Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Thoughts will be undergoing a temporary hiatus...


Hello to all of you wonderful followers!

I'm sure some of you have noticed my absence on the blog since the beginning of the year. I've been wanting to write this post for a LONG TIME, but my life has been chaos for most of the last few months. So, here we go...

Like I said, things have been chaotic for me. Some has been good, some hasn't been as good. I'm going to focus more on the good in this post, but here's a brief rundown of it all.

To say I burned myself out last year would be the understatement of this year.


I wrote hundreds of posts last year, not only for this blog, but also for my short-lived author blog, The Authorteers. I liked that I was staying busy, doing something I love to do (blogging), and I couldn't imagine slowing down because I enjoyed it so much. Then November and December rolled around and I found myself losing interest in getting stuff done for the blog. I wanted to postpone things, or do something else entirely. I didn't like where it was going, so I tried to kick myself in the booty to get it moving. It kinda worked... and it kinda didn't. My bloggy motivation was almost nonexistent.

It didn't help that my former roommate and I decided to go our separate ways. I knew it was coming last year, but then once 2016 rolled around and I had to start searching for a new apartment AND packing for yet another move (this is the 4th apartment I've lived in in the last few years), I was sorta like a kid again with the whole "I don't wanna!" attitude. I'm just going to say this: Moving. Sucks. I'd like to say that I hope I never have to do it again, but I don't want to live in apartments forever either, so I'll have to move at least one more time in my life.


As I'm (finally) writing this post, I'm getting myself settled into this new apartment (see above pic, which also showcases my super awesome new haircut). Unpacking and organizing and breaking down boxes to recycle (there's this HUGE pile of cardboard next to my front door). It's further away from work than I used to be, but it does have some benefits. One of which is that I'm in a pretty nice city with lots of things to do (many are in walking distance). Second, I'm closer to my boyfriend.

And that brings me to the good! My boyfriend. He and I met at the end of 2015 and we've pretty much been inseparable. In the back of my mind I thought it would take me a long time to find someone I feel like I have a connection to. Like how it's one thing for you both to like Linkin Park, it's an entirely different thing when you have obscure things in common. He's the first person I haven't had to introduce Veronica Mars to because he'd already seen it, not to mention he's seen older movies like Fried Green Tomatoes and actually likes to watch them. And then we're completely on the same page about the same things... it's like we're totally in sync and it boggles my mind when I try to figure out how in the world this has all happened.

Anyways... here's the two of us recently... I love this picture.



He and I decided to pool our collective resources together to open up an eBay store. It was something we bounced around a little bit since I was selling a bunch of stuff on there earlier this year, but then eBay did a special promotion to get a discount on opening up a store and I figured I might as well jump on it now and get it going sooner. So I spend a lot of time getting stuff listed (which is a breeze on my phone), and then shipping when it sold. And this was between him and I spending time together AND packing all my stuff.

But I should get back on point, right?


So, what's happening with Thoughts? First off, I love this blog. I've loved it from the moment I created it and through all the ups and downs and changes that have taken place not only in my life, but also in my reading. Let's not forget all the amazing and wonderful and beautiful people I have met along the way because of this blog getting started. I could never give it up entirely. I just couldn't.

Which brings me to what will be happening on here. I debated in my mind what I wanted to do and how I wanted to go about this for months. Back when I was trying to get myself back on track, I talked myself out of going on hiatus. Unfortunately, that seems to be the only way this is going to work for me. With the new apartment and my online businesses, I've got a lot on my plate that needs to be sorted out. All of my items for sale are stacked precariously against a wall near other piles of boxes... and a decent number of those items need to be either relisted or put into lots... none of which I can do because I still haven't unpacked the stuff I own!

So what does this "hiatus" mean exactly?


Well, I'm going to give myself a few months to get everything back together again. Not only organizing my life in the new apartment and my online sales, but also getting reviews and other posts written. As of right now, I have 2 NetGalley reviews that need to be written/posted, plus a handful of other review books that need reviews written. Then there are several books I never reviewed from awhile back that were read in 2014 and 2015, and that's just borderline unacceptable.

Will I have any posts before this hiatus is over? Of course! I'll still be doing my Thoughts and Daydreams posts with Marie Landry every month. Plus, I'd like to do a quick little post showing off my new place once I get it all set up (including an updated shelfie). And I'll likely at least get the review book reviews posted to the blog (but at the very least they'll be up on Goodreads).

What else can be expected when the blog is back on track? Well, I've been pondering a few possibilities. I would like to start a feature on Thoughts for indie authors--not something authors come to me to be featured/host giveaways/promote--but something where I just showcase an author. No frills, no gimmicks... just spreading the word about awesome unknown authors to help get their books in the hands of new readers. As an indie author myself, I know how much even just a little bit of publicity helps. It may only generate a couple extra sales, but that's okay! I want to give back to the community and give my fellow authors a virtual high five for just being awesome. Plus, I'd like to have monthly swag pack giveaways. I have so many random swag things and I would love to be able to send them out to followers. Also, I want to make my reviews more fun. Like with GIFs and quotes from the book.

When will the hiatus end?


Now that I can't answer right now. I have it in my mind sometime in June or July, but we'll see. Once I know which day it is, I will totally let you know either on my Twitter or Facebook page. So, you better be following my posts on both! I'll still be available on social media, especially Twitter, so definitely hit me up for some book chatting because you know I'm down for that. I've been slacking off on my reading for 2016 (according to Goodreads as I'm writing this, I'm 2 books behind schedule), but I'm slowly getting back to it now that things have settled down a bit. I actually spent like ten minutes going through my Kindle and Nook apps on my phone to download a bunch of the books on my list of books I want to read this year so that they're ready for me when I'm looking for a new one to pick up.


So I'm getting there! Slowly but surely, this will all be back to normal... or at least as normal as I can be. Lol.

Anyways! I hope all is well with you guys! I'll be getting back to checking out your blogs and commenting again as soon as I can. I miss you all bunches and can't wait to see how everything is going for you because you're awesome!

Have a wonderful spring! I will see you this summer!!



Jessica

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Thoughts and Daydreams #3: Changing Reading Tastes


Marie and I have been friends for about five years and have collaborated on all sorts of things during that time. After the hiatus from The Authorteers, we toyed around with a few ideas for things we could do together for fun once in awhile. One of the ideas was a Facebook group. We discussed it for awhile and ultimately decided against it since we probably wouldn't be able to post as regularly as we'd like on there, not to mention the fact that there are a large number of those groups out there already. So we adapted our plans into a blog feature called Thoughts and Daydreams (combination of my blog name and hers, Ramblings of a Daydreamer). We'll be discussing reading, writing, and blogging topics on both of our blogs. If anyone else would like to participate in these discussions by posting on their blog, we welcome it! Just snag the header and post. Be sure to link us to it so we can read and comment!

Changing Reading Tastes


As we get older, the things we like and enjoy can change in varying degrees. It's the same with reading. One day you're reading contemporary fiction, the next day you're reading fantasy. Sometimes we bounce between various genres all the time, and sometimes we completely change in our tastes.

Genre Jumping


Years ago, I read mostly young adult novels. This was before new adult came on the scene. Before I started this blog, I read mostly contemporary YA. I read a lot of paranormal YA after my temporary Twilight obsession. Then about the time this blog was started I was reading dystopian YA. I drifted between all of those for a while.

I noticed my disinterest in some of them when I read books that weren't as good as the first ones I read. That's one of those things--when something becomes a popular genre, everyone starts writing it and the really good books get harder to find. Or by the time the last book in the series comes out, I've already started reading other genres and am only slightly curious what happens in the end. Like with the Mara Dyer series. The last book delayed for a long time to the point where I found it hard to get into when I finally had the chance to pick it up. Not that it was written poorly, because that was hardly the case, I just couldn't get my mind back to the fictional world I was familiar with a couple years ago.

Complete Changes


I remember the time when I started reading more adult books. I was on NetGalley and decided to request a new adult book. I enjoyed it immensely and started slowly integrating more and more into my reading cycle. After some time, I began reading adult romances from the Harlequin and Entangled lines. This caused me to slowly reduce the YA books I picked up. It became rare that I would choose to read one.

It all happened so gradually that I barely even noticed. It's kind of funny how that happens, how easy it is to bounce over to new genres without even batting an eye. If someone would have told me years ago that I would be reading 99% romance novels, I probably would have said, "Huh, what's that now?"

I do have to say that the bookish community assisted in some of my changes. The more people I followed who read romance books fueled my love for the books, including my excessive hoarding (on my actual bookshelf AND my Nook). Not to mention the overload of gorgeously desirable novels listed on NetGalley (huge weakness).

The Future


I don't know what to expect! Considering how much has adapted in my bookish ways, who knows where I'll be genre-wise in a year. Right now I'm reading a poetry book, something I haven't done in a LONG time. So, we'll see. I do know I'd like to get caught up on several books I've been wanting to get to for the last few years, including some YA books. There are a few authors I adored reading years ago who have published since the last book of theirs I've read. I'd love to check them out again! So, I'm looking forward to seeing what is in store for me reading-wise in the next few years. ^_^


How about you? Have your reading tastes changed over the years? In what ways?


Jessica

Monday, February 29, 2016

Release Day Blitz: Can't Stay Away by Lilly Avalon + Giveaway


Welcome to the Can't Stay Away release day blitz!


~*~


| Add on Goodreads |
| Buy for only $2.99 on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords |
Piper Winchester is fresh out of college. With only three weeks until her father remarries and five weeks until her first business venture launches, she's got her hands full. She certainly doesn't need any distractions to get in the way of building the future her father's always wanted for her. But when a familiar boy with bright green eyes walks back into her life, she's thrown for a loop.

Four years ago, Chase MacKenzie left for college without looking back. He didn't mean to disturb the peace then, and he definitely doesn't want to do that now. Once he lays his eyes on Piper again, there's no way he can leave without fixing what went wrong in the past. Although she's more determined than ever to push him away, he still manages to get under her skin. Regardless of what happens between them, there's one thing that will always be standing in their way...

He's about to become her stepbrother.

~*~


~*~

About the Author
Lilly Avalon is the author of the RESIST series as well as other erotic romances. She's somewhere in the midst of her twenties and lives mostly in the stories in her head. When she's not enveloped in the worlds she creates, she's out in the real world making stories happen. That or reading other romances. It's a toss-up.
Author Links:
Website | GoodreadsTwitter | Facebook


~*~

Giveaway


Win this swag and goodie pack:

Giveaway is for US ONLY.
Giveaway will run until March 31st and winner will be selected April 1st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jessica

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: One Week with her Rival by Noelle Adams

Title: One Week with her Rival
Author: Noelle Adams
Published: February 17th 2016
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon ~*~ Barnes & Noble
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Caution: May contain spoilers
Vanessa never wanted to be a contractor, but ever since her husband died, she has been trying to hold together his business. Her attempts are constantly hampered by sexy, charming Joe Coleman, another local contractor who wants nothing more than to buy her out. Now they're thrown together in a job at Eden Manor, a bed and breakfast and huge renovation job that can only be completed if they work together.

Vanessa is willing to be a professional and work with Joe if she has to. But she trusted him in the past and only got burned as a result, so she's never going to let down her guard with him again.

It would be a lot easier if he wasn't so irresistible--and if he didn't seem to want so much more from her than her business.

My Thoughts:

Noelle Adams always has the loveliest stories. Unlike the majority, I adore novellas. They're short and sweet and when an author does them right, they are perfection. The first book in the Beaufort Brides spinoff series has hooked me yet again.

Here we have Vanessa who lost her husband 3 years ago. She hasn't moved on because of underlying guilt. Then there's Joe, the one guy who always gets in her way and under her skin, and not in a good way. They're stuck together for the time being, so they have to learn to work together and deal with each other. It doesn't take long for the desire to come forth and create all sorts of challenges.

One Week with her Rival was a brilliant start to the Eden Manor series! I loved the backstory of Vanessa and how she learned to cope and allowed herself to live life again. Joe was amazing and so wonderful with Vanessa, I wanted to just hug him tight. All in all, another excellent novella from the master of novellas.

My Rating:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Share the Love Giveaway Hop [Feb 8-15]

Share the Love

Welcome to the Share the Love giveaway hop hosted by Herding Cats and Burning Soup. This hop is to share our love for our blogger and author friends by having ways to follow them be the way to enter to win the giveaway!


What you can win...

I'm offering ONE lucky winner a chance to choose from the following ebooks (to be gifted via Amazon--or B&N if it's available on there).



Rules...


1. Follow one or more of the bloggers/authors on Twitter via the Rafflecopter. ^_^
2. This contest runs from February 8th through 15th.
3. Winners will be selected at 12:01 a.m. on February 16th via Rafflecopter random selection.


The Giveaway...


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Visit the other blogs...







Jessica

Friday, February 5, 2016

Thoughts and Daydreams #2: Blogging and Reading Slumps


Marie and I have been friends for about five years and have collaborated on all sorts of things during that time. After the hiatus from The Authorteers, we toyed around with a few ideas for things we could do together for fun once in awhile. One of the ideas was a Facebook group. We discussed it for awhile and ultimately decided against it since we probably wouldn't be able to post as regularly as we'd like on there, not to mention the fact that there are a large number of those groups out there already. So we adapted our plans into a blog feature called Thoughts and Daydreams (combination of my blog name and hers, Ramblings of a Daydreamer). We'll be discussing reading, writing, and blogging topics on both of our blogs. If anyone else would like to participate in these discussions by posting on their blog, we welcome it! Just snag the header and post. Be sure to link us to it so we can read and comment!


Blogging and Reading Slumps



Slumps. They happen to the best of us. It doesn't matter how long you've been blogging or will blog, you're going to run into the possibility of a slump, whether it's temporary or long-term. Over the almost five years I've been blogging, I've had moments where I've cut back or even taken a temporary hiatus. And, oddly enough, I've been dealing with one recently on both fronts!

Blogging Slumps


When you first start blogging, you're trying to get into the swing of things. Participating in memes and giveaways to draw attention to your blog. Reviewing new books and sharing the links on your Twitter page.

After doing all that and getting myself established, I bounced around with different ways of doing things on my blog. I tested out several kinds of posts. I signed up for blog tours and release blitzes.

Last year I was doing A LOT in those aspects. I think that's what lead me to reaching the point of what's commonly referred to as "blogger burnout" around the blogosphere. I spent December doing a bare minimum, almost not even having enough time to put together my end of year and beginning of year posts. I thought I would bounce back in the new year, but I didn't. I still slacked on getting posts together. I finished a couple review books right before I needed to write reviews. I usually am good about posting on release day or the day after if I have multiple releases in the same week. Not so much this year apparently.

Granted, I've been a little busy in real life with another upcoming move and trying to secure a new apartment before my time runs out. Not to mention rushing around to put stuff up for sale on eBay to reduce the number of boxes I have to move. I do believe that I was still trying to bounce back from the burnout despite these outside things.

As I'm writing this post (which is at the tail end of January in case you were wondering), I'm finally starting to feel like I can get things together more. I wrote a review earlier today to go live tomorrow, and I signed up and scheduled a giveaway that will be happening in a couple days from when this post is up. It's going to be a process to figure everything out and get back on track, but it'll get there eventually.

Reading Slumps


Ahhh, reading slumps. You'd think it wouldn't happen to an avid reader, but it can. I've had moments over the years where I couldn't get into the books I pick up, or I kept getting distracted and didn't set aside time to read like I usually do. I feel like my latest slump was partially getting distracted and partially the pressure of review books.

Don't get me wrong, I love review books. I read some super freaking amazing and awesome ones last year that I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to read. The problem, as I stated, is the pressure. Needing to read within a designated amount of time, posting the review on or not long after release day. And it's not just reading/reviewing--it's also setting up the post itself. So, of course, this ties in with the blogging slump.

I still had a few review books to finish at the beginning of this year and I thought it would be a breeze reading and reviewing them so that I could move on to some "me" books. That didn't go as planned. Every time I wanted to read, something would get in the way or I would read a few pages and be unable to concentrate. I don't know what caused it, but it kept happening.

Like I said regarding the blogging slump, things were a little chaotic for a little bit. Now I'm feeling more focused and able to concentrate on reading and reviewing again. Once I finish these last 2 NetGalley books, I'm going to stay away from review books for a little while. I think my subconscious couldn't stop prodding at me about them and I need to give myself a breather with some books I don't need to rush through. I might be able to savor them more. :)

How about you? Have you been through a blogging or reading slump?Is there anything you've done to deal with it or get through it? Please share!


Jessica

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Review: One Sizzling Night by Jo Leigh

Title: One Sizzling Night
Author: Jo Leigh
Published: January 19th 2016
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy: Amazon ~*~ Barnes & Noble
Add to your Goodreads shelf
Caution: May contain spoilers
First come lies 

Then comes temptation… 

Former Black Ops soldier Logan McCabe is in high-tech heaven. The "smart" apartment he's staying at has it all—luxurious amenities, walls that change color, and a seductive and nearly naked woman in the living room. Now, that's everything a man can ask for. Except Kensey Roberts is no pixel pinup…and the sexual tension between them is most assuredly real. 

Kensey is in way over her head. She's undercover to expose a possible art thief and clear her absentee father's name. She doesn't need a distraction—especially the ex-military, crazy-sexy hot kind. "Captain McBabe" is over six feet of pure, delicious temptation. But one sizzling night won't just compromise her reputation…it could blow her cover sky-high.

My Thoughts:

There's a reason the Harlequin Blaze line is my favorite. It's mostly the steam (because whoa nelly, talk about steam!), but it's also the storylines of perfection that accompany it. I read One Breathless Night by Jo Leigh, which was so freaking amazing I had to get my hands on One Sizzling Night no matter what. And this book didn't disappoint.

Kensey is a determined woman who will stop at nothing to prove the innocence of her father, no matter the danger. Then Logan comes into the picture and proves to be quite the distraction in all his sweet and sexiness. When some of her secrets get discovered, Logan gets involved in her covert plan. Will they be able to find out the truth together?

One Sizzling Night had both romance and intrigue, which was a great combination. I loved the side story and how it tied in with the feelings that were developing between Kensey and Logan. I'm super excited to see what else Jo Leigh has in store in the future!

My Rating: