Saturday, January 20, 2018

New Year Book Tag


I found this New Year's tag over at Rosie Writes Things, but it was found on Pretty Deadly Reviews (original source YouTube - Heather from Bookables). Hope you'll participate too... it's a fun little tag about your new year's goals. I've been trying to figure out a new routine for getting blog posts written. So far, I have not figured that out yet and have been blogging at night if I haven't fallen asleep yet and weekends when the toddler naps (like right now). I figure a tag post here and there are fun and easy to put together so today is a tag! 

1. How many books do you plan on reading in 2018?
My Goodreads goal is 60. I figure one per week, plus a few extras. I'd love it if I could get to over 100 again like I did years ago, but with working so much and having a toddler it doesn't seem possible to me. I'm so tired all of the time. Audiobooks have helped so you never know... I could surpass my goal of 60 this year. 

2. Name 5 books you didn't get to in 2017, but want to make a priority in 2018.
*When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
*Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
*A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan
*The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan
*The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

3. What genre do you want to read more of in 2018?
 I've been on a thriller/mystery kick lately and I think I'd like to continue with it. I have quite a lot on my wishlist so it makes sense to keep going until I decide to switch it up again.

4. Name 3 non-book goals for 2018.
*Get organized. My office needs to be completed. I moved the furniture around, but I still need to dig through everything to purge, donate, label and organize.
* Spend more time outside with the toddler this year. She's older now, so I think it will be more fun to do a lot of outdoor things. I'm thinking swingset, kiddie pool, sprinkler, playing in the snow - you know all the fun stuff!
*Make time for extended family. I want my daughter to know her cousins and her aunts, uncles and grandparents. She sees hubby's side more because we live close by, but my side seems to be hit and miss lately. I want to make the time to visit more.

5. What's a book that you've had forever that you still need to read?
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - it was my Mom's copy and I really need to read it, but it's so many pages (over 1,000) and I just can't get myself to sit and read it. I need to make this a priority at some point. 

6. One word that you hope your new year will be.
I picked the word CHANGE for my new year post at the beginning of January. I think it's a good word. I want to see a lot of change this year. Possibly work related, but definitely family related. Change is good even if we don't think so at first. Time to embrace it!

What do you have in store for 2018? What word would you pick for 2018? Recommend some thriller/mystery books to me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry - Excerpt #7

Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry
Published: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 464
Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon | Books-A-Million | B&N


When Drix was convicted of a crime--one he didn't commit--he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the new Second Chance Program, the governor's newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.

Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor's daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn't may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.

When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle's parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix's messy life.

But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

Fighting against a society that can't imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves--Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence--and each other to finally get what they deserve.
Excerpt #7 
You know you hate being beaten by me.
From the expressions of the guys, I pegged them correctly. The girls… I could totally become best friends with because they knowingly laugh at their expense.
“I’ll play.” It’s a small voice belonging to a child, and my smile falls. Long unruly ringlets over a chubby preschool face. She stands on her tiptoes to hand money to the carnie, and he accepts it without giving her a second glance. “I’m going to win this time. I have to. Daddy says it’s my last game.”
The aforementioned daddy hands another five dollars to the carnie worker and picks up a mallet next to his daugh ter’s spot. Ugh. Knife straight to the heart as he throws me a pleading glance. He wants her to win. He needs her to win. He wants me to help her win.
I totally hate being conned, but if I’m going to lose, it will be to a five-year-old.
“Are you going to play?” the carnie asks me because it’s his job to make money. I want to answer no, but because I was once five and my father did the same thing for me, I fork over my five dollars, then tilt my head in a princess-worthy stare over at the boys.
It takes four to play, and I need one of them to lose so this kid can win. They glance at each other, waiting to see which one is going to man up.
“Your ego can handle being beaten by a five-year-old,” I say.
A guy in their group that had been hanging back strides up. “I’ll play.”
For a second, there’s a flutter in my chest, the lightest touch of butterfly wings. I secretly wish this guy would chance a look in my direction, but he doesn’t. Instead he hands the carnie five dollars and claims the spot next to me.
Wow. I’m definitely okay with this.
He’s taller than me and he’s in worn blue jeans. His white T-shirt stretches against his broad shoulders, and he’s gor geous. Drop-dead gorgeous. The defined muscles in his arms flex as he switches the mallet from one hand to another, and I’ve stopped breathing. His blondish brown hair is shaved close on the sides, but the rest of his longer hair is in com plete disarray. His freshly shaved face reminds me of a mod ern day version of James Dean, and everything about him works well. Very well.
I’m staring, I need to stop, and he’s also aware that I’m star ing and haven’t stopped. He turns his head, our eyes meet, and those butterflies lift into the air. Warm brown eyes. That’s when I’m finally scared into having the courage to glance away. But I peek back and sort of smile to find he’s now look ing at me like he can’t stop.
For the first time in my life, I like that someone is looking. Not someone—him. I like that he’s looking at me.
“We let her win,” I whisper.
He nods, and I lift my mallet. It’s tough to not get into po sition—to be poised and ready to strike. I love this game, I love winning, and losing to be nice is all fine and good, but I have to fight the instinct to go full throttle.
“You’re good at this,” he says.
“I play this game a lot. At every fair and festival I can. It’s my favorite. If there were an Olympic event for Whack-A-Mole, I would be a gold medalist several times over.”
If only that were enough to make my parents proud—or to make a living at when I graduate from college.
“Then I’m in the presence of Whack-A-Mole royalty?” The laughter in his eyes is genuine, and I watch him long enough to see if he knows who I am. Some people do. Some people don’t. I’ve learned to read the expression of recognition, and he has no clue who I am.
My body relaxes. “Totally.”
One corner of his mouth edges up, and I become tongue-tied. That is possibly the most endearing and gorgeous grin I’ve seen. He twirls the handle of the mallet around in his fingers, and I’m drawn by the way he makes the motion seem so seamless.
This incredible fantastic humming begins below my skin. To be brutally honest, I’m not sure what attraction is. My ex perience with boys has been limited, but whatever this is, I want to feel it again and on every level of my being.
The bell rings, my heart jumps, and I inhale when the worn plastic moles pop up from the holes. The instinct is to knock the hell out of them, but the tinkling laughter of the little girl farther down causes me to pull back. I hit one. Then another. I have to score something. She needs to think we at least tried.
The guy next to me hits a few moles, but in a rhythm. A crazy one. A catchy one. One that my foot taps along with. The bell rings, the little girl squeals and my hopes of win ning the large snake die.
A chirp of my cell, and I immediately text back my mother: Still at the midway. Heading back now.
Mom: Hurry. I think we should curl your hair for the event.
My hair, my outfit. That’s what’s important to her. I squish my lips to the side. It took her an hour this morning to de cide she wanted me to wear it straight. Then it took her an other hour to decide what I should wear on the midway, in case I should be recognized. Then there was the painstak ing additional hour to decide what I should wear to the press conference.
When I look up, disappointment weighs down my stom ach. The boy—he’s gone. Not really gone, but gone from beside me. He’s rejoined his group, standing with them and belonging. I will him to glance one more time my way, but he doesn’t.
That’s okay. I’m just a girl on a midway, he’s just a boy on a midway, and not everything has to end like a daydream. Truth is, once he found out what my world is really like, he’d have taken off running.
But I have to admit, it would have been nice if he had at least asked for my name.

Follow the rest of the excerpt tour below and come back February 13th to see my thoughts on this book:

Excerpt tour for SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME:

Monday, January 8th: What is That Book About
Tuesday, January 9th: Girls in Books
Wednesday, January 10th: Just One More Chapter
Thursday, January 11th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, January 12th: Stuck in Books
Tuesday, January 16th: Books and Spoons
Wednesday, January 17th: Snowdrop Dreams
Thursday, January 18th: Mama Reads Blog
Friday, January 19th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Monday, January 22nd: Books a la Mode
Tuesday, January 23rd: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, January 24th: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind
Thursday, January 25th: A Holland Reads
Friday, January 26th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
TBD: @everlasting.charm – IG feature

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor | Review, Giveaway & Blog Tour

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor
Published: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Pages: 280
Received: via publisher and TLC Book Tours for honest review
Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon | Books-A-Million | B&N

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he's put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank--until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.


I've been on a mystery/thriller kick lately, so The Chalk Man was right up my alley and it was such a great start to my 2018 reading year. 

The story is told with flashbacks - every other chapter is the present and alternates with the past. I enjoyed the way the story was unfolding while switching back and forth. You had glimpses of what happened to Eddie and his friends when they were young all while trying to solve the mystery that has eluded everyone for almost 30 years. 

Eddie and his band of misfit friends have the most interesting summer of their lives when an accident happens at the fair, a boy drowns in the river, chalk drawings appear everywhere and a young girl's body is found in the woods. There are quite a few people that instantly make the suspect list, but some seemed too easy to blame and others too far fetched. I loved that you unraveled a little bit here and there while the story flashes back and forth.

At times, I wasn't sure who the murderer would be and who caused some of the other bad things to happen. I wondered if it was the same person, a set of people or completely unrelated. The story really had me thinking and guessing and I love when a book can do that. Many books tend to be easy to figure out, but The Chalk Man really got me. I was constantly changing my mind on what happened and making guesses on what would happen next. You'll have to read for yourself to see if everything was linked, how it all fit together and who actually was the bad guy/guys this time around. I thought it was completely wrapped up at the end, but that last little chapter changed everything!

Who knew a story could evolve from a bucket of chalk? Inspiration can come from the most random of places and I am so glad this one was written. The use of the chalk drawings added an extra creepy element to the story and each time they appeared either past or present I became anxious to know who was drawing them and why.

"NEVER ASSUME. QUESTION EVERYTHING. ALWAYS LOOK BEYOND THE OBVIOUS."





About the Author: 
C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.

She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.

She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’

The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark . . .’-source
 
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