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Currently Reading – June 27, 2022

What are you reading this week?

This week I’m finishing up The Becoming by Nora Roberts (The Dragon Heart Legacy #2). I made a lot of progress over a productive weekend. With less than 200 pages to go I should finish in about another two days.

"The Becoming" by Nora Roberts (cover)
Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: The world of magick and the world of man have long been estranged from one another. But some can walk between the two–including Breen Siobhan Kelly. She has just returned to Talamh, with her friend, Marco, who’s dazzled and disoriented by this realm–a place filled with dragons and faeries and mermaids (but no WiFi, to his chagrin). In Talamh, Breen is not the ordinary young schoolteacher he knew her as. Here she is learning to embrace the powers of her true identity. Marco is welcomed kindly by her people–and by Keegan, leader of the Fey. Keegan has trained Breen as a warrior, and his yearning for her has grown along with his admiration of her strength and skills.

But one member of Breen’s bloodline is not there to embrace her. Her grandfather, the outcast god Odran, plots to destroy Talamh–and now all must unite to defeat his dark forces. There will be losses and sorrows, betrayal and bloodshed. But through it, Breen Siobhan Kelly will take the next step on the journey to becoming all that she was born to be.

Summer is here and it’s time to get a start on my summer reading. So today, I’m also going to start House of Beating Wings by Olivia Wildenstein (The Kingdom of Crows #1), which now has an amazing cover to go with it! It’s the start of a brand new, new adult fantasy series and close to 500 pages!

Way back in December I got to read and review an early excerpt of the prologue and first chapter – I was hooked! So I’m excited to begin a bit of it today.

"House of Beating Wings" by Olivia Wildenstein (cover)
Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Free the crows, Fallon, and they will make you queen.

Until an oracle predicted my regal future, I’d never imagined myself rising above the curve of my round ears. After all, I was the magicless halfling loved by beasts but loathed by every pure-blooded faerie at court. Well . . . by all but one.

Dante Regio, prince of Luce, had owned my heart since he gave me my first kiss. If gathering a slew of iron relics could help me overthrow the current monarch and crown his brother to rule at my side, then treasure hunting I’d go.

If only the oracle had warned me what winged demon I was releasing into the world.

And that I’d become this demon’s obsession.

And, as you may recall, I’m starting Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #6). This installment has been out for over a year now, but I borrowed it from the library, so it’s only now that I’ve found the right time to read it.

I’ve enjoyed the series thus far and continue to love Anna and Charles. I’ve read all the books with huge chunks of time in between that I don’t remember a lot of details nor can guess what the end game is for this series. But you can’t go wrong with werewolf shifters, especially ones by this long-time author.

"Wild Sign" by Patricia Briggs (cover)
Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear — before it’s too late — in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Alpha and Omega series.

In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they’ve consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous — and it has met werewolves before.

Those are my reading plans this week. Should be interesting trying to read three books at once. Busy as a bee I will be. But this busy bookish bee shall persevere!

Have a great week, everyone!


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Spring Reading Rewind

How did your spring reading go? What were some of your favorite reads? Was there a book you wanted to read but didn’t get to?

Spring is over. Another season has come and gone. All things considered (and there was a lot to consider), I think my spring reading went fairly well.

I read 48 books this spring with one more (The Becoming) that I’m still reading.

As usual, the list changed dramatically. Originally, I had 29 books planned but only read 15 and removed the rest as time went on. Which means I read an additional 33 books not on the list, many of which were short reads.

Back in March I made 5 star predictions from the original spring tbr. Here’s how that went:

    • Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (removed)
    • The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (3⭐)
    • Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas (3⭐)
    • The Bachelor Bargain by Maddison Michaels (removed)
    • The Scandalous Vixen by Tracy Sumner (5⭐)
    • Daja’s Book by Tamora Pierce (removed)
    • When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed (removed)
    • Inferno by Donna Grant (removed)
    • Built to Last by Erin Hahn (4⭐)
    • The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen (removed)

So some hits and misses with the ones I did get to, but the ones I didn’t I still think they will be 5-star reads. Maybe they’ll make it onto the Fall tbr. But that’s a ways away.

A book that surprised me the most was These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch. This was a back-listed title that I just never found time to read. What on Earth took me so long?!? It was really good! I was hooked and very invested in each of the three main characters. And thank goodness, my local library has a copy of the next and final book. That just very well may be a coming Fall or Winter read.

"These Rebel Waves" by Sara Raasch (cover)
Image via Goodreads

I had a few disappointing reads: Wildseed Witch, Batter Royale, and The Bodyguard. These books had some things they did well and had a lot of potential based on the synopsis alone, but I wanted more.

From the ashes of disappointment rose plenty of favorites over the course of the spring:

ROW 1: Hair Love, Eyes That Speak to the Stars, Dear LibrarianFalling Short
ROW 2: Camp Famous, That Cowboy of Mine, Summer Nights with a Cowboy, The Scandalous Vixen

And just as many, there were books that had so much emotional depth and heart that I could not even with how much they moved me. One or both of the main characters were relatable and had pasts that took a lot of strength and faith to overcome. The character growth from overcoming these obstacles was huge and gratifying. I definitely recommend these heartfelt reads:

BlendedBuilt to LastThe Fastest Way to FallFinding JupiterSummer Nights with a CowboyThat Cowboy of Mine

The most outstanding book that I read this spring was Finding Jupiter by Kelis Rowe.

"Finding Jupiter" by Kelis Rowe (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Finding Jupiter became an instant favorite of the season. I was blown away. It was a book I didn’t see coming that was everything I wanted and needed from an amazing, outstanding, 5-star read. I highly recommend Finding Jupiter.

And that, my bookish friends, wraps up the spring reading season. I had a good time. Time for a new crop of books to read and enjoy.

In case you missed it, yesterday I posted my full summer reading list. It was just those 26 books but I went to the library that same day that list was posted and checked out “a few” books not on the list. Classic case of bookworm problems.

Have a great day!


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Currently Reading – June 13, 2022

What are you currently reading?

Starting the week with my last read of the spring season, The Becoming by Nora Roberts. This was one of my top, TOP anticipated 2021 releases, but I never got around to reading it…until now!

I cannot begin to describe how excited I am to finally be reading this sequel. Book 1, The Awakening, was in my top 10 favorite reads of 2020. It was also the first book I’d ever read by Nora Roberts and it blew me away! So now I have probably too high expectations for book 2. That’s okay. I’m just thrilled about what may lie ahead. 5-star prediction.

"The Becoming" by Nora Roberts (cover)
Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: The world of magick and the world of man have long been estranged from one another. But some can walk between the two–including Breen Siobhan Kelly. She has just returned to Talamh, with her friend, Marco, who’s dazzled and disoriented by this realm–a place filled with dragons and faeries and mermaids (but no WiFi, to his chagrin). In Talamh, Breen is not the ordinary young schoolteacher he knew her as. Here she is learning to embrace the powers of her true identity. Marco is welcomed kindly by her people–and by Keegan, leader of the Fey. Keegan has trained Breen as a warrior, and his yearning for her has grown along with his admiration of her strength and skills.

But one member of Breen’s bloodline is not there to embrace her. Her grandfather, the outcast god Odran, plots to destroy Talamh–and now all must unite to defeat his dark forces. There will be losses and sorrows, betrayal and bloodshed. But through it, Breen Siobhan Kelly will take the next step on the journey to becoming all that she was born to be.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Fantasy Worlds to Escape to on Those Rainy Spring Days

Books are my favorite way to escape reality, especially on rainy days. I usually prefer quiet while reading, but rain adds a special ambiance to the reading experience.

When choosing a rainy day read, fantasy worlds are the ideal place to go. You’re in a brand new or familiar world unlike your own. Things look, feel, and sound different. It’s easy to immerse yourself in fantasy in a carefully crafted world.

So the next time there’s a rainy spring day, here are five fantasy worlds you can escape to:

Winding Circle

In Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic series, the main characters are sent to the temple city of Winding Circle. It is a religious community of mages consisting of four temples that correspond to an element (earth, water, fire, and air). Winding Circle is a peaceful and enriching learning environment that takes a holistic approach to the training of novice mages.

Verania

With the recent release of The Damning Stone by TJ Klune, book 5 in the Tales From Verania series, I have been itching to return to Verania. Verania is a fairly ordinary place but with extraordinary inhabitants. There are humans, wizards, dragons, and many different magical creatures. Plus, Tiggy, a precious, lovable half-giant, lives there, so revising Verania is a must for me.

Araluen

The kingdom of Araluen is ruled by the honorable King Duncan and defended by the renowned and elite Ranger Corps. I also like that there’s an open opportunity for a career path. When you come of age there are a myriad of fields you can apprentice in if selected. While a good portion of the books take you on various adventures outside of Araluen, the Ranger’s Apprentice series still makes it worth the visit.

The Zodiac

I love the way Romina Russell structured the worlds her Zodiac series takes place in. It’s a sci-fi fantasy series so the books take place in space. In this universe, there are twelve planets that correspond to a zodiac sign. I thought this was a cool idea and liked that throughout the series you get to bounce around different planets and meet different personality types.

Great Libraries

Margaret Rogerson’s Sorcery of Thorns has sorcerers, sorcery, and other magical things. Most importantly, there are magical libraries that have grimoires with personalities and can “talk.” In short, a bookworm paradise.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Currently Reading – May 6, 2022

Do you have any bookish plans for the weekend?

I don’t know about you but thank goodness it’s Friday! It’s been a long week during which I’ve managed to squeeze in a lot of reading. I like when I get to start a new book just in time for the weekend. This weekend I’ll be reading Finding Jupiter by Kelis Rowe (arc).

Black love stories are always in my top reads-to-find and this particular story was too good to pass up when I saw this NetGalley invite in my inbox. I’ve never heard of “found poetry,” but I think this will be a cool blend of prose and poetry with an intriguing-sounding plot.

Kelis Rowe’s debut novel, Finding Jupiter, releases May 31, 2022.

"Finding Jupiter" by Kelis Rowe (cover)
Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Sparks fly when Orion and Ray meet for the first time at a roller rink in Memphis. But these star-crossed souls have a past filled with secrets that threaten to tear them apart before their love story even begins. Found poetry, grief, and fate collide in this powerful debut.

Ray: Just once I’d like my birthday to be about me, and not the day my father died. I want to be Ray Jr., the tall girl from Memphis with the poetry beats and the braids that stay poppin’. And when I meet Orion at the skating rink, that’s exactly who I am. He pulls my hand, and instead of being defined by my past, he races me toward my future.

Orion: When I dive into the pool, it’s just me and my heartbeat. There’s no dad, no dead sister, and no distracting noises. But I can’t hold my breath forever. And since I met Ray, I don’t want to. The closer we get, though, the more I see I’m not the only one caught in her wake.

With a lyrical blend of found poetry and poignant prose, this stunning debut captures young Black love and a decades-old family secret that may shatter a romance that feels written in the stars.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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8 Sports Fiction Recommendations

Sports! They’ve been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I played a few for many years growing up, but was never a sports fan. Sports were a way to stay active while doing something fun. They made sense when other things didn’t. I couldn’t really imagine doing anything else for fun until I fell in love with musical theater and books.

I don’t root for any team and, for me, most sports are boring to watch – I’d rather be out there playing the sport. I might watch basketball if there’s nothing else on. I almost always watch gymnastics and track and field because they aren’t on television as much as other sports. Penn Relays (a track event) is my favorite sporting event to watch. Second favorite is the summer Olympics.

These days I engage with sports through books. I love characters who are also athletes (former or active) because I can relate to them. I also love following a team’s journey to success. I find those stories inspiring. And I do adore a good sports romance novel.

Today, I thought I’d recommend some sports fiction that I love. I think the stories below are entertaining, wonderful, and relatable enough to appeal to non-sports fans and sports fans of all kinds.

Criteria was that a sport plays a major role in who the characters are or used to be and/or the main character(s) is actively engaged in a sport.

( 1 ) BALLETTurning by Joy L. Smith

( 2 ) FIGURE SKATINGAna on the Edge by A. J. Sass

( 3 ) VOLLEYBALLHaikyu!! by Haruichi Furudate

( 4 ) SWIMMINGBreath Like Water by Anna Jarzab

( 5 ) KATHAK & BOLLYWOOD DANCERadha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma

( 6 ) BASEBALLBat Boy by Christina Lee

( 7 ) AMERICAN FOOTBALLSnapped by Alexa Martin

( 8 ) BASEBALLThe Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams


What’s your favorite sport to read, watch, or play and why?


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Currently Reading – March 28, 2022

What will be your last read(s) of March?

Happy Monday, bookworms!

After much distracted binge-reading of kindle unlimited books (just kidding, I am still reading KU novellas), I am now currently reading The Fastest Way to Fall by Denise Williams and it is going swimmingly.

Britta and Wes are good people who genuinely want to be their best food forward when it comes to who they are and their jobs. I’ve made decent progress over the weekend. They haven’t even met in person yet and the slow burn already has me on the edge of my seat. Even through email their chemistry is palpable. I also like that the story is told through mixed media.

If you’ve read this book, please share your thoughts! I really enjoy Williams’ previous title. I have a good feeling this will be another five-star read.

"The Fastest Way to Fall" by Denise Williams (cover)
Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Britta didn’t plan on falling for her personal trainer, and Wes didn’t plan on Britta. Plans change and it’s unclear if love, career, or both will meet them at the finish line.

Britta Colby works for a lifestyle website, and when tasked to write about her experience with a hot new body-positive fitness app that includes personal coaching, she knows it’s a major opportunity to prove she should write for the site full-time.

As CEO of the FitMe app, Wes Lawson finally has the financial security he grew up without, but despite his success, his floundering love life and complicated family situation leaves him feeling isolated and unfulfilled. He decides to get back to what he loves—coaching. Britta’s his first new client and they click immediately.

As weeks pass, she’s surprised at how much she enjoys experimenting with her exercise routine. He’s surprised at how much he looks forward to talking to her every day. They convince themselves their attraction is harmless, but when they start working out in person, Wes and Britta find it increasingly challenging to deny their chemistry and maintain a professional distance.

Wes isn’t supposed to be training clients, much less meeting with them, and Britta’s credibility will be sunk if the lifestyle site finds out she’s practically dating the fitness coach she’s reviewing. Walking away from each other is the smartest thing to do, but running side by side feels like the start of something big.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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📚 Library Haul!!! 📚

When was the last time you went to the library? Do you currently have any library books checked out?

Happy Sunday!

Early last week I finally got to check out books from my new library home! I talked about this weeks ago as something I’ve been meaning to do for forever. It’s been over a year, which is just plain wrong, so I’m glad to have at last rectified this travesty.

I had a good time looking for books the old-fashioned way. This new library is way bigger than my old one. I’m still learning how to navigate it and locate different sections. I traveled up and down isles alternating between crouching and standing as I searched for books (and paused to admire ones I recognized).

I left the library with a few choice children’s books that I’ve been wanting to read for a while now that were high on my tbr list.

Here’s what I checked out:

@thebookshelfcorner

BLENDED by Sharon M. Draper

@thebookshelfcorner

FALLING SHORT by Ernesto Cisneros

@thebookshelfcorner

I AM PERFECTLY DESIGNED by Karamo Brown, with Jason “Rachel” Brown, Illustrated by Anoosha Syed

@thebookshelfcorner

DEAR LIBRARIAN by Lydia M. Sigwarth, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

@thebookshelfcorner

I’m happy to be reading physical copies of picture books again. It’s the best way to read and enjoy them. And I’m glad the library had the two middle grade books available. I had a list with me and was basically going to check out whatever I could find.

It was a pleasant trip and I can’t wait to go back for more books!


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Spell Your Name With Book Character Names

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay

Do you ever get an idea in your head late at night when you should be asleep but you just have to get up and write the idea down? That was me a few weeks ago.

There I was. Trying to sleep but my mind was still active. I suddenly started thinking of blog post ideas. For the next hour or so, I wrote it all down.

I love a good bookish challenge because you get to revisit past reads you loved. Acronym challenges are one of my favorites to do. This time I thought of trying to spell my name with the names of book characters. Let me tell you it was not easy because I had nine letters, two of them “I”s to find names for. Here’s what I came up with:

Cartier – The Queen’s Rising duology

Halt – Ranger’s Apprentice series

Rho Grace – Zodiac series

Isabelle de Piaget – Dreams of Lilacs by Lynn Kurland

Sebastian Michaels – Black Butler

Tiggy – Tales from Verania series

Iolanthe MacLeod – My Heart Stood Still by Lynn Kurland

Niko (Niklaren) Goldeye – Circle of Magic series

Alanna of Trebond – Song of the Lioness series

The characters mentioned above are very likable and their respective books/series were all four or five stars for me. Cartier is a passion of knowledge and an amazing love interest for the MC. Halt is a grizzly Ranger who I adore. Rho is strong-willed and will do whatever it takes to stop the Thirteenth House (previously believed as a myth) from destroying the entire Zodiac. Isabelle proves she’s more than a pretty face and wants to be seen as somebody. Sebastian is one dashing demon and “one hell of a butler.” Tiggy is the sweetest, gentlest half giant who I love so much. Iolanthe is a ghost I remember being as strong and stern. Niko is a great mage and a wise teacher. And Alanna is a force to be reckoned with who dreams of becoming a knight.

Just a little fun, bookish activity for today. What book characters’ names would you use to spell your name?


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Currently Reading – March 7, 2022

What is the genre of your current read(s)?

Over the weekend, I finished reading Summer Nights with a Cowboy and Wednesday Wilson Will Fix All Your Problems. Now I’m reading a middle grade fantasy called The Girl of Magic and Dreams by Charity Tober.

I won an e-copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway last Fall, but haven’t had a chance to read it until now. The cover is really pretty and I like the idea of a Dream Realm that’s protected by Dream Watchers. I’m interested in this character’s journey and how she might overcome internal and external conflicts. This title is also currently available on kindle unlimited if you have that.


"The Girl of Magic and Dreams" by Charity Tober
Image via Goodreads

ABOUT: Twelve-year-old Sophia Warner comes from a long line of Dream Watchers, humans possessing magical abilities from the Sandman himself and entrusted with protecting the Dream Realm. Frustrated by her slowly evolving powers and the continuous disapproval of the Council of Dreamers, Sophia becomes more and more reckless as she tries to force her full abilities to manifest in a desperate quest to locate her mom—who went missing in the Dream Realm four years earlier.

But things take a dangerous turn when Watchers begin to go missing and the ruler of the nightmares, the Shadow Queen, is to blame. Trapped on a dark island in the world of dreams by the Sandman long ago, the evil queen craves to find enough magic to finally break free from her prison and take over the Dream Realm.

As the only child Dream Watcher, Sophia is told to stay out of it. But when tragedy strikes her family, and the Council of Dreamers hesitates to intervene, Sophia is forced to make a choice. With the help of her best friend, a magical cat named Cosmo, can Sophia not only conquer her own fears and learn to control her magic, but also stop the Shadow Queen’s evil plans before all is lost?


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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