2018 Book #16 – When the Stars Come Out by Laura Trentham

518BAq-QbIL.jpgTitle: When the Stars Come Out
Author: Laura Trentham
Date finished: 2/16/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #5 in the Cottonbloom series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .

Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car—and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he can’t help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love?

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Love will always find a way!

Willa and Jackson were introduced in previous novels in the Cottonbloom series, Jackson being Wyatt’s twin brother and Willa the auto garage’s only non-Abbott family employee. It took Jackson a while to wake up to the fact that Willa was standing there right in front of him, but when he did she still wasn’t quite ready for all the attention. I resonated with that about her character as I am also not grateful for too much attention. Anyways, so Willa and Jackson finally end up figuring things out and getting together. This was a sweet story and a light-hearted romance and was exactly what I needed right now. I like the series overall, and this was a great story with all our friends from previous books. There wasn’t necessarily anything overly thrilling about the story line but work has been super stressful lately and it was so nice to escape into a sweet and easy love story, especially with it being right around Valentine’s Day. This was a good read and I would recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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2018 Book #13 – By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

51d5zueqM5LTitle: By the Book
Author: Julia Sonneborn
Date finished: 2/6/18
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.

Anne Corey is about to get schooled.

An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.

Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.

Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past…and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

This book is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which I’ve never read before so I can’t say exactly how the books parallel. Although from the description of Persuasion it sounds like “Rick” was the old fiancee, whereas in this novel the old fiancee is Adam. Reading this novel though did inspire me to read Persuasion at some point (hopefully soon). I was especially drawn in this book to the description of the world that Anne lived in the academic world. I have always loved learning and school, and I considered continuing my education further and maybe teaching college classes. Hearing about Anne’s life and her career as a college professor really drew me into the story. There was one thing that I didn’t particularly like about the book though, I thought that Adam and Anne’s relationship could’ve been developed more in the book. The ending came about a bit suddenly for me as a reader, I felt like they’d hardly had any substantial interactions during the novel. Other than that though, this was a quick and sweet read and I really enjoyed it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Monthly Status Update: January

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And so ends the first month of the New Year! This month flew by for me between work, reading, and lots of fun activities with family and friends. I’m excited to say that it was a pretty productive month, I impressed myself with how much I got done considering I was at work until 11pm some nights. Anyways, here are some highlights from January for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 11
# pages read this month: 3,444
# books read year-to-date: 11
# pages read year-to-date: 3,444

Favorite Books I Read this Month:

 

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – 4.75 stars
The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen – 4.5 stars

Other Posts this month:

The Crown Prince’s Bride RELEASE DAY BLITZ!!

I participated in the Bout of Books challenge this month which was great and really helped me get a jump start this year on my reading. I’m not going to list the individual posts because there were many but here is a link for all my posts for the challenge.

I decided to use this reading challenge to help me decide which books to read from my backlog whenever I get the chance to do so – Bookish 2018 Reading Challenge

Next Month TBR List:

Next month I only have a few titles scheduled

-Christmas Glitter by Ann B. Harrison
-By The Book by Julia Sonneborn
-You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston
-Maybe This Time by Nicole McLaughlin

Other than these titles I will be trying to catch up on the January titles that I missed (had like 15 to read and I was still behind from December too – there was no way) and also hopefully fit in a couple more from the Backlog list (from 2017 and 2016)!

Hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day and a wonderful February!

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Bookish 2018 Reading Challenge

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I came across this reading challenge the other day and I had a great idea for using it. While in the past I would have read whatever was next on my list and tried to have it fit into a particular category, I thought this reading challenge would be perfect this year for me to do exactly as described and #killyourTBR! I have a large backlog of books from 2016 and 2017 and I’m not always sure which ones to read next when I have the time. So I decided to use this list to help me slug my way through my backlog lists. Looking forward to a productive 2018!!

Bout of Books 21 Wrap Up Post

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So for one of my goals this year to help me focus more on reading and having concentrated time for reading, I decided to participate in all 3 Bout of Books reading challenges / read-a-thons this year! The first one was luckily scheduled for this past week which is before my busy season at work officially starts.

Below were the goals that I had set for the week and my assessment with how I did on them.

Time Devoted to Reading

I plan to read at least 2 hours each day during the week, with hopefully additional hours on Friday. Also the Saturday during Bout of Books I have Goal Day planned but then I have other family plans in the evening so I’m hoping for a good 4 hours of solid reading. And then Sunday I don’t have anything planned other than house work so hopefully a solid 4 hours that day as well.
Things didn’t go quite according to plan – Goal Day for Saturday got moved because of a family function and due to prep work and chores I barely got to read at all Saturday. Plus a couple social functions kept me away from reading during the week. Overall I ended up reading close to 16 hours this week though which I’ll call a success. 

My Goals

My goals for this read-a-thon are that I’d like to participate in as much as I can: the daily posts plus reading every day.

I did participate in 3 out of the 7 daily challenges and I did read every day. 

Books to Read

 

Overall this was a great week of concentrated reading for me and I am glad I was able to get so much accomplished! Looking forward to the next one in May!

 

Bout of Books 21 Update – Day 7

Sunday was a great reading day! We ended up staying home and not doing much, my favorite kind of Sunday plus I was able to spend most of my time reading. So my Sunday’s progress is below:

Update

Sunday

Time spent reading: (Approximately) I didn’t really track it exactly but I read off and on all day – I’d estimate about 5 hours total
Number of pages I’ve read today:  279 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 978 pages
Books read: Finished The Safest Lies, started The Rogue Is Back in Town
Challenges: Coincidentally I had to post a review today anyways, which was lucky since that was the challenge for Sunday! See my review of The Safest Lies here

Make sure to check out my wrap up of the challenge overall, had a great week of reading!!

2018 Book #5 – The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda

518u1R1zo6L._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Safest Lies
Author: Megan Miranda
Date finished: 1/14/18
Genre: Young adult, thriller/suspense
Publisher: Ember
Publication Date: May 30, 2017 (Paperback; hardcover was released May 24, 2016)
Pages in book: 357
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: My friend Alex

Blurb from the cover:

Kelsey has lived most of her life in a shadow of suspicion, raised to see danger everywhere. Her mother hasn’t set foot outside their front door in seventeen years, since she escaped from her kidnappers with nothing but her attacker’s baby growing inside her—Kelsey.

Kelsey knows she’s supposed to keep a low profile and stay off the grid for their protection, but that plan is shattered when her dramatic car accident and rescue by volunteer firefighter and classmate Ryan Baker sparks media coverage.

A few days later, she arrives home to find her mother missing. Now, to have a chance at a future, Kelsey will have to face her darkest fears. Because someone is coming for her. And the truth about the past may end up being the most dangerous thing of all.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review:

What do you do when your worst fears are realized?

Kelsey’s whole life her mother has been subtly training her, giving her the knowledge that she would need to survive. Kelsey always believed that her mother was paranoid because of what she experienced when she was around Kelsey’s age – being abducted and held against her will. But after Kelsey’s mother disappears and Kelsey finds herself in danger, facts start to surface that don’t fit with this story. As Kelsey fought her way to freedom and in the days and interrogations that followed, I found the thought process for the police and for some of the other adults in charge to be a little unrealistic. Overall though I liked this book and found it to be an interesting read. I especially liked how Ryan and Kelsey’s relationship developed through the book, I thought it was really sweet. And I think the part where they were trying to escape the panic room was one of the best parts of the book, I only wished it had been closer to the end since it created such great tension in the story. I thought this was a good read though and I would recommend it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page