Book Review: My Life In Shambles – Karina Halle

When Valerie Stephens made the resolution to say yes to new adventures, she never thought she’d end up in the tiny town of Shambles, fake engaged to one of Ireland’s top rugby players. But there’s a first time for everything.

They say bad things happen in threes.

After my boyfriend broke off our engagement, I lost my apartment, and was laid off from my job, I can definitely attest to that.

They also say life is what happens when you say yes to new adventures.

So when my two sisters invited me to ring in the new year in Ireland, I decided to throw all caution to the wind and go for it. I was going to let “saying yes” be my new resolution.

Little did I know I’d spend New Year’s Eve having a hot and dirty one-night stand with Padraig McCarthy, one hell of a sexy Irishman. I also didn’t know that the brooding and intense sex god was one of Ireland’s top rugby players.

A rugby player with a proposition for me:

Come with him to his tiny hometown of Shambles and pretend to be his fiancé for a few days, just so that his ailing father can have some peace of mind.

It sounded simple enough.

It was anything but.

Not when a town gets up in your business, not when the media hunts you down, not when your past comes back in the picture, not when there are real hearts and feelings at stake.

Not when there are secrets that could break you.

They say life is what happens when you say yes to new adventures.

This is my life in Shambles.


Hmm… * scratching head * I guess you could say this is the type of book that takes on a completely different route than one would expect.

`My Life In Shambles by author Karina Halle is a 350 page standalone romance that gives you all feels, even the ones you didn´t necessarily ask for.

To be honest- I´m a little torn about this book. I loved the romantic side of it but I didn´t necessarily enjoy the overall depressing vibes it gave off. My Life In Shambles is sort of a tragic romance. Heavy topics such as illness and death weigh the story down. It´s hopeful but not hopeful enough if that makes any sense?

There´s absolutely nothing wrong with the story. It´s a story well told. The writing was great. I can´t even complain about the characters. It´s just that I wasn´t looking for this type of romance.

I bought My Life In Shambles thinking I´d get something different… something maybe about life as a fake fiance of a rugby player, trying to keep her wits together while dealing with his lifestyle. Well, that´s almost what a reader gets… Only with additional gloom darkening the newly couple´s lives.

 

My Thoughts In A Nutshell…

 

Its me, not the book. The book is fine. The story is great. I just not something I´d drop everything else for as this type of story isn´t what I usually enjoy reading.

 

Would I recommend this book? I would.

Would I reread this book? Probably not.

 

The Cover – 3 Stars:  It´s cute.

The Story – 3 Stars:  Meeh. It wasn´t for me.

The Characters – 4 Stars: I actually enjoyed the MCs and even the sub-characters.

My emotional state after finishing this read – Indifferent.

 

 

If you think `My Life In Shambles` by author Karina Halle would be something you´d enjoy then click here and get a copy!

 

 

The Book Blogger I Am

I guess it´s time…

For countless weeks I´ve been yapping about making blog changes. Well, I can proudly announce that I´m one step closer to the blog I want to be. A blog that represents me visually. A blog that supports my purpose as a book blogger much better.

After already making subtle changes I decided it was time to upload my blog header. This was without a doubt the most nerve-wracking part of my apocalyptic blog make-over. Why? Well, I´m showing my face. And I don´t mean I´m using a pic of me with sunglasses or an image of me taken from a 2-kilometer distance. I´m talking about ” Here´s my face.” So, without further ado… Here´s my new book blog header image.

Am I happy with the new header image? Absolutely. Even if I had my doubts in the beginning.

There´s a positive and negative side to revealing one´s face on the internet.

The pros

  • I´m not a complete faceless voice anymore. My followers now know who they´re following.
  • A face gives the opportunity to connect on a different level.

The cons

  • My followers/blog visitors can and will judge my appearance before they judge my blog content.

Even if the pros outweigh the cons, it´s the cons that can make blog life a challenge.

I´ve thought long and hard about putting my face on my blog header. At first, I was advised to do it. My internet guru friends convinced me it was the best approach.

You´re not selling books. You´re selling yourself.“, they said ( sounds a little like prostitution. * sigh * Oh well ). I agree. As a book blogger, it´s my opinion I´m sharing. I´m not a business owner who can advertise and connect my business with objects. It makes sense for a Café to have an image of a cup of coffee in its header. It makes sense for a barber to show scissors & combs/a mirror/products in a header image. That´s somehow a given. The visuals help to drive the point home.
But what about book bloggers? We don´t have much to work with, to begin with. From what I´ve seen, many book bloggers go for typical graphics or ideas. A stack of books, books & a mug, an open book, cartoon self-images… Which is perfectly fine. I´ve never had anything against what fellow book bloggers use for their blog headers. Whatever works, am I right?

That´s my problem- None of the typical images used by others felt right for me. I don´t have a flashy style and I don´t classify as any type. The natural thing to do was to think about who I am and what I can bring to the book blogger table.

That´s when it dawned on me that I have nothing spectacular to offer aside from my opinions. My words are my tools. I work with my tools. So, it made sense to me to include my face in the header image. Keeping things simple is the way to go for me.

The biggest challenge will be having to deal with additional judgments ( should there be any ). It´s one thing when someone judges a book blogger´s opinions. It´s another thing when you give people one more reason to judge something about you.

I´ve heard quite a few bloggers talk about the hate they receive for their appearances. Online hate for the stupidest things is real. Do I want to add more online hate to my plate? 2019 wasn´t the kindest book blog year for me, and that was without my picture. I guess we´ll have to see what happens in 2020.

As uneasy as this topic has made me feel, I don´t feel uncomfortable enough to not upload a header with my face on it. I´m all for giving new things a try. Should this book blog header image bug the crap out of me then I´ll just change it. Nothing is set in stone.

My idea was to use a header that represents me, my book blog and the content I have on my blog. No pink flowers or butterflies, stars, cartoon self-images, coffee mugs, books, or overly wild and/or cool designs could ever do that for me. What you see is who I am. The everyday me. The book lover who´s constantly tired. The 37-year-old book blogger who loves to wear hoodies 24/7 ( comfort is everything, y´all ). The book blogger who´s just your everyday plain Jane with strong opinions.

Me. The book blogger.


That´s it for today, my dear book-loving-tribe. I hope you enjoyed. If not then at least I hope any part of this blog post made sense.

Before I go I´d like to know:

How did you pick your book blog header ( or blog header in general )? What was your thought process behind your choice? Are there blog header images you love/like/dislike? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to chat ❤


Many bookish hugs,

Book Review: Credence – Penelope Douglas


From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Douglas comes a new standalone…

Tiernan de Haas doesn’t care about anything anymore. The only child of a film producer and his starlet wife, she’s grown up with wealth and privilege but not love or guidance. Shipped off to boarding schools from an early age, it was still impossible to escape the loneliness and carve out a life of her own. The shadow of her parents’ fame followed her everywhere.

And when they suddenly pass away, she knows she should be devastated. But has anything really changed? She’s always been alone, hasn’t she?

Jake Van der Berg, her father’s stepbrother and her only living relative, assumes guardianship of Tiernan who is still two months shy of eighteen. Sent to live with him and his two sons, Noah and Kaleb, in the mountains of Colorado, Tiernan soon learns that these men now have a say in what she chooses to care and not care about anymore. As the three of them take her under their wing, teach her to work and survive in the remote woods far away from the rest of the world, she slowly finds her place among them.

And as a part of them.

She also realizes that lines blur and rules become easy to break when no one else is watching.

One of them has her.

The other one wants her.

But he…

He’s going to keep her.
*Credence is a new adult standalone novel suitable for readers 18+.

If Credence, by author Penelope Douglas, was a movie then it would most definitely be a porn. Since Credence is a book ( not a movie ) I´m going to flat out say that this is an adventurous rated – R, polyamorous romance that touches many delicate bases ( what a way to describe a story ).

Credence is fun. It´s exciting. It´s unpredictable at times. It´s one of those romances that´ll get you all hot and ready!


What I absolutely loved about this book…

  • The beginning. Let´s face it- There are books that have a shitty start. This book belongs to one of the few that begin interesting. A 17 year old who had been neglected for most of her life becomes an orphan. Tiernan ( Heroine ) ends up leaving home ( and fame ) to live with a step-uncle in the Colorado mountains. Tiernan goes from one extreme environment to the next. I liked this type of start a whole lot because I was able to predict so many outcomes for the story… which none happened.
  • The characters. I loved Tiernan´s character development. There was a lot of strength and growth on her part.
  • The sex. Hands down- I´m a fan of graphic scenes.
  • The age gap. I do love me some good ol´ age disparity.
  • The ending. Although I wasn´t completely knocked out of my socks I still liked the way the story wrapped up.

Sounds great, right? If only there weren´t those pesky little things that I didn´t appreciate so much…

  • As much as I adored the graphic scenes I wasn´t able to warm up to the foursome thing. I´m not against polyamorous relationships but the idea of having such relations with “family” members was not easy to digest. Step-uncle and step-cousins? I´m aware that there wasn´t a blood relation involved but it still screwed with my mind a little ( possibly because I have quite a few step-family members myself and refuse to see them as anything but family )
  • Kaleb. One of the “cousins”. I felt his character didn´t receive as much spotlight. I would´ve loved more scenes with him just to be able to connect a little more.

But this is just me being picky. In the end, the only thing that matters is that I really enjoyed this book. I mean- What´s not to enjoy? Three possessive mountain men ready to give a neglected girl some attention.


Would I recommend this book? I sure would. Readers who love raunchy romances are in for a real treat with this one.
Would I reread this book? Probably.


The Cover: 5 Stars – It´s really pretty. Love the color theme.
The Story: 4 Stars – Everything was spot on except for that little bit I mentioned above.
The Characters: 5 Stars – I have no complaints what-so-ever.

Be sure to grab yourself a copy of Credence by Penelope Douglas!

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.

Penelope Bloom Replied To My Blog Post

It´s a rare moment when authors read your blog posts.

As a book blogger, you don´t really expect it to happen. Because it doesn´t happen to the insignificant micro bloggers ( Yupp, I just called myself a micro blogger ). Not every author goes out of their way to read what´s been written about them ( or their books ) online.

Lucky for me, though, Penelope Bloom googled herself for * cough cough * purely professional reasons ( which is awesome, if you ask me ) and spotted my blog post regarding the book covers for her Objects Of Attraction series.

Without having read the books I took it upon myself to write about them and break down why I believe the covers are actually great ( feel free to read that blog post here )

So, you can imagine how floored I was when I received a comment from Penelope Bloom.

I´m grateful for every comment left on my blog. Having a direct response from an author I talked about…

And because of this, I went out to buy `His Banana ( Objects Of Attraction #1 ).

Yes, this is me and my newly purchased `His Banana` copy. Yes, I bought the book because the author left me a wonderful and in-depth comment. It was great. It was sweet. I appreciated the reach out. I already had this beauty on my “books to read in 2020” list so I´m happy the author took some time off to respond, involuntarily helping me ignore my TBR pile so I can read her rom-com.

Penelope Bloom,
If you read this I would like to say THANK YOU. Please, keep commenting under posts written about you and your books. It´s a small act that makes a book blogger´s day/week/month. ❤
Much bookish love and many virtual hugs,
May the bananas be blessed * cough cough *

And this, my dear book – loving – friends, is another reason why I book blog.

I guess that´s all for today. I hope you enjoyed. Feel free to stalk Penelope Bloom online and leave her some much needed author love on social media ( links below ).

Until next time,

Mucho book love,

`His Banana` Book #1

`Her Cherry` Book #2

`His Treat` Book #3

`His Package ` Book #4

`Her Secret ` Book #5

`Her Bush ` Book #6

Anyone But Rich ( Anyone But… #1 )

Anyone But Cade ( Anyone But… #2 )

Anyone But Nick to be released soon!

The Golden Pecker

Ruthless Love

Go ahead and stalk Penelope Bloom!

Website º Facebook º Goodreads º Amazon