Our Monthly Wrap-Up (#11)

Morning Lovelies,

For the month of January, I have read ZERO books! Can you believe it?! I've been so busy with grad school that I haven't opened one book staring at me from my nightstand. I mean, if we want to get technical, I HAVE been reading, just textbooks, though. My goal, however, is to get through the stack that I have sitting on my nightstand because my nightstand is about to topple over. If you want proof of that, check it out here.

Reviews posted in January:
Features posted in January:
I FINALLY finished season 6 of Supernatural and have started season 7. I'm only a few episodes in and I'm curious to what is going to happen with Castiel being...uh...possessed? Yes, let's go with that. Now, I know what you may be thinking, how am I watching Supernatural and not reading? Well, I work out the elliptical and sometime music isn't all that helpful in making the time go by faster, so I watch Netflix!

How was your January, friends? Have you started to tackle your TBR pile? Tell me down below!

DNF Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side
Author: Kasie West
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Review by: Jenn
When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

1.5 stars out of 5 stars
*I received an early copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

**This is a DID NOT FINISH review. It includes my thought on the book up to 66% of it.**

I am SUPER sad that I couldn't continue with this book. So sad. I loved Kasie's On the Fence, so I was expecting another book I would love. Especially when our hero and heroine are stuck in the library! However, the library is only the location but it seems that our main character, Autumn, is not a book nerd like I hoped.

The book started off strongly but after a while, I couldn't click with Autumn and the story. Once they made it out of the library, and she got back to her life and the consequences of being stuck in a library with no phone appears, I just couldn't with the story for much longer. I read a little more about after she was out and how she was starting to seek Dax out, but I just didn't care about any of it.

I really wanted to love it considering it's Kasie West and I loved her book On the Fence and Nahomi loved The Distance Between Us. But once I realized that I wasn't going to love it and I was beginning to dislike Autumn, I decided to quit. I could have finished it considering I was past the halfway point, but nope. I've gotten better about not finishing books I don't care/love/hate. I know other people have loved the book, so I'm just taking it that this book wasn't for me but it'll work for others.

Quotes (#185)

Morning everyone!

Sometimes, I just need coffee by the gallon no matter what my night/weekend looked like. Let's do quotes.

“Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.”Wendy Wasserstein

“Food. Drink. Sleep. Books. They are all drugs.”Fay Weldon, The Fat Woman's Joke

“Ideas aren't magical; the only tricky part is holding on to one long enough to get it written down. ”Lynn Abbey

“In books and in life, you need to read several pages before someone's true character is revealed.”Gail Carson Levine

“All you can do in this life is follow your dreams. Otherwise you're just wasting your time.”David Walliams, Gangsta Granny

“What feminism means for me is simply that women, like men, are complete human beings with limitless possibilities.”Fahmida Riaz

“No matter how nice the place is where you live, you need to experience life and the world.”Terri Irwin, My Steve

Have a great week!

Bookish Girl in the Kitchen (#2)

Morning Lovelies,

Today's recipe I got from Jacqueline, the Artistic Farmer. I was preparing for a holiday party with my bookish gals and I was in charged of bringing some potatoes. I've been wanting to use my slow cooker to make my potatoes, so I made some scalloped potatoes, or as the recipe is called
Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes for the Crock-Pot.

Recipe: I was making the potatoes for about 12-15 people, so I made a large batch. I doubled all my ingredients but the recipes is the original with all the original measurements.

-4 large russet or red potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
-1 onion sliced into rings OR minced dried onion
-3 tbsp butter
-3 tbsp flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-2 cups milk
-1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

1. Grease crock-pot dish.
2. Layer sliced potatoes in crock-pot occasionally sprinkling layers with dried onion.
3. Repeat with potatoes and onions.
4. In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.
5. Stir in flour, salt and pepper.
6. Whisk in milk. {I actually recommend to add milk and flour together in order to avoid the flour to clump up.}
7. Cook mixture over medium heat until thickens. Stir in the shredded cheese; continuing to whisk until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.
8. Pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes.
9. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours OR cover and refrigerate for cooking the next day.

This is the time where I took the most time prepping. Cutting up the potatoes and peeling them 
To be honest, the need for the onions worried me because I didn't want for the potatoes to taste weird. So I was very light on the onions.
My favorite part, the CHEESE!
The flour clumped up so I had to spend an extra 5-8 minutes after I added the milk to make sure everything mixed well.  So my recommendation is to add the milk and flour together to avoid the flour to clump.

I prepared this the night before the event so this is how it looked when I put it in the refrigerator.
The next morning, time to start cooking it.
My plate, which included the potatoes, mac and cheese, green salad, crispy and grilled chicken.

Final Thoughts:
Success! While peeling and cutting the potatoes were time consuming, I would definitely do it again. The potatoes were soft and so cheesy but it didn't feel like it was drench in cheese thanks to the sauce.  

I hope you all have a good day!

DNF Mini Review: All Fired Up by Vivian Arend & Elle Kennedy

All Fired Up (DreamMakers #1)
Author: Vivian Arend & Elle Kennedy
Release Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Vivian Arend & Elle Kennedy
Format: ebook
Source: Personal Copy
Review by: Jenn
He’s ready to lead the way

Parker Wilson never thought he’d go from battle-hardened soldier to romance expert, but after his stint in the Rangers, that’s exactly what happened. As the owner of DreamMakers Inc., he helps other men win in the love department, using every resource available to plan the perfect date. When a routine recon turns into an unexpected night of passion, Parker’s mission becomes more personal—and he won’t give up until Lynn Davidson is all his.

She’s more than willing to follow

Lynn is a goner from the moment she lays eyes on the delectable Parker. She’s just ditched her boring almost-boyfriend and is tired of sticking to the straight and narrow. It’s time to walk on the wild side, and what better way than in the arms of the most irresistible man she’s ever met? But when their red-hot affair is threatened, it’ll take a team effort to make their dreams come true.

1 star out of 5 stars
**This is a DID NOT FINISH review. It includes my thought on the book up to 25% of it.**

Initially, I was really excited about reading this book. The first chapter hooked me and I proceeded onwards. However, I quickly realized that what I had liked about the first chapter and what had initially called me from the synopsis, the reality was taking a completely different turn. After the first chapter, I realized that the book was taking a turn I didn't really like. And to be honest, it even seemed weird that our heroine was going down that road. I didn't even know what to think of the hero. Or heroes, in this case, again, I'm not exactly sure. Very quickly, I decided that I didn't want to continue with the book, and gave up on it. I have more books to read anyways. Maybe it's a better book for someone else.

Quotes (#184)


Morning friends,

I hope you all had a nice weekend. Let's start this week strong!

“If you're going to lick the icing off somebody else's cake you won't be nourished and it won't do you any good, or you might find the cake had caraway seeds and you hate them.”  Emily Carr

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”  Peter F. Drucker

“Permit your dreams to see the daylight.” - Bernard Kelvin Clive

“It's not enough to be nice in life. You've got to have nerve.” - Georgia O'Keeffe

“Claim your space. Draw a circle of light around it. Push back against the dark. Don't just survive. Celebrate.” - Charles Frazier, Nightwoods

“The better you know yourself, the better your relationship with the rest of the world.” - Toni Collette

“Sometimes we spend so much time and energy thinking about where we want to go that we don't notice where we happen to be.” - Dan Gutman, The Genius Files #4: From Texas with Love

I hope you all have great week!

On Our Nightstand (#10)

On Our Nightstand is where we show the state of disarray our nightstand look holding all the books we are currently reading.

Morning lovelies,

My nightstand has been looking the same for the past few weeks.
With the December holidays, I stopped reading since I had family in town. Then I started grad school in January so I haven't picked up any book. I'm almost halfway through Hunted by Meagan Spooner so I'll try to tackle that one first. Then, I'll try to start over with Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas since I started it ages ago. The same will be done with I'd Tell You I Love, But Then I'll Have to Kill You by Ally Carter. I've already read On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton and Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen but I haven't put them in my book boxes yet. 

My goal will be to get rid of these books on my nightstand soon because I'm a little tired of seeing these same unread books staring at me and at my failure to read them.

Whose else's nightstand are filled with unread books? Anybody is tackling them? Let me know!

Second Chance Read: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood #1)
Author: Ann Brashares
Release Date: December 10, 2002
Publisher: Books on Tape Childrens
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library/Overdrive
Review by: Jenn
Some friends just fit together.

Once there was a pair of pants. Just an ordinary pair of jeans. But these pants, the Traveling Pants, went on to do great things. This is the story of the four friends—Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen—who made it possible.

4 stars out of 5 stars

I first read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school. Which is basically the same timeline as the girls in the book. I refuse to say how long that was but it’s been ages. So when I saw the book as an audiobook on my library, I snatched it up.

First off, I loved the narrator. Angela Goethals made the girls come alive for me. She did a wonderful job and made the girls’ voice and friendship all the more real and authentic. Secondly, this it had been a while since I read this series, it was like I was reading/hearing the story for the first time so I appreciated Angela all the more for a job well done.

I will admit that some of the girls’ actions, specifically Carmen and Bridget, kind of bothered or annoyed me. When they would act naively or wrong, since they’re so young and inexperienced, I wanted to step in and inform them not to do what they were about to do or act the way they were going to. However, this is me speaking with experienced and as an adult. I know that while I would have never done what Carmen or Bridget had done/acted at that age, I too was a teenager and things always felt dire and like the end of the world was coming. So while the story of Carmen and Bridget weren’t my favorite, I loved how they, in the end, learned and grew up a little. And like before, Lena was my favorite girl and Tibby’s story bought me to tears.

Time for The Second Summer of Sisterhood.

Quotes (#183)

Morning friends,

I hope you all had a nice weekend. It's my sister-in-law's birthday today so while I may have case of the Mondays, at least I know I'm getting some cake tonight. I'm all about trying to look at the bright side here. Let's do quotes.
“Thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real.” ― Michelle Hodkin, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
“Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.” ― Walker Evans
“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't Google.)” ― Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl
“Whatever it is you're seeking won't come in the form you're expecting.” ― Haruki Murakami
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't.” ― Bill Nye
“Books are easily destroyed. But words will live as long as people can remember them.” ― Tahereh Mafi, Unravel Me
“Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author's words reverberating in your head.” ― Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies
I hope you all get some kind of cake this week!

Favorite Friday (#63): Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Have a favorite book? Series? One that you've just read or are currently reading? Favorite Friday is a monthly meme hosted by Books and Swoons where we spotlight some of our Favorite Reads. Everyone is welcome to join. Just enter your information on the linky or leave us a comment!

This week pick is: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor.


Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn't sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia's crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe's unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

I LOVED this book and the friendship shown in this book made me cry like a baby because it's just SO. GOOD. I need more people talking about this book.

About the author:

I'm a YA writer who believes in happy endings. The kind you find in books.
Author's links: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

I hope you can join us in sharing and talking about some of your favorite reads. Book talk always makes us happy. 

What is one of your favorite reads?

Review: Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen

Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2)
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Format: eARC / Mass Market Paperback
Source: NetGalley / Berkley
Review by: Jenn
He’s a fighter in the rink, but he’s about to learn that playing nice can help you score...

As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team’s massage therapist.

After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she’s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers’ MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good...

4 stars out 5 stars
*I received an early copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

I loved being back in the hockey world of the Brooklyn Bruisers. Sarina Bowen created a group of characters that I want to learn more about and hang out with at the same time. In this book, we got the prickly, and kind of anti-social captain of the Brooklyn Bruisers, Patrick O'Doul, whom we met back in Rookie Move and the team's massage therapist and yoga instructor, Ari Bettini.

I loved seeing these two come together and slowly learned about the other. I loved seeing how they got under each other skin as they realized how good they were together, even though Ari was trying to lie to herself about it. Ari and Patrick are two completely different people but they compliment each other so well and I'm glad that Ari was able to see that Patrick is the right guy for her.

I'm super excited about the next book in the series, Pipe Dreams, Lauren has scared me several times now so I'm curious to learn her story. I am sad though because I really wanted Becca' and Nate's story.

Waiting on Wednesday (#160)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spinethat spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Morning swooners!

This week pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is:
Expected Release Date: January 24, 2017
There’s no such thing as a little in love…

Elle Wheaten’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer . . . which should only take a lifetime . . .

There’s no such thing as a little in lust…

Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. But now that she’s earned happiness and success, Archer just wants Elle 24/7. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco Earthquake, and Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him . . .

There is such a thing as…

As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…

I am super excited about this book. I read the first two book in the series and I'm hooked on these characters. I am especially excited that we are (FINALLY) getting Elle and Archer's story. Their chemistry has been brewing for a while now and I'm so curious to see how it's going to play out.

What are you "Waiting on?"

Blog Tour Review: On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton

On Broken Wings (Wild Aces #3)
Author: Chanel Cleeton
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Mass Market Paperback / eARC
Source: Berkley / NetGalley
Review by: Jenn
The author of Into the Blue and Fly with Me returns with the newest, hot and high-flying Wild Aces romance...

A year after losing her husband, Joker, the squadron commander of the Wild Aces, Dani Peterson gets an offer from his best friend, Alex “Easy” Rogers, to help fix up her house. Dani accepts, and their friendship grows—along with an undeniable attraction.

Racked by guilt for loving his best friend’s widow, Easy’s caught between what he wants and can’t have. Until one night everything changes, and the woman who’s always held his heart ends up in his arms. Yet as Easy leaves for his next deployment, he and Dani are torn between their feelings and their loyalty to Joker’s memory.

But when Dani discovers something that sends them both into a spin, the conflicted lovers must overcome the past to navigate a future together…

4 stars out of 5 stars
*I received an early copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

I was SO excited when I got my hands on this book. I've been itching to get Easy's story ever since we learn of his love to Dani, one of his best friend's wife in Fly With Me. Knowing how broken these two would be since the death of Joker, especially Dani, I braced myself for tears and feels while I was to read this book. So when I read Dani's first chapter, I was a mess. Chanel Cleeton had me crying like a baby while my heart broke into tiny little pieces.

I was curious to see how Cleeton was going to handle Easy and Dani's story because of their connection but I just loved how it was dealt with. The grief and guilt and the acceptance that it's okay to move on, Cleeton handled that absolute care and in perfect characterization for these two. It definitely resonated true and real for me. Also, when these two are together, the familiarity that they share and how easy and relax they are around each other, I just loved it. It was so well written that it just oozes off the pages.

My biggest complaint against this book is something that I don't want to give away but considering it bothered so much to the point that I can't rate it any higher, is the subplot that happened after Easy is deployed. I honestly saw it happening a mile away and it bothered me so much because I felt like they could have come together without this plot point. In a way, it felt like a cop out for Dani in not being able to admit to her feelings without that added influence. I felt like that relationship they were brewing didn't need that to happen.

Aside from that, I enjoyed this book for all the emotions it managed to bring out in me. This love story had me sobbing and hoping for relief from the pain and I love books that are able to bring such emotions out in me. Chanel Cleeton wrote such a wonderful series that I'm sad to say goodbye to and managed to introduce me to a different military lifestyle I didn't have much knowledge on. I can't wait to see what else she writes but in the mean time, I might just go an reread some of my favorite parts of the Wild Aces trilogy.

About the author:
After years spent studying international politics in London and a stint in law school, Chanel Cleeton found her passion crafting smart and sexy contemporary romances and thrillers. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she's happiest curled up with a book, her three dogs lounging beside her. Chanel is a lover of big sunglasses, irresistible handbags, food covered in sprinkles, and pint-sized pups with larger-than-life personalities.

She is published by Harlequin and Penguin and is the author of the International School, Capital Confessions, Assassins, and Wild Aces series. Chanel also writes historical fiction as Chanel Dolz Cleeton. She is represented by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
Author Links: Website  / Facebook / Facebook Reader Group TwitterGoodreads / Instagram / NewsletterTumblr / Pinterest

Check out the rest of the tour:

January 2nd-

Vanilla & Spice Books
I’m a Sweet and Sassy Book Whore
Logan Sports Book Section
Book Freak
Must Read Books or Die
A Bluestocking’s Place

January 3rd-

Eye in Bookland
Sweet and Spicy Reads
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Sammi’s Bookish Reality
The Lily Reader
Lush Book Reviews
Reviews from the Heart

January 4th-

Chelle’s Life in Books
The Bookishmedialite
An Asian Chick & Her Cat Walk Into a Book Blog
JoJo the Bookaholic
Red’s Romance Reviews
BFD Book Blog
Les Chroniques Aléatoires

January 5th-

Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews
Carlene Inspired
Typical Distractions
Ramblings of a Daydreamer
Sheila’s Book Corner

January 6th-

Four Chicks Flipping Pages
Tied Up in Romance
Dog-Eared Daydreams
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Boyfriends
Literati Literature Lovers

January 7th-

Maine Book Momma
Reading Between the Wines Book Club

January 8th-

Ashley Book Blog
The Reading Belles
April’s Blog of Awesome
Smokin Hot Reads
Chatterbooks Book Blog

January 9th-

A Fortress in Books
Bookish Wanderlove
Books & Swoons
The Readdicts
Under the Cover and Between the Sheets

January 10th-

Relentless Romance
Once Upon a Book Blog
Oh My Growing TBR
Renee Entress’s Blog

January 11th-

Read Your Writes
Smokin’ Hot Book Blog
Quesarasera Book Blog
The Reading Cafe

January 12th-

Ramblings from this Chick 
Quirky Debutante
Naomi’s Reading Palace

January 13th-

Kimmy Loves to Read
Verna Loves Books
Unofficial Book Club
The Crafty Engineer’s Bookshelf

January 14th-

Margie’s Must Reads
The Book Voyagers

January 15th-

Wrapped Up In Reading
Southern Vixens Book Obsessions
Literary Misfit
Steamy Reads
Shooting Stars Magazine
Hot Books Hotter Book Boyfriends
Red Hot + Blue Reads

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