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January Wrap-Up

I don’t know about you guys, I’m still kind of in shock that its the last day of January – I mean, this first month of the year just flew by…it seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year (or in my case, sleeping through the new year after falling asleep during my Captain America binge). While its not as cold in DC as other parts of the country (my sister informed me that with the wind-chill it was -50 in her neck of the woods this week) – we are still suffering some of the “polar vortex” and I’m having visions of the blizzard from the movie, The Day After Tomorrow (which is a great watch if you have never seen).

And now onto the summary of my January reading and listening…overall, i’m going to call it a successful month with 24 books either read or listened to.

New Authors Discovered:
Brandon Sanderson – I finished up the month listening to the first book in Sanderson’s Reckoner’s series (YA dystopia set in what was one Chicago). It was so good that I’ve already requested the second book in the series and can’t wait to listen to it in February (yay for a road trip next week). I also FINALLY read Angie Thomas‘ The Hate U Give (yeah, I’m pretty sure i’m the last person in the country to read it), but it lived up to the hype (which is what I was afraid of and why I put off reading it as long as I did).

Series Continued:
This month saw me continuing several series that I had in progress – including the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs; The Department Q series by Jussi Adler-Olsen and the Shadowlands series by Cherise Sinclair. I was kind of disappointed in the middle of the series Kate Daniels book (which was really all about her best friend Andrea) – I mean, she was ok as a secondary character in the series, but a full-novel just didn’t work for me, I think I like her even less as a character right now…which is disappointing since I love the rest of the Kate Daniels series.

Diversity Challenge:
One of my goals for 2019 is to read more books by diverse authors and with diverse characters (thanks Robin Covington for that awesome challenge!). I read several books this month that fit into the bounds of that challenge – specifically, The Poet X about the daughter of Dominican immigrants trying to find her place in the world, told through poetry; as well as The Hate U Give which fit both an author and character of color categories. I also added more books than I can count to my list of prospective books that will fit into the challenge.

Tackling the TBR
One of my others goals for this year is to start digging into my epic kindle archives for books to read (because I have like 5000+ at last count)…i’m giving myself a personal goal to read at least 5 books each month that I have had on the pile since before January 2017. I fell slightly shy of that goal this month, with 3 books complete and 1 still in progress. The oldest book off my shelf that I read was Silent in the Sanctuary, by Deanna Raybourn, that I added to Mt TBR in November 2011. The other two books I finished were purchased in 2014 (Gunmetal Magic – Ilona Andrews) and 2015 (Extreme Love – Abby Niles). But I’m not too worried, because right now I have at least 5 books slated into my February reading that will help me with this goal.

How was your reading month? Stop by and tell me what your favorite read was or how you are doing on your reading goals for the year!

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2019 in Month in Review

 

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Review – Winning Love – Abby Niles

winning loveWinning Love
Author: Abby Niles
Series: #3 in the Love to the Extreme (but can be read stand-alone)
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2

Review Copy Provided By Publisher

Description:
Mac “The Snake” Hannon has spent years throwing himself into cage fighting as a way to lash back at the natural disaster that destroyed his future. A call for help has Mac returning to the one place he swore never to return: Kansas—in the height of tornado season.

There he meets free-spirited Gayle Andrews. At first he wants nothing to do with the infuriatingly, persistent woman, but the crazy challenges she tosses his way are impossible to resist. As she thaws years of bitterness, bringing back the Mac he believed long gone, he starts to make peace with the past and see the future again. Until he learns she chases his worst nightmare, then he can’t get away fast enough.

Meteorologist and storm chaser, Gayle Andrews is no stranger to being left behind and now believes in living in the moment. She wants to do just that with the handsome extreme fighter with the achingly sad eyes. As she works to replace the sorrow with desire, she finds herself breaking her one rule: have fun, but don’t fall in love. When he suddenly pushes her away and she discovers the horrifying reason why, she issues one more challenge: face his fear and come on a chase with her.

Will squaring off with the past lead to a victory for heartache or love?

Review:
It has been a while since i’ve read anything by Abby Niles, but after I started Winning Love, I remembered why I enjoyed her stuff. One of the things that I enjoy the most about her books is that the conflict that exists between the hero and heroine seems real, and not manufactured like other conflicts appear to be. In this instance, it was conflict between the survivor of a natural disaster and a researcher of said natural disaster (specifically tornado’s). I also loved that Gayle wasn’t the weak TSTL heroine that so many authors seem to rely on for their storyline to advance – in fact, I think at times, she was almost a stronger character than Mac.

I also liked the Mac being a MMA fighter didn’t take over the story and that the way the story was developed, it allowed the reader to see his weaknesses as a human. But I will say, that his motivations for going that route weren’t really explored – why MMA from his previous life? And then he basically takes a leave of absence to help his friend out (not saying there is anything wrong with that, just that part of the story needed more development).

The ending had a slightly sappy quality to it, but when taken in relation to the whole story, I could deal with that. I thought that it was well-researched – you could tell the author had done a lot of reading/studying on storm chasers. I think the biggest weakness (to me) was that I wanted more of Lance’s story – it seemed like he started off as a strong character and then kind of fizzled out as the story progressed – maybe he’ll be featured in a later book – who knows…

Overall, I gave Winning Love a solid 3.5 stars (but rounded it up to 4 on Goodreads). I’m intrigued enough that I want to go back and read the previous 2 books in the series – since those characters appeared briefly in Winning Love (but it can function as a stand-alone as well).

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2014 in Book Review

 

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