The Book Blogger Buzz Tour: Harlequin Junkie Guest Post | Dealing With Your First Negative Review + Kindle Fire HD #Giveaway

Hello everyone and happy Thursday!
Also, happy last day of July! It has been a crazy busy, wonderful and intense month for me - personally- and am happy to finish this month with a bang with a guest post from the fabulous Sara from Harlequin Junkie.

Sara will be talking about dealing with your first (or any) negative review. I think she has great tips and tricks to work around any writing blocks/negative feels you may be having about a [negative] review so.. take it away, Sara!

Dealing with your first negative review:

Reading a book is a piece of cake, most of us probably inhale the book in a couple of hours… but writing a review is much harder than it actually sounds. We as book bloggers put a lot of thought and introspection into our reviews.

So many things to consider: Did we connect with the characters, did the author engage us from get go? Was the author descriptive? Humorous….?

Writing a review for a book we enjoyed is complex enough, trying to write a review for a book we couldn't relate to is flat out exhausting IMHO.

I’m not a big fan of the term “negative”, none of us start a book with the intention of disliking the book. The very fact that we picked up that book to read means we connected with something within the blurb/story line.

So a good place to start your review would be to state why you picked up this book and go from there…

When writing a review for a book I didn't really care about, I ask myself these questions:
- What made this book hard to read? Was it the voice, POV, Characters, Plot?
- What would have made the book better?
- Was there one particular scene that was the deal breaker? Would I have enjoyed the book better without that scene or character interference?
I would try to introduce the parts of the story I didn't care for with "I personally…”

Additionally, the fact that we interact with an author on Social media should have no bearing on our review at all, not if our review is an honest refection of our feelings about the book.

An honest opinion truly does makes for a great review; It also builds credibility within the bookish community.

We are all unique in our own way, we have our own preferences, our moods vary from time to time.  We just have to be cognizant about the fact that we can’t ALL Love the same or EVERY book we read for that matter.

I’d like to hear your thoughts, How did you tackle a review for a book you didn't really care for?

Thanks for reading my ramblings

Now don't forget to sign up for the giveaway!


Release Day Review | Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday!

Usually, when I pick up a Young Adult novel, it's usually that of the fantastical variety. No shame because I love my YA Fantasy and Sci-Fi novels. 
Before beginning to read Let's Get Lost, I saw a lot of hype on social media - Twitter, Facebook and even on Pinterest - and was kind of excited to jump in before even realizing that I was selecting to read a book outside of my comfort zone. Ever since reading Sarah Dessen's Dreamland and This Lullaby, I like to steer clear of the YA Fiction genre so as not to cry my eyes out (though I sincerely loved both Dessen books) and found myself pleasantly surprised.

Here's the blurb found on the back cover:
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost. 

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most. 

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love. 

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

This book follows 5 different characters, each struggling with something in life - love, hope, loss, goals and acceptance - at least that's how I see it, anyways.
On the front cover of the book, you see what looks to be a road map with different spots highlighted along the way - kind of like pit stops. These are labeled as Loss, Hope and Love. I first thought that each of these feelings/stops on the map were significant to each character, individually, but in reality these emotions can be used to describe all of the characters in relation to whichever problem they are currently facing.
All these characters that we are introduced to are connected by one person - Leila. She is on a road trip to visit the Northern Lights on road trip up, and makes some friends along the way - Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia.
Hudson is a small-town mechanic with dreams to become a doctor. When Leila meets Hudson, he is getting ready for the interview of his life which could guarantee him a full scholarship for Ole Miss.
Bree is a teenage girl, running away from her problems back home (and OK, maybe her sister). She is looking to hitch a ride wherever the driver is willing to take her when she runs into Leila.
Elliott is an 80's movie buff and love-scorned on his prom night when Leila's (and her car) meet him.
Sonia is celebrating her (dead) ex-boyfriend's sister's marriage and dealing with the guilt of a new love when she meets Leila.
And Leila - well, you'll have to read until the end to find out her deal and why those Northern Lights are so important to her... or they used to be.

All in all, Let's Get Lost is laugh-out-loud funny, provocatively thoughtful and insightful all at once. You won't be able to put it down and if you're like me, you'll be left wondering what all these characters got up to once Leila left them to continue their own journeys. And while I love reading series, I think this is a perfect standalone novel - you receive a somewhat "closure" at the end of Leila's visits with these friends she makes along the way but are also left curious as to what they will be facing on their personal road trips to come. Which is, you know, imperative to a kick-ass novel. When I am left thinking about the characters for hours or days after I have finished reading a book, it's a good one.

I also wanted to mention that it did NOT make me cry. Thank you, Adi Alsaid, for making me realize that there is more to YA Fiction than the promise of tears.

Basic info. about this book:

Name: Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid
Review Source: Provided by Publisher (at RT14) in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing Company: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance(ish)
Rating (out of 5): 4.5

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository | B&N | Amazon

Author online: goodreads | website | Facebook | Twitter

Hope you enjoyed the review and I will be seeing you very soon!

&& Because I had to, don't forget to:

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:

Until next time-



The Book Cake Tag

Hello everyone and happy Saturday! 

I thought I would help kick-off the weekend with a little book fun. Since I have yet to post any tags, I was looking for some online and stumbled upon this one on goodreads, here.
I've adapted it a tiny bit... let's get started!

These books are not limited to just the ones I have read in the past year, but available to any and every book I have ever read. :)

Book Cake Tag

 - book that was slow to start but picked up as it went along:

Uh oh, my love of classics is showing. 
While not my typical book pick, I love Jane Eyre. The first 10 chapters, though? How on earth I got through that, I will forever have no idea.

 - book with a rich (great) plot:

Halfway to the Grave is the first book in Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series. I might have chosen this novel because I just read the deleted alternative "middle" for Destined For An Early Grave on Jeaniene Frost's website.. but I doubt it. I LOVE this series and while I'm sad that it is over, this first book in the series is one of the best firsts in almost any series I have read - ever.

 - book that you expected to be bad but tuned out to be quite enjoyable:

I wouldn't say that I expected Better Homes and Hauntings to be bad, I was just anxious that it wouldn't be all that great. And, if you have any doubt as to how much I enjoyed this novel, you can check out my review for it, here.

 - a book you found to be sweet:

All I have to say about Dragos Takes a Holiday is: I  Peanut. That is all.

 - a book that you found to be a bit predictable but pleasantly good

Don't let the word, "vanilla," fool you, people! This book was a bit predictable, yeah OK, but that does not lessen its impact on me as a reader. I may have cried, whatever. I try to avoid Sarah Dessen novels after This Lullaby and Dreamland because I just can't deal with crying and reading.

Chocolate Filling
 - a book you found to be sinfully delicious:
Since I already mentioned Halfway to the Grave, I will not mention One Foot in the Grave and Chapter 32... but it does get honorable mention. Instead, I would like to mention this series:

The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy beginning with The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty is NOT for the faint of heart. This book is hardcore and leaves 50 Shades of Grey fans looking like amateurs. (No offense here as I am a huge fan of the 50 Shades series... this book is just way too intense.)

 - a book/series that covered every element you usually enjoy/look forward to - humor, action, romance, world-building, etc.:
Because YES. When I first started reading the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning starting with Darkfever, I was expecting sex. Hey, no judging here! This book was in the romance section at my local Barnes & Noble and I honestly expected a lot of romance and therefore, sex.
Thankfully (believe it or not), there was none - in the first novel. There might have been some sexy times but this book/series ended up evolving into something I was not expecting. The world-building was so thorough and so completely interesting and unique than most anything I had read before. The mystery behind Alina's death was pulling me forward, curious and anxious for more information, and the sexual tension between Mac & Barrons? WIN. Just every thing was perfect. Sorry, but it's true.

 - a book series that you can turn to when you're feeling down:

For whatever reason, this is (one of) my favorite series - Sweep Series by Cate Tiernan - and it starts off with the first book in the series, Book of Shadows. I've read this book/series so many times that I had to buy a new copy. Currently, they have been reprinted with cooler covers but my love for this series knows no bounds and I still prefer the original covers... like this one I've linked to here. ^^

Cake Message
 - a book with a pretty cover:

While the Wicked Lovely series is also one of my favorites, this first book, Wicked Lovely, first attracted me to it with its beautiful cover. After reading the blurb on the back cover and realizing this book was about paranormals of the Fae variety, I had to buy it. No surprise here that I absolutely loved the entire series (all book covers were incredible) and Melissa Marr is now one of my auto-buy authors. She writes it? I buy it.

Cherry on Top
 - favorite book this year, so far:

This book was on my TBR pile for YEARS. I finally picked it up this year and now can understand why everyone raves about it, all the time. While there were other books I have read this year that were simply wonderful, Moon Called won out. For a full review and evidence of how much I loved this novel, you can see my review on the Vampire Book Club website, here.

So, that's it! And I tag:
Rachel from Parajunkee
Michelle from Sporadic Liaison
Sabrina from Freak My Geek
And anyone reading this!

Hope you enjoyed my Book Cake Tag and I will be seeing you very soon! 

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club:
Book Depository Affiliate:

Until next time-



Short Book Review: No Attachments by Tiffany King (Woodfalls Girls #1)

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday Wednesday!
Jeez Louise has it been difficult to update this week. This post should have gone up yesterday but the internet was horrid and my mash-up Monday post for this week is being postponed for next week because of some errors loading the pictures for the recipe part of my post -_- moving on!

Another week gone and you might think I'm just being lazy again but I'm not - I swear!
I've been reading and reviewing for If you are big into almost anything paranormal, I definitely recommend checking them out. They have been my go-to for book recommendations for years :) So happy to be working with them! So far, I have reviewed Moon Called by Patricia Briggs and Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper.

I also have a blog post going up tomorrow at on which trends I want to see next in book blogging.

Busy.. right? Just humor me, please. :)

On to the review!

Recently, I received a nice package in from the lovely ladies at Penguin Group - Berkley, NAL/Signet Romance, DAW. In this package, was this contemporary romance novel, No Attachments by Tiffany King.

**This copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

Ashton has left her hometown for Woodfalls, a small town on the opposite side of the country. Trying to run away from her past, she hopes that this escape will help protect her from the life she left behind.
Cue in Nathan, hired to locate the whereabouts of Ashton and report back to his boss on her exact location, he is also running away from painful past experiences.
Our two protagonists meet at the local bar in town thanks to Ashton's pushy (and likable) friends - Tressa and Brittni. Ashton and Nathan hit it off right away and are somewhat inseparable since then.
While they both have this "no attachments" rule where they pretend not to have feelings for each other and just focus on the sexual aspect of their "relationship", it is clear from their first encounter that there is more going on between them besides the physical.
The problem here is that both Ashton and Nathan have secrets they are hiding from each other. However close they get - both in and out of the bedroom - they both have their past hanging over their head, making them feel guilty and tarnishing the time they have together.

All in all, I thought the pace of the novel was pretty stable and trying to figure out Ashton's secret was an integral part in pushing me forward with the novel, flipping each page and wondering when she would spill the beans.

Honestly, I'm not much in to contemporary romances (if you couldn't already tell) and was worried that it was going to be difficult to get in to this novel and I really have been trying to read more contemporary lately. Luckily, I didn't have to push myself too hard to get into this story. It flowed easily and Ashton's secret and her connection with Nathan really did keep me interested until the very last page.

No Attachments is a quick, easy and sweet contemporary romance novel with just a dash of mystery. I think it is a perfect summer read and I am definitely looking for the next books in the Woodfalls Girls Trilogy.

Basic info. about this book:

Name: No Attachments (Woodfalls Girls #1)
Author: Tiffany King
Publishing Company: Penguin Group - Berkley, NAL/ Signet Romance, DAW
Publication Date: March 30, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating (out of 5): 3.5

Recommend? Yes

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository B&N

Author online: goodreads website Facebook Twitter

I hope you enjoyed the review and I will be seeing you very soon! 

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:

Until next time-



YouTube Faves & Dr. Who love #nojudging

Hello & happy Sunday!
After a week long hiatus, I figure it is time to come back and join the rest of you out in the "real world."
Although I cannot use the excuse of working hard (since I only worked some 32 hours this week), I did have my mom and sister visit me from Miami and spent most of the time after their departure, reading. And I might also be binge-watching Dr. Who... again. Because the new season starts on the 27th of August and I cannot wait! #nojudging

I'm currently working on ways to introduce a larger variety of topics available for your reading pleasure here on the blog. Aside from the book reviews, recipe posts and mash-ups, I'm trying to keep things fresh (for my benefit as well as yours). So you know, if there's anything you want to see/read, I would greatly appreciate any suggestion.

Today, I want to talk about YouTube. While most everyone is familiar with the website, not everyone uses it for the same purpose.

I discovered the amazingness of YouTube about a year or so ago with Kandee Johnson's makeup tutorials. Remember that no judging hash tag above? Please don't make me use it again. :)
Life in Orlando (or Borelando as I like to call it) is kind of.. blah. It lacks the excitement and vivaciousness that Miami has and that I am used to. It also took me a while to create friendships with substance - people who I could just chill with and feel content. While I am starting to feel somewhat content now, it was not always the case and I needed something to help occupy my time and not make me feel so alone.
Honestly, I read. I read a lot. The problem here is that I spent so much time occupying myself with books that I think I overdosed. Also, working 16 hour shifts does not make it easy to focus on the written word. What was left? YouTube.

The main reason why I want to bring up this web site is because I feel like it will be replacing blogging semi-soon. And while I will be touching upon this subject on parajunkee's site later on this month for our Book Blogger Buzz tour, I just wanted to share with you some of my favorite YouTube channels because .. uh, yeah. I can. ;)

In no particular order, here are 5 of my faves (book channels and otherwise):

Essie Button - Beauty and a semi-fashion channel, I enjoy her unique approach to describing certain products (beauty and non-beauty). I also enjoy reading her blog,

Books & Quills - Book channel that is run by the Netherlands native, Sanne. She posts about almost anything book-related. From book reviews and book tags to her latest bookshelf tour, I recommend this channel to any and every book lover out there.

The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon - because I can't always catch the show and this channel shows me all the good bits that I may have missed out on. 

Little Book Owl - Catriona is an Austrialian book blogger/vlogger and aside from her awesome accent, I enjoy her book selections and the way she reviews. 

Kandee Johnson - A hot makeup artist with 4 kids, Kandee feels like a superwoman to me. I love her bubbly personality and her crazy makeup skills. I've learned a lot by just watching her videos and my sister and I both binge-watch her videos when we're together.

Because I follow too many channels to mention, I only picked these five. For the sake of honorable mentions, here are mine:

*All names/channels mentioned have been linked directly to their YouTube page. Just click on the name!

If you would like to visit me on YouTube (though I have yet to post anything... but maybe soon?) Here is the link.

I also just realized that I have no food or food related channels... any suggestions?

Any who, hope you enjoyed this post and I will be seeing you sooner than you think :)

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:

Until next time-



Monthly Short Reviews #1 | June 2014 Book Reviews

Hello everyone & Happy July!

So, I was thinking that I read a lot more books than what I review here on my blog (I almost always review them on goodreads, though) and was thinking of what the best way was to remedy this "problem" was.

Basically, I came up with this - Monthly Short Reviews! At the end of each month, I will post short reviews on the books I have read as well as any links I can find to connect you to them.

Let's get started!

Name: First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1)
Author: Darynda Jones
Publishing Company: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal Romance, Mystery, Fantasy, Chick Lit

After RT14, with enough people raving about this series, I felt I had to read it myself. 
I have to say that I am so happy for these recommendations because I truly loved this book. I'm not much into the whole ghost story business and was a bit nervous that was what I was getting in to- I was kind of wrong and kind of right. Does that make sense?
So, there are obviously ghosts since Charley (protagonist) sees dead people. Since, you know... She's the grim reaper. 
The story went at an even pace and the protagonist is hilarious. You are hooked into the story line, instantly, and left with too many questions to not purchase the second book before you finish this first book in the series... Like it did. Loved it!

Rating (out of 5): 4.5
Recommend? Yes
Where it can be purchased: Amazon Barnes&Noble
Author Online: Website goodreads Twitter Facebook

Name: Bared to You (Crossfire #1)
Author: Sylvia Day
Publishing Company: Berkley Trade
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Adult Fiction

I feel like I'm late to a party with this one. People have been raving about this for a couple of years now and I was hesitant to pick it up. For one, it was being compared to the Fifty Shades of Grey books which I did, in fact, enjoy (no shame in admitting this).
But I was scared I was going to be rereading that same series with just the names exchanged for others and similar sex scenes spread out generously throughout the novel. While there were similarities, I am happy to say I was wrong. 
The beauty of this story is the love/connection between Gideon and Eva. Both having their own personal demons to conquer and seem to have been subdued (no pun intended) in a way that makes the need to create an atmosphere where they are the dominant figure imperative.
Needless to say, they struggle.
It's just a great book. Sexy and a great romance with some serious baggage - just buy it. You need this book in your life.

Rating (out of 5): 4.0
Recommend? Yes
Where it can be purchased: Amazon Barnes&Noble
Author Online: Website goodreads Twitter Facebook

Name: Second Grave on the Left
Author: Darynda Jones
Publishing Company: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 16, 2011
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal Romance, Mystery, Fantasy, Chick Lit

I got these first two books of the series on audible and was a bit dismayed at first because I wasn't a fan of the narrator. But the story... Ah, I have found a new series to obsess over. The first book was a safe introduction to the series but this second book? Blew it out of the park.
There was action, paranormal goodness (Grim Reaper - Say whaaaat?), mystery, suspense and romance. Holy sexual tension. 
This is such a fangirl review... I don't care. Read this book - now - because I know you will love it. :)

Rating (out of 5): 5.0
Recommend? Yes
Where it can be purchased: Amazon Barnes&Noble
Author Online: Website goodreads Twitter Facebook

Name: Boomerang Part#1 (Chapters 1 - 19)
Author: Noelle August
Publishing Company: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit, New Adult

I really like the story so far. It was a quick and easy read. Looking forward to reading part two. 

Rating (out of 5): 3.5
Recommend? Yes
Where it can be purchased: Amazon (FREE) Barnes&Noble (FREE)
Author Online: Website goodreads Twitter Facebook

Name: No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark #3)
Author: Kresley Cole
Publishing Company: Pocket Star
Publication Date: October 31, 2006
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Adult Fiction

After reading A Hunger Like No Other, I was a bit hesitant to get into this book. 
Once I finally gave it the chance it deserved, I found I enjoyed it a thousand times better than the prior novel. I love the connection between Sebastian and Kaderin. They both have this passion and love for each other that transfers onto everything they do - with and without the other. 
I loved watching the transformation from Kaderin's cold-hearted nature into something warmer and delicate and fierce. Great read - plenty of action, adventure and sexiness.

Rating (out of 5): 5.0
Recommend? Yes
Where it can be purchased: Amazon Barnes&Noble
Author Online: Website goodreads Twitter Facebook

Name: Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night
Author: Kresley Cole
Publishing Company: Pocket Star
Publication Date: October 30, 2007
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Adult Fiction

After reading No Rest for the Wicked, I dived right into this book. Finishing it in less than a day from when I finished the previous book in the series, I had to come up for air.
This series is just getting more complicated and complex and sexier as it goes along. 
This book had a lot more intrigue and mystery than the previous novels and I kind of wish that Cole would have explored the witchiness of it all more because I found it so interesting. 
Other than that, I am not sure if I enjoyed reading NRftW better or this one.. Decide for yourself and pick them up - loved it & can't wait to jump into the next book in the series.

Rating (out of 5): 5.0
Recommend? Yes
Where it can be purchased: Amazon Barnes&Noble
Author Online: Website goodreads Twitter Facebook

Name: Velvet Trap: The Awakening (Book#1)
Author: Mael d'Armor
Publishing Company: AUS Impulse
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica, Adult Fiction, FF

*Disclaimer: I received this book from in exchange for an honest review*
As far as the story line goes, it was a bit cheesy and kind of put me off a bit (hence the 3 stars).
The romance - or straight up lust, really - was intense. This novel is pure build-up even after the epic photo shoot scene. Dark and intense, this book left me wanting more and I will definitely be looking for for part two of this series.

I should also add that this book is FF so it is definitely not everyone's "cup of tea" as the saying goes. 

Rating (out of 5): 3.0
Recommend? Yes
Where it can be purchased: Amazon 

** I have also opted out of posting reviews of books I marked as DNF - "did not finish"**

So, that's it! Hope you enjoyed my June short reviews & I'll be seeing you soon.

&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:

Until next time-


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