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On a Book Bender

Like It, Top Off Tuesday

in Top Off Tuesday

It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.

Still haven’t figured out what the blurb is attempting to say, though.


Vaughn Asher. I’ve stalked him relentlessly. I shaped and formed my lust into the perfect dirty hashtag…day after day… weekend after weekend. He was my prince. My fairy tale. My fantasy.

I gave him the best years of my online life and what did he do for me?

Ruined my social media experience one tweet at a time. That’s what.

MovieStar @VaughnAsher
@FilthyBlueBird #Fantastic #BackToNatureFucking
#MissingSomething #You

And now #TheDickWhoIsVaughnAsher thinks he can weasel his way back into this filthy blue bird’s Twitter account? He’s wrong.

His public fantasy is about to collide… ah, fuck it. He’s hot as hell, bitches. I need more than a free sample. This time I want it all and I’ll do whatever it takes to get it.
-from Goodreads

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn {Amanda’s Review}Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Series: The Bridertons #4
Also in this series: It's In His Kiss, The Duke And I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer From a Gentleman
Published by Harper Collins
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend's brother for . . . well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret . . . and fears she doesn't know him at all.Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone's preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can't seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. But when Colin returns to London from a trop aboard he discovers notyhing in his life is quite the same—especially Penelope Featherington! The girl haunting his dreams. But when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide . . . is she his biggest threat—or his promise of a happy ending?

#insixwords: Wanted to reread this book immediately.

Thoughts on Romancing Mister Bridgerton

*pauses* *basks in the glow of this book* *basks some more* *stares lovingly at it*

If it’s not obviously by the above, I loved this book. L.O.V.E.D. So many of you said how amazing this book was, and I believed you, but it wasn’t until I read it for myself that I believed you believed you. You were right. SO RIGHT.

And yes… if you want to experience this book in all its glory, start from the series beginning. Everything BUILDS to this moment. And it is well, well worth the wait. I wanted to reread Romancing Mister Bridgerton before I was even finished with it… it’s that good.

We finally learn the identity of Lady Whistledown and even though I thought I knew who it was, Julia Quinn had me second guessing, and that’s the sign of a gooooooood mystery. “But… but… I thought it was…” And just when I gave up on my guess… I found out who it was.

And, you know, I adored Penelope. She was smart and funny and I was cheering for her and Colin. I liked Colin’s secret. I liked the way he fell for Penelope. Just talking about it makes me want to reread the book. It was everything I was expecting (which is saying something since it was recommended so highly) and more. I laughed out loud more than once.

The Bridgerton family didn’t disappoint, either. I love this family. Hardcore. It’s one of the reasons why I love Julia Quinn so much—the families. Can’t wait to dig into the next book. (And probably reread this one too.)


Are You Obsessed With Failure?

in Discussion


It seems that everywhere I turn on social media—especially during Bout of Books—people are talking about their failures: what they didn’t accomplish, what they wanted to accomplish but were prevented by something or other.

And it needs to stop.

I almost wish I could single a person out and say, “Yes. She’s obsessed with failure,” but you only have to watch #boutofbooks during the first day to realize that people are quick to judge themselves as failing. And it’d be easier to ignore if it was only one or two people.

But too many are quick to label their progress (or lack thereof) as failure. Loudly and repeatedly. I’ve already said that it’s okay to fail, but here’s another one:

Failure is subjective.

YOU define what failure is. You set your goals. You can change them. You can forgive yourself if you don’t reach them. What’s more: constantly complaining of failure—or disappointment in your lack of progress—is a sign of negativity.

The thing is, positive people don’t let “failure” slow them down. If they don’t accomplish what they wanted to, they move on and focus what they can accomplish tomorrow, not announce their “failings” to Twitter and ruminate over what they, in reality, have no control over.

I said this during Bout of Books, and I’ll say it now: you have a choice in how you perceive a situation. You can choose a) to be bummed you can’t read as much as you want or b) to have fun.

Life is entirely what you make of it. You can choose to focus on your “failures” and all that you haven’t accomplished or you can choose to focus on what you have accomplished.

No matter how much you resist it—and yes, I’ve done a fair amount of resisting myself—your choices influence your happiness

Bout of Books gets exhausting, not because of the amount of work it requires, but because of the amount of negativity we’re exposed to. Complaining literally hurts your brain.

Think about that the next time you get on Twitter or open a new draft on your dashboard: complaining—talking about all your failures—hurts your brain and the brains of everyone else who has to listen to it. The other hard truth is this: you’re the only one who cares about your failures.

The rest of us are too concerned about our own problems to worry about yours.

And yeah, I get it. We want validation for our feelings and disappointments. But wallowing in your “failures” won’t change them. You can only move forward.

How often do YOU talk about your failures?

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon {Jenna’s Review}The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Published by A&C Black
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Add to Goodreads
EVEN A DREAMER CAN START A REVOLUTION Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing The New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller also includes an exclusive excerpt of the sequel, The Mime Order.

An impressively memorable dystopian fantasy debut.

My Thoughts

It is a bleak 2059 in Samantha Shannon’s London. There is a fascinating order of clairvoyants who make up the underworld and gangs in and around the city. High treason is routinely committed by breaking into people’s minds or dreamscapes. It’s complicated and intellectually stimulating and it’s mesmerizing.

That said, I’ll make an admission: I didn’t like The Bone Season when I first picked it up to read. Then I went to the library and borrowed the audio book – and then I let my imagination be taken over by this wonderfully unique fantasy.

Author Samantha Shannon has built a richly detailed alternative dystopian future where an alien race – the Rephiam – have been pulling governmental strings for nearly 200 years. The concept is chilling, knowing, as The Bone Season‘s characters learn, that their city and country have been infiltrated and operated by an otherworldly royal family of sorts.

Regardless of the daunting projection of this being the first in a seven book series, it’s an excellent read, or, you know, listen. A touch of history, a smattering of mythology, loads of action and intrigue, all mixed with the drama of unrequited love and the complexities that come along with friendships and relationships that simply break all the rules. Narrator Paige Mahoney is fantastically and so relateably flawed. I wanted everything to work for her and my heart pounded along with hers when she found herself in danger. I raged with her when she was betrayed. I cried with her when she just wanted to be seen.

I admire the intelligence of this book; it’s smart and brainy but accessible at the same time.

Girl with Book Lungs


Severed, Top Off Tuesday?

in Top Off Tuesday

It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.

Your favorite Severed MC returns with more chaos, more danger and more fireworks. 

Satan may be gone but the danger isn’t.

With revenge on the cards from more than one player and hot blooded new comer Justice stirring things up, the people in the town of Severed are in for one hell of a ride.
-from Goodreads

I can only assume “ride” is a euphemism.

An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn {Amanda’s Review}An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
Series: The Bridgertons #3
Also in this series: It's In His Kiss, The Duke And I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, Romancing Mister Bridgerton
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Add to Goodreads
Sophie Beckett never dreamed she′d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton′s famed masquerade ball – or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other – except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid′s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers her his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?

*flails* Oh, this book flayed me.

Thoughts on An Offer From a Gentleman

Julia Quinn is an author who makes me wish I read less—or slower—so I could fill my reading time only with her books. Alas, I’m forced to wait and pine and wait some more. An Offer From a Gentleman sat, trapped, in a library branch being renovated for far too much time (it felt like months) before my request was fulfilled.

And it was so worth the wait.

You know how some books just hit the spot? That’s what An Offer From a Gentleman did for me. The string of historical romances I’ve read lately haven’t been bad, but they haven’t been JQ-esque, either. And this one? Oh, I was so happy to be back with the Bridgertons again.

And I kinda dug the Cinderella-esque vibe going on. Sophie hasn’t had an easy life. Benedict is, well, a Bridgerton (so while maybe he hasn’t had an easy life, exactly, he certainly has the love and affection of his family). And I adore this family. I think JQ could just write a book solely of Bridgerton family interaction, and I’d be happy.

Must. Have. Next. Book. NOW.


Blind Date with a Book

in Blind Date with a Book


Here’s a frequent scene at my house:

Me, sitting (or standing) in front of the shelf of books that I have to read. Or, perhaps it’s me staring at the computer screen of my Goodreads to-read page, scrolling aimlessly up and down the 200+ titles. I pick up one book (or click on one title). Interesting, but not what I’m in the mood for right now. I select another . . . eh, too heavy. I want something lighter.

Ten to twelve selections later, I heave a heavy sigh, close my eyes, shoot out my hand (or cursor) and grab the first one my fingers (or mouse) touch and hope for the best. After all, I have the book (or have the book marked as “to-read”) so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, right?

If this is in any way familiar, you, like me, probably want someone to point you in the right direction . . . set you up, as it were. Well, I’m here to help! If you’re looking for a hot new read, a book in a particular category, or just something you haven’t tried before, let me tempt you to your next read!

This month’s bachelor/ette books are:

Book #1:

  • Mystery
  • Miami
  • Comedy

Book #2:

  • Science
  • Nonfiction
  • Biography

Book #3:

  • Young adult
  • Fantasy
  • Extraterrestrial

Want to go on a reading date with one of these books? Or, think you’ve met one of these eligible catches already and want to guess as the titles? Here’s what you can do:

  • Leave a comment to request a date. Let me know which bachelor/ette you’d like to spend a little time with and I’ll email you back privately with the title of the book and the author. (NOTE: I’ll only respond via email, so don’t came back to this post looking for my response, okay? Okay!)
  • If you want to hazard a guess at the title of one (or more!) of the books, you can leave a comment to do that, as well. Once again, be sure to let me know which bachelor/ette you think you’ve unmasked. Just to be sure we don’t spoil the fun for other readers/dates, I’ll contact you privately to let you know if your right – or wrong!
  • Finally, do you have a book that you know On a Book Bender readers will love? Leave a comment – something along the lines of Date My Book, Jenna! – and I’ll get in touch to see when we can feature your Blind Date With a Book contender!


Girl with Book Lungs


September 2014 Bloggiesta To-Do List

in Event

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN! TIME FOR BLOGGIESTA. Who’s excited? *points to self* This girl.

And what’s even better is that Bloggiesta starts TODAY, for four full days of blogging TLC. It’s like it’s meant to be, really, because Bloggiesta oh-so-conveniently coincides with the boyfriend’s brother’s bachelor party weekend, which means no distractions for me.

So. Excited.

Right now, though, I only have one large, daunting task:

  • Update all reviews with the UBB plugin. [On page 14 of 40]


Well, I guess I have some other ones:

  • Schedule Top Off Tuesday posts so I can stop scrambling the night before
  • Write a couple discussion posts

But that’s it!

Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan {Kelly’s Revisit Review}Shadowdance {Kelly} by Kristen Callihan
Series: Darkest London #4
Also in this series: Firelight {Amanda}, Moonglow {Kelly}, Moonglow {Amanda}, Winterblaze {Amanda}, Winterblaze {Kelly}
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
Add to Goodreads
KindleBuy the Paperback
Once a heart is lost in shadow . . .

Life has been anything but kind to Mary Chase. But the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals has given her purpose. Now she's been tasked with catching a vicious murderer dubbed the Bishop of Charing Cross. But someone is already on the case-and the last thing he relishes is a partner.

Only someone who lives in darkness can find it.

Jack Talent has been alone with his demons for many years. He never expected to have the willful Mary Chase assist him on the Bishop case. Their age-old rivalry reaches new heights-even as their desire for one another reaches a fever pitch. Though he aches to bring her close, Jack's dark secrets are a chasm between them. With dangerous enemies closing in, Jack must find the strength to face the past . . . or risk losing Mary forever.

Oh, man! I adore this series!

Thoughts on Shadowdance

I’m a hardcore sucker for tormented heroes. Seriously. There’s something about those big, strong men trying to find their way back from the dark places that makes me all wibbly. Jack Talent gave me everything I needed in a tortured hero with a serious side of smolder. And when he directs all that smolder at Mary I LOVED IT! Especially since Jack and Mary haven’t had the smoothest relationship in the past.

(and, OH MY, when we find out the reason behind Jack’s antagonism. *goes all wibbly again*)

“We’re only offered a brief glimpse of Jack and Mary in previous books, so walking into Shadowdance was an experience that blew the characters into sharp focus.” – Amanda

Mary has her own emotional baggage to deal with and it’s just as dark as what Jack has. Yet, she’s learned to embrace life again and live as only an immortal can. Which isn’t to say she’s put her past behind her. She still has some lingering issues to deal with. Intimacy, for one. Her shock over enjoying Jack’s kisses (and might I just say his “hello” was a very effective way to get to know someone!) showed how far she still had to go. And, oh, what a journey it ended up being!

“Let it just be said: Kristen Callihan knows how to pull it all together masterfully.” – Amanda

We unearth some well-hidden secrets and see the darker side of our tortured hero. We also get to meet up again with characters from previous books and see how life has treated them since they found their HEAs. And the build up to the next book? *has ridiculous amounts of excitement*

“And I only want MORE. So you can only imagine my delight when I found out there’s a book FIVE and it’s out this year. Now if only I can manage the wait…” – Amanda



Let’s Hit Pause on Top Off Tuesday

in Top Off Tuesday

It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.


If you’ve been around On a Book Bender a while, you know I delight in finding covers that are often so awful they’re good. Most of the time, I find those from Ellora’s Cave.

But there’s been enough crap floating around about Ellora’s Cave—personnel cuts and authors not receiving their royalties—that I don’t want to support the publishing company anymore. Not even to showcase their covers.

I could skip writing this post and find a non-Ellora’s Cave cover to share, which is usually my method when drama happens, but I feel compelled to say something. Partly because I need a moment of silence for all the covers we’ll miss out on, but more importantly, because as an author, I hate to see others missing out on money they’ve earned.

Sometimes, it’s a shitty world out there.

So I’m hitting pause this week.

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