Category «Features»

Giveaway: Signed Paperback of Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige

I don’t host a lot of my own giveaways on my site but I couldn’t resist this opportunity!

Laurelin Paige is one of my favourite authors and her Fixed Series is the gold standard for adult contemporary romance in my eyes. It’s one of my all time favourite series and one I make all my friends read! Fun fact: it is also one of my most viewed reviews of all time on my blog.

Fixed Forever (Fixed #6)

Pre-Order: Kobo | Amazon | iBooks | Nook

The 6th book in the series, FIXED FOREVER, is coming June 25th! I CANNOT wait! This was a book I didn’t know I needed until I knew it was coming!

Have you met Hudson Pierce yet? Find out where it all started in one of two ways:

Fixed on You (Fixed, #1)

You can enter to win a *signed* paperback copy by Laurelin Paige herself! Unfortunately this is only open to US residents at this time. Winner will be contacted via email so keep an eye out!

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Not a US resident? Never fear! You can snag a free copy of the book yourself at any of these fine eBook retailers:

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Blog Tour: Cross Drop (On the Edge #2) by Elizabeth Hartey


Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Synopsis for Cross Drop (from Goodreads):

Nikki

I’m not a saint. Never claimed to be. I’ve played the game and scored my fair share—both on and off the field. This is why I should have known better than to fall for a hockey player. But I did. I fell fast and hard.
Now I’m left with the painful consequences, reminded every day of how reckless I had been by giving him my heart so easily—so willingly. Dalt broke me in the cruelest of ways, and because of him I’ll never be able to love again.

Dalt

Nikki changed me. She made me want to be a better man. My days playing off the field were over because she owned every little piece of my heart…until she left, leaving behind a gnawing ache where my heart used to be.
Now she’s back, and it’s painfully clear she hates me, ignoring me, pretending like I’m nobody to her. But that’s just too damn bad. I want answers. I want a goddamn explanation.
And most of all…I want her..

Other books in the series:
book3 book4

breakdown

Series: On the Edge
Author: Elizabeth Hartey
# of Books: 4 (Cross Stroke, Cross Drop, Book 3, Book 4)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, sequels are in the works
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: January 16, 2018 – ongoing
Source & Format: Enticing Journey Book Promotions–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

After all the little hints we got about Nikki and Dalt in Cross Stroke, I couldn’t wait to get to the bottom of their troubled past. Why were two people who were so obviously in love now at odds?

What I Liked:

–Explosive Chemistry–

Nikki and Dalt have explosive chemistry right from the start. And I loved that we got those first few chapters dedicated to the earlier parts of their relationship. It really built up the fact that these two had a strong connection and love early on…so it made it all that more heart-wrenching when you see how far apart they’ve grown.

–Great Characters–

Unlike my experience with the last novel, I had no problem connecting with these two as characters. I think they have enough going on to develop them as characters but not overwhelm them either. They have their layers and their complications but it never seemed like too much.

Perhaps it helped that we were introduced to them in the first book so you know what to expect a little more?

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Drama Near the End–

As for the drama of the situation, I enjoyed it. The situation that kept them apart was a little frustrating to learn about at the start but once the characters developed a little more and their insecurities and such were revealed, it made sense to me.

I personally would have preferred a different direction at the end (I wanted a different approach) but I understand why it was added to the story.

Read my Review of Book #1: Cross Stroke Here!

My Rating: 4/5

Cross Stroke 3/5 | Cross Drop 4/5

overall
I enjoyed this sequel a lot! It has all the steam of the first novel plus a heart-warming story about reconnecting with the one that got away.

Read if You Like: sport romances, learning to love again stories
Avoid if You: dislike sexy times, dislike second chances

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Elizabeth Hartey

As a lover of the northeast US, Elizabeth moved with her husband to the Poconos several years ago to open a Chiropractic Clinic. Four children and a menagerie of animals later, she has finally found time to fulfill her lifelong dream of writing novels. The wild ride of writing books is one of the most difficult things she’s ever done in her life. But the opportunity to get her stories out of her head and down on paper and send them out into the world is also one of the most wonderful things she’s ever done. A dreamer at heart, romance is the genre she spends most of her time writing and reading into the wee hours of the morning. And having readers fall in love with her characters as much as she does is almost as exciting as giving birth (just not as painful!) When not juggling work responsibilities and writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking the beautiful hills and woods around her home, swimming, knitting, watching old classic movies and travelling. As an avid hockey fan she has to compromise with her husband—one night of hockey for her in exchange for a night of football for him.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 


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Blog Tour: Knocked Up (Crazy Love #2) by Stacey Lynn

Synopsis for Knocked Up (from Goodreads):

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in a baby carriage. Just not necessarily in that order. . . .

Braxton: I should probably be dead or in jail right now. Instead, thanks to some tough love, I worked my ass off and now I own a string of tattoo parlors throughout the Pacific Northwest. And yet the one thing I’ve always wanted—a family—still seems out of reach. When my best friend gets married, I’m just hoping to blow off some steam with the super-hot maid of honor. But after Cara Thompson tracks me down to tell me she’s pregnant, she’s more surprised than I am when I tell her I’m all in.

Cara: For the first time in my life, I’m living for myself—not for my parents and their ridiculous expectations. I gave up on my MBA, dropped out of the Ivy League, and moved to Portland to pursue my dream of becoming an artist. And what’s the first thing I do? Get knocked up. For a tatted-up sex god, Braxton Henley seems way too eager to “be there for me.” Is this guy serious? Maybe. He sure is patient. Because he won’t back down until I admit what I know in my heart: that our one night stand might’ve led me to the one.

Other books in the series:

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks*New* Must Read Author
Series: Crazy Love
Author: Stacey Lynn
# of Books: 2 (Fake Wife, Knocked Up)
Book Order: Standalone
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Source & Format: Social Butterfly PR–eARC via Netgalley

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I had a great time reading the first novel in the Crazy Love series, Fake Wife. It had a great plotline, genuine characters and a romance that made me fall in love with them. So I was super excited to see what this accidentally pregnant story line would have.

The Plot:

I couldn’t get enough of these two as I read about their adorable story. I seriously had a smile on my face the entire time I read this book.

This novel just had the right balance between romance, drama and character development. Nothing was overly dramatic but they definitely had their obstacles to overcome and that just kept you hooked into the story waiting to see what would happen next.

The Characters:

Braxton is definitely a new book boyfriend for me! What a sweet guy! His backstory was intriguing and inspiring. And I loved Cara as well. Watching her grow more confident in herself and her ability to live independently was great. Both had strong character development from start to end which is always awesome.

The Romance:

At first, I was a little disappointed that we don’t get the dirty details about the night in question (other than the fact that there was a silly communication assumption). But watching these two reunite with their unexpected news added this amazing tension to the story that had me begging for more. Their entire romance had this slow burn vibe to it that sucked me in immediately. From their explosive physical chemistry to their ability to communicate with each other truthfully, I was so in love with these two.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

Stacey Lynn has definitely added herself to my “must-read” authors list after this great sequel!

Read if You Like: accidentally pregnant trope, slow burn romance
Avoid if You: want lots of drama, want erotica

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Stacey Lynn

Stacey Lynn currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and four children. When she’s not conquering mountains of laundry and fighting a war against dust bunnies and cracker crumbs, you can find her playing with her children, curled up on the couch with a good book, or on the boat with her family enjoying Minnesota’s beautiful, yet too short, summer.

She lives off her daily pot of coffee, can only write with a bowlful of Skittles nearby, and has been in love with romance novels since before she could drive herself to the library.

Author Links: Facebook | Website | Twitter | Newsletter

 

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

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SERIESous Tips: Using Trello to Keep Track of Reviews

*I want to be clear that this post isn’t affiliated with Trello in any way, this is just my personal experience!*

I first talked about how I use Trello in 2016 during a Keeping Organized Tips Series I ran. At the time, I mostly highlighted how I use Trello to keep track of ARC Requests and only briefly mentioned my Review Board. That’s about to change here!

Back in university, a co-coordinator for an event I was running showed me Trello as a tool for keeping organized. The list-maker in me loved it and I used it a lot while organizing various things. But I never thought about using it for book blogging until I read a post by Brittany @ Book Bumblings about Trello. After that, everything just clicked and I created my own boards to keep track of things!

>> Check out Brittany’s guide here!

Trello is great for a number of reasons. First off, it’s free (there is a premium version you can buy with more features) and the options are endless for the free version. It is a very fluid web-based program. It’s super easy to move things around and has a ton of customizing features (which I’m going to highlight a little more below). It also has an app for your phone so you can use it on the go if you are so inclined.

Let me introduce my Review Board:

Every post that is created for my blog has a card on this board. I have 7 main lists I use to keep my reviews/posts organized depending on what stage they are at.

What are you looking at?

These are my lists I used to keep track of reviews and blog posts. I’ll break it down for you:

  1. To Do
    • This is my brainstorm list where I keep track of ideas for blog posts I might want to do in the future
  2. ARCs
    • This is where I create review cards for Request copies I have received
      • I’ll detail what’s on those cards below
  3. In Development
    • These are reviews/posts I am currently writing
  4. Started
    • These are reviews that are finished, they just need something else before they can be published
  5. Cross Post
    • This is where review cards go after I’ve finished writing my blog post
    • This is where I keep track of what other review sites I need to post my review to
  6. Pending Sequels
    • These are drafted series reviews that I’m holding off on posting until I’ve read all the available sequels
  7. Done
    • This is where all review and post cards go after I have completed all their requirements

As I’m sure you can predict, when I’m writing a post from my To Do list or from my ARCs list, they get put in the In Development column. After they are complete, they either get put in the Cross Post, Pending Sequels or Done columns depending on their posting requirements.

What’s On a Review Card?

An example of a review card for an ARC request

There are 4 features I use the most when it comes to creating my review cards.

  1. Labels (colour codes)
    • This is great for seeing things at a glance. I colour code all my reviews based on their source (ARC or Blog Tour), if they require a Recap, if I need to Cross Post or if I need to Update a previous review and/or stats. I also have a special colour for Promo posts like blitzes.
    • If a card gets a certain label, it usually has an accompanying checklist (see #3).
  2. Due Date
    • This is the date I plan to post on my blog, not necessarily the book’s publishing date.
    • This is super handy because you can sort lists by their due dates chronologically. I do this for posts that I have to cross post to external sites.
  3. Checklist — My FAVOURITE Feature!
    • We do a lot of repetitive things when it comes to blogging and sometimes it’s hard to remember them all.
      • See the section below for more details!
  4. Comment (not pictured)
    • I use this mostly for post cards for Tags or posts inspired by other blogs and I want to remember the source or ideas for the post

Why the Checklist Feature is the BEST!

Certain reviews require certain things. For example, when I write a series review, I need to make sure I’ve added a recap section (if applicable) to my Recap Page and put the series on my Series Sequel Spreadsheet. If it’s a review for Netgalley, I need to make sure I’ve added my review to the site as well as the links to my cross posted reviews. I even have a list for those cross posts! And the lists go on and on…

What I love about Trello is that you can create unique checklists for every card and you can see at a glance how many items you’ve completed from that list.

But the greatest thing is that you can copy checklists from other cards to your current card!

I have a card I’ve titled Master Checklist. On it, I’ve created all the checklists I use on a regular basis and when I create a new card, I import the lists from this card. If I need to make a change, I do it on this list so that a new cards going forward have this newly changed list.

Other Notable Features:

  • Assign Tasks by Team Member
    • This would be great if you have multiple blog contributors!
    • You can leave notes too for each other on the card and see what others have done.
  • Calendar
    • You can enable a calendar that will put your cards on those respective dates
      • I don’t use this feature as I use a Word Doc do keep track of my dates for everything (posts, library due dates, etc). Learn more here.
  • Tracks Activity
    • Any changes you make to a card (and when) are noted at the bottom

This way, I always know where I am when it comes to my reviews!

While I try to do a little bit of blogging each day, I don’t always get the chance to with my job. But Trello makes it easy for me to pick up where I left off and to see what I need to get done and when. It truly has become an essential tool to my blogging experience.

>> See how Carrie @ Reading is My Super Power was inspired by my other Trello post!

How to you keep track of the reviews/posts you have in the works?

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Trope Thursday: Love Triangles [5]

Trope Thursdays: A monthly feature where I look at various reading tropes. Each month I will pick a trope and examine all aspects of it. I’ll discuss the classic features of the trope, what I love (or hate) about it and share some books that use the trope in their plots.


It’s Back!

I wasn’t able to get a Trope Thursday post up for May so the feature took a brief hiatus. While most of my posts are scheduled far in advance, certain features posts (like this one) are usually written a few days before I plan to publish them.

For the month of May I planned to tackle the one trope I can’t stand with a passion. Seriously, if I could abolish one trope from the world of writing, it would be this one.

June’s Trope: Love Triangle

Definition:

love triangle (also called a romantic love triangle or a romance triangle or an eternal triangle) is usually a romantic relationship involving three people. While it can refer to two people independently romantically linked with a third, it usually implies that each of the three people has some kind of relationship to the other two. The relationships can be friendshipsromantic, or familial.

~Wikipedia (“Love Triangle“)

Common Features:

  • Possibility for Forbidden Love
  • Torn between two friends/brothers/sisters
  • Unrequited love for a best friend
  • Rivals
  • Possibility for unfaithfulness

Quick Note Moving Forward:

I’m going to mostly be using the pronoun “she” as the Person of Interest when I write my opinions and assume that her potential suitors are “he”. This is really just to keep it simple and clear what I am trying to convey. I’m not saying that men don’t find themselves torn between two girls or whatever combination you want to imagine, it’s really just a matter of keeping things clear and consistent to emphasize my points 🙂

What I Love About The “Love Triangle” Trope:

In this case, love is a strong word. I don’t particularly care for the love triangle (and I’ll get to why below) but I can admit that there are certain aspects of the love triangle trope that can contribute to the story in a positive way…and not simply for filler.

One of the reasons I think we see so many love triangles in fiction is for their ability to emphasis the “torn” nature of the person of interest. What I mean to say is that in most novels, the Object of Affection (OOA) must choose between two suitors much like the idea that she has to choose the path for life she must follow. Does she stick with the path she has always known or does she embrace the new “her” and the future it could bring?

Take Twilight for example. Bella is torn between Jacob (a werewolf) and Edward (a vampire)–and don’t forget for a little while Mike (a human). Each suitor represents a different path for Bella. With Mike, it’s the acceptance of the human world and the casting aside of the paranormal one. With Jacob, she can remain human, be in love with a close friend while still acknowledging the paranormal world. And with Edward, it’s accepting his immortality and the question of whether or not he is worth her mortality.

(Now Twilight isn’t the greatest love triangle example [it’s included on my worst list below], but it’s one most readers are familiar with without spoiling other series).

Now, not all love triangles follow this ideal. But I think at the heart of most of them, they represent a choice for the characters that is deeper than simply who they want to kiss at night and, if done correctly, they can contribute positively to the character development.

What I Dislike About The “Love Triangle” Trope:

Where do I start?!

One of my biggest peeves about the love triangle trope is when it is throw in simply for the sake of some “drama”. Not every romance needs to be challenged by a rival. There are other obstacles that couples can overcome that don’t involve a third person and that can still provide depth to the characters and their relationship.

My other dislike about love triangles is the back and forth nature of them. Suddenly the “ugly duckling” is seen by two amazing boys and she simply can’t choose between them. Thus ensues chapter after chapter of flip flopping between her feelings. I find this usually distracts from the large plot (especially in middle books of trilogies) and can make for a dull read.

But perhaps my biggest issue with love triangles is their unrealistic nature. I’m not saying that love triangles can’t exist in real life. The reason I liked the definition Wikipedia provides is that it emphasizes that those relationships between those three people don’t have to necessarily be romantic in nature. Rather, what I find unrealistic about most love triangles is that suddenly, two suitors are simultaneously in love with the OOA seemingly out of nowhere. Now I get that there are certain circumstances that can bring this on (like the end of the world for example). But the whole transformation of “ugly duckling” to “most loveable person ever” is one I readily dislike.

Books that Use the “Love Triangle” Trope Well:

This goes back to my first argument where love triangles can be used to emphasize the torn nature of a heroine. What I like about the love triangle in this series–besides the fact that it never overshadows the rest of the plot–is how much it contributes to Ember’s character development. Throughout the series Ember is struggling with her dragon nature (thus her draw to Cobalt) as well as her human nature (thus her draw to Garret) and her attempts to reconcile her feelings for each guy also reflects her growth as a person and dragon as she tries to save the world.

>>Series Review: Talon

 

This is one of the only books I have ever read that has a “true love triangle” element to it (ie all three characters are in love with each other). The heart of this novel is Laney’s identity crisis and her relationships with both Armin and Blythe play crucial roles in that. The love triangle here provides an interesting dynamic to the story and one that keeps the reader on their toes as they watch Laney’s plan for revenge unfold.

>>Standalone Review: Black Iris

 

Others:  No One Needs to Know | Suitors and Sabotage | Shatter Me

Books that Didn’t Use the “Love Triangle” Trope Well:

There is actually a love square in this book but that’s besides the point. My main peeve with this one comes from my intense dislike of our lead heroine, Harper and the inexplicable reason why she has two boys chasing her down with only two sentences spoken between them. (Oh, and her token male BFF who has always loved her). Harper flops like a fish with her feelings and it does nothing to develop her as a character.

>>Series Review: Taking Chances

 

This one had the potential to be good. I mean Calla is torn between duty and her heart when it comes to her suitors…but it’s her actions and reactions that sink that ship pretty quickly. Calla’s relationships become a sole focus for the story and for her. She becomes this self-obsessed heroine who flits back and forth between guys (ie making out with each of them) and subsequently feeling guilty for doing so but does nothing to solve the problem. Frustration to the extreme.

>>Series Review: Nightshade

 

Others:  The Vincent Boys | A Beautiful Dark | Twilight


Do you enjoy books with the “love triangle” Trope?

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Service Review: Kobo Audiobooks Subscription

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Kobo Audiobook Subscription Service

**This is in no way affiliated with Kobo! It is simply my take on using the service!**

Compared to some, I’m a newbie when it comes to audiobooks. But I’ve come a long way since I did my last service review on the audiobook service Audible. I listen to audiobooks during my commute to work every week so they’ve become an everyday staple of my reading life.

While I mostly use my library, I’m always on the lookout for other great audiobook providers. So I was very, very excited when Kobo launched its own audiobook service in the latter half of 2017.

I’m a huge Kobo fan! My main eReader is a Kobo Aura and I love it for many reasons. I just feel like the understand the reader in me when it comes to features, tracking my reading stats and recommending books. I also really like dealing with the Kobo company. They’re based in Canada (though they are now owned by a Japanese company) and I find their customer service is always AMAZING. I like supporting Canadian industry and with the amount of books I go through, I’ve probably lost a significant portion of my paycheck to Kobo over the years.

For the first bit of this review, I’m going to lay out the basics of the Kobo Audiobook Service and give my take on it independently. At the end, I will do a comparison to my Audible experience just to give some context.

How Does it Work?

Kobo Audiobooks is both a single transaction audiobook purchase AND has its own monthly subscription service. In this review, I’m focusing on the monthly subscription service. Here is the schematic of how it works:

So basically, you pay $13 a month (CAD) to get one audiobook of your choice via a credit. The credit can be applied to any audiobook in their library and of any price range. So it can save you a lot of money if the books you are looking at buying are over $20 (which most are).

If you read more than one audiobook a month, they have other options as well including a monthly subscription for 2 credits (books) a month or a yearly subscription where you get all your credits as soon as you start for the entire year. Here are those other plans (all are in CAD):

And if you don’t want to wait for your next monthly credit, you can always buy 3 instant credits that you can use immediately in addition to your subscription.

My Experience:

–Signing-Up–

When I decided to sign-up, there was an incentive for MasterCard holders to get an additional 2 credits during the free trial if you signed-up with a MasterCard. That meant I got 3 books for simply trying the service!

Since I already have a Kobo account (and the app on my phone), it was super easy to sign myself up and get started.

–Listening Experience–

Since I already had the Kobo app on my Android Phone, I used that to listen to my audiobooks. That works perfectly fine for me because I just plug my phone into the auxiliary port of my car and listen that way. I would just make sure to download the book while I was connected to my home WiFi the night before and be on my way.

The app itself is pretty basic. I think those new to audiobooks (or those who find Audible has way too many features) will appreciate the simplistic design. It’s easy to scroll to a particular point in the novel and it has a quick link to the table of contents. It does tell you have far time-wise you are into the chapter and how long in total that chapter is. And when you view the book from your shelf, it tells you the exact time left of the entire novel as well as your total percentage complete.

But for those listeners who are more familiar with Audible and/or Overdrive apps, there are a few features missing. You can’t increase the speed; no ability to bookmark; and it has no sleep feature. I use the speed feature a lot when I listen to audiobooks (I default audiobooks to 1.25X speed) so that was a huge disappointment.

–Book Selection–

I had a bit of a struggle picking the three audiobooks I wanted to use my credits for but I was being a little pickier than usual. I really didn’t to use my credits on books I could get from my library so that limited me somewhat. I found Kobo did have a lot of the bigger titles in audiobooks so that wasn’t an issue. I did find their romance section wasn’t as large as Audible (but Audible is starting to have “Audible Exclusives” so that might be why).

However, their search feature makes it easy to see if titles are available in audio without clicking through multiple pages. They also have great subheadings and categories for you to search. AND, if you read enough with Kobo, they have a great algorithm for recommendations. I’ve found a lot of great books based on my reading and rating history with my Kobo books–and this has translated over to my audiobook selections as well.

How does it Compare to Audible?

I’m going to break it down a little by some of the notable Audible features:

  • Audible: 30% Discount on Individual Buys for Subscription Members
    • In general, Kobo doesn’t offer this deal BUT they have lots of other ways to save. (And, in general, their books appear to be cheaper than Audible in some cases)
      1. You can buy the instant credits (books average out to $13 each)
        • Which can save you more than 50% for certain books
        • The yearly subscription also saves you big $$$
      2. You can Price Match with another audiobook site to get the cheaper price
      3. You can use you Kobo Super Points to redeem audiobooks
  • Audible: can listen to books on your computer
    • Kobo only lets you listen on your phone or tablet. Which is fine for me but it is noteworthy.
  • Audible: has more listening option features (sleep, note taking, colour schemes)
    • As I said above, the Kobo app keeps things simple. While I would personal like the speed and sleep features, I do enjoy the less is more approach. I find Audible to be slightly overwhelming in all that you can do and since I’m driving most of the time, I don’t use those fancier features. It’s also much easier to find your overall % complete on Kobo compared to Audible.
  • Audible: has exclusive audio titles only available through their company
    • A lot of the romance authors I read have audiobooks only available on Audible. For the most part, Kobo does have a lot of the main publishing house works but there are some they don’t get right away or just plain lack.

So, Am I Keeping It?

As of right now, no but it’s definitely something I’m going to keep in the back of my mind. I haven’t exhausted my library yet and with the increasing popularity of audiobooks, they’re adding titles on a more regular basis. I’m sure one day I will want a wider, more readily available selection but I’m good with what I have right now. I will be keeping an eye out for sales though and I plan on redeeming some of my Super Points for audio reads later this year.

But as I said with the Audible review I did, for those who regularly buy audiobooks, this is a noteworthy service for you to explore. The way I see it, you’re saving money when you get the credits. I’m sure they mark up the titles (have you seen some of the $80 titles on audiobook sites?!) but you are still saving almost $10 a book regardless and you still have access to this books should you ever cancel your service.

>>TIP: If you are interested in a trial of any audiobook subscription service, keep an eye out for various incentives. Most free trials include 1 audiobook but there are usually other promotions floating around. For example: MasterCard holders got 2 bonus credits for using their MasterCard (which is never charged, just kept on file) for the Kobo subscription. And when I tried Audible a few years ago, I was able to get the first 2 months after the free trial for only $2–so I got 3 audiobooks for $2! You can find these deals by simply Google searching them or keeping an eye out on other blogs!

Do you use Kobo Audiobooks? What about another Audiobook Service? Any tips or feedback on the service?

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Monthly Inventory: May 2018

May 2018

Throughout the month of May, I felt like I never read a book for longer than 20 minutes at a time. Books I should have finished in 2-3 days took me over a week (something unheard of for me); ARCs began to pile up (though I was good on my promise not to request more); and I scarcely visited my blog (thank goodness for scheduled posts!). My stats for the month don’t really reflect this though when you compare them to last year (16 books last May and 15 this May). But the fact of the matter is, if it wasn’t for my audiobook listening (contributing to 40% of the books completed), my stats for May 2018 would be pretty dismal.

On a more positive note, I did a great job finishing up some series I had on the go so I’m very happy with that! I’m also on track to finish most of my ARCs for the end of June which didn’t seem like a possibility 2 weeks ago. Moving forward, I’m definitely limiting myself for ARCs (work is only going to get crazier now the the summer is here) and that means truly sticking to 2018 Reading Plan limits of no more than 3 ARCs per month max. As for the library, I’ve stopped putting books on hold and will focus on getting the books that are readily available and meet my various reading goals for the year.

I don’t know what June will have in store but I know that I want to get back into the blogging and reading game. And since June is also the halfway point of the year, I also plan on re-evaluting my 2018 Reading Challenges and Goals to see if I am on track or if I need to adjust my numbers.

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Total for May 2018: 15 Books Read + 0 Novellas Read

DNF’d: 1 Books

Last May: 16 Books Read + 6 Novellas Read + 3 DNFs

Standout Read (★★★★★)


I’m really kicking myself for not starting this series earlier because I love it! (Well, I don’t have to wait for the sequels as it is now finished so maybe there was a method to my avoidance). This was my favourite in the series so far and I can’t wait to see what will happen in the last 3 books.

Biggest Let Down (DNF)


After waiting a crazy amount of time on the waitlist for this title, I was super disappointed to have to DNF this one pretty early into it. Despite my love of a good jackass hero, I felt zero chemistry between the two leads and the plot was just too far-fetched for me to enjoy.

 

posted reviews

Most Viewed Post

Monthly Inventory & 5 Year Anniversary Post

Most Viewed Review

Blog Tour: I Dare You

View this year’s archives for more posts and reviews!

 

thoughts

Previously posted series reviews that got updates:

thoughts

You can always get the full details on all my challenges on my dedicated page but here is a quick update:

5 Year 5 Book Challenge: 0 titles added | 5 of 25 Titles Read — Behind
Goodreads Challenge: 15 books added | 115/190 Books — Ahead
52 Sequel Challenge: 7 titles added | 12/52 Sequels — On Track
Tackling the TBR Challenge: 0 book added | 11/36 Books — Behind

View my Challenge Progress Here!

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

I’ve seen this meme floating around and thought it was a great idea to help me tackle my TBR list and reach that less than 500 goal. The idea is to go through 5-10 books on your Goodreads TBR list chronologically and decide if they should stay or go. I usually do a big Goodreads Purge twice a year but I like the idea of doing a little bit at a time and have decided to do this on a monthly basis.

This month (7 new to me novels + 3 continuing series):

Keep

Pass

Keep

Pass

Keep

Pass

Keep

Keep

Keep

Keep

Pass: 3 | Keep: 7

Should I reconsider any of my decisions? Let me know in the comments below!

discussions

You can still join in on these discussions:

 

Each month I have a list of 11 books I’ve selected to read for that particular month. These books include review copies and reading challenge picks. Here are some of the books I have ready to go for June:

 Furyborn (Empirium, #1)  At Any Price (Gaming the System, #1) Him (Him #1) 

What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month?
Leave a comment below!

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SERIESous Tips: Keeping Track of Series Sequels

Maybe you haven’t noticed, but book series are kind-of my thing.

When you dedicate your entire blog to book series reviews, you need to be a little organized when it comes to sequels. With this post, I’m going to share some of the ways I keep track of what sequels I have read, what sequels I need to read and what sequels have yet to be published.

>> Tips Post: Learn how I keep track of all my various book sources here!

Method #1 – Goodreads

Like most readers, Goodreads is my go-to for keeping track of my TBR. There are a lot of things to like about the various features of the site. For one, it’s great at listing book series or telling you if a book is a part of a series. That’s actually how I first found the site: I was looking into the sequels for a book series. Another is that it usually has the publishing dates or estimates. And you can’t forget about the shelving feature.

The shelving feature is my main way of keeping track of everything I read…and what I have yet to read. When it comes to book series, I have 3 primary shelves:

  1. “Want To Read”
    • This is the default Goodreads shelf but I’ve always used it more as a “To Read” shelf
    • These are the books that are sequels to series I’ve already started
  2. “Waiting-For”
    • These are books (standalone or series) that have yet to be published
    • While any yet to be published book is here, I use it specifically to keep track of what sequels will be published and when
  3. “Want-to-Read”
    • This is the shelf I use for any book I am interested in reading
    • For the inaugural novels in a series that I haven’t read, they get put on this shelf

I also have some shelves I use for labeling. While most highlight certain book characteristics or how excited I am to read a book, I do have a “best-of-the-series” shelf to distinguish the standout novels of a series.

Method #2 – An Excel Spreadsheet

Until last year, I had an excel spreadsheet that kept track of blog posting types for various series reviews. But that didn’t help me keep track of what sequels I actually needed to read. So I created this lovely spreadsheet to keep track of all the series I have on the go!

I created this file in Excel. Each series gets its own heading and lists all the novels in the series as well as other information. I also use formulas to give me numerical stats.

Let me break it down a bit.

This spreadsheet is divided up into headings for each “Series“. Underneath that heading, I list all the books I have read or have yet to be published (“Novels“) in the series. Once they are read, they get a strikeout or are simply deleted from the heading. I then use the “# TBR” to keep track of the unread novels in that series (more on this later). The “Post” heading is to note whether or not I have a blog review already created for that series. I don’t use the “Source” column that much unless I don’t have a way to access that particular book and I need to remember.

You might have noticed that little table titled “Total Series“. I use that to provide me with a few stats on my reading progress (the scientist in me craves it!). I use the numbers in my “# TBR” column to keep track of how many series have just one book left to go versus how many have 2+ to go.

Is it Hard to Maintain?

This spreadsheet did take me awhile to create but once I had all the information typed into it, it’s been super easy to maintain. Now when I start a new series or finish a sequel for a previously started one, I immediately update this spreadsheet (it’s even a checklist item on my Trello account so I never forget!). For titles I’ve listed as “waiting for”, I go through once a month or so and change the “w” to a “1” or whatever number it is now.

> > Tips Post: Learn how I use Trello to keep track of all my reviews on the go!

So you might be thinking: That’s a Little Extreme, Lauren!

Perhaps. But I have a lot of series on the go thanks to this blog and my need to have fresh content whenever possible. I also love making lists!

This spreadsheet has come in hand for my 2018 Reading Plan to finish more sequels. In case you don’t know, I’ve created a goal for myself to read 1 sequel novel each week for 2018. I use this spreadsheet to help me decide what series I should tackle next.

>> Check Out My 52 Sequels Challenge Progress!

Wait: I Thought this was a Tips Post?

You’re right! It is. We all have such extensive TBRs that it can be hard to keep track of everything all the time. My hope is that by sharing my methods, it’ll inspire my fellow bloggers to think about how they keep track of sequels and perhaps make some positive changes.

Plus, I’m always open to helping people out. If you have any questions about using Goodreads or Excel, let me know! I’m happy to teach you some tricks or come up with a method that works well for you!

How do you keep track of book series you have on the go?

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Trilogy Termination Blitz: Spring 2018

trilogytermination

Spring 2018

This blitz has been a long time coming!

Close to 3 years ago, I thought up this great idea to help me get some previously started trilogies finished. See I had a lot of books where I had read the first 2 books but had yet to read the grand finale. These were series I had started in high school or just lost track of during university. Like most people with extensive TBRs, I never seemed to be able to find the time to get that last book read.

So this has been a project that I’ve been working on since my early days of blogging. And what you are about to get over the next 4 days is about half of what I have planned. I’m hoping that by posting this now, I can encourage myself to get the last half finished by the end of this year. It felt great to get some of those half-finished review out of my draft folder!

The Goal:

Finish 10 previously started (and completely published) series where I have read Books 1 and 2 but still have to read Book 3. I even added an extra series just as a buffer in case one of the books wasn’t available at the library*.

*which obviously was unnecessary because I read these books over the course of 3 years and not in a month span like I had originally planned.

Updated Series:

When I started this project, there were a few series that I ended up writing reviews for on my blog. Most of these reviews were from the early days when I would write posts for series even if I hadn’t finished them, simply so I would have some content for the blog. I’ve learned a lot since then 😉

So check out some of my previous reviews that are now complete:

The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1) The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)

Reviews Over The Next 3 Days:

So what series will you see over the next 3 days? You’ll have to click on the links below when the time comes (or just wait for them to show up in your reader feed). I hope you enjoy!

Day 1 // Day 2 // Day 3


Do you have a lot of trilogies unfinished?

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Blog Tour: One More Time by Laurelin Paige

Synopsis for One More Time (from Goodreads):

I would have been stupid to turn the opportunity down.
A feature film starring the hottest man in Hollywood—and me.
It wasn’t just the chance of a lifetime; it was the first time I’d landed the leading role.
But Tanner James isn’t just any actor, aka “Sex God”.
He’s the man who took my virginity then shattered my dreams.

If I can use this part to launch a new career, it will be worth it.
If I can stop myself from falling back into bed with Tanner, it will be a miracle.
And my heart?
There’s no way he’s taking that from me.
He’s always been the one who owned it.

Other books in the series:
book3

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author
Series: Hollywood Heat (aka Lights, Camera)
Author: Laurelin Paige
# of Books: 3 (Sex Symbol, Star Struck, One More Time)
Book Order: Connected Standalones
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 2, 2018
Source & Format: Candi Kane PR–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon / Audible

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a HUGE Laurelin Paige fan. I love everything she does and she writes some of my favourite contemporary romances.

I’ve been dying to get my hands on One More Time since Laurelin announced it in her Author Newsletter months ago. I just adored the concept. I think we all have those Hollywood couples that we love that are no longer together and I couldn’t wait to see that reunion happen!

The Plot:

There is nothing better than watching two people fall inevitably back in love with each other. These two had lots of tension and unresolved issues between them so I enjoyed watching that all come to light. I also loved the suspense of trying to figure out what exactly happened between them two years ago; though I thought it was going to be juicier.

The Characters:

As always, Paige does a great job of shaping these characters and growing them as the story progresses. They both have their flaws and I like that in my characters.

The biggest problem these two deal with is miscommunication, which can be frustrating for a reader because you know what the issues are even though the characters aren’t telling each other. But I never got overly frustrated with these two because I understood their motivations for holding back.

The Romance:

These two have explosive chemistry from the minute they reunite. What I love about Laurelin Paige’s romances is that she writes great partners. She has this great ability to create romantic leads that compliment each other; who bring out the best in each other without sacrificing their individuality in the process.

For me personally, I always like some flashbacks to the past to help me see why my leads deserve a second chance at love. But we get enough tidbits about their past that I could see why these two were never able to forget their first loves.

My Rating: 4/5

Sex Symbol 4/5 | Star Struck TBR | One More Time 4/5

overall
This is perfect for fans of second chances romances and those who love stories set in Hollywood!

Read if You Like: great sexual chemistry, solid characters, second chance romance
Avoid if You: dislike Hollywood drama

similarreads

Laurelin Paige

With over 1 million books sold, Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio.

Author Links:Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon / Audible

Book Tour Organised by:

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