Weekly Update #117


Welcome to my Weekly Update where I post my blog's schedule for the week. I'm linking up to The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, as well as to Tynga's Reviews and Talk Supe for showcasing the books I added to my shelves or Kindle this week.

School is out for my kids so I've had to juggle things a little bit more, but we've been having a lot of fun too. I'm one of those moms who loves having my kids home. :) Summer has also officially arrived with temps back in the normal, which is the low 100s at this point.

Next week is crazy! I don't know quite what I was thinking. I think I must have been planning on being ahead at this point, but with everything that has happened over the past couple of months I'm just not. Add to my blog schedule some tour events with Prism and then helping my sister teach some art classes to five and six year olds... Well, wish me luck! Lol! At least I'm looking forward to everything!

Here's what to expect:
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Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: The Artisans by Julie Reece

The-Artisans-banner

Welcome to my tour stop for The Artisans by Julie Reece. This definitely was a unique,
harrowing, and sizzling story. Check out all the info, my review, and giveaway below...

The-Artisans-coverThe Artisans
by Julie Reece
YA Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Paperback & ebook, 344 Pages
May 12th 2015 by Month9Books, LLC.

Summary

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

   
Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links.
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Armchair BEA: Day 4 Topic

Armchair BEA

Check out all the info about Armchair BEA.

This is going up rather late. I meant to have it ready to go, but it didn't happen... The topic for today is BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATIONS.

These are hit and miss with me. I would say that there are some really good ones, some that are so-so, and others that are quite terrible. What makes books so hard to portray in movies? 

1. Well, I would say that when we all read that we have our own imaginations along with us. Even if the author describes what the characters and setting look like we will each view them slightly differently. We also hear their voices differently. In a movie it can be so hard to fit those expectations for those of us that have read the book. 

2. Then there is also the fact that most books can not possibly be shown in a two-hour period of time. Some things, like certain scenes and sometimes even characters, are completely omitted. When some of those, if not all, are dear to you then it can make you a tough critic.

3. The other issue is getting the right cast or a good cast, at least, and having the movie funded to be able to do everything that needs to be done. Now some moves can be small-budget films and still be pulled off marvelously. BBC has a bunch of these and I've seen some excellent Dickens' books and other classics pulled off really well. Of course those still had fantastic actors and crew. There are others that just can't be done right without a large budget.

A few other books that have fairly decent adaptations: Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hunger Games (don't hate me for saying this, but I actually prefer the movies to the books, all that omitted violence and tragedy), Divergent wasn't bad, and Anne of Green Gables (the first movie, except I missed the twins from the book). I was disappointed by Mortal Instruments because I felt they took out most of what made that first book good - all the conversations and witty banter  - and I didn't like who was cast as Jace.

How about you? Do you have some books that you liked adapted to movies and some that you thought were not so well done?

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Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Hohenstein by Didi Lawson


Welcome to my tour stop for Hohenstein by Didi Lawson.
You can check out all the info below as well as my review and the giveaway...

Hohenstein
Didi Lawson
Adult Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 380 Pages
May 23rd 2015 by Xchyler Publishing              

Summary

Anything but a typical aristocrat, young Baroness Marie-Louise is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work, especially when it comes to saving her ancestral estate. Determined to shake loose the shackles of propriety and gain the warm family life her upbringing denied her, she has vowed to marry a man of lower rank. Blue-bloods need not apply.

But when she is forced to turn to a childhood friend for assistance, the handsome, debonair count may prove a temptation impossible to resist. Marie-Louise soon finds herself caught between the comfort of a middle-class doctor and the passion of a nobleman, with the future of her childhood home at stake.
  
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Book Blitz: Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel

Trouble in LovelandTrouble in Loveland
by Jennifer Peel
Adult Contemporary Romance, Clean
ebook, 313 Pages
May 1st 2015


Summary

What teenage girl hasn’t gone to great lengths to get noticed by her crush?

Charlee Jensen is no exception. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately in the end, Ryan her much older neighbor and unrequited love has no idea she exists during her teenage years, at least not the way she wants him to.

That all changes, though, when Charlee returns home, after eight years, to work for her estranged father and Ryan … her teen crush. This time, Ryan has no problem noticing her. His only problem is that he isn’t quite sure what to do with this woman who is suddenly all grown up, beautiful and annoyingly charming.

Throw in a cute three year old, and an ex-wife that’s not quite ready to let go, and you have a whole lot of trouble in Loveland.

Trouble in Loveland is a clean, heartfelt romance filled with humor and tenderness.


Praise for the Book

“Jennifer Peel’s writing captures you from the start and pulls you in. Trouble in Loveland is a fantastic book and was the perfect escape that I look for when I read. It has it all! Drama, humor, and romance. Highly recommend!”

“I have a new favorite author! I am so glad that Jennifer Peel started writing because she writes exactly the kinds of books that I love and Trouble in Loveland is no exception–it’s good, clean, romantic fun!”

“Funny and heartfelt! Jennifer Peel creates characters that are so relatable! This story made me both laugh and cry. A must read!”
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Armchair BEA: Day 3 Topics

Armchair BEA

Check out all the info about Armchair BEA.

There are two new topics to choose from today: Character Chatter & Blogging Q&A...


CHARACTER CHATTER

The biggest traits that I look for in characters are that they're consistent, realistic, relate-able/likeable/I connect with them, strong (even if strong doesn't always mean physically strong or a-type personalities), and that they develop and mature over events or time.

How do I pick favorites? This is going to be the short list because I have lots of favorites and could take hours to discuss them all. So here it is:

Favorite Heroine: This was really tough! I have quite a few. I'm going to go with Cinder though from The Lunar Chronicles. I just have loved seeing how she has grown into her role and how intelligent, creative, caring, fierce, and sweet she is. I know she'll do some more developing in the final book. Can't wait!

Favorite Hero: This one is so hard!!! So many choices... I'm going to go with Prince Po from Graceling. He is just amazing! He's really honed his skills, but what makes him a hero isn't really his fierceness or ability to fight and defend. It's really that he's the perfect counter to Katsa and I love how he takes her, all of her, as she is and is just there for her. He basically saves her.

Favorite Side Character: Sturmhond from Siege and Storm by Leigh Burdugo. He seriously rocked that book! He's witty, seriously intelligent, cunning, charming, handsome, funny, regal, has suave... I could go on and on. 

BLOGGING Q&A

Hmm. There are lots of things I am not an expert on. At all. I'm still learning and changing what I do - some of that due to how much time I can spend on updating and making changes. I'm going to share just a few tips for maybe those that haven't started blogging yet...

1. Don't pick a long blog name and keep it simple. It's all around easier in the long run when you leave links places, use your name, and tell people your blog name. Catchy is always good too. And pick a name you'll be good with FOREVER. Facebook is almost impossible to change and losing followers because you have to do a new page is the pits.

2. Keep your Twitter handle short. Twitter only allows so many characters. I can't tell you how many times I've had to be very creative in tweets for promotions because the handles that needed to be used were so long and I could fit hardly anything else besides them and the link.

3. Start off requesting and managing eARCs right. Everyone has different ways of doing this, but once those ARCs start rolling in it can be easy to get very behind. Only request what you'll actually read. A good goal is to plan on only reading one or two a week at most and so when you request an ARC, write it on your calendar a week or two before release. That way if you get approved you already have it on your calendar and you won't overbook yourself. (I should take my own advice - just trying to save you guys my problems. Lol!) Speaking about calendars...

4. Keep a calendar and make sure you update it regularly, as in right when you sign up for anything. You don't know how often I'm asked when someone is posting for a tour because they didn't write down the dates they gave (I'm talking about when I've already sent out the schedule too). I've also had bloggers be unavailable for a date they left on a form or that they're on the schedule for because they never wrote it down. It's a good way to build bridges and be professional. Asking to change a date is always okay and never hurts.

5. Don't attack other people's reviews. You can definitely disagree. We all do or like some books better or less than others. Just be friendly and nice about it.

6. Don't write posts when you're angry, especially when it might target someone specific. It's just not worth it to say things that are posted to the world that you can't take back. Plus I'm a believer that if you have an issue with someone, boxing it out online in an unprofessional way isn't really the right way to go about it. You can always work it out through emails if it's that big of an issue. Most of us are pretty reasonable. Having said that, there are times when you do need to express a negative opinion, but still, you should wait until you're calm and can discuss it without attacking someone.

7. Preview your posts. I'm drawn as a reader and follower (I was a follower before I blogged) to well edited and organized posts. I know it doesn't affect content, but I like it when I can tell the author/blogger took time to make sure their post didn't have lots of mistakes or big spaces or such. That's just me though.

8. Back up your blog. A million times over on a regular basis.

9. Have fun. Be willing to reassess and take breaks so you don't get burned out.

So how about you?

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Blog Tour Interview & Giveaway: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler


Welcome to my stop for The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler! I really enjoyed reading The Book of Broken Hearts that Sarah released in 2013 and so have been really looking forward to her newest. You can check out all the usual info, her interview, as well as the giveaway below...

The Summer of Chasing MermaidsThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids
YA Contemporary Romance, Chick-lit, Fairy Tale Retelling
Hardcover, 368 Pages
June 2nd 2015 by Simon Pulse

Summary

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life. 

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .
    
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Armchair BEA: Day 2 Topics

Armchair BEA

Check out all the info about Armchair BEA.

There are two topics to choose from today: Visual Expressions and Social Media.

I'll be real honest. I have read very few visual books if you exclude children's books. It's not that I don't like them because that is not the case at all, but I would say that they're not really my thing. I have been wanting to read a few of them more often though. I'm big into super heroes and I'd love to read those comics, but I also know that a lot of comics don't involve super-anything at all. I do also really like sweet romance and fierce characters. Anyone have any suggestions?

So, moving on to the second topic because obviously the first one doesn't really apply to me... I have a love/hate relationship with social media, although mostly we choose to passively get along. Lol! I really just don't have enough hours every day to devote to it. I do get on various social networks and I get updates, but I don't do as much as I would like to there. I will say that I do have some preferences. I like Facebook, but I like the casualness and ease of Twitter more. Having said that, I like going to Facebook more than Twitter to see what's going on with the authors, publishers, and other bloggers I follow. I also like the idea of Tsu, but I always forget to go manually post there. 

And then I can't forget Instagram and Pinterest. Those are both really my favorites, but I avoid them (especially Pinterest) sometimes because I seem to get swallowed whole there and lose great holes of time somehow. I do go to both for certain purposes. Instragram I actually use for mainly personal uses to post pictures of my family. Pinterest I use for everything when I'm looking for creative ideas or anything else. It's really a fabulous place. I also like pinning things in regards to books quite a bit, but am not on there as much as I should be.

So that's me. How about you?

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Blog Tour Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Spelled by Betsy Schow


Welcome to my tour stop for Spelled by Betsy Schow!
You can check out all the info, my review, an excerpt, and the giveaway below...

SpelledSpelled
(Spelled #1)
by Betsy Schow
YA Fantasy
Paperback, 352 Pages
June 2nd 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire

Summary

Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called "Kansas." Now it's up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse...before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

   
   Indigo Chapters
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Armchair BEA: Day 1 - Library Love

Armchair BEA

Check out all the info about Armchair BEA.

Libraries. I'm a huge supporter, especially if you count the amount of late fees in the last year. Ha! ;) I love taking my kids there and every summer we participate in their reading program. 

We have a couple of great libraries in our area, but the one we go to the most is the Dobson Ranch Branch of the Mesa Public Library. I go in on a regular basis with or without my kids. They have a fun little kid area that my youngest two enjoy. It's also a smaller library so it feels a little more intimate. The librarians are also friendly and that's always a good thing.

Photo of Dobson Ranch Branch Library

Do you visit your library often?

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Armchair BEA: Day 1 Introductions

Armchair BEA

This is the first year I'm actually participating in Armchair BEA. Normally I miss it somehow. 
So, the very first topic up for discussion is introducing myself...

What is your theme song?

I'm going to cheat a little here. I don't really have a theme song, but I do have one for my husband that's his ringtone on my phone. That should count right? It's Hey Ho by the Lumineers. and the part that plays for the ring is "I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart..." Yeah. I obviously like him. :)

What is one book everyone should read?

This is such a subjective question because everyone would pick something different and it's based so much on the reader's tastes and life experiences. Having said that, I would say David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (I need to read it again and write a proper review). I can't remember how young I was when I read it (before high school), but I connected with and was inspired by it. 

Now, if you need something a little lighter, I'd maybe say. . . gosh, how do you choose just one??? Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson was really, really good. As was Hope Springs by Sarah M. Eden. And then there's Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay for Christian fiction readers. Then for YA readers... There are so many. I'll just pick Pivot Point by Kasie West.

Okay. This was a hard question. Obviously I can't stick with one book.

What is your favorite genre and why?

Another really hard question. Why are these so hard?!! I have a wide range of tastes. I would have to go with either FANTASY (normally YA, but sometimes adult) or clean ADULT ROMANCE. I think because when I really want to escape into books, that's what I turn to and I can almost always find what I'm looking for.

What book are you most looking forward to reading this summer?

There are so many!! I'd have to pick Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George. I an co-running a read-along for it, but besides that it's in the fantasy (urban fantasy) genre in YA and is by a fabulous author. I seriously can't wait!!!

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what author would you want to bring with you? Why?

Jane Austen. She would be witty, fun, and intelligent. Plus she has a great imagination and I just would love to meet her. :)

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Waiting on Wednesday: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson & Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Both of these are from fabulous YA fantasy authors and I'm really, really looking forward to reading them...
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Blog Tour Launch: Suspicious by Heather Graham & The Sheriff of Shelter Valley by Tara Taylor Quinn

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

We're launching the Prism Tour for:
Suspicious & The Sheriff of Shelter Valley
By Heather Graham & Tara Taylor Quinn

This Harlequin Bestseller Author Collection is the re-release of Suspicious by Heather Graham and The Sheriff of Shelter Valley by Tara Taylor Quinn, two best-selling romantic suspense books.

Tour Schedule:
May 28th: Beck Valley Books - The Sheriff of Shelter Valley
May 29th: Diana’s Book Reviews - Audiobook of Suspicious
May 31st: Brooke Blogs - Suspicious
June 1st - Grand Finale

Suspicious & The Sheriff of Shelter Valley
(Bestselling Author Collection)
Adult Romantic Suspense
Paperback, ebook, & audiobook 544 pages
May 26th 2015 by Harlequin

Suspicious
by Heather Graham

Cold-blooded predators lurk in the Everglades—and not all of them are gators

When Jesse Crane returned to his roots to serve on the Miccosukee police force, he'd hoped to leave behind the violence of the city and the memories of his murdered wife. But bodies start to pile up in Jesse's corner of the sultry Florida swampland…

As he probes these crimes, Jesse is drawn to the beautiful Lorena Fortier, a new hire at the local gator farm and research facility. Lorena is a little too interested in Jesse's investigation, but before he can uncover her true motives, they're both pulled into a dangerous web of greed, ambition and animal cunning. To survive, they'll have to decide whether they can trust each other…before the hunters become the hunted.

The Sheriff of Shelter Valley
by Tara Taylor Quinn

Six months ago, Beth woke up with no memory of her past, a bruised face and a little boy who called her "Mama." Until her memory returns, the most dangerous thing she can do is to fall for the sheriff—the one man who can uncover the truth and destroy the person she's become.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday today, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Here's today's topic: Ten Books I Think Make Great Beach Reads

This one was tough. I mainly focused on what I look for in a beach read: romance, nothing too serious, and humor. I ended up picking 5 from each genre that I mainly read and all are books that I've read and would re-read (links will take you to my review, if there is one)...
35

Product Review: Augusta Sportswear Duffel Bag for Apparel'nBags


Augusta Sportswear Large Ripstop Duffel Bag
(Style #1703, Color Royal/Black)

Description
  • Zippered main compartment with two zipper pulls
  • Zippered front pocket, plastic hardware
  • Black web handles with self-fabric handle wrapper reinforced at stress points
  • Adjustable and detachable shoulder strap
  • 600-Denier Polyester ripstop fabric with double PU coating
  • Bottom panel is 450-Denier Polyester with double PU coating
  • Dimensions (Inches) : 28 x 14 x 13

Purchase from:

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Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Ally's Kitchen by Alice Phillips

Blog-Tour-Banner-Allys-Kitchen-May-1-28-2015

I'm so thrilled to be sharing this cookbook with you today! 
Check out all the info, including my 5-star review, and the US giveaway below...

Ally's Kitchen: A Passport for Adventurous PalatesAlly's Kitchen
by Alice Phillips
Cookbook
Hardcover, 240 Pages
May 12th 2015 by Front Table Books

Summary

Great flavor knows no boundaries.

After years traveling the globe, popular food blogger Ally Phillips has tasted almost everything. Now she’s bringing you the best eats the world can offer in a one-of-a-kind cookbook that shares recipes, meal ideas, and entire cultures.

Whether you’re in the mood for something tantalizingly unique, like Jerusalem Eggs with Forbidden Rice & Quinoa, or comfortingly familiar, like Picasso Belgian Waffles, this book lets you wander the world without ever leaving your kitchen

Take your taste buds traveling through the exotic flavors and textures of:
Lemon & Almond Basbousa
Avocado Radicchio Wasabi Salsa
Jamaican Jerk Caramelized Onion Burgers
Makai Paka
With ingredients you can find anywhere and easy-to-follow instructions, these recipes will bring the world’s favorite foods to your dining table so you can impress all your friends and family. Fresh, vibrant, and full of life, this inspiring collection of global recipes is guaranteed to turn your ordinary meals into memorable masterpieces.

  
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