off the shelf: what I read – May through October [a summer to fall round-up]

I debated posting these, but I DID read a lot of books during the interim and I wanted to get back on track, so why not. These are micro reviews because it’s been months… Mostly impressions and an impromptu rating system of 🍰

Read (listed from most recent)

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters – 🍰🍰🍰

A long delayed read, but worth it. She’s creepy y’all. More so than Affinity and definitely a spooky read if that’s what you’re into.

The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt – 🍰🍰🍰

My first Hoyt and likely not my last. This was fun. I think it’s her first novel, if I recall correctly, so it’s a little dated and some phrases made me giggle-snort, but fun time had by all. (The “prince” has the same name as the Boy so that made me giggle-snort 10xs more)

And then it became my summer of Sarah MacLean…

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰

Lady in pants! I love a lady in pants. I was super excited to get to this one (the big twist in the Scoundrels series), but I think I hyped myself up to hard and I felt a little meh about the heroine after seeing her character in the earlier books.

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

Oh, this was a good one! More angst (gah! I love it!). Lots of groveling. A woman with a past who is skilled at knocking men out, and a man with a reputation for doing the same. Also, see adorable troupe of meddling boys.

Bombshell by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

We’ve reached the Victorians and it’s a hell of a ride. Girl gangs, secret identities, and a spot of explosives.

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

This is the most “controversial” of Sarah MacLean’s books, but I ate it with a spoon! Complex second chance romance (because he done f*cked up) with a LOT of angst. This is my catnip.

TW: miscarriage and cheating.

A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

Ward/Guardian romance with a ward who knows her mind.

Broke Millennial Takes on Investing by Erin Lowry – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

The Broke Millennial series is great if you’re interested in upping your finance game without Business Bro speak or convoluted finance jargon. The different “tracks” make it easy to learn what you need without reading material you know.

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

The book that started me on this binge… The first in the Scandal & Scoundrel series. Sophie is everything that I love in a “wallflower” heroine – takes charge and isn’t afraid to handle a man (too often, writers use the “I’m a virgin and don’t know what a man is” trope and I HATE it – this book does not do that). Runaway adventure with a touch of second chance.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

I started reading this and within days I learned that my mom and gran had covid… had to go on a hiatus until they recovered because reading about a dying mother and having a mother in peril was a little too hard.

Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – 🍰🍰🍰

One of those SEP classics that gets name-dropped on Fated Mates on a regular basis, so I finally had to read it. SEP does not shy away from weird, questionable plots. There’s some serious consent re: secret baby (and how she gets it), but it is what it is. You also get a trio of mountain women eschewing men with a firm hand (and maybe a shotgun).

Flirting with Forever by Cara Bastone – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

A sweet, sort of enemies-to-lovers because of a silly misunderstanding love story between a slightly older woman and an adorable lawyer who wants to help everyone. See also, man with cat 💖

The Queen’s Triumph by Jessie Mihalik – 🍰🍰🍰

The third in the Rogue Queen series. Space opera romance FTW! Also, one of my insta-buy authors 😉.

Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

This book is bonkers in the best way. It’s older, so beware dynamics and situations that wouldn’t fly today, but it’s such a random, fun read. Broke rich girl forced to marry circus performer by her Russian royalty obsessed father (I told you it’s bonkers).

TW: It came out in the mid-90s, you’re in for some dubious consent moments.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami – 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

Vignettes and a very slow, unexpected romance between a salary woman and her former sensei.

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

This may be my favorite in the Modern Love series. Influencer gets catfished by her celebrity crush (or does she?).

Taming Him by Kennedy Fox – 🍰🍰

This one’s on me. I wasn’t expecting a baby plot, so I kind of meh-ed on the latter half of the book. Want to read more of the series though, as cowboys are a thing I didn’t know I needed.

DNF

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin – 🤷🏻‍♀️ I liked the concept, but it wasn’t for me. Give me this book with adult characters and less Magisterium style churchiness and I’m in.

Audiobooks

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – 🍰🍰

One of those canonical horror stories you have to read. Read it for the podcast, so you can hear my thoughts here

Episode 48: The Haunting of Hill House The Bluestocking Circle Podcast

In which we break down the horrors of solitude, learn that ghosts will improve most stories, and, as always, expect more murder. All this and more as the Bluestockings discuss the book The Haunting of Hill House.

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off the shelf: what I read in March and April 2021

what I read – March & April 2021

Currently reading

Taming Him by Kennedy Fox

Read

Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas – My third Kleypas read and my second of the 2021. There’s a lot of debate in Romancelandia about Derek Crave vs. St. Vincent and, friends, I am a St. Vincent girl, so I read this one purely for the cameo. It’s nice to see the series transition to the Victorian era, but Pandora is that class of independent-naive-quirky-rich-girl (dare I say manic pixie dream girl?) that gets on my nerves in a historical romance. The plot also falls flat in the third act… Kleypas loves an injured hero/heroine, but it didn’t work for me this time.

Take a hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert – SO MUCH LOVE! I can’t believe I slept this long on Talia Hibbert (partly because I know she’s prolific and I wasn’t ready for a rabbit hole of new books…). There is a lot of me in Dani and I loved how the way her character grows from someone who only cares about academics to someone who is emotionally competent. Also, Zaf’s protein bars 🥰

Take the Lead by Alexis Daria – This one was partly research because one of Alexis Daria’s books is a comp title for my future queries, but it’s also just good fun. It’s not something I ever really talk about but I LOVE dance. I always wished we could’ve afforded dance lessons, because I love dancing, even though I’ve always been too shy and awkward to dance in public 😅. Alexis Daria has a way of making TV celebrity romance something that I actually care about and this one was no exception. If you enjoy reality dance competitions and sexy, contemporary romance, this one’s for you.

The Rakehell of Roth by Amalie Howard – Normally, I’m a sucker for second chance romance, but sometimes even I get tired of a hero who thinks he isn’t good enough for his wife.

An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn – Can it be that I miss the slow burn of Veronica and Stoker’s will they/won’t they romance? I kind of think I do… Another fun Victorian mystery, but it fell a little flat. Will, of course, continue to read the series.

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin – on hold. Hmmm… I’m not sure if I’m not in the right place for this one or it’s not for me. Will revisit.

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown – DNFed against my will! Lol 😅 it took me too long to get to it and I had to return it to the library. I’m on the hold list until it circles back to me.

Earthlings by Sayaka Murata – Taking a few book layovers because this is a HEAVY little tome. Currently on hold, maybe future DNF? Not sure if I’m in the right place for this one either. It’s clearly leading to a recurring sexual abuse plot.

TW for verbal and physical abuse and sexual assault.

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas – If you thought ACOTAR was too sexy, this is not for you… This book SIZZLES. It spicy, y’all. Also, so much angst. I wasn’t sure I would care for Nesta’s story, but this hit all the marks for me: high stakes fantasy, angry heroine, female friendship, and a fated mates love story.

TW for ALL the violence, threat of/assault on the page, depression, self-hatred, and mention of self-harm.

Lore by Alexandra Bracken – I LOVED this book. It’s the perfect blend of mythology and urban fantasy that destroys me as a reader AND a writer because it is the kind of story I yearn to publish one day. If you love Greek mythology, high stakes, and violent urban fantasy, this book is for you. It’s technically YA, but reads like an adult novel.

DNF

The Awakening by Nora Roberts – I like Nora Roberts. I like slip fantasy. I just couldn’t get into this book and was thrown out of the story the minute the heroine mentioned sharing an iPod with her roommate. This was published in 2020, y’all. Who has an iPod?

Audiobooks

n/a! Mostly because I’ve been binging youtube on my downtime.

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off the shelf: what I read – January + February 2021

Apparently, I never got around to posting January’s books amid all the new year excitement (and health drama), so here they are along with February’s reads.

Still Reading

Lore by Alexandra Bracken – Of course, all my holds came in at the same time… Loving this urban fantasy take on a Greek-mythology inspired Olympic murder fest. Basically, every 7 years the remaining gods battle it out, but the stakes are higher than ever.

The Art of Flaneuring: How to Wander with Intention and Discover a Better Life by Erika Owen – I’ve been reading this book on and off for the last year. It’s not fault of the book, it’s actually quite enjoyable, I’m just not in the frame of mind to read a book about exploring your city on foot when I can’t explore my city…

Finished

The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas – I never care about spoilers, but when I saw that this was the latest book on Heaving Bosoms, I paused and picked up my Kindle. I LOVED this book. St. Vincent is my surly hero. It hit all the marks for me–enemies to lovers, alpha hero who wants to make you comfortable, mildly high stakes. Just a win on all counts.

Naughty Brits by Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, Louisa Edwards, Tessa Gratton, and Sierra Simone – I really enjoyed these stories, particularly Tessa Graton’s, but I couldn’t finish Sierra Simone’s. It hit a few too many hard limits for me and I couldn’t get behind the story. Especially loved the way the novellas evoked various parts of Britain and the British Museum. Really makes me want to put London at the top of my list after the pandemic (I visited in 2005 and have been meaning to go back since).

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo – This book made me mad in the best way possible. Highly recommend! The opening is a little quirky, but so powerful by the time you get to the end. I can’t stop recommending it.

American Girl, Molly Collection by Valerie Tripp – Molly and Felicity are the two original AG’s I never got around to reading. I was feeling the need for a WWII story to remind me that the world has survived some pretty grim times… Is it just me or is Molly a little mean? There’s the usual didactic element to each volume, but Molly is a bit of a spoiled bully, something I didn’t get from the other girls in the original collection. Am I just being nostalgic?

Awakening Your Ikigai: How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Every Day by Ken Mogi – I love starting the year with a self-improvement title. This came out during the wave of books about culturally inspired habits for happy lives… think Hygge and Lagom. Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy that encourages a balanced state of mind. It’s a quick, educational little book with lots of insight into the Japanese way of life.

Audiobooks

Dreams of a Dark Warrior by Kresley Cole – this is the one that Sarah Maclean calls “Torture Island”. There’s definitely torture, not that this series is particularly light in general. I still enjoyed it. The reincarnation plot makes for some interesting stakes on top of the paranormal hunter/vivisection subplot.

DNF

None!

Well, not strictly true but the one book I DNFed ended up being number insert double digit here in a series and completely impenetrable, so I returned it to the library.

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off the shelf: what I read – December 2020

Still Reading

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo – I’m so glad I ordered this book from my local indie. It’s a feminist powerhouse in the most subtle of ways.

Finished

A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai – I am stumped as to whether this is straight erotica or kinky romance but it is DIRTY. And I say that without judgement, I really enjoyed it, but if you’re coming to this after Alisha Rai’s Modern Love series, just know that her earlier books are 10000% spicier than the love scenes in her current series. Lots of personal angst, lots of mommy/daddy issues, lots of kink.

The Beast of Blackmoor by Milla Vane (novella) – This is a prequel novella to the A Gathering of Dragons series. More along the lines of A Heart of Blood and Ashes in terms of consent play and violence, so TW if that doesn’t work for you (also, TW for mention of sexual violence). Leans into BDSM. Complex character-development and just as much world-building as the novel-length titles in this series.

A Touch of Stone and Snow by Milla Vane – I loved this sequel! I enjoyed the first book in this series, but generally disliked the hero, so that made it a little hard to finish. No such qualms here! Excellent Dark Fantasy Romance with heaps of world-building.

The Devil in her Bed by Kerrigan Byrne (via NetGalley) – I expected historical, what I never expected late Victorian, dark romantic suspense! This is a ride from the start–it’s not every romance that opens with murder. Conflict from the outset, and it’s easy enough to follow the occasional callback to earlier books in the series even if you haven’t read them. Secret societies! Ritualistic orgies! Women in pants and secret identities!
I thought I read Kerrigan Byrne before but after a quick search through my book lists, I realized this was my first. Won’t be my last.

Audiobooks

N/A

DNF

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren – I need to stop trying to read CL’s books – I just can’t get on with them… I got about 20 pages in and knew this was going to be a slog I didn’t feel like slogging through. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t aged down to YA (the main character is 26 but reads like 16).

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off the shelf: what I read – November 2020

Not the greatest month for reading. It’s been hard to focus and even harder to find the desire to sit still long enough to read, but at least I found some good ones.

Still Reading

A Touch of Stone and Snow by Milla Vane – I am loving this sequel! I enjoyed the first book in this series, but generally disliked the hero, so that made it a little hard to finish. No such qualms here!

Finished

Any Rogue will Do by Bethany Bennet – Second chance regency romance with a heroine who wants her own place and a hero who knows he screwed up. It dragged a little towards the end, but I enjoyed it and loved all the side characters as much as the heroes.

Temptation’s Darling by Johanna Lindsey – This is the only example I have of Johanna Lindsey’s work… I don’t think I’ll be delving further. Though this was the last book she published before she passed away in early 2020, it reads like old school romance. Kind of long, kind of rambling, penetration to orgasm in 0 seconds flat is a thing that happens more than once. I finished it because I purchased a physical copy, likely would’ve DNFed if I had borrowed it.

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer – I, like so many others, watched Enola Holmes on Netflix and was charmed by the story. The book is A LOT darker than the film, and the characters are younger and in more peril. Overall, a fun read and a series that I will return to when I get through some of the other books I’ve been meaning to read.

Audiobooks

Emma by Jane Austen, narrated by Nadia May – This is the third time I read Emma, but the first time I listen to it on audio. Nadia May is excellent! I highly recommend this version of the book. You can hear my full thoughts on Emma (and Clueless) in this month’s episode of The Bluestocking Circle Podcast.

DNF

None!

off the shelf: what I read – October 2020

Still Reading

Temptation’s Darling by Johanna Lindsey – a new story by an old-school romance author to round out my genre education. (Johanna Lindsey’s last novel before she passed earlier this year)

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer – (just started) I was so charmed by Netflix’s Enola Holmes, I had to read the book.

Finished

Silverwolf (Rowankind) by Jacey Bedford – Magic and mills! I love how Jacey Bedford blends rich fantasy with a historical setting (Georgian era Britain in this case). I’m so glad I found this series!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – Tune into The Bluestocking Circle podcast on November 1st for my full thoughts, but this did not meet my expectations.

Skincare by Caroline Hirons – You can watch her channel and get the gist of it… I guess the book is a nice collectors’ item if you’re a big fan shrug

The Healthy Writer by Joanna Penn and Euan Lawson – In writing about reading writing advice while dealing with anxiety and depression, Joanna Penn notes, “I was able, in moments of clarity, to see that the reason well-meaning advice left me feeling so dispirited was not that I wasn’t cut out to be a writer but that I wasn’t the audience people were writing for.”

This is everything I needed and more. As a writer with chronic illness and chronic pain, the advice to write every day and push through isn’t practical, at best, and damaging, at worst. I can’t push through a head-splitting, three-day migraine that leaves me feeling drunk. Nor can I write through the exhaustion when fatigue takes over. Conventional writing advice isn’t for me and that’s ok.

Audiobooks

None this month

DNF

Hex, Love, and Rock & Roll by Kat Turner – I DNFed around 30%. I liked the concept but the plot was too messy for me and didn’t hold my interest. (LibraryThing Early Reviewer copy)

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See – I only got a few pages in. I usually like Lisa See, but the tone wasn’t what I needed at the moment.

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off the shelf: what I read – September 2020

Still Reading

Silverwolf (Rowankind 2) by Jacey Bedford – part two in a three part series… more adventuring in alternate-history, 18th century England.

Hex, Love, and Rock & Roll by Kat Turner – I won a copy of this title as part of a LibraryThing giveaway. Urban fantasy with witches? Sign me up!

Finished

Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest – What a perfect gem of a book. I needed something happy and uplifting after everything that has happened (take your pick) and this book delivered. Evie is a young actress with a family legacy who has a lot to learn about her worth as an individual. She gets caught up in Hollywood drama and is forced to confront plenty of truths about friendship, family, and herself. It’s a sweet story and I highly recommend for anyone who needs a hopeful read.

The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan – This has been recommended on a couple of the podcasts I follow, but I had the same issue that I had with The Hook Up — I’m not convinced these are people in their early 20s. Not around 2017 when this was printed. They read like older 30-somethings from the 90s, down to the pop culture references. Part of me wonders if these books were written long before they were published and revised to sound current. So many questions… Anyhow, her Darkest London series remains my favorite. I skimmed most of the second half.

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare – This might be my favorite Tessa Dare book ever! It has some Beauty and the Beast elements, a little Jane/Rochester vibe, and a heroine who knows what she wants and will do what she has to do to get it (including staging a Regency-era LARP situation).

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare – Part of the same series as Romancing the Duke, but this one didn’t hit the mark for me. A sweet story about childhood crushes and redemption, but the characters didn’t hold me in the same way, plus there was weirdness about parental abuse and starvation that mostly came out of nowhere…

The Duke’s Stolen Bride by Sophie Jordan – Apparently, I had a copy of the first book in this series on my Kindle (I really need to stop impulse buying all the books), so I read it out of order… Sophie Jordan is still new to me, so I don’t have much basis for comparison. Her books lie somewhere between Tessa Dare and Sarah Maclean in terms of romance and comedy IMO. Part of me wanted to Marian to get real with her sisters and tell them to find jobs without her having to scheme to become a courtesan (also, make the brother get a job FFS)… I wasn’t sold on the conflict.
TW for threat of rape as a plot device.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip – I picked this up during one of my last trips to Barnes and Noble during my brief winter break in the beforetimes. The cover is gorgeous and this is a classic, but the story fell a little flat for me. I think the reader I was in 2004, when I was new to fairy tale fantasy and gobbling up everything that smacked of British folk lore would’ve loved this, but I am not that reader anymore and the use of physical and mental rape as conflict was a deal-breaker.

Audiobooks

Misery by Stephen King – podcast “read” so join us on October 1st to hear my thoughts! Let’s just say I had to speed up the audio to 1.50 to get through it.

DNF

Checked out Midnight Sun, saw that it is 25(!) hours long and decided to wait for the book from my library. I’m curious, but not 25 hours curious.

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off the shelf: what I read – August 2020

Still Reading

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip – making my way through those print TBRs…

Finished

Act Like It by Lucy Parker – (link to HB podcast) A perfect enemies-to-lovers romance! I heard about this book a long, long time ago and had it on my book list forever… When Heaving Bosoms recapped it on one of their episodes, I decided the time was now. This was the unexpected reading highlight of a slow, but good reading month.

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal – Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan… I’ve long felt that the only way to pull off a beat-for-beat Pride & Prejudice update is to set it in a place where marrying above your station can make a meaningful difference in a woman’s life. Setting it in Pakistan in the year 2000 is chef’s kiss. You get the mother-obsessed-with-marriage without it being weird and out of place. Billionaire boyfriend books aside, the relationship between Alysba and Darsee reads like a real Pride & Prejudice set in “modern” times. Loved how the story was updated and all the references to books scattered throughout (I already ordered a copy of Sunlight on a Broken Column by Attia Hossain).

One random aside, there are some jarring head-hopping scenes where the narrative shifts from the speaker to an omniscient narrator that tells you a different character’s thoughts or backstory. I’m not sure if this is a call-back to Austen, or a writerly conceit that didn’t work for me.

The Virgin and the Rogue by Sophie Jordan – aphrodisiac gone awry… This is the sort of premise that sounds absolutely bonkers but makes for a very fun, quick read. Couldn’t put it down. I loved the chemistry between the characters and look forward to reading more Sophie Jordan.

West by Edith Pattou – this book has been on my shelf for a little over a year… it was published in 2018, the sequel to Pattou’s East (a retelling of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” that I love). One of the mainsubplots is a pandemic.
facepalm

That said, it took me back to a world I missed and reminded me why I love re-tellings. Still, if you can’t handle the thought of a plague, maybe hold off on this one.

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane – barbarian romantic fantasy … this straddles the place between erotic and romantic fantasy IMO. If you don’t like female anatomical bits described as c*nt, maybe skip this one. This book is doing things… it doesn’t all work for me, but it makes me think, and that’s always worth the read.

Audiobooks

Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole – Not my favorite, but it’s a turning point in the series so…
Unpopular opinion: the Valkyries are the beings I enjoy the least in this series and this one has A LOT of Valkyries. Much of the conflict was of the “this could’ve been fixed if you talked about it” variety; pretty standard, but didn’t fully for work me. Think Jewel of the Nile with a not-quite-unrequited love interest, a god that needs to be killed, and a whole of lot interpersonal baggage.

TW: lots of sexual abuse and torture (the big bad is a really BIG BAD).

DNF

none! yay!

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off the shelf: what I read – July 2020

Still Reading

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane – barbarian romantic fantasy is a flavor I haven’t tried…

Finished

Destiny’s Captive by Beverly Jenkins – Selected purely for the pirate lady cover. I was thrilled to find that the heroine is a Cuban pirate/rebel/thief, but wish it had played a larger role in the plot. My one pet peeve: the Spanish is not quite right (including the main endearment), but I doubt anyone involved in the editing was aware of it shrug.

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai – A sweet romance with a thoughtful look at PTSD and trauma. It’s cute, but I prefer Alisha Rai’s earlier series. This series leans into Women’s Fiction territory more than contemporary romance IMO.

Daring and the Duke (Bareknuckle Bastards series) by Sarah MacLean – Brazen and the Beast is still the best in this series (IMHO), but this was a great follow-up. I love a redemption story (not a surprise, if you’ve been following my recent reviews), and this one hits the spot.

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (Rules of Scoundrels series) by Sarah MacLean – I didn’t love this. The “nerd girl who is clueless about sex” trope is popular, but not one that works for me. I skimmed to the end, so I could move on to the next book in the series.

Audiobooks

Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole – back at it…

DNF

none! yay!

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off the shelf: what I read in June 2020

Still Reading

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (Rules of Scoundrels series) by Sarah MacLean – hmmmm… there are tropes I don’t love…

Finished

Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik – The last in the Consortium Rebellion series. Polaris Rising remains my favorite, but each book in this series shines with rebel princesses, political intrigue, and the space drama. (Jessie Mihalik is one of my favorite authors of the last two years. I already pre-ordered her next book.)

Reborn Yesterday by Tessa Bailey – A fated mates-style vampire romance—not at all what I expected from this author. It was cute. Not quite for me. I had a hard time understanding the reasoning behind the Ginny’s status as a social pariah. I mean, I got it, but I couldn’t understand why… it just didn’t resonate.

The Baby-Sitters Club, books 1-4 by Ann M. Martin – read for the podcast. I now realize how my mom felt when I was kid and insisted on watching Full House… I’m not the audience for this series and I’m not sure I ever was… (listeners will know that I didn’t jive with what passed as children’s/YA hits in the 90s)

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard – I lost interest in this series midway through Book 3 (when it came out), but something drew me back to this world (can it be the impending sense of doom in our own?). I didn’t love it shrug. It’s very drawn out (war war detail detail) and I interest waned early on, but I persisted by skimming to the end.

A Rogue by Any Other Name (Rules of Scoundrels series) by Sarah MacLean – I love an an angsty redemption story and this one has angst in spades! Childhood friends, a ruined Duke turned scoundrel, semi-forced marriage of convenience, and a whole lot of “How you gonna fix this?” drama.

Audiobooks

Untouchable (also called Deep Kiss of Winter? Why does the audio have a different name?) by Kresley Cole – it’s official, the Wroths are some of my favorite IAD males. I love a broody vampire and there’s no denying it.

DNF

The Great Influenza by John M. Barry – not quite what I was looking for… More on the history of individuals rather than the pandemic (though I DNFed in the first section. I didn’t have the drive to continue).

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