Looking Back and Going Forward

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My has two years flown by. I don’t know where the time has gone. I remember being a shy blogger writing my first post on my favorite author Sarah Dessen. I wasn’t sure how to write it or if anyone would read it. Now, fast forward two years later, I am still doing my little reviews. I am more sure of myself, but deep down that shy blogger remains.

I don’t know what I would do without you, my dear reader friends. You have been great. With two BEAs under my belt as a blogger, it’s been great meeting fellow bloggers and making new friends. I have a couple new surprises up my sleeve for indiereadergirl0329 that I am excited to launch in the near future. I always promise to be more active, but I’ll make the promise again for old times sake. And, try to mean it. I have a fancy new planner I’ll try to use better!

If you haven’t noticed already, indiewritergirl0329.wordpress.com is gone. I have decided to invest in my blog once and for all. It is official. One permanent name–indiereadergirl0329 for lyfe!!!

I hope you stick with me as indiereadergirl0329 grows and grows. And, as I grow. I feel I have grown a lot this year. More than I have shared. I had a tough last half of the year last year. Now, six months in the year, I am emotionally, mentally, and I would like to think physically, stronger than I have ever been. If you follow me on twitter you may have seen my tweet about forming a book club. I was tired of not having a YA book club close to me. So, I started one. On a complete whim. I got my first member yesterday. Six months ago, or a year ago even, I would have never done that. I am finally secure in my body. Secure enough to share my struggles with all of you, even.

When I disappear, it’s because I feel I can’t do it. I don’t have the capacity to do it. Or, strength. But, I am fighting that more every day. So, please stick with me with this journey as I get stronger and more involved. I love each and every one of you. I love blogging and sharing my bookish thoughts. Although I don’t read every day, my mind doesn’t allow me to, I think about books ALWAYS.

Thanks for a great two years! Here’s to another two!!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Fairest by Marissa Meyers!
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I’m missing my Bloggiversay week…why I’ve been so silent

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Hello everyone! I had a few posts I wanted to write this week to commemorate my two years of blogging. It’s a big achievement for me as I have trouble continuing things for a  long period of time. But, alas I have been majorly sick all week. It’s awful.

I just wanted to pop in and say I haven’t disappeared on you completely. I haven’t forgotten about you all, I promise! I am hoping to get another post out today and/or tomorrow. I will beat this!

Now, for that giveaway I’m hosting. I forgot to mention it is open to US residents ONLY. Sorry international folks, shipping to you is expensive. But, if you have already entered, and do win, since I did not mention it earlier I will give you a book from book depository.

Giveaway teaser time: I haven’t had the energy to take any photos so I’ll just hint at some books in the packs.

One lucky winner will get a copy of Fairest by Marissa Meyers, and/ or a copy of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and/or a copy of Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Plus, there will be a tote bag (hopefully) in each box with a goodie from my etsy business as well. There will be signed copies in all three boxes.

So, what are you waiting for? Enter my giveaway for some awesome prizes? There will be 5-6 books in total.

 

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Happy Two Year Bloggiversary to Me + Giveaway

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It’s that great time of year for me. BEA is over; and another exciting event takes its place–my bloggiversary. It’s been two great years since I started my journey blogging about books. My have I had fun talking to all of you about books! This has been a great experience for me. I can’t thank you all enough for sticking with me for two years. I’ve had a blast reviewing books, recommending books, and bonding with all of you. Time has just flown.

During this week, I will be posting about my two years blogging. Interspersed between those posts will be sneak peeks of prize packs that you can win. That’s right. Prizes!! What’s a celebration without a giveaway? Like last year there will be three prize packs. Unlike last year, there will actually be a grand prize winner. Oh my.

All the books, or most of the books, will be books from this year’s BEA. Since I just got back from Texas, literally four hours ago, I haven’t had time to make designated prize packs like I did last year. So, it will all be a surprise. I will post a picture and post every two days, so stay tuned!

I hope you can join me this week as I celebrate. Below you can find the link to the giveaway. I hope you enter!

Happy reading and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

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Let’s Talk About…BEA Books.

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Guess what everyone?!? Book Expo of America (BEA) is barely a week away. And man am I excited! So today I’ve decided to start my BEA posts with the top 10 books I am excited about.

Another Day by David Levithan

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

After Alice by Gregory Maguire

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

I Crawl Through it by A.S. King

Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall

Hello, Goodbye, And Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith

Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales

Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

The Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran Blog Tour and Giveaway

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Author Jan Moran

on Tour

March 28-April 16

with

SCENT OF TRIUMPHScent of Triumph:
A Novel of Perfume And Passion

(historical novel)

Release date: March 31, 2015
at St. Martin?s Press
384 pages

ISBN: 9781250048905

***

SYNOPSIS

Perfume is the essence of beauty, the heart of illusion, the soul of desire. It is my past, my present, my future. ?from the journal of Danielle Bretancourt

When French perfumer and aristocrat Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for the remains of her family, relying on the strength of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a British shipping heir and Royal Navy officer. Finally, in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.

Amidst the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Danielle works her way up from meager jobs to perfumer and fashion designer. Still, personal happiness eludes her. Can her sheer force of will attract the elusive love she desires, or will it only come at the ultimate cost?

********************************************

My Thoughts

The Scent of Triumph is a triumph. I utterly enjoyed it; pulling me in right away. As you start each chapter, there is an informative epigraph that is “written” by Danielle, the main character, that brings together life and perfume. I loved reading each one; there was something magical about it with no magic involved. Although the war was a heavy influence on the plot, there was still perfume on the mind–which I loved. I tend to be drawn to books that have talk about perfume or are about perfume solely, or a majorly. This book was no exception.

Danielle was my favorite character in the book. I though she was well-written. I liked her immediately and felt connected to her in no time at all. I could sense what she was feeling without the author having to go too much into detail. I like when that happens. It doesn’t happen often or as well as it did here. As for the other characters, I liked them as well. I was torn between liking Max, Danielle’s husband, but I adored John, the shipping heir. Not immediately, but pretty quickly.

The plot was well written. The juxtaposition  between the war and Danielle’s Hollywood life was different. What I loved the most, as is the norm I suppose in good books, is the end. Who doesn’t like a good ending? I would highly recommend this book. There were so many good elements in here. Jan Moran definitely did her research and did it well. I was impressed; and it seems like it’s hard to impress me these days. I hope you check this one out.

****************************************************************

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scent of Triumph - Jan MoranJAN MORAN is the author of Fabulous Fragrances I and II,
which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list,
and other contemporary novels,
including Flawless, Beauty Mark, and Runway.
A fragrance and beauty industry expert,
she has been featured on CNN, Instyle, and O Magazine,
and has spoken before prestigious organizations,
including The American Society of Perfumers.
She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School
and attended the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Writers? Program.

Visit her website. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Subscribe to her newsletter

Go deeper with her Reader?s Discussion Guide
***

Buy the book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks

IndieBound | Powell?s | Books A Million | Kobo | eBooks.com | GooglePlay

***

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below
.

Entry-Form

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open internationally:
1 winner will receive 1 print copy of Scent of Triumph

*

Scent of Triumph Vintage Perfumes

BONUS OFFERED BY THE AUTHOR
independently from this book tour
With every purchase of Scent of Triumph,
she is offering a free ebook of Vintage Perfumes,
a nonfiction guide to the finest classic perfumes, for epub and mobi.
Just email her some proof of your purchase
(receipt, email receipt, photo of yourself with the book or ebook on your reader, etc.),
and she will send you the free ebook of Vintage Perfumes.
*

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ OTHER REVIEWS, EXCERPTS,
GUEST-POST AND INTERVIEW

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I Want to Go to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality; Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger Book Review

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Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1)

By: Gail Carriger

Released: February 5, 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Length: 307 Pages

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: netgalley

 

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Welcome indeed. Floating in the sky, Sophronia’s finishing school is not your ordinary school. Not even the founder is aware!! I’m more than slightly jealous of the things they get taught, get up to, and the like. It sounds like so much fun. Who knew I would like Steampunk. I avoided it. But, now, I’m in love. Maybe it’s just Carriger’s writing. Oh man, the details! The clothes. The school that flies!!! Did I mention that? And the cute werewolf, a vampire teacher, Soapies (never heard of them before. They sound so interesting). Then the secret mission. It’s all so intriguing. I couldn’t put the book down. Once I really got into it, around page thirty or so, I was hooked. I finished it in a day.

Sophronia has become perhaps one of my new favorite heroines in literature. She is spunky, cunning, sarcastic, smart, and knows how to get in and out of trouble. I want to be her best friend. Now. I loved all the characters, actually. They were written really well. Each character arc was well thought out and developed. Even the minor characters seemed well developed. I could sense their personalities immediately. Sidheag and Dimity were two of my favorites. I can’t choose who I like more. It depends on what the situation is. Both of them are really different. Sidheag is not the girly girl Dimity is by any means. I liked her roughness. Whereas with Dimity, I liked that she wasn’t this rough finisher. She was more delicate, but very truthful and direct. She makes a great companion.

I liked this novel because although it had Steampunk elements in it, it wasn’t overtly Steampunk that would steer me away from it, or overwhelm me. Especially for my first foray into the genre. It was just so good. I can’t think of many negatives this novel has. The writing was pretty spot on. The plot was solid. The characters were strong. I can’t recommend this enough. START THIS SERIES! I am already on book two although I should be reading something else for something else. I just can’t help myself.

The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose Blog Tour

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Author M. J. Rose

on Tour

March 15-April 3, 2015

with

The Witch of Painted Sorrows cover

The Witch of Painted Sorrows

(historical suspense / paranormal)

Release date: March 17, 2015
by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978-1476778068
Hardcover, 384 pages
also available as ebook

***

 

SYNOPSIS

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this Gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Epoque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten. Her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s wild night of the soul; her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.

****************************************************************************************

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed reading this novel. It was fresh, provocative, and alluring. I was sucked in. I have to admit, not immediately, it took about fifty or so pages, but once she arrived in Paris and really entered the scene, I was hooked. Having read a book by Rose before, I thought I knew what to expect. She has a way of setting the scene before you to get you ready for the madness and surprises to come. She did that and much more. I enjoyed this novel more than I did the previous novel I read of hers.

There was something about this book that you don’t want to put down. Having read it in two major sittings, I really did enjoy it. The setting was perfectly erotic, but not too much so. Once Sandrine started to discover that part of the night, I started to enjoy the novel more. There was a darkness, but a lightness to it as well. The sensuousness of the novel was becoming.

I adored the Grandmother, and most of the characters in fact. I had some problems with Sandrine in the beginning, but they were slight. It was more of not understanding her situation well. I found her whiny, but honestly if I had a husband like hers, I’d probably behave like that tenfold. Once she really let herself go, though, I loved her. There was a freshness to her. She was becoming her she truly was meant to be.

I will definitely continue reading the series if not for the atmosphere alone. I loved how Rose painted that world. It pulled me under, what can I say? I hope you give this book a try. Remember, it’s just the beginning pages that are a little slow. Once she meets a man named Julien Duplessi, it’s fast reading.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

mj-roseNew York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City
mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum,
the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park
and reading her mother?s favorite books before she was allowed.
She believes mystery and magic are all around us
but we are too often too busy to notice?
books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

Please visit her website, her blog: Museum of Mysteries
Subscribe to her mailing list

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

***

You can enter the giveaway here or on the book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below
.

Entry-Form

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

5 winners
Open internationally
$20 gift card

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ OTHER REVIEWS AND AN INTERVIEW

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The DUFF Stops Here; The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger Book Review

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6931356

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

By: Kody Keplinger

Released: 2010 by Little, Brown

Length: 280 Pages

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

What happens when the school’s Male slut calls you your friend’s DUFF? A drink gets thrown in his face? Check. You sleep with him? Wait, what? This is a book where the main character makes some really bad choices

While at a teen night club, High School Senior Bianca Piper is approached by the attractive, sleazy, no good Wesley Rush. During their brief interaction, she is called the DUFF, a drink is spilled, and Bianca’s life is forever changed. What soon follows is a few months of bad, bad choices. The first…sleeping with Wesley Rush to “escape” her problems. Her mother is never home. She believes the DUFF label. Her Dad is becoming an alcoholic again. So, to Wesley it is. Then, the lying to her best friends happen. The ditching them comes next. Followed by a few spoilers I will not reveal. She’s a mess. And a character I could not get behind. There was no liking her. No feeling sorry for her. Nothing. I know that sounds bad, but she was a really hard character to like. She cursed A LOT. Did a lot of bad things and complained about it afterwards. Didn’t care that she used a human being. She was awful.

Many bad things happened to Bianca. Her parents were about to get a divorce that her mother suddenly sprung. Her dad relapsed after seventeen years of being sober. She realized some stuff about herself. But, in no way does that justify her behavior, selfishness, and attitude towards Wesley. I was team Wesley all the way. Now his life sucked. He basically lived alone. Was pretty much banned from seeing his sister. And his grandma, with whom his sister lived with, hated him. And, yet, he wasn’t acting sorry for himself. Yes, he was sleeping with everyone, but still. I really liked him as a character and oh man, the end! The end was amazing! That’s the only reason this book got two stars and it’s all because of him. Totally team Wesley.

Although I gave this book two stars, I would surprisingly recommend it just for the ending. It’s worth the struggle. I read this book in a day. Less than that. I couldn’t stop reading the train wreck. It’s one of those books you love to hate I think. I love to hate this book.

The Tale of Two Sisters; Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar

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Vanessa and Her Sister

By: Priya Parmar

Released: December 30th, 2014 by Ballantine Books

Length: 368 Pages

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 We all know about Virginia Woolf. But how much do we know about Vanessa Bell, her painter sister? This is her time to tell her story?

Told through diary entries, the novel was written more definitively rather than as an involving, engrossing narrative. This happened, then that, plus this other thing with so and so. The novel didn’t feel like a novel. It felt like a diary, which it was. It was a diary. I was really excited to read this novel, but it missed the mark in so many ways. First, is my big complaint of not feeling like a novel. I didn’t realize it would be comprised of Vanessa’s diary entries. There were postcards and letters scattered about, but they were written by other characters which I thought was weird, at first. Then, I started to prefer them as Vanessa began to get on my nerves.

Vanessa was written okay, I felt. She got very whiny towards the middle. She wasn’t this strong minded thinker as she was in the beginning. Which, with a cheating husband, I can believe. But, as I later found out, with her never keeping a diary, there was no reason to make her extremely whiny. I missed her toughness. It became scattered about. The side characters were becoming much preferred.

Her relationship with Virginia, although present in the novel, was not the main focus as it is suggested in the title. The entries cover all of Vanessa’s life, including the boring aspects of how much food she should order for parties. There was too much minute details that wasn’t interesting in the least. I wanted the focus to be on her relationship with her sister. Even when a particular event was taking place, the focus was often shifted.

This was a hard read for me. I’m giving it two stars, but it might deserve one. There weren’t many good aspects in this novel. I didn’t find much that I liked. I often passed the random correspondences. I didn’t truly connect with Vanessa. But, mainly, I had a huge issue with the format. I hated the diary entries. It was the way it was done. How it was all in the past. Her fights with Virginia (Ginia) had already happened so you can’t experience them. You can’t connect with anything because it’s all told matter of factly. How can a reader feel anything? I unfortunately don’t recommend this book. I wish I could. The cover is so pretty. The synopsis sounds good. But, it did not succeed for me in what it intended to do.

 

This Book is Truly Wild; The Wilds by Julia Elliott

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The Wilds: Stories

By: Julia Elliott

Released: October 14, 2014 by Tin House Books

Length: 376 pages

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired: BEA

 

For fans of Amy Hempel and Aimee Bender, this debut collection of short stories doesn’t disapoint. It lives up to its name.

In Julia Elliott’s collection of short stories, the journey is certainly a wild one. This is one of the weirdest collections of stories I have ever read; and, not been turned off by it. I tried reading Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls  by Alissa Nutting. It was just too strange. However, The Wilds is just strange enough. There is a story entitled “LIMBs” that is about an elderly woman with bionic legs living at a senior home. It was an interesting story that immediately drawn me in to the collection. It wasn’t just that she had bionic legs, although that was one of the best parts. She had Alzheimer but there was this new out of the box treatment that led her back to her memories. It was a really sweet story.

One of the more wilder stories was “Regeneration at Mukti”.   Mukti is not your typical restort. Oh, no. Besides being extremely Eco friendly, it is also the place where you’re body goes through hell, literally. It’s called The Suffering where you enter The Hell realm. It’s a nasty story with boils, puss, and just grossness. But…I loved it. Every page of it. There was something really unique about it that I wasn’t turned off by it.

By far, the most outrageous and my favorite story, was “Caveman Love”. Now, if you’re wondering if cavemen are involved, you’d be half right. The story takes place at a Cavemen-esque vacation place where you dress up like cavemen and behave like them. There was an undertone of orgies. It was hysterical, the orgy scene. I just loved the whole story. Like “Regeneration at Mukti” there was this uniqueness about this story that connected with me. The weirdness level was perfect.

This collection was great. I really enjoyed reading this. Each story was different. The characters were interesting, unique, and kept me hooked. There were some stories I wasn’t too fond of, but none that I didn’t actively like. I highly recommend this collection if you like short stories, or are looking for a new author to read. It’s very entertaining and will keep you wanting more.

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