Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Where The Heck Have I Been?


An explanation. A reason. A clue as to what has been going on.

These are all things that I feel I owe you all... a small few know that my life has changed drastically in the last couple of years and the reason that I kept it from social media is because I was going through it and life was rapidly changing and I didn't feel at the time that I owed anyone an explanation. Now that some time has passed and life has moved forward (all for the better), I feel like I have a moment to sit down, breathe and say a few words.

In large part, I went through a breakup and divorce in 2015-2016. It was unexpected and it was all-encompassing and entirely painful. I was a stay-at-home mom with two small children and I had no idea what was going to become of my life. I was scared, afraid and very alone. The grief and loss was insurmountable and I didn't know how I was going to get my daughters and myself through it.

Fast-forward to finding a job, the biggest saving grace of my journey. I returned to work with the help of friends and my church family, who offered to help me with childcare. I was tired, exhausted and emotionally numb. But I kept going, kept showing up to work, and eventually found my place in the world.

I've been back at work almost 2 years now and I wouldn't change it for anything. I am a social worker working with children and families and it's challenging work but meaningful work. It has pushed me back outside of the comfort zone I had become accustomed to and I also found the best group of women in my coworkers and they are my family now.

I had resolved myself to be alone, that I would not find anyone and would not look for anyone until my girls were older and had planned to focus all my attention and time on them alone. My best friend was concerned about this (and she should've been :P) and challenged me to go on three dates and see if I couldn't find someone or at least believe in love again.

The first date was fine, a nice guy who was kind but not quite for me. The second date was Isaac, my now-husband. It was instant, it was all at once and it was not what I was expecting. I didn't believe I would get a second-chance at love and be able to share my life with someone and it happened when I was least expecting it. We've been married over a year now and in addition to my amazing husband I also got two amazing sons, my sweet boys.

We are a Brady Bunch sort of crew, making it work and blending our families. Is it complicated at times? Yes. Is it challenging at times? Yes. It is worth it? 100% yes.

What I realized through my journey of loss and then growth is that I am not responsible for another person's actions. I wasted a lot of time trying to fix things that were too broken and to change things that weren't able to be changed. Once I stopped and embraced my present, and I started living my life in today, I realized I was blessed beyond measure and that life was only going to get better.

I have four kids now, ages 4, 6, 8 and 10. I have a husband whom I adore and admire entirely. I have a job that is challenging and fulfilling and a group of friends who are loyal and true.


We have been VERY busy the last 4-5 months in the house-hunting and buying process. We moved into our new home (pictures will be coming soon) at the end of February and finally have enough room for our whole crew!

Long story short, life has had hurdles but has had more blessings that I can count. I am thankful, I am happy and I am healthier in heart and spirit than I have ever been in my entire life.

I want to share this for those of you who wanted to know what has been going on, why I am not here as much and also for those of you who are struggling with a broken situation. YOU are not broken and YOU are not defined by your circumstance or how someone else sees you. YOU are worth it and YOU are infinitely stronger than you think.

When things are tough, keep pushing through. Keep fighting for yourself and believe in the process of change.

In terms of coming back to BookTube, I am considering it. I am MUCH more busy than I was previously and I read less, work more and have a lot more people to balance in my life. I am working on a schedule and what I feel might be possible. I have heard you guys asking for me to come back and I can't tell you how good that makes me feel! I have missed you all so much and I am glad to be coming back into the community.

I love you all!

xo, Shannon

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Addicted Series Pt. 1 by Becca & Krista Ritchie

Addicted Series Pt. 1

Addcited to You #1 | Ricochet #1.5 | Addicted for Now #2

by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Publication Date: June 14th, 2013 | August 1st, 2013 | November 30th, 2013
Publisher: K.B. Ritchie
Available to purchase:
Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Audible
She's addicted to sex. He's addicted to booze...the only way out is rock bottom.
No one would suspect shy Lily Calloway's biggest secret. While everyone is dancing at college bars, Lily stays in the bathroom. To get laid. Her compulsion leads her to one-night stands, steamy hookups and events she shamefully regrets. The only person who knows her secret happens to have one of his own.
Loren Hale's best friend is his bottle of bourbon. Lily comes at a close second. For three years, they've pretended to be in a real relationship, hiding their addictions from their families. They've mastered the art of concealing flasks and random guys that filter in and out of their apartment.
But as they sink beneath the weight of their addictions, they cling harder to their destructive relationship and wonder if a life together, for real, is better than a lie. Strangers and family begin to infiltrate their guarded lives, and with new challenges, they realize they may not just be addicted to alcohol and sex.

Their real vice may be each other.
I did a video review for the first book in the series, back when I first read in in January 2016, so I will link here if you are interested (spoilers start around the 5 min mark):

Oh this series. I'm going to tell you right now: I'm trash for it.

I love all the characters and while it does fall into the GENRE of new adult, I don't find it fall victim to the tropes. Not fully. Krista and Becca Ritchie has this genius way of giving you everything you want from a new adult book without crossing over into clicheville or boringtown, USA. I find the romance in these books refreshing.

We have the original ADDICTED series, which centers around Loren Hale and Lily Calloway, and then the CALLOWAY SISTERS series, which centers around Lily's two other sisters and their romantic interests: Rose Calloway & Daisy Calloway. This review talks about the first *three* books in the ADDICTED series, focusing in on Loren and Lily.

The first thing I will tell you that is great for you if you are wanting to TRY the series, is that the first books, Addicted to You, is FREE on pretty much all e-book platforms. That's how I got it and read it and I'm really glad, because it's a Pandora's box of awesome. But judging from the cover along, I REALLY was not sure I wanted to read this series. It looks hot and heavy, which is not a bad thing, but the covers do border on cheesy (just being honest). However, I am SO GLAD I picked up the first book because I am so hooked.

Lily and Lo are addicts and their story is addictING (see what I did... okay, enough Shannon). I found reading from the perspective of an admitted sex addict so riveting. I never stopped to think that there are real men and women who don't WANT to be this way. It's not always something they are proud of, and it doesn't mean they are horrible people with loose morals. Compulsions are very hard to kick, especially when your brain doesn't function properly and there are chemicals raging through your mind that tell you, you NEED this to survive. Watching Lily journey through her addiction was educational and eye-opening, to say the least.

And my sweet, sweet Lo. Loren Hale is a twenty-something addict that acts like a 20-year drunken veteran. His addiction to alcohol is terrifying and all-consuming. And while he's the romantic love interest for Lily, I was happy he wasn't romanticized. His problem was called out for being just that: a problem. It wasn't brushed over but it also wasn't a nail in his hands. Seeing him and Lily try to protect each other while suffering themselves was a classic definition of toxic. BUT. I enjoyed seeing their growth. I think it's important to note that I don't think we can "save" people from their addiction, and I don't think LOVE is a healthy reason to try and become sober from any addiction: it needs to be because the addict WANTS/NEEDS it for their own sanity, not someone else's.

The first book has been the strongest so far. I didn't love the 1.5 books, Ricochet, very much because it felt just what it was, very in-between. It didn't give me enough new content. However, I did enjoy book #2 a lot more again as well and I loved getting to know the side characters more, as they are main characters for the other series in this... series (it's complicated).

Overall, I highly recommend this series from what I've read so far. It is NEW ADULT, so it's not for the kiddos out there and I would recommend you be 18 years or older before you read it due to it's mature themes and content. But I do recommend. It's one the best new adult series I've read.

Addicted to You 4.5 out of 5 stars!
Ricochet 3.75 out of 5 stars!
Addicted for Now 4 out of 5 stars!

The 5th Wave Trilogy by Rick Yancey (SERIES REVIEW)

The 5th Wave Trilogy

The 5th Wave | The Infinite Sea | The Last Star

by Rick Yancey

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Publication Date: May 7, 2013 | Sept 16, 2014 | May 24, 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780399162411 | 9780399162428 | 9780399162435
Available to purchase:
Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Audible
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
My experience with the 5th Wave trilogy has been a rollercoaster ride, to say the least. I went from really enjoying the first book to loathing the second book, to actually liking the third and final book, which surprised me more than anyone.

I think Rick Yancey has a great story here and I really love Cassie as a main character. I think the overarching plot is good and the side characters are strong. HOWEVER, I think this series from too many cooks in the kitchen. Meaning, there was too much going on to adequately fit in a trilogy. And while I enjoyed each different plot line running through the series, that's just it: it felt like a bunch of different plot lines running through the series. If the series had been longer, or split up into a first series and then a spin-off series, I think it would have worked better. But the constant switching of perspectives, while can be effective in some instances, worked against the series as a whole, in my opinion.

All that being said, I did enjoy how the series ended. I thought it was fitting and brave and I was glad to see Rick Yancey "go there," for lack of a better term. He didn't wrap everything up too nicely and it felt more genuine and realistic than many YA stories I have read.

However, I do have to say that The Infinite Sea (book 2) was a hot mess. I did not enjoy a single page and I'm not even sure the book had a point. If you had taken one or maybe two minor things from the second books and divvied it up between books 1 & 3, making the series a duology, I think it would have been much more effective and efficient.

So all in all, I would recommend this series. I think that if you are not into aliens or teen romance, steer clear, but otherwise, I think it's worth taking a crack at. The books are quite heavy in language, so if that bothers you, this is not the YA series for you... so you've been warned. But there is a fun cast of characters and a story running throughout that you probably haven't read before!

Overall, I am satisfied with my reading experience.

The Fifth Wave: 4 out of 5 stars
The Infinite Sea: 2 out of 5 stars
The Last Star: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #8 | The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes

The Darkest Magic

A Book of Spirits and Thieves, Book 2 by Morgan Rhodes
Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
ISBN: 9781595147615

Available for pre-order:
Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

*DISCLAIMER: The Darkest Magic is the second book in a series and therefore the synopsis may contain spoilers for the previous book in the series.
Modern-day Toronto: Sisters Crystal and Becca Hatcher are reunited after reclaiming the Bronze Codex and narrowly escaping death. They have no one to trust but each other, and the only thing keeping them safe is the book that sent Becca's spirit to Ancient Mytica--the same book that their enemies would kill them for.

Ancient Mytica: Maddox grapples to keep his newly discovered powers under control, while the ruthless goddess Valoria hunts him down.

Modern-day Toronto: Farrell embraces his dark side as he unwittingly falls further under the spell of Markus, the mastermind leader of the nefarious Hawkspear Society, who will stop at nothing to find Crys and Becca--and the remarkable book in their possession.
I really love the entire Falling Kingdoms world.
A Book of Spirits and Thieves was a pleasant surprise, blending modern day with the ancient adventures in Mytica. 
This second series by Morgan basically melds the amazing world of FK and blends it with a modern urban fantasy feel. 
The Darkest Magic comes out next month and I am desperately waiting!!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

*Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #7 | The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

The Beauty of Darkness

The Remnant Chronicles, Book 3by Mary E. Pearson
Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
ISBN: 9780805099256

Available for pre-order:
Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

*DISCLAIMER: The Beauty of Darkness is the third and final book in a series and therefore the synopsis may contain spoilers for the previous books in the series.
Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous - what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.
Bestselling author Mary E. Pearson's combination of intrigue, suspense, romance and action make this a riveting page turner for teens.
The Remnant Chronicles is one of my all-time favorite series.
I was blown away by The Kiss of Deception and then floored by The Heart of Betrayal.
Mary E. Pearson is a phenomenal writer who's epic story just pulls me in.
This is one of my most anticipated releases and finales of the entire year!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

*Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine. 

#TBRTakedown 3.5 RECAP

So #TBRTakedown 3.5 came and went and yes, I didn't blog about it. 
I feel terrible for those of you who are readers and viewers. I apologize.
Life has been crazy busy and all over the place lately and I just haven't had the time to sit down and write and also film/edit/upload.

So here are the videos I posted related to #TBRTakedown 3.5 and the books I read:

And the books:

Starflight by Melissa Landers

Status: Completed
Pages: 224
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (JK Rowling)

Status: Completed
Pages: 120
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

Status: Completed
Pages: 426
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang

Status: Completed
Pages: 287
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern

Status: Started
Pages: 23 pages
Rating: ----


Until next time, #TBRTakedown!

(#TBRTakedown 4.0 will be in summer 2017)

Forgive Me, Blog.

My poor blog, how I have abandoned thee. 
I apologize.
 Please forgive me. 
Let's spend some time together today. 
I'll make up for it. 

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