spring 2017 bloggiesta

While this post is primarily intended for all you bloggers out there, book focused and otherwise–I encourage non-bloggers to check out Bloggiesta to discover other blogs. Sunday, I participated in the first of 3 Bloggiesta Twitter chats and discovered great new blogs, talented bloggers, a graphic designer, and a coder. Who knew! So, what exactly is this magnificent thing called Bloggiesta? Good question! Per their website:

Bloggiesta is a blogging marathon revolving around ticking off those items on your to-do list and improving your blog while in the good company of other awesome bloggers doing the same thing.

The official marathon dates are March 20-26, though the first Twitter Chat was on the 19th and was fantabulous. It’s where I ‘met’ and discovered the aforementioned resources. Plus, Bloggiesta’s awesome mascot, Pedro (Plan. Edit. Develop. Review. Organize) makes for a super fun graphic, don’t you think?

True to form for me, I have an aggressive and jam-packed to-do list for Bloggiesta.

spring 2017 bloggiesta to do list

  • Participate in at least 2 Twitter Chats.  COMPLETE
  • Visit and comment on other blogs  COMPLETE
  • Do at least 1 mini-challenge
  • Write 4 posts
  • Post to Facebook  COMPLETE
  • Plan March (remainder) editorial calendar COMPLETE
  • Start planning “Bookworms Gone Wild” book club reunion. COMPLETE

Wish me luck!!!

hollywood dirt, by alessandra torre

This was a fun and relatively fast read. There was a lot of humor infused with real emotion and just the right amount of sexual tension. Alessandra Torre is quickly becoming one of my most adored authors and I could easily go on a binge devouring one book after another from her. In this case, Hollywood Dirt is being made into a movie. And while not a big budget summer release, casting has begun and you’re sure to recognize a face or two on the big screen when it’s brought to life.

Cole Masten, the hero (a term used loosely) is the epitome of an egotistical a*s. He’s Hollywood elite, with over-the-top good looks and talent for days, all slathered in charm. He’s also the male half of ‘Codia,’ being married to Nadia Smith, a Hollywood starlet in her own right. But the demise of the Cole/Nadia acronym is upon them.

After returning home one day, Cole discovers Nadia engaged in extra curricular activities with another man in their bathroom. Needless to say, Cole doesn’t take it well. After arranging a meeting between the other man’s head and shoulder with a ceramic elephant, the divorce of “Codia” ensues; along with a lot of bad behavior on Cole’s part.

Enter Summer. A down home, tell it like it is, care free southern girl. She manages to wrangle a job on Cole’s next movie as an assistant to the location scout. But what starts out as a short-term assistant gig, turns into the part of a lifetime for Summer and as it were, Cole.

The interactions between Cole and Summer are rife with will they/won’t they as well as insults and pranks galore. It makes for a well-written enjoyable story that takes a light-hearted approach to dealing with serious matters of the heart. The reader has the dual benefit of knowing what’s going on inside both Cole and Summer’s head to get a clear view of where they stand, even though they aren’t expressing it to one another. Peppered with one liners and secondary characters almost as entertaining as the primary, this is one book I hope the movie-makers do right by.

the red collar, by colette makray

I read the wrong book; seriously, who does that??? The Red Collar was recommended to me by a friend who’s book club had read it. She said it was short and a really good read. So upon searching Google, Goodreads, and Amazon, I found several books with the same title. But one in particular stuck out and seemed like it was ‘the one,’ so I read it.

Soon, I realized it was the wrong book. But I didn’t care. At 50% through, it dawned on me that I was supposed to be reading about a man and dog associated with the military, set in the early 1900’s. Not a single mother struggling with loss and an elderly man doing the same.

They meet periodically at the cemetery. Both grieving. Both trying to move past the hurt that death and loss often bring. At the center of this poignant short story is a dog. 2 dogs really. And the love between man and man’s best friend. Loyalty. And the enduring, often magical, thing we call life.

Since I bought this as an e-book, I’m not entirely sure how many pages it is, but I think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 16. A very fast read but one that will stay with you. I think it’s somehow fitting that my first read of 2017 is one that ends with the realization that, life goes on.

top 5 reads of 2016

Welcome to 2017 book lovers! I know, I know, everyone does a best of, a top whatever… But really, doesn’t it always suck you in? It does me! So, at the risk of being part of the herd, know that the list for the edible bookmark is unique. So without further adieu, following are 5 of the books that I loved most in 2016. Hope you find something the piques your interest.

the bourbon kings, by j. r. ward
To say I couldn’t put this book down would be an understatement. And the release of the final installment in the trilogy is several months away in August. I’ve described this book as Dynasty or Dallas meets a little Downton Abbey (though I admittedly only watched an episode of the latter show). Regardless, any book that I finish in 2 days is worthy to be recommended in my book (pun intended).

dirty, rowdy, thing, by christina lauren
I have to say, Finn stole my heart almost immediately and that’s quite a feat considering I just knew that Ansel from Sweet, Filthy Boy, was the be all, end all. While Finn is far from perfect, he is very real and that alone makes him appealing. (Well, real in a book boyfriend kind of way. You know what I mean.)

the beast, by j. r. ward
I had reservations about putting 2 books by the same author on this list, but they are dramatically different and hey, if it’s awesome, it’s just awesome. Bring on, The Beast. With a focus on Rhage and Mary, probably my least favorite couple in the series, once again, I didn’t think I’d enjoy this book as much as I did. But this book is one of my few 4-bookmark reads for all of 2016 because the way Ward continues their story and the surrounding characters, is one of the many reasons I keep coming back for more.

bounty, by kristen ashley
As one of my all-time favorite authors, for the most part, if Kristen Ashley writes it, I read it. The story in Bounty is reminiscent of her earlier works (in a good way), while having the benefit of her growth as an author and storyteller. This has me anxiously awaiting, The Honey series, about an alpha sub. C-R-A-Z-Y!

moonlight on nightingale way, by samantha young
My introduction to Samantha Young was through the book, Hero, not the expected, On Dublin Street. Moonlight is actually the final installment in the On Dublin Street series, a book I still have yet to read. But after thoroughly enjoying the 2 books I have read by this author–Moonlight having a level of character depth that is truly to be appreciated–I will find my way to the other novels penned by this author.

So, there you have it! 2016 has come and gone but there are still sooooo many books to be read and I for one am very excited! Speaking of which, are you participating in the 2017 Goodreads reading challenge? My goal is to read 40 books this year, which means I better get started!

the angel’s share, by j. r. ward

angel's shareingredients:
Drama, suspense, and a little humor.

servings:
If you read The Bourbon Kings and loved Dynasty, Dallas, and the likes this will be up your alley.

rating:

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preparation:
I read The Bourbon Kings in 2 days. I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I did, though I don’t know why. I was a huge Dynasty fan and loved Dallas by proxy of my mother. So, considering how The Bourbon Kings ended, I was anxious to read the continuing saga. And a saga it is.

It’s a well-known fact that if I don’t like any characters in a  book, odds are, I’m not going to like the book overall; and that was the case in this one. In the first book, I actually liked several of the characters–in this one, some that I liked in book 1, I grew to dislike in The Angel’s Share.

Lane turns into a serial black-mailer with questionable ethics. He, himself begins to fear he is turning into his father. The volatile relationship between Gin and Richard is disturbing on many levels. She is admittedly allowing him to beat and rape her, repeatedly, because she fears being poor. Edward, the shell of a man that he is, actually begins to show signs of life in this book–but only because of his impending fate–which is unfortunate.

The truly redeeming characters in this book are Lizzie, who is too good to be true. Miss Aurora is the embodiment of every stereotype of a black worker in the south employed by a rich family. Which leaves us with Samuel T., the only character who is truly fun and has embraced his flaws and those of the people around him, and finds the humor in all situations.

There is little to no resolution in this book from the events set in motion from book 1. It appears that book 3 (which there has to be) has the potential to tie up some of the loose ends that are currently hanging. By the end of this book, the cliché’s are in full effect. Predictable continues to be a theme and at this point, book 3 isn’t of interest to me, personally.

difficulty level:
Hard. This was a tough read for me because it was so obvious on so many levels. It’s not poorly written, but honestly, I don’t care about the Renoir’s hanging in the game room and the Aubusson rugs in the parlor. I know others love this series, I’m just not one of them.