Wednesday, February 24, 2021

10 Romance Books I Want to Read

Over the past year I have been more and more interested in the romance genre. I've alway mixed some romance into my reading, but 2020 really increased my desire for Happily Ever Afters. Romance has always been a fun was to tear through books and make myself happy without too much stress. Therefore, there are more romance books on my TBR than ever before. These are just 10 I've been interested in because of romance booktubers (something I've recently discovered) as well as recommendations and scouring my library's collection online. 

I'm a little late for Valentine's Day, but we read romance year round!


  

    



Friday, February 12, 2021

Series Review: Whyborne and Griffin by Jordan L. Hawk

Series: Whyborne and Griffin
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Historical
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Published: 2012-2019
Add it // Buy it 

Overall Rating: 4/5

Trigger Warnings for the series: Internalized homophobia, societal homophobia, family rejection, PTSD, flashbacks to trauma, night terrors, sexism, murder, sexual assault on and off screen. 

At the beginning of August I innocently started Widdershins, the first book in this series, on whim. I quickly devoured the first eight books and enjoyed every second of this historical fiction paranormal series. What I found was a delightful cast of characters who grow and change over the course of the series as well as a dark and harrowing story of how they try to save the world. 

The world building is excellent over the course of the series. The first few books follow a "monster of the week" format, but the world opened up and a larger undercurrent to the story became apparent. Throughout we encounter a variety of monsters and creatures and eventually uncover a deeper plot that could cause the end of the world. 

Hawke's writing also improves over the course of the series. Even though I was delighted by the first few books, I enjoyed seeing the improvements in pacing, plotting and general skill over the course of seven years of writing. It has darker undertones than most of the urban fantasy I've read and there are serious consequences for characters. Hawke makes the characters work for any wins they achieve. 

Overall this series impressed me with the character development as well. I took a short break between books ten and eleven due to a reading slump. When I returned to the world, I ended up appreciating this even more. Whyborne and Grffin go from budding romantics who just met to one of the most realistic long term couples I've seen in a series like this. Over the course of the series they develop a found family and each minor character's growth is also evident. 

In short, this series was a delight and I recommend it highly. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

2020 Reading Stats

 Last year was a strange year for the entire planet. It was also a strange year in my reading life. After reading over 125 things in 2019, I expected to hit that again in 2020. Ha! Instead my entire job changed and COVID hit in March. After spending a month working at home, I was back in the office in entirely new environment. Like so many of us, it really affected my mental health and the way I read throughout the year.

So, I made a video about my reading statistics in 2020. 

Of course, I tracked a few more things than what I talked about in the video and I didn't actually compare any of my 2019 to 2020 reading before starting the video. It was interesting to see what I did compare the two years, many of my percentages were close to 2019. This surprised me so much because I felt so different about the two years. In 2020 I felt like I struggled to read audiobooks so much and I know I read very few graphic novels. However, when it came down to the actual percentages, there was less than a 5% difference in both! 

Anyway, this is all to say that after comparing 2019 and 2020 I actually feel better about my reading from 2020. I can't wait to see what my reading year looks like in 2021!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Anticipated Releases of First Half of 2020

 Happy New Year Friends! Once again it has been an age since I posted on here. I have recently missed blogging very much and want to attempt to integrate it back in my life. I don't want to make promises because it is so easy to slip out of the habit of posting. However, I have missed this in recent weeks unlike I have before. So in true ABBA fashion...here we go again. 

These are ten books released in the first half of 2020 that I'm excited for. I doubt I'll purchase all of them up as I'm trying to reduce my book buying this year. However, I may try to use my library more than I did in 2020 since...they were closed. 

  

  


 Unfortunately, I'm not up to speed on a lot of new releases so I only have six releases to talk about. I intentionally haven't been paying attention to releases 

As always please visit That Artsy Reader Girl for topics and to check out other Top Ten Tuesday Posts. 

Happy Reading!




 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Books On My Fall 2020 TBR

 It has been a long time since I participated in Top Ten Tuesday and it has been even longer since my heart has been in it. Typically these TBRs are a bust for me because I am a mood reader through and through. However, I'm really excited about all of these books and I hope I can read them all before the end of the year.

One thing I realized when I was making this TBR is so many of the covers have a dark color scheme. I guess fantasy has covers with darker color schemes, but my fall TBR is very appropriate.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) The Enforcer Enigma (San Andreas Shifters, #3)

Spellbook of the Lost and Found The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen, #1) The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)\

The House in the Cerulean Sea Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) Daughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King, #1)

Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy, #1)


Check out That Artsy Girl for future Top Ten Tuesday Topics. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Wrapping Up Last Week: September 13th

For month's I've thought about talking about the books and media I consume each week in some kind of wrap up post. I love to talk about books as well as other media. I'm honestly not sure what will get included in these each week so I'd love some suggestions. 

We'll start with the obvious. Since this is a primarily a book blog, I'll start with the books I finished this past week. 

Books: 


The 5th Gender by G.L. Carriger - (#SpaceOperaSeptember Read) 

This was a good. For some reason I didn't expect it to be as sexy as it was which is totally my fault because Carriger warned us it would be sexy. However, her San Andres series is sexy, but it also has a complex plot. There was plot here but there wasn't a lot of nuance to it and the book was mostly about our characters. Overall I gave this four stars and would definitely read more in this universe. 

Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce - (Fantasy, #3 The Circle Reforged)

One of the worst things is to be disappointed by a book written by a favorite author. I adore Tamora Pierce, but this book just didn't do it for me. Because this is the third in a loosely connected series of books, I had a good idea what would happen in this book. I knew we were getting back story to some stories Briar, Rosethorn and Evvy talk about in the other two books. However, the execution left a lot to be desired. Pierce took on a lot of mature topics like war, torture and PTSD, but a lot of it felt glossed over. There were also several plot points that weren't well developed or resulted in plot holes. 

Currently Reading: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson 

Podcasts:


Mansplain Baseball Elsewhere:

Recently I found this podcast about baseball and hosted by three ladies. Though the hosts are all Braves fans and I am a Yankees fan, I love listening to their commentary on baseball and they do interviews with women in the baseball world. I cannot wait until I can listen to more. 

Movies/Television 


The Good Witch (Movie and Show) - 

Earlier this month I started The Good Witch show on Netflix and I really enjoyed it. However, I felt like I was missing a LOT of context. I found out there are several movies on Hallmark about Cassie and her history in this town. So I watched the original movie and enjoyed that too. The story has a modern witchy vibe that reminds me of Practical Magic, but it is a little lighter and has less murder. 


I hope you all have a good week. If you've enjoyed any of these, I'd love to chat about it. Hopefully 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Some 2020 Favorites

As promised, today I bring you my favorites. Though 2020 has been a heck of a year, there have been a few things that have been bright spots. I hope you are all doing well in this year and I hope you have a few things that have brought you joy. 


Cold Brew - I've loved iced coffee for years, but this year I've been obsessed with cold brew. I've even tried making it myself a few times since we were in quarantine and I was trying to avoid going out to coffee shops to get a cup. 

Painting My Nails - This year my job has changed a little bit so I'm not destroying my nails by opening boxes and packing up textbooks as often. Therefore I've been painting them more often and trying really hard to grow them out. I've always been a nail bitter especially when I'm anxious so having longish nails and healthy cuticles is a big accomplishment for me. I've really enjoyed doing different combinations of nail colors and trying to match them to my books lately. 



Jedi: Fallen Order - Earlier this year I devoured this video game. It was enough of a challenge that I never got bored, but I didn't get overly frustrated either. (Rage quit is real with video games my friends) This game totally absorbed me for a few weeks and I definitely want to replay it at some point so I can attempt to find more hidden things now that I know what I'm doing. Our hero is fantastic and the game itself is beautiful. The graphics are *chef kiss* 

STAR WARS Jedi: Fallen Order™ on Steam 

Tik Tok- If you told me last year I would spend more time on social media, I would be appalled. Somehow I don't care with Tik Tok. I learn things, I get book recommendations and most importantly I laugh. There is so much comedy on this app that isn't offensive or gross. I love the creators I follow and how creative they are. I've spent a lot of screen hours on Tik Tok and it doesn't seem like I'll stop anytime soon. 

My Kindle/Reading on my Phone - Over the past year I have been reading quite a few ebooks which has really helped my reading. It has been really interesting to discover ebook reading on my phone which I didn't do very much until the end of last year. I haven't looked back since I started doing this. Since I have a Kindle that isn't backlit, reading on my phone has been something I can do no matter what the lighting. Why didn't I do this before? The only issue has been I feel like I'm reading fewer of the physical books I've purchased. 

These are a few of my favorite things in the year of 2020. I think I'll wait to talk about any of my favorite books until the end of the year since we are well over half way through the year at this point. We'll see if I'm still around the blog at the end of the year. 

What are your favorite things from this year? What's been helping you through 2020? 


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Hey look! A Blog Post

Hello? *Knock Knock* Is this thing still on? 

It has almost been a year since I posted anything on this blog. I've thought about posting before, but this is the first time I've actually opened the post and started writing anything out. 2020 has been the trash fire of all trash fires for everyone of course, and it has been hard to find motivation to maintain anything beyond what is happening in real life. 

If you'd like to see something I have been keeping up with, mostly, you can check out my Youtube channel. I've been posting at least weekly over there. I adore the community on Booktube and I've found that I can find new channels easier than I can find new blogs. 

So, you may be asking, what has been happening and what is the point of this post? 

Unsurprisingly in this time of quarantine and social distancing, I have been reading. My reading has looked different this year and I've had peaks as well as valleys. My next post (gasp) is going to be about my favorite things of the year so far. I think this is the best way to catch you up on where I'm at in this year and what I've been consuming. 

Mostly this post is practice for me and to wet my toes for blog posts again. For a while I was really calling it in on this blog and I don't want to do that. My plan is to post when the fancy takes me and when I have something to say. If 2020 has shown me anything, it has been I need to give myself grace which I haven't been good at in the past. 

Anyway, I hope you are well and I'd love to hear what you are reading or doing in 2020. 


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

October Wrap Up (2019)

This month I didn't read enough for two wrap ups, but I'm happy I read as much as I did! It was a little rough this month. Enjoy!



Monday, October 21, 2019

Why Practical Magic is the Perfect Halloween Movie (just perfect period)

There are very few movies I have watched more than a dozen times. Practical Magic easily beats out the Harry Potter and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchises for me. I simply loved this movie to bits then it got me through a tough fall where I was watching it almost every day. I have an ongoing love affair with this movie and if you didn't already know, it is simply perfect for Halloween. Here are some of the reasons I adore it.

First I want you to promise me you will not judge this movie based on its trailer because the trailer is awful.


Ok, now that we are all past that...let's get into some reasons I recommend this movie.

1) Mysterious Magic - For a good chunk of this movie magic is quite mysterious. Is is real? Is it just town gossip? This movie introduces its real magic slowly and lovingly. The girls perform little bits of magic when they are children, but the stronger stuff shows up later.


2) Sisterhood - The sisterhood in this movie is no just about biological sisters, but also about the sisterhood of women. As the Aunts' say, "There's a little witch in all of us." Even though the story centers on Gilly and Sally and the strength of their sisterly bond, we see there is strength in finding your coven too.


(Side note: This part makes me cry every single time)

3) Timeless- With limited special effects most of this movie is timeless. Other than the corded phone and the fashion, this movie stands the test of time fairly well. Maybe someone cast a spell on it?

3) Midnight Margaritas- Witches and booze. What more can I say?



4) Dark, but not too dark - In Practical Magic there are some dark parts. There are certainly some things I wouldn't suggest trying i.e. exchanging blood with others and trying to bring your dead abuser back to life. However there is a lot of humor and lightheartedness in this story as well. If you are looking for fun but adult Halloween, this is for you.


6) Sally Owens- I am a Sally Owens and I adore her so much. I love her big heart and identify with her desire to fit in. Sally Owens is a business owner, a single mom and a witch. I want to be her when I grow up.

7) This Quote:

 

...and the entire letter Sally writes containing it. 

Overall, this movie is great. It deals with a lot of tough topics like abuse, loss, and depression, but it also is humorous and full of hope. If you love this movie or watch it this season, let me know your favorite quote below. 


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Five TV or Movie Recommendations for Fall

In the fall I start to watch more shows and movies because I feel less guilty about spending my time inside. These are five recommendations that give me a fall vibe without being scary or gory!

1) Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries - This show has been a source of pure joy for me this fall. A lady detective hunts down murders all while collecting a found family full of amusing characters.  I love the lovely balance of this show and how they tackled serious topics. This has some of the best slow burn romance I've ever watched. It is right up there with North and South. I loved this show!

mad men television GIF


2) Stranger Things -I honestly thought nearly everyone had seen Stranger Things, but I learned neither of my co-workers have watched it. So, I'm here to tell you that you should watch Stranger Things. This show is a nice blend of suspense and friendship. It is spooky and a little bit violent and has some gore. If you can handle that you are all set!



3) Cold Cast Files - If you like true crime, this is one you should check out. I find true crime fascinating and find the way detectives and police have solved some of these cold cases. Throughout the show the producers are respectful to the families and no one is blamed for the case going cold. Instead everyone tells how this crime went cold and how the pieces came together.

4) Falling Inn Love - On a lighter note I recommend this Netflix movie about a down-on-her-luck American who wins an inn through an online contest. She just happens to need the help of a New Zealand handy man who is also hot. This is cheesy and there are moments that don't make a lot of sense. However, that's what I love about romantic comedies. It is also amusing and has a little bit of historical mystery to it that I enjoyed.

5) Holey Moley - A miniature golf competition style game show that makes me laugh. Watch as competitors try to master an absurd mini golf course to win money and an ugly golf jacket. I have been watching these when I feel anxious in the evening and the announcers really give me a kick.

At the end of the day there are a lot of shows out there are these are just a few of my recent favorites that I think would be perfect for fall. What are you watching this season?