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Monthly Book Round-up: July 2014

July saw an increase in books read, thanks to a week at the beach!  It was nice to get so much reading done, though I’m definitely way behind in reviews now!  I finished listening to only one book this month, mainly because I’ve re-started A Game of Thrones, this time via audio.  Expect this trend to continue over the months as I work my way through the books – I’ve definitely been enjoying the story more, and the narrator is awesome.  I knocked out another series this month, reading the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.  My goal is to read the Caster Chronicles series next, though that may or may not get started in August.

I also changed a few things up with some fellow bloggers this month, which was a lot of fun!  If you’re ever interested in collaborating on something with me, send me an email at

And the biggest news yet:  I took the leap to getting my own domain name and becoming self-hosted!  I’ll give you more details about what route I chose when everything gets switched over, but for now please be aware there may be some in-between lag time.  I am set to migrate things this weekend, so if you have issues getting to my blog, please hang in there!  You will soon be able to find the blog at, so start bookmarking it now!



Books I ReadJuly Read

Note that Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was a DNF.



Books I Listened ToLast Lecture



Books I BoughtJuly Bought



Books I WonBlack Ice

Thanks go out to Shelly over at Read.Sleep.Repeat. for hosting the giveaway!



Books I ReviewedJuly Reviewed

Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg

Have A Little Faith by Mitch Albom

Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Fires of Man by Dan Levinson

Fixed On You by Laurelin Paige

Until The End by Tracey Ward (Guest Post over at Reviews in a Pinch)

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Co-Post over at Down The Book Hole)



Other Posts

Top Ten Tuesday {15}: Classics I Actually Want To Read

2014 Progress Thus Far

Top Ten Tuesday {16}: Blogging Confessions!

Quotable Friday {11}: Be Shameless

The Book of Life (AHHHH!) and A Few Life Lessons

Guest Book Review: Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff


Top Ten Tuesday {17}: Authors I Own The Most Books From

Let’s Talk: Blog Hosting



Looking Forward into August

I am going to be doing a second co-post with Ashley @ Down The Book Hole talking about Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s #2) by Ransom Riggs!  We really enjoyed doing the first book together, and I’m sure the second one is going to be fun too.  I will be finishing up the audio of A Game of Thrones and moving on to A Clash of Kings!  This is a big deal for me because I decided I needed to get through at least the first two books before I start watching the show, and I’m anxious to start watching.  I would really like to participate in Bout of Books 11, but it will depend on what my work schedule is like, as I might be traveling a lot.  I promised the fiance I would focus on my outrageous amount of unread books here at home (I have SO BLOWN my one shelf rule), so I’m hoping not to buy any new books for the month.  The look of the blog is going to be changing, and once I get everything the way I like it, I’m going to be ordering business cards to start handing out!  Finally, I’ll be reviewing the fifty million books I read while at the beach 🙂


Top Ten Tuesday {17}: Authors I Own The Most Books From

TTT2As always, this weekly book blog meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


I have a pretty big mix of authors on my shelves, and don’t really collect authors much unless they are series, so this post is going to be a bit short this week.


1)  Stephen King.  Well now, if you didn’t see that one coming first and foremost then you haven’t been around my blog for very long.  🙂  I have an entire filled shelf of his works, and really, that’s just skimming the surface where he’s concerned.  There are also quite a few books that went missing from my mother’s house when I still had belongings there, and I still lament over what might have happened to them.  If I buy any more books beyond his newest Mr. Mercedes, I’m going to have to start another shelf.

2)  Anne Bishop.  I have the original Black Jewels Trilogy (very well worn from multiple readings), plus a good handful of other books set in the same world as the trilogy and often involving the same characters of the trilogy.  I’ve been meaning to look for other work by her, but haven’t done so.

3)  J.K. Rowling.  Because of course I own all the HP books.

4)  Nicholas Sparks.  I’m a sucker for a make-me-cry romance story from time to time; these books are made up of a few I actually decided to keep and a few I haven’t read yet.  I’m pretty picky about which of his I keep, often they will just go right back to the used bookstore or library sale after I read them.


Aannnndddddd, that’s about it.  Every other author I own I only have 4 books or less, and most of these are series.  I guess I just like to read a vast majority of authors!


What authors are your favorites?

Book Review: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Hey everyone!  I am back from vacation (sadly), and boy do I have a lot of reviews to catch up on after a week of reading on the beach!  I’m also hoping going back to work doesn’t kill me, haha.



 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was June’s Lost or Forgotten Book.  You may have noticed that I didn’t do a LOF book this month, and that was for several reasons.  First, I wanted to spend July reading ONLY what I was super excited about reading.  Second, I heed and hawed through this book all of June.  At the end of the month, I was sitting outside at lunch reading it when I thought to myself, UGH, I’m tired of this book and just wish it would be over.  So, despite having gotten through two-thirds of the book, I called it a DNF at that moment and decided I needed a month’s break from LOF.



Goodreads Summary


This book did not turn out to be what I thought it was.  It’s actually non-fiction, about a true-case murder that happened in Savannah.  It left me thinking of The Great Gatsby without all the grace and elegance of Fitzgerald’s writing.


Most of the book is centered on describing Savannah and it’s residents.  We learn intense details about each and every person, including outlier characters that seem to have very little to do with the murder, but were included because the author interacted/became acquainted or friends with them.  We get so much information about these people, but it was SO hard to actually care about most of them.

It also took AGES to even get to the actual murder.  I mean, years go by as the author discusses these people.  Then out of no where, BAM, a guy is dead.  And then life continues on for a while, as if nothing ever happened, until the actual trial happens.  By this point I was just bored with it all and gave up.


Overall, this book wasn’t the suspense/mystery I was expecting, and it sort of bored me to tears.  I eventually decided it wasn’t worth reading any longer and put it down, despite being two-thirds of the way through.  Sometimes that’s just what you have to do.


Have you ever read the majority of a book only to suddenly find yourself incredibly bored by it?

Guest Book Review: Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

Guest PostToday is the second installment of our Round Robin Guest Posts!

Mel from Reviews in a Pinch, Ali from No Money 4 Books, and I are all reviewing books on each other’s blogs; this is our second time around.  If you’d like to read our first posts, all about Stephen King books, you can find Mel’s review of Firestarter here on my blog, Ali’s review of The Eyes of the Dragon on Mel’s blog, and my review of Doctor Sleep on Ali’s blog.

You can check out today’s reviews by clicking on the links to the blogs above – mine is over at Reviews in a Pinch today!


For this second round, we decided to recommend books that were a little out of the ordinary for each other.  Ali and I have very similar tastes in books, so I decided to go out on a wing and suggest Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff.  It’s a book I really loved, and it’s even got a lake monster in it, so I figured Ali would enjoy it.

Without further adieu, here she is!


Hello Books Are My Thing readers! I am Ali over at No Money 4 Books and I am very excited to be a guest here today. I typically read and review YA, science fiction, and fantasy books, and I rate all the books I read by what I would be happily willing to pay for them. Here’s my review for Monsters of Templeton, recommended to me by Krystal.




What I’d Pay: $14 (~4.5 stars)

To sum it up: An archaeology graduate student heads home after a disastrous affair, at the same time as a giant prehistoric creature surfaces in the lake near her small hometown.


It took me awhile to warm up to this unique story, but I ended up loving it.


This packs a ton of emotion and history into a complex story that spans different time periods and multiple narrators. It tells the complicated story of one young woman who is researching her own personal ancestry in order to discover the identity of her father, and somehow successfully mixes in her current personal problems and the story of the small town’s history. As the main character discovers bits and pieces about various ancestors, the next chapter is told from that ancestor’s perspective. There are also old pictures of these people at the beginning of each chapter. As the main character fills in the missing gaps in her own genealogy, her family tree gets more and more detailed with each subsequent chapter. I really loved those details in the book because it made it seem so real. Slowly, the truth behind some dramatic decisions and secrets in her own family history, and the history of the town, is revealed.


I will admit that at first I didn’t like the main character at all. I thought she was annoying, harsh, and definitely a little crazy, but she grew on me and I really enjoyed discovering the truth of her family tree along with her.  She definitely had a lot to deal with and once she calmed down and focused on her genealogy research, I had more sympathy for her.  I loved how there were some supernatural elements woven into the story, such as the friendly but cleanliness-obsessed house ghost and the weird sea monster in the lake. The elements all really worked together to enhance the story and capture the emotion and timelessness of the tale so well. I also really enjoyed that there were answers for the mysteries in her family history, but the main character’s own future was left open to interpretation. This seemed very realistic and hopeful – like there were so many possibilities in the future for her, in contrast with the hopelessness she felt at the beginning of the story. I can’t give away any details, but the final chapter is told from an original narrator that wasn’t present in the rest of the book, and it was a fantastic ending.


I was a bit confused at times by the family tree, but I attribute that to reading the ebook format which makes it difficult to flip around the book and remind myself who’s who as the story progresses. For that reason, I’d recommend an actual physical copy of this book for the most reading enjoyment.


Bottomline: This is one of the most unique stories I’ve ever read, but somehow all the odd supernatural details and different narrators work together and create this amazing journey of a book. It’s not a fast read, but it kept pulling me back in because I wanted to know what happened to all the characters and the writing itself was just beautiful. I will definitely be recommending this to friends of mine, especially those who appreciate a little magical realism and some mystery.


Thanks to Krystal for recommending this one since I never would have picked it up on my own!

Book Review: Fixed On You by Laurelin Paige

Warning: This book and the following review are for adult audiences only!



Goodreads Summary


Does anyone else feel the need to put those kind of disclaimers on their blogs before reviewing romance/erotica type books?  Just curious what the consensus is.

I picked this ebook up as part of the bundled Fixed trilogy for B&N’s Nook.  Truth be told, I had some Nook settlement credit to use, even though I no longer have the device, only the app, and so I picked it up along with some other cheap bundle deals going on at the time.  I like having some smut to read from time to time 🙂

This will be a quick review because I often find it difficult to discuss this genre in writing.  But, I like to review everything I read, and I definitely enjoyed this book.


The basic premise of Fixed On You is dominant-successful-male-meets-poor-attractive-female; they-make-a-deal-but-fall-for-each-other-eventually.  Very stereotypical, I know.  Still, I liked the plots twists in this one.  They both have MAJOR issues: Alayna is literally a pro stalker, and Hudson manipulates women about as well as he manipulates business deals.  You’d think their problems would clash, but instead they learn how to help each other work through it all.  Alayna was really a great balance of strong and weak which really made me like her.  Then of course there’s all the understory with the deal that they’ve made.  Oh, and GOD IS HUDSON’S MOTHER A BIOTCH.  Sorry, I try not to swear around here, but I just wanted to slap that woman!!


The sex scenes are pretty steamy, though a bit unrealistic.  I don’t know any women who are successful that quickly and that often, if you get my gist.  Still, I liked that while Alayna enjoyed Hudson being so dominant, she made a point of taking over too.  And my gosh, Hudson was so blunt with his statements about wanting her, you couldn’t help but start fanning yourself.


Fixed On You was a great start to the trilogy, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in Found In You.  I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys the dominant male story, and/or tortured souls finding peace through each other.  It’s way better than 50 Shades.

4 out of 5

Super personal question today….

If you like romance/erotica (I call it smut), what kinds do you prefer?

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