Map of Fates... A Sneak Peek

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Welcome to Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List! 

Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List  a glimpse into what I am reading currently

Current book:

Map of Fates

Maggie Hall

Map of Fates by Maggie Hall a Sneak Peek on Reading List

Goodreads Summary:

Two weeks. 

That’s how long it took for Avery West’s ordinary life to change forever: In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle’s enemies and fell for a boy she’s not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny. 

Now, Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it’s too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day despite her best intentions, making her question what she believes at every turn.

But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: in the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem.

Sneak Peek:

"The heat at the back of my eyes built up again. What this world did to people. What it'd done to this boy whose life had been far harder than mine, looking up at me with a mix of emotions in his face. I wasn't sure I understood."  p 211

Initial Thoughts

This books probably suffers a little of middle-book in a series syndrome, in that I am not feeling pulled in as much.  Yet, the story is complex, without making me feel lost, and I keep turning pages long after I need to put the book down. I am getting the feeling I am going to be waiting for book three as soon as I'm done...

Thank you to A Daily Rhythm for inspiring Reading List's Saturday Sneak Peek link up!

Meet the Hosts of Saturday Sneak Peek:

Marissa @ Reading List

Marissa writes book reviews for a variety of genres and  shares thoughts on motherhood & life on Reading List. She loves to see what others are reading to grow her to-read list.  Marissa also enjoys photography and a new journal to fill. 

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Alyssa @ Sunrise Avenue

Alyssa reads a variety of genres and writes about it at Sunrise Avenue. She is always looking for new bookish friends and recs'! Besides reading, Alyssa loves to bake and anything Doctor Who.

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Karen @ Dino Hero Mommy

Karen is a reading teacher who loves to listen to books as she commutes to and from work. She prefers crime thrillers and mysteries but enjoys a good book from any genre. She blogs about her life as a wife and mom at Dino Hero Mommy.

Here are some rules if you decide to join in:

• Pick up whatever book you are reading (non-fiction, fiction, children's... really the sky is the limit)
• Open to any page you have already read
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page - make it interesting without flipping to a ton of different pages. 
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away -- You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so we can all add your book to our To-Be-Read lists!

This particular link up will be open for a month, so stop by often to share a new sneak peek, and grow your own TBR list!

Marissa at Reading List

Linking up with these fun hops, check them out!

Cozy book hop

The Cozy Reading Spot #142

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Welcome to Cozy Reading Spot! 

This is your chance to share your posts, and then grab your favorite drink to curl up with and read other's posts.  You are welcome to share posts that tell us what has been on your heart, mind and bookshelves - yes that means just about anything goes.  As book lovers, we love to read, so share something for us to read today!

May's Reading List Freebie

I have been trying to find different prints to decorate my mantel for each season, and after spending way too many days shopping at the local stores, I decided to create my own.  Of course that means I want to share them with this community!  These prints are sized to print on an 8 x 11 sheet, so you might have to size them down to fit in your frame... I have them printed to fit into 5 x 7 frames and they are pretty cute.  One is a scripture verse, and another one of my favorite Tolkien quotes.  I hope you like them!   

Remember, you will receive these in your weekly email for the link up. So if you are not getting that email sign up!  You just have to leave your email in that annoying pop up...  Or shoot me an email and I'll add you to the list (my email can be found at the bottom of this page).  Thanks again for being part of the community. 

May Freebie for Reading List Community Members

Last Week's Features

Marissa's Favorite

My favorite link from last week was by Megan from The Busy Life: So Many Books, So Little Time.
She has put together a list of some of her favorite books from different genres. 
So Many Books, So Little Time a feature on the Cozy Reading Spot on Reading List

Most Popular

The most popular link from last week was by Lydia from Journey of the Word: Where Are the Women?  She asks a question of those who are followers of Jesus about what their hope and faith is really in. 
Where are the women?  a Feature post on The Cozy Reading Spot on Reading List

Please link up all you've got!  

This is an open link up, not just a book link up...

There are just a few small requests I have. 
  • Please link to a direct post, and not just your home page.
  • I wish I didn't have to say this, but please keep it clean. I know books & posts can range the gamut on adult content, but please keep your posts and images clean for this one. 
  • Try to stop by another link and say hi. I know we are all busy blogging, reading and writing, not mention living our lives and keeping up with responsibilities - however, what makes the link up so fun is having new people visit your blog!  So spread the love and hop to at least one link for each link you leave.
  • Please include a link back to the hop in your post - the button codes are part of the flair page, but a text hyperlink is just as good! This simply allows others to join in the fun, and isn't that the whole point?                    

Join #TheCozyReadingSpot - share your posts & find new friends! #BloggingFun @Reading_List1

Cozy Reading Spot  {Reading List}

** If you're reading this from your email, click over and join us!  Reading List

The fine print: Please understand that by linking up with the Cozy Reading Spot, you are agreeing to allow Reading List to feature you in a future post.  That includes a link to your post, and a picture you've used on that post.  You are also allowing Reading List to share any post you link up with pinterest, facebook, twitter and/or google+.  Also, by posting in this hop, you are allowing your email address to be used for a weekly reminder of the hop - your email will not be used for any other purpose, period.

See where I link up!

adult fiction

Jumping into the Middle

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Reluctant Duchess

Roseanna White

Books series are all over the place right now.  Trilogies seem to rule the publishing world.  If you want to get a real publishing contract, it appears you need to be able to show the publisher you have a solid trilogy first.

To be honest, that makes sense.  Why would a publisher want to invest all that time and money on an author who is only giving them one book, when there is a chance for three, or more!

As a reader, though, it's hard to want to pick up a book knowing I will have to invest the time of three books... or to pick up a series halfway through.  Or if a book title or cover calls to me, just to find out that it isn't the first in the series, well that is always a bummer.  Especially when that realization only comes after reading a chapter or two...  Have you been there?

The Reluctant Duchess a Book Review on Reading List

Story Overview 

The Reluctant Duchess is the second book in Roseanna White's Ladies of the Manor series.  In this 1912 romance, Lady Rowena Kinnaird finds her life completely different than she had ever dreamed while a young child. As the heiress to a Highland Earldom, she is faced with a marriage that will secure the land and strengthen the clans.  However, the man in question is not a gentleman and robs Rowena of all her dreams completely.  

When Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, takes a season in the Highlands, he finds himself faced with the awful truth of Rowena, and a message from God to help her.  He, being a true gentleman and godly man, steps in to rescue Rowena, even if the circumstances are questionable, at best. As this unlikely pair learn to navigate life together, stepping into love and societal roles, their lives take twists that add some adventure the story.

As the second book in the series, the issue of the cursed jewels run throughout this book as well and bring along many of the characters of the Lost Heiress.

Personal Likes

I was very impressed with how White wove Rowena's story of recovery.  She is assaulted in many fashions early in the story, even before the book begins, and is physically and mentally injured.  The first half of the book, Rowena fully struggles to find her worth, her strength, her stride again.   Yet she moves forward, even when she would rather hide.  Her mental story and reflection is a huge part of what I feel make her such a great characters.  While I read some reviews that were not as glowing on this aspect, I truly feel it was a story that needed to be told, even though it would be hard for some to read - hard subjects are important to tackle in fiction, for those who have never experienced it, and for those who are looking to heal.

Brice is a wonderful character - so sure of his path with God.  This is the kind of man a woman could truly fall for - this is the kind of man mothers dream of for their daughters.  Sure he has flaws, and he has times when he makes wrong choices, but he always looks to God for direction and strength, then he listens.  In fact, all of the characters in this book are well developed and complex, even those characters that sit along the periphery the entire time.  I guess that is always the bonus of series, right?  Time to truly develop characters...

The Reluctant Duchess a book review on Reading List

Personal Dislikes

There were a few times when scene changes were choppy.  With so many characters and storylines interweaving it was hard to always keep up when the scene changed.  This could have been partly because I did not read the first book in the series, but still I had to reread too many transition paragraphs to keep up with the story.

Another very minor issue I had was with the Scottish/Highland/Lowland burr.  While I do not fault the author at all for this decision to write in it, as it fits the characters, it was just hard to decipher meaning, and slowed down the book, especially at the beginning.  I would have really appreciated a little glossary of some of the terms, especially since there is a great character list included.

Reading List Rating

Four heart rating on Reading List

I am going with a four heart rating on this one.  It was very enjoyable.  There were times when I had to keep reading just a few more pages to see what transpired next. However, I do not think I will read this one again... and I probably won't go back to read book one either.

My Suggested Audience

I would suggest an adult audience for this one, mostly because I think that is White's target audience - adult women, who are fans of Downton Abbey (and other such shows/books). While this is a clean romance, especially by today's standards, the subject matter is mature.  Teens could certainly read this and understand, so I wouldn't deny them the book, but maybe this would be a good one to read with your teen to discuss the subjects at hand.  Such subjects include physical abuse from family, sexual abuse/rape, depression, PTSD, arranged marriage, societal laws & expectations, mythology, ghosts, spirits, curses.  As well as quite a bit of discussion of marital relations, all as part of a married couple learning to navigate torrid pasts that are invading their present (again this is well done, but can be hard to handle for some.)

The Reluctant Duchess a Book Review on Reading List

Wondering Questions to Consider

Should marriage always be for love? How should a man and wife move forward when the worse happens to one of them?  How do you love someone who is completely scarred from a horrible act of another?, like faith, couldn't be based on feelings. #TheReluctantDuchess @Reading_List1

How often are you to pick up a book that is the middle of a series, even if you haven't read the first? Would you give it a try if a friend recommended it?  Would you have to read the first book then go to the rest of the series? 

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

**If you are considering purchasing this book, please consider using the affiliate link here and support Reading List in the process. 

***If you're interested in writing a book review on Reading List, please message me on the Facebook page! If you're curious about a book, ask me...  I love to hear from you! If you would like your book reviewed on Reading List, email me, the link is at the bottom of this page.

**** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, BethanyHouse. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Check out these great hops I'm sharing this with.


Dragons Are Real

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dragons are Real

A Virtual Book Tour

Childhood is supposed to full of fun, creative thought, fantasy. Often times, kids are presented with opportunities to learn through books so quickly that the books focused on fantasy get pushed aside.  This seems to be true particularly for boys today.  As soon as they show an interest in books parents are quick to point to non-fiction books focused on science, outdoor activities, sports. 

I know from experience this is often because little boys quickly show interest in such things.  And getting boys to read books is a huge success, so we do not worry too much about the topics.  

The thing is, fantasy deserves a place on the bookshelves of our kiddos, and yes even our boys.  And that is why I am so excited to share this wonderful fantasy book for your kids today.  This book is full of dragons, and what they are really like.  It is the perfect addition to any home library, particularly if you have a boy or two under your roof, and want their imaginations to soar a little. 

I hope you enjoy this stop on the tour.  Make sure to make it to the end of the post to enter the giveaway!

Marissa Writes  @ Reading List

About the Book

Title: Dragons are Real | Author: Valarie Budayr | Illustrator: Michael Welply Publisher: Audrey Press | Publication Date: May 5, 2016 | Genre: Children's Picture Book Number of Pages: 32

Book Description:

What if I told you that all of the fairy tales, myths, and legends that have been told about dragons over the years are WRONG? What if I told you that Dragons are indeed REAL and that they are different than you've ever imagined? Did you know that Dragons are the master of disguises? Did you know that they love sugar and sweets (at unacceptable levels) and will do anything for treats? Award-winning author Valarie Budayr brings us this fairly true story based on her childhood friendship with a REAL live Dragon.

Take a look inside the book...

About the Author: Valarie Budayr

Award Winning and Bestselling author, Valarie Budayr inspires children and adults alike to experience their books through play, discovery, and adventure via engaging extension activities on her popular website,

Valarie is the co-founder of Multicultural Children's Book Day , #ReadYourWorld, a celebration of diverse and cultural kid-lit shared with over 98 million people on January 27th. Her foundation puts hundreds of books into the hands of children in rural and intercity areas. 

Valarie's other best-selling and award-winning titles are The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden, The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and A Year in the Secret Garden.

Michael Welply was born in London in 1948. The family moved to Winnipeg, Canada, in 1950. He studied art in Winnipeg and then in Paris, but his idea of living from the sales of his paintings is somewhat compromised by the lack of buyers. He started his career as an illustrator in 1977 in London. In 1981, he returned to live in France with his American wife and their two children. Since then he has worked for publishers in both Europe and North America. To date, he has illustrated over 80 books and more than 100 covers, in a wide range of subjects extending from detailed non-fiction to juvenile and adult fiction in the realms of fantasy, mythology, science fiction and fairy tales.

Blog Tour Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card or $100 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice 
Giveaway ends: May 30, 11:59 pm, 2016 
Open to: Internationally 
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Valarie Budayr and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to

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