The Martian

I meant to post this review months ago.

I found The Martian by Andy Weir to be quite the interesting read. I felt like I was experiencing all of the feelings as Mark. I felt Mark was a kindred spirit, with the same snarkiness and inner monologues I have with myself.

I’m sure to elaborate more once I have time to really come up with the best words to describe this read.

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Review: Smittened by Jamie Farrell

Smittened (Misfit Brides of Bliss #2.5) by Jamie Farrell
Snowy Days, Steamy Nights Anthology
Release Date: January 2, 2015

Blurb:
Dahlia Mallard is determined save her ice cream shop by getting country music superstar Billy Brenton to attend her risqué flavor-tasting event. But the closest she can get to Billy is his drummer, the womanizing Mikey Diamond. The more she gets to know Mikey, the more she wants to save him from his bad boy ways. When he discovers she’s using him to get to Billy, will she still be able to have her ice cream and eat it too?

Review:

Jamie Farrell’s Smittened is apart of the Snowy Days, Steamy Nights Anthology that released last week. The novella is also apart of the Misfit Brides of Bliss series. I have not had the pleasure of reading the prior books in the series, but luckily it was not required. I was never confused or felt like I was missing out on any important details.

I found Smittened quite enjoyable. The story develops quickly, while containing the perfect amount of details to pull the reader in. I’m always excited when an author can pull this off with a novella! The characters were interesting and dynamic. I loved Dahlia’s ice cream business venture and if it wasn’t nearly 0 degrees out while I was reading this, you can bet your tush that I’d be gobbling up more than my share of the delicious treat. The romance was endearing, but did progress a bit fast. I liked Mikey in general, but I had my moments where I wanted to smack some sense into him.

There was an underlying storyline that I am assuming will come in to play in the next book. I’m very intrigued to see what happens on that front.

Overall, I enjoyed Smittened and I plan on reading the rest of the stories within Snowy Days, Steamy Nights. Thank you Jamie Farrell for the opportunity to read the ARC!!

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Blog Tour: Falling Away by Penelope Douglas – Excerpt and Giveaway!

Only 2 DAYS!! Until Falling Away!!

Blurb:

Jaxon is the guy she’s supposed to avoid. K.C. is the girl he won’t let get away….

K. C. Carter has always followed the rules—until this year, when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she’s stuck in her small hometown for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make matters worse, trouble is living right next door.

Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into his life—except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As they grow closer, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get out from her mother’s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible.



Buy links:
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Excerpt:

Chapter 6 Excerpt

As he made his way back through town, the only sound we could hear was the water on the streets being kicked up under the tires. He’d silenced the radio, we weren’t talking . . . and I felt as if he’d switched off.

Everything had felt alive when he kissed me. His heart under my palm. His breath in my mouth. His hands roaming over my skin as if they were trying to memorize every inch of me.

Now he was a bullet. Going from point A to point B without hesitation.

Until his flat tone finally filled the car. “Come home with me.” It wasn’t a question, and I couldn’t hear a trace of emotion.

I turned to him, stunned. “Are you serious?” I asked. “I don’t think I’d be enough for you.”

“Don’t do that,” he shot back. “Don’t ruin what happened between us. You were fire in my hands, and I want you to remember it, K.C.”

I could feel his eyes on me as I clasped the strap of Tate’s messenger bag sitting on the floor.

“Clothed, naked, I don’t care . . . ” He trailed off, sounding almost sad. “As long as your lips are on me again.”

I shifted in the seat, trying to buy myself time. What I wanted and what I should do were two different things. I’d fought that battle with Liam, my mother, and hell, the list went on. It was true when I told Jax that I wanted to be a mess. But I didn’t want to get hurt.

“Thanks for the lesson,” I said. “And the ride. But I’m not like you, Jax. I don’t just ignore the rules and take what I want.”

“You don’t know me.” His tone turned defensive. “You know nothing about me.”

“And what do you know about me?” I threw back. “Other than you wanted me to spread my legs in high school? You want to have fun with me and nothing more, Jax. Find someone else.”

He jerked the steering wheel to the right, and I grabbed the door handle to keep from vaulting over to his side of the car as he sped up into his driveway.

My heart jumped into my throat, and I shot out my hand, grabbing the dash when he skidded to a quick halt in front of his garage.

“Jax, Jesus!” I scolded.

He shut off the car, yanked the parking brake up, and turned to look at me, leaning his forearm on the steering wheel. “You think I don’t know you?” he challenged.

I pursed my lips. “Other than that I’m gutless and helpless, no.”

He shook his head. “You want to travel. To unusual and dangerous places. You hid a binder full of National Geographic pages in your locker in high school because you didn’t want your mom to see all the pictures you’d torn out to keep track of the places you wanted to visit.”

My jaw dropped slightly, and I widened my eyes. What?

He continued. “You didn’t eat lunch for an entire month senior year, because you saw Stu Levi not eating and found out his single mom was out of work and couldn’t afford to put money on his lunch card. So you put your own money on it. Anonymously.”

How did . . . ?

“You love dark chocolate,” he kept going, “Ricky Gervais, and any movie with singing and dancing.” His voice filled the car, and my heartbeat was in my ears. “Except The Wizard of Oz, because the witch freaks you out, right? And you’ve collected almost an entire set of vintage Nancy Drew books. You had the most badges in your troop in Girl Scouts, and you had to quit swimming when you were fourteen because your mom said that your shoulders were getting too muscular and you wouldn’t look feminine. You loved swimming,” he added.

I wrapped my arms around my stomach, the air turning cold. Tate and Liam didn’t even know all that.

“I didn’t drool all over you in high school, K.C. I listened to you. I paid attention to you. What the hell do you know about me?”

And he swung the car door open, climbed out, and slammed it shut, not waiting for an answer.

I sat there, watching him walk into his house and close the door.

Then the tears spilled over, and as much as I wanted to prove him wrong, I couldn’t go after him. He didn’t know that I’d watched him, too. He didn’t know that I’d paid attention as well.

I always saw him.

“Music centers you,” I whispered to an empty car, staring at his front door. “You listened to your iPod between classes and while you sat on the bleachers before school every morning.” I smiled, letting more tears run down my cheeks and thinking back to him and his black hoodies, looking so dark. “You love popcorn. Almost every kind and flavor but especially with Tabasco sauce,” I said, remembering the times he would come into the theater where I worked. “You hold the door open for women—students, teachers, and even old ladies coming out of Baskin-Robbins. You love movies about natural disasters, but they have to have some comedy in them. Your favorite one is Armageddon.” I swallowed and thought about how little I’d ever seen Jax truly smile. “And while you love computers, it’s not your passion,” I concluded. “You love being outdoors. You love having space.” My whole face hurt, the last words barely audible. “And you deserve someone who makes you happy. I’m just not that person.”

Giveaway:

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Author info:

Penelope Douglas was born in Dubuque, Iowa and has a Masters of Science in Education from Loyola University in New Orleans. She lives with her family in Las Vegas.

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Review: The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney

Nonfiction Friday (posted on Saturday because WordPress won’t let me schedule posts lately)

The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney
Release Date: October 14, 2014

Blurb:
An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power in a man’s world.

Hatshepsut, the daughter of a general who took Egypt’s throne without status as a king’s son and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty, was born into a privileged position of the royal household. Married to her brother, she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her inconceivable rule as a cross-dressing king. At just twenty, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of king in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular twenty-two year reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays with the veil of piety and sexual expression. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut had to shrewdly operate the levers of a patriarchal system to emerge as Egypt’s second female pharaoh.

Hatshepsut had successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her images were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her rule. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.

Review:
My interest in Egypt’s pharaohs began when I was in elementary school, and each student was assigned a country to do an extensive report on for our school’s big World History event at the end of the year. We would have to research the country, its history, culture, and customs. I was given Egypt, and spent the following months gobbling up any and all information I could find.

Ten year old Me would have loved to have read about a female King. In Kara Cooney’s book, she explores the possibilities behind the rule of Hatshepsut. I enjoyed the author’s theories and ideas. My only issue was how many of these details are in fact only possibilities. I know this is common with tracking the history of pharaohs and Egyptian history, but it was a bit distracting for me as someone who loves facts.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the unique take on a female King. It definitely kept me interested and contemplative.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Blogging For Books.

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Nonfiction Friday Review: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
Release Date: October 14, 2014

Blurb:
Tired of memoirs that only tell you what really happened?

Sick of deeply personal accounts written in the first person? Seeking an exciting, interactive read that puts the “u” back in “aUtobiography”? Then look no further than Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! In this revolutionary, Joycean experiment in light celebrity narrative, actor/personality/carbon-based life-form Neil Patrick Harris lets you, the reader, live his life. You will be born in New Mexico. You will get your big break at an acting camp. You will get into a bizarre confrontation outside a nightclub with actor Scott Caan. Even better, at each critical juncture of your life, you will choose how to proceed. You will decide whether to try out for Doogie Howser, M.D. You will decide whether to spend years struggling with your sexuality. You will decide what kind of caviar you want to eat on board Elton John’s yacht.

Choose correctly and you’ll find fame, fortune, and true love. Choose incorrectly and you’ll find misery, heartbreak, and a hideous death by piranhas. All this, plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrassing pictures from your time as a child actor, and even a closing song. Yes, if you buy one book this year, congratulations on being above the American average, but make that book Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography!

Review:
Choose Your Own Autobiography might just be my all-time favorite Nonfiction book. I’ve been a fan of Neil Patrick Harris (NPH) since I watched my first episode of Doogie Howser, MD. as a kid too young to actually catch the jokes. I admit I even had a crush on him (OK, maybe I still do). My all-time favorite television series is How I Met Your Mother, so over the years I have grown to truly admire NPH as an actor and a person.

In NPH’s autobiography, he incorporates the delightful method of the Choose Your Own style. Again, another reminder of my childhood! In Choose Your Own Autobiography, the reader is given the chance to live NPH’s life first hand, from childbirth to now. Thrown in are some fictional twists that always send you back to reality. We’re given insight to the hardships and pleasantries of one of the most iconic actor’s life.

I loved Choose Your Own, loved, Loved, LOVED it. I was smiling from the moment I was told I was covered in afterbirth. 5 stars all around from me!

*I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Finding Jesus by Winston Rowntree


Finding Jesus by Winston Rowntree
Release Date: October 28, 2014

Blurb:
On each page of Finding Jesus, the Son of God is hidden in a crowded scene–from a rock concert to a wedding to a grocery store. The objective for the reader is to “find Jesus” in the detailed illustrations–and it’s not always easy, what with Jesus’s propensity for walking on water and turning the other cheek! Darkly funny and pleasantly challenging, this interactive children’s book for adults makes the perfect gift for believers and skeptics alike.

Review:
Every week, I choose a non-romance book to read. This time I went a different route all together. When I read the blurb for Finding Jesus by Winston Rowntree, I was won over instantly. The creative pun of the title just might be my favorite.

Finding Jesus is like the classic Where’s Waldo, with a Holier twist. The book is filled with fun illustrations, each hiding Jesus. The details and use of color makes the search tricky, yet enjoyable. I did not find the book to poke fun at or mock religion, and I would have no problem gifting Finding Jesus to any of my religious friends or family. I think they might even enjoy the witty title.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Christmas with the Billionaire by Amy Lamont

Christmas with the Billionaire (Holiday Encounters #1) by Amy Lamont
Release Date: December 3, 2014

Blurb:
When introvert Emma Glover makes a bet with her friends to see who can have the wildest adventure by New Year’s, she has no intention of winning. She might spend her days writing about sex for her syndicated news column, but her nights are all about takeout and flannel pajamas.

When her friend challenges her to live out one of the sexual escapades she writes about, Emma knows she won’t be able to follow through. But that’s before she lays eyes on a sexy stranger across a crowded hotel lobby.

She can’t help but hope he’s interested in more than one night, but when she finds out her gorgeous one night stand is actually billionaire media mogul Nate Wilder, her hopes die a fast death. There’s no way her Christmas wish will come true. Or is there?

Review:
To continue getting in to the festive spirit, I’ve decided to read only Christmas-themed books this week. Those who have been readers for a while know I have a weakness for all things Christmas and novellas. First on the list combined both Christmas with the Billionaire by Amy Lamont is a festive novella that is both naughty and nice.

As the first in the Holiday Encounters series, Christmas with the Billionaire introduces us to a group of 20-something women who decide to end the year with a wager. The first at bat is Emma, the introvert of the group. I really connected with Emma as a character. To be honest, I felt as if the author sneaked a peek into my life. Like Emma, I’d rather spend the night home in my pajamas, I work from home in the same line of work, and I tend to be lost in my mind too often and filled with self-doubt. At that age, I also had a group of friends who helped pull me out of my shell.

I really enjoyed Christmas with the Billionaire. The storyline was sexy and fun, and the writing was great. I was pulled in and didn’t want to stop reading. The hero, Nate, was a wonderful combination of charming and mysterious. I do wish we got a glimpse into his mind, or at least found out some details about his back story, but the series has just begun. Maybe we’ll learn more.

I’d rate Christmas with the Billionaire 4 out of 5 stars. It was a fast read, and succeeded in building a connection to the characters in such a small window of time.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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