What the [BLANK] happened this weekend?

I had my monthly book club meeting this weekend. It was slightly different than most of our meetings since we did some crafts during discussions. Good book discussions though. We are reading a series that 90% of the members like, so that helps. To be honest, I’m not sure why we are reading the series because most of us have already read the whole series. Oh I know why, because it’s a fantastic series. We love Kate Daniels!

I also came up with a pretty aggressive reading schedule for myself. I’m not behind on my book club books, with the exception of the Anita Blake series. In order to keep up I need to stick to the following schedule though. I have 10 books to read by October 2nd. My upcoming reading;

  • Finish the second half of Second Grave on the Left (8/10-8/12 : 62 pages a day)
  • Continue reading Kiss the Dead (8/12-8/15 : 96 pages a day)
  • Start Dark Debt (8/15-8/19 : 93 pages a day)
  • Start Night Seeker (8/19-8/23 : 85 pages a day)
  • Start Summer Knight (8/24-8/28 : 113 pages a day)
  • Start Affliction (8/29-9/4 : 82 pages a day)
  • Start Third Grave dead ahead (9/5-9/9 : 78 pages a day)
  • Start Jason (9/10-9/16 : 43 pages a day)
  • Start Magic Bleeds (9/17-9/20 : 117 pages a day)
  • Start Dead Ice (9/20-10/2: 42 pages a day)

This weekend I also took my nephew to see Ant-Man. My sister needed help this weekend and when I asked my nephew if he wanted to see it, he got super excited. He really likes superhero movies and even knew more about the movie than I did going in. The poor kid had never seen a Marvel movie in the theaters before, glad I could change that for him. After the movie we went and played mini golf. He really likes mini golf but boy does that kid need to learn how to accept the word no. Every time I told him no or not right now he would try to negotiate with me. When I would repeat myself and say no he would start to throw a fit. Luckily it was never a full blown tantrum but damn that kid tries to negotiate everything.

Other than that I was pretty lazy and didn’t do anything productive, except run the dishwasher and do 1 load of laundry.

Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus

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Empty Space

I’ve been a little preoccupied lately and forgot to do a blog post. I even forgot to send a mother’s day card. I did call her, I’m not a bad daughter! I made up for it though. I sent a mother’s and father’s day card with an AMC theater gift card for a movie date night. I think that will do. 🙂

So what’s keeping me busy? Honestly it’s cleaning but I set myself up for some trouble. I need to read like 5 books in the next 2 weeks and have been attempting to minimalize my home. I also just celebrated my 30th birthday, that has been weighing on me and I’m going on a mini vacation at the end of the month. Just a lot happening for me this month and while I know I need to start cleaning up my life sooner rather than later, it’s just kind of catching up to me.

On Saturday my friend and I did dinner and a movie. We do this every year for my birthday and with all the amazing movies that come out in May, seeing a good one is easy. Now I’m a planner, not sure if you have picked up on that while reading this blog but I am. I decided on a time and place to meet my friend. I was running late so she ran in to buy the movie tickets before we went to IKEA. I KNOW when I checked online the movie was playing at the theater but turns out, it was not. Apparently the theater didn’t get the movie and had lots of people trying to see the movie there. The nice attendant told my friend that the movie was playing down the street but it’s earlier than we wanted. We run over to the other theater and buy our tickets and end up skipping IKEA. Totally bummed out because I love IKEA. So my friend and I walk into the theater and this is what we see, not a single person there.

IMG_20150516_143454We went to see Pitch Perfect 2 on a Saturday on its opening weekend. This is an older theater but the new theater was not even playing the movie, what is going on! Well as soon as we sat down, the theater started filling up. My theory, everyone went to the new theater first, because online it said they had it and when it was not showing they were told to go down the street to this one! Fantastic movie by the way, not as great as the first but still fantastic.

I hope to have an updated blog post for my Battling Chaos series soon but it’s taking some time and I’ve run into some problems. Here is the before picture, see what I have to work with!

IMG_20150508_172605

Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus

That’s a bummer

On my way home, I decided to stop by the library to see if my books were in yet. Luckily my trip was not wasted and 2 of them were indeed in and ready for pickup. I need 1 for my book club this month and hate getting the book right before the meeting. I mean I can read fast when I want to but it’s not as enjoyable. So I open up my Goodreads app to add the book to my currently reading list and do a quick check on the series. We are reading the book Jason, which is book 23 in the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton and I wanted to see if I could remember what’s been happening in Anita’s world. It’s been a while since I’ve read this series and I tend to forget easily, plus Affliction (book 22) came out in 2013. Turns out I have not even read the last 2 in the series, that’s a bummer.

So now I have a month to read 3 books from the Anita series, 2 of which I have. The library luckily has book 22 and I need to wait for that one to be transferred to my library. On top of the 3 Anita books, I need to read book 12 in the Elemental Assassin series.

At least I’ll have plenty of books to do reviews on and I just was talking to a friend about wanting to read more this month!

Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus

Shadow Of Night

This review contains spoilers. 

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

11559200

  • Genre : Romance – Historical – Supernatural
  • Date Started :  January 10, 2015
  • Date Finished : May 7, 2015

Description: You can read the full description from the author’s website. This is the 2nd book in the All Souls Trilogy.

I really wanted to like this book. I loved the start of the series yet this book felt like a chore. I was expecting a book much like the first one and most of this book was a slow and somewhat boring history lesson. That’s not all I got but the entire time they were in London I wanted to fall asleep and dreaded continuing. I was expecting a grand adventure since the whole reason for time walking was to get the manuscript/book and find Diana a witch to help with her powers. I know the reason they traveled back to this particular time but really, can you pick a worse time to travel back in time to find a witch? Maybe a time in history where witch burning and hunts were not all the rage?

Most of the new characters you meet when they first get to the past are either forgettable or highly annoying. I did like his friends that at least tried to make Diana feel welcome. I really liked the stammering Henry, Phillip grew on me and Gallowglass was amazing. I found it heartwarming for Diana to take in Jack and loved watching Jack and Matthew’s relationship grow. I also enjoyed Diana taking in Annie and making her feel like part of the family. Even if Annie was meant to spy on them for a vampire. I did not like either of the main characters personality changes when they time walked. Matthew’s change of character was way more overprotective and controlling and Diana seemed to get more annoying. I gave some leniency to Matthew because he was a different person in this time period and he needed to keep up appearances. Diana on the other hand knows about time periods and still tries to be a 21st century woman. They each got better the longer they were back in time so that helped, a little.

Another thing I didn’t like about this book is how many villains there are. I swear, every time Diana and Matthew were in a good place and sort of happy, some new horrible person pops up to ruin everything. It was incredible frustrating. I know that you need someone to be the bad guy in books but this book was crammed full of people who either wanted to kill them, get in their way or were too nosy for their own good. The bad guy could also be a “friend” who is so drugged on opiates that he kidnaps Diana and plans to kill her to get Matthew back! Ugh I really hated Kit and was not at all sad that he died a horrible death! I still have no idea how Matthew and Kit’s talk went and whether or not Matthew forgave Kit like Diana suggested.

The story starts to pick up when Diana finally meets the witches who help her discover what type of witch she is. Learning about Diana’s powers was fascinating and meeting the Jewish weaver was pretty cool. The witches Diana meets really made the story enjoyable. I was a little surprised that, even with all the crap they were going through and all Diana’s time spent with the emperor’s dancer/painter, etc, that she pretty much forgot about studying her powers. I know the manuscript/book was so close and they were focusing on that but it still surprised me.

Towards the end, they finally get the book, after the pages are ripped out of course. When they start preparing to travel back to their own time after spending MONTHS in Elizabethan London, they run into Diana’s father. He helps her discover more about her powers, with the help of the witches before he travels back to his time. He also tells Diana and Matthew that the book is going to have to stay back in time. So while they accomplished 1 of their tasks, the 2nd task, the manuscript/book is still incomplete and they have to leave it behind. The bright side, at least they got a chance to see the manuscript/book when it was whole, even for a brief time. They also discovered that the pages that were ripped out might be available back in their own time. The also learn that the manuscript/book is literally made from the flesh of dead supernatural creatures, creepy.

Then we get back to present day and find out Em, Diana’s aunt has died. No build up, no real explanation, just died during the birth. I better get an explanation about this in the next book! I also want to know how much trouble their 7 months back in the past effected the present. Every thing I’ve read about time travel says that small changes can throw the entire future out of whack.

I’m still trying to figure if I liked this book or not. I started reading this book back in January and had to switch to audio because reading it felt like a chore. The woman who reads the audio did a fantastic job and I’m so happy I switched. I would not have finished had I needed to read this book. For me, the main story is interesting and I wanted to know what would happen. The author’s description of the past make you feel like you are really there but at the same time, parts of the story felt unnecessary. It’s like listening to a friend who has a great story to tell but they won’t get to the point.

I’ve had a hard time deciding on what rating to give this book. If I would have read the book I probably would have given up but the story was interesting enough to find another way to get through the story. For me her writing just didn’t engage me enough but I don’t feel like this book deserves 1 star. I’m giving Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness  2 stars.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 2 Stars

Beautiful Disaster

This review contains spoilers. 

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

15749887

  • Genre : New Adult – Romance – Contemporary
  • Date Started :  February 13, 2015
  • Date Finished : March 20, 2015

Description: You can read the full description from the author’s website.

Abby is supposed to be a good girl with a past, Travis is supposed to be a tattoo’d thug.

This story is about a girl who meets a guy, they become friends and fall madly in love. Their love is similar to obsession and can be typical in young love. At first Abby is sassy and doesn’t want to be with Travis. I enjoyed this part of their friendship and liked their bantering back and forth as the book goes along. After spending time with him because of a bet, Abby falls in love with Travis. This happens fairly fast and it’s cute and sort of heartwarming. The problems appear when the obsession becomes possession and tempers rise. At this point in the book, I actually became a little uncomfortable. I don’t like violence in my romance novels and was worried where this was going. Especially after reading some other reviews. While there are a lot of red flags, at no time did I think he would hit Abby or even her friend America. Travis is scary intense though.

I felt a lot of emotions while reading this book, worry, pity, sadness, hope, love and irritation. To me, this is not your typical romance, not what I’ve normally come to expect from contemporary romance books. Now I only recently started reading new adult, so I can’t say if it is typical for this genre. If it is, I should stop reading new adult because I’m pretty sure I growled a few times in frustration. I mean, McGuire writes college age students pretty spot on but they are still annoying.

The two main characters drove me nuts. Between their poor communication skills, lack of maturity and disastrous decision making skills, I almost didn’t finish this book. Abby and Travis’s relationship is not a beautiful disaster its a, excuse my language, fucking mess! There were so many times where they could have avoided a fight if they would have talked about things. Honestly this story should have ended at the 75% mark and I would have probably rated it higher. The end basically came screaming fast. I get that the adrenaline and life threatening fire experience probably had a lot to do with it but marriage, come on. I feel like we could have had the last quarter of the book start book 2.

I was not sure how I would feel about this book. While reading it, it had it’s moments. When I started the book I was hooked and loved Travis and thought Abby’s witty remarks were entertaining. As the book went on I started becoming uneasy with Travis but still held out thinking anything bad of him. He was too intense, too obsessive and possessive towards Abby but he treated her well and he was an all around decent guy. Abby on the other hand started to annoy the crap out of me as the book went on. She played with Travis’s feelings and constantly made matters worse. You know how your boyfriend feels about you, why the hell would you just sneak out and leave? Why would you let him tell you he is backing off, when you finally decided to get back together? I’m not condoning she be a doormat or tiptoe around Travis in order to not make him mad but she didn’t have to be so stupid.

My last thought because this is getting long and i’ll probably mess up explaining this but here it goes. I realize that I might be a hypocrite in saying I don’t like violence in my romance. If this was a paranormal romance, I would not feel uneasy and Travis’s behavior would not make me bat an eye. There is some part of my brain that thinks a man with Travis’s obsession with Abby and the possessiveness of them both can not be in a contemporary romance. Contemporary is just too real and I know that Travis would cause red flags to go up with any sane woman. I feel like there is hope for both main characters to mature and change but to me, their characters had very little growth in this book.

I’m giving Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire a 3 star.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 3 Stars

*Spoilers* First Grave on the Right

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

8788554

  • Genre : Paranormal – Supernatural – Urban Fantasy – Romance – Chick Lit
  • Date Started :  March 9, 2015
  • Date Finished : March 9, 2015

Description: You can read the full description on the author’s website.

Charley can see dead people and has been able to since birth. Yes, that’s right, she remembers this because she can remember being born. Not like you and I know we were born because we have pictures or video and we are alive, but she can remember the doctors cutting her cord. Life is different for Charley and she is not your average human. She also happens to be a grim reaper, THE grim reaper, and the dead come to her because she is bright. Charley is also a Private Investigator and a consultant for the local police force.The dead come to her for help crossing over and if solving a murder helps get her father and uncle a promotion, why not right?

I enjoyed the story, the evolving case and how it wrapped everything up. I was not expecting that the case the police, Charley and Garrett were working on would intertwine and evolve into the big case it became. I liked that through her own abilities and her uncle believing her, they could work together and solve the case. In the forefront you have the cases they work and the dead clients that Charley helps, then in the background you have a much larger issue. The larger issue, a war between Heaven and Hell that the author barely touched on, that is bubbling to the surface.

Charley’s interactions with her dead clients are hilarious and great. It was interesting and kind of cool to see how they helped with her cases. Although I was surprised that the dead were not in denial about being dead for longer. I mean with the exception of the one ghost who would not leave his body, but even he got over it pretty quickly. Her interactions with real people on the other hand are a little less friendly, except with Cookie and her daughter. Charley’s reactions to people are totally understandable though since they tend to look at her weird or funny because of the rumors about her. I mean, look at how Garrett and Tate treated her. Garrett stopped being friendly toward her and Tate verbally attacked her. I do think her reactions are a tad extreme but I guess after the dozenth time of the same reactions, you get short with people. The woman has created some sweet sarcasm retorts though to cover up her insecurities. Her sarcasm spoke to me, probably because I’m pretty sarcastic too but it had me laughing out loud with how outrageous she is. It makes me want to get to know Charley even more and pick at her brain!

Now for the good part, her love interests. Obviously Reyes is the main love interest here, but I think this might either turn into the “can’t have them” sort of relationship or they recklessly love one another while Heaven and Hell battle it out and they live with death at their heels. I like their intense, sort of relationship, where they don’t really know each other all that well but are extremely lustful. I mean he’s like smoke most of the time and in a coma, so it’s not like they’ve had the opportunity to get to know one another. Yep, that sounds as weird as it does while reading the book but this book is filled with odd paranormal activity, so just go with it. Then we have Garrett. Charley thinks he is hot but it doesn’t seem like she is into him at all, maybe if he was not such an asshole, her words. Jones drops a few giant hints that Garrett is into Charley, flirting, getting jealous and worrying about her safety. I’m not a fan of either love interest yet but I look forward to learning more about each of them.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book and was not expecting so much humor. First grave on the right is a witty, paranormal, chick lit novel with some heavier undertones. If you like slightly raunchy humor, over-confident females (pretty sure this is just covering her insecurities), witty banter and mysteries, you will like this book. My only real irritation with this book is that there are so many attempts at jokes. I found some of them hilarious but it almost felt like Jones was trying too hard to make you laugh. I gave this book a 3.5 stars because it was a great read but book 1 is just not purchase worthy for me.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 3.5 Stars

*Spoilers* Bound by Flames Review

Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost

22500564

  • Genre : Paranormal – Supernatural – Urban Fantasy – Romance
  • Date Started :  February 22, 2015
  • Date Finished : March 5, 2015

Description: You can read the full description from Jeaniene Frost’s website.

This is the third book in the Night Prince series about Vlad aka Dracula from the Night Huntress universe. Bound by Flames was supposed to be the conclusion to Vlad and Leila’s story but it looks like there will be 1 more. So short description, Bound by Flames is about the final battle between Vlad and his most hated enemy, Szilagyi, but we get a surprise new enemy at the end. Also, Leila gets captured again, Vlad is betrayed, people and places are destroyed by fire and yes, the bad guy dies. I’m still struggling with my rating on this book, even after rating it I’m like, but maybe it should be this instead. A part of me enjoyed the dialog and the characters but the other part was so bored with the story, it’s hard to give it a rating.

This book starts off with Vlad and Leila attempting to find the traitor in his line. Someone has been giving information to his most hated enemy and we all know Vlad is the wrong man to cross. It’s sad to say this but I don’t remember much of what happened during this book, it’s not at all memorable. Normally a book like this and from this author should have taken a day or two to read, but I was so bored. The most enjoyable part in this book was probably the last quarter of it and the dialog, Frost writes some great dialog. I loved Vlad in the Cat and Bones series but for some reason, his and Leila’s story doesn’t interest me as much.

I’d like to think Leila is the reason I don’t like this series as much but I think it’s the relationship as a whole I don’t like and the villain. At least most villains have a good reason to want to kill the hero but Szilagyi’s is pretty lame. Even the new villain’s reason, Vlad not loving him as a son, is a lame excuse to cause thousands of years of trouble and trying to destroy the guy. Besides the villains, Leila seems boring to me, although she does have her moments. A big annoyance in this book was the internal dialog Leila had with herself. I get that growing up she had a crappy life and has low self-esteem but a vampire like Vlad isn’t going to love you the way he does if he doesn’t think you are worthy. It just grated on my nerves. Another thing, I’d rather be reading this story from Vlad’s point not Leila’s. One of the best parts in this book though was when Vlad revealed one of his deepest secrets to her…he started the Dracula story.

Overall, I was disappointed in this book but I have hope that Vlad and Leila’s relationship will continue to grow and evolve in the next book. I am interested to see what happens in the last book and how Frost ends this series.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 2.5 Stars

*Spoilers* Revenant Review

Revenant by Larissa Ione

19548127

  • Genre : Romance – Paranormal – Supernatural – Urban Fantasy
  • Date Started :  March 2, 2015
  • Date Finished : March 3, 2015

Description: You can read the full description from Larissa’s website.

I absolutely love this series and liked the way Ione ended it, satisfying end and wrapped up. Revenant is the sixth and last book in the Lords of Deliverance series and eleventh and last book in the Demonica series. This book is about a fallen angel, Revenant who gets his entire world turned upside down when he learns that he has a twin brother, he really is an angel, not fallen and he gets his memories back. He struggles with this information, especially since he is pushed away by his twin and heaven doesn’t seem to want anything to do with him. Rev is in a tough place because he wants to be welcomed into heaven but he is stuck with the taint of Satan. He might be the 2nd most powerful thing in hell but he still has to partially follow Satan’s commands. Now that he knows who he really is, he struggles with the guilt of being the evil fallen angel he used to be. Then he meets Blasphemy and it becomes even more difficult to do what Satan wants.

I enjoyed both of the main characters in this book. Ione creates such fantastic characters, both the good guys and the bad guys. I stared this book thinking, how the hell is Ione going to get Rev out of the mess that is his life and then how is she going to keep Blasphemy alive. The odds were against them both! Both main characters don’t really have a place in the world.They are lost and torn between the worlds they live in, with no place they feel like they can belong. Both struggle with trust, which is understandable because the world has been a hard place for them.

There are so many good characters to talk about but I’ll stick with the two mains. So Rev, oh boy was his life and path filled with horribleness. His early life growing up and what he had to do was heart wrenching and painful to think about. I felt sad for Rev’s twin, Reaver in the last book but holy hell, Rev’s life was so much worse. I mean the poor guy was literally living in hell.  After all that we have learned in this series about Lucifer, Satan and hell, we know his life was horrific. I’m glad they did not get too graphic about his experiences growing up because we already know from previous books what it can be like. While I was reading, I felt like Rev and Reaver had a similar dynamic to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Acheron and Styxx. Although I did not come into this book with the same amount of dislike I had for Styxx.

As for Blasphemy, I loved her but was sort of disappointed that she was not involved with more of the action. She seemed like a strong character. Even though she doesn’t know who she really is (because she’s been living as something else) she has standards and a moral code. Especially since her cover is of a slutty false angel and keeping up that appearance didn’t turn her evil or make her start acting like a fallen angel. I just wish she would have been involved with saving herself more. All the other females in this series seemed to take a more prominent role in the solution than Blas did and that was disappointing. I did like how Ione slowly revealed who Blas was throughout the story. It was interesting to read about what she was and to learn about the ritual her mother completed to hide what Blas really was from the angels who would kill her because who she came from.

As for bad guys. I forgot how much I hated Gethel and Satan, serious psychopaths. I feel like the solution to getting ride of the bad guys was sort of pulled out of left field because I didn’t remember much about the prophecies mentioned in this book or previous ones, but I liked what Ione came up with. Also, a certain Angel gets what is coming to him!

I truly love this series and enjoyed this book. Although I feel like this story was focused more on the whole picture/wrapping up the series than being focused on developing Rev and Blas’s relationship. I would have liked to see a deeper relationship developed but I think that would have crowded the book. Regardless of what it didn’t have, Revenant was a can’t put it down book for me, the humor, the story and the characters had me hooked and I’m giving it 5 stars. I can’t wait to read it again even though I have plenty of other books to read. Maybe I’m just missing the Demonica series now that I know it has an end.

Tangled Taurus Book Review Rating 5 Stars

Battling Chaos v.1

Battling Chaos of the home!

For my first blog post, I talked about setting goals for 2015. I’m working on my reading and you’ve seen a few book reviews since then but very little on productivity, with the exception of prepping meals early so I don’t eat fast food. As for productivity, I’ve always had too much stuff for the space I live in. You might ask how this relates to productivity. Well, all this stuff gets scattered and left out and all together chaotic. I walk into my home and get stressed because of all the mess and clutter. I know that not being lazy and just cleaning up would help but I’m thinking I need to be a little more drastic with this first go around. And by drastic I’m thinking minimalist, which I know nothing about but I’m willing to give it a try.

Now I’m not one to dive right in without doing my research so I picked up The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Living Guide : How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify your Life By Francine Jay & a CD of The Power of Less : the Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential — in Business and in Life By Leo Babauta from the library. I don’t generally read self help type books but I figured this one would be worth a read since I need to start somewhere and get in the right mind set. I’m thinking this blog post subject is going to be a 3 part, so look for more to come. Wish me luck!

Tiffany – The Tangled Taurus