Weekend Wrap-Up #15

What I Read

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I’ll admit, I didn’t get a lot of reading done this week. It was a bit chaotic. I did manage to get through two books though (okay, 1 3/4.. I’m still reading the last one).

The first, was Yellowstone Fugitive by Saige Silver, which is a BBW Menage Romance between a drug-running woman and two grizzly shifter park rangers. It’s not my usual foray into romance fiction, and in the end turned out to be more erotica than romance, but it was okay. By biggest complaint was how cheesy the dialogue was, but if you’re looking for a fun shifter erotica with lots of steamy sex scenes, this may be right up your alley.

The second book I picked up (and will be finished and reviewed by Monday) is Devil and the Deep by Megan Tayte. This is the fourth book in the Cerulean series, and so far, I’m enjoying it. I’m only about 72% into it, but should be done soon. I love Megan Tayte’s writing, so I was really excited to get ahold of this book—she’s been super generous to let me read the whole series so far in exchange for reviews—and I’ve loved all of the books. If you enjoy Megan Tayte’s Cerulean series, you should keep an eye out. I’ll have the review up for Devil and the Deep on Monday, September 28th, and on Wednesday, September 30th I’ll be hosting a Release Day Party + Giveaway. The first three books in the series will be free on amazon for the entire day, and I’ll have links to a giveaway for the fourth book too! So stay tuned!

Upcoming Reviews & Things:

  • Monday, September 28 – Book Review: Devil and the Deep
  • Wednesday, September 30 – Release Day Party + Giveaway: Devil and the Deep
  • Thursday, October 1 – Book Review: Sparked
  • Friday, October 2 – Free Fiction Friday #57

What Was Posted

What I Did

DSCN0507Just look at that beautiful weather. For the first time in two months we had sunshine. My allergies have not been happy.

So, this week was sort of a bust. I did get some writing done on the first draft of Daughter of Abraham—though I haven’t made much progress. I’m on chapter 3. Part of that, is because my health took a massive dive.

For the last several weeks my sleep schedule has been way off. I think a big part of it has been because it’s summer, and summer and I are NOT friends. At night it’s ridiculously hot without the AC running all night, but with it running, it’s too cold. My AC is old fashioned and isn’t set to a thermostat, so if I need to turn it on/off, I have to do so manually. That makes most nights uncomfortable, and I end up getting up 10 times a night to adjust the temp. My sleep schedule became so mangled at one point that I was sleeping 9-11 am, getting up for lunch, and going back to bed 1-5pm, and then staying up all night. It was like I was on some sort of weird graveyard shift.

In the end, a combination of my lack of sleep and my weather-induced allergies became this raging monster that ate my immune system, and I woke up a few days ago with yet another horrendous case of Oral Thrush. For those of you who don’t know what Oral Thrush is: It’s a really uncomfortable condition, often caused by a low immune system (like when people have been put on too many antibiotics, or are very very sick) where the body’s natural defenses get so low that the completely normal and safe levels of yeast that naturally live in a person’s mouth are no longer kept in check by the good bacteria that also live there, and all hell breaks loose. It’s basically a yeast infection of the mouth/throat that causes the outer layers of the mouth/throat/gums/tongue to slough off and bleed. It is painful and gross, and a pain in the ass to treat. I’ve had it twice before now, both times due to an over-use of antibiotics when I was very very ill due to sinus/ear infections. This time, the lack of sleep/allergies just ate my immune system away.

The unfortunate treatment of Oral Thrush is pretty miserable. Because yeast thrives off sugar, when you have Oral Thrush, one of the few ways to treat it is to go on a heavily restricted diet. This diet is NOT safe for extended periods of time, but it’s about all you can do to treat this particular illness. Basically, I’ve been restricted to eating only eggs, rice, chicken broth, and water for the last week. No carbs or sugars of any type allowed. On top of that, I have to brush my teeth/tongue about 8 times a day, and gargle a saltwater/baking soda mixture (or peroxide, whichever is less nasty) to kill the fungal infection.

You guys, I live off coffee and sugar. I’ll admit it. I feel really ill when my blood sugar drops, so this week has been utter hell. On the upside, my Oral Thrush is basically gone except for an irritated throat at the moment, so after the weekend I’ll be very slowly venturing back into real food again. After a week of basically eggs/rice, I can’t tell you how much I crave just a single piece of toast. It’s pathetic really.

Next Week

I need to read. Luckily, I seem to be back on a normal sleep schedule again, and I’m starting to feel better after my bout with Oral Thrush, so I’m hoping to get a lot more work done this upcoming week. I don’t have any book reviews lined up past October 1st, though I believe I have another Paranormal Shifter-Romance book waiting in my inbox for that first week. So many books, so little time!

October is going to be schedule hell for me. It is every year. Between Halloween + my daughter’s Birthday (She’ll be 12 on October 27th), October is usually pretty busy as it is, but on top of that, it’s also the month I get my heaters turned on for winter (which, let’s face it, anytime I get my house worked on in any capacity it is a scheduling nightmare), AND this upcoming month my family has decided to take a week-long trip to Disneyland! I believe we’ll be gone October 18-24, but I’m not certain. It’s also “let’s send the entire family to the dentist” month… so of course, this means I need to either hurry up and schedule a bunch of posts ahead of time, OR admit defeat and just not post for a week. Either way, Free Fiction Friday will be gone the week of our Disneyland trip. We’ll see how my reading goes. I have a bunch of books from NetGalley I need to get through, and this month would be a great time for that if I can get them finished up far enough ahead of time to schedule the review posts. Here’s to hoping it all works out!

In The Mail #15

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done an In The Mail article—but I can’t put it off any longer. I’ve gotten so many books in the mail lately that I felt the need to share before the number of books on my In The Mail bookcase is so large that I can’t fit all the new literature in one photo. (Okay, I’ll admit, it still barely fit. I should have done this ages ago).

As you can see by my bookshelf in disarray to the left hand side of your screen… I’m not big on organizing my bookshelf. The closest it gets is a card, bookmark, or postcard inserted between the half I’ve already read and reviewed, and the half that are still just sitting pretty in my To Be Read pile. (If you look really closely, you can in fact, see said postcard). Obviously, the amount of books I’ve received lately has been quite dramatic.

Yes, I do realize that my shelf looks relatively barren compared to some people’s. There’s a good reason for that, I promise: Most of my library consists of e-books. 22,000 of them to be exact. Actually, I went through my physical-book library just a few weeks ago, weeded out four boxes full of books that I already had e-book copies of, and donated them to my local library. The few I saved were these ones—mostly because a great number of them are marked Advanced Readers Proof, ARC Copy, or they are signed by the author. I just can’t bear to part with them.

So, to return to the subject at hand, I present you with a list of the books I’ve gotten in my mail lately—complete with pictures, because… why not? Also, just as a side note: Taking pictures of books when you have a curious cat is pretty hard to do. I had to cut my cat Bella out of several pictures.

 

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The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?

[Won in a Goodreads Giveaway.]

DSCN0339From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

KYLIE: Mexico? What a nightmare! I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY! Wait! Is this a wedding band on my finger??

MAX: It started with Kylie’s laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics and it ended in Ensenada. It was hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we’re stranded here, with less than twenty-four hours before graduation.

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring their passports across the border but there’s no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started.

LILY: This cannot be happening. It’s like some cruel joke. Or a bad dream. I close my eyes and when I reopen them, they’re still there. Max and Kylie Flores, freak of the century. In bed together. If Kylie thinks I’m giving him up without a fight, she’s dead wrong.

[Obtained as a giveaway from a friendly local librarian.]

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Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed

Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies’ maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can’t help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada.

For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada’s beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family’s honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name-but it would mean giving up her one true love … someone she could never persuade her father to accept.

Sumptuous and enticing, the first novel in the At Somerton series introduces two worlds, utterly different yet entangled, where ruthless ambition, forbidden attraction, and unspoken dreams are hidden behind dutiful smiles and glittering jewels. All those secrets are waiting … at Somerton.

[Obtained as a giveaway from a friendly local librarian.]

DSCN0341Villain Keeper by Laurie McKay

Unexpected magic, villainous teachers, and dragons in disguise await readers in the first book of a delightful new tween adventure series by debut author Laurie McKay.

All his life, Prince Caden has dreamed of being sent on a quest to slay a dragon. But before he has the chance, he is ripped from his home in the Winterlands of Razzon and finds himself in Asheville, North Carolina—a land with no magic and no dragons. But a prince must always complete his quest. And the longer Caden is in Asheville, the more he realizes there is magic in this strange land after all. More important, there may just be dragons here, too. But what if Caden’s destiny isn’t to slay a dragon, like he’s always believed?

Fans of Soman Chainani’s The School for Good and Evil and Chris Colfer’s: The Land of Stories will be transported by this first book in an epic new series for middle grade readers about a brave young prince’s quest to find answers, honor, friendship—and what it really means to be a hero.

[Won in a Goodreads Giveaway.]

DSCN0343The Acolytes of Crane by J.D. Tew

Theodore Crane finds solace in goofy everyday pranks, in order to cope with living under the shadow of an abusive father and dealing with a belligerent bully who seeks him out at school.

One day, intervention from outer space strikes as a mysterious amulet soars into his room bearing enigmatic clues.
This causes Theodore to question everything about the universe, and the answer comes in the form of two battling intergalactic warlords who, unknown to Theodore, have been analyzing him all his life, fearing that he can unlock the secret to their defeat and demise. But this curiosity over Theodore comes at a price, for many people.

To protect his loved ones, and to avenge what has torn his family apart, Theodore must leave Earth. He is given just fourteen days to assemble a team of trustworthy friends and then convince each one to go with him on this dangerous mission.
The Acolytes of Crane is two parts; a coming-of-age story that delights us when it turns into a blast ’em, rock ’em space odyssey. In the words of one reviewer, it’s “something like Sandlot to more like Ender’s Game.”

[Won in a Goodreads Giveaway.]

DSCN0342The Ghost of Sephera by J.D. Tew

Having left his innocuous childhood on Earth behind for the adventures of outer space, Theodore Crane now thrusts himself into desolate conditions, vowing to find two valued members of his crew that were lost in battle. Despite Theodore’s prior victories, the war between two all-powerful demigods rages. Yet the despotic Zane continues to stalk Theodore and his crew, believing that they will one day meet again.

After falling into a state of disarray from the perils of this war, the Opposition must retrench in order to rid the universe of the two demigods who threaten the freedom of the Galaxy. Somehow, Theodore must help the Opposition’s freedom fighters–and give them hope.

Along his journey, Theodore and his crew learn of an all-powerful omnipotent mainframe, Eppa. Records of her existence suggest that she knows everything and sees everything. If Theodore can find Eppa, he may determine the outcome of the Galaxy.

[Won in a Goodreads Giveaway.]

DSCN0344I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

[Won in a giveaway from Fierce Reads]

DSCN0345The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

A bold, genre-bending epic that chronicles madness, obsession, and creation, from the Paleolithic era through the Witch Hunts and into the space-bound future.

Four linked stories boldly chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet’s obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book’s final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time. Merging Sedgwick’s gift for suspense with science- and historical-fiction, Ghosts of Heaven is a tale is worthy of intense obsession.

[Won in a giveaway from Fierce Reads]

DSCN0346To Whatever End by Claire Frank

The thriving kingdom of Halthas was founded by Wielders and Shapers: people who can manipulate either energy or matter. Cecily’s noble birth and strong Wielding ability made her a favorite of the king, until she and her husband Daro were caught up in the war that saw him deposed. Although they were hailed as heroes and a new king sits on the throne, Cecily and Daro chose to leave the politics of the Halthain court for a peaceful life, far outside the city.

Their quiet retirement is interrupted by an unexpected attack, leaving Daro captive and Cecily injured after a narrow escape. With no trail to follow and few clues, Cecily desperately tracks rumors of a madman who is trying to bend the laws of Wielding magic. The subjects of his human experiments rarely survive with their sanity, if they survive at all.

Only their bonded soul assures Cecily that Daro is still alive – but for how much longer and in what condition, she can’t tell. Her best hope is to gather old friends, try to repair the bridges she burned when she left her old life, and muster every resource to find her husband. No sacrifice is too great to bring Daro back, if his mind isn’t already gone.

[Won in a Goodreads Giveaway.]

DSCN0347Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman

Vince Luca is just like any other high school guy. His best friend, Alex, is trying to score vicariously through him; his brother is a giant pain; and his father keeps bugging him to get motivated. There is just one thing that really sets him apart for other kids… his father happens to be the head of a powerful crime organization. Needless to say, while Vince’s family’s connections can be handy for certain things-like when teachers are afraid to give him a bad grade as they can put a serious crimp in his dating life. How is he supposed to explain to a girl what his father does for a living? But when Vince finally meets one who seems to be worth the trouble, her family turns out to be the biggest problem of all. Because her father is an FBI agent-the one who wants to put his father away for good.

[Obtained as a giveaway from a friendly local librarian.]

DSCN0348The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

Maddy Spier has been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls.

Gabe can’t imagine skating with anyone but Maddy, and together they have a real chance at winning some serious gold medals. So, he’s determined to keep thinking of her like a sister. After all, he’s never had a romantic relationship that lasted for more than two weeks.

But when their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared?

[Won in a giveaway from Fierce Reads.]

DSCN0349Save Me by Jenny Elliott

Something strange is going on in the tiny coastal town of Liberty, Oregon. Cara has never seen a whale swim close enough for her to touch it—let alone knock her into the freezing water. Fortunately, cute newcomer David is there to save her, and the rescue leads to a bond deeper than Cara ever imagined.

But then she learns something about David that changes everything, and Cara is devastated. She turns to her best friend for support, but Rachel has changed. She’s suddenly into witchcraft, and is becoming dangerously obsessed with her new boyfriend….

Cara has lost her best friend, discovered that her soul mate is off limits, and has attracted the attention of a stalker. But she’s not completely alone. Her mysterious, gorgeous new friend Garren is there to support her. But is Garren possibly too perfect?

[Won in a giveaway from Fierce Reads.]

DSCN0350Unremembered by Jessica Brody

Sixteen-year-old Sera is the only survivor of an explosion on a plane. She wakes up in hospital to find that she has no memory. The only clue to her identity is a mysterious boy who claims she was part of a top-secret science experiment. The only adult she trusts insists that she shouldn’t believe anything that anybody tells her. In a tense and pacy novel exploding with intrigue and action, Sera must work out who she is and where she came from. Eventually she will learn that the only thing worse than forgetting her past is remembering it.

[Won in a giveaway from Fierce Reads.]

 

DSCN0351The Rule of 3: Fight For Power by Eric Walters

After sixty-six days of a catastrophic global blackout, life in the suburbs is not what it used to be for Adam and his fortified neighborhood of Eden Mills. Although an explosive clash has minimized one threat from outside the walls, Adam’s battle-hardened mentor, Herb, continues to make decisions in the name of security that are increasingly wrenching and questionable. Like his police chief mom and others, Adam will follow Herb’s lead. But when the next threat comes from an unexpected direction, nobody is ready for it. And someone is going to pay the price—because of Adam’s mistakes and mistaken trust.

[Won in a giveaway from Fierce Reads.]

 

That’s all for now. Omgosh. So many good books to read through! And to prove I wasn’t kidding about the cat thing:

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