Saturday, November 16, 2013

When a Book Goes Terribly Terribly Wrong (a DNF)

I rant a lot when it comes to books. When reading a book I'm more than not riding that special book high that presses all the right buttons -- whether it is good or bad in my eyes. Lately, it's been mostly good and I've been fangirling all over the place with a lot of authors/ books. It's been a while where I've been so torn on just dropping the book in disgust and carrying on because the book is by a favorite author of mine. This is one such occasion. (Warning: Spoilers Ahead)

The Book: The Hellion and the Highlander (#3) by Lynsay Sands
Genre: Romance
Crime: Perpetuating rapist enabling mentality
How It Goes Down: Lady Averill (the heroine) has already had a run-in with with her husband's brother -- a well established serial rapist. An unpleasant groping that was stopped. By the main almost rape, Sands has written Averill to have overcome her timidity and a strong female ready to take most situations in hand. However after the brother beats her and it between her legs lifting up his clothing and a maid stops him by hitting him over the head... Averill begins making excuses to protect her husband.

Oh yes, as the horrified maid (and readers) listen on, Averill explains her husband will surely have to carry the guilt of killing his own brother for the crime he has committed, and Averill wishes to spare him that decision. Thankfully the maid threatens to tell the Laird what has happened if she does not. Incidentally, she tells her husband half-truths and that's only because of the nasty state of her face.

To compound this giant ball of "what the fuuuuu?" the Laird goes in to speak with his brother, figures out that he didn't just beat up his wife, but because he found his brother unconscious on the bed (and knowing his brothers previous indiscretions) comes to the conclusion of a rape attempt. Twists of all twists, the brother is not unconscious but dead. And the kicker? The kicker that seals the fury I have for this particular portion of the book? When Lady Averill is told her attacker is dead she still lies for the bastard. I'm sorry, but that's not exactly the type of heroine I want to be reading in a book. Moreover, it makes no sense! Averill has no background of being an enabler, so why would she suddenly start now when she spilled the beans the first time she was groped?

WRONG WRONG WRONG. On so many levels.

What takes you to put down a book? Have you read this one? If so, what were your thoughts?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cover Reveal: Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade

Stacey Kade is one of my favorite authors. Her Ghost and the Girl trilogy is equal parts cute, equal parts engaging. I'm really happy to spread the word on her latest ADULT novel -- Bitter Pill.

The truth is a bitter pill...

Rennie Harlow is having a bad year. She had a handsome husband, a good job, and a renovated condo in Chicago. Now, thanks to one "exotically beautiful" paralegal, she’s divorced, faking her way through a writing career, and living above her hypochondriac mother's garage back in Morrisville, the small town she couldn't leave fast enough at eighteen. On top of all of that, she just found Doc Hallacy, the local pharmacist, dead behind his counter. And the worst part is, he's the third body she’s stumbled across this year. 
Jake Bristol has lived in Morrisville his whole life. A former bad boy turned sheriff, he doesn’t believe it’s just Rennie’s luck or timing that’s the problem. He thinks she’s too nosy for her own good. The last thing he needs is her messing around with his murder investigation so that she can freelance for the Morrisville Gazette.  But as they both delve deeper into Doc's death, they find that things don't add up. This isn't a robbery gone wrong or the work of a desperate junkie. Someone has a secret they're killing to keep. The only question is—who's next? 

The Best Part: I already love the concept, but what really too me over the edge was what Kade herself says: " Rennie Harlow is a grown up version of Nancy Drew." SIGN ME UP! Better yet, enter the rafflecopter contest below for a chance to win an ARC of Bitter Pill, $25 for a retailer of your choice, or an annotated ARC of Bitter Pill. Good luck!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Book to Movie Review: The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones

Click me for trailer & more! 

Review: I recently went to see City of Bones in theaters and while the over-saturation of media blitz beforehand made me a little uneasy, any reservations I had were almost immediately put to rest. In short, I really really really liked this movie (dare I say love?). The acting is what you would expect, it seemed like everyone was giving there best and also having a little fun. The pacing was a little sub par and slow at many points, but redeemed itself with special effects and hitting all the important points from the books. The casting I thought was perfect, especially the widely popular Magnus Bane. A lot of people are saying that Jamie Campbell Bower (who plays Jace) is not right for the role. Personally? I am so very relieved that they made Jace more likable (see, not so pig-headed). Sure, they could have cast someone who was, well, more muscular but teen heartthrobs lately are lanky so I can get where the casting team was coming from. Overall, this is a movie MADE for fans of the book. There are quite a few Easter eggs for readers, although it described enough for those unfamiliar with the series to enjoy themselves too.

Read the Book Beforehand?: Advised. I'm almost always a fan of reading the book beforehand, but I didn't get a chance to before seeing this movie. Like I said, this movie is made primary with fans of the books in mind so it's a good idea. I had to go bad home and re-read this book to remember everything, because while I didn't feel like they had left anything out I still felt a little lost.

Theater or DVD: I say both! If you are a fan of the books, whether slight or full-blown it really is a fun little movie. I don't buy DVDs often, but I'm really excited to see the bonus content of this film.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rating Books

Ever since Shy over at The Bookishville tweeted this:

I haven't been able to get the question "How do I rate books?" In the past, I have always been firm on if the story gels together, then it gets a better rating. If it gets me engaged in the story (an easy thing to do, at that point) then all the better. Since my injury, however, I have gotten quite a bit harsher on books and characters. I know that as we grow and change, so do our styles and reading habits. Add a traumatic event that completely upends your lifestyle, the speed of the change increases.

Why do I tell you this? Because, as a reviewer, I know I have a certain level of responsibility for objectiveness. As I'm reading (see also, listening too) an average of 4 books a week, I have learned that the way I rate books has completely, utterly, changed. I am almost militaristic in my swiftness. There is no hemming and hawing, I simply seem to ask these questions: "Did this book make me think? Did this book entertain me? Was there a plausible, cohesive, plot?" And based largely on those questions, I have my rating.

Reading is personal. By proxy, rating is personal. Rating, I think, cannot be completely objective. Rating is based upon who and where the reader is RIGHT THEN as they are reading that book. I may now have a better grasp on how to execute my reading choices, but no matter the answers to my questions my rating will be affected by how I felt while reading a book. What I think might be plausible or not will inevitably be different from another's experience. But I think that's whay makes it fun.

How do YOU rate your books?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hello World

Hiya folks! I'm back to join the living! Since my last post my knee got worse, not better, and I had to be transfered to a specialist... who suggested surgery. I had arthoscopic knee surgery to repair the capsule that surrounds my knee cap on May 21, 2013. Since that point I have been off of work, and will be through July 30, 2013. I have a lot of struggles and questions of identity throughout this period and while I feel far from being on steady ground... I think I'm ready to start blogging again.

I will admit I checked out there for a while. I didn't read books I could review -- it was all motivational or faith/ spiritual scripture. But just as I am learning to walk again.. I'm learning to enjoy reading again.

I can't promise it will be often, or if I'll do reviews in the beginning, but I'd like to post a weekly round up for my own sanity. To feel I've accomplished something while I am recuperating, and as my incentive for motivation.

Be seeing you...

Happy Healing,


Monday, March 18, 2013

Out of Hiding

Remember the last time I hinted about my knee? That Monday it took a turn for the worst and I experienced something I never could have imagined: pain so bad I could barely walk.

And was promptly taken off of work.

I'm not going to lie, the last two weeks have been a roller coaster. I didn't know how to express what I've been going through. I didn't know what to say, how to say it, how to believe in myself.

It's only now that I'm on the mend that I am properly able to convey my emotional pain. The inability to walk (although temporarily) cut me down a few and the fact that I wasn't working exacerbated my crumbling self-confidence. The physical pain was (is) certainly still a factor and also didn't help things, but once that was an afterthought -- about 3-4 days now -- the real healing began.

I want to quell any concerns about my knee. It needs NO SURGERY  (yay!) and all that happened was that I damaged the cartilage under my knee cap. Physical therapy has been a God-send and just today I was promoted from crutches to a cane!
Me, at 25.
Original found at:

It's been a journey so far and it's not over yet. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but I am grateful for the experience. It taught me to be more patient, to really take care of myself and listen to my body.

Even if that means using a flipping cane when I walk.

Happy Healing,


Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review: Kundalini Meditation: The Path to Personal Transformation and Creativity

Summary (from Goodreads)Kundalini meditation unleashes the life force that exists in us all, allowing it to flow through each of the seven chakras. It's a hot trend that awakens our inspiration and insight; allays destructive anxieties and doubts; and helps us feel at one with the divine. This enlightening guide shows, in guided stages, how to become aware of the energy channels running along the spinal cord and which purification rituals, poses, positions, and breathing exercises open you up. Special guided meditations target common problems such as depression and anger.

Review: A thorough and easy introduction into Kundalini meditation, Kathryn McCuster has created a stellar book. The origin and history of Kundalini is included, broken up by pictures to avoid being dull. Informative and well written, “Kundalini Meditation” is perfect for the novice wanting to begin or expand their daily practice. Highly recommended!

Thank you Watkins Publishing Limited and NetGalley for an e-ARC. 

Formats: e-book, paperback

Livnam Kaur Recommends:

Livnam Kaur is a spiritual intuitive, Reiki and IET® master teacher, IKYTA Kundalini yoga teacher, and Ayurveda Wellness Practitioner. She focuses on empowering individuals through the process of spiritual counseling. This counseling opens up the channels of spiritual communication, guiding a person to turn within and partner with Spirit to find their highest healing path.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: The Storyteller's Daughter

Summary (from Goodreads)In a faraway kingdom, a king has been betrayed. Deeply hurt and bitterly angry, he vows never to be deceived again. Unfortunately, the king's plan to protect himself will endanger all of the realm's young women, unless one of them will volunteer to marry the king — and surrender her life.

To everyone's relief and horror, one young woman steps forward. The daughter of a legendary storyteller, Shahrazad believes it is her destiny to accept this risk and sacrifice herself.

On the night of her wedding to the king, Shahrazad begins to weave a tale. Fascinated, the king lets her live night after night. Just when Shahrazad dares to believe that she has found a way to keep her life — and an unexpected love — a treacherous plot will disrupt her plan. Now she can only hope that love is strong enough to save her.

Review: My favorite of the Once Upon a Time series, Dokey weaves many tales into one main story creating a highly enjoyable experience for readers. Told in an old style narrative, readers are instantly enchanted by the first line all the way to the last. A quick, easy read The Storyteller's Daughter is perfect for those who like the "happily ever after" with more to characters than meets the eye.

Formats: e-book, mass market, library binding

Senator Recommends:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: Unremembered (#1)

Summary (from Goodreads): The only thing worse than forgetting her past... is remembering it.

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe. 

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them. 

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

Review: Unremembered is one of those books that will knock you on your butt, in the best possible ways. Brody has stepped out of her normal contemporary novels to create a sci-fi gem. Readers will be enthralled as they go, each chapter adding and revealing another layer. Enthralling, with a dash of romance Unremembered is a must read for 2013!

Formats: e-bookhardcover

Senator Recommends:

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekly Round-Up #8


The weeks bleed from one to the next, it feels. I can't tell one day to the next lately, but I'm getting through. I've been pushing myself pretty far and now that I got my knee injury my body is trying to tell me to slow down, to go easy on myself. Still, I push... Old habits are hard to break, I suppose.

Days Without Meat
0 -- I ate chicken in a moment of hunger and weakness. I nearly threw it up. Lesson learned. 

Weeks of Consistant Running
6 -- Do I keep this number or should I start over once I've healed? 

Days Meditating

Miles Walked / Run
Due to my injury, I am unable to run or walk for exercise. 

TOTAL = 0 MILES                                              TOTAL FOR YEAR = 23.91 MILES

Book(s) Read

The Perfect Power Within You by Jack & Cornelia Addington (Still reading, this one is for an 8 week class. Yippie!)

Unbroken (#2) by Paula Morris (read, review to come. Thank you Scholastic and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC.)

Married by Mistake by Abby Gaines (read, review to come)

The Nightmare Affair (#1) by Mindee Arnett (thoroughly enjoyed and read, review to come. Thank you Tor/Forge and NetGalley for providing an e-ARC.)

Kundalini Meditation: The Path to Personal Transformation and Creativity by Kathryn McCusker (read, review to come. Thank you Watkins Publishing Limited and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC.)

The Lost Husband: A Novel by Katherine Center  (still reading. Thank you Random House Publishing House and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC.)

Happy Living,


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Knee Sprain

Well, I suppose it was inevitable, but I've sprained my knee this past Wednesday. It is minor and is my first "major" injury of my life. While it might be minor, knee sprains can physically and psychologically trip you up. Here are a few things I've learned in the past four days.
  1. R.I.C.E is Your Friend: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation are all VITAL for a speedy recovery. They might be annoying, but they help so so much. For more detailed  information on R.I.C.E please click here
  2. Your Whole Body Might Get Sore: This one was a major surprise to me, but in retrospect it makes sense. It might happen right away, or after the shock has worn off. For me, it happened exactly 24 hours after the incident had occurred and nearly knocked me on my ass. Take care of yourself, this is just an indication that your body is healing. Give it rest. 
  3. It's OK to Cry -- or Not: This may or may not happen to you. 36 hours after the incident occurred, my body began to be overstimulated, and easily taxed. Since I'm normally a pretty tough chick when it come to physical ailments (and promptly pushed myself to the limit, dummy), my body chose to release all that extra energy through crying. Hooray! Ride it out, it'll pass quickly -- I promise. 
  4. Anti-Inflammatory Medication is also Your Friend: Now, I know some of you out there are anti-medication and while I'm with you most times, ibuprofen saved my behind on this one. It's not just a "pain reliever" in this case. It really does help the swelling go down. Side perk, the pain does go away and you can walk...ish.
  5. Test Yourself, but Don't Push It: You're feeling good, you can kind of walk again and so you try to walk with full (normal) pressure on the affected leg. A few strides, no problem, so you go further. OK, a little pain, no biggie -- a few more steps. Then.. HOLY MOTHER OF POTATO PIE! Suddenly you're hobbling back to the nearest seat. Listen to those little pains, and stay in tune to your body. It's natural to test yourself when you're feeling better, but you could severely re-injure yourself in the process. Tred carefully. You'll heal. 
That's all I've got for now, but Monday the doctor tells me whether or not I have to do physical therapy or not. I'm PRO physical therapy, because those people are miracle workers when it comes to future preventative care. 

Happy Healing, 


Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekly Round-Up #7

Originally found at 

This past week has been more about thinking than physically doing.

Weeks Without Meat

Weeks of Consistant Running

Days Meditating

Miles Walked / Run
Tuesday =  2.4 mi warm up / 3 minute run + 3 minute walk / 5 min run + 2 min walk / 8 min run + 2 min walk / epic cool down

TOTAL = 2.4 MILES                                              TOTAL FOR YEAR = 23.91 MILES

Book(s) Read

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (read, review to come)

The Perfect Power Within You by Jack & Cornelia Addington (Still reading, this one is for an 8 week class. Yippie! "Everyday Dharma" is put on hold)

Sever (#3) by Lauren DeStefano (read, review to come)

Welcome to Temptation (#1) by Jennifer Crusie (read, review to come)

  This is NOT a Drill by Beck McDowell (read, review to come)

  Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline (read, review to come. Thank you Harper Collins for sending an ARC to Bookstar, Studio City.)

  Unbroken (#2) by Paula Morris (still enjoying. Thank you Scholastic and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC.)

Happy Living,


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Girl Parts

Summary (from Goodreads)David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David’s parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat his “dissociative disorder,” he can’t get enough of luscious redheaded Rose — and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock. Parted from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up, knowing Rose isn’t real. With Charlie’s help, the ideal “companion” is about to become her own best friend. In a stunning and hilarious debut, John Cusick takes rollicking aim at internet culture and our craving for meaningful connection in an uberconnected world.

Review: I don't exactly know where I sit with this book. Let me be clear, Girl Parts is a FANTASTIC book. I would completely recommend it to anyone who likes books from contemporary fiction to dystopian. But even after reading Abandon Changes (the FREE short story about what happened after Girl Parts, kind of) I'm still ... thrilled and disappointed. I feel like the fine like between leaving readers to ask questions and leaving readers on the cusp of something wonderful was crossed. And there is a whole world left to explore after the last page is done. I sincerely hope Cusick is allowed to publish a sequel to Girl Parts or at least allow me to be a beta reader (please, pretty please?).

Either way, Girl Parts is a fascinating, well written novel that will keep you both entertained and thinking about what it means to live in such a digital age.

Formats: e-book, hardcover, paperback, audiobook

Senator Recommends:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekly Round-Up #6

From Dune by Frank Herbert

Oh my my my my! Sorry this is late, just like the rest of the week yesterday seemed to fly right on by! Things are rapidly a-changin' here in the house of Senator and it is all goooood.

Weeks Without Meat

Days Without Dairy
this whole "no dairy" thing isn't going so well for me, actually. Mostly it's the hidden stuff, like whey in things in bread. Fooey!

Weeks of Consistant Running

Weeks Meditating

Miles Walked / Run
Friday =  1.89 mi (2 min warm up / 3 min run + 3 min walk / 4 min run + 3 min walk x 2 / 3 min run + 3 min walk / cool down)
Saturday = 1.71 mi (warm up / 3 min run + 2 min walk / 5 min run + 3 min run / 3 min run + 2 min run / cool down)
Saturday = 1.39 mi (run to work and back. 15-30 min break in between)

TOTAL = 4.99 MILES                                              TOTAL FOR YEAR = 21.51 MILES

Book(s) Read

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (still reading, I'll be making my end of February deadline)

Everyday Dharma: Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You by Lama Willa Miller (Week two! This will be on my reading list for a little while...)

Let Them Eat Cake (#1) by Sandra Byrd (read, series review to come)

Bon Appetit (#2) by Sandra Byrd (read, series review to come)

   Piece de Resistance (#3) by Sandra Byrd (read, series review to come)

How do you find balance when life seems hectic?

Happy Living,


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: My Life Next Door

Summary (from Goodreads)The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

Review: There isn't much more to say other than excellent, this book is simply excellent. With every page Fitzpatrick sets the beautiful, wonderful, tragic tone, real life transpiring without being dull. Readers will be able to identify with one, if not all the characters as they all are multi-dimensional. You will not find insecure or misdirected lust in these pages, as the blossoming love between Samantha and Jase that unfolds is just as multi-dimensional and real as the characters. Even if this doesn't seem like your cup of usual tea, give My Life Next Door a chance and it might surprise you.

Formats: e-book, hardcover, paperback, audiobook

Senator Recommends:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Learning to Love

Summary (from Goodreads)Sugar and Spice: Librarian Jayne Gilbert needs a man—a man she can bring to her high school reunion. She wants to prove to her former classmates that she isn't the lonely bookworm they predicted she'd become. So, naturally, Jayne turns to a book. It's called How to Pick Up a Man. And it works, even if she attracts the attention of good-looking Riley Chambers only because she's carrying that book, not because she followed its advice!

Love by Degree: Going back to college, hitting the books. That's Ellen Cunningham's new life. But money's a little tight and she's lucky enough to find inexpensive lodging in a house with three young college boys. Ellen plays housemother, a situation that works for everyone—except Reed Morgan, the absentee owner. He's not pleased to find his house occupied by a bunch of college kids and Ellen. Especially Ellen

Review: Two easy reads in one book. Perfect for that summer afternoon by the pool or beach, or just relaxing on the couch when you need an escape from reality. The two matches have a lovely set-up, however, fall short and crumble towards the end. The overuse of possible "cheating," jealousy, and child-like snits that could all be resolved oh so easily if they just TALKED becomes tedious.

Formats: mass market

Senator Recommends: