Book Review: The Life You Stole ( The Life Series #2 ) – Jewel E. Ann

Sex. Lies. Revenge.

On the heels of a devastating loss, Evelyn fights to put her life back together.
Only … part of her husband belongs to another woman, and the devil owns her soul.

“If you tell her the lie, I will tell her the truth.”

When her best friend goes to great lengths to protect Evelyn from destruction and devastation, mistakes are made, lines are crossed, and all trust is shattered.

“We weren’t unbreakable.
I just needed to believe we weren’t unrepairable.”

Don’t miss the explosive conclusion to this unforgettable thriller by Jewel E. Ann, bestselling author of The Transcend Series.


 

Screw whatever I said in my review for book #1, The Life That Mattered by author Jewel E. Ann. All confusion and mixed feelings vanished after having read The Life You Stole, book #2 from The Life Series.

Holy shitcakes… this was an intense read. So much drama, so much emotional pain, so many crippling highs and lows. I wanted it all to end but the bookish sadist in me wanted more!

There was only one thing that bothered me. Something this story could´ve lived without. The supernatural bit. Have you ever seen the movie 1996 movie Phenomenon? The one with John Travolta? This story is similar to the movie only with a focus on romance and friendship ( and lies, heartbreak, betrayal, money, death, sex, snow, power, etc ).

I like to think the story would´ve been perfectly fine without the supernatural bit. It certainly would´ve been just as painfully emotional. But other than that, I can´t complain. I´ve been through bookish hell and back with this read. That´s exactly what I want when reading a book.


 

Would I recommend this book? Yes! I think, even if I thought book #1 was slow, it was the perfect build up for what happened in bok #2. A necessary calm before the storm, if you will. A reader gets a slow-burn romantic start with a shit – has – properly – hit – the – fan romantic ending. It´s a romance, y´all.

Would I reread this book? I´ll definitely reread bits of book #2 in the near future just to torture myself a little.


 

The Cover:  3 Stars – Still not my cup of tea. At least it matches the cover of book #1.

The Story:  4 Stars – A little over the top but still enjoyable. Certain scenes are very intense. Disliked the supernatural addition.

The Characters:  5 Stars – * standing ovation * Great character development. Loved Evelyn and Lila.

My emotional state after finishing this read: So pooped that I need a large cocktail.

 

 

The Life You Stole by Jewel E. Ann is available on Amazon.com

 

Are Book Boxes Worth Buying?

 

A few posts back I wrote a blog post on What I´d Like To See More Of In Book Boxes where I more or less give insight on what book subscription boxes are and why they don´t work for me. I also touched upon the fact that these magical boxes of bookish goods are a little expensive, which will be the main focus in this blog post-

 

Are Book Boxes Worth Buying?

 

Well? Are they? The short answer is- It depends on who´s buying. Personally, I think they´re overpriced, regardless of where you´re ordering from. Domestic orders aren´t as expensive as international orders ( damn those high shipping fees ) but they´re still not so cheap. With the majority of book box subscription providers wanting $29.99 per box, I´d say that´s just a * cough cough * rip off.

 

 

But that´s just my opinion. Of course, what I think isn´t world-shattering.

As I´ve mentioned in my other blog post, I´m not against these book box subscriptions. In a nutshell, the idea is fantastic. You pick & subscribe to a one month/6 month / 12-month book box plan and receive your monthly goods. It´s like seeing a beautiful shining object you can´t resist. The only problem I have is that the items in these boxes aren´t worth the amount they´re being sold for.

Let´s break this down a little to help paint out the picture a little better.

1 Book Box – $29.99 + shipping ( within the U.S. )

Contents of each box can vary but mainly consist of

  • book swag ( bookmarks, pins, magnets, pens, keychains, stickers, buttons, etc )
  • 1 paperback copy
  • samples of tea/cocoa, etc
  • a candle
  • item related to paperback
  • book/genre bound jewelry

Again- these items are usually in book boxes. Oftentimes boxes have fewer knick-knacks or are theme bound ( a fairy box, a bass-ass Heroine themed box, magical box, YA box ). Also, some boxes have mugs, fan art, or stationery sets ( depending on the box ). But for the sake of keeping this simple, we´ll just stick with what I´ve listed above.

So, with knowing this we can start to break down what these items are and where they come from.

  • book swag = often provided by an author
  • paperback = provided by author / publisher
  • jewelry = author/Etsy shop owner
  • candles = Esty shop owners
  • samples of tea & Co. = Etsy, Indie companies

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with these items and the sources they come from… there is something wrong with the calculation. Things just don´t add up.

Swag is basically an advertisement. An author spends money on giveaway items to give away. For free. These items, in turn, travel and therefore bring awareness to their brand/name/book. Not every author says ” If you´d like my swag then it´ll cost you.” ( more about that topic in a future post )

Etsy shop owners who offer their creativity for these book box companies are also investing to make money. They use this outlet as a form of making people aware of their products ( unless they sell their products to book box companies. That´s also a possibility ).

 

 

Now, the most valuable product in these boxes would be the physical book. Let that cost around 12 – 20 smackers ( I´m being generous here ).

Wouldn´t it be easier and cheaper to order a book online? I can buy 2-3 paperback books for the price of one subscription box.

According to my calculations, each book box should cost little to nothing ( since most of the items are author donations and come from smaller business owners ). I´m talking peanuts/buttons/pennies… Sadly, it doesn´t work that way. There is more to this. Because I can´t imagine a company working for free, no matter what they say.

What am I paying for when a book box mainly consists of free stuff? $29.99 would be a tad excessive for a book and shipping, wouldn´t you agree? ´Cause, you know, swag is supposed to be free.

The truth is- You´re paying for the packaging. The box and every little detail that´s printed on it. One should also consider storage ( if one is used ). Common sense tells me that I´m not far off by thinking most of them are actually making some sort of profit out of all this. Why bother otherwise? Once fix costs are covered then there will definitely be some leftover amount.

Now, for shits and giggles- Let´s imagine I´m way off the charts with this topic. Let´s say that book subscription providers spend money on every single item in their boxes. Things still wouldn´t add up. Then the book box they´re selling would be too cheap and therefore, these providers would drown in debt sooner rather than later. So, there has to be a financial gain in order to continue.

I know this is a lot of information to process at once. It´s a little confusing if you don´t lay out everything neatly. Let´s get back to my original question:

Are Book Boxes Worth Buying?

I´d say they aren´t worth the money. You´re basically paying someone to put a sample pack together that so happens to include a book. You´re paying high shipping costs ( especially international people ) to get a box filled with items you could easily get in a store or at an author signing. You´re paying for the book, regardless. Might as well save some money and order the book online or purchase it in a bookstore.

What about limited stuff? Collector items? Sometimes book boxes come with cool objects. I guess one could treat the goodies that come in these packages as collector items. But then again, we´d have to go back to the “what is the value of these items” and all that. Unless an item is a one of a kind / never to be produced again object then chances are – There´s little to no worth, other than emotional value. That´s not nearly worth 30 bucks + shipping for me.

All in all, book boxes aren´t really as worthy as they appear to be. At least not for me.

 

 

Despite my reluctance to see the beauty in all this I still understand why these book boxes are appealing to others. I get it. And I would never disrespect anyone by saying they´re fools for investing their hard-earned money in these magical bookish boxes. To each is their own. ❤ It´s still interesting to lay all the details out and see if I´m getting my money’s worth.

On a kind note: Not every book box company functions the same way. Just the majority. Should you feel you´re getting your money´s worth with the subscription you´ve signed up with then I´m happy for you.

 

What about you? Are you subscribed to a book box? What are your fav/least favorite items? Do you think the book boxes are worth the money? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to chat. ❤

 

That´s it for now, my dear bookish Padawans. I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Be sure to hit the like button if you did ❤

See ya next time!

Much book – love,

Book Shaming A Reader

 

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” –

Annie Dillard in The Living

A beautiful quote fitting for most book lovers. There´s just something magical about reading. Whether it´s a romance, horror, Young Adult or a fantasy novel… There´s always magic waiting to reach our hearts and minds.

The other day I had a lovely chat with a fellow book blogger about books. We covered everything book related. At some point, I asked about her current read. She refused to tell me.

 

“I´d rather not say.”

 

What?! I mean, come on. We´re not sharing intimate secrets with each other. I don´t want to know how many people you´ve buried in your backyard. It´s just a book. When I asked why she answered with this:

 

“Because you´ll just make fun of me.”

 

My actual response

 

If the book blogger knew me better she´d have known I don´t judge people´s reading tastes. Never have and never will. I would never want to make any reader feel guilty for the books they read or the genres they enjoy.

It was clear someone must have done this or else the book blogger would´ve been more forthcoming with the book title.

The book blogger, a grown woman, was shamed after mentioning her favorite books-The Twilight Saga – in an online book group. Book lovers book shamed a book lover?

 

 

I´ll admit, I don´t have the hots for the Twilight books. I read them. I saw the appeal. I never belonged to the fan brigade, though. I even watched the movies ( which weren´t my cup of tea, either ). But does that give me the right to shit on someone´s favorite books? Absolutely not. Anyone who comes to my house and takes a good look at my bookshelf will see the Twilight Saga– all four books. So?

I read 50 Shades of Grey because I was told the sex in the books was out of this world ( I´m a HUGE fan of book sex ). I ended up actually liking the story. Shit on my reading tastes, for all I care- It doesn´t change the fact that the story wasn´t the worst that´s ever been published.

90% of the books I read are considered worthless by all sorts of self-proclaimed book experts because they´re not ” proper literature “.

 

 

When someone mentions a book or a genre I´m not a fan of then I won´t shame them. Instead, I´ll just think  “Oh, so she/he likes vampire romances/smut/whatever. That´s interesting“. Because that´s just what it is- Interesting. Different people, different tastes.

 

It´s the fact that you´re reading that´s important. Not the book or genre.

 

 

From what I´ve gathered, many book people like to hold the “You´re not a true bookworm if you haven´t read…” card in people´s faces. I´m sorry, but YOU DO NOT have to read Jane Austen´s books or Kafka´s works in order to call yourself a proper bookworm. You´re still one if you stick with modern novels only. YOU READ an old ham when and if you feel like it.

This really ticks me off because the emotional damage these people cause is unbelievable.

There are popular and less popular books and book genres. Romance is the least popular book genre ( yet it´s the most profitable ). Knowing that will not keep me from reading romances. I do not read certain books for the sake of wanting to belong.

 

“Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part, I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste.”

– Voltaire

 

If your passion is YA fiction then I´m more than happy to share the excitement with you, even if I´m not as passionate about the genre as you are. The same applies to every other genre or book.

Book shaming is such a shameful act. How highly these book people must think of themselves when they attack someone´s reading tastes. And how little they know about the effects their words have on others.

To people who book shame…

 

 

My hope for the future is that the book community finds a way to respect one another and their reading choices. This book-universe can be such a beautiful place if we all allow it to be.

After a while, the book blogger FINALLY revealed the book title she didn´t want to share.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. A YA, fantasy retelling.


 

Dear book people,

Book shaming is toxic. It doesn´t need to happen. Instead of judging someone´s reading taste we should be celebrating the fact that we share the same passion- Reading books.

 


What about you? Have you been book shamed before? Do you know someone who´s been book shamed? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to chat. ❤

 


Thank for reading my blog post. I truly appreciate it.

Much book love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mug Monday & My 2020 Read/Review Choices

Happy Mug Monday!

I trust everyone is going great?

For today´s Mug Monday chitchat I´d like to talk about my new book read and review choices for this year. But before we get into that… Here´s my mug feature for the week:

A simple stripe mug. Nothing too fancy. Next to it is my blasted Kindle. As you can tell I was willing to charge it. The damn thing is dead again. Lasted a total of 1 ebook. * sigh *

Blogging genres is something I´ve thought about a lot in 2019- How to read AND review all the books I read. There´s a simple solution for this; Just do it. Read and review whatever the Hell I want, right? If only it were that easy for me. I´m an overthinker. And, I struggle with a deep-rooted mindset.

You see, for me, book blogging has always been about sticking to one genre. For over a decade I´ve talked so much about the fluff, love, heartbreak, and sex… Yeah, 10 years’ worth of romance talk has been a tad one-sided. Not even my offline life is that romance filled! So, why haven´t I been blogging about other genres? I don´t know. Romance blogging became a habit and I stuck with it. Because it worked well for me. You don´t change something the works, right? If it´s not broken don´t fix it.

Every once in a while I smuggled other genres onto my blog but I wasn´t able to make these additions permanent. My mindset was fixated on blogging about romance novels even though I read books from other genres all the time.

It took me a full year to come up with a strategy to kick this idiotic mindset of mine. I would love to include other genres on my blog. I just never knew how to without feeling out of place.

This is why I´ve decided to just go for it. What´s the worst that can happen? Exactly. Nothing wrong can or will happen. It´s just a slight genre change.

I think I´ve come up with an organized way to go about this whole problem of mine. To be able to have a clear overview of the books I review I´ve decided to do weekly genre features ( sounds more complicated than it is ).

I´ve talked about publishing book reviews once a week. A month has 4 weeks. 4 reviews per month. That gives the opportunity to do genre weeks.
1st Wednesday of the month – Romance novel review
2nd Wednesday of the month – Fantasy review
3rd Wednesday – non-fiction review
4th Wednesday – other

Something along those lines. Call me weird, but that system kind of excites me. This also gives me a chance to spread out my reviews better. If I read more than one romance a month I can whip up reviews and pre-schedule them for the upcoming months.

So, basically, I can review everything I read without making radical changes on the blog.

Of course, I could just do whatever the flipping foo foo I want and publish reviews as I go but that would drive me nuts ( another habit I can´t kick- being blog organized )

I´m truly sorry for bothering you with this questionable first world problem. I´m 100% sure this sounds so insignificant to others. But for someone as anal as I am when it comes to my blog structure I need to have a plan that works around my schedule, and not against it.

Book blogging about one single genre hasn´t completely scratched my bookish itch.

Fingers crossed that this idea will work out for me ( and others, should anyone want to give this a go )

I guess that´s it for this week´s Mug Monday post. I hope you enjoyed.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you want to include your two cents. If not, comment anyways and tell me about your Monday! I´d love to chat.

Have a wonderful day.

Feel hugged.

What I´d Like To See More Of In Book Box Subscriptions

`Subscribe!`

`Get your box of bookish goods!`

I like book box subscriptions. They´re a wonderfully fun addition in our corrupt and twisted little bookish world. The stuff you receive with these boxes… Wow. It´s book mail extraordinaire! And they bring us book lovers together.. in a way… in a way that´s unknown to me.

Jess @Fiction No Chaser published a wonderful post titled Why Are We Obsessed With Book Boxes? and in her post, she made some really great points regarding these subscription boxes. If you haven´t already I´d recommend checking her post out as it´s great food for thought. While I was reading Jess´s post I couldn´t help but think of the actual purpose of these boxes and what the included items do for us book folk ( aside from giving us temporary joy ).

Unfortunately, many of these book subscription boxes don´t have a lot of useful bookish items. At least not for me. I´m sorry to say that, despite all the bookish goodness being sent out in cute little colorful boxes, I find it hard to use 90% of a box´s content.

This doesn´t mean book boxes are totally worthless. I´m sure many book-lovers are 100% satisfied with their monthly subscriptions. I mean- what’s not to love about a possible book, fan art, bookmarks, tea samples, candles, postcards, fan bracelets, and whatnot?

From what I´ve gathered, most book boxes are little bundles of book swag and the highlight is a book. Possibly a book and a mug. The rest is just swag- Promotional pieces.

Possible book box content ( seen from various providers ) for 1 book box

  • 2 bookmarks ( usually author/book tied = swag )
  • 1 magnet ( swag )
  • tea sample ( loose tea or bag tea )
  • bath & body product ( ? )
  • fan art ( in the form of a postcard or bookmark )
  • jewelry ( swag or fan art )
  • stickers ( swag )
  • buttons ( swag )
  • A book ( limited edition, hardcover, signed paperback )
  • A candle

At first glance, this looks like a shitload of products. Things appear to be worth the $ 29.00 + shipping.

When I see these items above I think of their practicality. I have no use for the majority of these items because I know for sure they´ll land somewhere where no one will ever admire them. I appreciate fan art from a distance. Having it in my home, though- I´m not the type to display fan art. Same with book tied jewelry. I´d never wear it. Stickers and buttons? Meeh. Not for me.

I´d never be able to fully appreciate a book box (anymore). I´m clearly not the targetted audience. Although, I wouldn´t mind purchasing one or two boxes a year if there were items I could use.

  • A mug. Not book tied but bookish. Seriously, this is something that will most definitely get used in my house.
  • A book. I know-shocking. But sometimes book boxes don´t have books. Just book swag and other things I don´t need.
  • A journal/notepad. Book people make notes, too. Why not throw in a cute journal?
  • A reading log. Because, why not?
  • Pens. This is something a person can never have enough of.
  • Tote bags. Always a fav. They come in handy.
  • Book sleeves. Now, that´s something a few could use. If not for a book then definitely to keep fragile objects from breaking.
  • How about bookmarks that aren´t book-tied?

The reason why we´ll never see book boxes with these items is because they´d be extremely expensive. Another reason why this type of book box would never roll is that they´re too specified- Put together to satisfy my personal bookish needs.

So, here´s a different solution:

Why not offer a book box shop where readers can put together their own boxes? This could excite more people and engage a larger book-loving crowd.

Unless someone actually offers this type of book box to the masses I´m better off purchasing a book online and buying bookish items on sites that offer more than what´s in an overpriced box.

Willow Winters Online Shop is a great place for readers if they who to purchase bookish products.

`Let me drink my coffee and just read.` mug. & Book Lover Office Bundle

Or, if you need more selection you could always lose your literary heart over at The Literary Gift Company – The one place where you can find A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G your bookish hearts desires.

I think you´d have to be a real dedicated book box fan and a fan of whatever bookish goods in those boxes to be able to appreciate everything.

P.S. 
The `Book Box` topic isn´t over yet! I´m sure you´ve noticed how I mentioned that book boxes are overpriced? Be sure to stick around for my upcoming post Are Book Boxes Worth Their Money? to find out if book boxes are overpriced or not.


What are your thoughts on Book Boxes? Are you subscribed to a book box company? Which boxes have you received? Would you order another box? Or, do you think this is bookish absurdity at its finest? Let me know in the comments below. ❤ I´d love to chat.


Thank you for reading this post. I truly appreciate it. Hope you enjoyed.

Have a wonderful day,

Much bookish love,

Morgana