Saturday, March 16, 2019

[Mrs. Y Blogs] Update: Blog Fixing and Spring Cleaning

Free to use the image from Pixabay
Hello everyone!

Yesterday I started the project to update and rejuvenate my blog for the spring. In so doing, a lot of old reviews I had that initially were part of Google +, I found they were outright missing on the blog conversion. I was under the initial impression I'd get to keep them when they were tied to the blog, but as it turns out, I was wrong.

So, this week is Spring Break for the kiddos. I'm going to take from March 18 to March 22 for a break from the reviews and to fix the blog. I need to review all of my old posts, and then put them back up.

I also am going to look at how I used to score things vs. how I score now. From when I started in June to December, the older reviews were not under the revised scoring system. I also did not have a formalized list for my recommends either.

Thank heavens for Goodreads Y'all, it will help me figure out what date they go on! I'm going to work on it all, and then I'm going to let you all know what I did. I want to thank all of you for your patience for the delays. I want my older reviews to reflect the beautiful writers who let me do them.

I'll get some books this week as I go, and my next review will be on March 25. I also may be slow to reply to emails and review requests. If you do send me one, please be patient with me, as I work on updating.

Thank you all for your loveliness and reading my reviews! See you with my next update!

Friday, March 15, 2019

[Mrs. Y Blogs] Excuse My Mess, Updates!

Caption from Pixabay - Free To Use with Link
Hello everyone!

It is coming upon Spring Time as today is the Ides of March. So, I am here to inform you that I will be updating my blog a bit, making it look nicer, fixing some tags and links to things and adding some good ol' fashioned spring goodness.

What this means for you the reader?
The blog will look different starting this weekend and most likely, you may not see some tags.

Tags I am getting rid of:
- BookTasters
- BookTasters Honest Review

Tags that likely will be altered or renamed
Pretty much everything else.


Why?
I noticed since I started to put reviews up that my tags have evolved and I want them to be more consistent. So please pardon my mess. This is a big project, and I'm the only one here who works on my blog so I will be doing this between reading and cleaning my own house for spring cleaning.


I want to thank you all for following me and reading daily. If there are any tags you think I should add, or any constructive feedback on my blog, please use my contact form to let me know, or hit me up on Twitter. I'm always happy for suggestions and feedback.

Thank you for being awesome!

Regards,
Mrs. Y

[Mrs. Y Reviews] Misfits by J.M Hix

There are moments of my life that I think back of often. Some are painful, some are happy, and some of those moments I remember are just silly. Today we are reviewing a book that is a glimpse into thoughts of someone and takes the reader on a journey. So, gather up your courage and climb the wall, make sure your Christmas is magical, and the record player is on. Join me for a review of “Misfits” by J.M Hix. 

Opinion
J.M Hix contacted me about reviewing this book, and sent me a free copy to review, which I want to take a moment to thank him for it. I do genuinely appreciate any free copies sent to me; it’s a kindness. The good news to you the reader, you can purchase this on Kindle.

For the first part of the review, I want to go into the initial impressions. I was so pleased that the book started in a comfortable and approachable way. Instantly I was sucked into a world that I could relate to, and I felt as though I were a part of. I love when books do more than hook a reader, but they wrap the reader up in warmth and comfort into the story. It was a spectacular start to “Misfits.”

Next, I shall go into critiques, and the first is under my “Story Structure, Foundation and Presentation portion of scoring. I felt that though most of the time the grammar and spot editing was perfect, there were tiny bits here and there where that can be nitpicked.

Overall, there wasn’t much I could critique about the book. All of the critical things I look for were met for the most part. So let me segway that into what I enjoyed about “Misfits.”

I love novellas and short stories because of how they easily convey a creative idea. So by far the part I enjoyed the most about the book has to do with how much I appreciate the narrative fit the novella format. It flowed. Naturally, it didn’t rush anything though, and the pacing was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better book to end the week on if I had tried.

The second thing I enjoyed was that on the e-reader copy it’s easy to read, and I can tell someone took much time to make sure the book can be read on any device. That’s a big deal to me. I know if you are reading my reviews that I tend to pay close attention to it, so I’m happy to report how well it reads on an e-device.

However, the thing I have to rave about for “Misfits” is how much of a wonderful narrative it is. This story flows beautifully, has natural character and story arch progression, and there is tension that comes between characters which are magnetic and believable. This story is like taking a slice out of life and observing it for all of the textures and colors in that life. Everything is placed eloquently. As a girl who did not formally station myself in a dorm for College, I still felt I could relate to the ideas in the story and the friendships. I also love the concept of “chose the family you want,” which is a message that came through at times in the progression.


Score

With all of the math in mind “Misfits” has earned a 97/100 which is a 5-star-review on Goodreads and Amazon. I enjoyed this novella, and I think if you are looking for a bit of a taste of another person’s college life, this is the one to look toward. There are sad and happy parts, but this is by far a warm and inviting story to enjoy. It also pairs well with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake, trust me, I tried it.

Until next Monday my friends, have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you for more reviews.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

[Mrs. Y Reviews] The Certain Hope by EC Jackson

Book cover Via Amazon.com
Romance is different for different people. Some people find rose petals and candlelight an enticing beginning of romantic feelings. Others see that a stimulating discussion about Star Trek over takeout and an orange juice is the start to a beautiful romance. We are all different, and couples can start from any place that fits together. Today I am reviewing something different. Today's book is a contemporary romance and Christian novel that has a take for those who love business and houses. So gather up your roofing gear, make sure you eat lots of delicious food and whatever you do, be honest about that five-year thing. It’s time for a review of “The Certain Hope” by E.C Jackson.

Opinion
I want to thank E.C Jackson for mailing me her book. When someone is kind enough to share their work with me, I am appreciative of it.  “The Certain Hope” is a beautiful book. It’s got a good weight to it, it’s pretty on the cover, and the pages turn beautifully. The texture of pages often are forgotten but remain essential to book reading, and it’s lovely to get one that opens and flips well. It’s a paperback, and it has the same cover as on the pictures for the e-copy. As far as it’s presentation style goes, it’s very stylish in appearance. EC asked me for an honest review, and I am so pleased she did. I’m going to do my best to be candid with my thoughts and scoring. I also am going to give you all a treat. I wanted to be honest and fair about all of this, so I also purchased the e-book on sale, for those of you who are e-reader aficionados on how it looks as well, and that will be discussed later in the review.

Before we move to the review, I want to take a moment and give a bit of a warning regarding the book, and this warning is not a critique and will not have anything to do with scoring.  The issues I am bringing up in this paragraph are intended to help any reader who may be sensitive to this, before jumping into the book.  If you have problems with grieving or loss of a parent or loved one,  this book may spark all those old feelings back up. Furthermore, if you have any anxiety involved with removing the items or property of a loved one who has passed, or dealing with the settling of an estate, also be aware this may provoke thoughts and feelings. I’m putting this up front because this book impacted me on that front, I wasn’t prepared for the reminders of grieving and tougher times that the book reminded me of at times. I want anyone who reads a book and encounters something that might be painful unintentionally, to be aware of the situation. "The Certain Hope" is a contemporary romance, so if you were like me, you might not be expecting such topics, thus the warning.

That said, anyone who writes a book that invokes emotion to the level that this book sparked in me, is skilled. Thus, I ask an open mind and do not let my previous warning scare you away. This book has a lot of deep meaning to it. Just be aware of what you are getting into if you are going through a grieving period.

Now to the actual review! To start, I’m going to go into my first impressions. The initial chapter and section took me a little bit to get into, I wasn’t sure if I was reading a flashback or not, but I was able to figure it out on a second read. After that, the story transforms into something very different for a contemporary romance. Overall, while the beginning initially lost me, I was reading from that moment on.

Additionally, in the initial impressions, I noticed that "The Certain Hope" is thought-provoking and will make you consider "What would I do in this situation?" at the get-go.  I also was pleased to see a book that is has a positive take on sobriety and positive messages regarding belief. I haven't read a lot of books like it, so that was a nice change.

I am going into the critiques I want to start with the “Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation” portion of my scoring. For the physical book, the font is tiny, and at times, the text is italicized. If the text size is below about 12pt, it’s going to hurt to read after awhile. If your eyes get tired from tiny print, be aware of this.

Next, under the same category “Story Structure, Foundation and Presentation,” let’s talk about the pacing of the novel and tension that comes with the pacing. I am bringing this up because it frequently happens in the book. The actual written romance portion of the story is quickly paced in contrast to the other subplots, in my opinion. This doesn't move like a traditional romance formula of "At 25% into the manuscript this action event happens, and at 35% this other thing happens" at all. So if you keep any kind of scorecard on novel archs, it's not necessary for this book.
Continuing the discussion about the pacing, because the romance is fast-paced, the sub-plots tend to clash with it.  These sub-plot areas are structured out to be more deliberate and thought out. The pacing was slow in those spots because they pertain explicitly to business matters that the main characters are dealing with. With that in mind,  explaining the ins and outs of remodeling and even selling real-estate will slow everything down just by the nature of the subject.  I can say these discussions do move the sub-plot they are attached to forward, but they do not necessarily advance the main story toward its conclusion. Thus, I am marking this as a pacing issue.

The next critique will go into my “Whole Story” portion of my scoring. Any of you who have been following me know I am a stickler on making sure that the plot points and story progression ends at the natural climax. The end of “The Certain Hope” is not the natural ending for what issues were presented in the narrative. This ends at a cliffhanger in a way, because the conclusion of the novel is right before the main event the main plot has been leading up to. The reader is denied the experience what the event was like, or what happened, or have any idea if there were any other issues. What makes up the ending piece of the book is the ending of a sub-plot involving another person and a five-year situation, that ends that piece of the sub-plot instead. We also have no idea if all of the other sub-plots from the renovation to the business aspects that were very much the forefront of the narrative were resolved. I am aware the last parts of the book in the e-reader dedicated to future novels. However, I do not score or read those portions. My reviews are based entirely on the book that is before me. So if these issues were answered later, okay, but for the actual book that I had before me, it was not.

Okay, enough of the critiques and let’s go into the parts of “The Certain Hope” that I enjoyed.

The characters in this book are all very diverse, and there is the right balance of personalities. For every impulsive thing the main male character does, many secondary characters do something reasonable and with wisdom. I liked that. It gave many different sides to a coin regarding the issues of impulsiveness versus carefully planning things out.


If you are a foodie or you are someone who tends to snack when you read about characters snacking, this is the book for you. Every meal is gloriously detailed, every glass of drink represented as refreshing, and there are food descriptions that I want to try to make. Though "The Certain Hope" isn't a cookbook and contains no recipes in it, if you like to cook you should pick up the ideas. It shouldn’t stop you from going at it to try to make some of these dishes. The jalapeno cornbread with the extras sounds terrific. The cornbread discussion in the novel led me to a personal tail-spin where I got my own little scratch pad of recipes out. I will admit I did spend time last night after I finished book reading and reviewing things on formulating a recipe for yellow cornbread with the jalapenos, and a honey butter spread. You know, something spicy and sweet? The point is, the book had me often thinking of food.

Let's talk about grammar, spelling, punctuation and general spot-editing. Someone with a lot of love in their heart went to work on this book. It's beautiful to read when it comes to the grammar and editing of the writing. I found no spelling errors, I saw no issues with punctuation, and I was so pleased with the love the manuscript got. The editor deserves a hug and possibly a nice meal. Maybe that cornbread? Or perhaps that delicious spaghetti dinner that was described? I think any editor who makes their work look effortless deserves good food as a reward. It's beautiful.

To my last and biggest compliment, I want to give you all something great to lean on. Remember when I said the actual book was small printed and a tad tough to read? To help you all out, because I care, I went and purchased the book for Kindle which was on sale. I wanted to do that so that I could critique the book and let you all know how it reads on the e-reader. I’m DELIGHTED to report that on the e-copy it is GLORIOUS. Yes, I’m using capitalized words, and yes, I know how cliche this is but I want to stress how beautiful the e-reader copy is. I can tell a lot of work and effort was put into the e-copy. The margins are perfection, the text and font changes work great, the alignment is lovely, and I enjoyed that the chapters had clear and attractive markers on them. This is a beautiful e-book. It fits well with any contemporary romance in my opinion, and I think that those of you who are e-aficionados will enjoy it. I can tell that someone put a lot of love into making sure anyone can read this with ease on any device.



Score

Having taken all the math into aspect, “The Certain Hope” has a score of 75/100 which is a three-star review on Goodreads and Amazon.com. It's on sale on Amazon right now, and I think if you love different kinds of romance, and you are a "Property Brothers", "Trading Spaces" or even "This Old House" fan on television, this may be the book for you.

Thank you all for reading my review, have a beautiful day, and I will see you tomorrow with more book goodness!