Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Hey all, Dani here.

Look, I actually have a book review to post this month. I have read a few books but since I’m reading through the Black Dagger Brotherhood, I wasn’t sure if you all would be interested in me reviewing every book in the series. If you do want to know my opinion, let me know in the comments. I can certainly write them up and start scheduling them over the next couple weeks.

Anyway, my review today is for a book that came in my April subscription box from Lit Cube. The theme was “You’ve Got Mail” and the book included in the box is a new release that is actually a YA retelling of the story. It also happens to be a contemporary novel. Still, I read it fairly quickly and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you now.

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Summary

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Oh my goodness, this book was so cute and fun and I loved it! Sometimes I get into contemporary moods, usually when the weather starts getting nice. This contemporary kick was also helped by my binge reading the first four books of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I needed a break from the steamy romances, so I figured a cutesy romance with some mistaken identity would be perfect.

I loved Bailey aka “Mink” and Porter aka “Alex”. Their online movie conversations were wonderfully geeky, and their in-person connection was kind of magnetic. Bailey’s dad was also a bit of a geek, especially when going on about sci-fi movies or the game Settlers of Catan; either way he was a cool guy. And I liked Porter’s family too, though I actually would have liked a little bit more time with them.

I loved the rom-com style of this book. It was great, and the more I read, the more I wanted to keep reading. Oh, and the movie quotes at the beginning of each chapter really worked with this story too, considering that both Mink and Alex are film buffs.

The cast of characters and the relationships they all had with each other were probably the strongest aspect of the book, at least for me. I was totally swept up in their lives and their stories.

This is not my first Jenn Bennett book, but it is the first contemporary of hers I have read, and I can definitely say that I will pick up more in the future…though I like her paranormal romance books as well.

Where to Buy

You can pick up Alex, Approximately from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Finding Inspiration

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, fine, so I’ve come up with a few posts for the blog. There’s a review coming tomorrow, and then I’ll have two or three posts up next week. What can I say? I’m feeling inspired. It is such a blessing to feel that creative urge coming back. I have so missed it, to the point where I felt like something was missing. I would sit at my computer and stare at the screen hoping for words to flow through my fingers, and yet I typically ended up giving up and binging some show on Netflix.

Things are changing now, and I am so glad of that. Though I will say that I’m fairly certain my DVR has reached max capacity; I’m not sure though as I haven’t turned on my TV in over a month.

I’m in a much happier place than I’ve been in quite some time. Now I’m realizing that last year I read book after book and lost myself in fiction so I could avoid the depressing solitude of my life. That isn’t the case anymore. I have a good group of geeky friends, and I have an amazingly wonderful and nerdy boyfriend, who is so sweet and supportive. His creative spark has reignited my own, and I am immensely grateful for that.

These past few months I have been playing a lot of Dungeons & Dragons with my friends. And the cooperative storytelling and adventuring has really made me want to jump into my own fictional worlds again and just explore them. Of course, before I can work on one of my epic fantasy or science fantasy stories, I really need to finish the last few chapters of Project Death: Revelation and release Thanos’s story onto the world. It was supposed to come out like two years ago, but there were delays, and then last year there were more delays. The more I procrastinated, the harder it became to convince Thanos to give me the last details I needed for the story. Then he just stopped talking to me altogether.

I’m feeling better now, and I think perhaps I can convince Thanos that we should just sit down and get this all finished. He’ll probably feel better once he has completed his task of telling the story of how he became Death. Plus there are still a number of you lovely readers out there who keep asking me about the book. I promise, I will get it out to you, and hopefully it will happen in the next couple of months. I’m not setting a deadline though because those haven’t worked for me the past couple years. Just know that I’m working on it.

Having my life in a good place has made me re-examine books, movies, music, etc. and I’m seeing them all in a new light. It’s fantastic. The urge to write, to follow my characters as they deal with their individual and collective issues, is returning.

I think my first step is going to be to re-read everything I’ve written for Thanos’s tale so far. Okay, yes, that is something like 70K words, but it shouldn’t take me too long to read all of that. I need to remember where I was in the story, and a gentle reminder to Thanos is probably good as well.

But after that I think I can spend an hour or so each day through the week focusing on creative writing. Weekends are wholly dedicated to time with my boyfriend, but if I manage to keep to my writing schedule then pretty soon I’ll be able to announce that I’ve reached “The End” and will need the help of beta readers to see what needs cleaned up, expanded upon, cut out, or rewritten.

The book is close to the end, and I’m ready to finally get it there.

This is what happens when things begin to fall in place. And hey, maybe some of my happiness can rub off on Thanos; he’s still a bit of a stick in the mud. I think he needs a proper vacation, and I am totally willing to give him that…after we finish this book. He won’t be needed for the first half of book three, so it all works out.

Oh, and apparently all of our geeking out and talking about books and writing and such has inspired my boyfriend to get back into writing too. I guess inspiration is contagious.

Signal Boost: Second Life as a Bear by Josette Reuel

Hey all, Dani here.

Look at that, two posts in two days. I’m feeling awesome. Actually, I have an author friend with an upcoming book release, and since I like to support my fellow writers, I agreed to spread the word. Plus, shortly after I started this blog I started doing Signal Boost posts every Friday, so this is excellent timing.

I guess I should begin with stating the obvious…Josette is a friend, and she’s actually my co-ML for NaNoWriMo. And though I have yet to read this book, I’m sure it will be an enjoyable read. To be honest, I’ve only read the first book in the Dasreach Council series, so I really need to carve out time to read books two and three so I can read this one, because it sounds so interesting. And I’m not just saying that because I love characters named Tobias (though I really do have a thing for that name–I blame my childhood obsession with Animorphs).

Okay, okay, I’ll be honest, I’ve been reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series lately, and that may have put me in a big paranormal romance mood. Of course the spring/summer weather we’ve been having lately has also put me in a bit of a contemporary mood as well.

Anyway, let me just give you all the details you need for this upcoming release. First, the book will be released on May 6, 2017! It is a paranormal romance, and this particular book focuses on a m/m relationship. Now, according to the author, you don’t necessarily have to have read the rest of the books to read this one, but she does recommend that you read this book before you jump into book 4. Thankfully that isn’t much of an issue considering that she is still writing the fourth book.

I should also briefly mention the first three books in the series, and based on what I’ve read so far of these books, they will be good picks for fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, the Demonica series, the Lords of the Underworld series, the Psy-Changeling series, or the Immortals After Dark series.

The first three books are: Finding the DragonAccepting the Bear, and Releasing the Panther. What is also fun about these first three is that they basically all take place at the same time, so I do recommend you read these three in order.

You can find out more about these books, including purchasing them, by checking out Josette’s Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or web site, or by going to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, KOBO, or Smashwords.

About the Author

Josette Reuel spent many years in the corporate world writing stuffy computer software manuals, until one day a shape shifting dragon kidnapped her and drug her off to be his destined mate… as the words flowed on to the page, she realized that it was time to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a published author.

An avid reader from her earliest memories, Josette enjoys many genres; however her current passion is anything Romance. Her love of Fantasy and the Paranormal tends to come out in all of her writing with strong alpha heroes, each with a little something extra.

Josette writes paranormal romance of varying degrees of heat. She believes in LOVE in all of its forms and doesn’t discriminate or sensor her muse. If you enjoy reading a love story, if you enjoy paranormal creatures, alpha males, and the heroes/heroines that change their lives, then how about giving her books a try?

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Summary

After several years of Special Ops in the Navy and a FUBARed mission, Tobias was once again running. Running away from his past, from the doctors, and from his PTSD — put simply, Tobias was running from himself and was landing in deep shit.

A chance meeting places Tobias in the cross-hairs and he knows immediately that his life as he knew it is over. The big question, would he be allowed to begin a new life with the Dásreach?

Leo hadn’t run from his life, he had been pushed. For one hundred and fifty-seven years, he had been the black sheep of the family, forced to live alone or live a lie. The decision had been easy, that was until Malkum shows up on his doorstep dragging along a pain in the ass Enforcer that flips all of Leo’s switches.

Now both men are forced to reevaluate everything they ever thought they knew, decide what they really want, and figure out how to convince the other.

Will Tobias’ second life as a bear help the Dásreach acknowledge the ultimate truth — love is love — as well as, the magnitude of the changes occurring within their race?

(*NOTE* This story falls between DCN Book 3 and Book 4. It is highly recommended that you read this story before Book 4 in the series as this story will help support events in Book 4. This book is a M/M romance and can be read as a standalone — although both characters are introduced in Book 2.)

If you want to help spread the word about this book release, feel free to share this post with your friends, or you can even sign up for the Thunderclap or Headtalker campaigns. Seriously, sharing the details is very helpful for indie authors, and it is a great way to support an author even if you might not have the money to be able to purchase the books yet.

And luckily enough, Josette Reuel was kind enough to pass along a little snippet from her upcoming release, so you can check that out below. And remember, A Second Life as a Bear will be released on May 5, 2017, and you can pick up the first three books now.

Snippet

A Second Life As A Bear: Dásreach Council Novel 3.5 (M/M)

c) Josette Reuel UNEDITED EXCERPT —

Tobias paced the small room. His nerves forcing his feet to move even with so little area to cover and nowhere to run.

There were no windows and the room only contained a small round table with two chairs. The wooden furniture was worn with use but gleamed with a fresh shine. He now knew every inch of this room and that furniture. That’s what happened when you spent so much time in one place. He had spent hours tracing the grooves on the table top with his fingers. He had spent hours of waiting, hours of telling his story, and hours of questions since coming to this place.

This was something like the tenth time he had been brought to this specific room after he had helped Rogue escape the clutches of his boss. A good deed rewarded with knowledge he shouldn’t have — Tobias had watched a man turn into a bear and then back to a man again. If the woman hadn’t acknowledged the shifting figure of beast and man, Tobias would have talked himself into believing he was crazy — the doctors had told him he was on more than one occasion.

So now, he paced in his prison and waited.

The lack of windows and his back and forth movement… not to mention the waiting… and the waiting… cost him to lose all track of how long he had been kept in this room.

Once upon a time, he had prided himself on his ability to track the hours no matter the situation. Back then he was patient as stone when forced to wait for his targets to reach the perfect spot for him to complete his mission. Of course, that was before his country turned its back on him.

Tobias sighed and began another circuit of the room. The past was the past, he reminded himself.

He would have thought that his mind would be more freaked out, but instead, it was filled with a buzzing impatience. A feeling of something momentous about to happen. The last time he had felt this way was on the bus heading to basic training for the Navy.

Logically, Tobias knew he should be afraid. These men were something more than human, and he knew more than any one-hundred-percent-human should… he knew they existed.

April Update

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow, I have been absolutely awful about writing up blog posts this month. I am so sorry. All I can say is that real life got in the way, but not in the normal “oh, something bad or sad happened and now I’m wallowing so I can’t do anything.” No, this time life interfered in the “I am completely blissfully happy and just enjoying living in the real world” kind of way.

Basically it all boils down to my new boyfriend. I have been spending a lot of time with him and doing nerdy things (D&D, board games, movie marathons, etc). It has been quite some time since I’ve dated, and this particular relationship is like no other one I’ve had before. I feel like I am living in a romance novel, and it’s wonderful.

So, I haven’t been reading as much as normal. I think I’ve read about two books or so this month, which is a somewhat low number for me, but due to changes in my work schedule, I think I’ll be able to increase that total by the time I write up my April Wrap-Up.

Speaking of changes in work schedule, my job has declared that Saturday, April 29th will be a mandatory work day. What sucks is that I had planned on participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon that day. I WILL still be reading, just not as much as I originally planned. The job I’m on right now gives me a decent amount of reading time. So you’ll still be able to follow my reading progress by following my Instagram, or you can wait until my Readathon Wrap Up post on Monday May 1.

I guess that also leads into the other activity for the month of April that I have majorly slacked on…Camp NaNoWriMo. My creative drive is coming back, and a lot of that really has to do with the boyfriend too. He inspires me, and listening to him talk about how he wants to try to get back into writing is really helping me want to sit down and write some more as well.

So, as of right now, my Camp NaNoWriMo word count is at roughly 5,000 words…out of my goal of 25,000 words. Clearly I’m a bit behind where I need to be since we’re in the final third of the month. But it will be okay. I was mainly using this month to try and wake up my creativity and that is certainly happening.

Basically I just need to figure out a new work/life/relationship balance. I will need to create a schedule for reading time, writing time, and of course boyfriend time. It will take a little bit of an adjustment, but I’ll get there. So, I thank you for your patience and understanding.

I am currently reading a couple of ARCs thanks to NetGalley, and should have those reviews up next week. For now I may be scaling back to one blog post a week, but whenever possible I’ll try to get a second post up.

I hope you all are having a lovely April. I’m going to get back to reading, at least until the boyfriend finishes with his gym time for the day.

March Wrap-Up and April TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

Whew, this year is flying by, and March feels like it was the fastest month of 2017. Didn’t I just do a March TBR? Anyway, this was another great month, though I didn’t read as many books as I would have liked. I did attend a local author fair at my public library and had a nice time chatting with both librarians and authors, so that was cool.

Let’s just do a quick run through of the books I read in the month of March. If I wrote up a review of the book then I’ll include the link in case you missed it and want to check it out.

The Missing: Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix ( stars)

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare ( stars)

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (5 stars)

Story Thieves by James Riley (4 stars)

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward (4.5 stars)

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward (4 stars)

It was a pretty decent month with six books read, but there were a number of others I wanted to read or that I started and just haven’t finished yet. I really need to just sit down and finish all the half-read books I have laying around.

All, right, next up is my March Book Haul. I can say that I managed to restrain myself quite a bit from previous months, but I still bought a few more books than I had planned. What can I say? I love having new books in my personal library.

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This book haul is especially true since I went out with one of my friends yesterday and we ended up going to Barnes & Noble, so I ended up buying a few more books to add to my collection.

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Now I guess it’s time to move on to my April TBR. Now I’m trying to keep this list somewhat small. This is because I haven’t done well with keeping up with my TBRs anyway, and also because I’ll be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in April, AND of course I’ll also be doing Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. The books on that TBR will not be included in this post, but you check out that list here.

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There are a couple books missing from this TBR photo: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer, which is set for release on April 11, and The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase by Greg Cox, which will be released April 25th (though I received an early copy via NetGalley so I’ll have a review up in a couple weeks).

I’m liking the books I have on my TBR this month, and I sincerely hope that I’m able to get to all of them. I have slowed in my reading lately.

What was your favorite read of March? And what books are you looking forward to in April? Let me know in the comments!