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On a Book Bender

To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn {Amanda’s Review}To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn
Series: The Bridgertons #5
Also in this series: It's In His Kiss, The Duke And I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer From a Gentleman, Romancing Mister Bridgerton
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance, Regency, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
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Sir Phillip knew that Eloise Bridgerton was a spinster, and so he'd proposed, figuring that she'd be homely and unassuming, and more than a little desperate for an offer of marriage. Except . . . she wasn't. The beautiful woman on his doorstep was anything but quiet, and when she stopped talking long enough to close her mouth, all he wanted to do was kiss her . . . and more.

Did he think she was mad? Eloise Bridgerton couldn't marry a man she had never met! But then she started thinking . . . and wondering . . . and before she knew it, she was in a hired carriage in the middle of the night, on her way to meet the man she hoped might be her perfect match. Except . . . he wasn't. Her perfect husband wouldn't be so moody and ill-mannered, and while Phillip was certainly handsome, he was a large brute of a man, rough and rugged, and totally unlike the London gentlemen vying for her hand. But when he smiled . . . and when he kissed her . . . the rest of the world simply fell away, and she couldn't help but wonder . . . could this imperfect man be perfect for her?

Nothing’s better than a Bridgerton novel

Thoughts on To Sir Phillip, With Love

Before we get moving on this review, I feel it necessary to confess that I read this on a Friday night while drinking, and I’m quite sure this colored my view of the book because I was, as I recall, quite tipsy for parts of it.

Which may actually be a good thing. I mean, this book follows Romancing Mister Bridgerton, and that book was amazing. I started reading this one and wanted to reread RMB. (And that wasn’t the alcohol talking.) That’s a hard act to follow.

But this one. Eloise’s part of the story here actually begins in Romancing Mister Bridgerton, so I was quite looking forward to picking To Sir Phillip, With Love up. (Also, thanks Daphne for lending it.) And though I found the conflict to be… oh, I don’t know, more on the tame side, I still enjoyed the book. Especially the brothers.

But how could you not love the Bridgerton brothers? That is a big part of why this series is so much fun.

So. Phillip and Eloise. And the children. I loved seeing Eloise interact with them and find a way to bring Sir Phillip and his kids together. That was sweet and not completely angsty (which I find weird saying that I wanted more angst), but again, a big part of the plot.

Oh. But. I adored the awkwardness between Sir Phillip and Eloise when they met for the first time. A lot of parallels to meeting people online. Totally different experience! It was adorable. And now I need the rest of the Bridgerton series.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas {Amanda’s Review}Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 406
Source: Purchased
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After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Had to get book 2 immediately

Thoughts on Throne of Glass

I picked Throne of Glass up because it was on sale for 99 cents, but then picked up and read The Assassin’s Blade (novella compilation) first because Daphne told me to. And I’m glad I did (Thanks, Daphne!) because I can see where people struggled with Celaena and Throne of Glass without the back story. I would’ve been annoyed without it.

But I found myself intrigued by Celaena. She’s an interesting character with an interesting background. (Ah, interesting. You’re a versatile word.) Bad ass is apt, I think. But she’s also still a young girl, trying to make the best of a bad situation. And I wanted to cheer for her.

I also wanted more information, both about her past and the world, but I’ll give Throne of Glass a pass on this one, since it’s the first book of the series. Also, I reserved book 2 from the library as soon as I finished Throne of Glass, so I should get that information soon. (If I don’t…)

Though there is romance—and a love triangle of sorts—I wasn’t bothered by it. Celaena isn’t a normal girl, and the way she views men and relationships is… dammit, I’m going to say it again… interesting. Does Celaena understand what love is? She knows lust and wanting, but love—that’s the missing ingredient that made watching her budding relationships so fascinating.

Throne of Glass (and The Assassin’s Blade before it) promises a rich and intriguing world, and yes—I want more.

Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman
Series: Jamie Quinn Mysteries #1
Genres: Mystery & Detective
Format: Audiobook
Source: Author
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I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It's up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it's too late. It doesn't help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn't commit.

A short and sweet sleuthing story

Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman

 My Thoughts

The narrative voice in Death by Didgeridoo is a great one. Attorney Jamie Quinn makes for an endearing sleuth. This short mystery is the first in a series and is an enjoyable read – or, in this case, listen.

Barbara Venkataraman’s story unfolds at a brisk pace. Jamie’s mother has recently passed away and the family law attorney has locked herself away in her grief. A panicked phone call from her aunt pulls Jamie back into her life – but not for good news. As it turns out, Jamie’s cousin is suspected of being involved with a murder. Jamie and her aunt both know that Adam – who has Asperger’s Syndrome – couldn’t have been involved. But the police claim circumstantial evidence all points to his guilt.

Death by Didgeridoo is more of a legal procedural than a mystery, but I enjoyed listening to the story regardless. Unfortunately, the audio book’s narrator did nothing to enhance my experience. In fact, her performance was, at time, very distracting. To the point of making me want to stop listening entirely. Nevertheless, I really liked the characters, the style of Venkataraman’s writing, and this introduction to the Jamie Quinn mystery series. I’d love to see a little more heft to the next story – more suspicion and tension before revealing who dunnit. It was a little deflating and anti-climactic to only be told about the capture of the criminal instead of being shown.


Girl with Book Lungs


Get Hooked, 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.

Michael Gallo found his calling in life – he wants to kick ass. He works at Inked as a piercer, but spends his mornings training and dreaming of winning an UFC championship. Michael is the road to achieving his goal when a chance encounter alters his world forever. The title is no longer enough – he must capture the woman of his dreams.

Dr. Mia Greco is dedicated to saving lives and helping those less fortunate. She doesn’t have time to meet Mr. Right with her busy schedule. She buries herself in her work and helping humanity. Fate steps in and sweeps the carpet out from under her. She tries to deny the pull to him, a man that uses his fists for gain, but the universe won’t let her walk away so easy and Michael isn’t one to take no for an answer.

He has a secret that may rip them apart. There are forces bigger than them at work; drawing them in and making their worlds collide – not letting either one of them walk away.
-from Goodreads

Destined to Last by Alissa Johnson {Amanda’s Review}Destined to Last by Alissa Johnson
Series: Providence #4
Also in this series: McAlistair's Fortune, As Luck Would Have It, Tempting Fate
Published by Dorchester Publishing
Genres: Historical, Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Lady Kate Cole was a young woman of exceptional beauty, extraordinary talent, and notable charm. She was also a woman so remarkably prone to accidents that it was generally considered wise to keep as much distance from her as possible.

Yet Andrew Hunter simply couldn't stay away. No other woman would do for his wife. He would give her adventure, fidelity, and a fortune so vast she'd need several lifetimes to go through half of it. What woman could ask for more?

All Kate asked for was a true love match. And Mr. Hunter clearly had no room in his heart for such a silly emotion. But then how was it that no matter what adventure he dragged her on, no matter what mishap befell her, the look in his eyes told her they were DESTINED TO LAST

Sad to see this series end.

Thoughts on Destined to Last

I liked this. I’ve been curious about Kate and Hunter since I read book 3 (which is also the first book in the series I read). I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed. Though I am disappointed Lizzy won’t get her own story.

Kate’s always been clumsy, so I was worried that Hunter would want to curb it by constantly looking after her (which would have annoyed me so), but he was charmed by it, and that made me like him… even if he was—obviously—going after Kate in the wrong way.

Destined to Last was very much like its predecessors in the silliness of matchmaking. I like that William Fletcher, man of the War Department was so skilled at matching people. (But you’d think, being in charge of agents, one would acquire an ability to read and sum up people quite adeptly.) It was fun.

All in all, a good solid historomance, and I’m sad to see this series end. I almost wish there were more children to be matched.

Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas {Amanda’s Review}Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Wallflowers #4
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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After spending three London seasons searching for a husband, Daisy Bowman's father has told her in no uncertain terms that she must find a husband. Now. And if Daisy can't snare an appropriate suitor, she will marry the man he chooses—the ruthless and aloof Matthew Swift.

Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, and she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone . . . anyone . . . other than Matthew. But she doesn't count on Matthew's unexpected charm . . . or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams.

But right at the moment of sweet surrender, a scandalous secret is uncovered . . . one that could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy's wildest fantasies.

Will I become a Kleypas fan?

Thoughts on Scandal in Spring

I have a confession to make. I’m afraid if I hold it in anymore, I’ll swoon, and every historical romance readers knows, no one likes a swooner. When I’m finished you are permitted, of course, to give me the cut direct.

I’m not sure I see the Kleypas hype.


*peeks up*

It’s not that I disliked Scandal in Spring. I did like it. And certainly, I liked it a lot more than the first Lisa Kleypas book I read, which I stopped and returned to the library after a dubious consent scene and annoying characters. And I’m definitely pleased enough to continue with the rest of the series.

(But seriously, Amanda, did you really have to start with the fourth book in the series?)

It’s just… everyone raves about Lisa Kleypas. But I… I am not raving. I wasn’t sure I’d like Daisy at first. I did like Matthew, but I’ve found myself getting impatient with characters who hold back secrets from their past. (Which isn’t a Kleypas thing, mind you, just a general preference.)

And so, it was a nice book. I liked it. I think I would have liked it more if I’d read previous books in the series, since the other couples got page time. I wasn’t fond of the constant switches in POV, but… it was still good.

Kleypas fans, advise me: where do I go from here?

Evernight by Kristen Callihan {Kelly’s Review}Evernight by Kristen Callihan
Series: Darkest London #5
Also in this series: Firelight {Amanda}, Moonglow {Kelly}, Moonglow {Amanda}, Winterblaze {Amanda}, Winterblaze {Kelly}
Published by Little, Brown Book Group
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

KindleBuy the Paperback
Once the night comes . . .

Will Thorne is living a nightmare, his sanity slowly being drained away by a force he can't control. His talents have made him the perfect assassin for hire. But as he loses his grip on reality, there is no calming him—until he finds his next target: the mysterious Holly Evernight.

Love must cast aside the shadows . . .

Holly cannot fathom who would put a contract on her life, yet the moment she touches Will, the connection between them is elemental, undeniable—and she's the only one who can tame his bouts of madness. But other assassins are coming for Holly. Will must transform from killer to protector and find the man who wants Holly dead . . . or his only chance for redemption will be lost.

Amazing characters. Amazing series. WANT MOAR!

Thoughts on Evernight

I almost don’t think I have the words to describe how much I adore this book. From Will’s confusion over what had happened to him in the months since he was rescued from his imprisonment to the revelations over who was behind so much of what happened here, it was a thrill ride.

Frankly, I loved Holly. Her issues arising from her imprisonment, her fear and the way she could so easily be distracted by a puzzle (and Will was such a delightful puzzle for her to unravel!), endeared her to me. She hid behind her intellect and her gadgets and wouldn’t let anyone close enough to see how much she was struggling with what she was forced to take part in. Naturally, Will smashed through all her defenses and laid her bare. In more ways than one.

And Will. Oh, Will. Surviving what was done to him only to be caught in the madness of his body betraying him. *weeps* I felt for him. I felt for both of them. The Fallen left his mark on both of them in very different ways and it was only once they banded together that they started working through their issues. Frankly, those issues were legion, all things considered.

This series takes me to my happy place. Kristen Callihan’s characters give me all the highs and lows I could ever want in a relationship with a side order of villains who seem unstoppable. Might I just say, I’m impatient for book 6 now. SO IMPATIENT.


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?

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