Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Beach Reads! ~ Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by the Broke and Bookish

This week's topic ~


Books listed in no specific order ...

Enjoy your beach reading! 

Source: picture from a friend

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I Do It With the Lights On by Whitney Thorne

  • Publisher: Ballantine Books 
  • ISBN-10: 0399594507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399594502

Release Date ~ May 31, 2016


Whitney Way Thore stands five feet two inches tall and weighs well over three hundred pounds, and she is totally, completely, and truly . . . happy. But she wasn’t always the vivacious, confident woman you see on TV. Growing up as a dancer, Whitney felt the pressure to be thin, a desire that grew into an obsession as she got older. From developing an eating disorder as a teenager, to extreme weight gain in college, to her ongoing struggle with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Whitney reveals her fight to overcome the darkest moments in her life. She holds nothing back, opening up about the depths of her depression as well as her resilience in the face of constant harassment and mistreatment.
Now Whitney is on top of the world and taking no BS (Body Shame, of course). And she’s sharing the steps she took to get there and the powerful message behind her successful No Body Shame campaign. She even reveals her favorite “F” word (it’s probably not what you think), the thrill of doing it with the lights on, and the story behind the “Fat Girl Dancing” video that started it all.
Exuberant and utterly honest, I Do It with the Lights On is the inspiring story of how Whitney finally discovered her fabulousness when she stepped off the scale and into her life, embracing herself unconditionally—body, heart, and soul.

I Do It With the Lights On by Whitney Thorne is an eye opening, up front, in your face shout out to the world to stop putting your life on hold while waiting to be  the "perfect something" and start life passionately and fully!

Ms. Thorne shares her story with humor, grace and style while sharing her emotional journey of struggling with her weight, eating disorders, body shaming and how she ultimately found her way to emotional healing, self acceptance and self love.  Her message of "No Body Shaming"  is a powerful one that speaks to everyone and is a movement I fully support!

The only thing I took exception to in this book was the very detailed facts the author shared about her sex life. I believe her message is strong enough on it's own and didn't need it. (Guess I'm a bit old fashioned.)

Overall though, it was a good book with a great message! 

3.5 Stars   

Thank you to Ballentine Books and Netgalley for the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Violet Blake Series by Bre Faucheux

  • Series: Violet Blake ~ Volumes 1-5
  • Publication Date: October 15, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • ASIN: B016QM5T1K



I didn’t think my life could get any crazier than being bullied and upholding my well-earned status as the ultimate science nerd. I was wrong. 

My mom used to tell me stories about our family being descended from healers that could take away pain and death. She wasn’t lying. 

I never thought in a million years that my gift of healing people would be exposed. It was. 

I wanted a normal life. I wanted to survive high school and go to medical school. I wanted to become a doctor like my parents and heal people with my touch under the radar. 

But none of that is going to happen. And it’s all my fault. 

I was approached by the author to review Violet Blake some months ago and I was definitely intrigued once I read the book's synopsis. I had high hopes that I would enjoy this book. 

My initial thoughts after I started reading and really getting into Violet Blake  was ... Why in the world did I put off reading this book? I should have read it as soon as I got it!

The story starts out a bit slow but once you get into the latter part of book 1, chapter two ~ HOLD ONTO YOUR SEAT!  The story takes off and doesn't stop till the very last sentence of the very last book in this series.


The characters are engaging. The plot is  original, creative and full of action, mystery, thrilling suspense, fantasy, sci-fi and romance. What more could I ask for in a series?!


There are some spelling and grammatical errors that pulled me away from the story a bit but hopefully those will be corrected in a revised edition.  

Most of the story flowed very well but with book 3, the transition of having the story being told from Shawn, the main character's view point to another person's view point was a bit choppy and had me confused. The good news is that the confusion resolved when I continued into books 4 and 5. 

{My Overall Impressions}

WOW! It's a really good story that grabbed me and wouldn't let go.  I'd finish one book in this series and have to move onto the next. 

Even when I had to put the books aside, I carried my kindle with me and read every chance I got. For me, that's one of my highest recommendations I can give regarding books! 

4.0 Stars!

Thank you Ms. Faucheux for the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

  • Series: Archived
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; First Edition edition (January 22, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1423157311
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423157311


Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost, Da's death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

I was scrolling through Goodreads to see what books called to me  a few weeks ago and I came across The Archived by Victoria Schwab. The cover was enough to capture my attention but the synopsis closed the deal! 

The Archived ended up surpassing all my  expectations! It's filled with heart break, sorrow, healing, love as well as a bit of horror (more spooky than scary) surrounding the interactions between the  living and the dead. 

The story is fast paced, plenty of action and the characters well rounded and believable. I found the concept of "the archives" absolutely intriguing and the story had some twist and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. 

All in all ~ a fantastic read! I can't wait to read Unbound, the second book in this series.

4.5 Stars

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Upcoming New Star Trek Series by CBS!

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

  • Series: Crown's Game (Book 1)
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray (May 17, 2016)
  • ISBN-10: 0062422588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062422583


Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red QueenThe Crown’s Game is a thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become the Imperial Enchanter—or die in the process—from debut author Evelyn Skye.
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know.  The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

There are times when I read a book and decide to just go with the story, see where it takes me and leave the "reviewing" for after I finish the book. From this perspective, I truly enjoyed reading The Crown's Game! 

The story is full of magic, mysticism, romance and I found it to be  an enjoyable, relaxing and fun read. I walked away from this story with a whimsical smile and a warm feeling in my heart.  

From a reviewer perspective though, there were definitely some sticking points. The characters themselves and their interactions were not as believable as I would have wished for and the story was a bit choppy in it's flow. Some of the sub-plots were not developed enough to flow with the story and really did not impact it well. 

In regards to the "life and death Crown's Game", the book's synopsis built the story up as one of intense magic but the story itself did not live up to that. Could it be the synopsis of the book was off and it negatively impacted the reception of this book's true story?  

Having shared all the above, I have to say I enjoyed reading The Crown's Game and I am eager to read the second installment of this series when it's released.  Check this book out for yourself; I'd love to hear what you think about it!

3.5 Stars

Thank you to Balzar + Bray as well as Edelweiss for the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely ~ Waiting on Wednesday

A weekly meme spotlighting soon to be released books hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Another pick for this week ...

  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 9, 2016)
  • ISBN-10: 1400205875
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400205875

Release Date ~ August 9, 2016


The enemy wants us to feel rejected . . . left out, lonely, and less than. When we allow him to speak lies through our rejection, he pickpockets our purpose. Cripples our courage. Dismantles our dreams. And blinds us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love.
In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences with rejection—from the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father to the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over.
With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa helps readers:
  • Release the desire to fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process their hurt.
  • Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady their soul and restore their confidence.
  • Overcome the two core fears that feed our insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging.
  • Stop feeling left out and start believing that "set apart" does not mean "set aside."
  • End the cycle of perceived rejection by refusing to turn a small incident into a full blown issue.

What Books Are You Waiting For? 

Realm of Darkness by C.F. Dunn ~ Waiting on Wednesday

A weekly meme spotlighting soon to be released books hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This week's pick ... 

  • Series: The Secret of the Journal (Book 4)
  • Publisher: Lion Fiction (July 27, 2016)
  • ISBN-10: 1782641963
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782641964

Release Date ~ July 27, 2016


Emma and Matthew are finally free to marry, but Matthew's secret continues to haunt them.

Emma D'Eresby can look forward to a future with Matthew Lynes. She at last reveals to Matthew the nature of her relationship with Guy Hilliard—her supervisor at Cambridge—and the reason she has found it difficult to forgive him or to trust any other.
Their joy at marrying is short-lived as, to her disgust, Emma discovers that Guy is visiting the United States to attend the history conference at which she is the keynote speaker. Although everyone seems charmed by him, Emma doesn't trust Guy. Worse still, she discovers that Ellie is dating Guy, bringing him within the family fold.
Long-held grudges and wounds surface and it is clear that Guy poses a threat to everything Emma loves.

It seems like I've been waiting for this release forever. :)

I can't wait to read it as I've loved all three prior books in this series!

What Books Are You Waiting For? 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

At The Edge of Summer by Jessica Brockmole

  • ISBN-10: 0345547896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345547897
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 17, 2016)


Luc Crépet is accustomed to his mother’s bringing wounded creatures to their idyllic château in the French countryside, where healing comes naturally amid the lush wildflowers and crumbling stone walls. Yet his maman’s newest project is the most surprising: a fifteen-year-old Scottish girl grieving over her parents’ fate. A curious child with an artistic soul, Clare Ross finds solace in her connection to Luc, and she in turn inspires him in ways he never thought possible. Then, just as suddenly as Clare arrives, she is gone, whisked away by her grandfather to the farthest reaches of the globe. Devastated by her departure, Luc begins to write letters to Clare—and, even as she moves from Portugal to Africa and beyond, the memory of the summer they shared keeps her grounded.
Years later, in the wake of World War I, Clare, now an artist, returns to France to help create facial prostheses for wounded soldiers. One of the wary veterans who comes to the studio seems familiar, and as his mask takes shape beneath her fingers, she recognizes Luc. But is this soldier, made bitter by battle and betrayal, the same boy who once wrote her wistful letters from Paris? After war and so many years apart, can Clare and Luc recapture how they felt at the edge of that long-ago summer?
Bringing to life two unforgettable characters and the rich historical period they inhabit, Jessica Brockmole shows how love and forgiveness can redeem us.

I found At The Edge of Summer by Jessica Brockmole to be an interesting read. It is well written, somewhat slow paced but sweet, romantic and I enjoyed the alternating perspectives  from Clare and Luc, the two main characters. 

Unfortunately, this story didn't really engage me. I read it, thought it was okay but I didn't  feel passionate about it. The characters were worthy  but didn't seem to jump "off the page" for me.  The story just didn't move me and I'm not sure if it was the story or I just wasn't in the right space when reading it.  (I absolutely adored the cover though!)

2.5 Stars

As always, I recommend that anyone reading this post take the time to check out this book for yourself. Don't base your decision about this book solely from my review. At The Edge of Summer may just turn out to be to your liking!

Thank you to Ballantine Books and Netgalley for the gift of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Books I've Recently Picked Up on a Whim ~ Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by the Broke and Bookish

This week's topic ~
 Top 10 Books  I've Recently Picked Up On A Whim

What's my  personal "whim" when it comes to finding books?  

Finding books on sale (very good sales!)  or available at my library. 
Also, books where the cover catches my eye and the synopsis intrigues me. 

I loved this book and am waiting to get the second book in this series from my library! 

DNF this one ~ too violent; definitely not something I wanted to read. 


What books did you choose on a whim?