Top Ten Tuesday: Oh So Pretty

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme 
This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is favorite graphic novels or comics (or even picture books). Since I don't read any of those, or at least not enough to compile a top ten list, I'm sticking with the visual theme but going with some of my favorite book covers. Who doesn't love a fabulous book cover?

*Note: These are all books I have read, not just random covers I like.

Have you read any of these books? 
Do you pay attention to covers or are you only concerned with what's inside?  

The Sunday Post #42

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

I had an unexpected night out on Friday when I suddenly remembered that we had tickets to see comedian Kathleen Madigan. The show was at 8 PM. I had my last-minute epiphany at 6 PM. Yeah, that was a last minute scramble to dash out of the house, grab some dinner, get downtown, find parking, and get to the venue. It was a fantastic show (I love Kathleen Madigan) and I would have been sooo upset if I hadn't remembered until a day or two later!

This past week I suddenly decided that I'm bored with our master bedroom and want to pretty it up a bit. (Actually, it was watching Sam Schuerman's recent living room and bedroom tours that inspired me.) So I spent much of Saturday shopping at TJ Maxx (love that store for home decor!) and HomeGoods for all kinds of pretties. My duvet is plain white so I'm adding accents in gray and pale pink. I just love that blush color that seems to be everywhere right now. I got pillows and throws and a rug as well as a few items for my home office. But these are my favorites:

Monday, January 23: Monday was my stop on the blog tour for Katie's McGarry's Long Way Home, the third and final book in the Thunder Road series. I adore Katie McGarry and I've loved this series. The book releases on Tuesday, January 31 so there's still time to pre-order your copy and register for the bonus content! 

Tuesday, January 24: For Top Ten Tuesday I shared the series that I want to complete or start reading. I loved all the input on which series I should pick up first! It's great to be able to depend on book friends for input on what to read next. 😊

Friday, January 27: In my effort to (one day) get caught up on my book reviews, I shared quick reviews of two contemporary romances on Friday. Back To Us included a realistic look at a Marine with PTSD and Blurred Lines solidified my love of Lauren Layne.

Saturday, January 28: By I can't be the only one excited for the live action Beauty and the Beast movie, right? I mean, Belle has to be the most relatable of all Disney princesses. The girl just wants to be left alone so she can read. 😉 I had fun doing the Beauty and the Beast tag   

It pains me to say, but I'm feeling a little slumpy. Ack! This almost never happens but I've set aside the last two books I've tried to read. I got about 30 pages into each and just wasn't feeling it. So for the past couple days I've read nothing. Who am I?! I'm listening to an audio book when I'm in the car but otherwise... nothing. Maybe I need to reread a favorite. Maybe that will snap me out of this? 

The Selection - Kiera Cass
Rome (AUDIO) - Jay Crownover

Set aside/Abandoned:
Black Box - Cassia Leo
The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden 

Nash (AUDIO) - Jay Crownover

Vein of Love - R. Scarlett
The Pawn - Skye Warren

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
You know I want to hear about it! :)

Beauty and the Beast Tag

Is anyone else super excited for the live action Beauty and the Beast movie? I can't wait for March! My lovely friend Hope just did a Beauty and the Beast tag and I enjoyed her video and her answers so much that I thought I would join in the fun. I've mentioned Hope several times before and I feel so blessed to know her. If you don't already follow this little ray of sunshine, you should! :)

Now on with the questions...

1. Belle: She just wants more than this provincial life. Name a book that takes you to another place. 
I'm going with A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I loved all the different locations in this one and I felt like SJM did a fantastic job in making it come to life. I could envision Velaris so clearly, right along with the House of Wind, the Court of Nightmares, the Summer Court, and beyond.

2. Beast: He can be a bit scary, but inside he's a softie. Choose a book whose cover doesn't match the story. 
The Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. They're not bad looking covers but they seem to have absolutely nothing to do with the actual stories. Not exactly great representation.

3. Maurice: Belle's eccentric but lovable father. Choose a book that is out of your comfort zone or your normal reads, but you ended up loving it. 
Fantasy just isn't usually my genre. But The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye? Loved it!  The Russian setting, the magic system... so glad I took a chance on that one!

4. Mrs. Potts: Nurturing and motherly character. Choose a character who takes care of others like a mother might. 
Marge from I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios. Marge owned the run down motel where Sky and Josh worked and was like a surrogate mother to them both when they needed it most.

5. Chip: Adorable and makes us smile. Choose your favorite children's book. (I couldn't find a picture of Chip 😢)
Corduroy by Don Freeman. This precious little book came out the year I was born and I have some fond memories of getting it from the library with my mom (many, many times). I loved reading about the adorable little bear's adventures while he searched for his missing button. 

6. Gaston: Smarmy and arrogant. Choose a character who's over the top with his (or her) arrogance.
I'm agreeing with Hope's answer on this one because it has to be Daemon Black from Jennifer L. Armentrout's Lux series. ♥ Daemon's arrogance and cockiness knows no bounds. Not exactly a modest guy. But it always feels so tongue in cheek and that keeps him from being obnoxious. LOL

7. Lumiere: Smooth-talking, swoon-worthy Casanova. Choose a character with these characteristics. 
Garrett from The Deal by Elle Kennedy. Smooth-talking (without being a jerk) and swoon-worthy (for sure) is a great description of Garrett. Is it any wonder he's a favorite book boyfriend?

8. Cogsworth: He was a bossy, no-nonsense leader of the household. Choose a character who takes charge and is the voice of reason for those around them.
Connor Cobalt from the Addicted series by Krista & Becca Ritchie. Connor is always the smartest man in the room (just ask him, he'll tell you) and he is able to remain calm in any situation. Connor has long been a leader and the one to take charge when things are falling apart.

So are you excited for the Beauty and the Beast movie? 
Have you read any of the books I mentioned?
If you want to join in, consider yourself tagged - I'd love to see your answers!

Short Take Reviews: Back to Us and Blurred Lines

Back to Us by Teresa Roman

Synopsis: Abandoned by her parents at fourteen, Jessica knows what it means to struggle. She's vowed that getting her degree is the only thing she has time for, until a summer internship brings Justin into her life.

But Justin has scars of his own. A tour of duty in Afghanistan has left him with wounds. A medical discharge from the Navy leaves Justin struggling to make sense of his new reality. Then he meets Jessica; but can the two of them leave their pain in the past and make a future together?

MY THOUGHTS: Jessica and Justin are both dealing with scars from their pasts - some obvious and some hidden. Justin is struggling to adjust to a life he never imagined. With his military career over, he tries to find a new path while still dealing with the aftermath of his previous life. College student Jessica is focused and determined to lead a better life than the abusive childhood that left her abandoned and living in a group home. A summer job spent tutoring kids at a community center introduces her to fellow staff member, Justin, and a friendship starts to blossom into something more. But her insecurities and his struggle to forge a new life make for a rocky path to a possible future together.

I was drawn to Back To Us because of Justin's military background and the topic of PTSD. My husband is a veteran who served 20 years in the U.S. Navy and stories that honor our servicemen and women, while showcasing their sacrifice and the aftermath of their service, are near and dear to my heart. Roman did a wonderful job of portraying Justin and his struggles in a realistic way. My heart ached for him as he tried to come to terms with his new reality. He was angry and bitter at times, at both his situation and the life he imagined but would never have. Jessica was also a likable character, one who had worked hard to overcome a horrible childhood. While she was independent and hard-working, she still carried insecurities from years of emotional abuse and the parents who basically abandoned her. I loved seeing these two characters get to know one another and start to open themselves up to a new relationship even though they were both hesitant to take a chance. While I would have liked to have seen more depth to both their characters, this was still a heartfelt and emotional story that I enjoyed and recommend.


Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne 

Synopsis: When Parker Blanton meets Ben Olsen during her freshman year of college, the connection is immediate—and platonic. Six years later, they’re still best friends, sharing an apartment in Portland’s trendy Northwest District as they happily settle into adult life. But when Parker’s boyfriend dumps her out of the blue, she starts to wonder about Ben’s no-strings-attached approach to dating. The trouble is, even with Ben as her wingman, Parker can’t seem to get the hang of casual sex—until she tries it with him.

The arrangement works perfectly... at first. The sex is mind-blowing, and their friendship remains as solid as ever, without any of the usual messy romantic entanglements. But when Parker’s ex decides he wants her back, Ben is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ben starts seeing a girl from work, Parker finds herself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship on the rocks for the first time, Parker and Ben face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t go back. And maybe, deep down, they never want to.

MY THOUGHTS: Yes! When I'm in the mood for new adult/contemporary without all the angst, this is what I want. Blurred Lines is only my second read from Lauren Layne but she's quickly becoming a favorite. (Btw, if you haven't watched the 5 at 5 videos she does with her husband, you're missing out.)

I love it when two characters are just so obviously meant to be together. And Parker and Ben are *perfect* examples of that. These best friends seem to put an answer to the question "Can men and women really be just friends?" Or do they? <insert giddy laughter and heart eyes> I LOVED the friendship between Parker and Ben. Their easy banter truly seemed based on years of shared history. LL is a master at dialogue and humor and both were spot-on here. The chemistry was smokin' and when fresh out of a (boring) relationship Parker and confirmed bachelor/man ho' Ben decided to indulge in a friends-with-benefits arrangement things really took off. 

Both characters are just so utterly likable. I loved how they were fully committed to their friendship and didn't let other relationships come between them. Watching them alter their relationship, be there for one another during good times and bad, and ultimately figure out what they wanted, made for a near perfect read. Bring on more LL!  

4.5/5 STARS
Have you read either of these?
Do you like the friends-to-lovers trope?

Top Ten Tuesday: Series to Start or Continue

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme 
This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is a freebie so I'm going to focus on series. The ones I need to continue with and finish and the ones I want to start. First, the ones I've already started...

I *finally read the first book, The Deal, last year (and loved it) so I really need to get it in gear and continue on with the series. Side note: Not sure I love these beefcake covers but I'm also not thrilled with the new covers. Which do you prefer?

I've owned this series for ages and finally read the first book last year. It wasn't what I expected (for some reason I thought is was NA but it's definitely YA) but I still want to continue with the series.

I've read all but the final book in the series. This series is like crack and I can't help myself. But the final book centers on a character that has long been the series antagonist and I'm so not interested in her sob story of why she's a total witch. I really need to just read it so I can finish the series but seriously... Nan. Ugh!

Another series where I've only read the first book but I desperately want to gobble up the whole series!

This one plagues me. Because it's been 3 years since I read The Bronze Horseman and it instantly became my favorite book *ever.* And yet I haven't managed to continue with the series in all this time. That first book hurt my heart so much that I know I'm in for serious emotional trauma when I pick up the next book. 

And now for the series that I want to start...

Can someone tell me what in the world I am waiting for? I want to read this series. Everyone seems to love it. And yet I always push it aside for something else. Gah! 

This is another series that has been sitting on my shelf for a long time. I'm a sucker for angsty new adult so I definitely want to read this series.

This isn't my typical kind of read (I very rarely reach for fantasy) but I hear nothing but raves for this series and I'm excited to give it a try.

I'm convinced everyone on the planet has read this series except me!

I have two friends who rave about this series so I'm excited to dive in.

Have you read any of these?
Which series should I make a priority?