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Where have I been? Why haven’t I posted? And the future of the blog…

Happy September! Well… almost.

Wow, what a year this has been for me. I mean that in both a good and a bad way. Let’s talk!

This year didn’t start out so great for me. I was really struggling with depression while trying to raise a 2 year old. I felt like for every step forward, I took ten steps backwards. It was the worst bout of depression I’d dealt with in a very, very long time. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get myself out of it, and was thinking of trying counseling because I’ve been on anti-depressants before and they’re just not for me.

And then my husband and I got some surprising news… we were expecting our second child! I struggled with that news, having been dealing with this awful depression and not really being sure I wanted more children other than our two year old daughter. I did A LOT of soul searching, journaling, and took tons of personal time for myself to really figure my stuff out. I wasn’t reading, I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t living – I was just existing. And that was really tough for me. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, or go out anywhere and it was an extremely tough time for me.

Once winter broke and the weather started getting nicer and my husband and I found out we were expecting a baby boy, things started looking up for me. We found a house that we loved – and bought it! My depression lifted, and things were really starting to get better. Now it’s the end of August, I’m 34.5 weeks pregnant, we have a new house, I’ve been reading tons, and I’m happier than I’ve been in months! I want to be open and honest with you guys because I know I’m not the only one who struggles with depression and anxiety. It’s a large part of my life that I have to actively work on daily to keep ahead of it, or I get swallowed whole. It takes me away from the things that make me happy – reading, and writing – it forces me into this role that I have to pretend to be myself, when I feel anything BUT like ME. I’ve mastered hiding my depression so well that my husband didn’t even believe me when I said I’d been struggling for months. I need to start learning to open up, and not bottle things in. Had I been open with people, would I have been so far under? Maybe, but I think what’s important is to recognize the signs and address them immediately, before you do get pulled under.

I’ve been most active on Goodreads and Instagram when it comes to my book life. I haven’t been writing full reviews or posting on here because I feel like I just can’t write decent reviews to save my life. I also haven’t made time to do it. I’d love to use this blog again, and post regularly. With baby boy due on October 8th I cannot say that will definitely happen but I will try. For now, if you’d like to keep up with me please follow me on:

GOODREADS and INSTAGRAM.

Much love to all!

Laura

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Review | NOVEMBER 9

25111004

November 9

AUTHOR: Colleen Hoover

EDITION: Paperback, 310 pages | Published By: Atria Books

ACQUISITION: Own

RATING: 5.00/5.00

ADD TO GOODREADS

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

MY THOUGHTS: Having a 2 year old and being six months pregnant doesn’t leave me much time for reading these days… HOWEVER, that DID NOT stop me from binge reading this book in a matter of a weekend. It was THAT good. Not that I expect anything less from a Colleen Hoover novel, considering that I did the same thing with Maybe Someday.

The second I opened this book and began reading I was hooked on Fallon’s story. She begins the story as this horribly insecure person because of scars left on her body after she was stuck in a house fire. She blames her father, since he has taken responsibility for the blaze, and therefore her already struggling relationship with him is in even more turmoil. Upon the eve of her move to NYC to try her hand at acting on Broadway – since her film acting career was cut short by the deformities left by the fire – Fallon finds herself at breakfast with her father, breaking the news that she is moving. He isn’t thrilled at the news, and all but tells her that her career is over due to the scars on her face and body, and to try something else, like college.

Overhearing all of this is Ben Kessler. Unable to sit and listen to this conversation, Ben jumps in and pretends to be Fallon’s boyfriend, which renders her father speechless, and leads to one of the most intense, incredible romances I’ve ever read about.

Unable to end their short relationship, Fallon invites Ben back to her apartment to help her pack. They get to know each other a little bit, and decide to meet up once a year, every November 9th. Not only will this give them time to get to know each other slowly, but it gives Ben a story line for his novel.

Over the course of the book, we follow Fallon and Ben each November 9th. We see how each has grown and changed, and how the effects of only talking and seeing each other once a year has on a relationship. I fell in love with this book so hard, and maybe reading it while pregnant wasn’t the best idea, since my emotions are already so messed up, but this book definitely gave me some wicked emotional whiplash. There is just so much love, hate, sadness and sorrow, life and death, heartache, heartbreak… you name it.

I did think I had the book slightly figured out at one point – assuming that Fallon and Ben would not end up together after a line about how a book can have a happy ending without the main characters being together, as long as they’re happy apart. But I won’t spoil it for you – you’ll have to read and find out if they win in the end.

If you’re a fan of other Colleen Hoover books, new adult, or are looking for somewhere to start in the contemporary romance genre then November 9 is a GREAT place to start.

Happy Reading!

Laura

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REVIEW | Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

71811MOON CALLED | Book #1 of the Mercy Thompson Series

AUTHOR: Patricia Briggs

PUBLICATION INFORMATION: MASS MARKET PAPERBACK EDITION – 288 pages | Published: January 31st 2006 by AceRoc Books

MY RATING: 4 Stars | GOODREADS RATING: 4.18/5.00 Stars

ADD TO GOODREADS

WHAT ITS ABOUT: Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

MY THOUGHTS: I enjoy a good Urban Fantasy every now and again. I found Kelley Armstrong’s  Otherworld series (though I’m only around book #6 and have more to read yet.) thoroughly entertaining, and I’ve been craving some hot sexy alpha werewolves. This book has been on my shelf for a year, and I picked it up on a whim, without the intentions of really sitting down and reading it – but once I got a few pages in… I was hooked.

Mercy is a great lead character. She’s tough, takes no BS – and doesn’t mind calling people out on it – and can stand her own ground. She is also a Walker – able to shift into a coyote – and is the only one of her kind in the world. Mercy is an auto mechanic, working in a shop that was handed down to her by Zee – a metalworking fae (gremlin, to be exact). Mercy lives next door to Adam Hauptman, who is the Alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack, and all of the packs are overruled by the Marrok, Bran, who also had a hand in raising Mercy.

After several uneventful years, suddenly Mercy finds herself thrown in the middle of some nasty werewolf business when a newly Changed wolf named Mac shows up at her shop and she helps him out. He tells her about how he was Changed, and it sets off a chain of events leading to Adam and his daughter Jesse being kidnapped.

I find most Urban Fantasies to follow very similar rules. While I believe Moon Called can fit in with a lot of other books of its genre, there were so many things that helped it to stand out on its own. Mercy is definitely one of my new favorite characters. I love her attitude, and that she isn’t stupid. She finds herself in predicaments, but it’s usually to help out those she loves and cares for, and to set peace in the world. She’s always kept out of Werewolf affairs, but when young Mac comes to her, she’s suddenly thrust into their world and the politics and danger that comes along with it.

At the beginning of the book, Mercy’s relationship with Adam isn’t really much of anything. He keeps an eye over her, and they tend to aggravate one another, but there isn’t any hard feelings or hatred. I didn’t necessarily feel any type of connection between them, so events at the end of the book were a pleasant surprise and cliff hanger that is leaving me excited for book two to arrive in the mail – yes, it was ordered before I’d even finished this book because I knew I’d be continuing on with this series. There is a lot of lingering tension between her and Samuel, though, that I can’t wait to see how it is resolved. I like the love interests, even if they were a bit predictable, I cannot guess how they will develop.

In Mercy’s world, the werewolves, witches, and vampires are still living in secret, but the fae, ruled by the Gray Lords, are out in public. As such, they are forced to live on reservations around the US. The groups rarely mix. Bran, the Marrok of the wolves, is planning to bring the wolves out into public – which not all wolves are happy about. Thus this sets into motion the events of this book.

There is a lot of action in this book to keep you engaged, as well as a minimal of slower story-building scenes that keep you abreast of backstory for characters, etc. I absolutely love Patricia’s writing style, it’s easy to read yet engaging. I liked the pacing of the book a lot, and was excited to get back to reading any time that I had to take a break.

The themes of the book such as magic and special powers among the supernatural were interesting as well. Most wolves only have increased senses like hearing, smell; which is typical. But some have a little extra, like Samuel. They are also very dominance oriented, and feel challenged often. I like that Mercy, as a Walker, can “smell” emotions. She can tell when someone is fearful, scared, etc. She can also “hear” spells cast by witches, which up until this point, no one can do, and no one knows that she can. I am very interested in seeing how this develops in future books. I am not sure why this detail stuck out so much, but I find myself really interested by it!

I would highly recommend this book if you are an avid reader of urban fantasy or are looking to break into the genre. There are sexy werewolves, a bad ass heroine who is incredibly likable, and lots of tension between supernatural species to keep you fully engaged in the series.

SIMILAR READS: Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews | Downside Ghosts Series by Stacia Kane | Kitty Norville Series by Carrie Vaughn | World of the Lupi Series by Eileen Wilks | The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison

 

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REVIEW | A Court of Thorns and Roses

16096824Book #1 | A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J Maas

Publication Information:

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children’s

Rating: 4 Stars – I Really Liked It!

ADD TO GOODREADS

 A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

My Thoughts: I have to first say that reading this one immediately after binge reading the entire Throne of Glass series is not the best idea. That being said, if you have read ToG you also have to throw out any notions that this is anything like the faeries and fae worlds in ToG, because it isn’t – it’s nothing like it.

What we do have here, is the same wonderful writing that I fell in love with in ToG, and a main character who doesn’t give herself nearly enough credit. She isn’t as bad ass as Celaena, but she can hold her own. We have a sexy, beastly love interest, and vile vindictive deadly faeries that wouldn’t blink an eye at killing a human – even if she “belongs” to the Spring Court High Lord.

We begin the book with Feyre out hunting for food for her family – father, and two sisters – and she gets both a deer and a wolf. Being told in the first person point of view, we find out that she is curious if the wolf – which is abnormally gargantuan – could be a fairy, but after skinning it, she decides there is no way, it was a regular wolf.

For extra money, since her family is incredibly poor after her once-wealthy father lost his fortune, she sells the wolf’s skin to a mercenary, and goes home – reveling in how awful her life is, and how she is bound to care for her family that do not even like nor appreciate her thanks to a promise she made to her mother upon her deathbed. What she doesn’t expect, is to go home thinking it a normal day in her life, only to have a beastly faerie burst in her door and steal her away upon some terms of the Treaty between the mortals and the fae, since it turns out that wolf was in fact fae.

There may be spoilers from here on out – if you haven’t read this book yet, I’d recommend waiting to read the rest of my review until you’ve read it.

Continue reading

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FRIDAY FREEBIE

Happy Friday, my beautiful book lovers!

Today I am sharing with you a Friday Freebie… so if you’re in the market for a new book to binge read this weekend, well I’ve got one for you to check out!

27392137UNCHAINED MELODY

BY: Sable Hunter

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Sparks fly when Annalise walks thru the door of Ethan Stewart’s Bed & Breakfast, turning his life upside down … again. Six years ago she had simply vanished into thin air after eight short days of earth-shattering passion. Ethan had searched desperately for her, but never found Lise. After being apart for so long can they simply pick up where they left off?

Annalise Ramsey has come to face with the man of her dreams. She has never forgotten what it felt like to be loved by him. Tragedy tore her away from him years before, and now she fears the shadows of that secret will keep them apart forever.

Can Lise overcome the fear of rejection that keeps their love in the dark?

BUY LINKS: AMAZON

Have a great reading filled weekend!

Laura

 

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NANOWRIMO 2015 | WEEK TWO WRAPUP

So I can say with complete confidence that I am finally on track with my WIP (work in progress) however, unless I can somehow pump out thousands of words a day …  I won’t be winning NaNoWriMo this year.

And you know what? That’s OK. It is, really. I don’t mind not winning because I know that I will still succeed. I have such a love for this story I’ve got in my head, and the character’s that I’m writing about, that I know I will finish it. I have the faith, the motivation and drive to write it through to the end. It just very well may take me until next NaNoWriMo to fully be ready to edit it, revise, and possibly have some beta-readers.

Gosh, just thinking about it gives me goosebumps! I’ve also come up with some great ideas for a Beauty and the Beast retelling – so I’m excited to start brainstorming and outlining some ideas for that.

But, let me tell you a little bit about my main character for this WIP, which was previously started under the working title, My Favorite Mistake. It is a New Adult Contemporary Romance.

The main character is Samantha O’Reilly. She is 18 and the youngest daughter of a defense attorney. Her mother is a real estate agent, and she has one older sister, Lindsay, who is 24 and married to Ryan Finnegan, a 34 year old attorney at her father’s law firm. Her father represents big time clients, and their family is very wealthy and live in Cedar Hill, Connecticut.

She has just graduated from high school, and was planning on moving to Florida to go to college with her high school sweetheart, Landon Gray. But she realizes that her life isn’t planned out by her and what she wants. Her father and Landon have basically made all of her decisions for her, and she’s had enough.

Going against everything her father and Landon have planned, Samantha applies to Covington College in New York, and decides to pursue her dream of writing and illustrating children’s books once she is accepted. Unhappy with her decision, Landon says their relationship is “on hold” so that she can figure out what she really needs to do – Which is what HE says – and her father decides to let her go, renting her a two-bedroom apartment since her best friend, Morgan Varese, is going to be attending another college near Covington. Her father has given her a semester to figure things out, and once the semester is up, she needs to either follow her original plans, or support herself.

At Covington, Samantha is realizing that she has lost herself, and is slowly finding pieces of who she dreamed of being when she was a kid. She loves art and drawing, but never pursued classes because it wasn’t acceptable to her father. She met Emily Green in her drawing class, and they’ve become very close friends. One night, the week before Christmas, Samantha comes home early, since class was cancelled, and finds Landon there – but she finds him and Morgan together on the couch of the apartment her father rented for her, hooking up. She kicks them both out and takes Emily up on her offer to her band play at a bar near campus.

Samantha drinks too much, and finds Emily’s twin brother, Evan, much too attractive – and when she wakes up the next morning fully hungover for the first time and ends up walking out into her kitchen in nothing but her bra and panties – forgetting Evan and Emily were there – she realizes how mortified she is – and how attracted to Evan she is.

But love is never easy – and it won’t be for Samantha and Evan.

If you enjoyed this sneak peek – come back next week when I give you Week 3 updates… I am so interested in seeing where Samantha, Emily, and Evan go. I love Samantha’s attitude, and how she won’t live her life for anyone else but herself. She is strong, smart, and sassy and I can’t help but admire her.

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NaNoWriMo 2015 | Week One WrapUp

Every year I commit myself to participating in NaNoWriMo (If you don’t know what that is… go here to find out!) and every year I fail miserably at it. I get side tracked, or I spend all of October preparing that when November comes, I’m burned out and don’t feel like writing. Or I just make up a ton of excuses as to why I don’t have time to write. Or I just don’t have the inspiration to. Right now, I’m in a writing slump. I gave myself a “You can do this!” Pep talk last night, and so I think I can sit down today once I get my daughter down for her nap — and pump out some wordage. At least, I hope to.

Three years ago I started an account on Figment. I loved that it gave me the ability to share my writing with others, and that other fellow writers could read my stories and we could all help each other reach our goals. BUT, that dream quickly faded. No one was really interested in reading my stuff – they just wanted “likes for likes”. So the story I was working on got forgotten about.

Until now.

I read back through what I had written — and REALLY liked it! I just recently started getting into New Adult, and it turns out that the story I started way back when, is new adult. And I really think it has potential!

So I spent September and October outlining and brainstorming and thinking, I’ve got this! But guys – I haven’t written one word of it in November. Not one! So here’s my Week One WrapUp word count: 0. A big fat goose egg.Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Today is make it or break it day. If I can sit down and write, I will feel the motivation to continue. If I can’t write anything today, I will bow out gracefully and just write at my own pace, time, etc.

I hope everyone else is doing better at NaNoWriMo than I am.

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February Book Haul

Hey Bookworms!

Check out my latest book haul below… and don’t forget to subscribe to my BookTube channel so you can watch all of my latest videos! Comments welcome – and if you have any ideas for videos let me know!

Happy Reading!

Laura

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REVIEW | The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

THE DEMON KING
BY: Cinda Williams-Chima
SERIES: Seven Realms #1
GOODREADS RATING: 4.21 out of 5.00 Stars
MY RATING: 5.00 out of 5.00 Stars
ADD TO GOODREADS

WHAT THE BACK OF THE BOOK SAYS: 

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her—including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

LIKES
  •  Princess Raisa! My goodness, I didn’t realize how badly I’ve been in need of a strong heroine. One thing that I love is when a character completely transforms over the course of the book, and Raisa is no exception. She starts out as a naive, ignorant princess heir but who she is at the end of the book is not the same girl.
  • Han Alister. Or Cuffs Alister. Or Hunts Alone. You know – whichever name you decide to call him! Han is such a unique character as well. He is often thought of as this vicious street gang leader who has no care or regard for anyone, but that is so far from the truth! He is a complex character, and I cannot wait to see where the rest of the series takes him. He has immense potential, so it will be interesting to see if he ends up as a hero or villain.
  •  The world-building. This is a giant world – uh, hello, it’s called the Seven Realms series – and it’s incredible how easily the landscapes come to life right off of each page! From the grimy, dirty streets of Ragmarket or Southbridge, to the royal castle of Fellsmarch to the Vale and the camps – Marisa Pines and Demonai – each is unique and incredibly detailed.
DISLIKES
  • It started off reading a little young, but the content didn’t match that. I enjoy the writing, but it did take me a few chapters to really connect.
  • A few events were predictable.
  • I didn’t realize that there was a map – my Kindle copy opened to chapter one, skipping the title page etc., so I didn’t know there was a map included! Duh!
MY THOUGHTS

I don’t know how I haven’t read this book yet. I mean, seriously – it was THAT good. It just really missed my radar. We start the book thrown immediately into action, and pick up information about the main characters and the realm along the way. I enjoyed that the story was told from alternating perspectives as well. It was a great way to contrast Raisa’s life growing up as royalty, and Han’s life, growing up as a street thug. I thoroughly enjoyed Williams-Chima’s writing style. She writes in such a fantastic way, that the characters came to life on each page. I was able to feel everything that Raisa and Han did – from happy moments to really heartbreakingly sad ones.

I also love the character growth in this book. Raisa becomes such an admirable character by books end, that it’s hard to believe she came from where she did. She always had it in her to start a revolution, and now she’s ready to carry it out. She isn’t the type of future monarch to sit around and let her people live in squalor while they live in grandeur in the castle.

Another great part of this book is the range of characters. From humans, to those who wield magic, to those who create magical amulets. I love, love, loved the magical themes in this story! We had good magic users and of course, bad. It was written beautifully, and I cannot wait to see how the magical use will evolve in the next books. It was nice to see such an array of characters as well, from all races and walks of life. It really added a diversity to the book that was wonderful.

The world building was helped greatly by the provided map in the beginning of the book of the Seven Realms. It can be a little overwhelming at first, since the books takes place in many different parts of the world – and different areas are mentioned often. But once you really get a handle on it, it’s incredible how author’s can create these worlds in their minds!

WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Whether your a newbie to fantasy or an avid fantasy reader – you’ll love this book!

Happy Reading!
Laura

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My Top 5 "If I were going to the beach" Reads!

What’s up guys! Check out the 5 books that I’d take with me IF I were going to the beach…

Don’t forget to let me know what books you’d take 🙂

Happy reading!
Laura