Posted in Book Reviews, reading

Gatecrashing Europe by Kris Mole

gatecrashing-europe

Title: Gatecrashing Europe
Author: Kris Mole
Published: 
August 2015 by Valley Press
Genre: Nonfiction travel
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

In 2007, Kris Mole flew one-way to Stockholm with a vow not to return home to England until he had visited every capital city in the mainland European Union. He set himself eight simple rules, most importantly A) that no money would be spent or handled during the journey, and B) no credit cards would be used either. Thus, the great Euro Freebie Challenge began: twenty-three cities to be visited, 6000 miles to be covered, without spending a single penny on the journey – to raise money, in fact, for Cancer Research UK.

The colourful story of this six-month trip was first told by charismatic, wise-cracking, semi-anti-hero Kris via a series of blogs, and followed by readers of The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and the BBC website. Readers found Kris drawing on his formidable resourcefulness to acquire all of life’s necessities for free, resting wherever he could find a place, and travelling by foot, hitch-hiking, or stowing away on trains – experiencing, as you might expect, a wild emotional ride in the process.

August 2015 marks the first appearance of this epic journey in book form, with the author donating 10% of his royalties to Cancer Research UK.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I don’t typically read books about travel, but I do enjoy a good memoir from time to time. What the author did was pretty inspiring so I was intrigued on how his travels went for such a good cause. I couldn’t say no when he reached out to me about reviewing the book.

This won’t be a typical review as it’s non-fiction, so bear with me.

rp-plot

The major “plot” of this is that the author, the protagonist, Kris, was attempting to explore the EU by visiting every capital without spending a penny. There are 23 capitals and well over 6,000 miles to travel.

You think, “How can he possibly do that without spending any money?” Well, he did it. And at the age of 24, no doubt.

It was interesting to see how he managed to get from one place to another whether it was from a kind citizen hearing of his cause and buying him a bus ticket, he hitch-hiked, or he simply walked.

It’s a good challenge, an exciting one, and as difficult as it is, it’s a simple one as well.

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Kris himself was ambitious and determined that made him a great fit for the challenge. He began the challenge for Cancer research as his grandmother was sick. While on the journey, he received word that she had passed on.

He continued on the journey for his grandmother and everyone else who battles Cancer.

I can’t even begin to explain all the various people Kris met on his journey, but I’ll just say that he met some really nice people and then some pretty interesting characters.

rp-writing-style

Kris’s writing made the book easy to read as the pace was steady and each chapter flowed nicely right into the next. Every time he crossed another capital off his list, he laid it all out at the beginning of the chapter. How many capitals he had left to visit and which ones they were, how many miles he had traveled, and how many days he had been on the journey.

His writing was also humorous as he wrote exactly what he was thinking at all times. It definitely catches your attention.

rp-overall

I can’t stress enough how inspiring this book is. It’s hard to believe that anyone was able to achieve such a feat and make it all the way back home. If you’re interested in a feel-good kind of read, then this is the way to go. Plus, you get a little geography lesson in the mix.

Gatecrashing Europe by Kris Mole gets…
5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“How could you hate so many things about a place you had never seen with your own eyes.” –Kris Mole, Gatecrashing Europe

Buy the book:

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Posted in Book Reviews, reading

Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin

follow-me-home

Title: Follow Me Home
Author: Jen Benjamin
Published: 
March 2015 by Wallace Publishing
Genre: Fiction – Chick lit
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.

Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I love a good chick-lit once in a while, despite not being a “romance” reader. However, it’s refreshing to read one once in a while so I couldn’t say no to this opportunity.

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Katie has moved herself and her husband to LA as her popular book turns into a movie. She doesn’t have many friends and her husband is anything but supportive of her decisions and her success. When she comes home to find that her husband has uprooted himself and left her, she finds comfort in her newest best friend, the movie’s director, Julie, and the guy playing the male lead in her movie, a famous child-singer now all grown up, Jesse.

It’s definitely an interesting premise. Katie moves on after some shock of the divorce, as she didn’t exactly have the best relationship with her husband. She falls for Jesse wanting to stop herself due to the age difference since she’s much older than him.

There’s a love-triangle, the whole “I-want-you-back” from her ex-husband, and an overall sappy love story mixed in with paparazzi.

I think overall the plot was pretty well done, even with the few cliches thrown into the mix.

rp-characters

Katie was a wonderful protagonist to follow around. Normally her kind of character would bother me, but she was so much like me that I couldn’t help but relate and enjoy her thoughts. She was kind, focused on what she needed to do, and over-thought everything while was funny as we were able to peek into her thoughts now and then.

Jesse was an interesting male lead and I think he was the right choice for a love interest for Katie. The age difference didn’t really bother him, he just interacted with Katie as though they were equals and that was that. They had a good dynamic with one another.

rp-writing-style

The author had a great style that made the story a breeze to read. The pace was consistent as was the POV as we got to peek inside Katie’s mind and hear her thoughts overthinking everything and making snide remarks.

At the beginning of each chapter, there was a brief journal entry from Katie. Sometimes it was a paragraph, sometimes it was just one sentence. But it summarized the events quickly and effectively and captured Katie’s personality pretty well.

rp-overall

This book was a fun read and a great romance story. It was a short and quick. My only issue with it were the cliches. They were well done, but I felt it was too much for one story.

Still, I would read from this author again and would recommend this book to anyone.

Follow Me Home by Jen Benjamin gets…
4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“I step back, trying to blend into a tree, which is stupid because I’m wearing a white shirt.” -Jen Benjamin, Follow Me Home

Buy the book:

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Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, reading, Writing

February 2017 Wrap Up

wrap-up-february-2017

Reading

I read a total of 5 books this month. I originally got behind in my reading, but thankfully I had a week off from work and I ended up catching up with it all. I posted my progress of my week-long readathon on my Bookstagram, so feel free to check that out.

Reviews of the books I read haven’t all been posted yet, so check my Reading List periodically as that will be updated with each new review posted.

Writing

My writing plans changed throughout the month. I had originally planned on editing a couple of my novels, but I didn’t do either of that. Instead, I started planning for other things (and started planning for March because I realized it would be easier to just start fresh with a new month).

I’ve been planning a couple new ideas and also started looking into freelance writing, so that’s been taking up a lot of my time.

I did manage to submit to two writing contests, though. So that was something.

Blogging

I finished all my February posts with one week to spare and started working on my March posts. I wanted to get the majority of my March posts done so I can focus more on my novels and such in March.

I was also a guest on Closet Readers. You can check out my post, about my experience with blogging, here: Why I Became A Blogger And Why You Should Become One Too

Plus, there are no school vacations in March. It’s going to be long and I’m not going to have as much time as I have the past two months.

Overall

February was pretty productive. I didn’t get as much writing done and I kind of had to rush through my reading, but I got plenty of blogging done and I also got a lot of planning done. I’ve been thinking ahead and I think I have a good start on a lot of things.

Posts to Remember

1. On Themes: How To Incorporate Time In Your Novels
2. On Rescues And Escapes: Run, Character, Run!
3. February/March 2017 Writing Contests
4. Guest: Call To Write
5. Guest: The Famous Cliche And Other Writing Things
6. Interview: Phyllis Edgerly Ring, Author

How did February treat you? What goals did you accomplish? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Blogging, reading, Writing

Blog Round Up: February 2017

blog-round-up-february-2017

Writing

Writer’s Inadequacy
Bo’s Cafe Life
Fading Colors [Poem]
8 Signs You’re Not Ready To Quit Writing
“Lightning/Hunger” (A Reading For You)
Lose In Order To Find | A Poem

Reading

Why We Need LGBTQ Characters In Books
Book Buying Problem & Pantomime
Top 5 Wednesday: Book Trends You’re Tired Of
The Reading Bud’s Top Ten Books Of 2016

Do you have any blog posts you absolutely loved from February? Which one of these posts did you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in reading

Would You Rather (For Readers)

I love the game Would You Rather and have played it a couple of times on my blog. Last month I did a Writer’s Edition of the game. This time I’m doing one for readers.

I’m not tagging anyone in this, but feel free to answer these questions on your own. Be sure to link back to me because I would love to see your answers!

wyr-readers

Would you rather only be able to read stand-alone novels, or always have to be reading books part of a series?

It depends on what the story is and who the author is, but I think I’d have to go with series. I feel like there aren’t many standalone novels anymore because books just get so popular. If I like a set of characters, then I definitely want to read more. So I’m going to have to say series with this one.

Would you rather only be allowed to read print books, or ebooks?

Print books. While ebooks are always at your fingertips, easier to bring with you, cheaper, and easier to buy instantly, I would miss that paper and ink smell. And the satisfaction of turning those pages and listening to them crinkle.

Would you rather never be able to re-read books, or only be allowed to read five new books per year?

This one was tough, but I have to go with only being able to read five new books a year. There are so many books I’ve read in the past that I would love to re-read. Plus, if I could never read Harry Potter or Warriors again, I think I’d be sad.

Would you rather read 50 pages a day, or only five books per month?

50 pages a day. You can easily read more than five books a month, depending on the length of the books. But I think it’s important to get into the habit of reading a little bit each and every day. And honestly, it’s not about how much you can read in a month. Just read because you enjoy it.

Would you rather read only one genre all the time, or read every genre except your favorite?

All genres except my favorite. Why? Because I think there’s a little of every genre into every book. My favorite is mystery, but there’s mystery in so many novels and genres that I think I would be satisfied either way.

What are your answers to these questions? Do you agree with me or disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

In other news, I’ve challenged myself to read five books between Sunday, February 19 and Sunday, February 26. Feel free to join me and check out my daily updates on Twitter, Tumblr, and my Bookstagram!

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Posted in Cover Reveal, reading

Cover Reveal: Frozen Flames by Lara Whatley

I’ve had the pleasure of helping author Lara Whatley with the cover reveal of her latest novel, Frozen Flames. This novel is a young adult science fiction and fantasy due for release in June 2017.

My Thoughts:

My favorite color is blue, so anything blue is appealing to me. I love the crack that extends in all directions of the cover showing that something is amiss or broken. According to the blurb (which is down below), things aren’t exactly “normal” anyway. This was a great way to show that.

Plus, the gold spiral symbol in the middle makes you question what that is, what it means, and what it does. It gives more meaning to the cover, to the book itself, making you question what the story is actually about.

Also, the title looks embedded in the ice. For example, the “F” in “Frozen” is staggered a bit as though it’s cracked as well, which I think is a cool effect.

frozen-flames-ebook-cover

Blurb:

Lexi would give anything to have those minutes back-the minutes when she’d stood inside the fence, waiting for the clock to tick down on that stupid dare. If she hadn’t stayed-hadn’t gone in the first place-she wouldn’t be in this mess.

But she had, and she was. And now things were different.

Very different.

When you wake up one day with a whole range of new abilities, life gets interesting quick. You can fly, disappeared, and shoot deadly flames from your finger tips. Suddenly, being an orphan who’s forced to live at your high school seems like no big deal. Now your biggest worry is that people have started to notice. And they won’t seem to leave you alone.

For Lexi, navigating this new world is no easy task. Can she control her abilities? Whom can she trust? Has she said goodbye to ‘normal’ forever?

Add Frozen Flames to your Goodreads shelf

About Lara Whatley:

whatley2016-43

Born and raised in the rolling horse country of southern Ontario, Lara Whatley has always had a passion for reading. As soon as she could, she was writing short stories, and then her first novel. She published her debut novel in 2014, and is continuing to pursue her passion. When not writing or reading, Lara can be found in the great outdoors with her two dogs and imagination.

Website | Twitter

Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, reading, Writing

February 2017 Goals

goals-february-2017

Reading

I’ve gotten quite ahead in my reading, so the books I read this month will not necessarily be reviewed this month.

Books to be reviewed this month:

1. The Elite by Kiera Cass
2. The One by Kiera Cass
3. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Books to be read this month:

1. Deceived by Heena Rathore P.
2. Gatecrashing Europe by Kris Mole
3. The Aqueous Transmission by Mike Eye
4. Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Be sure to check out my Reading List to stay up to date on my book reviews!

Writing

Due to what I got done in January, here’s what I plan on working on this month:

1. Edit George Florence
2. Go through Kris’s edits on The Lost Girl
3. Begin plans for Wattpad story
4. Submit to two contests

Blogging

1. Continue reading and commenting on followed blogs and new blogs every day
2. Finish February posts
3. Get a head start on March posts

Overall

I’m hoping to keep the trend of productivity from January and carry it through February. If I manage my time wisely, I’m sure I’ll be able to get a lot accomplished.

What are your plans for February? Do you have a lot of writing and reading planned? Let me know in the comments below!

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