11

Stacking the Shelves (#62)

stackingtheshelves

Stacking the Shelves
Hosted by:  Tynga’s Reviews
Description: Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Find their latest post here!

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(Taken 2? years ago
Bottom left to right:  Grandma and Mom
Top left to right: Ex hubs; Me; Brother’s Ex; Brother)19397190_1517264524992930_5742177254426628454_n

(taken last year after her hip or knee surgery)

Hi, Penguins.

Last Saturday evening, I got a phone call from my mom.  She went to deliver some sort of bread… I don’t remember what kind now… to my grandma, and found the back door still locked.  This is unusual–my grandma kept herself very busy with cleaning, and going going going all the time.  Mom managed to work her way into the house using the screen and sliding glass door, which was never kept locked.  She found my grandma still in bed.  She’d apparently suffered some sort of massive coronary event–they’re thinking heart attack–and died in her sleep.

Needless to say, the world felt very unreal for me for a few days.  My grandma was one of the best women in my life; she stepped in, a LOT, as a mother figure when mine was unavailable growing up.  This was, for lack of a better way to explain, very unexpected and took us all by surprise.  While I’ve been expecting a phone call, I was preparing for it to be for grandma’s sister (who has a brain tumor) or brother (who has terminal cancer).  None of us expected that grandma would be the first to go in the end; she’s been preparing to be the last one left for the last year.  And I… I just don’t quite know what to do with myself yet.  I guess I might still be in a bit of shock.

This said, I wasn’t really given time to mourn.  The boss lady gave me Sunday off to get my head on straight, and then had to leave town for her own family emergency the next day.  Which means I had to be back at work and in top form Monday morning.  While this has helped to keep me occupied, it has also made believing reality that much harder–I still find myself realizing I can’t just call her later (often in the very middle of a different task) and having the world crash down all over again.

We are doing the best we can.  Kind thoughts and vibes for my mom, who I’m sure is struggling so much more than she’s letting on, are so appreciated though.

Grandma, we love and miss you.

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from publishers/authors/edelweiss/netgalley
(for blog tours/reviews)

Spliced
Elora of Stone (Legend of Rhyme, #1)
Into Coraira (Legend of Rhyme #2)
Teagan of Tomorrow (Legend of Rhyme, #3)
Second Twin (Legend of Rhyme, #4)
Blood and Stars
Mirror Me
from a friend

Eliza and Her Monsters

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What are some of the books YOU picked up/added to your shelves (either real or virtual?)  Let me know below, or link me to your own Stacking the Shelves!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

 

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6

Stacking the Shelves (#61)

stackingtheshelves

Stacking the Shelves
Hosted by:  Tynga’s Reviews
Description: Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Find their latest post here!

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I feel like it’s been ages upon ages upon FOREVER that I did a Stacking the Shelves post last.

LEGASP!  OH WAIT, that’s because it HAS been ages upon ages upon forever!  How silly of me.  What, did I think I suddenly inherited pocketfuls of free time?!  Who am I even kidding with that nonsense?!?!?!

So.  Life lately.  Uhm.  The man and I are doing okay.  We’re sort of on this “save bunch of money!” kick because we’re taking a week off in August to go on vacation (oh my penguins, what even IS that word anymore?!?!?!) and, yah know…bills don’t go on vacation with us.  So we’re not really buying a whole lot, and I sit around after work still AT WORK for like 2.5 hours waiting for him to pick me up, annnnnd… I basically have even less life now than I did before!?

One of my employees is currently missing.  She told her aunt she was headed to work Thursday evening (she was supposed to work that night) annnnd…she never showed up at work.  And she never went home.  The aunt has filed a missing persons report; we’re all hoping that the girl is found safe and sound.  This is so very stressful and scary–she’s a minor still, and it’s not like her to just up and disappear.

Apparently a water main broke in our apartment complex, so our water pressure has been going in and out since last night (Thursday–because, you know, I’m writing this a day ahead of posting)

I put up a discussion post asking for tips and tricks on how to DO ALL TEH THINGS for the Book Block world without, you know, losing my beak.  You can find that post right HERE, if you’re interested.  I’d also LOVE it if you Penguins could, once again, link me to stuff and things you think I should check out that I’ve probably missed in recent weeks past–I really AM trying to do better at this blog hopping thing, I promise!  I just…I think I need to get a set schedule, or something.  Like, such and such days I spend working on blog posts, such and such on reading, such and such on blog hopping.  A set schedule might help me get better organized at this point.

And now, FOR THE BOOKS!  because I know you all didn’t come here just to hear me yak.

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from publishers/authors/edelweiss/netgalley
(for blog tours/reviews)

One Broken Day
LEARNING MY WORDS A-Z: Children's Picture Book (Basic Word Learning Skills) Book 4 (Learning My...)
LEARNING MY ABCs: ANIMALS: Children's Picture Book (Learning the Alphabet) Book 2 (Learning My...)
LEARNING MY DRAWING: STEP-BY-STEP DRAWING TUTORIALS FOR CHILDREN (Learning My... Book 1)
LEARNING MY LETTERS: Children's Picture Book (Basic Writing Skills A-Z) Book 3 (Learning My...)
Sunshine Is Forever
Sparked
Dark Designs
Friend (With Benefits) Zone
Freak

from LitCube
(June theme —  Modern Day Cinderella)

LitCube June

recentlydownloaded

freebies from around the net

The Dystopia Spell (Multiverse Mashup Book 1)
I Wish I Weren't a Djinni (The Cotton Candy Quintet Book 0)
A Dude Reads Romance - Tempting Sydney
The Bejeweled Bottle (The Curious Collectibles Series #3)
Stealer (Stealer, #1)
Minor Gods (Summoners #1)
Lost Gods (Summoners #2)
Shield and the Shadow (The Horizon Cycle, #1)
The Jaguar King (The Wild Rites Saga - Book 1)
Taken by the Beast (The Conduit #1)
The Forever Girl (The Forever Girl #1)

recentpurchased

curse you, book deals! 
(no, no, I don’t really mean this)

Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone, #1)
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

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What are some of the books YOU picked up/added to your shelves (either real or virtual?)  Let me know below, or link me to your own Stacking the Shelves!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

 

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0

Unexpectedly Hers: The Slopes of Her Secrets are Steep

bookreview

Unexpectedly Hers (Sterling Canyon, #3)

Unexpectedly Hers (Sterling Canyon #3)
by Jamie Beck
Chick Lit / Contemporary / Romance
282 Pages
Montlake Romance
Publication Date:  February 21st, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB: 

By day, bashful wallflower Emma Duffy works at her family’s bed-and-breakfast. By night, she secretly pens erotic romance hot enough to melt the snow in their cozy Rockies town.

But Emma’s real life is about to heat up when her mother books the entire inn to a professional snowboarder, hoping the publicity will put them on the map. In a karmic twist of fate, that guest is Wyatt Lawson, the man with whom Emma had shared the secret one-night stand that became the inspiration for her novel and its dreamy hero. Worse, a film crew is documenting his comeback just as her debut is about to hit the shelves. Emma’s only saving grace is that Wyatt doesn’t remember her—and hopefully he never will.

When Wyatt arrives in Sterling Canyon for several weeks of intense training, the last tumble he expects to take is falling for a girl, especially one as shy as Emma. Unlike groupies with their hidden agendas, she isn’t using him—or so he believes…until the film crew uncovers Emma’s pen name and steamy novel.

Wyatt’s comeback run can withstand a fall or two, but can his heart recover from this crash and burn?

addtogoodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

jamie-beck-press2 (3).jpg Jamie Beck is a Romance Writers of America Honor Roll author with a passion for writing stories about love and redemption, including her best selling St. James and Sterling Canyon series. When she’s not writing, you can find her dancing around her kitchen or hitting the slopes in Utah and Vermont. Above all, she’s a grateful wife and mother to a very patient and supportive family.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: cutesy contemporary; shy wallflower to strong woman plot; mostly believable romance; the ending seemed a little too easy; unexplained girl hate; weird, though believable, family dynamics; interesting look into the many layers of guilt

Huge thanks to Jamie Beck, Montlake Romance, and PR By the Book for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book!

UH Quote1

So first things first: I was super nervous, when I received this book for review, that I’d be stepping into the middle of a story and wind up SUPER confused (or, at the very least, super spoiled on the previous two novels). Much to my surprise, this read like a standalone novel–in fact, I was immediately immersed in the story and SO admire the way Jamie Beck both brought back the recurring/previous characters, while still allowing this novel to stand apart and be read on its own. That being said, now that I’ve had a chance to look up the previous two novels, there ARE a few spoiler-y moments I encountered….but in the end, they’re so minute and tiny, I feel as if I could still backtrack and read those two novels without too much fuss.

The romance in this particular read is super believable and SO, SO steamy–seriously, my poor penguin beak about melted off my face during certain sexy moments, though Jamie Beck wrote them to remain tasteful enough that sensitive readers won’t have problems reading the scenes. While there are some moments of tension/plot-heavy action…the book, for the most part, is more focused upon the characters and their changes/growth journeys. Emma’s story, in particular, was super sweet and endearing to read–her growth from shy wallflower into strong, comfortable-with-herself woman has become something of an inspiration for me, to be honest. I really, really enjoyed following her through these events of her life!

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I was a little bit disappointed with how quickly things are resolved in the end. I felt like Wyatt left Emma with SO much drama and anger, only to “suddenly” realize how right she was for him after seeing her again several weeks later. It felt a bit contrived, honestly, and wasn’t entirely believable for me. While I understand forgiveness, I felt like Wyatt’s complete 180 in emotions was a bit TOO quick in coming.

Still, I had a ton of fun getting to know these characters and visiting their sleepy Colorado town. The fact that the settings are so close to my home (Wyoming girl, here!) brought about a fair amount of nostalgia–though I have to admit, I still don’t miss the cold or snow! I definitely recommend this read to lovers of chick lit, contemporary romances, and character-focused plots. Put on your goggles and strap in, penguins–these slopes are steep!

2

Geekerella: All that’s Missing Are the Mice

bookreview

GeekerellaGeekerella
by Ashley Poston
320 Pages
Quirk Books
Publication Date:  April 4th, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

addtogoodreads

 

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: yet another CINDERELLA retelling!; I loved the nerdculture/comic con references happening throughout; awesome, entertaining voice; these characters are pretty rocking; LOVELOVELOVE the play on fandom; not so sure how I feel about a few of the relationships here

Huge thanks to Ashley Poston, Quirk Books, and Netgalley for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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As so often happens when I pick up a CINDERELLA retelling (or ANY retelling, honestly), I found myself swept up in the magic of the story…and yet, somehow, also questioning some of the relationships. Now, don’t get me wrong–I totally understand the whole “wicked stepmother, evil step-siblings” trope. By “understand” I mean I get why it has to exist. But recently, I’ve begun to question the REALITY of such relationships. In this book, for instance: it’s really unclear exactly why the stepmother is so determined to be so cruel to Elle. I get that the stepsister is really just “following by example” in this case, and can therefore wrap my head around her being so unnecessarily snotty. But the stepmom? While we get a bit of an explanation later on in the story, it just… it doesn’t really FIT for me. It doesn’t really make much sense, or explain anything. It’s an excuse, in the end–not a justification or explanation. So I’m not sure how much I believed that particular relationship–it just didn’t seem very realistic.  It felt, in fact, just a little forced to fit the fairy tale trope, in my opinion.

 

That being said, however–these characters shine! The personalities are all individualized; I absolutely adored watching Elle transform and grow from “shy girl who never says no” to “independent, strong young lady.” I also adored all the mini references/nods to the original Cinderella–such as the pumpkin/chariot, which I only JUST now realized and pieced together (oops!)

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The play on fandom and cons was super entertaining for this lover of all things nerdculture, and I so appreciated all the pop culture references laced throughout. It was so great to watch these characters react to and interact with others over their passion–and introduce a few specific special characters to the obsession, as well! I had a TON of fun watching the relationship between Elle and Darien evolve, as well–they’re so sweetly cute and tooth-rotting!

 

Overall, this was an entertaining read FULL of nerdculture/pop culture references. The characters are well-written, though a few of the relationships felt a bit too contrived to fit tropes for my taste. Also…I now wish that Starfield was an actual thing, because it sounds amazeballs. I definitely recommend to my fellow retellings fanatics, lovers of modern-day fairy tales, and other pop culture nerds. Roll up your sleeves and step on the gas, penguins; it’s time the masks came off.

0

Stacking the Shelves (#59)

stackingtheshelves

Stacking the Shelves
Hosted by:  Tynga’s Reviews
Description: Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Find their latest post here!

So… I didn’t say anything the other day because I was SUPER tired, but I was working the night shift the last few nights annnnnd the first night there, who should walk in but on of my FAVORITE booktubers.

Now….if you know me, you know I sometimes don’t say things when I should because I get all awkward and nervous, but this day I just couldn’t help myself. I mentioned that I followed him on youtube and we had a great chat about books while my coworker and I made his sandwich.

And then he turned around and talked about it. On his vlog. On youtube. So…yeah… GO WATCH IT! Mostly because he’s such a great person to watch.

( If you’re wondering/only want to see what he says about our interaction, skip ahead to like the eight or nine minute mark.  SERIOUSLY, though, guys–you should TOTES go follow Peter for his booktube if you’re not already following him, because he’s awesome sauce and I adore him so hard.  His booktube channel can be found RIGHT HERE MAH DEARS! )

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from publishers/authors/edelweiss/netgalley
(for blog tours/reviews)

Stalker, My Love

It Had to Be You (Brokemore Academy, #1)

The Upside of Regret

Internet Famous

Unexpectedly Hers (Sterling Canyon, #3)

Before I Knew (The Cabots Book 1)

All That Glitters (All That #1)

Wicked Dance (Lovers Dance, #3)

recentlydownloaded

freebies from across the web

Play Me

Blackheath (The Blackheath Witches, #1)

Prejudice Meets Pride (Meet Your Match, #1)

Play With Me (Grover Beach Team, #1)

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What are some of the books YOU picked up/added to your shelves (either real or virtual?)  Let me know below, or link me to your own Stacking the Shelves!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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5

Stacking the Shelves (#58)

stackingtheshelves

Stacking the Shelves
Hosted by:  Tynga’s Reviews
Description: Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Find their latest post here!

HEY HOWDY HELLO!

I know, I know–it’s been a few since you heard from me last.  I am SO super sorry for that, really and truly–there’s only so much this little penguin beak can handle at times, you know?!

There’s not been much excitement in my world recently.  I’ve gotten some books in the mail and in the email, I’ve done some work stuff, I’ve…tried not to lose my feathers?  but that’s a day-to-day struggle and honestly I feel like I fail at it most of the time.

So…how about I just share some music and fun stuff with you?  Sound good?  Good.

Image may contain: 1 person

No automatic alt text available.

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from publishers/authors/edelweiss/netgalley
(for blog tours)

Girl on the Verge

from publishers/authors/edelweiss/netgalley
(for review)

Netherfield Prep

The Journey to Dragon Island (The Accidental Pirates #2)

Strings: A Love Story

received in mail/subscription boxes

Alex, Approximately

recentlydownloaded

freebies from across the web

Grave Little Secrets

Half-Truths

Rush of Insanity

When It Hits You

one-click purchases

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1)

Taurus (Zodiac Dragon Guardians, #1)

Aquarius (Zodiac Dragon Guardians, #2)

Cancer (Zodiac Dragon Guardians #3)

Aries (Zodiac Dragon Guardians Book 4)

Alpha (Zodiac Dragon Guardians Book 5)

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What are some of the books YOU picked up/added to your shelves (either real or virtual?)  Let me know below, or link me to your own Stacking the Shelves!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

 

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6

Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Duels and Deception

 

Duels and Deception
by Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 11th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult

Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father’s choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.

Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won’t hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert’s help, Lydia strives to keep her family’s good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: entertaining, beautifully written historical fiction; absolutely adore Lydia; realistic, delicious romance; a subtle hint of mystery and intrigue; Lydia’s shift from “not a romantic” to “fully in love” is believable and well-done; oh my penguins, THE SNARK

Huge thanks to Cindy Anstey, Swoon Reads, Netgalley, and Xpresso Book Tours for granting me free access to a digital ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

DD Quote1

Holy penguins, is Lydia QUITE the character! I fell in love with her pretty quickly, honestly–her snark and personality are loud and vibrantly painted and she drew me in like a fine work of art. I kept trying to burrow my way into her heart, to better see and feel the world from her point of view. In fact, I’d say she’s one of my favorite characters of recent reads–the fact that she’s so super snarky and to the point only helped to cement her place in my list of favorite personalities. She’s blunt, she goes after what she wants (for the most part), and she doesn’t let society denote what she does with her life or her time. I mean seriously, she’s a role model–and her story in this read? Only helped to strengthen the message that you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to, so long as you don’t let the rest of the world get in your way.

The relationship with Robert– ahem, Mr. Newton –started out a bit awkwardly and stilted. In the end, though, it was believably written and so, so endearing. Robert was written to perfectly match Lydia in wit and intellect–and helped prove that real romance and passion do exist in the world. The fact that they start off a little rocky, and each hiding their feelings for the other because of convention or rules– only to finally drop the act –was realistic, though a bit frustrating at times for me (I just wanted to shake some sense into their hearts, that’s all!)

DD Quote2.jpg

The slight, subtle use of mystery and intrigue helped to pull me more thoroughly into this read, and I really enjoyed that we got the story from both perspectives. I find what I miss most in books like this– such as Pride and Prejudice –is that we weren’t given a glimpse into the OTHER side of the story. This book took the guessing and the mystery away by giving us access to Mr. Newton’s thoughts and emotions, which I really appreciated. This helped to make him less a “bystander” in the action of his life, but have a more concrete and tangible role in the story.

This was such a snarky, personality-filled, entertaining read, and I’m even more excited now to pick up more of Cindy Anstey in the future! Lydia’s vibrant, strong-willed character and Robert’s passionate intellect made for a positively wonderful match. The action of the plot, mixed with the subtle mystery, helped to keep me enthralled throughout. I definitely recommend this to lovers of historical fiction, vividly-painted characters, and subtle societal statements. This read enchanted me, penguins; maybe you should take a taste of the magic, too.

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3

My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen: A Snarky Reinvention of a Well-Loved Fairy Tale

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My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen

Chris Bellows is just trying to get through high school and survive being the only stepchild in the social-climbing Fontaine family, whose recently diminished fortune hasn’t dimmed their desire to mingle with Upper East Side society. Chris sometimes feels more like a maid than part of the family. But when Chris’s stepsister Kimberly begins dating golden boy J. J. Kennerly, heir to a political dynasty, everything changes. Because Chris and J. J. fall in love . . . with each other.

With the help of a new friend, Coco Chanel Jones, Chris learns to be comfortable in his own skin, let himself fall in love and be loved, and discovers that maybe he was wrong about his step-family all along. All it takes is one fairy godmother dressed as Diana Ross to change the course of his life.

My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen is a Cinderella retelling for the modern reader. The novel expertly balances issues like sexuality, family and financial troubles, and self-discovery with more lighthearted moments like how one rogue shoe can launch a secret, whirlwind romance and a chance meeting with a drag queen can spark magic and light in a once dark reality.

YA / Contemporary / Romance / Fairy Tale Retellings
336 Pages
Sky Pony Press
Expected Publication Date:  May 2nd, 2017
Preorder a copy here!

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: just a bit stereotypical; love the humor and personality of the voice; entertaining, endearing, wholly recreated characters; I was sucked in from start to finish; tons of delicious angst, drama, and fun; the snark is on point; LOVE how David Clawson made this retelling wholly his own

Huge thanks to David Clawson, Sky Pony Press, and Edelweiss for sending me a free digital ARC of this read in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

FG Quote1

By now, I’m sure ALL my loyal penguins know full well that I am all about retellings. They are the bread to my readerly sandwich, after all! I am ALSO all about snarky characters, uniquely individualized reads, and reinvented story lines (especially if it’s a retelling being reinvented)! There’s nothing quite like stepping into a world you’re pretty sure you’ve seen from every angle…and being proven wrong.

 

 

David Clawson did exactly this for me with this title. I’ll be honest with you guys–when I stumbled upon this title on Edelweiss and saw it was up for instant download, I didn’t think twice. I read the title, laughed out loud like a lunatic, and promptly hit “download.” I didn’t even stop to read the blurb, which means, when I picked this book up to read…. I had no idea it was a retelling. It took only a couple of pages for me to realize that’s exactly what I was reading…and only a couple more after that to realize it was going to be entirely different from the story I thought I already knew. David Clawson took this fairy tale, and molded it into his own witty, snarky, entertaining beast–and I ADORED every second of it!

FG Quote2

This was a fast-paced, entertaining read with some well-written, complex, and wholly unique characters. Trust me, penguins–this is not the Cinderella cast you know, but that doesn’t mean you won’t love them to tuna fish pieces. Honestly, I feel like the relationships sewn and nurtured in this book are SO MUCH BETTER than those I’ve been reading in the recent months. They are realistic, they grow and change as the characters do, and they’re all, in some tiny way, flawed…but they’re also easy for readers to relate to. In the original Cinderella story, and the subsequent retellings I’ve had the pleasure of reading/watching… I was never quite sure WHY the stepmother and sisters hated Cinderella so much. There never seemed to be an actual reason. David Clawson approached this in a new and unique way, and managed to wrap it up in the process!

 

 

I had a ton of fun with this book, and while it leans a bit heavily on certain stereotypes, I feel the personality and uniquely individualized characters really set this apart from other Cinderella retellings. The snark was heavy-handed, the morals (being true to yourself, feeling comfortable in your own skin) are handled with sensitivity, and I just ADORED me some Coco Chanel Jones–seriously, one of the best characters EVER! I recommend this to lovers of fairy tale retellings, diverse reads, and a strong focus on the sewing and building of familial relationships. If you’re seeking YOUR Prince Charming, maybe you should wear shoes that are much too big for you…you never know whose face you’ll kick one into!

2

Piper Perish: Poisonous Family Dynamics, Open-Ended Ending

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Piper Perish

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and into art school in New York City, the better. It’s been Piper’s dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she’s never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper’s sister’s tyrannical mental state seems to thwart every attempt at happiness for the close-knit Perish family. Piper’s art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power, even if it means giving up what she’s always known? Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this ridiculously compelling, utterly authentic work featuring interior art from Rookie magazine illustrator Maria Ines Gul. Piper will have readers asking big questions along with her. What is love? What is friendship? What is family? What is home? And who is a person when she’s missing any one of these things?

addtogoodreads

Contemporary / YA / LGBTQIA+
Chronicle Books
Publication Date:  March 7th, 2017
Get a copy here!

3.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: realistic and true-to-life; I LOVE how open-ended the ending is; an interesting glimpse into family dynamics and sibling rivalries; a focus on opportunity, self-preservation, and personal sacrifice; Piper has an entertaining, strong voice, but she comes off a bit unreliable at times

Huge thanks to Kayla Cagan, Chronicle Books Publishing, and Netgalley for granting me free early access to an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

The first thing you need to know about this book: it’s written in diary form. Therefore, the only perspective we get is Piper’s–and while I adored how strong and unique her voice is throughout this novel, I also struggled a bit with seeing the world through her eyes. Don’t get me wrong–single perspective reads are not in any way a bad thing! However, Piper’s perspective is (as to be expected, with diary entries) very biased. A couple of times, I found myself wondering if she was more unreliable than honest. You know that saying, “there’s three sides to every story. His, hers, and the truth.” ? I felt it applied to a lot of this book, when perhaps it shouldn’t have.

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I really enjoyed the different themes that Kayla Cagan explored, though! One of the biggest focuses, sibling rivalry, was a new one for me to encounter in YA, and it was beautifully done. Growing up with a TON of half-siblings and one younger brother, I know just how volatile and dramatic such relationships can be. They are, at times, downright caustic. When you add in pregnancy and the additional hormones that come with it, it’s pretty easy to believe in Marli’s terrifying unpredictability.

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In fact, the entire family dynamic was never once sugar-coated or glossed over. Kayla Cagan did an awesome job of asking the right questions, and then employing the answers in ways that shifted the plot and changed my perspective as a reader. Both parents are fully present and realistically flawed, acting and reacting in predictable AND surprising ways. After all, who hasn’t done or said something out of character when stressed? Unlike a lot of YA reads with missing or “side-note” parents, I felt as if I got to know Piper’s mom and dad as fully as I did Piper and Marli. I felt as if all these characters came to life for me, honestly–and that’s a hard thing to do in writing, to make each character feel individualized and equally vibrant.

 

In the end, this was an entertaining and thought-provoking read. There are tons of moments filled with teen angst, family drama, and abstract philosophies or ideas. It is, at times, difficult to put yourself in Piper’s shoes and understand where she’s coming from. Marli is, throughout, downright terrifying–and, at times, emotionally abusive. Still, each character feels fleshed out and unique, and the ending is open-ended enough to let readers continue the story on their own, if they want. I recommend this to lovers of contemporary fiction, “differing” family dynamics, and the exploration of abstract ideas/human nature. This was an interesting read; I’ll be keeping my eyes open for the next project Kayla Cagan tackles.

4

Stacking the Shelves (#54)

stackingtheshelves

Stacking the Shelves
Hosted by:  Tynga’s Reviews
Description: Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Find their latest post here!

So…I think it makes sense for me to hold off on posting these every week, and wait until I’ve accumulated ALL TEH BOOKS EVER!  because…I’m not currently BUYING books, and therefore (usually) only get like three a week.

Except this week, because my inbox EXPLODED with all the pretties annnnnnd I browsed Edelweiss the other day in a fit of insanity annnnnnnnnd somehow I managed to get ALL TEH BOOKS without actually buying anything?!  YAY ME FOR THAT!

We may or may not be starting training for the new store (yes, that’s right, the one I’ll be managing) next week.  I’ll find out…uhm…Monday at the latest, if we’ll be starting training next Wednesday.  It’s cutting it close, for sure…things are getting down to the wire and BEJEEEEEEPERS, time is moving quickly!

Keith and I will be going to see Logan tomorrow after I get off work.  I’m off this Saturday (YAY?!) so we’re going to take advantage of that and get outta the apartment for a bit.  We’ve also got a trip back to Colorado in the works for this upcoming summer.  His mom is attempting to get a mini family reunion thing going with a trip into the mountains for Grandma Donna’s 90th! birthday; so far, there are 11 of us going.  Most of whom I haven’t met yet.  I’m pretty excited, though–getting out and AWAY will be awesome.

My mom and I decided to be our sexy awesome selves again the other day, and this happened:

Yeah, you know we rock it.

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from publishers/authors/edelweiss/netgalley
(for blog tours)

Incense and Peppermints

from publishers/authors/edelweiss/netgalley
(for review)

Cold Summer

The Duke of Bannerman Prep

My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen

Pixie and the Green Book Mystery - Grayscale Illustrations

Ashes

To Love A Stranger

Fall in One Day

Wait for the Rain

Songs of Insurrection

from ebook subscription service
( ebookinbox.com )

As We Know It

The Crimson Tree

The Piper's Price (The Neverland Wars, #2)

Trapped In Silver (Eldryn Chronicles #1)

Medium boxsetmultiplied1  2

Prelude (Creatura, #0.5)

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freebies from across the web

The Honorable Rosalind's Heart

Sing Your Heart Out (Sinful Serenade, #1)

Soulmate (Soulmate #1)

Now and Then (Now, #1)

Lovers At Heart (The Bradens at Weston CO, #1; The Bradens, #1; Love in Bloom, #4)

Destined for Love (The Bradens at Weston, CO #2; The Bradens #2; Love in Bloom #5)

Taken by Love (The Bradens at Trusty #1; The Bradens #7; Love in Bloom #16)

At Any Price (Gaming the System, #1)

At Any Turn (Gaming the System, #2)

A Totally '80s Romance (Boxed Set Books 1-3) by [Moore, Addison]

Dating on the Dork Side

The Last Necromancer (The Ministry of Curiosities, #1)

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If you want to know the grand total….it’s 42 INDIVIDUAL books.  42, penguins.  I….I don’t even know what happened?!

What are some of the books YOU picked up/added to your shelves (either real or virtual?)  Let me know below, or link me to your own Stacking the Shelves!

Until next time, happy book-ing!

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