Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bye Bye 2013!

2013 is out the door!

And I can’t say that I’m sad to see it go. 2013 has had its ups and downs for me. The lowest point was when my father died in March. Though this devastated my entire family, I am amazed at how close we have all become. We have always been a tight family (and large too – I have 10 cousins and 2 sisters), but we have definitely rallied together.

Best part of the year? My house! BF and I officially moved in together (It took me a year to realize that he had some how moved into my one bedroom apartment). Blue, the best dog ever, has become king of his massive yard and I learned how to cut grass for the first time in my life. I’m also a big fan of decorating my yard for any holiday I can.

Other highlights of 2013? I was able to attend Romance Writers of America’s Librarian Day in July with several great friends and had a blast! There was also the Southern Magic Romance Readers Luncheon in November where I got to meet Jeaniene Frost. I was also able to meet David Sedaris when he came to town for his book tour/talk and I had a delightful time hearing him speak.

I am also proud to say that I completed my 2013 Goodreads Challenge of 225 books. I made it…by the skin of my teeth…there might be one or two picture books in there. Don’t judge.

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
JuJu has
completed her goal of reading 225 books in 2013!

Another great highlight is this blog. I buckled down and really put some effort into making this blog better. I have been fortunate enough to have several best selling authors agree to my ridiculous interviews and I have also started doing more giveaways. The blog has really taken off and I want to say Thank You to all my followers. I have no idea why anyone wants to hear me ramble on, but if you will read it, I’ll keep rambling.

I had a lot of fun in 2013, but I am beyond excited for 2014! First off? A trip to the Bahamas with BF. We are hoping to plan a trip to Virginia in April. May? Me and my sister are New Orleans bound for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention (She is tagging along so she can go to New Orleans and I’m just going for the massive author signing where I get to meet Lisa Kleypas!) Fast forward to November and my sister and I are headed on a cruise to Mexico. See, 2014 is going to be awesome!

But before I put 2013 in the past, I thought I would mention some great reads from 2013. I’m not the best at reading new books…I prefer to read older works…it really just takes me a while to get around to reading them. This list has a few new books, but mostly older works.
Fangirl and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – I can recommend these all day long.

Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot – Love the Heather Wells mysteries. I tore through the whole series in a week.

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb – In July a new friend recommended the In Death series. She said I wouldn’t be able to stop and she was right! I have read 5 of them this year and I only have 215 more to go…thanks Nora Roberts.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – A great book club pick!
My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke – A great audio book from a truly wonderful human being.
Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster – If you can find a copy of this epistolary title from 1912, you will love it…don’t watch the movie though.
A Parchment of Leaves by Silas House – Just beautiful.
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers - This is the 2nd book in the His Fair Assassins series and just fantastic.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple – Very charming and impossible to put down. Another book club pick.

I feel like I have read tons of great books this year and this is just a sampling of the ones that have stuck with me. What have you read this year?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Blood Magic Book Blast

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Three months ago, I lost my foster sister, Sienna, to the darkness. As in blood magic and chaos and general mayhem. No one saw it until it was too late, but I should have. Now, I have a wounded heart and soul that I can’t even reveal to anyone around me, because I’m supposed to hate Sienna with the fiery passion of the justified. And I do. I just wish I didn’t feel so lost without her, so unsure of the path I thought I had carved for myself, and so outclassed by the powerful Adepts constantly by my side these days. I’m not even sure if they’re with me for my own protection or because my shiny new powers are rare and valuable. Assuming I ever figure out who or what I am, and how my magic actually works. Even chocolate can’t save the day every time … just most of the time. At least I’ve got that going for me.

Displaying Meghan.JPGMeghan Ciana Doidge is an award-winning writer based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She has a penchant for bloody love stories, superheroes, and the supernatural. She also has a thing for chocolate, potatoes, and sock yarn.

Novels – After The Virus, Spirit Binder, Time Walker, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic – Dowser #1, Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic – Dowser #2

Novellas – Love Lies Bleeding

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop

2013 Midwinter's Eve Hop
Last giveaway of 2013! I decided to giveaway a copy of Nora Robert's Hidden Riches since I just started reading Nora Roberts this year and because I met her in July! I'm serious....
Awesome, right? Now on to the giveaway. This giveaway is open to US residents only. Good luck!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cover Reveal: Johanna Lindsey's Stormy Persuasion

On June 10, 2014, Johanna Lindsey will release her 51st book, Stormy Persuasion, which is the 11th in the Malory-Anderson Family series.  Here is a quick overview:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Johanna Lindsey returns to the dazzlingly passionate world of the Malorys, an aristocratic family of rakehell adventurers and spirited ladies, in a thrilling new tale of unbridled desires.

James Malory sets sail for America to honor a promise he made to his in-laws: His and Georgina’s daughter, Jacqueline, will have her come-out in America. Judith and Jacqueline Malory are not simply cousins; they are inseparable best friends. Refusing to miss Jacqueline’s come-out in Connecticut, Judith convinces her parents to let her delay her London debut by a few weeks so she can accompany her cousin. Neither girl intends to fall in love during her first Season. But Judith’s plans are overturned when aboard ship she comes face-to-face with the ghost who has been haunting her dreams.

Unknown to the Malorys, deckhand Nathan Tremayne is a smuggler with a noose around his neck. Determined to carry out a covert mission in America that could gain him a pardon, Nathan senses that beautiful Judith Malory is trouble. Somehow the minx knows his secret—and now she’s blackmailing him into doing her bidding. While passions can soar on the high seas, Nathan knows this aristocratic beauty is merely amusing herself with a scoundrel like him.

When the unthinkable happens in Connecticut and the elder Malorys’ hands are tied, Nathan takes command of a dire situation. Captaining his own ship, he turns the tables on Judith, as he steers them into some intense Caribbean heat where he will fight with all his mettle to win the right to her heart.

Reasons Why I Am Beyond Excited About Stormy Persuasion:
1. I'm a big fan of the Malory Series. My all time favorite book is Gentle Rogue, which stars James and Georgina. Lindsey has written a great deal of the Malory family, and while some are forgettable, I think Stormy Persuasion will be a throwback to the original Malory clan that made Lindsey so famous. Since Judith is Tony and Roslynn's (Tender Rebel, #2) daughter, I feel that Lindsey will take great care crafting this story.
2. Lindsey's 50th novel showed me that the old Johanna Lindsey was still there. While she might have written some mediocre novels as of late, One Heart to Win gave me hope that the author I fell in love with as a preteen could still sweep me up into a fantastic story. 
3. The heroine has my name! Seriously, no one ever has my name! 
4. Look at the cover? Yum. Definitely a whole Chris Hemsworth thing going on and I'm totally ok with that. 

I'm thinking I need to pre-order this book. Mark your calendars! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang

It has been mentioned lately that I’ve been reading nothing but romance…like this is a bad thing! 98% of my TBR bookcase is filled with romance…oh heck, it is probably 100%. I will admit that I have definitely been on a big romance kick lately. Usually I read nothing but romance in the Summer (Summer of Smut) as my way to cope with Summer Reading. It seems to have carried over into the Fall. Plus I went to the Southern Magic Romance Readers Lunch and in May I will be going to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in New Orleans (just for the Author book signing though).

I have decided to incorporate some of my other favorite genres back into my reading. I’m a big fan of graphic novels and I realized that I have gotten behind there. Here is what I have recently read:

Smile by Raina Telgemeier (I wrote a blog post on Smile – just haven’t posted it yet)
Robot Dreams by Sara Veron
Mercy Thompson: Homecoming by Patricia Briggs
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
Saints by Gene Luen Yang

A few years back, I read American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. I had seen it pop up on a few Goodreads lists and mentioned frequently in my grad school classes. I finally got around to reading it and I was very impressed with Yang’s ability to create identities in his characters that really connected with readers. When I heard about Boxers and Saints (which were published together in a boxset) I eagerly anticipated their publishing. Each novel represents a side from the Boxer Rebellion in China. I knew absolutely nothing about the Boxer Rebellion, so I was definitely intrigued.

I started with Boxers which tells the side of the Boxers, which to remove all foreign influence on China. The story is told from Little Bao, who is a peasant boy. As Bao grows, he is tried of seeing the injustice and vicious attacks on his community by the foreign “devils”. Bao starts to organize the rebels, by calling on the past warriors and Gods of China, to help run them out. As his views become more passionate, he directs his attention on the Christians missionaries who are working to convert the Chinese people to Christianity. As his regime grows more and more powerful, Little Bao loses sight of what is important.

A few days later I was able to get Saints which tells the story of Four-Girl, an unwanted and unnamed Chinese girl. Four-Girl lives a miserable life and eventually finds comfort in Christianity. With the help of Joan of Arc, yes…Joan of Arc, Four-Girl realizes her destiny to be a warrior woman for Christianity. With her new name, Vibiana leaves the family that has never wanted her and begins a new life with Christianized Chinese.

Compared to Little Bao, Vibiana’s story is not as developed in my opinion. I thought her life living with the Christians could have been fleshed out more.

I recommend reading Boxers first because you will be able to pick up on the references of minor characters in Saints. Boxers and Saints are interwoven, but each one can stand by itself. Together, Yang has created a poignant, but sorrowful story of faith.

Check out NPR’s interview with Yang. I read several reviews written on Boxers and Saints, but this article was my favorite, because you gain more of an understanding about why Yang chose the Boxer Rebellion. In many of the reviews I found, the reviewers had a problem with the amount of violence depicted and whether it was appropriate or not for teens. There is a lot of gore in Boxers and Saints and Yang does not shy away from the horrific, but this is a story that needs to be told. There is no way to politely explain the Boxer Rebellion, unless you present the destruction and turmoil that both sides caused. I'm not the kind of librarian that gives warning messages when I book talk a book. It is bloody, but you know what...so was the Boxer Rebellion. 

I hope you take the time to read Boxers and Saints and I hope that they inspire you to research more about the Boxer Rebellion. 
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