End of the Year K-Drama Goals.

2018 has been one of the worst years for me when it comes to watching dramas. *hides face in shame* In my defense… oh, wait. I don’t have a good excuse. Except that I mostly wanted to rewatch. It has been a hard year, and familiarity and old friends were what I needed most. ❤

But the year is not yet over! There is still time to squeeze in a few shows, and I intend to do just that. Especially Lovely Horribly, because I love that drama but had to put a hold on my Kocowa subscription… So I stopped with just a few episodes left! *faints* (btw, I hate watching dramas with ad’s if I really love the drama I am watching.)

So, here are some I hope to squeeze in before 2019:

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“Secret Healer: (2016): This is a historical fantasy, which is one of my favorite genre mixes. Love it so far. (Favorite actor is in it too. 😉)

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“Encounter” (2018) I have managed to watch some of this with ads (so I am not extemely involved). This melodramatic tale is different than my usual contemporary picks (Romatic Comedys Are. The. BEST.), but the visiuals are 👌. And, okay, I am a fan of this dude:

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I think this one airs through 2019, so I can only go so far with it this year. 😇 (Also, the poster says “Man Friend.” Part of me is excited that I read and understood this, and the other wonders if that is the drama’s real title. 🤔)

And, of course:

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I promise you guys, I really love this one. Our relationship has just been complicated. 😂

I also have some other dramas on my watch-list if I finish these, but it IS CHRISTMAS time. So that means Christmas shows will be watched, which results in less time in K-Drama land.🎄

What are you watching? I love K-drama recommendations so feel free to share.

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“The Christmas Book Shoppe” Book Blitz. 🎄📚🎄

Merry Christmas, friends! I’m so happy that it is Christmas time. 🎄 Beautiful Trees, Parades Covered in Fairy lights, Church Services with Christmas Songs, Sappy Hallmark Movies… and Christmas Books.

And a Christmas book is what today’s post is focused on. Miranda Atchley’s Christmas novella released today!

The Christmas Book Shoppe Book Blitz Banner
About the Book

Keeping her book store might take a Christmas miracle…

Trudy Gallagher is quite content with her simple life. For the past five years, she has lived and worked at The Christmas Book Shoppe, a new and used book store formerly owned and operated by her great-aunt. She loves nothing more than spending her days in the Victorian house filled with books, surrounded by her cat and loved ones. As Christmas, her favorite day of the year approaches, she begins the season with her usual verve and excitement.

Yet when her landlord threatens to sell The Christmas Book Shoppe, she is devastated. She cannot imagine life without the book store she calls home. As she struggles to create a plan to keep the book store open, it seems as if her whole word is turned upside down and her every attempt to save the store fails.

Can she find a way to keep the store she loves?

Pre-order in the Kindle store for 99 cents | Add to Goodreads

About the Author

MIRANDA ATCHLEY has written several novels, both historical and contemporary, one of which was a finalist for an indie writing award. When she isn’t writing, Miranda loves getting lost in a good book and watching period dramas. She lives in a small town in Arkansas. Visit her blog and subscribe to her mailing list at: arealwriterslife.blogspot.com

On social media at:

 

Enjoy an excerpt from
The Christmas Book Shoppe

  As she placed the last ornament on the Christmas tree, Trudy Gallagher stood back and looked at her handiwork with a gratified smile. It was the Monday after Thanksgiving, and she had spent the majority of the day decorating The Christmas Book Shoppe for the holiday. Like every other year, she and her assistant Marge had placed the eight foot artificial Christmas tree before the front window in the foyer, and Trudy had happily wrapped it in lights and tinsel, placing book themed ornaments along the branches.
“A little early to be putting up a Christmas tree, don’t you think?” Mr. Scranton, a regular patron at the book store–and the town’s resident curmudgeon–asked when he came to donate yet another stack of used books.

“Well, Thanksgiving was last Thursday,” Trudy replied in the kindest tone she could muster. It was tradition at The Christmas Book Shoppe to decorate for the holidays the Monday after Thanksgiving. After all, they were The Christmas Book Shoppe, a store that carried a mix of new and used books and was housed in the historic district of a small town called Christmas, Arkansas–which was named for the town’s settler as opposed to the holiday, as most out of towners understandably believed. They had to embrace the spirit of Christmas, just like most other businesses in town did. Yet there was always someone who accused them of decorating too early. Trudy couldn’t help but wonder; what would Mr. Scranton say if he knew that she had decorated her apartment on November first?

Scoffing at her, Mr. Scranton turned and went on his way, his pace slow as his cane assisted him. Trudy could have sworn she’d heard him mutter “bah humbug” under his breath as he exited through the front door, his harsh tone clashing with the twinkling bell above the door. Though that could have simply been her imagination, which, given all the novels she read, was usually quite overactive.

Trudy shrugged as she placed the two heavy plastic bags full of moldy paperbacks on the desk and began to sort through them.
Really, who could blame her for embracing the Christmas spirit as fully as she did? After enduring long humid Arkansas summers that often started as early as April and boasted weeks of temperatures in the high nineties and low hundreds, it was a relief to have cooler weather. When the heat of summer was too much to bear, she often daydreamed about the Christmas season just to distract herself from the reality of living in such a humid climate.
But it wasn’t just the cold weather she enjoyed. She loved everything about Christmas. Watching classic Christmas movies, drinking hot cocoa while reading a light and cheery Christmas novella, and listening to Christmas songs all December were some of her favorite things. And there was just something about all the pretty decorations and lights that made the whole town of Christmas, Arkansas look like the inside of a snow globe…minus all the snow. It was simply a magical time of year.
“I’m glad you enjoy decorating the tree so much,” said Marge when Trudy made her way back to the front desk. With a deep sigh, she added, “Putting that tree up just wears me out.”
Looking up from the copy of Thoreau’s Walden she’d been inspecting, Trudy offered a smile and said, “Well, I’m happy to do it.”
With raised eyebrows, Marge shook her head. “I can certainly tell.”
Marge was a middle aged woman who had been working at The Christmas Book Shoppe for the last few years. While she was a good employee, she didn’t share Trudy’s excitement about literature and holidays and found her boss’s enthusiasm rather tiring. It was amazing that the two got along as well as they did.
Trudy once again smiled and then took the newly arrived books and began to shelve them. It was a little curious that Mr. Scranton had donated so much as of late. Counting what he’d brought in today, he’d donated a total of ten bags full of books in two weeks. Trudy wondered how many books he had in that old, somewhat off-putting house he lived in on the edge of town.
After Mr. Scranton’s donations were situated on the shelves, Trudy took to straightening the book cases, and in the process she found herself somewhat distracted, reading the synopsis scrawled on the back covers of titles that caught her attention. She often found herself similarly distracted while working here at the shop and realized that this was one reason why her to-be-read pile was growing entirely out of control.
When she found a particularly interesting novel set in the Edwardian era, she flipped open the cover and read the first few pages. Soon her mind was thousands of miles and a hundred years away, caught up in a world of lords and ladies.
“That a good book?”
With a gasp, she slammed the book shut. Looking up, she saw her friend, Reed Thornton. A roughish smile twisted his mouth, making him look more like Downton Abbey’s Tom Branson than ever.
“You scared me to death,” she said, taking a deep breath in an attempt to steady her heart rate. “And yes, it is a good book. I think I’ll keep it for myself.”
In his hands, she saw a stack of books, all bearing familiar titles. The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights, Persuasion. In Trudy’s world, it was unusual for most guys to even like reading. But for a guy to pass up science fiction and thrillers for classic romance? That was just unheard of.
“Looking for a good romance, are we?” she asked as they made their way back to the front desk.
He gave her the same exasperated expression he offered each time she made a wise crack about his reading habits. “It’s required reading for my classic lit class.”
Trudy smiled skeptically. She knew Reed had in fact enrolled in a classic lit class at the university after recently going back to college in order to earn a master’s degree in literature. Yet she also knew that Reed had always been a sucker for classic literature, just like her. They’d taken literature classes in high school together and their mutual love of the classics was one reason why they’d been such good friends for most of their lives.
“You know there isn’t any shame in guys reading romance novels, right?” With a snort she added, “I mean, look at Nicholas Sparks. His novels have been giving women false hopes for years now. And Fitzgerald was a guy, and he wrote The Great Gatsby. Besides, haven’t you already read that?”
“When we were seniors in high school,” he said with a half frown. “But that was a long time ago. I’ve read too many books since then to remember all I need to know about it for this class.”
“Well, it is a pretty good one to revisit,” she said as she rounded the corner of the front desk.
As she scanned the barcode on Persuasion, she cocked an eyebrow at Reed.
He sighed as he dug his wallet out of his back pocket. “It’s the only Austen I haven’t read yet.”
She chuckled as she placed the stack of books in a bag bearing the store’s emblem.
“Do you give all your customers this hard of a time?” he asked as he accepted the bag.
She simply laughed in reply.

“You know, I could just buy my books on Amazon. I’d get a lot less cheek if I did.”

“Yeah, but you’d pay a lot more. Plus, you wouldn’t get this sparkling customer service that brings in customers from miles around.”

Chuckling, he rolled his eyes, took his bag and left.

Giveaway

The Christmas Book Shoppe

One winner will receive a Kindle download of The Christmas Book Shoppe. The giveaway begins December 4 and ends December 7. Open internationally to anyone who can receive a Kindle download via email. Must be 18 or older to participate:

http://www.rafflecopterC.com/rafl/display/393c8dbf4/?

Merry Christmas!

“The Warrior Maiden” by Melanie Dickerson— Book Review

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I have been reading Melanie Dickerson’s books since 2010. And though I have not LOVED all of the books I have read by her, I always add her YA fairy tale retellings to my TBR.

Her newest it a light retelling of Mulan. Did I LOVE it? Hm, I say not LOVE. But I enjoyed it and think it is one of my most loved out of all her books to date.

This book had so many twists. A summary of my mental musings about these twists: “Like, wow, did not see that coming…. Whoah, what happened? Eeeek! Poor characters! GET TOGETHER ALREADY!!!!!”

Another thing I liked is that it also lightly touched on the damaging effects of racism. Mulan, the only girl of Mongolian decent in her village, suffered unjustly because she did not look like everyone else. 🙁 Total reminder that we should not treat people badly because they are different. *looks at rude villagers* Not cool, guys.

As someone who is facinated in Asian cultures, I would have loved there to be more of a Mongolian feel to the book. Yet I understand why Dickerson did not do so in this tale. The book is part of series that follow European characters. She wanted to include a Mulan story in her series of fairy tale retellings, and she did BUT in a subtle way. (I guess this might throw off some readers looking for a purely Asian-set retelling, so if that is what you are looking for, this is not the book for you.) So, though it could have been better, it was still okay for me that she chose this route for this retelling.

Story negatives…

Okay, so maybe it is because I read an ARC, but I felt like Mulan’s character had a major flip from clumsy to warrior. In the beginning, she is portrayed to be a struggling clumsy maiden (lol, like me!), but when she becomes a warrior it just goes away. Totally threw me off a bit. Maybe her confidence took over, but I feel that, realistcally, she would still struggle some with her lack of gracefullness despite becoming a soldier.

And…yeah.

With a few nods to the Disney film mixed with a whole lot of faith, this book is sure to take Dickerson’s fans on an exciting journey that they will be able to enjoy far from the danger of battles.

I give “The Warrior Maiden” a rating of four. No, you do not have to read the books before this one to enjoy it, but you will totally be missing the full experience if you don’t read them first. It releases early 2019, so…

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish

*Thanks to the publisher through Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. Not required to write a positive review.

“Retrieve” by Sarah Addison-Fox— Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Oh my word. You guys! Today I am participating in the cover reveal for “Retrieve” by Sarah Addison-Fox. I must say that I am quite excited for this book. My friend told me it was likened to a mashup between Mulan AND Prince of Persia. *jaw drop* So. Many. Hearts. I neeeeed this book! Now.

😍😍😍😍

The Cover:

Retrieve
Sarah Addison-Fox
(The Stormers Trilogy #1)
Publication date: December 26, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

What if the job you took to stay alive might be what kills you?

Kade knows what it is to suffer. He knows what it’s like to lose everything and everyone around him.

His job in a Stormer Unit guarantees not just his survival in the decimated country of Azetaria, but his sister Meg’s. Even if it means facing the Numachi warriors baying for his blood, he’ll do what it takes to keep her safe.

Hadley is alone and surviving the only way she knows how. By hiding where predators won’t find her and scavenging enough just to keep her alive.

When desperation drives Hadley to search for her missing brother, she mistakenly accepts the offer of recruitment into the Stormer’s camp, only to be partnered with Kade and sent as a scout into Numachi territory.

The intimidating young Stormer may just know where her brother has gone. But can they stay alive long enough to find him?

About the Author

Sarah Addison-Fox is a New Zealand-born misfit who writes action-packed fantasy with a smattering of punch ups, mega amounts of romance and a dash of family values. She has an astonishing amount of nail polish, has all her creative writing credentials shoved in a drawer somewhere, and has a husband who, after 28 years, can still make her blush. When she’s not working on her YA fantasy romance series’ she can be found binge watching Mission Impossible movies, drinking lager and eating curry.

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Giveaway Time!

Enter to win the Stormers Giveaway and go on a thrilling adventure! With over $100 of bookish goodies and exclusive swag sent from New Zealand, these prizes will certainly give every reader a thrill. Click the entry form below to enter! (Open INT.)

>>> Entry-Form <<<

 

“Shadow of the Fox” by Julie Kagawa— Book Review.

It’s not completely weird to fascinated/low-key obsessed with a certain type of mythical creature. The big one these days seems to be unicorns…

For me, it is the nine-tailed fox. And that is what the heroine of “Shadow of the Fox” is! *fan girl squeal that more literature is including my favorite mythical being*

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The story is about a a michevious, yet naive, nine-tailed fox who lives with a bunch of monk’s in a temple… That is until the temple is destroyed. 😮 During the temple’s fall, the head monk instructs the fox girl to take a piece of a powerful scroll (reason temple is attacked) to a hidden temple. He instructs her on where to find a priest who knows where the hidden temple is located. Having never gone anywhere far beyond her home, she enlists the help of a mysterious purple eyed young man to escort her on a journey to find the hidden temple…. (which is dangerous because he’s possessed. Eeek!)

I’m just going to come out and say that I enjoyed this story. To me, it isn’t the BEST book. The writing was pretty basic in areas (Though I read an ARC of it, so maybe the final version is better). I also found the characters were sometimes kind of cheesy…

BUT despite those minor-for-me flaws, it had an east Asian feel, with fantasy elements that made it feel kind of like my favorite dramas (Korean and Chinese dramas) while also still being awesomely different since it was Japanese inspired. Seriously LOVE the world of this book. Can I just go there right now? Please?

The plot was fascinating. I wanted to know what happens next, and was surprised by more than one unexpexted turn of events.

As for the characters, I say they are fictional friend worthy. The heroine was sweet yet imperfect, which I found a unique combination. Also, she is a Kitsune, so… (Not biased at all, y’all. 😉). The hero’s struggle to overcome his many pains was fascinating. He definitely is a complicated dude. Felt bad for the poor guy. I mean, someone PLEASE love this poor abused cookie.

There’s also quite a few side characters, most of which were neat individuals. (EXCEPT THE VILLAUNOUS, WHO IS CREEEEEEEPY!)

I did have a few things that I did not care for in this book, despite it being a mostly for me book. To me, the book was a bit slow in spots. I wanted them to hurry, but villains kept attacking them. #why???

It also had a few more bad words than I care to read, plus some crude humor. 😛

Okay, enough negative. Anything else… Ah, yes. Before I wrap this review, I have to say I have found another EMPRESS of Epic Ending in the author.. Did not see it coming… It’s awesome because I love to be surprised in books, but also aggravating because I need book two asap. A-S-A-P.

I give “Shadow if the Fox” by Julie Kagawa a rating of four. Hurry, book two.

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish

*Thanks to publisher through Netgalley for a complimentary e-ARC of this book in exchange for honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

“Spark” by J.M. Hackman— Book Review

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Imagine you go to school one day and fire unexpectedly explodes from your hands. 😮

But that is not the end of your thrilling day. No, you are then escorted by your grandmother and father to a portal that leads to another world that you had NO IDEA existed. Of course, you end up in that world.

Say What???

Soon you’re surrounded by fantastical beings, magically gifted people, and to top it off you’re told you are the one foretold about in some prophecy… a bit much for any person, let alone a highschool girl.

While it is highly unlikely that this kind of thing would happen to any of us (Though wouldn’t it be awesome?!), you can secondhand experience it in J.M. Hackman’s adventerous book, “Spark.”

“Spark” is an enjoyable debut book. I really liked the heroine’s voice, and how relatable and snarky she can be. I also totally think she handled her situation wayyy better than I would have handled it.

One of my favorite parts of this book were all the fantasy creatures. Can I say FLYING GIANT BLACK CAT!!!!! I want one!!!!

*coughs* Excuse my enthusiasm…

The story had a fantasy feel, yet also felt like a contemporary. (I guess that’s because it is a magical realism book, though. #sillyme). It reminds me a bit of a modern Narnia, as well as Ashlee Willis’ novel, “The Word Changers.” Basically it’s a cool mashup of modern world, fantasy world, with a dash of allegory mixed in a plot pot.

Oh, and the magic system was pretty cool. It’s not complicated, but I liked it nonetheless.

As for negative feelings, I think my one complaint is that the dialogue sometimes made some of the characters seem a tad immature. One character tried to imitate slang from our world, and to me it didn’t flow well. 😐

ANYWHO.

I hope the sequel comes out soon. I’m curious to see what happens next. 😀

I give “Spark” by J.M. Hackman a rating of four.

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish

*Thanks to the author for providing me a complimentary ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Dramfever… *sadface*

*cries*

😭😭😭

I used to joke with my friend that one of the reasons I buy Kdrama dvd’s is in case one day Dramafever is not available to me.

 

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However, my favorit(est) East Asian Drama watching site… 😭

My dear Dramafever is gone. I know this is a first world problem, and that there are other ways to watch my favorite shows… But it is like I lost a friend who I spent hours, days… heck, YEARS with, and then they leave with no warning. So yeah, I’m probably sadder than what is considered healthy, but imagine Netflix disappearing with no warning. That’s what this is to me. *dramatic swoon*

Dear Dramafever, I’m really going to miss you.

Anyone else feeling the pain?

*looks at Viki and Kocowa with a defeated look*