Monthly Archives:: June 2015

Jun 30

Mid Year Update

Year in Review 4

I normally do this at the end of the year but I thought it might be fun to do this mid year and see where my stats are now and how they change.

Best Books of Each Month

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Honorable Mentions

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Genre

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It should come as no surprise that contemporary far out weighs any other genre. I’d like to read a bit more of other genres, but we’ll see how that pans out.

Classification

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I’m pleased to see that YA is down from a year ago, where it was closer to 70%. I’ve made a point of wanting to read more adult books and that has definitely happened!

Ratings

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Most of my books have been 3 and 4 stars, which to me seems pretty normal. Not every book can be a 5 star and I know myself well enough to know what I will probably like and not like.

Format

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Over 50% of my reading came from eBooks and eARC’s which is not that big of a surprise. I’ve been purchasing more eBooks lately as I have space and financial constraints and it will probably stay that way for awhile. As much as I like physical copies I have to hold back.

Series vs. Standalones

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This year I decided to do something different and keep track of series in terms of duologies, trilogies and series (4 or more books) to see what I am reading more of. As you can see I still read a lot more series books than standalones, but it seems to be split between trilogies and true series.

Year Published

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It is absolutely no surprise to me that more than half the books I read have been published this year, as that has been the case the last 4 years. I’m hoping to read more from my TBR shelf this year so hopefully the prior years will get some more love!

How has your first half of the year gone?

Kimberly


Jun 29

Review * Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis

Reviews 0 ★★★½

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * Second Chance Summer by Jill ShalvisSecond Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis
Series: Cedar Ridge #1
Published by Grand Central on June 30, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Add to: Goodreads
three-half-stars
Cedar Ridge, Colorado, is famous for crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, and pine-scented breezes. And it's the last place Lily Danville wants to be. But she needs a job, and there's an opening at the hottest resort in her hometown. What has her concerned is the other hot property in Cedar Ridge: Aidan Kincaid-firefighter, rescue worker, and heartbreaker. She never could resist that devastating smile . . .

The Kincaid brothers are as rough and rugged as the Rocky Mountains they call home. Aidan has always done things his own way, by his own rules. And never has he regretted anything more than letting Lily walk out of his life ten years ago. If anyone has ever been in need of rescuing, she has. What she needs more than anything are long hikes, slow dances, and sizzling kisses. But that can only happen if he can get her to give Cedar Ridge-and this bad boy-a second chance . . .

What I Thought…

• Jill Shalvis is one of my all time favorite authors. I love her small town settings and  swoon worthy guys. Second Chance Summer is the first in a new series and I’m excited to see what this small town in Colorado has to offer.

• Lily took awhile to come around to. She’s returning to Cedar Ridge with her tail between her legs and Cedar ridge holds some bad memories for her. She didn’t completely deal with her bad memories, which I appreciate as not everything can be fixed all at one time.

• Aidan was so easy to like. He was funny, has a great relationship with his family (especially his brothers) but he’s not so over the top perfect either.

• Lily and Aidan did not have a previous relationship, however they do have a connection, which is party complicated by what happened to Lily years ago before she first left Cedar Ridge. I liked how that prior connection brings them together as well as holds them back a bit.

• As always with a Shalvis book the side characters are key. I loved Lily’s friend, he gives her a job, which makes him awesome. He is also just plain hilarious. Aidan’s brothers were also a lot of fun, as was his sister-in-law Penny (she was by far my favorite).

• There were some parts that were a bit over the top (Aidan’s three jobs for one), but I enjoyed the story enough that it didn’t bother me. And truthfully, I don’t often let those things bother me anyway.

• While I enjoyed Second Chance Summer a lot, it didn’t quite leave me with the same feelings that the Lucky Harbor books did, but I’m not sure it’s really fair to compare them.

Overall If you have liked any of Jill Shalvis’ other books or enjoy contemporary romances than Second Chance Summer is for you.

Kimberly


Jun 25

Review * The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Reviews 5 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer #1
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on July 7, 2015
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.'s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians' scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister's footsteps and becomes D.C.'s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens.

Secrets pile up as each sister lives a double life. . . . until their worlds come crashing together and Tess finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy with one of her classmates and a client of Ivy's. Suddenly, there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than Tess is willing to pay.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for more in this exciting new series.

What I Thought…

• When I first heard about The Fixer someone had said (sorry I can’t remember who!) it was a Veronica Mars meets Scandal story and I knew immediately that I wanted to read it as I love both of those. Also, I love a good political thriller.

• While all the political thrillers I’ve read in the past have been adult the young adult version worked really well for me. There were times were I’m not sure a teenager could make that happen in the real world, but I feel that way in lots of books (young adult and adult alike) so it didn’t didn’t bother me here.

• There is a secret that I did not see coming at all. I won’t spoil it for you, but it was quite the surprise. It works though, and makes sense in the scheme of things.

• There wasn’t a character in The Fixer I didn’t like. The main character Tess was strong, a little bit vulnerable and wanted to do the right thing, always. Her sister Ivy is pretty badass in the political world (she’s the Olivia). Adam and Brodie, Ivy’s associates, and Vivvie, Henry and Asher, Tess’s new friends, blended into the story perfectly. They all complemented each other so well.

• The political mystery of the story had quite a few twists in it, a few I saw coming, but most I did not. It was pretty fast paced and definitely kept me on my toes!

• There is no romance in The Fixer, which was both nice and kind of sucked. If you know me I like to have just a smidge of romance in the books I read, but this one was so good I can’t really complain about it. Plus there might be some hope for future books.

Overall if you love political thrillers and young adult books The Fixer is for you!

Kimberly


Jun 19

End of the School Year Reflection

School 3

50354497Everyone pretty much told me that the second year of teaching is infinitely easier than the first and I am so happy to say that they are right. Everything about this year went better. I didn’t spend every moment working. I had better classroom management which led to better classes. My test scores were higher (which I know it’s not about test scores, but whatever, we all know it’s about test scores). I really enjoyed my students this year – even the ones that drove me nuts. To be honest, I had a soft spot for a few of the students that drove me nuts.

This year also showed me just how much I can care about these kids. Last year I think I was so overwhelmed with all the things that there were some students that slipped through that I could have prevented. This year though I had more time to focus on other things, which definitely benefited my students. My end of year “goal” was for one of my students, I’ll call him Jake, to pass Geometry.

Jake’s older by two years brother was currently in Algebra for the third time as a junior, entering as a freshman Jake was already one math ahead. However upon entering high school and hanging out with his brothers friends things started to unravel for Jake. While a fairly decent student in middle school he took his brother’s lead, which eventually resulted in him punching another student at school. This results in an automatic 10 days of Out of School Suspension (OSS), however in Jake’s case things turned out a bit different and he ended up serving a two month OSS instead.

This put Jake significantly behind in my class and combine that with another bought of OSS later in the year (he was caught skipping – literally, he was caught by a teacher leaving the building and then ran into the woods) and I was worried that Jake would not pass my class. He is smart (and obviously not smart as well) and can do math when he tries but it felt like he was on a path to be just like his brother. Thankfully though he did successfully complete Geometry (and all his other classes). It was a lot of hard work on my part, another teacher and him, but it was worth it in the end.

Unlike last year I had quite a few seniors this year, and several were in the “I need to pass this class to graduate” camp, which was such a pain to deal with. It’s very frustrating to care more than the student does about graduating. Seniors can be quite frustrating, but I loved getting to see the walk across the stage at graduation.

I am looking forward to what good things will happen next year, and hope to have another successful year.

But for now, I’m going to enjoy summer break.

Kimberly


Jun 18

Review * Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review * Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarryNowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 26, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 496
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Walk the Edge
Add to: Goodreads
five-stars
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

What I Thought…

• I have been a Katie McGarry fan since I first picked up Pushing the Limits at BEA four years ago. I’ve loved all her books (some more than others) and was sad to see that the Pushing the Limits series might not be continuing, but excited that she was starting something new.

• I was a little leery when I found out it was about a motorcycle club, but since it’s Katie McGarry I kept an open mind and I’m so glad I did!

• I adored Oz. He was unapologetic and knew what he wanted and stood by his values. He has a strong sense of family, and is just a little bit messed up.

• It took me awhile to come around to Emily. She was very naive and had determined not to see the other side of things ever. Eventually she came around, but it was frustrating how she never felt that there was a second side to any story.

• Once she found out the secret though I came around to really liking her. With renewed determination she went to go take care of things. (Despite the fact that there were clues I was totally blindsided by both the small secret and bigger secret regarding Emily.)

• Things unraveled slowing in Nowhere But Here, which for the most part I liked, however I prefer my contemporaries to be 300-400 pages and this one is just shy of 500.

• McGarry allows you to see the Reign of Terror through both Emily and Oz’s eyes and I love that it put them in different light. The side that the public fears and the family that they truly are.

• More so than any of her other books the side characters in Nowhere But Here are so strong and I can’t wait to read more books in this series. There was so much tension between Chevy and Violet and I’m dying to know what happened between them. Razor and Brianne’s story is next though so I might have to wait for that one. (Or she might pull a Beth & Isaiah and not have them be together)

Overall I loved Nowhere But Here and if you loved McGarry’s Pushing the Limits series I strongly recommend this one!

Kimberly


Jun 16

Top Ten Tuesday * Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday 7

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the awesome people at The Broke and Bookish, who love lists as much as I do!

Top Ten Books I Plan on Reading this Summer

I am notoriously bad at completing these lists, but whatever. I am still going to make them! And because I like to torture myself I picked 15 instead of 10.

The ARC’s

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1. Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis

2. The Kiss by Lucy Courtenay

3. Most Likely to Succeed by Jennifer Echols

4. Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between by Jennifer E Smith

5. The White Rose by Amy Ewing

The TBR Shelf

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1. Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

2. Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton

3. The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

4. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

5. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

TBR Ebooks

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1. Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Dollar

2. Inspire by Cora Carmack

3. The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord

4. Love Fortunes and other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius

5. Suddenly One Summer by Julie James

Kimberly


Jun 15

Review * Can’t Fight This Feeling by Christie Ridgway

Reviews 1 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * Can’t Fight This Feeling by Christie RidgwayCan't Fight This Feeling by Christie Ridgway
Series: Cabin Fever #3
Published by HQN on June 30, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Also in this series: Take My Breath Away, Make Me Lose Control, Keep On Loving You
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
Blue-collar landscaper Brett Walker has no interest in the Hollywood vacationers flocking to his hometown in the California mountains. But the scarred ex-soldier does have a duty to protect Blue Arrow Lake—and the family ski resort—from a serial burglar. So when he suspects a break-in, he takes action…and ends up catching sinfully tempting down-on-her-luck heiress Angelica Rodriguez. She reminds him of trouble, but he can't deny her a safe place to stay—in one of his cabins.

Angelica has plenty of reasons to distrust—losing her money to her father's legal woes being one of them. Getting up close and naughty with rough, tough and sexy Brett tempts her out of her comfort zone and into the arms of a man who's not from her wealthy world. She's after safety and he's chasing justice, but the fire between them might reveal that all they want is each other.

What I Thought…

• I was in a reading funk for a couple of weeks and this was the first book I read cover to cover in awhile. I finished Can’t Fight This Feeling in the middle of the night when I was having trouble sleeping and I do not regret my choice!

• Angelica and Brett were a lot of fun. They had mutual attraction, and some mutual “must stay away” going on too. They were cute and fun, even when they were being serious. They both had some issues heading into the relationship and they dealt with them as normal people often do, which I appreciate. The drama wasn’t over the top ridiculous, just there.

• Can’t Fight This Feeling is also about friendships. As Angelica is fairly new to town she doesn’t come with a ready made set of friends, but rather has to go through the process of finding friends as an adult, which is hard! I love the strong friendships and how supportive they were of each other.

• There was a little bit of suspense thrown in to the book, which I liked as it added to the story rather take the focus away from the couple. It was easy to figure out the guilty party, but it didn’t matter to me.

• The only thing about Can’t Fight This Feeling that I didn’t much care for was the side romance between Angelica’s friend and a newcomer. I’m not a huge fan of side romances so it has to be very special to work for me, and this just didn’t make the cut. It didn’t get in the way too much, I just could have done without it.

Overall I am enjoying the Cabin Fever Series and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Kimberly


Jun 12

Review * The Marriage Charm by Linda Lael Miller

Reviews 2 ★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher via Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * The Marriage Charm by Linda Lael MillerThe Marriage Charm by Linda Lael Miller
Series: Brides of Bliss County #2
Published by HQN on January 27, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Add to: Goodreads
three-stars
The women of Bliss County have a pact—to find husbands. The right husbands.

One already has: Hadleigh Stevens, who married rancher Tripp Galloway a few months ago. Now Melody Nolan thinks it's her turn. Melody has recently found success as a jewelry designer, and her work is the focus of her life. She's not exactly unhappy, but she wants more. She's always been attracted to Spence Hogan, the local chief of police, but she's convinced that Spence, a notorious charmer, isn't what you'd call husband material.

Spence is a good cop who isn't scared of anything—except love. And he's done everything he can to preserve his reputation as a womanizer—a reputation that keeps marriage-minded women, including Melody, at bay. And yet…there's something about Melody he can't forget. Something his heart can't ignore.

What I Thought…

• The Marriage Charm is my first Linda Lael Miller book, but it won’t be my last. It was cute and funny at times and also a bit nerve-racking with the break in’s happening.

• I enjoy a good rekindling the romance story and The Marriage Charm did not disappoint me. Melody and Spence were together 9 years ago and broke up when Melody proposed. I absolutely loved the Melody was the one that proposed back then, plus it would make sense that she is leery about getting back together with Spence since he turned her down.

• While Spence might have been misguided in his youth, his reasons for turning down Melody are legit, and the way he recognizes that as an adult, and goes about showing that he has changed, is almost perfect.

• The Marriage Charm was equal parts love story and mystery. The mystery didn’t blow me away, but I appreciated that it was there I wasn’t in store for another huge communication blow up that causes the couple to break apart before they get back together.

• My favorite part of The Marriage Charm was the relationship between Melody, Hadleigh and Bex. They know when to give space and when to get in their friends faces about stuff. Even though it’s a small role in any book, supportive friends are a must for me.

• The Marriage Charm is considered a western romance, which is a first for me. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like it as I’m not a fan of Western movies, but it wasn’t like that at all. Just a regular contemporary romance, but instead of a city setting it was set in the west and there were ranches. And horses, and who doesn’t like horses?

Overall I really enjoyed my first Linda Lael Miller book, and I know it won’t be my last!

Kimberly


Jun 08

Review * Loving Dallas by Caisey Quinn

Reviews 2 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review * Loving Dallas by Caisey QuinnLoving Dallas by Caisey Quinn
Series: Neon Dreams #2
Published by William Morrow on June 16, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 360
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Also in this series: Missing Dixie
Add to: Goodreads
four-stars
Dallas Lark is so close to achieving his dream of making it big in country music that he can taste it. Arriving in Nashville after signing with sexy, successful manager Mandy Lantram, his life goes from tragedy and turmoil to one lucky break after another—except it isn’t really luck because Dallas has sacrificed everything for his career, leaving behind his band, sister, best friend, and high school sweetheart, Robyn, in the pursuit of fame.

Robyn Breeland is a successful marketing coordinator and promotions specialist for a thriving liquor distributor out of Texas. She loves every aspect of her job: coming up with new ideas, traveling, hosting promotional parties and exclusive events—until it brings her face-to-face with the man who broke her heart, prompting her to erect a steel cage around it.

When their paths collide and they’re forced to work together, Dallas and Robyn realize that the old spark they thought they’d extinguished might still be a burning flame.

What I Thought…

• My friend Kate and I went to Avon Kiss Con last month, which featured six new adult authors. I’d read books from only two of them, Jennifer Armentrout and Cora Carmack. Originally I planned on only buying there books, but on a whim I picked up Leaving Amarillo by Caisey Quinn. I loved Leaving Amarillo (even though it left me hanging!) and couldn’t wait to get my hands on Loving Dallas.

• Loving Dallas picks up right around where Leaving Amarillo leaves off, only Dallas and Robyn are narrators rather than Dixie. If you were hoping to see what was up with Dixie and Gavin… you’re going to be disappointed. I was hoping there might be some kind of peeks into what’s going on with them, but no.

• Dallas is getting his dream shot, but he is without his band for reasons and it definitely impacts him. I thought this part of the book was so well thought out and described that I really felt what he was feeling. Robyn and Dallas have a past and had a lot to work through. Even though Dallas can be a bit of jerk at times, when it comes to Robyn you can see how much he loves her.

• Robyn is a bit of a mixed bag. In some ways she is very strong, but in some ways she is not. She is constantly putting Dallas’ needs first and not always giving him the opportunity to make his own choices. I know she has reasons, but still.

• One of my favorite characters was Jase Wade, the singer that Dallas is on tour with. I wasn’t sure I’d like him at first, but he isn’t really what he seems, which was a nice surprise.

Overall if you enjoyed Leaving Amarillo I definitely recommend Loving Dallas!

Kimberly


Jun 07

Sundays in Bed With… Illuminae

In Bed With... 3

SIB

Sundays in Bed With… is hosted by Kate at Midnight Book Girl to share with everyone what you’re reading in bed!

 

Today I am hoping to get some time to read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book as the BEST COVER EVER. I’m borrowing this from a friend, but I really hope I like it so that I can justify buying a copy when it comes out in October.

I’ll also be working today so I’ll be listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

What are you reading today?

Kimberly