The End of an Era

Hello, my dear On a Book Bender fans!

In the way of so many blogs and brands, it’s time to retire On a Book Bender.

Here’s what you should know:

You’ll also notice that all of those places are me under my own name.

After managing multiple brands and websites over the past five years, I’ve realized that I can’t do it all. Neither do I want to. So everything is going under one umbrella: Amanda Shofner.

I invite you to join me there. It’s going to be all my favorite topics, which includes self-publishing (which is a thing I do), books (because I never stopped loving reading), my dog (because, oh by the way, we adopted a dog in March), and my obsession with Futurama.

Because there’s a Futurama episode for just about everything in life. For serious.

It’s difficult to say goodbye to a brand that I’ve built over the years, but it’s time. The people I’ve met through On a Book Bender have been AMAZING and WONDERFUL and I LOVE YOU. I hope you’ll say “Hey!” to my @amshofner accounts and not be a stranger.

Person of Interest by Emery Harper {Kelly’s Review}

Solid mystery with a hunky detective.

Thoughts on Person of Interest

I have to admit I liked this one. It might have had a tiny bit to do with the hunky, conflicted detective who falls into Celeste’s orbit. Maybe. Or it might have been the way Celeste stumbles her way into trouble without really trying. I don’t know. Either way, I ended up liking this book quite a bit and want to see Shaw and Celeste snuggle up once the smoke clears.

Not literal smoke, just so you know. Well, except for that one time. But, really, who could have predicted THAT happening?

Anyway. Let’s talk about Celeste and her insane sense of fair play. She kinda has her dislike on for her ex’s new lady friend (with reason, since new lady friend is a little hard to take) yet she STILL goes to bat for her when asked. Because Celeste is a good person. A good person who ends up smack-dab in the middle of something not so nice when she stumbles over her boss’s body. Not literally.

Enter hunky detective. He blows hot and cold (say it with me now…with good reason since he’s investigating Celeste’s part in the whole murder debacle) and confuses the heck out of Celeste, but I’m hoping for great things down the road for the two of them. GREAT THINGS. You know, once she isn’t a suspect or in danger of dying herself.

Bottom line: I liked it. I liked Celeste (even though she was WAY too nice for her own good sometimes). I liked Shaw. With everything that happened in this book, I’m wondering what shenanigans Celeste can get into next.

Kelly Loves Books... and you!

Never Been Bit by Lydia Dare {Kelly’s Review}

Fun historical with witches and vampyres!

Thoughts on Never Been Bit

This book was pretty much everything I needed to escape reality when I picked it up. A fairly low angst factor (Alec had some issues, but never anything that felt like it was going to drown a person, you know?) coupled with a heroine who REALLY couldn’t see the effect she had on those around her (namely the males who were all smitten with her carefree nature and innate happiness) made it the type of light, fun read I like to lounge around with on the weekends. Well played, book. Well played.

Admittedly, Alec had some hangups about his vampyric state. Namely, he hated it and didn’t think he was worthy of loving anyone, blah, blah, blah. Spoiler: he was worthy. He just had to figure that out. Sorcha is sweetly clueless about her effect on men, which led to some amusing moments. She also had a tendency to throw herself whole-heartedly into every scheme that crossed her mind, no matter how it might reflect back on her. She was fun.

Loyal, too. As soon as she starts feeling things for Alec, she includes him in the group of people she’d do anything to protect. Did I mention she’s a witch? Yeah. So she has the ability to cause both mischief and mayhem without much effort on her part.

I needed something light and easy and I got it. Which makes this one a win for me.

Kelly Loves Books... and you!

An American Werewolf in Hoboken by Dakota Cassidy {Kelly’s Review}

Fun, light-hearted PNR with quirky werewolves.

Thoughts on An American Werewolf in Hoboken

This book is one of those books that on the more light-hearted end of the spectrum. Sure, the potential was there for Max to DIE if he didn’t fulfill the terms of the curse, but the story itself skated on that light-hearted edge. I was mostly okay with that, but I did make a scrunchy face at how easily JC forgave Max for lying to her about a few key elements of their relationship.

Namely that he was both her overgrown “dog” and a werewolf. Well, that and his potential death at the hands of the curse.

PSA: Don’t lie about BIG, POTENTIALLY DEADLY CURSES to someone you want to be your long-term partner. That never ends well. Except in this case. But most of the time, it’s bad. BAD! So don’t do it.

Anywho… this book was mostly fun (remember, liars never prosper. Or something.) and Max’s big reveal gave me a bit of a chuckle. In other words, if you’re looking for something fun this should hit the spot. So, have at it.

Kelly Loves Books... and you!

No Strings Attached by Julie Moffett {Kelly’s Review}

Lexi can’t keep out of danger!

Thoughts on No Strings Attached

Lexi always finds a way to make me smile. Whether it’s with her endearing social awkwardness or the way she unwittingly stumbles into THE WORST situations, I get a kick out of this lady. She’s smart and determined and it doesn’t matter if she sometimes says the wrong things at the wrong times, she eventually figures things out.


Smart heroines, man. They do it for me. It doesn’t hurt in the slightest that her man is crazy about her and has the training to help her out when things go south. It also doesn’t hurt that she has a group of friends who are willing to bend time and space itself (if they could) to help her. She’s this goofy, awkward, super smart trouble magnet and it WORKS. I love that she’s intelligent enough to see her own limitations and ask for help when she needs it.

*slow nod*

So. This time around, Lexi ends up hip deep in some seriously nasty stuff. Well, wait. That’s not uncommon. She ends up in a rough spot, but she has her genius friends and her boo to help her. Between all of them, they’re well equipped to handle anything thrown their way. Sure, it’s touch and go for a while–especially with that bachelorette party–but THEY HAVE THINGS UNDER CONTROL. Mostly.

Fast-paced and fun, Lexi is going places. Probably dangerous places, but who am I to judge? Besides, she entertains me. So bring on the danger!

Kelly Loves Books... and you!

Forevermore by Kristen Callihan {Kelly’s Review}

Outstanding ending to a fabulous series!

Thoughts on Forevermore

I habitually have a hard time picking up the last book in a series. Because, you know, I don’t want to say goodbye. I don’t want the story to end. I don’t want to face the yawning despair that once I read this book, it’s over. I’m clingy and needy when it comes to characters and stories I adore. I’ll own that.

So when I say that Forevermore gave me everything I wanted in a series ender AND MORE, you should look impressed.

We got answers and endings and we got to revisit old favorites. We got Sin and Layla’s romance. We got to go back to Miranda and Archer and see how the only mortals of the group have fared since their first introduction. This book took us full circle and ended things spectacularly.

In the end, though, this is Sin and Layla’s story. Sin’s withdrawal from his family and friends–with good reason–was hard to see. The torment he suffered at Mab’s hands has left a mark and he’s not the boy Layla remembers. Her ability to crash through his walls and make him WANT again was outstanding. And she did it all just by being her. The fact she is more than a match for Sin’s unpredictable power was the cherry on top. THESE TWO, MAN. These two.

I’m sad to see this series end, but I can’t complain about how wonderfully it did. Here’s to all the crazy shenanigans this crew will get into now that they have nobody looking.

Kelly Loves Books... and you!

The Unidentified Redhead by Alice Clayton {Beth’s Review}

I love Alice Clayton so much

Thoughts on The Unidentified Redhead

This book, y’all. I recently read the whole Wallbanger series. I loved it. I loved every book, every character, every line in every book. So of course I jumped right into this series of hers as well. I read this book in about 6 hours. I could not put it down!

The characters in this book are so well written. I just love reading about rich semi-famous (or just plain famous) people. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. I don’t even care because it lead me to this book so I’m not going to complain at all.

I will say this, if you want something sexy (like really, really, really sexy) and hilarious and just plain fun, then this is the book for you. It’ll get you out of any book slump but may make you want to drop every other book and read this whole series. Which is exactly what I’ll be doing for the next couple days.

Seriously, just read it. You won’t regret it!

Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey {Amanda’s Review}

Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

A decent standalone YA historical romance.

My Thoughts on Love, Lies and Spies

I picked up Love, Lies and Spies after reading a review of it somewhere. It’s basically “lite” historical romance, meaning it lacks the same depth to the emotional arcs you find in most historical romances (at least that I like to read). Given that this is a YA historical romance, the lack of depth is a disservice to readers.

Spencer and Juliana both struggle with finding their places within society. Spencer is attempting to be a spy (and not really doing well, if you ask me), and Juliana uses the excuse of a season to go to London to see if she can get hers and her father’s research on insects published.

Juliana isn’t anything like the typical debutante in her time, and that’s a big point in her favor. But other than trying to find a publisher for research, she seemed to spend more time meeting or thinking about Spencer than focusing on her bluestocking tendencies that make her so different. Her family (aunt, uncle, cousin) were an interesting collection of characters that mostly faded in the background unless they were needed.

Spencer seems to be a pretty typical hero of his time, although it’s hard to judge without a lot of information about his past. (Which either I missed or there wasn’t any.) Despite his thinking that to work for the War Office, he must remain single, he can’t help his growing attraction to Juliana.

If you’re looking for a standalone YA historical romance (so yes, people, that means it’s a clean romance), Love, Lies and Spies is a fun romp that won’t pull the angst strings.

Taken With You by Shannon Stacey {Kelly’s Review}

Solid romance, fun characters, *thumbs up*

Thoughts on Taken With You

Ahh. First impressions. Sometimes they can be spot on and sometimes they’re completely off.

And sometimes they’re exactly right, but they’re still worth fighting for and figuring out how to make things work despite the differences.

Hailey and Matt don’t have the best first meeting. Their first impressions of each other aren’t necessarily wrong, but they don’t convey the entire picture either. Hailey’s looking to settle down and start a family, Matt’s still nursing a wounded heart. Kinda. The point is they both feel the attraction, but they can’t see things going anywhere between the two of them. Just to be clear, there are other differences between them, too. He’s outdoorsy, she’s…not. He likes sports, she doesn’t. Basically, there were a lot of little obstacles that made them look all wrong for each other at first glance.

So…they do the neighbors with benefits thing. Which works for a while. Until things blow up. Which is kinda sorta what they both expected. Watching them work their way through their hurt is what makes these characters shine.

Bottom line, this book made me feel good. I liked both Matt and Hailey. I liked that they loved and fought and loved some more. I just… liked it.

Kelly Loves Books... and you!

Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner {Amanda’s Review}

Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner

Lerner’s historical was a total hit.

My Thoughts on Sweet Disorder

Rose Lerner is a new-to-me historical romance author, and Sweet Disorder definitely won’t be the last book of hers that I read. If all her books feature characters with strong growth arcs, I’m all over that.

At first glance, Nick is a pretty typical lordling, struggling with his injury and post-war life. His mother packs him off to go help his younger brother win an election. From the start, it’s obvious there are issues between Nick and his mother, but it goes much deeper than that, and is part of Nick’s growth as a person throughout the book.

Phoebe is a widow (and a refreshing break from the more common virgin heroine) and barely scraping by. When her late husband’s vote in the election becomes key, she’s courted (literally) by both parties. Only she must marry to make the vote count. She refuses… until it becomes apparent that she has to marry. (For reasons.) (Read the synopsis.)

There are a lot of reasons why Nick and Phoebe don’t (or shouldn’t) work, and not just their own personal struggles. And yet somehow, they can’t stay away from each other. I loved watching Nick and Phoebe come into their own and learn how to stand up and stand strong for themselves, even as it pushed them apart.

As if the characters (both the main ones and side characters) weren’t good enough, the elections in this story only added to the uniqueness. (How often do you read about elections in Regency? Never. Can’t wait to pick up the next book in the Lively St. Lemeston series!

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