Month in Review: August 2014

I Reviewed...
The Never Never Sisters by Alison Heller
Inside the Maze Runner: The Guide to the Glade by Radom House Value Publishing
Gameboard of the Gods and The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead
The If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Series by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond
With All My Soul (Soul Screamers #7) by Rachel Vincent
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny #1) by Jeaniene Frost
Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand
Mini Reviews: The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson and Five Ways to Fall by K.A. Tucker

We Hosted, Spotlighted, and Gave Away...
The Fourth Wall by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo
Akin to the Truth by Paige Strickland
Deadly Errors by Allen Wyler
PreSchool Readiness with Scholastic

I Read...
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Elite by Kiera Cass
The One by Kiera Cass
The Gates of Paradise (Blue Bloods #7) by Melissa de la Cruz
Vampires of Manhattan (Vampires of Manhattan #1) by Melissa de la Cruz
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
Finding Cinderella (Hopeless #2.5) by Colleen Hoover
Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand
Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter
Prime Deception by Carys Jones
The 100 (The Hundred #1) by Kass Morgan
Day 21 (The Hundred #2) by Kass Morgan
The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny #1) by Jeaniene Frost
Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista
My Name is Thank-You by Kaizen Love
Freedom (Fearsome #2) by S.A. Wolfe
The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine #1) by James Dashner

I Watched...
Gladiator with Russell Crowe (an old favorite)

Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley (one of my top five favorite movies)

Pitch Perfect --- why did I wait so long to see this funny, light-hearted, feel-good film?  I loved it: immediately after watching the rental copy, I bought it on DVD and also bought the soundtrack.  I'm in love with this music!

Divergent with Shailene Woodley and Theo James.  I liked it but didn't love it.

Book of the Month...
I loved every page of this heartfelt, deeply moving book.  It was inspirational and such an emotional read. 
Check back soon for my review of this unforgettable novel.

How was your August?

Mini Reviews: The Captive Maiden, Five Ways to Fall

I love Melanie Dickerson's books and The Captive Maiden was no exception.  Dickerson writes historical Christian fiction, and even better than that, her books are retellings of classic fairy tales!  Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale, and Dickerson does it justice in The Captive Maiden.  I loved how the story felt fresh, which is so rare in a retelling.  Dickerson makes several modifications that give her own twist on Cinderella, or in this case, Gisela's, story.  Even better, The Captive Maiden has a faith element to it, which was subtle but still a major part of the story.  I found myself quite unable to put this book down, and finished it feeling like my book budget was well-spent in buying this book.  Recommended!  Rating: 4/5 stars

Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths #4) by K.A. Tucker.

I've been a fan of the Ten Tiny Breaths series since book one, and Five Ways to Fall just reinforced how great this series is.  This book had it all: a smart, sassy heroine, a swoon-worthy love interest, tons of chemistry, and a fast-paced plot.  I love that Tucker's characters are so much more nuanced than they initially appear to be.  There's always more going on with her characters than you'd think, and Reese and Ben were perfect examples of perfectly layered and developed characters.  There was a ton of character growth in this book, not to mention cameos from some of my favorite characters from previous books in this series.  I found this book hard to put down and loved every page of it.  One word that comes to mind when I think back on Five Ways to Fall is relatable---these characters are real and so easy to relate to.  I love the way Tucker wrapped the story up, and how she also managed to insert a lot of humor into this book.  I laughed, smiled, and cried as I read Five Ways to Fall, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.  Rating 4.5/5 stars


Book Review: Imitation (Clone Chronicles #1) by Heather Hildenbrand

Everyone is exactly like me.
There is no one like me.
The rough fabric of my cotton nightgown chafes so I lie very still. They say my discomfort comes from being built like one accustomed to niceties. How is that fair when I myself have never experienced anything but copies of the real thing?
My entire life is an imitation.
I am an Imitation.
I’ve been here five years. Training. Preparing. Waiting.
And now I have a letter.
My assignment has begun.
I am a prisoner.
I am not Raven Rogen.
I am here to die.
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli
I love the premise of Imitation: the idea of clones existing solely as replacements for their wealthy "authentic" counterparts.  It was a terrifyingly plausible concept, and Hildenbrand did a great job setting up the world, characters, and back story in Imitation. 

Ven is an Imitation, her authentic being an heiress named Raven.  Ven is technically five years old---she was created five years ago---but has the body of an 18 year-old.  This issue didn't really bother me until Ven fell in love, then it seemed a little 13 Going on 30 to me...with Ven being really only 5 and her love being 18(ish).  And speaking of the love story, it progressed really quickly, a little too quickly for my taste.  There was very little build-up and before I knew it, Ven was in love. 

This slow, slow, fast was a theme in Imitation: Hildenbrand takes a long time to build the world, slowly setting the stage, and then, BAM, everything happens all at once.  Once the action started, it was non-stop, and I couldn't put this book down.  But, it took a while to get to that point, and the beginning was slow enough that I almost stopped reading. 

However, now that the world-building is complete, I think that the Clone Chronicles will be a great series.  I like the setting, the premise, the characters, and the action.  I am definitely invested in the story and looking forward to where Hildenbrand takes the series.

Book Review: The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny #1) by Jeaniene Frost

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli
I have been a long-time fan of Jeaniene Frost.  Her Night Huntress books are one of my all-time favorite series.  When I learned that Frost was writing a New Adult series, I immediately expected a well-developed cast of characters, fast pace, outstanding imagery, and sizzling chemistry.  Frost delivered all that and more with The Beautiful Ashes.

It's no secret here at I'd So Rather Be Reading that angel books are not for me.  I think it started with the fact that I utterly despised the first angel book I ever read.  Based on the summary, I was a little concerned that The Beautiful Ashes would have the angel element and I would be turned off by it.  I'm happy to say that The Beautiful Ashes' paranormal element was perfectly developed and balanced, and that I really enjoyed that part of the book. 

I love it when the reader is in the dark right along with the main character.  When authors keep me guessing as to why a certain character is special, it makes figuring out the main character's powers/abilities/specialness fun for me.  Frost takes it one step further, leaving us in the dark as to Adrian's background as well.  Finding out his history was really neat: I had an "aha" moment right before Ivy did.  

I loved that The Beautiful Ashes had a historical feel.  It's set in modern times, but is based on historical events, which gave it added depth.  There was one aspect of the historical part of this book that I really appreciated.  I won't go into details, so I don't spoil the surprise, but it was an unexpected and appreciated deviation from the norm in paranormal fiction.  Frost is a risk-taker with her writing, and the way she set the world up in The Beautiful Ashes makes this book different from all the others in the NA paranormal genre.

I mentioned before that The Beautiful Ashes had a great pace.  Boy, did it ever: I read this book in an afternoon, finding it impossible to put down.  I was hooked from the first page, and Frost kept the action, suspense, and drama going for the entire read.  I loved the way she developed the love story.  It was full of chemistry without the characters "going too far," if you know what I mean.  It was perfectly New Adult, and I appreciated that.  The characters were so real, and the emotions practically jumped off the page.  I found myself tearing up a couple of times, from the depth of Ivy's emotions (I think that first person narratives are the best at imparting deep emotions in the reader, don't you?).

I can't say enough good things about The Beautiful Ashes.  I loved every single thing about this book, and can't wait for book two!

Pre-School Readiness with Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic

Today we are happy to partner with Scholastic Books and talk about preschool readiness.  Scholastic has some great resources for parents, including their Parents Website (visit the site HERE), full of helpful articles, lists and resources for children, from preschool on up. 
Image Source:
It’s back-to-school time and the importance of quality preschool readiness is top of mind with parents and teachers--–President Obama included it in his State of the Union address; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed to serving expanding pre-K access to 50,000 students this year; and the American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced a new policy prescribing reading aloud to children as early as birth.
Research shows from as early as the first months of life, children’s experiences with oral-language development and literacy begin to build a foundation for later reading success (Duke & Carlisle, 2011; Dickinson & Neuman, 2006).
So what do parents need to know to help their child be preschool ready? (Some resources, press release link:
Scholastic is here to help and provide the best books for preschool children!
Here are some highlights of the latest Scholastic Reading Club offerings and new book titles that will pique the interest of the pre-school audience.
Expanded Reading Club for Pre-Readers
  • Scholastic Reading Club has ramped up the focus on early childhood reading by expanding the successful preschool book clubs: “Honeybee®” (toddlers to 4-years-old); “Firefly®” (pre-K and kindergarten); “Early Childhood”; and “Kindergartners.”
  • Scholastic Reading Club is also launching a new early childhood advisory board consisting of preschool teachers from across the country, and a new Baby Boutique, offering parents our top 100 choices to help start a child’s first home library
Early Childhood Books, Apps and Media
  • New age-appropriate books for infants, toddlers and preschool students, including board books, novelty books, hardcover picture books, paperback titles, and coloring/activity books.
  • New titles available for fall 2014 include Clifford Visits the Zoo, Dinosaurumpus, Peppa Pig: Ballet Lesson, The Night Parade and more.       
Preschool Book Fairs
  • Scholastic offers special Preschool Book Fairs nationwide, featuring a wide selection of carefully selected books for children ages birth to 5 years, including popular series, award-winners, new releases and other titles that will ignite young imaginations and instill a love of reading. 
I've requested a couple of the new titles, so check back soon for my reviews of Clifford Visits the Zoo, and Peppa Pig: Ballet Lesson!

Book Review: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

At twenty-two years old, aspiring musician Sydney Blake has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her good friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter cheating on her with Tori—and she is left trying to decide what to do next.

Sydney becomes captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge Lawson. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the daily guitar playing he does out on his balcony. She can feel the harmony and vibrations in his music. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either: He seems to have finally found his muse. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance—and the enchanting music that inspires one young woman to put her life back together.

Includes a free original soundtrack by musician
Griffin Peterson.
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Source: Purchased
Reviewed By: Kelli
I love Colleen Hoover, and when I learned of her latest release---and the fact that I was several months late in reading it---I bought Maybe Someday and started reading it the same day. 
Hoover writes contemporary fiction stories with likable characters, realistic storylines, sizzling chemistry, and tons of emotion.  I always need at least one tissue while reading her work, and Maybe Someday was no exception.
I loved every aspect of Maybe Someday.  I wouldn't change a thing about it: it was a perfectly written, moving read.  It was much deeper and more emotional than I expected it to be, which I loved.  There's a big surprise about one of the main characters, and it completely changes the tone and arc of the story.  I loved that the characters in Maybe Someday are struggling with some atypical issues.  The issues gave the story more depth, and made the book much more relevant to me personally.  I don't want to say more and spoil the story.
I can't say enough good things about Colleen Hoover and will continue to buy and read everything she writes.  Maybe Someday was quite possibly my favorite book by Colleen Hoover to date.  I highly recommend this moving, inspiring story!

Book Review: Every Ugly Word by Aimee Salter

When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.
Release Date: July 17, 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli
Every Ugly Word really took me by surprise.  I thought, after reading the summary, that it was going to be a book about bullying with a small dose of magical realism.  And it was, but the magical realism element was really unique.  It had a psychological thriller aspect to it that kept me thinking about the story long after I finished reading it.

I am glad that the authors of YA literature are starting to write about bullying.  It is a very relevant topic, and worthy of inclusion in the YA genre.  I think that nearly everyone experiences bullying at some point in their life, whether they are the victim, the bully, or their friend is affected. 

Ashely is the target of two of her school's most popular kids: Finn and Karen.  For whatever reason---do bullies ever have a good reason for picking on someone?---Finn and Karen set out to make her life miserable.  And they succeed in full.  Ashley is depressed, constantly tortured at school and via social media, and can't even take solace in her mother's care: her mother thinks that the bullying is Ashley's fault.  To add to her desperation, Ashley is hopelessly in love with her best friend, Matt, who sadly does not share her feelings.  Matt's friendship is Ashley's only buffer in the storm of high school, and when Matt and Karen start to date, he becomes less of an advocate for Ashley, right when she needs him the most.

Just this premise alone would have made for a great, emotional read.  But the addition of magical realism: the fact that when Ashley looks in the mirror, she can see herself six years in the future, made this book so unique and intriguing.  I loved Ashley's interactions with Older Me.  They made me remember my high school years, which were not always great, and I remembered that desperate feeling of wanting to know that things would be better for me when high school was over.  Salter captured those feelings perfectly, and the emotions of both present-day Ashley and future Ashley jumped off the pages.  I found myself tearing up several times while reading Every Ugly Word, because of how invested I was in Ashley's emotional well-being.

The ending of the book really took me by surprise.  For most of the book, it was very clear which Ashley was narrating: the present-day Ashley or the older Ashley.  However, at the end, the two stories converged.  Twice, I actually had to flip back a few pages to make it clear which Ashley was the current narrator.  This slight confusion was the only thing I didn't love about this story. 

If you are new to magical realism, don't shy away from Every Ugly Word.  This book is a perfect blend of contemporary fiction with a dash of magical realism, and an emotional journey full of character growth.  I highly recommend Every Ugly Word and look forward to reading more from Aimee Salter.


Book Spotlight, Excerpt and Giveaway: Compass North by Stephanie Joyce Cole

In Stephanie Joyce Cole’s COMPASS NORTH, a desperately unhappy woman is thrust into a new life and a new identity in a small town in Alaska when she is presumed dead in a freak accident. She discovers that it takes more than a change of venue to reinvent a life.

 “Compass North is a must read book for today's generation of women (and men), defining their role in a complex and fast changing world.” – Grady, Goodreads.

 Find out more about COMPASS NORTH in this exclusive interview with Stephanie Joyce Cole!

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway:

Prize:  Grand prize 18" Sterling Silver Compass Pendant (US entrants only) Retail value $35.00. Runner-up prize $10 GC to Amazon or B&N (open internationally, winners choice).


Author: Stephanie Joyce Cole
Author Location: Seattle, Washington
Genre: Women’s Fiction; Romantic Suspense
Release Date: December1st, 2013 (digital) April 1st, 2014 (print)
Pages: 224 pages
Publisher: Champagne Book Group
Format: Digital eBook, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-77155-008-6

Synopsis: Reeling from the shock of a suddenly shattered marriage, Meredith flees as far from her home in Florida as she can get without a passport: to Alaska. After a freak accident leaves her presumed dead, she stumbles into a new identity and a new life in a quirky small town. Her friendship with a fiery and temperamental artist and her growing worry for her elderly, cranky landlady pull at the fabric of her carefully guarded secret. When a romance with a local fisherman unexpectedly blossoms, Meredith struggles to find a way to meld her past and present so that she can move into the future she craves. But someone is looking for her, someone who will threaten Meredith’s dream of a reinvented life.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio

Stephanie Joyce Cole lived for decades in Alaska. She and her husband recently relocated to Seattle, where they reside with a predatory but lovable Manx cat named Bruno. Stephanie has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. When she's not writing, she's hiking, creating ceramics, practicing yoga, traveling, volunteering and discovering new ways to have fun--and oh yes, reading, reading, reading.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Excerpt from Compass North:
            This morning, when Meredith had woken, bleary-eyed and her throat dry, she buried her head in the soft pillow. Going home. She probed the thought gently, thinking about opening the townhouse door, sensing the silent whispers. Was it even home anymore?
            On their way to the Fairbanks airport, someone yelped, “Look, a bear!”
            Even though it was the last day of the tour, the bus still shuddered to a stop when anyone shouted out a sighting. Meredith had rushed with everyone else to the left side of the bus to squint at the distant-moving speck on the rain-drenched green expanse in Denali National Park, all the time thinking, Will he be at the airport? No, of course not. I didn’t even tell him my flight information. But he could ask Ellen. But no, he won’t be there. Unless he wants to talk about the divorce right away...
            “Wow, look at those fall colors!”
            At a scenic viewpoint, they all huddled together against the whistling wind and stared at the rolling tundra outside of Fairbanks, with its late summer greens, scarlets, and browns pocketed by hundreds of tiny lakes shining a deep navy blue in the weak afternoon sunlight. The stiff breeze carried the scent of trampled evergreens, wet earth, and the suggestion of still, boggy water. The bite of the wind made her eyes water and blurred her vision. She murmured some words of admiration, but her thoughts were far away. What will I do next? How could Michael do this to me after fifteen years?
            Meredith had found her fellow travelers to be a contented and congenial group, solicitous and moderately interested in their only single, and rather withdrawn, slightly nervous fellow traveler. They must have found her odd, she realized, her slender frame swaddled in layers of Florida cotton, while they had prepared for this trip for months, fortifying themselves in down parkas and carrying brightly colored backpacks. She was at least two decades younger than most of them. But they had been kind to her, and after the first few days they realized she preferred to be left alone.
            It was one of the last tours of the season, and though the sun often offered a bit of pleasant warmth midday, the nights drew in sharp and bitter. On the road to Fairbanks, they had driven through vistas splashed with streaks of red and gold stretching to a far horizon, and could see a fine new layer of snow had already dusted the lower slopes of distant, craggy peaks. The brief Alaska autumn had arrived, and winter already announced its intentions. But Meredith might as well have been traveling in the vast expanse of some flat, monotonous desert, for all the magnificence of the country registered with her.
            And now, as she exited the airport and stepped onto the curb, her travel bag held tight under her arm, her lungs breathing in the cool, crisp air, the bus looming ahead of her, the sound of a plane deafeningly roaring, coming closer…
            Later, she would wonder if she had seen the plane crash into the waiting bus. She didn’t think so. All she remembered was the noise, the terrible boom, then the fiery mass where the bus should have been.
             Screams erupted then, and voices wailing. Meredith couldn’t absorb it at first, that the bus heading back to Anchorage—the bus she should be on—had just exploded at the far end of the airport parking lot.
            She dropped hard onto the concrete curb in terror, sprawled into a sitting position with her legs awkwardly splayed in front of her. She watched in confusion as people streamed out of the terminal. The crowd pushed a few feet ahead, shouting and pointing and holding their hands to faces that wore masks of shock and horror, but the heat and flames kept them at a distance.
Oh my God, that’s our bus, everyone is on board, everyone is there...
            Jonas and Angela were right behind me. And Carrie and John were across the aisle...
            Oh my God. I should be on that bus. I should be dead.
            But I’m not.

Book Review: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative--like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it--but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Age Group: Adult
Source: Purchased
Reviewed By: Kelli
I've been following Allie Brosh's blog for a while now (the incomparable Jenny Lawson recommended her) and I've been anxiously awaiting the release of her book.  I waited so long for her book, that I actually forgot about the release date; hence, I bought and read this book a few months after its release. 
If you're familiar with Allie's blog, her book will make complete sense to you.  Her writing is peppered with awesomely terrible illustrations.  At first, I found the illustrations distracting.  The more I read Allie's blog, though, the more they grew on me.  So much so, that by the time I read her book, I found myself looking forward to her pictures.  They are dark humor at its best, with a simple kind of attraction, and they complement her writing to a tee.
Allie writes openly about depression and her experiences with it.  The way she describes her feelings (or lack thereof) while depressed is the most honest and relatable description of depression I've ever read.  I found myself nodding my head so many times while reading Hyperbole and a Half.  Allie shares so much about herself, and I found myself really relating to her.  Her chapters on using fear and shame as motivators were some of my favorite parts of the book.  The chapters on identity were also so intuitive, deep and real, that my eyes teared up in recognition and compassion.
Hyperbole and a Half is also hilarious!  I laughed so much that my cat jumped out of my lap in anger (I was doing the rare belly-laugh and it was shaking my cat, which infuriated her).  I loved that Allie included so much humor in her book, right alongside the deeper chapters about depression.   
I read Hyperbole and a Half in one sitting, which is so rare for me these days: it was that good.  I kept saying, "just one more chapter" until I looked up and the book was over.  I immediately purchased a copy for a gift, and see myself giving this book as gifts in the future as well.  I highly recommend Hyperbole and a Half! 



Most people know that I am a glorified book snob. If it isn't epic ain't no body got time for that is my motto. I am around teen girls a lot and they often try to tempt me with different books they are in to (to get me off task of course). A few months ago they were going on and on about a series. But what really caught my attention was that my non-reading, 16 year old sister was totally smitten! I started listening to them more closely as they awaited the conclusion book (The One). When it was delivered and my sister laid in bed and practically put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on her door I knew I was all in. If a series was getting teens like her, sign me up! Long story short and in another post... IT WAS EPIC and totally stalker worthy. I called Kelli and told her it was a must read (immediately) and that she had to review it because I was intimidated. It takes a lot to subdue this beast. Three days later and we were both in agreement that this was a Stalker Worthy series.

When Kelli and I fall in love with a series we tend to obsess, a lot. To be a Stalker Worthy series means that it has pretty much taken over our daily life, stolen sleep and has rendered our families hungry (because you know we don't feed them when we are in this book induced state).

When I am playing taxi to soccer practice or skateboard sessions I call Kelli as I drive. There are always themes to our conversations:
  • woes of raising little hellions 
  • work gossip 
  • quick rants
  • book chat (#duh)- this is the one that really gets us going! 
I mean, we range from acting as if these characters are real to planning (dreaming) how we might convince authors to give us more. Which leads into our stalker worthy series, today specifically, The Selection series by Kiera Cass. I mean, I started watching The Bachelor again because of this series. #influence #yourewelcomeABC

We started talking and even dreaming up the ways that Cass could continue the series. Of course I want(ed) more of  Maxon and America together. But we both wanted to know what was going to happen to the caste system! We were totally into figuring out ways to fix the problems. We also really loved Marlie.

So our conversation had to end and that was that. So we thought...

And then Kiera Cass gives freaking epic news that same day!!!

First, Cass offers a bonus epilogue for The One. Heck to the freakin' yes. Click HERE.

Then, the first 3 chapters of The Queen (which I of course pre-ordered immediately after finishing The One). Click HERE.

And finally, the bombshell. Watch below. 

Now you know why I am freaking out!

Dearest Kiera Cass,

Bring It.


December 2014

image sources: personal, &

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Deadly Errors by Allen Wyler

Thriller Explores Biggest Medical Nightmare:
Deadly Patient-Care Errors
"A thriller that only a doctor could have written. Wyler's sense of the worlds of the hospital and operating room are unsurpassed. You'll feel as if you are right there."

--Michael Palmer, New York Times bestselling author of Miracle Cure and The Sisterhood

"Deadly Errors is a wild and satisfying ride! This is an 'up all night' pass into troubled places that only hard-working doctors know about, a turbulent world of trusting patients and imperfect humans struggling with the required image of perfection."
--John J. Nance, author of Pandora?s Clock and Fire Flight
A comatose man is given a fatal dose of insulin in the emergency room, even though he isn't diabetic.  An ulcer patient dies of shock after receiving a transfusion of the wrong blood type.  A recovering heart patient receives a double dose of medication and suffers a fatal heart attack.
Brain surgeon Dr. Tyler Matthews suspects that something is seriously wrong with the hospital's new 'Med-InDx' computerized medical record system. But he doesn't suspect that there's something murderously wrong with it.
As Matthews begins to peel back the layers of deception that cover the deadly errors, he crosses powerful corporate interests who aren't about to let their multi-billion dollar medical record profits evaporate. Now a target, Matthews finds himself trapped in a maze of deadly conspiracy, with his career, his marriage, and his very life on the line.
Once again, Wyler blends his unparalleled expertise as a world class surgeon with his uncanny knack for suspense to create a true 'best-of-breed' medical thriller. Deadly Errors is a lightning-quick action procedural that is destined to win new fans to the medical thriller genre.
Allen Wyler is a renowned neurosurgeon who earned an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity.  He has served on the faculties of both the University of Washington and the University of Tennessee, and in 1992 was recruited by the prestigious Swedish Medical Center to develop a neuroscience institute.
In 2002, he left active practice to become Medical Director for a startup med-tech company (that went public in 2006) and he now chairs the Institutional Review Board of a major medical center in the Pacific Northwest.
Leveraging a love for thrillers since the early 70's, Wyler devoted himself to fiction writing in earnest, eventually serving as Vice President of the International Thriller Writers organization for several years. After publishing his first two medical thrillers Deadly Errors (2005) and Dead Head (2007), he officially retired from medicine to devote himself to writing full time.
He and his wife, Lily, divide their time between Seattle and the San Juan Islands.
And, now, for the giveaway!  Thank you to Astor + Blue for providing the giveaway copy.  Anyone can enter to win an e-copy of Deadly Errors.  The winner will be notified via email and has 72 hours to respond and claim their prize.  Giveaway runs from 8/16-8/26." rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Review: With All My Soul (Soul Screamers #7) by Rachel Vincent

What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America? It's time to kick some hellion butt...

After not really surviving her junior year (does "undead" count as survival?), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She's going to find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another in order to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.

But then she meets Wrath and understands that she's closer to the edge than she's ever been. And when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realizes she can't save everyone she loves without risking everything she has....

Release Date: March 26, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: Purchased
Reviewed By: Kelli

I've been a long-time fan of the Soul Screamers series, and I'm so happy with how Vincent concluded the series.  With All My Soul was my favorite Soul Screamers book. 

Kaylee is a great heroine: she is smart, strong, and loyal.  Her vulnerability lies in her refusal to let anyone get hurt on her behalf.  She is fiercely protective of her loved ones, protective to the point of putting herself in danger to keep others safe.  And that quality was never more evident than in With All My Soul.  Kaylee makes a huge sacrifice at the end of the book, one that surprised me in its intensity and severity, but it was the perfect ending to the series.

I loved the way Vincent wrapped up each character's story.  I love getting glimpses into my favorite characters' futures, and Vincent really delivered in that regard.  I also enjoyed Kaylee's character growth and strength.  She matured a lot throughout the series.

I can't put my finger on what exactly kept this series from being a stand-out series for me.  Maybe it was the fact that there was so much of a focus on high school, I'm not sure, but I did really enjoy the series, it's just not an all-time favorite for me.

I do recommend the Soul Screamers series, for fans of YA and fans of paranormal fiction.  I liked that this series features a somewhat unique paranormal species and had a different kind of twist to it.


Guest Post: Paige Strickland, Author of Akin to the Truth

Today we have author Paige Strickland here to talk about adopting pets.  Paige is adopted herself (her book Akin to the Truth is her memoir about her own adoption).  Welcome, Paige!

Greetings, Readers and Animal Lovers,

There's a reason why I’m guest posting about pets. Not only have I adopted animals of my own over the years and grew up with fellow adopted pets, I am adopted myself!  

Being an adoptee has given me a unique bond with my pets and the adopted pets of my friends and other family members.  Every fur-creature in my life came to me through random chance and or because I went to a place and selected ones with whom I /my family felt a special connection.  

Adopting a pet, like adopting a child, implies great responsibility and sensitivity on the part of the new (pet) parent.  Your home, even inviting and loving, is a completely foreign setting for the new addition.  Your recently adopted furry family member may be feeling overwhelmed with newness, uncertainty and change in routine. They may experience pangs of loss for former companions if they came from other human owners or lived with littermates and or their feline/canine mother.  Feeling insecure may be the reason for some inappropriate pet behaviors until the period of adjustment passes.

Even an animal coming to your fabulous home from a less than desirable setting might exhibit unwanted behaviors because of the change in their lives.  The old setting, good or bad, was their "normal".  It's the only thing they understood, but with consistency, persistence and lots of love, improvement will happen.

Many people adopt a new pet and already have other pets in their home.  Be sure to still spend time with your first pet(s), reassuring them that they are still an important part of your life.  You can possibly use an old towel or blanket and pass it between the first pet's living space to the newer pet and vice-versa.  Allow for supervised together time and time apart so that all animals can socialize but regroup in their personal spaces.

Years ago, I subscribed to Cat Fancy Magazine and read many articles by feline behaviorist, Carole Wilbourn.  Her blog is here: Wilbourn is a successful pet therapist who promotes methods for introducing new pets to existing pets in a household.  Her style of acquainting animals became known at "The Wilbourn Method"' and is now known as "The Wilbourn Way", because the scope has increased to greater forms of cat therapy, including Reiki.  

Every time my family has acquired a new kitten, I have incorporated many of Wilbourn's teachings when introducing pets.  We buy extra toys, spread the old scents and new animal scents among cats with fabric items like old socks and towels.  We may hold one pet and refer to it as the other pet's "baby", "buddy", "love" or something like that.  We time out the animals so that they can ease into their new lives together with a few breaks.  Depending on the personality and ages of your pets, this process can take a few days to a few weeks.  (We even did this when our human children were born, so that the animals could feel secure in our love and included in our changed lives.  We also used every opportunity available to teach our young children animal respect, care and understanding.)

Above all, as you transition a new pet into your lives, whether with an existing pet or not, remember that the animal(s) might regress until their worries subside.  In many ways they are like small children. They form attachments and have a limited understanding and fewer life experiences to draw from. Introducing a new dog or cat takes time and patience on everyone's part, but will enrich everyone's life with beauty, companionship and hopefully years of joyful memories.

Book Description:
Akin to the Truth is Paige’s own memoir about her adoption. In 1961, adoption was still one of those private and taboo topics. Not much identifying information was provided for adoptive families or for birth parents by the agencies. In Ohio, records were sealed forever. Adoptees and birth mothers were supposed to be thankful for the adoptive family and never look back. Adoptive parents thought their deal was signed and sealed.

As a child and teenager, growing up adopted was like a Scarlet Letter "A" if anyone ever found out the truth. At least, that's the way author, Paige Strickland felt as she muddled through social situations and other interpersonal relations. She always loved her adoptive family, but realized she wanted not just more, but what other "regular born" people had: real roots, accurate health history and authentic family lore. She wanted freedom from shame, more dignity, authenticity and a full identity.

Then, through random chance, a local TV talk show in 1987 revealed that certain records were open if you were born before 1964 in the state of Ohio, and the author's life would never be the same after that program.

During her quest, (pre computer), for her identity, her adoptive father struggled with his own self image and sense of belonging, so both father and daughter embarked on separate and unique parallel missions to find what was missing in their lives.

This is the story of how being adopted affected Paige growing up in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s. It shows how one adoptee has embraced and learned to view family more globally. She tells the saga of a loving but dysfunctional family of both blood and choice, trying to cope with typical and not so typical life alterations during the decades of social revolution and free love. She learns that the most fascinating family stories are discovered by those passionate enough to question and search.

Paperback: 285 pages
Publisher: Idealized Apps, LLC (September 8, 2013)
AISN: B00F28TM86
Twitter Hashtag: #AkinStrickland

About the Author:

Paige Adams Strickland, a teacher and writer from Cincinnati, Ohio, is married with two daughters. Her first book, Akin to the Truth: A Memoir of Adoption and Identity, is about growing up in the 1960s-80s (Baby-Scoop Era) and searching for her first identity. It is also the story of her adoptive family and in particular her father’s struggles to figure out his place in the world while Paige strives to find hers. After hours she enjoys family and friends, pets, reading, Zumba ™ Fitness, gardening and baseball.
Finding Paige online:
Akin to the Truth Website -