Sunday, December 29, 2013

Postal Challenge 2014-Indextrious Reader

Postal Reading Challenge button LARGE
Challenge: Postal Challenge 2014
Time Frame: January 1st to December 31st 2014
Host: The Indextrious Reader
The Challenge: The key is to read and review books with a postal theme. These can be non-fiction on the subject of letter writing, collections of real letters, or epistolary fiction of any era.
Why I’m doing this challenge: It combines two things that I love reading old letters and writing letters.

Postcard Level:   Read and review 4 books with a postal theme.
Snail Mail Level:   Read and review 8 books with a postal theme.
Parcel Post Level: Read and review 12 books with a postal theme.
Air Mail Express Level:   Read and review 12 books with a postal theme AND commit to sending more old fashioned letters this year. At least 12 pieces of mail (or more!), and you can share numbers or even images of your mail art in the quarterly roundups.
Level I’m doing: Air Mail Express Level
Reading List
12 Pieces of Snail Mail

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Cowboy's Christmas Baby by Carolyn Brown

‘Tis the season for…

After a year in Kuwait, Lucas Allen can’t wait to get back to his ranch for Christmas and meet his gorgeous Internet pal in person.
When he pulls in, there’s Natalie Clark right in his front yard with a pink pistol in her hand and a dead coyote at her feet.
Lucas is unfazed. But wait…is that a BABY in her arms? (from the back of the arc)

Book Details: Title: The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby, Author: Carolyn Brown, ISBN: 978-1-4022-8049-8, Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Formats Available: Mass-Market Paperback and E-book, $7.99 U.S./ £5.99 UK, Release Date: October 2013, Genre: Romance How I Read It: Mass-Market Arc from Publishers, Rating: 4 Cups

My Thoughts:

While I posted this review on Royal Reviews in October, I wanted to share it here as well because it is one my favorite Christmas reads!

Lucas Allen cannot wait to meet the woman who has been his confidant during his time in Kuwait, but when he realizes she hasn’t been exactly forthcoming, he begins to question if he truly knows her. Natalie Clark may have omitted the fact that she was pregnant then gave birth to a little boy whilst starting up a relationship with Lucas, but she’s no liar and intends to prove it. Now that he is home, even though he is a bit angry at her betrayal, neither can deny the attraction they feel for each other.

Brimming with secrets and sexual tension and characters that are delightfully flawed, The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby is my favorite Carolyn Brown romance thus far.

I am normally not overly fond of Christmas books or books that center on cowboys, but this drew me in because you could take it out of the ranch setting and it would read just as strongly because of the amazing characters and the connection that you feel to them. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed both the hero and the heroine. They were both strongly created characters with these human flaws they had to work through and both had valid reasons why they did or acted as they did.

The plot was solid and fast-paced and while it was mainly focused on romance the author entwined a touch of hearth and home into the book in the form of Lucas’ family, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The only thing that was a bit off-kilter for me was the fact that all animals seemed to flock to Joshua, Natalie’s baby, as if he was St. Francis of Assisi. Other than that little oddity, the book was an intriguing little read.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter Wonderland Pictures

I’ve never really been one for winter—probably because I live in Ohio in an old Victorian house where, at times, you can see your breath upstairs and the downstairs isn’t much warmer even with the fireplace roaring and the heat up to 90—but this year, I’ve been finding the snow rather enchanting—plus it gives me a chance to play with my camera. I’ll admit it; I’m a bit of a shutterbug!

So, here is a few shots I snapped in the back garden!




Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

This month’s host is Rose City Reader

On Rose City Reader’s master post for Mailbox Monday Gilion asked the following question: Will you give books as gifts this year? Which ones? Please share!

I love giving—and receiving—books as Christmas gifts. It has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember to do a book exchange for Christmas, usually on Christmas Eve provided the weather is cooperating and we can all get together.

Last year I received this amazing basket filled with tea and books. So this year I thought that I would do the same and gift the person whose name I received a book basket. I think my theme will be classic books, although that is all that I am saying as the person who will be receiving the basket reads my blog.

Here is what I received in my mailbox:

 For review:

One of the many things that I received this week was a $5 Amazon gift card so I purchase the following e-books:

I also received two more Amazon gift cards ($25 and $50) which will be going to feed my book addiction! I would also like to say thank you to the anonymous person who sent me the $25 Amazon card!

What’s coming up on Simply Angela: I’ve been reading a ton of Christmas books and this week I will be sharing some of them. My dvr is practically bursting with Christmas cheer and as the weekend was filled with nothing but snow and ice, I’ve had some time to actually watch them, so I will be sharing those as well! What lovelies arrived in your mailbox?
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The Sunday Salon: Where has the creativity gone?

Oh how I’ve missed you Sunday Salon post. With my crazy schedule this year I haven’t been able blether to you like I’ve wanted! Now that I’m back on track we can share a pot of tea and have a lovely wee chat!

I have a question for all you lovelies out there in bloglandia: Is originality, creativity, and the ability to have an independent thought dead? Has it been replaced by the effortless and ignominious act of nicking someone else’s work and claiming it as your own? Have people become so lackluster in their thoughts that they have to encroach on someone else’s work? Because I’ve been seeing a horrible trend as of late where the content from one blog has appeared nearly verbatim on another nonrelated blog, sure the font has been changed, but the content remains the same, and I not going to be naming names or pointing fingers, but shouldn’t bloggers respect one another’s post and content enough not to abscond with it then claim it’s their own?

While this hasn’t happened to me, I’ve noticed it when reading other blogs. Just take this morning for instance, I was reading through a blog post that was published Friday on a blog that was less than a few months old. As I was reading through the post, I had an odd feeling that I had read this before. Having a vague recollection where I might have read it at, I searched through the archives of a rather well known blog and sure enough there was the post I had been reading. It had been published (complete with time-stamped comments that verified the post was posted on the date listed) years before the post on the newbie blog which claimed the content as their own.

And it’s not only blog posts and reviews. It’s review/blog policies, rating systems, and—my absolute favorite—disclaimers stating that if you nick this content you will be punished (but they fail to mention that they nicked it from the blog they just read).

So my final question to you my lovelies would be: If we, the readers, see that content had been nicked from another blog/website, what should we do? I’ve had numerous discussions with family and friends about this same topic and I would love to hear your answers.
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Friday, December 6, 2013

Welcome to Simply Angela

Hello Lovelies!

Welcome to Simply Angela!

I hope that you are all warm, happy, and healthy with a tbr pile that would make others envious!

As you may have noticed, Renee’s Reads is no more—well, at least the title and url—the blog still remains, it’s just under a different name, Simply Angela, and url. When I started Renee’s Reads my focus was solely on book reviews—and I am still going to have a wealth of book reviews as well as book/author related content on Simply Angela—but over the years my style of blogging has changed and I thought a name change for my blog was very apropos.

My posting has been sporadic and spare, but I intend for that change since I have Royal Reviews finally under control.

Now, for a bit of an update!

Winter storm Cleon has made its way to Ohio. My part of Ohio has been getting rain on and off all morning and finally gave way to snow. It’s a bit daunting when the weathermen are even afraid to predict how much ice and snow we will get. As schools in the area have already been called off, everyone is looking for things to get pretty bad fairly fast as was apparent in the craziness of the stores this morning. Apparently everyone was in a mad rush to buy the needed supplies. As long as I have a way to heat up water for tea and batteries for my reading light, I’m fine! (I know, I’m a bit odd…but as long as I have a hot cuppa—or preferably a pot of— tea and a book, I can withstand just about anything.)

In bloglandia, I recently joined two amazing reading challenges: 2014 Full House Reading challenge hosted by Book Date and Lucky No. 14 Reading Challenge hosted by Books To Share. If I find another one or two that catches my fancy, I may join—it just depends. I thought they would be a great way to cut down my trb pile, which has turned into a tbr mountain. If I’m being honest, my tbr read pile mountain has grown so rapidly pretty soon it will be getting its own zip code, and those are just the books I’ve purchased!

Next week, I will have a few Christmas related reviews, so make sure you check back to see what reviews I post and goodies I have to offer!
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lucky No. 14 Reading Challenge

Time Frame: January 1st to December 31st 2014
Host: Books To Share

The Challenge:

Read 1 book in each of the 14 categories


1. Visit The Country: Read a book that has setting in a country that you really want to visit in real life. Make sure the setting has a big role in the book and it can make you know a little bit more about your dream destination.

2. Cover Lust: Pick a book from your shelf that you bought because you fell in love with the cover. Is the content as good as the cover?

3. Blame it on Bloggers: Read a book because you’ve read the sparkling reviews from other bloggers. Don’t forget to mention the blogger’s names too!

4. Bargain All The Way: Ever buying a book because it’s so cheap you don’t really care about the content? Now it’s time to open the book and find out whether it’s really worth your cents.

5. (Not So) Fresh From the Oven: Do you remember you bought/got a new released book last year but never had a chance to read it? Dig it from your pile and bring back the 2013.

6. First Letter’s Rule: Read a book which title begins with the same letter as your name (for me, Angela means A, and I can read anything that started with the letter A). Remember: Articles like “a”, “an” or “the” doesn’t count :)

7. Once Upon a Time: Choose a book that’s been published for the first time before you were born (not necessarily has to be a classic book, just something a little bit older than you is okay. You can read the most recent edition if you want to)

8. Chunky Brick: Take a deep breath, and read a book that has more than 500 pages. Yep, the one that you’ve always been afraid of!

9. Favorite Author: You like their books, but there are too many titles. This is your chance, choose a book that’s been written by your favorite author but you haven’t got time to read it before.

10. It’s Been There Forever: Pick up a book that has been there on your shelf for more than a year, clean up the dust and start to read it now :)

11. Movies vs Books: You’ve seen the movie adaptation (or planned to see it soon) but never had time to read the book. It’s time to read it now, so you can compare the book vs the movie.

12. Freebies Time: What’s the LAST free book you’ve got? Whether it’s from giveaway, a birthday gift or a surprise from someone special, don’t hold back any longer. Open the book and start reading it now :D

13. Not My Cup of Tea: Reach out to a genre that you’ve never tried (or probably just disliked) before. Whether it’s a romance, horror or non fiction, maybe you will find a hidden gem!

14. Walking Down The Memory Lane: Ever had a book that you loved so much as a kid? Or a book that you wish you could read when you were just a child? Grab it now and prepare for a wonderful journey to the past :) Comic books or graphic novels are allowed!

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