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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