Book Review: It Had to Be Them by Tamra Baumann

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 4 of It Had to Be… series


Ben Anderson is Anderson Butte’s (handsome) town doctor. He’s always being set up, but this time it’s different. His ex-fiance, Kline, is back in town. And the entire town (half of which seems to be family) is convinced they belong together.

What I Liked

  • Another cute book to finish off the series.
  • I liked seeing the characters from the rest of the series pop up within this one. Anderson Butte (which is named after Ben’s family) is a tight-knit community where everyone is in everyone else’s business.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The book wasn’t very memorable. A cute addition, for sure, but not very different from any other romance novel.

In Conclusion

If you’ve loved the It Had to Be… series so far then you’ll love this final novel.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)


Book Review: Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gullege

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


This graphic novel follows high schooler Paige Turner as she works to push beyond her comfort zone – both as an artist and as a person. She’s just moved to New York and buys a sketchbook to challenge herself to be a better artist. Along the way she makes discoveries about herself and the world around her, and we (the readers) get to follow along.

What I Liked

  • I loved the art in this book. The comic itself is beautiful, but I love how the author incorporated a lot of out of the box ideas into the book. We see Paige’s story intertwined with fun sketches and ideas from her sketchbook. The author also includes artwork from a couple others, which pops out in a fun way because they are usually in a different style.
  • This was just a happy, feel-good story. There’s a touch of romance, and the main character is constantly working to improve herself by doing things that make her uncomfortable. While it reads like a coming-of-age story, it seems very relatable to life as a whole (or at least to me, in my late twenties).

My Favorite Lines/Pages

(This book didn’t have page numbers, so I don’t have those for you.)

  • There’s an image at the beginning where Paige goes to school. Across the building there is a banner that says BE AN EXTROVERT, as the artist’s way of showing the pressure Paige is feeling when walking into this world. I liked this because I feel that’s a common pressure, especially for those with social anxiety. I also liked this because (spoiler in white, highlight to read) at the end of the book this image reappeared, but the banner had a new one over it that read BE A PAIGE. (Be yourself! I love that the character grew into herself throughout the book.)
  • “It’s up to me to sculpt myself into who I want to be…”
  • “Okay, so maybe I am self-absorbed. But who isn’t? When someone looks at one of my drawings, it reflects back THEM. Not me.” (This made me laugh because it’s totally true.
  • There’s an image where she’s holding a large heart (representing dating/romance) and is surrounded by banana peels. Like she’s afraid one wrong step will screw everything up.

What I Didn’t Like

  • It was a little cliche. But it the creativity and artistry makes up for that.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a beautiful and fun graphic novel about someone discovering themself, this is the book for you.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)


(affiliate link)


June 2018 TBR

I want to read like crazy this month! So here’s my (probably over-ambitious) to-read list for June. It is a combination of:

  1. Books that I checked out of the library and therefore have due dates/deadlines to be read.
  2. Books available through Kindle Unlimited, since I cancelled my subscription and I’ve only got like a week or so left of it.
  3. Books that are a part of my county’s summer reading program. (Which is AWESOME!! If you live in Maricopa County in Arizona, you can check it out here. And if you don’t live in Maricopa County, you’ll probably see me blog about it some anyways. :D)

(Clicking on a picture will take you to Amazon through an affiliate link. Links are affiliate links as well.)

Remedial Rocket Science by Susannah Nix

A Kindle Unlimited book I want to read.

Not Quite Enough, Not Quite Forever, Not Quite Perfect, and Not Quite Crazy by Catherine Bybee

A series I want to finish, also available through Kindle Unlimited.

All Summer Long by Melody Carlson

I really enjoy reading Melody Carlson’s books, but she writes them faster than I can read them! Time for me to try and catch up. 😀

Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

A series I would like to finish, as part of my goal this year to finish a bunch of series.

See How They Run by Ally Carter

Another series I need to catch up on.

The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility by Laurie Leach

I’m like halfway through this one but haven’t finished it yet. At this point I think my dog just needs basic obedience lessons…

Ms. Marvel Vol. 3, Crushed by G. Willow Wilson

Next in the series!

Fast Food Genocide by Joel Fuhrman and Robert Phillips

So the summer reading program has bonus points for completing certain activities and reading certain books. This book (which I wanted to read anyway, since I’ve been trying to read more about food) gets me bonus points for the A Cooking Summer challenge

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

This book gets bonus points towards the Zombie challenge. (It was also already on my TBR.)

Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

This book gets bonus points towards the YA Mixed Tape challenge.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

This book (as well as the one below) also gets bonus points towards the YA Mixed Tape challenge.

Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail

Rocas y Minerales by R. Symes

This gets bonus points towards the Do You Even Rock? challenge.

Si un brontosaurio… by Katherine Mead

This gets bonus points towards the Dinosaur challenge.



So there you have it! What do you want to pick up this month? Are any of you participating in your library’s summer reading program?

❤ Annette

June TBR

Month in Review – May 2018

And the reading streak continues! I think it might be due to the fact that the library actually has deadlines I need to read the book by… Anyways, here’s a summary of my bookish activity for this month. I will be linking up to


Total Books Read: 16

Books Read

(The links below are affiliate links to Amazon.)

Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge
More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
Changeless by Gail Carriger
Blameless by Gail Carriger
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
Ms. Marvel Vol. 2: Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Whatshisface by Gordon Korman
Not Quite Mine by Catherine Bybee
Civil War: A Marvel Event by Mark Millar
Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Book Formats

Hardcover – 7
Paperback – 3
eBook – 6

Book Genres

Young Adult – 2
Graphic Novel – 8
Romance – 1
Fantasy – 2
Non-fiction – 2
Middle Grade – 1

New to Me Authors

Stephen Collins
Neil Gaiman
Laura Lee Gulledge
Marie Kondo
Mark Millar
Bryan Lee O’Mally
Chris Voss
G. Willow Wilson

Top Book for May

Blameless by Gail Carriger

I hope your May was just as awesome as mine was! Let me know how it went!


❤ Annette

New on the Stack May 2018

I can’t believe it’s already June! Here are the books I picked up last month:

Next to each book I give a short explanation why I chose to pick up that particular book. (Clicking on the picture of each book will take you to the book’s Amazon page, through an affiliate link.)

Purchased eBook

Never Stop Walking by Christina Rickardsson
An Amazon First ebook. (i.e. free)

Borrowed eBook Through Kindle Unlimited

Ms. Marvel Volume 2: Generation Why by G. Wilson, Jake Wyatt, Adrian Alphona, and Jamie McKelvie
I really enjoyed the first one, so I of course had to read the second one as well.

Borrowed eBook Through cloudLibrary

Whatshisface by Gordon Korman
I loved some of his other books (such as the Dive or Everest series’) so I wanted to see what he is writing nowdays. (This came out this month and my library had it on ebook, so yay!)

Borrowed Physical Book from Library

Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge
I’m trying to get into graphic novels, or at least figure out what types I like and what I don’t. (It’s a whole new world!) This one was featured at my library, so I picked it up (and don’t regret it).

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
Like I said above, I’m trying to explore the world of graphic novels. I read this post and more or less check out any of them my library had.

Seconds by Brian Lee O’Malley
Another book from the post mentioned above.

Civil War, A Marvel Comics Event  by Mark Millar
Another book from the post mentioned above.

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge
I liked the first book I read of hers (Will and Whit) so I checked this one out as well.

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins
Another book from that graphic novels post.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
I first heard about this book on Modern Mrs. Darcy, and then a friend recommended it, and then they reviewed it on the By the Book podcast.

C.R.A.F.T: Creating Really Awesome Free Things by Jamie Dorobek
I really shouldn’t be allowed to browse the library’s website without supervision. 😛

Christmas Crochet for the Hearth, Home & Tree by Edie Eckman
I love the day I remembered that the library has craft books too. Now I can try fun crochet patterns without having to buy the whole book.

Literary Yarns: Crochet Projects Inspired by Classic Books by Cindy Wang
These look SO CUTE.

The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Agility by Laurie Leach
My dog needs some way to burn her energy…

Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects Into Stuff You Love by Blair Stocker
This looked fun/awesome.

Ms. Marvel. Vol. 3, Crushed by G. Willow Wilson
Volume 3 isn’t on Kindle Unlimited for some reason – library to the rescue!

Polymer Clay for the First Time by Syndee Holt
I want to learn how to use polymer clay? It looks like fun.

Mexican Ice Cream by Fany Gerson
I like her book Paletas and this one looks delicious as well.

Mischief in Mudbug by Jana Deleon
A series I started but haven’t finished

Paletas by Fany Gerson
This is like the ultimate summer book, in my opinion.

Relish by Lucy Knisley
Another graphic novel from that post.

Valiant by Holly Black
Another series I started but haven’t finished.

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
Next on my foray into the world of food.

The Jewelry Recipe Book by Nancy Soriano
So pretty…. I defnitely judged this one by the cover.


What books did you pick up this month?

❤ Annette


Book Review: It Had to Be Fate by Tamra Baumann

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 3 of It Had to Be… series


Casey Anderson owns a hotel in Anderson Butte – a town where all the residents are paid to ignore celebrities. For now she’s focused on being a good mother to her two boys, and is fighting to ensure she retains custody. Zane Steele is known for being an edgy party-boy rocker, and has come to Anderson Butte to hide out until things settle down. He’s captivated by Casey and wants to date her – but can he convince her to look past his public facade?

What I Liked

  • I really liked the intricacies that came along with Zane’s secret. (His secret is in white text here, if you want to know, but it’s a spoiler: he’s a twin, and its his twin that’s the bad boy. He’s a good guy, but his publicity team wants him to retain an edgy look – so he lets his twin get away with stuff under his name.) I can’t recall reading of a similar situation, although I’m sure I’ve seen it on TV. I liked the contract between public persona/reputation and who someone actually is.
  • Am I allowed to like the food in the book? They have spaghetti dinners and go on picnics and eat Count Chocula and so much more. Which is probably more accurate to a real-life dating scenario than one that doesn’t involve food at all.
  • Overall this is another great addition to the It Had to Be… series. It’s a typical romance, but it still held my interest fairly well, and I read it in one day.

What I Didn’t Like

  • As with any romance, it was somewhat predictable.

In Conclusion

This book is another feel-good addition to the It Had to Be… series.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Book Review: Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


This graphic novel follows Katie, the owner of a restaurant, as she tries to fix the mistakes in her life. Luckily, she finds a way to go back in time and change mistakes – but messing with the past has consequences. Will she finally be able to craft the life she wants? Or will she be even worse off than before?

What I Liked

  • This book is captivating. I planned on reading a hundred pages or so and then going to bed… that did not happen. I read it all in one sitting! I was pulled in by Katie’s story.
  • The story is somewhat unpredictable. For a large part of it I was unable to know what was going to happen next, which was why I kept reading.
  • It was fun to watch all the different elements of this book weave together. There are a lot of moving pieces in Katie’s life including love interests, business aspirations and dreams, friends, and mysterious happenings around her house.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The ending was perhaps a bit lackluster? Thinking back I’m not sure why I got this feeling at all – perhaps I just wanted to read more of her story, and it was suddenly over.

In Conclusion

If you’re trying to get into graphic novels (like me!) then you’ll enjoy this book.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Quiz: Sort Your Dog into a Hogwarts House

My friend came up with this idea and I thought it sounded like a lot of fun! Here’s a short quiz to sort your dog into a Hogwarts House. Keep track of how many As, Bs, Cs, and Ds they get. I’ve included photos of my dog, because I think she’s adorable. ❤

  1. You take your dog to the a brand new dog park. They:
    1. Bravely bounce into the park, introducing themselves to all the dogs.
    2. Stick right by your side, annoyed if another dog tries to approach you.
    3. Are mostly interested in the agility toys (hoops, jumps) set up.
    4. Quickly introduce themselves to the other humans present, figuring out how to get pets/scratches from each.

      Daisy at the dog park
  2. You place a treat under one of three upside-down cups. They:
    1. Wait for you to reveal where the treat is.
    2. Sniff until they’ve found the right cup, and push it over to receive the treat.
    3. Immediately go to the correct cup and treat, no sniffing required.
    4. Knock over all three cups to find the treat.
  3. A visitor comes over for the first time. Your dog:
    1. Runs happily up to the person, wagging their tail.
    2. Sticks by your side until you indicate that the visitor is okay.
    3. Does something new and unexpected each time you have a new visitor.
    4. Doesn’t let the person in until they have been thoroughly sniffed and approved of.
  4. It’s time for a treat! Your dog prefers:
    1. Pretty much anything you give them. They’re always up for something new!
    2. A simple puzzle toy, like a Kong filled with peanut butter
    3. A complex puzzle toy, where they have to solve a puzzle to get a treat dispensed (like a shuffle board or flip board)
    4. A chew, such as a bull stick or beef knuckle
  5. Does your dog have any nervous habits?
    1. Nope, they’re always confident.
    2. They yawn.
    3. They hide.
    4. They stick out their tongue or lick their nose.

      Guess what my dog’s nervous habit is?
  6. Does your dog bark a lot?
    1. Only if approached by an unfamiliar dog or person.
    2. All the time.
    3. Only if you ask them to “speak”.
    4. Yes, but only at a low volume.
  7. You take your dog to an obedience class. They:
    1. Grow bored after a while and start exploring the area.
    2. Keep trying until they get every command perfectly.
    3. Pick the commands up quicker than all the other dogs in the class.
    4. Figure out how to get to the treats without following a command.

      A perfect “sit”
  8. Would your dog make a good service dog?
    1. Maybe. They’re generally kind to everyone, but also love adventures.
    2. Absolutely! My dog would do anything for me.
    3. Sure – they’re a quick learner.
    4. Nope, there’s no way they wouldn’t get into trouble.
  9. You take your dog hiking. They:
    1. Run ahead to scout out the trail.
    2. Never get tired and stick by your side the whole time.
    3. Want to sniff everything.
    4. Stay close, but as the leader of your “pack”.

  10. You give your dog a new toy. They:
    1. Destroy it.
    2. Are obsessed with it and play with it for hours.
    3. Quickly grow bored with it.
    4. Would rather play with the packaging.


Mostly As: Gryffindor – your dog is courageous, brave, and chivalrous.
Mostly Bs: Hufflepuff – your dog is a hard worker, is patient, just, and loyal.
Mostly Cs: Ravenclaw – your dog is intelligent, creative, a quick learner, and witty.
Mostly Ds: Slytherin – your dog is ambitious, cunning, resourceful, and a good leader.

(House descriptions from

Daisy the Gryffindor (and her summer haircut)

In case you’re wondering, that means my dog is a Gryffindor. (Although Ravenclaw was a close second.)

What house was your dog sorted into?

❤ Annette


Book Review: It Had to Be Love by Tamra Baumann

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 2 of It Had to Be… series


Tara Carter is new to the town of Anderson Butte. It’s a small, somewhat remote town, which keeps her hidden from her past. However, the sheriff, Ryan Anderson suspects that she’s hiding something – and keeps poking around trying to uncover something she would rather keep buried. On top of that, they keep running into each other and the matchmaking town are trying to encourage them to be together.

What I Liked

  • It’s a super cute romance. Great for a summer beach read. (It’s already 105 Farenheit here in Arizona, so I can safely say it’s summer.)
  • The threat in the book was legitimate. Sometimes authors go for flimsier, over-exaggerated threats to keep the characters in motion. Not this time!
  • I loved the characters. I think I mentioned this is my review of the first book in this series, but I love how authentic the characters are. Lately I feel like I’ve been reading books where the author says one thing about a character, but as a reader, we never actually see it. It’s nice to read one a book where the fiesty characters make feisty decisions, and so on.

What I Didn’t Like

  • I’m not going to shout this one from the rooftops, but it was still a cute read. Hence four stars. 🙂

In Conclusion

If you enjoyed the first book in this series (It Had to Be Him), you’ll love this one as well.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Bookish Happenings in June 2018

Welcome back to month two of “bookish happenings”. Here I try to share with you awesome bookish events such as new releases, movie releases related to books, holidays, conferences, and other events. Obviously I’m not going to be able to cover everything, but if your reading palate is similar to mine, then hopefully you’ll find this information useful.

Release dates are for the book/movie in the United States, so it may not be accurate if you’re living in another country.

Links to Amazon are affiliate links, other links are just for your convenience. 🙂

Movie Releases

(images from

June 1 – Breath
June 22 – Jurassic World

Book Releases

June 5

Always Forever Maybe by Anica Rissi
The Art of French Kissing by Brianna Shrum
Blazing Summer by Denise Grover Swank
 by Kate Messner (preorder swag details here)
Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos
Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider
Little Do We Know by Tamra Stone (preorder swag details here)
Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim
More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer
Save the Date by Morgan Matson (preorder swag details here)
Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh (Book 2 in the Flame in the Mist series)
The Start of Something Good by Jennifer Probst

always forever artof french blazing breakout fat girl invisiblelittle mariam more than save the date smoke start of

June 12

Final Draft by Riley Redgate
A Reaper at the Gates
by Sabaa Tahir (preorder swag details here) (Book 3 of An Ember in the Ashes series)

final drafft reaper

June 26

Bluestone & Vine by Donna Kauffman (Book 2 in the Blue Hollow Falls series)
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card – Volume 4 by CLAMP
The Museum of Us by Tara Redd

bluestone cardcaptor june1





All month – Audiobook appreciation month
June 1-2 – Sacramento Black Book Fair (Sacramento, CA)
June 2-3 – BookCon (New York, NY)
June 8-10 – African Americans on the Move Book Club Awards (Atlanta, GA)
June 9-10 – Printers Row Lit Fest (Chicago, IL)
June 11 – Caribbean Lit Fest (Brooklyn, NY)
June 14-16 – Romance Slam Jam Book Lover’s Convention (Kansas City, MO)
June 15 – Denver Comic-Con (included because one of my favorite authors will be there)
June 15-17 – Nantucket Book Festival (Nantucket, MA)
June 16 – Memphis Literary Arts Festival (Memphis, TN)
June 21-26 – American Library Association Conference and Exhibition (New Orleans, LA)
June 22-24 – 4th Street Fantasy Convention (Minneapolis, MN)
June 23 – Austin’s African American Book Festival (Austin, TX)

Let me know if you go to any of these events, I’d love to hear about them! Also let me know what you think of this feature – is this something you would like to continue to see?

❤ Annette

bookish happeningsmay 2018 (1)