2016 Reading Goal

My reading goal for 2016 is 100 books. (Not including any of mine…seeing as I’ve already read BOUND about 3 times this month…) 🙂

My other goal is to check in here with what I’ve read, give a little blurb review, and rate it–using coffee cups!

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I might also include movies, TV shows I just discovered, and maybe one or two books from my TBR (To Be Read).

So here goes.

JANUARY 2016 READ LIST

A Season to Love by Nicole Deese 

Genre: Contemporary Romance–Adult

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This was the second book I’ve read by Nicole Deese. I loved every second of it!

(Check out my full review: https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/a-season-to-love-nicole-deese/

The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

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Genre:YA

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The Book of Ivy had a very cool premise–Girl forced to marry guy, who also happens to be the son of her families enemy–and she plans on killing him! It grabbed my attention right away, but then I kinda lost interest until the very end where it picked up again. There is a sequel that I’m planning on picking up sometime in the future.

Heat Rises by Richard Castle

book4Genre: Adult, detective

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I have been devouring the TV show Castle! I love it! And then I discovered that the Niki Heat books was a real series! Heat Rises is the third book in the series. So far, they’ve all read like an episode of the show. Wonderful!

Jilted by Carla Laureano (a Novella)

Genre: Adult, contemporary romance

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book5Jilted was a fun, super quick read. Carla Laureano is an excellent story teller. This novella was offered for FREE on her website to those who have subscribed to her newsletter. Link: http://www.carlalaureano.com/books/jilted/

Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer

Genre: YA

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book3I was a fan of the original Twilight series, so any trip back to that world was a must. I have to say that Stephenie Meyer’s writing tightened up–I could really see that she’s improving and honing her writing craft. I was intrigued and liked the idea of the major roles being switched, but she over did the switches, in my opinion. Everyone that was female is now male and vice versa. The only one I REALLY liked in a reverse role was Jacob. The character was so much better as a female. Having it all flip-flopped just didn’t work as well as I’d hoped and I was confused more times than not because I couldn’t remember who was supposed to be who . . . And, it was kinda annoying because it was the EXACT same story just with the names and genders switched. I was hoping for a little more originality. There were things that worked for a female human that just didn’t have the same effect on a human male–the car stopping, the blood fainting, the tripping . . .

TV SHOWS/MOVIES

This month I was introduced to iZombie.

The Shannara Chronicles–I was SUPER excited when I heard about this show!! The Shannara series is one of the first adult series that I remember my dad reading to me! I love the books, and this TV adaptation has been really great so far! Can’t wait to watch more!

Unleashing Mr. Darcy–A new Hallmark movie based on Pride and Prejudice. I love P&P, so of course I had to watch. This retelling had some very interesting twists along with all the things I love about the original. While not really a dog person myself, I enjoyed the story.

I FINALLY watched Paper Towns (novel by John Green).

The Finest Hours–saw it in the theater. (CHRIS PINE!) Based on a true story, this movie was very well done! Great acting and action. Although, I saw it in 3D…I was fine while watching, but as soon as the movie was over and I stood up, I had a moment of seasickness and trying to regain my land legs!

For February–MY BIRTHDAY MONTH–I’m most looking forward to reading ASLEEP by Krystal Wade! It releases on February 7th! I’ve already pre-ordered my copy–get yours on Amazon or at http://www.blazepub.com/

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Introducing Carla Laureano

One of the perks of living in the “writer world” is meeting other writers and getting to read their stories. This week I had the opportunity to read Carla Laureano’s debut novel FIVE DAYS IN SKYE. It was like relaxing with a cup of coffee and watching my favorite movie. Leap Year, Decoy Bride, and P.S. I Love You all rolled into one delightful banter-filled romp . . . I loved it!

And as far as my checklist for what makes a GREAT contemporary romance novel, FIVE DAYS IN SKYE pretty much nailed them all.

1. Good-looking hero with an accent. CHECK! (picture Henry Cavill with the voice of Gerard Butler…*SIGH) **James MacDonald is a world-known chef with a reputation. He may play the part of “playboy”, but James is hurting and just not ready to do “serious”…yet…

2. Strong, smart, feisty heroine who isn’t whiny, and likes shoes. CHECK. **Andrea Sullivan is a feisty, consultant. After punching the last client in the face (Woot! Woot! The man wasn’t listening to her “no touchy-touchy” policy), she’s being “banished” to Scotland to consult for a world-known chef that she knows nothing about.

» “As punishments went, Scotland was a big one.” (page 9)

» “This is a business trip. Trust me. My dream vacation involves sunshine and umbrella drinks on the beach, not rain and fog in some backwater village.” If she’d only managed to keep her temper in check, she’d be spending the next week in the tropics with the promise of a fat commission and a guaranteed promotion, not serving time in Scotland babysitting a celebrity client who suddenly wanted to dabble in the hotel business. (page 10)

» “Frankly, I don’t know the first thing about him. I’ve never seen his show, I certainly don’t cook, and I can’t fathom why anyone with a successful career in London would want to open a hotel on the Isle of Skye.” (page13)

3. Playful Banter and sparks. CHECK! CHECK! **Sparks of all kinds started flying from page one and didn’t stop.

“If you can’t find me tomorrow, I’m probably hiding out somewhere so I don’t have to leave,” she murmured.

“You won’t hear any complaints from me.” He rubbed her arms briskly. “It’s cold, and I promised you something to warm you up.”

“Is that so?” She turned to face him and raised her eyebrows.

“Chocolate, you vixen.”

“Somehow, I’m disappointed.”

“Can’t have that, can we?” He pulled her closer and proceeded to kiss her until the cold was the last thing on either of their minds. (Page 231-232)

4. Exotic location. CHECK. *Scottish Isle of Skye… I love learning about new places, feeling like I’m there. Carla does an excellent job of giving enough detail without making it read like a page from a textbook or guidebook. Now I REALLY want to go to Scotland!

5. Just enough “serious” to get me thinking, a take away thought that sticks with me even after I’ve closed the book. CHECK.

» “We’re all broken. We’re only human. Some wounds only God can mend. If we let Him.” (page 250)

6. An ending that doesn’t skip ahead to “and they lived happily ever after and just found out they’re pregnant…” CHECK. The wedding, first years of marriage, and pregnancy/baby is a whole book in and of itself! **I’m not going to tell you how it did end, but Carla did a great job with it!

**Pretty much the only thing missing from FIVE DAYS IN SKYE, are scratch-and-sniff stickers. Food was being prepared ALL. THE. TIME. My stomach growled audibly several times, which says a lot about Carla’s descriptive-sensory writing. YUM!

**Carla Laureano does an excellent job of creating characters that are relatable and likeable. I couldn’t wait to read what happened next, but I didn’t want to read too fast and get to the end . . . I look forward to reading the next book in this series. It’s about James’ brother, Ian. YEAH! That name holds a special place in my heart, seeing as it’s the name of MY good-looking hero with an accent in BOUND! 😉

For more info on Carla, check out her Facebook page and her website:

»https://www.facebook.com/CarlaLaureanoAuthor?fref=ts

»http://www.carlalaureano.com