January 2016 Recap

Download our free printable calendar for 2016. January through December are available in PDF format.:

So I definitely read more books than I thought I would this month. My goal of 75 for the year is seeming a little low, but we’ll see. I stuck to my resolution of not posting things just to post (I wasn’t really interested in the Top Ten Tuesday topics this month and I limited myself to only one tag that I liked), but my blog was pretty sparse. In life events, I had to have my car jump started twice, the second time I had to buy a new battery. Thank God for AAA, though! My area of the state for work has now had to help two other areas (our agency is divided into 4 areas BTW) pay their bills for our new billing process that started a couple months ago. And one of those areas was the one that piloted the program that said it was GREAT, so that was annoying. I really need to work on my resume and look for something else.

Books Read: 13

Genres Read:
Adult: 8
Young Adult: 5

Books Read in 2015 Overall: 13


Books Reviewed:

The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian – 2/5 Stars
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone – 4/5 Stars
Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown – 4/5 Stars

Funny Fridays

January 1

Ecards funny, humor ecards ...For more hilarious ecards visit www.bestfunnyjokes4u.com/:

January 8

January 15

He said: "Books or Me." I sometimes remember him when I'm buying new books.:

January 22

Books always win over cleaning!:

January 29

14 Funny Situations Only True Book Lovers Will Understand:

Other Posts

2016 Resolutions

OTP Book Tag

Reviewing the Unreviewed

Looking Forward to February

I have three reviews already written for books publishing in February so I’m feeling ahead of the curve. I’m also SUPER excited for Morning Star (Red Rising #3) to come out! I just started this series this month and I feel fortunate that I don’t have to wait very long for the conclusion. I’m also hoping to maybe write a few discussion type posts since my January posts were pretty sparse.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: January 2016

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I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.


Cold Shot (Chesapeake Valor #1) by Dani Pettrey. Read December 30-January 1. 4 stars.

I think this is Pettrey’s best book yet. Review to come closer to release date.


Jesse’s Girl (Hundred Oaks) by Miranda Kenneally. Read January 2. 3 stars.

I liked the first half of this book that focused on Maya’s and Jesse’s first day together more than I did the rest of the book. There were several cute moments and I did like their relationship overall, but I have the same issues I have with pretty much every other book I’ve read in this series. I think the casual view on sex is irresponsible for the YA demographic and I don’t like the way Christians are portrayed. They are always hypocritical clichés and nothing more and it’s kind of offensive.

Overall, though, the book was a fast easy read and since I’m trying to be more generous with ratings, it gets 3 stars.


Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini. Read January 2-3. 3 stars.

This was pretty interesting. Scientology has always kind of interested me (not in a “hey, I want to join” way, but in a “Tom Cruise is kind of weird” way). One thing that I really wanted was a big section on Remini’s role on Saved by the Bell (she will ALWAYS be Stacy Carosi to me), but it was only briefly mentioned in like two sentences. I also wish there was more of her time on The King of Queens, which was a show I enjoyed. Overall, though, interesting and informative on Scientology. I’m glad she found her way out from under it.


The Widow by Fiona Barton. Read January 5-9. 3.5 Stars

The Widow is not really what I expected it to be. That’s always the problem when a book is compared to Gone Girl. I expected gleefully crazy psychopaths and shocking twists, but there is none of that to be found in this book. That’s not a bad thing, of course, on it’s own. But since my expectations were not met, I feel just a bit let down by it. So let my reading experience inform yours. This book is not like Gone Girl. But it is an intriguing, thoughtful, character-driven mystery that’s worth the read. Full review to come closer to release date.


The Grownup by Gillian Flynn. Read January 9. 4 stars.

This short story was a quick, easy read and was pretty much everything I expect from Flynn. Part of me wishes she would’ve made this into a full-length novel, but I think the slightly unsatisfying ending would have been much harder to swallow if it were a full length book (like Gone Girl). It creeped me out a bit and left my head spinning and just made me want MORE from Flynn. Seriously, I’m ready for the next book!


Hired Bride (Beaufort Brides #1) by Noelle Adams. Read January 10-11. 3 Stars.

This wasn’t quite as cute as I wanted it to be. I love a good fake-relationship story, but I thought this focused too much on them trying to fool themselves instead of other people. And it skipped over a lot of the getting-to-know-you parts and focused a lot more on the, ahem, intimate moments, which were kind of graphic. Still, though, it was an overall cute book.


Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter. Read January 14-15. 3 stars.

A little Twilight, a little The Mortal Instruments, a touch of Mean Girls. I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would after I read a few of really great reviews on it. I thought the pace was a little too slow and it was a lot more high school drama than I thought it would be. There were a few cute moments between Cole and Ali, though.
In the dedication in the beginning, the author talks about how when she was writing this she was sick and she started seeking the Lord so I was kind of expecting this to be a little more Christian fiction and it wasn’t. There was definitely way more teenage sex than I expected.
I got this from the library in a bundle, so I’ll probably read the next books to see if they pick up a little more.


Anything for You (Blue Heron #5) by Kristan Higgins. Read January 15-17. 3.5 Stars

Another cute story by Kristan Higgins. I liked the inclusion of a character with developmental disabilities. I liked Connor and Jess grew on me. I wish there was a little more of some of the characters from the other books. Some of the themes were a little reminiscent of some of Higgan’s other books – most notably The Next Best Thing, but since that’s one of my favorites, I was ok with it.


Through the Zombie Glass (White Rabbit Chronicles #2) by Gena Showalter. Read January 17. 3 stars.

This book could have been about 100 pages shorter. There wasn’t much happening until about the last quarter or so of the book. There were love triangles (squares?) hinted at in the beginning, but I’m thankful that they didn’t become a main plot point. I still have one more book in the bundle from the library, so I’m going to continue with the series.


Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce. Read January 18-19. 3.5 stars.

Pretty cute with a great concept, but the characters were often hard to like. Full review to come closer to release date.



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All I Ever Wanted and The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins. Higgins can always help me get through book slumps.




The Queen of Zombie Hearts (White Rabbit Chronicles #3) by Gena Showalter. I tried. Really I did. When they’re fighting zombies or trying to figure out what Anima is up to, I was interested, but every time it focused on Cole and Ali’s relationship or Ali’s friends (who got on my very last nerve) I just couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. I’ve read enough reviews that I can kind of piece together the big events of how the story resolves so I think it’s time to give this series up.

Review: Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.


I received a copy of this title from the publisher via a Good Reads giveaway. It does not impact my review.

This book has been on my radar for such a long time, but for some reason I just never really felt like picking it up. A part of me just thought, “eh, it’s just another dystopian.” BUT I WAS WRONG! It’s so good (bloodydamn good, you might say). This story, while it can in a way be considered a more intense Hunger Games, is so much more than your average dystopian. While some themes are obviously familiar, Brown’s writing breathes fresh life into a story of the oppressed and the start of their revolution.

Darrow lives in a primitive, strictly regulated society on Mars. Though there is little to no luxury or freedom, he is more or less content with his life. He’s the best at what he does and he loves his wife and his family. He believes what he’s been told, that he’s helping prepare Mars for the weaker race of humans to be able to inhabit it. His wife, Eo, though, is not content with their lot. She believes they are slaves and that they should have more, be more. It is through her sacrifice for the dream of freedom that Darrow is able to find out just how right his wife was. Mars is already inhabited and he and his people are slaves, considered the lowest of the low in the hierarchy. Darrow joins the revolution to honor and avenge his wife and begins the process to become a Gold member of Society and join the Institute, where the leaders of the Gold are made.

Red Rising moves at a pretty steady pace, but it took me well over a hundred pages to really get into the story. There was a lot of information given early on about how the society works and I was a bit confused at times. However, once Darrow gets to the Institute the story really begins to pick up. This is where comparisons to the Hunger Games come in, but it is much more brutal and intense and it also provides a lot more opportunity for strategy and intrigue. The betrayals and the deaths are more shocking because in this game, they shouldn’t be necessary to win.

Brown’s writing is really quite brilliant. He doesn’t rely on big, shocking twists, which I have come to expect from these type of stories, but there are so many subtle shifts and surprises throughout the story. There isn’t a lot of what I would consider banter, but the sarcasm is clever and biting. He also made many seemingly unlikable characters, people I could root for and care about.

I’m afraid this little review does not do justice to how great this book is and how much I enjoyed reading it. Though it took a bit to get into the story, once I did I was heavily invested and couldn’t put it down. The characters are empathetic, the plot was forever evolving and surprising, and the writing was beautiful. I highly recommend Red Rising and am very excited to start the next book in the series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

OTP Book Tag

I saw this over on Books for Thought  (go check her out!) and thought it looked fun. OTP, for those that don’t know = One True Pair.

1. An a unpopular OTP that you ship


Clary & Simon from The Mortal Instruments series. I felt bad for Simon that Clary led him on for so long. At the end of the day, though, I think Simon is too good for Clary, so I guess I don’t ship it all that much. But I couldn’t think of anything else.

2. An OTP that you didn’t ship but now you do


Warner and Juliette from the Shatter Me series. The first book was obviously Adam Forever, but book two totally changed that.

3. Your most hated OTP


Hayley and Bryce from Blackmail Boyfriend. Hayley is a complete psycho and needs therapy, not a boyfriend.

4. An OTP that took way too long to get together


Jennifer and Anthony from The Last Letter from your Lover. It took decades.

5. Your favourite non-canon OTP

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Cricket and Anna from the Anna and the French Kiss series. Cricket is my favorite and he deserves much better than Lola. And while I do like Anna and St. Claire together (once he finally dumped his girlfriend), I always thought she and Cricket would work.

6. Your favourite BROTP


The Raven Boys, hands down.

7. An OTP you adored in the books but not as much in the movies or tv adaptation


Sookie and Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse Series/True Blood. They were a major thing for many of the books, but barely a thing in the show (though I never saw the last two or three seasons of the show).

8. A popular OTP that no matter how hard you tried you just can’t ship it


Cole and Ali from The White Rabbit Chronicles. I just can’t even. I’m on the third book right now and every part I read that’s about their relationship makes me want to throw my Nook. I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish this series (so if anyone wants to give me a spoiler on how it all ends, I’m all ears!)

9. Your favourite LGBT + OTP


Simon and Baz from Carry On.

10. Your all time favourite OTP


Kami and Jared from The Lynbun Legacy series


Cinder and Kai from The Lunar Chronicles

I tag anyone who would like to participate.

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

I don’t think there’s ever been a book that I’ve felt like when I was reading it, I was reading about myself, more than this one. Which surprised (and concerned) me, as I’ve never been diagnosed with any type of OCD (purely obsessional or otherwise), but, man… The thought-spirals, the need to research or just know, 3’s – in addition to the anxiety attacks…so much of this book was me. Some of it to a much smaller extent than Sam and some of it not at all, but for the most part I really identified with Sam when she was dealing with her disorder. Almost to the point where I don’t feel I can properly review the rest of the book because it made such an emotional impact on me.

I really liked the relationships in this book. Sometimes you are friends with someone your whole life, but more often than not, there comes a time when you grow in different directions and I liked that authenticity in Sam’s relationship with her initial clique, The Eight. The one thing I didn’t like about their friendship was that it was not developed enough to give me a reason why I should care if they stay friends or not. Basically all we know about them is that they’re the Mean Girl clique and they’ve been friends since kindergarten.  I did really liked watching her friendships develop with those in the Poet’s Corner, though, especially Caroline and AJ.

I thought that AJ was very good for Sam and I really liked watching them journey from Not-Friends to Friends to More. While I thought that once they became “more” things escalated a little too quickly, I was overall a fan of the romance.

There were two things that didn’t exactly work for me in the book, though. While I appreciate the role poetry plays in this story (it’s a big one!), I didn’t really appreciate the poetry itself. I’ve never really understood poetry – especially when poems don’t rhyme. Then there’s a big plot twist that I didn’t see coming until right before it was revealed and it really did shock me. However, while it worked, the aftermath of it I thought could have been executed a little better. There was a big shift in Sam’s mental health that I think really needed addressed and I thought her therapist was a little too “no big deal” about it.

Overall, I really, really liked Every Last Word. I really identified with Sam and enjoyed watching how she made positive changes in her life throughout the book. I liked the relationships and the cute romance and I’m really glad that I gave this one a chance. I definitely recommend it.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

Review: The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes the spellbinding tale of a party gone horribly wrong: two men lie dead in a suburban living room; two women are on the run from police; and a marriage is ripping apart at the seams.

When Richard Chapman offers to host his younger brother’s bachelor party, he expects a certain amount of debauchery. He sends his wife, Kristin, and young daughter off to his mother-in-law’s for the weekend, and he opens his Westchester home to his brother’s friends and their hired entertainment. What he does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, a dangerously intimate moment in his guest bedroom, and two naked women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Richard’s life rapidly spirals into a nightmare. The police throw him out of his home, now a crime scene; his investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave; and his wife finds herself unable to forgive him for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.


I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Guest Room will be available January 5, 2016.

This book made me really angry, but probably not in the way it was supposed to.

Richard Chapman is a happily married man and father who throws a bachelor party for his younger brother in his home. One of his brother’s friends hired strippers, but they turn out to be more than that. They’re not just prostitutes, either. They are victims of sex trafficking and they use the party as an opportunity to kill and flee their captors.

The story is broken down through the third person POVS of Richard, his wife Kristin, his 9-year-old daughter Melissa, and the first person POV of Alexandra, one of the girls from Richard’s party. I thought that Richard and Kristin’s perspectives were both very well done. I did not appreciate the perspective from Melissa, though. She really sounded nothing like a 9-year-old girl, but a grown man trying to portray a 9-year-old girl. I also didn’t really care for the passages from Alexandra’s POV. Each chapter ended with her and while it was informative and, quite honestly, horrifying, it really messed up the pace of the story. Most of it was backstory and it just didn’t seem to fit with the story of Richard dealing with the aftermath of the party. It really felt like two different books to me at times. I also didn’t like how she was written. The majority of the time she was perfectly well spoken, and then occasionally there would be sentences of broken English, to remind us that it’s not her native language, and it was just jarring. It should have all been written like that, or none at all.

I also found Richard to be infuriating much of the time. Yes, he did not actually have sex with Alexandra, but he was close to doing so – and got a lap dance, kissed her, etc. It was almost a case of insta-love in how enamored he was with her and it kind of disgusted me. He’s a forty-year-old married man and father and became kind of obsessed with this nineteen-year-old. Then later in the book, he suddenly starts to describe her with more of a fatherly affection, which kind of made the whole situation more uncomfortable. I just could not feel sorry for him or how his world started to crumble around him. I felt really bad for his wife and for his daughter. And for Sonja and Alexandra as they tried to figure out how to leave the city safely.

Overall, I just really did not care for this book. While the horrors of the sex trafficking industry is given a bit of a voice, it’s not a book that’s going to bring a lot of awareness to the problem. The inclusion of Alexandra’s backstory felt more of an interruption from the actual story instead of adding to it. I found the main character despicable which made it hard to find anything redeeming about the story. While I’m sure there will be plenty of people that would like this book, it just wasn’t for me.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars.

2 stars