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REVIEW: The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
Category: JUST A GIRL
Tags: the sixth extinction climate fiction elizabeth kolbert book reviews

It is apparent Kolbert invested hours upon hours, as well as, endured uncomfortable physical duress to explore all the research that went into this work. Kolbert takes you across the globe where she consults with paleontologists, herpetologists, geologists, stratigraphists, and astrophysicists who are all diligently working to understand the past five great extinctions, as well as the current great extinction period - ours.

Of all the ideas mankind adopts and the ingenuity we possess as a species it is baffling how little society does to ensure mankind's existence. The Sixth Extinction explores the acidification of the oceans, the mass extinctions that have occurred since the Industrial Revolution, the effects of carbon on the world, the impact of deforestation on vital habitats, and history's lessons of extinction rates. Kolbert did all the leg work so that we have a clear picture in one book of what took scientists hundreds of years to amass. Like an intricate puzzle, Kolbert refreshingly explains how the web of life interlocks, how species depend upon each other, and how the most destructive species-mankind-is exacerbating the rate of extinction to unparalleled levels.

When you and I are gone, when both the people who agreed and laughed at Ms. Kolbert are long dead, somewhere in the dust of the world we know now, some thing will find a copy of this book and shake their head that we had all the answers and did nothing.

The Sixth Extinction is not a conspiracy theory or overzealous hypothesis, but a collection of the hard work of people who are actually sensible enough to realize the world only allows every species a small window on this planet, to include mankind. Kolbert objectively explains how mankind is closing their own window and the windows of thousands of others species on this ever-changing planet.

17 Things for your Booknook
Category: Best of Lists
Tags: booknook reading corner lists best of home decor shopping reading corner ideas decoration ideas

When I go to book signings and author events, I like to bring a healthy heap of book swag to giveaway to visitors and passersby as a way to say thank you for stopping by to check out my table. I've included some of the items I use in my giveaways in this window shopping list. If your book obsession is as severe as mine - the kind that causes you to become giddy when you see book decor to adorn your reading corner - then you may enjoy some of these bookish finds.

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Book Lovers Coffee Mug

This coffee mug has been a big hit at my shows and is a great conversation piece for your book shelf. It has images of book ends on it with classic titles like Pride and Prejudice and Little Women.

As we get older, the number of coffee mugs in our house seem to increase. I have so many they can't all fit in my kitchen cabinets, so I started using them as bookends and decorations for my bookshelves.

Library Card Kit

This was the most sought after giveaway item at my last book show. I love it because when I think about why I love it, it has to be attributed to our childhood fancies of playing pretend. My daughter has a toy cash register and scans her plastic groceries like she is playing cashier.

This library kit appeases all our book loving desires to play librarian in our home, cataloging and organizing our personal libraries. And if you're afraid to loan your books out due to the fear of them not being returned, this kit is a sure way to keep track of which delinquent friend is overdue!

Paddywax Candles

Paddywax Candles has a line of author-themed soy candles with vintage looking labels that each have a quote on them. The right scent can help to set the mood for an evening of reading and emit that serene sensation of calm and solitude that readers crave. This Jane Austin candle's label reads, "There's nothing like staying at home for real comfort." With a good book, that most certainly is true.

Book Throw Pillows

How many times have I told my boyfriend this? Unfortunately for him one more chapter usually turns into three...or four.

Do you have the perfect chair for your booknook? Something comfy that hugs you like a nest or a warm blanket? There's something about surrounding your reading corner with things like these that makes the room say all the more, "This is MY space! And it was meant for reading."

Here are a few more that caught my eye., but their listings are just for the covers, not an actual pillow. You can find pillow inserts, however, at places like Walmart in the fabric section or at Joann Fabrics.

"Every book is an adventure" gives a fairy garden look with its light pastels and feather image. It speaks to me of some of the childhood classics and the fantasy genre.

"Happiness is a cup of coffee and a good book" - too bloody right...but they should add, "and no distractions" to that list. Do you get angry when someone continually asks you questions while you have a book open? I don't know what that level of rage is called, but I know I've been there before.


If you want to see some creative booknooks and bookshelfs, just take a gander on Instagram and search for #bookshelfie or #bookshelf or #booknook I have a few signs actually on my bookshelves, leaning against my books which protect the books from fading due to light exposure and it's not much trouble for me to pick up a sign and set it on top of the books if I want a book behind them. If you have more wall space then I do, these might interest you for your book cave:

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A lot of people make use of LED lights or "fairy lights" in their booknook photos when sharing them on Instagram or their blogs. Here's a cool "Read" sign that has battery powered lights.

The Perfect Reading Chair

No nook or library is complete without the perfect cozy reading chair. My reading chair of choice is a papasan chair that I've had for years. It allows me to curl up, knees up to my chest where I can rest my book and lounge back. While I still have a few miles and novels left on my old standby, here's a few I found that I'm going to put on my wishlist:

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Nick Nacks

One of my favorite authory/bookish items in my reading room are my typewriter key coasters. Reading requires hours, which requires hydration. So you'll need some coasters, or shot glasses, or tea bags...I could go on. And since you already need those things, why not use ones that go along with your reading theme like these:

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Figurines and action figures - always welcome on the shelf! They're adorable, touching, and can help to hold up your books.

Creative Bookends

And last but never least, bookends are a must. If you're like me, you never have enough bookshelves or room on your shelves. I get creative bookends that have drawers in them where I can store things like bookmarks, trade cards, concert tickets, buttons/pins, obituary/memorial cards, and memorable trinkets that I don't know where else to put. What better place to stow them than with my most cherished items - my books.

In lieu of bookends there are also fake books that are like jewelry boxes. They even appear to have a spine, so you can stand them up next to your other books and those without a discerning eye may not even notice they aren't a book. Plus, they just look cool!

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What's on your shelf or in your nook? Share you photos to give your fellow page turners some inspiration. For more reading corner ideas, you can see other collections here.†

Happy reading!


Drea Damara is the author of The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane and other novels. She is also an occasional blogger of useless information and the founder of the bookblogger club PageDropper.

REVIEW: The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard
Category: JUST A GIRL
Tags: romance beauty and the beast review Amalie Howard
I can't pass up a Beauty and the Beast adaptation. While this never claimed to be and strays far from that storyline, it certainly satisfied that love of B&B I hold. Charming, sexy, fun, suspenseful, and gallant. It was everything I look for in a historic romance. My first read by Howard and it didn't disappoint.

The damsel in the novel takes a bold move in an effort to save her sister from being forced to marry a lecher. While her proposition is unwanted by the Duke of Beswick, he soon feels obligated to protect her and finds it more and more difficult to keep his distance from the innocent beauty who needs his help and doesn't seem to mind his scars or his foul temper.
Highly recommended!
The Kindle edition is 384 pages.†
You can find it on Goodreads here.†
REVIEW: Highland Fire by Tanya Anne Crosby
Category: JUST A GIRL
Tags: highland fire guardians of the stone tanya anne crosby review historic romance scottish romance

After reading Crosby's Highland Brides series, I was hooked and happy to find yet another of her series that centers around 12th century Scotland. Highland fire is full of fascinating folklore, treachery, personal struggle, and enticing sexual attraction.

It is a suspenseful historic romance about a woman named Lileas who is forced to wed a reclusive pecht warrior, Aidan dun Scoti. As if an arranged marriage isn't difficult enough, her father murdered his parents. She isn't expecting much from Aidan other than perhaps him killing her on site and is unsure why he even agreed to the arrangement.

Two people desperate for peace in their lives and country - it is the story of personal challenges, mythic Scot legends, and political struggles that result in a well-deserved romance. People often turn their nose up at romance, but this is a story with bones. The romance is just a plus. Ms. Crosby's characters have life breathed into them in a way I have never seen. And her description paints a vivid Scottish village without boring the reader to death with explanations or unnecessary details. I love when a book can transport me and Highland Fire certainly did that. The character building also sets this up to be an entertaining series that worms the characters into your heart. I am already rooting for them all and anticipating what their fates will be.

REVIEW: Meant to Be Kept by Amelia Foster Tags: romance new adult contemporary review lauren amelia foster meant to be kept
Meant to Be Kept by Amelia Foster
- Review by Lauren of Romance Novels for the Beach
Whatís it About?
One night. One too many drinks. One mistake. Thatís all it took to derail my marriage. Now, all I can do is beg for a second chance. To try and redeem myself in a bid not to lose the love of my life. Iím determined to use every second, every moment I have to show my wife how much she means to meóto rebuild the trust I shattered. But the harder I try, the more I start to realize our marriage had fallen into a routine of complacency and misplaced priorities long before my indiscretion. Isabelle is a strong, passionate, beautiful womanóa wife who has sacrificed so much for me. I just hope itís not too late for us, and that Iíll be able to convince her that our love is meant to be kept.
First Impressions
Iím not going to sugar coat this one folks, this romance blew me away in the best way possible. Itís a beautiful, smart read which is focused around the concept of fighting for love. One of the main ways this book stopped me in my tracks was that it tackled all of the preconceived notions I thought Iíd have, and twisted them on their head. Prime example: our male lead, Tanner. Based on the synopsis and the first few pages, I was determined that I was not going to like this guy. We discover in the opening scene that during a guyís weekend away with his brother, he gets borderline black-out drunk and starts making out with a woman who isnít his wife. Gee, alcohol and cheating? What an absolute gem. I thought the author would have a hell of time trying to convince me that this guy was worth giving a second chance to. Lo and behold, simply by the end of the first chapter I found myself rooting for Tanner to succeed in winning back the trust of his wife, Isabelle. Thatís no easy feat ladies and gents, and yet it was done so effortlessly that it draws in your attention where you canít turn away until we get to ďThe EndĒ.
Totally Upfront
While we donít necessarily get the very best first impression of Tanner, it barely takes any time at all before we sympathize with the man, and hope against hope that Isabelle will be able to forgive him for a seemingly unforgivable transgression. There are a few key features that the author weaves in to get us to love Tanner. First and foremost, we must look at the transgression itself. Yes, in a drunken stupor he kissed another woman. Downright stupid. And yet, our opening scene presents us with a broken man who is fully aware of the error of his ways, and is filled with nothing but regret. At no point do we see him try to hide this from his wife, or lessen the gravity of his mistake. Instead we see him come home right away to admit to her what he did, and he vows that heíll do whatever he can to make it up to her. He even sets a deadline, begging that she find the strength within her to forgive him, allow him to prove how much he still wants her and only her by their next anniversary which is just 43 days away.
The second clever move on the part of the author was the use of flashbacks throughout the entirety of the novel. On the one hand these flashbacks help demonstrate that Tanner has always been a romantic, and that Isabelle was always meant to be his one and only. Even though this first chapter starts off with a rather negative portrayal of Tanner getting up close and personal with another woman, by the end we feel like weíve seen who the true Tanner is through a flashback, and itís far from a womanizing cheater. He has a soft and romantic side which has revolved around Isabelle since the first moment the two met. I for one was shocked that within this first chapter alone I could so quickly go from an initial determination of wanting to hate this guy, to recognizing by the end of it that he simply made a stupid mistake that he is fully willing to atone for.
When Isabelle first hears the confession of how Tanner kissed someone else, she is understandably distraught. Even though weíre rooting for Tanner to succeed in all of his various romantic attempts to win back his wife, we can also sympathize with the difficulty she faces in letting him back into her life. At times you almost want to scream at her, ďHe obviously didnít mean to do it! He clearly loves you! Just forgive him already!Ē. But, letís be honest, that would simply be too easy, not to mention rather unrealistic.
Something that the author captures so brilliantly when it comes to Isabelle contemplating her relationship with Tanner is that it was never a question of love. Isabelle will always love him. Heís been her best friend and partner for 12 years, not to mention the father of her children. Itís not possible for her to fall out of love with him that quickly. No, instead we see that itís actually a question of trust. If she agrees to let him back into her life, sheíll obviously still love him, but will she ever be able to trust him as fully as she did before that disastrous weekend? If she canít, then is it really worth bringing him back into her life at all?
An Imperfect Marriage
In addition to utilizing flashbacks to show us the sweet side of Tannerís character, these flashbacks also serve a few other key purposes. First, they demonstrate that for the past three years or so Tanner and Isabelleís marriage hasnít been as idyllic as we the audience, or even Tanner himself, thought it to be. We see through so many flashbacks how Isabelle was always the light of Tannerís life, and he was devoted and committed to her in every way possible. We just assumed that this kiss with the other woman was the first and only indicator of how Tanner failed in an aspect of his marriage.
However, as the anniversary deadline approaches, and Tanner tries to think up various romantic dates to go on with Isabelle, he simultaneously realizes how his focus on work these last few years has created a certain distance between him and his family. The little things he used to do with them, such as movie nights, weekend breakfasts, etc. had fallen by the wayside. He was still a loving father and husband throughout that time, and his affection for Isabelle never wavered, but he canít help but acknowledge that he wasnít putting as much of an effort into his family as he did in the beginning. Itís a realization that I think would speak true to many couples out there. Just because youíve finally found your one true love doesnít mean you can stop demonstrating how much you love them.
Where Past Meets Present
Another important purpose of the continual use of flashbacks was that it brought Tanner and Isabelleís entire relationship full circle. By this point you might be getting tired of my repeated mention of these flashback scenes, but I think I can say with 100% confidence that never before have I seen a more brilliant and polished inclusion of flashbacks to tell a story in my life. And Iíve read a crap ton of books. Each and every chapter within the book is divided into two parts: past and present. The present always details the various ways that Tanner is attempting to win back the trust of his wife, and we then see how those attempts correspond to a certain moment from their past through the flashback scene.
At the start of the novel, the present scene involves Tanner admitting to Isabelle how he kissed another woman, while the scene in the past shows the initial moment when Tanner and Isabelle first met in college. Throughout the rest of the book the flashback moments move in a linear progression throughout Tanner and Isabelleís relationship from their first meeting to their first date, kiss, sexual encounter, meeting with the parents, living together, marriage, kids, etc. By the last chapter we see in the present that weíre at the final deadline of Tanner and Isabelleís anniversary, the moment when Isabelle must decide if sheís ready and willing to accept Tanner back into her life. And as for our flashback scene? By the end the flashbacks have taken us right up to the very moment when Tanner went away with his brother for the guyís weekend where the initial transgression first occurred at the beginning of the book. I meanÖWOW! The beauty of how everything came together full circle so seamlessly from start to finish cannot be overstated.
*An advanced reader copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Series: I want this to be a series soooooo bad. I would 100% read a sequel involving one of Tannerís brothers.
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When everyone else fails to bring her daughter home from a high-powered human-trafficking ring, a widowed mother determines what she must do to rescue her child.

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