Book Review: How The States Got Their Shapes – Mark Stein

synopsis single

Why does Oklahoma have that panhandle? Did someone make a mistake?

We are so familiar with the map of the United States that our state borders seem as much a part of nature as mountains and rivers. Even the oddities—the entire state of Maryland(!)—have become so engrained that our map might as well be a giant jigsaw puzzle designed by Divine Providence. But that’s where the real mystery begins. Every edge of the familiar wooden jigsaw pieces of our childhood represents a revealing moment of history and of, well, humans drawing lines in the sand.

How the States Got Their Shapes is the first book to tackle why our state lines are where they are. Here are the stories behind the stories, right down to the tiny northward jog at the eastern end of Tennessee and the teeny-tiny (and little known) parts of Delaware that are not attached to Delaware but to New Jersey.

How the States Got Their Shapes examines:

Why West Virginia has a finger creeping up the side of Pennsylvania
Why Michigan has an upper peninsula that isn’t attached to Michigan
Why some Hawaiian islands are not Hawaii
Why Texas and California are so outsized, especially when so many Midwestern states are nearly identical in size
Packed with fun oddities and trivia, this entertaining guide also reveals the major fault lines of American history, from ideological intrigues and religious intolerance to major territorial acquisitions. Adding the fresh lens of local geographic disputes, military skirmishes, and land grabs, Mark Stein shows how the seemingly haphazard puzzle pieces of our nation fit together perfectly.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

 

If you´re interested in American state history then look no further. This book is exactly what you need to understand how borders formed and reshaped throughout the early period of America.

Interesting. Insightful. Fascinating.

 

`How The States Got Their Shapes`  is exactly what the title suggests. A book on how each of the 50 states got their shapes. Not necessarily important to know but interesting nonetheless. How the states got their shape

If you´re anything like me you´ll inhale this book and appreciate the knowledge handed out here. Some things I already knew about but some other things, like- the equality of height of the prairie states and the equality of width of the western states is just…

 

A great read with tons of facts on states. My expectations were met.

The only complaint I have is about how some states didn´t receive as much detailed spotlight as others. I don´t know why. Maybe there wasn´t enough available info? Who knows.

America is one big fat game of Tetris.

 


 

Would I recommend this book? Sure. It´s a quick read with loads of interesting facts.

Would I reread this book? Yes, I would.

Since this is a History / Geography book on American History I will skip my usual 4 point speed rating. 

4 stars

 

You can purchase `How The States Got Their Shapes` by Mark Stein on Amazon.com

 

Book Review: Broken – W. Winters

book description

Heartless. Ruthless. Stone Cold Killer.

That’s me. I destroy anything in my path to get what I want.

Then she showed up. Olivia Bell. She’s sweet and innocent, and in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Now she’s mine. My property. I own her. Given to me as a bargaining chip.

She’s not a part of my plans, but plans change. Her pouty lips and gorgeous curves beg me to break her.

Taking her lush curvy body, and ravaging it for all its worth would be easy, but I want to earn her submission. It’s addictive. I want it. I want her.

They wanted me to break her. I am. And I’m enjoying it. Now they want to take her from me.

Over my dead body.

Let them come for us. I’ll kill them all.

By the time I’m done, everyone will know. She belongs to me.

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**This is a DARK romance. A full-length standalone novel with HEA and no cheating**

(taken from Goodreads)

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my thoughts

I don´t know about you but I get a little moody when I see a warning label beneath a synopsis. Especially when it´s a spoiler-filled warning.

HEA + no cheating

 

 

But since I found the synopsis good I turned a blind eye toward that little tidbit. One simply can´t nag about everything, right?

So, the synopsis sounded good. The book cover looked pretty decent. All I needed was for `Broken` by author Willow Winters, to be a mind-blower. broken

The only thing that knocked the wind out of my sails was how similar this story was to the Dark Duet series by C.J. Roberts. 

 

In both books, a girl named Olivia ( yes, both young ladies are named Olivia ) falls victim to human trafficking.

In both books, Olivia learns the art of submission but only for the public eye.

In both books, Olivia endures sexual punishment ( one scene is almost a carbon copy of the original )

In both books, the Hero is torn between what he needs and wants to do.

In both books, the Heroine ends up having to wait for the love of her life because of the legal system.

 

Now, if I didn´t know any better, I´d say the author was very heavily “inspired” by `Captive In The Dark`,  `Seduced In The Dark` &  `Epilogue`. Which is fine. I´m not too bothered by this. The only problem I have is that I can´t stop comparing the two stories. That happens when the similarities are too obvious. I tend to prefer one over the other instead of seeing these two stories as individual pieces.

I guess you can say that there were slight differences with `Broken`, though. The Hero wasn´t an emotionally damaged sadist with a heart the size of a pea. Kane was an undercover cop in the middle of a case and Olivia 2.0 just so happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Another difference – `Broken` is a standalone and the Dark Duet is 3 books strong. 3 very graphic and detailed books. I´m that reader who always has questions and appreciates lots of background info. For me, `Broken` felt like a Dark Duet greatest hits.

An okay read that didn´t tickle me senseless. Not a 1:1 copy but one where the story comes pretty close to the other.

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Would I reread this book? I don´t think I will. There are a few great parts I might check out again but I don´t think I´ll do a from start-to-finish again.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. If the Dark Duet series were a little too rough for you then this one would be just right. Also, fans of C.J. Roberts who´re thirsty for more Olivia & Caleb would probably enjoy Olivia & Kane.

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The Cover – 4 Hearts:  It´s okay. The filter gives the outdated image a nice touch.

The Story – 3 Hearts:  It´s the Stockholm syndrome party 2.0. Not as dangerous as it could´ve been. A little on the tame side. A dark romance for beginners.

The Characters – 3 Hearts:  I liked the idea of Kane being an undercover cop and how that messed with his true character. Olivia- Meeh. She´s the type who says no but means yes. * sigh *

My emotional state after finishing this read: Indifferent.

3 hearts

broken

Purchase the book on Amazon.com

Book Review: I Don´t – Ella Fox

book description

 

Done.
Finished.
Kaput.

Whatever you want to call it, the bride-to-be won’t be at the church on time.

Walking away from her fiancé was the hardest thing Ava has ever done. After all, the sexy and charming Mateo is everything she’s ever wanted—and more. But she needs to protect herself—and her heart—before it’s shattered once and for all.

Mateo has no choice but to let her go. His woman needs space, and he loves her enough to give it to her—no matter how much he hates it. The only thing keeping him sane is the certainty that their separation will be short-lived.

Ava thinks it’s over, but she’s about to find out that Mateo will stop at nothing to turn her “I Don’t” into an “I Do.”

 

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my thoughts

 

`I Don´t ` by author Ella Fox has been collecting dust in my home for almost six months. Can you believe it? And I was so dead set on buying – then – immediately – reading this gem.

I don´t

Well, I finally found it in me to pick this romance up.

 

It´s safe to say I liked the idea of the story but hated the way the story developed and ended.

 

 

Things About This Story That Were Off-Putting For Me

 

The description gives the impression that there will be a decent fight of wills between the main characters. He wants her to say yes and she´s dead set on saying no.  You can imagine my disappointment when I found out the “ fight of wills ” lasted only a few pages. The rest was just moping, moaning between characters who were super attracted to one another.

Another novel with rich people. The only thing that made this read stand out from all other billionaire romances was that both MCs were super well off, as in We have more than we´re able to spend but hey, we´re still humble and shit. 

I wasn´t able to develop a connection with the MCs. To me, everything that happened to everyone, especially to the MCs,  was too dramatic. Too eye-roll worthy.

This is also another romance novel with time leaps. If I had known beforehand about the constant back and forths then I wouldn´t have bought this book.

As for the story… Yeah, it was nice.

 

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Would I recommend this book? Probably not.

Would I reread this book? Nope.

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The Cover – 5 out of 5: Hands down, a gorgeous cover image.

The Story – 2 out of 5: Would´ve loved if there were more title related struggles.

The Characters – 2 out of 5: They did nothing for me.

My emotional state after finishing this read:  Not as happy as I hoped I´d be.

 

2 hearts

 

If you want to puchase `I Don´t` by Ella Fox then you can do so on Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Little Shop Of Happy Ever After ( Scottish Bookshop #1 ) – Jenny Colgan

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Given a back-room computer job when the beloved Birmingham library she works in turns into a downsized retail complex, Nina misses her old role terribly – dealing with people, greeting her regulars, making sure everyone gets the right books for their needs. Then a new business nobody else wants catches her eye: owning a tiny little bookshop bus up in the Scottish highlands. No computers. Shortages. Out all hours in the freezing cold; driving with a tiny stock of books… not to mention how the little community is going to take to her, particularly when she stalls the bus on a level crossing…


 

My Thoughts 2

 

Naaaw. NAAAW! What a lovely read.

`´The Little Bookshop Of Happy Ever After` by author Jenny Colgan is a charming and heartwarming romance. Something I would consider to be a traditional romance with an extra pinch of coziness and rich with beautiful details.The Little shop

“Just do something. You might make a mistake, then you can fix it. But if you do nothing, you can’t fix anything. And your life might turn out full of regrets.”

 

Nina, an ex-librarian is forced to start over new and decides to get into the mobile bookshop business. She buys a van and transforms it into a bookshop on wheels.

Set in the beautiful Highlands, Nina ( MC ) goes on a journey to start a new life for herself.

Nina´s voyage wasn´t particularly exciting but it was interesting. What I loved most was how much love she had for books.. and the countless indirect book title mentions. * sigh *.

Enter the romance: 

Not really anything overly dramatic or gut-wrenching but still enjoyable. It´s simple and great for the soul. Think of this read as soul food. Comforting and uncomplicated.

The Little Shop Of Happy Ever After is a quick read. The writing is effortless. And the story is also highly predictable. I´m not really too mad about the predictability of the story, though. I wasn´t expecting too much mind blow with a chick-lit, to be honest.

 


 

Would I recommend this book? For fans of Jenny Colgan, yes. For romance readers- If you love mature fluff- yes.

Would I reread this book? I might.


 

The Cover – 3 Stars:   Chick-lit illustrations are pretty to look at but they´re all terribly alike.

The Story – 3 Stars:   A lovely comfort romance.

The Characters – 3 Stars:   Comfort romances usually have wallflower characters. Not a terrible thing but I would have loved a little more depth with the MC.

My emotional state after finishing this read – Happy.

Why I DNF´d`Eighty-One Nights` by Georgia Cates

What a beautiful cover, right? I love the color theme. I love the simplicity of the whole. And after having read the synopsis and a few Goodreads reviews I decided to buy this romance stunner.

Eighty One Nights

book description

Beautiful, penniless American girl meets handsome, wealthy Scotsman.
Sounds like the beginning of a fairy-tale romance?
It’s not.

This story begins with a contract.
And an exchange of money.
A lot of money.

An angel perches nervously on one shoulder.
A devil lounges smugly on my other.
And even that dark little bastard is leery of what I’m doing.

Maxwell Hutcheson wants the girlfriend experience.
All of it.
And I’m going to give it to him.

I’m not supposed to enjoy being his whore.
I’m also not supposed to fall in love with him.
But I do. Both.

When our contract expires, I will walk away.
Because I have to.
But he’ll always have a piece of me.

I’ll mask my sorrow with a smile.
I’ll hide my love with indifference
… all while it’s killing me softly.

A fairy-tale romance.
It isn’t mine to have.
And this man I’ve come to love so dearly isn’t my happily ever after.

 

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There´s also a little info notice under the online book description over at Goodreads.

About Eighty-One Nights:
While the characters from Eighty-One Nights are entirely new, their storyline is a combination of fresh material and carefully selected themes, scenes, and settings from The Beauty Series, The Sin Trilogy, Dear Agony, and Indulge. This is intentional. I chose some of my favorite elements from previous releases and interjected them into Hutch and Lou’s story. Let’s call it a “story fusion” between our old favorites and new material.

(This title was very briefly released as The Girlfriend Experience under a pen name. This edition contains new and updated material different from that of the original release.)

 

 

Oookay. I´m not sure if I needed to know all this since I had never read any previous works from the author. I´m totally clueless. But hey, it´s there. Might as well take notice.

 

I went into this book with an eager mindset, thinking I´d get my average romance fix. Something romantic. Something heartbreaking. It was what I was looking for. The title indicates that something will happen within 81 nights. That´s a little over 2,5 months. A lot can happen in that time frame. I had a slight feeling this book would also be some sort of escort/client romance. I wasn´t wrong. I was looking forward to reading an escort love story. It´s been a hot minute since I read the last one.

I started reading and ended after chapter 4. Why?

 

  • The writing. It wasn´t for me. I know many readers who love this type of style but I just couldn´t.

 

  • The dialogue was another thing that was off-putting for me. There was too much of it and it was also a tad choppy. I missed a nice flow of conversation between characters.

 

  • The beginning wasn´t strong enough to hold my attention. Which is a shame because I was really looking forward to reading about the struggles of an escort´s romantic life.

 

  • The beginning also has an info overflow. I´m one of those readers who likes bits and pieces thrown at me throughout the entire story instead of getting a full character description within the first few pages. 

 

  • When the Heroine referred to herself as a “dumbass American”. Two things: Either the author wanted to emphasize how little the Heroine thinks of herself or there was a wish to point out how Europeans perceive Americans. Either way… this was a turn off for me. What´s next? Frog leg eating French? Cheese-head Dutch? 

 

With that being said- I´m a little gutted `Eighty-One Nights` didn´t meet my reading expectations.

 

Even if I wasn´t into what this book had to offer I can still see why others would go absolutely ape-shit over this read.

 

If you´re interested in reading Eighty-One Nights by Georgia Cates then be sure to get your copy now!

Eighty One Nights