Tuesday, October 15, 2019


A collection of mini-reviews, quick thoughts, and books worth mentioning. Check them out!

Publication Date: June 13, 2019
Pages: 254
Source: Kindle Unlimited | Purchased
Rating: 4.5 of 5
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I've read some pretty incredible books this summer and I've just added THE REBOUND to the list. It's one of those books that kept me reading through the night. I was surprised that it wasn't as scandelous as I'd anticipated. I loved the age-gap storyline of the musician and his muse.

I've read several of Rogue's poetry books and while I have a couple of her novels, this is the first one I've read. Reading the novel felt like reading her poetry. Her style translates well - it's fluid and mesmerizing. As I read THE REBOUND, I kept thinking: I want to write a book like this. One that is touching and telling and giving the reader just enough at the right time to evoke an emotional response.

It's so good! I definitely recommend it.

THE IDEA OF YOU by Robinne Lee
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Pages: 372
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 of 5
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I can't believe this book has captured me so completely. I started it late in the night and after waking up at 3:00 in the morning, I couldn't stop reading it until I finished.

What I thought would be just a fun escape - a summer read with the older woman/younger man trope. I didn't expect this overwhelming story of love and all of the life lived in this story.

I loved it. An instant favorite with a permanent place on my bookshelf.

MY OXFORD YEAR by Julia Whelan
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 of 5
Synopsis (link to Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I really needed to read this book at this time in my life. It's funny how that can happen sometimes with a book. It was as though this book just called to me like "You've had me for a while and you keep passing me over. Now is the time." I didn't read the book summary, so I didn't really know what I was getting into when I started it.

I finished it in early August and just thinking about it still leaves me breathless.  It entertained me and helped me get through some tough moments. It's still doing that. I love it. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Review: SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID by Candace Ganger

by Candace Ganger
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Published by St. Martin's | Wednesday Books
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher | Blog Tour
Add to Goodreads


Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go

Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her. 

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It's causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects. 

Candace Ganger's Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye.

My Thoughts

I received SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID as part of a blog tour that took place last month. I missed the tour, obviously as I'm just now sharing my thoughts. It took me longer to read than I anticipated. I've been considering what I wanted to share about it here. It's one of those books that I'm afraid that it won't come across just how much I loved it and why I think others should read it. This is me giving it a shot.

I loved the humor in the dialogue and the interactions of the characters. Naima and Dew with both a delight to read about. I especially enjoyed Dew and his adoptive family and his relationship with his sister, Faith. There is a lot of open communication and attempts at understanding one another and validating feelings. And then there is Faith and her Nature Boy Rick Flair "woo-ing" - that had me in stitches.   

I appreciate this story for its sensitivity with characters who have experienced great losses and the recognition that everyone grieves in their on time, in their own way. The death of their parents isn't something you can get over. Instead, it becomes a part of them and shapes how they experience the rest of the world. 

Memorable Quote:

"If we acknowledge our right to feel like hell, for as long as we need to, maybe others will give us a little more breathing room, you know?" - said to Naima by her grandma JJ.

This book really touched my heart. Like another book I read earlier this summer - THE OTHER SIDE by Kim Holden, it really spoke to the idea that we need to take care with other people's feelings. 

It is my hope that readers find compassion for these characters, as well as for the people in their own lives who are going through some tough times and experiences. And please, please take the time to read the Author's Note at the beginning of the book. As it sometimes happens, the note becomes a favorite part of the book just as it did with this one. In case it needs to be said (or written), I loved THE SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID and I am so glad that I read it!

About the Author:

Candace Ganger is the author of Six Goodbyes We Never Said and The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash as well as a contributing writer for HelloGiggles and obsessive marathoner. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike. She lives in Ohio with her family.

Twitter: @candylandgang + @WednesdayBooks

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the publisher for review as part of a review tour. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Quotes contained within the review are from the e-ARC and may differ from the final published version.Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, October 4, 2019

From My Shelves Giveaway: THE ONE YOU CAN'T FORGET by Roni Loren

What does that mean? More giveaways on my blog! 

This week: THE ONE YOU CAN'T FORGET by Roni Loren

I love this book and ended up with a second copy, so I'm happy to share it with one of my blog readers.

From my review:

"Roni Loren makes it easy to fall in love with her characters and their stories. I was introduced to her writing with the first book in The Ones Who Got Away Series and I am hooked! I couldn’t wait to pick up this book and dig in. THE ONE YOU CAN’T FORGET is the perfect balance of serious and swoony and I absolutely loved it!"


by Roni Loren

Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages: 416


Most days Rebecca Lindt feels like an imposter…
The world admires her as a survivor. But that impression would crumble if people knew her secret. She didn’t deserve to be the one who got away.But nothing can change the past, so she’s thrown herself into her work. She can’t dwell if she never slows down.

Wes Garrett is trying to get back on his feet after losing his dream restaurant, his money, and half his damn mind in a vicious divorce. But when he intervenes in a mugging and saves Rebecca—the attorney who helped his ex ruin him—his simple life gets complicated.

Their attraction is inconvenient and neither wants more than a fling. But when Rebecca’s secret is put at risk, both discover they could lose everything, including what they never realized they needed: each other

She laughed and kissed him. This morning she'd melted down. But somehow this man had her laughing and turned on only a few hours later. Everything inside her felt buoyed.

She felt…light.

She'd forgotten what that felt like.

Giveaway Details
Must be 18 years or Older to enter
U.S. addresses only
To enter, fill out Rafflecopter below
(invalid entries will be disqualified)
Giveaway ends October 19, 2019

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 3, 2019

ARCtober Reading Challenge

Image Credit: KimberlyFaye Reads
I've joined #ARCTOBER Reading Challenge hosted by KimberlyFaye Reads and Romance Schmomace. The goal is to read ARCs. Easy enough. I'm altering my challenge a bit and will focus on writing reviews.

I'll share my updates on Instagram, so follow me there: @actinupjoli (#ARCtober19) and I'll share my reviews here on my blog. 

You can see the reading challenge details and sign-up HERE at KimberlyFaye Reads.

My Goals
Read AND Review

Finish and Review my current ARC 
Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger

Read my newest ARC  
Downfall by Willow Aster

Read any ARC from my bookshelf (or from one of piles on my floor)
So many (also too many) to choose from

For this challenge, my main focus will be to review the MANY ARCs I've read and still need to review. This is a must for me. I should be embarrassed, I mean some of the ARCs I'm reviewing, the books have been out for months and even years. Yes, sadly, years. 

I'm about to reach my Goodreads goal for the year: Just 3 more books to 100! So I can step back from the reading and WRITE THOSE REVIEWS.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Cover Reveal: DOWNFALL by Willow Aster


Check out the HOT cover for DOWNFALL, book 1 in the Kingdoms of Sin series by Willow Aster! Downfall is coming on October 17th!

Cover designed by: Hang Le
Model: Alex Clagett

I was naïve to think my marriage to Luka Catano might work.
I was infatuated with him from afar…
Until I met him.
He loved the challenge of his next conquest, anyone would do...
Except me.
A wife was never something he wanted.

Torturous was not a strong enough word to describe how I felt when I was in a room with Luka. Besides hating nearly every word that came out of his mouth, I also drowned with lust every time I looked at him.

At times I thought he might feel the same.

But nothing prepared me for what his family would make me become.


Willow Aster is a USA Today Bestselling author and host of Living in the Pages podcast. She lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband, kids, and rescue dog.

Listen to her Living in the Pages podcast:
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2SJE7bI

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

It's Release Day: FAKE DATE by Monica Murphy

"This book was like the best sort of dessert. I. Am. Addicted." - #1NYT bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken

Fake Date, an all-new standalone contemporary romance by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is LIVE! 

Working at Bliss Lingerie, Sarah Harrison deals with all sorts of—interesting clientele. Yet no one sparks her interest more than Jared Gaines, the ultra-rich, ultra-sexy businessman who frequents her shop, buying delicate little “gifts” for the women in his life. 

But one day, Jared sends her a gift from Bliss. Then another—and another. So when Sarah walks into his office demanding to know why he can't stop sending her gifts, he makes her an offer she somehow can’t refuse: be his fake girlfriend for the weekend while attending his brother’s engagement party. 

Next thing Sarah knows, she’s in San Francisco, pretending to be in love with Jared. Not that it’s a hardship. Once you get the man away from the office, he’s much more relaxed. Sweet. Funny. Even…thoughtful? Oh, and sexier than ever, of course. 

Their pretend relationship feels very real, very quickly. Soon Sarah’s in over her head. Could what she and Jared share turn into something real? Or is it all actually…fake? 

Download your copy today!

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/FakeDateMMGR

Release Blitz.jpg

Meet Monica:

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and HarperCollins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance. 

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she's not writing, she's reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She's a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Connect with Monica:

Friday, September 13, 2019

From My Shelves Giveaway: BRING ME THEIR HEARTS by Sara Wolf

What does that mean? More giveaways on my blog! 


I'm sad to say that I didn't finish this one. I received an unsolicited copy from the publisher for review. Fantasy is not my usual genre, so I was hesitant to start it. And I was right, I know myself and what I'm drawn to read and unfortunately this book wasn't it. But I know there are many readers who love fantasy, so this book might be for you. 


by Sara Wolf

Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Published by Entangled Teen
Pages: 370


Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.


Giveaway Details
Must be 16 years or Older to enter
U.S. addresses only
To enter, fill out Rafflecopter below
(invalid entries will be disqualified)
Giveaway ends Septemer 29, 2019


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