Well This Is Fun

Hello beautiful people! I hope you are all feeling well! Me? Well, I have COVID.

Well, we think it’s COVID. It could be a mild cold but we are taking precautions as if it’s COVID.

I am fully vaccinated, though I haven’t had my booster yet. And why is a long story that I won’t go into here.

My symptoms are mild and the Hubs is taking good care of me. I’m getting plenty of rest, the Hubs insists!

In the meantime, I’m taking a break from the blog to fully rest, which means no posts for the rest of the week. Hopefully I’ll be back next week with new content for you! 🤞

What’s On My TBR? January 2022

Hello beautiful people! It’s time for me to tell you my lofty goals for my TBR. I’m pretty sure I’m going to fail again, but I really don’t care! My new philosophy for this year is “as long as I’m reading”!

So what, then, is the point of doing a TBR? Well, it’s fun for starters. It’s also nice to see where the reading gods take me, however far or close to my TBR that may be.

That being said, let us get the book club picks out of the way first!

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world but the entire multiverse.

Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan

An American woman is summoned by a remote tribe of nomadic Aboriginals who call themselves the “Real People” to accompany them on a four-month-long walkabout through the Outback. While traveling barefoot with them through 1,400 miles of rugged desert terrain, she learns a new way of life, including their methods of healing, based on the wisdom of their 50,000-year-old culture. Ultimately, she experiences a dramatic personal transformation.

Mutant Message Down Under recounts a unique, timely, and powerful life-enhancing message for all humankind: It is not too late to save our world from destruction if we realize that all living things–be they plants, animals, or human beings–are part of the same universal oneness. If we heed the message, our lives, like the lives of the Real People, can be filled with this great sense of purpose.

And on to the non-book club books!

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard has just moved back to London, his old home, to settle down and become a high school history teacher. And on his first day at school, he meets a captivating French teacher at his school who seems fascinated by him. But Tom has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

Unfortunately for Tom, the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

This one is a library loan, so I have to read it quick!

Servant Mage by Kate Elliot

Fellian is a Lamplighter, able to provide illumination through magic. A group of rebel Monarchists free her from indentured servitude and take her on a journey to rescue trapped compatriots from an underground complex of mines.

Along the way they get caught up in a conspiracy to kill the latest royal child and wipe out the Monarchist movement for good.

But Fellian has more than just her Lamplighting skills up her sleeve…

I am reading this one because one, Kate Elliot, and two, I was approved for the ARC through NetGalley. A review is forthcoming. I just have to read the novella first.

A Letter to Three Witches by Elizabeth Bass

Nearly a century ago, Gwen Engel’s great-great-grandfather cast a spell with catastrophic side-effects. As a result, the Grand Council of Witches forbade his descendants from practicing witchcraft. The Council even planted anonymous snitches called Watchers in the community to report any errant spellcasting…
 
Yet magic may still be alive and not so well in Zenobia. Gwen and her cousins, Trudy and Milo, receive a letter from Gwen’s adopted sister, Tannith, informing them that she’s bewitched one of their partners and will run away with him at the end of the week. While Gwen frets about whether to trust her scientist boyfriend, currently out of town on a beetle-studying trip, she’s worried that local grad student Jeremy is secretly a Watcher doing his own research.
 
Cousin Trudy is so stressed that she accidentally enchants her cupcakes, creating havoc among her bakery customers—and in her marriage. Perhaps it’s time the family took back control and figured out how to harness their powers. How else can Gwen decide whether her growing feelings for Jeremy are real—or the result of too many of Trudy’s cupcakes?

Okay, this was totally a NetGalley cover pick. Also, I want to read more romantic comedies! But yes, there will be a review soon.

Fan Fiction: A Memnoir by Brent Spiner

Set in 1991, just as Star Trek: The Next Generation has rocketed the cast to global fame, the young and impressionable actor Brent Spiner receives a mysterious package and a series of disturbing letters, that take him on a terrifying and bizarre journey that enlists Paramount Security, the LAPD, and even the FBI in putting a stop to the danger that has his life and career hanging in the balance.

Featuring a cast of characters from Patrick Stewart to Levar Burton to Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, to some completely imagined, this is the fictional autobiography that takes readers into the life of Brent Spiner, and tells an amazing tale about the trappings of celebrity and the fear he has carried with him his entire life.

I’ve been meaning to pick this book up since I bought it in October. It just sounds fun.

And there it is. My completely do-able, probably not going to happen, TBR!

JK, some of these books are rather short, so I should be able to do all of these no problem. Wish me luck!

Weekly Round-Up: Week of January 8, 2022

Well hello, beautiful people! I hope you had a wonderful week! Mine has been…interesting, to say the least. As a result, my reading slowed down considerably this week. I started off so strong! I started and finished a novella and then finished another book I had started in December. I also started a new book!

What I Read This Week!

Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi

Once More Upon A Time was a lighthearted fairy tale/adventure novella about finding love and overcoming toxic families. I found myself laughing at the antics in this book more than I thought, and I thoroughly enjoyed the character interactions. And the loves story was first-rate. If you have Audible and don’t want to pick up the book, this was an Audible original back in 2020 that made it to print.

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

This heartwarming tale is all about a woman who moves to a small town and finds a Santa suit in her new house. In the pockets, she finds a note and she sets out on a quest to find out who wrote the note. It’s such a sweet tale. I saw the ending coming a mile away, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of it at all. I’m just sorry it took me so long to finish it, as it was very much the perfect holiday read.

Instagram Posts

Most of my followers on Instagram are family (hi guys!), and they don’t often like my books posts. So go give my very sporadically posted account a try!

This last one got posted just this morning! I still don’t know what I’m doing on Bookstagram, but I have fun doing it.

Blog Posts

I posted five blog posts. Spoiler alert, that’s how many I usually post. I don’t have enough time to write more than that. And I need a day off for myself to practice self-care.

I started the week off with my Christmas Book Haul. I don’t know why, but of all the books I picked up (not the books I was given), I am most excited about The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki.

Tuesday saw me post the newest installment of Top Ten Tuesday. It was all about the most anticipated new releases in the first half of 2022. This was also my most liked post for the week!

WWW Wednesday was up next. That’s the meme where you talk all about what you are reading that week, among other things.

Thursday was all about the books I read in December.

Friday is all about First Lines Friday. This week’s selection is a book club pick!

In Other News

I’ve had an office since we moved into this house, but have very rarely used it, as I didn’t like the chair I had. I finally got a new desk chair.

This Captain Marvel gaming chair also came with lumbar support and headrest, but I don’t need those. You can find the chair here. They also make Deadpool, Captain American, Iron Man, Black Panther, and Spider-man chairs. And if you want something non-Marvel, they make other styles and colors too. It’s a very, very comfy chair, and I highly recommend it. Also yes, I am a big nerd.

A Discovery of Witches returns to Sundance Now today with a new episode every week for the next 7 weeks! I don’t watch a lot of TV, so I make an exception for this show. I’m so excited! More exclamation points! If you haven’t heard me rave about this book series in the past, I wrote a review on it here.

Well, I hope you’ve had fun with the new format. I’ll probably play around with it a little bit until I find something I’m super happy with. But I kind of like this one.

First Lines Friday-January 8, 2022

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author, or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Well hello, beautiful people! It’s Friday! Huzzah! And I made new graphics because, quite frankly, I didn’t like the others I had made. That’s what happens when you are in a rush and don’t actually want to be creative.

What? It happens!

But today is First Lines Friday! It’s that day of the week when I pick some lines from a book and you try to guess what book they come from!

The Lines:

When the multiverse was confirmed, the spiritual and scientific communities both counted it as evidence of their validity.

The scientists said, Look, we told you there were parallel universes.

And the spiritual said, See, we’ve always known there was more than one life.

Intrigued?

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Multiverse travel is finally possible, but there’s just one catch: No one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying—from disease, turf wars, or vendettas they couldn’t outrun. Cara’s life has been cut short on 372 worlds in total.

On this dystopian Earth, however, Cara has survived. Identified as an outlier and therefore a perfect candidate for multiverse travel, Cara is plucked from the dirt of the wastelands. Now what once made her marginalized has finally become an unexpected source of power. She has a nice apartment on the lower levels of the wealthy and walled-off Wiley City. She works—and shamelessly flirts—with her enticing yet aloof handler, Dell, as the two women collect off-world data for the Eldridge Institute. She even occasionally leaves the city to visit her family in the wastes, though she struggles to feel at home in either place. So long as she can keep her head down and avoid trouble, Cara is on a sure path to citizenship and security.

But trouble finds Cara when one of her eight remaining doppelgängers dies under mysterious circumstances, plunging her into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and her future in ways she could have never imagined—and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world but the entire multiverse.

This has been on my TBR forever, but one of my book clubs is reading it this month. I’m assuming I’ll get to it before the actual meeting. A friend of mine read it and said it was worth reading, so I have high hopes!

All the Books I Read-December 2021

Hello beautiful people! I hope you are having a wonderful day so far. I’m doing pretty well, except for the weather. It either wants to be 19 degrees or 55 degrees outside. It’s great. Really great. Love it. So much.

Speaking of cold, I read 4 books, for a total of 1,206 pages, in December. It’s a small amount compared to months past, but I read, and that’s all that matters.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

A scientist and gentleman inventor in industrialized Victorian England claims to have irrefutable proof that time is not simply a concept—it’s a whole other dimension. When he reveals the prototype of a time-traveling machine to his peers, he’s met with skepticism at first . . . until he returns one week later, disheveled, bloody, and with a fantastic story to tell.

It’s classic sci-fi and I can see it absolutely entrancing people at the time it was written. That being said, the only female character was of a simple-minded race of people and that didn’t really sit well with me, alas the book is a product of its time. For that, I had to give the book 3 stars.

The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

Laid off from her department store job, Carmen has perilously little cash and few options. The prospect of spending Christmas with her perfect sister Sofia, in Sofia’s perfect house with her perfect children and her perfectly ordered yuppie life does not appeal.

Frankly, Sofia doesn’t exactly want her prickly sister Carmen there either. But Sofia has yet another baby on the way, a mother desperate to see her daughters get along, and a client who needs help revitalizing his shabby old bookshop. So Carmen moves in and takes the job.

Thrown rather suddenly into the inner workings of Mr. McCredie’s ancient bookshop on the picturesque streets of historic Edinburgh, Carmen is intrigued despite herself. The store is dusty and disorganized but undeniably charming. Can she breathe some new life into it in time for Christmas shopping? What will happen when a famous and charismatic author takes a sudden interest in the bookshop—and Carmen? And will the Christmas spirit be enough to help heal her fractured family?

I wrote a whole review of this book. I really liked it. It was a nice cozy read that really warmed my heart. Although I did call who she was going to end up with when we first met him, I really do read too many books. I gave it 4 stars.

Absynthe by Brenden P. Bellacourt

Liam Mulcahey, a reclusive, shell-shocked veteran, remembers little of the Great War. Ten years later, when he is caught in a brutal attack on a Chicago speakeasy, Liam is saved by Grace, an alluring heiress who’s able to cast illusions. Though the attack appears to have been committed by the hated Uprising, Grace believes it was orchestrated by Leland De Pere–Liam’s former commander and the current President of the United States.
 
Meeting Grace unearths long-buried memories. Liam’s former squad, the Devil’s Henchmen, was given a serum to allow telepathic communication, transforming them into a unified killing machine. With Grace’s help, Liam begins to regain his abilities, but when De Pere learns of it, he orders his militia to eliminate Liam at any cost.
 
But Liam’s abilities are expanding quickly. When Liam turns the tables and digs deeper into De Pere’s plans, he discovers a terrible secret. The same experiment that granted Liam’s abilities was bent toward darker purposes. Liam must navigate both his enemies and supposed allies to stop the President’s nefarious plans before they’re unleashed on the world. And Grace is hiding secrets of her own, secrets that could prove every bit as dangerous as the President’s.

I wrote a review for this book as well. I haven’t seen a lot of people talk about it, and it was so very, very good. It kept me guessing right up until the very end. This is no small feat, as I thought I had the twist figured out a few chapters in. I was wrong. I ended up giving this book 5 stars.

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell—both critical to her success as a show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie’s identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family’s bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won’t get the memo that they’re over.

With only days until Christmas, a desperate Charlie asks Cass to do something they haven’t done since they were kids: switch places. Looking for her own escape from reality, Cass agrees. But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix. Will the twins’ identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a fun read, a little predictable, but still fun. If you are looking for a good holiday book for next year, this one will do. 4 stars!

And hey, look at that! Not a DNF in sight! It’s a rare month when that doesn’t happen. I’m pretty pleased with myself.

And now for my favorite part! The stats!

Mysterious, lighthearted, and adventurous all tied for first place with 2 books each!

It was a medium-paced month with one book being faster-paced.

When you read four books the pie charts come out so neat and orderly. Only one book is under 300 pages.

In an unusual twist, I read no fantasy this month! None, nada, zip zilch! It feels weird. But I’ll take it.

Does it seem odd to anyone else that I have no 1 star ratings this month? No? Just me? Okay then.

December was hectic. You can see when I had the most time to devote to reading, and it wasn’t as much as I would have hoped. It happens. We read when we can.

What did you read last month? Anything fabulous?

WWW Wednesday- January 5, 2022

Hello beautiful people! It’s WWW Wednesday! That most auspicious of days when we answer the three W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? It’s hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words but was previously hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm.

And how are you doing today? Me, I’m doing alright. Woke up to my cat’s screaming…again. She used to let me sleep, now she complains if I’m not up to pet her at an hour she deems appropriate. More time for doing things around the house I guess. Or I could just watch Encanto for the fiftieth time. It’ll probably be that last one because that movie is pretty awesome.

What are you currently reading?

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Alright, so technically this is a bit of a cheat as I haven’t started it yet. I finished my latest book last night before I went to bed and I need something new to read. This is a library hold through the Libby app so I have to give that a read. I was planning on starting it today anyway. And a story about immortals? I’ll read that.

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

I was hoping to be able to finish this as an audiobook because I like the narrator, I just don’t have the time to listen to it right now. I do have time to read it though, so I’ll be finishing the rest of the book through its physical counterpart. Also, yes, I know the holiday season is over. I started this before Christmas and just didn’t have time to finish it.

What did you recently finish reading?

Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi

This cute story is about a prince and a princess who fall in love, only for the princess to become ill and have a witch heal her. The price? Their love for each other. And that’s only the beginning of this novella. This is a story about rediscovering love through living life, and I loved it. It’s also about overcoming toxic families, because wow.

Servant Mage by Kate Elliot

I got approved for this novella through NetGalley and am so excited to read and review it for you. Magic and rebellion and assassination plots! It sounds like so much fun! I don’t know how the author is going to squeeze all of that into a 169 page book!

I still can’t believe I haven’t finished that Christmas book. Today my friends! Today!

TTT-Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the First Half of 2022

Well hello, beautiful people! And how is everything going for you this fine Tuesday? I spent all day yesterday working on blog things. You know, getting ready for future posts and the like. And then I remembered that I had to write this one.

When I tell you that this took up all my free time, I mean it. I started obsessing over every title that publishers were planning to put out.

I made spreadsheets!

Then I had to remind myself that I had already pre-ordered a few books that are coming out in the first half of the year, so maybe I should start there. You know, instead of stressing about the whole thing.

Please note all release dates are subject to change, and several of them have already changed on me! Well, they did it last year, anyway.

Also, the first five books on this list are sequels, so most of them are missing their synopsis to spare you the spoilers if you haven’t gotten around to the first book yet.

Abandoned in Death by J.D. Robb-Feb 8th

The woman’s body was found in the early morning, on a bench in a New York City playground. She was clean, her hair neatly arranged, her makeup carefully applied. But other things were very wrong—like the tattoo and piercings, clearly new. The clothes, decades out of date. The fatal wound hidden beneath a ribbon around her neck. And the note: Bad Mommy, written in crayon as if by a child.

Eve Dallas turns to the department’s top profiler, who confirms what seems obvious to Eve: They’re dealing with a killer whose childhood involved some sort of trauma—a situation Eve is all too familiar with herself. Yet the clues suggest a perpetrator who’d be roughly sixty years old, and there are no records of old crimes with a similar MO. What was the trigger that apparently reopened such an old wound and sent someone over the edge?

When Eve discovers that other young women—who physically resemble the first victim—have vanished, the clock starts ticking louder. But to solve this case she will need to find her way into a hidden place of dim light and concrete, into the distant past, and into the cold depths of a shattered mind.

Genre: Mystery/Romance Pages: 368

It’s no secret that I love the In Death series, and I’m really looking forward to this, the 54th entry in the series (the 55th comes out later this year). The series has been showing its age a little bit, but it’s still fun to read. That being said, there are major trigger warnings for these books that I love so much, so please look those up before you give these a read. Maybe I need to re-read these. That could be a fun challenge. Read one a week for the coming year?

Into the West (The Founding of Valdemar Book 2) by Mercedes Lackey-June 21st

Genre: Fantasy Pages: 368

So there is no description as this is a sequel, and given that I haven’t even read the first book yet, I didn’t want to spoil it for myself! I still can’t believe I haven’t read Beyond yet. I’m sure this will be another great entry into the Valdemar series!

A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables 2) by Alix E. Harrow-June 14th

Genre: LBGTQIA+ Fairytale Pages: 144

Another sequel where the synopsis gives away some of the previous book! Sigh. I enjoyed (4 stars!) A Spindle Splintered and as soon as I learned about this one, I pre-ordered it. I’m hoping I enjoy this one just as much!

For the Throne (Wilderwood Book 2) by Hannah Whitten-June 7th

Genre: Dark Fantasy Pages: 448

I gave the first entry into the series 5 stars. I really had a lot of fun reading about Red’s adventures in the Wilderwood. It was an exciting ride. Also, let’s hear it for that cover! It’s stunning!

Soul Taken (A Mercy Thompson Novel) by Patricia Briggs- June 21st

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance Pages: 352

A Mercy Thompson book? On my most anticipated books of 2022? Never. Okay, so it’s kind of obvious. I really do love this series. It’s a fun way to spend a few hours.

Battle of the Linguist Mages by Scotto Moore-Jan 11th

Isobel is the Queen of the medieval rave-themed VR game Sparkle Dungeon. Her prowess in the game makes her an ideal candidate to learn the secrets of “power morphemes”—unnaturally dense units of meaning that warp perception when skilfully pronounced.

But Isobel’s reputation makes her the target of a strange resistance movement led by spellcasting anarchists, who may be the only thing stopping the cabal from toppling California over the edge of a terrible transformation, with forty million lives at stake.

Time is short for Isobel to level up and choose a side—because the cabal has attracted much bigger and weirder enemies than the anarchist resistance, emerging from dark and vicious dimensions of reality and heading straight for planet Earth!

Genre: Humorous Sci-Fi Pages: 437

It’s a video game come to life and I want to read it! I can imagine the Hubs might like this as well.

Mickey 7 by Edward Ashton-February 15th

Dying isn’t any fun…but at least it’s a living.

Mickey7 is an Expendable: a disposable employee on a human expedition sent to colonize the ice world Niflheim. Whenever there’s a mission that’s too dangerous—even suicidal—the crew turns to Mickey. After one iteration dies, a new body is regenerated with most of his memories intact. After six deaths, Mickey7 understands the terms of his deal…and why it was the only colonial position unfilled when he took it.

On a fairly routine scouting mission, Mickey7 goes missing and is presumed dead. By the time he returns to the colony base, surprisingly helped back by native life, Mickey7’s fate has been sealed. There’s a new clone, Mickey8, reporting for Expendable duties. The idea of duplicate Expendables is universally loathed, and if caught, they will likely be thrown into the recycler for protein.

Mickey7 must keep his double a secret from the rest of the colony. Meanwhile, life on Niflheim is getting worse. The atmosphere is unsuitable for humans, food is in short supply, and terraforming is going poorly. The native species are growing curious about their new neighbors, and that curiosity has Commander Marshall very afraid. Ultimately, the survival of both lifeforms will come down to Mickey7.

That is, if he can just keep from dying for good.

Genre: Humorous Sci-Fi Pages: 304

This is giving my Andy Wier vibes but in the best possible way. I’m looking forward to this one.

The Impossible Us by Sarah Lotz-Mar 22nd

Bee thinks she has everything: a successful business repurposing wedding dresses, and friends who love and support her. She’s given up on finding love, but that’s fine. There’s always Tinder. Nick thinks he has nothing: his writing career has stalled after early promise and his marriage is on the rocks, but that’s fine. There’s always gin. So when one of Nick’s emails, a viciously funny screed intended for a non-paying client, accidentally pings into Bee’s inbox, they decide to keep the conversation going. After all, they never have to meet.  

But the more they get to know each other, the more Bee and Nick realize they want to. They both notice strange pop culture or political references that crop up in their correspondence, but nothing odd enough to stop Bee and Nick for falling hard for each other. But when their efforts to meet in real life fail spectacularly, Bee and Nick discover that they’re actually living in near-identical but parallel worlds. With a universe between them, Bee and Nick will discover how far they’ll go to beat impossible odds.

Genre: Magical Realism Pages: 496

A parallel worlds love story? I’ll take it! No, but seriously, I preordered it.

Memphis by Tara M Stringfellow-April 5th

Summer 1995: Ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father’s explosive temper and seek refuge at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis. This is not the first time violence has altered the course of the family’s trajectory. Half a century earlier, Joan’s grandfather built this majestic house in the historic Black neighborhood of Douglass—only to be lynched days after becoming the first Black detective in the city. Joan tries to settle into her new life, but family secrets cast a longer shadow than any of them expected.

As she grows up, Joan finds relief in her artwork, painting portraits of the community in Memphis. One of her subjects is their enigmatic neighbor Miss Dawn, who claims to know something about curses, and whose stories about the past help Joan see how her passion, imagination, and relentless hope are, in fact, the continuation of a long matrilineal tradition. Joan begins to understand that her mother, her mother’s mother, and the mothers before them persevered, made impossible choices, and put their dreams on hold so that her life would not have to be defined by loss and anger—that the sole instrument she needs for healing is her paintbrush.

Unfolding over seventy years through a chorus of unforgettable voices that move back and forth in time, Memphis paints an indelible portrait of inheritance, celebrating the full complexity of what we pass down, in a family and as a country: brutality and justice, faith and forgiveness, sacrifice and love.

Genre: African American Literary Fiction Pages: 272

This book features a neighborhood in my hometown! I’m so excited to support the author and give it a read!

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah-May 17th

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

Genre: Epic Fantasy Pages: 432

This sounds fun! It has Thousand and One Nights vibes and I am here for it.

So there you have it! The books I am most looking forward to in the first half of 2022. I gotta say, there are actually a whole lot more that I want, I just can’t have them. And June! Why is June so full of books I pre-ordered!

What books are you looking forward to?

A Christmas Book Haul

Well hello, beautiful peoples! And how are we doing today? I started the new year off right by watching the full extended edition of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It’s an annual tradition for me and I can quote that movie line by line. So can the Hubs. Being nerds together is fun.

I thought I’d go over what books I got for Christmas. And given that I did this post, I’m going to keep it short and sweet. But seriously, if you want to see what Santa (Santa is the Hubs, the Hubs is Santa) brought me, check out that list. I got everything on it.

I did, however, go to the Barnes & Noble 50% off Hardcover sale after Christmas and picked up a few books. Not as many as I normally would have because they were sold out of so many of the things I wanted. I did get a few gems though.

The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox

Taryn Cornick believes that the past – her sister’s violent death, and her own ill-conceived revenge – is behind her, and she can get on with her life. She has written a successful book about the things that threaten libraries: insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness, and uncaring…but not all of the attention it brings her is good.

A policeman, Jacob Berger, questions her about a cold case. Then there are questions about a fire in the library at her grandparents’ house and an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter, as well as threatening phone calls and a mysterious illness. Finally, a shadowy young man named Shift appears, forcing Taryn and Jacob toward a reckoning felt in more than one world.

I’ve wanted this book for months and just kept forgetting to pick it up. When I saw it in the store I snatched it up. I didn’t realize it was such a thick book, coming in at 640 pages. Wowzer.

The Apollo Muders by Chris Hadfield

1973: a final, top-secret mission to the Moon. Three astronauts in a tiny spaceship, a quarter million miles from home. A quarter million miles from help.

NASA is about to launch Apollo 18. While the mission has been billed as a scientific one, flight controller Kazimieras “Kaz” Zemeckis knows there is a darker objective. Intelligence has discovered a secret Soviet space station spying on America, and Apollo 18 may be the only chance to stop it.

But even as Kaz races to keep the NASA crew one step ahead of their Russian rivals, a deadly accident reveals that not everyone involved is quite who they were thought to be. With political stakes stretched to the breaking point, the White House and the Kremlin can only watch as their astronauts collide on the lunar surface, far beyond the reach of law or rescue.

This book isn’t my usual cup of tea, but I had to pick it up because Chris Hadfield wrote a book! If you don’t remember him, he was the astronaut who did this:

Yeah, him. Naturally, I had to buy the book.

Sistersong by Lucy Holland

In the kingdom of Dumnonia, there is old magic to be found in the whisper of the wind, the roots of the trees, and the curl of the grass. King Cador knew this once, but now the land has turned from him, calling instead to his three children. Riva can cure others, but can’t seem to heal her own deep scars. Keyne battles to be accepted for who he truly is—the king’s son. And Sinne dreams of seeing the world, of finding adventure.

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold, their people’s last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. However, change comes on the day ash falls from the sky. It brings with it Myrdhin, meddler and magician. And Tristan, a warrior who is not what he seems.

Riva, Keyne and Sinne—three siblings entangled in a web of betrayal and heartbreak, who must fight to forge their own paths. 

Their story will shape the destiny of Britain.

This book’s premise gripped me from the moment I heard it, but I was content to wait for it to come out in paperback. Naturally, when I saw it was part of the sale, I snatched it up. Go me.

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house—a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn’t understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.
 
At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world. He falls in love with a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many.
 
And he meets his very own Book—a talking thing—who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

This book screams magical realism, but I found it in the literary fiction section of the store. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of this book until I saw the cover, and then I had to know what it was about. It intrigued me, and that’s always a good thing.

Malice by Heather Walter

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.

You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily ever after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.

Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though a power like mine was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps together we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—

I am the villain.

With a premise like that, why wouldn’t I want to read this sapphic retelling of sleeping beauty from the villans perspective? This is part one of the Malice Duology, and it just sounds so good! I’ve heard very good things about it.

I got a total of 15 books during the Christmas season. I have already started on them, with Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia being the first one. I’ve heard good things.

What did you get for Christmas?

Monthly Wrap Up-December 2021

Well hello, fellow humans! Did you have a good New Year’s Eve? I did up until I didn’t because our glorious queen Betty White passed away. Like a few generations of folks, I grew up on Betty White. She was one of a kind and will be missed in this house.

But hey, it’s time for our Monthly Wrap-Up! And folks, this will be our last one. I’m going to switch to a weekly wrap-up style, mostly inspired by Biblio Nerd Reflections (if you don’t already follow him, you should, he’s great!). I’m not going to copy his format exactly, but rather be inspired by it. I like the idea of doing a weekly update as opposed to a monthly one. It just makes more sense to me. Kind of.

On to the wrap up!

WWW Wednesday-December 1st: Starting the month off strong with WWW Wednesday.

Monthly Wrap Up-November 2021: So the very next post was the monthly wrap up for November. So long current format!

First Lines Friday-December 3, 2021: I did a book I was surprised I had never read!

All The Books I Read- November 2021: I read 5 books in November. Spoiler alert, December has just as small a number.

TTT- Books I Could Re-Read Forever: This particular week was a freebie, so I did a past topic and had fun doing it!

WWW Wednesday-December 8, 2021: This week’s WWW Wednesday had some familiar faces, er spines, in it.

Black Friday Book Haul: I bought a lot of books on Black Friday thanks to the sales. I’m not ashamed…I’m not.

First Lines Friday- December 10, 2021: This week’s FLF ended up being such a cute read.

A Festive TBR-December 2021: This one was short. Very short. Three books short.

TTT Tuesday-Books On My Winter 2021 To-Read List: Why are these so hard? And also, why do I never stick to them? Oh yeah, mood reader.

WWW Wednesday- December 15, 2021: So this is another one with some repeat offenders on it. I promise I was just busy!

The Christmas Bookshop-A Book Review: I reviewed this cozy Christmas story a few weeks ago. I found myself really enjoying it.

First Lines Friday- December 17, 2021: So this one is a book I’ve been meaning to read for quite some time. But when I will get to it remains to be seen.

Absynthe-A Book Review: This was a surprising book for me. I got it through NetGalley (and then from the Hubs for Christmas) and had a grand ole time reading it.

TTT- Books I Hope Santa Brings/Bookish Wishes: This list of ten books is the exact list I gave the Hubs when asking for a Christmas present. Go figure.

Naughty or Nice Book Tag: This was a good one and I had an enjoyable time answering the questions.

First Lines Friday- December 24, 2021: This FLF was a Christmas treat!

Bookish Christmas Book Tag: So this was one I did after Christmas. I just didn’t want that special holiday magic to be over with, I guess.

TTT-Best Books I Read in 2021: I was going to do this post anyway, so I just went ahead and did it on Tuesday!

Worst Books I Read in 2021: Um yeah. I had a few disappointments. I only listed ten though.

End Of The Year Stats 2021: I was happy to give you all of my stats for the end of the year! It’s fun to look back and see the breakdown of how you did.

Reading and Blogging Goals for 2022: I set up a few goals for the year. I hope I accomplish them!

And there you have it! Our final monthly wrap-up. I hope it was fun for you, but for now, I bid you adieu. You know. Until Monday.

Reading and Blog Goals for 2022

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! What are your plans? Are you going to curl up with a good book, like me? Or are you going to party hard, in your living room, with a good book, also like me? Yup. the Hubs and I are living it up. Partying hard, as it were.

Since it is New years, it’s the time for New Years Resolutions. I don’t typically make them since I break them so easily. I seriously cannot hold a resolution to save my life.

But why am I putting myself through this again when it didn’t work in 2021?

I have no idea. Glutton for punishment maybe?

Read More Non-Fiction! I think this will forever be on my list. Reading more non-fiction is never a bad thing. And, technically, this is a resolution I did keep by reading 6 non-fiction books in 2021 as opposed to 2020s 2. So improvements are still happening!

Buy Fewer Books! That’s right, I’m going on a buying ban…sort of. I’ll still have to buy books for book clubs and of course when the sale is just too good for words. And this probably won’t last all year, but for now, I must restrain myself!

Read My TBR Shelf! This one is going to be hard. I know I’ll want to quit at some point because a lot of the excitement comes from reading the newest thing, but I’m not going to have a newest thing because I’m not going to be buying as many books (see above). So yeah, read my way through my TBR stack, shelf, cart, etc.

Write More Reviews! So I’ve been doing pretty good with reviews, but I need to write more. My problem is that I look at reading as a fun experience, and don’t always think about reviewing the book until a week has passed and I think to myself “self, that would have been a good book to review”. So yeah, review more books.

So yeah, there you have it, my very short list of Goals for reading and blogging this year. I’m keeping it short because short is doable. Long is intimidating and will make you quit before you’ve even thought about it!

What are your goals? Do you even have goals? Do you think I’m crazy?

Spoiler alert, I’m probably crazy.