Thursday, August 31, 2017

Utah Book Week: Author Events

In honor of Utah Book Week, I wanted to mention all the awesome book events our local libraries and bookstores put on. Since we have some pretty awesome authors from Utah we get to see a lot of them...numerous times. It's awesome!

Provo city library has hosted so many great events. I go to a lot of them but am horrible at taking pictures or posting about it but just last week my friends and I got to go meet Carol Lynch Williams for the first time and her daughter Kyra Leigh who just had her first book published.

That's Carol on the left and her daughter Kyra on the right. They asked each other some fun questions and then let the audience ask questions.  Sometimes the author's do readings...

And there's always fun giveaways too. My friend Kami won a free tarot card reading. We got to sit in on it and it was awesome!

And of course the authors always sign books.

So big shout out to my local libraries and bookstores that bring all the authors to us.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Review: After Hello

Title After Hello
By Lisa Mangum
Genre YA contemporary romance
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sara is spending the day in New York while her dad attends a business meeting. When she captures a picture of Sam leaving a bookstore there's just something about him that makes her follow him. Thus starts their adventurous day together as they both come to terms with their pasts.

First Sentence
I shouldn't have noticed him.

I've only read the first book of Lisa Mangum's Hourglass series and was not impressed. It came so closely after twilight I felt like it was too closely related...especially the whole romantic part, but when I stumbled upon this one at a thrift store and fell in love with the cover I decided to give it a go. I thought maybe paranormal romance wasn't Mangum's thing and a contemporary romance would be better.  I think I was right.

While some people might find bits and pieces of this story unbelievable, I only found one thing that had me raising an unbelieving eyebrow. Most of the other things were easy for me to suspend my belief and go along with the story.

I liked following the characters through their quest but couldn't quite connect to them.I felt like maybe the things that happened to them in their pasts was supposed to make me have sympathy for them and I sort of felt like the author only threw their pasts in to manipulate us.

But the overall story was cute and easy to read. If I think too long and hard about it I could probably tear this one apart but if this book had one thing going for it, it was that it didn't make me want to dislike it.

The back cover of this book has a small, simple blurb saying, "What if the first day of your relationship was the only day you had?".  I was worried the author would fall into peer pressure and not stick true to that blurb, but she did. Phew!

Should you read it
I think if you read Mangum's other books and disliked them you need to give this one a go. It's different and a much better read.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's Topic: Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre. Since it's Utah Book Week I thought I'd list the top ten books by Utah author's you all need to be reading!

The Hollow City by Dan Wells
This is the number one Utah book I push on people. Why people don't pick it up and read it already is beyond me. It's unique and engaging and just plain entertaining as hell!

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
If you haven't read a Sara Zarr book you need to. But which one? Any of them but I always recommend Once Was Lost. It's issuey and sad but so, so, so beautiful!

Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams
This author writes a lot of verse novels and they're sad and heartbreaking and REAL. I love them.

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
This Utah author has only given us two books so far but if you love Regency romances and haven't read one of her books you need to! I loved Blackmoore just a titch more so I'm recommending it.

Austenland by Shannon Hale
Speaking of loving Regency romances. Jane, the MC of Austenland, has just a tiny, tiny obsession with them. Watching her obsession play out in this one is a treat.

The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
If you love fantasy, this is the fun beginning to a series. I've only read the first one so far so I can't vouch for the whole series.

Elevated by Elana Johnson
This contemporary verse novel blew me away. I thought it was going to be a cute romance and was surprised with a much deeper story that moved me to tears.

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
A scifi retelling of Snow White that was both inventive and delightful. If you think Marissa Meyer and her Lunar Chronicles has the monopoly on sci-fi retellings you'd be horribly wrong. Read this one. You'll see.

Transparent (Transparent #1) by Natalie Whipple
I read this one a few years ago for Utah book month and was not expecting anything great. I ended up loving it...and really need to get my hands on book two. What's up with that?

My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions by Becca Willhite
This cute little romance is perfect for anyone who might just have a few too many fanciful, romantic ideas about love.

And that's just some of the lesser known Utah books that I read and loved. There's tons of books by Utah authors that you've probably read and loved and books that I haven't even read yet. Yep, I have to admit it. Utah has some pretty awesome authors. Am I right?!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Review: My Lady Jane

Title My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1)
By Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
Genre Historical Fiction Romance
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The (not quite true) story of Lady Jane Grey. Queen of England for only nine days.

First Sentence
The King, it turned out, was dying.

I read this one for several different reasons. First: It's Utah Book Week and it's written by three authors, one of which is from Utah, Two: My book club was reading it for August's meeting, and Three: I wanted to. It sounded amusing. I liked the idea of taking a historically sad story and rewriting it to be humorous, romantic, and happily ending.

Somewhere between hearing about this one and buying it and actually reading it, I had gotten the idea it was going to be overly cheesy and badly written. I was  (blessedly) wrong on all accounts. It was written very well. We got three perspectives: Lady Jane, (written by Jodi Meadows) Gifford (written by Utah Author Brodi Ashton) and King Edward (written by Cynthia Hand).

The story was fun and adventurous with lots of romance and nods to pop-culture like The Princess Bride, Monty Python etc. With all that maybe you can see how I thought it was going to be cheesy too? Maybe not but I was worried. It wasn't bad at all, however, the writing was well done and easy to read and I liked the story even if it did end a little too happily? *shrugs*

My only real problem with the book was the length. It was nearly five hundred pages and easily could have been cut down to around 300 and not lost much. That, and it's overly happy ending made this one likable but not lovable for me.

Should you read it
Yeah, I'd recommend it just be ready for that length!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sundays in Bed With Utah Book:After Hello

It's Sunday again! Day of rest and reading! Thanks to Kate and Kim for this fun prompt.

Today, in honor of Utah Book Week, I'll be scrambling to finish After Hello by Utah author Lisa Mangum so I can get a review up for you! What are you reading today?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

It's Here!

Ok, So technically it started yesterday but here we are! It's a week full of all things Bookish and Utah!

So here's what's in store.

I'll be reviewing these books by Utah authors. I've got a fun book event I went to, to talk about and my Friday Flicks post will be about Utah movie, We Love You Sally Carmichael. I might squeeze in a few other posts as well. Stick around! There's lots of fun to come!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Flicks: Annabelle: Creation

Annabelle: Creation
Rating ★★★★

What It's About
In case you've been under a rock, a happy never watch creepy horror movies rock, then you'll know that this is sequel/prequel to Annabelle which is a Conjuring universe movie. Here we learn how the creeptastic doll was created by a nice man who lives in the middle of nowhere with his wife and daughter. Sadly, the daughter dies and when they pray to any power that will listen to them to have some connection to their daughter, a power listens, alright, a demonic power...of course. This is a horror movie after all. So their "daughter" starts communicating with them through this freaky-deaky doll and it's not long before they realize it's not their daughter. Fast forward 12 years and the man and his wife have thought it would be a good idea to let some orphan children come stay with them...this takes place in the 50's...and we're under the understanding that whatever evil was there is gone...or is it? Dun Dun Dun!!!

So, we have this house in the middle of nowhersville, full of girls and the nun that's watching over them, where this horrible thing happened. What could go wrong?

I'm not the greatest person to review horror movies. I don't get scared during them. I actually just laugh. I do get startled when something jumps out or something and some movies disturb me (I'm looking at you Sinister 2) but mostly I just laugh at the absurdity of them.

This movie had all the classic cliche horror movie tricks. You know, footsteps behind you but when you look no one is there, inanimate dolls/scarecrows looking away one minute and then right at you the next. Normally that might be a big turn off but it worked in this movie.

 In a horror movie, I prefer things to make sense and tie together. Not just a bunch of scary crap that doesn't make sense and has zero thought or story behind it. And I like some resolution. I know, I know, horror movies don't have resolutions. They're supposed to think they destroyed the evil but they never really have. That's so you go home from the movies, turn all the lights on in your house and jump at every little sound.

This one doesn't really have any resolutions but since it was a prequel to the first movie it made sense not to have one but rather be a build up to the next movie. It does have an actual story line, though. It's not just scary to be scary with no coherent thought behind it. So I was forgiving.

The actors did a great job. I've always had a soft spot for Anthony Paglia. And LuLu Wilson did a great job too. She was in Ouija Origins of Evil so I knew she'd be good.

 All in all it was a fun cast and your typical horror movie with all the creepiness you could want.

Lets talk
If you're a horror movie watcher, do you prefer when you get to see the evil thing (even just glimpses) or do you prefer only partial viewings that leave your imagination conjuring up the worst?
The reason I ask is because this one had both partial glimpses and full glimpses and I prefer partial. Seeing the evil being, whether it's a ghost, demon, clown, or all around creepy figure tends to take away from the fear. Once you see it full on, in the light, nothing to just isn't all that scary anymore. What do you think?

See it in the theater.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Because I know you all love my movie reviews...not! I've done some random mini movie review posts over the years but decided to make it a feature. Pretty much every Tuesday my husband and I go to the movies. What? We love popcorn...So sue me!

Anywho, I thought maybe, since I've been in the mood to blog more but don't have much to say, that I could review those movies one at a time instead of some random mini reviews once in a while. And, yes, I know this is a book blog, and yes, you probably don't care about the movies I see but what the hell. It's my blog and I need SOMETHING to blog about.  So look for my first post tomorrow. I'll be reviewing the horror film Annabelle Creation.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: The Breakdown

Title The Breakdown
By B.A. Paris
Genre Adult Suspense
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cass took the wrong road home during a horrible storm. She saw a car pulled over on the road that night but something stopped her from stopping. When the word gets out that the women in the car was murdered Cass' life begins to spiral out of control. The phone rings but there's no one there, she feels like she's being watched and keeps seeing a strange man outside her house. Is it the murderer? Does he somehow know she saw the car that night? Or is the answer much more sinister than that.

First Sentence 
The thunder starts as we're saying goodbye, leaving each other for the summer holidays ahead.

I loved Paris' other book Behind Closed Doors so much that I couldn't wait for this one. When you love one book by an author, it's always scary to try another. What if it doesn't hold up? Luckily, this one did.

I got sucked right into Cass' plight. Her guilt at having not stopped and helped the lady in the broken down car, her slow grip on reality as her fear makes her a prisoner in her own home, her desperation to have anyone believe her when she says she's being watched. Yep! All good stuff.

The breakdown title could very well have referred to Cass' breakdown not just the car that was broken down. (see how smart I am?) ;)

And just when your sympathy for poor Cass starts to turn to impatience at her simpering, the twist is slowly revealed and then comes the good part!

I can't say anything without giving it away but Paris seems to have found a nice little niche of writing about women who are tormented and then get their revenge. And the best part is the revenge. It's always so rub-your-hands-together-and-laugh-manically perfect.

I stayed up late into the night to finish this one and can't wait to see what else Paris comes up with. Whatever it is I'll be right there to read it.

Should you read it
Yes! And read her other book too!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Mini Movie Reviews #11

Rating ★★★
No, I haven't read the GNs but I'm always up for a good science fiction. I believe movies are made to entertain and this one entertained. My favorite part of this one was the opening sequence that showed all the alien races meeting over the years to the song Space Oddity by David Bowie.  My biggest beef with the movie was Dane Dehaan. I can not stand his pale face and his voice grates on my nerves. Plus he looks like he's 12 years old. He sort of ruined the whole movie for me. Still, it was beautiful and eye pleasing and, as I mentioned, entertaining.

Atomic Blonde 
I had high hopes for this one. There aren't enough kick ass heroine movies out there anymore. I couldn't wait to see Charlize Theron beat the crap out of people. Sadly, I was bored through most of the movie. It was disjointed and confusing, as it jumped from past to present, and the twist at the ending didn't feel like a twist at all to me. I love James McAvoy but he disappointed in this one. However, I did like Bill Skarsgard. He's an up and coming star that I'm really liking. Just skip this one, though.  I guess we'll have to wait for someone else to get the kick ass heroine movie right.

Rating ★★★
I think the collective time I spent watching the preview for this one at the theater, on rentals, and Facebook adds was probably longer that the actual movie. It was SOOO over  advertised! I was so sick of seeing the preview that I denounced seeing the movie. However, my husband wanted to see it (isn't that how it always goes?) so I relented. Perhaps it was my incredibly low expectations but the movie was entertaining. I knew nothing about this historical event and while I heard the movie got some things wrong, I think it got its point across. I liked how it followed a select few people around to tell the story. It made me connect emotionally. I liked it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: The Secret

Title The Secret
By Rhonda Byrne
Genre Non Fiction/Self Help
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it.(From Goodreads)

Ya'll remember when this book came out right? It seemed like everyone was talking about it and then they made a movie (which I haven't seen) and it surged in popularity again. Well, if you haven't heard of it it's basically about The Law of Attraction. You know, what you think about you make reality. 

In the end I gave this book five stars because I think there's definitely something to this theory. I've seen it happen in my own life in certain areas. It's pretty cool and also pretty sad when you see how much negativity and sadness you can draw to yourself. 

While I was reading this I was slapped in the face with what a horrifically negative thinker I am and if nothing else, came away from it determined to think more positively and draw more beautiful happy things into my life. 

The book was written in a really hokey way. You can almost hear the narrator saying the cliched, "I did it and you can too!". For a book trying to share a secret that has helped out tons of people I wished it hadn't been presented in such a self help/motivational tone. 

So do I believe I can make myself a millionaire just by thinking about it and sitting back and watching the money come in? No. I have my own opinions about how The Secret works but I thought there was some truth in these pages and I liked how it encouraged me to be more positive, grateful and loving. Can't really fault a book that does that, can you? 

Should you read it
At just under 200 pages, I think it's worth a read for sure.  

Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: Attachments

Title Attachments
By Rainbow Rowell
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Burned once twice shy Lincoln still lives at home with his mother much to his mother's delight and sister's frustration. Endlessly getting college degrees has become a hobby and he's just landed a cushy job monitoring employee emails at a big newspaper. Content, eating his mother's delicious cooking and playing D&D on the weekends, Lincoln has no real motivation to make any changes but when he begins reading emails between two girls at his office he finds himself immersed in their lives and falling for one of them  but she's never be interested in a big oaf like him...would she?

First Sentence
"Would it kill you to get here before noon?"

After reading all of Rainbow Rowell's books but Carry On (didn't like that part of Fangirl so no thanks) and disliking most of them, or just not being wowed, I had very low expectations for this one. So it was to my great surprise that I ended up loving it. Not just loving it but adoring it! Like Madly, deeply adoring it. I want to buy a hard copy so I can lovingly hold it and read about sweet, shy, adorkable, Lincoln over and over again!

And it wasn't just Lincoln. Beth and Jennifer felt like long lost friends. I loved their emails to each other almost as much as I loved Lincoln. I felt like I knew them and could have joined right in a conversation with them. I've always loved reading books written in epistolary form and that mixed with Lincoln made this the perfect book for me.

I've been pushing this book on just about anyone who hasn't read it yet and had such a huge book hangover after reading it. Sigh! Don't you just love when a book does that to you?

While I did find the ending a bit fantastical I liked putting reality on hold and just embracing the magic of an attraction that strong. It was wonderful.

Should you read it
You haven't read it yet? Hold on, just give me your address and I'll send it to you so long as you drop whatever crap book you're reading right now and read this one instead.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday's In Bed With...IT

My friends Kate and Kim have this fun post they do every Sunday sharing what they're reading in bed.  I thought I'd join in today since I spent the morning cleaning my house one handed due to tendinitis. I deserve take it easy now and read.

I'm reading IT. I plan on seeing the new movie adaptation this September so I thought I'd read the book. Don't worry, I'm not scared of clowns so I'll be safe.

What are you reading this Sunday?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Utah Book Week 2017

It's that time of year again! August 25th through the 31st is Utah Book Week! I'm so glad my friends decided to host it this year. I was going to read some Utah author books this month in an unofficial nod to past years because I didn't think anyone was going to host this year but I have awesome friends!

If you want to join in and read books by Utah authors for that week please do. It's so fun! And go check out their blog page to hear more about other exciting things going on.

Here's the books I'm planning on reading.

Yeah, yeah, I'm only reading two but it's only a week. Give me a break!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Review: The Winner's Crime

Title The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2)
By Marie Rutkoski
Genre YA Fantasy
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

After sacrificing herself to save Arin Kestrel finds herself engaged to the crown prince. With parties and celebrations filling most of her days Kestrel's spirits sink lower and lower. She can tell no one of her sacrifice and lives in fear for her life at every turn.

First Sentence
She cut herself opening the envelope.

Argh! Guys you have no idea how much I'm loving this story! Let me enlighten you! But first...I can't really talk about this one without going into the story so if you haven't read this one or don't like spoilers, I'm sorry. Go ahead and skip rant.

Guys! My heart broke in this one. I couldn't stand watching poor Kestrel be strong. She's so awesome. She's in such a horrible position and she still starts spying on the court for Herran and stupid, loathsome, moron Arin can't get past his own ego to see what's really going on. I'm telling you, I wanted to rip his eyes out and shove them at Kestrel screaming, "look"! Seriously. The guys a moron. I kind of wish Kestrel doesn't end up with him but we all know she will. He doesn't deserve her. All I know is, there better be some serious groveling from Arin if she takes him back.

That ending! Watching Kestrel's dad betray her broke my heart. I think I screamed a little and almost threw my kindle across the room. What a jerk! How could he do that to his own daughter?! I'll never forgive him!

If I didn't have so many commitments I would have dived into book three. I need to see how this is all going to turn out. Soon. I'll get there soon.

Phew! Thanks for letting me gush and rant.

Should you read it
Uh, yeah.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Review: The Paper Magician

Title The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician #1)
By Charlie N. Holmberg
Genre YA Fantasy
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ceony Twill has just graduated Magic school. She hopes to apprentice with any kind of magic but Paper but Paper is just what she's going to get. But the Paper Magician Thane surprises her with his kindness and maybe working with paper isn't so bad. When Thane's heart is taken by his ex, an evil magician practicing the forbidden magic of flesh Ceony will have to put what little knowledge she has of paper to use and save her Thane.

First Sentence
For the past five years, Ceony had wanted to be a Smelter.

A local author and book club book made this one an inevitable read for me. I'd seen it around and had been curious but my book club made me pick it up sooner than I had intended.

I actually ended up liking this one. Which is no surprise since the majority of my book club didn't like it. (I'm always of the opposite opinion) I thought Thane was instantly likable and could see what Ceony liked about him. I also like how she went into his heart and got to learn so much about him. Ceony bugged me a bit at first because of her somewhat snooty manner but she started to grow on me. And she was definitely braver than I am.

It was a quick and fun adventure and I'm interested enough to read the rest of the series.

My book club's major problem with this one was there wasn't enough meat to it. It is short at just over 200 pages and I completely agree with them that there should have been a bit more to it. One book club member pointed out that the second act was missing and it was voted the best analogy of the night. The second act is indeed missing. We go from introductions straight to the final show down.

I, however, was more forgiving. This is the authors's first book and I thought for a debut book it was fine. It could have been better with a bit more story but I liked it.

Should you read it
I wouldn't shove this one at you as the best book ever written but I'd give it a thumbs up if you asked.

Friday, August 4, 2017

July Wrap-Up 2017

YAY!!! July is over! Sorry, but I really hate July! Actually this year it went pretty fast but it was still stagnant and hot and miserable. That, and all the craziness in my life with remodeling resulted in me reading only 4 books. But guess what? The remodel is done!!!! My life should calm down just a tiny bit now. Fingers crossed.

A Merciful Truth by Kendra Elliot, The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski, The Paper Magician by Charlie N Holmberg and Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.

Guys, my favorite book this month was Attachments. I have disliked every other book of Rowell's so I was so skeptical but I absolutely adored this book! I'm in love with Lincoln now and had a major book hangover when it ended. Sigh! Least favorite was A Merciful Truth which I received for free for an honest review so I feel a bit bad. Oh well.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Review: A Merciful Truth

Title A Merciful Truth (Mercy Killpatrick 2)
By Kendra Elliot
Genre Adult crime/fiction
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Back in her hometown of Eagle's Nest Oregon FBI Agent Mercy was hoping for a warm welcoming from family but while some are welcoming others are not. Meanwhile an arsonist turned murderer is on the loose. Can Mercy and her lover Police Chief Truman Daly find who's behind the crimes before it's too late?

First Sentence 
Police Chief Truman Daly slammed the door of his Tahoe and raised a hand to protect his face from the heat of the fire.

I received a copy of A Merciful Truth from the kind folks at Montlake Romance in exchange for an honest review. 

Having not read the first book in this series I was a little afraid I wouldn't know what was going on but I felt that I caught on pretty quickly. Mercy has just transferred from Portland back to her home town of Eagle's Nest Oregon and is dating the Police Chief Truman Daly. Her brother was killed not too long ago and she is now the guardian of his daughter. The death of her brother is what, I'm assuming, was covered in the first book. Don't take my word for it, though, I'm just assuming.

I felt like this one stood on its own storywise. While I liked watching Mercy track down the arsonist with Truman's help as the story unfolded, I found far too much telling not showing going on. As a result I couldn't really connect to the characters. They felt one dimensional; like character cutouts of a FBI agent and a police chief. Even Mercy's niece felt like your typical teenager. They were just too standard. I wanted to connect to them but couldn't.

There was quite a few things that were far too convenient as well. I tried to be forgiving but found far too many things that were unbelievable.

I know it sounds like I hated this one and that's not entirely true. I didn't hate it but was a bit disappointed. Maybe I'm just burned out on these crime novels (as I've mentioned before) or maybe I wasn't in the mood but this one fell a bit flat for me.

Should you read it
If crime novels are your thing then give this one a go. Though, I might recommend reading the first in the series before reading this one.