Monday, January 30, 2017

Review: Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group/Random House

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

This was my first audio book and it worked for me. I struggle to read non-fiction, but I want to read more. Since I love podcasts I figured this would be kind of a happy medium. And I actually picked this up after Sarah mentioned it on the DBSA podcast (still calling that).

The reader/performer (what do you call them?) was a major factor for my enjoyment. Her voice was very calming and matched the content perfectly. Probably 75% of the reason I listen to this podcast I do is because of their voices so I'm not surprised this jumped out at me.

I'm an introvert who struggles with anxiety, but I didn't realize how much that impacted my life. Some stuff immediately made sense to me, but I never gave much thought to introverts and the workforce. Throughout my life people have pushed me to be more extroverted and now I see why. But I also know that it's OK to be me.

The biggest take away was when she addressed parenting an introvert. If I have children I would go back to this as a refresher on embracing different personality types.

Sorry, if this is a weird review. I guess this an odd kind of book to review.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: Up in Flames by Abbi Glines

Series: Rosemary Beach #13
Format: Paperback
Pages: 246
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Atria

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Spoiled. Selfish. Rich girl. Villain. Slut.

As the Prada-clad bad girl of Rosemary Beach, Nan Dillon has been called every vile name under the hot summer sun. Some of her reputation is deserved—she’s never had to worry about anything but maintaining her perfect figure and splitting Daddy’s private jet with her brother, Rush.

But Nan is far from happy. Rush has another kid on the way and doesn’t have time to catch up with his sister. Grant, the last guy she truly cared about, chose to be with her half-sister, Harlow, instead of her. And Harlow, who has never gotten over the way Nan treated her when she first moved to town, remains distant.

So when Major asks her out, she jumps at the chance to date the gorgeous charmer. Though she doesn’t know much about the sweet-talking Texan, and though it’s clear he doesn’t want to be exclusive, dating him beats hanging out with vapid socialites or watching Netflix alone at home.

For a while, Nan deals with Major’s playboy ways, but after he burns her one too many times, she takes off for an impromptu wild weekend in Vegas. There, she meets Gannon, a darkly seductive and oh-so-dangerous businessman who knows exactly how to handle her.

With Major asking for a second chance and Gannon haunting her dreams, Nan has to decide who to give her heart to. But what she doesn’t realize is that these players are involved in a much bigger game—and they’re already two moves ahead of her.


Honestly, this is the best Abbi Glines book I've read. It still has some issues, but overall I'm happy. And Abbi Glines didn't fall back on some of the things she uses regularly.

I've seen some people say the relationship in here is dysfunctional or abusive, but I disagree. Actually, many of the others are more abusive in my opinion.

I don't do this normally, but the rest will contain spoilers.

You've been warned!!!

Nan has been a huge pain point for me throughout the series. Not because she was a villian, but because she wasn't very well developed. This finally let me get a glimpse into her head so shes an actual multi-dimensional person. I particularly liked her interactions with Nate. I didn't want her changed by some man. But the unconditional love of a child I can get behind. Seeing her open up to Blaire a little was also great. If only she could do the same with Harlow.

When it comes to the romance-it was like Abbi Glines tricked us, but I don't mind. I just assumed because of the chapter headings she would end up with Major and I'm glad she didn't. He was such a tool. Cope actually got Nan as a woman and was a man that complemented her. He's a little stalkery, but not as bad as some other Abbi Glines heroes.

I give Ms. Glines props for exploring a different kind of sexual relationship. Nan was consenting to everything-ok most things but I'll get there-Cope did to her. S&M or violence in bed may not be your cup of tea, but that doesn't make it inherently wrong. What did give me pause was when he had sex with her while she was sleeping/dreaming. It was definitely a consent grey area. He did own up to it which helped.

I'm glad I pushed through this series and it's Virgin hero-worship, because I got to read this one. I did skip Captain's book because my library happened to have this one so I will probably go back now. That night fill in some parts of the plot that left me a tinsy bit confused.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Review: Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis

Series: Animal Attraction Book #2
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed form Library
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
Sunshine, Idaho, is a quiet ranching town, a perfect place to give injured animals a refuge…or to find one yourself. Veterinarian Dell Connelly suspects there’s a reason his clinic’s uber-efficient receptionist has taken shelter here.

Jade Bennett couldn’t be happier to escape the big-city jungle to work with hurt animals, and have a forlorn stray kitten make its home under her desk…or enjoy the gorgeous views of her ruggedly sexy boss.

Jade is used to planning everything in her life, but Dell’s seductive, alluring ways have sparked an uncontrollable desire. And though Dell has never had time for love, Jade’s strength and sass is the kind of call no red-blooded male can resist…


This cover is something else but it's a cute story. And I'm really glad Jade's "dark secret" isn't that she was raped. There was some decent emotions explored while being sexy and adorable. All the animals probably help with that.

Jade was the star for me and what drove me to pick this up. She's so strong and vulnerable which is real and something I've read a lot of lately. And I'm a sucker for a girl who appreciates order and a good spreadsheet.

Dell was exactly what I thought he would be and I'm not complaining. He's so gentle and caring of the animals and people in his life. He's like a pack leader.

They have the kind of sexual tension I love reading about. It's always simmering just below the surface and they try to fight it. This turns into them bickering or fighting a lot. Totally my catnip.

I think I like these books and the world of Sunshine more than the Lucky Harbor books. Good thing I already picked up Adam's story from the library.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: Level Up by Cathy Yardly

Series: Fandom Hearts Book #1
Format: Ebook
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased/Free on Amazon
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
Geeky introvert Tessa Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to get promoted to video game engineer– including create a fandom-based video game in just three weeks. The only problem is, she can't do it alone. Now, she needs to strong-arm, cajole, and otherwise socialize with her video game coworkers, especially her roommate, Adam, who’s always been strictly business with her. The more they work together, though, the closer they get…

Adam London has always thought of his roomie Tessa as “one of the guys” until he agreed to help her with this crazy project. Now, he’s thinking of her all the time… and certainly as something more than just a roommate! But his last girlfriend broke up with him to follow her ambitions, and he knows that Tessa is obsessed with getting ahead in the video game world.

Going from friends to something more is one hell of a challenge. Can Tessa and Adam level up their relationship to love?


While I gave this book 3 stars I give the cover 5. It's adorable and looks a lot like fan art. Generally, I liked the story and characters, but needed it to be longer or just better developed. And the formatting was a little funky which confused me-page breaks were created for a reason, people!

Ms. Yardly definitely made some good decisions or admirable ones. The heroine is a person of color and a realistic introvert. She also had Tessa be involved in coding/Game design. As my sister would say-STEM for the win! Adam was intelligent considerate without being awkward or cliche.

There was also an attempt at positive female friendships. The groundwork was there, but like the story as a whole it didn't feel fully developed. I still commend her for having women who can support each other.

The romance was cute and predictable. I've said this before, but I'll say it again-I'm not bothered by predictable romances. It's kind of a friends-to-lovers story. I just wish I knew more about them as individuals. Tessa and Adam were pretty one dimensional.

After hearing this hyped up on the DBSA podcast (I'm still calling it that) I was a little disappointed. But I do want to read another of the books in this series-especially since they are on the short side.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Review: Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis

Series: Animal MagnetismBook #1
Format: eBook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from the library (Overdrive)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
Co-owner of the town's only kennel, Lilah Young has lived in Sunshine, Idaho, all her life. Pilot-for-hire Brady Miller is just passing through. But he soon has Lilah abandoning her instincts and giving in to a primal desire.

It's Brady's nature to resist being tied down, but there's something about Lilah and her menagerie that keeps him coming back for more.


Jill Shalvis does have a certain kind of magic. Her books make me feel the same way a Julia Quinn historical does. And that is a very good thing. Oh and she oh so subtly laid out some sequel bait so of course I have to go to my library to pick up the next two-Overdrives doesn't have them available and I don't want to wait.

I enjoy a nice military hero every now and then but sometimes they're a little too caveman for me. Brady was a nice balance. He is jealous of other men when Lilah is nice to them but doesn't turn into an idiot and is aware of his feelings. He's also incredibly nice and caring to her and others. OMG! Him and Twinkles the dog was like the best thing ever.

Lilah was also a fun character. She has some of that innocence you see in romance but it's more tied to her open heart than sex. She's got some serious agency in all things including her sex life. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after that/it.

Their chemistry jumped off the page and they really complimented each other. I love when an author takes the time to have the characters talk in addition to the sexy times in bed (or whatever). To me that's what really sells them as a couple and it's an easy way to get to know them as individuals and a pair.

I'm so glad I started reading Jill Shalvis' books and I completely see why people love her. These are fun quick reads with likeable characters. The parade of adorable animals doesn't hurt either.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Review: Marry Me At Christmas by Susan Mallery

Series: Fools Gold Book # 19
Format: Ebook
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from library/Overdrive
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Publisher: HQN Books

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
To bridal boutique owner Madeline Krug, organizing a Christmas wedding sounds like a joy—until she finds out she'll be working closely with the gorgeous brother of the bride, movie star Jonny Blaze. How will a small-town girl like her keep from falling for the world's sexiest guy? Especially with mistletoe lurking around every corner!

Jonny came to Fool's Gold looking for normal, not for love. Happily-ever-after only happens in the movies. Still, nothing about this quirky town is quite what he expected, and "ordinary" Madeline is the most extraordinary woman he's ever met. Refreshingly honest, disarmingly sweet. Achingly beautiful.

Planning the perfect wedding leads to candlelit dinners and strolls through snow-covered streets. And Madeline finds Jonny in real life even more captivating than her celebrity crush. But will the action star be brave enough to risk his heart and step into the role of a lifetime?


This is my first Susan Mallery book. I wasn't particularly blown away, but I would read more of her books in the future.

Johnny and Madeline are nice characters. They were likeable-actually really likeable. And they seemed very normal. Both of their major flaws was running away. There's nothing wrong with that, but it got kind of redundant. They both kept having the same internal conversations about Johnny being famous and it being too much to deal with.

The romance was cute. It felt a lot like a Hallmark Christmas movie-especially since there were closed door sex scenes. Personally, I like corny Christmas movies so that isn't a complaint. Looks like Susan Mallery writes a lot of Christmas books so I may stick with those for now.

While this doesn't have the same magic as say a Jill Shalvis this was a cute small-town romance.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: Honor's Knight by Rachel Bach

Series: Paradox Book #2
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 358
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library
Genre: Sci-Fi, Futuristic, Space Opera
Publisher: Orbit

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
After a mysterious attack left her short several memories and one partner, she's determined to keep her head down, do her job, and get on with her life. But even though Devi's not actually looking for it -- trouble keeps finding her. She sees things no one else can, the black stain on her hands is growing, and she is entangled with the cook she's supposed to hate.

But when a deadly crisis exposes far more of the truth than she bargained for, Devi discovers there's worse fates than being shot, and sometimes the only people you can trust are the ones who want you dead.


Why did I double you Rachel Bach? I was such a gool. For the first 100-150 pages I wasn't sure about what I was reading. But then she pulled it together. I'm still incredibly confused, but I completely trust Ms. Bach. And even that rough bit works for me now.

For the last two-thirds I couldn't put this down. All I wanted to do was read this. I was incredibly emotionally invested. And not just Devi-I care about Nova, Rupert, Rashid. And the story was paced well and had me on the edge of my seat. I don't often feel this way when reading a book written in first person.

The stakes were definitely raised in this one-for Devi and the world. Ms. Bach also expanded on her already fantastically built world. This whole story just comes alive in my mind. That's how great of a writer she is. She also does that thing I simultaneously love and hate: a lot of my questions were answered, but now I have even more. Some of them probably aren't even important, but I can't help but think every single word is meticulously crafted.

My biggest random question: Who is Nic and Nova's father? For some reason I can't help, but think this is an important thing. But there's so much left to explore.

Must pick up the next book now.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Review: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Series: Brooklyn Bruisers Book #1
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Hockey
Publisher: Berkley

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

I really enjoyed this. I am still a little upset I had to pay $7.99 for an ebook. Traditional publishing has a lot of problems and that's one of them. But I don't hold that against Sarina Bowen.

Speaking of, there were a lot of issues I couldn't overlook. Typos I'm pretty forgiving of, but continuity errors really bother me. They tend to pull me out of the story. If you are a major publishing house there is no reason a book you release has several continuity errors.

Since I considered this an editing issue and this isn't self-published it doesn't impact my rating. But I needed to get it off my chest.

Onto the actual book/story.

I love a good hockey romance-especially with fantastic characters. Georgia is a kick-ass woman. She's very passionate about her job and is very ambitious As a young woman myself I admire her. And her dreams are no less valid than Leo's. He is also fun and very sweet. He isn't your traditional hockey hero and isn't afraid to show his love for Georgia.

The side characters were also well done. But this is Sarina Bowen-I shouldn't be surprised. I loved Silas and am sad because I feel like he will never get his own book. Nate and Becca though. I'm smelling sequel bait and it better happen because I need to know the story about those two. And Nate seems like he wouldn't be a traditional billionaire hero.

The romance was on the steamy side. Sometimes that can be a bit much but it worked. It helps that Ms. Bowen shows Leo and Georgia talking, too. Reunited lovers is one of my favorite tropes so that was a plus. One thing did feel a little rushed though.

I also loved seeing the other Trevi family members. D.J. is one of my favorite Bowen heroes. So, whenever he was around I was happy.

And now I have to wait until January for the next book. I don't want to wait!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review: While it Lasts by Abbi Glines

Series: Sea Breeze Book #3
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 268
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Atria

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Low broke Cage’s heart by getting with Marcus in Because of Low. Cage went into a tailspin that ended in a DUI. In order to salvage his baseball scholarship—the one thing he truly valued besides Low—Cage must take a summer job. At a farm. Away from Sea Breeze. With lots of cows, but no hot girls. Maybe that’s what Cage needs to get back on track.

But wait—there’s that hostile daughter of the farm boss. She’s pretty and occasionally sweet, and there seems to be a lot of sadness and mystery behind her anger. Cage is dying to strip her down—physically and mentally—in the back of the barn. But is he prepared for what will happen afterward?

Why do I keep doing this to myself? This isn't horrible and is a quick read, but there are so many problematic things. And it's the same issues I've had with other Abbi Glines books. For some reason I keep reading them-maybe because so many people love them.

Cage is a very typical Abbi Glines hero. He's hyper-aggressive and sexual. He also fully embraces the idea that women/girls fit into two categories-virgin or whore. This is the thing that bothers me the most about all the Abbi Glines books I've read-they glorify the idea that certain women are more pure and therefore the only ones worthy of love. Cage is kind of mopey because of parental issues. That was the most interesting thing about him, but it wasn't explored that much.

Eva fell pretty flat. In the beginning she had so much potential, but the moment she met Cage whatever personality she had disappeared. She was very easily influenced by others. And she just goes from being taken care of by one guy to another. She has no agency.

This feels like a really negative review but I'm struggling to give this less than 3 stars. And I will keep reading these because they are fast and I own more in the Sea Breeze series so I might as well.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 9, 2017

December Wrap-Up (2016)

The month and year are over. I read a pretty good amount of books and I'm happy with them. I picked up some re-reads which always makes me happy.

But I didn't finish my Goodreads challenge. I did actually read more than the 100 book goal I set myself, but they don't count re-reads. I thought I found a work around but couldn't get it to work every time.

This was a very exhausting month-just like the year. So after all this craziness I'm happy with my reading for the year and month. 

Here are the books I read and their ratings.

Unspoken-4 Stars
Perfect Chemistry-5 Stars

Rules of Attraction-5 Stars

Untold-4 Stars

Unmade-4 Stars

It Happened One Autumn-4 Stars

Devil in Winter-5 Stars

Reason to Breathe-5 Stars

The Queen-4 Stars

Deeper-4 Stars

The Darkest Touch-3 Stars

The Darkest Night-4 Stars

Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 6, 2017

November Wrap-Up (2016)

November really flew by. Actually, I don't remember much of the month. I had a long weekend over the Thanksgiving holiday, but barely read. It was also my sister's birthday so I spent a lot of time with my family.

But even with all that I was able to read nine books. So, that was great. I'm almost on track with my Goodreads challenge, but who knows if they counted re-reads I would be fine.

Here are the books I read this month and their ratings.
Beauty and the Blacksmith-3 Stars
The Goal-4 Stars
The Bourbon Kings- 3 Stars
Recklessly Royal- 3 Stars
Keepsake- 5 Stars
American Creation- 3 Stars
Secrets of a Summer Night- 4 Stars
What If- 5 Stars
How a Lady Weds a Rogue-3 Stars

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

October Wrap-Up (2016)

October was a very rough month. It was busy and exhausting. Most if it was fun, too but I was still too tired to read a lot. So, I finished four books. I am still happy with that.

It looks like I may not accomplish my Goodreads challenge this year of reading 100 books. That makes me a little sad, but in the end it isn't a big deal. I would rather read 1 good book I actually enjoy then 1,000 I have to force myself to read.

Here are the four books I read and their ratings.

Silk is for Seduction-4 Stars

Rescue My Heart-4 Stars

The Unleashing-3 Stars

Any Duchess Will Do-4 Stars

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 2, 2017

September Wrap-Up (2016)

My reading really picked up this month. I have no idea what caused the change. It probably does help that everything I read I blew through. So, I really only read on the weekends, but read a book each day in the weekend.

I also listened to my first audio book this month. I only feel comfortable listening to non-fiction books. They remind me of podcasts which I love listening to. And I do want to read more non-fiction so I'm going to try and continue with this.

Here are the books I read this month and the ratings I gave them.

Bittersweet-4.5 Stars

Steadfast-5 Stars

The Hook-Up-4 Stars

A Scot in the Dark-4.5 Stars

While it Lasts-3 Stars

Rookie Move-4 Stars

Honor's Knight-5 Stars

Marry Me At Christmas-3 Stars

Animal Magnetism-4 Stars

Level Up-3 Stars

Animal Attraction-3 Stars

Up in Flames-4 Stars

Quiet-4 Stars

Survival of the Sickest-3 Stars

Thanks for reading!