Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Wrap-Up!

Message from Mandy @The Romance Bookie

So it's that time again!!

2015 is officially almost over!

I just can't believe it!

It seems like just last month we were celebrating the beginning of 2015!

It's time to wrap-up this year, and to begin 2015!

Before I go into how I failed all of my reading goals this year, I would like to share some of the life events that happened to me in 2015...

-I went to my first early screening of a movie back in January, for The DUFF, and met some of the cast members.

-At the beginning of February I went on my second trip to Florida with the most amazing man in my life, my boyfriend, Vincent.  We spent a little over a week at Disney World (one of our favorite places), and for a second time to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, where we went to both Diagon Alley and Hogsmead.  Drank tons of Butterbeer, Pumpkin juice, pear cider, ate at the Leaky Cauldron, and did the new Gringott's Bank Ride!  It was incredible!

-In April I went with Vincent to the first day of the Festival of Books, and the second day with my little brother so he could meet Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid).  There I met some incredible authors!  Sarah Dessen, who signed ALL of my copies of her books!!!, Jason Segel, Gayle Forman (Again!), Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, Jessica Kirby, and Elizabeth Eulberg!

-In May I met Kody Keplinger, Stephen Chbosky, and Jessica Brody at a super awesome event in Pasadena!

-During the months of May and June, I was panicking beyond belief about what I would be doing the following school year...would I transfer to the University I had been accepted to?  Or would I go the online route?  But when I found out my university had the most perfect program, that was not only my Bachelor's, but also a night program that worked unbelievably perfect with my work schedule, and would allow me to graduate in Spring 2017...I jumped at the opportunity!!!

-On July 7th, I moved in with Vincent.  It was both the most exciting and scariest moment of my life. But I can't even tell what an incredible journey it has been.  Two and a half year together with this amazing man, and I can't even tell you how unbelievably happy we are together!

-During this past summer, Meg Cabot, my absolute favorite author in the entire world sent me not only ONE but TWO advanced copies of her new books!! I got a copy of Royal Wedding, a book I had been waiting for since reading the tenth Princess Diaries book back in 2009 when it first came out, and I got a copy of her newest series, The Journal of a Middle School Princess!

-In August, I started my five class load of classes, but missed the first day of school to see the one and only Taylor Swift in concert for her 1989 tour!  Wow, was that a life experience, or what?!

-Beginning of September hit me super hard, when we found out some sad news...one of my baby boys, B.J., my families seven year old German Shepherd, was diagnosed unexpectedly with stomach cancer.  A week later we lost our baby, but we know he's joined our big boy Bubba up in doggy heaven <3




-Mid September through Mid November, was spent was finding my way through my first semester of University.

-But by the end of November, I finally figured it out and was able to finished my first semester beginning of December with Straight A's!

-Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent with Vincent, juggling seeing both families.



But because school was over, I also found time to make and decorate cookies and cupcakes!!!!



So as you can tell a lot has happened this year...both wonderful and sad.  But all in all 2015 was an incredible year.

So as you might be able to tell, reading goals were put a bit on the back burner this year...and I don't know how I'll do next year, but we'll see.


So here's how I did on my reading goals...

I failed on ALL of them.

My 35 Reading Goal, Fail!
I read a total of 14 books this year.  I know pathetic, but better than nothing!

Ebook Challenge of reading 10...Fail!

I read ONE!

The Check List, which the goal had been to do 41 out of the 50...FAIL!

I completed 12!

From the To Be Read Shelf I had wanted to read 12....FAIL!

I read 3!

So yes, failed big time!  But while I am unbelievably grateful for everything the Romance Bookie has inspired in me, I have reached a turning point in my life.  So much going on, so much life to live!  I'm just taking it one step at a time, and enjoying every minute of it, with the love of my life by side.

I am so excited to see what 2016 has in store for me.  I really hope, of course, it will be a good year! :)

I hope everyone had a great Holiday season and 2015!!  I hope you all have a wonderful New Year! :)

Mandy @The Romance Bookie :)

Message from Erin @The Romance Bookie:

Gotta say, 2015 was a great year.  I met so many authors, read so many amazing books, and met tons of new book friends.  I had always looked forward to the year 2015 because of a little movie called Back to the Future and it kind of blows my mind that it was more wonderful than I thought it would be. 

There are many reasons why I had a wonderful year: I met some of my favorite authors -- Marissa Meyer (TWICE!), Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Samantha Shannon -- which was such an amazing experience.  They are authors I've admired for a long time and I loved that I got to meet with them, chat, and get my books signed by them.  While these were my favorite events of the year, I would have to put a special highlight on Leigh Bardugo.  This was the first time that I met her.  She was at the LA Times Festival of Books in 2014 (where I met Mandy!) and I got to hear her speak on a couple of panels, but I wasn't able to get my books signed and I didn't get a chance to meet with her personally.  I was so excited when I heard she was coming to my local bookstore -- as in, I jumped up and down and squealed.  After hearing her speak and meeting her at the event, I got to confirm what I already suspected -- Leigh is so charming, beautiful, hilarious, and smart.  I love her so much.  She has become one of my favorite people ever.  And it doesn't hurt that she's an amazing writer.  But to know that she's as wonderful in person as her stories, makes it that much better.  I'm so excited for Crooked Kingdoms (Six of Crows #2) and I can't wait until I can meet her again. 

Around February this year, I also made another book friend, who goes to all the events I attend.  She's  such a fun person and I love that I have someone to talk to in person about all my book thoughts.  She runs an absolutely amazing bookstagram and convinced me to start one as well and though I had initially thought that I wouldn't be able to keep up with daily posts, I now love it.  

Book-wise, I've had some fantastic, really awesome reads this year.  I can't even believe how I got to read so many amazing books.  I think my favorites have to be Uprooted by Naomi Novik and The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh.  I read them back to back and they were the rare books that I knew within the first few pages that I was going to love them.  And I did!  They are some of my all-time favorite books and have inspired me so much (particularly, The Wrath and the Dawn).  But my other favorite read have to be Six of Crows, Queen of Shadows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Bone Season, The Winner's Crime, and Dissonance.  Like I said, it was an amazing year for books and I'm so happy to have found these amazing books and authors. 

I didn't get to complete as many challenges as I had hoped, but I feel content with how my readings went.  I only read one classic (Persuasion by Jane Austen), which I loved, but railed to read another.  I made shamefully little progress on my TBR challenge, which is somewhat disappointing -- I mean, what did I read, if not the books on my shelves?  (The answer: apparently, library books, which isn't a bad thing!) However, I did make a lot of progress on my contemporary reads, surprisingly.  Though I did not get to officially review many of the contemporary books that I read, I got through a lot more than the paltry ten that I had set, my absolute favorite one being Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.  (I highly, highly recommend this book! This is a contemporary that I actually LOVED and I truly can't see how anyone wouldn't!)  Not much in terms of challenges, but I read and found books that will forever be placed on my "favorites" shelf and I say that's a win!

Life wise, it's been pretty good as well.  I got the chance to go on a trip to Europe with my mom and it was beautiful.  We visited Scotland, England, Belgium, and France and I had an amazing time.  I switched jobs in the middle of October and while it was a hard decision to make at the time, I'm so grateful and so happy that I made the change.  I'm really enjoying my new work and the people I work with are great and I realize how stressed and dissatisfied I was at my other clinic.  In other news, I applied to physical therapy school early October as well.  It was probably one of the most stressful things that I've had to do in my life for several reasons, but now I know so much more and if I don't get in this year (which is most likely), I'll be better able to handle the situation next year.

Even with all the great stuff that I had in 2015, I can't wait for 2016.  I think each year is just going to get better and better.  It might be a bit optimistic of me to think so, but why not hope for the best?  I hope you all had a wonderful year and I wish you the best for the new year!

Erin @The Romance Bookie

Monday, December 28, 2015

Erin: Soundless by Richelle Mead (ARC)

Soundless has been on my watch list since I met Richelle Mead at the beginning of the year and she told us about her book.  It was such a unique premise in such an interesting world that I really wanted to read it!  So thank you so much to Miss Print  for giving me an ARC copy of Soundless!

From Goodreads:


In a village without sound...

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear.  Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink.  Many go hungry.  Dei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action...

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise.  Sound becomes her weapon.  

She sets out to uncover what's happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village.  A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance.  They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever...

And unlocks a power that will save her people.

Erin's Thoughts:

I'm having a hard time gathering up how I feel about this book.  I haven't really read any of Richelle Mead's other books (I think I did read the very first Vampire Academy book, but didn't really like it enough to continue), so I can't really compare it.

Overall, I think it was okay.  I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either.  I love that Richelle Mead chose an Asian setting for her fantasy versus the typical Medieval/European setting (nothing wrong with those by the way, but there are an alarming number of them :)).  It was really refreshing that another part of the world being used for fantasy and I really loved it.  That said, I do think that the world building could have been stronger.  Because it was written in first person, everything was very limited to Fei's perspective.  I wanted to see more of this world and I almost wish it had been written in a different tense for this reason.  (Not that first-person can't convey good world building, but third-person does tend to be more expansive :)).

Soundless also has somewhat dystopian feel.  While definitely a fantasy, it did have enough elements to remind me of a dystopia.  Especially since it was written in first-person present, I couldn't help but be reminded of them.  And I'm not sure whether it was because of this specifically, (and I don't want to give anything away), but the twist was pretty predictable.

The end of the story (maybe about the last 60 pages) was also a little strange.  I understand that Richelle Mead was probably trying to incorporate some Chinese myths and legends into the book, but it was poorly executed.  It came somewhat out of the blue and seemed a little forced.

Richelle Mead really does have great writing though.  I found myself really drawn into her writing and noting how smoothly everything flowed.  She has great dialogue that kept very much in tone with the Chinese fantasy setting and I loved observing her writing (if that makes sense?).

Rating:


I'm actually fluctuating between two and three bookies.  I'm not sure where I land on it exactly.  It was a fun read, but I'm not sure I would recommend it to others.  If you're curious, I would definitely give it a read to see what you think of it, but if not, I wouldn't say it's a book you have to read or anything.

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy (Belated) FIVE YEAR Blog Anniversary to The Romance Bookie!!!

HAPPY FIVE YEAR TO THE ROMANCE BOOKIE!!!!

I can't believe it has been FIVE YEARS!!  I'm so sorry I missed it, but dang the holiday have been crazy!  Plus it was during my last week of school!!

But the stress, the inability to concentrate on any reading, and missing my blog anniversary has paid off...because...

I GOT ALL A's MY SEMESTER AT UNIVERSITY!!!!!!

Here's the proof...



Pretty cool right?

I'm pretty darn proud!

So yes it's a been a busy semester, of studying and running around, but it paid off!

So anyway, I just want to say thank you so much for these past five years of amazingness.  Once again, I have to mention how the opportunity of meeting so many fabulous writers, bloggers, and readers would have never been a possibility before starting The Romance Bookie, and I really can't thank anyone other than all the people involved!!  

While there are so many people I would like to thank, there is one person that I always have to mention by name on a blog anniversary...

Meg Cabot, the most inspiring person of all.  She is my absolute favorite writer in the entire world!!  Once again, she sent me an advanced copy of the upcoming Mediators, Remembrance!!!  And I can't even thank her enough for every thing she does for her readers!


Also thank you to everyone who has helped in some way with the Romance Bookie!!!  Erin (!!!) thank you for being such a great contribution to the Romance Bookie!!!!  Sorry I've been slow in posting your reviews!! I will do my best to get better!!! :)



FIVE YEARS!!! I still can't believe it!!! Five years!!!  

Thank you so much everyone!

The Romance Bookie :)


Monday, November 30, 2015

Update from The Romance Bookie! :)

Hey Everyone!

I know I know it's been a while.  The hiatus I put the Romance Bookie on has done me a lot of good; that being said though I have definitely missed reading!!

We are less than a few weeks away from The Romance Bookie's FIVE YEAR Blogaversary!!!  I can't believe it's been 5 years! Wow, what a ride it's been!  Not only was my world turned upside down by books and meeting such incredible authors and people in the book world, but also my overall life has changed so much!

Next month, I will be letting go of one of my jobs, because life is crazy with two jobs, five classes, and spending time with my loved ones.  I will have some much needed time off, during the winter break.  First time in three years, where I will have weekends off! Oh goodness, am I excited about that!!

In those five years, I met the most amazing man ever!  We have been together now two and a half years (December 6th), and moved in together this past summer.  To say things are going well, would be an understatement!  He is absolutely incredible!  The best thing that has ever happened in my life! He has literally made everything so much better!

I officially also only need three more semesters to graduate with my bachelors!  My semester ends in two weeks, and if all goes well for the next two weeks I will finishing this semester with ALL As in my five classes!!!  I know still two weeks to go, so I shouldn't get too excited, but I am pretty stoked, because I have never finished a semester will ALL As!  And this was my first semester at a University!!!!

While yes, I will admit, I have not finished or even started a book in a few months, I can say I have received an early copy of a much-anticipated book that isn't set to be released until early February, by an absolute favorite author of mine that I have mentioned once or twice on The Romance Bookie ;).  I will be devouring that one as soon as the semester ends in a couple of weeks.

I am also hoping to receive two other books for Christmas this year (the new Ten year anniversary of Twilight, which features a new story where Edward and Bella have switched roles! and a copy of the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone)!  And I really want to get Winter by Marissa Meyer ASAP! I would have gotten it yesterday, but unfortunately they didn't have any of those signed copies at my local Barnes and Noble, so I decided to wait, and instead get my brother the signed edition of the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School for Christmas!

So no worries, I haven't given up on reading...just insanely busy with life, and have honestly gotten to the point where I am enjoying life outside of books right now.  I've had this new obsession where during my free time I go shopping for new clothes.  It's a serious problem! I am running out of hangers!!!!

But anyway, you will hear back from me soon...at the latest for the 5 year blogaversary of The Romance Bookie! :)

Hope all of you (that celebrate it) had a fabulous Thanksgiving, filled with loved ones!  And that you have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Mandy @The Romance Bookie :)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Erin: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Hello Everyone! Another review for you! Storm Siren is a YA Fantasy Novel that I had been keeping my eye on for a little bit.  I had heard good things about it and finally decided to read it while I was on vacation.


From Goodreads:



"I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don't want me.  Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you."

In a world at war, a slave girl's lethal curse could become one kingdom's weapon of salvation.  If the curse-- and the girl-- can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen year-old Nym isn't merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth - meaning, she shouldn't even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell.  But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she's being prepared to fight...not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn't want to be the weapon they've all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power.  And whoever controls that power will win.

Erin's Thoughts:

I had a lot, a lot of issues with this book.  In fact, I'm not exactly sure where to start...The characters were all caricatures.  They were flat, they seemed very contrived, and they weren't convincing to me as real people with depth.  All of them were so ridiculous.  I did not connect to any of the character and had a hard time getting through a lot of the book because I was annoyed with pretty much all of them.

Nym is one of those characters who are special for special's sake.  The only thing that made her unique from other people was her special ability.  Other than that there was nothing to distinguish her from other characters.  But one of the biggest problems I had with Nym was that she only liked Eogan because he was attractive.  She refers to him as "unreasonably attractive" through out the book and except for the fact that he is good-looking, I don't think there was a reason why she liked him.  That right there is one of my biggest pet peeves.  I really dislike the idea that someone falls in love with someone else because of how they look.  Sure, there are people like that in the world, but it seems very superficial to me and very fake to me.  It also felt like instal-love to me: Nym falls in love with Eogan after seeing him one time, because, you guess it! He's pretty!

Another problem I had was that there wasn't a true villain.  Was it her slave-master Adora?  Was it the Draewulf (I'm sorry, I still don't even know what that is)?  Was it the king of the land they were at war with?  Who were they supposed to be fighting?  Because there wasn't one specific enemy, the entire plot felt very unfocused.

Minor things that annoyed me a lot:
-All the weird curse words ("What in the hulls?, "Son of a bolcrane", "Mother of Kracken").  It just became way too much after a while and really started to bug me.
-Colin: He's a seventeen year old boy who is bald.  Why is he bald? There was no explanation why.  Also he's just ridiculous and not in a good way.  He literally kisses his biceps and struts around the ladies with no shirt on, YET is shown to be incredibly deep and meaningful. Ugh.
-Breck: I could not get a sense of her character.  She has this incredibly thick accent that, while it didn't bother me at first, once everything else started bugging me, this also did as well.  She was just an odd character that I felt had no purpose except to serve this one twist in the book.

Overall Rating:


I would give it zero, but unfortunately we only go to 1 bookie.  

Like I said, I was very annoyed with many things and after a while, I just found myself skimming.  I did make it to the end of the book, but I was increasingly getting annoyed and frustrated with this book.  I did not find a single thing that I liked about this book and it's kind of one of those books that I could rant about for days (I won't though :)).  The one word that I would use to describe this book is "lackluster".  I think that about sums it all up.  No surprisingly, I will not be reading the next two books in this series.

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Erin: Rebel Heart (Dust Lands Trilogy #2) by Moira Young

Hi There! Today I've got a review of Rebel Heart by Moira Young, the second in the Dustlands Trilogy! As you might remember, I read Blood Read Road about a year and a half ago! I initially started reading Rebel Heart right after finishing Blood Red Road, but I got distracted with some other books and didn't really get back to it until I got this sudden urge to read it again!

From Goodreads:


Saba thought her world would return to normal after they defeated the Tonton and rescued her kidnapped brother Lugh. The family head west for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But a formidable enemy is on the rise. What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants?

Erin's Thoughts:

Wow! I had completely forgotten how good these books were! They're so immersive! Every time, I get drawn into the world and the characters and the language!  After reading a ton of fantasy and not too much else, Rebel Heart was just perfect! It was a refreshing change of pace and getting back into something that is completely different than fantasy was super nice!

Like Blood Red Road, the sequel is full of action and adventure.  It's always got something coming at you - something's happening, stuff is getting down and getting worse all the time.  Yet it keeps the tension high without tiring you out with chase scenes or fight scenes.   And of course, when there are fight scenes and whatnot, they're expertly written; there's a ton of tension and I'm always bracing myself for what's going to happen next - what's going to go wrong!  And it's incredible how Moira Young is able to use just a tiny little twist to skyrocket the tension. For example...

***MILD SPOILER ALERT***

And Saba! What a great heroine! She's super rough and fierce, but very emotional as well. I love that to other people she might seem cold-hearted and kind of mean, but when you read her narrative, you can see how much she has contained inside her.  She feels like she has to be fearless and protect her friends and family - and that's what others see - but then, you get to read about how worried she is and how guilt and pain and loneliness and indecision swirl around her.  At heart, she's really just a normal teenage girl, which is what I think makes her a great character and someone people can relate to.

And of course, I can't not talk about the narrative.  I can see why people would be bothered -words are misspelled, the entire book is written in accent, there are no quotations - but I love it! I think it can be a huge risk to write an entire book like that and I do think that Moira Young pulls it off very well.  Except the occasional hiccups, I found the books very easy to read and you get used to the language very quickly.  But wow! I can't imagine having to write like that for three entire books! So kudos to Moira Young!  Especially since the writing in these books is simplistic, yet beautiful.  Saba's voice has just got so much heart to it and she's such an intense character!

Rating:



The Dustland series is a great series - an awesome mix of post-apocalyptic and western!  It has tons of grit, action, and romance, plus amazing world building and characters.  I think readers who loved In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis would really like this series and vice versa. 

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1) by Louise Rennison

Hey Everyone!

While my life was pretty crazy last year, it is nothing compared to this year.  Taking five classes in a university, while working two jobs is no joke!!

And while yes, I'm still technically on hiatus, that doesn't mean I can't post a review here and there, when I actually do find the chance to read, right??

Well, last week I had been so fed up with homework, and work, that I literally just went into the office in our house, where my single book shelf is (the majority of my books are in storage, until my boyfriend and I can get a bigger place to live), and picked up a book I've been meaning to read for years now.  In fact, since high school!  I've seen this book many many time, both in libraries and book stores, but just never have gotten around to picking it up...why? I don't know!  But it's finally happened, and I have joined the Georgia Nicolson band wagon!

A little late? you may be thinking? ;), the book did get released in the year 2000!  But better late than never, as I always like to say!! :)

So anyway, time for the review:

From Goodreads:


There are six things very wrong with my life:

1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.

2. It is on my nose

3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.

4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.

5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.

6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.


In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones's Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it's "Fabbity fab fab!"

My Thoughts:

So yes, I am 24, reading the diary of a 14 year old freshman high school student.  And while, I did feel old at times reading this, especially with some of the concerns of these 14 year olds, I was able to relate at times to how I was when I was that age.  I remember having that close knit group of friends, who I would have sleepovers with, and who I would go shopping with, and talk about our crushes.  Reading Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging brought me back to those times.

What I loved about this book, was most definitely the British humor!  I look contemporary teen novels set in England!  Or just Europe in general!!

And while yes, I did enjoy these things, there was one thing that bothered me at times, quite a bit...Georgia.

Georgia, while funny most of the times, acted REALLY spoiled, privileged, and just plain old shallow at times.  While I understand, that a lot of teenage girls go through this stage, there were a few times, I would find myself cringing, because if she were my daughter, I would have grounded her long ago!

Overall, however, this was the book I needed.  I needed something easy, something I wouldn't need to really think during, and something I could just enjoy to get my mind off all the chaos surrounding my life right now (and for the foreseeable future!).

Rating:

I would definitely recommend this to those who are extremely stressed out right now, and just need to let off some steam, but aren't interested in going out to party!  This was a fun easy read, and while I did find Georgia a bit annoying at times, I did start reading the second book in the series, immediately after finishing.  Even when the homework is piled up ridiculously high sometimes, it is still important to just relax a little bit, every so many days, other wise you will go insane!  I promise you this, this is coming from personal experience!

Hope everyone is doing well!  I really do miss The Romance Bookie, and am sad I don't get as much time as I used to.  On top of homework and work, it has been hard for me to find books that I want to read right now.  I guess I'm in some sort of reading rut on top of all of this!  But I am SOOOOO looking forward to receiving the new Twilight book soonish, and same with the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone; because I REALLY want to read those!!!!!!!!  I may have to wait until Christmas though, because I'm a tad broke right now!!!  :)

Anyway, have a great week everyone, and I'll try to be back as soon as possible! :)

The Romance Bookie :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Erin: Beauty (Folktales #1) by Robin McKinley

Hi! Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast!  It's a classic tale and I think this is one of the best retellings ever! It's such a good solid one that really follows the original tale.  Anyways, this is a book I read as a child and recently decided to reread!

From Goodreads:

A strange imprisonment...

Beauty has never liked her nickname.  She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones.  But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage.

When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will.  Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?"

Robin McKinley's beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple, Beauty and the Beast.


Erin's Thoughts:

Like I said, Beauty is a really well-done retelling.  It's very true to the fairytale while having enough little quirks of its own that makes it interesting. It has basically all the things that makes it Beauty and the Beast, like an enchanted castle, and magic, and roses, but I love how Beauty isn't actually beautiful and has sisters that she loves and this very strong relationship with her family.

I'll admit, the first part of the story that builds up to the part where Beauty actually goes to the castle is a bit long.  I think about half the book maybe is devoted to setting up the story - which is fine because it gives a lot of background about Beauty and her family and how they came to be.  It adds a lot of depth to the story, but I did really look forward to the part where actually traveled to the castle.

Beast and Beauty have this soft, warm relationship that's a combination of friendship and love, which I really liked.  They have this mutual respect for each other and I feel like it's a really equal relationship.

I have yet to read a retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I like better than Beauty.  Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite, favorite fairytales and so I'm always on the lookout for a book spin or twist on the story.  So far, I'm still waiting ;).

Rating:


Beauty is such a classic! I love this book and it's my favorite Robin McKinley book! And, interesting fact (at least for me), Robin McKinley has written TWO Beauty and the Beast retellings! The other one is Rose Daughter and though I like Beauty better, I think it's awesome and pretty gutsy of Robin McKinley to write two retellings of the same tale! Anyways, I digress! I hope you guys liked the review and I definitely think Beauty is a book well worth reading, especially if you like fairytales!

Erin @The Romance Bookie

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Romance Bookie is going on Hiatus

Hello Everyone,

It really saddens me to do this, but I have made the extremely tough decision on putting The Romance Bookie on Hiatus for a bit.

There is too much going on in my life, and I've putting this on hold for way too long at this point.  I have been very busy, and with school, work, and family I just can't handle everything anymore.

Yesterday, my family was told some very sad news.  One of our German Shepherds, named BJ, died while he was getting surgery to remove tumors in his spleen.  It turned out the cancer was far more advanced than they had thought, and he passed away while they were operating.  I, along with my family, is absolutely devastated.  Our dogs (we have three German Shepherds) mean the world to us.  They are part of the family, and losing one is like losing a piece of ourselves.

He was only eight years old, which even for a big dog like a German Shepherd is not old.  It is by no means, young, but also not old.  So losing him so unexpectedly is extremely difficult on me.

My head hasn't been in reading lately as it is, but with this on top of it, I just don't know right now, how escaping into a book is going to be possible.

I have notified friends and family via Social Networking, only because I can't handle talking to people in person about matters such as this.  Death is not easy for anyone, and when it comes to people confronting me, I'd rather they not.  I am not a fan of the "I'm sorry" talk.  I'd rather we talk of random things, to get my mind off of it.  That is just how I deal with things.

I am at a point in my life, where whatever free time I have, is being spent with my loved ones.  Reading doesn't allow me to escape from my own thoughts, as it used to, so that is my reason for the hiatus.

I do not know how long it will last.

I may even decide to pick up a book next week.  But right now, I just can't.

I wanted to say I'm sorry.  This blog means a lot to me.  I have put a lot of hard work into it.  But right now, my heart just isn't in it, and I don't think it would be fair to just continue like this.

I think I will get back to it one day, but just not right now.

In the mean time, I will attempt to have Erin continue reviewing and posting; but of course that is up to her too, if she would like to continue.

Thank you for understanding, and I want all of you to know I really appreciate all of the support you have all given me.

But for now, I must say goodbye.  Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later.

The Romance Bookie

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith (ARC)

Hey Everyone!

Finished another book, and just in time for the end of the summer!!

Before I continue though, I just wanted to share some super exciting news that I just found out...I have been awarded a Grant for this school year and a $1000 scholarship!! Not only will this semester be COMPLETELY covered but also NEXT SEMESTER, so that means MY ENTIRE SCHOOL year is taken care of!!!!!!!!!! :)

I cannot even tell you how much of a relief that is!!!!!!  I am so excited!!  This will be my first year at a university (I am transferring from a community college), so it's a bit nerve wracking, but also exciting to be one step closer to my bachelors!

Anyway, time for the review! :)

I RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING BOOK FOR REVIEW FROM THE PUBLISHER!  So thank you Poppy for the opportunity! And thank you Pasadena YA Fest for hosting the event where Poppy had donated these copies to! :)

From Goodreads:


On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up.  Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be.  The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations.  But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye.  The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

My Thoughts:

Jennifer E. Smith is truly a very talented YA writer!  She comes up with great characters, and usually some really interesting story lines.

That being said, I unfortunately wouldn't call Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between one of my favorites.  I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but honestly I had some issues with the plot.

I understand the concept and idea of what Jennifer E. Smith was getting at, but at times I found myself rolling my eyes with annoyance at the character's problems.

I get it...saying goodbye is difficult.  But I think what really bothered me was Clare's single-mindedness.  I kept finding myself supporting Aidan, and thinking how stupid Clare was to throw something, she supposedly felt so strongly about, away.  Honestly it annoyed me.

However, as the story evolved things started changing.  Clare saw some of the points that Aidan was making about staying together.

I get it.  Going to separate colleges, on the opposite side of the country is difficult, but either way they were going end up with heartbreak, whether they broke up before going or after going.  So I didn't understand why they couldn't have just given it a try, with the long distance thing, and then calling it quits if it got too difficult.

I don't know, maybe I am wrong.  But overall I did enjoy the story.  It was interesting, and while Clare wasn't my favorite at times, it was still a pretty good read.

Overall Rating:



I am definitely excited for Jennifer E. Smith's future works.  She is definitely very talented and always comes up with an interesting idea for a book.  I also really love the covers, and how well they work together on the shelf! I love it when authors covers have patterns in their art work, and just change colors :).

Anyway, check it out, if the story line is of interest to you! It comes out September 1st!

The Romance Bookie :)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Erin: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Hi Everyone!! I've got a review today of a book I'm super excited about!! The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon! As you may know, I met Samantha Shannon earlier this year when she was on tour for her new book, The Mime Order, the sequel to The Bone Season.  This was definitely a book I was really looking forward to and I am happy to report I was not disappointed!! Here's my full review below!! :D

From Goodreads:


The year is 2059.  Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man name Jaxon Hall.  Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people's minds.  For Paige is a dream walker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes forever.  Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford - a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race.  Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives.  He is her master.  Her trainer.  Her natural enemy.  But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination.  Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.


Erin's Thoughts:

OMG GUYS!!!! I LOVE THIS BOOK!! I am so completely obsessed with it!! It's literally gotten so bad that I'm having a hard time reading anything else; I just want to keep reading and rereading The Bone Season!!!

The weird thing is...While I was reading the book, I was thinking to myself, "Oh yeah, it's pretty good" or "I'm really liking it." And same thing when I finished the book, I was like, "Oooh, I really enjoyed this book." But then literally -- I mean literally -- like five minutes later, I was suddenly like "OMG I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH I'M OBSESSED!"

I really don't know what happened between finishing the book and those five minutes, but wow, The Bone Season was definitely one of those books that snuck up on me and I didn't even realize how much I loved it!! Ever since I finished this book I haven't been able to think about anything else.  I've been thinking about it obsessively and I'm just totally in love with the world and story that Samantha Shannon has created.  Just WOW!

I love this story so so much! To be honest, I didn't really expect to like it that much.  I thought it would be an okay book, but not one that I would be waiting for on the edge of my seat for the next one to come out (mainly since it's classified as Adult Fiction, which I don't really read).

While it is considered an Adult book, it has a lot of YA crossover.  I can see why people might think it's YA, but it's definitely an Adult book.  The pace was a lot more relaxed than what you would see in a YA and the tone older. Again, seeing as I almost exclusively read YA, I had lower expectations (not cause I thought the book didn't sound good, but just because my previous experience with Adult books have been mediocre), but this was one of those instances where I was completely blown away. Total book hangover (seriously -- book hangover lasted a few weeks!!).

The Bone Season has one of the BEST slow-burn romances as well. I don't know about you guys, but I LOVE slow-burn romances.  And eeee!!!! I just loved it!! It was sooooo well-done!!!! It could also be classified as hate-to-love romance, as well, but for some reason, I never really saw it that way, so I don't really call it that... (I know, I'm weird :)) But either way hate-to-love romances are the best, so I'm good!! :D  I don't really want to say who the love interest is just because I feel like it could be a spoiler, but I will say this...OMG I love him so so much!! I'm completely obsessed with him! And for all the books I read, I don't tend to actually want the character for myself --- but this is an exception!! (Side note: Another exception would be Gansey from The Raven Cycle --OMG I would marry him if I could!!!).  So summary --- EPIC ROMANCE!!!

I'll admit, it is a bit dense with the information, which can be a bit overwhelming, especially the first chapter, where almost all of it was explaining the world and the rules -- it was kind of tough, but after that first chapter, it kind of shoots off from there and all the super fun stuff starts.  Even so, it did have a lot more explaining and telling than most books, but I was actually okay with it.  It's really clear that Samantha Shannon has a very clear grasp on her world and she has a certain vision for it -- so while there's a lot of information that gets thrown at you, it's not confusing or conflicting information (and also, there's a glossary and everything at the back if you need it -- though I picked up things fairly easily, I think).

The only other thing I noticed was that the movement of the characters got a little confusing for me.  So by that I mean, for example, Paige would be standing by the window and then suddenly she would be sitting on her bed.  I know authors don't have to explain every little detail about where their characters are (gosh, that'd be tedious!), but Samantha Shannon tends to be more sparse than most books  I've read.  Again, this wasn't really a big problem for me.  It's really just a matter of getting used to her writing style -- which I am really loving by the way!

This book is so unique! I've never read anything like it -- it's a mix of fantasy, science fiction, dystopia -- and ugh, I cannot get over it! While I understand that a lot of people might not like this book, it's seriously one of my favorite books EVER!!! Love it, love it, love it! (By the way, if you hadn't noticed yet, I'm going to be obsessive about this book a buttload, so be ready! :))

Rating:


Luckily, I had The Mime Order on me, so I was able to dive into it right after I finished The Bone Season!! OMG, I'm so in love with this series!!!

P.S. I totally agree with Samantha Shannon's opinion that Jaxon Hall should be played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the movie!  Seriously, I can't see anyone in that role besides him! He would be absolutely perfect! Absolutely perfect!!

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry (ARC)

Hey Everyone!!!

Finally finished another book this summer! It's been a bit of a crazy summer, been working extra hours, and just not getting the free time I've needed to recuperate before school and my other jobs starts in less than two weeks.  I'm freaking out a bit, but I just told myself today, "You are going to lie in bed, and finish reading this book you've been reading for over a month now!"

Anyway, I did it!! I FINALLY finished Katie McGarry's latest novel, in a new series, Nowhere But Here! This is the first book in the Thunder Road Series, and I received an ARC at the Pasadena Loves YA Festival back in June, thanks to the amazing HARLEQUIN!!! So THANK YOU Harlequin for giving out those amazing ARCs at the festival!!!


From Goodreads:


An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood.  Sure, she's curious about her biological father -- the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent -- but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world.  But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems.  Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue yes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror.  They're the good guys.  They protect people.  They're...family.  And while Emily -- the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member --is in town, he's gonna prove it to her.  So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream.  What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.


My Thoughts:

While it took me a while to read, it definitely wasn't for the reason that I was bored!  In fact, it sometimes truly hurt to put this book down, because I really wanted to keep reading.  The problem with reading at work, during the times that customers aren't in, is that when they do come in, you unfortunately, can't tell them to F#$@ off.

But anyway, loved the characters, loved the writing, and of course, the story.  Katie McGarry's writing reminds me of Simone Elkeles style.  She has that serious love story, that isn't very common, but none the less hot, but yet at the same times feel very realistic.

Emily was an interesting character.  Definitely very sheltered.  I wouldn't necessarily say innocent, more she knows about what's out there, but doesn't want anything to do with it.  I understand that...especially being a reader who likes to escape the real world sometimes.  I loved the transition of her not wanting anything to do with her biological father's side of the family, to slowly accepting them into her lives.

Oz was also another great character.  I would describe him as a typical guy interested in joining the family business, into the babes, yet having that definite soft side to him.  He adores Olivia to no end, she is his second mother.  He protects his family, and has a hard time accepting Emily's negative judgement on the Reign of Terror, but tries every way possible, without giving away the big family secret, to show her that they aren't what she thinks they are.

Olivia, while not one of the two main characters, is definitely a character worth mentioning!  What she is going through, is something that no one should have to go through, yet WAY too many people do.  Cancer is definitely a bitch.  None the less, this is a strong female character, that loves and adores her family, blood and otherwise, yet at the same time, is tough as rock!  Loved her!

I would definitely recommend this one!  Especially if you're a Simone Elkeles fan and haven't given Katie McGarry a try yet!  If you enjoyed Katie's other book, such as Pushing the Limits, then you will be sure to love this one!

Overall rating:



You can get your copy from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and wherever else books are sold now! :)

The Romance Bookie :)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Erin: Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes

Hi, Everyone!!

Here's a review of Gathering Darkness, the third book in the awesome Falling Kingdoms Series!!!

From Goodreads:



In Gathering Darkness, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient all-powerful magic, first:

Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces.  Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica.  All Gaius needs now are the Kindred - the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner.  But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, stories magic...

-The KRAESHIANS join the hunt.  Asher and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.

-The REBELS forge ahead.  Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia's overpowering magic - all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.

-The WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary.  They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia's power to unveil the Kindred.

- The Only certainty in the dark time is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica...but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.

Erin's Thoughts:

While I wouldn't say that Falling Kingdoms is one of my favorite series (although it's very close), I really do love them.  They are very enjoyable to read and I get sucked into the book each and every time (I read Gathering Darkness in just a day!!).  The Falling Kingdom series is an epic high fantasy tale and as you well know by now, I love high fantasy!!

Gathering Darkness continues where Rebel Spring left off. It follows the same format as the previous two books - the story switches amongst the four different point-of-views: Cleo, Magnus, Jonas, and Lucia.  There are a few other small characters that get their chapters, but these are the main storylines.  In my opinion, I was most intrigued by Cleo and Magnus and I tended to enjoy their sections their most, though not to say that the other point-of-views weren't interesting.

I'm not going to say too much because honestly, there's not much I can say without totally giving the story away, but if you enjoyed the first two books, I'm sure you'll love Gathering Darkness! I feel like these books flow so smoothly that they could probably be combined into one giant monster book and it would read really well.

*** SPOILER ALERT***

The only thing that bothered me just a little bit was that the romance between Cleo and Jonas that was present during Rebel Spring kind of died out.  At the end of Rebel Spring, I was super conflicted because there was definitely a romance between Cleo and Jonas, but there was also a hint of a romance with Cleo and Magnus -- and since I really loved them both, I was struggling to choose who to root for! Luckily, this sorted itself out during Gathering Darkness.  Magnus and Cleo's relationship really developed, which I absolutely loved!! Hate-to-love tropes are my favorite!! And Jonas and Lysandra's relationship took another step forward.  While I do love the Magnus and Cleo are getting the feels for each other, I didn't like Jonas and Lysandra that much.  They're okay, but nothing special, in my opinion.  But apart from that, I felt like Cleo and Jonas kind of fizzled out -- sort of like it went from a ten to a zero, if we were to rate it on a scale.  Rebel Springs totally had Cleo and Jonas falling for each other, so it bugged me a little that suddenly Cleo and Jonas each had other love interests pop up (I love Magnus, but Lysandra seemed kind of random).  Anyways, I feel like it should have been more gradual.  Or more like there should have been a bit more resolution with Jonas and Cleo -- maybe each of them realizing their relationship would never work and they break apart -- something like that.  Of course, there are still three more books to look forward to and a lot can change, so we'll just have wait and see! :)

But despite my complaining, this wasn't a huge deal for me -- just one of the things that I noticed when I was reading :D  I still loved the book!

***END OF SPOILER ALERT***

Overall Rating:

This series is awesome and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading epic fantasy!! And also, Falling Kingdoms is going to be six books long, so there is a lot to look forward to as well!!! :D

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jesse's Girl (Hundred Oaks #6) by Miranda Kenneally

Hey Everyone!!

I'm back for another review!!!

I'm so excited to share this one with you, because it is of a book that I received only last Friday and devoured over this past weekend!

Miranda Kenneally's Jesse's Girl!

From Goodreads:


Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke.  So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she's get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville's teen idol..

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true.  He's as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he's accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya's lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves.  Not to mention that Jesse's pushy and opinionated.  He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya's playing back up to other people's dreams.  Does she have what it takes to follow her heart --- and go solo?

My Thoughts:

I absolutely loved it!  I just have to say that straight off the bat.  I haven't been much of a reader the last few months, this summer has kept me a bit busier than normal summers, I've just moved, and I've working extra shifts.  But when I picked up this one, as soon as I received the box in the mail last Friday, I started it right away and devoured it immediately.  I've been reading non-stop, because I just could not put it down!

Miranda Kenneally has once again created a great southern story with teen romance.  Featuring some great past characters (hint hint: look at Maya's last name) ;).

Maya had a great unique personality I really enjoyed reading.  Jesse had this semi-dark past, that was interesting to learn more about.  And then the music world...loved that!!

In the description above, it says that Jesse was pushy and opinionated...while some might find those characteristics possibly annoying, I really liked them.  I'm a fairly opinionated person myself, because I believe in speaking my mind.

Overall Rating:


If you're a fan of Miranda Kenneally's books, like I am, you're sure to love this one!  I would say it's Catching Jordan and then Jesse's Girl, when it comes to my first and second choice of favorites from the Hundred Oaks Series.

I definitely recommend it, and it's available now!  Amazon has the paperback currently for only $5.49!!!!  That's cheaper than most EBOOKS!!!

So you really have no excuse but to read it, right??!! ;)

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your week, Everyone!

The Romance Bookie :)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Erin: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers


Hey Everyone! I've got a review of Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers, the third book in the His Fair Assassin Series!


From Goodreads:


Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death.  But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seecress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent.  Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin.  Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...

Erin's Thoughts:

I'll be honest, when I first read Grave Mercy and heard "assassin nuns", I was like, What? The idea didn't really appeal to me and it actually sounded pretty funny to me.  Even as I read it, I didn't like it that much.  The writing and everything was good, but it didn't really resonate with me.  But, for some weird reason, I kept reading! And surprisingly, I liked the second one (His Dark Triumph) and then, this time, when I read Mortal Heart, I was surprised again by how much I liked the book! So I don't know if my taste in books has changed or maybe it's because I've gotten older or maybe it's just the book itself, but I thought Mortal Heart was great.  In fact, I think this one might by my favorite of all three!

Mortal Heart had SUCH a great twist! I did not see it coming at all! It took me completely by surprise and once I found out -- it was so obvious that I couldn't believe that I hadn't figured it out! But I love that feeling when you're completely blown away by the twist and this was a book that totally did that to me! I mean, I've read some books with great twists that I didn't see coming, but I just don't get that same feeling of "WOW!" as I did with Mortal Heart.  I'm so obsessed with it! It was just such a great twist! I won't say anything more since I don't want to give it away, but I really do think it was a fantastic one that was woven in so well!

Also, I loved Annith as a character.  She's extremely vulnerable even though she has these awesome fighting skills.  She has a lot of doubts and fears that I think a lot of people will be able to relate to, such as the feeling of not being good enough.

Another thing that I can't help but admire is the attention to history Robin LaFevers puts into her books.  I mean, I'm no history expert, but you can totally see how much research she has put into her books and how much time she has spent looking into things and making sure to get everything as historically accurate as possible.  Of course, it's still a historical fiction novel, so it's not completely true to history, but overall it's got great research and authenticity to it!

Rating:

Robin LaFevers is a great writer and now that the His Fair Assassin Trilogy is over, I'm really excited to see what she's working on next!  In the meantime, I think I'll be rereading Grave Mercy sometime in the future --  I definitely want to see how I like it this time around!! All right, thanks for reading, guys!

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Guest Review from Desirae: The Notorious Pagan Jones (Pagan Jones #1) by Nina Berry

The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry was a really good read.  As soon as I heard it was coming out I knew it was going to be amazing and I had to read it, because frankly, Nina Berry is a talented author.  I will read anything Nina Berry writes.

From Goodreads:

Pagan Jones went from America's sweetheart to fallen angel in one fateful night in 1960: the night a car accident killed her whole family.  Pagan was behind the wheel and driving drunk.  Nine months later, she's stuck in the Lighthouse Reformatory for Wayward Girls and tortured by her guilt -- not to mention the sadistic Miss Edwards, who takes special delight in humiliating the once-great Pagan Jones.

But all of that is about to change.  Pagan's old agent shows up with a mysterious studio executive, Devin Black, and an offer.  Pagan will be released from juvenile detention if she accepts is a juicy in a comedy directed by award-winning director Bennie Wexler.  The shoot starts in West Berlin in just three days.  If Pagan's going to do it, she has to decide fast -- and she has to agree to court-appointed "guardian", the handsome yet infuriating Devin, who's too young, too smooth, too sophisticated to be some studio flack.

The offer's too good to be true, Berlin's in turmoil and Devin Black knows way too much about her -- there's definitely something fishy going on.  But if anyone can take on a divided city, a scheming guardian and the criticism of a world that once adored her, it's the notorious Pagan Jones.  What could go wrong? 

Desirae's Thoughts:

I read her Nina Berry's other books (the Otherkin series) and I loved those.  And now I love this book from her.  Reading The Notorious Pagan Jones was like watching a really good black and white movie, it was so entertaining and classical, you can just watch it over and over again, and it never gets old.

Reading this book was also like traveling back into the sixties, a very different time then now, where fashion was different and there were movie stars like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Gene Kelly walking around making classics, that we still watch today.

Pagan Jones, the main character of this story, is also a movie star.  If she was not a fictional character, I believe she would have her name on the Walk of Fame right now.  She's kind, brave, and a realistic heroine.  I cared about her right away.

This book does not start off on a movie set (but there are some scenes that take place on set, which were really fun to read about), it begins with Pagan in juvie feeling guilty.

She's heartbroken because she blames herself for her father and sister's death.  They died when she was driving drunk with them one night in the car on her 16th birthday, and ever since then, the guilt of it all weighs down on her.

A lot of people have called her a troubled star, a drunk, but all she wants to do is just get better.  She feels remorse, she feels self-loathing, she has made mistakes, but she's still a character worth rooting for.  She's someone worthy of another chance.

And she gets to have one.

She is removed from solitary when Jerry, her former agent, and Devin Black, a movie executive, appears months later after the accident.  They give her a choice: stay in juvie, or go to West Berlin, Germany and star in a new movie that is sure to be a hit.

And this is where the story gets really suspenseful, which I love (because who doesn't love a great story full of mystery and suspense?) And who exactly is this Devon Black?  One thing I am certain about: he is one of my new favorite characters of all time.  He's not an actor like Pagan, but she knows there's a possibility he could be one by the way acts so good.  The way he talks, the way he looks at her, the way he knows so much about her, she knows he has a lot of secrets.  And she is determined to find them all out.

My favorite scenes in this story always revolved around them.  All their conversations were always fun to read.  And you can't not like them.  They are both very witty, independent, smart, and brave people.  They have a lot in common.  They have secrets and scars.

The mysterious atmosphere of this story was so compelling I couldn't put this book down.

As Pagan spends time in Germany filming the new movie while trying her best not to pick up another bottle, she also tries to find out more about her family's history.  Ever since she found mysterious letters in her father's office, she is determined to uncover old family secrets.

I believe at the end of the book, Pagan does become a stronger person, a wiser person.  Every single page, I turned, I just liked her more and more. Especially at the ending where she did something so kind and heroic, how can you not like her?  It was a heartfelt scene.  There was a certain goal she wanted to accomplish, and she did it.  She helped out one of her friends.  Thomas, who is another favorite character I really liked.  He's her co-star in the movie, they're working on together and I enjoyed every single scene he was in as well.

I don't want to spoil anything, but I loved the ending.  It was really nice how she puts others before herself and risked her own life to save the people she cares deeply about.  She made a difference and I really do believe she redeemed herself in the end.

Overall Rating:



I just loved everything about this book.  There was never a dull moment.  I can't think of anything bad to say about it.  It's such a well-thought-out story, very entertaining, and it's just brilliant!

I had to re-read this because it's so fun to read about Pagan.  She was so witty.  Smart. And most importantly, she has a good heart.  And you can tell the author put a lot of hard work and research into this story.

It was so nice and refreshing to read a book set in the sixties in Hollywood and Germany.  She described everything so vividly and accurately.

This book would make a fantastic movie.  It just keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time and leaves you wanting more.  To be frank, I tried to read it slowly, but I couldn't.  It was very fast paced.  Thank you Nina Berry for writing this incredible story.  I can not wait to read the sequel to this (which place in Buenos Aires, Argentina.)

If you enjoy mysteries, action, romance, and a story that takes you to another country, then you will love this book!
Desirae @The Romance Bookie :)


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Letter to Ericka L. James

Hello Everyone!

Please excuse the absence right now...I'm moving!!! :)  So to say things are a little crazy is an understatement... :)

Anyway, I've had it, and I'm done keeping my mouth shut!

I want to apologize to a certain author, so I have decided to write her a letter here on The Romance Bookie, to show her that not all of us in the book world are like the people who treated her so poorly in the last couple of days.

Dear Ericka L. James,

I want to apologize to you, and tell you I am so sorry for the way you have been treated in the last days, and even over the past couple of years by some people in this world.  

While I know you are strong, I know it can also be tough, to just hear nothing but negativity from the world, who don't appreciate what you do; I want you to know, there are way more people in the world who DO appreciate what you and so many of our favorite authors do for a living.

Not only are you a successful published author, but you are one those kind people who hasn't forgotten about her readers.  You show us every day, by answering their questions, Facebook messages, tweets, how much you appreciate them.  

You're amazing, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

It doesn't matter what people think!  

Anyway, I wanted to apologize for the way the book world has treated you, because to be honest, I am beyond disappointed!  I haven't as much a part of this world, as I once was, due to life taking over, but honestly, now I understand why it might have been a good thing...if this is how this world has become.  

What those people did to you yesterday was just straight out bullying!  

No one deserves what you had to go through!  All of those people involved should be ashamed of themselves.  Because no matter how much you may dislike a person (which lets be honest, how can they?  They don't even know you?!) or there book, no one should have the right to bash and put someone down like that.

While some question you're success, all I have to say to you is kudos.  You've done amazingly, and you've definitely treated your fans better, then a lot of others.  You've never talked badly about your fans, or how annoyed you are of them.  You've never shown anything but appreciation!  

That's what makes a great author.

I enjoyed your books, they were definitely a guilty pleasure!  I will admit, they aren't in my top favorites...hope you don't take that the wrong way; but none the less, I did enjoy them.  But you know even if I hadn't, I would never think about bashing you or any author for that matter!  I look up to what you do; and can only hope one day, to even have one of my works published!

So again I'm sorry with the way you've been treated.  This letter represents all of your fans who appreciate and love you for everything you've done!

Here's a song to you, that's helped me a little over the past week as I move out of my parents house...a good pick me up, because always remember you are "One in a Million" <3




With Love, 

The Romance Bookie :)