Monday, February 29, 2016

March non-schedule and help wanted sign.

Hey everyone! From March going forward, I'll be doing things differently. In the interests of slowing down on my hobbies and heating up in my professional life, I will no longer be doing daily posts. I'll be reading at a leisurely pace and posting a couple time a week instead of every day. As I run out of scheduled posts I'll be posting whenever I finish a book, which could be a couple of days for some ebooks. I'll keep up on memes when I can, especially my baby Thursday Thoughts.

This is a great time for anyone looking to be a coblogger to step up. My email is curlytop36 [at] hotmail[dot]com. Please include a subject in your email to avoid going to my spam folder.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

book review: Raising grateful children in an entitled world

"But everyone else has it." "If you loved me, you'd get it for me!" When you hear these comments from your kids, it can be tough not to cave. You love your children--don't you want them to be happy and to fit in?Kristen Welch knows firsthand it's not that easy. In fact, she's found out that when you say yes too often, it's not only hard on your peace of mind and your wallet--it actually "puts your kids at long-term risk." In "Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World," Kristen shares the ups and downs in her own family's journey of discovering why it's healthiest "not" to give their kids everything. Teaching them the difference between "want" and "need" is the first step in the right direction. With many practical tips and anecdotes, she shares how to help kids become hardworking, fulfilled, and successful adults.It's never too late to raise grateful kids. Get ready to cultivate a spirit of genuine appreciation in your family and create a home in which your kids don't just say--but "mean"!--"thank you" for everything they have. 

My Review: 

Before I read this book I read a review that said "just finished this, and I'm going to go through it again with a highlighter!"

I rolled my eyes, as I usually do with these kind of reviews because I haven't yet actually met a book that I wanted to go through twice in a row like that. Anything I don't get the first time I'll MAYBE go through and highlight in a month or so, but right away?

...actually, yes. I read this book between calls at work and all he mothers at work read the title and went "oh, I need that book." The book itself was more than just a reference book. It was encouragement. It was a mother solid in her faith with both failed and successful methods of teaching gratefulness.

Of course, no nonfiction book is complete without sources. The author cinched her call to action with references and quotes from other authors that create the breadcrumbs of knowledge I love so much.

And ultimately, yes. I will be going through this book again soon to highlight it and hand over to my husband.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

book review: Tuna on Toast, Sister Clotildis, UFOs and Other Things I Survived

Whether or not you grew up in the 1970s, you’ll find plenty to identify with (and plenty to laugh at) in Tuna on Toast. From the surreal TV shows, to the meanest nun at Catholic school, to making your own fun (outside!), Sherri Bobzien’s first book captures the hilarity, the awkwardness, the heartache and the occasional magic of childhood in a quasi-functional family. Everything Sherri survived—princess pageants, a parent’s alcoholism, divorce, mild poverty, mild neglect, Dad’s new girlfriends, Cindy Brady, President Nixon—she did surrounded by an ample supply of tormenting brothers and hero-caliber sisters.

This family will feel so much like your own—you’ll cringe.



My Review:

This book was better than I thought it would be. I originally got this book from a goodreads giveaway, and thought the title was too long and too forgettable to be good.
But you know what they say about judgments and covers. 
This book was actually nice. Not quite laugh out loud funny but it left a good feeling as I read it. It felt at once nostalgic and sarcastic, blending the experience of a young girl and the reminiscence of a woman perfectly.
I would definitely advocate for people to read this book, despite the cover and long name.  As far as gifting, I'd probably part with my copy but wouldn't necessarily pay hard money to get this for anyone else.
My recommendation: get it from a library.
I got this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, February 26, 2016

ebook review: how many letters in goodbye

It's been almost eleven years since Rhea Farrell last wrote to her mother.
It was a Friday night ritual - until Rhea's father decided it was stupid to write letters to a dead person. That was the summer before the accident. The summer before Rhea began to keep her first secret.
Now about to turn eighteen, Rhea finds herself alone on the streets of New York with nobody to talk to about the future, or the past. So, just like she used to do as a little girl, she begins a letter with the words 'Dear Mum' and tells her mother the things she can't tell anyone else.
In the city where Allison Farrell was born, her daughter begins to delve into her past. And as she uncovers more about who her mother truly was, Rhea starts to figure out exactly who she herself wants to be. And that sometimes it takes longer than you think to say goodbye...

My Review:

Whining. So much whining. I really wanted to get into this book because the premise is interesting and I felt like I would relate to the love story aspect seeing as I met my husband when he was homeless, like our heroine. But the format just bothered me. There was no emotional impact. There was no substance or gravitas. It felt like a chore trying to like this book. Written in a different format, maybe with some prose between the letters, I might have loved it. But I couldn't make myself finish this book as it is.

I received this e-arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday thoughts: How to recover from a book hangover

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts, a thing I'm going to aim to do weekly. Currently looking for a cohost who can handle the linky side of things and make this an official meme!

This week: How to recover from a book hangover

Every reader has felt it, and I think professional reviewers the most: The reading slump. Also known as Book Burnout or Book hangover, You've just read a book and it was really good, but you really don't want to start the next one yet. Or today. Probably not tomorrow. Or even next week. Good lord, will you ever read again!?

There are two kinds of this condition:

1. That book was so amazing I can't get myself out of that world. Reading something else would feel wrong. I'll just wait until the next installment comes out in 2055.
That's a long time to go without reading. But if you're stuck in that world, you're stuck. Suggested prescription: Fanfiction. Read it, write it, get it out of your system. But more importantly: Know fanfiction will be there for you, to pull you back into that fictional world even if you read another book.

2. I just CAN'T read another word. I just don't feel like reading anymore!
Remember when you were younger and said "there's no such thing as too much reading"? Well, this is the result of that. Put the books down and walk away slowly. Spend the day watching stupid videos on youtube. Or go outside. Take a book break and then read some blogs or go on booktube to get excited about books again

Next week: Beautiful Covers and Illustrator spotlight

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

ebook review: Where she went

It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

My Review:
So a while back I posted about the first book in this duo, and revealed that I liked the movie better than the book. That probably should have been my first clue. I don't feel like this book added anything to Mia and Adam's story. I appreciate seeing more of Adam, sure, but it wasn't necessary. I was more interested in Mia. And having her reduced to 'this is what happened and she was a shell until she picked up her cello blah blah blah' third party description is exactly what I didn't like about the first book. There is no emotion in third party description. 
I felt bored reading this. I actually ended up not finishing it. I felt like I was wasting my time on an effort to squeeze out a few more minutes of fame that fell short. A lot of other people seemed to have liked it though, so I guess give it a shot. And if this one turns into a movie I'll give it a chance. But this one is a pass for me.

Monday, February 22, 2016

ebook review: Cinder

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Review:

This book was so much better than I expected. Honestly I wasn't sure about it from the synopsis but the reviews from others and the pretty, pretty cover wore me own.
On the one hand, fairy tale retellings! Kind of! Now that I've actually read the book that's a pretty loose term.
But I'm really not disappointed at all in how the storyline was executed. The world was introduced at a good, steady pace that didn't overwhelm me and Cinder being an android wasn't nearly as boring as I thought it would be. My one qualm, I guess is that the Big Reveal was kind of obvious from the very beginning. The foreshadowing wasn't exactly subtle. 
All in all, I can't wait to read the next one. I'd do it right now if it weren't for other arcs needing my attention. 
My recommendation: Buy it!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

ebook review: just a few inches

All Carrie Roberts wants is to be a little bit smaller.
To fit into the perfect dress for the Valentine’s Day Dance. To look beautiful for her boyfriend, the school’s star basketball player. To keep his jealous ex-girlfriend, a rival cheerleader, away from him. 
Exercising and dieting don’t work, but an advertisement for weight loss pills promises a quicker solution to her problem. As time runs out, she takes more than the recommended dose until she’s just a few inches slimmer. 
Days later, Carrie discovers that her body is changing in ways that should be impossible. While her doctor searches for a cure, she desperately turns to her friends and family for support. Everyone is noticing her now whether she likes it or not, and even the media is intrigued by her incredible story. Getting everything she once wanted has created new problems—problems that are growing more terrifying every day.
Because Carrie Roberts is shrinking.

My Review:

I got this ebook from a blogger giveaway, and I'm glad I did. From the synopsis, I wasn't too sure what would happen.  I'm glad I got this book though because the storyline was well executed, nothing was overdone, and I was interested in the novel the entire time I was reading it.
I couldn't really shake the feeling that the author's ideas of what could or couldn't happen at any one size was slightly off. A prom dress when you're a foot and a half tall? Easy and cheap if you go to the walmart baby section. But aside from that, I didn't have any trouble with the relationships, emotions, or obstacles that happened in this story. I also very much appreciate the acknowledgment of heavy subjects in a lightish manner. 
Overall, definitely a book I'd love to see in a library, but not really one I'd go out of my way to recommend to someone to pay for.
4 out of 5

Saturday, February 20, 2016

book review: the sin eater's daughter

I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it's price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla's fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla's chilling role to the girls she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen's, some truths should not be told...



My Review:
I actually bought this book. Not even just the ebook and not even on thriftbooks (though I looked to see if they had it). I had seen this book around so often I guess I slowly started wearing down. It had been on my wish list for a while but it was actually this review at The Broke and the Bookish that helped me make the decision to click the buy button.
This book has such a great concept and when I flipped through it to smell it my brain did a happy dance.
There really wasn't too bad of a love triangle because twylla's feelings for the prince are pretty obvious. It did get a little slow in the middle for a chapter or so, but then picked up again pretty quickly. Overall though. I feel like Twylla's love affairs took away from the story and made me like it less. 
On the other hand, there are some very believable emotions, and the author showed great prowess at world building. Con: this book is bad for bathtub reading. Seriously the smallest drop of water goes right through the page.
Am I glad I spent actual money on this? For 8 dollars, yeah. But it wouldn't necessarily make my top 5 recommendations.
4 out of 5

Friday, February 19, 2016

book review: To Nowhere

A world no one would believe.
From the moment Lyris is treated to coffee by a beautiful stranger, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. In her enthusiasm to start at a new school with a new boyfriend, Lyris is almost able to look past his oddities.
The way he eyes up her striking red hair.
The way he loves that she’s seventeen. “The perfect age.”
And the way he’s gone from all but begging to show her a specific room in a specific house to making her swear never to even think about it again.
When Lyris doesn't take his strange warnings seriously, she finds that nothing could have prepared her for what lay behind that door.



My Review

Book felt like it was going nowhere. Somewhat interesting because relationship was somewhat believable and not too instalovey but took forever to get to the point. Bonus points for two parents that are alive, but I simply couldn't get into this storyline at all. It's really quite a disappointment because the book itself came in lovely packaging that made me feel so happy to open because the author clearly put thought into it. But maybe it was just the story itself I couldn't get into. This book will keep Wilson from getting to my Author idols, but I'm still going to try out her recent novel titled Five Seven Five.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thursday thoughts: Series that are better than 50 Shades

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts, a thing I'm going to aim to do weekly. Currently looking for a cohost who can handle the linky side of things and make this an official meme!

This week: What 50 Shades teaches us about relationships

I had a huge issue with 50 Shades of Gray for a couple reasons. Mainly, that it was a story of abuse disguising itself as a love story. I know the power of books and it made me scared for young girls. I'm actually writing this post in October (hello, people from the future! Hopefully the world hasn't ended yet!) which, as most know, is domestic violence awareness month. So, there are a few series that are better (read: less abusive) than 50 Shades.

Masters of the Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair  Amazon

CLUB SHADOWLANDS Her car disabled during a tropical storm, Jessica Randall discovers the isolated house where she's sheltering is a private bondage club. At first shocked, she soon becomes aroused watching the interactions between the Doms and their subs. But she's a professional woman--an accountant--and surely isn't a submissive . . . is she?
DARK CITADEL After Kari breaks up with her date during Beginner's Night at Club Shadowlands, she's given the option to continue with an experienced dominant. Despite her steamy fantasies about BDSM, the inexperienced schoolteacher plans to simply observe. Yet under the unyielding hands of Master Dan, she not only participates, but gives him everything he asks for. There is nothing she can hide from him. Not her passion...or her love. 

The Gentlemen's Club (Noire series Book 1) by Emmanuelle de Maupassant

Set in Victorian London, 'The Gentlemen's Club' explores the lure of the sensuous, entering a realm of elegant debauchery. 
We live in the wondrous here and now and it is here that our flesh must take its pleasure. Your body is yours and yours alone, but not for long, and never long enough. 
Take your seat. The curtain is rising. 

Bookbub - 8 Series That Take 50 Shades To The Next Level
It will light your Victorian lamps. Tasteful and scintillating. Highly recommended. 
Buzzfeed - Erotica Books That Should Be More Famous Than 50 Shades
Praise for its writing style and progressive heroine, who questions gender norms and dated social conventions.

Spin (A Mafia Romance): Corruption Series #1 by CD Reiss


Theresa Drazen can have plenty of guys, but the one she can't keep away from....the one she's just about addicted to, is more than forbidden. With felony-black eyes and a mouth built for lies, loving him is one step away from illegal. 
But her body keeps overriding her brain. Maybe it's time to stop playing by the rules. 
Antonio is obsessed. Theresa's the last woman he should touch. She's going to get him killed. She's dangerous. Poison. The wrong woman. 
Except...she's perfect. 

Next week: How to recover from a book hangover

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book review: The time chamber

Korean artist Daria Song’s sequel to The Time Garden takes readers on a visual journey into a magical nighttime world seen through the eyes of a fairy.

This second book in the bestselling Time coloring series features the voyage of a fairy who, when the cuckoo clock chimes midnight, enters the human world. To the tiny fairy, everything seems enormous and magical, from the curtains to the chandelier to a mystical rowboat that takes her further into an inky adventure. With her she packs her favorite items, which colorers can find throughout the book’s pages: an owl-feathered pen, a star-scented spray, a time tape measure…even the key to the time chamber itself!

Filled with the imaginative, intricately detailed illustrations Song’s readers have come to love, The Time Chamber presents a view of our world made new—and ready for coloring.

The Time Chamber features extra-thick craft paper, ideal for non bleed-through coloring, and the jacketed cover with flaps is removable and colorable. Special gold-foil stamping on the cover and spine and a To/From page make it perfect for gifting to adults and kids alike.

My Review:

Comparing this book to its prequel, I would honestly grab this one for a gift to a friend. The foil stamping and actual story in the pages made a huge difference to me. The first book was good, but not quite great like this one. The paper is high quality and doesn't bleed through, and the cover can even be taken off and colored on to hang up or personalize! I love useful covers.

My suggestion: If you know someone who likes coloring (who doesn't?) Get this book for them. They'll love it.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten theme songs for books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week: Theme songs for books.

If I stay-- Immortal by Marina and the diamonds

Adulthood is a myth -- jack and coke by alex day

sugar skulls -- fear and loathing 

placebo junkies -- troubled minds

What you left behind -- don't wake me up

Outspoken -- happy

Up to this Pointe -- How I feel

Like Candy -- Flesh without blood by the grimes

The hunger games -- Savages by Marina

Every Last word -- Look at these eyes

Monday, February 15, 2016

ebook review: rebel bully geek pariah

The Breakfast Club meets Breaking Bad in a high-octane story about four very different teens and the night that will change their lives forever.
The Rebel: Once popular, Andi is now a dreadlocked and tattooed wild child.
The Bully: Sick of being the less favorite son, York bullies everyone, especially his brother.
The Geek: Boston, York's brother, and obsessed with getting into an Ivy League school.
The Pariah: Sam, now that her mom is sober, she just wants to get through one day at a time.
Andi, Sam, York, and Boston find themselves in the woods together when a party gets busted by the cops. Trying to run rather than get caught, they hop into the nearest car they see and take off . . . until they realize the car they've taken has a trunk is full of stolen drugs. Now they must rely on each other or risk their lives. Should they run or turn themselves in? Would anyone even believe the drugs aren't theirs? Every decision could determine the rest of their lives . . . but how can any of them trust people they barely know.
In a cinematic, heart-pounding race against time, four teens learn more about one other in a few hours than they ever knew in all the years they attended school together. And what they find out isn't at all what any of them expected . . .

My Review:
When I picked this book up I expected a cute breakfast club book that would be somewhat entertaining at best.
What I got was a poignant coning of age novel that addressed important topics and kept me engaged the entire time I was reading it.
Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah is definitely an important book for young adults who aren't sure who they are, for kids who have the hard luck to live with someone with addictions, for those whose secrets feel like a cage keeping them from finding real, genuine friends.
This book had me biting my nails, curled up in my chair racing to the next page. The only complaint I really have about this book was the main character. For someone who doesn't cry, the vig reveal about what finally makes the tears flow was...anticlimactic. However, it was redeemed by a separate emotional climax that gripped my heart and made me want to reach through my e-reader to hug the poor girl.

My recommendation: buy the hard copy. Especially if you're a hugger. It's just not the same with a kindle.
I got this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's weekend: Best books to give your lover

Again, not Thursday. But here are a few books to give your almost-spouse! All links go to Goodreads in a new window.

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment

For that special lady in your life.

Domination & Submission: The BDSM Relationship Handbook

Don't learn this stuff from 50 shades. Just don't.

From this Day Forward: Journal Affirmations for the Bride to Be

For when you pop the question to a book lover.

How to Make Her LET GO & GIVE IN: The No-Bullshit Guide to Great Sex

A great starting point, but ultimately great love comes from great communication.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's weekend: books for all the single ladies

Okay,'s not Thursday. But honestly I didn't really want to make a brand new graphic. Today I have books for all those who are single this February. Sometimes the single life is the best life.

Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman: Dispelling 10 Common Myths

Single women are neither unloved nor forgotten. Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman: Dispelling 10 Common Myths combats the lies that destroy the joy and confidence of unmarried women.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours

Recklessly loyal.
That’s how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Caring for her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she’s grown resentful of everyone—including her needy best friend and her absent mom—taking her loyalty for granted.
Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn’t even met her.
Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.

Living Alone and Loving It

After a relationship impasse, Barbara Feldon -- universally known as the effervescent spy "99" on Get Smart -- found herself living alone. Little did she know that this time would become one of the most enriching and joyous periods of her life. 
Now Feldon shares her secrets for living alone and loving it. Prescribing antidotes for loneliness, salves for fears, and answers for just about every question that arises in an unpartnered day, she covers both the practical and emotional aspects of the solo life, including how to: 
Stop imagining that marriage is a solution for loneliness • Nurture a glowing self-image that is not dependent on an admirer • Value connections that might be overlooked • Develop your creative side • End negative thinking 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thursday Thoughts: Finding your book genre

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts, a thing I'm going to aim to do weekly. Currently looking for a cohost who can handle the linky side of things and make this an official meme!

This week: Finding your book genre

Growing up was kind of ridiculous for me because it's like I went through literary puberty. I no longer knew what aisle to go to when I got to the library. Did I want to read a nonfiction book? psychology? Judy Moody? YA fantasy? 

I was a mess. I didn't know what I wanted, or if I would still want it tomorrow. I really liked the books I got, but the confusion and decisions I had to make when I got to the library just frustrated me. 

These days I have a better idea of what I do or do not like, which publishers are my favorite, and what library sections to avoid, if not which ones I want to flock to. The introduction of the New Adult genre actually helped quite a bit with all that. New Adult books are great to float back to if you're going through Literary puberty and get overwhelmed.

So, some tips maybe?
1. Set DNF limits
This will save you SO much time. 50, 15, 5 pages in and you're not interested? put it down. Decide how patient you're going to be with a book that's not working for you.

2. take advantage of free books
Libraries, kindle sales, giveaways. If you're a blogger, Netgalley. This way you can discover things you do like without it hurting your wallet.

3. Work out your Do Not Read list, but know why.
I don't like Romance. I don't go to that section. But the reason I don't like Romance is because I feel it has no plot and the love scenes are too cheesy or occur too often. Obviously there are some good ones out there. If I had judged Diamonds in the Rough by its genre instead of its blurb, I never would have discovered the wonder that is Elisa Marie Hopkins.

Next week: Series that are better than 50 Shades