Sunday, March 2, 2014

Showcase Sunday #24

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea where you show what books you've purchased, borrowed, checked out from the library, received from giveaway, etc.

Melissa purchased White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout and Lash by L.G. Castillo.

My sister bought me The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It is a cute, easy read so I might read it as something light after I finish Allegiant. I picked up The Shadow and the Rose by Amanda DeWees which is currently free on Amazon and B&N. I also purchased A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin at Stuff Etc

Comment below and let us know what you found this week. Share any links to your blog so we can visit you! 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday's Featured Freebie: The Shadow and the Rose by Amanda DeWees

It is supposed to snow tonight, tomorrow and Sunday so I picked up this free book from the comfort of my own home. Stay warm this weekend wherever you are....

The Shadow and the Rose (Ash Grove Chronicles #1)
by Amanda DeWees
Free on Amazon and B&N

In the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains, Ash Grove High School for the Performing Arts draws the brightest and most talented teens. But beneath the peaceful surface, supernatural forces are at work.

When ordinary high-school junior Joy Sumner visits a graveyard at midnight on a dare, she doesn’t expect to end up sharing a kiss with brooding teen model Tanner Lindsey. And she definitely doesn’t expect to make an enemy of Tanner’s seductive, sinister mentor, the ageless supermodel Melisande—who may not be entirely human—or to find that her sleepy little corner of North Carolina is buzzing with supernatural energy.

While Joy fights to free Tanner from Melisande’s grasp—and from his own self-doubt—she finds that she’s pregnant. And when Tanner’s love for her puts his life in danger, will she be able to rescue him and save their future together?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top 10 Books That Made Us Cry

This week's Top Ten Topic is REWIND! (Pick from previous topics that you want to do again or may have missed). Therefore, I picked Top Ten Books That Made Us Cry since I love tearjerker films and books and I am notorious for crying at sappy, sentimental stuff such as the Budweiser horse and puppy commercial that they played during the Superbowl. As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely The Broke & the Bookish.

Melissa's Picks:

1. Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak *

3. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda *

4. Allegiant by Veronica Roth 

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green* 

Melissa doesn't like books that make her cry. Time and time again, she has repeatedly voiced this to me. I in turn, being the good friend that I am, blatantly disregard this fact. My last three book club picks as noted by the asterisk above have made her cry. I need to keep on this streak going so if you have any tearjerker book recommendations let me know. 

Impressive Fact about Melissa: These five books are the only ones she remembers crying for. 

Rachel's Picks:

1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) by J.K. Rowling - Harry finally gets a real relationship with his godfather and then it is snatch away from him. What a cruel, cruel world...

2. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins - Prim...Do I really need to say anymore.

3. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - The ending was so beautiful, sad and endearing.

4. Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff - I was choked up this entire book and it does not help that it is based on a true story.

5. For One More Day by Mitch Albom - His books always get me but especially this novel when the narrator recounts the "Times my mother stood up for me" and the "Times I did not stand up for my mother." I would recommend this for any child who could appreciate their mother a tad more at times.

I could include another whole book shelf on this list -Sarah's Key, Stargirl, Room, Their Eyes were Watching God, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, etc but we would be here all day. Let us know if you enjoyed our list and if you have read any of these books.

Also, we would love to hear what great books you have read that made you cry.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Showcase Sunday #23

Welcome, nice to see you again!  Sorry Rachel and I haven't been on here lately.  Not sure what we have been up to.  Anyways, glad you stopped by.

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea where you show what books you've purchased, borrowed, checked out from the library, received from giveaway, etc.

These last two weeks I've picked up The Guard (The Selection, #2.5) by Kiera Cass, Punished (Arelia LaRue, #2) by Kira Saito, and Every Day by David Levithan.

I've already finished the novella by Cass and looking forward to Punished.  Every Day is this month's book club choice so I'm obligated.  It does sound interesting.  I will probably like it, it's just not my typical Sci-Fi Fantasy.  I did watch the premier of Star- Crossed on the CW which is promising.  I will just have to get my fix that way.

I'm not sure what Rachel picked up if anything this week.  ;)

What did you pick up this week?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Showcase Sunday #22

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea where you show what books you've purchased, borrowed, checked out from the library, received from giveaway, etc.

Rachel picked up some more books from the second hand store.  She found some great books.  Peter Pan by J.M Barrie, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz, #1) by Frank L. Baum, and Princess Academy (Princess Academy, #1) by Shannon Hale. 

I downloaded Be With Me the sequel to Wait For Me by J. Lynn aka Jennifer L. Armentrout.  My nook is running out of room on my table top, I better get some reading done!

What did you pick up this week?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Side Effects May Vary

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are highly anticipating.

Side Effects May Vary
by Julie Murphy
Release Date: March 18th 2014

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

Why am I Waiting?
Leukemia and cancer has always been an interesting book topic to me. I really enjoyed reading My Sister's Keeper. I am going to read The Fault in Our Stars later this month for book club. Plus I love bucket lists. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Showcase Sunday #21

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea where you show what books you've purchased, borrowed, checked out from the library, received from giveaway, etc.

Melissa purchased the entire Snow and Blood novella series by Rashelle Workman about Snow White and vampires.  The series is 12 books so I just included my three favorite covers.

I purchased The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner and An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff at a secondhand store. I also downloaded Venture Untamed by R.H. Russell free on Amazon.

What books did you find this week?

Friday's Featured Freebie: Venture Untamed by R.H. Russell

This is a little belated, but as they say "it's better late than never." Enjoy this free book I found on Amazon this week.  

Venture Untamed (The Venture Books #1)
by R.H. Russell
Free on Amazon

Venture Delving is a bonded servant, a member of the lowest class in the world. Already fatherless, when he loses his mother, he veers from energetic to out of control. But when Venture's rage saves the life of Jade, his best friend and his master's daughter, Venture finds himself in the last place he ever expected—a center renowned for training young boys to be professional fighters.

When Venture realizes he's fallen in love with Jade, he knows that the only way he'll ever have her, the only way he'll ever be free to live the life he's meant to live, is to defy convention, common sense, the trust of those he cares about most—and sometimes the law—and become the best fighter in the world, the Champion of All Richland. Venture must battle not only rival fighters, but the ghosts of his past and the members of a privileged warrior class who stand between him and his dream.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cover Reveal: Mistaken by Heather Fleener

Enemies by circumstance of Creation
Sworn to their purpose, the Vampire and the Witch
were created to battle over the fate of mankind. 

He was the First
Until one Vampire sought a Higher Purpose.

She was the Beginning
And one Witch’s faith brought Darkness into the Light.

Their love would turn the course of the Ancient War…
Before the Prophecy, an Ancient Queen and the Vampire she loved
would forge the path for those that would follow.

Look for Mistaken (Ancients of Light, #4) 

Spring 2014

Check out Heather's blog for an excerpt from her new book!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top Ten Worlds That We Would NEVER Want to Live In Or Characters We Would NEVER Want To Trade Places With

This week's Top Ten Topic is Top Ten Worlds That We Would NEVER Want to Live In Or Characters We Would NEVER Want To Trade Places With. As always Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke & the Bookish.

Melissa's Picks:
Ok, so I wouldn't like to live in the Delirium, Hunger Games, or Divergent worlds. While I loved the characters and the courage it took for them to do what they had to do, I wouldn't want to be a random person living in those worlds, without love, or the strict and ridiculous government rules. I don't think I would want to be a Siren like Gemma is in the Watersong series, while being immortal and part fish would have its benefits, I couldn't imagine killing/eating innocent boys. YUCK! And I could never survive with zombies so Samantha in Zombie Island is one up on me there.

Rachel's Picks: 
I would not want to live in The Hunt world since the vampires are extremely creepy and in my opinion worse than zombies because they are lightning speed, bloodsucking monsters (no  charming Edward in the whole bunch). I would not want to trade places with the main characters from A Child Called “It”, Room, Burned, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. All of these characters deal with unspeakable abuses that I don’t think I could handle. In A Child Called “It”, Dave endures horrific abuses at the hands of his own mother…the worst part is that it is based on a true story. The woman in Room, is kidnapped by a man twice her age and then is held captive by her assailant in a 9 x 11 room. After years of being raped by her captor, she gives birth to his son. Pattyn in Burned has a very abusive father. When she finally gets away from him and his iron first, he still finds a way to crush what little happiness she found in the world and tears it away from her forever. While I admire Lisbeth’s resilient in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, she gets the shaft in every aspect of her life. Everyone thinks she is mentally challenged when that is the farthest thing from the truth. She doesn’t have many if any people in her life she can trust. (SPOILER ALERT) The scene with Bjurman raping and sodomizing her made every single nerve in my body cringe.

What  book world wouldn't you never want to live in? What character would you never trade places with in a million years? 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Showcase Sunday #20

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea where you show what books you've purchased, borrowed, checked out from the library, received from giveaway, etc.

Rachel had a good reading week, she purchased at the local second had store:

Gregor the Underlander, Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane, Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins

She was missing a couple in the series and read them so fast that she needed to borrow:

Gregor and Curse of the Warmbloods, Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins
I've been trying to catch up on my reading so I haven't purchased anything new, I did pick up Goddess Legacy by M.W. Muse and The World of Divergent: The Path to Allegiant by Veronica Roth for free.  I'm still pretty upset with Allegiant, but for free I thought I would check it out.


What books to you pick up this week?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday's Featured Freebie: Goddess Legacy by M.W. Muse

Look, look what I found!  It's been a while since I read a little mythology.  Also, I couldn't pass up a book written by a muse, I mean M.W. Muse. 

Goddess Legacy by M.W. Muse
Free at  B& and

Legacy Kore is an average seventeen year old with your basic insane crush on the hottest guy in school... rather Adin Shepard was the hottest guy in school before he graduated a couple of weeks ago. Now it’s summer vacation and she’s not sure when she’ll get to see him again. Until he shows up at her surprise seventeenth birthday party. Cue saliva glands--it’s time to drool.

But her giddiness is cut short when her guardian delivers an emotional blow, telling Legacy her mother hadn’t died when she was baby, but that she’d left for Legacy’s protection all those years ago. After the initial shock, she expects some story about how her mother was in the Witness Protection Program or something else just as crazy, but when she’s told that her mother is a Greek Goddess and that Legacy is changing into one too, she thinks her guardian needs a trip to a mental hospital. Legacy a goddess? Um, yeah. Right. And her BFF is the Easter Bunny.

While trying to make sense out of something that was impossible to believe, Adin asks Legacy out on a date. She is thrilled that her fantasy might become a reality, but when she meets the new guy in town, River, she discovers everything isn’t always as it seems, and the legacy she wants just might not be the legacy she is destined to have.

What free finds did you pick up today?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Rating: 4 Wine Glasses

The title speaks for itself and pretty much sums up the premise for this book. Allan, the main character, decides on his 100th birthday to climb out the window and disappear without an exact destination in mind. When he gets to the bus station, a young man asks Allan to watch his suitcase while he uses the restroom. While the man is using the restroom, Allan’s bus comes and he decides to take the suitcase with him. This decision leads to a chain reaction of events and begins a surprising adventure starring many unusual characters.The book flips between current day and Allan’s past, leading up to the moment he decides to climb out his window.

This book is comparable to the movie Forest Gump in the sense that Allan stumbles upon an array of political figures over the course of his life (Truman, Mao, Stalin, and LBJ) and provides readers with a glimpse into some actual political and historical events that occurred in the last 100 years across the world. It actually made me want to research and read more about these events to find out how much was real versus made up. I am sure my high school history teacher would promote this book if he knew it sparked a new interest in historical world events.

My favorite part was Allan’s relationship with his cat, Molotov. I could just picture my father having the same reaction as Allan and doing something just as crazy. It was a bittersweet moment in the book – Allan having his first close companion and it being taken away from him.

This book made me sad at times and then at other times I found myself smiling. When you look at this book from the standpoint of how society views and treats the elderly like children, this book made me very sad. Once you get past that, you see that this book challenges our beliefs and even provides a sense of hope that when I turn 100 I could step out my window and start my own adventure. I loved Allan’s “things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be,” attitude throughout the book. Regardless of the highs and lows, I found a smile on my face when I closed this book that remained the rest of the day. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on.

by Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 4th 2014

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Why am I Waiting?
I love everything I have read so far by Lauren Oliver and I doubt this book will be an exception to that. I know all about growing up in the middle of nowhere so I am interested to see how Oliver portrays the little town of Carp. I also want to find out more about how the game Panic works. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Top 10 Things on My Reading Wish List

This week's Top Ten Things On My Reading Wish List (if you could make authors write about these things you would. Could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke & the Bookish.

Rachel would like to see more books with:

1.) Interracial relationships/issues.
2.) YA fiction about teen bullying (from a popular person's or the bully's perspective),
3.) Books from a woman's perspective set in Egypt, Rome or Greece during their height of civilization.
4.) Retelling of biblical stories in a different time period.
5.) Inspiring YA fiction that motives teenagers and adults to do more and be better people in general.

I took a little different approach to what I would like to see more books with:

1.) It doesn't matter, write what you love to write about.  If you are passionate about the story, it will come through to your readers.
2.) Be inspired.  Listen to the voices in your head or your dreams, heck maybe even your nightmares.  See the opportunity and the story that surrounds you.  Everyone has a muse we just need to notice.
3.) Make mistakes.  Mistakes are a part of life, you just need to learn from them.
4.) If you haven't started and you want to, just do it.  Everyone has to start somewhere!  Start blogging, poetry, children's books, articles, anything!
5.) Take your time.  I would rather wait for the story to come together perfectly, then have the story forced.

What made your list?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday's Featured Freebie: The Woodlands by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all have a three-day weekend like me to catch up on your reading, sleep and whatever else tickles your fancy. I am hoping to do some secondhand book shopping, some blogging and a lot a reading. Right now, I am reading book 4 of the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins. I must be enjoying it because I sent my boyfriend on a late night run earlier this week to get book 3.  I also borrow the DVD, City of Bones, from Melissa. I am really excited to see how it compares to the book. But, back to the important stuff and probably why you stopped by. This week, I found this pretty interesting book for free on Amazon and B&N. I would say if you like YA distopias, then this is something you should be downloading right now.

The Woodlands (The Woodlands #1)
by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Free on Amazon and B&N

When being unique puts you in danger and speaking your mind can be punishable by death, you might find yourself fighting to survive. Sixteen-year-old Rosa lives in one of the eight enclosed cities of The Woodlands. Where the lone survivors of a devastating race war have settled in the Russian wilderness because it’s the only scrap of land left habitable on the planet. In these circular cities, everyone must abide by the law or face harsh punishment. Rosa's inability to conform and obey the rules brands her a leper and no one wants to be within two feet of her, until she meets Joseph. He's blonde, fair-skinned, green-eyed, and the laid-back complete opposite of Rosa. She's never met anyone quite like him, and she knows that spells danger.

But differences weren't always a bad thing. People used to think being unique was one of the most treasured of traits to have. Now, the Superiors, who ruthlessly control the concrete cities with an iron fist, are obsessed with creating a 'raceless' race. They are convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Any anomalies must be destroyed.

The Superiors are unstoppable and can do anything they want. After all, they are considered superheroes by the general public. But not everyone sees them this way. When they continue to abuse their power by collecting young girls for use in their secret, high-tech breeding program, they have no idea that one of those girls has somehow managed to make friends even she didn't know she had. And one man will stop at nothing to save her. - Goodreads

Stay warm & let us know if you find any other free books and/or good bargains that we should know about.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top 10 Book Goals/Resolutions for 2014

Since we missed last week's Top 10 Tuesday, we are doing it in lieu of this week's. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. Our topic, Top Ten Book Goals/Resolutions for 2014.

Wow, I can't believe that it's been about a month since I've blogged.  The Bartels's house is really frantic this time of year.  Drew and Tyler started wrestling and we are spending at least one day out of the weekend at youth tournaments.  Hailey is in full blown show choir mode and those competitions will start this weekend and will consume the other day of the weekend for me.  Drew, Tyler, and Ryan all decided to play club baseball and while Tyler hasn't stopped playing baseball from last year, Drew and Ryan will be starting practice here soon.  Not to mention it's performance evaluation time at work, which means getting to write 10 lovely evaluations for my team.  This is my explanation for not reading or blogging.

I finally got to finish my first book of 2014 this past weekend, staying up until 3:00 am then getting up at 5:30 am to get the boys ready for the wrestling tournament.  That was a rough day.  After a good nights sleep on Sunday, I rebounded and read a short story and another book on Monday.  Rachel wasn't kidding about The Selection Series by Kiera Cass.  Awesome series and looking for the release of the next book and short story.

Melissa's goals for 2014:

1.  More blogging.  I'm reading all of these books, so I need to take the time to blog about them.  I'm not committing to full blown reviews, but more ranting and raving about them.

2. Find more diamonds in the rough!  I love discovering new amazing authors and recommending their books.

3. This one will be hard, but I think I should probably FINISH one biography.

4. Beat my record, set in 2013, of 83 books and 23,301 pages.

5. Write a book.  I've been wanting to do this for a while now and honestly it scares me.  My boys are not the greatest readers and it's impossible to get them interested in reading.  I don't understand since I always have my nose in a book and love it.  I think they get this from their father.  Eventually, I want to write a children series that will grow and develop with them.  Baby steps though, I need to start small and write just ONE book.

Rachel's goals for 2014:

1. To read 50 books. She was a couple books short from completing this goal for 2013 so she wanted to try again for 2014.

2. Review 20 books on our blog and do some giveaways.

3. Try out an audiobook. Rachel hasn't ever listened to an audio book of her own freewill but she wanted to give it a try for 2014 since her daily commute is around an hour long.

4. Read at least 5 book by self published indie authors.

5. Read at least 5 books that she owns or that she borrowed from someone. Time to tackle all those books just gathering  up dust on her bookshelf.

Make sure to tell us what you have for your 2014 book goals/resolutions!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Top Ten Books/Series We Read in 2013

This week's Top 10 Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. Yesterday's topic, Top Ten Books/Series We Read in 2013.

Happy New Year! 2013 has come to a close and 2014 has rolled in. These are the books/series that we LOVED in 2013. Hopefully, these books will join your TBR list for 2014 if you haven't already discovered these gems.

1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
2. The Lux Series + the adult spinoff book, Obession by Jennifer Armentrout
3. The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
6. The Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver
7. The Covenant Series by Jennifer Armentrout
8. The Mindjack Trilogy by Susan Kaye Quinn
9.  The Insight Series by Jamie Magee
10.  The Room by

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