Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of 2013! Plus Challenge Wrap up!

2013!!! Where have you gone???  It feels like just yesterday that I was doing the countdown with my friends for 2013! Now I'll be doing it AGAIN tonight!

2013 was such an interesting year! When it comes to reading I started the year strong, but then it sort of dwindled around summer time. But personally I think I have a pretty good excuse for that...I met someone this year.  And while I still read, I will admit it isn't my number one priority anymore.  And to be honest, it's kind of a relief!  The last couple of years reading has become a chore to me.  Authors, publishers, agents, etc. sending me request after request, and me being the type of person who can't so no...I finally realized something...READING IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!!

So what now? you may be asking.  Is there still a future for The Romance Bookie?

ABSOLUTELY! Of course!! The Romance Bookie is my baby! I have put so much hard work into getting The Romance Bookie to where is it today!

But none the less, the changes that have occurred over the past few months, will most likely continue.

Reviews will be less frequent.  Not only because of personal relationships, but also because next semester will be very vigorous for me.  I will be taking three night courses, plus one online, plus working two jobs.  And let's be honest, I still need a social life lol.  I've definitely gotten used to that, and I am 100% loving it!

To start off the New Year, I'm doing something EXTREMELY EXCITING!!!!!!!!! Something I've never gotten to do!  I am going to Florida to go to DisneyWorld with my boyfriend this Sunday!! We will be there until the 18th, so don't expect any posts in that time.  I have never been to Florida before!! And also I am A HUGE DISNEY fan!! Like HUGE!! I LOVE Disneyland! I got so lucky, because I met a man who also loves Disneyland as much as I do!!!! It's going to be awesome!!

While this was a year of many exciting things, it was also a year of heartache.  In July I lost one of my best friends due to a car crash.  She was only 21, and while we had lost contact over the years since middle school, she was the first person that was a true friend to me here in America (I'm from Germany, if you didn't know that).  Sherilyn I will miss you always, and always think of the amazing fun times we shared during our many sleep overs! One memory that will never leave me, is the night where we were watching Disney Channel together, and the FIRST EVER Trailer for "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" came on.  Sherilyn and I RAN screaming with excitement down the stairs to the living room where my parents were watching TV, and excitedly told them the news, as they looked at us like we were insane.  It was great! :)
I lost a few people this year that were a strong part of my life growing up, and they will be extremely missed.

Anyway, enough with the sad, and on to the best of 2013!

This years best of 2013 books, are in no particular order.  But I've picked ten of them that I absolutely loved!

Before I do show you my list though, I must admit, this wasn't the greatest year in books, in my opinion.  I read a lot of books I had been anticipating and they ended up disappointing me.  But none the less, there were still some amazing ones...so here goes!

THE BEST BOOKS OF 2013 (that I read this year! Not necessarily released this year) ACCORDING TO THE ROMANCE BOOKIE!!

This was a year of many series coming to an end!  Cassandra Clare (who I got to meet in March!!) ended her Infernal Devices series, Hilary Duff's "Elixir" series came to an end, Christina Lauren's Beautiful Bastard Series started and came to an end this year!, Lauren Oliver's "Delirium" trilogy ended, Meg Cabot's "Abandon" Trilogy!  So many! 

In one way it is very sad, but in another it gives me the opportunity to start some more series!! :)

On the Challenges!!

Well, let's just say I failed miserably this year!  

I only read 72 books, instead of the 100 that was my goal.  While I wanted to listen to 5 audiobooks, I only made it to 3.  I did complete my ebook challenge.  My goal was to read at least 25 ebooks, and I read 32.  With the ABC Challenge I didn't read a book for letters O, Q, V, X, Y, and Z.  I think pretty much the same letters I didn't do last year. For the YA Contemporary Challenge my goal was to read 5 new released YA contemporaries of 2013, I was able to read 15! I wanted to read at least 20 from my TBR shelf, I only read 10 ;(.  However, I will admit I didn't add very many this year! I was very good when it came to buying books!!

So anyway, that's it from me this year! I've got to get going!  Need to do a little shopping before the New Years Eve party I'm going to tonight.  Plus packing for FLORIDA!!! 

So excited!!!!


The Romance Bookie :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Racing Savannah (#4 in Hundred Oaks Series) by Miranda Kenneally

I'm so excited that I was able to able to finish Miranda Kenneally's latest novel, Racing Savannah, before the end of the year!  I had no other choice...I got it in the mail late last week, after having ordered it off of Amazon for only $5.99, and of course had to read it immediately! Miranda has become one of my favorite authors!

From Goodread:

They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

My Thoughts:

Miranda has this way of writing about teenagers that every girl can pretty much relate to.  Early on my family struggled financially, and while it got better as I got older I still had to work throughout most of high school and miss out on a lot of weekend activities.  Which wasn't a big deal for me, I've always been one to appreciate a nice paycheck ;).  Anyway, Savannah not only had a struggling family but also struggled with the fact of other people having more than she did...she judged them for it.  Now, I admit I did that too in elementary school.  Around 6th grade when my fellow classmates were getting their first cell phones, I was jealous.  I wanted a cell phone, but my parents couldn't afford it.  That's just a silly example of course, but it sucks being around people who have more money than you and can do things you can not afford!

Jack, Savannah's love interest in this one, I will admit sort of pissed me off.  While he bettered himself near the end, I didn't like him, and I was sort of hoping for a bit there that she would end up with her best friend Rory...but then he found Vanessa, who let's be honest was just perfect for him!

Savannah's dad sort of made me mad too, maybe because I'm used to having two parents that have always supported in pretty much whatever I set my heart out to do.  I get it...he was worried about her getting hurt racing the horse, but at one point he kind of crushes her dreams pretty badly...and quite honestly, I have no idea how I would bounce back so easily from a blow like that!

Overall rating:

I can definitely see Racing Savannah becoming one of those family friendly horse movies that get released every so many years.  You know the ones right? Like Secretariat and Seabiscuit. 

Miranda once again wrote a great story, where I think a lot of people will be able to relate to the character.  I do wish more could have been described on Rory's character...because the reader gets this information that I, personally, sort of wanted to know an outcome for.

Other than that, I did enjoy this one!  Miranda is definitely an author I would recommend to young readers!  Especially her novel Catching Jordan! WHICH REMINDS me, Miranda did something EXTRA awesome in Racing Savannah!!!! We find out how all her past characters are doing!!!!!!!!  Jordan and Sam make an appearance! And OH MY GOODNESS, Will and Parker make a HUGE appearance!!!! It's awesome!!

So anyway as you mind be able to tell, I definitely recommend this one! Check it out on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (however, Amazon is cheaper!  Only $5.99, versus the $9.99 Barnes and Noble wants!)

Thanks everyone! :)

The Romance Bookie

PS: Don't forget to enter my THREE YEAR BLOGAVERSARY GIVEAWAY!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 13, 2013

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger (Audiobook Review)

Hey Guys!

So I didn't think I would be finishing another Audiobook this year, but thanks to the 45 minute commute to take my final last night, I finally finished listening to Kody Keplinger's Shut Out!

From Goodreads:

Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car gas been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention. 

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming. 

Inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.

My Thoughts:

First off, a HUGE Thank you to Kody for sending me a signed audio copy of Shut Out!!  I am a huge fan of Kody's books, love them each and every time! I'm really looking forward to her new middle grade novel, The Swift Boys and Me, coming out May 27th, 2014!

I started listening to Shut Out about three months ago.  I would listen to it every time I had to commute to school, which luckily this semester I only had to do three times (I took an online class where we only had on-campus meetings three times in the semester).  But anyway it was a fun drive with the audiobook!

The narrator of the audio was Kate Reinders.  She definitely put a different twist on the voice of Lissa than I imagined as I was actually reading the book back in 2011 when it was first released.  To be honest, the voice that Kate used, sort of made feel annoyed with Lissa.  It was very Valley Girl, and sort prissy.  My favorite character after listening to the book would definitely have to Lissa's best friend, Chloe!  She was extremely honest, told it like it is, and wasn't afraid of the consequences!  People judged her, so she would hash it right back at them!  I wish I was like that in high school!

When comparing the audiobook to how I felt when I first read the book in my voice, I will admit I enjoyed reading it by myself more.  Like I said I didn't really like the voice the narrator used.  However, that being said, Kody still came up with a fun story that a lot of teen readers would enjoy I believe!

My book review back in 2011 was:
But my audiobook review would have to be:
I would turn off the audio sometimes because I needed a break from the voice.  I enjoy putting my own interpretations of the voices in when I read, so it's always weird for me when I listen to an audiobook of a book I have already read, because all that's going through my head is, "That is SO not how I imagined them to sound!"

None the less, check out the book if you get a chance! It's a good one!  My favorite from Kody would definitely still have to be The DUFF!!

Love that one!

The Romance Bookie :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Three YEARS for The Romance Bookie! (Giveaway!!)

Hey Everyone!

I just can't believe it...but it's been THREE YEARS since I started The Romance Bookie!!

Wow, I know I say this every year, but what an incredible three years!

This past year brought on my first major publisher sending me books (Atria and Gallery, which are publishers through Simon and Schuster).

Over the the past three years I have written almost 250 reviews! 250!!  I just counted them up...and can I just say I'm a little bit in a state of shock! Unbelievable!


Before I say thank you to everyone that has helped me with this blog over the last three years, I just want to say again how sorry I am about neglecting The Romance Bookie the last six months!

You see 2013 was a year of many firsts for me.  Among them was getting my drivers license, which has allowed me a lot more freedom, getting TWO news jobs, and also meeting an incredible guy.  Before this year, I had always been a bit of a loner.  I will admit at the time I preferred it that way.  However, I've been spending a lot more time with friends and loved ones this year, so that's taken up a lot of my free time.  Not to mention I work A LOT, so unfortunately some of that reading time has been taken over.

Honestly, though while I am sorry for neglecting The Romance Bookie, at the same time is it bad when I say I'm not?... Because I've been truly enjoying my life!  Getting out there has been a ton of fun! I've met some great new friends, been reacquainted with some old friends, and learning to be in a relationship!

Anyway, none the less there is no way I will be stopping The Romance Bookie completely anytime soon...reviews and other posts just won't going up with the same frequency as they used to.  I don't really accept review requests anymore from individual authors (unless...Meg Cabot if you're reading this and need a reviewer, OF COURSE I will do it!!!!), Gallery sends me some great books from awesome authors authors that I try to find the time to read, but other than that I've just been reading what I want to read!  I really need to get through that unread book shelf I have sitting in my room on these days! It's getting ridiculous!

However, I will say I think I did pretty good this year with not buying too many books!  I think I can name all the books I bought brand new (not counting thrift stores) on two hands! And they were all ones I had been waiting for already last year!

SO now to the thank you's!!

People I would like to thank...well first off I have to thank my mom. She is the reason I started The Romance Bookie.  She loves that I finally found a place to talk about all the great books I read! She loves that I found a community of people where I actually fit in with my interests! So thank you Mom, I love you!

Second a shout out to the some of the amazing friends I've made through blogging!  One person I talk to on a regular basis through email and Facebook, is Elizabeth over at Books I Think You Should Read and Yes/No Films!  Liz is super fun, and reads some great books!

Even though I haven't had the chance to talk to this blogger in a while, I still want to give her a shout out, because she is honestly an awesome person!  I actually got the opportunity to meet her early last year at Passion and Prose too, which was awesome!  Thank you Alysia over at My Little Pocketbooks!!

Another blogger who has inspired me and many others would have to be Kristi over at The Story Siren!

Now to the authors who have inspired me time and time again:

First and foremost to the author that has inspired me more times than I can even count.  Not only is she an amazing writer but also an amazing person...Meg Cabot!  Meg, if you're reading this, thank you so much for all your support these past couple years with Meg-A Readers!  When I got that first package from you trust me when I say I was jumping up and down on the street by the mailbox!  I wanted to cry with happiness! When I met Meg last year she was everything a fangirl could hope for! Funny, inspiring with her hilarious stories! It was like watching my favorite characters' personalities come alive!

Second a HUGE thank you to Lauren Clark for supporting me for the past two years!  I love your books and can't wait to find out what's next! :)

And now a thank you to the authors whose writing have been a huge inspiration for me to keep reading, and writing reviews....Cassandra Clare (who I got the opportunity to meet this year! She was super nice and awesome!), Sarah Dessen (who I still really hope to meet one day!), Miranda Kenneally (also want to meet her one day!), Gayle Forman (she was another great author to meet! Can't wait for the If I Stay movie next year!!), and probably so many others, but I'm just so overwhelmed by this milestone that I just can't think straight right now! :)

NOW to what I'm sure most of you have been waiting for...The Giveaway!!

I am giving one lucky reader the choice between one of these Two packages!!

The Contemporary Package will include:

OR the Dystopian Package:
The giveaway will be USA Shipping ONLY!! and it will end the 19th, which normally I would have it end a month after starting, however I'll be in Florida during the 12th of January! So I will be contacting right after the 19th! :)

Enter with the Rafflecopter below!
The Romance Bookie :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Beautiful Wedding (#2.5 in Beautiful Disaster Series) by Jamie McGuire

Hey Everyone!!

So Jamie McGuire made a super awesome announcement a couple of weeks ago, that had me squealing like a serious fan-girl!

Fans of Travis Maddox, from the Beautiful Disaster series will be thrilled to know that on December 10th (next Tuesday! One Week from today!!), the story of Abby and Travis's wedding will be revealed when Beautiful Wedding is released!

Well, thanks to the wonderful publishers at Atria I was lucky enough to get an advanced finished copy of the book last week, so of course, me being the squealing fan-girl started to devour it right away!

From Goodreads:

You know that Abby Abernathy unexpectedly became Mrs. Maddox. But what do you really know?

Why did Abby pop the question?
What secrets were shared before the ceremony?
Where did they spend their wedding night?
Who else knew about it . . . and didn’t tell?

Everything about Abby and Travis’s elopement was top-secret . . . until now. Fans of Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster will get all of their questions answered in this whirlwind tale of the wedding day (and night!)—and as with all good stories, this one will definitely have been worth the wait.

My Thoughts:

First off, let me start by saying I was actually very excited to hear this part of Abby and Travis's story.  I read a couple of not so nice reviews, from people who HAVEN'T EVEN READ THE BOOK!!! saying they thought it was "Stupid" that Jamie wrote this story.  I personally love that she did! It gave us fans that little more piece of Travis; the bad boy of all of our fantasies ;).

Now that being said, I will admit Travis and Abby's choice of wedding was't really my style.  In fact, I've always hated the idea of a Vegas wedding.  To me it sounds tasteless.  ESPECIALLY with Elvis there.  Oh God, horrible!!

Now I am not going to sit here and judge Abby and Travis for wedding location choice, but to me I don't really find it romantic to run off without your friends and family being by your side and exchange vows in front of complete strangers who are only waiting for that pay check as soon as "I Do" is said.

HOWEVER, Abby and Travis definitely redeemed themselves at the end.  NOW that was a beautiful wedding!!

None the less, this story has Travis and Abby in it.  Two characters a lot of readers absolutely became infatuated with throughout Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster.  It is pretty obvious to me and hundreds of other readers that this couple is meant to be!  You cheer for them to make it work as you read these books!

So what do I rate Beautiful Wedding?

It was a great continuation to the story, a lovely conclusion that gave us even more of a closure to Abby and Travis, one that Jamie was already AWESOME to do for us in Walking Disaster!

I'd 100% recommend to fans of the series, and even those of you that love contemporary New Adult novels and haven't read them, CHECK IT OUT!!

Here are the links for the series:

Beautiful DisasterAmazon and Barnes and Noble
Walking DisasterAmazon and Barnes and Noble
and Beautiful WeddingAmazon and Barnes and Noble

The Romance Bookie :)