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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off the shelf: what I read in May 2020

Still Reading

Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik – my favorite spacey romance series

Finished

It’s Getting Scot in Here by Suzanne Enoch – It was ok. Highlanders, manipulative mothers, and a trip to Gretna Greene. I skimmed the last quarter because I was in too deep and just wanted to know how it ended.

Too Hot to Handle by Tessa Bailey – Siblings with tons of baggage and a road trip gone awry. Also grew a little exasperated with this one, seemed to rely more on love scenes than plot development. I’ve enjoyed all the other books I’ve read by this author; this one just didn’t satisfy in the same way.

Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson – I’m not sure if this reads like old school romance, or the heroine is just that clueless. I received this as part of a blind box from an indie bookstore, so it’s not an author or genre that I normally go for.

A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn – This series is an insta-read for me. Excellent mystery and the slowest of slow burn romance subplots. Historical mystery set against the backdrop of the Ripper murders. It feels like a conclusion, but maybe not?

Audiobooks

Dark Deed’s at Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole – ballerina flapper ghost meets vengeful virgin vampire. We love a virgin vampire! Sort of a friends to lovers in the IADverse.

Dark Desires after Dusk by Kresley Cole – I didn’t love Holly, but I did like Caed. Sheltered, OCD mathematician meets disgraced demon prince. Adventure, betrayal, redemption. A road trip with high stakes that didn’t feel that high TBH, but still a good distraction.

Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole – We enter the realm of light bondage. Enemies to lovers who bring out the best and worst in each other is my kind of kink.

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video: off the shelf – what I read – January 2020

A little bit of everything this month… What I read, what I started, and what I gave up on in January.

What have you been reading lately? Any female-driven fantasy recommendations? 

📚 Read

Harleen, v.3 by Stjepan Sejic

A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi

Atomic Habits by James Clear (audiobook)

📖 Reading

On a Wild Night by Stephanie Laurens

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating by Christy Harrison

🚫 DNF

Twice Upon a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

🤔 Forgot to mention

Stuck-up Suit by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland – this is a billionaire romance, which is not my style normally. It was ok. There was some weirdness re: possessiveness and unprotected sex that I didn’t like.

 

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video: off the shelf – what I read: Nov – Dec 2019

Another marathon #romance reading session… What I read, what I started, and what I didn’t finish in November and December 2019.

What have you been reading lately? What are you loving? I’m open to all genres and recs ❤️

📚 Read

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai (audiobook)

Forbidden Hearts series by Alisha Rai (I read them in reverse, don’t judge me.)

  • Hurts to Love You (book 3)
  • Wrong to Need You (book 2)
  • Hate to Want You (book 1)

Trade Me by Courtney Milan

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

📖 Reading

Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi

📕 DNF

The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

 

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video: off the shelf – June reads

June was a weird month, book-wise. I had a hard time finding something to love until…
The hits, the misses, and the WHY?! *cough* 5 love languages *cough* that I read in June.

MENTIONED

 

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loves & latest: July 1, 2019

loves latest

loves

reads

The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner

I had a hard time connecting with books in June, but The F*ck It Diet resonated from the start. The title is something of a misnomer IMHO. This is NOT a diet book. This is an anti-diet book. It provides a science-based look at how diets screw up our relationship with food, resulting in restriction, binging, and negative self-image. Dooner’s style is swift and powerful and really hit home for me.

I’ll be posting a dedicated review video later in July because I’m only half-way through and I have soooo many thoughts to share.

beauty

Ocean Potion Sport SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray

It’s summer in South Florida (and the rest of the northern hemisphere, obvs) but for reasons I was caught without sunscreen during my recent birthday penguin adventure. The gift shop had limited options and I am extra sensitive to chemical sunscreens, but this one did the trick, smelled great (no weird metallic scent), and covered my body in a pinch with minimal effort. Plus, it lasts, so I’m ready for my next adventure.

random

hot water bottle

This is an ode to my trusty helper. When I have neck pain, she gets me through the night. Ditto when my knee is flaring. Or cramps. She does it all.

It’s a long story, but I haven’t owned a microwave in two years, which means I can’t use my old flax seed heating pad, and I’m too paranoid for something electric. Enter ye olde hot water bottle. I have the one pictured. It’s pink and comes with a sweater and retains heat really well. If you need a warm hug to get rid of pain, you need one of these and a fast-boil kettle.

Want more recommendations? Check out the Loves page.

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latest

podcast

bluestocking-circleFollowing on the heels of my personal favorite (Labyrinth), we move onto my co-host’s favorite work: Zorro.

Join us as we explore the quintessential (Latin)American hero and release the Spanglish.

Episode 23: Zorro is available on your favorite podcatcher.

If you want to hear two lady nerds talk about their favorite books and movies, give us a listen on PodomaticApple PodcastsGoogle Play, or Spotify. Also available on YouTube.

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video: off the shelf – what I read in May

 

mentioned

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loves & latest: June 3, 2019

loves latest

loves

reads

The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick

This is my third Nicola Cornick read and definitely not the last. She writes time-slip mysteries set in England. Her first two books in the “series” were set in Tudor/modern day England, but this one is Georgian/modern day. These are edgy mysteries with a psychological bent… I don’t want to give the plot away, but it involves a dress that brings out the worst in those who possess it.

*more in my upcoming video review – later this month*

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beauty

twinkle * apothecary – petal tint and bronzing balm

Instagram is my happy place. I keep a separate account to track my daily outfits, and have curated this feed with indie beauty brands, project panners, and women of all sizes. As I was browzing, I came across twinkle * apothecary, a female-owned indie beauty brand and store from Oklahoma City. Her products looks so pretty and lush (and affordably priced!), I had to give them a try.

I purchased the petal tint and the bronzing balm. Both give just the right amount of glow to my skin and give me a natural flush. They are lighter and dewy-er than my RMS and great for summer. Love them and look forward to trying more from the brand.

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random

I don’t often talk about my partner in online platforms, but we’ve been together for a decade and, despite the ups and downs, there are some days when he really comes through. Today was one of those days. A wasp got into my bedroom and he rose to the occasion like a proper knight to help me get it out and soothe my panicked state.


latest

podcast

bluestocking-circleIt’s June, which means it’s my birthday month(!) and my fellow host indulged my fangirling with a tribute to my FAVORITE movie: Labyrinth.

Episode 22: Labyrinth is available on your favorite podcatcher.

If you want to hear three lady nerds talk about their favorite books and movies, give us a listen on Podomatic, Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, or Spotify. Also available on YouTube.

Follow us @bluesoxcircle on TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

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video: off the shelf reviews – what I read in April (and March)

The best books I read in April (and March, if I’m being honest). Mystery, finance, and manga, oh my!

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What have you read lately? Drop a recommendation in the comments.

video: off the shelf reviews – battle of the budget books

I’ve been on a financial planning/budgeting kick for a few months. I want to make 2019 the year I up my investing game and the first place to start is research. Here are four of the best books I’ve read so far — these are practical, useful, and provide just enough insight to help you get started on a debt-free journey, and detailed enough to help a first time investor understand the finance lingo.

MENTIONED

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Women and Money by Suze Orman
Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry
The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide to Getting Good with Money by Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage

What are your favorite budget/finance books? Comment below! I’m always looking for recommendations.