Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Whistling Women

It's another review! Two for you today! I know, I've been a reading nut. 

Whistling Women - Kelly Romo

Life went terribly wrong for Addie Bates in San Diego, and she’s been running from dark memories ever since. For fifteen years, the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony has provided a safe haven for Addie to hide from the crime she committed. But when the residents pack up to go on exhibit at the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego, Addie returns and must face the thrilling yet terrifying prospect of reuniting with her estranged sister, Wavey.

Addie isn’t the only one interested in a reunion. When her niece, Rumor, discovers she has an aunt, Rumor is determined to bring her family together. But it’s not so easy when the women are forced to confront family secrets, past and present.

Set against the backdrop of the 1935 world’s fair, Whistling Women explores the complex relationships between sisters, the sacrifices required to protect family, and the devastating consequences of a single impulsive act.

I'm going to start by telling you that this book is a little over 400 pages so it's no joke. Secondly, so much of it could be taken out and the story would not suffer. Just, it's a public plea from me to authors- just stop it. You can stop adding all of this fluff, none of us want the fluff. It doesn't add to your story, it makes a person want to put it down. 

But don't put this one down, read through the fluff, because it's worth it. It almost reminds me of K.L. Cook's The Girl From Charnelle, which is a book I absolutely adore and I think about it often. Whistling Women centers around two main characters, Rumor and her aunt Addie. Addie, upon the death of her parents, finds herself in an orphan asylum, but once her sister Wavey is able, she brings Addie to live with her and her new husband, Ty and they have a baby on the way. You don't find out until almost the end, but something pretty horrific happens between Wavey, Ty, and Addie and it sends Addie to lose her way in life and she finds herself spending most of her adulthood on a nudist colony, which is properly sinful back in those times. Addie finds herself in San Diego, where Wavey lives, and she knows her time is almost up at the nudist colony because she's getting older, and she wants desperately to reconnect with her sister. 

Rumor and her older sister Mary live with their mother, Wavey. Wavey hasn't done so well either, she's gone through two husbands and currently has a rotating door of boyfriends and comes home drunk too often for Rumor's liking. Inadvertently, Rumor discovers Addie is her aunt and that's how the snowball towards a really great conclusion starts. 

I really enjoyed this book. I tell you though, the first half is boring. Absolutely boring. I almost gave it up but then I really wanted to know- what could Addie have done to warrant her sister abandoning her? The other things I wish were stronger: Mary, she could have been a much bigger player. She's featured heavily through the book but she doesn't really do much and she should. Also, Ruby? Ruby is a brief character where if you aren't paying attention, you'll miss it- but her connection to Papa Jack and his upset the last time he sees Mary and Rumor during the day- did something happen with Ruby? It's kind of a point in the plot that was maybe going to be more, then decided against and instead of scratching it all together they muted it a bit, if that makes sense? Commit to it or don't at all, it's confusing otherwise. 

Overall? I really enjoyed this book, a solid 4/5 stars for sure. 

You can find Whistling Women on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, of course. You can connect with Kelly Romo on her website, Facebook, and Twitter

One Step Too Far

Hi Lambs! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving break, and as you can see, I'm back at it. I have a few reviews for you this week and a really great list of fun shops you've never heard of that you should shop at- so stay tuned. But right now, review time!

One Step Too Far - Tina Seskis

To be fair, I actually read this book way back in 2013 for the first tour it was on. I didn't love it then, and I'll share that review with you now and then a few thoughts after I read it a second time: 

I will start by saying that this was a weird book. It was good, but there were so many parts where I started to really hate Emily not just as a mom and wife but as a person. Even though I can sympathize with wanting to just start all over because it's hard. Life is hard but you add the duties of motherhood and being a good wife into the mix, it's even harder. But she has had a lot of confusion and inner demons her entire life and I guess over time, it just gets to be too much. 

The secret that essentially drives this book, it's what keeps you reading because you want to know what it is, isn't earth shattering. I read it and was like, "Ok. No reason to freak out, totally something you could work out.". But given the personality of Emily, I understand why it would be a big deal for her. 

Things I didn't like about the book- is that she seems really cold. I mean, the thing keeping me back from running away is knowing it would screw my children up forever. Now, she thinks it's doing her son a favor but come on.... does anyone really think that? I mean, somewhere in your mind you have to know this is wrong. Then she moves into the most bizarre living situation with all of these randomly put together flatmates and eventually develops a drug habit along with shoplifting and yeah. How a person thinks this is the way to turn your life around is beyond me. 

I so badly want to give my two cents on how the book ends because I hated the ending. Oh, did I hate the ending. The only thing about the ending that I did like is that everything had closure. A lot of authors like to leave loose strings and you're left wondering what the characters did after all, but this book ties it all up. Nothing is left to your imagination, you get the answer for everything and I really appreciated that. Especially with this book weaving different points of view and just bizarre topics into the story in general. So overall... I'm a 2/5. I just... I just can't give it more. I really struggled through it and I felt myself irrationally angry through most of it and I just can't give a book more than 2 for that because it's not one I would pick up again and it's not one I would necessarily recommend. 

I have to say, I know a few people who would really enjoy this book considering I have more reader friends and they all have very different tastes from me. Secondly, I think I really am in the minority when it comes to this book. Even after all of this time, I knew what the "twist" was and I thought perhaps reading it again knowing the twist would make me appreciate it more but no. I still thought it was not as huge as it's portrayed to be. But admittedly, I am not the person who has this kind of thing happen to me and freak out. I'm very much not a freak out kind of person. It's like, yes- that's a totally terrible tragedy but dang, your reaction is pretty unwarranted, you nut job. 

I will say again that I am very much in the minority and I think people are enjoying it far more than I ever did so maybe don't listen to me at all. At least on this book. I'm usually always right. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wyoming Rugged & GIVEAWAY!!

It never fails, anytime I feel like I'm in a reading rut, my go-to genre is always a romance. I can whip through a romance novel like it's nobody's business and that always gives me a good jump start to get the reading bug again. While in my last rut, this was the book I chose.

Wyoming Rugged - Diana Palmer

Billionaire oilman Blair Coleman has always taken care of his business. After having been used and cast aside by a woman he thought he loved, his personal life is far from his first priority. He knows only one has ever truly cared for him—but the irresistible blonde beauty is the daughter of his best friend. 
Niki Ashton has seen her father's friend wounded and she's seen him fight. Blair is the strongest—and most stubborn—man she's ever known. That very heart and passion makes him the man of her dreams, but whenever they've been in danger of getting close, Blair has always pushed her away. 
It takes a possible tragedy to strip away all of Blair's misgivings. Now it's all or nothing: marriage, baby, family, forever. But will the choice be too much for Niki…or too late?
Right away, I will tell you that while this is #5 in the series, you would never know it. This is 100% a stand alone book, so that's really nice. Also, Diana Palmer is a new to me author and I would read her again, which tells you what I think about the book.

So let's get the things that annoyed me out of the way now. First up, Niki.... sigh. Niki is like, she's naive but she's worse than naive. She's the phase before naive, she's practically puritanical. If you had locked a woman away in a dungeon with zero social contact and let her loose in a bar, that's the only way you could replicate her naivete. She has zero idea what flirting is, has zero idea what physical attraction feels like, and honestly, she's basically childlike in a way. Then Blair is a bit of a moron who spends the entire book focusing on the 16 year age gap, as if that's even an issue nowadays. Aside from that, my biggest complaint is that a solid 30 pages towards the end of the book? Could be taken out. At least. It's rehashing of them rehashing, or the first time they rehashed EVERYTHING. Honestly, it's either take that 30 pages out or get rid of the entire first part of the book and give us just the 30 pages. I found myself skipping entire pages because I had already read this stuff three, sometimes four times earlier in the book, already. Instead of all of that (without giving the conclusion of the book away) I would have liked to seen more of their ending. I feel like SO MUCH TIME was put into rehashing everything we've read that the ending was rushed and that does a disservice to the book, I think.

BUT. With that, it's a solid little romance. If you're looking for seedy love scenes and graphic detail, you will NOT get it in this book. If you are that person who likes to read a love story without all of the detail in love scenes, this is absolutely the book for you. It's an incredibly quick read (around 295 pages) and it's available as a mass paperback in December 2015, but you can pre-order it on Amazon right now. If you think this is for you, I encourage you to check out Diana's website and her Facebook page to see what you can get of hers right now.

Overall? I enjoyed it. Sure, the 30 page thing was annoying, but if I imagine the book without that, I really liked it. It's a good romance, a fast read, it kept me wanting to find out what happens with Niki's health and if Blair gets his head out of his ass.

Lucky for you..... I have one copy to giveaway (US/Canada)! To win a copy you must...

  • Leave me a comment- what are you reading now or next? 
  • Make sure you EMAIL is in your comment so I can contact you if you win! 
That's all, lambs! Have a ton of fun shopping this Black Friday. Think of me as I'm cleaning up the aftermath at Target today. Just know I'm exhausted and wish I was reading. 

In the News: lumps, crime, bad babysitters.

Hello, lambs! Right now you are either in the hoards at stores shopping for the best deals for the best holiday of the year, or you're boycotting the whole thing because you're secretly a Grinch.

Either way, love ya.

Anyhoodles, here is the In the News recap this week!

1. HGTV host has cancer, detected by viewer. I kind of hate the show Flip or Flop because I feel like the guy is a stressed out asshole always on the brink of financial ruin and the wife is a materialistic bitch. I mean, maybe just on the show but ugh, no thanks. BUT! A viewer, who is a registered nurse, noticed Tarek had a lump and turns out- he totally has thyroid cancer. He's much better now after having surgery but man, how lucky was he that this nurse took the time to find an email for his production company!

2. Jim Bob is just.. no. Don't do anything he says. First of all, if you want to have 20 kids then right on, do exactly what he says. I don't care who you are, if you have 20 children, some of them are bound to be a bad egg. This family... they need to go away. Stop trying to convince the rest of us you're wholesome and a good example. You let your daughters be molested, you never helped your son, and you make it sound like we're supposed to forgive him and move on because you're daughters have. Which, shame on you. Go away.

3. It's getting real in Minneapolis. So here's the short version. Black kid was shot by police officers during an arrest. Apparently, the kid was involved in an assault (bad), and then while first responders where giving first aid to the victim, he was interfering, then there was a scuffle and he ends up dead. Now people are in an uproar and instead of an investigation to happen in a calm and thorough manner, people are losing their shit and throwing rocks, bricks, etc at police and then wonder why they got pepper sprayed. Now, I feel really sad anytime anyone is hurt or shot. I do. I will forever say that if you do not want to go to jail or worse, stop breaking the god damn law. Now, should the officer shoot at his head? Probably not. I mean, you couldn't shoot his arm or something? But then, maybe that was the intent and he moved and it hit his head. I don't know but what I do know is that I'm sick and tired of people assaulting police officers because they think they are all bad. If you would just follow the fucking law, you'll be alright.

4. Two year old found alive, babysitter arrested. This right here is why I don't have babysitters. I have never left my kids alone with someone other than a family member or a really close friend with children. You just don't know and honestly, me having a good time somewhere is never going to be worth it. But this little girl was abducted in the early morning, by her babysitter, and later found naked on the side of the road with her head shaved. Now, obviously something happened between the time she was abducted and then when she winds up naked and bald. So freaking bizarre.

OK, lambs. If you're reading this, think of me. I'm working retail and I'm maybe dead on the floor from a stampede. If you never see another post from me again, you'll know how I went out.

If Only In My Dreams

If you know me at all, you know that Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday of all time. It's my favorite time of year, and one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season? Read holiday season themed romances.

Oh shut up, it's not as cheesy as it sounds! Typically they are short novellas, perfect for a night curled up in my chair, under my favorite blanket, with my cinnamon scented candles burning and at least one pet at my feet. It's that or watch another thrilling episode of Star Trek with Matt.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out what I'll pick.

So if you're in the mood for a similar evening, I've got a great book selection for you!

If Only In My Dreams - Mariah Stewart

New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart’s timeless, charming holiday novella, originally featured in the popular yuletide anthology Upon a Midnight Clear, now available as a standalone at a great price!

A lively family reunion on a Montana ranch brings on a flurry of memories for a beautiful young writer—and a winter storm that rekindles an old flame—in this “warmly magical” (Library Journal) feel-good holiday gem!

Reluctantly retired baseball player Cale comes back to Montana after an injury ends his career. Suddenly single, with two twin five year old boys, Cale struggles with his uncertain future but tries coming back home to see if that helps, despite the memory of his first love, Quinn. 

Quinn, a children's author and illustrator, takes a break from the big city to come home for Christmas, despite the lingering sadness of the love of her life, Cale, seemingly breaking her heart by leaving without her. 

After a trip to her grandmother's long abandoned cabin to lay a holiday wreath, following family tradition, Quinn finds herself stuck on the mountain in snow storm. In an effort to seek shelter, she tries to get home but is distracted by the ghost of her grandmother Elizabeth who leads her to the cabin of Cale's relatives. Assuming his sister Valerie is the one occupying the cabin, she's surprised to find it quiet, but warm. She soon realizes Valerie isn't there at all, but in fact, Cale and his boys are there. Cue increase in snow storm intensity and a couple of awkward days and the revelation of what really happened on that fateful day so many years ago that broke both of their hearts. 

It's a fast read, it's a really adorable story and I'm going to say it- it opens the door for other novellas, consider Quinn has several single siblings and there is a little teaser in there with Cale's sister, Valerie. I would totally love to see more of these stories with this family! Mariah Stewart is a really solid romance writer and she's perfect if you are that person not into the S&M fantasies that are increasingly popular or a lot of descriptive sex scenes. Lots is left up of the imagination but you don't feel like you've missed anything at all. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a light and fun holiday read. 

It's officially available on November 30, 2015 but you can pre-order it now (ebook only) on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, or Simon & Schuster directly. If you want to learn more about Mariah and her other books, visit her website or follow her on Facebook

Welcome to Sara's Organized Chaos

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Owlcrate: Myths & Legends

Hello! So today we're going to talk about what is... my third Owlcrate box? I'm pretty sure it's my third. The theme for this month was "Myths & Legends" and somehow I had missed that announcement in all of their posts on Instagram and Facebook.

But what is super cool is they now have a referral program, so once three people join Owlcrate with my referral link (THIS ONE RIGHT HERE) I can get a free box. So if you were ever on the fence about this, totally do it now. ALSO, if you join now, use the code NEWMEMBER and you get 10% off your first box. Totally cool promotion for you to see if you love it and you're helping me out at the same time. The theme for December is "Get Inspired", so that sounds pretty darn exciting.

*fist bump, lambs*

So let's talk about the nightmare it was to get my box this time. It comes 3 day priority mail, so that's pretty amazing, once you get your tracking information, your box comes quick! Unless you have a moron mail carrier like I do, who delivers your package to the wrong place. The tracking told me it was delivered. It most certainly wasn't. I call, they have no idea where it is. Turns out, he delivered it to the college campus dorms over two miles away. The address is no way similar. Who even knows what he was drinking in the morning. But finally! I got my box.

 Hello, you beautiful box of happy.
We got Richelle Mead's new book Soundless and while Richelle's other books are so great and every other book I have ever gotten from Owlcrate has been absolutely amazing.. I'm a little worried. Right away anything with Chinese lore usually bores the hell out of me, but I'm going to give it a try because I am a fan of the author.
Also in our box was a really gorgeous castle locket from The Geeky Cauldron- it's a pretty stunning piece, actually. We got a bracelet from The Colorful Geek, which I don't have pictured because I threw it away, it was one of those rubber ones everyone uses to fundraise for a cause and I don't like them. We also got a mermaid pocket mirror from My Clockwork Castle. The large box is fairytale tea from Adagio Teas. Now, I can't stand tea. I don't drink tea (or coffee) so this is going in someone's Christmas bag of goodies for me. We also got coupon codes for The Geeky Cauldron and The Colorful Geek, which is kind of nice because I know a few people who would like a few things on each website for the holidays.

Overall, not my most favorite box but I'm certainly in the minority because others are raving about it. I will tell you that my other boxes have been AMAZING and Owlcrate is still my favorite box for value and what you get for that price ($29.99 plus shipping). You can gift a box as well, if you have a reader friend that would love this kind of thing, and in the words of Eddie Griswold (if you don't know who that is, you are dead to me), "That's the gift that keeps on giving, Clark!".

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Christmas Wish List

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love Christmas. I take a lot of joy buying gifts for people and often spend way more than I should. This year I've pre-planned what I'm doing for everyone so hopefully I don't get carried away. But every year I do my Christmas wish list in the hopes that I get some of these things.


1. Chameleon Art Pens
Chameleon Alcohol Color Tone Marker Set of 22 - Deluxe Kit
I have so many stamp sets that require me to color something in and then I don't use them because I'm terrible with shading and it never comes out like I see tutorials doing it so I get frustrated. I have watched the videos on these pens hundreds of times and I really think these are fool proof. I want them so badly!

2. Silhouette Cameo Starter Kit

Do you know how many gifts I could make with this?! A TON. I've wanted this for awhile and I'm confident that after a few changes in my craft room I'd have room for it. And then I could load up my Etsy shop with lots of cute things!

3. Anything from Sassy Lemonade, but especially these whale earrings.
I am in love with the shop Sassy Lemonade on Etsy. I wanted to buy it all but I have zero funds. Just kidding, a few friends might get an item from here because I love Etsy and I try to buy as much as I can from various shops and support local.


As if I wasn't going to include books on my list. Here are the ones I've been itching for:

But obviously a Barnes & Noble gift card would be amazing as well.

5. Dracula Scarf.
6. Supernatural Shirt
I'm a size large. I need this in my life.

7. A gift card so I can shop and buy a ton of Stampin' Up stuff! I love all of their stamps, inks, tools, and paper. I'm a junkie. I was sober for a long time but I've basically fallen off the wagon.

8. I want Matt to make me this desk for my office so I can get rid of the desk I hate. But I'd like three shelves because I don't want you to see my feet. That's totally storage space possibility!
oh, no-- this one is EVEN BETTER

9. Shoe Cabinet (that could easily double as better storage at the top of our stairs instead of the dresser that is falling apart up there now. JUST SAYING.) 
 10. Scarf organizer. Nothing fancy, something like this would be perfect!
 11. Victoria's Secret Gift Card.
Let's face it, I'm down to three pairs of underwear (that fit) because the mother effing dog EATS THEM ALL. Also, my boobs are larger than I would like and have not gone back down to normal size since having Penelope and also, the bras I have that do fit are so stretched out it seems a wasted effort. 

I don't have any of the seasons on disc, I've just been watching them through Netflix, but I'm not done! I'm working my way through season 8, and I believe season 11 is happening right now on real TV. But I don't need the box (obviously, I just like the picture), but I would like this. 

Um, I think that's it. HA! But honestly, I love gifts that people find and are like, "Oh, this is SO SARA" because that means you thought of me while you were out and about, and that's perfect. But I know Matt is looking at this, and I've included buy links on almost everything (if it's in color, it's a link) so there is zero excuse for you to say you have no idea where to find it. Love you. Smooches. 

What's on YOUR wish list this year?!