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Aya M. Productions

This is the Booklikes profile to my blog AYA M. Productions.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm a bookseller, post graduate job seeker, avid reader, and a blogger. :)

Review: Furious Rush by S.C. Stephens

Furious Rush - S.C. Stephens

Note: I received this book for free from Sullivan & Partners in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was not paid to write this. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

To be honest, I was a bit skeptical going into Furious Rush by S. C. Stephens. I didn’t particularly enjoy her Thoughtless series. After Sullivan & Partners pitched the book to me and after reading the synopsis, I decided to give her newest book a try, and I’m very glad I did. Furious Rush was a contemporary romance that had all the right elements: well-developed characters, an engaging plot, lots of drama, and a bit of intrigue. Furious Rush sucked me in from the first chapter, and it was very difficult to put down.

 

In the story, Mackenzie Cox has a lot to live up to. It’s her first year as a pro racer, she’s the daughter of a racing legend, and her father’s company, Cox Racing, is on the verge of going under. The pressure and stakes were high. Therefore, getting wrapped up with her rival team/father’s mortal enemy’s newest racer was a bad idea. She couldn’t escape the fact, however, that she raced better with the former street racer Hayden Hayes, and the attraction was undeniable.

 

Mackenzie and Hayden were amazing characters and very well developed. They’re far from perfect but have the greatest intentions even if they instantly judged each other. It was an absolute joy watching them try to fight the attraction, but eventually work together to become better racers. It was very Romeo and Juliet-esque with their sneaking around behind everyone’s backs. So if you like that kind of romance, Furious Rush is definitely up your alley.

 

I absolutely loved how S. C. Stephens included all of the plot twists and drama into this story. It wasn’t all about seeing Mackenzie and Hayden get together. It was also about saving Cox Racing, figuring out Hayden’s secret, and finding out who was behind the suspicious wrecks during the races. There was so much drama thrown into the story, I absolutely can’t wait to read what’s next!

 

I’d highly recommend S. C. Stephens’s Furious Rush. I thought it was a fantastic contemporary romance, with quite a bit of variety included in the plot. It was a story I went into not knowing if I’d like it but ended up falling in love with the characters. If you choose to read it, I hope it hooks you in from Chapter 1 as well!

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/08/furious-rush

Review: Perfect Ten by Nikki Worrell

Perfect Ten - Nikki Worrell

Note: I received this book for free from Sullivan & Partners in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was not paid to write this. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Perfect Ten by Nikki Worrell had a pretty predictable plot, but what made it a fantastic read was the fun and humor Worrell infused into the story.

 

Faith Graham finds herself with an escort as her date for her wedding, and he’s not any escort, he’s the best of them all at Perfect Ten, Joe Starling. Faith being overweight and continuously ridiculed by her mother and sisters, but Joe is determined to make Faith his. The story is over-the-top, unrealistic, and so much fun. The plot was absolutely predictable, but Worrell’s writing and the push-and-pull between Faith and Joe kept me from putting Perfect Ten down.

 

Personally, I do think it would have been nice to have had a bit more backstory into Joe’s past. There were definitely issues there, issues that led him into becoming an escort. However, aside from the obsessed client, his issues were pretty much overlooked, which was a bit disappointing.

 

If you’re looking for a sweet and fun romance, Perfect Ten by Nikki Worrell would be a fantastic choice. It was a quick read that ended up being a lot of fun, more than I anticipated.

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/08/perfect-ten

Review: Fatal Identity by Marie Force

Fatal Identity (The Fatal Series) - Marie Force

Note: I received this book for free from Sullivan & Partners in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was not paid to write this. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Marie Force’s Fatal series is by far one of my favorites. Sam Holland is such an amazing woman that’s survived so much. It’s always a joy to read about her, Nick, and her latest case. It was definitely just what I needed to get out of my most recent book slump.

Fatal Identity dropped quite the baffling case right into Lieutenant Sam Holland’s hands the minute she was issued her suspension. Was the revered FBI Director’s son kidnapped from a family as a child? This case along with a grieving squad leaving the team short-handed, a sick husband/vice-president and son, and the threat of an assault charge made Fatal Identity quite the ride.

 

While the case dealing with the FBI Director’s son was intriguing, it definitely wasn’t my favorite case in the Fatal series. I didn’t quite guess the circumstances surrounding the case, but I did guess who was involved. It truly wasn’t that difficult for me to deduce. Plus truly, I felt like this installment of the Fatal series and the direction of the Fatal series overall has gotten more and more into the relationships of the story, making Fatal Identity more of a romance than a romantic suspense sort of story.

 

I think the direction Fatal Identity took was fantastic. I enjoy reading about all of the relationships between Sam and her family, Sam and her husband, as well as the relationships of her fellow officers. It’s kept the stories fresh instead of feeling repetitive like many long-running series can get. However, I still look for that mystery and suspense when I read her books, and the case in Fatal Identity was a tad bit too predictable.

 

Overall, I truly enjoyed Fatal Identity by Marie Force. I’d probably recommend the Fatal series to anyone that loves mystery, romance, and a strong, independent female protagonist. I know this series is already at book ten, but I definitely want more.

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/08/fatal-identity

Book Review: Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi

Autofocus - Lauren Gibaldi

Note: I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was not paid to write this. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi was quite possibly the best coming of age story that I’ve read thus far in 2016. Autofocusasks that age old question of nature vs. nurture. Does genetics shape us into who we are or is it the nurture we receive and the environment we live in? While I’m sure both have a hand in shaping our personalities, in Autofocus, Gibaldi shows us that it’s truly up to ourselves and our choices to become whomever we want to be and discover who we are.

 

Autofocus tells the story of Maude’s journey to find out about her deceased birth mother. Being adopted, a part of her has always wondered who her mother was. With her best friend away at the college her mother attended and with her senior photography project being about family, she decides to visit her best friend and see if she can discover parts of her mother in the process. What she finds, however, may not be what she imagined.

 

What I loved most about Autofocus was how Gibaldi juxtaposed Maude, an adopted girl wanting to see if she can discover herself through her birth mother, and Treena, the best friend from a strict family that’s trying to recreate herself. Treena wasn’t the same Treena that Maude knew before college, and it’s okay. Gibaldi created a story that showed how important our decisions are in shaping who we become. While your family may sway you one way or another, it’s truly up to you. Even Treena, a girl that knows who her parents are, is still trying to discover herself.

 

I also loved the way Gibaldi ended Autofocus. I don’t want to say too much about it, but I did think it was perfect. The sense of closure and the bit of uncertainty that readers were left with was simply perfect.

 

Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi was a fantastic coming of age story. Perhaps, it strongly resonated with me a lot because I’m going through a lot of life changes right now, but truly, I think it’s perfect for everyone, especially young adults that are still uncertain with what they want to do in life. Autofocus was a lovely story about family, friendship, and discovering yourself.

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/07/autofocus

Review: A Midsummer Night's Fling by Eliza Walker

A Midsummer Night's Fling (Much Ado about Love) (Volume 1) - Eliza Walker

Note: I received this book for free from Sullivan & Partners in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was not paid to write this. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

A Midsummer Night’s Fling by Eliza Walker is a second chance romance (or perhaps third?) that is filled with Shakespearean references. The main characters are after all part of a summer production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by one of the premier Shakespeare companies on the west coast. A part of me questioned my desire to read A Midsummer Night’s Fling because I was one of those students that couldn’t get through a Shakespeare play without also studying the Spark Notes that went along with it. I do, however, love second chance romances and enjoy going to the theater (as long as it doesn’t come with an assignment attached to it).

 

Nicola and Max have a past. A long and messy past. One that takes most of the book to uncover. However, Nicola is back in Los Angeles after 5 years of touring for musical productions and 5 years of never having seen Max, and the director of Max’s newest production needs a new lead. This forces Max to knock on her door, get said door slammed in his face multiple times in an effort to get Nicola to be in the play. Thus ensues the start of their rocky road towards a relationship.

 

Walker took readers on quite the ride in A Midsummer Night’s Fling. I’ll be honest, I was a bit lost during all of the Shakespeare references. How do people remember all of those Shakespeare plays by heart? However, overall, I really enjoyed watching Nicola and Max’s relationship develop. From the beginning of the story, they had a chemistry that was impossible to miss. I was dying to understand their past, and I was dying to see how they would overcome it all. I fell in love with their characters and couldn’t wait for their happy ending.

 

I also loved the direction Walker took in displaying theater life. While I have absolutely ZERO experience with it all, I had a lot of fun reading about a theater production from rehearsals to preview nights. I loved how she showed the good parts of theater and didn’t shy away from the bad parts either. She even did a gender reversal, making a male character a victim opposed to the typical female, which I thought was a fantastic choice.

 

I’d highly recommend A Midsummer Night’s Fling by Eliza Walker for anyone looking for a contemporary romance that has a lot of theater drama added in. If you’re not a fan of Shakespeare or unfamiliar with Shakespeare, you may get lost in some of the references, but it didn’t hinder my reading experience of it at all. So I still would recommend it. I can’t wait to see what she decides to do next if she continues with this merry cast of characters.

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/06/midsummer-nights-fling

Review: Desire After Dark by Marie Force

Desire After Dark: A Gansett Island Novel - Marie Force

Note: I received this book for free from Sullivan & Partners in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was not paid to write this. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Marie Force’s Fatal series is one of my favorites! So when the opportunity to try her Gansett Island series, which I have never read, of course, I decided to dive right in. Desire After Dark was a wonderful read that pulled at all of my emotions. I loved Erin and Slim’s story, especially their banter. However, I did have a lot of difficulty getting into the story.

 

My biggest issue with Desire After Dark was the fact that Erin and Slim’s relationship started before the plot of this book. Marie Force did a great job recapping their previous encounter the summer before, and much of their time between summer and the winter holiday season was spent apart with Slim flying planes in Florida and Erin staying in Gansett Island. Regardless, I just couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something when I started this book. I wish I read about their first meeting and got to see their first encounter. I had a difficult time getting into their story because of the missed first moments.

 

Once I pushed through the first quarter or so the story got easier to read, and I quickly fell in love with Erin and Slim. Marie Force has a way of crafting stories that just pull at all of your emotions, and Erin and Slim’s did not disappoint. Throughout the book, I just couldn’t help but sympathize with Erin. I loved watching her overcome her issues that arose from her brother’s death and finally seeing her live her life to its fullest.

 

Marie Force also didn’t forget to show glimpses into the other characters featured in the Gansett Island series. For the most part, it made me want to go back and read the other books in the series. However, a part of me also wished to just move on with Erin and Slim’s story.

 

Overall, I enjoyed Desire After Dark by Marie Force. She was able to bring out all of my emotions. I definitely think I’m going to be reading more of this series. I would highly recommend Marie Force to all romance readers. My only suggestion if you’re just starting to read the Gansett Island series would be to read Love After Dark first before Desire After Dark. I really wish I had experienced Erin and Slim’s first meeting for myself prior to reading Desire After Dark. I honestly think that would have made my reading experience of Desire After Dark so much better.

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/05/desire-after-dark

Review: Wanderlost by Jen Malone

Wanderlost - Jen Malone

Note: I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was not paid to write this. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Wanderlost by Jen Malone was a predictable YA contemporary. From the synopsis, you could probably predict the overall plot right from the start. It probably sounds just like your typical YA contemporary romance. However, for me, Wanderlost was quite the gem. Jen Malone’s Wanderlost was completely heartwarming with endearing characters that made the story so much more valuable than just your everyday YA contemporary romance.

 

The success of Wanderlost‘s story was definitely all due to the eccentric cast of characters: a teenage girl on the quest to make her older sister proud, two senior citizens best friends that love to argue, an older couple still very much in love, a suave retired teacher, an introverted senior that rather be at home, and a teenaged boy that always seems to say the right things. I could not help but fall in love with each and every character and watch the hilarious trouble they each caused. So while I knew the end result of the story plot wise, reading the journey to get there was worth meeting all of the characters Jen Malone created.

 

Additionally, while Wanderlost is definitely a YA contemporary romance, I loved all the lessons it subtly taught. Wanderlost is definitely not just about two teenagers falling in love abroad. It shows readers how no one is perfect (even your seemingly perfect older siblings) and that you have to do what’s right for you even if it’s against your family’s wishes. Wanderlost is a story about forging your own path and discovering who you are as an individual.

 

All-in-all, Wanderlost by Jen Malone was a wonderful read. If you’re looking for a quick YA contemporary with a cast of fantastic characters, I’d highly recommend giving Wanderlost a try. It may be predictable, and it may seem unrealistic. But I hope you find the story just as entertaining and endearing as I did. Honestly, those senior citizens were quite the bunch! ;)

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/05/wanderlost

Review: Dare to Take by Carly Phillips

Dare to Take (Dare to Love Book 6) - Carly Phillips

Note: I received this book for free from Sullivan & Partners in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was not paid to write this. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Carly Phillips has a way with contemporary romance. I’ve only read a small selection of her novels, but every one I’ve read thus far has been entertaining with fun stories. Dare to Take is no exception. It’s the first book of the Dare to Love series that I’ve read, and I already know I’m planning on reading more. The chemistry between Ella and Tyler was fantastically written, and it was fun reading their story.

 

Dare to Take follows the story of Ella and Tyler. Ella and Tyler have history, with a night together gone wrong. Despite the awkwardness between them years later, at the request of Tyler’s sister and Ella’s best friend, he ventures off to rescue her after Ella has been mugged, injured, and left on a tropical island with a coming hurricane threat. Once they’re back home, they deal with their budding relationship, family issues, and an unknown threat against Ella.

 

The best part of Dare to Take was by far the chemistry between Ella and Tyler and how well they fit together. From the first couple of chapters, I knew they had great chemistry despite their history, and I enjoyed watching them overcome their issues independently and together. There were no large outside influences. Ella and Tyler settled into their relationship mostly on their own. It truly was fun to read!

 

If I there was one thing that disappointed me, it was that I found the story to be a bit predictable, especially concerning the threat against Ella. I know this wasn’t meant to be a romantic suspense story, but the whole storyline about someone targeting Ella was anticlimactic for me. I would have enjoyed it more if it was a bit more developed. I felt like it was just there as a reason to push Ella and Tyler together.

 

Overall, Dare to Take by Carly Phillips was a wonderful, quick contemporary romance read. It’s a fun story you could probably read in an afternoon. (I did!) I’d definitely recommend it to fans of contemporary romance, and truly, I think every contemporary romance fan should try reading at least one Carly Phillips novel. I don’t think she’ll disappoint you.

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/05/dare-to-take

Review: Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

Down With the Shine - Kate Karyus Quinn

Note: I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was not paid to write this. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

In Down with the Shine, Kate Karyus Quinn constructed a crazy and unique story where a girl and a bit of moonshine can grant wishes.

 

From the beginning, Lennie’s backstory captured my attention. I’ve always hated the act of being wrongly judged simply because of where you’re from or how you look especially by law enforcement and people of authority. With Lennie’s best friend gone, a girl from a well-off family, everyone suspected Lennie had a hand in her disappearance and death even if she’s been officially cleared by law enforcement of any guilt.

 

Fast-forward, and it’s a new school year. In honor of her late best friend, Lennie crashes a party and unsuspectingly grants wishes for all of her high school classmates. What she thought to be simply a family tradition turned out to be so much more, and utter madness ensued.

 

The story is told primarily over the course of a day or two, and things proceed to get crazier and crazier as Lennie tries to undo her mistake. & Boy, do things get crazy! At times, even I had a difficult time following. Throughout it all, Lennie learns a lot about her famil that she never knew before.

 

Through the entire story, I honestly didn’t think there would be any logical way for Lennie to undo her mistake. Kate Karyus Quinn threw in a twist that I wasn’t expecting and ended the story quite nicely.

 

Overall, Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn was an unbelievable story with a lot of chaos. I think it was quite the reading experience and something that needs to be experienced for yourself. I personally think this story isn’t for everyone. You’ll probably love it or hate it. I do hope everyone gives it a try. While I didn’t love it, I found the experience enjoyable and creative. It was a fun escape for a few hours.

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/03/down-with-the-shine

Review: Double Knot by Gretchen Archer

Double Knot (A Davis Way Crime Caper) (Volume 5) - Gretchen Archer

Note: I received this book for free from Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was not paid to write this. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

I’ve read and enjoyed every Davis Way Crime Caper novel thus far. Double Knot by Gretchen Archer, while fun, was a bit too over-the-top on the drama, making the story a bit too unbelievable for my tastes.

 

Davis embarks on a Caribbean cruise in Double Knot acting once again as a body double for her boss’s wife, the ever demanding Bianca Sanders. (Talk about the craziest job ever!) What was supposed to be a luxury cruise full of promotional appearances, ended up being a cruise from hell. Davis was trapped in her room with quite an odd group of people.

 

Between the tech savvy cruise liner, the banking talk, and the money scam, the entire story felt pretty unbelievable. I mean, could a cruise liner that relies completely on a single device exist? Yes. But I find it hard to believe that there was absolutely no way to override the system. Plus the wife that was part of the couple in charge of the cruise knew absolutely nothing. NOTHING! How could she miss so much? Then there was the banking talk about how the cruise work that just went completely over my head. It was just too much, and I had a hard time believing it all.

 

Despite the lack of believability of the plot, I enjoyed Double KnotDouble Knot presented an opportunity to explore a relationship that has been strained over the past four books. With Davis’s mother on the cruise and the predicament she finds herself in, Davis has no choice but to discuss her issues with her mother. Did I like how her mother handled the situation? No. In fact, I’m not sure I’m completely warmed up to her yet. Regardless, I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop more and hope to see more in the future.

 

Overall, Double Knot by Gretchen Archer was fun and developed some critical plot points to the overall series. However, the over-the-top drama made the story more unbelievable, and in the end, I wouldn’t call this a favorite. It is still a must read for all fans of the series.

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/03/double-knot

My Most Anticipated March Releases

A Study in Charlotte - Brittany Cavallaro Lady Midnight - Cassandra Clare Logan Kade - Tijan Walk the Edge (Thunder Road) - Katie McGarry

"But, Amy, it's not March yet!" you say? This is true! I know I'm approximately a week early. However, I'm in a BOOK RUT. I think being physically exhausted from work plus my indecisiveness in picking a book plus my low motivation to review books, I'm in a TERRIBLE BOOK RUT. Seriously, all I want to do is sleep. All day long. It's a sad, sad moment in my bookish life. So to hopefully spark some joy and get my butt moving, I thought I'd share the March books I'm excited for! & Boy, are there some AMAZING books coming out this March. :)

 

study in charlotte        Lady Midnight

1. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro (3/1) - If you couldn't tell by the title, A Study in Charlotte is a SHERLOCK HOLMES inspired story! Specifically, Cavallaro crafted a story around Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes. Umm... I NEED THIS!

 

2. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Claire (3/8) - To be honest, I've never read the Mortal Instruments series. I had started City of Bones but didn't get past the first couple of chapters. I think the number of books in the series was part of the issue. It's just so daunting! The fact that Lady Midnight is set in Los Angeles has me craving for this story. Will I be confused since I never read the other books? Possibly. Do I care? Not one bit. I've always been intrigued by this series, and I have a love for reading books that are set in places I know. Plus, I'm kind of missing LA right now.

logan         walk the edge

3. Logan by Tijan (3/28) - Tijan has a way of writing stories FULL OF DRAMA. Considering that my life is pretty drama free (or at least that's what my friends say), I think it's fun to delve into a world filled to the brim with drama. & The Fallen Crest series is one of my favorites by Tijan. (My all time favorite, I think, is Carter Reed. Swoon.) So I'm very excited for Logan and to finally see him fall in love.

 

4. Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry (3/29) - This is the one book I actually already preordered. There are a lot of books by Katie McGarry that are on my WANT TO READ list. LOTS!!! She blew me away with Pushing the Limits. I love that book! & Thus far I have heard very good things about her newest series. Definitely looking forward to this one. Plus, I always feel for main characters that feel that they always need to be perfect. That's me, all the time!

 

So, what are some of the March book releases you're highly anticipating?

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/02/exciting-march-releases-3

Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Tell Me Three Things - Julie Buxbaum

Note: I received an ARC copy of this title from the publisher as part of the pre-publication tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not paid to write this.

 

I absolutely ADORED Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum. It’s one of my favorites thus far this year. Definitely, one of my favorites!

 

What initially sucked me into Tell Me Three Things was the main character Jessie and her voice. I absolutely loved her. You know how us book lovers talk about what characters we would date or be friends with. Well, Jessie and I would have to be friends. I don’t think there has been a character that I’ve connected with as much as Jessie. She had me exclaiming, “I say that all the time!” throughout the book. Seriously, it was kind of freaky but very cool.

 

Aside from my love for Jessie, I loved that the story was full of heart and layers. At its core, Tell Me Three Things is definitely a romance. Jessie meets SN, they exchange emails, they start to like each other, and Jessie becomes a tad bit obsessed with finding out who he is. See romance. But it’s also about friendship, family, grief, and ultimately dealing with change. Losing a parent can’t be easy. It’s probably even more difficult when you’re forced to move states, leaving your childhood home behind and all of your friends. Not to mention your father has been lying to you, and you now have a step-mother and a step-brother. Um, that’d be hard for anyone. Watching Jessie overcome her problems and make a place for herself was amazing, and it wasn’t perfect. Plus, I was one of the readers that guessed SN’s identity pretty early on. It didn’t seem like much of a mystery.

 

If there was one thing I could have changed, I would have wanted to see more interaction between Jessie and her new step-brother. Their relationship wasn’t smooth at the beginning, but I loved what it developed into. I wish I could have seen more of them together and seen a bit more character development for him.

 

So if you didn’t figure it out yet, I highly recommend Julie Buxbaum’s Tell Me Three Things. It’s not just a romance. It’s a story filled with heart and growth, I think many would enjoy. & If you read Tell Me Three Things, I hope you love it and Jessie just like I did.

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/02/tell-me-three-things

Look into my Book Journals 2016

Hello, everyone! Today I thought I'd share with you my 2016 book journaling set up.

 

book journal1

 

I currently have 2 book journals being used: 1) mini book notes notebook and 2) my more formal book journal.

 

 

book journal6

 

My mini book notes notebook (a Field Notes notebook, which is housed in my everyday carry sojourner) is essentially a common place book or brain dump for all things bookish. It's my constant companion. I write reading notes, quotes, books I've received, books I want to read, and so on. There are no rules as to what can go into this notebook. It's just my random collection of bookish stuff.

 

Just as a side note, I tend to take photos of the quotes I want to copy into my notebook with my phone (or highlight it on my e-reader). This way, I can easily refer back to it when I am ready to stop reading instead of stopping in the middle of chapters or cliffhangers. I tend to write in my mini book notes notebook at least once a day unless I'm in a reading slump, like I have been this past week or so.

 

My more formal book journal (a personal sized notebook housed in my FoxyFix Le Petit) is a bit more structured. I have a table of contents in the front and number every page for easy access. It's the book journal that I specifically use for blogging and houses anything I want to make sure I remember. Currently in my book journal, I have a running list of books read in 2016, my bookish stats (I may update the layout of this), and drafts of reviews with more lengthy and thought out thoughts. Essentially whatever I want to make sure I keep goes into my book journal from my mini book notes notebook.

 

book journal3

book journal4

 

You may be wondering why I need multiple notebooks. In coming up with my system, I found out that I need a notebook of a smaller size for portability. If I couldn't carry it around to wherever I decided to read, I wasn't going to keep notes. Hence, my mini book notes notebook. The smaller notebook, however, is too small for me to write drafts of reviews or to include the book's synopsis without running out of space very quickly. This is why I also have a book journal that's a bit larger and stays on my desk. (Plus, I really don't need to be carrying around review drafts with me everywhere.)

 

Do you book journal or have you thought about it? How do you keep track of your reading thoughts and favorite quotes?

Struggles Booksellers in Hawaii Face

I considered not doing this post because I thought it may sound too similar to my "Being a Book Nerd in Hawaii Kind of Sucks" post, but I thought I'd share the struggles I face being a bookseller in Hawaii anyway. This is not to say, I don't enjoy my job. I do! I enjoy being a bookseller. I love my coworkers. I enjoy being around books. I have noticed, however, that working at my new store in Hawaii has a bit more struggles than it did working in Washington, D.C. (Also these are my personal thoughts and do not reflect the thoughts of the company I work for at all. Just thought I'd remind all of you.)

 

1. Firstly, you are the only major bookstore on the island.

This, of course, means that EVERYONE shopping for books is shopping at your store. You have the serial romance readers that want their monthly copies of Harlequin books. You have the occasional reader wanting to browse the bestsellers. You have the customers that want the absolute most obscure books ever. You, of course, have the students that NEED "x" book at the last minute. You will probably get phone calls from the outer islands as well. & We have the tourists. LOTS AND LOTS OF TOURISTS.

As you can imagine, with the very diverse customer demographic, the phrase "you can't please everyone" comes into play a lot.

 

2. Be prepared to have  customers complain to you about the closing of other bookstores on a daily basis.

Our only other location closed 2 years ago. Borders closed years before that. People still complain about how the other stores closed every day. I get it. My heart hurt too when they all closed. I'm sorry if we're not near where you live (granted, we are on an island that isn't that big...) or if you hate this particular mall (yeah, this mall is CRAZY BUSY), but there's nothing I can do. I don't have the money to open another store. I don't even get paid enough to move out of my childhood home. Please stop with the complaints. Please...

 

3. People get mad if you don't have their book and hate that it takes 7-10 business days to get a copy shipped to store.

I'm very sorry if we don't carry your book. We are on an island, in one of the most expensive areas to rent. Therefore, there truly is only so many books we can carry. & I get you may not want to wait 7-10 business days to get a copy, but unless you want to pay express shipping, that's the way it's going to be. You live in Hawaii. There's no such thing as next day delivery from the mainland USA. It's not gonna happen. If you invent teleportation, though, do let me know.

 

4. You'll get customers with VERY HEAVY ACCENTS or customers that CAN'T SPEAK ANY ENGLISH.

It's a struggle sometimes to understand what customers want. It really is. Especially if they're asking you things over the phone.

 

5. People will often tell you that we can't close.

Thanks! I hope we don't close too. Although, I really don't have any control over that.

 

6. You'll also have people that will turn around and announce that they'll just get it on Amazon.

Outwardly you reply "Thanks for stopping in!" On the inside though it's more like "Thanks for not buying anything. If we close IT'S BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU! You're contributing to the downfall of our education system. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!! What would they do without a bookstore?!?"

If it's a book that we don't carry, fine. Sometimes certain books can only be sold through Amazon. If we don't have it in stock, I get it you may want to shop around for the cheapest price. If you have the book in your hand, though, that's just plain mean.

 

Overall, I really enjoy working as a bookseller. Like with blogging, there's just something great about sharing the love of books with people, and to actually see people buy a book you've recommended is AMAZING!

 

I hope you found this entertaining. :) If you're a bookseller, do you have any similar issues?

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/01/struggles-booksellers-in-hawaii-face

Review: The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill

The Trouble with Destiny - Lauren Morrill

Note: I received this book for free from Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I was not paid to write this. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

I truly wanted to love The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill, but I couldn’t. The story just felt like it was trying too hard the entire time.

 

The story started off pretty strong. I liked the premise, and I thought I’d like the main character. She was a bit of an overachiever much like I am. For the first third or so of the book, I truly was enjoying myself. Then things quickly escalated, and she was trying to be like an adult, saving the band all on her own, while also having a romance with a boy she once kissed years ago and dealing with her archenemy/ex-best friend. Yeah… The main character was trying to do too much, which in turn made the plot try to do too much. As you can imagine, things spiraled quickly.

 

For much of the book, I ended up constantly wondering where the chaperones were and how could they not see that something was terribly wrong. They were there! They existed! They were just absolutely oblivious apparently. I was also frustrated with the main character and her actions. She wanted to be the adult, but she wasn’t acting much like one. I was all very confused.

 

As for the love interest, I could easily guess who she’d end up with at the end, but I was still wondering why. I didn’t see the chemistry. I also was confused as to why they liked each other in the first place. The romance just didn’t work for me at all. I felt like they just fell together all of a sudden, and I couldn’t figure out why.

 

Overall, The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill had a pretty good start, and I truly wanted to love it. The story just ended up doing too many things at once and started falling apart for me. In the end, I skimmed the last third or so just because I wanted to see how the ending played out. The Trouble with Destiny was an okay read. It had me invested enough to want to see how it ended. It just didn’t work all that well for me as a whole but may be perfect for the right reader.

Source: http://ayamproductions.com/2016/01/the-trouble-with-destiny

Exciting January Releases

A new year is upon us! That, of course, brings many new releases. :) Here are the books I'm most excited for this month.

 

never tear us apart  this is where it ends

1. Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy (1/5) - I truly enjoyed Monica Murphy's One Week Girlfriend, and I'm excited for Never Tear Us ApartNever Tear Us Apart sounds much, much darker. The main characters are originally connected because of a kidnapping. I'm sure this will be interesting.

 

2. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (1/5) - This Is Where It Ends tackles a topic I don't think I've read yet in YA: a high school shooting. I'm interested to see where Marieke Nijkamp takes it. This is definitely a hot button issue these days.

appealed  the siren

3. Appealed by Emma Chase (1/19) - I mainly want to read Appealed because I enjoyed the previous book, Sustained, so much. (You can check out my review of Sustained here.)

 

4. The Siren by Kiera Cass (1/26) - I've never read a Kiera Cass book. I've thought about reading the Selection series and own the first book, but I have yet to get around to it. The Siren sounds like a good read though based upon the synopsis. I figured, a stand alone would be a great way to sample the authors writing and determine if I want to commit to a series.

 

What books are you looking forward to this month?