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, 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

 

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video: off the shelf – what I read in August

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

 

MENTIONED

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video: off the shelf – July 2019

What I read (and didn’t finish) in July.

Disclaimer: Affiliate links help support the blog/channel/podcast at no extra cost to you. Feel free to google the titles, if you prefer not to use them. You can search your local library on WorldCat.

 

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.