The Jingle Bell Tag

Land of EnCRAFTment: Jingle Bell Shaker Box Invites!:

I saw this tag over on A Novel Glimpse and thought it looked fun, so I decided to steal it. Feel free to steal it yourself if your blog is in need of a little holiday book cheer.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You…” | What book do you want to see under the Christmas Tree?

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. This was one of my favorite books of the year and probably my favorite cover of the year. I definitely need a copy to go on my shelf!

“Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time…” | What book that you have read this year have you enjoyed the most?

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I’ve enjoyed so many books this year so to narrow it down I’m following Deanna’s example and picking my most recent most enjoyable read, which is My Lady Jane.

Elf | What book unleashes your inner child?

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I don’t know about my inner child, but reading the Backstage Pass series made me really nostalgic for the boy bands of my early teen years.

“It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” | Which book has  the most festive look to it?

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I’ve been really into holiday romances this year and I think Wrong Brother, Right Match by Jennifer Shirk is just like a Hallmark Christmas movie – even the cover of it – which is one of my favorite things about this time of year.

The Grinch | Your favorite villain…

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Joe from the You series by Caroline Kepnes is more an anti-hero than villain, but there is no denying this guy does totally villainous, messed up things. But I still root for him the whole time.

The Holiday | Name your favorite TWO couples…

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Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom

Lucy and Josh from The Hating Game

What book would you like to give as a present to your followers?

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Red Rising of course! Everyone needs to read this series!!

Review: Once Upon a Wine (Black Dog Bay #4) by Beth Kendrick

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From the “sharp, sassy, [and] surprisingly emotional”* author of Put a Ring on It, New Uses for Old Boyfriends, and The Week Before the Wedding, a new novel set in the charming seaside town of Black Dog Bay, Delaware…
 
Cammie Breyer needs a big glass of cabernet—her restaurant failed and her chef boyfriend left for a hotter kitchen. Just when she thinks she’s hit rock bottom, her Aunt Ginger calls with a surprise. She’s bought a vineyard—in Delaware. At Ginger’s command, Cammie returns to Black Dog Bay, the seaside town where she spent her childhood summers with her aunt and her cousin, Kat.

The three women reunite, determined to succeed. There’s only one little problem: None of them knows the first thing about wine making. And it turns out, owning a vineyard isn’t all wine and roses. It’s dirt, sweat, and desperation. Every day brings financial pitfalls, unruly tourists, romantic dilemmas, and second thoughts.  But even as they struggle, they cultivate hidden talents and new passions. While the grapes ripen under the summer sun, Cammie discovers that love, like wine, is layered, complex, delicious, and worth waiting for…

I just discovered this series and this author this year and she’s become one of my favorite chick lit authors. I’ve been looking forward to reading Once Upon a Wine for quite awhile and it surpassed my expectations. I really, really enjoyed this book.

I loved the family dynamic in this book. I loved how close Cammie was to her cousin, Kat, and her aunt, Ginger. I loved Ginger and Kat’s mother-daughter relationship, as well. They were such a realistic portrayal of family, even when the circumstances were occasionally quite unrealistic. They were there for each other and supported and encouraged each other, but also disagreed with and fought with each other. They all had a bit of a lesson to learn throughout the story and I enjoyed watching their character development.

I also really enjoyed the romance(s), though it didn’t play as big a part as I was expecting. I am quite in love with Ian, Cammie’s former and current love interest. I think part of it is because he reminded me a lot of Cooper from the Anna Curtis series. Though I did have some small issues with him when they were 22, he definitely grew up during their time apart. As an adult he knew what he wanted when it came to Cammie and he didn’t make a secret of it, but he didn’t pressure her at all. He was just there for her and cared for her and was so, so sweet and I am just so fricking in love with him I can’t even handle it. On the other end of the romantic spectrum, we have Kat who is married, but is having a bit of an early mid-life crisis and isn’t sure if she wants to be married anymore. I enjoyed seeing how her and Josh’s relationship changed throughout the book and that again it seemed like a pretty realistic portrayal of how love and marriages need to evolve over time.

There were some cameos from some of the characters from the previous books in the series, but there weren’t as many as I was hoping for. There was also way less emphasis put on Black Dog Bay being a break up town, though it did still play a part. This installment almost seemed more of a standalone than part of the series, though. Which isn’t a bad thing because it was still such a great book, but as a fan of the series I wish it was a little more inclusive.

Overall, I just really loved Once Upon a Wine. I loved the characters and the relationships and the romance. Beth Kendrick has really become one of my favorite authors of this genre and I definitely recommend this book (and series) to Chick Lit/Contemporary fans.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

The Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

I'm Not Addicted To Reading – mug-empire:

I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check her out!). Thanks Deanna!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT BUYING NEW BOOKS?

This year I tried to only buy books when I hit weight loss goals or MyFitnessPal milestones. So when I bought a book I knew it was a reward for doing something healthy.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU BUY NEW BOOKS?

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Not as often as I like. As I mentioned before, this year especially I tried to only do it as weight loss rewards. But I also don’t have a lot of disposable income, so…

BOOKSTORE OR ONLINE BOOK SHOPPING – WHICH DO YOU PREFER?

I usually do online for Nook Books. If I get a physical book it depends on what coupons I have to whether I’ll get it online or go to my local bookstore.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BOOKSHOP?

The only bookstore we have around here is Books-A-Million and I like it. There used to be a Walden’s Book Store at the mall, but I’m not sure if that exists anymore and if it doesn’t, if anything has taken it’s place (I tend to avoid the mall at all costs).

DO YOU PRE-ORDER BOOKS?

No. I think I’ve only ever pre-ordered one and it was on my Nook and it didn’t download right away on release day so I figured it would be easier to just purchase new ones when they become available. When it comes to physical books, I’m always afraid there will be a delay – I heard a lot of people got The Raven King really late, even though they pre-ordered.

DO YOU HAVE A MONTHLY BOOK BUYING LIMIT?

Since I don’t buy a lot of books (see above answers) not really.

BOOK BUYING BANS – ARE THEY SOMETHING FOR YOU?

If it ever became a problem then I would probably try them, but as it is now, I never really needed one. I get a ton of books from the library on my Nook.

HOW BIG IS YOUR WISHLIST?

My Good Reads TBR shelf has 377 books on it right now – which actually isn’t that bad!

WHICH THREE BOOKS FROM YOUR WISHLIST DO YOU WISH TO OWN NOW?

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Iron Gold by Pierce Brown (no cover or release day yet!), On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins, By Your Side by Kasie West.

Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to participate!

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Want to Finally Read in 2017

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This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is: Books You Want to Finally Read in 2017. I decided to go with books I’ve won in giveaways that I was very excited about winning, but still haven’t left my bookshelf for whatever reason.

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1. Deep Blue (Waterfire Series #1) by Jennifer Donnelly. I also won cute blue and purple nail polish that is supposed to match the covers of the first two books in the series (those I’ve used).

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2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

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3. Mackenzie Fire (Shine Not Burn #2) by Elle Casey.

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4. The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks.

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5. On Distant Shores (Wings of the Nightingale #2) by Sarah Sundin.

What books do you have sitting on your shelves that you want to read in 2017?

Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2016

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016. To make this a little more difficult I am not including authors who had debut books in 2016 – because they’re new to everyone, not just to me.

Pierce Brown

1. Pierce Brown Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star. You all know my love for him and the Red Rising series by now. I can’t wait to read what he writes next!

Julie Buxbaum

2. Julie Buxbaum – Read: Tell Me Three Things. So far this is the only book I’ve read by her, but I definitely want to read more.

Beth Kendrick

3. Beth Kendirck – Read: Cure for the Common Breakup, New Uses for Old Boyfriends, Put a Ring on It. I found a new fun chick lit series this year. I will be reading a lot more from her.

Holly Black

4. Holly Black – Read: The Curse Workers trilogy, The Darkest Part of the Forest. I ended up really enjoying The Curse Workers series and while The Darkest Part of the Forest wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I still absolutely love her writing.

Blake Crouch

5. Black Crouch – Read: Dark Matter. Though I didn’t think Dark Matter really lived up to the hype, I was very impressed with his writing. I watched most of the first season of Wayward Pines and really liked it until it got really weird, but it did make me really want to try the book series.

Vince Flynn

6. Vince Flynn – Read: American Assassin, Kill Shot. My brother, who is not a big reader, became obsessed with the Mitch Rapp series and gave me the first couple of books to read and I enjoyed them. I definitely plan on continuing to read the rest of the series. Sadly, Vince Flynn has passed away. A new author has taken over the series, though, so there should still me more Mitch Rapp stories to come.

Tamara Ireland Stone

7. Tamara Ireland Stone – Read: Every Last Word. I’m not really sure if I’m interested in her other books, but Every Last Word will always be a very important book to me. I have never related to a character as much as I did with the MC in that book.

Lisa Jewell

8. Lisa Jewell – Read: The Girls in the Garden. I really liked The Girls in the Garden and already have I Found You from NetGalley.

Denise Hunter

9. Denise Hunter – Read: Many, many of her books! So I’ve probably read more books by Denise Hunter this year than any other author and I don’t feel like listing them all. There have been several that I really, really enjoyed and a couple that I really hated or even DNF-ed. Despite the bad ones, I still have more books from her on my TBR.

Ruth Ware

10. Ruth Ware – Read: The Woman in Cabin 10. The Woman in Cabin 10 definitely had some creepy, hard-to-put-down moments and I want to check out more from her.

What new-to-you authors did you discover this year?

Review: More Than Friends by Jody Holford

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Owen Burnett planned on a quiet, easygoing Christmas, hanging out with his best friend and neighbor, Gabby Michaelson. So when his mom pressures him to come home for the holidays, he tells a little white lie…that he’s spending the holidays with his new girlfriend. But when his family shows up unexpectedly, Owen pulls the best friend card and asks Gabby to play his fake girlfriend.

Gabby’s been hopelessly in love with her best friend Owen for what feels like forever, but playing his “fake” girlfriend when the entire boisterous Burnett clan visits is easier said than done. The more she tries to deny the attraction between them, the more obvious their chemistry becomes. But even though she’s not the only one feeling it, putting their friendship on the line is a risk she can’t take.

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

*What Worked for Me*

-I am a sucker for a fake relationship story and this book did it fairly well.

-I liked Owen a lot. He was sweet and smart. I found his preference for quiet and small groups really relatable. I also enjoyed his family, though they could have been developed just a little more.

-I liked the friendship between Owen and Gabby. I felt like they were really best friends before the romance started.

-There are no graphic love scenes in this book. There is one scene in the epilogue that approaches the threshold, but never really goes there. I like my romance books to stay in the sweet range and this one was definitely sweet.

*What Didn’t Work for Me*

-The thing with fake relationship stories is that the romance is a slow burn. It comes as a surprise to at least one of the characters, if not both (though usually not to the readers). So Gabby already being in love with oblivious Owen worked fine. But where it went off track for me was that in the very first chapter before the fake relationship had even started Owen was starting to notice and become attracted to Gabby. Before they even had to play fake couple in front of his family they were both already having feelings for each other and it was just too fast for me.

-There was something Gabby says early on in the story that really rubbed me the wrong way.

And now she knew he loved her, in the safest way possible. The most platonic, means-nothing way he could. Which, in her book, was the same as not at all.

Owen viewed Gabby as his best friend. He was always there for her. He supported her all the time. He loved her. He might not have been in love with her (or didn’t know that he was), but he loved her and for her to basically say it was worthless is such an awful, selfish, immature thing. I will say, however, that that line isn’t really consistent with her character in the rest of the book, so I could still like her well enough. (Also note the quote above is taken from the ARC )

-There was a plot line involving a sleazy building manager and thefts, and an introduction of lightly developed characters that lived in the building that really didn’t have anything to do with Owen and Gabby’s story. I don’t think it did anything but set up for future books in the series.

-The end was a little over the top mushy for me. Don’t get me wrong, I want the romantic Happily Ever After, but all the proclamations got a little much and I was rolling my eyes a lot.

Overall

Overall, More Than Friends was a cute, holiday romance. While I did have a few issues with the development of the story and characters, it was quick and sweet and pretty much what I wanted it to be. I recommend it to fans of holiday romances.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

3 stars

November 2016 Recap

Download iMOM’s Free November 2016 printable calendar. I spy feathers…and more feathers.:

I kind of felt like I was failing at life in November. I was super excited to do NaNoWriMo, but I ended up writing on November 1st (didn’t reach the daily word goal) and then never wrote again. I turned 33 and my white hairs seemed to triple (don’t worry, I had a coloring appointment since). Work was frustrating, but I did get a few extra days off, so that’s nice. The highlight of the month was probably going to a Heartless tour stop with Amanda and meeting Marissa Meyer!

Books Read: 13

Adult:  8
YA: 5

Favorite Book I Read This Month:

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The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter. I have been waiting so, so long for another Will Trent book and I was not disappointed.

Books Read in 2016 Overall: 126

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Books Reviewed: 5

Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys – 3/5 Stars

The Kept Woman (Will Trent #8) by Karin Slaughter – 4/5 Stars

Size Matters (A Perfect Fit #1) by Alison Bliss – 1/5 Stars

Wrong Brother, Right Match (Anyone But You #3) by Jennifer Shirk – 4/5 Stars

Backstage Pass: The Complete Series by various authors – 3.5/5 Stars

Funny Fridays:

This month’s Funny Fridays were all dedicated to NaNoWriMo

November 4

gosh, this actually sounds quite like how I became a writer. insert my mother for the doctor, and voila.:

November 11

Snoopy on writing:

November 18

Pretty much. This is why we edit several times.:

November 25

Other Posts:

October 2016 Recap

Top 5 Wednesday: Most Misleading Synopses

Heartless Tour Stop with Marissa Meyer

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Want to Re-Read

Happy Thanksgiving

Reviewing the Unreviewed: November 2016

Looking Forward to December:

I am feeling the Christmas spirit this year. I seem to go every other year where I am either Bah-Humbug or really into it. This year (at least so far) I’m feeling into it. I even put up my (meager) decorations already. I’ve been enjoying the HallMark Christmas movies and am looking forward to more of them. There aren’t really any books coming out that I’ve been waiting on, but I have some library holds that should be coming in shortly.