Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Recap 2015

Sooo..once upon a time I started trying to do monthly recaps. Let's see if I can do it again:

Not sure what I was up to this month, but it flew by! I did a lot of blogging. This post will be number 21 for me, which is a lot. 

I started to pick up my business again after the holidays. Last Saturday I attended Mega Regional which was super motivating! I really want to try and earn my way to convention in June! Let me know if you will help out??

I also took Baby Girl to Sesame Street Live! That was a hoot. Kids everywhere dancing, singing, crying, and downright partying. I'll be going again next year for sure. 

Otherwise, I hung out with friends, family, and food. Lots and lots of food. And I have more food ahead of me with SUPERBOWL tomorrow!!

In January I read 12 books. Five counted towards my Flights of Fantasy challenge. Two met my Library 2015 Challenge. And per usual, I'm behind on reviews :) My one review is linked!

5 stars:
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen (audio)
Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp

4 Stars:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (audio)
Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
Romancing Your Better Half by Rick Johnson
Defenseless by Elisa Dane
Atlantis Rising by Gloria Craw

3 Stars:
Paper or Plastic by Vivi Barnes

2 Stars:
Both of Me by Jonathan Friesen

Emissary: 3 stars
Atlantis Rising: 3.5 stars
Starry Night: 1 star

Quick Reviews:

Blitzes, Tours, Reveals:
Forever Now Book Blitz

2014 Wrap Up & Looking Ahead to 2015
2014 Let Downs
2014 Honorable Mentions
Favorite Books from the Second Half of 2014
Fave Covers of 2014
Donuts to 2015
2015 Releases to Watch Out For

Challenges & New Books
Flights of Fantasy Challenge
Flights of Fantasy Update-January 
Write On Review-a-thon
New on the Shelves (5)

Not much really. After wrapping up Gilmore Girls, I floundered a bit. I rewatched BBC's Emma which is always a fantastic idea. 

Hubby and I have been watching Alaska State Troopers during naptime and Stargate SG-1 at night sometimes. We are currently in season 5.  

6 Writing Tips from YA Authors along with 15 Ways to Find Writing Inspiration has been giving me a jumpstart on my creative juices

Getting ready for The Month of Love with these pins: The 10 Day Happy Habits for Couples Challenge, 30 Day Marriage Challenge, and also this older January LOVE Calendar

Trying to find ways to keep Baby Girl occupied during the winter. This can be done inside and this lets me eat a snack :) 

Welcome to 2015 :) Maybe the pace will slow down in February??

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Beyond All Dreams Review + Kindle Giveaway!

Beyond All Dreams
Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
Visit the author's website HERE
Publisher: Bethany House
Publishing Date: January 6, 2015
Sweeping and Romantic Historical Drama from an Award-Winning Author 
Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. She is thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, but her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help. 
Luke Callahan was one of the nation's most powerful congressmen until his promising career became shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. 
Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglement with a member of Congress. 
From the gilded halls of the Capitol, where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for themselves?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fave Covers of 2014

As much as we hate to admit it, a cover does matter. There are some great covers out there, and there are some truly terrible ones. Here are the ones I loved from 2014...
Note: These are from books I read in 2014 and not just published in 2014, although all but two were. Also, just because it is one of my favorite covers, doesn't mean I liked the story! Proceed with caution....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Starry Night Review

Starry Night
Starry Night by Isabel Gillies
Visit the author's website HERE
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publishing Date: September 2, 2014
Sometimes one night can change everything. On this particular night, Wren and her three best friends are attending a black-tie party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the opening of a major exhibit curated by her father. An enormous wind blasts through the city, making everyone feel that something unexpected and perhaps wonderful will happen. And for Wren, that something wonderful is Nolan. With his root-beer-brown Michelangelo eyes, Nolan changes the way Wren’s heart beats. In Isabel Gillies's Starry Night, suddenly everything is different. Nothing makes sense except for this boy. What happens to your life when everything changes, even your heart? How much do you give up? How much do you keep?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Flights of Fantasy Update-January

Hello dear friends. I am sharing my January updates on my Flights of Fantasy challenge. (See? I CAN do this!). I read FIVE of my 20 books for the year! WOO-HOO!! And the five were....

Saturday, January 24, 2015

New on the Shelves (5)

Okay, time for me to get back to my irregular feature. With all the fantastic books I have picked up recently, I am just DYING to share them! I'm going to resist *too much* backtracking and just share my most recent finds. Even still for the sake of not having the worlds longest blog post, I will only link to the Goodreads pages instead of sharing the summaries here. Take a deep breath..and dive in!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Write On review-a-thon

This is me getting in under the wire for the...

Write On review-a-thon

The Write On review-a-thon is a monthly event created and hosted by Brianna at The Book Vixen. This time, for the FIRST TIME ever, it’s 3 days dedicated to getting reviews done, whether you have one review to write or 30+. This edition of the review-a-thon takes place all day Friday, January 23rd through Sunday, January 25th. Let’s get those reviews done!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Exciting Releases in 2015

I don't usually rave about the year's newest releases. I don't usually sit around twiddling my thumbs waiting for the latest, biggest title to drop. But this year? There are definitely a few I have my eye on. Here they are in order of release:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ruta Sepetys Book Review

Between Shades of Gray  

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Visit the Author's website HERE
Publisher: Speak
Publishing Date: April 3, 2012

It's 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin's extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It's a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

Out of the Easy
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publishing Date: February 12, 2013

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Forever Now Book Blitz

Forever Now (Forever #1)by Elise Sax Release Date: 11/29/14
Summary from Goodreads:

When Tess's mother abandons her during her senior year at high school, she must find a way to keep the secret and survive until graduation. She's surprised when Cruz, her crush and an aspiring model, moves in to help. Tess has dreams of studying in Paris, France and becoming a writer...impossible dreams without money or family. But as Tess and Cruz's relationship grows closer, Cruz will do anything to make sure Tess's dreams come true. But at what price?

Forever Now is the first book in the Forever YA / NA trilogy about finding love, living dreams, and overcoming great odds.

Forever begins now. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

2014 Letdowns

Okay, let's be real: you may possible hate me after reading this post. But hear me out! Not all the books on this list did I hate or throw across a room, sometimes they just didn't live up to my expectations. In no particular order, I present my 2014 Letdowns ....

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Flights of Fantasy

I'm joining up with Alexa Loves Books and Hello, Chelly for their 2015 Reading Challenge 'Flights of Fantasy'. I already love to read fantasy and sci fi. Last year I only put SEVEN books on my Goodreads fantasy shelf!! YIKES! But 2014 was the year of non-fic for me.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Emissary Review

Emissary (Legends of the Realm, #1)
Emissary by Thomas Locke
Visit the Author's website HERE
Publisher: Revell
Publishing Date: January 6 2015
Hyam is a likeable lad who will make a fine farmer someday. But he carries a burden few can fathom. As his mother slips toward death, she implores him to return to Long Hall, where he spent five years as an apprentice. It was there that Hyam's extraordinary capacity for mastering languages came to light--and soon cast him into the shadows of suspicion. How could any human learn the forbidden tongues with such ease? When Hyam dares to seek out the Mistress of the Sorceries, her revelation tears his world asunder.

He has no choice but to set out on the foreboding path--which beckons him to either his destiny or his doom. An encounter with an enchanting stranger reminds him that he is part hero and part captive. As Hyam struggles to interpret the omens and symbols, he is swept up by a great current of possibilities--and dangers.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014 Honorable Mentions

I read a lot of books in 2014. Probably the most books I read in a single year. And I read a LOT of fantastic books. I quickly listed some favorites HERE but there were still a few books that I thought were worth the mention. These aren't in an particular order because I love them ALL! Title links lead to Goodreads, if I have a review posted I included that after the blurb. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Donuts to 2015

Well, my 2015 has gotten off to a rocky start. Sickness, computer viruses, super cold temps, ANOTHER flat tire, adorable disobedient daughters...cabin fever beginning to set in. Enter the picture of these donuts. I ate these in 2014. They were delicious, they were random, they were steeped in good conversation.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Garden Cover Reveal

Welcome to the cover reveal for Garden by Jane Yates! Garden is a middle grade steampunk that releases in February 2015 by Autumn Orchard.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lizzy & Jane Review

Lizzy and Jane
Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay
Visit her website HERE
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publishing Date: October 28, 2014
Goodreads Summary: 
Lizzy and Jane never saw eye to eye. But when illness brings them together, they discover they may be more like Austen’s famous sisters after all.

Lizzy was only a teenager when her mother died of cancer. Shortly after, Lizzy fled from her home, her family, and her cherished nickname. After working tirelessly to hone her gift of creating magic in the kitchen, Elizabeth has climbed the culinary ladder to become the head chef of her own New York restaurant, Feast. But as her magic begins to elude her, Paul, Feast’s financial backer, brings in someone to share her responsibilities and her kitchen. So Elizabeth flees again.

In a desperate attempt to reconnect with her gift, Elizabeth returns home. But her plans are derailed when she learns that her estranged sister, Jane, is battling cancer. Elizabeth surprises everyone—including herself—when she decides to stay in Seattle and work to prepare healthy, sustaining meals for Jane as she undergoes chemotherapy. She also meets Nick and his winsome son, Matt, who, like Elizabeth, are trying to heal from the wounds of the past.

As she tends to Jane's needs, Elizabeth's powers begin to return to her, along with the family she left behind so long ago. Then Paul tries to entice her back to New York, and she is faced with a hard decision: stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane, or return to New York and the life she worked so hard to create?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Favorite Books of 2014

Happy New Year!! 2015 has officially begun and it is past time that I wrap up 2014. In July I shared my top books of the year that I had read so far. At that time I had hardly read any fiction books and only had one fiction book on my Top Books list! After that I resolved to read more fiction, and did a splendid job. Three of the five books here are fiction books! Whew :)