The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day | Review

The Day I Died

By: Lori Rader-Day
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Psychological, Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: April 11, 2017
 Synopsis:
From the award-winning author of Little Pretty Things comes this gripping, unforgettable tale of a mother’s desperate search for a lost boy.Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves with only a glance—at their handwriting. Hired out by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn hoping to find happiness, Anna likes to keep the real-life mess of other people at arm’s length and on paper. But when she is called to use her expertise on a note left behind at a murder scene in the small town she and her son have recently moved to, the crime gets under Anna’s skin and rips open her narrow life for all to see. To save her son—and herself—once and for all, Anna will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she’d rewritten.

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Symphony Of Fates (Dragon Songs Saga #4) by J.C. Kang | Book Blast

Hello Again, Book-Peeps:

Before we get into the weekend, I have a quick little post for ya! It’s the fourth and final book in the Dragon Songs Saga by JC Kang,  previously known as The Daughter Of The Dragon Throne, re-release book-day today! ^_^  Symphony of Fates takes readers on the final journey of Princess Kaiya as she fights to protect and restore the realm she loves. This historical, mythological, epic-high fantasy/adventure, sorcery fiction series is one you’re gonna want to jump into.  Here’s a bit about Symphony Of Fates:

Kaiya escapes her ordeal at the hands of the Teleri Emperor, only to return to a homeland beset by enemies on all sides, and crumbling from within.

As a teenager, she quelled a rebellion with the Dragon Scale Lute. As a young adult, she vanquished a dragon with the power of her voice.

Now, robbed of her magic by grief, Kaiya must navigate a web of court intrigue to save the realm before it falls. Only she can lay claim to the Dragon Throne on behalf of her unborn sons—whether the father is the lover who perished rescuing her, or the hated enemy who killed him.

In the final story in Kaiya’s saga, she must rally a nation, repel invaders, and prove to the world why her family alone holds the Mandate of Heaven.

And now… The moment we’ve been waiting for…

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Every Wild Heart By: Meg Donohue | Book Review

Every Wild Heart

By: Meg Donohue
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Drama, Family
Rating: 3.5 stars
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Synopsis:
From USA Today bestselling author Meg Donohue comes a mystery, a love story, and a mother-daughter tale about two women on a precarious journey to uncover their true selves.

Passionate and funny, radio personality Gail Gideon is a true original. Nine years ago when Gail’s husband announced that he wanted a divorce, her ensuing on-air rant propelled her local radio show into the national spotlight.

Now, “The Gail Gideon Show” is beloved by millions of single women who tune-in for her advice on the power of self-reinvention. But fame comes at a price. After all, what does a woman who has staked her career on being single do when she finds herself falling in love? And is the person who is harassing her in increasingly troubling ways a misguided fan or a true danger to Gail and her daughter, Nic?

Fourteen-year-old Nic has always felt that she pales in comparison to her vibrant, outgoing mother. Plagued by a fear of social situations, she is most comfortable at the stable where she spends her afternoons. But when a riding accident lands Nic in the hospital, she awakens from her coma changed. Suddenly, she has no fear at all and her disconcerting behavior lands her in one risky situation after another. And no one, least of all her mother, can guess what she will do next…

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Dishing Up The Dirt By: Andrea Bemis | Cook Book Review

By: Andrea Bemis

Genre: Cook Book, Farming, Food & Drink Recipes, Farm Life, Non-Fiction
Release Date: March 14, 2017
 
Synopsis:

Andrea Bemis, the creator of the popular farm-to-table blog Dishing Up the Dirt builds on her success with this beautiful, simple, seasonally driven cookbook, featuring more than 100 inventive and delicious whole-foods recipes and dozens of color photographs.

For Andrea Bemis, who owns and runs a six-acre organic farm with her husband outside of Portland, Oregon, dinners are inspired by what is grown in the soil and picked by hand. In Dishing Up the Dirt, Andrea offers 100 authentic farm-to-table recipes, arranged by season, including:

Spring: Honey Roasted Strawberry Muffins, Lamb Lettuce Wraps with Mint Yogurt Sauce, Spring Harvest Pizza with Mint & Pea Pesto, Kohlrabi and Chickpea Salad

Summer: Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Biscuits, Roasted Ratatouille Toast, Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic Herb Cashew Cream Sauce, Farmers Market Burgers with Mustard Greens Pesto

Fall: Farm Girl Veggie Bowls, Butternut Molasses Muffins, Early Autumn Moroccan Stew, Collard Green Slaw with Bacon Gremolata

Winter: Rutabaga Home Fries with Smokey Cashew Sauce, Hoisin Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Country Girl Old Fashioned Cocktails, Tumbleweed Farm Winter Panzanella

Andrea’s recipes focus on using whole, locally-sourced foods—incorporating the philosophy of eating as close to the land as possible. While many recipes are naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian, many others include elemental ingredients like bread, cheese, eggs, meat, and sweeteners, which are incorporated in new and inventive ways.

In short essays throughout the book, Andrea also presents an honest glimpse of life on Tumbleweed Farm—the real life of a farmer, not the shabby-chic fantasy often portrayed—offering fascinating and frequently entertaining details about where the food on our dinner tables comes from. With stunning food photography as well as intimate portraits of farm life, Dishing Up the Dirt allows anyone to be a seasonal foodie and an armchair farmer.

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The Drifter By: Christine Lennon | Book Review

The Drifter
By: Christine Lennon
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 2.5 stars
Release Date: February 14, 2017
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:

Megan Abbott meets M.O. Walsh in Christine Lennon’s compelling debut novel about a group of friends on the cusp of graduating from college when their lives are irrevocably changed by a brutal act of violence.

Present Day…

For two decades, Elizabeth has tried to escape the ghosts of her past…tried to erase the painful memories…tried to keep out the terrifying nightmares. But twenty years after graduating from the University of Florida, her carefully curated life begins to unravel, forcing her to confront the past she’s tried so hard to forget.

1990s, Gainesville, Florida…

Elizabeth and her two closest friends, Caroline and Ginny, are having the time of their lives in college—binge watching Oprah, flirting for freebies from Taco Bell, and breaking hearts along the way. But without warning, their world is suddenly shattered when a series of horrific acts of violence ravage the campus, changing their lives forever.

Sweeping readers from the exclusive corners of sorority life in the South to the frontlines of the drug-fueled, slacker culture in Manhattan in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, when Elizabeth is forced to acknowledge her role in the death of a friend in order to mend a broken friendship and save her own life, The Drifter is an unforgettable story about the complexities of friendships and the secrets that can ultimately destroy us.

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Dances Of Deception (Dragon Songs Saga #3) by J.C. Kang | Cover Reveal (+Book Sale & Giveaway)

Heya, Fellow Book Enthusiasts:

How’s this week been treating ya? Swell? Maybe not so swell? Well, I have some fun news to share with you today. Remember the series I read and reviewed by J.C. Kang? Previously know as The Daughter Of The Dragon Throne, now the Dragon Songs Saga, is a historical, mythological, epic-high fantasy/adventure, sorcery fiction series.

J.C. reached out and told about a book re-launch party happening today, 10AM-9PM over on Facebook.  This launch party will include giveaways, author takeovers, and more! It is definitely something you don’t want to miss.

I have even more good news to for the #TGIF trend today. A cover reveal for book 3 of the Dragon Songs Saga, Dances Of Deception. In case you’re new to the series, here’s a bit about Dances Of Deception:

The world knows Kaiya as the Dragon Charmer.

After vanquishing the Last Dragon with the power of her voice, all she wants is to return to a quiet life of anonymity. Instead, the Emperor tasks her with an onerous task: negotiating with the aggressive Teleri Empire for the extradition of her cousin, who tried to murder the imperial family and usurp the Dragon Throne.

The mission reunites her with her childhood friend Tian, now an assassin-spy who loathes killing. He is no longer the adorable, gullible boy from her memories, any more than she is the adventurous, sweet girl from his. Instead of rekindling nostalgia for a youthful innocence they both yearn for, their reunion ignites a mutual hatred.

When the Teleri Empire breaks off negotiations, Tian must help Kaiya escape. Orcs, Ogres, and enemy soldiers stand between them and home, and their volatile relationship could get them captured… or killed.

And now… The moment we’ve been waiting for…

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Bleeding Earth by: Kaitlin Ward | Review

Bleeding Earth

By: Kaitlin Ward

Genre: LBGT,  G/G Romance, YA, Contemporary, Fantasy, Horror Fiction

Rating: 3.5 stars

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Publisher: Adaptive Books

I received an ARC of this book forever ago from the publisher in a giveaway.

Synopsis:

Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news. All over the world, blood appeared out of the ground, even through concrete, even in water. Then the earth started growing hair and bones.

Lea wants to ignore the blood. She wants to spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public, if only Aracely wasn’t so afraid of her father. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and Aracely whatever way she can.

Book Review:

With blood oozing out of the ground,soon filing the streets, taking over life as the world knows it, and turning people into mean, and aggressive scavenging mobs, I thought Bleeding Earth was a interesting choice to post a review on for Valentine’s Day. In my own, quirk of ironic humor, I chose this YA, horror book centering on this young, lesbian teenager with this secret girlfriend as my “token” romance piece for this lover/couple fest holiday.

Besides the enjoyment reviewing a mainly horror driven book for Valentine’s Day, I was really excited to finally crack open this book. I am not a natural horror book reader so I really excited that I could get through this book pretty easily. The content of the blood and the rapid urgency of it’s danger and affect on the entire world was pretty difficult to get through at times, but the author does a great job of tampering some of the gorish details by means of filtering the spiral of civilization through the ever hopeful, love sick and wildly observant eyes of Lea.

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Dragon Springs Road By: Janie Chang | Book Review

Dragon Springs Road
By: Janie Chang
Genre: Historical,  Contemporary Fiction, Chinese Folklore, Coming of Age, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Synopsis:

From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother. That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return . . .

In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate outside Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Until now she’s led a secluded life behind courtyard walls, but without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in.

Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes.

Murder, political intrigue, jealousy, forbidden love … Jialing confronts them all as she grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother. Through every turn she is guided, both by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past toward a very different fate, if she has the courage to accept it.

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Diverse Books, Social Justice & Intersectional Feminism | My Semi-Set 2017TBR List

semi-set-reading-list-2017

Happy Friday, fellow readers:

This is will be a short, update post on things I’ll try to cover, share and just discus on the blog this year.  After going back and forth over a list of topics, authors, genres and overall information I’ve been wanting to really submerge myself in with this new year, I decided to just put together a semi-set TBR list for the year.

One that showed specific authors’ works I wanted to read this year; my desire to read more books by female authors, my goal to read more work written by women from around the word that have been translated (WIT) on top of a personal desire to incorporate (generate) more discussion and content on my blog in regards to intersectional feminism and social justice. 

I had a full page and a half of books I looked up to check out when I found the Social Justice Book Club in the beginning of January, and I was convinced I was using up some sort of luck I had stored over the years when Bina from Wocreads created a post about her desire to create a non-fiction based diverse study group. Now when I said I screamed, I screamed! I freaked (then angered) my entire family, but it was worth it. ^_^ And now is definitely the time for the select books and reading material that’s already been lined up. 

As the year progresses, this list may (and by that I mean will) grow. I’m trying to keep an order with the list but I don’t really see myself sticking to the order I set now because I usually go for material that peaks an interest in the moment.  I do have books I have chosen to read around certain parts of the year, but like I said things can and will change.

This list below will not include material for Social Justice book club or the Diverse Study Group material but might reflect similar materials.

G. Jacks TBR 2017 Book List
And in keeping up with my attempt to fill my personal book shelf with not only non-fiction books, intersectional feminism books and books that bring even broader level of cultural content that I am both familiar and not familiar with in works of fiction and non-fiction. I will attempt to read larger portions of work by select authors. This list I’ve compiled thus far is short but just the same, I feel it’s a good place to start.
1) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
2) Toni Morrison
3) James Baldwin
4) Audre Lorde
5) Alice Walker
6) Julia Alvarez
7) Mayra Santos Febres
8) JhumpaLahiri
Thank you so much for reading and checking out this semi-permanent TBR list for 2017. Have any suggestions for more books or authors? I’d love to hear them. If you’re interested in either the book club or group that I mentioned here today, I highly recommend that you check them out. ^_^
divstgrsocial2bjustice2bbook2bclub
 Until the next post,
Gia.

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Juliet Takes A Breath by: Gabby Rivera | Review

Juliet Takes A Breath
By: Gabby Rivera
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: LGBTQ+ fiction, YA,Contemporary, Feminism
Release Date: January 27, 2016

All of the women in my life were telling me the same thing. My story, my truth, my life, my voice, all of that had to be protected and put out into the world by me. No one else. No one could take that from me. I had to let go of my fear. I didn’t know what I was afraid of. I wondered if I’d ever speak my truth.” – Juliet Takes a Breath.

Synopsis:

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

Book Review:

I think the problem I had with writing this review was the fact that there was so much I wanted to say, so much that this book says, so many people out there in the world who I think needs to read and those who have simply ached for a book like this. If I could quote this entire book in this review right now, I would. As Raging Flower was to Juliet’s character, Juliet Takes A Breath will be to me.

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Orphan Train by: Christina Baker Kline | Book Review

Orphan Train
By: Christina Baker Kline
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction, Coming of Age, Literary Fiction
Release Date: April 2, 2013
 

Synopsis:

The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from “aging out” of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Book Review:

Told from two different perspectives between the past and the present, spanning from the early 1900s to 2011, I had certain  expectations when I started Orphan Train. However, I must admit that when I finished this book my thoughts were a mixture of empathy, scrutiny, disbelief and admiration in contrast to the two main characters Molly and Vivian.

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Soul Blade (The Sword Of Light Trilogy #3) by: Aaron Hodges | Audiobook Review

Soul Blade (The Sword Of Light Book #3)
Narrator(s):David Stifel
Unabridged Audiobook: 9 hrs and 38 mins
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Magic, YA Fantasy, Adventure, Mythology
Release Date: December 5, 2016
I Graciously Received A Copy Of This Book In Exchange For An Honest Review

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible

Synopsis:
The Three Nations are crumbling. Darkness is gathering. Only one remains to stand against it. Eric stumbles through the wilderness, searching, hunting – desperate for  sign of his sister. But the girl is gone, stolen away by the power of  the Soul Blade. With each passing hour its hold on her tightens, her spirit fading before the onslaught of its magic.

If he cannot save her soon, it will claim her soul. And he will have to kill her.

Meanwhile, Gabriel is lost in the darkness. It is his whole world now, its presence absolute, suffocating. Time, hope, sanity, all have long since slipped beneath the waves of his despair. Only it remains – the  unrelenting voice of the demon. It haunts the darkness, mocking him with false promises of freedom.

How long can he resist its call?

Audiobook Review

Having the world and all the heroes pitted in such a thick cloud of darkness and doubt for the final chapter of this trilogy made this audiobook really enjoyable. Characters/heroes are only as good as how they react under such disparaging circumstances. I found that Eric’s character really seemed to come full circle in this last book as he and Anala find their way back to each other and the rest of their group while doing all that they can to learn to control the strength and weakness within their magic.

Though I was still not a fan of Eric and Inka’s relationship (that has always felt more like a siblings/close friend relationship) I do contribute a lot of his character growth to the support she’s given him throughout this series. With high fantasy/adventure stories like The Sword Of Light Trilogy I think it can be hard to really immerse yourself within these stories if the narrator does not bring a sense of animation and layer personality to the story.

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We Should All Be Feminists by: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [Review]

We Should All Be Feminists
By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Writing, Non-Fiction, Feminism, Essays, Social Justice
Release Date: July 29, 2014

Synopsis:

An eBook short.

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.

With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.

Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists

 

Book Review

Though rooted in the backdrop of Nigerian culture, We Should All Be Feminists offers not only a universal reach, but a current perspective when it comes to gender inequality. Like others who have come across this little gem, I found this book insightful, thought provoking and relatable.

Though the hurdles and restrictions I face in America differ from that of Nigeria, it was difficult to read the way in which a mere class monitor position (that she rightfully earned) when she was 9-years-old was passed over to a boy in her class based solely on fact that her classmate was male. Being born with a quick mind and an even quicker tongue, I doubt that without the years of practicing the act of counting to ten (sometimes five) in my head that I would be able to respond or graciously address the systematic gender injustice Adichie describes.

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Cover Reveal For: Songs of Insurrection (Dragon Songs #1) by J.C. Kang

Happy New Year & Happy Friday, Peeps! ^_^

So, I have an exciting post for you all. Today marks the official relaunch day for Songs Of Insurrection by J.C. Kang. Previously know as The Dragon Scale Lute, book one of the historical, mythological, epic-high fantasy/Adventure, sorcery fiction, Dragon Songs (previously the Daughter of The Dragon Throne) series. As you can see on my blog, I’ve followed this series since early last year, and while I liked the old cover, the new one looks amazing.

In case you’re new to the series, here’s a bit about Songs Of Insurrection:

Only the lost art of evoking magic through music can prevent Cathay from descending into chaos. Blessed with an unrivaled voice, Kaiya dreams of a time when a song liberated enslaved humans from their orc masters.

Maybe then, the imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool. 

When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan uncover a brewing rebellion, the court hopes to appease the ringleader by offering Kaiya as a bride.  Obediently wedding the depraved rebel leader means giving up her music.

Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.

And now… The moment we’ve been waiting for…

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End Of The Year: 2016 Wrap Up Post

Another year comes to a close. 2016 threw quite a few punches my way that I wasn’t expecting, both professionally and personally. Some of the good, like my dotsons Willow & Chase, and some not so great.

 

Me, Tay with Willow & Chase

My sister and I with Willow & Chase on Christmas 2016 ^_^

As it were, like many other people, I’ll be teetering into 2017 with one eye open and not with a complete full-stop attitude. While I did not check off as many book goals or writing goal that I originally planned to this year, I am very happy with what I have accomplished.

DIversity Reading Challenges Banner Stiched 2016 for blog posts
Hard to say how I did with these two. I originally pledged a  4th Shelf: 19-24 books level on my post here,  with a list of 10 subsidiaries books with specific guidelines.  I was only able to read 5 categories out of those 10.  These are just a few of those:
diverse-two diversity-one

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Audiobook Review: In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

In The Country We Love: My Family Divided
By: Diane Guerrero
Narrator(s): Diane Guerrero
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Autobiography,  Politics, Immigration, Social Injustice
Rating: 3.5 stars
Publisher: Audible Studios
Length: 9 Hrs and 10 Min
Type: Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Synopsis:
Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents and brother were arrested and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family.
In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country.
There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven’t been told. Written with Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families likes the author’s and on a system that fails them over and over.

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Book Review: Mandate Of Heaven (Daughter Of The Dragon Throne #4) by J.C. Kang

Mandate Of Heaven (Legends of Tivara, Daughter of The Dragon Throne #4)
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology, High Fantasy/Adventure Fiction, Sorcery
Release date: December 7, 2016
I graciously received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis:

Kaiya escapes her ordeal at the hands of the Teleri Emperor, only to return to a homeland beset by enemies on all sides, and crumbling from within.

As a teenager, she quelled a rebellion with the Dragon Scale Lute. As a young adult, she vanquished a dragon with the power of her voice.

Now, robbed of her magic by grief, Kaiya must navigate a web of court intrigue to save the realm before it falls. Only she can lay claim to the Dragon Throne on behalf of her unborn sons—whether the father is the lover who perished rescuing her, or the hated enemy who killed him.

In the final story in Kaiya’s saga, she must rally a nation, repel invaders, and prove to the world why her family alone holds the Mandate of Heaven.

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The Golden Son by: Shilpi Somaya Gowda Book Review

the-golden-son-pb-coverThe Golden Son
By: Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Family Fiction, Medicine/ Cultural Fiction
Release Date: November 29th 2016
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Synopsis:

The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of Secret Daughter returns with an unforgettable story of family, responsibility, love, honor, tradition, and identity, in which two childhood friends—a young doctor and a newly married bride—must balance the expectations of their culture and their families with the desires of their own hearts. The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, the golden son, carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas, at one of the busiest and most competitive hospitals in America.

When his father dies, Anil becomes the de facto head of the Patel household and inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village’s disputes. But he is uneasy with the custom, uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage demonstrated by his father and grandfather. His doubts are compounded by the difficulties he discovers in adjusting to a new culture and a new job, challenges that will shake his confidence in himself and his abilities.

Back home in India, Anil’s closest childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives. Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena’s romantic hopes, and eventually forces her to make a desperate choice that will hold drastic repercussions for herself and her family. Though Anil and Leena struggle to come to terms with their identities thousands of miles apart, their lives eventually intersect once more—changing them both and the people they love forever.

Tender and bittersweet, The Golden Son illuminates the ambivalence of people caught between past and present, tradition and modernity, duty and choice; the push and pull of living in two cultures, and the painful decisions we must make to find our true selves.

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Hidden Figures by: Margot Lee Shetterly Book Review

hidden-figures-pb-coverHidden Figures
By: Margot Lee Shetterly
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, History, Science, Feminism, Space
Release Date: December 6 2016
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Synopsis: 

The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.

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A Writer’s Update: A Month Away (Give Or Take Several Days)

Hiya,

So, I had decided to take some time off, sort of speak for the month of November to rethink a few things, make some outlines, make a few lists and just a general plan for the next few months now that I’m not in the safe, cozy and familiar isolation that was my solitude.

I think it would be tactful to go without mentioning though that the break was much needed in the sense that I was sort of grappling with that reoccurring feeling of being spun around in this uncreative void. This break was not only on my blog, but it was also on all of my social media platforms, and it even included a slight step back from interacting with a few of my friends on occasion because I felt so incredibly and embarrassingly lazy.

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Go Ahead (Pt. 3 Of Stages)

Hiya,

So for this part of the Stages titled Go Ahead, I have molded a kind of continuation from Pt. 1, I Want Out, but solely from the other half’s perspective. I’ve been sitting on this part for quite some time now because it seemed like it was missing something. It wasn’t until recently that I realized it was the way that it was because my creative buzz for this part of the series intended it to be; short, sweet and to the point  🙂

Go Ahead (Pt. 3 Of Stages)

Go ahead
And replace the laughing memories with your cruelty

Go ahead
And erase that love between us like it never existed

Go ahead
And show the world who you really are

Go ahead
And completely freeze me out of your life

Go ahead
And forget the talks and dreams we painted for the rest of our lives

Go ahead
And nurse that bitterness until you feel warm at night

I’m no longer restless, choked up, or sad
So, go ahead because I’ll be the one celebrating in the end

 

As always, thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post.  ^_^

Until next time,

Gia.

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Certainly, Possibly, You By: Lissa Reed Book Review (+ Giveaway)

Certainly, Possible,You (Sucre Coeur Series #2)
By: Lissa Reed
Genre: F/F Romance, LGBTQ+, Contemporary Fiction, Rom/Com Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
Release Date: October 6th 2016
Publisher: Duet Books/ Interlude Press
Received an ARC copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Sarita Sengupta is in her last semester of grad school and has finally realized she doesn’t have a career plan, a girlfriend, or a clear outlook on life. She works as a pastry shop’s head decorator, but is otherwise drifting without direction until a friend’s birthday party ends with her waking up in surprise next to Maritza Quiñones, a pretty ballroom dancer whose cheerful charm and laser focus sets Sarita on a path to making all of the choices she’s been avoiding.

Book Review

Told in the present, third-person perspective, Certainly, Possibly, You brings a humbling, yet relatable perspective as the reader follows along with Sarita—Sucre’s top cake designer and ambitious PHD student trying to sort out her existential career path problem—and Maritza (Mari). The part-time pizza shop worker and full-time ballroom dancer–as their relationship tries to blossom and bloom amidst the two’s hectic schedules.

There were so many moments and scenes that made me fall in love with these two as a couple and as individual characters. From their awkward and shy encounters, to their blunt openness with one another and the sexy, gravitational pull that sparks when they’re around each other, but I ultimately had to give this book 3.5 star rating mainly because I became too bothered with one secondary character’s involvement with Mari and Sarita’s story.

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The Opposite Of Everyone by: Joshilyn Jackson Book Review

The Opposite Of Everyone
By: Joshilyn Jackson
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 11, 2016
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Synopsis: 

A fiercely independent divorce lawyer learns the power of family and connection when she receives a cryptic message from her estranged mother in this bittersweet, witty novel from the nationally bestselling author ofSomeone Else’s Love Story and gods in Alabama—an emotionally resonant tale about the endurance of love and the power of stories to shape and transform our lives.

Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern oral tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birth name Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding secrets of her own, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.

These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a mysterious note: “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”

Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.

The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us, and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us . . . and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.

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Book Review: Fairytales For Lost Children By: Diriye Osman

Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Short Stories, Cultural/Somali, LGBTQ+ Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Folklore
Publisher: Team Angelica Publishing
Release Date: September 1, 2013
I Graciously Received A Copy Of This Book In Exchange For An Honest Review
Synopsis:
Fairytales For Lost Children” is narrated by people constantly on the verge of self-revelation. These characters – young, gay and lesbian Somalis – must navigate the complexities of family, identity and the immigrant experience as they tumble towards freedom. Using a unique idiom rooted in hip-hop, graphic illustrations, Arabic calligraphy and folklore studded with Kiswahili and Somali slang, these stories mark the arrival of a singular new voice in contemporary fiction

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Book Review: Firestorm (The Sword Of Light Book #2) By: Aaron Hodges

Narrator(s):David Stifel
Unabridged Audiobook: 9 hrs and 58 mins Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Magic, Fantasy, Adventure, New Adult Fiction, Mythology
Release Date: August 18, 2016
I Graciously Received A Copy Of This Book In Exchange For An Honest Review
Synopsis:
The Gods have fallen.
The Three Nations are in chaos. 
Archon is coming. 
The company are surrounded, trapped on the blood-soaked sands of Malevolent Cove. With them they carry the only hope of the Three Nations: Enala, wielder of the Sword of Light. But the girl is mad, catatonic, her mind lost in a chasm of grief. She lies helpless before the power of Archon.
Meanwhile, Eric is close to mastering his magic. But Alastair is gone; there is no one left to protect him. The perilous force yearns for its freedom, and Eric alone stands against it. To prevail he must break the shackles of his past. He must face the last ghost of Oaksville.

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The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, And (Getting) Happier by: Cathi Hanauer Book Review

By: Cathi Hanauer
Genre: Non-Fiction, Feminism, Essays, Memoirs
Rating: 3 stars
Release Date: September 27, 2016
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Synopsis:

More than a decade after the New York Times bestselling anthology The Bitch in the House spoke up loud and clear for a generation of young women, nine of the original contributors are back—along with sixteen captivating new voices—sharing their ruminations from an older, stronger, and wiser perspective about love, sex, work, family, independence, body-image, health, and aging: the critical flash points of women’s lives today.

“Born out of anger,” the essays in The Bitch in the House chronicled the face of womanhood at the beginning of a new millennium. Now those funny, smart, passionate contributors—today less bitter and resentful, and more confident, competent, and content—capture the spirit of postfeminism in this equally provocative, illuminating, and compelling companion anthology.

Having aged into their forties, fifties, and sixties, these “bitches”—bestselling authors, renowned journalists, and critically acclaimed novelists—are back . . . and better than ever. In The Bitch Is Back, Cathi Hanauer, Kate Christensen, Sarah Crichton, Debora Spar, Ann Hood, Veronica Chambers, and nineteen other women offer unique views on womanhood and feminism today. Some of the “original bitches” (OBs) revisit their earlier essays to reflect on their previous selves. All reveal how their lives have changed in the intervening years—whether they stayed coupled, left marriages, or had affairs; developed cancer or other physical challenges; coped with partners who strayed, died, or remained faithful; became full-time wage earners or homemakers; opened up their marriages; remained childless or became parents; or experienced other meaningful life transitions.

As a “new wave” of feminists begins to take center stage, this powerful, timely collection sheds a much-needed light on both past and present, offering understanding, compassion, and wisdom for modern women’s lives, all the while pointing toward the exciting possibilities of tomorrow.

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Book Review: True Colors Of Betrayal (Daughter Of The Dragon Throne #3) by J.C. Kang

tcb-cover
True Colors Of Betrayal (Legends of Tivara, Daughter of The Dragon Throne #3)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology, Fantasy/Adventure Fiction

Release date: August 30, 2016

I graciously received a ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The world knows Kaiya as the Dragon Charmer. After vanquishing the Last Dragon with the power of her voice, all she wants is to return to a quiet life of anonymity. Instead, the Emperor tasks her with an onerous task: negotiating with the aggressive Teleri Empire for the extradition of her cousin, who tried to murder the imperial family and usurp the Dragon Throne.

The mission reunites her with her childhood friend Tian, now an assassin-spy who loathes killing. He is no longer the adorable, gullible boy from her memories, any more than she is the adventurous, sweet girl from his. Instead of rekindling nostalgia for a youthful innocence they both yearn for, their reunion ignites a mutual hatred.

When the Teleri Empire breaks off negotiations, Tian must help Kaiya escape. Orcs, Ogres, and enemy soldiers stand between them and home, and their volatile relationship could get them captured… or killed.

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Not Your Sidekick by:C.B. Lee Book Review (+Giveaway)

Sept. 16th Blog Tour Date

Not Your Sidekick
By: C.B. Lee
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre:LGBTQ,YA,Comics, Sci-fi, Super heroes, Romance, F/F
Release Date: September 8, 2016
Publisher: Debut Books/ Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer
Buy it everywhere & anywhere ^_^

Goodreads | B&N | Interlude Press | Amazon | iBooks |Smashwords | Kobo | Book Depository | Indiebound | All Romance eBooks

Synopsis:

Welcome to Andover, where superpowers are common—but not for Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers when an internship for Andover’s resident super villain allows her to work alongside her longtime crush Abby and helps her unravel a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

Book Review: For Today I Am A Boy by Kim Fu

For Today I Am A Boy
By: Kim Fu
Genre: GLBTQ+, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, YA Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Mariner Books
Synopsis:
At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, “powerful king.” To his parents, newly settled in small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant father’s dreams of Western masculinity. Peter and his sisters grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents’ home. Though his father crowned him “powerful king,” Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl. With the help of his far-flung sisters and the sympathetic souls he finds along the way, Peter inches ever closer to his own life, his own skin, in this darkly funny, emotionally acute, stunningly powerful debut.

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Book Review: The Unforgettables by: GL Tomas

The Unforgettables
Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Interracial Romance, Learning Disability
Rating: 4.5 stars
Release Date: September 12 2016
Publisher: Rebellious Valkyrie Press

Received An Advanced Reader Copy in Exchange for An Honest Review.

Synopsis:

Neighbors and best friends Paul and Felicia hoped they’d be friends forever. But as they change, so does their friendship. She shouldn’t have kissed her…He shouldn’t have liked it. Starting school changed everything.

Book Review:

I am always excited for the new mix of characters and stories GL Tomas graciously share with us with their books because I genuinely feel like I’m glancing in at the lives of real people who you can connect with each and every time. Paul and Felicia from The Unforgettables were no exception to the rule.

Whatsmore, reading anything by them always sparks inspiration in me to dive into another new world. Particularly when I’m in a reading slump. So, when I heard about their newest book about two superhero/comic booking loving friends who decided to give themselves alter egos and pair up as a formidable duo, naturally I jumped and squealed at the chance like any normal person would. What I loved so much about this book was the fact that the main characters Felicia and Paul were nearly polar opposites. Aside from their mutual love for comics and superheroes’, they weren’t that similar, but I feel like that is what made them work.

Paul—the social butterfly, who thrived on crowds and at social events, and Felicia—the quiet, smart and observant killer soccer player, who was completely content to forever walk the line of solidarity for the rest of her life (or at least until she finished high school). The two came together in such a beautiful, awkward teenage shuffle.

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Book Review: The Salarian Desert Game by: J.A. McLachlan

The Salarian Desert Games
By: J. A. McLachlan
Genre: YA Fiction, Sci-fi, Adventure
Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Publisher: EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

Goodreads| Amazon

Synopsis:

What if someone you love gambled on her life?

Games are serious business on Salaria, and the stakes are high. When Kia’s older sister, in a desperate bid to erase their family debt, loses the game and forfeits her freedom, Kia is determined to rescue her. Disguised as a Salarian, Kia becomes Idaro in order to move freely in this dangerous new culture. When she arrives on Salaria, she learns it’s a world where a few key players control the board, and the pawns are ready to revolt. Kia joins the conflict, risking everything to save her sister. As if she doesn’t already have enough to handle, Agatha, the maddeningly calm and unpredictable Select who lives life both by-the-book and off-the-cuff shows up to help, along with handsome Norio, a strong-willed desert girl with her own agenda, and a group of Salarian teens earning their rite of passage in the treacherous desert game.

What can an interpreter and former thief possibly do in the midst of all this to keep the people she loves alive?

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Book Review: Hostile Takeover (John Lago Thriller #2) by: Shane Kuhn

Hostile Takeover (John Lago Thriller #2)
By: Shane Kuhn
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Humor
Rating: 2 stars
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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Synopsis:

Professional assassin John Lago faces off against his deadliest adversary yet—his wife—in Hostile Takeover, the exciting sequel to Shane Kuhn’s bestselling debut The Intern’s Handbook, which the New York Post called “a sexy, darkly comic thriller.”

At the end of The Intern’s Handbook, John tracks down his nemesis Alice but instead of putting a bullet in her head, he puts a ring on her finger and marries her. Together, they execute a hostile takeover of Human Resources, Inc., the “placement agency” that trains young assassins to infiltrate corporations disguised as interns and knock off high profile targets. As HR’s former top operatives, they are successful until conflicting management styles cause an ugly breakup that locks John out of the bedroom and the boardroom.

But when Alice takes on a new HR target, John is forced to return to the office battlefield in a role he swore he would never play again: the intern. What starts out as a deadly showdown turns into the two of them fighting side by side to save HR, Inc.—and their marriage.

“Those who like Dexter will love John Lago” (Booklist), and in Shane Kuhn’s sequel to The Intern’s Handbook, readers will be rooting for this smart, witty antihero to come out on top.

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The Yard by Aliyyah Eniath Book Review (+Giveaway)

Sept. 8th Blog Tour DateThe Yard

By: Aliyyah Eniath
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Religion
Released Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books
 
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Purchase Links: Amazon

Synopsis:

A story of love and redemption, set in Trinidad, that exposes the fault lines in Indo-Muslim culture. Behrooz is brought to a familial complex, The Yard, to live with a devout and extended family, where he struggles to belong. He forms a childish alliance with Maya, a wilful and rebellious girl, and his guardian’s daughter. After they share a night of adolescent tenderness, Maya, fearing retribution, flees to London. Behrooz painstakingly rebuilds his life and marries another. When tragedy strikes, Maya returns to her childhood home. There, she and Behrooz must face up to old demons. Can their love endure? Even after Maya is dealt the most righteous” blow of all?

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A Blogger Update: Wow, It’s Been A Looong Time

Hey There:

So, I’ve moved a lot in the past six and a half years, but none of those experiences were enough to prepare me for last month’s move. 😐 Not only did I have to pack and split up all of my stuff for two different destinations (and make multiple trips over the course of three days). Not to mention settling in with a new dog whose internal setting seems to be permanently notched at crazy and wild. Whatsmore, following the move, I unfortunately was put in a position where I simply didn’t have the space or time to sit down and enjoy the books I put aside and planned to read for August.

I was so stressed and upset that I didn’t have time to read that when I was finally able to sit down and dive into the stack my stack of books, I found that I really only wanted to immediately get started with certain ones. It was in that moment that I realized it was time to stop doing the #2016TBRpile reading challenge and the #2016audiobookchallenge. While I enjoyed finally getting to that large stack of books that have been just sitting on my shelf, not all of the books were making me particularly giddy or excited to get through them.

Not like the books I’ve read for the tours I’ve been apart of or the books authors have actually reached out to me with and asked for a review.  And reading should be fun. It is fun! Reading the material and books that only I want to was the main reason I began book blogging in the first place and I’d like to get back to that feeling of excitement and thrill of sharing great stories and authors with all you lovely people ^–^.

Of the books I’ve read/started that I’ve enjoyed and had so much fun getting into in August were:

Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee (upcoming tour book)

Does My Head Look Big In This? by: Randa Abdel Fattah

True Colors Of Betrayal by: JC Kang ( Book #3 of Daughter of The Dragon Throne) Even though I’m only over the half way mark with it, I think this might be my favorite of the series. It’s soo good.

The Salarian Desert Series by: J. A. McLachlan

The Yard by: Aliyyah Eniath (upcoming tour book)

Just to name a few. I’ve also read a few kids books with my cousin now that school has started back up, but I don’t really think that they count for this particular list. 🙂

All in all,  Willow and I are finally feeling more settled and I’m already starting to feel like my natural, reader self ^__^ Let the wave of book reviews commence!

Thanks so much for reading and sticking around with me.

Until the next post (very soon),

Gia.

The Big Thing by: Phyllis Korkki Book Review

The Big Thing
By: Phyllis Korkki
Genre: Self-Motivation, Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Creativity
Rating: 3.5 stars
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: August 9, 2016

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Synopsis:

A New York Times business journalist explains why it’s important for people to pursue big creative projects, and identifies both the obstacles and the productive habits that emerge on the path to completion—including her own experience writing this book.

Whether it’s the Great American Novel or a groundbreaking new app, many people want to create a Big Thing, but finding the motivation to get started, let alone complete the work, can be daunting. In The Big Thing, New York Times business writer and editor Phyllis Korkki combines real-life stories, science, and insights from her own experience to illuminate the factors that drive people to complete big creative projects—and the obstacles that threaten to derail success.

In the course of creating her own Big Thing—this book—Korkki explores the individual and collaborative projects of others: from memoirs, art installations, and musical works to theater productions, small businesses, and charities. She identifies the main aspects of a Big Thing, including meaningful goals, focus and effort, the difficulties posed by the demands of everyday life, and the high risk of failure and disappointment. Korkki also breaks down components of the creative process and the characteristics that define it, and offers her thoughts on avoiding procrastination, staying motivated, scheduling a routine, and overcoming self-doubt and the restrictions of a day job. Filled with inspiring stories, practical advice, and a refreshing dose of honesty, The Big Thing doesn’t minimize the negative side of such pursuits—including the fact that big projects are hard to complete and raise difficult questions about one’s self-worth.

Inspiring, wise, humorous, and good-natured, The Big Thing is a meditation on the importance of self-expression and purpose.

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Book Review: The Ballad Of Black Tom by: Victor LaValle

By: Victor LaValle
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Short Story
Rating: 3.5 stars
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: February 16 2016
“Don’t you mind people grinning in your face. Bare this in mind, a true friend is hard to find. Don’t you mind people grinning in your face…”
Synopsis:

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Seven

Well this month just kind of flew by, didn’t it?!…

Happy Saturday, Fellow Book Lovers:

I think I might have mentioned this before a little while back, but I will be moving (again) come the beginning of August. With the addition of my darling little pup  this past month, preparing to move and packing? I am beyond grateful I was able to stick to the reading schedule I made and consume all of the stories that I did this month. In addition to the list below, I also tackled   Sorcerer To The Crown by: Zen Cho,  Hammer Of Witches by Shana Mlawski  and Dragon Charmer by J.C. Kang

Something new I also did this month was space out my reviews instead of waiting until the last week to post them all =) And you know what? It makes things a whole lot easier! Go-figure. I’m going to try to stick to this new method if time (and the puppy) allows me to. Also, with my tablet still out of commission, I will have to wrap up my #RockmyTBR pile challenge until I buy more books as the others I was hopping to read for that particular challenge are locked away on my tablet. It isn’t a complete lost, seeing as how I’ve just joined another reading challenge in June ^_^.

I think that just about covers for all of my updates. Now, on with the reading challenges review wrap-up.

Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

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Book Review: Friction by Sandra Brown

Friction
By: Sandra Brown
Rating:
1 star not a favorable review
Genre:
Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Romantic Suspense
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Released Date:
August 18th 2015Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Synopsis:

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?

Book Review: Fading Amber (The Cambion Chronicles #3) by Jamie Reed

Fading Amber (The Cambion Chronicles #3)
By: Jamie Reed
Rating:
5 stars
Genre:
Paranormal,Fantasy,Romance,YA Fiction
Publisher:
K-Teen/Dafina
Released Date:
December 24th 2012

Synopsis:

After falling for a Cambion and then turning into one herself, Samara never thought her senior year could get any more complicated. The gaps in her memory, the mysterious deaths and the constant danger that threaten her once quiet town have a common thread: Tobias, a demon with a lot of enemies. He’s also Samara’s other soul mate and he’s suddenly disappeared. But Samara isn’t the only one who wants to find Tobias. His enemies are getting closer and their plans for retribution could mean deadly consequences for Samara and her true soul mate, Caleb.

Book Review: If You Could Be Mine by: Sara Farizan

If You Could Be Mine
Rating: 3.8./4 stars
Genre:
YA, Romance, GLBTQ, Contemporary,Culture, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Released Date: August 20th 2013

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?

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Audiobook Review: Six Of Crows (Six Of Crows#1) by Leigh Bardugo

Six Of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
By: Leigh Bardugo
Narrator(s): Jay Snyder, Brandon Rubin, Fred Berman, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark,Elizabeth Evans,Tristan Morris
Rating: 3 stars
Genre:
YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fiction
Length: 15hrs & 9 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Publisher: Audible Studios
Released Date: September 29, 2015

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | B&N

Synopsis:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Book Review: Dragon Charmer (Legends of Tivara, Book #2) by J.C. Kang

Dragon Charmer (Legends of Tivara, Daughter of the Dragon Throne Book #2)
By: J.C. Kang
Rating:
4 stars
Genre:
Historical Fiction, Mythology, Fantasy/Adventure Fiction
Released Date:
June 1st 2016

Review Copy Received From  Author In Exchange For An Honest Review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:

Princess Kaiya has a voice that could charm a dragon, but her homeland’s ambitious lords consider her little more than a singing fool. With the Dragon Throne of Cathay at stake, her status as the last unmarried child of the ailing emperor overshadows her musical talent.

Potential suitors see her as a stepping stone. One ruthless cousin would rather step on her gravestone. Not one to get walked over or buried, Kaiya is holding out for the exiled foreign prince who first inspired her to sing.

Conspiracies eat away at the empire from the inside, while aggressive neighbors wait to consume what’s left. With her brothers unwilling or incapable of leading, Kaiya faces tasks worthy of an imperial princess: defuse escalating conflicts between rival lords. Negotiate peace with foreign powers. Beguile a dragon.

The magic of her voice is raw and unproven, but Kaiya finds mentors in unlikely places. An elf courtier. An ancient healer. A martial arts master. And an evil sorcerer. She’ll need their guidance to survive the final showdown with a dragon who has no intentions of being tricked by twice.

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Audiobook Review: Sorcerer To The Crown ( Sorcerer Royal #1) By Zen Cho

Sorcerer To The Crown (Sorcerer Royal #1)
By:
Zen Cho
Narrator:
Jenny Sterlin
Rating:
4 stars
Genre:
Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Magic
Length: 13hrs & 9 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Publisher: Recorded Books
Released Date:
September 1, 2015
Synopsis:

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

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Book Review: Hammer Of Witches by: Shana Mlawski

Hammer Of Witches
By:
Shana Mlawski
Rating:
3.8 stars
Genre:
Historical Fiction, Mythology, Religion, YA, Fantasy, & Paranormal Fiction
Publisher: Lee & Low/ Tu Books
Released Date:
May 12th 2015
Ages 12 & Up
 Review Copy Received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 Synopsis:

Baltasar Infante, a bookmaker’s apprentice living in 1492 Spain, can weasel out of any problem with a good story. But when he awakes one night to find a monster straight out of the stories peering at him through his window, he’s in trouble that even he can’t talk his way out of.

Soon Baltasar is captured by a mysterious arm of the Spanish Inquisition, the Malleus Maleficarum, that demands he reveal the whereabouts of Amir al-Katib, a legendary Moorish sorcerer who can bring myths and the creatures within them to life. Baltasar doesn’t know where the man is—or that he himself has the power to summon genies and golems.

Baltasar must escape, find al-Katib, and defeat a dreadful power that may destroy the world. As Baltasar’s journey takes him into uncharted lands on Columbus’s voyage westward, he learns that stories are more powerful than he once believed them to be—and much more dangerous.

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Six

Okay, need to focus and do this quick…

Hiya:

So, I only have about an hour or so to get this post up and running before I’m off chasing the new pup around. :-/. Which means my reviews might be shorter than expected, but also yay for less reading? Regardless, I have three new reviews for you below, as well as a reminder about the other book reviews I’ve posted this month: Wander This World by: GL Tomas, The Mother by Yvvette Edwards & Delilah by Angela Hunt. Now, on with the rest of the reviews.

Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

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Book Review: Greywalker (Greywalker #1) by: Kat Richardson

Greywalker (Greywalker #1)
By: Kat Richardson
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fiction, Ghost, Mystery
Rating: 2.5 stars
Release: October 3rd 2006

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

When Harper comes to in the hospital, she begins to feel a bit …strange. She sees things that can only be described as weird-shapes emerging from a foggy grey mist, snarling teeth, creatures roaring.But Harper’s not crazy. Her “death” has made her a Greywalker-able to move between our world and the mysterious, cross-over zone where things that go bump in the night exist. And her new gift (or curse) is about to drag her into that world of vampires and ghosts, magic and witches, necromancers and sinister artifacts. Whether she likes it or not.

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Book Review: Demon Within by: Alex Westmore

Demon Within (The Silver Legacy #2)
By: Alex Westmore
Genre: YA Fiction, GLBT,  FF Romance, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
Release: Sept. 14th 2015

Publisher: Broad Winged Books

Review copy provided by Diverse Books.

Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:

Heartbroken but not alone, Denny Silver finds her body overtaken by an ancient force so powerful she risks losing herself completely to its dangerous agenda. As if hunting and killing demons wasn’t hard enough, now the demons are after an innocent, young girl whose Wiccan womb seems the perfect incubator for their hell spawn. Like Denny can just stand back and let that happen.

She can barely control herself or her demon these days, so how in the hell is she supposed to protect the world? Add to all this the fact that her brother now faces the death penalty for a crime he didn’t commit, her mother is a vegetable, and her little sister has been removed from her protection, and—yeah—it’s been one hell of a fucked up year for Denny.

Desperate, she seeks help from the last place she expected to look: the local coven. She knows their help comes with a price tag. Will it be too high to pay? Can they help her level the playing field in a supernatural world bent on destroying all she holds dear? Find out as Denny and her merry band of supernatural rejects attempt to save Savannah from certain doom in Demon Within.

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Audiobook Review: The Wrath And The Dawn by: Renee Ahdieh

This audiobook was amazing. 🙂

The Wrath And The Dawn
By: Renee Ahdieh
Narrator(s):
Arianna Delawari
Rating:
4.5 stars
Genre:
YA Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Cultural Retellings,
Mythology, Magic
Publisher:
Listening Library
Format:
Unabridged Audiobook
Length: 10hrs and 38 mins
Released Date:
May 12th 2015

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | Audible

Synopsis:

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights.

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

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Book Review: Delilah:Treacherous Beauty (Dangerous Beauty #3) by Angela Hunt

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty (Dangerous Beauty #3)

By: Angela Hunt

Genre: Biblical Fiction, Historical Fiction

Rating: 3 stars

Release Date: June 7th 2016

Publisher: Bethany House

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
A Complex and Compelling Glimpse at One of the Bible’s Baddest Girls  Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself.

When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits

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Huntsmen by: Michelle Osgood | Book Review (+Author Interview & Giveaway)

Huntsmen
By: Michelle Osgood
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: F/F Romance, Supernatural, Drama, LGBTQ+, Fantasy
Release Date: April 13, 2017
Publisher: Interlude Press

Interlude | Amazon | B&N | Apple | Kobo | Smashwords | Book Depository | Indiebound

Synopsis:

Months after saving Jamie and Deanna from crywolf, Kiara and her brother Cole have moved into the city. While clubbing one night, Kiara is stunned to see her ex, Taryn, onstage. But before she can react, Jamie notices a distinctive tattoo in the crowd: an axe rumored to be the mark of the Huntsmen, a group of werewolf-tracking humans. The girls need to leave immediately—and since Taryn is also a werewolf, they need to take her with them.

The Huntsmen are more than a myth, and they’re scouring the city for lone wolves just like Taryn. Until the General North American Assembly of Werewolves lends a plan of action, Kiara’s small pack is on lockdown in a friend’s apartment, where she and Taryn must face the differences that drove them apart. Furthermore, the longer the group waits, the more it seems the Huntsmen haven’t been acting entirely on their own.

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