Tips for Traveling with Books

We’ve all been there, we’re going on vacation and have limited space in our bags, but we want to take all the books we need to read with us. It can be hard to decide how much luggage space to devote to books and which ones get those coveted spots. I’m currently on vacation right now and shocker, only brought my kindle fire and iPad with me for reading (gasp). I did not bring a single print book. This may not work for everyone and I almost always have a couple print books with me, but this trip wasn’t conducive to it. Here are some alternatives you can use if you find you don’t have room for a ton of books in your bags.

One thing you could do is just what I did, make sure you have ample reading choices on your electronic readers, then only take them. This was more easy for me as I have a pile of review books I need to get to so they are all on my e-readers but may not work for everyone.

Load your phone with audiobooks! If you have long drives or flights then they are prime for audiobooks. You can sit back, relax and ignore everyone else as you let the story unfold.

Ok, this one’s hard, but here me out – choose one or two print books that you think are going to be amazing reads, then only bring them while bringing your e-reader as a back up. Let’s face it, if you are on vacation then you may not have as much prime reading time, so bringing books could be a moot point as you might not get to them.

So those are just a few tips for traveling with books. Above all don’t stress yourself out too much about it – you’re going on vacation. If you don’t bring enough books then you can probably find a bookstore pretty easily and buy one or two to tide you over. Don’t worry yourself over it and cause yourself more stress.

Happy reading!

5 Star Predictions for 2020

We all have those books we are looking forward to and that we believe will be five stars and some of our favorite books. I have a number of 2020 releases I’m wanting to get my hands on but let’s get into some of the ones I believe will be favorites.

The Silence of Bones – We all know that anything Asian inspired or set in Asia gets my interest, but especially those set in Korea. I’ve interacted with this author on Twitter and she’s amazing to talk to so I cannot wait to get this one in my hands.

Night of the Dragon – Ok, we all know that I LOVED the first two books in this trilogy and I am desperately wanting to know how the trilogy ends. I know it’s probably going to be a difficult read because things are probably going to happen to some characters that I don’t like, but I NEED TO KNOW.

Scavenge the Stars – I haven’t read anything by Tara Sim as of yet, but I’ve heard great things. I just think the blurb for this one sounds amazing and like it will be something I really enjoy.

Where Dreams Descend – Ok, you had me at Phantom of the Opera, it’s one of those stories I enjoy to see redone and I’ve heard some good early opinions so I definitely think this one is going to be up there for me.

Time of Our Lives – I have adored and 5 starred both of the previous books by these authors and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t read a ton of contemporary books. I love how they infuse Shakespeare into their works and how fully faceted their characters are, so they are an autobuy for me.

What books do you think will rank up there for you?

Happy reading!

Review: Days of Sugar or Spice

Rose is not a happy young woman; she is closed off and angry and she hates her job. But her life changes drastically when she inherits her father’s bakery in a small town in Brittany. Returning to a place that brought her both joy and grief forces her to confront painful memories of her past and find the courage to open her heart to a new, happier life that awaits her if she will just let it. A story about new beginnings, filled with small town charm, delicious pastries and the warmth of home and friends.

Going into this I thought this was going to be a cute story about a woman inheriting her father’s bakery and while it was that, it was so much more. There is a ton of depth to what Rose goes through during the story and what she realizes about her past and present. It’s really a story of her evolving and finding herself, as well as discovering what her place in life in and what makes her truly happy.

At first I was a little worried that the subtle color palette and art style, but it fit the story and setting perfectly. It made the small village come to life and the characters were so whimsical. Each of them had individual identities that complimented each other.

Overall it was a beautiful story and I truly enjoyed reading it. Happy reading!

Holiday Blog Tour: An Alaskan Christmas

I got the chance to read another great read from Harlequin’s Holiday Blog tour and it did not disappoint! Thanks again to Harlequin for giving me the opportunity to read this one.

In Alaska, it’s always a white Christmas—but the sparks flying between two reunited friends could turn it red-hot…

If there’s one gift Erika Sheraton does not want for Christmas, it’s a vacation. Ordered to take time off, the workaholic surgeon reluctantly trades in her scrubs for a ski suit and heads to Wild River, Alaska. Her friend Cassie owns a tour company that offers adventures to fit every visitor. But nothing compares to the adrenaline rush Erika feels on being reunited with Cassie’s brother, Reed Reynolds.

Gone is the buttoned-up girl Reed remembers. His sister’s best friend has blossomed into a strong, skilled, confident woman. She’s exactly what his search-and-rescue team needs—and everything he didn’t know he craved. The gulf between his life in Wild River and her big-city career is wide. But it’s no match for a desire powerful enough to melt two stubborn hearts…

Buy Links: Harlequin  Indiebound Amazon Barnes & Noble 
Books-A-Million Target Walmart Google iBooks Kobo

It’s definitely the time of the year for warm and fuzzy stories centered around or set at Christmas and this one definitely fit the bill. Erika is a hardworking surgeon, perhaps too hardworking, who is forced to go on vacation. Not knowing what to do she decides to venture back to her hometown, which is culture shock and in adjustment that scares her at first.

The interaction between her and Reed, as well as her and Cassie are wonderfully real and written well. Their reactions and internal dialogue regarding each other are really well done. It’s a heartwarming romance that tackles some very real issues such as being socially awkward, feeling inadequate, hard family issues and more.

The characters are far more complex than you would imagine and this book definitely delves into their inner workings. Even with that depth it is still a warm Christmas story about people finding themselves and figuring out what is really important to them.

Jennifer Snow lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and four year old son. She is a member of the RWA, the Alberta Writers Guild, Canadian Authors Association and SheWrites.org. Her first Brookhollow book was a finalist in the Heart of Denver Aspen Gold contest and the Golden Quill Award. More information can be found at http://www.jennifersnowauthor.com.

Social Links: Author Website Twitter: @JenniferSnow18
Facebook: @jennifersnowbooks Instagram: @jensnowauthor Goodreads

I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season, happy reading!

5 Books I Would Love to Get for Christmas

Anyone into reading likely has a long list of books they want to get to or are eager to have in their hands as soon as they come out. We all have those books on the lists that we want to have sooner rather than later. These are some of the books I’d love to see added to my library soon.

The Illustrated Harry Potter Books – Ok, technically these are four books at this point, but they are something that I haven’t been able to justify buying for myself just yet and would love to re-read the series through these editions.

Serpent and Dove – At first I didn’t have a ton of interest in this one, but after seeing the spectacular feedback for it, it’s definitely something I want to check out.

The Silence of Bones – Ok, this one isn’t out yet, but I have been pining for it ever since I heard about it. I cannot wait until it comes out so I can get my hands on it.

Night of the Dragon – Same thing with this one. I’ve had the privilege to read both of the previous books early and have loved both of them so much. I have a feeling Night of the Dragon will break my heart, but I love the trilogy too much to get mad about it.

Capturing the Devil – Though I haven’t read the rest of this series, I really want to get this one so I have the complete series and can then hopefully just binge them!

Happy reading!

Review: The Black Bull of Norroway

Sibylla always wanted adventure, but she didn’t know it would come in the form of a giant, magical bull. Is he a man or a monster? And who knew a prophecy could be so literal?

Based on the classic Scottish fairy tale, this is the first title in a new series co-created by sibling writer/artist team CAT SEATON and KIT SEATON, begins the adventure of a lifetime.

This one has been on my radar ever since I heard it was based on a Scottish fairy tale. I love things that are based on mythology or fairy tales, so I definitely wanted to check this out. I was not disappointed by the story in any way, thought I’m still a tad confused as to what is happening.

I do like the way the story slowly pieces together, each character adding another layer to the overall story and mythos, but there are moments where I definitely wished I had more information. The art style was beautiful with just enough whimsy to know that it’s a fairy tale. I especially loved the facial expressions and what they conveyed.

All in all I can’t wait for the next volume to see what happens to the characters and how they will resolve their issues.

Happy reading!

2020 Reading Goals

Even thought 2019 isn’t over yet, I have a lot going on in the last couple weeks of the year so I don’t know exactly how much reading I’ll get done other than review books. Saying that, I’m going to go ahead and get to work on setting my goals for 2020.

This year I set a goal to read 175 books and so far I’m at 293. I don’t know that I’ll up my goal for next year, but probably try to aim for the same kinds of results.

I would definitely like to whittle down my backlist. I have a lot of physical books that I haven’t read. Thankfully audiobooks help a lot with taking care of that, so I will strive to keep that up.

I’ve been trying to stick to posting everyday here on the blog and I definitely want to keep that up, I’d love to network more and be able to bring more exciting content.

There are a lot of series that I’m in the middle of, so another goal is to try and complete more series. I was able to take a few off of my list this year, but not nearly enough to make me happy.

I’m also carrying over my goal to bring in less books than I read each month. I have succeeded every month except for November this year and that really made me feel better about my book buying.

What are some of the goals you want to accomplish next year? Happy reading!

Holiday Blog Tour: Christmas From the Heart

Tis the season for holiday books that are sure to warm the heart! I’m so glad I got the participate in this special holiday blog tour as I was able to read a couple of great books, the first of which was Christmas From the Heart by Sheila Roberts.

USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts takes readers to a small, snowbound town, where a young woman fights to save her family’s charity that brings Christmas to families in need, and a stranded millionaire loses his heart and finds the true meaning of Christmas.

Sometimes you need to look beyond the big picture to see what really matters. Olivia Berg’s charity, Christmas from the Heart, has helped generations of families in need in Pine River, Washington, but this year might be the end of the road. Hightower Enterprises, one of their biggest donors since way back when Olivia’s grandmother ran the charity, has been taken over by Ebenezer Scrooge the Second, aka CFO Guy Hightower, and he’s declared there will be no more money coming to Christmas from the Heart.

Guy is simply being practical. Hightower Enterprises needs to tighten its belt, and when you don’t have money to spare, you don’t have money to share. You’d think even the pushy Olivia Berg could understand that.

With charitable donations dwindling, Olivia’s Christmas budget depends on Hightower’s contribution. She’s focused her whole life on helping this small town, even putting her love life on hold to support her mission.

When Guy’s Maserati breaks down at the edge of the Cascade foothills, he’s relieved to be rescued by a pretty young woman who drives him to the nearby town of Pine River. Until he realizes his rescuer is none other than Olivia Berg. What’s a Scrooge to do? Plug his nose and eat fruitcake and hope she doesn’t learn his true identity before he can get out of town. What could go wrong?

Buy Links: Amazon Google Play Barnes & Noble Apple Books Kobo

This book is built on a trope that I will admit I am a bit of a sucker for, in that a rich Scrooge like character meets his nemesis and doesn’t admit who he really is while realizing his perception of her was completely wrong and perhaps falling for her in the process. As soon as I heard the premise I was hooked and had to pick it up.

This book does a great job of telling a heartwarming Christmas story including changing hearts and perceptions, acts of kindness, family and togetherness and more, but it also goes much deeper than that. There are a lot of discussions throughout the book about how people cope with different things, such as the loss of loved ones, grief, and how people move on. We also see a lot of discussion regarding different economic situations and how some people may not realize the struggles that others face.

Even with these deep subject this still managed to be a fun story with a lot of humor and banter. It also features a large cast of characters that are for the most part amazingly supportive of each other and of Olivia’s non profit. No character is perfect, not even Olivia, which is refreshing. There were some things that happened in the last portion of the book that I didn’t love, but they didn’t hugely affect my enjoyment of the book.

Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have been published in several languages. Her book, Angel Lane, was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network and her novel, The Nine Lives of Christmas, was made into a movie for Hallmark . You can visit Sheila on Twitter and Facebook or at her website (http://www.sheilasplace.com).

Social Links: Author website Facebook: @funwithsheila
Twitter: @_Sheila_Roberts Instagram: @funwithsheila

Christmas From the Heart is out now, so be sure to check it out if it sounds like it is up your alley. Happy reading!

Review: Randomize

In the near future, if Vegas games are ingeniously scam-proof, then the heists have to be too, in this imaginative and whip-smart story by the New York Times bestselling author of The Martian.

An IT whiz at the Babylon Casino is enlisted to upgrade security for the game of keno and its random-number generator. The new quantum computer system is foolproof. But someone on the inside is no fool. For once the odds may not favor the house—unless human ingenuity isn’t entirely a thing of the past.

I had very high hopes for this story, mostly because I’ve heard great things about Andy Weir’s other works, but it just didn’t really hit the mark. I felt like it was a scene more than an actual story and just didn’t fully see the point of it.

The writing itself was good, I have no complaints regarding the writing, but it’s telling when the most interesting character was one of the minor characters (the IT guy). I felt like the story started off with a bang with him, but then swiftly faded. Perhaps it was meant to be a closer look at human greed and what motivates people, but it just wasn’t enough.

Happy reading!

Review: Crystal Fighters

Through a series of events, she discovers that other players in the game have created a secret magical girl fight club that adds a whole new world of thrills and challenges to her mundane world. Now that she’s gotten her wish of finding peers like her and something exciting in her life, she also discovers a dark side to magical girls, and finds herself having to prove her worth in a series of tournaments where if she loses she can never come back.

What drew me to this graphic novel was the cover, then I read the premise and immediately wanted to pick it up. A virtual reality game where a glitch leads to a cutthroat arena? Yes, please. Stella could definitely use some more fleshing out as a character but she was by far the most individual of everyone. I really hope this becomes a series as there are a few characters I would love to find out more about, and I’m very interested in the events that were alluded to at the end.

I loved the art style of this graphic novel, so many poppy bright colors and saturated tones. The illustrations themselves were very dynamic and moved the story along wonderfully. It’s a fun adventure that I’m excited to see more from if more comes out.

Happy reading!