adult fiction

No Holly for Christmas... A Sneak Peek

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Welcome to Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List! 

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

Current book:

No Holly for Christmas

Julie N Ford

No Holly for Christmas by Julie N Ford  a sneak peek on Reading List

Goodreads Summary:

A story about how fate will carry us where we need to go whether we are willing passengers or not.

After being jilted not once, but twice by the only woman he’s ever truly loved, Brian McAlister has all but given up on relationships. Then, on special assignment for the DA's office, he steps into the middle of a politically sensitive murder case where he crosses paths with a beautiful ex-socialite-turned-social-worker, Holly Cavanaugh Winter. 

Widowed, practically penniless, and reduced to shopping at Walmart, Holly is dreading the approaching holiday season. However, her angst isn't due to her husband's untimely death the previous December 25th, but to a secret that could reveal itself unless she can find a way to avoid the coming Christmas. To make matters worse, she unwittingly stumbles into the throes of Brian’s case and the manhunt for a killer who now has his sights set on her.

His case unraveling, Brian finds himself tasked with keeping Holly and her two daughters safe while bringing an assassin and the powerful man who hired him to justice.

Sneak Peek:

"With anger also came a sense of power __albeit flase, but a semblance all the same. With power cam econtrol. Not the kind of control that caused a person to act rationally nut the kind of wrath that started wars, fed prejudice, and breathed life into grudges held for reasons the bearer had long forgotten." (e-reader location 976)

Initial Thoughts

I agreed to read this book because I read the first in the series. It is exactly what I expected... perfect for those who enjoy Hallmark movies with a little mystery thrown in.

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!

You can leave your teaser, author, and title in the comments (click over to the web version if you're on the mobile site). Or write up your own post and join us weekly!  Then you can share your link in the comments, and I will stop over and leave you a comment!!!  YAY!

Marissa at Reading List

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Book review

Enter the World of Equals...

Friday, January 06, 2017

Gilded Cage

Vic James

Are you a fantasy book junkie?  Did you devour all of the crazy science fiction, fantasy, dystopian stories that filled the bookstore shelves in the last decade? Yes?  Then, stop reading and click over to get your pre-ordered copy of this book... seriously!

If not, but you are interested in the concept of a story that gives you a glimpse into different character's approach to making a society equal, when there are clearly different kinds of people living it, maybe you should at least consider reading the following review. 

I'll be honest, I never thought I'd be a dystopian fan. I do not enjoy violent stories, and fantasy can be too much for me most days. But I enjoy fast paced stories, and that is why I started picking up the genre. And then, the dystopian market exploded with some real stinkers... and I started to lower my expectations greatly.  So when this little breakout book came up to review I was worried. In fact, I sat on my copy for almost a month before I started it... what a mistake...

And if you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I overshared this baby!  It’s simply amazing and I cannot wait for the rest of the series…

Gilded Cage by Vic James a Book Review on Reading List

Story Overview 

England is controlled, ruled, by a few very powerful families - all those families are part of the new elite class - the Equals. Their magical gifts have given them the ability to become the aristocrats, and all the commoners (every single other, regular person) MUST serve the Equals for 10 years of their lives. (And by serve, read that as become a slave... with no rights... at all...)

The Hadleys are a common family - two working parents with three kids, who simply want to be a family and enjoy life. When the decision is made to start their slave days, Abi, the oldest daughter, works hard to ensure the entire family gets positions at the Jardine's family home (the most powerful family in the Equals... and it's more like a castle...). So while the family is not pleased about their future, they are encouraged that they will at least be together and way from the dangerous slave cities... 

Of course, luck is not on their side. When they are picked up, the rude reality is that Luke, Abi's younger brother, did not get placed in the Jardine's home, and will be taken, immediately to one of the slave cities. 

The story follows the Hadleys as they try to get Luke back, and the Jardines as a new generation of Equals begins to take power over England.  Needless to say, there is a lot of political plotting going on, with a healthy dose of fantasy magic. 

Personal Likes

I love, love, love the characters in this book. They are so complex. It helps that James tells the story from many different vantage points - you see the world through Luke's eyes, Abi's, Gavar, Jenner... and as a result, the reader has no choice but to fully enter this alternate England and experience all of the injustice going on.

I really loved the pace of this book. While it could be confusing, getting all the different perspectives, the editing is done perfectly. When one character's chapter ends you are swept back up into the life of another while the overall story continues to move forward. It was so hard to put this book down once I got to the fifth chapter because I just had to know what happened with each character next... and I was often surprised (which is harder than one might think).

Gilded Cage by Vic James a Book Review on Reading List

Personal Dislikes

I, personally, struggled with the setting and timeframe of the whole story. This is clearly England... in the future?? When we start off with just the Hadleys it seems like technology exists, and there are cars... but then, once we shift into the world of the Equals it's like we slip back a few hundred years... It was confusing. There are still cars, as that is how Mr. Hadley secures his position with the Jardine's... but I kept picturing an older castle from the 1800's... it's hard to explain... maybe it was all my own biases playing out in conflict to the actual story - if you read this, and thought otherwise, please enlighten me!!

Also, it was a little confusing to figure out how the powers worked in this story... it took me most of the book to finally get a handle on it... so be ready for that.

Oh, and one minor note, because I am not a violence fan, the opening catch scene was a bit much... and that is all I'm going to say so I don't spoil it...

Reading List Rating

Five-Heart rating on Reading List

Oh, this is totally a five-star (or rather heart... hmmm maybe I need a new way of rating my books now...) book.  I loved it when I read it, I love it more now that I've been sitting on it. And I am so anxious to find people to gush over the story and characters with.  I cannot wait for the next installment to come out.  

My Suggested Audience

Alright, this book is being put in the YA dystopian genre - and I would agree with that. Luke is in high school, so it makes sense.  But then Abi just finished school so this could be a NA, too. As the book is basically looking into the unfairness of slavery and revolutions, this could easily be an adult book.  It feels a lot like a historical fiction meets fantasy because of the setting... so... yeah...

I would recommend this to a more mature teen reader who can handle violence and political strategies. If you are a fan of Victoria Aveyard or even Kiera Cass, you will probably get into this one too. Fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and the like will love it.  But also, if you are into the Game of Thrones types, you could find yourself pulled right in as well.

I would also like to point out that this book will appeal to both guys and girls.  So many vantage points are from the male characters that guys should respect it - let's be honest, there needed to be such a shift in this genre from the female vantage on everything... guys and girls should be working together!!

Wondering Questions to Consider

If you decide to read this with your teen - and you should! - this is the perfect time to discuss equality and slavery. While also discussing how much power a ruling body should be given in order to keep a country safe and thriving.  If you are just picking this up for your own pleasure, take the time to think about why you side with different characters at different points in the story - do you agree with their motives? Why, or why not?

Ignorance bred fear... and fear bred obedience. #GildedCage @drvictoriajames @Reading_List1

What are your thoughts on slavery in today's fiction? Does it help today's readers to understand the unfairness or simply fictionalize real history? What are your thoughts on the crazy dystopian fad in fiction? 

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 - it doesn't cost you anything extra, and it would simply make my day!!  In fact, just click through and do your shopping, even if you decide not to get this particular book. TIA

***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.”

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Cozy book hop

Encouraging Hearts & Home 1/5

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Encouraging Hearts & Home

I am so glad you are joining us!  

Did you notice the change for 2017?  A new name, and new images!  I love starting fresh... And if you link up here, you get the chance to share your social media link so I can stop over and share/comment with you this week!! Yay!!

When you share your posts with us, your post will be displayed across 12 different sites, isn't that wonderful? 

And each week there will be at least one feature to check out from the previous week.  I hope you come back every week. If this is your first week, take a moment and say to me in the comments.  If you sign up for the community newsletter, you will get reminders of the hop, and some random freebies!  YAY!

Encouraging Hearts & Home a blog link up to build community and support

Just for the Reading List Community

I know it's a new month... and a new year... if you have been a part of the community you know that means it's time for the Blog Post Planner... and it's coming... so take the time to grab this great tracker for the last time... and get ready for the new 2017 Tracker next week!!! 

Reading List Community Freebie - Book shelf reading tracker for 2017

Once you print out your book tracker you can fill in the empty spines with the title of the books you want to read in 2017. Then once you read it you get to color it in. Hopefully, by the end of 2017, your bookshelf tracker will be full of color! I left space also for you to doodle if you want to embellish your sheet. 

Most clicked post from last week

Now for this week’s Hearts for Home Blog Hop!

  • Share your posts this week
  • Share your Social Media link (It will rotate between Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc... each week) in the second linky
  • Leave a comment so I know you were here - I see this as a chance for you all to shine, so speak up so I can let you sparkle a little  

Other nice things you can do:

  • Follow and/or subscribe to your host’s blog.
  • Be sure to visit a few links and share the love–that’s what a blog hop is all about!

Glad You’ve Joined the Hop!

I'm sharing my recent posts on Encouraging Hearts & Home for a chance to win... Help me Win! @Reading_List1 #mombloggers

book launch

Where does courage come from?

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears

Kelly Balarie

I have grown up with the media gaining more and more space in the daily routines of everyone I know. Between the boom in internet and technologies, and the abilities to have 24/7 news streamed in, I have never really known what it means to wait for information. While this could be seen as a great thing, I have started to disagree.

The world is big, huge, full of people who are living their lives and dealing with their own challenges. And when we see so much of the world all the time, we can feel the weight of everyone, everywhere. All of that extra causes so much tension and anxiety for so many, that fear of the what ifs can run rampant. I have felt it in my life when something spins out of control on the other side of the world, I slowly feel the weight added to my shoulders, and then my own little world becomes stressed. And knowing each day, if I click on anything, I might start feeling more can lead to a type of fear that is hard to control.

But I do... I choose what comes on my screens, I choose how often those screens will be on, and I can leave a great deal of that fear behind.

I know that isn't always the reality - fear can tumble out of control down a snowy path of what ifs turning into a snowball even the abominable snowman couldn't withstand.

If you at all have the slightest understanding about what I am poorly rambling about, then please take a moment to bookmark, pin, or save this post - you will want this one - I know you will!

Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie a Book Review on Reading List

Story Overview 

Dealing with fear is a daily thing, and for many, the ability to hide it has become as easy as breathing. Yet, that talent doesn't help one live a full life, to experience the joys of life, and to push beyond the first step of the unknown to see the glorious treasures hidden beyond. Kelly Balarie eloquently shares how fear has often seeped deep into her life, and how she grabs a hold of an anchor to steady her in the murky unknown. 

This book is full of encouragement from Kelly. She shares her personal experiences, as well as the anchor of others who have pulled through challenges in daily life, with fear whispering their name, in order to see the glorious treasures on the other side. 

Personal Likes

There is so much to like!!  My first point here is that Kelly has broken down each chapter with main points to grasp, so if you are short on time, can start with scanning in the big points, and then if anything resonates go back through and read more.  So great, right?

And while fear is something that is part of life, I mean fight or flight right? - she reminds us it's not about never feeling fear, it's about taking steps to hold steadfast to an Anchor that will carry us through the worst of it. These points about latching on to God's steadfastness are actionable steps that you can start in your life right away. And many more points are simply words of encouragement from one fear fighting woman to another, just to remind you that even though you might hide your fears in deep, you are not alone in the battle.

Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie a Book Review on Reading List

Personal Dislikes

I felt like it was a little long... maybe it's because for me, in this stage of life, fear isn't my biggest hurdle. The encouragement was nice, the ideas were fantastic, but I started to lose interest around the halfway point.

Also, the study is 12 weeks long. And that is a long time! I have become a fan of the quick studies - studies are important as they help us to learn how to lean on each other for support in the hard times, and give support in the good times. But keeping people interested for that length of time on a topic can be difficult.  But the points of the study (which are printed at the end of every single copy, nothing extra required) are very nice and helpful.

Reading List Rating

Four Heart Rating on Reading List

I'm going with a four heart rating.  I could not find very many faults in this at all. The ability to see into another's life enough to see how she battles with the enemy, and fear, was great.  

My Suggested Audience

Alright, so this is a book for women - I know that men deal with fear too, but this one doesn't touch on that, apologies. And while this could be used to help encourage any woman struggling, I think it speaks best to women who are at least living on their own. If you are not a believer of Jesus, this book might be a bit hard to swallow, as you need to know Jesus and be willing to reach out to Him if you want the action steps to work at all... but then again... this might just be perfect book if you aren't sure if you know Jesus yet...

Also, if you enjoyed War Room, or any of the study books that followed that up (Fervent... etc) you will probably really enjoy this book. 

Wondering Questions to Consider

After reading books like this I am always caught up thinking about other people... how much is that woman at the drinking fountain hiding from the world today? Is that lady sitting at the table scrolling through her phone wishing she wasn't alone?  And think that might be part of the point... our lives are private, and many parts of it should remain private (no over-sharing on SM people!) but since we are all living a private life, we are all dealing with issues and challenges. We need to be a little more respectful of that. Look up a bit when you walk through a store. Smile at people. You never know what fear they are trying to overcome, or challenge they are walking through.

What you dwell around will before long dwell in you. #FearFightingBook @kellybalarie @Reading_List1

How do you go about dealing with fear? Does fear seep into your thoughts when you least expect it? When you go about your day, do you even notice the other people around you?

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- it won't cost you anything extra but will help me so much. 

***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. For more on this great book, and the author stop by Kelly's pages: and 

**** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Baker House. 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.”

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