Month: October 2013

Happy Halloween!

Posted October 31, 2013 by Jana in Personal / 2 Comments

Happy Halloween to my beloved reading friends! I hope you have so much fun celebrating in whatever way you choose to do. Me? I’m going to eat candy, catch up on my DVR shows, and read Another Little Piece. I hear it’s super creepy! That’s about as much as I can do to celebrate. I’m a bit of a chicken.

Oh, just so you know… today is the last day to enter my Spooktacular giveaway for a book of choice ($12 USD and under)! It ends at midnight, and you know you want to win! The link is in my sidebar.

So, what are you planning to do to celebrate? Reading any scary books? What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett | Book Review

Posted October 28, 2013 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 10 Comments

Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett | Book ReviewDegrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett
Published by Samhain Publishing Ltd. on August 28, 2012
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 212
Format: ARC
Source: Author
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5 Stars

This time, the straight-and-narrow path could be the road to ruin.

Dr. Elyse Morgan’s mission: find the cure to the HTN4 virus. The compensation, courtesy of the United Nations: a lab stocked with hi-tech goodies, limitless resources and enough chocolate to make her rear look like a cellulite farm. Bonus: she gets to live.

Rescued (kidnapped) and secreted (imprisoned) on an undersea warship, Elyse adjusts to her assumed identity as a cadet with the finesse of a toeless ballerina. Her sulfuric temper and blatant insubordination capture the unwanted attention of the ship’s captain, the gorgeous, infuriating, engaged Nicoli Marek.

Elyse would rather perform her own autopsy than become the other woman, but Nicoli—who’s as full of himself as he is of secrets—regards his impending marriage as a mere political transaction. And Elyse as fair game.

As Elyse’s suspicions about the UN’s true agenda mount along with her attraction to the relentless, chronically shirtless captain, she must choose between the murky path to everything she’s ever wanted, or the squeaky-clean path of self-sacrifice—which could mean taking the secrets of the virus with her to the grave.

Warning: Features a strong, chocolate-loving heroine who takes no prisoners on the way to saving the world from an epidemic and winning a captain’s heart.

Did you know that Anna Scarlett is a pen name for Anna Banks, author of Of Poseidon??  I didn’t either, until Anna tweeted about it and I made the connection. I was excited to read this book before, but then when I found out that SHE wrote it, I was over the moon. I will read anything Anna writes. Anything. And I’m super excited that she wrote an adult romance this time! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I have a thing for books with medical aspects to them. A doctor on a mission to find the cue for a deadly virus… and terrorists hoping to kill her before she gets the chance? YES.

2. I loved the science fiction-y twist with the high-tech equipment, underwater battleships, transport pods, giant squid, etc. It was not so far into the future that it was unbelievable, but just far enough that Anna could let her imagination go. I really enjoyed the world building.

3. Elyse Morgan is seriously my best friend in another life. Her gumption is enviable. She is seriously kick a- and I totally who I want to be when I grow up (haha. I’m 25… I should be grown up already… right?). She is so strong and independent and powerful, doesn’t cave under pressure, sticks up for herself, and settles for nothing less than she wants. I mean, this woman essentially black mailed the UN at one point. Oh, and she is hilarious! Her thoughts had me laughing out loud, and I’m really good about not doing that when I’m reading in silence. Can I please be her? I love, love, LOVE strong heroines.

4. Nicoli is my kind of man… dark and handsome and protective, concerned, caring, flirtatious. He’s this strong military-type with a hardened exterior and a mushy center reserved for those he cares about. Swoonworthy. That’s really all I can say to sum him up. Other than perfect. Or please-can-I-have-him? I mean, as if I needed another reason to want to be Elyse. She has this guy chasing after her! Mmmmmm.

5. OH MY. Anna can write sexual tension as easy as the ABC’s. She had me hanging on every single word. The witty banter cat and mouse game that is Elyse and Nicoli is delicious.

6. The writing. Hello. I love Anna’s writing, but I already mentioned that. She’s awesome at capturing feelings and emotions and putting them into words, smacking you down right in the middle of it all. Even the medical descriptions had me engrossed! Sometimes I glaze over when medicine gets too complicated, but I got this. It was complicated, but written on a level that I could follow.

7. There were twists and turns and brand new information given out all the time! I love a book that just keeps on going and branching off the main storyline. Things were always exciting.

Basically, I can’t say a bad thing about this book. I loved it, and I think you should read it. It’s got a little bit of everything (romance, sci-fi, action, amazing storytelling, perfect characters, etc.) and I think it would appeal to pretty much anyone. I hope Anna writes more adult fiction in the future! And actually, I’d love to read more about some of the characters in this book. Do you hear me, Anna? You’ve got a request!

5 Stars

City Cat by Kate Banks | Children’s Book Review

Posted October 23, 2013 by Jana in Children's Book Review, Inner Child / 4 Comments

City CatCity Cat by Kate Banks, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on November 19, 2013
Pages: 48
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher
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A family prepares for a European vacation, and a stray cat stows away among the luggage. As the family journeys from one city to the next, the clever cat finds its own way to follow–by boat, bus, train, truck, and bike. Children will delight in cat spotting as they visit and learn about landmarks, from the Colosseum to Notre Dame Cathedral to Buckingham Palace, on this colorful tour. Rhythmically told and masterfully illustrated, City Cat will keep readers dreaming of adventure–long after the family returns home, cat in tow.

City Cat is absolutely adorable. I loved following City Cat as he traveled across Europe to places in Italy, France, Spain, England, The Netherlands, and Germany. Each page colorfully illustrates where he is, and what he’s up to. You see City Cat scaling the Colosseum walls, drinking from Parisian fountains, shopping in markets, standing at attention during the changing of the guards, and and trotting across the Bridge of Sighs. Along the way, readers learn a little about each location. There’s a picture glossary in the back that sums up the facts from each place. There’s also a map that show readers how much of Europe City Cat traversed.

The illustrations are very cute and full of character, done it what looks like a mixture of pastel and crayon. The lines whimsically scratchy, like a child could have done them but much more advanced. The artist took some liberty with the colors and the architectural renderings, but that’s what makes it fun. City Cat has the sweetest little face, as you can see on the book’s cover. I particularly love the picture in Venice of The Bridge of Sighs. I’ve been to Venice and stood in this exact spot, and this image makes me want to go back right away!


City Cat is such a cute book, is written very well, and made me want to travel to all these places again! And I love cats, so this book was just perfect for me. I know children will enjoy finding this sweet little kitty in all the pictures as they learn about Europe!

Top Ten Unusual/Beloved Character Names

Posted October 21, 2013 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 20 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

What a fun topic for this week! I have always been a huge fan of names. Growing up, I wanted to have the name Kelly because I loved Kelly on Saved by the Bell. My desire for a new name changed every time I read a book or watched a TV show or movie with a character I liked it. I love names, especially unusual or unique ones! These are some of my favorite unusual names from books I’ve read.








It was not until I started making my graphics that I realized these are all male names! I wonder if that has something to do with it… Bahaha. Anyway, let me know which names you picked!

Six Months Later by Natalie Richards | Book Review

Posted October 21, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 4 Comments

Six Months Later by Natalie Richards | Book ReviewSix Months Later by Natalie Richards
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on October 1, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 326
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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4 Stars

Chloe didn't think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can't remember the last six months of her life. Before, she'd been a mediocre student. Now, she's on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he's her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won't speak to her.

What happened to her?
And why can't she remember?

I’m loving these new mystery thrillers Sourcebooks keeps publishing! Mysteries have always been one of my favorite genres, and I’m very excited that they are starting to trend in the young adult book world! Six Months Later is an awesome story from a talented debut author! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The cool thing about this story is that we know no more than Chloe does. She has completely forgotten six months of her life, and has no idea why. Her best friend won’t talk to her, her parents thinks she is crazy, and she’s got this boyfriend who didn’t even know she existed six months ago. Nothing feels comfortable to her. I wasn’t comfortable either! I was squirming, trying to figure out what was going on. I was also intrigued by the bad boy with the bedroom eyes…

2. I liked all the characters for the most part, yet the story took my attention away from them. Chloe is your typical confused heroine. I appreciated the fact that nobody could convince her she was insane. I also liked that even though her memory is gone, she has this innate sense of distrust in people even though she does not know why. She blindly trusts her intuition, which is the sign of a strong character. I adored her best friend, Maggie, even though she played a small part for most of the book. She’s just so sweet, and seemed like a wonderful friend. Clearly, Chloe did something to ruin their friendship, and I kept rooting for them to mend fences and figure everything out. Blake is creeeeepy. He made my skin crawl. Adam is swoony and kind of scary and dangerous. He kept me guessing. My biggest issue with the characters is Chloe’s parents. They are terrible! They don’t like anything about their daughter except for the fake parts, and they don’t trust her either.

3. The mystery aspect was interesting. Why can’t Chloe remember? Why is this new life of hers completely unrecognizable? Who are we supposed to trust? The climax was pretty exciting, and the mystery was finely woven into an exciting plot line. I was able to predict the ending, which was a little disappointing. The author left too many hints, in my opinion. There were some extra details I had not thought of, though, so that was a nice surprise.

I feel like this is a super short review, but at the same time my mystery reviews usually are. My focus is always on the plot. Who did it? Everything else takes a back seat. There was no world building in Six Months Later, and not a much character development because we were not allowed to know much about the characters for the sake of the mystery. I enjoyed it, though! It was a fun, quick, entertaining mystery and I would recommend it to those of you who are looking for just that!

4 Stars

Just One Year by Gayle Forman | Book Review

Posted October 18, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 10 Comments

Just One Year by Gayle Forman | Book ReviewJust One Year by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2
Published by Dutton Juvenile on October 10, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift
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The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

I loved Just One Day SO much. It is one of my favorite books ever! Just One Year was probably my most anticipated release this fall, and I was dancing around the house when my hardback arrived in the mail. I guess I was expecting something completely different from it, because I am so disappointed. I was hoping for a sweeping romance like the first book, which is not at all what I was given in Just One Year. Anyway, my main points are bolded.

1. This book was not a bad book at all. In fact, it was wonderful. Granted, there were a few passages that moved slowly and caused me to skim a page or two here and there, but I really enjoyed learning about Willem and what happened to him at the end of Just One Day. If I had not gone in with such high expectations, I know I would not have been disappointed. Gayle is a wonderful writer, and she creates amazing stories. Just One Year was great! I just wanted something completely different than she gave me with this book.

2. I connected with Allyson so much in Just One Day, and did not realize until I read Just One Year just how much I liked her. I missed her so much in Just One Year, and found I did not like Willem as much without her around to bring out the best in him. I think that was the point, though. We are meant to see Willem’s struggle, and who he is without Allyson in order to make us want him to find her. I longed for their reunion just as much as he did.

3. I liked the new characters we got to meet. Willem’s mom was endearing, and I enjoyed getting a glimpse into their tumultuous relationship. I liked Willem’s friends, particularly the one who went on part of Willem’s journey to find Allyson. I honestly can’t remember how to spell his name. Haha.

4. I was not the biggest fan of everything Willem did while he was looking for Allyson. I guess I had built him up as Mr. Perfect in my mind, so when he started sleeping with different women and doing drugs, I was so disappointed in him. My heat broke a little as I learned who Willem really is.

5. I enjoyed traveling with Willem on his journey, and I most of all enjoyed watching him learn so much about himself while he was gone. I’ve said it once, and I will say it again: traveling is the most magical way to discover yourself. I loved his happenings in Mexico, his return to India and the reasons behind that, and the string of events that brought him back to Holland. He went through a lot during this year, and even though I had a hard time with some of his choices, I could not help but cheer for him as he figured out what’s best for himself.

6. The ending made me really mad. Haha. I had originally been hoping that Just One Year would pick up right where Just One Day left off. Perhaps Willem would open his door, see Lulu standing there, hug and kiss her like crazy, and then tell her about his year. I would have loved to hear her input on his journey. I would have loved to see a ton of romance. I quickly discovered that would not happen, so I started hoping that the book would be long enough to have some time devoted to their reunion. I was at least hoping for an epilogue! There’s no after. I kind of feel abandoned now. Just as Willem left Allyson with no explanation, these two left me with no explanation.

I finished Just One Year almost a week ago, and I’m still having a hard time processing it. I almost decided to not even write a review. I figured I needed to, though, so I can come back to it someday and remember how I felt and see if I feel any differently as time goes on. I’m not giving it a star review, though, since I just don’t know how I feel. Honestly, my expectations were way too high. It’s like going on a date to a fancy restaurant with the love of your life and thinking he’s going to propose, but instead he dumps you. If I had gone into this book with no expectations, I would have been able to appreciate it for what it is rather than be disappointed in what it isn’t. Really, the only criticism I have is that it was not what I wanted, and it is not what my heart wanted.

Bookish Finds: Book Dominoes!

Posted October 17, 2013 by Jana in Bookish Finds / 8 Comments


Bookish Finds is a feature here at That Artsy Reader Girl, where I highlight awesome bookish things I come across during my exciting life.

Prepare yourselves for the coolest 47 seconds of the day, I kid you not. And while we’re thinking, what a cool bookstore this is!



So, what did you think? Have you ever played with your books? I kind of want to try this, although I know it would not be even half as cool.

Cover Reveal: North Pole Reform School by Jaimie Admans

Posted October 16, 2013 by Jana in Cover Reveal / 1 Comment

I get to help reveal the cover for North Pole Reform School by Jaimie Admans! I love Christmas books, so I was excited to hear about this one. Here’s a little info on the book before I show you the cute cover. :)

Title: North Pole Reform School
Author: Jaimie Admans
Author Links: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
Publication Date: November 6, 2013
Genres: Romance, Young Adult, Comedy
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Synopsis: Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn’t think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can’t get any worse.

Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom.

She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn’t expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him.

But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves’ lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas.

A YA romantic comedy in which Santa is the bad guy, teaching reindeer to fly is on the curriculum, and zombies have a fondness for Christmas music.

And here’s the cover!


It sounds like a really cute book, and what a fun cover! What do you think of it?

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier (Mini Book Review)

Posted October 14, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 4 Comments

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier (Mini Book Review)Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier
Series: Ruby Red Trilogy #3
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on October 8, 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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5 Stars

Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is. She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.

I loved this conclusion to the Ruby Red trilogy! I’m not used to books getting better and better as a series continues. Usually the first book is the best, the second book is pointless, and the third book is a major letdown. Not so with Emerald Green! I grew to love the trilogy more and more as the series continued, and now I am so sad to be finished with it! I’m doing a mini review of this book, just because most of what I loved about it I already mentioned in my reviews of Ruby Red and Sapphire Blue.

I read this trilogy almost back to back, but I still appreciated the recaps we were given on what had happened up to this point. The time traveling is a little confusing, but readers are kept on track with these subtle reminders. The writing is so pretty, and full of funny conversations and elaborate descriptions. I always love seeing where Gwen and Gideon will go, what they will wear, and what they will do. In this book, Gwen and Gideon get to go to a ball and they also go on some secret missions for answers. I loved it!

Gwen is still spunky and is not going to let anyone keep her in the dark. Rather than sitting down and being content with only being able to see a small piece of the large picture she’s a part of, she goes off in her own world and in past worlds to find answers to all these different mysteries. Her grandfather plays a huge role in this book, and I loved that she was able to have a strong relationship with him in some capacity. Lesley, Gwen’s friend, plays a larger role this time around as well, and I really like her. She’s the researcher, and I loved hearing about the information she dug out of the Internet. Raphael, Gideon’s brother, is a fun new addition to the group, and I liked his snarkiness. Charlotte bugged me more than ever, and Xemerius was even more endearing and funny.

All our questions get answered in Emerald Green. What’s up with Lucy and Paul? What happens when the circle is closed? Who is Count St. Germain? What’s in store for Gwen and Gideon? We learn a LOT. Gwen learns about her past and her future, which was so exciting. We learn all about the count and the Guardians. We get to fill in various time travel holes, and piece together different things that have happened across the rest of the trilogy. It was all very satisfying.

I kept this vague and short, just because I know not many people have even read the first book. My point with this review is to get you all excited about the trilogy. If you enjoy time travel, a little humor, adventure, great characters, and history then you will definitely enjoy all three books! And if you quit with Ruby Red because it was not for you, give Sapphire Blue a chance! You’ll love it. :)

5 Stars

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (Mini Book Review)

Posted October 11, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 3 Comments

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (Mini Book Review)Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
Series: Ruby Red Trilogy #2
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on October 30, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Pages: 362
Format: eBook
Source: Gift
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4 Stars

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

I’m so proud of Sapphire Blue for not suffering the second book syndrome! I actually liked this book much more than Ruby Red. It was full of twists and turns and witty banter between characters. There was quite a bit more time traveling, and now that Gwen is getting used to it, the visits to the past have a purpose. I was always excited to see what year she traveled back to, and what she was going to do. She has started to really question this time travel business, and so she’s breaking some rules to do some investigating in the past. She gets into trouble, and meets some new people.

Gwen and Gideon do a lot of traveling together also, and I love their conversations while they sit in a locked room doing homework while they wait to travel back to the present. They also get to go to a soiree in this book, and I loved the descriptions of the gorgeous costumes that they get to wear, and the pretty candlelit rooms. Gwen gets a little drunk on a “secret” punch, and makes a fool out of herself. I loved it!

At the end of Ruby Red, we met a small little gargoyle demon named Xemerius who is very excited that someone can finally see and hear him after so many years of being invisible. I really did not like his constant presence at the beginning of Sapphire Blue. I was annoyed with his interruptions. I grew to really love this little guy, though! He is quite funny, and adds a lot to the story. I looked forward to having him show up.

We learn a lot more about time travel, and what role different characters play in it. We learn more about the past, and why certain things have happened the way they have. Finally, we also get to form a lot of new questions that I’m hoping will be answered in Emerald Green, which I really can’t wait to start! Definitely read Sapphire Blue, even if you were not the biggest fan of Ruby Red. It’s exciting, a little romantic, and full of rich historical elements that will have you dreaming of elaborate balls and poofy dresses.

4 Stars