2019 Best of the Year & Choose Your Own Giveaway

January 25, 2020 06:45 PM Posted by juliannadouglas

After being an avid reader all my life, in 2008, I decided to start reviewing books, as well. That’s when I joined GoodReads and founded my review website, The Hope Chest Reviews. Since becoming a published author, I haven’t stopped writing reviews of the books I read for pleasure, in part, because I’m now more aware than ever just how important reviews can be to an author in helping readers discover them.

Ever since I started my review site, I’ve had an annual tradition of posting my Best of the Year list to highlight all the very best books I read the previous year. As in past years, I have an eclectic group of books on it from a wide variety of genres. Since I’m a romance writer and long-time romance reader, my focus is mostly on romance, but I also have a nice selection of other books, including fantasy, YA, historical fiction, memoirs, and non-fiction.

Breaking Dawn Book Cover


Categories: Giveaways

Tags: Best of the Year, Nalini Singh, Stephenie Meyer

Banned Books Week 2019

September 15, 2019 03:11 PM Posted by juliannadouglas

Keep the Light On Banner

What do all of these books have in common?

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry

  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

  • Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Categories: Events, Giveaways

Tags: Banned Books Week, Stephenie Meyer

June 2019 Book of the Month Giveaway

July 14, 2019 03:08 PM Posted by juliannadouglas

June was a so-so reading month for me. Out of the six books and novellas I read during the month, only half rated four stars or higher, and out of those three, only one received that all-important five-star rating to be in the running for Book of the Month. It’s the companion guide to one of my all-time favorite romance series, one that has been very popular over the years since its publication. I found this to be a very informative book that gives readers all sorts of insights and background that you don’t get merely from reading the novels and which can help to enhance the reading experience.


Categories: Book of the Month, Giveaways

Tags: Stephenie Meyer, Twilight

January 2019 Book of the Month Giveaway

February 16, 2019 03:23 PM Posted by juliannadouglas

January’s reading was kind of meh for me. I tried a couple of new authors who didn’t quite make the cut, as well as another author I’d read before but who didn’t have a very good track record with me. That left only two books and a novelette, all by favorite authors, that scored highly with me. Out of those my top pick was a re-read of an old favorite that’s the third book of a phenomenally popular series. The hoopla over it may have died down somewhat in recent years, but it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Bella has been a character whose actions and choices I don't always agree with, but somehow I'm still able to understand her. For instance, I'm a hopeless romantic, so the prospect of marriage to someone like Edward would not be a difficult choice for me to make. Bella, however, fights not only the idea of a beautiful wedding, but also the marriage itself as though it were the most distasteful thing in the world. However, the author allows me to live my own perspective vicariously through other characters. Bella also seems to always be thinking of everyone else before herself, so I was pleased to see her grow enough by the end of this book to realize that it's OK to do something because it was right for her instead of just right for her loved ones. I did find myself wishing throughout much of the book, though, that Bella would ease up on the self-flagellation. She constantly seems to think that every bad thing that happens is somehow her fault and that she is a bad person because of it, when that clearly isn't the case, but overall, I liked her anyway.


Categories: Book of the Month, Giveaways

Tags: Stephenie Meyer, Twilight

November 2018 Book of the Month Giveaway

December 19, 2018 12:00 PM Posted by juliannadouglas

I had just one five-star read in November. It was a re-read of an old favorite that’s the second book in a popular young adult series that stirred up a ton of hype about a decade or so ago, when I read it for the first time. Since then, a lot of that hype has died down, but I still love these books and I’m having fun rediscovering them. I’ve enjoyed reading the first two books again, and I look forward to re-reading the rest in 2019.

When I say Edward and Bella, everyone is sure to know which series I’m talking about.:-) I recall that when I read these books for the first time, I was enthralled by their epic love story. But in this second volume, they spend much of it apart. After an innocent birthday celebration leads to a minor accident that in turn causes a life-threatening situation for Bella, Edward decides that the best course of action to keep her safe is to take himself out of her life. This leaves Bella depressed, demoralized, and having difficulty moving on with life, until she discovers a new friendship and a rebellious purpose with Native American teen and friend of the family, Jacob Black. But Jacob has some secrets of his own, and he and a “gang” of teens from the reservation may prove equally as dangerous as Edward.


Categories: Book of the Month, Giveaways

Tags: Stephenie Meyer, Twilight