Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Audiobook review -- Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

Book Summary
Founder of the lifestyle website and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media, Rachel Hollis has created an online fan base of hundreds of thousands of fans by sharing tips for living a better life while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own. Now comes her highly anticipated first book featuring her signature combination of honesty, humor, and direct, no-nonsense advice.

Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.

From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.

Flo's Review
I first heard about this book from CatFairy Books, who talked about it in a blog post. I thought, "Hmm, interesting title," but then not too much past that. Then a few weeks later as I was scrolling through my Goodreads account, I found it on the "Want to Read" shelves of several of my friends. I decided to look and see if my library had the e-audiobook available, because as you may or may not know, one of my favorite things are audiobook memoirs read by the authors. I found it! And that's how this review begins.

Girl! I devoured this book. First of all, I'm so glad Rachel was the one reading it. Because when she really wants to emphasize something, when she really wants you to do something, her tone gets SO SERIOUS, and I think I would have missed that by just reading it. On the flip side, this book had so many good, practical suggestions that I wanted to be able to flag them and write them down as I heard them -- but I couldn't because I was driving. Then by the time I got to my destination, I'd forgotten them. Such is price you pay for audio. 

One thing I really enjoyed about the book was the relationship between faith and girl power. Rachel recognizes and worships God, but at the same time believes that you are in control of your own life. It's a balance -- one that I subscribe to, and one that I appreciate. Some of the thoughts and tips she gave did stay with me, so much that I jotted them down the first chance I found myself with a pen and paper on hand. This is one of those books that I want to pass on. I am legit thinking about giving it to my sister for Christmas. I think she will relate to it and enjoy it. (No worries, my sister doesn't read my blog so the surprise will stay safe! Lol)

Rachel's voice is real and honest. Brutally honest. She admits that some of it is "tough love" and it is. But she is also so vulnerable in it, and several chapters where she related some of her hardest experiences made me cry. I will definitely be taking some of her advice on writing, dreaming, and bringing it every single day. 

I definitely recommend this book/audiobook to any woman who wants to be inspired and feel validated. Rachel's message is one of solitary, hard work, and the power to live your dreams.

Book review: Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake

To keep this review spoiler free, I will not post the book summary, as it may be a spoiler for Three Dark Crowns and One Dark Throne.

Flo's Spoiler Free Review
I have had so much fun binging this series over the past weeks! I was spoiled to receive Two Dark Reigns early for review, and I've loved every moment of my three book journey.

Like its predecessors, Two Dark Reigns brought non-stop action and surprising twists. However, not as much as the first two. I wasn't in love with the Blue Queen story line. I understand why it's in there in that I see what it had to accomplish for the characters to set up the end of the book, but it didn't feel connected to the main story. I also had trouble with Arsinoe in this installment. Her stubbornness came off as rude, and her independence just put everyone around in danger without her consulting them about it.

But in this series, "not as good as the first two books" is still so good! I had an e-book of this and it made me want to go to the gym so I could read it on the bike! And last night I stayed up past my bedtime because I had to finish it. If you've been following the series thus far, you will enjoy the story's continuation.

If you haven't -- dude, get on that! Three Dark Crowns is one of Barnes and Nobles' Book Haul Blowout, so you can get it for like $5!

Two Dark Reigns publishes on September 4th, 2018.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Blog Tour: The Wedding from Hell Part 3: Exclusive Excerpt of Consumed by J. R. Ward

The Wedding from Hell
Part 3: Exclusive Excerpt of Consumed
by J. R. Ward
Available: August 28, 2018
Gallery Books | E-book Original
ISBN: 9781982105389 | Free

The Wedding from Hell, Part 3: Exclusive Excerpt of Consumedis the final part of J.R. Ward’s The Wedding From Hell ebook serialization. Don’t miss this exclusive teaser to her upcoming standalone romantic suspense, CONSUMED (available in October 2, 2018). See why “Consumed takes it to a whole new level” (Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author).

About the Book:
From the creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.              

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed...  

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.       

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse blaze changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.    

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn't believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again—until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the commonwealth, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

About the Author:
J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

Read an excerpt from the book after the page break.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Book review: Macbeth #killingit by Courtney Carbone and William Shakespeare

Book Summary
Macbeth, one of the greatest stories ever told . . . in texts?!

Imagine: What if that tragic couple, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, had smartphones? A classic is reborn in this fun and funny adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays!

A prophecy from three witches.
A social-climbing couple committing a murder most foul.
A cover-up that spins way out of control.

and h8. The classics just got a whole lot more interesting. ;)

 tl;dr A Shakespeare play told through its characters texting with emojis, posting photos, checking in at locations, and updating their relationship statuses. The perfect gift for hip theater lovers and teens.

A glossary and cast of characters are included for those who need it. For example: tl;dr means too long; didn’t read.

Flo's Review
This is quality fun, you guys. First of all, the dedication at the beginning of the book from the author reads: "For all the slackers being quizzed on this tomorrow, good luck."

It was clever and I literally LOL and several parts of it.

Such an enjoyable 30 minutes of my life. (Yeah, that's how long it took to read this -- lol.)

Apparently there are others in this series (OMG Shakespeare) so clearly I have to find them all.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Audiobook review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Note: To keep this review spoiler free, I will not post the book summary, as it may be a spoiler for the first book in the series Three Dark Crowns. Go read Three Dark Crowns! In the meantime, proceed to the review feeling safe that I won't ruin anything for you :).

Flo's Spoiler Free Review
Kendare Blake and the Queens of Fennbirn have done it again! I listened to this one on audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The narrator was great -- she really made the queens sound distinct and gave them voices to match their characters. Nicolas Martel's voice did kind of make me laugh, but he needed an accent, so there you go.

What I loved about this book (and the last one) is that I really had no idea how it could end. A big event would come up and I'd think it would be the kind of thing that would end everything, but it wasn't. Every time! Something happened and I continued to be pulled along in this intriguing story. The action and the pacing in these books is truly fantastic.

I kept saying "No spoilers!" when I wrote the books, and I wouldn't even let myself look at the summary of book 3, just in case. Speaking of book 3, I am so glad I don't have to wait to continue this story. Naturally, I have no idea what direction this is going in after the end of One Dark Throne, and I'm excited to find out.

Next up: Two Dark Reigns. Let's do this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Book review: Wildcard by Marie Lu

No, but for real -- I looove this book!
Note: To keep this review spoiler free, I will not include the book summary here, as it may be a spoiler for the first book of the duology Warcross. Although, if you haven't read Warcross yet -- get on that! Gooooo!

Flo's Spoiler Free Review
Ahhh!!! Wildcard was my most anticipated book of 2018, and it did not disappoint. This book brought all the action, romance, and suspense at the same level of the first book, if not more. It never felt like any time was passing as I kept flipping the pages. And the plot twists! Holy reveals, Batman!! They just kept coming, and they were so clever and so fully integrated into the storyline that they blew my mind every single time. Like, I'd physically set the book down and think, "Whoa..." The plot of these two books was so tight and intricate, and I loved the way that certain scenes in Warcross circled back in different iterations in Wildcard. We got to look deeper into the characters and relationships we came to love in Warcross. And we also got to meet new characters -- some to hate and some to love.

Like Warcross, this book presents a lot of thought-provoking questions about the connections between technology and morality, and gives the reader a lot to ponder in terms of society and human thought. I mean, from the Dark World to Hideo and with everyone in between, there is so much to contemplate about humanity and its choices. But it's also just so much fun to read. When I finished reading the last page, I closed the book and immediately hugged it to my chest. I felt like I was getting off a fun ride at an amusement park -- kind of sad to go, but also knowing that I'll look back and remember how much I enjoyed it.

Wildcard publishes on September 18th, which gives you enough time to read Warcross, if you haven't yet. And if you have read Warcross -- you're almost there! And trust me -- it's worth the wait.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Book review: A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Book Summary
King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?

Flo's Review
I had fun with this book! From the moment I first heard about it many months ago, I was looking forward to it. The idea behind the book, following King Midas' golden daughter is just so unique and clever. From the beginning, I was swept up into Kora's well-created world. It was easy to keep the turning the pages as the first stirrings of romance and adventure heralded what was to come in the story. 

But A Touch of Gold was not predictable in the slightest. It changed course much like the ship Kora was on would change course, as new information discovered at several points throughout the story caused me to question everything I thought I knew about these people. (Seriously, though -- trust no one! Lol). The villain was deliciously horrible and the character growth that both Kora and her cousin Hettie undergo is inspiring. The romance plays out with a twist, but I'm happy with the way it ended up and I think other readers will be, too. 

A Touch of Gold comes out August 14, 2018.

Thank you to Blink YA Books for providing me with an advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Mystery Blogger Award!

So, guess what?! The Book Nerds have been chosen for the Mystery Blogger Award! {insert happy dance} Um, it turns out we were actually nominated for this back in April and I just now saw it because #FloFail. Whoops. At any rate, better late than never, right?! Right!

Here are the rules of the Award:

1. Put the award logo on your blog.
2. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog.
3. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well. (Maggie @okoto enigmas blog)
4. Tell your readers three things about yourself.

5. Nominate 10-20 people.

6. Notify your nominees.

7. Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, specifying one weird/funny question.
8. Share a link to your best post(s).

1. I'll be taking care of this as soon as I'm done with this post. Excited for the new bling!

2. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Catfairy Books! I am so sorry I just now saw this! If anyone is reading this who hasn't seen her blog yet, you should definitely check it out. She updates regularly, is writing a magical realism book, uses lots of fun pictures and GIFs, and loves Dawson Creek! Basically, it's a win all around:

3. Thanks to Okoto Enigma's Blog for starting this fun:

4. Let's see...these are going to be completely random. 1) I'm not a fan of olives. 2) Today (August 8) is the 28th anniversary of my sister seeing our favorite band, New Kids on the Block, in concert for the first time. My parents told me I couldn't go because I was too young, and I legit am still sad about it to this day. 3) I own 4 sets of the Hunger Games trilogy books. It might even be more, honestly, but I can think of 4 of them at this current moment. 

5. 10-20?!?! Hah! I don't think I know that many people. How about 1-2? That's better. So any of the owls at Owl Always Be Reading and Jacque at Jacque's Book Nook -- you're up. I suggest not waiting 4 months like I did....

6.  I'll be taking care of this as soon as I'm done with this post. 

7. Here are Catfairy's questions with my answers:

1) If you were stuck in a television show which show would you want to be stuck in?
Maybe because I'm thinking of Catfairy, but Dawson's Creek might be fun. I'm also currently obsessed with Disney Fairy Tale Weddings...if being stuck in that show means that I would get to have Disney weddings over and over again, then sign me up!
2) If you could travel anywhere around the world where would you go?
Greece and Ireland are on my bucket list! Anyone want to come with??
3) What is your most life-altering book?
Probably The Hunger Games. That book and series got me into fandom and through fandom I met some really great friends and people! I also had so, so many amazing experiences. And it's all because of my love of Peeta Mellark....oh, and Katniss.
4) We always say that the book is better than the movie! Although if you can pick one movie that is actually better than the book which movie would you pick?
Good question! Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I cannot wait for part two this November!
5) Now for my silly/funny question! You’re stuck on a deserted island! What boy/girl band member would you want to be stuck in a deserted island with? 
Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block!
I swear I am not coping out, but I had so much fun with these questions that I am passing them on to my nominees!

8. Best post? Well, here's one I'm super proud of:

Monday, August 6, 2018

Blog Tour: The Wedding from Hell, Part 2: The Reception by J.R. Ward

The Wedding from Hell
Part 2: The Reception
by J. R. Ward
Available: August 7, 2018
Gallery Books | E-book Original
ISBN: 9781982105372 | Free

The Wedding from Hell, Part 2: The Rehearsal Dinner is the exciting second adventure in J.R. Ward’s three-part ebook serialization: The Wedding From Hell. This exclusive prequel to her upcoming standalone suspense, Consumed (available in Fall 2018) takes us back to the night steamy arson investigator Anne Ashburn and ‘bad boy’ firefighter Danny Maguire will never forget.

About the Book:
The Wedding From Hell, Part 2: The Reception: As the wedding from hell continues, Anne and Danny find themselves walking the delicate balance between professional distance and explosive attraction. Will the desire they feel last through the night and change their lives? Or are they doomed to part after one night of passion?

About the Author:
J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

 Video from J.R. Ward:

Read an excerpt from the book after the page break.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Audiobook review: Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella

Book Summary
Becky Bloomwood and a hilarious cast of beloved family and friends (plus one enemy!) set off in a van to find her missing father, last heard from in Las Vegas.

Becky’s father Graham and her best friend’s husband, Tarquin, have disappeared from Los Angeles saying simply they have “something to take care of.”

But Tarquin’s wife Suze who is Becky’s best friend, and Becky’s mother Jane, are convinced the two men are hiding something and are in danger—their imaginations run wild. They must track them down!

Hijinks ensue as husband Luke drives Becky, daughter Minnie, Jane, Suze and other favorite Kinsella characters across country from LA to Las Vegas in search of the missing men.

Becky feels deeply guilty about ignoring her father while he was in LA, in addition Becky feels her enemy Alicia is threatening her friendship with Suze.

Flo's Review
I took an impromptu road trip last weekend and needed something fun to keep me going as I drove. Booknerd Jacque has recently discovered the Shopaholic series, and maybe that inspired me to finally listen to this audiobook that I picked up at a conference several years ago.

Shopaholic to the Rescue picks up right where Shopaholic to the Stars left off. I haven't read Stars, so while I wasn't completely lost, there were a lot of references to events from that last book that I didn't get. Also, the last book in the series that I read in full was Shopaholic and Sister, so there were some new characters I hadn't met. 

But I still adored this story. I believe it's the final book in the Shopaholic series and I got a little misty eyed at several points of it. But I feel like it left all the characters in a good place, with a satisfying conclusion. 

In this one, Becky has visibly grown. Her musings are still quirky and fun to read, but she is far from the woman we met in Confessions. One of the main story lines in this book is that Becky does not want to shop for herself, and I think it's completely brilliant that in the last book in the series she is having the opposite problem as in the first. That being said, Derek Smeathe is in this book, and I loved the circle effect of having him play a role in this story.

True to any Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) story, the situations the characters find themselves in are so bizarre and fun to read. This book is a road trip, so we got to see several scenarios through Becky's eyes: a big county fair, Las Vegas, Sonoma, and more. Becky steals the show as always, but I had fun with the other characters as well: her mom and Janice, Eleanor, Danny, Tarquin, and even Alicia B*-Longlegs were all a delight to read.

There is a scene with Elvis toward the end of the story that really did make me tear up. So perfect and well done. And "Becky's 11?" I love it!

This is a delightful, fun, satisfying conclusion to the Shopaholic series, and I am really glad I read it! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Book Review: See How They Run by Ally Carter

See How They Run (Embassy Row, #2)

Goodreads Overview:

Inside every secret, there's a world of trouble. Get ready for the second book in this new series of global proportions--from master of intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter. 

Grace's past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down. 

The twists get twistier and the turns get even more shocking in the second thrilling installment of Embassy Row.

Jacque's Review:

In this installment Grace is already aware of what really happened to her mother, but she doesn't know why.  She discovers there is a secret society of women who have guarded Adria's secrets and has been influencing its history for at least 1000 years.  While the history books show that men have been ruling Adria for centuries, it is their sisters, wives, mothers, and grandmothers who are really in control.

When violence breaks out on the small island, Grace will do anything to solve the murder and clear the name of her brother's best friend, Alexei.  Grace has always thought of Alexei as another brother, but perhaps there is more to their relationship? When the violence continues to escalate and the targets become her closest friends and family she begins to unravel the truth.  She is not safe in Adria and she must continue running.  When presented with the choice of fight or flight, she always chooses to run, but she may not be able to outrun whoever is after her this time.

This was another page turner that contained a ton of action and even more secrets to unravel.  The majority of the book took place during a large festival on the island, which added a chaotic atmosphere to an already stressful situation.  Grace and her friends don't know who they can trust and the one man who she perceived as her enemy for the past three years turns out to be the one person she can trust with their lives.

I simply couldn't wait to see how this series concludes. I downloaded the final book in the series while I was still reading the last few chapters of See How They Run.  I started reading Take the Key and Lock Her Up yesterday and it is off to a great start.  We are a long way from a happily ever after, but hopefully Ally is moving us in that direction.