Sunday Post #5

Posted 22nd October 2017 by Wattle in Blog Hops & Memes / 30 Comments

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

A whole bunch of nothing happened last week. But that’s okay. Because this week? If all goes to plan, I’m seeing Thor: Ragnarok on Thursday, woo hoo! Thor is my favourite of the Marvel movie series, I don’t really care about the others anymore (they managed to burn me out AND piss me off with the last Avengers movie so…*shrugs*)

CURRENTLY READING
(All book covers in this post will take you to their respective Goodreads pages).

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOG

Sunday Post #4
Book Review: Debauched by Jennifer Dawson
Book Review: Christmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine Miller

NEXT WEEK ON THE BLOG

Book Review: Taken by Jennifer Dawson

There will be another book review, but I’m not sure what yet!

NEW ON MY SHELVES

There’s a theme this week. Can you see it?

The Christmas Gift by Monica McInerney is less than 35 pages long lol but it sounded cute, and I was browsing Christmas titles for the HoHoHo Readathon! I usually read novellas during readathons, which is probably cheating a bit, but they’re so easy to get a full story and move on to the next. I have a couple of actual novels that are on my ‘maybe read’ list, if I have enough time.

Bought:

For Review:

And that’s it from me! I hope you all had a wonderful week. I can’t believe it’s nearly the end of October already 😮

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Book Review #11: Christmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine Miller

Posted 18th October 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 12 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #11: Christmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine MillerChristmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine Miller
Published by HQ Digital on October 13th 2017
Genres: Adult, Christmas, Holiday
Pages: 384
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: two-half-stars

Welcome in the festive season with love, laughter and the perfect G&T in Christmas at the Gin Shack – the most uplifting holiday read of 2017!

Gingle bells, gingle bells, gingle all the way…

Olive Turner might have lived through eighty-four Christmases, but she’ll never get bored of her favourite time of year. And this one’s set to be extra-special. It’s the Gin Shack’s first Christmas – and there’s a gin-themed weekend and a cocktail competition on the cards!

But, beneath the dazzle of fairy lights and the delicious scent of mince-pies, Olive smells a rat. From trespassers in her beloved beach hut to a very unfunny joke played on her friends, it seems that someone is missing a dose of good cheer.

Olive knows she’s getting on a bit – but is she really imagining that someone in the little seaside town is out to steal Christmas? More importantly, can she create the perfect gin cocktail before Christmas Eve – in time to save the day?

I wasn’t aware at the time of requesting this book, but it’s a sequel to The Gin Shack on the Beach, which I have not read. And I think my experience suffered because of this.

After reading a couple of chapters I figured out something must have come before, so ended up googling and getting a brief rundown of the first book. Because we dived right into Olive’s life, without any recap at all, I had no idea who was who, who I was meant to like or who was relevant to the plot. There were so many side-plots and so many characters I really strugged to connect with anyone, and therefore didn’t really care about the distracting drama.

This would have been a cute, Christmassy read; but there was apparently evil forces at work, trying to take down the Gin Shack. A health scare for another character. A blossoming romance between another pair. A family drama. And uncertainty about a couple of characters motives.

It was just too much! The first 40% of the book I was mostly bored as it was all plodding along, then the next 20% was pretty good, and then everything just became so dramatic and a bit silly.

There were some humerous moments scattered throughout, Olive’s idea of a mobility scooter really made me laugh. But it just wasn’t enough to keep me interested for the whole novel.

If this had just focused on Christmas at the Gin Shack, with the Christmassy cocktail competition (which sounded fun!) and the sub-plot of someone trying to undo all their hard work with their bar; this would have been great. Alas, everything but the kitchen sink was thrown in, so it came across as rushed and it didn’t really feel like things were resolved properly at all.

The writing was okay, but the pacing was all over the place (due to everything that was going on), and it did get a little repetitive at times; though I assume that is just the nature of it being an ARC.

I’m afraid it’s just a 2.5/5 read for me, it had so much potential, but there was simply too much going on and not enough actual plot to sink your teeth into.

Rating Report
Plot
two-stars
Characters
three-stars
Writing
three-stars
Pacing
two-stars
Overall: 2.5

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Book Review #10: Debauched by Jennifer Dawson

Posted 16th October 2017 by Wattle in Reviews / 10 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #10: Debauched by Jennifer DawsonDebauched by Jennifer Dawson
Series: Undone #3
Published by Jennifer Dawson Publishing on April 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
Pages: 256
Format: E-Book
Source: Author
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars
Heat Level: 4.5 Flames

One night in a moment of sheer madness I confessed my secrets to him.

All my life I’ve been pretending. Pretending to be the woman I thought I should be instead of the woman I really am. I’ve been faking it and I am good. No one has ever guessed. Except him. He just looked at me and knew.

Chad Fellows is not the man I want, but he’s fast becoming the man I need.

*

One night in a moment of sheer madness I held her in my arms and let her cry.

I did the right thing, letting her walk away, no matter how much she calls to the part of me that wants to rescue her. We are nothing alike, and she’s a mess of complications in a life I’m trying to keep simple. But then I touched her and made her tremble and now I can’t turn away.

Ruby Stiles is not the woman I want, but she’s fast becoming the woman I need.

Debauched is the third book (or fourth, if you count the Unraveled novella) in the Undone series by Jennifer Dawson. My reviews for the previous books aren’t on my blog, as they were on the previous incarnation of Whimsical Nature, but you can find them here:

1) Crave   2) Sinful   2.5) Unraveled

This series is admittedly not what I would consider my tastes. It’s borderline erotica (I’m hesitant to call it erotica outright, because I’m sure there’s more full on ones out there haha), there’s BDSM elements – dominance and submission, and the plot is the romance.

And I love it. All of it!

Dawson creates such great characters in the world of these novels, and Debauched is no different. We’ve already met Ruby and Chad in Unraveled and this is a continuation of their story which delves deeper into their lives – characters from the other instalments pop up of course, and it was nice to see them all again.

Ruby has convinced herself that Chad is all wrong for her; and she most certainly doesn’t want to buy into the dom/sub scene, but her friends relationships with their partners cannot help but pique her interest. Ruby starts out uncertain, and Chad is sure he knows just want she needs, but isn’t convinced a relationship is a good idea. They’re not sure if they can make it work; or if they even want to make it work.

Chad is patient and sweet with Ruby (I think he might actually be my favourite), while she had mildly irritating moments because she had an image in her head of how she was meant to be, and just couldn’t figure out that wasn’t her at all. They are actually kind of adorable together, and the wilder side of their relationship is just…it’s hot, I’m not sure how else to put it, keep a cool drink on hand 😆

Debauched is told in first person with dual points of view, and it works really well (as it has in the previous books). It feels like you get the whole picture and get to know both characters. I don’t think it would be as effective if it was told any other way.

The writing is excellent and there is something addictive about it for me. Each time I’ve read one of these books I’ve had an awful lot of trouble putting it down to go and do things I need to; and I often stay up late reading them.

I’m actually thinking about re-reading them all, and I hardly ever do that!

I definitely recommend this series if you’re a fan of steamy romance with a bit of kink.

Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
five-stars
Overall: 4.8

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Sunday Post #4

Posted 15th October 2017 by Wattle in Blog Hops & Memes / 20 Comments

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Our weather has turned and it’s starting to become warm. I am not ready for summer! It is allegedly spring (my allergies agree) but it’s almost at the point where I’m considering breaking out my fan at night. I’m not quite there yet though, there’s apparently some sporadic winter weather on its way. I’m not sure I believe it, looking at the blue sky right now!

My iron infusion went well, although it took 50 minutes instead of 15, but they knew I was a challenge beforehand 🙂 I had to lay there and watch morning tv, the horror.

CURRENTLY READING
(All book covers in this post will take you to their respective Goodreads pages).

I just started this one this morning, it’s moving VERY quickly. The crime took place within the first 8%, we just dived straight in to the story (and there’s a super obvious suspect I’m assuming didn’t do it!)

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOG

Sunday Post #3
Review of Here Comes The Witch by Ani Gonzalez

NEXT WEEK ON THE BLOG

Book Review: Debauched by Jennifer Dawson
Book Review: Christmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine Miller

It turns out I have a period of time where I thought I’d reviewed books and didn’t 🙁 so I’ll be slowly making my way through those over the next few weeks.

NEW ON MY SHELVES

Origin and The Furthest Station are both really pretty hardcover books, the latter being a novella. The rest are Kindle versions.

Bought:

Apparently I can’t resist a sale when it comes to ebooks!

For Review:

I was up until just before 2:30am this morning reading this baby. I thought it’d take me the weekend to read my way through it, but I could not put it down. It’s been a long while since a book did that to me!

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Book Review #9: Here Comes The Witch by Ani Gonzalez

Posted 11th October 2017 by Wattle in Books, Reviews / 12 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #9: Here Comes The Witch by Ani GonzalezHere Comes The Witch by Ani Gonzalez
Series: Main Street Witches #1
Published by FAC Publishing LLC on September 5th 2016
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 178
Format: E-Book
Source: Lola's Blog Tours
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars
Heat Level: 0.5 Flames

Jewelry designer Kat Ramos has come to Banshee Creek to break the famous Hagen House curse and, in order to do that, she must marry Liam Hagen. A vengeful ghost with a deadly history isn’t part of the deal, and neither is love. Will Kat be able to handle both? Or will the mystery of the cursed Hagen House remain unsolved?

 

This is apparently a cozy mystery (I think?) but it didn’t really read like one, it’s more a lighthearted paranormal. Cozy paranormal? That should be a thing!

It is a spinoff of another series, Banshee Creek, which I haven’t read. I don’t think I missed out on anything though – and indeed, it made me curious about that series itself, which I will have to check out at some point.

Our main character is Kat Ramos, she’s in town for an unusual business arrangement. To marry Liam Hagen, in the hopes of breaking a long held family curse on Hagen House. Then it can be sold and everyone can move on (one of Kat’s ancestors put a curse on the place). She’s doing this to make her dreams of owning a jewellery shop become a reality, as they will split the proceeds when the property sells.

There’s some quirky characters in this. The PRoVE team (Paranormal Research of Virginia Enterprises) were a delight, as was Amy from the Chinese restaurant (I hope there’s more about her in future instalments!) I liked Kat well enough, although her and Liam both made me roll my eyes. For a couple of people who had researched this place very well, they were both pretty dumb about it. Also, it was established that the house only had a grudge against Hagens, but then it seemed like it was against both families. Perhaps I interpreted it incorrectly to begin with?

Anyway. The writing was engaging, but the pacing was a bit slow at first, but then it ramped up and was a bit too fast. Things happened and suddenly it was over! I would have liked to seen the mystery of the house drawn out a bit more. We weren’t privy to Kat’s ‘solving’ of the ghostly mystery, which was disappointing. She was also one of those characters that just gets everything right first go, there wasn’t much tension at the climax. And the romance was…okay. It was just there, I didn’t feel strongly about it either way.

All in all it was a cute, fun read; if a bit short. I am curious enough to read more though!

I read this book thanks to Lola’s Blog Tours 🙂

Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
three-half-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
two-half-stars
Overall: 3.1

About Ani Gonzalez

I write paranormal romantic comedy and cozy mystery (whew, that's a mouthful!) set in Banshee Creek, Virginia, The Most Haunted Town in the USA. My books feature feisty funny heroines dealing with a host of paranormal critters (ghosts, cryptids, pagan gods...the sky's the limit) and mysteries. They find magic, love and laughter and readers get to follow them every step of the way.

I love quirky towns with spooky stories, and, thanks to my books, I get to "live" in one year-around. In real life I live in a Minneapolis suburb (which is sadly lacking in ghosts) with my husband and three children and I'm still trying to adjust to the cold.

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Sunday Post #3

Posted 8th October 2017 by Wattle in Blog Hops & Memes / 29 Comments

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

I have made close to zero progress in my blog ahead challenge so far, but I have written a bunch of notes for books I have read over the past few months…some of which I didn’t actually remember reading, oops!

This week has been super slow for some reason. You know those days that just drag and drag? This week was full of them. I’m getting an iron infusion bright and early at 6:30am tomorrow (yikes!) which I’m almost glad about. Maybe I won’t be so tired in the near future, and since it’s so early, I should be home for breakfast – although I might need to take a nap afterwards. I have awful veins, so I’m trying to stay hydrated. Water is so boring 🙁

CURRENTLY READING
(All book covers in this post will take you to their respective Goodreads pages).

I’m only a few pages into this so haven’t really got a feel for it yet, but the main character is an 84 year old lady who is searching for the perfect gin & tonic (despite not being a drinker myself, I appreciate looking for the perfect tasting something – for me it’s ginger ale soda in the USA which SUCKS BEYOND BELIEF! It’s not gingery at all, and every time I go there I try a few more…ginger beer soda doesn’t count, it’s not the same). Oops, how’s that for off topic randomness?

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOG

There were two posts on the blog last week (I know, how weird!)

The Sunday Post (#2)
Review of Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss

NEW ON MY SHELVES

Mainly the virtual sort (I have some actual REAL books winging my way next week, exciting!)

Although I totally just remembered, I got a paperback copy of Big Little Lies. All those Emmys have convinced me I need to see Alexandar Skarsgård in it watch it then read it! Everything else is on my Kindle though:

Bought:

For Review

I haven’t bought or received this many books in a long time, it’s kind of exciting! Even though I have a zillion other books to read, I’m sure I’ll fit them all in *cough* at some point.

Hope you all had a great week and weekend. Who knows, I might even have more posts go up this week 🙂

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Book Review #8: Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss

Posted 2nd October 2017 by Wattle in Reviews / 11 Comments

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review #8: Pressed to Death by Kirsten WeissPressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss
Series: A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery #2
Published by Midnight Ink on March 8th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 338
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Paranormal museum owner Maddie Kosloski has the perfect exhibit for the harvest festival—a haunted grape press. But when she’s accused of stealing the press, and her accuser is murdered, all eyes turn to Maddie. Knowing the perils of amateur sleuthing as she does, Maddie is reluctant to get involved . . . until her mother insists she investigate.

Does her mom have a secret agenda? Or is she somehow connected to the murder? Facing down danger and her own overactive imagination, Maddie must unearth the killer before she becomes the next ghost to haunt her museum.

For the love of…this one was a victim of my site move it seems, I thought I had reviewed it already but I hadn’t!

So here it is, my long overdue review (I’m so sorry!)

And the first note I have on this book is: ‘The continuity is shite.’ Oh my.

I’ve had this problem with a couple of cozies lately, now that I think about it. A character will say they’re going to do something later, or tomorrow, or the next day. Then in the next chapter the time passes and they never do it! With this one it could be because it was an ARC though, so I suppose I can let it slide…even it does seem sloppy.

The first book of the series, The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, was a strong start. But Pressed to Death suffers a little from second book syndrome. It was a quick read, but it was also entirely forgettable. I enjoyed it while I was reading it, and I really do like Maddie as a main character, but I never really connected to the story. It felt a bit slow, and like we were treading water for a while, waiting for something interesting to happen.

The second half of the book was better than the first. I like that there’s a mystery in the present, and one in the past, however there wasn’t really much paranormal about this one. It was a little disappointing after enjoying the first book so much. There weren’t enough twists, and it focused on Maddie’s love life a bit too much.

While I will be continuing the series when the third book comes out, that one will make it or break it for me. So far it’s promising, but just hasn’t delivered like I thought it would.

Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
two-half-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
two-half-stars
Overall: 2.9

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Sunday Post #2

Posted 1st October 2017 by Wattle in Blog Hops & Memes / 12 Comments

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Two posts in one day, what is happening?! IS IT A SIGN THE APOCALYPSE?! I don’t blog for a month and then suddenly…

Okay I’ll stop being dramatic now.

I realised while going through my blog posts earlier that I’ve not done my monthly overview of books since January. Yikes! I might try to start that again next month.

As mentioned in my blog ahead challenge post earlier, I’ve dropped out of university for this semester. I’ll go back next year, hopefully refreshed and with a better outlook. This year has been such a struggle for me motivation wise.

I did finally catch up on Preacher which is such a weird show, but in a good way. Now I’m just waiting for The Librarians to come back! I watched the first movie of the film trilogy The Librarians is based on the other day, it was so cheesetastic. It’s a wannabe Indiana Jones and I enjoyed it a lot (I’ve never pretended to have good taste haha)

As for books…

CURRENTLY READING

Nothing! But I did just finish the first two books of the Bewitched by Chocolate series by H.Y. Hanna, so I’m thinking my next book will be the third one. I do love the covers of this series:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOG

Nothing, but I did sign up for the October blog ahead challenge 🙂

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2017 Blog Ahead – October

Posted 1st October 2017 by Wattle in Challenges / 4 Comments

Hosted by Anna @ Herding Cats & Burning Soup (via The Herd Presents).

The goal? Up your number of scheduled posts by 30 in one month. The catch? The posts must be dated November 1st or later.

Blog Ahead aims at helping you cut the stress by blogging ahead and creating a stockpile of scheduled posts that are ready to go when life gets a little crazy.

Sign up HERE!

I’ve failed at this challenge every single time I’ve signed up for it. But since I have dropped my studies for the semester (short version: my mental health was suffering and I decided it wasn’t worth continuing this year), I actually have time to do this. Motivation is another story, but I shall try!

I plan to have a few posts go up in October, but also 30 (eep!) scheduled for November onwards.

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My Favourite Genres

Posted 3rd September 2017 by Wattle in Books, Random Things / 10 Comments

I am struggling with motivation so much lately. Not just blog and reading related, but life related. Study is such a slog right now! I won’t talk about work, because that’s not great either. Roller derby training is good, aside from the fact I injured myself (outside of training) and haven’t been able to skate since my first session – my physiotherapist reckons I will be able to next week though, fingers crossed!

So I logged into my WordPress dashboard just now, and I was going to do a review, but I don’t want to do a review. Then I was going to do a general ‘this is what’s going on with me’ post, but I didn’t want to do that either (and I just covered that above, I suppose). And then I thought…I could talk about things I like, things book related…favourite things!

And here we are. A post about my favourite genres, and why they’re my favourite genres. Yay!(?) I’ve decided to do a top 3, to keep it simple.

1. Cozy Mystery

When cozy mystery was first offered to me, I was very, very confused by its existence. Was it mystery? Was it chick lit? Did it always involve baking and/or cats? It seemed a bit silly and I just didn’t want to read it. So I ignored it, and then…I can’t remember how this came about, read one by accident. That was the end of that! I read cozy when I want something light, something fun, and something predictable. There’s going to be a murder, the heroine is going to get in trouble for investigating, 95% of the time there WILL be baked goods. Sometimes I’m disappointed by cozies, but I’ve found a few reliable authors over the past few years (and I’m always willing to try more!) This is the genre I read when I’m in a rut.

Cozy mystery recommendation: You Can’t Get Blood Out of Shag Carpet by Juliette Harper. This book is a gem, I’m so sad there aren’t more in the series 🙁

2. Fantasy

Not high fantasy (well, not very often), but urban fantasy and ‘low’ fantasy (is that what it’s called?) I like it when fantasy is set in the recognisable world, when it seems possible that magic and monsters could exist. I guess it comes down to me feeling more connected when a setting is familiar?

Neil Gaiman is probably my favourite author – I like how absurd everything is, his work is a bit dark and there’s always some humour. Followed by Rick Riordan (I am a sucker for his YA stuff), J.K. Rowling (of course), Ilona Andrews, etc.

Fantasy recommendation: this is where I’d usually recommend Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman buuuuut let me shake things up, Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, also known as Midnight Riot in the USA which makes zero sense, but whatever (the audiobook is also REALLY GOOD!)

3. Holiday/Christmas

Confession: I don’t really dig Christmas. Sure. I like having time off and eating lots, but it’s summer at Christmastime here and it’s always hot and eating hot food on a hot day? Not pleasant. It’s a holiday I find exhausting and it’s always followed by nothing but cricket being on tv.

Christmas themed books though? Give them to me! I tend to read them during July and then again in December. They’re almost always romance or chick lit, but they also always involve winter and that shiny happy ‘this is what Christmas should feel like!’ feeling (well, mostly) *sigh* I’ve read plenty of duds, but there’s some warm and fuzzy ones out there that I really do enjoy!

Christmassy recommendation: Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles by Eli Easton. Sappy m/m romance is one of my things 🙂 added bonus if it involves Christmas!

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