In a Kingdom by the Sea


I tried. I tried so hard to make this book last and I think I did a pretty good job this second go around, but oh my gosh.
Cassandra Clare. I adore you and despise you all at once. You are a phenomenal writer who really, really, really knows how to fuck up your readers and mess with their hearts and their emotions. 

The characters in this book were absolutely amazing! Seriously, getting to really meet the Blackthorns and Emma, getting to know all the siblings and seeing the way they interact together, how Emma fits in, Christina and Perfect Diego, Diana, Malcolm Fade, Johnny and Kit Rook, and all the other characters in this book just made it so much better. I would love to be a part of the Blackthorn family, those kids are all so incredible in their own ways. I love the way they differ, their little quirks and their obscure interests. Emma was absolutely incredible- I love seeing a good, kick-ass heroine who, for once, is so beyond sure of herself and her skills and doesn’t let people talk down to her for being female. She’s amazing and I love the friendship between her and Christina. 

Then there’s the whole Emma and Julian thing. Ugh my babies, I feel so bad for them and my heart really does go out to them and all their suffering. This book was killer to get through at some points because all you want is for them to be happy together. 

This entire book really did fly by so quickly looking back. Everything progressed at a good pace, and nothing was dragged out too long. 
That ending though… with this reread I’m dying to read Lord of Shadows even more!

((Side note- for those who read the little bonus story at the end, WHAT WAS THAT LAST BIT ABOUT?!?!)


 Currently Reading: Flashfall 

Today Is Not The Day I Die [non spoiler]

LOSE ME [M.C. Frank]
New Adult / Contemporary Romance
Released: April 11, 2017
387 Pages

I wouldn’t change anything. Not even the pain.

I read this book in one sitting [almost…]. I actually started it a week ago….I read the first couple pages [via kindle unlimited], and decided I wasn’t going to like it, so I put it aside and started something else. WELL, the last few days I have been on a contemporary binge, so I decided to give it another shot. Sometimes you just have to be in the mood for a certain genre. It was really good! Confusing at times, but I gave it 4 stars.

It was just released a month ago, so as of yet, there isn’t any sequel planned. I am not sure there is really an reason to have a sequel, to be honest. MAYBE a spin off for another character.

“Jane Austen meets K-drama in this compulsively readable New Adult novel of movie stars, golden beaches and intense romance.” – Basically all I need to hear is “Jane Austen retelling” and I am there………Pride & Prejudice is life.

I loved the plot! It was so fun, and unique. It caught me by surprise though. I didn’t fully understand the synopsis of this book……It may have started out on the lighthearted side, but this book was pretty filled with drama and tragedy – I teared up more than once. That being said, I have no idea what it is about contemporary, but I sometimes just can’t stand the writing. I thought the writing was messy at times….It MAY have been that I read the kindle version, but it seemed like one scene would take place and then the next sentence is a totally new scene with no breaks. I got lost more than a couple times, which gets pretty frustrating after a while. Overall I enjoyed it though.

I know he wasn’t a major character, but I really loved Ari’s dad. I liked most of the characters, but I just loved him. I could have read a lot more scenes with him in it. Her grandfather was pretty fantastic too! I did like Ariadne [Ari], she was smart, and crazy talented. I did like the scenes involving her stunts [shes a stunt double], those were pretty unique and original. Wes……I didn’t like him at first……He was an arrogant jerk…..BUT, you know how it goes with the jerks, they always “show their true colors” and come out as seriously misunderstood. I liked him a lot, but my one problem would be the….wait for it…………THE INSTA LOVE……the one thing contemporary is good for. At times, that got to be too much.

Ari has a good head on her shoulders….she goes through some major stuff in this book, and since its pretty much nothing I could even imagine happening, it is hard to say how I would react…so I couldn’t really tell you if she responded “appropriately” to situations, but I think she did….I didn’t in anyway think that she was stupid at all, I don’t think I rolled my eyes once [at her anyway….Wes though, haha].

I thought the stunt double female role was unique to this story. And the fact that the mother was not only absent, but had not been present in her life at all. [Think…Leonard’s mom on TBBT – personality wise]. A nice thing was that even though it was Hollywood stars, you skip all the paparazzi BS that seems to take up so much room in other books involving hollywood stars. I mean, there was one or two things, but it wasn’t as ridiculous as some of the scenes in other books that I’ve come across.

I think what could have been left out of this story was the magazine interview snippets and news articles that took place between the articles. Sure, some of them added a little to the story, but I didn’t think they were totally necessary. And I know the best friend is usually pretty important to the MC’s life, but honestly? The best friend is absent. She doesn’t live in Corfu anymore, she has moved on to College in a different part of Greece….and except for a few video chats, she isn’t really in the story, and I didn’t think she was really written well enough to be important to the plot in any way. I would have liked to have seen the female antagonist written differently too. Yes, she was trouble, but it was like…one major incident, a couple mean-ish words and then she kind of just disappears from the story.

And what needed to be IN this story? A better played out plot. So, the whole first half of the book, the whole point of the characters meeting is because she is a stunt double for a movie Wes stars in, and something happens near the end of filming, and the author just…dropped that story plot [to keep with Ari’s drastically changed story, so that itself is not bad], but you just NEVER hear about how the movie turned out. How the end of filming went….what happened to some of the other characters we had met…..It was odd. I felt that there were quite a few unanswered questions by the time I finished.

Regardless of the small issues I had, I really liked the book overall, and once I better understood what was happening [because the beginning was a bit slow and confusing..] I felt like I really didn’t want to put this book down. Although I did not read it in one sitting, except for the first few pages I read last week, I read it in less than 24 hours….I don’t find many books that I need to finish ASAP often anymore.

I rated this 4 stars on Goodreads, but I think it is probably more of a 3.75/5. I enjoyed this book a lot, and I think I will buy the paperbook version one of these days and reread it sometime down the road. I think anyone who is a pride and prejudice lover, and who enjoys contemporary would like this one. It does deal with an alcohol problem with one of the characters though….OH, that, that was necessary to see for that character…but I think it could have been written better. It is a serious issue and I didn’t think the response to it was realistic or really dealt with.


Weekly Progress & Goals [19]

I would have to say that this week was really productive…READING wise! YAY! I don’t know what happened, but just in the last 3 days, I’ve knocked out like 4 books. ALL CONTEMPORARY, what is wrong with me? haha.

I finished them all but I think I really only LOVED one. Altogether, I read 5 books total. The first being The Isle of the Lost….see non spoiler review here. BUT, I also started a book that I’ve yet to finish. After finishing challenge 6, I jumped into challenge 7…..This Savage Song. I am LIKING IT, but because I am currently in a kindle book phase [because it really is hard to read actual books sometimes…], I haven’t really made much progress. I like what I’ve read [although I am a bit confused also…], so I am really hoping to make an effort this week.

After that came The Vixen & The Vet, WHICH I ABSOLUTELY LOVED. Which you can probably tell if you read this.

My 2nd non favorite book was By Your Side…..which I want to write a review for, but since I read PS I Like You IMMEDIATELY after, both written by Kasie West…I am not totally sure I can write reviews for either and keep facts straight. I have come to the conclusion that West is not for me. I love the plots just fine……but there is a certain element to her writing that I just don’t like. I can’t seem to pinpoint exactly what it is, but since I have read quite a few of her books, it is definitely something with the way she writes. Like I said, I love the story line….not just the random, added in drama. By Your Side was about a girl stuck in the library, I thought it was okay……I gave PS I Like You a higher rating [4 stars, I gave BYS 3….], not necessarily because I liked it more, but because it had a You’ve Got Mail vibe and that is my favorite movie. The writing problem still existed, but it wasn’t as annoying as I thought it was in BYS. I think whatever my problem is with her writing is why I say I don’t like contemporary.

AND, on that note, apparently I’ve been in a contemporary mood………ADULT Contemporary is really not bad though. I have problems with the YA contemporary because its high school drama and annoying teenagers, so thats more of a miss than a hit for me….but I’ve really never had any problem with adult contemporary. Like TV&TV, I loved that book.

Anyway, after those books, I jumped back into a book that I had read a chapter of last week. It is called Lose Me, by M.C. Frank. I am going to try and write a review for it later – I think I am definitely getting better at writing reviews! – so I don’t want to say too much about it now.

I am not really sure if I can have as much of a productive week this week as I did last week…..but I do think I will be knocking out more contemporary. I also would really like to finish This Savage Song before the end of the month….so I am going to work hard at sitting down and reading it.

This week, I really want to get out and take more photos too. It has been kind of crappy this week, but the sun did come out for a little while yesterday, so I got some much needed photos of my Blood for Blood trilogy. I AM SO SUPER HAPPY THAT THEY ARE ALL FINALLY HERE. I seriously want to drop everything and reread them, even though I just read them a month ago, haha.

I am going to get to some reviews this week too. I don’t remember if I said, but my husband bought me a new laptop a couple weeks ago, and it has been really nice being able to sit down and write and plan. The desktop is in the bedroom, and since I don’t generally hang out there during the day, it is hard to go in there with a VERY VERY VERY active [now] 9 month old, and at night, I feel like the tapping on the keyboard is too loud and might wake my husband up…, now when L is finally down for the night, I can just grab my laptop and sit and relax in the dining room.

Speaking of planning, have you seen June‘s photo challenge yet? 🙂

Well, if I had anything else to say, I have forgotten……it is now 8:20 AM, and I’ve been up for about 2 hours……after staying up late to read. I think I am going to go back to sleep now. Sleep is good. Sleep is amazing.

I hope everyone has an amazing week! tell me below what you’re planning to read.


currently reading:
This Savage Song

current tunes:
the fish tank [filter], that desperately needs water.

Once Upon A Time…. [non spoiler]

THE VIXEN & THE VET [Kate Regnery]
June 15, 2014
295 pages
Contemporary Romance

I read this via kindle. I actually forgot I owned it since I had bought it a few months ago. I kept hearing how good it was, and that it was a modern day Beauty & The Beast retelling….yep! I was all over it. I definitely give it 5 stars. It had its flaws, but its so rare that I find books that I have a hard time putting down these days.

The thing about surviving something truly tragic is that it changes your expectations forever. You make do with very little. You’re grateful for crumbs. You make the best of small mercies. You endure large trials. You understand that life owes you nothing. You expect nothing, and when something wonderful happens, you don’t trust it. You know it can’t possibly last.

This is definitely a standalone book, but it is part of a [standalone] series of modern day fairy tales written by the author. I’ve read one other one [a Hansel & Gretel retelling], and although I did like it, I liked this one much more.

In this modern-retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Savannah Carmichael, betrayed by an unreliable source, returns to her hometown of Danvers, Virginia with her once-promising journalism career in ruins. Given the opportunity to get back in the game by writing a patriotic human interest piece, Savannah turns her attention to the town hermit, Asher Lee, a wounded veteran who returned to Danvers eight years ago, and hasn’t been seen since.” Goodreads

I really, really, really loved this book. The writing was amazing, and I’d say the unputdownable rating was a solid 4/5. And really, who doesn’t love a good fairy tale retelling? I actually really liked that it was a disable vet, it made it seem 1000000 times more realistic. The southern aspect was fun too. I can just imagine Asher saying “darlin” and I swoooooon. BUT! For real, it was funny when it was supposed to be, it was heartbreaking when it was supposed to be, and man, oh man, was it downright sexy when it was supposed to be. *fans self*.

I really loved all the characters. Savannah had her moments, but overall, she was a great “Belle” character. AND ASHER……………….Asher Lee……isn’t that such a lovely name? He was a great character, and his POV bits were my favorite. Well, there was that one asshole……….the Gaston-ish character. I did NOT love him, not one bit. He gave me the creeps. So, I guess he was written correctly, haha.

So…..Savannah……she did and did NOT respond to situations ‘correctly’, up until the end I wanted to give her a good smack. The reasoning for having to meet Asher was okay, but then it went sideways from there….and I KNEW, I KNEW IT WOULD BE AWFUL. Just thinking about it makes me all upset….it resolved itself nicely though. I was worried for a while, but I think it ended the way it was supposed to.

It is kind of hard to pinpoint any specific ‘interesting’ thing other than the male character is a military veteran with severe injuries. I read some, but not a TON of contemporary romance, so I can’t say if this stands out in the genre, but it was definitely like nothing I’ve read before, therefore it was a unique story to me.

As it is with all books……there of course, were plenty of parts that could have been left out….like every scene with Savannah’s sister, Katie Scarlet [cool name though, perfect for the southern belle she is, anyone else know where it is from?]. I really couldn’t stand her. AND, although she did have a couple good lines here and there, I really didn’t see why she was important to the story overall.

All in all, I loved this very awesome beauty and the beast tale, and I can definitely see myself not only rereading it at some point, but buying the paperback sometime down the road so I can have it on my shelves and show it off more on IG.


So, I’ve written a couple reviews so far, I am enjoying them, but what does everyone else think?

Rotten To The Core [non spoiler]

ISLE OF THE LOST [Melissa de la Cruz]
Middle Grade Fantasy
320 Pages – read via kindle.

This is the first book in, I want to say a TRILOGY. I could be wrong on that though. I am kind of confused wih the books, I read the back of book 2 [through Goodreads], and it made it seem like they had already been off the island and were coming back [hence the name “Return to the Isle of the Lost”] but in THIS book, they never left the island.

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that’s been left to rot and forgotten by the world.” Goodreads

I was actually not a fan of the writing style…..or the book in general. It definitely was middle grade, but I wanted to read it because I actually enjoy the cheesiness that is Disney’s Descendants…..This is NOTHING like the book though. I knew it obviously wouldn’t be a musical [even though thats probably my favorite part…], but I probably would have known that if I had read the back [I didn’t, I never do.] I thought thought it was all rather silly….I doubt I will read on in the series. It really was too juvenile for me.

The book was really dragged out., there was also scenes that took place in Aurodon that could have probably been left out. None of it seemed important for this book since the villains never left the Island. I wouldn’t really say it was important back story for later. The plot was uninteresting, and just because they were “evil” didn’t mean everything had to be so gross. It wasn’t done HORRIBLY, but it basically glorified bullying. Not in the obvious way like in books meant for older people, teenagers that should know better [but don’t]. I don’t know how to explain it…..I am sure if I recommended it to my mom’s 9 year old he would wonder why they were being so mean, but other’s might think it’s a good way to act….So it probably isn’t a book to recommend to EVERYONE.

I was comparing the characters to those in the movie, so I honestly couldn’t tell you if I even liked ANY of the characters. I didn’t dislike anyone per se…….but I didn’t really feel any connection with anyone. Even if I didn’t like how they responded to situations, I guess it was realistically enough for villains….

I am sitting here trying to find something interesting to talk about, but I honestly can’t think of anything. To me this was JUST a book. I didn’t have any high runnng emotions, I wasn’t at the edge of my seat anxious about what was going to happen next….MAYBE if I was apart of the target audience I would think differently….maybe.

I really couldn’t say how this differed from other MG fantasy, or even Middle Grade in general…..I haven’t read a whole lot from that genre….maybe the fact that it is written about the villains.

I would definitely not read this book again….or read on in the series. It is a quick read, that is for sure….but other than that, if you aren’t a kid just getting into reading, this most likely isn’t for you.


Currently Reading:
This Savage Song [33/427]
By Your Side [8%]
The Vixen & The Vet [43/291]

Current Tunes:
Liam Fussing…..


We have had renewed interest in our reading challenge! So I thought I would do an updated posting, to see if we can get any more interest.

[original posting:] Do you have a ton of books at home that you have told yourself you’re going to read, but then they just sit there? Lauren and I put together a challenge and we picked OWNED BUT UNREAD books to fulfill the monthly challenges. Some books we had in common, but we also picked different books, because its based on BOOKS YOU OWN, not books you plan on buying. SO, our challenge to you, dear reader, is to write down the challenges, and pick books that you own to fill them in.

Our goal is to read them [in the order written] and be done with them by the end of the corresponding months. Why is there 15 then? Because we are very indecisive people. So, say you read #1 and its not the end of January and you want to keep reading, then you would move on to #2 and try to be done with it by the end of February. There are extras, because one month you might only be able to get through one book….but another month you might decide you can read two, or even three.

We are hoping this will help us buy less books this year, and knock out some of the hundreds that we already own. We shared this, in hopes that it will help you too! If you decide to join in, you can keep us apprised of your progress on IG, with the hashtag listed below. And we will definitely be sharing ours! We want to get the word out, so any and all help will be much appreciated.

Now on to the fun part! [I decided to strike out the challenges that have been completed by myself and Lauren.]


Ashley: Six of Crows [Leigh Bardugo]
Lauren: A Darker Shade of Magic [V.E. Schwab]

Ashley: The Longest Ride [Nicholas Sparks]
Lauren: Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe [Benjamin Alire Saenz]

Challenge Three: NON YOUNG ADULT
Ashley & Lauren: Red Rising [Pierce Brown]

Ashley: The Infinite Sea [Rick Yancey]
Lauren: Unblemished [Sara Ellis]

Ashley: Breathe [Sarah Crossan]
Lauren: First Life [Gena Showalter]

Challenge Six: OVER 500 PAGES
Ashley: Lady Midnight [Cassandra Clare]
Lauren: Lady Midnight [“]
I marked it twice because I, Ashley, have finished it. Lauren is currently reading it.

Ashley: This Savage Song [Victoria Schwab]
Lauren: This Savage Song [“]
I marked it twice because I, Ashley, am currently reading it. Lauren is on challenge 6.

Ashley & Lauren: My Lady Jane [C. Hand, B. Ashton & J. Meadows]

Challenge Nine: PRE 2016 DEBUT
Ashley: A Great & Terrible Beauty [Libba Bray]
Lauren: The Witch Hunter [Virginia Boecker]

[one of  your initials]
Ashley: A Court of Mist & Fury [Sarah J. Maas]
Lauren: Lotus & Thorn [Sara Wilson Entienne]

Ashley & Lauren: Falling Kingdoms [Morgan Rhodes]

Challenge Twelve: TITLE YOU LOVE
Ashley & Lauren: The Midnight Star [Marie Lu]

Challenge Thirteen: BOOK WITH ROYALTY
Ashley & Lauren: Heart of Betrayal [Mary E. Pearson]

Challenge Fourteen: PERSONLESS COVER
Ashley & Lauren: Heartless [Marissa Meyer]

And last but not least!

Challenge Fifteen: A STANDALONE BOOK
Ashley & Lauren: Salt To The Sea [Ruta Sepetys]

That’s it, this is our #tackleyourlibrarychallenge17

we hope you join us in our adventure to tackle our
owned but unread books. Reading the same books we chose is definitely not necessary, but if you happen to choose one for the same challenge as both/one of us, feel free to message us and let us know!

I have been having a ton of fun with this challenge. Although I am only on challenge 7, I’ve already read 7 books because of this. When I read SoC, I also read CK. Although I haven’t loved every book I’ve read on this list, I am incredibly happy to have been able to knock them out and have that many “unread” books marked as read.


Whether choosing to do as is, or merely using it as a template to recreate things for your own use, link back to this post, or at the very least give us credit for our hard work.

5 Series I DNF’d

We have all had those series you’ve started and the first book is so completely amazing, and then you recommend it to everyone, even the guy who passes you walking down the street [just kidding, don’t talk to strangers….] It is just so unique, so filled with potential, and YOU NEED THE NEXT BOOK NOW…..but then you get the next book, or you even get the next book, and you love it even more, but then the NEXT book [you get the point] is just… boring. SO DIFFERENT, so not even worth finishing……yeah, this is about those books…..

They aren’t in any particular order……no offense to anyone who actually loved these series in their entirety.

Oh man, I loved the first book. I loved it so much. I read it FOUR TIMES before book 2 was even released. Kricket was one of my favorite female characters. And I was so in love with…whatever the male characters name was…..haha. I just couldn’t get enough! I told everyone about it, I wanted everyone to read it……I loved the story, I loved the writing, I loved the characters….there was JUST NO WAY it would turn to shit. No way at all…..

And then the sequel was released…..IT WAS EVEN BETTER! I read it in one sitting, I could just not get enough. My real life bestie and I fangirled, and my sister in law and I fangirled…..and then the dreaded wait for book three started………..and then the cover was finally revealed, and I hated it. It seriously looked like she was dead and floating in water…..and then the synopsis, which didn’t seem that great, but those can be deceiving…..and then the early reviews started appearing, and I was hearing incredibly unfavorable things………and I was hesitant to read it when it was finally released……so my SIL took the plunge and I told her to tell me everything, EVERYTHING…………and that is when I realized that I could never, and would never read it. My dreams of the perfect ending, the ending we all wanted was officially crushed, and yeah….I don’t even talk about this series anymore. I got rid of the first two books, which I owned in paperback….I had ONLY just received them in the mail when all this went down…..I think I owned them for like 2 months before I got rid of them.

She has another series out…..I had wanted to read it, but I figured she would mess that up too…..

I actually had no desire to start this series. It didn’t seem even a little bit interesting to me. BUT, my BBF [best book friend] Lauren wanted to read it, so I bought 2 copies and sent one to her. We decided to buddy read it…..and we really loved the first book. There was a lot of potential. It was ZOMBIES, but in a totally unique way, and I loved Cole…..I don’t even think I stuck with the buddy read schedule….I just read it because I wanted to read it.

I believe when we finally got around to reading them, the whole trilogy was out, so we both bought the remaining 2 books [there are some spin off books, but we just stuck with the original trilogy], we FORCED, totally forced our girlfriend in England to read book one, and then she buddy read book 2 with us…..Man, I could not get into it…..I fell behind in the BR and had to catch up a few times. AND THEN, somewhere in the middle something completely stupid and unnecessary happened….and I kind of just hated it from that point…..

We decided to BR book three anyway, because MAYBE things would get better….maybe it was just the dreaded second book syndrome thing happening…..NOPE. I didn’t finish it. I forced my way through it, but for whatever reason, less than 70 pages from the ending, I was just done. SO OVER IT. I literally cringe every time I see someone sharing it on IG being all excited that they bought it and can’t wait to jump into the series.

I still remember reading book one…I had just gotten out of the shower, and I was waiting to cool off a bit before I got dressed, and I was also just being lazy, and robes are very comfortable…..I picked it up because I had just gotten it a couple days before [from the library] and I decided to read a chapter or two before getting some cleaning done…..NOPE, I finished it all in one sitting. I couldn’t get enough, I thought it was so unique, and such an interesting story. I don’t know if it was intended to be a series, or what, but when I heard about book 2, I was crazy excited….I didn’t hear anything about it when I finally picked it up [way later]…..only to find it was a spin off, and it turned out to not be a very exciting one either…..

There MIGHT be a third book…I don’t even know, but, it is definitely a third book I won’t read.

4] A SONG OF ICE & FIRE [Georege R. R. Martin]
It isn’t so much that I hated these books……I enjoyed them as I read them, but when I wasn’t reading them, I just had no thoughts on it. I read up to book 4, and read half of it…..The long chapters, allllll the characters, and all the different POV’s, all the thrown in violence that seemed to be added simply to make the story go on and on…I just couldn’t bring myself to continue on in the series. It wasn’t interesting to me, and I even stopped watching the show.

5] RED QUEEN [Victoria Aveyard]
I was going to go with ToG, but I think my feelings on that series have been pretty well made known….RQ though…I don’t think I’ve talked about it much. It is by far the most popular series on this list.

It was incredibly popular when it was released….it was THE book to have. I didn’t get it right away, but my husband got it for me for Valentines Day that year because he knew I was wanting to read it so bad. I thought it was really good! I don’t remember speeding through it, but I think that had more to do with being busy than anything [If I remember correctly, I was working at the time]. I reread it the following year because one of my girlfriends had picked it as a reading challenge pick…I did not like it as much the 2nd time around….and when book 2 was released, I was ready to read it…but not totally excited about it…and for good reason, I soon found out. I thought it was one of the worst sequels I’ve ever read. I thought it was so boring, and I couldn’t really stand the MC in the first book, but i downright hated her in the sequel, sooooo stupid. My love for one of the other characters couldn’t even keep me invested.

The third book is out now, and I have zero interest in picking it up. I was kind of horrified when I realized it was going to be an actual series, not a trilogy….nope. I am done! Good for those who actually like all the books, but to me it is just another overhyped series that I think is not even close to being as awesome as people seem to think it is.

This was fun. I like these list things…………Anyone have any more ideas on ones I should write in the future???

If you missed it, go check out my June Photo Challenge, and see all the fun changes that I made.

Also! having been cruising through the Reading Challenge, I am going to revive it with my progress so far, later on today [or tomorrow….]