Monthly wrap-up: March

Ugh. March was rough. Really, really rough. I had a hard time reading; I had difficulty blogging. The good news is that I am over my slump, and I've got TLA coming up in a couple weeks so things are looking GOOD! Hope your March was better than mine & that April will better!

Looking back...
List of March reads

Noelle August - Boomerang (Boomerang #1)
Romily Bernard - Find Me (Find Me #1)
Jessica Brody - Unremembered (Unremembered #1)
Meg Cabot - Airhead (Airhead #1) audiobook
Jen Calonita - Summer State of Mind (Whispering Pines #2)
Kiera Cass - The Elite (The Selection #2)
Emery Lord - Open Road Summer
Stephanie Perkins - Lola & the Boy Next Door (Anna #2) audiobook
Courtney C. Stevens - "The Blue-Haired Boy" (Faking Normal #0.5)
Tamara Ireland Stone - Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1)

Looking ahead...
April releases I'm excited about:

Salvage - Alexandra Duncan: 1st
Dorothy Must Die - Danielle Paige: 1st
Dreams of Gods and Monsters - Laini Taylor: 8th
The Treatment - Suzanne Young: 8th
Noggin - John Corey Whaley: 8th
Great - Sara Benincasa: 8th
Plus One - Elizabeth Fama: 8th
The Forever Song - Julie Kagawa: 15th
The Geography of You and Me - Jennifer E. Smith: 15th
What I Thought Was True - Huntley Fitzpatrick: 15th
Open Road Summer - Emery Lord: 15th
Prisoner of Night & Fog - Anne Blankman
To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han: 22nd
Summer State of Mind - Jen Calonita: 22nd
In the Shadows - Kiersten White & Jim Di Bartolo: 29th
Sleep No More - Aprilynne Pike: 29th
Camp Payback - J.K. Rock: 29th

April TBR:
The Taking - Kimberly Derting
Sea of Shadows - Kelley Armstrong
Wish You Were Italian - Kristin Rae
The Girl with the Windup Heart - Kady Cross
The Rules for Disappearing - Ashley Elston
The Rules for Breaking - Ashley Elston
Nantucket Red - Leila Howland

Resolution Progress:
You can check out my full resolution post HERE, but I'm just going to gloss over these really quickly.
1. Post more reviews: Safe to say I failed at this miserably.
2. Create a backlist for schedule-able reviews: So. Much. Fail.
3. Read 150 books: 43. I'm ahead of pace, but not by much. This month really killed it!
4. Reread 20 books: I believe I am at 11.
5. Listen to 20 audiobooks: 10. Halfway there!
6. Read 5 classics: Ugh. More fail. 
7. Blog redesign: There is currently one major roadblock to completing this goal so I'm going to aim for August on this one.
8. Make more blogger friends: I have made a lot more friends, but March slowed my roll. The good news is that I've become closer to the ones I do have. Hoping April will be better, especially since I'm going to TLA soon and can meet some of them in person!
9. Read at the gym:My gym was too expensive so screw that. Gotta go back to the drawing board on this one.
10. Be more organized: Nope nope nope.

Challenge Progress:
I signed up for a LOT of challenges this year. I wondered if I was crazy or suddenly decided I liked masochism, but so far, it's going really well. The good thing is that some of my books count for multiple challenges, which is really helpful. You can check out the full details of my challenges HERE or track my progress in the challenges tab at the top, but here's a quick rundown on where I am today:

2014 New Challenges:
Standalone Challenge: 6/15
Series Challenge: 14/12 COMPLETED!
Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge: 15/25 I'm working on actually getting the reviews done for these now
Real Book Challenge: 19 of 21-30
Jumble Your Genres Challenge: 2/12 I missed March :(
TBR Pile Challenge: 20 of 11-20 BAM! Time to up that goal!
A-Z Challenge: 7/26

Challenges already in progress:
50 State Challenge: 33/52
50 Countries Challenge: 19/50
YA Challenge: 7/25

Cress Tour Recap

When Macmillan announced Marissa Meyer's Cress tour, I was excited to see that she was visiting Texas, but disappointed that it seemed she was going to hit stops in Austin and Houston, but not Dallas. I made up my mind to go to the Austin stop. Then, when I was wandering around her website, I noticed she was indeed going to be stopping by Dallas, at a B&N in nearby Lewisville. I added that to the list, and since I'm good friends with many of the Austin folks, I decided to go to both!

This is a full recap of two events and honestly is pretty long so it's going under the cut.

Weekly wrap-up: March 23-29

Thanks to some excellent books and one Friday of reading at work while there wasn't much for me to do otherwise has led to a very productive week! I kind of let myself take the week off from blogging so I could focus on falling back in love with books. I'm very glad to say it worked! Has your reading week been a good one? What are you loving right now?

Find Me (Find Me #1) - Romily Bernard: 4 stars. I found the mystery a little less mysterious than I'd have liked, but overall, I was really impressed with this book. I'm also surprised that it seems like this series is a bit more...serial than others (wow, I'm not good with the descriptors on this one!). Definitely looking forward to Remember Me.
Open Road Summer - Emery Lord: 5 stars. This is it. This is the book that has really rescued me from my horrible reading slump! I love love love love love this book!
Boomerang (Boomerang #1) - Noelle August: 5 stars. This is the kind of book that other new adult novels wish they could be! SO well done!
Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1) - Tamara Ireland Stone: 3 stars. Very cute story, but a bit been there done that and I think a little too long for what it is.

Currently Reading:
The Elite (The Selection #2) - Kiera Cass: 62% complete. This middle book is doing a very good job of keeping me into the story. So much drama!!

New to my bookshelf this week:

Side Effects May Vary - Julie Murphy (B&N)
Racing Savannah - Miranda Kenneally (B&N)
A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray (HPB)
Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson (HPB)

March Madness! (but not a good kind)

Hey, friends!

Some of you may be wondering where the heck I've been. Sure, I've posted in the past few days, but I did two cover reveals and two memes, and I completely skipped a few days. Well, there are a few reasons that have contributed into a ginormous snowball from Hell of "Mary doesn't want to blog right now."

Reason 1: This is the biggest contributor to my March blahs, but I have been utterly uninspired this month. There are three novels I've been reading for weeks, but I haven't finished any of them because I just couldn't get into them entirely. I haven't felt like reading. I haven't felt like writing. Basically, I haven't felt like doing blog-type work at all this month because my tank has been pretty low. This wouldn't have been a problem if I'd maintained my posts for Event Recap Month, but....

Reason 2: I cancelled Event Recap Month. This reason itself is the effect of some less-than-pleasant factors, but it boils down to the fact that Event Recap Month ended up not being as awesome as I had hoped it would be. It just wasn't working how I wanted it to so I unscheduled all the posts I had planned. This left me with very little scheduled content and none of it original. As reason 1 points out, I was out of creative juice this month. I could have scrambled to punch out some reviews, but I feared they wouldn't be quality posts. I once read blog advice that said you should put out something rather than nothing, just to get views or whatever, but I don't like that advice. I want my readers, you guys, to have quality material to peruse. I'd rather take a few mental health days of silence rahter than post meaningless drivel.

Reason 3: Hulu Plus. Since I was having a really hard time reading, I got hooked on a few shows. I watched all of Brooklyn Nine Nine in a week and am now all caught up on Star-Crossed. I think it was good that I cleansed my palate with some tv because it left me hungry for new books!

Reason 4: Real life got in the way. You know how it is. 

BUT there is some good news on the horizon!

Good news 1: I just read two great books in a row! Seriously, I'm feeling better already about upcoming reviews because I have things to say!

Good news 2: I'm finally ready to launch my new features! I announced Mary's Minute and Audio Adventures way back at the beginning of February, but with all the traveling I did, it wasn't a good time to launch them. March obviously wasn't good either, but it's finally the right time. Guys, I am so excited about these two additions to the blog! I enjoy memes, but these will be regular features that are all mine!

Good news 3: TLA 2014 is coming up in a week and a half! If you weren't around last year, TLA 2013 is what really kicked me into gear to be a better blogger. The first four months were pretty rough, but TLA opened my eyes to so many possibilities! It was absolutely the best experience, and I can't wait to attend this year!

Good news 4: I can FINALLY share my most awesome news with you guys! I've had to sit on this news for a while so it feels weird to put out publicly, but here goes! The Dark Days of Summer tour is coming to Dallas, and I get to moderate the panel!

So even though March has been pretty meh, I've got a lot of things to look forward to, and I hope you guys are just as excited as I am! Thank you so much for all your support and for hanging in here with me during all the blah days. I can't promise it won't happen again, but I'm going to do my best to...well, do my best! Blogging is a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be. There are so many things I never considered when I started. At times, I just want to pack it in and be done, but I'm glad that I have been able to keep with it, and I wouldn't have been able to if I didn't have you guys backing me up. So, really, truly, thank you.


Cover Reveal: My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris

I'm so excitedto get to share the cover to the third book in Rachel Harris's adorable My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century series, My Not So Super Sweet Life with you today! I love this series, and I have been waiting for this book for a LOOOONG time!

My Not So Super Sweet Life
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #3
by Rachel Harris
April 21, 2014
Entangled Teen


Cat Crawford just wants to be normal—or at least as normal as a daughter of Hollywood royalty can be. And it looks like fate is granting her wish: she’s got an amazing boyfriend, Lucas; her fabulous cousin, Alessandra, living with her; and her dad planning his second marriage to a great future stepmom. That is, until her prodigal mother reveals on national television that she has something important to tell her daughter…causing a media frenzy.

Lucas Capelli knows his fate is to be with Cat, and he’s worked hard to win her over once and for all. Unfortunately, Lucas has his own issues to deal with, including a scandal that could take him away from the first place he’s truly belonged.

As secrets are revealed, rumors explode, and the world watches, Cat and Lucas discover it’s not fate they have to fight if they want to stay together…this time, it’s their own insecurities.

Well, and the stalkerazzi.

Pre-Order Links:
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I love this adorable cover! I think it fits perfectly with the covers of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century and A Tale of Two Centuries, and I'm REALLY excited to finally read Cat and Lucas from their povs, not just Alessandra's. I've read the first couple chapters, and they are REALLY good! To keep you going for the next month, here's a little teaser for you!

Cat's story begins in the Sixteenth Century!
Pub Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: young adult contemporary/historical romance
Summary: On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore. Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

Available from:
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Check out Alessandra's two century tale in book 2!
Pub Date: August 6, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: young adult contemporary romance
Summary: Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.

One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.

With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?

Available from:
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Check out my 4 star review of A Tale of Two Centuries here!

About the Author
Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Emotion, vibrant settings, and strong families are a staple in each of her books...and kissing. Lots of kissing.

A Cajun cowgirl now living in Houston, she firmly believes life's problems can be solved with a hot, sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations. She homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches way too much Food Network with her amazing husband.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and losing herself in story. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!
Author Links:

Cover reveal brought to you by:
The Flirt Squad, yo!

Bonus teaser:

Waiting on Wednesday: Since You've Been Gone

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.


Since You've Been Gone
by Morgan Matson
Simon & Schuster
Coming May 6, 2014

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait... what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um...

Why I want it:
I haven't read either of Morgan Matson's other books yet, but they both come highly recommended. Plus, I'm liking the whole bucket list trend going on right now. I've always been the kind of person with a list of things I want to do in my life so it's really cool and inspiring to read about characters checking things off.

Why I think you should want it:
Again, Morgan Matson is a highly recommended author. Plus cool premise that promises hijinks.

Have you read Amy & Roger's Epic Detour or Second Chance Summer? Did you like them and which should I read first? Does Since You've Been Gone sound like a book for you? Please share your thoughts and WoW picks & links in the comments!

Book Launch: No Regrets Box Set

Today is the launch for Lauren Blakely's No Regrets box set featuring The Thrill of It, The Start of Us, and Every Second With You! Check out Lauren's awesome launch giveaway—and a surprise announcement below!

Author: Lauren Blakely
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: Lauren Blakely Books
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
Status: trilogy collection

Summary: The No Regrets box set brings together The Thrill of It, The Start of Us, and Every Second With You, three amazing new adult novels by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Blakely. 

The Thrill of It: A new adult story of Love. Sex. Addiction. Blackmail. And Power... 

When Harley and Trey meet again in love addiction recovery, they must confront all their temptations, as well as her damaged, broken past and his dark family secrets, before they face the question -- how do you love with no regrets when regret is all you know?

The Start of Us: A new adult story of First Times. Last Times. Connections. And No Regrets... 

When Harley first meets Trey, she only wants a tattoo. What she gets is the most intense connection she's ever had. Trey can't forget her either and doesn't want to let her go. How can one night be the start of something when tomorrow it has to end?

Every Second With You: A new adult story of Sex. Love. Addiction. Heartache. Pain. And Hope. 

Harley and Trey face new challenges that will make battling blackmail, sex addiction, and a virgin call girl past look easy…

Book Buy Links:
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The No Regrets box set is available now for only 99¢! But don't wait too long. This deal is only available for a limited time!


Lauren is giving away SIGNED paperbacks of The Thrill of It and Every Second With You to one lucky winner! This giveaway is open internationally and ends on April 1. Good luck!
Now, Lauren has a surprise for you: a new book! Continuing the Caught Up in Love series, Stars in Their Eyes tells the story of Bryan's sister Jess, who is a fan of movies and is putting herself through college as a celebrity photographer. From Lauren: "I'm so excited to bring you more of these characters and introduce readers to the "west coast" side of the Caught Up in Love cast of characters and friends! Kat & Bryan will both appear in this story and you'll also get to meet Matthew Harrigan's brother who lives in LA (you know this if you read Far Too Tempting)."

Stars in Their Eyes
Caught Up In Love #5
by Lauren Blakely
August 10, 2014
Lauren Blakely Books


Celebrity photographer-in-training Jess Leighton desperately needs to crash the wedding of the year. Snapping just one pic of the A-list Hollywood couple tying the knot will pay her way through school, but with security tighter than the bride-to-be's corset, she'll  need more than her camera and smarts - she'll need help from her biggest rival, William Harrigan. Hot, motorcycle-riding Will is the last person Jess trusts, but he's her only ticket in. Good-looking, charming, and

British, he's a triple threat. And he's got that sexy accent to boot. Soon, sparks are flying off-screen and in front of the cameras as they devise a plan to sneak into the ceremony. But when Jess' new celebrity client raises the stakes with a photo shoot of the maid-of-honor, she wonders if she's in over her head. Blackmail, botox, and the worst Breakfast Club remake in the world? It's all in a whirlwind week's work in Hollywood. The audience loves a happy ending, but in a town where everyone's acting and no one's playing on the same team, can Jess find her own ever after in time?

Stars in Their Eyes is book 5 in the Caught Up in Love series but can be read as a standalone.

Pre-Order Links:

Get Caught Up on the whole series!  


*Note 1: Caught Up in Him is the prequel novella to Caught Up in Us
*Note 2: Far Too Tempting is not part of the Caught Up in Love series, but I 
included it here as it does relate to the characters & events of Stars in Their Eyes.

About the Author:
Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. Her novels include Caught Up In UsPretending He’s MinePlaying With Her Heart, and Trophy Husband. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.

Author Links:
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Launch & cover reveal organized by: