Blogging Resolutions | Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a book meme hosted by Billy at Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week we answer a question about our reading habits. In addition to weekly prompts, we also connect with the book community! This week is all about blogging resolutions!

Book Blogger Hop written above a green line. 'Coffee Addicted Writer' embedded in the green line. four books are set to the right of the photo.

Do you have any New Year’s Blogging Resolutions? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

I have three blogging resolutions:

  • Post more reading blogs. While I love keeping track of my reading, I need lots of motivation posting them!
  • Share more wrap-ups. These past few months left my reading updates limited. I hope to share about my current reads again!
  • Book club sharings. Last year I joined two book clubs! This pandemic brought on a need to connect with bookish communities. Each group has different genre preferences, but I’m an eccentric reader. I enjoy meeting different people!

Finally, do you have any blogging resolutions for 2021? Share in the comments below!

Other Book Blogger Hop links:

Book Blogger Hop: Summer 2020

My Blogger Recommendations

A Special Note

Before I tend to my reading goals, I want to wish those living in the US peace and serenity. Currently, we’re living through a tumultuous time in history. I’m counting down the days until our dangerous leader departs! Until then, I hope we can all make time for self-care and strength.

New Releases: January 5, 2020

New book releases make me happy!

The following are some of the exciting books available. They’re certainly ones to check out:

New Releases. Root Magic by Eden Royce. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1593216726l/53175322.jpg
New Releases. Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1588883792l/53091994.jpg
New Releases: White Feminism by Koa Beck. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1607876250l/54238294.jpg
New Releases. Lore by Alexandra Braken. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1594222283l/53375824.jpg
Active Defense by Lynette Eason. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1593125995l/53911515.jpg
New Releases. Crown of Bones by A.K. Wilder. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1569499701l/43263361.jpg

Contact Cathleen!

Coffee & Currently Reading | January 4

Coffee & Currently Reading is a meme that shares both reading and reflection. I was inspired by my search through bookstagram. In addition to blogging, I adore browsing through bookstagram! I enjoy viewing snapshots of current and past reads from the community!

How has everyone’s Monday been? It’s weird getting back into the work routine after the holiday break! My husband and I spent the week at home…we wanted to be as safe as possible. I have one more day at home before returning to the classroom tomorrow. We have a half day all week, so I’m hoping for minimal stress!

Coffee & Currently Reading

Coffee & Currently Reading. Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich.

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich. I’m reading this book through the B2Weird book club. Every month they feature exciting SFF reads. Along with this story, members are reading The Fires of Vengence by Even Winter. While I chose not to read FOV, I loved The Rage of Dragons, Book 1 in the series. I never get tired of the selections given!

Synopsis

Louise Erdrich paints a startling portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event in this dystopian novel. Twenty-six-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.

What books are you currently reading this week? Share in the comments down below!

Contact Cathleen!

My Bookstagram Account

January 2021 TBR | Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I certainly hope that this year is much better than the mess we experienced in 2020. I’m highly motivated to stay productive in reading and blogging. I hope to maintain my progress!

January 2021 TBR

The following stories are on my reading list this month. I’m starting the New Year with a good blend of stories!

January 2021 TBR. Remote Control. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1587580886l/34215764._SY475_.jpg
January 2021 TBR. Future Home of the Living God. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1499188017l/34217599._SY475_.jpg
January 2021 TBR. A Woman Is No Man. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1533072101l/34313931.jpg
No Exit by Taylor Adams. LInk: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1498539883l/35522836._SY475_.jpg
January 2021 TBR. Love and Other Moods by Crystal Z Lee

What books are on your January 2021 TBR? Have you begun your reading challenges? Share down below!

I hope everyone’s New Year break was smooth and restful!

Winter

Contact Cathleen!

‘Second Chance Christmas’ by Rula Sinara: a Review

Second Chance Christmas brings two people together after family ties keep them apart. Will fate (and a special loved one) rekindle the fire?

‘Second Chance Christmas’: Book Information

Second Chance Christmas by Rula Sinara.

Second Chance Christmas by Rula Sinara
Length: 384 pages
Source: eBook
Book 3 in the Turtleback Beach series
Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 12, 2021

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Target | Kobo | BookBub

Synopsis

A beachside Christmas

Brings unexpected gifts!


A second chance. That’s what former navy SEAL Damon Woods asks for when Zuri Habib comes to Turtleback Beach with a nephew who looks just like him. After her sister’s death, Zuri believes Caden deserves to know his father—even if he did break her teenage heart. Can Damon and Zuri forgive each other and give a grieving boy the family he needs this Christmas?

Second Chance Christmas: Author Information

Second Chance Christmas Author Rula Sinara. Link: https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1382533491p8/7350913.jpg

After a childhood enriched with exotic travels and adventures (both in books and real life), USA Today and Nationally Bestselling author Rula Sinara is now settled in rural Virginia with her husband, three boys and crazy but endearing pets. When she’s not writing, she’s busy attracting wildlife to her yard, watching romantic movies (despite male protests) or researching trees on her garden wish list.

She’s a 2014 National Readers Choice Award winner and double finalist, a 2015 HOLT Medallion Award of Merit winner, a 2015 Golden Quill runner up and a 2015 Book Buyer’s Best finalist.



Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

My Review

**Thank you to Prism Book Tours and Harlequin Heartwarming for the gifted digital copy of Second Chance Christmas!**

Second Chance Christmas features two people reconnecting after years of miscommunication. Zuri and Damon were high school acquaintances, yet lost touch due to flawed group dynamics. Although Damon chose Zuri’s sister, tragic circumstances steered him away from their lives.

Years later, Zuri heads to Turtleback Beach to reconnect with Damon. They face memories and regrets of the past, while coming to terms with steep losses. Along with these characters reconnecting, there are also figures from the past two books with minor roles. I haven’t read the previous two books; however, this did not deter me from the story. I loved reading about Zuri and Damon’s path as they reconnect with one another.

Engagement and Character Development

Second Chance Christmas kept me engaged from beginning to end! I loved reading about the Turtleback Beach community, as well as Zuri and Damon’s lives. While their sparks arrived a little too quickly, this was still an enjoyable book to read during the winter season. Perhaps their quick sparks were for Caden’s sake, yet I still loved their romance, and the flashbacks that ensued!

Second Chance Christmas: Conclusion

In conclusion, Second Chance Christmas is a lovely story for people who love sparks over the Christmas season! It has the journey of two people looking back on life, and how their families shape their paths today.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Blogmas Signoff

Contact Cathleen!

The Perfection in Love by Ronke Abidoye

The Perfection In Love follows a couple faced with challenges. Their love is indeed put to the test! Thank you to Prism Book Tours for providing me a digital copy!

The Perfection In Love. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1604531310l/55826362.jpg

The Perfection in Love by Ronke Abidoye
Publisher: Queen of the King Enterprises
Format: eBook
Genre: Romance
Release Date: October 30, 2020

The Perfection in Love: Synopsis

Young, attractive, successful, and tenderly in love, Henry and Oyin Wilson appear to be the perfect couple. When Oyin’s parents and Henry’s childhood friend, Olive, come to visit, everything begins to fall apart.

All they do is argue…when they speak at all.

Henry knows Oyin’s mother doesn’t approve of him. Oyin is sure that Olive is in love with Henry. The longer the visitors stay, the more they are all together, the more it all unravels.

Brimming with delightful dialogue and familiar whisperings of the still, small voice, The Perfection in Love is a touching story of true, eternal principles that govern our world-and our hearts-in these modern times.

My Review

**I received The Perfection In Love through Prism Book Tours. Thank you for the gifted copy!**

The Perfection of Love was refreshing to read! It tells the story of Henry and Oyin navigating relationship’s milestones. This couple handles the sudden roadblocks that emerge when loved ones pay a visit.

Despite the undercurrent of tension that exists between Henry and Oyin, this novel explores their journey toward understanding each other. Long term relationships are a deep commitment, as two people love one another through joys and sorrows. Through the book, we’re reminded of Henry and Oyin’s loving commitment toward one another.

In conclusion, if you would like a Contemporary Romance with lessons in love and devotion, The Perfection In Love fits perfectly!

Do you think you’ll place this exciting tale in your TBR pile? Feel free to share down below!

Blogmas Signoff

Contact Cathleen!

Have You Seen Luis Velez by Catherine Ryan Hyde | Book Review

Have You Seen Luis Velez? focuses on this question: Are we truly alone in the world? More importantly, if someone is in need, what should we do?

Have You Seen Luis Velez? | Book Information

Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1551895118l/42632584._SY475_.jpg

Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Length: 320 pages
Source: Hardcover
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: May 21, 2019

Synopsis

Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Nor at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?

Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two.

Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.

My Review

Raymond is trying to figure out his place in the world. His best friend moving across the country further cements his thoughts that he’s truly alone. This changes after Mildred Gutermann enters his life, by way of chance.

Instead of dismissing Mildred’s requests in seeking Luis Velez, her former caretaker, Raymond comes to her aid. Throughout the book, his search dives into humanity’s lens. Each Luis Velez he meets is different from the other. Additionally, Raymond learns that everyone have their own life stories to tell.

Characters and Atmosphere

Have You Seen Luis Velez? is set in New York City. This is an area that is rich in diversity and personality. As we learn about Luis Velez’s life, we’re taken into an exploration into race and class. It’s a deep exploration into racial divides which could define the fate of every one of us. Although Raymond is barely an adult, he quickly learns about the unjust differences life brings to humanity.

Furthermore, Raymond is also navigating the differences within his two home environments. He has two homes with two step-parents, neither making him feel welcome. It takes Mildred’s helpful guidance to realize that patience is needed to ‘make peace with your family of origin’.

Mildred provides Raymond with valuable life lessons. What begins as regular check-ins on her well-being gradually shifts into a valuable friendship. Both Raymond and Mildred use their life experiences to guide towards a deeper understanding of one another. In spite of their age differences, they form a close bond.

'We are never so unique than we think we are.'

Writing Style & Plot

I found Catherine Ryan Hyde’s writing style easy to take in. During some points I felt that the meetups dragged on; however, this didn’t pull me away. Every emotion experienced jumps out through every page. There were many diverse characters, yet I could feel exactly what each person was living through. Each joy and sorrow was never overlooked. Also, it was memorable to walk with Raymond as he discovered each new person and family in his quest!

Intrigue and Engagement

I enjoyed Have You Seen Luis Velez? from start to finish. The characters were enjoyable, and I was constantly curious in what would happen next. Everything about Raymond and Mildred’s life journeys were memorable to read!

Have You Seen Luis Velez: Recommendations

I recommend Have You Seen Luis Velez? to those interested in both Contemporary and coming of age stories. Historical Fiction readers will also enjoy this story!

In conclusion, this book is a worthwhile read for people of all ages. Have You Seen Luis Velez? touches on humanity’s close bond with one another. Indeed, we’re never truly alone!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Previous Review: Please Pick Me by Reina Regina

Please Pick Me by Reina Regina: Quotes & Moodboard

Please Pick Me by Reina Regina is a powerful and emotional poetry collection. Indeed, all the things that encapsulate love (anxiety, hope, devotion) is wrapped up in this book!

Today is my tour stop on the Please Pick Me Blog tour! Thank you Shaelea and Caffiene Book Tours for allowing me to take part. For more information, click on their Launch Post!

‘Please Pick Me: Book Information

Please Pick Me by Reina Regina.

Please Pick Me by Reina Regina
Publisher: Moonchild Press Publishing
Genre: Poetry, Contemporary
Release Date: 11 November 2020

Amazon | Goodreads

Synopsis

In a garden of a thousand other volumes, my little yellow book with its earnest plea and hopeful flowers on the cover sits waiting for you to pick it up. It’s got a heart it wants to give away.

These haikus, poems, and prose pieces are about:

the miracle of being wanted back by someone we want,
the desperation of hoping they’ll fight harder when they waver;
additionally, the rawness of seeking reassurance that we are loved as we are,
finally, the tenderness we feel when we’re sending love out to others.

Indeed, those moments when we are making our need to be accepted plain and praying. Please pick me.

This book was born after twenty-six years of learning that it’s okay to want to be wanted, that vulnerability is merely throwing open the gateway to honest connections, and that fighting to be loved the way you deserve is bravery and not weakness.

I hope you open it. I hope it invites you to be open too.

Trigger/Content warnings:

  • Mentions of anxiety, depression, abuse, trauma, and a suicide note.

Please Pick Me: Author Information

Please Pick Me author, Reina Regina.

Reina Regina is a writer, professional tarot reader, Instagram creator, and former nurse. Additionally, she is published online as Reina Bambao on 8List, The Manila Times, Play Without Apology, and the Fully Booked First Look Club.

Reina resides in Manila, Philippines. She is the lady of the house for a doctor and two dogs. Please Pick Me is, to her great and pleasant surprise, her first book.

Website | Instagram | Goodreads

Favorite Quotes

Here are my favorite quotes for Please Pick Me. This is truly a powerful poetry collection!

Your hands, I thought were
Big enough to hold my heart—
And crush it too.

I will give them hell
as I cherish him
so joyfully and sinfully
and thoroughly…

Choosing the boy who draws is choosing happiness.

I watch you wake up
Wrapped in my flowery sheets;
I forget to breathe.

This is the part where I say I believe in fate.

These November stars
Forged in passion, birthed in storms,
Outshine all the world.

Mood Board

While reading Please Pick Me, I imagined someone seeking the perfect companion. Along with dreams of love, the fear of rejection also exists. These images closely resemble my feelings about this poetry collection:

Finally, check out Caffiene Book Tours Launch Post to see this week’s fabulous contributors!

Contact Cathleen!

White Ivy by Susie Yang : A Review

White Ivy certainly healed my reading slump! It poses this question: How far are you willing to go to achieve your dreams? Indeed, I was all in!

‘White Ivy’ Book Information

White Ivy by Susie Yang. Link: https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1593355573l/50892388.jpg

White Ivy by Susie Yang
Publisher: Simon & Shuster
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller
Source: Audiobook (Received by Libro.fm ALC program)
Length: 12 hrs & 50 mins
Release Date: November 3, 2020

Synopsis

Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, she is taught how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops by her immigrant grandmother. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, where her dream instantly evaporates.

Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when she bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.

Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners and weekend getaways to the Cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.

Filled with surprising twists and offering sharp insights into the immigrant experience, White Ivy is both a love triangle and a coming-of-age story, as well as a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.

‘White Ivy’ : My Review

**I received White Ivy through Libro.fm’s ALC Reviewer Program, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

White Ivy tells Ivy Lin’s story, a girl who emigrated to Boston from China as a child. We follow Ivy as she learns valuable lessons from her grandmother about financial fortune. Desperate to be like her Western peers, Ivy strives to hold Gideon Speyer’s attention. Using a page from her grandmother’s book of life, Ivy becomes a thief in order to attain her goals. In spite of Ivy’s mother upending her life, she continues to climb an ambitious ladder to win Gideon’s heart.

Characters

Susie Yang weaves a complex and gripping tale of a young woman fighting to achieve her goals. Although Ivy is a flawed heroine, I found myself emphasizing with her. All her life, she lived under her vindictive mother’s rule. Now, Ivy is in charge of her life choices, and does what is necessary to keep herself afloat. It isn’t until Ivy is in the throes of major changes that she learns the reason behind her mother’s calculating moves. As a result, White Ivy takes us through three generations of women, in China and America, making significant changes in their lives.

White Ivy has a gripping love triangle, and we’re left in a state of tension as Ivy struggles to choose. While she adores Gideon, Ivy longs to live life without social construct. Ivy’s deceitful life both thrills and terrifies her. She orchestrates every move in order to achieve the life she longs to live. In the process, we’re led to a huge reveal that I didn’t see coming!

‘White Ivy’: Plot and Interest

This audio book certainly piqued my interest! While it had a slow start, White Ivy crafted a tale with people fighting to appear perfect at every turn. Both Ivy and Gideon’s families make great lengths to appear discreet yet gregarious in one breath. I definitely wanted to know what came next!

Further, Emily Woo Zeller did a great job narrating this story. Her storytelling left me completely engaged from beginning to end!

Recommendations

I recommend White Ivy for those seeking stories about family drama and coming-of-age stories. It’s also a thoughtful book about the immigration experience (centered around the Chinese diaspora).

In conclusion, White Ivy is a powerful story with a flawed yet resilient female character. You won’t be disappointed with this book!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.
White Ivy. Thanks for visiting!

Previous Review:

Check out my thoughts on Love in Lockdown!

A Christmas Memory | Blogmas Day 3

Christmas brings many happy memories! They certainly offer a window into past celebrations and traditions.

One Christmas memory involves my cousins! When I was young, my family lived minutes away from relatives. When the holidays approached, we visited each others’ homes and share joy. I was a few years older than they were, yet we would spend hours playing with toys and sharing stories.

Blogmas Christmas Memory. Link: https://scontent-lga3-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t31.0-8/255804_10200401170535465_1388506310_o.jpg?_nc_cat=101&ccb=2&_nc_sid=cdbe9c&_nc_ohc=LqmEripnRBQAX_TvKry&_nc_ht=scontent-lga3-2.xx&oh=95124210cb611466b3fd0b4c7ed2f700&oe=5FEC6AFE

Although these holiday times flew by, I cherished these moments immensely! Years later, I would commute from my New York City apartment to my family’s New Jersey neighborhood. Christmas now became extra special, and I made time to celebrate with my close family and cousins.

Today, my cousins and I live separate lives, yet we always take time to chat and share through messaging. We each experienced joys and sorrows, but we still have time to speak with each other.

Do you like books about Christmas memories? Read ‘Christmas by Accident‘ by Camron Wright! It indeed has an endearing love story with the holiday spirit!

Finally, do you have a favorite Christmas memory? Feel free to share below!

Contact Cathleen!