy's books are for you! I've only read several of her Brazen novels, but I've really enjoyed them. One Night of Sin (book one) is my absolute favorite. I love these books for how hot they are, how well-developed the relationships are, and how drama-free the stories are (or with minimal drama).


4 stars. This is book three and I still need to read book two, but I wish there were more books in the series! I love the Entangled Brazen line and I hope Elle Kennedy writes new books with this imprint in the future.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#291)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, July 15th to Saturday, June 21st?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

Hocus Pocus package! Including the book, a t-shirt, cookies, mug, and buttons

Thank you, Disney! Look for this book in stores now!

Thank you, Page Street Publishing!

A Reaper at the Gates preorder goodies

I love this so much! The bag is perfectly book-sized. Thank you, Penguin!

From NetGalley:

Thank you, Disney! This is going to be a great sequel, I'm sure. =)

From Edelweiss:

Beautiful Sinner (Devil's Rock #5)

AHHHHHHH! I can't wait to start reading this one! Perhaps I shall, this weekend. So excited!

Reviews from this week:

Staking His Claim (Line of Duty, #5)  
(Click on the cover to go to my review!)

Favorite Instagram post from this week:

The past few weeks have been pretty dry in terms of book haul, but this week was poppin! I love the mailed goodies especially. Thank you, pubs!

Friday, July 20, 2018

My Favorite YA Anthologies

Happy Friday, bibliovores! Today is another day in which I didn't feel like writing/posting a review, but did feel like posting something... so I'm doing another favorites post! You can check out my other favorites posts in a previous posts (for example). 

Here are some of my favorite YA anthologies! I actually never liked anthologies when I was younger, but as an older Young Adult, I love them!

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys  Defy the Dark  Shards and Ashes

Here are some that I wanted to read! Yes, even the love triangle one.

Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love  'Til the World Ends (Blood of Eden, #0.5)  Three Sides of a Heart: Stories about Love Triangles
Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions  Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction  Fierce Reads: Kisses and Curses

My absolute favorite is A Thousand Beginnings and Endings. Everyone, read that one. Tell me some of your favorite YA anthologies! Do you highly recommend any of the last six I posted?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#286): Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers!

As he looks into my eyes, his smile fades and his eyes grow dark with emotion. Slowly, he leans toward me.

His lips are soft and warm as they touch mine. His mouth moves urgently, as if he is trying to experience every nuance and curve of my lips. The utter rightness of this fills me, for it feels I have waited all my life for just this moment.

His mouth opens slightly, and he shifts the angle of his kiss, nudging my mouth to do the same, and I am lost in a whole new world of sensation. His mouth is soft compared to the strong, callused hands that grip my waist. 

- Kindle copy, 79%

I love this series! What better time to reread it, with the fourth book publishing in February. I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#290): The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

The Antidote by Shelley Sackier
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 5, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

Magic is not allowed, under any circumstances — even if it could save someone’s life. Instead, there are herbal remedies and traditional techniques that have been painstakingly recorded in lieu of using the mystical arts. Fee knows this, so she keeps her magic a secret.

Except her best friend, Xavi, is deathly ill. He’s also the crown prince. Saving him is important, not only for her, but for the entire kingdom.

Fee’s desperation to save her friend means she can barely contain the magic inside her. And after the tiniest of slips, Fee is thrust into a dark and secretive world that is as alluring as it is dangerous.

If she gives in, it could mean she can save Xavi. But it also means that those who wish to snuff out magic might just snuff her out in the process.

Doesn't this sound fantastic? And look at that gorgeous cover! The designer (Jessie Gang) and the artist (Lisa Perrin) are amazing!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (18)

Happy Tuesday! Today I've decided to participate in Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today's topic is: 

Favorite Novellas/Short Stories

Here are my Young Adult favorites:

And here are my Adult romance favorites:

I love this topic! These are all novellas and I loved thinking back on the novellas that I've enjoyed. There are far more novellas in the Adult romance world than in YA. I can't complain, either way!