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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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Four

So, I have a little bit of news….

Hiya, Guys:

So as I mentioned, my birthday is early this month (next Monday, to be exact) and things have kind of been a bit hectic (what with Mother’s day being Sunday). This reading challenges post, along with the book reviews will be brief and straight to the point because who likes to read/hear me ramble all the time? (To the pair of hands in the back of this vacant imaginary auditorium, I thank you. 😉 )

In all seriousness, I also thought I’d take the time to mention here that aside from the two (?) book tours I have scheduled for this month, I will be taking a break from book tour blogging for a while. Sadly, I’ve found that it’s taking too much effort to like a large majority of the books I have come across during the tours. Out of the 30 books I’ve read so far this year, I can name a handful (from blog tours) that were absolutely, full-stop fantastical.

Yes, I do enjoy the non-fictional, historical and comedy material better than general fiction and the romance/YA books, but I’ve been proven wrong a few times (and happily so) by a few romance/YA books this year. Now that I’ve just gotten back into the swing reading more fiction books, I’m desperate not to grow tired of the genre again.

So, from this point out, I will be exploring as many non-romantic centric books as possible, particularly with the books for my three reading challenges. Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Three

Hiya, Guys:

So here is my official book challenges wrap-up post. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have spotted a few of my tweets. IF not, needless to say, March was a weird month for me. I went on a short vacation in the beginning of the month and got sick. Like really, really sick to the point where all I could do was eat soup, cough or sneeze and sleep. For two weeks. I joked last time about not needing sleep or ignoring sleep for all of the books I try to get through and I guess karma decided to teach me a lesson with that cold. -___-

Unfortunately, because of that little lesson, I did not get around to my book list until last week (I even had to go back and re-read things because nothing was making sense while I was sick XD ) But I was able to get through most of the other books on my to-read list that were not a part of any challenges, such as: The Stone Legacy series (books 1-3) by Theresa DaLayne and Broken Politics by Janae Keyes just not The Fold by Peter Clines.

And I did start the Voyage Of The Defiance by S.E. Smith audiobook and made it past the half way point, but I had to hit pause on it because it has not been an enjoyable or attention holding story :-/

Without further a due, here are the books I completed for the month of March for the three book challenges I’m participating in this year.  Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

 

#2016TBRPile Challenge

This has been on by TBR pile for a while and it seems like an odd choice to do for this challenge considering I have not read books 1-4 of this series, but I won it in a giveaway a long time ago and I’ve been really curious about it.

 

HARD LOVE (Hackers Book #5) 18+
By: Meredith Wild
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, BDSM, Computers, Hackers
Rating: 2.5/3 Stars
Release: September 15th 2015

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Synopsis:

Days after their wedding, Blake and Erica Landon embark on their honeymoon-a journey that deepens their bond and promises to fade the scars of their past.

Just when their troubles seem safely behind them, scandal surrounding would-be Governor Daniel Fitzgerald’s election threatens their newfound peace. Back home, Blake finds himself at the center of the controversy, haunted by the transgressions of his hacker past that he has no wish to relive.

With Blake’s freedom at stake and their future in peril, Erica will stop at nothing to clear his name. But when Blake defies the authorities and refuses to seek the truth, their world gradually begins to crumble. Will he let his past win? Or can Erica convince him that their life together is worth fighting for-now more than ever…

For my HARD LOVE review, click here.

 

#Rockmytbr Challenge

This book just helped to secure my admiration and love for Erik Larson’s writing and impeccable attention to detail.

 

THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY: MURDER, MAGIC AND MADNESS AT THE FAIR THAT CHANGED AMERICA
By: Erik Larson
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Crime, True Crime, Mystery/Thriller, Biography, Architecture
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Release: February 10th 2004

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book’s categorization to be sure that ‘The Devil in the White City’ is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.

Burnham’s challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous “White City” around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair’s incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World’s Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

For my THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY: MURDER, MAGIC, AND MADNESS AT THE FAIR THAT CHANGED AMERICA  review post, click here.

#2016audiobook Challenge

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
By: Paula Hawkins
Narrators: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey & India Fisher

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Adult fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Crime Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Format:  Unabridged Audio (Physical CDs)
Length: 11hrs
Released Date: January 13th 2015

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | Audible

Synopsis:

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

 

For my The GIRL ON THE TRAIN  audiobook review, click here.

 

BOOKS COMING UP:

I do have a few book tours coming up this month, but I should be another slow book month for the blog. I am dealing with a few personal and professional changes currently, but I hope to be reviewing Orphan Black again (since it’s premiering soon) and typing up the few movie reviews I’ve written out recently.

For the month of April, I decided to read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert for my #RockmyTBR challenge for some light and spiritual reading.  For my #2016Audiobook challenge this month, I chose Soundless by Richelle Mead and for my #2016TBRpile challenge I picked Half-Breed Queen (Book #1 Skatia Narratives) by L. A. Hendricks.

On top of those, I have three blog tours (that I know of) definitely happening this month and a few books from last month that were not on my reading challenge list that I want to get to. 🙂

As always, thanks for reading. I hope you liked reads this month and be sure to come back to check out what else I’ll be reviewing this month ^__^

Until next time,

Gia.

 

2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Two

Hiya, Guys:

Here are the books I completed for the month of February for the three book challenges I’m participating in this year.  Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

 

#2016TBRPile Challenge

This has been on by TBR pile for a while and you might recognize that this another book by last month’s TBR author.

 

3volve

By Josefina Gutierrez

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Multicultural, Contemporary Romance, NA, Coming of age

Released: July 14th, 2015

Rating: 3/3.5 Stars

Goodreads OR buy 3volve  here: Amazon

Blurb:

From author Josefina Gutierrez, of “The Shadow of Loss”, comes a new New-Adult contemporary love story.

I thought my life began when I graduated high school and moved far, far away—okay three hours away. But I was wrong. My life didn’t start until it almost ended.

I’m Cristal Escobedo, twenty-two years old and a former wild child who favors tequila far too much. But that all changed when life happened, and I ended up being responsible for my younger brothers. To top it all off, I think I’m falling in love with my best friend—dammit.

This is my not-so-happy story of how I grew up and got my shit together. My story isn’t filled with a bunch of pretty analogies or hyperboles. The people are real, the hurt is deep, and the love is complicated. People are flawed in the ways that matter; it’s what makes us human.

For my 3volve review, click here.

 

#Rockmytbr Challenge

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

By Mindy Kaling

Genre: Humor, Autobiography, Writing, Essays, Funny, Non-Fiction

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

Synopsis:

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

For my Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) review post, click here.

#2016audiobook Challenge

Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba #1)  Author: Daniel Jose Older

Narrated by: Daniel Jose Older

Length: 7hrs and 56mins

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller, Romance,  NA

Rating: 4.5 stars

Format: Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 1/06/15

Publisher: Audible Studios

Goodreads | B& N | Amazon | Audible

Synopsis:

“Because I’m an inbetweener—and the only one anyone knows of at that—the dead turn to me when something is askew between them and the living. Usually, it’s something mundane like a suicide gone wrong or someone revived that shouldn’ta been.”

Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.

But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death…

For my Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba #1)  audiobook review, click here.

 

BOOKS COMING UP:

March should be a slower month for me. I will admit that I did get distracted reading even more books than I planned to (on top of the blog tour books this month) which is why I had to post pone the planned Redeeming Love expected read for my #RockmyTBR last month and replace it with Mindy’s book. To be honest, I’m really happy I did because it allowed me to end the month on a light and funny note.

For the month of March, I decided to  The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Eric Larson because I really liked what I remember reading from this book back when I first bought it and I just feel like getting back to the story.

For my #2016Audiobook challenge in February, I did end up listening to two audiobooks, but didn’t realized why I marked the second book as ‘to-listen to’ as I was not familiar with the author until after I finished the book and realized I was meant to participate in a blog tour next month (in April) for it 😀 whoops! Well at least I’m a head of the game, right? Any-who, this month I choose to listen to The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins.

And for my #2016TBRpile challenge I picked Hard Love (Hacker #5) by Meredith Wild because the other two picks are kind of dark and I thought this would be a lighter read in the mix.

On top of these expected reads, I will be listening to Voyage Of The Defiance by S.E. Smith, and I’ll be reading Broken Politics by Janae Keyes , books 1-3 of the Stone Legacy series by Theresa DaLayne,  and The Fold by Peter Clines. Knowing myself, I’m sure I’ll squeeze in a few more this month, but I should stop because my body misses sleep XD.

As always, thanks so very  much for reading. I hope you liked reads this month and be sure to come back to check out what else I’ll be reviewing 🙂

Until next time,

Gia.

Stormwielder (Book #1 of The Sword of Light Trilogy) Book Review

Stormwielder (The Sword of Light Trilogy Book #1)
AuthorAaron D. Hodgens
Release date:  December 1st, 2015
Rating: 3.5 stars
Format: eBook (495 pages)

Genres: YA fantasy, Magic, Adventure

FOR A LIMITED TIME – STORMWIELDER IS ON SALE FOR $0.99 ON AMAZON.
Amazon | Goodreads

 

Synopsis:

For five hundred years the Gods have united the Three Lands in harmony.
Now that balance has been shattered, and chaos threatens.

A town burns and flames light the night sky. Hunted and alone, seventeen year old Eric flees through the wreckage. The mob grows closer, baying for the blood of their tormentor. Guilt weighs on his soul, but he cannot stop, cannot turn back.

If he stops, they die.

For two years he has carried this curse, bringing death and destruction wherever he goes. But now there is another searching for him – one who offers salvation. His name is Alastair and he knows the true nature of the curse.

Magic.

 

Review:

When I began this book, I was expecting Eric’s character to be connected to or be one of three things: Humanity’s last hope/sole savior from the coldest and darkest of all evil, a descendant of the gods or gifted with the power of the mythological power of the unstoppable Greek fire. When I finished the book, I was certain that two of these three things were not true and for the third, only time will tell preceding the release of the remaining books in this series.

I gave this book three and a half stars because I liked the story’s concept and most of the characters in this book. I immediately liked Eric’s character and genuinely felt his sadness and fearful state of mind he was stuck in since discovering his ‘ability’. It is really easy to connect to Eric in this book as the reader is able to learn about him and Alistair’s true quest through Eric’s eyes.

Although my opinion about Inken eventually changed by the end of the book, I wanted to also mention that I liked her character’s introduction (pretty visually graphic and memorable). I didn’t much care for her character once Eric started to crush on her character though because then her character was no longer independent from Eric’s storyline. Her character, in my opinion becomes a prop for Eric’s character development and I would have liked to have seen a neutral friendship form in this book between these two characters as they forged on against Archon instead of the two of them falling for one another right away.

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Book Review Post for: Spark Joy

Greetings, Guys:

Before I get into the review, I have to be honest: I think that we as human beings are hoarders; on a physical and emotional level. We collect and collect piles of excess weight in our lives and we continuous carry all of this baggage around with us-to work, to family event, on dates, into relationships etc.

And I’m the type of person who always feels like that weight is going to land me in a ditch somewhere, so I am always looking for ways to relieve that pressure and let go of those unhealthy tethers that follow me around.

Therefore, in the spirit of the New Year, and as a person who color-coordinates her closet (yes, color coordinate) I jumped at the opportunity to read and review Marie Kondo Spark of Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.

Synopsis:

A comprehensive, illustrated manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house, from kitchen and bathroom items to work-related papers and hobby collections. User-friendly line drawings illustrate Kondo’s patented folding method as it applies to shirts, pants, socks, and jackets, as well as images of properly organized drawers, closets, and cabinets. Kondo also add in-depth advice on moving, packing, and dealing with necessary objects that may not spark joy—answering all the questions she’s gotten since her first book. This manual is perfect for anyone who wants a home—and life—that sparks joy.

B&N | Amazon | Target | Goodreads

 

Review

For those of you who have not heard about the book before or its function and overall purpose, Spark Joy is based on the idea of gaining an overall sense of commitment to cleanse your life, which sparks overall joy or a sense of contentment in your life. The Komati method actually is meant to transform a person’s internal outlook on life through external cleansing by starting in the home or living space. Where else is a better place to start really; as you go through all of your belongings to really get a sense of yourself and what brings you happiness.

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month One

Hiya, Guys:

Here are the books I completed for the month of January for the three book challenges I’m participating in this year.  Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

 

#2016TBRPile Challenge

Has been on by TBR pile for weeks.

 

 

The Shadow of Loss

By Josefina Gutierrez

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Multicultural, Romance, YA

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Goodreads OR buy Shadow of Loss here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble|  Kobo

Blurb:

Evelyn Gonzalez keeps losing people, which is always hard, but has she lost something much more? Has she lost her soul? Evelyn has a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized, after months of sorrow and pain she is thrust back into the world. The world of teenage angst and Calculus. Can she trust people again? Especially after hurtful assumptions and judgments made her miss her junior year of high school. Evelyn is just trying to heal what she lost and graduate from high school.

For The Shadow of Loss Review click here.

 

#Rockmytbr Challenge

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

By Kristin Cashore

Genre: YA, Action, Adventure, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…

For my Graceling review post, click here.

 

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Cover Reveal For: Almana

It’s time for a cover reveal Monday! ( I don’t think I’ll turn this into a thing, but you can never be too sure 🙂 )

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