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!

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

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!

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

off the shelf : what I read, March – April 2020

I debated recording a video, but I don’t have the mental space to record, edit, and try to upload on my mediocre connection, so here’s what I read in March and April… with super short reviews.

Also, I’ve read a lot of romance and fantasy in the last 4 years… the current state of the world is leading me further down this rabbit hole.

Read

The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard – Regency romance meets Beauty & the Beast in this story about a spinster who will marry a “beast” to save her sister.

The Queen’s Gambit by Jessie Mihalik – the leader of a refugee planet crosses paths with the emperor of one of the warring factions that put her people in danger. Misunderstandings, political intrigue, and a rogue with a heart of gold in SPACE.

The Queen’s Advantage by Jessie Mihalik – All I can say is give me more!

Tycoon by Joanna Shupe – a Gilded age novella. Sassy heroine witnesses a murder, runs straight into the arms of a sexy older bank owner. Old old timey billionaire romance

Boiling Point by Tessa Bailey – sexy thriller with lots of dirty talking con artists
Asking for trouble by Tessa Bailey – enemies to lovers with even more dirty talk… Tessa Bailey scratches an itch.

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas – a classic romance (1994) by an author I’ve never read. Fun and not too much of a cringe re: older romance tropes.

The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley – A spiritualist and her mother run afoul of the law when she accidentally knocks out a Duke’s nephew. More misunderstandings, Victorian sexy times. TW for rape and trauma.

Winterwood by Jacey Bedford – Georgian adventure fantasy – pirates! faeries! magical revolution! An under the radar read.

Listened

The Immortals After Dark series – Immortals of ALL kinds. Lots of sex. This is the ULTIMATE paranormal romance series (and it’s 18 books long to date). Mostly enemies to lovers.

A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole – Vampire/Valkryie meets crazed, tortured Lykae. Rapey times ensue.

I initially DNFed this book. It’s extremely rapey, but I’m glad I decided to try the audiobook because the other books have grown on me. Listening is a better experience than reading it because I don’t have to get into the character’s heads. I’m kind of surprised this is the opening to the series because Lachlan’s treatment of Emma is a big NOPE for me.

*still, I persisted*

The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole (technically a prequel to book 1, novella) – Valkyrie warrior meets Estonian Vampire. It’s a better start than the actual first book.

No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole *loved – Estonian Vampire 2 meets cold-hearted Valkyrie assassin on a magical version of the Amazing Race.

Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night by Kresley Cole *loved – Prophecied witch meets grumpy Lykae on a quest to revive his dead mate.

*Kaderin and Mariketa are my favorite heroines so far

 

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

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.

 

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

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

 

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

video: off the shelf – what I read in August

And I’m back! More books, more mini reviews 🙂

 

MENTIONED

You can buy these titles using the affiliate links or find them at your local library via WorldCat

 

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

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*

Affiliate links help support the site and podcast.

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.

img_8461

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.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

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!

MENTIONED

Affiliate links support the channel and blog. Please, use them, if you choose.

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

loves & latest: May 6, 2019

loves latest

loves

reads

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik

I resolved to read more sci-fi in 2019, but the male-dominated aspects of the genre is often a turn-off… not so with Polaris Rising. Runaway princess? Check. Sexy scoundrel? Check. Forced proximity? All the checks! An excellent, fast-paced plot with an active heroine? SOLD! I’m half-way through and want more from this writer/universe.

beauty

eltaMD UV Physical Tinted Sunscreen

Summer is here and the time is right… for sunscreen! The Florida sun is blaring and my Juice Beauty CC cream is not going to cut it, so I switched to an old favorite: Elta MD physical sunscreen. It has a light tint, kind of like a BB cream; it’s COMPLETELY scent free (a must for me), and does turn me a whiter shade of pale (even if I skip the light fandango).

random

turmeric supplements

Turmeric! It’s a magic root! Well, that’s what they say. All I know is I was desperate to kick a hormonal migraine (5 days! gah!) and picked up a bottle of 1000mg of turmeric with BioPerine (a patented form of pepper that helps you absorb the turmeric). The stars aligned, or something, because it worked. Not the first time either; I just haven’t been consistent.

Affiliate links help support the site and podcast.


 

latest

podcast

bluestocking-circleCelebrate May-tilda 😉 as the Bluestockings discuss everyone’s favorite, telekinetic bookworm.

Episode 21: Matilda 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 Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

writing: writespiration and pinterest

Pinterest is one of my online happy places. I make regular boards for the podcast, but one of my writerly pursuits is curating boards for WIPs and saving writing tips for easy access.

Current project: “Red Dragon”

note: my WIPs have a “code name” before they have a title. There are no dragons in this novel. *shrug emoji*

 

For inspiration, tips, and more, follow “Writing and Fiction”