What I Read: Spring Edition

I know I have been promising an update on my latest reads and impressions, but honestly, I have not really been feeling it. That is not to say that everything has been wasted effort…I am half the way through interviews for my dissertation field research (transcribing, edits, and coding are a whole other story). That is, of course, awesome news considering that most of my field research time in the last six months have mainly been spent waiting. But hey, lots of reading can happen when you are waiting.

So what have I read?


Outer Order, Inner Calm in many ways reminded me of reading a blog about organizing. The sections were short and sounded very personal, almost conversational. A lot of what Rubin had to say has been said by many other authors before her, but I found myself energized after reading the book. In fact, when I finished it, I was a little shocked and wanting to know more. My Easter plans consist of doing a little organizing and there will be no discussion on if something brought me joy but rather does this thing still hold value to me. At least that is what I got out of the book and Rubin does mention Kondo and Morgenstern as other resources to consider when it comes to organizing. I like it when an author acknowledges stuff like that.


I will fully admit that I like the arranged marriage trope and all the subsets like mail-order brides…in fiction, not real life. I am not saying that it is a practice that should still be followed, but imagine the courage these women must have had to leave everything they knew to marry a stranger. You definitely need faith in who your future spouse says they are cause it might turn out that they are on the run from the law which is the case with Saving the Mail Order Bride. I really wanted to like this story. It started out great with the outlaw and the bride ending up on the same stagecoach and not realizing at first who the other is…but then it turned out not so great. Really, how many times can you put your protagonist in danger and have him come out alive? I really feel like the author said “Challenge Accepted”. The poor man was tossed from a stagecoach, shot, bit by a snake…


Okay, meet cute stories are my second guilty pleasure. So the title and cover of Meet Cute caught my interest right away. Then the storyline of a celebrity crush meeting not once but twice. I loved the book! Plus there was the whole family angle to put another dynamic on it. There was only one part of the book that I did not like and that was the conference scene. I felt like Kailyn was being a little selfish and insensitive to Dax. It just felt off compared to the rest of the book. Other than that I would highly recommend it.


I feel like this one has been mentioned before, but I couldn’t find a post for it. Full disclosure, I read this one months ago. However, I have put it on the list because I overheard a friend say that she was tired of reading about women falling in love with rich men or the dashing hero, that she wanted to read a story of a woman who fell in love with a bum. Well, this is a story of a woman who fell in love with a bum. My third guilty pleasure read (and probably my favorite), the “let’s pretend we are together” storyline. In Marry Me Tomorrow, Emily has basically created a Bunbury husband in that she told her mother she got married to stop the discussion of when was she ever going to settle down. Her mother lived in the states and she in England, so no problem on keeping the truth hidden…until her mom says she is coming to visit and expects to meet the new spouse. So Emily asks one of the homeless men she sees on her morning commute to pretend to be her spouse. The story has some dark moments and tackles some mental health and societal problems. Sam was just such a nice guy who got dealt a raw deal. You will be rooting for him!


I really wanted to like No Other Duke But You. The Amazon description does not do it justice because that description is only a small part of the story. What the book is really about is two friends, one who says he is not ready for marriage and the other who is too busy matchmaking to focus on her own love life. What made me cringe was how obviously friendzoned the guy was and how he manipulates the girl into realizing that they are perfect together. Normally, I like the stories where the guy and girl realize they are more than best friends, but this was not it. As I write this, I actually had a flashback to one of the prequel Star Wars movies where Anakin is *maybe* unconsciously using the force to get Padme to love him.


Say No to the Duke was the third book in a series, the Wildes of Lindow Castle by the fabulous Eloisa James. Each book gave you a glimpse into the relationship that would be highlighted in the next book and I have to admit that I could not wait to read what would happen after the billiards game in book two. I am honestly not sure how to give my opinion on this one without giving you a spoiler. At the end of book two, there is a billiards game that may result in a compromising situation, no matter who won. If the woman won, then she got a London adventure in men’s apparel. If the man won, then he won a night with the woman with no marriage attached. All I will say is that the person who I wanted to win, did win, but I did not like the outcome of that win. Okay, the theme here is storyline tropes that I like and the next one is when a woman (or even the guy) has to disguises their identity. I really like the genderswap stories a la Shakespeare and as a Shakespeare scholar, I was looking forward to how James handled that plot. And that is all I am going to say about that.

If you click on any of the links I have provided, you will be taken to Amazon where you will see a more detailed description of the books listed here. Hey, these are just my opinions and you might love the books I found issue with. It happens. My husband thought Hunger Games was an awesome book and I thought Katniss was a horrible person. To each their own. Happy Reading!

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What I Read: November & December

I know, I promised you that I would have a post up with my current reading list and thoughts…Well, hey, it is still December, right? So here is a combined post of what I have read over the past two months. If you want to read summaries of what the book is about, then head over to the Amazon link (if you buy the book, I get a small portion of the sale through my affiliate link). These are my thoughts after reading the books. Enjoy!Read More »

When did February happen?

I haven’t posted an update in almost a month, but I have been busy. I am currently halfway through the current quarter and trying to keep up with all my course work. In fact, I will have a post up later this week as part of an assignment for my Social Media course. It will be all about Personal Learning Networks.

I did have a post ready to go about how much I love the micro investing service Betterment, but then the Dow dropped 666 points and then over 1000 points. Not that I had a lot invested as it was, but I really was not liking the feeling of losing $20 in the a matter of a week. It is one thing for it to dip into my interest, but now it is dipping into the investment deposits. I am not liking this feeling, but with any type of investing, you need to be in it for the long haul as the market will have its ups and downs.

I do have good news! In fact lots of good news…the first one is that my dissertation proposal finally made it past my supervising professor and I am now waiting on committee feedback to see if I am really to defend the proposal. Once that happens, I will begin the field research stage of my doctoral dissertation process. Yay! One step closer to being Dr Jen.

The second piece of good news I have is that my husband has just launched a website called Life-ing 101 which will be a collection of life hacks, tips, and so much more about well… living. It is more than just adulting, it is about thriving. Stop by and check it out! https://lifeing101.com

February is a short month, but I have plans…I hope to get some more recipes up and I am also working on a couple of review posts, my goal for the month is to read at least a book a week. Honestly, my to be read pile on my kindle of advance reader copies is getting kind of overwhelming. Make sure to check out the Recommendations tab for book and product suggestions.

Supernaturally Rocks

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=notquitsupe-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=0061985864

Being normal is so overrated.

As Evie, is beginning to learn, real high school is nothing like a high school tv drama. There are things like homework, PE, and oh, yeah, those lockers. Yes, those coveted lockers from the first book. Not to mention a long distance relationship with college-boy, Lend.

Confused? I am of course talking about Supernaturally by Kiersten White. This is the sequel to the oh so wonderful Paranormalcy. First thing I have to say is that I have some absolute cover love for these books. Fair hair and eyed Evie standing in her gorgeous dresses. I really hope that they don’t change the cover when book two finally hits the bookstore shelves because it is absolutely gorgeous. Yeah, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover, but I admit that and the title are what first caught my interest in Paranormalcy.

Book two continues Evie’s story with her trying to adjust to a normal life outside of the International Paranormal Containment Agency. Well, maybe more like not adjusting. Her shapeshifting boyfriend is away at college and she isn’t exactly fitting in with the whole normal high school girl scene except for missing said boyfriend and making plans to attend the same college on early admission. In the first book, it was a desire for prom and in this one the goal is Georgetown.

It is no surprise that Evie is seriously tempted by Raquel’s request to help IPCA out again with a couple missions, but of course things don’t always go so simply for her. However, hasn’t she learned from all those episodes of Easton Heights that lying and boyfriends don’t mix?

Mingled throughout the teenage drama, you have Jack the boy who just doesn’t want to grow up, a paranormal hunting UberVampire, sneaky paranormal locals, and yes, ex-boyfriend faery drama once again. There is even NASCAR, but you will have to keep reading to find out how that fits in the mix (yeah, not exactly Evie’s sparkly pink scene).

Did I mention that this book is all age teen appropriate? Yeah, those bleeping “bleeps” are so endearing. It kinda fits with a character that has a pink taser gun affectionately nickname Tasey.

Questions will be answered but even more will be asked so book three better not be too far away. So put on your hottest paranormal hunting heels with coordinating sparkly pink accessories and head to your closest bookstore to place your pre-order for the July 26, 2011 release.

Reader Roundup

Thought I would share some goodies with everyone today…
Once upon a time when I was an undergrad, I worked for Waldenbooks (you know, those almost extinct places known as bookstores, in fact I think that one may in fact be extinct). St the time, most of my paycheck went towards supporting my reading habit. As a librarian, this habit continues. In fact, I tend to bring home more than I could possibly read and end up sending it all back or adding my name back to the hold lists. This doesn’t stop me from wanting more books. The cheaper the better.
How can it get any better than free?
NetGalley is a website that connects book reviewers and librarians with publishers in want of reviews for their books. They only provide digital copies of the books, but these range from already release to already on the market. We aren’t talking no name companies either, these are big name authors and publishers. Some titles are available for immediate download and others have a more stringent approval system. It is worth checking out. In fact many of the books you have seen reviewed on this blog have come from NetGalley.
LibraryThing and Goodreads are both websites that offer free books to their members in the form of contests. Think of it as placing your name in a hat and crossing your fingers that you will be picked. Many of these titles have hundreds of people vying for only a handful of copies; so your chances of winning are close to that of winning the lottery. I have known people who have received copies, so it can happen.
Remember that if you request a copy of a book for review purposes that you should actually review it. Failure to do so may not only hurt your chances or working with that publisher again, but also for other reviews.
You also might want to try some author stalking. NO! Put down the binoculars! I don’t mean that kind of stalking! Check out the author’s website. If they have a blog, follow it. Hang on their every tweet, just don’t become an annoying gnat (you know the bug that buzzes annoyingly non-stop in your ear, get the idea?). You never know when there might be an impromptu giveaway directly from the author or their publicist.
A lot of book blogs also give away their Advance Readers Copies (ARCs) to followers and those that comment on their posts. (Sorry, this blog, does not yet host giveaways. Digital ARCs,yeah, non-transferable. But keep posted cause you never know when that might change). I find a lot of ARCs to give to my teen reviewers at the library by keeping an eye on the list-serves and blog rolls. Here are some websites I know of that offer free book contests, both ARCs and published:
Free Book Friday
Writerspace
Dead Rules Giveaways to Support Teen Reading
If you know of any other interesting places to get free books or ARCs, post the, to the comments below. Happy Reading!