Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What to do if another blogger came up with the same idea and posted it first?

A while ago I had this idea to make a feature on my blog with my favorite quotes. The general idea was to choose one quote at a time, share with you why it affected me so much, and tell you my thoughts about the book in a short format.

So I searched the blogs to make sure there wasn’t similar feature, and I found out that Maja at The Nocturnal Library had Nocturnal quotes, though her posts were a little different from what I had in mind. I contacted her and asked if it was ok for me to make a quote feature, and she said go ahead.

Me being me, I decided I should make some preparations. Firstly I needed a feature name; secondly I wanted to select quotes. I planned to start this feature in November.

Then last weekend Jamie at The Perpetual Page-turner posted “From My Quote Notebook”.

My first thought: OMG, it’s exactly what I planned to do for my quote feature. Funny how the same idea came to mind to different people.

My second thought: OMG, now if I start my feature everyone would think I stole the idea from Jamie. Because she did it first, and because she is a very popular blogger.

And this made me sad and a little bit angry. Angry at myself that I waited so long. Angry at Jamie, because she posted it first (I know it’s petty and totally uncalled for). Angry at book community, because everyone is obsessed with plagiarism.

Of course I calmed down, but I still don’t know what to do. Should I start this feature as I planned? Should I abandon the idea completely? Should I contact Jamie? I’m lost.

My dear fellow bloggers, I reach out for you. I need your advice. Have you ever been in such situation?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Audio Obsession #4. To read or to listen?

Audio Obsession is a feature where I spread my love for audiobooks around blogosphere. Here you’ll see all things audio related.

To read or to listen?

I love reading and I love listening to audiobooks. So I often have to choose between the book and the audio. It looks like I have a pattern. Books I prefer in audio:

Beautiful prose

In my opinion audio format helps to appreciate author’s writing style. While listening I pay more attention to the beauty of the words. So authors with gorgeous writing is on my “to listen” list.

One of the authors I prefer in audio is Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve listened to The Scorpio Races and The Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and I highly recommend the audiobooks, narration was really good. I plan to listen The Raven Cycle series too.

The other “audio-author” for me is Gayle Forman. This year I’ve listened to three audiobooks: If I Stay, Where She Went and I Was Here. If I Stay and Where She Went ended on my “true-book-love” shelf, both for the stories and for the narration. While I Was Here wasn’t a total winner for me, the narrator Jorjeana Marie was amazing. I definitely plan to check out her backlist, because I was very impressed with her performance.

Earlier this year I’ve read Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand. Her writing is gorgeous, I have a feeling I would love her stories in audio. I want to listen to her Amour et Chocolat series.

The author I’m eyeing audio-wise is Laini Taylor. I haven’t read anything by her yet, but I’ve heard a lot about her beautiful flourish writing. I think I would try her Daughter of Smoke & Bone series in audio format.

Romantic Suspense

I think it all started with Sandra Brown. Long time ago I’ve listened to several audiobooks and became a fan of her thrillers. Since then I’ve “read” her books only in audio. I don’t have a good explanation for this. I guess it’s partly a habit, partly my love for Victor Slezak (he is one of my favorite male narrators, and he performed in many Sandra Brown’s audiobooks). So I prefer Sandra Brown in audio.

Since then my audio preferences spread to whole Romantic Suspense genre. I’ve listened Linda Howard’s books in audio. I plan to listen to I-Team series by Pamela Clare and Killer Instincts series by Elle Kennedy.

Audiobooks narrated by my favorite narrators

When I find a narrator whom I love, I check out his or her backlist and listen to practically everything. For example, Dan Bittner. I fell in love with his narration in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. Then I went through his backlist and listened to Where She Went by Gayle Forman (which I absolutely loved).

Friends recs

When my friend gushes about an amazing audiobook, I can’t pass it. This happened with After the Night by Linda Howard. Rachel from Readers Den said that Natalie Ross’ narration was excellent and I went for the audiobook.

What about you? What books do you prefer in audio?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: The Chase (Fast Track #4) by Erin McCarthy

Title: The Chase (Fast Track #4)
Author: Erin McCarthy
My rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Kendall Holbrook is determined to make it to the top, even with the challenge of being a woman on the male-dominated racing circuit. She doesn't have time for romance-especially not with racing rival Evan Monroe, the man who nearly crushed her dream years ago. Tricked into meeting him, Kendall is experiencing all those old feelings again-and she can't deny that they still have enough chemistry to set fire to the track.

I want to say right away that in this case 3 Stars is a positive rating. This book has one of my pet peeves, and it actually speaks volumes about Erin McCarthy’s writing that I still enjoyed The Chase so much. In truth in the past books with similar plot line ended up being 1 or 2 Stars for me.

Until 70 % mark The Chase was good. This book was about Evan Monroe, whom we’ve met in previous books and Kendall Holbrook who was the only woman in the car racing team and who also happened to be Evan’s first love.

We met Evan in the first book Flat-Out Sexy and he was present in the second and third books. I can’t say that I was a big fan of him. He came across as a careless player who was all for the sex and fun and had serious issues with commitment. In truth I wasn’t looking forward to read Evan’s story and thought about skipping The Chase. In the end I decided to give it a try and Evan surprised me. In this book I saw the real man behind his player facade and understood the reasons of his actions.

Kendall was a likeable heroine. On the outside she was very strong and brave, the first female race driver, but on the inside she was very vulnerable and insecure. Evan and Kendall fell in love as teenagers, but their relationship ended up abruptly leaving them both heartbroken and angry, so years later there were a lot of sexual tension, memories and feelings between these two.

The additional perk was that we get to see all couples from previous books. This book was like coming home: comfortable and familiar.

As I said before it all was good until 70 %. Then very insignificant event happened. But it made me very nervous. I had a really bad feeling where the story was heading. So during next chapters I was anxiously waiting if my suspicions would come true. About 80 % in it happened. After this revelation I actually thought about DNFing this book. I’ve read several books with similar plot line and unfortunately in all of them it was executed badly. One book particularly comes to mind. I’ll put it under the spoiler just in case.

Bad for You (Sea Breeze #7) by Abbi Glines

In that book the hero behaved awfully, I wanted to into the book and strangle him. So at this point I thought that The Chase would end up the same way. And this is where Erin McCarthy proved me wrong. Evan dealt with this situation in such mature and responsible way; he totally won me over in this part of the book. And while I still wish that the story didn’t go in this direction, I amazed at how much I liked this book.

Overall The Chase was a sexy and funny second chance story. I’m sure most of readers won’t have any issues with this book, since it was my personal pet peeve that didn’t let me fully enjoy The Chase.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Audiobook review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

Title: Confess
Author: Colleen Hoover
Narrator: Sebastian York, Elizabeth Louise
Story rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Audio rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Overall rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars


I have a confession: I’m a hopeless audiobook addict. I’m not kidding. I listen every chance I get, even if it’s just ten minutes commute; I listen while I’m cooking, I listen while I’m cleaning, I listen while I’m walking, sometimes I even listen while I’m applying make-up. You get the picture. So it’s not a good sign when this happens:

  • I’m cleaning and I’m listening to music instead of an audiobook.
  • During my commute instead of an audiobook I’m going for the radio.
  • I’m walking and instead of plugging my ear buds in, I’m, well, just walking.
  • I’m applying my make-up, and I’m thinking “It’s just several minutes, why even bother with an audiobook, I don’t have “enough time to listen”.

This is exactly what happened here. I think it took me twice as long as usual to listen to Confess because I found more interesting things to do. I had my doubts before starting this book, and unfortunately it didn’t work for me at all. It’s been ages since I’ve read a book by Colleen Hoover. I’ve read and loved her Slammed and Hopeless, but my book tastes changed drastically since then. So I don’t think I would give those books high ratings now. In truth the reason why I decided to read Confess is that the audiobook is narrated by Sebastian York. I’ve heard A LOT about this narrator. It looks like everyone praises his voice. So as a self-proclaimed audio addict I needed to hear him for myself. My thoughts about the narration later, now I want to talk about the book.

I was bored out of my mind. I think if I read this book instead of listening I would DNF it.

This story is about Auburn Reed. She has recently moved to Texas, she has undesirable job, feels very lonely and in need of money and new job. Then one day she comes across Owen Gentry’s studio. He is an artist and his project is very unique. People anonymously send him their confessions, and he uses them as an inspiration for his works. He needs an assistant and Auburn jumps at the offer. They feel an instant attraction, but of course there are a lot of obstacles on their way.

First of all I want to say that Owen freaked me out in first chapters. He came across as a stalker who somehow knew Auburn from the past and was obsessed with her. Then of course there was insta-love which annoyed the hell out of me. I do believe in insta-lust. But in this case Auburn and Owen weren’t just physically attracted to each other. After knowing each other for a few days they felt so much so deeply, that it was over the top. I find it hard to believe that a woman in Auburn’s position would risk it all, risk to lose the most important thing in her life for a guy she had just met. As for the Owen I find his obsession on Auburn bordering on unhealthy. All in all I couldn’t connect with the characters, I didn’t feel any chemistry between them and their insta-love annoyed me a lot.

There were several twists in the book, but my mind was wondering. I usually love suspense, I love when the author keeps me in the dark, but in this case I was bored. I was so annoyed with the characters, that when all secrets were revealed I just didn’t care.

My thoughts about the audiobook

Elizabeth Louise, who narrated Auburn, is a new to me narrator. She was ok, I guess, but I don’t think I’ll be in search of audiobooks performed by her.

Here comes Sebastian York. Well, I wasn’t impressed. There, I’ve said it. Probably my extremely high expectations were the cause of my disappointment. I don’t know what I expected; everyone mentions that his voice is sexy and sinful. Sebastian York is a good narrator, but I don’t get all this fuss around him, though this can be just my personal preference. I also had another issue. As I understood Owen was in his early twenties, but Sebastian York sounds like a man in his thirties. At first I wanted to check out how old Sebastian York is; maybe he is twenty and he just has an older voice. But you know what? Narrator’s real age doesn’t matter, because listeners hear only his voice. It really annoys me when narrator’s voice is not age-appropriate.

As you can see Confess was a big disappointment for me. It’s a shame really because I find the concept of this book very interesting (the author included confessions from real people and some of them were heartbreaking). I also wonder if my feelings toward Confess would be different if read a paperback instead of an audiobook. Many readers mentioned gorgeous art-work. All in all it seems like Colleen Hoover is not an author for me anymore. I think it’s time to part our ways.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Audiobook review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle Forman
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Story rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Audio rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Overall rating: 3 of 5 Stars


Well, I can’t say that I haven’t been warned. Many of my friends were disappointed in this book. But it didn’t stop me. I’ve read and absolutely loved If I Stay and Where She Went. I added both of these books to my “true-book-love” shelf (I don’t do this easily). And I just wanted more of Gayle Forman’s writing. So I lowered my expectation a little and picked up I Was Here.

Aaaand I ended up disappointed like many of Gayle Forman’s fans. I had several issues with this book, and I’ll tell you later what they were.

This story is about Cody, whose best friend Meg killed herself. They were best friends forever in High School, and when after graduation Meg went to college and left Cody behind in their small town, they stayed in touch. Cody thought she knew everything about Meg. So it’s a shock when Meg ended her life. Meg’s parents asked Cody to go to Meg’s place and pack her things. When she got there she met Meg’s roommates, a boy Meg had a crush on and discovered a whole part of Meg’s life she knew nothing about. Later she found a cryptic file on Meg’s computer which can be a key to her death. So began Cody’s journey to finding the truth about Meg’s life and death and maybe about Cody herself.

And now about my issues.

  • I wasn’t grieving with Cody. This book is about grieving; this book is about a girl who recently lost her best friend. I expected my heart to be broken. I expected to feel, to cry. Nothing. You know I’m a crier. I often cry over books, but there wasn’t a single tear from me while I was reading I Was Here. I know that Gayle Forman can write grieving. I couldn’t help myself but compare this book to If I Stay and Where She Went. I felt so much while reading those books, there was an avalanche of emotions.

  • In truth it’s like I was cheated with I Was Here. Gayle Forman went with this formula: an average girl with tragic past meets a rock boy, who is arrogant womanizer with pretty eyes. He changes for her and of course he saves her. Sounds familiar? I’ve read this so many times before. I expected something unique from Gayle Forman.

  • And finally my last but not least issue with this book. It has one of my pet peeves. I know it’s just my personal preference; probably many readers won’t be as annoyed as I was. Though one of my friends will definitely have the same feelings as I did (I’m looking at you Jeanne). The love interest had very beautiful and expressive eyes, and the author kept reminding this again and again. Nowadays authors often do this “eyes thing”. It seems heroes don’t have other parts of their body which deserve attention. It’s like Suzanne Collins started this trend with Finnick’s famous sea green eyes. Just to prove my point some quotes:

"I see that his eyes are impossibly blue"

"She’d also written about his eyes, so blue, she’d thought he wore contacts. I look at them now. They are weirdly blue"

"His eyes are a whole different color here, in the pale light of Meg’s room."

"His eyes, this time, look like the color of a sky after sunset, almost violet. I’ve never seen someone whose eyes change colors, like some mood ring to the soul."

"His eyes go wide. They’re an electric shade of blue now, or maybe it’s just the reflected glow of the TV."

"He looks at me. And those eyes. I have to look away."

"His eyes, they change, like a traffic light going from green to yellow."

"I look at him. His eyes, like the skin under them, seem bruised."

"His eyes, a soft blue, like the empty swimming pool outside, widen in surprise."

"I take him in. His eyes are violet this morning, almost bruised; they match the purplish skin under them."

Despite my disappointment I gave I Was Here 3 Stars which is a positive rating for me, and it means that it was a solid read. Two things saved this book for me: Gayle Forman’s gorgeous writing and fantastic narration by Jorjeana Marie.

Gayle Forman writes so beautifully, that after one book I wanted more, and more, and more. My GR friend Thomas said in his review that Gayle Forman’s writing has “water-like quality”. I can’t agree more.

My thoughts about the audiobook

I went for the audio version of I Was Here because of my friend Arlene from Waves of Fiction. She went on some book event where Jorjeana Marie read chapters from this book. When Arlene told that she was blown away by her performance, I knew that I want to listen to audiobook. And I’m so glad I did it. Jorjeana Marie is very talented narrator; I’m very impressed by her performance. I definitely want to listen more of her works.

All in all I Was Here is not a bad book, but it didn’t live up to the level I was expecting from Gayle Forman. In truth I don’t know whom to recommend this book. If you haven’t read anything by this author, I recommend start with If I Stay and Where She Went. If you love Gayle Forman’s writing as much as I do, I’m sure you would read her latest book no matter what.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Mini-review: Hot Finish (Fast Track #3) by Erin McCarthy

Title: Hot Finish (Fast Track #3)
Author: Erin McCarthy
My rating: 4 of 5 Stars


Desire is about to reach its peak.

Suzanne Jefferson is broke, which is why she's given up charity work for wedding planning. Fortunately, she has a high-profile client-and best of all, he's paid in advance. There are just two teensy problems: the bride is a bona fide bridezilla, and Suzanne's stock racer ex- husband is the best man. At least she though he was her ex-husband...


Hot Finish is the third book in Fast Track series, but it can be read as a standalone, though I recommend start from the beginning since Flat-Out Sexy (Fast Track #1) is my favorite book so far.1

We first met Susanne and Ryder in the first book and they were present in the second one. Erin McCarthy writes amazing second characters; I loved both Susanne and Ryder in the first two books and was looking forward to read their own story.

Susanne is an amazing heroine. She is like firework: fiery with great sense of humor, she swears, she tells what she thinks openly, she is very protective toward her loved ones. I love her! And Ryder is a great hero. He is generous, kind and protective.

They were married for several years, but something went wrong. Now they stay friends though everyone around them can see that there a lot of chemistry and unresolved feelings between these two.

This is erotica so obviously there are a lot of scorching hot scenes. Erin McCarthy definitely knows how to write smut. As always there are a lot of funny dialogues and laugh out loud moments.

If you haven’t picked up this series yet I highly recommend it.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Title: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
My rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty... no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust... and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.


Rites of Passages is one of those books that stayed on my to-be-read list for a long time, buried under newer releases and more hyped books. And what a shame! I loved this book! From the first page it sucked me in and didn’t let go until I closed the last page. Joy N. Hensley’s writing flows easily and has this addictive quality. I’ve read this book in two sittings which is rare for me.

I don’t think I’ll write a full review on this book. I didn’t make one single bookmark or highlighted anything, because I was so engrossed in the story. But I’ll tell you this:

  • Rites of Passage is enjoyable and addictive read.

  • Plot is interesting; there wasn’t a dull moment in this book.

  • Sam McKenna was a strong-willed likable heroine. I’m sure many readers will connect with her and relate to her.

  • Love interest is amazing! He goes on my “awesome-hero” shelf.

  • While the romance took back seat to the main story, it was absolutely swoon-worthy.

  • The book feels very authentic. The author went to a military school on a dare and her personal experience is evident throughout the book.

  • There is strong message in this book, that every girl can accomplish so much in male-dominated world.

My only complaint is the ending romance-wise. Romantic in me couldn’t be satisfied with it. That’s why I gave it 4.5 Stars.

I loved this book. Highly recommended.